Friday, March 21, 2008

Klutzy klutzy me and Witchita, Kansas

When we arrived in Oklahoma City and found out that Ryan was allowed to leave the city, I started looking around at the surrounding areas. We discovered that within a three hour radius there are plenty of places to visit. Wichita, Kansas to the North; Dallas to the South; Ozark Mountains in Arkansas to the east and Springfield, Missouri to the Northeast is 4 hours away.

Travels - So the first place we went was Kansas! Yes, I know you’re all asking what’s in Kansas? Wichita, Kansas was fabulous for us. I had researched it and found several things to do. One was the Exploration place.

It is a children’s science museum – but fun for us too! They had a couple of cool exhibits there and there was a Gyrosphere ride that I really want to go on. It has a flight exhibit with some super duper fun flight simulators. I can’t land a plane even on a simulator. I found it was much more fun to crash.

It also had a cyberdome theatre and we saw a show on the 7 wonders of the world. I’ve never been to a cyberdome theatre. It is huge and basically the whole ceiling and walls are the screen. It also had some other little exhibits. It had a tornado simulator. There was a smoke circling up to the ceiling.

Then as we were walking through this one room. Ryan said “look, it’s your favorite toy”. In deed it was my favorite toy. I don’t even know if it has a name, but the San Diego Aquarium had one also that I played with forever. It is the water thing where you can build different paths and then race boats or balls or whatever. Nobody was playing so I started in and then all the kids started seeing how much fun it was. We raced balls and made some good water paths.

There was also a time exhibit. I didn’t think it sounded interesting until we walked through it. I had a blast! We took a couple of videos of me and the slow motion machine. I would shake my head and my hair was going all crazy then the machine would replay it back in slow motion. I looked like a hair product commercial. We were laughing so hard I had to wipe the drool off my face. The plant exhibit was hilarious. It was supposed to be about how plants grow. But it reminded me of mom when she was doing that “trees in the wind” dance thing in the Bluffdale house. I got to hold leaves and dance around like I was plant growing in the sunlight. They even had a green screen behind me and the TV screen showed me as plant moving around and growing. We’ll try to attach some videos of it. I’m not sure how that will work out. The only disappointing thing was the gyroscope ride was not running that day. Oh well.

Stars and Planets - There was also an observatory close to Wichita that had some special programs on Saturday night. The Saturday we were planning to go just happened to be the photography program. You could bring your own camera or use their camera and attach it to their telescope and take pictures of Saturn. It was pretty cool. How often do you get to take pictures of a planet? They also had some professors from the university outside with their huge telescopes showing us things. We got to see a red star, some different craters on the moon and Saturn and its rings. It was pretty darn amazing. We used their camera and then they transferred the pictures over to our flash drive (jump drive, thumb drive, USB storage device, whistle, etc). The atmosphere was unsteady so it was hard to get a good picture, but we tried. We each took 5 pictures.

Klutzy me - So back in good old OKC things are going well. Except that I am a klutz sometimes. So my office is on the first floor of an 11 story building. So during lunch and on my breaks I walk the stairs. I will walk up and down the 11 flights of stairs, 2 or 3 times day just to move around and get some exercise. (I miss the gym). Then I have this list of stretches and exercises you can do at your desk that I do every day as well. Well one day I don’t know what got into me, but I did a lot of leg lift and squats in my office. (I couldn’t do them in CA because my desk was out in the open, but here I have my closet of an office). Well my legs were a little weak but that just means a good workout right? I was leaving work and I stepped off the curb and I felt my leg stumble a bit. I tried to catch myself, but my spaghetti legs just gave out and I biffed it right there in front of work. I fell flat on my hands and knees. I quickly looked around to see how many people witnessed my stumble (not many) and I got up and limped off to the car. I got a pretty good scrape on my knee, but my pants didn’t tear. But man did I look dumb.

