27 September 2006


As I opened the rear door of Williams-Sonoma this morning to greet the UPS man, I was relieved to know he only had eight boxes to drop off for me (as opposed to 207 dropped off the day before). The UPS man slid open the latch and forced the heavy brown door upwards with a hard shove, making it clang once it reached the end of its tracks. PDT in hand (that's code for little scanner thing), I approached the truck to scan in the first box of the day.

"Better not get too close, " he said, "I had a burrito for breakfast this morning, so I have a little gas."

Uh...awkward! I thought. Who says that kind of thing to a perfect stranger? I laughed politely, then continued to scan the remaining seven boxes as if he had said nothing, hoping, praying that this awkward moment would vanish.

"I'm just kidding," he chuckled. "I don't really have gas."

Let's hope not, you social outcast, I shot back at him telepathically, an act which coincided with the loading of the last box of salt and pepper shakers onto the rickety red dolly. (Thank goodness!) He handed me the keypad and I quickly signed my name, trying to ignore his joke about the Specially Hard and Intense Training truck he was assigned to that day.

"Thank you, Miss Rich," he said.

Misses Rich, I wanted to hiss. MISSES Rich.

Perhaps he should pick up some manners before he returns with the next shipment.

22 September 2006

There's Best Western, And Then There's Great Western

Moving into a new neighborhood is like being an explorer in a foreign land; there are countless new places to explore, new experiences to be had, new neighbors to meet. Allow me to impart with you a few quirks we've discovered about our new area of residence...

We live less than one block from a Vietnamese church which, every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, lines the street with the cars of local church-goers. You would think it odd that there is such a huge population of Vietnamese in the area...until you see Phu Lam Beauty Supply and Ho Chi Mihn (or some such name like that I can't pronounce, much less type) Specialty Food just around the corner.

Every morning when I drive to and from work, I pass an E-Z Stop. The sign reads "Food. Beer. Gas"...but I have yet to locate the gas pump.

I also pass a high school and an elementary school daily, an occurance which always fills me with great nostalgia. To see those little kids scamper out of blue minivans personalized with "Funky Town" or green Mustangs with souped-up mufflers and across the crosswalk with their oversized backpacks flopping in their wake, it just does something for me.

When I return from work each day, usually around the time that school children scamper from their classrooms, I pass a Hispanic man with a limp who peddles ice cream sandwiches from a hand-painted cart. I never see any children buying ice cream from him, but I hope his business is doing well.

Our route to church takes us past several very interesting places of business: The Dude Motel, with its dated neon sign, and a fortune teller whose sign reads "Psychic Readings Solve All Problems." We'll have to see how the problem solving works out. There's also The Wisdom Center, telechurch extraordinaire. The local pawn shop need not be overlooked, with it's advertised "shut gun sale." A former Taco Bueno has been turned into Go Go China, a fine eating establishment which my husband declares we must try. He must try, he.

The nearby Super Wal-Martis also worth mentioning, where almost everything is in Spanish. You almost expect the cashier to wear a button that says "I Speak English."

$5 pizzas at Little Caesar's, conveniently located next to Super Wal-Mart, have become a staple of our newlywed diet.

The other night as we were returning from Target, we noticed a Great Western Inn. I asked my husband if he thought it was a step up from Best Western, or down. Apparently, I have my superlatives confused.

Our neighbors are not short of fascinating: there is a retired contractor who lives across the street (with whom my husband has quickly become a close friend -- and tool-borrowing buddy) with his oversized wiener dog and blind German wife who, amazingly enough, still cooks for him. To the west, there is a never-ending cycle of people flowing from the house, and we're not exactly sure who lives there or whose dogs are defecating on our front lawn. To the east lives a lady in her late sixties who sells canaries in McDonald's parking lots. Down the street there is a house with a giant Christmas-lighted star still perched atop its roof. In the other direction is a Pepto pink house with kelly green shutters.

I wonder, what will our quirky contribution be to the neighborhood?

06 September 2006

It's About Time

It's about time I posted something on my blog. At least, that's what my husband thinks.

