Thursday, August 27, 2009

And the Rains Keep Coming

Here it is Thursday and Our Grand Daughters left last Friday, an eternity ago. But we've survived.

I've kept my mind busy reworking the house batteries in our motorhome since they left. Now the frustration is that I can't work when its raining outside. If I did a simple battery swap, a new battery installation would not be a problem. But I wanted better batteries, so we're taking 3 out and installing 4 new ones. The batteries fit on the tray fine. The problem is that they are an inch taller, which is a half inch more than Winnebago allows me to use. But with a hack saw, we solved that problem in short order.

Now the issue is getting all of the cabling done right. The cabling is big stuff, more like over sized welding cables, about a half inch in diameter for just the copper wire. We picked up the batteries on Monday, On Tuesday, we dressed up the cables and tied them in place so that we can run the tray in and out. (Winnebago just laid the cables on top of the battery, which did make it difficult at times to slide the battery tray in. The remaining effort is to install the shunt to measure the current and then hook up the 6 volt batteries in a manner that equally loads all batteries. (We're using 6 volt batteries in place of the original 12 volt batteries.)

We made some slow progress on Wednesday, but nothing like I should have. I guess considering the wages I'm being paid, we're still doing an outstanding job. Progress was zero today because it was raining from dawn to dusk. Plus we were gone most of the day for an extended lunch with friends from my days at Rockwell. It is great to have some time to sit down and compare notes.

Enough for tonight.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

It's a New Week

Okay, our grand daughters have returned to mom and dad and grandma and grandpa can get their life back to normal. We've wanted to host them for years and this year, it finally happened. There were a few rough edges that had to be smoothed over, but we survived it well. However, hosting grand daughters for the first time when they are "set in their way" teenagers is just a bit late. I'm of the old school and there are a few of things that I don't like or will not tolerate.

Now that we have a little more time, I've been into the coach and doing some needed maintenance work. Last year we added solar panels and a monitor panel that really tells me what is going on with the batteries. Well, this summer, I began to see indications that perhaps my batteries were not up to par. Batteries are like so many other things in life, they don't always just say, "I'm bad". Perhaps the saying of General Macarthur of "they just fad away" best describes what my batteries are doing.

What I noticed with the batteries was that they gave fewer and fewer Ampere-Hours of service before the voltage was nearly rock bottom. I also noticed that the float charging rate never seemed to go down to less than one amp and currently was more like 3 or 4 amps. Finally one morning I decided to take a temperature reading of my batteries. Surprise, one battery was 20 degrees warmer than the other two. My conclusion was that it had a shorted cell and was soaking up the charge, plus at night, it would discharge the two good batteries when I was operating on solar only. So we quickly removed that battery from the string of batteries. Things improved some, but not as much as I expected.

So we decided to pull all three batteries and wire in a deep cycle marine battery that I bought four years ago for our fifth wheel and have hardly used it since. With all three batteries sitting on the ground, it was apparent that both the first and third batteries were failing (Their voltages were low.) Life was different with the replacement battery, which made us happy. We then removed the battery tray and went about measuring and contemplating how we were going to rework it so that I can install 4 golf cart batteries. I'm short one inch of vertical space and there is 5 inches of surplus space below the tray. Winnebago did me no favors and installed a cross member below the tray plus they installed a 12" by 18" plate below the tray closer to the inside. To install my desired batteries, both items need to be lowered.

Late yesterday, we decided that before we start cutting and bending, we ought to get the new batteries and verify the fit. So that is Tuesday's job. We finished off the day by riding the lawn mower and trimming our hay field down to a more reasonable level. Everything is green in Iowa and growing.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Day Seven with Grand Daughters

It was a big day for all of us. Grand Daughters were returning to their home and the motorhome was alive with activity. The girls were up and broke the sofa bed down to normal in record time. Breakfast went well with a good bowl of Quaker Squares for each. They quickly packed their suit cases - no help needed.

