Christmas 2003

Elise and I had a nice, relaxing, extended holiday week. We got to my parents’ house at almost midnight on Tuesday. Elise had to finish wrapping presents. I hit the nog.

I woke up late on Christmas eve. Elise got up early, had breakfast and talked to my parents for a couple hours. Shortly after I crept out of bed, we wormed my parents’ cows. A very Texas Christmas. After an enchilada dinner, we looked at the photo albums.

On Christmas morning, we all got up, ate breakfast and opened presents. Mom and Dad really liked the picture that Elise and I took in New Orleans… My parents spent their honeymoon in New Orleans as did we in 2001. We went to Pat O’Briens and a recreated a picture that was taken of my parents 30+ years ago.

After all the box tossing and paper shredding, we all went to work in the kitchen to prepare Christmas lunch/dinner. My uncle Bill and cousin Shantel came over just after noon. We ate, took pictures, ate, took more pictures and rode Bill’s 4-wheeler. Elise says she doesn’t want her own motorcycle… I guess having two extra wheels makes for a safer ride.

We woke up on Friday morning and drove into Houston to find our washer and dryer set. The drive in was fun. Even though Christmas had passed and Elise was suffering from her cold, we were able to maintain our holiday spirit. After waiting in traffic and passing the fatal accident on I-10, we made our way up I-45 north to what we thought was the Sears scratch and dent outlet. It turned out we had made our way to the parts and service store. We turned around and drove down I-45 south to the actual scratch and dent outlet. We looked around for an hour or so and decided to move on. We didn’t buy anything because 1) we didn’t have a truck 2) I wanted to make sure that we slept on it before spending $1,000+ and 3) Elise the Laundry Monger wanted to go back to my parents’ house a research the units we looked at.

We drove over to the Galleria area. We first stopped at FAO Shwarz. That was kind of depressing because they were having a going out of business sale. I then took Elise into the Galleria. It was a mad house. I really just took her there so she could see the ice skating rink and 3-story Christmas tree. After seeing both, we decided to pretend we were swanky and dipped into a few stores. Fendi, Louis Vuitton and Cartier were about as much as my $18 sweater and I could take. Elise and I found a $180 long sleeve t-shirt and a pair of $480 blue jeans. Nothing fancy about either. Those were the two items that we decided were worth a price tag flip. Most items didn’t have price tags. “If you have to ask…” We laughed heartily and left. We drove back to Mom and Dad’s, had dinner, watched TV and went to bed.

On Saturday we drove back into Houston in Dad’s truck and decided on a washer we wanted to purchase at the Sears outlet. We saved $250 on a new Maytag washing machine because of a couple barely noticeable scratches. Our options for dryers were a limited because our house has a gas line for the dryer. We drove over to the Sears store in Memorial City Mall. I told the sales guy that I had a truck and I wanted to take a dryer home with me that night. Elise found the dryer we needed but they didn’t have the gas model, nor the “bisque” color that matched our washer. The sales guy upgraded the dryer for free and is having it shipped to Austin just in time for us to move into the house. We saved $400 on new appliances. We realized that we are married, soon-to-be homeowners because we were shopping for household appliances on a Saturday night. Memorial City Mall received quite the facelift, by the way.

We got up Sunday, ate, read the newspaper, packed and started watching the Texans Vs. Colts game. Elise and I headed back to Austin around 1 p.m. and fought the rain and traffic all the way in. Our normal 1.5 hour drive took us over 3 hours. We unpacked the Jeep and rushed over to Burlington Coat Factory to exchange both of our new jackets. I think we’re both much happier with the jackets that we picked out for ourselves.

Life is started to get back to normal, which stinks. While riding my bicycle to work yesterday morning, I tried to listen to Christmas music on the JoshPod so I could maintain some form of holiday spirit. Battery was dead. Bah humbug! Apparently 98.4% of Austin isn’t working this week because it sure seemed like I was the ONLY warm-blooded animal traversing the land yesterday morning.

We met with Della and Clyde at Springhill last night to initial another addendum on our house contract and to consume fried food. I had a chicken fried steak sandwich that could have fed a team of starving Sumo wrestlers. We’re hoping that the paperwork we initialed last night will be the last until closing at the end of January. This addendum stated that the buyers are paying a certain amount in closing costs in lieu of repairs because we had to go with an FHA loan. With an FHA loan, the buyers have to pay part of closing. We wish we had known that earlier. Things could have been worse though. All-in-all, buying a house has been relatively pain free thus far.

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