Sunday, October 14, 2012

Cousin Bill's Oz Ark Home

An Ark in the Land of Oz?

I can't call it an "Ozark" home since it looks nothing like the Ozark homes of old, so I have to say that Cousin Bill's not quite the hillbilly type I had him pegged for . . . though he does have what you could call a "dog-trot" house.

Why, look! There's even the little dog Toto! This truly is the land of Oz! And much as Dorothy's home bore her and Toto safely upon the storm clouds to the Land of Oz, and Noah's Ark bore him and two of each kind of beast in the world (a bit crowded) safely upon the stormy flood to Mt. Ararat, so Cousin Bill's new home brought him, his little dog Toto, and his wife (or so he says!) safely through the headwinds of bureaucracy to a new land, where he -- again like Noah -- looked out of his Ark and saw where he had landed, and called it: "Arkansas." This may be God's Country, but it ain't no Garden of Eden, so Cousin Bill has to work by the sweat of his face if he wants his own garden of eatin':

A bit of a fixer-upper, seems to me. Speaking of fixer-uppers, Cousin Bill has 'repaired' his marriage, or so he says:
Relative to an earlier email circular regarding whether we were legally married or not . . . turns out we are . . . thought I'd put the tsk, tsk, tsk folks' mind at ease, as we received that "certified" copy of our marriage license from Kansas a week ago plus. Dang it . . . the idea of possibly being unmarried all the years made me feel . . . well, sinful.
I note for the record that Cousin Bill sent along no photo of this putative license, so I have to wonder if it exists in our three-dimensional reality. Sorry, Bill, but I'm as recalcitrant to your charming 'proof' of marriage as the bearded bureaucratic circus lady and therefore expect more than your mere word! Speaking of the hirsute one, she seems to have smiled more this time:
A benefit though . . . that marriage document allowed us to successfully procure our Arkansas driver's licenses. Gräbchen's Miss Jolly Smiley Face took her time scrutinizing that copy, as well as doing a thorough review of the other required "certified" items. The previous two weeks evidently hadn't been kind to her . . . we received another sneer accompanied by a jovial "Help you?" The process took another hour out of our lifespan. Prior to receipt of the DL, we had to sign a document stating we'd never text while driving, and if caught doing so, were subject to a $10K fine . . . you either sign the paperwork or you don't get the license. We didn't hesitate to sign . . . other states oughta do the same.
Hmmm . . . the lady suffering from frazonism appears to have accepted the validity of Cousin Bill's marriage (though I'd still like to see that license), but she exacted her revenge.
Our DL photos make us look like Miss Jolly's offspring. Thinking I might need a copy of my Kansas DL (to obtain a Kansas personal property tax refund), I asked for same . . . and received this reply: "Absolutely not, you surrender the Kansas license, and you get no copies, is that clear?" I muttered "Yes'm."
Once past that freak show in the Chamber of Horrors, Cousin Bill turned to pleasanter tasks:
I've included a few attachments of our "cabin" (yeah, I succumbed to Cheryl's insistence on running water, electricity and indoor toilets) and a couple of me "working" and "hauling."
We've seen some of those pictures, but here are some more, starting with the front of the 'cabin'.

Next, we see the entryway, from within looking back.

And since we glimpsed the dining room, let's take a fuller look.

Now, the living room, which perhaps ought to have come before the dining room . . . or not, for does one eat to live or live to eat, and more to the point, how would either principle determine the order of photographs. Leaving that conundrum aside for now, here is that already announced and much anticipated living room.

Moving right along, we come to the cooking room . . . sometimes called the kitchen, only coincidentally sounding like "The Kitsch Inn," a cupcake place in the city of Derry or Londonderry, Northern Ireland, but let's not get into that conflict.

Okay, what now? . . . maybe Cousin Bill's office?

No books? Must be that modern, paperless sort of office. After hours of hard work in his office searching for a sheet of paper, Cousin Bill will need to relax and re-energize in his sun room.

Wait a second -- this is the dog-trot room! Also called the doghouse, and I don't see no sun! Well, Cousin Bill can stay in the doghouse while we nosy on along to snoop into his "Master Bedroom."

Well, let the sun shine in! This looks more like a sun room! An excellent "Master Bedroom"! But where sleeps Cheryl, the supposed 'bride' of Cousin Bill? Is there no "Mistress Bedroom"? Maybe he's working on that. He's definitely working . . . leastways by his own account as he describes the work photo we've already seen above:
The "work" has entailed the clearing of brush, stick-tights, thorny wild blackberry plants, and seemingly miles of wild grape vines (one dealt a death sentence to a 50 foot sycamore . . . cut that down Tuesday). Another picture shows me and Molly ready for our 7th stump dump run with the (for now) last half load of dead timber. I've ventured approximately 40 feet into the forest (in back) and about 15 feet (on the west side). Immediately north of the yard (treed area) the terrain drops . . . similar to that of the downhill from Grandpa DeWitt's house to Big Creek. In other words . . . steep! And in cutting that dead sycamore, I stumbled and did a downhill roll . . . with the running chainsaw in my outstretched hand. I need to re-visit History Channel's "Ax Men" for tips on proper logging procedures.
Good idea, Bill, or you might end up an "Ex-Man." Is transgender an issue in Arkansas?
I also learned a quick lesson in what not to wear when cutting and pulling blackberry vines . . . you don't wear shorts and t shirts. I discovered too late such isn't proper attire for working in or around thorny vines. My lower legs and arms were promptly shrapnelized. I dressed in boots, jeans and long sleeves on day 2. Thorns smarten people up.
I reckon we've just been proffered proof that Cousin Bill ain't no true hillbilly, or he'd already've knowed that! But life goes on:
Today, we awakened to lightning and thunder and received a good rain . . . 4 and ¾ inches between 6 AM and noon. This afternoon peaked at a comfortable 71 with mostly sunny skies.
Hmmm . . . I did mention Noah, didn't I? But God willing and the creeks don't rise too much, Cousin Bill and his lady-friend have plans:
Arkansas craft shows begin next week, so expect I'll be required to accompany the wife to War Eagle, etc. Trees are beginning their transformation into yellows and reds, so we hope to begin sightseeing trips the following week.
I wonder what that "etc." entails. I always insist that my students fill in the details. But I suppose it won't include these two cultural activities:
Tomorrow offers laid back excitement . . . we'll miss both . . . Pea Ridge's 24th Annual Mule Jump and Bella Vista's 6th Annual Wiener Dog Races.
Afterwards, a weenie roast! Oh, wait, this is Arkansas, not Korea. Sorry. I'm so cosmopolitan and multicultural, I sometimes forget where I am . . . but here's a post scriptum from Cousin Martha, commenting on Bill's photos:
Your home looks beautiful! That back yard pic looks like you live next to a national forest, you don't do you? Shoulda had the loggers come and bid on those trees! Sounds like lessons with chain saws should be in your future!! I think your in the part of Ark that gets rain more,snow? Seems like that corner is in the news more anyway. Our part is always in the never rains, or power is out side. lol Your dog looks like a statue in the pic in the sun room. She's really cute. Well, you are too, but in a people way, not dog way. I've gotta go, I'm rambling.
Cousin Martha is rather less verbose than me and Bill, but she says the essential -- Cousin Bill needs some lessons in chainsaw manliness -- and that's enough!

And enough from me as well, but the poet Shelley has extra words of warning for Cousin Bill in the Land of Oz Ark . . .

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