Sunday, October 23, 2005


This weekend the neighbors started working on putting up a privacy fence. We're trying hard to convince ourselves that it has nothing to do with us.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Whatever happened to "The customer's always right"?

Last night I went to the store to get groceries. The total came to $95.01. I had some twenties and a couple of fives. So I handed the checker five twenties and a five, then told her to wait while I got her a penny. When I handed her the penny, we had this conversation:

Her: Your total's 95.01
Me: Yeah
H: You gave me 105.01
M: Yeah
H: I don't need this. [tries to hand me back the five dollar bill]
M: Yeah, but I don't have a ten. [Looking back on it I can see how this confused her even more, but at the time I was just getting frustrated because she was arguing with me.]
H: [stares at me blankly, then tries again] Your total's $95
M: Yeah, I know
H: I don't need this.
M: Fine, just give it back to me.

And I took the five back from her, so that she could give me my change with another five, so that I now have two fives instead of one ten, which is what I wanted.

And while I totally understand that this is a stupid, trivial thing, and now that I've had time to think about it, I also realize that virtually no one in this state has ten dollar bills anymore, since all the ATMs only give twenties and fives, I still don't understand why she didn't just punch in 105.01 on her cash register and give me my change instead of standing there arguing with me about it.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Yard Work

Saturday Pukka and I did some work in the yard. He raked up a few leaves and a bunch of dead grass while I ripped up turf for the area I'm planning to turn into a perennial bed.

Getting the grass up was mostly easier than I had feared. At least three quarters of it peeled up almost like carpet once I got an edge started. The last of it, which appeared to be a different type of grass, was rougher, but thankfully there wasn't much of it. Even the squealing about the grubs was minimal. (And I only threw one at Pukka!)

Still, it was tiring work and about two thirds of the way through, I lay back in the lawn to have a little rest. It was simply a gorgeous day -- the sky a brilliant blue in perfect contrast to the clear golden yellow of the neighbor's ash, the sun making its way through the leaves to warm my skin, the smell of fresh earth drifting over from the new garden space. I've always loved fall, and this was just the perfect day.

I tried to get Pukka to join me, but he wasn't having any of it. I'm sure the neighbors wonder about me now, but I don't regret a second.

Monday, October 10, 2005


Things of note about Austin . . .

Less than a mile from the airport, we saw a store prominently advertising ammo. I guess they figure since you can't bring it on the plane, you have to restock ASAP once you hit the ground.

We also saw a sign advertising Japanese tapas. We're still trying to parse that one.

I know it's a cliche, but everything in Texas is BIG. Unbelievably big. If you come from any other part of the country, for God's sake, order the small of everything unless you want your food/drink served in a bucket.

When you go to the movie theater, there will be a sign advising you that handguns, concealed or otherwise, are not allowed on the premises.

Austin not only expects you to make U-turns, it will force you to do it. Some of the weirdest, most inconsistent traffic patterns I've ever seen in my life were on this trip. One minute, there are helpful signs indicating the name of the crossroads prior to the intersection. The next, the road at the intersection isn't even marked.

Although most of the signage we saw was in both English and Spanish, almost everyone we saw was Caucasian, which makes us wonder how integrated Austin is. Granted, we spent the bulk of our time in/around our hotel or at wedding related activities, so we may have a skewed perspective.

All in all, I don't think we got a real good feel for Austin in the short time we were there, so I don't think we'll be crossing it off the travel list quite yet. I did get a damned fine margarita while we were there though!