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August 30, 2010

put a little schlitter in your bahn

after the seaworld fail, we felt we owed #1 son a summer waterpark experience.  schlitterbahn did NOT disappoint.  and thanks to groupon, the event was easy on the bank account.

one of the things we love about schlitterbahn is that they allow you to bring your own food and drink in.  they don't allow alcohol though, nevermind that last time we came and didn't realize that rule and we accidentally snuck two cases of beer in....  we stopped at central market and got some yummy picnic foods.

we have never been to the newer section of schlitterbahn.  we like the low-tech old german school style of the original water park.  this is not your typical concrete parking lot and fiberglass tube water park.... 

the rides are long and lines were short.  most rides combine slow float along sections mixed in with steep drops and twisty sections.

to make up for that time we snuck two cases of beer in, we bought a few of them at the hot-tub bar.

joyce (above) was my hero earlier in the day.  my driver's lic. had ejected from my pocket.  (I lost my DL on the same exact ride two years ago).  this time, joyce from taiwan saved it!  I moved it from my side cargo pocket to the back pocket that had a more secure buttoned flap to keep it safe.  and there it stayed until the very last ride...  joyce wasn't around to save me the second time.  spent two hrs at the DPS (dmv) getting a replacement today.  anyhow, back to the tubing-floating-sliding in the texas hill country. 

you won't find mature oak tree shade like that in your typical concrete jungle water park.

upon completion of each tube ride #1 son proclaimed "THAT WAS AWESOME!! it was worth the wait, let's do it AGAIN!!!!!" 

comal river.

fade away and radiate

our crappy waterproof camera is not so water proof any more....  this might be it's last image.  the screen is now blank as well.

 

how much will you pay for "free"?

we attended another yelp elite party.  this one was held at townhouse.  I'd been wanting to go there so we made a big effort to make the event.  there was a long-ish line and people on the street kept asking the girl behind me what we were lining up for.  she seemed a bit put off and would only issue a cold reply "it is a private party" that left the curious looking a bit dejected.  there was a big sign by the door that said "PRIVATE PARTY, Yelp Elite".  I asked her if she did not want to tell them it was an "elite party" at the risk of sounding like an elitist... I thought I was being clever.  she sneered at me and rebutted, "what is this? your FIRST elite party"!  she went on to explain that she was afraid that they would want to get in WITH HER if she told them what was REALLY going on.  somehow I doubted that. 

then came the free drinks....

look a gift horse in the mouth

these were hibiscus lemonade with deep eddy sweet tea vodka...  or that is what they were billed as.  tasted like straight up lemonade.  we had to fight our way for some bar space and fight for the bartender's attention, we got another round, then we were convinced that there was something not right with the drink.  other people we spoke to suspected there was no vodka at all.  as more and more people poured into the tiny bar area.... 

two down and no feelin good yet

it wasn't an environment where we felt an urge to be social, it inspired territorial behavior.  we didn't want to let go of our two sq ft of personal space.  eventually, we figured it would be cheaper to BUY drinks some place where it was actually a bit more comfortable and less competitive.  I had a groupon to J Black's feel good lounge just a few blocks away, or so I thought.

got to J Black's feel good lounge to find our groupon had recently expired (after a round of about a dozen emails of refusal, groupon did credit me for the purchase of the expired groupon, just so you know it is not legal to put a expiration date on a certificate you paid $ for)

feelin good is here again

so we paid full price at J Black's...  but then I noticed some action at the end of the bar and these pretty girls in blue dresses.  I know the smell of free booze and I was not shy about it.  sure enough!  grey goose was on hand passing out FREE cocktails!  and these were the real deal. 

happy

after all that effort, we went home happy.  but, we still don't have a yelp lunchbox.   we really want one for some reason.

