Labor Day Weekend Trip to Houston

Labor Day Weekend Recap
For Labor Day weekend, Lauren and I headed 185 miles southeast to Houston, where we met up with relatives Larry and Sherry Bell at their home in Friendswood. Larry is the younger brother of my late grandpa Gene Bell. We spent the early afternoon chatting before heading into the city and catching the Astros games against the Brewers at Minute Maid Park, our fifth different stadium of the season.

We got to the game good and early and collected our free Carlos Lee bobblehead dolls, then spent quite a while walking around and checking out the park. With steady rain, the roof was closed for the game, but we still got to see the weird intricacies of Minute Maid Park, like the train hauling oranges above the left field seats and the unusual hill in center field with the flagpole right in fair territory. In the fifth inning, I even went and got my haircut in the center field stands for $5! Heck of a deal considering I needed a haircut anyway, and was able to sit in straight-away center and watch the action while getting trimmed. We estimated about half the fans in attendance were from Milwaukee. A group of Brewer fans in front of us got into a heated verbal confrontation with a father and small children beside us because the kids couldn’t see when the Brewer fans stood up to cheer, which happened often as the Brewers won easily and backup catcher George Kottaras hit for the cycle. All in all, a fun trip to a new stadium.

For the record, that’s Target Field, CitiField, Fenway Park, Kauffman Stadium, and Minute Maid Park for 2011. Doubt we’ll have a chance to get up to the Ballpark in Arlington before the season ends, however.

After the game we checked out a bar in Houston called Anvil, one of those cool “mixology” type of bars where the bartenders really know their stuff and they have an uber-stocked bar with every possible liqueur and bitter known to man. We each tried two unique drinks before calling it a night and heading back to the Bells’, who graciously offered us their guest room for the night. In the morning Sherry cooked us breakfast, Larry showed us some of his NASA memorabilia, and we said our goodbyes and headed down to the coast to check out the touristy town of Galveston. I dropped Lauren off at a restaurant to check on wait time, then pulled into a parking lot and accidentally got my car in the line to load it aboard a Carnival cruise ship. I panicked that I would wind up sailing the sea in the Impala with Lauren wondering where the hell I’d gone, so I hit the hazard lights, pulled off to the side, and tried to find a way out. Just then sirens came on and a police truck pulled alongside me and yelled at me for blocking the road, and pointed to the exit to the street which of course was right in front of me. It was raining quite hard so we didn’t do much sightseeing, but we had lunch at a good seafood place before returning home.

On our drive home, the rain stopped shortly outside of Houston and the winds picked up. The wind blew a steady 40mph the whole drive back, making it tough to keep the car going straight at times. Of course with the extreme drought in central Texas, high winds only added to the risk of wildfires spreading rapidly, and soon we encountered lots of billowing smoke and even came across a town that was being forced to evacuate. That night we met up with some new friends for a BBQ at their apartment pool. It came out that one of the fellas happened to apply for the very same Callaway job I ended up getting.

Monday we kept busy with our Labor Day holiday. Around noon we went for a short hike through a nearby park, then spent an hour at the local community pool. At night we went to the Alamo Drafthouse to see Crazy Stupid Love starring Steve Carrell which we agreed was a pleasant romantic comedy.

Fire in Texas
Smoke over the Austin skyline from nearby wildfires.
I know now to stick to the path when hiking in the thick woods.
I know now to stick to the path when hiking in the thick woods.
Lauren had way too much fun dancing with Roxy, co-worker Eddie's tiny clothed dog
Lauren had way too much fun dancing with Roxy, co-worker Eddie's tiny clothed dog
Larry snapped this shot of me and Lauren in their living room
Larry snapped this shot of me and Lauren in their living room
Brewers take batting practice at Minute Maid Park
Brewers take batting practice at Minute Maid Park
Astros vs. Brewers
Astros vs. Brewers
The Elissa, a famous ship at a pier in Galveston, TX
The Elissa, a famous ship at a pier in Galveston, TX
Lauren goes hiking in Austin
Lauren goes hiking in Austin
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