Saturday, June 30, 2007

Finished....at last!

Another early morning.......another day of early "STUFF" shoppers!!! I stayed with the STUFF sale all morning and into the early afternoon. Many more furniture pieces were sold, loaded, and transported away from TheHowserHouse(stick/brick) during the day.......and I was not upset to see them disappear down the street.....AT ALL!!! We diminished the STUFF from our garage in a HUGE way..........difficult to believe, but sooooo much is now in the hands, the homes, and the sheds of many others.....GREAT!!!

We closed down the sale about 2pm......pulled what was left into the garage.....and decided we would sort and dispose of the remains in the next couple of days. We made quite a few $$$....much more than any other garage sale we have had here in F'town......and that is exciting. Get rid of the STUFF and pocket some cash.

This evening.......we and Andrew and Laura Gipson went to Farmington and had dinner at the local Pasta House there. We visited and discussed sooooo many topics that the meal was certainly secondary to our time together. These times seem few and far between.....and that is not so good. We need to change that........as soon as we can get our schedules coordinated.......is that possible?????? I doubt it!!! But....perhaps we can work on it a bit more......

This morning at the STUFF sale another former student stopped by.......Derek Smith who now resides in St Louis, working at Washington University. SOOOOO good to see him again.......even tho he was not a band student, he took one of my non-performing music classes, as well as going to Europe with me a few years ago. Amazing how many of my students are now such wonderful friends.........but, even as students they were friends. And that is what made my 30 years of teaching sooooo much fun and sooooo rewarding! How can it be anything other than........

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

Friday, June 29, 2007

"STUFF SALE" scenes.....




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One day down......one to go!!

WOW....I was up at 5:30 this morning......a very quick 1/2 cup of Fr. Roast coffee and I was opening the garage door. I began to move the saw horses and boards, tables, and everything that we planned to set outside the garage....as quickly as I could. The weather did not look very cooperative, but.......the show most go on!

At 6:15 the first car was parking and our first "customer/looker" was arriving 1 hour and 45 minutes before we were to begin this "Stuff Sale"!!!! And from that time forward......the people were arriving constantly. This continued until almost 11 AM.......and we did have many of our "big ticket" items sold: the two sofas, three area rugs, one dresser, a large square coffee table, the breakfast table and four chairs, etc., etc., etc.

Late in the morning, it began to sprinkle, so we quickly moved all of the STUFF back inside which was really not good for proper viewing/looking of everything. But......in less than 15 minutes, the sun slipped through the haze and dark clouds and we quickly returned everything back to the driveway.

The afternoon was rather a long one.......as the surge of people slowed down drastically after lunch. I sure can't complain because we did get rid of sooooo many of the larger items that needed to go!! And.....we took in almost $600 today.......and still have one more day left. As "STUFF Sales" go here in F'town........this is a pretty large amount of money for one day, so we felt really good.

We did do some creative arranging of the items........put the two matching sofas in a 90 degree angle with one of the area rugs in front of them and the fake ficus tree at the corner. We set the table as if we were going to eat with one of the sets of china that are (still) for sale......put the silver candelabra in the center and laid out some of the placemats under the china. I wanted to have a real setting of the furniture and items to show the lookers what might be possible for them. AND.....it seemed to work!

After a light supper, I spent quite a bit of time cutting the grass as we will be gone for a few days next week. Tomorrow.........another early morning, however......I do not feel we will have the large number of people here like we had this moring......we'll see, we'll see!

And so.....after three days of work, we finished the first day of the "STUFF SALE"......and,

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

Thursday, June 28, 2007

WHEW!!!!! SOOOO hot and humid!!!!!

ALL day......the moisture factor outside, the moisture factor pouring off of me, and finally the moisture factor coming out of the thunderous skies.......it just about did in the 1st Lady and this very, very wet and sagging hulk.

From the very git-go.....we were up and going on this damn STUFF SALE that will be happening on our driveway....and even possibly, IN our garage...tomorrow and Saturday. I can't believe how quickly the day drained away, both time-wise and energy wise! We worked all morning and into the early afternoon before we came to a brief halt to have lunch. We made the decision that some of the items would have to remain in the garage, which meant that we had to shuffle the STUFF around again so we could have room for potential buyers to walk and look and hopefully, purchase our wonderful STUFF that we would like others to enjoy!!!!!!

Then......our neighbor brought a friend over to see our beautiful and wonderfully enticing STUFF....and before long they decided to give each other an early Christmas gift. They bought the two remaining large European antique plates that we had held out from last week's sale!!!! AND......with these two items, I really and honestly DO hope they enjoy them as much as my family has enjoyed them for over 100 years!!!!! I'm certain you are wondering why we didn't keep them......but, if you have been reading these posts for many months, you will realize that we are getting rid of STUFF, no matter what the age or what the history. I, nor my sister, have had these plates for the 60+ years that we have lived.....and even though we would possibly notice them when they were in our mother's "corner cabinet", they were not something that we could hardly wait to own. I didn't need them for the past 64 years.....and so, why should I need, or want, them now???! As I have found out, it doesn't take long before STUFF is controlling your/my Life........and STUFF is NOT what is important in this short Life that we are living!!!! Enjoying Life with family and friends......and not worrying if we have the same STUFF as our neighbors, relatives, or friends......that is what it is all about. At least, I have evolved into that school of thought and logic about my Life right now!!!! ( I do not want STUFF to be running and controlling MY Life)

OK......off of my soapbox and enough of my sermonizing. Actually, I am toooo damn tired tonight to be very literary about many things tonight.

As the afternoon wore on, it began to get darker and the thunder began to be heard.....much like Beethoven's Sixth Symphony, the Pastoral. Listen to it sometime.......you will enjoy it more than you think you will! Sooooo, we hurridly brought the STUFF back into the garage...EXCEPT.....I quickly covered the two large sofas we are selling with plastic sheeting and duct tape and left them on the driveway to the elements of the Beethoven Storm. No, I have not checked on them since the first horrendous downpour.......we'll see about them in the morning.

The forecast?? RAIN for tomorrow and Saturday!!!!! What to do....what to do? Play it by ear, I guess.....even though as a musician and band director all of my Life....I am not very good at "playing it by ear"! HAHA.....so I don't have much optimism about tomorrow.

Did I mention how hot and humid it was??? TERRIBLE!!!!! TERRIBLE!!!!! At one time, the 1st Lady and I BOTH thought we were going to pass out.......we both became dizzy and I had to sit down quickly, or I would have found myself face down on the concrete. We drank quarts of water.....many quarts, I know......because it all exited through my skin very quickly!!!! WHEW....it was really, really bad.

And so......my short little post has turned into a bit of a ramblin' rant. I needed to take some pictures today....but there was not time for little things like that. Perhaps tomorrow....??

Oh yeah........not to fear, because.......

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

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Anaother day of preparing for the "STUFF" sale!!

I do believe that we have all the "stuff" that we will have to put out on the driveway on Friday and Saturday....finally!!! Now, it is not all priced as yet, but by this time tomorrow it certainly will be completed.

We were both up earlier than normal........Fr. Roast coffee for me...and tea for the 1st Lady.....and then some breakfast. And.....as stated above.....the rest of the day was spent in the garage, the storage shed, and back and forth to the stick and brick.

By mid-afternoon our neighbor across the street was over and looking at what "stuff" we have that he might like to own. He purchased an area 8'x5' rug and a couple of other items. Then later this afternoon, the neighbor to the rear of our stick and brick came by....and she, too, also purchased a "must have" item. Soooooo........that's a few things that are GONE!!!

Becky and Rachel stopped by on their way up to STL...........they checked out everything that we had for sale.....and then decided they could use the over the stove microwave, which is practically new. They remained for a light supper....and then left for the city.

The evening has been a busy one for me as I continue to research some of the antiquey things that we have......and will put in the sale this weekend. HORRORS!!!!!! It is supposed to rain ALL day on Friday.....what will we do??? Hmmmm.......our garage is packed and there is not room for people to come inside the garage to look. THIS will take some careful watching of the skies, clouds, and also some very thoughtful decisions on our part.

