Matt recently took a free online Myers-Briggs personality test for fun. Free means not as exhaustive as the real thing that a trained psychologist might administer, but he was still a little spooked by the uncanny description the test spat back out at him upon completion. If you're familiar with Myers-Briggs, it breaks personality types down into 16 different categories; more accurate tests give a percentage of which characteristics are strongest, but even the freebie online test assigned a personality type. Matt is an ISTJ. I cannot fathom why we would need to spend a penny to have a more accurate test result.
ISTJs are faithful, logical, organized, sensible, and earnest traditionalists who enjoy keeping their lives and environments well-regulated. Typically reserved and serious individuals, they earn success through their thoroughness and extraordinary dependability. They are capable of shutting out distractions in order to take a practical, logical approach to their endeavors, and are able to make the tough decisions that other types avoid. Realistic and responsible, ISTJs are often seen as worker bees striving steadily toward their goals.
It goes on for a while, being eerie and accurate about many things. This particular passage is my favorite, because it confirms a well-known personality trait of Matt, aka The Sunbeam of Knowledge:
ISTJs respect facts. They hold a tremendous store of data within themselves, gathered through their Sensing function. They may have difficulty valuing a theory or idea that differs from their own perspective.
Of course once he shared his results I had to go take a free online Myers-Briggs test, too. Apparently I am an ENFP. Hold on, look at that again:
I S T J
E N F P
That right there is the dictionary definition of polar opposites.
Some of my results:
People with the ENFP personality type tend to be curious, idealistic...they seek meaning and are very interested in other people’s motives, seeing life as a big, complex puzzle where everything is connected. Not surprisingly, ENFPs tend to be very insightful and empathic individuals...
ENFP personalities are usually characterized by high levels of enthusiasm, especially when it comes to things that spark their imagination – in such cases, ENFPs can be very energetic and convincing, able to easily convince other people to join their cause. Ironically, this trait can also turn against the ENFP, when they suddenly find themselves in the center of the stage, being seen as leaders and inspiring gurus by other people. ENFPs strive to be independent and, unsurprisingly, do not always welcome such attention.
ENFPs are also likely to have difficulties dealing with routine, administrative matters. They are more interested in freedom and inspiration than security and stability, and this attitude is usually clearly visible – an ENFP would rather try to come up with an interesting solution or an idea, no matter how difficult that is, than deal with simple yet boring tasks.
Ha ha ha. Busted.
Finally, ENFPs are non-conformists, following their own path and trusting their intuition. Their talents are numerous, but they all rely on the ENFP being given enough freedom. People with this personality type can quickly become impatient and dejected if they get stuck in a boring role, unable to freely express themselves – but when the ENFP finally finds their place in the world, their imagination, empathy and courage are likely to produce incredible results.
Very interesting indeed, but wait! There's more! Matt was reading more about all of this and came upon a list of good jobs for the various personality types; he emailed it to me, but I made a little graphic because I have other things to do:
Anyway. We've been rental-house-hunting in earnest over the last week for next summer's move to Montgomery, Alabama. It occurred to me today after all the ISTJ-ENFP fun we've been having that our approach to house-hunting is very much shaped by our personality type. For example:
Me: Look at the charming old 1920 house bathed in sunshine!
Matt: Cracked foundation! Frankenheating radiator system! Weird closets!
Me: Well, that one has a pool, wouldn't that would be an awfully fun way to spend free time together in the summer?
Matt: researching researching researching pool chemicals
Me: If we had that house our furniture would go here, here, here and here. And our pictures there, there, and there. But if we had this house, our furniture would go here, here, and here. And our pictures there, there, and there. But then there's also that other house... [repeat 550 times daily]
Matt: Here's what x house costs over the course of a year.
You get the idea. It's all right there in the free online personality test summaries.
