Saturday, June 25, 2005

Last Post Before Move

This is probably the last posting before we make the Big Move on Tuesday. Gosh, it’s been over six months since I started this blog thingy about moving to South Padre, and it’s been fun and “it ain’t over yet.” Nope, there’s moving the daughter into an apartment, actually driving a huge load down to the Island, and figuring how on Earth I’m going to haul all that crap upstairs to the second story. Let’s just say a lot of it is going straight into the garage, so it had better not flood right away. So if you see us asking teenagers if they can help us move boxes and couches for 20 bucks, no we’re not pervs, it’s just that Lori has a bum foot and we have a turn-around staircase to the second story.

We sign the papers on this old house on Monday, after being somewhat scared the investor would back out at the last minute. Yup, we’ve been through it the hard way, not my favorite method to lose weight but we’re maybe a little tougher for it. Tuesday morning we start early because I think those rental trucks have engine governors on them so I’ll have to go slow. Boring! I always set the cruise control on at least 72 (except for the speed-trap towns, that is). Somebody reminded me that I’d be paying for the gas, too. I think they measure these big trucks in gallons per mile instead of miles per gallon. That might be an exaggeration but I’ll be down at the last truck stop before King Ranch drinking gas like a thirsty cow.

I’m leaving a ton of little details out, like what to do with three adopted wild field cats. Hey, they even have little pointy hairs on their ears like real bobcats. I don’t think we can move them; last time we had to put doggie-downers in some canned tuna bait just to get them to the vet for spaying. It was quite an ordeal and I have the scars to prove it. Thank goodness we’re not taking pit bull dogs with us – can you imaging moving into a tourist/retirement community with (very loveable) fighting dogs known for eating children? BWAHAHAHA. Forget that, baby, I put down my foot and said “no way, Jose.” One domestic shorthair and one Heinz 57 about 14 years old. Oh, and an iguana. The kids figured out how hard it was to rent a place with dogs over 50 pounds! Thousands of details, like making sure the plumerias didn’t have ants and termites (I had both in some of the 22 plants). Shame, the plumerias are in bloom and I’ll probably knock a bunch of limbs off.

Time to unplug this old computer hummer. The next update will be from on the Island. No telling when the DSL will be turned back on – they say they have to “test” the line, which is techno-speak for “gee, we just don’t know.” And then, hehe, the fun starts! I’ll give one hint: some of the locals want me to join the political fray. Heck, I’m not even a resident and they want to elect me for Alderman? I need at least a year to decompress, get back in shape, cut out some bad habits like smoking, lower the blood pressure, and make some denero to pay for all this moving and higher mortgage payments. Pretty nutty, I’d have to agree – perhaps they’ll settle for a Little Oak Man for a while.

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Yes We're On Our Way!!!

I may have confused people in previous posts because things have been SO difficult for us, but YES we are on our way to our new house on South Padre Island. The 28th or so.

Now we do NOT want a bazillion people coming over with casseroles and pies when we arrive. No, we want to sneak in silent as church mice, and get the feel of the Island first.

It is as if the Lord wanted me to write a slightly more complex, convoluted novel instead of a short story about "moving to South Padre."

But yes, we're packing right now.

One Down, One to Go

One down and one to go. We signed the papers for the Padre Island house on Saturday. Everything conspired to make it difficult but we did it. First, we get the FedEx package late, at almost at 11:00. Then off to a bank to sign a bazillion papers and get them stamped by a Notary Public. [What a name, the stamp notes for a fee?] Get a certified check and throw it is a FedEx envelope … and try to find somewhere to drop it off.

There was a brief hiatus while we met the in-laws for Dim Sum lunch. That’s like Chinese weekend brunch, if you will, a favorite for us even if many think it is Chinese for “bait.” I sure will miss Dim Sum on the Island.

By now it is getting close to 3:00 and we discover that all the little mail stores like “We B Mailboxes” had already sent out their FedEx and UPA packages. We call the main office and they say “Oh, you’ve got to do downtown to the main FedEx distribution plant by 5:00.” So off we go, like a Herd or Turtles, or judging by our growing frustration, a Turd of Hurdles.

Plus, everyone in Austin had recovered from their hangovers and decided to fire up their SUV’s and drive around in circles. Austin’s traffic woes are legendary, a combination of aggressive Texas macho and sheer dumb-ass mentality. Fortunately I decided to listen to a good radio station that kept us informed. “Highway 183 closed due a pickup and trailer with a boat that rolled and caught fire.” So we opt for Plan B, taking the north route about 20 miles out of the way, passing three more rollover accidents. It seemed like every major intersection had at least a fender-bender, with heavy construction in between each one.

But we rolled up with 5 minutes to spare and the FedEx guy was funny and made us feel better. “Oh, South Padre Island, I see. Can I get you a bigger box so I can ship myself down there?”

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Saved by the Bell!

We got a contract on the old house up here in Leander at the last possible minute. We are on the way now, with lots of things to write about – and a lot less angst. Better late than never.

By now I’ve got electricity and water coming on the new house on Oleander Drive. The gals down in the Valley were great hooking me up but the white boys selling insurance and Internet were … well, let’s not cuss while we’re celebrating. There are multiple closing dates, so as to make life more fun. Our idea of fun is holding hands on the beach or making a sand castle or swimming in the surf, but we can handle all he paperflow now.

