Getting sick, profits

John called me yesterday evening and said something to the effect of “I swear I’m getting the flu”. I woke up this morning with a headache. I recall driving to work and feeling really out of it. My headache has progressively gotten worse. I’m sore. My head hurts. My legs hurt. It’s hard to stand up. My eyes
hurt. I’m still out of it. I’m hoping I’m not getting really sick. The iPod mini sold last night for $290 used. I bought it new in February for $249. I paid $299 for the new 20GB iPod. Not too bad. If it didn’t make for bad Karma, it’s tempting to buy up a bunch of the Live Strong bracelets a the local bike shop here in Austin for $1 and sell them for a cool profit on eBay.

Sometimes I think I’m cool…

Sometimes I think I’m cool (in my P Diddy-wanna-be sort of way) – then I return a phone call from my friend Victor. Victor
is cool
. Not only did he close on his first house and buy a new Acura today, but he went sky diving on Sunday. Talk about achieving ultimate coolness in less than half a week. Play on, brutha!

Eatin’, toobin’, fishin’ and rainin’

Friday evening I went to CompUSA and picked up a new 4th generation 20GB iPod. I couldn’t wait until the mini sold. The new iPod is great (I’m setting myself up for something). I charged it for two hours, it charged completely and my computer recognized it immediately. I loaded it with a couple gigs of music and hit the road.

I loaded up some lawn chairs and headed over to John and Christine’s for the beginning of an eventful weekend. John grilled steaks and ears of corn. I cooked mashed pototoes. In attendance were John, Christine, Allan, Elise, Marc, Cindy, Rowan, Alfonso, Janeen, Evan Shadel, Ella, Brandi and yours truly. At around 1 a.m., Elise and I called it an evening and went home.

Elise had to work Saturday morning. I slept in. Elise got home around 10:30. John, Evan and Allan came over around 11 and we all headed to New Braunfels to meet up with the rest of the gang. Along the way we met up with Carlo, Erin, Toni and Phillip. We made it to the river around 1:30 and met up with the group from the night before along with Adrian.

We did that whole float down the river in an inner tube with lots of beer thing. We all had a blast. At one point, Janeen, Alfonso, Evan and myself found ourselves in deep existential conversation about something really deep, important and memorable. This conversation was so involved and
important that we all neglected to see where we were supposed to get out of the river. Adrian finally caught up with us to let us know that we had floated a mile or so too far. Seeing how our satellite group and been engrossed in an exhaustive, important conversation that took not only and emotional and psychological toll on us, but also a physical one, it was very difficult to walk upstream in knee high waters. I know for a fact that drinking many beers while sitting in the hot sun all day had no effect on any of us.

When we finally met up with the rest of our platoon, we summoned the bus to come pick us up and take us back to our cars. The majority of us went to Clear Springs Cafe for some great fried catfish. The road home was a long one. It was still relatively early in the evening but we were all
exhausted. John dropped Elise and me off at the house and we immediately went to sleep.

Elise had to work Sunday morning. She and Rodney (one of her catering employees) sold food at the Coppertank during a viewing of highlights from Lance Armstrong’s 6th Tour de France victory. I was going to stay at home all day but decided to join Elise and Rodney and watch the footage on a large screen. Rodney and I got to talking and I asked him when he was going fishing again. He replied “Today… wanna go?”

So Elise and I went home, loaded a cooler, changed into our swim suits, hopped in the Jeep and headed to the lake. We got to the marina just in time to help Rodney net some minnows. Rodney has a 26.5′ Wellcraft 2600 Martinique that boasts 320 horses. It’s a really nice boat but when you get up close and take a good look, it’s not much unlike a 12′ jon boat that is oar-driven. Rodney and I paddled out to a nearby cove while Elise sat in the back of the boat. The three of us fished for a couple hours and didn’t get a single nibble.

The sky started rumbling and bright flashes of lightening could be seen over the hills. I decided it was time for us to head back to the dock. Luckily we headed back when we did because not but a few short moments after we got out of the boat and after Elise and I put the top (sans windows) up on the Jeep, the bottom fell out of the sky. We sat under the covered walkway around the marina and fished for another half hour or so while the rain kept coming down.

