Monday, February 20, 2012

In Perspective

You know how you've got those friends on Facebook--the ones from high school who maybe you weren't all that close with. You knew them, they knew you. Maybe you were in some classes together. Maybe you were both in the band. But you ran in different circles. Nothing mean about it, that's just how it was. But, because your town was small and your high school was small and you pretty much went to school with the same people from kindergarten on, you knew each other. But after high school, you didn't keep in touch. And maybe you saw each other at the ten year reunion and said hi and caught up a bit, but it was mostly because of the shared and awkward feeling of somehow simultaneously knowing and not knowing one another, not because you were trying to deepen your friendship. And then, another ten years went by, and you went to the twenty year reunion, but you didn't really hang out much doing reunion-y type stuff because you had family committments and kids, etc. Did you see this friend at the twentieth reunion? You can't remember. But then Facebook came along, and all of the sudden, you were friending and being friended by people who you had to go to your yearbook to remember: "Oh yeah! I remember him! He sat behind me in English. But didn't he move away our junior year?" You know what I'm talking about.

And some of these new/old friends you got closer to and communicated with more than you ever had in high school, and you wondered, "Why in the hell weren't we closer? She's really cool!" And you saw what life had done to them. Maybe they were heavier. Or gray-headed. Maybe they were divorced with kids in college while yours was in elementary school. Maybe they still lived in your hometown or in Switzerland or Kentucky. You began to learn if they're really religious or Republican. Or both. Or neither. You saw vacation pictures and Christmas trees. You had these glimpses into their lives and wondered if they were looking at your posts and pictures too.

My friend Wendy is one of these people. We were not close in high school, but she has become my friend through Facebook. And right now, she is lying in her bed, receiving hospice care because this time--her second time dealing with breast cancer--she is losing her battle. I have gotten to know Wendy over the past few years like I never knew her when we were growing up. She has two adorable children. She loves John Waite and Motley Crue. She likes wacky hair color and funky glasses. And she is, more than anything, a fighter.

She may never know how much getting to know her--having our silly Facebook conversations over the past couple of years--has meant to me. To know someone with so much to live for who has been working every day for years to persevere in the face of terrifying odds humbles you. I am honored to now call this brave woman my friend.

Thank you, Wendy. You are one of the most courageous people I've ever known.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Shit's Getting Real

A couple of posts back, I mentioned that we were starting to get serious (finally hallelujah) about putting our house on the market. Well, I'm pleased to say that we're making actual progress in that direction.

First, I researched some real estate companies here in town. I know at least a half a dozen people who are realtors and BH knows a realtor or two as well. But we agreed not to go with someone we know personally for several reasons, the biggest of which is the fact that we want this whole process to be a business transaction/relationship.If we went with a friend as our realtor, it could get messy. Anyhoo, we decided to go with a locally-based agency and set up a meeting with a guy who specializes in our part of town. Let's call him "Tom" even though that's not his name but it's what BH insists on calling him, which is really confusing. I spoke with Tom on the phone and covered some preliminary stuff, and then we set up a time for him to come see the house and speak to us both. Because I'm a genius, I scheduled our meeting with him on a Friday right after our housekeepers had come, so our place looked pretty great. We walked him around, inside and out, and pointed out upgrades and work we'd put into the house along with areas of concern. He liked what he saw and said, "I'd show this house in five minutes," which made me nearly burst with pride. Tom is cool. He doesn't seem like a schmaltzy used-car salesman type. He loved on our pets and we talked music and kids (he's got two young ones). Plus, he seemed smart and had really done his homework on our neighborhood. He had a couple of suggestions for us to do to get it staged and photo-ready, but (thankfully) nothing too major. He told us he'd call us on Monday with a suggested listing price, and we could go from there.

The following Monday (which also happened to be my birthday...43...yee fucking haw) rolled around, and he called just like he said he would. His number landed exactly where I was hoping it would, and so we are definitely going with him and his agency to list.

Since then, BH has been working his adorable booty off doing projects around the house--inside and out. As I type this, he's painting the dadgum kitchen--taking it from a bright, cherry red to a cool, pale gray. We're also painting the front door (going from white to terracota) and doing some other tweaks here and there. I think the next BIG thing we'll do will be move some of our stuff to storage in order to declutter a little bit.

Crazy, but exciting.

On my end, I've created this "New House Scorecard" spredsheet that has a list of subjective criteria (ex. "Style of home") that can be rated on a scale of 1 to 5 and then more objective stuff (ex. His/Hers Closets in Master) that is given a point value like +10 points the house has it, -10 if it doesn't. The moer important the item is, the higher the point value. Dorky? Yes. But I'm hoping that it will help us when we start looking for a new place in earnest.

The thought of a new house--that we purchase together--makes me all tingly.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

I see what you're doing, Luby's, and I do NOT approve.

Much like my love for baby animals, my love of Luby's is well-known. Is the food great? No. Is the atmosphere special? No. Do I get some sort of special deal for publicizing my love of this Texas institution? No. And I've tried to explain my enduring devotion to Luby's to non-Texans, and it just does not compute. But what it boils down to is the comfort factor--I ate there a lot as a kid, and other than some cosmetic alterations, occasional fluctuations in quality and some annoying operational changes (I miss the damn tea cart, yo!), dining at Luby's has remained a fairly unchanged experience for over thirty years.

Until this past weekend.

Ask any Texan, "What's the one thing that Luby's is sort of famous for?" and you can almost bet money on the fact that they'll respond with: the fried fish. Oh. My. God, y'all. I love the SHIT out of this nutritionally devoid mystery fish. It's rectangular and fried and I smother it in fresh squeezed lemon juice and go to fried fish heaven. The sides change, but the entree is always ALWAYS the fried fish for this Pine Curtain Gal.

This glorious image, courtesy of The Gluttonous Chinaman.

So The Geej (who has inherited my love of Luby's in a BIG way) and I go to have some lunch while running errands this past weekend, and when I slide my tray to the entree section of the line and ask the server for the fried fish, I's different. My fried fish rectangle I've been eating FOR DECADES has shrunk by at least 1/3. I mean it went from being about the size of my hand to the size of just my palm. Not okay, Luby's!! Why you gotta go and mess with my fish? And yes, my ass is bigger than it should be, so I know this smaller portion is "better for me" and all that shit, but I never ordered the fried fish for health reasons. And I feel, I dunno, betrayed. And little pissed. You just HAD to go and fuck with THE ONE THING that hadn't changed since I was small enough to have to get help carrying my tray to the table.

Luby's has messed with their sacred cow, and this dude does not abide.