September 22, 2015: Off to Austin for SpiceWorld 2015

This is it, time for SpiceWorld Austin 2015, my seventh year in Austin and my eighth SpiceWorld.  We spend all year looking forward to this event.  We have so many friends at SpiceWorld, it is rather like a big reunion, more than anything else.

This morning it was more packing and getting ready.  We hit the road midday and it takes about three and a half hours to get out to Austin.  So it was evening by the time that we got there.  Luckily that made it easy as Danielle and Art were already there and had taken care of the rooms and stuff so I did not even have to check in.  They just handed me my keys and we were right in.

We got into the hotel, showered and relaxed a little.  Then I left Dominica and the girls in the hotel and went to the HandleBar to meet up with everyone for the pre-pre-party going on there all evening for the people who had gotten into town a full day ahead of schedule.  There are more and more people arriving earlier and earlier now.  You really need to be there tonight to be part of the in crowd!

We had a good time at the HandleBar up on the terrace.  Sadly it was way too warm.

After we were there a group of us went to a pizza place and got some slices and some pitchers of beer and sat in the back room for a while.

By after one there were just three of us, Watson, Slava and I were wondered over to Touche for a quick look at where the party is going to be this week.

It was two when I got back to the hotel and got myself into bed.

September 21, 2015: Selling the Acadia

Today is our last full day to get ready for all of our traveling that is coming up.  There was a lot of packing yesterday and just as much today.  More trips to the storage unit.  And today Dominica made the decision that we are just not going to be able to find a babysitter for Austin and so the best thing to do is for her and the girls to come out there with me, all in one car, and if she has to just stay in the hotel the entire time.  At least that way we are together and have the most options.  Anything else and she is stuck in Houston while I am in Austin and we will not have any way to let her attend the conference or anything no matter what.  So that is the plan.

I took the Acadia to Gay Family GMC today and got an offer from them for fifteen thousand to sell them the car.  Not quite as much as we had hoped but very close and considering that the tires are getting bald on it we were not going to get any better anywhere else.  So we made a deal and will be dropping it off sometime this week.  We just don’t need the Acadia anymore and it is an expense that there is no reason for us to be carrying.

By this evening the packing is coming along “well”.  There is still tons to do but we are looking more or less ready.  At least ready for Austin.

More M*A*S*H before going to bed tonight.

September 20, 2015: New Storage Unit

The Grices are exhausted today from all of the school stuff that they had going on yesterday so we are not going to really see them at all today.  That is actually good as there is just so much for us to do to be ready for this week.

Today was the big boxing and prep day for all of our travels.  Most everything that we have has gone into boxes and this afternoon Dominica and I went down and got our Public Storage account set up and got into our new storage unit.  Dominica had been convinced that we need a five by ten or larger.  I thought that she was crazy, as did the person at Public Storage who talked us down to a five by five which, as it turns out, is way bigger than we need too, but no one makes something smaller than a five by five!

This evening I took the Acadia out to a detailing place and had it cleaned up.  That took nearly an hour and I ended up getting a decent nap while I waited.  The detailing was not cheap but what an amazing job they did!  It really looked like a new car when I got it back.  I wish that we had done this long ago, it was totally worth it.  I will do this to other cars, if I ever own one again.  The Spark does not need it yet and we don’t plan on owning that past December anyway.  Figures that I would just be figuring this out now!

Last night I finally got Dominica to start watching M*A*S*H which she has not watched since she was way too little to understand it at all.  Even now when we started watching it she was surprised to learn that it was a movie about the Korean War, not Vietnam.  She had thought that it was Vietnam all of this time.  So we made it through tons of the show this weekend.  We had it all while she was doing packing.  I had watched all of this part of the show while I was in Texas before we had gone to Panama so it was all recent “reruns” to me.

September 19, 2015: Visiting with the Grices and Big Time Packing

This is our last free weekend, of any sort, in Texas until December. This is our window for all of the packing and all of the getting ready for travel because this coming week is SpiceWorld Austin and we will be pretty much tied up there for the entire week.  We are heading out there on Tuesday morning and will not be coming back to Houston until Saturday and then we leave for Granada, Nicaragua on Sunday.  What a crazy week!

Today was a mix of spending time with the Grice family as this is the only chance to really see them and getting things boxed because tomorrow we are getting a storage unit here in town and moving all of our stuff into that.  There is so much to do before we go to SpiceWorld.

We have been trying for months to figure out how Dominica is going to get to go to SpiceWorld or if she is just going to be staying here with the girls.  We have been searching and searching for someone to watch the girls for us while we are in Austin but we have had just zero luck finding anyone with the free time or schedule to be able to do it.  Bob found us one girl in Kansas City that was willing to do it but it was going to cost us thousands of dollars to orchestrate the whole thing which, even under the best conditions, just does not work and with the whole changing of job situations right now this would be the worst, rather than the best, time for that.

The current situation is that we are free this weekend and I have Monday and Tuesday completely off as a sort of mini-vacation.  So at least my schedule is free but there is just so much to do that it was pretty much necessary for them to be free anyway.

The kids did a lot of swimming together today at the Toccos’.  They will not be seeing each other again any amount for a few months.

September 18, 2015: Last Day and Rainforest Cafe

This is the big day, my final day working for Change.  But that’s just a job.  In the bigger scope, this is my last day of doing normal work as most people see it.  I’m making a huge life change and we are not completely sure what that is even going to mean for us.  What all does this change, what is our day to day going to look like.  We have so much to figure out.  For the second time this year we are truly setting out on a new life adventure.

Work was pretty light, as it always is on a final day.  Because things moved so quickly we announced that I was leaving at the morning stand up meeting and it was news to a lot of people.  This all happened so quickly.

I had my exit interview and HR briefing around four and was all done by four thirty.  Done.  All over.  This is it.  No turning back now.

I told Dominica that we should take the kids to Rainforest Cafe in Galveston to celebrate.  She liked that idea and started getting them ready.

It ended up taking about two hours to get everyone ready and out the door.  So instead of being early for the dinner rush we were right in the middle of it.  Francesca decided to come along too and brought all of the kids, except for Garrett who was grounded and not allowed to come.  But Madeline and Emily both wanted to come along, apparently Rainforest Cafe is enough of a treat that it warranted the teenagers leaving the house.

Dinner was really nice, but took forever.  We probably arrived around seven and left after nine.  They were having a celebration of Brasil so I got the island special that they had with shrimp, scallops (that were truly spicy and delicious) and mango tilapia.

After dinner the whole family did the boat ride that they have there.  It is very similar to what they have in Disney World.  Really well done for a ride attached to a restaurant.  I was impressed.

It was nearly ten when we got back home and everyone is very tired.  We got the girls off to bed with their iPads.  Dominica and I went to bed pretty soon thereafter, long before eleven.  I have bad head cold that makes it hard to sleep and was so bad that I had several nose bleeds today, which is rare these days for me.  I probably haven’t had a single one in five years but had at least five of them today, one that must have lasted for twenty minutes in the middle of the afternoon.