Saturday, November 1, 2008

Saturday night, what's been accomplished.

And Happy birthday to my papa, who's 64 today.

I'll let most of the pictures speak for themselves, but those white corrogated things that used to be on the front of my building, they were not fiberglass as I suspected, but rather some sort of concrete board, in 10 ft sections, weighing several hundred pounds each. They were difficult to get down without smashing the front windows. I'll leave it at that.

Here's a reminder of what the place has looked like since we bought it.

I refinished this door.

This is how the building looks now. Center windows removed, awning and corrugated crap removed.
Paul Parker, 94, used to own my building, and Wade my 82 year old barber.

Paul came by to see what I was doing to his building. He took a tour of the upstairs also, walked up the stairs himself, all the way through the upstairs, down the back stairs, (I supported him on those, they're a bit steep) and then he walked himself home, 3 blocks away. Incredible fellow.

Our friends John and Becky opened their restaurant on Thursday. I went for lunch today, and this is what I ate. It was the best meal I have had out in MS, bar none. Everything is homemade, the flavors were incredible. Incredible dressing on the caesar salad, really tasty crawfish bisque, real mashed potatos, southern style green beans (meaning with-bacon), tasty slim sweet potato fries, and meatloaf. I always try the meatloaf, it's a good measure of a place. Everything was delicious.
Sash, 2 coats of oil based primer.
I did this much last night. Nothing else to do on Halloweeen.
Our new house.
New footings poured.

Footings for the new wrap around porch.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


My family has been out of town, visiting family in Virginia. I'm lonely, but work-work-working.
Don't have any new pictures of my sweetie, but there are a few on my phone of Annaliese.

Also, building progress, sash assembly complete and priming underway, mudding of all sheetrock complete, and the progress of our new house. :)


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The healing properties of time.

Or maybe it's the staying power of strong emotion that is lacking. I don't know, and it doesn't seem to matter.

What I'm astounded by is the result. Incredible experiences, gut wrenching, throat closing, blood raising, that leave you curled up on the floor gasping for breath, become easier somehow. At times you may question the validity, or intensity, of the emotion when looking backwards over a great enough distance.

So in theory that's interesting, and even in experience it can be "interesting" with proper perspective.

This comes to mind for several reasons.

I have had a broken heart in my time, possibly more than once. Not the kind that I think I would be subject to if I ever lost little or big A, but decently powerful enough to impact my eating and sleeping habits for months. (Big A would contest this is related to broken pride rather than heart, as I never loved before her. She may be right. In many ways I know she is.)

Anyway, those hurt, and then after a while they didn't.

I have lost a sibling, my big brother, when I was 21 and he was 24. That is an empty like I cannot describe, pressing down for months and years. Waves, each different, as various areas of numbness woke up only to be barraged with what they had been avoiding.

It has been 6 years, and these days I can have large chunks of time go by that are not aware in the moment of this loss. The waves come when triggered, weddings, birthdays, working on cars, seeing other brothers working or playing together; when I am reminded of what I miss, but the missing does not impose itself on every moment.

That's a bit dire, I know, and I don't mean to bring you down with these types of stories. I share these here because I have had time to adjust to these events, so the healing, or fading, I have also had time to adjust to.

It is the most recent experience of this fading, and the accelerated nature of the forgetfulness, that has me in shock.

As you must know, the coming of little A in January of this year started for big A and me a time of sleep deprivation, and sapping of patience. Little A is a strong willed child, was from the moment she appeared, and she knew from hour 1 that she had been far more comfortable in her mama's belly, and saw no reason for trading her cozy pad for the loud, drafty world outside. She was not happy for 3 months. Not colicky, not sick, just generally pissed. It was miserable. Since then we've had about 2 months in the last 9 when we were able to sleep with only a single interruption through the night. For the last 2 months we've been in teething-ville, another unpleasant land of sad little eyes, wailing gums, and ear pulling discomfort. Then of course there's the newly discovered ability to stand up, and the unstoppable urge to do this even in her sleep.

These more recent developments are actually kinda fun, since their coolness is obvious even when we're dead tired.

