2017 Journal

January

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Sunrise on January 24, 2017 at Stocktank RV Park, Liberty Hill, Texas

 

  • With the holidays over, Santa’s red suit was sadly hung in the closet. Now we returned to our normal routine of Sunday Worship and Sunday school, Monday, Tuesday, and Friday playing games and having lunch with friends at the  Leander Senior Center. Wednesdays with Grandies (a service organization sponsored by Cross Tracks Church) in the morning and choir practice in the evening. Thursdays we attend the Over The Hill Gang in Liberty Hill for games and a meal. Saturdays there are nearly always activities with the grandkids’ games. We also added a once-a-month Bunko Party.
  • The first fell on a Sunday. It seemed very fitting to have the new year start on the Lord’s Day. We worshiped at Cross Tracks Church, Liberty Hill, Texas. Where we sing in the choir.
  • The 2nd there was an Emmaus Gathering at our church in Liberty Hill
  • The 3rd we celebrated eleven years of cancer free life after Ella’s surgery in 2006.
  • The 11th was time for Ella’s wellness checkup with Dr. Wolf.
  • We celebrated Emery’s Birthday on the 14th
  • We had the first monthly Grandies’ meal. This was very special because we had it at June’s home.
  • Tate had a school musical on the 19th
  • On the 21st our choir was asked to sing at a funeral. To my knowledge, no one in the choir new the man. However, after hearing his children and grandchildren tell stories about him, I wish I’d known him. One of the stories recounted how his young grandson would sit on grandpa’s knee while grandpa smoked a cigar and drank a beer. When the beer was nearly gone, he’d hand the can to the grandson and say, “Finish this and get me another.”
  • My birthday on the 23rd was celebrated by an hour-long trip to the VA in Temple Texas for an exam. Several years ago they discovered a spot on my lung. So I have yearly check ups. All is good. We stopped at Golden Corral on the way home.
  • The 29th was the fifth Sunday of the month and at Cross Tracks Church, that means it is time for a potluck. I find it strange that a Methodist Church has a potluck only four times a year. Most churches that I’m familiar with have a potluck at least once a month and more if they can find an excuse.
  • On the 30th Tom had an appointment with Dr. Borick about the trouble with his left knee. The knee has been bothering me for years. Two years ago I had an xray of the knee at the VA. They basically said, “There’s nothing wrong with it. Suck it up, Buttercup.” The knee hurts to walk on. It also sort of cramps when I sit too long. Sometimes the pain is as much as I can bear.

February

  • 1st Ella had an appointment with Dr. Collins about a mole that has been growing. He removed it. While he was showing us images of different moles, Tom pointed at ones that he had on both temples. So Dr. Collins removed those also.
  • Tom had an MRI on his knee.
  • The 6th we attended an Emmaus Gathering in Bertram
  • The 13th we were back at Dr. Collins so that he could dig a little deeper into Ella’s moles.
  • Valentine’s Day Tom had an appointment with the nurse practitioner at Dr Crimmons’ office for a pre-surgery checkup and renewal of his blood thinner medication.
  • Tom had arthroscopic surgery to remove a one and a half centimeter “pencil_sketch_1487431811680.jpg
  • pencil_sketch_1487429054004.jpgpearl” from behind his left patella on the 15th at 5 a.m.  We went to our normal Grandies meeting after grabbing some breakfast. People were surprised that I was there so soon after the surgery.
  • The 16th found us back at Cross Track Church for training on being a Greeter.
  • Ella started to not feel well with cough and congestion on the 19th (Sunday) but went to the Leander Senior Center on the 20th because our friend Larrain, who lives in Waco, was visiting there.
  • However, Ella stayed home on the 21st and missed Grandies on the 22nd.
  • She got to Dr. Wolf’s office on the 22nd. He started her on some prednisone.
  • Tom went to the Over The Hill Gang alone on the 23rd. However, Ella did attend Emery’s Musical in the evening.
  • Tom was back to see Dr. Borick on the 28th for a post op exam. Everything looked super. In the evening, we had a pancake supper/dinner hosted by the youth of the church.

March

  • The first was Ash Wednesday with a 7p.m. service.
  • On the 3rd I reordered Ella’s DNA test from Ancestry.com. I ordered and received it before Christmas. However, Ella didn’t spit in the tube and return it for quite a while. I received an email that said they were unable to retrieve any viable DNA from the sample. So it was reordered.
  • Our Grandies group collects recyclable aluminum cans and every so often, takes them to a recycling center. This is also a time for us, as a group, to gather at the Blue Bonnet Cafe in Marble Falls. The place is famous for its pies. The 6th was our day to gather.
  • The 7th we were invited to go with Arik and Jenny to the Andice General Store for the World’s Best Hamburger. It’s not all hype, they are really very good burgers.
  • The 8th was our last visit with the dermatologist, Dr. Collins.
  • Great Grandson Henry Arthur was born on the 9th.
  • 20th had Tom doing fasting labs at the Cedar Park VA. Afterwards, we went to IHOP for breakfast.
  • On March 26th Tom discovered that the bedroom window was shattered. It is safety glass so it was still in place even though though there was a small hole in the upper right hand side.
  • 28th Tom had an appointment with his cardiologist, Dr. Crimmons. Just a checkup before leaving Texas for Iowa.
  • 30th Tom went to Dr. Borick to have 10cc of fluid drained from a pre-patellar bursitis.
  • 31st Ella went to Dr. Wolf because her ears are still “stuffed up”

 

April

  • No fooling, on the 1st Cross Tracks Church put “Make Church a Verb” into practice and went into the community do perform various tasks. Some did handyman tasks, some did in home visits, some prayed, and the choir (us included) sang at a couple of nursing homes.
  • 3rd Tom to VA Cedar Park for exam by Dr. Bassari
  • Also on the 3rd Richard, our Progressive Insurance agent, came to look at the broken window.
  • 4th After games and lunch with friends at the Leander Senior Center, we went to the nearby laundromat to clean our clothes.

After which we stopped at the post office on our way home.

Surprise! The truck wouldn’t start. I called our AARP roadside assistance number (that was a mistake – I’ll explain later) and was told that they’d send a tow truck to take us to a GMC dealer in Austin. When the driver arrived, he asked why we wanted to be taken all the way into Austin (about 30 miles). I told him that it was where AARP had routed us. He got on the phone with them and told them he was taking the truck (and us) to Georgetown which was considerably closer.

We arrived at the repair shop just minutes before they were closing for the day. They didn’t have loaner/rental cars and their shuttle service would not take us back to Liberty Hill.

I called Enterprise in Georgetown and was told they had no cars. Really? They transferred my call to another location where I was told that because I had an out of state (Iowa) drivers license, and a VISA bank card (as opposed to a VISA credit card) they wouldn’t rent to me.

This is why it was a mistake to contact AARP instead of Good Sam. If I had contacted Good Sam, they would have made all the arrangements for the rental car for me.

My son Adam lives in Georgetown and so I called him to ask for a ride. He had kids to take to after school activities but he could make a quick run to get us home. Thank the Lord! What a day.

  • 5th, Wednesday. I sent a message to Louine, choir director/Grandies president, to say that we were without a vehicle and would not be able to attend Grandies or choir practice. She said that she would come and get us and see that we got home afterwards. She also picked us up for Choir practice. As it happened this was the monthly catered meal for the choir. While we were eating, I was explaining our current automotive adventures with our friends. Burt and Louise offered us the use of one of their vehicles. Burt and I went to his place and picked up one of his “spare” vans. Now that is really Make Church a Verb.
  • 6th. Our new Liberty Hill Police Chief has begun a monthly program called “Donuts with the Chief” which are sort of like miniature town hall meetings. The speaker at this one was from a woman’s shelter.
  • 7th. We got the truck back. We gave them $1100 and they gave us the keys. We have new fuel pump, sending united and associated devices. The truck also has had an oil change … which we needed to have before heading back to Iowa.
  • Saturday the 8th was adventure packed. We started with Sofia’s volleyball game, and then rushed to Tate’s football game. From there we made it to the monthly Bunko party.
  • 10th. While we were sitting at the table eating breakfast, there was a “thump and a shake”. I thought something had run into the side of our RV.

However, it was closely followed by another thump and I realized that I was now leaning to the left. Looking down, I could see that the floor of our slideout had literally fallen away from the wall about 3-4 inches. Once, we processed the fact that the floor had fallen out from under us, we started moving as much weight off of the slideout floor as we could.

I sent out a general distress message to our family. We were planning on heading back to Iowa on the 26th. The RV was to go into storage while we were gone. However, it could not be stored in its present condition. Following on the heels of the truck repair, we were not in a financial condition to have it repaired. I called our Progressive Agent. (by the way, I guess I never followed up on the shattered window. It was covered under our policy. However, the repair cost was $250 and we have a $500 deductible.)

We received a message from Arik and Jenny that we could come and stay with them until we decided what to do with the RV. So we packed some bags with clothes, medications, and anything else that we thought we might need. When we arrived at the kid’s they showed us the guest bedroom and we began unloading our stuff.

We began making a list of our options. We started with the realization that because the floor had disconnected from the wall, the slide out would not slide in and would therefore would be impossible to tow down the highways.

  1. Repair the RV (however with our financial and time constraints this did not seem achievable)
  2. Don’t repair it. However, if we were not going to repair it, that would mean unloading all of our stuff.

If we removed our belongings that would mean finding a place to store it (rent a storage unit or get an apartment). Getting an apartment also appeared to be on our list of “not possible”. There was the option of loading everything into a U-Haul and taking it back to Iowa.

  1. Give up our lifestyle of living part of the year in Texas and part in Iowa.
  2. Curl up in a fetal position with our thumb in our mouths and do nothing.
  • 11th we went ahead with our plan to have lunch and play games with our friends in Leander. We needed a break from the worry and stress.
  • Wednesday the 12th. We attended Grandies and helped stuff 20,000 plastic eggs with candy for the egg hunt coming on Sunday morning.
  • Maundy Thursday 13th Our church hosted a Seder meal. It was pretty close to a traditional Seder considering that it wasn’t kosher and we aren’t Jewish.
  • 14th Good Friday. The choir sang for the Good Friday Service
  • 16th Sunrise service, brunch at church, Regular service followed by an egg hunt.
  • 17th. Richard from Progressive came to look at the damaged RV. He wasn’t hopeful that the damage was covered under our policy.
  • 20th. Returned to Dr. Borick to have bursitis drained
  • 24th. We had a going away party with Adam, Leigha and kids
  • John, Dawn, Brandon, and Nathan drove from Iowa to Texas.

They worked at getting the slideout pushed back into the Hitchhiker RV and everything cleared away so that it could be towed back to Iowa. After only an hour or so, they hooked up to the Hitchhiker and headed back to Iowa.

  • April 28. We left Arik and Jenny’s in Austin at 8 o’clock in the morning.

We went through Temple Texas a” t 9 o’clock and through Waco Texas at 10. At 10:30 we stopped in Ross Texas at Sonic to grab a sandwich and to get up and stretch our legs. We made few stops along the way, just for gas and bathroom breaks.

  • The 28th turned into the 29th as we continued driving. Somewhere along the way, I pulled into a McDonald’s parking lot and slept for about 20-30 minutes. We purchased some breakfast sandwiches at the drive through and continued on.
  • 29th. We arrived at Cutty’s at 3:00 in the morning. It was cold and wet.

While Ella picked up the dryer sheets (before we leave our trailers for the season, we fill them with dryer sheets. Ella believes it deters mice. I put out mouse bait to kill mice.), I got the shoreline of our Excel fifth-wheel plugged in and reattached and opened the LP tanks. That allowed me to get the furnace going.

We crawled into bed and slept until around 8 a.m. Then we went to Village Inn for breakfast. John brought the Hitchhiker to Cutty’s and set it on a temporary storage site. Rain and Cold continued.

In the evening, John, Dawn, and Brandon invited us to Felix and Oscars for supper. Afterward we stopped at Wal-Mart for water hose and filter.

  • 30th we attended church UPUMC. Then came back to the Excel and rested. More Rain and more Cold made me wonder why we are always in such a hurry to get back to Iowa in the Spring.

Usually we hurry back because I start to work at the campground fee booth early in May. This year, however, we had an additional reason … a new great grandson.

May

  • 1st The Sun came out but it was still cold. We went to Grimes senior center for lunch.

Then to Wal-Mart to stock up on groceries. There are canned goods in the Hitchhiker. However, we can’t get to the pantry in the Hitchhiker when the slideout is in. And we don’t want to risk further damage to the floor by opening it. Later went to see brand New great grandson, Henry Arthur Roff. On the way home, we stopped at Chicago Speakeasy for prime rib.

  • 2nd We began to settle into our Iowa routine.

We had lunch at Grimes Senior center and played lots of games. Joyce was very excited to see us return. She loves to play a board game called Fast Track. However, she has trouble finding anyone to play with when we’re away.

  • 3rd ( pie rush Wednesday) After being at the senior center for lunch.

We meet up with Tom and Sue Stone at their RV and then we all went to Village Inn for pie and a

L-O-N-G conversation. Pie Rush Wednesday is another of our summertime routines.

  • 4th Started the day at the the dentist for teeth cleaning.

Then to Grimes and the senior center for lunch and games. We went to the Hitchhiker (in storage) and moved a few things around. We brought both recliners from Hitchhiker to the Excel. We did that for two reasons. One to get more stuff out of the way in the Hitchhiker so that when we can get to work on it there’ll be less stuff in the way. And two, the recliners are more comfortable that what are in the Excel.

  • 5th signed in at senior center, then Tom went to Unity Point doctors for his sore toe.

After the nurse practitioner examined the toe, she prescribed some antibiotics and said to soak it several times a day in hot water and Epsom salts. Then it was back to center for Lunch and games. In the afternoon we picked up prescription. Once we returned to Cutty’s, we went to the Clubhouse to do our laundry. For supper we got a pizza at Casey’s General Store

  • 6th Tom worked at the Fee Booth from 8 to 2.
  • 9th there was a Cutty’s Employee meeting in the afternoon. We got to meet the new Club General Manager.
  • 10th was another Pie Rush. Lyn Wilkerson joined us for supper, pie, and conversation. She is a cherished friend for over fifty years.
  • Tom worked 8-2 both 11th and 12th
  • 14 th was Mother’s Day and was spent with the Iowa family of kids, grandkids, CV and great grandkids. Tom worked 2-8.
  • 15 th Ella had an eye exam at Wolfe Clinic in preparation for having her plastic lens implant cleaned.

Appointment set for 20th of June. We made it to the Grimes senior center in time for lunch and then played a few games after lunch.

We stopped at Cutty’s office on the way back in and picked up my first paycheck for the season. It was for just a 13 1/2 hours and I got $112 which I deposited electronically. One of the joys of retirement, working seasonal, part-time work for minimum wage.

  • 17th Ella had a tooth extraction at 8 o’clock in the morning.

It was around 11 when we got home. Ella went to sleep until sometime after 2.

I worked on more sermons while she slept and then set my alarm for 2 and took a nap also.

Ella woke from her nap and demanded oatmeal right now! After she had eating her oatmeal, we went back to the dentist to get her new dentures. On the way home we stopped at Village Inn for Pie Rush Wednesday. We had just gotten inside the building when it started raining really hard and then about three minutes later it increased in intensity. There were trees down and limbs scattered around the campground. One large limb way across the camper just across the street from us. She was not home at the time Dominoes on Wednesdays and Card Jackpot on Fridays are another part of our summer routine.

