It was a pretty crazy week followed by an action-packed weekend hence this Life Last Week post finally going up on Wednesday! Vic had been gone for seven weeks so the anticipation level for his return last Friday was through the ceiling. I love the final countdown week. That being said, there were quite a few things to do and some meetings and appointments to get through. It certainly made the time fly by.
Tuesday evening I took the Family Readiness Group (FRG) training with the spouse who will be our new FRG President. I don't really want to hold an office but I know the importance of an FRG when a ship is deployed so I am planning to help out in some capacity. It's been a number of years since I've been involved with an FRG so I thought I'd better take the training to make sure I'm up to speed with any new rules and regulations. It was a fun class - a small group so there was a great question and answer session which is a great way to learn. The facilitator turned out to be from Manchester, England so it was lovely to chat with her after the training was over. On Wednesday was the COMPASS session for May. Of the three days, Wednesday was the only day I was able to make it and I scooted out early because I'd been running around all day and poor MudLynn was at home, patiently waiting for her dinner.
Up early on Thursday to clean like a demon. Seven weeks of a just a cursory whiz over with the vacuum caught up with me and it was quite a job but I got everything looking spic and span and then headed out to get my hair cut and my nails done. Time to look glam for my darling. I couldn't sleep at all Thursday night - I have a marine app on my phone and I kept checking it every so often to watch the ship's progress. I had planned to go out to a local landmark to see it pass by with a friend but she has three small children and just couldn't corral them all in time for us to make it. Never mind, I put the time to good use finishing the packing for our weekend away and spent far too much time on the spouses' page on Facebook and got quite caught up in the excitement of the ship's return as everyone kept posting pictures from wherever they were watching it pass by on its way to the pier. I couldn't stand it any longer so I packed up the car, dropped MudLynn at the kennels, filled the car with gas, and headed to the base. Just as I was turning into the parking lot, Vic called to say he would be off soon so I told him that I was already there and that he'd better hurry! It was lovely to see the reunions, little ones running into Daddy's arms, and hugs from Moms for their sailor daughters. There were people everywhere - it's a huge ship and in between the sailors disembarking and the family members waiting to greet them, it was quite a crush. I spotted Vic and got out of the car to give him a big hug and welcome home kiss. We loaded up his bags, made a stop at Starbucks for a drink for the road, and headed out of town.
Vic didn't know where we were going until we were almost there - Leavenworth, the Bavarian-style town in the Wenatchee Valley (see Letter L is for Leavenworth here and Letter W is for Wenatchee here from the A to Z Challenge). It was Maifest weekend in Leavenworth and I had booked a hotel right in town. Maifest is a German tradition dating back to the 10th century when villagers would gather to celebrate the arrival of spring by planting flowers, playing music and games, and raising a "maipole" in the local square. The pole would be decorated with sausages, cakes, flowers, and ribbons, and villagers believed that dancing around it would bring good luck and wealth to the village. We headed out to stroll around town, had Mexican food for dinner (yes, we drove three hours to the Bavarian town to eat Mexican food!), and then wandered back to the hotel. Saturday we enjoyed the festivities - Bavarian march, Maipole, dancing, Bernese Mountain dogs, men in lederhosen - had Mongolian barbecue for lunch, strolled through the shops, went back to the hotel for an afternoon nap, and headed out again in the evening for...at last...German food. We packed up Sunday morning and headed for home so that we could pick up MudLynn and spend a little time at home before we headed out again to go to a Life Celebration for an officer who retired from the ship recently but sadly passed away from a heart attack before he could even begin to enjoy his retirement.
Here are a few photos from our weekend:
|Our hotel - right across the road from the area where the festivities were held|
|The Bavarian decor even extended to the elevator doors|
|Balcony suite with fireplace|
|One of the carriages in the Festzug - the Bavarian March|
|Bernese Mountain Dogs|
|Enzian Schuhplattler - one of the dance groups|
|Can't believe I captured this shot!|
|The Maipole Dance|
|Unbelievable dance precision in winding the ribbons around the pole and then dancing in reverse to unwind them|
|The banners of the dance groups|