May 2008 Archives

Awake: 6:05am Temp 40 sleep 6+48 sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I attend 8:00 am Mass & then, with permission, skip the KK meeting & hang out with the Foote family for most of the day. When we arrive, Melissa, Matthew, Andrew & Nathan are ready to walk to Giant Eagle for groceries. Kathy jumps @ the chance to join them & Matthew prefers to “stay with the big guys.”

In lieu of doing real work, Kevin prefers Matthew’s idea of going up to the 3rd floor & simply playing with the train tracks; so, for a good hr, we do just that. Each having our own small train to push around the different tracks, making train noises & stopping @ intersections or crossings when necessary. I’m confident that Matthew really enjoyed this hr with his Dad & “G” daddy.

When the girls & young boys return from grocery shopping, Andrew & Nathan are given a nap. 12:15pm was wake up time & then all of us walk downtown to Philadelphia Avenue where the Celebration of Jimmy Stewart’s 100th Birthday is taking place. About (3) blocks of this street are closed to traffic; along those blocks were a parked fire truck & a good dozen or more antique & classic cars. Matthew & Andrew were invited inside the fire truck to check out their equipment & for sizing of hats. All the hats were a little too large so they couldn’t be qualified as a firemen yet.

Just in front of the Jimmy Stewart Library & museum, a good number of dignitaries were assembled; stories were told: memories of Jimmy’s life as a father, an actor, WWII pilot, Brigadier General in the Air Force Reserves, etc. Exactly @ 1:00pm, an Air Force C-130, a (4) engine cargo plane, flew moderately low over Philadelphia Avenue to commemorate this special military recognition. The Blairsville high school band played some patriotic music & the Air Force guard & band further played military march music. Both the twin Stewart ladies were present (Judy & Kelly) & good friends, Rich Little & his wife + quite a few other good friends who enjoy visiting this small but mighty College town.

Mid afternoon, the Foote family & we ate our lunch on the grass in front of the Court building. Then we visited the Boy Scouts of America display & activities & each ate a piece from one of the available (4) huge cakes that were made for Jimmy’s birthday.

The Foote family & we walk back to the Foote Castle & it’s time for us to return to Nicktown. I was duly impressed with the large crowd gathered to honor their home town celebrity, Jimmy Stewart; born & raised in Indiana, PA.

K & I attend the 6:00 pm vigil Mass @ Nicktown & afterwards, talk with 2nd cousin Jeff K. & his family outside.

Dinner: leftover chili with potato chips & corn chips.

Katrina calls from Denver; she gives us an update on her activities & talks about her up-coming auto trip of (3) weeks.

Skype with Nick, Eriko & little Jerry; using our (2) landline phones & watching the video of Skype, we are able to enjoy over an hr of good talk & action happening @ the busy Condo on Queen Anne Hill.

Finish watching the DVR movie: “The Awful Truth” with Irene Dunn, Cary Grant, Ralph Bellamy, Cecil Cunningham, Mary Forbes, Molly Lamont, etc. Hilarious screwball comedy: Cary & Irene divorce, she to marry hayseed Bellamy, he to wed aristocratic Lamont; each does his best to spoil the other’s plans. 1937. Yes, it was a screwball story but we did get some genuine good laughs over it.

Late evening Documentary: “Hooked on Drugs & how they got that way.” We watch ½ .

High temp=66 Lights out: 12:30am

Awake: 5:56am Temp 35 sleep 5+48 sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

Text with Ray in WA while Kathy is still sleeping; texting on Skype works silently & Ray is a fairly good typist.

K & I attend 8:00 am Mass & then join the KK meeting; hot topic: the way girls dress. Kathy leaves early for grocery shopping in Indiana & visiting the Footes. She will get some read & playtime in with the boys &, after lunch, she will join Melissa in attending a class on diabetic carbohydrate counting, focusing specifically on Matthew.

Meanwhile, I continue with the KK meeting until 9:45, then breakfast & afterward, another call to Verizon & my 3rd attempt to get our DSL Ethernet working properly. Our wireless is working great, but Ethernet…not at all. Terrence from the USA works with me for nearly an hr, testing & trying different ideas with the new Module to no avail. After consulting with some higher degree techs, he suggests that perhaps my computer interface card has a problem. “Well alright, I’ll check it out then” I told him. Now, was that the brush off or could it be for real. I’ll confide in my computer gurus.

Today’s weather is conducive for outside work, so I change clothes, walk over to the Church Hall & continue sanding the metal panels for (2) hrs. On the walk back, I visit with Chuck & Shirley in their driveway. Kathy has returned from her Indiana trip, sees us talking & joins in the gab session.

Within (25) min, we see Chuck’s nephew backing a large semi-truck loaded with gravel down St. Paul Street which leads to our circular drive. He backs up nearly all the way to where our circular drive begins, un-latches his moveable tailgate leaving an opening of (6) inches, & drives forward laying the gravel evenly as he moves out toward St. Joseph Street. Within minutes, he has given most of St. Paul Street a new covering & a smooth ride.

Dinner: Tilapia with broccoli, fried pasta & a salad.

Evening time; I text Ray some more, then start watching DVR movie: “The Awful Truth.” We were both pretty tired & agreed to watch ½ tonight & finish tomorrow.

Lights out: 11:17pm

Awake: 5:30 am Temp 42 sleep 5+30 mostly cloudy with drizzle overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I attend 8:00 am Mass & afterward, join the KK for an hr. Very active meeting this morning; John B. brought breakfast for everyone. Hot topic: Global warming.

