Sayonara 302

When I discuss with someone all of the places I have lived or visited the next question is typically, “What, was your dad in the military?”  When I combine that my parents now live in Saudi Arabia the question typically lends itself to “What, are your parents spies?”

Yes. My parents are spies.

Actually, as a kid we didn’t move all that much.  Born in Austin Texas, my parents moved to Houston around two years later.  There we lived in a duplex.  As I strain to remember that house, a few memories come to mind.  The hole in the fence my brother and I would climb through to visit our neighbors.  The red glitter stickers and the Rock 101 Jukebox sticker on one of the windows.  I remember the kitchen and my mom going out the door to work while I ate breakfast and my dad took care of us when he wasn’t at the station.

How my parents managed to work as hard as they did and do such an amazing jobs as parents I will never know.

After a few years there we moved to the first house my parents ever purchased.  It was on Lively Lane.  It was a big two story house with an amazing back yard, a treehouse we built and a curious sensibility.  It seemed like the American Dream.  We lived in that house for around six years before the neighborhood started going downhill.  In fact the entire area of Houston was showing its unfortunate true colors.

So we move to Bellville, a small town about an hour outside of Houston.  We buy a fixer-upper on five acres.  For the next six years we convince ourselves we’re country folk.  We have a truck, a tractor that didn’t run from the day my dad purchased it, a collection of chainsaws, a giant chicken coop, two horses and a sandy driveway that was more reminiscent of a New Mexico sand dune race track than anything else.

Growing up in a small town was great.  I loved the lifestyle, the friends, the culture, the quaintness of the Fair, that the hangout was the Shell station and that you never had to worry about locking your doors.

In 2001 we discovered we had outgrown Bellville so we headed back to Houston.  We bought a serious fixer-upper this time.  A pretty huge house with mold damage.  By the time my parents were done fixing this place up… well, it was amazing.  I loved, loved that house.

Then I went to college.

Dorm number one, Wolpers, the Engineering dormitory.  Awesome roommate, awesome neighbor.  Well, one of my neighbors was awesome, the other one threatened to kill me. Soooo, off to dorm number two.

Graham.  New roommate.  He was a Catholic choir boy slash sleep eater slash compulsive masturbator. NEW ROOMMATE PLEASE!!!

Graham again, only this time with my best friend, Geoffrey.  We lived together there until I got an apartment, aka The Brothel.  (Parents move to Tulsa)

Around a year later I move to Forestville California.  Bet you’re wondering what happened in between huh? Too bad! 😛

So I’m in California staying in my family’s cottage/river house/vacation home/construction zone.  I quickly meet Seth in Santa Rosa and more or less move in with him.  It is closer to my job and to school.  That is, until Seth moves to San Francisco, I follow along but spend about half my time back in Forestville, until the rainy season comes.  I’m forced to move in with some friends for a few months.  Mike and Kevin.  Awesome friends.  I lived there for a few months and then stupidly moved in with this guy I met at Starbucks.  He needed a roommate and I felt I needed to give Mike and Kevin their place back.

My new roommate turned out to be a total psycho.  So off to San Francisco.

I’m in love. Amazing apartment five blocks from Union Square.  A seriously amazing experience and one that I have never forgotten.

I move back to Columbia, my parents move back to Houston. (I love omitting segues)

Move into the Fredrick with my friend Kevin for the summer.  Then to Sterling with Jim and David and then back to the Fredrick a year later.

And that leads me to the entire point of this post.  I think I just set a record for burying the lead, behind 700 words.

The moment I stepped foot into Apartment 302 I knew it was for me.  From the foyer I told the leaser that I’d take it.  Turns out the place was a hot mess.  But with the expert help of my parents we turned it into the best apartment I’ve ever lived in, the closest thing to home-away-from-home you can get.

Apartment 302 was the epicenter of change for me.  New job, new major, new passion in photography, new friends and most importantly, where Ryan came into my life.

In May I graduated and with the closing of my academic life so closed the door to 302.  I moved out of the Fredrick and into Ryan’s home.  Never have I felt so attached to an apartment, not since my place in San Francisco.  Seeing the apartment empty of all that made it mine was heartbreaking.  I felt like I had just lost a best friend.

The empty space where my bed once rested now bare.  I can remember the creaks of the floorboards, how the closet door never really closed and how loud radiator was in the winter.

This is where Cake and a Movie Night originated.  Dozens of movies, dozens of cakes and over a hundred strangers passed through.

Definitely the best part of his apartment was the living room.  I can’t put into words all of the magic spelled in this space.

Happiness and heartbreak.  Discovery and discouragement.

