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Lovin life! No matter where we are or what we're doing.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Driving Miss Austin

What started out as a post about Texan culture shock ended up being a list of what it’s like to drive in Austin, and how that in and of itself is a shock, especially to this small town girl. Whenever we're in the car together, at least one of these comes up or becomes an annoyance. So we bring to you: “Top 5 Austin Driving Rants”!

1. Lack of road signs. We live in a city full of busy streets, highways and freeways. I’ve noticed the city or state or both (most likely) love to play tricks on drivers by not signing “turn only” lanes until you are turning. Nor do they clearly mark which road is which. The other day I was looking for 71 East and all I saw were signs for 71 West, until I was driving PAST the exit and finally saw “71 East”!

2. More than one name for every road. You will get confused in Austin right quick if you don’t know that Hwy 71 is also Ben White Blvd., or that Loop 1 is also known as “MOPAC” or Hwy 183 is sometimes Ed Bluestein Blvd. but then it’s Bastrop Hwy, until it changes into Lockhart Hwy… Pick a name, people, pick a name!

3. Stop lights on 65 MPH roads. Really?! I’m just gonna rant about this one: If Austin isn’t asking for more accidents, I don’t know what they’re up to. Some of the major highways around here are loaded with stop lights and side road entrances AND 65 MPH signs. Frank tells me you’re supposed to look ahead and watch the light to turn yellow. (Duh.) Do you know how hard it is to stop without getting rear ended when y’all are trucking down the road at 65 miles per hour and all of a sudden a light turns yellow? It’s crazy ridiculousness. I’ve never seen anything like it, except maybe in Kenya, but at least they don’t bother with the traffic lights over there!

4. Passing techniques. One of the first times I was driving with Frank in Texas, someone was following us really closely, so Frank just pulled over on the shoulder, maintaining his 60 mph speed, and let them pass. After they went by, we pulled back over. The car in front of us put on his hazards for a few blinks. At this point, I was really confused, until Frank pointed to the Hazard light button in our car and said, “This is the ’thank-you’ button,” and smiled at me. I just looked at him and said blankly, “where I come from, that’s the hazard button and you only use it when you’re pulled over on the side of the road and you‘re in trouble.”

5. Longest stop lights ever. Seriously. I’m guessing the camera sensor technology hasn’t hit it big here in Austin. That, and the length of stoplights feels about twice as long as it has other places I’ve lived. Granted, I haven’t lived in the “big city” for a while, but sitting at a light feels excessively long here. That, or I could just always be anxious to get to where we’re going…. Nah, they’re too long! ;-)

Much Love,
Alita & Frank

Thursday, August 18, 2011

You Know you Live in an RV when…

1. “Honey, could you empty the grey tank?!” is a phrase often heard from the shower, usually followed by, “it’s pooling around my ankles, please hurry!”

2. You often wake up to the sound of squirrels foraging on your roof.

3. Your “garage” is the storage area in the rear of the vehicle.

4. Your whole house shakes when you walk.

5. Running your AC and your Microwave at the same time trips the breaker.

6. You are constantly shifting your plates, cups and bowls when the AC is on to stop the symphony in the cupboard!

7. Washing your house is as normal as washing your car.

8. Brushing your teeth together involves rotating in and out of the bathroom.

9. You have to buy dissolvable toilet paper.

10. It takes an hour or less to clean your whole house!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Cling to Love

It is a beautiful sunny, Friday morning here in Austin. Today will be the 52nd day in a row the temperature climbs above 100 degrees. Frank is out there delivering the world on time and I am sipping on coffee, writing and thinking about all the things I have to do today. Fridays are my “busy” days. Menu planning, & grocery shopping are on the agenda, along with my daily chores and spending time with my wonderful husband when he gets home. Lately, a couple hours every day have also been taken by a recent opportunity to help reduce our rent.

A few weeks ago our RV park manager, MJ, approached me about filling in at the office for when they need a “back up.” MJ is waiting for a liver transplant and Christina, her right hand woman, is going on vacation tomorrow. MJ is hoping that her phone will ring any day with hope-restoring news for her so I get to be on stand-by for now in case that happens and Christina isn’t here. So for the last couple weeks I have been working in the office for a couple hours each day. For each hour I work we get $8 taken off our rent. Last week I worked 10 hours, which saved us $80 off our rent! I am praising God for this opportunity and praying that MJ gets a liver SOON. She is a light, this woman. Quite endearing. She makes this place what it is and we appreciate her so much.

In other news, I applied at the YMCA and the Boys and Girls Club yesterday. Rumor is that Boys and Girls Club are opening 4 new locations in Austin soon, thanks to a large grant. Again, please pray. Frank was hoping to get a full time route at FedEx this month, as a couple were scheduled to open up this week. Instead, those routes were split into part time routes and added to other drivers’ current routes. That day he was out looking for jobs in and around the same area FedEx is based. We are planning to go down to a one car family as soon as we get some paperwork from Oregon so we can sell my car next week. Frank is planning on riding his bike to work and letting me take “Katie” to work when I get a job. We may soon become very familiar with the Austin public transit system!

I need to apologize to our regular readers of the Buzz. I didn’t think my last post seemed negative but I have had a lot of notes of concern come to me since I wrote it. I am thankful for everyone’s encouragement; it means so much to me. Life has been an adjustment and frustrating in some ways lately, but it would be wrong of me to not give recognition to the fact that we have been provided for, one way or another ever since we got married. Our bills get paid every month and we have food in the cupboard. We are still giving a little bit each month, because we know that we are not poor, by the world’s standards. For every time we’ve given, we’ve probably received at least twice as much back. This isn’t why we give, but the contrast is so stark to me.

My Great-Aunt always says, “My mother always said, when poverty flies in the door, love flies out the window.” Now I love my great aunt and her many proverbial sayings, but after much thought and time, Frank and I are coming to believe that while that may be true for some people, it won’t be true for us. When poverty creeps in, we need to cling to love. Our love isn’t an arbitrary feeling that can so easily be tossed out the window, rather its what motivates us each day to keep giving and serving one another and cling to our Father God, who is the author of Love. No matter what our circumstances are, we are to continue loving. So we love each other, our neighbors and our community. Not because we feel poor, but because love is more important than poverty.