Unfortunate events? You have no idea until you see me try to drive in Dallas…… I am convinced that the freeways in Dallas move like the stair cases in “Harry Poter” – they have to, because I am not that directionally challenged!
First of all, my mom doesn’t really live in Dallas, She lives in a suburb of Dallas about 30 minutes north of the city. It is a fast growing area full of gated communities and expensive cars….. American overindulgence at its best.
Here is a run down of my weekend….. This is a long post – sorry…
I got roses from the husband on Friday. Caught me totally off guard. We were expecting Ozarka to drop off 4 jugs of water. They hadn’t shown up by 2 PM, so we left and were going to call later since we had called at noon. We swung by the house at 4 pm and there was a van in the drive way. We didn’t know if it was for us, so my step father asked the man what he was doing and when he said he was looking for me, I panicked. A million things ran through my mind, but flowers never occurred to me. When he tried to hand them to me, I started to cry and could barely take them from him. He looked at my step dad and asked if they were from someone in the Middle East and when he said yes, the delivery man reached out for me like he was going to hug me. I was in shock I think.
They are long stem roses – they stood from the floor to my hip – just beautiful! I cut them down and put them in a vase and placed it on my dresser. They are the last thing I see at night before I go to sleep and the first thing I see when I wake up.
Saturday, we were supposed to be downtown at Brother-in-laws (whom I will call BIL form now on) house by 10 AM. I had my map from Map Quest in hand, my cell phone in the other and we set off. Well, after a strange morning of dropping things, loosing keys and choking on my cheerios, I should have known better than to think this was going to go smoothly. It started out fine. Get to the toll road, and there was no traffic…it was a sign ……a sign that things were about to go terribly wrong. 1st toll booth……75 cents….2nd toll booth….75 cents……3rd toll booth….75 cents then the directions say to follow I-35 exit. I do, then the signs say 45/75 to Houston, 30 to wherever and 35 too wherever. I follow that (as instructed). Well, somewhere, the freeway twisted, turned, merged, separated or did whatever they do here in Dallas and I ended up heading away from Dallas to Houston. I knew this was not correct, so I committed the carnal sin (ha ha ha!!! funny typo – I’m keeping it!) of driving and I exited into downtown. I found a parking lot, made a note of the street names and called SIL. She was very knowledgeable of the streets downtown. I was relieved. She guides me out of main downtown and gives me directions to the west side where they live. After calling her about 12 more times in a span of 30 minutes, we made it to their home, in one piece.
SIL, the kids and I start off on our journey to the “Dallas World Aquarium”. We walked “just a couple of blocks” (make that 4) to the BART station in 100 degree heat, buy our tickets and wait. Train comes, kids eeewww and aaahhhh and we ride back down town just to be dropped of in the exact same parking lot the kids and I stopped in to call SIL an hour ago…. We then walked another “couple of blocks” (make that 4) to the Aquarium. Get to the Aquarium, go to pay and SIL tells me that we get a discount if we show our BART pass. So, I tell the lady what we need and show her my BART pass and she tells me my total is $45.50. I tell her I have a BART pass and should get a discount. She stares at me blankly and flatly says “that is your total with the discount”. Well, you know me, I then replied with a “Holy Cow! Do the monkeys shit gold?” The humor was lost on the 20-something blonde behind the counter, but the man at the front of the next line almost choked on his gum he laughed and snorted so hard.
We enter the Aquarium and start our journey which begins with my inquiring as to weather they provide strollers for rent. The lady looked at me as if I had asked her to personally carry the kids through the exhibit on her shoulders, then she plainly told me “No!”…as if…..
Allrighty then….. We start the long painful journey through the aquarium. Remember, the kids have just walked 8 blocks….well, the aquarium is set up like a reverse parking garage. You start at the top and wind your way down through the exhibits and end up on the bottom floor right at the exit. (We discovered that we could have entered through the exit and went right into the exhibit and not had to pay….maybe next time). The bad part about this experience is that the sidewalks are only about 3 feet wide and there were about 1000 people trying to stand on the same 3 feet as we were. Not to mention the fact that most of the exhibits were either way off the ground or were surrounded by thick bamboo fences so Little bit and little man could not see anything unless you lifted them up. I ended up with Little bit on my shoulders and lifting little man up when we got to an exhibit he couldn’t see. Great fun…. My back is thanking me right this moment actually. After walking the entire exhibit – and still missing the penguins somehow – we were hungry.