Al is driving to Rotary today; 1st stop: pickup the repaired chainsaw @ Herk’s place. 2nd stop: pick up Ann in Barnesboro @ the bank. We have the scholarship winners join us from the local area high schools, & their parents/mothers/fathers as guests. Extra food was prepared for this special occasion. We were quite pleased with the students we had selected as winners; when asked to tell us a little about themselves, the college they will attend & what major selected, they were all well spoken. Next week, our Rotary is having a Golf Classic Tournament as a fund raiser & these young people will be assisting us with the chores & coordination.

On our return to Nicktown, Al drops Ann off @ the bank & then makes a quick stop to give Herk the money from Joe for the chainsaw fix & I am back in our coach by 1:50pm.

From here, K & I drive our Suzuki for (1) mile & visit Rosemary L. We’ve been trying to fit in a visit with her ever since she realized we were back in Nicktown. It’s always a delight hanging out & talking with Rosemary. Such a lady; she lost her husband, Herm, last November, but keeps herself very busy with her (9) children, many grandchildren, & many great grandchildren. She proudly showed us a large, framed picture of Herm made by their son Scott, using over 1000 small pictures of their children & grandchildren; definitely a treasured keepsake, hanging on the wall by the chair where Herm usually sat. Before she permitted our leave, we were forced to eat a freshly baked cherry pie with whipped cream & drink some of their fresh cow milk; such sacrifices we have to make! But what a treat! During our dessert time, one of her sons, Al, visited as well.

From here, I drive Kathy to the Church Hall where she joins (3) ladies in gathering & bagging up the noodles they made yesterday (45.5) lbs. These will be stored in the freezer ‘til picnic time.

Late afternoon, we watch the nat’l news & the O’Reilly Factor. Kathy then has some leftover food from our Rotary meeting: chicken with mushroom gravy, green beans, & pasta potato salad. I was not hungry so I opted for popcorn later during movie time.

My brother Don calls from Ebensburg; he wants to know if the Nicktown Hotel will be open on Memorial Day; if it is, he’s urging us Veterans to gather & have a beer after the parade. I told him I’ll check it out.

DVR movie with popcorn: “Spellbound” with Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Leo G. Carroll, John Emery, etc. Absorbing tale of psychiatrist Bergman trying to uncover Peck’s hang-ups: Dali dream sequence, innovative (and Oscar-winning) Miklos Rozsa score help Hitchcock create another unique film. 1945. Another Hitchcock thriller that we both enjoyed.

High temp=51 Lights out: 12:08am

Awake: 6:19am Temp 41 sleep 7+07 partly sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

Melissa calls mid morning; looking @ higher fuel costs, our small home on wheels, curiosity of her young boys, etc., she is suggesting a change of routine from their regular visits with us. Wanting to educate her boys by seeing different things, different places, etc, she would be willing to drive to within certain mileage limits & have us along in the mini-van to support the travel & explain what we are seeing……….I for one, like that idea; no doubt we’ll be talking more about it.

K & I walk to the KK meeting; a sparse attendance this morning so we cut our meeting short; besides, Kathy left the meeting early to help with the noodle making @ the church hall, the start of weekly sessions of noodle making for the Nicktown Homecoming Picnic.

After breakfast, I run the motorhome’s CAT engine for about (15) min, take advantage of the engine’s compressor & add air to our Suzuki’s driver’s side front tire, which was about (10) PSI low.

@ 11:00am I drive over to the church hall & continue sanding the metal panels for about an hr; then rain stops the process. The ladies making noodles inside the building offered a free lunch which I couldn’t resist. Kathy personally served this welcome feast.
Back @ our motorhome, I call Linda & request to have our mail sent to Nicktown.

Kathy returns from noodle making @ 2:15.

Ray & I talk on Skype.

Ken P. calls from the Penn Run area; last yr I used his mower twice on our property to mow the grass. About (2) weeks ago I talked with him again about using his mower; considering the rise in fuel price & the convenience of his delivering & picking up the machine, I asked him to determine a fair cost? Today he told me he didn’t buy the mower to make money & said: “he’d be comfortable with a certain price & leave any additional amount up to me.”

Dinner: Chili with corn chips; while watching the nat’l news:

Ray & I talk again on Skype for about (25) min.

Lou Anne calls from Kirschtown; she informs me that Joe’s chainsaw is repaired & ready to be picked up.

DVR movie: “Gaslight” with Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, Joseph Cotton, Dame May Whitty, etc. A story about an insane criminal who drives his wife crazy in order to discover hidden jewels. Bergman won an Oscar for her performance. 1944. In the thriller category, Kathy rated this story fairly high.

High temp=50 Lights out: 12:00 midnight

Awake: 5:19am Temp 43 sleep 5+43 rain began @ 7:55am overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I attend 8:00 am Mass, then join the KK meeting for over an hr. Big crowd today; 18 conversations @ one time.

Back in our coach, we do our baby proofing routine as we are expecting Melissa & the young boys around 2:00 pm. Some time later, Andrew calls: he tells Kathy they are running late; Kathy asks him why? Matthew takes the phone & explains to gramma: “everything is taking more time today.” Usually we can expect them sometime between 2:00pm & 2:30pm; today however, they arrive @ 3:00.

Since the ground is wet with rain & drizzle, today’s visit will be an inside job. I thought their sojourn went well; K & I played selling matchbox cars with Matthew & Andrew, pretending they were full size & counting pretend monies; making change etc. During the boys snack time, Melissa & Kathy read library books to them, a special one for gramma’s eyes was “Monster In The Shed.” I spend time with Nathan. It’s a challenge having (3) active little guys to keep an eye on, especially in a small home like ours. Boys will be boys; they are curious & they enjoy learning what happens when a button, lever or dial is pressed, pulled, turned, etc…. & this small home on wheels is loaded with lots of all of the above. I will say though, most of the time these curious little guys do restrain themselves a great deal, thanks to their mother’s great reminding them of what is ok & what is not ok. For instance today, they decided that they would ask g-daddy if it was OK to turn a light on or off before doing it. Their departure time was around 5:00pm.

