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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

What happens with snow, ice or wind

Cullman,  AL

I am always amused with what they consider a snow storm in Alabama.   This is last weeks blizzard.

School cancelled.    They are not prepared to handle the ice that lays on the overpasses, etc.

I guess neither am I.   When the temps sink, we get ice on all three sets on steps leading down from front porch and back porch.    This is the front porch on the day we had snow.

A few days later, December 12,  all steps were iced over.   I just didn't realize how much.  As is my usual practice I feed the ducks in the morning.     When the ducks see me on the front porch they run to greet me.  OK..... it's not me they are glad to see, it is the feed.    On this morning I saw the bottom couple of steps looked icy.  My plan was to go down ONE step.   I stepped down, my feet went out from under me and I did two complete flips landing on the concrete stepping stones at the bottom.  My head slammed against one of them.   Blood everywhere from my nose.

I dragged myself inside and got cleaned up as we were leaving for Louisiana a short time later.  I hurt a bit that night.   I had large bruises on my left leg.   And I had a large knot on the side of my head.  Surprisingly I did not hurt much the next day.   The knot on my head has gotten a bit smaller but still is tender when I touch it.  So, okay... don't touch it.

We went to Louisiana  with no issues.   Well, not exactly.   We got packed to go and our new-to-us car battery was dead.   Our dear neighbor jumped it off and off we went.   We stopped in Meridian, MS at a Ford dealer.  They said the battery was not a problem.

I had booked us at the Quality Inn in Laurel, MS, about the half way point.   The sweet woman at the desk asked me how I was.  I told her about falling that morning.   She said she was moving us to a room where we would be parked by the door instead of having to walk through a courtyard.  Everything was fine.  Until 2 am when the door opens, a woman looks in and backs out quickly.

In the morning I go to the breakfast area.  A man sees me and points to the desk clerk and says "She's the culprit"   She comes from behind the desk and hugs me and apologizes.  She said she thought that room was empty until another guest walked in and saw us.

Then we go to the car.   Dead battery.   The man who spoke to me earlier came and got us started.  Nice people.

When we got to Sulphur, LA we went to the Ford dealer.  Yea, we needed a battery.  We only got the car two weeks before but it is 3 years old and has been sitting in a garage most of the time.  Understandable.

We spent 3 nights at Len's brother and SIL, Royce and Susie.   They always treat us well.  Fried shrimp and catfish on Friday, turkey on Sunday.   Saturday was East family Christmas party at sister and BIL Sissy and Davids house in Orange, TX.

This is daughter D'Juana and grandchildren Lindsey, Jared and Alex.  They drove in from Pearland, TX.   SIL Joe could not make it.  This week he is really busy.   He is the Head Band Director of Pearland HS.   20 HS bands from around the world are invited to march in the Rose Bowl.  The 350 members of Pearland HS is one of them this year.   We are rightfully proud of Joe.

We left Sulphur on Monday December 16.  We drove again to overnight at the Quality Inn in Laurel, MS.  Waiting for our arrival was Priscilla, the original lady who checked us in a few days earlier.  She apologized for the interruption in the middle of the night.  She neglected to change our movement in their system causing her replacement to give our room to other people.    Then she handed me a card and a gift bag containing these items.  Mugs for Len and me and a toy for Biscuit.

Around 6 pm we got an alert on our phone for a Tornado warning.    It was dark but everything looked fine outside.  Then we heard a roar.   I knew what that meant.   Len said he felt the bed shake before we heard the roar.   Biscuit was running in circles.   He got him and we  went to the large bathroom area.   It only lasted a few seconds.

Then sirens, crashing, and stillness.   We looked outside.  Metal and insulation lay in the parking lot.  The car parked next to us had a window broken out.  Another car down the parking lot lost windows.
This car did not fare well either.

Cars across the road were heavily damaged.   Buildings nearby had damage.  Debris everywhere.

Electricity was out from the time the tornado hit until about 2 am.   I understand that other parts of town were much heavier damaged.   Daughter Terri said it was on the news in PA.

We got home yesterday about noon.  We are packed to leave tomorrow morning for PA, MD.   Wonder what this trip will hold.

Until next time.

