December 28, 2011

LCSOM: Random Thoughts on a Random Day

- went to NMSU's new Barnes and Nobel bookstore on their campus and was immediately struck by how different it was from every other B&N I have ever been to. How different you ask? Well, here are a few I noticed: It had an outdoor fireplace just outside of the cafe, with tables and chairs; it had a little grocery store stocked with product obviously aimed at the students there, including energy drinks, soda, tons of snack foods, a small selection of dorm essentials like shampoo and deodorant. Just inside the main entrance, first thing you see - not books, but fast food. 

-in the B&N parking lot there were two handicap parking slots and 6 spots right next to it for hybrid cars. I figure its mostly the teachers driving hybrids but being these cars get such great gas mileage, shouldn't they be farther away from the entrance, not closer?

-Dion's is fast becoming a favorite of Mrsfabp and myself. It is like a higher class Papa Gino's except the cost is very reasonable. They make a tremendous Italian sub sandwich, which is served with a container of salad dressing on the side to put on it. Their pizza, sort of a California style (as opposed to NY style), is very toasty and topped with giant mounds of toppings. There always is a crowd of diners there and the take out crowd is constant.

-I have now come about full circle with what you call a a sandwich served on a long roll. It was hero or sub in NYC, hoagie in Philly, grinder in Massachusetts, Poboy in the deep south, and now sub here in Las Cruces. On the trip down I twice asked for a grinder and was met with quizzical looks. I repeated it the first time before realizing the waitress did not know what a grinder was. This also happened to me when I asked for a club soda in Louisiana. There it is called soda water. Who knew?

-Kanye drinks water by dipping his paw in the bowl and licking it off his paw. He drinks cereal milk in the "traditional" cat way. I wonder why this is so. 

Sent to you from our new iMac!!!

December 22, 2011

LCSOM: How did she do that?

So, one of the best things that has been happening in our move to Las Cruces was learning to use the GPS in my cellphone to get directions. Outside of a problem outside of Houston, where we ran into a closed road and our GPS kept sending us the same way, it has been great (it has a female voice so I will call it a she for the time being.) She is accurate and always seems to send us in the quickest, shortest route. My only complaint is that she drains the cellphone battery something awful so we have to keep a charger in the car, especially if we have a complicated route that is long, but this is easy to deal with.

I always wondered how she would handle the Spanish words both when I am speaking a destination to her or when she calls out streets during the directions. Generally, she has been fine. When I talk to her and use Spanish words, she may not get the spelling right but she has been able to figure it out and give accurate directions. Her pronunciation has been a different story. She has had minor issues with words like "solano" but our favorite has been when she says "AMADOR", a major crossroad her in town. It is properly pronounced AM-A-DOR, with both "A's" short. However she has consistently said A-MADE-OR, with emphasis on the second syllable. The first time we heard it, we had no idea what she said but after a couple times we understood what she was saying and always giggled when she said it.

Today however, something happened. As we were driving to the store, we were going to turn onto Amador Avenue but she suddenly pronounced it correctly, and continued to do so several more times in the set of directions. We were speechless. How did that happen? We have never said the word Amador to her. I always dictate the place we want, like Walmart, or Encantada Park or Water and More, and she finds it and lets me choose the correct one if there are multiple listings. But I never said Amador, not once. 

It makes us wonder if she is listening in to our conversations, and what else she may have heard!

December 19, 2011

LCSOM: Where do we go from here?

So, we're in the house for just over a week and we are ready to make the next step in the adjustment to life in Las Cruces. I never actually counted the number of boxes that we packed in North Brookfield but I would guesstimate it was about 100. Probably 20 of those were kitchen things, maybe 20 were clothing and the rest could generously be described as nick nacks. The nick nacks run the gamet from pictures from our walls and other assorted treasures to trinkets. Some of the stuff is in the "I used to think that this was important and now wonder why I put this in a box and dragged it 3000 miles" category. Some other stuff can be summed up by a note on one of the boxes in Mrsfabp's handwriting - "TFabP's stuff, computer and other technocrap." 

The kitchen stuff is mostly unpacked and put away although I use that term "put away" very loosely. Actually we are in the "Where did you put the _____?" phase. but I can be comfortable with that. The clothing boxes are all moved into the bedroom and maybe 1/2 has been put away, and I use the term "put away" very loosely again. Put away as in draped over every piece of furniture and boxes all over the room. All this leaves us with some 15 boxes of stuff, and the problem of how to deal with this.

At this point, with the beginning of the week before Christmas here, we need to establish a plan. We were so busy the last couple of days preparing to host our first friend's get together that we really only touched on the subject a bit. One thing we are in agreement about is the "culling of the herd of boxes." We have too much stuff, its as simple as that. We need to sort it, trash it or put it away, and move on. We were able to do this before when we began packing to move. We did two separate runs through our stuff and ended up tossing or recycling about half of it before we ever knew we were moving. That last statement really frightens me because we still moved OVER 100 BOXES OF STUFF. What did we leave behind?

Tomorrow will be busy as we have lots to do. I expect we will tackle the clothing situation, if only to attempt to tame the beast. After that, I hope we begin the weeding process for those last 15 boxes. It will be interesting to see,just how much we get rid of. Both the Salvation Army and Goodwill stores are close by and will enjoy the fruits of our labor. We shall see what we can accomplish!


December 17, 2011

Latest Las Cruces State of Mind blog post

LCSOM: An Update After 25 Days

It is so hard to believe it has been almost a month since our arrival in Las Cruces. Post unboxing,  we have been super busy just doing the retirement thing. With the arrival of a new computer, I thought it was tie for an update as to what is happening.

A few random notes:

- Gas prices have continued to drop since we left New York City. The prices in Massachusetts were at about $3.43 per gallon. They went up as we got to NYC they actually went up a bit into the $3.60 range and then began to drop steadily as we headed south. They bottomed out for our trip in Biloxi, MS at $2.99, the first time I have seen below $3.00 a gallon gas in like years. There was a rise from there until Las Cruces where it was about $3.15. In the last 25 days it has dropped steadily again. I got gas yesterday at $2.84. I also have been filling up less frequently, which I will explain in the next random note.

- One of our latest observations has been that everything, EVERTHING is so much closer to us. We live in a gated community near town center. We are able to get to so many of our favorite places in 5 minutes or less. Downtown is 4 minutes away, Library 3 minutes, anyone of maybe 10 nice restaurants are all less than 10 minutes away, the closest Mall, about 7 minutes, Doctor's office and hospital, under ten minutes, the desert, less than 15 minutes. So yesterday we ran errands from about 9 am till about 5, visiting at least 7 different places and traveling less than 15 miles. No wonder why we are filling up less often. 

- This has happened several times in the past two weeks. We enter a store in late morning and do what we need to do. We exit the store in the early afternoon and we are blinded by the bright afternoon sun. Within seconds we are warmed like we never have been in December, EVER. It literally lifts our spirits and brings smiles to our face. People keep telling us that the weather is usually better than this. BETTER? I cannot imagine it being any better than this in December but if it is I'm down with that. 

- We just got our new iMac in the mail. From this, I now can use the iPad. See Mrsfabp sort of liked to bogart the iPad. She needs to check her gmail, and twitter, and Facebook, and loved to watch shows from Netflix, especially at bedtime. She immediately bonded with the iMac to the point that she has given up her usual routine of checking her stuff in the morning on the iPad, all over the place - bed, kitchen, living room couch, while sipping her coffee. This morning she did so on the iMac in the computer nook. I expect her to spend a great deal of time there, especially because CollegeBoy has set us up with a media player that gets all kinds of stuff that she will like. My only hope is that she will again get addicted to the TV, which we haven't had for over a year, but get for free as part of our house lease. Come on cable! Weave your addictive magic.

- I have not watched traditional TV in over a year. I have not missed it. This week I sat with Mrsfabp and watched two reality shows - "Virgin Diaries" and "Toddlers and Tiaras. I have never, NEVER been so revolted by something on TV, ever. The Virgin show is ridiculous at best. Why would someone who values virginity, turn around and sell it on TV? The Toddlers show is, as far as I'm concerned, child abuse. If I saw this happening live I think that I would have to, as a social worker who is a mandatory reporter of abuse, would have no qualms in reporting any, ANY of those mothers. That was far more than ridiculous, it is abuse, no doubt. How can we as a society that tries to protect our children, allow this exploitation, this sexualizing of toddlers, TODDLERS! Sorry, I am repulsed. I have not missed this shit.

- Every day, the mountains look different. Sometimes its the snow, sometimes it is the light of the morning sun or setting sun, sometimes it is the clouds. There is a main avenue in Las Cruces where you travel directly toward the Organ Mountains. You come up over a rise in the road and all you can see is the mountains. No cars, no roads, no stores, nothing but the mountains. It is the million dollar view and truly represents one of the major reasons we decided to move here. That and the sun. And the warm winter weather. And the friends.

- Tomorrow,we host our first friends get together. It is a warmup for a dinner we will host on Christmas Eve day before heading to the Mesilla Plaza for the festivities. Am I worried? Nah, I'm scared to death but I believe our friends to be so supportive, they will enjoy all that we do. Did you hear that guys? Supportive! 


December 11, 2011

LCSOM: Unboxing Day

Friday, I learned that Canada and Great Britain have nothing on us. They only have "Boxing Day",  the day after Christmas as a holiday. The origins of the holiday are ambiguous at best, somehow related to servants that worked Christmas Day and got the next day off.