Dinner: turkey burger with horseradish & cheddar cheese, acorn squash & a salad.

We watch: “Modern Marvels”: Making butter; then the O’Reilly Factor.

DVR movie: finish watching: “The Seven Faces of Dr. LOI.” With Tony Randall, Barbara Eden, Arthur O’Connell, John Ericson, etc. Engaging fantasy of Western town brought to its senses by parables performed by mysterious traveling circus; tour de force for Randall, who plays six roles. 1964. Regardless of its fantasy, we found it quite entertaining.

High temp=49 Lights out: 11:12pm

Awake: 5:49am Temp 39 sleep 6+23 partly sunny, windy overnight @ Nicktown.

Kathy gets up earlier than usual & makes a large salad before Mass. Then we attend 8:00 am Mass where Kathy is Eucharistic Minister again (her scheduled days are M-W-F) & afterward, we join the KK meeting. Hot topic: Al’s almost turkey shoot.

From the meeting, we drive directly to the Foote castle; en route, encounter heavy rain, wind & hail…arriving @ 11:10am. Corinne arrives a little later @ 11:30. Kevin walks home from (IUP) for his dinner break @ 11:45 so the local gang’s all here to help celebrate Melissa’s birthday.

We all sing the “Happy Birthday” song & then eat an early dinner of: Kathy’s homemade chicken/sausage spaghetti sauce over whole wheat pasta, broccoli, corn & mixed salad. Dessert: Kevin & Kathy (not communicating) each made a special birthday dessert; yogurt cake & ice cream cake roll. Kevin will have to wait until later to have his as he had to return to work before dessert time. After some casual chit-chat, the party is over & Corinne must go to her job @ (UPJ). Gosh, our oldest child is now (34)… time flies!

After dinner, Kathy takes over the task of putting the leftover food away & cleaning up the kitchen & dishes while Melissa puts Nathan down for a nap. Matthew & I play upstairs with electrical cords; there must be (8 or 9) cords he pretends to plug into various units: vacuum cleaner, stereo, backup battery device for computers, cell phone chargers, etc, etc. None of these plugs are connected to real a/c power.

Next we spent a little time with the small Legos; this idea didn’t materialize @ all; my fault…as I just couldn’t get anything of interest built fast enough to keep Matthew’s interest. He then switched his desire to building a gravity train track like we built earlier this yr on January 2nd.

My interest in repairing the bathroom fan glitch during this visit countered his interest in building a gravity train track. I explained to Matthew that I was more inclined to spend some time doing something else. @ this point, he simply said: “ok, I’ll go get glamma” & he did. He only had to wait a few minutes for Kathy to finish the cleanup & then she did spend time with him on the 3rd floor, assisting him in building a level train track while Andrew works as a test engineer. Melissa reworks some of the train design until Nathan wakes & as he is not content being an observer for very long, she decides it’s time to go downstairs for snack time.

With the Brio train track being constructed on the 3rd floor, I felt comfortable on the 2nd floor twisting the loose strands of wire together, soldering them & twisting all (4) wires around each other & into the connector. The bathroom fan works normal again. Our visiting time is up, we say our goodbyes & head for Joann’s store & Martin’s, then return to Nicktown @ 6:00pm.

Dinner: leftover crab concoction with Triscuits.

Late evening DVR movie: “Seven Faces of Dr. LO.” We watch 1/2.

High temp=51 Lights out: 11:36

Awake: 7:20am Temp 46 sleep 7+21 intermittent rain overnight @ Nicktown.

My sister Corinne calls from Lilly; she reminds us of our daughter Melissa’s birthday coming up; we tell her of our plans for Monday & ask if she would like to join us for the occasion. She will let us know later.

Meanwhile, K & I decide to have breakfast @ the church hall this morning. When we arrived @ 9:40, Nick the money collector, told me I was # 145. They were having a busy morning already & they stop serving @ noon. They expect to see a few more customers after the 10:30 Mass. The ladies do make a good breakfast for a reasonable price.

After breakfast, we zip down to the Giant Eagle grocery store in Barnesboro for special items necessary for the dinner Kathy is making for Melissa’s birthday.

Back in our coach, Gary C. calls from St Augustine. He wants a progress report of our time with the Foote’s. How could he know that we didn’t do much? Anyway, I come clean & tell him: “we actually went backwards.” Then I gave the details.

Next, my old young friend Mark Brum… calls from Medford, OR. Mark & his wife, Marcia, are RVers, usually in the spring & fall. We update each other on our travels & highlights for (54) min. They will spend summer back in Alaska & in the fall, tour the West Coast. Meanwhile, Kathy continues making the dinner for tomorrow & dinner for today.

Dinner: Crab & mushroom “concoction.” A delicious dish copied from a card in Kathy’s recipe box.

Corinne calls to confirm she will join us at the Footes tomorrow.

We finish watching: “Midnight Express” with Brad Davis, Irene Miracle, Bo Hopkins, Randy Quaid, John Hurt, etc. Riveting, harshly, violent story of young American Billy Hayes (Davis) who faces physical & emotional brutalization in Turkish prison after being caught drug-smuggling. Great moviemaking, though not as faithful to Hayes’ true story as filmmakers would have us believe. 1978. Prepare for some frightful scenes; definitely not for the faint of heart.
High temp=49 Lights out: 11:26pm

Awake: 6:01am Temp 43 sleep 6+21 fog, then more off & on rain overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I attend 8:00am Mass, then with permission, skip the KK meeting & proceed directly to Wal-Mart, Martin’s, Joann’s & the State Liquor store; arriving @ the Foote Castle @ 11:20. Then we temporarily stash our perishables in the Foote refrigerator & freezer.

