Sunday, May 31, 2009

May 31, 2009: A rather laid back Sunday......

I was up by 6:30 this morning......still feeling "stuffed" from last night's dinner at Vance Vineyards. Rethinking what I wrote last night.......I really do believe that the past which I had....the Greek Pasta dinner......just wasn't as good as I had expected it to be. Why did I change my mind??? Well, I suppose it was because I had a great deal of sleeping because of over eating last night.....and my mind went over the dinner.....and...well, I just think the actual pasta was a bit tough.....more than "al dente".....and the sauce was just not that tasty. The shrimp...well, there were ample pieces in the pasta, but they, too, were a bit over cooked. And, the worst part was the chicken.......tasted and the texture was just like it might have come out of can of chicken. OK....enough about last night.......just had to write my lingering thoughts....

Today....I watched a couple of the Sunday morning "talking heads" programs.....and then had breakfast/more coffee.....and quickly changed into my "yard clothes". Soon I was completing my mowing of the and around the stacks of trees, branches, limbs, logs, brush......and this cut my actual square footage of mowable yard considerably.

Fininshing up....I did some trimming of a couple of bushes, let some water run from the hose in and around the two remaining fence posts, trying to get the ground softer so I can work these posts and get them out of the ground.

By a bit after 1pm...the 1st Lady was on her way up to Dr. Jeni' their regular baby sitter is to be gone this week, so the 1st Lady is staying there a couple of days to fill in for the sitter, watching Ava and Max......something she loves to do!!! Plans are for her to return on Wednesday....but she might detour up to Monroe City to see her Mother for a couple of days......

I found myself falling asleep this afternoon for a needed nap....and it lasted toooo long....TWO HOURS!!! I may never get to sleep tonight!!!!

Tomorrow???? Rumors are flying that our neighborhood will have their stacked trees/brush/etc picked up tomorrow!!! I'm not too optimistic about this....but, I sure hope they do arrive in the morning!!!! I also have to contact the RV insurance claims adjuster, see the contractor for the house roof for his specifics for the job, and then FAX this all to Florida to the State Farm Office so that we can get our claim re-opened. No more on this tonight....I want to keep my blood pressure at a normal level!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And soooo, as I sit in the "media room" writing this, I am also keeping an eye on a new series on the History Channel........Expedition Africa. I LOVE it already!!!!! Of course, Africa has always been a passion of mine since elementary school.......

A good day has now disappeared......the new grass in the front of the house has been watered, I have washed the back patio windows, and now it is time for a bit of a little treat as I watch this new series.......and, as always....

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

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Michael/Melissa Goldsmith and the 1st Lady at Vance Vineyards in Fredericktown, MO

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A wonderful dinner completed!!

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Amy and Josh Rauls

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Chad and Kessie Hinkle

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May 30, 3009: Morning update.....from yesterday....and the Rest of the Story for Today!

Yep...another evening when I just didn't get around to writing......

Yesterday morning was all a rush......we knew we were going to Cape Girardeau and then to visit with Mike, so we just didn't really get involved in much that we couldn't finish in a couple of hours.

I waited to receive a call from the adjuster for the RV......and no phone call ever came all day long. ????? Another adjuster problem......I hope not, and will just assume that her morning/day was busy with other claims.

We stopped in Cape and went to several stores....checking prices on new patio table and chairs, BBQ grills(small gas ones that we can carry with us in the RV), and some other lawn/garden items....i.e.... a small tiller. Each time I do this type of checking on prices of items we have to re-purchase, I get angry just thinking about the adjuster we MUST work with. She puts forth an attitude that our problems are OUR fault.......hmmmm. How did we get sooooo lucky???

We returned after a good visit about 10pm last night. And soooo, nothing of any consequence was accomplished then.......

Tonight we are going to dinner with the Goldsmith's. Perhaps we can catch up on a few topics......and, I know that, as usual, there will never be enough time to discuss everything that needs to be discussed.......just doesn't seem fair that our times together must go sooooo quickly. Oh well.....Life is tooooo short!!!

Rain is pounding the roof....hope the tarps continue to do their job!!!

More later.......


After lunch, the rains had stopped, the sun was out, the temps heated up, and the humidity was very sticky!!! However........I decided I needed to get my geraniums that I had purchased before the storm, into the ground. Soooo, for the next 1.5 hours I laid the "paper" to keep the weeds/grass from coming through the mulch, dug the holes for the geraniums, arranged the various rocks that we have collected from here in the US and in Canada, planted the flowers, and then spread the red mulch around them and the rocks.

By the time I was finished, I was one sagging hulk of dripping sweat!!!!! OMG.....I had no idea it was soooo eyes are still burning from the sweat dripping into them while my hands were dirt filled......not a pleasant task it was!!!!!

