Monday, September 29, 2008


It is amazing how place can affect a person. I’d call our house a ranch, but with a craftsman-like interior. We hope to add to the aptness of that description as time goes on. But, to walk into our home, even though we are what might be called traditional Bohemian in design preference, is to feel the comfort of openness, wood, stone, ceramic.

The house wraps around you. Its layout is at once familiar and unexpected. And with its three open fireplaces, it welcomes visitors and family with open arms.

Okay, I’m getting too poetic here. It’s just that we feel lucky to have found this place. Lucky enough that working on it or with it doesn’t seem like the chore it could.

I remember apartment living, and how I would gaze at houses as we drove by them, windows lit and people moving about behind them. I was so jealous. And when we’d pass someone mowing their lawn on a twilit evening, I’d feel despair that we would ever know what that was like. Perhaps that is a reminder to us all to be patient; eventually things will happen.

By now in my life, I know that to be true. Equally so, I am aware that we never know how much time we have left. So I am still impatient for things to happen, to work out. I still get jealous when I see others already having what I think I want.

Then I stop and wonder how much it will take to make me appreciate what I have.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Can Ya' Dig it?

School year begins anew here at Blackwater.

Katelyn has graduated college and has a new job in St. Louis. We miss her, but she has now begun her great adventure.

Meaghan and Jared are purchasing a new home. Yay for them.

Michael, after a miserable summer caused by no transportation and a host of plans falling through, plus 16 days helping us get our old house ready for sale – which, by the way, IS on the market – is reunited with his beloved school, his beloved jobs and – most importantly – his beloved girl friend.

Kacey and Kelsey are beginning their whirlwind Senior year, including the all-important college applications. Remember, ‘sometimes it’s not about me’? Trying to encourage them to apply to whatever colleges they want to attend regardless of expense because it’s right for them is not easy. We do that because you never know what scholarships might be out there, but it does seem odd to some people that we reach for Neptune when we can’t even budget the moon. But, it’s about them, not me, or us.

Mackenzie has put in a good start for his freshman year, jumping into some activities that he’s really interested in.

Me? I’m glad that for the first time in 17 years I’m driving to just one school twice a day. So I have more time to put in writing, and I may even take on a part time job.

Dave? He’s working hard as always – come on, have you ever known him not to? At least he’s enjoying what he does. And, he’s even enjoying working around here at Blackwater.

Welllll, I might have to qualify that. You see, those storms this summer, including Hurricane Hannah, had what you might want to call an effect on us. Nothing disastrous, for the most part. The land on the other side of the causeway kind of sorta got washed away. Some of it. Okay, a lot of it, just not all of it.

There is a crevasse between the edge of the concrete surface of the causeway and where the land on the other side starts up. It’s about eight inches away from the concrete, and it has dropped a couple feet. This has revealed two things: some breaches in the brick dam holding the water back, about three leaks in all; and the fact that the fill which was on this side wasn’t solid. Too much of it was natural debris that left openings for water to flow through, which, because of the aforementioned leaks, it did. And with the storms, it did it big time. So, having tried a couple methods of plugging the leaks, we are going to have to locate underwater concrete to put in from the upstream side. Meantime we are digging out the hill beyond to put solid dirt into the hole. (it’s our hill!) We are using larger debris, too, but we’re making sure we fill in the gaps. Plus we’ll maintain it better.

Now, a few of you might be asking yourselves, why don’t we get the city to fix it, since this waterway is part of the water that serves the city. After all, we have a utility easement so they can reach the sewer access points there. Turns out that’s ALL they do. We did ask the city about it, and a very nice man came and looked, and they researched it, and then they told us it wasn’t their responsibility. Seems they aren’t the ones who put the dam and causeway in. Back when private residents could do such things, a previous owner did. So, it’s ALL OURS. For good or bad.

Since we think we may have figured out how to handle this problem, it might not be such a bad deal. As long as we don’t try to create another dam, we ought to be able to modify this any way we please, all in the name of maintenance. Ohhhhhh BOY!

And I can hear the kids groaning now.

Let you know more later.