From the category archives:

THE MAN

Ah, where did the time go? When I last left this little blog of mine, I was sharing with you my ugly little fit that lead to an upgrade in our room status from prison cell to executive sweet suite. After getting all checked in, The Man and I decided to grab a glass of wine and enjoy the view from our room:

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Nice, huh? Now y’all can say all you want about my, *ahem*, personality but sometimes it does pay off in spades. After the sun set and we were thoroughly relaxed, we went to dinner. Ten points if you can figure out why I liked the name of this restaurant so much:

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I love that the steak was heart shaped. Also, you should know that I spent the better part of dinner at this very nice restaurant working because nothing says I love you like clicking away on your blackberry all through dinner. I am all about the awesome, just ask my husband.

After taking a steak knife to my blackberry at the end of this romantic, relaxing, working dinner, our vacation really started.

Here’s the thing I didn’t know, Napa is every bit as relaxing as a beach. The manicured vineyards rolling by as you drive, sipping (no really…I sipped!) wine during the day, the laid back attitude of everyone up there, it is simply heaven on earth. At some point on day one I’m fairly sure I forgot I had children (pfft…ignore that sobbing mess you read about in the previous two posts) and really let myself get into the one thing I had set out to accomplish, learning to really love red wines.

We toured several vineyards but one was my favorite and our most interesting experience. On the first day, thanks to an old boss and wine afficiando, we found a small vineyard called August Briggs.

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I was already enamored because my birthday is in August and I figure anything that has that month in it much be FANTASTIC because in addition to being awesome, I am also all about the humility.

Anyway.

We got there and it looked like everyone was on vacation. Then this guy Matt comes downstairs and not only does he manage a lot of the operation, he also participates in tasting the wines as they age. At first, he was all business, explaining the different wines we were tasting and not talking much. Could be because we had a really strange woman in the tasting room with us at the time, very unkempt and left lots of icky finger prints all over her glass while guzzling samples. Call me crazy, I think she was in it for the freebie and was stopping at every vineyard on her way to a friends house a little north. After she left, an adorable couple from London joined us and all of a sudden the atmosphere turned lively. We went through all the different wines, Matt got pretty animated telling us stories about the vineyard and the process of making a great wine. Next thing you know, he offered us a barrel tasting of a Pinot Noir we were having shipped to us.

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AMAZING. The funniest thing about it was that it smelled exactly like a banana peel because it wasn’t totally aged…but still delicious. Trust me, if you ever see any of their wines on your shelves…try it…every single thing we tasted out of this world and I have not received any type of payment to tell you this.

It helped that Matt was very nice looking, sadly for The Man, no hot chicks pouring wine at any of the vineyards we stopped at during our tours. ::snicker::

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Here’s where it got funny. After that amazing experience…the barrel tastings, the education Matt shared with us, all the fun…another group walked in. An interesting group. Four overly made up young girls (Hello…it was 90 degrees, full on war paint and stilettos are not exactly Napa friendly) bellied up to the bar for their tasting. With them was one (how to say this gently…) MATRONLY woman. The girls all insisted they only wanted to taste one wine, not the flight. As Matt tried to figure out which would be best suited to their tastes, he asked the MATRONLY woman what she might like.

Matronly Woman: Oh, I don’t drink any of that stuff
Matt: Stuff?
Matronly Woman: Yeah, wine, I don’t like it.
Matt: You don’t like wine?
Matronly Woman: Nope. It all tastes like medicine.
Matt: Medicine?
Matronly Woman: Yeah, Robitussin to be specific.
Matt: ::blink blink::
TSM: WOW.

We hightailed it out after that for fear of what may come out of my mouth next. When we got outside the doors, I immediately said, “What a bunch of white trash!” (Moment of prayer: “Please God, let my loud voice have carried through that door, Amen and Thanks!”) At which point The Man laughed and said, “Yeah, but they are white trash in a Rolls Royce…” Which yes, they were and it was parked directly next to our Kia. (Hey, would you like a side of irony with that remark TSM?) Just goes to show you, money can’t buy you class…not even when you are rolling large in a Rolls.

The rest of our trip looked like this:

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..and this:

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…and this:

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To say this was a great trip would be the understatement of the century. Only 342 days until my kids go to summer camp again.

