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We’re not in Kansas anymore.

December 20, 2013

My brother came to visit and I think he was well aware of the fact that he was no longer in Kansas California when he walked outside the Kansas City airport and it was 9 degrees. Actually, we are much much closer to Kansas now than we were before. I’ve been to Kansas and wasn’t a fan, actually. At least not of Dodge City or what I could see from the Interstate. But to get the point, Missouri is not California (obviously) and things are a little different out here. Note, I did not say they were better or worse, just different. Some things that have struck me as different from home. For the record, “home” in this context is California’s Central Valley. Also, I’m not going to talk about taxes or political leanings or anything else you can Google. I’m talking about the REAL stuff.

Hardees/Carl’s Jr – Somewhere between California and Missouri, Carl’s Jr. changes to Hardees. This is hardly news and pretty obvious. It’s the same logo! Just a different name.  While I do enjoy a Western Bacon Cheeseburger now and again, I was never a regular at Carl’s. It’s just too expensive and if I’m going to spend that kind of money on lunch, I want Chipotle. Still, the other day, I was looking for lunch and passed a Hardees. I pulled into the drive thru expecting to order a Western Bacon Cheeseburger and THEY DIDN’T HAVE IT. Panic ensued and I ordered something else. I don’t remember what it was and while it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t a WBC. Sad day.
However, out here we have Steak ‘n Shake. I will happily trade a WBC for Steak ‘N Shake any day.  I love getting their chili and a side of fries, then dipping my fries into the chili. Mmmm. I actually just had that for dinner about an hour ago. I also really like the Port Royale Junior, which is basically a bacon cheese burger with a fried egg on it. Not to mention the milkshakes. SO GOOD. Steak ‘N Shake is bad for my waistline. The argument could be made that if we’re comparing apples to apples, we need to compare Steak ‘N Shake to In ‘N Out.  So here goes. In ‘N Out wins on the burgers. They just do. I don’t think any fast food joint beats In ‘N Out burgers. Steak ‘N Shake wins on the milkshakes, hands down. The French fries? I’d have to call it a draw, actually.

Eggs – What could be different about eggs here? I still don’t know but we have had more broken eggs in our carton (yes, we checked before we bought them!) in the 5 months since we moved to MO than I remember having the entire time I lived in Fresno/Clovis. Maybe chickens are more fragile out here?

Right turn yield – So you drive up to a stop light in Springfield and there’s likely a right turn yield lane! If you’re turning right and it’s clear, YOU DON’T HAVE TO STOP! This is awesome. California should put these all over like MO has.  Along the same lines, I could get all nerdy on you about the Diverging Diamond Interchanges all over Springfield. GENIUS! It’s a work thing, but yeah. Those things are slick. Google it. Then call up your state Dept of Transportation (CalTrans, NDOT, ODOT, etc) and demand they start building them.

Auctions & Trading – Wow, auctions are so prevalent here! Need to get rid of stuff? Auction! There are auctions ALL THE TIME! And the trading! If you list something on Craigslist, there’s a decent chance someone will contact you asking to trade.  I’ve listed a number of things for sale on Craigslist in Fresno and never had anyone offer to trade.

Lunch/Dinner – What’s in a name? “That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” – Shakespeare.  Thanks for that, Bill. But what if Juliet had a sister named Susan. Then they all left Verona and went to Rome. Much to their surprise, in Rome, Juliet is called Susan! And Susan is called Betty.  Betty is Susan’s middle name. Susan Betty. Right now, you’re thinking that Annabelle is really lucky to have Jake for a dad, because clearly if I were naming her by myself, she’d have been named something like Susan Betty. Back to my point, it’s really more like this: Juliet is always Juliet. Susan can be Juliet or Susan. Betty is always Susan.  Have I confused you enough yet? My Shakespeare metaphor didn’t work out as neatly as the inkling in my head indicated it might.  Maybe I should lay off the caffeine.

