Tuesday, July 29, 2008

I Can Tell, Dolly

We're back in cool, comfortable July in North Carolina which if you know how hot it actually is in North Carolina, you'll understand why I now think South Texas is a steamy version of hell.

Dolly's eye passed about 5-7 miles north of us, which makes the hurricane sound vaguely like an out of control country singer, and if that's the image you want to take with you, so be it. I've been in tropical depressions before, but never a "real" hurricane. It rained horizontally and we saw bits and pieces of roofs, trees and hotel signs flying by us. We lost power Weds afternoon and water Wednesday night. As an aside, it's really odd to spend the entire day watching the storm approach you on TV and then, when it does hit, losing all connection to what the heck is going on outside your own window.

Wednesday was a pretty rough day, what with no power or water in Satan's sauna. Also, since we were in a hotel, we didn't have all that much food. We did make it to Wal-Mart (speaking of Satan!) on Tuesday and PB&J for dinner Wednesday night and breakfast Thursday morning. But woman cannot live on PB&J alone, so Thursday lunch we headed out into the aftermath to look for food.

One might note that not a lot of people will open their restaurants without power and water. We did find 3 places open: Church's chicken, Pizzaria Uno and a taqueria. Dave and I are one on this one: I don't care how desperate we were, we didn't travel to the south of Texas to eat Church's chicken. So we opted for the taqueria, which was honestly, REALLY GOOD. I have absolutely no idea what we ordered or how, but we ended up with about 12 beef tacos with some yummy, soup-y beans (which we were later told were charro beans). Despite the fact we were sweating profusely, it was one of our more memorable meals.

Sweating. Yeah. That is one thing I will remember about this trip. That and also being told by the hotel manager not to yell at him because he didn't turn off the electricity. Dave took over at that point, although I was shocked he said that: if he thought *that* was yelling, he better step back should anything ever happen to my son. Dave then pointed out that yes, we knew he didn't turn off the electricity, but we happened to notice that while our room had lights but no a/c, the unoccupied room across the hall from us had a/c and but no lights and this room had been cool if not actually snowing for the last 3 or 4 hours. We wanted that one. Dave got that room for us and the manager and I avoided eye contact for the next couple of days.

Until breakfast one morning, when a woman approached me asking where we were from. (People can be very friendly in a natural disaster) It was obvious we were tourist as we stood apart from the folks fleeing South Padre Island (very tanned), the rescue workers, the national guard and the insurance adjusters. She told us that she was from Harligen where they weren't expecting electricity for another week and her kids thought it was just mean to be staying in their hot, un-air-conditioned house, when. . . .she turned and smiled at her husband, the hotel manager, who agreed to let his wife and kids come stay in the air conditioned hotel until their power was turned back on.

That, my friends, is irony. Who's the crazy, hot mother yelling at you now, huh?

Ah, yes. The rest of the trip was fine. The wedding was beautiful and I got to meet my friend's friends and her husband's family, all of whom make me realize that friends pick our similar friends and so it's easy to like friends of your friends. They are obviously similar for a reason.

And Conor had a good time despite (or because of?) all the adventures. One thing is for sure, we do NOT need to worry that Conor is too shy and doesn't initiate interactions. Conor basically spent this entire trip engaging people about all the things that we were doing and trying to share with them the special parts of this world as he knows it. "Mr. Chris, did you know you can get your bathing suit on and get in the swimming pool?" "Mr. Chris, did you know my mommy can give foot massages?" "Mr. Chris, did you know I like sausage pizza?" To a girl at Burger King, "Did you know that I thought the playground would be a bus, but it's a train. You can climb and play on that train."

One might note that Conor was especially taken with Mr. Chris, a friend from Charlotte at the wedding also. Hugging him and holding his hand whenever we were out and about with Chris. And Sunday, in San Antonio at the River Walk (LOVE THAT PLACE!), Conor got all excited when we saw a pretty girl and her date behind us as we left a restaurant. He got all excited and jumped up and down and pointed them out to me. "Look, Mommy! Look!" I turned and looked at these strangers and said "Yes, I see the people behind us." Then Conor made a big production waved a big wave at the pretty girl. She smiled at Conor and us, while I just stuttered, "I think he really wants to say Hi to you."

Of course, the interaction I will never forget came on Friday when I was having lunch with the other bridesmaid and the bride. Conor and Dave stopped by to say hi and Conor told me about a girl he met on the playground: "She's a little bigger, and her name is Jennifer, too. And she is nice and she likes my strong body."


I am pretty sure that the 6 year old girl did not tell my 4 year old son that she liked his strong body, but What The F*ck? What is going on that curly little head of his that would ever prompt that thought? What is going to happen when he hits puberty.

Well, if he ends up having some strange attraction to women named Dolly, we'll have an idea of who or what to blame.

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