A small nap was in order......and I felt very good after about 20 minutes of this power nap. Before long......the 1st Lady and I were ready to pick up the two Goldsmith's.......and when we arrived there at their home, we decided to dine at Vance Vineyards on the outskirts of F'town.

It is a new place here in town....and a very enjoyable place to either try some of their wines, or to just sip a glass of wine and look at the scenery surrounding their patios, or to eat in their restaurant in a lovely spacious room. We were there for dinner, however......we did purchase a couple of bottles of wine for our meal...........

Mike and I drank the dark red and dry Norton....and the ladies had the Semi-Dry Chardonnel. Our food was good......not outstanding, but a very good meal. The 1st Lady and I had pasta dishes which were brought to the table after we had completed our appetizer....the stuffed mushrooms. Melissa also ordered a pasta dish....and Michael ordered a steak. He did send it back as it was not the cut of steak he had ordered and it certainly was not prepared the way he had asked for it. But.....on the second attempt, the Chef....a former student of it right and he did enjoy it! Because of the problem with his steak, the Chef sent out desserts for all of us.......and the Lemon Cake was outstanding!!!!

While there we ran into several couples who were former students of mine and of Goldsmith's: Amanda Shryock and her husband, Amy Miller Rauls and her husband Josh, and Chad Hinkle and his wife, the former Kessie Osborne. It was certainly great to see and visit briefly with all of them....and to learn more about their lives.

We returned to my stick and brick for coffee and after dinner drinks.....and some great conversation!!!!!! Before we realized it, it was almost 11pm.....and so, the evening ended without our many topics of conversation being completed......ALWAYS the way it is!!!!!

And soooo, another busy day........and a wonderful evening with my former students: Michael and Melissa Goldsmith!!!!! And soooo, as almost always......

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

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Decal on the front of the RV where the "HOT" electrical cable slammed against it when the pole crashed into the driveway!

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"White" scratches in the rear window of the RV

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Look closely for the "white" scratches......

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May 28....Early morning....WITH EVENING ADDITIONS

Hmmm.....DAMN, but it is hell getting old(er)!!!! I feel asleep on the couch as none of the many, many channels on the DirecTV had even one show that held my interest last night....and therefore, I stumbled to bed and didn't get this written! to do something about evenings like that!

Yesterday......a very, very humid day with the highs in the mid-80's.....and with that humidity, it wasn't very pleasant trying to get much done outside. During the morning, I took my truck over to Kemp's Body Shop for some more pictures.....not of the damages but of the truck itself to attach to my claim for the storm damages. It appears that the damages are going to be close to $6000, and for the most part it is the cost of the windows and the complete paint job. Whew......a lot more than I anticipated!!!!

I called our adjuster and, of course, had to leave a message for her to call me back! I need some questions answered and also, for her to contact our contractor about the measurement difference which they have for the number of squares on the roof well as some other items and questions which have.....and the 44 cents she owes me......haha.

I then spent two different cycles of time out in the yard, mowing about half of it totally before the heat and humidity drove me inside. I came in once and sat in the a/c for about a half hour, panting and weak from the heat/humidity outside.....and then after recovering from that I returned and got another segment completed. At least the new grass in the front....and the other grass on the south side that is soooooo thick and nice is just the north side where most of the damages were from the trees....which are STILL laying on the side of the yars awaiting the city to haul them away. May be I hear......ugh!!!! All of that grass under them will be dead by that time, if it isn't already.

And then.......the rains came again yesterday late afternoon!!!! Yep......lightening and thunder....and a small bit of rain, not much but enough to keep me from mowing this morning. It is cloudy and looking like rain this morning....and it is predicted again. Back to the monsoon Misery we go.......

More later....if I don't fall asleep this evening....HAHA!!!!........


OMG.....what a day this has been!!!! And, the topic??? Well, the damages/adjuster/measurements/etc./etc/etc. have taken up most of my day.

I called THE adjuster(ess) and had a verbal confrontation on the phone with her.....didn't intend to do that at all, but......her very strong will AND her attitude began to piss me off the more we "talked" and soon, things became rather unpleasant to say the least. Hmmmm........quite frankly, I was more than a little concerned about my blood pressure.....and that is something I have never had to EVER worry about!!!!!!

Sooooo, after going over the figures with a calculator, the 1st Lady and myself decided to meet with our agent here in town. Calling him....he wasn't there.....I set up an appt. for 4pm this afternoon. Then, I called the contractor we want to use....and set up an appt. with him for early evening....whenever he gets away from his current job....on someone else's roof.

