“When Solitaire’s The Only Game in Town“ 🎼:

My Summer as a Big Girl in Austin, TX., circa summer of 2021

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Okay, you folks didn’t ask, but I can’t not tell. So here’s what Cooper and I really got up to in Austin in July….

I’ll try to tell it in “categories”, which makes perfect sense to me:

A. WHAT I TOOK WITH ME:

Enough Said

B. THE DRIVE UP THERE:

Was horrific, as All Time Served on Highway 35 is horrific. Particularly about halfway between San Antonio and Austin in this little town called New Braunfels. Why? Because The Powers That Be decided that 6:00pm on the Thursday before July 4th weekend would be a good time to take I-35’s 8 lanes down to 1 for construction. So technically, Cooper and I spent our first night parked on 35 in New Braunfels. Which made us so happy to arrive at our new home❣️

It was looooong.

C. WHERE I STAYED:

A 500 square foot “college apartment” as I like to call it. One I wouldn’t have even considered living in for a month in my 30s but positively adored in my [very] early 50s (why does it always hurt to say that, even after all these years?).

Anyway, aside from being on the second floor, which neither Cooper nor I liked much, everything else was fabulous❣️ Okay, and the parking did kind of suck, but why are we quibbling when I had such a good time??!!

Anyway, there was a bathroom with a bathtub (thank you!), a galley kitchen (all I needed with Amazon Fresh and Uber Eats), a TV (with free Netflix- score again!), and most importantly to me, a bed (any bed). Because that’s where I intended to spend most of my time.

I told you where I spent most of my time!

D. ALL THE NEW PEOPLE I MET:

I met plenty of boys, but I’ll just tell you about the one named Lucas. Lucas was 7-years-old back then (3 months ago), and I’m pretty sure he still is. Despite his young age, Lucas became my friend. He was the older son of my Airbnb hostess, and she was a single-by-choice mom of two kids. At my age, people! I think that’s pretty badass. She was really open about the fact that she got this wonderful guy to donate his sperm to her and about another couple hundred women for the purposes of making intelligent, charming, and beautiful babies no matter who’s X was attached to his Y. And Lucas was – is – all of those things: intelligent, charming, and beautiful.

Anyway, the 3 of us (me, Lucas, and Lucas’s mom) struck up a little deal. Since they lived a few houses away from my apartment, since my apartment was on the second floor, and since it was hot outside (more about that last irritant below), Lucas came over every couple of days to take Cooper for a quick walk. Then, he “literally” (good way to use it for a change) had to stay and talk with me while we waited for his mom to pick him up. The only wisdom I shared with him all that time was about the correct use of the word “literally.” Then I quizzed him about 5 different ways to make sure his understanding was comprehensive, and I was gratified to hear it was. I got a dog-walker, a friend, and a captive (I mean “student”) to listen to my interesting lectures for the bargain price of $2 a visit❣️ Best money I’ve spent in a long time!

Cooper, thriving in the fresh air of dog urine. It was good for me to get out in the sunshine, too, because we literally both got to talk to at least 5 dogs on each walk.

E. THE RESTAURANTS I ATTENDED:

My Apartment, Truluck’s, and this typically-pretentiously-Austin restaurant called “Hestia.” Details are below, and hey, I’m doing them a solid with the viral exposure I’m giving them for free, so don’t worry about them! Plus, at the prices they charge, they’re laughing all the way to those crypto-currency sites.

Anyway, I think this was the vibe they were going for: something along the lines of “Quick Dirt-to-Table Time” or somesuch nonsense like that. The guy in the tight mauve velvet suit who spoke with an unplaceable accent (and people: I’ve seen the world!) got really excited when he started explaining this concept, but I fell asleep about 3 hours in. Fortunately (and there are several “fortunatelies” to this tale), I came to as the cocktails arrived. Good thing at $20 a pop. And then there were something like 48 miniature courses, all of them explaining that concept I told you about that I was fortunately (there’s another one!) able to snooze through. But I woke up when those expensive drinks hit the table! And can I say that the courses just kept on coming? I mean, like loooong after I’d taken the Uber back home, brushed my teeth, and fallen back asleep. Fortunately (!), my friend Julie watched my dog Cooper so his separation anxiety wouldn’t get separated when I left for this meal from The Early Roman Orgy Period. You know: the ones that lasted Forever And A Day?

The final fortunately of this particular evening, and it’s the biggest one of all folks, is that I was not required to pay a dime towards all this “Beautiful People in Velvet Suits” luxury.

And am I ever grateful for that! Because I saw the prices and was awake for at least 5 of those courses, so I’m absolutely certain the bill was somewhere in the middle 300s. Damn! Was I ever glad to escape that one!

