I finally got my desk set up. I haven’t received my card table yet, but I figured enough is enough. My back can only take so much of me hunched over the laptop on the bedroom floor. I’ve been waking up feeling like I’m 150 years old. I’m using a table in the living room that Seth and I brought down in January. I must admit, it’s fairly sweet. I’ve missed my table.
I thought I was going to go Japanese after we moved. I wanted to streamline everything and sit Indian style a lot. Or on my knees. So far, that’s not working. I think my years of Jiu-Jitsu have stolen that from me. After a few days of sitting and resting like I had planned, my knees are begging me to go back to my American self. I’m going to oblige because all I am is a tall redhead. I’m not Japanese.
The sun is shining once again. It’s about 68 degrees out there and we have a pretty strong breeze. I’ve noticed the breeze since we arrived and my friend Pete tells me it’s a constant thing. We’re close enough to the ocean for it to have an effect. I’m hoping this is true because August is bound to get nasty.
The clouds parted yesterday around 8pm. I began seeing stars and once I did, I thought we were in the clear. Then, about an hour later, my new Intellicast weather app sounded an alarm that told me we were in for a severe thunderstorm. Something had formed over Jacksonville and was moving past St. Augustine down towards Palm Coast. As I read the warning, I saw that the storm could bring “quarter sized hail.” The blood fell from my face because I’ve been more than lazy when it has come to unloading the trailer that sits in the garage. My car is parked in the driveway, completely susceptible to anything mother nature throws its way. And hail is the primary reason I was sure to get a house with a two car garage. Luckily, the storm moved right past us without even a drop of rain. Luckily indeed.
When we arrived, we took a walk through the 80’x120′ “grounds” we have surrounding us. We wanted to see if we had anything of interest that was already planted. What we found was very basic – some pines, some shrubs and a big bush with small white flowers. What’s interesting about that bush is that while the flowers were small, they were extremely fragrant. I picked one and handed it to Laura and she attempted to use her online apparatus (otherwise known as the interwebs) to identify it. She came up with a few options, but was unable to specifically find out what it was.
About a day later, I was over at Lowe’s picking up a few things. I decided that while I was there, I should head into the garden section to see what Florida had to offer in the way of residential plantings. I found a nice man named Dale and asked him to show me the works. He led me to the tree area and we browsed through dozens of species. There were orange trees, lemon trees, lime trees – you get the picture. They practically had a grove of citrus trees sitting back there begging to be purchased and planted. Well, I heard their cries and picked up two trees to bring home – a lemon tree and an orange tree.
Upon my return, I noticed that the orange tree’s flowers smelled strikingly like the flowers of the big bush we already had in the back yard. I compared the two and discovered that we already had an orange tree on the property and it was producing oranges!
This thing has little green balls all over the place. So does the smaller orange tree and the lemon one as well. I’m hoping that within a few months, we’ll see a real harvest. It’ll be about two feet off the ground, but hopefully there’ll be something nonetheless.
I know I already mentioned that we have a few Vultures flying around these parts, but just yesterday, Laura got a decent shot of one of them. They like to hang around on garbage day so they can pick through the bags that are unprotected by a can. Note to self: put garbage in a can. Otherwise, I’ll see it all over the road.
I’m not sure if I mentioned this yet or not, but we also have a neighborhood bunny rabbit. I saw him (or her) the first day we were here and have since seen him hopping all over the place. He seems to like hanging around on only three or four yards, one of them being ours. When we came back from picking up pizza two nights ago, we found him eating the grass next to our driveway. Cute little guy. Cute, until I see him eating my orange tree. Then, not so cute anymore.
We also have a Cactus patch. It’s very un-maintained, but it’s definitely a Cactus patch. There are about 20 or 30 of them sitting close to the ground, all intertwined with grass and sand. I suppose if I liked Cactus, I’d clean the area up, but for now, I’ll just use it for pictures to bring you.
