Chris and I worked out immediately after breakfast this morning (Chocolate Chip Muffins). We did pull which is not my favorite but I always feel kind of buff afterward. The kids and I headed out for the Blanton Museum of Art which has free admission on Thursdays! It’s on the University of Texas campus here in Austin just a few miles from our RV. We loved it! We checked out the current exhibit of art from the Renaissance period of Augsberg, German, their own collection of Italian Rennaissance art, a gallery on art restoration, and another with reproductions of Greek and Roman statues. The kids had some questions about the condition of the statues which were answered by a wandering museum worker and then we were directed toward a tethered iPad in a sturdy frame which had a complete unit on the origins of the original statues, the origins of the reproductions, their important history for the students of the college and the community, and how they’re made. Wow- the times they are a-changin’. We’re learning on iPads at the art museum. I was bored long before the kids and before we knew it, our meter was expiring and we had to head out to the car.
We had packed some snacks – carrot sticks with hummus, clementines, cheddar, ham slices, and trail mix – so we munched on those and chatted before heading to our next destination – The Goodwill Outlet. It was about a 15 minute drive to the South Austin location and the parking lot was packed. The building houses the outlet as well as the resource center so I wasn’t sure which the majority of the cars were for but we grabbed the cart nearest our car and I braced the kids for what had the potential to be thrift store mayhem. And it was controlled mayhem, for sure. It’s a giant warehouse room with rows of rolling carts piled high with clothes, home textiles, housewares, books, and toys. And it was loaded with serious thrift store shoppers. Now, I am a serious thrift store shopper. I’m good, I’m fast, and I can spot a great deal. I can I.D. a size without looking, spot a stain, or a tiny hole, and get a whole new wardrobe for myself and my daughter (boys are so much harder to find stuff for but we do find odds and ends for them) like it’s nothing on the cheap. BUT, this was no ordinary off-the-rack thrift store. This one involved digging. It took Sadie and I a few minutes to find a method and a groove. There’s no checking everything in the bin – especially while others are digging, too. So we got really adept at spotting, grabbing, and throwing back. We are also, apparently, really good at spotting each other’s styles so we did double duty as we searched. Elijah was a little overwhelmed and never really got a groove. He did, however, get a couple of great finds during his sporadic hunting and loitering which made the whole ordeal very worthwhile. When we’d felt sufficiently tapped on shopping, we retreated to an edge of the store and did a final sort of our items. Many went back in the bin but we did come away with a great many treasures. They’ll still need to stand up to the try-on test but that’ll wait until we wash everything. We pushed the cart to one of the LONG lines at the registers and I stood there trying to see the protocol since the pricing is $1.39 per pound. The cashier just looked at me smiling until I said, “I don’t really know what to do here.” We put all of our purchases into a cart that was apparently on a floor scale next to the register. $19.58. Man, that’s exciting. Seriously. Thrift store shopping is like a treasure hunt and winning on a scratch ticket all at once. What a rush.
When we got home, we laid out all of our purchases for Chris. He was almost finished with work and I needed to grab a few items at Whole Foods for dinner tomorrow night. So we all headed the few blocks over that way and hit our favorite Amy’s Ice Cream. It did not disappoint. Our ice cream was flipped, dressed, and tossed behind the back and in the air. Not only is it delicious, it’s the most fun ice cream ever! Then we walked back to Whole Foods. Even the kids love grocery shopping there. It’s a full sensory experience. Sure, you’ll spend a week’s income on a bag of groceries if you’re not careful but you’ll have fun doing it. I’m not used to shopping there so we really did get the full experience wandering around and around and in and out of the aisles. We got our few items at very usual natural foods store prices and came back to the RV (after trying to go to the big recycling center in town during rush hour- that was dumb).
So, guess what?! As I was dropping our trash in the dumpster yesterday, I noticed that the fifth wheel parked adjacent belongs to some friends we met in Orlando last winter! Their names are printed on the side and the plates are Canadian (my hints). They’re from Ontario and were newly fulltime on the road at that time doing the snowbird thing. What are the chances we’d be parked diagonally from each other in Austin, TX at this tiny RV park? I never would have guessed. I sent them an e-mail – “Hey! We’re neighbors!” They’re here for a KOA owners/managers meeting at the convention center so we haven’t seen them. They were walking to the laundry as we got out of the car tonight. Their daughter came over for an impromptu playdate and they stopped by for a drink. If we’ve learned one thing from life on the road, time is fluid and the way you plan things is almost never how it turns out. It turns out better! We really enjoyed our conversation with them and the kids loved reconnecting with their daughter. I’m still shaking my head at the synchronicity. We’re at this park for about the same amount of time, coming and going, so I’m sure we’ll get together again.
Now I’m planning my Friday – a day filled with laundry, tidying up, and cooking in preparation for dinner guests!