Thursday, March 31, 2011

Anyone remember that movie Ferngully?

Of course we have neighbors we hate.

No, that's too far. We don't hate them. They just seem like dicks.

My house sits on an acre, just far enough back from a busy road. We have a big yard, and we like to spend time outside, usually tossing a ball for the dogs, and often with a beer (or large glass of wine) in hand. On one side of us, close to our house, is a house that's empty save occasional visits from the grown kids of the dead lady who used to live there.

On the other side, past the vast expanse of our lovely yard, live The Jerkoffs. It's a couple and a kid, and someone who looks like a grandma seems to appear from time to time. Roomie has seen the kid shooting at birds. That's just a really good way to piss off this particular hippie. And, charmingly, while the kid was shooting at birds, Grandma was just chilling on a riding mower, watching.

It's not like we have seagulls or some other kind of asshole birds around (like steller's jays, which are big, fat jerks), but sweet songbirds, cardinals, something called a titmouse,  and amazing, huge pileated woodpeckers -- rare, protected Woody the Woodpecker birds. Roomie also saw the kid chasing the chickens around their chicken coop throwing rocks at them. Cool, right?

(Don't get me wrong, I'm OK with eating chickens. I'm just not really into being an asshole to them while they're still alive. I get the irony, but as I see, it, 90% of the point of raising chickens is eating eggs -- or meat -- without feeling guilty about the horrible treatment the animals experienced while they were still alive.)

While all that makes me think the kid is a turdface, I wasn't really pleased when I heard his dad yelling at him while they burned whatever they were burning (they do it so often I suspect it may be their garbage) in their yard one morning. I'm not sure, but I think I heard him smack the kid, too. Excellent. (Mom's an unknown. Guilt by association, I say.)

Oh, and I haven't even mentioned the dogs. They have dogs, but they don't appear to be pets. They live in a pen outside next to the chicken coop, and they bark incessantly. I don't hold it against the dogs. They look out and see our off-leash pooches running around, frolicking happily with owners who love and snug them and throw balls for them. I mean, I'd bark, too. It's like the dogs are yelling, "Hey!  We want to play! This is bullcrap! Did you guys see this? We live in a cage! Look, see how huge this yard is? Why can't we run in the yard?! That looks like fun! We want to come play! Come get us! Can we hump your dogs?!"

So that's the background on how I felt when, one day, I heard the sound of large machinery coming from the neighbor's yard. It sounded angry, and hungry, and as I looked at the stand of trees and brush that separates our property from theirs, I saw limbs and leaves heaving and shaking as they clawed and cut them out of the ground. Tiny birds fled the destruction.

My vision's not great, but it was totally a scene from FernGully (p.s. Avatar was basically an expensive version of FernGully, but without Tim Curry. Incidentally, I have loved Tim Curry since he was trying to figure out who killed Mr. Boddy. Anyone with me? My early exposure to Rocky Horror only confirmed my adoration).

So now I think of my neighbors as the new embodiment of Hexxus.

Except my neighbor is in no way sexy.

In summary: Tim Curry is rad, my neighbors are dicks, and Hexxus destroyed enough bird habitat that we can now see the dickface yard better and hear said dicks yelling at their kids more clearly. Yay.

On the other hand, I now have a much better view of the daily activities of their chickens.

But that's another post.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Holly's House of Beauty - Aynor, SC

I got my wig split the other day.

OK. I don't think I pull that phrase off as well as other people I know. I really like it though, so I keep trying.


I went here:

It's called Holly's House of Beauty. My trim cost $12.

Here's how it happened:

Roommie and I went to Ned's, one of the four non-fast-food restaurants in town, to get burgers one night. While I waited, the woman working started chatting me up, and she asked where I'm from. Side note: Everybody around here asks me where I'm from. I'm not sure how they can tell.

She asked if I lived in town, I told her yes, nearby, on Blahblah Street (back off, stalkers).

"Oh, you do, whereabouts?"

"In the white house across from the Business."

"Oh my gosh! Holly used to own that house! Dan!" she said, shouting over the grill at the guy cooking our burgers, "they rent Holly's old house!"

"I love that place. Nice wood floors," Dan said.

