Sunday, December 31, 2006

2006: A Look Back

I arrived in North Carolina on May 5th of this year - so while I wasn't here a full year, I figure 8 months of Country Girl living warrant a look back.

The truth is, that much of what I write about has to do with challenges and how I cope or find a solution. Whether it's where to find iced coffee (no honey, I don't mean like a latte) or rearing 2 pygmy goats, my move to North Carolina has presented me with a plethora of challenging situations to deal with - some more humorous than others.

In no particular order, here are some of the highlights of 2006:

* While getting goats was a sheer joy, it has not been without its difficult moments. Obviously, the deaths of Nanny and Claudette were tragedies that highlighted there was going to be more responsibility than we originally anticipated. However, despite their deaths, the never-ending worm problem, and the possibility of an unplanned pregnancy, I wouldn't trade Elvis and Ann-Margaret for anything. And I hope that 2007 brings some new members to the herd.

* Iced coffee was an early Achilles heel. It seems that the concept of brewed coffee served cold over ice is a hard one for the residents of Lincolnton to grasp (which is odd because iced tea is like the national beverage). Still, solutions were to be found. It started with a conversation explaining exactly what I wanted with one of the local coffee purveryors who kept me fueled for a week. Then there was the discovery of an iced coffee maker at our local discount store which allowed me to take matters into my own hands. And finally, by June I was driving into Charlotte on a daily basis where the concept of iced coffee wasn't so hard to grasp.

* Being behind the wheel again has been both thrilling and nerve wracking. There was the mysterious pothole I hit early on which ripped through the underside of the Mercedes and sent a piece of the fan through the radiator. Then there was the time I backed out of the garage (also in the Mercedes) and didn't cut the wheel and slammed the front left wheel into the side of the garage, leaving a big dent (among either things). Thank God we sold that car and got the Volvo - although the pressure of being behind the wheel generally requires I pop a Xanex. There was of course the "fender bender" which proved just how kick-ass my truck was and the second accident when someone tapped me from behind (while in the precious Volvo) while parked at a red light (no damage - Phew!). Debating about weaving in and out of lanes to keep moving forward while in rush hour traffic or the struggles of driving at night have been other driving issues. I don't know that I can say firmly all of my driving mishegas is behind me though - so add it to the list of "Areas to Improve" for 2007.

* Rumors abounded that Lincolnton was getting the world's largest Bojangles. Well, the new outpost has opened and while it does not appear to be the world's largest (there is one in Charlotte that appears to be significantly bigger), it may be the busiest. I counted 20+ cars in the drive through line yesterday at 12:30pm - and the parking lot was full! Honey - you wanna go get you a chicken biscuit?

* Tony Baloney showed up in our garage on a rainy Wednesday and became the newest member of our clan. He slowly graduated from an outdoor cat who occasionally came in the house, to an indoor cat who likes to go out. He and Sebastian seem to peacefully co-exist (although they aren't exactly friends) and Tony has even carved out a spot on our already over-crowded double bed (the new king bed arrives in 2 weeks - I can't wait!) - right smack in the middle!

* We managed to discover a few local watering holes - although they tended to be more of the biker bar variety. Still, I miss the smoke free environment of NY and NJ - you know it's bad when you come home and your socks reek of smoke...

* I learned to shop at Wal-Mart and Lowes. Actually, I didn't learn to shop anywhere. Shopping is an innate act for me - sort of like breathing. I can have a good time at CVS. But I learned to feed my habit in new and lower-priced ways.

* After struggling with my morning routine (remember the gate, the coffee, the too small bag?) I took care of the problems. The gate has been fixed - it is now close enough to the ground that there is no threat of Ann-Margaret slipping through (although her growing belly helps there too). We have a new latch that requires the simple flip of a pin. And under the tree I found that Santa had left me a beautiful new bag that is big enough to hold all of my crap and comfortably fits over my shoulder - leaving my hands free to carry my coffee.

* I found out that there are other Jews in Lincolnton- although Hanukkah candles were harder to come by.

* Lastly - I found that I love living in the country. When we first moved down, I made Marty promise that we would plan to move to Charlotte by next year. We went so far as to put a deposit on an apartment in a high rise in Uptown Charlotte that is currently under construction. But as can happen in this life, plans change. We discovered that while all is not perfect, we like where we are and don't want to give that up. Plus - I'd miss the goats too much.

And if that ain't country, I'll kiss your...

Happy New Year!