Then....I began the task of reaching my RV insurance company...and was successful. I was then transferred to the Claims Dept.....and was assigned a claims number and an adjuster.....#3 for this storm(house, truck, rv). The claims people told me that the adjuster would call me within 8 hours..........and just as we were leaving the stick and brick to see our house ins. agent, the phone rang...and of course, it was the RV adjuster(ess). I explained where I was going....and so she is to call me back in the morning.

I took some pics of the damages on the Cedar Creek RV......and with the rear window being so dirty/muddy from the drive home Tuesday in the rains.....I just took a rag and began to wipe off the coating of crap. Well..........this exposed many more scratches on the rear window than I initially had discovered!!!!!!! Soooo, with the cloud cover this afternoon....actually all day.....I was able to get a few pics of these scratches....hopefully good enough to send on to the adjuster.

We were at the agent's office for almost an hour.....and he is/was very supportive, explaining some of the details......and in a very kind way, expressing his thoughts about our adjuster, without being highly critical.....just the way I would have expected him to react. That's long as gives us the assistance we need to get through this "re-opening" of our claims case.....and we get the $$$$ we are due for the damages!!!

As the 1st Lady was supposed to attend the last Beta Sigma Phi sorority meeting until next fall, I quickly popped into the oven a Stouffer's Lasagne.....a one just the correct size for two aging adults. And....then I fixed some garlic bread, with cheeses and olive oil to top it off. It disappeared quickly with a couple of glasses of dark red medicine......and I actually feel the need for the whole damn bottle this evening!!!!!!!

The contractor and his son......a former band student of mine....are currently re-measuring the roof and guttering as I write this. I had a lengthy discussion with them about what I needed in paperwork and specifics from them......and they promised to get it back to me by Monday. I also got a brouchure from them with colors, etc. of the shingles.

And sooooo, this day has gone with, not with the winds.....but gone quickly due to the confrontations of the day!!! I am going to post a couple of pics of the RV's window and decal some of you are rv'ers and might be interested in this. I would never in my wildest dreams thought that the shingles could have cut through the glass like it did on the RV and on the truck!!!!!! I suppose the hurricane strength winds can do anything!!!!!!

Yep.......just as always.........

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

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Are you going to push me????

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Max.....always sleeps with his hands under his head!

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Max with Grammy

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The 1st Lady's younger brother....David

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Max with "Uncle Jay"

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Dr. Jeni....

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Hungry Rachel!!!!

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Sat. evening Family BBQ

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Great bonfire!!!

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WOW.....great fun!!!!

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HOW does this work???

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Hanging out at TheHowserHouse at "The Landing"

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May 26, 2009: Back in the stick and brick, we are, we are!!

A wet morning........wet in the sense that my feet were wet for an hour as I got TheHowserHouse prepared for the trip back to southeast Misery. The mud surrounded THH as it had rained over and over again for the past couple of days......and since our site was at the bottom of a small hillside, the results were water and mud all around us......UGH!!!! However, I slowly slipped and slid around and without any hurry necessary, I pulled out about 10:50am......just shortly after the 1st Lady had left with Jeremy and Anne-Marie. They took her back to her mother's home...and then she drove them down to STL to catch their flight back to Hartford, CT this afternoon.

I just kept moving southward...and arrived here in F'town around 3pm......and for some strange reason there was a great deal of traffic here in this small, storm-ravaged town. But......after battling a couple of heavy, dark rain storms on the highway today, it was really a piece of cake to get THH backed into the driveway, between the "walls" of stacked branches, logs, and huge chunks of trees along the curbside.

After an hour.....I had THH unloaded, but not cleaned up yet. That will have to come tomorrow......and I think I can it done then.

A bit of news......we did cancel our reservations for the International Cedar Creek RV Owners Club Rally in Las Cruces, NM for mid-June. We just cannot leave the stick and brick under tarps and/or in the process of being repaired in the several categories that need professional attention. This will be the first time that we have missed an International Rally....but, this is also the first time that we have had our home damaged so severely from a huge storm. We will certainly miss being with our good friends for a week in New Mexico, but.......there have to be priorities....and in this case, our home has to come first.

I received a call from the auto body shop here in town that he needs more pictures for the Shelter Insurance claim on the paint.......all of the numerous scratches that the "flying" shingles did to it. Not too mention the many scratches on the windows and windshield.......

Did I wonderful it is to have great internet access back here in the stick and comparison to the spotty/iffy wifi that was available to us at "The Landing" RV Park. I sometimes thought I would fall asleep waiting for the pages to change was soooo slow!!!!! Just tooooooo many rv's using it at the same time!!! An upgrade is definitely needed....and when I turned in their survey, I made mention of this....quite strongly!

And sooooo, the weekend is over....and now to get on with the many, many tasks related to our storms damages. I will try to keep you posted on how things go with this.........and the recovery of my 44 cents of postage I had to pay......hahaha!!!

