Thursday, May 18, 2017

Houston in May 2017

So, this is NOT Houston in May. 

This is today in Colorado.

view from my office this morning. And it hasn't stopped all day. 

So last week in Houston was quite the departure, although to be fair, when I got back on Saturday, it was warmer here than there. We just have a lot more variety than warm and warmer. 

So let's rewind to a week ago Saturday, the 6th...

I've got to find Aidan a seat belt harness. This is where he rides when I'm sitting in "his" spot.

Saturday mid-day is the way to travel. No super early flights, or really late after work, casually get up and check everything is packed before hitting the road. 

Was one of the first on, so grabbed a seat in row 3 at the window in time to watch my suitcase get loaded onto the plane. The weird thing is that the smaller one that matches had clearly been already loaded, and this was one of the last. But arriving at Hobby, they were side by side and almost the first bags to show up on the carousel. 


of we go!

 downtown Denver disappears in the majesty of the mountain ranges farther west, no?

within a few minutes, Pike's Peak and Colorado Springs are underneath us. 

And things get flat pretty fast.

I had saved the S-Town Podcast for the trip, which I was really enjoying when I realized that the "thing" I'd wished for over so many flights was finally reality. Southwest Wi-Fi allows you to connect while in airplane mode and have a real-time reading of what you are flying over!



And we kept shaving off minutes to arrival, which sounds like a good thing, until you're on the ground stuck in an airplane because the gate you need to arrive at is still occupied by the plane not yet ready to depart.

 So once we could de-plane, it was over to baggage claim. Hobby is so small, which is really convenient when it's so near everything I'm visiting in Houston compared to IAH. But it does mean it's a bit small town when it comes to baggage claim. No monitors to tell you which carousel, mostly because they rarely need more than two. And no one really has a system except to communicate at the last minute "Hey, we're dropping the Denver flight onto #2" for the lady to announce over the P.A.

Both my bags showed up early, as I mentioned, so was out the door and on the Thrifty/Dollar Rental shuttle. I discovered rental cars seems to be a bit opposite of flight booking. For flights, earlier is usually better, within a reasonable window. For rental cars, when I looked after booking the airfare, I was surprised to find rates almost double what I'd snagged in January just a couple of days before departure when we were scrambling for Nell's funeral. But checking back just days before, the rates had dropped back to similar January costs. 

However, the rate I wanted was showing up fora  midsize and the compact was another $50! So I booked the mid-size and thought I'd ask if I could just choose a smaller vehicle at that rate. 

Nope. I had the lady check and they really did want more money for a tiny car. Okay, I'll stick with "mid-sized" but to be honest, the Kia Rio I ended up in is classified as a subcompact. Weird. 

I will say the Toyota Yaris I drove in January got outstanding gas mileage compared to the Rio. But not $50 worth of a difference.

So I was at Steph's house by 3:30 and we met up with Marcy at the Pearland Original Gringos for the first Tex Mex of the trip. And this will be one of the only photos we take together.

Oh, there is this one, from going to the movies on Sunday...

Then, the last day, as Steph was readying to leave for Maddie's ACC graduation and I had just rolled out of bed in my pajamas...

we are just not very good at remembering this.

But the week was chock-full of fun and discoveries. 

On Tuesday I was able to meet up with Mr. Golenko for lunch at the newly opened House of Pies right in the old neighborhood. 

I don't know why I was so delighted with this ceiling, really.


Mr. G is prtoring AP exams all week and had to squeeze me in on his only open afternoon, but I was able to talk him into coming over to the original Dobie building again, just long enough for us to try a clearer photo of him outside his hoe-away-from home, room #214, from 1972 until 2003.

The full tour is posted here

Thursday I create the post and shared it and when I got up Friday morning, it was gathering some steam.

Now, a week later, it is the second most viewed post in the history of the blog with 5115 separate views and has shot up the left side-bar "popular" post list to #2, behind one of the Brio posts from years ago.

The bulk of my time at the Leader offices were in the filing cabinets full of photos. Here is one of many, filled to the brim:


I started trying to organize all the non-sports photos into general categories, "Community" "Schools" "Places", etc. I'd seen most of them, but any new ones I pulled to scan and kept sifting. 

I could only sort the first couple of days because, as I was driving home from our first Tex Mex dinner Saturday night I had the horrible realization that I had left my scanner back in Denver in my office instead of getting it packed into my laptop bag.

Amazon Prime to the rescue, but not until Tuesday afternoon. 

And that scanner is staying in Houston. 

Most days I was in the big room under the aerial of South Bend in the early 90s, which seems fitting.

That whole subdivision is currently being dug out into a 100 acre retention lake area. More on that in a minute.  

Thursday night I met up with Michelle, where we went to the South Belt Gringos and then hopped over to House of Pies, since she hadn't yet been. Big sacrifice. 

I had mentioned to Marie on Monday that I would very much like to take a drive around the South Belt area with her to record some more conversations we'd started back in January. We weren't able to work our schedules out to do this until Friday afternoon, my last day before flying home Sat. 

But we did have a good couple of hours tooling around talking. She drove us out to the SouthBend spot to check on the excavation.

This is looking toward the Brio side, where you can see half a million dollar homes jutting up against where the old ball fields once were.

She took me all over, including to the area where all the SouthBend homes that were finally demolished and hauled away were buried in their own unmarked cemetery of sorts. 

Saturday, everyone had to take off for Maddie's graduation, which left me home alone with the dogs and the turtle before I needed to make my way back to Hobby. Other than aerial photos of my flights, this is what I took the most photos of all week.

Our usual position whenever I am at Steph's house:

Lucy uncurled in the sun

and Bruce, the tortoise, who has brown immensely since I met him back in 2013.

size reference with Coco, who wanted to make sure I wasn't giving Bruce anything she would want to eat.

So back to Hobby, back to Thrifty to drop off the rental, back on the rental shuttle, back to check the bags, through security, and back on the plane in row 2 this time to wing back to Colorado.

Over Houston


 Back to Pike's Peak!

and right back to this rascal :)


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