Monthly Archives: December 2016

End of the Year Questions – Part II (Shakira)

I read Gigi’s entry on this topic and decided I would give it a go. Partly because I love a countdown at the end of the year (I remember being glued to the TV to watching a countdown of music videos on MTV back when MTV actually played such things) and I also love a montage. Sitting down to think through my year is like a mashup of both. Also, who doesn’t love talking about themselves?

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
I went on five ski trips in 2016 – between the two of them, I was able to ski the penultimate weekend in Arapahoe Basin (A-Bay to me and my buddies) in May, and then the second weekend A-Bay opened in October, meaning there was barely five months during between trips. How freaking amazing is that? Skiing in October also meant that I did something else I’d never done before – watch my beloved Longhorns play football between my laps around the mountain.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I never make New Year’s resolutions, but Sterling and I decided on financial, physical, professional, personal and relationship goals. I just looked back at the list and uhhhh…

I’m just gonna re-set the same goals for 2017. How’s that?

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Not in 2016, but my friend MaryAnn gave birth on Christmas Eve 2015, so that’s pretty close.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
No, thank goodness.

5. What countries did you visit?
I didn’t leave the U.S. in my travels this year.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
Confidence. And a manual transmission Aston Martin Vantage V8.

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory?
November 8.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
One of the attorneys on our very small team left in April, and I had to do my job plus hers for several months. I am extremely proud of the way I handled it. I received multiple awards and shout-outs from colleagues over the course of the year, ranging from a formal plaque in my office, to a gigantic box of Godiva cookies, to emails and instant messages saying some version of “Thank you. You’re the best.” The best compliment by far might have been when my boss said: “We hit the jackpot with you.” (I almost fell out of my chair. And here’s hoping that’s reflected at review time in April.)

9. What was your biggest failure?
Sterling and I utterly failed at curbing our spending going out. However, see #12.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I am slightly embarrassed to admit that I took a spill one night at a bar while dancing. There may have been booze involved. I was also kind of making out with my husband so that’s still a win. My knee is a little wonky but it doesn’t impact skiing so I’m rolling with it. I also endured the annoyance of a colonoscopy because I learned that colon problems may run in my family. Clean bill of health, but I will have to get regular colonoscopies every five years. Wooo.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
I’m going to cheat a little bit on this, and give two answers:

1 – Our house, purchased in November 2015. Even though it’s not 2016, it *almost* is. I had to include it because it’s hands-down the best thing I’ve ever purchased in my life. I also think it counts because Sterling and I spent most of the year saying to each other, “I love our house” and “I love where we live.”

2 – For something truly purchased in 2016, it’s the Garmin watch I gave Sterling for his birthday. We make it a practice not to give gifts on the standard occasions, instead getting a gift for the other when we feel like it. (This makes gifts an unexpected delight.) In this case, I knew he wanted this ridiculously expensive watch to add to his collection, so I bought it for him. I decided his birthday would be a good time to give it to him. This way I could tell everyone at his party that I am a cool wife. Kidding. Kind of.

12. Where did most of your money go?
Again, a little embarrassing, but true. Going out to eat and drink. Being DINKs (Dual Income, No Kids) means that you spend stupid money doing stupid things just because you can. But sometimes being stupid is really fun.

13. What did you get really excited about?
Every vacation, especially skiing. Aside from skiing in Angelfire and A-Bay, we went to Dallas on a Race Armada poker run, Boston for a wedding, Scottsdale for Friendiversary with Gigi and Madame V, San Antonio on a Race Armada rally, Austin for various visits/holidays and Tulsa for Christmas. (Okay, I admit, I was not that excited about Tulsa, but at least it was cold for a day and felt like Christmas. And I got a bottle of Bailey’s in the white elephant gift exchange. Winning.)

14. What song will always remind you of 2016?
See #21.

Also, “My House” by Flo Rida. I know what the song *really* means, but to me and Sterling, it means that all our friends are coming over to celebrate. We had a huge group over to the house for his birthday in January, and then we went to Clé. We walked outside and every person’s exotic/supercar was parked all over the neighborhood, including a Lambo hard-parked in the neighbor’s driveway. It was like we had our own entourage. That’s the rally life.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:

– happier or sadder? Sadder. I am having a really hard time getting past the election results and what it means for our country and my relationships with some of my friends.

– thinner or fatter? I am just about the same. However, I hate this question.

