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Hi Ho, Hi Ho, It’s Off To Work I Go

Tomorrow I embark on my 2nd month of work with my new employer (a local dock building company). I frequently thank God for all the jobs I did not get.  I also thank Him for allowing me to spend the last year working alongside Lance. Is it normal to wish I was busting my butt around the house and not getting paid rather than getting paid to sit in a comfie chair answering phones?

I’ve been reunited with ‘Sunday Night Dread’ and loathing the 5 day work week. I do not understand why we should spend a greater portion of our week at a job. I envy the self-employed, independently wealthy and those that are retired. Enough complaining. I am thankful to be be gainfully employed, again. Our expenses are few but we do like to eat, regularly.

There are many great things about my job. The office I work in is ‘only’ 19 miles away. I love the commute. It’s not the 3 block walk I once had but it is a beautiful drive. I may sing a different tune come winter. The first 5 miles are through our neighborhood. Winding roads along a lake surrounded by mountains. 5 more miles weaving through valleys and mountains. Then 5 miles through ‘The Flats’, rolling farm land that still takes my breath away. Funny how ‘The Flats’ are still hillier than the Texas Hill Country or any square inch of Iowa. I hail from Iowa, so farmland holds special fondness. I pass several cows, barns, pastures. There is even an old gray mare that reminds me that I, me, Mare, am getting old and gray, but not dead, yet. The last 4 miles wind through a little resort town. I do my best not to hit a tourist not looking both ways before they head over to the ice-creamery.

Another plus- there doesn’t seem to be a dress code in the office. Yee Haw! I remember when I first started with EBSCO Industries 11+ years ago. You weren’t allowed to where flip-flops or capris. T-shirts and ball caps were highly illegal. Thankfully I didn’t have to wear heels, hose or suits. My co-workers here wear shorts, jeans and any old T-shirt.  I haven’t worn anything so casual, yet. Just the thought that I CAN, brings me  great joy. I do wear flip-flops each and every day, hoping the frost doesn’t come too soon this year. Hmm, maybe I can get some toe socks 😉

The hours are great, I’m done each day at 3:30. It feels like school is letting out, I get home in time to enjoy our slice of paradise before the sun sets. The people I work with are laid back and nice, even if I am old enough to be their mother. The pay is better than McDonalds and the work more enjoyable than standing at a register at my local Wal-Mart. Easier on the legs of this ol gray Mare ;-). Oh, and there is health insurance, something people my age may need sooner or later.

Thank You God for helping me find a job later than sooner. I shall continue to go off to work each week until our ship comes in and I can retire. Maybe, just maybe, God will promote me to a senior citizen. Planting a garden and chasing grand children will be hard work, but I bet I’d be good at it.

There’s No Place Like Home

The best part of working, aside from the paycheck, is NOT working. I’ve worked for my new company for 2 whole weeks. That makes this Labor Day weekend all the more special. Three whole days to be home. Delightful! Everyone at work had plans to party, go boating, camp….I just want to be home. Water our newly sprouting yard. Clean out our new chicken coop. Do laundry. Be home. There really is, no place like home.

I do love it here, even though I am dreading winter. So much so, that I fantasize about winning the lottery so we can build our dream (underground) home in a more temperate climate. Apparently, last winter was a mild one. I thank God that He didn’t let all snow break loose and allow a fierce winter in northern Idaho. Lance asked me the other day if I regretted moving here. That was an easy, ‘no’. That doesn’t mean I don’t wish winter wouldn’t happen.

This is the last busy weekend for our lake community. I shout a silent ‘hoorah‘. It’s nicer when there isn’t so much traffic kicking up dust. I love the locals, they provide plenty of entertainment.  Today I captured this photo as Mountain-man Mike drove by with a neighbor’s goat. Mike needed some brush cleared, so he borrowed Kevin’s goat for a for a few days :-).

Have goat, will travel.

Last year the September weather was spectacular. I can only hope this year will hold the same incredible sunshine and warmth! In anticipation of the cold months ahead, Lance made the chickens a warm, insulated, home in the corner of the wood shed. Due to some recent wild animal activity, he put up a 6ft chicken wire fence….we no longer have free range chickens. The trade-off is, we hope to not lose any more chickens to dogs and cougars and bears, oh my. Life is good, here in northern Idaho.

I had rather be on my farm than be emperor of the world.  ~George Washington

Wiring the chicken run

Birds of a feather (sticking together)

Teener chick, checks out her newly wired run

You Can Take The Girl Outta The South, But You Can’t Make Her Wear Pants

How’s that for a title? Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loathed the onset of Fall. I’m not normal (in many ways). When the cooler temps set in, my mood swings to sadness. Sure I love brisk weather and cuddling up under the covers, but moving from summer to fall has always been a mournful time. Always.

Think about it, when the weather turns cooler you can’t go barefoot, wear shorts or soak up the extra hours of sunshine. It goes back to my youth. Summertime meant no school, long lazy days and carefree nights. Autumn meant school is in session, days are shorter and life is anything but carefree. When my kids were little, summer meant sleeping in, lounging about, doing what we enjoyed. When autumn came, it felt like our lives weren’t our own. We had to get into the school routine, my kids weren’t ‘all mine’ anymore. That was sad.

It’s still August (just barely), but the nights are already getting shorter and cooler. This morning the thermometer read 45 degrees. I had already ironed a skirt and short sleeves to wear to work. So, by gosh, I was going to wear my cute skirt and short sleeve shirt, topped with a sweat jacket and the car heater on full blast. Shoot, it’s not even Labor Day, WAY too soon to think about winter weather and all the woes that entails.