Grandmother tried to sell them on taking some eating goodies, but they were not willing to take anything. Finally, she convinced them to take a few Oreo cookies and some cheese and grapes. (At the airport, they refused to let us buy some water for them to carry.)

Check in went well. Both girls were upset that grandmother didn't use the e-check in. After all, they knew how to do it. But we stood in line and used the ticket agent, much to their disgust. (I confirmed with the agent afterwards that the e-checkin was not available for un-accompanied minor checkins.) Then it was to security, which was very busy. Since we had 90 minutes to flight time, we decided to wait until the line cleared, which again didn't set well with two young ladies, but they patiently waited with us in the general lobby area.

It was about 20 minutes later when the line was down to zero so we decided to enter the security area. (Sandy and I had special one time passes to use to deliver them to the boarding agent and then wait until the airplane lifts off.) While waiting, the eldest grand daughter turned to Grand Mother and said, "You can leave now!" The idea that they had to be treated like babies was very insulting to them. It was more waiting until about 30 minutes to flight time when the boarding agent readied her terminal. Knowing from my past travels of years ago, I casually went to the agent and asked when they'd like to board two un-accompanied minors? Her reaction was why not now if they're ready. (She did ask if they had flown before and I told her yes, many times, but always with mother.) So I motioned for Sandy to bring them to the gate area. The youngest grand daughter was a bit upset with grandmother. After all, they hadn't called for boarding yet so they needed to wait. But they came and it seemed like a flash, they were gone onto the airplane. The boarding agent did suggest to them that now was the time to give grandmother one last hug, or that little event would have been bypassed. Obviously, they were ready to go back home to mom and dad.

We then waited another 30 minutes or so until the airplane actually lifted off and departed. (Should the airplane cancel for any reason, the airline wants the delivering adults to be present to care for them, which we could understand.)

We did a few other things for the rest of the day and then returned to the motorhome. When we were both finally seated in our usual places, Sandy said, "It is so quiet here, and we have so much space!" Life will be different without our only two grand daughters in the house.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Day Six with Grand Daughters

Interesting how personalities and attitudes seem to change. Today was a whole new day. Our grand daughters were the height of perfection, agreeable, smiles and sociable. We did have one issue with the younger one when grandmother wished to wash their clothes. She insisted that her stuff didn't need to be washed until she returned home. Eventually, it did come out that she had worn her jeans (much too long) on the day of the rain and yes, the bottom had gotten wet and yes, we had walked through the barns. The bottom inch or two wasn't just wet, it was caked with dirt and you know what.

Grandmother was insistent that they had to be washed and she finally agreed. Then once the ice was broken, more was washed. (I'm not sure how much.) I guess life goes on.

There were also a couple of times when the elder grand daughter turned on the charm personality and laid it on that grand mother was great. Some people learn psychology so early in life.

We returned to the farm yesterday and then drove the Saturn over to see my mother in the care center in Amana. It so happened that it was the one day a month when they have an afternoon birthday party for the residents, so we were invited in and had a table with my mother plus we were served cake, ice cream and punch. It worked out very well. My mother is 98 and her memory is failing, such that she didn't remember that the girls were there just two weeks ago. But when we brought up a little bit of history on her father's farm and Indians, she well remembered how the neighbor took her to see the Indians and when the brave opened the tepee flap to see inside, all of the squaws covered themselves.

Today is the big day. We deliver our precious charges to the airport and sign them over to the airline for an escorted flight to New Jersey. Since they have flown many times, that part is old hat to them. We'll see how saying "good-by" to the grand parents goes.

Time to wrap this up and mail it so that we can get on with the business of ferrying our precious charges to the airport. But now, it is breakfast time.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Day Five with Grand Daughters

Life improved considerably on day 5. I'm not sure what made the difference, be it just another day or a letter from their dad that caramel apples were not to be in their diet. (They wanted one so bad on Tuesday.) Anyway, it was a new day and generally a new outlook.

