Tuesday, October 31, 2006

How much longer can we live/stay in this mess???!!!!

I had an appointment to take my Cedar Creek RV (TheHowserHouse) to Park Hills, about 25 miles up the road, this morning. Of course, my contractor left his construction trailer in our driveway last night, so I couldn't get mine out until he arrived a bit after 8 this morning(he had to take his daughter to school). Then......

The 1st Lady was up in the middle of the night......looking at the cabinets that they hung yesterday and.....she didn't like how close the top of the cabs. were to the ceiling......so, she got me up early and we discussed this. And.....we decided that we wanted them lowered.......and our contractor, who is such a great guy, said he could do it without too much difficulty.

By that time, I had to leave, as I was late for the appointment. And......to make matters worse, it was really pouring buckets of rain on the trip to Griffon Trailer Town!!!! They service Forest River trailers/5ers as well as sell and service Carriage RVs. I left it with them.....and returned home quickly to assist, if needed, to change the heights of the cabinets.

After all of that.......we were like.....hibernating in our den. The mess is becoming almost totally unbearable......we can't even walk across the living room. Now, don't get me wrong.....progress is being made, but the clutter of tools, cabinets, packing and cartons, plus our "stuff" is just becoming tooooooooooooooooooooooo much for us. On top of the contracting crew......the plumbers were here this afternoon to hook up the water.....and get some of the under-the-house pipes changed and re-arranged. All of this was accomplished while under the house in the mud.

And so........we finish one more day in this MESS.......any bets as to when it will be finished????? If you have some "insider" information.......please let me know....OK????!!!!

But, nevertheless.........even with ALL of this.....

Life is Great.....and I hope it is for all of you, also!

Monday, October 30, 2006

FINALLY.......the kitchen cabinets are being hung

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Little by little......the cabinets go up

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Back in S.E. Missouri......

Having spent last night and most of this morning in Eldon with my mother, we returned this afternoon to Buford Heights and both of TheHowserHouse(s). We had a very good visit with the matriarch of the family.......she is evolving as her years of Life increase. I am beginning to be concerned about just how much longer she can continue to live by herself.........by herself in the little house in which she has spent over 50 years. At 93, her spine and, hence, her legs are beginning to weaken and wear out.......and she no longer can walk without much assistance. Sooooo, my mind is in turmoil as to alternatives for her.............

The contractor's crew were really going full steam when we walked into the house. AND......the cabinets are starting to be hung on the walls!!!!!! At last....AT LAST!!!!! Can it possibly that they might....just might finish this week???? If not.....it won't be many more days past this week, surely!!! Of course.....there remains much left to do, including ALL of the hardwood floors in our house have to be completely refinished.......guess what???!!! MORE "stuff" to move around.......DAMN!!!! I am hoping that by Thanksgiving Dinner......we will be finished with everything.......is that being toooooooooo optimistic???

I had to laugh.......after about an hour here at home this afternoon, the 1st Lady looked at me and smilingly said, "Why did we hurry home? There is no place to go, nor can we do anything in this horrific mess right now!" Ahhhhh.......such honest truth has not been spoken by her in a long time!!!!

Did I mention to you that I have been feeling like myself today???? I was feeling not toooo good yesterday after having overdosed myself the night before with that dark red medicine......and the results were not pleasant!! After consuming three very, very large doses of it.......and then over-eating the wonderful boiled prawns, lobster stuffed mushrooms, a wonderful chopped mixed salad with bleu cheese crumbles and slivered almonds, a magnificent halibut steak cooked in a rich lemon white wine sauce, and a liquid dessert which was the most wonderful chocolate martini that just slid down soooooo easily..........yes, I was beyond driving back to the Resort, so the 1st Lady had to take the wheel.....at my advice!!! All of this great cuisine was very close to being sinful!!

For those of you who might be interested....there are pictures of the Board of Education who attended the meeting and sumptuous dinner following this post.

And so.....after a great weekend.....the welcome sight upon returning of our cabinets being hung on the walls.......

LIFE IS GREAT......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!

Dinner at Michael's Steakhouse....Osage Beach, MO

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Kelly and Candace Burlison

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Ken and Dorothy Truska and the Martins

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The Patrick Martin's and Dennis Bess imagining his wife is beside him!

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Sunday, October 29, 2006

Saturday and Today...

SATURDAY AND TODAY!!

Yesterday…….the F’Town Board of Education met for breakfast in the Bear Lodge at 9 AM…….and it was good and also fun to just be together in a different, not so formal setting.

