On the road again…

I live in Houston and of course you all know by now that Ike made a huge impact. Well I went to San Antonio with a friend and stayed in her families nice new home. Too bad for us they did not even have cable Tv, so we could not watch the storm coverage.  However we were able to gather around the computers and piggyback off of the neighbor’s internet. When the storm had come and gone we headed back home. My condo did not have any damage, but some of my neighbors got a lot. I was very lucky. Since I found out that school would be closed for the rest of that week I decided to head to Tn to see my family.

I packed up and head back out of Houston as other rolled in. I felt guilty because I left my house while others had no power and wanted to go home. Also since there was not power everywhere the gas stations with power were running out. The gas shortage was a big deal and I thought that it would be a good idea to get some before I left. There is a station by my house that it seems that others forget about because it is off the main road. The line was actually not that bad. The station had thought ahead and had blocked one entrance there was one way in and only one way out. When I found out they had gas I called a couple of my friends and let them know. Then ten minutes passed and they ran out!  What, that made me more mad that I was only three cars away, I mean if only I had left before 11am. Lazy butt with now half a tank… I know what you are thinking if you had half a tank why were you worried about getting gas, but I think that was what I heard more horror stories about was not getting gas when you needed it. I just thought then that it would be easier to get gas along the journey out of town.

 I went up 59N and there was damage up almost the whole way, and the gas lines were long long long. It looked like the people who had the least of things to worry about were the ones who were lining up. I made to Little Rock by 8pm with no gas problems and went to stay with my great uncle. Very cool guy and he wined and dined me.

I got up the next morning and headed to Jackson, Tn where my grandparents live, both of my parents grew up there and their familes still live there. Actually I think that almost all of my family lives spread out among Tn, except me and my great uncle, that I mentioned before, and his family. I got to my Dad’s parents house and had what they would like to call “a good visit” the topic of converstation was of course the hurricane and the what had happened. I even brought out my camera with the pictures of all the damage by my place. Then after only two hours I had to leave to meet my Mom’s mother. We had to go to Cracker Barrel to meet up with her group of lady friends who call themselves the Golden Girls. While the name of the group is not orginal you can not say that about the ladies themselves. I felt bad about leaving my dad’s parents so early but they are really not talkers. When I talk to them on the phone the conversation is really only a few minutes. They are happy with a quick visit. I saw them for only a short time but you have to understand that for the longest time my grandmother has been doing the talking for the both of them. My grandfather has a hearing aid and since a long time ago the technology was not as grand as it is today, he had trouble with the ringing whenever he would talk on the phone or hug someone. So MamaSara does all the talking for the both of them, both in person and on the phone. Actually while on the phone when I ask DaddyThomas a question I have to ask her to ask him and then he will tell her and then she will tell me the answer… It’s strange but that is how it works around there. ( Side story one day I called thier house and MamaSara was on the cell phone talking to my cousin so he answered and he had no trouble talking and hearing me on the phone. In fact I couldn’t get a word in edgewise.)

