Saturday, August 28, 2010

My Favorite Things...

Other than the retirement THING...and the building a house THING... and the moving closer to family of the best THINGS about coming to Clanton, Alabama was becoming involved with the little church we had been told so much about. It is Trinity Episcopal Church.

Trinity Church in Clanton is the only Episcopal Church in Chilton County. The current property was purchased from the local Seventh Day Adventist and the property dates back to around 1913. It was an Episcopal mission church until the mid 1960’s when it was closed its doors but the property was retained by the Diocese of Alabama. In 1995 it was re-opened as an Episcopal mission church once again with the same name. Since that time to the present the church membership has gone up and down and almost closed its doors again due to decline in membership. In 2004 Trinity began renovation work on the church by remodeling the kitchen and adding additional spaces and its membership has continued to grow.  H and I were members 69 and 70.
In 2009, at the annual Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama, Trinity Episcopal Church of Clanton, Alabama was named a permanent parish of the diocese. Thirty parishioners were there to rejoice! Our priest is Father Bill King and yes, I realized we have come from a Lord to a King.

Our first visit to the  church was the day of the Newcomers Welcome luncheon. This was when we learned about the history of the church, met the vestry members, enjoyed the fellowship of the parishioners and filled out the “sign-up” sheet! (We wanted to get involved but I’m not sure we would have moved this fast.) Both H and I checked several things we were interested in both together and separtately.   One ministry we both got involved with is the Beans and Rice ministry.

On the first Saturday of each month, this little church  bags and supplies beans and rice as well as a protien such as peanut butter or tuna fish,  a can of vegetables, a can of fruit, a box of mac and cheese to the hungry. This past month we gave food to 77 people of Chilton County. Trinity started this ministry but I understand other churches  in the area have started their own feeding programs since. Our little church has quickly become know as the Beans and Rice Church.

Another ministry, I became involve with, mainly because I have not gotten use to this retirement THING and I needed something to keep me busy, is the Prayer Shawl Ministry.This is something that interested me and after taking a knitting class last year,  I felt that I more than qualified to knit a basic  prayer shawl.WRONG!
 I talked to the woman in charge, read a book about how this ministry was started and how it works, got my instructions to knit a shawl and DROVE to Walmart to purchase my yarn!  After several times of starting over I finally got the hang of the pattern. But even though I can knit and purl, it does not necessarily mean I can see, or better yet, fix my mistakes! After a mistake was made, I would had to wait until I could find someone to help me with these mistakes....several times. I got to the point that I hoped the person to whom this shawl would be given wasn't in desperate need because this was not what I would call a very "prayerful" shawl. I finally took the entire thing apart and crocheted a beautiful shawl in two days! I hope to someday "knit" a shawl.....but not now. Along with making the shawl, I am now the one who makes the cards that goes with each shawl. Inside is the Prayer of Blessing by Fr. Bill and a couple more prayers of comfort for the one recieving the shawl. Now this was right up my alley!

NOTE: Thanks for the advice I recieved after my last blog. I was happy to hear from y'all and have put all the advice in the appropriate place in my files.

Saturday, August 21, 2010


     This is not just a song title.  There are a couple of reasons I named this post Help! One is because I could really use some Help and two, if I get any answers, I'll know if anyone is really reading my blog. Either way, here is my delimia....this week!
     Go figure. After getting all the boxes we could inside the house (mind you they are all still not in their permanent places for easy access), we decided we didn’t bring enough furniture! Really we did, but we didn't bring the right pieces. Duh! H seems to think we need something to put the sound system on before "game day"! As if we couldn't "hear" it without the sound system hooked up.