We had to make haste when we arrived at the fair, as it looked like rain and then did rain before we found the building we wanted. It was on the hill and there was a dulcimer concert there at 9 AM. We were there in time and settled in on some very hard folding chairs. Later when we asked Kari how she liked the concert, she simply said, "A bunch of old people".

After the concert, we toured the building, which contained numerous "old ' tools from a life of yesterday. That didn't interest our little ladies at all. So then we headed for the cultural hall where there the photography display was. That got their attention a wee little bit. We ended up spending much of the morning checking out prints. One print was from a mountain top in Germany which both girls brightened up and said, "We were there just a few weeks ago!".

Time had moved on and it was getting close to lunch time. However, the girls wanted to have one ride before lunch so that they wouldn't get sick on the ride. So we found the crazy mouse roller coaster and they had their fun. On our way to the Pork Producers tent, they decided that one more ride would be it. So off to that area (there are fixed rides at the fairgrounds and there are rides that are part of the traveling carnival -different areas. Okay, we found it and it was lightly used, so there was no waiting. When they finished the ride, both girls needed to sit down for about 10 minutes and recover. It was a twister type ride and it did leave them in an uncertain state!

Eventually, it was off to lunch. Near the Pork tent was a place selling wieners on a stick wrapped in baked batter. Okay, no pork for them today. Afterwards, we entered the pork tent where Gene and Sandy had a BBQ pork dinner and some time to sit on a chair.

No Iowa State Fair is complete until one has seen the biggest boar and the biggest bull, so a long walk to the opposite side of the grounds where we found the barns. Admiring livestock was a whole lot more fun than stuff based upon their actions The largest bull was one huge animal (3100 pounds) and looked like he'd like to have a little freedom. The largest boar was a big fat slob and could hardly get to his feet. Perhaps he was king in his day, but there wasn't much fire left in his bones now.

Our final agreed upon stop for the day was the food building where Sandy was very much at home. The girls and I found it about as exciting as watching wet paint dry (or worse). Here it was, so many sweets and not a bite to sample! Watching the judges do their thing didn't turn either of us on. By now it was mid afternoon and everyone was ready to head back to the motorhome. So another long walk, with a very dark cloud overhead. So we set a good pace so that we hoped we found the car first before the rain found us. We won and about a minute later, it poured.

So ended our second day at the fair; everyone's attitude seemed to be okay although I'm not sure they'll ever want to attend another fair. Maybe for the rides, but nothing else. Grandmother enjoyed the fair very much and tried to select activities that would be of interest to the girls. I don't think she succeeded. Their background hadn't prepared them to take any interest in cooking, baking, or sewing activities. Maybe someday, but not now!

Thursday is moving day, back to the farm.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Day Four with Grand Daughters

Today was the big day and what a day it was. We were up early so that we could get in a full day at the fair. Grand mother had so many things to show them. We did survive with a few dents in our mental state. That is, grand daughters had other ideas of what we should be doing at the fair verses grandmother.

Our first stop was at the varied industries building where they have numerous quilts hung and then upstairs, lots of smaller items out of the sewing department. Wake up number one: grand daughters do not want to remain with us, but wander on their own, which was not acceptable. Grandmother was willing to let them be on their own as long as they stayed in the room. Looking at the entries for them was a non-stop walk down the isle. None of this gazing at an item counting threads, looking at patterns or comparing colors that most of the ladies did. Grandpa contented himself with sitting down and observing people. People are carrying a lot of excess baggage (big spare tire) with them. No wonder we have a medical funding problem!

When grandmother finished, it was off to the 4-H building, a location near and dear to her heart. A cousin had mentioned some photos displays so the goal was to find them.. Gene decided that he was useless baggage and perhaps they'd stick closer to grandmother if he stayed behind and checked out the varied industries building. The report I later got was that they stayed with grandmother long enough to see the photo entries, but then insisted on wandering the building on their own. Much to grandmothers disappointment, there was no interest in presentations or working displays or anything else in the building.

