Archive for the 'Fall and Winter 2007' Category

Jan 15 2008

Post Surgery

Published by under Fall and Winter 2007

I arrived Thursday afternoon to be told Daddy’s surgery had been moved up to 7:30 Friday morning. I was up at 4:30 to get him there on time. Then the surgeon was late because his staff forgot to tell him they had changed the time!

It was a three hour surgery and a four hour recovery time. We were gone 11 1/2 hours! He has five incisions ranging from 1″ to 4″ in length. He’s black and blue from his nose to his left ear as two incisions are near his left eye.

It was not as serious as we had thought it might be which was a major blessing. The first night he ate soup but has been eating regular food ever since. He even went out to dinner with us Saturday evening!

Daddy’s incisions all look good and he goes in Friday to have the sutures removed. He is healing quickly and only takes Tylenol occasionally for pain.

Thank you all for your prayers and good thoughts. For a 91 year old man he’s a real trooper.

5 responses so far

Dec 28 2007

2 for 2

Published by under Fall and Winter 2007

Dayna was rear-ended yesterday while she was sitting at a stop light. Her major complaint is a stiff neck. She has a KIA Optima which is uni-body construction. Her bumper is destroyed & she can’t open her trunk so there may be some significant damage. Chris is taking it to body shops today for estimates.

My dad has had two skin cancer surgeries in the surgeon’s office in the past two weeks and will have a major one Jan. 11. I am flying out on the 10th to help nurse him. The next one will be on his chin and several other places. Daddy will probably not be able to eat solids for about a week afterward. Two new spots have become visible since last week. They seem to be popping up so frequently any more there’s just no end to it. His PCP will determine if he has the next one under a local or general.

Richard has his final appointment for the disk study he is in on the 23rd. I fly back on the 22nd and we plan to leave for points west on the 24th.

He was denied health insurance due to his disk replacement so will begin the process to get in under VA. He talked with them and found because he is a Vietnam vet they consider them all to have been exposed to Agent Orange and will provide insurance for many of them. It’s quite a process but he’s hopeful he’ll be accepted.

7 responses so far

Dec 20 2007

Two DVR Family

Published by under Fall and Winter 2007

Dayna woke us at 8 am to tell us Chris had been in an accident in McKinney. He was not hurt but the car was totaled. We have been driving the pickup and he was driving their old Cavalier which they were saving for Deidra. A lady in an SUV pulled out in front of him on a major highway with a 60 mph speed limit. He could not stop and broadsided her at about 40 mph. She was not hurt either since his car basically dove beneath her SUV. Air bags and seat belts work.

Tuesday I ordered an upgrade to a high definition DVR from DirecTV. I managed to get it for $99 instead of the $299 regular price by talking to their customer retention department and threatening to change over to Dish. The installer was scheduled for today and I have spent the past two days getting ready. I decided to run all new cables since I need two inputs for the Hughes Tivo DVR which we will move to the bedroom and two cables for the new DirecTV high-def DVR. This will also make it much easier to use the rooftop antenna and cable TV in RV parks when we are only stopping overnight and do not want to set up the dish.

So, this morning I moved the Hughes Tivo from the living room to the bedroom. I was able to get rid of a lot of extra cables and it works fine. The Tivo has to sit on its side, but that should not be a problem since the only thing in it that moves is a disk drive which does not care which way is up.

The installer arrived about 10:30 and we set about installing the equipment. He had never done an RV before and basically did what I told him. He installed the dish on the mount I made and it worked great. In fact, I think I can reduce its size a little.

Then he made me a couple 50’ cables to do the hookups, and we hooked up the new DVR. It did not work. It did not even power up properly. So he brought out another unit and we set it up. It did not work on one line and after some investigating we discovered that one of the 10 foot cables I had purchased from WalMart was defective. I could see where it was shorted out because the end had not been put on properly. He replaced the end and everything worked.

I had to call DirecTV to get the network Distant Network Service hi-def channels (east and west coast network feeds) turned on, but otherwise it was all there. I do not think this DVR is as user friendly as the Tivo because it does not record things based on likes and dislikes. You have to set up searches with keywords or create season passes.

