January 2005 Archives

Awake 6:20 am Temp outside=39 Partly sunny Overnight Tucson, AZ

Call Gary & Rosemary in Pahrump. They plan on leaving February 15(pending
wx)to start their journey across the states to PA. We plan to keep in
touch & try to rendezvous with them somewhere in Arizona this month.

Sign up for 2 more days stay here @ The Beaudry campground @ the Rally price.

Call my Bro Don in Ebensburg, PA. We talk about this summer's travel plans
to Japan & update each other on family.
Call my sister Mary Jo & husband Ed in Lodi, CA. Mary Jo has questions
about our home sale & moving into our motorhome, etc. Then we discuss
travel plans to Japan.
Call John & Shirley in Vancouver, WA. I haven't talked with them for quite
awhile. They sound good, well they should, they are still quite young &
quite active.
We also talk about the "Thousand Trails" campgrounds of which they are

@ 1:45pm we walk the campground again for exercise(45 min), then eat our
complimentary chicken/BBQ beef etc lunch. This is the last day of the
Western BBQ RV Roundup. I'm gonna miss those lunches. After our lunch, we
find the Thousand Trail sales people in the small tent & chat with them
some more about their program.

Mid afternoon, Kathy searches for low air fare tickets to Japan. About 2
hrs later, we think she found a pretty good deal. We go outside & tour a
few Essex's motorhomes by the Newmar company & talk about the ticket price
some more with fresh air & sunshine to clear our minds.

Late afternoon, we close the deal on the airfare tickets to Japan.

7:00 pm Dinner: BIG fresh salad. Later evening: Popcorn while watching
the Masterpiece Theatre on PBS.
Today's high temp=67 Lights out: 11:24 pm

Awake 6:18 am Temp 45 Clear sky..then light rain Overnight Tucson, AZ

Kathy does 3 laundry loads this morning. I vacuum the carpets in the
living room, bedroom & the walk-in-closet. Kathy vacuums the higher areas.

Tucson city water seems to taste pretty good to us plus Beaudry filters it
even more coming into their campground. So, I fill our 161 gallon fresh
water tank up full.
Early afternoon, we walk to Camping World & purchase both the 2005 yr
Trailer Life & Woodall's campground directories. On the return walk, we
tour through a few motorhomes on display before & after our free lunch @
the BIG tent. Same menu as yesterday but hey, for free take, to
buy...waste time.

@ 4:00 pm we drive over to the Pima Air & Space Museum for a entrance
photo that I was not able to get on Tuesday's tour. Then we drive West on
Valencia road to I-19...to the "white dove of the desert." The Mission San
Zavier De Bac & attend 5:30 Mass. This church was built in 1797 & has been
going through a major renovation for the last many yrs now. Being there
for Mass was outstanding. We take a few photos & walk around...then back
to campground by 6:45pm.

Tonight we are invited to the BIG tent for the Country Western Pam Tillis
show. You might remember her father Mel, the only time he didn't stutter
was when he was singing. We are both hungry so we each take a jar of mixed
nuts & a bottle of grape juice in our pockets. It was a bit crowded but a
real foot tapper & very entertaining.
Today's high temp=63 Lights out: 11:16 pm

Awake 6:28 am Temp outside 45 Early clouds then clear Overnight Tucson

After coffee & before breakfast, we exercise for 45 min @ the Beaudry
workout facility. Then we use their shower...saves us from cleaning our
glass shower.

Early afternoon, we go next door into the BIG tent to have the
complimentary lunch of chicken breast, BBQ beef, potato salad, beans with
corn & a roll. Nice deal plus there is a live country western band
entertaining us during our meal.

@3:35, we drive East toward the Catalina Mountains to visit with Nanci &
Allan. We think we'll have enough time for a stop @ Costco en route but,
the traffic was terrific(rush hr) & our directions were flawed from the
beginning by that large Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. So we skipped the
Costco & drove into Allan & Nanci's driveway 2 min before the suggested
arrival time.

Nanci & Allan had lived in Anchorage for approx 10 yrs. Kathy and Nanci
got to know each other as they did water aerobics together for several
years at the AK Club. After retiring, Nanci and Allan bought a motorhome &
with the help of some Internet data, drove across the states searching for
a suitable city in which to retire. They settled here in Tucson 4.5 yrs
ago & just love it. Once we experienced their 1.5 acres and lovely home
with pool we could easily see why. The view toward the Catalina Mountains
& of the desert valley area is to die for and gives them abundant privacy.
Both Allan & Nanci enjoy cooking; our appetizer of shrimp cocktails with
wine, followed by faccacia garlic bread, tossed salad, new york steaks,
fresh baby green beans & baked potatoes plus triple chocolate cheese cake
with raspberries for dessert was the real proof of their talents. Their
Arizona desert yard reminded me of our Sonora Desert museum tour; cacti
abound, the cayotes howl, and desert wild life flourish. It was an
excellent meal with terrific hosts .......I enjoyed getting to know them
better. Back to our motorhome @ 10:10 pm.

We watch a little PBS TV late evening.

Today's high temp=73 Lights out: 12:17 am

Awake 6:21 am Temp outside=52 Heavy rain during the night
Overnight Tucson, AZ

@ 8:00am we join the group @ the farewell coffee & donuts site but do not
partake in eating donuts. The more Newell rallies we attend, the more we
continue to enjoy couples we've met during past rallys & enjoy meeting new
couples. This was another good group & another good rally.

By 9:45am, only 5 of our Newell coaches remain in the campground. Kathy &
I eat breakfast @ the campground restaurant called: "Beer Bottoms Bistro."
A good breakfast for a fair price.

A few hrs later, we walk the campground & their 347 full hookup sites.
This takes 45 min. Starting today, Beaudry RV is having a 4 day Western
style BBQ with live entertainment & a bid & buy RV sale. The campground
sites are completely sold out. We were lucky we had planned ahead for a
few more days stay. After our walk, we tour the vendors tent looking at
their products & buying opportunities like a membership in Thousand
Trails, etc. From there, we visit Camping World & browse around there for
awhile. Back to our coach @ 1:30pm.

Call Gary @ the Newell factory parts desk. One of my matched pair belts
for the air conditioner compressor has started to show some cracks so I
ask Gary to FedEx a set to our Sun City hangout.

Mid afternoon, JD & his wife, Kelly, stop in for a visit. They are full
timers (5 yrs now) & love it. We have a lot to talk about & they are full
of tips for full timers.

Before dinner, we call my Sister Corinne @ the Lilly Pad in PA. Her
roommate Rosella gives us the phone # for Saint Catherine's in Pittsburgh
where she is spending the weekend. Corinne is enjoying her visit.

7:15 Dinner: Grilled pork chops with broccoli, fresh spinach salad & toast.

Mid evening: Kathy calls her ole friend Nanci, who moved to Tucson from
Anchorage 4.5 yrs ago. We are planning on seeing them tomorrow.

Late evening: Kathy watches TV in the bedroom while I input these humble
words to the on-line journal in the living room.

Today's high=77 Lights out: 12:15 am

Awake 6:30 am Temp outside=55 Light rain all morning Overnight Tucson

Umbrella in hand, we board our buses @ 9:00 am for Nagales, Mexico(1 hr
drive). Both of these hired buses have tag axle steering, so when we pull
into the McDonald's parking lot 1 block away from the Mexican border, that
short radius steering is amazingly sharp. We are told that lunch will be
served @ the LaRoca restaurant @ noon time & it'll be good.

It takes less than 5 mins to walk across the border into Nagales, Mexico
from our bus. We really are not interested in making any purchases so our
walking the streets & window shopping is mere curiosity, but the Nagales
store owners still try & peddle their wares. One thing we might try & buy
for less is some night-cap Cognac for me & Crown Royal for Kathy. While
browsing in a somewhat upscale jewelry, housewares & souvenir shop, a
young lady tells us how everyone in the area buys liquor at the best
price: cross over to the USA side, within 1/2 block you will find a duty
free shop with a large liquor section,as well as, the usual perfume,
jewlery, etc. You select & buy up to 1 liter each, then a security girl
waits until 4 or more persons are ready, and accompanies you back to the
Mexican side. Here you can make an immediate turn back through to the USA
side...duty free style. And we do that.

Anyway, in doing this, we missed the appointed LaRoca restaurant lunch so
we simply had a healthy chicken salad @ McDonald's.

En route back to our campground, our bus makes an hr stop @ the historic
town of Tubac. Spanish Colonists began settling here during the 1730's.
Today the town remains small but now, it's more of a town for arts &
crafts & jewelry makers, etc. Now that the rain has ceased in this area,
Kathy & I take the opportunity to get some walking exercise while seeing
the town. Back to our coach @ 4:00 pm.

