Galveston 2014: Day 10

Heading Home

My sister-in-law and her son got out of dodge before we were through packing.

My sister-in-law and her son got out of dodge before we were through packing.

Packing up is always harder than unpacking.  You remember how last week I was able to successfully run up and down the stairs with all of our things?  Yeah, well then the things I was carrying were still packed neatly in suitcases or Costco boxes.  Thank goodness for my wife’s organizational skills.  Even still we were just barely able to fit everything.

A quick stop at the souvenir shop and we were Houston-bound.  Why Houston?  Well, we had been given passes to their Children’s Museum.  And actually it was a lot of fun.

Finally, we were on our way back north and heading home.  I’ll let the pictures tell the story.  Kids, when you read this I want you to remember how much fun your mom and I had taking you here and how much fun we always have with you.  Perhaps next year we’ll do a beach in Jersey?…

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Galveston 2014: Day 9

Last full day at the beach!  Let’s make the most of it.

Me and the little big guy at the pool.

Me and the little big guy at the pool.

And we did just that.  We started with Sunday mass.  Then we returned, said goodbye to the parts of our crew who were driving out today, then we changed, and we went to the pool!  I love this pool for a very special reason.  For the record, it’s the Galveston Country Club’s pool that we were using.  Most of the rentals available through the company we use come with a membership to the club.  The reason I love this pool is three-fold.  First, it’s clean and not too crowded.  Second, they make a good drink.  But most importantly, this is the very first pool where my son made a splash.  He was all of 8 weeks-old on our first trip here and I remember like it was yesterday how we bathed him in sunscreen, covered him head to toe (ala a 1910 Coney Island bather), and cautiously held him in the water with us.  He loved it then and he still loves it now.  The only difference is that he knows how to swim now.  I never thought this day would come.  Weeping.  Weeping…  Just as I was about to start bawling the speakers piping in music started to blare with John Lennon’s Imagine.  Half the swimmers drowned.  Intentionally.

Anyway, we went home and spent the evening watching movies on TV including one on Lifetime where a woman who couldn’t carry children of her own befriended a pregnant woman and then stole her baby.  That’s some classic TV right there!

Galveston 2014: Day 8

I LOVE being able to do this!

I LOVE being able to do this!

 

That’s right, friends, we’re pushing the week-mark.  Again, though, like yesterday, today was a day for laziness.  Other than a trip to the old town shopping district at the north end of the island known as The Strand, we didn’t do much other than relax.  Spent some time on the beach this afternoon.  When I decided to make my return to the house my daughter decided to come with me.  Unfortunately, her precious little feet were not too fond of the prickly things sticking out of the dune we had to cross.  Her shoes, full of sand, she looked up and said “Daddy, can you carry me on your shoulders?”  Thank the Lord that my recovery has gone so well.  I looked down and enthusiastically said “Sure, sweetheart!”  Back at the house the dinner preparations were underway.  Tonight was my night to cook so I did what I do best (culinary-wise).  I grilled!  Only things was, the gulf breeze fought me tooth and nail.  Ultimately, the burgers wound up on the stove.  Still, a good time was had by all.

Kids and me in on the Strand.

Kids and me in on the Strand.

 

Galveston 2014: Day 7

Lazy Friday at the beach house.

Lazy Friday at the beach house.

I can hardly believe it’s been a week since we set out on this trip!  To celebrate, today was about as lazy a day as one could encounter.  Another trip to mass, this time to celebrate the feast of St. James, yet another trip to Walmart for something we forgot yesterday, and another drive back down the seawall to our home away from home.

Did I forget to mention something?  I sure did.  Remember that luau?  Yes, I’m talking about the one where some people had too much fun.  I should say the one where everyone had too much fun but some people had more fun than others.  Seems that at some point during that “event of epic proportions” a certain spouse of mine may have lost her phone.  Not good, considering she uses it constantly for work.  Well, today it turned up.  Thank the Lord!  That was the good news of the day.  Oh, there really wasn’t any bad news of the day.  We lolled about and finally set off for town around 6.  Dinner at Gaido’s (the famous seafood place) followed.