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Whew! Lots accomplished

Cullman,  AL

Are you like me?   Do you have things THAT HAVE TO BE DONE but you put it off and it is always in the back of your mind?    And then when it's finally done you think.... WHEW!

Here is my list.

Yearly Medical Insurance Decisions.

It's that time of the year for us old(er) people.   Do we change supplemental insurance plans? what about Prescription Part D of Medicare?  Do I keep what I have?   For the last few years our Prescription Part D is the WalMart plan.  Perfect as we full-timed.  Every where has a WalMart.  And the cost was reasonable.   This year when we got our renewals....wow.   An increase from about $28 a month to $56.  Time to start looking around.

I went online to the Humana site and the Medicare site.  It was all confusing.  To add to the dilemma is the medication now prescribed for Leonard.   The cost is $20,000 a month.  We were notified that Humana accepted it as a Tier 5 medication.  It means that  our cost would still be $2,000 a month.  We were told since he has a rare ailment there was a Foundation where we could apply.  They will pay the cost.   So. We didn't want to mess with changing his plan.   I finally called Humana and talked to an agent.   Leonard remains on the $56 a month Premiere Walmart plan.  Due to the few meds I take I am moved to a Walmart plan at a cost of under $14.00 a month.   Now that is off my mind of things to do.

Selling the RV.   

We know we can no longer keep the RV.  Leonard can go longer assist in setting up or taking down.

We made a deal with the dealer from which we purchased it.   We hooked it up Saturday and off we went with it yesterday.  The dealer is about 40 miles away.   We get on the road and realize we did not bring the title with us.   So we knew we would have to make a return trip.  Normally Leonard always checks the tires before we get on the road.  He didn't this time.   We get about half way there and he can feel the rig pulling to the left.  He pulls over, I get out and check tires.   The rear right tire is low.  We find a station about a mile up the Interstate.  Pull in.... it's closed.  Another one about 4 more miles.   We air up and on our way. 

Of course the money we agreed on was prior to inspection.   The inside perfect.   Everything else perfect but small hardly noticeable dents on the black panels along the bottom. I am sure this was done by flinging stones when mowing.   Cost us over $1,000.   Still we came away with enough money to buy a car plus a few hundred.

Getting a Car

We had decided to get a more efficient car and use the truck only when a truck is needed.  It had to be something Leonard could easily get in and out of.   We found this 2016 Ford Escape. The best part it has only 9,064 miles on it.  Was garage kept and hardly used. 

One more thing taken care of.

Unloading the RV

When we knew we were going to sell the RV,  I started unloading it a few things at a time.  Saturday morning son Lennie and DIL Lois came to help finish it up.  How much stuff could a 38 foot travel trailer hold????   A LOT.   So something now on my mind..... to get down to the house basement and go through it.

This is no where near all of it.   The things stored in the underbelly went into Lens shop.  This stuff is in the basement waiting for me to sort.   I had already brought all the food in.  Sunday morning a gentleman at our church announced he would be taking items to an Indian reservation.  This is something he does twice a year.   He followed us home and we donated two large boxes of items and two arms loads of bedding.

Car and Truck Insurance

Our homeowners and vehicle insurances renew the end of December.  I hated the renewal amounts.  A few weeks ago Len and I  went to several agencies for quotes.   That was prior to getting rid of the RV and getting the car.   This morning we followed up on a few.  Glad to say by shopping around we save a total of $859 a year.   Whew!  That is off my mind now.

Trying new Food

Now this is very trivial.   You might be aware that I subscribe to a food delivery service of misshaped veggies and fruits.  This came last week.   What the heck is it????   Celery Root.  Finally cooked it.  Diced it up and boiled in heavy cream, milk and nutmeg.  Then spread cheddar cheese on it and bake til brown.   Wasn't half bad.  I say half because half of us like it and half didn't.  I'll let you guess which half of us didn't.

Until next time.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

As we continue on

Cullman,  AL

Way back in 2007 or so I started a blog as we prepared for retirement and planned for our full time RV lifestyle.    At that time the blog had a different name:     theeastsheadwest.blogspot.com 

I blogged on our preparations for RVing,  the trips we made and destinations.   Online I met many other RV bloggers.   Some have passed, some have quit blogging, many have now purchased homes and settled around the country, some still as fulltimers.    I cherish those continuing friendships.

