Monday, August 18, 2014

August 17th Challenge

Sorry for the delay in posting this. I had most of it written yesterday morning, but I ran out of time, because I had to leave to get to my cousin’s house. I’ll post this one now, and I’ll post today’s blog in a little while. (There won’t be two challenges, just this one.)

Hi it’s Christina –

Good morning from a soggy Arlington – day four.

In less than an hour, we head to Austin to visit my cousin Debbie and her husband Leo. We’re supposed to get there around noon, but I’m wondering if the weather is going to make the trip take longer. It could go either way. The thunderstorms could keep the traffic down. It’s supposed to be rainy and cruddy for most of the day here, yet the weather report for Austin says sunshine with the slight possibility of a late afternoon thundershower. I guess we’ll see.

So yesterday we tried to figure out some things we could do but still keep walking down to a minimum. We decided to start with the Reunion Tower in downtown Dallas. It was pretty neat, but I don’t think it was worth the $16 for the ticket. However, if we had realized, the $23 for the tower and lunch combo would have been worth it. You get any lunch item off the menu and one non-alcoholic drink in addition to admission to the GeoDeck. Sandwiches were all in the $10 range and drinks were $4 (I think). We had other plans for lunch though.

From there we drove around a tiny bit. I wanted to see the Book Depository and the Grassy Knoll. We didn’t get out – I was not going to deal with parking, and it was over 100 already. I know the story well, so I doubt I would have learned anything new, but now I can say I saw where it actually happened.

Next on our agenda was to see if we could see where one of my hubby’s favorite shows was filmed. We had no clue if we would even be able to get close, but we wanted to try. Even if we just snapped a photo of the place from the road, Paulie would have been happy. (Like the photo I have of me in front of the T.A.P.S. headquarters.) We were pleasantly surprised. Smart boys that they are, they set up a small parking area for guests and… of course… a gift shop. We didn’t get anything from the gift shop - $25 for a t-shirt is a bit much – but we did get some photos.

On to lunch. Where else would we go? The place was PACKED. The prices were not crazy - $11 for a chopped brisket sandwich and fries. Most of the lunch items were between $9 - $12 and served with fries. We ate at the bar. Our bartender was great, very attentive and polite, even though he was swamped. You could tell he enjoyed his job, and that was refreshing. Yeah, he got a nice tip.

We went back to the hotel for a little while so my husband could rest his foot before we had to leave for the game. The hotel set up a taxi, yellow cab to be exact, to pick us up at 5:00 for the game, and verified the rate of $14 for the two of us. A few minutes before five, we went down to the lobby and the guy at the front desk said Ralph should be there in a few minutes to pick us up.

A yellow cab pulls up right on time, and I say, “Are you Ralph?” and the driver says, “Yes.”, so we get into the cab. We aren’t even out of the parking lot when he starts talking on his phone. No, he did NOT have a hands free device. He finally shuts up so I could tell him we didn’t know what time the game is over so we couldn’t give him an exact pick up time. He said when the place lets out, he’d never find me, but I would have no problems getting a cab.

That’s when I said, but we wouldn’t get one at the $14 price we were quoted. Then he says the regular fee is $45, but he could do it for $25. It was a minimum price set by the company. (Please keep in mind our hotel is just shy of three miles away from the stadium.) Good grief!

So then I ask that if we wait a while after the game, if he would be able to find us then – I’m still thinking that $25 is better than $45. He said yes, and hands me his card so I could call him. Guess what? The name on the card is not Ralph. I question him, and he says he answers to anything passengers call him. Warning bells start going off in my head.

We get close to the stadium and go to hand him the $14 and he says no, it’s $25. I gave my husband a look that said, whatever, let’s just get the heck out of here, he handed him the money, and we got out of the cab. Great, now our total trip was going to cost $70 and we could have got a discounted parking pass for $65, and brought our own dang car. UGH!

We got scammed. Whatever, I was not going to let it mess up Paulie’s night. We walk over to the gate, get through security, the guard scans our tickets, and tell us we have to go to another gate. I start to tell her about my husband’s ankle, and the lady goes to call over someone else to help, and my thick headed husband tells her never mind. He was not going to take a wheelchair, he would walk. I wanted to shoot him, but I bit my lip – again, not wanting to spoil his day. We trudged our way nearly half way around the stadium before we found the gate we were supposed to enter.

We got in, grabbed drinks, and found our seats. The game was good. At one point the Cowboys were down 34 – 10, but they rallied, and we thought they would actually make a comeback. Their second string quarterback wasn’t doing squat, but they put some serious points up on the board when their third string quarterback started to play. The final score ended up being 37 – 30 Ravens, and the last quarter was really exciting to watch.

There was one player on Dallas’ defense who was on fire. He wore #79 and his last name was Minter. Other than that, I know nothing about the guy, but he was impressive. He was making tackles right and left. It was like he had laser tracking on the ball. Wherever it went, he went. I think he ended up getting credited with two sacks, or at least one sack and one hurry, and he caused one fumble which the Cowboys recovered. The guy’s got some serious skills.

Our seats were great. We were in the third row in the end zone. The Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders would come up on the apron right in front of our seats and cheer. Check out this photo.

The game ended. I could tell Paulie was a little sad that his dream was over, but he was still smiling over the experience. Eventually we made our way out of the stadium, only to find the party going on outside the doors. They had hip-hop dancers, a DJ, and a live band. Supposedly the party goes on for two hours after every game. Not like that for my team’s games, that’s for sure. When the game is over, they are like ‘get your junk and go the heck home’.

So now, here we were, the game was over, and we still had no idea how we were going to get back to the hotel. I suggested we walk. I was being catty. If my hubby was okay not to need a wheelchair at the stadium, his ankle must have miraculously healed. (I had zero intention of walking back to the hotel.) I called up the hotel, told them what had happened, and Ashlee at the front desk arranged for us to get picked up – for $18, not $45.

When we get back to the hotel, I gave Ashlee the card the unscrupulous driver gave me, and she was going to file a complaint. A little while later, I ran out to our car to get something, and there, in the parking lot was another guest, arguing with a Yellow Cab driver over getting charged a much higher rate than he was quoted. So, here’s my public service announcement – if you are in Arlington, Texas, don’t use Yellow Cap. They are a bunch of crooks trying to take advantage of the visitors.

I hope you have a fabulous day, and happy writing!

Your Next Challenge is:

Lightning pierced the sky…

You have ten minutes (be honest). There is no right or wrong, just write. Spelling and punctuation don’t count, and NO ONE is allowed to criticize what someone else has written. Go.