Saturday, June 30, 2012

First Fireworks of the Holiday

We have found Romeo!  Now I know it has been there even when we lived here from 1981 until 1996, but I never gave it much thought.  Last year we went straight instead of turning left and found Lake Orion and this year we went straight the opposite way and found Romeo.  So we headed to Kroger's over there on Thursday for our grocery shopping.  They have pick your own strawberries and a movie theater we may take advantage of when the kids come out again.  The restaurant where we met Carole and Margo has a great menu.  It's nice not to have to take the dirt roads to get into Troy especially since Main Street in Rochester is all tore up and you have to take a detour.  This country living is getting better as we find more places closer by.

Last night was the fireworks display put on by Oakland County.  They do a spectacular job for a smaller municipality.  It was not as grand as the Detroit/Windsor ones we watched on TV earlier in the week for the US 4th of July and Canada's Dominion Day, but pretty impressive.  We were able to sit outside the trailer in our lawn chairs and see it all.

Kelly and family had come out for dinner.  Afterwards Ted built a fire and the kids made S'mores.  They waited a bit for the traffic to clear before heading home. 

Our last week is filling up.  We are going to a friend's home I worked with tomorrow and will go out on their boat.  Kara bought us tickets to see Neil Diamond on Tuesday and Kelly is having all of us for the 4th on Wednesday.  I've offered to take the kids Monday, Thursday or Friday to give Kara some relief from having them home while Allen is trying to work and she is still recovering.  I know we have to go in to pick up the Neil Diamond tickets Monday so we'll see what she wants us to do.

We have made a change in our plans a bit.  When we leave East Harbor we are going to Grand Lake St Mary to visit with my brother Dan for a week.  We were going to skip this year because we need to travel south and then back north again to do it.  But Ted said he doesn't mind the extra drive or fuel so we made a reservation.  We'll then travel to Shipshewana, IN and on to Marshall, MI from there.  We still have about two weeks until the HitchHiker rally in Manistee so who knows where we will end up.  We have friends in the area and others traveling in their RVs in Michigan.  Ted's great niece and her husband just moved to Cheyboygan on the NE coast of the lower peninsula and they said they would love for us to come up that way.  Time will tell.

Here are a few of the dance photos Larry took at Ally's recital.  This is the one that became the centerpiece of her graduation party photoboards.

Ally is the front girl and I thought this really showed her lines and extensions well.

Two of these are of Pat and Ally during the Daddy/Daughter dance.  Pat has participated nine years with Ally.  What wonderful memories he has given her that will last a lifetime.  Pointe Academy is the dance studio Ally has studied at for all these years.  They gave the departing seniors' Dads a T-shirt after the recital.

Nothing I've ever done has given me more joys and rewards than being a father to my children. ~ Bill Cosby

Thursday, June 28, 2012

In A Word - Tired

We went in for Sam's game Sunday and then stopped in Lake Orion to eat. It was late and not a lot of places were open but the little diner was and we had some good food. We laugh each night when we come home discussing what the attendants think of our coming home after dark each night.

Allen had a trip to Columbus so we went into Kara's Monday and spent
the night and the next day. We took Kara to the doctor to have a drain removed and were caught in a huge traffic jam that turned what should have been a quick trip into a pretty long one.

Tuesday was busy. Ted had an eye doctor appointment, both Sam and Morgan had appointments but Morgan's was cancelled and Sam had a ballgame. I have kept the laundry done and the dishwasher emptied. I enlisted the kids help to keep the rest of the house straightened in exchange for time on the Wii that we had brought along and they did a good job. I cleaned two closets at Kara's request and went through Morgan's clothes with her. Katie will be getting two bags of clothes! Then I went to the grocery.

Ted took Sam to his game. He was proud when the coach asked Ted if he had been working with Sam because it showed in his game. When they came home Allen had returned so we headed back to the campground.

Our friends we meet up with each year came to Romeo for lunch with us on Wednesday. We wanted to catch up on their winter in Thailand and our recent trip to France. They plan to spend one more winter in Mexico and may need our assistance with car storage and transportation. They asked about our upcoming trip to Rome. It was a relaxing afternoon and just what I needed; that and the two hour nap I took when we got home. I think the steps in the 2-story house more than anything else get to me the most. I haven't had stairs in quite some time.

Today Ted is shooting and then we are going grocery shopping for tomorrow. With the 4th smack dab in the middle of the week, the fireworks will be Friday night and the kids will be out. I guess July 4 will be ho-hum when it gets here.

