Yesterday I spent all day putting my new solar panel on the RV. Two weeks ago I got the panel in the mail and I called Crestview RV (a local RV place in Austin) to get it installed. They said it would be about $200, but that they were backed up and it would have to be left there for two weeks. I told them I couldn't go without it that long, so he made an appointment for two weeks later and said to come first thing in the morning.
Those of you who know me know that I hate waking up early.
Still, I want my solar power so I woke up early yesterday and my fantastic sister, Kelsey, drove me 15 miles to bring it in. When I got there they told me they were backed up and I would need to leave it there for two weeks. Forget it. I'll do it myself.
I haven't gotten the right cables yet (the wires have cool connectors that make it easy to add panels), but I did securely fasten it to the roof. I also got a little creative with the mounting and figured out how I can add 3-4 more panels.
Anyway, I'm getting off track. All I really should have said is - never go to Crestview RV. I wrote an article about Mercedes Benz of Austin being horrible, and a bunch of people see it now when they search for Mercedes Benz of Austin, which delights me.
After working in the sun all day (for your reference, I am built for loving, not for working all day in the sun), I drove back to my normal RV parking spot, got on the electric skateboard, and met Todd, Jeff, Tracy, and Melissa at Daily Juice, which is an awesome smoothie place I go to pretty much every day.
After drinking our smoothies we showed the girls how to ride the skateboards, which of course was far more fun than they expected, and we spent the next hour taking turns skating up and down Barton Springs Road. After a while we notice a little kid, maybe 6 years old, in a superman costume. It's not halloween - he just likes superman. He's with a guy we assume is his father.
"Can I have that?"
He points to the skateboard and asks Tracy.
"It's his," she says pointing at me, "You have to ask him."
"Well, you can't have it, but if your dad says it's ok I can give you a ride."
"Sure," his dad chimes in.
He stands on the board and I use the remote to make it go really slow. He loves it.
"You want me to pick you up and give you a better ride?"
Next thing you know I have a kid dressed like superman in my arm as I fly down the sidewalk at 15mph. His cape trails behind in the air. We ride until we're out of site of my friends and his father. I get off the board to turn it back around.
"No! Keep going!"
"I can't, but we can keep riding back and forth"
For the next 10-15 minutes I gave the kid skateboard rides, and he probably had the best time of life. I return him to his father, who is totally unconcerned that a stranger in a sparkly hat is shuttling his child up and down the street.
We sit on the rickety chairs outside of Daily Juice and say hi to the employees as they go in and out of the tiny shop trying to close down for the night.
A rugged looking 40 something year old stops in front of the store. He knows the owner and starts chatting with us. The conversation turns to kayaking, and he tells us about an incredible deal on an inflatable kayak he got.
Yep. A few minutes later he's gotten it from his car, and we're timing him to see how fast he can inflate it on the sidewalk.
About a minute and a half.
He gets in and shows us how he sits, where he puts his shoes, how the paddle goes together, and where his varies girls and dogs have ridden as they were chauffeured down the creek. He's not weird or creepy at all, just excited and friendly.
A thirty something year old guy notices the kayaker, who likes to be called Tarzan, and asks about the kayak. He gets the full pitch as well. By the end of it we all want one, and we later all go to ebay to see how much they cost.
I skate a couple hundred feet home to the RV and move it into a legal parking spot. A local restaurant called Chuy's hosts free concerts of the top Austin bands every Thursday which makes parking difficult. People pack into the restaurant and sit on blankets in the lawn in front of it.
Todd tells me that he and some others are seeing a movie at midnight. Here in Austin there's a theater called Alamo Drafthouse which serves pretty good food and beverages during the show. I only slept for four hours the previous night, but I'm in. I haven't seen a movie in almost seven months and I want to see what it's like with good vision. I don't expect much from the movie, Knocked Up, but it was actually pretty great. My vision is even greater.
I ordered chips and salsa, which is slightly contraband on my diet (the stone ground corn is fine, but it's probably fried in bad oil), but I'm easing up on the diet a bit for the sake of weight gain. If the choice is eating something almost good for you or nothing, I'll take almost. I tried to order a black bean burger too, but they didn't have wheat buns so I changed my mind.
I get home and sleep.
