Monday, June 30, 2008

Whew! No New Problems

So far so good on nothing else bad raising its ugly head!

Karen and Ron arrived at Dan and Sue's on Friday. Karen brought a Sam's size package of brats and we had them for dinner. Todd and Ann arrived after dinner. They had their horses, Shamrock and Zoe, pastured at the fairgrounds and were all ready for the Cowboy Mounted Shooting on Saturday. The weather has been rainy each afternoon and overnight. It's kept us from going out on the boat but the guys can fish off the seawall so they are happy.

Saturday we met everyone at the Mercer County fairgrounds to watch Ann and Todd compete. They ride a course set up with cones topped with balloons. They not only have to ride the pattern quickly, they have to shoot the balloons along the way. They also have exhibition rides where people learn and horses practice. There were about 5 little kids and one boy was so tiny his legs stuck out. He did real well. They point a play pistol but don't actually shoot until they are 12. We had a tailgate party for lunch. Neither Todd nor Ann placed in the money on Saturday.

We all went back to the State Park for them to check it out for next year's family reunion. Then five of us went to Immaculate Conception Church for Mass and three went to Dan's. We all met up at a restaurant.

Where we met was the old bar and store that owned the cabins the Ruhe and Homer clans rented for vacations in the 40s and 50s. Our family reunion packet for 2009 has a picture of the establishment's original owners presenting my great-grandfather with the key to the city of Celina in 1943. I learned to fish on the piers in front of the cabins and clean them at the fish house out back. All but a couple cabins are now gone. But we had a great time with Blue Moon Beer and some fish for dinner. (I drank Merlot.)

Sunday we went back to the fairgrounds and this time Todd took second place. Besides some money, he won a pair of spurs. They must dress in period costume. Ann wears "prairie skirts" and she looks good no matter how well she does! Karen and Ron left after the last heat but we stayed to help them load up their electric corral fence and tend the horses while they packed up. I never thought I'd see the day I was raking manure but that's exactly what I did.

Once the horses were on the road we went back to Dan's for a little bit and the guys did a bit of fishing but then we headed for the RV. We stopped for a bite at Arby's and then took a walk around the campground before sitting outside until dark.

Today we are e-mailing pictures of the RV damage to Goodyear, the factory and the dealership we bought it from in Lufkin, TX. We decided to have the parts shipped there and we can stop on our way home down 59 to have it fixed. Let's hope it all works out.

I'm going to Sue's to do laundry this afternoon. Then we are taking them all out to dinner. If all goes well we'll be heading to Dayton to get the rest of the tires changed out on the RV. Two failures is enough. We're getting rid of all the G614 tires that were manufactured during that time period. The guy in Dayton is a friend of Dan's. He said he is well aware of this crop of tires and can handle the inspection and claims process for us.

The Lord willing we'll be back in Cincinnati tomorrow with all new tires (except for the new one Goodyear bought us last year). We're going to Elk Lake for the 4th of July.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A Week Plus In Review

We went to Sacred Heart Church at 4 o’clock on Saturday and Kara joined us. Then we went to her house where Allen had cooked some Omaha Steakburgers I brought in from the RV. We ate quickly because we had to be at the dance recital at 7 o’clock.

What can I say except that Ally was SUPERB! She was in 7 different numbers (thus 7 different costumes) and didn’t miss a beat in any of them. This is her first year in the Repertory Company where they dance en pointe (on their toes). She also studies jazz, tap, pom-pom and ballet. The hit of the show for me was when her daddy danced to Hound Dog and then with her to All Shook Up. What wonderful memories he is creating for her by taking the time from his busy schedule to attend the practices and then to perform in front of an entire theater full of people. Way to go Patrick!

Sunday was Father’s Day and Kara cooked a scrumptious meal of meatballs and spaghetti. She said it is my recipe but it sure tastes better when someone else makes it. She is a much better cook than I am in my estimation. Ted had gone shooting in the morning and Patrick went to play soccer at 6 p.m. so it was a busy coming and going kind of day. I did a load of laundry and went through our box of mail. The kids are all so happy that Kristin is here. She just loves being with all four of them and they love having her here.

