Hey what’s up everybody? Greetings from Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC. In the past 4 days (or 96 hours) I’ve gone from Atlanta to here to Virginia to New Jersey back down to Virginia and then back here again. I’m currently in the airport waiting for my flight back to Atlanta so I figured that I might as well break out the old laptop and type a little while I wait.
If you’ve never been to this airport, it’s actually pretty nice. It’s relatively small but packed with amenities like this giant business area that I’m sitting in right now. There are at least 50 stations to dock your laptop or tablet in so it’s pretty nice. The only thing that’s REALLY ANNOYING IS WHEN PEOPLE STARE OVER YOUR SHOULDER READING YOUR SCREEN LIKE THIS GUY STANDING NEXT TO ME IN THE BLUE SHORTS AND YELLO…okay, he’s gone now lol anyway, yeah, the last 4 days for me have been pretty crazy so I figured that I’d tell you all about it in today’s post. So without further ado, here are a few highlights from the past 96 hours in the life and times of yours truly…
Preparing for takeoff
So the plan was to fly to Washington, DC from my home in Atlanta to spend a few days with my brother and his family who live in North Virginia (did you follow all of that?). There would also be a 24-hour side trip to New Jersey for a few events during that time as well.
The trip almost got off to a bad start since I mistakenly memorized the arrival time as the departure time. So I still hadn’t started packing by noon when I finally realized that my flight actually took off at 3:30! I hadn’t even laid out my outfits yet but since I live about an hour from the airport, there was no time to be picky so I just reached into my closet and started throwing shirts and pants into my suitcase. I also grabbed a suit for the event (more about that later) and some workout clothes then I rushed out to start my Uber journey.
Thankfully I made it on time so by 3pm I was already in position to participate in the Southwest Airlines version of The Hunger Games! If you’ve never flown Southwest, you don’t pick your seat in advance. Instead, they group you in pairings based on how early you booked the flight and then you have the choice to sit anywhere you’d like.
Despite being near the end of the boarding list, I still got a window view near the center of the plane with no one in the middle seat just as I wanted so everything was off to a great start! Unfortunately the airline staff was really friendly and nobody dragged me off of the plane so there won’t be any multi-million dollar lawsuits for me. Nothing happened on the flight back either so it looks like I’ll have to return to work this week after all. Bummer.
Actually, nothing really exciting happened during the 2-hour flight so we can just skip ahead. But before we do, I must ask this first. Do any of you reading this not know how to buckle a seatbelt? Actually does anyone above the age of 3 not know how? Seriously, I know that they’re legally obligated to explain this on flights but aside from their lawyers, who is this announcement really for? Have any of you been on a flight and witnessed someone desperately fumbling to buckle themselves in before intently watching the flight attendant demonstrate it for them. Like “OMG Thank you”! Perhaps next time I should ask them to repeat the directions just so they feel needed?
Like I said though, it’s obviously just to prevent lawsuits because you know that if they didn’t, some idiot would leave theirs unbuckled and then “bump their head” or something for an easy payday…says the guy who wanted to get beaten up and dragged off the plane lol but hey, at least I was just kidding! This is the sad but true reality for many others. That’s why coffee cups actually have to have the words “Hot” printed on them ever since that moron sued McDonald’s back in the 90s for spilling coffee on herself while driving. She bought a cup of hot coffee, what did she expect to come out of it, a spring loaded fake snake like in those prank peanut cans? Of course it’s hot you idiot lol. Anyway, I digress, let’s move on.
So we landed safely but nobody clapped like they did on my last flight. It’s kind of funny when people do that but I get it, the guy just landed a huge vehicle without crashing and on-time so that’s a big deal. It’s like cheating death so I can dig that, clap away if that’s your thing. Don’t let my Jersey sarcasm dull your shine lol I love your enthusiasm.
I do find it funny when people clap at the end of a movie though. It’s not like the actors are going to suddenly burst through the screen like the Kool Aid Man and take a bow or something but again, I love the enthusiasm…and even I have participated in both activities before. I clapped at the end of The Dark Knight and I also clapped at the end of the my 10 hour flight from Rome since I was in a middle seat the entire time and could no longer feel my legs. Aside from that, my enthusiastic clapping has usually been reserved for live performances and sporting events…and when I was being potty trained as I excitedly pointed to the toilet to show everyone what I did. Although I suppose that would technically count as a live performance too…
I do like celebrating the small things in life though and that was a great feeling being cheered on for “going boom boom” in the toilet. Perhaps I should design a toilet that gives a round of applause each time you flush it? Or does this exist already? Okay, this is getting weird and I didn’t even get out of the airport with this story yet so let’s move on again shall we?