One of Galveston's many pleasant oddities - half streets.

One of Galveston’s many pleasant oddities – half streets.

We’ve been to this place before.  I’m no seafood fan but I certainly don’t mind their preparations.  The one thing I WILL NOT touch is shrimp.  It’s so gross.  I mean, it’s like there are these comma-shaped little aqueous cockroaches crawling along the bottom of some body of water and people are going “catch them for me!  I want to eat them!”  Not I.  Our waiter, a young fellow named Chris, approached the table.  He began to spout off a clearly scripted (though poorly memorized) spiel about the history of the place.  At one point he proudly proclaimed that by 1936 they were serving 1200 people a day in the long-since outgrown main dining room.  “Today we serve over 300,000 people a year!”  I took out my calculator and discovered that their numbers have declined by about 400 people a day.  Why would you want to advertise that?  No matter.  Tonight I decided to be bold.  I tried my luck with the golden tilefish covered in crab meat and served cooked in a white wine reduction.  By the end of the night I had occasion to go back and look up pictures from our meal at this place last year.  Sonofagun…  Turns out I wasn’t so bold after all.  Guess what I had that night?

Galveston 2014: Day 6

Making Animals out of Towels

Today saw me recovering (slightly) from yesterday.  Actually, I am soooo fortunate that my body has yet to return the favor for certain abuses I have inflicted on it over the years.  Truthfully, I woke up, drank some water, and went about my business.  Ooh, before I forget, that beard trimmer I bought the other day?  Works like a charm.  I definitely think I’m through with shaving (at least until I get bored again).

Another trip to mass, another trip to the Walmart for some essentials — trash bags, laundry detergent, etc.  When I got home I discovered that my wife and kids and just about everybody else had gone to the pool.  I was a little bummed because I really wanted to go the pool.  But, I thought of a more creative outlet for my frustration.  See, my wife has been trying to get me to agree to go on a cruise for years.  And the thing is I won’t even begin to consider it.  Why?  Have you seen the ocean?  It’s freakin’ huge!  No, the ocean is no place for me.  There isn’t enough Valium in the world.  Earlier in the week she had even brought it up again, this time trying to entice me by spinning tall tales of how the ship’s housekeeping staff, when making up one’s room, fold the towels into the shapes of animals.  Quick, how many phrases in that last sentence?  Never mind.  Anyway, I almost didn’t believe her until I looked it up on Google.  God bless Google.  So, while they were all still out I went around the house, aided by my mother-in-law who had just folded a whole bunch of linens, and did my best.  Take a gander.

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Finally, in the evening it was time to drive 90 minutes north to Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport to pick up my sister-in-law’s son who was joining us for the last few days.

Terminal A

Terminal A

Galveston 2014: Day 5

Today’s post will be told mostly through the pictures I took during the day.

First up…

Rise and shine, Daddy!

Rise and shine, Daddy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After such a lovely wake up call I stepped out to survey the land, er, sea.

One day, lad, all THIS will be yours!

One day, lad, all THIS will be yours!

Pretty sure the people in the house next to us were swingers.

Pretty sure the people in the house next to us were swingers.

Finally – FINALLY – my friends, I was off to something I enjoy very much (and I need even more than that).  Daly mass.  You may recall, kids, that the last time I was in Galveston I was able to “break open” the house of God on 21st St. near the Strand.  Here’s what I’m getting at.  The first time I visited this island I paid a visit or two the Cathedral Basilica of St. Mary, Mother Church of Texas and seat of the Archbishop of Houston (strange that it’s in Galveston but that’s another story).  Then, a month later Hurricane Ike damn near destroyed this town and the cathedral, which had withstood the 1901 storm, was found six feet under water.  Five years after that (on my second visit) I approached the cathedral to discover that the doors, though shut, were not actually locked.  Together with a friend, my wife, and some passing tourists, we opened the place up to discover nothing but bare earth.  So sad.  Happily, in the intervening year the Archdiocese got its act together and restored the place to something beyond its former glory.  Don’t believe me?  Take a look.

