Stirred Up Soul

I don’t know how to describe it but lately I’ve felt as though my soul is, ‘Stirred up”.

That thought just came to be as the best description.  I’ve had a hard time sleeping lately.  Usually that is caused by my brain running wild on certain thoughts.   I’ve dealt with that all my life on and off.

This time it is different.  I’m lying in bed, not really thinking about anything but still I can’t fall asleep very easily.  I’ve had it before but fortunately not very often.  My mind is still buzzing but not really thinking.  It’s as if  its stuck in a 20 goto 10 loop.  Not processing anything but still using 100% CPU.  I have malware of the brain.

I need a reboot.  A Reset.  Just a log-off won’t do.  I need to power it down then turn it back on.  Vacation maybe?  I am due for a vacation.  Memorial day is next Monday but a national 3-day weekend is a very bad time to go on vacation.  The whole world is booked up.   Maybe I’ll plan a few days down at the coast on the NEXT weekend plus a Friday.  I don’t want to use up all my vacation time now because I’ll need it later for a special purpose.  Usually three days is enough anyway.

That’s not a bad idea.  Sometimes it really helps to Blog it out.  I’ll spend some time at work tomorrow looking for a vacation plan.  I think that’s what I need to reset my head.


Increasingly Disconnected

dscnntI’m not entirely sure how to describe what I’ve been feeling recently.  Just in the last few days I’ve felt more disconnected with the world than ever.  I’m sure it is self-imposed and maybe it is getting out of hand.

I’ve stopped watching the local and national news because I am not interested in the stupid problems of the regular people.  Seldom does any of what they report affect or even interest me.  Avoiding the news noise has helped me reduce my stress levels.

All my TV is watched from DVR recordings.  I fast-forward through all commercials.  Sometimes I have to hear them and the music and techniques they use hurts.  I’m old now and this crap is obviously aimed at young, stupid people.  Glad I don’t watch them.

Today’s popular music is increasingly horrible.  Don’t get me started.

I’ve lost interest in my few remaining acquaintances.  Like the news, they have nothing to offer me.

I kind of feel like a work-zombie right now.  This may be my last year (or two) of work so I’m not really fighting it anymore.

It’s a good thing I have my new life to look forward to.

Hot as Hell


It is mid May and summer has officially arrived.  Well, it was here weeks ago but I’m officially switching to summer mode.  It’s 96 degrees outside right now.

I’m battening down the hatches to prepare for the next 6 months of hiding from the sun.  Block the windows, put up the sun shades.  Air Conditioning is now the thing.  I’m hoping that the volcano in Hawaii really blows it’s top and dumps lots of ash into the atmosphere to block some of the sun’s heat.  Wouldn’t that be awesome?


Land Clearing – Reaching my Limit

Today, after work, I headed out to my country property to pick up all the tree-lings that I cut down this weekend.  I got a lot done but ran out of energy and didn’t want to overdo it.

I stood back and looked at what I had accomplished which is quite amazing.  I looked at what still needs to be done and nearly collapsed.  If this was winter then I could knock it out but the summer hinders me at every angle.  Bugs, tall painful speargrass weeds, leaves on all the branches, humidity that makes it difficult to breathe and keeps your sweat from evaporating.  This was supposed to have been done over this last winter but delays in purchasing the land put me into late spring now early summer.

I could continue but I’m not sure it is wise.  It is kind of dangerous to be out there in the woods by myself.  I could get heat stroke or bitten by a rattlesnake in the high grass.  It was a good experiment but I think it’s time to get serious.

I contacted the person at work whose husband runs a land clearing business.  He is supposed to get back to me.  Hopefully tomorrow.  I don’t know what it will cost but I’m thinking that if it is $1000 or less then I’m all in.  It will be nice to have it complete without killing myself.


A Visit to the Architect

lndlytI took my drawings and model house to the Architect today and got a pretty good dose of reality.  He recommended a number of changes including the orientation of the house, the type of foundation and the roof.  I was a little freaked out at first but he is right.  We talked about the plan for about 1 1/2 hours and he’s going to draw them up for me.