  • 18th in the morning I drove to Union Park UNC to pick up worship bulletins for the 28th.

From Memorial Day through Labor Day, I preach at the campground nearly every Sunday. I prepare the bulletins in advance and email them to the secretary at UPUMC who prints, collates, and staples them for us.

  • 19th  Tom worked 2-9 and missed playing Card Jackpot. Ella did play.
  • 20th there was a Meet the Manager meeting from 10-10:30 followed by a Club Hall (think town hall) until nearly noon.
  • Sunday the 21st we went with most of the family to Be Hope UMC. For Henry Arthur Roff’s baptism.
  • Tom worked 8-2:30 on 22nd.
  • 23rd Both Ella and I went to the Foot Clinic at the Grimes Senior Center.

There is a Public Health Nurse that comes once a month to care for our feet. It is on a rotating schedule so you can only get in once every three months. Having gotten our feet taken care of, we ate and played games until our 2:30 appointment at Unity Point Clinic. Ella still having trouble with her ears, was given a prescription for Allegra D and Flonase. Tom had 25cc of fluid drained from the bursitis on his left knee.

  • 24th Wednesday. You know by now that we will be at Village Inn for Pie Rush Wednesday.  

We did our normal trip to the senior center in the morning and then in the late afternoon/early evening, we met up with Frances and Sandy and Stoney and Sue for pie. Then in the evening we played Train Dominoes. We play Mexican Train throughout the year in different locations. And every location has their own house rules. I do fairly well until someone yells, “Hey! You can’t do that.”

Friday and Saturday (26th & 27th) Tom worked at the Fee Booth from 8:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

  • Sunday the 28th was our first campground worship service of the season.

Ella and I were the only ones there. This was partially due to the fact that our yard signs (we had 5 originally) were missing. Tom then worked from 3 to 10 at the Fee Booth.

  • Monday the 29th was Memorial Day. Tom conducted a brief Memorial Service.

It was held at the entrance to the campground where there is an eagle statue and where we fly the US flag, The POW/MIA flag and flags of all the armed forces. There were fifteen to 20 people present.

  • 30th we were back at the senior center as usual.
  • 31st Ella had a mammogram and ultrasound. She had detected a change in the way it felt.

Since we just past the eleven year mark from her breast cancer surgery, any change gives us concern. After the exam, they set an appointment to do a needle biopsy on June 7th.

 

June

  • 2nd Tom worked 8-3;30
  • 3rd Ella did laundry at Cutty’s main street. She also attended a graduation party for one of the kids she befriended while working at the Clubhouse for many years.
  • Sunday the 4th was our second Worship Service at the campground. There were five of us this time.
  • 6th Normal day until 2 when Tom went to work until 9:00. It was a slow night at the fee booth. When I got home, Ella had bad a banana cream pie for us.
  • 7th Ella had a mammogram, ultra sound and needle biopsy this morning. We missed coffee at Cutty’s Cafe but arrived at the Grimes Senior Center early enough to help set the tables. After lunch, Ella took a nap and Tom did some outside work around the Excel. And, of course, it was pie rush Wednesday.
  • And ended the with Train Dominos.

  • 6/8/17 Thursday. Ella received a call from the doctor about the biopsy. No Cancer! Praise the Lord. Tom had a department meeting this morning from 8:30-10 at the Clubhouse while Ella had coffee and conversation at Cutty’s Café. After Tom’s meeting was over, we went to the Grimes Senior Center for games and lunch. We didn’t stay for more games after lunch because Tom had to be at work from 2-9. Before he went to work he took care of a few things around the Excel. He moved the awning support to a vertical position so that he’d stop cracking his head on it. He added a row of pathway “lights” along the patio. And added support stakes to the two signs he had painted for the Sunday Worship. Since it is Thursday, they were serving family style meals at the Café tonight. Tonight’s menu is meatloaf, baked potato and some veggie. Ella brought some to Tom for his supper at the Fee Booth. ‘Aint she sweet?
  • 6/9  The ususal morning routine and then Tom worked at the fee booth from 3-10. and Ella played Card Jackpot in the evening.

6/9/2017 sunrise at Cutty’s

  • 6/10 I woke in the night with a ‘charlie horse'(http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/muscle-spasms-cramps-charley-horse} in my right leg. I haven’t had those since I was a teenager. I got up and walked around for a little bit and the muscle relaxed. Because of my early morning exercise (grin) I slept later than usual and didn’t get out of bed until almost 6:30. We drove to Clear Lake Iowa for Tom’s  nephew, Kirk, wedding. He had originally ask if Tom could preform the ceremony. However, he told him that he is not a licensed minister just a certified Lay Speaker. Tom knows that there are websites where you can become “ordained” for a couple of dollars. However, he has too much respect for those ordained ministers, who attend years in seminary training. Here are some photos of the weddingFB_IMG_1497178340730 (1).jpgFB_IMG_1497178302902.jpgFB_IMG_1497178246759.jpgElla and I with my niece, Krista and her husband, Russ and also my great-nephew, Tyler.FB_IMG_1497178334737.jpgHere is a photo of Tyler, Kirk & Rita, and Tyler’s wife, Regina0610171543_HDR.jpgAnd here are some pictures of the typical Iowa countryside … exciting isn’t it?rTwo hours up to the wedding and two hours back. 95 degrees and 30 mile an hour winds.
  • 6/11 We had a communal breakfast at the Clubhouse this morning. All you can eat: scrambled eggs, hash-browns, toast, juice, milk, and coffee. Plus for an additional dollar a quarter pound breakfast sausage. Tom had two sausage but skipped the hash-browns and went easy on the eggs.Following breakfast we held a Worship Service at the Adult Center. Tom’s topic “In Every Ending there is a Beginning.”After our worship service, we went to our nephew, (actually Tom’s great-great nephew) Demitri’s graduation (from high school) party. We got a chance to visit with family members that we haven’t seen much of lately. Demitri hardly spoke to anyone and spent the entire day sitting in the corner of the kitchen playing games on his phone. Most of the family sat outside on the deck. Thankfully, it was shaded because the temperatures were in the mid 90s. It was nice to get together with more family.Coming back to the Excel, the air conditioning, and the recliners was the perfect way to spend the remainder of our Day of Rest.Between the nieces who just stopped by this week, the wedding, and the graduation party, it has been sort of a fragmented family reunion. Tom is now the “Patriarch” of the Williams Family. That is a sobering thought. We got to see some of his great-great-great nieces and nephews this weekend. It also reminded me of those loved ones who are no longer with us.We ended the day with a dish of ice cream and an interesting sunset.
  • 6/12 Tom was up at 5:30 and spent some time working on sermons and bulletins. After Ella got up and was showered, we went to the cafe for breakfast pizza (scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, and several types of cheeses).

We then went to the Grimes senior center for games and lunches.

I think it was nearly 2:00 when we finished our last game of Fast Track.

Tom’s prescription was ready for pickup at Walmart so we also purchase a few non perishable groceries.

From there Ella wanted to go to Home Makers (furniture store) to look for recliner love seats. We were surprised that they are all electrically adjustable and if you prefer they be manually adjustable, they have to be special ordered. This seems like a sad statement on modern life. When it becomes too much work to pull the lever on the side of your Lazy Boy recliner, you really are a lazy boy.

It was hot (93 degrees) in the afternoon and the air conditioning was running constantly.

Around six o’clock Tom  started to grill some steaks when the power went out. Since we live in an RV, the ceiling lights are on a separate power supply (house batteries) and they stayed on. He first checked the RV’s breaker box and toggled all the switches off and on. But, nope, nothing happened. So then went outside and checked the power pedestal. He toggled those switches off and on. Still nothing. That’s when he put in a call for the campground maintenance to come and help. It was maybe fifteen to twenty minutes when he arrived. He went to the pedestal and toggled the switches and the power came back on. Evidently, the breakers had to cool a while before they would reengage.

At this point we turned the air conditioning off and just ran it on the fan setting. We finished our supper of steak, baked potato, and beans. By then it was becoming overly warm so we turned the a/c on again. Instead of waiting for the Excel to cool off again, we went to Home Depot to pick up two sixteen-cent spikes. I want them to hold our awning support more securely to the ground.

After this major purchase, we returned to Cutty’s and went to the cafe for ice cream. We stayed at the cafe for about a half hour. By the time we returned home, it had cooled off considerably.

The rest of the evening was spent watching television and working on the blogs.

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Sky at sunset was full of clouds. We sure could have used a few of those during the heat of the day.

6/13

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It was still about 45 minutes to dawn when Tom got up and started working on various things on the computer.

He checked the schedule for the day … there was nothing on it … no place we HAD to be. No work … nothing … Nice!

At 6:30 a.m. it was 72 degrees. The high for the day turned out to be 93 again.

Wednesday 14th

Thursday 15th

Friday 16th

Saturday 17th

Sunday 18th

Monday 19th

Tuesday 20th 

Wednesday 21st

Thursday 22nd

Friday 23rd

saturday 24th

Sunday 25th

Monday 26th

Independence Day celebrations at Cutty’s Des Moines Camping Resort were hectic. I should explain a little about Cutty’s. It is a member owned club which means that only Cutty’s members and their guests plus Coast to Coast members are allowed in. It has around 500 sites located on over 80 acres at the northwest corner of Des Moines. It is a true resort with a huge number of activates such as swimming (3 pools), fishing (11 acre lake), miniature golf, horseshoes, shuffle board, tennis, basketball, hot tub, sauna, exercise equipment and more, plus themed events every weekend from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Since you can remain on a site for a maximum of 14 days, people started arriving as early as June 20th, to begin jockeying for the prime spots. And as it got closer to the holiday, people started having more guests coming to their sites. The traffic in and out of the fee booth/gatehouse was amazing.

We have an annual fireworks display that is a rival of any I have seen outside a major city. This year the display was on the Sunday preceding the 4th. For that day, guests were required to park in designated areas rather than being allowed to drive to their host’s camping site. There were literally (and I know what literal means) hundreds of cars in the park that day. And, of course, after the fireworks, there was a mass exodus of all the “day guests”. It went amazingly smooth as we had two exit gates open; one for left turn only and one for right turn only. Over the next several days campers began to leave, go to storage (on the club grounds), or move to a different site. This kept us at the fee booth/gatehouse very busy. We were all glad to see it slow down to the normal busy of summer camping.

Our winter home, the Hitchhiker (which fell apart before leaving Texas in the spring) wasn’t worth the cost of repairing. So, we purchased a used 38 foot Sierra travel trailer. The plan is to leave the Sierra on our seasonal site at Cutty’s. Then we will take the Excel (which has been our summer home at Cutty’s) south to Texas. With a little imagination you can understand what we’ve been going through in moving stuff from the Hitchhiker into the Sierra. Now also understand that the Hitchhiker held our winter stuff and the Sierra is going eventually hold our summer stuff. So after the Hitchhiker is empty and gone, we can begin shifting things between the Excel and the Sierra.

The temperatures have been in the upper 90’s with high humidity which means that a 93 degree day feels like a 107 degree day. So, we have been working a moving in short bursts and drinking plenty of water.

One evening, while we were working on moving and finding places for our stuff, there was a knock on the door. A Cutty’s member stopped to ask what we were going to do with the Hitchhiker once it was empty. I told him that it was damaged and not worth our repairing so the plan was to sell it for salvage. He said that he has a hobby/business of rebuilding RVs and would be interested in buying it. Things like this, I call “God Things”. Unexpectedly, we may receive more compensation for the Hitchhiker than we had planned. With the expenses involved in purchasing the Sierra, paying for the storage of both the Hitchhiker and the Sierra it has stressed our bank account. A major part of our coming back to Iowa and Cutty’s is to earn and bank a little money. We have not been able to keep the money in the bank this year.

We have still managed to work in some time to play games with friends. When my work schedule allows, I play dominoes on Wednesday evenings and card jackpot (think Bingo with playing cards) on Friday evenings. Also as work allows I go to the Grimes senior center for games and lunch. Ella, unrestricted by a job, attends all of these.

Independence Day celebrations at Cutty’s Des Moines Camping Resort were hectic. I should explain a little about Cutty’s. It is a member owned club which means that only Cutty’s members and their guests plus Coast to Coast members are allowed in. It has around 500 sites located on over 80 acres at the northwest corner of Des Moines. It is a true resort with a huge number of activates such as swimming (3 pools), fishing (11 acre lake), miniature golf, horseshoes, shuffle board, tennis, basketball, hot tub, sauna, exercise equipment and more, plus themed events every weekend from Memorial Day through Labor Day.

Since you can remain on a site for a maximum of 14 days, people started arriving as early as June 20th, to begin jockeying for the prime spots. And as it got closer to the holiday, people started having more guests coming to their sites. The traffic in and out of the fee booth/gatehouse was amazing.

We have an annual fireworks display that is a rival of any I have seen outside a major city. This year the display was on the Sunday preceding the 4th. For that day, guests were required to park in designated areas rather than being allowed to drive to their host’s camping site. There were literally (and I know what literal means) hundreds of cars in the park that day. And, of course, after the fireworks, there was a mass exodus of all the “day guests”. It went amazingly smooth as we had two exit gates open; one for left turn only and one for right turn only. Over the next several days campers began to leave, go to storage (on the club grounds), or move to a different site. This kept us at the fee booth/gatehouse very busy. We were all glad to see it slow down to the normal busy of summer camping.

Our winter home, the Hitchhiker (which fell apart before leaving Texas in the spring) wasn’t worth the cost of repairing. So, we purchased a used 38 foot Sierra travel trailer. The plan is to leave the Sierra on our seasonal site at Cutty’s. Then we will take the Excel (which has been our summer home at Cutty’s) south to Texas. With a little imagination you can understand what we’ve been going through in moving stuff from the Hitchhiker into the Sierra. Now also understand that the Hitchhiker held our winter stuff and the Sierra is going eventually hold our summer stuff. So after the Hitchhiker is empty and gone, we can begin shifting things between the Excel and the Sierra.

The temperatures have been in the upper 90’s with high humidity which means that a 93 degree day feels like a 107 degree day. So, we have been working a moving in short bursts and drinking plenty of water.

One evening, while we were working on moving and finding places for our stuff, there was a knock on the door. A Cutty’s member stopped to ask what we were going to do with the Hitchhiker once it was empty. I told him that it was damaged and not worth our repairing so the plan was to sell it for salvage. He said that he has a hobby/business of rebuilding RVs and would be interested in buying it. Things like this, I call “God Things”. Unexpectedly, we may receive more compensation for the Hitchhiker than we had planned. With the expenses involved in purchasing the Sierra, paying for the storage of both the Hitchhiker and the Sierra it has stressed our bank account. A major part of our coming back to Iowa and Cutty’s is to earn and bank a little money. We have not been able to keep the money in the bank this year.

We have still managed to work in some time to play games with friends. When my work schedule allows, I play dominoes on Wednesday evenings and card jackpot (think Bingo with playing cards) on Friday evenings. Also as work allows I go to the Grimes senior center for games and lunch. Ella, unrestricted by a job, attends all of these.

Monday morning (17th) while I (Tom) was working the Fee Booth, the club receptionist called to say that there was a message on the voice mailbox for me. On Friday (after business hours) Mark from Methodist Hospital had called and said that a patient requested a visit from me. That and the phone number was all that was said. I immediately called and went to Mark’s voice mail. I left my name, the reason I was calling and my personal phone number. I tried several times during the day but always went straight to the mail. I was very curious as to who from Methodist Hospital was trying to reach me.

