Monday, July 31, 2006
Bwaahaahaa Billy released me today after my P.T. appointment. Of course, I'll be continuing to work at home on all my stretching and strengthening exercises for many more months but Billy says he's confident I can do the rest of it on my own. He even said I should be able to go to a driving range and start to work on hitting some balls to see how my leg feels. Alright! No golf yet, but it's a start.
I've gone online and checked out the Port Clinton area for geocaches-yep, they have some! So if the temperatures here in the swamp-air state start to go down to a reasonable level we may hit a geocache or two as I have a travel bug to place that I've had in my possession for far too long.
We finally got the truck back today; new brakes front and back, new rotors, new ball joint, alignments, etc. Expensive, but we can leave knowing the brakes are good and the truck has been checked out pretty thoroughly. Not only is that safer for us, but it's safer for those on the road around us.
It's looking good for the RV Vagabonds to hit the trail!
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Which means today's Lazy Sunday pictures show cooling waters, summer fun, parched desert and fiery skies. Because I'm too lazy to go downstairs to get the card reader so I can upload the pictures of Denny and Darb moving the big desk upstairs. Go figure.
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Oh well, what that all means is that we'll have a safer truck once we finally hit the road in a week or so (crossing fingers as I think about those inexperience mechanics). Of course the whole leaving thing will be a happy/sad experience; my mom will cry as always, although I'm sure she'll be glad to have her house to herself again, and we didn't get to see much of Darb, our youngest, between my being laid up and his wife having her nasty kidney stone which she's still dealing with. Visiting family was so much easier when they were all still in the Dayton/Cincinnati area but it's hard to complain about them moving since we did it first!
Denny and I will be hauling the roll top desk to Darb and Net's house in Delaware this morning and once we arrive Net and I will be the cheering section as Denny and Darb haul that monster up to the second floor loft. Because Net and I are invalids, don'cha know? And helpless, weak females. It will be our job to keep the Schaaf family of cats and dog out of the way of the moving guys. Hee-hee. I'll take pictures, okay? Said pictures might even make it into a Lazy Sunday post--ya never know.
I have to cut this post short so I get get some physical therapy in before we leave because it might be the only workout I am able to get in today. Unless Darb cons me into walking the dog for them. Maybe I better not give him any ideas. Heh.
Friday, July 28, 2006
Ya'll realize that we're not on the road yet, so this post about the Warther Museum is one of those "blast from the past" road trips that I pull out and dust off and present for your reading pleasure. I do have pictures from the museum, but they are on the other computer in our rig and therefore are not available for this post. Most of the visit we recorded on the camcorder as the majority of the models presented there are working, moving models so we taped them.
The Warther Museum is located in Dover, Ohio near the Amish area. The museum itself is not large so you can combine a trip to the museum with a shopping/dining excursion in Millersburg or one of the other nearby Amish communities. But if you appreciate extraordinary workmanship you really need to see "Mooney" Warther's carvings.
Ernest Warther's education ended in the second grade, but he astounded math professors and engineers with his precisely carved, fully operational and perfectly detail carvings of steam engines and his "Tree of 511 Pliers" . All of his trains with all their wheels, trim, coal shuttles, screws, etc. were all carved by hand using a workbench, hand vise and hand tools, many of which Warther made himself.
The tour guide will tell you that Ernest started carving when he discovered an old pocket knife laying on the road at age five and that a hobo taught him how to carve a pair of pliers using only a few cuts in a small piece of wood. Eventually, Ernest could cut a pair of these pliers in about 15 seconds using only ten cuts. (See my pictures of a pair of these pliers above the text) Tiring of cutting simple pairs of pliers, Ernest set about creating the Tree of Pliers using a piece of wood that was 13 inches long, 3/4 of a inch wide and 5/8 of an inch thick. Thirty-one thousand cuts later he had the 511 pliers. Remember, this man's formal education ended in the second grade.
Mr. Warther started making his own knives when the ones he purchased locally wore out too quickly on the ebony, hard woods and ivory he used as carving materials. Today the fourth generation of Warthers are still creating fine knives by hand and you can watch them at work at the small workroom on the grounds as well as buy the knives at their store.
Wandering the grounds of the museum you'll discover Freida Warther's "Button House". Mrs. Warther collected thousands and thousands of buttons and sewed them onto boards in the form of quilt patterns to display them. The variety of buttons is astounding and the artistry of Mrs. Warther's method of displaying the buttons is unique.
You may not be "into" trains, but the Warther Museum is a must see for those who appreciate ingenuity, craftsmanship, artistry and a fascinating story about a simple man.
And being able to later pig out at Heini's Cheese Chalet sampling their 50+ types of cheeses makes it even more worthwhile.
