A familiar rumbling, snorting, clanking...a glimpse of John Deere yellow through the trees...and yep, there it is, our old friend coming around the bend and up to the house. How long has it been away from home? 3 years? 5?
It was a bittersweet homecoming for our beloved backhoe yesterday, though. We have plenty of work lined up for it, no doubt about that - ruts and potholes in the road that need smoothing...a gardening/landscaping project that requires lifting and transporting huge rocks...
But it's been on loan to our friend Tom D. for all of his projects, trying to pay him back for all the time and work he sacrificed helping us build our home, and even though he isn't quite finished with it, the city told him the backhoe couldn't live there anymore.
When my Tom first mentioned buying a backhoe 15 years ago, I thought it was an extravagant indulgence...just a Big Boy Toy, like a big Tonka truck. Even used, they aren't cheap.
But he convinced me it would pay for itself in the money we saved building the house. He was right and I gladly admit it. That yellow bad boy scooped into the hill as easily as a kid's shovel in a sandbox, making room for our house; it dug trenches for the septic tank drain field, cleared silt from the drought-dry pond, repositioned huge boulders...and when our sweet German Shepherd, Maggie, died, it carried her gently from our rent house in town out to the property to be buried beside her brother, Jake.
Yes, Tom was right. It has paid for itself, many times over.
It's been a dizzy week of comings and goings, feeling more like a weekend than a work week. My friend Shari swung by Wednesday on her Spring Break Road Trip, just in time to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with us at the Monahans. I enjoyed introducing her to some of our friends...showing her a slice of my Lago life...and just seeing her and having time to talk.
The next day Daniel's friend Austin (and a few others that I don't know) came out to the house. They built a bonfire and I admit I envied them - it was a perfect night to sit around a fire... crisp and clear, the moon a sleeping silver crescent. Instead, I was shopping with the Girl, but that's always fun even though my feet and back and shoulders get sore from all the walking and standing - we always get each other laughing - so I'm not really complaining.
And then today I got to have lunch with my sister and her husband! They came to Austin for a conference, but they left home early so they'd have time to meet the Girl and me for lunch before the program started ...seeing them was such a wonderful treat!
Sunday there will be another sort of homecoming: we're getting a puppy! Yes, we really are! I keep thinking, Are we nuts? Will we be able to afford another dog? But then Max will turn mopey and moody and I realize we just have to do this for him. I just hope he likes her!
Uh-huh...it's a little "her", which is good - I was getting outnumbered by males around here.
The Girl told us about her - a college friend had posted the puppy's picture on Facebook. His mother already had too many pets and couldn't afford another one; they were desperately trying to find it a home.
She's a Rottweiler and something mix. That's their best guess, anyway. I researched the breed and thought, No, not the right dog for us. But then I would read something else and think, Yes, the perfect dog for us!
After flipflopping like that a few times, I finally just called and talked to the mom and got the pup's story...she was a starving stray, dumped, just like Max, and she wandered up to their house out in the country, just like ours, near Tyler, Texas. It was about there that I knew I'd say yes.
I found out she gets along well with their other dog and the cats...she's submissive to the Alpha (one of the question marks raised by my research)...she's very sweet...and, probably most important of all, she stays put around the house. She's had her first shots and got a clean bill of health from their local vet.
So now what worries me is...will she try to follow her foster mom back home? I cringe thinking of this poor puppy wandering off alone, but we have no where to lock her up, no way to keep her here if she doesn't want to stay.
So please, say a prayer that...
1) Max, Frankie and the puppy all get along...no one eats anyone else. I'm serious.
2) We all bond so quickly that she stays put and never wants to stray far from the house without Max or us.
3) She doesn't develop any major health problems that require surgery or the most expensive brands of special food, or constant supervision or....you get the idea. In other words, please pray we can afford to take care of her without going further into debt, because once she's ours, she's ours. Family. That's it.
Stay tuned for pictures. You know there will be pictures...