Displaced Yankee Chick in Texas

This blog chronicles my life as a displaced Yankee chick in Texas. I'm from the NY/NJ/PA area and quit my job 1.5 years ago to move to TX with DH and become a SAHM to our 3 kids (2 DDs and 1 DS). **Please note that names have been changed to protect the innocent.**

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween

Mother Nature wanted to ruin our Halloween by providing us with torrential rain. However, it stopped raining heavily by 6:30pm, so we got dressed and headed out to trick or treat. DH and DS stayed home to greet any trick or treaters that came to the door, while the girls and I headed out to trick or treat and meet the neighbors.

B wanted us to be The Incredibles, and she was wanted that for months. I was pleased because it was a pretty easy costume -- red shirt, black pants, black mask, "I" emblem. So Mr. Incredible and Jack Jack stayed home while Elastigirl, Violet and Dash ran through the neighborhood. We had a nice time and met some of the neighbors, including a boy in B's class. I am so thrilled to finally meet an actual classmate of hers.

I realized as the girls and I were headed home that I hadn't managed to get any pix of us in our costumes. After we got home, I took the camera and figured we'd get a picture on the front porch. Just then a group of kids came by, so we gave them candy. The Buzz Lightyear was so excited to see The Incredibles. His father asked if he could take our picture, so of course we said yes. Then I asked him to take our picture. He did, so now we have one with all 5 of us. Hooray!

The kids went to bed without too much hassle, which was surprising since the girls each had a lollipop during our travels. I've consumed way too much chocolate today, so I don't expect to sleep well at all.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Children children everywhere

DH and I took the kids to the playground tonight in an effort to meet people and get them to make some friends. We succeeded in meeting the new neighbors to the one side of us and the neighbors on the corner, and another couple who live down the next street. The new neighbors haven't yet moved in because they are having some work done on the house but expect to be in sometime in the next few weeks. They have two boys, one is 13, the other 5. The couple on the corner have a son who is 6 and is in 1st grade. From what I gathered tonight, these boys, who are close in age to B, do not go to her school, but to private schools (different ones, at that) in the area. Great. I really don't care if her playmates are boys, but it sure would be nice to meet someone who at least goes to the same school as she does!

Monsters, or why did I even bother??!!

In a moment of insanity or generosity toward DH, I took the girls with me to finish our shopping for our Halloween costumes. B has wanted us to go as the Incredibles. Pretty easy costume. We'll all wear red shirts and black pants and eye masks. Easy. Our first stop was Kohl's to return some towels that I bought earlier this week; I was trying to match the floral wallpaper in my bathroom and of course the expensive Laura Ashley towels matched, not the less expensive brands. As soon as we got in the store things went downhill. I was holding S's hand and B was trailing behind us. She ran and caught up to us before we arrived at Customer Service. However, B disappeared seemingly right as S and I got in the line. I called out her name, got no answer, and had to get out of the line to look for her. A nice young lady standing nearby saw me and told me that she was hiding in between the clothing racks just outside Customer Service. I thanked her and then called B's name again. She finally came back to me and I read her the riot act about running away from me in a store.

Our next stop was Party City to get the masks. The store is located next to Linens N Things, which carries the bedding I want to get B, so I brought the girls in the store to look at it in person. B was excited to see her name on the bedding and liked the colors. I told her that Santa is watching her every move, and if she's good, perhaps he'll get her bedding, or maybe her family will give her pieces of the set for Christmas. She seemed happy and promised to be good. So we went into Party City which was still pretty crowded with other last minute shoppers. People were mulling over which costume to purchase, and the photo display of costumes was about 5 feet tall by 10 feet wide, and a two sided display at that, and even listed the prices of the costumes on each photo. Nearly every single costume was sold out, so I have no idea what people were looking at, unless they were trying to determine if they had enough things at home to make a costume like what they saw. We finally found the masks and spent a whopping $5.36 at Party City and left for our next stop, Target. And yes, we've taught B the finer points of pronouncing it "tar-zhay".

