The week between Christmas & the new year

Monday, December 28

It’s been a slightly crazy Monday which really started around 2:15 in the morning when the phone rang. Phone calls at that time of night are never good. Thankfully it was not a phone call of bad news. Instead it was our guests letting us know that they were locked in and could they get out through a screen. No that is not an option as they are screwed in place. So, CountryBoy crawled out of bed, grabbed some tools and drove the truck up there to see what he could do. He ended up pushing the other side of the French doors open. Some damage was done but at least the guests could get out. It took us both another two hours to fall back asleep.

Then this morning I needed to go to the post office to get a necklace a guest had left behind in the mail. I didn’t leave early enough to allow much time at the post office (it didn’t help that I ran into a former co-worker and we chatted for several minutes in the middle of the road on our way to work) but since one can usually zip in and out I thought I would give it a go. Nope. There was a line four people deep. I didn’t have time for that so I left. The package lay on my desk all day reminding me that I still needed to get to the post office. Also on my mind was the fact that I needed to pick up some door latches at the local hardware store and that they have bankers hours and close at 5 which is when I’m supposed to be off. I also needed to pick up a large box of matches for the cabin as well as some paper towels & spring water (also for the cabin) and a few other things. With all the errands I needed to run after work I was beginning to feel overwhelmed and that I wouldn’t get home until well after dark.

Work was much busier than I had anticipated. I had mistakenly assumed that everyone would still be in Christmas and holiday mode and that no-one would be thinking about anything newspaper-related. As I said, I was mistaken. It ended up being a steady day until about 3 o’clock and then I suddenly had nothing to do. Since I was caught up and ahead of the game for tomorrow I decided to leave and start running my errands.

There was still a line at the post office but since I wasn’t in a hurry I stuck around and got it sent off. I picked up a couple of door latches at the hardware store and then, at the last minute, I decided to stop in the propane shop to talk some more about getting propane up at the cabin. I had planned on stopping in tomorrow after work because I’m hoping that they will see we are serious about trying to make it happen and be able to make the determination of being able to deliver propane tanks sooner rather than later. I was able to talk to the fella that would be coming out to make that determination so fingers crossed. It was left at the fella stopping by the next time he was in the neighborhood. Hopefully guests won’t be up there when he does.

After that I stopped at Family Dollar and was able to get the most important things we needed for the cabin as well as a few other things. The remainder of items will have to wait until we can get to the bigger town.

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CountryBoy was able to get the key out of the lock but the locking mechanism was shattered and pieces of it fell out when he finally got the key out. It took him four hours to get the door operable and the cabin cleaned. Luckily the guests left a little early which gave him enough time to do all that before today’s guests arrived. Tomorrow he will install one of the sliding latches so that guests will be able to lock the door from the inside; not that they really need to lock the door but it makes some people feel better. The other latch won’t work as intended so I’ll return it.

Lately it seems as though it’s been one thing or another with the cabin and/or the guests. This winter has given us a run for our money in trying to keep the cabin useable and comfortable for our guests. And the number of people who haven’t got a clue has been mind-blowing. Still, we are grateful they are coming. Let’s just hope we can get everything figured out and worked out so the cabin is a win-win for everyone. If not, we’re toying with the idea of blocking it for the coldest months.

That being said – I’m going to knit now and then hopefully go to bed early.

Tuesday, December 29

I feel irritable today for some reason. Trying to get a measly twelve page paper put together today was a bear. I had to re-do two of the pages that I finished yesterday and simply trying to make everything fit on the pages was a challenge. At times I think having less pages is more difficult to lay out than more pages. Why don’t we have the same number of pages each week? It’s difficult to explain but there’s a certain ad to content ratio in each issue that determines the number of pages we have. This week neither paper had very many ads or inserts so we each had twelve pages. Add to that the annual year end review which fills up at least two pages or more. We made it work and hopefully our readers will enjoy this issue.

Tonight’s guest is passing through and won’t arrive until 8:30 or probably more like 9. CountryBoy has been trying to keep the fire going up there so it would stay warm but we didn’t find out they were arriving so late until late this afternoon. He’ll go up around 7 o’clock and throw another log or two on and turn on a battery operated lantern and maybe light the oil lamp so that the guest can see when they walk in. The amount of wood being used is a lot. In fact, we are out of wood for the cabin and we’re getting into the wood stash for the house and we still haven’t gotten enough wood to get us through the winter. In my irritable state I’m thinking of blocking the cabin for the rest of winter but we’ll wait and see what the propane gas people say if they can ever work us in and check out the situation.

The good news is CountryBoy was able to install the sliding door latch up at the cabin today and got it cleaned in a reasonable amount of time. We have a bunch of one-nighters this week and then a three-nighter the first of the year. yay! Maybe we’ll actually be able to get to town to get a few necessities.

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When I came home from work today Mabel was grazing in the paddock. I stopped and rolled down my window to chat with her a bit. She rewarded me with lots of tail-wagging as she headed towards me. I noticed she had a red spot on her right side behind her shoulder. CountryBoy treated it this evening and said it was a raw spot. We have no idea how she would get a raw spot since it’s in a location that she can’t reach. We’ll keep an eye on it. If it doesn’t go away we’ll have to do some research to find possible causes. Let’s just hope it heals quickly.