Even though we might drive each other crazy sometimes with our, uhm, unique perspectives on the world, at the end of the day we've always managed to pick the right home for us. I always (though occasionally begrudgingly) know that Matt's attention to detail and unflagging persistence when it comes to making the dependable choice serves us well. He always (though occasionally begrudgingly) knows that I can see things will be OK—or not OK—and that my intuition about such things is usually pretty accurate. He saved us from a glorious but fatally flawed old house on Pebrican Avenue in Cheyenne years ago, and I rightly convinced him that the 1938 House in Arlington would charm us and put us in the mix of some really valuable opportunities. We were both right. Maybe therein lies the explanation: in houses and life, we know when to back off and when to dig in, and when to admit to being too ISTJ-y or ENFP-y and agree to see things another way. Most of the time.
photo courtesy of Maddie
When I was little, maybe either in 1978 or 1983, my parents traveled to Kansas for my dad's high school reunion in El Dorado where he grew up until he moved away to Ohio just before his senior year. When they came back, I have distinct memories of my mama making a Very Big Deal about how awful driving through Kansas was: flat, boring, awful, you name it. I've never been in Kansas until today (NEW STATE FOR MY LIST!!!) and as we were driving through, I realized I was driving with an odd feeling of apprehension as I waited for the terrible to present itself. And then I realized I have lived on or near the plains for so many years it just looked normal to me, and that my mama who lived in Ohio her whole life simply wasn't used to it. Haha.
We did NOT have the urge to stop and see the Biggest Prairie Dog in the World (eeek!) or the five-legged cow (double eeek!) along the way today. Or the baby pigs and live rattlesnakes advertised by roadside sign as an exciting attraction.
I have never heard of Fort Hays State before, but it is very well promoted throughout the interstate system. Actually, I've decided all Kansas colleges and universities are very well promoted throughout the interstate system. I have never seen so many higher education billboards in my life.
I thought a lot about Grandma and Grandpa Rinehart today while I was driving.
Ellie (poor sweet Ellie who suffered through five days in the kennel wondering if we were yet another family to abandon her) was a little perplexed about this drive we went on, because she associates car time with Medicine Bow National Forest, Curt Gowdy State Park, and Vedawoo. But she was so happy to be back with us she played along nicely.
It took all I could do not to bail on the plan and veer off the road to visit Little Sweden about an hour before we stopped for the night. Another time, Lindsborg, Kansas, another time.
We're staying at the Homewood Suites in Wichita. It is a fabulously wonderful dog-friendly hotel. As I was explaining to Deanna, after Ella died we made the conscious decision never to stay at another cat-friendly dive hotel ever again. Dogs are far more popular on the hotel circuit than cats... Ellie even got a gift bag. Heh.
Back in January I wrote about the challenges of downsizing our possessions drastically as we prepare to move from our giant national registry of historic places base home to one that is... drastically smaller. I am here to report some progress on this front.
Downsizing is hard.
So every year the base has a base-wide garage sale sometime in May; the last few years I have avoided it because, well, May. Two years ago I pulled out at the last minute because I was afraid it would be the thing that would actually send me to the institution, but this year it wasn't an option. I faithfully kept taking stuff to the basement storage room loosely organized as "GIANT ROOM OF GARAGE SALE STUFF." About three weeks before I spent a day I could ill afford to spend away from working on The Phone Photography Project and worked on organizing areas of stuff; Maddie and I sorted scrapbook supplies into like categories, kitchen stuff into one area, baby stuff into another, and so on. It was nearly impossible to cross from one side of the room to another without putting oneself in peril.
On Thursday before the garage sale I tidied up our loosely organized areas of stuff.
On Friday before the garage sale I started to haul it upstairs.
I vastly underestimated the amount of time it would take to haul 80 billion things (unpriced things at that!) up the stairs. I lost track at 60 times up and down the stairs, mostly because by that point it was 11:30 pm and Matt and I had a moment of utter marital danger in which we were both angrily wondering WHOSE BRIGHT IDEA WAS THIS GARAGE SALE ANYWAY. In hindsight, it was wise for him to bow out at 11:31 and go to bed, while I persevered until 3:00 am hauling/pricing/staging inside my entry way/dragging stuff to the porch that wouldn't blow away.
