Where have I been?
Well, for a while, anyway. We got back in town Sunday PM, late. Yesterday my wife was off, her last vacation day, so she slept late and then we went to a movie and ate at Cici’s. Saw the Narnia movie. It was ok. Kids loved it. Today it’s back to the bump and grind.
Before the Trip:
We got out of town late Thursday. Reason? My Brother, whom I am NOT HAPPY WITH, ran off back to his place up north. He could have stayed. Everything in his life comes before family. Mom needed him here. I was counting on him being here while we took the kids on the trip. When he bugged out it left me with a dilemma. Go or stay with mom?
She was not having a good time, of course, but she was on the upswing, so said all the drs and nurses. “Just takes time,” they said. My sister who lives here said to go, they’d keep a close watch. The nurse said she’d be well taken care of and needed rest. I sat with mom for a few hours and decided we should go ahead and take the kids. It would be the last time we could escape for the summer; probably for the whole year. They needed the trip. So did my wife. So, in the late afternoon we left.
Priceline is our rescue. With a bit of jiggling I’ve always managed to get us a great room at a very cheap rate. This time we went a little higher than we usually do because we wanted more luxury and a pool. There are no guarantees on priceline. What we got was $45 a night at the Hobby Marriott, rack rate $400. They were nice enough to let us have double beds. And what beds! Comfy!
I have concluded, since we’ve stayed in some of the ritziest digs for peanuts, that I’m not stupid enough to be wealthy. I mean, really. The higher the room rate, the fancier the place, the more a hotel gouges guests for the simplest stuff. A couple years ago we stayed in a five-star which somehow we got for around $40, I think. It is called the Doral, north of Forth Worth. The nitpicking prices were so absurd it made me mad. I’m not sure why, but it did. I still have the $5 bottle of WATER! Same Ozarka you could get across the street at a convenience store for a buck and a half. That place had a whole list of goodies in a refrigerator with prices you wouldn’t believe.
Check out the list at left. These prices are for teensy little packages and are 3 years old. They’d probably be double this time.
At this Marriott there was a $4 water bottle, just a one-liter, in the bathroom. The internet connection was $13/day. Doral had the Net for ten bucks. Inflation hits even the dumbest, huh? Why pay incredible rates for a motel and then pay for everything separate? Oh, by the way, a hamburger, about the cheapest menu item, was almost ten bucks in the restaurant. Thank heavens there was complimentary coffee in the room!
This was one of those trips that we didn’t know exactly what we were going to do until we did it. No planning. So, Friday we got up late. We had breakfast at Kelly’s, a Houston tradition that has some of the most incredible food in town. I mean, the biscuit served with my breakfast was bigger than an average hamburger bun. My wife had the chicken-fry and it was a good 12″ across! Huge! And delicious. A tad bit pricey but for the bucks it is well worth it. And the menu is extensive, too.
If you want more on Kelly’s, check out the article I wrote:
After Kelly’s we drove down to Galveston. My wife was pilot–a rare privilege–so I got to gawk. We didn’t do anything. Didn’t even get out except once to go into the visitor’s center and once I got out to wet my feet in the surf. Couldn’t go to Galveston without doing that. Nobody could come up with anything they wanted to do in particular so we drove back up to Kemah to the Boardwalk.
The Boardwalk is not a bad place to take the kids if you have plenty of dough. Like every other tourist trap in America the prices are WAY too high. $325 for a coke? I’ll pass. The ice-cream place up in the little shopping area has cokes for a buck ten so that is better. The rides are fairly hight but a few of them won’t break a budget. The view from the boardwalk is pretty cool. All the restaurants are ridiculously high. We figured that if we ate the cheapest stuff on the menu at the Aquarium Restaurant we would spend more than visiting the Houston Aquarium or Moody Garden! Screw that. We picked up some snack food on the way back to the motel for less than the ten-dollar burger at the restaurant.
We did less on Saturday. Family went swimming. I piddled. I am not much on swimming. Don’t see the fun in splashing around in a pool of water. Kids and wife enjoyed it and the trip was for them, anyway. I piddled around. Drove to a Wal-Mart to get a disk reader to get the pics off the Kodak camera. Forgot the cable! Then I argued with the crappy rental notebook. Then I joined the family on the motel patio next to the pool for some snacks.
In the afternoon we drove down towards NASA with the idea to see a movie at a dollar cinema but we missed the showing. Wound up at a mall. Had dinner there, assorted junk food from the food court. Then back to the room.
Sunday we worked our way back home by stopping at stores along the way: Fry’s, Dillard’s Outlet (My wife has a card!), Deerbrook Mall, dinner at Pancho’s and then Half-priced books. Got a couple books on Buddha. Then we headed home. Trip over.
If I have any purpose at all it is to be a part of and leader of this family. I don’t know how well I’m doing, maybe not all that good, but we’re certainly growing together as a family. This trip was a great experience. Though there are always things to fuss about and one or the other act like a kid, we all had a great time, I believe.
On the way into Galveston we were listening to an oldies station and all sang together. It was really cool. The kids got to play and we all rode a few rides at Kemah. My wife and oldest got on a thing called Pharoe’s Fury, something like that, a big swinging thing. The guy let them ride twice for some reason. Both times my wife really had fun, waving and shouting. My oldest and son rode a ride called The Aviator, seats that swing high. My daughter said they were praying! Ha!
Whatever life may throw in our way we’re continually growing together. I really could have taken or left the trip itself but the time with the family was priceless.
Today we cleaned house. My mom isn’t doing very well so we’re off to see her in the PM. She is kind’of up and down, doing good a while and then not. Her problem now is that she can’t seem to hold food down. Doctors don’t know why. They put a tube in her stomach again, third time, and my sis says she had an MRI. No results yet. A kidney removal operation is a big, big deal to someone her age.
This week we’ll do work around here. I have loads of projects. Fun.
Pics from the vacation to follow when I get around to loading them.
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