Saturday, November 13, 2010

Evil Bean Dip, Toxic Relish and Blatant Cheese

I despise moving.  I don't despise the fact that we are moving, I'm not thrilled about it but I can accept it.  It's the nuts and bolts of the moving process that make me want to stick a fork in my eye.

Yesterday I drove here to Houston so that Jayson and I could look at houses together and hopefully find something decent to lease for a year.  The road trip was uneventful, which is a good thing, and I didn't even doze off thanks to the steamy romance novel I was listening to on CDs.  I find those are the best novels for me to listen to on the highway because they keep my attention without requiring me to think too hard.

It took me 3-1/2 hours to get from Lafayette to Katy and I probably would have made even better time if it hadn't started raining while I was driving through downtown.  3 hours of audio porn can be quite motivating when you haven't seen your husband in a week.

When I got here Jayson gave me the tour of his "home" at the Holiday Inn Express in the oil center.  Apparently it's brand new and one of the nicest ones I've ever seen, I don't why he's in such a hurry to get out of it.  I was assigned a chair to call my own since he had already marked his territory in the rest of the room. 

Jayson took me to dinner at P.F. Chang's where I ordered both iced tea AND white rice and didn't have to repeat myself.  It was good to be back among those who speak my native tongue.  On our way back from the restaurant Jayson showed me all the local hot spots including the convenience store where he buys his Dr. Peppers, the kolache shop that he said really sucks, and the Target where he bought new underwear.

After dinner, we went back to the hotel and I began to plan our route for Friday's house hunt.  I had a list of about 40 houses in various neighborhoods for us to drive by so that we could first narrow our search down to one area and then hone in on a house. 

The effects of that afternoon's romance novel began to wear off when my tummy started gurgling.  It's a good thing I keep a little mini can of room spray in my travel bag for just such occasions.  I asked Jayson if his tummy was okay, thinking maybe it was something we'd eaten.  He said his was fine then picked up the empty can of bean dip I'd brought in from the car intending to throw away. 

Eating that entire can along with half a bag of Fritos during my trip pretty much killed my plans for a romantic evening.  If there was any doubt, the cries of "Oh God, please don't touch me" made it perfectly clear.  Those cries actually came from Jayson.   

By Saturday morning my tummy had returned to its usual cast iron state so we set off on our journey.  We probably looked at every available rental in our price range west of I-45.  We've always thought that Lafayette had loose zoning laws because in a lot of areas you will see an enormous mansion sitting right next to a trailer that has chickens running loose in the yard, but  Houston's lack of zoning laws produces some interesting situations as well.

Most notably is what we kept running into all day yesterday.  We found several really nice houses in gorgeous well-kept neighborhoods that we absolutely loved.  The only problem is that as soon as you turn out of the subdivision, you run right into a run-down strip mall complete with tattoo parlors and crack dealers.  I guess I should try to look on the bright side and consider this an advantage since I wouldn't have to drive all the way across town to buy my crack.

We even saw a couple of newer subdivisions with really nice houses that we liked a lot but as we continued to drive around in them, we'd happen upon a low-income apartment complex sort of nestled in the middle and surrounded by wrought iron gates...which we found out the hard way is sometimes what you get when an ad says "located in a gated community".

I hope this doesn't make us sound snobbish or racist because really we're not.  I would have no problem at all being the only white family in a black or hispanic neighborhood as long as that neighborhood was safe.  That's our main concern.

By about noon time yesterday, we had wandered into what was probably not a particularly safe area of town but we were hungry and it was the middle of the day so I Yelped us a restaurant.  It led us to Teotihuacan Mexican Restaurant on West Bellfort.  I knew we were in luck when I saw menudo on the menu.  Not that I would ever eat it, but that told me this was authentic Mexican food and would probably be fabulous.  And it was.  They serve a tomatillo salsa with their chips that's incredible.  I'd definitely risk life and limb to go there again.

