Sunday, July 29, 2012

Making Lemonade

Once we determined we had to be back at Addison Oaks by July 29, we had to decide what to do.  We chose to stay in Celina, OH and get in a few more visits.  We were glad we bit the bullet and drove the 250+ round trip to Shipshewana IN and the Amish country.  We had a good day there with Sue.

Wednesday, after our long drive, we stayed home to do laundry and I was able to put beef stew in the crockpot for our dinner.  Ted and Dan went shooting in the evening and had a really good time.  Ted knows the fellows there as well as Dan does after all these years.

We chose Thursday to drive to Dayton to take Peter's widow to lunch.  He died the day we arrived in Cincinnati and we didn't want to leave the area without spending some personal time with her.  For someone in their late 80s, she is doing extremely well.  Nicely coiffed, fashionably dressed, she hopped up into the truck with no problem.  She is sharp as a tack and we talked about the paperwork and stuff that comes up no matter how hard you prepare before you die.  Her son, Pete, is close by and is helping her with it all.  We spent a long time at lunch and enjoyed being with her for several hours.

We left there heading to Versailles to catch up with our other patient with the repaired heart valve.  We got into the worst storm AGAIN and it hailed until I thought it would break our windshield.  It was nearly impossible to see where you were going.  But Ted pulled into the far right lane, put on his flashers and crept along past those who had stopped on the shoulder.

We found Eddie in fine spirits and doing very well.  I can detect a bit of breathlessness when he talks.  I assume this is due to his lung being collapsed during the surgery.  It will probably take awhile for that to be functioning at 100%.  Dustin and Brian were home with him and we had a nice visit before another storm went through.  We admired the terrific job Eddie had done on finishing his basement and when we got a break in the rain, took off back to the campground. 

Friday Ted went to the grocery and I made a couple salads and a shortcake in preparation for our company coming on Saturday.  In the evening Sue, Dan and we went back to the Beer Barrel for dinner.  They said their pizza was really good so we needed to give it a try.  We had to wait for a table but it wasn't too long of a wait.  And the pizza is very good.

We were really excited to see Marge and Steve who lived next door to us in the late 70s.  Their daughter was good friends with Kristin.  They visited us when we first moved to Michigan but then lost touch.  Enter Facebook!  Steve caught up with me and we made plans for them to come visit.  It is almost 100 miles one way so we really appreciated their effort.

It is amazing that 30 years can be erased so easily.  We talked and talked for 5+ hours.  Ted grilled some burgers, I had three different salads and strawberry shortcake for lunch.  They are big into cruising and have taken over 30.  They want us to go with them some time.  They are going on one in August and we are going in November so it won't be any time soon but is definitely a possibility.

They left about 4:15 and we headed to Holy Rosary Church for Mass at 5:00.  From there we went to Dan's where his daughter Jamie had arrived.  Her husband Rob and 3.5 year old daughter Taylor were with her.  Lakefest was going on downtown so we all made our way there.  They had vendors, games, food, music, rides, etc.  Little Taylor is not afraid of anything.  She collected lots of toys because everyone was winning at the dart game.  She used to be so shy but this time she talked to us and gave us both a kiss and big hug when we left. 

Today we pulled out about 9 a.m. and now we are set up in our Spot #2 at Addison Oaks.  Ted has started with a head cold so the kids aren't coming out for dinner tonight.  I will go in tomorrow by 10 so Kara and Allen can leave for the hospital.  Ted will stay here and rest up.  We will just have to see how the rest of the week goes.  Allen has a business trip at the end of the week so hopefully Ted will be OK and can come in to be with me when I have to take care of Kara and the kids.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Resting Up

We waited most of Wednesday to hear about Ed's operation. They were able to repair his valve and did not need to replace it. The personnel were very slow in delivering info to those waiting. He came home on Saturday and we will go see him when he is up for company. Once we got the news, Ted went shooting and we didn't have dinner until very late.

I was not "up to snuff" on Thursday and we just hung out. Ted put some laundry in and got that out of the way. We were waiting for Kara's doctor appointment to determine what our next move would be.