We now find ourselves in a new season of our lives.   Fortunately we purchased our home 3 years ago come December 28.   We have made changes and improvements.  In this new season, we know we can no longer do those things that require strong bodies.  We can sit back and enjoy our remaining years.

Recent enjoyments:

Last week, with son Lennie and DIL Lois,  we went down to Birmingham to see the Christian comedienne Chondra Pierce.  What a hoot!

Chondra is the most awarded Comedienne ever.   We understand why.    This show lasted 3 hours!

We usually leave our Beagle Biscuit outside when not at home.  He meets us when we enter the driveway.    Once we left him inside when I took Len to the ER and got home late.  He had chewed a wooden blind.   As it was cold out last week when we went to the concert, we left him inside again.  When we opened the door he shot out like a bullet.    He has never done his business in the house, ever.    He must have tried to get out on his own.   Our door facing.

We will be buying a kennel for him this week.   Hate to do that but with cold weather he can not be outside when we are not home.  And not allowed to try to escape to the outdoors to do his business.

This week we had a visit from our friend Jill Steel who we met earlier in the year at our last NOMADS project in Georgia.   She was on her way back from out west headed toward NC and then NJ.   Always glad to have someone park in one of our RV sites.   During her 3 day stay she and I walked through Ava Maria Grotto here in Cullman.   This is a must-see for any of our visitors.   Another is Clarkson Covered Bridge.

We drove into town to see the recently constructed German pyramid set up for the Christmas season.
If anyone knows the German name for this, I sure would be interested to learn.

Another day we went to one of our favorites in nearby Decatur.  Wheeler National Wildlife Refuge.  It is time for the migration of Sand Hill Cranes.   They are there by the thousands.

The refuge has a informative visitors center.  Here is Jill again.

This is a special recognition to our son Lennie.   Leonard is no longer able to lift his arms to do some basic tasks.     Our back porch lights blew out last week.  It needed a new ballast and bulbs.   A day later the light bulbs went out on the front porch.   He changed to bulbs and installed the new ballast.  Wow!   Now we can find our way into the house.  Both front and back.

Our Muscovy's are getting well brazen when they want food.   I expect they will come in house soon and demand to be fed.

As I began todays blog, our life has changed.   I no longer blog on RV lifestyle.   I no longer blog on long trips and sights we see.   This has morphed from an RVing blog to our life blog.  We realize that Leonard is no longer able to assist in setting up and tearing down the RV.   We will be selling it.

He is now on oxygen full time.   In addition to a concentrator in the house, we have purchased an Inogen One concentrator so he is more mobile.   He has started the medication Adempas.   And that is a life long medication.  It can only be purchased through a specialty pharmacy.   We were told the cost is $20,000 a month.   The doctors at UAB applied to our prescription insurance.  It was approved but at a cost of $2,000 the first month and $500 therefore.   But Adempas referred us to a Foundation for people with this condition.   We applied and were approved.   The cost will be either 0 to $10 a month.   Praise our Lord!!!! 

A nurse came on Friday and spent 3 hours with us.   We are told his Pulmonary Aterial Hypertension (PAH) is very rare.   Only about 200,000 people suffer with it in this country.   He will not get cured,  the meds are to slow the progression.  It might take up to 18 months to see a difference. 

The nurse will be back in 2 weeks.  Every month they increase the dosage.  He takes 3 pills a day, 8 hours apart.   If he misses 2 days the whole process starts over.   Should he go to the hospital he must take his medication with him.  The local hospitals would not have any nor can they get them.

So.... we are living with a chronic condition.   I will be posting less on traveling but more on living with this diagnosis.

Wishing each of you a blessed Thanksgiving.   Or as our pastor taught today..... we each need to have Thanks Living.

Until next time.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The past month and looking forward

Cullman,  AL

It's been it a bit since I have blogged.   It's not that nothing has happened ..... a lot has.

One thing that has become really evident .... I HATE SHOPPING.  But I knew that.   This includes grocery shopping.   I've tried a couple of the meal programs.   Ok for a while.    Gets rather expensive for what you get.

