Saturday, October 30, 2010

Our trip to Dallas

For the past week, I've been away on vacation.
Welcome to Texas!
We took a trip to Dallas, Texas to visit my college roommate who lives down there now and to catch a Cowboys game since hubby's a big fan and has always wanted to see a game in person and they only play the Bears in Chicago or the Packers in Green Bay every few years.

Anyways, for those of you that follow me on Twitter, you're probably aware of the majority of our adventures on vacation. For those that didn't, here's the rundown!

We left Thursday afternoon by 430pm as I had work til 3ish and needed to stop by the bank and drop my apartment keys off at my parents so someone could stop by daily and feed Tiger. I drove us for the first 4 or 5 hours to just outside St. Louis where we stopped for dinner. We were going to eat at Ponderosa as there hasn't been one in our area for years, but apparently "winter hours" where they close at 830pm instead of 9 or 10 start in October...? We ended up eating at Ruby Tuesday instead and hubby took over the driving.

We were making really good time and so he decided to stop a bit past Tulsa at a rest stop and join me in sleeping. We were up around 7am and ended up getting into Dallas at about 10am. It was 1030am when we reached the hotel and since check in technically wasn't until 3pm and I knew my college roomie probably wasn't awake yet I went in to see if it would be possible for us to do an early check in. Luckily, they had a room ready and let us check in, where we got comfortable and napped into the afternoon and then got cleaned up for the evening.
Baby Jay's first Cowboys apparel
My college roomie is currently waitressing at a small Italian restaurant and we were planning on eating there for dinner, but she told us to wait til about 9pm since they were a bit crowded, so we trekked out to get some fast food for a light meal since we hadn't really eaten anything yet and then set out to find a Walmart to purchase some cheaply priced Cowboys gear, since our Walmarts only sell Bears/Packers stuff. The first Walmart we went to was really small and seemed a bit ghetto and didn't really have the selection we were looking for. It has also rained a bit and all these black birds were sitting in the parking lot trees all creepy like - I seriously felt like we were reenacting the last scene of Hitchcock's "The Birds"! We found a Super Walmart though We found several finds - a nice Cowboys hoodie for me, a 2-set of Cowboys onesies for Jay, and a Cowboys hoodie for Jay - it's a 4T but we figured he'll grow into it and be able to wear it for awhile. After we dropped our purchases off at the hotel and watched the end of The Hangover, we headed over to the restaurant where college roomie works and got dinner - it was pretty good!

The Texas Rangers won the ALCS while we were finishing up eating so we hurried back to the hotel to beat the rush of traffic while waiting for college roomie to get home from work.

We went over to her place and watched Troll 2 with Rifftrax with her and her boyfriend. OMG, it's seriously THE WORST movie ever and watching it with Rifftrax only makes it that much more awesomely bad! lol... seriously, if you're looking for a terribad movie to watch and laugh at, be sure to check out Troll 2!
Love and War in Texas
Saturday, we met up with her and her boyfriend for lunch, where they took us to a stereotypical Texas restaurant called Love and War in Texas. It was pretty good fixin's although hubby's potatoes were the spiciest potatoes we've ever had! I only had one and deemed it too spicy... hubby had several spoonfuls before heartburn kicked in! lol... Since it was raining and we had time to kill, we stopped at Barnes and Noble since college roomie had to pick up a few things there before she went to work.

That night we met up again and went to a The Flying Saucer pub, where if you join their frequent drinker club and drink 200 of their brews (they have over 300 different ones) you get your name on a plate that they hang up on the wall and you get an additional plate for each 200 you drink after. It was an interesting place and there was a cover band playing too which wasn't half bad.
Sunday we all met up again and went to Whataburger for lunch since Chick-Fil-A was closed for the day. It was an interesting burger joint that I guess is only in Texas. After that we went to the Galleria which is a big mall and the entire first floor is filled with all yuppie stores like Gucci, Coach, Luis Vutton, etc. There were more normal stores on the 2nd and 3rd floor though - including the Dallas Cowboy's Pro Shop which hubby had to go in. We did a bit of shopping in there before we headed out since the mall was closing. We also stopped in the American Girl store too.
The Cowboys Pro Shop in the Dallas Galleria mall
 That night we went out to dinner at another pub where college roomie introduced us to one of her former co-workers from her previous job, as a group of them usually meet for dinner and drinks at this pub on Sundays. The Vikings/Packers game was on - there were some Vikings fans there cheering on Favre - being from Illinois, we don't like Favre as he was a longtime Packer so for amusement we started cheering against them, lol... there was also a poetry group meeting at the table next to ours - we were a bit confused though as they were clapping when someone finished their poem instead of snapping like you would expect!