After we make our apologizes for being so tardy, Kevin & I get right on the job & use the borrowed laser leveler from my cousin & quickly realize the base frame is too high due to old concrete the former storage building was sitting on. In lieu of using more gravel & concrete, Kevin chooses to sledge hammer some of the old concrete out of the way which will allow us to lower the base frame & use a more comfortable amount of cement.

We took turns breaking some of this old & thick concrete until Kevin was asked to fire up the grill; “already?” I ask! We haven’t done enough work yet, I think to myself.

Early dinner: Kevin’s 2nd week of special grilled hamburgers with all the condiments & Melissa’s special potatoes & mixed salad. Very good of course, but I felt a little guilty that we didn’t get more work done.

After dinner, Kevin continues to break up thick concrete while I use my Fluke meter to troubleshoot the 2nd story bathroom fan which isn’t working. At first, I accuse Kevin of putting a nail through some wiring I did nearly (2) yrs ago & which he sheet rocked over just last winter. I wasn’t able to establish anything due to all the ceiling being covered by Sheetrock.

When Kevin arrives to get the electrical report, I mention the unmentionable; the Sheetrock has stopped my progress. He hints that maybe it’s the wiring @ the switch. “N0 dice, I’m not going to disturb that bundle of wires” I tell him. Just like that, he gets his drill & quickly begins reversing those screws out of a full Sheetrock section. With my little help, he had that section down & out within minutes. Then he removed a few staples holding the insulation to the joist & there was the connection box. I didn’t need to take any readings; I could easily see several lose wires dangling outside the wire connector.

I was guilty; those wires should have been soldered & then twisted into the connector. On our next visit, I’ll bring my soldering kit & fix that glitch. It was time for K & me to leave. I didn’t spend much time with the young Foote boys today, but Kathy did. We head back to our bus & clean up & dress for the 6:00 pm vigil Mass in Nicktown.

Later, with popcorn, we watch ½ of the DVR movie: “Midnight Express.”

High temp=55 Lights out: 11:59pm

Awake: 5:33am Temp 46 sleep 5+28 all day off & on….rain overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I attend 8:00am Mass & then join the KK meeting; hot topic: good jokes.

@ our motorhome during breakfast, Rochelle calls from Vancouver, WA; we have a touching conversation about Shirley & the preceding days leading up to her death. Rochelle sounds strong & tells me she has & will have her moments about losing her mother @ an early age (67). It’s difficult to understand why some good people die young.

After hanging up, I couldn’t speak to Kathy for awhile; I was having one of those moments like Rochelle. I continue my breakfast while reminiscing about the 60’s & 70’s with Shirley & Don & their kids: Glen, Darren & Rochelle; later with Shirley & John & family.

Now I must focus on our Ethernet; again I call Verizon… & get connected with Percy in Manila, the Philippines; she speaks very good English & retraces my earlier troubleshooting attempts of (2) weeks ago. She wants to follow through with the same checks so I cooperate with plenty of patience. (1.2) hrs of phone time & Percy tells me I have a faulty module or router. She transfers my call to Ferry who takes our address & says he will order us a new module…. & to call them for assistance when the new router equipment arrives.

Kathy talks with Michelene in Barnesboro about having a dental check.

Katrina calls mid afternoon: she reports her coolant is leaking only a few drops midway down from her engine. I suggest she continue to monitor that leak for now. She is also updating her passport for potential travel to England this summer.

Skype time with Ray in WA (29) min. He mowed their grass & weed whacked today, announcing that his knee held up fairly well.

Dinner: Ivar’s clam chowder with oyster crackers.

The Scanner is programmed & tested; so I return the unit to neighbor Chuck who presents it to his wife, Shirley, for her birthday. It’s pretty neat & has a wide range of coverage.

Finish DVR movie: “Voyage of the Dammed” with Faye Dunaway, Oskar Werner, Max van Sydow, Orson Welles, Malcolm McDowell, Lynne Frederick, James mason, Lee Grant, etc. Absorbing fact-based drama. In 1939 a ship full of German-Jewish refugees bound for Havana, denied permission to land anywhere, was forced to return to Germany. Picture almost dissolves into separate stories, but von Sydow, as ship’s captain, holds it together. 1976. What a story! Based on factual events; quote: a comment made by a Nazi official who says that when the whole world has refused to accept them as refugees, no country can blame Germany for the fate of the Jews.

High temp=48 Lights out: 11:40pm

Awake: 5:46am Temp 54 sleep 5+50 mostly sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I attend 8:00 am Mass & then join the KK. No hot topic today.

After breakfast, I make several phone calls to Verizon about our Ethernet not working; to no avail. The wireless is working fine but Ethernet: nothing.

Then I drive to Cambria Hills Country Club for a Rotary meeting. Al K. is taking some fishing time up north for a week; so we have a mere (9) members present.

Rotary lunch: baked ham, coleslaw, pasta & wrapped peach/cherry blanket for dessert. Leftovers were abundant due to Al not attending so I brought some home for Kathy for dinner.

After the meeting, (4) of us compared notes on the student essays; amazing enough, we concurred on about 98 % of the selected scholarship winners. We were all quite comfortable with our selections.

En route to Nicktown, I make a stop @ the Barnesboro bank; Radio Shack & library; arriving home @ 2:20pm.

