It would appear I have a lot to say

Well, at this moment I am sitting here in my pajamas trying to emotionally prepare myself for the season finale of Downton Abbey. I know enough to know it isn’t going to end well and, frankly, I’m concerned about my mental state after it’s all said and done. Especially since we have big plans to go to the rodeo tomorrow and it will be tragic if I’m too sad to fully enjoy a corn dog with a funnel cake chaser.

Here’s a question, Julian Fellowes. What’s so wrong with the concept of happily ever after?

(I’m not going to say anymore because I really don’t know exactly what is going to happen at this point. And, please, no spoilers in the comments because there are people who live in caves that haven’t seen Downton Abbey yet.)

(However, I will be posting a complete post on my thoughts on the season finale over at The Pioneer Woman’s blog in the Entertainment section so we can share our thoughts there.)

But let’s talk of happier things, specifically funnel cakes. Because guess what Caroline and I saw as we drove to Houston on Friday afternoon?

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If hijacking a funnel cake truck is wrong, I don’t wanna be right.

However, we resisted because I felt like chances were good there weren’t actually people inside that funnel cake booth frying up hot funnel cakes as they drove down I-10. But my long-held belief that turkey leg booths and cotton candy booths and corn dog booths just magically appear at carnival sites along with people that can smoke cigarettes and fry up a Snickers bar at the same time was forever shattered.

So that’s what we did this weekend.

(I don’t mean we smoked cigarettes and fried up Snickers bars because that’s kind of how I just made it sound. I meant we saw a funnel cake truck.)

Caroline and I left for Houston around noon on Friday. On Thursday night I debated letting her just skip school on Friday so we could get an earlier start, but then decided against it. But then she didn’t feel good all night Thursday night so she ended up missing school anyway and we still didn’t get away until noon on Friday. And this is so much more than you need or want to know.

And so we finally packed up the car and made the drive to Houston which I always contend is one of the most boring drives in the history of all drives. Fortunately there was no shortage of Taylor Swift songs to keep us entertained.

When we finally got to Mimi and Bops’s house, we visited for a while and Caroline tried to catch lizards out on their patio and then we ultimately made our way to Escalante’s for dinner where I ate a lobster enchilada that may have forever changed my views on seafood combined with Mexican food in all the best ways.

The next morning we just relaxed until I realized I should probably shower if I was going to be signing books for people. I don’t know much about all this, but it seems like hygiene is a good first step. I think I read that once in How to Win Friends and Influence People.

We finally got to the bookstore about ten minutes early and it was very glamorous as I watched them vacuum the spot where they would later place a small table with a black tablecloth. And have I mentioned I also get very nervous at these things? Like the kind of nerves I imagine an athlete gets before a big game. Although I wouldn’t know that because the only time I’ve played a sport in the last thirty years was for an intramural softball team in college.

(We came in first place. But only because all the other teams didn’t show up.)

Fortunately there was no podium or microphone like the signing I did earlier in the week. Although that did create a great moment Gulley told me about later. Apparently when I started to read an excerpt from a chapter, someone in the audience said, “Wait, this isn’t a poetry reading?” and packed up her things and left. It made me so happy.

(If only she had known that I have a whole notebook of very dramatic poems I wrote between the years 1985-1994. However, I would only show those to someone if my other choice was to be lit on fire.)

Anyway, my nerves weren’t really helped when this is what greeted me at the front of the store.

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That is a lot of books. And a lot of my face on that sign.

But it ended up being so fun to have Caroline, Mimi and Bops with me. And I had a great mix of sweet friends I’ve known forever show up along with some relatives and many of y’all who I felt like I knew even though we’d never met in person before. And I was so grateful because there are so many better ways to spend a Saturday. Like at a poetry reading, for instance.

Caroline thoroughly enjoyed herself. She sat right by my side and we shared what felt like an increasingly small rolling desk chair for close to two hours. She even signed almost everyone’s books. I think she’s a fan of the book signing.

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(I also just want to quickly mention that some of y’all have said you’d like to have a signed book. There were books leftover after the signing on Saturday and Caroline and I signed them. So I’m betting you could get Books-A-Million at Katy Mills to send you one of the signed copies if you’re interested.)

