‘Splorin’ Road Trip Across the USA #1 Part 2

Here we are in the everything is bigger state of Texas! After our meal of sadness last night at the Big Texan Steak Ranch, we were on a mission to find breakfast that would heal our broken hearts. In our motel room, we’re both on our phones googling, and reading reviews of restaurants nearby in Amarillo. Eventually, Bear finds Ye Old Pancake Station. After reading all the rave reviews we head on over. It’s a cozy welcoming place with a lot of tables, all of which seemed to be occupied at all times, and we found out why. We ordered pancakes, (of course) biscuits and gravy, and a skillet scramble which consists of eggs, hashbrowns, sausage, onions, and cheese. The menu has quite a few things that I want to try on our next trip. All of the plates that passed us looked scrumptious.

Just look at those sexy pancakes. The syrup and butter mingling together atop the perfectly hinted-at-crispness on the outside of the pancakes and soaking their way through the fluffy and flavorful inside. Lord, these pancakes are delicious! We can’t say anything bad about the gravy, biscuits, or scramble either. The most average thing we had was the standard restaurant coffee, but we’ve had bad restaurant coffee, so even that gets a passing grade in our book. If you find yourself in Amarillo, Texas with a big appetite between the hours of

6 am – 2 pm we highly recommend Ye Old Pancake Station!

With our full happy bellies, we head to Cadillac Ranch, also in Amarillo. If you don’t know much about this tourist or roadside attraction it’s ten Cadillacs half-buried in the ground. It was created in 1974 by Chip Lord, Hudson Marquez and Doug Michels, who were a part of the art group Ant Farm. When you find it, park, try not to get hit by cars also trying to park or cars driving away, and then walk through a gate and walk a little farther through a dirt pasture. Helpful tip: Flip flops are not fun to make this little trek in, especially if it just rained. It’s encouraged that you bring a couple of cans of spray paint so you can leave your mark, as this is considered interactive art. If you choose not to then you’re basically looking at or snapping pictures of other people’s names on these buried caddies. Is Cadillac Ranch worth a stop? In short, yes. Would I ever go a second time? Probably not.

After spray painting our names and initials everywhere we could, we jump back in Bear’s lifted truck…well he jumps in, after boosting me in like a toddler. Lifted trucks are not a 5 foot and 4 inches tall girls friend, lemme tell ya.

We drove through Oklahoma and made it to our home for the next couple of nights in Batesville, Arkansas so we can visit some of Bear’s family. On the way to our motel, we made a pit stop to fill the gas tank and use the restroom. I don’t usually take pictures when I’m in a public restroom, not in the mirror and definitely not in the stall. I prefer to do what I gotta do and get in and out. But, as soon as I was finished placing toilet paper squares on the toilet seat (because most of the south refuses to supply toilet seat covers for some reason) and sat down and took a good look at the door in front of me, I fumbled in my purse for my phone.

I mean, how often do you find such words of profound wisdom in a gas station restroom, or any public restroom for that matter. I especially enjoy that under the word “too” it says “stay classy” written in pen. I wasn’t expecting an inspirational meme staring me in the face while relieving my bladder, but there it was. God bless you Arkansas pit stop.

From there we went to the motel and settled in for the night.

I have to first talk about the room at the Econolodge we stayed at. The first night was uneventful. I don’t have a bad memory of the cleanliness or anything. It was basic but the mattress wasn’t bad, and nothing grossed me out so it would have been somewhere I’d stay again. Emphasis on IT WOULD HAVE been.

On the evening of the second night after coming back from having dinner with Bear’s family, we get in our pajamas and settle in for some motel television. We keep hearing the sound of water dripping, but neither of us thinks much of it since we had taken showers. The dripping sounds like it’s getting more aggressive so I go investigate this obviously very leaky faucet. As soon as I turn on the bathroom light I tell Bear to come take look…

The raining ceiling became worse after taking the video. We informed the front desk and luckily they had another room only a few doors down we could move to. Now we understand that this isn’t necessarily the fault of the motel but the woman we spoke to the next morning in the office A) Had no idea this had happened, and B) Was acting like she could have been the person in the room above ours responsible for the flooding. The motel worker in charge the night before relayed back to us their findings, and they bluntly informed us a person entertaining themselves with some substance had fallen asleep and left the bathtub running. Alright, so not the motel’s fault, however, the morning staff probably should have been made aware of it. I was being a bit dramatic before because we would stay here again if there wasn’t any other option. Once I have a bad taste in my mouth about a place I try to avoid it, regardless of what occurred being directly the fault of the business or not. But, that’s just me.

