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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Encounter with a true townie

So this will be a brief post, I promise. I just had a blogworthy moment today and wanted to write about it before I forgot it ever happened.

Brian and I had a very enjoyable and productive Saturday, but that is beside the point. We decided to go see a movie this afternoon (what better way to enjoy the perfect weather? ha). Anyway, we walk up to the ticket counter and Brian says, "Two for 'Dan in Real Life,' please." As the person is printing out our tickets, we can hear this young townie-looking couple behind us discussing what movie to see.

Apparently, they heard Brian place our order. So the townie guy comes up to us and says, "Hey... is that movie good?" And we both look at him confused and say, "Which movie?" And he says, "'Dan in Real Life'- the one you just got tickets for."

Umm... really? We both replied a bit sarcastically, "Well, we haven't seen it yet... that's why we're here, so we're not really sure..." And he responded with, "Oh, ok," clearly with no understanding of why his question was a tad silly.

That's like being at a book store and purchasing a book, only to have someone approach you at the check-out to ask if the book you are buying is good. People are funny. And sort of dumb :)

Oh, and Brian thought I should also mention the lovely townie-couple we spotted today. Let me just give you a mental image: Picture a larger woman wearing pink printed PJ pants and a t-shirt, pushing her baby in a stroller. Now imagine her foxy husband next to her, decked out in a classy undershirt and sweatpants. Now check your watch- yep, it's 2:30 pm in the afternoon on a busy road in front of Wal-mart. Oh, the life of a townie...

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Life as Mrs. Joiner

So I finally gave in to the fact that no employers want to hire me at this time, and decided to sign up for substitute teaching! Yes, that's right, for the 2nd time in my life, I get to be a pseudo-teacher.

Sadly, I'm not that "cool" sub that lets the kids get away with everything, tells them to call me by my first name, and lets every kid that asks to go to the "library" (code for wandering the halls aimlessly or building explosives, no doubt:) do so whenever they please. On the contrary, I have such a fear of inadequacy and failure as a sub that I do whatever I can to ensure order and obedience in the class. Don't get me wrong, I'm not Hitler in the classroom or anything, just firm. And a big proponent for bribing them with promises of writing a "good report" to their real teacher.

It's funny because all of the kids at the school know Brian as either the Youth Minister, or that funny guy that speaks at chapel once a week. Well one of the smarter kids figured out quickly that I was, in fact, Brian's wife. This lead to a lot of proclamations of how cool Brian is ("Did you know Brian has a razor phone?!" (by the way, no he doesn't) "Does Brian ever give you high fives? He gave me SIX in one day!" "Did you know I was the first person to call Brian "Scott" instead of "Brian"? (umm... what?)) and a few gasps of jealousy that I actually get to live with such royalty. Apparently they don't know (or care) that he leaves drawers open, snores in unusual patterns, and leaves his shoes lying around the house. :)

Regardless, after we spent a few minutes establishing that I was, in fact, Brian Joiner's wife, this sweet child turns to me and says, "So then, are you and Brian married?!" Apparently said sweet child never had "husband," "wife," or "marriage" on any of his/her (I'm protecting his/her identity) vocabulary tests.

All in all, I had quite an enjoyable day with my 4th grade friends, and think I even managed to leave with some of their respect. Or that's what I will tell myself, anyway. Hearing myself called "Mrs. Joiner" all day was a helpful way to get used to my new name. I know it's been 2 months, but all of you newlywed wives will probably attest that it is difficult to adjust to a new last name for quite some time beyond that. For all you teachers out there, I bet getting used to your new name is a lot easier when you have 20-ish kids repeating it out loud throughout the day... generally followed by, "May I please go to the restroom/get some water/play on the computer/do whatever I'm not supposed to be doing?" Oh, children... gotta love 'em.

In other news, I just finished throwing myself quite the pity party on the phone with my dad. His attempt at a pep talk unfortunately just provoked tears (not his fault). I am admittedly feeling discouraged and defeated by the job search. I know, I know... I'm bright, talented, and a great catch for any employer. I have Brian remind me of that on a regular basis. It just gets old hearing various forms of "no" via e-mails from employers that haven't even heard my voice, let alone met me in person. And various forms of "no" most often includes no response at all.

But alas, I know that the right job is out there waiting for me... God is just not ready for me to have medical insurance yet. Ha :) Gotta keep my sense of humor.

I suppose I'll end this post with another Richmond fun fact:

The average full-time Richmond Police Officer makes $42,540/year. The average full-time Richmond firefighter makes $49,703/year. Two things:
1. I wonder if it's like that everywhere.
2. Maybe I should be a firefighter.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Looks like somebody's got a case of the Mondays!

Ok so I don't have a case of the Mondays... I just like that quote. In fact, I think only people that work get a case of the Mondays. To me, Monday is just a return to gmail chatting with Allison, facebook stalking, tv watching, etc. Man, my life is tough.

