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I Promise I Haven’t Locked My Child in a Closet for the Last Ten Years

It became quite clear while we were on vacation that my child has led ten years of a very deprived life.  Evidently, this is an ideal child-rearing strategy because it truly makes kids appreciate the simple things.

Mom, get a picture of that dragonfly!

Mom, quick, get a picture of that dragonfly!

Mom, look at that frog!!!  He's just sitting there!  He's so cute!

Mom, look at that frog!!! He’s just sitting there! He’s so cute!

You can do what with this?  OMG!  It's like a helicopter!!!  Can I take one of these home?!!!!!

You can do what with this? OMG! It’s like a helicopter!!! Can I take one of these home?!!!!!

Chasing fireflies and a light-up frisbee in the dark, playing tetherball at the beach, and taking a satisfying nap in the rental car during a two-hour drive all completely delighted Dimples.

But nothing compared to the ultimate entertainment – the Whirlpool tub in the master bedroom of our condo.

TubDimples is not deterred by the fact that this huge tub is in the master bathroom, which is connected to the master bedroom, which is not the bedroom in which she sleeps.  Because she is not the master.  This makes no difference to her because, by her estimation, these tubs are designed especially for her, and it is her intent to monopolize all use of the tub for the duration of our visit.  Any plans that I may have of relaxing with a book and a glass of wine quickly take a back seat to Dimples’ tub schedule.

Just to give you an idea of her complete enjoyment of this amenity, here is a video I took on our last night there.  I was standing outside the bathroom door as she reveled in her final bath.  So, the video is of the door.  So, really, it’s the audio that might be interesting.  But there is a picture at the end.  Because, despite all evidence to the contrary, I don’t believe in complete sensory deprivation.

Don’t Wear a Thong When You Ride a Horse and Other Advice for City Girls

So, once we made the rare sighting of the Pedal Tavern during our photo safari of downtown Nashville, we hopped in the car and drove for two hours to a place in the country where our family reunion was taking place.

I like to think of myself as an adventurous person, but I am much more comfortable with taking my life into my hands by jay-running between speeding cars in the city than I am with hiking through poison-ivy infested woods.

My daughter’s first priority for vacation was to go horseback riding.  I’ve done this several times, so I know the basics: wear close-toed shoes, put your left foot in the stirrup first so you don’t end up facing the horse’s rear end, and don’t let yourself fall off.  Despite the fact that my horse, Maverick, emulated his Top Gun namesake by showing no regard for anyone but himself and nearly decapitating me on low-hanging branches several times, I did pretty well.

It wasn’t until that evening that I realized my wardrobe mistake.  Major chafage pain in the posterior region informed me that I should be less concerned about panty lines the next time I go trotting through the forest.  I know this is TMI, but I feel it is my duty to warn my fashion-minded readers about the consequences of improper undergarments when riding a horse.  No one thinks to tell you these things. Sure, they will give you a helmet to keep you from cracking your head open, but no one mentions the importance of protecting your crack.

I did get advice later on that day about the ramifications of picking up toads.  The kids seemed so enamored with one that was hanging out by the sidewalk that I swept it up in my hands to give them a better look.

“Ewww.  It’s going to pee on you!” approximately 10 people shouted to me at the same time.

Now, I’ve had held lots of strange animals – hedgehogs, snakes, tarantulas, hissing cockroaches, etc…  And, a few of them have peed on me.  It’s no big deal.  You set the animal down, go wash off the tiny drop of urine and all is good.  So, I wasn’t too intimidated by this warning.

Toad pee, though, is a bit different than hedgehog pee.  Apparently, a toad’s bladder holds an unprecedented volume of pee.  Picture yourself holding a water balloon that is the size of the palm of your hand, and a dime-sized hole suddenly opens in the bottom of the balloon.  Oh, and to this picture, add a bunch of kids of various ages watching you closely to see if you are going to screech and pitch the poor toad 10 feet into the air as soon as it dumps urine all over you.

Ironically, my efforts to encourage the kids to observe nature more closely ended up with them observing me intently for signs of a freak out.

I will tell you , quite proudly, that I did not toss the toad.  Nor did I freak out.  In fact, I calmly held the toad for another couple of minutes – until it released another gallon of pee all over my fingers.  Then I prudently set it down and said, “Well, that’s enough for now.  Why don’t you go chase fireflies?” (to the kids, not the toad.  Although I guess the toad might be interested in eating fireflies, too, but I was a bit too ticked off at him to be giving him meal or entertainment suggestions) and walked quickly to the bathroom to wash my hands.

Well, as quickly as one can walk when your butt cheeks are on fire.

