Greetings from the disaster area known as my life. In fact, life as I have come accustomed to knowing it ends exactly one month from tomorrow which is when my law school classes start. Which my lovely bride reminded me of at 1:30 AM this morning. Thanks sweetheart. That was a wonderful thought to go to bed to.
You would think someone embarking upon three and a half to four years of life altering education would take this opportunity to relax and enjoy the next 32 days. You would be thinking about normal people. I'm not normal. You see, in addition to my normal duties as sole breadwinner, head chef and bottle washer here at the castle, there are several other things that have been intentionally added to the schedule by us or serendipitously dumped on us by that evil genius Murphy (bucket list item: locate and pee on said personage's grave).
So, let's give the readership a rundown of the end of life as I know it.
1) The power steering in my 2000 Nissan Maxima finally chose last month to give up the ghost completely. Other than the inconvenience of this occurring in the midst of the hottest summer in recent memory (it's been a glorious 100+ degrees here since mid June), I really can't complain. That car has been chugging along for over 310,000 and shows no signs of throwing in the towel anytime soon. If you've never looked at Nissans, I highly recommend them. The down side is that I have to scrounge at least $45into the budget for a power steering pressure line (at best) up to $225 for a new power steering pump and pressure line (at worst) not to mention finding time in an already hectic schedule to change out said components while trying not to die of heat stroke.
2) Our oldest remaining animal, Sasha (the big lab/shepherd mix who will turn 12 or 13 this fall...I can never remember unless I go back and look at her vet records) has been in declining health of late. We took her to the vet last week. He diagnosed her as having had a mild stroke, arthritis in the hind quarters and some neuropathy. He candidly told us she doesn't have a lot of time left. The only question is whether she can make some improvement from her current state (very weak, wobbly, etc.) to make further treatment beneficial and not just delaying the inevitable. It's really depressing so close on the heels of the demise of the Yakmaster, but such are the trials of those who open their hearts to animals.
3) We've made it official pretty much everywhere else to more or less encouraging response: The Queen and I have decided to start the process to adopt. I haven't spent much time in these pages on the lack of children in the Castle mainly because that's pretty darn personal, and I really had no clue as to how best to handle it. Suffice it to say, The Queen and I have been unable to have children of our own. The Queen's health has recovered to the point that we can actually consider taking care of children and not lose our ever lovin' minds which is a tremendous blessing. Part of the adoption process is required attendance in classes about fostering/adopting/parenting. We've been told to expect the process to take anywhere from six to eighteen months. We've decided to go the foster to adopt route for a number of reasons not the least of which is cost. Further updates as events warrant.
4) I still have to finish the projects around the Castle so that we can, in theory, put the house on the market to sell.
5) The market sucks right now. I mean really bad. We had a realtor do a market evaluation for us a couple of years ago when we first started thinking about selling the house. It was not great then by any stretch of the imagination, but a sale was possible if you weren't greedy. From what I've been able to gather via internet research on houses for sale in my area, things have gone from bad to worse. Price per square foot has dropped by about $5 to $10 in two years. That sound you hear: it's the equity in our house going down the drain. We'll be lucky to sell the house at a breakeven if we can sell it ourselves without a realtor. Anyone want a good deal on a house in a Dallas suburb? Anyone? Bueller?
6) The castle's AC started out the summer heat wave at a disadvantage. The system is just a tad too small for the castle's square footage (it's a 4 ton system when it should be 4.5 at a minimum and 5 would probably be better). As you can imagine, Murphy struck when the temps hit "slow roast". The lines and compressor froze up. A visit from our AC guy later, we had our freon charged up and hoped that was the end of it. Not so much. Shutting off airflow to one bedroom/bathroom and fiddling with the thermostat setting for several days, we finally have an AC system that will shut off sometime after 11:00 PM. It runs non-stop when the sun is out. And it's forecast to be over a hundred....until who knows when. My luck it'll be the end of August before Satan drops the temps back to "simmer".
7) We are in the process of "decluttering" the house. Until recently, The Queen's parents were living with us. My inlaws are wonderful people; but, with two adult couples living under the same roof, there is just too much stuff. Since the inlaws have more or less relocated permanently to my brother in law's house while they work on refurbishing the house they will be moving into on his property, The Queen and I are taking the opportunity to reclaim our space. Easier said than done. It doesn't quite look like we need an intervention from the crew of "Hoarders" yet, but I'm not ruling the possibility out.
Enough for now. Duty and work calls.