They are pretty nice.

So I got the quick rundown on Holly, where she lives now, who she lives with, and was informed that the cute little haircut shack two doors down from my house is hers.

And the thing is, I'm not doing much with my hair lately. I call the long, undyed hair my "recession 'do." I miss color and cute sassy haircuts, but a) for some uneffingbelievable reason Roommie likes my hair long and b) with my hair this long, I can get away with applying product to my hair, scrunching it, and air drying. I'm not saying I like the way it looks. But I drive an hour to work every day. If I get up early enough, I'm not going to use that time on doing my hair. I'm one of those assholes who puts on makeup in the car now.

Also, I love supporting local businesses (as the folks in Bend would say, Make Local Habit), so I called.

Holly is the best.

She talked non-stop, with one of the thickest accents I've yet to encounter. At first I was scared, because when I walked into the shop, Holly was touching up a scrubs-clad woman's long, curly mullet. They chatted about the Mullet's boss, 15 ex-boyfriends and I think probably half of the residents of our town. In between, they worked me for info about myself, starting with "where are you from baby?" (Seriously. Baby.)

As I sat down for my trim, a dad and his kid came in for a trim, and the dad, Jeff, proceeded to tease me and Holly.

"Now why'd you cut that bald patch in the back of her head?" Jeff asked.

"So Holly, you get married or you still living in sin?"

"I'm still living in sin; will you pray for me Jeff?"

So good. Holly kept punctuating everything she said with, "Oh, lordy, Jeff," but the way she said Jeff it was like, Jay-eff.

I seriously regret I didn't secretly record the chatter. I was also too chicken to take photos of the inside, but it's not nearly as cute as the outside. Not really horrifying, either. But the voices. Ohhhh the voices.

I'll bring a secret recorder next time, kids.

Oh, I did get a photo of the super adorable welcome mat:

 So, my review of Holly's House of Hair? Go. It's totally worth $12.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Bootie Bros. - Florence, SC

An approximation of a recent IM convo I had with a friend at work:

Red: Girl, I think I need to pay me a visit to the bootie brothers.
Me: ?
Red: The bootie brothers?
Me: I don't follow. Who are the bootie brothers?
Red: You've never heard of them?
Me: That's what I'm saying.
Red: We have to find one of their commercials on YouTube ...*
Me: ?
Red: It's a boot shop.
Me: Oh! Boots! I know those.
Red: I'm going over for lunch. Want to come? I need some cowgirl boots.
Me: Of course I do.

(*Apparently these commercials were awesome. I can't find em, but I didn't look very hard. If you come up with something, please share.)

Now, I've been to Western wear shops before. There's a lot of phony-baloney cowboy crap in Oregon. But this place is something special. Partly, I was impressed because most of the shops I've previously visited have either been A) in a mall or 2) made to appear as though the buildings they were housed in were built from rough-hewn logs. I hate fake log buildings. To me, they reek of faux-country rich boy "ranchers" and "cowboys." Think George Bush. Or the Pioneer Wife's hubby (Or so I hear. I've never read her, I just read about how she never mentions that her "pioneer" husband comes from a shitload of money. And like any self-respecting liberal, I dislike rich people I don't know personally.)

Alas, behold:

While you try on boots, a dude with a sick southern accent vaguely flirts with you (if you're as cute as Red, you'll get comments on your toenail polish and offers to help roll up your pant legs). Plus, these are damn fine boots.

If anyone's taking notes I want these:

They's so pretty I had to get multiple angles. But if you're not into $300+ boots, worry not. There's something for everyone at the Bootie Bros.

These were the winners. Red said the insides feel like tennis shoes:

So, this may be the best part: Remember how I said I had NO idea what Red was talking about when she mentioned the Bootie Bros? Well, the night after we stopped there, I realized I drive by a gigantic Bootie Bros. billboard on my way home from work every single day.

I'm super observant.

Oh, and the following morning, I realized I drive by another Bootie Bros. billboard every day on my way to work.

Really. I hope I never witness a murder.

"Um ... I think he was wearing a green shirt? Well, it might have been a woman ... wait, did you say they were aliens? Huh. I didn't even notice ..."

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

It's gourmet you guys.

