Settling into the New House

Well, after a fairly long absence from normal life, I finally am able to do some real work on the computer again. The heavy work of moving into my new digs is now 2 months behind me, and thankfully in my rearview mirror. Ahead still lies more landscaping, setting up my ham shack, and scrambling to come up with the bread to make my mortgage payments on the new digs. I also have the ongoing task of bugging the builder to complete a few finishing touches on the house. I have been able to check in from time to time with an old IBM laptop, but its tiny flickering screen and agonizingly slow processor made going online a painful experience. In a way this has been okay, since it discouraged me from spending too much time on the computer. Most of what I have needed to do with the house has more to do with shovels and rakes than with disks and mice.

The yard is starting to take shape, and despite the cicadas, most of my 32 transplanted trees and bushes seem to be doing quite well. I have been busy with the lawn as well, and have put down 35 bales of straw and 75 pounds of Kentucky 31 fescue, and haved picked up several tons of rocks and stones. I am putting the stones to good use by dumping them in the low spots on the ground of my pole building, which my contractor has been promising to pave with concrete since March. Oh well, hopefully someday the concrete guys will catch up to me. Same can be said about the guy who is supposed to finish my pole building.

I could get rich selling these guys a software program to generate excuses for them. The bottom line is that there is a building boom around here that is being fueled by low interest rates and the reconstruction business generated as a result of Hurricane Isabel, which destroyed or damaged thousands of homes in this region. Most people in the building trades have more work than they can handle, and are also having problems with materials shortages. It will all work out in the long run I tell myself, the ruined houses will soon be rebuilt, and interest rates are already starting to climb, putting a bit of a damper on new home construction. Despite the remaining items on the punchout list, the new house is comfortable and superior in just about every way compared to the old place. Good insulation, tight windows, a dry basement, and a well laid out kitchen are things to be appreciated, even by a guy, after you haven't had them for a while.

With the landscaping doing well and spring plantings done, rain this past weekend gave me a reason to work inside and get my computer/radio room together. Up to this point, it has been a repository for boxes and other stuff, such as Grandma's old crocheted blankets. I plan to make this room the nerve center of the house, and to start I have run a phone line in to establish basic connectivity. I was able to find a wall plate that can can accomodate 4 Ethernet jacks and 2 phone jacks in the same box. Eventually I will run cabling for TV and audio, as well as data, but first I want to get my ham radio station back on the air. I also would like to find a futon or small sleeper sofa, so I can entertain and sleep over a small crowd if I want. I still have a lot to do, but at least I got a start.

Though his mind has been all but dead by many accounts for several years due to the ravages of Alzheimer's Disease, I was saddened to hear of the final passing of our former President Ronald Reagan. He effectively led our country through a difficult time in our history, a time in which our country seemed to be losing its way and seemed to be in decline. Though his administration's policies demanded the sacrifices of many, I believe that history will show that he did the right thing, and made the world today a better place.

May the Gipper Rest in Peace.