I got a shopping cart and put S in the front seat and sat B in the cart area. Things disintegrated once we entered the store. The girls kept touching each other, fighting over things, and when B hung something on the back of the seat, S would take it off, and they fought over that. It was a delightful trip, made even better because I couldn't find cheap black sweat pants for all the kids, nor could I find plain red sweatshirts either in their sizes. I think I wound up with red t-shirts for DH and myself, a red long sleeve onesie for A, a sweatshirt for B, and a full zip hoodie for B. By the time we had paid for our things, I was starved and certain that the girls were also hungry. In another moment of stupidity I decided we could eat at the Target food court. B wanted chicken tenders, but they'd take 8 minutes to cook, so I asked about the mac-n-cheese. Nope, that would take 4 minutes. I finally asked the guy what was ready NOW. Hot dogs, pizza and popcorn. Great. Two hot dog kids meals, and a dog and drink for me and we were set. Then the soda fountain only had soda, light lemonade (I hate Minute Maid for taking away the regular lemonade at every fountain!), and iced tea. My kids don't drink soda, I'm not stupid enough to let them drink anything caffeinated, nor am I crazy enough to let them drink anything diet. I asked the fellow who delivered our hot dogs to us if there was anything else they could drink and he said we could have juice boxes; that made my day. We ate and then I grabbed an applesauce for S and chips for B, since the cashier hadn't reminded me to take them for the girls.

By this point my car is on Empty and the light is on; I need to get gas. Hey, it's only been 9 days!! Back in PA, with my commute, I needed to fill the tank about every 5-6 days. So I bit the bullet and ran into HEB to get a few things. The girls sat next to each other in the racecar shopping cart and fought with each other from the minute they sat down. By the end, S had removed her shoes and socks. Luckily I was able to find both pairs while we were on the checkout line. I filled the van up with gas at the HEB gas station and went home, where I immediately began ranting at DH about how bad the girls were.

Why the hell did I bother getting anything to make costumes? They can just go out tomorrow as the little monsters they are.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

What a ride

DH and I took the kids to Astr*land today, since tomorrow is its last day. I’ve heard about this place for over 20 years and had looked forward to going for years.

It really wasn’t that bad, but it truly seemed like the staff, or a least most of them, couldn’t care less about their jobs. Now I realize that it’s your second-to-last day of work, but couldn’t you at least make a little effort??!! I must have stood in the food line for an hour, roasting in the noonday sun, ready to pass out. The cashier was in a miserable mood by the time I got to her window. This was probably not helped by the snide comment of the guy ahead of me, who snidely told her, “Thank you very little for your effort,” as he took his food and drink. Thanks a hell of a lot! Did you consider that I might not want her spitting on my food??!! Jerk. And then some other idiot from another line came up to offer this suggestion: “Hey, have you considered putting more than one pizza in the oven at the same time??” Shavondia looked nonplussed; I was amazed at the rudeness of these presumed Southerners. Shouldn’t they be nice, patient, polite folk? I’d expect these smartass remarks from people at Great Adventure in NJ, not at Astr*land in Houston.

And the powers that be at Astr*land, even though the newscasts all week were all warning that record crowds would be in attendance, allowed the park to be undermanned in my opinion. Half the food concessions were closed. In the late afternoon I stood in line for a half hour to get a frozen lemonade, diet coke for DH and a bottle of water for the kids. When I got to the window, I learned that they had only diet coke and Hi-C at the fountain (the other 3 sodas were out), no ice and no bottled water. I walked away with a frozen lemonade and a cup of water. Ridiculous! Not all the rides were open, and some rides, like the Cyclone, could have had more than one car running. Another annoyance was the teens behind me in the Cyclone line; they seemed to have no concept of personal space. Not to mention their speech and grammar: “Sit in the last car; it’s FUNNER back there.”

