We met them at Sandy's which is about a mile from their home and probably 6 or 7 miles from us. It was cold. Have I ever mentioned I don't like the cold? But because it was Sandy's we didn't worry about getting dressed up nice, just dressed warm. Sandy's always looks so busy because the parking lot is quite small, but we found 2 parking spots and Sandy put us in one of the big booths by the window. We had a nice dinner together, but what was so amazing to me was how happy Mom and Dad were to be there. Not just anywhere, there. Together in their new community, with two of their kids, and a room full of potential friends. Yep, Mom is very much like my Daddy. Daddy could walk up to anyone and start talking. Mom is the same. As is the way of a small town it did not take long before someone I knew came in. Ginger, from my garden circle and her husband came in. They ended up sitting in the booth right next to us. And knowing what a sweetie Ginger is, I didn't think she would mind, so I asked her to come and meet Mom and Dad. The parents were thrilled. Ginger was so nice. I told her it was their 60th Anniversary and while the two of us were standing there we broke out into song. The happy birthday song with 60th anniversary instead of birthday. I kept messing up, but Ginger braved forward with my harmony of wrong words and melody. Mom and Dad were literally over the moon happy. They are famous for singing happy birthday to all of the relatives, and here, in this small little country buffet, two ladies sang for them. They clapped and smiled. Dad has a way of sparkling when he looks at Mom. It is not just a crinkle around the eyes, it is not just the bright glint from those blue eyes that run so strong through this family. All of him sort of shines when he looks at her. It was so dear and precious.
After that there was no stopping Mom, not that it occurred to any of us to do so. But as she walked back and forth through the restaurant, she spoke to several of the tables. They all of course having heard us sing, wished her a happy anniversary. And it was. Sixty years, three sons, I couldn't begin to tell you how many houses they have lived in, and last night all of that magic came and spilled over a little buffet in a small town in a county that doesn't even have a traffic light. And all of that was perfect.
We spoke with Robby our Contractor last night and are going to meet him this afternoon at Beau Turner's Youth Ranch. I am excited for two reasons. One is to actually go into Turner's. It is just a couple of miles south of us on Hwy 19 so we drive by it quite often. It has an old Air Force plane and has some buildings and outside play things, mostly it is conservation land where Beau sponsors parent/children hunting events. This is a very rural community and hunting is a main stay for the meat in many families here. They could buy their meat at the grocery store, but they prefer to hunt for their food. Although I am not a meat eater, I understand. Nothing tastes better then veggies I have grown myself. Venison is a high protein, low fat meat and as I understand it much healthier then eating the beef we grow with possible hormones and a higher fat count. The hunting events for the families are to teach hunting safety and to give kids and their parent(s) an opportunity to learn the traditions of hunting and not wasting the meat. To only shoot when you can take an animal down with as little pain as possible. To respect the animal, the environment and their heritage. The Turner's, both Ted and his son Beau own thousands of acres of land just south of Labrun. All of it is in conservation land.
The big thing will be to sit down and see if we can come up with a plan to make this house livable. The electrician that works with Robby is the one who originally wired our new home, so that should make that puzzle of wiring a little easier to solve. He has come up with a plan to do all the things we thought the first day we were there we wanted. Hopefully today we can get a better idea of what we really want to do. We still have plenty of time to decide, the house closing is scheduled for February 24.
Bug and I are not sleeping well. We have too many plans in our head. What do we need to fix now? What can wait for later? When is later? I want to stay in Monticello. Bug would be happier down on the coast. I want a home. To him a house is a house. What he is trying to give to me, and what I want are not quite the same, and vice versa. When you are buying a broken home in the swamp that is always going to look like a barn, how does this match either of our wishes? It doesn't, but yet we both heard the land calling us when we first drove up and got out of the truck that very first day. And we still hear that call.
I have not been one to move and change houses. Bug's Dad was in the Air Force so moving was just part of their lives. His Dad was deployed twice during Viet Nam and Korea for 13 months each time leaving Mom to take care of the family. Bug joined the Air Force and continued this nomadic life style. The longest place he has ever lived was in Germany for seven years. But even then his job kept him on the road travelling. When we first met I kept waiting for him to leave. It did not occur to me that he was wooing me. I was constantly waiting for him to tell me he was going to leave at the end of the month. But he never left. And now this woman, who still feels very much like her Daddy's little girl is not a mover, but I have fallen in love with one. I love to travel. But I also love roots and plants and gardens and time on my knees with my hands up to my elbows in dirt. These are things so foreign to Bug.