Monday morning we were back in Troy in the morning for Ally’s “Promotion Ceremony.” They don’t call it graduation. Ted had a 10 o’clock with the dentist but made it to Larson Middle School in time for the ceremony. If you have ever seen a Chrysler ad with a mini-van driving away with a sticker on the bumper, it says Larson Middle School. I don’t know the details but they won the honor of being in that ad.

It was back to the dentist for Ted on Tuesday. Dennis is trying to make up for the week without power since we are time constrained. Afterwards we went to Kelly’s and made 15 lbs. of BBQ for the party on Friday night.

Ted golfed on Wednesday and I just took my time straightening up, getting a shower, getting dressed and reading my book. Ted had to go into the dentist after golfing so he was gone most of the day. I enjoyed the relaxation since we have been on the go so much.

Thursday was Cassie’s 18th birthday and we planned a pizza party at the RV. We bought a birthday cake and ice cream too. Right before everyone was to arrive it rained and the table and benches were all wet so we called the Pizzeria outside the park and asked if we could have it there. It only holds 16 people inside so we pretty much filled it up. There were a few tables on the porch and Kristin took Sam and Morgan there to give them a little more room. We ordered the family special to feed the 12 of us. The manager was so gracious in allowing me to bring my own cake and ice cream. I took plates, napkins and forks so we didn’t use their supplies for food we hadn’t purchased from them. Kara’s friend Shannon joined us with her new baby Katie who is 3 months old. She wanted us to see her before we left and we’re running out of time. It was getting late when we were finished and no one came back to the RV.

Oh, the traffic and lines on Friday! Our jobs for the party were to pick up the two sub platters in downtown Rochester on our way in, go to Meijer’s for 25 two-liter bottles of pop, stop at the balloon store to pick up two different “bouquets,” go to Costco to pick up the two cakes and two cases of water, and finally, get 5 bags of ice. It took us three hours! They say Michigan’s economy is in the toilet but you couldn’t prove they were bothered by $4 gas from the traffic or lack of jobs by the lines in the stores. Add bad roads and construction and … well you get the picture!

The party for Pat & Kelly’s 20th anniversary, Cassie’s 18th birthday and graduation and Ally’s Confirmation and completion of middle school was held at the Troy Community Center. Kristin did a slide show of Cassie from birth through graduation that was played on a 37” TV for everyone. A video of Ally dancing through the years played as well. It was a great gathering and we had a chance to see a few friends we otherwise wouldn’t have seen.

We attended Alexandria’s graduation party on Saturday. She is the daughter of my former boss at Celanese and she is Kara’s babysitter. We were able to visit with my other former boss, his wife, another gal I worked with and the wife of one of the college interns who was there before I left. They had two tents – one for sitting, one for the catering and it was especially nice. It was almost 9 when we got home.

Sunday we got up early and went to 9 o'clock Mass at St. Andrew's and then stopped at Walgreen's for my Lipitor and Papa Joe's for fruit. I was making a fruit salad for a party with all our golf, bowling and church friends from our years in Troy. Most have moved to other areas around Troy and really haven't seen each other for several years so it was a big reunion for everyone. Of course, Bob G., Bob A. and Len H. were all missed. They were a big part of the group but have passed on in the last few years. We are especially grateful to Chris and Linda for hosting the event.

Monday we took Kristin to the airport and it was back to the dentist for Ted. He dropped me at Kelly's and I did laundry while I waited for him. Then he dropped me at the library while he went to Sam's baseball practice. I'm really behind in the bills and correspondence so I needed the time to catch up before we leave. I don't know if I'll have internet access in St. Mary's, OH or not. In the past I've worked off one of the workamper's connection. But he may not be there this year ... or he may have tightened his security. So we'll just have to wait and see.,

Friday, June 13, 2008

Hooray! Power!