When I’ve recently talked to people, the first question they ask me is, “How was the trip?” I tell them the story of our trek from Hebron, CT to Palm Coast, Fl, but what I’ve really wanted to do was to write about it. The story gets boring to tell over and over, so now that I have a desk set up, I can finally get what I have to say out in the open.
Driving to Florida from Connecticut stinks.
I’ve done it twice this year and I still can’t put my finger on which trip was worse, the one Seth and I took in January or the one Laura and I took about a week ago. Actually, a week ago today, at this very moment, we’d be hitting Jacksonville.
For this post, I’ll merely talk about our most recent trip.
When packing for a final move, one has to gauge just how much one’s trailer can hold. I had been doing this for weeks, but as usual, gauging belongings is never done accurately. Even if you think you have a car full of stuff, you end up with a truck full. Half a trailer turns into a full trailer and so on.
Last Saturday, Seth came over in the morning to pick up a futon and a mattress (thankfully) and helped me bring a couple of items out to the trailer, which was waiting in the driveway. He said, “Dude, that’s going to be a heavy load.” I responded something like, “Yeah, I don’t think it’ll be as heavy as the last one though. I’ve been focusing on the weight for a while.” I’ve been telling myself things like this for months, thinking that if I could persuade my brain to believe something, somehow, the trailer would physically weigh less.
Well, it didn’t work. While I truly believed the load would be comparable to the one Seth and I drove down in January, the more recent one was markedly heavier. As I pulled the trailer up the driveway as we were finally leaving the Hebron property, I noticed my SUV struggling just a tad bit more than it did in January. As I made the right to head down the road in front of the house, I noticed just a tad bit more sway in the back end and as I applied the brakes at our first intersection, I noticed a big ball of weight trying to push us straight through.
It was a few moments later, after I came to accept the fact that we were overloaded, when I felt the rush of adrenaline course through my body. It’s the same adrenaline you feel when you’re told or you realize something horrible and irreversible has been thrust upon you. It’s a terrible feeling and last Saturday compounded things because we were essentially homeless. We couldn’t go back and all we had to look forward to was 25 hours of highway. I began to sweat and told Laura that we couldn’t do what we had planned to do. We needed to remove about 500 pounds from the trailer.
Both of us began frantically making phone calls. Her to her mother and me to my friend Craig. If we could somehow manage our way to New York, we’d have someplace to store a few items until we could figure out a way to recover them. Both answered our call and I have to say, both were extremely accommodating. We decided it would be best to make the drop at Laura’s mother’s house because her neighbor is a mover who regularly makes trips from there to here. I guess the stars were aligned in this case.
We made it and we unloaded it. After that, things were as good as they were going to get for the duration.
Our plan was to drive straight through. In January, Seth and I had the same plan but failed somewhere in Georgia. I hadn’t gotten any sleep the night before (from nerves) and I had a splitting headache. As we were driving down 95, I felt as though my brain was going to shut down, so we pulled over a spent a few hours at a rest area. This time, I slept like a baby the night before, so I didn’t get the same headache. We made it through with only a few rest stops, merely to close my eyes for a while. I slept for about 10 minutes in all. It’s an odd thing to sit in one spot watching the hours flip by like the national debt. One o’clock, two o’clock, three o’clock.
Like I said above, it’s a horrific drive and what makes things worse, is the scenery ends somewhere in Virginia. Actually, the only two places I found appealing were Hazleton, Pennsylvania (from the view on 81) and lower Virginia. There’s a marvelous drive down an absolutely gigantic ridge after you make the turn from 81 to 77. As for the rest, I could do without it. And I hope this is the last time I have to drive that drive. I never want to do it again. If I ever get the urge to drive again, it’ll be in a different direction.
So that’s the story of our trip down to Florida. I’m going to wrap it up there and hopefully never speak of it again. From here on out, I’m going to cover what’s in our vicinity and what’s in the future, because as I mentioned to Laura just yesterday, our plan is unfolding beautifully and I’m very eager to share it with you when the time is right. This is what I like to call, “the beginning.”