I’m sitting in a hotel room in Houston with an exhausted little girl curled up right next to me. Even though we’re in a king size bed, she feels the need to snuggle up as close to me as she can. And, honestly, I’m not complaining.
We’ve already had such a good time this week and we still have two more days of BIG FUN left on the calendar. I mean, sure, some kids are spending their Spring Break at more exotic locales such as Winter Park, Disney World or the McDonald’s Playplace on San Pedro, but I hope Caroline will always remember the Spring Break she spent eating a cup of turkey noodle soup in the dining room of a retirement community or those precious moments we spent perusing the dollar aisle at Target. Who needs snow skiing when you can buy a pack of twenty Easter-themed pencils for $1.00?
Anyway, we left Bryan yesterday morning. We’d planned to go to an Aggie baseball game while we were there but it decided to rain ALL DAY LONG which meant we had to alter our original plans. So instead of Aggie baseball fun, we went and ate lunch with Nena at the retirement community and ultimately ended up at Post Oak Mall where Gulley and I let the kids bungee jump for $7.00 a pop until we realized that we were going to run out of money long before they ran out of energy.
On Monday night, Honey had a big birthday party for Big and the entire Bryan family showed up. And I feel like I need to explain a little bit for those of you who haven’t had countless hours of your life to waste combing through my archives. Gulley and I met a long, LONG time ago when we were both students at Texas A&M. Since she grew up in Bryan, we spent a lot of time with her family. Because you know what college kids love more than just about anything? Besides cheap beer? A place to eat a delicious home-cooked meal and a washer and dryer where you can do your laundry without stockpiling quarters for weeks on end.
In fact, there may have even been a summer where I just moved into her parents’ house because it seemed to make more sense than driving over there every single day. And I think it speaks volumes about what kind of people they are because they let me. And they fed me. And they took me in and made me their own.
Or maybe the whole thing was like the movie “What About Bob?” But I choose not to examine that too closely.
Anyway, the whole family was over for Big’s birthday. I ended up sitting next to Nena and somehow we got into a discussion about obituaries. I’m not really sure how it happened, but it seems to be a popular topic among the senior set. She told me she has a friend who is a former beauty queen and she’s been writing her own obituary for years because she doesn’t feel like anyone else will do her justice. And, apparently, she occasionally calls Nena and reads her the latest version of the obituary. Because that is totally normal.
Nena leaned in and whispered to me, “Oh she goes on and on about how she was a drum majorette and a former Miss Fort Worth County and a Kappa Alpha Sweetheart Queen and the homecoming queen at her high school. But she never mentions A WORD about how she’s been married FIVE TIMES.”
In all fairness, that’s a lot to work in to one obituary.
So now we’re in Houston.
We arrived about noon yesterday and met my friend Amanda and her kids for lunch at a Mexican restaurant because she and I share a love of the Mexican food. I’m a little sad to report that Caroline won the honor of spilling her entire Shirley Temple even though she was the oldest kid at the table. I blame it on her obsession with the maraschino cherries in the bottom of the glass. She will not rest until she’s dug out every single last one of them and semi-destroyed my serenity in the process.
After we cleaned up the Shirley Temple, we left our peaceful, relaxing lunch and let the kids ride their scooters to the park so they could play for a while. Later on, after Caroline and I had arrived at the hotel, Amanda texted me to let me know that Jackson was so worn out that he’d fallen asleep on the couch and said she hoped Caroline wasn’t too tired from the big afternoon.
I looked at Caroline from the spot where I’d collapsed into a chair and watched her jump up and down on the hotel bed repeatedly before I texted Amanda back and reported that, sadly, our excursion didn’t really have the same effect on my child because she has some sort of condition that causes her to never, EVER, get tired of all the constant moving.
We went to eat dinner at El Meson in the Rice Village. If you’ve never been there and you live in Houston, then I highly recommend it. It’s a combination of Cuban food and Mexican food which will probably be the culinary choice of Heaven.
And now I have to go to bed because we have two more days ahead of us and this might be the Spring Break that kills me.
In which case, I really need to start working on my obituary.