We, on the other hand, had the acclaimed holiday that all people who move have, "Unboxing Day" with the traditional gathering of friends, who would rather be anywhere else, doing anything else except participating in this holiday. This holiday comes in two parts -the carrying in of the boxes, sometimes up multiple flights of stairs, and the Unboxing of all the boxes just carried in. If you are lucky, the box owners did not mark the boxes well and time is spent trying to figure out what is in each one. This is great entertainment, especially when the unboxed item is of a personal nature, leading to much chagrin on the part of the owner and gales of laughter or snorts of embarrassment by the unboxers. 

Our holiday went well, mostly because of the help of some friends who somehow did not mind giving up a wonderful afternoon of warm weather and sunshine to assist. They were in good spirits, helped keep us smiling and handled the discovery of rogue underwear with aplomb and class. There really is no way to thank these troopers for all their help. Clair, Bill, Helen, KJ, thanks so much for your time, energy and companionship. This is what friendship is all about, celebrating the holidays together, like Unboxing Day 

Next on the agenda is going through all the boxes, wondering why in the world we brought this or that, questioning what might be in any of the unmarked boxes and trying to figure out what will go where, and when. We have a big job ahead of us, but at least the first part went without a hitch. 

Once again, thanks people! I promise we will never move again!

December 8, 2011

New update...

Las Cruces State of Mind (LCSOM): Openings and Closings

Yesterday was the closing on our new home. Surprisingly, there was some anxiety about the process. I wondered if it was feeling, this made things permanent, or if it was just spending all that money, or even of it was questioning our decision to move to a gated community. After turning over the checks, we got busy moving the stuff from the hotel and car into the house. Our house.

As the day progressed we kept busy, unpacking what we have, going to new doctor appointments and rushing back home for the delivery of a futon for one of the guest rooms. Several times during the day I found myself just looking at Mrsfabp and smiling, knowing this was the right thing for us. After a minute or two one of us would ask the other if they were happy and the answer always came back yes.

The next few days will prove to be very busy, exciting and thought provoking. Thursday is finishing the arranging of stuff already here, Mrsfabp taking a library test, and possibly grocery shopping or going to look at more furniture. Friday begins the "Great Unboxing" first from the U-Boxes into the house and then the grand opening of the boxes we have moved in. It's hard to think that our lives are all summed up in three U-Boxes and the stuff we had crammed in the car and driven 3000 miles with (BTW, that seems so long ago...). But as I sit here watching the sun rise over the edge of the mountains and fill our new kitchen with light and warmth, I realize that our lives are more then those boxes, it is our kids coming to visit in three weeks, it is our new friends here, it is exploring and learning and enjoying what we have here, right now.

Life is good, it is really good...

MASS Exodus: From Here to Serenity / "The Car, Cat and Clothes Tour"
Good friends, good food, good times!
The dream of Las Cruces, New Mexico is becoming a reality !

December 6, 2011

Las Cruces State of Mind (LCSOM): Stories about a new life in New Mexico

This will be a new banner for a series on the first few weeks of life in Las Cruces. First, some random thoughts on the new beginning

- LCNM got hit with a major snowstorm yesterday. It snowed non-stop from 10 am to after midnight. Snow total - a dusting. Massachusetts laughs at this. The city was brought to its knees. School was cancelled, the library closed. It took us 1 hour to travel 1.3 miles home last night. The Mass Turnpike laughs at this.

-some bizarre sights in last two days: automatic sprinkler systems watering lawns in midst of storm. It was freezing onto bushes and grass like a good old fashion Massachusetts ice storm. Another: cars crawling along on the edge of the road by the curb. Are they hoping they won't spin off the road? One final one: at IHOP for breakfast, I saw a man putting Texas Hot Sauce on his pancakes along with syrup. Not on sausage or bacon, ON THE PANCAKES,

- Our closing on the house is Wednesday at 10 am. It feels weird carrying around a large certified check. 

- Unfortunately we cannot get our U-Boxes delivered until Friday midday. We have hired some "ninjas" to unload them for us. That was the nickname our friend Clair gave them when they tiled her home. Something about them disappearing for 3 hour lunches. Fortunately our job should only take 2 hours, so no break for you! 

-Our car looks like a traveling gypsy caravan. We have way more then one car worth of stuff divided between the hotel room and the car. So much for organization...

-In the middle of the storm we went to our friend and new neighbor's home for coffee and homemade biscotti. I expect to spend a lot of time there because Mrsfabp will not make me biscotti, my favorite cookie. 

MASS Exodus: From Here to Serenity / "The Car, Cat and Clothes Tour"
Good friends, good food, good times!
The dream of Las Cruces, New Mexico is becoming a reality !

November 27, 2011

MASS Exodus: The Final Chapter

"Our house is a very very fine house
With one cat in the yard,
Life used to be so hard
Now every thing is easy, 'cause of you"
-Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young

After arriving in Las Cruces on Tuesday evening, we set to work on the next part of our dream.we began the search for housing. We began right away on Wednesday morning by going to a over 55 gated community where some of our friends live.

We drove around the neighborhood for a while and ended up getting together with a realtor who we later learned was 75 years old. I swear I would have guessed 55 except for his toupee. We explained what we were looking for and found out there were a number of houses there on the market. Within a few minutes we were on Sable Circle looking at three different units. They were all nice but none of them caught our fancy. As we prepared to leave our realtor told us about two other units on this circle, a newer one, and a brand new one.

Thursday was Thanksgiving and we spent most of the day with our friends. Saturday morning, bright and early we were back looking at several more units. We saw one on a corner that was going to need some work, something we are not up to. The next home was newer, built in 2007, and in very good shape. There was a carport, covered porch front and back and it had a ramp. We entered through the back door and walked through a laundry room into the house. This is where I fell in love with the place. There was a bright dining area, a spacious kitchen with excellent appliances, an island and pass through to the living room. A formal dining room was next in a very open floor plan that was connected to the living room.

The bedrooms are split with master on one side with a great master bath -  garden tub, stall shower and there is a huge walk in closet, at least 10 feet long.on the other side of the house were the other two bedrooms and second bath. As we left I knew this was the place for us although Mrsfabp was a bit less enthusiastic about it although she had trouble expressing why. We then toured a new unit that was "cosy" which is realtor code for cramped. The bedrooms were all small, the colors too modern and there was a big warning sign about formaldehyde in the insulation causing some people to have an allergic reaction. Within five minutes of entering the house, Mrsfabp's eyes were watering and we were out of there.. 

We went to our friends house and asked them to come take a look at it with us. They did and loved unit too. We talked and decided to make an offer. Unfortunately, there were several other people looking at this particular place. It had only been listed for one day and at least four people had looked at it already. We put in a bid for it and after some negotiation, had a deal and a place to live in Las Cruces. We were with our friends when we got the news and celebrated with some fine local wine and a great shrimp salad dinner. Special thanks to Clair and Bill for their help, guidance, support and friendship. 

So, that"s it. Our dream has become a reality and the next two weeks will be a rush of planning, unpacking, and unwinding. Retirement has arrived. Our new address? 1051 Sable Circle, Las Cruces, NM 88001 . We have 2 spare bedrooms so feel free to come out to visit, to feel the warmth of the sun and dry crystal clear air. Oh, take a look at the mountains too.

MASS Exodus: From Here to Serenity / "The Car, Cat and Clothes Tour"
Good friends, good food, good times!
The dream of Las Cruces, New Mexico is becoming a reality !

November 23, 2011

MASS Exodus-Day 10 & 11: Nothing and then a Big Surprise!

!Day ten was probably the day I most dreaded on the trip - the trek through the heart of Texas. I can sum up the next 600 miles by saying " nothing happened" nothing. After leaving Katy we were driving through some of the most desolate area I have ever seen. This was " slap my face to keep awake" driving. It was boring and we hated it. So we just put the miles behind and pulled into Ozona at dusk.

At the end of this day, We are now at 2815 miles,  which is just over 87% of the way, we have been in  12 states, cause Texas is one big state...

And now for the surprise. We awoke in Ozona, with a plan for about a 250 mile drive to Carlsbad but our plans chaged when Mrsfabp got a message from the people we were going to visit there. They were sick and wanted to postpone. Mrsfabp and I laid back in bed to consider our options - go to Carlsbad anyway, even though it was out of the way, stay in Ozona and do laundry and get organized or make a un for the border of New Mexico. I am happy to report we decided to make the run. Only 400 miles!

We went to a local place for a breakfast burrito and huevos rancheros and got on the road. About 5 miles out of town we realized that Mrsfabp did not have her cell phone so it was back to the motel and 10 more miles added to the trip.
We droves treacly for about 3 hours, stopped for lunch and got back on the road. We hit El Paso at rush hour, a gentile reminder of why I hate traffic so, and pulled into Las Cruces at about 7 pm. Tired and worn, a big king bed never felt so good! We made it!!!

On arrival in Las Cruces we had driven 3225 miles which is 100% of the total and had been in 13 different states... In order: MA, NY, NJ, DL, VA, NC, SC, FL, AL, GA, MS, TX  and NM... I case you wanted to know

Hope you enjoyed reading all about our adventures. Mrsfabp,  Kanye and I say a great big hi y'all to friends and family!

MASS Exodus: From Here to Serenity / "The Car, Cat and Clothes Tour"
Good friends, good food, good times!
The dream of Las Cruces, New Mexico is becoming a reality !

November 22, 2011

MASS Exodus Day 9 One Long Day

We only did 80 miles yestday so we paid for it today with a planned 375 mile day to Kady Texas. Mrsfabp's friends Sherrie and  Bruce live there. We arrived after dark and headed over to their house for a warm welcome and a "what have you been up to for the last 30 years" session. That is a lot of talking to do and Mrsfabp did her best along with Sherrie. We were welcomed in their home and enjoyed hearing about how that little farming town has become a metropolis over the last 30 years. 

