Welcome to Houston!

I feel that perhaps I'll be updating this less often than normal. I am, after all, a full-time working man now. What's more, I don't have internet at my apartment for the moment, and don't know when I'll break down and spend that cash. I'm still in pretty deep debt these days, and I have internet here at work, so I figure I can probably stop in occasionally and post a short note about the details of life until I break down and purchase internet for the apartment.

I'm breaking the first rule of blog posting, which is "don't start a post with an explanation of why you haven't posted, and might not post again for a while" Also, I'm starting all my paragraphs with "I," the avoidance of which is rule three or four. Ah, screw it.

I have a reason for starting this post with that paragraph, and that is: I'm trying to learn how to do without, in order to develop some skills in areas that I'm weaker at. For example, I don't have any food except for a few cans of soda and some microwave dinners, so I'm learning to appreciate what I eat. Fittingly, I also don't have a microwave, so what food I do currently have, I can't eat. I'm hoping this will make me learn to cook. And finally, without internet, I'm forced to spend my evenings in the apartment doing something else - for instance, putting my apartment together, which is a total disaster at this point. I know, everyone says that when they're moving, but really: every CD case I own (I have about 200, plus about 100 burned ones) is lying on the floor, either empty or with the wrong CD inside. Ditto my 50 DVDs. Every scrap of paper I own (the total bulk weight of which is probably north of five or six thousand pounds), whether wall decoration or car title or personal letter I can't throw away or lease agreement, is on the floor. They used to be in piles, but that's long gone now. Basically, I took everything out of the boxes, made a big pile of the boxes, threw all the newspaper I used for packing on top, and then gave up because it seemed hopeless. Still, my kitchen is exceptionally clean, since I don't have any food yet, so there's nothing to clog it up.

But I do have good news. Following a friend's advice, I went up the highway to his exit, which is a hive of residential communities, and drove around looking for "Garage Sale" signs. Bingo. I found one area where everyone on the street had agreed to have their garage sale all at once, in order to bring in more customers. I purchased a very nice matching coffee table and end table ($5 total), a set of shelves that I can screw into the wall ($4), a set of navy throw pillows ($1 - they were kind of thrown in with the coffee table/end table deal), and what appears to be the original television set. I'm serious, it looks like Philo Farnsworth's original demonstration piece. Roosevelt probably threw it in as part of the New Deal. It's made out of solid wood, with a further wooden frame place around that. It weighs more than most cargo vessels. It took four of us to get it into the back of my car, and I had to drive away with the tail of my hatchback mostly open, even though the TV was laying flat.

Flash forward to the point where I pull up in front of my apartment. I load everything else from my car into the apartment, hoping that on one of my trips I'll see some muscle-bound neighbor headed for the weight room who could help lift the thing from the car to my second-story apartment, but no one's around. I walk back out to my car as it starts to drizzle a little and tug the TV up, out, and over until it's resting on the lip of the trunk. I wait there for a moment, hoping someone will walk by and say "Hey, bud, you need a hand with that?" A minute or two passes. No one comes. I realize at this point that while I have successfully pulled the TV onto the lip of the trunk, since I can't reach around the TV enough to angle it properly, I have lost the ability to get the thing back into the trunk. I also realize that while I lack the manpower to get it to the ground, I must either pull the hulking thing to freedom, or wait there for all eternity. I decide to have a go at getting the TV to the ground. This, dear reader, is the turning point in this story.

As I begin to pull the TV towards me, hoping for a better purchase on this cruise-ship-anchor-cum-electronic-appliance, the tennis racket I was using to prop up the tail of my hatchback slips out from the now-quite-wet metal and falls onto the pavement. My hatch, which has lacked hydraulics for all eternity, drops down sharply and lands on the back of my neck, pinning my throat and chest to the edge of television. My hands, trapped above me around the television, can't pick it up, since as soon I let go with one hand, the unbalanced weight of the television will cause it to swing backwards, crushing my pelvis between it and the sidewalk. I'd conveniently placed my feet right in front of the curb, which was just perfect for this occasion, as that way they'd get the chance to get trapped there when the rest of me is pushed backwards, in order to give myself a more interesting position to perish in. I also discover that my face is pressed up against the warranty agreement glued to the back of the television. The agreement, as thoughtfully typed up by Edison's secretary, states that the dealer is not responsible for any damage problems caused by accidents, negligence, calamity, abuse, mishandling, or an act of God.

"Geez," I think. "I've covered everything except for the act of God."

It is at this point that it really starts raining in earnest.

After a good ten minutes trapped in the jaw-like rear end of my car, a young woman in a fast food work uniform finally appears from the nearby apartment building. I have always depended on the kindness of strangers, so I give a sort of muffled yelp as she walks by. She glances over, sees a wet, twitching form jutting out from the back of a dented Ford Probe, turns sharply, jumps in her car, and speeds off.

I decide it might be time to take matters into my own hands. This, dear reader, is about the end of Act II, or the point in a Shakespeare play where you might say to yourself "Oh - I thought this was a comedy, but it looks like it's going to be a tragedy after all."

Pulling the televison towards myself, I decide to bend slowly at the knees until I've wiggled it all the way out of the car. Finally free of the lip of the trunk, the weight of it sags sharply down onto my lap. I stabilize it by balancing its mass between the cell phone in my pocket and my crotch. I take a few deep breaths and begin to slowly lower down towards the ground. The TV tips sharply off of the cell phone and puts all of its weight onto its bottom edge, which, you'll remember, I'd thoughtfully placed about mid-crotch.

Having decided that it might be time to get this thing on the ground once and for all, regardless of its final condition, I bend my knees down further 'til my legs form a roughly 45-degree angle at the knee. People who are familiar with the shape of chairs know that this is a great deal further south than one's bottom usually is called to go when sitting down, and might therefore assume that this position could not really therefore be called a "power stance." Which makes it all the more shocking when at this point that both my head and the television slip free of the hatch (which had slowly slipped across the base of my skull over the course of this process), causing all the weight to shift mercifully away from my crotch and onto my face, pushing it over backwards towards the pavement in a thoughtful effort to get it to bond more closely with the back of my head.

I don't really remember the next part too well, but I seem to recall that I sprang both my legs outwards to exactly opposite sides of my body in a fairly impressive gymnastic split, sort of like a graceless Dominique Moceanu, or one of those hinged dolls you hang on doornobs around Christmastime. The behemoth thudded to the ground a hairsbreadth in front of my crotch, which certainly hadn't been wishing for a reintroduction.

I won't say exactly how I got the TV upstairs from there, other than to say only that adventure was actually more exciting than the first, and if I get any visitors to my apartment before I purchase a vacuum cleaner, they're guaranteed to say "so what's with all the sawdust everywhere?"

And I'm afraid that's all the posting you're probably going to get for a little while. I hope it's enough for now.

The overheard quote of the day is: "Pssst. You wanna draw on the new guy?"