Afterwords……I went to the exhibits and took in a session, but it just wasn’t exactly as I expected, so I managed to leave before it was finished without disturbing anyone.
I caught the shuttle back to the Estate building where we have our suite…and then the 1st Lady and I headed to the Osage Beach Outlet Mall. We had some difficulty finding any REAL bargains……so, the items we purchased were just things that we needed to replace…..such as Harry and David’s jams and jellies.

We returned back to Tan Tar-A and rested a bit, talked with the wife of one of the Bd. Members, and then got ready to leave for dinner. All 12 of us car pooled together as parking on the top of the cliff overlooking the lake is really limited. We dined/wined at Michael’s Steakhouse……compliments of the company we purchased the heating and cooling unit from….for the Middle School.

WELL…….it was just super!!!! I drank somewhat tooo much Rodney Strong Cabernet……but, it was very good and went down soooo easily. We were there for 2.5 hours eating….and everything was just really, really good!!!

Returned to the Estates and crashed quickly……..in fact, I couldn’t drive on the trip back from the restaurant……and am not certain how I got into bed???!!!! Yep……..it was a bit tooooo much of my dark red medicine!!!!

SUNDAY(today)….
I woke up at 4 AM…..(new time)….and could not return to sleep. So, rather than toss and turn and wake up the 1st Lady…..I sneaked out of the bedroom, closed the door, and lay on the sofa and watched the tellie for a couple of hours. My head was slightly out of shape this morning……and so it took me most of the morning to get it back into the proper configuration.

We had brunch at 11 AM at “On the Rise”…….a GREAT restaurant with a very contemporary menu full of “new” selections. Oh yeah…….it, tooooo, is really, really good!!!! We ate outside on their patio…..and it was just perfect!!!!!

We then drove to Eldon to spend the remainder of the day with my mother…..and we are spending tonight also. She seems to be doing……well, I guess I would say ….OK……she is just getting old……and at 93, she is expected to be that way. Her legs and back are getting worse…..and that is her main problem. Her mind……is good……just a small problem of repeating herself. CRAP….I do that myself.

Sooooo, we spent the afternoon visiting, driving around town so she could get out and about and see some of the areas of town that she hadn’t seen in awhile, and then ordered pizza for supper.
Now…..it is about time for “The Amazing Race”!!!! So……even with a head out of shape today……

Life is Great….and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Rain all the way.....

FRIDAY…….

The alarm shouted loudly in my left ear…..and so I struggled to lift myself back to the normal(?) upright position that I must use during my waking hours. Stumbling over kitchen cabinets, a coffee table with feet that stick out past the edge of the beveled glass top, and around the dining room table laden with boxes of kitchen items which is now sitting in the not so wide hallway……and finally arriving at the bathroom to begin my morning tasks: getting my sagging hulk into some hot water to shrink (HAHA) all of my blubbery self(never works!!!).

By 7 pm I was headed to the RV in the driveway and making my French Roast coffee. Turning on the tellie out there, I quickly realized that ALL of the low numbered channels were now very, very snowy…..almost initiating the dreaded blue screen!! This DAMN Concertone system is giving me fits once again…..and there is absolutely nothing I can personally do about it!!!! After pulling cables and cords from the tellie AND from the inputs in the wall behind the tellie……..I realized that it is obviously coming from the cable that runs from the Concertone box to the tellie. NOW…….I am at a lost because I have had TheHowserHouse to three different Cedar Creek dealers with very good repair shops, BUT…..none of them have cable tv in their repair facilities and so they cannot see or experience what I am attempting to describe to them…..and therefore, they can’t get it fixed.

This is my second Concertone system…..having had one installed just before my first year warranty expired. The extended warranty that I have does not…..damn it…..cover audio/visual systems. And sooooo……..I am at a loss…….what do I do???

We finally pulled out of the driveway around nine this morning…..and literally fought and swam all 200 miles to the Lake of the Ozarks. The weather was just horrific……it never stopped raining …..a harsh downpour…..all the way, which made for very, very slow driving to be safe.
We arrived around 2 pm and stopped at a couple of very nice lighting stores……and received some good online websites for modern mini-pendants. Then it was to Tan Tar-A Resort and after getting my key card at the registration desk, we drove…..almost to Kansas…..to where our Estate building was located. I won’t complain, though, because we have a really large suite: a huge living room, kitchen, and a LARGE bedroom with an average bath. Two tellies are in the suite and in the kitchen…….all kinds of appliances in the kitchen!! We also have a screened-in porch which overlooks a beautiful cove on the Lake. All in all……a very nice “room” from a resort that is showing large aging signs all through the grounds.

The 1st Lady and I got situated in the suite and then headed out to do some shopping and looking….including a bit of time at the Outlet Mall……..with over 110 stores/shops in the complex. Pier 1 was our next stop and then……it was a quick trip from there to Outback Steakhouse.