Anyway, my parents came to visit us in Richmond this weekend- it was a quick trip (they were only here for about 24 hours), but a fun time was had, and I think they were at least somewhat exposed to life as a townie in Richmond-Rosenberg. It was my Dad's 57th birthday, so we made sure to celebrate accordingly (including birthday candles in his homemade apple crisp dessert baked by yours truly).

Mom and I did some power shopping (and surprisingly didn't buy much), while Brian and Dad went to the "malt shop" (as Dad calls it) and explored downtown Rosenberg. That evening, we had dinner with the other Joiners (Brian's parents and sister... Hi, Shannon! I know you're reading faithfully:). It was our first time acting as hosts, and I think we did a sufficient job. I only freaked out a few times... including when I realized Dad's shoes were making scuff marks all over our kitchen floor. Mind you, our kitchen floor is this warped plastic mess with a nail or 2 sticking out, but still, much effort had been put into sweeping and mopping it the day before :)

I'd say the highlight of the weekend was on Sunday morning when Mom found a dead (and squished) cockroach on her bed. It had somehow weaseled its way between the comforter and the blanket. The good news is that we haven't seen any roaches in a couple of weeks, so it had likely been dead for a while. Or maybe we haven't seen the roaches because they've been congregating in the guest room bed. Who knows.

Anyway, we were sad to see them (my parents, not the roaches) leave yesterday... I almost wish we were still planning the wedding so I'd have an excuse to go home and see them more! But I know Betsy is very thankful that the wedding planning is over, so I wouldn't wish that upon her :)

I don't have anything really excited to blog about today, I'm afraid. I am getting pretty tired of not having a job... for anyone who has ever job searched before, you can relate with the whole feeling discouraged thing. If you're not careful, you eventually begin to question your self-worth after enough people reject you and/or don't answer your phone calls and e-mails. Hooray. Nonetheless, I am trying my best to look at this "season" as a blessing, and enjoy it while it lasts. But still, if you have any job leads, please send them my way!

I'll wrap things up with another Richmond fun fact. Hopefully I will have more entertaining things to blog about later this week!:
(again from "Richmond-area historical tornado activity is slightly above Texas state average. It is 128% greater than the overall U.S. average."

... umm, should I be concerned? 128% is slightly above average, I'd say...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Things I've learned from Wal-mart

The other day, I saw a commercial that declared that Wal-mart can save families up to $2,500 a year. That is quite an impressive claim if you think about it. If you go to the grocery store once a week, that's an average of $48.07 in savings each time you go! Now I'm not sure how valid this claim is, but I think we'd all agree that you save a buck or two when you shop at Wally World.

Like many newlyweds, Brian and I are doing our best to pinch pennies and spend our money wisely. As such, we do most of our grocery shopping at Wal-mart. It also doesn't hurt that there is one less than a mile from our house (yep, just like living in Westlake or Highland Park... ha ha, right). I use the term "we" pretty loosely because I generally do the grocery shopping by myself.

As I was strolling (another term used loosely, as the store was-as usual-packed with other shoppers) through the aisles, it dawned on me that a good topic for the next blog would be lessons that Wal-mart shopping has taught me. So... here I am, and here I go:

1. I do not want to have children. Ever.
Ok this isn't true... I really do want to have kids. However, if I see a cute family walking around the neighborhood with their kiddos and suddenly get that urge to be a mommy, I know that an instant cure would be to go to Wal-mart. I'm not sure if it's that parents wait until their children are at their crankiest before taking them there, or if Wal-mart provokes the demons to come out of said children once they get there... either way, it's inevitable.

In college, I had a friend that said Post Oak Mall was the place where trashy parents took their kids to beat them in public. I am now sure that the same can be said of Wal-mart. I hear the children screaming bloody murder from the other end of the store and think surely someone must be running over them with a grocery cart to make them cause such a scene. And then when I realize that they are simply throwing a fit (maybe unsatisfied with the produce?), I wonder if I should run over them with my grocery cart. Sorry if this seems unsympathetic- I know that it is tough to be a mom, and tough to take your kids out in public. But all I'm asking is that if your child is possessed by the devil, please leave him/her at home with a sitter.

2. Organization need not be logical.
Ok, so I am still getting the hang of doing all the grocery shopping by myself. And I'm still learning where things are in the store, and how to get through the trip in the most efficient way possible. But I am growing more and more convinced that Wal-mart is on a quest to hinder me from doing so.

I realized early on that it is not smart to get the "cold" groceries first, because they will melt and get warm by the end of the trip (I realize this is common sense, but I was pretty proud of myself for figuring it out). However, in my beloved Wal-mart, the refrigerated foods (dairy, lunch meat, etc.) are in the far back of the store... while the frozen foods are at the front. Maybe I'm missing something, but does this make sense? I am forced to choose which can hold out the longest: the lean pockets and ice cream, or the milk and eggs.

3. Employees come first.
I'm sure you've all experienced this... you are walking down the aisle, and looking for a specific item- in my case, mac & cheese for my sophisticated hubby. Like with many generic foods, there are several brands and types to choose from, and usually you have to stand for a minute and scan the section before you can make an educated decision. However, there is a giant cart of inventory right smack dab in front of the mac & cheese section... being stocked back on the shelves by an employee.

