Mini Vacation 2006

So we’d planned on leaving for our Mini Vacation at South Padre Island on Friday after Eenan got out of school. After dropping him off in the morning, I started looking up numbers and info online and got prices for Schlitterbahn. When Mario woke up, I asked him about the hotels. I started calling around and our worst nightmare happened: All the cheapy hotels were sold out! And even then the cheapy ones were expensive. All the ones that were available were $150 and up–that’s expensive for us seeing as how we stay at Motel 6’s every time we’ve gone on vacation. Shoot, even Motel 6 in Florida was way less expensive than the one at The Island.

We gave up and I silently curse my bad luck while I cleaned the bathroom. After we’d both calmed down, Mario told me to call The Surf Motel since it was one of the least expensive ones that was available.

We got a double-bed room with a kitchenette for $89. Pretty good deal. They only had Saturday night available so we decided to leave on Saturday morning instead of that afternoon. It would give us more time to clean up the house and pack our junk. So I did laundry, cleaned up, and we packed (Mario actually helped me this time!).

When we picked Eenan up after school his teacher walks him to the car and she says, “Oh, he’s so excited about his trip! He’s been talking about it all day!” Mario and I look at eachother, worried. He’s definetly going to throw a fit, or cry when we tell him we’re not leaving till the next day. So we break it to him. His eyes get watery but we tell him, “We’re starting our fun weekend today–we’re going to Mr. Gatti’s!” He quickly wipes his eyes and cracks a smile and starts asking us about our plans.

We ate, and ate, and ate at Carb Heaven Mr. Gatti’s. It was SO good–never get tired of that place (even though the pizza has so much grease it causes both Mario and I to get an upset stomach ). I ate so much pizza, brownies, chocolate pizza and these buttery, icing-covered sticks I probably gained 5 lbs. that afternoon.

After we played games with the kids for about an hour, we got tired and ended up winning tickets for them from this spinning game so we could get their prizes and leave. Mario and Eenan went to the truck and Jaylen and I went to this shop, Melissa Guerra, that I’ve wanted to visit since I started seeing their commercials on TV. I saw an old friend from elementary/middle school who works there. That place is so nice–I love all the little knick-knacks and jewelry! Since I needed a potato brush, I bought one of those in the shape of a potato and a little pig-shaped molcajete.

We went to Wal-Mart that night so we could get snacks, drinks and sandwich stuff for the trip. I took the opportunity to find a new bathing suit, since my chest was busting out of my old one. As I expected, not one darn bathing suit top fit me. Medium was too small from the chest but perfect for my torso, and XL was fine on my chest but the rest was enormous on my body. They didn’t even have cover-ups, so I gave up. I figured we could stop the next morning on the way to the beach.

I stayed up pretty late that night hunting for the kids’ sand toys outside, finishing up with packing, washing dishes and checking things off my obsessive-compulsive induced list. I hate forgetting things so I make lists. Lots of lists.

And then the fun began.

I’d set the alarm for 7a.m. since Mario needed to take a shower and I always need extra time to get myself and both the boys ready. We got up 30 minutes after the alarm went off. I get ready and start checking things off the second list I made and when the kids are ready (and grumpy) and Mario’s out of the shower we start putting everything in the truck. Mom and Mary are here to see us off. I don’t remember exactly what I was doing, but I looked into Mario’s rats’ cage and notice that Tailwhip’s just laying there. I think, “Oh, no,” and sure enough, he was dead . I give Mario the bad news and he gets a Ziploc to get him ready for his burial. I’d just fed the rats the night before, and he was fine, so I didn’t understand why he died. And it was so weird that it happened just a few days after Spike died.

I go outside to give the cats food and water and I find EMOcat (John named him so because he was a screamy little emo kitty) just laying there as well. I thought he looked a little lethargic the night before while I was getting the kids’ sand toys together, but I thought it was because he’d been asleep. So there I go, with another Ziploc bag and a Wal-Mart bag to cover him up. John ended up burying them for us since we had to leave. So, so sad :(.

We leave and pick up ice at Aziz for the cooler. We decide to get some breakfast at Burger King and I ask Mario if he can stop at Target since I needed a bathing suit. He ends up saying something sarcastic like, “Sure, we’re late anyway,” and that just sets me off. The stress from rushing, the animals dying, being behind schedule, and the headache I was going to get from crying my eyes out because my big boobs weren’t going to fit into anything just got to me. I yell, “We’re already late, it’s not my fault! You think I want to look for a frickin’ bathing suit that ‘s not going to fit me anyway?!” He realizes just how crappy I feel about everything so he calmly tells me to finish eating and to take my time. And then I go into Target.

I tried on several adorable bathing suits that just didn’t work for me. I need to know where they sell bathing suits with underwires, because I don’t know how other women who have big boobs do it. I didn’t feel “secure” in those bathing suits at all. I imagined myself coming down the slide at Schlitterbahn and my top flipping over my head because those things are so loose. *shudder*

I decided to buy this tankini top and a bottom that had a cute skirt over it–yep, I don’t like showing skin AT ALL. I wasn’t thrilled with it, but at least I found something.