What I do now:

Meats.    Over the years I have occasionally ordered from Omaha Steaks.  Now this is mostly how I purchase all meats.   The more often I order, the more vouchers I receive for future order discounts.  Sometimes $15.00 sometimes $20.00.    I also joined their rewards program so I get points with every purchase to be used for various items.    I will not pay shipping so only order when shipping is free.  I like free stuff so will only order when they toss in a ham or a roast.   It's working well.

Groceries:    I LOVE the Walmart Pick Up System.    I go online, place an order, select a date and time and pull up to the  parking area where someone comes out and loads the truck.  No fees for this service.   And if they don't have what I order they will substitute a better item at no additional cost.

Veggies:    I joined Misfit Market.   Every other week I get a box of veggies and fruits at a cost of $22.00 plus shipping (dang.... have to pay shipping somewhere).   This produce is all organic.  It is produce that farmers can not sell to stores due to being misshapen or some other minor thing.  First weeks shipment.

Now to get the reader up to date.

We always enjoy company.   On October 11 our friends Kathy and Bill Waters pulled in with their motorhome for an overnight stay as they were on the way to a nearby NOMADS project.

We asked Kathy and Bill to invite the rest of the crew for lunch the following week.  Here are some of them.

Some of you know that Leonard has health issues.  We had to pull of off doing any more NOMADS projects as his breathing has become more labored.   Our family doctor and cardiologist diagnosed him with Pulmonary Hypertension.   This is caused by blood clots having gone to his lungs a few years ago and damaging one side of his heart.

Our cardiologist made arrangements for him to see specialists down at University of Alabama in Birmingham  (UAB).   We are assured this is a top-notch facility.   His first appointment was October 10 where they did some testing.  They scheduled him to return on November 11.

Our children are aware of the seriousness of this diagnosis and have been fabulous with helping.  Daughter Terri flew in from Harrisburg, PA on November 1 and left on the 5th.  While here she decided we needed more color in our living area.   One accent wall between living room and kitchen.

Oh yes,   she gave us more color.

On  Friday November 8 daughter D'Juana flew in from Houston.  Another big helper.   She left on November 12.

Our visit to UAB on November 11....    We had to be there by 6:30 am for Len to have blood work done.  Then there were appointments all day.   Breathing test, Right Heart Cauterization, CT scan, Electrocardiogram,  Doctors appointment.   We got out of there after 5:00 pm.  Long day.

In addition to D'Juana, son Lennie and daughter-in-law Lois were with us.  It is good that we all know what is going on.  They are all such a comfort.

This is the bottom line......  Len will be on oxygen 24/7 for the rest of his life.  The doctors are prescribing a medication that will improve his quality of life.  It is expected that it will allow him to be more active and able to walk more without having to stop and rest after only about 50 feet which he has to do now.    They are working with our Prescription insurance to determine what they will pay.  The cost of this medication is 20 THOUSAND a MONTH.   If they can not get this preferred med down to a reasonable cost there are options.   The primary option is VIAGRA!  Okay.... I can take the wisecracks.

Yesterday, with help from D'Juana going online and finding right answers we ordered an Inogen One.   It's portability will allow him not to be tethered to the house.    Here is Len with D'Juana

Although our NOMADS and camping days are most likely over, our traveling will not be.  We will be visiting family in Louisiana the second week of December.   And other family in the northeast for Christmas.

Until next time.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Didn't I tell you?

Cullman,  AL

A few weeks ago I posted about the renovations to our bedroom and bathroom.  I said at that time that I might find something else I wanted done.   There is no MIGHT about it. 

This latest project was the back porch.

It has needed painting for quite some time.  I hate to paint.  Len can't since he has no use of his left arm and gets out of breath easily.    We looked in the local Shoppers Guide and found an ad placed a man who said he paints.   Len contacted him and he came right over.

As always, you get what you pay for.  He quoted the entire porch for $200.00.   There was a type of insulation in the ceiling that has been slowly hanging down  and falling apart.   We said we would try to get it off before he returned in 3 days.     He said he would do it for $50.00 more.   This is how the ceiling looked.

We gladly paid the additional charge.