Tuesday morning I was once more at work in the Fee Booth and during a lull in activity, I called the number again. It was picked up by Mark (that I discovered was the hospital chaplain) and he explained that one of my church members had been admitted to the hospital. You need to understand that every Sunday from Memorial Day to Labor Day I preach at Cutty’s Resort. When he told me for whom he was calling, I thanked him and let him know that this person had been moved to hospice. After my shift was over, Ella and I went to visit with Marion and his wife at the hospice. He was very weak and tired so we didn’t stay long. We held hands and prayed together and then gave Jan a hug and let them know that if there was anything we could do to help, we would.

Wednesday was my day off and I had plans to finish unloading the Hitchhiker and get the Sierra and Excel ready to be moved. However with the actual temperature around 98 and the “feels like” temperature at 110, we didn’t accomplish as much as I’d hoped. I did

Photo:
6:00 p.m. after we’d finished for the day it “cooled down” to only 103.

manage to get everything (that I can by myself) out of the Hitchhiker. We also made a lot of progress in getting things sorted into categories: keep in Sierra, keep in Excel, donate to church rummage sale, and throw away. We stowed a lot away in the Sierra, carried things to the Excel (not put away) and some things in the pickup to go to church. And we also took some time to go to Village Inn with friends for Pie Rush Wednesday.

Grimes Senior Center

Thursday 20th  We had a white elephant gift exchange at Grimes Senior Center today. Ella got an Easter egg themed candle holder and I got a bottle of foot spray with most of the information in some Aramaic language.In the evening John, Brandon, and Nathan came out and moved the hide-a-bed from the Hitchhiker to the Sierra. Then manually pushed the slideout out so that we could empty the food stuffs and cleaning supplies that were stored in a cupboard that had been inaccessible with the slideout in. Once that was done, they pushed it back in so that it could be moved back into storage.

 

Friday 21st Tom worked at the fee booth from 8 to 3:30. We called Jim (the man who had expressed interest in buying the Hitchhiker) and told him that it was empty and available. He said he needed to check with his partner. In the evening we played card jackpot. Tom won one and a half nickel jackpots. (Split one because there were two winners)

Saturday 22nd was an unusual day for us. Cutty’s theme for the weekend was Christmas in July. Santa Tom wore the red suit and sat with kids while their family took photos. I was amazed at how many said they wanted Hatchimal for Christmas. I thought that FB_IMG_1500740584069-1.jpgFB_IMG_1500739214266-1.jpgphase was past. Also had requests for fidget spinners which didn’t surprise me because that seems to be the current craze in toys. Santa had one little toddler (not yet talking) who came coming back to just sit on my lap for a while. Then he would get down and run around and then come back to be picked up again. Santa also got lots of hugs. In the evening Santa changed into red jogging pants and a Hawaiian print shirt to ride around the campground with three loads of kids and adults on the hay rack while we sang a few Christmas songs. The same toddler who had sat on my lap in the morning rode most of one trip sitting on my lap again. Santa has a real fan in that one.

Sunday 23rd Tom preached a Christmas themed sermon and then worked at the fee booth from 2-9. Ella spent a good part of her day sorting through more “stuff”. When Tom came home she had things boxed to move from the Excel to the Sierra, and several bags of things to take for the church rummage sale. Ella and Tom may not have lost weight this summer, but the RVs sure have. It is still hard to believe that we had accumulated so much extraneous stuff.

 

 

25th Tuesday  Tom worked 8-2:30.  After work we went to Walmart for

groceries. Afterwards we went to shopping for a garden shed. The rules at Cutty’s Resort state that all sheds on Seasonal Sites must be no larger than 7’x7’, be resin (plastic), and removable. Home Depot and Lowes didn’t have much selection. We found a 4’x6 shed at Menards for around $300.

 

26th  Wednesday  The day started with coffee with friends at Cutty’s Café.  In the midst of discussing and solving all the world’s problems, we made plans to meet at Village Inn for “Pie Rush Wednesday” at 3:00. We played Fast Track and ate lunch at the Grimes Senior Center.  After lunch we went back to Menards and bought the shed. In hindsight, I wish we’d paid a little more and gotten a better quality shed.  We had a few more items to purchase at Walmart. Ella bought a watch on which she can actually read the time. What a concept!

With the Hitchhiker finally completely empty, we had it moved into storage.

In the evening we played Train Dominoes at Cutty’s

 

27th  Thursday coffee at the Café and more games and lunch at the senior center. Then Tom worked 2-9. While Tom was at work, Cutty’s staff moved the Excel to storage and the Sierra onto our Seasonal Site. Ella was unable to get the 3 slides out. When Tom got home, he couldn’t get them out either.

28th  Friday Tom went out early (still dark) in the morning and pulled the pickup close enough to the Sierra’s batteries to give them a “jump”. With that assist, they were strong enough to get the slideouts out.

We went for coffee as usual but also ordered breakfast at the café.

While Ella worked on organizing in the trailer, Tom worked an odd shift from11-7.

After Tom was off work, we went to Cutty’s Adult Center to play Card Jackpot. We arrived shortly after they had played the first round. Normally there are 4 to a table. When we got there all the tables were full so we started a new table with just the two of us. There was so much “table talk” going on that the Caller was repeatedly asked to repeat what they had said. Several people asked to keep the talk down so that they could hear what cards were being called. After two rounds, Tom gave up and went to the café. Ella followed. We ordered a pizza. When we finished eating we saw that the Card Jackpot had finished. Several people were still complaining about the noise. However, we were the only ones who gave up and left.

29th  Saturday  There was a Block Party in our area and we had planned to attend. However, a friend’s grandson, who had been born premature, died after 17 days. Tom was asked to read the scripture verses at the funeral on Saturday.

We created a screen between our “yard” and the neighbor’s RV.  We hope to plant some climbing plants here next spring

30th  Sunday Tom preached in the morning. His title was “I Can Not be Severely Shaken” which was taken from Psalm 62. We took the truck to the car wash to remove the bird droppings. As they begin migrating, the birds stop at the trees in the campground and leave unwelcome “calling cards” on vehicles, RVs, patios and furniture. For lunch we stopped at Subway. Then Tom worked at the fee booth from  2-9.

31st  Monday would have been Tom’s mother’s 110th birthday if she hadn’t died in 1994. We did our normal routine of coffee, games and lunch. We also took more items to Union Park United Methodist for the rummage sale.

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August 01 Tuesday was a normal day with nothing special going on.

August 02 Wednesday morning while haveing coffee with friends at the Cutty’s Cafe, we made arrangements to gather at Village Inn at noon for “Pie Rush Wednesday”. Then we went to the Grimes Senior Center for lunch. We asked to be served first because we had somewhere to be at noon. After lunch and pie, we hurried home so that Tom could get ready for work (2-9). While Tom worked, Ella played Train Dominoes at Cutty’s Adult Center.

August 03 Thursday  Our niece Kara came to visit so we stayed home from the Senior Center. We introduced her to the game “Fast Track” and I think she quickly became addicted to it. She stayed until it was time for us to go to the Cafe for supper. Once a week, they have a special dinner on Thursday evenings. This day it was meatloaf. It is very good (not as good as Tom’s) and very large slices. Served with a vegitable and a big baked potato, it is enough for two. Yes we have become that ‘old couple’ who go to a resturant and split a meal.

August 04 Friday Tom worked 3-10 while Ella played Card Jackpot.

August 05 Saturday The Nye family gathered at Cutty’s for a family reunion. It was held at the Adult Center. In the process of cleaning up and carrying things to the truck, we misplaced the keys to the storage cabinet in the Adult Center. This is where we keep all of our supplies for our worship service. It even had the laptop which has Sunday’s sermon on it. Not good … not good at all.

August 06 Sunday Because we had no key to the storage cabinet, our worship was interesting. No bulletins meant no hymn lyrics and no responsive readings. Tom was able to receive his copy of the bulletin and sermon on his tablet. We did the expanded Lord ’s Prayer by having the congregation recite one line at a time. Tom then read a scripture passage relating to that line of the prayer. That worked well without having a bulletin. We sang the first line of Amazing Grace from memory. We had people look up the scripture verses (Colossians 1:13-23 and Luke 9:28-36) in their bibles or on their devices. The sermon title was “The Visible Image of the Invisible God”. Again, didn’t need the bulletin.

Tom then went to work at the fee booth from 2 to 9.

August 07 Monday We did our usual Tuesday stuff at the Senior Center.

The full moon rose orange with layers of clouds. All that was missing from this view was the image of a witch on a broom.

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August 08 Tuesday Lunch and games at the Senior Center and then Tom had a Doctor’s appointment. His knee (the one he had surgery on in April) has been causing a lot of pain. He said the other day, “If the only way to get rid of this pain is to take the leg off … I’d consider it very strongly.” The pain had lessened by the time of the appointment but was still painful. He was told to take Tylenol every six hours, keep it iced, and elevated. If it doesn’t get better in a week, he is to make another appointment. It is a little difficult to keep it iced and elevated when he has a job (even if it is part time) as well as a lot of things to do at home (which is what caused the pain to flareup in the first place).

August 09 Wedn0810172001_HDR.jpgesday Tom had the day off and spent the afternoon installing “rafters” to our awning. One of our friends at Cutty’s made these for us about six or seven years ago for a different trailer.  Since they were made for a different size awning it took a little adjusting of the lengths to make them fit snuggly.  It was also nessasary to drill some holes in the awning roller tube. By the use of the rafters along with deflappers and multible tie-downs, we have had that previous awning withstand sustained 50 mph winds with gusts to around 60. When I know a high wind is coming, I still take them down.

Because Wednesday is when we get together to play dominoes, and because we still haven’t located the missing key to the cabinet in the Adult Center, we took two of our sets, a double 9 and a double 12. The set at the Adult Center has numbers instead of dots. Ours has dots. So it required people to actually count dots but we got through without too much grumbling.

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August 10 Thursday Tom is on blood thinners and needs to check his INR (International Normalized Ratio) which is a check of blood coagul tion. He normally does this at home on Thursdays so that he call in his results in time for the doctor’s to get back to him before the weekend (if they need to make a change in his meds). This also when he checks his blood sugar level. One finger stick … two tests.

August 11 Friday We gather to play Ca  rd Jackpot (think bingo with cards) at the Adult Center on Fridays. However, because of that missing key (all of the cards are stored in the locked locker), we gathered all of our decks of cards (and purchased a few more) so that we could still play. As we were getting ready to go, Tom went out to the truck and searched once more for the key. He moved the passenger as far forward as possible and then back as far as possible and guess what … that’s right … found the missing key next to Ella’s seat. Now the argument is, “Who lost it in the first place.”

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August 12 Saturday  While Tom was at work and Ella was somewhere (sorry I don’t remember what she was doing) John (son) capencil_sketch_1503057633851.jpgme out and took the Excel from storage. He took it home to make sure it was ready for the trip to Texas. While he was here, he also put the small storage shed together. What a great guy he is.

 

August 13 Sunday Tom’s sermon was And How Are They to Hear?” based on Romans 10:5-15.  It was nice to have the bulletins and laptop back in service again. Tom worked 2-9.

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August 14 Monday Coffee at the cafe and lunch at the center then Tom worked 2-9.

August 15 Tuesday We had a Williams Family reunion planned for 4 p.m. However because there were isolated rains in the area, many of the family decided to postpone it to a later date. I even booked the Lodge at Cutty’s so that we could be out of the weather. But some said they had to have a grill. And since the Lodge is on Main Street there was no place to put a grill.  The new date is September 9th at our place. When I talked to Kara, I said to come on over to our place and we could have a mini reunion of our own. She had a couple of her granddaughters with her. They wanted to go to a movie. They came over later and we had a nice visit.

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August 16 Wednesday Our niece, Kara came to visit with two more of her grandkids in tow. The kids swam at the indoor pool at the Clubhouse while Ella and Kara played Fast Track. Tom stayed home and made pizzas for them to eat once the swimming was over. After lunch, we just sat and visited. Somehow the topic centered on ghosts and dreams. This was one of the few Wednesdays that we have not gone to Village Inn for Pie Rush Wednesday. Later in the evening, John brought the Excel back to Cutty’s and back into storage. He had checked the wheel bearings and brakes and found them to be ready for travel.

August 17 Thursday On the way into the Grimes Senior Center, we stopped at our storage space to retrieve some trunks and storage bins that will now go into our shed that is on our seasonal site. We found that we couldn’t get the key to turn in the paddle lock. It had rusted too badly. We left it for the time being and went on to the center for games and lunch. After lunch we stopped at Ace Hardware to purchase a paddle lock. Instead, Tom found a pack of four locks that are keyed alike. We went back to our storage spaces and had the manager cut off the rusted lock. After the trunks and storage boxes were loaded into the truck, we replaced that lock with one of the new locks. Then we went to our second storage space and changed our lock there also. Arriving home, we unloaded the trunks etc and put them in the shed and then locked it with the third lock. The fourth lock went on the tool box in the truck.

August 18 Friday Tom worked 8-3:30

August 01 Tuesday

August 02 Wednesday

August 03 Thursday Kara came to visit and we introduced her to the game “Fast Track”.

August 04 Friday

August 05 Saturday The Nye family gathered at Cutty’s for a family reunion. It was held at the Adult Center. In the process of cleaning up and carry things to the truck, we misplaced the keys to the storage cabinet in the Adult Center. This is where we keep all of our supplies for our worship service. It even had the laptop which has Sunday’s sermon on it.

2017-08-10_20.02.55.jpg

August 06 Sunday Because we had no key to the storage cabinet, our worship was interesting. No bulletins meant no hymn lyrics and no responsive readings. Tom was able to receive his copy of the bulletin and sermon on his tablet. We did the expanded Lord ’s Prayer by having the congregation recite one line at a time. Tom then read a scripture passage relating to that line of the prayer. That worked well without having a bulletin. We sang the first line of Amazing Grace from memory. We had people look up the scripture verses (Colossians 1:13-23 and Luke 9:28-36) in their bibles or on their devices. The sermon title was “The Visible Image of the Invisible God”. Again, didn’t need the bulletin.

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August 07 Monday

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August 08 Tuesday

August 09 Wednesday Because Wednesday is when we get together to play dominoes, and because we still haven’t located the missing key to the cabinet in the Adult Center, we took two of our sets, a double 9 and a double 12. The set at the Adult Center has numbers instead of dots. Ours has dots. So it required people to actually count dots but we got through without too much grumbling.

2017-08-18_06.48.18.jpg

August 10 Thursday

August 11 Friday We gather to play Card Jackpot (think bingo with cards) at the Adult Center on Fridays. However, because of that missing key (all of the cards are stored in the locked locker), we gathered all of our decks of cards (and purchased a few more) so that we could still play. As we were getting ready to go, Tom went out to the truck and searched once more for the key. He moved the passenger as far forward as possible and then back as far as possible and guess what … that’s right … found the missing key next to Ella’s seat. Now the argument is, “Who lost it in the first place.”

August 12 Saturday

August 13 Sunday Tom’s sermon was And How Are They to Hear?” based on Romans 10:5-15. Tom worked 2-9.

August 14 Monday

August 15 Tuesday

August 16 Wednesday Our niece, Kara came to visit with two more of her grandkids in tow. The kids swam at the indoor pool at the Clubhouse while Ella and Kara played Fast Track. Tom stayed home and made pizzas for them to eat once the swimming was over. After lunch, we just sat and visited. Somehow the topic centered on ghosts and dreams. This was one of the few Wednesdays that we have not gone to Village Inn for Pie Rush Wednesday. Later in the evening, John brought the Excel back to Cutty’s and back into storage. He had checked the wheel brearings and brakes and found them to be ready for travel.

