Last Thursday found me (Amanda) excited, hopeful and in the famous words of Thumper, rather twitterpated as I excitedly sat in a chair at the nail salon in Tuscaloosa, getting a manicure with my friend Rachel, in preparation for my visit to see Luke that afternoon (and also in preparation for her surprise proposal the following evening! Little did she know of course…So here’s a quick shout out to my friend Rachel Childers and her new fiance Jeffrey! Wishing you both a lifetime of happiness.)
Anyway, back to the nail salon. As I sat there while the manicurist mumbled to himself in Chinese and halfheartedly filed my nails, I started to get those never-failing butterflies that always arrive on the day when I am headed to see my love. It amazes me that even after more than two years, I still get so blissfully excited to see him! Since my car had broken down the day before, I paid my brother to rush me to the airport in time for my 12:30 p.m. flight, and my excitement continued to build, even as I sped up the interstate with Ethan and his sweet new girlfriend, Ashley, trying to clear my head above his never-ending rap music that was pounding away about six decibels too loudly. We screeched to a halt in front of the American Airlines terminal, and I rushed inside to check in and find my gate. I walked up to the American counter and asked the
kind, patient, ever-willing to help elderly lady who was working at the counter to please check me in for the 12:37 p.m. flight to Houston. She looked at me calmly and said, “We ain’t got no more flights to Houston today. We have one to Dallas at 5 though.” She then popped her gum and stared at me. I said, “Ma’am there must be some confusion, as I am on that flight.” I knew that I had glanced at read the Expedia confirmation that Luke had forwarded me the night before, and make no mistake about it, I was on that flight. I was also scheduled to arrive in Oklahoma City by 5 p.m. so this lady must be incorrect. Since I am one of the last people in the population of this planet to not have a smart phone with Internet access, I asked the kind lady to please check again for me. She sighed three times and then did as I requested. It turns out that I was NOT in fact on the American Airlines flight at that time because I was actually booked on a UNITED flight..Oh boy, did I feel silly. The woman gave me a self-satisfied smirk as I walked away, quickly, toward the United kiosk. However, one small little embarrassment was not about to ruin my day! After all, I was headed to see the man of my dreams in just a couple of short hours!
I arrived in Houston with no delays and actually had an extremely productive flight. I read all about the mindset of the criminal underworld and the inner workings of the Mafia in preparation for my poli sci Human Rights class midterm. (I also got to read about fun torture methods such as waterboarding and the gruesome practices of Argentina, Chile and Uruguay during the Dirty Wars. Fun stuff). I was excited to see that the Houston airport has a Schlotzky’s inside, and I helped myself to a large sandwich while I waited at Gate B84D (yes, this gate did exist! I had never seen one with 2 letters before). My flight to OKC was on time as well, and the flight was quick with no turbulence, which was a nice change of pace for such a small plane. Luke, however, was delayed. He was supposed to get out at 3 p.m. along with all of the other guys in his BOLC class, but his platoon worked four hours late, so he was unable to come to pick me up in OKC. The costly airport shuttle ride up to Lawton was well worth it though, as my driver thought it his duty to compare religious beliefs, share relationship advice and generally chat with me about all topics under the sun for the entire ride to Fort Sill. It was quite entertaining at times, although I will confess that I called my best friend Jessica for about 20 minutes for a quick respite from the conversation. The driver dropped me off at the front of Luke’s apartment complex, and I FINALLY saw my guy for the first time in almost 5 weeks.
He was looking dashingly handsome in a blue and green plaid shirt that I had picked out for him this summer, and he grabbed me into a big, bear hug the second I got out of the taxi, making the entire waiting period since Labor Day and the long journey up to Oklahoma so incredibly worthwhile. We were both slightly nervous and just so excited to be with each other again! He took me to eat at one of the 10 million amazing Mexican restaurants in Lawton, and I honestly can’t even remember what I ordered for dinner, but I do remember that we had the best conversation. We both relaxed of course, and we had a great time. He even bought me a sopapilla for dessert! And of course, I forgot my camera for this trip, but luckily, Luke recently got an Android, so the few pictures that we have this time were taken on his phone. Surprisingly decent quality pictures too, although I certainly did miss my camera!
Waiting for our food, and Luke couldn’t wait to take this picture for his new phone background lol
On Friday, Luke had to work, so I tried to sleep in, but his apartment complex decided to host an all-morning fire drill with fire alarms continuously blaring around various buildings. So, I was up earlier than expected and tried to start studying for midterms again. I also did all of Luke’s laundry and cleaned his apartment to some extent with the limited cleaning supplies he had, so I felt like a very accomplished girlfriend. After the morning cleaning, Lindsey Oliver picked me up to meet our friend Rosa Stevens for lunch at this Thai place. I got the sweet and sour chicken (so original, right?) and it was pretty good. I had a great time catching up with them! Lindsey and I talked for a while when she dropped me back off at the apartment, and she is such an inspiration to me as a military wife. She always maintains a positive outlook and is just so much fun to be around!
