funky town

We’ve officially been in Texas for about two months now and I’m handling it much better than expected.  I sincerely anticipated a week or more’s worth of sobbing in the fetal position eating nothing but pudding and mashed potatoes…

Mmm, pudding.

Anyway, that didn’t happen.  What is happening though are isolated instances of the above mentioned phenomenon.  Last night being one of those instances. 

I had a busy day yesterday, well, busy for me.  Trey’s mom and sister came to pick me up around 10am Wednesday morning to go to the June meeting of the San Antonio Women’s…well fooey, it’s either Coalition, Company, Club, or some other C word that basically means  a group.  My mother-in-law, Deb, signed the 3 of us up to sing as the entertainment for this month’s luncheon since it had a Mother-Daughter theme to it.  After the luncheon (which went well, I might add…good food, good speaker), I decided it was time to call Yo Yo Ma and fill her in on last week’s babysitting adventure (AKA: Camp Leslie) and the luncheon.  We had a great talk…but I could tell she didn’t want to get off the phone.  After that I watched Fargo  (gotta love William H. Macy) and waited for Trey to get home.  I could feel the funkiness creeping up on me by this time, so we went to Whataburger for dinner (dude, there’s no Jack-N-the-Box in sight, but these Whataburger things are everywhere…what I wouldn’t give for an Ultimate Jack with mini churros) and used our 2 free movie passes (yes, we got them from our cat litter points) to go see X-Men: First Class.  The movie was excellent (minus January Jones’ complete inability to act).  But when we got home my funk was in full swing and I spent the evening in tears, curled up in Trey’s lap, watching How I Met Your Mother in hopes that it would cheer me up. 

I guess it’s homesickness.  It’s just not behaving the way I thought it would.  The way it has in the past when my family moved to a different city.  It’s like a new breed of homesickness. 

I must admit though, there is one great thing about living in Texas:

everything’s bigger

We finally made it. 

After months of speculation/anticipation/frustration/nauseation, we’re finally moved into our apartment in San Antonio.  Let me just say, to those of you planning to move out of your HOUSE into an APARTMENT: don’t.  Your stress level will thank you. 

You spend the first years of married life making your house a home.  Compromising on whose stuff goes where, organizing picture frames, alphabetizing books and movies…all the things that make your space your own.  And then…all of a sudden, you have to choose:  I absolutely love my Valdes painting of the smiling worms, but I can’t put that on the wall instead of the painting Courtney did of my guitar!  I love this picture of my girls, but I can’t have all pictures of friends and not enough pictures of family!  And then there’s the problem of surfaces.  In our house in Spartanburg, there were tons of built in shelves.  What does that have to do with Texas, you ask?  We didn’t even OWN a bookshelf.  Thank goodness Mama Jane donated one to our cause because right now, all our dvds are shelved and all our books are in decorative piles strewn about the apartment.

Explain this to me:  the living room is smaller, the guest room is smaller, the kitchen is smaller, the laundry room is smaller, but somehow, the closets and bathrooms are bigger than all our closets and bathrooms from the Spartanburg House were combined!  I could literally do a cartwheel…in both the master closet AND the master bathroom. 

Once we finally got everything unpacked and all the boxes taken away though, it was easy to start thinking of our little apartment as a home.  However, while thinking of the apartment as home is easy, thinking of Texas as home is proving to be more difficult.  It’s hot here.  I mean REALLY hot.  And for those of you who’ve heard that Texas is a dry heat, you’ve been lied to.  It’s more humid than Columbia in August.  And, while I’ve never considered myself a “small-town girl,” I’ve discovered that I am.  The shopping alone here is mind-blowing.  And the signs are so flashy here!  And we can’t drive to Trey’s folks’ house without going through one of those crazy interstate exchanges that has about 14 bridges all twisting around each other.  Then there are the birds.  Don’t get me started on the crazy Texan birds!  First of all, they’re enormous.  While back home, we have Carolina Wrens and Robins and Wood Peckers, here there are crows the size of large cats.  And they dive-bomb you.  They don’t get out of your way, you get out of theirs. 

