Tired and happy

We had an exceptionally good weekend.

Honey and I visited a local farm-to-table restaurant for the first time Friday evening, and the food was so, so good! We started with the best deviled eggs I have ever tasted. I had steak, smoked brisket empanada, and roasted corn pudding. He had braised pork shoulder, fresh shell peas, sweet greens, fennel aioli, and cornbread. We finished with a piece of cheese cake made from goat’s milk and apple crumble with ice cream for dessert.

We got up early Saturday morning and went to get a utility trailer so we can start carrying our mower over to the new place. Neither of us is experienced enough to back up with the trailer on the truck, so we have to pretty much act as if Reverse isn’t even an option. That made for some entertaining/frustrating moments, but I know we will get better with time.

Saturday evening, we joined three of our friends for a local production of Dolly Parton’s “9 To 5” Broadway show. It was quite funny, but really just made me want to watch the original film. We still had a good time going out with friends – some of whom we don’t get to see nearly as often as we would like.

Honey and I got up early today to haul the mower over to our new property. I cut down a couple of dead trees while Honey mowed around 2 acres. He thoroughly enjoyed himself, but I got overheated and felt like I was going to die a couple of times. Even so, it is great to see the potential that I first saw in the property coming to fruition.

We had the property bush-hogged a couple of weeks ago by a man who came highly recommended by the previous owners. Just a day before while we were walking around exploring, Honey and I discovered a metal-covered drain a couple of feet from the pond’s edge that allowed the pond to spill over into a low-lying wooded area several feet away. I was impressed with what I could see, but didn’t investigate further.

As fate would have it, the bush-hog hit the metal cover and apparently threw it into the pond. It also seriously damaged the parts of the drain that were sticking above ground, and even part of the lining that went below ground level. It turns out this isn’t any old pond drain, but a water control structure by Agri Drain. Basically, it’s an expensive underground dam that controls the water level of the pond.

After notifying the man who bush-hogged, and getting an estimate for repair to the tune of $2000, he agreed to pay for the damages. I feel bad for him, but it was clearly his fault, and the whole situation was about to drive me crazy.

So, seeing Honey riding around on our regular mower today felt exceptionally good. We can hopefully prevent future accidents from happening over there, and using the smaller mower does a better job anyway.

As I am writing this, Honey is asleep in the recliner beside me. The television is turned down low, and I am listening to my favorite Tori Amos album on the laptop. The cats are fed, and most likely also snoozing in various parts of the house.

I am tired, but I am happy.

How I almost failed P.E. class

Years ago when I was a student in a small Christian school, our physical education teacher (who happened to live less than a block away from campus), decided to put a gym in his garage so that the 7th-12th grade boys could work out. He filled the small space with donated weight-lifting equipment and exercise machines, and most of the guys were delighted to get to show off their machismo during the last hour of school a couple of days each week.

Me and my two best friends weren’t nearly so excited about the situation. We were the skinny and awkward outsiders who were more concerned with how our hair looked than whether our muscles bulged, and we typically dreaded P.E. class. Not only was the teacher a jerk most of the time, years of being called gay slurs by the older boys hadn’t helped our self-esteem or our desire to hang around and watch them show off for each other.

During our first class at this garage/gym, most of the guys went straight for the weight-lifting equipment and ignored the stationary bikes that were sitting in a row along the back wall. That made it perfectly convenient for the three of us to leave the others to their revelry, and do something that was out of the way and, frankly, not too physically-exhausting. So, we hopped on the bikes and began our usual back-and-forth banter about popular culture.

It wasn’t long before the teacher abruptly appeared in front of us and proclaimed loudly, “When you girls are done with the bikes, some of the guys would like to use them.”

The words stung.

After experiencing years of taunts like fag, queer, homo, and sissy, we were now being humiliated in front of some of those same perpetrators by the very person who was supposed to be our protector. And at a Christian school, no less.

After that incident, I began skipping P.E. class. I would either go to another teacher and claim to not feel good (which was true, in a way), or I would simply disappear into the school library until the day ended. I wound up with a D for what should have been an easy class – which stood out significantly against all of the A’s and B’s on the remainder of my report card.

We moved on from the incident. Two of us came out after high school; one still seems to be in the closet. I can’t remember if we ever even discussed what happened, but I suspect it scarred all of us in some way.

