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Sunday, January 26, 2014


Despite the fact that there was a holiday at the beginning of the week, by Wednesday, there had been enough 'out of the norm' experiences for me to write pages, although the editor within me would probably have dwindled it down to a reasonable sized post.

Monday morning started much earlier than anticipated, as Dana left for the office before the crack of dawn, and I decided not to stay in bed and attempt to doze, as I knew I would be upset with myself for not taking advantage of the extra time at home.  My goal was to unload a few boxes (that I had packed in anticipation of our now postponed move) and make my house 'mine' again.  However, I am my own worst enemy, and started one too many jobs before I received a call from Samantha to let me know she was on her way.  We had planned to go to the mall cinema, early, to see 'Saving Mr. Banks'. 

The programme was due to start at 10:25am, and although it was a very early showing, we were surprised that at ten past ten, there were no other patrons in the theatre.  I waved in the general direction of the projectionist and mouthed, 'We're here.  You can start now'.  However, just before the lights went down, a group of eight girls stormed in, deliberating on where would be the best place to take up residence, as we had positioned ourselves 'top center'.  Shortly after their arrival, a parent with an additional offspring came bearing popcorn and candy, which was distributed between the eight.  Four more people entered, and scattered themselves vaguely around the remaining seats. 

The film was excellent.  I laughed and I cried.  The only complaint was with the sound quality, which emitted a low pitch buzz throughout the performance, and was particularly prominent during quiet times.  Unaccustomed as I am to keeping my thoughts to myself, before we left the mall, I mentioned the annoying tickle to the lady who was behind the desk at Customer Services.  She mumbled something that resembled an apology, and handed me two tickets for general admission.  I smiled and told her that it wasn't necessary, and the only reason I had brought it to her attention was so that others would not be subjected to the slightly marred sound quality.  'Take the tickets!', she almost ordered, and then added, softly, as I jumped back in surprise, 'Please, take the tickets.  It is the least we can do'.  Well she did insist!

Our day became more productive, and I did manage to clear one room completely, and made a slight dent in the other, but all was neat and tidy by the end of the day.  The only time that the place resembled bedlam was, of course, when the complex on-site maintenance man, came to inspect a possible leak from our roof.  (Please attribute complex in any way you wish, as it was meant to refer to our community, but there are no limits!  After all this is Austin!)  There was no standing room in any of the bedrooms, or on the landing.  The only room that was clear was the bathroom and, of course, this was the only room he did not need to inspect!  Dana assured me (quite unconvincingly) that he was sure that no one would notice the fact that my house was an obstacle course! 

Tuesday morning saw the sun rising brightly, and it was going to be another 'glorious' day. I took a leisurely walk to the post office, and the outside temperature was pleasant.  Why I was surprised at what I saw on other corner of our block, remains a mystery, as if everyone insists Keep Austin Weird, why should I have to look twice at something slightly out of the ordinary.  What could be more natural than two women riding up to a restaurant, and de-horsing!  Wrapping the reins around the trunk of a tree, they patted the animals gently, and disappeared inside the eatery.  The horses did not seem particularly perturbed, and no one seemed to be taking much notice of the event.  When I say no-one, I am of course referring to everyone but me!  I took out my camera, snapped a couple of pictures, then did the same with my phone, and passed the shots all around the world with the comment, 'Where can I park my horse?'  It would appear that whilst it is illegal to leave an unattended canine outside on the sidewalk, there is no such law against leaving a horse! Why would there be?  After all, not many people, 'saddle up' the dog and go out for dinner!  Do they?  We are in Austin!  By the time I returned from my walk, the horses were no longer tethered, and I presume that they had been remounted and ridden off into the distant yonder!

