Where do you go from a beautiful day spent piloting a plane over the gorgeous waters of South Florida? Nowhere but down, that’s where. This week has been one of shock and awe…and at times just plain shockingly awful.
The shock of the week, and possibly ever, came Thursday night when my sister called me up to tell me that she was engaged. Geez, it’s just as shocking to write as it was to hear it in the first place. She’s been dating her boyfriend, Scott, for nearly two and a half years, but to think of my little sister with a ring on her finger–ENGAGED–is a bit too much for me to take in all at once. I thought I was dreaming when she told me. Britt’s only 18! Nineteen in September, but still…18!!! They’ve said they’re going to wait until they both graduate to get married, so it would still be pretty far off yet, but holy crap. My parents got engaged their freshman year and they just had their 29th anniversary, so I guess it can be done. Wow, my brother was engaged at 19 and married at 21, my sister’s engaged at 18…I think it’s up to me to pull up the family average.Speaking of anticlimactic follow-ups, it’s hard to beat my baby sister’s engagement with anything else that happened this week.
So why not move on to kitty toilet behavior? For the past two weeks I’ve been trying my hand at toilet training my two cats. I’ve read online that people have been able to do it–I’ve even seen videos–so I know it can be done. My cats seem to be pretty smart, and they’re still young, so I thought they’d pick it up in no time. Two weeks later and they’ve come a long way. They took it in stride when I moved the litter box next to the toilet and started raising it up so they had to learn to jump in and they even were able to transition to using a mixing bowl full of litter in the toilet bowl and give up the litter box completely, but this weekend they’ve hit the wall. I can’t seem to wean them off litter and have them just go in the bowl with a bit of water in the bottom, the last step before they’re supposed to be completely trained. Acton’s decided the bathtub is a better alternative. While I have to admit this is a preferable location to, say, the carpet or my bed, I really would be much happier if he’d follow Bora’s example and make his peace with the bowl. I’m going out of town for Kelly’s birthday next weekend, so they better figure it out before I go or else I’ll be coming home to a shockingly awful mess. Since moving down here I’ve been thinking it would be the perfect time to try to improve my Spanish. I mean, I can practice all day every day pretty much, what with the plethora of Spanish-speaking radio stations, TV channels and general overheard conversations when I’m at the grocery store, gas station, whatever. So this week I signed up to take a community Spanish class once a week in the evening. On Monday night I went to Fort Lauderdale High School for the first night of the class. It was really bizarre being back on a high school campus; there were still a few students hanging around after football practice and as I walked past the locker room I almost gagged it smelled so bad. Ahh, high school. When I walked into the class it was just like any class I’d taken in school, with the orange plastic seats and the writing surface welded to the side of the chair…the only difference was that the median age of the class was probably somewhere around 50! I don’t really know what I was thinking, but for some reason I thought I would take the advanced class. I guess I thought that these community courses would be pretty remedial, and I would rather err on the side of taking a difficult class and be challenged rather than sail through a lower-level course, but when the class commenced and everyone started rattling off in Spanish I knew I was in over my head! It was a very looooong two and a half hours! I could actually understand nearly everything that was said, but my speaking skills are waaay behind my comprehension skills. So when it was my turn to pick a topic of conversation my mouth suddenly went dumb. Not to mention I’d just come from the dentist and half my face was numb and my tongue felt limp and swollen! It wasn’t pretty. Everyone was really nice and I enjoyed listening to everyone else as they spoke, but I knew I would have to go down to the intermediate class. I talked to the instructor at the end–a hilarious 80-something little Cuban lady–and told her I’d be back for the Thursday night class instead.
So on Thursday I showed up at the intermediate class and was really excited about having some actual instruction rather than just practice. Then, when the class started and the instructor announced that it was Conversacion Libre time again, I was a bit disheartened. I found out later that the Spanish classes were actually broken down into 5 levels rather than the 3 I had originally thought, and apparently I was still out of my league. I have to first get my speaking skills back up before I can jump into anything else. So now this week I’m regressing further still to Wednesday nights…advanced beginner, whatever that means. Hopefully that will be enough! My ego can’t take much more.
This week felt like such a hugely busy week that I couldn’t wait for the weekend. I had a pretty big meeting I had to put on at work on Friday afternoon, so when that was over and had gone pretty well I was more than happy to accept a happy hour invitation. Happy hour turned out to be a bit extended, which made it all the harder to get up yesterday morning to get down to the pub to watch the West Ham game at 10:00. I’d called before I left just to make sure the Fox and Hound was open and showing it, which they said they were. So I pulled on a blue top and a claret one over that and headed out. When I got to the pub I walked in and went straight to the bar to order the coffee I so desperately needed. When I sat down I realized everyone else in the place was wearing bright red…and on top of that, they were all Arsenal shirts. A few men stopped to stare at me as I came in and one even kinda glared at me before saying something to his friends that made them laugh. When I looked at the screen and saw that the Aresenal v. Aston Villa game was on instead of the West Ham game I felt like a complete idiot. Aston Villa’s colors are the same as West Ham’s, so everyone in there thought I was there to support their opponent…uh-oh. I waited for my coffee and then drank it down when it arrived, but I definitely didn’t stay for the remainder of the game!
The girl behind the bar told me the West Ham game would be shown at 2:30 on delay, so I went back later in the afternoon after all the Arsenal fans had cleared out. There weren’t as many people there when I went back, but there was one other West Ham fan, and only one. It turned out to be so much fun! Not only did West Ham come from behind to beat Charlton, but I met several really nice people at the pub. This one old English guy was really sweet and asked me all sorts of questions about myself and how unusual it was for an American girl to like football, and told me all about his citizenship ceremony he’d just gone through. Apparently he’d worked with the Beatles and Jim Morrison back in the day. The West Ham fan was also really nice, and so was the third guy, Chunky, who was extremely drunk and high-fived me every time West Ham did anything good, and also when he found out I liked curry. Apparently they usually go to some other pub to watch the games and they all invited me to go round there for next time. They also told me that a former West Ham player lives here now and is friends with them and stops by the pub pretty often, so maybe one day soon I’ll get to meet Ian Bishop, not that I even know who he is!
Tags: Florida, football, Fort Lauderdale, pubs, soccer, Travel, West Ham