Houston, we have a success!

Dear friends,

I’ve been in Houston on business since Thursday. I’m leaving this morning for a whirlwind trip to Austin before I fly home early Sunday morning.

I have so much I’d like to tell you but I’m light on sleep on long on scurrying, so I’m going to share three quick things before I hit the road.

  1. I wouldn’t live here for any amount of money. The traffic is even more insane than I remembered. When a highway is 10 lanes wide and traffic is still stopped, that’s a sign, people. It’s a a sign there’s no room for you, and you should stay away. Honestly, there’s no job on earth that would convince me to sign up for this flavor of crazy on a permanent basis.
  2. Those shoes I bought to be comfortable? Turns out they weren’t. At all.  And since they were ugly to boot, I was two ways of uncomfortable all day. It’s a tragedy when your feet hurt and it’s not even in the name of style. I’ll never make that mistake again. Next time my feet hurt, I’ll at least look good.
  3. NASA is four-million kinds of cool. You won’t even believe what I got to do! I got to have lunch in the NASA test kitchen, where I ate real space mission food and had the opportunity to ask their scientists and astronauts every crazy food preparation question that popped into my head (and there were plenty, trust me, because my dream job is to work in a test kitchen). I got to sit in the cockpit of the space shuttle simulator and flip switches and do other stuff I can’t name because it’s all so complicated who knows what I was even doing. I got to spend a half hour in the mission control room for Apollo 13 — the REAL mission control room (not a mock up), which also served as the set for the movie of the same name. I got to hear all kinds of insider stories about Apollo 13 flight director Gene Krantz (who, interestingly, looks a whole lot like Ed Harris, who played him in the movie).  I got to walk around the current mission control room for the International Space Station and watch the mission in real time. I got to go places where only people like Tom Cruise and Steven Tyler and Bono are allowed to go on their “behind the scenes” tours. (I know this because my guide mentioned the names of other visitors she had accompanied.)

My view from the Space Shuttle cockpit.

So, despite the traffic, despite the humidity which I haven’t even ranted about, despite the ugly and uncomfortable shoes, Houston was a major success and a big reason why it doesn’t suck to be me. All things considered, there are way worse ways to earn a living. Take it from this working mother.

With gratitude {for the amazingly smart people at NASA who make me proud to be an American},

Joan, who wanted so badly to sneak a piece of the NASA china in her bag but didn’t because, you know, how rude is that? But, oh my, it was tempting!



  1. texasdeb says:

    Well I’m glad our space mission control folks still have a full set of china to use. Close call.

    I don’t think anybody would argue with you about Houston’s traffic or the humidity either one. Got to be something going on there though, otherwise, why would several million people stick around? I don’t have the answer to that question by the way, I lived there once for a span of years (school related) and moved away as soon as possible.

  2. Why does the space shuttle cockpit have “Canada” in big letters?

    I agree in the awfullness that is Houston. It is #2 on my list of cities never to live in (a close second behind Philadelphia). The traffic, the humidity, the sheer mass of concrete everywhere- awful.

    Glad you managed to have an amazing trip in spite of it all! Touring NASA would be all kinds of cool.

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