In the end DH and I both got to ride ONE, yes, one roller coaster. I rode the Cyclone and DH got to ride the Batman coaster. The girls got to enjoy a lot more. They rode the airplanes, Martian Maggot, caterpillar, cars, and motor boats. If B had been tall enough, she would have ridden the Cyclone with me. Poor A got to sit in the stroller for most of the day, and wound up with a little sunburn across his nose and cheeks. I suck for not even considering putting sunscreen on us. DH sucks because he actually had some in the backpack in the stroller, but didn’t put it on A. I hope and pray that A wakes up tomorrow happy and not blistered or sore from it. That’ll teach me.

Looks like I’ll have to plan next summer’s visit north to coincide with my brother’s company trip to Hershey Park. The rides are better and there’s no ridiculous wait for food.

Friday, October 28, 2005


So here I am, a week after arriving here. Here are some thoughts on this place:

I'm not liking those Texas size cockroaches. I've only seen two, but that was two more than I needed to. One was dead and in the house, the other living in my garage.

I could seriously get used to this weather; it's heavenly. Remind me of this next summer when it is hotter than hell and wicked humid.

This community has rules about EVERYTHING. What you can plant in your front and back yards, what types of decor you can have in front of your house, the types and colors of shutters or blinds in the windows. But they don't have hours for trick-or-treating. Amazing.

This place also prohibits soliciting. I called the Information Center to confirm that. This was after some strange man rang my doorbell and wanted to sell me some amazing cleaning products. I got this same spiel 5 yrs ago when B was a baby, although the men who came to my door then looked like they were still wearing their prison jumpsuits. The man today was at least well dressed in a business casual sense. A few hours after I sent him packing, along with the only brochure he seemed to have (he couldn't leave it with me), his partner, a young woman, rang the bell. She was all, "hey I'm from " and I was all "I could give a crap." She wanted to know if I'd heard of the product and I told her her partner was already here. "So how much did you buy?" "Nothing. I'm not interested." So the Information Center lady told me that if I felt threatened I could call the police. I'm really more annoyed. Hell, if they can have someone drive around to spy on the houses here, and send reminders that your front planting areas need to be weeded, shouldn't they have some Johnn Law wannabe who can tell these creeps that we don't need their stinking cleaning products?! Seriously, do they think people here actually do their own house cleaning??!!

Lunch at B's school costs $1.25 per day. I gave a check for $15 on Monday. I've received two calls this week that she owes money; the first call on Wed, the second one today. Before receiving the second call I called the school to inquire about her account; I was told she had $6.50 in her account. Now I'm no math whiz, but if B is not buying breakfast or snacks, and she told me she only bought lunches, she should only be out $6.25, which would leave $8.75... Where in the heck is the rest of that money??!!

The Astros gave it a good try. I felt a little less homesick knowing that the home team was in the World Series. The rush for WS merchandise, the news blurbs on stadium security, store signs rooting on the home team, all made me feel like I was near NY.

Speaking of Astros, tomorrow is my one and only trip to Astroworld; the amusement park is slated to permanently close effective Monday. Developers are buying the land. Oh well.

HEB isn't that bad. They carry Boar's Head brand deli meats so I can get yummy salami like I grew up on in Brooklyn. Plus HEB has some pretty darn good bagels to boot! Now to find a NY style pizza place...

Which brings me to the place the family ate dinner tonight. We let B decide where to go, since we were going out to celebrate her first week of Kindy now that DH was home. She again wanted pizza. We tried going out for 'za on Monday night, but the place that she, DH and I had eaten at in August was closed since they hadn't paid their rent. It was still closed tonight. So we drove down the street and stopped at the next pizza place we passed, CiCi's Pizza. For less than $17 our family of 5 ate dinner! Can you believe it?! The place was one of those madhouses, similar to Old Country Buffet, where you stand in line to pay, get a plate, cup and tray, then make your way down the buffet. Sit, eat, get up, get new plate, more food, repeat... I lost count of how many plates DH and I had on our trays, but we kept going up for one or two slices of pizza for the kids or ourselves. It's not the world's greatest pizza, but it certainly was fantastic for $17.