We ate our normal steaks and while a bit over-cooked, they flavor was very good, the service was good, and the price was good. On the way out, I looked over the rest of the place and my eyes stopped on a familiar face……..friends of ours from our years in Eldon…..Jim and Annetta Guilford. They were both educators/administrators and are now retired……and so, we stood by their table and visited with them for 15 minutes or so. We had not seen them for several years, so it WAS good to see them again.

From there it was back to the Resort and we made ourselves comfortable for the last, hopefully, game of the World Series. And now………with the game in the 6th inning……

Life is Great…..and I hope it is for all of you, also!!! (NO internet service in the Estate Suites so I can’t post this evening!!!)

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Ugly and Nasty.....one of those dreary days...again!

ANOTHER day of mist, clouds, drizzle, fog.......and, as above.....NASTY!!! I pulled my hulk out of bed at 6:30.....once again not knowing when the work crew would arrive. After a hot shower, I headed out to TheHowserHouse in my driveway.....plugged in the coffee maker, turned on the tellie, and waited until that wonderful aroma of freshly ground French Roast coffee beans began to fill the rv. And soon.....I was sipping a hot, steaming cup of that dark brew......GREAT. WHAT a way to start the day.......can't be beat.

I woke up the 1st Lady around 8am.....and soon afterwards the drywallers were here again.....finishing the taping and mudding(for the first time). The 1st Lady and I left around 9am for Cape Girardeau to visit a couple of lighting stores......still looking for JUST the right pendant lights to hang over our counter/bar. Did we locate them??? NOPE.......but, I think we are quite a bit closer to finding what we would like. Guess we are just tooooooooooo DAMN picky!!!!!

We had lunch at The Olive Garden while down there. I believe that this is the first time we have eaten lunch there. We had the soup, salad, and bread sticks.......which are all refillable!! The salads were not quite as good as usual....believe they needed a touch more dressing on them.....but they were good enough that we had the salad bowl refilled....hahah!! The soups were very good.....she had the Minestrone and I had the Pasta .... ..... Sorry....I can't remember the correct name, but it was quite delicious!!!! It had very small portions of pasta, some ground beef, white beans, and tomatoes in a wonderfully seasoned tomato based broth. It was highly peppered which gave it quite a bite......yum...yum!!!

We went to Pier 1.....bought a couple of little items that were on clearance sale......dirt cheap.....in fact, maybe cheaper than dirt. What a surprise!!! The Barnes & Noble bookstore has moved into a new area of the shopping mall there!!!! WOW......that just shows me how LONG it has been since we have been to Cape!!! Consequently, we didn't go over there......even though I was in need of a great cappuccino!!

Returning in the nasty drizzle.....we arrived back home late afternoon. Good Grief!!! The price of regular gas went up $.06 per gallon in the few hours we were down at Cape!!!! Here we go again.......!!!!

The 1st Lady had a Beta Sigma Phi sorority meeting to attend this evening, so I began to get some things ready for our next little trip. However, I had a phone call from a member of the Cedar Creek RV Owners Club to discuss some common problems we have with our rigs. It all seems to revolve around the cable tv connections on the outside of the 5er.......and I firmly believe that some of my problems are happening within the wall of the RV......perhaps a staple in the wiring.....a crimped wire.....etc., etc. And.....short of operating on the wall and tearing it apart, there is not a good way to determine is this is the problem.

Our little trip???? I have a Missouri state meeting of the Mo. School Board Association over at Osage Beach.....at the Tan Tara Resort. So, the 1st Lady and I are leaving in the morning for the weekend........or at least those are our plans of now. I WILL remember to turn on the alarms in the morning.....as usual!!!!!!

While over there I plan to visit with the "ever ready battery"......my mother who is 93 years old. I have written about her frequently......and as anyone who knows her will say.....she is the crown jewel of our family. Such a great mind which has become captured in a shell of a body that is beginning to make it difficult for her to accomplish very much. She could have surgery and it would be corrected.....BUT.....she IS 93 and this is a bit tooooo old to have surgery on her back.

We also hope that we can visit with my sister who lives in the Lake area......and with Mike and Merrie......friends of ours that grow more wonderful as the years go by. Mike was a student of mine...graduating from Eldon H.S. in 1982, and in a few short years he was a high school band director!!! And WHAT a great job he did. However....he is now in administration.....serving as the Assistant High School Principal at Osage High School. With two teenage boys who will be heading off to college in a few short years.......there IS more money in administration!!!!

Sooooo, with a few great meals to be anticipated while in the Lake area.......I know that when we return, it will be calorie counting time again!! But......as always......

