Tag Archives: Alabama

Running Stinks

War Eagle & Hail StateHave you ever wanted to be a super hero?  Well, I have!  Unfortunately, if asked for super powers, I would ask to spell every word correctly and run a six minute marathon pace.  These are my choices because I can’t spell and only molasses in Juno, Alaska is slower than me.  Tonight, I won’t talk about the words I can’t spell.  I will talk about my four favorite races that didn’t envolve other people, swimming or biking.  Here are my Mount Rushmore of races!

Scenic City Half Marathon in February was my first run of 2014.  This Chattanooga run laid the foundation for my whole season.  I am a multi-sport athlete, therefore I like events which give me some other variable than just sneakers on pavement.  In 2013, Scenic City was my first half marathon.  I ran the course in 2:25:02 which was epic for a slow fat, pasty white kid.  I ended 2013 with a trip to Baku, the flu and a long Christmas season.  February came early this year and so did my first road race of the season… Scenic City.  It was not pretty, but I ran the course in 2:24:05, a course PR and a shot of confidence for Ironman Chattanooga which would run some of the same streets and highways.  I love Chattanooga!  How could I not pick this race for my Mount Rushmore.

Cotton Row 10K on Memorial Day in Huntsville is a treat for any distant runner in the Tennessee Valley.  I finally got the guts to run the 10K version of Cotton Row.  I simply love saying I ran Cotton Row since I have a full size bale of cotton sitting in the front room of my home.  There is a little hill you must run up along the 10K version of Cotton Row that could be intimidating for most… it intimidated the crap out of me!  I enjoyed Cotton Row and recorded a 1:06:51 time, however, I hadn’t really started training in 2014 yet! Vic Balch kicked my ass in 2014… I am looking forward to 2015!

This spot was a toss up between the Liz Hurley 5K Ribbon Run and the Monte Sano 15K which are both Huntsville Track Club races.  The winner was, Monte Sano!  The winner was the 15K!  Monte Sano is my favorite place to run!  This year I have had dozens of training runs atop of Monte Sano.  This 15K was my first long run after Ironman Chattanooga and it was on the same day as the MSU vs. Auburn football game.  I ran this race with my Auburn friend Jen DiCarlo.  She wore Auburn attire and I had on maroon & white! How could a little 5K top this unique and special race.  Heck, I got an awesome photo along the 15K course which I finished in 1:44:48.  It was a great day and a fun race. (Photo credit We Run Huntsville)

Last, but certainly not least would be my most recent race, the new and improved, Rocket City Marathon.  I ran this race with Jen DiCarlo in 4:58:20.  This race is a taste of Huntsville, Alabama.  The new Rocket City Marathon course shows off the U.S. Space & Rocket Center and the majestic Saturn V.  I felt, honored to help in the process, volunteer during packet stuffing, and then ran the 26.2 mile course! I look forward to running this course again in the future, but next year, I promised Shaggy he could run RCM and I would help at the Rocket Center!  Big thanks to Shaggy, Katie and Will for watching over the logisitics so I could run this race!

After all the miles, this year was a good year for running, but running really does suck!

Four Triathlons in 2014

RenManTriAs I sit on my couch watching Rudolph on CBS, I don’t feel like a good triathlete.  However, much of this year has been devoted to training for one specific triathlon.  So how could I continue the theme of Mount Rushmore of things without first hitting a major component.  In the 12 months prior to Ironman Chattanooga, I competed in three sprint triathlons, three Olympic triathlons and three half distance triathlons.  So let examine the “full body of work” to see which are my final four picks.

