Sunday, September 28, 2008

Home again, home again, jiggity-jog...

Well, it's been a very long and tiring birthday. THO woke me up... the BEST way (and what that was never you mind!), and then let me find my present, which was a new iPod shuffle to replace the OLD iPod shuffle. YAY!!

Then, after a bout of nerves, we got everybody cleaned up, dressed, and loaded into the minivan for the trip to Houston.

First thing I have to say about THO when going on a road trip is... he hates to make "unscheduled" stops (meaning any stop that isn't on his mental road trip plan), which makes me alternately want to laugh, or grab him by the throat and shake him. Because, really, dude, when you have kids, frequent stops is a reality, especially if you have a little boy who has apparently inherited his Grand-Daddy's small bladder.

I will say the Buckees just outside of Luling is astonishing. The women's restroom is HUGE and... I dunno why, but for some reason, it made me think of a living room. *is puzzled and disturbed*

Anyhow, we only made it as far as Flatonia before THO decided we needed to eat, then after that, we made pretty good time. THO managed to get past the Impossible Son's asking, "Where are we?" and "Are we there yet?" by getting him to read the mileage signs every single time they popped up. "Look, Little Man, what does that sign say?"

"Ummmm... Houston... 95 miles!"

Twenty minutes later. "There's another one, Bubba, what does it say?"

Impossible Son, getting a little annoyed: "It says Houston, 91 miles. And I don't want to read those signs any more, Papa."

Twenty minutes later. "Hey look, Mr. Manzie! What does that sign say?"

Frowning. "It SAYS Houston 84 miles... can I stop reading the signs now?"

(by the way, the miles and timespans are guesstimates off the top of my sleepy head)

THO made him read them ALL!! And you can just bet the trip home was MUCH quieter! At least on that aspect!

Houston was... interesting. Lots of broken trees, patched windows, tile stripped off roofs, etc. What really hit me was when we got past downtown Houston and were heading south on I-45, especially as we got close to the University of Houston. I kept frowning at the concrete barriers that line the freeway there, thinking maybe my glasses were dirty or something. But when I took them off, the smudgy, spotty marks were still on the barriers and it dawned on me what they were. The barriers are a little taller than normal in that section, and the bridges there that lead to the contraflow lanes, as well as exits to the University, etc, all make the freeway narrower and almost tunnel-like in places. The marks I saw were... SCOUR marks, where the hurricane force winds had picked up sand and grit, and in the wind tunnel created by the bridges and barriers, had SCOURED the finish off the concrete barriers, as well a portion of the road we were on. Stunning, no?

My folk's neighborhood lost a lot of trees, and there were some really big, really old trees there. My mom looked good, though tired. Bets looked drained, but. they both looked more cheerful than I had expected, and I soon found out why. Dad went in for a procedure on Friday where the doctors basically went in and treated the nerves leading to the areas where he was hurting the most and chemically blocked them off. In other words, they can't fire off pain signals to his brain anymore. It should last for two or three months, at which time they can do it again. He's feeling so much better! And was much perkier and alert than I've seen him in a long time. That was almost as good as a birthday present right there!!

He has lost a great deal of weight, though. He's about 138 pounds, which is the thinnest I've ever seen him. And I have to confess, when I went to his room to wake him up, I had to stand there for a moment as I looked down at him, and fight for my composure. He looks so... frail, so...light around the edges.

It was a good visit with everyone. I did some hand-sewing and repair for Mom that she can't do for herself, while THO joined the other husbands to trim back broken branches, retrieve lawn furniture and broken pots, and then climbed up on the roof to seal some leaks.

You know, it didn't occur to me until just now that I didn't get a birthday cake. Oh well.

*yawns* Sleepytime, over and out!

Friday, September 26, 2008


My husband is so sharp, it's a wonder he doesn't cut himself...

Two weeks ago, he said, "You know, hon, I'm thinking... I'm thinking we need to switch banks. I'm thinking... let's use the credit union here in town. They have better rates, and if we end up having to trade in one of our cars, we'll get a better deal."

I said, "What are you thinking and why are you mentioning this now?"

And he said, "Well, our bank's stock has plummeted. I think it's going to fail, and I've been thinking that we should bank locally anyway. Only thing is, our mortgages are there, but that'll be protected, so I don't think we have anything to worry about. But I do think we should move our checking account and consider moving our savings, as well."

I said, "Okay, sure..." So, last weekend, we opened an account at the credit union.

And this morning, Washington Mutual failed.

Monday, September 22, 2008

"You can have my isolation..."

Dear Mr. Reznor,

Thank you for sending me your survey. I really appreciate your making me feel extremely UN-hip and tragically UN-cool. Thanks to your survey, I am now uncomfortably aware of the fact that it has been three years since I last bought a new CD (I bought a CD last year, a reissue of Pablo Casals at the Marlborough Festival, conducting "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" somewhere in the early seventies), four years since I last bought a current, non-kid related DVD ("Monty Python and the Holy Grail" isn't exactly current, is it?), and well over twelve years since I saw live music. In fact, the last live show I saw was the Chieftains at the Cynthia Woods Pavilion in the Woodlands. Wanna know who opened for them? Sarah MacLachlan. Yeah. Sarah MacLachlan opened for the Chieftains. It was just before Fumbling Towards Ecstasy hit it big. I realized I was pregnant with the Impertinent One that night when walking into a TGI Friday's nearly made my stomach turn itself inside out. I spent that entire night in a happy, if somewhat nauseated, daze.

Still, I feel I must raise my voice in querulous complaint and say, you made me feel OLD. Yes. Old. And the truly sad thing is? You are barely a year and a half younger than me!!! STOP DOING THAT!

somewhat unhappily,


And speaking of un-coolness, evidence of how rough the game on Saturday was.


Blatant tripping. Dude, seriously, if you're going to trip a player that obviously, make sure the ball is in FRONT of you, so you can at least pretend you were going for the ball, and not the opposing player's legs!!

Well, he's young, he's still learning... and yes, the ref saw it and called it!

In news from Houston, Dad is eating, the generator is hooked up and running, so they have power as long as they can get gasoline to run it, Bets is staying with them to help with the grunt work, and to make sure the generator stays in trim, and Mom sounds very, very relieved. The city did call, and said it may be some weeks before they get to the neighborhood where Mom and Dad live. So the generator is a timely arrival! Mom and Dad are much more comfortable, just in time for the hot weather to return.

Autumn in Texas... sweat, sweat, sweat...

Sunday, September 14, 2008


You know, it's one thing to see the devastation when it first happens, to see it on television with a little emotional distance as they pan over random scenes.

It's completely different to open the newspaper the next day, and see places you hung out as a kid, or went to as a college student, or someplace you went every day for years ... and it's gone. Or it's... destroyed. Or...

My family is safe and well. I'm grateful. Their homes are intact, or repairable. No one is lost, or injured, or forced to seek new lodging.

But to see what has happened in my hometown...

It can be rebuilt, repaired, redone... but... it still hurts.