But, and it is a big but, the hi-def is incredible! I spent the rest of the day setting up my favorite channels, season passes and wish lists and trying to get familiar with it and the new remote. I think I have it all set, but only time will tell.

Dianna on the other hand is not real happy with having a DVR of her own. I thought she would be thrilled. She misses the fact that her old RCA receiver told her the original broadcast date of any rerun. The Tivo DVR only tells her the year it was first broadcast. That is her biggest complaint! I hope she gets used to it. She thinks she will continue to watch most TV live and only watch Tivo’ed stuff that was recorded when she was not home or when more than one thing was being broadcast that she wanted to watch. I bet she will soon discover the joy of not watching commercials. We’ll see.

16 responses so far

Dec 09 2007

Project Updates

Published by under Fall and Winter 2007

I know it is probably not interesting for many readers, but after posting every day all summer I get to feeling guilty if I don’t post every so often, even if there is nothing to say.

I already posted about the new TV. The next thing we did was change the arrangement of much of our kitchen storage. First, I built a shelving unit to place in the huge area where the old TV was located. I included some vertical compartments to store cookie sheets, cooling racks and pizza pans. There are also two large, tall shelves that provide places for cereal boxes, crackers, cookies and bags of chips.

That shelving unit allowed us to move all the things on the top shelf of the island so we put dividers and a small cubby unit I built for foil and baggies there. We then moved all the pots and pans from the bottom shelf of the island unit to the bottom drawer below the stove top. That opened up enough space for all the stuff that was in the top two drawers under the stove top.

Our island came with two drawers that opened from opposite sides. We have always used the drawer facing the kitchen for silverware, but the drawer facing the dinning area has just had a few cookbooks and manuals. We never thought it was too convenient. I got to looking at it while I was working with the shelves in the island and realized I could change the direction by removing the false front and reversing the glides. Now we have both drawers facing the kitchen and all the big utensils, like spatulas and potato mashers, are now located there instead of the container on the kitchen counter. Big improvement! With all the moving we now have two drawers with almost nothing in them. How neat is that in an RV? And, in time, we will figure out where we put everything without having to try three places. :-)

We then purchased our new Amana gas range. It has the largest oven available for RV use and required some work to make it fit where the old cook top and top two drawers were. This was the first time I have ever worked with Corian. Although it looks very much like a solid material, it is actually a kind of plastic. Regular wood tools work fine on it and create actual shavings. It does not melt like normal plastic would when drilled and cut.

The first thing our new oven was used for was to reheat Pizza! It worked great. Dianna is very happy to finally have a regular oven. The convection oven works well for many things, but it was not large enough and required us to be plugged in or run the generator while using it. This is much better.

We have a few more minor projects to complete before we leave here in late January. It is nice being near Chris and Dayna’s because Chris has lot’s of woodworking tools. I could not do the things I have done with his table saw, router, chop saw, drill press and sanders. And, it is fun making your home exactly the way you want it.

6 responses so far

Nov 25 2007

Lots of Family Updates

Published by under Fall and Winter 2007

My brother’s family moved to the Rochester, NY area in Aug. Xerox’s headquarters are there and since he’s still climbing the corporate ladder that’s where he needed to be. With Patricia in Boston at MIT it was a good move for them. She’s settled in well with a wonderful Christian roommate. Greg wrestled in high school and taught her some moves so Patricia won the jello wrestling competition at the beginning of the school year! (Sounds like something MIT would do, doesn’t it?)

My sister purchased her first home, a townhome, and moved in the end of September. It’s very nice with a pond and ducks just outside her back door. She was only about 5 minutes from work at her apartment and is not enjoying the 30 – 45 min. commute she has now. She periodically calls Richard for advice on fixing things that didn’t get done before she moved in so she’s learning all about being a homeowner.

