Please don’t throw virtual tomatoes at me as I begin to write. Throughout the day I thought that might be the response I would get after Sidney’s blog post from yesterday. The message sent was strong…from website statistics to social media reaction to the texts that Sidney and I received, it seemed like you all really enjoyed reading what she had to say. So naturally I feared that my return to Don’t Blink might spark some disappointment from readers. Don’t worry, you haven’t “read” the last of her.
From my personal viewpoint, I thought Sidney did a wonderful job with her guest blog post. Keep in mind that this says a lot coming from me considering about half of it poked fun at my quirks and obsessions. She wrote a piece that was informative while also cute. It had a great deal of voice and honesty. She formatted it well as she understood that bloggers can hold attention longer by breaking up text in other ways besides paragraph breaks (she utilized a couple of lists with two items each). It all worked very well.
As Sidney’s blog post yielded about double the amount of traffic my typical Sunday post does, I will be inviting her back to write a Don’t Blink entry on a monthly basis. Don’t think this didn’t take some convincing, however. After Sidney finished her debut post, she pretty much wanted to hang up the keyboard right then. Maintaining a blog, even if it entails just writing once a month, takes time and energy. She had no idea that it would take her three hours to compose the “Peaks and Pits of Dating a Blogger.” But I think the reaction she received once her writing was published let her know that the toil is worth it.
With Sidney taking care of yesterday’s blog post, it allowed me to experience a weekend without worrying about a Sunday topic. Because of this luxury, I got to enjoy our mini getaway a little more.
Late Saturday morning after I finished working the Coastal Carolina summer commencement, Sidney and I hit the road for Atlanta. We arrived in town just shy of 5 p.m. After checking into our hotel we walked to the Marta station (Atlanta’s Subway system). In a stroke of luck, the train that picked us up happened to have all of Sidney’s family aboard. Yes, we made the trip to hang with them but we had no idea that we would meet up with them before we got to the ballpark. With the nine of us huddled together (Sidney, myself, Sidney’s parents, Sidney’s two sisters, Sidney’s brother-in-law, Sidney’s niece and nephew) we rode to the transfer station. From there we hopped on a shuttle bus that drove us to Turner Field.
We had wonderful seats all in a single row on the third baseline. The Braves hosted the Marlins on an evening devoted to the 1995 World Series team. Before the first pitch there was a softball game where many of the players from that championship team took part in. It was really cool to see baseball legends such as Greg Maddux, Chipper Jones, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz mix it up. As for the actual game it was nice and relaxing. Because it was a night game, Sidney and I didn’t melt as much as we did last year. We ate ballpark food and drank beer as we enjoyed a Braves victory on a beautiful evening.
The next morning we met Sidney’s family at the Georgia Aquarium. We got right in and started looking at the aquatic life. I found this aquarium to be much different than the National Aquarium we visited in Baltimore last year. Both places were very nice, they just have completely different offerings. The major highlight I think for us all was watching the dolphin show. My personal highlight was the albino alligator exhibit. It was really cool to see two completely white alligators roaming around, something that would never occur in the wild.
After the aquarium it was time for lunch. The Mathis family has a very deep love for the Cheesecake Factory. Eating at that restaurant was one of the major events on the vacation itinerary. We went to the location and experienced great disappointment when we were told it would be a two hour wait. There would be no denying Sidney’s family, however. It just so happens that Atlanta has TWO Cheesecake Factory restaurants. We drove to another part of Atlanta where the second location was and got right in. We sat on the outdoor patio and enjoyed a fabulous meal. I had the spicy cashew chicken, the best dish I had ever had at a Cheesecake Factory before. Afterwards we all ordered our own slices of cheesecake (which we shared). I opted for the banana cream selection.
With leftover boxes and extremely full bellies, Sid and I had to say goodbye to her family. We needed to get back to Myrtle Beach while the family was staying through Monday morning. The drive back didn’t seem as long as the drive there, I think the thrill of tracking how well Sidney’s blog post was doing might have had something to do with that. We arrived back at the Beach by 10 p.m. Thanks so much to Sidney’s family for letting us (I really just mean me) crash the middle part of their vacation. Both Sid and I had a wonderful time! Don’t Blink.