Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City has been running this ad where it compares itself to Houston, New York, Chicago and L.A. In the end, it says something about visiting the newest big league city: OklaHOMa City.

Having lived in both Chicago and LA, I’m not sure I’d equate OKC with a city of those standards, but coming from our town of 65,000, OKC is big enough for now.

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A couple of weeks ago, we decided to sneak away for a quick weekend break, just the three of us. We cashed in some of the husband’s hotel points for two nights in a Holiday Inn, and headed out Friday after work. The little person in the family usually goes to bed at 7. I didn’t think he’d fall asleep in the car, but I hoped we could stop for dinner, get to the hotel and put him to bed by 8.

On this night, my ATT phone decided to stop accessing the data network for some reason. Except I didn’t quite know it yet. So we packed up the kid, hopped in the car and headed out of town. I asked my husband if he’d printed out direction to the hotel, or even looked up the address. He said he was counting on our phone to get us there. I tried to map it, but the map wasn’t working, and I figured the network was just down for a little while.

Over the next two hours of driving, I kept trying, to no avail. I had also planned to find a place to eat using my phone. So there we were, suddenly in Oklahoma City, with no idea where we were going, and a tired, hungry kid who had burned through all the snacks I had brought.

Finally we pulled over on to a deserted street. I can’t say there weren’t some spicy words coming from my side of the car. We pulled out the map, saw the street we were looking for, but still had no idea of the address. We headed for the street and had to pull into a gas station to ask for directions. It was one of those gas stations with bars on the windows and a big lock on the door, and I watched a few interesting people drift in and out while the husband asked for directions.

The kid, of course, was wide-eyed and deliriously awake. We finally made it to the hotel, and after several more mishaps with finding something to eat, we finally settled the baby in a pack and play in the room, while we ate our dinners crouched in the hotel hallway in front of our room.

Saturday morning we headed for a nearby outlet mall, where the little kid scored big with some jammies and a new pair of sandals, (which he hates.) We headed back to the hotel so he could nap in the bathroom, and the big kids indulged in some cable TV, a big luxury for us.

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That afternoon, we headed to Bricktown to wander around.

We wandered along the little fake canal and watched the ducks and wandered in a few stores. It started to get pretty cold, but we soldiered on, stopping at the gelato and candy store before wandering to a new children’s garden next to the botanical garden.

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On the way back to the car, we stopped and shared a cupcake before heading back to the hotel and hitting the pool for a little while before bed.

The little guy loved it.

Sunday we got going slowly, intending to hit the OKC zoo on the way out of town before lunch. I think my expectations for the zoo were a little too high, since the last zoo I was at was the San Diego zoo. And our little guy was a little too small to appreciate what he was seeing.

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He saw this guy and said, “Meow.”

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“Look! Elephants!”

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“Uh, guys? Are you going to leave me here all day?”

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So these two elephants are sisters, and the baby belongs to the smaller sister, I believe.

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The signs said the father was an elephant from Tulsa. I was all excited thinking about how the zoo-keepers carted Mr. Elephant down to Oklahoma City for a romantic rendezvous, until my friend Megan pointed out they didn’t need to be in the same location to impregnate Mrs. Elephant.

Oomph. Talk about a reality check.

We planned to stop at Pops for lunch on the way home, but when we arrived, we realized that was a really bad idea on a Sunday afternoon. It was slammed with the after church Sunday lunch crowd. Pops is basically a glorified gas station with a store and a restaurant inside. Outside they have something like a 50-foot soda bottle sculpture that lights up. The walls of Pops are made of glass, and lined with soda bottles of every shape and color. The restaurant serves overpriced diner style food, and the convenience store sells the requisite junk food, soda of all kinds and Oklahoma memorabilia. Not really worth the trip, unless you’re a big soda buff.

With that, we were on the road home again, and the kid actually fell asleep for about an hour on the way home.

Oklahoma City? It’s not really what I’d call a big league city, but it was a nice little break in the routine for us.

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