Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Truck Is Home

Ted picked the truck up late Monday afternoon and returned the rental car. He has driven it for two days and he and Dave have "listened" to it and all seems good. We have lots of time to make sure.

Tuesday we went to what is called the Mexican flea market just a little west of here. Cindy and Tim are shoppers so we are finding places worthwhile for them to go. The best buy was 7 avocados for $1! I bought a pair of sunglasses for $5 and that was all. Having lost the Michael Kors ones that Kara gave me but still having the $10 ones I bought at Disney years ago, this makes sense for me. We walked for two hours and that is good for us.

In the morning on Wednesday Stella called to remind us of the lunch at Ron Hoover RV they had invited us to and asked if we were going. They are Heartland RV district leaders (or something like that) and attend lots of functions in that capacity. Ted was supposed to shoot but it was so windy he was over at Dave's discussing the situation. I told her I didn't know until he came back. He stayed there an hour and a half so the answer turned out to be "no."

Wednesday is always Margarita night and we headed over to the clubhouse at 5:00. Pat and Vern were already there and invited us to join them. We met others as the table filled up. I don't know about next week because we have to be at the airport at 3:50 to get Cindy and Tim. We will just play it by ear. I will keep something simple here to take over just in case everyone arrives in time. Karen and Ron are driving and stopping in Kingsville at the King Ranch so I don't know what time to expect them.

I will fix something easy for dinner because whether we make Happy Hour or not they will need to eat. And we will take them to HEB grocery to get a few things for their casitas. They have a LR, kitchen, bath and BR. I have provided them with lots of info on what there is to do and see so we will also be setting up our plans for the week.

We have a busy weekend - western style show luncheon Friday, Patsy Cline Legend Show Saturday and Burger Bash and Super Bowl party Sunday. I will need the next days to get my laundry done and groceries in for our company. It will be a busy week while they are here.

"What we anticipate seldom occurs, what we least expect generally happens." - Benjamin Disraeli

Monday, January 28, 2013

Lost Day

On Saturday Ted went shooting and then we left about 2:00 for a late lunch/early dinner at Outback. We had a gift card from Terry & Carol to use. The Citrus Fiesta Parade was scheduled at 3:00 and would come right down the street we use to get to church. So after eating we went west of the street and made our way there. We knew parking would be doubly hard because parade watchers were parked too and we could see them all in their lawn chairs watching the parade.

Two young fellows were walking and we asked if they had a car parked and were leaving. One answered he lived around the corner and we could park at his house. So that is what we did and it was still there after church!

Fr. Roy was riding his horse in the parade along with the church float so the assistant Pastor said our Mass. He is Speedy Gonzales and we were out quickly.

We returned home and at 6:00 went to the ice cream social in the clubhouse followed by Card Bingo at 7:00. No winners at our table and another lady won twice but neither was the big pot.

On Sunday I woke up tossing my cookies and visiting the bathroom frequently. It didn't last long and I didn't feel all achy or lethargic so I think it was something I ate on Saturday. Since I only had a bowl of cereal at home, a steak and salad at Outback and the ice cream at the clubhouse I am blaming the salad, dressing or lemon in my water at the restaurant. I feel fine today but still am not hungry.

It was Souper Supper last night so Ted made tortellini soup and went to the clubhouse to meet the folks with the rest of the supper. He brought me a small lemon pie Karen had made for each one of us. I will eat it today I guess.

We have no specific plans for today but maybe the truck will be done and we can pick it up. Ted wants to put at least 500 miles on it before we head home. We will be going to South Padre Island next week while our company is here and that is at least 150 round trip so I doubt the 500 mile goal will be hard to reach.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Video For Him, Laundry For Me

Thursday Ted went to the shooting range where they were making videos for the park website. They shot the clay targets with no special instruction and were not even aware when filming was going on. We have no idea if Ted will appear in the video or end up on the editing room floor.

I, in the meantime, got three loads of laundry together but waited for the car to return to go to the laundry room. I cannot drag three sorted bags, hangers, detergent, bleach, Spray and Wash and money by myself. When Ted returned he dropped me off, ran some errands and then came back to bring me and the clean clothes back home. I really do miss my own laundry room when out in the RV but doing it all at once in several machines makes it go quickly.

We went over to visit with Dave and Karen. We decided to go to the Souper Supper on Sunday so we all walked up to the office to sign up. Four couples are assigned to a table and each brings something. We have Ted making soup, Dulce is making sandwiches and Karen is making dessert. There is one spot open for appetizers but we haven't checked the sheet to see if anyone has taken the last two seats at our table.