The kids that sat near us tonight were angels. Behind us sat a couple with a young boy and another on the way. The boy was so adorable, a miniature version of his father, and so well behaved. Across from us was a little girl, toddler age, and her infant brother in a carrier. These kids were so quiet, I swear you'd never even know they were there. Then there are my kids. B, who was pretty good tonight, though she probably freaked out the other patrons in the restroom while we had a deep discussion about death and heaven. S who shrieked every damn time DH tickled her; ear piercing shrieks. And A, who decided to grab the expetant mother's behind while she was putting her DS in his highchair. I had to apologize to her for his "flirting". Thank God she was so cool about it! LOL! Just like his father...

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Damned if you do, damned if you don't...

Apparently the reason B doesn't want to ride the school bus to Kindy is because it doesn't have seatbelts or harnesses on it. She won't be safe. As much as DH and I have pounded it in to her head that she must always wear a seatbelt or be in a car seat or booster, I'm not terribly surprised. However, I wonder how I am supposed to convince her to ride the bus. She's not buying the "Mommy and Daddy, Auntie Toots, Uncle Steve, etc. etc. all rode the bus and we are fine. Your cousin C rides the bus and I know you want to be just like her... You can't wear a seatbelt if you have a backpack on..."

This kid is too damn smart. She'd make a great lawyer, don't you think?!

Creepy crawly heebie jeebie

I’ve got the heebie jeebies. While in the garage earlier today something scurried across the wall right near where I was standing. I quickly found the gecko as he scampered around our lawn chairs. You’d be surprised how quickly they can run. Shortly thereafter I was searching through the boxes in the garage for a timer to use for our huge jack o’lantern. I looked in one box and thought I saw something move. I hoped that it was another gecko. Summoning up all the courage I could muster, I pulled some stuff out of the box, only to discover that I had found the long lost brother of the dead cockroach DH and I found over the weekend. These things are truly monstrous; they really do grow them bigger here in Texas. Ick. Now I swear I won’t be able to sleep; I’ve been hearing noises that I swear are cockroaches crawling out of the boxes in the house. I can’t begin to tell you how much I want to sign the little ones up for daycare tomorrow; the sooner I can get this house unpacked and know that I’m doing everything in my power to avoid an infestation, the better!

And it is true, I have indeed scarred my oldest for life. I was the 5th or 6th car in line for pickup after school today, but I parked the car in the lot and went inside to ask the greeter or main office staff some questions. By the time the little ones and I were in the car, the pick up line was out the school driveway and down the street. Poor B looked like she had been crying when I pulled up to get her. She told me that she missed her mom; I felt so badly for making her wait so long for me. Then I noticed that she wasn’t wearing the same pants as she had this morning. Turns out she had an accident. She seemed okay about that, which I was grateful for. However, I realized that she didn’t feel good and I discovered she had a fever. And as luck would have it, I cannot for the life of me find any box labeled “Toiletries” or “Linen Closet” that contains chewable children’s fever reducer. I am certain I bought some children’s Tylenol but I have absolutely no idea where it is. Yesterday I couldn’t find any bandaids for B’s paper cut; found those this morning. DH has been asked to pick up some Tylenol or something for B on his way home tonight. Guaranteed, I’ll find a huge stash of it tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


I’ve scarred her for life. I must have been the last, or one of the very last parents to pick up their child from school today. Even the safety patrol kids were gone. And it was only 10 or 5 to 4 by the clock in my car.

Another stellar mommy moment for me.

Tuesday, October 25, 2005


Oh please don't let the Sox sweep the 'stros! If one of my NY teams can't be in the World Series, I'm glad that my new hometown's team is in it. I'm doing my part to help the rally. The Astros were leading when I wasn't watching the game, but now that they're down 5-4, I've got the game on. GO ASTROS!!!