This time? I’m totally hitting the passenger eject button.

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Hotel, Motel…Holiday Inn?

by Mary Anne on July 2, 2009

As I mentioned in my previous post, immediately upon ejecting dropping our darling children off at camp, The Man and I hightailed it to Napa.

The flight itself was uneventful, the drive to Napa beautiful. We got to the hotel? It was SPECTACULAR. Lovely Woman at the counter checked us in. Everyone was all smiles.

Got the keys, headed to the room. And that is when the smiling stopped.

The Man had booked a room with a patio because at night in Napa it can get down in the 50′s. Coming from 100 degrees in Texas, this, in and of itself, is a big tourist draw for us. We had packed our sweats to sit out on the patio at night. However, a patio was the one thing we did not have upon arrival.

We went up to our room, room 203 to be exact, and opened the door. It was really dark. I mean really, really dark. I’m all, “Honey, where is the balcony and what is that tiny window looking thingy?” Go to the window thingy and realize it is actually what they consider to be a patio. It’s a small window leading to a space that was about 6X6 and WALLED IN. No air, no natural light. It was a slightly nicer version of what they subjected Heidi and Spencer Pratt to on “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here.” (Not that I watched it….)

And I? Looked like this:

heidi-montag-pratt

…well, I mean minus the the Playboy body, blonde hair, retarded husband and shiny shiny skin.

The Man was looking quite concerned as I searched for a brown paper bag in which to hyperventilate. (Have I mentioned I’m slightly claustrophobic?) This room was sending me over the edge of reality STAT. So after going all Rain Man and turning in circles saying eleventy million times “This won’t do, this just won’t do…” we headed back downstairs.

The Lovely Woman who checked us in was standing there with the Desk Manager, almost as if they were waiting for us. Following is a snippet of our conversation.

TSM: Hi, we just checked into 203? And…NO.
Lovely Woman: Oh yes, I told Desk Manager here that I had just checked you in and I felt bad about it.
TSM: Did you also take bets on how long we would take to come back down?
Lovely Woman: Um….
TSM: Who had two minutes?
Desk Clerk: Well, that room can be problematic indeed.
TSM: Yes, indeed. Is this where you send the guests you don’t like?
Desk Clerk: *Deer in headlight look*
Lovely Woman: *Hides under desk*
TSM: This room? Will not do, we booked a room with a patio, not a prison cell.
Desk Clerk: Well yes, but technically it has a patio.
TSM: Right. Let me say it again. This? Will. Not. Work. For. Us.
The Man: *Pulls out reservations that show beautiful room with expansive patio* This? Is a room with a patio. That? Was NOT.
Desk Clerk: Yes but we are sold out…
TSM: No.
Desk Clerk: …and there are no more rooms.
TSM: No.
Desk Clerk: …because you see, we are at capacity.
TSM: NO.
Desk Clerk: But there are no other rooms…
TSM: Let me make this clear. We have two children, they are at camp. We never get away from them. EVER. We are now away and to put us in a room that looks like a prison cell that you reserve only for the guests you hate DOES. NOT. WORK.
*Side note: Guest in lobby are starting to look concerned…*
Desk Clerk: The only room we have available is the Executive Suite.
TSM: That sounds divine.

So Desk Clerk kindly takes us on a tour of the Executive Suite to make sure it is to our liking. Which, in fact, it was.

It looked like this:

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..and this:
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and this:
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and with a view of a vineyard:
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Now before you think I’m kidding about the first room, here is a shot from the pool area. That wall up in the corner was our “Patio area”:
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That whole Bitch on Heels thing I have going in my nav bar? Pays off sometimes.

The rest of the trip was AMAZING. So romantic, so beautiful, so….to die for.

For those of you that wonder what hotel we stayed at? I won’t say. They messed up our reservations but then they took care of us which in my mind means a neutral rating…no dissing needed…or praise for that matter.

Come back next time and I’ll tell you about a very exclusive vineyard we went to where one crazy woman compared the wine to cough syrup.

Oh, I’m not kidding….

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I’m baaaaaaack!

I know, try to control yourselves.

It was a great week. It started off shaky when we had to drop the kids off at camp. I handled it with all the panache I expected….which is to say I was a total basketcase.

