Sunday, April 24, 2005


Every year, I get a weekend off from my day job. I leave with four of my dearest friends for another exciting adventure. This year was our friend Julie's turn to plan, and the destination was Galveston! It was a wonderful, relaxing, funny weekend. I consider these trips a success if at some point I laugh so hard I'm in jeopardy of wetting myself. This year the first of those moments came before we even stepped into our rent house.

Julie had made all our arrangements online. She'd spoken to the owner about the security system. We had the key, we were ready for action. We made the drive over to Galveston, over the causeway and onto the island. As we got further down the road, we went through some rougher areas of town. We stopped at a little grocery store to stock up for the weekend (a very important mission) and got the impression that the grocery store might be the scene of parking lot crack deals and the like. We did our business quickly and got the van loaded, and set off for the last bit of driving to the Hybiscus Hideaway. As we left the parking lot, we noticed the street we were turning onto was the one our house was on. Dirctly across from the Arlan Grocery exit we were looking at an old run-down abandoned house, another house straight ahead and next to it, an old house with an elderly black man slowly rocking on the front porch.

We drove down the street and started thinking that we might be right around the house we were renting, but we were a little nervous about the neighborhood. So we slowly drove around the block. Maybe our house was several blocks further down.

As we drove, a short distance away we saw the neighborhood nickname "ILLVILLE" spray painted on a building, and a sort of housing project a little further. We circled back around by the grocery store and slowly drove by the house we suspected was ours. The black man in the rocker kept the steady beat, watching us peer out the windows of the minivan.

We read his mind and pictured him saying,
"Oh yeah, this is it. Every weekend a van full of white girls drives by and they think this can't be it, but this is it."

At this point we had all made ourselves nervous and were laughing so hard that we were crying. We stopped the car, just about 50 paces from the Arlan Grocery, unloaded and walked up the steps to what turned out to be a wonderfully funky, cute and colorful house. It was perfect for us. Beautiful flowers outside, plush towels, comfy beds. We had a great time.

We spent the weekend shopping, grilling steak, reading Julie's old backlog of People magazines (did you know Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston split up?), playing Balderdash, watching a Stealth Bomber fly overhead while we walked on the beach, giving ourselves beauty treatments and in general not taking care of families for a weekend.

I look forward to my girlfriend trip all year long, and we are already planning Par-tay 2006.

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