– richer or poorer? About to be poorer because I have to pay property tax in 30 days. But it’s worth it, because have you heard I love my house?

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Writing, meditating (I keep trying to learn), doing new things like riding bikes or going to see a play, and trying things that take me out of my comfort zone. I read an article yesterday about Mischa Barton (yes, random, but I just downloaded the first season of the O.C. to re-watch and so when an article about her popped up in my twitter feed, I had to see how Marissa Cooper was doing as she approaches 30) and she said she heard somewhere you should re-invent yourself every seven years. Because my law career started in 2007, I’m overdue for a reinvention.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Being hard on myself, stressing out about work, worrying about the future. (Again I am copying Gigi somewhat, but it’s true. Therefore, Gigi, you and I have some work to do. Perhaps another Friendiversary is in order.)

18. How did you spend Christmas/Hanukkah/Major Holiday of your choice?
I spent Christmas Day driving back from a visit to Tulsa to see Sterling’s family. That’s about seven hours in the car. That time was spent asking each other dumb questions, gossiping, sipping a Starbucks coffee (to pretend it was still cold outside, like Christmas should be, but I digress), listening to music, exchanging texts with Gigi and Madame V, and reading the Internet. All of it. Once we got home, we turned around and went to our new favorite neighborhood bar, Clutch. We walked in and immediately found a group of our friends, who yelled merrily and gave us hugs. It was a pretty good day.

19. What were your favorite TV programs?
Designated Survivor, Timeless, Botched by Nature, Marriage Boot Camp

20. What were your favorite books you read this year?
These are all the books I gave five stars on goodreads:

A Much Married Man, Wicked Pleasures, One Fifth Avenue, Crazy Blood, Leaving Time, Orange is the New Black, More Than You Know

You can see that I enjoy a very high brow type of literary greatness.

21. What was your favorite music you heard this year?
“Five More Hours” – Deorro and Chris Brown. Sterling became obsessed with this song around January sometime, and it became our theme song for partying all year. I requested it from DJs, turned it on in Ubers, played it while baking and meal prepping on Sundays.

22. What were your favorite films you saw this year?
Film-watching is not one of my strengths, but Sterling and I watched a psychological thriller called The Invitation a couple of weeks ago. It was amazing.

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I celebrated all weekend because my birthday fell on a Sunday. Friday night I was supposed to have dinner with the in-laws, but my flight from Chicago was delayed until 6:30. Pretty sure we were the last ones out that night, due to the weather. We had to de-ice before takeoff, as it was snowing pretty steadily. Poor Sterling worried about me from the moment I flipped my phone into airplane mode until we landed. I should have paid for wireless and emailed him—oops. When I did get home, we went out for drinks at Clutch.

Saturday, we drove to Austin and stayed at the W with our Race Armada friends. I met up with a group of people—Gigi and Madame V included—at Lavaca Street Bar downtown. Old school.

Sunday, back to Houston for brunch at Cyclone Anaya’s. Sterling and I continued the party after brunch. The night ended with a shopping spree at CVS that included three flavors of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. The next morning we discovered toothpaste on the cat.

Not a bad showing for 39.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
I am going to echo Gigi on this one: The first female president being elected.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
Classy and hip for work. Refusing to act my age, sexy bordering on slutty when I go out. Wait, Gigi told me on my birthday to stop talking like that (slutty). Okay, sexy and fierce when going out.

26. What kept you sane?
My husband. I kept a diary of my happy moments on this blog, starting in February. Here’s what I said about him on our anniversary, and this pretty much sums it up:

My husband is worth of mad love for many, many reasons. He’s handsome, smart, funny, sweet, hard working. He takes care of me. He’s a true partner in our relationship. He makes me feel like I’m the only woman in the room. But the best thing about him? The reason I married him and am happy to go through this mad journey called life together? He lets me be me. Every day. Not only does he let me be me, he loves that version of me. Even when it’s not the best version.

27. Share a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
Our country hasn’t come as far as I thought we had in terms of civil discourse, racism and respecting others who are different. We need to be involved, keep the faith and speak up for what we believe is right.

(I am not sure these are life lessons, but two significant things I learned in 2016:

If my husband leaves me or dies, I am selling everything I own and moving to Colorado to ski as much as possible. Basically, I am a true alcoholic’s daughter, which means I create backup plans constantly.

