Finally we crossed the border into New Mexico!!! There was much rejoicing in the Skiffmobile 2.0, or as the boys call it, The Zebra.
We drove into downtown Hobbs, and though it was quite artsy and fun, NOTHING was open. Now, we had driven all the way to New Mexico with the promise of food for these boys. Let me tell you, we were gonna find food come hell or high water!! We drove around and finally found the food district (as I like to call it). There were restaurants galore: steak houses, Mexican, Seafood, chicken, Chinese, and so many more. So where did we eat, after driving ALL day from just outside of Ft Worth, TX all the way to exotic Hobbs, New Mexico, you ask? We ate at Burger King of course. That's right, 444 miles, 6 hours of driving, to eat at Burger King....with a play place! WhooHoo!!! We Skiff's know how to live the high life. As we were dining on our gourmet Burger King, my husband was barely coherent, he was so exhausted. I could tell that there was no way he was up to driving back home. I could have driven for a while but once it had gotten dark we'd be out of luck because I have terrible night vision. Basically I would have been able to drive us back into the shinnery (the scrubland) and we'd have been stuck for the night, with all the lovely creatures that live out there. Coyotes do not make great camping partners, in my humble opinion. There was no choice, we needed a hotel for the night. Hubby is blessed with a pretty flexible job so he was able to call into work for Monday without any major issues. It helps that he goes in early and works late almost every day. Lucky for us Hobbs had a plethora of choices in the hotel department. We found a great hotel at a reasonable price, loaded all the kids back into the Zebra and headed to our suite for the night. The boys had been stuck in a vehicle for two days straight at this point. There was no way they were going to sit calmly in a hotel room. They were literally bouncing off the walls (as in Benny was running into one wall, turning around and running into the other)! We decided that the only way we would have a modicum of peace was to head over to Walmart, our clothier of choice on these impromptu Skiff getaways, pick up some swimsuits and other basic necessities and then spend the evening in the pool and the hot tub at the hotel. Bliss would once again reign supreme.
In true Skiff style, we stepped out of the hotel to find a dust storm raging. Never in my life have I seen anything like it. There was fine dust blowing everywhere, so thick it was hard to see a few feet in front of you. The wind whipped the dirt and sand at you like tiny bullets. It coated the roof of your mouth and got into your eyes and nose. Nasty, nasty stuff. We made it to Walmart only to see the parking lot strewn with carts, blowing every which way. Hubby parked where it would be unlikely for the truck to be hit by anything and we made our way through the store. After digging through the racks and finding everyone's correct size we headed to the front to check out. As is the Walmart way, there were only a few registers open, with lines that nearly wrapped around the store, each moving at a snail's pace. We were all hot and tired and cranky and just wanted to get into the dang pool already!! Hubby and the boys went out to the truck whilst I waited in the Walmart line, like the seasoned pro I am. FINALLY, it was my turn to check out. I swiped my card and asked to get cash over because I need to do laundry at the hotel. We had no extra clothing on this obviously well thought out and planned vacation. After all, when we had left on Saturday we were only planning on going to the Peach Festival.......which shall be spoken of no more of in Skiffland. So let it be written, so let it be done!
I told her I needed my cash back in two fives and a ten. She said "I'm sorry ma'am we only give cash back in twenty dollar increments." "I understand. Can you give me a ten and two fives?" I asked. "No ma'am. As I said, we can only give out cash in twenty dollar increments." Fine whatever. I'll take the twenty. Ain't nobody got time to school you on basic math right now! I think (Note I DID NOT SAY THIS, I simply thought it. I'll repent later. No one's perfect y'all). I thanked her for my twenty and finally made it back to the truck.
We managed to get back to the hotel while the dust storm still swirled around us. We wrangled everyone into their swimsuits and down to the pool. It was worth every freakin' minute at Walmart, let me tell you! The spa was pure bliss. Hubby just laid back and completely unwound. The kids all swam and swam and swam. Then the most amazing thing happened: Jamie got into the spa. Water has always been one of the things that calms Jamie when he is getting worked up. After two days in the car he was very worked up. On a scale of 1-10, Jamie was probably at a 9.The moment he stepped into the spa he completely relaxed like nothing I have ever seen. He was a completely different kid after a few minutes. Forget a pool, I told hubby, we need to get a hot tub!!
