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Skinny Britches . . .

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Based on my wholly unscientific observations– which consist mainly of viewings at the grocery store and my son’s school–it seems like a disproportionate women that live in The Woodlands are tiny.  I mean really little people.  Like 5’2″ and maybe 100 pounds.  Where did they all come from and how did they all end up here?  Their uniform is the skinny jean with the big cuff, flats and some cute jacket and I hate them all.  Mostly b/c right now I look like I have a basketball under my shirt and I have gained about 40 pounds, and I don’t feel like I look cute, ever.  Just feel like I have a tent on.  Husband commented the other day that my belly was 3D.

Back to the topic at hand, are they just skinny or do they work out all day b/c they don’t have an office job or what?  It’s really weird.


I’ll buy it, but you can’t make me like it . . .

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So now that Number 3 is coming, we are looking for a car.  A big car.  I’d tried to avoid considering a giant SUV but it look to be unavoidable if you want both a third row to throw people as well as any kind of storage in the back.  To get a quick look at all options all at once, Dude, Little Dude and myself all went to the Houston car show this past weekend.

Initial contenders were the Chevy Tahoe, Ford Explorer and Toyota Sequoia.  Ford immediately ruled out by its tiny third row and inability to fit anything larger than a wallet in the back while the 3rd row is up.  No, I’m not considering the Expedition.  I was only interested in the Explorer b/c of its redesign.  The Expedition body hasn’t changed in what? 10-12 years for the most part.  It is a completely uninspiring car.

Chevy Tahoe, good third row but again, if it’s up you can’t put anything in the back.   We like our car trips so storage with the third row in use is a priority.  Whatever car we get has to be able to fit at a minimum three medium suitcases, a pack n play and 1-2 strollers into the back.  So we’ve driven a Tahoe before and a family member has one.  it’s nice but so big feeling.  It’s kind of on the back burner.  No, not considering the Suburban- it’s just too big.  I have to drive this and as the Dude points out, I’d never be able to get in and out of a parking lot in that thing.

The Sequoia was nice looking in and out but honestly I don’t want to pay that much for a nicely outfitted one.  What’s up Toyota? When did your cars get so expensive?!  Barely any storage when back row is up too, so it’s basically disqualified for that.

The unexpected dark horse entry turned out to be the Nissan Armada.  True the body style is awful, but the interior is done well and the price point is better than some of the comparable vehicles we looked at and storage was decent.  It is based on a truck chassis, which can only mean it rides like crap  (especially when compared to a sedan or a smaller SUV), but we can’t have everything can we?  You’d better appreciate this No. 3.



Just an Observation . . .

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We moved to Houston for my job.  I work, have always worked, have always wanted to work.  The most I ever wanted to stay home was maybe one day a week or every other week–and even then I would want to be home alone.  Maybe someday I’ll change my schedule to leave early and spend the afternoons with the bambinos, but not right now.  That said, it seems like a disproportionate number of women in The Woodlands are stay at home moms.  Not that there is anything wrong with that.  My level of awareness has just been raised by all the women I meet who want to have play dates at 3 in the afternoon or meet for lunch during the week, which for obvious reason I can’t do.  And they don’t want to meet on the weekend.  I assume many of these stay at home moms stay at home b/c they moved to The Woo as the tagalong spouse when their husbands were transferred for their oil and gas jobs.  Maybe they didn’t work before they moved, that doesn’t really matter to me.  Only that I feel more guilt for not being at every school event and volunteering in the classroom every week than I did in VA.   Just something to get used to I suppose.

Coming soon to a hospital near you . . .

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We’re adding another member to the clan this spring.  In April the fam will welcome our 3rd child and our first one born outside of Virginia.  Having a third is possibly a direct result of having moved to Texas.  We’d talked about having 3 but the lifestyle of DC and associated expense made it seem like it was not a good idea on several levels.  Families with more than 2 were rare unless you met an older couple who had done invitro and got 3-4 all at once (and there were a couple of those sharing the NICU with Little Dude the two weeks he was there).  I have to admit though, the thinking changed once we got down here.  We saw families with 3 and 4 kids all over The Woodlands so it didn’t seem like a big deal to have more.  Costs here are lower, the public schools were better than what we had access to in VA so we didn’t have to factor in 13 years of private school or at the very least 6.  Houses are bigger too so we have room to put another one.  Sounds crazy but with all the family living out of town a guest room is prime real estate and not something we would willingly give up if we didn’t have to.  Plus we felt a duty to have one more to counteract all the stupid out there.  But I jest.  Maybe.
So, how does having a baby here compare to having one in DC?  You would think not much.  Some things are superficial, like the fact that nearly all the buildings here have been built within the last 20 years so everything looks new.  Doctor’s office all are gleaming with marble and new furniture.  In Alexandria no matter how new the place might be (and the closer you to the DC the older the buildings) they offices all look like dumps.  I recall taking Little Dude to the doctor after he was born and my mother-in-law being concerned we were using a low income clinic because it was so shabby.  Does a fancy office give a false sense of security about quality?  I’m sure in some cases, but on the other hand I didn’t assume that a crappy office meant the doctors were no good.  I like my guy here–Mr OB’s name is Raj and he is Indian, but born and raised in Texas. So where in VA, which was full of 1st generation immigrants, I would assume Raj would have an Indian accent, here, Raj in Texas has a born and raised Texas twang.  Somewhat unexpected.
Attitude, I’m technically an “older” maternal age so in VA that meant a watchful eye for my first and a perinatal specialist for my second b/c I was “risky”.  Here I relayed all that and Dr. Raj asked me, why?  He’s way more lowkey- which almost makes me more paranoid b/c I’m used to seeing 2 doctors every month and getting a jillion tests and ultrasounds.  Here it’s like eh, you’re fine.  So, good?  Jury is still out on that.  If this baby stays in until time to come out then I’ll say it worked out.

