Friday, March 21, 2008

Why I Love My Husband (Reason # 1,832,419)

As of today, Alex has been gone for one whole week. I've been surviving the loneliness mainly by virtue of the fact that I have been busy 10, 050 of those 10,080 minutes. And those extra 30 minutes in there I was a zombie.

As my coach so aptly quipped (as he was hollering us up a hill at run practice), I have three jobs right now: my day job, my freelance work, and my training. I don't know why, but last week I told my freelance manager that, "sure, I can take on a few extra assignments." I mean, Alex would be gone and I'd have all this free time on my hands. Why I can't just hold onto that free time is beyond me. Anywho, so I've been working. A lot. And Alex has been gone. Right. We've established that.

Here's where I get to the point. Reason #1,832, 419 why I love my husband: he takes care of everything. Everything. While I'm out working, working, or working out, he's keeping our bills paid, our house picked up, our cats fed, their litter box clean, the trash taken out, the floors vacuumed, the mail picked up, the weeds pulled, and the dishes done. Yeah, and he works, too. And occasionally works out. I'm glad to be able to say that I knew and appreciated all the things that he did before he left. But I don't think I truly appreciated it until I was left to do all those things myself on top of what I was doing before.

I am trying gamely to do it all in his stead, but at this point, it's the desperate, nose-above-water treading.

I know I've told him that I appreciate him. But I want to say it publicly. My husband rocks the casbah.

Saturday, March 15, 2008


The day before my 29th birthday was a typical blustery March day ("In like a lion" and all that). It also happened to be the day of the Austin Kite Festival. I've always wanted to go to the AKF. Ignoring the fact that Alex and I aren't really "festival" kind of people, especially festivals in Zilker Park (the parking alone is a nightmare! Yowza!), this was what I wanted to do to celebrate my birthday. But, to complicate (or enhance) matters, I wanted to fly a homemade kite and thus check one more item off my list.

1. I've never made a homemade kite. (solution: find kid-friendly directions on Internet)
2. I didn't have time to get the materials ready before hand. (solution: send Alex out the morning of while I'm at practice)
3. There aren't enough hours in the day to go to practice, come home, get clean, take a nap (a must if I'm to have energy for anything else that day), make a kite, test said kite, go down to the kite festival, find parking (see above gripe), and actually get the thing in the air before the end of the festival at 5:30. (solution: .....nothing comes to mind.....)

I must say that the plan started off well enough. Alex got the supplies. Well, they didn't have paper big enough, so he brought home a greensheet, which launched a debate into whether we should use newspaper or a trash bag, a debate the kid-friendly instructions were absolutely no help in solving.

I got up from my nap ready to be creative! The cats were even in on the action:

As you can see, they were super helpful.

Our process shots:

Check out the killer tail...
With our newly made kite ready for testing, we headed out to the park in front of our house. By the time we got there (100 feet), the tail of the kite had wound so viciously around the kite string it took us a good 10 minutes to get things sorted out.

Then, it was time to fly! To my utter surprise, Alex claimed he had never flown a kite before. How is it that kites have never come up in 12 years together?? I tried to patiently explain the kite flying etiquette that so many of us internalized at 7 years old: one person is the "flyer," the other is the "thrower." The Thrower holds the kite in the air, ready to throw it up into the wind. The Flyer stands with his or her back to the wind, ready to nurse the kite higher and higher by either running or working the string up, down, back, and forth.

I'm fairly sure all Alex heard was the "running" part.

As you can see, the kite didn't really ever make it too far off the ground. It was a trooper, though. It only sustained minor damage from being dragged along the rocky turf at high speeds.

My attempts at the "string coaxing" technique were not much more successful.

So does this count as a successful completion of #44? I think the spirit of the task was to be creative and have fun. We had a lot of fun building the kite, which was quite creative if you ask me. It wasn't as much fun flying the kite, but that's 'cause I'm too much of a perfectionist and if it doesn't work right it might as well not work at all.

We kept the kite--Alex swears using a plastic garbage back will make a difference. We might return to this task again in the future, but for now, I'd say that all in all, it was a fun afternoon and definitely worth crossing off the list.

PS - for those of you wondering, we never did make it down to the kite festival. Oh well--there's always next year!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

China, here I (we) come!

We bought my ticket! I am officially China bound. I'll be leaving Austin on Thursday the 27th early in the morning and be getting into Beijing Friday night (gotta love the 14 hours I'll lose because of the time difference--on the other hand, on the way back, we'll leave at 4 p.m. on Wednesday and get into Chicago at 4:45 Wednesday...what my brother aptly quipped would probably be the "longest 45 minutes of my life").

The "super excited" hasn't quite hit yet b/c we haven't gotten my visa worked out yet, but I can still feel the excitement creeping slowly in. We'll be staying in a hotel in the middle of the shopping district, 2 km from Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. Sweet! The best part is that Alex's company will be paying for said hotel. Double sweet! And his food, which we will probably just share. Triple super sweet! The hotel website also said there's a park nearby where you can rent bikes--that seems like the way to go to see the city!

So yeah, it's gonna be awesome. Yay!