Life is GREAT.......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

What a dreary, cold day!!

I was on my feet and vertical by 6:30 this morning........and out in TheHowserHouse by 7am, the coffee dripping, and the fireplace going strong. It began drizzling by mid-morning as we sat and listened to not only the rain, but the noise from the taping and mudding that was occurring in our kitchen-to-be.

The rain continued most of the day.....off and on, but mostly on. I made one trip out to the Post Office......and then just stayed in the study/den with the tellie on. The dust is getting worse in the house and will become unbearable when they begin the sanding process of the drywalling. I have to get some more plastic to go across the doorway into the new tellie room......and then we have some more covering to do in the living room. It won't be long before we will be wearing face masks in order to do any serious breathing.....!!

I had my four music students this afternoon......and they had to almost go sideways just to get through the mess to reach the piano. UGH!!!!! Sure is getting on my nerves with all of this crap sitting around EVERYWHERE!!!!!

This evening we waited for the Cards World Series game.....but, alas....it was not to be. The rains continued and are to do the same tomorrow. Guess we'll see........

Do you get the feeling from here that it was a rather boring day????? Well, it sure as hell was!!! It was not the way I enjoy spending a day..........watching the tellie in a cluttered room is not "my cup of tea"!!!! Got to get out of here tomorrow......no matter what!!!

And so.....even though the day was not a necessarily good one,........

Life IS Great......and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Time to get started....!!

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Dry wall to become part of TheHowserHouse(stick/brick)

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Ceiling dry wall gets screwed...

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Monday...and Today....

Yesterday we awoke at Sam Baker to a very chilly morning....cloudy and breezy but it only made the foliage colors more intense under the darkened sky. We had our Fr. Roast(me) and hot tea(1st Lady) and just enjoyed our XM radio....listening to news and music. About mid-morning the sun finally decided to join us and so we decided to take a little walk along the bank of Big Creek. It was running fast and soooo very clear........such a beautiful small stream.

These southeast Missouri streams are incredible.......so clear, so clean, and such a joy to watch as they flow swiftly into the various lakes in our part of the state. They are soooo different than the streams of northern Missouri which tend to be really dingy and chocolate colored. Too much farming "mud"????? I wonder.......

After lunch we decided to get things stored in their proper locations for traveling. I began preparing TheHowserHouse for the small.....very small....trip back to our stick and brick. I usually check the roof of the slides.....and I was certainly glad that I climbed up on top of the roof....because the slides were partially covered with dead leaves and twigs from the winds of the weekend. So, I swept off the slide roofs and then made the final preps for hooking up to the truck.

After "dumping" a bit of waste water, we pulled out of the Park......and 40 minutes later we were pulling into F'town and soon we were up on Buford Heights. I had to request some of the crew working on our kitchen to kindly move their vehicles so I could begin the arduous task of backing into the driveway. Now....for those of you who have not seen our driveway....it is at 90 degree turn into it as I back the RV......and with my entire rig(RV and truck) being almost 53 feet long, this backing becomes quite an ordeal.....sometimes.

Our street is not wide enough to make the backing turn like I would like to do, so I always have to come into the driveway at an angle. Lucky for me, there is a two car width drive across the street from my drive....and so I then pull over and up into that driveway and begin the task of jockying back and forth until I get the RV into the proper location. Well......yesterday, it just wasn't working right!!!! I NEVER get the Rv in the same spot each time......it is always a bit different. And yesterday.....well, I began to get angry with myself as I just couldn't get it in the right spot. BUT......after more attempts than ever before, I finally got it close enough to the correct spot.....and shut it down, unhooking, and setting it up to "live in" and cook in until the kitchen is completed. It was an excellent four days.....and sooooo wonderful to "get away" from the stress of this remodeling.....and to just get to be with the 1st Lady without all of the decision making worries.

Most of the electrical work had been completed since we left, a complete new header across the area which we opened up into the sun room, and the rooms about ready for the drywall work.
Progress is being made!

During the evening....well, we just kicked back and enjoyed the plasma.....a FAR cry from the one tv channel we received by antenna which gave everyone four eyes....a double image.

Today, MONDAY.......I was up and had the door open for the work crew at 7am. The dry wall crew arrived and before long they were just about finished with their work......except the taping and "mudding" of the walls. Mid-morning I did some errands to the Post Office, the bank, and out to the Bd. of Ed. building to check on a few things.