Quad City Sprint Triathlon in Davenport, Iowa is my yearly pilgrimage to the home of John Deere and to race with my friend Rhonda Cox.  This was such a special race this year because of an hevent that happened later in the summer, which I am sure that will come up at some point later.  This race is run by a few other humans each year.  However, this was the second year that Rhonda, her sister Leigh-Ann and I have run this race on Saturday and then driven to Joliet, Illinois to compete in Warrior Dash, IL. The best part of the triathlon is the turn around point on the out and back run, a John Deere tractor.  The best part of Warrior Dash is Portillo’s Italian Beef sandwich.  Yes, food is that big of a deal that I would endure mud!  The Quad City Triathlon was important this year, and I am sure it will be just as important in 2015!

Renaissance Man Olympic Triathlon was probably my best run event this year. My bike was was consistent, my swim was strong and the run was HOT but I managed to finish without having a redheaded heat stroke.  This is a great event!  Florence, Alabama makes for a wonderful venue for a triathlon as it is tucked along the Tennessee River and home to many historic places.  The start and finish location is a majestic cliff guarded location which will stir the blood of most any veteran triathlete.  The bike is long and flat with some challenges but for the most part fun!  And the run energetic and historic.  I loved running by the Frank Lloyd Wright home just miles from the campus of the University of North Alabama!  If you are ready for an Olympic distance triathlon and in the region, don’t wait, sign up for this race. (Photo Credit to Katie Beth)

Ironman 70.3 Raleigh was great!  I loved the town, loved the food, loved the course and it was a fantastic road trip!  This was thanks to a lot of supporting cast.  This one probably made the top four because of the food, friends and fun I had along the way.  I struggled on the swim, liked the bike and the run seemed longer than 13.1 miles.  You can see why the adventure was better than the race itself.  However, I really like the point to point race!  Raleigh was an awesome venue and you couldn’t ask for better than the Oak City!  I really wanted to try Raleigh in 2015, however, I need to harass children that weekend!  Raleigh 70.3 was great!

Ironman Chattanooga will be a memory I take with me for many, many years.  The volunteers were fantastic and who could ask for a better swim!  This was the race I focused so much of my time on in 2014.  Hearing the words, “Ruth Marie Oliver, you are an Ironman” and having Dana DeBardelaben give me my finisher’s medal was worth all the foot blisters and long hours on the bike.  The coolest thing about Ironman Chattanooga was that people were cheering me on, event though they were not on the course.  Thanks guys! Whether you were in Chattanooga or on some social media portal cheering me on, thanks from the bottom of my heart!

That is my year in triathlon! Sprint, Olympic, half and full, these were the best four and one from each distance… couldn’t plan it any better!  Atomic Man wouldn’t make the list any year!

Home for the Big Games

Rhett's BellLast year I was not in Starkville, Mississippi for the Egg Bowl and wasn’t watching the Iron Bowl on my couch in Huntsville, Alabama.  I was in Baku, Azerbaijan with a nasty sinus infection.  In recent years, I have lived vicariously through the successes of both Alabama and Auburn nationally as I cheered proudly for the Bulldogs to win all they can each year but most importantly to beat “the school up north”.  Today, I will be watching both games in the same time zone as the games are being played.  But first, I wanted to reflect just a bit on where I was last year when Bo Wallace fumbled and the famous Kick Six happened.

First, it was Thanksgiving Day in the United States and Egg Bowl day in Mississippi.  I was ten hours ahead of Mississippi time and watching the game on my iPad with help of an app called Hide My Ass.  I traveled to Baku with my cow bell but mine wasn’t the important bell. My nephew Rhett’s cow bell has never seen Ole Miss beat Mississippi State.  Each and every Egg Bowl where Rhett and his cow bell have attended, the Bulldogs have won!  I have included the photo which was texted to me by Walt after last year’s game.  I was tucked away in my room at the Excelsior Hotel when the game was winding down and headed into overtime.  I felt like State would lose in OT.  I am sure the final play was over minutes before I saw it in Baku, however as soon as I saw Bo Wallace fumble the football, I grabbed my cow bell and ran around my room and down the hall of the 5 Star hotel ringing it loudly.  I could feel the victory on the other side of the planet!  Too bad the bar was closed, I would have bought the house a round!  They wouldn’t have a chance to kick me out of the hotel, because I moved to another hotel the very next morning.

