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I’m going to combine last week’s and this week’s 100 Happy Days posts into one post on Wednesday.  For now, I’m going to write about where I’ve been these last ten or eleven days.

Dallas and I left home at about 7 am on Thursday, August 7th for a very long drive up to Michigan.  Dallas needed to do some academic things in Mount Pleasant, and we wanted to see my family for the first time since last April.  We got stuck in Atlanta traffic, Cincinnati traffic, Dayton traffic, Toledo traffic, and Ann Arbor traffic.  Basically, the only major place we didn’t run into horrendous delays on our drive up north was Knoxville.  (Thanks, Knoxville!)  We stayed in Piqua, Ohio, on the night of the 7th, and got a late start the next morning because I’m terrible at things like organization and time management.

We had lunch in Ann Arbor on the 8th with our friend Mark, who’s a librarian and a student at the University of Michigan.  Then we were late for Dallas to meet with his advisor, Dr. Johnson, in Mount Pleasant–which was okay because Dr. Johnson was sick and still at home when we arrived.  After he came to campus and Dallas passed his very last pre-doctoral candidacy exam (German language) with flying colors, Dr. Johnson signed some forms for him, and we were off to dinner with friends.  I had expected we’d see our friend Katie, who works in the department office, and I had met up with my friend Kat while Dallas was in his exam.  It didn’t sound like too many other people were around.  Surprise!  Katie had put the word out that we’d be around, so a bunch of our friends came out to dinner at Mountain Town.  It was great to see everybody.  Our friend Avery even made a cake and brought it, so we all had dessert too.  By the time we got done hanging out with Katie and Shannon in Katie’s backyard, it was pretty late, so instead of continuing on up to Gaylord, we got a room in Mount Pleasant for the night.

When we got up to Gaylord, we stopped at my dad’s house first.  I finally got to meet his girlfriend, who moved down from Alaska to be with him last fall.  They have known each other for many years, and she seems really good for him.  Then we went to my mom’s to see her and my stepdad, and have dinner with them, my brother and his girlfriend, and my sister and her boyfriend.  We also took some pretty (unintentionally) hilarious family photos there.  We ended up staying with my mom and stepdad over the weekend, then went up to Cheboygan to see my grandparents and other extended family.

That was a little hard at first–it just isn’t the same visiting my grandparents without their dog underfoot (and trying to steal all of my food because she figured if I was eating it, it might be all right).  I think us being there helped cheer Pops up a little bit, though.  He and Dallas went golfing once while we were there, while Meem and I ran errands.  I got to see my Aunt Jody and cousin Kelsey–and finally met Aunt Jody and Uncle Charlie’s new baby, Julia.  We also went out to my family’s preferred watering hole/dive bar once while we were up there so we could hang out with my great-aunt and great-uncle and their daughter after Uncle Steve’s weekly horseshoes game.  Diane had to double-check with us about the date of our wedding because she wants to come to Georgia for it, but she’s going to be in another wedding in August or September.  No conflict there!  I’m pretty excited.  It sounds like quite a few of my family members might come down to see us get married, actually.

We also went to Mackinac Island.  I made Dallas come up and sit on the top deck of the ferry with me on the way over even though it was only 55 degrees, because he needed the full experience. (And by “experience”, I mean we got some nice clean Straits water in our hair and on our faces and clothes.  Splish splash!) He later admitted he should have listened to me when I told him to pack long pants.  We went to Fort Mackinac, the Butterfly House, and Ste. Anne’s Church while we were on the Island.  Perhaps the best part was the seagull just hangin’ out on Father Marquette’s head at the park.  Obviously Dallas approved of this.  We also met a lady who had a police dog on the Island for further training–the dog had gotten its initial training at Auburn!  She came up to us because she saw Dallas’ sweatshirt.

It was hard to leave my dad’s house yesterday to head back south, but we had to.  Adulthood is hard.  The worst part was leaving my grandparents’ house on Friday, especially since my grandmother was crying when we backed out of the driveway.  We battled heavy rain all through northern and central Michigan yesterday and arrived home today.  Dallas’ parents and the dogs were happy to see us.  The cats were as happy as they ever are, I guess.

On Friday we’re going to Dallas’ old high school’s first regular season game.  The other team’s quarterback has already committed to Auburn, so that should be interesting.  Then next Saturday is the Auburn season opener, so we’re both pretty excited for that.

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