Wednesday, September 23, 2009

In Case You Were Wondering

It's been on the evening news the last 2 nights so perhaps you have heard that Atlanta has had historic flooding after days and days of relentless rain.

In my 22 years here in Atlanta, I've never seen anything like it. Typically we are in drought alert and on water rationing, year after year. So for g'son Nicholas to have had 2 school days off for flooding in the county, that's saying something. Thus far, 10 have lost their lives in Georgia and Alabama due to the rain. Countless others have lost their homes/possessions. Back in 1993 I lost my condo to fire and have been wondering what would be worse, fire or flood!

Personally, I've been fine! The yard was becoming a jungle as the rain started several days ago, but because it wouldn't stop raining, I could never mow it. Yesterday, however, we had a day of sun, so I decided to cut the grass. The grass was dry BUT the ground was so soggy, the mower wheels left muddy ruts:

Now I ponder which was worse...the jungle or the ruts!

Switch gears now and let me update you on something else you may have been wondering about: the house selling and my upcoming move to the Netherlands.

After 7+ months of no bites of consequence on our For Sale house, the decision was made to refinance it back to a 30-year mortgage and Quit-Claim me off the deed, buying me out. It was a win-win situation, lowering the monthly mortgage and allowing me the freedom to move on with my life.

God willing and the creek don't rise, I expect to be out of the house and moved to the Netherlands by the end of November. The estate sale, getting rid of the last of my earthly possessions that won't go with me, is scheduled for the first weekend in November. After that, my car will be sold and...that's all she wrote!

In the meantime, I'm checking off the list all those things that came to mind the last weeks/months when I couldn't get to sleep. It's one thing to move to another city but to move to another country?! That's something else.

For example, did you know that when you apply for emigration to another country and have to get certified copies of your important papers (birth certificate, divorce decree, name change, etc.), there has to be an apostille (pronounced ah-pa-STEEL) added to authenticate the certified copy? And it's not in the same courthouse where you get the certified copies!

So I took 3 hours today to go get certified copies that I already had (they can't be older than 6 months by the time you start the emigration application and mine were a year old) AND to get them apostillized (if that's a word). You can imagine my sheer delight in finding out what this mystery was all about...and talk about getting my education! Attached (with a brass-plated rivet!) as a cover letter to the certified document is this apostille, specific to the Netherlands, that tells them they can trust the certified document to be valid. And at the very bottom it states "THIS APOSTILLE IS NOT VALID WITHIN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA." How's that for jumping up and down and backwards and forwards to get something validated!

So now you case you were wondering. I have NOT drowned or lost any possessions still remaining. And while the house still has no bites for selling (in fact, it's off the market while the refi is in process), it looks like I have an end in sight, at which point I can move on with the rest of my life.

Thanks for case you were!

Monday, September 14, 2009

NASCAR on Speed

Has it really been 2 weeks since I was writing about Frodo? What a segue, then, to NASCAR!

I had the good fortune of being invited to my first (and most certainly last?) NASCAR event ever over the Labor Day weekend a week ago at our Atlanta Motor Speedway (AMS). Talk about an experience! It's funny how we can hear about something all our lives and even see the races on TV but it's not the same as being there up close and so many other things in life.

First of all, my friend told me that NASCAR is more popular and makes more money in its sport around the country than all our other sports put together. Can you believe that?

Did you know that Homeland Security sponsors a car? Our tax dollars put to good use! Did you know that all the cars in the races use the same chassis, the same SUNOCO gas, and the same tires? The only difference in the race is the engine (Dodge, Chevy, etc.), the driver...and the pit crew. You can have the best driver in the world but if his/her pit crew is one or two seconds too slow in changing the tires, it can make or break who wins the race. Seriously! I tell you, I really got my education.

Another interesting tidbit: Did you know that those fighter planes that streaked across the sky just as the National Anthem was ending actually started off from Louisiana and were timed precisely for this entrance? How do they do that? Who came up with that mathematical formula!

Well, as happens in real life at most sports' events, people-watching ends up being the bigger event. That's why I always say I'd rather see the game on TV if I really want to see the game! Once a year in the Braves' ballpark or one last time in U of Michigan's Big House is always very nice, of course. Nothing like the ethos of the actual game atmosphere, which you never quite get on TV!

How many people told me, "Make sure you take your earplugs!" I did!

But what maybe surprised me more than anything was how redneck this venue was. How Bible Belt. Not only was there an invocation but Dr. James Dobson from Focus on the Family gave it. Don't get me started but...not gay friendly! And in an estimated attendance of 111,300, I saw only one African American. Okay, I know this is the South, but come on! Give me a break!

Having said that, was I glad I went? You betcha. Friend and I stayed till only about halfway through. It started at 7:30p (AMS's first night race in their 49-year history!), we left at 9:30 and watched it finish at 11:30p. Luckily I was spending the night there so it was a perfect way to do it.

And guess who the winner was! #9 Kasey Kahne whose pit crew just happened to be directly opposite our seats!

So was it the driver, the engine, or the pit crew who won the race...or all 3 together!

And oh, yes...there really was a race! I saw a lot of it with my very own eyes. :) In fact, here's a little photo album with 34 pics.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Just Like Frodo

Remember in the LOTR, the first movie, The Fellowship of the Ring, when the movie opens and Frodo is leaning up against a tree, reading? It's when Gandalf rides into town for Bilbo's birthday (image from Google Images).

G'son Nicholas was with me over this past weekend and when we watched the movie, he immediately said, "G'ma, I want to read in the woods, just like Frodo!"

No sooner said than done, as far as this g'ma is concerned! All we had to figure out was when we would do it. That was Friday night and the when ended up being Saturday, late afternoon. Thank God, because by Sunday it was raining!

We even had LOTR books to choose from for reading. How 'bout that!

As an interesting aside, we went out into the woods after we came home from seeing the last Harry Potter movie at the theater (the second time for each of us). We started talking about all the similarities between the HP movies and the LOTR movies. Then we added other good-vs-evil movie sets, like Star Wars and X-Men.

Don't you just love how those little minds work?!!!!