Hello, faithful Aeron-chair travellers. I haven't blogged the past few days because we were staying and visiting with Gainesville friends; I am (a) respecting their privacy (they did not ask not to be blogged - I am just choosing not to put them in the position of declining to appear on my stupid blog and making them feel shabby when they quite rationally do) and (b) trying to restrict my blogging activities to times when they don't interfere with other experiences I should actually be having. No worries on that count right now; we're in the Comfort Inn Music Row in Nashville, TN after a nine-hour-plus day in the car. We got a nice early start this morning and arrived here at about 5 local time.
Can I just state for the record: Tennesee, you are a lovely beauty-queen of a state. Of all the attractive landscape we've driven through in this Great Nation Of Ours, Tennessee is the current belle of the ball, unseating even stunning North Carolina. Rivers, mountains, rock formations, picturesque trestle bridges, the whole ball of scenic wax. We found our cheap hotel with ease and are just a short hop downtown. If it weren't 100 degrees out, it would be a nice half-mile walk to the very picturesque neon-cowboy-boot center of everything. But we drove, to a place called the Old Spaghetti Factory for dinner. My Trusty Guidebook said that it would be a good place for the kids, and despite the fact that it's a chain (didn't know that before we went!), I figured the path of least resistance might be wisest after nine hours in the beige Camry. I also did not realize that there seems to be some sort of preseason football event happening in Nashville this evening, and the place was crawling with special-event-parking foofaraw and jaywalking fans. We felt right at home!
HUGE NEWS. Anyone who knows me even slightly knows that for the past year-and-a-half I have been mentally beating myself up for brazenly, a-holishly stealing someone's parking space almost one year ago this week. I've been passively surrendering parking spots to others in an attempt to atone but still felt guilty. This evening, I got a PERFECT, FREE on-street parking spot a block away from the restaurant. As I was waiting to back into the spot, another car was hovering and continued to hover as it seemed as though I wasn't going to be able to make it into the spot. I was, of course, parallel-parking being my one and only special talent. But here's the thing: the exact same circumstances arose, and the other party did not steal my spot! The universe appears to have forgiven me on this, the anniversary of my major sin. I am still truly sorry and will NEVER EVER EVER steal a parking spot again. It is simply not worth the guilt.
Our meal was uneventful except for the fact that we ate it inside a trolley car that was situated in the middle of the Old Spaghetti Factory's dining room. Ike did not eat his macaroni and cheese, opining that there is a fine line between mac and cheese (desirable) and fettucine Alfredo (despicable, to Ike). Neither boy likes Spumoni ice cream, which makes sense, since it tastes like nothing identifiable and its name sounds like a synonym for upchucking. But downtown Nashville is as charming as can be, even in the throes of football idiocy. As longtime residents of a town - and state- populated by slavering football morons from September to January, we are able to see Nashville as if all of the NFL-related activities are painted on a transparent cel which can be mentally peeled away from the entire city, showing us what a swell place it is when there isn't a game on. The boys are pictured above on a typically superb-looking Nashville street, on which every other storefront is vending some sort of cowboy gear. They have decided that their fondest desire is to own cowboy boots, which dad has vetoed. Cowboy shirts, however, may be on the agenda tomorrow.
Also on the agenda: fried chicken, barbecue, and Mexican popsicles. And sleeping late. And stalking both Jack White and his lovely wife Karen Elson, who seem to have forgotten that they were hosting their best Wisconsin friends these two days and did not leave the key under the flowerpot for us.