The rest of the day was equally frustrating for all. We did find an art drawing demonstration that they seemed interested in for an hour, but otherwise, it was nearly a zero. We did honor their request for a lemonade drink, which I nearly flipped on the price, a highway robbery price of $3.50 per glass. (they did enjoy it.) But then came a show stopper, they wanted a caramel apple, which is normally a no-no with braces and which Sandy and I recalled being discussed before we parted company with the parents on Saturday. Our recollection of the discussion was opposite their recollection, so their were two very unhappy girls and no apples. (It was agreed that we could ask mom and dad via email and maybe they could have them tomorrow.)

So ended our first day at the fair. In short, very stressful, especially for this old man. Back at the motorhome, no walks and every one relaxed in the air conditioning. I think everyone is still on speaking terms!

Tomorrow is another day.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Day Three with Grand Daughters

Day three was to be a slow day, packing up and moving from one park to another. All went well with that aspect of it, such that we're settled in at the C.O.E. park here at Saylorville Reservoir near Des Moines.

However, yesterday afternoon, the eldest grand daughter developed her independent streak. No she wouldn't go for a walk with grandmother. Then she wanted to go for her own walk in the campground about 5 minutes later. Obviously, grandpa said no and that didn't set well. When grandmother came back, they did go with her finally. The verbage at times was less than friendly.

After dinner, we went for a long walk as a family. Again, eldest grand daughter pushed the limit of why, where, etc. Grandpa ignored her objections, which were a bit sharp at times. After we were back to the motor home and emotions settled down, she became a more sociable member of the family again. At 9 pm, the State Fair Report came on and they were glued to the TV. But then early bedtime didn't set well with them at 10 PM. (To match the early rising tomorrow.)

The youngest has her heart set on one thing, having a cheeseburger for dinner. So it will be an interesting first day at the fair.


Monday, August 17, 2009

Day two with the Grand Daughters.

Here it is, past day two with the grand daughters and all is well (to put their parents at ease).

Yesterday morning, Sandy noticed that she had a bloody right eye and that it ached some. So we decided to visit the emergency room in Mason City, even thou we try desperately to avoid getting near a hospital for fear of germs! So it was a standard breakfast and off to the big city.

The real problem was finding the emergency entry at the hospital. The marked entry was on the left side of the street, with a protective barrier so that we couldn't turn left. Taking the next turn led us to the main entry and once on the grounds, there were no other signs for the emergency entry. It took us a while to finally locate the entry on the far back side, then parking and checking in. It didn't take long for them to log us in, answer a few questions and then wait. Then another nurse called Sandy and some more questions to be answered and more waiting. Finally a third nurse called her, asked more questions and finally took her to a waiting room deep in the bowels of the emergency services wing. Then a short wait before the doctor came in.

Thankfully, the diagnoses was that she had neglected to use her eye drops (for dry eyes) while we were enjoying ourselves with the family at the campout and with aging weaker blood vessels, one broke. He also recommended that she not take the "recommended aspirin a day for heart protection for a week or two."

Then it was "check out". We had both wondered while waiting in the doctor's office why they hadn't asked for her insurance card. Okay, another clerk asks for that info upon checkout. And then we were on our way back to the park to pick up our potluck food and head for the family reunion.

It was a usual reunion where the older get older (and fewer) and the younger get older. But a good time was had by all. The grand daughters were able to meet up again with the two daughters of Sandy's nephew that were at the campout. So they seemed happy enough.

But all good things must come to an end and so it was that we also departed the grounds. It was off to the motorhome where we packed up (or stowed for travel) everything scattered about. We headed for a state park near Hampton where Gene's brother's children reside. We had alerted them to our coming and while not wanting another dinner, we scheduled a desert over the fire for everyone. All of them made it out Sunday evening and we really enjoyed meeting the young ones and visiting with the children. They are roughly the same age as our daughters and their children are the same age as our grand daughters. So it seemed that every one clicked together.