Here’s the story. Where I’m from, you have 3 basic meals. Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner. Sometimes you can have Brunch which is awesome but let’s keep it simple. My last paragraph was confusing enough for one post. In Southwest MO, lunch is also referred to as dinner and dinner is supper. But not all the time. Sometimes dinner is really dinner. Other times, people say “It’s dinner time!” and I’m thinking “What? it’s 11am! It’s lunch time!” then the light bulb goes off.  So confusing!

Alright that’s enough of that for one night. How about pictures?

This was our first stop when we got back to Springfield after picking up my brother in Kansas City. This store really is something else.

My brother would have you believe this is the mother of all Bass Pro shops, but he is wrong. This is clearly the Granddaddy of all outdoor stores. Now that I’m taking a closer look at this picture, I see that Granddaddy is spelled Grandaddy. Maybe a Grandaddy is different than a Granddaddy? Maybe Granddaddy wouldn’t fit so they dropped the extra d and hoped no one would notice?

My brother bought me this hat at Bass Pro! It’s a great hat. I picked it up at the store and thought that while it looked okay on the display, it would likely look fairly ridiculous on me. Most hats look ridiculous on me. In fact, I can think of 2 hats in my entire life that I’ve truly liked. There might be one I’ve forgotten so call it three. That’s one hat a decade. I guess I found this decade’s hat. It really is cuter on than just sitting there. Although, I did get two compliments on it at work while it was just sitting there.

Speaking of hats, I finished this one! It’s for our niece, Izzy. She has a sweater that it matches, which is great! The sweater was a birthday gift last year, so I’m guessing she’s outgrown it. Still, I really like the hat. I’ll like it even better when I remember to buy balloons or something else that I can use to shape the hat to be more head-shaped.

My first week in my new position at work and it’s already starting. The mess. The 4 months I worked at the Project Office might be the only time in my career that I will have an organized and clean desk. The job is going well. I’ve got an ever-growing list of projects and even better, the new heels that I bought? So comfortable. They’ve pretty much reached “Buy them in every color” status except the only color other than black patent is teal suede. I’m still tempted and might go for it. You need to celebrate the little victories in life and finding shoes that are cute and comfortable for a size 5/5.5 foot? That’s more than a little victory.

Oh yeah, back to the job. I’ve had meetings and more meetings. I’ve already had my first instance of apologizing to someone for needing a short turn around on something (not my fault! This should have been done long before my name was ever attached to this project!), which didn’t take long. I think it was on Day 4. It’s both encouraging and nerve-wracking to know that project management is the same everywhere. It’s nice because I’ve done it and know a lot about what it entails. It’s nerve-wracking because I’ve done it and it’s a lot like herding cats.

It remained cold and snowy the entire time my brother was here. This is what the road to the farm looked like.  See, the first priority when clearing the roads are the major routes. Then when those are clear, they clear the smaller roads. This is a smaller road. At least we could still tell where the road is.  This picture is actually rather funny in light of the title of this post. MoDOT has been praised from all over for their ability to clear the roads and it really was awesome how well they did on the major routes. So much so that drivers crossing state lines in Arkansas, Oklahoma or Kansas? They were not pleased at what awaited them outside MO. According to my co-workers, this happens every year. Missouri does a great job of keeping the roads clear and it makes the surrounding states look really bad. Then you get off the major route and you’re back in Kansas!

*Also, I have the best brother ever. I told him that I’d mention that in this post so here it is. He downloaded an app to be able to send me a video he shot while he was here. The video will be featured in my post for this coming week. Gotta give you something to come back for, right?!

Here’s a blurry picture of him and Annabelle having a morning chat before we left Kansas City to head to Springfield. She seemed pretty fond of her Uncle Jason and he even babysat her for a couple of times while we made some quick trips. One of these occasions required a diaper change. He said that he had to phone a friend for help. They both survived and were happy when we got home, so I think it was a success. Well, Annabelle was happy. Jason was a tad traumatized. Still a success. What are siblings for, if not to inflict a little trauma now and again?

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