February was a frigid, interminable and, like, pretty awful month if you want to know the truth. I mean, yes, I love my family and my life in general, but I could have wiped February clean off the calendar this year with few regrets.
One of the highlights, however, was our annual President's Day get together with what was once made up of college friends, and now has morphed into a group that's harder to define, except to say that we all have a lot of fun together.
We went to Nashville this year, a city I've never visited and absolutely loved...the music, the heart-disease-inducing food (which included for me a hamburger topped with pimento cheese, jalapeño bacon and onion rings) and the people. The people! I miss you, southern people! We hired a babysitting service one night so the adults could go out, and the entire experience was so easy and pleasant compared to interactions I often have up north, where people are sometimes defensive and irritated from the get go, probably because it is so COLD, that I was nearly convinced to move there. That's what this winter has done to me. I think seriously about things like moving to Nashville because it's really easy to hire a babysitter there, compared to Connecticut, where it's been icy for four solid months.
Anyway, that night the grown ups headed to Broadway, the city's most happening street, and hit up a honky tonk bar, where an absolutely amazing band was playing while the audience drank PBRs and swayed to the music. Everyone was having such a good time.
It was one of those places where the experience you imagine yourself having prior to arriving ends up being exactly what it's like, one of those nights that imprints itself on your mind and reminds you what an incredibly diverse and interesting country this is.
Amplifying that takeaway was the fact that we drove to Nashville, and go to see many more miles of the U.S.A. over the long weekend than we'd originally anticipated. We drove there from New Haven, because, after waiting way, way too long to book flights - a bad habit of ours - we realized that flying the family there would cost thousands of dollars and we said, "You know what? Let's turn this into a fun road trip!"
And it was a fun road trip, which included stopping to see friends and family and teaching our kids some of the central activities required to make long rides fun, like browsing the many brochures in rest stops and playing "I spy," which quickly turned into a variant of "I spy" that seemed to be called "I see something..." which is like the former, but with no guessing. You see something, you say it.
Although we took plenty of extra days to turn this into an actual road trip, rather than just a frenzied car ride, it was still a lot of distance traveled in just a few days, something that was very clear to our astute Nora, who insisted at one point that she and Gabriel pretend they were airplanes, going very fast to various locations she'd announce over her pretend loudspeaker, like Florida and California. Then, after awhile, she informed me, with a serious look, "I think for our next trip, we should fly."