Hope Does Float

It was New Years Eve of 2000 when I knew that I’d wasted nearly a decade of my life. I watched the people in their formal attire stop dancing t0 wait for the 10 seconds to count down, watched them all turn expectant faces up for the kisses to come. I turned my own face to see my husband move through the crowd, away from me and toward some useful distraction.

It was a few months later that we sat, truth revealed, in the same house but not the same people as we were. I turned the TV to what I wanted to watch for a change, the smallest of bitter antagonisms I could muster. It was Hope Floats. Each moment from the start of the film seemed to echo into my Now except I didn’t have the romantic cowboy to turn to or a place to run home to…but as I watched I felt a skittering of Life cutting through the madness. I tamped it down. Months and years it was pressed beneath the silt and dead leaves that I donned inside.

And then one day a cowboy did show up. And he brought me back to Texas to within miles of that house in the film. He took me there to see it, not knowing why the tears fell as the town sign rushed into view. I watch the movie now and remember so well the utter terror, and the deep sense of failure that enrobed me then. I look around me now and know that there is hope even in the darkest days and if you will wait for it the light will find you again.

“…beginnings are scary, endings are usually sad, but it’s the middle that counts the most. Try to remember that when you find yourself at a new beginning.”

Is This Thing On?

I let this place languish as I dealt with all the move details and unpacking. And, in truth, it has been easier to be “social” on Twitter. But I am tiring of the drama and facts regarding the ruination to come. So perhaps I will dust off the muse a bit.

I’ve managed to get two pods unpacked and the garage emptied of nearly all boxes – perhaps another 10 await me. And having done most of it on my own I feel rather proud. That was because Sarge had to work almost 20 days without a day off and I didn’t wish to pay another month’s rent on the pod. So you load the hand truck and sweat, climb stairs, and save the heavy stuff for him to move in the evening.

The office/gym needs some attention – nearly everything placed there but not neatly. The guest/craft room also requires work – again, things where they need to be but not organized. Painting is to come now that we agreed on shades. The loom is still in storage but I hope to get that moved this week so that I can better determine how much room I have left. Yes, in addition to knitting and spinning the naughty Christina has lured me into weaving. She acquired this loom and then soon after knew she wanted to upgrade so I bought it from her as a good starter loom. Artisat Loom

There is little time right now, though, for any of it. I spent the morning looking for baby patterns because the sweet godchildren have told us they are expecting! I am so thrilled but trying hard to be quiet and patient about it, knowing well the fragile nature of early pregnancy.

Some may wonder what Sarge makes of all the death and danger of late – in fact, he has been embroiled in so much political turmoil in-office of late that the news has been a daily blow to his aspirations. For the first time he speaks of leaving the career entirely which tells me that things are very bad, indeed. We have agreed that if he needs to go to the border regions for promotion and escape that we shall have to cope with it. He would get an RV for weekly living and then come home on weekends. This being what most do when stationed there. We hope for change in the coming months, to see if roles switch around and allow him to be more comfortable but in the meantime he is trying to hold his tongue and failing spectacularly on occasion. He is truly only happy on his tractor, rebuilt carb and all – quite easy to work on and surely a feeling of success when it started up with zeal after.TractorMan1

The dogs remain very pleased with the locale, aside from the heat. One will not go in the pool (yet) and the other wants in all too often. At least they have refrained from exploring the entire acreage for now. We only recently had the tractor up and running to shred the large portions so it made most of the land rather off limits. Even shredded it is a bit rough. I am hoping he can mow a perimeter for walking so that mean beasties like chiggers don’t assault us. We’ll see about that when the weather turns more pleasant. Too, I worry about snakes – one dog appeared to have been bitten at the crook of the hind leg – a lot of gnawing at it drew my attention and then I saw the “infection” and swelling. I kept a close eye on it over a day, warm compresses applied as often as she would allow. I noted a good reduction of the swelling and she did her part to keep it clean so no vet bill. In the end we were very lucky.

