Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Run of the House: Day 3

Dad told us part of the full story yesterday before he went for part two of his job interview at the charter school: It would be three to five days before the PT Cruiser is repaired, I'm guessing because the parts aren't as readily available, being that Chrysler doesn't make the car anymore.

Mom told us the rest of the story last night: AAA wanted to leave them at the side of the road to make their own way back after the PT Cruiser was towed. The tow truck driver did not agree, and drove them back to Fiesta Henderson. Neither did the woman at AAA, who said she would consult with her boss about that. We now have a contact at AAA there, and Meridith and I learned that the guidebooks you get from AAA are in a vending machine there. Inside, there's guidebooks for the states surrounding Nevada, and a large map of the United States.

It's been an eventful stay for them thus far. At Fiesta Henderson, Mom had to call downstairs again to get someone to fix the toilet and the showerhead. The former keeps running, and the latter drips for a long time after Dad gets out of the shower at night, and that makes it hard for Mom to sleep. But, there have been some decent things that have happened to them that have built up their faith that this trip has been worth it. For one, the second part of Dad's job interview went well. The kids were impressed, and so were the higher-ups. The highest higher-up at that school is going to speak to the head honcho at the school in Reno about Dad. It's going to take some more time, which means he won't be signing a contract while he's there. The school understands that because of our distance from Las Vegas in Santa Clarita, Dad can't go back for nothing, so hopefully the next phone call or e-mail from them after he gets back will be the one we've wanted for so long. The head of the school also introduced Dad to the other teachers at lunch and left him to talk to them and ask any questions he wanted.

The owner of the repair shop where the car is being fixed is from Paramus, New Jersey, just like Dad. He said to Mom and Dad that a lot of people living in Henderson are from the East. I like that, because we take our sensibilities from wherever we're from over on that side of the country, and we combine it with the day-to-day experiences of living in a true desert. The physical aspects of the desert, I mean, not emotional ones, because for me, Las Vegas, Henderson, Boulder City, they have everything I could possibly want. There's a writers' group in Henderson, there's the Henderson JCC, the Pinball Hall of Fame is fairly close by, and the libraries in Henderson and Boulder City are so accessible! I don't have to worry that my local library is going to cut itself off from one big system at the whim of a City Council and isolate itself as one tinier branch. Henderson operates on its own, separate from the Clark County system, but at least it has an incredible number of books, and five branches to boot, not just three, as it will be in Santa Clarita.

So we also have a contact at that repair shop whenever our car has any problems. And we have a contact at Hawthorne Suites in Henderson, which was spurred on by the Fiesta Henderson raising its rate for Mom and Dad's room after three days. They can't afford $110 a night, nor the $70 the manager said they could do. Having money for moving is optimal.

Hawthorn Suites is close to Fiesta Henderson, but has many more advantages that are necessary for Mom and Dad, and then for us. For one, you don't have to walk through a casino to get to your room. That's standard for hotels with casinos, especially on the Strip. I know. But for us, future residents, we need our room immediately after a long day of doing whatever will have to be done on the next trip. It has a complimentary breakfast buffet every morning, free local and long-distance calls, free Internet, a free gym, and crucial to us: Pets are allowed. Plus, there's washers and dryers there, and Mom said she's going to use a lot of quarters when they get there, because there's much laundry to be done after these three days. And each room has a microwave, refrigerator, a flat-screen TV, and a DVD player. We should just live there. No doubt we will until Mom and Dad have signed for wherever we live next. We hope it'll be that house in Boulder City.

After that half-hour conversation that lasted until 9:15 (I kept an eye on the clock because I still had to finish my work on the computer), Mom called after 10 and said that she and Dad were back from downstairs at the casino and hadn't won any big jackpots. I told her that the big jackpot for us would be Dad being hired at that school and us taking ownership of that house. That's all we need. She also told us that the manager at the car repair place said that he hopes to be done with the PT Cruiser by Saturday. They have a rental from Enterprise that Mom says is the dirtiest car she's ever seen. It looks like the bastard child of a jeep because the grille mimics the front of a jeep. It has Utah plates, so I had Meridith text them earlier in the evening: "How many wives does it hold?" After they check into Hawthorne Suites, they're going back to Enterprise to get another car.

For Meridith and I, it was a quiet day. She woke up a little after 10 because she had stayed up until 1 a.m. peeling glue from her fingers. I forgot what she had been gluing. It might have been more things in her scrapbook, but I didn't notice.

She spent most of the day folding her huge load of laundry, including four t-shirts I had slipped into the second load, to wear on the weekend. It took her a while because she had other things to do during it, like checking on Tigger, as well as a break for a snack. That load comprised 3/4 of her closet, and for most of the shirts, it had been a long time.