She has to have a second revision surgery on this one stubborn spot so we extended our stay here for another week. We will head back to Addison Oaks next Sunday to keep the kids for a week.

Karen and Ron arrived at Dan's and we met up with them after I got my hair cut. Ron still has the wound vac on his arm from his tangle with the drill press.  It will take another month the doctor said.

Brandon was home and joined us for dinner at the Beer Barrel. This is a new restaurant to the area and has a great menu. It was really late when we finished and we came on home.

Saturday we spent the day with family. Brandon is still working on his log cabin home in the woods so we went to see the progress. We spent the afternoon next to his lake with a nice breeze blowing. Karen, Ron, Ted and I all went to church and then came back to Dan's for dinner.  We met Rachel, Brandon's girlfriend, for the first time.

Ted went shooting on Sunday and Karen and Ron went home. We did a grocery run on Monday and not much else. Ted marinated and grilled some chicken breasts for dinner.

We picked Sue up on Tuesday morning and drove 128 miles to Shipshewana, IN to the flea market. It rained like the hammers of hell and we wondered if it was truly going to clear as was predicted. Just as we arrived the rain stopped and it turned into a perfect day - nice temp and no humidity - also no crowds.

Sue has a dozen grandkids and found lots of things for gifts. She makes jewelry and bought lots of beads. She found garden decorations for two sons' new houses and scarves for whomever she chooses in December.

Ted needed to buy some cleaner he uses on the trailer slides but the fellow had gone home because of the rain. Bummer! Now we will have to order it off the internet and pay shipping.

We had lunch at the Auction Restaurant and left about 4 o'clock to head home. You really need more time but with the weather it wouldn't have done us any good to arrive earlier.

I bought a new watch and a casual dress for our cruise.  Once we get into southern waters our clothes will need to change from warm to cool.  It was just fun showing Sue around and watching her delight in all her finds.

Tomorrow we are going to Dayton to take Peter's widow to lunch.  He died the day we arrived in Cincinnati.  And on Saturday our neighbors from the late 70's are coming to the park to visit and have lunch.  It will be GREAT to see them after all these years.

Another friend has passed away from a massive stroke.  That is #6 since we left home in May.  If they come in threes, we are way over quota or have hit it twice.  Either way, I am ready for good news instead of what we have been getting. 

We will return to Addison Oaks for at least a week and then will ramble around Michigan heading to the west coast on Lake Michigan to the town of Manistee.  Our HitchHiker owners group is meeting for a rally and we are looking forward to a great week with them.

From there it is a stop in Joliet to see Bob and Lorraine and then another three days to home.  I have to admit I am ready to get back.  There has been so much going on this trip that has nothing to do with vacationing and I have so much to do when we get back that I am anxious to get started on it.

We will have two months before going away for the month of November and we will have to peddle really fast to get it all accomplished.  God bless Chris for keeping our home up while we are gone.  Despite all the storms we knew everything was OK.

“Nothing travels faster than light, with the possible exception of bad news, which follows its own rules”  ~ Douglas Adams

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

At Last - Cleveland!

I spent 1946 in El Paso, TX and 1971-73 in Cooper City, FL. Other than those time periods, I lived in Cincinnati until 1981... and never went to Cleveland ... until yesterday.

We went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on the waterfront next to an ore carrier serving as a museum, and the Science Center.

The architecture is very modern and looks great next to the water.

We took pictures of ourselves outside with the displayed guitars.

There was a video on how Cleveland won the OK to build this museum and the work and financing it took to make it happen. We watched three short snippets on people expressing fear for what this new music would do to young folks. Considering the lyrics kids listen to today, I think they were on the right track!

There are many displays of many different singers and groups consisting of photos, records, instruments, costumes, hand written lyrics, receipts, contracts, etc. but what I liked best was a montage of all the inductees into the Hall of Fame since mid-1980s performing. It was fast paced but took a long time to get to 2012.

There were private areas where you could put on earphones and call up any song and it would play. The ultimate jukebox! Even the ATM machine was a jukebox.

