Friday, July 01, 2011

Time To Lick The Donkey

I was going to post pictures and commentary about our stay-at-home vacation this past week but you can see all that on Facebook here and here. I'll be adding more pictures over the next day or two so check back to see what's new.

Instead of a boring play-by-play, which I can't even remember, I'll just hit a few vacation highlights for you. Some friends from Louisiana spent their family vacation in Houston this year and since they stayed at our house we figured it was fitting punishment for them to have to take us along.

Fortunately we all adhere to the same strict diet and made sure the kids ate all their bacon cheddar fries before they could have a Zinger.

We played a little miniature golf at Choice Tee in Spring, TX. In addition to a cute 19-hole course they also have a fully automated driving range, meaning Jayson will surely be making a trip back there. Early on in the game, Jayson developed a pattern of picking up his ball if it was within 5 feet of the hole and saying, "Just go ahead and give me that one, you know I'll make it". Jamie and I tried saying that at the tee box but it didn't go over so well.

The Downtown Aquarium is definitely one of the cheesiest aquariums I've ever been to. We won't be going back there any time soon.  Fortunately we all had coupons for B1G1F admission tickets, otherwise it would have felt like a bigger waste of money. The only cool thing there wasn't even a fish, it was a white tiger that attacked Jayson through the glass of her cage. He says he didn't do anything to provoke her but he says that to me too every time I want to rip his head off.

We ate lunch at Five Guys Burgers then went to check out the Waterwall at Williams Tower. Okay that was cool. Literally. The temperature was hovering around 99 so the spray off the water was quite refreshing.

We were all sweaty again by the time we hiked back to our parking spot so we decided to take a nice relaxing stroll around IKEA. Jamie and I both found a few things we couldn't live without and everyone agreed that IKEA is the most awesome place on earth.

NO dancing on the bus.
 Our next vacation destination was NASA, or the Johnson Space Center depending on how technical you want to be. I enjoyed it but not as much as I thought I would. I love space and I've watched all kinds of documentaries on the space program. This felt like one big long documentary with cheesy props....for the most part but not all of it. Saturn V was cool and the kids liked the play area and I finally got my question answered about how one pees in space. Well, I pretty much knew the answer but this time I got a visual to go with it. You see there is a space potty and there's a tube with an attachment that you pee into and obviously that attachment looks different depending on if you're a man or a woman. What I didn't realize (and should have cuz...yuck) is that each astronaut not only gets their own personal pee attachment but it is custom made to fit them as well. That's right. Custom made. Now we all have the same visual.

The Children's Museum of Houston is a must-see whether you have kids or not. We did all the activities the kids did (well, pretty much) and had a great time. The whole thing is completely hands-on and sometimes you can scare the little kids away from the stuff you want to play with.

We built some awesome paper rockets to launch in this big cage they'd built for just that purpose. Chad and Jayson launched theirs all the way to the opposite end of the cage. I put my carefully constructed rocket (The Starship Secondprize) on the tube and stepped back to stomp on the launcher. Just before I did a tiny little girl maybe 2 or 3 years old squeezed in front of me and stomped on my launcher with all her might then she ran off to the next one. My rocket barely scooted to the end of the tube then pitifully flopped to the floor right in front of the launch pad.

There she goes...sabotaging some else's rocket.
I was stunned for about a second then doubled over laughing! I had visions of my rocket sailing past Chad and Jayson's and maybe even breaking through the cage to become the most awesome paper rocket ever! Instead it just fell off the end of the tube and lay helplessly on the ground, robbed of its full potential.

Chad found out about an observation deck in one of the downtown buildings that I hadn't run across before so we went to check that out and it was pretty awesome. It's on the 60th floor of the J.P. Morgan Chase Tower and you can get a pretty impressive view of a good chunk of the city. The only catch is that you have to go there during business hours during the week, it's not open on weekends.

Taylor needs to be a Charlie's Charmer.

Jamie had a gift card to Charming Charlie's burning a hole in her pocket so me and her and Emily and Taylor went to see how much damage we could do. Not much, turns out. We browsed a lot and I bought a couple of things off the clearance rack but that was it. I'd never been to that store before so I had fun browsing, especially because of the way they have all their jewelry and accessories grouped by color. There's a blue table, a white table, a pink table, a black table, etc. Very efficient :)

Earlier in the day I had painted Emily's face at the children's museum and she and I had a long discussion about favorite colors. Hers is lime green (same as Taylor) and I explained to her that I don't have a single favorite color. I can name 5 colors that I really like but I can't pick one that's my favorite.

We all went our separate ways at Charming Charlie's and Emily began to get concerned after she'd not seen me for a while. She told Jamie, "We'll never find Ms. Shannon in here, she doesn't have a favorite color!" I thought that was hilarious.

We ended our group vacation with dinner at Tonino's and seriously felt like we were guests of the mob. And I mean that in the most respectful way possible. We got there around 9 p.m. and were the only ones in the place. The waiter had someone shadowing him which we figured was a training situation but we couldn't determine who was the trainer and who was the trainee. It's not a large restaurant at all but there are hundreds and hundreds of wine bottles all over the place. They're even in boxes between and under the booths. And there's this stack of lockers with bottles of wine in them that are private collections.

We were pretty sure that Guido and Carmine were in the back room making plans to whack whichever waiter screwed up first.  The music they played was pretty much typical Italian restaurant music...lots of Deano and Sinatra and the Godfather theme song which cracked us all up. But there was also an out of place Italian Christmas song that we had trouble identifying at first. Taylor and Lauren thought it was Dominate the Donkey. I thought it was Time To Lick the Donkey. We finally understood it was Dominick the Donkey. We had a ball making fun of that song but the background music ended when it was over and we got a little nervous, thinking maybe we had disrespected the Dom or something.

Creepy mafia feeling aside, that was some darn good Italian food, let me tell you. We will definitely be eating there again, if it pleases the Godfather. We drove by today and noticed there was a "help wanted" sign in the window so I'm pretty sure our waiter sleeps with the fishes. I suggested to Taylor that she apply for a job there, she might pick up some good tips. She said definitely not because if she ever quit they might hit her. Jayson assured her they would never hit her. They would whack her or put a hit ON her but they wouldn't hit her. For some reason that didn't comfort her.

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