Texas 2014

I saw my first 85 mph speed limit sign on August 2nd in Texas. I said, “Eighty-five miles an hour? No, thank you!” I can barely hold it together at 70 mph. Late that afternoon we checked into our bed and breakfast in a Greek revival home in downtown San Antonio. Upon entering the house and seeing the dark woodwork with the elegant furniture, Roman said, “Mom, I bet you five bucks that if I asked you to upgrade our house to this, you would say no.” (He’s right.) A little later he said, “Wow, this is amazing,” and still later, “Man, you gotta love a bed and breakfast.” I think he could get used to luxury!

The boys were at their happiest when they were watching Phineas and Ferb on Netflix while drinking the Coke and Sprite they got out of the small refrigerator in our room. You would think that was the only reason they took this trip: to watch Netflix and drink pop, something they can do at home.

Our first meal in San Antonio was at Tito’s, a Mexican restaurant down the road from the B&B. I discovered that authentic Mexican food is not as spicy as Tex Mex. It was a pleasure to be able to eat without tongue pain! Ironically, the boys ordered cheeseburgers, which were delicious.

On August 3rd we enjoyed our first breakfast: fruit compote, blueberry pancakes, and sausages. The innkeeper alternates between sweet and savory breakfasts, and each day there is a story about how the recipe came about. I ate my fruit and Roman’s; my pancakes and Julian’s. I can’t keep that up! At least we walked some every day. 

When the housekeeper was making the beds, she lifted up my son’s pillow and found a kleenex graveyard: about 15 rumpled up kleenexes under the pillow. She said, “Whoa, Mr. Sneeze-a-lot!” We told the kid to pick up his kleenexes, but the lady said, “Don’t worry about it,” and quickly picked them up with her bare hands. I think he was sufficiently embarrassed because he didn’t leave used kleenex under his pillow again the whole week.

We took a bus tour of San Antonio; went to a wax museum and a mirror maze, which made Roman dizzy; had a picnic of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches downtown; and took a long hot walk through the market square. I would have liked to shop, but I know the boys would have lynched us if we had, so we just walked through it and back “home.” 

The wax museum was creepy, of course. The worst part was the horror section with the hanging body bags, and it was made worse when somebody cropdusted and I had no choice but to walk through the cloud. Roman’s favorite part was the display of Jesus’ passion week. He said it was “intense.”

The best part of the day was the cave tour we took in the evening. The whole park was beautifully landscaped. It was easy to forget you were in a hot, dry place with all the greenery around us. I thought the cave would be chilly, so I made everyone take a jacket, but with the humidity, it was warm. The warmth increased when the walk up became strenuous. 

The boys bought souvenirs. It was so cute and so typical of each of them: Julian bought himself a keychain that said “The Boss.” Then when Roman paid for his own keychain, he dropped all his disorganized dollar bills all over the floor. There isn’t much that kid does neatly. 

Julian had a little case of swimmer’s ear. He was talking unnecessarily loud, and every time someone said something, he would say, “WHAT?” 

On August 4 we went to Splashtown, a water park like White Water, but not as nice. We saw a cockroach and some hair in the wave pool. But in spite of the grossness, we had a great time. My cheeks hurt from smiling so much. The only reason we got out of the water was because a certain little redhead needed more sunscreen. The boys did not want to get out, but as soon as they did, they realized how tired they were and were ready to go home. We went to an Italian restaurant because our innkeeper, admittedly a foodie, recommended their pizza (but nothing else). The pizza was definitely worth it. And we ate and slept very well after a day in the sun.

On August 5 we saw the Alamo movie at the IMAX theater and then toured the Alamo. It was much smaller than I thought it would be. But I learned a piece of history, even if it was about 30 years late.  Julian was irate with his father for making him put sunscreen on. He emerged from his sunscreen application experience scowling, with his hair sticking up and his face redder than his hair. He complained all the way to the museum about walking in the sun: “You don’t care about me at all! You need to start caring about me!” Rick rolled his eyes, and I could hardly control my laughter. Julian yelled, “Stop laughing!” I stopped. Then he screamed, “Stop laughing in your mind!” He did not calm down until we hit some air conditioning and he could sit down and rest. 

Grandma joined us that afternoon. After eating some leftovers and resting, we went to Villita to look at the artists’ work. We went to Tower of the Americas. I liked the view and we were going to eat appetizers at Happy Hour, but we left because it was crowded and dizzying. Instead Grandma treated us to dinner at a BBQ restaurant. The place was nothing fancy, but the meat tasted good! We walked on the Riverwalk, then watched a movie with popcorn and brownies, compliments of the B&B. 

We started August 6 with a boat tour of the Riverwalk, then we visited the museum of Texan cultures. I was museumed out by then, but I did enjoy the string- and fabric-making demonstration by an elderly lady. When she finished demonstrating how to turn cotton into string, she said, “Well, you can’t just wear a string,” and she showed us how to weave that string into fabric. 

We walked to the Market Square to shop. My mother-in-law is a good shopping buddy – she enjoys it instead of complaining like the boys do, so I bought a few things. We had dinner at Mi Tierra. It was the best Mexican food I’ve ever eaten. I loved my chalupas. The place was loud and garishly decorated, with shiny, colorful pinatas hanging on the ceiling and lights everywhere. There was nothing muted about the place. Like a grownups’ Chuck E. Cheese. We were just glad the Mariachi band didn’t come to our table. After dinner, Grandma bought the boys dessert at the Mexican bakery. They had the pastries my grandmother used to buy us when I was little! I watched a street magician perform, then we walked back on the Riverwalk, when the heat finally lifted. I enjoyed the luxury of pound cake with lemon drizzle at the Bed and Breakfast, that I got from a crystal dish in the  entry. I miss that. Nobody bakes for me at home 🙂

On August 7 we went to the art museum to see the Matisse exhibit, then to the Witte museum of natural history. Julian woke up a prairie dog and we watched it crawl through its artificial underground tunnels. Then we felt like we couldn’t hold any more information in our heads, and we let the boys chill in the room, watching TV with their favorite beverage in hand. After pizza for dinner, Rick and I had a little date on the Riverwalk, to say “goodbye” to it. We spent Friday and Saturday at Grandma and Grandpa’s house, where the boys played with their Texas cousins and we got ready for the long drive home.