Thursday, July 30, 2009

Weather Alert

People in Cleveland like to joke that “if you don’t like the weather, wait 10 minutes” because it’s not unusual to see an 80-degree morning and drive home from work in a snowstorm.

But Cleveland ain’t got nothin’ on San Antonio’s weather.

I just got home from a FIVE–HOUR wait at the Volkswagen dealership (and they didn’t even wash my care – what are we? In a drought?) for a recall on my Jetta and it was sunny, glorious, and I was considering grabbing a book and sitting in the sun. Ten minutes later I am chasing our garbage cans down the street in 40-mph winds (and I do mean down – we’re on a steep hill).

I am seriously scared of the storms here. I half-expect to see a cow fly by à la Twister - oh wait, I think that movie was set in Oklahoma.

Maybe they just look scarier because of all the dust whirling around (because have I mentioned? We’re in a drought). And because of this drought you’d think we’d all be happy to see those rain clouds rumbling in right?

(Note the trash can - that's not ours. It's from up the street)

Except, they’re not bringing rain.

Thunder? Check.

Lightening? Check.

Hurricane-force winds? Defintely check.

Rain? Sorry, all out.

I did get my fill of torrential downpours over the weekend in Dallas. The Husband had to go there for a week-long seminar so I decided to tag along ….but that also meant I had to drive separately. But after 25+ hours in a car – what’s 4.5? phhsaww.

Dallas, you can have your ego and your overpriced boots. I’ll take San Antonio any day. Is it me or is there no life in downtown Dallas? The Husband and I went down to see the site of JFK’s assassination and hopefully catch some Dallas flavor at a bar or two.

When we gave our car to the valet he excitedly pointed out the T.G. I Friday’s across the street.


Oh, and a Mexican place next door. Um, I’ve had my fill of Mexican food, you know, living in the Mexican epicenter of Texas and all. Bring on the steakhouses! Where are they? Come to think of it that Chili’s along the tollway seemed a bit too crowded for a city so close to stockyards full of yummy cows. What gives?

And…for the first time someone since I arrived in the Lone Star State I was cold. COLD. It was 74 degrees in Dallas - a full 30 degrees colder than when I got in my car that morning. I had to BUY A SWEATER because - stupid me - I packed nothing but sundresses and tank tops – my uniform back home in San Anton.

And it was raining. So much that there was no way I could maneuver myself around a strange city to do any sightseeing. I settled for Plano (where our hotel was) and its sea of …strip malls. It looks exactly like a suburb of Chicago. Or Columbus. It, literally, was Anytown, USA.

Needless to say I drove back home three days early. Ahhh. Home, sweet home. And look! The sun is out again!

Friday, July 24, 2009

My life sometimes mirrors an ’80s sitcom

In Texas, regular pest control is a must or else you’ll end up with an infestation of some sort and I don’t want it to be snakes . The owners of the house have quarterly pest management services (This is the PC term for this – NOT EXTERMINATOR. A year at a pest control magazine taught me useless information such as this).

We scheduled the visit for today – sometime between 2 and 4 pm. Great! Plenty of time! I get home from the gym at 11:30, hop in the shower and at noon I am walking to switch the clothes from washer to the dryer in the laundry room wearing a towel – just a towel – and I see a skinny white kid (with a blond 'fro I might add) at my door.

He can see inside the house.

And he can see me.

Apparently this is not like the cable guy that requires you to block off an eight-hour chunk of your day only to have him show up 5 minutes before that time expires. I appreciate promptness – I do. But not a full two hours before you’re due.

So I throw on moist clothes from the pile and walk to the door. “Colton” looks about 12 and I swear he must think this is his Mrs. Robinson moment. And I swear this happened on an episode of "Three’s Company."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Dear San Antonio Highway System:

Your roads don’t make any kind of sense and I am in no way navigationally retarded. I pride myself on my keen sense of direction but your “North-South” routes when you really mean “East-West” are really making me eat my words. And your "loops"? Yeah, your loops can suck it because they don't make me get anywhere faster.

Please fix!

Hugs and rainbows,

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

1999 called....

