Texas girl in the middle of Kiwiana

Amy Boatman

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It took me a while to realize something I wasn’t seeing here in Seattle that I had been used to seeing in Texas: Bush/Cheney bumper stickers. Back home, they’re everywhere. It wasn’t until I saw one that I realized I hadn’t seen one in a while. I was driving…somewhere. I drive there but have no idea where I am half the time. Anyway, I saw this big bubba truck parked on the side of the road. It was a commercial street and they have these shoulder-type things here. The truck was a Ford 250 with one of those wimpy half-assed backseats. I mean really, if you’re gonna buy a truck with a backseat, get one with a REAL backseat. So, anyway, this truck was parked on the shoulder. As I got right up to it, the driver suddenly pulled out in front of me and gunned it. The truck was a diesel so it belched nasty black smoke all over my car. I thought it appropriate. A big, fuel guzzling, black smoke belching, ozone layer killer driven by a selfish bastard who thinks he owns the road. Yep, that’s a Bush/Cheney fan.

Something else odd I noticed the other day. I was at my Tuesday night NA meeting at the local community center. In the women’s bathroom were two condom dispensers. State sponsored condom dispensers. Now, condom machines aren’t alien to me. I’ve seen them in truck stop bathrooms and rest stop toilets. They usually sit seductively next to lube and “enhancer” dispensers in bars. I’ve even seen them in lesbian bar bathrooms. Go figure. But I’ve never seen a condom machine in a bathroom frequented by kids. I mean, everybody knows teenagers in Texas don’t have sex. At least that’s what the evangelicals say. They’ve managed to convince the lawmakers of this fact so it’s almost illegal to give a condom to a teenager. “If we give them condoms, they’ll have sex,” is the mantra of the religious right. “If we don’t mention it, they won’t figure it out, and therefore they won’t do it.” Hmmm, maybe that’s why Texas is near the top of the list for teenage pregnancy. So, to see the state of Washington not only admit the kids will probably have sex, but also want to protect them from STDs and pregnancy just cements my belief that I have moved to the right place.

Day One – West Texas Wasteland

Well, day one is coming to a close. It was actually easier than I expected. Except the leaving my mom this morning. That wasn’t easier. It’s been a really long time, over 15 years, since I moved from the state. Back then I was too fucked up to feel anything about it. Today, I know what I’ll be missing. I love my parents very much and I’m gonna miss them like crazy. But, I’ll be back to visit and there’s always the Internet and phone calls. Hell, we might even be talking more. So, after the painful goodbyes I was ready to go.

Actually first, I had to load up the cats. I got my car set up with two big carriers that take up the whole back seat. I got the two black kitties, Shadow and Sparky, in one and R.J. in the other. Pachelbel was sitting in the front seat with me. I had taken the whole brood to the vet on Thursday and he told me to give them Benadryl for motion sickness or if they needed some sedation. Shadow, the old lady, tends to get motion sick so I gave her some Benadryl. Well, I tried to give her some. She foamed at the mouth for a while and then threw it up. So much for the Benadryl. Oh well. I got them all loaded up, I got Pachelbel hooked up with her seat belt harness and off I went.

All went well until I took a wrong turn and ended up in Menard instead of Junction. It was a thirty mile mistake. But, I took a shortcut and only got about 45 minutes behind. Once I hit I10 in Junction, I had 444 miles of absolutely nothing. And when I say nothing, I mean nothing. No towns, no houses, no gas stations. Nothing. Well, there was the occasional gas station. There’d have to be. But those were usually about 60-70 miles apart. What was really interesting though was watching the land shift from the familiar hill country that I grew up with to the stark, barren mountains of west Texas.

I stopped about every hour and a half or so to let Pachelbel pee and stretch my legs. I also got gas every chance I got in case the next gas station was too far away, lol. The only scary one was in Kent. It was nothing but a falling down building with truly questionable restrooms. But when you gotta go, you gotta go. Pachelbel likes to smell everything she can reach before she pees so we did a lot of walking around.

I got to El Paso about 7pm or so. I gained an hour along the way so it was actually 8pm my time. I left home at 10am so it was a 10 hour trip. It would have probably taken 9 if I hadn’t taken that wrong turn. Oh well. It was a pretty drive at least.

So, now I’m kicked back at the La Quinta. They are a pet friendly hotel that doesn’t charge extra for the pets. A big winner in my book. I’m stuffed full of pizza and now I think it’s time to go to bed.

Tomorrow I’m headed to Mesa where I’ll be hooking up with Elsieaustin! Yay!!! I just hope she’s ready for me and the brood to stay the night.

Speaking of the brood, here they are. RJ is at the head of the bed, Shadow is in the middle, Sparky is at the foot, and Pachelbel is on the floor:

Traveling to Seattle

The Longest Two Weeks of My Life

The movers are at my house right now taking away all the boxes and various things that I’ve busted my butt to get ready. My last day at work was September 28 and it’s been nonstop work since then. It is just amazing the amount of stuff you accumulate. I went through everything that first week after quitting my job to decide what to sell. We had already decided to get rid of a lot of stuff. Moving to a new city, new state, may as well start over with new stuff.

