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Ups and Downs in the Hill Country

Moving is never pretty. This one was especially ugly. Short version: it was a comedy of a too-small truck, surly crew, items left behind, plumbing problems at both houses.

Then there’s the pool (a white elephant, an extra pet, another child?). It was sick, and it took many phone calls, waiting, draining, refilling to get it sparkling and inviting. We now have reliable service. Yard care is another matter, but I leave that to Gary.

My view as I sit at the dining room table. I never noticed till now how the trees form a heart-shaped arch beyond the pool.

One thing we’re finding in our new home town is how hard it is to get services. Businesses take days to return calls, if they do at all. It must be small-town standard time.

We still need the basics of everyday living. My mantra has been “EAT. SLEEP. BATHE.” As long as we can get food, have beds and have a bathroom, we’re fine. But being surrounded by boxes gets old, and we still have a lot of unpacking to do (art, books and knickknacks–unnecessary items you wonder why you have so many of).

Boxes. Art. Stuff.

Mostly books. We purged hundreds of books but still have many to unpack.

The living room from the dining room. The large painting had some damage so I need to put on my art restorer’s hat and fix it before we can hang it.

These are of course so-called first-world problems, and we love it here. We have met neighbors while walking the dog; some have knocked on our door. One neighbor helped us hook up the washer, another has offered iris plants when she splits them. People everywhere give me tips on local shopping, swimming holes and other treasures.

Some of my Austin friends connected me to people they know here in Kerrville, so I already feel like we have friends here. One invited me to a Pink Power Democratic Women’s mixer, which I really enjoyed. On the next street we met a couple whose daughter goes to our UU church in Austin. They are into theater and we’ve already had them over for drinks.

The best thing is that, despite the slower and quieter pace, there is a wealth of things to do here. The beautiful Guadalupe River provides walks and swimming spots. There are several art venues and theater companies and a small UU congregation. I’m finding poets and knitters. When we can pull ourselves away from home, there’s a multitude of choices.

We have small mall, a large regional medical center, two H-E-B groceries, a Wal-Mart (to which I have made more visits in the last three weeks than my previous lifetime total–it’s five minutes away). If Wal-Mart or H-E-B doesn’t have it, Gibson‘s, a local hardware-hunting-fishing-dimestore-discount place probably does. And I won’t miss Michael’s, because Home Town Crafts has everything–it’s Michael’s, Hobby Lobby and JoAnn’s mashed together. There are Home Depot, Lowes, and local home and garden supply stores. About the only thing missing is a Target, which I can manage without.

Even though most of the art remains boxed, we have hung curtains in our bedrooms, acquired (and assembled) dining room and patio furniture, and have functioning spaces to eat, sleep and bathe.

One side of the nicely organized kitchen.

More kitchen.

My studio is the last thing to be unpacked and set up before we hang art. I want to get back to doing art, but I’m having trouble. I have broken it into stages: unpacking, sorting, organizing and putting away. I’m still in sorting phase, and it’s so overwhelming (why do I have so much STUFF?) that I have to break that up too.

My unpacked and unorganized studio space. Where to start?

Progress? At least there are books on shelves.

We had to go to Austin last week to close on the condo, and we went to San Antonio yesterday. Each time I couldn’t wait to get back home. I’ve told my kids my next move will be to either the nursing home or the funeral home.

When we have our coffee on the patio in the morning and a glass of wine in the evening, or when I float in our private pool surrounded by pecan trees, I feel like we won the lottery.

Wall-e the Polaris robot doing his job while I chill after a hot day of unpacking.

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