Shoes and high heeled boots have given way to cowboy, with 'low to no' heel, boots at the weekend, and 'nice' trousers finally reached their 'sell by date' and gave way to jeans. It took a long time, but it was bound to happen. I do not shop dressed in my best anymore, although when I go to work, I do attire myself as if I am still in the seventies, going to my office job in London. I do not ever see myself not wearing 'business clothes' (as they are referred to by my husband) when I am going 'to business'.
After a very pleasant evening spent with Joe, at Abuello's restaurant on Sunday, Dana and I came home and had a cup of tea. It was a traditionally English past time. (Albeit, I do not, and never have put milk in my tea, merely due to the fact I do not like the taste, and Dana does not, merely because he is not English!) The expression, "Cup of tea?" although said in a questionable manner, is rhetorical, as I do not refuse. I have tried to educate my husband in the finer pronunciation, to wit, "Cuppa. It's a 'Cuppa'", but this is going to take longer than the time it took to change my option for weekend attire! "Would you like a Cuppa of tea?" is as close as we get with some encouragement! However, it is progress, nonetheless, from a man who was convinced that he would have me talking 'Mericun', within a very short period of time.
I had two rather urgent matters to clear on Monday morning, both involving Sheriff's offices. I called the first one, and left a message. The second one called me. "Yes ma'am. This was served at 15:50, ....p.m." I am always amused, especially from a place that is (mostly) proud of it's military, that the 'twenty four hour' clock is so widely misunderstood. "Thank you", I replied, with a smile upon my face, which obviously she could not see. "That would be....", she continued, "um...that would be...", and I could almost hear her working out something on her fingers. "Three fifty?" I responded, "in the afternoon?", making it sound like a question, so as not to sound judgmental. "Yeah, that sounds about right", was the reply. About right? It was exactly right, but again, I am not a native and do not presume (surprising as it may sound to those reading) to correct everyone. We were, apparently, trying to serve someone with the surname prefix, "Will". I thanked her for her update, and went to look for Mr. "Will...." in the system. He did not exist. I thought for a moment, and repeated the name, as the lady had said it, and took off the slight slant on the accent. I think it was the actor Michael Caine who said that the way to speak with a Texan accent, is to speak with an English accent and let it slant to the left. "Well...It is Well....", and it was! I felt quite pleased with myself!
After a while, I received a call from the original office to whom I had made a call. "Who are we trying to serve, ma'am". I responded. "Bell", and gave the forename. "Bayal, or Bayals". This was going to more difficult than I thought. I repeated the name again, and this time spelled it out. "Bayal or Bayals", came the response again. I became a little emphatic. "No! Bell. B.E.L.L., as in 'Ding Dong'. The penny dropped, so to speak. "Oh, Bayal....as in Daing Doyng", was followed by a chuckle. "We got there", he said, although I was not so sure!
It was time for coffee, and I returned to my desk, elixir in hand and checked my emails. It appeared that I had won a CD signed, personally, by the singer Pat Green, who is quite renowned in the Country Music scene. Although I do enjoy the gentleman's music, I am not as big a fan as Jerry, our faithful process server, to whom I have given many a ticket for many a show. I thought about how much joy I would get from keeping the prize, and then how much added joy Jerry would get. I simply asked, "Pat Green's new CD, signed by him?" Jerry knew that it was a question of 'should I enter the contest', and replied with an emphatic "Heck yeah!" He almost jumped with joy when I told him that he could go and collect it, as the deed was already done! I felt quite elated at making someone else's day!
After the 'fun and games' of Monday morning's telephone calls, my week became less and less eventful. The weather was erratic, but it was not cold.
Our walk on Monday was very pleasant. Since his operation, and spectacular recovery, the dog has decided that our daily constitutionals should involve him, and at about 11:30 am, (that is 11:30 in morning, per the 24 hour clock ,) he has sits by the door, waiting for his lead to be attached! At around 1pm, (1300 hours, for the benefit of the lady from East Texas,) we set out on a trek to the post box, which is located by the supermarket. Our 'extra' post box has been removed. It appeared that I was probably the only person who used it, and the level of mail collected every day did not warrant a collection, so unless I can get all my post ready before the arrival of our daily delivery, I have an extra task on my hands!
