Tuesday, January 25, 2005

What I did on my Christmas Vacation

I know it has been a while since Christmas but I feel this need to document my trip. I can't seem to blog anything else until I do this. So here goes.

Thursday - We left late, no surprise there if you know me. Jerry needed a ride to the airport so in a very packed car we dropped him off. Nothing all that interesting on the long drive home. Listened to half of Patricia Heaton's book on CD and had some fun with iPod Shuffle. Funnies moment was likely Jerry calling us while we were in the WhataBurger in Baytown and saying he was still in Austin.

Friday - The boys, Jerry, Tony, Chris, and I, got together for the annual Christmas Eve shopping. Tony and I were in it for the Vicky’s. Jerry and Chris were in it to get their actual shopping done. We had Canes for lunch which was awesome since to me it was just like having Guthrie's in Auburn. I snuck in some GTA while Jerry and Chris finished shopping spending way too much time attempting the driving school. The evening was the standard Eve fare: church with the in-laws, and dinner with the Hymels.

Saturday - Christmas Day. New Orleans had a white Christmas. How crazy is that? We woke up to sleet that progressed into snow as the day went on. Considering we drove all over town and crossed bridges four times I amazed we did everything we did. The schedule was the same as years past: morning just us, morning with my parents, morning with the in-laws, lunch with the Mourases, dinner with the Dickeys, and back to my parents house for the Dickey cousin get together. That last one consists of my sister, our cousin Beth, my wife, and me gossiping and debating social issues over a bottle of wine until 3 AM. And we have done it three years running.

Sunday - OK. I'll be honest I don't remember a lot from Sunday and no it's not because of the wine. In the afternoon we greeted Melissa's family from Houston and had present time all over again with them. After presents we headed to Frankie and Johnny's. Nothing wrong with that. I think I would move home just to get Barq's in the bottle again.

Monday - Started the day with lunch at Zeke's. Yes my days often start with lunch. We then ran some errands for the mother-in-law birthday party and then held said party. Afterwards I lost money in poker at Chris's new place, mostly to Jerry. Curse you Jerry.

Tuesday - A free Tuesday in New Orleans? I know what that means. Two for one spaghetti at Tony Mandina's. Excellent. After lunch we tried to go to the Quarter, but it seems other people had that idea so we went to Mick's in Mid-City instead. Beer was drunk, pool was played, and poker was played all before the sun went down. Why can't every day be vacation? We wound up back in Mid-City that night for pizza and dessert.

Wednesday - Whenever my father and I see each other for more than a few days we have to play gold and this week was no exception. The difference this time was playing with Mr. Joe and Uncle Stephen. I hadn't played with those guys in a long time and it felt just like old times. I didn't play well but playing Timberlane with that crew is something I love doing even if I lose $2 to my godfather.

Thursday - One of the things I really miss about not being around my family is spending random time with them, so Melissa and I decided to take Beth out to lunch. It gave us an excuse to stop by Newman and Mathis, my old summer job stomping ground, at that's always a good time. The food at Fausto's was good and I got to learn about the intricacies of Splenda and wedding shower planning. Yes really. For dinner we headed out to the middle of nowhere, Crown Point, for dinner with the Hymel clan, all twenty-five of us. Hanging out with cousins you haven't seen in a long time is nice and weird all at the same time. I still can't believe how much Justin has grown. And dinner in the swamp is an experience you can only get in Louisiana. After dinner the oldest of the younger generation head to the Quarter to hang out. We wound up at the Absinthe Bar and had a good time just hanging out. Not something I do with that side of the family much. It's good to get that in.

Friday - Leaving the Quarter early in the AM was a bit of an issue for me. I was beginning to shiver uncontrollably. It wasn't that cold, but I was that sick. I didn't sleep much that night and when I finally got around to taking my temperature it was over 100. I took a nice long nap that afternoon in an attempt to sleep in off, and strangely enough it worked. 12 hour sickness. Weird. All of that meant I was ok to spend New Year's Eve in the French Quarter which is something I had always wanted to do, but had never done. We know a guy who has an apartment on Royal so we drove down with Tony, Amee, and Jerry, parked at Amee's work, and drove down. Never did see a streetcar. The apartment was cool. I want to live there someday but that day is likely in my past. Spent some time on Bourbon, but it was too crowded. Went to see the ball drop by just walking down Decatur until we couldn't walk anymore. Tried to see the fireworks but they cancelled them due to fog. Drank a good bit, but not as much as Melissa and Jerry. Never been so happy to drop a full drink in my life.

Saturday - Ah college bowl games. We got to watch two close ones. The LSU game was an extreme emotional high followed by an extreme emotional low. The Texas game, well, it was a nail biter but they pulled it off. Had a good time watching both though, so I can't really complain about the day. That night we headed over to Jerry's for his annual Christmas Party. Jen and Wayne couldn't be there, which sucked, but seeing everyone else was nice. It was really get to see the Wilds and the baby. I have baby fever right now. Jerry wound up winning the Super Smash Brothers Melee tournament, but I won't be calling him the King any time soon. I don't care what he says.

Sunday - Nothing stokes the fire of baby fever quite like a baptism, at least when you are the godfather and on Sunday I received that honor for the second time. Isabel Barattini is now my goddaughter. The ceremony was like most of these things go. Of course as the godfather I can't help think of the oh so famous movie scene and I'm told I may have responded a little too emphatically to rejecting Satan. Afterwards we rode the emotional rollercoaster that is being a Saints fan. They won their game, but the Jets lost theirs so no playoffs this year. Ah well. That night Steve and his friend Joel came in town for the Sugar Bowl and we met up with Jerry and Fritz for dinner at R&O's. It was an odd mix of people but that led to some interesting discussions about graduate school, careers, and sports.

Monday - With Joel and Steve in town for the Sugar Bowl it only made sense to spend the day in the Quarter so the four of us headed down there around lunch time. We parked at Canal Place, which took a while and ended with me climbing out of the trunk the parking was so tight, and then walked to Central Grocery. In all my time in New Orleans I had never had a muffuletta from there. Now all is right with the world. We walked around Jackson Square, poked our heads in the Cathedral, walked down Bourbon, had coffee and beignets from Cafe Du Monde, saw street performers, and walked along the river. It was a wonderful toursity day. The game was a blast. Melissa and I had seats on the lower level in the end zone and, lucky us, it was the end zone Auburn came out of and was the end zone were most of the action in the game took place. Thank you so much Uncle Stephen for getting those tickets. After the game the four of us headed to Bourbon for a little victory walk, well three of us. Joel was rooting for Virginia Tech so it was a walk of shame for him. At one point Steve bought a hand grenade and then bought a feather boa for Christy which allowed me to take the best Steve picture ever.

Tuesday - Packed the car with a ridiculous amount of stuff and headed back for Austin. Finished the Patricia Heaton book and I now feel like I know her, which is weird way to think about someone you have never met. Tried to watch a DVD but hadn't re-setup the laptop for DVD playback so that was out. Listened to the Orange Bowl instead which was just crazy to hear on the radio. I had no idea that was going to happen. You could hear the shock in the announcer's voices the whole time.

A very full trip as you can see. Now to recap the rest of January...