Saturday, December 15, 2001

Christmas 2001


I am sitting outside, looking at a bright blue sky and brilliant sunshine, wearing shorts and a T-shirt. It is in the mid-seventies and does not feel in the least bit like Christmas. Not that I am complaining. Mid- to high-seventies would be perfect for me year round.

Our most exciting news is that we have finally started on our house. The lot was cleared during the first week in December and we have an electricity meter which says 0000 and a building permit. They will start digging the foundation on Monday. If we are really lucky we might have something to stand in by Christmas. Getting the plans through the architectural review committee took some time but the changes that we made in consultation with their architect were good ones. The roof lines are much better now as you can see in our Christmas Album on the web.

We also got our landscaping plans approved. I spent a lot of time researching plants and growing conditions in our area and drew up my own set of preliminary plans for the landscaping. I was very excited when the architectural review committee accepted my plans without change and agreed to waive the requirement that the plans be drawn up by a licensed landscape architect. That saved us a few hundred dollars. Of course, we will need that money to buy all the plants that I have crammed into the plan. At one point during the design process, Steve asked me if I had figured out whether we could afford to implement my plans.

So the house and the landscaping are on track. The other exciting news is that I passed my real estate state examination and now have my salesperson’s license. I will be taking the broker’s course starting in January. Unfortunately things are pretty slow in real estate sales right now, so it seems unlikely that I will be working much before February. Shame!

Meanwhile Steve is still working for Apple and commuting back to the Bay Area once a month, except for December which is a short work month at Apple. He has vacation for 10 days over Christmas and New Year so we will be doing some more exploring in the local area. He will be back in the Bay Area in early January for his Mom’s birthday. Coincidentally, the Macworld Expo in San Francisco will also be happening that week.

We spent Thanksgiving quietly with the dogs and some dolphins. On Thanksgiving morning, we took the dogs to the beach and saw dolphins playing in the ocean about 50 yards from shore. They were having a wonderful time and put on a show to rival Sea World. After the beach we drove to Wilmington and had a traditional Thanksgiving Dinner at one of our favorite restaurants on the river in the old downtown area. It was a nice relaxing day and we enjoyed ourselves despite missing friends and family. We plan to walk on the beach on Christmas Day as well, and then spend the rest of the day with the dogs at home. I suggested a Christmas picnic in our new home, but Steve vetoed that idea. If the weather is really nice, I might still win!

One other big event in the last month was the Shallotte Christmas Parade. It was a beautiful warm day and all the people in Santa hats looked a little overheated, but there were some fun floats and bands and some groups of little racing cars that were doing formation driving. We put the highlights on the web. Our new friends Tina and Maya were in the parade, too.

So 2001 is almost over. It has been a momentous year for us, very stressful at times but we are now looking forward to 2002 and our new home. The dogs have taken everything in their stride and we should probably take a leaf out of their book. Easier said than done.

Anyway we wish everyone a wonderful Christmas and a safe and prosperous New Year. We will be thinking of friends and family throughout the holiday season.