This trip took place from February 17th through February 22nd, 2017.
Day 5, Toddler Time: James had another rough night. I was, once again, ousted from my side of the bed in the middle of the night. It was the only way Beth could get him to settle down for more than an hour at a time. The couch was empty when I ended up in the living room and I curled up for a couple hours of uninterrupted sleep. This was the day, Tuesday, that Beth and I were watching Carter (and James) while Val and Dave went to work. They had to slip out quickly while he was distracted with his breakfast because he typically goes with them to be dropped off at daycare. Even after they left we briefly kept up the ruse that they were playing hide and seek.
Dave has an AppleTV box so we fired up the PBS app and Curious George. I vaguely remember watching Curious George as a kid but I’m not sure if they’re still making new episodes or not. Whatever version we watched was delightful. Hopefully James will be good friends with George and the Man in the Yellow Hat when he gets a little older. There were only three episodes available so we switched to Madagascar, a movie I had seen several times before. It features the voiceover talent of Ben Stiller, Chris Rock, Jada Pinkett Smith, and David Schwimmer as New York City zoo animals that escape and eventually end up in the wilds of Madagascar. It’s an animated kids movie that has plenty of cultural references and jokes for adults to love too.
Carter watched the first half of the movie but then retreated to his room to play with his toys. Having seen the movie I went to take a shower and came back to the movie started over. I guess Carter went back in the living room while I was gone and wanted to watch Madagascar. Not Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, not Madagascar: Europe’s Most Wanted, but the same movie we had just watched! The sequel is okay, the third one is pretty bad, but watching the first one twice was not on my interest list. I took James outside and sat on the porch for a little while (Maple came too). The sun was out and it was a lot nicer compared to the rainy day before.
Once Madagascar concluded for the second time, Beth suggested the newest version of the Jungle Book. It, too, has a roster of stars voicing animal characters (this time CGI instead of animation). The cast includes Idris Elba, Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Lupita Nyong’o, Christopher Walken, and Scarlett Johansson. The story is quite a bit nonsensical (but less so than Madagascar) but it was visually impressive. It’s obvious from the start that 99% of what you see on screen is computer-generated but it’s not distracting in any way. It’s a fun movie and, more importantly, Carter seemed to enjoy it.
In the afternoon, Beth chose the original animated version of 101 Dalmatians. I only saw bits and pieces of it because Carter wanted me to see his block tower and then we kicked a soccer ball back and forth to each other in the hallway. He also spent some time in the backyard playing with his pirate ship-themed water table. His favorite thing appeared to be picking grass and throwing it in the water table (but to what end I do not know). Beth dealt with a poopy diaper situation that led to a special load of laundry. I was glad I was in charge of the other kid at the time.
Val and Dave got home a little after 5pm and Carter was pleased. Dave suggested a popular deli for dinner (one that I had previously researched as well) and the two of us drove to pick it up. The sun was setting and the weather was fantastic. I was, again, super jealous of our Houstonite relatives. The highway was filled with fancy cars and the power lines above were covered with birds. It was hundreds of birds, actually. I mentioned it to Dave and he said, “yeah, we do birds in Houston”. We encountered a little evening traffic but arrived at Kenny & Ziggy’s Deli near the Galleria (the eighth largest mall in the country). The outside doesn’t look special in any way; it’s in a strip mall with a sporting goods store. The inside, however, was like I was transported to New York City. Posters of Broadway shows and signed photos of celebrities adorn the walls and the tile floors and dark-wood deli counter stretched the depth of the building. We didn’t stay long as Dave had placed our order in advance, but I can say without a doubt that Kenny & Ziggy’s is a unique New York oasis deep in the heart of Texas. We did look at the desserts quickly, trying to decide if there was anything we wanted to add to our dinner but decided not to get anything else. It did all look scrumptious.
Kenny & Ziggy’s is known to have large portions so Beth and I shared the fish and chips. It was a typical deli fish and chips. The fish wasn’t gourmet, by any means, but it was good and fresh. I was unimpressed by the fries. James was asleep and Carter was getting ready for bed when Beth finally remembered to give him his birthday present. Val and Dave specifically asked for no toys but what is an aunt supposed to do if not spoil her nephew? She bought him a small Lego giraffe from the Minnesota Zoo and brought it along. He, of course, wanted to put it together right away (as he was supposed to be going to bed) so Val and Beth got to work and helped him assemble it.
Once James and Carter had gone to sleep after a long day of kid-based activities, I was eager to watch an action movie with a bunch of mindless action; enter Jason Bourne, the fifth film in the Bourne franchise. It was exactly what I expected it would be, the worst Bourne movie of the five they’ve made so far (yes, behind the Jeremy Renner one). It was still alright. It featured many aspects of the franchise that I would expect including shaky-camera effects, car chases, fist fights, sniper rifles, and underground CIA/spy missions. It fit the action movie need well despite the poorly-written dialogue. Beth and I went to bed knowing we would be flying back home the next day. The last night of a vacation is sad in its own special way. End of day five.
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