According to my new Yahoo customized homepage (just for me!) – of which I did not ask for, nor understand how the design is “better and easier to navigate!” than the old version – these are the top five searches today:

Taco Bell Chihuah…
LeAnn Rimes
International Spa…
Tiger Woods
Bark Scorpion

Is my “new and improved” homepage from 1999? Does anyone really care what the Taco Bell Chihuahua and LeAnn Rimes are up to? Unless they are going to be contestants on the next Surreal Life I’m not impressed “new and improved!” Yahoo! Homepage.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Things totally bothering me right now

Someone should have warned us about the feasibility of kayaking during a drought. Because now I can tell my children I walked the Guadalupe River. Yes, that’s right. We probably spent three of our four-mile trip dragging 40 lbs. kayaks behind us while we trudged through a river of slippery, algae-covered rock. Not quite the afternoon I was hoping for.

The Real Estate market in my neighborhood is booming. It’s a nice change from The Great Depression going on in Cleveland right now except…. Do we really need to start wielding the hammers and pouring concrete at 7 a.m.? There are two houses under construction next door and all day. Also? Take a look at what’s just outside my door:

Yep, every time one of these guys takes a leak I have to hear about it.

The Husband has coined the term Mexnecks – the Mexican version of a redneck - to describe the trashy people in our neighborhood who partied on their driveway on Saturday night – they even brought their living room furniture out for more seating. And there were more than a few toddlers wandering around IN THE STREET wearing nothing but a diaper.

The Husband is in South Carolina for the week and I am bored out of my mind. The Army doesn’t pay for wives to travel with their husbands and it was a $400 plane ticket. So that’s why I am here, alone, in San Antonio, with nothing but a computer and two cats to keep me company.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Shake it ‘til you make it

There are three things I just don’t have: rhythm, mad dance skillz and flava.

I’ve been taking Zumba classes for more than a year now. In Ohio, the classes were nonstop cardio for an hour to power pop – like Beyonce. Yes, you can Zumba to “Single Ladies.”

But here? In a city with a dense Latino population? You better bring it because these ladies have moves. I feel a little bit like a bull in a china shop at my Zumba classes now. There are dance steps to get right. There is shouting and “whoop!” ing and songs I’ve never heard with words I can’t understand – except “cholo” and I do know that one should “lean like a cholo” if he wants respect.

Last night I was called out for doing a dance move wrong. CALLED OUT. As in, “No, no, no! You need to snap your hips more, honey. You look like you have to go to the bathroom. Class, let’s show her how it’s done.”

And yes, Latinos did come up with the Macarena … but I think it was solely to make white people look like asses. Have you ever actually seen a Latino do the Macarena? It’s the same reason Snoop Dog came up with “fo shizzle.” No respectable person in the black community would talk like that. But white people? Yeah, we’ve been using the phase in earnest since 2003.

Snoop and the fellows from Los Del Rio are laughing at us right now from their million-dollar mansions.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Rollin' on a Rver

Over the weekend The Husband and I went river tubing. No, this isn’t the sport where you’re pull behind a boat. River tubing consists of laying in an inner tube and drinking while the current takes you slowly down the Guadalupe River. That's it.

There is no way this would ever be a sport in Cleveland. Clevelanders cannot be trusted to drink responsibly in public. Someone would die during a tragic drinking accident and they’d put up guard rails along the river or something (ahem, The Flats, I'm lookin' at you).

But here in Texas? It’s encouraged to drink in public. In large quantities. They sell beer by the 48-pack. And…get this… It's illegal to bring containers smaller than 5 ounces, Too many people were taking Jello shots and casting the cups along their way down the river - thus clogging up drain pipes. So, you can bring your Jello shots - and we were the only ones without them - but they have to be in larger cups. People, this issue was the top story on the 5:00 news last week. It’s a huge deal.

We brought a measily 12-pack of Miller Lite and the woman renting us the tubes was all, “That’s it?” She gave us a tube cooler to keep the beer cold. Little did I know just how “serious” of a sport this is around here. I compare it to tailgating in the Muni lot. There were chicken wings, sandwiches, round coolers specifically made to fit inside of a tube, tubes with speakers blaring country music (sigh), tube-top GRILLS – even bumper stickers FOR the cooler that says “I’d rather be toobin’” (yes, they spell it that way).

