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Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Big Change: Busy SoCal to Rural New Mexico

 Last year when I left Corona, California,  3793 people inhabited each square mile. Corona's 2010 population is 147,181.

In Mora County there are 3 people per square mile. The county's total population is 4,881. Our closest neighbor is a half mile away. From our house we can't see any lights except our own.

The 15 freeway, a main Southern California transportation artery, provided constant background noise, cars and trucks passing 24/7. Helicopters circled, whackwhackwhacking, monitoring the traffic or looking for bad guys.

Here the silence is deafening. At first the total absence of noise feels almost eerie. It's disconcerting hearing nothing....but wait a while and there are sounds: the wind hits the pine trees on the rimrock making them whoosh, the pines moving like slinky toys riveted to the ground. The creek trickles not too far away. Far off,  a truck pulling a trailer clanks along the dirt road. It's not much, but it's something.

The postmistress knew us right away. "Are you Bridget?" she asked, my first time picking up mail at the post office 6 miles away. We have a free post office box since they don't deliver out our way. "I have all your mail right here," she said, and passed it across the counter. I was the only one in the post office.  Saturdays can be busier and you may see several people in the parking lot catching up on the gossip for the week. A traffic jam is when people stop their trucks in the middle of the dirt road for a chat.

At the DVM, which is the motor vehicle department, I had to get my New Mexico driver's license. There was one person in line ahead of me, so I waited about 3 minutes. "Do you want a four year or an eight year license?" the clerk asked. The lady standing behind me tapped me on the shoulder and whispered, "Decide after you have your photo taken," she advised. "Go for 4 years if the picture is bad. You won't have to put up with it for so long."

Good advice. The photo looked decent, so I don't have to renew for 8 years. There was no test except for my vision. I was out of there in 10 minutes.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Quilty Pleasures Wednesday

Wednesdays here at the Nickel and Dime will be reserved for quiltycraftymakeit projects that I am working on, or ones that I have finished if I have been a slug and haven't been doing anything.

At Threadbear, the quilting store in our nearest big town, Las Vegas, NM,  a group of ladies meets on Friday afternoons to explore new quilting ideas. We decide on a type of project and help each other muddle through the instructions, offering ideas and support when it comes to designing or laying out what we have done.

Our first projects were from the book One Block Wonders by Maxine Rosenthal.

These interesting patterns and blocks are actually from one fabric cut in an ingenious way. I won't get all technical, but we were amazed at the variety of designs we were able to cut from just one fabric. We each chose a fabric for the project.
This was the fabric I chose 

And here are a few shots of the quilt top. It's not quilted yet, but will be soon. I promise I will become a better photographer, really, I promise!

and one close-up
It's kind of like the Stack n Whack technique, but looks more kaleidoscopic to me. It was a fun project and now when I look at fabric I wonder how it would look as a One Block Wonder.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

They Didn't Crack the Safe and That's a Good Thing!

When planning our relocation to New Mexico, we decided after much debate to spend the big bucks for a full service mover. We were not starving students like when we originally moved to Alberhill thirty some years previously. And we had accumulated a lot of stuff, including some pretty heavy gun safes. Those suckers are heavy! I wanted this move to go smoothly. Leave it to the pros, we said.

My Tennessee born dad used to say, "Want in one hand and s@#* in the other and see which one gets fullest the quickest." And you know by now we didn't get what was in the "want" hand when it came to the movers.

There were several safes to move into the house including one really humongous one.
Ernest and Tom realized they couldn't use their considerable brawn to move this safe into the house, but Ernest had his tractor stored here, so they decided to use the scoop to carry the safe to the porch. Unfortunately the tractor's scoop wasn't angled enough to push the safe up the ramp and onto the porch.
So they used their manly ingenuity. Tom brought the Toyota Tacoma into the yard and winched a cable to the bumper with the other end around the safe. The cable snaked around a heavy log post on the porch and the pickup dragged the safe up onto the porch.
From there it was a piece of cake (just kidding, guys, I know it really was hard) to move the safe upright and dolly it into the house.