@ 4:45 we depart for cocktails & dinner @ the Pima Air & Space Museum. We
were here yesterday & I like this place. Unfortunately it's drizzling a
little outside again so looking @ more aircraft now would not be so
comfortable. So tonight, we drink & dine in Hangar #3 with a restored B-24
Liberator, B-25 Mitchell, A-26, C-47 & others. We did enjoy looking
carefully @ these War birds, pictures of flight combat & reading about
some of their missions. More than the usual airplane talk revolved around
our table this evening most likely due to the atmosphere. Back to
campground after 8:00 pm.
Today's high=63 Lights out: 11:37

Awake 6:05 am Temp outside=49 High clouds Overnight Tucson, AZ

After breakfast in our coach, we board the buses & go into the nearby
Davis- Monthan Air Force base & over to the aviation boneyard/mothball
area. I have never seen so many aircraft lined up in one central area
before on some 5200 acres of land. Our tour guide Bill, was very
knowledgeable on the various types/models & history of the aircraft being
stored here in the desert climate. All branches of military aircraft are
represented plus some retired commercial airliners. Some of these aircraft
are being dismantled for parts used to keep other ones flying....others
are mothballed because of inactivity but still in good flying condition.
Still others are being completely chopped up for the aluminum meltdown.
What an impressive operation.

From the boneyard/mothball area, we bus just down the road to the Pima
Air & Space Museum on 75 acres. This too,is an awesome operation. WWII war
birds, retired commercial & military planes, retired presidential planes,
etc. A lot of the aircraft on display have been restored & in mint looking
condition. 4 large hangars house many of the classics & special planes but
most are sitting outside. Our time was too short to appreciate seeing all
the aircraft they have on display but we did tour the Presidential DC-4
aircraft of Eisenhower & Kennedy. Tomorrow night we are scheduled to have
dinner here under the wings of a B-24 Liberator & a B-25 so maybe we can
do more roaming around then. Back to our campground @ 12:45.

After Kathy's lunch, finally I am able to get on-line with a little help
from a guy named Francisco.

@ 4:30, Kathy & I start getting dressed up with smart-casual attire for
dinner tonight @ "Janos" near the Catalina foothills of Tucson. This
place, which we saw little of because of darkness, is a 1st class
establishment. The waiters/waitresses were most attentive, keeping our
bottomless water and wine glasses continually filled; any trip away from
the table, for say a bathroom break, resulted in a new napkin being placed
at the table setting of the mising person. Our 6:45 Dinner: Garlic
shrimp, sweet potato, corn coulis & amaranth salad appetizer was one good
start. Then surf & turf & veggies for the main course(the filet was the
best I've eaten in a long time and the lobster was delicious as well), A
wonderful chocolate mousse was served for dessert. Back to campground
around 9:40 pm.

We watch a little (very little) cable TV late evening.

Today's high temp=74 Lights out: 10:50 pm

Awake 6:00 am Temp outside 52 Rain...heavy @ times Overnight Tucson, AZ

It's not looking so good for our 9:00 am trip to the Sonora desert outdoor
museum tour today but then....shortly after breakfast in our coach @ 8:15,
the sky cleared, the sun popped out & it's a beautiful day. Amazing how
fast some weather fronts can move through.

Our Newell group of over 70 people are bused(2 buses) 40 mins West. On
passing Old Town, A Western town originally built as the set for the 1939
movie Arizona. Some 350 movies were filmed in this area & it's still being
used as a movie set. Many John Wayne movies; a Clint Eastwood "The Outlaw
Josey Wales"; Kirk Douglas's "Gunfight at the O.K. Corral."; Paul Newman's
"Life & Times of Judge Roy Bean" etc., were filmed here. We didn't stop
at this attraction but this is what we were told. Also, we did visit this
attraction in 1973 with Kathy's parents when we stopped to visit them on
our way east, moving from Vancouver to Memphis to begin work with FedEx.

As we are riding along, it is obvious that this Sonora desert area is
heavily filled with the famous cacti of Arizona: the Saguaro. It grows
tall(25 to 50 ft), bears an editable fruit & it takes some 50 years for an
arm to grow out. They live to be over 300 yrs old.

Arriving @ the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum, we are informed that it's a
self-guided tour & to just follow the map we are given. The trails were
well marked & it truly was a natural kind of desert area. Little
creatures, lots of different birds: majestic raptors, i.e. jays, parrots,
road runners, owls, etc. In fact, we were highly encouraged to rendezvous
@ 10:30 for the free flight demo in a certain area. Sure enough, the crowd
gathered & the park rangers were right; we saw a trained barn owl up close
& witnessed his low & slow flying skills to catch his prey. Another bird
on the demo flight was the Ferruginous Hawk. This impressive guy had at
least a 5 foot wingspan & very quiet flight characteristics. We walked on
the trails for several hrs & saw a few javelina resting in the shade; road
runners, running; and birds flying; But basically, one would have to hang
out in this environment for days & nights to witness the many animals,
small creatures etc that really are nocturnal & don't expose themselves
during the day.

Aside from the trails & creatures, we also witnessed the boulder making
process. They look so real but...they are hollow inside. And, we walked
thru the reptiles and invertebrates house and watched and learned a lot
about a "lovely" tarrantula from one of the volunteers. Back to our
campground @ 12:35 pm.

Kathy makes a fresh salad to go with mixed nuts, reindeer sausage, some
Triscuits & canalope bites for lunch. Then I spend some time trying to get
on-line here @ our site. I did manage to get an outside line working for
calling card & 800# calls so I'm confident I'll be able to get a computer
connection soon.

Mid afternoon, we visit Gregg & Davida to see their new 40 ft Newell. We
are both curious to see what they gave up, space wise, to shrink their
coach by 5 ft. One thing, they have a combination washer/dryer in lieu of
a stackable. The stackable is preferred by far. In order to have 2 slides
in front, they had to change from a mid to a front entrance, which they
don't like as well. They also gave up storage space but then they are not
full-timers. The real advantage of having a 40 ft coach is the flexibility
of getting into state & city parks & smaller campgrounds. Both Gregg &
Davida are over 80 yrs of age but don't look or act it.

@4:45 pm we depart for a social hour & dinner @ the Stillwell House in
downtown Tucson. This Mexican house, now a restaurant, is a landmark, very
old but renovated. The margaritas were too good & now I don't remember the
age of the house. Naturally the dinner was Mexican & very, very good...if
one can remember that too. Back to our campground about 9:30 pm.

Today's high temp=77 Lights out: 10:45 pm

Awake 6:45 am Temp outside=55 High clouds Overnight Sun City, AZ

Call Dick & Christine who live in Phoenix. On February 1st, they will be
closing on a new home so they will only be spending one day @ the Newell
rally starting today.

Leave the Al & Wilma Rancho Ventura @ 9:40 am. Nice travel day & very
smooth roads on I-10 to Tucson, AZ. Arrive @ the Beaudry RV campground
shortly after noon time. The 1st parking spot they gave us was no good.
For the length of our coach & the slanted grade of the site, our
limitations were exceeded. We tried several times moving the coach 5 ft
aft & 5 ft forward without getting a level condition. The next site was
ideal & just across the street from the 1st one. Over the next several
days we noticed several small units were being assigned that spot & each
one of them had to use blocks to raise the rear of their 5th wheel or
trailer for leveling.

Sam, in sales @ Newell, greets us on his mini motorcycle. @ 2:20 pm, we
join the group to see the show coaches, especially the New 625. This is
the most powerful bus on the market now. It has a CAT 625 h.p. engine with
a 10 speed automatic clutch transmission. Inside, all the bells & whistles
plus a murphy bed. Later Carl, the boss man @ Newell, takes 8 of us for a
20 min demo ride. Needless to say, it was impressive.

Next is the social hour under a tent in front of the show coaches; wine
cocktails, and hors d'oeuvres. There are 10 couples who are 1st time
Newell rally attendees. @ 6:00pm, we are bussed to the Arizona Inn for
dinner: A selection of wine for starters, then fresh salad, filet steak
with mashed potatoes & asparagus. The filet was outstanding. Back to the
campground @ approx 9:30 pm.

We visit with Dick & Christina in their new 2004 coach with 4 slides. A
very nice motorhome. Dick asked me an extremely technicial question which
took a little thinking before I answered: "Monte, how do you work the
dishwasher?" He asked the right person as I am the dish doer & I gave him
a very thorough & sober review. I take my retirement duties very
seriously. They will return to Phoenix tomorrow because of their moving to
a new home.

High temp today=63 Lights out: 11:51 pm

Awake 6:32 am Temp outside 53 Clear Overnight Sun City, AZ

Could not get on-line using our local# @ Al's ranch. All #'s for this msn
ISP are from Phoenix & they may be toll calls. I'll wait & check this out
later with Al when he's back in town.

