Thursday, March 4, 2010
Hollywood Here I Come
Where are we on this big ole planet? Huntsville, Texas. Located 30.7°N 95.53°W, if you keep up with that sort of thing. Huntsville is a short drive north of Houston and a little longer drive south of Dallas sitting right on I-45. Ahhhh, Huntsville, my Mother’s birthplace, my birthplace, and my children’s birthplace, is a thriving metropolis with two rise bank buildings, a university, and not one, but twelve prison units. Our main source of jobs in Huntsville centers around Sam Houston State University and Texas Department of Criminal Justice, also known as TDCJ, also known as the prison. And yes our lives too are linked to TDCJ. My husband, Gary, once a public school teacher and coach, recently retired from 20+ years of teaching prison inmates. I have many stories to come about those years.
Growing up we just did not get to travel much – simply could not afford it. My parents were divorced when I was four so most trips were my Mom and I with my grandparents in their ’65 Ford Galaxy. That was one of those land yachts that had that big area over the back seat that was enough space for a little kid to lay up there and look out and daydream while Gramps drove us. My big trip was to the Matagorda Coast to see my cousins and we only did that every couple of years. The summer after my eighth grade year, I got to tag along with two of my grown brothers and their wives to Bozeman, Montana for the College Rodeo Finals because one of my brothers had qualified. I later learned I was the in-house babysitter but that’s okay, I saw country I had never dreamed of being able to see.
Once a parent myself, I had a personal goal to show my children as much of the big wide world that I could possibly figure a way to pay for. I wanted them to know that there is a big world out there and endless opportunities. We are travelers. We fit in a trip whenever we can afford a trip. A trip was the bargaining tool between Gary and me when he was throwing around the “R” word last year. He wanted to retire but I wasn’t really sure I wanted to see him around the house that much. I just threw it out there one day that if he retired then we would be available to go on the Alaskan cruise that our friends were planning. He quickly agreed – man he wanted to quit teaching at the prison really bad! And so an Alaskan cruise was booked.
Another little secret about me is that I cannot stand to fly. I have done it but I hate it. It terrifies me to think that I am suspended in air and at the mercy of a couple of guys I don’t even know at the steering wheel. I even took flight lessons myself so that I could pilot a plane but it is still not my cup of tea. My oldest two girls fly at the drop of a hat and they are well trained to text me when they take off, at any lay over and upon landing. It is a given rule in our house. What they will learn from reading this is that I track their flight on the internet until I know they are safely on the ground. Does this make me airplane OCD?
As I started to think about the upcoming flight to Seattle to board the cruise, my hands would sweat. My stomach tied up in knots. My toenails curled up – well not really – Tony the nail guy keeps them from actually curling. But a trip as great as an Alaskan cruise was really keeping me in turmoil. Then I came up with the perfect solution – we would DRIVE to Seattle. And not only would we drive there but we would drive straight across Texas to San Diego and follow the coast to Seattle. Again, my husband quickly jumped at the idea – man did he ever want to retire. He was willing to drive cross country with me and our teenage daughter closed up in my car, board a boat with us for another week and then drive us home confined to the same vehicle. Of course, my two eldest quickly figured out they needed to fly with the others in our group and meet us in Seattle!
So on May 22nd of last year, we checked Abby out of school early, loaded down the ole Tahoe and headed west. Hollywood Here I Come! More to come....
In them meantime, tell me what you are OCD over.... everyone signing in now through the end of the Oscars Sunday night(broadcast from HOLLYWOOD!)is eligible for random drawing of $25 in Glamour Bucks.
P.S. The brunette in the picture is one of my rug rats. The blonde, well you probably know her.