Monday, July 14, 2008

Who Knew?


Moving is always a humbling experience: New house to take care of, New roads to get used to, New neighbors to meet, New culture to learn, the list goes on and on. Well, here are some things that I've learned over the course of my first couple of weeks in Houston:

1) Celery shouldn't go down the garbage disposal. The fibers just ball up around each other and clog the darn thing, and before you know it you'll have water and leftover food bubbling up from one side of the sink to the other. Who knew? Well, $166.27 later, I do. Hopefully you won't make the same mistake and this can save you a few bucks down the road! (Note: Other no-no's in the garbage disposal: egg shells, shrimp shells, banana peels, any other fibrous vegetables or fruits, rice in large quantities, I'm sure there are others...)

2) People in Houston are just accustomed to the idea that, after a rainstorm, you can expect to see a roach or two in your house. We do live on a bayou, and most of the neighbors seem to confirm the fact that there is no way around getting a couple of these critters in the house once in a while. In the words of our exterminator, Jonathon, "Ma'am, if it's on its way out (dying or dead), it's okay". Really? Who says? I would rather not have any roaches in the house, ever, under any circumstances! I suppose that this is a fact of life I will have to get used to. In the words of B-Mama, "Oh Lord, help me!" 

3) When a neighbor invites you over for a dinner/pool party and you ask, "What can I bring?" and she says "Oh, nothing, I think we're all set" and then proceeds to tell you all of the food that she has for the party, you should STILL bring over enough food to feed a small army. We showed up practically empty-handed yesterday evening, only to see all of the other guests hauling in bags full of homemade muffins, chips, and drinks. Oops!

4) VBS stands for "vacation Bible school". 

5) When you move to Houston you no longer live in America, you live in Texas (in the words of our son, C). We've tried to convince him otherwise, but somewhere along the way he got it into his head that we've left "America" and have entered an entirely different country! So now he's wondering why we have an American flag instead of a Texas flag in front of our house :)

6) The people in Houston are some of the friendliest, most welcoming people that I have ever met. We are truly blessed to be here, and for all of the small inconveniences and new things to get used to, there are ten times as many reasons to be grateful.


19 comments:

Right Said Red said...

Kat,

Beautiful Picture!

I love the fact that C thinks you left America! My brother lives in Texas and I feel like I've left America whenever I go to visit ;-)

B-Mama said...

I agree, great pic of the whole family! Your house looks awesome... :) It sounds like C has merely adopted most Texans' way of thinking. I am always so impressed by their state allegiance, especially their affinity for the state flag! lol.

B-Mama said...

Oh and quick question: no eggshells in the garbage disposal?

Mary Alice said...

glad to know that I am not the only one navigating appliance repair, we have our dishwasher broken, and no matter how much I cry about it the part seems to be taking over a week to arrive -- my big lesson, don't assume that when someone comes to fix something they are going to be able to actually fix it that day.

No corn husks/silks down the disposal.

Given all the don'ts of the garbage disposal, I am thinking I need to get composting instead.

Joanne said...

Ha, they call Vacation Bible School VBS here in Indiana too. I don't know what they call it in NJ, but I had no idea what they were talking about at first! Good luck settling in!

texas mommy said...

Welcome to Texas, Kat, and the joys of cowboys hats and state pride! We can't wait to see you!

MA mentioned composting...does anyone do this? Red...your sister maybe?

texas mommy said...

Oh, and if you need to bring something to a TX party and have no time, pick up a case of Shiner beer and you're set!

Kat said...

On the composting note, does anyone have a crabapple tree in their yard or have any experience with taking care of these trees? We have a crabapple tree in our backyard, and the crabapples are making a mess in our yard because they fall and splatter, and then rot! Should I just let the crabapples fall and decompose? Or do most people pick them up so that they don't attract critters and bugs? I've heard that these trees have beautiful blossoms in the spring, but I'm tempted to just cut it down...Awful, I know!

B-Mama said...