0816171836_HDR.jpg

August 17 Thursday On the way into the Grimes Senior Center, we stopped at our storage space to retrieve some trunks and storage bins that will now go into our shed that is on our seasonal site. We found that we couldn’t get the key to turn in the paddle lock. It had rusted too badly. We left it for the time being and went on to the center for games and lunch. After lunch we stopped at Ace Hardware to purchase a paddle lock. Instead, Tom found a pack of four locks that are keyed alike. We went back to our storage spaces and had the manager cut off the rusted lock. After the trunks and storage boxes were loaded into the truck, we replaced that lock with one of the new locks. Then we went to our second storage space and changed our lock there also. Arriving home, we unloaded the trunks etc and put them in the shed and then locked it with the third lock. The fourth lock went on the tool box in the truck.

August 18 Friday Tom worked 8-3:30

 

August 01 Tuesday

August 02 Wednesday

August 03 Thursday Kara came to visit and we introduced her to the game “Fast Track”.

August 04 Friday

August 05 Saturday The Nye family gathered at Cutty’s for a family reunion. It was held at the Adult Center. In the process of cleaning up and carry things to the truck, we misplaced the keys to the storage cabinet in the Adult Center. This is where we keep all of our supplies for our worship service. It even had the laptop which has Sunday’s sermon on it.

August 06 Sunday Because we had no key to the storage cabinet, our worship was interesting. No bulletins meant no hymn lyrics and no responsive readings. Tom was able to receive his copy of the bulletin and sermon on his tablet. We did the expanded Lord ’s Prayer by having the congregation recite one line at a time. Tom then read a scripture passage relating to that line of the prayer. That worked well without having a bulletin. We sang the first line of Amazing Grace from memory. We had people look up the scripture verses (Colossians 1:13-23 and Luke 9:28-36) in their bibles or on their devices. The sermon title was “The Visible Image of the Invisible God”. Again, didn’t need the bulletin. ,

August 07 Monday

August 08 Tuesday

August 09 Wednesday Because Wednesday is when we get together to play dominoes, and because we still haven’t located the missing key to the cabinet in the Adult Center, we took two of our sets, a double 9 and a double 12. The set at the Adult Center has numbers instead of dots. Ours has dots. So it required people to actually count dots but we got through without too much grumbling.

August 10 Thursday

August 11 Friday We gather to play Card Jackpot (think bingo with cards) at the Adult Center on Fridays. However, because of that missing key (all of the cards are stored in the locked locker), we gathered all of our decks of cards (and purchased a few more) so that we could still play. As we were getting ready to go, Tom went out to the truck and searched once more for the key. He moved the passenger as far forward as possible and then back as far as possible and guess what … that’s right … found the missing key next to Ella’s seat. Now the argument is, “Who lost it in the first place.”

August 12 Saturday

August 13 Sunday Tom’s sermon was And How Are They to Hear?” based on Romans 10:5-15. Tom worked 2-9.

August 14 Monday

August 15 Tuesday

August 16 Wednesday Our niece, Kara came to visit with two more of her grandkids in tow. The kids swam at the indoor pool at the Clubhouse while Ella and Kara played Fast Track. Tom stayed home and made pizzas for them to eat once the swimming was over. After lunch, we just sat and visited. Somehow the topic centered on ghosts and dreams. This was one of the few Wednesdays that we have not gone to Village Inn for Pie Rush Wednesday. Later in the evening, John brought the Excel back to Cutty’s and back into storage. He had checked the wheel bearings and brakes and found them to be ready for travel.

0816171825_HDR.jpg

August 17 Thursday On the way into the Grimes Senior Center, we stopped at our storage space to retrieve some trunks and storage bins that will now go into our shed that is on our seasonal site. We found that we couldn’t get the key to turn in the paddle lock. It had rusted too badly. We left it for the time being and went on to the center for games and lunch. After lunch we stopped at Ace Hardware to purchase a paddle lock. Instead, Tom found a pack of four locks that are keyed alike. We went back to our storage spaces and had the manager cut off the rusted lock. After the trunks and storage boxes were loaded into the truck, we replaced that lock with one of the new locks. Then we went to our second storage space and changed our lock there also. Arriving home, we unloaded the trunks etc and put them in the shed and then locked it with the third lock. The fourth lock went on the tool box in the truck.

August 18 Friday Tom worked 8-3:30

August 01 Tuesday

August 02 Wednesday

August 03 Thursday Kara came to visit and we introduced her to the game “Fast Track”.

August 04 Friday

August 05 Saturday The Nye family gathered at Cutty’s for a family reunion. It was held at the Adult Center. In the process of cleaning up and carry things to the truck, we misplaced the keys to the storage cabinet in the Adult Center. This is where we keep all of our supplies for our worship service. It even had the laptop which has Sunday’s sermon on it.

August 06 Sunday Because we had no key to the storage cabinet, our worship was interesting. No bulletins meant no hymn lyrics and no responsive readings. Tom was able to receive his copy of the bulletin and sermon on his tablet. We did the expanded Lord ’s Prayer by having the congregation recite one line at a time. Tom then read a scripture passage relating to that line of the prayer. That worked well without having a bulletin. We sang the first line of Amazing Grace from memory. We had people look up the scripture verses (Colossians 1:13-23 and Luke 9:28-36) in their bibles or on their devices. The sermon title was “The Visible Image of the Invisible God”. Again, didn’t need the bulletin. ,

August 07 Monday

August 08 Tuesday

August 09 Wednesday Because Wednesday is when we get together to play dominoes, and because we still haven’t located the missing key to the cabinet in the Adult Center, we took two of our sets, a double 9 and a double 12. The set at the Adult Center has numbers instead of dots. Ours has dots. So it required people to actually count dots but we got through without too much grumbling.

August 10 Thursday

August 11 Friday We gather to play Card Jackpot (think bingo with cards) at the Adult Center on Fridays. However, because of that missing key (all of the cards are stored in the locked locker), we gathered all of our decks of cards (and purchased a few more) so that we could still play. As we were getting ready to go, Tom went out to the truck and searched once more for the key. He moved the passenger as far forward as possible and then back as far as possible and guess what … that’s right … found the missing key next to Ella’s seat. Now the argument is, “Who lost it in the first place.”

August 12 Saturday

August 13 Sunday Tom’s sermon was And How Are They to Hear?” based on Romans 10:5-15. Tom worked 2-9.

August 14 Monday

August 15 Tuesday

August 16 Wednesday Our niece, Kara came to visit with two more of her grandkids in tow. The kids swam at the indoor pool at the Clubhouse while Ella and Kara played Fast Track. Tom stayed home and made pizzas for them to eat once the swimming was over. After lunch, we just sat and visited. Somehow the topic centered on ghosts and dreams. This was one of the few Wednesdays that we have not gone to Village Inn for Pie Rush Wednesday. Later in the evening, John brought the Excel back to Cutty’s and back into storage. He had checked the wheel brearings and brakes and found them to be ready for travel.

August 17 Thursday On the way into the Grimes Senior Center, we stopped at our storage space to retrieve some trunks and storage bins that will now go into our shed that is on our seasonal site. We found that we couldn’t get the key to turn in the paddle lock. It had rusted too badly. We left it for the time being and went on to the center for games and lunch. After lunch we stopped at Ace Hardware to purchase a paddle lock. Instead, Tom found a pack of four locks that are keyed alike. We went back to our storage spaces and had the manager cut off the rusted lock. After the trunks and storage boxes were loaded into the truck, we replaced that lock with one of the new locks. Then we went to our second storage space and changed our lock there also. Arriving home, we unloaded the trunks etc and put them in the shed and then locked it with the third lock. The fourth lock went on the tool box in the truck.

August 18 Friday Tom worked 8-3:30.  There were sever thundrstorm warnings for the Screenshot_2017-08-18-18-24-10.pngarea so Tom took down the awning rafters down and undid the tie-downs.

 

When they were predicting wind gusts up to  70 mph, it seemed like a good time to put the awning away. After climbing up and down on the step ladder, Tom’s knee started aching again. So while Ella went to play Card Jackpot, he stayed home and iced his knee.

 

 

 

 

 

Good night and God bless.

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Saturday 19th In my last post I had said that I took the RV awning down because there were severe thunderstorm warnings for our area with possible 70 mph wind gusts. Well, when I awoke this morning and checked outside … nothing … no sign of having had either wind or rainphoto_editor2_temp.jpg. Now don’t misunderstand me … that’s not a complaint … I was just surprised that the forecast had been SO far off.

We had put in a firepit/fireplace/grill on our seasonal site several years ago. Well, now that we’ve changed RVs, it is too close to the camper. I’m trying to find a new spot for it so that on those very rare occasions that we have a fire, it won’t be a hazard to the RV nor fill it with smoke. There is not a lot of space left on our site with this long and wide RV.

We went to the cafe for coffee at 8:00 and then to the clubhouse at 10:30 for a “club hall” (think town hall) meeting. People who want to speak to the board and membership are given 5 minutes. After that, the board will either immediately address the issue or add it to their agenda for the next board meeting. Once the members have addressed their concerns, board then shares what they have done about issues brought up in the previous club hall meeting. During the camping season, these meetings are held once a month.

Once the meeting was over, we went to Pizza Ranch of lunch. Their buffet has the best fried chicken around (much better than KFC or Popeye’s).

We came home and Tom did a little work on the outside before coming in and taking a nap. He then worked from 3 to 10  at the fee booth. There were four different parties going on in the park. So there was a lot of guest traffic in and out of Cutty’s. Since we are a gated community, no non members are allowed into the park unless a member has called and added them to a guest list at the gate. We had nearly 100 guests plus people checking in to camp and into our rental cabins. It kept Tom very busy until around 8 p.m. At that point it slowed w-a-y down. This was just a “warm up exercise” for the coming Labor Day weekend. Labor Day is one of the BIG 3 camping weekends here and people start vying for prime sites about 2 weeks in advance.

Labor Day will also be the end of my preaching duties until spring unless called upon 2016-12-27_20.47.39while in Texas. From the first week of November until December 25th I will be wearing the red suit and sitting in the big chair with kids (of all ages) sitting on my lap. As a matter of fact, I’ll be attending Santa University in Colorado in September where I’ll be fitted for a new suit and accessories.

 

 

 

 Now for something completely different: Because of the problems we’ve had with slideout floors,  Tom decided to reinforce them on both the Sierra and the Excel. He has some light weight aluminum angle channels. These were cut from an eve through (also known as gutters by people outside the Midwest). They have been cut to fit the outside corners where the walls an floors are connected. They are thin enough to not interfere with the slideout operation. I don’t know why RVs aren’t constructed with some reinforced corners rather than just nailing them together. Since the walls and floor are made of particle board, a little water can make them swell and separate from the hardware.

Sunday 20th started by putting some short ribs and potato wedges into the crock-pot. From there we went to the clubhouse for a communal breakfast of all-you-can-eat pancakes and french toast. Ella had french toast with lots of syrup. Tom had french toast with no syrup. We both had a large sausage patty. While Ella was finishing her breakfast and visiting with friends, Tom went to the store for a baker’s dozen of donuts. The donuts were for the worship service.

Tom getting the music in que for worship

Coming home from the store, Tom pick up Ella at the clubhouse and we went to the adult center to set it up for worship. Tom’s sermon was “Ask a Butterfly, ‘Who Are You?’”

 

By the time worship was over, Tom’s knee was in a great deal of pain. So he came home took a hydrocodone, put an ice pack on his knee and sat with his feet up in the recliner. By one o’clock the sharp edge of the pain had let up and he cooked a couple ears of corn in the microwave and served up the ribs and potatoes.

After lunch we went back to the clubhouse … down to the laundry room on the lower level … and did laundry. We also sat and played a couple games of Fast Track. While he was waiting on the laundry, Tom used the Walgreen’s Photo app to send photos for printing. After the laundry was done, we drove to Walgreen’s and got them. They are for a photo display at the Grimes Senior Center. We’ll take them Monday.

 

With this cloud cover on the 21st, we didn’t think we’d have a chance of viewing the solar eclipse.

 

Monday 21st The storm that was predicted for Friday night got here last

Ella at Cozi  Cafe

night. Lots of lightening was striking less than a mile away. There were also heavy rains that continued into the morning hours. When Tom checked the rain gauge it registered 2 inches and it was still raining slightly.

$$$ It was payday so we stopped at the office and picked up Tom’s check. Then we went to the Cozi Cafe diner for their breakfast special of two eggs, hash browns, toast and sausage or bacon. From there we went to deposit the check at the credit union. After that, it was back to Cutty’s Cafe to say good bye to Ted and Nancy. However, they weren’t there. So we went on to Grimes and the Senior Center.

Before going home, we went to Walmart for some groceries and other necessities. Why is it that as soon as you get home from shopping, one of you asks, “Do you know what we forgot to get?” We use an app called “Cozi Family Organizer for  our shopping list. It shares the list between our two smartphones. That makes it easy to separate and each go after specific items. When an item is checked off one phone it is automatically checked off the other also. Throughout the week, as either of us think of something, we can add it to our list. …. So, why do we still get home without something?

It had been raining and cloudy all day so we assumed that it was hopeless to try and see the solar eclipse. However, when we arrived home, the neighbors were sitting on their deck and staring into the sky. They said the the clouds occasionally parted and they could track the progress of the eclipse.  We have two large maple trees that obscure the sky from our RV site. We went and sat with them and watched. As promised, the clouds parted then we could see the disc of the moon as it passed before the sun.

Tom took on another project. Earlier I said that our fire pit was too close to the RV (as in photo one). So it is now moved, which open the walkway also. (photo two) And here it is in its new location (picture 3).

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Tuesday 22nd We had a little more rain overnight. That’s a good thing because we have been a little parched lately. Tom slept in again. After waking at quarter to four and deciding THAT was too early, he rolled over and slept until the alarm went off at seven. After breakfast, we went to coffee at Cutty’s Cafe. Susan was the only one there when we arrived but Dixie joined us a short time later.

We arrived at the Grimes Senior Center at 9:30 and had time to play one round of Fast Track before Tom’s appointment with the Public Health Nurse to get his toenails trimmed. By 10:30 he was back playing Fast Track. Lunch was at 11:30.

His doctor’s appointment was at 12:50. That left knee is still giving him lots of pain. He was refereed to a specialist, who is supposed to call with an appointment later this week.

Leaving the doctor’s office, we stopped at Walmart to pick up prescriptions and the things we forgot yesterday. Tom found one of those flat “as seen on TV” antennas and purchased it. We were half surprised that it really does work.

Once we arrived home, he did some work on the deck and yard. It’s beginning to look more like we want it to look.

Tom received a coupon from Village Inn for 25% off our entire ticket. So we went there for supper. The 25% came to a little over $5 which is what we tipped the waitress.

In the evening we sat at the picnic table and played more Fast Track. We are NOT addicted to this game … we could quit at any time … really!

Wednesday 23rd  56 degrees to start the day at 0824171922_HDR.jpg5:30. Tom went out in the very early light and put the awning up as well as the umbrella  over the patio table. We had breakfast at home: pancakes, bacon, and eggs.