We are looking forward to moving on to East Harbor State Park on Lake Erie near Sandusky OH next week. There's a spot next to the water for my chair and Kindle!

Man was made at the end of the week's work when God was tired - Mark Twain

Sunday, June 24, 2012

My Own Personal Season of Survival

I stayed in town at Kara's to help her and take care of the kids.  Her linens must be done each time because of the chance of infection and then there is laundry for six people.  Giving Kara a shower takes two of us over an hour.  She has a special garment to wear and getting that back on with her drains and all is a real challenge.  But we are getting done what needs to be done.

I dressed and put on some make-up for Ally's party.  We had already given her a gift when we first arrived in Michigan.  Things were in great shape and all I did was make up bowls of taco chips and salsa plus putting cheese slices and crackers on trays. They had chalk on the patio for people to write greetings.  I wrote "You Are Our Shining Star."  There were two poster boards of her awards and many years of dance photos.  The center one was an 8 x 10 that Larry just took where she is airborne with her legs outstretched in mid-flight.  It is a great shot.

A tent and gazebo were set up outside with six large tables for everyone to sit at.  I know some of Pat's relatives and a few of their neighbors from our years here in Michigan.  I introduced myself to their friends that were new to me.  Lots of kids came and had a great time dancing to the DJ.  Ally's dance instructor came with her family and was thrilled with the shots Larry had taken at the recital.

After the constant up and down of the stairs at Kara's and the in and out getting the tables set and then things brought in at Kelly's, the only thing not hurting Friday night was my eyelashes!  I came home and took two ibuprofen plus rubbed Flexall on my lower back and fell into bed.  I really needed a day or two of rest.  The old, gray mare, she ain't what she used to be.

I took it easy Saturday.  Ted went shooting and we went to church.  We ate hot roast beef sandwiches for dinner from the beef we brought home from Kelly's.  Then we sat outside around the fire.  Today we are going in for Sam's ballgame and tomorrow Allen goes to Columbus so we will be there from Monday morning until Tuesday night.  Kara is getting up by herself now and walking around a bit so little by little she is getting her strength back.  The doctor removed her pain pump and two of her four drains on Friday so she is making good progress.  All the incisions look great with no sign of infection or not healing properly.

Larry has not emailed me any of the photos he took.  I haven't taken many because he has such a great camera compared to mine but here are a few I did take.

Ally receiving her diploma (off the Jumbotron).

With Grandma and Grandpa

Ally's family

After the dance recital with the flowers Grandpa brought her.

Our four grandchildren

A dancing couple atop a new fountain in Frankenmuth

One of the many flower baskets that line Main Street in Frankenmuth.

For now, in the words of Woody Woodpecker, That's All Folks!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Muddling Through

We had dinner at Kara's Saturday night when Larry and Kristin arrived. Then it was time for Ally's recital which was fantastic. She was in 9 of the 35 sets that were performed. I don't know how she remembers all those steps and moves. Larry took some great action shots and I will share them when he sends them to me. Cassie's "friend" was there and we were able to meet him too. Afterwards we all went to Appleby's to celebrate.

After church the next morning, Ted and I drove to Birch Run Outlets and shopped a little before meeting everyone at the Bavarian Inn for Frankenmuth's famous chicken dinner. We spent some time in town and at Bronner's Christmas store. Larry, who is a professional photographer, had a good time with all the Christmas displays.

We brought Sam and Morgan home with us because Kara's surgery was scheduled for 6 a.m. Kristin and Larry came to the park the next day and ended up taking the kids to the movies because I had a stomach bug and it started to rain. I felt much better by the time they returned. We had Ted's pulled pork for dinner followed by marshmallows roasted over the campfire.

Kara came home Tuesday and we were going to take the kids home to see her once she was settled in her bed upstairs. But I got a migraine so Ted fixed them dinner, took them home, took care of Kara while Allen attended the City Council meeting and then brought the kids back. I was just surfacing from my head pounding when they got back. Don't let anyone tell you that stress doesn't take its toll physically.

Yesterday we brought the kids back in for Sam's ballgame. We stopped at Olive Garden for lunch and I did laundry and stayed with Kara. Sam's team won big time and he was so proud. Ted took them back to the campground and I stayed to do overnight duty with Kara getting up at 1 am and 4 am to assist her.

Today Larry and Kristin came by and had lunch. Allen took the kids swimming and I did more laundry. Tomorrow is Ally's graduation party complete with DJ so if I play my cards right I just might get my hair combed and some lipstick on.

