Oh dear Lord, Texas is big. Normal people can look at a map and realize that Texas is big, but we decided (in complete insanity) to drive across it. Uh. There are a lot of cows in Texas, a lot of religious radio stations, and a lot of cheap gasoline. There are also a lot of people who reminded us that we definitely aren't from around here.
Texas was the first of only three nights were were spent in hotels. Jules and I needed to do laundry, take a real shower (which we still hadn't done other than the rain storm) and enjoy sleeping together rather than just next to one another in a tent.
The Barracuda didn't exactly know what we meant by a hotel. This was a completely new concept and experience. He had seen the signs, but apparently never thought anything of them. Being the now-expert-parents (Thank You, Lassen) we checked first to see if there was a pool and exactly what the hours were.
The Barracuda knows a lot about pools. Grampie is a Masters level swim coach and holds a couple of world records for his age class in various strokes. The Barracuda has been receiving swim lessons from Grampie since he was just over a year old.
More importantly, treading water is a skill you learn here far faster than learning to swim. It has saved The Barracuda from drowning once already, and probably will a couple more times in the future. Water kills you here. Around us, the only place you can swim without a wetsuit is in a pool. It is just plain too cold (even in the summer) and the currents are far too bizarre for open water unless there is some serious professional training. Every year Jules looses students to water. You don't fear water growing up here, but you sure do respect it.
However, sleeping in a place where there is a heated outdoor pool was a concept which delighted our son. This meant he could literally play in the water all day, all evening, and virtually all night. Hotels became asked about frequently.
About this time, it had become very apparent who our child's favorite parent was. Though when he falls down extremely hard, is embarrassed, or has a nightmare it is all about Mom, this trip was all about Dad. Once again we have crossed into Boy Territory and Dad is all that will do. Mom does not know much about skipping rocks, or pocket knives, or BB guns. Mom does not have the experience to adequately explain exactly how to use the mysterious fly on jockey shorts or how to adjust ones self mid-conversation without calling too much attention. Mom does however know how to correct her son when he is being completely socially inappropriate and can direct him to his father.
But Dad! Dad knows about comic books, he knows about fitting backpacks, and how to make the best cannonball splashes to get Mom all wet. Dad knows about spitting, about which candy and cereal have the highest sugar content and how to sneak them so Mom doesn't know, and also still enjoys (and tells) jokes which involve words like butt, poop, and fart. Dad is also strong enough to launch The Barracuda several feet in the air across the pool. Dad has become incredibly cool.
So Dad and the boy played in the pool and told fart jokes. They had amazing competitions involving breath holding, twirling tricks, and synchronized splashing. I worked feverishly to send out articles via the hotels fabulous open WiFi connection and charged the computer with much coveted electricity. I also worked very hard at dodging the large waves of splash which came perilously close to the open laptop and myself.