Sunday, October 16, 2005

Sunday/Monday in Dallas

I'm tired.

Work has been crazy-busy with oil prices where they are. I've also picked up a consulting job on the side. It's left little time for adventure, excitement, or exploration. Suprisingly, Misseswether has picked up the slack and she and Miniwether have had some hair-raising adventures lately.

I had to attend a conference up in Dallas. Four days of such stunning talks like, "Core flow analysis of Khuff formation dolomite at 14,000 meters." Ye-haw. Since Misseswether is an unemployed bum (her term!) she and Miniwether joined me in Dallas. We arrived late Sunday afternoon to our hotel, the Wyndham Anatole. Hey, "Casing unit morphology, aluminum versus steel" is a lot easier to listen too when you woke up in a five-star hotel. Anyway, I had to get to the conference Sunday evening, so Misseswether decided to make a quick run to the grocery store which was supposedly just on the other side of the freeway acorrding to Yahoo maps.

Several hours later a frazzeled, foodless Misseswether and a rather frightened Miniwether stomped back to the hotel room. The map was wrong, no grocery store was at the indicated location. The map also did not indicate one-way streets. What should have been a two-mile juant to fresh produce and yummy baked goods turned into a multi-houred, screaming journey into some of Dallas' seedier avenues of despair. When I returned to the hotel I found a glaring Misseswether and a suprisingly quiet Miniwether.

Misseswether explained to me that she was not going to leave the hotel room again unless I was driving the car, preferably back towards Houston. As I am wise in the ways of women I agreed with everything she said. Being an adventure means knowing when you are the hammer and when you are the anvil.

The next day I only had talks in the morning. By 10:30am I was back in the hotel room, only to discover my family was missing. A quick phone cell phone call revealed they were at the Triple A office getting maps. They actually got a bunch of maps, a lollipop, and a large bruise on Miniwether's head (something about running full-speed into a large, plate-glass wall). Maps in hand, my Adventure-Wife and Adventure-Girl were ready to try Dallas again. (I told you five-star hotels are great for healing the soul.)

We met back at the hotel, then headed out to the Texas State Fair. We made a quick stop at a nearby grocery store (don't ask) to get the fixin's for a car picnic, then off to the Fair.

Along with approximately 1,000,000 other people. It took us over an hour to find a parking spot, but that was okay. Miniwether caught up on her napping, which proved vital for the rest of the day. Once we made it to the gate an unexpected problem appeared, everyone entering the Fair was being scanned with a metal detector wand. I'm an adventurer. One of an adventure's key tools is a knife. Remember an earlier post when I said "one is zero, two is one, and four is just paranoia"?

Let's just say I have a paranoia about not having a knife with me.

Luckily, I've been through this sort of situation before. This time I used the "accidentaly drop a handful of change" in front of the scanner and he just waved me through rather than wait for me to pick everything up.

Once inside we headed to the children's rides. Miniwether was wide-eyed and staring at all the people, animals, colors, and flashing lights. There was a color Viking boat ride up ahead and when asked if she wanted to ride it Miniwether vigorously answered yes. After a short wait I strapped her into her boat while Misseswether jockeyed for position amoungst all the other camera-wielding parents. With a blast of of music the ride began turning and Miniwether waved to us as she passed. The boat splashed up and down! The music played loud! The colored lights flashed!

Then Miniwether realized that the boat was taking her AWAY from Adventure-Daddy and Adventure-Mommy.

Over the sounds of the carnival barkers, loud music, clanging rides, and ten thousand voices chattering away I could hear one lone voice crying, crying for mommy. Crying, crying for daddy. As she circled back into veiw she suddenly looked very, very tiny and very, very afraid. She reached out for us as she was swept by, begging for us to save her. Misseswether gave her that big, fake smile that parents think is reassuring. The guy next to me nudged me, pointed at Minwether, and laughed. I gave him a look that said, "I walked in here with four knives, don't make me leave with three."

Finally the ride stopped. I ran to Miniwether and rescued my screaming two-year-old daughter from the terrible boat. She wrapped her arms around me, looked me in the eye and asked, "Again?"

After that we decided to spend the rest of the time looking at animals. There was a free children's barnyard on the map that stated children would get to feed animals and learn all sorts of other farm chores. After waiting forty-five minutes in the hot sun drinking $3 lemon ice it was our turn to enter the "farm".

Is it a rip-off if it was free? The animals turned out to be fiberglass cows, plywood pigs, and stuffed chickens. Fake fruit was piled beneath fake trees, the only thing real was the dirt. I turned to the girls to state my complaints only to discover them having a wonderful time. Miniwether was tossing handfulls of "corn" at the animals to feed them. Misseswether was trying out the milking machine. Laughter and joy burbled from them in waves as the discovered a new farming technique.


Go figure.

After that the Fair blurred into a mix of funnel cakes, freaks, tractors, and music. The sugar-fueled Miniwether raced from booth to booth filling her head with who knows what. She chattered, babbled, and pointed at everything and about everything. A brief, heavy rain moved through and just added to her excitment.

Finally, we wandered back to the giant Ferris wheel. The dark and the rain had chased most people inside, so the line was short. Miniwether and I boarded and began the swaying climb up into the sky. Miniwether was struck dumb. For the first time all day she stared out at the lights, the sounds, but was herself speechless. At the top she clung to me but still stared out, still silent. Several times we circled, then the ride ended. As I picked her up to leave the Ferris wheel she hugged me and said, I love you, daddy."

We met up with Misseswether, then began the long walk back to the car. In less than a block Miniwether was asleep in my arms.

Next up: Tuesday in Dallas

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