Tuesday, December 30, 2008

So Long to 2008

I'm glad I have my blog to read because 2008 seemed like a whirlwind of doctor and hospital visits plus running from hurricanes - Eduardo, Fay, Gustov and Ike. Not much of an endorsement. But when I go back through my writings, I remember lots of good things that happened.

We spent Christmas Day at Terry & Carol's with a dozen other people. She made a wonderful turkey dinner and it was a great day. Our first Christmas at home in Texas was most enjoyable.

Kelly and family arrived late Friday evening. It was two long days of driving for them and they were all very tired so they quickly went off to bed.

In the morning I made a big breakfast for everyone. The three girls wanted manicures and pedicures so I took them to the salon and then went to grocery shop while I waited for them. We had invited Terry & Carol for dinner because Ted was putting a beef tenderloin on the rotisserie. We had a lovely dinner and visit. They even brought the girls Christmas cards with money. That was so generous of them!

On Sunday after Mass we went to Terry & Carol's beautiful home so the kids could see it. Then they took us to the country club for brunch. It was such a nice atmosphere and great food. Later, Carol and I took the girls to Charming Charlie's to do some shopping for accessories. They ended up with MORE stuff compliments of me and Aunt Carol. But girls are such fun to shop with.

On Monday we took off for Moody Gardens in Galveston. We had not been to the island since Hurricane Ike so we wanted to ride around a bit. I was amazed that we saw lots of boats still laying on the side of the road. I'm not sure what their owners do about getting them repaired and back into the water. A lot has been cleaned up and repaired but there is much more to do. This is a picture of the Flagship Hotel that lost its ramp from the highway. There is also a big hole in the wall clearly visible. The other is what is left standing of another building that had stood over the water.

We stopped at a Mexican restaurant that was very authentic. Everyone but us spoke Spanish but we muddled through. I ordered a burrito and it was a foot long and about five inches wide! I barely was able to eat half.

Then we went to Moody Gardens. Our first stop was the IMAX theater. The show was a Christmas story that none of us had ever seen. Next we went to the special effects theater and saw a condensed 4D version of the Polar Express. We got sprayed several times from snow, ice, hot chocolate, etc. The 3D version along with these special effects was great.

We visited the Aquarium which is what the girls were most interested in. There are many different exhibits in addition to the aquariums and we spent a lot of time here. I especially liked this moray eel and the penguin exhibit.

Our last stop was the RideFilm which was a Disney type ride with Santa who was late. We traveled via film and chair movement through the world at breakneck speeds. By then it was late and the Christmas Festival of Lights were all on. We didn't have time to do the 3/4 mile walk but we saw a lot of them as we walked to the parking lot.

We came home to some really well done ribs that were in the crockpots. I had started them on low close to 10 hours before. No one needed a knife! I quickly heated some beans, put frozen french fries in the oven and made cole slaw. I didn't even eat because I was so full but everyone else did. We spent the evening watching Hancock and it was around midnight before we all turned in.

I think today will be a "seat of our pants" type of planned day.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Santa, Chicken and Trains

OMG it's cold up here. Today we went to Frankenmuth (little Bavaria) about 60 miles north of Troy. It has Bronner's, the world's largest Christmas store and #1 Michigan tourist attraction. There is also the famous Family Chicken Dinner at the Bavarian Inn or Zehnder's. We stopped at Bronner's because it is such a fun place to browse and I did buy a lighted garland and a magnet.

Then we went to the Bavarian Inn for the famous chicken dinner. Santa stopped by and we were also serenaded by an accordian player playing Christmas carols and we were able to sing along. (Is that even possible, an accordian serenade?).

Afterwards we headed to Crossroads Village and the Huckleberry Railroad north of Flint. We visited with Santa and Mrs. Claus and Dancer, a live reindeer. The kids made a craft and then we took a ride on the railroad. It goes through the countryside for about 40 minutes through many lighted exhibits. My favorite is the "four calling birds" display. There are cardinals around a phone receiver!


We left at 11 am and it was almost 8 pm when we arrived home. Both kids were bushed and went to bed almost immediately. Tomorrow is church, Ally's dance studio recital, our family dinner at Kelly's and gift exchange. I'll rest on Monday I guess.

Fun with the Grandkids

After our Houston snowfall, the trip to the airport was slow and we arrived at our gate just as they were boarding. It was such a turbulant flight the lady in front of us traveling with three kids under age 6 I would say, all started getting sick. God bless her she never lost her cool, just handed the baby across the aisle to a passenger, passed out bags and when they were finished rang for the attendant. They stopped serving drinks and when they started up again did not have coffee because of the possibility of someone getting burned. It was a real roller coaster ride.

The airport was not crowded and we walked right up to the Budget rental counter. And here in Detroit, with all the news about the Big 3 on TV, they rented us a Hyundai! When we lived here you wouldn't dare drive a foreign car for fear of what would happen. Maybe that's part of the problem. For my kids, Detroit, Michigan and the rest of the country who would be affected by a collapse, I hope help is on its way from Washington. This would truly be "trickle down" economic suicide. So many businesses in the whole country are tied to the auto industry.

We arrived in time to pick up Sam and Morgan from school. That evening I played bunco with Kara's group and won! Friday we went to the Performing Arts Center in Macomb to see Ally dance in The Nutcracker. She was a child invited to the party, a toy soldier and a snow angel. She did excellent and the whole production was impressive. She has to dance it twice Friday and twice Saturday. Sunday will be her dance studio's holiday show benefitting ALS. We had a dear friend die of this disease and will be purchasing raffle tickets for the benefit.

Last night we made cut out butter cookies with the little ones. There was a lot of colored sugar on the floor! Afterwards, Kara and Allen went shopping and we watched Polar Express with the kids. At bedtime we read them the Christmas book we had brought and tucked them in bed. These are things we miss by living away.

Today is a trip to Frankenmuth. More on that later.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Oh, the Weather Outside Is Frightful

It's snowing in Houston!!! We saw "more than flurries" on the evening news in areas just south and west of us. But when I just got up from the couch and looked out ... it was snowing here! I took these pictures of the fern and the table on our deck. I sure hope there is no delay in our 9 am flight tomorrow. We just need the temperature to go above freezing. Yesterday it was in the 70s and now this! We'll need warm coats, gloves and hats just to get out of here, never mind using them in Michigan.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Paying the Piper

Yesterday was spent getting caught up. We started off at church with Rick and Brenda for the holyday. It was the Children's Mass but they all read so softly none of us could hear; however, it was nice to see them all in attendance. Lots of Rick's relatives were there and they are all girls! Not a boy among them.

After church I grabbed three tags off the Christmas tree in the Fellowship Hall and Brenda and I took off for Kroger's with the fellows heading to Home Depot. We bought what we needed for salad, fruit and banana bread. I was back trying to find a rotten banana! I always seem to have two when I need three. Then we went to Walgreen's to buy games for the Christmas tree at church.

The fellows went several "guy" places while Brenda did laundry and I made banana bread, cut up fruit and got the salad things together for today's bunco luncheon at Carol's. Rick and Ted rehung the garage light, investigated surge protectors and antenna info in preparation for the February conversion of TVs to digital. Both of our RV TVs are analog. We have the first DTV box on the living area TV but we get the same channel on the bedroom TV if we're on the antenna. It's OK when we are on cable. We need to split the signal somehow and Rick has a theory. They'll work on this over New Year's at Rayford.

Ted went to Randall's for a pizza to bake and then came home and "doctored" it all up to his liking. I'm not sure if it was lunch or dinner but we were all hungry by then. I was ready to wrap the games I bought when Rick questioned if I was supposed to. I called the lady in the church bulletin and she said no so that was another job I didn't need to do.

I got my bunco gift wrapped and ready to go, put together a bag of groceries for the food pantry, put the Pak N Play that Peggy is borrowing into the car and prepared for mailing the picture photo box I did for Nick of his graduation. This morning I put the fruit salad together, got out a basket and napkin for the muffins and gathered the salad fixings to toss at lunchtime. Then I started my laundry.

Sitting around a fire can be a great camping pastime but it makes all your clothes, not to mention your hair, smell like smoke. And when you wake up the next morning, the RV smells like smoke. So I brought everything home to be laundered. There are some jackets, sweatshirts, etc. that normally stay but not this time.

