August 23, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday - Vol. 35 (Vacation Edition)

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We packed up the two kids, an Odyssey full of food and stuff, and headed west for a mini family vacation last Friday. I wasn't brave enough to take the family cross country to Walley World, so instead we just went about 40-miles west to Lake Travis for a few days. (Does 40-miles even count as going out of town?) We stayed at a lakefront vacation condo. Well, it used be near the lakefront, but the lake is about 45-feet lower than it's supposed to be thanks to the drought.

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My face brightened as we checked into the condo when the clerk said, "Do you like beer?"  I said sure, perhaps expecting him to pull out a complimentary six pack as a welcoming gesture. But actually he was asking if we like deer. So he gave us a condo with a back door/windows overlooking the shuffle board court which also doubles as a deer feeding area. Every morning and evening a herd of deer showed up right outside our back door and waited for people to feed them deer chow (corn) which the office sold for 50-cents a bag. It was a little strange having deer stare at us every day. But we got used to it.

Our backdoor view
Deer-watching position

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To amuse our children, I bought a bag of corn and we participated in the feeding one day. The deer were very gentle eating out of my hand. But they left me with a gross handful of deer spit. Even though this was a sanctioned feeding (based on whatever authority a condo association has), the idea of feeding wild animals still made me uncomfortable. Doesn't this upset the balance of nature?

Where the deer and the antelope play (minus the antelope)

The deer were fun to watch for the first couple of days. Then after that it was like Oh great, the deer are here again. (I italicized since my iPad doesn't have a sarcasm font.)

--- 4 ---
The condo had some interesting decor. Check out the black fixtures in the master bathroom. I nicknamed the toilet La Toilette Noir. The bathroom had mirrors on three of its walls. So it was a little creepy to be, ahem, doing your business and looking around to seeing yourself in all directions. By the way, if you ever stay at unit 2004 in The Shores at Lake Travis, the toilet in the master bathroom keeps running unless you jiggle the handle.

La Toilette Noir - Don't forget to jiggle the handle

--- 5 ---
One of the more adventurous things we did on our vacation was dine at a restaurant called the Gnarly Gar. Why was it adventurous? We had to scale this perilously steep ramp (with a baby stroller) just to get in and out of the place. It may not look steep in the picture, but they should give every diner a souvenir safety harness and other rock climbing gear. 

Advanced rock climbing/restaurant entrance
Anyway, like some other restaurants on Lake Travis, the food at the Gnarly Gar wasn't too good, but the attraction was that the entire restaurant sits on a floating dock, and children can feed their leftovers to this ravenous school of hungry catfish.

The fish that ate our leftovers (and everybody else's)

When these fish die, they should perform a necropsy and see what effect french fries and nachos have on marine life.

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My seven-year old daughter's favorite part of the vacation was her bedroom. Her room in the condo had two twin beds in it. And she absolutely loved having me sit on one bed and her sit on the other while we tossed bean bags (and occasionally a balloon) back and forth to each other. The truly special daddy-daughter moments in life don't need to be elaborate. Sometimes the simplest things are the best and most memorable. 

--- 7 ---
Appropriately, the nearest Catholic church to our almost-lakefront condo was called St. Mary, Our Lady of the Lake. It was a small and very welcoming parish when we attended Mass on Sunday. Right before it started, the pastor walked in, got everyone's attention and asked if there were any visitors so he could exchange witty banter with them in front of everybody. Of course, as an introvert I did not raise my hand. While I would have been good at the witty banter, I don't like to draw attention to myself. But my wife decided to out us by raising her hand. However, the priest didn't see her since we were sitting near the back by the cry room. But I learned a valuable lesson. The deacon's homily was all about how being a good Christian means not sitting back and being comfortable but constantly stepping out of your comfort zone. Touche'.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary.


  1. I had to stop for a visit base don the name of your blog. I just found an article this week, 23 Tips You May Be a Secret Introvert. I read it with my teen daughters who laughed and gasped as they were able to see a piece of momma in each number.

    Looks like you all had a great vacation! How neat to see the deer so up close and personal.

    3-2-1 Party

    1. It was fun to see the deer. But I still had the thought in my mind that these were wild animals.