Saturday, August 27, 2005

December 30, 2004

Christmas is here...and gone!
Leslie and Bun arrived Friday and we all went through a whirlwind of activity. Between Jenny's graduation and their desire to do a little shopping and touring, the days went fast! We had Christmas on Sunday night (December 19). We were all pretty happy with the gifts we received and dinner was a huge success. I went back to work on Monday and the girls headed to Mexico for a little sight-seeing and shopping. They came back, rested up on Tuesday and left for Margaret's in Oklahoma on Wednesday. Richard and I left for Margaret's on Friday, Christmas Eve. We left here at 12:30 just after noon, just as a wondrous thing happened…it began to snow! In SOUTH Texas! Richard had anticipated freezing weather and had brought all our tropical plants in. I was just glad to be driving AWAY from snow. Echo and Flint were a little disconcerted by cars going by and strange noises, so they didn't settle as well as I had hoped for long distance riding in the car. We arrived at Margaret's at 10:30 pm. I knocked on the door and it swung open, but no one was home. Peeking in, I saw photos of Katie on the wall so knew I was at the right apartment. The wreath on the door was one I'd made for her years before. So Richard and I unpacked the SUV, gathered up the dogs and moved in (grin). 2 and a half hours later, she and Katie came in, shocked to see us! They had gone upstairs to watch movies with the neighbor. We talked till the wee hours. Scott picked Katie up the next morning and then brought her back later. We took Margaret out to brunch at IHOP, the only restaurant open on Christmas Day. We had a nice brunch and enjoyed all the talking. After we brought her home, it was time to leave. Only Margaret spotted some furniture by the I encouraged her and Richard to check it out and we ended up hauling a nice desk, a 27 inch TV and a cruise box (made by sailors for their possessions aboard ship) to her apartment. As we were doing that, another neighbor brought down a bookcase - so I snagged that, too. Margaret and Richard were embarrassed by my dumpster-diving abilities, but she now has some nice furniture to fill her apartment. Told her if anything breaks or doesn't work - she can just haul it back out! We left for Mom and Pa's in Missouri after that. We arrived pretty late, but had a chance to talk a little. The next morning, Mom started making another post-Christmas dinner. We ambled outside with the dogs, who were at first intimidated by all the wide open space. Once Echo realized she could run ANYWHERE, she took to it like a duck to water. She ran all over the place, sniffing and playing, crashing through brush and jumping out to pounce on Flint. Flint had a good time, too - running thither and yon. Both dogs followed all their commands! If I called them back, they came, and they obeyed when I said "No street!" or "No!" Echo HATED going inside though and at first slipped her collar when I forcibly dragged her in. I decided to put her harness on so I could simply reach down and grab her. Thank heavens I did - she ran off into the dark the first night and it was hell trying to find a black dog in the black woods! I left the harness on for the duration.We tramped all over our 3.8 acres taking pictures and making lots of plans. Plans were iterated, revised and discarded as Pa explained different aspects of the property characteristics. We have a small ridge, a slight southeast slope and a stand of oaks. We also have cedars (where Richard wants to leave natural for an animal "sanctuary" and tiny spring. Richard wants to widen the spring to attract more animals. We also have a creek on the east side, running north/south. There are lots of pines, too. We chose a place for the garage, the house and the dog pasture (fenced), but the driveway is still not determined. We have a tentative one for the front of the property, but one of the measurements of the county survey may be wrong. If it is, it is possible that the ATV road on the west side is possibly on our land and would make a good driveway. Since it is already cleared, we'd not have to do as much damage to the environment if the land is ours. Pa will be going out with his metal detector to find the metal stake the county survey claims is there. He's found all the stakes but that one and had even asked the original owner if he knew where it might be. If the stake is not where the county map says it should be, we will have to pay for a professional survey to determine our property line. The next day, Mom wanted to take us into town to look around, so we did that, too. Brunch was fun, then we went to one of the farm/tool stores, then on to an antique shop. Lots of goodies and I even spent a few bucks (grin). Richard and Pa went out with a compass, a measuring tape and the county survey and did the math to determine all the angles. A good time was had by all.We left the next day around 10:15 am. Clear driving conditions all the way, and the dogs were much more settled in the car. The engine check light came on and scared us in Dallas, but after a 20 minute pause by the roadside, everything seemed to be fine so we went on. We rolled in at 4 AM Monday morning. I had to be up for work by 6:30 am, but I snoozed in the car so it wasn't too bad. Richard spent yesterday cleaning out the car, shopping, walking the dogs, laundry and even made dinner. He also did a CAD drawing of the property, using the county survey and tentatively laid out the property as far as where everything is or will be situated. We have a tangible plan now and will be aiming towards it over the next few years. I'll post pictures and the CAD drawing later.

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