Meanwhile, Kathy had spent close to (3) hrs getting her kitchen, bedrooms, etc tuned up on those house plans.

Dinner: leftover plate from Rotary & some leftover salmon salad.

During dinner, we watch the nat’l news & later O’Reilly Factor.

Late evening; Nick calls on Skype: he reports that his business trip to San Antonio & Austen TX was a whirlwind tour, but ….of some success.

Katrina calls on her cell phone while driving; we talk car talk. She suspects a coolant leak due to spots in her garage when parked. I ask her to check her coolant reservoir for fluid when her engine is cool & when she parks @ school, locate the drip area. She agrees to do that tomorrow.

Later evening DVR movie: “Voyage of the Dammed.” Again, I smooth talk Kathy into watching the last half tomorrow & she again scolds me because she is wide awake.

High temp=66 Lights out: 12:05am

Awake: 5:35am Temp 48 sleep 5+57 sunny, later rain overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I attend the 8:30 KK meeting; sparse attendance, thus we cut the meeting short. However, Carol S. stopped in for a short visit to give Kathy & me (7) wooden blocks & a good amount of sandpaper; we volunteered to help sand the metal sheets (outer wall) on the north side of the church hall so it can be primed & painted a beige color.

Then, K & I spend over (3.5) hrs total sanding time on the church hall outer wall; we took a lunch break, went back & continued until we were rained out for the day.

Back @ our motorhome, Kathy does (3) loads of laundry & we both take very hot showers.

An e-mail comes onto our computer screen: Rochelle of Vancouver, WA informs us that her mother, Shirley, has a brain aneurysm & is fighting for her life in the hospital; she is asking for prayers. I respond quickly letting her know Shirley is now on our prayer list.

Dinner: leftover chicken cacciatore, lamb chop, cauliflower, whole wheat pasta & a spinach salad.

We finish watching: “The Country Girl” with Bing Crosby, Grace Kelly, William Holden & Anthony Ross. Kelly won Oscar as wife of alcoholic singer (Crosby) trying for comeback via help of director (Holden). Crosby excels in one of his finest roles. 1954. Watching the 1st half of this movie last night, I was getting a little impatient & smooth talked Kathy into finishing the rest later; she was unhappy….that for once, she was wide awake & I had the nerve to do such a thing. For me, too slow & predictable; for her it was a good story.

Rochelle sends another e-mail; her mother passed away late this morning pacific time. Shirley has been a close friend of (42) yrs; she will be sadly missed by her husband, John, many family members & many friends.

I write an e-mail of condolence to Rochelle who has been my good buddy since she was (5) yrs of age, when her dad was killed in an industrial accident. Rochelle chose Kathy & me to be Godparents to their 1st child & even named her after us, Monica Kathryn.

High today=60 Lights out: 11:56pm

Awake: 5:17am Temp 39 sleep 5+06 thick fog, then sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

Early morning Skype with my friend Ray in Ocean Park, WA; good signal.

K & I attend 8:00 am Mass & then join the KK meeting for over an hr; hot topic: Nicktown Hotel. After the meeting, John B. gives me (2) aviation CD’s & an “Aircraft of the World” book to help me get my aviation injection fix for the month.

Mid morning, our near neighbor Chuck pays a visit with a request: he bought his wife a Desk Scanner for her birthday & wants me to program it with local Cambria County frequencies: Fire Dispatch Nicktown, Ebensburg Airport, Johnstown Local Government, Police, Fire, EMS, etc. I won’t start the programming today as we are about to have some rugged explorers tramping thru our forest & field this afternoon.

Melissa & the miniature scouts arrive just after 2:10pm. They look a little dazzled getting out of their Mini Van; maybe it’s the new & different program Melissa elected for today.

In lieu of going into our motorhome, dumping out a bag of toy cars & trucks & having them speeding down the highways of our rug, they are encouraged to walk the field & follow the quad runner trail leading into our forest. Andrew was quite disappointed about this @ first & Matthew wasn’t exactly gung ho, but they ambled along with that “do I have to” look on their face. Nathan wasn’t too happy either; he wanted to get down but found himself being carried by Melissa in a frontal wrap.

I was quite pleased that Melissa inspired these little rug huggers to muscle up & probe into the wilds of nature; especially on such a nice weather day! Soon they found such appealing things as: dirty water holes; a lady bug; & a rundown, dilapidated, muddy, sloppy kid hideout. Matthew thought it would be great fun to tramp thru some muddy water holes & then discovered to his consternation that he did not like walking in squishy, wet shoes. Newly fallen trees from the strong winds of (2) days ago, provided a horizontal climbing area across wide & narrow limbs, maybe even a little scare for their Mother as they proceeded with their Evil Knievel attitude. The boys were even content to have their afternoon snack in the wilds of the almost dark forest. Even Nathan was able to get down & wriggle his toes in the fallen leaves. Wow, I was impressed; but wait, there’s more.

Coming out of the woods & sauntering onto neighbor Mac’s yard, Grandma’s cookies were served & Mac invited us into his home for a grand tour. Mac’s wife died about (2) years ago & he still misses her & is rather lonely. He loves little kids & had Andrew smiling right away as he threw him in the air & caught him. I’m sure our visit was the highlight of his day.

I hope I wasn’t the only one that felt those boys really enjoyed a different day out with Mother Nature, Grandma, “G” daddy & Mother Melissa.

After we wave goodbye to the miniature scouts & Melissa, Kathy gets out the white sheet, chair & clippers & we give each other darn good haircuts which was well overdue.

Then we watch the nat’l news; Jim Lehrer News hr & the O’Reilly Factor.