We didn't  stay too long but had to deal with a construction issue that screwed with the GPS a bit but we made it back alive none the worst for wear...

At the end of this day, We are now at 2455 miles,  which is just over 75%  of the way, we have been in  12 states...

MASS Exodus: From Here to Serenity / "The Car, Cat and Clothes Tour"
Good friends, good food, good times!
The dream of Las Cruces, New Mexico is becoming a reality !

MASS Exodus - Day 8: Party Time

When we first began planning this trip, there were a couple of things we wanted to do- visit family and friends, see Savannah, and spend some time in New Orleans, NOLA, for short. As such we only traveled 80 miles on this day, with a plan to enjoy our stay. We got a motel on the outskirts of the city, checked our cat in and headed downtown. We arrived at Jackson Square and let the party begin.

We started off just walking around for a while, people watching. Finally we went to an outside cafe for a Cajun plate - andouille sausage, Cajun chicken and cheeses. When done we walked a block further to visit Cafe du Monde  for beignets and coffee. As is the tradition, they come piled high with powered sugar which can be seen all over the tables, the floor and the patrons! After this we continued to tour the square, with the artists, saw a wedding procession from the church and walked over to Bourbon Street.

Bourbon Street is not for the faint of heart. NOLA has no open bottle laws so everyone is carrying beers and drinks out in the street. The bars serve drinks in to go cups to help . One end of the street contains the strip clubs and men's clubs, about one every eight feet. Mrsfabp saw a woman who was wearing a painted on shirt - no blouse, just a painted on short. Unfortunately, I missed that one. After a couple of blocks, the clubs gave way to bars and music clubs, again, one every 8 feet or so. There really is nothing else going on there but the party never stops.

We moved over to the St. James trolley and took a long ride to the other part of the city. This included the Garden district and Mansion district with beautiful homes and oak linrd streets. When we got back we were hungry and took a cab to Mulates, recommended by the visitor center people. It serves real Cajun food and live Cajun music. The meal was fantastic - I had shrimp bisque and a shrimp quarter platter with cocktail, grilled, fried and a shrimp casserole. When done, we sat in the front of the stage and listened to great music and were treated to some traditional dancing too. Special thanks to my family who gave us some gift cards which paid for the evening's entertainment

After supper we took a cab back to Jackson Square and went on a carriage ride. The driver was well versed in the areas history and pop culture and also displayed the gruff Cajun side when dealing with crazy pedestrians or crazier drivers. 

By this time we were exhausted but happy. We left the French Quarter and went back to the motel to collapse...

At the end of this day, We are now at 2080 miles,  which is just over 64% of the way, we have been in  11 states...

MASS Exodus: From Here to Serenity / "The Car, Cat and Clothes Tour"
Good friends, good food, good times!
The dream of Las Cruces, New Mexico is becoming a reality !

November 21, 2011

MASS Exodus - Day 8: Party Time

When we first began planning this trip, there were a couple of things we wanted to do- visit family and friends, see Savannah, and spend some time in New Orleans, NOLA, for short. As such we only traveled 80 miles on this day, with a plan to enjoy our stay. We got a motel on the outskirts of the city, checked our cat in and headed downtown. We arrived at Jackson Square and let the party begin.

We started off just walking around for a while, people watching. Finally we went to an outside cafe for a Cajun plate - andouille sausage, Cajun chicken and cheeses. When done we walked a block further to visit Cafe du Monde  for beignets and coffee. As is the tradition, they come piled high with powered sugar which can be seen all over the tables, the floor and the patrons! After this we continued to tour the square, with the artists, saw a wedding procession from the church and walked over to Bourbon Street.

Bourbon Street is not for the faint of heart. NOLA has no open bottle laws so everyone is carrying beers and drinks out in the street. The bars serve drinks in to go cups to help . One end of the street contains the strip clubs and men's clubs, about one every eight feet. Mrsfabp saw a woman who was wearing a painted on shirt - no blouse, just a painted on short. Unfortunately, I missed that one. After a couple of blocks, the clubs gave way to bars and music clubs, again, one every 8 feet or so. There really is nothing else going on there but the party never stops.

We moved over to the St. James trolley and took a long ride to the other part of the city. This included the Garden district and Mansion district with beautiful homes and oak linrd streets. When we got back we were hungry and took a cab to Mulates, recommended by the visitor center people. It serves real Cajun food and live Cajun music. The meal was fantastic - I had shrimp bisque and a shrimp quarter platter with cocktail, grilled, fried and a shrimp casserole. When done, we sat in the front of the stage and listened to great music and were treated to some traditional dancing too. Special thanks to my family who gave us some gift cards which paid for the evening's entertainment

After supper we took a cab back to Jackson Square and went on a carriage ride. The driver was well versed in the areas history and pop culture and also displayed the gruff Cajun side when dealing with crazy pedestrians or crazier drivers. 

By this time we were exhausted but happy. We left the French Quarter and went back to the motel to collapse...

MASS Exodus: From Here to Serenity / "The Car, Cat and Clothes Tour"
Good friends, good food, good times!
The dream of Las Cruces, New Mexico is becoming a reality !

MASS Exodus - End of Day 7: Getting Ready to Party

It has been difficult to post the last few days-I have a cold, Internet time has been sketchy. I am going to try and catch up today, so bear with me with 2 or 3 posts...

We left NC, traveled down I-95 to Jacksonville FL, hung a right turn onto I-10 headed west. We arrived in Biloxi MS, to warm, gentle ocean breezes, miles of white beaches and the neon and noise associated with casinos. Yes, Biloxi is the Foxwoods of the south, with no less than 9 of them, clustered at the beginning of the beach. We bypassed this, drove the beachfront ate a and watched a nice sunset over the Gulf. On a recommendation of the motel manager, we went to a local seafood place called White Caps. We were not disappointed! It was a local hang out with excellent food and a bit of atmosphere. I had shrimp gumbo to die for and blackened scallops with a local cream sauce that was put of this's world. Our waitress was friendly ( what a surprise) and we just enjoyed the atmosphere for a while. This left us ready to tackle the phenomena called New Orleans.

At the end of this day, We are now at 1990 miles,  which is just over 61%  of the way, we have been in  10 states...

MASS Exodus: From Here to Serenity / "The Car, Cat and Clothes Tour"
Good friends, good food, good times!
The dream of Las Cruces, New Mexico is becoming a reality !

November 19, 2011

MASS Exodus: Day 7 - Questions, you have questions...

As we moved across the Florida Panhandle, I had plenty of time to think up good answers to the questions I know you are dying to ask. So inthe spirit of cooperation, I'll answer them all for you right now...

Can you describe The Florida Panhandle in 3 words?
Good question. Of course I can - try LONG, STRAIGHT and BORING. Yep, that is all there is to it. Scrub pine and State Police cars, cotton fields and some swamps. That' it! It is miles and miles of miles and miles. This makes me fear the long trek through Texas. This is "Set the phasers to stun" kind of boring, where you start to drool and contemplate sleep.

Was there any exotic  roadkill along the way?
Wow, that' s a tough one. Virginia had its dead dear, North and South Carolina less so. But when we reached Alabama, we got the mother lode. In less than a couple miles there was a hawk and 4 armadillos. Oooo wee, that is some good stew fixins if you know wh at I mean.

Do the people down there have speech  impediments or is it an accent?
Be careful there. It is an accent but believe me, a speech problem could not be much worse. I have to constantly ask people to repeat what they said. They speak fast and use different words. I asked for a club soda and got a blank stare. Said ok, a club soda and the stare continued. It's called soda Water down here and don' you forget it.

Are the people in Alabama friendly?
Nice recovery there. Friendly? Boy, they may not be the friendliest people on earth but they are close. We went to a restaurant in Alabama and while waiting 5 minutes for a table, 9 people, 9 people said hello, how y'all doing?And three didn't even work there.

Which is a better motel Best Western or Motel 6?
Ah, a trick question. Best Western costs more and has nicer pillows, but the accessibility left a lot to be desired. One grab bar in a regular tub is not accessibility. Motel 6 has sturdy benches, large bathrooms and grab bars all around. BW was NOT worth the extra $20' plus $10 more for Kanye.

What was the worst breakfast you had?
Good one. We tried the Waffle House before our friend Jim warned us. It could best be described as "meh!" But the worst was Best Western's continental breakfast. No coffee left, cold eggs, hard little muffins, stale biscuits, and a waffle machine that made undone blobs of batter. Worst.Breakfast.Eva!

We are now at 1990 miles,  which is just over 61%  of the way, we have been in  10 states...

MASS Exodus: From Here to Serenity / "The Car, Cat and Clothes Tour"
Good friends, good food, good times!
The dream of Las Cruces, New Mexico is becoming a reality !

November 17, 2011

MASS Exodus-Day 6: A few random thoughts as we start this day...

-Charleston gave a great welcome last night, with a grand heat lightening display as we went over the bridge into the town. This was punctuated by a big thunderstorm with lots of rain about midnight

- A joke -What is the difference between traveling with an infant and traveling with Kanye? One only eats, poops, sleeps and cries all day. The other is the baby... Actually K has been better, less whining, eating, pooping and riding out of the cage sometimes. He still hides in the room when we want to leave however.

-We took a two hour tour of Savannah's historic district. Wonderful stories, wonderful archatecure and a wonderful city. Could spend weeks there, we spent 4 hours...

