Think YOU can mess with Texas? A mini Houston tour recap.

The George R. Brown Convention Center. Which I nearly destroyed
The George R. Brown Convention Center. Which I very nearly destroyed.

Houston folks may have thought their little ol’ convention center was in the middle of a billion dollar (yes, I did say billion … with a b) renovation.

That was before I got there.

Subsequent to an inopportune brush with fate and my big fat elbow, they’re going to have to add another couple hundred thou to that figure. That’s just a rough estimate, though. I’m no architect.

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Houstonians may be able to deal pretty well with flooding, but they clearly need to be warned to batten down the hatches and stock up on Krazy Glue when I come to town. Thankfully, the damage done was contained, and apparently won’t impede preparations for the 2017 Super Bowl, which is when the Marriott Marquis Houston, with it’s Texas-shaped rooftop pool (yes, I did say Texas-shaped rooftop pool) is scheduled to open.

Last weekend was a combination familiarization tour and training-slash-coaching session for a lovely group I get to work with. Oh, and for the curious, it was also the opportunity to try out the icebreaking session that was the subject of last week’s blog. My idea, while it couldn’t hold a candle to beer pong, was still very well received. Everyone got to know each other without anyone trying to see through anyone else’s shirt, or oversharing about key parties. And while there was a conspicuous lack of beer pong, there were plenty of cocktails after the meetings. So overall I’m going to call it a win-win.

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<<< That right there is the Marriott architectural model that was next to the convention center model that got up close and personal with my elbow. It’s probably the most elaborate miniature thingie I’ve ever seen. Certainly more expensive than my real-size house. Given enough time, I could have accidentally wrecked the whole thing, I’m sure.

IMG_4062Clumsy people should be warned to exercise a modicum of caution while taking extreme close ups of miniature people in their miniature cars checking into and out of a miniature hotel with a miniature Texas-shaped rooftop pool. Or maybe it’s just that somebody needs to stop having fun alternating between her best Zoolander and Godzilla impressions while snapping pics of little people and their little Mercedes convertibles.

IMG_4058Or … Marriott could mitigate all this risk by actively discouraging Godzilla impersonators, before someone’s spot-on impression coincides with a random ginormous elbow knocking a miniature decorative steamship smokestack off the top of a convention center model – with its miniature billions in renovations – next to it’s super expensive and elaborate hotel model.

Just a suggestion.

Besides the “Mess with Texas” moniker, a good title for this weekend might have been: “see how much food you can stuff in your face in three days,” because aside from destroying stuff, that’s what we did, thanks to the very generous Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Crowne Plaza Hotel, the Hilton Americas Houston, the Magnolia Hotel, and a few others I may have forgotten to mention.

Or maybe it could be: “guess how long it’s going to take me to affect a southern accent.”

Answer: about 40 hours.

Oh, honey. Y’all don’t even know how fast I can stop sounding like a northerner.

Four things I know now about Houston that I didn’t before this trip:

  • It boasts the second largest theater and performing arts scene in the US, next to New York, with 19,000 seats. It also has 19 museums, half of which offer free admission. You can’t see all of them on a 40-minute bus cruise through downtown, but you can get woozy trying.

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  • It can flood one day and back to normal the next. Reports of heavy rain and swamped streets just the week before had me thinking we’d have to cancel our trip. But Houston’s also known as Bayou City for the winding waterways that surround it, which also apparently drain off any evidence of such natural disasters well enough before visitors come to town.
  • It’s the forth-largest city in the nation, about to outpace Chicago in size. And with more than 800 major hotels and 4.4 million square feet of convention space in the metropolitan area, they’re perpetually ready for company.
  • You can’t eat your way through Houston in a weekend, but you can gain about six pounds while giving it your best shot.


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IMG_4089Get ready, I could be coming to a town near all y’all. I recommend safety tape for the windows. Maybe fill your tub, for good measure and replace the batteries in your flashlight.


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  1. Wow, that Mariott model thingy is amazing!!! I\’ve never been to Houston (other than the airport), but one of my best friends is from there and she thinks it\’s the greatest place in the world. It sounds like you had a fun trip and all the food sounds (and looks) wonderful!!!

  2. Great post! I\’m super clumsy and oldest daughter takes after me I\’m afraid. My husband gets so annoyed with us both! I wonder where St. Paul/Minneapolis falls on the chart of theatre seats. We are pretty well known for our arts, too. I\’m intrigued and have signed up for notifications. I found you on the Bloggess\’ site. I have a new blog and my recent post is Ode to the Bloggess. I\’m hoping for some successful blogger\’s to check it out and give me some feedback.

    1. That\’s great! I read through some of your posts and have to admit to getting a little weepy. Well, okay a LOT weepy. Glad to connect. I\’ll comment there directly, too.

      1. Thanks Beth, for stopping by! I\’m sorry to make you weepy, though! It\’s a hard thing, the wanting to tell our stories but knowing that they are sometimes really sad. Its nice though to find others who can relate and offer comfort to/from when we have these sorts of things happen. And in life, sometimes bad things happen. Hopefully we can appreciate the good that much more.