Because did I mention the wind? And cold? Oh, yes. Wind. And cold. I woke up at 6:05 am on June 1 to a wind chill of 33 degrees. Crap was blowing off the porch as fast as I could set it out. I had to put on my winter coat. I nearly had a meltdown in my front yard on Saturday morning. It was fantastic.
But then people started to show up. Not the looky-loos who come out on a nice day—no, those people had the good sense to stay home. The hard core people showed up though, money in hand, and bought stuff. Every single toddler thing we put out—Hawthorne House (oh my gosh, that was hard), toddler bed, play kitchen, toys, puzzles, 150 books (no lie—I sold about 150 books), furniture, the Most Annoying Lamp of All Time (worked perfectly but had a little pull chain that clinked on the base that drove us literally i n s a n e until we stashed it in the basement a few years ago), etc. The best was when the odd scrapbooker would come up on the porch and discover the scrapbook supply portion of the sale. It was almost comical to witness the wide-eyed glee—even despite the wind and cold, people hauled off boxes of stuff. A few tubs, even.
85% of what I tried to sell, sold. As for the rest: I donated over 200 books to the library book sale room, plus some more to the annual Delta something or other book sale in town (I can never remember the name). I took three van loads of stuff to Goodwill. I kept out some craft supplies to donate to Freedom Elementary's wonderful art teacher for her art room and took those things to her on the last day of school. I have another donation pile that will go to Busy Bees, our beloved preschool. We found a late buyer for Matt's router and saws, and those will go today. I drove to Fort Collins to sell our Kelty to a lovely woman from Greeley; I internet-snooped on her online before I went to make sure she wasn't an axe murderer (she wasn't) and had to reassure my friend Kelli that the exchange had gone just fine when I posted this picture on Instagram while I waited for her:
I find it hilarious that this is the ONLY picture I have from this entire process. A weirdo shot of a gas station parking lot. It nearly did me in, all this selling off our belongings, because you know I take pictures of everything.
When all is said and done, I will go down in history as a garage sale urban legend.
$1237.50, friends. $1237.50.
Last week I put on my cute new shoes from Target and went outside to wait on the porch for my ride, a.k.a. the getaway driver for the Great Car Heist of 2013. I was invited along to photograph the heist.
The mark: a Dodge Challenger.
Here is where I'll point out that I don't think it is at all incongruous to love cute springy shoes from Target and black muscle cars (isn't it beautiful?). Matt isn't really sure where I came from. Too much Dukes of Hazzard watching and a very formative experience of jumping out of a 1960s Ford Mustang window as a small person, I guess. And a whole lot of Pimp My Ride in the 2003-2006 time range. And maybe a recessive gene of some sort.
But that's beside the point, because the real question is: why in the heck was I involved in the stealing of a very valuable motor vehicle? Charity. All in good fun for the basket auction.
I make a super-lousy criminal, though. As we (the nameless we) were gathered outside the mark's garage hoping not to draw too much attention, I happened to see another black car slowly driving down the back alley. I squinted, quickly running through the car Rolodex in my brain and deciding there were only two options, one of which was highly unlikely. This car? This was the car that belonged to the Lady of the House. I froze like a deer in Volvo headlights for a few long seconds andthen did what any bad criminal does: I ran into the open garage to stand very still. It was very reminiscent of what I did that time the shower door exploded into a billion little pieces of glass. That time, I ran out of the bathroom making terrible Willis Startle Reflex noises and then cowering to cover my head as if I were an ostrich burying its head in the sand*, meaning, if I couldn't see the billions of pieces of glass, it wasn't really happening. Matt loves to point out my very supportive behavior on that one, since he was the one covered in the biillion pieces of glass.
This time, I couldn't actually get out the words to alert everyone else—so I just ran into the garage and froze. You know, so no one would notice me, the one with the camera and the cute shoes standing by the very valuable car. Heh. I suppose in hindsight it wouldn't have been the biggest deal if we had been caught, but the heist had been so carefully planned and orchestrated I hated to be the one that was spotted first. Luckily, the driver of the Volvo was not the Lady of the House but the Lady of the House's daughter, coming to check on the progress (she was involved).