We grabbed a bite for lunch and sat on a balcony overlooking the lake. It was such a nice venue.

After several hours we finished up and met up with Barb again and followed her home. She had some things of Brian's she wanted to give to Ted. Ted's great-niece was home too so we took them to dinner. It was so nice seeing them. It has been 3 years since Brian's funeral and it is still so difficult to believe.

Today we moved SW to Grand Lake. My brother Dan invited us to join his family at the Versailles Inn for dinner. His son Ed's heart surgery is today and we are still waiting to hear.  It was scheduled for 6:30 am and I am getting concerned.  He was in good spirits last night and I am praying all is OK.

We drove home watching the most beautiful sunset.

Brandon has a girlfriend now so he was out with her and we didn't see him yet. I learned we have Baby #4 on the way within the family. I will have to be sure everyone gets added to the family tree before the 2013 family reunion.

Our week is unplanned but that will fix itself I am sure. Please say a prayer for Ed.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Gorgeous Week in a Gorgeous Setting

Ted went shooting Thursday and afterwards we went looking at campgrounds. It is apparent that boating is king and parks are an afterthought. We decided we liked the state park best. Camp Perry where Ted has been shooting has a great campground but the national shooting matches keep it full most of the summer. It could be difficult to get in to but it would be worth a try. There are 10 full hook up spots in the state park and it would be worth a try to get one of them if we were going to stay for an extended period.

We had been told by two different people to try the Mon Ami Restaurant and Historic Winery. When Ted's nephew Brian's widow contacted us to get together, she suggested she drive over here and have dinner there so we readily agreed. Turns out her best friend and husband have a cottage on the lake right across the street from the park and they joined us. We had a delicious dinner and a very nice visit. We bought some wine in the gift shop and will enjoy it over the next few weeks.

We went to St. Joseph Church in Marblehead Saturday afternoon and then drove to the end of the peninsula for a bite to eat. I had a Lake Erie walleye sandwich. That might be pickerel to you. Afterwards we went to Lakeside, a community on the lake within Marblehead that is a gated community. But we had tickets to the Vicki Lawrence "Mama" show so were allowed in. It was like walking back to the 1940s or 50s. There is a beach, parks, shops, restaurants, cottages, bed & breakfasts, kids on bikes, folks strollong around and was so charming.

We really enjoyed the show. It was open seating but we were in the center in the 12th row so we couldn't complain. Vicki did half the show and Mama did the second half. We found it very enjoyable, laughing and laughing at some timely jokes. It was dark by the time we got home. The 10 pm sunset has given way to 9:30 or so.

Today Ted went shooting and I cleaned out the refrigerator in anticipation of a grocery run when he returned. The Speedway diesel jumped from $3.39 to $3.59 so we hurried to Kroger where theirs was still at $3.39. After shopping we had a dime off so we filled up.

Tomorrow we are going to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Tuesday we head to St. Mary OH for a week long visit with family. We know where we will be until August 3. But the time from then until August 17 is up in the air. Oh the freedom to hook up and move whenever the urge or need grabs us. We do know we will be in Michigan during that time. But where exactly is anyone's guess.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Along Lake Erie

We drove south on I-75 over such washboard roads that the trailer plug to the truck worked loose. The display in the truck told us and we pulled over so Ted could push it back in tightly.

When we arrived at the park, two glass pans had flown out of an upper cabinet and broke into pieces. Makes me wonder about these high tax, heavily union, blue states and how they spend their money.

The park is lovely and we have a long paved site that accommodates both the trailer and truck with plenty of room. We have mature trees that provide great shade. We don't have water so we stopped to take on water. We don't have a sewer either but we are being careful with the three tanks and hopefully won't have to hook up to go dump before our departure date.  I took this photo with my I-Pad and don't know how to rotate it!

We spent Monday getting acclimated to our surroundings. We drove to Miller Ferry to check it out, then drove through Port Clinton to pick up tourist info to plan our week.

We bought peaches and corn at a roadside stand and it was about the best corn we have ever eaten.