So my bags made it as well which is great because I always fear that my suitcase will either not make it and I’ll end up wasting hours at the airport tracking it down and buying new clothes or that my bag would have burst open and my underwear and personal items will be end up circling the baggage claim conveyor belt for all the world to see.
I made my way outside and after helping some random old lady book an Uber (is that the new era version of helping an old lady cross the street?) my brother, Dwayne, arrived. I hadn’t seen him since Christmas so it was great to catch up and even better, we were headed to watch my older nephew play baseball which I don’t get to see very often since I live so far away.
I laughed as he complained about Washington, DC and northern Virginia traffic since Atlanta traffic is absolutely miserable too. At least he doesn’t have overpasses falling down. Atlanta roads are like an apocalyptic video game or something. One highway has a sinkhole, the other has a falling bridge, another had an exploding gas line. Geez, there are literally detours around detours. No wonder they film The Walking Dead here… navigating these streets will literally suck the life out of you. The Driving Dead should be the spin-off where they just show an hours worth of pissed off commuter faces and road rage incidents.
Oh yeah, and speaking of “navigating”, shoutout to my brother for using the Australian voice for his default GPS vocal setting. I have several friends from there so it was comforting. It was like asking my friend Ronda for directions or something. Aussie! Aussie!! Aussie!!! Oi! Oi!! Oi!!!
Anyway, we made it to my nephew DJ’s varsity high school baseball game for the Mount Vernon Majors halfway through the first inning. Here are a few photos of him during the game.
Man this kid is growing up fast. We literally wear the same clothes (actually, many of this clothes are too big for me already) now which is crazy since it wasn’t long ago that we were applauding his potty training too!
Peppa Pig and Dom Cena
Once we got back to my brother’s house, we met up with my sister-in-law Bobbi and my little nephew Domonick who nearly lost his mind when I appeared at the door since he had no idea I’d be coming. I spent the rest of day 1 watching Peppa Pig and Bubble Guppies, WWE wrestling, getting ridden around the house like a horse and taking several shots to the groin from a plastic golf club. Man that kid has a lot of energy!
He finally went to bed around 9 so we changed the channel to ESPN. I secrely would like to know what happened to Peppa Pig’s younger brother George though. Since I missed the end of the episode, I truly hope that he got over his cold…
Keeping it 100
Day 2 started with us all waking up extra early to start our respective days. My sister-in-law had to go to work, the boys had to go to school and my brother and I were taking a road trip to New Jersey. But before we all went our separate ways, we gathered in front of the iPad to record a special birthday message for my grandaunt who turned 100 last week! WOW, we should have gotten her on The Today Show, I think they always give shoutouts for historic birthdays like that. Man, she was born in April 1917 – can you imagine all of the things that she’s seen? Geez, from the first car to cars that park themselves. What an incredible achievement – I hope to even see half of that lifespan lol.
Anyway, I led a 50-cent inspired “Go Annie, it’s your birthday” cheer for her video. I heard that she had a great time at her party. Here’s to many more!
There’s No Place Like Home
After the video, it was time for my brother and I to drive up to our alma mater, Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. My brother was the featured speaker for the Army ROTC Military Ball that night so I was one of his guests/props (more on that later) along with my niece, LaNaya, who’s a current student there.
Although I now reside in Atlanta (at least for the time being…), I was raised in New Jersey so even though it would only be for approximately 24 hours, I was excited to return to The Garden State… especially to Rutgers! If you’re a regular reader, you may have read my post where I went to explore the town of Jersey, Georgia (if you missed that one, click here to check it out). Well check it out! There’s also a Georgia, Jersey! I didn’t have time to stop this time, but I’ll definitely take a trip there next time I’m in the area! Maybe all of the doppelgangers of the people I met in Jersey, GA reside there!
Once we got to New Brunswick we picked up LaNaya from her dorm and the 3 of us headed over to RU Hungry (one of the main restaurants that I’ve authorized to officially sell my namesake ®Fat Darrell Sandwich) so that I could pay the staff a visit and eat lunch there. Here’s a photo of me eating with Dwayne and LaNaya…
And here’s a photo of me eating “by myself…”
The owner asked me to return later that night for a full photo shoot with their marketing director to use on their website so I agreed to drop by after the ball.