The next morning, and by that I mean 1pm, I wake up. I forgot to set the thermostat for the fan, so I'm burning up. After I take a shower and eat some breakfast, Todd and Melissa pick me up. We're going to a place called Sculpture falls, which is a huge waterfall (not tall, just wide and long) on Barton Creek. There's a closer one called Twin Falls, but this one is half an hour of hiking farther away, so there are less people there.
We're joined by Tracy, Cova, Jonah, Tiffany, and Krystal. Most of them have jobs, but on a day like today the creek is more important. Five minutes after we get there we see a kayak coming towards us. It's inflatable. It's Tarzan. I was hoping he'd offer to let us try out the kayak, but he's on a mission. He goes over the falls and continues down the creek.
We spend the day lounging on the rocks that stick out of the waterfall just high enough that our feet can still rest in the running water. We jump off a rope swing, swim against the current, and try to keep our balance as we hobble over the rocks. There are dozens of other people there. White pasty nerds who you wouldn't expect to be away from their computers. Lots of "alternative" looking people with tattoos. Frat boys. Older people. It's the kind of spot that makes everyone so happy that they all get along, returning the frisbee when it overshoots its target, and petting each other's dogs. Everyone leaves their shoes, phones, keys, and shirts by the side and they never get stolen.
The falls are in a valley with trees lining both sides all the way up to the sky. Once in a while another set of kayakers or tubers goes over the falls. We laugh as we watch people try to wade across without getting their shirts and shoes wet. Half of them succeed.
Finally the sun passes over the side of the valley and we start out hike back. I go barefoot and walk through the mud and dirt because I only brought uncomfortable sandals. We make it back to the car and half of us leave for Casa De Luz, the Vegan restaurant I frequent. Friday night is Indian night, so I never miss it unless I'm going out of town. Even then I try to fit it in first.
It's one of the best Indian nights in a while. There's spiced basmati rice, a ginger vegetable soup, salad, spelt flatbread, green lentils, coconut curried vegetables, kale with poppyseed and sesame seed sauce, and coconut goji berry chutney. It's amazing. As we get our second plates a flash of recognition crosses Todd's face and he says hi to Tarzan, who also happened to be coming there for dinner.
We invite him to sit with us, and he does. He's asked in a friendly way by Robert, one of the employees, to please wear shoes next time. We share stories. He tells us about the time a guy jumped in front of his car and he killed him. He's a massage therapist at a popular spa called "Milk and Honey". He works three days a week so that he can, "Live life for the other four."
I like that attitude.
After dinner we all go back to Daily Juice to get some chocolate. They make the most delicious chocolate out of cacao nibs, agave nectar, and coconut butter. It's healthy and better than any other chocolate I've had. I get two mint chocolates that they sell me for a dollar each because the mint didn't set properly.
Now I'm sitting in my RV with my windows open. The little league game in the field behind me just finished, so people are piling into their cars.
This is why I like Austin so much.
About a week ago I woke up and got out of the RV, which I've had parked on the same street for the better part of the last five months. To my surprise there was ANOTHER RV in front of mine. It was a lot older, but about the same size.
I went to lunch, and as I returned I saw a man getting into the RV.
"Hi! Welcome to the neighborhood," I said jokingly.
The other night I had a conversation with my housemate. This may not be a big thing for you but it is for me. He's a bit of a recluse. He comes home from work, shuts his door and does some serious gaming. The only reason I know he's home is the yelling from his room. Anyway we had a chat the other night about parents.
He's going for a big trip soon, one, that his parent's don't fully support. We talked about how our parents try and plan everything for our lives and how unhappy it makes us. Then when they can't plan they tell us what we should do and question why we aren't doing it. It was weird that there were so many similarities between his bengali family and my asian one. Then I started talking about the distance between myself and my parents. During college I hardly spoke to them. They wanted me to call them almost everyday but I thought that was too much. So I skipped a couple of days and ignored a couple of calls. At no point in my college life did I actually miss my parents. The frequency of calls didn't allow me to. I started to think how wrong this was last year and how far removed I've become from them.
So now after 22 years (almost 23) I'm trying to get to know my parents. It's never to late to shore up that rift. My housemate did it. His suggestion was that you find a topic you and your parents have in common and just milk it. For him it was cricket with his dad. For me it's badminton with my dad. Well that was what we talked about for the half an hour. Have an excellent day buddies!