Well, so much has happened in the last couple of days, I don't really know where to begin. We made it up to Washington, PA without incident. We met my wife's friend (also named Michele, but with one "L") just before she got off work at Sears. Did I mention that she's a chatterbox, too? How did all of these women decide who would be talking at any given time, anyway?
After taking Aiden through a stroller ride through the entire mall, I got back just as Michele was getting off work. Somehow, four of us crammed into our car with all of our luggage and went to a nearby mall for dinner. We went to a Red Robin. I had never been to one of these restaurants before but have seen the TV commercials many times and have been intrigued. Pretty good food. Hamburgers are their specialty. (I'm amazed that there's only one location in all of Florida (Ft. Myers). I'm sure it'd be a huge draw in Gainesville.) As much as I wanted a cocktail, I held back since we were on the road. In retrospect, this was clearly the wrong move.
Once we got back to Michele's place, we hung out in her backyard and talked a bit, enjoying the nice evening air. Aiden took a little spill when he tipped over in the plastic garden chair in which he was sitting, but he was no worse for wear except for a few scrapes on one hand. Aiden did need a diaper change before we hit the road and continued on to NYC, though. My wife went to the car to fetch the diaper bag.
Upon her return, she nonchalantly said, "I don't want to alarm anyone, but I'm bleeding." This, coming from someone two months pregnant, is certainly impossible to ignore. (Where's that damn drink I wanted?) Both Michelles went into the house and I remained out back for a few minutes talking with Michele's mother, trying to act unalarmed. I'm sure I was doing a shitty job of this, though.
We then walked back to the house. My wife called her doctor for advice and she told her to go to an OB immediately to be checked out. At this late hour (it was now after dark), the only place an OB would be found would be the emergency room at Washington Regional Hospital, which we promptly visited. Despite a fairly empty waiting room, the wait was still excruciatingly long. The hours clicked by as we watched Olympic coverage on one TV while the audio from another airing an old episode of Letterman with Neil Young as a guest blared from over my shoulder.
I finally asked if I could go back where my wife was to see what was going on and was allowed admittance. As I approached her room, a nurse suggested to me that a miscarriage was imminent. Not good. I hung out for a few minutes and my wife seemed to be in pretty good spirits. I did head out to see if Michele, who was still back in the waiting room with our very sleepy son, wanted to go back as well. I grabbed Aiden and began going back to the room, but when I turned around, Michele had mysteriously disappeared. Odd. My wife wanted to see her son, though, so I proceeded back to her room. She reminded me that her bag with her purse was under the chair that she was sitting in in the waiting room, so I had to return there to take it out to the car. On the way back, I called our friend Lenny in New York City. Although it was about 1:30am by this time, Lenny was out playing in a pool league. I told him the dire news and that we were probably going to be heading straight home after this development. He said he felt really bad but wasn't sure what he could say. "Just kiss [your wife] Michelle for me and we'll see you soon," was his response. (This was indeed true since he would soon be visiting Gainesville later this fall when the Gators host the Steve Spurrier-led South Carolina Gamecocks in football.)
I found Michele (she had to use the restroom, she said) on the way back in and both of us proceeded back to my wife's room. She informed us that they were going to take her upstairs for an ultrasound. We followed her up there and Michelle and I waited in an empty room next door. The TV here was showing Batman & Robin, an apparently awful movie with Arnold Schwartzenegger playing "The Freeze." I had never seen this movie, but the 5 minutes I saw here were enough to convince me of its sheer suckitude. We switched the TV over to the Olympics and we talked music for a bit. A couple more hours slipped by while Aiden finally became a bit more content as he snoozed under a blanket draped over two armless chairs. Then, assistant Miguel (who was a former co-worker of Michele's at Sears) came over to tell us that everything was finished.
We met my wife in the hallway, who was holding a collection of 3 ultrasound images. It looked like the little bitty one was just fine after all! It was still about a size of a jumbo peanut and they were able to tell her that she was exactly 8 weeks and 4 days along. With that news, we were finally able to hit the road. NYC was still off the table. We're headed home!
Michele called her mother so she could come by and show us the way back to I-79 South (and for which I'm certainly thankful!). By the time we left the hospital, it was well after 4am. I continued to drive and we got an early morning meal at a 24-hour McDonald's in Morgantown, WV. (Thank heavens for college towns!) The food revived me a bit, so I continued to drive a bit longer (I insisted on driving the entire way home while Michelle rested.), but fatigue got the best of me and we all napped out for a couple hours at a rest stop.
We woke up and it was after dawn. After restroom trips to refresh ourselves, it was back on the road. Since we missed out on the scenic route up US 33 before, we decided to take this way now. A pretty ride with the exception on the scamming bastards at Seneca Caverns. These people had billboards up all over the road advertising a restaurant with great mountain views. We even had to drive over 3 miles off US 33 to get there. After all that, the place was closed and had been since January. All this to lure people to sift though running water for "precious gemstones" and take tours of their "caverns" that require a hardhat to be worn. At least the giftshop lady was nice enough to give us directions to the next closest restaurant, where we enjoyed a nice breakfast.
After that, it was back on the road, rolling through Richmond and down near North Carolina. After being up almost all though the night before, all I wanted was dinner and a long-ass sleep in a king size bed. We saw a Budget Inn near McKenney, NC, but this was one of the most worn-down squattervilles we've ever seen in our lives. Truly frightening. We pressed on.
Finally, in South Hill, we found a Day's Inn with all the amenities. We stopped there at 6pm. King bed. Pool (Aiden and I tried it. Not heated. Frigid.). Denny's on premises for breakfast. We had dinner at a nearby buffet. Good stuff. Sleep. 'nuff said.