I clean the windshield, mirrors & rear camera window. Then check the oil,
run Detroit diesel engine which runs the air compressor &, using the
doubler, I am able to get 180 lbs per square inch of air pressure. I find
both of my tag tires a little low on air, so I pump them back to 85 psi.
My main dual tires are Ok @ 120 psi, front tires Ok @ 130 psi.

Dump 6 empty boxes in the Dumpster en route to 4:00 pm mass @ St. Joachim
& St. Anne Church. Back to coach @ 5:10.

7:30 Dinner: Chicken in marinated mozzarella sauce, brown & wild rice
pilaf & fresh spinach salad.

Try to call Frank & Kay staying in a nearby campground...no answer. Try to
call Katrina(leave msg); Call Nick: He helped Zack move into his apt
yesterday. Call Zack: He's 1/3 organized into his apt now & getting his
voice back. Call the Foote family. Their bonus room (old bedroom) is all
rearranged now & working out well.

Late evening: we watch some local channel TV.

High temp today=77 Lights out: 12:40 am

Awake 7:14 am Temp outside 58 Cloudy Overnight in Sun City, Arizona

I sleep well. Kathy however, had a dream of opening her dresser drawers &
every one of them was empty....it took her 1.5 hrs to get back to sleep.

Mid morning, we empty our suitcases & the garment bag...then organize.

Late morning, Brian, son of Al & Wilma, arrives @ the shop. When I visit
him I notice our 6 FedEx boxes have already arrived. The remainder of the
afternoon & some evening time is dedicated to finding a place for these

8:05 pm Dinner: Stuffed peppers with broccoli & toast.

Some late evening bedroom organizing by Kathy...then some local TV watching.

I call our voice mailbox in Anchorage for messages(4).

High temp today 63 Lights out: 11:34 pm

Anchorage to Portland=3.5 hrs. Portland to Phoenix=2.3 hrs.

We both try to nap en route. It's like twilight sleep....kinda awake but
kinda sleeping. Arrive Phoenix @ 10:25 am. The temperature leaving Alaska
was below zero, landing in Phoenix, it's 55 degrees. Now we're talking.

As we walk toward the baggage area, we see no Starbucks coffee kiosks in
terminal 2. We were looking forward to using our Starbucks coffee cards
given to us as Christmas presents.

Take the Super Shuttle to Sun City & right to our waiting motorhome. I
scrutinize the outside basement areas & Kathy checks the inside.
Everything looks good. It's been stored for 3 months on the North side of
this big shop since we drove here from Pennsylvania last October 14th. I
talked with Al & Wilma a few weeks ago & they said they would be camping @
Quartzite when we arrive so now not much is happening on these 12 acres.

We have little food in our freezer so it's off to grocery shopping @
Trader Joe's & Fry's. $200.00 later, our home on wheels is a little better
stocked up.

Now I start the Detroit Diesel engine & reposition our coach to the West
side of the shop where we will have a full hookup. Keeping our coach here
during our Alaska visits has worked out well for us & Al has done a good
job of keeping a close eye on it.

7:00 pm Dinner: Delicious Italian sausage, red peppers & onions, fresh
salad & toast.
No suitcase or box unpacking tonite, we're too tired. We watch a little TV
using our antenna for local channels. It's comforting to be back in our
home on wheels again.

It's also comforting to know that Zack has made it safely to Seattle. He
called us nightly, reporting on his progress. He did make the stops he
intended and had no trouble. He sounds quite happy and pleased with
himself. His furniture and belongings are due to arrive tomorrow as
planned so that he can get moved into his apt before starting his new job
on Monday.

Lights out: 10:19 pm.

Awake 7:15 am Temp -6 Overnight @ Marriott Springhill Hotel 6 hrs 45 min

A good night sleep for both of us. Complimentary breakfast in hotel lobby.
I ask Kathy to start calling financial institutions to bargain on rates
while I have a duplicate key made for our storage unit & finish stacking
the last load of things we brought over there last night.

The key made @ Andy's Ace Hardware works fine. The final stacking took 20
min & when I backed the RAV 4 into the building unit as a test, there was
a good 6 inches left between the car & the door. This is good.

Back to the hotel where I take a rare, slow & really hot shower. Kathy has
been busy on the phone & has already worked out several options for when
our electronic check comes through from the house sale.

We leave our bags downstairs in their secured storage room, then visit
Jeff, our accountant to get a head start on 2004 taxes. Then to Alaska USA
for more personal bargaining on rates. I make a quick trip to our Credit
Union, then return to Alaska USA. Our chores are done now. Finances taken
care of, storage unit locked up and looking good, house sold, etc.

Now we visit the Foote family & spend a little time with Matthew...this is
when we find out we have a buyer for our 1984 Ford Van. We are surprised!
It's someone who actually knows what a good vehicle it truly is and...it's
Melissa. She & Kevin are planning ahead & I will probably sell it to them.

We say our "goodbyes" to the Foote's & our little grandson, stop @ the
Holiday gas station for RAV 4 fuel, stop @ our mailbox for today's mail,
then to rendezvous with Katrina @ 6:00 pm outside of the gate of our
storage facility. We are running late...it's 6:20 & she's not there.
Katrina is very tuned into being on time these days but the masters of
being on-time are late tonight. We circle the Costco parking lot & find
her car & Kathy finds her inside talking on the phone with Melissa trying
to find out where we are. Anyway, she follows us thru the gate to our
storage unit, I park the RAV 4 inside...close the door & lock it. This
chapter is closed for now.

Katrina drives us over to Mooses Tooth & joins us for one more fling with
the pizza & beer scenario before dropping us off @ the Marriott Springhill
hotel. We say our goodbyes to Katrina, get our travel bags + garment bag &
Yenny drives us to the Alaska Terminal in the hotel van for our 1:30 am
red eye flight to Phoenix. It's been another busy day but now a long
awaited calm seems to have come over both of us. We are looking forward to
our new RV lifestyle.

Awake 7:30 am 4th night on air mattress 6 hrs 40 min daylight

Forgot to mention: Zack, Katie & some of his buddies loaded up a section
of the moving truck(3 ft X 8 ft X 9 ft)on Monday with his things to be
transported via Move America company. They had to load, unload, and reload
3 times in order to fit his stuff and even had room to spare. Then Zack
and his friends cleaned his apt. He sounded pretty tired when we talked
with him this evening. Zack is driving only his Camry & his goal is to
drive to Seattle in 2.5 days; first stop, Bismarck, N.D., second stop,
Spokane, WA., third stop, Seattle. He left West Lafayette, Indiana on
Tuesday @ 10:00am.

After breakfast, Kathy vacuums the den carpet. She thinks this carpet
cleaned up the best. Meanwhile, I continue with yr 2004 tax prep.

Mid morning, again I load up the RAV 4 with more stuff that we won't need
& we'll take to the refuse center...plus some boxes of good stuff(food,
plants, cleaning supplies, etc)to be given to the Foote family. We leave @
12:10 pm. Drop off the trash @ the refuse center, make a quick stop @ the
Foote's condo & transfer their goodie boxes plus return their Kirby vacuum
cleaner & shampoo attachment....then stop @ our local post office to
change our address & back home @ 1:30.

Then we load up our 4 apple boxes of stuff and 2 small boxes of books and
papers to be sent to our motorhome via FedEx plus 2 boxes to be sent to
our boys in Seattle. After the run to the Metroplex & FedEx, we stop @ the
Marriott Residence Inn & check for vacancy. They only have 2 rooms
available tonight, both smoking rooms. We get a key & check the room for
odor...pretty strong, both of them. The receptionist informs us that their
sister hotel, Marriott Springhill Suites on "A" Street has vacancy. Sure
enough, they do & we sign up for a room for the night. Back to our house @
4:45 to continue with last minute cleaning details. As we are there, new
owner Woody drives around back & begins unloading that big trailer parked
outside the lower garage.

As much as we would have liked to be all finished before 6:00 pm, we are
not going to make it. We agreed to meet Katrina for dinner @ Thai
Kitchen(15 min drive), so we break for food. I do however, convince the
girls to order meals to go & to eat them back @ the house while we
continue to finish what little cleaning remains. We stand at the center
island and eat some before working and then finish our meals.
No question, there will be one more RAV 4 load needed to be packed into
our storage unit tonight before 9:00 pm. Katrina lends a helping hand, I
load our travel suitcases, garment bag, clothes that will remain in
Anchorage & the Atlas storage clothes box. Katrina takes her box of
goodies that Kathy feels will be useful in her apartment & she drives off.
We'll see her tomorrow night. We say "Goodbye" to our wonderful home &
neighborhood of 13 1/2 years & drive off toward our storage unit.