Even with the wet forecast for Friday........

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

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Reprise: "STUFF"

Only an hour after I had my Fr. Roast coffee on the patio........the 1st Lady and I were moving STUFF out of the garage and onto the driveway. This was being done as we prepare for our garage/yard sale on Friday and Saturday of this week. WEEEELLLLLLLLL...........we HAD everything in the garage sorted into three areas: things we are keeping, things that need to go to the 1st Lady's relatives(family antiques), AND....STUFF/THINGS that we were going to sell.

As this is to be a "Remodeling Sale", we have many, many items of furniture and lamps, etc., etc that we no longer need now that we have purchased several rooms of new furniture...last year. AND....there were many, many, many other things and "stuff" that is/was to be sold. OK......now the 1st Lady is beginning to feel that we might "need" some of this stuff at some later date....!!!!

After all of the confrontations we had about the STUFF in the house last year, I thought we had come to agreements over much of this STUFF, but .......now???? She is having a change of heart/mind about a lot of this......DAMN!!!!! I am at my wit's end as to how to get this STUFF sold now that she wants to keep more than we will ever need!!!!!! Where do we put it????? What do we do with it???? STUFF!!!!!! It NEEDS to be sold........this weekend.

Of course, the temps/humidity didn't help things as we brought this STUFF out onto the driveway......and it just continued to get hotter and hotter as the afternoon wore on. About 3:30 we realized that it was going to storm and rain.....and most of the STUFF was still on the driveway, sooooo....it was hurry, hurry, hurry to get the STUFF brought back into the garage in some type of chaotic order. Success! Everything was back in the dry, but humid garage be the time the storm arrived. NOW.....tomorrow, we have to shuffle around to get prices on the furniture and everything else....and hopefully, we will be able to work outside on this project.

And soooooo, after a light supper, we are putting price tags on the STUFF she brought INTO the house. Nevertheless.......

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

Monday, June 25, 2007

Relaxed....and...Refreshed!!!

WOW.......what a GREAT night's sleep!!! Our new bedroom continues to exert it's influence over us......and the quietness is oftentimes forgotten when we are away for a few nights. But.....last night, it was so damn quiet that I slept for a couple of hours longer than I have done in the past couple of weeks. It is so well insulated, the a/c is soooo quiet, and the window treatments hold out the sunlight so well that it is very pleasant with it's quietness!

This morning it was French Roast coffee, finally!! The mugginess outside kept me inside and not on my bird watching patio......damn it. The birds were there but even though they are highly visible through our wall of very large windows, it is just not the same as enjoying the outside.

Not sure where the morning disappeared to......just slips away so easily as I caught up on mail, the news online without having to wait most of the day for wifi connections, and just puttering around putting things back in order. Really not much to say about it....

This afternoon, I picked up my "new" truck at Kemp's Auto Body Repair......and the front end is NEW!!!! Looks sooooo great....and the incredible detailing that they do when they finish with all of the body work....WOW!!!! The inside was like new.....the outside was spotless....and everytime I look around, I see more of their detailing in cleaning and polishing my truck! GREAT!!!! This is the BEST auto place I have found in this area.......use them, you won't be disappointed.

We went to Farmington after I picked up the truck to go to Walgreen's. I have been needing to get my picture taken so that I could send off my application for a renewal on my expired passport. Got them taken......not certain the Passport Control will let me through when they compare the pics to the real me......but, at least I can now get the application mailed off and BEGIN the waiting period of several months. Don't need it, I THINK, until late fall....but I just really hate to be without a passport at any time!! I've had one for 27 years....and I almost feel naked without one whenever we leave on any kind of a journey.

A bit of shopping for some food items....and then we picked up some great BBQ'd ribs to take home for dinner. A bit of dark red medicine......some fresh baked Semolina bread....a bowl of slaw.....and a great meal was on the table in just a few minutes.

Tonight was rather like the rest of the day.......just kicked back and relaxed. Watched a bit of tellie.......did some research online concerning the Missouri Gazette from 1808 that we(my sister and I) "inherited", and also on a few other items.

Relaxed....and....refreshed......that is the way the day evolved. And.....it ensures that.....

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

Sunday, June 24, 2007

More discoveries....!!!! WOW!!!!

After a relaxing morning here with several cups of Fr. Roast coffee, a couple of "talking head" tellie shows, and a light lunch, we were off to go visit Mike. Had a great visit....and then back here to F'town.

I have spent the remainder of the evening going through a box of pictures, post cards, and newspapers and.......OMG!!!! I found carefully preserved with my name written on it, a newspaper dated: July 26, 1808!!!!!! It is the Missouri Gazette Vol 1, No. 3 !!!!!!!! After some online searching I have found that this newspaper was the FIRST newspaper published west of the Mississippi River!!!! It is in good condition, having been wrapped in some kind of plastic, like Saran Wrap, except it doesn't stick together.

I have been searching and believe that this is the oldest copy of this newspaper......there is one other copy of the very same paper in the Missouri Historical Library, but.......it may be, along with the one in the Library, the oldest newspaper in existence that was printed west of the Mississippi, as I stated above. I have emailed the Mo Historical Society to inquire as to the earliest paper that is known to be around.....and will await an answer from them.

I also have found about 20 antique post cards......dating back to 1908.....and one is a political one with William Jennings Bryan on the front. Another one from Reims, France showing the damage to the city in a photo post card that occurred in WWI.

What will show up tomorrow???? I am beginning to feel that way with each box that I open.........it is like going to a museum.

It is late.......my body is yelling at me to get into the horizontal position....and so I will close this little post tonight. I MUST put away these items which are laying around me here in the study.....they are definitely toooooo valuable to leave out overnight.

And soooooo, another day....another discovery!

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

Saturday, June 23, 2007

EXHAUSTED.....

This will be short........arrived back in F'town after a busy, busy four days in Eldon. This morning, and for that matter, the early afternoon......we had very few people, as I expected might happen. However........we sold EVERYTHING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yep....another antique dealer dropped by by mid-afternoon today.....and we agreed on a price for everything that had not sold!!!!!! Sooooo, it was a good two day "in-house sale"!!!!!!

As quickly as we could, we picked up the "trash" that had accumulated over the past couple of days, basically in the kitchen where we had sandwich and snack items for ourselves during the two days of the sale. We then loaded the car until there was barely room to sit and headed home, with a brief stop at my sister's home to pick up the tellie that we had given Mom for Christmas a year ago.

It is a good....no, a GREAT feeling to have been able to get rid of everything in the house....furnishings, furniture, antiques, etc, etc., etc.!!!! We are very, very lucky......I had imagined that we would have to haul things off to dispose of left-overs....but, that is not to be!

The $$$$ were very welcome......and we feel that we got a fair shake on the large dealer purchases that were made........and we are happy that others had the opportunity to look and buy what they wanted and/or needed for themselves.

Ok.....my brain is mush, my body is almost in a horizontal position from exhaustion, so.....without any qualms at all, I will say very emphatically:

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

Friday, June 22, 2007

A BIG DAY OF SALES!!!!!

OK!!!……these garage sale aficionados are REALLY gung-ho!!!! DAMN…….I set my alarm for 5:45AM…..was up and on my way out the door to McD’s for 2 LARGE cups of coffee by 6:20.…AND………..THERE WERE TWO PEOPLE SITTING IN FRONT OF THE HOUSE WAITING TO COME INSIDE TO THE SALE!!!!!! At 6:20 in the damn morning….and the sale was not advertised to being until 8AM. EGADS!!! I hollered out to them that I would open the door at 7.…but I now HAD to get my coffee first.

Soooo, I went for coffee and some pastries and returned and they followed me inside when I opened the door. THANK goodness, the 1st Lady was up off of the mattress in the middle of the living room floor and had finished dressing!!! She would have had a damn cow if these people had come on inside while she was in bed……HAHAHAA!!!! In fact, that might have been really hilarious!!

