Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Ms. Jackson if you’re Nasty!

Since I finally received the final divorce decree last week, I decided today was the day to make the name change official. So over the course of two hours this morning, I undid the last four years of my life. My trip to the Social Security office was interesting. I headed there first thing this morning thinking I would beat the crowd a bit. But even at 9:20 I still ended up with number A50 when they were on A15. After sitting there for a few minutes, a man approached me who had completed his time at the window and handed me his number (apparently he had two) which was A26. Yipee! That cut my wait time in half. So I passed on my A50 to the man sitting next to me who had A68. I figured it was the least I could do. Then I had some random old drunk man (who had the decency to be sucking on a breath mint) sat down next to me because “I was the prettiest lady in the place.” I can’t decide if the married customer service rep who waited on me was trying to flirt or not when he told me I didn’t look old enough to be married or divorced. I most say it amuses me when people feel the need to express their apologies when they discover I am divorced. I think I surprise them when I give them a big smile and say, “No, even better… divorced,” in response to, “You are changing your name. Did you just get married?”

On a side note, I have a new addiction I have to share with everyone. Since moving to Austin, I have heard more people talk about one particular food item that I had not been able to acquire a taste for…sushi. After much discussion (debate?) with J over sushi, I decided to try a sample at HEB last week (see my previous blog). Much to my surprise not only did I enjoy it but I started craving it. So when J suggested that we try a new sushi place he had discovered Saturday night, I jumped at the chance. I haven’t ventured into the world of the uncooked sushi yet but I am sure it will only be a matter of time before I sample some of J’s rolls. However, here is what I had for dinner tonight:


One more thing that made me smile tonight: the guy playing ‘O Holy Night’ on the electric guitar in HEB. (Actually it was hard for me to keep from cracking up laughing!)

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Niagara Falls and Austin Natives

OK…so I have decided that my neighbors must hate me. I am sure it is due to the fact that Maverick insists on barking (not just whining…full fledged baying) every morning while I am in the shower or any other time he is left alone in the kitchen while I am in the apartment. Their revenge for the noise created by my adorable pooch is to take showers at odd hours of the night and morning. Now one might wonder why taking a shower is such a bad thing. The fact is I have never in my life heard such terrible noise until I heard the sounds coming from upstairs when the shower is turned on. It truly sounds like Niagara Falls is coming through my ceiling. During waking hours, I can ignore the noise by turning up the volume on my TV or whatever other form of entertainment I might be partaking in. But the late night and early morning showers are enough to wake me from a dead sleep (and that takes a lot if you know anything about how I sleep). During the Thanksgiving holidays while my parents were visiting, my lovely neighbor (who by the way I have never even laid eyes upon) decided to take a shower at 3:30 in the morning. My father was still awake and was trying to determine why I was taking a shower at that time (yes, folks, that is how loud it is). So Daddy proceeded to come in my room where I should have been comatose and ask me what the noise was. Another night it was 2 AM. This morning I guess they needed to be into work early because it was 5:30. Now these aren’t short showers either. I am talking a half hour minimum. This morning’s wouldn’t have been so bad except I don’t normally get up till 7 (ah the joys of living close to work) and it also woke Maverick up who decided it was time to go outside. My dilemma now is this…do I introduce myself to my neighbor and kindly request that they be more considerate of the time they shower or do I suffer in silence until May 31st when I can run kicking and screaming from the apartment world never to return again?

