Saturday, January 17, 2009

Some of Life's Little Setbacks

I find it hard to believe that I haven't written anything here since Christmas and that seems like a very long time ago. Life has been getting a little frantic and most of the day to day tales of my joys, troubles, frustrations and achievements have been recorded on Twitter. It is much easier to rant or do a quick, happy dance, in 140 words or less than it is to write a fully thought out and coherent blog post.

Ah, the best laid plans of mice and men frequently go awry and as everyone obviously has figured out the title of this blog had to be changed since the "Coming to South Padre Island in 2008" could be construed as false advertising and more importantly it just sounded a little silly. I have been making some giant strides, however, toward actually getting this bookstore open and filled with happy readers. I will write more about that in later posts.

My mother, aunt and I actually moved into the new residence right after the 1st of January since we needed to wait for some bedding to be delivered. For several days before actually leaving our peaceful sanctuary at the La Quinta--where hot water is abundant, cleaning is done by a competent staff and cable TV is included--we spent the time cleaning up some old, or I should say antique--it sounds better--furniture. We buffed and polished a pair of brass-looking twin beds, repaired the legs on some cedar chests, scrubbed, sanded and polished a couple of wooden dining room chairs and tables. As soon as the mattresses were delivered we made the trek from La Quinta to 5505 Padre Boulevard.

That would have been well and good but we have had a few bugs to work out in the last few weeks. Folks have been scurrying around here for days getting the last details ironed out. Everyone has done their best to make sure my dream is everything I could hope for but life seldom goes according to plan.

Catching up on laundry was an objective of my mother's in the first days after the move. A little delay in finding a dryer vent and getting it hooked up delayed matters but finally she was ready to put these shiny, white and brand new appliances to work. Everything was great as the soothing slosh/slosh of the water acted as a tranquilizer on our shattered nerves....until I walked by and saw the water running out into the hallway from the laundry room. Thank goodness for concrete floors. As I write this Sears is working on figuring out how they are going to replace a machine which was purchased in August but not installed until December.

This would have been no big deal except for a couple of other details. First, most of our clothes, hangers, cosmetics, personal hygiene products and other stuff is coming from Denver and will not arrive until the 26th of January. So, with a limited wardrobe and no washer, I am beginning to look a little ragged, which leads me to the second highlight of the last few weeks.

I have tried and been assisted by a wonderful architect and builder, to make Paragraphs as energy-efficient and "green" as possible. One of the new technologies we used is a tankless water heater. The concept is absolutely beautiful, the water is heated when the faucet is turned on and the water flows through a series of elements-- there is no standing tank, full of water, to heat, cool, and heat again and it takes up an area about 2 ft. square and 6 inches deep on my closet wall. Best of all, when I want to take that long, relaxing, soak in the tub I won't run out of hot water.

Great concept but on the first day we arrived we could only get a little warm water. Some investigation, turning up the thermostat, adjusting for air in the pipes from the irrigation installation, yada, yada...and we were all looking forward to a hot shower. Disappointment reigned. The builder investigated and tried everything until he finally realized that the electrician had installed this new technology the same as an old style water heater with a tank. After a week of tepid showers we were giddy with excitement that a solution had been found. Dirty clothes don't seem as bad when one is clean underneath and we were noticing that no one wanted to get too close so our enthusiasm cannot be understated. Arriving home after a trip to Brownsville TX, where we had been negotiating with the nice Sears salesperson, to no avail, I headed straight to the shower believing all had been resolved with the addition of a couple more circuits. Alas, all was well until someone turned on the kitchen faucet and my never ending supply of hot water did the unthinkable -- it ended.

Now, by this time I think BJ, the builder, and John, the architect, had serious doubts about my sense of feeling. Surely there is hot water, there has to be. Joni is getting a little stressed out and you know how women are. Now mind you, no one actually said any of this, but I can imagine what was going through their minds. So, yesterday, they both arrived on the scene, determined to solve this mysterious situation.

After finally deciding that I wasn't delusional and that one should be able to expect enough warm water to shower while someone else washes the dishes, calls were made to the manufacturer. At first everyone was convinced that this was the best that could be expected and we began discussing what to do next. Then, someone decided that this was just too strange, if this was the best performance one could expect from one of these new-fangled contraptions the company would not be selling any and so the manufacturer was called again and the individual elements within the unit were tested. Voila, problem located, and will be solved someday soon. Meanwhile, one person can have a nearly unlimited supply of almost hot water.

To our delight, we have also discovered a temporary fix to our washer problem. The bad transmission makes the agitator go a little haywire which is what causes the water to overflow, and eventually run out the bottom. If one only fills the tub halfway, it can slosh around all it wants and the water still stays within the tub. So, until Sears decides to do the honorable thing we can have clean underwear--just in case one of us is in a car accident.

I know this blog is supposed to be about opening a bookstore, but in this case the store and my new home are all wrapped up in one package and I am doing everything at once so all these little annoyances are part of the day to day process of getting ready to open Paragraphs.

And just so no one gets the idea that everything is going badly or that I am completely discouraged I need to tell another story. Several evenings ago, mother and I took the bookends for a walk on the beach. We were near what is known as the end of the road where there is not any development and all one can see is the gulf, dunes and the bay. As we looked west the sun was sinking below the horizon and casting a beautiful deep pink glow over everything. To the east we could see the full moon rising over the white-capped waves of the gulf and at that moment we spotted one of the most perfect yellow blossoms tucked into the sheltered side of a wind-swept dune. Yes, no matter what, life is going to be good on this sandbar.