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You Should Never Leave Scientists with Nothing to Do

My antidepressant does not work in Houston or its suburbs.  I would like to know why the commercial for it did not warn me of this unfortunate side-effect.  “Can cause weight gain and completely lose its effectiveness if you are anywhere in the vicinity of the 4th biggest city in the United States.”  That’s what they should say.

Don’t ask me why it would work in the rest of Texas, but not in Houston.  All I know is that it was working fine when I left San Antonio last Friday, but as soon as we hit the Houston metropolitan area I was wondering why I hadn’t drowned myself in the toilet at the Cracker Barrel where we stopped for lunch.

I’m sure this had nothing to do with the fact that my husband questioned any and all navigation suggestions that I offered for three hours straight.

And it seems highly doubtful that the stress of my daughter’s synchronized swimming tournament would make me want to stick a bobby pin through my eye.

There was nothing remotely depressing about being accused of breaking our zillion dollar camera, “but not on purpose”, by my husband, either.  Because that made me want to stick a bobby pin in his eye – and that doesn’t really count as depression, does it?

I’m absolutely convinced that there is some kind of GPS embedded in my pills that launches a self-destruct sequence as soon as I get within 30 miles of NASA.

Wait a second.  What exactly are those guys at NASA doing right now since we no longer have a space program?

Messing with my pills, that’s what.



Holster that Camera there, Cowboy

Dimples had one primary goal when we went to Houston – shopping.  So, our hostess, Mrs. Globetrotter, kindly escorted us to the most famous shopping mall in Houston – the Galleria.  As soon as we walked in, and Dimples saw that this mall was not just about shopping, she quickly forgot her mission.  She declared, “I want to go ice-skating.”  The kid’s inner circuits almost suffered from a meltdown with this sudden overload of favorite stores and second favorite hobby (swimming being the first).  As her mother, it was my job to guide her through this difficult time.

“No,” I said.  She had talked about shopping for two friggin’ weeks, been making lists of what she wanted, and made me take her to the bank the morning we left to turn in her change – so I was not about to let her get sidetracked by a giant piece of ice in the middle of the food court.

It mattered not that the two stores Dimples most wanted to see actually exist, in several locations, in San Antonio.  She had put shopping at the top  of the list of Houston attractions, and shopping we would do.

After we made our way to Justice and Bath and Body Works (where Dimples bought as many Wallflowers as she could to cover up the scent of Wonderbutt), Mrs. Globetrotter led us to one of the few spots you cannot find in San Antonio – XXX Candy Bar.

Now, before you get too excited, it was not an Adult candy store.  I used the Triple X in place of the name.  And in a feeble attempt to attract more readers to my blog.

The reason that I did not use the actual name of the candy store is because they apparently do not like free advertising.  I know this because I was about to take a phone pic of their luscious brownies to send to Cap’n Firepants, and the Brownie Lady nearly leaped over the glass to shut me down.  “No pictures in here except for in front of the Giant Chocolate Bunny.”

I have never owned a gun, and have never carried one.  But I think I now know how it feels to pull one out in the middle of a crowded store in the mall.  The only thing missing from this lovely experience was Brownie Lady leaping over her delicious confections to tackle me to the floor and hold me down until someone disarmed me of my 2nd generation iPhone with .1 megapixel resolution.

“O-o-o-kay,” I said, slowly backing away from the brownie counter and surreptitiously sliding my phone back into my purse.

I don’t know if I inadvertently discovered the front for a secret government spy organization or if the Brownie Lady is that concerned that I will steal her business (an amusing thought if you have ever tasted my cooking).  But I feel that it is my duty to warn all of you potential picture takers out there that you are taking your life in your hands if you are not standing in front of the Giant Chocolate Bunny.

Oh, and to the 96,000 people out there who have already posted your images of this famous store (minus the Giant Chocolate Bunny) on Google: you better start checking your rear view mirror for Brownie Lady.  She is a woman on a mission.

I would like to see this man square off with the Brownie Lady. Actually, the little girl in the foreground looks pretty formidable, too. photo credit: technikhil via photopin cc


On Monday, Dimples and I began our Spring Break Adventure with the Globetrotters.  (Dimples is my 9 year-old daughter.  The Globetrotters are our world-traveling relatives, who live in Houston.  The fact that they travel a lot is ironic, when you think about it – since the actual basketball playing Globetrotters are probably not allowed to “travel”.)

Dimples never seems quite certain about my navigation skills. I try to tell myself that it is not me that Dimples lacks confidence in, but that it is the Houston drivers.  Of course, that doesn’t explain her saying, 5 minutes after I have backed out of our San Antonio driveway, “Are you sure you’re going the right way, Mom?”  But I think most people would forgive her for tremulously asking, “Do you want me to read the directions to you?” as I glance down at my trusty Google print-out on the seat beside me once I reach Houston, and the windows of our car begin to vibrate while cars whiz past.

If you have never driven in Houston, you must try it some time.  It will make you appreciate the love that Texans have for concealed weapons.

While we were in Houston, we learned that it had just been named #3 of the Worst Places to Drive.

Mrs. Globetrotter hails from St. Paul, MN – coincidentally chosen by the same magazine as the home of the best drivers.

