Oh wow. As I write this, it is the night before my landline (non-digital phone line) is supposed to be connected. I hope to dear god that I'm able to get online using the crappy goodness of a dialup modem.
(UPDATE: Thank you dialup! I hate your incredible slowness, but heck, it's better than nothing!)
I had my doubts as to the rationale that this computer was just too ancient to run the cable internet. Until I started writing this that is. I'm writing this on Notepad. Because there is NO Microsoft Office of any version on this piece o'junk. Yikes.
Switching gears now! How did the trip go you might ask? Let me break it down for you day-by-day. If you're not a fan of long rambling entries, or suffer from some sort of attention span deficit keep on clickin' my friend!
Saturday, July 1: We rented a 16' Penske truck from our local lessor of Penskes and spent the remainder of the day filling it with our assorted boxes, craptacular couch, and various items of particle-board-put-together furniture.
Here you can see me and Chunky showing off our massive guns from loading the truck:
Thank god we got a 16' truck. The guy at the truck rental place tried to talk me down to a 12 footer in the name of saving money, but there's no way all of the shit from Apartmiento De Bezzie would have fit in a 12' truck!
Sunday, July 2: We said goodbye to our lovely Lansing apartment complex and posed for some more cheesey pictures in front of the complex sign.
Oh how I'll miss spruce trees.
Then we hit the road. The Mad Scientist drove the truck; me, Chunky, and the katzes, Squeaky and Springs, drove in my car. The first night we made it all the way to Sikeston, Missouri. Best part of this day? The look on Chunky's face when we crossed the Mississippi--I love my child, he's so easily amused. (However I must admit I was equally as delighted by the Mississippi almost six years earlier to the day when The Mad Scientist and I drove over it on our way from Colorado to Michigan.) The worst part of this day? Springs. Springs is some type of Bengalese knock off of a cat. I think the girl who gave him to me actually paid money for him. I love cats, don't get me wrong, but there's no way I'd pay for one. Apparently his breed of cat is known for being extremely vocal. Imagine low pitched yowls coming from shotgun every 20 seconds. I was able to placate Squeaky by turning on a steady stream of NPR. The talk seemed to soothe here. It soothed Springs a bit as well--except that every time I'd call The Mad Scientist to see where he was on the road or to warn him of wrong turns I had made and things to avoid on the road, that goddamned cat would start yowling at the top of his lungs as if to say "I can't see you, but I can hear you bitch! Now let me outta this damn carrier!" Gah!
We spent the night at the Days Inn of Sikeston. It was the first of three Days Inns we'd stay at the whole trip. They're cat friendly and cheap. And we didn't have to share a bed with Chunky. After a trip to Chicago three years ago with Chunky in a tiny hotel room with one double bed, my fear was that we would find ourselves having to sleep with that little wiggleworm.
Monday, July 3: From Sikeston we traveled to Memphis, Tennessee. It was only a three to four hour trip. This was intentional, we wanted to get to Memphis and find a hotel to check into and go check out Graceland. We lucked out and found a GREAT Days Inn kitty-corner to Graceland. It was only $125 a night and according to the clerk we were lucky we checked in as early as we did (about noon). The Mad Scientist had tried to convince me earlier that we wouldn't be able to check in that early in the day. Ha ha!
From there we hit some cheesey Elvis souvenier shops where I bought postcards for everyone. Especially my sister T.
she's dying to go to Graceland--but I beat her there. Sort of.
As you can see, we did go there---
However, the line to take the mansion tour was two to two and a half hours long. Oh and did I mention the line was outside (in the shade) but it was still 95+ degrees outside? Um yeah. I love the King and all, but I don't love him *that* much! I'm just thankful we missed the damn Japanese Prime Minister. If George Bush had been at Graceland shutting it down with all his secret service shit, my application papers to become a Canadian citizen would be being processed right now.
While Graceland and seeing the King's home was my main reasoning for spending a leisurely day in Memphis, the boys had different ideas.
Chunky wanted to get in the pool--despite the fact he can't swim. We got into Sikeston too late for him to play in the pool there so he insisted on going in when we got to Memphis.
Can you tell it's a guitar shaped pool? The whole hotel was kitschy like that--Chunky even met Elvis!
Well ok, his plastic dummy double--close enough.
The Mad Scientist's request was that we go to a barbeque joint. He wanted real honest-to-goodness Memphis barbeque. So, taking a page out of the $40 A Day philosophy--he asked the hotel clerk where we could find some good barbeque. She gave him directions to go straight up the road and presented him with a 10% off coupon for Marlowe's--a local barbeque joint.
And of course I had to have him snap a picture of me and Chunky in front of the giant Pig Trailer the restaurant had!
My god, it was delicious food. The Mad Scientist had a 1/2 rack of ribs, coleslaw and the best damn potato salad I think I've ever eaten (I had to sneak a bite!). Chunky just had chicken fingers and fries--sadly they didn't have much of a kids' menu and he didn't want to split a sandwich with me. I had a fried catfish sandwich with a side of coleslaw. Holy crap. I haven't had catfish since I used to go to lunch with all the southern military wives when I worked on base in Alaska. This was ten times better.