Our niece Marie has announced her engagement. She and Adam will be getting married Oct. 4, 2008 in Dana Point. Adam is a surfer so they wanted something near the beach. They’ve picked a beautiful site and I know it will be a gorgeous wedding. In order to serve food at weddings in southern California you have to purchase all kinds of permits making the cost so much greater than it needs to be. Leave it to So. Cal. to get so ridiculous about it. She will have her RN by the end of May and he will have his PT license. They love the area so will live in Orange County someplace.

Our granddaughter Christine has also announced her engagement. She and Nathan have been together for about five years and will be getting married Aug. 16, 2008. She has her CNA and after working for a year at a nursing home will further her education. She wants to be a surgical nurse. Nathan has been working with his dad in a family business but wants to continue his education as well. They are planning their wedding at a chapel in Pigeon Forge, TN. It’s a beautiful tourist area in the Smoky Mountains. It’s also home to Dollywood.

My dad needs further surgery for his skin cancers. He has three spots on his face, two of which have already had radiation so that is no longer an option. One spot is deeply embedded which makes it a difficult surgery. We’re having a hard time getting him to see the right people due to his HMO. The radiology oncologist wanted him to go to UCLA but that request was just denied. We’re still exploring alternatives so are not exactly sure what or when or where.

Mom has a cyst on her foot that will need to be removed. She missed her appt. so will have to wait about two months for a new one! Don’t we just love HMOs?

Dayna received a small promotion at work. She had applied for three others but management decided to go outside the company for those. She was really disappointed but she likes her boss and is settling in to her new position.

Chris was hired as a permanent employee of Raytheon. He pretty much named his own terms as they found out he was looking elsewhere! It’s not that he didn’t want to stay but they took such a long time making him a permanent offer that he wasn’t sure of his future with them.

Deidra is now a high schooler! Math is definitely not her strong suit so she started going to Sylvan for tutoring this week. She has both algebra and chemistry this semester so really needs the added help. After only her second visit she was so excited that she understood it! They also found out how they can help her at home and school with her study habits. She studies and learns in a way that requires her to be more active than just passively sitting and studying. So the evaluation helped in more ways than one.

The past three years my cholesterol numbers have been steadily climbing. They were so high this year I was told I needed to see my PCP for further treatment. Richard and I got to talking about it, trying to figure out why they should be so high. I eat low fat, walk for exercise and take Omega III. It just doesn’t make sense.

We started evaluating the medications I take. Other than vitamins all I take is glucosamine chondroitin. I did some research on the internet and found many who have reported a rise of 50 – 100 pts. in their cholesterol as a result of taking the supplement. There are no studies in the US but doctors in Denmark and Sweden have just begun some as so many of their patients have complained about this phenomenon. Several here have contacted the FDA with their results asking them to take a proactive look into.

Bottom line, I immediately took myself off of it and will go back in about a month for another lipid test. I’m sincerely praying this is the answer so I don’t have to take medication for it. I ache without the glucosamine but it will be a small price to pay for better health.

4 responses so far

Nov 19 2007

Bravia

Published by under Fall and Winter 2007

Things have settled into a routine. We have taken care of some Dr. appointments, spent a little time with the kids and grandkids, and begun work on some of our projects.

The first project was to buy and install a new TV. We purchased a 40 inch 1080p LCD Sony Bravia. The model number is KDL-40V2500. It has some very good reviews and we are pleased with it. We bought it online for the lowest advertised price which was from Abe’s of Maine. It was delivered in less than a week by a delivery company that specializes in shipping electronic equipment.

Mounting it was a big job. I made a solid door to replace the two doors over the computer workstation, and then mounted the TV on it. The door is made from 3/4 inch oak plywood that I trimmed in solid oak and then stained to match the rest of the wood in our home. I used decorative fence gate hinges to hang it on the wall so we still have access to the cupboards behind it. It is very solidly mounted to insure that it stays put when we travel. Today I finished running all the cables so that job is officially finished.

HDTV sure is great.  Unfortunately, my DirecTV receiver is only SD, but I am able to receive all the Dallas stations in digital HD.  I have been watching a lot more broadcast stuff than I have in years.  Fortunately one of the broadcast HD channels is PBS!