I sometimes see Mr. Teacher around town. He works at a local home improvement store, and he even speaks when I run into him. He probably has no recollection of what he said or how he acted, and he most certainly has no idea how his words can still bother me all these years later.

Cozy Craftsman

It took Honey and me about 10 minutes to decide on a house plan. We knew we wanted a Craftsman home, so we entered some parameters on a home plan site and we both loved the way this one looked in the render. The floor plan is also perfect for us; nice and open, not too big or too small.

I can’t decide whether I want a gray or green exterior, but it will be a while before we have to make that decision. I love the tapered columns, the stonework, and the front steps. It looks very cozy, and I know it will look great perched on the hill overlooking our pond.

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Game plan

We closed on our new property loan Tuesday, and I am anxious to begin the next phase of our transition. Our path forward may be building a garage on the new property to live in while we sell our current home, as that will allow us to free up some money before we begin building a new house.

So, basically, we might be kind of “roughing” it for awhile, which I am completely fine with. In fact, there is a part of me that is looking forward to stripping down to the bare essentials by getting rid of things we no longer need. A big garage sale will probably be in our near future.

Our home needs some updates before we list it, so we are shooting for putting it on the market this coming spring. I figure the blooming trees and shrubs will add some excellent curb appeal.

So, for now, we are getting quotes on repairs and new construction projects. I expect this process to take longer than expected, since it seems that’s just the way these things work, but hopefully we will be at the new place before too much time goes by.

I am currently about to die to get started on whipping the new place into shape. There are a few trees that need to come down, limbs to pick up, and mowing/trimming to be done. There are also some plants that I want to move with me, and autumn is the perfect time to transplant things. Unfortunately, the weather isn’t cooperating as it has rained every day for a week.

They say good things come to those who wait, so I am doing my best to be patient.

Out of sight and mind

I don’t like neighbors. At least not the ones I currently have. They are nosy and intrusive and encamped around me like an invading army.

I firmly believe the best kind of neighbor is one who is out of sight and out of mind. That may sound silly to those of you who live in subdivisions and apartment buildings, but when I discovered this place its main appeal was the privacy. I loved that the nearest house was almost out of sight, and I reveled in the fact that I didn’t have to worry about how I looked when I went out to work in the yard or who would see me if I peed off the back porch.

Things have certainly changed.

Over the past year, a new house has sprung up just across the field beside us, and because our house sits at an angle to the road, the front of our house faces the back porch of the new house. And the neighbor seems to spend more time on the porch than she does inside her home. And the chair she sits in conveniently points in our direction.

Last week, another couple started getting things ready to put a home practically in our backyard. Even though they own several acres, they have chosen to place their new house as close to our property line as possible, with a 600 ft. driveway leading from the main road.

Because of where they are placing their home, we are losing pretty much all of our remaining privacy. Our back patio will now be plainly visible from their front windows, and it feels like I am back in the same situation I was in when we lived in a subdivision.

As if adding insult to injury, they had the gall to ask if we would mind cutting down five mature pine trees so they could have their new electric line run across our property instead of on theirs. (We said we minded.)

All of this is why I am so relieved we were able to find a very gorgeous, very private piece of property. The lot is much larger than the one we have now, and it is almost completely surrounded by mature woods. We intend to place our home in the center of the acreage so that we never have to worry about neighbors being anywhere close to us.

And I’ll be able to pee off the back porch as often as I want.

Paradise is here

We placed an offer on the property I mentioned in my last post, and after a bit of back-and-forth with the seller, we settled on a price that we were very comfortable with. We hope to sell our current home and start building here next year, but we want to take things nice and slow to ensure we are making the best decisions.

Here are a few photos I took last week while walking around the 7.5 acres. It is going to require some work to get it whipped into shape, but I can hardly wait to begin!

Little piece of paradise

I discovered the most amazing piece of property today. It has hills and valleys, a gorgeous pond, lots of mature oaks and other native trees, tons of privacy, and is easily accessible to the highway. And at a price I can afford.

I immediately took Honey to see it, all the while hoping he would love it as much as me. After getting his approval, I called an agent to get more details, and we will hear back from her tomorrow or the next day.

I am excited, nervous, and apprehensive about everything, but I know it will work out if it’s meant to be. In the meantime, we are going through house plans to find the perfect Craftsman-style home.

This may go nowhere, but I can’t help but feel hopeful. I’ll post more when I know more…

Photo from realtor showing property in early spring.
Photo from realtor showing property in early spring.