And so went the morning and into early afternoon: Grand Central Station in NYC with people streaming in and out for hours on end. Couldn’t even go to the damn bathroom without going through people. It was a MUCH better “surge” into our sale than George W. Bush ever had planned or executed in Iraq!!!!!! He could have taken notes had he been here today……but THANK GOD he wasn’t!!!!

Before noon, we had closed down the bedroom display area for items as most of them were already purchased and gone. We really, really, REALLY did do well today with sooooooo many things being purchased……and believe it or not, but there was only ONE lady who asked for a cheaper price than what we had marked!!!! And……I had marked some of the antique European porcelain with some hefty prices!!! Today’s sales were a BIG SUCCESS!!!!! Now….that is not to say that it is all gone, as we do have some glassware, stemware, dishes, and a few more of the European porcelain pieces still to sell……but I believe we will get rid of them…..even if we have to take them home with us to sell down there. (WE are having a garage sale next weekend in F’town to hopefully sell all of the furniture stored in our garage from our remodeling last year.

At 4pm, we took the sign out of the front yard and relaxed for a bit. We then joined life-long friends from here who wanted us to have dinner with me at a new restaurant here in town. Soooo, we did, had some really decent food, and great conversation in attempting to catch up for several years of not having been together.

This evening we went to the cemetery to check on the engraving of the grave marker/tombstone….and to just check on the quality of the work. Being me, I was not exactly satisfied with the alignment of the dates on Mom’s side of the stone……just not exactly the same size numbers and letters…..but in looking around, many others are the same way, so…….I’ll just let it go for now.

It is now 9:30pm………and we are both really, really tired. What time will the “surge” begin tomorrow morning?????? Probably not as many people and perhaps, not as early??? We’ll see……

A good day…….some great cash flow into my sister’s and my account…..and everything ran very, very smoothly!

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

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Are you choking?????? Have another drink!

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WHAT a day......

OH my God……what a day!!!! For some reason we were both awake at 6AM this morning…..I suppose just rather dreading the task of making pricing decisions today…..???? Anyway…..after a quick shave, I went to the local McD’s to grab a couple of cups of coffee…..one to bring back with me. The 1st Lady was up and had had her tea by the time I returned.

As usual, I ran into people I have know for years and years while standing in line waiting for my coffee order to be taken!!! This morning, one was a parent of one of my high school trumpeters…..who went from H.S. here in Eldon to the USAF Academy in Colorado Spring. That was 25 years ago…..and he now will in the next few weeks put on his full bird Colonel ranking…….doesn’t surprise me as he was a great student and quite a leader when in h.s.

Returning to the house, we began the pricing when my sister arrived. I had already been to the home of the 1st Lady’s cousin yesterday and he had agreed to give us some idea as to what to ask for the antiques……he works part time in an antique shop between here and Jefferson City. By afternoon, we had things arranged and most of the regular items priced….and then her cousin arrived mid-afternoon and he began looking, talking about the items, and giving us an “idea” of what we should ask.

After about an hour, he asked if he could call this friend of his who is a dealer in antiques…and a bit later she arrived. We allowed her to purchase today……some thoughts about that pro and con, but we went ahead and agreed to let her purchase this afternoon. WELL…….she purchased many, many items…..enough to fill the entire back of her mini-van with the seats all down!!!! Granted a few items were large pieces of furniture, but she take some of the crystal glassware…..and I probably didn’t ask enough as she didn’t really flinch at the prices. BUT……such is Life!!! If I had asked toooo much she might not have taken anything……..nor anyone else for that matter. They are sold and gone….and that was the objective, wasn’t it?

I also had a fellow who purchases houses to fix over and/or rent…..but, he wasn’t interested when I quoted him the price the realtor had given me. So be it……if it doesn’t sell with that price after a few weeks, then we can always lower it…..right???

We had to scurry around as we had a dinner engagement at the Lake with my former student, Mike Williams, a former band director and now an Asst. H.S. Principal at Osage High School. It was a great evening discussing a bit of everything as we dined on Mexican cuisine with a few Margaritas to assist in washing down the spicy foods.

Returning to the house, we adjusted some prices and tried to fill in the spaces where the purchased items had been……as it really doesn’t look like much is here now! Again….that IS what we wanted…..to get rid of everything…….by the end of Saturday afternoon.

And sooooooo……the day has been hectic and yet, profitable!!!! Hopefully, we can get the rest of the furniture and other items sold and out of here soon! We are a bit on the exhausted side…….but, nevertheless…..

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

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Prussian and Bavarian porcelain items

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A few of the glass/crystal pieces...

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Returning to the old "homestead" for a few days......

AHHH…..a quick “get ready”…. soon afterwards a “GO!” … and the 1st Lady and I were on our way to Eldon/Lake of the Ozarks by 8am this morning. I have not even had ONE sip of my Fr. Roast coffee…..and so for the next 200 miles through the hills and valleys, was enjoying my hot coffee poured from a wonderful, very OLD Stanley Thermos jug!!

We were in Eldon by 11:30 after a quick stop at the County Courthouse to pick up the assessed valuation of the house. Before even going to the house we stopped at “First Choice Realty” to see Renda Fisher…..the realtor I had been advised to see about the worth of the house…..”as is”. In 30 minutes she was driving up to the house and after a walk about in the house, she gave us an asking price and a “no lower than…” price. I hadn’t seen her in many years so it was good to have a short visit……..especially since her husband is the brother of Melissa Goldsmith of F’town!!!

We then had a quick bite of lunch and then we decided to hit the local antique shops in Eldon…..all three of them! Just outside of town there is another antique mall and so that was our next stop…..and it proved to be a bit more fruitful. Our task??? To check on prices of some of the crystal, glassware, and antique porcelain plates, etc. Mom had several from Prussia, Germany, and England that ARE antiques…..and we wanted to see if we could find similar items for an idea of the prices.

We then headed south to the Lake of the Ozarks……a short 10 miles. We, again, went to Panera Bread so that we could use their free Wifi while having a bite to eat. For the first 1.5 hours, we were both on/in our lappies checking on antique prices…..and discovering that we did have a few pieces that might….MIGHT, I repeat….bring a good price. We’ll see…….Eldon is not known for being an antique lover’s heaven.

We dined al fresco…..and enjoyed the view of the Lake as we continued to research online some of the items we have to price before Friday morning. Not being antique aficionados, we are a loss as to how to price these things. Our “in-house garage sale” is the type of event that is always sooooo damn difficult for us to price items…not only antiques, but furniture and other things as well!

After a quick stop at the Lake’s Super Wal Mart, we returned to Eldon and to a quiet house without a tellie or, of course, Wifi!! IF I can post this this evening, it will be strictly because of my Verizon cell phone being used as a modem…..and it is not charged very much at all!

So…..a wonderful evening with a delicious light supper and a cappuccino overlooking the Lake…..and now a VERY quiet house just right for reading and reflection upon it being “my” home since 1951. Lots of memories…….to make sure that….

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

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Hmmmm......another day of stick and brick work....

Oh yeah.......the day began at 6:30 this morning for me: fighting the ever stronger gravity to raise this sagging hulk out of the horizontal position into a vertical one......and it was quite a struggle this morning, especially at this time of the day!!!! I did NOT want to begin this daily fight quite soooo damn early, but........guess who was coming to our house "early"???? The plumber man to de-choke the sewer line that runs through our yard, by a growing maple tree, and into the main line at the street, a distance of downhill travel of about 55 feet(??).

Things have been on the plugged side since Sunday evening......and last night, after several attempts to reach our plumber, he called us and said he would come "to save the day" early this morning. Well......I had about three cups of French Roast coffee before he arrived with his wonderful, magical Roto-Rooter, which can destroy all clogs and roots in all sewage lines throughout our small town. Within 10 minutes he had discovered the clog, removed it, presented his bill for services, and was on his way to the next "emergency"............and I was $75 poorer than I was before I began that third cup of coffee! Hmmmmm..........

