Happy New Year

We’re back. We had a great time. Normal posting should resume tomorrow. For now, here’s a few observations about our holiday trip.

First, the new-to-us van rocks. Sure it’s a dork mobile – a 2000 Chevy Venture mini van –  but it easily carried all of us and our junk over 1,600 miles through four states. By “us and our junk” I mean two adults, two two month old babies, one medium sized spotted eared mutt, two bikes, several bags of clothes, one double stroller, a baby swing, a bouncy seat, and all sorts of other odds and ends. By “easily carried,” first, I mean it held all of that with room to spare; when I looked in the rearview mirror I could see out the back, nothing was up so high that it obstructed the sightlines. Second, it average twenty two miles per gallon. Not great, but much better than any SUV out there. And it’s fairly comfy, too. Rides smooth and the seats are decent. All in all, I am very happy with it.

Second, Louisiana has some really cool birds. My step brother and I went fishing on Tuesday. Well, he fished, I mostly sat there and and drank beer. Anyway, we saw plenty of Egrets, Herons, and Pellicans. We were fishing the Red River, initially in downtown Shreveport, then down at Lock and Dam 5. The former provided a great view of the birds swooping down to the river to grab fish. They had much better luck in that regard than we did. While at the latter, a Heron let us walk to within ten feet or so of its perch before squawking at us and flying off. I did not realize how big those things were until getting that close.

Third, I think I may be ready to admit that I am a coffee snob. The only coffee we buy is freshly ground from the local coffee shop, usually Italian or French roast, though the Brazilian is good when I want something a bit lighter. And the only way I drink it is with half & half and honey. I did not realize just how much I need MY coffee until spending the past week drinking Folgers (yuck) with milk and sugar. It was rough, but any port will do in a storm. On the drive home yesterday, somewhere around Meridian I began to daydream about getting home and fixing a good cup of coffee. And when I fixed my cup this morning at the house, I held it, caressed it, and slowly sniffed the wonderful aroma before enjoying every last sip. It was good.

Fourth, while on the subject of being spoiled, my bed has also ruined me. It’s a queen sized pillow top mattress. Everywhere we stayed while out of town was perfectly comfy. But when I got in my own bed last night, it was like getting a big ‘ol hug and I slept better than I had since the last time I was in it.

Fifth, we finally saw the limits of our dog’s digestive system. Rotting bird carcass? Not a problem. Crusty treats from the cat box? Delicious. Rancid dairy products dug out of the trash? A wonderful mid-day snack. But a slice of potato sauteed with coriander, cloves, and ginger? Scarfed down and immediately barfed back up.

Sixth, for on the road eats, you can’t beat Waffle House. The wife likes Cracker Barrell, but I think the food, service and definitely the atmosphere are better at Waffle House. CB has all that manufactured wannabe old timey southern country stuff on the wall; WH is genuine dirty south goodness. You can’t even smoke in CB. We stopped at a WH yesterday, and I had a sausage, egg, and cheese sandwich on Texas toast. Good stuff. Probably took a few months off my life, but hey, it’s the holidays.

Finally, I’m getting tired of living hundreds of miles away from all of our family members. Special trips are great, and we certainly enjoyed this one. But I’d really like for all of us to be a part of each other’s daily lives.

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7 Comments on “Happy New Year”

  1. mom Says:

    Amen to that!

  2. Texas Redhead Loser Says:

    I’m happy that I was fortunate enough to witness the dog try to enjoy the fine food and then share her half-digested remnants with the rest of us. Good times! Better than anything I saw the babies regurgitate. And I have to third the idea of moving closer to family. If you guys could just get within one state line of me, I think my life would vastly improve. (Which, by extension, means your lives would improve as well.)

  3. Frank Says:

    I’d hate to see you leave Birmingham, since you are one of my few connections to my hometown (and we have never even met!), but I definitely understand the desire to move closer to family, especially with the kids.

  4. Himself Says:

    I agree with your mom. It’s not just the holidays, but the day to day that makes it all worthwhile. But let’s not rule out the north, you have a Yankee family as well. And I don’t mean baseball.

  5. Kathy Says:

    I know just what you mean about sleeping in your own bed. I once prided myself on my ability to sleep through anything, on any surface, but no more. We traded in our old bed for a king-size tempurpedic a couple of years ago, and there’s nothing like it anywhere.

    We did what we considered to be the road trip from hell the first Christmas after 13-year-old daughter was born and then decided that everyone else could come to us for Christmas. We’re the only ones with young children, so it wasn’t hard to persuade the siblings and parents. It really is a blessing to have family nearby — both sets of grandparents are within a four-hour drive (different directions, unfortunately), one sibling is here, and the other sibling and in-law are in Montgomery. I understand why you’re thinking of moving, and we’ll let you as long as you keep blogging. 🙂

  6. quaoar Says:

    You were in the wrong part of Louisiana for good coffee. You need to go to New Orleans or Baton Rouge. Shreveport is really part of Texas. Next time, try Community Coffee:

    And there is, indeed, nothing quite like a Waffle House cheese omelet.

  7. Loretta Nall Says:

    >>Third, I think I may be ready to admit that I am a coffee snob.

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