Monday, October 29, 2007

doin' that tiki dance

For those of you who have never been, there is a great campy Chinese food restaurant in Hyannis called Tiki Port. It's been there as long as I can remember (30 years anyway) and I'm pretty sure that they have never updated it. The seats are red pleather, the walls dark and one room has a mural that goes around 2 walls. The third wall is all mirrors. The eats are cheap and good and the scorpion bowls make you giggle. We go there a lot.

It all began when I turned 21 and my friend Tricia brought me there (she had just turned 21 a month before) and the last thing I remember about that night is the 2nd headhunter and waking up at my house several hours later. No idea about what happened in between. On college breaks, we would go there, since as I mentioned before, eats are cheap and scorpion bowls make you giggle. Then I moved to Western MA and then VT and managed to return to the Port as often as I could manage.

After moving back to the Cape, during my job with the publishing company, I met a fellow Tiki (and Ring Ding) soul mate named Jenny. At last!! She too worshipped as frequently as possible at the Port and we were instantly friends for life. We even managed to get there and back on our lunch break on a number of occasions. We introduced our boyfriends to each other there. Her boyfriend ended up working with my friend Val's husband in Boston and then the four of us became six. When I left the publishing company, Jenny & I enthusiastically maintained our Tiki friendship and met there once a month to keep in touch and eat Tiki goodness. And so it evolved into many forays to the 'big city' - sometimes birthdays were celebrated there (Jenny's ended in a Ring Ding "cake" - more about Ring Dings in another blog) and we managed to have two going away parties there before we left for CO.

We're coming back to visit the Cape at Xmas so the appropriate emails were sent announcing our impending arrival and the need for Tiki. Jenny's boyfriend Jack sent me this:

I was in Hyannis this weekend and I saw Tikiport Boarding up the restaurant. They said they couldn’t afford to stay open without the large sums of money that you guys were dumping into the place. I told them that you were in Colorado so look for a Tiki opening near you soon!

Always the practical joker that one... See you there in December!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

cookin' with gas

Have you purchased a new stove lately? Did you need specific dimensions? Did it need to be a slide-in? Gas? We did. We bought a new appliance with a lot of specifications. The joys of married life indeed. After the avocado green one was determined to be too old and dangerous to work, we scampered to the nearest Sears outlet with Consumer Reports in hand and tried to pick a stove.

I love to cook. My husband loves to save money. We live at 9,000 ft above sea level so a convection oven was an option so that we could cook anything in under 2 days. With the other specs needed, we settled on a lovely black Maytag for less than I thought and more than my husband was expecting. Eek. The plumber finally came and adjusted the piping, Randy installed a new electrical outlet (gas uses electric pilots now) and voila! the stove was installed. Hooray, the house no longer smells like gas and all of the burners work.

Here's the first home cooked meal in a week (we've been living on take-out and sandwiches until now):
It's chicken marsala, pasta and we had artichokes that only took 45 min. to cook! Yes this is the corner of our kitchen. The little window looks into the "breakfast nook" which consists of a bench seat and countertop to eat at. Dining table to come.

Funny side story - we were in the front yard yesterday (the one I use a weed wacker to maow the lawn for) and the postmistress walked by (we live next to the p.o.). Her father used to own the house before Randy bought it and she grew up in it, so she has a slightly vested interest in what we are doing to the house. We told her the progress of the stove's installation and mentioned the old one that was in the house. To our surprise, it was original to the house when she moved into it in 1957. Was it really time to replace it??

way too nice

We stopped at a local nursery a few days ago to buy a tree (an Aspen of course) and began discussing the world in general with the co-owner. Got to love the off season for time to chat with people. He was originally from Indiana and we got on the subject of how nice people are here. No, I mean genuinely nice. No facades, no agendas, just nice. His theory was that as settlers began moving West, that the most open minded, laid back and adventuresome moved the furthest West. These qualities magnified in intensity the further West you went until you hit LA. No explanation needed there. What a theory and one that explained a multitude of ideologies and behaviors.

The proof came shortly thereafter as we both adventured into the most notoriously rude and horrendous destinations one could end up in - the registry and the grocery store. Safeway (based in CA) has to be THE friendliest grocery store I have ever been in. At least 4 employees, of which there were numerous in view at all times unlike Home Depot or Walmart, asked if needed help finding anything and several just chatted. One in particular had his family in the town I live in now and his wife's family was born and raised in Gilman (a former mining town and now a Superfund site). They even offered to carry out my groceries. And I don't look helpless or old. Wow.

Now for something really impossible to believe - the registry. In CO, the state police stations are called Justice Centers (I was waiting for Aquaman & Wonder Woman to come out of the main courtroom). To get your car registered here, you go to the Justice Center, the make sure your car is not stolen (takes about 10 minutes and we didn't have to wait). You then go to you insurance agent for your paperwork (again, about 10 minutes and no waiting). So far so good. We were really batting 1,000 as all of this was 3:00 Friday afternoon. Impossible to even get someone's attention in MA at that time if you are lucky enough to get them in the office. Armed with our paperwork and some good new stories of our town (one of the agents was raised there and was married there) off we went to the Eagle County Court House which is where the registry is. In we went. No lines. No waiting. A smiling, helpful and super friendly woman at the counter who didn't mind that we both were standing in front of her with several transactions to make each. 20 minutes later, new CO license plates in hand and completely dumbfounded that we had done all of this in less than an hour.

