Barrett Manor

Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.


Fresh (almost) daily from Julie Barrett

Yes, Feline Friday is in a bit. Today was another self-enforced "step away from the compter" day. All in all, it was a success, but it was certainly busy.

I started the day off with another walk. Wonderful. Then I went to attack the patio. My cunning plan for this evening was to cook dinner on the grill and eat on the patio, but darned if the patio table didn't come apart as I moved it.

To be fair, the table was a cheap interim table I'd bought maybe a decade ago with the plan to buy something better. You know how THAT goes. No doubt about it: Time for a new table.

My first stop was a few store web sites. Why flit from store to store burning gas and fraying nerves when I could look at tables online? The plan was good as far as it went. There was one store I was anxious to check out, but they wouldn't let me even peek at their stock without taking my e-mail address, snail mail address, phone number, and shoe size. Screw 'em. Even if gas still cost a buck a gallon, I refuse to waste my time going from store to store if I don't have to. Especially in the kind of traffic we have around here.

Cross one store off the list.

I found a likely candidate at Garden Ridge. After Chris got home from school we piled in the truck and drove over. I liked the table and chairs I saw in the online flyer, so I went to check their stock. Garden Ridge is one of those places where you grab stuff yourself and haul it to checkout. Oh, they have people to help if you ask, but I had teenaged muscle with me!

The table was not in the stock area.

We looked and looked, and finally Chris offered to go ask someone to check the back room. It sounded like a plan to me, as the next interesting patio set was a hundred bucks more. He finally returned to report that he had found a stack of tables - halfway back in the store.

Well, of course. When I buy patio furniture, I go look in the purses and luggage area! Not. SO not.

We looked at the boxes and thought about the size of the truck bed. We have a Ranger, which is practical, but small. The truck also has a lid on the bed, which limits what we can haul unless we take the time and effort to remove the lid. So we went out to the truck to see if we could find something we could use to take measurements. I ended up with half of a tie-down strap. (The straps come in two parts: One part threads through a ratchet which is attached to the other strap.) I took a couple of measurements with the strap and walked inside. We discovered that the rectangluar table would fit nicely in the back of the truck. We put that one one cart, and a stack of four slingback chairs on a second and went up to the checkout.

Naturally, the table wouldn't fit in the lane, so I moved that cart up to the front while Chris stood in line with the chairs. We got it all paid for and went back to the truck. The table fit just fine, but the lid wouldn't close.

After much wailing and gnashing of teeth, we used a tie-down strap to close the lid halfway on the chairs, and secured the chairs with a cargo net.

"You know this is illegal," Chris said as we got into the car. "But I don't think they'll pull you over."

Oh, thanks. I mean, how many pickup trucks full o' crap do you see on the road? Of course, Murphy's Law applies to me - in spades. Tough. I took a chance and went. Yes, we made it home fine.

Chris helped me unload the truck, and I realized that it was pushing 3:00. I had promised that I'd make a stop in Buckingham, and I still needed a few things for dinner. And oh, crap: I hadn't started laundry.

I threw in a large load of jeans with the intention of telling Chris to put them in the dryer and start the next load. Before I could say anything he informed me that he had to get down to the school to take a math test. Fine. I took off to Buckingham, and discovered that I was out of gas.

Driving around town on Friday is one thing. Driving around town after 2:00 is another. Rush hour in the DFW area starts at 2:00 on Friday. I filled the truck and waited on a line of cars to creep past the pumps so I could leave, then I took off to Buckingham.

Ah, Buckingham. An oasis in a very dry area. That's a long story I've relayed here before. I stopped there for both groceries and liquor (different stores) and went back home to assemble the table.

I knew it was going to be fun when I saw the instruction sheet was written in Engrish. Chris came out to help, and we had the table together in no time. We were just pulling the last of the paper off of the chairs when Paul pulled up.

So yes, we cooked shish kabobs that I bought in Buckingham and sat out on the patio talking and watching the sun dip low. It was nice.

I still have laundry to finish. Ugh.


Filed under: Life            
4/11/2008 8:59:54 PM
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