I need to see Dr. Chang for my blood work for my Lipitor before we leave. We get new insurance January 1 and I want to order my 3 month prescription while the transfer of info is taking place so I don't run out. We also both have a dermatologist appointment and I have my GYN and mammogram appointment. All of this in addition to being in Michigan for a week and over Christmas!

We thought we were going to begin 2009 on a clean medical slate but Ted is scheduled for one more endoscopy with biopsies the first week in January. This has to be done because of the ablation therapy he had done at the end of October. One of these days we hope to get the "see you in one year" comment. Now if I can just ace my two tests we'll be in great shape for 2009.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Weekend at Bernie's (Boerne, TX)

We seem to be meeting ourselves coming and going. Last Sunday we pulled out of Rayford after attending church and then joining 8 others from the campground for breakfast at Skeeter's. Ted had a trip to Dallas/Fort Worth planned for Monday-Wednesday and I had routine things to do. I also had a dentist appointment, hair cut, have the garage ceiling repaired and packed a box to be sent to Michigan. Since I had to send presents anyway, I packed a good bit of our clothes. I printed out the UPS labels and Ted found a UPS truck in our neighborhood and just handed them to the driver. Now we are set with just a carry-on, no $15 baggage fee and no waiting at luggage claim in Detroit.

Thursday we met Stella and Jay at Magnolia High School and headed to Boerne, a quaint little city 40 miles NW of San Antonio. When we arrived, Jay's electric receptacle was not working and we had to wait for the park to fix it. That made it late in the afternoon and we headed into town to eat rather than cook. We finished after dark and had an opportunity to see the whole town lit up. They were having Dickens on Main this weekend and all the buildings were decked out.

Friday was busy with the rest of the 30 rigs coming in for the rally. Ted and I decorated the table we were assigned and helped Sandy a bit in the rally hall. We were invited to eat at Dave & Charlotte's. Dave is quite a cook and made chicken tortilla soup, jalapeno cornbread and guacamole with chips. The soup was excellent. I passed on the others. We sat around Don's "far" (fire for those that don't speak southern). It was pretty chilly and we needed the heat on overnight.

Saturday began with a breakfast in the rally hall. I used my new convection toaster oven to make a casserole as my contribution. Afterwards Ted and I went to Oma's Christmas Fair and into town to stroll through the shops. We had to get back in time for me to make two different pans of baked chicken drumsticks for the potluck. I put the first baked batch in the crockpot while I baked the second one. I made over 7 lbs. and all but 6 legs were eaten.

We had a gift exchange like no other. You chose a gift and a number. When your number was called randomly, you were give a direction such as name the reindeer, sing "We wish you a Merry Christmas", exchange with someone at a certain number table, etc. The gifts are mostly funny and their journey is even funnier. After it broke up we sat around Jay's fire. The nights were really cool but the days were beautiful and sunny.

This morning we attended church in Boerne and then hooked up to head home. We arrived around 4:30. I'm now getting organized for our trip Thursday to Michigan. In the meantime, Rick and Brenda are coming tomorrow. Brenda will do laundry and Rick will help Ted rehang the fluorescent light in the garage now that the ceiling has been repaired. Tuesday is my bunco Christmas party luncheon. It will be at Carol's new house with me being co-hostess. That means I have to make the muffins, fruit tray and salad.

That leaves me Wednesday to do all the last minute things before we leave one more time! We'll be back 12/17. Kelly and family will be here 12/27 until 12/31 and we're heading to Rayford after they leave. We're due into Cut N Shoot mid-January, the cruise the first week in February and then off to the Valley if all goes well. Time just goes by so quickly. It seems impossible to slow it down.

In all the rush please don't forget the Reason for the Season - Jesus.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

We came to Rayford on Wednesday pretty early. Ted had an 8:30 am appt. at Camperland to have the Dometic refrigerator recall kit put on. We have never had trouble but figured we should get the shield put on as directed. Once he was set up I brought the rest of the stuff over in the Expedition.

Some friends were already in so we visited. They asked if we wanted to grill out for dinner but we chose to eat inside. I was sound asleep by 9 pm and slept until 7 am. Every once in awhile it all catches up with me and I'm down for the count.

Thursday for dinner I made two pumpkin pies, sweet potato casserole and cranberry jello salad. Rick and Brenda drove over from the other campground and brought orange danish and sausage patties for breakfast. Dawn and Greg came with them and stayed for dinner. Rick and Brenda were going to his sister's for dinner and left before we ate.

Of course there is never enough food! NOT! Another huge feast was presented. I used my dishes, silverware and wine glasses and passed up the paperware that was set out. After all, it is a holiday. Later that night we sat around Jay's firepit even though it wasn't cool out.

Friday was dry and warm despite the weather forecasts. At 2 pm there was a craft project that Stella and I decided to do. We made a gingerbread girl holding a sign with our name on it. We decided we would be lucky to get C- in art if we were in school but it was fun.

Eight of us went to Donnelly's pizza buffet for dinner and got back just in time to play bingo. There are 5 games and one family won the first three! I needed one number on the 4th and 5th games but Diane never called my numbers. Afterwards Stella, Ellen, Ron and I played Mexican Train. Ellen beat us all by over 100 points but the rest of us were within six points of one another.

Today is cool and cloudy. Ted ate the breakfast served in the rally hall but I just had a bowl of cereal at the RV and carried my coffee cup to the hall to visit. Afterwards Ted and I went to check out recliners but we keep coming back to the Lazy Boy Pinacle Recliner. We still haven't ordered them. We also stopped to look at Mobile Suites and Escapade 5th wheels. I still haven't seen anything I like any better than what I have.

Tonight we're grilling burgers and everyone is bringing their leftovers to make a meal. There is a band later on but it is so cool out that I doubt we'll stay outside to listen to them. If we stay outside, it will be bundled up sitting around Jay's firepit again. We're going home tomorrow. We need to get ready to leave for Boerne, TX on Thursday. Next weekend is the Texas Boomers Christmas Camp Out.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Saturday I made four loaves of banana bread with my two bananas and the one I commandeered from Michele. Two are for the funeral breakfast and I sent one to a friend who just arrived home from the hospital. She may not be able to eat it but her husband can or it will be handy if someone stops in for a visit. It's the thought more than anything that counts.

Ted had gone shooting and I intended to just take things easy. I put some ribs into the oven about 2 pm and the phone rang. It was Brenda wanting us to go to The Lighting of the Doves. Ted told me to take the ribs out and we would have them Sunday.

So a little before 6 pm they arrived with a couple from their park in from Canada. They all admired my Christmas decorations before we took off in the Expedition. My SUV sure comes in handy when there are 6-8 people going somewhere.

We parked and walked over to Town Green Park. The light exhibit you walk through was up as was the ice skating rink. There were booths lining the Waterway and we sort of sauntered by and finally arrived at the snow hill where adults and kids alike were taking turns riding intertubes down the hill. The line was unbelievably long!

We ended up close to the area where Santa arrived by barge along the Waterway. He made his way to the stage where he read 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. Then they threw the switch to light the doves. Afterwards there were fireworks. It was great to see the kids all excited and so innocent. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He is the spirit that is in all of us.

It was obvious that any restaurant in the mall or Market Street was going to be swamped so we opted to buy four $5 pizzas from Domino's, two six-packs of beer at Wal-Mart and coupled that with a bottle of wine that was at home. We came back to the house and had a fun evening visiting. A topic of discussion was the difference in our health care systems.

Sunday we went to church and wow! the music was something. They had the "Opening of the 10th Anniversary Door" which happened at the 9 am Mass but the music must have been carried over. There was even a trumpet player. What a way to end the liturgical year. Next week will be the first Sunday in Advent and the church year starts over.

Ted watched football and I started wrapping Christmas gifts. I'm going to send them to Michigan along with our heavy sweaters and stuff via UPS. We hope to get by with just a carry on when we fly there 12/11. We can UPS it back to ourselves before we leave up there. Most of what we wear up there we don't use down here.

We decided to put the empty boxes away in the attic above the garage. I slipped off the edge of the plywood up there and put my foot through the ceiling in the garage. Thus the title of this blog. A drywall guy came by today and will be back next Monday to fix it for $75. Not too bad for a simple mistake.

