Saturday, September 3, 2011

September 03 2011

            I woke and looked at the time when it was 4:44.  Ella was due to wake at 6:30 so she could be at work at 7:00.  I didn’t want to wake her so I lie in bed and read my RV Travel newsletter on the Droid X.  I followed a lot of the links from the newsletter to other websites and then checked on what was happening on Facebook.  Not much actually.  I checked the time and found it to be only 5:45.  Still not time to get up.
            Yesterday, I had made a recording of the sermon for Sunday.  This is another nice app for the Droid.  I often record like this to check how the message flows when I say it out loud, the length of time it takes and so that I can listen to the playback and mark any changes on the written copy.  Since it was only 5:45, I put the recording on ‘loop’ and the earbuds in my ears and listened to the playback.  Ella woke me a few minutes to 7 to say she was going to work.  (I hope it doesn’t have the same effect on Sunday’s listeners)
            Since I now had the bed to myself, I saw no reason to get up.  Our communal breakfast would not be ready until 8:30 so I lie abed and watch “Burn Notice” on Droid TV.
            The point of this is to say that from 4:44 to 8:15 was spent staring at the screen of my Droid X.  I used to ‘look down upon’ video gamers who would spend hour upon hour in front of their game units.  Opps!  I guess I can’t cast THOSE stones anymore!
            Breakfast today was eggs-to-order, toast, hash browns, sausage, coffee and juice.  That is a great breakfast for $3.00.  Tomorrow will be the last communal breakfast for the season and consist of pancakes, blueberry pancakes, and or French toast for $3 + $1 for a sausage patty.  The sausage patty’s come from some food service company and must be about a third of a pound each, which makes them well worth the extra dollar.
            Breakfast is also a time to sit and visit with friends, some of which will soon be following the warm weather south or moving back to their ‘sticks and bricks’ homes.       The end of the camping season is always a sweet/sad time of year for us.  It is sad because so many of our friends are gone for the next 4 to 6 months.  But it is also sweet because the pace of the resort slows down and space opens up as trailers and motor-homes go south, go home, or go into storage. 
            Soon the lake will fill with thousands of geese and ducks as they also migrate to warmer climes.  Rabbits, raccoons, deer, foxes, hawks and owls will soon be more evident in the park also.  Trees will begin to change into their fall ‘party clothes’ and it will be time to begin getting our home ready for the winter. 
            If all goes according to plan, this will be last winter that we will need to add insulation around the base of the trailer and heat-shrink plastic to the windows.  Next year we intend to join the migration.  The details are yet to be worked out.  We will either pack up our fifth-wheel trailer and tow it to Texas or we will leave it on a site here at Cutty’s and purchase an additional travel trailer or fifth-wheel trailer.  Whether we purchase one in Iowa and tow it south or we load up the truck with a winter’s worth of supplies and go to Texas to buy a trailer, we haven’t decided.  From searches on Craig’s List, it appears there are much better bargains in Texas than Iowa for RVs.
            Change of subject here.
            Being Saturday, and with me preaching at Cutty’s tomorrow, we took the opportunity to go in to our home church at attending the Saturday night praise service.  Pastor Webb’s service was based on the same text I’ll be using tomorrow.  However it was a different part of the scripture that ‘spoke to him’ and the message went down a different path than what I will be preaching.  If you are curious, you can follow my sermons on   Tomorrow’s sermon will be “Sin Happens … So Does Forgiveness”
            This is Saturday of Labor Day Weekend which means a lot of activity at the resort today.  Most of the things that happen this weekend will happen without my involvement.  The one thing that was on my “to do list” for today was the concert this evening.  Michael Miller, who has been a professional singer, invites his many friends who are professional or semi-professional entertainers to come and spend Labor Day at Cutty’s.  They are not paid for their performances here (other than possible camping for free for the weekend).  It has always been amazing in the past and so was something I was looking forward to seeing and hearing.
            In the past a stage has been set up outside at the end of ‘Main Street’.  This year it has rain off and on all day.  Because of the weather, everything was moved under the huge shelter at the other end of ‘Main Street’.  This changed the acoustics dramatically.  The crowd was having a wonderful time and doing a lot of talking.  There was so much talking that the entertainers’ microphones kept getting louder, unfortunately so did all the background chatter.  Perhaps it is a function of my hearing aid, but I was not able to enjoy the concert at all and finally gave up. 
            I went to the Adult Center (for you who don’t understand what the Adult Center is; you have to be 18 or over to go in the building.  It is Adult in the old sense not the x-rated sense) and read a couple chapters of “Beyond Good and Evil” by Friedrich Nietzsche.  That alone should give you and idea of how much I was NOT enjoying the concert.
            Really the highlight of my day was singing along with the Praise Band at church.  And all in all, that’s not a bad thing.
            I’m about ready to call it a day.  I may stay up to watch “Dr. Who” at 11:00 – or not.