After posing for a few photos with some of the patrons (it was great meeting you all, make sure to tag me in the photos or post them on the Fat Darrell social media pages!) we made our way over to the ROTC building where we were supposed to meet up with the Lieutenant Colonel and one of the cadets for a 3 hour tour…a 3 hour tour (©Gilligan’s Island lol). Since it was such a busy day with the military ball later that night, those plans changed however, so that gave us a little more time to explore the campus on our own for a few hours before we’d need to get changed.
We first took a stroll up College Avenue and dropped by a few outdoor festivals that were running that day. We also popped into the student center and the gym to check out the changes to the facility and to talk to a few of the current athletes. On the way out we were also greeted by this guy! Here are a few photos of the official Rutgers mascot along with the unofficial Rutgers mascot (me) lol…
And finally, since we were so close to The School of Communications and Information which was one of the main buildings that I attended as a Journalism and Mass Media Major, I dropped by to visit Jonathan Potter, the current Dean of Communications at Rutgers. I had the privilege of meeting him in Atlanta at CNN World Headquarters at a VIP alumni event held there last fall so I promised him that I’d drop by to visit the next time that I was in town. I felt bad for pulling him out of his meeting but it was really nice of him to do so. He even gave my brother a few tips for his keynote speech later that night. Hopefully he didn’t see me taking this dignified photo in front of the sign earlier…
By this point it really was time to get ready so we checked into the bougie hotel that was reserved for us. It’s called The Heldrich Hotel and Conference Center and I definitely recommend staying there if you’re in the area. It was really nice and is literally in the heart of New Brunswick directly across from The State Theater. Check out the view!
Oh yeah, you see that building on the right? The George Street Playhouse? I once took acting classes there and had to recite romantic lines to deliver to this woman who had a full mustache and who’s breath smelled like hot Cheetos. Now THAT is acting…
Anyway, we got ready and headed over to The Imperia in Somerset, NJ which was up the street from my very first apartment. I couldn’t find a tuxedo that I liked in time so yes, that is the suit that I wore to the Georgia Entertainment Gala (if you missed that post click here) but this time I added a vest, matching shoes and changed the shirt and tie combination. I would have worn my obnoxious glowing bowtie again but I decided not to embarrass my brother and niece!
The event was great! Since I come from a proud military family, it was an honor to have been invited. The place was immaculate and the food was incredible. The girls serving the Hors d’Oeuvres soon figured out that they should just walk directly to me once they came out because I never said no. “Crab cake sir?” Yep! “Beef Wellington sir?” Yep! My niece and I were also the first to discover the ice cream station at the end too lol good times.
Speaking of tables, this was a moving tribute to represent fallen or captured soldiers. Since this post is already running long, I’ll breakdown what each item represents another time but the empty table is already a powerful image.
As for how I was a prop? Well, my brother is a retired Lietenant Colonel who taught Army ROTC at Rutgers during my final year at the college. Since we look so much alike, it was always funny when cadets would run up and salute me or just drop down and start doing push-ups. Infact, it happened again that night a few people were offended that my brother didn’t remember meeting them earlier when Infact they had met me!
Anyway, my brother gave a great speech recalling his experiences and guidance for the career path of the cadets. Of course, during his speech he gave an overview of Rutgers history which included commentary about The ®Fat Darrell Sandwich. That’s when he revealed his “prop” and introduced me as the creator which caused a huge reaction and a long round of applause. It was much appreciated and I enjoyed posing for photos but trust me, in that room I was definitely not a hero for making a sandwich! Those were real heroes in that room who serve our country and protect our freedoms so again, I was honored just to be in the building! Congratulations again to Rutgers Army ROTC for putting on a great event and for all that you do for our nation.
After the event was over, we headed back to RU Hungry so that I could take those photos for their website. Since it was on the way to drop my niece off at her apartment, we didn’t bother changing so that caused quite the commotion as we walked up the block. My brother had removed his jacket but I was still in a full suit and my niece in her lace dress so we were being congratulated every 5 minutes since people thought we had gotten married!
Here are a few of the shots that I took inside of RU Hungry (we took a lot though so more to come…)
And again, to all of the students who I posed with for photos, it was great meeting you.
