Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Jan 30th the details.

Just got back from the Houston Rockets basketball game. It was... a game. It is like watching reruns of Gilligan's Island- no matter what happens it doesn't really matter in the real world. Although this time at least Mary Ann and Ginger stopped by to say hello to me.

Mark and I took out the mountain bikes on Sunday and rode around here for a few hours. The Bayou trail is a very busy path on the weekends so we dodged cruisers and babies and joggers and rollerbladers and even a small gang of bmxers with camelbaks. No road riding around here- way too busy and dangerous. I think it could be the first time I've ever said and/or believed that about a town. I am going to head up to the Woodlands and hang out with Michael this weekend and there is road riding up there. It is 45 miles away.

Apple store here is a nightmare. They will hand you anything and tell you it works. I will be making my 4th trip there in 4 days to return a battery that doesn't fit my macbook. The mall here on weekends is like... I guess all malls. It is sad that on a beautiful weekend day the mall is so crowded. Yes. I know I was there.

Soda enjoys her walks around City Centre. I just checked and that is how it is spelled. I think it helps rent increases every year to have it spelled the cool way. Not many wolves hang out in Houston so she is getting a ton of attention. My least favorite question is "how long do these dogs live?" It might be the most inconsiderate question ever asked of a pet owner. I want to answer with "Longer than you are smart" but I just say "forever."

Now that I'm out of Charlotte and all of Mark's errands have been attended to I took two naps today. That was the kind of unemployment I was looking forward to.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Photo dump Jan 30th

Trying to keep up with this is more challenging than having a job. I was actually good at my job, this is proving to much more difficult. But, here goes the pics I've taken over the last 5 or so days.
And they are in reverse order... because I'm not smart enough to change them around.

Tonight was Houston Rockets vs. Minnesota Timberwolves. The Wolves won, which makes Soda happy. These girls came in and were interested in having their picture taken with me. I obliged.

Houston's Toyota dome? Nice place. The suite we were in had some amazing chocolate chip cookies delivered.

This is one of Soda's many tours through City Centre. I'm pretty sure there aren't many wolf hybrids around here, because every third person stops me to ask about her.

Mark's urban living... his place is on the right, apartments on the left, straight ahead to City Centre and the gym.

Soda trapped in the elevator at Mark's house. What, you don't have an elevator?

Mark's friend gave Soda a pink pig as a gift. She seems to have taken to it.

More pig.

We have made numerous trips to the Apple store at the mall. Apple is making amazing products, but I think the customer service at the retail level has become "pick out whatever you want and I'll ring it up, but don't ask any questions please." There are 40 blue shirts on the floor on a weekend, but rarely do they answer any questions intelligently.

Mark and Soda on a walk. Mark's house last on right.

The elevator view again.

Mark in his "cubicle." He has an awesome view of the Sears Auto Center and the mall.

This was our Saturday morning- spin class with 45 (full class) others and a very loud and energetic instructor. "You are pulling a wagon up a hill! In the wagon are your dysfunctional family members. You keep pulling them!" Pretty amusing.

Was told that motos on the back of the bambi wouldn't work. This gives me hope for the vespa.

Breakfast in motel in Baton Rouge, LA on the way down here with my "IRON FORGE KNIFE" by Steve Watkins. Apple and humus. Almost as good as Soda's bowl of kibbles.

The Ford Raptor never moves. And my special parking place.
Soda waiting in Baton Rouge for the daily drive to begin.


Of course my final stop on the way out of town was Sport. Needed 26" inch tubes for the Trek STP which is being left in Durango and to collect mail... Truck is loaded with 5 pair of skis in the coffin, Michael's Tri bike up top, and Mark and my bikes inside and on the back.

This is actually an older picture, but so awesome it needed to be here. Soda snarling about indoor trainers. They suck but are necessary.

In Baton Rouge. Take all bikes inside. Sleep. Put all bikes back on bike. Drive.

 This is the Bayou "Trail" in Houston.  Goes for a bunch of miles.  Lots of people on a sunny day.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Smoot's Adventures continue... Unemployment part 1

Jan 26th, 2012 11pm

I’m in a friend’s house in Houston, TX. Arrived today in the Sequoia with 5 bikes, 5 pair of skis, one set of snowshoes, and Soda. I’ve been mostly unemployed for just over 3 weeks and am now on my first road trip of the year.

And so starts Blogfest 2012, my ramblings around the country. I purchased a 2007 Airtsream International Bambi 19’ travel trailer last October and everyone told me to blog my adventures. Being that I never feel like my life is worth reading about, I didn’t think much of it. And then I sold my business of 13 years, planned some cool trips, and was continually told that people wanted to hear what I was up to… So if you are one of the two readers of my blog I thank you. Or pity you. The choice is yours.

So where to start? I left Charlotte on Thursday at noon, after another week of errands and finalizing things just so I could leave town. Oddly enough my last stop was at Sport to pickup some 26” tubes (for the Trek STP) and drop off paperwork for my bookkeeper of over 10 years who continues to work for Ben. She remembers some incredibly interesting details from years of being in my office for 2 hours every Friday.

Twelve hours later and I spent the night in Baton Rouge, LA in the Magnusen Hotel. I’m always amazed at how many rooms seem empty in these places and that they charge $65.00/night (which includes Soda’s charge of $15.00). There are going to be a ton of old motels torn down in the next 20 years and replaced with taller more self contained buildings. More efficient, but harder to unload all your gear since you won’t get to park 3 feet from your door. I did call the Hard Rock Casino-Hotel in Biloxi but had to take a pass since they wanted $299 for the room and $75.00 for the pet fee. I would have done it, but Soda’s piggy bank isn’t that big.

Got on the road this morning and had another 300 miles to drive. Found two starbucks- one in a Target and the other on the outskirts of Houston. Was told that they don’t refill cups bought at other Starbucks. So I was charged full price for a coffee and she didn’t even use my cup… kind of wasteful, I thought. What do I know- I don’t run a multi-national mega corporation.

First order of business after arriving at Mark’s and unloading everything was to eat lunch and then wait for the “PODS” to show up. We get to load up a bunch of stuff of his ex-wife’s to be shipped up to Chicago and then he is mostly done with her. Nap. Trainer. Sushi. Soda walkies around “city centre” where Mark’s town house is. And bed time. Which is now.

Observations: there are a ton of shitty drivers on the roads. Houston is a super busy town. Church night at Chic Filet is a big hit. Texting on an iPhone is much more difficult than a blackberry.

Big questions for the week: How long to stay in Houston before leaving for Durango. Go to Vegas for the big car show? And how hard to work in spin class tomorrow morning?