And then of course there’s church.  I knew it’d be bigger, and I knew it’d be different.  I just didn’t realize how hard that would be for me.  So far I really like Randy (he’s the other pastor other than Max Lucado – no, I haven’t met Max yet, and no I haven’t heard him preach…they take turns a sermon series at a time). His sermons are both funny and enlightening, serious and challenging.  And he kind of reminds me of Mark Byrnes.  Which is awesome.  It’s the music that makes it hard for me.  The first Sunday we attended Oak Hills, the congregation sang a handful of praise choruses, but we also sang How Great Thou Art and It Is Well With My Soul.  And I thought to myself, this is good, I can do this.  But then this past Sunday they sang only praise choruses that neither Trey nor I had heard before (and I HATE how big churches these days don’t have hymnals…they just put words on the screen.  How the heck am I supposed to know how the song goes if you don’t give me MUSIC NOTES! – but that’s a rant for another day).  And I spent the entire first half of the service in tears because I miss singing songs I know and I miss Trinity and I miss singing real choral music with my choir.  I’d give anything to hear Praise His Holy Name or Majesty and Glory

So it’s an adjustment.  We’ve met some fun people and Trey’s coworkers are great, and I’m going to a ladies bible study tonight, which I’m really excited about.  But now that the chaos of April is gone, I just really really really miss home.  Just so you know.

However, since I didn’t really want to end this on a sad note, here are some pictures of our apartment:

change

A story:

When Trey and I were in San Antonio with his family over Christmas, Trey had lunch with a friend who mentioned he was trying to get out of the database world and into music ministry.  Later that night, when our neice Makayla would crawl out of my lap she would say “I coming back, I coming back.”  And I cried when we left because I was afraid it’d be so long before I saw them again that that sweet little girl would have forgotten me.

In early February Trey’s friend got a job as a music minister leaving his Database Director position at Oak Hills church.  Trey filled out an application and submitted his resume and a week later had a phone interview.  A few weeks after that, Oak Hills flew us both out to San Antonio.  Trey spent the whole day in interviews and I spent the whole day apartment hunting.  And later that night, when Makayla crawled out of my lap she said “I will be right back.”  And I cried when we left because she had grown up so much in such a short time and because that sweet little girl hadn’t forgotten me.

Last week, Trey was offered the job at Oak Hills church and accepted it Friday evening…just in time for his birthday.  On Saturday, Trey’s sister Robin called  to wish Trey a happy birthday and the girls (Mary Beth – 6, Isabella – 4, and Makayla – 2) all sang to him.  And when they had finished singing “Happy Birthday,” little Makayla just kept on singing.  About 30 seconds after he got off the phone with them (after much persuasion because Mak didn’t want to say goodbye), Robin called back because “Makayla didn’t get to talk to Aunt Leslie.”  While listening to that sweet little voice tell me she had to drink her apple juice and that she wanted to sing me a song, Trey and I both started crying. 

The first and only time we’ve cried about this move was because we can’t wait to go. 

So that’s it.  As of mid April, Trey and I will be residents of San Antonio, Texas.  I’ve lived in South Carolina my whole life, and every time I’ve moved in the past, I’ve done it begrudgingly behind a veil of snot and tears.  But not this time.  Sometimes, when God has a plan for you, a plan for great  change, he just opens your heart right up and all the sudden, something that used to be so scary and horrible, seems like the best thing that could ever happen to you.

San Antonio, here we come.

timewarp

Sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas, I finally caved and let Trey sign us up for Tivo. I just didn’t see the point. We don’t watch that much tv, so why on earth would we need to record it?

Oh, how wrong I was!

Thanks to Tivo, I no longer have to choose between Glee and The Biggest Loser. Thanks to Tivo, I’ll never again miss an episode of How I Met Your Mother. And thanks to Tivo, I discovered that Star Trek: Next Generation still comes on basic cable sometime deep in the middle of the night.

And fast-forwarding through commercials ain’t too bad either.