I guess it's good to know my talents do not lie in car theft, right?
The car was then returned, but the extra keys were not—and were bid up on auction night after the car heist slide show to the tune of $1200, when the owner finally was the last man standing and got his keys back.: )
In related news: my Pink Party for Six basket got put in the wrong portion of the auction on accident and went for only $60, boo. The only thing that kept me from bursting into tears was that it went to a very good home. The framed vintage postcards went for $560, and I have a really great family who bid on and won the photo shoot to photograph this spring. All in all, somewhere in the vicinity of $15,500 was raised in about three hours, which will all go to the scholarship fund. All's well that ends well!
*When I was double-checking to make sure that it was in fact ostriches that bury their head in the sand I learned that ostriches actually DO NOT bury their heads in sand. Pity. But you still can picture me doing it : )
This Saturday marks our fourth and final Basket Auction here at F.E. Warren. Somewhere between $15,000-$20,000 is usually raised for scholarships available to anyone connected to a service member assigned here. Most organizations donate 1-2 baskets for the live auction, and there are always lots of items donated for the silent auction (I'm donating a photo shoot for that).
I love putting together these baskets. And not just because they help fill up my 52 Projects albums (which are sorely neglected, working on that).
The 321MS is donating two things this year with fingerprints of both the Ebay King and the Pinterest Queen all over them: a collection of six original vintage postcards from this post/base (framed), and the Pink Party For Six Basket. I'll let you figure out which person goes with which item.
I forgot to take a good picture of the finished banner I made (gah!) but you get the idea. Special credit goes to Nicole Willis, who gave us the original collection of "pink books" so long ago, and to Candice Stringham, who throws the best parties and shares the details about them on her blog. Maddie came up with the idea to include the finger paint and paper as a party activity.
I always have a strategy for putting together baskets. Wanna know what it is?
1. I make kid baskets because kid baskets do really well, mostly because they're different from what everyone else puts together.
2. It's always good to have a target demographic in mind—it helps to know that the target demographic's purse strings will be attending. : )
3. You can't just put stuff from Target in a basket. It must follow this formula:
+ items that are common
+ items that are harder to find but can be found with effort
+ items that are handmade/one-of-a-kind/extremely difficult to get a hold of
4. Tease the purse strings in advance that they might not be able to resist. Heh.
Last year's basket went for $410. Hopefully this one will do well, too! I'll update the 52 Projects album with the selling price next week. We're cutting it a little close with the framing job on the post cards but those should be ready by tomorrow morning at the latest. Local history items also do really well : )
We have secured a place to live in Bossier City in June; Matt and I spent approximately 90 minutes in the kitchen/living room of this place during the trip in which we nearly drowned in a Nissan Versa in March 2011, though neither of us had any idea we would actually be living in it two years into the future, so we squandered our opportunity to nose around properly. I remember only that the living room ceiling might be ornate, and that I think we ate chili. Not entirely helpful information when preparing to move, as you might imagine.
We have a little more information now: a photo tour from the current residents, and a rough estimate of the square footage. This number: 2200 sq ft (ish) is perfectly suitable for a family of five + that family's herding dog; nonetheless it is that number that has plummeted me into a state of total panic because thanks to the vision of the U.S. Army some 107 years ago and their plans to prove that the west could be just as grand as the east, we currently live in a house that is somewhere in the 4500 sq ft vicinity. With a basement and an attic, I might add, providing plenty of space to stretch out in. We haven't purchased a ton of new furniture since we moved in—we replaced our 15 year old couch and chair with a new couch, loveseat, and chair, added a bookcase, coat tree, and an entry-way table thingy to (kind of) match our nearly 18 year old Pier One living room furniture, those awesome lockers that someone can pry out of my cold, dead hands, and a new headboard/twin mattress bed for Bee. Last summer we were also willed a fantastic island-like table that lives in the kitchen. That seems reasonable to me.
