i’m the captain

This is the story of Texas.

We arrived here Tuesday afternoon. Except that it feels like it was forever ago. These lovely people had Bridian Casserole ready and waiting. Bridian Casserole, a lovely warm comfort food of a dish that was developed in the days of flying standby. I was snowed in at the Salt Lake airport one awful night after a full day of flying and had nowhere to go. Out of nowhere ONE flight opens up to Dallas, Texas. I took it. John rescued me from the airport and brought me home, driving an hour each way. I had that delicious casserole named after me and ever since it has been an indicator that everything’s going to be okay.

After dinner—one of those huge dinners that leave me tired—we all went up to the theater room, another favorite feature of this house. Evidently it’s some sort of trend in Texas to have a theater room. A dark, windowless, heavily air conditioned room with a huge screen and comfortable chairs and the most delicious popcorn you’ve ever tasted.


[For the record, it’s hard to get a good picture in a room with no lights…]


I was exhausted, full, and suffering from lymph node-sis. This room was perfect. I curled up on the back row of those huge soft reclining chairs and slept. I slept for about fourteen hours. It was magical. But wait—it gets better. Guess what I did on Wednesday? I SLEPT. IN THAT CHAIR. I woke up around 7 and took Domino for a run and took a shower. And then I decided that I didn’t want to be awake. So I went back to sleep. I woke up about every three hours throughout the day, just long enough to readjust my blanket, roll over, and go back to sleep. I’m not sure exactly what my family did that day, so I apologize to those of you that are reading this to keep tabs on my family. But I'm pretty sure it was mostly lounging and watching the Disney Channel. The few times I was conscious I saw little heads on the chairs in front of me, eyes glued to Good Luck Charlie, or Shake it up. That’s my best guess. It was a glorious, much needed day.

That night we went out for dinner. [Yes, this means I actually got out of bed on Wednesday.] We went to a little place called Fuzzy Taco Shop. To be honest, I was a little put off by the name. But then I tasted the food. Best. Ever. I had the most delicious enchiladas of my life, accompanied by some KILLER rice. Unfortunately I only had about two bites of each because my mouth and throat were so swollen. Luckily one bite was all it took.


To call it a taco shop is misleading. I was picturing more of a taco shack, I guess. You know, a little hut where you just grab your tacos and run. Not this place. It was PACKED. It was noisy and the walls were plastered with advertisements and people were laughing and talking. It was a warm atmosphere, though.




Aria got devious and started pranking people.



Notice Jada in the background, innocently walking back from the bathroom? Don’t worry, she knew better than to drink something Aria was offering her. Aria had loaded her Sprite with hot sauce, root beer, salt, and pepper. After Jada called her out on it, Aria grew defiant and insisted that it tasted fine. After being coerced into proving it, she took a huge gulp and swallowed it. She stood there for a minute and smiled, saying “See? It’s good!” until the hot sauce kicked in. Then she grabbed a napkin, furiously dabbing at her tongue, and sucked down two full cups of water trying to soothe the fire in her mouth. That’s Aria for you.

Kenyan and Faith were lucky enough to get their own table. We ended up needing three tables since there were lots of us, a few of them, and Mark.


After dinner we walked around downtown Denton. It had cooled off because it was early evening and there was a warm breeze blowing around us. It wasn’t unpleasant, just strange.


Aria found Waldo.


We found a recycled book store. I was intrigued at first, being the bookworm that I am, and hoped that I’d find all kinds of books to purchase and devour on the drive West. I’m afraid to say it wasn’t quite what I was expecting. I believe the first thing that they recycled was the carpet. It smelled old and weird.



The store certainly wasn’t lacking in books—this is just the left, lower level of the shop. They were just a really odd, random assortment of books that were probably cast away by disinterested readers. So much for my excitement for a charming little book shop.




[Please note how swollen my face is here. This was probably the peak of my lymph node trauma.]


Luckily the rest of the city center proved to be more interesting. There were craft shops and tons of antique stores and record stores and tea shops. Any kind of quaint, different, random shop anyone could ever need was found there.




The next day was another exciting day, filled with me reading the first two Harry Potter books and the kids playing Singstar and watching Mr. Bean. Yep. I spent the afternoon playing Plans vs. Zombies (thanks Deidra!) until my mom and Joy got back from adventuring and, taking pity on my worsening condition, took me to the doctor. I came home with steroids. My mom has clearly altered her parenting standards.


I can’t believe we’ve been here a week. It feels like we’ve been here forever. I haven’t been this well fed or rested in a very long time. We’ve been taken care of so well by this lovely trio who loves us a lot. We are being spoiled rotten. I haven’t had to cook a meal in weeks. I feel like at some point the novelty is going to wear off and we’re going to long for our own home. It is a little bit hard sometimes, being outsiders and watching these families who are solid and established. With lawyers and attorneys and computer programmers leading the families, with pools and guest bedrooms and beach houses. With traditions and love and concern. They’ve made their way down the road of life, progressing the way families should grow, build and progress. We’re a little different. We’re starting over, empty handed. Heading to a destination unknown, starting from the ground up. Rebuilding what was lost, relearning what we knew, and redefining who we are. But bless any family that takes us in, for any amount of time. Because we are a lot to handle.


Good thing we’re so awesome.

[Title from Come Sail Away by Styx]

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