Been an interesting first week back in the home state and my beloved hometown while I was impatiently waiting to get back on line.
I hung out with Polar in his room just west of Reliant Stadium on Loop 610 to act as his tour guide. The first sight I saw when I arose on my first morning as an H-town resident in almost nine years was the stadium and a gigantic flag pole with a just as huge Texas flag fluttering in the warm breeze.
Of course I had to take Polar to all my fave gastronomic haunts here, starting with Katz's Deli, the 59 Diner and ending with Frenchy's Creole Chicken at the original location on Scott Street. We met up Tuesday night with Vanessa and Sid at the Goode Company Barbecue location on the Katy Freeway.
Still haven't been to Shipley's yet, but that's up the street and I got my Shipley's fix in during the holidays. But Harlon's Barbecue is definitely calling my name.
Polar jetted back to Da Ville Wednesday afternoon from Hobby Airport to finish the rest of his vacation week after we downloaded the van on Monday.
I accompanied my grandmother and uncle later that afternoon to an H.E.B. grocery store on OST and Scott. My 30 year high school reunion isn't happening until October, so I wasn't expecting during this first week back home to see any of my classmates.
Lo and behold, on my way out of the store I bump into Kim Dillard. (Yes, Kim, I'm going to call you). I've known her and her sis Crystal since Kim and I were fourth graders, and Kim still looks as beautiful as she did when she was our homecoming queen.
Come to think of it, I have a long list of people I need to call this week as well.
I'm still unpacking stuff and getting adjusted to the changes that have occurred in H-town since I left. The Southwest Freeway through Montrose is now ten below ground lanes instead of an elevated six lanes. The Katy Freeway now has 10 lanes and the Westpark Toll Road is built and operational.
Compaq Center is now Lakewood Church's new sanctuary and the malls as I knew them before I left have radically changed thanks to all the retail industry mergers and acquisitions.
I went through my old southwest Houston neighborhood with Polar after visiting Ness and it has changed as well. Loft apartments are everywhere, especially in the Uptown and Midtown areas.
Polar and I drove down to Galveston, and in addition to the I-45 causeway now being widened, thanks to Hurricane Ike the city is an interesting mix of new construction in some areas and some buildings looking like they did after Ike whacked them.
Galveston just days ago voted in Joe Jaworski as its new mayor. If the name sounds familiar to you, yes, he's the grandson of famed Houston attorney Leon Jaworski.
I got to ride the METRORail light rail line during my Christmas visit, but I'm just now getting to see the development in the various neighborhoods along the METRORail Main Street Line. Construction is underway on the North, East End, and Southeast METRORail expansions that is supposed to be finished in 2012.
An Uptown Line running through the Galleria area and the University Line are scheduled to start construction as well and also be completed by 2012. The coolest part about the Southeast line is that it terminates six blocks from where I'm living now.
One thing that pissed me off was seeing the empty field where the Six Flags AstroWorld amusement park once stood. Thanks Six Flags for another fine mess.
Some of the long time television news teams I grew up with are seeing retirements and sadly, a few deaths. Marvin Zindler being gone is the biggest change along with KIAH-39 not only changing its call letters, but having a news program.
The radio scene has changed as well. A new FM gospel station called Praise 99.1 is on the dial and longtime legendary rock station KLOL-FM 101.1 is now a Latino pop station.
I'm having to get adjusted to being back on Central time after living in the Eastern time zone for eight years. I'm also looking forward to treating myself to a belated birthday baseball game at Minute Maid Park. It was Enron Field when I left.
Even Continental changed and is in the process of merging with United Airlines.
Oh well, one thing stayed the same. Mattress Mack is still 'saving you money'.