Later in the morning I found myself over at the auto body repair shop checking on getting an rv-friendly tailgate for my truck......the kind with the V-shape so that I don't have to lower the tailgate each time I hook up or unhook. Prices were rather questionable, so the owner told me he would give me a call later today. NOT.......never did hear from him!

The afternoon? Looking and sorting through more pictures of the past lives of myself, relatives, and friends from the past 100 years plus. Will I ever finish??? I don't know.......... I do know that it was great to hear from a former student who now lives in the Seattle area with his wife and two small sons...........as he emailed me with a slide show of his two very cute sons!!!! We just need to spend a bit of time together sharing some of my dark red medicine........SOON. He is getting old enough that he should be taking some daily doses for his health in his up-coming old age.

WOW.....I did have a cool surprise later this afternoon when Michael Goldsmith, my former student, my former asst. band director, my replacement when I retired.......all of these rolled into one unique and warm-hearted young man who has a wonderful intellect and a tremendous amount of energy for Life...........he arrived at our home for a quick visit! We used to spend each day together at the Band Room/Office......and now we barely have time for a quick cup of coffee and a chat. Anyway......there is never enough time.....NEVER....when we are together. We can NEVER get caught up with the news of each other's Life......and by the time we are together again, there is soooooo much more to discuss that it is never finished!!! I do believe that the two of us are just going to have to slip away for a day or two.....and just spend that time together getting caught up!!!!!!!!! How about it??????

Another day......here in the stick and brick. Tomorrow we are off to Eldon to work on the house and have the garage sale there. Posting will be tricky........either at Panera Bread at Osage Beach....or through my cell phone, which is sooooooo sllllloooooowwww!! (I am getting a bad case of the non-traveling fever!!! Got to get going....)

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

Monday, June 18, 2007

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Another day.......that disappeared quickly....???!!!

Where did it go??? One more day of my Life has come and gone......never to be relived again. AND....what did I do.....what can I say that I learned today????? You know, don't you, that you should consider the day a complete and total loss if you didn't learn something completely new???? Did you learn something new today??? My day was most likely a total loss.....I can't think of anything new that I learned......DAMN!!!!

I was up a bit earlier than usual......as I had to have my truck in the shop to reverse the damage that occurred when it mated with that damn deer on the highway sooooo suddenly. There was still some hair in the cracks and crevices of the front of the truck! And.....then I also had to make arrangements for the back window that was broken out.....somehow, someway....the other night. After dropping the truck at the body repair(vehicle body) shop, I decided to walk back to Buford Heights for a bit of exercise before breakfast......and I DO need to exercise a bit more as the results of such strong gravity at this age is enhancing (increasing) the sagging hulk! UGH!

The afternoon was spent with some 64 year old kind of puttering.....i.e...the yard and the flowers and shrubs that always...ALWAYS...need some TLC. Off and on, the clouds attempted to send down some much needed moisture, but all that happened were some very large raindrops that scattered here and there. NOT the kind of rains we need so badly.

Our "across the street neighbor" drifted over for a visit and an ice cold bottled drink during the afternoon. We don't see nearly enough of him as he keeps very busy with his occupation(s) and with our travel schedule......we usually just have time to wave and go our own ways. So, it was good to sit and chat and have a drink(always 5 o'clock somewhere) together.

Later we dined al fresco as some of the heat had left.....and it turned out to be a very pleasant early evening on the patio. I have put up two bird feeders, each with different kinds of feed in them, and so the corner of our patio is always very colorful with the many various kinds of birds enjoying a free meal or two.

This evening......relaxing and laid-back.....has brought a little more actual rain and also a bit of watching the tellie. A most interesting....hmmmm, perhaps I have learned a few new things this evening.....program with the Matt Lauer interview of Princes Harry and William!!!

Hearing of their lives......the troubles they have living a "normal" life....I certainly can re-affirm that for me......

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

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day......and another day of remembrances....

By the time I stepped out onto the patio for my morning French Roast coffee......the heat was already bearing down upon Buford Heights and the sky was so thick with haze I could tell this was going to be a day to stay inside with the a/c running! And......for the most part, that is what I did!

The morning was spent doing something......I know not what! Soooo, that must mean it was not important enough for me to register it for any long term recall????? By the afternoon, I was pulling out two boxes of the four boxes that I brought home with me from the house in Eldon. In the boxes are just a small part of the thousands of pictures that my mother had kept of several generations of family members.....and, for the most part, they are all labeled with names and many with dates!!

After dealing with the ancestor's generations, I dug into the box that turned out to be pictures of me...and me.....and me.....and me.....and, yep...you guessed it: ME!!! As I was born after 7 years of my parents trying to conceive, AND......as my Dad was in the Army at the time of my birth...and then went to Europe to fight in WWII, the pictures were made frequently of anything that I did, or that I wore, or that I ate, or that I didn't wear(nude), or what I played with, or with whomever held me, or with a third cousin just my age, or with.....and with.....or with.....and so on! I am almost embarrassed at ALL of the hundreds and hundreds of pictures of me!!! I had NO idea Mom had taken or kept soooo many.

I kept way tooooooo many of them and then I returned the rest to the boxe for my sister to "enjoy" and search through. I believe there at least 8 more boxes in Eldon that must be examined before we begin the task of disposing of the unwanted pictures. This has become a very bothering thought to me......especially after seeing how important these pictures were to my Mother and Dad. Needless to say.......with this being "Father's Day".....I became teary more than once today as I looked at these pictures of my early childhood and almost all of them taken with my parents.

How have any of you handled something like this? Have you thrown pictures away that were taken by your parents of important events in you Life????? Have you kept them all for YOUR children to dispose of when you are no longer? Hmmmm.......this is a worrisome task for me....and one I am not certain I can handle very easily.

And so.......with each of my three children calling at some point in time during today to wish me a Happy Father's Day.......I continued to look at the pictures of my parents. What a day it has been........

And so......I will close this little post with my mind and emotions still full of nostalgia and a few memories of the pictures I remembered having been taken. What a Life.......but,

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

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Summer weather........not my favorite!!!

WOW.....the heat and humidity seem to keep building here in southeast Missouri....and it is still "Spring" according to the calendar. Today was not the kind of day I enjoy when I have to work outside giving a "haircut" to the various types of green growths in what I call my "yard". We seem to have more wild violets with each passing week......and I have not yet found a "sure cure" for eliminating them from my yard......but they SURE are eliminating the grass!

I was up at 6:30am to mow the lawn, but out of mucho respect for my neighbors, I delayed cranking up the mower until 7:30. And.....it wasn't very long before I was completely drenched in perspiration as the sun heated up the morning very quickly. I called it quits after two hours of pushing the mower around.......and even with a bandanna wrapped around my head to keep the "sweat" from dripping into my aging eyes, I was struggling to just keep them dry. Sooooo, I headed for the shower and enjoyed the small pleasure of having the cool, refreshing water spraying on my overheated sagging hulk. AHHHHH.....the wonders of old age and gravity!!! No visuals needed or recommended!!!

The remainder of the day was spent in just piddling(farting) around doing much of nothing. The 1st Lady returned the middle of the afternoon with a car full of things she had purchased in Cape and at Sam' Club there. I had fallen asleep on the sofa in front of the plasma tv.......don't think I missed anything important, though.

After dinner, it was back to the yard.....and within an hour I was finished for another week. Actually......unless we get some much needed rain around here, I won't have to mow next week! The ground is sooooo damn hard that I am now having to water the shrubs and flowers to get them through this dry spell down here.

Jeremy called this morning and he was in New Orleans having coffee and pastries in the Fr. Quarter. Said he was really enjoying being there a few times each week.......he "loves the French Quarter" as well as the "Garden District". I can definitely relate to those statements!!! I feel the very same way........the ambiance of the Fr. Quarter is wonderful....and the beautiful homes and quaint little cafes and bars of the Garden District are just as great. Jealous, I am ....I am!!!

