Friday, December 22, 2006

The homeless man living in our garage ...

Her car smelled AW (short pause) FUL. It was a nasty, sickly sweet smell. It might have been all of the Ricola (moment of silence for the lady in stockings with a big horn to come in and sing “Ri – co – la” … just like in the commercials) wrappers lying everywhere. But that was just the first thing I noticed as I opened the door; there was also a long muddied sock crumpled up on the floor of the passenger side and a plastic container, which I made the mistake of opening up. There was a lot of stuff in the back too (you could tell because from the outside of the car you could see things pressed up against the windows), but I was too scared to look back there ‘cause I had a sneaking premonition that poor old Richard was back there and probably the only thing worse than him being back there would be him knowing that I knew he was back there.

Richard was the name of the man that I had decided was living in our garage. Our garage door, one of the two garage doors that we had and never used, though many hours of work had been spent to make these never-used garage doors work with a remote control, and no one could argue with the fact that they were much easier to not use with remote controls. Our garage door kept on opening (and sometimes even closing) without our permission. It was the right door and the only way to open it was by using the button inside the garage or one of the two garage door openers. Since the two owners of the two garage door openers were certain that they were not opening the garage door, then it had to be Richard.

I had seen Richard once. We had just driven up to the house, parked parallel to the sidewalk, and found the garage door opened. As we walked towards it, there was a sound to our left – a sound made by a man closing our gate and then running away. Someone went to check on Killer, our ferocious guard dog who had hid in the bushes to watch the man run out of our gate. I went in the garage to check on it and maybe find some clue as to the opening and closing of the garage door. There was an old blanket on top of some old trash, which for all I knew had always been there, but it wasn’t the blanket that caught my attention so much as the shape of the blanket. It looked like someone had just been sitting on that blanket.

After closing the garage door with one of the openers, for I was one of the owners of one of the openers, I went inside and broke the news to my roommates that a homeless man was probably living in our garage. I didn’t tell them, though, about the blanket ‘cause I only wanted them to worry the appropriate amount that one should worry about a homeless man who might be living in your garage that you never use and I definitely did not want them to slide into that freakish over-dramatic kind of worrying that some girls do when they see a blanket that might have been used by a homeless man that might be living in their garage that they never use.

I also tried not to tell myself too much about the blanket because the shape on the blanket could have just as easily been a dog shape as a homeless man shape, but I felt sorry for the homeless man and wanted him to have a blanket and a warm garage that nobody ever used to stay in.

I named the homeless man Richard, maybe because he looked like a Richard or maybe because every Richard I’ve known could have passed as a homeless man at some point, or maybe because my knew favorite font to use at school was called Poor Old Richard and I was pretty sure that the homeless man would like the font also. Any how, I liked poor old Richard, and on some really cold nights I probably “unconsciously” push the button on my garage door opener … if not to help poor old Richard then at least to keep us wondering, “How does that garage door keep on opening and closing?”

Thursday, November 30, 2006

A Typical Drive from Chattanooga to Birmingham in my mind (usually from about 4:30 to 6:30 a.m.) …

“Who is the guy in front of me? And why can’t I get past him? And could he be going any slower? AND what the heck kind of car is that? It says buick … but it looks like that was just painted on the back of the car. Yeah, I’ve never seen a buick like that before … it jumps into the air at the smallest bump in the road; it’s jumpin’ like a bunny … and the back of it is practically dragging on the ground. Yep, it’s only clearing the road by about an inch. What could be in the back of that car? He’s probably a world champion weight lifter and carries all his weights in the back of his car … then in traffic he can lift weights …. or he has multiple dead bodies in the trunk … Dang! He’s in the mofia. I probably shouldn’t look straight ahead, so he won’t suspect that I know … no, this is awkward … and hold up a sec, he can’t be in the mofia. It’s a really, really old man … and he’s bald … Schaeffers? (long thoughtful pause) No, Schaeffers wouldn’t be driving a car like that …”

“Man, that was SO much fun last night … those people who think it’s crazy to drive to Chattanooga so much just don’t know … and I can’t believe Paige got me a t-shirt. How sweet was that? … or was it? Maybe she was trying to bribe me so I wouldn’t tell any more people about her wearing Feero’s underwear that time …”

(around 6:00) “Crap, there’s three other cars on the road … and man, there’s two more … and here come three more off the exit ramp. Oh snap, that car did not just cut me off … and now they’re going like 10 under the speed limit … stupid cars … i’ve been on this road since 4:00; who do they think they are? they think they can just wake up at 6:00 and then own the road. Unless you’ve been driving since 4:00 in the morning and are going at least 10 over the speed limit, then you shouldn’t even be allowed in the fast lane at 6:00 …” (which, by the way, is most likely a fabulous rule)

“Dang! This CD Cheney made me is SWEET!!”