Luke came home a little after lunch since all of his instructors were ready to get off for the holiday weekend, which was nice. We headed out for an early date night since he was starving! We ate at Rib Crib and then headed to the movies to see Looper, which we both liked more than we thought we would. It was very thought-provoking, and I thought the movie was well made. I made him take me by Sonic for a late-night limeade, and we promptly passed out around 1 a.m. which is late for the two of us these days!
On Saturday, we decided to head down to Oklahoma City to see the sights. First, we headed to the Stockyard Exchange, which is the largest live cattle auction in existence in America. Auctions are held every Monday and Tuesday, and it was interesting to see the town and read about some of the history.
OKC Stockyard Exchange
Awesome bull statue on the square across from Cattlemen’s Steakhouse
We had a great time wandering around the shops, and Luke got a new pair of jeans and a pullover in the Western store. I never knew how much money you can spend in one of those stores, but all of that cowboy bling adds up– belt buckles, boots, socks, dishes, everything! You could literally decorate your entire home with rustic picture frames, vases, pitchers and more from one of these stores. I just bought a little postcard to remember the city and add to my postcard collection, and while we were thinking about it, we ran to Hobby Lobby to buy an album for me to put all of my postcards in. This is adding to a tradition my mom started with my brother and I when we were young. We collect a postcard from every place we visit and then write details about the trip on the back. Collecting these in an album makes it fun to look back on years down the road.
After Hobby Lobby, we randomly stopped in this furniture store that was having a sale and quickly realized that we are going to be broke as a joke for the next few years as we begin our lives together. Furniture is seriously NOT cheap, y’all! We may have to settle for a couple of really nice pieces and make the most of yard sales, discount stores, and the graciousness of our respective families for a bit in the beginning. Haha it was fun to browse though!
After window shopping, we headed to Cattlemen’s Steakhouse back at the Stockyard Exchange for dinner. Cattlemen’s has seriously some of the best filet mignon that I have ever eaten. It was juicy, tender and delicious, even if their definition of medium rare is a bit more “red with a heartbeat and falling straight off the cow” than mine is. So, I avoided the middle and enjoyed my steak to the fullest. The entire meal was wonderful, right down to the salad and dinner rolls.
With full bellies, we decided to brave the cold and explore:
Hoping to walk off a bit of our dinner, we meandered for a few blocks around this area before making a beeline for our destination: Michael Murphy’s Dueling Piano Bar.
Exploring Bricktown (& Luke’s awesome photography skills)
We were really not prepared for the frigid weather this weekend! I definitely did not bring a warm enough jacket, but it did give me an excuse to cuddle up next to Luke for warmth ;]
I must say, Michael Murphy’s is one of the coolest places we have been to in a while. The “dueling piano bar” features two pianos facing one another and multiple musicians who will play any requested songs for tips. It turns out the dueling comes more from the musicians cracking jokes at members of the audience than from facing off against one another. We heard everything from “Jessie’s Girl” to “Bad Romance” by Lady Gaga to “Forever and Always.” The two bachelorettes in the building had special songs sung to them, and though the humor was a bit crude at times (as it was a comedy show), the establishment was pretty classy overall. I loved that there was no smoking inside! I also found their extensive martini menu to be pretty wonderful. (My new favorite drink is the Thin Mint ‘Tini– creme de menthe, Godiva chocolate vodka and cream). It tastes just like a Girl Scout cookie.
Totally grainy, discolored picture of Michael Murphy’s
Dueling piano bar– you get the picture.
That was a really fun night. Sunday morning consisted of Luke cooking me breakfast (yes, he is that wonderful!) and the two of us settling in to watch a very romantic…torture video…? Yes, you guessed it. More studying for my human rights midterm (which I took today, and did very well on!) So, we settled in and watched ‘Taxi to the Dark Side’ and he patiently waited for me to complete my assignment on the video. We got Taco Mayo for lunch (always a favorite) and then relaxed for the rest of the day. We watched TV, talked, laughed and had a great time. At some point during all of this, he was tickling my stomach, and I was laughing uncontrollably and for whatever reason I yelled, “Monkey! I mean…Uncle! Uncle, Monkey, whatever. Just stop.” So, he now calls me “Monkey.” Lol I think he is still laughing over this one. I am wondering if this nickname will stick…
We had a great weekend though, and I missed him the second I stepped into the airport yesterday morning. We have a 6.5 week countdown this time since I won’t see him until Thanksgiving Break, but the good news is that it is our next-to-the-last countdown for a very long time since he will be moving to Georgia at Christmas. So, I am determined to tackle this last hurdle of distance with a positive attitude, knowing that we are almost done paying our dues :]
43 days ❤