However, the beginning of this adventure was not nice.

And yet, just the other day, I found myself telling someone it wasn't so bad.

I've lost my memory, or mind, in 6 months.

It might possibly be linked with finding out that big A and I are expecting a new one of these little packages in 7 months.

Monday, October 6, 2008

And now it's October

My word.
But I have lots of Pictures!
Big and Little A, Water Valley elementary school in the background.
New Teeth!
Chicago Airport.
Orvis store, Essex Junction, VT.
Family! Vermont, William's future cabin site. (William's new 4 wheeler.)
Big and Little A!
Me and my papa and my baby.
Natasha and Nathan's wedding, VT.
Bride and Groom.
Natalie and William, William's farm.
Me and Natalie on William's 4 wheeler.
Apple straight from the tree, Vermont.
Jersey cows, Vermont.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

And now it's September

My how the time flies.

The air has turned crisp and lovely. Annaliese is chomping down all sorts of interesting meals, scooting around the house on her butt and yammering up a storm.

And this morning, for the 1096th morning, I woke up next to the girl of my dreams. (That would be the 3 year anniversary of our marriage, one of those years being a leap year.)

It didn't strike me when I first opened my eyes at 7 this morning, got out of bed, and threw on a robe to go see what Shadow was barking at. (The meter man.) But when I came back into the bedroom, which Alexe recently re-arranged, effectively making the house feel new and fresh with the new season, I saw sprawled across our bed a lovely long girl, her freshly-cut hair in a morning-punk, her face smooshed into my pillow, and my stomach flipped.

This is the girl that has countless times inspired me to get into my car and drive, hop on planes, dial a phone, whatever I had to to be near her. My heart has twittered, my breath has caught, always to resolve with a sigh, a relaxing of my stomach and a sense of belonging.

And she's all mine. I get to crawl back into bed, pushing and shoving until there's enough room for me, see the smile cross her face in her snoozy state as she shuffles until we're settled and twined for another few minutes of peace before Annaliese wakes up.

And now we have Annaliese. A project that we share, a creature that makes us proud, happy, and overcome with school-girl-crush love.

There are trials and tribulations, struggles and frustrations that weigh on our world, but they're all outside. The place that I have found, citizens 3 and counting, is a mountain top where I find complete peace. The crap can't touch me here. My stomach, I can't emphasize this enough, has never been so relaxed.

It's luck, a blessing, Alexe's gift, certainly not due to anything I've done or deserve. But I am eternally grateful, and incredibly happy.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

June already

Well, May seems to have come and gone.

My posting rate seems to have slowed to just-long-enough-to-lose-my-entire-audience.
We'll see if we can keep it from slipping any further.

We've had a lovely road trip to Vermont and back by way of Virginia, with two pooches, a now 5 month old, and for the first section of the drive, Annaliese's godmother (visiting from Germany.)
Annaliese was surprisingly good with the back seat lock-down. 3,000 miles total, in the back of the truck, one day almost 16 hours straight.

We had a lovely time. For details check with Alexe's blog, which makes this one look...bad.
Back to MS, the heat, job, building, and most recent project (not that the others have been wrapped up.)

Alexe has finished her second novel and is busy sending that out to agents. She has also started on her third, which makes for fun brain-storming conversations, and her office, which I'm borrowing today, is covered with research books and whatnot, and the new world she is constructing is slowly taking shape on the walls. Very cool.

The building is coming along. I've been hanging sheet rock, to get it out of the way and to make the place look as far along as I know it is. Visitors just aren't impressed with the progress when they can see and walk through walls. My papa made me 21 crescent windows for the top section of the second floor windows. We picked up the pieces in VT, and I'm assembling them now. I can't say how impressed I am with the quality, and precision of these windows. They come in 8 pieces (times 2 halves), and those pieces slide together perfectly. Pictures will follow on those soon.

Annaliese was happy to come home, remembered the place (which surprised me) and is getting more and more fun. (And more and more difficult, but in new ways. I can see a third difficult personality joining the fray, and my oh my.)