Today we went to the grocery and the produce market. I remembered our HEB free bacon coupons so we have plenty in the freezer for our company coming on 2/6. We stopped at the Ford dealer but the truck is still not ready. We were due at Diana and John's site at 5:30 to celebrate Anne's birthday. I took brouchetta and my own Riesling. There was plenty of food and two different birthday cakes. A pole took out an electric line in the state park and the whole 700 group of sites in our park were without electricity. We used small lanterns for awhile but these groups break up early so it wasn't much of a problem.

We are sleeping with the windows open and the roof vent fan on. Delightful!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Busy Wednesday

Ted went trapshooting with the fellows Wednesday morning and I made cookies for Margarita night. My Christmas exchange gift at the neighborhood luncheon was a jar with Cookies For Santa contents. I had to add egg, vanilla and butter. Making them for others kept us from eating them.

As soon as Ted came home we went to McAllen to the Senior Expo. Boy am I grateful for our good health. We didn't need any physical therapy, rehab, pain management, etc. which constituted lots of booths. I did have my eyes checked but with the mono vision cataract lenses, I was 20/400 in the eye with the close-up lens. It was 20/30 in the distance eye. She said it only checks for distance and there was no way to check that other eye. I am not sure what will happen when I renew my driver's license. I do have glasses and I was 20/20 in both eyes with them at the doctor so I may need to be tested in them. Then my license will say Corrective Lenses but I don't really need them to drive!

We visited all the booths and collected lots of things. We both won a coupon for a free package of bacon from HEB, two drink cozies from the duty free liquor store as you enter Mexico along with two $5 off coupons. My Sam's Club renewal was due so I did that and received a $10 gift card and large box of Ziploc freezer bags. There were lots of pens, candy and calendars too. I also picked up lots of info on South Padre Island for Cindy & Tim who are coming 2/6. Ted won a long stem pink rose for me somewhere while I was renewing Sam's Club. Since admission was free I would say we came out OK.

Next stop was Spikes Ford. The other dually being worked on was still on the oversized lift. Until that one gets finished they can't start on ours. Since Ford is paying for the rental we don't care. The Altima is easier to park and uses way less fuel than our truck so a little more time is fine with us.

On the way home we stopped at Chimney Park and bought tickets for the Patsy Cline legend show. Then we called Jay & Stella and asked if they wanted to go and they said yes. So Ted went back in and bought two more. We stopped by and dropped off their tickets and visited for awhile. They had been out for lunch with Tom & Judy who are staying in Edinburgh this year instead of at Mission West. We were sorry we missed them.

We arrived home in time to grab the cookies and head to the clubhouse. Margaritas are free and everyone brings something to share. I had a small bowl of chili, a little salad, a small roll with ham salad and a junior butterfinger for dessert. My cookies were gone quickly because they were homemade. Next week I will take something more substantial. I just wanted those cookies out of here. We sat with Don and Trudy and talked about all their dance training since they were kids.

It hit 83 degrees and 90s are predicted for next week. Good thing I brought some shorts and my bathing suit along! Life is good in the valley.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Just Enjoying The Valley

On Saturday we went to the shooting range here on the property. There are four shooting stations and one of them was open for the five of us. It has been a real long time since I shot but I did pretty darn good. Hit the bullseye a time or two and always hit the target, no stray shots. We are supposed to go back on Thursday while they do some PR videoing.

That afternoon we had our Baked Potato Early Supper in the clubhouse. I had bought two nicely shaped, same size baked potatoes at the flea market so I used my microwave bag to cook them. There was butter, sour cream, bacon bits, chili and cheese to top your potato and drinks and dessert to go with it. We had a nice time visiting but the clubhouse was being used at 7:30 for dance practice so we gathered our things and came home.

While we were driving to and from the shooting range Ted and Dave were "listening" to the truck. Ted said he could hear a "howl" and Dave agreed. Now I can hear way better than Ted but I couldn't hear anything. There is just some familiarity between a man and his truck that defies reason. So on Monday Ted took the truck to the Ford dealer. Long story short, we are getting a new differential. We have a rental car paid for by Ford and the repairs are under warranty. Now we are just saying prayers that a top notch mechanic is doing the work.

Today we went to Mexico. First stop was Renee's Bakery for a pastry and coffee. We had met Stella, Jay, Kelly and Mike at the bridge. Afterwards we stopped at our favorite drug store and bought our list of drugs for us and others. It was quite a list but they had everything I needed including two bottles of vanilla for a friend. Then Ted agreed to a pedicure. His men friends in the park said the spa next to Renee's was great and they all went there. I hope he will continue with them now that he has found out how good your feet can feel.