Thursday, July 27, 2006
That was the beginning of the e-mail we received from Darb today. Huh? Oh crap! Yesterday was our anniversary!!! 21 years (24 if you count the 3 years we practiced first). And Denny and I both forgot it. (See the embarassed grins on our faces). So thanks to the Token Liberal's reminder, we're going to the Oakwood Club for dinner tonight, which is one of my all-time favorite restaurants. It's the place my parents took each of us kids individually as teenagers to teach us how to appreciate a classy restaurant where folks used salad forks and fish forks and linen napkins, how to order and tip, and how to behave like a mature person while enjoying a great meal. For that occasion we were allowed to order the steak and lobster tail (the surf and turf)-heavenly! Funny how things stick in your mind.
So thanks, sweetie, for reminding us about our anniversary and don't worry about that phone call--we know your love is year-round just like our marriage, so missing a one-day occasion doesn't matter. <3, The Token Mom
Wednesday, July 26, 2006
August 7th is approaching and we've just taken our first small load of belongings back to the rig which sits in storage awaiting our next road trip. When we open the door to the rig it smells like home and my tear ducts start to squirt a little. Denny opened the slides to make it easier to move about inside and this time we left them extended instead of closing them up when we finish. It feels good to be inside and my mental lists start building in my brain; okay, call Hughes to start our satellite Internet service, call the campgrounds to see if they will accept our mail or if it has to be sent to General Delivery, make a list of grocery items to replace those we brought to my mother's house and have since used up and remember those items in her frig that she'd never use; jalepenos, picante sauce, raspberry chipotle sauce, etc. Can you tell we've become inured to southwestern cooking and spices? Go through the clothes we've brought over and see if there are any we want to donate to charity, like those oversized stretch shorts Denny bought me to wear over that huge brace after the surgery--I don't ever want to wear those again! Go through the upstairs bedroom at Mom's to see if I left anything up there after I was finally able to join Denny in the downstairs bedroom once the brace came off. The brain is starting to go into overdrive and we still have two weeks to go.
There are one and a half walls to paint at my mother's house yet; the roll top desk is in the way and won't be moved until this Saturday when we can haul it up to Darb and Net's place. Denny thinks we can finish painting at his dad's in one more trip so we'll do that Monday after my P.T. appointment. Then we won't have to go back until the following weekend for the annual Braun family reunion. Both set of homes are looking much better for our efforts, but ya know what? You don't have to paint a RV! Ever! Just wash, wax and go.
I guess I better start making those phone calls now; August is just around the corner, right?
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
By ten, Patches was waking up from the anesthesia and we were halfway through with our self-assigned painting tasks for the day. My primary purpose was to keep my father-in-law preoccupied so he wouldn't bug Denny by supervising what Denny was doing (scraping, puttying, painting). Because, you see, Denny is only 67 years old and doesn't know how to do it right. Heh. And 95 year old men have a tendency to repeat the same stories over and over, so I ran interference for Denny so he could get his work done. My secondary task was scraping, priming and painting the two garage doors which is mindless work so I provided the distraction for Denny's dad.
While we were in Cinci my cousin who had been in town for the Jehovah's Witness convention stopped by to visit my mother, so she decided to hang around until we returned so we could visit. She lives in Indianapolis and unfortunately we just don't cross the country in that direction very often so it was great to visit with her.
Since my cousin was there, Denny ran out to the vet to pick up Patches in the afternoon and immediately upon her return, Patches started to try to pull out her stitches. So back to the vet we went to get one of those cone-shaped collars to put on her to prevent her from reaching her belly. WELL! As soon as Patches saw the vet she turned into the cat from hell; biting, hissing, fighting and writhing all over the table. With four of us surrounding her there was no way she was going to allow us to put on the collar! We did manage to get it on but the vet wanted to observe her for a minute and take a look at her incision area to see if Patches had done any damage to the stitches and we all watched Patches fought until she got that nasty thing off from around her neck. Okay, we either adjust it down to the next tightness level which was close to choking her or we let her go--no brainer there as Patches was still acting the part of a demon cat. The vet said her rage was probably enhanced by the remaining portion of drugs in her system and that she should calm down. Well, Patches calmed down as soon as we stepped out of the vet's office. It will be interesting to see how she responds when we return next week to have the stitches removed.
Once we got home the four of us decided to have dinner at Tumbleweeds where the ribs are excellent. Good food, good conversation. Datha then had to leave for the long drive home to Indianapolis and we managed to stay awake for a couple more hours but then gave up the fight because it was a loooooong day. We'll be going back to Cinci again this morning after my physical therapy appointment for another round of painting. I think by now the truck could drive down there on autopilot.