After dinner we decided to continue up
to see where the road took us--if you keep going straight you won't get lost right? After a while we started getting into a seedy looking part of town, so we decided to turn around. The Mad Scientist spotted a watertower that read: "Southaven--The Top of Mississippi" What do you know? We drove to Mississippi after dinner! Ha ha! I guess we didn't realize how close to the Mississippi border we were in Memphis. When you drive through literally five states in two days location becomes one big blur. So I'm proud to cross Mississippi off my "states I've been to" list!
Tuesday, July 4: We left Memphis relatively early as we had to cut across Arkansas and we wanted to make it to Waco, Texas.
Arkansas was freaking gorgeous. Now normally when I think of Arkansas I think of hillbillies, the Klan, and people living ideologically 50 years behind the rest of the country. I don't think of rolling hills and green trees.
We even drove through Hope, Arkansas--birthplace of the first president I was ever able to vote for--Bill Clinton!
It was starting to rain and I was driving, but I got this great pic--ha ha!
We stopped for lunch at a McDonalds in Texarkana. We had been watching the Food Network in our hotel in Memphis and "Unwrapped" had an episode about cafeterias. They spotlighted a cafeteria in Texarkana right off the interstate. I tried to follow the sign to get there, but couldn't find it. So Old McDonalds it was (this is what Chunky calls it!)
A few miles between Texarkana and Dallas I hear Chunky moaning in the backseat. I ask him if everything is okay to which he grimaces and replies "Yeah."
Five minutes later I hear what I thought was a burp and smell, that's right, you guessed it, vomit. SIGH. So I pull over at the next gas station and pretty much strip the kid naked to his underoos and make him put on a pair of dirty clothes from the day before (it was the second to the last day of our trip and I had only budgeted him out so many clothes for the actual trip!). I don't own my car yet, and as such, I'm pretty anal about what touches the back seat. I've got a towel lining the seats that Chunky doesn't occupy to protect it from stains, mud, sand, and whatever else that kid tracks in. Do you think the vomit could have hit any of that towel? No. It must have been special upholstery-seeking vomit.
We went into the gas station and I made him go to the bathroom and wash up and we bought a can of Glade airfreshner. Imagine it. It's 90 something degrees out so you can't roll down the car windows (the air conditioner is the only thing that will cool down the car in that heat), the sun is beating down into your car helping bake-in the smell of barf laced with Glade "Country Meadow." On the plus side, I tried going out to lunch with Chunky this past Saturday and he refused to go to McDonalds because he's convinced it will make him sick. Hee hee!
Driving through Dallas on the Fourth of July was a stroke of brilliance. We had thrown around stopping north of Dallas and going through it on Wednesday morning--but decided that the traffic would be minimal on July 4 with no one working. For once we were right about something traffic related.
The vomit incident caused The Mad Scientist to pass us on the road to Waco. It's a good thing it all happened like that. Right outside of Waco I finally caught up with The Mad Scientist in the Penske. I figured I'd just tail him to Waco (he hated when I did this, but I figured it wouldn't be for that far). About 10 miles outside of Waco the sky opened up and the most horrible rainstorm I have EVER driven in was unleashed upon us. Thank god I was behind The Mad Scientist because the dumbass didn't have his lights on (he later explained "Well the lights come on automatically when I drive, I thought that meant I didn't have to turn them on.") But little did he realize that when you don't turn your lights on and just use those automatic lights that come on when you start the truck up---you don't have your back tail lights illuminated. Any dumbass could have rearended him and it would have more than likely been his fault for not driving with his full lights on. (This same thing happened during a large incident of fog in Lansing that caused like a 200 car pileup and killed 2 people a few years ago--people thought that if their running lights were on, their tail lights were on--wrong!) We both white-knuckled it into Waco driving about 10 miles per hour on the interstate. It was insane. But we made it safe and sound to our third and final Days Inn.
Wednesday, July 5: Finally! San Antonio!! We got to our apartment complex at 1:00 p.m. I spent the next hour filling out more paperwork. If you are going to put an application online, please put the REAL application online. God, the paperwork I filled out was much more extensive than the online application. Talk about a pain in my ass. Then we came to find out that they weren't expecting us until July 6. I could have killed the girl behind the desk. As it ended up all we had to do was wait until 4:30 p.m. until we could occupy our apartment.
So we all (both cats and The Mad Scientist) piled into my car and drove around for a bit. We located my new office, ate lunch, and somehow killed two and a half hours. The cats weren't doing so well in the heat. Even though we were taking them out of their carriers to de-stuffify them, Springs was panting. Gah, you don't realize how stinky your cat's breath is until he's panting in your car. Poor annoying bastard.
But finally at 4:30 we were able to pull the Penske up to the apartment and get the cats out first and foremost (cranked up the A/C for them and gave them a big bowl of water) and start unloading our shit.
Stay tuned next time where I will describe our first half-week in San Antonio as a real family before The Mad Scientist left to go back to Lansing, my description of our humble new abode, my impressions of San Antonio and Texas in general, my new job and coworkers, and what the hell, I might even mention some knitting. I guess this is technically a knitting blog right??