Six Weeks and Some Daylight – Maybe?

It’s been about six weeks since Max and I arrived and I’ve been busier than a one armed paperhanger trying to get the place “livable” and so haven’t spent the time to update things here, but a friend in Canada reminded me yesterday I was overdue. I arrived at the weather shack this morning to find I have no Internet so it’s as good a time as any to update things. This is only the 2nd time I’ve been without Internet and the last time they had it back up by around 8am, so we’ll hope for the best today. Ironically I have an email from the owner of the house in MX saying their router may be down as well and I can’t answer him? – technology is a hoot, when it works.

Max has settled down finally and the weather is cooling a bit so he can be outside more and although it still scares me, I’ve started allowing him more unsupervised time out in the mornings. He seems to have finally given up on finding the upstairs, for a couple of weeks he wandered around the house meowing and looking up, I think he also misses his friend Sweet but now, like me, he’s accepted this is as good as it gets. A note from MX says all the cats are fine down there so that’s good, I worried about them.

I’ve been busy working on the house, seems everything you look at needs fixing or cleaning, or updating. I hadn’t really expected that to be the case so I’m a bit behind in my real purpose of being up there and that is to clean out the storage area.

Probably the biggest nuisance is that we’re a bit remote, it’s 5 miles into Kingsland and the nearest hardware, but more like 20 into Marble Falls and Home Depot and Lowes etc. so I’m on the road a bunch. However, gas is coming down, I filled up at $2.93 a gallon the other day. Seems I calculated the current price of gas in MX as I was leaving and it was something like $3.70 a gallon so we’re getting a deal and that’s a good thing because I drove 228 miles to get a ceiling fan?

Nothing is more annoying than a ceiling fan hanging over your head humming & buzzing – nor more rewarding than one silently doing it’s intended job. The fans in the house were the smallest, cheapest you could buy and the one in the office and the living room were unacceptable. I picked out a nice one at Lowes and of course it was out of stock in this end of the world, so I ordered it and it took about 2 weeks to come in, but finally it’s in place and doing a great job, it’s still hot up here (except for yesterday). The office was the next target and I found a smaller one also at Lowes, but the nearest one in stock was 57 miles? – but, I wanted it and drove into NW Austin and retrieved it.

After removing the old one for it’s trip to Goodwill I began installing the new one and was down to the final steps of attaching the blades when I noticed it was “bent” – and not just a little. So, yesterday I took it back down, repacked it and waited for the rain to subside for another 114 miles round trip to return and exchange it. And in the mean time the rain gauge had “stuck”. I suspected due to a bird using it as his personal latrine? – but I wasn’t going out in the rain and climbing on a ladder to find out.

I made the trip, exchanged the fan, but a funny thing happened at Lowes, the girl at the Returns desk set the old fan on a counter and it’s end heavy and it fell off onto the floor, the poor fan was never destined to be, it’s had a hard life.

When I got back home I checked the rain gauge and sure enough my suspicions were confirmed, I fixed that problem and went back to installing the fan. One of the reasons for replacing the fans is the attached light. This place has a single switch for each fan and you turn the light on/off with the pull chain and I generally prefer a dimmed light, so the new fans have remotes with dimming capability and now I have that in the two main areas I “live” in.

The front storm door project was finally completed along with a new LED porch light and weather stripping and now it’s time for the Mbath vanity. Friend George helped me haul the vanity home and the faux marble top arrived this week so that looks to be the project for next week and it’s going to be huge involving plumbing, flooring, wall painting, electrical etc. so I’m really not looking forward to it, but has to be done. It’s also time to haul a big stack of cardboard to the recyclers along with the old aluminum storm door plus other scrap metal and then we’ll be ready to seriously dig into the storage area.

Probably one mistake I made, well, I’ve made a bunch, but one that rubs salt in the wound is continuing to manage the weather station in MX. Each day I check it several times, look at the webcam, check the forums etc then look out at my weedy acre and 90+ degree temps and miss MX all the more which sounds odd, I never imagined or expected to live out of the country yet Max and I found a wonderful life there – and I especially miss Pedro my gardener – wow, do I ever. I got a new weed whacker this week and 3+ hours on it reminded me how old I am and how much Pedro did for me the past 7 years. And now I need to get out the tractor and spend a couple hours on it at least?

If you haven’t moved a significant distance lately you probably forgot the little nuisance things, like in MX we cooked with gas, here electric, then there are all the brands of things that are different, from beans to TP, allergy pills to kleenex and new stores to learn plus getting all the accounts set up for water, electric and on and on, but they all seem to be falling into place, so I guess we’ll survive. Down there people always say the US is more expensive, I guess some things are, but down there I paid over $12 for a case of diet Coke, here I buy generic diet or Zero for $9 for 2 cases? Cat food is half the price although I’m not feeding the crew of rednecks and pizza is about half price.

One problem I have though is the little packages of peanut butter crackers. You almost can’t find them in MX, they say “if it ain’t sweet, it ain’t fit to eat?” – so here I buy 8 packs of them and catch myself eating them all the time. I usually burn out a taste for something rather quickly, but not these, and not so far. Also, I’ve eaten more meat in the last 6 weeks than in 7 years in MX, here the cheap menu at MacD’s is easy as I’m heading back out to DWOP from Marble Falls or Burnet, yes, lifestyles and times change with age and income etc.

But then there’s the Internet which still isn’t up? – that’s familiar. Oh, then there was the little “welcome to Llano County” note I got from the tax assessor the other day. However, it’s not all that bad, $581 for the year vs nearly $6,000 for the Lakeway house. I told George the other day “I’ve come a long ways from the way we used to live – and most of it down”. But, we’re thankful to have a roof over our heads and food in the fridge even if we are in the cheap seats.

Max is playing again which tells me he’s adjusting. The floors are a vinyl “wood” plank and slick, so he’s learned to slip and slide when he plays which makes me laugh so I see a glimmer of daylight at the end of the tunnel. After his morning patrols he seems content to come back in the nap or maybe just lay on the back deck and not be roaming. He’s taken over the bottom cabinets in the pantry wall for his mid day nap. I built him a shelf here at the window in the office so he can keep watch out the back. In the morning we often see a rabbit out there, but no deer yet and I’m surprised, this is the deer hunting capitol of TX.

Well, the net is obviously back up, the problem with the router in MX is fixed and all is well, so now it’s time to get busy and make some progress.