More of klutzy me – I fell getting out of the car at home. The carport has these really low bars right that end up right outside the car doors when you park. So I am so worried about hitting my head on those every day. One day I went a little too low and kind of fell up against the pole and the car. If anyone saw me, they might have wondered why I was hugging the pole.

South American issues – for those of you who have spent time in South America, you know the gastrointestinal issues I am talking about. Our apartment complex cooks dinner for us on Wednesday nights. So far we have had meatloaf, spaghetti, mashed potatoes, etc. Well this week we had cancer dogs. Not exactly something to rave about. But we ate it because it was food and it was free. But the rest of the night both Ryan and felt sick and had issues. I don’t want to think about eating another cancer dog for a long time. (sorry dad, but mom’s probably happy about my ban on cancer dogs).

Snot rags – I finally got whatever the sickness/gunk was that Mom and Erin had. I got the sore throat, no voice, sneezing and then congestion. I must have had it for a week. I still went to work everyday, but I was not well and I desperately needed some of Dad’s snot rags.

Laundry – We have figured out the best time to do laundry is on Friday night. Everybody else is out partaking of intoxicating beverages and nobody wants to do laundry on a fright night. We tried doing laundry during the week, but the washers were all full, then our whites got taken out of the dryer and left on top. (please not the whites, pick the color batch, but no my whites J). So we have just decided that Friday night is laundry night for us.

Library – we are officially library card holders. Let me tell you that the Oklahoma County library system rivals Salt Lake County. 20 branches, you can request from other branches, it’s awesome and it’s super high tech like the new Draper library - I’m officially in love (with libraries)! Ryan found his new books he really wanted and I found stuff to read, and ordered some stuff in. The main branch is about 1 mile from my work so maybe instead of climbing stairs one day, I’ll go to the library.

We didn’t set off the smoke alarm at all this week – which translates to mean that we did not eat frozen pizzas for dinner at all this week. We had tator tot casserole, ecua cilantro chicken, enchiladas and Frito Tila! We also made Mitzi’s soup, but we were missing some ingredients (Worcestershire sauce, pepper, and bay leaf) and it was just bland. We bought some flour this week so we can make German pancakes. I’m so excited!

Saturday, March 15, 2008


So my first experience in Oklahoma was with the toilet seat covers in the airport. Instead of paper liners that you put on the seat your self, this had a plastic covering around the seat (like a tube) and it rotated around before you sat down. So you hopefully you are always getting a clean seat. I thought that Oklahoma must be a pretty advanced state! My flight was late leaving Salt Lake and they held the plane in Denver for me. We then had to wait another 20 minutes for them to load my luggage on the flight. It was a little prop plane that held about 50 people. It sure is a different feeling flying in a small little plane like that compared to a big jet. It was so good to see Ryan after two weeks of being apart. (sappy, I know). On the way home he took me by my work so I could find it the next morning. Then we went to the apartment. It was pretty much what I expected in size, but not exactly what the website promoted.

3 words - If I needed to pick three words to describe OKC, it would be antiques stores, dollar stores and thrift stores. I pass 3 family dollar stores on the way to work, plus 2 Dollar General’s and about 15 antique stores and a flea market. And we live in the nice part of town! There is no suicide lane here and there is not shoulder or extra space on the right side of the road. So most roads are 4 lanes, but if you get behind someone turning right or left, there is nothing to do but wait. I also pass a prosthetic limb store on my way to work. Our dishwasher is ½ size BUT IT WORKS!!!!!!!! I had forgotten what a luxury item a dishwasher is. Our oven is ½ size also. I have seen smaller ovens, but never one this small. The sink is ½ deep, but it has a garbage disposal!!!!!!!! As I took a survey of our apartment, I agreed with Ryan that a trip to the dollar store was the first on the list. We didn’t have any kind of pan/dish that could go in the oven. We did have a random assortment of Tupperware lids, but only 1 Tupperware. We did have some glasses, bowls, plates, silverware. We promptly stashed the coffeemaker/coffee mugs so we could have more counter space. I think the walk in closet in the bedroom is larger than the kitchen.

