2017 September Santa University Day 1

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

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.

The sky all rusty looking

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

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.

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.

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 along day


Just Thinking about Journaling

New Doc 2017-09-13_1
A page from my mother’s final journal.

Do you ever think about what the events in lives mean in the greater ebb and flow of our existence? As I’m writing my blog, I am for the most part, chronicling “events”. Mostly they are small events … the everyday events like “Ate breakfast and then went to the Cafe for coffee with friends.” Sometimes they are major events such as, “I had heart surgery yesterday.”

As I said, I mark these events on my blog. My mother did this for years and years by writing in journals. I have those journals from the last decade of her life. At the end her hands shook so much that the entries are difficult to read.

As I am now saving my chronicles of events, it occurs to me that the events are like stones in a brook. They may divert the water as it flows by. But they make little or no difference to the stream.

The flow of life is that way also. Life is what happens all around the events and not the events themselves.

2017 September part 2

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.”


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.
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
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.


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.

Tuesday 262017-09-26_17.24.052017-09-26_19.14.41










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 som 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

Friday 29

Saturday 302017-09-30_18.38.31 (1)FB_IMG_1506855181413FB_IMG_1506855198635pencil_sketch_1506816352195




2017 September part 1

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.

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.

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.


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.


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.

Displaying 2017-09-06_19.38.27.jpg
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.

2017 August part 4

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!


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.


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.

2017 August part 3

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.

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?
Old position of the hanging flowers
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


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:

“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!



2017 August part 2

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).


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!