Ted went home alone tonight and I helped Allen give Kara a shower. She has a doctor's appointment in the morning and I will watch the kids.

Am I having fun yet? Not really but you do what you have to do for your kids and family members. Hopefully we can leave here with everyone back to normal on July 8. If not, I guess our plans will change yet again.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

And The Kids Will Cheer You Up

Ted and I went to the drug store yesterday for more congestion medicine and then out to lunch.  We stopped at Diva's, a store in Lake Orion that I enjoy browsing through.  Just that little effort wiped me out.  I sound worse than I feel but my get up and go has gotten up and gone.  I don't get sick often and I forgot how quickly your stamina can go.  Hopefully each day will be a bit better.  We have lots to do this week.

Ted is shooting this morning and we are due at Kara's mid-afternoon for an early dinner when Kristin and Larry arrive from Florida.  Sam then has a ballgame and we all need to be at OU for the dance recital that begins at 7:00.  We are coming home to dress so I will bring the food and clothes I need for the kids starting tomorrow after our day in Frankenmuth.

Sam was a bit concerned about Kristin bringing a friend she is dating.  He asked his mother if she was old enough to date.  She's 39!  But then Morgan told her to send their pancake syrup along because "Grandma and Grandpa use that stuff that comes out of trees" and she doesn't like it.  When asked where hers comes from she said "Costco." 

So there you have it.  You can always find something to laugh about.

We have a few campers in the loop this weekend.  We watched the fellow next door set up his trailer, climb the ladder to put up his awning, down on his knees putting his jacks down.  I remember those days well.  Now we just push buttons to level the trailer and put the awning in and out.  In fact, if it is windy, it will put itself away.  But I'm sure that guy doesn't want to hear it.  They came over and introduced themselves which was nice.  We'll be gone most of the weekend and by the time we return on Sunday, they will be gone along with most everyone else.  We like this loop because it is empty all week and not too crowded on weekends. 

Like I say, we are RVing, not camping.  There is a difference.  But this is the closest we come to camping when the kids come out, run around in the wide open space behind the trailer and cook marshmallows over a campfire.  That's the way we did it when the kids were little and Ted climbed the ladder to put the awning up and got down on his knees to lower the jacks.  And time marches on.

Friday, June 15, 2012

You May Want To Reconsider Knowing Me

There is so much going wrong around me that I hesitate to answer the phone or read e-mail.

My friend Pat, who just made Morgan's First Communion rosary, lost her 26 year old grandson on Wednesday. His wife is a teacher at my grandkids' school. They were married just last year. His layout is tonight.

A terrible storm went through at home and a tree fell on a friend's house. There is structural damage and she is in a hotel with her dogs. The worse part is the house is for sale so she can move by her daughter for health reasons. In this case, when it rained, it poured, literally.

Another friend's house flooded in the same storm. They were out of town at the hospital with a relative who had a stroke. Her husband flew home to attend to the house.

These past few weeks have been an "in my face" reminder that life can change in a second. No one is promised tomorrow or even the rest of today as we know it.

Don't procrastinate, plan for the unexpected and treat everyone as if it is the last time you will see them. One day it will be.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Nothing Much Going On

I knew this week would be slow but I didn't count on a certain respiratory bug to come calling. Thank goodness for my supply of amoxicillan from our trip to the drug store in Progreso, Mexico or I would have had to see Dr. Bunney for medicine.

I laid around most of Monday and was feeling better Tuesday when Ted left for Austin. Stuck at the campground with no transportation (my choice), gave me plenty of time to get better.

There are only two other campers in our entire loop and I have yet to see anyone at either. I read my Kindle, played Words With Friends and watched a little TV but not much. I ate mostly soup and sandwiches for lunch and dinner.

Ted came home last night and I think he plans to wash the truck and trailer today. I am still a little congested and will stay out of the water but will ratchet up the menu for dinner for him.

We will have the kids the beginning of next week so I need to go to the store to stock up. Kristin and Larry will be here too so I will be cooking. By Wednesday I will be in town at Kara's when she comes home from the hospital.

In between there is Ally's dance recital, a trip to Frankenmuth and preparations for the graduation party. We will have our jobs to do. It will be good to be all together again.

"It is amazing what you can accomplish when it doesn't matter who gets the credit." - Unknown

Sunday, June 10, 2012


The graduation ceremony went fine and we had good seats. But the lighting was too low for good pictures so I may wait for the party to publish any. Ally graduated cum laude, National Honor Society with distinction in French.

She has placed out of English, French and Statistics and is awaiting status of Advanced Placement in Chemistry and Psychology. She could conceivably be a Sophomore at Oakland University when she starts.