Friday, September 2, 2011

September 02 2011

            I awoke this morning around 6:30, fixed and ate an fried egg sandwich, drank a cup of coffee and then took my pickup truck to the mechanic’s shop.  A couple days ago I noticed an oil spot where the truck had been parked. 
            About a month ago I spent nearly $700 to have a couple of high-pressure hydraulic hoses replaced.  I was concerned that the mechanics might not have gotten the hoses properly attached.  Since these hoses control both my steering and my brakes, I REALLY did not want them to fail while I was driving.  Therefore, I had made an appointment to take them back to the same mechanics this morning.
            The good news is: it was NOT the hydraulic lines.  The BAD news is: it is an oil line.  Estimated repair cost is around $450.  It is an extremely slow leak and I’m going to have to live with it for a while, that is until my bank account ‘refreshes’ itself with the deposit of my next SS check.
            Because the trip to mechanic was both early and quick, Ella and I were able to go to breakfast with friends as usual for a Friday.  I’m not sure how long we have been going to breakfast together – four years or so, I think – however, part of the group had been getting together for longer than that.  It consists of mostly people from our church, although others sometime come also.  This summer, since we have not been attending Sunday services at our home church, we use this time to get caught up on ‘church news’.  I am told that it is ‘news’ and not gossip.  I guess it is the intent and not the content that makes it news rather than gossip. (smile)
            Upon leaving the breakfast clutch, we went to Sam’s Club to do some price checking.  I used to have a Business Membership with Sam’s.  Buying in bulk was very useful when we had seven to nine people living at home.  Once we sold the house and moved fulltime into our RV, buying in bulk was no longer as attractive because space is precious and weight is a concern when towing.
            Several weeks ago, I needed to buy 120 corn dogs for an event at church, so I purchased an Advantage Plus Membership at Sam’s Club.  Now that I have it, we decided to see where it might be an advantage to purchase there.  It may have been unwise to tempt ourselves as we spent $115 before we got out the door.
            I did make a list of several other items that it does make sense to purchase in larger quantities, and their prices.  I’ll do some comparison shopping and see if we can save enough to venture back into the clutches of Sam’s Club.  Perhaps if I leave Ella at home, I could: go, buy only the items on the list and get away without extra purchases.  I know that is unfair because I can not be trusted anymore than she can to pass up “a good deal”!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

August 31, 2011

            I have nothing to say.  Therefore you may ask, “Why are you typing this stuff?”
I’m glad that you ask.  Mostly, I just hate to see a blank sheet of paper (or it’s digital equivalent).  It’s true!  Ask anyone who knows me.  They will tell you that if you place a blank sheet of paper, a sheet of printed material with wide enough margins or even a clean white Styrofoam cup; I WILL doodle on it!  Nature abhors a vacuum and I abhor a blank space.
            Until someone designs hardware and software that lets me doodle directly on the blog, I’ll just have to keep typing these random useless thoughts!  I mean, look at how much I’ve typed after admitting that I had nothing to say!  Stream-of-conciseness don’t fail me now!
     I was up at five-thirty this morning.  Had to be at grandson N's home by six-thirty to watch the girls.  I dropped Ella off and then went on into Des Moines for Bible study. 
     Our men's Bible study this morning was interesting. We watched a little of the movie "Hook". Then we discussed how people prioritize their schedules. 
     After Bible study, I returned to N's to help watch L who always makes me smile.  I know that you may think I'm prejudiced just because she's my great-granddaughter, but you'd be wrong.  She is one extremely bright three year old who has the vocabulary and voice inflections of an adult.  I raise four genius level kids of my own, so I DO know what I'm talking about here.  Her older sister is no slough either. (Okay, so I may be a LITTLE prejudiced)