 

 

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Upon our return to the house I began the task of assisting my beautiful wife in preparation for the luau.  What luau, you ask?  Well, each of the people and/or families taking part in this trip had a themed night to plan.  My wife decided a luau was a good idea.  She even carved a shark out of a watermelon.  I think she’s on drugs.  I was tasked with hanging streamers, making a playlist on iTunes, and most importantly, getting our guests intoxicated mixing drinks.  The pictures can tell you better than my words.

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All in all, a very good time was had by all; even if many of them will never remember it.

Never, ever forget to pump up the party.

Never, ever forget to pump up the party.

Galveston 2014: Day 4

The morning started off like any other.  The exception today is that I could see the Gulf of Mexico from my bedroom window.  And that meant that today we would actually get to “go” to the beach.

IMG_3610

Believe it or not, that's seaweed.

Believe it or not, that’s seaweed.

After changing, changing the kids, gathering up our worldly belongings, and double-checking that we hadn’t forgotten anything we began our trek over the dune.  And that’s when I heard someone call my name.  It was Mandy and she was looking for the keys to our car so she could move it.  We were blocking in Aunt Jane and Aunt Jane was in the middle of an asthma attack of epic proportions.  Being the medical junkie I am I dropped the beach umbrella and went back up to the house preparing to shuttle Aunt Jane into town and an urgent care center.  Within minutes we were driving back up into Galveston along the seawall.  We looked out to see shrimp boats trawling so close to the shore we could practically touch them.

One person at a time?  It's going to take a while...

One person at a time? It’s going to take a while…

Presently we found ourselves pulling up to the front of a building, the right-hand two-thirds of which was an emergency care center and the left-hand side of which was a Starbucks.  How convenient.  What really caught my eye, though, was the flashing electronic message board hovering over the parking lot.  The messages varied between “Fastest Care in Galveston”, “Rated #1 on the Island”, and “We Do Botox!”  Let’s back that one up a second.  You do what now?  I immediately considered the implications of that sign.  How many leather-tanned aging beach bums come running through the front door of this place yelling maniacally “I need Botox, RIGHT NOW!!!”  But for those who do, I bet they get stellar treatment, and fast too.

It's BASIL!

It’s BASIL!

Oh Jane was just fine in the end.  She got a full work-up and a prescription while I got an iced coffee and some groceries across the street and then we headed home.  On the grocery front, I had been asked to pick up some basil.  This reminded me very much of my first trip to the A&P after I got married.  My wife had sent me for some avocados with which to make guacamole.  Being a city kid I did not know an avocado from a kiwi.  But, being a newly married man I could not let my wife know this fact.  I walked proudly into the produce section.  I found a sign above a bunch of green looking things that looked like smaller melons.  The sign said “Avocados”.  I picked some up, pretended to know how to examine them, and then purchased them.  When I got home my lovely wife looked through the bag and said “Why did you buy mangos?”  Today, I wasn’t going to make that mistake.  I took several pictures of varying herb-looking things and texted them to my wife.  I think I got it right.

It's a cruel trick of life.  Hit a certain age and you realize there's more hair on your chest than on your head.

It’s a cruel trick of life, son. Hit a certain age and you realize there’s more hair on your chest than on your head.

Finally home and out on the beach I encountered the most terrifically huge mounds of seaweed I’ve ever seen.  The sun was beating down so I wrapped my shirt around my head to protect my rapidly unprotected scalp.  After standing around for a few minutes I remembered why I’m not a beach person and headed back to the house.  Thinking I looked like Lawrence of Arabia, I entered the house.  And that’s when my sister-in-law pointed out that I actually resembled a taliban soldier.  And that’s about it for today.