The garden is in – it was a very wet spring so I doubt it would have mattered if we’d put it in sooner. The tomatoes are merely there but I hope for an autumn burst of fruit. Better luck next year. I did trade some cookies for lovely tomatoes with the neighboring elderly gentleman. I say elderly but the man works on riding mowers when he isn’t mowing which is nearly every day! Matter of fact I need to make some blueberry bars as a thank you to the neighbor who trimmed the shrubby growth at the corner of the property for us. It obstructed a view of the road but we hadn’t gotten to it. Kind aid, indeed. Handy that she is an ER nurse. Ahem.

The melons continue to work on their fruit – the drip line really aids in this weather – and the damned okra keeps doing its thing. Our ancient peach tree had a final flush of fruit which is so delicious. They are now ripe if a bit small. Cling stone, they are like cling peaches from a can but warm with the sun. Oh, just amazing. I don’t know that it will have another year in it but there is a youngling sprouted from its roots that I hope will become a new tree that we can properly care for. The pecan trees are loaded…I have some dismay at the rot in a few – the limbs trimmed badly. So we’ll invest in some good sized specimens as future replacements. I hope to have some cherry trees and citrus before long. We were gifted with 5 apple trees which we’ve planted and are doing moderately well. The heat is hard on them as they came from a sheltered and semi-shaded spot. I think they will fare much better with a full season under them. The next major item on our list is a chicken coop. Build the coop and then get the chickens!

In short, I feel quite pleased with our situation as it stands. We’ve acquired a good place to sit out any major issues and are capable of performing the tasks needed to feed ourselves. In no way should it be construed that we are Safe. No one is…but we are pleased with what we’ve done so far and will continue to improve. This puts us on good footing. The local cattle catcher asked if he could park a couple ponies on the back acreage for a month or two, offering to put in electric fence. We’ll see how that works out – the dogs are already infatuated with the horses pastured in the distance. As am I, I must admit. I take the binoculars out often to see them up close.

It’s bucolic, indeed. And so far from the goal we had that we often look at each other and just laugh at our good fortune. A lot of work to come but it is welcomed. Very welcome, indeed.


Gots Mine

Well, we do, anyway. With a lot of work and worry, we’ve managed to stake a claim. Check out what my mornings consist of, now.

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/165372857″>TheView</a&gt; from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user992185″>LauraB</a&gt; on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Isn’t it just amazing? So much yet to do…boxes to unpack…a garden to prepare (even if only for autumn) and – to make Sarge very happy – a tractor to buy. Something in this motif…we go tomorrow to check one out.

The stars this evening were a delight – Saturn beaming, the ISS speeding past…and the bug zapper taking care of its business and business is booming. I cannot be more pleased with the place even with all the work to come. And with the current paths of the world, it was a terrific decision at the right time.


When life feels tough you often find it gets even more difficult – as if some universal toggle is pushed that starts a chain reaction…

With that stress comes irritation and short fuses. Rather than say what is on your mind, you swallow the vitriol, bury it, and let life move on, assuming that it will all fade. And it does eventually. In the meanwhile…there is music to soothe…

The madness continues in the home buying arena. So much work and no end in sight though there is a deadline looming. Tomorrow I will unpack those hastily boxed belongings and place them where they belong. Next week will bring another pod to load with the rest of the furniture so that it can all follow along like a giant white duckling. I do fret for the poor driver on the small streets but it ought to work out.

The sun hangs in the sky long into the night, now, ruining sleep schedules, and making it hard to surrender the bed in the morning. Harder, now, that one dog must remain behind on the walks, whining in deep anger. Last night I took them both, tired of the battle…Ranger gamely limped along, happy to be included in the much shorter walk. In a month, it will be acreage to roam, instead, and I won’t have to fret about it as much.