Here are Hestia’s details because the food really was very good.

Plus, the Uber driver on the way up there was very friendly and talkative and when I told him the exact year I had been born in Austin (19XX, and that’s all I’m saying publicly; he’d become a friend by then). Anyway, what he said – as he looked at me through the rear-view mirror – was “Well, don’t worry; you don’t look anywhere near that old.” Which in Austin qualifies as a “fortunately”: trust me, it was a compliment! And I take them whenever and wherever I can. I’m particularly fond of forcing them out of captives, though the Uber driver swore up and down he was being truthful about it. And that it had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with his tip. I’m inclined to believe him, aren’t you?

I totally forgot where I was going with this post again! Menopause is really hitting me hard, Friends❣️ I think I’m getting wiser all the time, but I’ve got all this teenage angst and vanity hitting me up at the time, and I’ve got to say: it’s really magnified in a youth-centric town like Austin.

(I’m doing it again! I keep forgetting Austin is no longer a town!).

I know, it was the last “category” on my list: What I Did. So here you go:

F. WHAT I DID (while there, a little ironic this chapter comes with a grade of “F”, since I think I finally mastered it):

Absolutely nothing!! And it was so wonderful! No one there to collect my trash 25/8, no real worries (other than my standard ones), and my freedom. YES‼️ My FREEDOM‼️ 🎉🇺🇸🇹🇴🇬🇧 (I tried to choose flags from known supposedly-free countries to reflect my point).

Anyway, all I really wanted to do was Whatever I Wanted To Do Whenever I Wanted To Do It. Is that really so much to ask? I mean, is it?? Was it excessive? Because aside from the Amazon Fresh deliveries, I thought I kept this whole adventure pretty frugal and peace-loving: sort of like a summer in an old VW bus.

The ultimate luxury? Keeping the thermostat on 65 degrees! With only 500 feet of living place, it cooled down in a real jiffy! And let’s face it: this was South Central Texas in July. I’ve repeatedly confessed to some rather vexing hormone imbalances that often show up in unbearably hot ways.

But again I digress! I must be a Digressor. I’m also a Preparor. I had my hair coiffed, nails painted, and waxing waxed beforehand. Because you know those people are hard to find in a new town! And I fully intended to look gorgeous every single day! I actually refused not to. So even though I was referred to as “middle-aged” in that police report I told you guys about earlier, I knew I was killing it.

At least my little brush with the law had nothing to do with my marijuana consumption (which I always think of as “recent,” but if I’m painfully honest with myself, “recent” is about the last 3 years). Please don’t tell the cops about that, okay? I did say “What happened in Austin stays in Austin”: I just need to amend that to include “especially if the Austin Police Department are involved.”

No need to get specific here.
I can’t explain the Def Leppard, either. But the audiobook pretty much took up the entire month, so I don’t get why everyone’s saying I was so lazy up there.

So between Lucas helping me out with my Cooper walks and my Determination To Do Nothing, I pretty much accomplished my goals! Not to mention, I really sharpened up my Solitaire game while I was up there. Do you see how well I did in that screenshot below? Do you have any idea how many games it takes to land on one you could potentially totally dominate? Let’s just say y’all would’ve been mpressed by my determination (there’s that inner determination showing up again!)

Anyway. I won’t say anymore about my score (we all know how impressive it is), but I will say that I am a member of the Fewest Moves school of thought. And I’m a very deep thinker. I know some people just want to get it all over with as quickly as possible, but I actually prefer Perfection to Speed. Honestly, it’s a mystery to me why Everyone’s always in such a rush!

And I’m not even addressing the “Quality vs. Quantity” debate here, let me make that perfectly clear. I’m just fine with Quantity – in fact I’m quite the fan. But never, and I repeat never, at the expense of Quality. I didn’t go all the way to Austin just to eat McDonald’s, now did I?

Or to play so much Solitaire, for that matter. Because let’s be honest, we all know that’s why I went up there in the first place! I will never [purposely] mislead you here. Because I’m very transparent and honest and value those qualities in others. Unless they’re opposing me on Solitaire or have apparently become so offended by my parking that they felt the need to call the Austin Fucking Police Department about it! Let’s just stay away from this whole topic, okay? I’m starting to get a little uncomfortable.

Anyway, deep breath taken and we’re back to the topic of Why I Love Solitaire So Much. One: it’s both consistent AND reliable. Two: I don’t have to put on that insufferable magnetic eyeliner just to play with it. Three (and these aren’t in any order of importance): as long as my iPhone has juice, so does my Solitaire.

Which was always very comforting to me when I’d go [back to] bed, iPhone next to me charging all night.

Along with all of my other electronic devices.

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