Saturday, March 29, 2008

New House Preview

Back To The Future...

Well, a combination of inertia and crappy weather caused us to spend yet another day in our new home town of Knoxville, doing some banking business and shopping for odds and ends that will be needed once we load everything on a truck and make the final transition.

I guess that you could say that this place could be habit forming...

That said, I've been wasting time with Autocad drawing the existing floor plan and contemplating the modifications we want to make in the future.

Here's a view of the plan including my current aspirations and the new and improved rear elevation showing the new decks and master bath/sunroom/deck additions:

Time to head to dinner now.

Where We're All Headed One Day


(Thanks for the tip Rodger)

Friday, March 28, 2008

Busy Week

Head Spinning

Let's see...what did we accomplish this week?

First, I just realized that on Wednesday I got another 270 words of editorial opinion published in the local newspaper down in Georgia. Here's a link to the PDF online edition (look in the lower right corner of the page.)

Second, we have had a WONDERFUL visit to Eastern Tennessee and specifically we really love the western suburbs of the great city of Knoxville. Maybe next time we come to the area we'll actually visit the downtown.

Third, we had our purchase offer accepted today on a lovely 1960's ranch house that's been totally renovated inside and is solid brick on the outside. By May first I'll also have a solid concrete unfinished basement in which to make sawdust and shoot BB guns and generally act like I'm thirteen years old again.

Perhaps the best thing about our future home is...

get ready...

it's exactly 3.7 miles away from my new office, and less than three miles from the mighty Tennessee River.

Needless to say I'm one happy camper tonight. Now all I need is a 21' fiberglass hull with a motor to make my life as complete as it can be while landlocked.

Congratulations are being accepted...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Dear President Bush: Let Our Military "Occupy" The Entire World

I've Got Knoxville, Tennessee Covered

Here I was, all excited and wanting to share the news of our progress, when I turned on FOX News and saw the President of the By God United States of America having to say out loud AGAIN what a stupid move it would be to pander to Pelosi and Murtha et. al. by retracting our men in uniform back to Ft. Bragg and Savannah and Ft. Rucker for election pandering purposes.

Why not close down Korea, Japan, Germany, and the rest of the %$#@& planet while we're at it and build a giant "force field" dome over North America.

Call me a neo-whatever...

Meanwhile, since I have to move back to the "real world", I'm starting my own list:

Incognito, shirtless, brandishing a firearm...standing in MY driveway in Farragut...HALT...WHO GOES THERE...FRIEND OR FOE?

(BTW...I think we're buying a house here this afternoon)

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Live From Housing Hell

You want Fries With That???

The good news is that my eyes haven't glazed over yet, but the bad news is that we're still facing at least another day and one-half looking at houses in areas of what is known as "West Knoxville."

Sophisticated places with names like Turkey Creek and Farrigut come to mind (they're really quite quaint in spite of the harsh names.)

I'm beginning to learn that choosing a house under these circumstances is a good deal like walking onto a dozen car lots selling different brands and trying to find a comparable model within a given price range.

You just can't do it.

There's always some complication like a bullet proof sunroof designed to deflect meteors or falling space shuttle parts--or atomic powered air conditioners, digital 48" tires, computerized seat cushions, microprocessor controlled floor mats, or some other unforeseen variable that keeps the decision making process off balance.

At least our lovely Real Estate Agent is a real gem rather than being out of the mold of the plaid-jacket wearing used car salesman, but it's still a daunting task committing five if not six figure sums of your hard earned money and years of your life to a time-compressed decision making process.

Do you take what's behind door A, or go for the rental cash in the envelope...or trade for ownership of the hidden reaches beyond door C and risk living your life with a herd of miniature goats next to the neighbor with the six kids and the fleet of noisy ATV's and the dog that's overly fond of your right leg?

I'm thinking about staying in town at least one additional day in an effort to not rush the process.

Heck, maybe I'll stay two days.

Come to think of it, since I've moved my luggage into this suite, maybe we'll just stay here and sell everything else left down on our little island.

In the long run, that would be a great deal easier, and might make a lot of sense in the end.

Then again...maybe not.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Somebody Find Me A Warm Place To Live...

Well, Mother Nature apparently decided that, IF we were moving away from our little Island in the next six weeks, that Winter should not be allowed to leave the area without giving us a small taste of what we should look forward to next season.

To that end, after loading our luggage, Missy the Turbo Pup (and her luggage), and ourselves into the car while facing a brisk, windy 45 degree morning, we proceeded to drive through the middle of the day to north Atlanta, braving snow flurries and even colder temperatures and stronger wind upon arrival at the hotel.

While it's still a balmy 50 degrees F at home, it's 39 degrees F outside my window and checking the's a lovely 34 in Knoxville on it's way down into the mid twenties overnight.

Silly me.

I didn't bring any long sleeved shirts, and it snowed last night in Knoxville, and worst of all...


Regardless of temperature, we have a busy week planned house hunting, meeting with my Head Hunter, and a nice luncheon meeting with the new project team on Wednesday.

Hopefully we'll be heading back to the Georgia Coast on Thursday with a new address in hand, looking forward to spending our last weeks in the glorious weather on our little Island.

Crying Over My Charcoal

Easier = Better (for a change)

I had a horrible realization yesterday at dinner. It came about as a result of a modification to my baby back rib cooking process, and as a result my charcoal grill may never see a rack of ribs again.

Here's the deal.

For years I've been brining my ribs overnight, then drying them off and covering with a dry spice rub, then slow cooking them over indirect heat on the grill for FOUR HOURS.

The process was lovingly conducted at the time and expense of a half bag of charcoal and getting lots of ash and soot on myself and the surroundings.

My results are always well received--moist juicy tender ribs, but the mental and physical preparation limited my desire to undertake the process to a few holidays a year.

Not anymore...

Yesterday I brined and rubbed a couple of racks, then tightly wrapped them in heavy duty aluminum foil and cooked them in the oven for three and one & one half hours at 230 degrees F, removing them from the foil to finish on a cookie sheet for fifteen minutes at 425 degrees F just to add some color.

Dang they were good.

And the Rack of Lamb?

Some people find lamb meat to be too strong and "gamey" tasting.


As usual, I went out on my own and closely trimmed the fat off the outside, then brined the rack along with the pork ribs overnight. Next I rinsed my lamb-cicles off and did a three hour marinade of diced red onion, mint, rosemary, black pepper, and lemon juice.

Cooking the lamb to a medium rare/medium doneness was simply sear the outside evenly in a screaming hot skillet, then finish the rack in the skillet in the oven at 425 for fifteen or twenty minutes.

I sliced the individual cuts apart, tossed out some sprigs of fresh mint as garnish, and even Pat managed to eat her way through a couple of sections while everyone raved over my results.

I wish I could have enjoyed the fruits of my efforts a little more, but my new internal plumbing is still limiting me to small portions although I didn't go away hungry by any means.

I trust everyone enjoyed good food and good company on their Easter holiday.

Now would someone please pass me the Mint Jelly???

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter

(Not my photo, and not my church, but I found the image here.)