We went to Marblehead to the lighthouse which is now a state park.  We learned the light was on a weight exactly like a grandfather clock.  It would take three hours for the weight to drop to the bottom and then the keeper climbed back up, filled the container with oil, and pulled the weight back up.  Bet that was an unpleasant job in the winter in the middle of the night.

We drove the Lake Erie Circle Tour all around the many peninsulas in the area. It was very pleasant all day.

The next day we went to Put In Bay on South Bass Island in Lake Erie.  We chose the Miller Ferry because it was closest to us.  We intended to rent a golf cart so using the Jet Express which docks in town wasn't necessary.  Here is the landing as we pulled away.

It was a short walk to the golf cart rental and we were off!  We went into downtown and decided to eat lunch before taking the one hour island train tour.  This took us to nine different places of interest on the island.  We could have gotten off and caught another train but we stayed on the whole time then used our golf cart to go back to see what interested us.  This wonderful old carousel is in town.

Our next stop was the Perry's Victory and International Peace Memorial.  It marks the battle for control of Lake Erie during the War of 1812.  The USA, Canada and English flags fly together to signify the longest, unprotected border in the world between the US and Canada. 

This is the third largest Federal Monument in the US with the St. Louis Arch being #1 (been there) and the Washington Monument #2 (been there also). 

The view of the island and lake were spectacular.  There are many islands in close proximity and we could see several including Rattlesnake Island which is a Private Island, $200,000 to join.  Maybe next year.

Inside the memorial are the remains of the three British commanders and three US commanders that all died during the battle.  They were originally buried in what is now a beautiful city park but were moved when the memorial was built.

We went to the Heineman Winery and I had a glass of Riesling while we sat in the Wine Garden.  They were the only winery out of about 15 that survived Prohibition.  They marketed grape juice with a recipe for vinegar on the back.  Of course if you stop the process before it becomes vinegar, you have wine!

The riesling cuttings came from the Rhine River valley.  Cincinnati was settled by German immigrants from this area, including my mother's family, and we have traveled there a few times ourselves.  This wine barrel fountain is at the center of the garden.

We spent about six hours on the island getting around in our golf cart.  The weather was so pleasant, the scenery beautiful and there are enough places and things of interest to make for a grand day.

We took the evening ferry home and grilled some steaks for dinner along with some of that terrific locally grown corn on the cob.

Immediately following his victory at the Battle of Lake Erie, Perry penned the famous words, "We have met the enemy and they are ours ..." in his report to General William Henry Harrison.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Really Hot, But Dry Finally

Thursday cleared nicely but the heat and humidity continued to climb. This is very unusual for Michigan. Sometimes the water is still too cold to swim in on the 4th. No one here is used to this. We are, but it is what we were trying to get away from.

Kara had to have some "revision surgery" to remove dead skin and drain fluids so we picked up the kids, took them to lunch, and then went bowling. The humidity was so bad the lanes were not slick and it was impossible to slide on your left foot to deliver the ball. You just stopped abruptly. I asked for powder to put on the bottom of my shoe but the manager said no. I thought for sure I would topple end over end. I didn't, but it didn't help my game any. The kids had a good time. I won the first game, Ted the second. We came home and despite the heat Ted built a fire and we sat out very late.

Friday Kara brought the kids out and we went to see Brave. We ate dinner at our new favorite restaurant, The Romeo Diner. At 6 pm they were filled already. We stopped for a few groceries and to fuel up at Kroger's. Kara had 30 cents per gallon off and insisted Ted use it.

The kids stayed overnight with us. There is a large group with lots of kids camped here this weekend and both Sam and Morgan took off to play with them. Sam had all his Nerf guns for the boys, they had badmitton rackets the girls were playing with and someone gave them all a bunch of glow rings that Morgan played with until bedtime. Ted and I made up a plate of S'mores and Ted walked them down to the group.

We sat around the fire until really late and now it is 9:15 and they are still sleeping. We need to leave about 10:30 to take them home because we are meeting Karen and Dave, friends from when we stay in the Rio Grande Valley. We are looking forward to seeing them.

