The Pit – and beyond

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The saga of The Pit continues.  While this may bore some I feel compelled to share this little adventure simply because I like stories and I like sharing them through words. And, if you’ve ever been through this you will appreciate this little tale.  Through it all I find a great sense of calm and some humor, too.

The broken, root filled pipe has been replaced.  I won’t show a picture, but the pipe was crammed with roots. A final check of the pipe involved running a camera through the roof pipes which revealed another leak.  My first reaction was I’m not fixing it, I’ve already spent a fortune, I’ve got to go back to work to pay for it and I’m just not doing it. The technician told me that I probably had several years before it presented a problem; I had the thought that I would make sure I was “outta here” by then.

However, while drinking coffee on the deck this morning and contemplating the status of this project I had the wisdom filled thought that I should at least get an estimate on the repair.  As long as I have the pit dug it might a good idea to fix the other leak. So, while it will cost more money tomorrow the excavation crew is coming back to extend the tunnel 5-feet under my house.  Five feet of tunnel and a hurricane is heading right toward my house. Plumbing company assured me it wouldn’t be a problem.

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Meanwhile, inside the house things are going very well.  Molding wood floor, entry way tile, and lovely 1970’s bright yellow vinyl bathroom flooring has been removed.  The 5 fans who were guests in the hallway departed this morning, much to the cats’ delight. Poor Fat-Shadow was terrified and had not left my bedroom for 48 hours.  She’s still freaked out by the bare floors.

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It’s ugly, but still a relief to see some progress.  However, the restoration assessment manager has determined that all the wood floors will have to be removed as it is one continuous floor.  The bathroom will have to be completely redone as water had seeped into the baseboards and under the lovely vinyl.  While I look forward to having the project completed and a new modern bathroom will be enjoyed I do know what is involved.  So, into the pit and beyond.  This, too, shall pass.

 

The Pit – everyone wants one

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This is my front porch. No, it’s not common to have a 7-foot pit on your front porch.  Just when I thought life was crazy enough the HVAC drain pipe decided to start leaking.  In the house, under the unit, into the wood floor and beyond.  So now I’m dealing with plumbers, insurance claim prossesors, and a clean up contractor.  Lovely.

On the funny side I’ve had one family member suggest that I try to sell the pit as a burial plot and another one suggested that rather than fill it back in I fill it with water and let the dogs swim in it.  My son told me to enjoy the tunnel under the house.  You know, when things like this happen I just have to laugh.

Clear water

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Last week I took a day trip to the Texas coast. I’ve been wanting to go forever and this was the time.  As it turned out it was the perfect time as the temperature was moderate, wind was gentle, the water was very warm and crystal clear.  It’s been over 30 years since I’ve seen the coast like this.  I wished that I had packed food in the cooler with the drinks and spent the day on the beach – under the umbrella. Mild disappointment that the restaurant I wanted to eat at was closed for several days, but the beach made up for that very quickly.

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What is it about the beach that is so soothing? And, why does the ocean fascinate me? I’m not an in-the-water person. Maybe it’s because the ocean reminds me of eternity with the way it appears to stretch forever. I don’t know and I won’t question it! It is the way it is.

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Such a long time

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How many times have I said this?

Yes, it does seem like it’s been forever since I blogged.  I could blame it on the hot weather – you know, it’s just too hot to blog.  I’ve had lots of ideas and it seems that I blog in my mind all the time, but somehow making myself sit down and put together posts has seemed like the impossible task.  Do I keep blogging or do I give it up?

Many of my fellow bloggers have felt overwhelmed with keeping up in the blogging world and have either left or cut way back. I’ve lost readers because I don’t post and, possibly because reading blogs has lost it’s appeal.  Social media is so much easier, just scroll through and you’re done. I’ve also been frustrated because I have reason to believe that certain local sources are using my historic posts for research for publication articles and not referencing their source (yes, my research is based on information from common sources and easily obtained, but I took the time to do the research and write it up).

I have 3 blogs with different subjects and the 4th original blog that I still post on from time to time. Each subject is very dear to me so I don’t want to eliminate one of them. After thinking about this at length I decided that I just can’t give this up. I am going to pace myself so I don’t feel overwhelmed or pressured to get a post up.  Above all I am going to write things that I want to share and that will, as always, will bring peace and joy to my readers.  Write on I say!

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When you see clouds like this in the Texas sky you know it’s hot!

Life and the puzzle or The puzzle and life

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I’ve always loved to work puzzles and generally have one spread out on the breakfast table at any time.  If company is coming and I need to use this table I just spread a table cloth over it and tell the company not to spill anything.  Family knows what’s underneath and will usually pull back the cloth and start working on it!

Each time I work on a puzzle I am reminded that working a puzzle is very similar to life and many life situations. Each puzzle is different, just like every human life, and there are different situations with each one.  So today I’m sharing a few observations about the similarities I’ve found.

