Yesterday was one of those days.  You know, the type of day where you just have to buckle down and do something that isn't so fun, but is necessary.  For me, the something that had to be done was to work in the property we own and rent out.  The house is in between tenants and it needed some painting and cleaning and a few little other touch-ups.  Now, that might not seem like too big of a deal, but the house we own is in Charlotte, NC (4.5 hours away) where we used to live! Normally, I would have gone down in the morning, worked all day, crashed on a friend's couch, and headed home the next day.  This weekend, however, Sarah was on call for a client, so I couldn't be gone overnight in case her client went into labor!  Our kids are pretty independent, but since they're 5 and 3, we're not too comfortable leaving them on their own overnight.  Maybe next year.

At any rate, my day was to include 9+ hours of driving and 9 hours of labor, so I got out the door at about 5:30AM.  The trip down was pleasant and I enjoyed a good cup of coffee and a breakfast sandwich as I drove.  I played my favorite road-trip game of hitting scan on the radio and seeing if I can name the song before it switches to the next station.  I have some strange ability to remember song lyrics and since I love all genres of music, I can pretty much tear anyone up in that game -try me sometime, I dare you!  Since most of my road trips now include Sarah and our kids, I don't get to play too often, so I truly enjoyed playing by myself.

My time in Charlotte went well and the house looks great...now we just need some renters (that's a story for another day).  charlotte trip-04I painted, scrubbed, and painted some more.  I also listened to a lot of NPR while I worked.  I don't do that much anymore, either, but I really enjoy their in-depth stories on things I never even knew existed.  I took pictures of the house and caught up with our great neighbors.  I hopped back in the car and headed for home, tired and hungry at about 7:00pm.

The trip home was going well.  I caught up on the phone with my brother (even though I missed a turn while we chatted), I talked with Sarah and heard about her day with the girls, and I sang Michael Jackson, Elton John, and Mariah Carey songs at the top of my lungs.  But then I felt the need for some coffee.

If you've never traveled between Charlotte and Charlottesville, let me tell you...it is BORING.  There's not much in between.  I finally found a McDonald's and decided their coffee would do.  I'm kind of a coffee snob, but you gotta do what you gotta do.  The line inside was crazy long and wasn't moving, so I hopped back in the car and kept going.  A few miles later, I found another McDonald's.  They were out of coffee!  Unbelievable!  Hardee's was there too, but I was scared to try their coffee.

It was getting late and I was getting bored.  So I did what anyone else would do to keep themselves awake...I took out my camera!  I decided that since it was taking me forever to get home, I might as well have some fun.

First stop, the Piggly Wiggly!  I always think of Driving Ms. Daisy whenever I see one of these stores.  Love that movie!

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I kept my camera out and took a few shots while I was driving to make life interesting.  I figured it was good practice.  If I can take some decent shots while I'm driving in the dark, surely I can take even better pictures when I can see what I'm doing!  Warning: Don't try this at home.

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Self portrait.  I look great, don't I?  Lighting is courtesy of the map light in the ceiling of the car.

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Finally, the road started looking like this below.  I knew I needed coffee, and fast.

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Thankfully, I found a Sheetz in Lynchburg and knew that their coffee was mostly safe.  I hopped in and grabbed my cup!

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Fueled up, I was ready to finish my trip.  I also knew that I was going to be going through one of the worst parts of the trip where lots of deer like to hop out into the road and it was nearly midnight!  But I was up for the challenge.  Sarah called one last time to tell me she was off to bed and to remind me to watch for deer.  If my life was a movie, that certainly would have been some foreshadowing!

At any rate, you can probably guess what happened next.  You're right!  I heard "Beat It" on the radio again!  It was great, I love that song.  No really, I did hit a deer.  I was literally 10 miles from home.  Right outside of Charlottesville.  I promise, my camera was not out.  The picture of my coffee was the last one I took.  I was being cautious.  It was surreal.

I was the only car on the pitch-black road.  I had seen beady eyes on the side of the road along the way, and had even slowed a few times to let some deer cross the road in front of me.  But I was on a highway and I was generally traveling about 60 mph.  Finally, out of nowhere, I see the front of a deer in full sprint crossing into my lane from the left.  I hit the brakes, and BAM!  As quickly as it appeared from the darkness, it's lifeless body slid back across the lane and disappeared into the darkness.  I pulled to the side of the road, stopped, and stepped out into the silent black.

I couldn't see the deer across the street at all because it was so dark.  I checked the front of the car and I couldn't find any damage.  Strange.  I climbed back in the car and headed for home, driving extremely slow, and thanking God for keeping me safe.  I knew how fortunate I was to have not experienced a worse accident.  I then realized that my left headlight was a little lower than the right, so I found a gas station and this is what I saw.

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It's a pretty big dent and I'm not sure what will have to be done to fix it, but like I said, I am so thankful it was not worse!  So yeah, yesterday was one of those days.

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