My husband thinks I am one of the strongest people he knows. I think that is fucking cool.)

 

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End of the Year Questions

Five years ago, I found an end of the year wrap-up quiz on a really good blog called All & Sundry Mourning. I thought the questions were interesting and it seemed a good way to remember what happened in the nearly-over year and prepare to move forward into the nearly-here one. This is a mildly tweaked version of her quiz, which may be a mildly tweaked version of someone else’s, if I read her explanation correctly.

So here is my 2016. What was yours like? If you want to share your answers, I’d love to read them.  Either way, I recommend taking some time and thinking about the year that was.

1. What did you do in 2016 that you’d never done before?
So these things may not seem like a big deal, but as I haven’t been much of a traveler in my life (so far) they were novel and exciting for me.

I went to Scottsdale, Arizona with Shakira, her hubby and another fabulous friend for our 20 year ‘Friendiversary’. In Scottsdale, they sell liquor in the Walgreens, even on Sunday and there were many apartments that looked like they were right out of the Three’s Company 70s. It was fabulous.

I took all three of my kids on a plane trip by myself to visit my family in Florida. None of them were experienced flyers, so it was exciting for us all. Please note that Southwest Airlines makes a fine Bloody Mary.

I stayed in a hotel room by myself for the first time ever on a work trip in September. One of my all-time favorite things to do in life is watch tv in bed, but I don’t have a tv in my actual bedroom, because I suspect it would encourage my latent agoraphobia to blossom, so I especially adored this part of the trip. It’s the little things, baby.

Unrelated to travel: I saw the movie Elf.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions at the end of last year, since 2015 was a shitstorm for me. But I’m feeling stronger, so it’s time to make goals:

I’m going to spend time with the people I adore.

I’m going to spend time alone.

I’m going to write and work on things I love.

I’m going to keep running regularly and participate in some races.

I’m going to try not to say yes to things I don’t want out of a warped sense of obligation.

I’m going to say yes to things that sound like fun to me, even if they scare me a little.

I’m going to ask questions and seek answers.

I’m going to say what I need to say.

I’m going to keep working on building myself and my boys back up.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
A dear friend had the most wonderful, smiley and cuddly baby in April. I’m so glad I get to know this little girl!

4. Did anyone close to you die?
David Bowie, Prince and George Michael. Plus Carrie Fisher. Ugh, this year was brutal. And yes, I’m aware that I did not know these folks personally and the actual year didn’t kill them. And yet….there are still a few days left in 2016 and I’m hoping that all of the Duran Duran guys and Judy Blume are taking their vitamins.

5. What countries did you visit?
I kept my magic to the good ol’ U S of A! I did go to Canada in my head for a while in November, though.

6. What would you like to have in 2017 that you lacked in 2016?
Optimism. The year 2016 may have killed my optimism. And my faith in humanity. I hope those things can be resuscitated.

7. What dates from 2016 will remain etched upon your memory?
The day I started my job. The day I got my second divorce. The day I ran the half marathon with my sister (that one’s easy, ’cause it was my birthday).

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Getting my high school prom picture etched in glass to create the “I’m So F*cking Impressed” award. It’s best idea I’ve ever had. Looking forward to celebrating the ISFIs in the near future. It’s gonna be bigger than the Oscars!

9. What was your biggest failure?
My morning routine with my boys is a colossal failure. It does not go smoothly AT ALL. EVER. I need to rework it in 2017.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I had a couple of colds and some allergy issues, but nothing major. KNOCK ON WOOD. The year isn’t over yet.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
My house.

12. Where did most of your money go?
See 11. The rest goes to HEB, Target and Trader Joe’s where I buy all the foods that come from mythical creatures, plus cheap wine.

13. What did you get really excited about?
I was extremely excited about my Friendiversary and Thanksgiving trips. I was very excited to eat and drink with abandon after I ran the half marathon. And I was pretty excited to return to Stars Hollow, via my couch, to watch the Gilmore Girls update. The dorkiest thing I got really excited about was catching the Pikachu with the Santa hat while playing Pokémon Go with my son.

14. What song will always remind you of 2016?
Phosphorescent’s Song for Zula. It didn’t come out this year, but I listened to it a lot. I mean, these lyrics:

“Some say love is a burning thing
That it makes a fiery ring
Oh but I know love as a fading thing
Just as fickle as a feather in a stream
See, honey, I saw love. You see, it came to me
It put its face up to my face so I could see
Yeah then I saw love disfigure me
Into something I am not recognizing ”

and

“I am not some broken thing
I do not lay here in the dark waiting for thee
No my heart is gold. My feet are light
And I am racing out on the desert plains all night.”

