CroutonBoy here, reporting from lovely downtown Austin, TX, where the temperature is a cool, brisk 105 degrees, and the sun sparkles off the faux glasses of hipsters and the crack pipes of the homeless.
It's been a whirlwind few weeks for the Crouton clan. Our family has been rent asunder for a time, as I commence my Giant, Super-Important Job here in the fine state of Texas while Oodgie bides her time poolside in the North Fork. It's beer-thirty, and I'm hiding out in my temporary apartment overlooking Town Lake until I can go outside without my pale skin smoking and popping in the late day sun. It seemed like a good opportunity to break radio silence and give y'all a quick update.
...is very good. I'm only a couple weeks in, I know, but to my delight it's been better than I'd hoped. For starters it appears that they base hiring decisions primarily on sarcasm, which makes integration pretty seamless for me. I'm sharing an office with another New York transplant who is maniacally focused on bitching about the Yankess and psychologically destroying anyone who doesn't exhibit a modicum of intellect. I'm busy doing stuff I'm very good at (if I do say so myself) and already feel like I'm making a difference. And also, free bagels on Thursdays, so there's that, too.*
In case you didn't catch it over on DadCentric, we bought a house. It took three days of looking, five days of ruminating, and what felt like 15 minutes of negotiations, but we are now the proud owners of two mortgages! In the meantime, our beloved pad in Brooklyn hits the market this weekend, when a bunch of strangers will spend two hours poking through our closets and ridiculing our choice of furnishings. I really haven't had much of a chance to step back and take it all in. Part of me feels like I should be crying myself to sleep at night on my huge pillow, but most of me is thinking about how I can fit a pool table into the spare guest room. Get your SXSW reservations in early, kids, otherwise you're staying in tents out back...
We bought two of them. Holy crap. No one walks here, but that's what happens when you live inside a microwave.
So far, so good. Only once have I ever felt like I was in stereotypical Texas, and that was when I drove to a baseball stadium in Round Rock to see Clap If You're Very White Tour. That was like a tour of Willie Nelson's colon. But otherwise I feel like I'm in a very hot version of Portland or Minneapolis, which ain't a bad thing. Granted, I've spent most of my time either at the office or buying all the stuff I used to take for granted, like dishwashing soap and salt, but I can find my way around without any unexpected surprises.
When we first talked about me going down to Austin ahead of the family, I was a little psyched. Me, staying in an apartment downtown, by myself, walking distance to all the fun and frolic Austin has to offer and equipped with an Xbox and the complete series' of Firefly and Freaks & Geeks for when I feel like staying in. I figured I'd reclaim my mantle of man of leisure for a few months before settling back into family life. That may be the case, but I miss Oodgie and Cheeky. A lot. On the day I left Cheeky looked up at me and asked, "Daddy, are you going to be home in time to tuck me in tonight?" and I nearly lost it. We have the standard phone conversations you have with any four year-old, in which long pauses are interrupted by out of context stories about princess dresses and breakfast, and I get pictures/letters in the mail, but it's no substitute. Unlimited freedom has its limitations; I wish they were here.
BUT that doesn't mean I'm not gonna have fun in the mean time. My best friend from high school is in Killeen for a few weeks, and we'll spend the weekend running from shady bar to shady bar. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves is playing at Alamo Drafthouse. Hell, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, and Redman are playing tonight somewhere in town. So if you're anywhere around Central Texas, y'all are invited to the CroutonPad. It may be temporary, it may be hot, but it won't be boring.
* And yes, I know they aren't the same as New York bagels. Whatever. They're free.