Pinch Me

by Marinka on December 4, 2008

Today I have two awesome guest posters. Jessica from Bern This and Wendi Aarons from They’re Not All Gems.  We thought that it would be fun if we each wrote a post about living in Austin, Los Angeles and New York.  Because I live in  NYC, I got that one.  Their fantastic posts are below.  Mine is at their blogs.  
The first time that I went to Jessica’s blog, I kept looking over at her picture because she is much too beautiful to be so fucking funny. There’s got to be some kind of rule–either pretty or funny. Or sort of pretty and kind of funny, but not full blast both. Because what fun is that for the rest of us? Except those of us with eyes, and a sense of humor, that is. It’s great fun for us.
Her post about shopping at the Gap is priceless.


Want to know of a great way to commit suicide in Los Angeles? Try standing in an empty parking spot along the side of a busy thoroughfare, lined with restaurants, at the heart of rush hour and refuse to move, no matter what.

You want a nice way to raise your blood pressure? Stand in said parking spot for over TEN MINUTES while a variety of people try to back into the space while you yell out, “you wanna park here? Fine, but you’re going to have to run me over first!”

You want to know how many people in Los Angeles care when you tell them you’re holding the spot because you’re trying to help out a friend with two small children? ZERO.

You want to know how many people in Los Angeles care when you switch your reason to “a friend with two small children and advanced Multiple Sclerosis?” because you are now becoming afraid that the whole “then you’re going to have to run me over” line is becoming less of a threat and more of an impending reality? ZERO

This really happened to me the other day.

First there was the gal in the Jeep Cherokee. She didn’t put up much of a fight, I’ll grant you, but did take a moment to call me a stupid c&$*t before driving away, all without ever getting off her cell phone.

Then there was the man, who pulled up and then just sat at the wheel and glared at me for what felt like forever. I can’t tell you exactly what kind of car he was in, but I do remember feeling this rush of joy because I finally came face to face with someone who actually drives a bigger piece of crap than I do.

After that came the old lady in her Jaguar with the handicap sign hanging from her rearview mirror. I honestly told myself that if she started to back in, the spot was hers. This is exactly the type that you read about in the paper, you know the ones who drive through a storefront, killing everyone inside because they could have sworn they’d put the car in reverse.

The best (worst)of them all was the Prius. The car was filled with girls in their twenties. At first the driver slowly backed in and didn’t stop until her bumper was a mere couple of feet from me. I only know this because, although I had my back to them and refused to turn around, Phoebe, who was standing on the sidewalk at the time yelled out, “Mommy, they’re coming!” I’m guessing, after realizing that my kid was right there, they actually grew a conscience which is why they finally drove away but of course not before tossing a dollar out the window and yelling, “Get a f#&*g babysitter”.

“We are the World, We are the Children, We are the ones who make a brighter day so let’s start giving…..” Yeah, right……

I discovered Wendi’s blog this summer and I loved it so much that I just sat in front of my computer waiting for her to post again.  Then someone told me about subscribing to a blogger’s feed, which is a good thing because otherwise I’d probably still be sitting there. As opposed to sitting here now.  Wendi’s post about her near-Jaws experience is one of my top ten favorite shark posts.
Why Austin by Wendi Aarons, They’re Not All Gems

Ten years ago, when Chris and I told our friends in Los Angeles that we were packing up and moving to Austin, Texas, everyone thought we were crazy. “But you don’t know anyone there,” they said. “You’ll miss the ocean,” they said. “Man, are you going to look terrible with big hair or what?” they said. But mostly, what they said, was, “Are you sure you’re doing the right thing? Because moving to Texas is like moving to a whole different country.”

And on that point, they were right.

Our first few years in Austin felt like a vacation in another land. Gone was the huge, hectic energy of L.A. Replacing it was our new home’s laid-back, friendly vibe. We both got great jobs and bought a big house in a quiet, leafy neighborhood. We spent our nights drinking margaritas and watching live music. Now, instead of mountains and beaches, we explored rolling hills and out of the way swimming holes. Instead of salads and sushi, we stuffed ourselves with Tex-Mex and all-you-can eat BBQ. And every time someone smiled at us and drawled, “How all y’all doin’?” we felt charmed down to our toes. I loved our new city like crazy. Until it wasn’t new anymore.

My Texas honeymoon started to wane right after we’d been in town for three years. At that point, I was no longer working at a cool, downtown ad agency, but had become the stay-at-home-mother of a wailing newborn and a balls-to-the-wall toddler. Our once-perfect house had suddenly started having very expensive issues. The only live music I heard on a regular basis was a sucky “Frere Jacques” on a Fisher-Price piano. And if the scorchingly hot summers didn’t exactly kill me, my horrendous allergies to Austin’s cedar trees came close. I had somehow become completely miserable. And Austin, my wonderful Austin, had sadly become nothing more than the place we just happened to live. The bloom was officially off the yellow rose.