After it was over, we had to make the arduous trip back to Mimi and Bops’s house which happens to be near The Galleria area. This might not mean much to you if you’re not familiar with Houston, but here are a few things you need to know:

1. The NBA All-Star event was in Houston this weekend.

2. Most activities apparently centered around The Galleria area.

3. The Galleria area is crowded enough anyway on any given weekend.

4. Bops considers finding ways to avoid traffic a recreational sport. He likes to weave in and out of traffic and take alternative routes and speed up and slow down like it’s a race.

5. I struggle with carsickness issues. Exhibit A: I once threw up on a bus in front of Ann Voskamp.

Fortunately, I have learned to just close my eyes and go to a happy place in my mind. Specifically a place where I’m not in a car but maybe lying in a field. Actually, that’s not true because fields have bugs. So maybe where I’m lying on a bed with a fitted bottom sheet in a really nice hotel.

(You don’t want to know how I feel about the overuse of non-fitted bottom sheets in hotels all over America.)

So while I didn’t actually need a yuck bucket, I did need to take an Aleve and close my eyes for about thirty minutes after we got back home. And then we ventured back out again to meet some friends at an Italian restaurant for dinner. But we took a better route this time because Bops was fully aware of the traffic situation and had plotted an alternative way.

After a couple of pieces of pizza and a glass of wine, I was like a new person. And getting to end the day laughing with friends over good food was perfection.

We also discovered on the news later that night that they’d had to shut The Galleria down because it had reached maximum capacity. If you’ve never been in The Galleria you can’t appreciate what that means so I’ll sum it up by asking you to picture more people in one place than you’ve ever seen in your life and then triple it.

In other words, it would basically be enough to make me never want to shop again.

I’m totally lying.

Nothing could be that bad.

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  1. Leigh says

    You speak truth, oh wise one:
    I-10: boring,
    Galleria area traffic: nightmarish,
    Escalante’s: life altering!

    So sad to miss seeing you yesterday. How about giving your publisher a little nudge for another H-town signing?

  2. Donna says

    Very cool! You need to come to Atlanta with your book tour. I love how Caroline signed books as well. Too cute! She is so proud of her mama, and probably thinks its pretty neat to be the subject of a book. In other news, I immediately thought of your book last week when Tierra was discussing her “sparkle” on The Bachelor. You totally need to send her a copy of the book so she can obtain a sparkle that is envied by others! And, by the way, your hair looked great in the picture of y’all next to the books – very Raina-esque.

  3. says

    Love the picture of you and Caroline, you look beautiful, but it added to my ongoing guilt of mothering. I totally would have made my child stand rather than share a chair for two hours. (I spoil my girls in every way ,except those that would require precarious balancing on my part- ha!)

  4. says

    Thank goodness Caroline was there, otherwise you never would have gotten accosted by me in the yogurt shop :) I recognized that beautiful little girl from a mile away — I realized later the main reason I knew it was her was from the animated facial expressions and intense gesturing :) She is one of a kind & please thank her for the great pictures!

  5. Janet says

    I haven’t seen Downton Abbey. I would like to but haven’t had time to sit down and start from the beginning. I live in a house.

  6. jenny f says

    At about 2:30pm on Saturday, I was out in The Woodlands when I remembered that you were going to be in Katy. I was bummed that I missed getting there. I saw the Galleria on the news and I could not understand why it was closed down until seeing the pictures. That place is HUGE and it was packed! So glad that Bops was able to navigate you around the madness. I agree with Donna up above a few comments.. Tierra could definately learn what true sparkle is all about! (great Raina hair too).

  7. Melissa says

    Congrats on the successful book signing! I hope the line was out the door for you! And “Amen, sister!” on the fitted bottom sheet! I need to start asking that when I make reservations.

  8. Emily says

    Loved the story about poetry reading!!! I laughed so hard & may have snorted that my husband came in the room to see what my problem was.

  9. says

    I read your book this weekend and loved it just like I knew I would. Your wit and inspiration are so much fun!

    I am biding my time until I have time to watch the season finale of Downton online. From bits and pieces I’ve picked up, I know it doesn’t bode well. We shall see……

    I’m thinking Caroline would rock at the whole book signing thing! Congrats to you both.

  10. Colorado says

    What a great way to start an otherwise boring Monday morning, by reading your blog! Thanks for the laughs this morning. And you and C look so cute! Congrats again on your book.

  11. JennyJoT says

    So happy the book signing went well. By the way, your face was beautiful on that sign, and Caroline is incredibly fortunate to be a mini-you. God bless.

