Scenes from the zoo

Because we’ve been back for two days and I still haven’t written about it (my brain, it is not cooperating with me these days), here are some pictures.

Near the entrance to the NC Zoo, there are these enormous life-size statues of elephants. We stopped to take some pictures. My mom saw this photo, and thought it was a real elephant, and she fuh-REAKED out. “Where’s the WALL?!! It could’ve KILLED her!!” Um, no, Mom. I’m pretty sure it’s not going anywhere.

Catie & the elephant statue near the zoo entrance

Although if the elephants were real, it would’ve made this moment with my brother all the more awesome.

my brother is funny

He’s hilarious. (We were trying to get Catie to agree to sit on the elephant’s trunk for a photo. She refused.)

As for inside the zoo…

Catie & a sea lion
Sea lions are awesome.

The flamingo exhibit was hands-down Catie’s favorite. She started asking for them the minute we got there, and she was so excited when we finally found them. She’s normally more of a giraffe/zebra fan, I’m not sure why the sudden obsession with flamingos? Maybe because they’re pink?

Catie & Tracy
I love this picture of my sister & Catie. I love their contrasting hair colors.

And then, of course, the obligatory “we’re going to take some damn family pictures before we leave here.”

Tracy, Catie & Chris

My very exhausted & sweaty family

I think it’s hilarious how my brother and sister both look all well-rested and healthy, while Dave and I look exhausted, puffy, and pale. Guess which ones are the parents?

P.S. Still no news on the job front. Hoping to hear something one way or the other this week!

Friday brain-melt

The job interview was yesterday, and… I have no clue about it. Here’s the run-down:

* 3 separate interviews with 3 different members of the team. – Those all seemed to go pretty well and I think I made a good impression on all of them.
* Writing test. – I think I kicked ass. (Actually, Dave’s boss told me that mine was way better than the other candidate’s that he saw. Nice to have the affirmation.)
* Lunch with Dave, his boss, and another engineer. – Fun. And the food was awesome. (Japanese, one of my favorites.)
* Teleconference interview. Singular: interview. With 3 people at the same time. Yeah. Three engineers in two remote offices (two guys in Texas, one guy in California), who btw were all asking me questions at the same time. – Holy mother of God, that was intimidating. For one thing, since it was on the phone, I couldn’t read anyone’s facial expressions and see if they were responding well to what I was saying. For another, two of the three guys aren’t native English speakers (one guy is French, and the other one is… I don’t know, maybe Indian? I couldn’t place his accent), and the conference room speaker phone was fuzzy, so I think some things might’ve gotten lost in translation. But besides that, some of their questions just threw me because they were completely not “technical writer”-y questions and it was just really, really strange.

The whole interview process took about 7 hours (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) and was unbelievably exhausting. I was showered and in my pajamas before 6:30 last night. It kicked my butt, to say the least.

So, honestly? I have no idea how it went. I just hope I find out one way or the other soon, because I hate waiting. Patience is not one of my virtues, to say the least.

Moving on! Guess what we’re doing tomorrow?

(Apologies if this song gets stuck in your head for 10,000 years. We’ve been singing it around here for days.)

So, yeah. The North Carolina Zoo is in Asheboro, which is about 60 or so miles from here. It’s about the halfway point between here and Charlotte, so my brother and sister are going to drive over and meet up with us there. Catie is unbelievably psyched. I can’t tell if she’s more excited about seeing Tracy and Chris, or if it’s going to see all the animals, but either way, she’s practically bouncing off the walls about it.

You can expect about a million pictures when we get back. Should be fun! Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Baby's (and Mommy's) first camping trip

Those of you who know me, know that I am not an outdoorsy type of girl. I freak out when I see a bug, I have horrible seasonal allergies, and I’m not a big fan of being out in the elements if it’s too hot or too cold or even remotely unpleasant. I’m a big wuss, basically.

In light of that, I’m not quite sure why I agreed to go camping this past weekend. I guess because it’s becoming Dave’s latest hobby, and I’d like to be included in it. Plus, springtime means the weather is nice and moderate. And Dave told me that the campsites have electricity, water, and a building with toilets and showers, so it’s not like I’d have to pee in the bushes or anything. Heck, some of the campsites now offer wi-fi. So it seemed like something that I could handle. Maybe.

Let the record show: I’ve never slept in a tent in my life. I mean, sure there was once at a slumber party that we set up a tent in the neighbor girl’s backyard, but I was back inside the house with my sleeping bag on the floor of the playroom before midnight. My family took “camping” trips when I was a kid where we’d go hiking in state parks, but we stayed in motels or cabins. And honestly, all I remember of those trips is blistering heat (summer in the South, not the best time to plan an outdoor vacation) and feeling like I was dying of thirst (since this was before people carried bottled water with them, so there was nothing to drink until we stopped for lunch or dinner).

Mostly, I remember the fighting. There was always lots of fighting. I hated those trips. But like so many other things, I thought that this might be an opportunity to do something for Catie that’s completely different than my own childhood. Turning my bad memories into happy ones, something like that.

So we set off for Asheboro, North Carolina, and set up camp at the Deep River Campground. It was very pretty.

view from our campsite

Check out our fancy-pants accomodations.

our accomodations

I know you’re jealous.

It made me nervous to be camping right by the lake, since Catie doesn’t always seem to understand that she can’t jump into any body of water like it’s her own personal bathtub. But we told her that it was ok for her to throw rocks and twigs into the lake, but she absolutely could not go in there, and she seemed to get it. Still, we had our eyes on her pretty much constantly.

Catie by the lake

And really? The camping was not so bad. Only two complaints:
1) The bathrooms were gross. Really gross. I sort of wish I’d taken pictures so I could prove my case, but I didn’t think of it until later. But I quickly decided that since we were only going to be there one night, I’d be ok with just skipping the whole shower thing until we got home, thank you very much.
2) Sleeping in a tent actually sucked worse than I thought it would. It dropped down into the 50’s that night, which is pretty darn cold when you’re basically outside. We got a sleeping bag for me before this trip, but the zipper wouldn’t come more than halfway up, so my legs were sweaty and my upper half was freezing. And poor Catie was miserable. She started crying from being so cold around 3 a.m., and it took almost 2 hours to get her settled back to sleep. She woke up in a pretty good mood, though.

SERIOUS case of bed-head

She also woke up with a horrendous drippy, snotty nose, which I’m hoping is just a reaction to sleeping outside during the peak of pollen season, and not the onset of a full-blown cold. Especially since her asthma tends to make colds about ten times worse than the average kid’s.

Since we were in Asheboro, we decided to stop by the North Carolina Zoo on Sunday, to wear Catie out in the hopes that she’d sleep the whole drive home. We’d never been to the NC Zoo before, it’s really beautiful. We only hit the Africa exhibit, since we knew that’s where the animals Catie likes would be (elephants, zebras, giraffes, monkeys, etc.), and I think we made the right call. She had a great time.

Catie & me with the zebra

Dave & Catie on the elephant statue

Catie playing in the display helicopter

Catie & me on the carousel

Oh, and the plan to exhaust her so she’d sleep on the way home? Worked like a charm. Easiest road trip with a toddler ever.

Here are the rest of the pics from our camping and zoo trip. Overall, it wasn’t horrible and I might go camping again. But I think I have to exchange this stupid defective sleeping bag that I got, and maybe wait until it’s a little warmer. Generally, though, I think I’d prefer to rent a cabin. Even a really rustic cabin would be ok – as long as there are walls to shield us from the wind. And an attached bathroom. That’d be nice.