You can see how driving in Houston might be frustrating for Mrs. Globetrotter.

“I hate Backer-Inners!” she seethed as we were hunting for a parking place on Tuesday at the Houston Galleria.

I have to agree.  Backer-Inners are very irritating.  I do not understand the need to spend 10 minutes to back into a parking space so that you can quickly whip out of it when you are finished with shopping.  I am pretty certain that, if you did the math, it would take you less time to pull in forward, then back out quickly over the crowds of shoppers when you are done.  Then you have the extra bonus of having rid the world of a few more Real Housewives of Houston.

But, neither Mrs. Globetrotter or I am from Texas.  So we apparently are unable to understand the logic of Backer-Inners.

We also saw Backer-Inners at Target, the underground parking garage for the 3-story Restoration Hardware, and the Kemah boardwalk.

The only time I have been jealous of Backer-Inners is when we are leaving a concert at 11 P.M., and they have the advantage of Forwarding-Out into the line of traffic that has wound around the 10 levels of the parking garage while we stare at the wall and forlornly turn on our car lights hoping that someone will take pity on us and patiently hold up the rest of the line while we try not to hit poles or other cars as we counterintuitively reverse into the traffic.

I don’t know if Backering-Innering is what put Houston close to being the best at being the worst, but considering that the majority of drivers are maneuvering oversized trucks into spaces designed for compact cars, the mystery becomes even more confounding.  Everything is bigger in Texas – except the parking spaces.

Dimples never questioned the driving of Mrs. Globetrotter while were in Houston, so I suppose that’s a sign.  I don’t know why the kid thinks I’m a bad driver. Her aunt is the one with the nickname “Crash”.  And I did not learn how to drive in Texas. I learned in New Orleans, Louisiana, where the drinking age is 3, the driving age is the first time your dad passes out at the wheel, and there’s no need to park when you can get drive-thru daiquiris.

Now, why would you want to back in and deprive passersby of this bumper sticker masterpiece?


All Good Dogs Go to Heav – I mean Houston

Happy Birthday, Wonderbutt.  I’m sorry your birthday was as crappy as mine.  On the up(yours)side, though, you didn’t really seem to notice.

You’ve accomplished a lot since you entered our household as a 13 pound puppy:

This Was Before You Decided You'd Rather Eat Your Bed Than Sleep in It

  • destroyed our carpet
  • torn apart 5 pillows
  • shredded the bottom of our couch
  • destroyed our carpet again
  • littered our floor with I.E.D.’s (Icky Excrement Droppings)
  • gained 52 pounds
  • thoroughly destroyed our carpet beyond any silly little hope on my part that some steam cleaning would fix it right up

So You Use Our Couch Instead


In your favor, though, you have also:

  • trained us all to put our shoes away (or at least on the windowsill) so you won’t eat them
  • readied us for battle in any war zone riddled with land mines
  • brought our family closer because there is now only one decent piece of furniture we can precariously squeeze all three of us on at the same time

I have to say, in this month of Thanksgiving, that there is one thing I am supremely grateful for (besides the smiles you bring to our family) – that you can’t read.

As you know, Wonderbutt, our favorite cousins, the Globetrotters, visited this weekend from Houston.  Sans dogs.  We told them to bring their two dogs, but they seemed to think four dogs in one household would be too much.  There’s not much more potential for damage at our house at this point, but oh well.

Anyway, the Globetrotters brought a magazine to which I do not want you to be exposed.  Because I don’t think you need to get any ideas.

San Antonio is a pretty big city.  But apparently, it’s not as big as Houston.  And it’s certainly not as big of a dog city as Houston.  At least not according to this magazine, Dog Talk.  (As we speak, I am typing this in a public place, and trying not to let anyone see that I have this magazine with a picture of a Yorkie wearing a polka-dot party dress and ruby red Dorothy slippers. I feel like I need to put brown paper wrapping on it.)

Once I got past the humping article (well, you probably should read that article, Wonderbutt) in Dog Talk, I started realizing all of the dog amenities that are available in Houston.  I think we’ve had a dog bakery or two in San Antonio.  And even doggie “spas”.  But I’m pretty sure none of the spas or boarding kennels in San Antonio offer “luxury” swimming pools or actual doggie birthday party facilities.

According to its advertisement, “Dogs r Dogs” offers a fitness center, a movie center, a ballroom, and a treat lounge.  All. For. Dogs.

Oh, I just got the ballroom pun.  Haha.

At “Club Canine”, I could have enrolled you in “Puppy Pitfall Prevention.”

But then, what would I have to write about?

So, clearly, Wonderbutt, you would have had a much better puppyhood and birthday if you lived in Houston.  (Maybe that explains the lack of effort the family put into my birthday.  I don’t even want to know what extravagances Houston’s Human Talk magazine includes.)

I’m sorry you have to slum it with us in San Antonio, Wonderbutt.  Just remember, though, it’s the love that counts – not the gourmet treats you can get at the “Pawty Palace.”  Or the limousine pick up service at its rival “Pet Palace.”  Or the Dog Swim Parties at (I swear to God I’m not making this up) “Rummy’s Beach Club”.

At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

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