Now that I got the serious stuff out of the way, I want to take this opportunity to blather on about the rest of my trip. It had been five years since my last trip to Oklahoma, which is much too long.
After our travel delays, the kid and I made it to my mom's house Sunday evening. I had booked a rental car, so we didn't need anyone to pick us up at the airport. The first thing I noticed when I arrived at the house, other than the fact that my mom has more cats than anyone really needs, was that there were mostly just condiments in the refrigerator. So, I headed "into town" to buy groceries. I had planned ahead, too. I had shipped a box to myself ahead of time. I wanted to send some vegan goodies to my sister, as well as some stuff for myself that can be hard to get in rural (very rural) Oklahoma. Nutritional yeast and vegan mayo, for example. I also brought along some cookbooks in preparation for Thanksgiving.
The next day, the kid and I visited my sister, who lives about 20-25 minutes from where my mom and stad live. My sister and her husband have three boys. It was great to see my nephews. My sister made us some dinner and then the kid and I headed back across the miles of country roads.
On Tuesday, I did absolutely nothing. I helped my mom troubleshoot some issues with her iPod and that was about the extent of my activity. My mom took my kid out for shopping and dinner, so I just hung out. It was fabulous. There aren't many days in my life when I don't have anything I need to do or anywhere I need to be. I made myself dinner and then spent the rest of the evening batting away various cats who wanted to be all up in my business. I'm mildly allergic and I think they know that.
Random anecdote: my mom dug out some old photo albums during our visit. I had a lot of tun looking at them. I showed my prom photos to my daughter.
"My dad looked different," she said.
"Sweetie, that's not your dad." (Did she think her dad and I have been together since infancy????)
She gave me a disapproving look, like I was the whore of Babylon or something.
Wednesday was fairly uneventful, too. I noticed that my kid had fallen into what we call "Meemaw Time." One night I woke up at 1:42 a.m. and found that my daughter was still up, blissfully playing Minecraft on her iPad. Again, my apologies to her future employer. She'll be at the office by mid-afternoon at the latest. Anyway, I needed to head back to the grocery store for Thanksgiving stuff so I left her at the house - in as much as she wasn't conscious and whatnot. This issue continued to get worse as the week wore on. She was staying up later and later. On Wednesday afternoon, we met my sister and her kids at a park. It was unseasonably warm. The kids had so much fun, running around without jackets. Little did we know that the weather was about to tank big time.
The next day was Thanksgiving. I got up early (I'm surprised I didn't pass my kid in the hallway while she was on her way to bed) and got all of my cooking out of the way. I made gravy, green bean casserole, and a chocolate cake. All were vegan, of course. My mom made mashed potatoes to go with my gravy. We all headed over to my sister's house for dinner. We had an all-vegan meal and guess what? We were none the worse for wear. It turns out that Thanksgiving is just another meal and that no one will go into convulsions if they don't eat any dead things. My sister made all kinds of goodies, including pizza for the boys. It was a good day.
My mom and my stad took my kid back home with them and I stayed at my sister's that night. We had planned it this way on purpose. My daughter needs an ugly holiday sweater for a concert at school. I had suggested to my mom that they buy a sweater at a thrift store and then ugly it up. So, they needed to finish that project. The plan was for me to pick up the kid the next day. So, naturally, we woke up to a crazy ice storm. My baby and I were separated by miles of icy roads. Seriously, I'd take three feet of snow over that kind of ice. Despite the less-than-ideal conditions, I headed out after lunch to retrieve my kid. I knew she would be very upset if I don't come to get her. As a mother, I try very hard never to let her down. If I tell her I am going to do something I do it. I drove slowly and steadily there and back. Whew! For the next two days, we basically stayed indoors and watched ice piling up on everything. I was able to do some online shopping for Black Friday before my sister's wifi gave out. The kids played together well - there was no bloodshed. My kid got her cousins hooked on Minecraft. On Saturday, the younger brother (he'll be four on December 26th) actually fell asleep on me while we were all watching a movie. It's been a long time since I had a little kid fall asleep on me. When he was awake, he made me scratch his back and then demanded that I scratch it faster. He also made me pretty paranoid by constantly asking, "What's that 'mell?" I had bathed but still, I wondered.