By the way, if you’d like to keep up on Tom’s sermons, you can do that by following this link http://thomasewilliams.blogspot.com/

After breakfast we went to Cutty’s Cafe for coffee with friends. We get together most mornings to check the obituaries and read the educational section of the paper (the comics). We discuss all the weighty issues of the day and solve most of the world’s problems before going out to create new ones. We share the latest gossip and maybe start some new ones. This season we have tried to solve the puzzle of what is going to be built in the land next to the resort. When they started working on it in the spring, it was an 80 acre bean field on slightly rolling land that had a stream at the south end. It pretty much mirrored the land that Cutty’s Resort is on (minus the 11 acre lake). Thanks to dozens of earth moving machines working 6-7 days a week, it is now nearly flat with a large holding pond at the south end. Rumors say that there will be a gas station/convenience store, strip mall, and warehouses. I’m trying to convince people (erroneously) that it will be an airport.

Before going to the Grimes Senior Center f or games and lunch, we stopped at Wallyworld to pick up an ice pack for Tom’s knee. Our living space is about the size of an efficiency apartment. You’d think it would be too small to lose things in. You’d be wrong. The other day, Tom had been sitting with his legs up and the ice pack on his knee. He took a nap. While napping, the ice pack fell to the floor. Ella picked it up and put it … somewhere. A somewhere that has eluded all of our searches so far. So we purchased a new one. We also picked up some S-hooks and cup hooks for a project that Tom had in mind.

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Look at the warning label on the ice pack made me chuckle. “For external use only.” Really? That had to put that warning on the ice pack. Have people tried to ingest these things, or in some other fashion (that I don’t want to think about) use them internally?
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Old position of the hanging flowers
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New place for the hanging flowers

After lunch at the center, we hurried to Village Inn for Pie Rush Wednesday with our friends (Sue, Jean, Sandy, and Francis). We didn’t stay long because Tom had to be at work at 2. When we got home Tom took a few minutes to move our hanging flowers to a new location.

It was a very slow evening at the fee booth. Very few new campers came in to register. Tom only had one rental unit to check in and no Coast to Coast guests.

Ella did some vacuuming, dishes and other household choirs before going to the Adult Center to play Train Dominoes with friends. They played from 7 to around 10.

Thursday 24th

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Tom checked his blood INR and glucose this morning and was pleasantly surprised that both were well in the “good” range. Surprised because he had been without his diabetes meds for a few days.

We went to the Cutty’s Cafe for breakfast. Ella had a breakfast burrito and Tom had a biscuit with sausage, egg, and cheese. We spent a little over an hour visiting with our friends there.  Then we moved on to the Grimes Senior Center for games and played games until lunch.

After lunch we made a trip to Costco to purchase some healthcare items. From there we stopped at Target to look for some household items that we couldn’t find. Ella did purchase a Baby Shower card for one of our great nieces. The shower is on Saturday.

From Target we went around the corner to Home Depot to purchase some lumber and to2017-08-24_15.57.21.jpg have a couple of keys made. We didn’t get all of the lumber that we wanted because the section we want to go to was blocked off while they moved some items with the forklift. Tom’s knee was bothering him by this time so we decided to forgo the rest of the lumber for this trip.

When we arrived home, Tom put his feet up and an ice pack on his knee.

After the pain subsided, Tom went out an unloaded the lumber from the  pickup.

Friday 25th Tom worked the fee booth from 8 to 3:30. It was very slow until 3 o’clock when 3 campers showed up at the same time. And that is the time when the afternoon shift comes in so we were in the middle of closing out the drawer for Tom and getting Dora logged on.

While Tom worked, Ella played at the Senior Center. She, being the smarter of the two of us, is fully retired whereas Tom works seasonal part time work for minimum wage. Grin.

As soon as Tom was off work we went to Strauss Lock to have two keys made. The two that we got from Home Depot didn’t work. Honestly, I couldn’t see the difference between the original and the copies … but the lock knew the difference. Hopefully, the new keys will work (haven’t tried them yet). We returned the keys to Home Depot for a refund.

In the evening we played Card Jackpot at Cutty’s Adult Center. After which we went to the cafe for ice cream.

Now this is just for fun:

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“I don’t know … it happened so fast … we were all standing in the yard when this pine tree fell over and took out most of my family. Oh the horror of it all!

 

Saturday 26th 62º at 7 a.m. and overc2017-08-26_06.56.22.jpgast. The sun tried very hard to shine through. Tom did not work at the fee booth today. Ella went to the great niece’s baby shower.

While Ella was at the shower, Tom picked up some more items for his project of supporting our slide out rooms. This is an effort to avoid the problems that we have had with the floors separating from the walls. While he was out, he purchased some veggies and stew meat. He made the stew and separated it into two batches; froze one and refrigerated the other.

Sunday the 27th was our next to last worship service for the season at Cutty’s. It was titled “You Want to do Good? Here’s Your Checklist!” and is taken from Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16. If you’d like to read it, follow this link http://thomasewilliams.blogspot.com/2017/08/you-want-to-do-good-heres-your-checklist.html .

We came home to the smell of the crock-pot full of stew. yummy!

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Monday 28th After breakfast we went to Cutty’s Cafe only to find none of our friends were there. We sat and had coffee for a while and then Dixie came in so we visitted with her for a little bit before going to the senior center.

A few days ago I had asked John if I could borrow his Sawsall for my slide out project. In the afternoon Dawn called to say that she had the saw with her and was going to stop at Pet Smart in West Des Moines. We drove over there and picked up the saw.

On our way back home we stopped at Walmart to purchase a cutlery drawer divider 2017-08-30_06.29.31.jpgto install as a spice rack. Tom had done this before with a previous RV and it works very well in the small space beside the stove.

When we arrived home Tom did some work outside installing Photo: additional support for the awning rafters. He also placed L.E.D lights on the RV under the awning. Unfortunately, after they were up, they wouldn’t work. We haven’t figured out why they don’t work.

It was a nice evening to sit outside. So we did. And played more Fast Track until it started getting dark

Tuesday 29th As usual, we went to the Cutty’s Cafe for coffee. And again none of our friends were there. As we sat there having coffee, one other person came in. Hate is a Cutty’s member that Tom has checked in and out at the fee booth. We invited him to sit with us while he ate his breakfast. He had his dog leashed to his golf cart and wanted to sit so that he could keep an eye on him. The dog is a pit-bull rottweiler mix with an interesting brindle coat. John said that his face looks like a dry cake mix. It’s a funny way to describe it but not inaccurate.

Photo:

We stopped at the post office, hoping to find Tom’s medications from the VA. They hadn’t arrived.  We were concerned that they may have been shipped to our Texas address and not forwarded. So we called the post office in Texas and were reassured that if they were shipped there, they would be forwarded along with any other mail.

Tom worked an uneventful afternoon/evening shift at the fee booth. Ella played dominoes at the Adult Center in the evening.

Wednesday 30th   Tom woke around 4 a.m. and could not get back to sleep so he eventually gave up, got up, and started breakfast. Then, as soon as it was light enough, went outside to do some work on the patio. After Ella was up and around we began our normal routine of Cutty’s Cafe and Grimes Senior Center.

We stopped on our way home from the center for gasoline and a car wash. The months of construction to the property on our east border has made it hard to keep the truck clean because of all the dust in the air.

Shortly after we arrived home Kara arrived. A short time Krista got here. We sat on the2017-08-30_19.46.29.jpg patio, talked, and played Fast Track. This was the first time Krista had played the game. Since there were and even number of us, we played partners which is always fun. We had just finished the game when Karla arrived. We showed her the game and then played another game without partners … every man person for themselves.

We had a lunch of BBQ chicken and several salads then all of us went to Village Inn for Pie Rush Wednesday. We met up with Tom, Sue, Sandy, Francis, Keith, and Jean at Village Inn. Introductions were made and then we got down to the serious business of eating pie.

After pie, we all went out separate ways. It was nice to have time with our nieces.

It was dominoes night at Cutty’s and Ella went to play. Tom stayed home with an ice pack on his knee. It will be great when he gets to the orthopedic doctor and gets some relief from the pain.

Thursday 31st Tom worked 8-2:30 while Ella did our normal routine. On  the way home from the center, Ella stopped at the post office and got the mail. Tom’s meds from the VA arrived as did his test strips for checking his INR readings.

After work, Tom began his project of shoring up the slide-out rooms on the Sierra. This required crawling around on the ground under the RV which is exactly what his knee does NOT need. However, we are running out of time to get this project done. We will be gone to Colorado for about a week in mid September and then leave for Texas at the end of the month.

We had meatloaf at the Cutty’s Cafe for supper. It is very good meatloaf … almost as good as Tom’s.

  • September

Friday 1st Tom worked 8 to 2:30 while Ella did her normal routine of coffee with friends and then to the senior center for games and lunch.

After picking Tom up from work, we went to a Visitation for Marion, a friend from Cutty’s, who passed away this week.

In the evening, Ella played Card Jackpot while Tom stayed home with an ice pack on his knee. He’ll be very glad when he gets in to see the orthopedic doctor on Tuesday the 5th. Hopefully it will lead to less pain. And hopefully before we go to Santa University on the 13th.

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The trees are starting to get dressed in their fancy Fall colors.

Saturday 2nd Our day started with a communal breakfast of “Eggs any style” at Cutty’s Clubhouse. We had eggs, hash-browns, sausage, toast and a drink. We sat and visited with Tom and Sue, Francis and Sandy, and Lela and Liela.

After breakfast we went to Cutty’s Adult Center to retrieve our worship supplies which are stored there. We needed to bring them home so that Sunday we could take them to the Clubhouse for our last Worship Service of the season. We will have a hymn sing and communion.

From there we went to Walmart to purchase super glue.

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A deeply torn thumbnail “jist ain’t no fun a t’all”

 

Tom tore his thumbnail about an eighth of an inch down into the quick. He keeps snagging it on things and it becomes painful. So, he thought he’d mend it with super glue. A drop of glue on the nail and covered with a tiny piece of thin plastic and it will no longer snag. TaDa!

Of course we couldn’t get out of Wallyworld without spending another $50. We bought supplies for the Williams Family Reunion coming up on the 9th.

We had just enough time to get across Des Moines to Marion’s funeral. It was a nice ceremony that celebrated his life and influence on his family and friends. We did not go to the internment which was in a small town in southern Iowa. Tom needed to be back to work the fee booth at Cutty’s from 3-10:30.

The campground was pretty full so it’s a good thing no one else came in to camp. There were only 7 full hookup sites left and 44 water and electric only sites out of approximately 500 sites. Most of Tom’s day was taken up with answering the phone, adding names to the “guest list” and issuing day passes to around 400 guest carloads.

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Sunday 3rd Worship service was small, as we expected it would be, because of the long holiday and the change of location.  Other than worship in the morning, Sunday was much the same as yesterday for Tom. Ella stayed home and relaxed.

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Monday 4th Labor Day Tom had the day off. As a matter of fact, since the camping season is officially over on Labor Day, the fee booth hours are being shortened and eventually the booth will be closed. Any campers will need to either use their gate key-card or call the office to gain entrance to the park. Tom will work only two more days: Thursday the 7th and  Monday the 11th (Patriots Day).

We went to Cutty’s Cafe for breakfast as well as coffee with friends. The Senior Center in Grimes was closed for the holiday.

Tom made use of the time by getting some more work done on bracing the slide-out rooms. Remember, that for all intents and purposes, the Sierra is a “Park Model” and may not be moved from our seasonal site until we die or get too old to live in it. Because it will not be moving, the slide-outs will remain out all the time. So bracing them takes a load off of the RV’s structure and will help to prevent sagging as well as possible wall/floor separation.

We also tackled a smaller, but much needed project: cleaning out the truck. We have an extended cab and the back seat has been a handy place to “toss” stuff that we don’t need now but may need later. It was time to empty, vacuum, and repack the things we actually need to carry with us most of the time. Things like fire extinguisher, work gloves, bottled water, and our “to go bag”. As RVers, there may come times when it is necessary to “run for cover” from storms or on a brighter side, we may be asked to spend the night with family of friends. Having a bag of extra clothes, extra medications,  health and grooming supplies, first aid kit, emergency blankets and other essentials can come in very handy.

Tuesday 5th We did our normal routine with coffee with friends at Cutty’s Cafe and then to Grimes Senior Center. After lunch we both had doctor’s appointments at the same time (different doctors but just across the street from each other). Tom to see an orthopedic doctor and Ella to see her eye doctor.

Her eyes are fine … not quite 20/20 but considering the coke bottle lenses she had worn since a child … altogether fine to not wear glasses except for reading smallish print.

Health - Page 63.jpgTom had x-rays of both knees. Gee, guess what? Yep, left knee is bone on bone. No wonder it hurts all the time. Eventually, after Santa season, he’ll need knee replacement. However, for now, it will be Cortisone shots every couple of months. That should get him through the long drives to Colorado and back, and then, a week or so later, to Texas.

3 years ago the VA doctor looked at “Tom’s” x-ray and said that he had plenty of space between the bones and it looked like the x-ray of a 17-year-old. Now Tom is wondering if the x-rays may have actually been from a 17-year-old and mixed up by the VA. I hope that the kid didn’t get a knee replacement out of the mix up.

 Wednesday 6th This morning Tom poached some eggs in salsa, warmed some refried beans and tortillas for breakfast. We ate and then hurried into Des Moines for our dentist visit for teeth cleaning. They found a loose crown on one of Tom’s teeth. It was pried off, cleaned out and then re-cemented into place. Ella will need to go back tomorrow for a filling and an extraction.

From the dentist, we went to Walmart for a prescription refill and then to the Grimes Senior Center for games and lunch.

As we came into Cutty’s, we went to our storage trailer to remove items from it. The plan is to have it hauled out for salvage once it is empty. We had nearly everything from under the trailer in its “basement” compartments, Displaying 2017-09-06_17.54.41.jpgwhen Tom was attacked by yellow-jackets. We dropped everything and ran. We got home and looked for Calamine Lotion but couldn’t find any. There was a tube of Aspercreme pain relieving creme which Ella applied to the many stings on his neck, back, and arms. There are about half a dozen stings on his neck alone. Notice the stinger is still in on the lower left of the photo. Once we saw the picture, it was removed.

We will have to sort the stuff we brought home. Some will stay in Iowa. Some will go to Texas and some will be donated or trashed. We still have more to remove from storage but not until it is liberally sprayed with wasp spray.

Village Inn’s Pie Rush Wednesday beckoned us to come have pie with friends at 2:00. Displaying 2017-09-06_17.37.28.jpgSandy and Francis, Tom and Sue, Jean, and Ella and Tom had pie and drinks. The pie was free when we paid for the drinks. Actually, Tom didn’t have a drink. He ordered, “a scoop of ice cream with a slice of Tripleberry under it.” The ice cream cost $.99 and the pie was free.

We played Train Dominoes in the evening and Tom was low score. That would normally mean that he would start next week’s game. However, we will be attending Santa University in Colorado at that time.

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Sunset Wednesday
Sunrise Thursday

Thursday 7th the day started with Tom checking is INR and glucose readings (all good) Then an early breakfast then off to see the dentist. Ella came away with a new filling and one less tooth. We were in and out of the dentist so quickly that we had time to get back for coffee with friends (Keith, Jean, and Lela) at the café.

On the way to the Senior Center, we stopped at Kum N Go for gas. They are the only station in the area that has E-15 gas. E-15 (15% alcohol) is $2.499 compared to $2.839 for regular. Our GMC (Rudolf) is too old for the newer E-85 but he drinks the E-15 just fine.

