While packing, I had the opportunity to get up close and personal with a few of my favorite things that are normally kept tucked away on shelving.
One year, at a White Elephant Christmas party, there was an exchange of gifts that left me with this awesome second-childhood gift. A big-rig made from wood. The details are fascinating.
The person who had this item to give for an exchange works as an Executive with Dow Chemical Company. Of course, if you are a regular reader, you know I live in the heavily industrialized oil industry outside of Houston. Big rigs are a regular part of our lives as we travel down Highway 225, better known as Hazmat Highway (Hazmat=Hazardous Materials) because lined on each side of the highway are refineries and chemical plants. If you are driving down 225, then you are likely to be surrounded by 18-wheelers transporting something from these plants to and from Houston's Ship Channel.
Many people in our area are either working for the oil industry, in some capacity, or are working in a position somehow related to NASA. Even our daughter had worked for Johnson Space Center for their Space Center Houston attraction.
This mix can offer interesting insight to some local jobs. Such as truck drivers...there is a certain amount of mystique and romanticism involved with loading up and hitting the open road, earning a living while hauling and getting to see America. For those who get to drive cross-country, the job sounds more like an adventure than a job.
However, our area has big rigs mostly transporting very flammable, dangerous chemicals. These plants are making things that our country needs, but those substances can be highly toxic. Sometimes, I cannot believe that we have a chemical plant that makes jet fuel within a few minutes from our residences, and if that sucker goes up in flames, there is a definite danger for the community. Heck, as my father says, "You don't even want to know half the stuff being made in those plants."
Since I've lived in this area for most of my life, I felt, heard and have experienced explosions from these plants that shake the ground for miles and that have blown out the windows of our neighbors. I have seen my parents lose people they care about to this industry.
Heck, one of my best-friends, Julia, had been an Operator for Dow Chemical for years. Her and I lived next door to each other and became as close as sisters. She drove an awesome SUV made by Toyota...one day, she went to work, parked in the parking lot and went about her merry way into the plant to do her job. Later that day, there was an explosion that reached the parking lot and literally melted one side of her vehicle. Melted. The SUV was melted on that one side with tires flattened while the other side of the SUV looked relatively untouched. An explosion with a high burst of flammables will do that, I suppose.
For me, moving to the country is something I yearn to do and will keep fighting to do because I am tired of living around the chemical industry. To breathe fresh country air every day would be a delight. To see living majestic trees as my daily company would be a blessing.
Some people have a hard time understanding how a person could crave solitude in their life, but I can see how there are people who are content to be with nature and to be in peace while still having moments of joyful gatherings with your family and friends, but to have the solitude be the predominate lifestyle.
The country will still have 18-wheelers, but very few of them will be on the road compared to the highly congested industrial traffic that surrounds me in this area of Greater Houston. Although, the big-rigs in the country will mostly be logging trucks...scary in their own right, but at least a spill would not endanger people within a two mile radius, depending on wind direction.
Right now, I am exhausted from being emotionally and physically drained from the constant onslaught of stress that I should not be experiencing. A life change is in order. I pray for renewed energy and strength so that I can get this house back on the market and get it sold.
For now, I simply want to complete my move to the country and the city boy can stay in the city...that will be perfect for me. Well, we all know life will not be perfect, but I will try to get as close to it as I can.
On a funny note, for everyone who knows my Australian Shepherd, Howdy, here is a video of a game of fetch played here in the house on a hot day. This is Texas. Looks like Friday will likely be a record-setting day for a hot temperature. As for Howdy, in this video, he gets to show-off his AIR LEGS that completely cracks me up. At least, when the hairy two-legged creature is being a jerk, I get to enjoy a soul full of joy from my four-legged furry friends. After seeing this video, I hope you can see partly why I enjoy Howdy's antics.