Since the kid and I were leaving Sunday morning, I decided I'd better get some of the ice off my rental car. It was quite the project. My brother-in-law even came out and helped me. Seriously, I've never seen anything like this ice storm. The kids had been desperate to play outside all day but we could hear tree limbs creaking and breaking. It just seemed too dangerous. So, we kept them in. There were also six dogs in the house. Speaking of which, I played Rock-Paper-Scissors with my nephew and won his dog fair and square. I'm waiting for Moose to be shipped to me.
The next morning, the storm was over and it was safe to travel. My daughter and I had about a 90-minute drive to Oklahoma City and we saw an insane number of downed power lines along the way. My mom had already been without power for a day at that point. We saw tree limbs down all over Oklahoma City, too.
While I really enjoyed the quiet days that led up to the trip to the city, we were ready for a little more excitement. We met my friend Susie and her kids at a place called The Main Event that featured laser tag, a ropes course, video games, and bowling. The kids had a blast and of course it was great to see my friend. It had been too long!
After that, we checked into our hotel. We were spending our last two days of the trip in the big city. My stad works for a hotel chain and had gotten us a friends and family discount. It was a really nice room. Two beds, thank goodness. Any day that I don't have to share a bed with Kicky McKickerson is a good day. I asked the woman at the front desk for a recommendation for dinner. She recommended a Mexican place that wasn't too far away. I pulled it up on my GPS and headed out. However, it turns out that I goofed and went to the wrong restaurant. There were so many Mexican restaurants in the vicinity that apparently the names all just sort of ran together in my brain. The restaurant I chose was one of those Mexican restaurants that actual Mexicans frequent. The server was so sweet. He could tell we weren't local and asked us where we were from. He then told me all about his road trip to Iowa City to meet his new cousin. I don't live even vaguely close to Iowa City but he really seemed to want to tell that story. Also, he seemed to understand me when I told him I wanted my burrito with no cheese and no sour cream. "And no meat," I said. He nodded and told me that he understood because he is a Seventh Day Adventist and doesn't eat meat.
Let me take this opportunity to attempt to explain Oklahoma's liquor laws to you. The main goals of the liquor laws are to, um, prevent you from getting any. Liquor stores are closed on Sundays. If you can find a liquor store, they will sell you some alcohol, but don't bother asking for a corkscrew because it is not legal for them to sell you one. You can buy beer at the grocery store, but the maximum alcohol content is 3.2%. (You hear people referring to "three-two" beer a lot.) I don't even drink beer. I just think it's funny. They also restrict what can and can't be sold cold. Anyway, I was on vacation and thought it would be nice to have a margarita at the Mexican joint. I asked the server if I could get a "real" margarita, because the description on the menu was a little confusing. He nodded. "Yes, real margarita." Anyway, he brought me some sort of carbonated thing that only dreamed of being a margarita. C'est la vie.
When we got back to the hotel, the kid and I went for a swim and then went to bed. The next morning, we had breakfast at the hotel and then I yelled at the kid to get dressed. It took her about two hours to get dressed. I am not even exaggerating. Meanwhile, I was doing research on places I thought we should check out. I found an awesome spot for lunch called The Red Cup. If you ever get to Oklahoma City, you have to check it out. The all-vegetarian menu had tons of vegan options. I had the Frito Pie (they removed the cheese and sour cream to make it vegan). I have to tell you, this thing was life-changing. I am going to try to make something similar at home. It was so good. I ate every bite - it was like all of my fat vegan dreams came true.
After visiting the memorial and museum (as described in a previous blog entry), the kid and I met my mom in Yukon so that she could spend the afternoon/evening with us. It was our last hurrah with Meemaw before heading home the next morning. During my morning research, I found a candy/bakery place called Pinkitzel in the Bricktown area of the city. It was so much fun! I bought cupcakes and candy for my mom and daughter, and some cotton candy for me. Finally, for my third awesome find of the day, we went to dinner at a joint called Picasso Cafe. I had - get this - a chicken-fried portabello mushroom with gravy. All vegan. I would try to recreate that one at home, too, but I wouldn't even know where to begin.
After saying good-bye to my mama and taking her back to Yukon, the kid and I went back to the hotel to prepare for our early morning flight. I guess I mean that I packed while she played Minecraft. So helpful, my girl. We flew back home the next day and it was all very straightforward - no drama like we had on the flights to Oklahoma.
It was a great trip and I'm happy to report that Okahoma is still OK. Ya'll can keep that ice, though. Sheesh.