-Heard Jackson Browne on the radio today
"And when the evening rolls around,
I'll go home and lay my body down
And when the morning light comes streaming in,
I'll get up and do it again,
Amen, Say it again, Amen"

Apropos words for this Clothes, Cat and Car tour...

-Did a recalculation on the mileage. Take off two points from my score for failing to carry the one...
We are now at 1675 miles,  which is just over 50% of the way, we have been in  8 states...

MASS Exodus: From Here to Serenity / "The Car, Cat and Clothes Tour"
Good friends, good food, good times!
The dream of Las Cruces, New Mexico is becoming a reality !

MASS Exodus Day Five Summary: Where oh where did kitty kat go.....dammit!

Once again we got a late start to our day, but not because we over slept or were too involved talking, but rather because Kanye Kitty played Houdini and cost us an hour.

Our plan was for some breakfast, a quick tour of the old part of New Bern, then getting on the road by 11 am. But Kanye had different plans.

Bags were packed and we went on the drive, and when we returned we just needed to get him in the cage and go. But he was not anywhere to be found. A frantic search for almost an hour, including shaking the treat can revealed nothing. After combing the house meticulously, we found him asleep, in the back of a closet. Bad kitty!! (that's the g-rated version, you can imagine the x-rated version on your own.

So an expected arrival in Charleston SC, for 6 pm, ended up being closer to 8 pm. Add to this, problems with the iPad, problems in getting on a wireless network and lots of traffic early, not even a visit to the Piggly-wiggly could move us off the funk. Not our best day at all, but tomorrow will be better, we are going to the Waffle House for breakfast!!

We have now completed about 38% of our trip, approximately 950 miles...

MASS Exodus: From Here to Serenity / "The Car, Cat and Clothes Tour"
Good friends, good food, good times!
The dream of Las Cruces, New Mexico is becoming a reality !

November 16, 2011

MASS Exodus: Day 4- A Long Days Journey Into Night

We were planning a quick escape from Gainesville in order to make our longest drive of the trip so far, about 325 miles to New Bern, NC, home of Mrsfabp's sister. Unfortunately, we ended up talking with Peggy over coffee and blueberry cobbler, for several hours so we did not get out of there u til late in the morning. Thanks to a tip from Peggy's neighbor, Mr. Bill, we saved maybe 30 or 45 minutes, but still had a long 7 hour ride ahead of us.

How do you know that you are in Virginia? It's the deer people. Driving through the woodlands of New Jersey, North Carolina or Maryland, we saw perhaps one dead deer on the side of the road. Once over the border of Virginia however, they came in droves. Like every 100 feet it seemed. Like they were just waiting to be hit and took turns stepping into traffic. As Mrsfabp"s sister Nancy says, "I hate dead animals!" 

Driving through the major part of North Carolina,  I experienced my first stretch of bored driving. You know, set the cruise control and wake me up in 45 minutes. Silence only broken by the GPS voice reminding us we had 93 miles to go, that kind of boredom. Unfortunately I expect there will be a lot more of this through the south and through the giant state of Texas. I'm also sure I will comment on this again...

The drive into New Bern would have been pretty if we could have seen it. We arrived at Mrsfabp's sisters house and were treated to a great home cooked meal- spicy sausage, peppers and onions over penne. Ya, my mouth is watering all over again

We have now completed about 38% of our trip, approximately 950 miles...

MASS Exodus: From Here to Serenity / "The Car, Cat and Clothes Tour"
Good friends, good food, good times!
The dream of Las Cruces, New Mexico is becoming a reality !

November 15, 2011

Day 3 Summary: I haven't seen this much traffic since...yesterday

Our third day ended in the city/town of Gainesville, Virginia, with a visit to a friend we had never met but felt we knew. Peggy is a below knee amputee who writes a blog about her life, her family and especially raising her now 5 year old son, Robbie. Mrsfabp has been reading her blog for a couple of years and I picked it up a couple of months later. I enjoy it because it offers a unique perspective on amputation, on raising a family and on everyday life.

Peggy welcomed us I to hr home and made us feel comfortable. We talked for hours bout this and that and I really left today feeling better about myself, my situation  and my life. There really is no way to thank her for al, her encouraging words, her support and kindness. To Peggy, her husband Scott and son Robbie, I offer my thanks. I feel privileged to have met her, to have talked with her and to have her be a part of my life. Much thanks

MASS Exodus: From Here to Serenity / "The Car, Cat and Clothes Tour"
Good friends, good food, good times!
The dream of Las Cruces, New Mexico is becoming a reality !

Day 3 Summary: I haven't seen this much traffic since...yesterday

This post is brought to you by the New Jersey State Police, the Maryland State Police, the Delaware State.Police, the Virginia State Police, at least 6speed traps along the way and a motorcycle cop with a bitchin" hog that looked like it could go 900 miles an hour. 

The drive from northern NJ to just outside Washington was one of the two most dreaded -the other being the six month journey through Texas. The I-95 corridor is the te of driving I wanted to get away from when I left NYC some 30 years ago. Traffic patterns have only gotten worse. A couple of random thoughts on this:

-Everything you have heard about Jersey drivers is true, in spades. They don't let you make left turns off major roads, instead making do a right handed circle to go across the road. Jersey drivers express their dissatisfaction in this policy by driving like crazed, madmen, with no regard for your life or your own

-Maryland, you need to kick it up a notch. We stopped at a rest stop there and found one positive -beautiful setting. On the negative side of the ledger was the fact that the wifi did not work, they had no handicapped stalls in the main bathroom, you had to go outside to a separate and ring a buzzer to get a non-existent worker, and the stalls had only half doors, giving you no privacy from anyone over 4 feet tall. Bad job Maryland

-Remember everything I said about Jersey drivers? That goes double for Washington Beltway drivers. In moderate traffic, riding in the extreme right lane, going 10 mph over the speed limit and within sight of a radar trap, I had a driver go into the exit lane, pass me and swerve back into the right lane. 

We drove through the bucolic suburbs of Manassas, through rolling farmland and Civil War battle sights, and arrived at our friend Peggy' s house with light to spare and prepared for a great night out...

Part 2 coming later...

MASS Exodus: From Here to Serenity / "The Car, Cat and Clothes Tour"
Good friends, good food, good times!
The dream of Las Cruces, New Mexico is becoming a reality !

November 13, 2011

MASS Exodus Day Two: The Great Escape (almost) or Life Lessons Learned

We learned three very important lessons today. One, if you have a choice, go for the sturdier cat collar. Two, Mrsfabp looks good posing as a car mechanic. Three, when our friend Clair told us that traveling with a cat was easy, she lied. And now the rest of the story (Paul Harvey reference, kids ask your parents...).

We left Binghamton early and stopped at a Mickey D's for free wifi. Poor Kanye kitty was not to happy in his cage, I mean cat carrier, so we went to a grassy area, put on his collar and leash and took him for a walk. He was spooked, very nervous and tried to go under the car. Mrsfabp pulled on his leash, his collar unsnapped and he disappeared under the car. After several minutes of looking and not seeing him under the car, we realized he had climbed up under the spare tire wheel well and was not budging from his perch. We tried all the favored enticements, including treats, favorite blanket, whispering sweet nothings and loud cursing. None worked and so Mrsfabp laid the blanket on the ground, crawled under the car and snatched him barehanded. She was looking like a car mechanic working on a trans axle replacement including the large glob of grease in her hair. She is our hero.

With Kanye back in his cage, we continued our journey to New York City. We visited with my aunt and uncle then headed to a local place for a meal and chat with all my siblings, their kids and a few cousins. The restaurant had hired a band to play for us (no, it was a scheduled event), there were dancing girls (ok, they were all 4 and 5 year olds, and after the meal, posed for pictures with each other.

We then left, sprinted thru a quick tour of the five boroughs and into the Great Garden State to our favorite new home, Motel 6.

We have traveled about 475 of the 2500 miles to Las Cruces, about 17%...

MASS Exodus: From Here to Serenity / "The Car, Cat and Clothes Tour"
Good friends, good food, good times!
The dream of Las Cruces, New Mexico is becoming a reality !

MASS Exodus: Day One summary

It was a day filled with tears, cheers, and beers.

Nancy's show was great. It was so nice to see her smile and wave and then greet the family. A trip to Tully's for supper included the staff singing her happy birthday but I cannot believe that the manager would not let us put two tables together so all 11 of us could sit together. I was pissed and if I was running the show, we would have all walked out. Fuck them. The Yeungling helped me calm down a bit. Both of them.

We ended up in the motel with Jen and Maqz and talked for a while. Kanye hid most of the night but did seem to adjust better later on. He still hasen't pooped yet thought. Could this be our next problem?

MASS Exodus: From Here to Serenity / "The Car, Cat and Clothes Tour"
Good friends, good food, good times!
The dream of Las Cruces, New Mexico is becoming a reality !

November 12, 2011

MASSExodus: Day 1 of our journey

Just a quick update. The day began with cheers and tears as we said goodbye to MillieJupiter and North Brookfield and began our trip. 30 minutes in, Mrsfabp needed to check Facebook to be sure she knew everything that was going on. Saw 3 radar traps on Mass Pike but escaped them all. Now in a Mickey D's parking lot just outside Albany, about 4% of our journey complete! Will provide more updates later, if you are on twitter check@tfabp, @mrsfabp or #headedtolascruces for up to the minute reports

MASS Exodus: From Here to Serenity / "The Car, Cat and Clothes Tour"
Good friends, good food, good times!
The dream of Las Cruces, New Mexico is becoming a reality !