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

You are not a true Southerner if ...

There happens to be a certain person among my acquaintances who avidly declares themselves to be a Southern. I, however, have always secretly doubted the validity of such a claim. The other day, all such doubts were completely justified when this person asked me what a scuppernong was. It was at this moment that I made an important decision (actually, I’m not so sure it was me making a decision as it was me realizing a fact that has been true since before the foundations of time) : If you don’t know what a scuppernong (or a muskadine) is then you are not a true Southerner.

If you are at this moment losing heart because you don’t know what a scuppernong or muskadine is and the reality that you are not a true Southerner is harshly gripping you, don’t despair ... Jesus still loves you. However, you are NOT a Southern; accept the facts and move on.

Also, you’re extra Southern if you know the difference between a scuppernong and a muskadine ... and definite bonus points for me for being able to spell them.

p.s. Microsoft Word is not Southern ... it doesn’t acknowledge muskadine as a word ... such a shame.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Teacher by day, painter by night ...

(Dad enters through door into kitchen. It is obvious that he has just returned home from a hard day of work. On the other side of the room, his daughter is standing next to the pantry doors holding a paint brush in her right hand with her left hand underneath it to catch the dripping white paint.)
Daughter: “Hey Dad, what do you think?”
Dad (distractedly): “Oh, did you finish painting the doors?”
Daughter: “Oh. No. I just did the inside of one. I wanted to make sure that this is what you are wanting.”
Dad: “Did you get the color of paint I asked you to?”
Daughter: “Yes sir”
Dad (In an ‘impatiently frustrated, yet as encouraging as possible’ voice): “Well then I guess what I’m wanting is for you to finish painting the doors.
Daughter: “Yes sir”

Two weeks later ...
(Family sitting around the dinner table ... to chicken, pasta, and broccoli)
Dad: “Hey Emily, have you realized that the paint on those pantry doors don’t match the color of the kitchen cabinets?”
Daughter: “Yes sir”
Dad: “Why did you paint them different colors?”
Daughter: “Because I thought that’s what you wanted.”
Dad: “Why would I want them two different colors?”
Daughter: “I don’t know, you said glossy white, so I got glossy white.”
Mom (chirps in): “Oh, I added two drops of black to the glossy white that we used back when the cabinets were made.”
Daughter: “Well, I’m about to paint the cabinets anyway, so I’ll just paint them the same as the doors.”
Dad: “But then they won’t match the door frames … No, everything painted in glossy white must be repainted with glossy white plus two drops of black.”
Mom: “Or you could just throw to drops of black on the doors right now.” (a joke, which she thinks is very funny)
Dad (Looking at daughter): We both just made a mistake about the paint.
Daughter (thinking): WE?

Monday, August 07, 2006

Welcome back to Briarworld …

I have recently determined that since I will be residing in the B-ham, the time has come for me to become more actively involved in a church. Step number one in this process is to find a Sunday School class to consistently go to. As I discussed this with my mom, she suggested that I go to the "Single’s" Class.

“No mom,” I said in my ‘What are you? Crazy?’ voice, “I’m not 'Single'.” For those of you who are thinking, “Emily, this is not an absurd suggestion; you are single”, let me just explain this to you real quick: I might be single, but I’m not "Single". What’s the difference? Well, let me tell you … "Single" (and I quote from my personal dictionary) = 1. really old and 2. extremely desperate (note: this dictionary reserves the right to change the aforesaid definition on an individual basis).

“Well, why don’t you try the Career and Graduate’s Class.” Now there’s a class that’s more on my level. Thus yesterday afternoon I found myself in a brand new Sunday School Class being bombarded with new people to meet … which was pretty exciting. It’s funny how you can go to a church for so long, leave a couple of years for college, and come back to so many new faces. One recurring theme in all of these faces, though, was that they did appear to be older than mine. That was okay though, at least I hadn’t stooped to the "single’s" class … where I was certain that the faces were ancient.

As my extravert powers were beginning to wear down, I ran into a girl that I happened to know was in the Single’s Class a couple of years ago. “Do you like this class better than the 'Single’s' Class?” I politely asked.

“Oh, this is the 'Single’s' Class. They just changed the named a couple of months ago to Career and Graduate’s because they thought the other was turning some people off.”

Well crap. They might be old and desperate, but they’re still sneaky … and I’m embarrassed to say that I fell right into their trap.