Three is a magic number...

They say bad things happen in threes. Today certainly proved that.

I got B up and dressed for school, then woke and dressed the little ones. We dropped her off at school and came back home to eat breakfast. A little later I went upstairs to look something up on the computer. While I was up there the heat cycled on and off (it is chilly here in the morning). Then I started hearing a slow rhythmic noise, kinda like water dripping. I thought that perhaps one of us left the water dripping in the hall bathroom. I found a spot on the carpet in the hall that I thought might be from water. It was below the AC vent. I went to turn on the hall light and spotted water spots on the wall. Lovely. I pulled down the stairs to the attic and went up. I held my breath as I turned on the attic light, since there was a water stain around the switch plate. Luckily I wasn’t electrocuted, so I went up in the attic to take a look around. Indeed there was a water leak, coming from the pipe that brings water into the water heater. There was quite a bit of water in the drip pan under the heater. Now I needed to find a plumber and fast! How do you do that when you don’t know anyone? Fortunately, the builder left an information card listing the subcontractors who did construction work, including the plumbing. I checked online and the plumber listed was still listed in the phone book, so I called the company. They sent someone over right away. Seems a fitting was bad and was most likely leaking for a long time. When we had the house inspected, the inspector noted the rust on the top of the heater, but believed it was coming from rain entering through the vent, since the vent pipes weren’t properly capped. The good news was that we didn’t need to replace the heater, so we should have a few more years before the two of them go. The plumber did tell me that I’ll need to measure the height of the heaters when we want them replaced so that they can get us the same size. Otherwise all the roof venting will need to be replaced if the heater is shorter than what we currently have. I also learned today that we have really hard water here. Why is it that I can’t move anywhere with soft water?? Since DH and I got married we’ve lived in 3 towns, all with ridiculously hard water. This plumbing company doesn’t do water softeners, so I have to find a local company to do that work for us. The previous owner took her water softener with her when she moved. We need a new softener and I need to have the reverse osmosis system (located under the kitchen sink) hooked up to the fridge. The previous owner also took her fridge with her, and when Sears installed the new fridge they must not have known about the RO line. DH didn’t seem to know about it either until he discovered water on the kitchen floor, dripping from the sink cabinet. A hole for the RO line had been drilled in the bottom of the cabinet, and that’s where it was leaking. DH turned off the water at the cold water, so we haven’t yet had cold water in the kitchen. Makes for great fun when washing dishes, lemme tell ya. Our water heaters seem to be set at SCALDING.

My next highlight came when I was going through the stuff in our living room. I was removing the moving company’s stickers from the furniture and I moved a large decorative urn. I heard something rattle inside the urn, and since it used to be in the playroom in the basement of our previous house, I figured it was a toy. Over I turned the urn to see what was in it. To my great surprise and horror, it was a dead mouse. More like petrified. Lovely, just lovely. A little friend to remind me of the infestation we had at Easter. Since the little ones were around, I overturned the urn over my deceased rodent friend and decided to dispose of him later. Once S was napping and A was confined to his exersaucer, I did relocate the offending mouse to the trash can in the garage.

This afternoon we went to get B from school and I figured that since it was so nice, we’d go right to the playground when we got home. I got the girls out of the car, put A in the stroller and off we went. The girls headed to the climber while A and I got the mail (the bank of mailboxes is located next to the playground). While I was reading the mail the girls were climbing up to go down the slide. The next thing I knew, I heard S crying. She had fallen off the bottom step, right into the sand. She had sand in her eyes, nose and mouth. We hurried home while she blew her nose and coughed out the sand. A quick shower later and she was fine.

Oh, did I forget to mention A's back to back poopy diapers??!! These were two of the most offensive smelling poops EVER!! I'm not certain that I've ever smelled anything quite so foul.

Tomorrow has got to be better.

