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Last Wednesday to Sunday, Lydia and I went on an extended Texas tour. The trip was precipitated by several factors: in part because we needed some time off to celebrate the launch of the new logo, in part because my brother and sister-in-law provided the airfare, but mainly because we haven't seen the most wonderful niece in the world since she was a week old.
Wednesday we arrived at Love Field after an easy, uneventful flight during which we watched the majority of Episode IV with the commentary. When we landed, we went to Enterprise to pick up our ICAR that we reserved. After the shuttle ride, the overly-cheery-seems-like-a-used-car-salesperson Enterprise rep informed us that they in fact, did not have an intermediate car reserved for us. However, the force was with us, and they offered us a choice of a Dodge Neon or a "minivan." We chose the minivan, which turned out to be a Kia Sedona. Not being Kia afficionados, we were a bit worried at first, but the Kia proved to be a reliable, if underpowered ride (and kind of smelly if you left it out in the sun... but that was probably because it was a rental.) I think Lydia was won over by the six cupholders.
That afternoon, we got to visit Reganne and Michelle and had a great time. I imagine that there's always a bit of trepidation that you face when you go to visit a baby - will the good baby show up? This time, she did. We played and she pooped and ate, which is what you do at her age. Lydia and I really had fun with Michelle, and were happy that we got to give her a chance to work on a project for the house while we changed diapers and played with our niece.
Wednesday night, we rendezvoused with Mom and Dad and went to First Baptist Grapevine where I subbed in bells. Hey, it's what I do. Afterwards, the four of us and Allison and Dave went out to a new Japanese restaurant near Mom and Dad's house. Over-priced and not that great, but it was nice to be with the family.
Thursday, Lydia and I went to The Great State Fair of Texas, Thanks to Mom, we had free admission... and not because it was Senior Citizen day... that was just a coincidence. There was more gray hair than on a Princess cruise, and we were just a few wheelchairs shy of a Celebrity cruise. Just inside the gate, we got two free Corvette T-shirts from the Chevrolet booth. Lydia likes the fact that we had to go to Texas to get a T-shirt with a car made in Kentucky on it! We saw the Budweiser Clydesdales, got a slurpee, and viewed the animals and Creative Arts winners before we went to the first show. It was the Top Flight K-9's. The show was fairly entertaining, but it was also entertaining to see the massive line-up of wheelchairs, scooters and walkers along the side (remember... Senior Citizen Day?)
Afterwards, we scouted out lunch in the Tower Building. Strangely, although this is the "food court" of the fair, they didn't have corny dogs, so we had to venture to the food kiosks in front of the Cotton Bowl to secure one (behind a slew of senior citizens... none of whom seem to be being carded when they ordered their beers.) Of course, at the fair, there are food stands every three inches, each offering the most unimaginable thing dipped in batter and fried. The most adventurous I got was the Frozen Key Lime Pie Dipped in Chocolate On A Stick.
After lunch, we walked the midway and rode the Texas Star ferris wheel. At $5.50 a ride, it isn't cheap, but it is definitely memorable! This sucker is HUGE, tiny Elvis. You get great views of downtown Dallas on up to Richardson, and of course, all of Fair Park.
Our final event of the day was the "Birds of the World" show. This show is put together by Natural Encounters who, it turns out, puts on pretty much every bird show at every amusement park in America that has one. Their big things are conservation, no "stunts" for the birds (only natural behaviors,) and John Denver. The coolest part of the show was when they released a bird from one of the cars on the Texas Star and it flew all the way to the stage. I know... it sounds lame... but it's really cool when you see it in person. Highly recommended.
That night, John, Michelle and Reganne came over for dinner with Mom, Dad and us. We kept the golden child while her parents went out for a couple of hours. We had lots of fun rolling her up in her blanket like a baby burrito.
Friday, we took our time and drove to Austin via Waco, where we ate lunch at Ninfa's, one of the best Mexican chain restaurants around. That afternoon, we met up with Jason and Erin and hung out until dinner when we met Giles, Jennifer and Sarah and our friends, Nathan and Tauna (sorry, this is the best that I could do for a link... scroll down about halfway... you guys need a web page!), who have just moved to Austin after living in Nashville for a year. We had a blast eating at Kerbey Lane Cafe and then going out to Mozart's afterwards, ending up at Giles and Jennifer's staying up half the night with the girls playing dressup with Sarah and the guys arguing Apple and finally all being regaled with Giles's collection of movie shorts.
Saturday, we slept late, and then visited some more with Jason and Erin. Jason's almost on board with the switch to Vonage so that he can slash his phone bill. They drove us to lunch in Erin's new ride at another of our favorite non-Nashville restaurants, Souper Salad.
That night, we went to John, Michelle and Reganne's house to play with el niece-o one more time. We went out to dinner at Pei Wei and then visited Target. Lydia carried Reganne around Target because normally Reganne just gets to count the ceiling tiles when she goes to the store. She was soaking it alll in. She is one of the most contemplative babies I've ever met - she really likes to study your face, and can stare you down!
Sunday morning, we got up at the crack of yesterday, returned the car, and flew back to Nashville. The best part of getting back was getting our car from Fly Away. They had it pulled up and running with the trunk open when we got off the shuttle. Highly, highly recommended.
The whole trip was over too soon, and we had the most amazing fun time. Now that we're back, we have the memories to share, and we have more experiences to share with our friends back here in Nashville. Life is good!