Okay, let’s get to the food! Before we almost had a ceiling cave in on us we had dinner with Bear’s family at Fred’s Fish House, in Batesville, Arkansas. This was a night of firsts for me. We ordered Hushpuppies, fried green tomatoes, and frog legs. I had hushpuppies before but at a restaurant in California, so it didn’t really count. I had been wanting to try fried green tomatoes, honestly ever since 1991 when I saw the movie, Fried Green Tomatoes and discovered they were an edible thing that existed. Bear was the one that made sure we ordered frog legs. I remember when I was kid my mom who was born in Arkansas would rave about her love of frog legs. Personally, I can’t get over the fact that they are FROG LEGS. My desire to eat a frog leg has been nonexistent. But I was down to be a good sport and take on a new experience that may or may not make me spew vomit.

The hushpuppies on the upper left of the picture were delicious. I’m a cornbread lover and they’re basically fried cornbread balls. Fred’s Fish House served up some super tasty hushpuppy balls and these were miles better than the dry, flavorless balls I had in California. On the right of the above picture are the fried green tomatoes and I loved those as well. Bear guaranteed me this place wouldn’t disappoint with these babies and he was right. They reminded me of fried zucchini, only with more zing! Next, it was time to try the frog legs on the bottom left of the picture. For my first bite, I dunked that bad boy deeply in my cup of ranch dressing, closed my eyes and bit and chewed quickly, as if I was being timed. First off, ranch makes almost everything better, or at the very least masks flavor, and since I was still mentally freaked out about them being FROG LEGS I wasn’t giving my taste buds a chance to make an informed decision. With my second bite, I sucked it up and put it in my mouth without ranch and actually gave it time to touch my tongue. And………………………………………. it wasn’t thaaaaaaaaaaat bad. Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuut……………………………………………………. not something I’m super amped to have again. Not because of the restaurants presentation of them in any way, but because they are FROG LEGS.

The next morning after our exciting night at the Econolodge we had breakfast at a spot right next to the motel and ate some average and edible french toast, and then hit the road towards Memphis, Tennessee.

Guess which tourist attraction we’re about to hit next…

To be continued

Stay tuned for part 3…

#travelblog #traveling #roadtrips #foodreviews #roadsideattractions #acrossamerica #usatravel #humor #opinion

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Worlds Okayest Mom and Greatest Step Dad Diaries: When Mom is Sick

A couple weeks ago I wasn’t feeling well. My daughter and husband-to-be were trying to figure out what to have for dinner. Even though I wasn’t feeling my best I was having a craving for some cheap mediocre pizza, so my fiance (Bear) went out and grabbed two Little Caesars pizzas. I wasn’t about to do anything crazy like actually get out of bed, so we put the boxes on our bed and went to town inhaling pizza, while we all watched TV together. Best way to do pizza night I don’t care what anyone says.

It was no surprise to me that two days later the pizza boxes were still in our room with five pieces left in one box. Both of us remained a bit under the weather, with Bear a bit better off than myself. He had taken on most of the cooking, however come the third day of my being out of commission Bear had to be gone all day.

As usual my fifteen year-old was foraging for food. She comes in my room asking, “What’s going on with dinner?”

I lift my head from my pillow and tell her I don’t know yet. She turns her head towards the pizza boxes and says with shock and confusion, “Wow, you still have those?”

“Yep, and there’s still some pizza in one of the boxes.”

She opens the box and her big brown eyes widen in horror. “Why didn’t you put this in the refrigerator?”

“Do I look like I’m in any shape to be that responsible? Besides I thought I was going to snack on it here and there.”

A couple eye rolls later she asks, “Are they still good?”

“Ummmmmm…well it has been fairly cool in here, and I did take a few bites of a piece last night. But, this is day three soooooo…

We just stared at each for a moment. I knew where this was going and so did she. Neither of us sure of the consequences. Both of us aware there would be no turning back. Before I know it she has three pieces of pizza in her hands, and right before she walks out of the room I yell out a disclaimer, “You’re eating those at your own risk!”

You know, verbally releasing any fault and liability on my behalf.

I put my head back down on the pillow and tried to clear my mind of this crime against motherhood.

Some angry offended Mom Mob will be coming with torches and pitchforks any minute now. I’m certain the PMOA (Perfect Moms Of America) just heard everything.

