Friday’s Weekend Column
About a Minnesota Man Exploring Life in the South

Wanda and James Stimulate the Economy
by James Glaser
July 10, 2009

Thursday Wanda and I bought a home, thus stimulating the economy. We stimulated the economy for the people who sold us the home, the real estate listing agent, the real estate selling agent, the real estate broker, the bank that gave us a loan, the title insurance agent and his company, the home insurance agent, the survey company, the water testing company, and the man who did the home inspection for us. The State of Florida also gets a boost with our deed tax stamp purchase. Wanda says we are doing a better job than Obama is.

Soon we will be stimulating the economy for the man we are hiring to paint and the man who will be screening in our porch; then there is the lumber company and the electrician, as I need to build a studio. Also, we are going to buy one of those Florida carports, and we are having somebody go in and shampoo the carpets, and somebody else is going to give the place a white glove cleaning before we move in. There is the electric hookup, cable, internet service, and all the eating out we will be doing until we get house keeping set up.

Up until a couple of years ago this same scale of economic stimulation was going on many millions of time more in America than it is going on today, and it kind of lets you know why things have slowed down.

We are moving from an urban setting in the heart of Tallahassee, Florida to a rural setting three miles north of Madison, Florida. The house is a nice three bedroom, two bath, brick home on 1.65 acres. Getting out of the city was a real motivation for us. For me the space to garden made this worth while. Wanda wanted to be closer to grandchildren and has wanted out of the city since I met her.

There are advantages in both places, but I guess that the way we see American life going right now tipped the scales for a move to the country. Not only do I like to garden, I think growing our own vegetables again will be good for us. Being out of town will make us eat at home more. It is so easy when it is just the two of us to run out and eat at a restaurant. I have to tell you though, both of us have noticed how much more expensive that has become, and really, we don't eat as healthy.

Also, country living is like a constant exercise program. Before we bought this place, I walked around its yard, and my pedometer reading told me I had put in 1,000 steps. Instead of hanging around the house and doing the computer thing or writing, I know we'll both be out in the yard. The yard is filled with large oaks and clean up of fallen branches, raking, tending to the garden, and house upkeep will keep us both a lot more active than we have been here in town. It isn't all work either. There will be birds to watch, along with animals. There are eighty acres of woods behind the house and eighty more across the road, so our yard must look to be a meadow for the wild life.

Also there will be landscaping projects and for sure I want a fountain. The garden will need a little decorative fence around it with a couple of arbors, and a potting shed on one end. The yard is filled with bushes, shrubs, flower gardens, and trees. You can tell that at one time the place looked spectacular, but everything now needs attention. I'll need a big garden cart and a place to burn limbs and branches.

Something I have missed about living in a rural setting is the stars. In town you can see the moon and on a real clear nights you can pick out some constellations, but because of the light pollution, you never see the Milky Way. On a dark moonless night, away from the city lights, you are surprised at just how much light the stars can put out.

I miss calling out to the owls. I could get answers from a couple of them on any night in Minnesota, and now I look forward to trying to set up a rapport with some Southern ones.

We have visited Madison a lot lately, and it is much like every small town I have lived in. Friendly people, easy to get around in, and not much traffic. Nobody seems to be in s hurry, and small conversations started on the sidewalk can lead to a longer one while eating lunch. With a population of 3,900, the town is big enough to have at least one of everything you need, but not so big you get lost in the bustle of commerce.

Last month we were counting down the days to closing on the house, and now we are counting down the days to moving in. You might think that our lives should slow down after leaving the city life, but from my experience of living in the country, it will really speed up. All we are really giving up is the stress of city life.

If you sit outside any time, day or night in the city, there is a hum of noise which gets louder during the morning and afternoon commute times. But it never gets really quiet. Out in the country, you can hear the wind, even when it is soft. In stead of a siren off in the distance, you might hear that owl or a deer walking through dry leaves.

In the country the noise level is softer, the stars are brighter, and all of God's creations are a lot easier to see and appreciate. Don't worry, I'll be sure and tell you all about it.

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