Saturday, January 30, 2016

Everything's Bigger In Texas - Including The Rats

Yep, you read that right, but I'll get to the rats in a bit.

So.  Texas.

My husband was offered a new job, and none of us were opposed to the idea, so he took it, and we started planning our big move to The Lonestar State.  Everything went pretty smoothly, and I was kind of thinking "This isn't so hard, psssht."  Famous last words, people.  Famous last words.

We were due to leave the morning of Friday, January 22.  BUT, as luck would have it, the first snow/ice debacle of the year in good old NC was due to begin in the wee hours of the morning, so we adjusted our plans and decided we'd leave at 10pm on Thursday night, and drive into Atlanta to get ahead of the storm.  Key word being PLANNED.  It took us about 45 minutes longer than we anticipated to take care of last minute stuff, and load the van.  We spent about 20 of those minutes imploring our oldest to PLEASE get out of the van, because we weren't ready to go... and she spent those 20 minutes defying us, and running in and out of the van, keeping the doors open, turning on lights, etc.

At about  12 freaking TWENTY we are finally ready to hit the road.  We all pile into the van, and NOTHING.  Nothing.  Because of a certain someone, the battery was deader than dead.  Fried.  But my husband is a freaking genius, and after about 1.5 hours of coaxing, cleaning, coddling, and charging, he got the damned thing to crank, and we made it as far as Greenville before having to stop and sleep a little.  Of course the battery was totally dead in the morning, so AAA to the rescue!  We headed out to New Orleans in just a few hours.

New Orleans was freaking freezing when we were there, but awesome nonetheless. So much history and awesomeness there... the cemetery was of particular interest for the genealogy buff.  The tombs are above ground, and amazing!  Upon your death you get to stay intact for a year and a day, and then your remains (whatever is left after the effects of granite combined with a sweltering summer are done with you) are gathered up and put into a common area in the tomb to make room for the next family member.  The ultimate in recycling!  Some tombs hold hundreds, or even thousands of people!  NOLA is apparently very very haunted, but we saw nothing... our hotel was 'new' and not haunted.  Boo!  :(  I don't think I need to mention that the food and the booze were awesome - and I fully intend to hit Bourbon Street sometime, sans kiddos.

After our little mini-vacation in NOLA, we got on with the business at hand - the last of our long-ass trip into Texas.  (Here's where the rats come in, BTW.)  It was such a relief to finally arrive, and see our rental house in person (we rented it basically sight-unseen - only a few pictures).  Everything was great until we went into the kids' wing.  It STUNK.  Long story short, it smelled like pee, and I found poop in a closet.  Apparently RAT POOP, from the 8-10" long (nose to butt, not including tail) rats that had taken up residence in the attic while the house was unoccupied.  The landlord is fixing it, but we still have no access to the kids' wing, and there are boxes of their stuff everywhere that we can do nothing with, because we can't freaking use 1/3rd of the house.  UGH.

Did I mention boxes of stuff?  Everywhere?
Yep.  The kitchen is half the size of our old one, and there is no usable attic space in this house.  Workable, though.

What's not workable is that 80% of our furniture is either destroyed completely, or aesthetically ruined, thanks to the movers who packed our truck in NC.  They sucked, did it wrong, and nearly everything was ruined in transit.  Needless to say, IKEA is now our BFF, while we attempt replace enough to make things livable.  We are so sick of putting stuff together, and lugging heavy boxes.  Just me and my husband, because we know nobody here to help.  They are delivering a couch tomorrow, thank the LORD, because sitting on the floor for a week is long enough!

So, yeah.  This is hard.

The bright sides:
Our view is utterly spectacular.  There's a lake in our front yard.
There are six foot long wind chimes that sound like church bells in the beautiful, mature tree in the front yard.
The house is charming (despite the unwelcome guests).
My kids have already made several friends in our new neighborhood.
The weather is awesome.  It was in the 70's today, and will be in the 80's tomorrow - in JANUARY.
The restaurants are great.
The grocery stores are HUGE, and have everything you can think of.
There's an amazing water feature in our yard.
There's a creek in the back that our awesome neighbors have invited our kids to play in, anytime.