And so....another day in the Life of this sagging hulk is coming to a close. Nothing exciting happened today....or I would have discussed it. But....what is excitement in Life anyway???? Something new and different???? Not much can be new and different at age 64.....unless I am traveling to new and different places/foreign countries. STILL have to get my passport renewed.....mine is expired and I sooooo hate to not have it ready to go for when I might need it very quickly to go to a new and different place(s).

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

Friday, June 15, 2007

TODAY??? A demon pounding on my head to get out....!!

From the first awakening this morning, I quickly realized that something had taken up residency inside my head and not being happy, whatever it was certainly wanted to get out and free!! It just couldn't find the right exit and so it decided to bang away inside looking for a weak spot so it could break through........and so it banged and hammered all day without any success!! DAMN......and it has only been in the past hour that it seems to be finally giving up and quieting down with that damn banging!!!

Sooooo, all of this "activity" inside my head certainly played a big part in the inactivity of myself today. The 1st Lady asked me to run to the store this morning for some fresh milk and her favorite kind of cereal......and upon returning, I SAW that the damn thing in my head must have also banged around on the back window of my truck......because IT WAS BROKEN OUT!!!!!!!!!! WHAT NEXT????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!! Shattered.....and there was/still is...glass throughout my truck, on the back seat of the crew cab, and all the way up to the dashboard where I found more broken glass! WHO is not fond of this aging sagging hulk????? I would certainly like to know!!!

Was anything stolen???? Not that I can determine.....as the XM satellite radio was still there, a black bag with travel books, pillow, and all of my "things" behind the back seat that are necessary for travel. Soooo, once again I made a call to my insurance agent for guidance on what I needed to do for repair authorization........and another $100 deductible will be needed.

It had to be "someone".......and it had to have been a strong force that made the glass fly clear up onto the dashboard of the truck. Hmmmmmm.........worries me a little........I have sooooo many BIG/HUGE windows on TheHowserHouse sitting in the driveway. Hmmmmm........is this the beginning of some "surge" attack on my property???????

And so, the day progressed as the thing continued pounding and seemed to pound louder and with more force the more I concentrated on the damage done to the truck......and what issue made someone do it. Oh well..........

The 1st Lady is in Cape.......staying with Rachel as Becky makes a trip to go see Mike this evening. Then the 1st Lady will go see him in the morning.

I did make reservations at the Albuquerque KOA to attend the District 8 and 9 combined rally of Cedar Creek RV's during October.......being held at the same time as the annual Albuquerque Balloon Race!!!!!! This will be a GREAT time to be in New Mexico.....and this is one of the largest, if not THE largest, balloon races in the country. There are always at least 800 BIG balloons that participate...........what a colorful New Mexico sky that will be!!!! Perhaps we can run up to Santa Fe again......and eat at that wonderful little restaurant where we had lunch in March!!

And so.......even with the events of the day, and during last night,

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

Thursday, June 14, 2007

ALMOST exhaustion.....

Today is day 3 of getting my inherited house....my mom's.....ready for an "in-house" garage sale....and to have it appraised a few days later. AND.....am I ever tired. The 1st Lady and I were up before 8am.....and after a quick run out for coffee and pastries......and a brief consumption of the two items, we began the third day of this task.

Did we finish today? Nope......but we worked until almost 3pm and it does look better. The 1st Lady is hand washing ALL of the glassware, antique porcelains, crystal glasses, etc., etc. NOT an easy task as some of them had been on the top shelf of the kitchen cabs for years and years and were VERY grimy. She spent most of the day in the kitchen.....and is not finished yet.

I worked on cleaning out the insides of the cabs in the kitchen.....and then moved to the living room where I washed all of the woodwork.....trim, window trim, baseboards....and then it was time to move ALL of the furniture and get the carpet vacuumed. I also removed some of the sheer panels over the windows to allow more light to enter the rooms and it makes the size appear larger visually.

By mid-afternoon, we packed up and headed southeast for F'town. The 1st Lady has several appointments this weekend....and we had to return. We will go back early next week as the sale is scheduled for next Friday and Saturday........and then that will be completed.

This evening I have spent online checking prices for the silverware that my sister and I inherited. As expected......not much value in what we have, even though it is 1847 Rogers and discontinued. Oh well.......did I expect it to be worth a fortune???? HELL NO!!! Worth about 10 dollars for each piece.......depending on the condition of the pieces............sure won't take me to Paris or Rome, will it?

And soooooo, this will be a short post.......too tired to think and talk with much sense this evening. Tomorrow:??? Well......see how the day goes.........

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

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

And....ANTHER very BUSY day!!!!!! WHEW!!!

ANOTHER very busy day working in the house here in Eldon……..amazing how many things there can be in a house for decades and decades….and you not realize it! We have continued to find things as we clean out each room and closet.

We were up as usual and I ran down to McD’s to pick up some coffee and some of their little cinnamon “things”…..sort of like what we used to call “monkey bread”. Little bites sized pieces of ….hmmmm, dough(?) with lots of cinnamon and icing all over them….and very good when they are hot!!! We both really like them……

After having this gourmet breakfast al fresco in the backyard……we began really, really working at trying to get as much done today as we could possibly do. The 1st Lady began in earnest tackling the kitchen: cabinets, drawers, counters, and finally the floor….and she spent the entire day on this and didn’t get through yet! We have a few more cabinets to wash down and to finish emptying for the “in-house sale”…..

Me??? I began by running to the local bank to deposit some checks I had received as the beneficiary of Mom’s insurance policies……dollars that have already been spent on her services in April. Then I went to the funeral home and paid them the remaining part of the costs….UGH!!! Makes me even more certain that I want to be cremated……

Then it was back to the house and I began in the dining room. Lots of crevices and hidden dirt…..polished the furniture, washed the windows, moved the furniture around so I could vacuum under all of the various pieces, and then finished it off by doing the entire carpet, little by little.

This afternoon: more of the same except I did the bathroom while the 1st Lady continued in the kitchen. UGH…again!!! It had been some time since it had been done completely….and so I did a LOT of scrubbing, etc., etc. Looks better now, though.

My sister came up, as she did yesterday, to assist with all of this. She had the task of sorting out ALL of the clothing in the closet and deciding which to give to Goodwill and which to just toss……NOT an easy job! She got that finished and…..now all that remains is a bit more in the kitchen(as I mentioned above)….and the living room. And….it is full of stuff we know not exactly what to do with! Thousands of pictures in boxes that must be examined and decided as to 1. Keep or 2. Give to others or 3. Toss.
Always a difficult decision when it comes to photos as they can never be replaced….and some of these were taken in the 1800’s!!!! Yep….some REALLY OLD ONES!!! We decided to each take some boxes….go through them picture by picture as to which ones we want to keep and then exchange boxes and do the same again. A long and tedious task, but think it is the only way to get through all of this pictures.

Later this afternoon, the 1st Lady and I went to Osage Beach to the Outlet Mall. This mall is large….but, we have our special stores/shops we like to visit and so it really didn’t take us very long at all to…..not buy a DAMN THING!!!! Nope……neither one of us purchased anything at all…….quite a bit of self-discipline involved in that 1.5 hours.

We had dinner at Applebee’s. Love their grilled shrimp and spinach salad that they are now serving!!!!! It is soooo good with bacon pieces, almonds, onions, etc., etc. in it with it lightly drizzled with a wonderful, slightly sweet and light dressing. TRY IT!!! (eerrrr….I do NOT own stock in Applebee’s!)

Another visit to Panera Bread for a cappuccino and 1.5 hours on the Wifi there to check email, read the daily papers(NY Times, Washington Post, STL Post, Jefferson City News Tribune, MSNBC, CNN, etc., etc.)

Back to Eldon we came…..a quick stop off at the local Cree Mee….an ice cream/sandwich drive-in place that has been in operation for decades…ever since I was in high school. GREAT ice cream cones….and so we had one…each.

