It's Been Busy

welcome to the hotel california

Perhaps I should explain life with Ray and that will explain why I haven’t written since Thursday.

Actually, once I explain, then perhaps you’ll understand why the last entry was filled with typos.

Wednesday we arrived with Chris. Chris stayed until Saturday morning. We all slept on the hardwood floor, which if you haven’t ever done, you should be incredibly proud of yourself. It sucks. Friday night Weldon and Martinique arrived with the cats. They spent the night Friday (they took the couches, we took the floor), and they left Saturday morning, just in time for one of Ray’s friends from Austin to show up. She spent the morning with us, as Ray was out running errands. My friend Tyson showed up and we went to stee‘s house to feed the cat. We ended up trapped on stee’s street between a tar truck and a mail truck for thirty minutes. They actually laughed at us from the roof. Y’all, that’s no way to live.

We got back to the place Saturday afternoon to find the porch filled with Ray’s friend, another friend of Ray’s (who has asked me to refer to him as Bobby in the pages of Squishy), Brently, Anna, and the movers. The movers started loading stuff in (after demanding another four hundred dollars for their trouble), while Anna and Brently Pink Panthered out the back.

The movers charged us another four hundred dollars. This wouldn’t be such a big deal if they had just showed up and delivered things. But instead they decided to arrive on Saturday, and they said they weren’t allowed to bring their truck up the hill where we live, so we had to find them a smaller truck to transfer our stuff into so they could deliver our stuff. This meant that Eric had to spent an hour on Friday finding a truck, meet them on Santa Monica on Saturday, drive them to the truck place on the other side of town (because it’s hard to find a U-Haul that’s open on the weekend, and we don’t know the town at all and guessed what was close to us by area code), then drive back here, watch them unload, drive them to the gas station, have them fill up the small truck, drive them to the truck place and then back to their own truck on Santa Monica, and then give them an extra four hundred dollars. And tip. Eric was not happy.

The movers only broke about three things, but they took apart pieces of furniture after they left my house. We calculated that our things were transferred into four different trucks before they arrived here. One shelf is now missing all of the pieces it needs to hold the shelves. We have a useless bookshelf in the living room.

Anyway, Saturday night, after some unpacking, we ended up sitting on the porch with Bobby, Tyson, Ray, Eric, Ray’s friend and me. I insisted on unpacking and cooking dinner instead of going out, since the four hundred dollars was a bit shocking. The others called me from the bar and demanded I came down to ride the mechanical bull. I declined. I held the cats, made some dinner and unpacked until they got back.

Somehow at around midnight when the others had gone to sleep, it made sense that the rest of us tried to go out and have a drink. We walked up and down Sunset and because it was crowded and because we were getting desperate, Bobby had the idea to go to the strip club on the street. I looked at the “Nude Girls” sign and said I’d only go in if I didn’t have a cover. Bobby paid for my cover, and forty dollars later we were standing in one of the saddest strip clubs ever. The waitress smiled and said there was “one catch.” No alcohol. It’s a totally nude bar. Five dollar Cokes and Ginger Ales. Then she laid out “the other catch:” two drink minimum.

I’ve never seen girls as unfriendly as in this place. I shouted, “I miss The Yellow Rose!” There I was popular and could see girls and joke and drink. Here I sat at a table next to a grumpy-looking Sopranos family and the only way you could see girls table dance was to pay $25 to go into a back room. Lame. We left, but not without getting our hands stamped, as they were open until five.

Back at the porch there was more drinking and joking. Ray got on the walkie-talkie and picked up conversation from a hotel. The conversation went on until he had convinced them that there were hookers in one of the rooms and Slash was pissed off that they weren’t pretty enough. Ray put down the walkie-talkie, looked up at us beaming and said, “LA, welcome to Texas!”

I think it was around four in the morning when Bobbie decided to ride the girl’s bike without a chain back to the strip club. We listened for sounds of his death, but he came back an hour later complaining that they were closed. We went to sleep after the sunrise.

Sunday we spent at a Target, learning that prices are indeed more expensive at any store on Rodeo. We are having a hard time finding cheap stores. Sunday night I watched the Growing Pains movie, which was just a bad idea. Alan Thicke is the scariest man on television. After that I went home and went back out with Ray and Eric, where we went to a place down the street. I happened to run into another person I know who ended up buying us Tequila shots. On a Sunday night. Yo, my liver.

Oh, but I want to share with you my secret on avoiding the extra shots that you don’t want to do but were already purchased for you and you don’t want to look like a dick to avoid. I learned this trick back in Jackson, MS, where they don’t have fluoride in the water and you have to take fluoride treatments in class. You take the shot, hold the lime in the same hand as the shot glass, and put the glass up to your mouth when everyone else is drinking. Then you palm the glass while you put the lime in your mouth and grab the napkin on the table with your other hand. Toss the lime into the glass and immediately shove the napkin into the glass with the lime. It looks like you’re tidying up, but really you’re soaking up the devil juice you didn’t drink with the napkin. You could also grab other napkins on the table and shove them into the glass so that it looks like you’re just being really nice. For drinks with a colored hue, you might want to do the “spill on the floor under the table” or “knock back over your shoulder into the sink” tricks, as the liquid on the napkins might be noticeable.

There. I just did your body a favor. Don’t say I never taught you anything.

Yesterday we unpacked. Weldon and Martinique came over and helped unpack. Bobby went back home, but Ray’s other friend is probably here until Thursday. And right now she’s at the airport, picking up another friend of Ray’s, who is staying here I don’t know how long. Did I mention that Eric’s mom gets here next week?

I remember some advice I got before I moved out here was to make sure I liked where I was living. I totally understand that now, because I really don’t like leaving this place. It’s a big scary city out there. And the nice thing about this porch? I’ve pretty much only seen people from Austin sitting in it since I got here. This place is a Mini-Texas.

There is a rumor that Ray and his friends might be going on a road trip later today or tomorrow. The thought of only being in this house with Eric and the cats is making me giddy. I’m sure it won’t happen, but I can hold onto the dream.

So, between unpacking and playing the hostess, I haven’t had much time for anything else. And to be honest, it’s really a pain to do this kind of work on a dial-up connection. DSL won’t get here for another week. I might not last. But my typing has really suffered over the past week. I can’t just slack like this anymore.

So, we’re mostly unpacked, the cats are happy in their new home, and it’s starting to look like a place were I live again. I hate the sound and smell of boxes, and can’t wait to get them all out of the house. Ray had a small freak-out, but I think he’s getting better. See, Ray has a real minimalist look to his decorating. It always looks like his apartment just got robbed. Now he’s dealing with a real family living with him. I know he loves Cal so much that he doesn’t care, but I saw his face when he saw the ten boxes of books. I saw it. I know he’s a little scared. He’s being a good sport about it, though.

Okay, there are two boxes of clothes that are calling me. My arms are killing me.

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