Throwing stuff at the internet to see what sticks
Thursday, May 20, 2010 Houston, We Have No Problem
We only throw M. Edium birthday parties for his odd-numbered birthdays. For the even-numbered birthdays, we get out of town. Literally. But we bring him with us, so that makes it better.
This year, M. Edium requested Houston as his destination. The siren call of the Johnson Space Center is irresistible to a space nerd like him, especially since he found out it has a Space Shuttle where you can climb into the cockpit. Of course he's been in a Space Shuttle before, at the Kennedy Space Center, but you can't get into the cockpit there.
So Houston it was. Since there's no time to waste, what with M. Edium's birthday coming up in a mere five months, Trash started researching details last week.
Hey, guess what's going on at the Johnson Space Center this summer? Clone Wars. Through September. Oops.
Obviously, Trash called right away to find out the chances of it being held over at least into mid-September. Equally obviously, those chances proved slimmer than Taun We.
So Trash started looking for alternative travel dates earlier in the year. While she researched flights, I called the visitor center back and talked to the same sweet lady Trash had. Among the questions I asked was whether there was a hotel nearby. She said yes, and referred me to a brand-new one that the JSC employees had recently toured. Amenities include a big saltwater pool, full breakfast, and a movie room where you can play your own DVDs. I even think she gave me someone's direct line. A few minutes later, I was on the line with an expatriate Minnesotan, who was so happy to reminisce with me about her hometown (which happens to be this one) that she gave me a fantastic discount on a room. I'm sorry, a suite. Sweet!
By this time, Trash had found us a cheap flight down, transferring in Chicago. Unfortunately, it did one of those things that online air fare so often does, which is to disappear at some point between the finding and the reserving. But then she locked down better flights, with no transfers, for a difference in price no more than the cost of a hardcover book. In 1983. So it wasn't so unfortunate after all.
We did run into one glitch. I was in such a hurry to get a rental car that I gave the Houston airport code only the most cursory of Googles and ended up reserving a car to be picked up at Hobby instead of George Bush. Rookie mistake, I know, but then I've never been to Houston. No wonder the car had been so cheap. Fortunately Trash figured it out that same day, and although I seriously considered taxiing from one airport to the other, I was able to correct the reservation. Even more fortunately, the right airport has even cheaper rental cars, which I didn't think possible. In fact, on a per-item basis, I think I'm paying less to rent this car than I did some movies when we were on the old Netflix model.
As Trash said, there are just times when the universe is telling you to go for it. And even if it's the Star Wars universe, who are we to argue?
Here's Trash's favorite part: she's busy that weekend, so she doesn't get to go with us. And she was so looking forward to the space and the Star Wars and the summer heat and everything. Not to mention three airfares instead of two.
That only leaves the question of where to take him on his actual birthday trip, now that Houston is going to be covered. So far he's requested Madagascar, Australia, and the Sahara Desert.
I think any one of those three would be easier than throwing another party like the one we threw last year. posted by M. Giant 8:21 PM 9 comments
Having moved OUT of Houston last summer, I offer this piece of advice:
I'll add to the above:
sounds exciting! may the force be with you ;)
Courtney is SO RIGHT. I can't believe I forgot the three car rule. Although, I did like the bus when I was doing the park and ride to work downtown.
Ellie is right about the restaurants, although as a native Tennessean I take exception to her slam on pork BBQ. :) Try Pappasito's for some good Tex-Mex.
I'm not sure how much time you are here, but you might also want to check out the Children's Museum - it is awesome and was just renovated last year!
Australia in September is quite nice actually. And certainly easier to get to than Madagascar. (Not sure whether the Sahara would be easier or not, although if M.Edium gets into Ancient Egypt at all I'd certainly recommend the Egyptian part of the desert as an option.)
And I know you're unlikely to do it, but if you come to Melbourne in September I'll take you to the footy finals and generally show you a good time...