Monday, September 11, 2006

I remember

I remember being awakened by my roommate pounding on my door shouting something about a plane crashing into a building. I remember thinking, "What can I do about that? I should just go back to sleep," but something in his voice made me think this might be something more than a random accident and I should check it out. I got up in time to see the second plane hit and the towers fall, and it was obvious that it could no longer be an accident.

I remember a trip down to NYC from RPI two years earlier, where my buddy Seth and I walked into the lobby of the WTC and found out that it cost $12 to get to the top as a tourist. That's a lot of money to a grad student, so I said, "This will always be here, let's just see that some other time..." Nope.

I remember how earlier that month, I had worn a t-shirt with a small American flag on it, and a friend commented that nobody wore flags anymore. After thinking about that, we realized we hadn't really seen much patriotic wear or patriotism in general (singing along with the national anthem, etc.) since Desert Storm. That was about to change dramatically.

I remember how a culture whose only heroes came from sporting events suddenly saw real heroes in action on Flight 93 and many parts of Ground Zero. The whole event really demonstrated how trivial most of our everyday lives are. I remember churches being full in the weeks that followed, as people struggled to understand what happened. Was it a momentary blip on our consciousness before we consumed ourselves again with celebrity worship and banality?

I remember thinking that it wouldn't be long before we would be struck again. How hard could it be to strike a school, a mall, or a stadium? Our sense of invincibility shattered. Yet five years later, no major blow.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

blah blah blah

Almost a year ago, we had to replace our washer when it failed. We limped along using our old dryer out of sheer cheapness/stubbornness. Then last week we wandered into Lowe's to look at faucets and decided to see how much the dryer was. It was still $850. We decided we could live with the old dryer for a while longer at that price. One of the workers there saw us looking at the dryer, and told us they had a returned one available at a discount. Sure enough, they had one for $500, the only catch being they had had to swap out a part. For $350 off, we were happy to take it. However, with returned items, they don't deliver the new dryer nor do they haul away your old one. Picking the new one up was easy, but how would we get rid of the old one? Craigslist to the rescue again! I put the add out for a free dryer, and in less than 10 hours I had 17 responses. The dryer was gone the next day.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Trader Joe's to go

My wife has developed quite a system to keep herself stocked with her favorite goods from Trader Joe's grocery store while living in a state that has no TJ locations. Fortunately, virtually all of our family and friends live in close proximity to a TJs, so any time we go to visit them, my wife brings along extra luggage for the specific purpose of bringing back food. Also, when they come out to visit us, my wife requests certain foods from them as well. I would never have suspected it, but according to the Dallas Morning News, my wife is leading a trend.

It looked like a lot of luggage for a weekend trip: Three suitcases and two big boxes. But it was easy carrying them to the airline counter. Most were empty.

I was taking them to New Mexico to fill them up.

Two days later, when I checked in at the Albuquerque airport for the flight home, they were stuffed. I had boxes packed with wine, Thai-spiced peanuts, cans of corn chowder, organic dog biscuits, hand lotion, dried gooseberries and much more. Yes, I know we have grocery stores in Dallas. But we don't have a Trader Joe's.