The cost is about .75 per square foot so I expecting it to cost around $2000.  He said I didn’t really need them because my drawings would be good enough for building myself but I think it would be best to have it done right.  He gave me a lot of info that would make it worth it too.

I went back to my drawing board and placed the house in the new orientation and it is growing on me.  I think it will work out just fine.  I wasn’t 100% set on the way I had it so this works fine.  It give me a better breeze from the south on the front porch and I’m all for that.  It’s fine.  It’s also better with the slope of the land.  I’ve been staring at the new image all day and I am satisfied.

He recommended a slab foundation.  I was going to go pier and beam but he actually lives not too far away and says the type of soil would allow too much settling.  I have to take his word.  I’m sure he knows.  I guess a slab might be easier in the long run but not a DIY job.  I think it will be OK.  I’m glad he told me and I didn’t find out later.

He recommended a few interior changes and I was fine with them.  A big change would be the roof.  I was going with a single sloped roof but as I expected, he said it would be hard to insulate and would not be well ventilated.   I had a plan B in my pocket and we are going with a different style roof.  That’s fine.  I liked the look I had going but it’s not a deal breaker.  I’ll have to use some custom made trusses rather than simple 2x12s.  Not a one-man job.  I’m hoping my cousin and uncle might be able to help me out.  I might need to rent a crane for that part.  I’ve seen it done by hand so maybe.

I’m sure there will be a lot more wrenches in my plan along with higher costs but so far my estimate is still easily in my budgeted range.


Land Clearing – The beginning of the driveway

Sorry I don’t have a picture.  I wish I did but I didn’t think about it until it was already dark.  I waited until Saturday evening for the scorching sun to sink low in the sky.  It’s a pretty good time because the day’s high temperature of 95 was falling and the humidity was burned off by the sun.   I packed up my tools and arrived at the land around 7:00pm.

My first job was to use the weed whacker to clear the small ditch between the road and the fence so I could get a good look at it and prepare for the culvert pipe.  I found a possible source for a pipe.  They said they sell them but he was going to go look to see if they had any and call me back.  He didn’t call me back.  That’s OK.  As long as I know they sell them.   This week I’m going to call and see if they have one and see if I can order it and maybe get it delivered.  The next step would be to order the fill material which should be available just up the street.  I can probably have them dump 10 yards of it right on the pipe and I can spread it out the next time I go.  That’s the plan at least.  Soon I’ll be able to drive into the land.

I picked up a fencing tool at Harbor freight for only $8.00.  It feels rather heavy duty so I am confident it is quality enough.

I’m not using it tonight but I’ll need it shortly for cutting an opening in the fence for the driveway as well as fixing up part of the fence that is down.

I’m leaving it down so I can easily get in until I open up the driveway part.  I’m leaving it as is for security even though I don’t feel I really need it.

A neighbor couple from just down the street walked up to introduce themselves.  Jarret and his wife who run a auto repair shop right there at their house.  I was looking forward to meeting them because I imagine we might be good friends.  A man with an auto repair shop is my kind of guy.  Maybe I can work part-time with him if he needs someone for occasional help.  It’s also nice to know he can work on my old RV.  I need to get the exhaust manifold gasket replaced.  I’d do it myself but the bolts are rusty and I KNOW they will break off if I try to do it and then I’m really screwed.

Anyway,  They are really nice and confirmed how friendly all the neighbors are.  I’m really looking forward to that as compared with my current neighbors who ignore that I’m even here.  Country life is far better.

Jarret also has access to a bulldozer and offered to help me when I’m ready.  So far I’m doing well with my process but it IS a lot of work.

After our chat was over, I took my brush cutter and attacked more of the mesquite saplings.  I just got a new blade and it cut quickly like they were butter.  I’m getting the hang of it so it’s going faster now.  I mowed them down for an hour until it got too dark so I stopped.  I got all the way up to the area where I will build the house!  I’m looking forward to clearing that on the next trip.

