Austin has been taken over by bovine statues, once again keeping the city, 'weird'. The cattle are life size decorated models, stationed at various points around the capital. CowParade, is apparently (and I quote), 'the largest and most recognised public art event in the world'.
The first time I saw the 'cows', was in Brent Cross Shopping Centre, which holds the claim to fame as being, and I quote again, the 'first out of town shopping centre' in Great Britain. The creatures in question were standing in a fenced area on the ground floor, and were 'theme' painted. The one that stands out in my mind was the Beefeater. A few years later, smaller sized cows appeared in various stores, and Dana surprised me one Christmas morning with my very own Yeoman of the Guard!
Over the years, we have collected a herd. Before leaving, our visitors would often present me with another cow, to add to my collection, as a 'thank you'. Now, when visitors arrive, my first comment is, 'please don't buy me a cow!' (Although I am most grateful for my current collection, thank you)
However, I digress. Animals, or creatures, with more than two legs, seem to have dominated my week, once again. I noticed a rather bullish 'senorita' outside the Austin Hilton Hotel, while driving past, and thought I would take a closer look. I was 'grandma on duty', for the latter part of the week, as Samantha and Edward took off to Houston on Wednesday for a few days. Just to straighten out any uncertainty, it would appear that my 'grandchildren' are to be of the four legged variety. Dana does not have a problem with this, but I find it rather monotonous buying a 'bone' for every birthday! However, adopted as it may be, I was playing surrogate to our little Frank. Frank was not particularly impressed with the Spanish lady, and we ended our liaison abruptly, before he could show his disdain by 'watering' her leg. Each time we drove into work, another elaborate model appeared en route. Perhaps they walk in themselves at midnight when no one is looking.
It has not been the four legged community that has governed the week. In my experience, double the amount (of anything) means double the trouble. This week, the multiplication of limbs has definitely doubled the anxiety. I find it much easier dealing with a two legged variety than I do four, but four to eight is something that I don't like to manage on a regular basis. Much as the more legs there appear to be, the smaller the being, the smaller the being often results in the bigger problem.
My niece, Emma, had posted on Facebook that her bedroom had been besieged by a spider the size of a dragon with fangs. As there was no punctuation in the sentence I was curious. I, unsympathetically, asked; 'Does the spider have fangs, or does the dragon?' She had also mentioned that it was under a glass. How big was the glass? I had not seen a glass that could capture a dragon. I did not realise my words would come back to haunt me. However, I did remember years ago, my cousin had very bravely sprayed a spider with deodorant, as it was the only aerosol she had at hand. It seemed to do the trick, although sometime later that evening she reported that the 'ghost of the spider' had appeared, as a white arachnid walked across the bathroom floor. We deduced, after wild hysteria was calmed to mild terror, that the spray had been powder based, and the creature had managed to survive the assault, and crawl to safety, albeit covered in talc! I asked Emma if she felt brave enough to spray the spider with antiperspirant, as it would stun it long enough for someone to come and rescue her. One of Emma's friends asked, 'why spray it with deodorant, does it smell'. I replied; 'Of course it does. It has a nose, silly!' Fortunately, the fire breathing, fanged octoped was 'erased'.
As I have mentioned previously, I am not particularly bothered by most of our eight legged friends, but there have been occasions when I am less than welcoming to one in my space. The Texas summer has been long, and very hot. I have been called a few names, most of an expletive nature, when I have suggested to people back home, that it is too hot. 104 to 110 degrees daily may sound like some people's idea of heaven, but I have found it to be more like the other end of the spectrum. Air conditioning has been a life saver. Saturday afternoon was definitely going to be my time. As last week was 'tax free weekend', my seasonal bargains had been obtained, and I just wanted to stay cool, so I took my book, my bottle of water and a packet of pickled onion monster munch, and strolled the few yards to the pool. The water was so inviting, and I was all alone. I waded into the center of the pool, swam a width and was on my way back when I noticed...it. Laying on the top of a buoy connected to the safety rope, separating the deep from the shallow end, it seemed unconcerned about my appearance. Slowly, very slowly, I backed up and exited the water. Desperately trying to get my phone camera to 'zoom', I took many pictures. It was brown, but much larger than the documented size of Texas' native poisonous dweller, which Dana described to me over the phone. 'I can't actually see if it is shaped like a violin; I am not planning on getter that close', I reported back, when Dana asked about its appearance.
The two ladies who had shared my previous pool side experience, entered the area. One of them shouted hello, and asked if I had seen any more armadillos. I replied in the negative, but told her that there was a giant spider in the middle of the pool. She laughed and said that her sister would take care of it. I explained that it was rather large, but was reassured that this would not be a problem. Her sister, who was close behind, reconfirmed her nonchalant attitude to spiders, jumped into the pool and swam to the floating ball.
'Where is it. I will ..........NO WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!' Uh huh, I thought. We would have to devise a plan. In our attempt to transfer the creature from his perch, to the mainland, with a long, polystyrene noodle, we managed to knock him into the water. Assuming we had drowned the terrorist, it was with great fearlessness, and epic heroism, that my new found friend picked him up with a small bat (not the flying kind), and transferred him to the edge of the pool. As soon as he hit dry land, he miraculously revived and, not content with turning our hair white, he ran back towards us. Not the brightest of creatures, our resurrected arachnid flung himself straight back into the pool. Convinced he must have had nine lives, three middle aged women screamed and jumped back as quickly as the water would allow. Reconsidering his position, he managed to cling to the side, and climb back to safety and, after what seemed to be an eternity, he ran into the grass. 'What are you going to surprise us with next week?' one of the ladies asked. I said that I was very lonely and planted an array of different animals in order to start conversation! Fortunately, they found this to be amusing.
I could imagine the spider telling his story at the ugly bug bar. 'Did ya bite 'em'?, said the beetle. 'Nah, just scared 'em a bit'. 'Hey guys', shouted the beetle, 'wanna hear another story of the one's that got away!'
Samantha has returned from her trip, and relieved me of my duty. I am currently left with one two legged being, which I am very pleased about. No doubt there will be several more cows along our route tomorrow morning. I don't suppose, in Texas, they will have the Beefeater. They may have the one I named after my grandmother; a rather vivacious character demanding attention. Having to explain the similarities to those who did not know my grandmother, sometimes causes concern, but if they had met my grandmother, they would, I am sure, agree. Perhaps that could be...another story.