The sour taste from my MA insurance agent is finally going away and memories of standing, sitting, endless paperwork, rudeness and ennui of the MA DMV staff are dimming. Which one was the dream? I am convinced that the nursery man was right on the money with his theory. We have been here a week (ONLY a week?) and have dealt with plumbers, the DMV, grocery stores, and retail store staff. All nice. Pinch me.

a few minutes later

Shortly after my breakdown, Randy came into Loaded Joe's after his meeting. His first question was "do you want to meet my ex? she's right over there." Good grief. I was a blubbering mess of course. I knew the time of our meeting would come eventually and that I would be unprepared for it, but I had no idea that it would be when I couldn't have been more at my worst. At least I wasn't wearing sweatpants and my hair was not up in a ponytail.

She reminded me of my friend Susan a lot. Randy has also said that and if circumstances were different, that the ex and I would have been great friends. No I am not taking applications. She and Susan are both Leos (of course) and of the smart, tall and graceful variety. The kind of women that, not on purpose, make you feel slightly awkward and uneasy about measuring up. Whoa, echoes of being around BPs in high school (of which I certainly was not one). They both are practical jokers and love to torment those they love although I'm not sure that the ex ever would have given Randy a wedgie and gotten away with it.

She was everything that I am not: a very successful environmentalist who founded and runs the Gore Range Natural Science School who's also getting her PhD, has a boatload of other degrees, has been there and done that, is related to famous people, is pretty and well dressed. She was very gracious as Randy introduced us and explained that I was all red eyed and red nosed because I had just read my best friend's blog on my leaving and that it was the one piece that made me realize that we were not on vacation.

Of course, when you meet your spouse's ex, there is always the "how do I measure up" feeling and the general comparisons on all levels. How did I end up with Randy if that was who he was with before? Was it the Birkenstocks? Was it my Toyota Camry? Was it location, location, location? My witty turn of a phrase? My crazy hair? Was he indeed bribed by Susan? Who knows. Wow, without knowing what I was up against when I first met my husband, I guess I passed his test.

As I shook her hand and looked her in the eye, I was no longer intimidated or awkward. She was exactly the nice person who I imagined my husband would have been with and was proud that he dated her. Woops, did I just grow up here??

Thursday, October 25, 2007

am I here yet?

Moving to CO was a little like moving to the next town. There was way too much crap to fit in all of the boxes (even though the Eastham Swap Shop LOVED me for a few days with my constant deliveries). Where does all of this stuff come from?? I mean really, did I actually buy all of that or, like 8th grade biology class taught us, was it all a result of spontaneous generation? That must be it.

The trailer, truck and car are all unloaded. Finally. Egads. The stove we bought in August was hooked up yesterday. Some new furniture arrived this morning. Dishes are unpacked and are in use. The coffee maker and tea pot have both been unearthed from their respective boxes. The new vacuum is still in its box and probably will stay there for some time yet. The much needed humidifier was turned on and goes through 2 gallons of water a day. The Venta Air Washer really is all they say it is and I'm not one for plugging a brand but with no deeescusting filters to touch or change, I was sold. So much for the household stuff.

A trip to the registry is planned for tomorrow. Well, that was in response to Pike Insurance going ahead and cancelling my MA policy without telling me. It expires Saturday. Oh well - nothing like the present. The registry is near the closest bowling alley so we're psyched to go and bowl a few frames while waiting.

It's still a little surreal being here though. We've spent all of our vacations here and everything was a mad rush to fit everything in and visit with our friends here. Now we can see them next week. Or the week after. My husband went skiing yesterday and that's when it hit him that we're here to live. Not me. Not yet.

Until I just read my friend Susan's blog about my leaving and wept. In public at Loaded Joe's. I'm here. Not there.

A new adventure indeed. Bittersweet and scary and exciting.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

well, we're on battle mountain

The journey across country was uneventful - the cats only howled for the first 2 hours each day and then passed out from exhaustion. By the time we hit Buffalo, we figured out that if you covered the back seat and made it dark and let them out of their crates, they thought that they were under the bed. Sweet! Voila! No more meowing. They love Motel 6 now too.

Things to ponder - as you travel westward, the people get nicer (seriously!) and the bathrooms get cleaner. Also, in Iowa & Nebraska, we did not see one non-Caucasian working in the travel stops' fast food chains. The country is far bigger than you think it is and it makes the chaos and concentrated populations of the East Coast very outstandingly ugly.

Dilemma - where do we watch the Red Sox vs. Rockies baseball game?? Do we hunt down other East Coast transplants and hang with them? Do we keep quiet with our friends here - all avid Rockies supporters? Do we stay home and watch Law & Order?

Here's what we left (camera phone photo - sorry):

And here's what greeted us in Denver (again, camera phone sorry):

Nothing like a sunset over the Rockies. Except 8" of snow the next day! Glad we put the shovels on top of the other stuff.