It’s a surreal feeling when you know everyone around you had the same thought you did when they got up: “Hey, I don’t have anything better to do on a sunny 100-degree summer day, why not float on a river?” The feeling of camaraderie just would not happen in Ohio where people tend to stick to themselves or in their groups. Every once in a while your tube would wander into someone else’s party and instead of exchanging apologetic looks, you exchange friendly heys and where-y’all-froms.

By the way, almost everyone on that river that day had an Ohio connection – and they all thought I knew that person because, you know, how big can Ohio be? People actually live there? That’s another thing: South Texans cannot comprehend life below 50 degrees. They go to the beach for Thanksgiving because there are less tourists and they hang Christmas lights on their palm trees in the front yard. They’ve heard of snow and have seen it once or twice in their lives but they can’t imagine voluntarily living in a region where you can only pull out the tank tops about three months out of the year.

And after last Saturday, neither can I.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Such a tease

An update soon about my weekend that included Honky Tonk and floating on a river with a case of beer. I'm not even kidding. This is what I did:

Friday, July 10, 2009

Hot Hot Heat

Just in case you think I am exaggerating...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Things I Never Worried About In Cleveland

Heat Stroke after no less than 40 min. outside. I’m not kidding, people die here like Cleveland midges during mating season. Right now we’re under a Level 2 heat advisory … sort of the reverse Winter Weather Advisory – you’re not supposed to spend time outside unless completely necessary (like working on my Texas tan, for example.)

Lack of water. San Antonio is actually built over an aquifer and it’s at “dangerously low levels” right now. This means no watering the lawn, no filling of pools and no car washing. Considering Cleveland was flooding the last time I checked this is an odd concept to get used to. No one cares about their lawn here – because they’re all the same color: straw. The funny thing is that my landlord has a lawn care company (!) and they came out today (!) ….and “mowed” the straw. Am I crazy to think this is a waste of resources? In 101 degree weather (see above).

Getting heat stroke while getting the mail. Postal workers have it easy here. All of the mailboxes in my neighborhood are in one place – and that’s up a steep hill in brain-frying heat. I don’t care how stupid I look driving 50 feet for mail.

Snakes. With intimidating-sounding names like Diamond-Backed Water Snake, Speckled Kingsnake, Western Coachwhip and Desert King Snake! There is a field behind my backyard and two empty lots on either side of us that apparently make ideal living conditions for these things. I saw a news story on snakes crawling up water pipes and it makes me more than a little nervous.

Finding a good beer. If it’s not Tecate, Lone Star or Budweiser, you need to go to “one ‘o’ them fancy-like beer stores” for microbrews. I miss you, Dortmunder. I am also missing Christmas in July and it makes me want to cry a little.

Throwing something away. You get one trash bin and one recycling bin for all of your week’s garbage needs to fit into that. Do you have any idea how many trees the moving company wasted on packing up our shit? We have no less than 20 boxes full of paper. It will take us three years to dispose of all of that! Oh and theer are NO garbage pickers in San Anton. I miss watching people clabber for broken televisions and headboards RIGHT OUTSIDE OF MY DOOR.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Go West, Young Woman

Ok, Ok, for those of you who want a story about my Westward, Wagon Ho! Trip I am breaking it down into bullets because:

A. I despise long narratives and,
B.You’re more likely to read bullet points. It’s a proven editorial trick.

Now onto my trip:

- Who knew two cats would get into an all-out cage match even after being drugged with vet tranquilizers? And, if you’ve never given a pet a tranquilizer, it’s highly entertaining. They walk around bumping into things and slur their meows so it sounds like “rrrrooooowwwlll?”

In other words, me after about three glasses of pinot noir.

And yes, my cats meow in question format.

- How come when you NEED a Wal-Mart there are none in sight? We had to travel hundreds of miles to get a SECOND cage for the cats. Isn’t Kentucky Wal-Mart Country???