One great thing about my new job is the casual dress code. The operations manager interviewed me in his favorite Utah polo and his golf shorts (Thursday was golf day for the ‘big wigs’). Everyone wears shorts, jeans and T-shirts. Why not? I work for a dock building company in a tiny resort town nearby. Who cares if all the workers are dressed casually? A banker came in the office this week for a meeting and everyone ‘dressed up’. The owner wore long pants, the engineer actually wore his shoes all day, the production manager wore a shirt that buttoned, my supervisor decided not to show her toes…. they were all stylin’!

After working 10+ years for a big company, I own more than my share of dress clothes. 90% of said dress clothes are skirts. So what if I’m the only one in the company that ever wears a skirt (keep in mind there are only 49 employees and of those only 5 are female). I will wear a skirt until I see one of my coworkers wear sweatpants, then I’ll rejoice and retire my skirts till next summer (think July).

I do miss the season they call winter in the south. I now fully understand why there are so many ‘snow-birds’ out there. Since we only own one home, I don’t see any plans to fly south for the winter. I will drag my summer out as long as possible. I plan to avoid wearing long pants for as long as I can, even if it means cranking up a space heater under my desk so as not to shiver audibly. Yes, I miss those quasi-winters in Alabama, but I wouldn’t trade our spectacular summers for theirs any day.

Summer is the time when one sheds one’s tensions with one’s clothes.  ~Ada Louise Huxtable

1st day of work

One Whole Year Here

I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since I first set foot in the understated beautiful state of Idaho.  It was an Africa-hot and muggy Friday evening in late August that Lance and I set sail out of Birmingham Alabama. Our GPS set course on a journey 2300 miles- far, far away. In some ways it feels like time has flown by. Are we really on the tail end of summer, already? Is winter really just around the corner, again? In other ways, it feels like we’ve lived here for years. They know us by name at Lowes and we’ve made so many great friends in the neighborhood.

We’ve come a long way in the last year. Miles wise and project wise. There I go again, using ‘we’, when the driver of that moving van was Lance and the project manager for this cabin renovation has been none other than my handy hubby. The drive up here was an adventure in and of itself. Fixing up this cabin has kept Lance busy every single day. I’m grateful for his many talents. Without him, this exciting chapter in my life would not have been possible.

The ‘good things’ about Going To Idaho are still good. We love the lack of humidity. The sun warms me to the bone. I’ve gotten my best tan ever (without even trying). Every which way you turn, it’s absolutely gorgeous. Pictures just do not do it justice. Just ask our visitors, they’ll tell ya, it’s just so gosh darn purdy here! The people in our little lake community are about as nice as you could ask for. For a few beers, they offer a lot of help!

The ‘bad things’ are still bad…I miss my kids. Alot. Maybe if I didn’t like them so much, I wouldn’t mind living so far from them.  I hold out hope that their inner compass will direct them to a kinder, cooler climate. Hey kids, ZERO hurricanes here, ever. The winters kinda suck. I grew up in Iowa, but headed south the first chance I got and toured the southeast for 20+ years. Winter anywhere north of the Mason Dixon line kinda sucks.  Hey, Kristie, did I mention there are NO roaches in Idaho. Zero poisonous snakes either… Char, you’d probably never break a sweat  (unless you wanted to).

I can add 'ditch digging' to my resume'

I can add ‘ditch digging’ to my resume’

Solar Panel Czar

It’s been quite a year, indeed. We got married, my daughter got married, my son got single… I spent a glorious 12 months not punching a time clock. I’ve never worked harder. Our kick-ass barn has 99 solar panels. We’ve got buttloads of wood, 6 chickens, a stump free yard with grass growing in abundance. Soon we’ll have a REAL foundation (poor Lance, NOT how he wanted to spend his entire summer). God is good, we’ve thanked Him daily for allowing the house not to slide down the mountain (it really was that bad, folks).

What does our future hold? Mary got a job (more on that later). Our wood piles are stocked, our chicks are about to move into a new coop and start laying some eggs. Our rooster already gets his cock-a-doodle-doo on every morning at sun up. Lance still has a list of projects to tackle before the snows come. I’ll do my best to keep you posted on all the fun we have out here in the great potato state of Idaho.

Beer Will Change The World

Yeah, that’s not my normal message, but I saw this clip art and felt this mini-blog unfold in my head. If you read my last blog on Lance’s current project, you know it’s serious foundation work. Thanks to some previous projects, our yard is stump and tree free, allowing us a great view and serious sun for the solar panels (<-yet another project completed by Lance).  That being said, our little cabin is the main attraction to many a passerby. They stop while walking, ATVing or trucking by to visit, give advice or bring us a much-needed tool (yesterday we scored a cement mixer). Read the rest of this entry

The Foundation From Hell

Sticks & stones may be the only thing holding up our house

Sticks & stones may be the only thing holding up our house

Building a solid foundation is mentioned often in the Bible. That being said, we have a foundation from hell under our house. Everything from rotted wood, bug eaten tree stumps and a few concrete blocks. When we arrived at our new cabin in the woods last August, we knew right away the foundation was a BIG concern. It wasn’t until the skirting was taken off this week that we saw just how bad it all really was under there. Read the rest of this entry

Treasure Hunting via Craigslist

Treasure Hunting via Craigslist

How many of you have ever bought or sold anything via Craigslist?  It’s quite an experience. There are the predictable scammers that want to mail you the money for a vehicle you have for sale. Or the folks that have a place for sale or rent, if you can just wire them the down payment, it will be a done deal.  My personal favorite, the person that is all set to buy your couch… until their nephew wrecks their pickup and they can’t afford to spend more than $75 for anything… Sheesha. But, for the most part, Craigslist is a great way to buy, sell or trade. Read the rest of this entry