There were a couple of interesting e-mails in my inbox the other day. Hubby sent them. Two of his co-workers had just returned from their summer vacations and were sharing some awesome photographs. One went to France and the other to Costa Rica. The amazing views and scenery absolutely took my breath away. Anyone out there know CPR?  I’m so glad there are people not participating in the recession. Heck, I have a couple of kids that are doing their part as well. Katie and Ricky left recently for a three-week backpacking trek to Peru. It was all Katie’s idea. She wanted to take a “trip of a lifetime” with her little brother after his college graduation. That is, before life gets in the way and the Air Force claims him for a number of years. They have been talking about “the trip” for about a year, although initially they weren’t exactly sure of the destination. First, it was Siberia … then India. And no … I am not kidding.   “What the heck is wrong with taking a trip to the Grand Canyon … or how about some nice country in Europe? You know, I hear Canada is really nice that time of year,” I stammered.     I guess they finally decided the discussion was causing their parents so much distress, the bulging neck arteries were probably a subtle hint, they finally settled on Peru … because, according to Katie, it would be fun and cheap.    “Hostels only cost 10 bucks a night,” reasoned Katie.  “That’s great sweetie. I hope this means you will be staying in five-star hostels,” I countered, referring to an experience she had with her brother while in Barcelona last year. Katie refused to pay extra for sheets and a pillow during their one-star hostel stay.   “It was the principle. Hostels don’t normally charge for such things,” said Katie.   As their Peru trip got closer, I wasn’t so sure this was going to indeed be a cheap trip. Local camping outfitters like Gander Mountain and REI have prospered from my children’s needs for serious backpacks, hiking boots, special water bottles and water purifying stuff, to name a few off the top of my noggin’.  Oh, and that reminds me of fond memories of the Saturday morning Ricky and his dad drove over to Gander Mountain off Interstate 45 for hiking boots. Now my boys are not into shopping … at all. Let us just say if malls were the only way of contracting the bubonic plague, the boys would never get it. Not the case with the girls in the Frantz family.   I pretty much gave them a general idea where Gander Mountain was located south of Splash Town and set a ways back on the same side of the freeway. That little hint and the address punched into hubby’s GPS and I thought surely the two of them would have no problem. That was until I got the phone call.  “Did you know they tore down Gander Mountain?  There is a huge hole of dirt where you said it would be. And guess what? They tore down Splash Town as well,” Rick stated.  Yep, they were lost and it was obvious the GPS was not their friend. I quickly searched Gander’s Web, but according to the boys, the Web directions to the store’s location were not workin’ for them either. After a couple of phone calls back and forth to the boys and still no luck, I decided to call the store.   “Customer service, this is Dixie, can I help you?” the lady on the other end of the phone line indicated.  “That’s interesting … my name is Dixie also,” I said.   This was gettin’ weirder by the moment. After a good laugh was had by the both of us, I asked for assistance with better directions. Armed with just a smidge more additional information, I called the boys back. But by this time, hubby was not talkin’ to me. I got Ricky instead. Was I detecting a slight note of frustration?   “Did ya ever see the Taco Bell landmark? The lady said ya gotta turn right after the Taco Bell on the feeder road,” I said.   “We just found the place after about our fifth time around the freeway turnaround,” said Ricky.  At least the shopping trip was successful, and my boys, they will never forget how to get to Gander Mountain.  Did I tell you that last month Katie casually mentioned there might be some shots needed for the trip? Turns out yellow fever is required … and what the heck, just for fun they both got a typhoid shot.   I’m seriously thinkin’ of enrolling myself and hubby in a CPR course before the kids get back from their trip. If one of us doesn’t have heart failure before they get back, it will be a miracle.   Dixie Frantz is a long-time Kingwood resident and newspaper columnist since 1996. E-mail Dixie with your comments at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

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