October 28, 2011

Concert Review - Blast from the Past

Way back in this post, I talked about the musical influences in my life and where they came from and who introduced me to them I mentioned two college buddies who got me interested in lots of music. Among the most prominent were Jethro Tull, George Harrison and John Lennon. But they also introduced me to some obscure music including a singer/songwriter named Shawn Phillips. Believe me when I say that Phillips is off the beaten path. He worked with such immortals as George Harrison, Donovan and the Beatles. Lived with Donovan and Paul Simon. Among his adventures is living in Texas, Italy and now South Africa. He spent three months in the hospital when a boat propeller entangled his very long hair and crushed his skull. He studied opera. He was a fireman in Texas for a number of years. And, his music is an eclectic mix of jazz and folk and rock and electronic and funk and bluegrass with some opera thrown in for good measure. His guitar playing is outstanding. Bio Here

I first listened to him in 1972 and immediately fell in love with the devil may care attitude so evident. Social consciousness, rebellion against everything considered status quo, a sense of anger and wonder, often in the same song, made it easy. I collected his record albums (hey kids, check with your parents, there really were records, about 3x the side of a CD, played on a victrola [hey kids check with your parents about victrolas…]) and listened to him all the time. We got to see him in concert several times too when he played small venues in Manhattan and Long Island and he always put on a great show. Over the years I continued to listen to him, on occasion and I converted his albums to CDs.

Now fast forward, oh I don’t know, maybe 35 years or so. My friend in work, Tom, is an audiophile, has a collection of thousands of CDs of bands popular and obscure. He sees someone in concert at least once a week on average and has been to several big music shows including one in Austin Texas in the spring. One day while discussing some music, I mentioned Phillips. He knew the name but had never heard him. At the time I was moving from CDs to digital storage and offered him one of the Phillips CDs and he like it a lot. I ended up giving him all the ones I had. One day after that he came to me with some exciting new. Phillips was going to play at a local club. Tom suggested getting tickets and we did. The show was two nights ago and I still am on a bit of a high.

The place was full, maybe a hundred people of so. This is just a great way to see anyone and we were not disappointed. Phillips put on a fantastic 90 minute show. He started with a song from long ago, played 3-4 brand new pieces and then embarked on a nostalgia tour of his early to mid career. He had about 9 guitars on stage and some electronic equipment. On four different songs he used looping. This is where he would record a basic track and sing with it, then add a second track as he replayed the first, now recording both. He did it this way on one of the songs. On two others he did three tracks which sounded great. For his finally he laid down 6 tracks using 6 different guitars, including a bass guitar and then pulled out a seventh one and proceeded to play about a 5 minute guitar piece over the recording. This was an absolute show stopper. People got up to give an ovation during the final solo, it was so good. When done, he bowed, said he needed to change his shirt and would return to autograph stuff. Tom had brought his camera and a couple of the CDs and a crowd of about 15 people remained. He came out and talked to each person individually. I got to shake his hand and told him that the last time I had shaken it was about 30 years ago and he laughed, saying he remembered that venue very well. Both Tom and I got pictures with him and left with big smiles on our faces.

If you are feeling adventurous, you can go here to listen to 12 of his songs.

One final note. Both Tom and I noted that he really seemed to enjoy being up on stage and playing. He is not pretentious at all as many musicians are and besides bantering with the crowd and telling many stories, he sometimes would just sit back while playing, with closed eyes and a smile on his face.

October 24, 2011

MassExodus Update: "The Car, Cat and Clothes Tour"

So, as our departure date approaches ever so quickly, our pile of boxes and items on our list of things to do grows exponentially and a slight sense of panic rises up. Like that time you threw up a little bit in your mouth. You know, you feel it and sense it but at least not everyone knows what is happening unless you decide to tell them. Well I think I just threw up a bit in my mouth…

This past weekend, CollegeBoy home on his fall break, his girlfriend MissNicole and MillieJupiter spent time helping us prepare for our trip ahead. They were a combined moving company, counselors, life coaches and sounding board through the weekend as we discussed all manners of our adventure from which dishes to keep, give to them or get rid of, to planning around Kanye, our brat of a cat. What was 3 boxes in the living room on Wednesday night, has grown to a Himalayan pile of boxes and items in the living room, threatening to obscure the view out the picture window. What was a disjointed collection of multiple lists of work for us became just a few massive lists of chores, growing longer and longer despite crossing items off the list as done. Sets of dishes, Christmas decorations and various personal possessions were chosen by the kids, packed in boxes and sent to their appropriate new home. We talked about all manners of our plans, how to do it, when to do it, and why we chose to do it the way we were doing it, until all the planning ran together in one big headache. We began the process of helping our cat prepare for the move, a story all by itself. And, I came up with a name for this next step of our adventure called retirement – “The Car, Cat and Clothes Tour”.

We are driving one car down to New Mexico. This was an easy choice as one of our cars could make the 2500 mile journey, the other sometimes having trouble making it down our driveway. Among the issues discussed this weekend was what to pack in the car, cat planning and an itinerary for the trip. This plan included saying goodbye to family and friends in 3 different parts of the country. This plan includes bringing one piece of furniture on the first leg of the journey while keeping the rest of the cargo to a manageable minimum, including a cat. This plan includes stops in the places, towns, villages, cities, hamlets and hovels such as Binghamton, NY, NYC, Gainesville, VA, New Bern NC, Savannah GA, Tallahassee, FL, Biloxi, MS, New Orleans, Katy TX, Houston, San Antonio too, Carlsbad, NM and finally, after some 10 days and nights, Las Cruces New Mexico. This trip makes my head spin, but I am loving every minute of it.

In the counseling/life coaching/sounding board areas, were things like where to sleep along the way, people to see or not see, cat tranquilizer versus homeopathic remedy versus catnip supply, Pods versus U-Box, professional help versus teenager assistance, what to take versus what to leave, car tires, getting rid of the second car, computer problems, plans and fixes, putting up smoke detectors. While quite a daunting list of things to figure out, it also was just part of beginning to say goodbye to our kids. They have known for a long time that this was our plan, but still it is hard, so hard to say it. This hit home the hardest when CollegeBoy tweeted Said goodbye to @tfabp and @mrsfabp. The next time I see them I will be visiting them in New Mexico!” But as was pointed out to me, we will be seeing them sooner than this past summer when he was in Manhattan on his internship.

So the countdown to Las Cruces, New Mexico has begun. Less than a month until we arrive in the Land of Enchantment. Dream realized.

I think I just threw up in my mouth a little bit…

October 16, 2011

MassExodus October Update: Going, Going, GONE!!!

For the past two + years, we have had a dream. A simple one. We wanted to retire to New Mexico. The warm weather, the sense of adventure, the call of the desert, whatever, we had this dream. And for a long time, this dream seemed to be unattainable as were beset with roadblocks. Repairs and issues and poor housing market and the list goes on and on. The latest was the oil leak in our front yard, documented here, that made it seem less like a dream and more like a wish. The weather was changing, the house wasn’t selling and our frustrations constantly spilled out at each other.

During this darkest of times the last several weeks, random people, almost out of nowhere, said to me that good things were going to come and helped me feel better. Mrsfab and I started to look at some creative things we might do such as rent the house or rent to own it or anything to get that dream working. We had several people say they were interested but, there was always a BUT, the finances couldn’t work out or the oil spill scared them or something else got in the way. Then, last week, Mrsfabp had a Tarot Card reading. Do I believe in that sort of thing? No. Did it make her and thus me feel better? Yes. The cards said *(well, the reader said it, the cards just laid there…) that we needed some patience and that things were happening for us and we smiled and hoped but expected nothing. We have faced too many “If’s” to expect something different. And then out of the blue, there was a craigslist ad, a retired military family, needing some housing and in a blink, a deal was made. By mid November, we will be headed to Las Cruces.


It is as if a giant stone has been lifted off of our backs. We have been staring at each other in disbelief and just shaking our heads and then breaking out in smiles. It is going to happen.

We started a list of things to do – packing things, moving things, doctor things, retirement things and have several pages of things that must be done before we leave our home for the last time on our way to a new adventure. We have people to see, places to go, miles to drive (2500+ a first educated guess.) There is going to be sweat and arguments and tears and goodbyes. There is going to be stops and starts, worries and carefree moments. There is going to be change but we like that.

The next 4 weeks (yes, we are beginning our adventure now and expect to leave for New Mexico in less than 30 days…) are going to be a whirlwind of activity. Our kids, our friends, our families will all experience something from this as well as we will. I’m scared. I’m nervous. I’m excited. We are moving to Las Cruces.

I really hope to continue to document this wonderful trip we call life but I imagine that it will be so time consuming that sometimes I won’t be able to write all about it, but I promise I will. Hey, I’m going to be retiring and will have some time on my hands.

In my next and subsequent posts for a while, I plan to flesh out the plans we have, post our trip itinerary and keep you updated about what is going on.

September 14, 2011


This past week, at the Tea Party sponsored GOP Presidential candidate debate, the moderator, Wolf Blitzer asked Ron Paul a hypothetical situation question. To paraphrase it, he asked what Ron Paul’s solution would be for a situation where a healthy man, 30 years old, without health insurance, was struck with a debilitating medical problem. Who should pay? Ron Paul went into his normal Libertarian claptrap answer about how we must accept responsibility for our own decisions. At this point, members of the audience, the Tea Party ultra conservative crazies began to chant “Let him die. Let him die” A video of this incident is here.