Last stop was the leather shop where Ted had his brown belt worked on and I bought two belts. I left the bag with Ted's black belt in the car so he didn't get that one cut down (he has lost 25 lbs. since our return in November!). We will be going back over in a couple of weeks so we will get it fixed then.

Tomorrow is trap shooting, Senior Expo at the convention center and Margarita night at the clubhouse. We have been invited to a birthday party on Friday. We are still enjoying ourselves and the weather is great.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Lovely Weather

It has been cool at night and sunny and 70s during the day. Perfect! We ran into Marilyn and Vern, fellow HitchHikers from Minnesota. They said it was going to be 9 below at their home last night. Brrr! We will see them again at the HitchHiker luncheon.

Friday we saw The Redhead Express perform here at our park. This is a family originally from Alaska, now living in Nashville, who have been performing down here for a couple of years. We have watched the four girls and three boys grow up. They are very talented and a joy to watch.

Saturday we rode with Jay and Stella to the flea market. I had several items to get for myself and others. Bill wanted a potato baker. These are hand made of cotton, sort of a double potholder with a flap to close it. Wrap your potatoes in a wet paper towel, put inside the baker, close the flap and microwave as usual. They come out as if done in a regular oven. I love mine and will use it tonight to make our potatoes for the Baked Potato Supper tonight at the rec hall.

Carol wanted a six deck card shuffler and two six deck card trays which I found easily because there are game booths all over. I was also looking for wood domino holders so Morgan would have 8 instead of just 4 for her Mexican Train set but they only had plastic. I will order another set from Amazon for her. Ted bought new conchos for his belt. I needed ground nutmeg at home so I went to the spice shop for that. Then we crossed the street to the produce market and bought a pineapple, grapefruit, oranges and peppers.

Since we were that far east we decided to stop at Furr's Buffet for a late lunch/early dinner. What a crowd! We had to wait in line to pay but then it was smooth sailing. I ate a balanced meal and other than a bowl of cereal, that was it for the day.

As soon as Jay dropped us off we got into our own truck to go to church. We found the church under total renovation, the dome at ground level and expansion on both sides. We thought oh- oh but people were streaming into the school hall across the street. Fr. Roy and his dogs were there. Fr. Roy is a Texas ranch boy from San Antonio. He preaches Texas style.

The gospel was the wedding feast at Cana. In his sermon he talked of when the headwaiters asked the bridegroom why he saved his best wine for last instead of serving it first. Fr. Roy said in Texas you would serve your Lone Star beer or Shiner Bock first and when that ran out you could give them a Bud Light!

When we left he told us to take a calendar and send one to our college students and servicemen. He said every barracks and dormitory needs a crucifix, a Lady of Guadalupe calendar and a picture of John Wayne. We LOVE going to church there.

After church we returned to the park and played Pokeeno. None at our table won but one lady won twice, one of which was the big one!

It was a busy day but so enjoyable. We are settling into our routine.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

It's Warm Again. Yay!!

It's Cold In The Valley

We arrived Tuesday before one o'clock. I remember because the office was closed for lunch. Guy, the manager, came out of his house to greet us. I told him we knew where to go and also knew the spot had been vacated so he told us to set up and come back later.

When we pulled in, Dave came right over. He had called just as we went through Kingsville to get a time on our arrival because Karen was fixing a meal for us. We got set up and went right over to eat delicious salad, garlic bread, meatballs and spaghetti (Ted's favorite) and chocolate cake. We were both starving because we had skipped breakfast. It tasted mighty good.

We went to the office, paid our fees and signed up for a few activities. It was good to be settled for two months.

Ted went shooting with the fellows yesterday. When he came back we did the "RVers run to Wal-Mart." There is a new one west of here so there is no dealing with traffic into McAllen. I am sure it will be our store of choice for that reason alone.

As soon as we got back I hurriedly put the groceries away and we headed next door to pick up Jay and Stella. They had invited us to have dinner with them and friends of theirs who are workamping at the Birding Center in the state park. There were 11 of us in all at Alejandros Restaurant. Unfortunately there are two and we went to the wrong one first. But we ended up all together. This place had the biggest shrimp I have ever eaten.

Afterwards we went to their trailer and visited. We haven't seen them since down here last year though we stay in touch constantly. We will be spending time together until they leave in the middle of February.

We have had to keep the furnace on all the time. It doesn't run much during the day. The sun has returned and we need the temps to get back to normal then all will be OK.

We have no particular plans for today but I'm sure something will come up!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Welcome Back, Chris!

It took awhile to get all the bed linens stripped, laundered and back onto the beds but once that was done things were pretty much back to normal. Kara had given us a new mattress pad, among other things, so our bed got a complete overhaul.

