Sunday, March 27, 2011

On the Road Again and other LAME Roadtrip Anecdotes

For Spring Break we are headed to Texas!  This has been the plan since The Move was set in motion and solidified when our State Representative e-mailed to inform us that the Texas State Cupcake Resolution would be read on March 28th.  (The official first day of the boys Spring Break!  Perfection!) 

If you can recall, about a year ago the boys were reviewing the various state symbols.  Drew, my Foodie, asked "What is the State Cupcake?"  I doubted there was one at all.  He continued for months to inquire about the state cupcake until I finally told him we would find out.  After a quick Google search we learned that there was indeed, no state cupcake.  New Mexico, however, did have a state cookie.  The Biscochito.  We could not be bested by New Mexico and so began this odd obsession to right this wrong.  We contacted our state representatives to learn what would need to be done.  This was followed by a statewide cupcake bake-off that doubled as a fundraiser for cancer research.  In the end the boys and I (along with a small team of other great friends) raised $2600 for cancer research.  We also determined that the Berry Pecan Cupcake made by Lisa Britton of Sugar Queen Cupcakes in Plano, TX, was THE cupcake for Texas.

Senator Tommy Williams found the whole project absolutely delicious and he wrote up a resolution to the effect.  The boys were invited to be on the Senate floor of the Texas State Capital for the reading of said resolution on Monday.  An e-mail from the Senators assistant requested that the boys be at their office 10 min. prior to the beginning of the session.  She would then escort the boys to the back of the Senate until time for their resolution to be read.  At that time she would escort them to the Senate floor.  The Senator would make some comments and the boys could have pictures taken. 

"Absolutely with out exception can anyone enter the Senate floor with out a suit coat," the e-mail read.

Seriously?  I had thought it would be nice for the boys to dress up some but I was thinking more along the lines of khakis and a polo shirt.... Hm.  I tried to round some blazers up from my neighbors.  We found one but it was too big.  Aaron said we could shop for them in Dallas. 

Friday afternoon, I showed my neighbor how to care for Drake.  Poor-bub!  He knew we were leaving.  Leaving him would have been so much easier had he not.  He pouted all day, wanting to stay in his mud room.  Alone.  I finally got him out as we were leaving.  We pulled away and my eyes (I'm embarrassed to say) welled up.  Aaron glanced over at me.

"You've gotta be kidding me," he laughed.

"I know!  I'm so lame," I said, dropping my head in shame.

We picked up the boys from school and I set the tone of the trip by cranking up Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again."  (More proof that I am lame...)

In January we took a road trip to MO for a friends 40th birthday.  Drew was a Royal Turd the whole way there and back. 

"Why aren't we flying?  How much longer?  I'm bored!  I'm hungry!  Brother is looking at me!"  and of course.....*drum roll*..."ARE WE THERE YET?!"

We braced ourselves for this trip.  But Jesus was smiling on us because Drew had decided to have a "No Trouble Trip," God bless him!

"This is great Dad!  Thank you so much for taking us to Texas!  I love road trips!  Brother, would you like me to read you a story?  I'm having a great time!"  It was a forced Polly Anna but much better than the other choice.  The ubiquitous "Are we there yet?" still held it's place in the repertoire.

So why Drew and Gabe happily recorded tally marks for every red car they saw, I snuggled in and devoured "The Guernseys Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society."  Absolutely delicious novel!  Get it. Love it. Your Welcome.  When it was too dark to read, I stared out the window conjuring up my own tale of visiting London.  Alone.  Just as I was stepping out of a rented flat in a floral frock and galoshes, we arrived at our destination for the night.

"I love hotels!"  Drew shouted.

In the morning we cranked up Willie again and, indeed, got back "On the Road Again."  I grabbed my book and smiled as one of the characters began to fall in love with a quiet, responsible type.  I held the hand of my Strong-Silent one who spoke maybe 3 words the whole trip.  How?  Men.  I decided "still waters run deep" and left it at that.

As we sped along the scenery began to change to expanses of FLAT.

"Look at the green grass!"  Drew cried out.  "Look!  There are buds on the trees!  It's Spring Time here!!!" 

On we rolled.  Gabriel quietly watched his favorite History Channel documentary on George Washington and Drew continued to keep his tally on red cars.  My book ended and I shuttled my mind off to London again, this time for tea in the back of a quaint and forgotten book shop. 

Finally we made it to the Red River.  Aaron alerted us and we looked up and cheered as we crossed into Texas.  As ridiculous as it is....I cried again.  Aaron laughed and patted my knee and the kids cheered again to see the six flags over Texas that are posted just across the border.

We were to stay that night at Aaron's Aunt and Uncle's place.  I have dear, dear friends in Dallas but it had been so long since we'd seen Uncle Larry and Aunt Nancy that the choice was simple.  Plus....I needed more time with my friends then one night. 