I do want to tell you about my Mimi’s group of friends. Most of the women are widows and they all meet at the local CrackerBarrel for dinner. But they like to go at 4:30 to beat the crowds. I am afraid that if they went any earlier than they would meet the lunch goers. These women though, meet everyday. They have a standing meeting time, so there is no need for them to call each other and say wether or not they will show that day. Sometimes the group is small and sometimes the group reaches over 8. I have eaten with them once before and I get to hear about them when I talk to my grandmother on the phone. I have gotten to hear about the story “that one of them has gone to this special doctor. He actually sticks these needles in her face and she has lost like 20 pounds. Now, he also has her on this diet thing but she doesn’t have cravings or anything, but when she does have one all she has to do is rub her ear and they go away…” Well lets just say that I have heard the story a few times, but when it is your grandmother you play along. I have wanted to write a story for her about all the ladies and some of there advetures. I think that it would make the neatest book to start wih them all around the table and then each chapter be dedicated to what lead them there. They of course collectivly have had almost everything happen to them. From the depression, deaths, births, a loss of husbands- I think one women has lost three. There are too many stories to tell but these ladies have found that the meeting everyday gives them great joy. They know that someone will be there and if somehow they didn’t show for more than two days someone would miss them. My favorite lady is named Nancy. My grandmother introduced me and said “We went to school together since gradeschool, and graduated together.” Nancy response was “Yeah, but she’s older.” She had me laughing all thru dinner. Well her and the others. One thing that I picked up on was that whenever the ladies would refer to a group that they did not want to associate themselves with they would add the word THE in front of it. Like The Gays, The Blacks, The Mexicans… It reminds me of how much time has passed. None of my friends refer to people in groups in terms of race, orgin, etc… Of course that has been taught to us that doing so would be wrong and hateful, but these ladies don’t hate, it is just how they see the world. Strange how during their time money did not define who you were, it was more about your character then your income. I have to say that I am glad that I don’t see the world as “black or white” this is one reason why I LOVE leaving in houston. You can go to a Denny’s late at night and there be five groups there and five different languages being spoken. Well I am getting way of the subject.

After the cracker barrel dinner, see I really was way off the subject. Mimi and I went to visit my cousins and my new second cousin. I believe that is right. My cousin’s son, oh it doesn’t matter. We had fun, but I must say that most of my family is back woods country, but I like that about them too. After that Mimi and I went to her house and we got to laughing and having fun. I taught her how to send her first text message. I thought that it was cool that at 75 she was still into learning new things. Then I found out that she had not learned how to check her voicemail. She could not remember her pin. I guessed that it was the last four digits in her phone number and I was right. We started listening to them together and they started in Dec of last year. They were mostly from my mom but we came across one that was from her brother.  It was from Febuary, one of his childhood friends had died. Her reaction was “oh lousy, Fred has died” then she got “tickled” and we both couldn’t stop laughing. Not at the fact that he had died but that she was just finding out about it. After we deleted her 13 messages, I convinced her that she should record a outgoing message.  We talked about what she should say and I hit the # key, held it up to her and she froze. So we tried again this time she got out a few words and lost her train of thought. The more times we tried the funnier it got til I was laughing so hard that I got dizzy. We decided that it would be best if we used a generic one where she only said her name. That worked but it was still funny, after she says her name you can hear her givng the phone back to me saying “ok now stop it.”  I dont know if everyone has as much fun as I do with my grandmother, but they should.

The answering machine thing also reminds me of how funny MamaSara’s is. On theirs it has the whole.. You have reached Thomas and Sara and we are not right now… it is normal until the end when you hear her say. Now where is that button. Oh here it … and then it cuts off. Grandparents are so funny. I just wonder what the generation after the next generation will say about us.

I headed home the next day and my family was glad to see me. They had thought that I would be home the day before.  The whole time I thought that it was fun not having definte plans and that I would get there when I got there. Since arriving home I have made a couple of projects for myself to keep me busy. I have never been one to go way out of their way to find things but I have been this week. I cleaned out Lily’s (my niece) closet major undertaking, then painted her room, then the trim, which I hate, doors and windows. When I was done with that in two and a half days I did laundry and dishes and cooked dinner and cookies. I did a fair good amount, but forgot that my car needed to be washed and the oil changed. Now I am having to get ready to go home and I am worn out. I also have been sleeping on the couch because I had been sleeping in Lily’s room but since it is all cool she needs to be able to enjoy it. I couldn’t sleep there now. So I have been sleeping on the couch. It is leather and I dont even get a pillow.. I tell you what sometimes I get tired thinking about how wierd my family is. Can’t a girl get an airmattress. I wonder why I had no energy left.

My mom and I head for Tn on Thursday and I can’t wait to get home. I hope that crazy energy I had the other days stays with me. I would love to get my house in order. Well I better get to sleep, it is late and I have to get my car things done and meet someone for lunch then meet another friend by two, and then be home to cook dinner… Hummm why do I think that I need to brag about things when other people do real things like work.

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