When my sister and her husband said they were coming to visit me, I didn’t realize I would be a chauffeur to two shopping fiends! After concluding their business conference in San Antonio, I picked them up. That was after they’d hit two cowboy boot shops. A cousin of ours, the same cousin who had chauffeured them to the two boot shops, took us to a yummy Mexican restaurant. My brother-in-law figured that since he wasn’t driving, he’d have two strawberry margaritas.
The next morning, I dropped them off at a shopping mecca to get their early fix when I went to my doctor’s appointment. When I returned, I was then introduced to the mystical world of Panama hats (which actually originated in Ecuador), hat boxes, hat sizing and choosing the perfect hat for one’s body shape.
We spent a little too much time in the hat shop and was a bit late for our lunch date with another cousin who’d driven to Austin from Atlanta to spend the week with her boyfriend. Another thing that delayed us was a sudden downpour, which everyone blamed on the recent tornadoes for stirring things up. Along with those two things, I parked in the first available spot that was about 6 blocks away or a mile and a half if one listened to my brother-in-law.
We were soaked even with our umbrellas, but at least we had a table waiting for us. A bonus came in form of one of my favorite samba teachers who was a server there. She had just got off work and was closing her tickets, but not before giving us a complimentary sampling of antipasta.
I ended up ordering two glasses of malbec and the creamiest bowl of gnocchi I’ve ever had the pleasure of having in my mouth. Turns out, it was my cousin’s 28th birthday; so we had our server put a candle on a wedding cookie and my sister sang a jazzed up happy birthday song.
Given a 50-50 chance, I initially led everyone in the wrong direction to the costume shop where I wanted to rent a Superman outfit for my upcoming Austin Writers Roulette. Yet even the downpour couldn’t put a damper on the fun we had in the fabulously entertaining shops on South Congress. No matter how whacky the store, my sister and her husband still managed to find boots.
As a matter of fact, there were two boot stores they wanted to hit on South Congress, which was convenient since that’s where the costume shop was. I knew that I couldn’t afford to drop hundreds to thousands of dollars on a pair of cowboy boots, but I was mildly affected by boot fever, which I attribute mostly to the delightfully dizzying smell of leather.
After I tried on several different Superman and Supergirl costumes, I finally settled on a Supergirl costume with some glorious red go-go boots, which I would’ve taken a picture of except there was a sign forbidding me to do so. I was feeling pretty rule-abiding at the time; so I’ll have have to wait until I’m completely decked out for the show for pictures.
The second boot shop, which was lesser known and not truly on anyone’s hit list, was closed by the time we got to it. Nonetheless, we continued north on South Congress until we were in the heart of downtown Austin. My sister and her husband wanted to check out the downtown location of the hat shop where they’d shopped in north Austin. The only landmark that we had to find it was across the street from the oldest hotel in Austin.
The hat shop was a bust, but I escorted my visitors a few blocks on the infamous 6th street just so we could say we did. The heavy rain and the time of day meant that the freaks had not come out to play, but my guests weren’t too interested in people-watching anyway. Despite the fact that we’d just eaten about two hours earlier, my brother-in-law bought a slice of pizza from a place that boasted the 16th best pizza in the US. All I can say is if that was #16, the #1 pizza must give one an outright orgasm.
The next morning, I made a light breakfast and took my visitors to the 10 am capoeira class, which happened to be the advanced kids’ class.
I had warned my capoeira teachers that I was bringing a couple of 50-somethings; so I wanted them to go easy. I further told my sister and her husband to modify the moves by not going so low to the ground.
I’m happy to report that not only did they survive, but they actually completed the entire class. I also told my sister that that class was my revenge for her forcing me to see a movie that I had not wanted to see.
We cleaned ourselves up, ate then went to tango class. I knew people would be shocked to see me since I hadn’t been in tango class for 9 months.The tango teacher even jokingly introduced herself to me after I’d made introductions. My brother-in-law never rotated to dance with other women, but at least he and my sister had enjoyed the class and got to test out the basics.
Of course, we went to another boot store, followed by its second location down in the south part of Austin, where my sister got a second pair of boots, which turned out to be kids’ boots–perfect for her tiny feet and cost about $40 less. Before we did anything else, I demanded that we take an ice cream break. After all, I always make a trip to the famous locally made ice cream shop for everyone who visits me.
Then we hit my favorite thrift store that has never let me down whenever I’m looking for an outfit. My sister had it in her head that she wanted a particular country western shirt, but she ended up empty-handed. I think she was too exacting in her search. My brother-in-law, by contrast, found his country western shirt and even a shirt for my nephew.
Next up: BBQ. I took them to my old standby place, which doubled as a gas station and was near their temptation–the mall. I told them no matter what else they got, they had to try the extra moist brisket and creamed corn. My brother-in-law proceeded to order far too much food, but I’m not complaining since I’m going to enjoy a couple of days of leftovers.
After recharging, we headed to the mall. Fortunately, we didn’t have too long to shop since the mall was closing in two hours!
This morning, I ended their visit with a trip to one of my favorite Sunday brunch places. I knew that we’d be seated relatively soon since there wasn’t a huge crowd on the balcony. One thing that I had never thought to ask a server was if the alcoholic beverage that the restaurant was named after was actually served there. Leave it to my brother-in-law to inquire. We split two shots of it, which meant he had one and a half shots since my sister and I just took polite sips of the shot we shared.
As a drove them to the San Antonio airport, I saw a sign for yet another location of one of their favorite boot shops and I teased them about how we weren’t going to stop shop. I felt a little bad about that since my sister called about thirty minutes after I’d dropped them off at the airport, saying how there wasn’t much shopping to be had at the airport.
Yet, they cannot truly say that they failed in having a shopping good time. At this point, I don’t even want to buy my usual gas and groceries since I’m so shopped out!