Emily Caldwell, current youngest member of the "Single’s Class" … but I must admit that the people seem pretty cool, and yes, I've even enjoyed it so far.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Quick update on the crazy last couple of weeks …

- Europe – we’ll talk about this later

- My granddad died – He’s one of the best men I’ve ever known, and I’ll see him again.

- I got a job – I got a call on Tuesday offering me a position as a math teacher for tenth and eleventh grade. The downside is …

- I’m not living in Chattanooga – The one negative aspect of the job = it’s not in Chattanooga. After wrestling with this for a while and talking to certain people, I have decided to take it … which leaves me with mixed feelings. I’m so excited about this job, but I’m also so incredibly sad that it means I have to give up living with three of the most amazing girls ever. I’m going to come up every weekend I can, and all y’all in Chattanooga are welcome to come see me in the B’ham any time … it’s only 2 hours away.

- A trip to the dump – Could a trip to the dump ever be more fun? Let me just set the scene for you: Paige, Shleigh, and I in a big truck, blasting Garth Brooks and the Allman Brothers. After we emptied the truck, we stopped at a state park, jumped in the bay, and then Paige treated us all to cherry-lemonade icies … Dang! I wouldn’t mind goin to the dump everyday.

- Matthew’s birthday – Nathan and I took him and a friend to Six Flags …
104 = the degrees of hotness
1 = the number of people who died … I’m not even joking. A man had a heart attack on the Goliath. They shut it down for a while afterwards.
2 = the number of people we saw pass out in line
4 = dollars to get any water to drink
349,662,152 = the number of people it felt like were at six flags
7,349,662,152 = the number of minutes it felt like we waited in line
We had a blast though. Happy Birthday Matthew!

- A car wreck – The only good thing I can say about this is that it wasn’t my fault. Someone smashed into my car, while it was parked in a parking lot, and just kept on driving … jerk. It’s not that bad, but the front right corner of my car needs replacing.

- Painting – I’ve pretty much become a professional by now; I’ve been painting in and out and around things that would practically make a normal person go blind … don’t worry though, sight is my strongest sense.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Caldwell’s Travels – Chapter 2 …

On the 26th of June, I got a message on my phone from Cheney telling me that I could come to her house whenever my heart so desired. An hour later I was in the car on my way to Augusta, Georgia.

Some highlights: VBS - shout out to Crystal (did I spell that right?), Lydia, and all the other astronauts on team Vandor, may you all prosper with many successful Lunar Missions; Café 209 - lunch with Mr. Williams, possibly the best Southern food I’ve ever had from a restaurant; Shleigh came - fun times with Maria, Sonic, Bill Gates, and Settlers of Kattan … Feero, Allison and I still aren’t trading with you.

On the 29th of June, Shleigh and I depart from Augusta to Chapin, South Carolina.

Some highlights: Hand and Foot with Papa and Grandma Luther, a 6 mile run – bring it Pet Sites, watching the World Cup with Dadu followed by some jet skiing at the lake … Shleigh may seem all sweet, but put her behind a jet ski and dang! We flipped off, what was it? Three times?

On the 1st of July (probably the best month of the year) we went from Chapin to Roan Mountain, North Carolina. Spending a holiday with the Luthers and Harvels is always a good decision. Shout out to the McNottins, Almers, and Wolvers too … all of which are amazing families.

Some highlights: hiking the hardest trial on Roan Mountain which is definitely not 2.3 miles, kickball, telephone, the Appalachian trial, an amazing game of soccer, nights by the fire, and a life decision … I’m gonna hike the whole Appalachian; it’s calling to me … everyone’s invited to join … more plans on this to come.

Yesterday I arrived back in sweet home Alabama. And yep, it’s been confirmed: it is definitely good to be home. Today my sole job is to pack for Europe … which so far has consisted of me pulling out a new red suitcase from my closet (my last suitcase fell victim to one of my dad’s trips to Russia … the Russian airlines lose his bags a lot … I actually have a theory about that, but we’ll save it for another time). I have a feeling that the rest of the packing will take place sometime late tonight/early tomorrow morning and might possible involve a quick run to Walmart to grab some item that my mom has deemed necessary for the trip … like a twelfth pair of underwear (is it “pair of underwear”?) … and yes, we will only be gone for a week, but apparently once we leave the country we will change our clothes as much as possible. Another thing that has apparently been deemed worthy of suitcase space is a various assortment of nuts and apricots … to survive on just in case we some how get separated from our group … probably while we’re changing our clothes. Oh snap, this trip is gonna be fun.