Thursday, June 30, 2011

Settling In

We are settling in our new home.

Over the past week, we've made pretty good progress.

For the first few days, boxes were stacked everywhere, and the garage was completely full. Much that was in the garage was old furniture we really did not want to keep. I called a used furniture store, and the owner came out and we were able to reach a deal. We sold him our old sofa, 3-piece entertainment center, computer hutch, coffee table and 2 end tables, 2 night tables, 1 TV, and my riding mower. This freed up quite a bit of room in the garage.

The next day, I purchased 2 sheets of 4 x 8 plywood and began adding some flooring in the attic for storage. We then were able to move some items into the attic for storage. We still have quite a few items in the garage, but we are now able to park the pickup in the garage.

I went to a discount office furniture store downtown and found a nice used desk for the office as well as 3 new mohagany book shelves. I've spent the last couple of days setting up the office and unpacking books I've not seen in years. It's a delight to have all my books out again. I look forward to reading works I've not read since my college days.

The sprinkler system was completed Monday morning. That afternoon, the lawn people came and sprayed the yard (hydroseed). I began watering it Tuesday morning. We are looking forward to getting grass growing. Unfortunately, San Angelo and most of West Texas is in the midst of a severe drought, so once my yard gets established, I will only be able to water once a week, if that much. We had gutters installed on the house during construction, and I will purchase some rain barrels soon to catch water when it does eventually rain. That will help some; at least I'll be able to water plants.

Front of house; yard has just been hydroseeded

We still have some boxes stacked around, and I need to find a solution for my tools. I do not have a shop in the yard; I've not decided whether to purchase one or simply to use the other half of the garage.

But we are beginning to get back into our routines, so life is returning to normal.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Moved In

Just a brief update on our house.

We closed yesterday at 2:00 and immediately began moving in.

First, we packed up the trailer, left Spring Creek Marina and RV Park, and put the trailer in storage. Boat races are to be held at the lake this weekend, and we did not want to be around for that circus. It was time to leave.

We moved a few items in yesterday and spent our first night in our new house. After nearly 6 weeks of living in the trailer, it was nice to take a real shower (me) and a real bath (Donna).

Today, we began moving in earnest. I had secured a trailer for moving from our storage facility, and made 3 loads before just giving out. I have 1 load to get tomorrow -- maybe 2 -- and then we will be completely moved in. Of course, the place is a wreck and the garage is full, but we are in our home.

All utilities were on when we arrived. This morning, Suddenlink arrived to connect us to the Internet and provide cable TV. Haverty's brought our new living room furniture. Furniture Row brought our new bedroom furniture. And Best Buy delivered our new refrigerator. So, we are in pretty good shape.

Now comes the tedious part -- just going through all our boxes and deciding where things go, what to keep, and what to throw away.

But, we are home.

Forgive me if my postings are not as regular as the past few weeks, but we do have much to do.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Good Things at Spring Creek

Not all is bad at Spring Creek -- it's mainly just the weekend hooligans that are bad. But there is much I enjoy about this little park.

There is lots of wildlife out here. During one early morning walk, we counted well over 20 deer.

Turkey and deer at Spring Creek
Deer and turkey often graze together, and we've seen large numbers of each, and we see them on a regular basis -- almost daily.

We've also enjoyed the lake during the week, especially early in the morning and late in the day.

Sunrise on Lake Nasworthy
Donna has really enjoyed the ease of fishing here. The boat slips in the picture above are about 50 yards from our trailer, so it is easy for her to take her pole and drop it in the lake at any time.

We were fortunate to find this park as there are not many areas in West Texas with this much shade. The shade has been very welcome for we've had many, many days over 100 degrees. In fact, we've had about 10 straight days, and we've broken high records twice so far. As I write this, the temperature is 106 degrees. We had 110 degrees one day.

So, the park has its good points. As with most of life, we take the good with the bad.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Worst of Humanity

I've come to believe that you can find the worst in humanity at a public access lake. We see it weekend after weekend, and I'm thankful we only have one more weekend to survive here at Spring Creek before moving into our new house.

As I've mentioned before, the area is peaceful during the week, but beginning about noon on Fridays, the crowds descend on the lake. Spring Creek Marina and RV Park is privately owned and operated, but it is almost completely surrounded by public access areas.

Week after week, we witness the following:
  • Litter left behind at campsites after people leave. A couple of weeks ago, we saw a vacated campsite that still contained a canopy that had been damaged by high winds (see picture below). Rather than take the damaged equipment when they left, the people chose to simply leave it behind for someone else to deal with.
    Canopy left behind by the worst of humanity
  • Complete disregard for "quiet" hours. Nearly every RV park has posted quiet hours from 10 PM to 8 AM. Weekend after weekend, drunken park guests continue their festivities well beyond midnight. This past weekend, our neighbors brought along their 3 large dogs, which they left tied up outside their RV to park at every imaginable sound all night long.
  • Boaters find it necessary to blast their music from their speaker systems, and some of the songs contain lyrics not suited for young ears. We often have to suspend conversations until some of these boaters get out of earshot. The boats I'm talking about are sometimes 200 yards or more away -- that's 2 football fields.
  • This past weekend, a nearby neighbor parked his truck right in the roadway. The park manager had to request that he move it so that others could use the roadway.
  • Two weekends ago, Donna and I survived a fiendish assassination attempt. Two teenage girls were riding a motorcycle through the park. Earlier in the evening, they had been stopped and ticketed by the police who patrol the area for riding the bike on a public roadway (obviously, the bike was not street legal). So, they then began riding strictly within the park. As they rounded the curve near our campsite, they lost control of the bike and ran through our campsite. Fortunately, we had been watching and listening for them, so we avoided injury. However, they literally ran over my chair and then crashed into our trailer. Donna then proceeded to beat them up. My poor chair now is decorated with tire marks on the back side -- I am not joking.
  • People wear clothing that they should not wear. There are lots of people out there that really should not expose as much of their bodies as they do.
And I could go on and on, but you get my point.