At 6 pm we met the Newcomer's group at Guadalajara restaurant for dinner. I had put the ribs in the oven in the morning and we ate those for lunch so we weren't too terribly hungry. I ate one taco and brought the other one home and had it for lunch today.

We're taking Terry & Carol to the airport tomorrow. They are flying to New York to be with their daughter and her family for Thanksgiving. We'll be heading to Rayford on Wednesday morning and will stay until Sunday. I'm going to enjoy taking it easy for a couple days.

Friday, November 21, 2008

I'm Pooped!

It has been a very busy week and I am simply too pooped to pop! Brenda and Rick expected to stay a night while they got new carpet and hardwood floors in their motorhome. They dropped Cleo off early on Monday and came back later in the afternoon. We had Taco Soup with cornbread I made for dinner and watched Dancing With The Stars. Company does not have a choice in TV when MY shows are on.

Tuesday Ted left for Austin and I brought every Christmas box down from the attic. After a chicken dinner I prepared, Brenda and I went to an Ecumenical Church Thanksgiving service. It was being held at St. Anthony's this year. I took two loaves of Friendship Bread I had made.

On Wednesday my friend Connie came over to help with my Christmas dilemma. We have never been here for Christmas in 7 years so I haven't seen my decorations for a long time. She and I started evaluating. We worked all day. By that evening Ted was home and Brenda and Rick took us to Saw Grass Steak House for dinner. I sure appreciated the break from the kitchen.

Thursday morning they rounded up all their things including Cleo and took off expecting their motorhome to be ready. Connie came by with a list typed on two pages and pictures of the places we needed to purchase things for in the house. We hit Lowe's, Garden Ridge, Michael's, Hobby Lobby and Picket Fences. We were gone 6 hours with time off for a quick lunch. Then we spent another two hours placing things. Instead of getting rid of stuff I had acquired more!

Friday morning I had to finish the jobs Connie had left for me ... decorate the small tree, place the bobeshes around the light bulbs on the dining room fixture, cut the price tags off things, try to clean up the glitter, etc., etc. I also did our laundry plus the sheets from the guest bedroom and put new sheets on that bed. Brenda called and said they stayed in the motorhome in the parking lot of the business that is laying the new flooring. It was still not done.

I had a lunch date with Ann at 1 pm and afterwards took a garland back to Hobby Lobby and stopped at the 99 cent store to get eight presents for our Dollar Christmas for bunco. It was 4 pm when I got home and Ted was snoozing on the coach and didn't even hear me come in.

I debated whether I wanted to go to Wind Down and at the last minute put eggs on for deviled eggs to take with us. It was a nice crowd and we were glad we went. I "stole" Michele's last banana. It was turning brown and she is going to Florida tomorrow. I explained to her that I needed to make banana bread for a funeral breakfast on Tuesday but my bananas are not ripe enough. She was more than happy to donate her one lonely piece of fruit. There was a message on my cell phone when we arrived home ... Brenda said they were home meaning the coach was back at the campground - finally!

We have no commitments tomorrow but may go to the Lighting of the Doves if the weather isn't too cool. There is a street fair from 3-9 tomorrow and then the lights on the bridge over Lake Woodlands are lit to start off the holiday season. Next post I'll let you know if I recovered enough to make it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

B-r-r-r-r- It's Been Cold

Friday's funeral luncheon was a big one and it was late in the afternoon by the time I arrived back home with 9 tablecloths in tow to wash. We had a bite for dinner and stayed in. Saturday Ted went shooting and we went to church at 5 pm and I forgot the tablecloths to return. We ran into our neighbors and a couple from Seniors so we stood in the parking lot quite a while. It was darn chilly and finally Jeannette and I told the fellows we wanted our respective car keys to get inside. From there Ted and I went out to dinner and to the grocery.

We got up early Sunday morning to meet Rick and Brenda at 8:15 to go to the Texas Renaissance Fair. I wore jeans, socks with my walking shoes, a twin sweater set and a jacket. I figured I had three layers and could take them off as needed. All day I didn't need to!

The Fair is a lot bigger than the last time we were there. The bagel I got for breakfast came right out of a bag. No toasting or heating but the hot chocolate was excellent. We were introduced to all the performers from the various weekends. This weekend was the Highland Fling. There are two remaining, Barbarians and Celtic Christmas. One of the Christmas elves looked like the Travelocity Gnome to me.

We saw several shows - Ded Bob (one of my favorite), the Other Brothers, Washing Wenches. One kept jumping up on the end of the bench next to Ted to address the crowd. He was scared to death she was going to grab him to do something. We also saw jausting, a Cirque de Soleil mime/magician, bellydancers and various other characters throughout the Village. Since it was cold there weren't a lot of skimpy bikinis under chain maille outfits. Sometimes I think this event is a license to let your fat hang out in public!

We stopped at a biergarten for a brat and a beer (I drank root beer). There was an accordian player and two dancers. I was sitting on the end of the bench and was taken up on stage to dance the chicken dance and the German version of the Mexican hat dance. It probably has another name. The fellow thanked me and I told him if he threw in the Hokey Pokey I would think I was at a family (mine, not Ted's) wedding back in Cincinnati.

I played bunco at Judy's on Monday. We didn't have any subs, it was just our entire group. We all talked so much that we only got to play half the bunco we are supposed to but that's the fun of such a silly game. Again, even though I now had them in the car, I forgot the tablecloths and drove right by church.

Rick and Brenda brought Cleo over before taking their motorhome to have the carpet changed out. They returned late afternoon and I fixed taco soup and cornbread for dinner. They are leaving for work (at Timber Ridge CG) this morning and will wait to hear if their coach is ready later this afternoon. If not, they will be here another night.

St. Anthony's is having The Woodlands Thanksgiving Ecumenical Celebration this year in conjunction with all the other Woodland churches so I have two loaves of a sweet bread I made and need to take to church ... along with the tablecloths!!! There is also another funeral tomorrow and they expect 200. Connie and I have a Christmas decorating date tomorrow at 9 so before that I will deliver a double salad, lemon squares and ice tea to Rose to take to church .. and those tablecloths if my CRS doesn't improve today.

In anticipation of Connie's visit, I took every holiday box I had in the attic down into the garage. We are going to evaluate what I need to decorate the house simply and then I will get rid of the rest. We have not been in Texas for Christmas since our move here in 2001. This will be my first time decorating this house. Wish us luck.

Friday, November 14, 2008

A Week To Catch Up

We had an uneventful trip home from San Antonio in beautiful sunshine. We exit I-10 at Brookshire and take the back way home via Waller and Magnolia. That keeps us out of the Houston traffic and it's a pretty ride. I gave Ann and Todd the directions too so they could see a little more of the Texas scenery besides I-10, I-610 and I-45. This was one of the few times I had very little food to bring home. We had everything put away quickly and I started the laundry.

Monday morning Brenda called and asked if it was okay for her and Rick to come for a visit. Ted was at physical therapy and I was waiting for Ann and Todd so they came ahead. Shortly after they left our company arrived. Ted had a pork loin on the rotisserie for dinner and the weather was drizzly so we took a ride around The Woodlands before the weather got any worse.

On Tuesday it rained like the "hammers of hell" as my Grandpa would say. But they wanted to buy cowboy boots because they participate in Cowboy Mounted Shooting. They were in the blog back in June while we were in Ohio. They don't have access to the selection that is available here.

We headed to Conroe and stopped at a couple stores, some that I didn't even know about. The clerks were so helpful in suggesting other places to try. Todd bought his pair at Basken's in Conroe and Ann bought hers at Cavender's in Huntsville.

We made a quick stop at the Visitor's Center of the Sam Houston museum. The weather was too bad to walk to Sam's statue or to go through his houses but they saw a bit of it. Ann bought some belt buckles and jewelry as prizes for their upcoming Horseman's Club outing at the gift shop. After the $5 Burgers or BBQ Tuesday special at McKenzie's we headed home. It was almost impossible to see and cars were spraying rooster tails up and down the highway. We were glad to get home. This was our first rain since Ike almost two months ago.

Our company left bright and early Wednesday morning. I sent them up SH 59 to I-30 towards Little Rock. When they called later they said they enjoyed that route too. I haven't heard yet but I assume they made it to Indiana safely. I skipped two outings I had for Wednesday because I was just too tired to get dressed to go out.