Unfortunately the 3 days he worked here were in the high 90s by noon.  So he worked from about 8 to 12 or so.  Also unfortunately when he got done we had to go behind him and do lots of repainting and touch up.  More unfortunate is some siding got splattered too.  As I said, you get what you pay for.   We want the front porch painted in the near future.  He said to call him when ready.   I don't think so.  We can do it.  It does not include overhead painting.  Just rails, decking and steps.

A view before and after looking west.

The view before and after looking east.

As you can see we moved the porch swing to give us more usable space.  Also the grill was by the back door.   Right inside that door is the laundry room with a smoke detector.   Need I say more.

Yesterday Len and I put up the lattice that was taken down from the bottom of the porch while it was being painted.   Then Len got on his tractor and bush hogged and starting knocking over brush and trees.   Yea.... I really want more grass to mow.

While we were working in the backyard our neighbor up the road came riding in on his mower.  Gary is the owner of the fenced in field across the road.   That fence keeps in his cow and 3 bulls and his pot bellied pig.  The guineas and chickens are in and out of the fence.   His 4 peacocks think they live here.   We all think so too.   They are here more then there.  They get along mostly well with my 4 ducks.

Due to very dry weather our pond is down really low.   I asked Gary what he used to get rid of the thick green duckweed from on his pond.   He told us what it was and said he had some left and would spray our pond.   A short time later I heard a weed whacker.   He was out there mowing and then weed whacking around the pond.   This morning he came back to finish up the weeds and spray the pond.   Gotta love sweet neighbors like that! 

As some of you know, Leonard is having some medical issues.  Our cardiologist made an appointment with a cardio - pulmonary specialist down at UAB in Birmingham.   We leave here in about on hour and head on down.  We pray that this doctor can help him.  As it is now, Leonard can do very little walking or manual work.   But he can sure knock down trees and clear brush all day.  It tires him out but it doesn't hurt his arms and cause shortness of breath.  And it makes him happy.

Until next time.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Love of Country Music

Cullman,   AL

If you love country music as I do, you might have watched the Ken Burns series that ran on PBS the last two weeks.   8 nights, 16 total hours.   I didn't miss a minute.    As with all of Ken Burns projects it was excellent.

It got me to reminiscing and thinking how Country Music has affected my life.  As a child of the 50's and early 60's it was Rock and Roll.   I was in love with Ricky Nelson.  I would listen through the static to the local AM radio station out of Philadelphia to Joe Niagara and Hy Lit on WIBG.

Then the year I graduated High School in 1962 Ray Charles has a crossover hit.... I Can't Stop Loving You.   Wow!  I was hooked.    I bought the Album Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music.  On the album were great songs such as You Don't Know Me; Half as Much; Born to Lose; You Win Again and Hey, Good Lookin.

Then he came out with Modern Sounds Volume Two.  More great songs You are my Sunshine; Oh, Lonesome Me; Your Cheating Heart;  Take These Chains from my Heart; Making Believe.   WOW.  Now I was really hooked.

Forget Rock and Roll.   I found my niche. 

In the late 70s and early 80s Country stars would perform at a local movie theater that used to house Vaudeville.    There I saw Statler Brothers, Oak Ridge Boys, Charlie Pride, Loretta Lynn, Jerry Reed, Tom T. Hall, Don Williams, The Gatlin Brothers, Mel Tillis, Bill Anderson, Marty Robbins, George Jones, Tammy Wynette and I forget who else right now.

My daughter Amy knew all the songs of Tom T Hall and Johnny Cash.  I think she even has a CD of Tom T's  music that she would play for her daughters.

In 1980 my (at that time) husband and I worked for the same company.   We were sent to Missouri that summer to help open a new facility.   Missouri has fabulous county fairs.   We saw Crash Cradock (anybody remember him?) and Merle Haggard perform.

I went with a friend to see Crystal Gayle in the early 80s.

In the late 80s, being divorced,  on occasion I would go with girlfriends to a club that was known for country music.  OOPS.  Reminds me when I was not yet married the first time, I went to that club with my husband to be and another couple.   Kitty Wells was performing.    Back to the late 80s.  Tuesday night was singles night at the club.  Friends convinced me to go with them.   Well..... the rest is history.  Leonard was working in the area on a two week job for a company in Houston.  That was 1988.  He got out of New Jersey when we retired in 2010.