We also stopped at the post office. I was hoping that my renewed membership card with the International Brotherhood of Real Bearded Santas would be there. It wasn’t. https://www.ibrbsantas.org/

When we arrived at the center, most of the people were at a meeting concerning the Wii Bowling Tournament that the Grimes Center is hosting for all of the local Senior Centers. Because of the meeting, the people we normally play Fast Track were not there. However, Nancy and Ray were so we played a couple of games before lunch.

Lunch was a little strange today, it had no vegetables. It was a slice of processed ham (which looked boiled), hash-browns, and an orange. We did have dessert of apple pie and ice cream.

Ella, because of the tooth extraction, was supposed to eat only soft, cold food. So she had a couple bites of the ham and then ate her pie and ice cream along with Tom’s ice cream.

Tom worked the fee booth from 2-8. Because the “official” camping season ended Labor Day weekend, the fee booth hours keep getting smaller until they disappear altogether the final weekend of September. The campground remains open all year around. However, from October through April you must go to the office to check in. Office hours are from 8:30 to 4:30 at that point.

Thursday is also the night when Cutty’s Café serves a special meal. This week it was spaghetti. Tom thinks that spaghetti is nature’s most perfect food. Ella does not care that much for it. She was supposed to eat cool, and soft. However, she opted to have a flat-bread veggie pizza. Since Tom was working, she brought the supper to him.

 

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Rudolf the Red Nosed Pickup

Friday 8th We were back on our regular schedule of coffee at the cafe and games and lunch at the senior center. After lunch we went to our storage trailer and brought home more things from there. Tom spent the afternoon rearranging things in our storage shed and getting the patio area clean and neat for tomorrows Williams Family Reunion.

Most of the activities will take place at the Lodge on Cutty’s Main Street. However, we wanted to be prepared for house guests also.

Ella spent the day preparing the salads for the reunion’s potluck.

We managed to get in a short nap before going to the Adult Center for Card Jackpot. Both Ella and Tom won two rounds. That means that we came home with a whopping $2.90 more than we started with. Yep, Card Jackpot is cheap thrills for sure.

It was about 8:30 when we finished playing cards and were surprised to see that the cafe was still open (everything is going to shorter hours now that the camping season is winding down) so we went in and got a couple of ice cream cones. We took them out under the pavilion on Main Street and sat and ate them while talking with friends. It was a great night for sitting outside.

On a more serious note: I received this email for my daughter in South Miami where they are hunkering down to await the arrival of Irma (the most powerful hurricane to hit the USA).

“We will be as prepared as possible before Irma arrives. We have food, water, propane, flashlights, batteries, a radio, candles, cash and gas in both cars. Andres is putting the shutters up right now while I get everything outdoors put away in the shed and playhouse. The girls are getting clothes and dishes washed in case we lose electricity and or water.

When we bought the house, we buried our power lines so we are less susceptible to power outages at the local level, of course wide-scale outages could still occur. Our house is elevated about 2 and a half feet so that helps with flooding. 

The addition has impact windows, but I’m planning to put heavy furniture in front of the windows and the two exterior doors anyway. 

If and when it comes to the worst of the storm, we will be in the interior hallway without windows. We have mattresses and sleeping bags at the ready to put down. 

We are fortunate that this is a natural disaster that we have time to prepare for.”

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I have been writing about the supports that I’m adding under the slide-out rooms in our Sierra. Here is a photo to show how I’m bracing them. Keep in mind that this RV may never be moved again. The slides will be left out all the time. So giving them added support seems like a good way to save wear and tear on the RV framework.
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You have to be up before dawn to see skies like this.

Saturday 9th was the day of the Williams Family Reunion. Tom and Ella started some things in crock-pots in the morning. We then packed somethings into Rudolf the Red Nosed Pickup that will need to be taken to the Cutty’s Lodge for the party.

We went for breakfast at Village Inn. It was a buy one get one deal. Besides Ella and I there were, Tom and Sue, Sandy and Francis, Francis and Sharon.
Sue, Sharon, Sandy, Ella
Tom, Francis, Francis, Tom
2017 sept 9 8 am
REUNION ATTENDEES:
Randy & Linda Cook, Kara Devilbiss, Jay Cook,  Stevie, Shane, Shawn, Shyan Dunaway, Kirk & Rita Williams, Morgan Hart, Mark Christopher, Madden Strand, Dawn Cook Gloege, Cash, Krista & Russ Pape, Jay Cook, Kerei Nelson and more that did not sign the guest book.

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The reunion went off very well. Lots fun was had be all. After we’d emptied and cleaned the Lodge, most of us went back to our site. We had a nice day to sit out under the patio awning and just visit. We were somewhat in awe that all those people were able to gather comfortable on the patio and everyone had a place to sit. The 5 folding camp-chairs weren’t even needed.

Sunday 10th The first thing on our agenda was to check the reports on hurricane Irma. It appears that it veered to the west and is going up the gulf side of Florida. With all that was being said about Storm Surge we feared the flooding most of all because they live so near the cost. Because our family is in South Miami, we could breathe a little easier. We are still praying for them as well as those in the future and past path of this storm. This is the message we received from Amber, “The eye is over the Keys right now. By late afternoon/early evening we will have passed through the hurricane strength winds. We are fine. Lots of wind and rain over night but no flooding evening the street and mostly minor tree debris down.”  Thank you, God!

For breakfast we ate the other half of Tom’s Village Inn breakfast from yesterday. We added a couple more scrambled eggs and a little cheese and had three meals out of one breakfast. It was so nice outside that we decided to eat breakfast on the patio.

What a treat! Since we are no longer holding worship services at Cutty’s, we were able to attend service at our home church, Union Park UMC. It was nice to reconnect with old friends that we seldom see anymore.

One of our members has a ministry where he goes to local grocery stores and picks up day old bread and produce that has reached its “sell by” date. He then distributes it to various places … including our church. Our church members, as well as neighborhood folks can come and take whatever they can use. This time there were salads and fruit so, after the service, we made a lunch of them while continuing to visit.

Plus we were there for a special conference after the service. Our friend and pastor Lee Webb will be retiring. The conference was about funding a two year revenue stream for a full time pastor. The church’s congregation is technically too small for the Iowa United Methodist Conference to assign a full time pastor. The were questions about setting a limit and about paying the church’s apportionment that were brought up. However, in the end, the original proposal was accepted 47 to 3.

When Tom turned his phone on after the service there was an update from Amber in Miami, “We are still getting occasional bursts of 80-100 mph winds but the rain had let up. No flooding at all. I love my street! Just a few more hours.”

 

We came home and just relaxed for the rest of our Sabbath. As a matter of fact, we were supposed to go to an Employee Appreciation Dinner in the evening … and we forgot all about it.

Monday 11th (Patriots’ Day) Tom awoke early … as usual … and checked for messages from Miami, but found none. The last we had heard was that everything was okay and that it was about over with.

Since Ella wasn’t up yet, Tom started gathering information for next year’s worship services at Cutty’s.  He’s not doing anything too in depth, just finding scripture readings from the lectionary and finding a few hymns to go along with their theme.

After Ella was up, we had breakfast on the patio. 2017-09-11_10.04.41Then it was to the Cafe for coffee with Tom, Sue, Keith, and Dixie. Ella made double use of this time by doing laundry at the laudromat on Main Street while we visited.

Tom worked 11-7. This was his last day of work for the season. While he worked, Ella went to the Senior Center in Grimes. When she came home, she began packing clothes, meds, and so forth for our trip to Santa University. We just received our agenda for the school. It looks like Tom will be busy in school while Ella and the other Mrs. Claus are taking tours of museums and such. One of the items in the agenda was a dress code for one day … black slacks and a long sleeve red shirt. The only long sleeve red shirt that Tom had has frayed cuffs. So after work, we went to Walmart and purchased a shirt.

 

Wednesday the 20th. We finished unloading the truck with the things taken to and brought back from Santa U. We then went to the Cafe for coffee with friends (back to the usual schedule). Lunch at the Grimes Senior Center and pie in the evening with friends. Later we played Train Dominoes at Cutty’s Adult Center.

Thursday 21st Tom checked his INR and glucose readings. They were both in the “Okay” range. Better than he’d expected concedering his diet in the past week.

It was Amber’s birthday so we sent greetings to her also. Everything else proceeded as normal until the afternoon when we started bringing things home from the storage trailer.

Friday 22 normal morning activities with more moving of things out of the storage trailer. We played Card Jackpot in the evening and brought home more money than we’d taken with us. Play costs .05 for ten rounds and .25 for the last round. If you win, the amount of money that you collect depends on how many are playing. We normally have 4-6 tables of 4 persons.

Saturday 23 

Sunday 24 We attended services at our Iowa home Church, Union Park United Methodist Church. Tom went to Sunday School with the Valkommen Class while Ella had coffee and visited with friends until time for worship to start.

Monday 25

These are pictures of clouds before the rain rolled in. 2017-09-25_21.20.09We had 4 3/4″ of rain in our gauge when it was all over. Our lake at Cutty’s Campground  flooded over the road. Fortunately it went down nearly as fast as it went up.

If you’ve been following this blog then you know that we have been in the process of moving our things between 3 trailers all summer long. Well we’ve also been emptying a storage trailer also. Because of that there has been a constant amount of boxes, books and things stacked in the living area. Ella was moving some things, caught her foot in the straps of a purse on the floor. She fell face first into the edge of the table. 0925172054_HDRThis gave her a “fat lip” and an amazing bruise inside and outside of her mouth and down her chin. We loaded into the truck and drove to the emergency room at Methodist West. It was raining so hard and the windshield kept fogging over that I had trouble seeing. Because of this, I decided to stay off of the interstates and take back roads. There was water so deep on the roads that, even though I was going very slowly, the water sprayed out from under the truck a lot. It was also difficult to not hydroplane.

We were at the emergency room for around three hours … most of the time waiting to be seen. Ella was examined and x-rayed and nothing was broken. Thank God!

It had stopped raining when we left the hospital but started up again before we got home. We were both soaked to the skin … even with the umbrella.

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Wednesday 27 Coffee, as usual in the morning. However this time we also had a breakfast pizza. We arrived at the Senior Center in time to help setup the tables (placemats, table decorations, napkins, straws and plastic “silverware”.  Then we played   games until  lunch.

We needed a new house battery for the Excel. We stopped at Interstate Batteries and got information on price and discharge time. From there we went across the street to Walmart and found a similar battery for about $30 less. I also purchased a new sewer hose (the one we have for the Excel is a little too short for the site we are in).

When we returned to the campground, I extend our stay until Monday, October 2nd.

After installing the house battery, the slide out would still not extend. Ella called the campground maintenance person (Travis). With his and Tom’s added muscle power, the slide out went out. After it was started, it continued out on it’s own.  I’ll need to add some silicone spray to the slide out rams.

Nap time arrived shortly after getting some things in the Excel organized, Then it was time to head to Village Inn for pie. When we arrived, Kara, our niece was there waiting for us. Sandy and Frances as well as Tom and Sue also joined us.

In the evening, we played  dominoes at the Adult center.

Thursday 28 We worked on getting the Excel organized and ready for travel. We also spent time with John and Dawn at their campsite on the lake.FB_IMG_1506855181413

Friday 29 We said goodbye to our friends at the Grimes Senior Center. We also continued getting the Excel ready to travel. We also collected some last minute items from the Sierra and then spread Bounce dryer sheets all through the travel trailer. Ella believes it keeps mice away. I’m not convinced that it does more than provide them with bedding material.

Saturday 302017-09-30_18.38.31 (1)FB_IMG_1506855198635pencil_sketch_1506816352195  This was the last BIG event at Cutty’s Des Moines Camping Resort. It was the Spooktacular Weekend. Many people decorate their campers and campsite with Halloween items. There are costume contests for all ages (and pets). And for the big finale … fire works after dark.

 

 

 

 

 

 

SANTA UNIVERSITY

September 14th We got on the road shortly after 4 a.m. and headed to Colorado for Santa University. We made our first pit stop about 5. We crossed into Nebraska

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Sure is a lot of sky in Nebraska! Not much else to look at.

about quarter after 6 and stopped for coffee outside of outside of Lincoln Nebraska at 6:45 for coffee. The sky was just beginning to glow orange in the east.

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The sky all rusty looking

8:45 a.m. quick stop at a rest area outside of Bradshaw Nebraska.

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A few minutes later there is more color in the sky

Because we were going to be traveling today and this is the day I normally take my INR and glucose readings I decided to do them yesterday. My glucose reading was ex0914170703_HDRtremely good and my INR was slightly low is supposed to be between 2 and 3 and it was in a 1.7. However I know the reason why, I had forgotten to take it one night. So today while we’re on the road we called Dr Crimmins office and explain why and they adjusted my dosage for just one time.

We stopped in an Arby’s along the interstate and had lunch about 11.

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After passing through the nothingness of flat-land Nebraska, we arrive at the nothingness of rolling hills of Colorado.

At 12:19 we passed into the Mountain Time Zone and suddenly we have our time is now 11:20. Shortly after that we passed into Colorado.

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Hey! Mountains!

It was about 3:30 mountain time when we arrived at our hotel. For those of you keeping score, that’s 14 1/2 hours after leaving home.

A quick look around and we knew we had arrived  at the right spot.

We checked into our room and then into the Santa group. We got a goody bag, a name tag, and an agenda. We took our luggage to the room and then went back to the lobby to socialize. Around 5:30 we had a buffet supper. We were back in our room and in bed by 7:30. It was a long day

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Our room

Friday 15th I awoke at 5:30 (mountain time). How did my body adjust to the time zone change and still wake me at my normal time? Or maybe, in reality I over slept by an hour because it would have been 6:30 central time.

It was nice to take a L-O-N-G shower! When you live full time in an RV, you learn to take shorter showers. Because your waste water goes into holding tanks that you then have to empty. 0916170719_HDRSo it was a luxury to take a longer shower in such a roomy stall.

We went down to a buffet breakfast that included just about every possible thing that might be considered breakfast food.

Our manager, Becky, had a short meeting with our group before going in and joining the larger group. Ever wonder what a room full of Santas would look like?

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A room full of Santas and Mrs. Clauses in the back rows

And how are you to find “your” Santa in a group like this?2017-09-15_08.11.35 Easy. He’s the one with the plaid tam o’ shanter.

We started the meeting with the company history. Which isn’t very long because it is a newly combined company. Okay, we had the company(s) histories of both Noerr Programs and Cherry Hill Photography.

We had talks from organizations that we partner with such as Save The Children. There was a presentation by an Autism group.

We also had a representative from NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) who told us how they had accidentally become part of Santa’s history. Way back in 1955 a company had run an advertisement in the paper where you could call a phone number and speak directly to Santa. The only problem was the number was printed incorrectly and it actually dialed into the RED PHONE at NORAD. The first call they received was passed off as a prank. However as more calls started coming in, they started to play along and give updates on Santa’s current location. And the tradition has continued since then. There is even a website that tracks the Big Guy’s movements.

We broke for lunch.

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When we got back to the meeting room, we heard short stories from some of the Santas present. We then stuffed 300 “stockings” to be delivered to children affected by the hurricanes.

In the afternoon we went outside for a group photo

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And so ended our day

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Ella Posts: We, Mrs Claus’s, went on trip up into the mountains today. However, there was a forecast for snow higher up so we stopped in Estes Park and did some shopping at an arts and crafts show. Here are some photos from our adventure.21742859_10155734036137258_2851718094262585858_n21752132_10155734034002258_5831880359597715626_n21764760_10155734031792258_4020451315750912988_n (1)21462960_10155734031652258_2144755079029786167_n

 

Day 4 of Santa U

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One on the slides in our training on Santa Ethics

The past few days have been so full that I haven’t been keeping up with this blog. Here are some photos from the last couple of days.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Santas sharing experiences with each other was one of the most important parts of the program.

