Moving On, Part 1

As y’all may have gathered from my earlier post about needing a vacuum cleaner, I’ll be moving into my own place soon, leaving Doc Russia to get his house back at last.

A couple of thoughts:  Doc had originally offered to put me up for a year, and subtracting the time I spent over in Britishland, France and South Africa on my sabbatical last year, that year is up (plus a month or so because it took me longer than I expected to find a suitable place to live).  Needless to say, my gratitude for his generosity is beyond words — as I’ve said several times before, that generosity (coupled with the same from Mr. Free Market and The Englishman in Britishland) quite literally saved me, giving me time to relax, recover and rebuild my life after becoming a widower.  No more need be said on that topic, because I’ve said it all before and anyway it just embarrasses them.

So:  where to live?

Fortunately, I’d done a lot of earlier research after I sold the old house last year, and I’d at least eliminated the places that were totally unacceptable.

The biggest decision, about location, was the hardest.  Of course, I’d want to stay in Plano (because I love the place, and it’s close to 2/3 of my kids);  but where in Plano?  The options:

  • an “urban” location — e.g. in one of the three “town centers” that Plano offers (Old Town, Legacy West or Shops At Legacy):  small, quite expensive, likely to be noisy, but handy and not requiring me to get in the car if I needed a pint of milk, plus having restaurants on tap within walking distance — all the pros and cons of the urban lifestyle
  • a more “suburban” type of complex:  quieter, larger, more affordable, but more remote.

When I started looking at places, though, the situation became much clearer.  Frankly, the urban apartments, while all attractive from a location perspective, were either too small (500 sq.ft), too expensive, or a little run-down (Old Town especially).  I liked the convenience, didn’t mind the noise, but ultimately I realized that I would need more space — and most importantly, none of them offered an attached garage:  parking garage or street parking only.  What I learned about that type of apartment served to crystallize my thinking on what I really needed, as opposed to what I thought I wanted.

My criteria for a Plano apartment, then, became quite simple:

  • Affordable (duh)
  • Ground floor.  After busting one of my already-fragile knees in the Scottish Highlands last year, I’m done with stairs — there’s a sound reason why I have a CLP (Cripple’s License Plate) on the Tiguan
  • 1-bedroom with attached garage (so I can let the storage unit go, and have somewhere to store my tools)
  • Large-ish (more than 750 sq.ft), to hold my still-massive book collection, my artwork, the Chubb which holds the ahem few guns I still possess, and Ye Olde Ammoe Locquer
  • Decently-finished (no crappy carpets, worn-out kitchen cabinets, etc.)
  • Gated.  I keep strange hours because of my part-time gig with Uber, and need to know the place is more or less secure whilst I’m gone;  also, if I  ever travel back to Euroland, I need to be able to “lock and leave” with some degree of confidence that I won’t come back to an empty box
  • In a decent neighborhood, and with residents who drive late-model cars and don’t keep junkers up on blocks (if you get my drift)
  • Within reasonable walking distance from at least a few shops, restaurants and such so I can get some exercise, at least.

I narrowed the choices to half a dozen “suburban” complexes, but three of them were really suburban, being miles away from any kind of shop, supermarket, drugstore, restaurants, whatever — and they were all expensive, too.

In the end, I found what I was looking for, and it satisfied every single one of the criteria listed above.  In fact, the place is perfect save for two ugh!  features:  it has an electric stove top, not gas;  and the cable/Internet provider is… AT&T*.  [pause to allow the moaning and groaning to subside]

But those two problems aside, the apartment has mostly wood floors with carpet only in the bedroom, a separate dining room, a small study and a massive garage — almost one-and-a-half-car size — with lots of storage inside the apartment itself.

And cheap (for Plano).

I’ll be moving in around the middle of July.  In the meantime, I have to earn Uber-$$ [sic]  so I can afford to get the necessaries, e.g. some furniture, a washer and dryer (no laundromats for Kim oh no) and so on.  Also, as The Spoiled & Ungrateful Children made off with all the kitchen goods, I’ll be needing to build that particular workshop from the ground up.  Fortunately, I know quite a bit about the latter, having worked in the Housewares department in a large retail chain, so that won’t be as difficult as some of the other areas.  (By the way:  since when did halfway-decent kitchen cutlery become so damn expensive?  Granted, it’s been about thirty years since I last bought the damn things, but still.)

So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to the range pick up some passengers…


*I’ve had dealings with AT&T before, and they are the most dishonest bastards I’ve ever come across.  Even their connection speed leaves room for dishonesty:  “up to 50Mbps” — so they could deliver as little as 5Mbps and still be “technically” within their promise.

Compromise

A long, long time ago, in a country and culture far, far away from ours, a Monty Python sketch involved a quiz show wherein the contestants had to answer questions about Marcel Proust. Of course, nobody was able to successfully encapsulate the rococo intricacies of The Most Boring Writer Ever, so the quizzmaster instead awarded the prize… “to the lady in the front row with the big tits!”

Such, I fear, is the result of the epic search for Nigella Lawson’s replacement in my obsession affections. So here she is, the errrr lucky lady: Carol Vorderman, who took the prize with her three outstanding attributes (boobs, buttocks and brains).

She’s no Nigella, in that she once confessed to being a lousy cook* — but Miss Vorderman can pilot an aircraft, which should count for something when we finally decide to carpet-bomb Washington D.C. et al.


