From New Orleans we kept moving west to Houston to catch up with our friends Frank and Louise. We know them from St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church back in Orlando, FL where I attended regularly, and where Dan and I were married. F&L left Florida to start seminary together in Austin around the same time we moved to DC. They just graduated and moved to Houston to start their tenure as curates at two different churches (a curate is like the post-doc of the divinity degree… I think?). They had been in their new digs for all of a week before we arrived, and we were super impressed at how totally ordered their home was (until we showed up, mua ha ha).
Our first day in Houston was a rest day. Dan and I stayed close to apartment while F&L ran errands. Dan is our craigslist guy, and was working on finding buyers for the car, while I worked on my NOLA post and various other writing projects. We got out to walk around the neighborhood and get a bite to eat, then hung out at the pool briefly before F&L got home, and we just relaxed in the apartment and watched Master of None.
The next day the four of us got out and about to see downtown Houston. Houston has a bike share service called B-Cycle, and we picked up some bikes near the house. We rode a bike path downtown to Frank’s Pizza, which is not owned by our Frank, but by Louise’s cousin, who is not named Frank. We got some tasty slices and enjoyed the draft beer selection, then took a walk around before hopping on some more B-Cycle bikes and heading home.
It was a very sunny and hot day, so we headed to the pool to cool off as soon as we got back. After the pool we headed to dinner at Onion Creek Cafe where we enjoyed the outdoor patio and some beers. Dan and I partook of the steak special and it was excellent. They were grilling the steaks outside in the parking lot and the whole patio area smelled delicious.
Then more pool, but of the billiard variety. Frank absolutely schooled us. Priests aren’t supposed to hustle people Frank! Jk jk. But it would be optimistic to say that Dan and I won maybe one game? After that we all turned in after our very activity filled day.
On the way out of Houston the next day we met up with Devyn, a fellow nerd who I last saw on her visit to Washington, DC in February. We went out to Mod Pizza and had a salad of truly epic proportions and contents (oh, garlic? I know that’s for the pizza, but can I have that too? And there’s asparagus?! You’re out of brocolli? I can wait.). We hung out after lunch and grabbed a coffee (it turns out Devyn is very knowledgeable about the different methods of coffee making). Devyn is an actual published author (something yours truly aspires to), and we got to talking about our writing projects. We decided to trying being accountabilibuddies to help motivate each other in our writing (yay!).
When we got to Austin we went to stay with Jennifer, a friend we met through our running club, and we out for a run that she helped organize that evening. At Jennifer’s we actually managed to cook a proper meal at home. I think it was the first time we managed to cook dinner in a month. And yes, that is a grown man eating pasta with a spatula.
Friday was Harvey’s big day. Oh, have I mentioned that our white Volkswagen rabbit has a name, and it’s Harvey? He’s named after the movie Harvey (which is based on a play) where Jimmy Stewart has a friend that no one else can see, who happens to be a talking 6′ tall white rabbit named Harvey. And he doesn’t have the sense not to tell other people about it, so his family tries to get him committed, hi-jinks ensue, etc.
We bought Harvey shortly after we got married when my Honda Accord died (RIP Calcifer, you were taken from us too soon, but that’s a different story). Dan and I learned how to drive manual transmission with Harvey, and we brought him with us from FL to DC when we moved. So now you’ve met Harvey, and I’m going to break your heart by selling him before the end of this post. (And trust me, I’m a doctor. He’s real. Really.)
Dan had set up appointments with potential buyers for Harvey on Friday afternoon, so we got him all vacuumed, washed and gussied up before heading down to Zilker Park where we waited for folks. In total we showed the car to three potentials, one of which gave us an offer on the spot. We shook on it, making plans to sell the car to them first thing Monday morning because we had to go to the Tax Collector’s office to deal with registering a car with out of state plates.
That night we went to hang out with Tyler, a dancing nerd that I got to do a lot of hustle and west coast swing with at CNF2016, and it was a blast, so we decided to do it again. There was live music at the Blind Pig Pub, and we rocked out on the dance floor until my feet were dead. I also got a Scooby Snack (which is a shot that tastes like candy and danger) at Buckshot before calling it a night.
The weekend involved a lot of errands and sifting, getting rid of the the last vestiges of stuff that Harvey had enabled us to haul around on our road trip, but that we really couldn’t fit in our backpacks. We met our buyer to get the car inspected, had to remove the tint on the front windows because it was too dark (boo) then went to help Tyler with a few rounds of his move (having other humans help you carry your sofa? bonus).
Sunday night we went to stay with Kat and Anthony, nerds who had offered us a place to stay sight unseen (very nice of them), and they were delightful company. We cooked dinner for them then hung out, including getting to chop water bottles in the backyard with a sword! Anthony does Historical European Martial Arts (HEMA) and teaches at the Austin Historical Weapons Guild, and he showed us how to swing a sharp and pointy object! It turned out that Kat is also a scientist (yay science!), and can make some killer no-carb pancakes and brownies.
On Monday morning, first thing, it was time to say good-bye to Harvey. We met our buyers at the DMV, a very nice couple, T&K, who were buying Harvery for K’s son. He is going to get to learn to drive manual! He was very excited, and it’s great to know that Harvey is getting a happy home. We were in and out of the DMV by 8 am (shock!), and they dropped us off at Goodwill so we could make our last round of donations.
With Harvey finally gone, and down to just our backpacks (okay, I have two backpacks and too much stuff, but that’s a story for later), it really made the trip sink in. Visiting places and people we (mostly) already knew in our car just felt like extended vacation. With the car gone, and all our belongings on our backs, there was a big sense of being anchorless which is a strange feeling.
We went to Wholefoods to get coffee and free wifi, and I stopped by Lush to pick up my last remaining travel item, a bar shampoo, which is a great product that can be purchased with a matching tin. Shout out to Abbey who was very helpful and tipped me off to the tablet-toothpaste that Lush makes!
We hit up the public library for a bit, then did what years in Washington DC has trained us to do: we went looking for happy hour deals! The Easy Tiger had some great $3 deals on drafts and food, then we headed over to the Chupacabra Cantina where we got happy hour drinks ($2 Mexican cans, $5 margaritas) and feasted upon an Austin classic, loaded queso, in celebration of our last US meal for a while.
After that, it was the overnight greyhound from Austin, to Monterrey, MX… stay tuned!