Monday, October 24, 2005

First day of kindergarten

Monday was B’s first day of Kindy at her new school. You’d think I could have gotten her there early so we could meet with her teacher, especially since I was up with DH at 6am. Nope. We showered and got dressed, and then I got the little ones dressed. This was only my third time at the school, so I probably could have done a better job. The parking lot is partially blocked off in the mornings to keep moving cars away from the students. I only knew of one entrance, and wound up in the driving drop off line. Once I was in the line, I realized I could have gone in the next entrance and been parked in front of the school, instead of on the side, which is where I ended up.

We met B’s teacher, who was walking the rest of the class to the classroom. I had the little ones in the double stroller and B was lugging her backpack, which was full of school supplies. I apologized for being late as we walked down the hall together. I got a brief explanation of the classroom’s activities and expectations. B’s teacher is really very nice and made B feel welcome immediately.

While she was at school I surprised myself by feeding the little ones and me a surprisingly well rounded lunch – turkey breast, cheese, whole wheat bread, and grapes. Go me! LOL! Later I managed to put away my grandmother’s china, which had been sitting on the dining room table for over 2 months. (I had forgotten to bring the key to the china cabinet down with me on my last trip to TX in August when the movers unpacked the truck.)

I again surprised myself by remember to actually go and pick B up at school. One of my great fears is that I get caught up doing something and forget to get her. My plan is to have her riding the bus by next week, so that I won’t have to remember to get her. She had a great day and said her classmates were really nice. Since I hadn’t had an opportunity to take pictures of her before school, I took some after.

The comedy of errors for the day started when I told B that we’d go out to dinner to celebrate her first day of Kindergarten. We’ll celebrate again once DH is home to join us. So I asked B where she wanted to go and she said pizza. We headed out to the pizza place that we ate at in August. The place is great for kids; it has a really cheap buffet, like the Pizza Hut buffet lunch. So I parked in front, and the place was deserted. Turns out, they hadn’t paid the rent, so the landlord changed the lock and posted a notice on the door. So I got back in the car from reading the notice and asked B what her second choice was. Chick-fil-A. We headed there, only to find that the playground there has been removed. They are either renovating it, or removed it to add more seating. Since I really wanted the kids to run off some energy, I wanted to find a restaurant with a playground. Third time was a charm – we went to Burger King. The girls enjoyed the play area, until S got stuck near the top and couldn’t get down. She wouldn’t let B help her down, nor could she get down herself, so I had to climb up and get her.

My next adventure was giving the little ones a bath in the girls’ tub. Bad idea. The tub enclosure is one of those sliding door things, so I only have access to half the tub at a time. Then A decided that he needed to stand up and try to reach for the shampoo bottle and he kept slipping and sliding. Since the tub enclosure in his bathroom is in pretty bad shape, DH and I are planning to remove it and install a crescent shower rod instead. This will be where I bathe the kids once we make the changes.

I relaxed by enjoying some chocolate ice cream and then unpacking, washing and putting away our barware into the butler’s pantry.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

A warmer southern welcome was never had!

I've been in Texas about 36 hours now and I've received the most wonderful warm welcome from some neighbors...

I took my oldest DD with me to get the mail this afternoon and was greeted by the remains of flaming dog turds in a lunch bag on our front walk. Lovely. I'm sure the creeps who did this did it last night. However, they forgot the one key element of surprise when pulling off this stunt. Not once did our doorbell ring last night. Great job kids!! DH thought the kids did it this afternoon, since when I first discovered our welcome wagon surprise I implored him to come outside. After asking him repeatedly to come to the door, he finally did appear and admire our gift. Later on I realized that he thought that it was afire when I was asking him to get to the front door. Um, hello! Wouldn't it be stupid to pull a stunt like this in broad daylight??!!

