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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

Howdoo . . . .

Good morning and howdoo! (As in, "how DO ya do?")

My laptop's been in the shop for a couple of weeks - more due to convenience of simply leaving it there in between small jobs than any single large repair - and so I haven't been able to enjoy the convenience of writing from a comfortable, lazy spot in the house (vs. my office). Until right now! Yayy!

I'm in the sunroom with a little fire cracklin' in the stove in front of me (which needs more wood, I see), my coffee next to me (which could also stand a refill), three dogs at my feet (yes, THREE), and a light dusting of snow visible on the big deck to my left. Now, if only all our bills were paid and there was an unlimited stash acruuing interest in the savings account . . . life would be perfect! ;)

We're dog-sitting the four-legged kid (soon to be "demoted" by a two-legged baby girl arriving in December) of our dear friends for the week. Tom picked her up on his way home from work last Thursday night, and she'll probably go home Friday morning. Aside from a set-to between Tucker & her (over a bone) the first day and the hatred that Annie Blue has for this interloper, all is well. She's a pleasure to have around: SUCH a well-behaved, well-trained dog! AND she's still a puppy at just over 1 year old! I think we'll send our future dogs to her parents for training. ;)

Yesterday, being Election Day, marked the end of a fairly intense lobby by a solid group of locals to vote 'yes' in a county-wide Broadband Initiative. As the name suggests, it was an effort at bringing broadband Internet access to EVERYONE in our large county who was on the (electrical) grid. Of 3,583 registered voters (in the county), a 68% turn-out was garnered with 2,425 people voting . . . which seems pretty good to me for a non-election (president, governor, etc.) year. This is in thanks, I firmly believe, to our mail-in voting system. See, in a county of such a wide-spread physical area,

- Didja miss me? Tucker just threw up. Twice. Have you ever tried to get one dog out the front door before the heaves turn into upchucks . . . with two other dogs "helping"? Yeah. I doesn't work. But, yes, Tucker is fine. He's gotta get that gravel out somehow. Yes, he eats rocks. Fortunately, small ones. Yes, we've tried to stop him. But, as you dog owners out there know, you can't be watching them 24/7. Anyway! -

Starting where I left off . . . .

In a county of such a wide-spread physical area, voter turn-out would be V-E-R-Y low if everyone was required to drive to a polling station. Then, there would also be the added hassles of STAFFING that polling station. And, blah, blah, blah. Long story short, ballots are mailed to all citizens who live outside the city limits for all elections. And, for special elections such as this one was, they are mailed to in-city residents, too . . . to generate that higher voter response.

The broadband issue, due to some special funding attached (which is how I understand it), required 65% of the 'ayes' to pass. It received 55.9%. Doh! While the proponents were, naturally, touting all the good that such infrastructure would do, they were glossing over the reality that a) it would only benefit those folks on-grid (and there ARE a decent # of us who are off-grid) and b) the utility would be run down a, say, county road . . . but it would NOT be brought in a person's 1/4 mile driveway! And, I think a lot of people weren't aware of that.

When they heard that it would "be available to all those who live on the grid", they assumed the wiring would come right to their house . . . alongside their electricity. Nuh-uh. Nope. Sorry! Sure, it'll be out at the ROAD, at the end of your driveway (EVENTUALLY, and the farther you live from town and highest population concentration, the longer that will be), but YOU have to pay the $15,000 or so it would cost to get it run down your long driveway. And, a "long" driveway is the only kind that most folks have up here!

So, all in all and even though I did vote for it (although it would have had NO effect on us out here at Swamp River Ridge), I think it's a good thing it didn't pass. I think a lot of folks who had voted 'Yes' would have been reeeeeeally upset when they learned the reality of it. Yeah, it sounded great on paper, but, in order to benefit from it, you would have had to pay a LOT out-of-pocket . . . an expense I think few realized. So, there ya have it. Election over. Let's get back to Real Life.

Tom had an incredibly productive, successful past weekend. A couple of weeks ago, while wood-working, he accidentally ran over his best chainsaw with the 1-ton . . . something that we've since discovered MANY men have done! Anyway, after the appropriate replacement parts arrived at the local Stihl distributor's, he had an innumerable number of chainsaw parts spread across his office workbench and one HECK of a job in front of him! I really wish I had taken a picture of it all. Without the telltale chainsaw blade visible, you would have been hard-pressed to guess what all the handles, levers, chains, and screws were supposed to amount to. But, after a few evenings last week given to cleaning each of the disassembled parts, he was ready to build a chainsaw Saturday morning.

I'll admit that I had my doubts. NOT because of his skill but because he was working WITHOUT A MANUAL! He had nothing to "go by", no guide, no illustrations! But, a couple of hours later and with "only one screw left over!", the chainsaw was fully assembled . . . and RUNNING! That afternoon, after a couple of hours of wood cutting, he proclaimed that it was better than ever. (And you thought he came by his moniker of 'Chainsaw Tommy' 'cause he almost cut his left leg off with it . . . . Silly!!)

The chainsaw success wasn't Tom's only that day, though. (I tell ya, if he could only experience days like this more often . . . !)

Before he started his afternoon of wood-working, I was roused from my work at my office desk by a loud muffler and a honking horn. I looked out the window to see Tom driving the back-up plow truck, the '77 Chevy Suburban, into the front yard! The very same truck that we were going to tow the 20 miles down to our mechanic's on Sunday!

He had been up by the Trapper Cabin working away on it and finally got the frozen gas line freed up so that the truck could start after sitting all summer AS WELL AS the plow working, too! (The hydraulics have a nasty habit of refusing to lift the plow up off the ground at the most inopportune of times!) Wow! My dear husband has always had the bad luck of 'if something's gonna go wrong, it probably will'. So, two HUGE sucesses in one day was really something to celebrate! As I said earlier, if these kinda things would only happen with even just a little more frequency . . . say, once every month or so instead of once every YEAR . . . life would be SO mucher kinder to him! :)

Anyway, that's the latest. As you can tell from the new header photo, Bleak November is here. And, since turning the clocks back on Sunday, 5:30 PM now feels like 10:30 PM. UGH. But, I heard yesterday that it's something like only 55 days until Christmas, so there's no doubt that the holiday frenzy is juuuuuust around the corner. Double ugh. ;p

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