Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly...

Serious lack of posts as of late. Maybe it's the crappy weather that finally seems to be shifting, maybe it's missing the ocean, maybe it's the lack of decent Chinese food. Could be nothing more than the fact that I've become a big bag of excuses. Inspiration comes from the oddest places...My good Colorado experience is really indicative of life in a small town. My husband broke his eyeglasses for the 4,218th time. He's really hard on eyeglasses, but that's a story for another day. He's been wearing one pair without those little plastic nose-thingies for weeks, and didn't complain about the discomfort (much) until we were walking through the supermarket parking lot (yes, it's about the only place I ever go) and his sunglasses just fell apart, and fell right off his face. He couldn't put it off any longer- he had to go to the optical store (which was a 2 minute walk from the house) and get both pair fixed. First off, I think it's amazing that a town of 1000 people has an optician. Second, that she repaired both pair of his glasses while he waited, and refused to charge him anything. They engaged in a polite argument until she agreed to accept payment. I'm sure she finally relented because my husband can be really, really loud, and he reminded her that she'd already fixed his glasses for him and not charged him and he simply would never be able to come back if he wasn't allowed to pay her. As a result, she charged him $12.00 for fixing both pair. He still feels guilty. That's the good side of small town life.

The bad story is that last Tuesday I was too busy missing the ocean to cook dinner. I whined until my husband broke down and agreed to go to the only place we knew we could get a good pizza. The restaurant in question doesn't open for business until 5:00 pm. At 7:58 pm, he walked in to order our pizza and was told, "Kitchen's closed." Really? "Wait- you guys just opened a few hours ago. When do you close?" THEY CLOSE AT 8:00. THE PIZZA RESTAURANT IS OPEN FOR 3 HOURS A NIGHT. THAT'S IT! So, needless to say, he came home empty-handed, and by that time, the grocery store was closed, too- so we couldn't even get cardboard frozen pizza. I don't have to go into detail about how this did not improve my frame of mind. We drove the three block downtown area, hoping perhaps we'd missed an eatery that may be open after 8:00 on a Tuesday. No luck. By then I was too pissed off to cook (anything I would have attempted would have been toxic) but as we were turning on the highway to drive 9 miles to the next tiny town, we noticed the Stop & Save which is a gas station and convenience store that also doubles as a pizza restaurant.

I can't believe I've made it this long and not had gas station pizza. The best part was the clerk's response when we ordered a pizza with mushrooms and olives.
"For the same price you can get Lotsameat!" she was bubbling with enthusiasm.
"What kind of meat is it?" I asked, still considering myself a half-assed 'former' vegetarian.
She wrinkled her nose and stared at the asbestos-tiled ceiling. "I'm not sure, but there's lots of it, and it's the same price as the mushrooms!"
We convinced her that we'd be just fine without an extra 6lbs. of what was most likely pork-product, and she told us they'd put our pizza in the oven and we'd be good to go- in 25 minutes.

I don't know how many of you have spent 25 minutes waiting in a gas-station-convenience-store-pizza-restaurant, but it's just loads of fun, especially when you're cranky, hungry and tired.

We walked up and down every aisle, at least 47 times. We bought a hat (it was on sale!) a Beatles lunchbox (it was a limited edition!) 4 candy bars we had not seen since we were kids (they tasted like they may have actually been produced in the 1960's) 2 new flavors of gum, (did you know they make Pina Colada gum?) a few personal care products that I am far too discreet to mention, but unlike me, they do not contain an expiration date, and a box of dog snacks, because the dog would be really ticked off at us when we returned home. After all, we told him we were going out for 5 minutes. That's the bad part of small town life.

Here's the thing- when you live in a rural area, you learn to turn any experience into an opportunity. This gas-station-pizza experience gave me the chance to seek entertainment in the most ordinary of settings (plus I got a pretty cool hat) and it also gave us a wonderful opportunity to contribute to the local economy. The pizza was a bargain at $12 bucks. The shopping we did at the convenience store added another $38.00 to the evening's total. I still don't know what kind of meat comes on the Lotsameat special. That's the ugly part.