It was late Wednesday afternoon when we finally got power back (3 days without). We left Kara's about 7 a.m. on Wednesday after spending a second night here. Ted had an 8:30 tee time about 10 minutes away from the campground. He drove me back, got his clubs and met Chris, Steve and Jeff plus some others for a round of golf.

We decided to stay at the RV until later that evening before going back into Troy. We were sitting outside with the gal from the next camper when the generator for the bathhouse stopped and her strip lights came on! I checked and our refrigerator had switched back to electric and our alarm clock was flashing. What a relief. However there are still 50,000 without power and tempers are getting short.

Yesterday we drove to a new shopping area near Great Lakes Crossing. I wanted to use my Talbot Gift Card I received from Kristin for Mother's Day and mail my Dad's Father's Day card. We also needed to pick up a white T-shirt and transfer paper so Kara could make Sam's Alphabet Letter shirt for party day. He chose the letter A. We dropped that off when no one was home and went back to our humble abode. We caulked two things on the RV, took a walk, had dinner, took another walk, sat outside for awhile and then watched TV until bedtime.

Today we came in for Sam's end of the year party. I got to serve PB&J uncrustables and fruit kabobs. Then we had an assembly. It was about a book of Mandy and Pandy to teach kids some basic Chinese words. Now I don't think I could find one Chinese person in Texas to speak Chinese to but Spanish would be a different story. Here in Troy, Chinese is probably very helpful. In fact, five Chinese children from the class got up to help the man teach the others to count to 10 in Chinese.

We came back to Kara's for some lunch and to do a load of laundry. I am staying with Morgan while she naps and Ted, Kara and Sam are at Dick's Sporting Goods buying Allen a present for Father's Day.

Kristin is due in tonight but Allen will go got her. She is staying here with them. We would have to hang around here all day and get home very, very late back at the campground if we picked her up. I may have to take her back to the airport for her return flight because it is a Monday and Ted has a dentist appt. at the same time. I'll love driving I-75, I-696 and I-94 in our truck!

Speaking of the dentist, other than the impressions and choosing the teeth size and color, Ted hasn't had any other appts. because they still don't have power. I sure hope they have it by Monday when he has another appt.

Here is my favorite graduation picture of Cassie. She was walking past our seats on the way to hers with the class. Her party is next Friday. Her gift from us was a cruise to the Mexican Riviera in February along with the rest of her family and Kristin. It feels wierd not to have a gift to hand her though. Ally is graduating 8th grade on Monday too. Kelly and Pat celebrated their 20th anniversary April 30 so the cruise was one big celebration.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Still No Power

It is now Tuesday afternoon and there are 200,000 people still without power. They now say it will be tomorrow night before it is all restored. Northern Oakland County was hit the hardest, is the least populated, is where the campground is, so we expect to be last. Many schools are still closed, traffic lights remain out and some roads are still blocked. The road we take north from the campground to I-69 was closed when we left up there. Good thing we were headed south.

We spent from Sunday evening until Monday afternoon without electricity at the campground before coming into Kara's. It looks as if we'll be here one more night. Ted is golfing out near the campground tomorrow morning so we'll have some more juggling to do.

The other problem is Ted's dentist has no power and he is trying to get Ted's new plate done in less time than normal and now we have this power hold-up. Dennis is a good friend and great dentist and is jumping through hoops to get this done in time. They just called and asked Ted to come right down. Some progress I hope but they said they still don't have power! If they get power his tee time for tomorrow morning may be in jeopardy.

Let's see now, we've had to deal with the front tooth issue, the broken bedroom glide chain, the truck leaking issue, and now the power outage ... and we've only been gone three weeks. We got the truck back yesterday and so far it seems OK. At least we have two more weeks around here to make sure it is all right.