Another evening of being really exhausted from the daily labors of cleaning the house. We hope we can finish it tomorrow before we have to return home………we’ll see! We want to have it clean and ready for the sale when we return in a couple of weeks…..
Tired….saturated with lots of ice cream….and yet…..

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

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

WHEW...... WHAT a day of working!!!

AHHHH, right now the 1st Lady and I have just finished a delightful supper!! We dined al fresco at Panera Bread and could view the Lake of the Ozarks from our table, just as the sun was lowering in the western sky......beautiful!!! I was sooooo excited as I walked inside when we arrived.....they are now serving their Tomato and Mozzarella Salad, with fresh basil and a delicious dressing!!! Of course, that is what I ordered as part of the "pick two" menu.....and the other was the Turkey Sandwich with greens, tomatoes, and cheese (your choice).......YUM, YUM!! My drink? Since they do not serve dark red medicine here, I ordered my usual: a dry Cappuccino and stood right in front of the barista to make certain that it was just MY proportion of milk that is added to the espresso!! Very good!

Today????? We were up early and drove from Dr. Jeni's estate over to my mother's home in Eldon. We immediately began the horrendous task of sorting some more and CLEANING! We took it one room at a time and managed to completely finish two rooms today. Now, we did do quite a bit of sorting, discarding, etc., etc. When my sister arrived this afternoon, we made a decision to hold a "in-house sale".......not in the yard or in the garage, but in the house where we would not have to move everything outside!!! We will be selling any and all furniture, along with some antiques, and all of the other "stuff" at that time.....!!!! Can hardly wait to get this done, wo then we can concentrate on getting rid of the house!! As to that.......someone knocked on the door this afternoon and told us he would be interested in the house and to let him know when we are ready to sell. OK!!!!! I CAN do that!

Today as I made a lunch run, I ran into my very good friend and high school classmate, Karen Burris!!! Sooooo damn good to see her and to visit, albeit very briefly. Then when I went to the counter to give our orders, there was a former student who graduated in 1981!!! I had NO CLUE who she was when she said, "MR HOWSER......the best music teacher Eldon ever had!". But after a minute of talking, I remember who she was.....AFTER she told me her name. This type of thing happens way tooooooooo often.....at least for me to remember all of my students decades after they have sat in my ensembles in the band room!

The 1st Lady and I are really, really tired this evening. We are using the free Wifi here in Panera Bread to get online to read emails, check news, and for me to do this posting. My mom's house....welllll, it is mine and my sister's now........does not have any tv, cable, etc., etc. so we are not up on the news of the day. Therefore.....here we sit, each of us in our own computer's cyberspace working the internet to gather information!! Aren't we sociable????? HAHAHA!!

I have no pictures to post today.....and wouldn't do it if I DID have pics. We are tired, somewhat dirty, and the house is in such a horrendous mess that no pics are better than what I would have posted!!!

A DAY of working.......another day of remembering......and a gorgeous evening with a hot cup of cappuccino overlooking the beautiful Lake........and sooooo,

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

Monday, June 11, 2007

Varietal Day.......

I overslept this morning, which meant that the 1st Lady would be sleeping toooooo late.....at least tooooo late for her! A quick shower and freshly ground coffee in the coffee maker.....and soon I was thinking straight. We hurried around and left by 10:30 this morning for STL.....and eventually for Dr. Jeni's office and then to her estate.

We did a bit of quick shopping in the city and I made a purchase of some prescribed dark red medicine.........some of the same kind that I had and shared with Jim/Sherry in Wisconsin about 10 days ago. We then continued out west of STL to Dr. Jeni's office where the 1st Lady had an appointment to have her new tooth implants...implanted/screwed in. BUT......they didn't quite fit correctly and so the procedure had to wait to be completed.

After leaving for Dr. Jeni's Estate, we arrived at the same time as Darrel arrived from his business. As soon as Dr. Jeni arrived from her dental offices, we went out to dinner at a Mexicano restaurant. Hmmmmm.....not one of the best that I have enjoyed! Just very average quality of food.....and the service left quite a bit to be desired! I ordered coffee as I finished my meal.....and it never was delivered. After the bill was paid, I asked the server if he had put the coffee on the bill......."OH!!!......I'm sorry. I'll go get you a cup for free." Then I asked if they had some made...and, of course, they didn't. Oh well........just a grouchy old sagging hulk being an ass, I guess!

We are now back at the estate.....on top of a hill, but in a densely wooded area between Washington and New Haven, MO. A beautiful evening........if only their pool was completed. Hopefully, by the time we get back up here the pool will be finished and we can enjoy it during the times we are here.

A day of variety...........sleeping late, shopping in STL, dental appt. that couldn't be completed, poor food/service at dinner, and a beautiful evening!! As always, no matter what has happened.........

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

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Dessert at the Hanner Home....a gourmet evening!!!


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More reading of 38 year old letters.........

The day was slow to begin......dark clouds covered the sky and kept the morning from arriving through our windows.....and so, I found myself sleeping somewhat longer. But....after my 2 cuprs of Fr. Roast coffee, I was up and ready to meet the world........but for some unknown reason the world did not come to my door to greet me.........?????

The morning was filled with the Sunday morning "talking heads" shows.....and then I just puttered around doing some odd things/jobs that could have waited but since there was nothing pressing me today, I did the "odd things/jobs".

By mid-afternoon, I found myself returning to the shoe box full of the letters I had written to my parents during 1969-70 while I was in the USAF serving in Asia: Korea, Japan, Okinawa, and Thailand with TDY's to Calcutta, Singapore, Manila, Saigon, Malaysia, Hong Kong, etc., etc. Yep....I DID get around during those 15 months that I served over there!!

WOW.......the letters immediately took my mind back 37-38 years.......and the mental images/pictures returned to me in vivid color as I read the lines that I had written. I am absolutely amazed that my style of writing was EXACTLY the same then as it is today.........the use of the dots, the continued "oooooo" on words, the verbage and descriptions, all of it is the SAME!!!! AND........the places that I ate/dined and the descriptions of the quality and styles of the meals......all of that info, like I write about today, is in those wonderful letters.

It is quite uncanny that it I didn't know it had been THAT long since I wrote those letters, I wouldn't be able to tell if they had been written yesterday or just last week........except when I discuss the prices of the items I bought or the costs of the meals. I had ALMOST forgotten how much I flew around and traveled throughout Asia during those 15 months.........the places I visited have stayed in my mind and memories, but to read about those experiences made me lose all of those decades this afternoon.........the years simply slipped away effortlessly as I immersed myself in those hand-written pages inside those yellowing envelopes. How wonderful it was that my mother saved them!!!!!! It isn't often that a person can return to an entire 15 months of one's Life after almost four decades and see it all again as you relive those events and incredible experiences of being 26 years old in the exotic, foreign lands of Asia!!!!!! WHAT a lucky find, from the recesses of my mother's closet, this shoebox has been for me!!!!!

I brought myself back to this century and reality by 6pm as we had been invited to dinner at the Hanner Home. And.....it was a wonderful meal.....as is to be expected when anyone gets the opportunity to eat there!!! Sue...and Dave...are excellent gourmet chefs and it is always such a culinary delight to eat at their home!!!! And this evening....well, the chatter and discussions of many varied topics made the evening just melt away as we dined, wined, and laughed at the many events that we have experienced.........

It has been a wonderful evening.....a wonderful day!!! Tomorrow we are leaving for a few days to return to my mother's home, via an overnight at Dr. Jeni's estate. The 1st Lady has a dental appointment with her and then we will be there for the evening......leaving on Tuesday to go to Eldon to work on getting the house there ready to put on the market. We have to be in STL Thursday for an appointment....and then we will return to the stick and brick after that.

Wifi......online access??? Well....it is touch and go while we are in Eldon, so if I don't get the opportunity to post, do not worry........it is just the lack of available technology for sending my thoughts into cyberspace that will keep me from writing of my experiences........

As I end this tonight, I am reminded of a wonderful friend, Doug Shrader, who quoted my ending tag line in his post today.......and it was cool to realize that my words were in quotation marks!!! Thanks, Doug!!