Now on to the Austin Natives (sorry to cover so many topics in one blog but that is why this is called rambling). I have discovered one thing about people who live in this city in the short time that I have lived here and that is they do not like to venture too far from the confines of the community they live in. So those who live in South Austin stay in South Austin, those in North Austin stay in North Austin, etc. The fact become even more apparent to me when I was trying to tell my sister-in-law’s parents (who happen to live in South Austin) where I lived and worked in Northwest Austin. They have lived in Austin for many (30+) years and all I got from them were quizzical stares as they had no idea where I was talking about followed by the comment, “Well, we don’t go up that way much.” So I was determined not to be one of those people once I moved here however, the opposite is becoming quite true. The running joke with me is that if it isn’t off the 183 service road, I don’t know where it is. With the exception of the occasional trip to parts further north (Round Rock) and parts further south (Kyle), I have not left Northwest Austin (more specifically the 183 service road) much. So the thought of venturing too far out of my comfort zone (without the aid of my trusty tour guide) makes me feel like the shut in on October Road when he tries to leave the house. I break out into a cold sweat and start to have chest pains. So imagine my dismay last night when I return home from work and prepare to settle down for a night of classic Christmas cartoons only to discover that my cable box (which I have only had for 3 weeks) will not turn on. After a phone call to Time Warner, I discover that the easiest way to fix the problem will be to return the box to the cable company to replace it with a new one. This would, however, require me to venture off the 183 service road (thanks for the directions, J). So this morning I headed out on my trek to Time Warner located at the corner of Duval and MoPac. I found my desired location with little trouble (I was so proud) but the return trip was a different story. I swear the sign for MoPac South (which would return me safely to the 183 service road) told me I needed to turn left but once I approached the traffic light, I realized that I did indeed need to be in the right turn lane. With no way to make that happen, I proceeded through the light and found the next spot to turn around (at this point, the heartbeat was definitely racing). After turning around and making my way to MoPac South, I hopped on long enough to hop back off in a half mile at the Braker Lane exit (could have stayed on the service road). Finally, I had returned safely to the confines of my part of Austin and my heartbeat started to return to normal. The moral of this story is that I will no longer venture out of my limited travel area without said tour guide who needs to hurry home so we can continue Julie’s tour of Austin in the Mini.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

The Wait is Over

I woke up this morning feeling like someone was trying to rip apart my stomach which was not good since I knew there was no way I could take a day off work. Not quite sure what caused it but I can tell you that the casserole I ate leftovers from last night is going in the trash when I get home. So, I dragged myself around the apartment this morning getting ready and headed out into the cold for the 10 minute drive to my office. I remember that I hadn’t picked up the mail from the evening before because my car was loaded down with groceries from my first real trip to the grocery store since moving to Austin. So, I headed over to the mail center and opened my box and there it was…like a light shining down from the heavens…an envelope that read “Shelia F. Norman, District Clerk, Bell County, Texas.” Finally, after nearly a month of waiting, my divorce decree had arrived. I could now officially return to my maiden name. Suddenly I felt better and there is a little added spring in my step. So now I can start the round of name changes that will be necessary in order to make my transformation complete.

On a side note, I hate the HEB* near my office. I can’t believe I would actually say the one in Killeen is nicer but it is. At least it is bigger. I couldn’t believe how cramped the aisles were and it was laid out weird. I can only hope that the HEB that opens up closer to my apartment in the old Albertson’s on Wednesday is going to be nicer. I did however sample a piece of the HEB sushi (J would be so proud!) which I must admit was quite tasty. I almost went back and bought more to eat for dinner last night. Now if I could just find an HEB Plus I would be OK.

*For those non-Texans out there, HEB is the greatest grocery store chain which of course can only be found in Texas. And for me to say greatest it must be good coming from a girl who grew up in the land of Delchamps (oh how I miss those days). I was actually sad at the thought of leaving Texas because I enjoyed shopping at HEB so much. (I know…I lead a sad life.)

Monday, December 3, 2007

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year?

Those of you who know me well know that Christmas is my favorite time of the year. So, you will be shocked to know that the Christmas spirit has not even registered on my radar this year. I don’t know if it is the divorce or the move or what but I just can’t seem to get excited about Christmas. As a matter of fact, I keep getting annoyed when I see Christmas decorations. I haven’t put up a Christmas tree in two years due to deployments and not being home for Christmas. This will make year number three without a tree which makes me sad. There are two reasons for this: the lack of space in my apartment and the fear of Maverick destroying the tree. The fact of the matter is that I haven’t even touched the boxes with my Christmas decorations in them. I promise I am trying to get myself into the appropriate mood. I hung a mistletoe air freshener in my car and loaded the cd changer down with all my Christmas cds. I even wore my first Christmas sweater of the season today. It isn’t working though. I did make the decision today to drive to Alabama for Christmas after all. I think that finally realizing I won’t be alone for Christmas will perk my mood up a bit. So…Ho, Ho, Ho to you all. May the spirit of the season be with you.