The crying started in earnest on Saturday while I was packing them. Putting twenty little outfits together, each individually sealed in plastic bags.

Stop it with the eye rolling. I had my reasons.

For Mr. C, it’s that he is totally and completely color blind. Left to his own devices, he will appear in an outfit that will make you ask if his name is Mort and if he is, in fact, a retired 75 year old banker getting ready to search for shells on the beach in Miami, white socks and all. Miss G on the other hand has two fashion theories. First of all, short is good and secondly, shorter is better. Call me cah-razay, but Mort the retired 75 year old banker from Miami and his sidekick, Daisy Duke, seemed to not be the best representation of my family.

By the time Sunday morning rolled around and it was time to go, I had pretty much lost it. Found my giant black sunglasses to hide behind and started my mantra of “You will not lose it at camp, you will not lose it at camp. No, really. YOU WILL NOT LOSE IT AT CAMP….”

Really?

Oh yes, I would.

Here’s the thing you should know, the camp we send our kids to really is the happiest place on earth. I’d put Disney up against it any day. When you arrive, there is a pretty long line of cars filtering in and all the kids hang out the sunroofs to wave at all the camp counselors who are greeting you on horseback, from boats as they water ski by or handing you cookies as you enter the gates.

Every single one of those happy people caused me to cry until I was a heaving mess hiding behind my big dark glasses in the back seat because on camp drop off day, the only word that applies to me is unstable.

I would have killed for an experience like this when I was a kid. I went to Camp Grady Spruce here in Texas and when you pulled up and got out of your poorly air conditioned car, you walked through a dusty parking lot and were greeted by a line of surly people with buckets full of sulfur they dusted all over you to keep you from getting eaten alive by mosquitos which subsequently made you stink and turn an alarming shade of day glo yellow as your parents peeled out of the parking lot laughing at you getting to spend a week in an un-airconditioned cabin.

Wow…that sentence was a gramatical nightmare, huh? Sorry, punctuation is not my forte when remembering the horror of summer camp as a child.

Anyway.

Here are a few pictures of them as we dropped them off at their cabins.

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This is Mr. C’s third year to go to camp. I love the “Oh here we go again” look on his face. He looks a little sad. But you can also see he’s hesitant, sort of like, “This situation could turn south any minute now….” This was taken moments before he gave The Man the secret signal to get me out of the cabin before I melted down. He’s a smart boy.

After being forcibly evicted from Mr. C’s cabin, I headed on to the next challenge, unpacking Miss G. We got her to her cabin and got busy while she socialized. I should tell you that we let each of the kids pick out stencils for their trunks. Mr. C went with a baseball and pokemon theme, Miss G chose dolphins.

Naughty, naughty dolphins.

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Folks, this is a Christian camp we are talking about. We raced to get that trunk stored away before anyone could ask what was going on with Flipper and his little lady friend.

Finally unpacked, The Man asked Miss G for a final hug and kiss at which point she completely and totally ignored him. His only purpose in her mind was to get the crazy lady in the big dark glasses she sometimes calls Mommy out of there before a scene started. I can’t be sure but I think she would have given us the finger at that point if a.) she knew how and b.) she was not at aforementioned Christian camp. Come to think of it, I’m not sure that second point would have mattered to her. She calls it like she sees it…the apple definitely did not fall far from the tree with that one.

The Man did manage to drag me out of there before I embarassed us too much and I’d like to thank all my friends who saw me that day that were kind enough not to laugh in my face, because I totally deserved it.

With the reality of an entire week to ourselves, The Man and I did what any responsible parents would do while our kids were away at camp.

We got on a plane and headed to Napa.

Come back later this week and I’ll share our travels throughout the wine country and tell you about the hotel room that caused me to think we were on an episode of “I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here”.

We are so totally the new Speidi.

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The Weekend Of Mixed Emotions

by Mary Anne on June 19, 2009

I’m approaching this weekend with two key emotions. Dread and Joy. I know, they don’t go together…let me explain.

Dread: We are dropping both kids off at sleep away camp FOR A WHOLE WEEK!
Joy: We are dropping both kids off at sleep away camp FOR A WHOLE WEEK!

That’s right, for one entire week, The House of Stiletto will be kid free. But I have to get through dropping them off first. That, my friends, is the tricky part.