Let's hope all our troubles remain these small inconveniences.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Wild Weather Weekend

Saturday we went to Freedom Hill amphitheater for our oldest granddaughter Cassie's hgh school graduation. Her Grandma Duda, Aunt Kara and boyfriend Robert also were there along with her parents. Ally was home sick.

There were over 400 kids and it took almost three hours. Except for the monotonous reading of all the names, the speeches were actually very good. Afterwards we all went to Red Robin for a late lunch. Ted and I went back to Kara's while I did laundry and we went to St. Thomas More for 5 o'clock Mass. It was late when we got back to the campground.

Ted went shooting Sunday and I prepared for the kids to come for dinner. We set their small pool up in a stand of pine trees next to our RV so we could sit in the shade. There was a nice breeze blowing and it was quite pleasant. Ted had given Sam a fishing rod and reel for his birthday so he and Allen took Sam to the lake to learn to cast. When they came back Ted started the grill. Just as we were about to sit down to eat, a storm blew up. We hurried to get the food inside.

Then the sirens went off. We grabbed the kids and headed to the bathhouse. Ted thought staying dry and eating his dinner was more important so he stayed put. When the all clear came the pop-up across from us had been ripped apart, a tree split in two and just missed a trailer and car two sites from us and trees in the woods had the tops snapped off. We were very lucky.

The power went out and never did come back on. Today they said it may be tomorrow night before we get it back. A night without his CPAP machine causes Ted a restless night so this afternoon we came to Kara's prepared to stay if their prediction is true. We did OK without electricity though using our propane to cook and we switched the water heater to propane. We used our 12V lights. We have a Black & Decker Storm Center that gave us a flashlight, another light, a radio, a weather station and an inverter to charge our cell phones. It's the CPAP machine that makes electricity so important to us. Since Kara has been out to the park three times and it has rained all three times our RV neighbors asked if maybe she could stay away!

We are watching the kids until Kara and Allen come home. I'm fixing dinner and Ted has gone to pick up our truck and turn in the rental car.

This trip sure is taking twists and turns from our original plans. We have had to be flexible but as long as we get to attend all the celebrations - graduations, recitals, Father's Day and birthdays, how we spend the rest of our time here doesn't matter as long as we are all together.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Promised Pictures

This is the entrance to Addison Oaks, a lovely lane of weeping willows. It reminds me of the scene in Sound of Music where the kids are hanging from the trees in the play clothes Maria made from drapes. It was the Buhl Family's country estate. They were a prominent Detroit family and there is still a Buhl Building in downtown Detroit. Oakland County now owns it. The house has been turned into a conference center/banquet hall and Kara had her wedding reception here in 1992.

The campground has 4 loops in a wooded setting. There is a fishing and boating lake, swimming beach, pavilions, disc golf and weekend entertainment. It's about 15 miles north of Troy and a delightful place to stay while we are in the area.

This is a picture of Sam in one of the five relay races he participated in during Field Day. We were the cheering section.

Here is the Bounce House that was the big birthday present for Morgan and Sam.

Friday was a trip into Rochester to go to the library to use their wi-fi, haircut for me and a grocery shopping trip. Kara, Allen and kids came out to the RV for dinner. We just finished eating and a big storm blew up. We were all stuck inside and the electricity went out. They left about 9 o'clock and told us to come to their house if we didn't get electricity back. It came on about 10:30. Until then Ted had been listening to the radio and I was reading by flashlight. All's well that ends well.

Friday, June 6, 2008

We're in Michigan and doing OK

I wanted to download a few pictures when I wrote up the last couple of days but I'm at the library and don't have access to them right now. So I'll save them for later.

We left Cincinnati Tuesday morning in a light rain but had driven out of it in under an hour. We arrived at Addison Oaks and were backed-in, set up and had our feet up by 2 p.m. At 4 p.m. Kara arrived with the kids.

