hot springs was too far. tallahatchie flats was way too far. medicine park, ok, was a consideration.
and then it dwindled down to a day trip to dinosaur valley state park on the paluxy river in glen rose, about an hour and a half from dallas. i didn't even know it was there. at some point, i remembered that it's still easily in the upper 90s in texas in early september and we postponed that trip.
i decided oliver might finally be old enough to visit one of natural caverns in the texas hill country. inner space, just north of austin, is the closest and i've wanted to overnight at the austin motel for several years (i was going to gun for #145, the polka-dot surprise room). and oliver loves a good pool. then i looked up the length of the tour. one hour and 15 minutes. and i imagined oliver going nuts and trying to throw himself down a shaft while we were trapped down there and that idea was called off.
everything was either too hot, too long, or too far away. i threw the towel in for any hope of having a big time and imagined myself languishing on the couch with my left arm draped across my forehead.
instead, we ended up doing things around town. at least we didn't just go to target and call it a three day weekend.
we popped by the park because oliver is supposed to bring photos of five of his favorite things to school and there is no denying that swinging is one of those things.
walking. walking. wait. are we leaving?
this little squirrel scurried by us and climbed the chainlink behind homeplate to chill.
i found a large leaf in our parking lot. i guarantee it was even larger than it looks in the photo.
we finally went to fair park to visit the discovery museum.
we did not get a heckuvalot done the first part of the day because oliver's father is one of the most difficult people to get out of a horizontal position. by the time, he was up for the day, it was almost oliver's naptime.
he showed little enthusiasm for the dinosaur fossils. he was heavily distracted by the sand pits lining each wall where kids were digging. we almost let him in there on our way out and then i had flashes of him coming out of there with two pounds of sand in his pants, in his diaper, and coated on to every other square inch of him. maybe it was magic sand that falls right off of kids, like teflon-coated, much unlike the sand oliver found in the bottom of his beach bucket last week which was spread all over him and the floor while he sat in it kicking his feet across it. we're just now getting to where we can scoot dining room chairs without that god awful squeaky-scrapy sound.
if only i had hips like this. i could wear any pair of pants you handed me. never mind about the low-riding knees. and never mind that i keep managing to wear the exact same outfit every time there's a camera in the room. maybe if i had these hips, i could fit better into other clothes.
the water room. easily one of oliver's favorites. easily one of my least favorites. it's only a step less messy than a sand pit. he's a splasher, that oliver. and, of course, he kept trying to wind his way back to it. ugly scenes ensued.
the farm room. brought to you by borden.
watch the vegan milk the cow!
to make up for it, he freed the chickens.
apparently, at some point, brian took a breather in an area playing a little video about factory farming chickens. pro! he said they showed them all crammed in there and talked about how it's awesome for chickens to be farmed because it gives them a steady flow of feed and keeps them safe from predators. we don't want them to get eaten! the scene shifts to a montage of chicken nuggets and fried chicken so all the kiddies see what great things come out of the chicken farming. never mind the scenes missing from the middle! never mind the irony of eating those we don't want to get eaten!
i've just scoured the internet to no avail trying to locate that little gem. i guess i'll just have to go back and record it myself.
fire truck. this thing was wildly popular. it was like lord of the flies in there. oliver practically had to sit on an older boy to keep him from cutting in line at the steering wheel. it was funny.
this exhibit was called "kill or be killed: metal sticks edition". you wouldn't believe the racket.
forecasting the weather. it was doing some weird technological business where the lower half would black out when i took a photo. i'm confident at least one of you out there knows the explanation for this. please don't hurt my head by sharing it with me.
while poppa was tinkling inside, i walked oliver out to see the swan boats and walk around the lagoon. he immediately began chanting "beach! beach! beach!" and headed straight for the swampy shore with the intention of going for a swim. i'm certain he must find me to be the least fun mom on the planet. or at least, at the discovery science museum. he flipped out accordingly and we had to wrangle him back car-ward.
brian enticed me to another ghost town location by using its proximity to mr chopsticks in denton. for many years, i listed mr chopsticks and the flying tomato as two legitimate reasons not to move from denton. in the meantime, big business decided to purchase this block in the little heart of the UNT campus, which contains independent, iconic shops, bars, and eateries. mr chopsticks snagged the old pearl cafe location (where i ate the first year i was too afraid to go in mr chopsticks) a half mile away and business has gotten even crazier. the block now stands razed with only cool beans bar remaining (they didn't sell!). in a stand of solidarity, some misguided students set the tomato on fire after it had been shut down and stripped. i was surprised to see the CVS/Walgreens/Starbucks still hasn't been erected.
anyhow. we were driving down some hick road in hickory creek looking for the old alton bridge when a cop pulled up behind us flashing his lights. i glanced at brian's stickers to see if they were up to date and said "hey, brian. it looks like you have two tags and no inspection sticker." and brian assured me that was not true. then the trooper showed up and informed him he had no inspection sticker. he had peeled off the wrong one when he had finally gotten his tags renewed. he was given a ticket and thought he had two weeks to get the inspection done. of course, his horn wasn't working. ford focuses have super shitty horns that die when it rains and he's had something like 7 or 8 of them now and ford refuses to cover them. *lemon law*. so he failed inspection and the dealership told him last monday that they would have to order the horn and bring it in tuesday. he dropped it off tuesday and called that afternoon to be told they were awaiting customer authorization. hey, what? terry, his case manager, was out sick and they apparently don't have a contingency plan in place. so, they hadn't even ordered the horn. they finally fixed it wednesday and i dropped him off to get it. he got a ticket for speeding in a school zone on his way home. in the meantime, tuesday night, i thought it'd be a brilliant idea to go to taj express for dinner because they make the best palak paneer ever (that's spinach, you know). oliver was unexpectedly angelic. then, brian performed some weird physics experiment with his fork on a piece of naan and palak went catapulting in a green curtain across his shirt, the table, and the wall. and i laughed and laughed and we talked about how he's a big dork for removing his inspection sticker, getting a speeding ticket while trying to get rid of another ticket, and smattering his new shirt with spinach.
so, we get to the old alton bridge and it's gorgeous. turns out they have all these trail back in there and we hope to come back to those.
where'd those bolts go?!
then we went to mr chopsticks and i noticed again how the sauce ain't what it used to be. maybe not enough cornstarch or something. but still good. we both had the mixed vegetables and tofu and brian even got some vegetarian sushi. i got the basil eggplant to go for dinner and it was heavenly.
we had planned on taking oliver to the park near where i used to live. then we remembered it was hot as blazes out there and snuck away from that idea. we did make it to the cupboard natural food store so i could get tree of life smoked tofu for oliver to hate and not want in his school lunch. great.
ps: one day after fixing the horn, it is no longer working. brian had to beg the guys to give him an inspection sticker. now that he realizes there's a one year/12,000 mile warranty on it, he took it back friday to stick it to them.