Texas Trip #2 - The Journey

Now that you have the background on HOW this trip came to be (if you don’t and your interested – follow the link), it's time to start getting into the nitty gritty of the trip.
When we first started planning this trip, we had two agenda items to contend with. 
A.) Getting together with my sister-in-law, and
B.) Surprising AtHomeDaddy
So we started planning.  As plans started coming together, we realized that there was one other agenda item we wanted to add.  We had to fit in a visit to my brother-in-law's parents! 
Most of you may look at that a little strangely..  Visiting with your brother (or sister)-in-law's parents?  I suspect most folks have met their sibling-in-laws parents once or twice.  Not in our family!

My sister moved from Minnesota to Texas to finish College (and, I suspect, to be closer to her future husband - (wink)).  Other than her (then) boyfriend, she had no family or friends in Texas.  Immediately, my brother-in-law's parents took an instant liking to my sister.  They quickly became her surrogate parents, and watched out for her as if she was one of their own (which I will be forever grateful for!)  Not only did they take an immediate liking to her, their generous and welcoming nature extended out to include my parents, and my family.  Over the years, we have continued to stay close, and have had several opportunities to get together with them.  Each time we do, we are reminded what WONDERFUL folks they are.
I could not justify being in Texas without taking time out to get together with them!
Adding an itinerary item of visiting with my brother-in-law's parents, we needed to contact them to find a date and time that worked.  While we talked on the phone, we also discovered that my brother-in-law (now living in NY) was ALSO in Dallas on Business!  We could not pass up an opportunity to get together with him either... 
So, from our original "two event" itinerary, we ended up with a "four event" itinerary, and a pretty booked schedule indeed.
Once the tickets were purchased, the car rented, and the hotel booked - all that was left was to wait for the day to arrive.  The last couple of days prior to the trip were FILLED with last minute errands, packing, getting the house cleaned, and getting the kiddos' itinerary straightened out cleared up, and o.k.ed with grandparents (who were watching them).
By this point, there were quite a few people who knew that we were traveling to Texas (including AtHomeDaddy's wife), but he still had no idea of our impending arrival.  I was certain that he would find out before we had a chance to surprise him.
After what I would consider a pretty stressful last couple of days before the trip (and not being able to vent about it here or on Facebook) - the day of the trip had finally arrived.  We dropped the kids off, and got a ride to the airport. Check-in in went off without a problem.  Then as we crossed the TSA's security gate, my cel phone (forgotten in my pocket) flagged me, and a bottle of lotion (forgotten in the Mother of Five's purse) flagged her.  One cel phone on the x-ray belt and one bottle of lotion in the trash later, we were through the security checkpoint, and free to wander around the concourse. 
07-26-10_1243 It felt like a mall.  Shops, restaurants, specialty stores, and all overpriced!  One thing I did catch my eye as being pretty unusual...   A Best Buy Vending Machine.  Yup!  A vending machine that sold high ticket items like iPods, digital cameras, camcorders, and the like...  I SO wanted to see someone buy something from that machine, but it was not meant to be.
With extra time on our hands, we stopped at a Chili's and snacked on some chips, salsa, and chili-con-caso dip while the Mother of Five had a Strawberry Daiquiri and I had a Long Island Tea.  After exploring the airport, and our light snack - we headed to our gate where we waited to be called to board. 
Boarding and the flight were without problems. 
We arrived at DFW Int'l on time - but lost some time after sitting at the wrong luggage turnstile.  We were redirected to the correct one just in time to see our suitcase pop out and make it's first trip around the carousel.  A hop skip and jump down the road later and we were waiting at the at the car rental shuttle bus stop.
The car rental was the only thing that really caused us any problems this day.  I had a printed copy of my reservation (showing I paid for the rental ahead of time) - but Budget Car Rental's system had us down for a "reservation" but not having pre-paid for the rental.  After NUMEROUS calls between the clerk and various super secret Buget Car Rental phone numbers, and calls to my bank - we were stuck at a stalemate.  The best possible solution?  We filed a dispute on the original charge with the bank, and had to re-rent the car at the counter.  This has resulted in a double billing, but with the dispute on the first charge - I hope to see that credited back on my account (in 10 to 12 business days).
Wells Fargo Bank & Budget Car Rental, are you reading this post??
 I had BETTER get it credited back on my account!
One hour (and a noticeable dip into our vacation funds) later we were driving off the lot with our upgraded (for our inconvenience) vehicle - a 2010 Silver Dodge Nitro.  (which I was less than impressed with...)
Once our GPS acclimated, and locked on to the satellites, we were off to see my sister in law in her new house!


  1. I want more!!! I want more!!! lol, I too have yet to witness someone buy something out of the best buy vending machine, oh wait, that's because I was the sucker who actually did buy something from it. On the way to our honeymoon, I realized that our memory card was almost full so I bought a new one in the airport. Justifiable in that case, I guess.

  2. I now sell Dodge products, and I am also less than impressed with the Nitro. However, Dodge does have, in my opinion, the best minivan on the road! You can't win them all.

  3. David,
    I TOLD you to pack the "lotion" in your check-on bag! Of course the TSA made you throw it away. Just FYI, Walgreens has the "yours+mine" or "intrigue" on sale for just 14.99 in this Sunday's ad. Just trying to be a helper.

  4. LMAO at the Co-Worker, hilarious!


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