We all went to lunch afterwards and suddenly it was almost 4 o'clock and we were going to be late for the next party. We called Jeff to let them know and he asked us to bring an ice cream roll for dessert.

So we hurried home, got into casual clothes, stopped at Kroger's for an ice cream cake and were an hour late!

Imagine our shock when we walked in and Dawn was there alone. Greg passed away March 1 and no one had let us know. She seemed to sense what happened and was so gracious saying "you didn't know did you?"

My mother died on March 1 and of course I recall that day each year and we had a nice talk about that. It actually was their 37th wedding anniversary and she said he died at the time they walked out of church from their wedding all those years ago. Rest in peace, Greg.

Ted's old golf group is now six married couples, four widows and one divorcee'. Jan still comes but Paul doesn't.

Each couple had a horse in the race and I don't know how Jeff determined that but ours had a Hindu sounding name. All I can say is that if Paul Revere rode him we would all be talking with a British accent. He was dead last ... But we won $20 for It.

It was 10 o'clock before the party broke up and the campground was dark when we came home except for the fires the few campers in our circle had going.

Sherry wrote on Facebook that Ronnie came home last night. I will call Karen today to see how things are going. I do know he will have a visiting nurse every third day to change the wound vac and a skin graft will be up next.

The weather is pleasant with little need for A/C. We are off to church then to Kara's for dinner and to do laundry.

There won't be much going on next week with everyone working or going to school and Ted gone for two days. Kristin and Larry arrive next Saturday and that will be a BUSY week with Ally's last dance recital, Kara's surgery and preparations for Ally's party.

"A bee is never as busy as it seems, it just can't buzz any slower" - Kin Hubbard

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Settling In

We made the trip from Cincinnati to Leonard, MI with no problems. It is easy to drive through Detroit because there is no traffic. LBJ's Great Society model city is a bust. With the largest manufacturing base in the country in the 60s, it is now bankrupt, has failing schools, no good public transportation and a pretty hefty crime rate. Is anyone learning anything from all of this? We need jobs, pride in ownership, good schools, etc. not more handouts. The Great Society isn't so great 50 years later. I lived here for 16 years and watched the deterioration first hand. I'm not just a casual observer. It is a shame.

But the rest of Michigan is beautiful and has delightful summer weather. Also two of our children live here and so we come to visit and leave the heat of Texas behind.

As soon as we were set up, we drove to pick up two of the grandchildren. Sam had a ballgame and Morgan's school picnic was at the same time. Kara was in Chicago and Allen was at home trying to work and hold down the fort. The calvary had arrived just in time.

Morgan and I were dropped off while Ted, Sam and Allen went to the game. There were bounce houses, tattoos, karaoke, the playground, free lemonade, popcorn, ice cream and sandwiches for everyone. I pretty much just followed Morgan from one thing to the next. After 2.5 hours we were picked up and taken to the ballfield for the rest of the game. On the way home we stopped at Kelly's to get our tickets for the graduation today.

Friday we slept in and about 3 o'clock went to the grocery. Ted grilled a pork tenderloin for dinner and we sat outside until 10 when it finally got dark. We need to get some firewood to use when the kids come out.

Today is Ally's high school graduation ceremony and then at 4 o'clock we are going to the Belmont party. Apparently the race will happen but without I'll Have Another so there will be no Triple Crown winner this year.

Next week should be quiet because the kids are still in school, the adults are all working and Ted is flying back to Austin for two days. My Kindle and I will be just fine!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

A Bit Part In A B-Grade Movie

It's been a crazy week and I keep wondering what happens next.

Ted went shooting on Sunday and then we were invited to Barb and Kevin's for a lovely dinner. Peg was working at her grandson's festival and Kathy was lying flat on the floor nursing a bad back so they were unable to join us. So the four of us had a good two on two visit. We seldom get to do that with so many in the family.

On Monday Ted had lunch with the Enquirer retirees and then we went to the casino where I left all my Oklahoma winnings.

The couple who were our maid of honor and best man and then married after we did, came over on Tuesday to go to lunch. Just as they were pulling up, my phone rang. My sister Karen said her husband Ron was cut at work and she needed a ride to the hospital. Because we had plans she said she would call her son. I asked her to call me if he couldn't take her and to call me after he got his stitches. WELL ...

He got his arm caught in a drill press and could have lost the entire arm. He had a cut above the elbow and a huge chunk out of his forearm. He was in surgery for 1.5 hours. Luckily he had no bone breaks.

