No, I am not blaming a thing on the in-laws. A week's stay with 'em has proven that they are their usual cheery selves who want nothing more than for us to move into a $500,000 ranch house in their area that is smaller than the $75,000 one I grew up in in Houston - all so's we can take care of 'em in their old age. I love 'em dearly. (Okay, we're talking about Houston in 1980, but a recent listing in my former 'hood has a comparable home for only $245,000...and this listing's cost is even better. Hmmmm, wonder if the in-laws wanna move east?)
- My travel day yesterday started the day before, when we drove to the airport in San Francisco and discovered that my flight would be arriving too late in Salt Lake City for me to make my connection to Oklahoma City to see my family there for one more day before heading back home. There went those plans. We rearranged things so that I could head back home instead. The catch - I had to leave on a 6 AM flight, otherwise we would have to take three planes to get back to New Orleans. The little guy would have been thrilled, but I opted for the early morning flight. To quote my mother: "The airlines are assholes."
- Left the hotel in which the airline put us up at 4 AM and had to endure the extra security checks that come with changing your destination on a one-way ticket and checking only one bag, albeit a large, heavy one that contains loads of mom's and son's clothes. Note to TSA: My son really enjoyed that booth in which he had to be blasted by a few air jets in order to make America feel more secure - NOT. Please work on more family-friendly security checks in the very near future, okay fellas? That thing kinda freaked him out.
- Oh, how resilient the children are. The kid spies a couple of little girls waiting near our gate, sisters with braids wearing similarly colored clothes, both of them older than he is. "Mom," he nudges me, pointing out the younger of the two. "Look at her. She's beautiful," he says wistfully. He then trots over with the rest of his bagel and proceeds to chat up the older sister - presumably to try to impress the younger one, who is actually trying to nap a little and couldn't care less about his presence. It's amazing how early some of this stuff starts, folks.
- At the end of our five-plus hour flight to Atlanta, the kid takes advantage of the quiet of everybody waiting for the door of the plane to open at the gate to turn to the nine-year-old kid sitting on the other side of him and say, loud enough for half the coach class to hear: "Guess what? The Challenger space shuttle exploded!" For a few seconds there, I wanted to fall through the floor to the cargo area and run screaming down the tarmac. Most of the passengers acted like they hadn't heard anything. A couple of 'em smiled. That'll teach me to let him watch When Weather Changed History...
- The connecting flight is uneventful. The kid actually sleeps through the whole thing. My husband asks me why we took the early morning departure out from San Francisco, and I tell him I didn't want to go on three planes. "Well, he would have loved it!" Dan says, referring to the little guy. Duh.
- We head straight to Mandina's from the airport, and, after the meal, Dan discovers he doesn't quite have enough for a good tip. Neither one of us wants to leave our nice waiter with nothing, and I am forced to scrounge around in my purse for change. I come up with five bucks in nickels, dimes, and quarters, and put it in the tray. The waiter takes a look at the loads of silver on the tray and says, smiling, "Ya break open a parking meter or somethin'?" God, I love this town!
- Our friend Edie pressures us to no end to at least have dessert at The Melting Pot, which is down the street and around the corner for us. Personally, I have never been interested in fondue, ever, but Edie needs to have it, so we head over and get a chocolate turtle pot for dipping all kinds of fruit and stuff in. Over the dessert, Edie gives one of the funniest restaurant reviews I've ever heard, telling us that "I had to take a Tums immediately afterwards" when she visited a local eatery with my husband last week. I laughed uproariously, thinking that would make a great line in some publication out there. God, I love our friends, too.