Having an extended weekend was very welcome. Dana went into work very early on Monday morning, and I finished knitting my latest cardigan, before Samantha arrived to take me on a magical mystery tour. Unfortunately, I chose speed over haste, and managed to sew one side back to front. We spent the next 30 minutes unpicking my folly and then took advantage of the sun for a couple of hours by the pool.
Our outing was not particularly magical, nor was there much mystery to it. There were several stops she wished to make, and we were in no hurry. I had suggested Dana book a restaurant for dinner as it would probably be quite busy. We headed out towards Ikea, (under duress I might add) as it is the place to get frames (so I am told) and then back towards Austin, via the Nissan dealership. Samantha's license plates had been sitting at the desk for the past week and a half, and we thought it would be a good idea to attach them to her car, before the time in which to do so, ran out! The nice young man who sold her the car was, as always, willing and able, and darted out of the showroom with a drill, and proceeded to add the embellishment to the rogue. However, he noted that the Inspection sticker was missing and suggested she have this taken care of now, rather than later. Apparently it would take 20 minutes. If I am ever told that I have 20 minutes left in my life, I want to be told by this man, as it was probably the longest third of an hour I have ever known! I assumed, incorrectly of course, that as the car was new, the sticker was just something that had to be printed out, but it appears that the vehicle needed to undergo the full test. Having been in no hurry, time was now marching on, and Dana had made a 6:30 reservation. After what seemed an eternity, we were summoned by an extending arm, waving us to a desk, where Samantha was handed her keys and told that her car was along the first row. Obviously the time that had elapsed was even longer than I thought, as my eyes had grown much dimmer, or perhaps it was because he had given us the wrong keys, and her car was not in fact outside. 'Are those not the keys to the Sentra?', he asked somewhat surprised. Samantha took on a new role. I am not used to seeing my daugther confrontational, unless it is with me! 'They are for the Sentra', she started. 'You sold me a rogue! Apologising profusely, the salesman asked us to take a seat. I responded, in my usual sarcastic tone, 'where?' but he disappeared around the corner, shouting over his shoulder, 'give me a minute'. I could have boiled six eggs, individually in the time it took him to come back with the correct jangley ring, and we saw her car situated on the forecourt. Unfortunately, his sticking skills were about as good as his timing. The two adhesive badges had been adhered to the windscreen in a rather haphazard way, and with my (everso slight) obsessiveness for all things straight, I could not take my eyes off the two items.
By the time Samantha had filled up with petrol, and returned me home, it was time to leave for date night with my beloved.
As it was Veterans Day, my honourably discharged husband was offered a 'thank you' dinner at most restaurants in town. We chose a slightly fancy joint, as it was also our 'official' wedding anniversary. (Slightly long story...not sure if I have mentioned it before... but when we 'registered' our marriage with the courthouse, we had to give 'a date'. We chose the 11th November, as it was significant to us both, and also because I could not transpose the date with the month, e.g. Americans put the month first, and us Brits put the day first. 11/11 would be impossible to get wrong!) Our very fancy meal was even more delicious as it appeared that Dana had a belated birthday reward, so we enjoyed five stars free of charge!
We all returned to work on Tuesday morning, and I had to delay my morning constitutional with the dog, as he was going to be late. Instead I took a walk later in the afternoon to the post office. As well as my regular mail, I had an express package, which needed to be dropped in a Fed-Ex box, along the way. There are several office buildings downtown that have special mail room facilities, which are open for all to use . We went into a building which houses a few of our clients, and which has a couple of snack bars trading on the ground floor. Feeling that I needed to continue to show my appreciation for my own ex-military Staff Sargent, I sent Samantha into Jamba Juice, to get him a smoothie, while I went to find the drop box and after going down a flight of stairs, I found the door that led to the facility. There were several options, and I double checked before depositing several packages into the white box with the purple and orange lettering. I walked back to the entry way, and found that the door was locked. There was a swipe box, and a key pad, but try as I might, I could not open the door. I considered standing there, akimbo, and shouting, 'Open Sesame', but then re-evaluated the situation, and decided that if this was not the correct option, the camera at the end of the hall would be recording, and should I be trapped there too long, and a search party was sent out, all could review my failure to exit.
My next option was to call Samantha. I had anticipated calling the Nissan salesman, and asking him for some extra time, but wondered if Monday was just a 'one off'. After calling several numbers on my touch screen, which is far too sensitive, I finally managed to press the one that corresponded with my daughter's phone. 'Help, I am stuck in the post room. Come and get me', was just about to be screamed down my blackberry, when I found an 'exit' sign, and the door miraculously opened. I ran up the stairs to the ground floor, as fast as my legs would carry me, and saw Samantha standing on the opposite side of the enormous lobby area, smoothie in hand, mouthing, 'what happened to you?' I could not get out of the building fast enough! The howling laughter accompanied me back to the office.
Despite the beautiful weather on Monday, by Wednesday things had started to cool down, and Thursday morning saw the temperature drop to below zero for most of the morning. Dressed in my coat, hat and shoes, I wrapped my scarf around my neck and took the unwilling quadruped for some exercise. He was not happy, and was pulling me back at every opportunity. I came back to the office feeling quite invigorated, and as the day went on, I was very glad that I had taken the walk in the morning. However, by Friday, I was back in my summer dress and jacket, and enjoying the diverse meteorological phenomenon that is Austin.
My dress code of business dress and tennis shoes (trainers) was not considered odd by the city folk, but by Friday Austin had been infiltrated with (human) aliens who had come for the Formula 1 race. We had a glimpse of the Dallas Cowboy, DeMarcus Ware, who was being asked questions comparing the stress level between football and racing (someone could have come up with something more original, I am sure) but we were unable to snag an autograph as he was whisked away by event staff. We did get an official pair of unofficial sun glasses and a shopping bag!
With so much to do over the weekend, it was a wonder that I managed to actually make it to the track for Race Day. Having enjoyed the Fan Fest on Saturday, we decided that as we lived here in Austin, we should probably, at least once, go and see the race. Watching Vettel break Schumacher's record will indeed be ..... another story.