Ted took Karen and me to the hospital this morning so I could spend the day there with her. Ronnie has the cut above his elbow stitched and the hole on his forearm was closed up somewhat. There is a wound vacuum on that area. He will be attached to that for some time. When it heals sufficiently they will do a skin graft. He was doing well for what he has been through.

Ted went to see his Aunt Eileen who has been moved to a rehab/assisted living facility much to her 94 year old husband's chagrin. They managed to get him to stay in an assisted living room last night and he thinks he is in a hotel. Eileen thinks she has meetings to attend because she is reading the info white board on her wall. It is still a chaotic situation that hopefully will get settled soon.

While out, Ted received a phone call that our friend of over 35 years passed away on June 1. Peter was an absolute gentleman, aged 92, and had Honorable Discharges from the Army Air Corps, Navy and the Marines. The world lost one of its very best.

Tonight we attended my grade school dinner. Most of us went from K-8 and the girls went on to 9-12 at an all girls' high school. It was relaxing after such a trying week and it was great to see everyone.

We head to Michigan tomorrow hoping to be set up by 2:00. At 5:00 Ted is taking Sam to his ballgame and I'm taking Morgan to her class picnic. Kara will be in Chicago.

We are invited to a Belmont Stakes party on Saturday by one of the group that Ted played golf with when we lived in Michigan. Now I hear there may be a strike and the race may not be run. With the way the week is going I certainly won't be surprised.

Stay tuned for the next episode of Stop The World I Want To Get Off or whatever show title you can think of!!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

We Blew It

It was nice to wake up and have a leisurely morning. How did we get so busy in retirement?

We left close to noon and stopped for my ring. When I looked at it, a small diamond was still missing. I don't know what happened but they fixed it promptly. It sure is shiny but I hope the stones are secure after the pressure cleaning!

We stopped for lunch at our favorite pizza place, the Cincinnati icon company, LaRosa's Pizza. It sure tasted good and will always be the gold standard to us.

From there we went to the hospital to visit Eileen. She is dreadfully thin and confused. At one point she looked at Ted, who had not left his chair, and said "oh you're back." Ted asked from where and she said "Didn't you go get a basket for the pretzels?" Not sure where that came from but it does indicate a problem. We will try to stop by again before we leave.

From there we went to what I refer to as "early, speedy church." Mass begins at 3 and we were out at 3:40. This church has always had this Mass and I think it may be their way to bring non-parishioners to this church to help it financially. Just my thought.

Next up was dinner at Cindy and Tim's with their kids plus Karen and Ron. We took the pancake mix and baby gift inside but left the lamp in the truck.

After some discussion about everyone's travels, Ted told me to give Tim the I-Pad to look at some photos from France. Shortly after, Brian said he thought his Dad had seen his gift. I asked how since it was still in the truck in two boxes. He said he saw a picture on the I-Pad!!!

We had indeed blew it but Tim was delighted and thanked us for picking it up and bringing it all this way. It looks great in their living room.

We had a nice dinner and then the electric went off. So we all went to an ice cream parlor. Since the power may not have been back on and it was already 9:00, we all headed home.

We will see Ted's family tomorrow after he goes shooting. We didn't make a lot of plans but our time is filling up quickly. We only have four more days here.

Arrival in Cincinnati

We arrived here about 10:30 and backed up to the lake and set up. No one was in the office because everyone was at Jim's mother's funeral. We were sorry to hear she had died. We have been coming here so long that Jim is a friend. Losing a parent is so difficult.

We took off to the family jewelry store where my family has done business for years. Ted was told the prongs on his ring need to be replaced. I gave it to him for Father's Day in 1966 when Kelly was one month old. The great grandson of Joe who sold me the ring said it still had some wear and could wait until we got home since we don't have a lot of time here.

He offered to clean our rings and a small diamond came out of my ring! So we are going back today to pick it up after they fix that.

We also received an e-mail that Ted's aunt is in the hospital. She is the last of the nine Keehan siblings of his mother. So today we will go to visit her.

Last night we went to my great niece and nephew's (twins) birthday party. They live on a farm in Indiana and have horses so Ted was happy. My niece, their aunt, came with her three horses in a trailer. She and two friends had been riding in Versailles State Park. It was so nice to see everyone.

I am using my I-pad and will attempt to post a photo. Wish me luck and I'l be back tomorrow with more family news. We are going to dinner and delivering the lamp to Cindy tonight. It has traveled well in the two boxes I bought to put the base and shade in but has the entire back seat of the truck filled.