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.