I try not to inconvenience said employee, so I do my best to peak through the cracks in the cart and look behind it to find what I'm looking for. She then looks at me, notices that I am having trouble seeing through her cart, and rather than moving it a bit to help me out, she seems annoyed that I don't have x-ray vision and simply continues what she is doing. Hello? Do you want me to move the cart for you? I finally just reached behind it for the knock-off brand of mac & cheese (only .33 a box!) and went on my way... disgruntled, but at least I'd found what I needed.

Now don't get me wrong... I am appreciative of the low prices that Wal-mart offers, and realize that more often than not, you get what you pay for. As such, I am not really disappointed by the atmosphere that leaves something to be desired- I guess it's more of a love-hate relationship that we have.

The funny thing is that my receipt had instructions for an online survey on my experience at the store that day that offered the possibility of winning a $1,000 gift card to Wal-mart. I went ahead and completed it, and made sure to be honest. I put that I was "slightly dissatisfied" with just about everything it asked about, but when it asked how likely I was to return, I gave it a 10 out of 10. Whoever reads those survey results might think I'm bi-polar. And Brian says that the fact that I gave them a bunch of negative scores will prevent me from winning the gift card, but oh well.

And just to keep you informed, here is the fun Richmond fact for the day, brought to you by your favorite prospective townie:
(I thought it was amusing that this was included in the city's profile on "According to our research there were 41 registered sex offenders living in Richmond, Texas in early 2007. The ratio of number of residents in Richmond to the number of sex offenders is 324 to 1."

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Things that make Brian happy

First, allow me (Amanda) to clarify that this post was created by Brian. It was his idea, and these are his words. I am just the recorder, due to his laziness :) From here on out, you can assume that Brian is the one speaking:

The following is a list of things that are currently exciting to me about this time of year:
1. College football:
What can I say? It's the greatest sport on earth, and when my wife watches it with me, there is nothing better.
2. Monopoly at McDonald's:
It may be weird, but I really like McDonald's. I actually got hungry for McDonald's after watching "Super Size Me." I saw a commercial for it today, and the first thing I wanted to do was go eat there, even though I had just finished dinner.
3. "Heroes" + Pei Wei = Awesomeness:
There are few things more satisfying in life than filling your belly with a Dan Dan Noodle Bowl and then coming home to see my sister, I mean Hayden Panietierre, on TV.

That's really all I've got right now. On another note, youth group is lots of fun, and I like my new job a whole lot. This was probably nowhere near as funny or witty as Amanda's blogs, but I felt pressured, I mean, I felt the urge (the urge being Amanda suggesting I write a blog) to write one. Maybe if you're lucky, I'll write another one some day.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Cupcakerson? Browniever?

Ok so right now I am watching "Platinum Weddings" on WE. In case you've never seen it, it is basically just a show dedicated to people who spend more money on weddings than should be legal. They are shameless. The last one I watched totaled around $650,000... can you imagine? How about sending your kid to college, buying a house, some cars, or putting it in savings? Ridiculous.

Anyway, I am watching one right now that I actually saw a month or so ago for the first time. It is an Indian wedding, so of course it is quite an extravaganza. What has caught my attention both times that I've watched it, however, is not the amount of money spent. It is the fact that the bride's last name is Icecreamwala. No, I am not making this up. Yes, I am sure that's how it's spelled. Seriously? Icecreamwala? The title of the blog might make more sense to you now... "American" variations of this dessert-boasting last name. Wow. (Note: If your name is Icecreamwala, I don't mean to offend... I'm just amazed, really!)

I also have to comment on a couple of other things that I've noticed on TV these days (so what if TV is my only friend here?): I cannot stand that stupid Chevy commercial. The one where the cars spin in circles on some rotating platform, and the song goes, "If you want it, here it is- come and get it, bum bum bum..." It is so cheesy and outdated, it makes me want to key the cars. My first frustration as I watch this pathetic excuse for a car commercial is this- to whom is this commercial directed? People that just woke up from a coma after 20 years? Perhaps. My second frustration is this- I have seen this commercial at least 40 times, and it wasn't until yesterday that I actually realized what kind of cars it was for. Regardless, I want to apply for the person who created this commercial's job. Maybe I could even use some of my pictures from the Fort Bend County Fair Parade featuring large sweaty men in Chevy trucks...

Now in contrast, I really like the new Old Navy commercial with the song playing about the sweater. Brian looked it up and the song can be purchased on iTunes if you are also a fan ("The Way I Am" by Ingrid Michaelson). I'm just really impressed that a commercial about sweaters made me want to purchase a song.

Anyway, that's all for today. Pardon my rage against the Chevy commercial- I think I am taking out my unemployment frustrations on the TV now. Don't worry, the TV and I are still friends... as evidenced by my plans to watch "The Bachelor" and "The Hills" this evening...