We arrived in Texas on December 29th. The ride from Georgia only took 16 hours and was super comfortable, seeing as how the three of us were smooshed together on a bench seat in the U-haul. Also, Maddie was an awesome traveler and didn't whine OR get bored with all the shit I packed her to play with. And then we lived happily ever after. (My sarcasm font is broken.)
Yeaaaaaaaah, not so much. The ride was ass-numbingly long. We were crammed into about a 4x2 foot space, with Terry driving, Maddie in the middle and me hugging the passenger door. Along with the three of us, I packed a bag of stuff to keep her entertained. She took each thing out and played with it approximately 4 minutes before handing it off to me to switch for something else. Before we had even crossed into the Central time zone, she was done with all her stuff.
A couple of weeks prior to moving, I bought her one of those $20 Seat-Pet things. You know, it's kinda like a stuffed animal but you attach it to the seat belt and it serves as a pillow. Well, that was a total waste of money. Out of 16 hours, she only slept about 45 minutes. All I can say is thank God for iPods! There were enough apps on there to keep her (marginally) entertained and off my nerves.
So there we were, just bumping along, headed a thousand miles away from everyone and everything we knew. I had to keep reminding myself to look at it as an adventure. Otherwise, I probably would have had a nervous breakdown. We had to stop several times to pee, get gas and just stretch our legs. Maddie continued on her quest to visit every public bathroom we come within a mile of. I tried to tune her out so we didn't fuss at each other. I'm glad my mom let us use her iPod for Maddie to play on. I have one, too, but it's older and doesn't have the apps. I listened to a ton of music, though. Imagine Dragons is my favorite right now. I'm pretty sure they kept me from totally losing my shit. Them and Maroon 5.
Anyway, when we finally crossed into Texas (although still several hours from Houston) we stopped at the first rest stop so we could take a picture. And pee. Again. The pictures aren't very good, but at this point we had been riding for about 13 hours.
You'll notice the giant star and the flag poles in the background. Apparently, Texans are super proud of their state. They are the only state that flies the state flag at the same height as the American flag.
Anyway, we took the pictures and then went to the bathroom in the rest stop. On the way up the ramp to the bathroom door, I noticed a sign off to the side. Mind you, we hadn't even seen the "Welcome To Texas" sign yet, as it is on the far side of the star and flagpoles. The sign read:
WATCH OUT FOR SNAKES
WTF?? That's how Texas welcomes their newest inhabitants?! Before the "Welcome to your new home, we hope you like it here" sign was a warning about snakes. Then Terry, being ever so helpful added, "Yeah. And look out for aligators, too. The last time I was here there were three under this deck up by the fence." I'm sure my mouth was wide open. I'm undecided if it was open to ask further about this wild new land I found myself in, or if it was just a silent scream.
Once we hopped back in the truck and headed out, we passed the "Welcom to Texas, Y'all" sign. All I could think was, "Someone in a government-y position should either move the welcome sign to the closer side or move the snake sign further away. No one should have to have their first encounter with Texas be a warning for snakes!"
The rest of the drive wasn't too bad. It was dark, of course, so we couldn't really see anything. Mountains were noticably absent, though. We passed this one oil refinery. It was all lit up. I thought it was a little city we were about to go through. It was as big as downtown Chattanooga and spanned out for miles on both sides of the highway! They probably have a tram like Disney World to get their employees from the parking lots to the factory.
So, after much excitement and numb tushies, we made it to Houston. We passed Bush Intercontinental Airport, which was H U M O N G O U S! Also, on the road we came in on, there is everything. Chain restaraunts, mom-and-pop places, clothing stores, big chain stores like Target, and strip malls lining both sides of the road. After about a mile, they repeated, just on the opposite side of the street. We passed 2 Wal Marts, 2 Targets, and I don't know how many other stores in the last 3 miles before home. My first impression with Houston was: "Ho-ly crap. I'm NEVER gonna find my way around here!"
We got to the apartment around 11 p.m., went straight to the air mattresses Terry had been sleeping on, and crashed. Maddie was so exhausted she snored. (She will deny this, but she is lying. I heard her.) The next morning we ventured out for breakfast and took a little tour. It was so much bigger in the daylight. (Adventures' blog post coming soon.)
We had scheduled some help to unload the truck, and they got there around lunch. Four guys unloaded all our stuff and hauled it up a flight and a half of stairs in like 22 minutes! They were super unloaders! And they didn't just throw the stuff anywhere. They put the furniture where it was going and everything! That was the best $200 we ever spent, according to Terry.
So..... I know this is kinda rambly and probably doesn't make a lot of sense, but that was our "adventure" moving to Texas. In my next posts I will tell you about the scenic tour, the beach, update on school, and other information you just can not live without. :)