Today on the internet there this short video of a Utah traffic accident where a motorcyclist was trapped under a car with a fire starting. A group of people, maybe 5-6 begin to try and pick the car up to move it. Failing that, more people run up and soon there are more than a dozen straining to pick the car off the victim. The hold it up in the air on its side, while another person drags the victim from the car. Within seconds, the EMTs and fire department have the fire put out and the man is being treated.

Now, you tell me, which of these two groups of people best represent Christian values and which group is a hypocritical mass of faux Christian idiots with no idea of what their faith actually means or stands for?

Yea, I thought so.


August 31, 2011

MassExodus August Update: The good, the bad and the ugly…

…except there is no good to report right now. Most of the stuff is bad, ugly and disheartening. But here goes.

Readers know from the recent updates that we had an underground storage tank for our oil and that our realtor recommended having that removed. We had a new one installed in the basement and were getting the old tank removed when the problems started. Well yesterday, the problems took a decided turn toward the really bad and have left Mrsfabp and I shaken and depressed. Yesterday the crew returned to drill a well to determine if the oil had reached the groundwater. This is needed information for both the DEP and our insurance carrier. Well they hit what they think is groundwater but might have been rainwater from Hurricane Irene and so they took samples and began the process of trying to site a second drilling place to do another water sample. In doing the preliminary work, they found oil in the soil, a distance from where the tank was. This indicates to them that the oil leak was significantly greater than once thought. They have now informed us they need to drill in our basement to determine if the oil has seeped under the foundation. If so, they will have to cut a hole to remove soil in an attempt to determine the physical size of the area that is contaminated. They told us that with the testing involved and the necessity of drilling lots of holes in out front yard, it will take weeks or months to get a handle on the scope of the spill and then determine a course of treatment. This too can take weeks. All the while, the heavy machinery has made our front yard look like a war zone and all the planned holes will make it look like a golf course. Just the type of scene that we would love to show prospective buyers of our toxic landfill, er…home. This is the point that things went from bad to worse.

We were just told on Sunday that there was significant interest in our house from a buyer who had returned to look at the house a second time. They had to get there finances in order and would be making an offer on our house. And they wanted to move quickly. Mrsfabp and I had visions of being in Las Cruces by Columbus Day, and we had made some tentative plans to detail what we would need to accomplish in the next eight weeks. Needless to say, this hope was dashed by the oil spill news as there will be no moving quickly, no quick sale. As a matter of fact, our realtor has determined that our best course of action would be to take the house off the market until this whole issue is resolved. For how long? There is no way to tell but even a conservative estimate starts at the word MONTHS. To say we are devastated does not begin to get to our core feelings. What started as a nice easy way to help improve our house has turned into a nightmare of epic proportions. How epic? Well I talked over the situation with the independent insurance investigator and when the discussion moved to costs, he replied “well you have $300,000 in liability insurance. I am hoping that will be enough to cover it” ENOUGH TO COVER IT?! $300K!? At this point for the first time since we started to pursue the dream of retiring to New Mexico, I have had doubts that this dream can be realized. I cannot describe the emotions, the feelings (or lack of them) and the devastation we are feeling. We still are in a bit of shock and scrambling to make sense of the whole thing.

I called a good friend, who is a lawyer on the west coast, after getting the news, in order to figure out what our next steps would be. He was great on the phone, letting me emotionally decompress and offering his help and advice. He is right now reviewing our insurance policy and recommended we hire a lawyer who specializes in environmental and property law, to best protect our interests. We are going to make some calls. I did not ask him then but will, the next time we talk about the thought of what to do if we are responsible for the costs of this endeavor after thre insurance pays their part. It could be tens of thousands, or even 6 figures. What could we do then? Either declaring bankruptcy or defaulting on our mortgage to get out from under this mountain of problem. Is this a solution? Destroyed credit, feelings of failure, slipping away in the middle of the night, is not the way I envisioned this going back in April when we put the house on the market or a couple of years ago when we hatched this crazy idea of retiring to New Mexico. Will it happen? YES if I have anything to say about it but what was once a simple dream has taken on life altering status. No prediction of a timeline, no bravado about just doing it, just tears and depression and a feeling of being overwhelmed. I am sure that in time, we will get back to battling every day to keep this dream alive but right now, this seems to be a future we cannot see anymore.

What a mess…..

August 24, 2011

The Beginning of the Long Goodbye

An interesting thing happened to me last week at work. I had to go to a building for a meeting that I used to go to a lot in the past but had not visited in a long time. To get there I had to travel up a road and into an area at the top of the hill that the facility sits on. When my office was up there, I was on this road several times a day. Now, it has been at least 2 months since I traveled up it.

As I drove, I was initially surprised by the state of the landscaping. One of the things that this facility prides itself on is the maintenance of the grounds and the grounds crew, though reduced in size, continues to do a great job. But up there on the hill, the grass was taller, the sidewalks un-swept, the bushes un-trimmed. It had the look of abandonment.

The other thing I saw was the closed buildings. There are 5 building on the hill and 4 are closed and the fifth, with only a dozen people living in it, is scheduled to close by the end of September. In the past when buildings were closed they basically just stood there, looking proud but tired and simply fading into the past. But there was a spate of vandalism up there, most probably from outsiders, getting into buildings and eventually taking some things. The facility responded by boarding up the first floor windows and doors of all these buildings as well as several others just off the hill. The plywood is painted an institutional maroon, the same color as the handrails and doors through out the place. It was hard not to feel a twinge of remorse, sadness and depression. This is where I had spent about 20 years of my working life and now it was gone.
As part of the facility phase down, we have a document company coming in quarterly to shred the documents of the past. I have a file cabinet and shelf stuffed with them. I had some time last week when my computer was on the fritz, so I started to go through stuff and packed it into boxes to take to the shredding center to await the next visit of the shredders. For now, three boxes sit in my office, a daily reminder of what is happening here. Again, it is difficult not to feel “shredded” by this whole experience.

When I started to work here, some 28 years ago, there was always talk of the day the facility would close but nothing that happened or was experienced then, prepared me for the feelings right now. There is sadness. This is low morale. There are people constantly leaving. There is fear of an unknown future for many of the workers. I get to miss the last part because I am planning to retire when we are done here or when our house sells. But all the rest is there...

“The times, they are a-changin’”
Bob Dylan

“The times, they are a-changin’”
Bob Dylan

August 11, 2011

MASS Exodus Update August 2011 or “Our property, toxic waste dump… “

So in the ever changing world of toxic spill removal and clean up, the dirt has been flying out of the giant pit we had in our front yard. Let me help you catch up with all the goings on.
In my post about the original discovery of the toxic dump and plan HERE, I said this: “Tank came out without problem, supply line, the same but then the vent line was found ruptured and discovered to have spilled oil into the soil. ALL WORK STOPPED and a LSP was called in to test. The results were twice what is allowed by government EPA standards and so the EPA was notified of a toxic spill. I got the call from the Worcester office telling us what needs to be done and since then we have been doing the insurance company dance to see how this will be paid for. “ And thus we begin.

The emails have been flying between us, the LSP (Licensed Site professional, remember?) and our insurance investigator. The investigator felt he needed to get into the hole to determine if the oil had reached ground water and thus became a liability issue, meaning our insurance would kick in. He felt the insurance company would pay for this investigative process. Then there was a flurry of PDF’s and faxes, permissions, proposals and consents. Last Thursday the original company came and along with the LSP, and insurance investigator. There goal was to determine if ground water was affected. Our water table right now is about 9.5 feet (last October when our well failed it was about 20 feet which is why the well failed but that was a different story…). One back hoe and two dump trucks later, they were down 11.5 feet with no water in sight. The oil concentration was lessening but they hit bedrock at this point, which I assume keeps the water table below it. They took their samples, refilled the hole with clean fill and left. In a telephone conversation later, the LSP told us the next plan is to drill to see if they can hit the water table to test for the oil

Yesterday we got the drill proposal, which tipped the scale at over $7000. And thus a dilemma is born. If they hit water and the water tests positive for oil, liability kicks in and it’s covered by insurance. So we are in a position to root for toxic mayhem to the water table. If no oil is found, the insurance coverage is up in the air. They will cover the investigative part but nothing more. If we have to pay for this, along with our septic and roof issues, we will be put into the position of the repairs costing more than the house is worth after sale. This raises a second, more important and wide ranging issue – is default a necessity. Our house value is dropping by the minute. Is that the only way to get from under this whole thing? And secondarily, we will never be able to get a mortgage in Las Cruces. We are looking for a lawyer to advise us.

What a mess…

August 10, 2011

Why sometimes vacations can suck…

Generally vacations are a wonderful thing. Laying back, enjoying the weather, relaxing, maybe having a beverage or two, not a care in the world. This is like almost all the vacations I have gone on have been. Cruises, California, Florida, Maine, Outer Banks all had these things in common. But every once in a great while I get a grain of regret, a sliver of doubt, about a vacation.
I am a creature of habit. I have worked in the same place for almost 30 years, lived in the same house for almost as much of the time. I get up generally around the same time every day, take my pills in one gulp and head off to my job at the same time. So, when these routines, these rhythms of my life are some how upset, it bothers me.

First off there is the bed. I like my bed and pillows. I do not like other beds or pillows, so only rarely do I sleep well on vacations. But the biggest issue I have, the thing that consistently bothers me while on vacation is being out of touch with the world news and sports.

