Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Coffee Talk Companion: "Auschtin."

The Coffee Talk Companion is an ongoing feature in which we dissect and discuss former Facts of Life star Lisa Whelchel's online journal entries.

This week, Lisa and the fam go to Austin. Well, Lisa drags the fam to Austin. The fam just wants to enjoy the last bit of summer at home, but mom decides to take the good and make the bad...

It was my desire to take a summer trip before summer completely wound down. Nobody else was really very enthusiastic about this. After weeks of going-and-coming, everyone was eager to simply sit around and veg. I understood; I wasn’t going to tell anybody but I felt the same way. But the momma in me took over. Yes, we had a very busy summer, experiencing exciting adventures, we even took our annual family vacation with our lifelong friends, and there was that trip to California for my brother’s wedding. All of that was fine, but as wonderful as those opportunities were, I didn’t feel like they defined family trip. (Notice I didn’t say vacation. I think “family vacation” is an oxymoron.)

Well, sure, "family vacation" is an oxymoron when Lisa Whelchel is planning it. Sheesh. We'd love to know why it's the trait of a "momma" to pack three unwilling kids and an unwilling poppa in a vehicle and force them to go on a trip. It sounds more like "SS Officer" to us.

Lisa sure thrives on making life harder for her family. Srsly.

What I had in mind was just the five of us stuck in our minivan for hours, forced to get along in one hotel room, civil conversation over breakfast, lunch and dinner, and learning how to enjoy each other’s company at the various places we visited.


Monday morning we loaded up the minivan and headed south to Waco – home of The Dr. Pepper museum. Since moving to Texas, we have all become “Peppers!” The museum was pretty boring, but it didn’t matter – we made the pilgrimage. Plus, we got to drink Dr. Peppers made straight from the soda fountain.

We have to assume that the fam has been to this museum before, if, as Lisa says, they're all already "Peppers!" Unless you can become a "Pepper!" by going to Mexico, which we think you probably can. The thing is, why visit Waco unless you're there to re-enact the popular early '90s Branch Davidian standoff?

From there we headed further south to visit my old friend, Nancy McKeon and her husband and adorable daughter.

We have to believe this was a very sneaky surprise attack by Lisa. In any case, yay! We love us some Jo.

Since Nancy married a Texan, she spends some of the year on their ranch in the Lone Star State. We were treated to genuine Southern hospitality and it was so good to catch up with old – and new – friends. (Nancy is pretty private so I won’t ever post personal pictures of her family on my website, but I thought this would be a good opportunity to finally post that picture of us with Katie Couric that I promised.)

We love how Lisa here pretends it was her thoughtful decision not to put Nancy's pics on the Web. You know Nancy put the kibosh on it the moment Lisa dared to even mention she might post pics. And we're kind of relieved that Lisa is smart enough to remember it's a fact of life not to mess with Nance.

(Aw. Mindy. God bless her.)

Apres Jo...

We headed to New Braunfels and checked into the Comfort Inn.

We totally love when Lisa's insistence on identifiying places by their proper names completely pays off. Do you, dear reader(s), think the kids are ever like, Mom, you were on a hit sitcom for a gazillion years and you pander to a demographic that will buy anything with the word Christ in or on it—WHY ARE WE STAYING AT A COMFORT INN?????????

Well, we do.

We spent the day at “Schlitterbahn,” the world’s largest water park.

OK. Right now we have to hesitantly admit that even though we have an enormous fear of water that other people have been in, we have been dying to go to Schlitterbahn for years. Dying. And to think that we could have been there and witnessed this...

No, not Tucker. Pervs. Look beyond that...

Yes. That.

A moment of silence, then, for missed opportunities.

Carrying on...

The kids and I spent ten hours tubing, sliding, boogie boarding and swimming. (Steve got smart and went back to the hotel halfway through the day.) Despite numerous application of sunscreen, the 100+ heat prevailed, and we all came home sunburned, tired, but full of memories. (Most of them good.)

"Most of them good"!!! And this time Lisa actually qualifies it!

At one point, Tucker and Haven got into quite the heated discussion, at which point I stepped in and the argument only escalated.

Well, sort of. We are not told what the discussion was about. Probably abortion. Or lunch.

