Two Day Vaca | Houston, TX

1:59 PM

The rain is still coming down. I don’t know how many days in a row that it has been raining here in Arkansas, but it feels like foooorreeeevver (dear little nieces who are reading this blog entry, that is not really how you spell ‘forever’). This isn’t just normal rain. Sometimes the skies turn dark in the middle of the day and then the thunder rolls majestically and the lightning flashes and the electricity flickers. If one is driving, the road nearly disappears in front of you.

Maybe it’s a little boring to talk about the weather, and I’d rather remember sunnier times anyway, so instead, I’m gonna share about our fun little two-day vaca last week to Houston. Actually, it was only a two-day vaca for me, because Brandon spent his time doing “Welcome, Interns!” events for his company. No complaining though. We got to stay in a swanky hotel, and basically just bought my plane ticket and my food and I got to hang out in the hotel all day. Most of Brandon’s intern events happened in the hotel banquet areas so he’s stop in to the room throughout the day and give me free stuff that he won. It was great!

My travel started SUPER early (think 3:00 am) because my flight left at 6:00am and I had to finish up packing, be driven over to Little Rock and dropped off at the airport. Brandon had a direct flight with the group of Arkansas interns (paid for by his company), but we decided to save some $$ by choosing the cheapest flight with a layover in Dallas. The only thing memorable about my first flight was the lady next to me asking what kind of water the flight attendant would give out. I mean, how many kinds of water could there possibly be? But anyways, short layover in Dallas = everything bagel/cream cheese + chocolate milk for a snack. I know, that’s a silly-sounding snack…. I like dairy, and ummm, it had been a long time since my 4:00 am breakfast.

The second flight from Dallas to Houston gave me a slight headache because I happened to be sitting in between a boss and his employee, who proceeded to entertain me for an hour straight with funny stories. I didn’t mind the conversation --- they were nice folks with nice Tennessee accents, but there’s something about the social necessity of keeping a smile on your face for so long. It can strain one’s face muscles and give a headache. Also, I was hungry again (THE BABY IS HUNGRY EVERY TWO HOURS. FEED ME). lol :D

Arrived at the hotel via free hotel shuttle. Did I mention I was hungry? Brandon’s flight wouldn’t arrive for 2 1/2 more hours, so I needed to kill some time before checking in. Went to the hotel restaurant and ate an expensive, yet amazingly delicious Texas Burger. Because eating Texas burgers in Texas is just a good idea. Also, I ate a salad, because it’s healthy. I wish I had more interesting things to talk about than food, but… I don’t. :P Then I found a really comfy couch in the lobby and curled up with my Sherlock Holmes book to wait for Brandon’s arrival.

I think there was a nap sometime that afternoon. #napsareawesome

Did I mention that it is HOT in Houston? And I LIKED IT?! I’ve never been much of a pool person--- I think I’ve put my swimsuit on like two times in the last three years… and that was for a hot tub, in the winter. (This is also hilarious, considering that my parents own a swimming pool company.). I think it’s because I spent all my time inside air-conditioned offices and going outside in the heat didn’t sound fun.
But let me tell ya, hanging out at a deserted hotel pool in the middle of HOT Texas day? That’s great! Steaming weather and cool water are the perfect combination. Yes, I wore sunscreen. That’s what responsible adults do. :D

This was Wednesday and Brandon was in workshops all-day-long, so I amused myself by going to the pool, reading and eating at the hotel restaurant. Dining alone is quite interesting. I learned a lot about the folks sitting around me. Two gentlemen discussing sales to my left, a gaggle of business-women giving menu suggestions directly in front of me, and a pair of women who seemed to be discussing a partnership in business AND ministry on my other side. I couldn’t quite figure out that one, but I finished my cup o’ decaf coffee before they were done so I just had to walk away wondering. Hey, at least they were passionate!

More Sherlock Holmes. And Brandon won a gift card to! On Wednesday evening, Brandon eschewed the (optional) intern dinner at a seafood restaurant to stay in and order room service with me. It was woooooonderful. See our dessert! WONDERFUL. I’m pretty sure that fudgy brownies & ice cream are among my favorite desserts on the planet.

The next morning saw me at the pool again…. dude, it’s hot in Houston. Even at 9:30 am! (The Pennsylvanian in me is quite impressed).

The afternoon was all travel-fun. A free airport shuttle ride to the airport where one of my fellow riders commented that I was certainly traveling light! It’s true – I had a purse and a backpack. Brandon had the big suitcase. One of the perks of marriage. :D I made it to the airport, through the looooong TSA line (I prefer doing airport security at 5:00 am, because it takes like 5 minutes!) and to my airport gate. Where I sat on the floor because there were no chairs available and consoled myself with this.

I hashtagged this as #lonelyeating on instagram, and spent my time texting Brandon about what I was eating and why. “dear Brandon, I miss you. So I’m eating Sour Patch Kids.” :D

We used the time that we were in Houston to get our car’s brakes repaired. Since we only have one car here, it takes a little creativity to get things done. Consequently, I had to get a taxi ride from the airport to our little apartment. The taxi driver was a nice little older man and quite the talker --- and I didn’t mind a bit, because he answered all my burning questions about Arkansas. What are those questions, you may be asking?

Are there really hot springs in Hot Springs, Arkansas? The taxi driver laughed at me for this one, but I thought it was a fair question. Cities get named things for all sorts of weird reasons, so I didn’t want to assume that there were hot springs if there weren’t! But there are! Apparently, people go there for the nice hot mineral bathhouses and it’s quite refreshing. Interesting.

Why do trees grow in the middle of lakes around here? I asked this question quite abruptly because we were driving by the lake where the trees just grow up out of the water. Not the edges of the lake, the MIDDLE of the lake! It’s one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen. Anyway, Taxi-Driver-Man says they are cypress trees and they just grow that way, but also don’t hang out under those trees in a boat, because the water moccasin snakes like to fall out of the trees. THIS IS VERY GOOD TO KNOW.

And so ended my two-day vaca.

Man, I’m glad to be “home.”

Now I’m gonna go thump-thumping down the stairs to change the laundry. :D

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