I know, I know…you probably think I’m the type to just hit the passenger eject buttons as we pull into camp and yell, “See ya sucka!” but as I’ve mentioned before (and I’m not sure anyone really believes me) I cry at EVERYTHING and especially anything having to do with two certain small people I am horribly addicted to.

I started thinking about it today and the waterworks started. Emailed one of my friends, Maria, who’s son is going the same week and said, “The crying has already started…this is not a good harbinger of things to come Sunday…” to which she sent a simple reply, “Get a life.” People, if you can’t tell, Maria is one of my best sounding boards, girlfriend calls it like she sees it. I NEED PEOPLE LIKE THIS IN MY LIFE. No really…I do…emotional train wrecks need grounding sometimes. However, Maria? Also trust me when I tell you that I owe you and Selina a payback for the fact I now have to decorate my car for the drive down thanks to the two of you. White shoe polish and tears are two things that really don’t mix.

I know this is going to be a train wreck of biblical proportions because this is the third year Mr. C has gone. The first year he put up with me sniffling quietly behind very large dark glasses while he unpacked his trunk. He hugged me, assured me he’d be fine and he would write every day and miss me soooo much. Last year, he flat out gave me the side eye and said, “Okay, see ya later!” and scurried off before anyone could figure out it was his Mom that was creating a small river of tears in the cabin.

Miss G will be joining him this year for the first time. That alone is going to throw me right over the edge of reality. Add to this that they are two entirely different children. Miss G is going to have ZERO TOLERANCE for embarassment of such epic proportions. Odds of her telling me in no uncertain terms to get my act together PRONTO and physically throwing me out of the cabin? 100%

I don’t think I’m going to get out of there alive.

Go ahead, try and make me feel better. Tell me how much fun they will have. Tell me what a great experience it is for them. Tell me how much I’m going to enjoy all this quiet time. Finished?

Yeah, now you can go get me another box of kleenex…thanks!

So now that you know I’ll be crying my eyes out on Sunday and every single member of my family will be pretending they don’t know me, I should also tell you this.

I’m taking the week off.

From work, from blogging from everything. I’m going to spend some time focusing on my husband, drinking entirely too much wine, and trying to remember what it was like to be us before these crazy children of ours came along.

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As I recall, we were pretty damn good at it.

I’ll be back next Monday….you crazy kids be good while I’m gone!

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Last night was big fun. If you like tornadoes. And 80 mph straight line winds. And hiding in the laundry room for a very long time. And watching your backyard stuff blowing in circles. And then losing all power and living the life of Laura Ingall circa nineteen-seventy-something like Little House on the Prairie sans bonnet.

It was really awesome.

Somewhere around 8:00 the sirens went off. I’ve lived in Texas all of my life. I’ve done more tornadoes than I care count and I take them VERY SERIOUSLY. The Man and I immediately herded the kids into the laundry room, although it is very small, it is the safest room in the house as it has no windows and is located beneath a stairwell which makes it the least likely room in the house to collapse. Comforting, right? The kids loved it though….what an adventure for them. Me? Not so much.

Gracie enjoyed some “relaxation time” in a laundry basket:

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Then, they both got bored and decided to move to the actual washer/dryer combo.

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Yes, she is actually IN the dryer. Mr. C, however was totally chill, reading “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” on top of the dryer. (He is totally not wimpy…wasn’t scared at all…unlike his Mom)

The kids were having a great time. I was in the process of a pretty major freak out. I kept sneaking out to see what was going on. I was fairly sure we were mid Armageddon and the house was coming down.

And I was out of wine. Dammit.

Anyfunnelcloud, we did not get hit but we did loose power until exactly 3:27 AM when it all came back on full force. Have you ever been asleep and had every light in the house turn on in the middle of the night accompanied by loud cartoons and some really loud murder movie in the family room? If not, you have not really lived. The Man and I got up, turned everything off…and never went back to sleep.

Tomorrow, I face the Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders. Miss G is in a summer camp at Cowboy HQ and she will be doing her final performance. I will be there to see it with the ginormous bags under my eyes. I don’t need this kind of humiliation in my life…Hold me…I’m too tired for this…

Did I mention I’m a Green Bay fan?

Good Lord, I’m going to sleep n ow…and I’m not waking up until Sunday.

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