Against my best efforts, our house has been inundated with plastic injection-molded stuff. But when she sleeps in her swing, and plays by herself in her rolly-bouncey-seat, purist principals go out the window.

We're sleeping far more, and I'm finding it makes it harder to wake up in the mornings. Doesn't seem fair.

We're in the middle of some new real-estate dealings. True to form, we're keeping the capital investment low, and the sweat-investment likely high. That may change after we take a closer look. More details on that soon (in Blog-time.)

We have a lovely garden this year, with a much-simplified crop. 41 tomato plants, and a whole bunch of basil. We had some green fried tomatoes the other day.

I'm going to make an effort to upload some pictures. I don't know what I have on this machine, but hopefully there are some nice ones.

The darling child.
Below our new pond in VT, by the Cabin, we've put in an outdoor tub. Most incredible experience ever: fresh spring water from the pond, heated in the tub by a wood fire, incredible views and shining sun. Lovely.
A & A, my two ladies. Also lovely.
Annaliese's godfather, flown into Virginia from LA for her Christening.

Monday, April 21, 2008



We've had a visit from our lovely cousins from Colorado. Pictures and details at Alexe's blog.

We've had a week of a nasty cold, which miraculously Annaliese has largely dodged. Alexe was hit last Monday, I got it late Wed., and Annaliese was stuck sitting between her miserable parents in bed, bright eyed and bored. Thank goodness for the transitive mama-antibodies.

The building is trucking along. I've run into 3 big zingers at the same time: heating and cooling, electric, and new window sash.

I'm learning about 3 phase power, which I'm going to put the whole building on, (3 new meters, 4 gauge wire, over 100 ft from meter box to breaker box. Just the wire: Ouch.)

We've repaired the boat our neighbor gave us, (all the wooden bits had rotted away from the otherwise perfect aluminum body) and took a joy ride last evening around Enid lake with a borrowed 4 horse motor. We learned 1) that Annaliese is adorable, and loves to pee, 2) that we need a bigger engine, 3) that we need cushioned seats and a canopy, and 4) that the sunset in April on the lake is gorgeous. It was a blue sky with wisps, and as the sun went down, there was a rainbow 30 degrees south of the setting sun. Amazing.

We came home and had a little barbecue.

Baby's sleeping more, Alexe's been working on a nighttime routine that is getting her in bed before 9, with only 2 to 3 feedings. A huge improvement. And The child is getting more personality, and more smiley, as the days go by.

We had a very successful Founder's Day celebration on Saturday, celebrating 150 years of Water Valley. The Main Street group organized music, races, games, food vendors, etc for the whole day, with the county's first ever fireworks display. We shut down mainstreet for the whole day, with the last band wrapping up around 10 pm. (We're still in MS afterall.) Alexe ran a wonderful baby crawl competition (which our child couldn't participate in, she's not quite there yet.) and you'll never guess who was half of the winning horseshoe team.

Looking forward to our May trip North, as the sun is getting amazingly toasty already down here. Lots to do, have a bid in on another project that I will expound on if we get it, and the regular work and full plate are chugging.

Pictures when I'm on the right machine...

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


Another busy spring. The building progresses, a nice visit from my parents, a little sister's 21st birthday in Vegas (I can't attend), and the same making an offer on her first house. Plans for a Christening/dedication, trip North, garden, and all the local socializing that the lovely weather encourages. Lots of fun, beautiful days, all accentuated by a lovely family.

Which I can't get over. My girls are so adorable. Screw balls, fussy, demanding and spoiled, but I love them both sooo much. And they're so good looking.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Very nice weekend

A Saturday of family and building work, (one room left to pressure wash upstairs!) and a Sunday with a long morning, Annaliese only needing one change in the middle of church, and an afternoon spent running a chainsaw!
We had a great time at A&A's chopping down a couple oaks (and a few other trees that got in the way), and generally hanging out. The two new mothers got to hang out while A and I played with chainsaws and split some wood. (Boy, when 4 out of 6 people's names start with A, it gets harder to keep their names out of a blog post.)

So, all around very nice weekend.

And Nicholas and Emily got a dog!