I really wanted to have time to just meander from empty room to empty room
with Kathy & reminisce some of the great memories we had in each of those
rooms with the kids, friends, neighbors & guests over the 13.5 yrs....but
now we'll simply do it when looking @ our pictures.

At the storage unit, we assemble the clothes box, put all the clothes on
it's hangar & the rest of the things on the floor. It's too cold now & I
am getting too tired to do anymore organizing tonight. We drive to our
Marriott Springhill Suites hotel, unload our travel suitcases & garment
bag & head to our room #328 for the night.
Lights out: 11:15 pm

Awake 7:13 am Temp downtown 5 6 hrs 36 min daylight

This was our 3rd night sleeping on the air mattress. This time in our
living room.
We have a 9:00 am appointment with the American Title Company this morning
for the closing on our house. I forgot to mention that they called on
Saturday & asked if we would like to close on Monday or Tuesday....so we
picked Monday. Woody & Chong will close on Tuesday. Closing was the easy
part...took about 30 mins. We are to receive our electronic check on
Wednesday morning.
Leaving the Title Company, we make a stop @ our storage unit, then a quick
visit to Costco & back home @ 10:45 pm.
We quickly write & sign 4 birthday cards & head to downtown Anchorage to
Sullivan's restaurant where we meet for lunch, in a private room, with 25
of our buddies from the Alaska club. This was a planned rendezvous to see
everyone before we leave town & to celebrate the birthday people of
January. It was a nice occasion & we're not sure when or where we'll see
the gang again.

Back home, I gather trash...including that 30 gal barrel & 5 gal bucket &
make another trip to the refuse center. 50 mins round trip. During my time
away, Kathy shanpoos more of the den carpet. Later she continues clearing
out the kitchenware.

About 5:20 pm we call the Louis & Clarissa family in Nicktown & offer our
condolences on the passing of their mother, one of my favorite aunts. Age
96, a super great lady, she will be talked about & missed for yrs.

After that phone call, I change the house water filter while Kathy
finishes shampooing the den carpet.

9:10 pm Dinner: Filet steak with baked potatoes. After dinner, I take the
electronic pre-filters & filters into the lower garage for cleaning. I
told Woody I would do this as well as change out the water filter & clean
out the central vacuum canister. While I was cleaning the electronic
filters in a large plastic tub in the lower garage, I hear voices outside.
It's Woody & his friend Delmar...they just brought a large enclosed
trailer of boxes & furniture for unloading tomorrow & parked it outside
the lower garage. Those guys are ready to move it, no question.

Upstairs, I empty out our file drawer & start going through yr 2004 tax
papers. Meanwhile Kathy addresses FedEx boxes to ship to the boys in
Seattle & our boxes to ship to AZ. tomorrow. No movie tonite.

Lights out: 1:00 am

Awake 6:18 am Temp 18 Some clouds 6 hrs 32 min daylight

Another nights sleep on the Coleman air mattress.

Kathy makes a sourdough pancake breakfast for 2. After breakfast, we load
up the RAV 4 & I make another trip to our storage unit while Kathy
shampoos the master bedroom. This time I stay & restack our things tighter
to retain enough space for the RAV 4.
Early afternoon, I clean & organize the lower garage & sort out my
remaining tools to keep in Anchorage.

@ 7:00 pm Woody & Chong arrive to do a walk thru inspection & to learn
about the house heating system, central vacuum system, steam shower, plus
other house operations. Woody brought a notepad & pencil...good thing, as
I have a lot to tell him. It took us about 2 hrs to cover everything.
Kathy & Chong were finished in maybe 30 mins. They spent nearly 3 hrs on
this visit, looking into different rooms & more talk about where their
furniture will go, etc.

Dinner: None. We decide to skip it....it's too late so we have a few
healthy snacks instead (Triscuits, cheese, mixed nuts & reindeer sausage)
while watching some more of the movie "Mystic River" that we started last
night. This movie is over 3 hrs long...we won't be able to finish it....so

Lights out: 11:57 pm

Awake 7:24 am Temp downtown 19 Cloudy 6 hrs 27 min daylight

We slept in our den last night on a Coleman air mattress that Kevin is
letting us use. It was fairly comfortable.
Zack calls from West Lafayette, IN with moving questions: Should he load
and drive a U-haul, pulling his car on a dolly, unloading it himself in
Seattle; use a moving company that will pack, load, and deliver
everything, while he drives his car; or do the packing & loading himself
but have a hauler deliver the contents to Seattle where he will unload it?
Good questions....we advise him to start making phone calls for pricing.

My Sister Corinne calls from the Lilly Pad...this is good & means that she
is home from the hospital & will slowly get back to her routine @ her

Finally I am able to start the Ford van. Obviously the diesel fuel gelled
on Tuesday. I did have summer diesel in the fuel tanks. Now I am able to
hitch up the thawed out tilt trailer full of warm dirt, drive it around to
the back yard & shovel that dirt onto the snow & be rid of it. Such a deal
that was!

Again I load up the RAV 4, this time with aerosol spray cans, paint cans &
garbage for the refuse center. For the Foote family, we have frozen meat,
books & cleaning supplies. I drive the Ford van which they will store @
their condo area for now & Kathy drives the RAV 4. After dropping off the
van and other things at the Foote's and a short visit with them, we drop
off the garbage, paint cans, etc @ the refuse center, then drive across
town to attend 5:00 pm Mass @ St. Pat's...then our BIG night out @ "Mooses
Tooth" for pizza & beer. En route home, we stop @ Kinko's to make colored
copies of the Rubik's Cube book for our boys. Home @ 10:15pm. Start
watching library movie: "Mystic River" but we didn't get very far &
somebody's eyes were drooping...it's a long movie so we'll try it again
tomorrow night...maybe?
Lights out: 12:45 pm

Awake 7:19 am Temp downtown 13 Light snow 6 hrs 23 min daylight

Kathy starts shampooing the living room before breakfast...what a lighting
bolt she is already!
Using the 30 gallon barrel & the 5 gallon bucket to stand on, I change a
light bulb in the living room's high ceiling. We have no ladder.

Kathy's running low on shampoo so I make a run to the Kirby store for
more..then to the Credit Union, Wal-Mart & home. A 1.5 hr round trip.

I bring up my items from the lower garage to add to Kathy's accumulation
of things for donating to the Salvation Army today. The truck arrives @
2:00 pm. These people are getting fussy...the 4 cane back chairs in
excellent shape except for the not-so-good cane, they would not take. My
lawnmower with a new engine they wanted me to start up before taking it.
Kathy's radio has a cassette door missing otherwise works great...they're
not interested in, but they were pleased with what we gave them.

After their truck leaves, I load the RAV 4 with the 4 chairs, some floor
rugs & 2 other chairs...then make 2 more trips to the refuse center. A 55
min round trip & 50 min round trip.

During my absence, Kathy finishes shampooing the living room carpet, then
disassembles our master bedroom bed, then carries the slats, the head &
footboard to the upper garage. When I return, we both carry the mattresses
& box springs. Again, another trip to our storage unit just to drop off
these items, fuel up the RAV 4 @ Costco, library stop to return books &
videos then home. Round trip time=1.5 hrs.

8:05 Dinner: Meat balls from Costco, spinach fettuccini with garlic &
cream sauce, stuffed celery sticks & fruit salad.

Late evening, start watching DVD movie from library: "Harvey Pecor."
Somebody thinks this movie is s-l-o-w & doesn't want to watch anymore
tonight....so we will finish it tomorrow.
Lights out: 12:12 am

Awake 7:45 am Temp downtown 0 Light snow 6 hrs 19 min daylight

Kathy readies a number a boxes of kitchenware, clothing, books, jewelry,
working VCR, towels, working telephones, her wedding dress, rocking chair,
4 table chairs, 4 old classic Mercedes radios & much, much more...then she
moves these boxes into the upper garage for easier access to the Salvation
Army truck for Friday pickup.

During her boxing efforts, I make calls to our local utility companies for
changeover of house ownership + other calls for change of our address.

Mid afternoon, Kathy finishes shampooing the game room which completely
finishes all the lower carpet cleaning.

@ 5:00 pm, Kevin arrives to disassemble the library table...about the same
time, I remember that the new owner wants a bill of sale written up for
the Cherry Picker tonight when they come over. Kevin is working quickly on
the table, I am working slowly on the bill of sale. Soon Kevin is ready to
load the table pieces into our 84 Ford Van & I am still working on the
bill of sale. Kathy is better at this bill of sale writing, so I ask for
her expert assistance so that I might help with Kevin's table efforts. As
I am getting my jacket on, Kevin bounds thru the front door announcing:
he's finished! No I didn't plan this!