If Facebook hears when I’m talking about DNA kits, and then I see nothing but DNA kit ads for the next 3 days every time I log on, then some Mom spy no doubt just listened in.

I decided to turn on the TV in an attempt to shut out the voices of guilt in my head. Did I really just let my daughter take and consume non refrigerated days old pizza? I’m horrified. My fiance surprisingly did not come home to me rocking back and forth in a corner whispering repeatedly, ‘I’m a good mom, I’m a good mom.’ The only thing I did do was continue to text her…yes from down the hall. C’mon, I wasn’t getting up unless I had to. Admittedly, I was sweating it out for a couple days, but after much prayer I’m happy to report she was just fine. However, to make up for it every night since my Bear and I have made home cooked meals…ok mostly him while I get better. He really has been taking excellent care of us.

We were going to start a new healthyish regiment anyway, with meals full of vegetables, so it worked out. Above is my Bear’s artichoke cream sauce chicken, and roasted veggies, with parmesan. (Damn, I love having a man who can cook.) I’m also happy to report my Mom guilt has officially passed, and I can now forget about it like it never happened…

My Dirty Secret

I feel like I have a dirty secret, even though nothing about it is dirty or much of a secret. It’s more like something I’ll throw out in conversation, but I definitely don’t go into much detail once it’s been brought up. Ok, so here it is (deep breath) I live with anxiety, and panic disorder (frequent panic attacks) with depression for the cherry on top. Insert eye roll for the people who think these are made up things that attention seekers proclaim they have. Trust me, I wish they were in the same category as unicorns and men who change the toilet paper roll. Unfortunately, some people add to the illusion that these mental health issues are a myth, and give us legit disorder having peeps a bad name. There are in fact those attention seeking basic bitches who love ugg boots with booty shorts in freezing temperatures, pumpkin spice lattes (nasty, no one makes a good one) wear way too much makeup, all around plastic and fake inside and out, and CAN NOT WAIT to tell you all about their anxiety and how shook they are because their latest Instagram selfie only got 8 likes, so they had to buy three new pairs of lululemon leggings to calm themselves down. ( I do love leggings though) But, enough about them.

When I was fairly young I knew what depression was. The circumstances I was living in as a child could chip away at any amount of joy or happiness that tried to make its way inside me. Sadness was so a part of daily life, that to me it was normal.

My father made every second of every day a lot more difficult than it needed to be. He was a bitter, angry and manipulative man. He never took a day off from his mental and emotional abuse. School wasn’t exactly a safe haven either. It’s the classic story of fat girl with glasses gets bullied. Ya know, mean girl (boss) tells mean girl (minion) to spit in my face, and then everyone has a good laugh. Classy, am-I-rite. However, was any of this the cause of my depression or was I born this way? I don’t know.

I didn’t know anything about anxiety, or panic disorders until 2012 at the age of thirty-four. I had my first full-blown physical panic attack three days after my mother died. I had every symptom of a heart attack and it sucked. I went to the doctor and had tests done and all that good stuff. For the next 2 years I was in and out of the doctor’s office quite frequently. Anxiety was now a part of my daily life and the panic attacks kept coming, so I started on some medication. I had also started doing extensive research on anxiety and panic disorders. And even though I don’t recall having a panic attack before that day, I started to realize anxiety may have been with me since my childhood. My mother would always call me a worry wort, or a nervous nelly. Turns out, it went a lot deeper than that. I felt I had it all under control for a while. The medication I was on seemed to be a good fit, and the first year I came off the meds everything seemed to be stable.

Unfortunately, my anxiety and panic attacks are currently far from under control anymore. It’s all back and worse than before, taking on different twisting, puzzle like forms. I-kid-you-not, looking up at a tall building has triggered a panic attack. Like, excuse me! How grossly rude is that! I mean seriously, I can’t even look up! Such bullshit. I can barely drive anymore, not that I was ever amped about it before, but now except for taking my kid to school it feels like an impossible task. Literally, impossible. That’s another thing everyone needs to understand. People with these mental health issues have limitations. They just do. It’s a shame that these legitimate limitations can make you appear selfish, stuck-up, lazy and sometimes even a crazy bitch. For instance if you ask someone with social anxiety to go to a party full of people they don’t know, and they explain that they can’t do that…listen to them. It is not that they won’t. They are not just nervous or shy. Now it doesn’t mean that they can’t work on it through therapy, or medication, and in their own time be ready to socialize the night away. Just remember, it is not something they can just chill out about. These mental prisons we live in will prevent us from doing things that are easy peasy for most people, including very regular, everyday things.