I just recently discovered that Houston is the 4th largest city in the U.S. behind New York, LA and Chicago.  I did not realize this.  For some reason I always thought of it as a little bit bigger than Dallas.  It has nearly twice the population that Dallas does.  Why did I not know this?  What was I thinking??  Why did I agree to this?  Everyone who knows me knows that I don't like people and here we are moving to a city that's almost 20 times bigger than the city we live in now.  That's 20 times more people for me to not like being around.  I see lots of pharmaceuticals in my future.

  <----------------After spending a good portion of our day in traffic that looked like this....

...we entertained ourselves by mispronouncing street names such as this one.--------------->

I seriously doubt that's Snot Road.

By the time we had crossed house #40 off our list, we had been at it for almost 9 hours and had half a dozen prospects.  I have to give my husband a pat on the back.  He drove everywhere I asked him to, got out of the car and peeped in windows to see if the house was occupied (and sometimes it was because he found eyes peeping back at him) and climbed over fences when I absolutely had to know if there was a covered patio or not...all without a single complaint.  The man was getting lucky last night whether he liked it or not.

Originally, our plan for today was to set up appointments to see some of the houses we chose from yesterday.  However, I woke up this morning feeling certain that we needed to cross everything off our list that wasn't in the Katy area.  That was actually our original plan, to find something in or around Katy, but we expanded that area hoping to find something that would be more convenient for Taylor.  She's planning to go to the University of Houston which will be almost an hour's drive (one way) from Katy.

Katy is really the only area we looked at yesterday that I half way liked.  It has an almost North Dallas/Irving feel to it that the other areas we looked at didn't have.  The only problem with this morning's new revelation is that it narrowed our list of possibilities to 2 houses and I couldn't get the listing realtor to return my calls.

Before we left the "house", I jumped back on the computer and found 5 more houses to drive by while we waited for the realtor to do his job.  However, before tackling that unpleasant task Jayson took me to his office so that I can see where he works now.  I took some pictures and will talk more about that in another post.

After our office tour, we were both hungry so Jayson took me to a restaurant that I had commented on yesterday.  My comment had something to do with how there seemed to be one on every corner.  It's called James Coney Island and I have to admit they make a darn fine hot dog.  I had "The Chicago" which had relish and pickles and peppers and I don't know what all else on it but it was good.  The only thing that made me hesitate was the color of the relish.  It was a bright day-glo green, the kind that doesn't ever occur in nature.  In fact, if it was a crayon it would be Toxic Waste Green.  But like I said, it was tasty.

After lunched, Jayson filled the car up with gas at another local hot spot called "the Chevron where I fill my car up with gas".  Then we hit the last 5 houses on our list.  House #2 struck a chord with both of us and we knew that was the one.  We headed for the nearest Starbuck's where I called the listing realtor, emailed her, and filled out her online call-back request form so that she, too, could not call us back.  I finally called the office of the real estate company and they sent out their random agent-on-call who let us inside the house.

We had already decided that the only thing that would keep us from filling out an application for this one would be finding a dead body in the attic.  The house has 2 ways to access the attic and we checked both of them.  No dead bodies.  We filled out the paperwork, gave it to Ms. Agent On Call, who promised to call us back as soon as possible since she has to get information from the listing agent who still has not called us back.

So here we sit.  I'm leaving town tomorrow, hopefully not until I hear from Ms. Agent but I'm not real optimistic about that.  We're just praying that they accept our application and will be able to let us take possession within the next week or so.  Jayson is chomping at the bit to get moved in and I sure would like to cross this task off my list.

Jayson took me to dinner tonight at his favorite Houston restaurant Pasta Lomonte's.  It was great.  It's hidden near the oil center in this cluster of restaurants that look like converted houses and they all have open patio dining and it's just quaint and adorable.  We'll definitely go there again.

I'm a little bit anxious to get back on the road so I can finish listening to my novel.  It's a contemporary romance about a hardened FBI agent with a troubled past and a shy, innocent 911 dispatcher whose family gets tangled up in a crime.  It's just too cliche not to love.  But that's not even the best part.  Get this.  The mousy little 911 operator's name is Winnie.  How perfect is that?  And the FBI agent goes by just his last name...Kilraven.  How could he not be gorgeous with a name like that?  Sometimes blatant cheese is the best cheese. 

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