So, I started going through the house room by room. I felt like I was back at Kmart having a blue light sale. “Everything must go!!!” Rhonda had used the back bedroom as her office/studio and it was filled with the products of 10 years worth of hobbies. She went down a lot of creative paths before she found her current passion, knitting, so there was a multitude of various items in that room. She had gone through there before we left for Seattle back at the beginning of September. Since she wasn’t coming back, I wanted her to tell me how much everything should cost. Our crafty friends came out the weekend before the sale and bought everything they wanted. We gave them a really good deal.

Part of the process of going through everything was also hauling it up to my parents house where we were having the sale. They have the most amazing house. It’s a giant barn with the house built inside. They spent an entire year during nights and weekends and assorted days off building it mostly themselves. My brother was a huge help too. Rhonda and I just showed up occasionally to ooh and ahh. Anyway, they have an enormous front porch that turned out to be perfect for the sale. My dad has this giant trailer that he brought down to my front door so I could begin loading stuff up. It was a family effort getting it all up there. My mom and dad helped so much and my brother showed up just in time to help move the heavy couch and the bulky armoire.

The area that took the most work was our shed. This was our junk drawer only on a much larger scale. If we didn’t know what else to do with it, we put it in the shed. Now most of this stuff, we had no desire to keep. We just didn’t know what else to do with it. After pulling it all out onto the yard, I soon realized that our keep pile was gonna be tiny. Sure enough. Out of the entire shed, we kept four boxes full of Rhonda’s papers, one set of shelves, a stand for my drum, and two wooden boxes my grandpa had made. Everything else went onto the trailer. It doesn't rain all the much here during the summer but sure enough, as soon as I had everything piled out on the lawn, the storm clouds began to gather. I raced around throwing things onto the trailer desperately hoping to beat the rain because we don’t just have a bit of rain. We have downpours that completely soak everything. Some of the stuff I had painstakingly pulled out of tool shed would ruin if it got wet. I’m sure I was funny to watch, heaving boxes and various items over the side of the trailer. As I got the last thing tossed on, I could see the rain coming. It poured in sheets from the big black clouds bearing down on me.

I hopped into the pickup, hoping I could get the trailer in my parents’ garage before the rain hit. My dad’s farm truck is this old Ford manual transmission. The driver’s door has to be opened a certain way or it gets stuck. I momentarily forgot that in my haste and was left jerking on the useless door handle, cussing a blue streak. And then I remembered, pushed the handle in the right way, and voila it opened easy peasy. Once in the truck, I stalled it three times before I got the right mixture of gas and clutch to make the beast move. The rain was coming up the field behind me as I drove the 500 feet to my parents’ house. Luckily they have a drive through garage so I was able to just pull it straight on in. Not two seconds after the back of the trailer cleared the door, the downpour caught up and within moments, the ground was soaking wet. I had made it!

We started the sale on Friday morning with three and a half trailer loads of stuff. To say the sale was a success would be an understatement. By the time it was all said and done, we had made almost a $1000 and only had about 2/3 of a trailer left. My dad hauled it up to the Crisis Center and we gave it to them. It had been a lot of effort but it had certainly been worth it.

The other really good thing about the sale was that now only stuff I was keeping was still in my house. Well, that turned out to not be entirely true. By the time I’m done today, I’ll have another load to take to the Crisis Center. Another hazard I discovered of living in the house as you’re packing it up was that I kept packing up things I actually needed to use. I packed up all the dishes and then dang if I didn’t leave me anything to eat off of. So, there are a few boxes I have packed and repacked a couple of times. I also had trouble with the things I may need on my trip. I packed up all my clothes and then realized it was colder where I was going than it is here, so I had to unpack and pull out some pants. I also had to realize this stuff won’t be at our house in Seattle for 10-15 days. So what I pack is what I’ll have to wear until the end of October. Hopefully, it’ll be enough. I only have so much room in the car.

Adventure #2 (or whatever) took place yesterday. I took all four critters to the vet. I figured it’d be a trial run for when I take them with me to Seattle. I put Shadow and Sparky in one carrier and R.J. by himself in the other one. Since R.J. and Sparky don’t get along, I figured it was the best way to go. Pachelbel sat up in the front seat. They were surprisingly easy to handle. The only glitch was Shadow throwing up on the way home. Now they all have their shots, Sparky got treated for ear mites, and Pachelbel came up clean for heart worms. They’re all ready to go. The vet told me to give them Benadryl if they got car sick so that definitely goes on the grocery list.

Once the movers get done, I’m going to finish up here in the house and move on to the next task. Pachelbel is in bad need of some grooming if she’s gonna hang out in my car for a week so we’re taking her to Petsmart to get all dolled up. I had wanted to go see my uncle but it’s just not gonna happen. Since I’m leaving on Monday, I’d like to have one day to rest before I go.

I can’t believe it’s this close. It seemed like it would be forever when we first decided to do this. Now I’m only three days away from leaving Texas and starting a new life in Seattle. I miss Rhonda so much and I can’t wait to see her. I think that has been the hardest part. Being away from her for so long. In just a week, I’ll get to see her again. And when the movers arrive, I get to do all this again in reverse. But Rhonda will be helping on that end! I also told her she can’t give me a hard time about not having a job for at least two months. I need a break!