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Some days are just tough

November 26, 2011

It’s Saturday after Thanksgiving, and the day started in a well-used room at the Super 8 motel in McKinney, Texas.  It turned out to be the nearest place to crash after a very long day for both of us.  We just weren’t up to the hour drive back to the RV in Roanoke, especially since we had to return to the house today anyway.

Our youngest son and 15-year-old grandson arrived from Wichita, KS at the RV Park in Roanoke around mid-day on Thursday.  We fixed sandwiches for lunch, then drove to the house in McKinney.  I organized the work I wanted to take to the Dickens of a Christmas, and we just moved stuff around mostly while watching the Cowboys play.  It wasn’t your standard Thanksgiving.

Friday morning, we all got moving early, stopped at Waffle House, then Nell and the boys dropped me off in downtown McKinney with artwork and a couple of boxes of used frames.  This event came up sort of unexpectedly for me, in the middle of moving things from the house to the RV.  I was offered a shared space for the one day at a very low booth fee.  The only setup required was to just hang my work on a 7×10 foot panel.  It wasn’t the professional booth display we normally have, but at least I had some work on display for the passing crowd.

While the downtown square had a good crowd circulating around between shops and restaurants from late morning on throughout the day, fewer flowed onto the side street where we were.  We were in the very first block off the square, and it wasn’t bad, but I’ve seen larger crowds pass through art booth areas at other festivals.  In all fairness, with retail businesses opening the night before, we were competing with the big box stores for the day-after-Thanksgiving shoppers.  And they weren’t buying art on this day.  Fortunately for all my new artist friends, a very talented group, by the way, this event runs through the entire weekend, so they still have two more days to score some sales, and I hope they do.  They’re a good bunch of people.

We were set up under a 20×20 tent, with four corner booths inside, and one outside.  I shared one of those corners, so there were actually six of us at Laura Moore’s “outdoor gallery”.  An opening at each end of the tent created an aisle for people to pass through.  Although, since we were in the middle of the street, I think as many, if not more, passed us by on the sidewalks on either side.  It was a fairly eclectic range of art, with digital equestrian paintings, landscapes, bold abstract color, and figurative and portrait work.  The group included Debra Woodward, Vicky Saylor, Lisa Temple, Don Matschull, and Elizabeth Lane, who I shared a space with.  It was a friendly, outgoing group of artists, with not a single obnoxious ego in the bunch.

In addition to a couple of her own great paintings, Lisa Temple manned a booth for Heart of Hope, A Portrait of Sudan, with a collection of paintings that tugged at the heartstrings.  The best explanation I find at the moment is on Anna Rose’s blog.

It was a congenial group, and that was a good thing, because we spent a very long twelve-hour day together.  Slow sales and a not-terribly-enthusiastic crowd can make for a tiring day.  Everyone was ready for the 8pm shutdown.

But my day was a walk in the park compared to Nell’s.

On the home front, Nell was struggling.  What was to be a simple, though busy, day of people picking up furniture at the house, doing some cleaning once the furniture was out, returning the cable box, etc. turned out to be a really tough day for her.

A couple of days earlier, she had begun to get some swelling in her right hand, along with some pain.  Experience told her it was gout.  She’s a tough gal, and works through a lot of stuff, but this didn’t let up.  On Friday, the day I spent in downtown McKinney, she had the buyers of our living room and bedroom furniture scheduled to arrive at 10am to pick everything up.  Our son and grandson left during the morning with a van load of stuff, and she was prepared to get cleaning done in the house.  The furniture didn’t get picked up until around 2pm.  Then, to add to the frustration, when they were removing the washer and dryer, the cold water shutoff apparently failed.  They turned off the water outside at the front of the house, and finished moving things out.  Fortunately, they discovered the problem before disconnecting the water hose, so there was no damage, but the water is shut off to the house, which meant Nell couldn’t do any cleaning.  A plumber is scheduled for Sunday afternoon (not bad for Thanksgiving weekend).

In the afternoon, Nell went to the hospital to deal with her hand, which was by then very swollen and very painful.  After being prescribed drugs to deal with the gout and the pain, she returned to the house, where she and Hemingway, the Schauzer, sat on the floor and read.  She ended up accomplishing almost nothing she had planned, and with her right hand immobilized in a removable soft cast.

She picked me up at 8pm, completely worn out, and the two of us were so exhausted, we just headed for a motel to call it a day.  After a reasonably decent night’s sleep, we started today off with breakfast at Waffle House again, then made the rounds to Goodwill, Time Warner Cable, AT&T (in the middle of all of this, Nell’s phone died), and Home Depot.

Two trips to Home Depot got me the correct end cap (a garden hose cap, actually) to put on the cold water tap at the washer/dryer connections.  That allowed us to turn on the water to the house, and do a little bit of cleaning.  At some point, we decided that we’ve been at this almost continuously for an entire week.  No wonder we’re dragging.  We loaded more stuff in the back of the Trailblazer, and headed to the RV.  We stopped at Catfish King to pick up dinner for later, drove to Roanoke, unloaded the car, walked the dog, and turned on the RV furnace because a cold front has moved in.  It’s 50 degrees with a 20mph wind, and forecast to go down to 38 tonight.  That’s not a big deal, I know, but we’re paying more attention to these things now, because we want to stay warm without using too much propane or running up the electric bill.

We have a lot to learn, but Nell just made an interesting comment.  The house is empty, and lifeless, as empty houses tend to be.  The motorhome is filled with out belongings, and we’ve already put up a cork board display of photos.  We’ve been relaxing in the new reclining loveseat for about a half hour or so now, and Nell looked up from her book and said, “It’s good to be home.”

We’ve got a couple of things to work out at the RV once we can focus on it alone, with no traditional house to deal with.  They are important issues that need to be fixed very soon, but as frustrating as things can get at times, especially when one is exhausted, we’ve learned that things do get done, and it all works out.  Right now, we’re snug inside, two people and a dog, kicked back and taking it easy, at least for the night.

Tomorrow… well, we’ll deal with tomorrow when it gets here.


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