However, I have discovered in the past week or so, that Tivo has one major flaw…

I’ve lost all sense of time. I’ll be watching an episode of Frasier, and just before I move to skip the commercials I’ll see a news bulletin about the impending blizzard! “Again, already?!?!?!” I wonder aloud to myself. No. Not again, silly girl. That episode was from 3 weeks ago.

Case and point: this past Saturday, Trey and I got up around 9:30 (well, maybe I slept a little later). Trey was working on his computer and I plopped down next to him on the couch and took control of the remote. Monk, The Simpsons, House, Burn Notice, CSI…we happily spent the day browsing our Tivo library. Then, before we knew it it was 6pm and neither of us had showered or eaten dinner and Trey had to be at the theater for a show by 7:00. Tivo stole our day from us and we never saw it coming.

Don’t get me wrong…I love this little piece of equipment.
Now, what day is it again?

arizona anniversary: part 1

Yes, I know this is overdue…but that won’t stop me from back-dating it so it looks like it’s not :)

I’ve wanted to go to Arizona for as long as I can remember.  The idea of the Grand Canyon has always beckoned me…and my love of Roger Clyne and the Peacemakers has (of course) only heightened my desire to visit the Grand Canyon State (yes, that’s its real nickname…I know, I was expecting something more creative too). 

So, it must have been fate/serendipty/kismet that called Trey to the little town of Gilbert, AZ (right outside Phoenix) the weekend of our second anniversary for a database conference. 

The Saturday before our anniversary, we headed to GSP to board the first leg of our flight.  Point of interest – we were seated right in front of Christy Henderson, WSPA’s own weather lady (for some reason the term “weather girl” seems derogatory).  Does anyone else think she looks like Alison Krauss?

Okay, so we flew from GSP to Dallas Fort Worth where we had 3 hours of down time before flying to Phoenix.  The view from the plane was spectacular.  It’s amazing how different things look from 36,000 feet. 

In Phoenix in mid October, it averages about 95 degrees a day and there’s almost no humidity.  That means you can lay out by the pool for an hour an not realize it at all…but your nose will be dry for a week.  The first three days of the trip, Trey spent surrounded by his new found nerd friends (I really do say that with loads of affection, the RefreshCache guys are awesome) and I laid out by the pool and watched lots of cable (hey, we only have rabbit ears at home).  Monday night, October 11th, our anniversary (holy cow, two years go by FAST), Trey ditched the evening session to get all gussied up with me and take me to dinner.  If you live anywhere near a Brio Tuscan Grille, you should eat there.  Frequently.  A lot.

On Wednesday, we drove our happy little Dodge Caravan rental car (and yes, we decided that we are, in fact, not van people…although it was a lovely car – if you are van people, you should get one) from Phoenix, north through Sedona to Williams.  As we got out of the city, we found cacti everywhere.  Phoenix was full of those little ping-pong paddle cactus (the official name is Prickly Pear Cactus – but to me, they look more like ping-pong paddles) and palm trees.  But north of Phoenix, there are Saguaro cactus…and they’re absolutely magnificent!  They can grow anywhere from 15 to 50 feet tall and can live up to 150 years.  And I think they’re fascinating…so fascinating that I took over 200 pictures of them on the drive.

Now, Phoenix is almost completely flat, but Sedona is at an elevation of almost 7,000 feet.  As we drove up into the mountains, we were both stunned by the view.  It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen.  The colors are amazing…and there are very few trees.  Mountains in Arizona look absolutely nothing like the Appalachians.  But they’re just as breathtaking.

popcorn, anyone?

So, after the grand finale of Project Powder Room, we decided to take on a smaller DIY project…popcorn ceilings. 

The kitchen was our next target.  We’d had some significant water damage a couple years ago, and while we got a new roof out of the deal, we never quite got around to fixing the water-stained crumbling spot in the kitchen ceiling.  Also, when we changed out the light fixtures when Trey first bought the house, we chose a smaller fixture, leaving a dark ring around the base of it where the previous fixture once was. 