Shortly after Kevin leaves, Woody & Chong arrive. They wanted to visit
briefly to see our progress & to pay cash for the Cherry Picker. They stay
& talk for about 50 min, looking around to see where they might put their
different pieces of furniture, etc.

8:00 pm Dinner: Kevin's salmon & halibut, baked potato, watermelon rind
pickles, lettuce salad & toast.

After dinner, we watch video from library: "Strangers on a Train." Old
classic Alfred Hitchkock movie & kind of interesting.
Lights out: 12:32 am

Awake 6:30 am Temp downtown -3 Clear 6 hrs 15 min daylight

My brother Don calls @ 8:55 am. The not-so-good news: One of my favorite
aunts passed away today...my Aunt Clarissa. She was 96 & quite the classy
lady. A real mainstay in the Kirsch clan, she will be missed & talked
about for yrs.

Mid morning, We take another load over to our storage unit: A Stuffed
chair & footrest & 2 Lazy Boy chairs. Round trip time= 55 min.

2nd load to storage unit: End tables, coffee table, computer desk & 3
table lamps. I drive & unload alone & do some close stacking during my
visit. Round trip time= 1 hr 20 min. During my time away, Kathy is
organizing some items to be donated to Salvation Army.
Next, we take time to do the on-line permanent fund dividend application
for the yr 2004. This will undoubtly be our last yr to qualify.

Katrina arrives for a visit & dinner.
8:00 pm Dinner: Chicken Tenders with pasta & prego sauce, peas & toast.

@ 8:20 pm: Mark & 2 of his helpers arrive to take our 1971 Hide-A-Bed
away. It will be used in their church social room. It's in great shape &
was recovered during the late 80's.

Katrina leaves @ 9:30. Kathy gives her many food items from our
refrigerator + spices & misc things that we don't have time to consume
before leaving.

Nick had called just as we started eating so we return his call. He's been
busy, sounds good & appears to be getting more comfortable with his
wedding plans this July 24.

Later evening: We continue watching library DVD "Down With Love." Well,
the grumbler did pay closer attention this time & actually enjoyed the
movie after all. I would consider this to be a Chick Flick.

Lights out: 12:27 am

Awake 5:20 am Temp downtown 1 Clear 6 hrs 11 min daylight

After breakfast, Kathy continues shampooing the lower floor carpets.

I pack a few more boxes, then turn the switch to warm up the Ford Van's
crankcase oil again in anticipation of driving & parking it over @ the
Foote condo for the remainder of the winter. While the oil is warming up,
I load the Foote's bunk bed rails, plywood & mattresses into the van. I
wait about 2 hrs & then try to start that BIG diesel... & it did run for
about 10 seconds... & that was it! I cranked the engine a few more times
but soon realized the fuel I have in the tanks is summer diesel... & that
fuel is probably gelled @ this temperature. So no more attempts until
warmer temps.

@ 2:00 pm, we drive the RAV 4 with it's load of the Foote's head & foot
boards plus the slats to their condo & carry them up 3 flights of stairs
to the waiting Melissa & Matthew. We visit with them for about 20 min,
then find the local Kirby dealer to get more shampoo & maybe a new belt
for the roller brush system.
Next stop, the has mat center to get rid of more paint cans & bleach. Back
home @ 3:30.

Again we load our RAV 4. This time with 4 chairs & 5 boxes. Leave @ 4:25
.. to the library, drop off books & movies & pick up new movies. Then a
quick stop & our credit union, then to our storage unit to unload the
chairs & boxes. From here, we head to Mark & Marcia's place for Dinner.
We've been wanting to accept their invitation for quite awhile, but felt
that our organization & moving out of our house comes first. Maybe now, we
are a little more comfortable with our progress.
6:00 pm Dinner: Blackened Alaskan Salmon caught & grilled by Mark, with
rice & spinach salad. For dessert, 3 choices of ice cream & chocolate
covered cookies. I enjoyed that blackened Salmon recipe a lot. After
dinner, we all play their pinball machine in their downstairs den. Both
Mark & Marcia are very good @ this game. Later we relax upstairs in their
living room & talk about their future & our future plans & how we can
rendezvous during our travels. They also are RV advocates & have a
motorhome. A very nice evening. We are back home @ 9:30 pm.

Start watching library DVD movie: "Down with love." We didn't get very far
with this flick when somebody grumbled that the movie isn't very good....
& somebody else replied that the grumbler hasn't been paying close
attention! Sooooo, we will continue this again tomorrow.
Lights out: 11:37 pm

Awake 5:45 am Temp downtown 15 Clear 6 hrs 8 min daylight

This morning we load our RAV 4 with boxes, a cabinet, blankets & chairs,
then I go solo to the storage unit & unload. Along the route back to our
house, I stop @ Carrs grocery & Fred Meyers both on Debarr Street looking
for extra packing boxes(none @ this time). Another stop @ Andy's Ace
Hardware to buy 10 finish nails, then another stop @ the Carrs on Northern
Lights where I finally find 6 packing boxes.

Meanwhile Kathy is vacuuming all the lower level floor carpets during my
storage unit run & empty box hunt.....& she also disassembled the 2 bunk
beds that the Foote family let us use for the last 3 yrs.

After I return home, I finally nail down those 2 window sills in the lower
bedrooms. Now they are tight, look good & that job is finished.

Kathy & Melissa have been asking when will I move that Ford Van parked in
our lower driveway & do something about the frozen dirt in the tilt
trailer? Well, I've been waiting for warmer temps & no snow. Since the
latest freezing rain addition, a little snow has fallen & traction is
better. Maybe today's the day....it's only 10 degrees outside. First
things first: I plug in the crankcase heater & while the oil is warming
up, I untie some of my winterization rope & remove the moving blankets.
About an hr later, with some hesitation, the 6.9 liter International
Harvester Diesel engine belches gray/blue smoke & clatters like a diesel.
I figure the bare asphalt underneath the van will allow my rear wheels to
get traction for at least 18 ft...so when the engine is sufficiently
warmed up, I gun the diesel engine & both the van & trailer zip right up
our driveway like there was no snow & ice what-so-ever. I am delighted!
With Kathy's help, I back the trailer into the upper garage, disconnect
the trailer & close the garage door...then turn up the heat. It'll
probably take several days for that block of dirt to thaw out.

Meanwhile, tough girl Kathy has carried up the bunk-bed slats & the head &
foot boards into the upper garage. These items will be returned to the
Foote family before we leave.

Kathy then begins shampooing the lower level carpets using an old Kirby
machine that belongs to the Foote family. The unit quits after 10 min &
she calls for my help. I don't know this machine so I take off the motor
cover, check the brushes, wiring & general condition. Without any test
equipment, I can't do anything else. It looks ok to me but the motor won't
run. I ask her to call the Kirby dealer she had talked with earlier this
afternoon. She hands me the phone & the fellow tells me he suspects the
front attachment is loose & that needs to be fastened tight to engaged the
safety switch when using the shampoo system ....oh, ok. That was it...this
time. Now it's time to eat.

7:00 pm Dinner: Kathy's delicious meat loaf with potatoes and gravy,
broccoli, fruit salad & toast.
Late evening: We watch the behind the scenes info on the library DVD about
the movie: "L.A. Confidential." It was nearly as interesting as was the
movie itself.
Lights out: 11:41 pm

Awake 6:50 am Temp downtown 16 Clear 6 hrs 4 min daylight

Kathy & I both hustle this morning packing more boxes & moving furniture
pieces before the Foote family & Katrina arrive for an early dinner.

@ 11:15, Mike & Jennifer come to look @ our antique kitchen table. Newly
weds from WM & now living & working in Alaska, they saw our ad on line. We
didn't think our table was worth too much & even considered donating it to
a thrift store. Then last Monday when Rich & Peggy were picking up our
antique sewing machine, they commented on what a prize our squeaky antique
table is. Hmmm, so we advertized it & so far, quite a few calls have been
coming in. After 30 min or longer, Mike & Jennifer decide they will buy it
for our asking price. Mike indicated he'll round up a buddy & try & pick
it up later this evening.

The Foote family arrive @ 2:15pm. Katrina arrives 45 min later. It appears
that we have a little too much food left in our freezer so we made a
couple calls earlier this week & found some kids who will gladly do dishes
for food.

3:30 pm Dinner: More Italian beef sandwiches with sweet peppers & beef au
jus and homemade french fries.

Foote family leave @ 4:40 ...Katrina stays and looks at our Swiss pictures
she hasn't seen plus Zack's graduation and leaves about 6:15.

We call my sister Corinne again @ the Johnstown Memorial Hospital. She
really is sounding more like the Corinne we've know & love all these yrs.
I suspect she'll be released & back to work @ the University any day now.