My sister took a picture of me holding the toad.  This is not the picture.  I got this from http://exoticsandmore.blogspot.com/2011/04/species-of-day-american-toad.html

My sister took a picture of me holding the toad. This is not the picture. I got this from http://exoticsandmore.blogspot.com

I’ve Chosen the Vehicle I’m Renting For My Next Road Trip

It’s mildly disappointing to travel 900 miles in 2 and a half hours and find out you ended up exactly where you started.  Particularly if you spent $1000 for the pleasure.

You may have surmised from the last post regarding the unceremonious deposit of Wonderbutt (and his sister, Mrs. P.I.B.) at the kennel that the Firepants family was about to embark on a vacation.

We live in Texas.  We flew to Nashville for the first leg of our trip.

As we wandered around downtown Nashville, I had my camera ready for exotic pictures of this new locale.  But it turns out Nashville is just like San Antonio – only more.  It’s like someone turned on the Texas radio station in their Ford pickup and cranked up the volume full blast just to make sure the cows on the ranch in the next county could hear.

More cowboy hats.

More cowboy boots.

More cowboy boots.

More bar-b-q.

More country music.

Same street names.

Same tourist traps.

I might as well have just stayed at home and taken a cab downtown for half the price.

I tried to hide my disappointment and to enthusiastically involve the family in my observations.

Look!  It's a Riverwalk!  (Just like San Antonio)

Look! It’s a Riverwalk! (Just like San Antonio – except our river is more like a creek.)

Look, it's the Hard Rock Cafe!  Oh yeah, we have one of those, too.

Look, it’s the Hard Rock Cafe! Oh yeah, we have one of those, too.

Look, it's a random, weird, red sculpture in the middle of town.  Yup, got that in SA.

Look, it’s a random, weird, red sculpture in the middle of town. Yup, got that in SA.

“Look!  There’s a poor homeless person on the sidewalk playing a broken drum!”  I’m pretty sure it’s the same guy I saw in SA three days ago.

And then I saw it.  I jumped up and down (to the chagrin of my husband, Cap’n Firepants, who prefers to blend into the crowd).

“Look!  Look!” I pointed to the novel sight – something we definitely do NOT have in San Antonio.

“What?” my 10-year-old daughter cried.

“A bar!  On wheels!  That you pedal!  Down the street while you’re drinking!” I exclaimed.

Finally –  something she can write about on her, “What I Did on Summer Vacation” essay.

Nashville Pedal Cab

Now, Who’s the Control Freak?

Anyone who has ever met my husband, Cap’n Firepants, will probably agree with me that “spontaneous” would not be included in his list of character traits.  Unless you were to say, “He is a man who might spontaneously combust if you throw him into unpredictable situations.”  Therefore, on the Cap’n’s 40th birthday a couple of weeks ago, I felt that I was doing him a favor by at least giving him a card with the directions to not plan anything for the last weekend in March.  I felt like two weeks would be ample time for him to prepare for an “unplanned” adventure.  In retrospect, it does not seem very logical, I suppose, to tell a man whose father had a heart attack on his 40th birthday that I am going to take him to an unknown place using an unknown method of transportation to participate in unknown activities at an approximate date and time.

I finally revealed where were going the day before the trip.  Cap’n Firepants seemed happy to be leaving town, and that we would be using the automobile as our sole method of transportation.  I probably could have told him that we were heading to a shack in Death Valley, and he would have been fine as long as we didn’t have to fly.

As usual, several factors conspired to make us leave later than planned.  Which added to my stress level because I had another surprise waiting for him in Fredericksburg – our destination point.  But, we finally left town, and I allowed him to choose our route as long as he promised not to offend my virgin ears with streams of obscenities if we ran into any traffic.  Which we did.  And he didn’t.

We arrived in Fredericksburg, and I immediately rushed the Cap’n to drop off our bags at the hotel and walk to Main Street, declaring that we had reservations at a local restaurant, the Fredericksburg Brewing Company, for dinner.

We did not have reservations.  As a matter of fact, Fredericksburg Brewing Company does not even accept reservations.  And that could have ruined the next surprise.

Entering the restaurant, my moment of truth swiftly greeted me.  If something didn’t happen before the hostess swooped on us, I was going to have to admit that we had no reservation, and the Cap’n was going to think receive further confirmation that I am a lunatic for rushing him for no reason.  Or, I could start yelling at the hostess, claiming that someone on the phone had taken my reservation, and demanding to be seated at once.  Thereby making it Cap’n Firepants’ worse birthday gift ever because he is absolutely mortified by any public confrontations.  The last time I asked the waiter to bring a straw that he had promised, the Cap’n turned beet red at my gall.

But then the Cap’n saw them.  Our cousins, the Globetrotters, seated casually at one of the tables, waving.  They had driven down from Houston to help him to celebrate his heart attack special birthday.

Surrounded by family – and the immense beer stills of the brewery – the Cap’n was finally able to relax.  Of course, that’s only because he didn’t know that I had a couple of other surprises up my sleeve…

photo credit: The Fresh Dish

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