This afternoon I went up to Farmington to check on the local RV dealer......he sells some Forest River products, along with Carriage 5ers. I needed to get that unstoppable water leak repaired, and I certainly didn't want to have to take it very far. Since I know the owner personally....having worked with his son in high school....we talked about the leak and he made my appointment for next Tuesday morning! We also discussed some educational problems with his older son who has had some problems with getting his degree from one of the universities here in Missouri. I assured him I would pull what strings I could to get some action on this problem........and I will! From what he told me, it certainly sounds like there is some lack of communication and cooperation between Mineral Area College and Central Methodist College/University. This problem, which has been going on for a couple of years, MUST be resolved!!

Before returning home, I stopped and had some of 69 hairs on my head shortened. Makes me a bit balder, but not as dorky looking.....I hope! Still not much to work with at my age.....but it never hurts to try to improve oneself, does it??????? (Answer correctly, please).

And sooooo, another day in TheHowserHouse has slipped away........I am another day older, and a bit more balder(is that a word??). Tomorrow.......well, we'll see what it brings.....rain, I hear!

Even if this house is in horrendous shape with all of dust, insulation, furniture, cabinets, etc., etc. all around, I still find that.....

Life is Great.....and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!!!

Monday, October 23, 2006

TheHowserHouse at Sam Baker State Park

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In need of a decal: "TheHowserHouse"

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Our supper hosts in Sam Baker State Park

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A bit chilly for floating down Big Creek!!

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The beginning of our 4 mile hike..

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Big Creek....a great place to go tubing.....

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Our swimming hole......YEARS ago....

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The top of a bluff....

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The trial is blocked....

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Fall Foliage

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THURS thru SUNDAY.....(keep reading!!!)

THURSDAY………

A very busy morning as when the contractors arrived we were in the process of preparing to go to Bonne Terre to visit Michael. They needed us to measure and decide EXACTLY where we wanted the four recessed can lights placed as well as the two lights in the sun room’s ceiling. Then the last choices on the light receptacles and switch placements had to be made.

Then they reminded me that I needed to give them the can lights today……and I had forgotten to run up to Farmington yesterday. Sooooo, I sent the 1st Lady on to Bonne Terre and then I went up to the electrical supply place where I had ordered the 5” can lights. They were there this time…..and so I made a quick payment and turned around and returned to F’Town and gave them to the contractor. More decisions had to be made on the ceilings…..and then I drove up to Bonne Terre.

We both returned after lunch and then finished loading TheHowserHouse so that we could leave for Sam A Baker State Park to remain until Monday. Since I am sitting in TheHowserHouse in the Park right now……I cannot check my blog to remind myself exactly what I told you Wed when I last wrote. I discovered that I had a serious leak with my fresh water intake/storage tanks……..soooooo, we cannot use any fresh water, either by hose connection or by putting it in the 60 gallon fresh water tank. This means we have to bring in water to use in cooking or drinking…….so we have a 5 gallon “jug” ( not a real jug)….that we use to fill the fresh water tank when we do not have a connection with a hose……i.e…..like in the Teton National Park when there are no water hookups.

Anyway…….we arrived at Sam Baker in the middle of a cold rain…..but we had reservations and it took very little time to get TheHowserHouse backed into the paved site and hooked up to electricity. Soon, the inside was toasty warm as I turned on the furnace and we were soon sitting in front of the fireplace with a cup of hot tea to take the chill off.

We have no cell phone service down here in the forest and Missouri mountains(????), so I have no online connection, either. On the other hand, we can pick up ONE tv station AND…..I have great reception on my XM Radio!!!! As it was chilly and wet, we remained inside and watched CBS…..and then listened to the Cards WIN the NL championship and head on to the World Series.

I would certainly recommend highly that if you get an RV……go ahead and pay the couple of hundred dollars extra and get the fireplace!!!!!!! It warms the rooms sooooo nicely….and is nice and cheery on a cool fall evening. WELL WORTH the cost!!!!

After the game, we enjoyed the quiet…..only about 5 other rvs here and just read until we gave up and went upstairs to bed.

And with the warmth and quietness……

Life is Great……and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!


FRIDAY……

The temps last night dipped into the low, low 30’s……but inside TheHowserHouse it was nice and warm. I awoke around 7:30 this morning and tried to sneak downstairs, but think the 1st Lady was awakened. I closed the bedroom door and then got my coffee dripping……Fr. Roast, of course!

I watched the CBS Early Show……what choice did I have??? NONE!! HAHAHA……but it wasn’t toooo bad. When the 1st Lady came down…..I popped some Cinnamon Buns into the Convection Microwave…..and they cooked perfectly in a few minutes. After tea and Fr. Coffee, the two of us decided to take a walk on such an incredibly gorgeous morning. It was crisp and chilly……..sweatshirts and coats were needed……and before long we were walking besides Big Creek……a fast moving wide stream that is crystal clear. The path is paved for bicycles and walkers…..and so we walked the 2.5 miles up to the other cg here in the Park…..and then stopped in the cg Office and informed them that we arrived last night as our reservations stated.

