Sunday, August 12, 2001

August 2001


We have been here for over 2 months now and are becoming Southerners. We
wave to everyone as we drive through the plantation, we don't pull faces
when the grocery store clerk is discussing her life history with the
customer in front of us and we are getting used to "really big hair
That's how the local TV weatherman describe a particularly humid day.

When we left you last time, Steve was on his way back to California for
first time. His travel was a mess with every flight being cancelled or
delayed enough that he had to rearrange connections. But he made it
and back and had a good time in between. Lisa, Bertie and Heidi kept
themselves very busy while he was gone and the time passed quickly.
timed things well and managed to avoid termite removal day. A crew
on the house with drills and put holes in the exterior slab every 6
The noise was deafening. Meanwhile, in California Steve signed the
for the sale of our house and we are happy to report that the sale has
closed. With some money in the bank we felt confident to start planning
new house.

We met with a house designer, Jack, recommended by friends and the local
builder. He is great and we immediately felt we could trust him to
the plans that we want. So we signed him up and he has started work. He
us the names of four builders to interview and told us we should decide
one early in the process so that we can involve him in the design. All
were very professional and helpful and we were having a difficult time
deciding. We both had a feeling that we liked one and so we followed up
calls to people whose houses he had recently built. They all raved
about him
and we visited their homes which were beautifully finished. So we have
signed on with Randy to build our house. We are giving you the names of
building team because we think they will figure strongly in our lives
the next year and we will share our experiences with you as they happen.

Back to life in the South. Here are some of our experiences that will
you a feel for things. First the DMV. We had to get North Carolina
licenses and register the car and that meant a trip to the DMV. We
on hearing that we could not make an appointment รข€“ it was strictly first
come first served. So expecting a full morning of one line after
another, we
arrived at the office at 8 a.m. We were not the first which was
discouraging. So we stood in line while the first customer was served,
5 minutes. Then it was our turn and we were amazed. We were input into
computer, registered to vote and took a computerized eye test and road
test. Whilst we were taking our written road tests he served the next
customer, then called us back, graded our tests and took our pictures.
8:30 a.m. we walked out of the office carrying our new drivers
licenses. We
even had a choice of backgrounds for our licenses, both of us chose
in Flight". The DMV car registration office was right next door. It took
only 5 minutes to register the car and we walked out of there with our
license plate ready to install. You can pretty much choose anything you
on your plates, as you can see in our web pics.

Steve has found a really nice church. It is fairly new and
beautiful. They did a great job of designing it with modern materials
with a traditional feel. It is located on a four lane divided highway.
Before and after the services, the police park a couple of cars in the
middle of the highway and direct the traffic. They stop the cars on the
highway to allow the churchgoers to turn left into the parking lot, or
left out of the lot. Sometimes the traffic is backed up out of sight,
the police just keep on waving the parishioners out of the lot. It
makes you
feel like royalty!

Now for the mail service. We are on a rural route which brings with it
sorts of privileges. Our mailbox is at the bottom of our drive. The
letter carrier drives a beat up, ancient car with a flashing yellow
light on
top. She sits halfway between the driver's and passenger's seats and
operates the car with her left hand and foot. Then she leans out of the
window and puts the mail in and out of the box. She drives a few more
and does the neighbour. When we see this unmarked, decrepit car it
makes us chuckle. If we have a package, she gets out of the car and
it to the door. She is a very nice lady.

So life is pretty good for us right now. We are excited about our house
plans and are enjoying our location. We have been swimming in the ocean
which is wonderful - 83 degrees with enough waves for interest but not
enough to knock you down. Even Bertie likes to go in. Steve will be
back in
Cupertino from August 12 to August 17 and he is looking forward to
friends and family again. He has two computer-fixing / dinner
that will be a lot of fun. That reminds me. Another good thing about
Jack is
that he does all his work on Macs - perfect for us!

Bye for now.