United States of America, August 2005

We're home! After two years in The Netherlands, we're finally on US soil. And I'm LOVING it. I just want to get me an American flag (ours is still in storage, naturally), wave it around, and sing The Star Spangled Banner. Then I'll break out into "Deep in the Heart of Texas". We are currently still househunting, and staying in a temporary apartment.

What I Currently Adore about the US

Here we are, Houston, Texas. This photo was taken from the car, and with my camera phone. Nice cityscape!
The first thing I love...the garbage disposal. Not really much to see in a photo, but priceless. In fact, I was telling friends in Holland how excited I was to get home to one of these. Liz, my British friend, failed to see how cool these are. Even when I explained to her that you can just throw food right down the sink, she asked, "Why can't you just throw it in the garbage?" Because it is convenient and cool to throw trash down the sink! Right??

The Sunday Crossword! Every Sunday! I don't have to make a puzzle last for 3 months anymore...I can eat it all up at once like a kid with Halloween candy. Only without the stomach ache.
This almost makes me want to cry. Isn't it beautiful? People pick up after their dogs around here. And free bags are provided, in case you've forgotten to bring one. What's more, people walk with their dogs on leash.
Here is a photo of the Dutch equivalent, taken in the park near our house in Holland. A cartoon dog on a toilet, smiling no less. And he is outside, with little flowers growing around him. I guess the humor of the whole thing is supposed to make you want to pick up after your dog. Notice, on the American example above, fear is used to make you pick up. "Pet Waste Transmits Disease".
Books, books, books! All the books (in English) that I can possibly read in a lifetime! And when I run out, I can instantly hop into my car (yes, MY CAR) and buy more at any waking hour. No waiting for mail-order, unless I want to.

In case you're interested, The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls was really good.
Along the same lines...magazines! Specifically here, knitting magazines. Currently, I'm buying every knitting magazine I find, for research. So that I can narrow down the ones I need to subscribe to.

Temperatures in Houston have been near 100 degrees every day, so I'm not sure how much wear I'll get out of all of these sweaters I want to make...
Now for the Food Section. See this glass of ice water? (Try to ignore my thumb in the photo.) This ice water, including lemon and straw, was FREE. The waiter brought it to my table without even asking if I wanted it. After the waiter set it down I smiled, clapped my hands, and did a little bouncy-dance in my seat. Chris understood why I was doing it, but I'm sure the waiter thinks something is wrong with me. Especially if he saw me take a picture of it.
Lookit the size of it! This is a normal cheeseburger, not some extra-deluxe, double burger. I really wanted to finish it, but I think I only got through half of it.
Chris' burger was just as big as mine, but his came with giant pieces of bacon! You can see by the look in his eyes that he is shocked and impressed.

See the band-aid on his finger? That's where Gus bit him, when he was FREAKING OUT in his crate after our 10-hour flight home. Gus was determined to chew his way out, and Chris' finger got in the way. So there we were, waiting in line at US customs...Chris is bleeding, Gus is screaming and trying to chew his way out of the crate nearly breaking out his teeth, and Ike peed all over his crate and himself. So we stink, we're noisy, we're injured, and there are about 100 people in line in front of us. A sympathetic customs officer took us out of line and let us go. I wanted to kiss him.

Wait, this was supposed to be about bacon.
Guacamole Doritos!


How have I lived without these??
I didn't know what I was in for when I ordered a large iced tea. On the cup, it says "2.5 pounds". Seriously! I had to make 27 pee stops before I finished it. See how the cup cleverly narrows at the bottom? That's so it will fit in the cupholder of your car. Smart!
LOVE American tv. Jerry Springer!
Good Times! Dy-no-mite!
Washing clothes is FUN when you don't have to get down into a crawling position on all fours to do it. I can stand right up to this washer and dryer as a homo sapien should. The real beauty is that I can wash a huge load of clothes in under an hour! (For those of you who didn't get the pleasure of hearing me bitch about our Dutch washer/dryer...I did indeed have to get down on all fours to use it (front loading, low to the ground), and washing and drying a tiny load took about 3 hours.) (Please don't email be about my overuse of parentheses.)
Since we've been househunting, we've looked at about 70 places. All of the newer houses have closets the size of my first apartment. Here in our temporary housing, the bedroom closet is enormous. Gus is so confused, that he thinks this place is a two-bedroom, so he has claimed this "bedroom" for himself. He seriously hangs out in here like it's his room.

As you can see, I'm very, very happy to be back in the US, and I'm going through a strange honeymoon sort of phase with the silly things that make America great. Experts say that repatriation back to the US can be as difficult as arriving in a foreign country, but that hasn't been the case for me. When the customs officer at the airport checked our blue passports and said "Welcome home", it choked me up a little bit. God bless America!
One last shot of the dogs. This was in the hotel, the night before we left Holland. They were so wiped out! We stayed the night before at a different hotel, walked a few miles from the hotel back to our empty house, rode in a cab to the next hotel, stood around confused for about a hour only to find out that we were booked at a different place, took a shuttle back to the correct hotel, checked in, and finally took the dogs off leash. They saw the bed and instantly crashed.

They're such good boys.

List of past updates

my email - staci@verypink.com

Chris' email - barkless3@yahoo.com