James left for Texas on Thursday, to go to the O'Flaherty Irish Music Retreat in Midlothian. We had to get up in the very early hours to get to Anchorage in time for his flight, so the sun was barely up by the time we got to The Big City. We dropped off our trailer to get the brakes fixed on it, and planned to do some shopping while we were in a high concentration of shopping opportunities. But this is where Moya the Destroya altered the plans somewhat... She was on a mission to destroy every single piece of paper AND the snow scraper that was in Jim's truck, so that meant taking turns going into stores so that one of us could stay in the truck with her. Since we were tired already, and shopping was not as easy as it might otherwise have been, we did the minimum and headed back home. I did get some of my favorite oatmeal at the WalMart and we got a slipcover for the couch, so that was good.
James got off the ground and made it to Seattle by the time we got back to Sterling, where we stopped off to see the Met. We decided to bring it on home. It's not exactly the same as it was when we loaded it onto the moving truck, but I don't have photos to prove it, and it's close enough. The body work is lovely. It felt good to drive it again, although I didn't make any friends on the one-lane-each-way highway when all I could manage (squeezing everything I could out of the poor little car) was 50 mph. But it's home now. We've got to get it back to the storage unit in Soldotna before the snow starts in, that's for sure. I don't want to leave it in our canvas garage when the temperature gets that low. I'd like to keep it here but it would be better off in storage where it will be dry and won't get below freezing. You should see it, though. So shiny and smooth.
Our wood stove was installed on Friday. It's very pretty. Jim and I (mostly Jim) put down the tile that goes underneath it on Wednesday night, and boy does it look nice. There's still grouting to do but we can do that at our leisure when the dust settles from everything else that's gone on these few days. The installers weren't able to put the stove in quite the way we'd hoped, so we're going to have to add a heat shield to the wall behind it. We picked out some really pretty tile to put there but that won't get done immediately, I don't think. We just won't run the stove until we get that put in. I'd love to show you pictures, but James has my camera at the Retreat and Jim hasn't taken any pics with his camera yet. Maybe he'll do that later on.
I hope James is getting some good pictures at the Retreat. I'm living vicariously through him, having his big adventure this weekend and seeing our old friends again. We're hearing from James in the morning and evenings, and he seems to be having a lot of fun. Being on Alaska time, he can stay up quite late and be comfortable doing that, but getting up in the morning is obviously easier for the Texans than for him. One of his Facebook status updates was that he had lamb with mint sauce, bread pudding with caramel sauce, and apple cobbler all at one meal. [sigh] Jim took me out to The Treehouse restaurant last night after we bought the tile for the heat shield, and ate halibut and pizza. That was a fun treat! But anyway, James sounds good and we're so glad he got to go on this adventure and see his friends from the Irish community.
Okay, what else has been going on? Seems like there was something else I was going to tell you... Oh yeah, we're due for snow on Tuesday and more on Thursday. Jim's been ready for this first snow since he bought his snowmachines back in July. Me, I can wait. Really. No hurry on my account. But even the locals are starting to "bundle up" (which for them means a hat and mid-weight jacket) as the temperatures are staying colder longer into the day now. We're still getting highs comfortably in the mid 40s (although yesterday was a balmy 50) but it's not lasting as much of the day as it had been. I still see some locals in shorts and flipflops, but they're getting to be fewer and fewer. I'm going to need to spend more time knitting and less time cleaning house if I'm going to have everyone's head warmly covered before Tuesday, right? [Those of you who know me pretty well can stop laughing now about me reducing my housecleaning time. Seriously, stop that.]
Jim is stacking firewood at this moment with the guy he bought it from. Belle is outside with them, pointedly ignoring the firewood guy's husky, who is in the cab of his truck wanting to get out and play. Moya is desperate to get out, too, and Tate is just chillin'. It's sunny and bright out, 41 degrees on this fine Saturday morning, and I would love to get more rose hips in if I can get myself out the door to go find some to pick. I've got a new recipe for rose hip cookies that James really likes and I'd like to freeze some hips for those this winter. We'll see how the day progresses.
And, if I don't get off the computer and go start my day, I won't see any progress at all!