Happy New Year!…..

Happy New Year…..

Only a few more minutes until I say goodbye to 2004 and hail in 2005 (hopefully asleep). So much has happened, so much has changed, and we have been so blessed. I wish to share
with you the hope of a new year and the resolve to make positive changes.

Best wishes for a wonderful 2005!

…..Dan at aslowerpace

It’s gone…..

I woke up this morning to find the landscape of white replaced by green. Overnight the snow melted, swelling the creeks and revealing the normal landscape I had not even had the chance to get used to. I can now celebrate by getting all my vehicles out the driveway and onto a flat, hard surface.

For the last several months, we have had a family tradition of family game night. Tonight we did a twist on it and had family movie night. Time for me to break out the recently released Star Wars Trilogy. Star Wars was on the menu tonight — oops, sorry, that revealed my old schoolness. It should be “Star Wars – A New Hope”.

After viewing the DVD I am sure glad #1 – that I saw it in the movie theater in 1977 and #2 – I still have the original movie on old school techie laser disc before Lucas politically corrected it. I am hesitant to view the other two DVDs for such Monday morning quarterback directing and think I will stick with the laser discs. Better hook up the old Pioneer. Anyway, for the record, I think this is just wrong. Lucas, get over yourself. Don’t get me started on the Han Solo “defends” himself in the bar instead of shooting first and being a coldblooded killer scene remake.

OK, I’m off my soapbox.

…..Dan at aslowerpace

Let it melt, let it melt, let it melt…..

Had a bonfire last night to get rid of the pile of boxes and paper the movers left. Boy, what a cool site to see the snow slowly deteriorate to a watery mess as the flames lept 15 feet high and ravaged the cardboard and paper. Since it was cloudy, the stars for us were the ashes as they were spit skyward. We went out this morning to check our Mt. St. Cardboard ash trail. It went for a couple hundred feet down towards the creek. That was a perfect time for the fire — Christmas paper and cardboard fuel from the move along with snow everywhere preventing anything else from burning.

And if the fire didn’t melt the snow around it last night, the balmy 49F degrees and expecting drizzle should take care of the rest. It is all slowly melting feeding both the creeks nearby with the nice sound of running water tumbling over the rocks. All the snow should be gone by this weekend at this rate.

Bring on the next weather pattern.

…..Dan at aslowerpace

Garth Brooks saves Mark McGwire…..

Ok, back to some “day in the life” blog posts.

I have the rest of the week off work. Still lots of settling to do. Hafta get the vehicles registered, get more household stuff, etc. While out today with my wife, my old Suburban dies in traffic. I know the problem to be a loose wire running to the starter but I’m not about to crawl under the truck while it is stranded in the #1 lane on a major street in the city. It took about 10 minutes to get triple A of Kentucky on the phone so they can dispatch a wrecker. Right after that, a Louisville PD takes a drafting position behind my Burb and hits his lights. I am now more willing to dive underneath to correct the situation when a truck gets in front of me. Out pops Garth Brooks’ good twin, tosses a tow strap onto his hitch, hooks it to my front hook and asks the PD man to stop traffic so we can get into the nearby parking lot. (I knew I was in good hands cuz he had a “W” sticker on his truck.)

Once in the parking lot he offers to help us figure out how to get home. I pop my head underneath and correct the wire issue starting the truck up. He then offers to follow us all the way home just to make sure we are ok.

I ended up in front of AutoZone only 5 miles away from home – 1, so I can get parts to rewire the problem child wire and 2, to keep him from having to follow us all the way home. He has already walked the extra mile and then some. And he wouldn’t take my 20 dollar bill nor let me fill his tank with gas. He just said, “I know my wife will be stranded some day and I hope someone will take care of her”. Anyway, I got his number, chatted with him for a while and intend to have his family over for dinner early next year once we unpack the boxes with “China/silverware” marked on them.

While we were going through all this, I asked him “Has anyone told you that you look just like Garth Brooks?”. He said “Yes” and I responded with an understanding “I get that all the time with Mark McGwire”. He took a second look at me and fully agreed, knowing we both go through similar situations. Hence the title to my post.

Oh yeah, and we bought a new 4×4 truck for my wife. But the above part was cooler.

…..Dan at aslowerpace

Useless filler…..

Back to work. Work is busy. Snow still on the ground creating traffic challenges. Heater in my truck isn’t working. Gotta fix it cuz it’s cold. But I’m blogging instead so go figure.

Hopefully, more interesting and fulfilling posts soon.

…..Dan at aslowerpace

Merry Christmas!!!!!