The real kicker for me right now is I’m actually happy. I’m absolutely positive this is the first time in fact that I’ve felt this elusive real contentment and happiness. (disclaimer: except of course when my daughter was born) Isn’t that just the cruel joke of the universe…you can without a doubt be blessed and depressed at the exact same time! Anxiety and depression have found a way to coexist in the same space as joy and happiness. Again…bullshit. I still thank God I found the most extraordinary human to share my life with. I literally could not have dreamed up a better and more supportive man. Of course we fight, we disagree, we have our stubborn moments, ya know like every relationship ever in the history of time and space. But, I have never felt more loved and cared for. It has been the most amazing shock of my life. There was this clear moment where I had the “happiness epiphany.” We had spent the whole day with my daughter, and they were really starting to bond. They were making fun of each other, they were ganging up on me…it was adorable. It was just a really good day. And on the drive home I was overwhelmed with a feeling, that made me think, ‘what the fuck is that?’ …Oh wow. Is this…happy?

Which makes it more difficult when you run into negativity of any kind. I must protect and guard my precious happy bubble like a newborn baby. I’m not a victim in any way, but after being born into a raw deal, and one bad circumstance after another, followed by poor choices, things that can only be categorized as learning experiences, paying my life dues one way or another, and never getting to live my own life, basically always having to do what other people wanted me to do. I have earned the right to be selfish. The good kind of selfish. Because, that is a real thing…I swear. For my own sanity I am no longer available for people pleasing until further notice. Which is actually EXTREMELY hard for me not to do. I like everyone to be pleased and content, and if I don’t do what someone wants me to do I feel like I’m letting them down. And that guilt leaves the door wide open for a heavy depression to set in.

I remember when I was 9 years old and my mom signed me up for swimming lessons. I was in a class of about 7 other girls my age. Our instructor was an arrogant 18-year-old boy. On the 2nd or 3rd day of class while we were practicing holding our breathe under water he starts to get angry and yells at me, “You’re not going deep enough under the water! I can still see the top of your head! Do it again!” Embarrassed, I do it again. When I come up for air he yells the same thing. I can feel my eyes getting ready to gush tears and the heat in my face from humiliation. Nonetheless, I do it again. When I come up he still isn’t satisfied. He comes over to me and without warning puts his hand on the top of my 9-year-old head and pushes down, and holds me there. I panicked under the water. When I was released I got out of the pool and walked out of the class, and waited for my mother in the locker rooms, who had seen everything from the bleachers.

That has been a large chunk of my life. Being forced under water. My ability to breathe has always seemed unimportant to the people around me. If I drown, I drown. So be it.

My mental and emotional health is important, and I have been trying to get to a point where I can say that with confidence, and without guilt. Any negativity, bad occurrence, running out of milk, irritating inconvenience, or one not-so-nice word from someone feels like an electric needle stabbing my brain, which then flows through my whole body. It’s like my brain says, ‘Oh hell no. That crap is not allowed under any circumstances. But since we are running into a problem let’s just get rid of all the good feelings we’re having and replace them with an ice pick in your head and crippling depression shall we.’ Cool.

The problem is with the anxiety being at an all time high and depression trying to be my best friend, I hate to say it, but my mind is too fragile. Not to be confused with being weak. I think another misconception is someone with anxiety/depression is mentally weak. And that is SO far from the truth. I simply have limits, which will not allow me to do certain things, or handle certain situations without some form of a breakdown. I can’t allow things anymore that will threaten my well-being. Even later that day when I had the “happy epiphany” something happened that wiped away my good, positive feelings. I wish I had the tools to not let that happen, but that isn’t the case right now. I can’t get on medication at the moment so I’m sorta just riding this out. I’ve been told to look into cbd oil, so I was going to do some reading on it.

This is crippling. This is debilitating. This is a prison. My mental health at the moment seems to be made of glass. A lovely, delicate, over priced glass vase in a well-to-do little shop run by arrogant, self-centered, snobby women and it must be protected at all costs or the owner will lose her effing mind, destroy everything in her path and end her journey heavily sedated in a mental hospital. However, the big bear like guard of the shop would never let that happen. (The man who is reading this as I type)

Thanks for reading!