In deciding which 10,000 + pounds of furniture to bring to the rental house....we did not bring the armoire from the den (that the TV was in) because there was no wall to put it on. The TV is hanging over the fireplace, the sofa in front of the windows and the green leather wingback /with ottoman is on the opposite wall facing the TV. The speakers are flocking the fireplace and the sub woofer has a place of its own but the rest of "it" is still in their boxes in the corner. Quite alright with me... but alas! this is the middle of August in Alabama and I have already heard the words.....Are you ready for some football? So we have to get these "babies" out of their boxes!
     After lunch with a new friend, we walked into a little store in downtown Clanton and there they were! A set of three tables! After measurements were taken in the store, we came home to check on measurements of the components and area where it will be placed. Perfect! Actually the three piece set consists of a sofa table and two end tables. They are the right size, the color of wood that will go with other pieces and the style, although contemporary, will also go with the sofa and chair that will eventually go in the downstairs living room area for guests. That being the "key" decision maker....can it be used in the new house, we brought them to their temporary home. Temporary because one end table will serve as a place to store the sound system, one end table is next to the "man chair"  but they will go on each end of the sofa in their next life and the sofa table is now being use in the dining room to hold extra china and silver pieces that did not get packed with the other 13,000+ pounds of  "stuff" in storage still in Virginia!
   The new furniture has now prompted us to look closer at the old furniture. (See where this blog is going?) We brought with us to Alabama several pieces of furniture that either needs repaired, reupholstered or refinished  mainly because we thought it would cost less to have all this done here rather than in Northern Virginia and boy were we right!
   So the addition of the new pieces, had us talking to new friends and locals about who and where to do all these things. I had to start a Name and Number file for all these referrals and have already checked a couple out. Seems we found someone to reupholster the green chair/ottoman first.  After meeting him, decided he knew his business (been doing it for about forty years), and he promised it back in two weeks.  Now to decide what color leather! At least we have the sofa to start with but we still will need another chair in addition to the wingback in the new house. WOW! All these decisions!After three days looking at the leather swatches, our first decision was not to make a decision.  We were eventually going to add another chair/ottoman or recliner with that furniture so we decided maybe we need to go looking for that before we give up the green chair and maybe that would Help with that decision. Anyway, we drove toward Birmingham yesterday and discovered a wonderful big warehouse called Alabama Furniture Market and we went crazy!  There were so many comfortable club chairs, with and without ottomans, and recliners all ready for us to order but here we are back to square one. What color, which chair? Guess we need to make that decision another day.  *As a side note we did find H a new desk that came with other pieces as needed to replace the very L-a-r-g-e desk we brought with us that will overpower the size office in the house plans for him. One decision made!
    Building a new house has me a bit overwhelmed in the first place, not to mention all these decisions!  What do you do first? This is why I named this post Help! Do you pick colors, furniture, fabrics, rugs and then decorate around them? Do you wait until you move in and decide what colors you want to use and then go purchase furniture, fabrics and rugs? One would think some of this should get done before move in day. At some point we will have to decide. Anyone out there who has done this have any thoughts?
    Meanwhile I DROVE to the WalMart and bought a couple of folders to start my files. I have now organized everything I have been collecting to date. One folder has things like our house plans, sizes of all our furniture so we will know where it is going, photos of “wants’ and “needs” for the new house, names and numbers of all the “players” to get these projects done,etc. The second folder, titled
 Idea Book, has files (empty now) of where I will be putting photos, brochures and/ or ideas for kitchen and bathroom stuff, fixtures, lightning, tiles, flooring etc.  OMG! Where to start? Help!

Friday, August 13, 2010

I Get Around....

I know it has been a week since my last post but I did tell y'all I might not write everyday. I decided to write today because I had No Particular Place to Go.
For all my friends who really know me, you may be happy to know that it only took three weeks living here in Clanton before I told H that I was taking him for a ride! That's right, I took him with me in my little Jetta and we went exploring!  The first place I took him was to was the Post Office, then we went to  find our little church. After that I drove him straight to the Winn Dixie for a few groceries and then I drove him  back in the other direction, passed the turnoff for our house and went straight to Durbin Farms for some homegrown tomatoes and fresh peaches.

 Durbin Farm is an open air fresh fruit and produce market located on the right just off I-65 at exit 205. If you turn left off  exit 205 you will pass the Peach Park. This is another local  fruit and produce market which also features fresh peach ice cream and fried peach pies! I hear they have great Bar-B-Q there but that remains to be seen (or should I say tasted?). I mention Peach Park because you pass Peach Park on the way to Lake Mitchell. I have not made it that far yet!
  After Durbin Farms I drove H back home to put the groceries away. But wait, I'm not finished... After putting the groceries away we jumped right back in the car and I drove H to exit 212 where, in case you may be wondering, is the water tower that looks like (you guessed it) a peach! Did I mention that Clanton, Alabama is in the heart of peach country?

 It has a sister peach located in Gaffney, South Carolina.  We understand, however, that this one is smaller.  Anyway this exit is where we have to go for an ATM machine that the Navy Federal Credit Union is associated with where we don't have to pay a fee to take "our" money out. It is located at the Shop and Fill. Remember Exit 205 is where we get off I-65 when we get to Clanton?  Well, exit 212 is located at the other end of town which means I have driven from one end of town to the other!
Since that day I have been on my own and have driven to the Cornerstone Health and Fitness Club  for water areobics classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays, to the church every Wednesdays and, of course, to the WalMart!  I have discovered several little boutiques that I scouted out just to check on my competition. Found a Dollar Tree that I can drive to now that I am not teaching and don't need to go to anymore. Went exploring several antique stores for treasures for my new house and some nice places to eat lunch with my new friends. What more could a girl want? Stay tuned.

Friday, August 6, 2010

It's Now or Never...

    Today we FINALLY got both cars in the garage! Of course we had to do it in 98 degree heat, but if we kept waiting for a cooler day it would most likely be October and by that time I would have hit my sanity limit!

    Turning the calendar back... on Move-in day, the movers were unloading boxes and putting them where they were to go. Some rooms were quickly filling up with boxes when we realized that there was no room to set up beds, desks, or furniture in general. SO I told them to just leave the boxes in the garage and we would bring them in and unpack them at our leisure. WRONG! It has been 37 days since we got here and we still have no idea where things are other that IN the garage. So today was the day!
     As would be the case, we brought more stuff from our 5 bedroom/2 story house in Virginia that we could possibly want , need or use for our one year stay in a 3 bedroom bungalow in Alabama. Even though we had a floor plan, and called ourselves “planning”, we still brought too much STUFF!