August 23, 2010

back to school

 last weekend of summer

we had a few friends over to celebrate the last weekend of summer, school started today.

wm shakers

shook, mixed and strained some melons over ice.

westlake house wife party

school started today.  it seemed summer had outlasted its welcome, some friends had a breakfast party to commemorate all their kids getting on that yellow bus.  breakfast tacos from taco-deli and just a few bottles of champagne, my kind of breakfast.... that turned into lunch.  there was a clear division between the coffee drinkers who left early, and the champagne drinkers who just would not leave as long as the corks kept popping... and "POP" they did.

champagne breakfast

I was the only male "westlake housewife".  I'm ok with that, I like to drink bubbly with the womenz.

elgin sausage southside market

earlier in the week, #1 son and I took a trip to deep east texas, stopped in elgin and treated him to elgin sausage, the brisket sandwich was good too.  we made a trip to pick up a vintage van that I may or may not keep....

dodge a-100 shorty van

 

August 16, 2010

the devil's watering hole, yeah, we swam that hole.

we explored inks lake state park.  got off to a late start, about 5 hours late.  if you've never tried to back a trailer into a tight camp site in the dark of night, I highly recommend it, great fun (sarcasm).

inks lake at night

we got it in there, grilled up a side of salmon and enjoyed watching the meteor shower.

airstream overlander

sunrise over inks lake site #45

we were treated to a beautiful sunrise each morning.

kayak on inks lake

the daughter is learning to enjoy a bit of freedom a kayak can offer.

devil's watering hole

we kayaked over to devil's watering hole.  people were lined up to jump off rocks as high as 40 ft.  #1 son swam over and queued up. 

cliff jump at devil's watering hole

#1 son can be seen in mid fall, blue and red spot to the right.  we wouldn't let him jump from the higher spots.  although many younger kids did. 

playing with the electric tongue jack

displaying his cutest face when caught playing with the electric tongue jack.  don't want to get fingers squished by that thing!

antbusters

these two suffered from nintendo ds withdrawal but eventually regrouped as the antbusters.  playing in dirt can be fun too.

romance canopy on the teardrop at inks lake

mom towed her 50's teardrop trailer to inks lake, she uses a "romance canopy" to keep bugs out and let the evening breeze in. 

August 09, 2010

maybe it's the simpler things?

summer is nearly over.  we have been trying to repair our pool and there is no swimming for now.  it suffers from issues related to the installer we had problems with a couple years back.  the factory is supplying us with new parts, but I am the labor or I hire labor.  so we decided to get the most out of summer and take the kids for a fun trip to sea world...

sea world feed the dolphins

fed the dolphins...

feeding the dolphins seaworld san antonio

shamu san antonio

saw shamu...

shamu sea world

here is the current situation at sea world, it costs around $200 to get a family of five in the door, with discounts I found online.  regular prices would be about $250.  we got there before they opened so the kids could feed the dolphins.  we left after 5 pm, over eight hours.  we fed the dolphins, saw the shamu show and got TWO rides.  the math is rather depressing, about $12.50 per event/ride and eight hours invested. 

sea world san antonio sharks

part of the problem is, some people paid extra for a wristband that allows them to bypass the whole waiting in line formality.  so when we got to the log ride and the sign at the end of the line said "estimated wait time from this point is 45-55 minutes", that does not take into account the wristband people enjoying the water rides on this hot day over and over again. 

hot, with heat index was 108.  we stood in that log ride line for 45 minutes and were not even half way to the front.  I was getting thirsty, REAL thirsty.  #1 son was laying on the ground and had been asking to give up on this ride for over 30 minutes.  see, we went to sea world a few years ago, waited nearly an hr in line for this same ride when a thunder clap shut it down.  that was weather related so it was mostly our tough luck.  kat had affirmed that this was the year, we were going to get on the log ride.  it was around this time we were getting close enough to note that the line rarely advanced and when it did, it was often related to attrition; people getting out of line. 

heat exhaustion and dehydration sea world san antonio

after waiting in line for one and a half hours we were finally starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel.  then the ride stopped.  the log loading area slowly filled up with sea world employees of differing shirt colors, red, blue, light blue.  they scratched their heads and sipped their waters, we all stared and thirsted.  after about ten minutes some people started to demand an answer, "is this ride closed?".  sea world employees avoided eye contact with the public, said nothing.  we had been in line for two hours by this point.  people started to get angry and finally one SW employee admitted, "yes".  this resulted in more angry shouts from the people who had continued to stand in line hoping to still ride a log.  they had let us all stand there for a good ten to fifteen minutes after they stopped to ride before telling us we might as well go elsewhere. 

broken log ride sea world san antonio

once again, we left the log ride without riding a log.  I was severely dehydrated so we made a quick path to the nearest water vendor, where we stood in line.  I was finally given the opportunity to buy two 16 oz water for $2.98 each!  those bottles were drained within a few feet of the cashier.  