After everyone showered, I gathered up all the laundry and headed to the handy dandy hotel laundry facility. I took out the $20 bill that the Walmart cashier had so graciously insisted on giving me. But alas, the hotel change machine only took ones and fives. I wish I had thought to ask the Walmart cashier for fives, oh wait I had! sigh. I headed downstairs to ask the receptionist for change for the twenty. "I'm so sorry." she said, not all that apologetically "I've had three people pay in cash and now I don't have anything smaller than a fifty. I'm sure the Walmart down the street will give you change." I thanked her and headed upstairs to beat my head on a wall. I dug through every pocket in my purse and my husband's wallet and came up with two fives! Thank you Jesus!!!!! I had two loads to do because all my Peach Festival nasty clothes had to be washed in their own special load. After buying soap for each load I was going to be short $1.75.......ugh. I threw the nasty load into the washer and headed out to the truck to find $1.75 in quarters because there was no way, no how, that I was going to head back to that stupid Walmart for change!!! Had we been in the old Skiffmobile this would have been an easy task but this was Skiffmobile 2.0, a far superior vehicle in every way but there wasn't loose change floating around under seats! I found one quarter. I still needed $1.50. I was so tired. I REALLY didn't want to be on a quarter scavenger hunt, I just wanted to curl up and go to sleep! I found .50 in my purse front pocket. Now I was short only $1.00. It might as well have been a million!! My nasty load was done and low and behold I found a dollar in the pocket of my freshly washed capris. "PLEASE take this slightly wet, crumpled dollar." I silently begged the change machine. It took it with no problem! There was singing, there was dancing, there may have been a tear or two shed!! Miracles do happen, even in hotel laundry rooms. Finally around 1am , I piled my weary body into bed. I slept soundly knowing all the laundry was clean!
The next morning we awoke to a monsoon, a literal monsoon! It turns out in New Mexico the dust storms (also called a haboobs, according to the hotel staff) are often followed by a week long monsoon!
The boys and hubby went downstairs for breakfast and I took the opportunity for a leisurely shower. I actually took the time to put on my make-up BEFORE going to breakfast!!! That right there is the true sign of a vacation in my book folks!
By the time I made it down for breakfast most of the boys were already done eating. I got to hang out with Sam and Jamie for a while and received all kinds of compliments on their behavior. Proud mommy moments! Then I was alone, at the breakfast table, with my coffee, texting with my sister friend. Oh the luxury!!!!
It was time to hit the road. The monsoon followed us the whole trip home. We stopped a few times for meals, gas and bathroom breaks but mostly we were pushing to get home. A gas station, somwhere in west Texas, had cool hand made memorabilia like wiggly snakes, carved wooden horned toads, and bobble head armadillos. The boys, who were driving us crazy in the truck by this point, picked out some souvenirs and quieted down for a while. We pushed on, making pretty good time despite the rain. The rain was coming down in sheets, when we hit Fort Worth, at rush hour, in tons of construction. As we were stuck in traffic, on an over pass, I got sick, again!! Luckily, we were able to get off the road in downtown Fort Worth and I made it to a restroom. I have decided Fort Worth doesn't like me and just makes me sick. It was an unexpected detour but my husband, who is a city guy at heart, really enjoyed seeing the city. Then we were back on the highway again! The construction made for an impossibly complicated trip. None of the exits were signed well and traffic was at a stand still. Once we made it to Grapevine, TX we decided to just get off the road, go to the mall food court for dinner and wait out traffic. The kids had an absolute blast. They each ordered what they wanted for dinner and then we went to the Legoland Discovery Center store. Sam, my Lego maniac, was in absolute heaven. They spent some money they had earned and it was time for the last, blessedly uneventful,leg of our trip.
|The Bass Performing Arts Center, Fort Worth, TX
So what started out as a simple day trip to The Peach Festival, ended up with an 888 mile drive, two hotel stays, EMT's being called, the need for Depends, vomit, three desperate wardrobe changes a dust storm, a monsoon, an amazingly heroic hubby, ghost towns, gas adventures, laundry mishaps, fun, laughter, beautiful scenery and family memories that will always be treasured. This is the Skiff life. This is my life and I wouldn't trade it for the world!!!