Dinner: Homemade crab cakes, broccoli, wild rice & a salad.

DVR movie: “The Country Girl.” We watch ½ & save the other half for tomorrow night.

High temp=64 Lights out: 11:38pm

Awake: 12:35am Temp 37 sleep 5+51 rain with big snow flakes for (1.2) hrs no accumulation overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I attend 8:00am Mass; Kathy was Eucharistic Minister for the1st time @ St Nicholas church; she did great. Afterward, we join the KK meeting for an hr; hot topic: Obama & Reverend Wright. Post office mail included a cute Mother’s Day card from Zack.

Back in our motorhome, John B. calls & we talk about the Gulf Stream G: 550 Corporate Jet. Then I spend the remainder of the afternoon reading & grading high school student essays for the Rotary scholarship.

Dinner: Ivar’s Clam Chowder, leftover turkey meatballs & salad.

Watch the news hr with Jim Lehrer & later, the O’Reilly Factor.

Herk K. calls mid evening; we discuss Joe M’s chainsaw & repair status. Last week @ the Rotary meeting, Joe M. ask me if I would take his chainsaw to Herk (nick name) K’s repair shop, on our way back to Nicktown; that was Al & my tenth stop. Herk had to order new parts so the repair will be delayed by a week.

DVR movie: “Body & Soul” with John Garfield, Lilli Palmer, Hazel Brooks, Anne Revere, William Conrad, etc. Most boxing films pale next to this classic of Garfield working his way up by devious means, becoming famous champ. Superb photography by James Wong Howe. 1947. I’m not one to watch a boxing match to begin with, but this story was fantastic.

High temp=48 Lights out: 12:11am

Awake: 6:39am Temp 45 sleep 7+16 cloudy, then wind & rain, lots of rain overnight @ Nicktown.

Around 10:00am, Katrina calls & wishes her mommy a “Happy Mothers Day.” She’s a bit tired as she was out dancing last night & didn’t get to bed until 3:00 this morning. She is on her way to meet Chris to go hiking. “Oh no! I forgot my snow shoes!” “Will there be that much snow where you’re going to hike?” we inquire. Well she’s not sure, but it was suggested she be prepared for all conditions.

Close to 11:00am, Nick, Eriko & Jerry Skype us; then Kathy + Eriko both get their “Happy Mothers day” wishes; after (7) min, audio signals started falling apart so we both got on the phone & enjoyed at least another hr of seeing Nick, Eriko & Jerry move around in their Condo while talking with them via our landline.

Jerry showed us his “T” ball stand & demonstrated hitting the ball with his bat. We were quite impressed with his power swings…..all three of them & the whiffle ball went flying. And we couldn’t help noticing the nice hairstyle Eriko has; she cut it herself & it looks GREAT. Nick however, had a worried look about him; then he told us: something is not working right with his Isilon storage unit & he might have to go downtown & check it out.

About an hr after our Skype with Nick & family, Matthew calls us on our landline phone. He tells us they are in the dark with no electricity & they want to visit us; their plans to go hiking today got rained out. A section of Indiana had lost power when a thunderstorm roared through the area: “come & visit with us, we have electricity” we told him.

About an hr later, the Footes arrive with big smiles, even Kevin. I ask about the power grid; Kevin reports the electricity came on just before they left. Good thing the Footes visited us; we had a power dip here probably about the same time they had lost their power. Apparently the dip was low enough to knock off a few sensitive units in our motorhome: our kitchen clock & the wireless for our Internet. I didn’t know what to do about the wireless but…..along comes Kevin & he knew exactly what to do. It was simple really; reboot the computer & reset the modem.

The young Foote boys seemed to have a lot of energy today & no good place to discharge it. Kathy gets the cars out for Andrew & the letter stickers for Matthew. They both go between the (2) activities, playing with Melissa & Kathy while Kevin & I are busy on the computer. Of course, Nathan was trying to be involved, not always to his brothers’ liking.

Melissa brought a tasty homemade meatloaf stuffed with cottage cheese & Kathy managed to round up several side dishes. After everyone had eaten there sprang laughter & squealing from the bedroom where Kathy was busy dressing Matthew & Andrew in some of her clothes as they pretended to be ghosts & whatever else stalking thru the motorhome. Look out Nathan! Alas, it was time for the Footes to leave @ 4:45 pm.

Katrina calls from Denver; she’s @ the REI store & is getting ready to buy some outdoor merchandise; little did she know, they were sold out of what she wanted to buy some (2) weeks ago. What a bummer!

Zack calls from Seattle & gives his mommy “Happy Mother’s Day wishes.” I was invited to get on the other line & we enjoyed a good (45) min kibitzing with Zack.

Dick C. calls on Skype from Tucson, AZ. His 1st time on Skype so we’re both kind of excited; he makes a few adjustments &, presto, he’s looking & sounding good. He tells me it took him a week to figure out his new computer & set up Skype. A proud friend I am. We talked for about (15) min, then he was called away for other activities.

Lights out: 11:44pm

Awake: 5:43am Temp 47 sleep 6+40 morning rain overnight @ Nicktown.

Early morning Skype with Ray in WA; good signal.

K & I attend 8:00am Mass & skip the KK meeting today having passed our absentee note to John B. in church.

We drive directly to the Foote mansion; no checking for mail, no grocery shopping, etc. Actually the Foote family was running a few min late with breakfast & we were running many min early. It was OK though as Kevin & I got off to a sloppy start with the continuation of building a bigger storage building.