It seemed simple enough.  I’d already scraped the popcorn ceiling in the bathroom, and that project (well, that part of it anyway) only took a couple hours.  So I cleared everything off the counters and taped up plastic to protect the walls and appliances and went to town.  I was careful not to scrape as deep  as I had in the bathroom in order to keep the surface as smooth as possible.  After two days the ceiling was flat and had two coats of paint on it, and I was perfectly ready to put the project to bed. 

Trey had other plans.

Because I put two coats of paint up in about three hours, (for the record, the can of paint specifically said that a second coat could be applied after only ONE hour), the ceiling started to ripple and bubble. I was perfectly content to pretend it wasn’t there…cause come on, who’s gonna pay that close attention to the ceiling anyway? But my precious husband wanted to make sure the job was done right. 

So…after some ridiculous mood-swingy hormone-filled sobbing and crying on my part, Trey convinced me to let him repair the lumpy spot in the center of the ceiling. 

And, while it didn’t seem necessary to me at the time, the ceiling really is better for it.

Now, the thing I most regret is that while the plastic was up in the middle of the room, I didn’t get a picture of Rufus getting stuck in it.  We’d retaped the plastic to the ceiling just around the middle section that Trey fixed up.  We made a complete cone of plastic – you had to walk though about 4 feet of a plastic “hallway” to get in.  I don’t know how Rufus made his way in to the plastic cone…that was covered in debris from the ceiling, but I do know that he knew he wasn’t supposed to be there, and he didn’t know how the heck to get out.  Trey and I pointed and laughed at him for a good five minutes before he finally broke through the force field, covered in plaster from the ceiling.  We’re pretty sure he was traumatized.

We’re gonna make great parents one of these days…

project powder room: fin

Labor Day, 2010 – this week I was a painter, caulker, chair rail installer, wood puttier, vanity putter inner, shower curtain hanger, cleaner, grouter, tiler, DIY guru, dog-sitter and complete and total hormonal basket case. This was the begining of Labor WEEK at the Hendon house. With the tile laid and the grout dry, that glorious day off was the perfect time to kick Project Powder Room’s butt. And we did.

After nearly three months of work, Project Powder Room is finally finished. In one week, we went from a cement floor and dried goo on the walls, to fabulous wanescoating, crown molding and tile. I think I speak for both Trey and myself when I say we’re so proud of our hard work and super pleased with our new beautiful bathroom.

bacon pancakes & airbrush dreams

Last day of vacation.  So sad to see it go.  This has been the most relaxing week of my entire life – hands down. 

As a farewell to Lake Junaluska and our week of lazy freedom, Trey and I went to Joey’s Pancake House (http://www.joeyspancake.com/) for breakfast.  And if you’re a smart cookie, you already know what I ordered. 

No, but Eggs Benedict is an excellent guess. 

Read the blog title and guess again.

BINGO!  Bacon Pancakes.  My arteries were screaming no, my my tastebuds were saying “Ooooooooooooh, yeah.” And yes, they were as glorious as I thought they would be, if not more so.  Imagine it: three golden flap-jacks with two inch strips of bacon baked right in and a scoop of butter the size of a small orange all topped with Joey’s fresh maple syrup.  De-lish.  The next time you’re in Maggie Valley, you must go.  But get there early – by 8:30am, the place usually has an hour long wait.  And they’re only open for breakfast.

On our way back to the house Trey & I were laughing to ourselves about how touristy Maggie Valley really is.  It’s like Myrtle Beach, only without the water.  Everything else you’d see on the strip on any given day in August can be found in Maggie Valley too.  Herds of Harley Davidson bikers?  Check! Teenagers wearing far too little clothing?  Check! Stores with innertubes and beach towels out front (Eagles, anyone?)? Check!  And of course, airbrush booths.  We shan’t forget those.

It still baffles me – leaves me dumfounded – boggles my mind – how (HOW? I beg you!), in this day in age, in a progressive society, how can there still be a market for anything airbrushed???

run away with me

On Monday, after running too many errands and waiting for cable guy to come fix our broken internet (gotta love all those thunder storms we’ve been having) and all but hog-tying Roger to get him in the car, Trey and I (and Roger) finally hit the road for a much needed vacation.  Poor Roger got to come along because we couldn’t separate him from Frank and Rufus for the week due to our unfinished bathroom floor.  Let me tell you, if there’s one thing cats love, it’s a good road trip…

“Meow.”
Where are you taking me?