Elise and I ran to the Jeep, loaded the cooler and headed home. We drove back to the house with water on the floorboard up to our ankles. The whole ordeal was pretty funny.

We came home and I grilled chicken fajitas. We had a really good weekend.

Bigger iPod

I was doing a little math today and decided that I’m going to sell the iPod mini for more than what I paid retail for a new unit. I’m thinking I’ll get pretty close to $300. I’ll take that money and buy a new 4th generation 20GB iPod (16GB larger than the mini). I called the Barton Creek Apple store to make sure they had the new iPods in stock. I told the employee about my plan which required many complex formulas, the Pythagorean theorem and a standard deviation. He said he liked the way I was thinking.

Napoleon Dynamite revisited, planning a ten year reunion

Elise came home from work on Saturday and we were dead set on doing something. Anything. Something new. Something fun. Something adventurous. We went to Blockbuster and rented Raising Arizona. We came home and instead of watching the movie, we sat on the back patio and talked. So not only did we not do anything new and exciting, we didn’t even watch the damn movie we rented that night.

We got up on Sunday and shopped for bedroom furniture. Again. I gotta tell you, I’m not really liking what I’m seeing out there. Hear that, furniture making people? Make something cool and inexpensive and timeless and rugged and rustic and classic and some other things. Surprise me. As of now, I’m letting Elise proxy vote for me. I want to get our bedroom done so we can take the existing furniture and use it for the guest bedroom.

Victor met up with us at the Oak and Pine Superstore. Nothing there. So we went to Rooms to Go. Nothing there either. So we went to Bone Daddy’s, thinking we could get some hot wings. No hot wings. I heard Bone Daddy’s was a Hooter’s knock off, so why not try some knock off wings? We all had a beer and went up the road to Pluckers. Elise pointed out that she preferred the hot waitresses over at Bone Daddy’s (pretty slick, eh? See, I made it sound like Elise was checking out the waitresses but really it was Victor) but the wings at Pluckers made up for the lack of scenery. Pluckers’ wings were mighty fine. Mighty hot too.

After dinner we went to the theater and watched Napoleon Dynamite. Again. It was Victor’s first time seeing it. Again I found myself grinning and nearly peeing myself due to laughter throughout the movie. Elise’s and my vocabulary have changed significantly. We now find ourselves saying, on a regular basis, things like: “Gosh”, “Idiot”, “Sweet”, “Dang”, “T.O.’d” and “Peace out”. Elise and I have decided that Kip is our favorite character. I think Napoleon Dynamite is a movie that everyone can somehow relate to. I just watched some of the clips on the the website and want to see it again. But I won’t.

Anyway. Elise and I came home on Sunday and watched Raising Arizona. Monday came all too early. Again.

In other news. My ten year high school reunion was supposed to be this upcoming weekend. A small group of us that I will refer to as the Bellville High School Class of 1994 Ten Year Reunion Planning Committee Meeting Team Association (BHSCO1994TYRPCMTA for short) met many months ago to plan the reunion. We did all of the typical work that goes along with planning a reunion. We contacted people who contacted other people so we could compile a list of classmates to contact and inform them of the reunion. We made invitations. We built a website. We did everything in a timely manner. We received 12 responses. We waited. We waited. We talked. We decided to cancel the reunion. When we did that, everyone chimed in. Anyway – not to get into it but some classmates are going to Bellville and having a picnic. Others (myself included) are going to New Braunsfel to float the river on Saturday. The class has been divided. There have been disgruntled e-mails that have been exchanged. There have been mumbles beneath breaths. There is subtle hostility. I don’t know how the Bellville mini-reunion is going but I hope it goes well. The river trip for the weekend started out being over-managed. At one point I was a little “T.O.’d” with the divided situation. I thought about sending an e-mail to the other side, but I didn’t. I guess the moral of the story is you can’t please everyone. Of course, you can’t please anyone if no one bothers to RSVP.