Thursday I cleaned a little and did the ironing while Ted finished his Skeet League shooting that was cancelled Tuesday because of the rain. He thinks he came in second in his league this time. Their banquet is in two weeks. In the afternoon we ran some errands. We came home to leftovers for dinner because I had done a lot of cooking this past week.

Things are settled down now and we're home until we head to Rayford Crossing Campground for Thanksgiving. There is entertainment all weekend and a dinner on Thanksgiving day. The park furnishes the turkey and we only have to bring side dishes. And no clean up!!! A good many of our camping friends will be there.

I'm making two salads for a funeral today. Rose asked me to be there by 11:00. I also have to stop to buy some drinks for her. I'll help serve and clean up. I understand this is a young father. How sad. Until later ...

Sunday, November 9, 2008

San Antonio

Todd, Ann and Nick arrived at the RV Saturday morning and we took the truck into town. The Veteran's Day Parade was starting at noon and we wanted to get parked before they started closing streets.

Our first stop was the Alamo. We watched the video in the Long Barracks and took in the other information there. I was able to tell them a lot of Texas history. We were unable to get into the Alamo at first because they were laying wreaths and having a 21 gun salute to honor the fallen men of the Alamo. Nick said he didn't want to run into any of those officiating because he didn't want to have to salute and possibly make a mistake. Yesterday he wanted to bring his jacket but didn't know how to carry it. A fellow airman showed him so he brought it along. He kept checking his hat making sure it was on properly. They sure do a number on these young men and women.

After our tour of the Alamo itself (where their reaction was the same as everyone's - it's small and in the middle of downtown), we headed to the Riverwalk. They were all impressed with the natural beauty of the area, the sunshine and green trees in November. We took the boat ride and the captain congratulated the three graduates on board.

We walked along some more before stopping for lunch. Nick was able to talk to his sister Vicki back in Indiana for the first time. He kept telling her it was just luck summer in San Antonio and it's November! We were under a tree and sure enough a bird got his shoulder. The waiter brought a warm cloth and it came off with no problem. After eating his quesidilla, half of his mother's catfish and fries and the last quarter of my quesidilla he proclaimed he was full.

Afterwards we walked over to Hemisfair Park, a place Ted and I had not visited yet. It's a beautiful park with lovely grounds. We were headed to the Tower of the Americas. They have a 4-D ride "over Texas" where you get snorted by a bull, splashed by a crocodile, bounced around in a space shuttle and thrown from a bull. It was just like Disney. We took the elevator to the top for a panoramic view of the city.

Our last stop was the Mercado. We walked through the courtyard area listening to music. Ann bought a few souvenirs and Nick bought a dish of ice cream. He didn't stay full for long! Then it was back to the RV. Nick finished the milk I brought and ate a couple of pop tarts. I think he has a hollow leg.

We met them for church at the chapel Sunday morning and it was an uplifting Mass. They say there are no atheists in foxholes. By the looks of attendance, there aren't many in basic training either. We said our goodbye to Nick and are now getting ready to pull out. Ann and Todd will be at our house sometime tomorrow.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Let's Add Insult to Injury

Yesterday we received our yearly renewal for our healh insurance. We are grateful to be covered as a retiree at Ted's old company because it's next to impossible to buy insurance on the open market at any price. Last year we were warned there would be a 30% increase in our premium. I was shocked to see a 150% increase! It seems the retirees not eligible for Medicare are the most expensive group and the rates reflect that. Now we have one more "bullet to bite" after last week's slide in the market.

I attended our neighborhood lady's luncheon on Thursday and Ted had arrived home from Denver by the time I got back home.

Ted and John went to the high school football game again. We were scheduled to go to a party and I told Ted to go with John because I really didn't feel like going out. But later on I changed my mind and went alone. It's still like grade school where the guys go to one corner and the gals to the other so only a few people looking for Ted realized he wasn't there. The Woodlands HS has won both games they attended.

Yesterday we went to a talk at the Heartland Rally over at Rayford. It was about staying connected to the internet while on the road. We are trying to figure out a way to use mobile broadband without having to pay for it every month when we only need it the 3 or 4 months we are out in the summer. Alex has a couple ideas and will contact us about them. Afterwards we went to eat and then to Mass at Sts. Simon and Jude in the southern part of The Woodlands.

Today Ted, Terry and Dave are going to the final round of the Administaff Golf Tournament being played here at The Woodlands Country Club. I'm on a roll with Christmas shopping and I want to finish up.

Not an exciting week huh?

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

And We Thought Ike Was a Wild Ride!

I don't want to see numbers on Wall Street ever again like we saw all last week. If I had known last Friday what this Friday was going to look like, we would have that new HitchHiker Champagne and a new F-350 truck sitting outside! At least I would have something to show for the hole now in our IRAs! But most people took big hits. We don't use that money yet so we have time for it to rebound. Where is Mitt Romney when you need him?

Ted and his friend John went to the high school football game in the new stadium on Friday night. Both high schools here in The Woodlands were playing to a sold out crowd of 10,000. They must have had a good time because they left at 5:30 pm and didn't get home until almost midnight. I took the opportunity to read my book.

Saturday Ted went shooting and that evening we went to a new BBQ place called Rudy's with Rick and Brenda. If there's anything Texas has a lot of it's BBQ places and Mexican restaurants. You are hard pressed to find meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green beans or food such as that anywhere. My favorite BBQ is still Vernon's in Conroe and PitMaster on Sawdust is good too. I don't think I'd make the drive into Spring again to go to Rudy's with PitMaster much closer.

Sunday I worked on our summer plans while Ted watched football. Amazing Race is on in the evening and I enjoy watching all the places the teams travel to. I saw the real Terra Cotta soldiers on one episode and that made seeing the 1/3 replicas at Forbidden Gardens last week so interesting.

Monday we met Rick & Brenda and Tony & Val to see An American Carol. It was a spoof on Michael Moore and his documentaries and was quite funny. It was nice to see some media with some right leaning instead of the steady stream of left leaning we get from all the networks.

Afterwards we went to Luby's for a late lunch and Stella & Jay and a couple from the campground came and joined us. Ted had a 6 o'clock flight to Denver so he went right to the airport and Brenda & Rick came to the house to do some laundry.

We invited the others to come to play a game called Sticks but they went back to the campground. We ended up just watching TV until the laundry was done. Ted called later to say he had arrived safely.

Today I went to Coffee and Chit Chat to see my friend Ann who has just moved back from Calgary. There were so many people there though that we really didn't have an opportunity to talk much. Then I took the mail to Terry & Carol and tried to help them get their computer working. We were unsuccessful so I called Tom & Alison who are going to try to get someone over there tomorrow. Their computer has been out since Ike hit. But they were gone 3 weeks and now are trying to get it up and running.

I went to Connie's late this afternoon for a purse party and got several for the grandkids for Christmas. I did buy one for myself. But how many purses can you store? You only use one at a time! But it was a fun group and I was able to visit with some people I haven't seen in some time. Afterwards Carol, Jody and I went to Chili's for a snack since we had missed dinner.

Ted will be gone until Thursday. This is his first trip out of town since the trip from Fort Walton Beach to Fort Worth the first part of August. He is getting around fine now but he'll continue with his PT until his six weeks are up. I sure hope 2009 is a healthy year for us both. All these doctor appointments, tests, treatments and surgery since 2005 is getting old quick!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Forbidden Gardens

Tuesday night I played bunco in Michele's group. Maria picked me up in this little bitty sports convertible but she put the top up before we left my driveway. My hair doesn't "blow in the wind" attractively!! I managed to climb in and out OK but not necessarily gracefully. I probably came across as rather rude during bunco because I spent a lot of time keeping an eye on the debate ... and I didn't win even though I was a sub.

We still have debris on our streets from the trees that fell during the hurricane. If you wanted firewood, this would be a great place to pick up logs. They are still all over the place. The clean up bill now looks to be about $15 million for Montgomery County.

Wednesday I traveled with Newcomers Global Nomads to Katy, TX to visit Forbidden Gardens. It is a 1/20th scaled replica of the magnificent Forbidden City of Beijing. There is also 1/3 scale replicas of the Terracotta Soldiers that were first unearthed by farmers in 1974.

After our tour we went to the Rainforest Cafe for lunch. There were 12 of us and we had a good time. There was about an hour for shopping at the Katy Mills Mall after lunch. I bought a new soap dispenser and waste can for the guest bath.