SIDE NOTE: I did walk through and sit down in the underwater tunnel where the sharks were swimming all around us. Since I am terrified of water and swimming animal thingies, this was a big big big deal. You would have been proud.
OK, so, we are all tired and hungry, after all, it took us a whole hour to walk through the aquarium. I know – I was pissed. We went to “Friday’s” for lunch. I ordered French Onion Soup in the husband’s honor and almost licked the bottom of the bowl to get every last drop of it because it was so good! Then I ordered a bacon cheese burger and SIL ordered a chicken strip club. Her sandwich was HUGE! I couldn’t believe it! I barely ate half of my burger and only 2 fries and I felt like I was going to explode! So we walk a lot more (of course “just a few blocks” – really about 6 this time) and cross the grassy knoll to get to the big ball so we can go to the observation deck. We get to the observation deck and I discover that even from this height, Dallas is still a really ugly city. We headed back down and caught the train back to the in-laws house. We get off the train and when we are half way back, boy child turns to little man and asks “Where is George?” Now George is a sock monkey that little man has had since birth. George has been with little man through surgeries, illness and many sleepless nights. George is sacred. George is a member of our family. little man shoots me a look and notices that George is not in my bag and then he freaks out! He is in total hysterics! The poor child is freaking out! We lost George! I called mom and told her to get on the phone and start calling everyone and everywhere she knew and find a new George ASAP. I then start asking little man about the last place he remembered having George. It was the observation deck’s bathroom. When we got to the in-law’s house, I called the “big ball” and talked to lost and found. They were of absolutely no help. I switched into freak out mode and I printed a map and grabbed my car keys. I am going to save George! Little bit and I head out for the big ball in the sky in our quest to save the monkey! In retrospect, we really should have taken the train, but hind sight is 20/20, right? I follow the directions Map Quest has given me and I can see the ball….I get real close to it and then I pass it and watch it get smaller and smaller in my window as I head out of down town. I am pointing and yelling “I want to get there!” as big alligator tears are spilling down my face. I flagged down a jogger and she graciously gave me directions to the big ball that lead me directly to the front door! YEAY!!!!
I parked and then carried a sleeping Little bit across the street and up a big hill to enter the building. I rush in and tell the lady in a panic that I need to get upstairs to save the monkey. I was fully prepared to throw a fit and take off up the stairs because I was pretty sure she was going to tell me it was closed. But, it wasn’t and she punched the elevator button for me so I could go up. Elevator goes up, lets us out and we run to the bathroom. No George. Crap! As I turn the corner into the banquet room, there he is, lying on a banquet table all alone. I screamed “George!” and grabbed him up. Little bit had woken up be then and she and I did the happy dance while an Asian family watched, pointed, laughed and I am sure, took pictures. I didn’t care. It was like I had lost a child and had found them again. I called mom so she could call off the search.
When we got back to the house, BIL ordered Pizza and we ate then we went home. Busy day.
Sunday, yesterday, we rode the train from Palestine, TX to Rusk, TX then back – well, that’s supposed to be what we were going to do…….
My step dad had a plan and we were going to leave by 9 AM since the train left at 11 AM. We all got up and began our morning routines. I never even looked at the clock. We all piled into the van and started our journey. After what seemed like an eternity in the van, mom and step dad start arguing and mom starts frantically calling the train depot. Apparently, it takes 3 hours to get to Palestine from Dallas, not 1.5 like he thought. We arrive in Palestine at 11:05 AM and step dad was livid! Of course he blamed mom and me for taking so long even though I was tying my shoes when he walked out and said “Let’s go”, and mom was already sitting there waiting for him. The worst part was he was walking with boy child and he told him “See, this is what happens when people don’t hurry it along”. I was furious to the point of shaking! He is lucky there were 5 other people in that room, because I was about to lay into him, but didn’t think it appropriate to do it in front of strangers. Mom saw it differently and proceeded to rip him a new one right there in the middle of the train depot. (You go girl!) We had missed the train, so mom got together with one of the engineers and they made a plan that involved us driving to Rusk to catch the train one way coming back to Palestine. So, we head to Rusk. We got there in 30 minutes and had a picnic lunch. It was really nice. My step dad stayed behind to drive the van back to Palestine and pick us up, so it was just the kids, mom and me who rode the one way. The train ride was fun! It was a steam engine train from the 1800’s and it went through the thicket of Texas. It was really cool! Little bit got to go up into the engine room and she thought that was pretty cool! You would have really liked it. While I have been writing this, Little bit has been curled up beside me and keeps saying “That was a great train ride, wasn’t it mama?” I have to agree. It was nice.