Yep.

15. Compared to this time last year, are you:


– happier or sadder? Happier. Wow.

– thinner or fatter? A little fatter. (Why? Why?!?)

– richer or poorer? Considering I didn’t have a job last year, I’m much richer!

16. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Playing outside with my kids. Going to the movies. Sleeping.

17. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Worrying. Crying. Reading internet comments with mouth agape at the level of stupidity, unkindness and atrocious spelling contained in them.

18. How did you spend Christmas/Hanukkah/Major Holiday of your choice?
I drank all the booze and ate all the food. Hmmm…wonder why I’ve gained weight? On Christmas Day I had my boys in the morning, then I went to a great party and got to spend time with some of my dearest people in the evening. We had an impromptu George Michael dance party, possibly to the chagrin of some of the men in attendance. It was a good one, except for the part about losing George.

19. What were your favorite TV programs?
Stranger Things. Offspring. Fargo. Catastrophe.

20. What were your favorite books you read this year?
The Book Thief. M Train. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck.

21. What was your favorite music you heard this year?
I went to see/hear way more live music in 2016 than I have in a long time and those experiences have been the highlight of the music part of my year. At one show the band did a cover of David Bowie’s Space Oddity and it was sublime.

22. What were your favorite films you saw this year?
Keanu and Bad Moms. Comedies for the win! I didn’t go to the movies enough this year, though. Gotta put that on my list of resolutions!

23. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
Ugh…I turned 45. Just typing that makes me want to lay down. My fabulous sister came to town and we went to Houston and ran a half marathon together. Then we had dinner and many margaritas with Shakira and her hubby. It was a truly great birthday, except for the whole being halfway to 90 part.

24. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
The first female president being elected.

25. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2016?
Librarian up to no good.

26. What kept you sane?
Who says I’m sane?

27. Share a valuable life lesson you learned in 2016.
I learned that I am stronger than I thought I was. And I have a voice that may be rusty from squelching it down for so long, but it is still there. I feel unsure sometimes, a residue from years of feeling like I was all wrong, but I am learning to trust my instincts again. Even though it has been painful at times, getting the chance to rebuild my life and make it my own is an amazing thing. I am lucky.

OK, 2017, let’s do this! Happy New Year to one and all!!!

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Holiday Soundtrack

There is a local radio station that plays Christmas songs continuously for the entire month of December. As soon as I found it, I decided to tell my kids that we could no longer listen to anything else until Christmas is over, so that we can ensure that we are ALWAYS in the holiday spirit. I was lying, of course…it’s really because they drive me crazy with their constant arguing about what song to listen to while I’m trying to drive. You’d think they would realize I’m not actually Ms. Holly Jolly if they looked at some of the contextual clues in our life. Our main Christmas decoration is a tiny fake tree, with pre attached lights, decorated with little plastic dragons and candy. We eat and replace the candy weekly. I also keep it festive (and classy) with a reindeer that sits on our mantle and poops out jelly beans. I own exactly ONE Christmas album and it is the only one I’ll ever need: John Denver and the Muppets: A Christmas Together. I have been listening to that glorious album every holiday season since I was a kid and I will never stop loving it. I would just play it on repeat all month, but the CD player in my van is broken and the stereo system is so old that using newer musical technology is impossible. So the All-Christmas station it is! Unfortunately, there are a lot of hits and misses with the holiday tunes. I had no idea that there were so many that are just…insane!

Let’s start with the obvious: Baby It’s Cold Outside. Surely everyone recognizes the creep factor of this song, right? It’s a sexy holiday song about coercive tactics to bed someone who seems less than thrilled at the prospect, with a possible spiked drink thrown in just for laughs? Oh hell no! I mean seriously dude, she’d rather freeze her ta-tas off then spend another moment by the fire with you. Clearly you are the worst!  When you read the recently reworked lyrics that emphasize consent, it only highlights the creepiness of this song. If you are on a date with some who says that this is his/her favorite Christmas tune, I highly recommend that you go into the bathroom and immediately summon a car with the rideshare app of your choice. And for God’s sake, DON’T finish that eggnog!

