My life changed dramatically and forever when I lost TJ.

I welcome you to follow along as I adjust to my "new normal".

It is not all puppies and ice cream but it is my life....real and honest.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Return To "The Shack"

It has been almost 2 years since I have been to "The Shack". For my new readers, "The Shack" is my property in Southeastern Arizona.  I own 10 acres at the base of the Dragoon Mountains.  TJ & I bought it years ago with the intention of it being our place to retire. Until we could retire and build a home there we wanted to use it. The property borders state land and is 1/4 mile from National Forest. Fantastic horseback riding country. In order to make it convenient for us to use we built a shack on it for shelter when we camped down there. The main shack was first and then a guest shack and then a bathroom. TJ used to tease me that he wasn't going to actually build me a house there....just 2,000 square feet of shack! Over the years we spent many weekends, weeks and once 2 weeks down there. Numerous friends came down with horses and lots of parties & horseback riding was based at "The Shack". I have neglected the place and I finally decided that I either needed to take care of it or sell it. My choice was to take care of it and in order to do that I had to return and assess it for repairs.

I knew returning there would be hard and take an emotional toll on me, but I had no idea it would completely drain me emotionally. Looking back I realize that just preparing for the return was emotional for me. We have no water or electricity so water must be hauled down with me. Just the simple act of packing the truck to leave seemed to have me reeling. TJ & I had packing to leave down to a science. He had certain things that he did and I had things that I did. We could pack and be on the road in less than an hour.

Once there I was surrounded by bittersweet memories. Everything about the place has TJ's signature on it. He was a fantastic carpenter and the buildings, while in disrepair now, were once beautifully constructed buildings. Both shacks have wood burning stoves in them for warmth in the winter. TJ built both of the stoves as well. He could build just about anything out of wood or metal. The entire weekend my brain was flooded with memories of what used to be. Friday night I barely slept because I could not turn my mind off.

(click on pictures to enlarge)
 The Bathroom! Complete with flushing toilet (if you fill it up with water first) !
Dragoon Mountains in the background.

 The main shack on your left and the guest shack on your right. Tater Tot in the middle!!
Both are seriously in need of paint!
My shower location. The actual shower was too filthy and I had no cleaning stuff so I just showered outside.
Off in the distance are the Chiricahua Mountains.

This was how my Saturday morning began. Dead batteries!
Kudos to AAA for sending a truck to jump me.
But mostly kudos to Albert for such a great attitude even though he got stuck getting to me.

This was Tater Tot's first trip to "The Shack".
He thoroughly enjoyed himself and slept all the way home.

While the emotions were overwhelming at first I did ultimately adjust. I was happy to be back home and I thoroughly enjoyed my weekend. Just like always, I hated to leave on Sunday and I can't wait until I can get back.


  1. i can only imagine how tough that must have been. but glad you are ready to go back again!

  2. It made me teary just to IMAGINE the emotions you went through. Oh, such a big step for you. I hope you can enjoy it. Do you think you'll keep it or sell it?

  3. I'm glad you were able to go back. It's such a beautiful place - I love the pictures.

  4. Ahh, my dearest Sandy, thank you for bringing us with you on your journey back to the ""beautiful Love Shack.""
    All these steps. Memories. & Love Love Love. Xxxx

  5. Hi Sandy. Gosh, I know that must have been hard but I'm so glad you did it and got some peace from it. Love the pictures. What a cool place!

  6. Understandable how memories would come back -- but I think it's good that you are wanting to return in such a short time frame -- big hugs! :)

  7. That area is so beautiful - I know it must have been difficuly, but it is good that you went. TJ would no doubt be happy to hear that you are going to fix it up.
    Hugs. GraceinAZ

  8. hugs to you sweetie. sounds like you have a lot of wonderful memories there. xoxo

  9. aw, sandy, you are such a brave person, i truly admire you. i'm glad you were able to go back again! (i can only imagine how tough that must have been for you.

    lovely shots, too.


  10. plus: the place looks beautiful!

  11. it was probably good that you braved the sadness and lived through that so you could move on and enjoy the place. I am so glad you did and that you will come back there. It looks heavenly. Actually, a bit like around here, maybe.

  12. Awwww...kudos to you for taking that step! {hugs}


Please, let me know your thoughts