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Therefore, this week's Lazy Sunday photos are of Denny and I enjoying the scenery in our travels. This is why we live the lifestyle we have chosen. The fact that life proves too short for many people only reinforces the decision we made to enjoy life to the fullest while we have our health and the financial resources to do so.
So in no particular order, take a look at our smiling faces as we travel across this beautiful country of ours.
Friday, July 21, 2006
One additional item I discovered is that I have become one of them. That is, one of those folks who has a surgical scar and story to share. Aaarrggghhhh. It's amazing how many bony knees/scars were pointed out and discussed in those three hours we spent. Sigh.
Happy Retirement, Officer M--may you spend it in better health.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
The list will grow and Denny will grow anxious as his days run out and he is pressured to get all the work done before it is time to leave. At least now I can help more; I may gimp around a bit but I can get down on the floor to do baseboards and trim work (and no, Judy, I never found the mechanics creeper to get a picture of me in the brace doing trim). Yesterday at P.T. I was able to make a complete circuit on the exercise bicycle with the off-set pedals-a full 360 degrees! When we arrived back home Denny raised the set of my little exercise bike and after a few minutes and after adjusting my heel way up on the pedal I was able to make a full circle on that bicycle too. My knee stiffens up and swells afterward, but I was pretty proud of myself. But at least it means more flexibility which in turn means I can be of more assistance in all these plans and chores and things to do.
Because we are in the "yay, we're going to be back-on-the-road mode" and we're not stopping until we're out of here!
Tuesday, July 18, 2006
The SHP laptop is acting really hinky so we caved in and bought another Gateway laptop, opting for the extended warranty as I no longer trust any computer manufacturer to build a quality product. Lots of DRAM, hard drive capacity, 6 pounds lighter than the SHP (which weighs a whopping 12+ pounds) etc. and of course hours of work to get it up to snuff with the old one. In between painting and physical therapy three times a day. I should have gotten one while I was stuck on the couch three weeks ago and going crazy for something to do.
Mom has eyeballed my Konica-Minolta DiMageZ2 camera after taking a couple of pictures for me. She wants me to sell it to her as she likes the feel of it. Hmm, the chance to buy another toy-hard to resist that one as I've been wanting a camera with a faster shutter speed recovery. I'm sure there's a more appropriate term for that, but I'm not that big a camera buff and the term eludes me. So some research is required to find that right combination of optical zoom, enough mega pixels, shutter speed and reasonable price. I don't ask for much. Heh.
Sunday, July 16, 2006
There's a bitter lemon & vodka calling my name--now that's a hot weather cooler.
Friday, July 14, 2006
Of course, growing up in Kettering I was familiar with the history of the area as a settlement of "Shakers" or Shaking Quakers. The name "Shakers" came from the fact that during worship services the members would shake their bodies while moving their arms and legs. They believed in communal living, celibacy and equality for all. The original group of Shakers established a settlement called Watervliet in New York and when they divided into four segments to establish new settlements the part of the "family" that arrived in the Montgomery/Greene County area named itself Watervliet after the original settlement. Watervliet, Ohio flourished from the early 1800s to 1900 with the members supported themselves by selling seeds and farm produce. Eventually, membership dwindled since the adults were celibate so the only way to enlarge the "family" was by adopting children or assimilating new members from the area so the farm land and buildings were sold and the remaining members moved to the Lebanon, Ohio area. For years afterward, the large farm buildings and land were used for raising crops and cattle to supply food and milk and meat for the Dayton State Hospital (the hospital for the "insane" in those politically incorrect times).
What I also discovered online (I just love the Internet) was that the state of Ohio had placed another historical marker in the area while we've been traveling; one along Mad River Road south of Kettering. For years, Mad River Road was the easiest route for us to use to get to the Dayton Mall and it was always a pleasant and scenic drive due to the large, upper-middle class homes and thickly wooded lawns. What I discovered by searching through the Remarkable Ohio website was that Mad River Road was actually part of the first road cut between Cincinnati and Dayton in 1795 and is the last remaining traceable portion per survey records. I guess I always assumed that either Far Hills (State Route 48) or S. Dixie Drive (US Route 25) was the main thoroughfare between Cinci and Dayton that simply developed into the more traveled routes they have become today. So although I lived in this area for 45+ years, I'm still learning about it. And considering there are over 1,000 historical markers in Ohio alone, I imagine you could spend a life time traveling across the country looking for historical markers and learning about the area. Hmm, I'll stick with our goal of playing golf in all 50 states, even though my golf playing days are currently on hold. But hey, if we see a marker along the road and there is a place to pull over....
Well, he's being given the opportunity to flaunt his stuff "officially", per the story in the Dayton Daily News copied below.
