Oliver and Sparrow Visit the IRS

Austin's IRS building, with I-35 showing in the background.
Austin’s IRS building, with I-35 showing in the background.

So, Saturday, Austin was getting rain….again. I always wake up really early, which on weekends, really plays in my favor. Living in an apartment complex, there is always a line for the washing machines, except in the wee hours of the morning on the weekends. I hook Oliver and Sparrow to their leashes, grab the laundry basket, and we make our way down the stairs and out to the laundry mat. I divvy up the laundry in various machines, get them running, and scoop up my basket and soap, and headed back to my apartment. The dogs, obviously still sleepy and unimpressed with yet another batch of rain, sat quietly waiting for me to finish.

Feeling kind of good about the start of my day, and because it is rainy and gross, I do something I never do…. I let both of my dogs off their nasty wet leashes so they can run up the stairs without killing all of us.

The problem was, they had other plans, and the minute they were free, they gave each other a look, and BAM!! They were gone. Just like that. I, of course, drop my empty laundry basket, running after them around the corner, and screeching their names, but in the split second for me to make it around, they weren’t in sight.

Now, to truly paint an accurate picture, you need to know that I sit almost directly by I-35, the busiest, nastiest highway in the state of Texas. The crossroad is equally busy, sporting easy access to a nearby Walmart and Home Depot. The chances my two idiot dogs are going to come out of this alive are slim. This isn’t Red Rock.

I walk around in the rain, calling their names, praying, and forcing myself to breathe so I wouldn’t really freak out. I walked

Near my apartment
Near my apartment

the apartment complex, the next door complex, a nearby motel parking lot, and finally got in my car and drove along I-35, hoping I wouldn’t see two dead dogs in the side of the road. Nothing.

Finally, I decide to go see if they have hopefully returned home. Nope.

2010, a person flew a plane on purpose, targeting the IRS building.

I trudge into my apartment, unable to not see that almost everything I own has something to do with those two animals. I shoot up a quick, almost frantic prayer to God, when I catch a glimpse of two dogs out of my living room window, running like thoroughbred horses around the IRS compound that stands majestically, and completely fenced in, across the busy road. It sports nice little NO TRESPASS signs everywhere that include the words “Tire Spikes” and “Fullest Extent of the Law”. Turns out, in 2010, there was an attack on the IRS (See here.). They weren’t kidding around when they say, stay away from this area.

“Those little s**ts …….,” I say, but really I’m thinking, “Oh, thank God!”

I grab up their grubby leashes and bolt out of the door. I manage to make it across the busy road without getting hit. By now, it is pouring rain, and you can’t see much past a few feet ahead of you. I call their names, and luckily, they come straight towards me. Sparrow slipped through the bars easily, but fat Oliver had a little trouble. Suddenly, for no explicable reason, the automatic exit gate suddenly starts opening. No cars were coming, and as big as he is, Oliver shouldn’t be big enough to trigger the gate. I didn’t care. I snapped his leash on, and he joined the now subdued Sparrow, and we crossed the street and made it back home safely.

I will never do that again!!

~ Bird

Sparrow the Scholar Oliver the Scholar

Wisdom to Combat the Moving-Forward-And-Leaving- the-Past-Behind Blues

35015Rebekkah and I were driving from Red Rock to Austin the other day. It is about an hour drive, and we were conversing about some research she had heard about. She said anthropologists noted that whenever they arrived in the place where they would immerse themselves in a new culture, surrounding themselves with new people, new customs, new smells, new tastes…everything unfamiliar, they would experience a deep depression. But, she remarked, they also said that this black feeling would go away on average, about two weeks into the experience.

Texas isn’t a new place for me, but it has been over a decade since I cs-lewis-quote-better-things-550x320lived here for real. Last year, I was here two months, but Dad was really sick, and the wounds from losing my husband were still tender. This time, I blew up my bridges in Oklahoma. I did this on purpose. I learned a lot from my nomadic childhood, and leaving foundations in places that are, as a whole, not good for you, will leave you open to the temptation to return again and rebuild. It isn’t really necessary to go into detail why Tulsa is bad for both my kids and me. Suffice it to say, we simply should not go back and try again. But, I did not blow up bridges to people I love who were only good to me. Tulsa as a whole, is not where I should be. But I will carry a piece of her with me forever, in the shapes and memories of people who I love.

download (2)I left behind people that I will miss terribly. The Lord gave me Janice and Larry, who both taught me to stay calm, and not be so extreme all the time. Holly taught me what it looks like to walk and not faint, and walk and walk and walk, and still, not faint. Sonya and Kendra, some of my very favorite people, gave me Oliver. ‘Nuff said, right?

Stephanie made me feel like there were other eccentric souls just like me, and I 14feae356bda6cfe978afc0e40e434a3don’t have to feel alone so much. (I have every intention of using all my persuasive skills to lure her to live here in Texas among other weirdos like us!) I left behind Rob and his sweet little girls and some of my other Red & Gold friends, and my very best Oklahoma friend ever, Kim. I will miss you most of all, Kim-alicious!!

24772This move cost me something, as they all do. But most of all, I left behind Chef. I cried like the first day I realized my marriage was lost to me forever, and then I wiped away the tears, put the car in drive, and left that sadness behind with the rest of the broken hopes and dreams born, burned, and buried in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Chef is truly on his journey with the Lord alone now. No more interference from me.

Unlike a whole unfamiliar culture, Texas reminds me daily of its own c-s-lewis-quoteunchanging personality, and in a way, it welcomes me back. I recognize the smells of wildflowers and mesquite trees. I can pick out the cicadas’ songs from the choir of other nocturnal insects that sing at night. The heat is different here, and every single allergy I’ve had in Oklahoma has instantly disappeared. I was born and bred here, and my immune system is delighted.

download (2)My Oklahoma dogs, despite their rocket scientist rat poison incident, run and play like I have never seen them frolic.  They don’t know why, but they are positive they deserve this slice of heaven as a reward of some kind.

It’s been less than a week, and I’m finally emerging from the fog of a new life thatQuotes-C-S-Lewis-the-golden-trio-char-jezzi-and-anj-32352771-528-199 looks so different than any I’ve had before. This time, I’m not a freshly separated woman, wounded and still bleeding. I’m just another girl, moving to Texas to be near a family I love. The future looks hopeful, though unfocused. I’ve learned throughout my life, just because I can’t imagine what something is going to feel like, it doesn’t mean I won’t like the way it feels. I am relaxed. I am cheerful. I am hopeful. And I am excited.

17abc9dd53eb1a7f5a6a8d56132c2b18Whenever I find myself down, I like to drag out C.S. Lewis’ books, and peruse through his unearthly wisdom about being a foreigner longing for home. I thought tonight, EHAS would share a little of his timeless quotes. We are all trying to walk and not faint these days, wouldn’t you say?

I hope you have a new forest of dreams growing in your lives! Life shouldn’t be full of droughts! Yes. Sometimes, fires of life can wipe out acres and acres of hopes and dreams; but, don’t grieve too long for what once grew in your heart, and is no more. Instead, delight yourself in the new life that will begin to grow there. There is a time to weep; but remember, there is time to laugh again too.

~ Bird

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