Our nephew is doing a lot of clean up in a nearby town of Eldora that was hit by a massive hail storm just a week ago. In a nutshell, every vehicle parked outside was "totaled with sever dents in the fenders and usually all windows knocked out". To handle the volume of vehicles, they setup a vehicle line on the fairgrounds. The owner drove in with his car and his insurance slip, they read the VIN from the vehicle, then they drove it on threw the line where various panels were checked. When the car exited the building, they were given a summary of damage and the payout amount, Totalled!. Many of the houses didn't just have roof damage, but they had holes punched in the roof leading to sever water damage. Also, the west side of the houses was often stripped of the siding and the windows knocked out. In summary, the town was devastated.

And so ended our day. We've again met many of the relatives, too numerous to count. But isn't that what reunions are for!


Saturday, August 15, 2009

Day one with the Grand daughters

Today was day one with our grand daughters in our RV. Woh, but all went well. Even one of them commented that I think mother was kind of sad to see us not returning with them.

For starters, they were neatly buckled in to the sofa seat and both were busy with their ipod or book. At Prairie du chien, we stopped for groceries and they agree to help grandmother with her shopping (I was amazed.) Of course, they came out with a few extras, like a big box of Orelo cookies and a 12 pack of Fanta soda. (Not normally on Sandy's menu.)

When we left the Walmart, Kari agreed to ride shotgun with me in the front seat. (I'm not sure she knows what the term implied.) She was very alert at the corners, but usually staring straight ahead, almost entranced with her ipod songs.

We arrived at the park at 3 pm and I thought for a moment, things would not be too friendly. But eventually they seemed to relax and became grandmother's helpers. First to make dinner and then to dry dishes. Later Gene was roped into playing a card game with them. He didn't stand a chance, as it was a lot of eye hand motion. But we had fun.

We're writing this on the back up machine. I guess we might have lost the primary machine to being pre-empted by two grand daughters. The problem is I don't have a spell checker now. So please excuse my errors.

In a nutshell, all is well.


Friday, August 14, 2009

A family campout in Wisconsin

We're way behind in posting updates to the blog. My apologies. But we have rock solid excuses, we had poor cell phone connections at our location in Governor Dodge State Park here next to Dodgeville, WI. Secondly, our RV is just shy of being 4 years old, and guess what the house batteries decided to do? They laid down on the job and would hardly hold a charge. So with no battery power to speak of and poor cellphone service for my internet air card, we were left out in the cold. We didn't get our email until we arrived here at daughters this afternoon and found 94 messages in the queue. But nothing urgent or earth shaking.

We had a great time with our daughters and the extended family. Plus we were honored to have the wife and two daughters of Sandy's nephew join us. Their daughters are the same age as our grand daughters and they go well together. The two youngest are 12 and the oldest are 14, so this is probably one of the wilder gatherings to be experienced. (I'm assuming that as they age, the level of the squealing and yelling will moderate some -I hope.)

As an engineer, the study of human nature was not one of my strong points in school. However, I have found it to be an enjoyable pass time as the years go by. Watching the 4 girls (or young ladies) interact was very interesting. Surprisingly, the youngest of the group was almost the most mature. She was the great helper, doing things around the meal time before the need was apparent. Her maturity was interesting to observe.

The gathering ended today and we had to vacate the state park. Normally when Sandy and I have traveled, we will bail out of a campground early in the morning, irrespective of the park policy. However, my daughters had other ideas. Obviously, they needed to go for another hike and locate a geocache. Check out time was 3 pm and at 1 pm, we still hadn't heard from the hiking group. Eventually, they arrived and then we had lunch, followed by clean up and departure. We actually pulled out of the site at 2:30 pm. I was surprised that the new occupants hadn't arrived before we left and impatiently waiting for us to leave.