Two days after Thanksgiving the Iron Bowl was held on the campus of Auburn University.  Again I was watching the game with help from technology to hide my IP address.  It was more difficult with my step down in hotels and I kept falling asleep. Each time I would wake up to check the game, Auburn was losing.  Finally, I turned off the live streaming feeling as if Auburn’s luck ran out after their Hail Mary pass against Georgia the week before.  I rolled over in my bed knowing that Alabama would win and eventually play for the National Championship.  The football gods had a different plan.  Anything can happen during an Iron Bowl with time still on the clock.  With one second left to play, the improbable happened when a missed field goal was returned by Chris Davis for a touchdown.  While Auburn fans and students flooded the field in Auburn my phone erupted in Baku with text messages and FaceTime calls from the friends.  I heard form people who I didn’t speak to on a regular basis when I was in the states much less while I was in Azerbaijan.  I didn’t even know what had happened except Auburn had won!  I quickly went to YouTube where within minutes Vern & Gary’s call had been uploaded.  I watched in astonishment as Nick Sabam and Alabama didn’t really know what had happened either!  Auburn was headed to the SEC Championship and eventually a face off with Florida State.

WOW! Two great endings to a game within two days of each other and I was around the world to experience it all.  Today, I have heard the ESPN Game Day crew, as well as Tim Tebow & the SEC Nation crew say “where were you when…”, I was in Baku!  I wouldn’t change that at all.  However, being away last year has made me more thankful for being at home today.  This year MSU is in the mix of a playoff berth but we will need a win today in Oxford and some help from Auburn.  Today, I don’t have to live vicariously through an Alabama football team or the internet.  I am home to watch the drama unfold on live HDTV.  I love SEC football and no matter what happens, I am proud of the Bulldogs!  Hail State & War Eagle!

And just for kicks… Go Gators!

Hail State

Hail StateWhile standing in line at Barnes & Noble behind three Mississippi State fans buying Sports Illustrated, I realized this week has been very gratifying for a Mississippi State fan living in the state of Alabama.  I’ve lived in Huntsville, Alabama since 2002.  I quietly come and go each day not knowing how many Mississippi State fans and alumni surround me. However this week, it seems like they came out of the woodwork, but really they have been around me all along.  In a state full of houndstooth and War Damn Eagle, we have lived vicariously through other schools’ success.  No disrespect, we have been the yard dogs for quite sometime.  Mississippi State has never been ranked number one. But this week, we have been invited to eat with the big dogs.

Monday morning, I wore my MSU pull-over to the gas station where I encountered a man who I had never seen before and appeared to be homeless called me a band wagon fan.  Little did the man know, I grew up on a farm 45 minutes from Starkville, Mississippi, a farm with parents who both attended Mississippi State University, a farm where I had yelled and cried at radio and television broadcasts detailing the ups and the downs of the Bulldogs.  No sir, I am not a band wagon fan!

Thursday night, a chaplain going to the Space & Rocket Center’s Biergarten saw my maroon and white colors.  He stopped in his tracks and gave me a hug. “So proud for those dawgs”, he proclaimed and then talked about how much he admired Dan Mullen.  So many people at work have been excited for me and the other fans of Mississippi State.  It really is uncharted water for Mississippi State.  I think Dan Mullen and quarterback Dak Prescott will captain the ship through these waters to a successful season.  I am still just like any true MSU fan, it isn’t successful unless we beat Ole Miss!

In a response to more cowbell, they are selling cowbells in Huntsville, Alabama!  Local book stores have ordered extra issues of Sports Illustrated over the last two weeks. There was a sign last week at the MSU and Auburn game, “Win or lose, at least I don’t live in Alabama”.  I miss my home state tremendously, but this week has been really fun.  The Magnolia State Mayhem has bled over into houndstooth country which makes me happy and proud of my Bulldogs!  I am not about to predict Mississippi State making it past University of Kentucky, but I have enjoyed this week in my second state!