The following day was slightly cooler.  My daily constitutional took me in the same direction as the previous day, and I strolled along Sixth Street with my red drawstring bag, full of envelopes, on my back.  With no unattended equonine beasts on the first block, I continued to the second, admittedly somewhat disappointed.  As I reached the curbside, I had to stop as the traffic lights were green, and the little walking man had been replaced with a big red hand.  (As I had been given a warning a few weeks earlier, I have chosen not to jaywalk in case I am spotted by an over enthusiastic policeman, as the fine is apparently over $200)  A young boy wearing headphones, was dancing at the side of the road, and a young woman was calling to him, but he could not hear.  As the lights changed, she made one final attempt at gaining his attention, but he was not interested.  Dressed quite flamboyantly, with a short skirt, high boots, and a jacket that really should have had its own volume control, she continued along the way, shouting obsenities, as my red bag and I following at a safe distance.  The lights did not work in my favour and at the next block I was once again stopped by the large red hand.  The young woman was no longer a safe distance ahead, and as I approached the edge of the road, she turned, presumably to see if her companion had stopped dancing.  There are times when I know that I should not stare, but it is impossible for me to keep my eyes from opening too wide, and making it obvious that I am shocked, or at the very least, taken aback!  The young woman was, in fact, a man.  As the lights turned once again, I quickened my pace and managed to overtake for a while, but my legs were not as long as those wearing the high boots, and she caught up with me before crossing at the next set of lights.  Turning on her very high heels, she flicked back her hair, and asked me; 'What do you think of Austin'.  I responded with a stammer, but finally managed to coherently state that I loved Austin, to which she replied;  'You do?  I don't know, it's a bit too outrageous for me; But you know, it is what it is!'  Once again, why I was surprised at this turn of events, was beyond me!

The weatherman on Thursday morning was most animated.  We were going to experience a severe drop in the temperature, and it was possible that most of Texas would see snow.  Giving a performance that would have given him an Oscar nomination if it had been a month earlier, he explained that this would take place later in the afternoon, and if we didn't have plans away from home on Thursday evening, we should not make any!  It did get a lot colder during the day, and the wind picked up considerably.  Chara (Dana's daughter) had flown in from Washington DC, for the weekend and was expecting some nice balmy Texas weather, a change from what she had been used to over the past month or two.  Instead, she was greeted with high winds and near freezing temperatures!  We arranged to meet her for dinner with Edward and Samantha,after work, but thought it best to cancel later in the day, as when we finally left the office, the precipitation had started to freeze, and the roads were very wet, and slippery.  Although we did not see any accidents, emergency vehicles were passing us every few minutes.  The weather lady at the end of the day was just as dramatic as her male counterpart, and warned of possible horrific road conditions, and advised that we avoid driving, and open cupboards.  I believe that the latter was meant as a separate instruction to make sure that warm air circulates around pipes, and not to steer clear of unclosed closets, but in her excitement at the possible horrific weather pattern, she failed to disconnect one sentence from the other.  Perhaps she was only aiming for a golden globe! However, her enthusiasm for our safety was noted!

We didn't attempt to drive to Joe's on Friday morning, and did not leave home until around 9am.  During the last snow storm, several years ago, we were unable to negotiate the rather steep hill that we have to climb as we exit our complex, due to the road being covered with a sheet of ice.  There was a thin layer of snow surrounding our condo, and I ventured out just before it got light, to take some photographs. The wind had dropped, and I could feel that it was getting slightly warmer.  By the time we left to make our way to the office, the steep hill was slushy, but the freeway was still very icy.  The vehicles that had been forced out by their drivers, were travelling along almost apologetically, as if they had violated a curfew.  We exited the main road and drove over the small overpass, on to Fifth Street, which was almost deserted.  The Courthouse was not open, nor were any of the County offices.  Austin was closed!  The threat of snow, coupled with the severe drop in temperature, had been enough to keep most people at home. When the words, 'There may be', are used in any form of meterological statement, Austinites tend to hold their breath, and wait for the 'powers that be' make decisions. Rain (and the Texas Longhorns losing at football) cause city restaurants owners to adjust their 'contingency' budgets!  However, the snow did not reappear, the temperature rose, and although there was very little work activity during the day, we didn't leave the office until after 5, when we drove to meet Samantha and Edward for our previously postponed dinner. 

Saturday morning was very bright.  Although I wore a pair of jeans and boots, when I left home at noon, by the time I returned at 3pm, the jacket and scarf had been discarded, and sleeves were rolled up!  Sunday promised to be even warmer!  Why was I surprised? 

Despite my early start on Saturday, and Sunday, not much more unpacking was accomplished. (Why am I surprised? I have decided to take a couple of days off work to get all done, but I think that plan will probably not come to fruition!)  Dana and I went out for breakfast on Sunday morning, and I wore a dusty pink suede poncho with a tassled finge.  I have not worn a poncho since I was seven and my mother knitted both my sister and me matching garments.  No one so much as batted an eyelid but that, too, was not surprising! I shall continue to watch out in case normality ever invades my adoptive city, but I don't think it will make very good reading for ..........another story!

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