Soon I'll make a post about our 1800-mile road trip from Poughkeepsie to Austin, our week living in a Residence Inn, and my obscenity-laced dealings with extortionist Russian Mafia auto shippers. But for now, I just want to send a huge thank you to all of you who wished me luck with my move and expressed concern about whether the Texas wildfires have affected me (thankfully, they have not.) Thank you. It feels great to be settled. It feels great to be home.
Tony's previous employer wouldn't let him take time off work to fly out here and look for housing before we moved, so we had to wing it and find a house to rent once we arrived in Austin. Every morning, I would hop on the shared computer at the hotel and check the listings, and then we would drive around and scope places out. Each day I grew more nervous because houses were being rented out so quickly. We would see a place that we liked, and call the realtor, only to discover it was already taken. This happened five or six times. We couldn't increase our budget and we were determined to get a house, not an apartment. Tony and I had never lived in a house together, and it was time. The kids need a yard to run around in. I need a washer and dryer that belong to me and only me.
At the last possible minute, (the movers were literally heading into town with our stuff and needed somewhere to put it) we found a home that had just come onto the market that morning.
The inside is pretty basic because we haven't really decorated yet. I like that we have a fireplace (believe it or not, it does occasionally get cool enough in Austin to warrant using a fireplace), and a garage so my car doesn't have to bake in the sun all day.
And oh yes, look what else is in that garage.
Sniff, sniff, aren't they beautiful? I'm so proud.
The house is only a few minutes from Tony's new job, which is awesome for him. There is also a greenbelt that is accessible at the end of our block -- I've already done a little exploring with Jackson. But the main reason we love this house is the backyard.
Jackson and Olivia love it. All they've known for so long is cold and snow, and apartment living with no space of their own. Sometimes Jackson will just sit in a deck chair and relax in the shade, looking out at the trees. My little guy, who is usually such a tornado of energy, will sit there quietly for a good twenty minutes. It's like he turns into a tiny old man. Then he gets another burst of energy and wants to run around and feel the sun on his face.
Olivia is a big fan of the deck. She is more like her daddy, preferring to hang out in the shade where it's cooler.
I like my new kitchen, too, although it's too overcast outside to take good photos today. It has a pantry, and a gas stove which I'm still getting used to, and window over the sink so I can look outside while I wash dishes. I also have a bookshelf for my cookbooks, so I don't have to store them in a cupboard. Now I can show 'em off.
The other night, I made an Ethiopian feast in honor of Tony's first day at his new job. All of the recipes were from Appetite for Reduction. I can't believe I almost didn't buy that cookbook, thinking it was "diet food." Everything is so delicious.
Y'abesha gomen - gingery collard greens. These were so crazy good that I finished them off for breakfast the next morning. Cold. I might be a freak for being so addicted to greens, but I don't care.
Ethiopian millet. If you haven't tried millet, it's similar to couscous, but with a little more bite to it.
Mushroom tibs. This dish was so easy to make. You whisk a spicy tomato sauce together in a measuring cup, dump it over the mushrooms, and stick it in the oven for 20 minutes. The recipe doesn't call for chickpeas, but I figured the sauce would complement them, so I tossed in half a can. If your store doesn't carry cremini mushrooms, don't worry, just use white button mushrooms. I almost always use button mushrooms wherever cremini are called for, since they are easier to find and cost less.
I'll be back soon, but a kind neighbor just stopped by to school us on recycling and trash pick-up schedules. I had put out our blue recycling bin along with the regular trash, but apparently it only gets picked up every other week. I'm pretty pumped that we have single-sort recycling here -- it is really convenient and we didn't have any type of recycling available at all where we used to live. But now I have to run to Home Depot to buy a special kind of bag to use for lawn clippings. Who knew there were special bags? Ah, it's good to be home.