A very Merry Christmas to all reading this! I hope this message of Christmas hope finds you warm, cheerful and blessed. Take a moment and enjoy those around you. Take a moment and enjoy the culmination of the busy holiday season. And take a moment to truly appreciate what this season is all about — God’s gift to us.

Merry Christmas!

…..Dan at aslowerpace

We’re free…..

Because of my wife’s stuck Suburban, I had relegated us to house arrest until the snow started to melt. My old Suburban was left back at work so we didn’t have a way to get around in this snow. That was fine because they kids went out and played in the snow and my wife was working on our Christmas turkey meal. The house smelled wonderful and was full of holiday cheer.

I gave an effort to dig the Suburban out to no avail. Two wheel drive and street tires are no match for ice, snow and no traction. Went through some more boxes in the basement to make myself useful. And right after lunchtime we get a visit from a local neighbor. He saw the beached whale of a Suburban and came over on his ATV. He ended up taking me in to work to pick up my old Suburban (normally a 20 minute drive one way but this time a 35 minute drive times two). He then helped us use that Suburban to pull out my wife’s stuck Suburban. We got it out the first time and ushered hers back into the garage. Many thanks were given and, since I knew we could go into town, I took an order for his favorite amber colored beverage.

Neighbor Larry — thanks for helping us out and Merry Christmas!

My wife’s Christmas Eve dinner turned out wonderfully, we had a great time with our company and we let the kids open a few presents from under the tree. All in all, another great day here in Kentucky.

…..Dan at slowerpace

An enjoyable day…..

It is now bedtime and I have the opportunity to reflect back upon a great day.

First, I got to sleep in with my little boy. Being there wrapped up in my warm cocoon looking out at the beautiful winter wonderland was very peaceful. That was all interrupted when my
wife ran up to tell me about the dogs running after the deer (see post below). But at least it got me out of bed and my heart pumping.

The rest of the day was spent enjoying our company, connecting up the family computer and organizing the office area, hanging pictures and watching our kids play in the snow. It was very relaxing and we didn’t feel a need to have to be anywhere or get anything done. Which was good because in all actuality, we weren’t going anywhere. I had to go check the mailbox and was ready for the 6 minute walk up there. But I decided that I should take the truck to begin to make a pathway through the snow. My logic was the more the driveway was traveled, the sooner it would melt and we would be able to use it.

I started up the Suburban in the garage and backed it out, turned it around and headed down the small slope towards the creek and the trees. It was going a little too easy so I decided to first try and turn around and head back up to the house and see what it would be like going uphill. If I got stuck or lost control, I wanted it to be in the pasture by the house, not down by the creek and the trees. Well, sure enough, while turning around I slowly stopped and then the wheels just spun. It is only 2 wheel drive so unless I dig it out, provide more traction or pull it out (or a combination of the three), it wasn’t going anywhere. The truck looks kinda funny sitting out there in the pasture. At least it isn’t up on blocks to fit the country stereotype.

Being funny, I walked in to the house and asked my wife if she liked it in the house. She looked at me weird and said “Yes” to which I replied “Well, good, because we’re not going anywhere anytime soon”. Again, the neighbors are probably thinking “Look at those California city folk”.

The kids were able to spend their first real day out playing in the snow. The first time it snowed a few days ago, it didn’t really stick. No sledding, no snowball fights, no snowmen. This time it was different and they got all bundled up for a serious time out there. They are figuring it out that getting ready properly by putting on all the stuff — long pants, double layers, gloves, mittens, cap, ear warmers, scarf — keeps them warmer and they can stay out there longer. My wife was busy in the basement so after they got outside, I was able to just sit upstairs and watch their antics. That is when I realized that they don’t know how to build a snowman. First of all, the snow was too dry, but they didn’t know that. They just started piling up the snow to make the first layer. When that didn’t work, they resorted to throwing the snow at each other. Since it didn’t pack, they weren’t snowballs, just snow piles that disintegrated when thrown. They probably had the most fun when they got the plastic snow sled thing and took turns pushing each other and sliding down the slope. It isn’t a big hill so
it took one person to push, the other to ride and another to stand before the creek and trees to stop the ride. The funniest is when my little boy (the youngest) tried to stop his big sister from going into the trees. She just mowed him over as he landed his little butt in the snow. We’ll see if he tries that again.