But then one Sunday morning, we went to Rudy’s BBQ. (Conveniently located right off of a busy highway, Rudy’s is not only a restaurant, but also a gas station.) (I only wish I were kidding.) We’d become regulars at Rudy’s because Chris and Sam loved the breakfast tacos, but also because, with its plastic tablecloths, hand washing stations and burly men with big, efficient brooms, it was the perfect dining spot for a 2 year-old with the table manners of a famished wildebeest. Right after we stepped in the door that day, Chris went off in search of a plastic tray for our main entrees and I trudged over to the soda fountain to fill up my glamorous 32 oz. plastic cup. I had Jack in his baby carrier in one hand and Sam’s wiggly little arm in the other, but still somehow managed to get it done without spilling. But then, as I looked in vain for a straw, I glanced up at the closed circuit monitor showing live video of men cutting up meat in the kitchen (aka the “Cut Cam”)(again, I wish I were kidding) and I froze. And I thought:
Holy crap. Just where the hell am I?

Was I really eating brunch in a gas station? Had I really just parked our car next to a giant metal bottle of “BBQ Sause”? Was that me, ME, who’d just looked at an economy-sized bag of Doritos at 9 a.m. and actually thought “Oh, baby. Come to Mama”? And had I only a few seconds ago seriously considered wiping my son’s runny nose on my sleeve? What the hell had happened to me? For the love of God, had I somehow become a…a… loser?

As I stood there in full-blown Green Acres/Disney Princess identity crisis, my mind raced like mad, trying to figure out just what, exactly, had brought me to this point. True, when we’d moved from L.A., I’d left behind my job at a movie studio and all of my cool friends. And true, I no longer dressed in normal-sized, stylish clothes and I now ate lunch at The Macaroni Grill instead of The Ivy, but so what? Wasn’t I still sophisticated and worldly? Wasn’t I still the same woman I used to be? Wasn’t I still capable of pronouncing French words? Or had moving to Texas been my downfall? As I looked up at my reflection in the Cut Cam monitor, I saw a horribly pathetic woman, covered in sweatpants, spit-up and babies and holding a tanker ship full of Diet Coke, and suddenly, my eyes filled up with big, salty tears. Yep. The pity-party of the century was in full-swing.

But then, out of the corner of my puffy, weepy eyes, I suddenly saw a little, white object being waved in front of my face. And, blinking back tears, I turned my head slightly and realized that it was the end of a drinking straw. The very straw I’d been trying to find not a minute ago. Not taking my eyes off of it, I carefully put Jack’s carrier down on the ground and lifted my hand to grab at it. Then I took a deep breath, raised my eyes and looked up. And there, on the other end of the straw, was a 6 foot 2, 50 year-old grizzled man in an immaculate cowboy hat. The two of us stood there, in Rudy’s BBQ, for a few seconds, each of us holding our end of the straw and neither of us saying a word. And then this stranger, this man I’d never see again, simply looked into my eyes and gave me a quick nod, then let go and walked away. And that was when I knew. That genuine, kind and simple moment was when I knew. Austin is where I belong.

One year ago ...

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Vodka Mom December 5, 2008 at 4:44 am

Those were FANTASTIC! And now I’m heading over….


mo.stoneskin December 5, 2008 at 5:44 am

You want to know how many local cyclists get off their bike and walk over the FOOTbridge? ZERO!

You want to know how many local cyclists use lights when it is dark? ZERO!

You want to know whether the cyclist that barged past me last night with no lights apologised when I yelled “WHERE ARE YOU LIGHTS MATE?” ZERO! Well, actually, the answer to that one is NO!


Ann's Rants December 5, 2008 at 5:54 am

Thanks, Hilarious Blog Divas. My tears are welled up from that last moment. What Mom hasn’t had one of those “Is this REALLY me?” moments.


Tooj December 5, 2008 at 6:12 am

Those were GREAT. 🙂 Thanks for doing a swap today, gives me new blogs to go read. Happy Friday, you three.


Comedy Goddess December 5, 2008 at 6:57 am

Very well done guest posters! I laughed. I cried. Truly.


Smart A$$ Mom December 5, 2008 at 7:05 am

Wendi!! You romanticized me….Austin is my home town and living there is unlike any worldly experience. It is a mecca.


Carmi December 5, 2008 at 7:21 am

You have incredible taste in bloggers: they’re both such wonderful reads.

As are you.