We still had to stop at the dealership in Harlingen to pick up our license plates, we freaked out when it started raining around Los Fresnos, and then, when we finally got to the Island, we had to find Schlitterbahn.

Entrance to Schlitterbahn

The park opened at 10, and we got there at 11:30. There was a huge line when we got there, but it must have been from some school because they let them in right away. We rented our locker, got the kids ready and then I got ready. As I walked into the girl’s bathroom I noticed all the skinny little teens and tweens were in these itty-bitty bikinis and flat chests and I instantly felt like I was 500 lbs. I thought, “Oh, hell no. I’m not wearing my bathing suit top”. I left my regular bra on and my t-shirt (which thankfully matched my bathing suit bottom) and I felt alright. Only for a few seconds before I realized that when I took a shower, I failed to notice my cactus-legs and didn’t shave…lovely.

Schlitterbahn wasn’t super exciting or anything, but there’s water everywhere so the kids had a great time. The water was freezing, though, but the weather was nice and cool since it was overcast. We checked out the big Sand Castle with the kids and they mostly “swam” in the kiddie pools and slid down the slides surrounding the Sand Castle. We got a little brave and even went on the water slides. They were so fun! Jaylen loved them. It took a while to convince him to go with me. There was an Arabic man with his adorable little boy in front of us and he noticed I was having trouble with Jaylen. He talked to him and told him he and his little boy were going on, and when they got down they’d tell him how it was. When we saw them, he told Jaylen it was fun and his little boy didn’t cry, so Jaylen was excited. Eenan ended up liking it so much he kept going on all the slides all by himself (with Mario waiting at the bottom for him, of course). All-in-all, it was a blast.

We left at around 2, since check-in at the hotel was at 3. We can’t find the darn place. After driving from one end of the Island to the other, we decide to ask someone at Circle K for directions. When I ask this big, burly cashier where Gulf Blvd. is, he chuckles and says, “You’re on it.” He hands me a map with a look on his face like, ‘Damn tourists’ and points me towards Amberjack St. We finally find the place and are kind of taken aback by the little shack. We think, “Oh great, it’s gonna suck”.

The main office of the Surf Motel

While I’m checking in and give the attendant my $101.69, a lady asks what rate they had for the next day and he says, “$49”. He says since everyone goes back home on Sundays the rates are much cheaper. Price-inflating bastards.

We go around the back to the rooms and are surprised to see it was a pretty sweet place. There’s a deck with a bunch of tables and the kitchenette is fully stocked–everything from napkins and utensils, to pots and pans. Had we known I would have bought actual food to cook!

We unpack, have lunch (sandwiches, Pepsis and sour cream and onion Pringles) and decide to take it easy for a few hours–we’re exhausted from chasing the kids and the kids are exhausted from running away from us. Mario falls alseep and I read for a bit before taking a shower and then bathing the kids.

When Mario’s slept for about 2 hours I wake him up and we go to the shops. The kids are running rampant around the stores and don’t let us have 5 minutes of peace. After we threaten to sell them (and immediately feel like horrible parents, as we should) they start behaving a little better. We had fun looking around at all the shells, hermit crabs and funny shirts and hats.

Jaylen's pretty hair

Posing at the Jaws store

My lunch!

Mario and I didn’t find the flip-flops we wanted in our size after scanning at least 7 shops, so we got a few souveniers for everyone back home and picked up some KFC. I hadn’t had KFC in forever, so it was delicious. Jaylen, Mario and I ate out on the deck and Eenan stayed inside because he wanted to watch Cartoon Network. The weather was awesome that night–it felt so good. We talked out there for a while, jamming to the music of the pack of teenagers that had the room next to ours.

I read before bed (I never finished that darn book–Little Altars Everywhere by Rebecca Wells) and fell asleep beside Jaylen, who was playing with my hair, as always. Mario stayed up watching a DVD and slept in Eenan’s bed. I don’t think I’ve ever had a more relaxing sleep. I didn’t even wake up to pee!

We woke up the next morning and got everything packed. We planned on going to the beach, then going back to the hotel to wash up and then go home, but we had to check out by 12 noon and it was already 9a.m. We put everything in the truck, I double-checked my “Don’t Forget!” list twice and turned in our keys.

Our first stop was McDonald’s since we hadn’t had breakfast. Worst. Service. EVER. It was packed so I thought I’d give them a break for getting my order wrong (gave me a McGriddles instead of a bacon, egg & cheese biscuit). When they took about 15 minutes just to give me my ‘you-only-have-to-microwave-the-damn-thing-biscuit’, they had officially pissed me off. And, oh my gosh, they have the cutest little gay boy working there! I instantly fell in love with his big, blue eyes. That’s the only reason I didn’t gouge out my cashier’s eyes for taking so darn long–I was too busy staring at the guy .