Tonight after dark DH and I were watching TV and the little guy was just falling asleep on me. The doorbell rang, but it a short ring. I leaned back in my seat to see if anyone was there, but couldn't see anyone. Nor were we expecting company at that hour. DH got up and DS and I followed him to the door. I could see red laser lights shining on our door and through the glass in the door. DH opened the door, but as expected, there was no one there, and thankfully, no new flaming gifts either. DH said there were kids on the golf course across the street. Thanks again kids; DS woke up following our walk to the front door...

I'm so flattered that these people have gone out of their way to make me feel so welcome in their lovely and exclusive enclave.

As an aside, DH has only met the lady who lives on one side of us. He met the couple who lived on the other side, but they have since moved away. Southerners are rumored to be so friendly and welcoming but I haven't seen it. Not one person stopped by while the moving truck was here 2 months ago, nor during our visits to the house before, during and after the moving truck was here. Yesterday and today I was outside while the DW and DH next door (the lady DH met and her DH) were going in and out of their house, and yet they never stopped to even say "Hi" or "Welcome to the neighborhood." Seems I won't feel so homesick after all; they act just like us Yankees!

Friday, October 21, 2005

Travelogue: Day 4

We got up and grabbed breakfast in the lobby. The hotel had a nice spread and the kids really enjoyed themselves. We drove the last few hours to Houston. Once we arrived in town, we needed to head to the airport to pick up DH’s car. We then stopped for gas, and headed for our new home. Arriving in the early afternoon, we unpacked the car, and headed to B’s new school in order to register her. Then we headed to Sonic for yet another delicious fast food meal.

And just as I had feared yet expected, DH hadn’t done a darn thing in the house since B and I left it in August. It perhaps looked even worse than I remembered. There are boxes everywhere. I have my work cut out for me with unpacking this house and getting it organized. No longer deluding myself, I’m looking into daycare for the little ones. Let’s face it, I’m never going to get the house unpacked with them home. I feel too guilty if I either ignore them or confine them to cribs or let S loose and put A in an exersaucer all day. And I can’t let them run around the boxes either. There’s stuff everywhere and they might get hurt.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Travelogue: Day 3

We got up and had breakfast in the hotel’s restaurant. Then we headed over to Graceland to pay homage to The King. Hey, if we have to drive for 24+ hours, we might as well do something fun too. First was the tour of the house itself. Then we went to the car museum. On our way back to the parking lot we checked out Elvis’ jets, the Lisa Marie and the Hound Dog II.

The most embarrassing part of the day came when the five of us passed a rather large man sitting on a park bench. Right as we passed by, B said, “Daddy, that man was really fat.” And knowing how loud she said it, there was no doubt in my mind that he heard her. DH and I were mortified. I explained to her that what she said wasn’t nice and that the man probably heard her and that what she said might have hurt his feelings. In addition, I told her that if she didn’t have anything nice to say, she shouldn’t say anything at all, and that we shouldn’t use mean words like fat and ugly, only nice words like pretty, cute and handsome. She redeemed herself later that night when we were eating dinner. There were some teens eating at a nearby table, and one guy was rather large. B said to me “Mommy, that man in the hat is handsome.” I was so proud of her.

We drove all through Arkansas and I thought of my friend Kim as we drove by her town. Finally we reached Texas. We stopped shortly after arriving in TX for dinner at Sonic, my fave fast food. The girls got to run and jump and play around a bit before we got back on the road. We started driving but quickly grew tired. We stopped for the night in Nacogdoches, the oldest town in TX. It took a few hotels to find one with a room (the first one had a king and no cribs, so the girls would have to sleep on the floor – nope), but we found one. It was a Holiday Inn Select and it was quite nice. We were lucky enough even to get a portacrib, so it was ideal. The only less than ideal thing was that it was a smoking room. However, the smell was minimal, so we really didn’t notice it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Travelogue: Day 2