I had called one dear one in particular because I felt I could not come into town with out her knowing it.  Last year we were both going through high stress changes in our lives.  In the throws of the move I texted her:

"I know we have agreed to retire to the same old folks home when the time comes but I regret to tell you I will most likely be committed to a Loony Bin before that time arrives."

"I might beat you to it," my friend replied.  Due to stress she had lost tons of weight and was losing her hair.  On one particular visit, I noted that she was still gorgeous despite looking like a Concentration Camp survivor with mange.  I on the other hand do not lose weight when stressed.  I gain.  Thank God I kept my hair because a bald cap on my newly rounded out figure would have had me arriving in Colorado looking like Jason Alexander.

"Well...that would work.  While our house mates watch I Love Lucy re-runs, you and I can sit in the corner rocking and eating each others hair."

"That sounds so...relaxing right now.  Sadly, I probably won't have any hair left."  She then sent me a picture of a big mass of hair that her vacuum had picked up.

"Mmmm....Yummy!" I text back.

I call this sort of friend a Lifer.  An hour with a cup of coffee would be completely insufficient with a friend like this.  In fact, I think it would wreak more havoc on the soul then do it good.  So we decided to wait until a time that we could have uninterrupted DAYS on a couch with a bottle of wine.  As we drove by my friend's exit, I touched my finger tips to the window of the car and sent prayers and thoughts her way.  I felt like Yentl.  "Papa can you hear me...?"

We finally arrived at Uncle Larry's!  Drew jumped out of the car, took a deep breathe and sighed, "Ahhhh!  Warm sun, a cool breeze, and green grass everywhere!"  You'd think we kept him holed up in a basement.  Well....

We got settled and then while Aunt Nancy prepared dinner, we decided to crank out this suit shopping thing.  First we hit Ross and Target.  Ross had nothing.  At Target we scored khaki's for Drew (Gabe already had a pair), shoes for them both and shirts.  I had not considered what they would wear under the blazers.  I guess a t-shirt?  Anywhoo, Drew also wanted a tie but I just wanted to go.  So we made our purchase and headed out to the mall.  On the way Drew campaigned for the tie.

"I want to look like a fancy Senator," he said.

"Oh!  Drew would you like to grow up to be a Senator?"

"Nope.  Still a chef."

"Of course.  Hang on to your dreams, Bug-o.  What about you Gabriel?  Would you like to be a Senator?"

"No.  I'm going to make video games.  Or movies."

"Really?  Would you like to produce or direct?"

"Which ever one is more in demand."

Aaron laughed and complimented Gabe on such a wise answer.  Ha!  That kid!

We found blazers at the mall and I about choked.  They were $60 each.  Why were there not cheap school uniform blazers anywhere?  Aaron entertained the kids elsewhere while I took the coats to the cash register, drenched in buyers remorse before having even bought them.  There I was tended to by the female version of Ben Stein of Ferris Bueller..."Bueller...?  Bueller...?"

"Do you want to purchase these separate?"  she asked nazeled and slow.

"Um...why would I do that?"  I carefully asked.  She made you feel like you had to be slow and careful too.  I wondered if she was stoned. 

"Because I have this coupon," she said as she slowly and deliberately raised a wrinkled and tattered coupon.

"Um...Sure.  Thanks."

She scanned the coat. 

Then the coupon.

"You saved $25."

"Awesome!  Thanks!"  Just then Aaron brought over two clip on ties.  "Really?"  I asked.

"They're only $2,"  Aaron said.

"OK."  Turning back to Life of the Party I asked, "Do I have to ring these up seperate from the coat in order to get the discount on the coat?"

"Nope."  Then with earnest concentration she scanned the tie.

The other tie. 

The coat.

"You saved $44."

"Wow!  Thank you so much!!"  She said nothing and slowly, so slowly, she bagged our goods.  With her coupon we essentially got the blazers at a buy one get one free!  Yea for angels!!!

On the way back to our Aunt and Uncle's, the car was silent.  I looked in the back seat.  Gabriel was reading and Drew had his eyes closed.

"Oh Baby,"  I said to Aaron, "Drew is asleep." 

"You've gotta be kidding me!"

"Nope he's asleep."  And then Drew cracked a smile.  "Oh wait...nope.  He's faking it."  With out opening his eyes he said, "No I'm not."  We all had a good laugh about that one!

Back at the house I got a call from WFAA news.  They wanted a Feel Good piece and thought the boys cupcake story was a great one.  We were to meet them in the morning at Sugar Queen Cupcakes for an interview!  The boys are so excited!  As I tucked them into bed I asked Drew, "What will you say when they ask you why you wanted Texas to have a State Cupcake?"

"Because!"  To him it was quite obvious.  "A state without a cupcake is just LAME!"

Oh my.  Part II of this adventure is sure to be a doozy!

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