Monday was the day of The Big Game.

We got up at a decent time and grabbed some Jimmy John's for lunch, which omg - BEST JIMMY JOHN'S SANDWICHES EVER! Not sure why, but Jimmy John's there tasted A MILLION times better than Jimmy John's back home.
Cowboys Stadium
Since parking at Cowboys Stadium is $70 on gamedays (because Jerry Jones can), we used a parking site online to get a good deal where we reserved a spot about half a mile away from the stadium for $22 from 330pm-midnight. We looked into taking a shuttle, but the one from Humperdinks was $10/person and left 2 hours before the game and gave us no time afterwards to take our time, plus we'd still have to find a place to park the car.

The stadium was huge! They didn't start letting people go in until about 2 hours before game time, but we got to see some of the players pull up to the stadium - hubby got a pretty good pic of Miles Austin getting out of his car!
Miles Austin getting out of his SUV
Panoramic view of the one of the main concourses at Cowboys Stadium
The view from our seats
We went in and walked around the main concourse a little bit and we bought a few things in the Pro Shop there before heading to our seats. So we knew we were in the nosebleed section, but with the world's largest HD TV it didn't matter and we had a view of the entire field too... only our seats were SO HIGH UP! It didn't help the stairs up were narrow and since we were in row 20 we had to walk up about 40 steps... and then the rows the seats were in were pretty narrow too! Hubby's afraid of heights so once he got in his seat he wasn't getting up at all! I was a little uncomfortable with the height until the crowd started filling in in the rows in front of us.
Me wearing my AWESOME homemade maternity tee
I also wore my homemade custom Cowboys maternity tee, which I made with iron-on letters and patches and fabric paint, which says "Future Cowboys Fan" with an arrow pointing to my baby bump. I got quite a bit of compliments and comments and congrats from fans and staff at the stadium that night!

For those that watched, you know how the game went... started off great, then went downhill after the Giants took our QB out by breaking his left collarbone and we got stuck with our back-up QB who hadn't played in nearly 2 years! We lost by only 6 points, which was kind of a bummer, but hubby was still thrilled at actually getting to see an NFL game in person, let alone his team at their snazzy, expensive new stadium!

Traffic sucked getting back to the hotel and we were beat with a busy day on Tuesday.
Mary Kay headquarters
We woke up and went over to Mary Kay headquarters where we got to do a self-guided tour of the museum. It was pretty neat seeing some of her outfits, a picture of the original storefront there in Dallas, and different product packaging throughout the years and for different companies. Even hubby admitted it was interesting.

Next, we drove back over to Cowboys Stadium as we tickets for the VIP Stadium Tour. That was pretty cool as we had a tour guide who explained some fun facts to us and we got to go in owner Jerry Jones' private suite where he watches the games from - the guide said that was something new that they had only started doing recently. We saw some of the other suites and some of the behind the scenes areas that you'd have to be a VIP to get normal access to. Then we got to go down on the actual field and get our picture taken on the center of the 50 yard line and we got to check out both the players and cheerleaders locker rooms. It was pretty neat!

Us sitting in Jerry Jones' private suite where he watches all the home games from
In the Cowboys locker room - the lockers of Tony Romo, Jason Witten and Miles Austin
Getting our photo taken on the Cowboys Star logo on the center of the 50 yard line
The skyline of Downtown Dallas
On our way back, we decided to stop in downtown Dallas just so we could say we were there. We went to the historic West End Marketplace shops, only to learn it had been closed down. Then we walked over to the Dallas World Aquarium... only that was closed too. We had put enough money in the meter to give us an hour and a half to kill down there but only used about 30 minutes of it! Downtown Dallas is all mainly businesses - it's like mini-Chicago, building-wise, but none of the fun stuff to do! A bit disappointing. Also, I didn't realize it was rush hour when we were leaving Downtown Dallas - that was a mistake! It took us awhile to get out, oops!
Wednesday we met up with college roomie for lunch before we left town and went to the infamous Chick-Fil-A - people have told us about this chicken joint for awhile now, but there isn't one near us so we heard we had to try it while we were down there. It was actually pretty good!

