***written in the Delta Sky Club, hidden in a squishy cube chair drinking cucumber mint water (snob) because anymore wine this weekend might kill me****
I’m heading back to COLA. This weekend was a whirlwind…and not because lack of Delta pilots in Atlanta made my flight come in five hours later making me miss my dinner with C. Boyd…but because per usual I packed in as much awesome as I could handle. There was one inhibitor, my allergies. Apparently, I am very allergic to mold (I found out what was in the air later…I spent 24 hours thinking I was allergic to TX in general). One step off the plane in San Antonio…that little portion from the plane door to the walkway…and I started sneezing uncontrollably, oozing out the nose and my right eye showed how sad it was at the situation by constantly dripping tears. All aboard the hot mess express! I was so bad the lady checking my rental out at Alamo (it was $80 for my long weekend…..serious steal) gave me a five mile it’s how to survive Texas lecture. I kept sneezing all the way to Vinnys and she pumped me full of mead, Benadryl and eventual NyQuil….which subsiding the sneezing and slowed the dripping and tearing so I could sleep.
I woke up still a mess but went to breakfast to see Colleen anyways, who just moved to SA but was leaving back to CO for a wedding and missing the promo ceremony (seriously what are the odds of that timing?). We met at Magnolia Pancake Haus (one of my favorites). Apparently, on Friday mornings at the new second location, you can wait less than 20 minutes instead of the normal 1.5 hours (its that good). We stuffed our faces with awesome food (pulled pork BBQ eggs Benedict on biscuits and bacon pancakes anyone?) (dangit….I’m hungry again just talking about it). We were good this time and managed to take a picture together (dripping had stopped for a bit and luckily I could make it through without a sneeze).
I made it back to Vinnys house (barely…sneezing on the road freaks me out with crazy TX drivers). I had to cancel lunch with C. Boyd out of sheer lameness and not knowing how I was going to survive the promotion ceremony. I woke up with enough strength to hide the hot mess I was and drive across town for the ceremony…..sneezing the whole way….I was a little early and my buddy Chuck came down to catch up. This is why I love the military. Everywhere you go there will be someone awesome there to say hi to.
I got to the family/friends room and got my big Jay Jay hug and gave her one for Colleen and a big one for Steve picking her up off the floor (even BEFORE he texted me to do so). I didn’t think I was going to know anybody there but was SO WRONG. It was like a mini reunion from my first base. Sandy, Terina, and Linda came down from Wichita Falls and Dallas. Col Bovasso (my second squadron commander) walked in. Followed by Rease…then Bri who I worked with in HI….followed by Amanda from school. Jay Jay’s kids came in and M’Quela called me out for not saying hi but I was really just standing there in shock with how big they are from the last time I saw them (she is still 11 in my mind….college age is hard for me to wrap my head around). There ceremony was great. A little bit of roasting of Jay Jay from her friends all over the world (like getting her and three other women trapped in a revolving door with their bags on the way to a deployment….which made me laugh bc there’s something about the Philly airport that does stuff like that to you. I accidentally dumped my seven giant bags in the middle of the street there). And her kids didn’t believe that she needed to punch her arms to tack on the stripes.
I’m so happy I was able to come down and see this. Jay Jay is an incredible leader, mentor, and friend. This promotion was well deserved! Cheers to the newest Chief!
I had to leave the reception after about 1.5 hrs because I realized Vinny and I hadn’t discussed how she would get into her place when I had her only key and I locked her out. I came back to get her and I finally got more allergy meds to help make me feel better and we headed to Jose’s for dinner. We started counting like the Count from Sesame Street every time I sneezed (muah ah ah) but stopped after 12 because it was just getting sad. Jose prepared a huge spread for us. He grilled all afternoon (steak, pork, chicken), made us fresh whole wheat tortillas, rice and beans (cooked with Shiner) and did his best to put us into a food coma. He was successful. I had a solid couch nap trying to digest after (picture below taken 10 min before I thought laying down was waaaay better than sitting).
Saturday was spent wine tasting all day in Hill Country. Vinny, Mel, Lisa and I carpooled up to Fredricksburg (Facebook is amazing btw…I said I was in SA and was able to meet up with girls I hadn’t seen in years!).
We started with Becker Vineyards. Wine glass and six tastings all free for military! Plus a tour! Apparently west Texas has ideal temps for growing grapes and the wine industry is booming. Wine tastes pretty good too.
There were 60 wineries all around one small town! We wandered around Fredricksburg for lunch and stopped at Vaudeville in the search for some other restaurant. We were drawn in by the menu and ended up staying for a few hours eating and drinking and talking. We pulled ourselves away from the amazing and went to Messina Hof winery where there was another military discount and we got more wine (this place had a lot more sparkling choices). The heat was starting to get to us so we headed back shortly after.
I didn’t think I was going to be able to go out after….but somehow I mustered the strength and powered through. Vinny and I ended up staying until 2….closing down Wild Fish grill, going to her pool and being the only weirdos dancing there in the middle of the night.
This morning she forced brunch on me at Whiskey Kitchen. Somehow, they got us in and out in less than 30 min and I had some of the best food I’ve had in San Antonio. Recommendation: the whiskey cake will change your life, jalapeño biscuits, deviled eggs and breakfast BLT will keep you satisfied as you pass out on your entire flight to Atlanta and are waiting to board your flight to COLA.
Alright friends. If you aren’t hungry now (or heading to the restaurants as we speak)…I’ve done something wrong. Enjoy your week. See you soon ✨