we made our way towards the water park area where the daughter and my mom had opted to go instead of riding the logs.  we found a line, much of which was in the sun and an estimated wait time of 1 hr to 45 mins.  it was already after 5 pm and we figured that if we did wait in line to get in, it'd be time to leave right away.  then we got to witness a bit of road rage/near fist fight upon leaving the seaworld parking lot.  nice. 

the positive side of things was that we loved staying at the hotel contessa, great restaurant with happy hour 4-7 seven days week!  the tapas were extremely affordable with big portions.  the kids loved the rooftop pool and they even had a movie on the big screen for the kids to watch saturday night.

brunch buffet at la contessa, kids eat free! 

kids eat free at the breakfast buffet, fresh squeezed orange juice included!

roof top pool at la contessa

cork bar at la contessa

cork bar area at la contessa.

tapas at the cork bar, la contessa, san antonio

the tapas ranged from $2 to about $4, we paid about $8 for all that.  feeds a small family!

kolsch and belgian blanche at frite

really appreciated the happy hour prices on good imported beer at la frite. 

acapulco drive-in san antonio

loved hanging with the locals at the acapulco drive-in, $2 tall boys!

acapulco drive-in

nuevo latina

delicious appetizer at azuca nuevo latina

riverwalk san antonio

riverwalk...

panderia at mi tierra

panderia at mi tierra

menudo at mi tierra, kat approves

kat enjoyed a big bowl of menudo.

after we came home, we noted that we'd probably had more fun when we recently went swimming in wimberley and that was free and fewer thugs.

tech frustration, #1 son was so proud he'd applied a locking key code to his itouch.  I explained that I didn't like that, he always forgets his passwords.  later that day, he had locked himself out to the point that it quit accepting attempts.  (came home and did a restore to get it unlocked)

while I'm on the subject of complications, we recently took the excursion to the dealer for an oil change and I complained about the poor MPG.  they came back suggesting a few thousand dollars of work and charged me $90 for that diagnosis.  I declined the repair and sought a second opinions.  disclaimer, that 7.3 powerstroke engine is a complicated beast, I don't attempt to service or maintain it myself.  the dealer USED to be an economical diesel repair place for us.  so we finally took it to malone deiesel in dripping springs, a 40 minute drive.  they charged us $45 for diagnostic time and found that the computer was going into "limp mode" because it was not getting enough oxygen, they found the air filter was so dirty it was being sucked into the engine.  somehow we assumed the dealer would have known to check that.  $35 air filter installed and our MPG is up 50%!  they found no leak at the turbo... 

 

August 02, 2010

summer 2010 swim holes

greenbelt at lost creek

the barton creek greenbelt has been flowing nicely.  we finally made the effort to go for a dip.  this is the trail walking from my mom's house down to the creek.

his ears are off

he is at that age where he is loud, repetetive, likes to throw/smash/splash etc.  he managed to completely ignore his mothers repeated commands to stop throwing the log around as it was splashing us all.

soak

we enjoyed dinner with friends at mom's house.  kat turned the camera on me, or on the wine glasses next to me.

leaning pear, wimberley

took the family for a fun trip to wimberley, not a work trip.  we LOVED the leaning pear, a fancy sandwich place.  had a fantastic salad of locally grown arugula, goat cheese, peaches, spiced pecans and jicama.  really fresh and good flavor arrangement.

fenced in on one side

our neighbor in wimberley is finishing construction of his house and moving in.  was nice enough to provide a fence the full length of the property. 

blanco river

we tried to find the elusive jacob's well, and failed.  we went to the blue hole but it was going to cost $23 to get in and we really only had an hour to spend swimming.  so we just drove down river rd, parked the car and jumped in the blanco.  we plan to return soon and spend the whole day at the blue hole

wimberley river road rope swing

for the amount of time and what we needed, the river was just perfect.

rope swing wimberley river rd

be careful not to smile too much when you let go, that big knot at the end of the rope just might catch a tooth and then you'll have a big gap when you smile.  he went home with one less front tooth, just a little bit of blood but no tears.

so far... we have had an unusually mild summer.  not too hot and no drought.  evening and morning temps have been really nice.  pics below are from a nice sunset we experienced from our master balcony.

west lake hills sunset

click to enlarge

clouds as seen from westlake

bigger version