We are here, though, and working hard to get settled in Austin.  I'm hoping that by this time next year I might have everything unpacked.  :D

Thursday, January 7, 2016

TSA, You're Killin' Me, Smalls

Over Christmas break, we took the kids to Florida to play with a giant mouse and spend copious amounts of our money.  (Disney World, I'm lookin' at you.)  So obviously we got to spend some time in the company of the local TSA, at the butt-crack of dawn, no less.

Let me start by saying that I've got no beef with the TSA, or airport security on any level.  It's all good, and I don't even mind showing off my holey socks to my fellow travelers, or getting randomly felt up.  Meh, worse things have happened, and hey - how else will they get to find out that I have back fat, or that my new Papermoon flannel is super-soft?  It's a win-win, am I right?

But I digress.
This isn't about me.
This is about another dude's unfortunate encounter with the TSA that I had the good fortune to witness.  (No, it wasn't a cavity search, but almost as good, I swear.)

So.  We're heading through security, and my eleven year-old's backpack is flagged for manual search. Ho hum... unexpectedly lengthy stay in the company of the TSA, but whatev.  I'm chill.  We get behind the man already waiting, and for lack of anything better to do, I intently watch the hand search of his bag.  And I see the TSA stealthily take something from his bag and whip it aside into a bin.  Curious...

The agent says something in a low tone to the man that I don't hear.  Frustrating!  I'm nosy, I admit it.  But then... I see her remove a pair of lacy ladies' panties from the bag and say "Sir, did you know these were here?  Are these yours?!"  He very nonchalantly says "No, not mine" as if lacy underwear appearing in his baggage out of thin air is just a thing that happens all the time.

The TSA throws the panties away, and I am dying trying to keep from laughing.
The man walks away, and the agent calls two more women over there, and they pick up the mystery bin from before, and I can see them measuring what was inside and trying very hard (and failing) to control their laughter.

Three guesses what was inside the bin.  I bet you'll only need one, and that it is the same guess as mine!  LOL!  ( I never found out for sure, though.)

Oh, and my daughter's bag was flagged because she was smuggling a bottle of water, FYI.   Thank you, Anna!  (But not so much for the smuggled Ginger Ale on the way back... seriously kid, again?!)

Monday, January 4, 2016

I'm Disowning My Dog

See that, up there?  That is a picture of my spoiled rotten Jack Russell, Olive.  Don't let the picture fool you - she can be very active, and very attuned to the goings-on around her.   Olive is a very dedicated guard dog, committed to keeping me safe from the terrors of mundane life.

UPS man?  She's on it, barking and pacing back and forth... how DARE he have the audacity to come on my porch and leave a package?  A PACKAGE, I tell you!  He must be stopped, and Olive is the dog for the job.

Squirrel?  Oh, that little rodent POS is going DOWN.  Crazed barking commences until someone lets the guard dog outside to take care of business.  I mean, come on... we all know squirrels are an evil menace to be dealt with accordingly.

Neighbor walking their dog on the street?  THIS WILL NOT DO.  There is another dog in the line of vision... ANOTHER DOG, OMG.

The doorbell.  The doorbell, amirite?  The doorbell is Satan's handmaiden, announcing the arrival of the dreaded UPS MAN.  

I used to feel kind of sorry for Olive, in a weird sort of way.  She's a hunting/herding/chasing breed, and she's stuck in suburbia, poor baby.  I thought that maybe she fixated on squirrels, the UPS man, and the doorbell for lack of anything better to focus her energies on.

I was wrong.

My dog is not very bright, bless her heart.

On New Year's Day, our neighbor went crazy.
The guy shot his wife (she survived by jumping in her car and driving away) and murdered our other neighbor.  The crazy dude lived directly across from us.  He was CLEARLY visible from the windows flanking our front door (the same ones that afford a view of the evil UPS man) stalking around his front lawn with a freaking rifle.

Surely my dog noticed, right?  Nope.

Surely, since the doorbell sets her off like a total nutball, the 10+ gunshots must have had some effect on her?  Nope.

Well, since she hates squirrels in her backyard, she must have went crazy when the cops with sniper rifles set up shop in our backyard, right?  NOPE.  NOT A PEEP.

Olive didn't even look up.  Thanks for nothing, ya furry jerk.  Nice to know you've got my back if the UPS man tries to do something evil like BRING ME WINE.