A little later in the afternoon, my wife came up to me again informing me that the dogs looked like they wanted out to go pee. In socks and shorts, I let them out and stood in the garage while they did their business (as I had done without incident many times before). Well, my female dog saw the neighbor dog a couple hundred yards away playing with the neighbor boy and ran over there. I threw on my boots and by the time I got over there, had to break up a dog fight. My dog put a small cut on the other dog’s muzzle. I reprimanded my dog and walked with the boy up to their house. I met the neighbor mom in shorts with blood on my hands and shirt. I apologized and asked if I could help out after putting my dog away. She was going to call a family friend to possibly get the dog stitches. I told her that if there was a bill to send it to me and apologized again.

When I came home, I disciplined my dog again and locked her away in the garage. I walked up to my wife with bl00d on my hands and shirt and said “This isn’t how I wanted to meet the neighbors”. Of course, that took an explanation and after all that, my wife decided we should go over there to make sure the dog was taken care of. I could drive the dog and the mom to the vet while my wife watched her kids. By the time we got over there, the dad was home from work. They invited us into their home and were very understanding. They had been through this before — both on the attacker side as well as the attackee side. We ended up chatting with them for a half hour and exchanged neighbor phone numbers and such. They were very nice and it looks like my wife found a new walking partner. A bad situation turned out to be a catalyst to meet some very good people.

The rest of the evening was enjoyable with a delicious dinner with our company followed by some good conversation and lazying around the house before bed.

Other post titles considered for this posting:

  • My kids don’t know how to make a snowman

  • This is not how I wanted to meet the neighbors
  • I hope you like it here, because we’re gonna be here for a while

…..Dan at aslowerpace

Sheet of white…..

I awoke to a sheet of white above and below the trees. All white snow on the ground, broken by the trees around the property defining the horizon, and topped by a grey-white sky. Very serene and peaceful – especially since I don’t have to go out in it today. Scratch that. My wife ran up to me to inform me that the dogs had taken off after some deer and that we needed to go after them. All my pants are in the laundry so I threw on some shorts, a T-shirt, a sweatshirt and my boots and ran after them. I opened the door to a 9 inch buildup of snow and was grateful that the top layer was frozen into ice and held my weight as I ran across the back pasture. The dogs only made it to the trees where they were stopped by the thick snow and maze of forest. They were just romping and having fun and chased me back to the house where they were happy to get back in the warm house (not as happy as I was). I can imagine the neighbors’ thoughts – “there’s them California city folk in shorts chasing after dogs”.

I bought my first snow shovel as well as our first plastic sled thing.

…..Dan at aslowerpace

The first big storm…..

The first big storm of the season is here. It started snowing around 9am, turned to rain around lunchtime and then changed to sleet the evening. It made it a challenge to drive around and get things done but we were able to take care of 3 out of 4 of the priority items — sign up for propane service, get a bank account and get our Kentucky licenses. The license part was a very nice surprise. First, we had to go to the local court house — a very nice, old small town court house with tall ceilings, stone steps leading up and local charm. The line for the driver’s license was non-existant. Compare that with my last trip to the California DMV where I had to wake up at 6am so I could be first in line at 6:30a for an 8am opening. When it finally opened, there were over 100 people in line. Here, we just walked right up and started the process. Two additional surprises: it cost only $9 and we walked away with our license. No exorbitant fees, no waiting 6 to 8 weeks, no bureaucratic non-sense. Just good old fashioned friendly service. My wife and I were very pleased. Thank you Shelby County Courthouse!

We spent the remainder of the afternoon at the SuperWalMart getting more odds and ends for the house. Because of the holiday season, the lines were long but everyone just talked with one another — whether they knew them or not. Quite a contrast to the Simi Valley WalMart we were used to — the friendly conversation, not the lines. WalMart needs to take a lead from Target or Vons and open more check stands. Almost all WalMarts I have been to could use more check stands to thin the long lines out.

We ended the day with a very nice dinner at Stoney River, a nice steak place that has some special meaning to us. At that spot we made our family decision to move to Kentucky as well as chose the house and placed the offer to buy the property. It was nice to share it with our guests — sis-in-law and my folks — and really enjoy the meal and company.

The drive home was challenging. The freezing rain froze the wipers to the windshield. And the ice scrapers I bought at WalMart were keeping the kitchen counter free of ice at home, but useless to me in the parking lot. We finally got on the road and the 25 minute drive evolved into a slippery 1+ hour adventure. Luckily, we took our time and arrived home safely but it isn’t fun driving on the narrow country roads in those conditions. I would rather have an empty parking lot in which to do donuts but my wife frowns upon such mischieviness. Maybe I’ll sneak out tonight.

The weather is expected to be more of the same tomorrow. I think I’ll sleep in and enjoy it out the window.

…..Dan at aslowerpace