Many of you reading this have been in my apartment.  That’s one of the crazy things to me.  It’s not just that this place meant so much to me it’s that it affected so many other people.  I imagine it as a nucleus circled by these collected memories.

But as the story goes, all things must come to an end and now I’m working on a new life in a new home where new memories will be made, new obstacles conquered and all that comes along with it.

Why not leave a comment with your favorite memory at this apartment? I know a lot of you have many to share 😀

Quickie Update

Just a little update, more later.

  • Political Research paper proposal got highest possible grade
  • Photography critique went really well
  • Photography professor wants me to teach a 20-40 minute session on how I do my style of photography!
  • Moved the aquarium so that it does not sit directly over about $4000 in Nikon camera bodies/lenses good idea right?
  • Re-arranging things in the apartment, OCD is making me crazy!
  • Continuing to workout, no weight loss but can tell I’m building muscle
  • I have lots of class this weekend, 12.5 hours of it!
  • Got a free Chipotle burrito the other day with Micheal, then felt sick all day haha.  Oh well, tasty enough that it was worth it.
  • Geoffrey is coming into town, Hurray!  Can’t wait to see him.  He’ll be staying at my apartment and I’ll be retreating to the condo.
  • Carrie is coming into town!  I hope we can get some time to play with cameras 🙂
  • Still waiting to get that new Epson Printer… Waiting to see if they replace the Epson Stylus Pro 3800 for a 3880 or a 3900 (I want vivid magenta and roll paper!!!)

So that’s a quick blast update, kinda like Blogography’s Bullet Sunday 🙂

Always Busy

It seems like every week I’m flying out somewhere or otherwise taking a trip out of town.

Texas, Birmingham, Chicago, Kansas City, Saint Louis, San Francisco… This Monday I’m flying out to Raleigh North Carolina and giving a presentation to the North Carolina Sweet Potato Commission and then Ryan will join me in Texas to spend a long weekend with my grandmother and grandfather at their home there outside of Austin.

I am really excited/nervous about the trip to Texas.  This is the first time that I have really integrated a boyfriend in my family life.  I have always wanted to do so with my past boyfriends (namely, only, Landon and Geoffrey) but a mixture of my fear and my family’s obvious distaste for that quelched any chances of something like this.

However, my family seems to just love Ryan, a lot.  I mean, why not?  He’s smart, funny, loving, cute, incredibly diligent, charming and so kind.  He has helped me grow and feel comfortable in my skin.  He is such a light in my life and my family must see that.  He emails back and forth with my grandmother and my parents ask about him everytime we talk on the phone.  How great is that?

So anyways, going to be busy traveling but it will be a lot of fun and let’s be honest, getting out of Columbia is about the best thing one can do in the summer!

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Take to the Lake 2008

I’m here at the Lake of the Ozarks with my fraternity brothers. We have been having a great time just shooting the shit, drinking, getting kicked out of bars, waking up early, going onto the lake, getting breakfast, bitching about stuff, bathing in the sun, go-carting through the storms, bar-b-quing, drinking some more, try our vices and… sitting by the pool.

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Oh and today Geoffrey and I went shopping at the outlet mall.  We went to J. Crew, Brooks Brothers, The Gap, Banana Republic, you know the usual gay shopping excursion suspects.  I didn’t get too much but Geoffrey got quite a bit at Ralph Lauren.  I just got one pair of khaki pants haha.

I wasn’t actually looking forward so much to going. I have a lot of stuff to get done in not a lot of time, school, work, scheduling classes, traveling for work and for fun, it’s just a busy time. But boy and I glad that I went.

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Last night we went to Risky’s, did some fun karaoke, drank the first hour free… I guess that’s what probably lead to us getting kicked out. Oops.

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Today was more civil. I’m sad that I’m leaving tomorrow but I guess all great things must end. Acacia is in a new generation and in all the changes I guess I lost what I had with these brothers. I hope to hang out with my alumni brothers more often, especially those that live in Columbia.

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Scouts Concert

Last night, after enjoying a meatless bar-b-que with Geoffrey I went off to The Blue Note to see Chase’s band, Scouts, play.

I hung around for the first band to play, headed by a feisty lesbian (broad assumption), they rocked pretty hard.  Not my particular style, but I did enjoy their sound.  I had not been to The Blue Note in a while so that was fun in itself.  Not many people were around for the first band, but as they left the stage and Scouts went on to setup, people starting coming in through the woodwork.

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I watched them set up their stuff.  Glad I didn’t have to do it.