Oh, gourmet Japanese sauce? That sounds fancy. I wonder what's in it?

(I took these photos awhile ago. Do not misconstrue my terrible timing for insensitivity about the horrible earthquake tsunami nuclear reactor endtimes scenario everyone's understandably obsessed with right now. This particular post has nothing to do with Japan, and a whole lot to do with America. Still, I gave a little bit here, and it wouldn't hurt you to do the same. xoxo)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Swamps are pretty cool. Except for the dead deer rotting away next to where we parked. That was uncool.

My first swamp guys!

Big change from the high desert where I've been living the last five years. Actually, I guess it's totally different from any place I've ever lived. Best part? We found a nice hut to hang out at when we become hobos.


It even came with an area rug. (Insert Lebowski joke here)

Roomie's trying to teach me some of his smartypants stuff. Like how to identify a few birds. Truth be told, I'm pretty terrible at it, because my eyes are so bad, but even people who can't see far away can hear calls and see shapes of large birds at a distance.

Also, did you know that cypress trees have knees? They're stubs of root that grow up out of the swamp around cypress, and they look vaguely phallic and eerily primordial. Most of the ones we saw today had these salmon-colored tips that really upped the tree-ween-of-the-swamp-floor factor.

Gross, right?

Here's a close-up:

Also, we thought Margaux loved the desert, but that's probably just because we'd never taken her to a swamp before. I mean, mud and stink and neck-deep puddles and bugs and dead things? Brackish water you can swim in that's the color of over-steeped tea so you don't know what's at the bottom of the pool and there could be anything down there! Snakes! Sticks! Dirt! More mud!

Sister was in heaven.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

On why you might find me with a cotton ball stuffed in my right ear

I’ve been walking around with stuffy ears for six days. Yes, I said stuffy ears.

You know when you drive over a mountain, and you get that feeling where your ears sort of need to pop, but it hasn’t happened yet? Just before it starts to hurt, but you can hear your blood rushing like a distant train? I’ve been walking around like that for days.

So I finally decided to go to the doctor.

(By the by, the waiting room at Aynor Family Medicine is a fascinating place for some people watching if you have time for it. One lady with vacuous eyes waddled up to the TV and poked at it until she found HGTV, then loudly proclaimed, “I love this channel. They show all kind of home design stuff, and selling houses and everything."

"Don’t know why I watch it," she added. "I don’t even have a house. I live in an apartment.”

A 60-plus man in a cargo vest said, “I don’t get after television much,” as he adjusted his trucker hat [worn without hipster irony here, of course].

A kid who appeared to be about 16 and had on a newer version of the old guy's outfit, plus some brand-spankin'-new Nikes without a speck of dirt on them said, in the direction of the old guy, “Well I’d rather be out in the woods than watching TV.”

The old man nodded gravely.

A 30s-ish couple then walked in and sat down, and the husband proceeded to guess the prices on everything the woman on TV was picking out for her bathroom.

“I guess it could be about three grand," he said. "Course that's not countin labor.” At least that's what I think he said. His accent made it sort of ard to understand him.

His shiny-haired wife [wearing a hoodie from Victoria's Secret and some really expensive jeans] turned to the cow-eyed woman and said, “I jess cain’t imagine spending that much on a toilet seat. Cain’t they just run on down to Walmart?”

Naturally, I was the girl hiding behind a book, saying nothing and tying to pretend like I wasn’t watching everyone.)

Anyhoo. Doctor said it’s allergies. Some people get snotty and watery, and some people get sinus pressure (check) red eyes (check) and stuffy ears (check). I’ve never before in my life had seasonal allergies. But apparently the pollen counts out here are craaazy and will basically make anyone have allergic symptoms. Treatment, ear drops and nose drops. No pills. Fun, right?

I suppose allergies are a small price to pay for the way my yard exploded in blossoms weeks ago [at the same time it was 15 degrees in Bend].

But then!

After the appointment I tried to clean my breakfast dishes, when suddenly a palmetto bug (remember those?) fell into the sink from the SKY with a THUNK.

I screamed like a little girl ran away. Dishes be damned.

Sometimes I'm not sure if I’m going to make it out here.