In the morning B and I went and got breakfast; she chose cereal and a bagel. I got fruit and cereal for S and A. The breakfast room was quite crowded and a lovely couple offered to let us sit with them. I thanked them profusely but explained that I was with other people and we’d be dining in our room. After breakfast, we got on the road. DH had hoped that we would have at least been to Roanoke by the first night, and we still had about one hour of driving to get there, and three hours to hit the TN border. We hit the TN border at lunch time, so we stopped to grab Chick-fil-A, and pondered whether to get MIL and her DF a souvenir from the Bristol Motor Speedway (DF is a NASCAR fan). Our plan was to hit Memphis for the night, and it was 8 hours away; that’s a LONG day in the car. Yet another fabulous fast food dinner, this time from Burger King.

DH realized he could have his company’s travel agency make our hotel reservations for us, so we at least knew early that afternoon that we did indeed have a bed waiting for us at the Holiday Inn at the Memphis Airport (home to FedEx). Lucky for us, the airport closes around midnight or we’d have been answering S’s “Mommy / Daddy, what’s that noise?” every other minute. The best part of arriving at the hotel was that they already had the crib set up and waiting for us. The worst part? As the bellman was delivering our bags, A was loose in the room. He went into the bathroom, and decided to splash in the toilet. YUCK!! So the poor bellman had to wait for his tip while I disinfected A’s hands. BLECH!!;

Funniest thing to happen today: We were all tucked in our respective beds, falling asleep, when all of a sudden one of the kids let one rip. It was so loud, that an adult would have been proud of it! LOL! And B said something which made us realize it was our darling, dear, demure, younger daughter, S, who had farted. I was in tears I was laughing so hard, yet trying to stifle the laughter so I wouldn't wake up or wind up the kids. So the more I giggled, the more the bed shook, which made me laugh more. I suppose you had to be there, but it was really funny, especially if you were as tired as we were.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Travelogue: Day 1

Left my parents house in central NJ at 2pm, headed toward PA but stopped to grab an iTrip FM transmitter and lunch at McDonalds. While sitting in the car, I realized that I had forgotten my jewelry and my extra set of car keys. This in itself wasn’t a huge problem, but the key to my grandmother’s china cabinet was on that key ring. Without it, I’d have to keep all her china on my dining room table, and let’s face it, with three young kids, you don’t want your china within their reach. DH was kind enough to take us back so I could get the stuff. We were finally on our way at 3pm. That was 6 hours later than DH had wanted to start.

We drove the route the AAA had suggested, which was PA Turnpike to I-81 South, through a little of western MD and WV, and south through western-central VA. We grabbed a quick dinner at Wendy’s and drove on through most of VA. We got stuck by James Madison Univ., where the highway was stopped dead, thanks to a car fire. DH decided to try and find a hotel for the night, and decided to stop at the Hampton Inn, where the surliest desk clerk greeted him. She scowled at him and asked, “Reservation?” “No.” Then she angrily replied, “Days Inn!” We drove down to Staunton, the next big town, hoping to find a room at the Hampton Inn there. Unfortunately it also was booked solid but the kind desk clerk did find us a suite at the Hampton Inn in Lexington, about 30 miles south and made our reservation there. We arrived shortly after midnight at a gorgeous brick manor home; this was the Hampton Inn Col Alto. The desk clerk told me they had no vacancy but I told her I had a reservation. She was quite shocked, since the room we were to receive is not rented out after 11pm because it is right behind the lobby and can get noisy. She had trouble getting us in the system also, and wasn’t sure if she had an extra portacrib. When she showed me where the room (the McDowell room) was, I took a peek. Let me tell you, it was AMAZING. We had a beautiful king size four poster bed facing a fireplace. The ceilings were at least 10 feet high. In the two corners facing us were chaises, and we let B choose which one she’d sleep on. The clerk found a portacrib, and we set ours and the hotels up for S and A.

Our funny quote of the day: “Do they speak Spanish in Virginia?” B had just started a weekly Spanish class at her old daycare, and the teacher had given her the name Virginia. Funny the way their minds work.