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

August 30, 2011

            This morning seemed slow getting started.  First of all, I awoke later than usual.  Then I spent time this morning blogging about the dream that I had.  Then I worked some more on the sermon for this coming Sunday.
            At some point, Ella woke and we fixed and ate breakfast.
            The morning was overcast and cool and then began a slow rain.  That is the kind of rain I like.  Those are the type of rains to go walking in.  I didn’t.
            What I did do was bake a flat loaf of true unleavened bread.  The recipe came from First Kings chapter seventeen and verses ten through sixteen; a handful of flour, a little olive oil and enough water to make a dough.  I kneaded it for about five minutes trying to develop the FLOUR.  It never did become shiny and elastic as bread dough does but I thought that if it hadn’t by then, that it never would.  I formed a ball and flattened it by hand to make a disk between one-eighth and one-quarter inch thick.  I had preheated the oven to four-hundred degrees and then placed the bread on a cookie sheet, into the oven.  After fifteen minutes it had not begun to brown, yet seemed to sound baked through.  I left it in the oven for an additional five minutes and pronounced it ‘done’ even though it still had not browned.
            While it was cooling, I took a digital photo and blogged, on my other blog, about using it for communion at our last worship service at Cutty’s Campground.
            By now it as around eleven o’clock and the morning’s egg and toast had worn off.  Nothing was thawed out to fix for lunch and we would need to pick up our great-granddaughters from their schools in the early afternoon. So I suggested that we go to Ryan’s for lunch. 
            The lunch buffet is substantial and very cheep for two old people.  I am a carnivore and so am disappointed with a lot of buffets that should be more rightly called, “salad bars”.  With the senior discount and only water to drink the total for two is only eleven dollars.  I haven’t found a better quality meal for less money.  Really, I haven’t found an inferior meal for less money.  (I have not been compensated in any way for this endorsement.)
            We took a long and leisurely time at the table.  Because of the rain, it was not very busy and we didn’t feel as though we had to give up our table for others to sit. But finally we decided to leave.
            By now the rain had ceased.  We drove to our grandson’s condo-townhouse-whatever.  (I’m not sure what the difference is between condo and townhouse.)  We had to get the key to his van so that we could move the government-approved child car-seat to our pickup.
            It was still an hour before we were to pick up C from school.  She is a first grader this year.  That makes one “great” and two “grand” daughters in first grade. 
            Because we had time to kill, we watched the grandson’s large screen TV for and hour.  I didn’t know that the Teutuls had split up!  Watching “American Choppers” just isn’t the same without Junior and Senior yelling at each other.  And Mikey has a full beard and seemed more man than child! Wow!  The things you miss when you don’t have cable!  Okay, so there isn’t that much to miss without cable – just more channels with nothing on!
            It had started raining by the time we got to C’s school.  Grandma went in to find her while I found a place to park.  The city really needs to do something about the traffic snarls caused by people waiting to pick up their kids.  Rather than come into the parking lot and park in marked spaces, they line up for several block on both sides of the street, which completely blocks the streets.  I hope that an emergency vehicle never has to get through there.  It ‘aint gonna happin’!
            I took C and Grandma a while to realize that they were both standing and looking for the other one.  Finally, one of them moved enough that they could see the other.  I don’t know which one moved but I was glad when it finally happened.
            From there we drove to L’s preschool.  It was still half an hour before it dismissed so we sat in the truck and waited.  The rain stopped again.  C played games on Grandma’s Droid.  (While it was on the charger.  I will not get into ‘why’ Grandma’s phone is constantly in need of charging.  It is a battle that I’ll never win. GRIN)
            When it was time, Grandma and C went in together to gather L.
            L was very tired.  We asked her about her day. “Did you color?, Did you draw? Did you sing?  Did you read books?”  She answered that she did all of those things except ‘draw’ to which she replied, “I did not.”  I had to laugh at the fact that she didn’t use the contraction “didn’t”.
            Both girls decided that they wanted ice cream.  Grandma tried to tempt them with string cheese however neither thought that it was a good swap.  Ella texted (Amazing spellcheck thinks texted is a real word but spellcheck isn’t!) N that we had the two girls.  He responded that he was leaving work at four-thirty.  As it was already after four, we decide against Dairy Queen and picked up some ice cream sandwiches at Kum and Go. (I added a link to Kum and Go for those that just got a laugh at the name.  Yes that is the name of this convenience store/gas station)
            We arrived home with just enough time for Ella to change clothes and go to work.  She is currently working three hours a night Monday through Thursday and then six hours on Saturday and Sunday.  It is seasonal work here at the campgrounds and will soon be cut back to eight hours a week.  The money isn’t much but it lets us do things like go out to eat occasionally and buy ice cream sandwiches for great-granddaughters.
            The girls wanted to play outside.  Since it had begun a light rain again, we played on the patio under the awning.  Bubbles are always a hit with these two.  We have a bucket with four bubble wands that they usually play with.  This time I had found a tube (think very long test tube) of bubble fluid with a collapsible bubble wand.  It makes nice BIG bubbles and lots of double bubbles, which C calls ‘butt bubbles’.  L, at three-years-old, didn’t do so well with the larger bubble wand.  She would shake it so fast that the fluid flew off before forming bubbles.  C could get as many as six large bubbles and would then catch some of them on the wand and get even more bubbles from the recaptured fluid.
            Daddy showed up within about a half an hour from when Grandma went to work.  The girls were glad to see him and tell him about their days at school.  I miss that time that I had with my four kids.  Oh well, that’s why you have grandkids and great-grandkids!

