Rich the Truck Driver

When we went to pick up the moving truck, Claire and I were both shocked. I told her something to the effect of, “I don’t think I can drive that.” It looked like an eighteen-wheeler, and I was sure I needed special training on how to avoid driving over all the midget cars on the road. I asked what size move the truck was suited for and the lady recommended it for a 5-8 bedroom house. We looked at a size smaller, but concluded that all of our stuff from two moves would not fit. I got in and put my foot on the brake. It made a bizarre sound as though I were squishing the last breath out of some poor animal. Apparently, this is normal? Maybe the three carless years in New York had more of an effect on me than I realized. I started it up and had to resist the urge not to drive over rather than around the other cars in the parking lot. I narrowly avoided a few accidents on the way back to the in-laws’ and took out just about every corner.

As it turns out, the truck was full when we got through with it. The drive wasn’t bad at all because we drove during the day (It’s much harder on me once it gets dark). There was no wife to read Freddie and Fredericka to me, no CD player, no mP3 player, no Julia asking me what my favorite sea creature is, no Weston monologues, and no Conrad requesting that Claire constantly look at him……..just lots and lots of NPR to keep me company.

Claire seems to like the house so far — probably because we’ve heard a lot of good things about Julia’s school. Parts of the house are decorated in Classic Old Lady, so I had to do some painting before I could bear to hang up my precious “Think Different” posters. We have a lot of ideas, but most of them are lower on the priority totem pole than finding a commuter car for me (Any suggestions?) and getting the rest of our stuff out of boxes.

Our neighbors are super nice; however, we seem to be one of the younger couples in the hood. My list of reasons for moving to Oregon has expanded to include Tillamook Ice Cream. So the complete list is as follows:

1) Goonies was filmed here.

2) My best falafel experience happened in Portland.

3) Ice cream that rivals real gelato in Italy.

Do Not Disturb

JetBlue seems pretty confident in the sleep eye masks and earplugs they hand out, insisting that it’s a “shut-eye” rather than a “red-eye” flight. I decided to give they’re little survival kit a try. Almost immediately after deciding that I’d live with the embarrassment of wearing the shades, I felt a tap on my shoulder. I don’t even know that I thought through who might be doing the tapping, but I sort of assumed it was Claire teasing me. So, I swatted the hand away and tried to get comfortable. Meanwhile, the flight attendant, who had just tapped on my shoulder, was staring blankly at Claire — wondering how to respond. Though half asleep, I hear a muffled, “Uh…Rich, that wasn’t me.”

Learn French on the Train

We studied all the way from London to Paris while riding the Chunnel (At least Claire did). We had heard that Parisians don’t speak English and are annoyed when you do—and we were ready to give it an honest try. Upon arriving at the train station, or “gare” if you will, we were immediately thrown off guard when we heard, “Two?” We desperately searched our memories trying to remember a “tou” or “tu” or “teau” . . . Finally (After the man was positive we were a little slow), we conceded, “Yes, please.”

We hadn’t given up, though (At least Claire hadn’t). It was the hottest day I think I’ve ever experienced, and, despite my distaste for anything with laces, I had only a pair of adidas sneakers and no sandals. We stopped in a little shoe store and expected to find a lot of semi-fluent English speakers and found none. I gave up instantly, scanning the store for a pen or pencil to write down my shoe size. Claire, on the other hand, nodded her head to every word the sales person said. The woman helping us eventually gave up on me and spoke directly to Claire. While I was trying to write numbers and point, the woman just rolled her eyes and proceeded to tell Claire what I’m sure was very useful information—had Claire understood French. I wrote down my shoe size and pointed to the sandals I wanted, but the woman took Claire by the hand and escorted her outside. I watched as the sales person pointed  at shoes in the front window, and explained everything I needed to know—expecting Claire to translate for her non-linguistic husband.

By this time, Claire was convinced she understood French. She walked in, sat down next to me, pointed to the sandals I was interested in, and said, “She says that these sandals are only available in half sizes.” She said it with such confidence, I was puzzled. First, how did Claire understand after only studying French for a couple hours on a train. Second, are any European shoes available in half sizes? I sought clarification: “Claire, they are on the European system. They don’t have half sizes.” I said it more as a question, hoping for a re-interpretation. Maybe half sizes meant the lower half of the size chart and that 45 was too high.At that point, Claire gave up all pretenses, gave me a look and said, “Well, then I have no idea what she said.”

Rich…ard and Beautiful

The Drowsy Chaperone - Aldolpho
When someone heard the name of our blog, she was apparently shocked at my arrogance. In the future, if someone gets the wrong idea, I think I’ll give my best impersonation of Aldolpho from The Drowsy Chaperone and say, “Whhhaaaaat? You do not agreeeeee?”