As almost always.......

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

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day, May 25, 2009: Shitty day with inches of rain!

Yep...the title says it all!!!! Awoke early this morning with the awning flapping outside, the sliding bars rattling and the rains pounding down. Sooooo, upwards...out of the bed I pull myself, get on my most used shorts and flip flops, and get out into the wetness of lots of rain. I found a chair to stand mother's fault for my shortness of heighth......and after cutting lose a little twirly balloon thingy, I went to work to get the awning quickly as I could. At least there were no major problems, except I couldn't see anything since my glasses are not equiped with glass wipers, but only fell out of the chair once when it sank at least three inches into the mud.....the water being up to my ankles!!!! At least it went up.......and while the winds were not very strong, I was NOT going to take any chances of some unknown and un-predicted "Inland Hurricane" arriving. Soooo, stumbling back inside, I found a towel, removed my sopping clothes and redressed.

In less than 30 minutes the rains REALLY began to pour down upon us.....and we must have had at least 2 inches in a very short time as the water began to roll down the hillside behind us....and I kept hoping that the rv's up above us would remain there and not come sliding/floating down upon us!!! The asphalt street in front of us suddenly developed a 2'x2' opening as the pavement was pushed upwards and the concrete below soon was on top of the asphalt!!! Yep....the rains were really, really coming down!!!!! I began to wonder if I needed to prepare for another insurance adjuster..........

However, it was only about 30 minutes of this cloudburst....and then it gradually began to return to just drizzles. I had some Fr. Roast coffee.....and when it finally did end, I went outside to begin to put my chairs, bbq grill, etc., etc. well as pick up the heavy, soggy towels, t-shirts, bathing suits that had drooped to the ground/mud!!

I decided I should empty the black tank as we have had numerous relatives inside THH(TheHowserHouse).....and with the actual "hole" for the sewage higher than the sewage hose that I use to drain the tanks, I knew that I would have to "massage" the hose to get things moving upwards to the opening to the underground sewer lines. Well......have you ever seen the movie "RV"?????? OK.....I felt like I was almost the star in it as suddenly the hose on my connection where then tanks come from the rv....well it suddenly slipped off of the plastic attachment.....and....OMG, I know instantly had black sewage spewing out from the end of the hose AND coming directly from the black tank in the underbelly of THH!!!!!! I picked up the end of the hose, quickly closed the slide on the exit from the black tank....and then began to survey the damages.....and my nose told me the raw truth.....yep, a real pun!!!!

Soooo, for the next 10 minutes or so, I worked the water hose to clean up the spill.....not a pleasant task, but better than just leaving it for the neighbors to enjoy visually and aromatically! OK...this day was not off to a very good beginning!!!!

I finished THAT task, finished getting things ready to leave in the I didn't want to wait for tomorrow and have to deal with all of the rains that are predicted......and then retired to THH for more coffee, some hand sterilization, and another change of clothing. I just kept asking myself if I "was having fun, yet?"

This afternoon we went in to Monroe City....10 miles....and visited with the 1st Lady's mother, as well as our son Jeremy and Anne-Marie. They have to fly back from STL tomorrow.....they live in Hartford, CT......and the 1st Lady will deposit them at the airport in STL by 4pm tomorrow afternoon. I will leave around noon for F'town....and hopefully, have a friend who will be my spotter as I attempt to get around all of the downed trees, logs, brush, and get THH backed into the driveway. If not, guess I will live in the old W-M parking lot where the store used to be.........

And soooo, the weekend comes to a close....and it is soon back to negotiating with the insurance adjusterS!!!!

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

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Sat/Sunday: A fun time for all.........

This will be takes forever to get anything posted due to the very, very, very slow Wifi here.....tooooo many people here trying to use it. Jay and Ann-Marie arrived here about mid-afternoon yesterday as they had to change planes in Chicago and the plane on down to SLT was cancelled. Soooo, they were a couple of hours later than they had planned.

Lots of visiting going on......lots of laughs.......and then we had a BBQ at the motel where the 1st Lady's sister and her families are staying. LOTS of family there.....and it was a really great time for all.

The Landing RV Park is soooooooo packed with people.......way tooooo many for the facilities that they have here. You can barely get up through the streets....and there are waaaaayyyyy tooooo many golf carts zipping around on the streets for the safety of the little children who are enjoying playing in the streets. NOT a good situation, but......on the other hand, this is not a bad park if it wasn't a three day holiday weekend. I'm sure it is packed because of that!!!

Rain is expected tonight and tomorrow........good be a sloppy ending to a fun time for everyone.

Will close this for now......and perhaps tomorrow afternoon/evening there will be less people here and the wifi should be better.

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