Under the brambles is a great growth of spear-grass that left my socks and shoes covered in little 3 inch long spears.  It looked like sperm attacking an egg.  I sat on the back of my car and picked them out.  I’m hoping my weed eater will knock them down but it’s a large area.  I wish I had my riding mower but I don’t have a truck yet to get it here.  Besides, some of the stumps of the brambles are too high to mow.  I need to go back and shave them down to the ground.  Need to clear the weeds first so I can see them.

It was a little after 9:00 and really quite dark.  I sat and enjoyed the silence for a few seconds.  The only thing I could hear was the chirping of the crickets.  No traffic roar.  NICE!!!

I headed home for a shower and a good night’s sleep.  I was only slightly soar in the morning.  I think I’m getting accustomed to the labor.  I think it is also strengthening my lower back.  I am surprisingly having no back pain.  YAY!


Pirates of the Caribbean at the San Antonio Symphony

A few months ago I bought tickets to the San Antonio Symphony’s presentation of the movie, “Pirates of the Caribbean.”  It was kind of expensive at $69.00 but I don’t do these kind of things very often and it’s a special thing.

The symphony basically plays the music track of the movie projected on a screen above the stage.  It’s really a great idea to help introduce the heathen public to live symphonic music.  As a musician myself, it was kind of weird being in the audience rather than on the stage.

I went there directly after work since there was no reason to make the trip home first.  Traffic was light so I got there even earlier than I planned.  I remembered that San Antonio has a Riverwalk so I decided it was a good place to waste some time and get a little exercise.  I parked in a parking garage a few blocks away and headed down to the nearby Riverwalk.  As expected for a Friday, the river was packed with tourists but I walked invisibly down the gauntlet of inviting restaurants.  I was a little hungry but didn’t hive time for a big meal nor is it good for my heart disease.  I succumbed to the call of an ice cream shop and had a $5.00 small ice cream cone to pass some time.  Really?  $5.o0?  You can buy a gallon for $4.50 or less at the grocery store.  Whatever.  It was still a nice walk in a pretty area.  I really don’t come to the Riverwalk much because it’s not really a place for single people.

It was 7:00 so I headed back to the Majestic Theatre and found my seat.  There were a lot of people there but I was lucky to be between two thin, young people rather that the usual fatties so I had plenty of room.  The interior of the Majestic is certainly majestic in an old fashioned, fancy way.  You can look around for hours and not really take in all the architecture and decoration.

The musicians took their seats and warmed up.  The lights went down and the conductor raised his baton.  The movie started.

The music was obviously amplified as I was able to pick out the microphones placed strategically throughout the orchestra.  The sound was amazing and the fact that it was LIVE blew my mind as it was synchronized perfectly with the movie.  I could see the small monitor on the conductor’s stand which helped him synchronize by flashing a large white circle on each downbeat.   It was easy to forget that the music was being played right there in front of you.  I enjoyed the movie as I occasionally remembered the live music and shifted my view to the orchestra as they plucked their strings almost like lip-syncing to the movie but it was REAL.

Being an Oboe player myself, I was keeping a special eye on him.  I couldn’t see the brass section because my seat in the mezzanine had them back behind the screen.  Watching the strings is a bit more interesting anyway.

There was a 20 minute intermission halfway through to stretch my legs and rest my unpadded ass which has already been sitting in a chair all day at work.

The movie continued.  At the end, the orchestra played out the beginning of the credits and then stood to a standing ovation from the house.  They thoroughly deserved it.  It was an amazing experience.

I thought about how it has always been a struggle for me to play my oboe in the band and the symphony makes it look so easy.   Of course it helps that this is their full-time job where I have to squeeze in practice when I have time and energy.  If I had time for that I might be as good.

I had a great time and it was worth $69.00.  I’m not sure I would do it again though.  I far prefer to watch movies on my comfortable couch.  I don’t even go to the regular theatre anymore.   Still, I recommend you experience it at least once to help you appreciate the music you hear in movies.  They have done Harry Potter movies in the past and will be doing Star Wars this fall.