Saturday, February 18, 2012

Northern VA Blogshoot/Meet Thing

Alternate title A: Hide and Seek

Alternate title B: Marco Polo

Alternate title C: Chinese Fire Drill

Alternate title D: CTone and Andy are my heroes.

The Miller (alternate title: “My buddy the gun enthusiast”) organized a northern VA get-together. Living 80 or so miles away, I knew there was no way in this lifetime (or any other) that I was going to make it to the range by 7:30. I didn’t even bother to bring my range bag, and considering that those who showed up at 7:40 had a 20 minute wait, that was a wise decision. So, Sweet Daughter and I hit the road about 9:00 and headed north by northwest. I had the address programmed into my Garmin, and having been hosed by that stubborn little device before, had also printed out directions from MapQuest. Things were looking good.

We were within 2 mile of NRA headquarters (with SD reading off the directions for me) and it was looking promising. That’s when I made my first mistake. Garmin told me to do something different, and I believed the stupid computer instead of the printout and map I’d confirmed with my own eyes. The next thing I knew, we were on a major highway, with HQ flashing past at 60 mph on our right, Garmin telling me we’d reached our destination, and me protesting “But we can’t get there from here!!”
So, I got off the highway and had the brilliant idea to tell the stupid computer to take us to our lunch destination (that I had carefully programmed in after confirming the map on The Miller’s post to the map from the corporate web site to make sure I was going to the right place). I figured I could find HQ from there. That worked after a fashion and we arrived at NRA HQ. We headed down to the range to see if we recognized anybody. Nope.
Up to the museum. Ditto.
Into the gift shop and back out. Three for three.
Things were looking bleak, but I had an ace in the hole! I had CTone’s phone number from a previous range trip! I called, he answered, and we figured I must have walked into the gift shop about 17 seconds after they had all left. He was on his way home, but the rest of the gang was headed to lunch. Great! I could catch up with them there. SD and I hopped in the car and headed down the road. Less than a mile to our destination of Ruby Tuesdays, and the Garmin and the printed directions matched. What could go wrong?
Except that when we arrived at our destination, there was no Ruby Tuesday. We circled the parking lot. We drove behind buildings. I asked someone on the sidewalk if they knew where it was, and they told me it was no longer Ruby Tuesday, but was called something else, now. I called CTone back and left a message describing our plight and asking if he had anyone’s phone number so I could figure out at what point I’d jumped into this parallel universe. SD and I found a McDonalds, and we bought drinks and I pulled out my laptop thinking that I might be able to figure something out when CTone called me back and gave me Andy’s number. I called Andy and left a message explaining that there was no Ruby Tuesday. He called back and explained that they’d decided to go somewhere else anyway, and that they were done eating, but that they’d be happy to meet us somewhere for dessert and coffee while we had lunch. Since I had no idea where anything was, and was NOT about to put my fate into the hands of the Garmin again, we decided to meet back at NRA HQ. I could find that!
At this point, SD pretty much said she needed something to eat before she died on the spot. We grabbed some chicken nuggets and headed out the door. I figured if I told her to hang on as we’d been eating in a few minutes, we’d get misdirected and end up in West Virginia or something. So, we made it back to HQ. I saw Andy and The Miller (I’d met them before) and got to meet MSgtB. Who works in the same small town that I do. (WHAT are the odds?) A new eating establishment was selected and I stated in no uncertain terms that I was FOLLOWING somebody.
And we arrived. And had lunch, and coffee and pie. And I got to meet a handful of new people who I want to thank very, very much for taking another hour or so out of their day so come hang out. It was a pleasure to see The Miller and Andy again, and to meet new folks. And SD learned some valuable lessons.
1.       Have a plan. (Garmin)
2.       Have a back-up plan. (Printed directions)
3.       Have plan C. (Fine. We’ll just meet for lunch.)
4.       Explain that it’s okay to be frustrated, or upset as long as you react appropriately. Yelling doesn’t help. Cursing an inanimate object doesn’t help. Put it in perspective. (It’s not like we’re going to run out of gas in the middle of nowhere, or starve to death.)
5.       Try to think of another solution. (Hey! I have CTone’s number!)
6.       Sometimes you just have to make it up as you go along, so be flexible.
7.       And luckily it didn’t happen today, but sometimes, no matter how well you plan and prepare, you’re just going to get hosed. So you deal with it and move on.
8.       Which just reinforces that you should carry your gun. Because there are days when the universe hates you, and it just might make the difference as to whether you’re the windshield or the bug.


  1. You forgot # 9... NEVER eat at a mcdonalds!

  2. It was so great seeing you and the Awesome Offspring again!

  3. I'm always right where I planned to be... 'cause as a man, I'm too stubborn/dumb to admit otherwise... glad you folks all got together in the end...

    Dann in Ohio

  4. It was neat to finally meet you!

    I hope we do it again soon.

  5. Glad y'all FINALLY found each other! And don't feel bad, I live in the area, and I STILL miss the exit on occasion! :-)

  6. John: Even SD prefers other options, but she's not (yet, thank goodness!) a diva.

    Miller: Good to see you, too! I hope one of those leather options works for you. That hydrophane is about 30 years old, you may want to upgrade. :-)

    MSgt B: Good to meet you, too! I put your card in, um, a really safe place, so you'll have to start the game of e-mail tag.

    Old NFO: I grew up *just* up the road from there between Vienna and Tyson's. We used to go fly kites in the Hecht's parking lot on Sundays because they were closed. Moved away in '78. Was back in Alexandria for a few years in the '90's. Moved again. I keep thinking they can't cram any more people in there, and I keep being wrong.

  7. Nancy, I'm so very sorry for the trouble.

    The next time we do need to make sure phone numbers are exchanged ahead of time. Actually, this is probably where using Twitter as a broadcast mechanism would work.

    Since a good many people are down your way, we should think of an OC lunch or something... perhaps in conjunction with one of those gun shows in Fredericksburg. My daughter sooooo wants to go to a gun show. She and SD are about the same age.

  8. So bummed I missed meeting you and the gang.

    Sounds like a fun adventure you had!

  9. Oh what a fun group you would all have been to join in with. Once the knee is more mobile I'll try and get out that way. I've promised Old NFO and Murphey's Law a shoot this year.

  10. Brigid - give me a yell at when you get a chance ...

    Nancy R.

  11. Nancy, I'm glad you found the rest of the gang, and I'm sorry I missed out! We seriously had to have missed you by 17 seconds or less.

    I'm down for the gun show idea, either in Fredericksburg or anywhere, or any other blog meetup. These are always a good time.

  12. It was very nice meeting you and your darling daughter. I hope we can do it again soon.