I received a call from my niece Ann, married to my nephew Todd, Karen's son. Their son Nick is going to graduate basic training from Lackland AFB in San Antonio the first Friday in November. They invited us to attend. Since they are from Indiana I encouraged them to come early and spend a few days with us. She said they would get back to me but either way, they wanted us to attend the ceremony. If we can work it out, we'll probably take our RV out for the long weekend.

Today is Thursday and it is a quiet day ... empty the dishwasher, change the sheets, go to the grocery. Our weather continues to be delightful.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!!

Ted's been doing his PT two or three times a week. He said it really helps his back and leg. He especially likes the time in the pool (not to mention the TWO little girls that work on him at once!).

I skipped the girls' trip to Round Top on Thursday because we were gone most of Wednesday and I had a migraine headache all afternoon until 6:30 p.m. I was pretty whipped and behind with things at home so I passed. Everyone had a great time and I'm sorry I missed it.

Friday I made brownies and a salad for a funeral luncheon on Saturday. I had Ted pick up things for a salad to take to Wine Tasting Saturday night. He ordered a birthday cake for me at Sam's to take there also.

I was busy Saturday with lots of phone calls wishing me birthday greetings. Then I went to church to help serve and clean up from the funeral luncheon. Father Tom said he thought it would be OK for me to sign in at the Senior's Meeting even though I was actually in the kitchen helping. So that's what I did!

Later that afternoon we went to Mass and then to Sherida and John's for wine tasting. They are having fewer, but better wines and surprisingly I liked the darkest red called Prisoner. I even surprised myself. Ted doesn't drink the wine, they have Diet Coke for him. It was a fun evening.

Sunday Ted watched football and I attended a baby shower. It's been a LONG TIME since I've attended a baby shower for someone other than someone's grandchild or a great niece. But Deborah is 40 and having a baby girl next month. It was a nice party at a gorgeous house here in The Woodlands. There aren't enough names for rooms to cover everything in this house. The pool was the kind that had no edge. It was surrounded by a portico that had a bar, summer kitchen, fireplace, TV, fan. Charlene's husband stayed out there for the afternoon. Not too tough an assignment since I'm sure he was watching football too.

On Monday Rick and Brenda came over to do a load of laundry and when Ted got home from physical therapy we went to PPL to look at motorhomes for them. We looked around at a lot of stuff but we didn't see anything we liked any better than what we have. They didn't find anything either so we went to Sweet Tomatoes for a late lunch/early dinner and then came back here. I just don't think we'll ever be motorhome people. And the problem with used 5th wheels is that ours has been so well maintained that a used unit looks well ... used! When we're ready we'll order a new HitchHiker Champagne made to our specifications. I don't think we'd be happy with anything less.

Our weather is cooling off a bit. We're getting into the 60s at night and high 80s during the day. It will stay like this for several more weeks. It's a delightful time of year down here.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Update on Ike

There is no dollar amount yet for damage in The Woodlands. There were 697 major damage incidents, two homes destroyed, 70 out of 111 parks had minor damage, 25 parks suffered heavy tree damage and 15 parks were closed due to damage. The overhead cover at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion was destroyed. Repair estimate for the pavilion is $2 million. The stage was pushed back several feet. The rest of the performance season has been cancelled.

We are so grateful that we had no damage other than losing our patio umbrella ... and we did that ourselves. The wood had swollen in the heavy metal stand and we couldn't get the umbrella out. Ted and Jason tried twisting and walking it out but it snapped. I'm sure if we had left the umbrella in the table attached to that stand, the whole thing would have gone flying, possibly into our family room or bedroom windows. So we're looking at it as an ounce of prevention. We'll never know for sure.

On an even better note, Galveston schools are reopening on Monday. Since 90% of their school buses were destroyed, Harris County (Houston) is lending them buses until they can get new ones. Moody Gardens is also scheduled to reopen. Ya gotta love the ol' Texas spirit at work down here. It's what made us fall in love with Texas.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Three Cheers for "Normal"

We've had a pretty ordinary week. The Legends Show Saturday night was a great time. Joel's wife Wendy is pregnant and did Doris Day and Peggy Lee. Joel the host took great pleasure in announcing the perpetual virgin Doris Day was pregnant. Later on in the evening he told us Peggy Lee was pregnant too. She came on stage, belly sticking out with her blonde wig in a flip. It just added to the overall fun of the night. Rick and Brenda really enjoyed it and I'm sure we'll go again when they have their regular Opry show.

We made it to church again on Sunday. Two in a row. We're on a roll and not a hurricane in sight! Whoo Hoo!

Monday we went with Vince, Susan, Joe and Linda to the Italian Grille for a murder mystery dinner to benefit the Conroe High School Drama Department. How the Texas lawyer got in with all those Brits is beyond me but the kids did a wonderful job. The food was outstanding and we've eaten two meals off the leftovers.

I had to hang around the house Tuesday because LZ Boy was coming to pick up the loveseat whose reclining mechanism isn't working. Sears was scheduled to deliver the refrigerator I ordered to replace the small freezer that went kaput while we were gone over the summer. It is only 10.5 cu. ft. but it fit in the space nicely and will be great to hold drinks. It has a small freezer that will probably come in handy at times also.

Ted started his PT and said it really helped him feel better. He will be going until the first week in November.

Today we went to see Dr. Ertan downtown at the Texas Medical Center. He said Ted is cured of Barrett's. His exact words were "you needed surgery but declined and with the new ablation therapy I cured you." Sounds sort of pompous but the guy is right. We are so grateful for this new procedure. He scheduled another endoscopy for 10/22 to hit that last bit of metaplasia that we knew about. He said it isn't even Barrett's but he wants everything cleared up. Then Ted won't have to have a surveillance endoscopy for a year. He really rode him about his weight though. I hope Ted takes it seriously and really tries to lose some. He does really well on the Atkins or South Beach diet so we'll see how it goes. Unfortunately what works for him in those diets is bad for me. I guess I'll have to cook two different meals for us.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Back to June 23

I just learned that two pictures of Ally and Pat were on our family Kodak Gallery Album so I'm posting them. These were taken the night of her dance recital in two of the seven costumes she wore. I am never able to take pictures of her in costume because you can't while they are dancing on stage. These were taken by the photographer who was there.

Today is Ted's 64th birthday. We are going to a Legends show and dinner at the Texas Opry tonight with Rick and Brenda. Ted went shooting this morning for the first time since we came home. He is able to stand and shoot now that his leg is better. I think we're on the road to "normal" whatever that is.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

The Calm After the Storm

Things are getting back to normal here in The Woodlands but there are 10,000 families south of Houston who are in need of living quarters. Clearing and disposing of the debris is a monumental task. Some still don't have power and it has been almost two weeks.

We went to church last Saturday, only the second time in five weeks ... and we never miss. However, the Sunday in Orlando I needed to stay with Ted after his ER visit, the next week we were caught in the Beaumont evacuation. We went to Mass one week and then Ike came and there was no church. When we went last Saturday I felt like the little girl in the book "Are You There God, It's Me Margaret." Except it was me, Donna.

We went to Chili's with Terry, Carol, Jody and Dave Saturday night. Terry & Carol were leaving early in the morning on a 3-week trip so we didn't stay out late. I tried to shop Sunday but the shopping center had no power. You could shop in Target in the dark and pay cash if you wanted.

The beginning of the week was spent trying to determine why Terry & Carol's old house had no water. After conversations with Conroe Water, Conroe Repair, Windsor Lake Sprinklers and a plumber, it was determined they needed a new part in an outside meter. That will come next week and Ted will meet them over there to get that fixed. I also had to get a lot of tests set up for Ted.

Ted had his spine x-ray on Tuesday, his nerve test on Wednesday and we saw Dr. Shedden this morning. He said there is nothing wrong with Ted's spine. The "5th nerve"

The smaller part of the fourth joins with the fifth to form the lumbosacral trunk, which assists in the formation of the sacral plexus

was irritated and that caused the pain and weakness. Since Ted is doing well and down to only taking Tylenol he felt that six weeks of physical therapy three times a week will be enough treatment for now. We were greatly relieved. He did say this could occur again but we pray that it won't. At least there's no surgery in his future and probably no golfing either.