We removed the old 26 inch TV and plan to build storage shelves where it was. That will provide a place to store all the stuff we currently keep on the top shelf of the kitchen island and some of the things in the drawers below the stove. When complete we will then be able to build a drawer in place of top shelf in the island, and then remove two drawers under the stove top so we can install a new oven we plan to purchase this weekend. Plenty to keep me busy until Christmas or beyond!

Saturday evening  we went to dinner with the Jennings.  We went to a neat restaurant in Sanger called Babe’s.  You choose either fried chicken, smoked chicken, chicken fried steak, chicken tenders or catfish for your meat and they serve everything else family style.  It was really good, and reasonably priced.  The motif is eclectic western.  The building is an old warehouse in a small town.  No two tables match and the music was a variety of 50′s, 60′s, 70′s and country.  One of the country songs was going and I looked up to notice that it was not a record.  One of the waitresses was singing all the country numbers!  She sounded professional.  By the end of the evening she had done three numbers.  We found out she has tried out for American Idol but not been selected.  Another waitress from the same place was selected a couple years ago.  She was fantastic and we expect to see her make it big if she stays with it.  She was that good.

We will be spending Thanksgiving with Jennings, and probably Christmas too.  At this point we are planning to make a trip to Chattanooga over New Years so we can see Darin and his family.

There.  Now everyone knows what we have been doing and what our tentative plans for the next couple months are.

6 responses so far

Oct 30 2007

The last 1,000 miles

Published by under Fall and Winter 2007

We finished up the business we had in Albuquerque on Friday and decided to head for Texas on Saturday morning. It would have been nice to see a lot of old friends in Edgewood, be we were just anxious to see the kids and get to a place where we could stop traveling for a while.

Rather than take interstates we took a more direct route with less traffic. We drove to Clines Corners, then down to Roswell (no, there are no aliens there) and then we followed US 380 all the way to Denton. Saturday night we stayed at a rest area near Caprock, NM that is designed for overnight stays. It was peaceful and free.

Sunday we continued on US 380 to Haskell, TX where they have a city owned and operated RV park with full hookups. It is free for the first night. Several of the small west Texas towns have such a set up. They hope that visitors will spend a little money in their town.

First thing Monday morning we called Lincoln Park, the RV park we have used the last 3 years, to see if they had space for us. They said they were full and did not expect anything to open up for at least a couple weeks, or more. So, we made a few more phone calls and searched the internet while discussing our options. Finally we learned that the monthly rate at a very nice RV resort located near Sanger, TX was very reasonable, so we decided to go there.

Sanger is north of Chris and Dayna about 25 miles, but there are rural roads we can take on the scooter to get to their house. Texas Sundown RV Resort is a very large place that is less than ¼ full. The spaces are huge, there is a pool and hot tub, a conference center and even a small golf course here. It is located about ¼ mile off I-35 so there is some highway noise and we can hear a train that runs about ½ mile away, but the noise is certainly less than many places we have been. All in all it is quite peaceful here. Probably the biggest drawback is the lack of any shopping nearby. We will have to go into Denton for that as Sanger is quite small.

We arrived here Monday afternoon about 3 and set up our rig for a long stay. We will probably be here for about 3 months. We went to Jennings for the evening and had pizza for dinner. Everyone was happy to see each other. The kids even stayed up past their bedtime.

This is our first day at our new home for the next 3 months. Both of us are really looking forward to a rest. Since June 1 when we left for Alaska we have traveled 15,000 miles for an average of 100 miles per day. The longest we stayed in any one location was 14 days, and that was the city campground in Anchorage while we flew to Phoenix for Dayna’s graduation.

Traveling so far and for so long takes a toll on both people and rigs. We definitely need to rest up, and we have many projects to do on the truck and trailer. Some of them fall in the maintenance category and some are improvements we want to make.

Posting on the blog will probably become much more sporadic. We will update our readers with anything we think you might be interested in, but it surely will not be nearly as exciting or interesting at the past 5 months. We have enjoyed sharing our trip with all of you.

4 responses so far

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