I have always lived in a home. My parent's home for 58 years. No, I did not live with them that long, but I always had my bedroom from youth open and waiting for me. I lived 20+ years in our little house on Pine Island. It was a home filled with sunshine and labs, cats and plants, chickens scratching in the gardens, and one that slept on my foot board of my bed. Each night as it got closer to dark that chicken, Penny, would walk in the front door across to the bedroom, clucking contentedly and would flap up to the foot board, Ruffle all her feathers then compress herself into the position chickens sleep in. I would pet her goodnight and slip some newspaper under her. In the morning Penny would wake with me and hop down and return to her sisters and brother in the flock. I would crumple up the newspaper and toss it in the compost pile. Having a chicken sleep at the foot of the bed had not seemed like the best idea I had ever had, but Penny had been bullied terribly by the other hens and at night they refused to let her roost with them. They would charge her and chase her off, and I tried everything I could find on how to reincorporate her into the fold. But it never seemed to work. What finally did work was for me to treat her like the alpha hen. I always fed her from my hand in front of and before the others were given any treats. Pretty soon Horton, my rooster looked upon her with favor, and the girls fell in suit. She was able to go back down with them after a couple of months and was even given the roost next to Horton. How can that not be a home?
Labrun is magical and beautiful and we have a home here. But not a house. I want to take this house that was badly abused by the people who created it. There are little things in the house here and there that show care, attention. You can see that there was thought, time was taken to add a simple touch of color or tile. The color of the paint on the walls is interesting and fairly bold. Thought went into the color but the paint jobs were rushed and thoughtless actions. The view from the living room is glorious, but downstairs is dark and disconnected. To me from the very first time I looked at it I could see the home. The home looks beaten up. I have experienced that abuse. I understand. I almost didn't want the house because it did remind me of something long ago in my past that was the most violent and difficult thing I have ever had to deal. hmmmm
We just got back from meeting with Robby and Tammy. I like them as people to work with in this way. I like them just for who they are. As always happens in a small town, it does not take long in a conversation before 'where do you come from' and 'who are your people'. Yes, we have connections, of course. None from here outside of Robby's Dad and step mom who are friends of Bug and I, which of course why we hired Robby. We talked about our plans again. Robby and Tammy were nonplussed, they are contractors, they are use to people changing their minds. We talked books and of course as three of us were Floridians, A Land Remembered, by Patrick Smith came up. This book was the first Read Across Florida, an off shoot of the Read Across America project.
Public Service Announcement:
Read Across America will kick off this year, March 2, 2014, which we all know is the great and wonderful Dr. Seuss's birthday. The book is The Cat In the Hat. And the project is hoping to promote as many children across America to read as many Dr. Seuss books as possible that week. To learn more about this, check into Read Across America Seuss Special.
This is the one for kids, but you can bet I will be reading The Cat In the Hat.
So with our connections and people identified, business was conducted and only the very basic home repair was agreed upon. Where, what and how it will look like when we move in has not been set in cement so to speak. Robby and Tammy were fine with that and I think Bug and I were very happy. It gives us time to think things through a little further. KISS, keep it simple stupid. That is what we all laughed about this morning. After all, it is the fact that Bug and I will make this home with our labs, cats, chickens, fish and plants. He has been so very sweet trying to make sure that the things that are important to me are included. I am trying to make sure that we do not take on too much ourselves, which will end up being him. All in all it is very exciting, but like Ms Moon commented the other day, overload is overload, good, bad or other. She is right, my body can not determine between happy and sad, it just feels the stress.
She was also right about the pain meds. And I have to say that all of your comments lately have meant so much to me. Thank you Syd and Janzi especially. The two of you and Ms Moon are the closest to me in this ether world, in that I hear most often from you, and I greatly appreciate the time you take to share your thoughts. I have started taking my anxiety meds about a half hour or so before I go to bed. I had wanted to make it an hour, but so far I haven't remembered in time. I have also gone a week without the other pain meds, just taking the one. It is much stronger then the others, but I can get by with just one within 24 hours with very minimal pain. I did take one in the morning and one at bedtime for a couple days, but I started to get that "poison" feeling again. It is like food poisoning, but with pain meds, or any meds. I am dealing with less long term nagging pain with this method so far. I do get some pretty good stabs every once in a while, but they are not as bad since I am not already in pain when they happen. It is just trying to get my brain to function and think things through.
So the pills are working better, I am getting used to this new place in my life. We are buying a house
in a swamp
my friend Kim called and left a message saying she thought it was beautiful
It will be our home
I think the beauty of that already shines through.