Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Staycation Stuff We Did

Not us: Chad's Cousin and New Husband with Best Cake Ever

Staycation kicked off with a quick road trip to Houston Friday afternoon for Chad's cousin's surprise wedding. Yes, surprise wedding. Let that sink in for a moment. The bride and groom got overwhelmed trying to plan a wedding, and opted for a quickie Justice of the Peace union. The bride's parents planned and threw a lovely wedding to surprise her. The beautiful bride found out about the wedding a few weeks in advance, so she didn't have long to sweat any details. As the daughter of a former wedding planner, I feel fairly qualified to declare that the surprise wedding was awesome! The floral arrangements (white hydrangeas, big white & pink roses) were some of the most beautiful I've ever seen. The ceremony was meaningful yet mercifully expedient. There wasn't too much speechifying at toast time. The cake was pretty, traditional and the BEST tasting wedding cake I've ever eaten. Chad and I stayed in Houston one night only and drove back to Austin Saturday at noon. 

Saturday was a freebie day to rest and let the road rattle from our trip to Houston subside.

Best Cat Toy Ever from Lofty Dog

Sunday (rhymes with fun day) we made fullest use of the Village shopping center: checked out Lofty Dog, a cute pet supplies store where we bought the best cat toy ever; caught the new X-Men movie at Alamo Drafthouse; looked at a possible office space for Chad; had a sip at The Goodnight; and ate frozen yogurt at some froyo place whose name I can't remember. Park once for a full day of stuff, kids!

Monday was an unscheduled choose-your-own-adventure day. Chad napped for three hours while I inhaled (read quickly) a book: If You Were Here by Jen Lancaster. At 6:30 we picked up the dog from her "summer camp" wrestling and running in circles with other dogs adventure. I think Janie would prefer to live at Camp Four Paws with her canine friends, but she had to return home to the weird cats and boring people. *sigh*

Tuesday Chad and I tooled around at Laguna Gloria to admire the outdoor art installations before brunch at Kerbey Lane Cafe. We also checked out the A Secret Affair exhibition at The ComtemporAry Austin Jones Center on Congress Avenue which featured some intriguing works. I highly recommend this exhibit if you like your art in an air-conditioned setting. Even if you dislike the art currently exhibited at Jones Center, the architecture of the interior and exterior of the building are pretty amazing to behold, especially at night when the lighted glass tiles start to sparkle.

Wednesday we opted for a kitschy tourist trap meets educational field trip to Inner Space Cavern in Georgetown. I'm a bit wary of going underground, but I did just fine in this cave space. The tour lasted a little over an hour and covered half a mile of cave with stalactites, stalagmites, rock formation columns, little pure water pools and creeks. Our tour guide was friendly, informative and just the right amount of funny. (You don't want a total comedian taking you 70 feet underground, half a mile into a cave. This is seriously underground, and should be a certain amount of seriously safe.) 

Whilst up north, we lunched at Monument Cafe also in sleepy, quaint Georgetown. Monument Cafe is known for its pies. We had coconut cream pie, which was a satisfying standard. The huge serving of strawberry lemonade with freshly blended chunks of strawberry was the standout of our lunch - yum. 

If I Had to Live in Georgetown, This Would Be My House

We drove around the main square of Georgetown admiring the courthouse on our way back to I-35, before spotting this beautiful, grand, historic home for sale on S. Austin Ave. It can be ours for $1,051,875. Buy that lotto ticket now. 

Slightly south of Georgetown sits Round Rock, home of Round Rock Donuts. We hardly ever get this far out of our central Austin bubble, so it was imperative that we stop and grab a few of the deliciously decadent, yellow dough, melt in your mouth bits of fried goodness. Totally worth the dietary splurge!

Fancy Doors to Fancy Fonda San Miguel in our Neighborhood

Fancy Fountain at Fancy Fonda San Miguel

Thursday was another free day featuring a whole lot of nothing. Chad napped while I read and looked at interwebs. We wandered out to Fonda San Miguel around dinner time. I love the architecture of the place even if the service is always a bit uppity & rushed, and the food is a little fancy, heavy & challenging for my finicky vegetarian ways. A big storm rolled into Austin Thursday night with an impressive lightning show. I like the think the angel sculpture heralded the approaching storm. The trees in our neighborhood took a battering, but luckily we only lost a few tiny branches at the 1952 House.

Friday after Chad's requisite staycation nap we had evening adventures with a historic walking tour of four square blocks of downtown Austin. I don't recommend the tour, so I won't list a link. The tour gave some watered down information that I already knew. Overbearing motorcycle engines revving from the annual ROT Rally (Republic of Texas Biker Rally) didn't help the walking tour experience. We wanted to get away from the main drag of the downtown scene post haste. 

However, since we secured an ever-elusive parking spot downtown, we stopped into The Ginger Man, slightly off the ROT Rally main drag, for a nightcap and snack to make the most of our trip downtown. A handsome, tawny colored rat with a sweet face decided to run in through the opened patio door to greet us and check out the scene inside The Ginger Man. Aw, cute little fuzzy rat. 

Wait... a rat! 

A rat in here! 

With us! 

Running really close to us! 

I admit that I'm a weirdo for feeling bad for the rat. The big garage bay door from the patio was open, inviting even. How was the rat supposed to know it wasn't welcome to run in and forage for fresh food stuffs? The first time the manager chased the rat back outside, I said, "Cry freedom!" The second time the rat scurried inside, Chad and I scampered on out of there. 

On the way back to the car, I snapped this photo of some street art in a covered walkway for a construction site. We counted so many cranes for new construction in downtown Austin Friday night. Don't call Austin a boomtown, because the bust curse might come crashing. 

Saturday we received an email that our favorite source for jeans, Hem, is closing its doors at the end of June after 10 years in business. It's sad to see a local business shuttered, but we took a tiny bit of solace in the 40% off sale offer. Our final trip to Hem was a bust due to the dwindling inventory, but at least we got closure and said a proper goodbye. Later we drowned our sorrows at Hopfields with a beer each, filling fresh salads and delicious fries. We didn't linger due to World Cup Soccer on a giant screen in the tiny space.

Sunday we cleaned the 1952 House like whirling dervishes. This frenzy of chores included pulling the bed out of its usual spot to clean under and around it. Apparently the cats' favorite place to barf is under our bed. Gross. We remediated that situation, then had a long talk with the cats about preferred spots for their barfs, such as outside, or on tile floors that are easier to clean.

Overall, staycation (versus vacation with busy schedule, travel, pet care and hotel expenses) best fit our needs for relaxation and decompression. Plus we live in the uber-hip, perhaps over-hyped, tourist mecca that is Austin. Other people get on airplanes to come here.