  12. Lauren Kelly says

    A few things:

    1. Oh my word, seriously… There is no doubt if I were in your car with you, I would have opened your door and jumped over and hitched a ride on the funnel cake truck!! No offense to you, but my funnel cake love runs that deep. HA! :)

    2. How sweet is that picture of you and Caroline.

    3. You look like you’ve been signing books all your life.

    4. I’m in complete agreement. You look gorgeous and probably have like the best hair EVER.

  13. says

    Well the hubs totally failed at comilng through with the book for vday. I asked him if he intended on still getting it…My response ended up being along the lines of WHATEVER…I think that explains him. Haha! Fine then i will order it on my kindle today!!!! Whatever makes mama smile 😉

  14. Trinna says

    Melanie, your book made me laugh and cry, just like your blog. Thank you for putting motherhood into such wonderful words! I have been hugging my 4-year old a little longer and more often since reading it. She is still in the world of princess dress-up and tricycle riding. I cried when I saw your video of Caroline looking like that. It made me remember that these days won’t last forever. And it helped me let go of the frustration that my child insists on wearing only a sleeveless dress-up gown outside when it’s 50 degrees. :-) She will live.

  15. says

    So excited for you and your book! I literally could not put it down and loved all of it. Thank you for sharing it with us!

    I totally agree on the drive from SA to Houston. I grew up in the Golden Triangle, so my drive was a little longer and a little uglier when visiting Central Texas.

  16. says

    Shut down the Galleria? I can’t even imagine that it’s possible. I remember living near the Galleria in 1995 when the Rockets swept the Magic in the Championships. Cars were stopped in the street with no moving traffic with people dancing around them with brooms in their hands. It was a sight I had never seen before. Or since.
    And yet I am still baffled by the closing of the Galleria.

  17. Anne N. says

    Happy to be one of your very, long-time blog readers. Sorry I missed seeing you in person in Katy. But I was there around 7:00 p.m. (very different night crowd at the mall) and was able to pick up an autographed copy of your book. Love that your Caroline signed it, as well.

  18. says

    I’m so glad your signing went well…how fun to share it with Caroline :)

    btw – I had a little snafu with my preorder from Amazon so went to Lifeway Friday to get my hands on a copy. I had a little trouble finding it so I asked one of the girls working there, and she said I was the third person who had asked her about it that very day – AND I snagged their last copy! She wasn’t familiar with you so was a little befuddled by all the hoopla…so I brought her up to speed on how you’re a mom & you blog & you’re great fun :) Apparently you’re well on your way to famous!

  19. says

    I think that is so fabulous that your daughter was right there with you the whole time! :) I love that.

    And I have never, NEVER heard of a mall being so full that it had to close the doors for awhile! That just blows me away. Yah. I live in Idaho. :)

  20. says

    I have been in the DEPTHS of sadness and mourning since watching the DA season finale on Friday. I’ve been a real joy for my husband to be around.

    ps. I’ll send you my address if you want to mail me an autographed book. Just sayin’. 😉

  21. lisa Tereshko says

    You crack me up! I was laughing so hard that my eyes were tearing up. I am so with you on hijacking a funnel cake truck. Thank you for the afternoon pick-me-up!

  22. Kelly C says

    Love that Caroline was with you! I also have to mention to you that you looked Adorable at the signing! Loved your hair and your outfit! Did you have on jeans or leggings with that outfit? So cute! Good luck with the book! I’m currently reading it and love it so far!

  23. Cynthia says

    I preordered your book (for my Nook), downloaded, and read last weekend. Today I bought a paper copy. When my husband questioned my dual purchase, I told him – that in the event I ran into you – I needed a copy for you to autograph. He could not debate that logic. (Actually, he could but why bother?)

    So, the book is in my purse, in case I run into you in Huntsville, Alabama.

  24. says

    Downton Abbey… hmm.. I guess I’ll have to give it a try because everyone in the world (minus myself) has watched it. And if there’s British Accents, I’m even more game. :)

  25. says

    1. What fun mother/daughter time.
    2. I feel your pain; I get carsick watching the grandbaby in his swing.
    3. WHY oh WHY do they use non-fitted sheets? And WHY must they be such tiny non-fitted sheets?

  26. Marie Greenfield says

    I just finished reading your book. It really helped me. My son will be eighteen on Friday and I was having a very hard time but your book helped me to see that it is okay to let go so that he can start his journey to becoming a man wants him to be. Thank you.