So if I don’t update the website before the weekend, I wish both sides a joyous mini reunion. No I don’t. What am I saying? I want to tight-roll the legs of my Bugle Boy jeans, do the Cabbage Patch and accidentally say something to piss off my best friend’s girlfriend who happens to be best friends with the girl that I’ve had a crush on since Ms. Damel’s 7th grade English class whose brother is the smartest kid in class and usually lets me borrow his homework so I can copy it during lunch but now probably won’t because I pissed that one girl off and because of all of this a rumor started that I was making out with a pair of drumsticks behind the bleachers during a pep rally and so suddenly I become the ostracized stinky kid on the bus and the other fellas will no longer let me be in there plastic trash can drum circle during lunch which will ultimately leave me to cry and make mix tapes for someone who will never understand.

Yes, it’s been ten years. Peace out.

Napoleon Dynamite

Elise and I went on a date last night. We had an early, comped (catering favor) dinner at Rounders – great pizza. Food tastes better when it’s free. After dinner we saw a sneak preview of the movie Napoleon Dynamite. That was the funniest, most feel good movie I can remember seeing in a long time. If I wasn’t cracking up, I was grinning from ear to ear for the entire movie. I’m seriously thinking about going to see it again this afternoon while Elise is at work.

We came home and watched part of Jay Leno and then Headbanger’s Ball featuring Metallica. Very cool evening.

We got up this morning and scoped out the Westlake Farmer’s Market. We bought some peaches. I’m home alone. I need to change the oil in my truck but it’s somewhere near 475 degrees in my garage.

On another note: people just kill me sometimes. We have community mailboxes in our neighborhood. Everyday when I’m driving into the neighborhood from work, I stop and pick up the mail. Twice now someone has stopped their car behind me, waited for me to get out, get my mail, get into the truck and driven off so they can move their car five feet forward to get out and check their mail.

New bed

This past weekend was probably one of the best that I’ve had in a long time. Friday evening started off with a top notch experience in fine dining. Elise and I sat at a picnic table that was attacked by flies and ate dry hamburgers at Sandy’s on Barton Springs and S. 1st. The burgers were okay once we doctored them with condiments. After splitting a frozen custard, we drove up the road to Peter Pan Mini-Golf to play a very competitive 18 holes on the east course. Elise beat me by a stroke. We had bubble gum raspas after turning in our clubs. We drove home and sat on the back patio and talked about nothing for the rest of the night and into the wee hours of the morning.

Saturday was a lazy day. We did absolutely nothing. I think we watch Back to the Future 3. I don’t remember. That evening I made fried rice and a watermelon and mango salsa. I taught Elise how to grill sesame crusted tuna steaks. The salsa topped the steaks. We sat on the tailgate of my truck in the driveway for the rest of the evening. I’m really getting used to Elise’s downtime at work. I like it much better when she can be at home with me on the weekends.

We woke up at 6 a.m. on Sunday. That was due mainly to me setting my alarm for work on Saturday night. That was stupid, but it made for a productive Sunday. We hopped out of bed, showered and headed out for breakfast. We had migas breakfast tacos at Taco Xpress on South Lamar. I thought they were the best breakfast tacos I’d had in a long time. I think the homemade chimichuri sauce was fantastic.

After breakfast we drove up Lamar at a whopping 30 mph. This because nothing opens until noon and we had two hours to kill. Our mission: to spend large sums of money on a king size mattress and twin box springs and possibly bedroom furniture. Our first stop was at Capital Mattress. Seeing how Elise and I have never shopped for mattresses before, this was an educational mission. We were introduced to the Simmons Beautyrest – the patented single pocket coil mattress that will allow you leave a fragile glass of red wine on your mattress and throw a bowling ball onto the mattress without spilling your wine. Seeing how we find ourselves, quite often, bowling drunk in bed, we both agreed that the Beautyrest would be a good purchase. We’ve learned to avoid impulse buying so we shopped at other stores throughout the day. We shopped for mattresses and bedroom furniture. We really couldn’t decide on any furniture, so we focused on the mattress. After many sales consultations, we finally decided to go back and purchase the Beautyrest from Capital Mattress. To save ourselves a few hundred dollars, we went to Sam’s and bought a king size Memory Foam mattress cover. The new bed will be delivered on Tuesday afternoon. Now the cats will have more room to shed hair, sleep and barf up hairballs.

We drove over to John and Christine’s for dinner later that evening. John and I went to HEB to buy ingredients for jambalaya. Then we, uh, made jambalaya.

