Saturday, July 29, 2006

Culture Shocked

Here's the thing--people are nicer here than in California. You would think that people in CA would be nicer because everybody there is from someplace else, but no. I'm not saying that everyone is awful, not at all. It's just that people seem to be more friendly and polite here. You can strike up a conversation just about anywhere with just about anybody. This is good news for me since I am prone to doing that, and back home I was usually met with stares and not much else. Also, store clerks are polite,friendly and helpful. All the time. People actually care about doing a good job, and also are well informed and know what they're doing. Let me illustrate:
The other day I went to Target to get some shelving for the garage, they had some on sale. So Leo and I go in Target and before we get to the shelving section, three Target employees ask me if I'm finding everything okay. THREE. In the Sand City Target you can't even find one person to help you, and if you do, they don't know the answer anyway. So by the third time someone tried to help me I started to feel bad that they were so nice and I wasn't giving them an opportunity to do their job, so I asked where the shelving was that was on sale. The clerk was carrying a clipboard with a copy of the sale ad, so we found the item in the ad, and she took me right to where they were, she personally escorted us, she didn't just point and mumble like in CA. She then said that since this is heavy item that she would send another clerk back with a flatbed cart and that the shelving would be in the front when I was ready to check out. Whoa. I didn't even know how to act. So while we are waiting for the guy to come for the shelving, I notice that they were out of the one that was on sale, but they have a larger shelf that is not on sale, so I decided to cut my losses and buy the larger shelving. So when the guy with the cart gets there I tell him that they seem to be out of the one that was on sale, but to go ahead and load the larger non sale one. So he says that since I wanted the sale item but had to get another one, that they would give me the discount on the non sale shelving--25%. I was floored. He said to go ahead and finish shopping and when I was done to come up to the front and it would be there with the discount on it. Okay! I said. I was starting to realize that this outstanding service was not a fluke, this is how they operate. So we finish shopping and get to the check out, where I point to the cart with my shelves and tell the cashier I am purchasing those and that I was told that there would be a discount on them. Here's what she said--"Yes, I know." She knew the whole thing already! By this time I am slack jawed at the level of service I am getting at a Target, a TARGET, PEOPLE!! So I complete my purchase and this other Target guy comes up and says, we dont like to let the flat carts outside the store, so why don't you get your car and pull up to the front and I'll put it in your car for you. I didn't think I heard him correctly so I said excuse me? and he repeated it. So I went to my car in a daze, overcome by service. I pull up to the front and the guy loaded the shelves into my car. When I say thank you very much for all your help, he says, get this--"Thank you for your business". HE thanked ME for coming to Target! Leo was so confused by this time that he almost forgot to put the rest of the stuff we bought into the car. I had brought him along for the specifiic purpose of helping me with the heavy shelves, and he never had to do anything. We left wishing that the Target was closer so we could go there every day.
I could never have told this story if I still lived in California.
This morning we were out of milk so I couldn't make coffee. I decided to treat myself and get a coffee at Rocket Bakery a few blocks from my house. They let me write a check for my coffee. Then I went down the street to Rosauers to pick up milk and some other stuff, and the cashier took my stuff out to my car for me. The CASHIER, not the bagboy. I tell you, this is the best kind of culture shock ever. I feel sorry for people from here who move to California. Boy are they in for a surprise, and not a good one either.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Too Much Excitement of the Wrong Kind

This morning I let our cat Blossom outside. Apparently after a while she wanted to get back in but all the doors were closed. So she took matters into her own paws. I went into my room to get dressed and I looked out the second-story window and there was Blossom high up in the tree on the side of my house, ready to jump into my bedroom window, which was open but has a screen on it. Well, I don't want her to jump so I got away from the window and ran downstairs to try to lure her down the tree. Meanwhile, all my shouting wakes Leo up and he goes into my room and sees his cat in the tree. Blossom sees her boy standing in the window and even though I'm under the tree calling her, she jumped over to the window and was hanging on the screen. This cannot end well. Leo doesn't know what to do, he can't take the screen out now because Blossom is on it. She has nowhere to go but down, and her grip is slipping. I position myself under her, thinking that even if I was able to catch her, that she was going to scratch the crap out of me one way or the other. Blossom is getting more and more panicky and is trying to scratch her way up the house with her hind claws, and it is not working. After what seems like an eternity, she drops. Fast. Too fast for me to catch her. She lands on her hind legs right at my feet and jumps up and runs. She runs to the middle of the driveway and just stands there, panting with her mouth wide open, like she had just seen her life flash in front of her but was spared. I was worried that she might be hurt, but she landed ok and wasn't limping or meowing in pain. After standing in the driveway for a minute, she just goes into the house and lays down LIKE NOTHING EVER HAPPENED! Leo and I are by this time totally freaked out from what just happened and are crowding around Blossom, who at this point couldn't care less. ARRRRGGGHH!! We are hoping that she does not try that again, that she remembers how scared she was and that she will just end up falling, but who knows what a cat's memory is like about that kind of stuff. All I know is that I do not want a repeat performance of this morning. I don't think we can take it.

