So I left for Atlanta a couple days before Topher did, just so I can spend some alone time with my best friend Sarah (aka Bailes). It was great to do some catching up as well as see what she does in Atlanta. It has been since May since I’ve seen her, and on top of that she has two new cute little kitties! The day before Topher was to get into town, I helped Sarah babysit a dozen kids ages 2-4. Only thing I’m going to say about that was that it was the LONGEST 3 hours of my life! After that we went to the highschool where she works and babysat a football team =). One thing it helped me decide was that I will never work at the highschool level! For dinner we met up with her friends and the two girls I went to UVa (and worked at VMI) with who are now located in Atlanta. It was so great to catch up with all of them and find out what has been happening in our lives since we’ve last seen each other a year ago.
Topher flew in early the next morning and we rested up before having lunch with Ray Bear who is the strength coach for the Thrashers, the NHL team in Atlanta. Now Topher is a huge hockey fan, and he was lucky that I had worked with the Thrashers a year and a half ago. Ray Bear was kind enough to get us tickets to the game as well as a pregame tour of Philips Arena, training room and the locker room. Not only that, Ray Bear used his connections to get into the Georgia Aquarium for free! The Georgia Aquarium is the largest in the world, and it was wonderful to stroll around and stare at the huge Whale Sharks lazily swimming above and around us. We saw huge groupers that totally reminded me of Topher, which he adamantly denied until I showed him this candid picture that a Quakes Booster had taken of him during a signing session. Then he had to laughingly admit that I was right, you guys decide for yourself!
We then strolled around Centennial Park (built during the 1996 Olympics), and lazed about on a park bench next to the Olympic Rings fountain. We wandered around this sculpture that was apparently supposed to still have remnants of the bombing, but alas we couldn’t find any. Ray Bear was kind enough to leave us 4 tickets, and since my friends couldn’t make it out, we decided to play Santa and surprise two people with 90 dollar tickets. Our goal was to find a father taking his young son to a game, but even better, we found this hardcore Thrashers dad who was taking his young 6 or 7 year old daughter to the game! He was decked out in Thrashers gear, and she was wearing an oversized jersey, hat and Thrashers stickers on her face. Needless to say, his expression was priceless, and I feel like we made the right choice.
The Flame Spouting Thrashers was a fav of mine!
We had a fabulous time at the game, even if the Thrashers couldn’t pull out a win versus the Capitols, but it was great to learn hockey from Topher from great seats and soak in the Philips Arena atmosphere. After the game, we went and watched Paranormal Activity with Sarah, which was scary enough that that night we all slept in a puppy pile in the living room! Sarah’s kittens were so feisty throughout the night and apparently had clawed Topher’s back so deep that he thought a claw was still stuck in it (couldn’t even find a mark). I woke up to the sounds of one of the kittens standing on Topher’s chest and batting him on the cheek and nose, to ensure the sleeping giant was indeed dead, and proceeded to curl up on his chest to nap. It made me fall in love with Toper all over again =) Aww.
That morning we took a train from Atlanta to Birmingham where we picked up a rental car (since we were flying out of Birmingham). Now I’ve never really travelled on a train in the States before, but I gotta tell you, it was an experience I’d def do again. We got to take a nice nap, and enjoy the scenery as it ambled by. There were also outlets for us to plug in our laptops (or a curling iron!) so we were able to watch episodes of Top Chef and Dexter. Finally we picked up our Rental Car and made our way down to Alabama! I’m going to post my Alabama post in a different installment just to break up the post, so stay tuned!