We then returned to TheHowserHouse arriving about 12:30.…..a GREAT walk through some beautiful fall foliage…….very, very colorful with LOTS of yellows and oranges!!! GREAT!!!
The afternoon just disappeared as we gathered some small tree limbs/twigs to use as kindling for our cg fire……and then drove outside of the Park to a place where you can purchase firewood for next to nothing…….15 logs for $3.00!!!!! Returning home……we sat in the sun, did some reading….and then watched the tons of rvs arriving for the weekend. This is a large cg and has only about 5 or 6 sites that cannot be reserved…..and so it is necessary to reserve a site at this time of the year, which we had done earlier this week.

Tonight, it was fire roasted hot dogs, some baked beans cooked in TheHowserHouse, and then marshmallows cooked over the open fire. The sun dropped quickly behind the “mts.” and the valley chilled quickly as we sat by the fire……getting very, very smoky!!!! Soooo, about 8pm, we went back inside, turned on the fireplace and watched a very poor reception of CBS’s programming on the tellie.

Fantastic weather for using TheHowserHouse in a fantastic setting……..and so,

Life is GREAT…..and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!


SATURDAY……

WHAT a beautiful October day here in Sam Baker State Park!!!!! Even better than yesterday………it was much warmer, even though the wind was blowing……making the leaves dance and fly throughout the park. Just incredible……

We had our Fr. Coffee and hot tea…….and then the 1st Lady decided that we should join the Park sponsored “hike” at 11am. Since the day was sooooo nice, I quickly agreed and we drove up to the trailhead around 10:30. After parking, we ambled over to the trailhead sign and were quickly joined by the young family that are camped right next to us……from Ste. Gen. Of course…….I began talking with them….and soon we were exchanging info about our children…they have three young girls….and our vocations and previous vocations(us). Before long the Park Ranger suggested that we head up the trail…..and by that time there were probably 12-15 others……all with children who were anxious to get going.

The “hike” was not exactly as I anticipated….we stopped often and observed the various sounds and other senses that the forest trail provided. Then we stopped to examine leaves and the different shapes. Soon…….the Park Ranger told us we could continue onwards or return with her to the trailhead. The 1st Lady and I immediately decided to continue and we kept going up the trail until we reached the end of the named trail that we were following……at the swimming hole where we, many years ago, used to use with our inner tubes and then float back down to the campground. After a few minutes, we retraced our steps to the junction of another trail and headed up this one…….switching back and forth, zigging and zagging up the side of a high bluff.
We finally reached the top and then following the trail, we found the #1 Shelter House for hikers that are caught in storms or by the lack of daylight. We enjoyed the view….enjoyed the wonderful colors of the trees…..and then continued onwards, as this trail would take us back to the trailhead, via a different…albeit longer hike. After almost two hours we returned to the truck……..a bit winded, but feeling like we had had a great experience and hike. I would recommend it to anyone……about 4 miles of hiking in the forest and up and down the bluffs. It is part of the Mudlick Mountain trail system here in the Park. It was the PERFECT DAY to do something just like this!

We returned to the cg…..and had some lunch……a bit late at it was almost 2:15pm. I told the 1st Lady that we needed to refill one of our large propane tanks in TheHowserHouse……so, we put the tank/bottle in the truck and headed up close to Annapolis, which the Campground Host had directed us to. This refill place turned out to be a weird little hole in the wall……perhaps a general store/liquor store type of place run by a very backwoods lady……who happily refilled my propane bottle….and charged me an ungodly price for her “work”!!!!! DAMN…….she sure did take advantage of me out here in the “boonies”!!! Oh well……..

We came back to TheHowseHouse……and it wasn’t toooo long before someone knocked on the door…..and when I answered it, ….it was the young lady from next door whom we had met at the trailhead this morning. She asked us over to their trailer site for some chili for supper! What a very pleasant surprise!!!!

So, we grabbed some bowls and went over there………spending a couple of hours with the entire family. Being from Ste. Gen, we found some commonalities……she is a Crisis Counselor….and knows our neighbor across the street there in F’Town!!! Then two of their daughters are in band and so we discussed the previous band director that I know very well……they attend Valle Schools in Ste. Gen. They also told me of the “new” director…..and he and I know each fairly well……he used to teach in Arcadia Valley.

Later we invited them over to see TheHowserHouse……..as they have only recently purchased their first RV…..an older model travel trailer……to see if they enjoy camping as a family. From our discussions, it is quite evident that they made a wise choice for them……the seem to love it.
And sooooooo, the night progressed as the 1st Lady….and the REST of the Campground…..listened to the Cardinal game Game 1 of the World Series….which they just won!!! HURRAY!!

