Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Wild West, sans Steampunk Armadillos

So anyone who has lived in Skyrim (the Minnesota/Wisconsin/Michigan/Dakota area) during the Time of Frigid Tears can attest that it sucks cold balls.  The constant grey skies, the blustery winds, the peeking out the window to see if you have to shovel 8 inches of fallen white powder that you could maybe resell if you could only find Booger.  It sucks.  It's depressing, and it sucks.

Most people who have gone through this have figured out that the best thing to do if you live in this area is to get the fuck out of it while the skies are bleak.  You pick up, you move, you git along little doggie, and you go somewhere... oh... what's the fucking word... "pleasant" for a while.  You recharge your batteries, then you come back and glare at the sky and ask it why it is so goddamn fucktardedly grey.  If you're really smart, and usually well heeled, you become what's called a Snowbird... and you just GTFO for the cold times, coming back in the spring.

The Beebs (my utterly and completely kickass wife, pictured below) and I recently did this.  We got the fuck out.

She does make snow look inviting, doesn't she?
Now before I really spin up my posting guns... a little bit of self realization and background for you who may not have known me for a while.  I used to hate Texas.  No real good reason that I can think of, other than the governmental arena.  Shit, I used to live in New Mexico, and state rivalries being what they are, I never hated Texas.  I was ambivalent towards it.  Then over the last several years, for no goddamn good reason, I developed a serious dislike of all things Texan.  This view has been shifting for a while now, and has now done a complete 180.

The trip started as most trips do... there was some chaos and some packing, some frenzied cleaning, a few days taken off of work, and then some driving.  We arrived in the even more northern climes of Minneapolis to hang out with two very good friends, Tammy and B.

Minneapolis.  No, I'm not shitting you.  This picture was taken at the Mall of America.
There wasn't much time for socialization.  There was time for sleep.  I showed Tammy a few awesome things on the PortaBrain, we talked yarn and lentils for a while, and then there was sleeping.  At the end of it, we woke up, at 4 fucking AM or some non-existential time.  My feet half in the dreamlands, I hugged my wonderful wife, we packed up, and set out with Tammy to head to the Dragon's Roost to hop a ride out of Skyrim.

The city guards were unkind.  Perhaps too many arrows to delicate parts of the anatomy.  They didn't like the fact that my wife is like killer beautiful, either that or they liked it too much and wanted to walk her walk away and then back again.  They sent her back to the ticket desk to get the name on her ticket changed because they couldn't fucking understand that a Wedding Certificate that shows a legal change of name is, you know, a legal fucking change of name.  Hired monkeys, the lot of them.  I guess I can't complain too badly, they let me through without a second glance.  Maybe they're racists.  Maybe it's because she's Texan.  I don't know.  Bebop kept her cool, got her shit done, and pranced through security on her second try.

Down a long corridor, some waiting, down another shorter corridor, some sitting, some waiting... and then WHOOOOOSH.  Up, up, and away.

Here's a fun bit of trivia.  There used to be a band named "Steel Dragon."  This I just learned as I was googling for an image to continue with the Skyrim thing.  This is NOT what we rode into the sky.

The wingspan is not adequate for the necessary lift.
So we get up to cruising altitude, and the Beebs has her face pressed against the window.  Why?  Hey, flying is fucking cool.  I'm a bit jaded to it these days... since I've flown more times than I can count due to being tossed across the country as a young lad several times.  She doesn't have that jaded outlook.  She's amazed, and rightfully so, at the beauty that can be seen from 30,000 feet.  The best part of it for me wasn't looking out the window, it was just looking at her as she looked out the window.

Unfortunately, the asshat sitting to the right of me, who was for some part of the flight reading and re-reading what looked to be a religious pamphlet, decides that she has the right to ask Beebs to close the fucking window.  I had my headphones in.  I didn't hear it.  But as soon as I noticed, and I said something, and I was informed, I got pretty fucking pissed off.  We paid 15 bucks for the window seat.  She didn't pay jack shit for her aisle seat, and I mentioned this.  Beebs, being the much more socially non-barbaric of the pair of us, just lifted the blind a few inches and continued to oggle the curves of Mother Earth.  I seethed a bit, and then gave up, because she was just so damn beautiful as she looked out at the world.

We came down in Dallas, and my first thought was "Fuck, it even looks warm out there."  Because it did.  Not only was there no snow on the ground, but there was a big ball of fire in the sky.  We hopped out of the plane and grabbed her bags.  A brief and somewhat chaotic bus ride later, we get to the car rental joint where some woman named Cherise decides to dispute Beeb's name... AGAIN.

It was at this point that I decided that whatever GM was running our Adventure To The Epic Southlands was being a complete bratty, petty prick, and was going to toss every minor boondoggle at us.  Making us roll on each and every useless encounter.  Maybe I should have burnt a twelve pack of Mountain Dew and a bag of Ranch Doritos before we took the trip.  Naturally, Beebs pulled out her 18 charisma and +3 in speechcraft, and we got our car.  The reward for the encounter?

Okay maybe he's a bit prettier than I am...
Got to ride around in this...
A bulbous backed little cargo vehicle with more pep than it looks like.
I can cope with that.  We get in to the car, and immediately blast off for a restaurant that Beebs has been talking about since before we met.  A little place called The Egg & I.  We sit down to what she likes to call "A Hunter S. Thompson Style Breakfast."  The food blew me away, hands down the best breakfast I have had in a long, long time, and the service was spot on awesome.  We need one of these up here... unfortunately, in the Twin Cities, some asshat started up a false Egg & I, with a totally shitty menu and crappy service.  Fuck them.  Go to Texas next time you want a good breakfast, they'll hook your ass up.