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

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Results of a deer "mating" with my truck a couple of weeks ago: $4000 damage!



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Today??? Beautiful day!!! BAD haircut!

Up earlier than usual for a Saturday.....and a quick run to Farmington for a much needed haircut. Asking for a cut and not a trim......I instead received a chopped look!!!!!! WOW.....this is not what I needed with only one cup of Fr. Roast coffee........I was....and am....PISSED!!! I had bad vibes when I sat down in the chair and saw that the hair butcher was sooooooo damn young.....I wondered then if I was going to be in trouble. WELL........yep......it was not cut evenly and it is just a very poor job....UGH!!!! Consolation: it will grow out again, providing I don't first the next six weeks!!!!

Returned home....still pissed....by 9am....and then we left soon after that for Cape Girardeau to see Becky's(our daughter -in-law) new home. We had not been down there since she moved from STL a couple of weeks ago. It looked GREAT!!!!!

We then all went on to see Michael for the afternoon and early evening. Returned again about 10:30pm......and so, this is running a bit late tonight. Not much news.......other than my 69 hairs are in disarray!!! DAMN!...........but, what the hell.............as

Life is (still) GREAT....and I hope it is for all of you, also.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Stick and Brick........for how long????

RAIN, RAIN, RAIN.......during the night with the accompaniment of nature's orchestra....lightning and thunder!!! And, almost all of the day was cloudy, very humid with too warm temps, and just plain dreary.

I was awakened a bit after 7:30am by the phone screaming in my ears.....ringing it's loud incessant ring. When I picked it up, the speaker phone was on somehow and it also brought the 1st Lady to a sitting position(not a good idea upon her first awakening!!!).......it was a voice I couldn't even understand, never mind recognize.....DUMB ME!!!! It was a former student who is now a band director and he was calling from Buffalo, NY. after having had his band in Toronto, Canada on a band trip. We had not conversed since he went into Canada......and it was almost beyond my capability of conversing without having my steaming cup of Fr. Roast coffee first!!!! Sorrrrrrrry Andrew!!!!

So, it took me some time to recover, to think and chat at the same time, and to speak with some degree of intellectual ability. Sounded like he was having a good time and that everything was doing ok with 80+ students and a total of 9 adults for the week long trip.

The rest of the morning was just spent in doing........hmmmmm, I'm not sure. Oh yeah......I had to forward pictures of my damaged truck......the vehicle that God suddenly dropped a deer in front of while I was going 63 mph while we were in northeast Missouri.........anyway I took pictures and then emailed them to the insurance claims office.

Then......after lunch I got an estimate and had the auto repair shop email more photos and the estimate to the claims office. Not as much as I anticipated, but was told that there may be more damage once the front of the truck is removed.........

Also had to take our medical insurance monthly payment out to the school Supt's office. Found myself chatting and telling stories to the ladies of the office....and having a good chat with the Supt.

Then, upon returning home.........I was in the garage and found the box of letters that my mother had kept.....among ALL of the other stuff......letters that I had written while I was in Asia(Korea, Japan, Okinawa, Thailand, Viet Nam, and many other countries) during the Viet Nam War. Before long I had disappeared into my mind as I read the words, the stories, the descriptions, the events that I experienced 37-38 years ago!!!! I have not finished reading all of them, but it is soooooo amazing the mental pictures that returned as I read these wonderful letters that I wrote to my parents. As a "keeper", Mom had saved ALL of them!!!!!!! What a wonderful box of historical events during the 15 months I spent seeing and experiencing the Asian countries of that era!!!!

The PRICES of things during that time: 1969-70. I was dining at a lovely restaurant that overlooked the bay, with a string orchestra for dancing, and the "Mills Brothers" entertainment in Naha, Okinawa and had the full lobster dinner with bottles of wine, etc., etc., etc......and the cost was only $4.25!!!! YEP....only four dollars and twenty-five cents!!!!!!!! WOW!!!!

In Thailand, I had two sharkskin silk suits made for $30 each; shoes custom made for only $4.00 per pair; a 4.5 carat black star sapphire ring with a small ruby beside it for only $14.00!! And the list goes on and on.........just unreal!

I spent six weeks in Japan on TDY going from one military installation to another carrying a pack of punch cards to feed through the computers of those days to see if they had any parts on their bases that we might need in Korea at the base I served on. I saw almost ALL of Japan during those six weeks.

I was sent quite unexpectedly to Calcutta, India......to hand deliver some required parts for one of our aircraft that had had mechanical difficulty.....and wound up staying in Calcutta for three days. WHAT a city during those days!!! Filthy, but very, very interesting to an American Air Force guy......

I was in Singapore on much the same type of mission........wonderful, wonderful city. I was in Hong Kong 14 times.........I was in Japan 26 times as I was assigned to a "committee" for aircraft parts that needed to be supplied to the bases.......and was there almost every two weeks for a 4 hour meeting.

Soooo, does that explain how traveing infected my body, my mind, my entire being???? Do you now understand why I have this unquenchable urge to continue to go, go, go down the roads???? I sometimes have this really strange sensation that I was an explorer in a previous Life!!!!!! And, perhaps I was..........

And, when I post this blog in a few minutes for all of you out there in cyberspace to read, I will then return to that era of 37 years ago and relive some of those times through the letters that I wrote to my parents from all of those exotic places during the time of a war that we should never, never have found ourselves involved in!!!!!! Hmmmmm........history sure does repeat itself, doesn't it?????????????????????

And, so as I titled this post........how long will I/we remain here in the stick and brick before we begin another adventurous journey?????? NOT LONG, I hope!!!! I can't sit still and stare at the same landscape, do the same "chores", see the same people, go to the same stores.......day after day after day for very long! It will soon be time to hit the road once again. (I am thinking very seriously about going to Thailand next spring as the 1st Lady has never been to Asia!!).

How......just how can Life being anything but:

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

Thursday, June 07, 2007

TheHowserHouse resting peacefully for an overnight in the RV lanes of Flying J!!

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Day 16 and 17: Two very different days....

On Wednesday, we were up before we needed to be, but we had to get things "tied down" inside, the tanks "dumped", and get TheHowserHouse out and around the gate to the Service area of Walnut Ridge RV Sales and Service by 9am. It didn't take us nearly as long as we had thought it would and so we were sitting in the service lane(s) before we actually needed to be.

When they opened, I met with one of the service managers, as well as the insurance lady, to discuss the items we needed to have fixed/installed. With the list I gave them, we were told it might be the end of the day before they would finish. I also discussed the new development in the powder post beetle saga.....and that is that there are a few holes in the molding/trim that goes around the inside of the dining room slide....where the infected table was. Their suggestion was that I call Cedar Creek offices and talk with Steve Hicks.....the "problem" fixer.

As he is oftentimes difficult to reach because he is very busy in his job, I decided to pay a visit to the sales department and see the guy who sold me TheHowserHouse. He is a great guy, young and a member of the family that owns this HUGE facility just outside New Castle, IN. Once in his office, we reviewed my original purchase, discussed many other items, and then I told him my newest problem. He had been WONDERFUL in helping me with the original problem of the beetles......and he was aghast at the latest development. He picked up the phone and called the factory to talk with Steve Hicks. Of course......he had to leave a message, but he said he would continue to try to reach him. Walnut Ridge is such a HUGE operation in Forest River Products....i.e....Cedar Creek, that they have tremendous clout with the Cedar Creek offices.

We chatted some more, and then the 1st Lady and I told him we would like to visit and tour some of the newest models of 5er's that they have in stock. HAHHA.....they have 400 rv's on their beautifully landscaped lot(s).....acres and acres of rv's!!! We spent a couple of hours going inside these beautiful rigs......and comparing them to ours.....and with only a couple of exceptions we decided we like ours just as well, if not better, than the newer ones. I can't speak highly enough about Walnut Ridge and their sales and service there..........what a great place!!!