*so’s Nigella, but nobody cares.

Gentle Reminder

If you enjoy this mixture of rants, essays, pics of beautiful women, irreverent jokes, gun pics, scorn, invective and all-round ill humor, and you don’t want to see advertisements, horrible pop-up commercial messages and similar filth appearing here at Splendid Isolation, please consider supporting this website either through a small monthly donation via Patreon, or by occasional donations via PayPal (see right-hand side bar).
If you are understandably suspicious of these newfangled electronic payment system things and would prefer to do things the old-fashioned way, send checks to my sooper-seekrit mailing address:

Kim du Toit
6009 W. Parker Rd
#149-141
Plano TX 75093-8120

Whichever way you choose, thank you for your support.

Under The Knife

My eyes have been getting progressively worse over the past couple years, to the point where looking with my left eye is akin to peering through muslin. Yup; with age comes cataracts. So here’s what awaits me later today (squeamish warning):

…and I’ll be getting the right eye done too, in a couple of weeks. Fortunately, my eyedoc is an absolute artist at this surgery — he’s the same guy who carries a SIG 226 under his white coat… how bad could he be?

After a lifetime of shitty eyesight that not even Lasik could take care of properly, here’s hoping things will get better. Apparently, it does.

Wish me luck, y’all.

Update:  all done, no problems.  See you tomorrow.

Yes, I’m Still Writing Books

It has been an unconscionably long time since I put pen to paper (okay, fingers to keyboard) to produce something that isn’t a blog post. This was because for the past few years I have been otherwise occupied, and the creative impulse went into hibernation. However, when I was staying at Free Market Towers the urge to write started to re-emerge from its long slumber, I took a few tentative steps to dust off the work and get rid of the rust — and now that I am free of Wadworth 6X, watching cricket and attending servant-floggings, it’s time for me to get back to work. Serious writing work.

Alert Readers will notice that I’ve added a “Buy Kim’s Books” section just below the header. There you will find links to all four of my previously-published works, and if you haven’t read any of them… well, this would be the time you apologize for your egregious inattention and get to it. That’s the old stuff.

“But what have you done for us recently, Kim?” 

Glad you asked. By the middle of March I will be publishing a new one, Skeleton Coast, which takes place in German South West Africa (a.k.a. Namibia) in 1908, and contains the usual Kim elements of murder, skullduggery, and sex. My dear friend Sarah Hoyt has offered to prepare it for Kindle formatting as soon as I’m done with some final last-minute editing (I can’t believe how many spelling errors still manage to float to the surface, like a Mafia hitman’s victims).

And the next few novels should be ready for publication by the times noted.

Now follow that link. You know what to do after that. I myself will be doing what I’m supposed to be doing… as Oglaf notes:

 

365 Days

One year ago last night, my wife Connie died of ovarian cancer.

In many cultures, there’s almost a mandatory mourning period of a full year after the death of a loved one, and I now know why. It has to do with anniversaries: “Oh, last year this time we were celebrating something together. This year… I’m doing it alone.” Those add up, and they take a toll on you as that horrible year drags on. But with the merciful passage of time — and it’s true: time does heal the worst of wounds — those little aches, those pangs of shared memories, fade and lose their sting. This year, I’ll remember an occasion from last year and this time, it will involve just me. Not as painful.

I have spoken many times about how my friends all over the world rallied around me and helped me get away from this most personal tragedy, so I’m not going to repeat any of it other than to say that they collectively gave me a reason to carry on living: not that I was going to do something foolish like cap myself, of course, but they got me to do things that helped dull the pain of memory, kept me busy, and above all made me realize that I still have so many things to live for. The alternative was for me to sit in a one-room garret and stare at the walls — which my friends, as they told me in no uncertain terms, were not going to allow me to do. Instead, once I’d taken care of the soul-destroying minutiae of death, I sold the house, traveled, and did the sorts of things which reminded me of the things I hadn’t been able to do before, but could now do. I did those things, and I will do again.

It’s called living. Life goes on after death and now, one year after that most profound tragedy from which I thought I’d never recover, I’ve come out from my period of mourning with renewed purpose, renewed hope for the future, and a renewed determination to live my life to its absolute fullest. That feeling, that intention, is not something that happened suddenly, or just this morning; it’s been a gradual process which began at some point (I have no idea when) and grew stronger and stronger as the year went on.

Now it’s been three hundred and sixty-five days since Connie died, and if you’d told me then that I’d be feeling the way I do today, I’d not have believed you.

Now, at last, I think I’m healed (although of course there may well be the occasional twinge of pain — I’ve felt a few just writing this post). All I needed was to get through the horrible anniversary to put the seal on it, and thanks to the boundless support from my friends, my family and my Readers, I made it.

Now it’s time for adventure, time to live again.

And if you’ll all indulge me, I’m going to continue to chronicle some of those adventures on these very pages. That is the real reason why I started blogging again — there’s no point in having an adventure when you can’t share it with anyone — and it’s only when I wrote this post that I realized it. (And by the way: a huge round of applause for Tech Support BobbyK, without whom I’d be snarled in incomprehensible Gordian techno-knot,  and you wouldn’t be reading any of this.)

So stick around: I’m going to drink deeply of Life in the years to come, and you’re going to share it with me. Enjoy the journey, because I most certainly plan to.


In Memoriam:

Constance Mary (Carlton) du Toit
14 May 1958 – 3 February 2017