We were delighted to find that there is quite a bit of storage here (garage attic and a loft area in one of the bedrooms) but as you can imagine, they are already filled with boxes for the next move and boxes for all the electronics.
    So once we got started, we were hell bent on getting things in a designated place in the garage so we could put BOTH cars in TODAY! That was the plan. We unpacked and then repacked boxes that we did not need at this house. We packed SEVERAL boxes for a Garage Sale…or Goodwill. We organized and lined the garage with boxes that didn’t fit in the garage attic or were too heavy to lift and/or carry up the ladder. We found places for the items of furniture that we brought with us but just couldn’t find a place in the house for them to go. (We actually used a lot of furniture pieces in ways and /or rooms that we hadn’t planned). And of course, we had to find places for the things that generally go in a garage such as tools, ladders, yard tools, lawn furniture, hoses, sprinklers, garbage cans, etc.
     Then we carried all the other boxes into the house. They are staged in the dining room waiting for their assigned area in an assigned room. (Good Luck with that , Joan!) I even purchased bed lifters for the guest bed just for the purpose of  making it higher so we can put things under for extra storage.
     After about 2-3 hours we were able to move the cars in the garage. Yeah!

    Afterwards, I wrote a list called WHERE’S MY STUFF? just so I would know which room, which closet, under which bed things have been placed.

     Note: In case you are wondering... All craft supplies are in the house, present and accounted for!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

This Land is my Land, This land is your Land......

We finally made it down to the lake and were able to take a look at our property! Our property on the lake is located at The Ridge. It is a gated community with about twenty waterfront lots. There will not be twenty homes because some people have bought multiple lots to build their homes. Our lot is on the point with what is called a gentle slope... we will be able to walk out to the boathouse. Some  homes are built high up on their property with a great view BUT have lots of steps down to the water.  Our friends have 99 steps down to their boathouse! Others may have less steps to their boathouse, but you should see their driveways! Even though we are not high on the ridge, we still have a fantastic view and wouldn't trade places with any of the other lots.

 H was able to point out the stakes on both sides to show me the property lines, but truthfully I’m still having trouble getting the big “picture”. As I mentioned, we are on a point and have a continuous view but until we stake it out, take out a few trees or have it framed...I'm clueless as to what I'm looking at!

 Here is a view from the water.  See all the trees?  That's where the house will 
  be!  Now I ask you, can you tell anything yet?  That's what I thought.
 *The boat house in the photo belongs to the neighbor the other side. (All the green "in the water in front of our property will be cleared when the sea wall and boat dock are built).

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sweet Home Alabama

H and I are a retired couple with 41+ years of marriage under our belts, who have just recently made the anticipated move from Northern Virginia to central Alabama to build our dream home. This “blog” is a way to share our adventure with those of you who have heard us talk about it for the past 4 years! In case you are wondering about the mixed up blog title...I'll explain. Some dear friends of ours gave us a tote bag with these words written on it filled with all things from Virginia for us to have in the car on our trip down south. The words had a lot of meaning since this will be Home Sweet Home in Sweet Home Alabama and I decided to use this combination to name this blog HOME SWEET ALABAMA.

When we arrived in Alabama the last day of June 2010,
we found ourselves, to quote our son-in-law, “dirt poor”! By that, I mean, back in 2006, we bought two thirds of an acre with about 340 feet of water front property on Lake Mitchell in Alabama and right now, DIRT is all we have!

For those of y'all interested...Lake Mitchell is located on the Coosa River near Verbena, Alabama.  Mitchell Dam is located on Lake Mitchell. It is the second oldest of 14 Alabama Power Company hydroelectric generating plants. The dam was named for James Mitchell, an Alabama Power Company president from 1912 to 1920.
And for those of you wondering just where in the h… is Lake Mitchell. It is located just off I-65 and 10 miles due east of the city of Clanton* located in central Alabama. On your map, *Clanton is located between Birmingham and Montgomery.  This may be more information than  you might want to know but as I have often referred to us moving to the “dam” lake... you now know why!

WHY ALABAMA? H was born in Mobile, Alabama and my father’s family was from Gadsden, Alabama. H live in Mobile until he was 16 and I lived in Decatur, Alabama for about a year while my father was employed at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville. Due to his sudden death, my family moved back to Tennessee where my mother was from. H moved to Memphis due to a job change for his father. That being said, we both had strong ties to this part of the world and decided this was where we would retire. We had always thought we would live a little farther south because of our love for the Gulf but little things (mainly Hurricanes in the past few years) prompted us to look farther up “north”. Visiting friends on Lake Mitchell helped pinpoint our retirement home.

The first weeks of July have had us on the go visiting family…mainly because from where we live now, we can! For the first time in more than 30 years, we live within a day's drive to most of our family. We have family members, as well as our daughter, in Atlanta ( approximately 3 ½ hours), family members in Memphis (5 hours) and family members in Florida (10+ hours). We both have extended family members in LA (referred to in this part of the country as…Lower Alabama).