 

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Sunday night ended with a BBQ at a park

 

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Sunday’s sunset at the park

RECAP OF SANTA UNIVERSITY

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The sun was just coming up when we stopped in Nebraska for breakfast.

Mrs. Claus and I left around 4 a.m. on Thursday September 14th and spent about 14 hours driving to Santa University in Westminster Colorado.

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Western Nebraska had a lot of sky to look at … and nothing else.

 

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Colorado wasn’t much better than Nebraska just lots of sand hills and sage brush

Upon arriving, we registered at the hotel and took our luggage to our room.

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We finally got to see mountains as we arrived at our hotel.

Then we went back to the lobby to sign in with Santa U. We received t-shirts for both Ella and I. It was an informal meet and greet and then a buffet supper.

The training was mostly held at Drury Suites and Inn  in Westminster Colorado where were treated like royalty. I got a real kick out of the female voice of the elevator. It always sounded a little depressed when it would say, “Going up or going down.”

Friday the 15th, after breakfast, 21727991_10155731171957258_4235982954233674786_nwe gathered in the large conference room for a Welcome and sessions on Company Experience. Then we heard from some of our partner organizations: Autism Speaks, NORAD (yes the North America Aerospace Defense command),and Emotional Support Animals.2017-09-15_10.05.01.jpg

After lunch we had a time for some of us to introduce ourselves and tell our favorite memories. (This continued throughout the week until everyone had had a chance to speak) Then we continued learning about our partnership with: Save the Children and our service project with them.

Since this is a new company born by blending Noerr Programs with Cherry Hill Photography. These were the two largest suppliers of Santas to malls, events, resorts, business, and et cetera. Now that they have combined into Cherry Hill Programs, they truly dominate the market.

We took a short time to fill 300 “stockings” with toys for children affected by hurricane Harvey. Once we were done with the Christmas packages, we had a presentation by our partner, Shutterfly. From there we went outside for a group photo and then dinner at the hotel.

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Ella is front row center, I’m nearly to the back center in the plaid tam o’shanter

 

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Photos Ella took at Denver Art Museum

Saturday 16th, after a great breakfast buffet, we continued with member introductions and their favorite experiences. Then we moved into the more serious items such as how to represent ourselves in a positive manner. We discussed costuming and grooming as well as how to be aware of our Santa presence on Social Media such as Facebook, Twitter, and the like. How not to get caught with our pants down … figuratively and/or literally.

We then took a trip outside for another group photo. It’s like playing Find Elmo. Can you see me?

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I’m nearly centered and in the very back.

When we got settled back inside, we had a demonstration on beard whitening and shaping. One of the younger Santas had some gray in his beard but it was mostly a light brown. After one bleaching it was almost completely white with just a little yellow along the sides. His hair was going to need at least one more bleaching. The following morning, he startled himself when he looked in the mirror … it was that dramatic of a change.

We moved on to “Tough Kid Questions” such as “Can you make Mommy and Daddy quit fighting?”, “My grandma died. Can you bring her back so I can see her one more time?”

Then it was things like, How to Prepare for 12 hour days, What to do when the set is slow, How Santa can help create a team atmosphere on the set, Special Promotions (like Special Needs and Pet Night), and Safety Procedures. That wrapped it up for Saturday.

Sunday 17th After breakfast, we had a short praise service in the lobby of the hotel.

 

When we were back in the conference room, we began to deal with the questions ask BY Santa. Just before lunch, we heard for Doctor John about How to Stay Healthy and in Shape. We broke for lunch and then came back to more from Dr. John. Around 2.:00 is when we began with Media Protocol and Media Training followed by Ethics of Santa. Our last session was a seminar on What Makes a Quality Photo.

We met at a local park for a BBQ from 6 to sometime after dark.2017-09-17_19.32.14

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Monday 18th we loaded into shuttles and were taken to the Pole .(Company HQ) for a variety of things from Studio Training, Tech Support, Payroll, Field Expectations, meeting with Judy and Philip (heads of the company) and the big thing for most of us … being fitted for our suits!. After that we all met outside for a final goodbye. Some left from there to the airport. Some started driving toward home. And some of us took a shuttle back to the hotel. Ella and I had booked an extra night so that we could be rested before we began the long drive home.

Tuesday 19th even though we tried to sleep in, we were too pumped up to sleep much past five. There were a few other Santas still in the hotel as we went down for breakfast. It seemed to take less time to load the pickup than it did to unload it when we arrived. We were on the road around 7:30.

We stopped shortly before crossing the Colorado / Nebraska boarder to have a lite lunch at Lucy’s Place. It is owned by the family of friends from Cutty’s. We shared a buffalo burger (they raise their own buffalo) and a couple of pies.

More long hours of driving … stopping for gas and potty breaks … followed by more driving, finally brought us to the McDonald’s where we stopped for breakfast on the 14th. We met up with Hazel there and sat talking for about an hour.

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Shortly after crossing into Iowa, we stopped for gas and to run the truck through a car wash. the windshield and front of the truck were plastered with bug guts.

It was about 9:30 when we arrived home. We elected to leave everything except the CPap machines to be unloaded in the morning.

Ella may submit her story of what the Mrs. Clauses did during their time at Santa U.

  • OCTOBER

Sunday 01 We went to Union Park United Methodist Church for Worship. Tom was the liturgist for the first service. Nathan, Beth and the kids had broken camp and left by the time we returned to Cutty’s Des Moines Camping Resort. We spent the afternoon with John and Dawn. It was a very laid back relaxing day.

Monday 02 It was lightly raining as we got ready to pull the Excel out of Cutty’s campground. The slideout didn’t want to come in so we called Travis. He and Dennis came and helped get it in. We finally got on the road sometime around 9:30.

We stopped in a rest stop in northern Missouri and saw another couple pulling a smallish travel trailer. We found ourselves following them for mile after mile. Eventually, I told Ella that we were going to need to pull off at the next exit for gasoline. So, I chuckled to myself when I saw the travel trailer pulling off just ahead of us. We followed them into a Casey’s. Of course we got to talk with the other couple this time. They were Kenneth and Phyllis from Independence Iowa. He asked where I was headed and I said, “Liberty Hill, Texas.” When I asked Kenneth where they were headed he replied, “Dallas. Where are you stopping for the night?”  I said that we’d most likely stop at a Walmart somewhere along the line.  He said that they were headed for Nevada, Missouri and a RV park called Osage Prairie.New Doc 2017-10-05_1

At one time, our Iowa family was planning to follow us south as far as southern Missouri or northern Kansas. One of my friends had suggested Osage Prairie as a good place where we could all camp together. As it turned out, none of the family could make the trip with us and yet we ended up camping there anyway.

We arrived at the RV park about an hour ahead of K & P. We found out that they’d had a flat on their truck and a highway patrolman stopped and changed the tire for them. Once we were all settled in, they asked if we wanted to go with them to Buzz’s for supper. We did.

Tuesday 03 We were up and on the road before K&P were out and about so we didn’t get to say goodbye to them. We drove through constant mist and occasional rain all the way through Missouri, Oklahoma, and into Texas.

We thought we had set our GPS to take us out and away from Dallas. However, we ended up following it right through downtown Dallas during rush hour and in the rain. There were also several accidents which had the lanes closed in places. It took over two hours to get through there.

Although we were driving in fairly heavy rain, it wasn’t a big problem until we got to Temple. They have been rebuilding I35 through Temple for at least four years now. With the lane closures and lack of lane markings, it can be challenging enough. However, add in the rain, night, and pulling a 35 foot fifth wheel and it was a white knuckle drive.

Around 9;30 p.m. we pulled into the Cross Tracks Church parking lot. There was a meeting going on in the fellowship hall, so we went in and said hello to folks and let them know that we were parked out there. And shortly thereafter we were asleep.

Wednesday 04

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First Sunrise in Texas 2017

Being parked in the Church parking lot made it very easy for us to be the first ones to arrive for Grandies*.

However, before Grandies we went to Sonic for breakfast and then stopped at Dollar General to look for a 30 amp automotive fuse that was needed for the slideout motor. They had none so we went to Winkley’s Hardware who also had none. From there we went to an Auto Parts store where we were able to purchase the needed fuse.

Once a month Grandies has a party to recognize birthdays and anniversaries. Well this was the day. Some of them seem to be having a contest to find the hottest pepper cheese and bring it to share with the rest of us. I enjoy the cheeses more than I should, I think. Plus this time they brought jalapeno cornbread crackers that hat quite a zing also.

After Grandies we took the Excel to the Stocktank RV Park and put it on a temporary site. The site that was reserved for us was still occupied by someone who was supposed to have moved before we arrived. She was months behind in her site rent and had “trash” all around the site. The landlord gave her an ultimatum to leave or be towed away by the police.

We weren’t really setup for preparing a meal at the RV so we went to Jardin Corinas for lunch. We have become that old couple that orders one meal and shares it. Not only did we share it, we had to ask for a to go box.

We made it to the once a month Choir party.  Choir practice is every 2017-09-28_08.48.09.jpgWednesday evening. Ella sings alto and I sing the low bass parts. However, Ella’s jaw was still bothering her. (Remember the fall that left her black and blue?)

 

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Sunset as we were leaving choir practice Wednesday 4, 2017

Thursday 05 As we were leaving the Stocktank, we noticed that some of the trash had been moved from the site that would soon be ours. We donated a wheel chair to Cross Tracks Church and took three or four trash bags full of clothing to Operation Liberty Hill**. By then it was time to go to the Over The Hill Gang*** for games and lunch. It was nice to reconnect with friends that we hadn’t seen in about five months.

Friday 06 was another day to reconnect. This time with the folks at the Leander Senior Center. We were surprised at how few people there were in attendance. Jerry and Gloria played Mexican Train with us as did Marvin (he played Ella’s hand she went to the bathroom). Lunch was hamburgers … add your own toppings. We also picked up some cookies and donuts holes. I was hoping that there would be bread, as we are nearly out.

I had called in a prescription to the Walmart pharmacy so we stopped and picked up a very few groceries. However the doctor had not called in a new prescription yet. So no medications for me.

Saturday 07 This was the morning when we moved the Excel onto our site for the rest of the winter. The only hiccup in the move was that there was a bicycle race/ride on the highway. I waited until there was a break in bike traffic and then pulled onto the road for less than a block long drive. As I signaled for a left turn, someone in a pickup passed us on the left in a no passing zone. I thank God that I checked my mirror before beginning the turn.

After getting the Excel situated and hooked to water and electric we attempted to get the slideout out. I had first replaced the 30 amp fuse that had blown back in Iowa. The slideout started out but then would go no further, even with me pushing on it. I went to our neighbor, Tim, and asked to borrow some muscle power. With the two of us pushing while Ella held the “out” button, it extended like it is supposed to. It is nice to have good neighbors. We will try to BE good neighbors also.

While I was getting the stabilizing jacks down and the awning out, our neighbor to the west came over. She remembered me from last year when I had helped her put up “pop up awning”. Unfortunately, the wind came along later and left it all twisted and unusable.

Being Saturday, we drove the 30 miles to Round Rock High School so that we could watch grandson Tate play flag football. He is fast and has a lot of natural ability. However, the thing that impresses me the most is, he gives it his all every time. If he is carrying the ball, never once does he look back. If he his chasing the ball carrier, he doesn’t quit then either. It is all “eyes on the prize.”

Once the game was over we then went to Adam and Leigha’s for the afternoon. Ella did a couple loads of laundry while we visited with them. We spoke of many things, of cabbages and kings. Both of them have new jobs since we saw them last (5 months). In the evening Leigha and Adam made tacos for supper. Before it was full on dark, we left for the 30+ mile drive home. It was dark when we arrived home.

Sunday 08 We attended Cross Tracks Church for worship and Sunday School. We really missed these people and this place while we were in Iowa. I had a little special surprise. 2017-10-10_15.22.54Wade Burleigh, one of the Santas that I had met at Santa University, was in the congregation. He had been attending the festival for the International Sculpture Garden in Liberty Hill yesterday. He saw one of our members wearing his t-shirt with the Cross Tracks Church logo and asked when the services were.

Before we left for church, I had started some ribs in the crock pot. They weren’t quite done when we returned so we played a couple rounds of board games. By then the ribs were ready.

After lunch we moved the table, chairs, and recliners and vacuumed beneath.

Then it was nap time.

After a short nap I decided to get the TV set up. First I had to change batteries in the remote. Then I ran a search for channels. It located 13 about half of which are Spanish speaking

Monday 09 Columbus Day (also called Indigenous People Day in Austin). The only thing on our calendar for the day was a 1:30 appointment with the dermatologist. We slept in … a little. I went out and set up the patio area by putting down some indoor/outdoor carpet. I then put out a table and camp chairs. Once breakfast was ready, we sat outside to eat.

Later Ella brought to Fast Track game2017-10-02_16.55.51 outside also, We played games until nearly eleven. That was when I moved inside to work on this blog.

While we were playing, te dermatologist office called to say out appointment was rescheduled until the 13th of November. That meant that we had no reason to leave home at all.

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Tuesday 10 Up at 6 and on the road by 6:30. Country roads can be very dark at that time of day. There was no moon or stars visible either. It was all very peaceful … except for the knowledge that there is at least one new dead deer along this six mile stretch of road every week! So what could make us leave the nice cocoon of bedding and go out to a chilly (59 degrees) early morning ride? I have an appointment with my VA doctor in a couple of days and I need to have lab work done several days in advance. The lab opens at 7:00 and it is about 20 miles away from home.

We arrived shortly after 7:00 and there was a line waiting to check in. After a while, one of the VA folks said, “If you’re here for lab work, you don’t have to check in. Just take a number and have a seat.” Nearly everyone in line did as he said and took a number from the little pull tab machine.

We sat like good little soldiers, not speaking to each other. As I looked around the room I noticed the coffee bar in the front of the room. There were even snack items available. How cruel to set before people who were doing FASTING lab work. There was noting else to do but sit and watch the large television placed high upon the wall. Slowly, we were called back three at a time. I was so engrossed in watching “Flip or Flop” on HGTV that I almost didn’t notice when my number appeared on the screen.

I was number 60 so I went back with Mr. 59 and Ms. 61. Three partitioned areas and three chairs awaited us. “59 take a seat in the left chair. 60 the middle chair and 61 to the right.” It crossed my mind that there were three chairs with patients, but only two medical techs. Was someone missing? Did one of the two techs work twice as fast? I don’t know. “Which arm?” she asked. I replied that it didn’t matter. I also told her that I am a “hard stick” and most people find it easier to draw blood from the back of my hand.

Ignoring my helpful suggestion she proceeded to try each arm several times. Tying the little blue strip of rubber around my arms and slapping them, looking for a vein. “I think if I use a smaller needle, I can get something here,” she said as she looked at spot on the outside edge of my elbow. She made it. She managed to fill two and a half vials before the blood stopped. That’s when the readjusting of the needle started. Push it in a little farther. Pull it out a little. Move it this way and that. She managed to extract a small amount in the fourth vial. “That’ll have to do, I guess.” Mr. 59 and Ms. 61 were long done by now. Strangely, they didn’t call in two more people. I guess that there is a regulation that said we had to come in groups of three.