From the park, we traveled about 10 miles to Beth's house, where both of us have parked our RV on the street in front of her house. Our plan is to make an early departure in the morning, we for a family reunion in Iowa and Julie for their home in New Jersey. The big event is that as we leave, we are also taking our two granddaughters with us for 6 days. Sandy has a full schedule set up for them for the week. It starts with a family reunion on Sunday, then moving to a C.O.E park near Des Moines so that we can attend the state fair in Des Moines for Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday is travel day to the farm near Williamsburg and a quick visit to my mother. Friday, we take them to the Cedar Rapids Airport where we check them in to the airline for a return flight to New Jersey. They are traveling as juveniles and Julie has paid extra for the airline escorted service. They have traveled by air often with Julie while they were in Germany, so the air travel experience is nothing new for them. It will be different for grandma and grandpa to see them go via air.

It's bed time. Grandpa needs a good nights rest before the challenges of driving 300 miles tomorrow with 3 navigators.


Saturday, August 8, 2009

Family Reunion Time

We were able to take care of family matters Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday, we went to Cedar Rapids for some shopping and other supplies. Plus I had to return a belt for my lawn mower. On the week before, we had picked up a belt which turned out to be too small. We had returned it and this time, we were smarter, we took two belts of the next sizes up. It worked and so we had an extra belt to return.

We had also noticed Wednesday morning that during the previous night, a tree bordering the lane decided that it had enough and laid down. Fortunately for us, the tree went to the northwest and didn't block the lane. But it required some clean up afterwards. Trees are nice on a farm, but there always seems to be lots of clean up after them.

For the previous 3 days, the weather has been delightful. Today, it is warm (some would say HOT) and steamy, plus it is very windy. But as my wonderful mother-in-law used to say, "Gene, this makes the corn grow". And grow it should, as we have not see warm weather like this in Iowa for most of the season.

I have contented myself trying to fix a problem between the motorhome and the toad with the tail lights. We have zero power on any wire, so I naturally expected a blown major fuse some where in the motorhome. However, today we finally found the fuses, hidden under two panel covers and they have power through them. So some place between there and the rear connector is an open connector. We did find a connector junction about 3 feet from the rear socket, but it was okay. The wires then disappear into the motor enclosure. So Monday I'll call Winnebago to see where they spliced the lines again. Yes, we need them, but the motorhome rear lights are above the toad, so people should see my signals any way.

Yesterday we received a quick phone call from our daughter Beth, wanting to tell us that she survived the mountain climb and hike. She was on a 6 day excursion somewhere in Colorado hiking with about 15 other people. She was a bit concerned since she recently strained her back but all went well. We look forward to an update when we see her on Wednesday.

Tomorrow is the big family reunion on my mother's side. It has been going on for years and years and it is the one opportunity to visit with many of the cousins. We were supposed to move the motorhome over yesterday morning, but it was raining and I decided that moving out in the rain and setting up in the rain was too much. So I just drove over yesterday afternoon for the social hour. We started the idea of a campout about 6 or 8 years ago and it has really caught on. Yes, we could move over today, but the park was filling up yesterday and we decided to just skip the campout part of it this year.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Catching up on the Farm

We spent all day Monday and Tuesday working to clear out mother's apartment at the assisted living center in Amana and also making her comfortable in the Care Center in Amana.. We think we have both jobs done, as Mother seems satisfied in her new location and the apartment was cleaned out when we left Tuesday afternoon. We had the same crew back on Tuesday and it went very fast. I think that everyone also worked faster when we could see the end in site.

We had Julie and family out for dinner in the motorhome again. It is obvious that serving more than 4 people in a motorhome is over doing it. But for a couple of days, we managed. After dinner, we adjourned to the tree stump fire pit and made dessert pies with the cherry pie filling. What a treat to enjoy. The real success was that I didn't burn any of them and no one burned their mouth on hot cherries.

Today was a day on the farm. I did some sorting of the picture archives that I brought from the apartment. Now we have it down to 3 boxes worth. Perhaps the plan will be to take one box to our next family gathering and we can jointly look at the pictures. Photos of a specific family can then go to that family. Photos of our parents or relatives will probably be retained so that Sandy can scan them first. The few old photos that I checked did have writing on the back (by mother) indicating who the individuals were.

