We were debating on whether to leave Austin on Friday night, after work, and staying over, but Dana thought it might be better to make an early start on Saturday morning. Of course, I could not get to sleep on Friday night, and the more I tried, the more awake I stayed. Finally, however, I drifted off, and what seemed like minutes later, Dana's phone made a noise that would have put the entire city on alert! Reluctantly, I dragged myself out of bed, and turned on the shower. Dana had gone downstairs to make some coffee for the journey, and was met by a bleary eyed wife, who looked as fresh as a daisy that had just been run over my an electric lawn mower with very large wheels! When he commented that I usually pride myself on being an early riser, and made reference to the story that I have told him several times, of leaving home at 4pm, when I was a child, to make the long trip down to the coast, with my parents, I reminded him that my dad used to come into my room and whisper, 'Trace, it's time to go on holiday'. He never used a air raid siren to make sure I kept to the schedule! However, warm water and the scent of grapefruit shower gel, was a great help, and after brushing my teeth, I was very much alive and ready for the three hour journey.
We left the house just before sunrise, and the temperature was indicative that the weather in Austin was going to be hot. We had experienced very heavy storms for two nights, but there seemed to be little sign of any rain. As we drove north, the sun started to rise, and just as we reached the Round Rock area, their colony of bats were returning home, under the bridge which makes up part of the road on Interstate Highway (IH) 35.
With a lot of coffee having been consumed, it was not long before I had to make a pit stop, and having passed several service stations, we pulled up outside a drive thru, which was attached to a La Quinta hotel. My stomach had, up to this point, been content with liquid caffeine, but the smell of waffles and toasted bagels caused it to rumble, and if I did not know any different, it could have convinced me that I had not eaten in months. I used the facilities, and made a quick exit, before my tummy convinced my brain that my throat had been cut, and ran as quick as my flip flops would allow, to the car. As I exited, I could not see Dana, and for a split second, found myself in a total state of panic. I was slightly north of Waco, and alone. It is amazing how much fear can run through the body in such a short space of time, and how much common sense can exit from my being in such a situation. My first thought was, 'I am stranded. I am going to die alone in the wilderness'. I failed to acknowledge that I had a phone, a debit card, enough dollars to spend the night at the hotel should I need to (and breakfast was free, so food would not be a problem) and the hotel itself, must have had a land line. I was in Texas, not outer Mongolia. Fortunately, the nightmare only lasted a few seconds, and lucidity returned long enough for me to look around and see that Dana had parked in a designated space, so as to allow the entrance to remain clear for genuine guests. I did not tell Dana of my short lived paranoia, as I did not feel strong enough to either have him laugh heartily at my ridiculous day terrors, or worse still, sympathise!
As we approached the skyline, I took out my phone and proceeded to video the view, whilst singing the theme to the television show, 'Dallas'. However, the road to the city, and our route, was not the same, and we had to go to the left, whilst the famous skyline was over to the right. Attempting to film as we were going in the wrong direction, caused my in-vehicle movie to be not much more than a few seconds of sky, with a railing and unrecognisable rooftops. My tone deaf effort at humming the tune, may have been vague enough for everyone to know what I was trying to show.
Duncanville is a suburb of the bigger city, and we arrived at Rick's house just under three hours after we left our own. After lots of hugs with the family, my stomach was quietened with a cinnamon crunch bagel, and some honey walnut cream cheese, with a bottomless mug of freshly brewed coffee. Rick gave us a tour of his home, and I found myself offering to pay rent to take up residence in his master bathroom, which was large enough for me to make into a bedsit!
After a trip to the local Sprouts, and lunch, we returned to the house, where Dana's mum took her afternoon nap, and Dana, who insisted that he was wide awake, slid into unconsciousness. Cindy and I left her oldest brother to watch the golf tournament, with the snoring sound effects from the man who claimed he was not tired, and sat outside by the pool. Although I was wearing my hat, I had removed my cardigan, due to the heat of the day, and failed to follow my own advice on skincare. After three hours, Dana appeared to inform me that it was probably a good idea for us to 'make tracks', so that we could start our journey before it got dark. I could have happily stayed sitting outside for several more hours, as the company was very good, and the weather was perfect. However, it was a good thing that our afternoon had been interrupted, as when I went to the bathroom, I found my right side was the colour of a cooked lobster. I splashed myself with water, to begin with, and then, when everyone took a sharp intake of breath as I re-entered the living room, I returned to smother my shoulder, arm and leg, with moisturising cream. It was reasonably amusing to me, to explain that if I had been in the same situation nine years ago, when I first moved to Texas, the colour would have been purple, and I probably would have been expecting to suffer from sunburn chills later in the evening. Cindy had gained a rather attractive golden tan! English roses and Texas sun.......my doctor's words echoed in my head, and were transmitted to my lips. (I still love the fact she referred to me as a rose!)
Our trip home was as uneventful as the one 'up north', without the need for a bathroom stop. With the skyline behind me I was, yet again, unable to achieve the desired video, and we continued to travel as the sun went down. We passed the sign for two towns, which read, 'Whitney Corsicana', and I made a comment of how the right city name can make or break an up and coming singing star! My sense of humour is not always appreciated (or understood) by Dana! (Although with my constant chatter, he probably turns off for a while!) As we hit Round Rock, the sun was setting, and as our day was coming to a close, the bats were starting theirs, and we saw them swarming off into the distance.
We arrived home just after 9pm, and after applying another layer of cream in an effort to stop my shoulder from becoming a beacon for incoming aircraft, I settled down to an hours worth of television before drifting off into a long and delightful sleep.
Sunday was mother's day, and I was reminded of how 'lucky' I was to be treated twice a year to this special event. My daughter bought me a beautiful bunch of flowers, and a card, commenting on how, once a year, I swap vowels, and become a 'mom', instead of 'mum'. Our annual trip to the Mexican restaurant, Abuellos, was as scrumptious as ever, and I left with my annual t-shirt. Samantha and I spent the afternoon by the pool, with my shoulders and arms sensibly covered, and taking a break before our work week commenced. Kelly was visiting her mom the following week, and we were going to split her job between us. Having to spend the work week not only in each other's company, but for the most part, in the same room and job sharing, we were bracing ourselves for the drama that could become............ another story.