I'm out of the office delivering Hearing Notices for our Right of Way guys to several places in downtown Austin. The first stop is at a law firm at 8th and Nueces. Parking is at street level in a carport with the offices hovering above. I start to pull into a space closest to the staircase and there is a homeless guy sleeping right in the middle of the parking spot. Two Keystone tall boys sit next to his head on the concrete. I move down a few spaces and feel a little weird about walking right past him and up the stairs, but I really have no choice. I hand the notice to the paralegal at the front desk and let her know about the dude down below. She just rolls her eyes, shrugs her shoulders and laughs in a perfect gesture that says to me "What's to be done?"
I'm hungry and think I should head to Katz's Deli which is just two blocks from here. I know it is going out of business after 30 years in Austin and I just can't remember if its final day is January 2nd or 3rd, which is today. Apparently it was yesterday and the icon with the slogan "Katz's Never Closes" is, um...closed. Opal Divine's is next door so that's where I end up.
There are few people in here. This is clearly a happy hour type of place. I've been to the Marina and Penn Field locations but never to this one. My waiter is in his mid fifties with a Willy-braid down to his waist. He makes me laugh talking about his brother. He says he is happy that the holidays are over because he needs a break from him. His brother is so funny that he laughed so hard that he's pretty sure he has injured himself and is having a hard time standing up straight because his stomach muscles are killing him. I get that, but usually after a long visit with my sister it's just my throat and cheeks that hurt ( yea, ok, and sometimes my head!)
After lunch I continue on my quest to deliver the notices. The next one goes to a corporation on 7th Street. The intersection of 7th and Brazos has been under construction for awhile, but luckily I find a parking place nearby right across from the Driscoll Hotel. The Driscoll is one of the most haunted places in Austin. One story involves a Senator's daughter in the late 1800's who died in a tragic accident as she played with a ball on the massive granite stairway in the lobby. People claim to hear a ball bouncing on the upper landing of the stairway.
I walk around skirting all of the construction and trip on my heels as I walk behind a Whole Foods catering van making a delivery. "You OK girl?" I try to look cool..."Yes. Thank you. I wore the wrong shoes for this." Smooth. I take the elevator up and remember that this is the place that only accepts notices up until 3:00. I have plenty of time. I walk in and drop the notice in a basket labeled for them and note the time. I'll have to attest to my delivery of all of these doohickees later.
My last stop is just a few blocks up and to the East; the Secretary of State's Office. I like coming here because the guard at the security check-in desk is somebody I got to know pretty well when we worked at TxDOT. She ws the guard there when the project that I was on tanked about 7 years ago. Since I was there for almost 4 years, she and I talked a lot in passing about our kids and what not. The Secretary of State's Office is, obviously, across the street from the Texas State Capitol. On the back side, where I parked, is St. Mary's Cathedral which is just gorgeous. It was a very scenic stroll making this last delivery.