We had a bunch of credit card rewards points that were about to expire, so I decided it would be a (brilliant) idea to spend a weekend away in San Antonio. BVZ nixed the idea of going up on Friday and spending 2 nights, but agreed that a Saturday to Sunday plan was completely acceptable. In retrospect he was very right and I am (usually) glad he is around to temper my grand ideas.
The plan was to leave after ballet class and make the 90 mile drive. Ballet class ends at 10:30. I think we left the house at 1:30. Eh, at least we were being relaxed about it. We made good time (stopping only once to pee and get Norah her favorite thing of all times--a gas station treat), and got there around 3:30. We stayed at the historic La Mansion del Rio (now owned by Omni). Although check in was at 3:00 we were told there were no rooms available just yet because they were running behind. Little did we know that this was also the weekend of the San Antonio marathon and grumpy people filled the lobby (I am not sure why they were so grumpy? I guess that's what running 26 miles at a time does to your disposition)? They was also a large wedding party in one of the ballrooms and they took up a lot of space. But weren't grumpy. Because they had wine.
The kids were in good spirits, so we walked around the hotel for a while and stuck our feet in the pool. Norah wanted to get in but I told her we didn't have her swimming suit. She asked if she could go in naked. I told her that was called skinny dipping and no, she couldn't. So of course she proceeded to yell across the pool at BVZ, "hey, dad, want to go skinny dipping?" He said no too.
We waited about 30 or 45 minutes and then BVZ asked me to go ahead and be a squeaky wheel. So, I went up to the front desk with Lou and in a low voice told them that while we absolutely understood how busy they were, we were about to have two simultaneous meltdowns in their front lobby (not true), and they were very accommodating and pushed us to the front of the line. Two minutes later we got the keys to our room.
We headed up to our 3rd floor room to find....that it hadn't actually been cleaned yet. By this point at least Lou really was on the verge, so I called down and very nicely let the front desk know what had happened. I give them props for responding immediately and the manager personally escorted us to an upgraded room on the top floor with a view of the Riverwalk.
The manager was very apologetic and I told him it wasn't a big deal and not to stress about it. He thanked us for being so gracious and I told him that we tell our kids that they can't throw a fit just because something doesn't go their way and we are trying to teach them to pick their battles wisely. Because we expect them to behave a certain way and treat people with kindness, we have to lead by example and act the same way. He called us model parents. Ha. Little did he know that just that morning the neighbor heard Norah yell out the front door, "hey you asshole cat, get back in here!"
It was lovely but it made me nervous to have Norah running out there, so we let her check it out and then I locked the door and moved the giant armchair in front of it.
Someone was very glad to finally be there.
We decided to walk around the Riverwalk for a while and grab an early dinner.
The outside of our hotel.
There are a ton of good restaurants up and down the Riverwalk, but Norah was hungry (and BVZ wanted a beer), so even though I wanted to assess our options before deciding, I was outvoted and we ended up at the Iron Cactus. I have been to the Iron Cactus many times before (there is one in Austin as well) and it is always pretty mediocre. Norah liked her quesadilla, though, so that's something. They only had a handful of wines by the glass and only one kind of Sauvignon Blanc (my favorite white), so I just ordered by saying, "can I have a glass of the Sauvignon Blanc?" The waitress looked at me as though I had just ordered a glass of wine from the moon and said something to the effect of, "we don't have fancy stuff like that here." I showed her on the menu what I was talking about and she said, "oh, that wine is called Geyser Peak." Oh, Texas. Silly, silly Texas.
There are boat tours that go up and down the river and Norah become mildly obsessed with going on one. We made the tactical decision that BVZ and Lou should go get a beer and watch the game at the bar of the restaurant while Norah and I went on the boat. Tactical decision. Which was fine with me. We had a great time.
The tour was actually really interesting and I learned a lot of things I didn't know. Like, part of the river is man made (created for the World's Fair), and our hotel was once St. Mary's law school. I told Norah that when you are on a boat and go under a bridge you are supposed to kiss the one you love. There were about 15 bridges, so I got about 15 kisses. Love.
We found the guys and then found gelato.
We called it a night and went back to the room to get everyone in bed. Unbeknownst to us, during the course of our Riverwalk adventure, Louis had a big, disgusting, messy poop (he has had been sick the entire week before and ended up with a DOUBLE ear infection. Gah. So, he was on antibiotics that wreaked all kinds of havoc on his digestive system). But, because Lou is Lou he didn't complain one bit and so we didn't know of his butt explosion until it had likely been there for a while. A butt explosion that basically burned the skin in his diaper area-as it turns out antibiotic laced pee and poop is like acid on the skin. He actually had a blister and the entire area was incredibly red and sore. Of course, at that point, screaming ensued.
I have to give him credit though, he rallied and was a brave kid and both he and Norah passed out with very little effort on our part.
I knew Lou wouldn't stay in the pack-n-play all night, so the plan was to have Norah with BVZ and Louis with me. He woke up and I took him to bed about an hour later and the four of us had the best night sleep we've had in months. Apparently our children just need to 1) sleep with one of us, and 2) sleep in a hotel.
The hotel had also given us vouchers for Sunday brunch at a restaurant across the river for our "inconvenience" the day before, so we woke up and headed over there for a good meal. Norah was excited because we were going to the zoo after breakfast and kept saying at top volume, "IS THIS THE ZOO? WHERE IS THE ZOO? I REALLY WANT TO GO TO THE ZOO. YOU SAID WE WERE GOING TO THE ZOO. IS THIS THE ZOO? WHERE ARE THE ANIMALS? I DON'T SEE ANY ANIMALS." You get the idea. So, I was attempting to temper her and feed Lou at the same time. He was completely uninterested in breakfast and had antibiotic tummy, so quickly proceeded to projectile vomit all over the table and then again all over the floor. BVZ was not phased by this and went back to the buffet a second time. The food was great, but one of the most UN-relaxing meals I have had in a long time (I never actually even made it to the buffet-just had some of Norah's pancake discards).
The plan was to meet my old friend Monica and her family at the zoo. She was actually my roommate my freshman year of college and she and her family moved from San Antonio to Seattle, back to San Antonio. I hadn't seen her in 16 years. 16 years! We had kept up over the years through email and Facebook, but I literally hadn't seen her since we were 19.
Of course, she was just as awesome as she was 16 years ago, and it was though no time had ever passed. She has a lovely 2.5 year old daughter, A, and she and Norah became fast friends. They are also expecting #2 next spring. I can't wait to hang out with them again now that we are no close geographically. I see a lot of margaritas in our future.
I took very few pictures at the zoo. It was hot and I was too busy talking.
All in all, a successful family adventure.