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The part for the side-by-side finally came in. Working with the technicians’ schedule and our guests we were able to schedule a service date on January 12 which is a Tuesday. CountryBoy will take me to work on Monday so that he can drop it off. That way it’s already there for Tuesday’s appointment. It’s only supposed to take 4-5 hours. I blocked the cabin for three days just in case. I also made us eye appointments on the afternoon of the 12th. It’s been a couple years since we’ve been to the eye doctor. Hopefully all will go well with getting the paper together that day so we’ll have plenty of time to get to our appointments. It would be wonderful if we were able to pick up the side-by-side while we’re in town.

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I want to say thanks for such a warm welcome back to Facebook. It’s a nice feeling to be missed!

Wednesday, December 30

I was feeling much better today – much more like my normal self (what that may be!). I have no idea why, every now and then, I just feel irritable. I mean the stupidest things aggravate me and there’s really no reason for it. Today, however, was a good day. Busy, but good.

I worked a long day at the B&B. I went in at 9 o’clock and spent the morning helping with breakfast, eating breakfast, updating the reservation sheets and doing laundry. While squatting down trying to get a bowl out of a cabinet a shelf gave way and I fell into the cabinet. I have a nice goose-egg and scratch on my forehead. sigh. At noon I finally started ironing and began the process of stain-treating sheets. I ended up with two loads of treated sheets. Thankfully, most all the stains came out. I’ll try one more time (another day) to get them out but I also requested two or three new, white, fitted queen sheets just in case. About 4:25 I finished folding and putting together the last of the sheet sets for the shelves. I was pooped.

When I got home, the guests had already arrived and were up at the cabin and supper was almost finished. Taco Wednesday! After eating, filling up water bowls and dog food containers I finally got into something comfortable. We might call it a night a little earlier than usual.

We did get some good news today! First thing this morning the fella from the propane company stopped by to check out the road to the cabin. We had a guest up there but the fella simply drove the truck up in two wheel drive, turned around in the circle drive and came back down without any problem. His only concern was coming down after a good rain or snow. That being said, we’re going to go ahead with installing propane heat in the cabin. Yay! Now don’t get me wrong, I love the wood stove – it’s fitting for the off-grid nature of the cabin and guests love it. What we don’t love is the mess from the ashes, worrying about guests’ safety and whether or not they can get a fire started in the first place, and the overall safety of the cabin. Last but definitely not least, is the job of getting and providing wood for the cabin. It quickly became too much. So, propane heat it is.

We were able to purchase a unit for half price and it’s exactly the BTU’s that we need and it will have the ambiance of a fireplace. It had been sitting in the showroom for five years or so after someone decided they didn’t want it after all. We were given a deal on it but we (CountryBoy) will have to build a mantle for it. That’s OK. I have a design in mind that will serve as a mantle as well as be utilitarian with shelves on each side. We had to coordinate our bookings with the propane company’s schedule so it was decided that the installation would take place on January 5th. We’ve also blocked a day before and a day after since we’ll be doing some major rearranging and we’ll need to repair the gaping hole in the wall where the stove pipe exits the cabin after the wood-stove is gone. It’s going to be a lot of shifting stuff around while work is going on but we think the new arrangement will provide more room and be much more comfortable for our guests. We’re also going to take away a few things and add a few things which should be more practical space-wise, cleaning-wise, and the overall functionality of the cabin. Y’all just don’t know what a relief this is!

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Farm news: only nine eggs. Mabel’s open wound is looking much better. It has scabbed over and appears to be healing. We’ll keep treating her until it’s completely gone.

Thursday, December 31

New Years Eve. I had to work half a day doing the billing, closing the month and getting the invoices in the mail. The boss and I were the only ones there. Gotta love being the only one trained to do the billing. I didn’t mind too much since we didn’t have any plans and it gave me a few extra hours.

I stopped at Save-a-Lot to pick up some hog jowl for the annual New Years Day tradition of black-eye peas & hog jowl. I also picked up a bag of collard greens, navy beans and some country ham chunks to put in the navy beans. For some reason I’ve got a hankerin’ fer greens & beans! As soon as I got home CountryBoy asked if I wanted to go to town since the guests wouldn’t be arriving until 6-ish. I said ‘sure’ and off we went a few minutes later.

It was a successful trip albeit the traffic was horrendous. I’m not sure if we’re missing out on something but this entire week it seems as if every Tom, Dick and Harriette were out and about. Lines at the post office, lines at the bank, lines to check out at the stores, traffic galore – is there something about to happen that we don’t know about?! Anyway, in spite of all that we managed to find everything we needed and, as usual, then some. We got the French Press (for the cabin), more hurricane lamp globes to replace all the ones that have been broken (in the cabin), two Shaker style peg boards (for the cabin), two rug runners (for the cabin) and a few groceries. Last night I ordered two club chairs for the cabin as well. I’m really excited about the upcoming cabin rearrangement! Short of getting the wood to build the gas stove surround/shelves we now have everything we need for the cabin remodel. Well, almost. We also need to pick up a pipe cover to close up the big hole in the cabin wall after the wood stove is gone. Once the gas stove is in place CountryBoy will know how much wood he’ll need for the gas stove surround/shelves.

Speaking of the cabin, here’s a photo from Christmas…

A lovely white Christmas at the cabin!

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Our guests have arrived so we will be relaxing the rest of the evening and welcoming in the new year in our traditional way – sound asleep! How ’bout you? What is your New Year’s Eve tradition?

HAPPY NEW YEAR to you & yours!!!

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