My dad did composting for many years. We put all of our food trash into a large fenced area in the backyard and he would occasionally go out with a pitchfork and churn the earth. He loved having the compost for his flower beds/landscaping... Unfort, the compost started to attract raccoons, etc. which were eating his frogs. Alas, no more compost :(! I think my mom was secretly thrilled--there was always an issue as to where to put the food garbage until it made it out to the compost pile. I know Crate and Barrel or someplace like it makes a ventilated crock for composting. My sister found it and gave it to my dad as a Christmas present one year. It stopped some of the compost storage tension for a bit! :)

Bethany said...

My sister-in-law does environmental education for a city in South Carolina. She is supposed to be sending us information about composting, I'd be happy to pass it on when we get it, if anyone is interested.

Anonymous said...

The big roaches are the real reason every native Texan has a shotgun in the hall closet....But yes, always take lots of food to a get-together. Homemade beans of any kind is always a hit; don't bring potato salad till someone teaches you how to make it locally.

If you get a chance to visit Half Price Books near NASA, they have a great selection of kids' books & often have some solid Catholic books if you know who you're looking for. Overall, one of the best used/thrifty book stores ever. There's also great pizza and BBQ ("Sweet Mesquite" was great while I was pregnant with my firstborn) near the bookstore.

Anonymous said...

I compost - we use biobags and a biobag bin next to our trash can. http://www.biobag.com/home.html

When the biobag is full, we carry it out to the compoast pile and dump it in and add some leaves every now and then. Composting is a great home science project - you can order worms, read about mixing it correctly, etc. I know a Montessori catalogue I order from frequently sells lots of stuff for composting.

For our family of 5, we use less than one trash bag every week, in part because we compost and are really, really uptight about recycling and careful buying. Unfortunately, many housing developments, probably the same kind that mandate you have a green green green lawn no matter what kind of soil/weather conditions you have, are opposed to composting because it can attract animals if done a little loosely. When we lived somewhere where this was the case, we ordered a wormbin from this woman, I think:

http://www.wormwoman.com/acatalog/vermicomposting.html

It was awesome and there was no smell. We kept it in our garden shed and never saw an animal.

Composting is a great project with little kids and it helps keep them from becoming prissy about dirt and worms!

Kate E. said...

Composting is our plan for next spring (we have to do babysteps, this year is the rain barrel).

Just read this article in a friends copy of Wondertime magazine and it had some nice links (click on the "next" article at the bottom of the page and it has several links for resources). I liked the kitchen scrap holder they had and I liked the composter that they had.

http://wondertime.go.com/life-at-home/article/wiggle-room.html


Although my brother says he has the plans to make a tumbling composter from a barrel and some 2x4's...but they do things different in the Northwest...I think that might be too hardcore for me!

Kate E. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
texas mommy said...

Thanks for the info/links/encouragement on composting! I'm definitely going to be looking into this more, probably after the baby comes.

Kate E. said...

Oh and Kat, I told the Texas branch of my family C's words of wisdom and they said....
Sounds like a Texas man who has found his place.

So happy to hear you are settling in well and figuring out the unspoken rules and joys of your new locale.

Juris Mater said...

Kat, what fun observations! Good to hear you've kept your sparkle and sense of humor amid the stresses of a move and a new place.

A Princeton classmate and good friend--who was born and raised in Texas and with whom I studied abroad for one semester--brought with him a full size Texas flag (do you have any idea how large these are?) which covered at least one wall of his dorm room abroad. (C-dawg, if you're reading this, God bless you and God bless Texas.) I've never seen anything like Texans and their love of their state.

Elizabeth M said...

My mom has started composting (now she can ask the grandkids to help). She's just getting started (and worrying about what to put in and what not to). But to avoid (she hopes) the animal issues, she bought this bin (but not from Amazon -- that's where I can find a picture).

http://www.amazon.com/Green-Culture-Soilsaver-Compost-Bin/dp/B000BWGAD8/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&s=home-garden&qid=1216149835&sr=1-7

Jennifer in MN said...

A good garbage disposal should handle all of the things you listed....maybe a new one is in order ;)