We got home late after having to drop off some boxes for John to be recycled. I immediately plopped down in bed and fell asleep. Monday morning came all too early. “Sounds like someone’s got a case of the Mondays!”

The other half

I’ve found myself checking the website to see what I’ve been up to and have been disappointed because the submissions are less frequent than they used to be. This is due to Josh having less time to write because of more responsibility at work. The sad thing is I think I’m just as disappointed as my Grandma and parents because I haven’t been able to read about what’s been happening in our lives…never mind that I’m living it. I decided it’s time for me to share some of the responsibility of documenting our lives so here goes:

I love being a homeowner, or maybe the term should be home borrower seeing as how the lender still owns the majority of our house. Josh and I were looking at pictures the other day and remarking at how much has changed since we moved in. It definitely feels more like “our home” now. It’s still a slow process, but how does the saying go? “Don’t count your Rome before it’s hatched,” or is it “Chickens weren’t built in one day?” Something like that…

(Sorry guys. I just don’t have the wit that Josh does.)

In other news, I’ll be traveling to Des Moines in August. Unfortunately Josh has to work so I’ll be traveling solo. The scary thing is I may be flying on Friday the 13th. Do you think the airlines give airfare discounts to people brave enough to fly on that day? I’m really looking forward to going home (my other home). This year is the Iowa State Fair’s Sesquicentennial. Believe it or not the Iowa State Fair was ranked 2nd best place to travel this summer by USA Weekend Magazine. For all of you jealous Texans out there…ahem…my husband…ahem…never fear, Guadalupe River tubing, Texas Hill Country was ranked 6th.

Not much else I can think of right now. It’s past my bedtime so I’ll try to write again before the next year has come and gone.

– Elise

Fouth of July 2004

Elise and I had a nice 4th of July weekend. I rushed home from work on Friday, ducked into a store to buy some flowers and went home to pick Elise up for our date. We hadn’t gone out on a date for a while so I figured I’d arrange for dinner and a movie. We went to Mirabelle for dinner. The food and service were both great. Elise had the Herbed Crusted Halibut with a Chive-Asparagus Fondue with a glass of Conundrum chardonnay. Yours truly had the Roasted Duck Breast with Fennel-Merlot Jus. Both entrees were excellent. I really wanted to stay to try the Peanut Butter Mousse Cream Torte (I’m not a dessert person but heard this torte was a must-have) but we were in a hurry.

We rushed out of the restaurant and drove to Barton Creek Cinema to see Dodge Ball. You can save yourself a little money by watching the trailer. The movie wasn’t good. All of the funny parts are in the trailer – the rest of the film is filler. I found myself watching the couple in front of us playing with their baby more than I was watching the movie.

We woke up on Saturday and packed up for a trip to New Braunfels. We stopped at the grocery store for the toobin’ essentials and then stopped for a hamburger. We made it to New Braunfels around 1:30 – just in time for the temperature outside to get hot enough to make the frigid Guadalupe River a relief. We floated. And we floated. Floated some more. At one point we hit some rapids. I hit my tailbone on rocks. That hurt. We floated. And we floated some more. At another point we hit some rapids. I hit my tailbone again on rocks – only this time I hit the rocks harder.

Towards the end of our float, we had a friendly conversation Matt and Christine, two Army nurses who recently returned from the Middle East. After losing my flip flops, finding them, flipping out of my inner tube, losing the cooler, reacquiring the cooler and soaking up a lot of sun, we hopped in the Jeep and headed back to Austin. We stopped at El Arroyo for a late fajita dinner before calling it a night.

We woke up early on Sunday and washed the Jeep and the truck. While Elise washed the Jeep, I mowed and pulled up some bad backyard landscaping that was left by previous owners. That made for a nicely sun burnt back. We spent the rest of the afternoon finishing the paint job in our bedroom.

Later that evening we scooped up Victor and drove to Auditorium Shores to watch the Fourth of July fireworks display. We all agreed that this year was the best display we had collectively seen. Elise and I drove home, sat on the tailgate of my truck and shot bottle rockets from a beer can and listened to that Lee Greenwood song.

To most: have a nice Independence Day After – the rest of us have to work.