  27. Kimberly/OKC says

    Hi Melanie, hey, got a question for ya…I am not going to be able to go to the dotMOM conference like I had planned (boohoo) but I have reserved a room at the hotel where the conference is (not at the conference rate ($) however) but still REALLY convenient and there are no more rooms available at that hotel. Are you or anyone you know interested in taking the reservation before I cancel it? $159 a night. I have reserved it for two nights but the second night can be cancelled. It’s a KING CLUB FLOOR NONSMOKING which means one king bed in a suite…I think she said it has a couch/living room? Let me know…. I don’t have to cancel until 24 hours before which is Thursday at 4:00pm.

  28. says

    It IS a good thing you showered since I was all over you in our picture. Holy cow, why didn’t you tell me to scooch over a bit.

    Also, Caroline owes me an autograph.

    And I’m pretty sure I said that… “My gosh, you need another chair!” And I was like #4 in line… can’t believe y’all sat like that the whole time.

  29. says

    Thank you for not spoiling Downton Abby for me. I live under a rock so haven’t finished it yet. I still have a few episodes to go. And FUNNEL CAKES? Ohmygosh, would kill for one right now. Well, maybe not kill, but ya know what I mean…

  30. AngAK says

    Bops should plan to never visit Alaska, or maybe have someone else do the driving as there are very few “alternate routes” up here and traffic can get jammed up something awful in the summer when all those tourists are on the road to the wilderness.

  31. Ginny H says

    I finished your book today, it took me 3 days total, I loved it! So funny, REAL, heart-warming, and brought a few tears to my eyes. I’ll be following the blog!

  32. W says

    San Antonio + Houston = Buc-ees in Luling. It’s the ONLY thing that makes that trip bearable! We have to stop for the obligatory Beaver Nuggets and Root Beer or the world Just. Might. End.

    By the way, I loved your book just as much as I thought I would. Congratulations on your success! Gig’em!

  33. Heather says

    I can’t quit laughing at the poetry reading comment. Hilarious. Wish I still lived in Houston, I totally would have been there!

  34. Tara says

    Dude, I had the season finale spoiled before it even came on in my time zone. I went on FB on Sunday & boom there it was, then in the same status, “Oh yeah, spoiler alert.” I wanted to reach through the screen & slap her. So even though I hadn’t seen any of the season yet, I knew both of the major characters that die. Yay.

    I love that about Houston. That the traffic can be bad & you can plot an alternate route. You SO cannot do that here on Oahu. Traffic’s bad? Oops, either sit in it or go somewhere & wait it out because there ARE no alternate routes. Traffic here is the 4th worst in the nation. Houston doesn’t even make the list. Ugh. Not surprised about them having to shut the Galleria down. That happened back when the Super Bowl was in town. Some celebrity would get sited then everyone in town would rush down to try to see them, stupid Houstonians. I hate that place. That’s why we prefer SA. So much more chill.

  35. says

    Was in the traffic in The Galleria on Saturday with you! I knew the All-Star game was going on but didn’t realize how much traffic it would cause! I think I would’ve taken beltway 8 the LONG was around if I had known! I also wish I had know you were going to have a book signing in Katy… I would have been there!

  36. says

    I CANNOT BELIEVE I MISSED THIS!! I live all of 15 minutes from Katy Mills. Leave it to me to miss a celebrity sighting. In my defence, I was at our church building (FIVE minutes from Katy Mills), helping our elementary children serve the seniors a lunch. I know, what a pitiful excuse but it’s the only one I have. That and I didn’t read your blog late last week to know but that’s entirely beside the point.

    I’ll have to head out to BaM and see if they have any of the signed editions left. Talked to my daughter (up in north Fort Worth) and she asks me, “So, did you go out for the signing?” What signing says I – then, after finding out what I missed, promptly decended into a missed opportunity funk and decided right then and there that we HAVE to go to Beck’s Prime for dinner because I’m not in a mental state to cook. And I also have to drown my sorrows in high fat food.

    Congrats on your book – I’ll be reading it out loud to the hubz tomorrow on our way up to Fort Worth for the weekend. In a world of death and diabolical political schemes, some reality concerning childbirth, Target and navigating the murky waters of children’s activities is a welcome diversion. We are Texas proud of one of our own’s success!!