After that, we jumped back in our Firefly and headed on over to Houston.  On the way in to town, we got a personal message...

We checked in at the hotel, took a brief rest, got all gussied up and then headed over to meet the first part of my Family-In-Law.  Mother-In-Law kicks butt, but this I already knew, as we'd met during the wedding.  Sister-In-Law 1 is pretty cool as well, very artistic and quiet, but when she does speak, she's very well spoken.  My Brother-In-Law and I got into deep discussions over dinner at a place called Taste of Texas... we talked everything from planets and moons, to nuclear reactions and the structure of suns, to various types of sleds and snowshoes, to hunting techniques for various great beasts.  Did I mention he's eleven?  Yeah.  Brilliant young mind.  

It was during these discussions that I received one of the greatest compliments I could from my Mother-In-Law, which I actually didn't hear... but Beebs did.  She said I am going to make a damn good father.  I happen to agree, and I can't wait.

The night ended with a quick trip over to my other Sister-In-Law's place.  Another cool meeting, if a bit subdued because we were so very tired.  All in all, my new family kicks major ass.

The next day saw us through the Houston Museum of Natural Science.  My amazing wife knows how much I love science, and what I saw in there blew away my biggest expectations.  Every exhibit was fucking fantastic.  I could have spent hours in the Energy exhibits alone, but there were about 50 screaming children all playing with various bits of knowledge, and I couldn't learn a thing.  I like to think that these kids will go on to create a new and awesome engine that runs off of something other than dead dinosaur.  The paleontology exhibits were incredible, and provided many awesome chances for photos.  The Egyptian area left MUCH to be desired... it was about as big as my bedroom, but it did have a real true-to-life deadguy in it.  I really wish I could have taken some pictures of the jewelry exhibits.  I am not joking when I say there were simply too many diamonds in every piece for my camera to properly focus.  Too much Bling, as it were.  Pretty incredible.

Bebop, facing down a long dead horror of the deep.
When was the last time a T-Rex got high fived?  Sometimes, you just gotta hook a brotha up.
Unfortunately, by this time, my lovely and far better half was feeling the onset of GM's Bullshit Malady #45... an ear infection and throat problems.  A fever, some light coughing.  We headed out to get her some food at Yia Yia Mary's, where I had the most incredible gyro ever.  From there it was on to meet The Grands, and her father.  Everyone was just as cool as the other side of her family... I got along with them great, and they apparently think I'm a pretty good guy as well.  I took care of my wife best I could while we were there, kept her on the couch, got her everything I could, and in the end we headed back out to the car.

Okay, so there's one thing in Texas I can do without.  Most of the driving was alright.  But at night, these people turn into fucking meth-ridden werewolves with adrenaline fixations.  That little firefly we were driving?  I had to take it at about 90 through 1 lane construction, with Bebop snoozing in the passenger seat, and a semi-truck breathing down my tailpipe for about 10 miles.  My heart vibrated into another dimension, and somehow I found that monster inner zen that you only really attain during lifes little "Oh Fuck" moments like this one.  The whole drive was about 3 hours or something, but it seemed like those 10 miles took up 95% of it.  As we were no where near Sparta, I'm damn sure it was Madness.

Not as playful when seen in a rear view mirror doing 90+ in tight quarters.
We pulled in to Dallas about midnight, hooked up with our room, and promptly crashed out.  We woke up and Bebop was feeling even worse.  Not cool.  I ran for some fever cutters and pain killers, some water, and other such necessaries.  The dance classes were scrapped, no way it'd work, but still she soldiered on... have I mentioned how badass she is?  She went into Dallas and tried to hunt them down, to no avail.  But she did discover the Dallas Water Garden, which she showed me later the next day.  We got some pretty cool pics, here's just a snippet.

The slippery, deadly path being conquered by my killer wife.
We did have the chance to be visited by our friends Ghost and Julie while we were in Houston, which was extra special, as they've been with us over the interwebs on every step of our journey together so far.  It was wonderful to see them again, and to get to hug Ghost as only men can hug... covered in sparkles.

And even though I've lost weight, this picture reminds me of the Fight Club Quote of:
"Bob.  Bob had Bitch Tits."
The next day we saw the Water Garden, and then headed to the airport.  We were pretty wrecked, it was an awesome adventure, but I was fighting off what Bebop had, and she was in the full throes... so we weren't really much for doing anything.  At the airport, there was like no freakin static.  The lines were non-existent, the place was clean and sane, and we zipped right through security after saying goodbye to the Firefly.

And we came home to this...
This was the best trip I'd been on.  We barely scratched the surface of all the awesome stuff we wanted to do and see.  There was one place in particular, which shall remain nameless, that I wanted to visit, but we just didn't have the time.  No matter, this will be the first of many, many visits.

Texas is now firmly ours.  It lays in our palms like a dusty nugget of gold, gleaming and shining with probabilities that we've only begun to probe.  I am so glad my eyes were opened to the beauty of that state, thanks to the beautiful mind of my lovely wife.

The day of our Engagement brought fireworks... and the world just keeps getting brighter.

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