Blossom's opinion on the events of this morning.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Supper Club Etc.

Sunday night was July's Supper Club meeting, it was fun! Everyone brought mint dishes which, while they didn't seem overly minty while being eaten, built up in my system and caused me to be burping mint the next day. Which isn't necessarily unpleasant, just odd. Jennifer's home is everything you would imagine a modern industrial-like loft would be, very cool. And their new little dog Bruce is the cutest thing, he really does look like an Ewok. The food was delicious and everyone seemed to like the Minty Mango Salsa that I brought. I was not too crazy about it so I'm not sure if everyone was just being polite or what. We also had minty pedicures from a friend of Jennifer's who sells Body Shop products. It felt so good to put my feet in a minty cold tub of water, since outside it was over 100 degrees. I bought some products that I'm looking forward to getting soon. And the conversation was fun and wide-ranging. Next month the Supper Club comes to my house for a pasta-themed evening, I can only hope it turns out as well as the Minty one. And if having a bunch of people over doesn't motivate me to finish unpacking my boxes, I don't know what will! I am doing pretty well in that department lately, yesterday I got five boxes of office stuff unpacked, only three left to go. Sadly, those three boxes are filled with papers to file--UGH! Better get to it then, I sure don't feel like going outside, it's hot!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Stuff I want to say

1) Thank God for air conditioning! It is 98 here today and it will be in the 100's for the weekend and beyond. I have been good and tried not to use the central AC too much for fear of the electric bill, but once it gets to be about 95 I don't care anymore. If I die of shock after seeing the electric bill, at least it won't be in a pool of sweat. Speaking of this weekend...

2) The Sunday Night Supper Club is meeting this Sunday, the theme is mint. We are having minty pedicures and all the dishes will have mint in them. I am making Minty Mango Salsa. Today I am going to the store and buying my first mango. Say a prayer for me tomorrow as I make my first salsa, and use mint and mango for the first time in a recipe.

3) Leo got a computer and Max hooked him up to AOL instant messager, and now he can talk to all his friends in Monterey. This is very good news for all concerned. Leo has been mopey and relying on me to entertain him, so now I can get a break.

4) Steve and Sara are moving today into their new house! This is GREAT news, and the realization of a dream for them. I wish them much happiness in their new home. In related news...

5) This means that Max can move downstairs into his place. Again, great news because it means that I can use my computer without waiting for him to get off of it, and best of all...

(cue choir of angels)

6) I get to have my office and craft room to myself!!!! This is HUGE! I'm so excited to have a place of my own, it is going to be all girly and country-like, I can't wait!!! WOO-HOO!!!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Life Is So Dang Good

Tonight I was going to make spinach raviolis from Costco but Max wanted pizza. There is a little pizza place in our neighborhood called Bennedito's, which makes fantastic pizza AND they deliver! So we got this wonderful pizza that had chicken, sun-dried and fresh tomatoes and some awesome cheese on it, and we ate while we watched The Sandlot, which is one of my top 2 summer movies (the other one is American Graffiti). Then Leo and I went on a great walk around the neighborhood, which is filled with cute houses with cute porches. It was dusk and lots of people had their sprinklers running, so we got sprinkled as we walked, it was a great time. Then we came home and watched the Seinfeld episode with the Junior Mint and Mulva. I swear it just doesn't get any better than that.

They're very refreshing!

PS This is my 100th post.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

A fun time

I would blog about my dinner with Faythe last night, but she did such a good job of it that you should just go to her blog and read all about it. The only things she left out were:
1) It had been raining hard and as we were walking down the sidewalk toward the restaurant a truck came down the street and splashed water all over Faythe, that kind of sucked for her I'm sure. and
2) In the resturant there was a big screen tv in the corner that was showing COPS the entire time we were there.

I suppose I should clarify the origin of Max's emo corn comment. We were in my our favorite fun store The Dollar Tree and I came across black corn holders. So I said "look Max, emo corn holders!" to which Max replied "Emo kids don't eat corn Mom". Max has a very dry sense of humor--VERY dry, and it's hard to tell when he's making a joke, so for a second I pondered why emo kids wouldn't eat corn until I realized he was just being a smart aleck as usual. I happen to think emo kids do like corn, if for no other reason than it gets stuck in their teeth and then they can sing a really whiny song about it.