Looking forward to reading more!


Z December 5, 2008 at 7:33 am

Ah, crap. Now you’ve introduced me to two new blogs I want to read… And I barely (well… don’t) have the time to read the ones I already know! Are you trying to kill me or something? Sheesh!


Always Home and Uncool December 5, 2008 at 8:09 am

Austin rocks. Voluntarily moving to Dallas, that’s insane.

Oh, well, hellooooo Mr. President.


Wendy December 5, 2008 at 8:21 am

I love reading that other places are as crazy as a tiny Vermont town…except in said town, half are your cousins…thanks for the cross-promotion!


ms. changes pants while driving December 5, 2008 at 8:23 am

marinka got bernthis?! of course she did.

jessica, i have NEVER had the balls to save a parking spot in san diego, much less LA. did your friend buy you an icecream? a nice bag? i can’t believe those B!tches threw a dollar at you.

wendy…. barbecue is all i heard.


Scary Mommy December 5, 2008 at 9:42 am

Damn it. MORE fantastic blogs to read. Thanks a bunch- who is going to care for my children now?!


Kirsten / Mama Ginger Tree December 5, 2008 at 9:56 am

Three of my favorite bloggers in one place. Pinch ME.


Sophie, Inzaburbs December 5, 2008 at 10:36 am

Marinka, not only is the back of your head beautiful, you are also very funny. So I am not surprised that you managed to attract such talent.

I only discovered Jessica yesterday but I think, Jessica, I know you well enough to point out your mistake – you should have been wearing dark glasses and a headset and making out you were holding the spot for a celebrity. I feel qualified to say this because yesterday I saw 4/5 of Britney For the Record on YouTube (never did figure out where the last 1/5 went, but I wish her luck).

Wendi, I have been in your place – minus the cowboy. And I don’t even get to live in Austin. But Texas is catching, and I’m not sure I could ever go back. Mostly because I no longer have the wardrobe.


Domestic Goddess (In Training) December 5, 2008 at 1:55 pm

Those were really great. I feel like I should apologize to the LA blogger, because I am pretty sure my in-laws were the prius driver and her friends. Oops.

And to the Austin stay home mom. Change set design to Indianapolis and the BBQ joint to a random fast food place and you are me. Or I am you.


*Akilah Sakai* December 5, 2008 at 1:58 pm

I already know Jessica and Wendi, and their humor. Now, I get to meet Marinka! You are freakin’ high-larious! What a nice start to the weekend.

This ‘triple dose’ was a great idea ladies.


Dan December 5, 2008 at 3:24 pm

Wendy! I’ve been in that Rudy’s! I can *so* picture you there. Thanks for the hilarious and touching literary snapshot.


Temple December 5, 2008 at 9:33 pm

The Atlanta Housewives didn’t mention the NY Housewives…they were WAY too busy yelling about fake cancer, wigs, and screaming ” I will whoop that ass!” BUt, on the brighter side, I just totally gave you an award on my page 🙂


Kate Coveny Hood December 5, 2008 at 10:39 pm

Do you think Jessica’s beauty has something to do with her living in LA? It’s my understanding that you have to be extremely good looking if you want to live there. I just discovered her recently (maybe through you?) and have been enjoying her blog.

I read Wendi’s and yours over there.

What a great idea!


Janie December 6, 2008 at 7:18 am


(And I love Rudy’s, too!)


Braja December 6, 2008 at 7:18 am

Hey we got the same award from Temple, and since Amy and I have decided a while back we’re karmically linked via blogs and awards, you and I must be too. I told you I love you. Now it’s official. If this is getting creepy, tell me, and I can step it up a notch….


Kylie w Warszawie December 6, 2008 at 10:35 am

Amen. Texas is where I grew up. That’s some good people down there.

And LA sounds just like Warsaw. Which makes me think that I’m linked there too.


Comedy Goddess December 7, 2008 at 8:12 am

Well my dear shy Marinka, I hope you will like the award I have for you at my blog!

Please pick it up anytime. You can do it!

Disclaimer: Sorry. Not available in Chocolate in the Tri-State area.


Charmaine December 7, 2008 at 8:50 am

Dear God. I know what you mean.

I almost ran over someone just the other day. Because I live a few miles from L.A. I am more civilized,but only slightly.


Amy@Bitchin'WivesClub December 7, 2008 at 2:25 pm

Those stories are awesome!! As a past Austinite, I can attest to how random acts of kindness proliferate in that city. It never ceased to amaze me how nice people could be there. I moved away ten years ago and still miss it!

Can’t wait to read your post, Marinka!


the mama bird diaries December 7, 2008 at 7:59 pm

Very funny gals. 🙂


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