The nerve doctor wanted an x-ray of Ted's shin where he had walked into a picnic table bench the day before his trouble started. It is still numb and they wanted to be sure it didn't have a hair line fracture. No one can say if this incident started the chain of events. So we had to see Dr. Chang for an x-ray prescription. While we were there he did Ted's blood work for his PSA. There was no fracture, just a contusion and his PSA was .8! Hooray, one more thing out of the way.

Our friends Rick and Brenda arrived back from their summer sojourn and we met up with them at Timber Ridge Campground, owned by the same couple that own Rayford. It's a few miles from where we store our RV. We helped them get set up, went to lunch and stayed until early evening before heading home. It's great to have them back in town.

Next week we see Dr. Ertan downtown as a follow-up to the endoscopy done at the end of July. I assume he will discuss the need for surveillance with endoscopies on a regular basis for Ted. We're hoping for once a year. Of course we'll do whatever he says needs to be done.

Happy Autumn to all! Smile it will make people wonder what you're up to.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Texans are "hunkered down" no more

That good old Texas spirit is alive and well all over the southeast portion of Texas. What has been accomplished in one week is astounding. We have a long way to go but Galveston will be back, mark my word.

Terry & Carol asked to come over Wednesday to watch Sarah Palin's interview on TV since their cable was still out so we pooled our food resources and had some dinner and watched the TV. Terry and I killed a bottle of red wine in the process.

On Thursday Ted and I went to find out where his tests stood. Dr. Chang's office at St. Luke's Medical Center was dark, locked and no one answered the phone. The 6th floor had flooded and his office is on the 5th floor. So I went directly to Diagnostic Tests. They gave me some lip about the doctor had to request a copy of the report and I s-l-o-w-l-y explained Dr. Chang was MIA and I wasn't leaving there without a report for Dr. Shedden. Guess who won that one!

Next we went to Dr. Shedden's office because his phone was still not working. We gave them the report and films and they gave us an appointment for Saturday morning. We stopped at Wal-Mart which had no dairy other than milk, no frozen food, no meat and minimal produce. I got one of the last three heads of lettuce. I poked every tomato until I found one that was firm. We invited Terry & Carol back for Part Two of the interview and we once again pooled our food and had excellent chicken salads for dinner. It seems we had both grilled chicken breasts earlier in the week.

Friday Ted took some of our garbage to Terry's house because they were getting theirs picked up. We had missed our pick up day and with emptying the refrigerator we were out of space and won't get service until Tuesday. What we've kept is getting somewhat "ripe" out there in the garage. I spent the day doing laundry. Ted stopped at Sam's and bought a roast chicken so we had that with Stove Top and a salad.

Today we finally got to see Dr. Shedden, almost a month after Ted's ER visit in Florida. Doctor wants a flexion/extension L-spine x-ray and an EMG/NCV nerve test. He is concerned about the weakness in Ted's right leg even though the pain is a whole lot better even without pain pills just ibuprofen. So he's back to being a professional patient for next week with two tests and one doctor appointment scheduled.

Today was the first I've been out and about and was amazed at all the signs, billboards, lettering, etc. missing from businesses. We drove a road in Oak Ridge North and the debris was stacked on both sides of the road so that you felt as if you were in a tunnel. The Woodlands is just that - woods. The debris is "natural stuff" but still needs to be hauled away. Everyone is working diligently and within a week I think this area will be cleared of Mother Nature's housecleaning.

Wish us luck with all the medical stuff next week. Ted is feeling pretty good though I don't think he's up for Disney World or standing in line for water, ice or MREs just yet. Good thing we don't have to.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Then God said "Let There Be Light" and there was light - Genesis 1:3

The lights are on! The answering machine picked up when I made my call to the house this morning. So we packed up and came home.

I don't know if The Woodlands being a highly populated area of Entergy customers, or that The Woodlands Park Department was out immediately removing trees from streets and power lines or that the CEO of Entergy lives here, but we only had to wait four days, not four weeks for our power to come back on.

We enjoyed the little town of Hempstead during our short stay and appreciated the wifi at the library. We had lunch at the Coyote Moon on Tuesday before going to visit LeAnne and Jim in Brenham. We spent the day with them and refused their kind offer of bringing the RV to their house or of just staying in the house with them. The RV was quite comfortable and we were already set up. We all had dinner in town and left quite late to go home.

We are now putting the yard stuff back out, sweeping up pine needles, etc. and trying to figure out what food we can buy and where. Randall's across 242 has no power so there are no perishable items. We don't want to waste fuel driving around so we'll try to learn who has what before we head out. I think we're good for a couple of days especially in the PB&J department. Then there's always tuna ...

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I Like Ike (Eisenhower campaign slogan) - NOT!!

Friday was pretty boring. Once we got everything ready we just sort of sat and waited. We expected rain and wind to start around 2 or so but when we went to bed at 11, there still was nothing.

The wind and rain started around 3 a.m. Saturday and never let up until the next afternoon. We had about 12 hours of hurricane and tropical storm force winds. At 6:30 a.m. the power went off. The click, click, click of everything going off woke me; Ted’s CPAP machine stopping woke him.

There was nothing to do but watch the trees sway to and fro (fro is better), look at the leaves plastered on the windows and listen to the woo, woo, woo of the wind like a freight train that went nowhere. It stayed in the side yard the whole time. We got about 12 inches of rain, most of it coming sideways.

By late afternoon the rain stopped and we went out to meet our neighbors and assess the damage. Our little court was pretty much spared but Foxbriar Forest Drive was a real mess. Trees blocked the street, houses had roof damage and fences were crushed under the weight of other fallen trees.

Ike came on shore at Galveston (I-45, exit 1) and pretty much followed the interstate all the way north, with the eye passing 20 miles to the east of us (we live two miles from I-45 Exit 79) until Rusk and Palestine where it veered to the northeast. We had three radios, a 5 inch B&W TV, four different lights plus candles and matches. What we didn’t have enough of was ice. The stores were out of ice on Friday and it became apparent early on that what we had was not going to last long. I had minimal things in the refrigerator but the jars of condiments, salad dressings, jellies, etc. that fill the door were going to end up in the garbage. We had bottled water and the grill with a side burner to cook on.

Terry & Carol lost shingles off the house they have for sale and there were a couple of leaks inside. There was also a small leak in their new roof. What was scary for them were the storm sewers clogging up and the water rising to within feet of their front door. Terry and the neighbors had to wade knee deep in water up and down the street to remove debris.

At first we had land line phones but no cell service. Then the land line went down. The next day it came back on and then went down again. I would receive voicemails but was unable to call myself to retrieve them. Every once in awhile my cell would ring. I was unable to call out. I received text messages but couldn’t send them. Once the land line went down I was at Kara’s mercy. She would keep calling my cell until she got through and then would call whomever I asked or retrieved info for me with her other phone.

The most irritating thing was listening to the radio and have them give you phone numbers to call and websites to access. They said this right after telling us that 99% of customers were without power and would be for up to FOUR WEEKS. If I could phone or look online, I wouldn’t have been listening to her on a portable radio!

We cleaned up the branches and leaves from the yard, grilled some hot dogs for dinner and went into the mostly dark house to watch the tiny TV. All that was on was Ike news and after awhile it was just the same thing over and over. No one had any real useful news.

With no A/C and no CPAP for Ted, neither of us slept very well. And it rained another seven inches over night. All the trees that were soaked from Ike, gave way by Saturday morning. So now we had a tree arched over the end of our street. Ted had gone out looking for ice and to check the RV. He cleared under the tree bridge by about two inches when he came home. The storage area electric gate had been hand cranked open so we could get the RV out. Once again Kara called the campgrounds to the west of home and found us a spot in Hempstead, TX, about an hour from home.

We gathered up some clothes and what food we had and took off. While driving west, the damage got less and less and as we came to gas stations with gas, the lines were along the shoulder at least 50 cars deep. We were at Hempstead before we found businesses open.

We set up, turned on the air and I put everything away. Eventually I made meatballs and spaghetti because it was thawed. Ted was happy to have his recliner, a 27 inch color TV to watch football and the A/C running. We have no idea how long we’ll be here. I hope we’re not at the end of that four week prediction.

The devastation to Galveston Island and the Bolivar Peninsula is terrible. Even though there was a mandatory evacuation and buses to take you to shelters, 40% of residents stayed. So the first responders were doing rescues instead of organizing the help that was needed by everyone. I guess mandatory in my dictionary is different from those people.

