Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Monday, May 24, 2010

House Hunting in Houston

Last week, at the very last moment, Roo and I decided to go find a place to live in Houston as we're planning on moving there at the end of the summer.

I didn't take any pictures of our trip due to a number of factors including, but not limited to:

A) 8 months pregnant

B) 90 degrees

C) 2000% humidity

So I will sum it up briefly with words.

  • After a three hour flight, we were waiting in the rental car line behind a French speaking couple who spoke only French. The poor lady working behind the counter did her best to explain "liability" and "upgrade" to them in her loudest voice, but it was just taking forever to get them out of there. When it was finally our turn, Roo was polite and patient despite having to wait so long. She was apparently expecting him to be rude and impatient and was so pleasantly surprised when he wasn't that she very passionately expressed her thanks to both of us, telling me in her delightful Texan drawl that I had the best husband on earth, and that God would surely bless us. Then after upgrading our rental from compact to SUV for no charge, she profusely wished God's blessings upon us along with our car and our journey and our lives with a heartfelt, two-handed handshake. This, accompanied by the blast of suffocatingly hot, wet air as we emerged from the building made for a warm (literally) welcome to Texas.
  • Taste of Texas for dinner. $40 steak. Totally worth it. We see people praying over their food in the restaurant and are probably more shocked than we should be at the Texans' blatant religiousness. As our realtor later put it, "We love ourselves some God down here!"
  • Watched House Hunters on HGTV and took a bubble bath on our 15th floor hotel room.

  • Went to church in a neighborhood of amazingly picturesque, tree lined streets with million dollar homes.
  • Met Sara, our realtor provided to us by Roo's company. Sara is nice. Sara drives a nice car. Sara likes to talk. Sara likes to tell mildly interesting anecdotes about every aspect of her entire life. Roo and I reply with polite laughter as we can't come up with a response to most of her stories.
  • Getting hot. I submit to the reality that I will never be able to have straight hair here.
  • Saw Roo's office and two apartment complexes. Feeling good about Houston.

  • Sara picks us up. Shares more stories about her life. Roo and I say a lot of "uh huh's" and "yeah's". More polite laughter.
  • The seemingly endless parade of apartment complexes begins in full.
Place 1: "Here is the pool"
"The fitness center is open 24 hours a day"
"Look at these wonderful closets"
"...all the amenities you could ever want"
"No, you have to pay for your own utilities"
"you look tired. Would you like a drink?"

Place 2: "Here is the pool"
"The fitness center is open 24 hours a day"
"Look at these wonderful closets"
"...all the amenities you could ever want"
"No, you have to pay for your own utilities"
"you look tired. Would you like a drink?"

Place 3: "Here is the pool"
"The fitness center is open 24 hours a day"
"Look at these wonderful closets"
"...all the amenities you could ever want"
"No, you have to pay for your own utilities"
"You look really tired. Would you like a drink?"

  • By Place # 8 it had reached a scorching 157 degrees with 1212% humidity. I was so exhausted I sat slumped in the back seat of Sara's car, too tired to even fake laugh at her quips, suffering from heat stroke despite the a/c, surrounded by seven empty water bottles. Violently annoyed at Sara's GPS which had taken us on a 20 minute detour through the ghetto for no apparent reason.
  • Evening: Back at the hotel. Took off sweaty clothes. Watched three hours of HGTV and Animal Planet. A show about mother leopards makes me cry. A show about neglected puppies makes me cry. A horse dies on TV and makes me cry. A man called "The Bear Whisperer" says he's going to "kick that bear's ass" and makes me laugh.
  • Dinner and a movie. By then I am so sore from the day I start to cry. It gets stormy. I start to cry. There is lightning. I continue to cry. I think about home. You can guess what I did then.

You get the was a rough day for all involved.