First, Andrew & Matthew needed to get dressed for the outside, then Kevin removes (1) seat from the Mini Van & we guys (minus Nathan) visit the Laurel Run Quarry in Indiana, a (10) min drive. Here Kevin buys (6) sacks of gravel; (50) lbs each. This we will use as filler on the tamped ground before pouring the concrete. Everything was muddy @ the Quarry; Andrew & Matthew left the house wearing gray & black shoes & returned wearing all brown.

Meanwhile, Kathy works upstairs, applying the diluted “Max” solution to the wall with a rag followed by scraping with a wide putty knife to remove old, dried wallpaper paste. What a messy job!

Back on the project, using the wheelbarrow, I haul dirt onto the site to build up the base; I don’t know how many wheelbarrow loads we used but it was a bunch. Kevin was busy tamping the dirt & building the wooden form using 2X4’s. He took a break to grill special burgers, potatoes & buns.

Dinner @ approx 2:00pm: special burgers, potatoes & all the condiments + a mixed salad.

Back on the job, I continue hauling dirt for fill & Kevin tamps. Around 3:30, Melissa, Kathy & the boys make a trip to Giant Eagle grocery store; they returned pretty fast, 4:15. Matthew rode a small 2 wheeler with training wheels, Andrew walked/ran while pretending to be a bus, & Kathy & Melissa, carrying Nathan in a wrap, walked. Matthew is so adept at riding the bike that he held Kathy’s hand & steered with his other hand on the trip back. Both boys are pretty careful when crossing a street, often waiting for the adults to catch up, & usually looking both ways, although this day, Andrew required a little additional refresher lesson from his mom.

Kevin & I felt comfortable about what we accomplished today so next week, we’ll level our form, pour in the gravel & get ready for concrete. We are back in our motorhome @ 4:50.

K & I walk to the 6:00pm vigil Mass.

Popcorn with DVR movie: “Sterile Cuckoo” with Liza Minnelli, Wendell Burton, Tim McIntire. Lonely Pookie Adams (Minnelli) forces herself on shy freshman Burton, who’s impelled to pay attention. Winning look @ young love & sensitive feelings gives Liza a stand-out role, with Burton equally fine as naïve boy who eventually outgrows her. 1969.
Interesting story, however, a bit s-l-o-w; not for children.

High temp=62 Lights out: 11:23pm

Awake: 5:57am Temp 52 sleep 5+43 rain…heavy @ times overnight @ Nicktown.

Kathy is feeling better today, so we attend 8:00 am Mass & then join the KK meeting. Hot topics: life without seat belts.

After breakfast, I begin my homework perusing essay papers of students from (4) Cambria County high schools who are vying for partial college scholarships from our Rotary Club.

Our near neighbor Chuck calls: he is interested in buying a portable GPS for his car & wanted more info on different types & what prominent features would be best.

My brother Don calls from Ebensburg: he’s planning ahead & would like me to check with the Nicktown Hotel & see if they will have the bar open for veterans after the parade & memorial services on Memorial Day. Priscilla R., the owner of the Nicktown Hotel, died on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Kathy is busy cooking in the Galley in anticipation of having our local & legendary young couple over for dinner tonight.

Gary & Rosemary arrive about 3:45pm after doing somewhat of a quick tour of Nicktown. In efforts to calm them down after their exciting tour, we offer them some wine with mixed nuts. More catching up on what’s happening; we discuss their garden planting, summer travel plans……etc. They have questions about progress on house plans, pictures for ideas, talking with the builder, etc.

Dinner: Kathy’s homemade crab cakes, cauliflower, mixed salad & bread pudding with lemon sauce for dessert.

An unusual & rare occurrence happened during our dinner; more famous as being the quiet one, I was asked a number of super questions from G & R about my former lifestyle & I turned into a motor mouth. Unbelievable as it was; their questions had to be preplanned & researched ahead of time as they were so skillfully initiated. Afterwards, I was thoroughly embarrassed; hopefully we can retain our close friendship with G & R.
No movie tonight.
High temp=53 Lights out: 11:03pm

Awake: 5:22am Temp 57 sleep 6+10 rain overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I attend 8:00am Mass & afterward, join the KK for over an hr; hot topics: cost of oil & alternative fuel choices.

Al K. & I decided to save fuel & carpool to our Rotary meeting today. I ask Al how many stops he has on his list; he thought for a moment & said: (“4 or 5.”) “I have (2)” I told him. Not counting our stop @ Rotary, we had a total of (10). (7) for Al & (3) for me. Al got the best of me….this time.

When I returned home, Kathy was not feeling well; she reported she felt bloated, her stomach was tender & it didn’t feel right. She was unable to determine the cause.

Dinner: Kathy made (2) small crab cakes as a test; which passed with flying colors; then leftover tuna & noodle.

Katrina calls from Denver; she wants to know what’s happening with plans for the summer family rendezvous. Kathy had to tell her, it’s not going to happen this summer. All the ideas & places she checked, people she talked with, etc., are already booked & those that are not, are much too expensive and/or are not geographically suitable. We’ll just have to start our planning earlier to make it work for everyone.

DRV movie: “The Life of Emile Zola” with Paul Muni, Gale Sondergaard, Joseph Schildkraut, Gloria Holden, Donald Crisp, etc. Sincere biography of famed 19th-century French writer who rose to cause of wrongly exiled Captain Dreyfus (Schildkraut); detailed production filled with fine vignettes. Won Oscars for Best Picture & supporting Actor (Schildkraut). 1937. This story was GREAT & well acted; don’t miss it.