Tomorrow we head out for Marblehead, OH. It's a new park for us. I hope we like it and find plenty to do. Our sightseeing has been none existent thus far this summer and we have been gone almost six weeks.

"A vacation is having nothing to do and all day to do it in."

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Crazy Weather Continues

After the all clear on Tuesday morning, we went about our business as usual. I did three loads of laundry and we both showered as we prepared to go to the DTE Energy Music Theater to see Neil Diamond. We were sitting in our recliners about 4 pm when a huge storm with three episodes of hail went through and the power went out. Since the recliners are electric theater seats, we had a problem - how to get out of the chairs from the reclining position. Let's just not go there! Suffice to say we made it.

There was a break in the rain so we left for the show figuring the 8,000 people with $50 lawn seats were licking their wounds. The storm started in earnest again and we could hardly see. We drove through deep standing water and threw rooster combs as we drove. Thankfully when we arrived the rain had stopped - but the 8,000 lawn ticket holders and 7,000 pavilion patrons were all there too and no one even mentioned the weather!

We grabbed a bite, sharing a table with a lovely couple from Grosse Isle, MI which is quite a distance "down river" as it is referred to. They didn't mention the weather either.

We had 9th row center seats and they couldn't have been better. The show started at 8:30 and went uninterrupted until 10:15. Neil still looks and sounds the same as the first time I saw him in concert in the late 70s in Cincinnati. He still has it and put on an awesome concert.

Then there was the horror of the parking lot. This venue is 40 years old and no one has figured out how to empty it in less than an hour. We spent as long getting home as we did at the concert.

And we still had no power. That meant sleeping without A/C which was OK but Ted could not use his C-pap machine so he didn't sleep well.

We awoke to no power and continued to use propane for the refrigerator, water heater and cooking. The 12 volt provided lights. When the temperature climbed into the high 90s we went to the Romeo Diner just as much to cool off as to eat.

We then went to Kelly's for the day and everyone was getting weather alerts on their phones. A big storm went through with hail and when there was a break we headed for home. And we had power! If we didn't we were going to go back to Kara's.

I woke up this morning to a storm and the trailer was being buffeted around like I have never experienced. All is quiet now but enough is enough!

Rainbows apologize for angry skies - Sylvia Voirol

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Abrupt Start To Tuesday

We went to church in Lake Orion on Saturday afternoon and came home to the campground in full swing. We ended up in the middle of a 6 family/friend group who argued over whose neighbor we were. Both sides were claiming us. We were invited to join them but mostly stayed around our own fire. The kids were having a ball playing and there was lots of "corn hole" going on. It reminded me of the camping trips we took with the kids back in the '70s.

On Sunday we drove to Waterford to Barb and Randy's home for a visit and boat ride on Lake Oakland before going to Olive Garden for dinner. Their beautiful home on the lake is for sale; they plan to move to Florida by their daughter. We had a terrific visit and know by next year they may be gone from this area. We promised to visit when we are in Florida visiting Kristin.

On Monday we headed to Kara's to pick up the kids. We have 8 birthdays in a short period of time and I took the easy way out sending checks to everyone. Sam had told us he wanted to go shopping and Morgan gave me the check back saying she did too.

So off we went to Toys R Us where Sam chose a machine gun type Nerf gun. Then we had lunch at Olga's before continuing on to Somerset Mall to Build A Bear. Molly, who was "born" last Christmas while we were here, needed a new outfit, matching shoes and a pair of roller skates. Everyone was happy and we headed to Kara's for dinner.

This morning we were awakened at 6:30 by the weather siren. Having been in this park when a small tornado went through, we took the warning seriously. So our first hour of the day was spent outside the bathroom/ laundry building with lots of others campers.

Another year we were without electric for three days at this park so we are grateful the storm passed without incident and the electric is still on.

Tonight is Neil Diamond at DTE Energy which to us is still Pine Knob. We have pavilion seats so hopefully the weather will not be a factor. The tickets are a thank you gift from Kara and Allen. Neil is one of my favorites and at the price of the tickets, he better still have "it."

Brother Love, we are heading to your traveling salvation show - don't disappoint.