Now some of you are wondering – why doesn’t he watch the news at night or follow ESPN for all the scores? I try to, I really do but this is where the routines and habits get in the way. I don’t like to watch local news in other places or read local newspapers (although Mrsfabp LOVES local newspapers…). I like to get my news and sports information through the daily blogs I read. I know I am on vacation when I can sit for a while reading The Atlantic magazine, or read The Bronx Bombers Blog through my RSS feeds. I also follow a number of blogs by people who have become friends – Maqz, JHop, Shane, Clarez, Peggy, to name a few. During vacations, their blogs always seem to fall between the cracks from “I’ll read them all later” to “OMG I can’t catch up with all of these posts”. On vacations, I miss my friends.

Unfortunately it is not always possible to keep up with these things and I end up feeling detached, out of touch, out of sorts. For example, on our trip to New Mexico, we had an iPad but no wireless internet in our room for the first week. This meant that both Mrsfabp and I were fighting over control of the iPad when ever we found a good wireless signal, whether at the McDonalds or the local coffee shop. This made it difficult to stay up with the things I do routinely. I normally get a total of about 75 updates a day to my Google reader. Not all are articles or blogs, lots of the updates come from sites called aggregators that collect interesting items for me – sports, politics, science, news. Many of these thing are short, simple and take a moment to look at, Upon our return to Massachusetts I had over a thousand unread items. It took me two weeks to catch up.

So in a nutshell this is why vacations sometimes can suck. But I will let you in on a little secret. They only suck a teeny tiny bit and everything else about them is fantastic. Despite being out of sorts, I am looking forward to our next trip to Las Cruces. Hopefully though, it will be our last and will be accompanied by a moving van.

August 9, 2011

The Wonders of Modern Medicine or How I came to spend 11 hours in the ER in Las Cruces

This is the post I have been rather reticent to make, because of the personal nature of it but I figure this is part of me and so here goes.

To begin, over my own life, I have not taken as good care of myself as I should and as I have gotten older, the medical problems have become more a part of my life then I would have wished. To paraphrase Mickey Mantle, if I knew I was going to live this long, I would have taken better care of myself. A quick summary of medical conditions – diabetes, renal issues due to it, atrial fibrilllation, CHF (congestive heart failure), below knee amputation, Charcot Syndrome (deformities of the foot related to arch and circulation issues of diabetes)and obesity. I take enough pills and medication to keep CVS viable. I use a wheelchair much of the time to take pressure off my good foot as the Charcot has left me susceptible to foot ulcers which if infected can cause significant problems (see my other leg, BK amputation). So I have 3 doctors I see regularly – podiatrist/foot specialist, GP and cardiologist along with a prosthetist. Again, enough to keep a small hospital viable. Any consideration of moving to NM included discussions of checking out the medical services available there. Little did I suspect I would be checking them out first hand.

Just after Father’s Day I missed a day of work with flu like symptoms and although I went to work the rest of the week never felt much better. My blood sugars were a bit elevated but not terribly so and it was not until that Saturday following that I felt terrible enough to start to get worried. When I awoke Sunday morning my blood sugars were very, very high and Mrsfabp encouraged, no insisted, I go to the local ER to get checked out. I was there for several hours, they did plenty of blood test and determined I had a mild infection of unknown origin and was very dehydrated. My GP told me to allow a week to rehydrate and redo the blood work which was back to baseline. Two days later we flew to Las Cruces for our vacation.

But, I never really felt much better, still had occasional fevers and was getting more and more tired as the week progressed rather than feeling revitalized by the vacation. By that Saturday, I was feeling worse, had a rash starting on my chest, developed a cough and was feeling terrible. When I spent most of that evening with a fever we decided to again go to the ER, this time in Las Cruces to see if we could get someone to figure out what was going on. There I was again subjected to lots of blood work which revealed that I was again dehydrated, had a mild infection of unknown origin and was in renal failure. One doctor told me I was going to need immediate dialysis. Later the hospitalist clarified things, stating the kidney issues were probably related to the dehydration, and admitting me. I was treated with fluids, 3 different antibiotics because they could not find the infection source. When I was discharged, I was feeling better but it took about a week to feel like I was back to my old self.

But I am not back to my old self. I have issues that I need to address, more specifically obesity. When I have lost weight in the past, I have felt better and I know that the strain on my health is tremendous. Mrsfabp and I had a big sit down about this, complete with yelling and denial and tears and we continue to try to work it through. I have committed to eating healthier in the past but my weight gain has been paved with good intentions. This recent situation scared me however, how a simple thing, dehydration or a flu or a mild infection caused a domino effect that ended with me in the hospital. This is just not acceptable any more. The motivation is here. The support of a loving wife and family is here. Reinforcement is here. It is time for me to be here and get along with my life. Hopefully by writing about it, by seeing it in black and white, I will continue to find motivation and strength in this long over due process. Since my hospitalization I have lost 32 pounds but there is a long, long way to go. I am just starting to realize that this journey is necessary and beneficial.

August 3, 2011

Chronicles of Las Cruces: The Summer 2011 Visit: A Roadrunner Sighting

Catching sight of one of these elusive birds is one of the great joys of our trips to Las Cruces, although the process is somewhat different to the processes that I have experienced in previous bird watching adventures. I have trooped into swamps to see great blue herons, walked around ponds looking for red wing black birds and other waterfowl, I have stood guard near hummingbird feeders hoping to catch a glimpse of the faux insects, but the process for spotting a roadrunner seems to be something along the lines of “just do your own thing and suddenly, out of no where you will spot one.

On our first trip to Las Cruces, it happened on our next to last full day of the visit. We had been looking, searching for one without success the whole time we were there. We were driving on a cross road, near some main roads outside of Alamogordo (great town name, lousy town…) when two of them burst out from one side of the road, across the street in front of us and into a parking lot on the other side. We stopped, backed up and found them hiding in some brush and got to see them sprint across the parking lot into the nearby desert. They were everything we had hoped for, got a couple of poor pictures and then continued on our way. A rather chance encounter to say the least.

This trip we got the sighting over early, on day two of our adventure but did not get to see another one the entire trip. We got into the habit of going to a local café for coffee in the morning because they had WIFI and we could hook up the iPad while we woke up and got ready to explore. Acoss from the café was a McDonalds. As we arrived that day, there was a small group of people – mostly either teens or young adults, in the parking lot and they were obviously searching for something. That something, a roadrunner, was hiding in a clump of vegetation along the parking lot edge. When they got too close, he sprinted across the lot, thru the drive thru lane and into the brush along the divider of the two areas. He was quick but I got a good glimpse of him. He seems like a youngster, smaller that the others I had seen. But then he was gone. Another chance encounter.

I tweeted about it once we were inside the café with our coffee, making a remark about how he must have been looking to try the new McDonald’s frozen lemonade but I was just glad I got a chance to see him. I’m note sure I could say a trip to Las Cruces was a success without a roadrunner sighting!

August 1, 2011

Going to “The Stadium” for the first time…

This Sunday, July 31st, I made my first trip to the new Yankee Stadium. It has been a while since I have gone to a game in the Bronx and over the past winter we hatched a scheme to get a bunch of people together to go to a game. Originally we were going to try to do a baseball weekend, seeing a couple of minor league games leading up to the Yankee game but that didn’t work out and it was just the Yankees vs. the Baltimore Orioles on Sunday. Before I go any further, let me thank Manhattan Man and CollegeBoy for originally thinking up the idea, PO Jen for her kick start on the effort about 8 weeks ago and the people over at Disability Services at Yankee Stadium who did a nice job of getting us in relative proximity for the game, on short notice.

I was looking forward to seeing the game with CollegeBoy and MillieJupiter and MissNicole (who is a more recent Yankee convert, much to the chagrin of her Red Sox lovin’ family!). I got to see some family and friends which is always fun. So I thought I would take a minute or two and make some personal observations about the game and the trip in general.

-Special thanks to MillieJupiter who did the driving! She was great and can now boast that she has driven in Bronx traffic and survived…

-The parking and the traffic situation at the new Yankee Stadium is vastly improved over the situation with the old place. We made the 3 hour trek from Massachusetts and within 5 minutes of getting off the Major Deegan Expressway, were parked within 500 feet of the main stadium gate. When leaving, the line out was quick and the traffic patrol had us back on the highway within 5 minutes. I have sat for 60 minutes trying to get to or from the old stadium, this was wonderful yesterday…

-the NY Yankees must provide employment for about a billion people. There was security and Yankee staff for help all around the place. You couldn’t swing Derek Jeter’s jockstrap without hitting on of the myriad of employees. They were courteous, friendly, helpful and helped make this an excellent experience. Special props to the guard who got me into the ticket window early and without having to wait on the line.

(the view from our seats)

-One of the best things that happened (besides the Yankee victory) was that I also got to meet an internet friend JHop, whose blog “Chicks Dig the Fastball” always interests me and is one of my daily internet reads. We got to spend some time with talking baseball and fantasy baseball (where she is a rookie wizard and is positioning my herself to be the first rookie to win the whole a championship in a rookie season in the 28 years I have been running a league!), and fantasy football and Derek Jeter and blogs and podcasts and oh my! It was great to finally meet her and everyone should click on THIS LINK and give her blog a read. You will enjoy it.

-CollegeBoy said it best when he tweeted: “There is nothing greater in the world than being with family and friends at a New York Yankee game. Greatest feeling in the world.” I concur 100%; it was nice to see everybody, catch up a bit and enjoy the game!

-Speaking of the game, it was just a perfect experience. The Yankees won, we got to see Mariano Rivera, the best relief pitcher ever, throw a perfect 9th inning for the save, we saw Brett Gardner triple into the right field corner, the most exciting play in baseball and CollegeBoy and MissNicole collected enough Yankee souvenir cups to last us until the next game we go to. Perfect…

(Mariano enters the game and the Baltimore Orioles shudder...)

