Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Thin Blood

I often joke with The Rev. that we could never move to a northern climate because I have thin, Southern blood and I would freeze abnormally faster than a regular human. Given that my hands and feet are perpetually at sub-zero temperatures, The Rev. has taken to thinking that we could live at the equator and I would still be cold. This is probably true.

When we moved to SoCal, I came completely and totally ignorant of what the climate would be like. I blame my public school education, which glossed over the Spanish exploration of the West, the Mexican-American War and the gold rush of 1849 to get to the important stuff, like the War of Northern Aggression. You may know it as the Civil War. California was dim, far away land, and I came expecting normal seasons and conquistadors.

Our first Christmas was spent on our patio, barefoot and in short sleeves, chuckling over the unfortunate relatives east of the Mississippi who were in the throes of an ice storm. It took me some getting used to, this habit of never putting away your summer whites, and pairing flip-flops with a scarf and a jacket. I still hold off on the white pants until after Easter, but I have heartily embraced the flip-flops.

Now we are in some weird weather funk, and it is cold and rainy. Very unseasonal, and I miss the balmy days of 74 degrees and sunny--all year round. My thin blood is cranky, and I am torn. I like my San Diego weather. I like the sunshine. I have grown accustomed to paying an obscene amount of money for a house. I have grown accustomed to being served unsweetened tea at restaurants. I have grown accustomed to suppressing the urge to kick people who ask me if I am from "back east." I have grown accustomed to all these things, but do not cruelly take away the one perk of living here, because heaven knows we just lost the perk of paying $1 for 6 pounds of navel oranges.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

A tale to tell

It is hard to believe that my parents and my in-laws have already come and gone. The frenzy of getting the house ready was worth it, and the visits were much too short. Throw in a wedding and inventory, and the visits were really much too short.

Now the anticipation of my mini-vacation is upon me, and I am looking forward to another road trip with my brother, who is affectionately nicknamed "Magellan." And I don't mean that as a compliment to his skills in navigation. This is someone who loses his car in parking lots on an hourly basis. I have a hunch that he has to calculate extra time to find his vehicle when he has a list of errands to run.

Our last road trip was precisely a year ago. I had some time off, a travel voucher to use, and a desire to surprise the you-know-what out of my mom for her birthday. I flew into Dallas and Brother and I got up early the next morning for the long drive to Memphis. In my journal, dated January 19th, I scribbled a few quoteable quotes from that trip:

"Where is the cocktail sauce?" This question was posed at the delicious S&D Oyster House in Dallas right after he told our waitress that she didn't need to make any for us and I had just started to mix the ketchup with the horseradish. My response? "What's in front of you, moron?" Ah, the love between a brother and a sister.

The next morning we were up before dawn and drove to 4 Starbucks looking for one that would be open at 5 a.m. Luckily, a gas station/Wendy's/Starbucks was open for us as we headed out of town. I have not seen a gas station/Wendy's/Starbucks combo since.

As we were driving down the dark interstate towards Memphis, Brother comments, "I haven't seen a sunset in a while." I responded, "Um, you may have to wait, because what we are seeing is called a sunrise." Coincidentally, on the way back to Dallas, he got me for making the same remark. I chalk it up to shared DNA.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Some Days

A few days turns into a jumble of days which turns into a week and you cap it off by saying, "Forget the gym, I am going home to drink a bottle of wine with my husband and eat gobs of bread."

And I did. It was good.

I have my parents coming one week from today. My in-laws are coming one week from yesterday. They are all staying here and I haven't cleaned out my refrigerator or the bathroom yet.

I'm opening another bottle of wine.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

High Society

My brother and I will be attending Mardi Gras festivities this year in our old hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana. We are staying with my brother's childhood friend, a nice guy who used to live a few houses down from us. The plans are to arrive in New Orleans for the weekend before Fat Tuesday and take in all the drunken festivities (notice I said "take in" not "partake in") on the Saturday and Sunday before everyone gets really drunk and then sobers up for Lent. To say that I am excited is an understatement. Growing up, Mardi Gras was my favorite time of year, and my appreciation of a city is often measured by how cool it is compared to the Big Easy.