I hate seasons 5 and 6 of The West Wing with a passion. After Aaron Sorkin and Thomas Schlamme left the show at the end of season 4, it never got stable under the direction of executive producer John Wells. The characters were no longer how we always knew them, exhibiting traits that were completely foreign to who they were. However, I have found the season 5 episodes with John Goodman as the Acting President, and the episode of the funeral of a former president, and the episode about potential Supreme Court nominees (guest-starring Glenn Close and William Fichtner) fascinating, moreso lately the funeral episode because of my research, and the setting for that fictional presidential library looking exactly like the kind of presidential library I'd like to be at all the time.

I wanted to see The Stormy Present (the funeral episode) again, but didn't want to have to Netflix the third disc of season 5 again. And then I found an e-mail from Amazon touting a massive sale of Warner Bros. DVDs, which I took advantage of, paying $5.49 for Auntie Mame and about a dollar less for Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, starring Angela Lansbury and George Hearn. I've never seen it, but it is Sondheim, and that's the automatic attraction.

Seasons of The West Wing were going for $15.99 and a little more up (The priciest are the sixth and seven seasons at $22.99 each), and I thought to myself, "Do I really need season 5, despite my vehement hatred?" No, I don't. I love seasons 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7 and that's all I need in my collection. But I wanted those particular episodes. Ah, Amazon Instant Video, how I love thee at $1.99 per episode. And that's exactly what I did, and spent most of my day watching those episodes, and certain scenes of The Stormy Present over and over again. I loathe some of the dialogue, I wish that Presidents Bartlet, Newman (James Cromwell) and Walken (Goodman) had more scenes together discussing the weight of the office, however temporary (in Walken's case), but I love the plot and the setting, as it also reminds me of watching Reagan's funeral on TV, and the history of that day.

Reading Cornbread Nation 1: The Best of Southern Food Writing while waiting for Meridith to get her nails done was truly one of the greatest pleasures I've had in Santa Clarita, and there are very few. It may very well be the greatest pleasure because of how peaceful it was. I didn't bring my watch with me, I didn't need to know what time it was, I just wanted to wade in the words that were in front of me. That's all I needed. I'm a simple soul. A good book is my big jackpot.

Dinner was an interesting experience. While sitting on that bench, reading, I had a notion about chicken breast and rice. Chicken breast whole on the plate with rice on the side? Then I thought about the chicken breast cut up and put on top of the rice. The catalyst for this was the bottle of Iron Chef Thai sweet pepper and garlic sauce that had been in the cabinet for months and was reaching its expiration date. Sounds good on chicken and rice, emphasis on "sounds."

Meridith made the dinner, but admitted that she had put in too much sauce after we kept getting major whiffs of heat and then hot, because of the seeds in the sauce. I didn't mind, since the chicken and rice were exactly as I had hoped, though it was brown rice. I don't mind brown rice, but I had thought about white rice, and we didn't have any. It was still good. Meridith struggled to get through the rest in her bowl and I told her not to force herself, to finish what she could and then dump the rest. And she did.

After the phone call from Mom, the rest of the evening was pretty nice. I had Tivo'd The Great Muppet Caper off of Showtime, and we watched some of that up until it was time for bed.

Today is a bigger day for Mom and Dad than it is for us. After checking into Hawthorne Suites and then getting another car from Enterprise, they've got the opportunity explore whatever they want, though I'm sure it'll be the washing machines and dryers at Hawthorne first. We're planning laundry here, too, jackets that haven't been washed in quite a while, and our bedsheets. We figure that since they get fresh sheets at Hawthorne, we should have clean sheets, too.

I still have to vacuum around the house, since Dad asked me to vacuum his and Mom's room after we put new litter in the birds' cages. We did that late yesterday, and all I had time for was to vacuum around the birds' cages since Meridith had to get to that nail salon (called "Ocean Nails Spa") before it closed. Better that she had some time there and didn't have to be rushed, so we left right after we were done.

I also still have to sweep the garage. I prefer sweeping the patio. At least I know what I'm sweeping there. But I'll do it. Mom and Dad asked before they left.

Oh, one more thing. Mom also told me last night that they got me a Las Vegas Weekly, exactly what I wanted and I'm psyched to read it. I also requested the Friday edition of the Las Vegas Review-Journal since the weekend Neon section is in there and I want to finally spend some time reading a local paper, not the barely-two minutes I spend skimming through The Signal since there's never anything interesting to read in there. According to the Hawthorne Suites website, one of the amenities is a "daily complimentary newspaper." I hope that's the Review-Journal. It would save Dad a few coins. We'll definitely subscribe to it after we move here.