Last Day in Baku

Moon RockI am in my hotel listening to Amy Grant’s 1992 Home For Christmas CD.  I am about about 90% packed, however I still have some souvenir shopping and a few more memories to make and good byes to say.  I can’t help reflecting on this amazing journey I have been on the last month. Last night after an amazing dinner at Sumack, which serves a traditional Azerbaijan cuisine, I tried to tell Mel all about the first few days of the build.  It was hard to remember the smaller details. But here are a few things I will never forget!

The people of this country and that I have met here are truly amazing.  They are remarkably caring and very hard working.  From Jimmy who worked in the set up to Erkan my Turkish friend who I didn’t get to say good bye to, I have met some grand people.  Anar and Slim to Khagani have been incredible patient with use.  The boys who work the simulators are an outstanding unit.  They work well with each other and take care of each other.  They showed me kindness that I will never forget.  We gave them call signs, wings and even a challenge coin.  But those gifts are not as wonderful as the last impact they have made on me with their outstanding spirits and hospitality.

What I have been doing is not curing cancer or ending poverty but it has been wonderful to work with wonderful people doing really neat stuff.  I have enjoyed working with my hands however, I think I need a manicure.  Working with the people from camp I don’t get to work with on a daily bases was awesome.  I love Cowan! And Michael is a funny guy!  But I will look back and always be thankful for meeting Joel.  He taught me a lot.  I think the original plan was for him to stay only a few days, but he stayed over two weeks.  Without everyone pitching in an extraordinary amount the exhibit would not have open before Thanksgiving and many people would have not been home with their families.  Plus the stuff I got to work with.  I have held meteors and a moon rock.  I have build display cases and stripped a Russian mannequin… the Russian mannequin was one of the coolest things.

Being away from my family and friends has made me miss everyone so much more.  Put thousands of miles between me and my parents, all the crap they gave me as a kid to get me to eat green beans melts away.  I have tried a lot of different foods. I have talked more to my parents this last month than any month I spent in Alabama.  But also, my dad had back surgery a week or so before I left and my mom just had knees surgery last week.  I have been a bad daughter being in Baku.  Thanks to Facebook, Skype and Oliver Florist I am not a total loser. Even people who live a few states away from me and only see once or twice a year I miss more.  I guess you don’t truly appreciate something until you don’t have it.

This trip and work has taught me a great lesson.  I think I have spent too much time in my left completing task and I have failed to connect with the people around me.  I love connecting with people.  But I really suck at it at times.  I rush, rush, rush and I don’t truly connect.  Over here, I haven’t been able to communicate as effectively using language, but I have still connected with them.  Heck, language is not my strongest quality.  I am not so good with words, you know?  But I need to stop and connect with more people.  Stop talking so much!  Just listen and connect, even if I have to use Azerbaijan charades.

As the song, I’ll Be Home for Christmas comes on I will end this post! I need to finish my shopping and make just a few more memories. Elvin, here we come!

Attention Future Sorority Girl

Yesterday I was at the Auburn homecoming game. It was an amazing day with the honoring of Pat Sullivan’s Heismen season in 1971. The day ended with an Auburn victory and a safe trip back to Huntsville. The great thing about Auburn, just like most college campuses in America, is their tradition around football. My favorite Auburn tradition is the flight of the eagle around the stadium just before kick off. And it was just before the eagle’s flight that I spotted the subject of this blog.

There was a young girl about four rows in front of where I was sitting in the stands.  I am hoping she was a high school student and there is still hope for this poor unfortunate child.  This girl, lets call her Fantasia, looked like she could have been twenty.  She made a ruckus from the moment she entered the stands.  She was taking photos and moving around from seat to seat. She looked disappointed at her friends that there was something taking the attention away from all eyes being on her. When the eagle flew, she proclaimed in a high pitched voice, “Will it get me?”