I worked four hours at the thrift shop on Tuesday and found a WDW sweatshirt for Sam and a silk Ann Taylor sweater for Kara. Junior Forum is collecting women and children PJs at this week's meeting for the Women's Shelter and I came across a girl's size 8 brand new pair with tags still attached so I bought them too and asked Donna to take them to the meeting for me. I don't rummage looking for things but sometimes nice, new articles pop up.

Our neighborhood luncheon was Thursday and we had a nice turnout at the new Mexican restaurant near the house. It is the second time I have been there and I didn't care for it either time. There are too many to choose from to go to one that isn't real good. But I enjoyed the company and wrote it off as one of thousands of meals I will eat in my lifetime.

We spent the rest of our time getting ready to take off. A lot goes on in two months and you have to be prepared so things don't fall through the cracks. At least we are going to be in one spot with a mailbox so Chris can send things to us if necessary.

Ted went to fill both tanks on the truck to use his 30 cent discount at Krogers. He was so pleased to announce it only cost $372! Now isn't that special! The cost of fuel is what it is. You either pay it and use your unit or you may as well sell it. Our space rent went up again too. Between the capital outlay for the truck and trailer, the insurance, space rent, fuel costs and camping fees don't think for a minute that RVing is an inexpensive way to travel! But it is our choice versus a vacation home. We can move our "vacation home" to where we want or need to be.

We were happy to see Chris since we hadn't seen him since we came back in August. His parents are settled in their new home but his mother has been diagnosed with dementia. Rebecca had suspected this. But when her mother-in-law called me about my cataract surgery doctor she seemed fine to me. This is a really hard thing for everyone. Chris will only be 10 minutes from them but let's hope nothing comes up while we are gone.

We drove to Victoria yesterday but it is cold. It was 47 degrees inside the trailer when we parked. I turned the propane furnace on and once it warmed up turned the fireplace on and the furnace off. Since we have to pay for our electric in Mission we will need to determine if the propane furnace is better than the fireplace and/or portable electric heater.

We are passing through Refugio, birthplace of Nolan Ryan. It is no warmer, overcast and sprinkling a bit. Karen and Dave said she would have dinner for us today so we have that to look forward to. Tomorrow will be the Don-Wes flea market for fruits, vegetables and some card holders, shufflers and domino holders to fill requests from family and friends. I also promised someone a microwave potato baker but I can't remember who!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Mama Bear Sends the Photos

Hey, my kids read the blog and pay attention to what I say! So here are a couple other photos from the photo shoot Larry did.  The second photo is the one I chose to go with the one of Kara by herself for our bedroom wall.  I really like the third one better but I needed a landscape, not portrait, photo to make the rest of the photos work. 

We went to church Saturday, then to Joe's in Conroe to eat with Gerre and Barry before going to their house to play cards and exchange our Christmas gifts.  Gerre's grandson Ross asked Gerre if I wasn't her friend anymore because that one lonely present was still sitting there after Christmas.  We can only imagine what goes through the little ones' heads. 

Today I worked four hours at the thrift shop and now I am full steam ahead to get ready for our departure next Monday.  Chris will be coming back since his folks are now settled in their new house.  We had someone else take care of things at home when we went to Europe.  It will be good to have him back staying at the house in our absence.  I'm just glad the house shouldn't burn up (oven) or blow up (water heater) now that Bill has fixed those things.  The alarm problem and toilet leak came up while Bill was here and he fixed them in no time.  I told him if he waited I could probably break something else or at least find something else that needed to be fixed.  He has been gone since Saturday and so far so good!

Beauty can be seen in all things, seeing and composing the beauty is what separates the snapshot from the photograph. ~ Matt Hardy

Monday, January 7, 2013

Larry Carpenter Photography

Larry did a photo shoot of Kara and the kids while they were here.  This is on the wall in my bedroom right above the most current one of the kids.  They did it first in a pink sweater but that clashed with the other photos that are hanging so she changed and it worked just fine.  I have the photos but just pulled this off Facebook so when I get the kids in .jpg form, I'll show you that too!  I am going to like having our own photographer in the family.  Oh the pressure on the photographer they have chosen for their wedding!


I have seen the sights of London
I have seen the sights of Rome
But there's nothing like the tail lights
of my grandkids going home!

I really shouldn't blame that ah-h-h-h-h-h on my grandkids.  They just happened to be the last ones to leave Saturday afternoon.  Morgan came and hugged me goodbye at least four times.  She didn't want to leave but at the same time was anxious to get home to her Christmas presents, toys and her own bed.