All I Want For Christmas is You is another stalker anthem, albeit a peppy one.  Who obsessively wants a person for Christmas, when there are so many great gift card and liquor options? A psycho, that’s who. If you are dating someone who loves this song, I personally think you should dump them before the holidays so that you don’t end up spending your Christmas chained in their sex dungeon, sporting a latex elf suit.

How about Holly Jolly Christmas? This song seems all rollicking good fun, until that part where he says “Ho Ho, the mistletoe, hung where you can see.  Somebody waits for you. Kiss her once for me!” Uh, what? I have to admit, that song kind of makes me want to run up to someone and give them a great big surprise kiss, like “MWAH! This is for Burl Ives, baby!” Would anyone get it and laugh before I got deservedly punched and/or arrested?

Then there is Santa Baby. Who came up with this song? It’s awful! I mean, am I misinterpreting or is this a grown woman singing in a baby voice about sexing Santa up so that he’ll give her furs and diamonds? Gross!

We Wish You a Merry Christmas starts out with good intentions: just some happy carolers at your door, singing a merry tune and wishing you good tidings. Then it turns dark when they DEMAND pudding and suddenly it becomes a full blown stand-off! Horrifying.

I personally hate The Little Drummer Boy, because I loathe nonsense lyrics like Pa-rup-a-pum-pum. Gah, just typing that upset me. I know I may be on my own with that one as many people just adore that sort of thing. I once got screamed at by a fellow Girl Scout when I refused to join in the singing for a horrible song called Dum-Dum Da-Da. That song’s title represents its only lyrics. Even as a child, I simply could not. It’s the same with Pa-rup-a-pum-pum. No can do. (Strangely, I’m totally fine with sayings like “no can do.”)

And just to throw in more sacrilege I hate both Paul McCartney’s Wonderful Christmastime and John Lennon’s Happy Xmas. Those titles are ironic, right? The former is surely on the soundtrack to at least one Christmas-themed horror movie and all of my Christmas-themed nightmares. It gets stuck in your brain and won’t let go. And the latter starts out really judgey, “So this is Christmas and what have you done?” Well I don’t know.  Jeez.  Now I feel like an asshole. Then the chorus punishes you for your inaction with a shrill “A VERRRY Merry ChristMAAAASSSS….” Oh my God, please stop hurting my ears. I’ll do better next year, I swear.

I do like some Christmas songs – I’m not a total Grinch (probably). Elvis’ Blue Christmas always makes me happy and anything Christmasy at all by Neil Diamond fills me with joy. But my absolute favorite is Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas from my favorite (only) Christmas album, the aforementioned John Denver and the Muppets masterpiece. Rowlf the dog, with his low, growly voice is perfection. He sounds like he’s had a couple of drinks and he’s feeling sentimental. He and John Denver, whose voice is clear and true, sound like real friends, just hanging out at the piano. They’re saying that times are tough, but we have each other, our faithful friends and loved ones, and that’s what’s important during the holidays and always. I could think of no better sentiment with which to end 2016.

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Morning Routine

Rudely awakened by the bleating of my first alarm, which goes off at a ridiculously dark hour. So strange to not feel refreshed and energized after 5 1/2 hours of fitful sleep! First I put the coffee on, now the day can begin. Oh my God, who is that mug shot in my mirror? Nick Nolte? Oh shit, it’s me. Stupid 40s, why do you hurt me? Shower, then put on my pink fuzzy robe. Grab my coffee cup and buckle up. It’s about to get real.

Second alarm is 12 minutes later. That one plays “Don’t Stop Believin’” for extra motivation. I need it ’cause it’s time to wake the children.

It is unfortunate that only one of my children is a morning person. That child, while not thrilled to be getting up, will generally smile at me and get out of bed and possibly start getting ready for school. The other two are in no mood for pleasantries. They are burrowing, they are growling. They can only be lured from their beds with promises of pop tarts. They don’t know that my pop tarts aren’t the real deal, but some facsimile from Trader Joe’s that claims to be “organic” and therefore full of nutrition, right? But really, how can something called a “toaster pastry” be organic, or healthy, or even considered food? That is one of the many mysteries I will not be solving this morning.