Through the years we learned many county line dances.  Len taught me to two-step.   He was dang good at it too.     Daughter Terri knows all the dances and has taught others.   She met her husband when he was playing in a country band.

Before retiring we occasionally saw more acts.   George Strait, George Jones, Vince Gill, Alan Jackson, Kathy Matea, Oak Ridge Boys, The Statlers.  Charlie Daniels, Johnny Cash, June Carter Cash.    Probably saw more.

Then finally last January we went to a show at the Mother Church of Country Music.... The Ryman Auditorium.   John Conlee, Jeanne Seely, Vince Gill, Joe Diffee,  Ricky Skaggs, Crystal Gayle.

Bottom line...... The Ken Burns documentary bought back so many memories.   I remember when Hank Williams died.   I cried when Mary Robbins died.   I remember when Patsy Cline died.  The program dealing with her death left me with tears.  Then last night, the last show, dealt with the last years of Johnny Cash's life.  Again tears.  What a sad ending. 

Country Music has seen me through good times and bad.  It's brought joy and sadness.  My life has been enriched.  It runs deep in my being. 

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Bed,Bath and Be Done???

Cullman,  AL

In the two years and nine months since we moved into this house, I continue to think of, and make, changes.   Will it end?  Probably not.   

At the house I owned when I met Leonard we added shelves in the bedrooms, changed out part of the family room to a walk in closet for the master bed room and added a dining room with fireplace.

Then we bought an old farmhouse.   We added a den, 3-season room and deck.  Also a large metal Quonset hut for Len's shop and built a barn with two stalls and tack room.   Plus, added a fireplace, ripped up carpets and had 150 year old hard wood floors refinished.   We ripped out one bathroom and installed a new shower and flooring.  New roof shingles, new siding and all new windows. Etc etc etc. more projects than I can remember.

We've done a lot here.  The latest:

The previous owner had dogs and cats that lived in the house.  The house was clean and those animals left no odors.  Thankfully!   But the master bedroom carpet had many large stains.  I've scrubbed them, sprayed them, vacuumed them, and scrubbed them some more.  Still stains.  The master bathroom vanity top was laminate as were the other bathroom and the kitchen counters.  The other bathroom sink and vanity top we changed out last year.  Someday the kitchen counters!

I wanted new bedroom carpet and new vanity top and sink.   The previous sink never held water.  Neither did the one in the other bathroom.  They were the same style.  We tried everything.  No deal. Solution?   Replace.

Here are pics of the last two weeks of projects.

 Master Bath 

Vanity prior to this weeks renovation.

How it looked when we first toured the house.  Did not like the sticky tiles.

 After removing the mirror I started removing the tiles. And did they stick.  Layers of paint along with paper from the wall board came off. 

I roughed up the wall with spackling and painted.  Len made a new frame for the mirror. (Thanks daughter Terri for the suggestion.)   It looks better with the nice cultured marble sink and vanity top.   The green accent wall ties in with the new carpet in the bedroom.  (Another suggestion from Terri.)

Master Bedroom

The bedroom how it looked when we toured the house.

Len painted the room prior to us moving in our furniture.   Had to get rid of the blue.  This is how it looked until last week.

And now.

More projects in the future?   Of course.   Back porch needs painting.  We can't do it.  Len can not lift his arms.   I don't want to!   Need to find a painter.

 We also are leaving our large garden return to lawn.  Too much for us to do any more.   We are in the process of removing some holly hedges and stone from near the back of the house.  The  stone is filling holes under the carport.  Replacing the stones with top soil.   We will  have a much smaller garden next Spring.  Just a few tomato plants, etc. 

Until next time.

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Thoughts on aging.

Cullman,  AL

Lately I have thought much about how life has changed and continues to change.  Leonard and I both feel the effects of our aging bodies.  There are many things we have realized we can not do and probably never will again.

I used to love the rides at amusement parks.  No longer.  This mid 70 body can't take the spins and bumps.  More than 30 years ago Leonard and I met Country Dancing.  We loved it and did it often back in those long ago days.  The last time we danced as we once did was a few years ago.  Impossible now.