And sooooo, once again….after another beautiful and interesting day……

Life IS Great……and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!


SUNDAY…….

Another beautiful day…..albeit much colder than yesterday. We decided to drive to Wapappello State Park….about 30 miles here, so we packed us a bit of cheese, fruit, and NO wine!! After all…..I am driving and that is the last thing I need right now is either a fender bender or a speeding ticket while under the influence of my dark red medicine!!!

We attempted to get cell phone service all the way down US Hwy 67.…and finally came to the turnoff for the state park and we had some towers on the phone facing. Sooo, we stopped at the junction where there are several permanent flea market stalls. While I browsed and looked, the 1st Lady made several calls to catch up with the family. Then we took off for the park we wanted to see. Well,……..the camping facilities are horrendous!!!! VERY, VERY uneven gravel with the sites barely able to get into with a small unit…..NOTHING for a big rig like ours!!! I was amazed that it was soooo horrific…..and to make matters worse, the STEEP, STEEP descent down to the cg was one that I would never, never be able to pull TheHowserHouse back up to the main road!!!!!!!! Good God……what would I have done had I started down and then had to continue……it would take a semi cab to pull me out of there!!!!

We did park by the lake at the boat ramp and had our cheese and fruit and crackers. It was soooooo windy and cold that we just picnicked in the cab of the truck…..hahaha. We did read the STL Post Sunday paper that we had purchased at a gas stop.

Returning to Sam Baker State Park, we took a brief detour to go to the COE Old Greenville campground. It is a lovely place with many wonderful sites…..and so we made a promise to ourselves to return there and spend some time. PLUS….with my “Golden Age Passport” from the National Park System…..it will only cost us half of the regular fee for camping…..a GREAT deal for us old age seniors!!!!

Came back to our cg and snuggled in for the evening with the cold winds blowing. We turned on the fireplace, grabbed our current reading materials, and enjoyed the evening in the den of TheHowserHouse.

And soooooo, with another beautiful October day without any responsibilities to worry about……

LIFE IS GREAT…..and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

ALIVE.....my lappie made it, albeit with visual scars!!!!

This morning I received a phone call from the individual in charge at the pc ER room........notifying me, the next of kin, that my lappie had made it through the night!!!! AND.....having had surgery and all of it's parts had laid on the table all night under fans, it was put back together again and was up and running!!!!!!! Joy raced through my aging hulk.......and then I asked if there were any problem at all. The keyboard needed to be replaced......and the screen on the monitor was scarred just a bit with three very narrow lines that run vertically on the right had side of the screen.......and the bottom two-thirds of the screen looks like it has been textured with a light gray wash over the whites of the monitor. IF that is all as the time goes by, then it is very, very liveable!!!!!!!

The 1st Lady came back through STL today and picked it up and gently transported it back here to TheHowserHouse, and I have spent several hours with it on making certain that all programs are in working order. So far......so good!!! Nothing was lost.......and as I said, just a few visual scars from the ordeal of being drowned...almost....in Fr. Roast coffee! HURRAY!!!!!!

Today....I was up at 6am as the floor individual was to arrive EARLY and so he did....at 7am! I had already had my Fr. Roast.......FAR, FAR away from any computer......and Marvin......Marvin Starkey.....began the preps for the laying of the hardwood flooring.....short red oak boards. He worked straight through until 1:45pm this afternoon, and the floor is laid. Now the finishing of it will be after the rest of the room is completed and we are ready for the entire hardwood floors of our home are ready for refinishing.

I discovered a leaking problem in the rolling HowserHouse this afternoon.......and I am getting more upset at what seems to be a growing number of problems with it. Perhaps it is just me.......but it seems that there are toooooo many things that have not worked correctly in this unit for the price I paid. We'll see.......don't want to be negative about it......just that today it seemed like the glass was half empty.

This evening the 1st Lady and I ran up to Farmington for dinner at a new Mexican restaurant. And......I must report that it was as good, if not better, than any other Mexicano restaurant in the area!!! GREAT!!!! The place is totally new with some great hand-painted murals on the walls and some Mexicano decor, but not overly done.......not "in your face" decor!!! GREAT!!!!

Sooooo, another day has gone by. We are planning to go to Sam A. Baker State Park for the weekend, leaving sometime tomorrow and returning Monday. Therefore, I will be in the boonies and without cell phone, hence no internet, on-line connection from which to post any of my rambling thoughts. IF....IF we are anywhere that I can get online, I will makes a post or two to keep everyone informed as to TheHowserHouse.

