Thursday, November 30, 2006

The stars@ night are big & bright...

We hit Texas but not before stopping in Deming, NM for a scorpion in lucite, a belt buckle with two rattle snake heads in profile (so maybe one head?) in lucite, a cactus egg (a little egg with a cactus seed in it that you water and hopefully get a cactus) for my sister, and a giant dice (di?) piggy bank for Oliver’s future nursery. Since everything is bigger in TX, we weren’t able to drive the whole way to San Antonio so we first stopped in Fort Stockton for dinner at Pizza Hut since everything else seemed even unhealthier.
Ever have one of those surreal “And then…and then…and then” experiences? Here’s my letter to Pizza Hut, I think it sums it up:

November 21, 2006

Pizza Hut
Fort Stockton, TX

To Whom It May Concern:

This evening my husband and I were driving through Ft. Stockton, TX on our way to San Antonio and chose to eat at Pizza Hut over other options. I thought it best to report to you the condition of this establishment.

When we walked in, all 22+ tables were dirty and only 5 still had customers at them. After a brief wait, a waitress cleaned off a table and we placed our order. I was disappointed to discover that the salad bar was also quite dirty – several containers were empty, the carrots were overly dry, and there was barely enough Ranch dressing to accommodate my salad.

We were pleasantly surprised with the quality and flavor of our pizza and how quickly we received it, but were shocked at the NINE napkins we received for the two of us. Then when my husband asked for silverware, we received SIX more napkins – a total of FIFTEEN large napkins for the two of us. Upon looking around at the dirty tables, all of which had yet to get bussed, I noticed that just about all of them also had an excessively wasteful number of napkins left unused.

By the end of our meal, only one table had been bussed and I noticed that its rather large stack of unused napkins went into the trash.

To add to this, my husband and I counted TEN employees working at this time. Only three were on the floor but none attempted to clean off a table unless someone came in to sit at one, preferring to sit and chat with customers or other staff members. The others seemed milled about behind the counter doing some work but overall just chatting with one another or yelling at the waiters on the floor to come back to the kitchen.

Pizza Hut seemed like the safest bet for our dinner on this road trip. As I said, we were pleased with the flavor and speed of our order but the lack of cleanliness worried us to some degree. I could only imagine how disgusting the restrooms were so neither of us approached that general direction.

Even though the pizza was good, I thought you should know that we are less likely to have a sit-down dinner at another Pizza Hut for quite some time due to the condition of this branch.

And now back to my blog, already in progress…..

After our dining experience (boy, was it!), we drove to Ozona, TX. I highly recommend the Super 8 Motel there even though there rates were higher than those posted in the Super 8 International Guide* and on the back of our room door. The room was the nicest we’ve been in of the chain and I’d even have a party in their indoor pool area because it’s so cool and jungle-like…if my travels ever took me (and a necessary quantity of friends for a party) back there. Not that it ever would, but I’m just sayin’…

*I hope I don’t sound too white trash or un-sophisticated with my name dropping of the Super 8 franchise but money is tight right now and I signed up for their Trip Rewards and they are everywhere hence the INTERNATIONAL Guide. So hopefully you know I’ve stayed at fancier or cooler places in the past and will do so in the future, too.

Anyhoo, that night we called Mom with an estimated ETA to San Antone (that’s what they call it) and asked her at what age do babies start smiling on there own – she thought it was older than Oliver is. Well, I’m here to tell you, it’s around 7 weeks when you’re about to meet Grandma. We pulled into her driveway, I unbuckled Oliver and handed him off and it was like a firework display of smiles directed at Mom. Not prior or since have I seen so much beaming…and I’m his mother!!!

Now, my mother and I have had our moments…in fact I feel we have about a 4-day visitation rule (my wise grandmother said, “Company is like fish, after a few days, it starts to stink”) but I’m hear to tell you that I started crying the day before we left about leaving and needless to say, I was a mess the day of. I remember thinking decades ago (seriously, decades) that I looked forward to bringing my child to show my mother mainly to show that I’m competent I guess but also to make her oh-so happy and let me just say, my mother was oh-so happy til the day we left, Oliver is just that wonderful… but I digress.

When we first got there, we hung out at her house and had H.E.B. brisket (yum!!!) sandwiches while she gushed over Oliver. Later we went to my cousin Anna’s house for my Aunt Tella’s DELICIOUS caldo (that’s “soup” to non-Spanish speakers) then apple pie and this shockingly good dessert my mom made that was basically like a really moist date bar called Dessert of the Gods or something like that. After that we played Texas Hold ‘Em (woo-hoo!).

The next day was Thanksgiving and I awoke to my older brother and family arriving at my mom’s. Anna, Aunt Tella, and Joey came over for The Feast of H.E.B. ham (yum!!!) and turkey (little too overly marinated/dry but still good), mashed potatoes, my Aunt’s rockin’ dressing, green beans, sweet potatoes…you get the drift. And since I haven’t blogged in the last couple of days, my fingers are tired from typing so this shall continue later.

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