We talked briefly over Easter with others, their scoffing at surgery for the dog making me wonder if I am the one with a diverging opinion. Am I wrong? If we didn’t have it or could not pay, it would be an easy – easier – decision. But I don’t know…2 house payments, he says, and I suppose it is possible we can keep him medicated, he is in his older years…maybe if he remains on low activity, he will heal a bit more and return to his former self, albeit a slower version. Did I mention it before? He seems to have torn his cruciate ligament though I am not certain it is fully torn…so we’ll try the meds and rest to see if he regains any better use. Thus far, he hasn’t understood the concept of rest. What a jerk he can be at walk time, angry at his brief go around the house while I take Kota on the usual route. The other morning he forced his way by me, refusing to stay home. What an irritating dictator he can be…

Did I mention Kota’s cat comes along now and then? I wonder what she will make of the new terrain. She is so damn smart…


Nothing has gone quite right this week and I feel terrible for Sarge. He is trying so hard to bear up…but then I read the tale here and know it really hasn’t been that awful. We were able to meet the owners at the inspection (which caught only a very few issues) and got along quite well. So many little things that we might not know until weeks afterward…we’ve many dreams in our minds but I imagine a number of them won’t come to fruition until autumn – which is fine! Plenty of time…What I cannot wait for is the view…forgive the bad stitch – I ought to have done a panorama while there.


The neighbors are closer than it appears but in no way too close. It will be lovely to have the peace…the relative peace since it appears one of them has a donkey. I do hope they aren’t early risers…well, soon I will know. Just 3 more weeks…which is hardly time enough to do anything that needs done. But it will happen. I just need to stock up on easy to microwave foods for the last week so I can pack the rest of the kitchen. At least I had a volunteer to line my shelves in the kitchen already so I will have aid with that. YAY!! It is such a big job!! And vital to the critical unpacking when you’ve a man who enjoys your cooking. Soon…



Lost and Found

The problem with throwing everything in a box to clear the decks is that the boxes are mysteries and even their locations unknown. Today, however, was a success early: Supplies1

Sarge is a big fan of those bars for breakfast and I am a big fan of that chocolate for sanity. Once found, I gave up the fight for the day.

It was a crazy night…Kota has been enjoying this brief last frost of the year, preferring to sleep outside but wanting to be with us until 2am. This time she woke me just in time to alert on the “sleeping” pork butt in the BGE. Sarge put it on about 7p (a 10lb butt, give or take) and right before bedtime, we gave it the final anointing with a diluted boiled cider mixture. When I took Kota out, I was tempted to remove the beast without waking Sarge but the risk of dropping the monster was too great. So in I went and roused him. I think that could be a sign of real love – that you will each wake to get the pork off the grill at 3am, taste it with love and lusciousness, then snuggle back in bed after lovingly resting it in the cooler.

Poor Ranger has a decent limp, now, and I know it is going to be a hip/spine thing so if I can manage it, I’ll get Sarge to help take him to the vet – we usually use A&M but that is rather far. May have to research a closer option. He still gives it a good try but the walks are shorter these last few times as a kindness to him. Life has been so chaotic that we haven’t given it the best attention and now it is time…good news or bad, we need to know.

But…speaking of good news…it looks like the new house will be ours. Some dickering this morning led to a final acceptance of terms. Want a peek? HouseAerial1

The pool is truly vestigial but just right for taking a dip and definitely fits the “water supply” checkbox. So…there you have it. In a month or so we shall be ensconced in the new locale. Frightening reality, there. Which reminds me I need to find a pool boy. Damned thing has enough equipment to go to the moon. One of those UV filter things instead of chlorine/saline. Small enough to make it workable, I think, but I’d still prefer some time to get the hang of it so best, probably, to have some help for the first quarter. If only it had a hot tub…

I wish I knew what to expect. I am a Planner – with redundancy. So all of this Uncertainty and Waiting To Know kills me. Guess I can just keep on unboxing and reboxing – with labels this time – to satisfy that need. Goodness knows I’ve enough of that to do! Poor Sarge…all of this and work is a political nightmare just now. Ah, well. We’ll just see what happens! Meanwhile, let the gardening dreams begin!