I had foam stickies, crayons and paper plus the parrothead hats and leis for them to play with. Sam made me a picture and it's on the microwave now. Just as we were heading to the playground it started raining so we ended up inside. We have a 5 disk set of old cartoons shown in the 50s and the kids love them. When they got hungry we fed them the old stand-bys - mac and cheese, yogurt and juice boxes.

Wednesday Ted had his first appt. with Dennis, the dentist. We have three more on the next 3 Mondays. He doesn't see a problem with getting the new plate done in that timeframe. We had dinner with Kara and were spending the night so we could attend Sam's Field Day at school on Thursday and his birthday party that afternoon. Cassie came by to visit and had dinner with us. Ally and Patrick were at dance reheasal (he dances in the Daddy/Daughter dance) and Kelly was getting a haircut. It was a nice surprise that she stopped by.

We were at Hamilton Elementary at 8:45 to cheer the kids on. It was 5 different relay races. The PE teacher asked me, Ted and Allen to stay all day because we were the best "cheerers" she had ever seen. It was a lot of fun. We barely made it home in time for the party guests to arrive. The big present was a Bounce House that was inflated in the yard. I think there were 10 kids plus several mothers and Kara served pizza, salad and chicken salad along with TWO birthday cakes - Scooby Doo for Sam and Tinkerbell for Morgan.

Today I am FINALLY going to get a haircut and stop at the market for a little grocery shopping. I think Kara and family are coming out tonight.

Tomorrow is Cassie's graduation ceremony so we'll be in Sterling Heights for that.

A wrinkle in our "best laid plans" has been a leak in the truck. We had a repair done in TX that supposedly fixed it. They said it was a cracked tube by a valve. At Karen's and again at Kara's we had more drips. Ted took it to a Ford dealer here and it is a leaking seal. We left the truck yesterday and rented a Ford Fusion until Monday. With gas prices, it could be a wash in the end as far as expense.

Ted has a few choice words for Gullo Ford in Conroe, TX when we get back. We're in luck because our warranty is 5 years (up June 15) or 100,000 miles and we're almost at 97,000. If it was going to happen, now is better than later.

More when I have the pictures to share.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Eating, Eating, Eating

When everyone asks what we've been doing I tell them "mostly eating." It seems we can't visit without food around! Oh my poor waistline.

Friday night we met Ted's siblings for dinner at the Ashton Oak Golf Course where his sisters live. They and his one brother that remain in Cincinnati have moved to Cleves or North Bend which makes Indian Springs very convenient besides it being so close to I-275. My sister doesn't live too far either. And now the campground has added sewers so we have full hookups.

On Saturday Ted took me to the baby shower and he left with his brothers-in-law for lunch and to watch the Reds game. It was so nice seeing everyone again and meeting Kathy's in-laws. She had quite a crowd. Here is a picture of those attending from our side of the family. The second photo is Aunt Ann and Aunt Eileen that I wrote about previously. I didn't take my camera to the wedding and didn't get their picture. It's hard to believe they are 96 and 80.

We missed all the late afternoon Masses but found one at 7:30 pm at St. Simon so we went there. We passed on Betsy's birthday bash at a bar in Mt. Adams because we wanted to go to church. Also, our truck on those tiny, windy streets plus terrible parking accommodations made us leery of trying to drive the truck up there.

Sunday Ted went shooting again at Fairfield Gun Club while I prepared a fruit salad and deviled eggs (more food!) because Karen and Bill were coming for dinner. We have been friends since the early 60's. Karen has a short video clip made at our first house in Delhi. Kelly is about a year old and their Craig is just an infant. In the film I come walking down the hallway brushing my hair and the looks and mannerisms are a dead ringer for our Kristin. I would love to have that piece of their anniversary video on a separate tape. When they left the sky was beautiful and I took a picture. It doesn't do the sunset justice.

Today Ted is going to the Enquirer retiree's monthly luncheon to see the fellows. I am going to Karen's to do laundry. I also need to get my hair cut if I can work that in. We will be heading to Michigan tomorrow.