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They were awesome, of course.  Just for who cares, my friend Chase is the guy directly above this picture.  It’s pretty cool, like three of the guys in the band all play percussion, keyboard and guitar.  Something like that.  I thought that was pretty awesome, but maybe that’s cause i don’t play any of those things…

I went upstairs to waste some time while their broke down their stuff and saw a sign for the women’s restroom and it totally reminded me of how Chase says “ladies”.  So… I took a picture of it.  Of course I did.

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The concert was great, I look forward to hearing them play again, hopefully a longer set.  I’m also hoping to do some photography for them, just like some studio type work, but we’d need to find a cool set/place and I’d probably need to get some new strobes (read, an SB-800 or two) to do it properly.  Course, for that money, I could get an AlienBees strobe light setup which would kick 20 SB-800’s collective asses!

 

Six Flags!

Now the good. We had an absolute blast at Six Flags St. Louis. The park was pretty much dead on gay day, which was kinda sad, but it meant no wait for the rides!

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It was just Ryan, Jenny and I at the park.  Jeremy, his cousin and friend were on their own.  

 

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I had not been on a roller coaster in years.  Probably not since before high school, so this was going to be a lot of fun.  We road every ride, taking advantage of there being no lines.

After Six Flags we went to Jenny’s, took a nap, played with her puppy and then had a fantastic dinner with Geoffrey at this place called Duff’s.

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Despite all the stress and trouble getting to St. Louis and getting around the city, we had a wonderful time.

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What Can Go Wrong…

Ryan and I had this plan.  The plan was that we would have a couple of friends join us to St. Louis where Six Flags was “celebrating” GLBT Day.  The idea was, two hotel rooms, one car, four friends driving, having drinks with mutual and new friends Saturday night, waking up Sunday and picking up Jenny and going to the park for a fun filled day of rides and expensive bottles of water.

Well damn!

My car broke down.  A recalled part landed my car in the shop.  Coincidentally, that recalled part cost me money to get fixed…

Ryan’s car was too small for four people and the air conditioner is on the fritz so we investigated a rental car.  Every dealer was sold out.

Jeremy’s cousin volunteered to drive us, quite nice of her.  A few problems there.  That made a total of five people driving up in a car made for four people.  Never mind picking up Jenny the next day, never mind that we wouldn’t have a way to see our friends for drinks that night.  Never mind that the other three in the car would be under 21 and thus unable to go out with us.

We get about ten miles outside of town when I get a phone call from my dad that he has managed to get us a rental car.  Our driver reluctantly turns the car around.  (Not so secretly, I was thankful to get out of the car.  Between the packed backseat to the driving skills of our 17 year old driver… I was ready to get the hell out of there).

The car rental place does indeed have a car for us.  It’s a 2008 Ford Mustang GT.

You’ve got to be kidding.

$75 a day, 14-20mpg and you have to be 25 to rent it.  I’m 23.  Reluctantly, again, our driver brings us back to the condo.  Ryan and I decide we will just take his mustang.  It was really the only choice.  So we go inside the condo to pick up a few things… and notice the fabulous trail of chocolate tracked in by my flip flops.

For real?  OMG.

We work hard to clean up the mess, it was actually a bit fun, thanks mostly to Ryan’s eternally positive attitude.

So we clean up the floor, pick up our things, get some gas, buy a few drinks and drive.  We have fun in the car because… well we always have fun together.  If left on an otherwise deserted island and given the option to bring one thing with me, it would be Ryan.

He makes me laugh, he makes me see the brighter side of things.  He makes me feel whole.

Ryan would bring hydrogen peroxide.  He isn’t as romantic as I am in times like these.  wink wink

We make it to the hotel, we get dinner, and ultimately decide that driving 40 minutes to meet our already partially drunk friends at a bar and then have to find our way home would be a bad idea.  Plus our other three people are under 21.

After about an hour of talking to each other about me allowing myself to be trampled on by my friends and my exes, we head downstairs to the bar.  Ryan charms the bartender, I drink my vodka and Sprite.  It was tasty.  We again, have a wonderful time together.

We wake up, head to Jenny’s, get lost… get lost some more.  Get bagels, cheat the system at Panera, get to Jenny’s, eat said bagels, meet her roommate, meet her roommate’s boyfriend and his friend, head to Six Flags.  We forget the camera.  Holy shit.

About the park later.

After the day at the park, we went back to Jenny’s, took a nap, took a shower, and headed out to see Geoffrey for dinner.  Got lost, then we got really lost.  Then we made it.

This weekend has convinced me that Ryan and I have to get a Garmin, or at the least, I’ll definitely have to get the new iPhone 3G with built in GPS.  Holy hell.

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