I've really seen some of the worst of humanity here, and I'm disappointed. And such demonstrations, of course, are not limited to this place and these times. We all see these things when we venture onto the roadways, into Walmart, into restaurants, and other places. For me, though, I'm just being exposed to a constant viewing of the dregs, and I'm ready for a change.

Hurry up and finish my house!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Good Eats -- The Grill, San Angelo, Texas

We stopped in at The Grill earlier this week. Food at The Grill is described as "eclectic southwest style cuisine". That's an appropriate description.

Located at 5769 Sherwood Way near Sam's Wholesale, The Grill is locally owned and operated. The place is a bit on the noisy side, but I'm probably a bit more sensitive to noise than many people. It is also a bit dark inside, and Donna and I both had trouble seeing the menu.

But the food is good.

I ordered the marinated steak tacos. Lightly marinated and mesquite grilled cuts of sirloin are presented on small corn tortillas, with charred pasilla sauce. Although I enjoyed the tacos, my favorite part of the meal was the black beans and white rice. The dish was also served with a scoop of guacamole.

Donna enjoyed the Mexico City Enchiladas, which consist of fresh roasted chicken, jack cheese, and 
enchilada sauce. As with my dish, her enchiladas were served with guacamole and black beans and rice.

The Grill is a bit pricy. Our two dishes, with tip, cost almost $30, which is a bit steep, I think, for lunch. But the food was good and we look forward to visiting The Grill again and trying something new.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

House Update

Our house is almost ready. Our builder contacted us yesterday to set up some dates. We will do the walk-through of the house on June 18, then close on June 21. We will start moving in on June 22. Furniture and appliances we have recently purchased will be delivered on June 22.

On our last visit to the house, the topsoil had been spread in both the front and back yards in preparation for planting the grass. The carpet had been put in place, and the gutters had been installed. Everything looks good.

For those of you who correspond with me via email, I will probably be offline for several days following the closing.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Life at Spring Creek RV Park

One of my favorite works by Mark Twain is a memoir entitled Life on the Mississippi. This piece recounts Twain's days on the river as a steamboat pilot before the Civil War as well as his travels on the river following the war. I find the description of navigating the ever-changing river fascinating, but one of my favorite parts of the work is the description of a sleepy river town that occurs in one of the early chapters.

The description begins by showing the sleepy river town in its usual state. Everything is slow and there is little excitement. Then the whistle of an approaching steamboat is heard, and the town springs to life. While the steamboat approaches the dock and while it is docked, the villiage becomes an ant's nest of activity. The arrival of the steamboat is the very essence of life for the little town. Then, as the steamboat pulls away to continue its trip either up or down the river, the town returns to its normal, sleepy state, awaiting the arrival of the next steamboat.

Spring Creek Marina and RV Park reminds me greatly of this scene from Life on the Mississippi. We've been here over three weeks now, so we are beginning to see the rhythym of this place.

During the week, all is quiet. The employees go about their tasks of mowing the grass, watering grassy areas, cleaning and making repairs to cabins, trimming brush and trees as needed, and doing whatever else needs to be done. Late Thursday, some of the weekend crowd begins to arrive. Then, Friday afternoon around 2:00 or so, the steamboat begins to dock and the weekend crowd comes aboard. Children ride bicyles throughout the park, people are walking this way and that -- some going to fish, some going to their boats, some just walking for pleasure -- loud music blares from car and boat stereos, and auto traffic through the park is almost constant.

Then Sunday arrives. A few early birds pull out early with their RVs, though most wait until late morning or early afternoon. By nightfall, the park is quiet again, and awaits the arrival of the next steamboat.

We've come to enjoy the weekdays here and the slow rhythm of the park. That is when we do all our fishing or walking or other outdoor activities. Then, while the steamboat is docked, we stay pretty much inside or find things in town to do.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Good Eats -- CC's Smokehouse, Nacogdoches, Texas

Donna and I were passing through Nacogdoches last week, and I was in the mood for a hamburger. We decided to stop at CC's Smokehouse, located at 2709 Westward Drive on the loop. I had stopped there once before with a couple of colleagues from work and had enjoyed a good hamburger then. The test of a really good hamburger place is getting a good burger a second time. I did.

Burgers at the Smokehouse are ½ pound. I'm not a big meat eater, though, so the size is not what I like about these burgers. What makes these burgers good is how they are put together.

I like a burger where the meat is slightly charred on the outside.

I like buns to be heated on a flat grill.

I like all the ingredients to be pile on neatly, not just thrown on. We've all had those burgers where you get 3 pickles, but all of them are stacked together instead of being spread around so that you eat all of them in one bite, or 2 slices of tomato are stacked on top of one another. At the Smokehouse, the burger is built with ingredients distributed appropriately so that you get a bite of everything in every bite.

If you happen to be on the loop in Nacogdoches, give the Smokehouse a try.