Ted’s back tests are in limbo. The radiologist didn’t dictate the full report or the transcriptionist didn’t transcribe it all. Either way, our doctor called that to their attention and asked it be complete by the next day. He also told Ted he knew that Dr. Shedden the neurosurgeon was to receive a copy. Well everything has been chaotic since then so we have no idea of just what has been done by whom and when. I have been unable to reach either doctor because of the phone and electricity situation. His back is still bothering him and when his six hours are up for medicine he can feel it is time for another dose. We want to get this taken care of as soon as we can.

I want to thank all who called or tried to call to check on us. We’ve received calls from Greenwich, CT to Portland, OR and spots in between. We are glad to report that the house weathered the storm terrifically and now that we have electric, we’re going to be OK too even if we have to live in the RV for a month.

Here is a picture of the bridge we take south into The Woodlands. It is normally dry and a small creek behind some houses down the street from us empties into it when it does rain. In the middle of the picture are telephone poles that should be high and dry. I was going to take a picture of Ted driving us out under the tree bridge but someone had a chainsaw and had it cut up by the time we left.

Monday morning we received a call from the HitchHiker Wagonmaster and were asked to help them determine the feasibility of having the Rally as scheduled 10/3-10. Since we had a full tank of diesel we took off for Montgomery, TX. Here is a Shell gas station’s canopy that came down. We passed some distribution centers where water, ice and MREs were being given out.

The Rally has been cancelled because Entergy is staged at Haven’s Landing and they expect to be there through the end of October. The workers are sleeping on cots in their rally hall that is air conditioned using a generator. A dining tent for them had also been erected. The campground had no electric or water when we arrived. We met with the Events Manager and then were able to get Delores from HitchHiker on our cell phone and they made the decision to cancel.

We’ve traveled to Shawnee, OK and Sedalia, MO for past HitchHiker Rallies and were so happy this year’s was 15 miles from home. And now it’s cancelled! Next year is Sparta, IL but Delores indicated they would consider Texas for 2010.

Things are getting under control and I hope the national news is reporting that. This is a huge undertaking and there are going to be problems. Some people think the government has a magic wand that will make it all better. If people had evacuated when told to there wouldn't be such horrible conditions in some places right now. Dealing with no electricity is a burden for everyone regardless of what else happened. I heard a woman on TV who did not evacuate Galveston complain NOW that there are no buses to take her out. Why wasn't she on the ones they sent BEFORE the storm. I'm a mean spirited Republican I guess. People make bad decisions and then it's everyone else's duty to fix the problem for them. That makes it hard on everyone else.

We are safe and comfortable, able to use wi-fi at Hempstead's library and have friends who live just a few miles down the road and we are going there for a visit. I thank God for the solution for our situation. But enough with the hurricanes, God, OK?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

We May Be In For A Wild Ride From Ike!

Ted was feeling better on Tuesday. The doctor said sometimes the pressure of the dye gives just enough push to the nerves to stop the "pinching" so people get some relief. He went to the bank, post office and grocery. He did the drive thru at the bank, leaned on the counter at the post office and on the cart at the grocery. He only picked up a few things so none of the stops took too long.

After dinner I went to play bunco and I won! It was great to see everyone again after the summer. I didn't get home until 11:00 and we got to bed late.

Ted was still feeling good on Wednesday and went to the gun club. His sister-in-law gave him a rifle scope that belonged to his brother along with some other things. He took his rifle and the new scope to the gun club to get it changed out. He said he didn't shoot but since he was wearing his T-shirt with the padded shoulder (for shooting) I think maybe he was fibbing. I don't want him to overdo it and have that nerve go berserk again.

Dr. Chang called and said the report he received wasn't complete. He arranged for the radiologist to complete it so hopefully today he will have the whole report and can fax it to Dr. Shedden. Good thing Ted is feeling better because once again we need to be patient. After dinner we watched TV with the constant interruptions about Ike.

This morning I received the Exxon Private Service Weather report from a friend whose husband works there. According to them the eye will pass 38 miles from our zip code. We can expect winds from 25-68 mph with gusts up to 92. It will start 1 p.m. Friday and go until 10:00 Saturday night with the worse from 5 to 11 a.m. on Saturday.

Today we'll be busy filling both vehicles with fuel, getting some cash, going to the RV to get our Black & Decker Storm Center, filling the tubs with water and buying a few groceries that don't need refrigeration. We had put all our yard things away for Eduoard and left them inside while we were gone in August. I just put them back out and now I need to bring them in again. I don't understand people who deal with this time and time again.

Wish us luck. If we lose electricity we may hook the RV up after this is all over and find a campground that isn't affected. I've done without electricity and water this summer and I know I don't want to do it for too long at home.

Monday, September 8, 2008

We're Hurricane Magnets, Not Hunters!

After waiting out Eduord, and waiting out Fay, then outrunning Gustav, we thought we were done with the hurricanes. But oh no, here comes Ike heading straight for Texas! I will be glad when 2008 is over. If it could go wrong this year, it did, but we enjoyed ourselves anyway.

Thursday LeAnne called from Rayford. She said Jim was on his way home from the VA dentist and was hungry because he missed lunch. It was 4:00 and we hadn't eaten either so we drove down, picked them up and went to an early dinner. We hadn't seen them since our visit to Brenham in April and it was fun to get caught up, especially about their new granddaughter.

I did laundry on Friday and made a cake for the Seniors' Meeting at church on Saturday. I went by myself to the Seniors' Meeting since Ted was still sleeping. The medication is making him sleep a lot. We headed to Rayford around 4:30 for the potluck dinner. True to our word, we stopped at PitMaster BBQ and bought 3 lbs. of brisket. There were close to 25 people for dinner and the food was great as always.

I guess a lot of them went back to the RVs for a campfire because 8 of us ended up alone in the rally room playing Mexican Train. Ted was in the game room on the couch watching football. I didn't even get a chance to say goodbye to the rest of the group. Don ALWAYS brings firewood, even if it is 104 degrees. So I suspect that is where they went. We were parked by the pool so we didn't see what was going on back in the park.

Ted made it to church, sitting in the back row and having the usher bring the EME to him for communion. He is OK sitting and laying, but standing and walking is just like last time his back went out. When we got home he watched more football and I went shopping.

This morning we went to St. Luke's for an 11 o'clock appointment. At noon they said their imaging machine was being serviced and it would be about an hour. We decided to drive home and go back. They took him in about 2:00 and had to give him some pain relief so he could lay on his stomach. Because of this medicine we had to stay 3 hours after the procedure and didn't get home until 6:00. I have the films to take to Dr. Shedden and we'll get the report from Dr. Chang tomorrow.

Jay called and asked what we planned to do about Ike heading our way. He is taking his RV to Boerne, TX. They live in Dickinson which would get a storm surge and high winds from landfall around Galveston. He is also a law enforcement officer and won't be able to move the RV later on in the week. We have the luxury of waiting for awhile longer to see where it is going. We are also 80 miles inland. With Ted's back, I'm in no hurry to get back out on the road though he did OK driving from Florida.

So now we wait. For test results, for doctors' opinions, for Ike to decide where to hit. There's never a dull moment it seems.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Home Again, Home Again

Our friends at Rayford took such good care of us Sunday and Monday. Besides getting us all set up and the RV and truck washed, they invited us to join them for dinner. I had next to nothing in the RV but I did have two steaks for us. My contribution to the rest of the dinner was two bottles of wine with salt, pepper and butter for the corn. How lame!

The next morning they fixed breakfast tacos and refused my offer of the pound of bacon I had left. Afterwards they helped Ted tear down and we were on our way. I had emptied and cleaned the RV (though Ted did not clean the carpets this time) and all he had to do was back it into its storage spot. The last thing we do is empty the refrigerator and freezer. That's why I had so little in there because I don't want to carry a lot of food home.

We always manage to mess up the kitchen and bedroom with what we bring home and this time was no exception. We didn't have a lot of time because we were invited to Terry & Carol's new house for Labor Day. They had invited three other couples that are friends of ours too and it would be the first time we've seen their new house since they moved in.

