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"Life doesn't have to be perfect to be wonderful."
- Unknown

"That which does not kill you, makes you stronger."
- Handed down through the ages.

"Life's tough. It's even tougher when you're stupid."
- John Wayne

A FABULOUS 48 Degrees at 11:00 P.M.

After this past Sunday, the 24th, the heat wave has finally, blessedly seemed to have broken. We hit a blistering 93.8 degrees in the shade here down by the lake which is really quite unheard of. Although, I will say that the little "holler" that we live in holds in the cold in the winter and the heat in the summer. So, even though we are so near the big lake, we do experience quite the micro-climate. But, as the title of this post suggests, the weather has returned to a joyful normal! Even the chickens showed their appreciation today by producing the highest egg-lay that I've had in days. But, it's no wonder: the poor things, no one liked to function in that kind of weather!

Picking up where we left off at Tuesday morning, the 19th . . . . Both the sight and hands-on feel of the hardened house slab brought much relief when I arrived that morning! It was a miscellaneous day for the cement crew and their last. They removed the wooden forms that had gone up to form the house slab way back on July 7th. Then, we made a group effort to design and form up the front landing and stairs as well as those at the back/side door. The 6' wide (double) front door(s) will open out onto a 10' wide x 7' deep landing with a step down to the ground. The side door has a simple 5' x 5' landing with a single step down. We'll have our mason come back when he has a more open schedule, this fall, and lay composite rock on them. Until then, they will remain simple, poured steps. The last load of mud came around 2:00 in the afternoon, and the landings and stairs were poured. I took the opportunity to commemorate the summer and wrote 'July 2005' in the cement on a far edge of the steps (where it will be out of sight).

By the end of the day, the forms were off the apron of the garage slab, all the construction garbage was picked up, the forms were off the house steps, and the guys were all packed up for the final time. I tell you, I almost felt like crying when they cleared out! They had been such hard-working, fun guys, and they'd been around for so darn long - I'd gotten used to seeing them nearly every day! I know it was also the pure exhaustion I was feeling coupled with the hugeness of the tasks that had been completed. I felt that our dream house was within very realistic reach.

As they left, they joked that they expected to see a house up the next time they came out, and I said (not so jokingly!), "So do I!" And, it added an extra tightening to my heart when, as they crossed the river on the road far below our house, I heard - from these three tough, gruff, chain-smoking, 20-something guys - "Beep, beep, ba-beep, beep!" on the horn. I walked onto the warm slab, laid down on my back in what will be the living room, and smiled up at the trees.

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