Thinking of a dream

August 30, 2011

            I awoke much later than usual today, around 7:30.  I was having a strange dream.  I was at my mother’s house, or rather in the front yard of the property.  Someone had an antique pickup parked on the north lawn. 
            I should explain that it was acreage and the house and other buildings were set back four or five hundred feet from the street.  The driveway bisected this front portion neatly in half. 
            At any rate, there was this black pickup sitting on the lawn with a huge engine jack astraddle of the front end.  It appeared that the only thing the engine jack was doing was holding the hood open.  Several people were working on the truck’s engine.
            I noticed that there were some small limbs, about the diameter of my finger and around a yard long, scattered about the lawn.  As I was picking up these sticks, I noticed a slightly larger branch under the box-elder tree on the south lawn.  I intended to toss the sticks in my hand onto the larger branch with the idea of taking care of both of them at a later time.
            As I threw the sticks toward the branch, I realized that I hadn’t thrown them high enough to clear the much larger branch that lie in the driveway.  I though it strange that I hadn’t noticed it when I saw the smaller tree limb.  So now I drag the larger branch from the driveway to the other branch on the south lawn.  That is when I noticed the tree down across the street and blocking the drive.
            At this point I awoke with that “foggy” feeling in my mind that happens when you are still partially in the dream and partially awake.  Now I am sitting here wondering why I was dreaming of fallen branches.  Perhaps it is because I’ve been watching videos of the damage caused by hurricane Irene on the upper east coast. 
            Dreams are such a mystery.  I know that some people claim that they are symbolic of things happening in real life.  Man! I hope not.  I’ve had some very disturbing dreams.  Then there are those who receive messages from God in their dreams.  I do not discount those although I can’t say that I’ve experienced them.
            Actually, my dreams are seldom in story form.  Generally, my dreams are more a series of images more akin to photographs than videos.
            How about you?  When you dream, are they stories?  Do you dream in color?  What is your most reoccurring dream?