- We stayed at a hotel about two miles into Kentucky because I was determined to get to ANOTHER state by sundown on our first day. Yeah, we had to wait until the movers left at, oh 4 p.m. to leave. Who takes 7 hours to pack a house, you ask? Movers getting paid by the hour by the U.S. Army, that’s who. Anyway, the woman at the front desk had a slooow Southern drawl and only a few teeth. This was two miles into the Bluegrass State, folks. I was frightened for the miles ahead of me…

- Did you know there is absolutely NOTHING but a few Shoney’s restaurants between Lexington Kentucky and Nashville Tennessee?

- Same goes for Memphis through Texarkana, Texas. I almost fell asleep at the wheel because for 400 miles all I saw were:
1. Adult video mart billboards
2. Shoney’s restaurants
3. Trucks

- We had to have a nightly stealth-like operation to get two yowling cats into “No Pets Allowed” hotels. I seriously climbed through a window for those fucking felines. yet they allow children to stay at the hotel and scream steadily for hours at a time? Injustice. And I can only wonder what the cleaning ladies thought of our disposable litter boxes we left behind.

- I have never seen traffic until I had to merge through EIGHT LANES OF TRAFFIC in Dallas. Eight. On each side of the highway. Not to mention most of the highways are built up high so you sort of feel like you’re driving on a roller coaster…or in the future. I swear the TDOT got its inspiration for its freeway system from old episodes of “The Jetsons.”

- Say what you want … but I bet no one knew Waco existed until David Koresh.

- They have Ikea in Texas! So, everything is NOT bigger because I have yet to find a piece of furniture in that store that would comfortably seat anyone over 5’6”.

- It took us 25 hours, 23 min. and 45 seconds to get to our final resting place. If Jim and I hadn’t driven in separate cars we may not be married anymore.

- Our first night in San Antonio went like this: check in to Residence Inn, go out and drink pitchers of margaritas and copious amounts of food I can’t pronounce. Life is good.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Five Misconceptions About San Antonio

1. “They all have a southern accent.” If you consider Spanish an accent, well then, sure. It’s so awkward feeling like a stupid tourist everywhere we go because I can’t pronounce the Spanish menu items. Which leads me to…

2. “They really like their barbeque in Texas.” Everywhere but San Antonio that is. There is literally a Mexican restaurant at every corner. Each is “authentic” and each tastes exactly like the other one you tried last night, and the night before. The best part? The one person we know here LOVES his Chipotle. And he’s Hispanic. (Note: There are surpisingly few Taco Bells)

3. “Everything’s bigger.” EXCEPT the tiny streets that don’t fit everyone’s American-Made-And-Proud-Of-It-Four-Wheel-Drive-Truck. I seriously feel claustrophobic in my little Jetta. Which sticks out almost as much as our Saab SUV. If it ain’t American here…you get funny looks. Ironic because there is a Toyota plant nearby and I actually saw a sticker that said “My Toyota was proudly built in Texas.” Kind of an oxymoron, no?

4. “You’ll have to listen to country music.” Um, more like Latino rap. It’s everywhere. In fact, I awake each morning with the sound of Pitbull screaming from the boombox of the construction guys next door. Latinos? They get crazy…as do Blanquitas and Negritas and …Yo Mama. I have no idea what nationality Blanquitas and Negritas are, but they get crazy.

5. “It’s hot.” No, no … it’s not hot. It’s SIZZLING according to Al Roker. Go stick your head in an oven and set it to 425 degrees because THAT is how hot my leather seats are after basking in the blazing sun for two hours. Our first official Texas purchase (OK, besides Mexican food….) was a windshield cover because, Amanda? She gets crazy in the heat. The good thing that is after two weeks I think my blood has thinned enough that I find 99 tolerable. Any higher than that and I get a bit, shall we say… cranky?

Friday, July 3, 2009

Maybe I should have listened to the warnings

...because San Antonio is HOT.

Like Africa hot.




Even the wind is hot. quote my garbage man "Hotter than a bitches titty hot."

San Antonio = hot