After I have thrown food at the kids, I grab my coffee and attempt to make myself look like the competent professional I aim to be someday. Not hungry yet, but I will likely be chowing on trail mix at my desk later this morning. I eat a lot of trail mix for someone who is not particularly outdoorsy. I read and admired Wild, but I’m going to have to go another way with my transformative journey. The way that doesn’t include wildlife or sleeping on the ground. As I dry my hair, I multitask by barking orders at my sons. Is it possible that they will someday figure out that they have to put clothes and shoes on their bodies and brush their teeth EVERY day without my telling them? Hasn’t happened yet. Won’t happen today. They are screaming at each other and eventually one of them throws a hardcover book at his brother’s head and there is more screaming and a little bit of blood. I wipe up the blood, do some consoling and scolding and direct the children to the next steps in the getting ready process. “Brush your teeth or they will all turn green and fall out of your face! I hear that the Tooth Fairy charges YOU to haul away the green ones.”

Oh crap, I’ve got to put on real clothes! Luckily, I have a dress I found at Ross for $14.99 which miraculously makes me look 10 pounds thinner. I don’t know if it’s the material, the cut, or the print, but it’s magical wizardry! I need to find six more of these dresses.

Grab my youngest son’s “sack lunch” as Kindergarten has a field trip today. I have no sacks, so it is in a paper wine bag from Trader Joe’s, because I stock up on Three Buck Chuck when I purchase my organic pop tarts and trail mix. The bag has a wine bottle on one side and a wine glass on the other. Awesome.

Time to go! Each minute that passes after my set to-go time buys me exponentially more minutes in congested Austin traffic.

But wait! Shoes! I tell the boys to put their shoes in a bin by the door every evening. But do they put them there? Occasionally. Right now, five out of six feet are shoed. Nobody can find the sixth shoe. I search around frantically while about a third of the hundreds of “dammits” and “shits” in my head come out of my mouth. I consider that a victory. And I find the shoe under the couch and consider that a victory as well. Roar up to the school in my vaguely-colored minivan and practically push them out of the car. Now it’s time for traffic hell.

Did you know that things are just magnetically drawn to vaguely-colored minivans? Cars come at my van like moths to a vaguely-colored flame. And nobody wants to be behind a vaguely-colored minivan, least of all Dodge Ram drivers. They seem to think that their penises will fall off if a vaguely-colored minivan passes them, so they are on high alert and do their damnedest not to let it happen. If I get cut off or somebody is practically driving up my butt, that person is most often piloting a Dodge Ram. Hey guys, I don’t think the penis thing is true! It doesn’t seem like real science. Please stop trying to kill me.

I live 10 miles away from my job, but it takes me at least 40 minutes to get there. Luckily this morning I have a sweet Neil Diamond playlist going. “I AM, I CRIED! I AM, SAID I!” Hell yeah, Neil. I AM the bitch driving the vaguely-colored minivan you are stuck behind, Mr. Ram. Suck it.

I eventually get to my parking garage, which is three blocks from work. Not terrible, unless it is raining. The thing that IS terrible is the garage stairwell. It smells like a whole lotta urine and at the bottom there is often some sort of weird surprise like old pants, or empty cough medicine bottles, or dead crickets. Today I realize, after exiting the stairwell, that I have forgotten my badge in my car. I have to run back up four flights of stairs, causing me to breathe heavily and suspect I am huffing a urine cloud. That can’t be good.

Alas, the harrowing times aren’t over. The three blocks to work are filled with crazed Austin commuters and I must make my way across the streets like I’m playing a live version of Frogger. I am almost run over by a guy in a Prius who didn’t see me in the crosswalk because my magical dress made me look so incredibly thin. We stare at each other in horror for a second and then he smiles apologetically and gives me a wave, like “Glad I didn’t run you over! Have a nice day!” Whew. I’m finally at my building, the courthouse, where there is usually a line to get through the metal detector at the entrance. Courthouses are one of the few places in Texas where your concealed weapons are not welcome. Never fear, you can still bring them to the state mental hospital or your film studies class at the university, where they are totally appropriate. I don’t make it through without setting off the buzzer and must be “wanded” by a police officer. Not gonna lie, that was the best part of my morning.

I make it to my desk, just barely on time and breathe a sigh of relief. My cube-mate smiles the serene, well-rested smile of a child-free woman and says, “Good morning!” I say, “I’m gonna need to go to Starbucks and drop six bucks on a ridiculous beverage with syrup and whipped cream. Need anything?” I think I deserve it.

 

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