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hospital visit

            Today was Ella’s payday.  That meant that we picked up the check and drove into Des Moines to deposit it.  We do this every two weeks.  And every two weeks as we are pulling out of the credit union drive, I ask, “Is there anything else we need to do while we are on this side of town?”  Every two weeks we sit at the edge of the drive trying to think of anything that needs to be done prior to driving all the way back home.  (I don’t know why we wait until that moment each time – we just do – okay?)
            Well today, we DID have something to do on the eastside of Des Moines.  My niece had a mild heart attack a couple of weeks ago and is still in the hospital.  She is waiting for transfer to a rehab place. 
            We got to the hospital and found that the handicap parking was cordoned off.  They were using a high pressure water hose to blow the gunk from the pavement.  I suppose that they are going to repaint the lines to the parking spaces.  At any rate, I drove into the parking garage hoping to find a space within limping distance to the front door.
No luck.  So I circled around through the parking garage and out into the parking lot and back around to the front door.  This time we pulled into the spot marked, “Valet Parking”. 
            Here we sat for several minutes.  As no one was arriving to take the truck, we began to wonder if we had to get out of the vehicle and into the building to notify them that we were in need of assistance.  Eventually an elderly gal (our age) came out with a form and wrote down our license number and name.  She gave us a portion of the form and said, “Please retrieve your keys before five o’clock.”  Since it was only about nine-thirty in the morning, I assured her that I had no intention of staying that long.  She responded with, “I don’t blame ya.”
            Just inside the door we found a wheelchair and headed for the main entrance.  We stopped at the information desk to verify that we had the proper room number.
            A quick elevator ride to the sixth floor and a short trip following the room number signs got us to her room.  As the nurses prep station was just outside her door, and a nurse was suiting up in a paper gown, I had to wait for her to move so that I could get inside the room.  While she was gowning like she was getting ready for surgery with gown, cap and gloves, she was answering questions for another nurse who showed up.  Eventually they finished up and I was able to get inside to visit with my niece.
            A couple of minutes into the visit, she got a call on her cell.  I visited with her husband and found out that she was stuck in the hospital until they had a spot for her at rehab.  The big concern isn’t her heart; it is the fact that she is unable to walk.  And the longer she lies in the hospital bed the less strength she has in her legs.
            About this time she calls for a nurse and said, “I need the bedpan.”
            Well, that was the end of the visit.
            Back down the elevator and wait in line behind several other people who were waiting for the valet to retrieve their vehicles.  While I waited, I thought of telling the gal that we had indeed made it back before five o’clock to retrieve our keys.  However, when I saw how harried she looked, I decided to just be glad that it wasn’t me driving and walking in and out of that garage all day.  So all I said was, “Thank you!”
            All in all I am disappointed that we didn’t have a chance to visit longer.  However, sometimes it is the visit that is important, not the length of the visit.

August 29, 2011

            Recently, while babysitting with my two great-granddaughters, Rori was playing with my cane.  She was doing the things that you would expect a 3+ year-old to do with a cane.  She was riding it, walking with it and waving it around in the air.  Then she turned to me and said, “I’m going to keep this.  I’ll buy you a new one.”
            “But I like my cane,” I said, “and I’d like to keep it.”
            “Well, now it’s purple,” she explained.  (No – in fact it was the same color it had always been – only her imagination had colored it to her favorite color)
            I said with a sad face, “It is a lovely shade of purple, however I would rather it were red.”
            “Oh, alright!” she sighed and went off to play.
            Several minutes later she returned with her arms outstretched before her and the cane lying across the arms.  “Now it’s red.  But it isn’t dry yet,” she said and laid it on the couch next to me.  I admired what a lovely job she had done in coloring it red and commented that I really liked the white stripes she had added.
            She picked up the cane and resumed playing with it.  A few minutes later she came up to me and with a sense of wonder in her voice proclaimed, “It’s purple again!  The red blew off!”