Status report

Tomorrow afternoon will mark four weeks since we landed back at Second Chance Ranch. We gave ourselves seven days to acclimate and recharge before diving into the work in front of us — getting out of here, that is, and starting the next chapter of our American Life in The Ozarks. Though we never expected it to be simple, things aren’t moving as fast as we’d hoped.

On March 17th we were greeted at The Ranch by a bigger mess (for lack of a better characterization) than we’d imagined. Weather hasn’t exactly been cooperative. A couple of unexpected repairs popped up. Deb’s fighting a nagging health issue and I’ve been feeling pretty puny myself.

Those and other factors slow but haven’t stopped us, more frustrating than it is discouraging.

Repairs to the Ming Green bath were completed yesterday afternoon — toilet pulled, 70-year-old vinyl flooring torn up, several square feet of subfloor replaced, luan underlayment put down and toilet reinstalled. Finishing the job will be left to the next owner, but we’re back to two functioning lavatories.

This week a couple of high-school wrestlers have been here to flush clogged gutters and power-wash the siding. They’re about half-finished with yard cleanup, too, taking care of downed branches and mountains of fallen leaves that accumulated over the last year.

Honestly, we’re embarrassed that The Ranch fell into such neglect while we were gone. That’s definitely not our style. There’s still a ways to go, but it’s good to see the old place looking more respectable again.

Inside the house, packing is underway. Deb’s filled a number of boxes already, holding out items to be auctioned. I’ll kick into high gear when the dumpster arrives, which will happen when the yard cleanup’s done.

Meanwhile, 700 miles away on The Mountain, heavy weather is predicted for today. Deb’s cousin sent us a photo of how he prepared Mercy to survive the prospect of hail, draping our Jeep in what looks like a car cover and securing chair cushions with tie-down straps to protect the windshield and hood.

That’s just cool. It’s the sort of thing we would’ve done, and the sight made us smile. It had me remembering many years ago scrambling to cover my very first car in quilts and a tarp before a hailstorm rolled through eastern Ohio.

Life is simpler on The Mountain. Every couple of days I find myself flipping through posts and photos from our time there, reaching back to recapture a little of what we experienced in that place.

Deb snapped today’s cover image on March 9th, the last time we visited the summit. Looking at that photo now I can sense what I felt at that moment. This Dan Fogelberg lyric comes to mind:

Once in a vision
I came on some woods
And stood at a fork in the road
My choices were clear
Yet I froze with the fear
Of not knowing which way to go
One road was simple
Acceptance of life
The other road offered sweet peace
When I made my decision
My vision became my release.

“Nether Lands” (1977)

That’s my motivation. We have work to do.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath

#LetsGoBrandon