-You know, you can never predict baseball… I talked with CollegeBoy about the fact that he had never seen any thing memorable at the stadium in all the games he has gone to and almost before the words were out of his mouth, we had a weird situation crop up. Derek Jeter was hit on the hand with a pitch and the Yankees back up infielder was already in the game as Robbie Cano was the DH. This lead to lots of speculation about what they were going to do as it was early in the game and no one likes to give up their DH. We were among the surprised when Francisco Cervelli, the back up catcher came out to play second base for a few innings, a position he had never played in the major leagues before. “Well, Suzyn, you know, you just can’t predict baseball!”– John Sterling

(This post was cross posted in the Borg Baseball Blog...)

July 27, 2011

The IPad as a Social Magnet…

We finally broke down and bought an iPad about a month ago. Our old computer is so very slow and with the podcasts I’m recording and editing weekly and trying to write a couple of blogs several times a week, I was always on it and Mrsfabp was left out in the digital cold. I looked at new laptops but then decided that the iPad offered us more, especially in light of the fact that I wanted to learn the Apple system and eventually get an Apple Mac Book or similar new computer when the time to replace the old dinosaur comes (that’s my old computer, not me…).

It took a while to get used to but overall has been a wonderful addition and made things on our recent trip much easier. There are easy to use Apps for Gmail and Twitter and Facebook and Google reader and lots of games to play and Mrsfabp’s favorite, a Netflix app that let her watch movies and TV shows wherever a wireless network could be found. There was however a bit of a serendipitous effect to the iPad. It was a real, genuine social magnet.

Back a number of years ago I was reading a car review by a writer for a car magazine about the newly redesigned VW Bug. He opened up the article by saying that the thing he was most unprepared for was the public’s reaction to the car he was test driving and reviewing. He said everyone asked him about it. He had never experienced the “buzz” that this car was generating in all of his years of reviewing cars. People constantly talked to him about it wherever he went with it. What was it like, did he enjoy driving it. He then said he felt like he was in a fishbowl at times with all the stares and mouth open gapes and said everyone who talked to him said they wanted to try one. Well our experience with the iPad is very, very similar, if not exactly the same.

Everyone who sees it asks about it. What’s it like, easy to use, heavy or light, do we like it. On several occasions we were surrounded by a small crowd of people looking at it. The most memorable was at a breakfast place in the city. Our waitress noticed it and made several comments ending with “I wonder if I should get one.” Within minutes there was a small group of people including a couple of managers and a busboy and sweeper asking about it. “What kind of things can you do with it? Is it easy to use? How do you move around the menu?” Everyone is fascinated by it. And everyone who talks with us ended up saying something like “I think I want to get one”

This thing could be better for the dating world than a new puppy. I’m not sure Steve Jobs and Apple knew what they had here. Or maybe they did…

July 26, 2011

Chronicles of Las Cruces: The Summer 2011 Visit or How did I get to this place

How did I get here?

And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack
And you may find yourself in another part of the world
And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile
And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautifulwife
And you may ask yourself-Well...How did I get here?

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/after the money's gone
Once in a lifetime/water flowing underground.

Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...Same as it ever was...

And you may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway go?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right?...Am I wrong?
And you may tell yourself

Letting the days go by/let the water hold me down
Letting the days go by/water flowing underground
Into the blue again/in the silent water
Under the rocks and stones/there is water underground.

David Byrne, Talking Heads

After almost a year of planning, our second trip to the paradise we call Las Cruces, NM is in the books. I thought I would take a few minutes to begin to tell you a bit about it.

We first visited Las Cruces in February 2010. After months of research on the area, making a connection with a blogger there as well as checking out the city–data boards on the area, we went for a ten day visit. We became friends with a wonderful couple – Claire and Bill, met several nice people, looked at the area overall, checked out housing with a couple of different realtors and generally enjoyed our time there. We knew we needed to go back and so just this past week, returned from a two week stay there. We had several goals to shoot for and basically accomplished almost everything we set out to. There was a bump in the road (I ended up in the hospital for a few days, more on that in a later post) but overall the trip was an A++ in our book. So, what did we accomplish? A summary follows.

Reconnected with some friends, made some new friends:
A move like this is going to require a lot of support. To move away from friends and family is difficult and so we knew from the get go that we needed to establish and cultivate a social network. We were able to do so by starting a friendship with Claire and Bill. They were like family from the first time we met. Despite the fact that they took us out to the desert our first night there, on a somewhat isolated and empty dirt road, telling us stories of axe murderers and people disappearing in the caves of the desert, we knew that we had found some special people. They in turn had introduced us to some of their friends and family and very quickly, we are accepted into the group and became part of that circle. Relationships like this, long distance ones, are difficult to maintain but we worked at it, writing and phoning to maintain the contact. On our return, we frequently touched base with Las Cruces and our friends were ever so helpful in scouting out potential homes and condos and keeping us informed about what was going on out there. During this last visit we had several socials with the “gang”, including several visits to a café with great desserts, breakfast at the best place in Las Cruces a number of times, a trip up to Hatch for one of the best chile cheeseburgers in the state and tours of some of the neighborhoods and a local state park. Social connections like this are GOLD.

Checked out some neighborhoods we would like to live in, and NOT live in:
During our first visit, we got the lay of the land so to speak, kind of figuring out where things were in relationship to each other. We had seen lots of nice neighborhoods, saw several types of houses, new, relatively new and older ones and just got a general feeling of our place. Since then we have scoured the internet looking at realtor ads and postings form Las Cruces at a variety of homes. We had hoped that this second trip would help us narrow down the selection and overall it did, another positive note. What did we learn? Well, we had considered several options to live in the city but after exploring the various neighborhoods felt there were two deal breaker issues. First off, the homes there are older and require more upkeep and attention. We do not want to have to deal with this at all. Second many of the neighborhoods in the city themselves are a mixture of nice homes and nice ones, landscaped front yards and cars on the lawn front yards, pretty rocks and cactus landscaping and dirt. It seemed like a crap shoot. We looked at several homes we liked in pictures but ended up next to house with furniture and car parts on the front lawn. We decided we wanted more.

We also had been looking to the north east part of the city, the East Mesa. This is where the developers found cheap land, bought it up and went on a building spree before the market collapsed. This area is marked by little subdivisions of similar housing done by different builders. The areas are a few square blocks in size and there are plenty of homes available there. They go by names that reflect their street names – The Gems (diamond, ruby, sapphire) The Pines (Virginia Pine, Stone Pine, Rock Pine) and the Planets (Mars, Jupiter, Saturn and NO I DON’T THINK I COULD LIVE ON URANUS AVENUE AND YES THERE WERE HOUSES FOR SALE THERE…)

We like it there because the homes were newer, the neighborhoods better kept, there are services being built out there now and you could hop on a main highway and be in the center of town in just a few minutes. We figured we could live anywhere out there but discovered that at some point, we just got to far away from the city and so we figured to stay closer in this East Mesa area. We actually saw three homes in the Pines, one of which was too small but two others we would put a bid on in a minute with nice mountain views, covered patios for morning coffee and evening grilling and large back yards with no upkeep due to Xeroscape (my back yard is 5000 pounds of rocks).

Figure out IF we could deal with the heat in the desert:
Whenever we mention relocating to NM, often the first comment (after "is that part of our country?") is about the heat of the desert. This is often followed by a comment about it being a dry heat. Well, having now done it, I am happy to report we did just fine and can handle it. A bit of an explanation is in order.

The east coast is just leaving the grips of a massive heat wave that created considerable difficulties for the population at large and the electric companies. While this was going on, we were n Las Cruces. A comparison: Average temperature in the northeast 94 – 101 degrees. Average temperatures in Las Cruces 93 – 99 degrees. Average humidity in the northeast – 70% or more. Average humidity in Las Cruces – 21%.

When we returned to the east, the first thing we noticed was how oppressive it was here. We were in A/C in the house and could not even go into non-air conditioned rooms. It was not oppressive in New Mexico at all. In the hottest part of the day, you did not want to be in the sun. You could not touch the fender of your car at 2 pm in the afternoon BUT a little bit of shade made it comfortable as did a gentile warm breeze present almost every day. It is dry, you must drink lots of water and if you feel thirsty, you are already dehydrating but it was very doable.

We had this figured out by the second full day there. No humidity is one of the nicest phrases I have ever heard. We sat outside in the shade several afternoons and we none the worse for wear. On other thing is that you don’t feel like you sweat. You do but it dries very quickly. Even when you get into your hot car until the A/C can take over, the back of your shirt does not feel wet. I am a notorious sweater and rarely wiped my brow the entire two weeks nor ever had to dry out my hat. One final note. The day we arrived in Las Cruces we opened our suitcase and found our clothing felt damp from the New England humidity. We hung it on hangers and by the next day, they were feeling dry as a bone.

Got all excited about the adventure, all over again:
After our last trip to NM we were on a high that lasted several weeks, excited about what we experienced and how we envisioned where we wanted to go. Of course after a while, this dies down a bit when things like work and bill paying and other mundane household tasks get in the way. For us, this was compounded by putting our hose on the market and dealing with all the stresses that that brings with it and so this trip served as an energizer- again showing us what we had going on for us in Las Cruces – the friends, the adventure, the life. It was great to be reminded of all that this place has to offer and I think we came back appreciating it even more.

This is how we ended up in this place, in another world, with dreams of a beautiful house, with all the worries and concerns and dreams ahead of us…