Fantasia spent more time facing her friends in the stands than watching the game.  She stood up for minutes on end turned away from the football field talking loudly about beauty products and Justin Bieber. Right before half time she stood up and brushed her hair. “This is Jordan-Hare Stadium not Paul Mitchell beauty salon!”  The couple that was sitting next too me noticed her too.  They joined me in mocking her just before the band took the field for the half time show. Then it happened. When the Auburn band and the entire stadium joined in preforming the school’s alma mater, Fantasia turned to multiple people franticly asking, “what is going on?”

Therefore, I proclaim to all young girls who hope to one day be a legitimate fan, do some research before you go to a football game.  Please don’t be a dumbass!  So many of my friends have been in sororities and still know more about college football than Kirk Herbstreit.  Then there are the girls that only want to go to school to socialize and party with their greek letter friends. Fantasia, don’t diminish your reputation and the reputation of your sisters by being an idiot.

Fantasia, if you are planning to be a sorority girl in the S.E.C. you may need to learn a little bit about football.  Yes, go get your Nike running shorts and rain boots, but also pick up a copy of Dixieland Delight.  That book will teach you about SEC traditions and might give you helpful tips on how to get a boob job payed for in Georgia. Please, live up to your potential Fantasia, don’t pester the people you are sitting around by being an air head! Education is the key to enjoying life!

Game Day Anniversary

As a kid I remember watching football on rivalry weekend. Mississippi’s big rivalry is the Egg Bowl where Mississippi State faces Ole Miss for the battle of the golden egg trophy. My father went to State and I have cheered for them as a little pup. My memories as a kid in Mississippi recall there being only one rivalry bigger than the Egg Bowl. That being the neighboring state’s rivalry, the Iron Bowl. I didn’t know how big the Iron Bowl truly was until I lived in Alabama.

I didn’t really ever have a favorite team in the Iron Bowl as a kid. I remember hating Alabama because they always beat up on the Bulldogs. Auburn was another cow college like Mississippi State and they had Bo Jackson. When I was a young teen the only Mississippi school that could beat Alabama or Auburn was Southern Miss led by Brett Farve. So I was neutral in the Iron Bowl growing up. Some years I would pull for Auburn and some years for Bama. I never knew that I would end up living in Alabama nor could I imagine marrying an Alabama alum.

It wasn’t by chance that is was my first Iron Bowl. Chris and I have made a tradition of giving traditional gifts as anniversary presents. This year the suitable gift for an Alabama alum was tickets to the Iron Bowl. All Iron Bowls are important in the state of Alabama, but this year, the 75th Anniversary Iron Bowl, was a mega showdown between reigning BCS National Title champ Alabama and undefeated BCS hopeful Auburn, a probable Heisman for Auburn in Cam Newton and a Heisman winner for Alabama with Mark Ingram, and the simple fact that Alabama and Auburn hates one another. I guess I was lucky that my first Iron Bowl was such a big game.

Simply the spectacle of it all was amazing to watch. There is no other colors that clash more than crimson with white and orange with blue. Alabama and Auburn fans hate one another. There were 200 extra security guards hired just for this event. Lebron James returning to Cleveland doesn’t even compare. The pregame experience is epic where some 100,000 fans cry at the crackly audio of Bear Bryant. It is a little tacky, however, when Bama fans cheer “Roll Tide” after the team’s first down like a tent revival congregation shouting “Amen.” I haven’t even been to another Iron Bowl or even a SEC game at Auburn’s Jordan-Hare to compare the Bryant-Denny experience. But from the eagle flying and hospitality at Auburn I suggest a visit to Auburn’s version of the Iron Bowl. But my husband won’t take me to “that (damn) cow college at the other side of the state.” Yet another example of how all Bama fans refers back to “the Bear.”

