* * * We had QUITE a weekend this past weekend – and the weekend, strictly speaking, ain’t even over yet. Saturday morning we got up bright and early and had a squabble about the fact that there is FOOD in the PANTRY, and Fred couldn’t figure out where to put all the groceries I’d put all willy-nilly on the grocery list for NO GOOD REASON. After transferring his bad mood to me, Fred went whistling off to sit in front of the computer and read while I stomped around and muttered mean things under my breath. We left the house a few minutes after 9 to head to the new house. Fred had emailed the owners and asked if we could stop by the house to show his mother and stepfather. His mother’s been very interested in the house ever since we told her about it, and since we were going to be in that general direction for Fred’s father’s family reunion, and since we could happily wander around the house and make plans for three days at a time, we decided to see if we could get into the house. The owner left a key for us, and while we waited for Fred’s mother and stepfather to show up, he measured the property at various points so that he could be the geek he is and use graph paper to plot out the house and the pond and stuff, and then we could plan what was going to go where. I think we spent more than an hour going through the house, showing them each and every room and talking about what we planned to do to the house. Both his mother and stepfather seemed to be in agreement that rather than refinish the floors, Fred should just leave them alone, because they have an awful lot of character. Fred’s mother really really liked the house – I know this because she said, several times, “I really like this house!”, I am excellent at reading between the lines – and it was nice to hear how enthused they were for us. Fred’s mother seemed a little disappointed that we weren’t going to keep the tin light fixtures, and did her best to convince us to keep them. We just don’t like them, though, and she finally gave up on trying to convince us. At one point we went out back, and went over to the pond to find that the duck we’d seen in the past was swimming around happily in the water. The water looked a little less nasty than the last time we were there, and as I stood and tried to take a picture of the duck, I found that I was standing on an ant pile, and the ants weren’t too happy about that. I had ants swarming up over my shoe and in my shoe, and furiously biting me. They did no serious damage to me, though. Ha! I laugh in the face of ant bites! The little fuckers. Fred’s mother suggested that we get some gasoline and burn their nest. Fred told her that after we buy the house (25 days!), he’s going to declare war on the ants. Does it make me strange that I can handle the thought of field mice in the house, but the idea of ants in the house just REALLY infuriates me?

duck Dsc00976 BigbigBIG tree to the right (if you’re facing it) of the house. Also, our next-door neighbor. Interestingly, that house belongs to the father of the woman who owns the house we’re buying. He hasn’t decided yet, but apparently he’s leaning toward selling the house. We’re going to make sure that the owners know we might be interested in buying the house and the property, whether to sell the house off the property and reclaim that half-acre, or to rent the house out, we’re not sure. Dsc01038 In the workshop section of the shed (which is as old as the house), greenery grows through the walls. Fred’s planning to insulate and drywall, to stop the creepery of greenery and creepy crawlies. Dsc01036 We have pokeweed growing in several spots. According to Fred’s stepmother, you can eat the leaves. You have to do a lot of boiling and draining, though, and apparently Fred’s stepmother’s mother used to poison herself once a year or so on pokeweed, which happens if you don’t cook the leaves enough. I think we’ll be skipping the pokeweed greens. Dsc01033 Camellia bush! I can’t wait to see it bloom. Dsc01031 A cherry tree. I’d rather yank it down (I don’t like where it is, or the way it’s leaning) and put a dogwood in the same general area. Dsc01029 Gardenia bush. I think we’re planning to move it out of the front yard – perhaps near the camellia bush? Dsc01028 For a brief moment in time, I knew what this was, but I didn’t write it down, so I’ve forgotten. Anyone know? Dsc01027 Fred LOVES this Coke bottle opener. Dsc01026 I adore this old, heavy black phone. It’s like weight-lifting to lift up the receiver. The owner says that it works, so I’m hoping like hell they leave it for us. Dsc01024 Some sort of clematis. Dsc01021 I expect we’ll be seeing a LOT of these guys. When we went back to the house after the family reunion, this little cat was hanging out in the back yard with the duck. I don’t know where she came from, or who she belongs to, but she was very, very friendly, so probably she’s somebody’s pet. She’s also clearly had a litter of kittens recently, and I wonder where they are. I told Fred “If we were living here, and she showed up and hung around, I wouldn’t hesitate to snatch her up and have her fixed.” Once her kittens were weaned, that is. We’re going to make a name for ourselves as the evil cat-fixing neighbors, aren’t we? We didn’t have any cat food with us, but if we had, I would have poured her a bowl. She was a tiny, skinny thing. Dsc00979 Another shot of the front of the house. I LOVE THIS HOUSE. Dsc01040 The massive magnolia on the side (left side, if you’re facing the house) of the house. Fred likes to tell people that the tree is a “point of contention” because he hates magnolias and I love them. There’s no point of contention, though – that tree’s staying.