We next made our way over to RU Grill and Pizza which is owned by one of the guys who made the very first ®Fat Darrell Sandwich for me, Abdul Eid. It was here that I ordered the pork roll, egg and cheese (I discuss those in detail here…) sandwich that I’d been craving for months!
After that we dropped off my niece and headed back to the hotel but wait, check out this crazy light-up bike that we saw outside of one of the houses during our walk back to the car! The guy on the porch (who also congratulated me and LaNaya on our “wedding”) even had an amp connected to it so it was playing music!
Man Buns and Mermaids
The next day I helped my niece load a bunch of her items into our SUV since she’ll be moving back home for the summer in a few weeks. We then had breakfast at this great restaurant Hansel and Griddel. I got a barbeque chicken panini but I forgot to take a picture of it before I devoured it. But um yeah, it was great! I hadn’t heard of this place before but apparently it’s a franchise with one near me in Alpharetta, GA so I’ll definitely go again.
From there we were on our way back to Virginia but not without stopping to meet up with my bff/wce, Priscilla, first!
Although we just ate, we met her at the hipster-ish Stay Gold Café & Lounge in Belmar, NJ. This time I got a Chunky Monkey protein shake and a Turkey BLT but this stop wasn’t really about the food, it was about the company.
Although I was absolutely stuffed already, the sandwich was still really good. They also have this cool mural on the wall which looks like it was custom designed for me since it has Skeletor, Batman, Pee-Wee Herman and more on it (I should have taken the photo before these people got in the way lol)! So yeah, definitely drop by there and also drop by Millagro Spa if you ever want your “hair did.” Priscilla’s got skills (her hair page on Instagram is @pmippolito_hair)!
Homerun part 2
We made it back to Virginia in time to catch another one of DJ’s baseball games. Then the next morning I also got to watch little Domonick play tee ball! I give my sister-in-law a ton of credit for coaching this team since organizing a group of 3 to 6 year-olds is the equivalent to herding cats… they did a great job though! Here are a few photos including Dom’s homerun celebration and him stuffing his face with goldfish crackers after a hard-earned victory…
Who is Kim Chee? Never heard of her…
Later on that day we also dropped by Kimchi House in Alexandria, VA for some incredible Korean food. Again, I keep forgetting that this is partially a food blog so I should have taken photos but um yeah, it was tasty!
Etcetera, Touchdown part 2 and Back to Reality
The rest of the time was spent just catching up with family. My brother and I watched some bizarre movie, The Boy, that DJ recommended. It was pretty creepy but I was a little disappointed with the ending.
I also got caught up on the NFL draft. Although I’m a die-hard 49ers fan, my new favorite player might be this guy Taco Charlton. I’ve never actually seen him play but his name sounds delicious. Extra guacamole please!
Anyway, I made it back home safely. I overheard another flight offering $300 to passengers willing to give up their seat but no such luck on mine. So here I am back in Atlanta and exhausted. I think I need a vacation to recover from my vacation.
Quick Fitness tip for today – in order to stay on track I brought exercise bands and fitness clothing with me to help eliminate excuses to skip workouts. Since most of us tend to overeat when we travel, devoting even 15 minutes per day to exercise can help keep you on track even while you’re out of town.
Have a fitness tip you’d like answered or an accomplishment you’d like to share? Tell us about it in the comments below.
Started from the Bottom – Drake (DJ’s baseball walkout theme)
God Bless the USA – Lea Greenwood (thank you veterans and to all who serve)
Tshirt – Migos (One of Dom’s favorites)
I’m keeping the list short today since this is a pretty long post already but comment below with other songs that fit today’s themes or that we should check out!
Sorry for the delay on getting this one out. I was pretty exhausted from the past 96 hours! But hey, better late than never eh?
Anyway, here are a few events going on this week to be aware of: Tuesday is $1 Jimmy John sandwiches at participating restaurants if you didn’t know already! Thursday is also May the 4th so if you hear a bunch of extra Star Wars puns that day, now you know why (May the fourth be with you…). And Friday is Cinco de Mayo which may lead to some incredible discounted tacos and burritos so keep an eye out for that!
Okay well that about does it for this week. Please follow my social media pages and be sure to drop a comment below before you leave. Thanks again for reading by and May the fork (okay fine, and the fourth if you’re reading this on Thursday) be with you!
“Oh Yeah, Get Big! …BOOM!”