“Meeeeeeow!”
Not the vet, anything but the vet!

“MEEEEOOOOOOWWW!!!”
THIS IS NOT OKAY!!!

“MEEEEEEEEEEEEEOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWW!!!””
HOW CAN YOU BE SO CALM! THE WORLD IS OBVIOUSLY COMING TO AN END!!

By the time we got to mom & dad’s mountain house, Roger had calmed down a little…but he wasn’t happy about his new surroundings.  At first he stayed curled up behind the toilet with his ears pressed back and his hair standing on end, but then he discovered the couch and spent the next two days under it. 

While he was in hiding, Trey and I commenced relaxing like lazy bums: sleeping late, lounging around in our pajamas, watching cable (real CABLE TELEVISION!), and creating this website.  It’s strange how being removed from your house allows you to relax so much more completely than you ever could at home.  I can’t remember the last time I felt so rested. 

We spent Tuesday doing mostly nothing – and it was indeed as glorious as it sounds.  Wednesday we decided to get out a little by visiting the local driving range to remind ourselves how much we both truly suck at golf and by lounging by the pool.  As we laid there, roasting in the sun (I can’t remember the last time I had a sunburn, and strangely, I’ve missed it), Trey pseudo-napping and me reading Eat Pray Love (I sincerely hope my enjoyment of the book doesn’t ruin the movie for me), we were interrupted suddenly: from amid the laughter of the children splashing around in the shallow end, came a blood-curdling scream:  “DIE EVIL DEMON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

Kids say the darndest things.

That night, Trey and I got gussied up for  a night on the town.  We planned on dining at a little pizza joint we’d enjoyed before, but since the town of Waynesville shuts down at 9pm, they were locking the doors as we were walking up.  In the spirit of going with the flow, we walked across the street to Ceviche’s.  With a name like that, I had no idea what kind of cuisine they featured – and I’m kind of a picky eater.  But they were open, and the waitress was friendly.

When I say it’s the best meal I’ve had in forever, I mean it (excluding, of course, birthday dinner at the Cheesecake Factory).  Meatloaf, smothered in homemade mashed potatoes, corn, three cheeses and made from scratch gravy.  Heaven.  And to top it all off, one of the sweetest, richest carrot cakes I’ve ever tasted, and yes, they did drizzel caramel over it.  Divine. Even the reheated leftovers were amazing.

Roger seems to be finally comfortable with his new surroundings…just in time for us to scoop him up and take him back home tomorrow.  I’m sure he’ll never understand why we kidnapped him for these few days, but secretly, I think he liked it. 

Oh, how I wish we could stay here forever, in our private little mountain cottage without a care in the world, doing my favorite thing ever…being complete and total lazy bums :)

project powder room: intermission

Somehow, in the midst of Project Powder Room, I got lost…distracted…saw-something-shiny-and-couldn’t-focus. And that something shiny came with the delivery of my very first piece of REAL art :) I fell in love with My Painting at the Valdes exhibit at Hub-Bub during the run of Gutenberg: The Musical. And then, when the day finally came for the gallery opening, I got there only to find that My Painting had been SOLD! Lucky for me, it was sold to Todd Stephens, my former neighbor/all-around fabulous human being, who (after much begging on my behalf) sold it to me. Now, when you buy a painting at a gallery opening you don’t get to take it home with you…you have to wait until the exhibit closes before you can get your art. And HERE is where Intermission begins…

Smack dab in the middle of Project Powder room came the close of the Valdes exhibit…meaning I had a bright new colorful painting that looked horribly out of place on the mantle of our earth-toned living room. So, while Trey was distract…er…busy filling a hole in the bathroom wall, I started rearranging things…a few knick-knacks from the guest room, a picture here and there…and before I knew it, we’d bought new curtains and a decorative hour glass and I’d totally reworked the living room. And of course, like with Project Powder Room, I have no “Before” picture to show for it.