The 1st Lady and I then went into New Castle and looked around. Lunch time found us at Applebee's ad we enjoyed one of their new menu items.....a kind of "you pick two" deal for very few dollars. WONDERFUL.....WONDERFUL!!!! Sorry....can't remember which one I had...will have to think a bit and then perhaps I can remember.....just need to see the menu and I can then tell you which to order!

Later....about mid-afternoon, we returned to Walnut Ridge and then we had to wait about an hour or so. Finally, with what work they could get done......one issue they were unable to take care of........we hooked up and after getting diesel fuel at the local Flying J out on the interstate, we headed west by southwest towards Missouri.

Going through Indianapolis at 5:30.....well, you know what time that is.....RUSH HOUR (and 30 minutes into Happy Hour)!!!! But.....we took the southern part of the bypass and did just fine arriving on the west side and back on I-70 in only 35 minutes. We kept driving....and finally about 8:30, stopped in Effingham, IL at the Flying J there. LUCK was with us and there were several RV lanes open for overnighting there on their property.........for FREE!

We first walked over to Cracker Barrel and had dinner......a wee bit late for keeping the weight off, but so be it! Well........my food was not cold, but just a couple of steps up from being cold, so....guess what!? I complained.....and the waitress told me they didn't have any more of the

food I had selected, so she nuked it to warm it up. And then.......she took my meal OFF of the bill.....!!!! So, our meal for the two of us was only $10!!!!!!!! Hmmmm....what did I say a few posts back.....it pays to let the management know when things are not what they should be, or what is expected of them!!!!

We had an uneventful night with the slides not extended in the Flying J parking area.....a bit of noise from time to time as the Big RIG Boys drove in and out, but not bad at all!!!

TODAY.......we were up and going by 8:15....and headed down the road going towards Missouri. I had turned on the gennie to make my Fr. Roast coffee and the 1st Lady's tea and so I was ready for the day. BUT....not quite ready for the horrible, unreal WINDS on the highway!!!

We fought the winds all of the way 190 miles....and they were most of time blowing at 40-50 miles per hour!!!!! Not just headwinds, but he terrible winds attacking TheHowserHouse from the flank.....and pushing us around until I thought I would lose control right on the interstate. My shoulders were aching, as well as my arms and hands, from gripping the wheel sooooo tightly!! But.....

We were backing into the stick and brick driveway at noon. We unloaded, cleaned, sorted, did laundry, etc., etc., etc until we are now exhausted!! But.......hey, it was a GREAT trip....so much fun, so much food, so many great friends seen and friendships renewed, and many new ones made during the trip!!!! Negatives: one dead deer, one smashed truck front bumper and numerous other parts damaged, and HAVING TO RETURN HOME!

But....hey, you know.........this IS retirement. OOPS.....I forgot: it is not retirement, but REBIRTH!!!!!! So true, so true. AND........also soooo true:

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

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Day 15: A beautiful day in Eastern Indiana!!!!

This is an early post as we are having to use the internet connection in the Office here at the Walnut Ridge RV Park and the Office closes at 7pm.

We drove over here from Crawfordsville this morning.....about 125 miles. Had to go around to the south of Indianapolis.....I-70 is under heavy construction on the east end of the city and therefore we could not drive on it. We came here to pick up our NEW dining room table chairs for TheHowserHouse.....to replace the one the powder post beetles lived in! I am also having a couple of other issues taken care of.

The Walnut Ridge RV Park is beautiful!!!!! It joins the Walnut Ridge RV Sales where they sell Cedar Creeks and, obviously, where we purchased ours. We arrived here about 11:30 and at first we thought we would drive back into Indianapolis for the rest of the day.....but after having a wonderful lunch outside consisting of that GREAT wine our Creeker friends Julie and John gave us, we decided not to fight the traffic and just enjoy the peace and traquility along with the beauty of this park........GREAT decision!!! And......this RV Park is a member of Passport America which means we only have pay 1/2 of the price.......GREAT!!!! $16.00!!!

As to the Park.....the negative side is that most of the sites are permanent sites with RV's on them.....people who rent the sites and leave their NEW RV's on them.......but, they are almost all of them beautifully landscaped with plants, shrubs, and flowers. A really, really nice Park!!! There are about a dozen rentable sites......glad we made a reservation!!

Our appointment is in the morning at 9AM.....and I am hoping that they will finish by noon. Then we will drive part way back to Missouri and finish this tiny little trip Thursday. Not a big journey......nothing as large as the Alaska-bound group of friends. They stopped in Minnesota last night and visited the Spam Museum.......not the email type, but the canned meat type!!!

And so.....with a gorgeous day here in this beautiful park........it can be nothing but:

Life IS GREAT.....and I hope it is for all of you, also!!!!! (Check the pics below)

WONDERFUL lunch wine from Creekers Julie and John




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Pictures of Walnut Ridge RV Park in eastern Indiana




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Monday, June 04, 2007

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Day 14: A WINDY day for TheHowserHouse!!!!

The alarm went off at 7am....and after a quick shower, etc., etc., I turned on the coffee maker so that I would have some Fr. Roast Coffee for the road. Then.....outside I went to get everything "dumped", the rest of the items stored for travel, and anything else that could by done while the 1st Lady took a shower and prepared herself for the traveling day.

It wasn't long before the yard became littered with other Creekers who came to give a handshake and a hug and to wish us well as we head for Indiana for a couple of days. Some of the Creekers that are going to Alaska had already hit the road.....but others were taking their time in getting away. After unhooking the umbilical cords and checking everything twice, we pulled out of our site, through the lonely looking Country Roads RV Park, and we were soon on the Interstate heading south.

As we drove south through the mist, the clouds, and the occassional blip of sunshine, the winds began to pick up.......coming out of the west and northwest. DAMN.....but it sure made it tough and rough to drive with that much blowing around!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Around noon, we stopped for a break.....some of that wonderful, still steaming, French Roast Coffee (that you never tried, Doug).....and a small package of cookies! GREAT nutritional benefits from this break, huh????

Another stop for some much needed diesel fuel after we had made a directional course change and were driving down I-74 east towards Indiana. Surprisingly, we got a bit over 12 miles to the gallon........eat your heart out, Doug!!! (Doug, from Santa Rosa, CA....is on the way to Alaska and they had horrific winds which took their mpg down 8.2!!)

We had planned to spend the night in a Wal Mart, but after fighting the winds all day, we decided to have a bit more peaceful evening. We found a cg about 30 miles inside Indiana at Crawfordsville that is a member of Passport America......the 50% off cg membership club that we joined last winter.....I called them and yes, they had room for us in a pull-through for only $11.00 plus tax....including free wifi and full hookups (notice which I listed first...hahha).

Arriving at the Sugar Creek RV Park after driving through part of Crawfordsville, we were pleasantly surprised as it is a well maintained cg with LOTS of green space...acres and acres....and some wonderfully friendly owners!!!!! As usual, we pay no attention to the restrooms, as we carry our own, including shower....so I cannot speak for the ones in the cg. However......the rest of the place is very nice....even including the fact that the majority of the people camped here are workers on a new fuel plant...a GREEN one.....here in the area.

Tonight....we just had sandwiches and I have decided to skip my usual dosage of dark red medicine. Think I may have overdosed a bit this past week....and that my system will survive for a night with taking any.....heehee!!!

And so.......with all of the Alaska bound friends tucked safely away in Adrian, MN for the night, our Kansas City friends spread out through ne Wisconsin and also those who have returned to KC....and our many other friends who are on the road and are reading this......stay safe as you travel!!!! Texas is a long way from Wisconsin.....drive carefully!

Tired, sleepy, and ready for bed.........it makes no difference though because....

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

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Come Alive Creekers....are you tired from laughing?????

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Campfire for Creekers......more fun!!



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Creekers eating AGAIN!!!!!

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Doug/Juanita from CA, and "Grandma Chuck" from Milwaukee

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Creeker Club members providing wonderful music!!!



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A surprise inspection by Powder Post Beetle Inspectors Jim and Judy



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