We make a call to Gary & Rosemary in Pahrump, NV. Talk about a young
couple on the move, these 2 people are amazing. It's almost like watching
or listening to a 5 star adventure story/movie. One cannot possibly
predict the next thrilling, heroic undertaking.

@ 8:45 pm Mike & his helper arrive with a pickup & move out the squeaky
antique table with 4 squeaky chairs.

Watch library video movie: "Room with a view." Kathy thought this flick
was rather slow but I enjoyed it for what it was...finding romance the ole
fashion way. I suspect my partner was not paying close attention to the
finer details.
Lights out: 12:15 am

Awake 6:52 am Temp downtown 13 Clear 6 hrs 1 min daylight

Call my sister Corinne @ Johnstown Memorial Hospital in PA. She is talking
better & her memory seems more like normal again.

Visitors: Dave, Peggy & their daughter drive in from Eagle River, Alaska
to look @ our 1920's antique kitchen table. Yesterday they figured this
size table was too large for their rental unit but they wanted to look at
our table anyway. Dave obviously knows more about this period furniture
than we do. About 40 min later they decide that it's just too BIG....so no

I take a load of paint cans to our local haz mat facility. The max weight
per visit is 40 lbs. I have considerably more so I'll return again next
week with the leftovers. Round trip took less than an hr.

Then we load the RAV 4 up with more boxes & 2 night stands. Leave @ 3:15
pm ...take this load to the Publix storage facility, then go next door to
Costco & pick up photos of Zack's graduation from Purdue & the recent
Christmas photos. Next, some quick shopping for French bread @ Fred
Meyer...then attend 5:00 Mass @ St Pat's. Afterward, we meet Bill & Debby
@ "Mooses Tooth" for pizza & beer. It may be awhile before we see them
again, so we're glad that they could make this rendezvous. Back home @
9:40 pm.

Begin watching library "DVD movie: "L.A. Confidential." After last night's
quick shutdown, I ask Kathy if she would like to start from the beginning
again & get to know the main characters better...she agrees. What a story!
Based on actual records...bloody but good.

Lights out: 12:51 am

Awake 5:52 am Temp downtown 13 Clear here-Ice fog over city 5 hrs 58 min

We call my sister Corinne this morning @ Johnstown Memorial Hospital in
PA. She is talking better than last evening & she says she feels alright
but tired. All tests continue to come up negative.

Mid morning, my buddy Ray calls from Long Beach, WA. We cover many
subjects during our 45 min. Both he & his wife Sharon are enjoying having
their son Nate home from college for the holidays.

We move my coveted 1974 Heathkit 25" TV into the RAV 4. This was quite a
job for us seniors. That piece of equipment is heavy so we used 2, 2"
wooden dowels to roll it along the floor & out to the upper garage. I
built this TV in about 2 months & the beauty of it was that I could fix &
tune it up whenever it had problems. It was our 1st color TV & high tech
for it's time. Sometime during the 90's, it became more difficult to get
repair parts...but then my cousin back in PA who owned & operated a TV
shop for over 50 yrs came to the rescue. Then that source too eventually
dried up & with no more parts available, it has to go. We also load up
some scrap metal & 5 gal of used oil...& head to our local refuse center.
I was being careful not to scratch the beautiful cabinet then Kathy
reminded me that this is going to the dump! "It'll be smashed you know"
she said! As it tumbled 10 ft down into the pit, one side of the cabinet
came apart & I could clearly see the brain of the beast....Ouch! I also
had a small but heavy hydraulic jack to toss into the pit & Kathy wanted
me to aim for the picture tube. I just couldn't do that...thinking maybe
someone might rescue that BIG beautiful unit before the crusher cometh.
Amazing how we do get attached to things from our past. As we drove away,
I thought of how many good programs: movies, documentaries, new casts etc
that it brought into our home over the yrs. It served us well. Moments
later, I smiled for having had the experience of keeping it alive all of
these yrs.

After that refuse visit, we drive over to the Atlas Van Lines & buy 2
cardboard hanging garment boxes. Then back home @ 2:03 pm.

I finish cleaning out my bedroom drawers while Kathy finishes her kitchen
desk drawers.
6:50 Dinner: "T" bone steak with leftover sweet potatoes & fresh salad.

After dinner, call my other sister in Lodi, CA. Things are going well for
them. Their holidays were good & they enjoyed having all 3 of their
children home to celebrate.

Begin watching library DVD movie: "L.A. Confidential." Somebody started
falling asleep after 20 min so we'll simply try again tomorrow night.

Light out: 12:35 am

Awake 7:45 am Temp downtown 22 Clear sky 5 hrs 54 min daylight

After breakfast, I continue sorting things from my master bedroom drawers.
Kathy is also working on sorting things from her MBR drawers & the kitchen
desk drawers.

To keep this moving out experience interesting, I make phone calls to both
the title company where our closing will be on the 18th & to the
prospective owner, Woody, to tell him that he can initial the changed
closing date on the contract @ FSBO headquarters or leave it & initial it
the morning of the 18th.

Also call Jo Ann & Larry in Lake Wales, Fl. Haven't talked with them for
awhile so we do the catch up reports. Their home experienced little damage
from the (4) Florida hurricanes last summer. More good news: They've
ordered a New 2005 Newell, 4 slide, 625 H.P. 10 speed transmission, etc.

Then back to the moving experience: Continue organizing my lower garage
tools (what few there are), metal scraps, wood scraps, extra parts for
cherry picker, tractor, etc.

Then set up our on line banking with another local Credit Union.

@ 5:30 pm My brother calls from PA. They had a very busy & active holiday
season. We talk about that for awhile....then he tells me about our sister
Corinne. Apparently @ work this morning @ the University of Pittsburgh,
Johnstown branch she collapsed & her colleague Jim assisted in taking her
to the nurse's station where they called an ambulance...she was
transported to the Johnstown Conemaugh Hospital. My brother & his wife
spent 5 hrs with her & she couldn't remember any of what happened. After
many tests: CAT scan, EKG, thyroid, and blood tests so far, they haven't
found anything.
@ 6:10 pm We call Corinne directly. She admits having no memory of this
event today & feels very tired. We will call again tomorrow.

Katrina arrives @ 6:30 for Dinner: Thick grilled pork chops baked
potatoes, fresh salad & toast. Afterward, Kathy & Katrina watch library
DVD of "Chicago." This is Kathy's second time watching that movie.
While they are doing that, I fill out the 2004 Permanent Fund Dividend &
start working on our 2004 tax prep.

Late night X-word puzzle Lights out: 12:24 am

Awake 8:02 am Temp downtown 27 Partly cloudy 5 hrs 51 min daylight

Kathy makes bacon, eggs & toast for breakfast.

I remove the back seats from the RAV 4, then Kathy & I manhandle the sofa
& cushions (Kevin & Zack carried this to the upper garage on Sunday)and
slide it into the car. Then tie some plastic around the section of the
sofa that hangs out from the rear & tie the door tight against the sofa
with a red flag on the rope. We drive to our storage bldg near Costco with
the rear door open. This is our 1st trip to our small storage unit. We
think we can get all the remaining things we can use & need in Anchorage
plus our RAV 4 into this 10X20 heated unit.

Next, buy fuel for our car, do some light shopping @ Costco, visit the
library to get a few movies, stop @ FSBO to sign the extension to the
contract for the 18 January closing change, & visit two credit unions for
banking business.

@ 4:40 pm we drive at the Foote family condo for a visit & dinner. Melissa
is the chef tonight since Kevin is back to working @ the University after
the holidays. We spend some time playing with Matthew. He learns fast &
interacts well for his 12.5 months. He's very delightful to hang out with.

Kevin arrives home @ 5:10. Dinner @ 5:30. Chicken potato casserole with
cooked apple and sweet pepper side dish & fresh green salad. Lime moose
for dessert. Very good meal.
Shortly after dinner, Matthew starts showing signs of fatigue & this is
the signal for his bath time...& our clue to leave the scene. It was a
nice visit.
Afterward, we stop @ the nearby Fred Meyer store to buy milk & pick up
more boxes for packing. Back home @ 7:25 pm.

10:15 pm Watch library movie: "Victor Victoria." Amusing flick but rather
simple in the plot status.
Lights out: 1:05 am

Awake 6:28 am Temp downtown 41 Cloudy then rain 5 hrs 49 min daylight

Our driveway is a skating rink this morning & most difficult to walk on.
We won't be driving anywhere today. I couldn't help but notice the cinder
spreading truck backing down our Copper Drive in lieu of driving forward.

Kathy advertizes our grass catcher & the homemade portable basketball
backboard unit for sale in the weekly free Press.

I spend an hr getting the tilt trailer tilted so when the block of frozen
dirt(mud )thaws, maybe it'll slide out.

Kathy only does(3)laundry loads today(linens, clothes, etc.)And she does a
lot of ironing.

