As we settled in together on Friday, our minds were solely on Jenny, just a few hours away in Houston. Houston was only 4 hours by car! Oh how we wanted to finally meet our Jenny in person! Friday night our mission to Houston began! Car rental . . . check! Directions . . . check. Three road warriors . . .check! (Due to her responsibilities, Becky couldn't join us). Jenny hasn't a clue we are coming! Mum's the word!
We got a late start on Saturday morning . . . afternoon rather! At the helm was our pilot, Alyson, first stop, Starbucks. Supposedly a few blocks from the car rental place, however, all roads do not lead to Starbucks, even when they are supposed to. But Texas gold was calling so Starbucks had to be found. After many U turns and directionally challenged all-seat drivers, voila! We arrived! That only took 15 minutes to find.
Time to get on the road for real At some point between Dallas and Houston, Denise gets fixated on finding a new tablet for Jenny, hers being broken. Of course, this had to be found before we got to Jenny. We also decided on flowers and perhaps a cuddly bear...and how hard can it be to find a Walmart in Texas!? I mean, we were in Walmart country, by golly! And by golly, we found one! Right thar off the highway! Seemed like all of Texas was headed to that same Walmart off the highway, 'cause getting to it wasn't easy! Traffic lined up, cars mid intersection, left turn lane jammed, Faith insisting we just ride the lane next to it to the front, and sweetly ask to butt in! Maybe that works in Pennsylvania, but Alyson and Denise weren't about to risk their lives letting me try that act in Texas! (editor's note: Denise is actually ethically and morally opposed this maneuver). Finally, the Walmart parking lot! And all that walks in it! Including us. Who stood out boldly from them! (I'm sure they felt the same about us!)
We all split up in the store to grab one of our gifts, and converged in electronics to see what tablet Denise found! I will never truly be able to convey here what that moment was for us, but I will try. Three of us watching the salesman guy amble over to us, sucking the bits of lunch out of his teeth and eating time on the clock getting to us . . . does he really work here or did he just morph out of Duck Dynasty? Denise is frantically pointing to the exact tablet we want, and the sales man has to convey to us in Texan twang and speed . . ."We ain't got no tablets, we was robbed, took everything outta them shelves (we look down at the locked cabinets to see nada, zilch, zippo) in broad daylight. Can't sell ya no tablets. Won't have em 'til next week. Can't sell that display either."
We're outta there!! Racing thru Walmart, 'cause by now, it's getting late and we need to reach Jenny! But NOT without that Tablet, declares Denise! And when Denise declares . . . well, let's just say we were hell bent to find another Walmart! Or Staples. Or Target. Or any darn place selling tablets" And oh . . . we saw them all! Yes, we found it! We see it from the highway! There it is, get off here! Here? Where? Wait...where'd that exit go? We discovered that you need to exit in Texas way before you actually SEE your store of choice off the highway! And it was here that we realized....
HOUSTON, we have a problem.
As we exited off yet another random ramp, Denise reached her spiritual breaking point by declaring,"if I see a Walmart or Staples at the end of this ramp, I'm going to believe in God." Alyson and I were praying like crazy. Guess it wasn't Denise's time!
Back on the highway, and Faith is ready to ditch the whole tablet thing already! Let's just get to Jenny! Uh, wait, is that really...could it be? A Target!!! Accessible, yay...go,, go, go...poor Alyson was a wreck by this time, in one breath screaming for quiet and in the other, telling us she loved us dearly. Denise was in hyper-energizer mode (oh, wait...that's her normal mode, so how else could I describe it? You get the picture!) ready to dash into that Target and find her bounty! No tablets there!
While Alyson and I turned in circles wondering where Denise disappeared to, Denise calls and tells us she hightailed it first to Radio Shack next door then to Staples across the parking lot! On foot. We never saw her actually leave Target, she was going so fast! At least Target has cuddly bears. One mission accomplished between Dallas and Houston! And Pizza! A and I, well, that Pizza Hut pizza was too much to turn down. We needed fuel and I immediately. Off we ran, pizzas in hand . . . or in my case, in mouth...to Staples to find Denise, praying to God she found that tablet! And she did! However, getting a distracted salesman to ring her up was another story. Time was running out and 4 hours had past! And we hadn't reached our destination yet! Finally, Tablet and gifts in hand, we were off! So close now, arriving in the city and blocks from Jenny . . . GPS is a bit confused and so are we. This hospital is a mega- structure. Finding the parking garage was a feat in itself and having to make the turn into it using a lane shared by a train. well . . . that almost put us all over the edge (editor's note: It was actually Denise, who happens to have personally known someone killed by sitting in a car on train tracks). Green light couldn't come fast enough!
Houston, we have arrived!
And Jenny, here we come!
Stop back for the final installment--in which we meet Jenny in person for the very first time.