Monday, November 04, 2002

Charity begins at home

I'm not the best of people. I've done SOME good things in my life, but I've done plenty of not-so-good things, too. I rarely (if ever) give money to street corner people because I think most of them are scam artists. I don't give to phone solicitors because I don't like being rushed into decisions and because I don't trust them. Sometimes, I can be slightly cynical. Slightly. :)

I've had the same sectional sofa for 12 years: two pieces, one being a queen-size sleeper. It's mostly a beige color with a pastel print. My brother Ron and I bought it a few months after we graduated college and moved to Dallas to work at IBM. When I was transferred to Austin, I got to bring it with me. It's followed me through several moves, it's had food spilled on it multiple times (no stains though), it's been slept on many times (a lot of those by me), it's helped me watch several hours of TV, and it has survived several evil cats. (It has the claw marks to prove it!) The couch has served me well.

After buying a new house, I bought some new furniture to go with it. The old sectional was just too big for my living room, and I wanted to go with some different colors. When the new couch arrived, the old one was stored in the garage, with a lot of boxes on top of it. However, I needed some room in the garage, so it was time to give the old one to charity.

I called the Salvation Army to come pick it up, since I don't have a truck to haul it around in. They gave me a nice four hour time window Saturday morning to sit around and wait, and they eventually showed up. The driver looks at the two pieces and within a few seconds, he says, "We can't accept these, they have claw marks." And I'm thinking, "No sh!t Sherlock, I've owned cats. Hello ... it's free!" It's not like they're not going to make a profit on the thing.

So apparently, the Salvation Army has an image to maintain, and my couch just doesn't cut the mustard. The couch worked for me, it could hold several adults, and it didn't stink (as far as I know). Maybe my furniture standards are lower than I thought. Oh well, I'll just give it to a battered woman's shelter or some other charity. I tried to do one nice thing this weekend. Maybe in a couple of years, I'll try to do another one. :)

Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Fourth of July

At the request of my friend Terri, I just got back from spending the Fourth with her and her family in Lubbock. Of course, most of you are probably wondering why anyone would want to spend the Fourth in Lubbock. Surprisingly, when I was there a couple of years ago, they had the best fireworks show I'd ever seen (and I've seen quite a few), so I had no problem with going again. I had planned on coming into town on Thurdsay, but a couple of Terri's daughters played the guilt card until I relented and drove in Wednesday (the 3rd) after work, so I was also in town for the parade Thursday morning. Terri's husband Tim was trying out his new digital camera and took lots of pictures, and I put a small subset of them on the website at:

Here's a couple of notes about Lubbock parades:
  1. You pretty much just have to sign up in order to be in the parade. You don't really have to have an extravagant float. Heck, you don't even have to have ANY kind of float.
  2. In Lubbock parades, you're going to see a lot of horses. And due to the potential messes that might occur, they have several street sweepers spaced throughout the parade. And they're smart enough not to put a marching band right after a set of horses, unlike some of the parades I was in growing up.
Of course, I do have one story to tell. On one of the evenings, Terri's friend Corrie was over with her 3 kids, so we played a game of Pictionary, kids included. Tim, Corrie's two sons, and I were on one of the teams. Courtland (the 6 year old) wanted a turn at drawing, but we were a little concerned that he wouldn't know the definitions of the clues. Well, in the course of trying to explain that to him, Tim accidentally upset Courtland and made him cry. Yes, Tim did eventually smooth things over with him, but not until after the game was over and we had suffered a humiliating defeat to a team of girls. We never could get Courtland off of the couch where he was pouting and rejoin the game.

I know, it doesn't seem like an upbeat story, but I have a couple of reasons for telling it: 1) it's nice for me to be able to tell a story about an adult making a kid cry in which I'm not the adult in question, and 2) Courtland provided my favorite sound bite from the weekend while he was on the couch. His mother was trying to convince him to play some more, and she mentioned that he seemed to be having fun earlier, so why not give it one more shot. Courtland replied that he was having fun, until "TIM RUINED IT ALL!" Again, I'm glad it wasn't me messing up this time.

Tuesday, February 26, 2002

The Chaperone

This past weekend, my friend Terri invited me to Lubbock to attend the birthday party and slumber party for her two oldest daughters, Taylen and Teagan. Here's a picture of Taylen holding up the "diamond-like" earrings I got her for her birthday:

Since I stayed at their house and helped chaperone the slumber party (no, really!), I was there for the entire shindig. Here are a few highlights:
  1. The party was attended by approximately 15 little girls (7-9 year olds). They can make a lot of noise, most of it being classified in the "squealing" category.
  2. If you were a fan of N*Stink ... uh, I mean N*Sync ... you wouldn't be after hearing the same CD several dozen times during the evening. Luckily, I convinced them to turn it off by threatening to dance whenever it was on. Spastic dancing by adults tends to frighten small children.
  3. In the picture above, Ashley is the little blond girl sitting on the floor. At one point in the evening, she told me she thought I was handsome. She immediately became my favorite.
  4. Also in the picture above, Kimberly is the little brunette girl sitting on the table. After a fun-filled night of brownies, strawberry cupcakes, indoor hide-n-seek in the dark, singing, running around, lots and lots of squealing, and (in Kimberly's case) having your face jumped on by one of the cats while sleeping, Kimberly's little body could no longer contain her excitement, and she threw up. Multiple times. Not being familiar with the house, she didn't make it to the bathroom for the first batch and left her deposit in the hallway. The rest of it was in the bathroom, although she didn't always hit the toilet. :) Since Terri was occupied with consoling Kimberly and cleaning up the bathroom and her husband Tim was conveniently asleep, I got to clean up the hallway mess. And due to the aforementioned strawberry cupcakes, her vomit was pink. Let me just say this: if any of you invite me to a party any time soon, I'm not cleaning up any messes.