Heavy lifting?   No.   Both of Leonard's shoulders are shot.  I can lift more than he can.   A couple of months ago I fell in the backyard.  He was not able to help me up.   I told him I could turn over, get on my knees and would be fine.  Which I did.    That Sunday at church he was telling people what happened.  It was then I learned if I couldn't get up he planned on getting out his tractor and lifting me in the bucket.     WHAT?????

Having the usual aches and pains is one thing.   But often I just don't feel well.  Nothing particular.   Just a feeling.   Leonard is a different story.   Gout (under control with meds)    High blood pressure (under control with meds)   Sleep apnea (uses a CPAP).  Blood clots (blood thinners for rest of his life)   Right knee that gives out on him (has had 3 operations for torn minuses and a knee replacement.... but almost two years ago a dog ran up behind him and between his legs and laid down, tripping him.   Pain getting worse)   And now what appears to be Pulmonary hypertension.  Will be seeing a doctor in Birmingham.   We trust with proper meds he will be back to his old self again.  Or close to it.

At this age we see the passing of friends and relatives.   One close friend passed in the last month.  I was with her when she met her hubby over 50 years ago.  Our parents are gone.   And so many others in the last years, including my beloved brother.    We know to cherish the time we have with the people we love.

My sister Debbie, me and my sweet brother Norman.

We realize life is short.   I have no plans on exiting in the near future but the older I get I find death no longer scares me.  I am okay with that.   I plan for it.... wills, disposing of unnecessary "stuff".   Making the best of the time we have left.   Gosh this is starting to sound sort of morbid.

I don't mean for this blog to be a downer.   Heck there are lots of great advantages to being old.  The senior discounts for one.   Gotta love them.

I found this out in 1992 when I was years from being a senior.   I was at a Society for Human Resource Management Conference (SHRM) in Las Vegas.  I was woken at 3 in the morning to the room shaking.  At first I thought it was the headboard in the next room hitting the wall.   I thought ...Just get done so I can go back to sleep.    Wasn't that.   An earthquake had hit Los Angeles area.   Then one in north Nevada around 8 am.   I went to the hotel lobby to the Burger King.   Got a croissant, OJ and coffee.   I looked at the receipt and the KID serving me gave me the senior discount.   It was a late night and I was awakened by two earthquakes but still......

Senior meals.    Another benefit.  The local senior center is open 5 days a week with various programs.  Included is a nice hot lunch.  At $1.25 a person.  Gotta love it.  We go only about once a week.  But if I ever really get tired of cooking $12.50 a week for the two of us sounds like a deal.

Another benefit I have come to love.  And this is available for anyone.  Walmart Grocery Online.  I go to their site, do my shopping, schedule when to pick up.  Then at my designated time pull up in the truck where they load my groceries and off I go.    Saves money too.   No impulse purchases.  If the item I selected is not available they substitute which is usually an upgrade and I am charged the lower cost.   For example.... once I ordered 10 pounds of bird seed.   They were out of 10 pound bags.  I got a 20 pound bag at the 10 pound cost.  Last week I ordered a one pound box of strawberries.  I got a 2 pound box at the 1 pound cost.    I always hated shopping.  Now I don't have to.  Ah...modern technology.

So now our life is slower.   We relax at home more.  We still think about doing a bit of traveling at some future time.   We can no longer do NOMADS projects as this involves manual work and walking which is difficult for us.  We value the 10 years when we could travel and volunteer with NOMADS.   We have met, and stay it touch, with so many folks we met while on the road.  We have two RV sites on our property where RVing friends can park.  We have a guest room and a futon in my office.   We have had many visitors over the past 2 1/2 years.  All welcome.

We have five terrific kids who are  healthy and doing well.  We are proud of all of our grandchildren and great-grandchildren.   We love each and every one of them.

We love our home.   We love sitting on the porch watching our ducks on our pond and the neighbors peacocks, cows and chickens across the road.   We enjoy our beagle Biscuit.  We love our new home church here in Cullman.    We have been blessed beyond what we deserve.   Life is slower, but life is still good.

Until next time.

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Two recent trips

Cullman,  AL

Trip One:  August 13 to 15

As I was sitting watching TV about 7:30 pm Leonard came into the living room, turned off the TV and locked the front door.   What's up?    Chest pains.