I think of all the great football, baseball, and other sporting events I have been to in my life. This Iron Bowl will have to rank up there with the top events. Some people have a bucket list with various things they want to do before they die. I have a sports bucket list and going to an Iron Bowl is on it. I was able to see a game at Yankee Stadium before they closed it. Last year, I visited the frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. I have been to NFL and NBA playoff games and several motor sports events, including the Indy 500. Some of my favorite sporting events have been in Starkville, Mississippi or in a baseball park. And I am here to say, if you love college football you should try to see an Iron Bowl in your lifetime.

Bravo Romeo Charlie

Photo By Al WhitikerBe Ready Camp is over for 2010. Will we have BRC 2011, only our next governor knows?  As for me, if this was our last year of BRC, I don’t think we could have ended it better! The final mock disaster was perfect, Gumbo made a great Incident Commander. The BRC staff was better and more knowledgeable than ever!

The special thing about BRC is the kids are my people! They come from the rural areas around Alabama. People from the first responder corps and blue collar men and women send their kids to BRC. Even the fire boys and paramedics who help out are my people. I found out that a Huntsville fire captain who has helped since BRC1 is a cotton farmer! People don’t get much better than farmers!

The staff seems to give a little more as well. Fireball works only on Friday to take care of the UAHuntsville nursing students. Snapper and Slip Knot have their favorite briefings. I love teaching Incident Command. The leadership skills that I have learned from BRC are more valuable than any book, lecture, or class on the subject. We teach things such as planning for a disaster. We teach kids to use common sense and keep their heads about them when chaos is all around them. It is a life skills camp, which is why it is so important.

On Friday night with smoke all around and a MedFlight helicopter hovering over the lake, I told someone that the mock disaster looked more realistic than ever. I was hoping the kids would respond with a great performance too. This week was a little bit of a struggle, but the kids rocked the mock disaster out! Each year, I am so proud of the kids and staff for their hard work on Friday night!  This year was a little more special.

BRC graduations are a little different than Aviation Challenge grads. We have more parents for six teams of BRC campers than we do for ten teams of AC campers. The parents and the campers are so thankful for the camp. I stand in one place under the bubble and here thank you for the campers and parents. It makes all the extra work of BRC worth it! At the end of my career, I will look back at BRC and still be proud to have been a part of the camp! It is truly a special camp!

If you have worked Be Ready Camp, why is it special to you?

Another Benton Blog

Saturday afternoon Chris and I saw a white F-150 truck with a blue and yellow Jeff Benton Homes tag on the front. I grimaced at my dear husband and said a few words I will not repeat in print. I expressed how frustrated I was at Jeff Benton and our legal team. Chris and I are seeking some justice in the lies told to us by Jeff Benton and his minions. We and a few fellow other homeowners are trying to find some justice through the legal system. I have found another outlet for my frustrations with Jeff Benton.

I wrote a blog in November titled, Will the Trees Stay. The Internet and Google Analytics are amazing things. This morning Chris and I were poking around seeing who has been looking at my blog site and what they have been looking at. Google’s search engine has brought people to my website and the blog entry discussing my trees and how we were mislead during the building of our home. The readers were led to my site through a tag for a subdivision currently selling homes. After reading my blog 25% of the readers left my site through a Ken McDaniel’s link and others going to Woodland Homes. Maybe, just maybe, someone will choose not to purchase a Jeff Benton Home because of my blog. It is a small victory, but a victory none the less.

Each time I meet a Jeff Benton associate out in public at the mall or the grocery store, I want to ask them if they enjoy working for an allegedly fraudulent company. Honestly, they probably don’t even know Benton’s pending legal issues. Hopefully my little blog will help. I am not just making this stuff up. Jeff Benton Homes isn’t hassle free!

Will the Trees Stay?