Joel's friend, JP, is not only letting us stay with him and his wife in Uptown, he is also getting us into a few swanky affairs that will not allow me to wear flip-flops (as I have grown so accustomed to living in SoCal) and to put on a dress for which I have yet to buy, but already begun to diet. Joel called to inform me of the news, and we have discussed it over several phone calls:

"This is really fancy, I have to wear a tux."

"I guess I have to buy a cocktail dress."

"No, you need a ballgown, something to the floor, like Pretty Woman."

"Are you calling me a reformed prostitute?"

We talked about it again yesterday:

"This will be so much fun."

"I know, I just need to find a dress."

"When was the last time you got really dressed up?"

"Two years ago, right before we moved when I was in Leslie's wedding. And they got divorced, remember?"

So, I am off on the hunt to find a dress to the floor. I am awaiting a response from JP's wife as to what she is wearing, and in the meantime I have been doing internet searches for dresses. I typed in "ball gown" just to see what would pass onto the screen and I got a Wikipedia article detailing the proper attire for evening formals. Watches are not de rigeur, as well as rings and bracelets, but necklaces and earrings are fine. Married women can wear a tiara if they own one. Maybe I'll pick one up on my way to finding a dress.

Stay tuned, I am off to the gym.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Worst Luck Ever

I am a pastor's wife, and with that title comes the statement that I do not believe in luck. I don't read horoscopes and I never had a rabbit's foot on a key chain. However, there comes a time in one's life when you find yourself wondering if some cosmic force has aligned the stars against you so that everything you touch goes horribly wrong and you grasp the realization that you should not waste that dollar on a lottery ticket because you will not win. Ever.

The Rev. and I had such good intentions, really, when it came to doing a little home improvement over the weekend. Popcorn ceilings were scraped clean; horrid wallpaper was removed; paint was put on the wall and I only got a little bit in my hair. The turn for the worse came when we primed and textured the ceiling in a bedroom. We returned to discover that the drywall paper had bled throuh the texturing and would require not one, but two coats of primer. While I worked in the bedroom, The Rev. worked on installing drywall in the dining room. Not only did he need my help to repair the absolutely wretched patchwork that was completed by the previous owner, he soon discovered that the tape he used on the drywall caused two lovely humps to form in the wall. Our aggravation was compounded by the fact that every vertical service in our home is textured in some stuff called "orange peel." It has a slight pebbly texture, and it requires twice as much paint to cover it. That meant two more trips to a certain home improvement center for paint.

"Look at this paint for the kitchen."

"What's wrong with it?"

"It is too light."

"Well, did you tell him the right color?"

Insert stink eye here.

"Well, we can't finish painting tonight. We'll have to go back to Home Depot tomorrow."

Insert stink eye here.

"That breaks my rule."

"What rule is that?"

"That we limit our trips to that place to two."

"Do you want paint?"

Insert exasperated stink eye here.

We painted as much as we could, however, there was still some weird residue on the wall from the wallpaper glue (yes, we washed them before we painted) and it caused the paint to roll off the wall and back onto the roller in little crumbs. We decided to just get one coat on and then go to bed. It would have to look better in the morning. Before we retired for the night, I decided to wash some clothes. The washing went off without a hitch, but when I put the clothes in the dryer and pushed the button, nothing happened. Nothing.

New Year's Eve afternoon I worked while The Rev. drove around town looking for a laundrymat to dry our wet clothes. We were expecting company that night, and my hopes of having a painted house, not thrown into the discombobulation and chaos of "do it yourself-dom" were as fried as our dryer. The bedroom was not finished, all of the furniture for that bedroom was piled into the other; I had two humpback whales in my new wall, and the rest of my kitchen had one coat of textured paint on it. Not to mention that I was finding construction dust in every nook and cranny of our house. And while painting the dog decided that she couldn't have paint on just one side of her body, she needed it on the other and on her ears.

I cooked an enormous pot of black eyed peas for New Year's Day. I did it for tradition, not for luck, but I did eat two helpings.