  • Bracing myself for another gauntlet of a day.
  • We see an apartment complex. It really does have all the amenities. It is in a lovely part of town.The rent is the best so far. It is great! The day isn't quite so hot! This place is perfect! I'm feeling good! We sign the lease, put down the very small deposit, and have officially gotten ourselves a place to live! I have a lemonade to celebrate and I do not cry.
  • Another $40 steak for dinner. We're way under-dressed and laughing way too loudly. The waitress informs us that she just found out she is pregnant today and to celebrate the fact that both she and I are pregnant, she gives us a free dessert...and her life story.

  • Instead of staying until Friday as planned, Roo packs up his physically and emotionally fragile wife and flies us both home today. I see the stares of the nervous passengers at the airport willing me to not give birth on their flight. I don't give birth on the flight. I am actually looking forward to living in Houston. It seems nice. But for now, I am happy to be home in cold Utah with my family and my pets.

So there you have it. After much tribulation, we have secured a place to live and made it over one more hurdle on the path to real-life adulthood.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Dear Dad

Dear Dad,

Maybe you didn't plan to find yourself where you are today when you were young.

But for me, understanding your life and your experiences and the man you became has taught me something important. It hasn't taught me the importance of being a wealthy person. It hasn't taught me the importance of being a prestigious or fashionable person. Your life has taught me what it means to be a good person.

A good person loves people for who they are, not for what they do or have done. He especially loves those who don't seem to earn many other peoples' affections. I've never met anyone as undiscriminating in their genuine love for people as you--even the unconventional people and the hard-luck people. You're willing to take a walk in their shoes.

A good person is tender and kind. He is honest and fair.

A good person sacrifices his time and energy to provide for his family.
A good person is resourceful and hard working. There is nothing more noble than a hard-working man, regardless of the color of his collar. No one works as hard as you do. And you are good at it! It is your heritage.
A good person has dreams and passions and talents. He contributes to the world with his ideas. You create beauty with your hands from rough sheets of lumber. You use your time and energy to beautify our homes with pieces that are uniquely yours. And I don't think you do it for the money...

A good person likes to learn about the world. You may claim to not have enough education, but I will never believe it because you are one of the most intelligent, knowledgeable, informed people I have ever known. I love to learn about the things I do because you first showed them to me.

A good person is humble and considerate. He sets these qualities above ambition, power, and worldly pursuits. He is not too busy to for anyone.

A good person does not need the praise of the world to do a good job. You are a born leader. No matter your position, people will follow you because they can tell you are a good person who knows what he's talking about. You're not a phony.

A good person will listen to rock n' roll and occasionally laugh at the Simpsons with his kids. He is their father, but he knows how to be their friend, too.

A good person forgives their sons for knocking a hole in the wall, he forgives my dog for jumping on his bed while he's trying to sleep. He tries to forgive those who may not deserve his forgiveness.

A good person does not have to be a perfect person.

So if you ever question whether you will ever be the kind of man you wanted to become when you were young, from what I can tell, you are already there. You are the kind of man other men admire. And your daughter admires you too.

And you have many more years to become even better, to make new goals and to do the things you haven't had a chance to yet.

Happy birthday, dad! I love you!

Graduation Congratulations

Tomorrow, May 7th, Roo will finish his seven-year-long academic career by graduating from the University of Utah with a master's degree in Geophysics.

Mom: So Roo, how do you feel about graduating? Do you feel proud? It's a great accomplishment.

Roo: I dunno...I'm more excited about the lunch afterwards.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Family Portrait Time

I know a very talented photographer who happens to be my sister-in-law, Amy. (See some more of her work here.)When she and my brother visited from Sacramento last week, we were very pleased to have her take some family/maternity pictures for us. We're not the most natural models, but she was so easy to work with and had good ideas for poses--poses that mercifully did not require Roo to caress my bare belly with his cheek. I did suggest one good photo idea would be for Lando and Chase to position their little paws on my belly and look lovingly at it...Amy must have just forgotten to have us do that one...