Having three children with busy schedules, a demanding full-time job, and after-work activities, I rarely get a night out alone with my husband.
Last Friday night, my niece and her boyfriend, who were visiting from Albany, NY, were scheduled to have dinner and a ghost tour of downtown San Antonio. Sadly, the boyfriend ended up with a scary stomach bug. Since the tickets were already purchased and non-refundable, Marvin and I were recruited to fill in. Honestly, after a long week, both of us dreamed of relaxing at home with a bottle of wine/beer.
I was only vaguely interested in the tour, since I openly admit that I believe in ghosts. My husband, on the other hand, is a total non-believer. Our secret plan was to have dinner, and if we became bored with the tour, we would duck into one of our favorite martini bars.
Reluctantly, we headed downtown and straight to the bar at the Menger, one of San Antonio’s most haunted hotels. The tour started promptly after dinner, and we ventured through the hotel where many of our fellow ghost tourees excitedly snapped pictures of orbs. The more excited the tourees got, the sillier Marvin and I got. That’s when we started snapping goofy pictures of ourselves all over downtown San Antonio. One at the Menger Hotel. One at the Alamo. One at the Emily Morgan Hotel. One in some random place that I can’t remember. One at San Fernando Cathedral.
As it turns out, we did not accidentally snap any pictures of resident spirits in San Antonio, but we did have a good time sharing drinks, giggling at our pictures, and wandering around areas of our city I had never seen before. I think we both appreciated and enjoyed our night out, even if we had to share it with ghosts.
During the school year, I drive Olivia to school each day. Our less than five-minute drive doesn’t allow much time for conversation, besides a review of her after school schedule or a short spelling word quiz.
For the past week, Olivia has been attending Camp Showbiz at the Magik Theatre, which is about 19 miles from home. The 30 minute drive into downtown San Antonio gives me time to have a full on conversation with my sweet, sensitive, and innocent seven year old. One day last week, when I hadn’t had enough coffee and Olivia may have had chocolate chip cookies for breakfast, I finally had to tell her that we had already covered a variety of tricky, inappropriate, and complex topics and that we just needed to listen to the radio for the rest of the drive. So here’s what we talked about…
- Becoming a billionaire. She confessed that she wants to be a billionaire when she grows up. (Which I think is fine as long as she takes good care of her parents. I worry about how she thinks she is going to become a billionaire , though I’m pretty sure it has something to do with acting on the Disney Channel. Or, marrying Daniel Radcliffe – see below…)
- Her conversion to Methodism. As we passed the Methodist Heart Hospital, Olivia asked me if that was where she was born. I told her that she was born at Methodist hospital, but not that one. She insisted that since she was born at Methodist hospital, it would be okay for her to become a Methodist when she turned 18. (She has wanted to convert since early this summer when she spent a week at vacation bible school at the Methodist church.)
- Daniel Radcliffe. She thinks he is totally hot and wants to know if he has a younger brother.
- Radio Disney censorship rules. When the incredibly catchy song Price Tag played on the radio, Olivia wanted to know why they censored the word damn but not the word ho… (Good question! At least she didn’t ask me what “ho” means…)
- Competing in beauty pageants. She announced that she wanted compete in beauty pageants, and I was completely caught off guard. (I told her that Toddlers and Tiaras is creepy and there is no way I am going to be on that show!)
And who says kids grow up too soon?
Last Friday, the Ring family left on our mini summer vacation up North. That’s right, we traveled by mini van from San Antonio to Grapevine, Texas, where we spent two nights at the Great Wolf Lodge. Then we drove on to Arlington, Texas, where we attended the annual Children’s Hemiplegia and Stroke Association (CHASA) retreat.
Life Gets In the Way
While I meant to write while we were gone, time got away from me. By the time we settled in each evening, I was exhausted and not creative. But, I did have six straight days of being a Mommy. Yes, I also checked my work email and participated as a board member at the retreat. I also slept in the bottom bunk of a bunk bed, survived three trips down the crazy water slide with Olivia, and lounged by the pool while my kids swam, splashed, and ate ice cream with their friends. But, after six days of being on the road and living out of a suitcase, I was ready to come home.
So, why does it feel so good to be home after vacation?
Here’s what I think…
- Sleep in my own bed
- My dog, Lilly
- Home cooked meals
- Regular schedule for kids = less whining
- Access to entire closet full of clothes
- Ability to finally chill out and relax