We left the house not long after Fred’s mother and stepfather did, because we were supposed to be at the family reunion at noon. We were almost the last people to show up at the reunion, and this year there weren’t a lot of people there. In years past there’ve been more than three long tables of people, but this year we were all able to fit at one table with a few chairs left over. We had a pretty good time at the reunion, mostly sat and listened to everyone else talk. I ordered the grilled chicken, which wasn’t bad at all, and I stayed away from the hushpuppies until after I’d had my protein. One of Fred’s cousins – I don’t even know her name – showed up after we did, and she was talking about how short her hair was, and I nudged Fred and said “I should get my hair cut like that!”
I don’t know. Maybe I will. What do y’all think? Anyway, after staying at the family reunion for a couple of hours, we were ready to go back to the house and gaze lovingly upon it some more. Fred suggested to his father a couple of times that he and Fred’s stepmother could stop over and take a look at the house, but Fred’s father acted uninterested. We get the distinct impression that he’s less than thrilled that we’re fleeing the suburbs for the country. So we said our goodbyes and headed back to the house. One of the towns we had to go through to and from the family reunion is this tiny little town with the ultimate small-town Alabama name of Belle Mina. It’s a VERY cute little town, and I ended up making Fred stop so I could get some pictures.
Dsc00972 Pretty little chapel in Belle Mina. Dsc00971 Pretty little houses next to the pretty little chapel. Dsc00966 Empress Paulownia tree. Apparently they’re very fast-growing and gorgeous when they bloom. Dsc00963 I adore this pretty little building. I think it might have been the railroad station in the past, but it’s privately owned now. How much fun would it be to buy this building and restore it? Dsc00956 Lots of cotton in and around Belle Mina. Dsc00948 Dorks avec cotton. Dsc00932 This is just to show that I do occasionally wear makeup. This is a lot of makeup for me, actually. (Yes, I know I need to have my eyebrows waxed. SHADDUP.) Dsc00938 Letting my inner devil show.
We got back to the house and Fred started taking pictures, and to our utter amazement, Fred’s father and stepmother pulled into the driveway. We spent an hour or so showing them the house and the property, and I took advantage of having Fred’s stepmother there to drag her around and ask what various trees and plants were. I felt like a two year-old, pointing and saying “What dat? What dat? What dat?” She is an awesome resource to have – the woman knows EVERYTHING about plants and trees and bushes. I was pleased to find that there’s a gardenia bush in the front yard and a winter honeysuckle on the side. Those of you who guessed that that one bush was a spirea were correct. She pointed out all the poison ivy we have (we have a LOT, yay) and checked out the pecan trees we have all over the place. Fred and his father trekked to the back of the property to get a branch of the tree we were unable to identify a few weeks ago, this one:
Fred’s stepmother identified it as a black gum tree, which means that it’s going to be gorgeous when the weather gets colder and the leaves turn a brilliant pinkish-red. I look forward to seeing that. It was nice to have both sets of parents visit and give their approval to the house (Fred’s father and stepmother agreed that we should do nothing to the floors, until they saw the floors in the upstairs, then they changed it to, “You should just have professionals come in and redo all the floors at once!”). After Fred’s father and stepmother left, we hung around the house for a little while longer, and then headed out to drive into Athens and eat some Mexican food. And it was DAMNED GOOD. We got home almost 9 hours after we’d left in the morning, which is a damn long time to be away from home. We hung out in front of our computers for the rest of the afternoon, and then watched TV until I could barely keep my eyes open. Sunday morning we got up early-ish again (not that I wanted to, but I’ve been waking up earlier lately), and puttered around for a good part of the morning. We were supposed to leave around 10 to go to Scottsboro Trade Days, but when I used the downstairs bathroom, it was barely flushing, and I said to Fred, “You need to get this fixed NOW.” The downstairs bathroom is the bathroom I tend to use 90% of the time, because I spent most of my days downstairs. Thus began a morning of Fred making trips to Lowe’s for more and more items. You can read the details over at his site, but I think this bunch of pictures should explain it pretty clearly.