The house turned out beautifully and they are pretty settled. Of course pictures aren't hung and there are still some boxes to empty but Carol will soon be able to put her decorative touch throughout the house and she does this so well. The home they just moved from looks like a model home and this one will be no exception.

We had ribs for dinner and they certainly were good. Again I had nothing to bring but a bottle of wine. I started wondering how long I could play this out and keep getting people to feed us! We had a lot of laughs and they all expressed their relief that we were home from all the hurricanes.

Tuesday we went to see Dr. Chang who wrote new anti-inflammatory, muscle relaxant and pain pill prescriptions for Ted. He also gave us an order for a mylegram. We went downstairs to St. Luke's Hospital and made an appointment for Thursday. I took Ted home and then went to Walgreen's and the post office to get our month's mail. The rest of the day was spent opening up and shredding credit card offers. If I could stop those and catalogues we would have very little mail to deal with. I had a pork tenderloin in the freezer and cooked dinner for the two of us.

On Wednesday I went to the nail salon for a manicure and pedicure. Afterwards I finally made it to the grocery. It's been awhile since I've totally filled a basket because we live so close to the grocery that I stop frequently. But this time it was to the top. But guess what? We had invited Jay & Stella and Dee & Rick from the campground out to dinner as a thank you for their help and hospitality. Another night of not cooking! Yeah!

St. Luke's had called Ted about his procedure and they had to postpone it from Thursday until Monday because he had been taking ibuprofen. I certainly hope he doesn't backslide without any anti-inflammatory in his system. He's been moving around better, at least in the morning, but I don't know what to expect now.

We ate at Texas Roadhouse on Wednesday night and had a good visit with our friends. There will be lots of Texas Boomers at the campground this weekend but we cancelled our spot. There's no sense aggravating Ted's back and leg. We will go over to visit with LeAnne and Jim and then again on Saturday night for the potluck ... and I will take brisket for the meal. There's a delicate balance here between accepting help and being a freeloader!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Well ... That Was Annoying!

We left Tropical Palms Friday morning. Ted's back was still very painful but he is OK sitting so driving was not a problem. I did all I could to get the outside and inside ready so he wouldn't have to be on his feet. We drove to a nice park in Holt, FL about 30 miles east of Pensacola. It has nice big sites and is well maintained. There are no amenities other than a bath house but for overnight that's all we needed. The owner helped me hook up when he learned that Ted was having back problems.

Saturday morning we continued on I-10, then I-12 to Baton Rouge where we pick up I-10 again. Traffic was starting to pick up. By the time we made Lafayette it was really getting heavy so we decided to press on to Beaumont to be out of Louisiana. Gulf Coast saved us a spot and we stopped there. They said there would be no breakfast because they had hurricane preparedness to attend to. That evening the news announced mandatory evacuation of that area starting at 6 a.m.

We got up and left about 8:30. Our plan was to take I-10 about 5 miles, head north to Sour Lake and then 105 west into Cleveland and south on 59 to I-45 and Rayford. What works in theory doesn't work when you have *$#&^*(@ running the show. We got to 105 and 146 and were forced to go north. They didn't care where we lived, we had to go north. We were about an hour from home before we turned north. We spent almost three hours on this road going very few miles. I found another west route to take us to 59 but when we got there we were told we had to go to Livingston to get to Conroe. Since Livingston is about 50 miles north of Conroe I asked him where he studied geography! But that's what we had to do. Go 50 miles north, cut across a county round to 59 and then come 50 miles south. The normal 2 hour trip took 5.5 hours. I know they wanted people to go north away from the storm; however, they forgot that lots of people live in the Houston area and didn't need to go north to find shelter. They had shelter if the %*&% would let you get to it!

We got set up at Rayford and our dear friends Jay and Rick washed the front of the RV to get all the love bugs off. Then they did the same to the truck. They set up for Ted and I know they'll tear us down tomorrow so Ted will only have to back the RV into its spot later in the day when we put it away.

Good friends are so wonderful to have. We thank God for them.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Hurricane Hunters

We're thinking about coming out of retirement to become Hurricane Hunters. We won't have to hunt long because they seem to find us with no problem! We left Texas a day late waiting for Eduord to go through. Then we stayed two extra days in the panhandle waiting for Fay to go to the east coast and now we're leaving Orlando three days early to out run Gustav because he's heading toward I-10 somewhere from Florida to Texas, right where we have to travel.

We went out to Kristin's on Wednesday. We viewed some of the flooding in DeBary, the city where we lived from 1996-2001. The entrance to the country club is under water as is the guard house and the sales office. Many side streets are flooded and blocked off.

Kristin's lake was 5 feet low and is now at the top of the seawall. Sinkholes are developing in the neighborhoods in the country club. It's a terrible mess. When we lived there, Central Florida was dealing with wild fires but they never got too close to us. This water is a whole different ballgame.

We went out for a very late lunch (4:30) and were the first people at the restaurant that opened at 4:00. When some REALLY senior citizens from the senior housing development next door came in for the "early birds" Kristin remarked "Oh my God, we even beat those people here!"

We went back to her house for the night and I was able to do all my laundry while Ted watched TV. Kara called and said her travel agent was able to cancel our attendance at the Hoop Dee Doo Review and still maintain her reservation for them and Kristin. She told us to go ahead and leave to get a head start on the storm if we wanted.

So I went to the periodontist today and we checked in with our Morgan Stanley guy before heading back to the campground and eventually went over to Downtown Disney for one last dinner with all the kids before we leave.

The campground refunded our fees for the 3 days plus another day for the water "inconvenience." I had told them when we arrived that we didn't know how long we would be staying because Ted had injured his back. Normally campgrounds don't give refunds. And I received word that I can turn our 7-day Disney tickets back in and get a 95% refund. There's no time limit on them but I'm not sure we'll ever go to Disney 7 out of 14 days ever again. It's a lot like work and hot to boot!

We hope to get somewhere between Tallahasee and Pensacola Friday, Baton Rouge on Saturday and home by Sunday. It may be a bit difficult getting camp sites because of it being Labor Day weekend but the campgrounds along the interstate aren't normal "holiday weekend destination parks" and if we're lucky, we'll find a spot.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Camping versus RVing

Anyone who really knows me realizes that I "RV" and don't necessarily "camp." I don't need to be in the middle of nowhere with a bonfire going to enjoy the 5th wheel. In June we went three days without electricity in Michigan and yesterday and today we went without water! Our fresh water tank was not filled because of the weight it causes so we had to depend on a gallon of distilled water and bottles of water for drinking, I went to the pool with a gallon jug to get water to flush our toilet. The bath house's toilets and showers weren't working and it didn't take long for them to be uninhabitable! The break was finally repaired this afternoon so a shower is first on the agenda! That's enough "camping" for me.

Ted is still nursing his back and leg so Kristin picked me up today and we drove to the Magic Kingdom to meet up with Kara, Allen and the kids. We went to Philharmonic Magic and on the carousel before going to the Bibbidy Bobbidy Boutique for Morgan to be transformed into Tinkerbell. (She was Cinderella last time they were down.)

Never underestimate Disney's ability to separate you from your money. The Boutique is in Cinderella's castle and there was no limit to the little girls with appointments with the "fairy godmothers" to turn them into princesses.

Then it was time to have an early dinner at Park Fare at the Grand Floridian. Ted drove over and I met him so he could just pull up out front and I parked the truck again. We've made a lot of use of the monorail this trip. We had a great meal and the kids always enjoy the characters stopping by. Sam reminded Cinderella and Prince Charming that he met them last year.

After dinner Ted took the truck back home and I stayed to spend time on rides with the kids. We managed to accomplish quite a bit and didn't leave the park until a few minutes before closing. We could see the fireworks from the monorail back to the Polynesian Hotel. Little Morgan aka Tinkerbell just couldn't hang in there any longer.

We are going to Kristin's in DeBary tomorrow. If you've been watching Central Florida info on Fay on the national news, you would recognize this city as being flooded from Fay. Kristin's house is OK even though she lives on a lake. I have 3 appointments on Thursday, the first one at 9 a.m. So we're going out to do laundry, spend the night and take care of all our errands.

With Gustov heading to the Gulf we think we'll take off Saturday for home. We are attending the Hoop Dee Doo Review at Fort Wilderness on Friday night and then plan to pull out the next morning. If all goes well, and Lord know that hasn't happened much for us this summer, we'll be home on Monday.