Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas Around Here
Oh boy, oh boy...you know how much I love this time of year, right? And, this year has been even more exciting, as we have a new yard to decorate. Duke Power rejoiceth!
We started right after we'd begun to digest the turkey and trimmings. Put away the pumpkins. Hauled out the holly. As you can see in the photos, we are well-lit here on Wesseck Road.
We had purchased six 25' strands of C7 lights a couple of years ago during the after-Christmas sale at the O'Fallon True Value (which has since gone out of business, sad to say). We also got 6 packages of yard stakes as we were trying to avoid having to hang lights on the house. Of course, with the move to NC, we'd never used them...this would be our first year. Well, amazingly, this yard seemed to be designed perfectly for this scheme. We lined our natural area (the part of the yard under the trees...mulched in pine straw, without any grass) with the stakes and lights, starting with the lighted reindeer in the front, circling around the sidewalk past the lighted bushes, up to the front porch. Along the way, we staked out Pop-Up Santa and his Chimney. He's been a real hit in the neighborhood, for sure. We get several lookers, stopping on their dog-walks or in their cars, every night, and several neighbors have complemented us on the lights.
We also propped up the Santa Nutcrackers (AKA: The Mens) to guard the front steps. We did the math and dated them to the Collierville Era (1985-88), meaning they are about 22-23 years old. Every year, we say the same thing: we MUST paint these things before next Christmas. We never seem to get around to it...yet, we can't seem to leave them out of the decorating scheme, either. Let's just say The Mens bear the battle scars of multiple moves and continue to report for duty every December. BTW, after I took these photos on Sunday night, November 29th, we located the candles for the windows, so the wreaths now show up a bit better.
Of course, the porch wouldn't be complete without Rhonda and Rudy Reindeer to greet our guests. This year, they have comfortable seats in the rockers, well-protected under the broad roof and well-lit by both the wreath on the dining room window (photo, right) and the snowflakes and stars hanging from the eaves. It's hard to tell from the picture, but I used a pair of Missy M's little-girl Garfield house slippers and a Christmas onesy-pajama on Rudy, along with one of her little-girl footy-pajamas and a Christmas gown on Rhonda. A great way to keep those memories. (Their faces were made by stuffing thick work-socks and embroidering the noses with black thread; his antlers are a pair of stuffed brown cotton work gloves; and her hair peeping from the nightcap is a bulky yarn.)
This weekend, while we watched "Miracle on 34th Street" (the original B&W version), "White Christmas," and a couple of football games, we worked on unpacking and setting up the inside Nutcrackers. We now have 47 in our collection. The good news: we also now have TWO mantles for display purposes...plus the sofa table, the entertainment center, and the tops of two bookcases. Lastly, we got the Sheep Tree up...that's the small artificial tree that I decorate with my collection of sheepie ornaments. Sorry about how dark that photo (left) of the mantle and Sheep Tree turned out...if I turn on the flash, it drowns out the little lights. And, I do so love to see the little lights...:)
UPDATE: Pop-Up Santa is taking a breather in order to dry his fan out...he got filled with water during the rains of last week and kept throwing the GFCI breaker. Hopefully he'll be back in commission soon...although, rain is predicted twice for the coming week. Hmmmm. Previously, the only thing we've worried about for him is that he doesn't operate when the temps are below 14 degrees (as they often were in MO).
Speaking of rain...we had some cold, wet stuff falling this weekend that turned to ice on the deck, making it difficult for Duchess and Gus to go walk-about in the back yard, but no measurable white stuff yet here in HPNC.
Other parts of the Piedmont have reported a different story, and this morning we got photos from Missy M showing the first snowfall of the season for her house (photo to right). Maybe not enough for a snowman, but still enough to get out the windshield scaper, right? Makes me want to make a big pot of soup...bake some bread and some cookies...and stir up some spiced tea. Winter's on its way!
It's the first day of the month of April...no foolin'! Also, it's the first day that we are no longer residents of North Carolina. And, as that 60's saying attributed to Charles Dederich goes: "Today is the first day of the rest of your life." Truth be told, I'm still in recovery mode from the last 365+ days of my life. After the marathon of moving activities that began in earnest a little over a year ago, yesterday's closing on our HPNC house seemed, well, almost anticlimactic. We had made a trip to GA at the beginning of the week, using the opportunity to take a carload of "stuff" (meaning some of the odds and ends that didn't make it onto the movers truck and into storage) to Missy M's. On our return to Casa 3917, we packed the rest of the "stuff" either in one of our cars or in the garbage cans. And then we took a final walk around the yard and into the Way Back. The pink dogwood (pictured) is just beginning to bloom in…
When last I wrote, I posed the Big Question: where exactly is our new "here?" At long last, I think I know the answer: our new "here" will most likely be Loganville, GA.
We made an offer on beautiful park-like yard on Kings Way that happens to have a perfect-for-us 3/2/2 house attached to it. We checked off all our "needs" list [3 bedrooms, 2 baths, 2-car garage, treed and fenced yard with plenty of outdoor space for gardens and doggies, close to Missy M (it's 14 miles away)...all for a retirement-friendly price under $200k], as well as almost all of our "nice-to-have" list: fireplace with gas logs, gas stove in the kitchen (well, it will be once we upgrade the appliances...;-), wood floors in living areas, granite countertops, separate dining room as well as separate laundry room, and permanent stairs to the attic...or in our case, to the expansion area over garage. The house even has a red front door!
Our offer was accepted, the inspection…
I remember it like it was yesterday. She was the tiniest puppy with silky-soft, pointy ears and the cutest button nose, and she was supposed to be an Australian Shepherd mix about 7 weeks old. And the moment we saw Abbie, she stole our hearts. We couldn't write the check for her adoption fee fast enough.
We had stalked the Forsyth County Animal Control website for weeks, even completing the adoption application before we found the perfect companion for Elmo, our blind Basset hound. After we found out that our other Basset, Duchess' chest tumor was inoperable, we knew we had to prepare for the day when she was no longer with us, and it seemed smarter to introduce a new family member before the inevitable happened.
Boy, did that not go according to the plan! Still, although the sequence of events was not as planned, adopting Abbie-Dabbie was one of the best things we could have done. She proved to be a firecracker from the start, quickly showing her Holy Terrier parentage. She…