Are You Going to (the Texas State) Fair?

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This weekend we had one of our hard core NY friends in for the weekend.  Agenda: Texas State Fair and tickets to the OU-Texas game (Boomer Sooner!), then back to our house for grilling and hot tub.  Why was this a big deal?  Our buddy is born and raised Long Island and now lives in Albany;  He is a Jets fan;  College football in the northeast is nothing, and I mean nothing, compared to Big 12 or SEC football;  the “fair” in upstate NY is more like a sad little carnival; he has never had a corn dog; and he has never been this far west let alone been to the state of Texas.

His impressions?  All favorable.  Could not believe the spectacle that was the fair, all the people, the rides the beer and the fried foods.  He had a corn dog (loved it), fried ding dong, friend snickers, fried butter, fried chicken skin (I know totes gross right?) friend pumpkin pie and something else friend I have forgotten.  Of the game- impressed and shocked.  Said he had never been to a football game in his life (season Jets ticket holder) that could even come close in energy and fandom.  And also shocked at all the college girls running around in skimpy dress with their hooters out.  He has declared that his daughter will never attend UT or OU based on this.  He witnessed Bevo shredding and a good Texas beat down courtesy of the Crimson and Cream (55-17).  Only negative– strangers talking to him without any prompting.  Well, that’s just a New York thing that takes getting used to.  His comment about the people in his branch office he worked in Friday “everyone was all in my business.”  Yep, that’s just the way it is (this from the person who will tell you pretty much anything as long as he knows you).

Being from the northeast where real estate is at a premium, houses are usually older and smaller (see my earlier posts re: Alexandria VA) and he was beside himself over the house.  Let me tell you, by Texas standards it is not even close to being big, but it’s bigger than where we were and its way bigger than anything he has ever seen a la the northeast.  I think we have a closet that is about as big as a bedroom back east.  Let’s just say he was a fan.  He ate his chili rubbed steak and had seconds of spicy tomato cheese grits.  No, there are no grits to speak of in the Northeast and if there are, chances are you do not want them.

He was ready to get back home on Sunday and I suspect he will bore his wife to tears with retellings of the game and the fair.  So bear with him Mrs. P.  He had quite an epiphany.

Texas Can’t Make Grilled Cheese

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So who cares about that? Me. I love grilled cheese. I love melted Velveeta on buttery grilled bread. My favorite when I was a kid, gilled cheese with bologna. don’t hate until you’ve tried it. throw the Oscar Meyer on the griddle for a few seconds then add it to the sandwich and fire it up. Yum. for real.

So what is the problem with grilled cheese in Texas? Thus far none of the sandwiches I have ordered from a variety of places has been what I consider grilled cheese. It’s all toasted cheese. And seriously people, toasted doesn’t cut it. what’s the point? without the crispy buttered bread there is no point to eating this. melted cheese on toast is not the same. Even when I have ordered from a deli WITH a giant ass griddle/grill they slap my sandwich in the panini machine. Gross. and NOT grilled cheese. Is non-buttered and grilled bread still technically grilled cheese? is toasted an option? According to Wikipedia it is. According to me it is not. I’m contemplating editing that wiki entry. Grilled cheese implies grilling. Otherwise it is toasted cheese sandwich, which is an entirely different species. not to mention not even nearly as good. I may be forced to open my own shop that makes grilled cheese.

I’ve never had this problem anywhere else I have lived. Not NYC, not D.C., not Tulsa, OK. definitely not Tulsa, OK (shout out to Queenie’s). Step up Texas. Your lack of grilled cheese is unacceptable!