Endings and Beginnings

It has been a trying month, indeed, full of sickness and worry. But it is working out and soon we hope to have something akin to our dreams…acreage. Sarge has carried much of the burden.We have been looking for some time for something suitable – not too large as we haven’t time to manage it but enough to farm and perhaps even raise a beef for the freezer. Our demands were rather small, I think – no huge master with fancy bath as we don’t care about that sort of thing. But we wanted a good outside entertaining and cooking area. And water…if not a creek or pond, something…so we hunted and waited in a very tight market.

We had to sell first which makes for a complicated process. Sarge decided to price the house very competitively as our goal was to move, not to necessarily profit. Then came the packing…I had a great deal packed in advance – I don’t mind it, enjoying the planning, the wrapping, the labeling…and we went with a Pod so that I could move things at leisure while he worked. I started on the library first which filled the entire rear wall of the pod. Then it was onto the mundane – things you can live without for however long it takes. And that was the issue – how long would it take? We had no idea…

We rented a temperature controlled storage space for things that needed proper care as the pod is not stored that way. It was a great idea and worked so well we may just get a smaller space on a more permanent basis for a time after offloading some of its contents. And then came the final packing – all the mess of daily life on tables and kitchen islands…but a more frantic packing without labels, without care, because I thought the boxes would remain in their given rooms so that they could be rummaged through as needed. However, the agents came by and within two hours every box, knickknack, countertop item was Gone. Furniture was edited, moved, or hidden. The house was bare and full of echoes.

I was quite sick – had been for three weeks with a chest/sinus infection that would not surrender. I tried so hard to keep up and move things, direct them as to places to hide things but in the end they spun around me like a tornado. I was so frustrated, so tired, and I had asked them weeks before if I ought to have it staged to avoid just this sort of thing. And then came the showings, the dogs forced to go on several “walks” a day until I finally just put a chair in the neighbor’s yard and gave them bones to stay busy with…a dozen showings in just a couple days, I was hard pressed to keep the visits timed right. But in the end it was the right thing to do. I do daresay…because within 72 hours, this was dangling off the sign:


Can you even imagine? I assumed it would be a month…that we’d get maybe a bit more than asking price…Suffice to say we are pleased, indeed. We looked at a few other properties this weekend…but they were too large, really. So the one we had originally wanted seems to be our final selection.

And now…time to, as my good friend said, hurry up and wait. It will be a month to close on ours and then a quick shuffle of the remaining possessions into another pod so we can move on our closing. I really cannot wait to move…I cannot believe someone finds this place appealing, frankly. But I suppose with kids it might be…I suppose someone might have said the same about our future home. So, life is changing and full of crazy deadlines but I think it will work out. Patience and perseverance…and maybe just a bit of luck!

Getting On With It

As we all have experienced, the glances at the horizon are more frequent and with more concern. So I have been all about the Acquisitions lately. Canned food restocked, special additions to the kapow family, little things here and there to make life just a little bit better should things take A Turn. One of my really pleasant changes was to my EDC…

I usually run with a LA Police Gear Bail Out bag because it holds EVERYTHING and is organized like a mofo while being the toughest $20 bag you will own. (Don’t forget the excellent velcro’d and well hidden pocket behind the wee pouch section!) But it is also a bit tacticool and attention-getting so I decided to give the new CountyComm Bac-Sac by Maratac a try. I do fear the lining will not survive very long – they really could have gone with something a bit tougher but I’ve only had it for a day so I cannot give a qualified opinion on that – just at a glance it seems…fragile.