And so,......with this report being sent from my dried-out lappie.......

Life is GREAT.....and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

The wall comes down to join the kitchen with the Sun Room

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The opened wallway from the Sun Room to Kitchen "Shell"

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The wall comes down and opens to Sun Room

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OMG....Fr. Roast coffee DROWNED my lappie!!!!!!!

I can't believe it.....still.....and it has been over 12 hours since it happened!!!!!!!!! I was putting my wonderful, friendly lappie down on the floor(there is NO place to put anything in this mess)....and the cord hit my large cup of Fr. Roast coffee which was full......and the entire damn cup tipped over onto my lappie, while it was turned on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was in such shock that I just grabbed it up, turned it over, slapped it on it's little gray back, and TONS of hot coffee ran out of the keyboard and other orfices .....drenching the sofa and floor below. I quickly turned it off and then grabbed my Toshiba file and called the Toshiba Service/Help center. Luckly I was connected quickly to a real human and they told me to remove the battery so no power would remain on.

I then asked for Tech assistance here in this area.....and they gave me the address and phone number of the Toshiba Service/Repair center in STL. I called them and they told me to bring it on up......medical air/evac if possible. Well, I have no access to a helicopter and no pc medical insurance, so I had planned to be in STL this morning anyway......and so, I hurridly got my things together, and after breaking my disastrous news to the 1st Lady, I left for the city.

I had to take the two cabinet doors and one shelf from those cabinets so that the glass inserts could be made along with glass shelves......so the interior lights will shine out, and down through the shelves. I also needed to pick up the granite tiles for the countertop.

Rushing up the highway......I quickly located on South Brentwood, south of the Galleria, the PC Hospital.....and carried the little lappie inside very carefully, laying it on the counter with loving care. Talking with the pc ER tech guy, I explained how my little lappie had been under hot Fr. Roast coffee for some time now and discussed the prognosis for it. He couldn't give me any optimistic news.....just that they would do surgery immediately to attempt to get all of the Fr. Roast out of it's little system. It might be several days before I will get any news about it.......and so, the only good news he could give me was that I was lucky it didn't catch on fire or begin smoking!!! I watched the ER Tech carry it back into the back rooms of the pc ER.....and then turned and left, very depressed..... and angry with myself for being soooooo damned stupid to allow a stupid accident like that to happen!!!!!!!! I now will just wait......and wait.....and wait....until I hear from the pc Hospital!!!

I then went over to South Kingshighway to take my cab. doors and shelf. There I talked with Paul.....the salesman at Modern Kitchens and Baths who has been such a wonderful help with the design and order of our new cabinets. We talked about several things and again, he told me if there is ANYTHING AT ALL wrong with the cabs. to call him immediately and they would take care of the problem! Such a GREAT store........I HIGHLY recommend them to anyone in the STL area if you need new cabinets or bath items for your home/apt./loft.!!!!

From there, it was a quick stop at a Lowe's in Crestwood to make change in the undercabinet lights........a slight problem with the type I purchased and so I returned them for another set of seven lights. Then it was off to west Manchester.....Ellisville.....to The Tile Shop to pick up our VERY HEAVY order of very large granite tiles for our new countertop. Another really super salesman.....Don Smith......and he quickly got my order processed and I drove around to the rear of the wonderful store/showroom and had the truck loaded with the tiles.

Then it was more fighting of heavy traffic, as it had been the entire day, and headed to Festus to another lighting store. Looking for pendant lights for over our bar/counter, along with new lighting for the sun room ceiling. And then........by 3;45pm I was back in F'town to discuss the ongoing kitchen demolition with the contractor.

They left shortly after 4pm, but said the would return at 6pm to finish getting the floor ready for the hardwood to be laid in the morning. I got ready for the school board meeting at the Bd. of Education Building......and now after the meeting, I am home using the 1st Lady's lappie.....which I DARE NOT get any liquids close to when I am using it. She is off to the Moser Estate to watch over Meaghan and Ava this evening while Dr. Jeni has her evening office hours. Darrel is off to S. Carolina for a series of three races that he will drive in this week.

Sooooo, after this sad and emotional post about my dearest companion and friend, my little lappie......I will close for tonight. It just doesn't feel right to be using someone else's keyboard to make this post!!!!!! I wonder if my little lappie is in ICU????? Is it lonely???? Will it recover???? I am sooooooooo damn upset......and a bit emotional over this incident.

And so, even though it has been a very difficult day for this aging old hulk,

Life is Great(I think?).......and I hope it is definitely a great one for all of you.

Monday, October 16, 2006

A LAST look before the destruction begins

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Soon to be gone....

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