Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Meeting in Your Town and Rocking Out: Days Three and Four of the Surprise Trip

Sorry it's taken me a couple days to get to this - I've been glued to and Twitter, obsessively reading about the protests in Iran. I'm going to take a short break, though, to get this post up before I forget everything.

Monday morning we got up bright and early (thanks, in part, to our lizard brains still being on +6 Switzerland time) and headed out. Our first stop was the McDonalds drive-through (we haven't gone completely native, apparently) for BDCs (Big Diet Cokes) and breakfast burritos. Six dollars later (cheap cheap cheap!) we headed to drop Mr K off at work with a one kilo (2.2 pounds) bag of chocolate bars in each hand.

My next stop was the bank to close an account I rarely use. One thing we've learned living here is when you do your taxes, you have to report all your wealth, which means all bank accounts. We have two main banks we use, but we've also both acquired a few smaller accounts from various jobs and past locations putting us at a grand total of six banks - this is a pain when you have to track down paperwork on each and every one of them yearly, so one of our priorities was to get some of those closed down. I was shocked to find the bank still closed at 9 in the morning - they didn't open until 9:30, which seems so late to me. I decided to just park and wander around a nearby shopping center for half an hour and was again confused to find each and every store closed until 9:30 or ten in the morning - I didn't remember this being the norm.

Eventually the bank opened and I was second in line, which meant I got the pleasure of listening to a complete moron berate the poor guy behind the counter about absolutely nothing for 20 minutes before she realized he was right... that kind of thing I haven't missed one bit. When it was my turn, closing the account took all of four minutes and I was back out the door, cash in hand. I ran a few more errands, prowled Borders (a really gigantic book store, Max - like bigger than FNAC - dangerous for me) and grabbed a yummy Subway sandwich for my lunch. Soon it was time to pick up Mr K and head to our next big surprise...

A little background: I've been playing a Wii game called Animal Crossing for the past few months. The basic premise is you have a little town and you make it pretty and befriend your animal neighbors and fish and garden and things like that. If you have friends playing, you can meet up over wireless and hang out in each others towns. One of my good friends in Virginia just recently got hooked, so we've been Animal Crossing together for the past few weeks. On Monday, I sent her a message on Facebook asking,
"Still hooked on the Animal Crossing? I wanna hang out in your town tomorrow - you available around 4 PM your time? We can share fruit!"
See how sneaky I was? She quickly responded,
"I'll make sure I have my gate open at 4 tomorrow so you can come visit. I sent you mail today too. Nothing exciting though. See you in Death [her town name - hee hee hee] tomorrow :)"
Mr K and I were dying - this would be great! We planned to be a little bit late just to add to the suspense. At 4:07 we arrived and parked in front of her house. We found out later that their son saw us park and said "Mommy, Miz K and Mr K just parked in front of our house." To which she replied, "No, honey - they live in Switzerland now, remember?" It was about this time we rang the doorbell. She open the door and burst out laughing, calling us freaks. Mission accomplished! We all sat around and played Mario Kart and chatted until her husband got home from work and we all went out to dinner - it was so much fun! After dinner, Mr K went shopping with them while I headed back to have girlie night out with the friend who put us up for the weekend. We got our toenails done and then headed to Benihana for a great dinner and a big pot of green tea. All in all, it was a wonderful day with really wonderful friends!

Tuesday morning we got up early again and once more drove through McD on the way to taking Mr K to work for a half day. I finished up my shopping (walking the mall* for an hour before the stores opened at 10) and joined up with Mr K and 21 of his coworkers for a lovely lunch at our favorite Mexican restaurant.

After lunch, we continued to run a few errands, with Mr K dragging me to my two least favorite stores ever - Guitar Center and Microcenter. (seeing both of those 'centers' is making me wonder if I got the names wrong...) Soon we were on our way to Maryland for the concert. A huge thunderstorm started just as our drive did, slowing down traffic and adding about 45 minutes to the hour and a half we expected to be driving. The rain stopped and we got to the venue right on time, though we didn't get to stop for dinner along the way.

We parked and headed inside , where we navigated the two huge lines to get our tickets from Will Call and then to get patted down at the security check. Soon we were inside and thrilled to see a stand offering burgers, chicken fingers, beer and soda. We bought one of each and then headed to the tee shirt booth, where we were appalled to see tee shirts selling for 35-40$ each - ouch! Oh well - seeing as we flew over for the show, we figured we pretty much had to get a shirt, so we picked one out and made our way into the grounds to see the show. The lawn section was on a large hill, which offered a great view of the stage. The problem with a large hill after a rainstorm is the muddy muddy mudslide it turns into. Our main pre-show entertainment was watching people spill their beers on themselves and the ground as they alternately fell up and down the hill.

The falling continued throughout the show, which was good in that it provided much-needed levity during the slow-and-ballady-and-not-good-for-a-giant-concert songs NIN interspersed between the really loud and screamy rockin' numbers. I've been waiting to see this guy live since I was 16 and not allowed to go to concerts - it's been a long time coming! The highlight of the show was the gorgeous sunset that turned everything flaming orange and burst pink for the last couple songs - Mr K and I joked that you know you and the band are getting old when you're watching "angry bands" play in the daylight. The last song of the set was "Hurt" and I can confidently say it was the worst encore I have ever seen in my life. It's a pretty emotional song until you hear it sung along with by thousands of drunken twenty and thirty-somethings.. then it's just kind of lame/funny.

Jane's Addiction played second and completely made up for our disappointment with NIN - they were amazing! We had another "you know they're getting old when" moment when the lead singer reached for his mug of hot tea after the first song. He self-consciously grabbed a wine bottle and chugged after that, but you know he preferred the hot tea. All joking aside, despite being 50 years old, he's one of the most charismatic, real "rockstar" kinds of performers I've ever seen. It's hard to describe, but the performance was just stellar. We were completely blown away even though we had to leave the show a little bit early - our next stop was 90 minutes away and we had to be there by midnight...

And that brings us to Part Three - come back soon!

* A note for non-Americans... "walking the mall" is an actual thing people do - they go to the local mall before it opens in their workout clothes and sneakers and they walk laps. It's mainly moms with strollers and older people. This is what happens when you have no sidewalks!


Anonymous said...

come on, we have sidewalks. yes, there are just people who make a habit of walking in malls ... not much different than people who'd rather run on treadmills instead of up real hills or do pilates on their wii instead of joining a class.

Miz K said...

There were next to no sidewalks where we lived - and where there were sidewalks, it didn't tend to be so very scenic... Also, if you have to drive to where there are sidewalks to go for a walk, that doesn't count. I have no problem with mall walkers - it's just something very unique to the US that I noticed while we were visiting. Now where can I find Wii pilates? Hee hee hee.

madlion said...

Wii Pilates: Does it exist?
There are tons of great Wii exercise games out there, but many Wii fans want to know where they can find Wii Pilates. The answer? Apparently not in the United States.

According to Pilates blogger PalmBeach, Nintendo released a Wii Fitness series that includes Konami’s Dokodemo Wii Pilates exclusively in Japan.

“It runs you through exercises from beginner to expert with a 3D “trainer” to show you how it’s done,” PalmBeach says of the game.

madlion said...


Miz K said...

Hmmm that one looks like it could be fun. I wonder if the graphics will look better when it comes out, though, or if that is as good as it gets. Excellent researching job!

Katie said...

bummer that NIN disappointed- but at least now you can say you saw him!!! looking fwd to part 3!!