Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Out and about in Appalachia.

Saturday we had a morning appointment to look at kitchen cabinets, but by 9 or so, we had a whole empty day ahead of us. After a quick check at the Ridge (which has come to a standstill with the rain), we decided to do a little exploring in the area. We first drove over to Lake Norris, to see if any of the marinas had restaurants. At one place, the guy in the little store recommended Jimmy's Place but could not remember where that was. We drove around the shoreline until we finally saw a sign, and found this little floating restaurant, where we sat outside in the shade and had a beer and some fried catfish.

After lunch we kept driving, all the way up to a little town called Sneedville, near the Kentucky border. It's such a contrast of stunning natural beauty and deep, deep poverty.

As we were winding our way toward home, we passed a small sign that said "Elrod Falls." This called for a U-turn. The signs lead us down a tiny backroad. When we got to the little park, there were a handful of people there by a creek. But no actual falls in sight. Then we saw some kids walking up a little path and decided to check that out. 

The falls were as pretty as anything in The Smokies, and there were less than a dozen people there, hanging out on the rocks and watching a kid swim in the pool at the base of the falls. And then a woman asked us if we'd been up to the falls above. What? So off we went.

It was steep and slippery on the climb up. But it was so beautiful and we were the only two there.
Well, the only two not counting this water snake, sunning himself on a rock and watching the waterfall.

The climb down was even more treacherous, and as you can see I did not have the appropriate shoes. We read later that there is a third waterfall higher up, and I'd like to go back to see that. In hiking boots this time. All in all, a pretty great day and the detours were well worth it.

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Computer issues.

I'm having to take my over-heating computer into the Apple store, so I've been using it sparingly. Just a couple of quick things from recently.

One was a trip up to Louisville to visit my older son. He is extremely private so no photos. He is now with an optometry group and wanted to show us around the office. As we left, the office manager called to him, "Bye Doctor!" He seemed confidant in his new role. His girlfriend, also an optometrist, joined us for dinner and then we went to their apartment to meet their dog, a sweet furry Old English Sheepdog/Poodle mix. It's really nice having them just 250 miles away and I am already planning our next visit. While we were in town we also met up with my sister-in-law for lunch. She is a sweetheart who was a rock thorugh my cancer and I treasure that relationship.

The next morning on our way home we stopped in Lexington to visit my Dad's grave and do our traditional bourbon toast, pouring one on his grave. It's really a beautiful, peaceful cemetery.

The family has a long history in Lexington so there are relatives buried there from a couple hundred years ago, including government figures like former Vice President Breckinridge. And loads of family whose gravestones bear military insignia. I know my father would love being here.

This past weekend more of my in-laws (sister, brother, his wife and the kids) rented a cabin in the Smokies and we went down for the day.  It was nice hanging out on the deck and catching up in our first visit since the pandemic started. As we drove home that night, I texted my younger son to see how he was doing with the heatwave in Portland. When he moved to work with the tree service company his dream was to make it his career and become a climber. He started as ground crew but has advanced to climbing and told me in our last phone call that he loved it. He texted me back that evening to say he had foremanned his first job on Friday. I don't know what it was about that, but an unescapable truth just walloped me as we drove - my baby boys are well and truly men now. The fact that they have both landed in good spots in their lives brings me so much peace.

Sunday, August 8, 2021

And just like that, we're off!

We broke ground on Friday, which was actually a surprise to us. We were scheduled to start on Monday. Even though I'm excited about the build, it still hurt to see the land cleared. I don't know what I thought would happen - maybe a house would be built and magically nestled into the forest with very little destruction. But even though it's small house, they have to clear off enough space to work. Which included the place I had earmarked fro a chicken coop. I am working on just shrugging and trusting that it will all work out.

In the meantime, we've been amassing things required for the build that we'd prefer to pick out ourselves - light fixtures, fans, sinks, and so on. We have things stored in the tiny house, in a storage unit and some in our rental house.
We met with the builder and signed a contract a few days after we closed on our house. He gave us a long itemized list of estimates and we are trying to decide exactly what we want and also where we can economize. I'm making room layouts on graph paper spending ridiculous amounts of time online researching various aspects. Like flooring - wood or bamboo?  What bathtub options are available but still reasonable? And so on ad naseum.

Our builder sent us on missions to particular supply stores he likes to work with to pick out tile and what not. And then we comparison shopped until we were glassy-eyed. You know, there really are too many choices out there. And you can only look at so many samples of anything before it starts blurring together. 

We went back up to the property today to stash a few things in the tiny house and saw this truck, wrecked on our property. My husband called the Sheriff's office and the dispatcher assured him it wasn't wrecked, the truck had just broken down and the owner would be back to get it Monday. Uh huh. Because when my vehicle breaks down, I leave skid marks on the pavement and crumble off the edge of the road and then smash into the bank and crush one corner of my car. And leave it "parked" in the drainage ditch. Nope. This had drunk driver written all over it. We took pictures and called back with more details and the dispatcher allowed as how that was different than the story they'd been given and they'd send an officer out. When we went back to check, they were towing it away.  
I suspect we're in for many more interesting sights in our new hometown.