House. School. Snow.

OK, OK.. I'm posting slowly these days. Or at least a bit more infrequently. But it's all worthwhile.

Last week, the fam and I headed from England to Massachusetts, to look at the house and check out some new schools for the Critter. And get a taste of some snow. Which, for a Georgia boy and a California girl, takes some getting used to. But it's worth it! Check out our new pad:

Ok. It's not quite ours yet.. there's a little work to be done, and the closing papers to be signed. But if all goes according to plan, it'll be ours at the end of the month. Look at it again! From the back! In the snow!

We haven't been this excited about a move since we got ready to move to England. Which I guess is the last time we moved. But hey! We're excited! Because this time, there's a barn!

The two biggest reliefs came when a) my Bride approved the house. She originally found the house on the internet and sent me out to look at it on my last trip. On the basis of my recommendation, we put in an offer - before she had actually set foot in it. Or in Massachusetts, for that matter. Sound a little risky? Well, yeah. But we do have similar tastes, and this house was built in 1739 complete with all the cool character (multiple fireplaces, wide plank floors, spooky creosote lined attic) that implies, with a few major additions in 2006, like a new garage and master bedroom, an upstairs laundry room, and, oh yeah - a freaking wine cellar. The contractor is a big wine fan, and decided to do something with that basement area as a kind of hobby. Can you say: "Selling feature"?. The kitchen island in this place is as big as the entire kitchen in our place in California. Do you know what kind of obscene pleasure I derive from the thought of a large kitchen island? Really, you're better off not knowing.

And b) we figured out the whole school thing for the Critter. As I mentioned before, this was causing more headaches than the whole house thing. But in the end, after visits to 6 different schools, and two formal assessments of the Critter, we ended up choosing the public school down the street. 3 of the private schools actually said to us: "You're moving to Carlisle? Have you checked out the public elementary school? It's extremely good...", or words to that effect. And sure enough, it was the last school on our list to visit. And it was the only school to describe in detail how they go about creating an individual development plan for her, around her strengths and weakness areas, to keep her challenged and interested. And this is the public school. And it's two miles from our house. It's like the school fairy came along and decided to give us a wet sloppy kiss with extra tongue, just for being such nice people.

But if I needed a reminder that I was moving far away from my native habitat, we certainly got it during the week. Nature mocked us and our inadequate driving abilities and mild weather clothing by dumping about 8 inches of snow in three days. Which the Critter thought was just hilarious. And my Bride and I thought was just a tad excessive.

This led to a lot of annoyingly wet leather shoes, slow driving, and general grumpiness. And then we discovered what must be the most northerly Cracker Barrel in the United States. Which makes up for a hell of a lot of snow.

Two Uncle Hershel's breakfasts later, and I was a man with a different outlook on life. Snow? What snow? No problem! You feed a man a heaping pile of biscuits and gravy, and he can get through pretty much anything, I say. Our waitress asked no, really, where are you from really from, when I placed my order by saying "hell yeah I want grits with that", but she turned out to be a Virginia transplant, so I figure we'll get along just fine.

During an afternoon of down time, we took some time to drive around the area, to get familiar with the roads and the surrounding towns. About a half hour to the south, we stumbled across Longfellow's Wayside Inn. Complete with a practicing British Regiment.

We came all the way from England, and what do we find when we get to Massachusetts? A pub full of American re-enactors, pretending to be Brits. That sound you're hearing is irony, poking me in the tushie. But it was a fun crowd, out practicing with their black powder rifles and drill kits. Turns out, these guys are volunteers who put on shows for the tourists in the summer months, and were just out rehearsing in the off season. Note the tavern wench in the center-left. No self-respecting British regiment would be complete without a tavern wench.

Just when I thought it couldn't get any better, we stumbled across a Chick-fil-a even closer to our new place.

The world's perfect chicken sandwich, less than thirty minutes away.

We still have a few more months and a whole lot of packing to do between now and move time. But the thought of settling in to a house that is truly our kind of place is terribly exciting.

Even with all that damn snow.