Electric can opener - My biggest struggle has been learning how to use the electric can opener. The other night I was making dinner and I struggled for no joke 10 minutes to get both cans open with the can opener. Seriously, I know I don’t use them, but they can’t be that difficult. So Ryan later told me that he was wondering what my problem was, how hard is it to open a can. Well then he tried to use it last night and commented that it is a difficult can opener to use. That made me feel a little less stupid. You can probably guess what small gadget we will never have in our house J.

Phone books – when we moved in we had 4 phone books in the front room. Then I found 3 more in the closet. We threw some out, used 4 to build a TV stand in the bedroom. The next day, a new phone book was dropped off on the front porch. We laughed so hard!

Car – on my 2nd day of work I went out to start the car and it wouldn’t start. It wouldn’t even turn over. I hadn’t even been in the town for 36 hours. I didn’t know where an auto store was and I didn’t know anyone to call. But I was not about to waste one of my vacation days at work for the car not starting. Work was only 4.8 miles away. Worst case scenario, I would walk to work. I used to walk 5 miles at night to exercise in Glendora, I could walk to work. I got out the gas book and found that we hadn’t replaced the battery since 2001-about 80,000 miles ago! I was probably the battery. Well after a call to Dad to weigh my options, I looked up the bus route and found I only had to walk about ¼ mile to the bus stop and ¼ mile to work after the bus. I booked it down to the bus stop and waited. I managed to get to work only 90 minutes late. Pretty good for being new in a town! I was quite impressed with my independence. I discovered something new about OKC. There are no sidewalks on most roads (at least where we live). You just walk on the grass/dirt/mud along the side of the road. I quickly ruled out my nightly walks in this town after trekking to the bus. Ryan came home and took the car to have the battery tested. It was fine, well within the “good” range. He picked me up and then we thought it was the starter going out again. We went to the dollar store to buy some pliers and a toothbrush so that we could clean the battery cable. It seems that’s all it was. A loose connection and a much needed cleaning.

The pliers have also been helpful to control the heat in the apartment. It seems the heaters are broken and can only be adjust with pliers. The walk in closet is the warmest room in the house. I have never had so much room to display my shoes and clothing.

Salt shakers – who would have thought it is hard to buy a salt/pepper shaker? We walked all around the dollar store and couldn’t find them. So we went to Walmart. We couldn’t find them there either, not in the kitchen section or the camping section (you know the small combined one you can take camping). So we went to thrift stores. They all had holes for the salt to come out and another gaping hole with no stopper where you refill the shaker. We did find one, but it was way overpriced. It is not like it was 24K gold! Our current method is to poor a bit of salt in your hand and then sprinkle it over the food.

Smoke alarm – anytime we cook something in the oven the smoke alarm goes off and it is one really really really really loud smoke alarm! So we open the front door and then I get under the smoke alarm with a book to wave around and then Ryan opens the oven real quick. It still goes off, but not for as long. It keeps happening! We seriously considered removing the battery, but it is probably against the law.

Daylight savings time – Church is at 11am, we got there about 11:03am and went in to the foyer. A man was closing his talk! I didn’t understand, Ryan had come 2 previous weeks and church started at 11am. We both were dumbfounded. Finally I realized that it might have been daylight savings time. Ryan insisted it was too early for that. After all, we would have heard about it. My work always sends an email, they didn’t announce it in church last week which they usually do. We don’t watch TV really, so we missed the news that probably mentioned it. But yes, it was in fact daylight savings time, we just realized how removed from the rest of the world we were.

So if anyone actually reads this far down – congratulations. Lara made some remark that my letters are really detailed and do I use this as my journal. “Of course” was my reply. I did not inherit Dad or Grandpa Beck’ dedicated journaling habits.