In the PM, I started my tractors and pulled the fallen tree out to the burn pile. The old W-6 didn't have enough weight or power, so we had to resort to the old 560 Farmall. We finally got the tree moved and in the process scratched a good mark across the yard. I should have checked before I pulled it too far. (The mark was from a limb that broke off and left enough of a stub to be a real plow. Such things happen when we get in a hurry.)

With the tractors put away, we decided that we ought to check on the crops on some ground not right next to us here. So it was a few miles on a dusty gravel road. But we're happy with the crops. The Lord has taken good care of us!

Tomorrow we need to go to Cedar Rapids for some shopping. So it will be lots of riding time plus a quick visit to see Mother.


Monday, August 3, 2009

Down Sizing the Apartment

Today was the big day where two brothers and three sisters plus 4 spouses and also our daughter's family joined in the mass de-construction of a lived in apartment. It too us a while to get the hang of it, but once everyone felt comfortable that yes, some stuff is being pitched or sent to Goodwill, it started moving. By 3 pm when we decided to close it down, the place had been pretty well done in. Yes, there is lots of stuff to be carried out, but I think we know where most of the stuff is going. It was great to get back to the motorhome for the evening.

At 6 pm, our daughter Julie and family came for dinner, an outdoor event. All went well other than a host of small black bugs that seem to be everywhere. I guess it is part of life this summer. The granddaughter's are not as much in to being outdoors as the rest of us and quickly retreated to the comforts of the bug free motorhome. The rest of us enjoyed the quiet summer evening.

We can't say we were around the fire, as it was really in a deep hole. The fire is in a hollow tree stump that we want to remove. After tomorrow night, we will have made big dent in the heart of the stump. Probably we'll need to let it cool and scoop out the ashes and do it again.

We had a little wind this morning and as I left the farmstead, I realized that one of the tall pines bordering the lane decided that it had enough and laid itself over. Of course it wouldn't just fall over, but landed exactly on top of a 25 foot cedar tree and squashed it down to about 10 feet. Okay, scratch two trees from the lane. Something else to do before we pull out of the yard this weekend!


Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Storm arrives Today!

Today is the big day in the lives of this Grand-Parenting couple. We get to entertain our daughter, her husband and their two daughters for 2 days. Then they leave for Dave's relatives in Minnesota. Since they spent 5 years in Munich, Germany, the granddaughters are nearly grown ladies. (What a shame for grandma and grandpa.) Yes, we've seen them about twice yearly and that isn't enough.

In about 10 days, daughter and husband return to New Jersey and granddaughters remain with us- we pick them up in Wisconsin. That will be entertaining for everyone. Four of us in the motorhome for a week and the two young ladies are used to having their own rooms! Grandma wants to show them the Iowa State Fair for two days. The other big event in their lives is that they return to New Jersey, as un-accompanied minors, which means that the airline will chaperone them. (We're paying extra for the service.) Hopefully it also might be the beginning of them flying out to spend more time with this set of grand-parents.

As mentioned in the previous posting, we moved my mother on Thursday. All went well other than she had forgotten that we were going to do it. (No harm done that we know off.) I guess that is age (98) showing. Two sisters were present and after moving her (down the hall, through the doors and into the care center hall), everyone started surveying the apartment and contemplating, "what are we going to do with all this stuff?" We took the weekend off but you can guess what happens on Monday? Who ever is available digs in and I hope we can make quick work of it after a couple of days. As happens too often in a large family, one sister is not happy with the arrangement and has passed on helping, which is regrettable! The question at the moment is what do we do with a 75 year old bedroom set that they received as a wedding gift?

On Saturday (yesterday), Sandy and I went to a cousin's funeral in Ames, about a 120 miles west of here. As so often the case, it was great to see so many relatives and visit with everyone except the deceased. Don spent his entire career teaching in the Ames school system and has left quite a mark in the community. But it is also a lesson to all of us that there comes a time when go to join our Lord. Since he was only 3 years older than myself, it does get up close and personal.

Otherwise, it is a wonderful Sunday afternoon here on the farm in Iowa, the sun is shining brightly and good breeze is blowing from the southwest.