Dsc01047 Toilet, without tank. Dsc01065 Tank in the sink, unbroken. Dsc01059 I took advantage of the missing tank to dust behind where the tank goes. Sugarbutt is fascinated by the Swiffer Duster. Dsc01048 This is James, our bathroom spider. James is in a tizzy because I dusted his web. I cannot abide a dusty web, and James knows that. James later disappeared, but whether he packed up his dusty web and headed for friendlier (ie, less strict) environs, or was drowned in a horrifying toilet experience, I cannot say. Dsc01095 The toilet tank, broken. Don’t look at me – I didn’t break it!
Once the toilet had been completely and irretrievably broken, and after Fred had spoken to a plumber about coming out and replacing the tank (we later decided to go for the whole new toilet) in a few days, he asked if I wanted to drive to Ardmore, TN and check out the Ardmore Dog Days Flea Market. I did, so we headed out there, figured out where it was, and spent about an hour and a half looking around. I would have liked to stay longer and look at more stuff, but SOMEONE (not me) was clearly uninterested in what there was to see (and it bothered us to see how many animals were in tiny cages, in direct sunlight. I’m pretty sure we saw a dead puppy in one of the cages, and the roosters and chickens we saw were panting for air. GRRRR.) and he was hungry (so was I, for that matter), so we headed out of Ardmore, hit the highway, and drove to Athens where we… ate Mexican food!
Dsc01104 Pig on a harness at the flea market. Could you just die from the cute?
Can you tell we’re on a Mexican food kick? We didn’t end up getting home until late, because we drove around more than we’d expected to, and after watching some shows on the Discovery Home channel, we went to bed a little after 9. This morning, I intended to get up a little after 5 to go for a walk before I needed to be at the pet store to feed and clean out the cat cages, but I woke up at 4:45 and was so damn tired I couldn’t stand the thought of getting up to walk, so I turned off the alarm clocks, and went back to sleep until 6:30, when Fred woke me up to tell me that Steve Irwin had died. That SUCKS, especially that it was such a freak accident. As Fred said, “What’s the point in going to Australia NOW?” (He was kidding. I think.) I got dressed and puttered around for a while, then left the house a little after 7 to go to the pet store. While there, I fell in love with a feisty little black kitten named Lucyfer, and wished I had the camera with me. After the pet store, I ran to the grocery store ANNOUNCEMENT: If you shop at Publix, they’ve currently got 28 .5-liter bottles of Deer Park water on sale for $3.99. That’s 14 cents a bottle! I bought three cases, and then went back later with Fred and got five more! and home, where I started writing this ungodly-long entry and then took a shower while Fred painted the downstairs bathroom. A little before noon, he asked if I wanted to go look at tractors with him, so we headed off to Athens to stop and look at tractors, and found that the only tractor store in all of Athens that was open was the John D33re store. We looked at some tractors, went in and asked some questions, and came out with a pamphlet. The Kub0ta, Mass3y-Fergus0n, and Agc0 tractor stores were closed so we may hit them next weekend. (Don’t try to give me advice on tractors, by the way. I don’t care what we end up with; Fred’s the person to convince. Just so you know.) We got home a little while ago (it’s after 3 here) and ate lunch, and now I think I’m going to go upstairs and read (and snooze) for a while before I need to start dinner. And that, my friends, was our weekend. It was a busy one, and we weren’t home much, but that’s kind of the way I like it. I get to spend lots of time at home during the week, usually, so I’m okay with spending my weekends out and about. (Did I mention 25 days ’til we close on the house? Woot!)
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DSC00922 “Whyyyyy, back in MY day, we had to walk 53 miles – up hill! Both ways! – to get cat food AND IT WASN’T canned! It was made of sawdust! And we were GLAD TO GET IT!”
All of today’s uploaded pictures are hither.
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Previously 2005: No entry. 2004: My Gram. 2003: If I had a brain I’d be dangerous. 2002: What I’ve been doing. 2001: I’m wise to your stalker ways, Margaret! 2000: No entry.]]>