The zipped pockets are excellent though a bit small at the openings – my hand fits in but a manly mitt may not. I am not usually a fan of the bucket-style bags where everything just gets dumped in there. I will get some organizing bags/boxes and try to make it more – well, organized. I LOVE the 4 D rings at the top of the bag – I’ve hooked more more necessary items to them so they remain at the top of the bag. You could also grimlock or carabiner the rings to offer more secure dangling to your delicates. As for the carry option – thinking about this one…just doesn’t look like they have my size. I may have to mock up something akin to that.

I love the tough fabric exterior on the bottom – I do not think anything will poke through from the inside or the outside. It gives a small amount of shape to the bucket, too. I do worry about the sliding closure on the rope closure – one, you don’t get the bag exactly cinched tight – too much fabric being pinched at a single point to get it slammed shut. I just figure over time the rope will get worn and the sliding closure won’t sit tight – though it does have a screw you can tighten. I am betting most people will replace that rope with something more suitable. I could easily see a proper climbing rope being put to use in that way…

At any rate, it is far more collegiate in style and shape, removing the obvious Gun Here signs that the other bag denotes. Usually, I don’t care about that – I know some people get all up in arms (heh heh) about the “shoot me first” appearances of attire and gear. I am not as concerned about that as I am about access to weapons. But in this growing threat environment I am rethinking that stance. I am not able to see every threat like a professional so I hope to use my “tame old lady” appearance as a subtle time buying tool. Maybe that sounds stupid. But I figure if I cultivate that appearance I might just get a chance to move out of harms way.

In other news…seems that Sarge has been appreciating my stance on Get It Now, Get It While You Can. He has performed his own stocking up which makes me very happy. He has also taken care of the house loan preapproval process so that we have a good idea of what we can afford – which is surprisingly generous. So I’ve edited the house search a bit…I don’t want to be forced to sell before buying though I am betting that is the case. I don’t know what we’d do – likely lease a furnished apartment for a few months while storing some other things elsewhere. But I have a Pod on the way to enable me to load a majority of our things in it and get it out of here while we stage the house for sale. Spring is a good time for it – school is out and people don’t mind moving. But the prices may not hold…kind of hard to be selling in a sellers market and also buying in a sellers market. And it could all go to hell at any time. But I’ve found a number of interesting places…just need to decide if we’re staying in this region or not.

Oh – before I forget – there have been a lot of great posts over at Zed’s place. From a link discussing Your Prepping Style to The Library (which is such a great gift to everyone) to temporary comms – something that I need to look at. Do not ignore the comments in that post as holy hell, there are some good tips. I wish I had more time for everyone’s blogs but at this point I have about 3 that I hit regularly and then scattershot the rest as time permits. I have hopes that in 6 months I can have more time to do what I like vs. just getting things crossed off my long list.

Another thing we managed was to get the Beast to the mechanic. Lord love her, she was running with only 2 of 8 glow plugs working and half the injectors if I remember right. Hilarious, really, that she still chugged along bravely with what was essentially a diesel gut shot. Our shop took good care of her, getting her back on track and fixing a few other minor issues at the same time. Ah, she runs so well, now! Which reminds me that I need to get with our friend about getting a fuel storage refresh since the price is so low…another task to add to the list…

The best thing recently was watching our nephew graduate from USAF Basic. He was an honor grad so he already has a coin and a ribbon. I know, I know – so did 60 0ther guys. But he worked very hard to do it all right. He also came out so damn in shape that I could not help but admire that waistline. Good Lord! Maybe a 34 inch? More like 32. Sarge said he looked much the same a long while back. Sigh…at any rate, we’re so damned proud. It isn’t what he’d hoped at the start of the plan but it is the right place for him – Loadmaster school pending. He will get to learn all about Big Blue before moving into its depths. And he is still so very young…lots and lots of time ahead to do those fun jobs. I envy them these experiences! So young and with all of life ahead…a part of me wishes I’d made other decisions in my youth. But then all of this, now, would not be mine. So…it is all for the best. I feel pretty confident about that.

Now, if I could just get Sarge to take us to some snow…