Exhausted, but basking in the glow of success.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Moving In, Do It Yourself Style

 Ralph the moving guy packed up and left and the guy at (Name omitted)  Moving Systems said, "Nope, we will not send a team from Santa Fe to complete the move."

They pointed out in the contract that movers were not responsible for weather related delays. Tom pointed out, right back at them, that the weather was fine, the road much improved since the day before when Ralph looked at it, and if the driver were to stay just one day later he would be able to deliver. "Nope,"said the manager. Ralph has to go."

 The next day dawned clear and New Mexico blue, a brilliant color the people here use to paint their doors and their windowsills. The road to the house was dry and passable, but our stuff was in storage an hour away.

During this time, Ernest, self-described ranch manager, was working his Ernest magic (more about this later). Suffice it to say that Ernest arranged to get our stuff delivered to the house less than 24 hours after Ralph had said, "No can do." On that beautiful blue sky morning we met Ernest, Andy, Ernest's cousin, and Manuel, Ernest's brother, at the storage place in Las Vegas. We would use our pickup and two other pickup trucks to haul our stuff out to the house. Our fancy moving equipment: a stock (cow and horse) trailer, a flatbed trailer, and a little utility trailer previously used to haul trash to the Corona dump. We worked all day, a tireless team of (un)professional movers.

A professional mover and three helpers (average age 28) couldn't do what a team of 50 somethings could! It took multiple trips to Las Vegas, but our stuff was all at home--most of it in the garage.

A little bit was in the house! Yay!
But there was a really, really big ticket item that still had to be be continued...

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Living Room Camping

Before I begin the actual blog portion of our show, I want to explain why I haven't been here. My dad had been ill with lung cancer, so it was important that I be there, back in Orange County, for him and for my mom. So there were several (scratch that) many car and air trips back and forth until his passing at the end of June.

A week after my dad died, my mom went to urgent care, not feeling well. We found out that she had lung cancer, too. Her illness was quicker than my dad's and she left us at the beginning of September.  I stayed almost a month after that to help my brother and my sister-in-law wrap up the lives of Mary Lou and Earl Coots. Although we are now settled back in Northern New Mexico, it took quite a while to move in. I still don't know where everything is because we worked in fits and starts, either me or both of us leaving for SoCal. But I will pick up where I left off, which was when we actually moved in to the new place.

Remember when we were looking for moving companies how we warned them about the dirt roads? We chose (Name omitted) Moving Systems, connected with (Name omitted) Van Lines, because the salesperson assured us that yes, they would be able to move us and yes, we would probably need a shuttle because of those dirt roads. A shuttle is when the company must transfer our stuff from the big van to smaller trucks, like U-Haul sized. She even wrote it on the contract. "Shuttle will probably be necessary." She said the price of the shuttle was built into the total cost of the move.

The driver, Frank, unhooked in Las Vegas (remember this is the Las Vegas in NM) and drove the truck minus the trailer to our place. We were already there, camped out in the living room, where the night before Bonnie the cat had fallen off the stairs in the middle of the night. Luckily she just shook herself, looked annoyed, and was fine.
Miss Pearl and me waiting for the movers
 Frank decided after much conversation with his dispatcher that he would not be able to shuttle our stuff to the house. Roads were too muddy, snow was forecast for the day he was supposed to leave, couldn't get even a smaller truck in, blah blah. So on move-in day, instead, 40 miles away, (Name omitted) Moving Systems left our stuff at a storage facility in Las Vegas.

The dispatcher/manager  didn't accept Tom's suggestion that they send the driver (who said he had to go) on his way and in a few days, when the weather was to their liking, send out some guys to take the stuff from the storage facility and deliver it to our house.

The local people we met scoffed and said, "They could have delivered it. The previous owners used Ryder trucks to move stuff in and out in all kinds of weather."

So we spent another night camping on our living room floor.

Bonnie didn't fall off the stairs that night, so that was the good part.