Access Road.

I’m in Houston, arrived this afternoon and checked into the Extended Stay America, my home for the next three weeks. Theatre Under the Stars is producing LIZZIE, and we begin rehearsals tomorrow. After a gorgeous weekend writing retreat upstate where the leaves are just beginning to change and the air is crisp and chilly, I was bracing myself to hate the weather here in the land of eternal summer, but when I walked out of the baggage claim the warm, damp evening felt sweet and, I don’t know, promising, like a cold beer on a back patio. I love Texas.

I have a rental car. As soon as I’d hung my shirts and texted C, I drove to the HEB about a mile and a half away. HEB is one of the big grocery chains here in Texas and was my favorite when I lived in Austin. Well, Whole Foods, say what you want, was, is, my favorite grocery store, and there is one here but it’s farther away and more expensive, so I drove to the HEB and spent about 100 bucks on breakfast and snacks, wine, stuff to make salads so I don’t have to spend a ton of money on meals out while I’m here. And not just the money, but if I eat at restaurants every night I’ll head home 10 pounds heavier.

Driving in Texas is all about the access roads. I’d forgotten that. The hotel is on an access road. Getting to the HEB was easy. Turn right out of the parking lot, then right again onto Westheimer. Getting back could have been a nightmare – the road the hotel is on, the access road, only goes one way of course, so you have to overshoot, end up on the other side of the freeway, and figure out how to get back around. Fortunately, I know how to negotiate the access roads. Far left lane to make a U-turn. Easy. I know it’s silly to be so proud, but driving does not come naturally to me, and learning how to use the access roads was a real triumph for me during a time in my life when there were few.

So, coffee, milk, fruit, raisin bran, cheese, hummus, crackers, wasabi peas, salad greens, a rotisserie chicken, salted almonds, olives. And little bottles of shampoo and conditioner – I don’t pack that stuff if I’m staying in a hotel, but I guess “extended stay” means bring your own hair products. There is soap.

I love hotels. I wish I had a real wine glass so I didn't have to drink out of this nasty ass plastic cup. I wish my husband was here.