Much to my chagrin, I received an email from someone last week saying they saw me at Schlitterbahn but didn’t come up to me because they didn’t want to disturb our family time. It is disconcerting enough to realize that somebody recognized me in a bathing suit! I can only hope and pray she didn’t see us fighting!!

Maybe prayer time should be spent on preventing the fighting rather than worrying about who saw the fighting. Oh, right! Prayer doesn't work. Much to our chagrin, we had momentary lapse in reasoning. Forgive. Forgive.

The next morning we rented “toobs” and floated down the Comal River. This was SOOOO much fun.

"Toobs." Which is so weird because we spell "boobs," "bubes."

At first we planned to go tubing down the Guadalupe River but because of the drought the water was too low for much fun. In hindsight, I’m thankful. The Guadalupe River is about 40-degrees year-round. The Comal is 70! It is also spring fed so it is relatively clean. There were plenty of rapids interspersed along the peaceful, 90-minute float. I think I enjoyed that “ride” better than any of the more thrilling rides the day before.

Golly! All that information is so incredibly exciting that we just honorarily put a six-pack in a "toob" for consumption as we make our way through the rest of this post.

We spent the evening and the next day hanging out with some dear friends of ours who live in Austin. This is my favorite thing to do on vacation – nothing!


In Lisa's defense, sometimes the obvious is, well, not obvious to those who have lost perspective on the whole thing. Let us, then, just quietly point out that a great place to do nothing is AT HOME.


The kids swam in the pool, the adults talked, and we grazed in the fridge all day.

Grazed in the fridge. Lovely.

However, we are relieved to see that Lisa isn't classifying herself as a kid or adult. It's a step in the right direction.

That evening we all went to Stubb’s BBQ for a delicious dinner experience.

A dinner experience, eh? Well right now we opened our second beer of the aforementioned six. Which means we're having a delicious drinking experience.

Tucker, Haven, and Andrew stayed for the concert playing behind the restaurant.

Sounds safe.

The rest of us visited the three-story Whole Foods Market. Oh my goodness, if we had a store like this near us I think I could eat healthy. It was awesome.

Thank GODS there's no Whole Foods near Lisa. Why, if there were, how would we ever hear about Chik-fil-A? We'd have to settle for hearing about Amy's Non-Dairy Burritos, which just isn't as much fun as something spelled kind of phonetically and with hyphens.

The next morning we had to get up very early to make it back to Dallas. Clancy was working at “The Mentoring Mansion.” (Please check out this amazing ministry at Haven was playing drums at a club that night with her band, “MathStorm.” This was the band’s last show due to the lead singer heading off to college so it was a big deal for all. (It had to be for me to stay up until 2:00 in the morning.)

The Mentoring Mansion?!?!?!?!?!?!? MathStorm?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Never in the history of the world has the letter "M" been used for so much evil.

As many wonderful opportunities as we enjoyed this summer, nothing tops these last few days just hanging out with the Cauble Five!

Oh, yes. Nothing like dragging four people out of the house against their will for some fun at the Dr. fucking Pepper Museum, a river of E. coli and Nancy McKeon's house. Especially after all you want to do is nothing. Did Jesus make anyone else carry the cross when he had to walk from wherever to wherever? No. He did it himself and without complaining. Our point is, we all have our crosses to bear. Don't make your cross my cross. Why? Because Kris Kross'll make you jump, jump.

Well, you know, we do have to say one more thing just because we like wrapping up these commentaries with a nice summation of all we've just experienced...



Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The rest of us visited the three-story Whole Foods Market. Oh my goodness, if we had a store like this near us I think I could eat healthy."

There's no Whole Foods in Dallas? Really? That's odd because I've been to the one on Greenville Ave, the one on Preston, the one in Highland Park, and the one in Arlington. She right; there's no flagship, three-story, bajillion-square feet of Whole Foods, but I guess Chik-fil-A is easier, AND closed on Sundays. (The hippie, godless Whole Foods? open on Sunday)

August 22, 2006  
Blogger Little Jeannie said...

I've been lurking around here for a few weeks now and I just finally had to speak up and applaud y'all! I've shared the site with all of my friends and we all get excited when we find new stuff! So many kudos, and thanks for the entertainment!

August 26, 2006  

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