Holiday light wizard to show off in Mason
Deerfield twp. computer programmer to move rockin' display from his house to city parkBy Christopher Magan
Thursday, July 13, 2006
MASON — Christmas comes early this year for Mason residents.
Carson Williams, who wowed the nation in December by synchronizing more than 25,000 lights to holiday and rock music at his Deerfield Twp. home, has agreed to design a show in Mason's Heritage Oak Park on U.S. 42.
"I really wanted to do something here and give back to the community," he said Thursday.
Video of Williams' rocking display lit up web sites and TV news shows across the country and touched off interest from businesses and communities, he said. Shows also are planned in Colorado and West Virginia.
On Thursday afternoon, Williams signed a contract with the Festivals of Mason, a private community group, to create a holiday illumination twice the size of the one that snarled traffic in his neighborhood and forced him to shut down the spectacle.
"We are really excited about it," said Tom Kaper, a leader of Festivals of Mason, which organizes the annual Heritage Festival in August and Christmas in Mason in December.
Plans are to construct two replicas of the facade åof Williams' Deerfield Twp. house in the Mason park, where up to 800 carloads of people will be able to see the show each night, Kaper said. Performances will run throughout December, starting after Christmas in Mason on Dec. 1.
Programming the light show using computer software is a daunting task, Williams said. It takes about three hours for each minute set to music.
"I'm going to be a busy man come September," he said.
His holiday soundtrack is broadcast to car radios over a low-frequency FM transmitter.
Admission will be charged for each vehicle, Kaper said. Williams will be paid an undisclosed percentage of the proceeds and Festivals of Mason will kept the remaining profits to fund future festivals.
Mason city officials are working with Kaper and Williams to put on the show and plan to make it an annual attraction.
"We hope its something that can get bigger and better every year," said Mayor Charlene Pelfrey. "A real family Christmas destination."
Wednesday, July 12, 2006
Bwaahaahaa Bill did a happy dance today; at Monday's therapy my knee bent 68 degrees; after much hard work and with Denny's assistance (he pushes against my bent leg) two mornings later I was able to bend it to 90 degrees pulling it in with a strap. Yay for me! Can you tell we're anxious to get out of Ohio? Heh.
Today was supposed to be the clear-the-garage-major-garage sale at my mother's house; family members had been dumping stuff in her garage for months for "whenever you have your next sale". So my mom got it all set up priced, had some family come by to assist today and bam, the skies opened up. The driveway was lined with boxes of paperback books, cardboard boxes of cookware and bakeware, boxed toys, etc. all of which were getting soaked, so we covered them with sheets of plastic. Which of course meant that no one could see what was there, not that they wanted to stand in the rain to look at stuff anyway. It would pour rain and then stop, pour rain and then stop and then it poured and poured and poured so we gave up, got drenched dragging everything into the two garages and closed up. So naturally, an hour and a half later the sun came out. But we were done until tomorrow where we'll try again. When it's supposed to rain. Garage sale Part II. Sigh.
Can we leave yet?
Tuesday, July 11, 2006
As soon as we got back to the house we started looking through our membership campground books to see where we could stay in northern Ohio to break the trip up. I went online to make reservations at the first two locations and called about the third one. It looks like we'll be leaving here on August 7 and returning on September 11, which will make a nice break for us and for my mother.
Of course, we haven't cleared this with my orthopedic surgeon yet, but I figure all he does is poke my knee and ask me how I'm doing so I figure he won't even notice if I don't show up for a few weeks. Now that we have definite plans to hit the road that gives me extra incentive to work harder at getting this recalcitrant knee of mine to flex a little more. We even ran to the local St. Vincent de Paul thrift shop where we found an old exercise bicycle to use; I can only go forward and back half-way on the pedals at this point but it helps to move the joint and we can put it in the rig when we leave. Anything to get our lives back on track and to be back on the road.
Are we excited? You betcha!
Monday, July 10, 2006
At the viewing later this week there will be lots of "Jim stories", lots of reminiscing about "the old days" when you had no back up officer when you had to wade into a bar fight because the only other officer working nights with you was on the other side of town, when you smacked a drunk up side the head to get his attention and he respected you for it, when there was no such thing as a portable radio to call for assistance when you were out of your cruiser so you had to be prepared to deal with whatever the problem was on your own. There will be lots of laughter from the retired officers, the soon-to-be-retired officers and those who remember "the old days". The younger, newer officers will be there in force, because that's how folks in law enforcement are; they are there for each other. And they will raise their eyebrows and shake their heads in dismay about the way the old guys dealt with people on the street back then, because they can't comprehend what the job was like back then. And that's okay, because times have changed in law enforcement and that's good, for the most part.
What will never change is the way we stick together for each other. Happy Trails, Jim.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
Happy Lazy Sunday!