I have officially returned from 10 days in Texas! I actually arrived back in New York a week ago, but was not fully recovered from my southern travels until today. Further complicating my mental exhaustion was the aching disappointment that has plagued me since I realized my sister could not be counted on to blog-sit. Sheesh.
I shall hereby provide some highlights from my time in the Lone Star State, in installments. That way, I can ease back into blogging and there’s less risk you’ll die of boredom.
- Friday, June 27. The trip from New York to San Antonio generally involves a connecting flight. While the exotic Kansas City and the notoriously delayed O’Hare airports were both plane-change options, I flew through Dallas so that I could spend a few days with Dave, Rob, Howie, LuLu on the way home. This afforded me another perk: the best selection of airport eateries under the domestic sun. After landing at DFW and then riding the little tram to an American terminal I’d never seen before, I came upon an incredibly vast array of international nourishment vendors: Au Bon Pain, Whataburger, Blue Mesa, Bennigan’s, Blue Bamboo, Champp’s, Chick-fil-A, Cool River Cafe, Cousin’s BBQ, La Bodega Winery, Camille’s Sidwalk Cafe, Einstein Bros. Bagels, Ben & Jerry’s, Popeye’s, McDonald’s and 360 Burrito, just to name a few. This place puts the massive food court at the Bridgewater Mall to shame! I was overwhelmed, yet drawn to the aroma emanating from Blue Mesa. Insert image of me in my Club Monaco cargo pants, black Splendid t-shirt, Nike Air Rifts and Juicy hoodie wafting through the air in a Flintstonian manner, towards Blue Mesa. Then, insert image of me crashing to the industrially carpeted ground as I remember that I will be eating nothing BUT Mexican food for the next week, and, more important, that there could be turbulence on the flight from Dallas to San Antonio, in which case, anything with flavor and/or color was a bad idea. When the puke receptacle is a puny airsick bag, better to puke turkey and brie from Au Bon Pain than to puke Blue Mesa enchilada and salsa. Thankfully, the flight was smooth and barfage-free, but still, in retrospect, I made the right call. After landing safely, I collected my 75-lb suitcase – for which I had NOT been charged, miraculously – got into a cab driven by someone named Billy and ended up at the Marriott Rivercenter, where I discovered that my Frederic Fekkai shampoo had exploded all over my Kiehl’s toiletry bag, and I had forgotten to pack socks. Thankfully, later that afternoon, Hope and I made one of five weekend trips to the Target Greatland, Home Depot, Hobby Lobby, Lowe’s, Office Max and Staples in a sketchy part of San Antonio called Balcones Heights. At Target, I was able to procure replacement shampoo, a very stylish replacement toiletry bag, a pack of socks ($1.99) and some hotel room snacks. Hope appeared to need a pick-me-up, so I treated her and myself to $2.99-bottles of delicious-smelling, appealingly pink shower gel called “Clean on Me.” We finished the night on the disappointing and Vegas-y Riverwalk, at County Line BBQ, where I am convinced I ate smoked moose.
- Saturday, June 28. Rising at 7 a.m., which should be illegal on Saturdays, I joined PK, Hope and MPC at Booth 8074 in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center, where we spent the bulk of the day attempting to create the ultimate trade show experience for our fans and potential new customers. Most of the work involved assembling the mod white furniture we’d purchased at Ikea, hoping to create an inviting, un-corporate environment. Given the size of the shelving – which would stand approximately 8 feet off the ground and weigh what seemed like several tons – and the size of me (5 feet, no inches and approximately 100 pounds) –I really couldn’t be counted on for much manual labor. I was therefore given the very important task of screwing together 14 Ikea stools made of flimsy wood and then adorning them with brightly colored, shag toilet seat covers. On first glance, the project didn’t seem that difficult, and after all, Hope had just handed me a snazzola battery-operated screwdriver! Sadly though, the aforementioned battery was on its last leg and seemed willing only to screw OUT, not IN. I had to turn the power off and manually connect the hollow legs to the round stool tops. When all 14 Ikea stools were arranged in front of me, I felt a sense of pride. What I did not feel, however, was my right hand, which had lost all sensation and was stuck in an unnatural c-shaped, claw-like position from all the heavy-duty screwdriver gripping I’d just done. The rest of the day was spent having lunch at Chili’s with PK, returning to the fine shopping district of Balcones Heights for plants and mouse pads, getting completely lost on the 27 Interstates that intersect and share numbers around San Antonio, having “China Grove” stuck in my head, and being about to pass out from hunger yet unable to find any chain restaurant anywhere without a 60-minute wait. The end result? A glamorous business dinner at Denny’s. Thrilled at the thought of actually being able to eat after what felt like five hours in the car, I glanced longingly at the beautifully photographed breakfast specials. I announced to Hope and MPC that I was going to order something sad and mockable, yet delicious: Moon Over My Hammy. Hope was going to have pancakes, but then MPC lectured us on the inappropriateness of breakfast foods at night. Hope stood firm and got her pancakes. I got a turkey melt.