However: there is no family room or dining room or basement or attic in this next house, which means a whole lot of our furniture is going to have to go. And stuff in general—there is no room to stretch out in Louisiana, no luxury of being able to store things that may or may not be beloved. In the last few years I haven't had to decide what is and is not beloved: the 107 year old house has granted me the distinct luxury of being lazy on this point. School papers and artwork live unculled in the basement. My craft room is an actual room, not a corner—and is set up that way. I haven't really evaluated the baby-a-bilia I've saved in tubs, and my teaching files are just as I neatly left them in 2002. We have built-in bookshelves and regular bookshelves and that incredible built-in hutch in the dining room and they are full to brimming with both treasure and breathing space.
Also: when we moved to Cheyenne Bridget had recently turned two. When we leave, she will be six, with no toddler behind her. It isn't just square footage we're losing, but an era, as well.
There are many things that need to go as a result of this.
I have friends who would no doubt roll their eyes at my hand-wringing over stuff, but I can't help it. While I know that it is not the most important thing, let's be honest: it is what keeps me sane through all these moves. I can make a strange house into a place that is familiar and close with that stuff—sometimes repurposed in different rooms and ways—but always worn and comfortable in ways that feel unchanged while everything around us is upside down. It provides my framework to function in: this goes here so we can do that. Our life is too transient to waste time figuring this out through the gentle unfolding of a 30 year mortgage. So as hard as it is to all-at-once drastically cut what we physically carry, I can't be the person who fails at providing continuity because there is too much stuff for the space we inhabit.
The last couple weeks I have been (kind of systematically)(OK, totally randomly but in a very dedicated way) tearing through the house looking for easy targets to remove. The easy stuff is fun—fix a drawer, marvel at how much easier it is to pull open on its tracks (ahem) and pat yourself on the back. Almost everything in our attic is dead man walking come garage sale time, and there are a number of items that were marked for the get-rid-of-pile when we moved in but haven't yet been removed for one reason or another.
I've had some help of late as I start to get my head around the harder stuff: I stumbled upon the blog of an Australian scrapbooker/writer/photographer nicknamed "Pink Ronnie" and a series she wrote about the concept of a "happy closet." It's not really a new concept—it's basically a spin off on William Morris's famous words "have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful, or believe to be beautiful," but maybe I'm just more in need of multiple methods of delivery on that idea right now—as I clicked through her extremely spare, simple, and serene house photos, I was intrigued. While I do not have an inclination to be quite that spare, simple and serene, I can recognize that she is definitely onto something big—she lives and maintains a home where everything is necessary or beloved, and often both. My definition of necessary and beloved is much wider, but I am honest enough to say: I have been lax in maintaining the necessary and beloved.
Here are some things I've been thinking about as I work:
1. It is easier to pass along things that I am kind of attached to when they're going to a home that will appreciate them. Many things can go straight to Goodwill without blinking an eye, but some things are better sent to Juliette and Genevieve, or Peyson, or handed over to the preschool where they will be played with under the guidance of someone we love.
I didn't want this sled anymore, even though it was once beloved—but I couldn't really bear the thought of it sitting all lonely-like in the chaos of a Goodwill back room, either. Peyson likes it much better than she is letting on in this just-woke-up-from-a-nap picture.
2. Just because you bought it thinking it was a great idea, doesn't make it so. I removed a huge amount of clothes from my closet this weekend, guilt-free and with the promise that in the future, I will really make sure what I purchase is the right thing. Small irony: our closet space is probably going to be a thousand times better in the next place than it is currently, because for all its charm, closets are not the 1906 House's strength.