It was now shortly after 8 and time for some breakfast. 1010170831_HDRElla suggested the IHOP but I wanted to try something different. Someone (I don’t remember who or when) had told me that the 1431 Café had good breakfasts. It is located directly across the street from IHOP on highway 1431. It’s a good thing that the café was located there  because it would have made no sense for the 1431 Café to have been located on 183. What a coincidence.

It was surprising to me that it was larger than it had seemed on the outside. Not quite like the TARDIS but deceptively large. I’d guess it had seating for around 100 people. However, it was nearly empty. 1010170819_HDRThere was one booth with a young couple leaning close acrossed the table and talking quietly. The only other table in use was occupied by 3 men (our age) and one of the waitresses. At one point they started singing something that I didn’t recognize. I said, “I didn’t know that there was entertainment here also.” They laughed.

One of the items on the breakfast menu intrigued me, Chicken Fried Bacon. I really wanted to try it. However the price of nearly $4 for two pieces of bacon seemed a little high. I had two hot cakes, two eggs, and two sausage patties while Ella had eggs, toast and grits. It was all good.

By the time that breakfast was over it was time that we could go to the Leander Senior Center. 2017-10-14_14.49.51Jerry, Marvin, and Eddy were already there. We sat and just visited for a short time and then Ella brought out the dominoes. Gloria arrived shortly thereafter and joined us. Next to arrive was Charlotte and Arlotte. The two of them  brought out the Rummykube (spelling?) game. Other folks began to arrive.

We finished our dominoes game in time for lunch. There was a salad and eggplant Parmesan. I ate the salad and the noodle from under the eggplant. However the soggy, mushy eggplant was pushed off to the side.  Ella ate her’s. Surprisingly, she had never had eggplant before. Why is it called eggplant when it neither looks like nor tastes like egg?

After lunch most folks left. Charlotte, Arlotte, Ella and I played two rounds of Rummykube. Neither Ella nor I had ever played it previously. Ella was familiar with the card game rummy but I had never played that either.    think I have the hang of it now. I am very good at seeing patterns which if very helpful in the game.

It was sometime after three when we returned home. We did some housekeeping, took a nap, did some more housekeeping and generally goofed off the rest of the day.

Wednesday 11 I woke a few minutes before 5:00 and checked my phone. It was dead. It died last night and I was hoping that by being on the charger all night, it would be revived. No such luck. Knowing that Ella would not be awake for another couple of hours, I decided to do the dishes. There were two reasons for that. One, obviously, the dishes were dirty and needed to be washed. Duh! However, I also needed to make sure my hands were clean and warm so that I could do my INR testing. (blood flows better when the hands are warm)

Even with the warm hands I wasn’t getting enough blood to do the test. Although the small amount of blood was enough for the glucose meter. I suspected that the lancet needle wasn’t going deep enough. So I changed lancets and tried again. Success! I managed to squeeze out a nice size bubble of blood for the test. Yay. Both the INR and blood sugar levels were within normal range. Normally, I would call in the test results right away. However, … that’s right, … my phone was dead.

I would need to use Ella’s phone. I know better than to try and get to her phone while she slept. She guards it like a bear sow guards her cubs. It was safer to just work on the blog for yesterday’s activities. Once she was awake, I asked to borrow her phone so that I could call in my results of the INR. Before I did that though, I swapped batteries between the phones in the hope that all that was wrong with my phone was the battery. Nope. Still dead even with the fresh battery. I replaced her battery and made my call while she was in the shower.

While she dressed, I made breakfast … in the microwave. I ran out of gas in the lighter yesterday and forgot to replace it while we were out and about. No lighter … no stove. Microwaved bacon is great. Sandwich a couple slice between several layes of papertowles and the bacon comes out crisp, flat, and non greasy. The eggs are another matter all together. Years ago Ella purchased some “as seen on TV” microwave egg cups. They work for hard cooked eggs. But I’ve never been able to come up with “over easy” without having the whites uncooked. So, they come out more like boiled eggs than fried. We were also out of bread. I had some hamburger buns to I toasted those. The first ones came out charcoal. The second were merely burnt. The third ones were just right … said Goldilocks.

About quarter after eight we headed into town to Grandies*. However, we stopped at Parker’s Corner (grocery store) to purchase a lighter for the stove. They didn’t carry the lighters but did have boxes of wooden matches. I bought a box.

At the checkout the cashier asked about the shirt I was wearing. It was the one I wear to Grandies and has the logo of Cross Tracks Church on it. She first asked about communion. I said that we use juice instead of wine and generally it is a small loaf of bread that we break and have pieces of. Then she asked if we were accepting. I said that the church’s motto is Open Hearts, Open Minds, and Open Doors (which is close enough to the actual motto. I think.) We are an inclusive rather than an exclusive congregation. Then she wanted to know if we allow gay and lesbion couples in. I said that we do and that until fairly recently there were an openly gay couple that were members. They moved away and no longer attend. At this point she wanted to know about out hours, which I told her and explained the different services.

Attendance at Grandies was a little light today. Louine and Donna were home waiting for a health care representative to check up on Donna’s progress. Ethel (whose nephew just passed away) was home preparing for family to arrive. Mary Lee came in late because she was working in the worship center.

We sent out greeting cards and then Wanda read a devotion about a woman who was going through a divorce and found that the Lord could keep her from having “dry bones.” Proverbs 17:22 ESV “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”

After the meeting, some people left and the rest of us broke into groups to play dominoes or canasta. About 11:40 we ended the game so that folks could go get some lunch before Benny’s memorial service. Ella had brought snacks so that we did not have to drive all the way home and back before the service. We sat in the fellowship hall most of the time. I did go to the post office, which is just a few blocks from the church, to pick up our mail.

1:15 came and we went to the chapel for the memorial service. It was an uplifting celebration of the life of an incredible man.

The service was followed by a light lunch in the worship center.

As the crowd began to file out of the luncheon, Ella and I went into Cedar Park to the Verizon store. They examined the phone and found no damage. They tried charging it and it would not take a charge. They removed the battery and reinstalled it and nothing worked. (I had already tried all of those things.) Then they called the Service Center where I talked to George. He is sending a replacement phone which I should receive sometime Friday. Yay!

We stopped on the way home at H.E.B. to pick up a loaf of bread so that we could make sandwiches for supper. While we were there (and had a good phone connection) I called Cutty’s and paid my electric bill from last month. Since we no longer have a trailer in storage, I also asked about my refund for the unused portion of the yearly storage. Dianne didn’t have an answer for me. However, she said she’d call me Thursday. I told her that I wouldn’t have my phone until Friday. So I will call Cutty’s some time Thursday.

I tried watching television for a while but couldn’t find anything interesting. I think that I’d mentioned earlier that we receive 13 channels (over the air) and about half are Spanish (which unfortunately I don’t speak). Ella was unaffected by the lack of television because she played games and puzzles on her phone. I miss my phone.

Thursday 12 It was another chilly start for the day (60 degrees). I slept in (got up around 6) Ella was awake and playing games on her phone. She didn’t get out of bed until close to 8:30. She claims that she’s not addicted to her electronics. I’m not so sure about that. Even when we are visiting with people or playing “real life games”, she still is texting of moving puzzle pieces on her phone. Okay, that little rant is over.

We arrived around 9:30 at the Over The Hill Gang*** which was much earlier than anyone other than the “workers/volunteers” arrived. It was at least 10:30 before any more of the Gang showed up. Dawn (pastor of one of the local churches) began playing the piano and singing hymns. I and several others joined in for a while. We visited and ate snacks until we were “called to order” and the news about members was read.

We then had a prayer for the meal. Then those who needed assistance were allowed to go through the line (buffet style) first. Today was meatloaf, mashed potatoes & gravy, green beans, pinto beans, and several salads. We sat with Ira and Ellen with whom we played canasta after lunch. Ella and I played two rounds of canasta and then excused ourselves to go to Ella’s appointment with the Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor in Cedar Park.

Because this was the first time to see this doctor, Ella had a lot of paper work to fill out. An audiologist put her in a booth and checked her hearing, The doctor said that she did indeed have fluid behind the ear drum in the right ear. Since it had not cleared up since she’d started medications six months earlier, she made an incision in the ear drum and drained the fluid. A prescription was called in and an appointment for a follow up in one week was made.

We went to the pharmacy and found out  that the prescription wasn’t covered by our insurance and would cost over $200. We asked them to call the doctor for a substitute. This is the same pharmacy where I had called in my prescription for a refill of one of my meds. The pharmacy said that the doctor had faxed it to them but that the insurance wouldn’t cover it until the 14th.  My dosage has doubled but no one told the insurance company. It was only $4 without the copay so I just bought it. Hoops. I hate jumping through hoops. Why are they always hoops to jump through when dealing with insurance? The pharmacy had still not heard back from Ella’s doctor, so we told them that we’d check back tomorrow.

After arriving home Ella checked her voice mail and found where the doctor had called to say, “Another prescription has been called in.” We will be going back into Leander tomorrow to the senior center. So, I guess we’ll go on into Cedar Park and get the prescription also.

Friday 13 Really? Friday the Thirteenth! It’s a good thing that I’m not superstitious. I was awake slightly before six and Ella woke when the alarm went off at seven. I got up and started breakfast while Ella sorted the dirty laundry. Today is laundry day.

Yesterday I received a check in the mail from the United States Treasury. Reading the enclosed letter, it appears that I was overcharged at the VA for something. It wasn’t a large check but I’m sure our bank account will be glad to have it.

There was a very small group (7) of us at the Leander Senior Center today. I have no idea why the attendance was down so low. The food was good, although I have no idea what the food was called. It was some Mexican casserole with black beans on the side. We played several rounds of Mexican Train dominoes. No one stayed after lunch to play more games.

We returned to the pharmacy and purchased the prescription that Ella was unable to pick up yesterday. From there we went to the Laundromat to do laundry.

From there we went back to the pharmacy to get more prescriptions that Ella had called in.

Around 7 p.m. Teresa knocked on our door to say that there was a package for us. Yay! My phone arrived. I spent most of the evening and night reloading applications. Google play did an automatic install for most things. However, I still had to go in and reregister most of them before I could find my data. My banking app and the DroidTV app took the longest. The hardest part about Droid TV was finding the app to download

Saturday 14 We drove in to Cedar Park/Leander to watch Sofia play volleyball. Her team won the first of three games. The other team had girls that were quite a bit older, bigger, and stronger. Very little about what they play could be called “volleyball”. Mostly, if one team finally manages to serve a ball that goes over the net, no one touches it. If they do manage to hit it, it goes out of bounds. I guess this game is teaching them some ‘life skills”.

I mailed out 4 birthday cards when I picked up the mail at the post office. We then came home and fixed some lunch. There was time for a nap before going to Tate’s flag football game in Round Rock at 4:30.

My ex and her husband just recently moved to Lampasas Texas. This means that they will be able to attend more of the grandkids events … like Tate’s game. It was 89 degrees and partially cloudy. The humidity was very low and there was a slight breeze which actually felt cool. Becky, my ex, was commenting that she was confused about what season it was. “It’s supposed to be fall.” Well, do you know what fall means in Texas?  That’s right. Nothing.

Tate’s game was exciting. Both teams played well …

unfortunately, the other team played better. Tate made a touchdown that didn’t count because there was a flag for offsides. He also made an interception and gained a lot of yardage.

Cross Tracks church was playing “The Shack” in the evening and serving hotdogs, popcorn, and other snacks starting at 6:00 before the movie at 7:00. I had never read the book nor previously seen the film. I had no idea what to expect. With no expectation going into it, I was impressed. I won’t give much away about it for those who, like me, never read nor saw it before. However, I will say that I was surprised by the unusual turn the story takes and the outcome. Count this as a recommendation.

Sunday 15 Breakfast was at church before Worship service. Cross Tracks puts out s large breakfast bar before worship. There are donuts and sweet treats, fruit (I really like the strawberries), homemade sausage and biscuits, and breakfast tacos. Now if that is not a “welcoming church” then I don’t know what is. Oh, by the way, the people are great also. (I didn’t want you to think I only go for the food.)

Ella and I sang in the choir for the first service, which it the more traditional service. Pastor Steve’s sermon title was “9 Apples.” It was a sermon about giving/tithing. The visual aids were good as were the projected images. However, though it examined what usually happens with people’s budgets and their giving, I don’t feel that it made the impact of WHY to donate or tithe to the church. My feeling and understanding is that donating is a way that God allows us to be of service to others and also to be in partnership with God. For in truth God doesn’t need our money but does require our service. He is more than Savior. He is Lord. (here ends the mini-sermon)

The F.R.O.G. (forever relying on God) class has been studying an Adam Hamilton book 2017-10-17_08.55.18“Moses, the reluctant prophet”. They are about halfway through the book. So, Ella and I have some catching up to do. I have read and enjoyed many of Hamilton’s books. He is good at enlightening his readers without using a lot of “churchy” words. And when he does use those words, he explains their meaning in plain English.

On the way home from church I asked Ella, “Nap or lunch first?” Her response was a resounding “Yes”. So, our lunch became both lunch and supper (lupper). The rest of the day was spent reading and playing games until returning to the church for Pastor Steve’s study on the New Testament.

2017-10-17_08.58.19Once again the group was already in progress when we arrived back in Texas. So there is catching up to do there also. They are halfway through the book of Acts. I have downloaded the study manual on my Kindle app and sent screen shots of the pages to Ella. That way we can at least jump in where they already are.

Monday 16 Began with a sneeze and a runny nose. Somewhere before 4;30 I was forced out of bed by the need to blow my nose. I’m the kind of person who, once I’m awake, I’m awake. Extremely seldom do I ever try to go back to sleep. Unable to sleep, I got up and worked on a sermon idea.

The alarm went off at 6:30 and we ate and got ready to go into Cedar Park. This was the day that I visited my wonderful VA doctor. (Seriously) Doctor Bassari is a wonderful doctor who actually acts like she enjoys seeing us. She looked at the results of my blood work and told me it was beyond good … it was wonderful. We set another appointment for six months out (just before we head to Iowa).

It was a little before nine when we arrived at the Leander Senior Center. 2017-10-14_14.49.51 (1)Again, there were very few people there. Ella pointed out an obvious possibility for the smaller attendance, last year they changed the road in front of the center and took away quite a few parking spaces. Makes sense to me. We are old and most can’t or don’t like to walk very far. Another thing that has changed is the chef at the center. Debbie has had surgery on her feet/legs and not returned to work. The person that is filling in for is competent but does not embellish the food at all.

My nose was still dripping and the constant sneezing and blowing made it difficult to play games or eat. I was glad when lunch was over so that I could go home. I put cotton balls in my nose (yes I did) and dropped my recliner back and took a nap.

After supper, we played some games and watch tv until bed time.

*Grandies is a service organization that meets every Wednesday in the Church’s fellowship hall. The group is comprised of “old folks” who are (mostly) grandparents. Hence the name Grandies. We have a card ministry where we send birthday, anniversary, missing you, hope you get better, sorry for your loss, and other types of cards to church members and others. We also donate money and merchandise to the local schools for the care of the homeless children there. We support **Operation Liberty Hill by donation and service. We have a Sack Lunch program during the summer because some children rely on the school lunch program for what may be their only meal of the day. The Sack Lunch kicks in while school is in recess for the summer.

**Operation Liberty Hill is a Thrift Store and Food Pantry.

***Over The Hill Gang is a member supported senior center in Liberty Hill, Texas.