So after the first few hours of low-traffic driving, several of us wound up stacked behind two pickup trucks hauling large trailers. And by “several” I mean six eager vehicles who did not want to drive slowly, because they had destinations, dammit. These are Western roads; if you want to go from point A to point B there is one route and you don’t have the option of taking a different road to circumvent slow traffic. You can only hope that eventually you’ll come to a stretch of road with a sign stating that…
YES! So naturally all six of us got really excited at the prospect of being able to pass the trailers and resume a normal traveling speed. But do you think either of the trucks used the turnouts?
They decided to proceed along as normal, while I silently berated myself for “packing light” and not bringing the shoulder-mounted grenade launcher; then there would have been no such problems. NONE. ZILCH.
We went on like this for several long miles until we came out of a canyon and into a wider stretch of road with two lovely lanes on our side of the road and a sign admonishing slower traffic to stay on the right to allow for passing. Now, I get that the lay of the land makes road construction tricky to say the least, but it’s almost as if some bored sadist built these roads using advanced math to make sure the passing lanes would end just before you had a chance to actually pass. The result being that for quite a ways as we drove, with our friends ahead refusing (again) to move over or slow down, none of us were quite able to pass.
Finally the second truck-and-trailer pulled off the road and as we all passed him, I realized…his trailer lights were not hooked up. So for the past hour or two, we’ve been watching for falling rock, suicidal cows, and all other manner of dangerous rural road horrors, at highway speeds, behind someone whose brake lights weren’t even functional. (Western drivers are nothing if not talented multitaskers!) I think that was the point where we all got really desperate to pass Trailer #1, because the cars in front started revving it to pass him at all costs.
Needless to say he did not appreciate this, and it was only through totally disobeying the speed limit that everyone finally squeezed past him. I slipped by just before rolling into one of those typical tiny towns with a 20 MPH speed limit, and got to watch the driver in my rear view mirror. He was talking to his passenger and gesticulating wildly about something–probably being passed by an Oldsmobile–to which I silently replied, That’s right, gesticulate all you want. I bet your trailer lights don’t work either.
Despite all of the nuttiness on the roads, I did make good time and got to my parents’ town late that afternoon, which meant we had time to do a little shopping and sight-seeing around town. One thing about visiting home: I have to adjust from the silence of cats to their dog, who enthusiastically howls at anyone who comes near or in the house. Say what you will about cats, but they don’t bay at guests and scare the bejeesus out of them when they try to sneak up and down the stairs.
While we were out shopping we managed to load up on goodies from Bath and Body Works (sale time!). I got shower gels and body lotions in three scents I haven’t tried before: Wild Honeysuckle, Secret Wonderland, and Rome Honeysuckle Amore.
At Pier 1 I got this awesome tree-shaped jewelry tree to hold all of my rings and bracelets, and my mom got me some peacock notecards. She got the funkiest metal bird statue that you ever did see, which unfortunately I forgot to photograph, because it was pretty darn cool. And then I got these neat earrings; Pier 1 actually has some cool jewelry if you want something with a global influence.
When we got back to the house I decided I’d better take my shopping bags straight up to my room so I wouldn’t misplace anything. Little did I know that the cream-colored dog was lounging stealthily at the top of the stairs on the cream-colored carpet, watching me come up the stairs while looking at my purchases rather than paying attention to my surroundings. I was about at eye level with her when I finally looked up and she promptly let loose with an “ARRRRROOOOOOOOOOOO” that nearly made me fall backwards down the stairs.
The next day we decided to get up early and make the two-hour drive to the Big City to hit the mall. Neither of us had really put two and two together at this point and realized that it was Saturday and therefore the mall would be packed. The first store we went in was H&M. I was excited to take my mom there because she’d never been in one and when I had wandered through H&M the month prior, I had seen a lot of cute stuff. Not so here! The racks were packed so tightly you could barely pull clothes off, there were clothes on the floor, and the whole store just wasn’t that impressive. All I could do was repeat, “The one at home is so much nicer!”
That kind of summed up our run through the mall. Crowds, messy stores…overall, a very underwhelming experience. And where was all of the cute stuff I saw this spring?! I guess summer isn’t my season. Nonetheless, I did pick up a few awesome things, among them the most epic set of cookie cutters ever. I can’t wait to use these at Christmas!
These moccasins were on sale at DSW and I thought they’d be cute with denim shorts and boho tops this summer.
The striped dress is from Romy and has a soft fit-and-flare shape that makes it really flattering. The boho floral dress came from a little shop we visited after the mall (more on that below); it’s such a cool summer maxi and I love the muted grey/black/green/yellow floral print.
After the mall we decided to head to a small imports shop that specializes in art, clothing, home goods and more from around the world. It is a decidedly boho/”hippie” shop, and it was awesome. I wound up finding the above great maxi dress, a shoulder bag from the Himalayas, and some Nepalese prayer flags to hang up in the house.
I also got this t-shirt from the men’s department. How cool is this elephant?
And then there were these:
As it turns out, my mom had seen these wooden statues a few months ago and wanted to buy them for my apartment, and on the day we went in, they were marked way down. Score! Now my only challenge was getting them home. We wound up wrapping them in a blanket and buckling them into the backseat of my car. I was convinced at some point someone on the road would call the police to report I had a body in the backseat of my car, but no one did.
[My husband, by the way, is not as taken with these giant cats as I am. The tallest one is about three feet tall. When I brought the
body bundle in the house and unwrapped the first one, I only heard a quiet “Oh my God” behind me. Then silence. Once they were set up I turned to see what he thought.
He looked at them for a while. “They’re not that weird,” I said helpfully.
“They’re pretty weird,” was his response. His only request: “Don’t put those things in the bedroom. I’ll never get any sleep with them staring at me.”]
When we were done shopping we stopped for coffee at a local coffee house and then, tired as anything, decided to head home. We were wandering through the downtown area when I realized my sunglasses weren’t on my head or in my bag. I thought I had left them at the coffee shop or maybe in the bathroom there, so we retraced our steps and asked the hipster at the counter if he’d found any (no) before heading to the bathroom to look on the counter.
I don’t know why but while we were standing in the hallway my mom looked at me and suddenly went “They’re right there!” I had them on the neck of my shirt, zipped up under my jacket! We both just about died laughing. I hope that barista didn’t see them while we were talking to him. A pair of gold aviator sunglasses? Uh, nope, not seen anything like that lately! We left by the back door.
When we got back to the house from shopping we were both tired and starving, so I got the bright idea to make some vegan nachos for my mom’s birthday dinner. She had mentioned that they had a case of hot enchilada sauce for me to take home and there was also some in the kitchen to use on the nachos if I wanted. So when I saw a large can of hot sauce sitting on the counter, I thought, Great! I’ll just pour that on for extra flavor.
Here’s what I didn’t realize: this stuff was fairly hot, and there was actually an open container of it in the fridge that I could have used for a less, ahem, fiery effect. The can on the counter was just a reminder for my mom to get the extra case out of the cupboard for me to take home. So as I was spooning the hot sauce on the nachos, I thought, What the hell, I’ll just pour the whole thing in, and I threw them in the oven without a second thought.
Well, you can imagine what the first bites were like…we wound up in a fit of giggles over how hot they were. Luckily the brownies and ice cream turned out a little better. But I learned my lesson: don’t trust the “medium” label and use sparingly. And maybe don’t cook when you’re that tired!
If you go check out the second birthday vacation post you can read about hiking and my mini post-vacation staycation. And then in part three I’ll show you my birthday makeup haul. :)