3. Extra things hinder productivity. My craft room is my favorite space in the house but even I can agree that there are things in there that don't need to be in there (as well as many other places in the house). Removing them makes the work that goes on a little lighter—and hopefully at a greater volume and intensity now and in six months when I start from scratch. I love the office re-do that blogger and Target "inner circle" member Jennifer Pebbles wrote about today; her office was gorgeous but wasn't working. So instead of struggling through trying to make it work, she fixed it. And, I can only imagine the boost in productivity she (and eventually I) will feel when a space is optimized by hacking off the parts that might not be working. I will have to completely reinvent whatever space I can carve out in the new place—and if I have less extraneous stuff to deal with, that will be more successful. I hope. Likewise, I want the girls' bedrooms to be a haven for fun and creativity and thinking and sleep—not a repository of things that don't work, don't fit, don't belong anymore.
4. Styles change. It's OK to let things go and then replace them with something completely different that might be more "us" down the line. Actually, that's kind of an exciting prospect.
5. Children grow up. One of the hardest things I've tackled so far (and remember, I'm only starting to tackle the harder stuff) was our toy storage in the armoire last night. It was kind of ridiculous: we were still set up for a much younger clientele, while the things the girls actually play with most these days haven't been stored in the most accessible place. I have so many happy memories associated with the way things have always been stored and played with that I have been making the new happy memories of play harder to get at—literally.
6. It's OK to save things. It is OK to save things from early childhood. Just not all the things. It is my goal to really work hard in the coming weeks to put forth a strong portfolio of early childhood treasures that can fit into a 2200 sq ft space without much notice. And then leave plenty of space for new things to come in occasionally without causing the entire system to become congested.
7. The highlights can be motivating. You hear a lot these days about Pinterest and the blogging internet world in general damaging people's self-confidence and sense of what's important in life, but used properly? I say it can be a tremendous motivation to clean up one's act. As long as you think through what your act really is first, that is. As I study the photographs of Pink Ronnie or Jennifer Pebbles, for example, I am remembering that they are who they are and I am not them. But my act—the one where I've been really lazy about maintaining the necessary and beloved—needs cleaned up, and I am very much appreciating their (and other) examples of the highlights. And imagining the occasional sink filled with dirty dishes. Heh.
7. Living space is important. It's the way we use our space with what we have that's more important than what we have dictating how we use our space.
$10 says I'll still have a full-on meltdown when we step inside this house for the first second time and realize we have no place for anything. ; )
1. May is less than a week away! We're going with the standard approach to the month, a.k.a. hold on for dear life and trust that we always end up in June somehow.
2. Gracie was invited to a birthday party last Saturday that Bridget tagged along to. Lucky thing, too, because she got to take home one of the coolest birthday party favors ever:
Balloon Ariel! Gracie didn't go home empty-handed, either:
3. In the previous almost 17 years of Air Force life, I have never been stopped for a full car search at the gate. In the last week, I have been stopped twice. [Note: apologies to Matt for the smell of German Shepherd drool in the Subaru this morning. He was already asleep by the time I got back from gymnastics pickup/full car search, and I forgot to tell him this morning.] Last week it was after the three hour spectacle of four dentist appointments/getting everyone back to their respective schools; last night it was after a three hour gym for Gracie and Maddie. Gracie was not enthused. I think I need to buy a lottery ticket this week.
4. Speaking of Gracie, doesn't she look like a big girl all of a sudden?
6. As it turned out, I didn't get to run in the Bring the Spring Bunny Dash 5K this weekend because of some schedule issues, but we still helped out. Maddie worked hard taking registrations and assigning bibs, Gracie managed the receipt and arrangement of donated bunnies (they received 272 just that morning!) and Bridget mostly just ran around with her bunny ears on.
7. I would like to point out that today, Wednesday April 25, the Cleveland Indians are in first place in the Central Division. I am northeastern Ohio enough to not extrapolate on this.
8. I delivered pictures last night from the newborn photo shoot I did two weeks ago. The standard baby photos turned out really well but some of my favorites are the less traditional ones like these:
Baby G is awfully chill and cute...
...and look at that beautiful new mama.
Our actual copy of Any Day a Beautiful Change arrived on Monday; while I've had an early proof copy for months on the computer, Matt decided to wait until the real thing was ready to read it. He promptly stayed up until 2 am on Monday night to finish it. It's that good.
