I am unraveling right before your eyes. Someday this is all going to be a funny story but right now I am hobbling from day to day.
Last week I flew to West Texas for my brother’s wedding. It always feels good to be with family in hard times. This was a happy time: celebrating a wedding but for me it was more. It was me going back to my roots, spending time with the people who really really love me. EVEN WHEN I BLEACH MY HAIR BLONDE AND IT LOOKS TERRIBLE ON ME!
I know it doesn’t look so bad in photos but in real life it is awful. It’s dry, brittle, it doesn’t have any of its old waves and I have no idea how to style it. I feel like a lousy combination of Charlize Theron in Monster and Kurt Cobain. But this post isn’t all about me and my hair! (Or is it?) This was about flying to Texas to be with my family.
Texas and I are not fast friends. We should be. Texas was there for me in some dark, dark times (shout out to my good friend Heather), but in my old age, I’ve gotten more liberal (as most artists with feeeeeeeeeelings do). My brother is a gun-toting redneck conservative. You know how it goes. We politely ignore each other’s opinions of Trump to save the peace and we never talk on Facebook. As my brother always jokes: “We only have one thing in common: my mom and dad.” He’s funny. But surprisingly, when we get into intense discussions, we usually find common ground that we agree on. We are both guilty of being on opposite sides for too long and haven’t listened to the other side much.
The first thing he showed me when we got to his new wife’s house (Did I mention they live in officers’ quarters in a fort!!) was a cannon. Yep. That’s my brother. It’s not *his* canon, but he gets to work on it and maybe handle it during reenactments or something. You can probably tell I didn’t pay attention when he was talking to me. Guns schmuns, they’re all the same to me. They shoot people and kill; therefore, I hate them. But whatever! I do believe in the 2nd amendment, I just don’t like guns personally.
Then we walked the grounds. It’s huge! Like everything in Texas. My brother’s job is the groundskeeper of the Fort and he gets to mow the vast lawns with a driving lawn mower and switch sprinklers off and on. It’s his dream job.
I got to hang with my niece Suki and her little girl.
The skies were so big, and I loved being out in the evening air. The only thing I liked better than walking around outside was walking around his historical home.
It had a huge front porch with rocking chairs, and inside, everything felt like a museum. His wife’s mother owned the house and had a vast collection of art and artifacts.
I slept in the office and kinda got the heebie-jeebies looking at all these artifacts around me. Didn’t we take all this land from the Native Americans and wouldn’t they be haunting a house like this and wanting it back? When I closed my eyes, I saw all kinds of weird visions which makes me think I might be psychic or something but amazingly, I slept well. My brother’s wife says there is no bad juju in the house and I think she might be right. I didn’t feel anything bad when I was there.
The following day my dad and I walked the town. It took about five minutes.
Just kidding. It took longer than that, but it was a quick walk because the town is quite small. We even went to the park and took a few turns on a zipline.
Friday was the day of the rehearsal dinner, and I wasn’t needed for anything. Weird, I know. I thought I’d be helping with dishes or flowers or potato salad or something, but everything was already handled before I got there so I did what I always do when I’m in a new place. I yelped “local flair” and saw that there was a famous art exhibit two hours away.
Two hours is pretty far to see an art exhibit, but when I expressed interest, my dad signed up enthusiastically. That is my dad for you. If I want to do something, he is always on board, no matter how silly it is. It helps that he used to be a truck driver and driving is like walking to him but still, two hours to an art exhibit?!? And it wasn’t like it was the Louvre. What I wanted to see was pretty much a box in the middle of the desert. No shops around it or places to have lunch. It didn’t even have a gift shop. Just a box in the middle of nowhere with miles and miles of desert all around.
Yep, I’m talking about Prada, Marfa. It’s famous! It really is as silly as it looks. It’s a fake storefront with a non-working door and 2005 Prada shoes inside. It’s incredibly ironic, and I love it. At first, I was bummed when I saw the window boarded up on one side. That was going to ruin my photo! But then when I read more about the artist’s intent and how he wanted it to de-gentrify naturally, I started to get it. It will look like part of a ghost town someday, and it’s a big funny joke. Prada way out here in the middle of NOWHERE? Why? That’s exactly the fun of it. Why not! And even though it’s not an *actual* Prada store, and you can wiggle the front door in vain, and it will never open, it’s still *cool* just to be there. That’s how much clout the Prada brand has. Humans are so funny.
Even my dad got it. My dad is pretty open-minded for a boomer.
Speaking of open-mindedness, we stopped at an ice cream shop on the way back. We were hungry for lunch, but apparently, everything rolls up at three pm when you live in the middle of the desert in the middle of nowhere.
It was great. I think I found the artsiest town in all of West Texas. I’m good at finding my people.
Across the street was an LGBTQ store, and I went in, of course. Not that I needed any gay merch, but just because it’s pride month, and I wanted to show my support. You’d think my dad would have a problem with this, being the devout Christian that he is, but he is incredibly understanding, and we had the whole drive to talk about passages in the bible that refer to sodomy. Talking about the bible is one of my dad’s favorite things to do. Yes, I find it annoying from time to time when he tries to “save” people, but my dad is one of the kindest people you will ever meet, and he really does listen. I can put up with his fever over the bible because he listens to me when I tell him I don’t trust Apostle Paul’s teaching. He’s patient with me. It does make me sad that he is disappointed with my life choices, but if anyone understands my choices, it’s my dad. He’s been there through all of it.