Where's my snowboard?

Sunday, October 7, 2007

music and more music

We're getting an iPod. No, really. We are. At last, we too shall be like those happy folks on tv just dancing wildly to the coolest of cool music. Watching videos. Podcasts. True bliss as interpreted by the advertising agencies that run our every waking moment!

No one warned me about the interminable downloading of cd's. We have hundreds of cd's and after two weeks straight of daily downloading, now have 13 days worth of music. We aren't even half way through our collection. Not only has this been a test of my computer's tolerance, but proof of the Pavlovian training involved with hearing the "end of the download" jingle combined with a semi-aerobic work out.

Turn on tv/pack boxes for moving.
Absorb drivel/curse packing boxes for moving.
Hear jingle.
Jump up.
Trip over cats.
Run 3 feet to computer.
Eject cd.
Insert new cd.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
Periodically get new stack of cd's from shelves.

My life in a nutshell. But, for 13 days, I won't hear the same song repeated. Every James Taylor, Ben Harper, Grateful Dead, Chucklehead, Babaloo, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Bonnie Raitt song recorded in one place. All of the 80's music I loved. In one place.

Now how do I plug it in?

and then there was tea

As we are getting ready to depart this coast, my friend Susan asked, "what would you like to do before you go?" Of course, have tea with her and Sarah, children optional, location negotiable, clotted cream an absolute must.

Here's what I got Tea At Sarah's and it was ALL THAT. Her garden is incredibly beautiful and as I've mentioned before, her house is like an overflowing treasure chest. Every time I go inside, I can't even hold a conversation and look around at the same time. There are so many cool things everywhere that I can't even believe it. It was the perfect setting.

Little did I realize that I would get a "real" tea cup too. And that we would use her grandmother's silver tea pot. I do not share my friends' addictions to porcelain or tea thingies, so I was stumped at the offer of getting to choose my very own tea cup to use for real (a cool old one with little purple flowers on it). Most people offer me paper or plastic cups. They know. Was she kidding? I was sure that the cup I chose was 100 years old and a family heirloom and that I would smash it into a thousand bits before the tea was even in it. "Yard sale" she told me - no worries! Susan picked the cup with Queen Elizabeth II on it. No comment. Studley got the matching mug.

There were four "big" people and two "little" people. Studley and Lucy Carol (the little people) got their very own tea table, cups, plates and "tea" (apple juice in case you need to know) and decorative gourds. While the big girls were chowing on curried chicken, salmon, and cucumber sandwiches, they got hummus, apples, carrots and crackers. Studley put his plate on his head, it was empty at the time, and Lucy Carol informed him in a quite authoritative tone, "Simon, that is not how we take tea." There was snorting at the adult table.

Sarah's husband hid in the house and refused to come out. He had "important computer work to do" - guess he didn't see the boxes of goodies that we unpacked from the Dunbar Tea Room. My husband would have jumped right in and joined us. Mmmm, goodies. I'm hungry just thinking about it.

We chatted. We ate. We ate some more. Studley and Lucy Carol went to play with/feed/harass the chickens. Then we noticed Studley on the riding mower next to the coop. His hands were on the wheel moving it back and forth. There was a moment when we all considered that he would ride off on the thing. Sarah mentioned that it didn't have any gas in it. But Steve had just filled it. Uh, oh. Was the key in the ignition? Yes, again uh, oh. Would he know where the ignition was? Sure enough, he was reaching for the key and trying to turn it. The Son of McGyver knows these details. Sarah raced across the yard and extracted said key. Let him try hot wiring it - that would take a while as his fingers are small.

Oh, did I mention that he's a toddler still in diapers? Speaking of, he then started shouting "poopie!" and facing us. Observation or statement? Was this a commentary on the tea? On our "girlie" conversation in general? Was there dog doo next on the ground? Chicken doo? Or had this been the reason behind riding on the mower? To drive it to the bathroom as he was referring to the state of his diaper? Lucy Carol confirmed the latter as she announced, "Simon has to poop." Clearly, the adults needed the clarification.

And all these years, I thought tea was for the snooty mcsnooters. Tea comes to the common (wo)man.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

the missing link

What is the phenomenon in women that causes pants' hemlines to rise alarmingly but not fashionably, purses to expand in enormity, and eye wear to increase in size and grotesqueness as they age?

This phenomenon crosses all fashion, ethnic, economic and social boundaries - go check it out. See for yourselves - the grocery store is a great place to start.

Perhaps it is inherent in women themselves? Seriously, is this something we all have to look forward to as we age? Is this the one vital thing our mothers forgot to tell us when they gave us the birds & bees, boys, growing up, drugs, roles in society and responsibility lectures in hopes we would be prepared for the big scary world?

Maybe it was too much for them to bear telling us that as we got "older," not only would our life, love, beauty and happiness diminish (in theory), but that the very most basic items of our female lives - purses, glasses and pants - would so unstylishly spiral out of control?

Is there a correlation between responsibility and hemlines? A link between obligation and handbags? Maturity and spectacles?