We have gone non-stop since the end of October.  First there was the three week trip, followed by company for a week (however, they were SO HELPFUL in getting the house decorated) and we had a ball.  Then the parties started in earnest.  I had my 12 neighbors for lunch here, a dinner for Terry & Carol's friend Judy, Christmas dinner for 8 and company for 11 straight days from the day after Christmas until January 5.  Whew! 

BUT ... everyone pitched in and right now everything is put away from Christmas.  The garage and several drawers, cabinets and closets are cleaned out and organized.  My oven is fixed, a small gas leak in our water heater is repaired, our alarm on the door has been reseated and the flapper on the toilet cleaned and reset.  Thank you, Bill.  I seriously considered sending Ted back to Detroit and keeping Bill but no one was in favor of that but me!

Tuesday was spent settling in, getting the oven repaired and playing Mexican Train.

The Children's Museum of Houston was our outing on Wednesday. It has been voted the best children's museum in the country by Parents' Magazine and they deserve it. This place is awesome. The entry hall was filled with pedal cars going back to the early 1900s. We grownups all remember having such a toy.

Morgan and Sam (as well as the rest of us) had a great time playing with all the hands on exhibits that are available.

For dinner we went to our favorite Mexican restaurant and even the kids gave it their seal of approval.

Thursday we drove to Brenham to visit the Blue Bell factory. If I ever need a job, I think I could give this tour as well as the folks that do it now. But it does give me a chance to try one more flavor of Blue Bell. That evening Terry & Carol treated us all to dinner at Sweet Tomatoes. We had a nice long visit and the kids were very good reading their books while the adults lingered.

Friday I had a doctor's appointment in the morning and everyone at home was taking down Christmas decorations, marking the boxes and stacking them in the garage in the space created by Keith. Ted, Kara and Bill went shopping in the afternoon and I stayed with the kids. Morgan, Bill and I had all been working on her American Doll raccoon that needed to be sewn and stuffed.

All too soon Saturday arrived and it was one last trip to the airport. But we know we will see them again in June at the family reunion in Kentucky. This has been a wonderful Christmas season. As the years pass, the memories created become more meaningful. It is not the gifts, the food, the parties that are important. It is the peace within our families, the love we share and the precious time we spend together.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Oven Fix

We did make it through dinner with the spastic oven. With the brisket in the smoker I had rebaked potatoes, baked apples and garlic toast to worry about but it all cooked fine. We had one last big meal. I have cooked more since our return from Europe with all this company than I have in years. Lora, Steve and Hope left early but Terry and Carol stayed until 11 o'clock.  Larry took photos and posted this "decreased saturation" photo on Facebook.

The next day I turned the oven on to bake a breakfast casserole and got an F2 error code. Now I had something to work with. That meant my oven sensed heat in excess of 600 degrees ... but it was still cool enough to stick my hand in. It had been on for only a few minutes. We moved on to plan B for breakfast.

Ted took Larry and Kristin to the airport for their flight home and picked up Kara's friend Bill. I was anxiously awaiting his arrival because he was the caped crusader of fixing my oven! He assessed the situation and decided it needed a new sensor, exactly what I told the two GE repairmen who said I should not use a portable thermometer to check the temperature, charged me a lot of money and fixed nothing!

Bill decided to test the sensor. When he reached for it, it came off in his hand with the wires all burned. Now the entire oven needed to be taken out of the cabinet to get to the wiring harness. Bill did that and found the plastic clip of the sensor fried at the harness. He said it was a miracle we didn't have a fire. But the new sensor could not be clipped into the harness because of the damage so he used special connectors to reconnect the old sensor. And it works! The oven is reaching the correct temperature and staying on. I know GE would have sold me a new $1500 oven before they would have gotten to the bottom of the problem and fixed it! Thank you, Bill!

We spent New Year's Eve playing Mexican Train (I lost big time). The next day and Kara and Bill took the kids to play miniature golf and Ted and I returned two gifts. We picked up pizza afterwards for dinner and went to church at 7 o'clock.

We are going to the Children's Museum today if everyone gets moving.  I have lots of the Christmas stuff down and staged in my sitting room.  Bill has been very helpful in reaching things for me.  He took the box down for my wreath and took it off the wall and put it away.  Then he put the picture back up which usually takes me half an hour because of trying to hit two different hooks with the wire.  I am missing a photo of all the grandkids so I'll keep looking to discover where I stuck it.

Happy New Year to all in 2013.  Good health is my first wish for you, happiness always and at least a penny for your shoe.

"Blessed is the season which engages the whole world in a conspiracy of love!"

 ~ Hamilton Wright Mabie