We left Dallas around 1pm and hubby let me take over driving at 2 once we were out of the heavy traffic from the area (he doesn't like my driving, lol...) I drove us out of Texas, through Oklahoma and into Missouri where we stopped in Springfield for dinner around 9pm. Hubby took over driving and around 11:30pm was when our fun vacation came to a screeching halt, much like our car.

I had noticed a rest stop about 30 minutes prior but I didn't need to go that bad and hubby said we'd be in St. Louis by midnight and we'd just stop for gas then so I figured I'd hold it. I was looking down at my phone, playing a game on it when I heard hubby start yelling all panicky and he slammed on the breaks. I looked up and saw a big deer in the way right as we hit it and of course I screamed too. The deer went flying it seemed. Hubby quickly asked if I was okay, which I said I think so and after looking to see if the deer was in the way, hubby quickly pulled the car over onto the shoulder of the highway, as there wasn't any traffic near us but we knew some would be coming by soon.

We paused for a moment to collect ourselves and noticed the hood was dented up and bent and that the headlights seemed a bit wonky. We didn't see the deer at all. We called our insurance up which hubby gave them a report and then I called roadside assistance who said they were going to be at least 30-40 minutes since they were in another county and said that since our insurance didn't say we needed a report from them, if we could drive the car to go ahead and do so otherwise we could wait for them to tow us if needed.
Stupid buck!!!
We thought the car was drivable, however we really didn't want to get out on the dark highway (it wasn't very well lit) to survey the full damage since there were semi's and other traffic driving by. The nearest exit was just up ahead so we figured we'd get to a gas station or rest stop there, check it out and if it was drivable wait til morning since the headlights seemed jacked up a bit. Well... there was a Mobil mechanic at the gas station who took a quick look at it and we noticed coolant fluid leaking out - the radiator had been punctured and would need replaced. Hubby called the insurance company again to let them know the situation and to see if we could get a tow - the claims adjuster wasn't in until 830am so we had til then to wait.

Hubby called first thing in the morning - I was still a bit shook up and stressed and worried about the whole ordeal and it was making me nauseous that I couldn't eat so I just sipped on some juice. Progressive put us in touch with Enterprise who picked us up at about 10am so we could get a rental to drive home and they were sending out a tow truck to get our car and take it to a Progressive approved repair shop. We were about 20 miles west of St. Louis and about 4-5 hours from home - we were making good time when we hit the deer and were planning on being home by 4 or 5am... so much for that! What sucks is when the car is ready, we have to drive the 5 hours or so down there to drop off the rental and pick it up. At least we were able to get home though!

I also called my OB/GYN clinic once we got the car stuff figured out, as people online and family were all saying I should go get checked out. I honestly thought Jay and I were fine - hubby and I both had our seatbelts on and my lapbelt didn't really get tight when we hit the deer like the shoulderbelt did (as I was leaning slightly forward in my seat), there was no blood or leakage like my water broke or anything and Jay was moving around in there like he does (although more so because I was so shook up and stressed, giving him a bit of a late night adrenaline boost). My clinic recommended that for pregnant women in accidents to go to an ER and get checked out. Since I didn't have the urge or feel the need to rush to one, I waited til we got back home and went to our hospital there.

Since I'm 23 weeks, they sent me right up to Labor and Delivery where they set me up in a room "just in case" and took a urine sample and later a blood sample to run tests. They hooked me up to a contraction monitor too which you wear like a belt... the whole hospital process took nearly 5 hours... soooooo boring. And nothing was wrong - blood tests came back fine, urine showed a minor bladder infection that they gave me antibiotics for and I learned that I am blood type A+. Hubby and were both starving and tired by the time we got out of there.

And if that wasn't enough... Tiger was happy to see us when we got home, until we found the mess she left for us in the bedroom. Hubby went to climb in bed and thought he smelled cat urine - sure enough, she had peed on his pillow and that whole corner of the bed... and random spots on our comforter, so I get to do laundry tomorrow while he's at work! In the past we always shut the bedroom door when we go away on trips so she can't mess stuff in here, but this time, as we know she has several favorite sleeping spots in here, we decided to leave it open for her. Looks like that won't ever happen again! It's not even like her litter box was full - hubby scooped it out before we left! I think she was just pissed we left her or something.

Anyways, that's been our week - a fun vacation despite the last 24 hours. Hubby enjoyed his birthday present (going to the Cowboys game at Cowboys Stadium). Now to figure out what to do for his actual birthday tomorrow, as we had talked about going to Joe's Crab Shack in the suburbs, but he's really stressed about spending money right now with the car in the shop and our trip to the hospital... poor guy, he was really stressing.

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