It's about time we got moved into our new little house. And finished painting it. And put up the baseboards and trim. And found a place to eat dinner besides the coffee table. But that doesn't mean we'll do it.

It's about time I figured out how to get from our new home to work in the most expedient manner. (Amazing how a route with a lovely view of the local Cabela's can cut almost 20 minutes off my morning drive.)

It's about time we got mail other than that for the previous homeowner. But then again, she lived here for over 40 years, and I guess the mailman is kind of in a rut.

It's about time that I unpacked all those wedding gifts that have been making sad puppy dog eyes at me from the wall for three months now. Unfortunately for the both of us, our kitchen cabinets remain unpainted because the refrigerator is in the way and, therefore, unstocked.

It's about time I reclaimed the house from all of my husband's tools. A freshly rinsed paintbrush in the sink or an electric drill in the bathroom or a step ladder next to the bed are never pleasant surprises.

It's about time we got rid of our pet turtle, Donatello, who wasn't actually much of a pet in the first place. Which brings me to another story...

Two years ago, my husband went on a canoeing trip with his twin brother and a few of his college buddies and came back with a Nalgene full of baby turtles. Although I'm not one for little slimy things, he begged to keep it and make it "ours." So I went with him to Super Wal-Mart to pick out a suitable aquarium. Two weeks later, I accompanied him on a trip to Petsmart to purchase a plastic rock for "our" turtle's climbing pleasure. Then some faux reeds to give a natural feel to his glass abode. Next, it was a timer for his aquarium light (supposedly to simulate the rising and setting of the sun. Whatever). Then an automatic feeder once my husband got a job in the real world and often forgot to feed the little critter. Various other accessories were considered but quickly dismissed as we had better things to do with our time (like plan a wedding).

Eight months later we married and came home to our little green friend, who, when I reflect upon it, was never really a source of joy or companionship in our lives. We never took him for walks or gave him baths or made appointments to see the turtle doc. I hate to admit it, but there were times when I forgot he was there.

So when my husband and I were planning our move, I proposed an outrageous idea: to get rid of our beloved Donatello. At first, I was met with some resistance, but eventually my husband realized just how ridiculous it was that we still had the critter. We decided to ask our sister-in-law if she'd like to have the turtle for her new classroom, but, alas, she did not and neither did any of her teacher friends. Thus was birthed a new plan.

As we cleared the final items from our apartment last Saturday night, my husband looked at me with saddened eyes full of the knowledge of what we had to do. We loaded the vacuum cleaner and the remaining boxes into the trunk and returned to the apartment to claim our one last item. My husband placed Donatello into a small box, out of which he immediately began to climb. I hurried to hold the flaps up as we scurried into the car and made our way to execute our plan - on the banks of the Trinity River.

It was dark when we pulled into the gravel lot that was peppered with a few other cars. We looked at each other, then at Donatello as my husband reached into the box and plucked the squirming shell from its belly. The lights from downtown Fort Worth glimmered on the horizon as we made our way through the crisp and dying grass, beneath several forlorn trees, and down the steep bank towards the dark and mysterious waters. My husband bent down and set Donatello in the grass just inches away from the river. As the little guy scuttled into the grass and made his way towards his new home, I wondered for a moment if we had made the right decision. How would I feel if I were abandoned by my owners in an enourmously frightening new place? Would I stay in one place or would I venture out into my newfound freedom? Would I be so terrified that I would die alone within a few days or would I quickly make friends and find a joy I'd never known in captivity? Those thoughts quickly faded as I neared the car.

But the next day as torrential rains flooded the Metroplex with some much-needed water, those ponderings returned. I wondered if leaving a turtle like that was consdiered inhumane. If Clay and I were heartless and cruel because we didn't want to keep the little guy around (never mind that we both agreed he didn't quite go with the decor). If somehow karma was going to come around and bite me in the butt because, frankly, I didn't give a darn what happened to this one small turtle except to care whether or not he was cluttering up my new house. Those worries were quickly crowded out by the dilemma of how many coats of red paint our kitchen wall needed and where exactly to place the TV.

It's about time I started worrying about the important things in life.