December 10 Friday
Cut and Shoot is a real town
It's been a while since this journal has been updated, well maybe a long while, so with a great deal of trepidation, I take up keyboard and talk about our lives. Suffice it to say we are no longer in Montana, after all it is December, and that much has happened in the past few months.
To fast forward, we have traveled quickly through Idaho ahead of bad weather, spent a few days in southern Utah, and then several weeks in southern New Mexico, including getting several "Pink Store" fixes. Having replenished our stock of tequila with the help of our cross border excursions, we were off to the promised land, TEXAS.
During the past four weeks we have spent a week in Pecos, another in Odessa, then two weeks including Thanksgiving in one our all time favorite towns, Fredericksburg. Wow, has the Museum ever changed with the new addition. For Thanksgiving we had roast duck, minus the legs, which are now in the freezer awaiting the moment we find dried cannelli beans and turn use them to make cassoulet.
Then this past Monday we drove over to Livingston where we have spent the past week becoming Texans for real. As of this morning we had our new address on Rainbow Drive, had registered our vehicles after an inspection of each at Harrison's Body Shop. The bank accounts changed over, registered to vote, notified most of our accounts, etc of our change of address, put in our mail forwarding notice to the post office, and began the process of changing our insurance.
The other biggy was our drivers licenses, something that required both a written and driving test for both of us. If Linda had only wanted a regular drivers license she would have only needed to take a vision test and they would have issued her a regular Texas drivers license. Since she also wanted to be able to drive the coach, it meant getting a Texas Class B license and taking the same tests I would be taking.
Having known this for months, she had been diligently studying Chapter 15 in the Texas Driver Handbook. When she finally took the written test she passed it with flying colors, and if it would have been a test in school, her grade would have rated an A. That made me really buckle down and get all the questions right, so for anyone worried about passing the written test, just read the chapter, study the example questions, read the chapter again and it shouldn't be any problem passing, as at least 1/3 of the questions are common sense and the others aren't all that hard if one does any studying at all.
Once you pass the written test you are to call the next morning to schedule a time for your driving test that day. Unfortunately when we called, the lady who does the tests was out, being posted to another office that day, so we had to wait until today to take the driving part of the test. All of which brings you up to date, leaving out 99% of all that happened over those missing weeks including several repairs to the Explorer, but since we can't change what happened in the past lets get on to the present.
While it is not the entrance to doomsday, I'm sure some people think it is. Really, it is just the door to the DPS office where you get your drivers license. Linda was first to take the driving test, being emphatic about not waiting around while I took mine. She was also fully confident she would pass, even if she had her first taste ever of city driving in the coach the other day when she drove it in to be inspected.
I was probably more nervous that she was, sitting down, then getting up and pacing the floor, sitting back down only to repeat the process over and over. You can not see the location along the highway where you park before and after the test, so the first I knew her test was over was when the examiner walked through the door. Noticing Linda wasn't with her my mind started running amok.
Then I hear the examiner say "Your wife had a little problem with the test", at which point my heart skipped more than merely one beat, then probably seeing the look on my face, she added, "Oh, she passed, but going around a corner she hit a curb and a cabinet door came open. You may want to go out and help her."
Tell me what you would be thinking at this moment? In my case I could only think that I had forgotten to close a bay door tight and it had flown open hitting something. In reality it was quite different. Nearing the coach I couldn't see Linda outside, then I heard a strange noise inside. Going up the stairs I saw Linda standing back near the refrigerator, the floor in front of her littered with white shards of our Corel dinnerware.
We had forgotten to put the velcro fastener on that cabinet, the one that always flies open, which is what it did. Knowing I couldn't take the test until it was cleaned up, we both had at it, so to speak, so much so we forgot to take any photos. Just know that a cereal bowl, a medium sized plate and also one of our Japanese tea cups can look like every dish in the cupboard has broken when they are in pieces scattered over the floor.
As were were cleaning up, Linda said it happened when the test was nearly over and the lady examiner seemed to be more worried about the dishes than Linda was. We both guessed that Linda's calm demeanor when it happened probably went a long way to mitigating any negative effect it it might have had in the mind of the examiner. That wife of mine is awesome.
Then it was my turn to take the test, which the same route Linda took, and consisted of about twenty minutes of driving around town, making right and left hand turns, and backing in a straight line. Once we were back the examiner told me to meet her in the office to get my license. I thought she would tell me what I might have done wrong during the test, but she never said anything. I liked Linda's comment about maybe that was because I was perfect.
Austin is so backed up that it is currently six to eight weeks before they mail out the licenses, so for now we have an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of paper that is our temporary license. Why is it that mine looks like the half brother of Mount Everest has been stuffed into my wallet, while hers is is foled into something barely bigger than a normal license. Do girls go to a special class in school to learn how to do those kind of things, or is it just in their genes?
I'm going to be nice. I'm going to nice. I'm not going to write the truth, err, I mean anything bad, about out visit with some Tiffin people. Here we were, hardly settled into our new hometown and we learn that just down the road are three couples that we have had much fun with in the past. That meant that once the driving test was over and the trash bags of our former dishes were put in the dumpster, we took off to the little big town of Cut and Shoot, about 50 minutes to the south and west.
It was great to see Connie and Manuel, Sue and Mark and Sue, and Patsy and, as hard as it is admit it, Richard, once again. We'd missed them last year in Quartzsite as they had headed east instead of west, and we thought we'd miss them again this year as they headed west and we headed east. Then Linda read on Connie's blog that they would all be at a Tiffin rally in Cut and Shoot, and after a few phone calls, here we were. We ended up doing so much visiting and catching up, that with a few exceptions we forgot to take any photos.
Mark and Sue were cooking gumbo tonight for the entire group, and it was that inducement that sealed the deal that we would be there tonight, dispite being a little tired from the stress of the past few days. Plus besides the gumbo, Sue cooked her mothers "secret" recipe for okra. If you never write it down, its got to be a secret doesn't it? Just so you don't think Sue did all the work while Mark stretched out in a chair talking, Mark had done a lot of chopping and prep work, or at least he told us he did.
Linda found that she could help Sue as well as talk to her, and when I wander in Linda was putting the cookie dough out on the baking sheets, then I noticed that on at least one occasion her hand seem to go to her mouth instead of the cookie sheet. Something tells me she had a big smile on her face when she got this job.
Mark and Sue along with the Cookie Monster in the kitchen.
Manuel and Connie busy telling everyone at the table how great the gumbo is going to be, and to also be sure and taste the beer bread because it is awesome.
Richard and Patsy, proving that in the hands of the right woman, even the toughest man is nothing but putty.
The proud Louisiana girl with her gumbo. There were two kinds, mild and spicy. Its been years since I traveled to Louisiana on business, and my memories of gumbo had definitely faded, but one bowl of Mark and Sue's spicy gumbo with filé cleared out any cobwebs. Ummm, ummm good.
When you cook food this good you have no problem getting help.
Even great cooks appreciate a bunch of the boys chowing down and heaping the food on their plates. Manuel and Richard showoff their own techniques at heaping, and that brought a smile to Sue's face.
Gumbo, as good as it gets.
In the end, all good things must end, which is when Linda went up to get us some dessert. This is what she came back with, almost as much beer bread as dessert. That should tell you how good it was, or was it that she had eaten so much cookie dough there were not many cookies left. No, that's not true at all, she really didn't eat that much cookie dough, and the gumbo was so good, it almost seemed a shame to defile it with dessert.
I've written far more than I intended to, and no promises about writing every day until the new year, but I will do a better job of posting what is going on in our lives.