So yeah, two hours of talking about the bible! It was great, actually. I can talk to my dad about anything.
The next day before the wedding, we took another walk around town, just my dad and I. We pretty much did the “driving tour” on foot.
This crumbling building reminded me of an Anthropologie backdrop.
Colors from another time… I love that I can always find things to photograph when I travel. It is my favorite thing to do.
I also got to spend a lot of quality time with this goober. She was magical at grabbing my Apple watch and my iPhone. She can reprogram any Apple device in under 30 seconds. It’s amazing. I have a lot of pictures of her grabbing at my phone as I’m taking pictures of her. I also have about a million selfies that she took of her chin.
Then it was time for the wedding. It was small and humble but so sweet. My brother is such a softie; he cried through the entire thing. Like he did at my wedding years ago, he’s just a big sentimental puddle inside a giant hairy man.
He adores his new wife. I’m so happy for them.
It was good to be with family. I’m glad I went. It was a quick little respite from the trainwreck that is my life back home.
But things are getting better. I have interviews lined up next week and I’m starting to get used to my shocking hair. Every day I contemplate shaving it, though… so the crazy is not over yet!
This post is all about me. Aren’t they all? I’m looking over these photos and there are a lot of selfies. That’s mostly because my hair is growing out and I’ve been taking lots of pictures of it on the days I like it. Cutting your hair is such an act of freedom.
Big News! I quit Ralphs. I’m going to miss the gym that pays me $200 a week to work out but I have bigger things on the horizon and my body was wearing out. There’s a lot of wear and tear that goes into being a bagger and running around the store all day long. Pushing and pulling carts, lifting heavy items, walking 20,000 steps a day… Every night my legs would hurt. I like being fit though so I’m really going to miss the regular workouts. I’m going to have to find a new workout routine and that is always a challenge.
You probably want to know how the “Stay Fresh Cheese Bags” prank went. It didn’t. I shared about this on Instagram but I should probably recap here. There was a meme going around Instagram saying to post the last screenshot of a meme in your photo roll and it would reflect who you really were inside. I couldn’t resist playing along because the “Stay Fresh Cheese Bags” meme was in my photo roll and it had me laughing out loud. I’d been having an ongoing private fight with the Dairy guy at Ralphs in my head. He was super rude to me and I was not fond of him. He scolded me once and every time I would see him and he wouldn’t say hi or he would roll his eyes if I accidentally swept my broom into his way because I can’t read his mind and know where he’s going… I would say to him (in my head), “Stay Fresh, Cheese Bags” and it cracked me up. You know, whatever gets you through the day, right?
I ordered some stickers that say “Stay Fresh Cheese Bags. You can see one right up there. My plan was to stick one somewhere in his work area in the back and laugh my head off knowing that he would see it everyday and wonder who put it there. I mean, he is the guy who stocks up the cheese… it’s not like it would exactly be out of place. But then, I accidentally stuck it on the liquor department guy’s locker instead of his. I don’t know what happened. I read the names wrong or I just pulled a typical Brenda air-head moment and slapped it in the wrong place. My whole joke was foiled.
The good news is that I told the Liquor Guy what I did and he got a chuckle out of it and said he didn’t mind the sticker being on his locker. Phew! And that is how I left Ralphs. Will they remember me? Probably not. Will they wonder how that sticker got there? Probably not. But at least I got a laugh out of it.
Also, that taped-up car? It’s not mine. It has nothing to do with anything. I just thought it was funny because it looks like a crying emoji. The other car was just a cool old car I saw and the Volkswagon is Toby’s old Super Beetle. No, Bug is not going to be driving a Volkswagon Bug, though it would be cute! I’m too paranoid about her safety. She currently has no interest in getting her license and I’m hoping to buy some kind of hybrid that is full of all the safety gadgets before she gets to that point.
Back to our main topic: Goodbye Ralphs, Hello New Job! Yes. I interviewed all last week. Four interviews in total. You can see me dressing up trying to look spiffy. Do these shoes go with this? Can I get away with wearing Mary Janes and socks? It was exciting. I love to dress up.
The interviews went well and I got the job!!!! I can’t share what it is yet but I am very excited. It is my dream job. I hope I can share later. It’s been a long six months of job hunting and I’ve gone through so much rejection and the self-pity. This job is so great that I can say those long six months of floundering and getting my ego smashed to smithereens was worth it!!! Things are going to get so much better. I can’t wait. I start on Tuesday.
In other news: Matt flew down for Valentine’s Day and we had the best time! He took me out to fancy restaurants. We walked and talked and went shopping. Of course, I got roses because I am spoiled. Long-distance relationships are not for the weak but they do have their perks! I’m actually really thankful for this relationship right now and how it gives me so much time to myself to be a workaholic (which I really need to be as I dig myself out of debt.) I’m very thankful. I know my story doesn’t make sense to everyone but it works for me.