Every puzzle worker has a little different process, but I always start with the outline as the straight edge pieces are easy to spot (assuming you are working a straight edge puzzle); the subject and color determine how to proceed. The outline reminds me of our early, formative years when we are babies and toddlers.  As we grow and mature the inside pieces are gradually filled in, usually in sections, until the life is complete and we pass on to the next life.

Many times I end up with a missing piece.  With this puzzle I knew fairly early that the piece just wasn’t in the box.  In life there is often a piece missing, too.  It may be a physical or psychological problem that presents itself at birth or later in life.  It may be something like a desired career or happy marriage that just never is “in the box”. However, I’ve found that sometimes the missing piece does appear later or, as in this case, I accepted the fact that it wasn’t there and proceeded anyway. So too in life with the missing piece.

Most puzzles are challenging and can often lead to giving up and crumbling the pieces in the box or at least being tempted to do so.  The challenge can also become a driving force of determination to finish. If a certain section just isn’t coming together then it is time to move to another section; often when you return to the difficult section it will come together much easier.  I’ve also had the experience of casually walking by the table and oh my, there’s the piece I need and then I can proceed! So too in life with the challenges we encounter.

While working on this puzzle I had another piece that I thought was also missing.  I had tried all the pieces that I thought were the right color and shape and nothing worked. But as I kept working I realized that surrounding pieces weren’t coming together either.  The culprit turned out to be a nearby sneaky piece that was a close match, but not the right one.  After I pulled out the offender the section went smoothly.  So too in life when we let an oversight hinder everything.

 

 

The handwriting issue

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Rotunda dome, Texas State Capitol, Austin Texas

The handwriting debate (cursive vs printing and legible vs illegible) is nothing new.  It’s been going on since the caveman started drawing on walls.  Mothers have moaned over children’s handwriting and complained about the new methods for a long time!

So, on a recent visit to the Texas State Capitol I had to laugh as I was reading a display about the Secretary of State’s office in the Capitol and the duties of the Secretary of State which include overseeing state elections. A timeline entry for 1946-47 states:

The Secretary of  State’s annual report noted that elections are “recorded in longhand, which is a tedious job, and few are qualified to write so that it can be read”.

Wintertime

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Don’t these two over sized, brightly colored chairs give a cheery touch to the landscape? I love the contrast, especially with the faded bench next to them!

I’ve never really liked winter, mainly because I don’t like to be cold.  Give me a hot day anytime, but I can’t stand to be cold!  I love soup, stew, chili, and fireplaces and sweaters and fuzzy socks.  But no snow for this one, please.

I used to chafe at the winter landscape.  So dreary and empty, I thought.  No leaves, dead grass, and a cold, gray sky just made me irritable.  But now I’m older and wiser and see a new beauty in the empty trees and cold air.  I delight in the pattern of those bare branches – you don’t see that when the trees are loaded with leaves.  I see contrast, too, in the shades of gray and white, light and dark on their bark.  The brown grass and lack of plants reminds me that the earth is sleeping and preparing for spring. Shhh!

And, in the cold still air there is a silence like no other.  Even in the heart of the city on a cold day there is a stillness that seems to catch you in it, connecting you with the earth and the cycles of nature.  I find myself loving winter walks, seeing the world a little differently through the winter landscape, and embracing the cold stillness around me.  And, knowing that there is a pot of soup and the comfort of home to warm me after the walk keeps me from shivering and cursing the cold!

 

Try this instead

I should have come home and walked the two boy dogs before it got dark.  I should have trimmed doggie paws and combed little ears.  I should have swept, raked, and dumped leaves and acorns into the organics container.  But instead I took a small glass of wine, some cheese and my writing notebook out to the deck.  I had thirty minutes before it got dark to just enjoy myself.  Not a bad choice, I may have to try it again. Sometimes you just have to try something a little different, treat yourself to something small, and get out of the rut.

What happens every 4 years on January 20th…

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I finally gave up on solving the WordPress Woes and switched to another browser.  Amazingly, all is well. So I’m back in the blogging saddle and very happy!  This post is a little late, but I feel it is something I need to share and, just to note, it is NOT a political post.

Last Friday (January 20 2017) we inaugurated a new President, number 45.  I don’t think in all my years of living that I have ever witnessed a live inauguration.  That seems so odd to me, but I’ve just always watched it in a recap on a news broadcast.  I had caught a few glimpses of the pre-inauguration activities and when the time came for the swearing-in I moved to the television in one of the offices at work to watch.

It wasn’t about who was being sworn into the office of President, what moved me was what was taking place. In just a minute and with a few words the lives of the man and woman holding the Bible changed forever.  I wondered what was in their minds as well as others on the podium.  As he repeated the words spoken by 44 men before him I realized that no matter how bad our government is and no matter what people think about any President that in the large scheme we are America and we live by democratic ideals.  We have a Constitution and a Bill of Rights and a checks and balances system. We elect all our officials except for the Supreme Court justices.  The whole American government idea came together on January 20th.

I grabbed a box of tissues to pass around the room as we were all a little misty eyed.  The image of the flag draped Capitol, the crowd, and the words of the swearing-in will be forever ingrained in my mind. I am an American.