Call our Internet Service Provider here in Anchorage & cancel our service
with good riddance. We are trying 3 months of free msn service to begin
with. Our e-mail address will remain the same.

6:35 Dinner: Beef stir fry with brown & wild rice & toast.

After dinner, we watch PBS documentary on George W. Bush & how religion
has played & continues to play a large role in his life & presidency. Very

Some late reading in bed.
Lights out: 11:37 pm

Awake 6:00 am Temp downtown 38 Cloudy 5 hrs 46 min daylight

Kathy establishes frequent flyer airline tickets for our departure from
Alaska to Sun City, AZ where we begin our gypsy lifestyle before the end
of January.

Call Cindy @ Newell Coach & sign up for the Tucson, AZ rally in January.

I begin making many phone calls for a change of address.

Rich & Peg visit & take our antique sewing machine. They have done so many
favors for the Foote family & us too, so they got a good deal.

During the afternoon, I continue to sort thru our bedroom things to be
sent to the motorhome, be stored in Anchorage, or sent back to PA.

Kathy does (7)laundry loads: Bedding, sheets, blankets, mattress pads,
towels, etc.

7:00 pm Dinner: Leftover stuffing with turkey breast & gravy, cranberries,
orange, pecan, sweet potatoes; fresh salad & toast.

8:00 pm We watch PBS "American Experience." Part II of Woodrow Wilson's
presidency. Things I didn't remember or never knew about his 2nd term as
president. For example, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.

Some X-word puzzle late evening.
Lights out: 11:54 pm

Awake 6:52 am Temp downtown 28 Snow...then rain 5 hrs 43 min daylight

The Foote family arrive @ 7:50 am. Zack upstairs @ 9:10. He claims that
Matthew was his alarm clock.
Kathy makes cream of wheat for 5 1/4. After breakfast, Kevin & Zack move
our sofa out to the upper garage making it easier for us to then move it
into storage later. Zack then continues his packing for his flt to Seattle
for a day of apt hunting on Mon, then to Chicago & back to Purdue in
preparations for moving West for his job in Seattle.

3:00 pm Lunch/Dinner: Whole wheat soft tacos with all the extras; taco
seasoned ground beef and chopped chicken; grated cheddar cheese; chopped
onions, black olives and tomatoes; lettuce, and sour cream.

4:15..Zack says goodbye to his siblings & we take him to the airport via
Katrina's apt to pick up his jacket that he left there Tuesday night. It
was also delightful having Zack home for the holidays. He looks & sounds
ready to get on with his new life in the working world, starting in

After leaving the airport, Kathy & I do some light grocery shopping @
Wal-Mart, then spend an hour @ Barnes & Noble reading magazines, etc.
Then, something we haven't done for quite awhile, pizza & beer @ Mooses
Tooth. This place was extremely busy tonight(7:20pm). Ahaa, but it was
worth the wait.

En route home, we stop @ Carrs @ Sears Mall & get 6 apple boxes for our
packing program. Home @ 10:15 pm.
Lights out: 12:02 am

Awake 7:30 am Temp downtown 21 Clear sky 5 hrs 41 min daylight

Foote family arrive @ 8:15 a.m.

Kathy & Kevin make breakfast of French toast & bacon for 6 (Katrina spent
the night here). And for Nick, a special breakfast: Eggs benedict with
hollandaise sauce.(because he is leaving for Seattle today).

After breakfast, Melissa & I discuss how the home prices today are out
pricing the consumer's ability to buy a decent home in a respectable
area...especially for the young newly married couples. She & Kevin are
happy with their life, but a little frustrated that they may be stuck in
their condo for years before they can buy a decent home with some acreage.

Nick is all packed...so we sit in the living room & chat for 30 min before
leaving for the airport @ 12:10 to make his 2:30 flt to SEA. It was
delightful having Nick home for the holidays & we all, esp. Nick, enjoyed
having Eriko at his side. Afterward, we grocery shop @ Fred Meyer &
exchange some clothing gifts that were too large. As we arrive home @
2:50, the Foote family are leaving for their condo. We will see them

Kathy & I attend 5:00 pm mass @ St Pat's church on time. A quick stop for
a food item @ Carrs..then home for 8:00 pm Dinner: turkey soup, leftover
halibut & salmon, carrots + toast.

@ 8:40 pm Katrina arrives to watch a DVD library movie with us: "House of
Sand & Fog." It was a very unhappy & sad movie, but...some excellent

Lights out: 12:02 am

Awake 7:33 am Temp downtown 18 Some clouds 5 hrs 39 min daylight

Boys up by 8:30. Foote family arrive @ 9:00am.

Kathy makes whole wheat pancakes with bacon & eggs over easy for 6. These
whole wheat pancakes are not as popular as the sourdough pancakes she

Katrina overnights @ her apt...then visits her school in prep for teaching
on Monday.
After breakfast, the boys get into their Starcraft computer games in the den.
@ 2:00 pm Lunch: Sloppy Joe sandwiches for 6.
After lunch we all play one game of Split Second...it's fast & fun. Nick

Katrina arrives @ 4:10 from her school.
Foote family leave @ 4:30 & return to their condo.
Barber Kathy gives Nick & Zack nice haircuts & the price is right. @6:30
pm we watch the downtown fireworks from our living room, kitchen & den.

7:00 Dinner: Filet Mignon steaks for 5, baked potatoes, asparagus, corn &

9:00 More downtown fireworks to watch.

9:30 Another game of Split Second...Zack wins & Dad was close behind.
10:15 We begin watching a CD from Zack's collection: "Wall Street." 11:55
Stop the movie...prepare for the old year out-new year in.

Midnight...clink our Ice Cream bowl's & water glasses together for 2005.

12:15 am Continue watching "Wall Street." Interesting flick. One needs to
have the market interest to thoroughly enjoy this movie however.

Year 2004 was good to us...we hope 2005 will be so kind. "Happy New Year!"

Lights out: 1:26 am

Awake 7:58 am Temp downtown 6 Clear sky 5 hrs 37 min daylight

@ 3:56 am, we are awakened by Nick at our request....to say goodbye & bon
voyage to Eriko. We really enjoyed having her with us during our family
Christmas time. She has a 6:00 am departure from Anchorage...then flies
Seattle--Narita & Nagoya, Japan. Both Kathy & I have difficulty getting
back to sleep but eventually we do.

When the Foote family arrive @ 8:00 am, we are awake but still lying in bed.

A lot of our discussion late morning & early afternoon are centered on
computer issues, computer gaming, & life in Seattle according to Nick. Now
that reality is setting in with our house being sold, where will we
rendezvous as a family during the special holidays? And where will the
Foote family relocate after a few yrs...and Katrina, she would like to
move to the lower 48 sometime as well. Our future family gatherings &
locations will obviously be unknown & different in the coming yrs but we
must strive to make them happen & be comfortable for all of us.

Little Matthew has been such a good guy on nearly all of his visits this
holiday season...but today, he's letting us know that he is after all,
human & doesn't feel well.

Kathy makes a small plate of turkey meat, gravy, sausage stuffing, sweet
potatoes & cranberries for my lunch. Chef Kevin makes 4 turkey sandwiches
with lettuce & tomato for the rest of the gang.

Foote family leave @ 4:40 pm.

While the boys are playing the Starcraft computer game, I use Kevin's Dremel
tool & grind off some high spots on the window sills I replaced in the
lower bedrooms. The more dust I make, the more I realize that a larger
tool is needed. My neighbor's small Delta table saw is waiting for action.
This unit does the job fast & easy. The sills fit perfect now & I will
nail them down at a later date.

7:45 Dinner: Leftover spaghetti, meatballs, sauce & fresh salad.

More Rubik's cube exercise for both Nick & Zack throughout the evening.

Late evening: the 4 of us watch another CD movie from Zack's collection:
"Rabbit Proof Fence." A little slow but never-the-less, interesting, as
it was based on a true story.
Lights out: 12:35 am

Awake 6:57 am Temp downtown 16 Clear sky 5 hrs 35 min daylight

Nick & Eriko go shopping @ Costco, then Dimond Mall...leaving @ 10:00 am,
returning @ 2:40 pm. Eriko is buying presents for her family & friends in

Kathy bakes another batch of Christmas cookies. The first batch the kids
decorated is all gone. Since our BIG turkey dinner Christmas day, the
leftover turkey has been in cold storage on our back porch. Now Kathy
thaws that carcass for making turkey soup.