Along those lines…because the site is Rich and Beautiful and Google ads are based on content, apparently you, readers of this blog, are interested in finding a rich husband, meeting rich people, ordering a Russian bride (I do like calling Claire my Russian bride), and chic doggy clothes (from the “Doggy Duty” post, I’m guessing).

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A random YouTube video making fun of Microsoft.

“Oh, You’re a Shredder?”

Claire and I were riding the gondola to the top of Snowbasin with two other people. They asked if we were brother and sister. Claire said yes, then turned and gave me a big kiss…

Just kidding…

Here’s what really happened. When we confessed that we were dating, they looked at my snowboard and at Claire’s skis and said they rode in the gondola earlier with Claire’s dad. Before we could really wonder what gave them that idea, they explained, “He said his daughter is dating a snowboarder and that he’s trying not to hold it against him.”

I told them I was dating the daughter of a PC user and I was trying not to hold it against him.

Just kidding…
Burton Woody 145
My first snowboard, a Burton Woody 145, which I bought from David Garcia for $40.

Going Up the Country

Based on a road trip to Seattle ten years ago, I haven’t been able to stop talking about the Pacific Northwest. Claire had never been, so we thought we’d borrow my mom’s hybrid (because of which we fit right in…one out of every three cars we saw was a Prius…that’s not a real statistic, but you get the point.), leave the kids and all responsibilities behind, and take a trip. Our main destinations were Portland, Astoria (where The Goonies was filmed), Port Townsend, and Seattle. We grabbed some reading material, The Golden Compass and Freddy and Fredericka (both of which we highly recommend), filled up the twelve-gallon tank and were off. We neglected to grab the road-trip theme song, Canned Heat’s “Going Up the Country,” which was the only way in which our trip was lacking. I made up for it by singing The Goonies theme song. Claire joined in on occasion.

Somewhere along the way we started noticing and making fun of street signs. In some parts of Oregon, they have a $97 fine for not wearing your seat belt. We couldn’t figure out why they didn’t make it an even $100. In other parts, the fine is $94. In Washington, it’s $101. OK, that’s not too funny now that I think about it. Anyway, all the driving was part of the fun.

We met an interesting character in Portland. While Claire was driving, I googled “Portland falafel” and a place called Fat Kitty Falafel came up. We finally found the place. It was a little falafel stand, owned by a fluffy fellow who hung out with his headphones on. He was from New York and the guy was sure talkative….The falafel wasn’t bad either.

On the way home, we realized our time alone was drawing to a close and stopped in Yakima, Washington for dinner and a movie. The movie: Oceans 13 (which we really enjoyed, by the way). After the movie, we noticed a girl with two kids in the parking lot who was obviously very distressed…something with her boyfriend, with whom she lives, who is the father of the two kids, and who, it turns out, has not been entirely faithful. We offered to help…even pay for a motel. All she wanted, however, was to borrow our phone. Claire did not bring hers, so our phone meant my phone. She wanted to use my phone, which would certainly mean touching my phone, which would certainly mean smudgies. It was easy to see that I was being tested — what is more important, your phone or another human being? Well, if only by a mere fraction, I passed the test. I handed her the phone and looked away. I was expecting a reassuring look from Claire confirming that I had done the right thing and that she was proud of me. Instead, she just looked really worried. The girl got her boyfriend’s voicemail, left a nasty message, and gave me back iPhone unharmed. We don’t know what happened, but she finally decided to drive home. We can only hope she was able to calm down and figure things out.

The Northwest is truly beautiful. I wasn’t a bit disappointed. If you ever plan such a trip, be sure to include Seaside, Oregon. Special thanks to Mom for the use of her car and to Claire’s mom and Shauna for watching the kids.

Goonies House
The Goonies house in Astoria, Oregon.

Wakeboard Revival

I was driving. Tyler (Treelo) was wakeboarding. Claire was with me in the boat. Suddenly, Claire yells, “Down!” I interpreted this to mean that Tyler had fallen and that I needed to turn around and retrieve him. I slow down dramatically and turn the boat around when Claire yells, “Up!” I’m amazed. How did Tyler go down then pull himself back up? I’m impressed. Five seconds later, “Down!” Now I’m really confused. I realize Claire and I aren’t thinking the same thing. I finally figure out “down” and “up” referred to the speed at which the boat was travelling, NOT Tyler’s position. For future reference, “faster” and “slower” do just as well. I wish I was watching rather than driving. It had to be funny to see Tyler’s face when I slowed down to 5 mph and started to turn the boat around.