In other exciting news, I bought a lawn mower yesterday. I put a lot of thought into what kind of mower I would like, and I chose an electric mower, because I do not want to deal with the gas and oil stuff, I just want to flip a switch and have it come on. I used to have my grandma's old electric mower, a Sunbeam, and I remember quite enjoying the lawn mowing experience. So I was at the Home Depot with Leo and we had this big electric lawn mower box on the cart and as Leo was pushing it towards the check out, I noticed that men would look at the box and then shoot me a harsh look tinged with pity. Like I was a wimp for getting an electric mower. I make no apologies! I bought the mower that I would use, so be it! Apparently, it is emasculating for a man to use an electric mower, but I am not a man, to me it's like a big electric razor and I am shaving my lawn. Take that you gas mower neanderthals!

If that doesn't scream testosterone, I don't know what does. In closing, here is a joke that Leo got out of a kids magazine.

Q; What did one math book say to the other?
A: We've got lots of problems.

So if you turn on Dr. Phil and see math books on there you know why. Problems. Lots of problems.

Have a problem free day!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Sorry Jennifer

About six months or more ago, I was looking for information about my future city Spokane, specifically I was looking for restaurant reviews. I found this blog calledSpokane Reviewed by a guy going by the name of Remi. His restaurant reviews were very well written and it made me look forward to moving so I could try the restaurants, cafes and taco trucks he recommended. Over time I found out that he was the husband of Jennifer, whose blog I had already found and who invited me to join the Sunday Night Supper Club once I moved here. I have met Jennifer on more than one occasion, but I have yet to meet Remi.
So, we have been here in Spokane now for about two weeks. So far we have tried the Tacos from the Tacos Tumbras taco truck, the pork Tacos from the Elk Restaurant, and tonight we tried Gordy's Sechuan Restaurant. It was sooooo good! My son Max is aware of Remi's blog and his reviews and has wholeheartedly agreed with Remi's suggestions. In Max's eyes, Remi is 3 for 3, and Max has coined a new phrase--"Remi Is Always Right". Tomorrow, Max is going to get his hair cut at Northwest Beauty, which is also Remi Recommended. Max says that if it wasn't for Remi, he would be "eating bad chinese food with a bad haircut. Remi Juan Kenobi, you're my only hope!" Oh Brother.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Busy Busy

Since we have moved to Spokane there has not been a day where we haven't gone out of the house for something or another. The closest we came was 4th of July, and even then I went to the grocery store and then out to watch the fireworks. Which were totally cool, we were on a bluff with a panoramic view of the city and in front of us was the fireworks show and behind us was thunder and lightning, wow!

Anyway, yesterday I had lunch with my new friend Jennifer, and then it was off to the Super Wal Mart at the north end of town. Later we went to Kinko's to send a fax. Today looks to be more of the same, with a trip to the Subaru dealer for a minor repair, then to Trade a Game, which is a video game store, also the Dollar Tree, and to Super 1 Foods before 8pm because milk is on sale for $1.48 a gallon. Future trips include the Department of Licensing to change our car tags and drivers licenses, Lowes to get our money back for the keys we had made which did not work, and back to Wal Mart to return a yellowjacket trap, turns out we have wasps not yellowjackets.

So this morning I opened a box and found my summer purse and as I was changing purses I found a fortune from a fortune cookie I must have had last summer and kept for obvious reasons.


Sunday, July 02, 2006

Coming Up For Air

Well we got the internet back today finally, so here I am in Spokane! The 2 day trip up here was uneventful, the 3 cats did a lot better than I expected them to so I consider the move a smashing success. We got here last Monday night and immediately went to Lowe's to get a refrigerator since there wasn't one here. I got one with an icemaker and water dispenser with a filter, and I love it! The water is so good and cool, and smoothies are MUCH easier to make with crushed ice. And may I just say about my house that I love love love it!
My sister SusanLynn left yesterday after helping me all week unpack and set up the infrastructure of the house. She ran me ragged but boy did we get a lot accomplished! There is still a lot to do but I am going by the motto Slow And Steady Wins The Race.
Speaking of mottos, our motto this week as we were driving around Spokane was a variation of my brother's saying, ours was "if we don't know where we're going, then we can't be lost". We went to a lot of stores and other places this week, I would get there and usually overshoot the entrance and have to go around the block to get back to it. I did it so often that I was referring to it as satellite driving, I would orbit a place once or twice before landing. But I notice today that I am getting a bit better at finding my way around, being in the correct lane, etc.
Also I have already had a social engagement with my new friend and neighbor Faythe, we went to this totally great yarn store. It will be fun getting to know her better along with the other people I have met here. Next Sunday I will be trying a church called Life Center, it seems like a great place.
So, I have a new email address, if you post a comment I will email you with it since I don't remember right now what it is! And as things settle down for us you can expect the phone calls to begin!