Home and back… to home?

A trip is something you take with your kids. A vacation is something you go on without them. This past week I crossed six time zones, twice, in a matter of five days. Thank goodness it was a vacation and not a trip. I might not have survived.

I think I’ve been conditioned and spoiled by the Scottish weather because the second I got off the plane in Houston my first thought was, “EH! Blah – so hot and humid!”

Y’all – it was like 76F.

It probably didn’t help that the sky was tinged with gray due to the fire at a petrochemicals plant in Deer Park. When I arrived my Apple Watch’s description of the weather was “unhealthy”.

Welcome to Houston!

I’ve also been spoiled or spoilt as they say here, by the scenery. The drive from IAH certainly doesn’t do Houston any favors but damn, it’s ugly! I know, I know – Texas has a beauty that is all her own. I agree. But it damn sure isn’t along the Sam Houston Tollway!

The main reason for my trip home was to take part in my cousin Liz’s wedding; however, while there, I was able to sign the closing documents on our home. Our buyers were pains until the last possible second and our realtor, Angela, and her husband spent hours and hours at our home fixing every last detail before the closing. If you are looking to buy or sell – look no further than Angela. She’s the real deal. She treats your money and the buying or selling of your home like it is her own. I don’t know of anyone else that would go to the lengths she did to ensure a smooth closing.

So, I’m no longer a homeowner. Or a car owner. Nor do I have a job. I now have no obligation in Texas aside from family. It’s a weird feeling. It feels a bit like floating. I can’t decide if I like it. Without a home there, is Houston still home? Or do I have to fully admit and commit to Aberdeen?

Speaking of home, I made a visit to my work home while in Houston. It wasn’t planned. In fact, I was very clear to myself about not going there. The last time I went I wrestled with incredible guilt. The instruction is so good. The environment so flexible, so inviting, warm, welcoming – a true learning community. I made the decision to take my child out of that environment – one I know that he would thrive in, be supported in, loved in. It was so hard to see it again, to see him in it, and walk away. It felt like leaving for the first time all over again. Yes, the school he’s in now is fine. It’s good. It’s the best I saw here. But if better is possible, is good good enough? Of course not. I didn’t want to feel that guilt again so I decided I wouldn’t go. Plus, I wonder if people see me in the hallway and wonder why I won’t just freaking leave?! (Of course they don’t get it. They’re still there. Blissfully taking for granted the wonderful environment, people, and zeal to reach kids.)

But the damn flautas.

Those flautas have ruined many a diet healthy eating plan and they ruined my plan not to stop by. So I did it. I stopped. I didn’t stay long. I high-fived and hugged the people I saw but made it a point not to spend time in any classrooms, to see any instruction – to just focus on the adults that feel more like family than friends – still. I had butterflies of anxiety walking in that were immediately soothed by the friendly faces and familiar daily challenges of working in a school. I managed to leave without crying for the first time since we’ve moved.

Maybe I was buoyed by the promise of two nights alone in a hotel room in downtown Houston with my only obligations to the bride and spending time with my sister on my agenda? Lauren has a way of distracting me from the realities of life. We enjoy being faux rich together.

The rehearsal dinner was done brunch style at Snooze A.M. Eatery with an open bar. To quote my brother-in-law, I was “feeling no pain” and enjoying all the love and tasty breakfast options in the room.

Ms. Texas – as Lauren will henceforth be referred to, per her pageant hairdo – and I had a lovely morning getting hair and make up done and sipping on bubbles while Liz took an ethics exam for becoming a Texas lawyer. Yes, you read that correctly. My beautiful, intelligent, driven cousin took an ethics exam the morning of her wedding. Her future children are screwed when they try to tell her they’re too busy to do something.

I’ll tell you this – my lovely, easy going cousin made the best bridezilla I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing. There was yelling – loads of yelling – people’s middle names were used, fingers might have been snapped. It was so fun to watch! It was like she’d been saving up all her bossiness and knew that this was the one time she could let it all out without judgement. And just like everything else she does, she executed perfectly.

Her bossiness paid off too. The wedding went off without a hitch and she looked beautiful – a lovely bride that made your heart swell to look at her.

It was the first time I’ve attended or been a part of a Jewish ceremony and it was just lovely. Personal, meaningful, steeped in tradition with an emphasis on family. I was so honored to be a part of it. Lauren and I were tasked with holding up the chuppah – we didn’t really have to hold it up though – thank goodness. The wedding ceremony was on a hotel rooftop in downtown Houston and it was quite windy! If we’d really been holding it we’d have had to kick off our heels, drop our bouquets and hold it down with all we had! And I would have happily done it too.

The reception was the floor below and the band did a fabulous job of keeping everyone up and dancing. It was one of the only weddings I’ve been to where I wasn’t checking the clock during the inevitable lulls. The “night-ender” as Ms. Texas referred it probably helped in having us up and dancing as well. 😉

Me & Ms. Texas

The next day was my flight back. It was the first time that I’ve flown Air France. Word of advice: Do not ever, ever fly Air France. It was the dirtiest plane I have ever been on and my knees were hitting the back of the seat in front of me before any reclining happened.

The screen was about the size of my iPhone with less pixels and unable to be used until well after take off. On the plus side, there was complimentary Prosecco and their wine selection was far superior to KLM.

The French do some things right. 😉

And speaking of the French… the Cajun French landed in Aberdeen Thursday afternoon! We have a full agenda over the next two weeks of sharing our favorite spots around the ‘Deen and making trips to Glasgow and Loch Lomond.