So Much Laundry, so Little Time

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So, I’m starting to feel like all I do is laundry and more laundry. Like nearly everyday I doing at least one load of laundry. This was never the case back in Virginia. At one point I thought well, we have a 4th person now so more clothes, but really that is not it. I finally decided its b/c 1) we have a pool so we have more towels in circulation now and 2) it is HOT here all the time so you go through clothes like wildfire. I wear 2 and 3 t-shirts on a weekend day. No kid clothes can get worn twice and I rarely can rewear any work clothes either. Sweat just permeates everything. I keep thinking I will finish acclimating and then maybe I won’t sweat so much. The chances of that are about the same as us getting any rain at this point. Morning is maybe the worst time of the day believe it or not. This morning, for example, 91% humidity and dewpoint of 75 = really sticky and gross. This is at 5:30 a.m. too. Add some sun to that and you are pretty much guaranteed to stick to anything you touch and have all your clothing stick to you. No wonder the air in every building is on full blast all summer long. You need it. Believe.

Trucks and more trucks . . .

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Yes, I am still obsessing over the sheer number and size of the pick ups and SUVs here.  The preschool parking lot is dwarfed every night about 6 pm when the horde rolls in to pick up.  Granted, I have an SUV.  IN face I have 2, but both are of the smaller variety and can’t even touch a Sequoia, Tahoe or Suburban.  It used to be the only people with Suburbans were families with more than 3 kids, at least in my world growing up.  A Suburban siting was a rare and mystical event, almost like spotting a unicorn.  Now, not so much.  Women tote around little babies in these giant cars.  I had only ever thought about getting a big SUV once my kids were old enough that we may need to cart around sports gear or their friends–still a few years away.  I can’t even wrap my mind around the pick up trucks here.  All seem to have a lift and giant tires AND 4 doors in many cases b/c it’s the family vehicle.  What’s up with that?  Little Dude thinks they are all monster trucks they are so tall.  How do even get in and out of those?

As I recall, the huge car of choice in Alexandria/DC was the Escalade and even then there were not many.  I think most people can’t get them into the garage and in some cases into the driveway when you live in a house built in the 1930s-60s.

Don’t even get me started on navigating a parking garage with these behemoths in attendance.  The garage at my building has had to mark some spots off for “compact only” b/c too many trucks were parking on the ends and making it nearly impossible to turn the corner.  How is the gas mileage on those do you think?

Swimsuits at Dinner

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Here is my latest recurring observation:  It is considered acceptable to go pretty much anywhere in public wearing a swimsuit and a cover up.  I’ve seen women at the store and at casual restaurants sporting bathing suits underneath cover up dresses.  I just can’t go there.  Maybe I will eventually but not yet.

I spent my summers as a kid at the neighborhood pool on a daily basis, but I am pretty sure I always came home in time for dinner and my mom made me change my clothes to eat.  I can see swimming at your own house and then wearing your swim gear for dinner at home.  you are at home, your house your rules.  but really, we can’t put shorts and a tshirt on or something to leave the house?  Trust me I am all about comfort and casual but I draw the line at just hanging out in a bathing suit and cover up.


On the allergy front- they are back.  The doctor was not kidding that if I stopped with the spray I’d get sick again.  yippee! so back on the spray and sinus rinse and may have averted sinus infection this time.  Now I just have a cough and am losing my voice.  Two weeks ago I had strep throat.  Is Houston a germ factory or what is the deal here?

One final note:  It is HOT out there people.  High temps I can usually deal with but this humidity in the morning, wow.  A good day is when I can get ready for work and not break a sweat.  even better are mornings I can get all the way to work without sweating like a  pig.  Not always successful however.  Sorry co-workers.


What’s Going on

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So Spring was like 2 weeks long. Not two months like I thought it would be initially. It’s been upper 80s and 90s since early April. But, I actually have a tan for the first time in close to 17 years. Kind of exciting. It’s only on my arms though. Seems my legs no longer have the ability to soak up any sun. Prob. better for me in the long run though.

Son has been playing soccer. humorous. Also mildly awful when games are past 10:00 a.m. it is hot people and not a lick of shade anywhere. It’s fine as long as you dress for it. Which leads me to my new summer outfit for the weekends: running clothes. That’s right. I’m not decked out in running shorts, shoes and a tshirt or tank all day every weekend. when in the house the only difference is I am barefoot. That may make me officially integrated here now.

Unrelated other new obsessions: Game of Thrones on HBO. It’s pretty good. I am also reading the series that the show is based on. Have you ever read them? By George somebody–maybe George Martin? Like medieval but not on Earth. Dragons will be involved at some point and there are some scary monster things and a giant wall made of ice, and a midget. So, hard to go wrong with all that!

We also lost our old man dog not too long ago. I really like having two dogs and I think our pup misses him too. New dog search will commence soon I think. We will be bringing his ashes home today from the vet. I miss you Bo.