Design Challenges starts tomorrow! It's not too late to register. I had so much fun creating the content for this class... there is just something about a challenge brings out the best in everyone. Join me!
IIIb: Flash Flood in Louisiana
Last March Matt and I went to Barksdale AFB for a week-long course for new commanders and their spouses. It was less vacation-like then one might think as a.) we were in separate classes from 7:30-5:00 the entire week b.) except for the day I came down with a deathly case of... food poisoning? Stomach flu? I was the only one there who got it, so who knows. Aside from that one lost day where I slept about 13 hours in a row in the daytime, we had a good time—the course was interesting, we got to eat out a lot like grownups with grownups, and there was plenty of BBQ and peach cobbler available throughout the week.
One night, however, was a little scary.
When we set out for dinner after a day's worth of class, it looked like this from our hotel. We stood there kind of in awe for a few seconds because it was just so green. And rainy. These are things we don't see in March in Wyoming (or April, or May...) Of course we didn't have umbrellas, so we just made a run for the car. The little itty-bitty rental plasticar. A Nissan Versa. This is important as the story continues.
We were headed to a restaurant called Ralph & Kacoo's, which was on a list of "you should eat there while you're in Louisiana" places someone told us about. I had my camera with me, even though Matt suggested I leave it in the hotel room that night (foreshadowing) because that's what I like to do. We set out on some sort of highway (details are sketchy by now) and the rain which was a quaint little sprinkle when we left the base started turning into—and I am not even kidding—Niagara Falls. The lightning was pretty awful, too; so bad that every time it flashed we were momentarily blinded and my Willis Startle Reflex let out an "OH My Goodness!" This is exceedingly unhelpful to someone trying to drive through the center of Niagara Falls in a Nissan Versa, by the way.
Just when we thought it couldn't get worse, it did. I kept repeating to myself the old wives' tale that we were safe because of our rubber tires. The rain was falling so hard by this point that it was as if we were out to sea just left of a major hurricane; and oh, did I mention that neither of us had any idea where we were because we are not from Louisiana. At this point, we decide we are lost and try to exit the interstate/highway to turn around.
Until we see the car at the end of the exit ramp floating in what looks to us like 129 feet of water. The man whose car is floating sideways jumps out and runs away clutching a cell phone; he is dressed in what looks like a restaurant server's uniform. His car is floating, and we're just kind of on the exit ramp. All I can think is "I am going to DROWN and my CAMERA is going down WITH. ME. WHYYYYYYYY DIDN'T I LISTEN TO MATT!!!" [Ed. note: that is in there for his benefit. Mostly.]
So. At this point Matt is trying to brainstorm ways we can float over the 129 feet of water and make it safely to Ralph & Kacoo's, wherever that might be—and I am testily encouraging him to BACK THIS VERSA UP. As in, get back on the strange interstate/highway, the one we were lost on to begin with. Because at least it isn't a fast-growing lake.
I won that one.
So, we back the Versa up. Have you ever backed up a car on an exit ramp in the midst of a storm of biblical proportions in a state you've never been to before? When you were already lost? And, might I add, extremely hungry? It is safe to say that we were both pretty shot nerves-wise at this point.
We get ourselves turned around on a more level exit ramp and work our way back through Niagara Falls until we think we are where we need to be. Except now roads are getting blocked because there are other 129 feet of water spots forming. We get lost in a rough-looking neighborhood in Shreveport for a bit while avoiding the road block, and then finally see the neon sign for Ralph & Kacoo's across the way.
And here she is, our sea-faring vessel. We did not drown or capsize or perish in any other manner that night, so I suppose we must begrudgingly thank Nissan for the Versa's... something or other. Chutzpah?
The food was fine. Perhaps not worth what we went through to eat it, but all in all, a good meal. And you could buy alligator heads in the gift shop, which is something we do not see every day. Or any day, actually. Louisiana is something else.