@ 3:45 we leave to visit the Foote family @ their condo. Tonight chef
Kevin & his assistant Melissa will be making homemade pizza for 8. Seems
like every time we eat Kevin's pizza, it tastes better than the last time.
And tonight, Melissa made whole wheat dough which really made his pizza
taste scrumptious.
Zack & Katrina return from snowboarding @ Alyeska & join us for the pizza

Back to our house @ 7:20. Zack & Katrina follow behind us. The boys spend
a little more time with the Rubik's cube....then we 6 watch a movie from
Zack's collection: "Polar Express." I must admit, it was well done. The
digital enhancement was absolutely amazing.

Lights out: 12:14 am

Awake 7:00 am Temp downtown 23 mostly sunny 5 hrs 34 min daylight

The Foote family arrive @ 8:00am. Kathy makes an egg & sausage casserole
with toast & jelly for a breakfast gang of 8. The sausage is from Nagoya,
Japan. A gift from Eriko's parents...& it is very delicious.

Late morning Kathy & I drive over to the Publix storage facility near
Costco. We look @ several size units & decide on a 10X20 heated unit which
will accommodate our RAV 4 plus furniture and boxes. These units are
fairly popular in town & our name, which was on the waiting list, came
thru @ the right time.

Next, I drop Kathy off @ Fred Meyer for grocery shopping while I drive
down the street to Andy's Ace Hardware for a few misc items on minor home
repair. Then pick Kathy up & drive to the Frigid North Electronics store.
Zack needs a "S-Video" cable & converter to connect his laptop to our DVD

Then we visit FSBO for updating our contract with FSBO with the new
closing date. Teresa didn't get the paperwork revised yet so we'll stop in
next year & finish that. A quick library stop to return movies en route
back to our house. Home @ 2:35.

Our kids have been hanging out with board game playing & playing that
mesmerizing Starcraft computer game during our absence. @ approximately
5:00 pm, the Foote family leave for their condo to keep Matthew on his

We are expecting James from Moore Heating to visit today to check on a
stubborn bearing on our furnace motor. All these yrs, I've always
lubricated these bearings twice a yr, spring & fall, but just last week,
one bearing starting squealing & no matter how much oil I fed it, it was
not happy.

6:30 Dinner: Italian beef, beef juice & sweet peppers on Italian bread...
all,except the bread from the Bouna beef restaurant in Downers Grove, ILL.
Zack, Nick & Katie's Christmas gift to Kathy...delivered via FedEx of
course. Kathy's so nice, she is sharing her special gift with the 6 of us.

After dinner, James arrives. He spends an hr working on our blower motor.
He brought a replacement motor along but it was not compatible. In the
meantime, he was able to get some oil onto that hungry bearing & no more
squeaking for now. So for now, I'll be listening & he'll be checking on
another replacement motor.

Late evening, we begin watching a movie from Zack's collection titled:
"Elf." About half way thru this flick, the CD began messing up, so he
switched to another movie, "The Incredibles." Even tho it's an animated
film, it was great entertainment. Eriko enjoyed it very much. Naturally
some of our crowd showed signs of disappointment when the "Elf"
failed...but no such signs from this viewer.

Zack will spend the night @ Katrina's apt. They will be snowboarding
tomorrow @ the Alyeska ski resort.

Lights out: 1:21 am

Awake: 5:47 am Temp downtown 19 Light snow 5 hrs 32 min daylight

9:30 am. Nick & Eriko go downtown for errands & To Kinkos to copy e-mail
letters, passports, photos, etc., to prove that they have been dating for
more than one year....this is required to obtain citizenship for Eriko
after she and Nick are married in Japan. They also visit the 5th Ave Mall
for those after Christmas sales. They return @ 2:30.

Kathy & I start our serious organizing today for the things that we want
to stay in Anchorage, things to be sent to our home on wheels & things to
be given to our kids, donated, or tossed. We are aware that only 9 days
remain until the closing on our house. So we must get serious.

Sometime later as I am going through stuff in our lower garage(formerly
the Laboratory) I have a phone call from Woody, our home buyer. He asks
how we are doing on our packing & how were our holidays? Then he asks if
we could use some more time before our closing....whoa, now we're talking.
He tells me that he & Chong could use some more time if it's ok with us.
Hot diggity, we needed that! The new closing date is now 18 January, 2005.
We are delighted.

Zack's friend Stuart visits to play the computer game Starcraft. Before
Stuart arrives, Zack does his best to talk me into allowing Stu to use my
new Dell laptop computer, infrared mouse & my computer station for their
dueling computer gamming. It was a struggle but I finally convinced Zack
to use Kathy's desktop computer, her mouse & play their computer games in
our den away from our peaceful & comfortable living room. Part of our deal
included me fixing Zack's mouse which, when taken apart, only required the
cleaning of a wheel running on a dirty ball. Their computer games went on
for hrs.

The Foote family arrive @ 3:00 pm. Little Matthew is really walking
everywhere now, climbing stairs, sofas, foot stools, anything that is
within his height limit & Melissa allows. He's a busy fellow as well as
keeping Melissa & Kevin busy just diverting him from harms way.

Katrina arrives @ 4:30 just in time for wine time.

5:30 Dinner: salmon & halibut(from Kevin's summer cache)with wild & brown
rice, creamy parmesan cheese sauce, fresh salad, toast & jello. Foote
family leave @ 6:40. Nick & Zack clean up the dishes.

Mid evening: The rest of us minus Eriko, watch Nick's video(now given to
Melissa) "Meet Joe Black." It's a good flick with an emotional finish.
Katrina returns to her apt after the movie is finished.

Lights out: 12:29 am

Awake: 5:55 am Temp downtown 14 Light snow 5 hrs 31 min daylight

Kathy & I attend 8:30 a.m. Mass @ St Pat's church...but, we are 25 min
late. We didn't know & couldn't find out the mass schedule via phone or
computer. Afterward, some quick grocery shopping @ Carrs.

Foote family arrive @ 10:45 a.m., after their Mass @ SEAS. Then Katrina
arrives @ 2:00 pm after her religious service @ Change Point.

6 of us play the Cranium game mid afternoon until the dinner call.

4:25 Dinner: Spaghetti with meatballs, extra sauce, fresh salad & toast.
For dessert, some Swiss Chocolate brought back from Switzerland in
After the dinner dishes are stacked into the dishwasher, the Foote family
leave @ 6:30 for their condo. Then the 6 of us continue the Cranium board
game. Nick, Eriko & Zack are the winners. They were lucky. Kathy, Katrina
& I were so close behind them.

Later evening, Nick & Eriko play the game of Quoridor. They play 3 games &
Nick wins 2.

Later evening, Zack, Kathy and I watch 2 episodes of Nick's "Seinfeld" DVD's

Lights out: 12:11 am

Awake: 9:00 am Temp downtown 2 Clear 5 hrs 30 min daylight

The Foote family arrive @ 9:20. Everyone up by 10:00 am.

Kathy makes a 10:50 breakfast of: Ham, egg and cheese casserole & toast.

Then the stockings hung by the fireplace with care are emptied by our
grown children, son-in-law Kevin, Eriko & Matthew. Next the Christmas
packages are passed around to each of us by Katrina & Zack. Before
opening, we compare each other's stack of presents...trying to calculate
who was naughty or nice throughout the year & it became obvious that MOM &
DAD were the winners of the nice guys hands down. The actual unwrapping
begins @ 11:30 am...finishes @ 1:30 pm. A nice & easy pace with some very
practical gifts. Melissa & Kevin win recognition for being the most
innovative with Nick's gift of a Snoopy Dog shower curtain. Katrina gets
honorable mention of talent with knitting a hat for Matthew during her
time in Italy. This was Eriko's first experience of celebrating Christmas
in America...and we think she liked it a lot.

Mid afternoon, most of us play a DVD game "Scene it" on the TV. It is a
good game but tough for one who doesn't watch a lot of movies.

Kathy spends hrs in her kitchen preparing a BIG dinner: 5:15 pm, 8 of us +
little Matthew enjoy eating: turkey dinner with sausage-cherry-wild rice
stuffing, corn, broccoli, mashed & sweet potatoes, gravy, cranberries, and

Eriko & Nick clean up the dirty dishes.

Footes leave @ 6:30. Matthew has a great day up here with us and we enjoy
our day with him also.

Zack takes a 2 hr nap. Nick & Eriko play a game of wooden solitaire: Eriko
obtains the status of genius, Nick reaches less than genius.

Late evening we all watch 4 episodes of "Seinfeld" using Nick's DVD
Christmas present.

Katrina leaves @ 11:30 returning to her apt. We get a call from her while
she's at a Chevron gas station telling us about how her steering kept
taking her to the right side of the road. Fortunately she found a service
station with air open at that time of night...stopped & had more air added
to her tire. I really didn't want to be changing a tire @ midnight in
close to zero degree temperatures. She said it was pretty flat.

It was a super nice Christmas. Lights out: 12:07 am


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This page is an archive of entries from January 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

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