The kids had a blast at the beach, as always. It was nice and cool, too. The sand wasn’t even scalding our feet. We took our beach chairs, cooler, mat, and sand toys. The kids made sand castles, which got drowned by water several times, but they kept adding sand and pushing shells in.

Eenan and his castle-complete with fork!

Jaylen and his castle

Mario fed the seagulls Pringles that fell into our bag, I took a picture of seagulls “doing it”, I helped the kids with their castles, then Mario did; the kids played in the freezing water, I looked for smooth, flat shells for my scrapbook; and right before we left, we saw a blue jellyfish. I’d never seen one in my life:

A blue jellyfish

My boys splashing in the water

It started getting hot, so we tip-toed as fast as we could to the car since the sand was scalding by then. And of course, as my luck would have it, I only sunburned/tanned on one arm. WTF?

It was a total pain getting the sand off of ourselves without actually showering down (we didn’t go to Andy Bowie park this time, but to a separate, free beach access), but with the help of half a case of bottled waters, damp towels from the day before at Schlitterbahn and the kids standing on the cooler we had minimal sand in the truck. Jaylen almost peed on the seat–he was an inch away! I ended up having to strip down in the truck and just prayed to God that nobody decided to pass by–which thankfully, nobody did. I hope

It was a nice trip. I wish it could have been longer but maybe next time. And next time, we’ll reserve our hotel much sooner!

We stopped by Wal-Mart, where Jaylen threw a fit because we didn’t get him some M&Ms and then to another shop where we got some necklaces and shirts. I liked that store much more than all the other ones.

I made sandwiches for us on the road since it was lunch time and we enjoyed the quiet while the kids slept.

We got home and took showers and later we went to Jorge and Maggie’s. We saw their new 2005 Accord, which they got in place of their Explorer. I still can’t believe Jorge actually let his Explorer go!

They ordered pizzas and we talked about work, finding work, crappy parents, genealology and other stuff. It always amazes me that we can find all these different things to talk about.

Today we took it easy, well, the morning anyway. We had breakfast, gave our first car payment, went to Target and returned my bathing suit top and I got a bra and an entertainment center for the kids. We need to put the cedar chest Mom gave me in storage and since the kids had their TV, game consoles/games, VCR & DVD player on top of it, we needed to get something to put all that stuff on. We went to eat at the New Wave Buffet and, oh my gosh, I stuffed myself to the brim. Even Mario was freaked out by how much I ate. I really have to stop doing that, stuffing myself. I can FEEL that I’m gaining weight. I feel…jiggly :(.

We picked Eenan up then put the entertainment center together and then went to Wal-Mart. And now, they’re showing Philidelphia? where Tom Hanks plays a guy with AIDS and I’ve never seen this movie before so, bye!

[edit: 12:56a.m.] After watching Walk the Line I realized I totally forgot to mention that April 30th, Sunday, was Mario and my “altogether anniversary”, which is how long we’ve been together in total. We’ve been together 9 years! I can’t even believe how long it’s been! [/edit]

on Thursday, May 4th, Johanna Rios said:

I have a quick question about Schlitterbahn. Can you have fun there with young children or if you cannot swim? I am dealing with both situations, but it seems liek a fun place. It’s rather expensive too, so I would not want to go and not do anything.

on Thursday, May 4th, Yaya said:

Hey Girly! πŸ™‚ I had to stop by & say Hi!! Sorry to hear about EMOcat & Spike. πŸ™

Sounds like you guys had an awesome time at S.P.I. I haven’t been there in almost 8 yrs. πŸ˜₯ I know…so sad my life! Seeing your pictures bring me back memories & make me realize that I am still proud to be a Valley girl – even if I will never move back. lol πŸ˜›

Your boys are so big & handsome! Oh, how time goes by.

I love the way the picture of the blue Jelly Fish came out. Very nice! Take care & hope to read you more often…enjoy your writing. Ciao!

on Wednesday, May 3rd, laurie said:

aww! I wanna go to SPI! I’ve never ever seen a jelly fish! lol cool pics! sounds like you guys had a lovely time!

on Wednesday, May 3rd, Johanna Rios said:

Hey, I am so glad that you had a vacation. We went there on Saturday before Easter, and it was impossible to find a room. I will write about it later. I have only one suit and it is hard to find them. That is something that I agree with! I am glad that you all enjoyed yourselves!

on Tuesday, May 2nd, amberad@gmail.com“>Amber said:

wow that souds like a fun and busy trip:) i’ve never seen a jellyfish that big…kind of scary when u think about it floating somewhere in the ocean

on Tuesday, May 2nd, Julianna said:

It sounds like you guys had a lot of fun! I’m in serious need of a vacation as well, and the beach sounds like the perfect place to go to at this time of the year. And of course you have to go shopping when you go on vacation because that is the best part! πŸ˜‰

Don’t worry about that whole bathing suit debacle, because the truth is that all women have the same problems. Only my bathing suits seem to fit well on the bottom but are too big on the top. :confused: Oh well. Talk to you later!

P.S. Your boys are so cute! πŸ™‚