DSC00032-800x600Five years ago Chris and I closed on our first home. We were so proud of our jewel, our palace, our home. We were very detailed in the selection of our home… we thought. This blog is the good, the bad, and the ugly of our home building experience. I want everyone who reads this blog to understand this is from my point of view and my opinion of the situation. There are things that I am very pleased with and things I am bitterly disgusted with about my home. So read and take whatever you will from this tale of a first time home owner and a small creek which flows into the Flint River.

In May of 2004 Chris and I started looking for a house to buy. We had both lived in an apartment before getting married. We looked around at all the Huntsville area real estate. I didn’t want to live in Madison and he wanted to live near the mountains (they are really just hills). We became interested in the Jeff Benton neighborhoods around the valley. Jeff Benton was known for spec homes and low cost for nice homes. Seemed like a perfect deal for a first time home owner. True, Chris had owned a home in Jackson, Mississippi. However, I was new at this and it seemed like a great place to start.

Privacy gained from our trees

We signed our build contract on Chris’s birthday. I remember asking a few questions about the lot that we selected and the position of the house. We had selected to build on lot number 27 along a small creek; the same creek that gave the subdivision its name, Creekstone. Chris and I were both interested in the trees and the privacy they would give us. Our sales agent assured us that the trees would remain on our lot. “Oh, we love our trees in Creekstone”, as if Al Gore was the president of the home owners association. Even before we selected our lot we asked about the trees because they were so attractive to a farm kid.

In the summer as the plans were being finalized we were informed of an easement on our property. I asked right away, “Is there a project planned for this easement”? “No, it is just a standard U&D easement that is there just in case,” was the answer we were given. We were suckers; a sixty foot U&D easement is not standard not even in Texas where everything is big! Other families were moving in along the creek. They too had no clue of the impending destruction that awaited all of us.

Track hoe removing trees

We didn’t know about the plans to clear cut our trees and widen our creek until six months into our residence. Chris was out back cleaning brush from the creek and I was cleaning on the inside. Our neighbors told us of a meeting in the summer with Jeff Benton around the same time that we found out of the easement. They told us how they found out about the future project. There were some smoke and mirrors involved, but I am sure of this, there was a ditch improvement project coming, our trees would be cut down and Jeff Benton knew about it before we closed.

Chris stopped his cleaning of the ditch and we started investigating the planned improvement. We found out it was true. We would lose our trees and there wasn’t much we could do about it. The lessons learned are twofold, always do your homework on a piece of land in a real estate deal and never do business with Jeff Benton. The summer of 2007 in a cloud of dust we lost our trees and gained a wall in our back yard. This wall serves as a retaining wall for the ditch. The simple little country creek was transformed into an industrial looking drainage waterway with all the mosquitoes, snakes, and critters that come along with such a ditch. The city of Huntsville came though our yard with bulldozers and track hoes.

Frontend loader carrying away our trees

Some people would try to blame the city for building the monstrosity in my back yard. Some people would blame the buyer for not doing their homework. And then some people would call Jeff Benton the villain. There is truth in all that I said. But when you sign a contract with the builder and the purchaser stating that all pending public projects have been disclosed you would think you were safe from surprises. Jeff Benton was not up front about the future construction plans. The city of Huntsville has been very helpful to us. The ditch had to go in to help with drainage all throughout our valley. It is a fact of life. As for us doing our homework, we are very good at doing research now.

What remains of the creek

This is my way to vent. It is my way to shake my fist as the situation. If you don’t like what I have said, please let me know. If you are in the market to build a home and are looking at Jeff Benton, please consider other options first. I love my home and its construction is sound. But would I do business with Jeff Benton again? I wouldn’t even play bingo at the same table as him and I sure wouldn’t purchase a home from his company again. Point is, Creekstone has been transformed into Ditch Wall subdivision. I didn’t get to keep my trees, but I did get flooding to replace the trees.

If you are a part of BRAC’s relocation to Huntsville or just curious about living in our part of the world here are a few suggestions before you buy a Benton home.

Ken Mcdaniel Homes

Magnolia Village

Woodland Homes