"Where are you from", was a question asked, again, a fair amount of times this week. The look of 'Wow, that does not match", when the pigtailed, stetson'd figure approached, and the English accent emitted.
Friday finally arrived, bringing clouds and thunder. I sat at my desk, after having made coffee and checked my emails. The notice of a second prize for the week appeared in my inbox. It was somewhat of a surprise. About three years ago, I had discovered a new local radio station, which popped up when I was querying another. The New Mix, it was called. I thought it was a sister station to one of my 'regulars'. The contests it held were monthly, so each month I would complete the form that required my name and email address. I had almost given up on winning! As it was looking rather gloomy, and somewhat tempestuous, outside, Samantha suggested we go and collect the 'voucher' for the pizza. The prize I had been trying to win for three years was a pizza! I looked up the restaurant from where I was to redeem the prize. I could not find it. I checked the address of the radio station. It was on North 4th Street. Downtown. Austin does not have a North 4th Street. Fourth Street runs from east to west. (Geographically challenged as I am, I have had to learn the compass points since living here, as everyone talks about going in a specific direction.) Before calling (and I think the telephone number, probably, would have been a major clue) I looked up the address of the said station, and found out that it would probably take more than a lunch hour to collect the prize. On a Sunday, with little traffic, it would take nearly 18 hours to drive, one way, to Burlington, Iowa. Flying may take less time, but as there are no direct flights from my home city, with the flight connections, and driving times, the journey would still be rather laborious. All for a pizza. However, The Drake does look like a rather splendid place to eat! I decided that, this time, I would have to relinquish my right to my winnings!
The laughter echoed through the office, as each one of my colleagues found this to be particularly amusing. No one knew anyone who lived in the area, nor anyone relatively near. The obvious question was, "Why did you enter the contest?" Trying to explain that I had inadvertently typed KGRS instead of KGSR (using my logic, that RS was for Radio Station, and assuming without confirming) I had come across two options, both of which (again assuming without confirming) I thought were local. It made for a fun morning, despite me being the butt of the joke!
Saturday morning did not depart from the norm, per se. I had to make a trip to the bank, as I had failed to do so during the week, and that put us in the vicinity of a Dollar Tree, which was on our list of stops. Having shopped at the discount shop, we continued with our usual routine. Costco, Sam's and Walmart. I had several comments regarding my 'nice hat', and some regarding my 'cute pigtails' and a few regarding my 'awesome accent'. We also had a facetime visit from Oliver!
Samantha and Edward joined us for dinner at the Golden Corral buffet in the evening, after Dana and I had gone 'car shopping' again, and managed to make our short list even shorter, during a visit to a small but very impressive privately owned dealership. Not one for advertising, I would recommend Austin eAutos for their sheer professionalism! As we drove up, the place looked closed. "But all dealerships open till 8", came Dana's response to my unasked question, "Did you check their opening hours?" I responded, "Well not this one!" He quipped, "But it's a Saturday. Probably their busiest day". I was not to be beaten. "But it's a Saturday, and people come during the day!" As we 'back and forthed', we noticed a car driving towards us. "Can I help you?" asked the nice young man. After explaining that we had come to see a specific car on their website, the aforementioned nice young man reopened his doors, and showed us around. Of course, business is business, but he was most obliging and after test driving three cars, and sitting in a variety of other's our 'food for thought' became a 'specific course'.
The winds continued to howl through Saturday night, but dropped dramatically on Sunday morning. The tempest that had brought Samantha's back fence down, and turned a table upside down seemed to have gone to pastures new.
It was quite nice to have an uneventful week, especially after the previous weeks being quite fraught for one reason or another. Unfortunately, the weekend has come and gone, as usual, far too quickly, and tomorrow is another work day. It is still too cold to swim, and a little too breezy to sit in the sun. However, I have taken on the task of 'Third Thursday' this month, and although we no longer have a gathering every month, it seemed that with winter out of the way, (we think,) it would be nice to have a neighbourly gathering. I believe I have around fifteen guests so far! I shall be in my element, I am sure, hosting what will be far from a traditional English Dinner Party. However, Shepherd's pie, and sausage rolls will be on the menu, so at least the food will stick with tradition! I shall try not to be too boring when reporting on the reviews in ........ another story!