Off to ER.     As anyone knows when you go to the ER and complain of chest pains you are treated
 immediately  (or should be).    After lots of tests, blood drawn, etc. he was found not to be having a heart attack.   Thankfully. 

The ER doctor admitted him for further observation.   Of course, no sleep that night.  Or much the next night.   He was looked at by various doctors including our cardiologist.   During the day he took lots of naps.  While I sat there watching him sleep.  What did he do during waking hours?


The night I took him to the hospital I didn't get home until after 10:30.    We had left Biscuit in the house.  This is strange for him.  We are seldom out at night.   The next day I found this.

There was also a lamp upset from the end table by the door.  He has never messed in the house.  We always let him out for a few minutes before going to bed.   It appears he was trying the get outside.  Sweet boy.  Can't be mad at him.   And he didn't do his business in the house.

Bottom line.....  Len is still short of breath.   Cardiologist says looks like pulmonary hypertension.  This was caused by the blood clots he had in his lungs a few years ago.  They caused the right side of his heart to have to pump harder.   He will be referred to University of Alabama in Birmingham.  The specialist there can prescribe medications that our cardiologist can't.   After getting out of the hospital it was time for

Trip Two:   August 16 to 21.

We left Alabama the morning of August 16 and drove as far as Hattiesburg, MS (285 miles) to overnight.   I had gone online and reserved a room at a Microtel.   I checked Pet Friendly on the booking site I used.   As I checked in I remarked about having a dog.  NO DOGS ALLOWED.   The desk person was really great.  This was to be a no-refund room if we did not use it..   He assured me they would not charge my card.  (They haven't).  Then he called nearby LaQuinta.     It was a lovely room.  But the hitch......  The Microtel was $77.00 a night.  Having a pet ($20 additional fee) and making last minute reservation it cost $147.00.   Ouch.    .

The next day we drove the remaining 300 or so miles to Len's brother Royce and SIL Susies house in Sulphur, LA.    We so appreciate their always welcoming hospitality. 

That night 15 of us met at L'Auberge casino in Lake Charles for their buffet.   Nice time but expensive.   $42.00 a person.    And Len has no appetite.   Hardly ate anything.  I am thinking I made up for it.  But worth being together with the family.

This is Len and his brothers.   Oldest to youngest  Royce, Leonard, Jerry, Bobby and Myron.  Notice something in common.  Baseballs caps?   It's an East thing.

And the now the sisters included.   Sissy, Lydia, Laura and Alice

Finally... spouses included.  In no particular order.

 The next day was great.   Daughter D'Juana,  SIL Joe and granddaughters Alex and Lindsey drove over from Pearland (near Houston) for the day.   She brought a delicious lemon cake she had made.  Also treated all of us to Pizza, etc.   We had a lovely time all visiting at Royce and Susies home.  We appreciate that they came to us.  We had originally planned on driving the 150 miles each way for the visit.  D'Juana was considering her father and wanted him to rest that day.   I wish I took pictures.

On Monday we visited with our friend Diane for a while and the rest of the day was spent at the house.   Royce and Susie have a fenced in back yard as they usually have dogs.  (Will be getting a pup soon).   Saturday and Sunday Biscuit was fine in the backyard.  He would come in and out of an open door to their enclosed patio. 

 But on Monday he managed to find a hole he could squeeze through in the fence.   Off he went.   Royce was running through a wooded area in flip flops. Len and I were about ready to get in the truck to look for him.   Royce called to us that Biscuit was on his way back.    From then on it was a leash.

We left in Tuesday and drove to Laurel, MS.  about 307 miles.  We stayed at a Quality Inn.
 It might say Quality but was no where near as nice as the LaQuinta.   

Biscuit never complained

Biscuit woke me at 4 am.  He wanted out.  I got up, got dressed and we went for a walk.  When I came back Leonard was outside waiting for us.  Since we were up...... let's get home.   We arrived at 10 am. 

Now it takes us two days to travel about 580 miles.   At one time it took us a day and a half to go the 1,200 miles from NJ to LA.   Those days are long gone.

So two trips in one week.   Which do you think we enjoyed the most?

Until next time.