It happened fast, and then all our friends had to have us over for dinner. Heck we even has an Alice’s Restaurant Thanksgiving dinner. In June! Thank goodness we don’t have any cousins or kin in Arkansas. The neighbors, the cool old hippies with the pontoon boat, are half pissed and indicated they want to sell right away. They’re totally convinced that some butt-heads will move in. Other than that, all these folks are making us gain weight with all these go-away parties and we can’t wait to run on the beach. Like a railroad locomotive, you can put your ear next to the rail and hear us coming …

Thanks for all those positive thoughts!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005


I was going to entitle this post “Despair.” I decided on the word “Dauntless” instead. That means “to persevere fearlessly.” Chin up, old boy, we can’t let the monsters in our minds make us miserable, just because a silly old house can’t sell. Plus, I need to be a good influence on Lori, my better half. I’ll be the first to admit this is like a month of visits to the dentist, with anxiety, nervousness, sleeplessness, and no stomach for food, but dammit, we’re dauntless. Fearlessly persevering!

The moniker has quite a background going back to the Revolutionary War. The first ship built by our fledgling nation was the Oliver Cromwell, a 24-cannon ship built at the Dauntless Shipyard in Essex, Connecticut. The name was reserved has a hallowed history that includes the schooner Dauntless (1866-1915), the Navy torpedo dive bombers of WWII (circa 1943), and one of the most famous Coast Guard cutters (WMEC 624, currently in service in Galveston). There’s a certain patriotic pride that goes along with the name Dauntless. It means when the chips are down, drive straight at the enemy and stare ‘em right in the eyeballs.

I just wish everything wasn’t on hold. Heck I can’t even drive much of anywhere! I can’t even rent a moving truck because I don’t know the when and if. So here I sit, work being slow, attempting to be “dauntless” and doing chores for Lori and rubbing her back (muscles like banjo strings) and making diners and trying to be upbeat.

I hope it works.

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

The Move 10 Years Ago

Hopefully our move to South Padre is a little less eventful than the last move we made 10 years ago. Part of what follows is an accounting of it, along with lessons learned – and a great deal of poetic license as suggested by Sandy Feet and her deep thought: “Why am I hearing the theme song to the Beverly Hillbillies?” On that artistic theme, though some of it very true:

Ten or eleven years ago I had a junky old pickup truck and went down to rent one of those trailers you can get for $20 a day. I paid the money and then backed up – and heck, nothing to hook the trailer up to. The ole redneck says “Don’t take this personal, son, but your truck doesn’t have any balls.”

I did sorta take it personal but with that special energy that comes from moving, I went to the closest Auto Zone and bought some very discrete equipment, which they promised would never fall off. If I had a torque wrench. Well, with large pliers I was able to sorta tighten the 1-7/8” ball and hook up the trailer.

Back at the house, mama was using a garden rake to gather up all the kids toys on the carpet, which was actually quite a challenge because the kids kept busting it out all over the floor again. This was the final load, with the beds, the broken laundry machine, and whatever was left on floor. By golly I had both the pickup and trailer loaded about 12 feet high in the air, with the most complex ropes and strings you ever saw. We had the dog in the back of the pickup but unfortunately, the goat had to stay.

As I took a final gander at the old shack I said “Gee, that’s not too bad, we ought to get our rent deposit back no problem.” I dropped the truck into first gear and the muffler fell off. It was smokin’ and hot so I did sorta leave it there, hoping the landlord would cut me just a wee bit of slack on that. But loud, lordy, this truck all the sudden had those elusive balls, I tell ya. The backfires were especially impressive. Boom! Mama and I looked at each other, smiling. She pulled my finger and it did it right on cue. Blam!

We did pretty good until we got almost to Leander, a little cedar-chopper town northwest of Austin. See, there was some roadkill in the middle of the road with a bunch of buzzards on it, so I had to swerve. I suppose I got a little nervous and threw a cigarette butt out the window, too. Bad move, but we composed ourselves. As I looked in the rear view mirror, I noted that when we swerved, we left a little hillbilly trash in the road so I pulled over the side of the road. That’s when I noticed I had set the blankets and dog on fire with my darned cigarette … and the cop with the bubble-gum machine and siren.

So here I am, gathering up clothes, plastic buckets, toys, and putting out dog fires with a can of Old Milwaukee, when Mr. Johnny Law parks behind us. The blankets were still smoking from some mysterious origin I couldn’t find. Of course, the kids started wailing like banshees and the dog was sorta barking and looking a little rabid, I suppose. The engine was steaming from somewhere, too, probably the radiator - again. The cop walks up about half way to us and stops, throws his hands up in the air, and leaves, spinning out gravel all over us.

My eight year old son was impressed. “Cool!” I winked at mama and said “I think they like us here.” Even the baby girl stopped bitching about needing to pee, and smiled. We pulled into that brand new house and backed up the driveway, turning off the engine with a final “kerblooey” back-fire that dropped what was left of the exhaust system onto the concrete. The neighbors were impressed, I can tell you that. We were home.