High temp=63 Lights out: 12:14am

Awake: 5:15am Temp 50 sleep 6+04 sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I join the KK @ 8:30am. Hot topics: Donkey, Ass, Mule, Hinnies, etc. After our meeting, K & I attend the 9:30am Children’s Mass & then walk to the Krumenacker Hardware store. I buy (2) large water filters & Kathy buys a can of powdered cleaner (MAX) which states on the can to be used, among other things, to remove wallpaper paste. She wants to use it Saturday at the Footes to continue preparing a wall for painting.

After breakfast, I change the main water filter from our well; then we drive to Ebensburg, do some light grocery shopping @ the West End Market & then visit the “big dig” @ the Don & Josie excavation center. D & J’s basement of their (4) story home has been seeping moisture thru the walls.

During our short visit, we noticed that the semi-heavy equipment that the workers were using, already had much of the lawn dug out from the walls; walls pressure-washed clean & rubber coated (3) times. We also noticed a lot of gravel fill next to the walls & quite a few heavy duty PVC pipes strewed about that will be used as French Drains. What a mess their once pristine landscape is now; D & J tell us they will do their own landscaping this time.

From here, we do more grocery shopping @ Wal-Mart & then return to Nicktown.

Dinner: Store bought (Wal-Mart) crab cakes, cauliflower & a mixed salad. The first bite told the story of these fake cakes, I would definitely not recommend buying them. How could I possibly think these might be anywhere close to the quality & good taste as the ones Kathy makes!

We finish the DVR movie: “Sense & Sensibility” with Emma Thompson, Alan Rickman, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, James Fleet, Harriet Walter, etc. Vivid, contemporary reading of Jane Austen’s novel about (2) newly impoverished sisters…one impulsive & flirtatious, the other repeatedly thwarted & forced to suppress her feelings of love. A spirited & moving look @ social mores & how disparate personalities dealt with them in early 19th-century England. 1995. Initially Kathy thought she would be bored with this 1800’s period story; ahaa, but later, she was practically on the edge of her cushion.

High temp=73 Lights out: 11:12pm

Awake: 6:12am Temp 45 sleep 6+32 sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I attend the 8:00m prayer service with Sister Lee & some (20) others; then K & I join the KK meeting for over an hr. Today’s hot topic: Looking back @ the Koffee Klub’s existence, (12) yrs & climbing. K & I have been members for the last (6). It really started in the IGA Supermarket when the owner Joe S. bought the group a few tables with chairs. When the community center was finished, the Klub moved into its own room with a very large conference table. Come & join us sometime; you’ll love the atmosphere.

After breakfast, K & I do the routine baby proofing in anticipation of a visit with the Foote grandsons & Melissa this afternoon.

Shortly after 2:00pm, the Toyota Mini Van arrives; Matthew is the 1st one out & runs directly over to our motorhome & tells me: “I am ready to drill holes in the tree stumps Gee Daddy.” My answer to that: “what took you so long?” Last week I told him he could help me out with the drilling next week; he certainly didn’t forget. After a brief checkout introducing Matthew to my small cordless drill & the method I would like him to use when drilling, we head down to the lower west field.

Matthew, close to 4.4 yrs of age, already is very careful & focused when doing something of importance; otherwise, the 1/16 inch drill bit would not last long @ all. We planted over (20) red flags into those stumps & Matthew did all the drilling. We could have done more but the drill bit broke in half so I surmised that we had done enough for this day. I think Matthew felt pretty good about his helping his “G” Daddy & I was happy to have his assistance.

Meanwhile, in the motorhome, Andrew is busy with his traffic jam on our carpet. Melissa & Kathy played with him some but he also plays very well by himself.

Little Nathan’s favorite thing @ this age is on-going; he likes to stand but can’t do it unsupported so he climbs up on anything, using whatever it is for support, & he grabs whatever he can & puts it in his mouth. He is a happy guy with a big smile.

Back in the motorhome, it’s time for Matthew’s insulin & snack time for all of us. K & I each read library books to the boys while they eat; then we have some outdoor time, walking in the forest for (25) min. A good visit was had by all.

Dinner: leftover tuna casserole, broccoli, salad.

News hour with Jim Lehrer; then the O’Reilly Factor.

DVR movie: “Sense & Sensibility” which we agreed to watch only ½.

High temp=70 Lights out: 11:11pm

Awake: 5:50am Temp 37 sleep 6+03 sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I attend 8:00 am Mass & then join the KK meeting. Hot topic: Tree stumps. Then we visit Krumenacker Hardware store to purchase extra drill bits for when Matthew visits tomorrow.

Early afternoon, K & I drive to Barnesboro, locate Dr. Peter Korch’s office & talk to his secretary about having him as our dentist, his hours, etc. He spends 2 or 3 days a week at the Barnesboro office and the other days at an office in Clearfield. This is a non-Barnesboro day.

Then to the local library where we get an updated library card & have copies made of our AARP health insurance stuff. Next we visit the Sherry Appliance store where Gary literally takes apart a new Flair vacuum cleaner before our very eyes to determine how to change a belt related to the beater bar system. The beater bar on Melissa’s Hoover unit quit working, so when the ordered belt arrives, I’ll get her unit fixed up. Lastly, we stop @ Bi-Lo for a few groceries & then return to our motorhome.

While Kathy makes sugarless cookies, I plant (23) more flags in stumps.

By the way, the groundhog's (3) exits that have been closed since last Thursday, have not exhibited any local activity yet; maybe she/he is taking a nice long spring nap.

Dinner: lamb chops, spaghetti with raw cherry tomato sauce & mixed salad.

DVR movie: “The Trip to Bountiful” with Geraldine Page, John Heard, Carlin Glynn, Richard Bradford, etc. Leisurely, richly textured filmization of Horton Foote’s 1953 television play about a widow, living unhappily with her son & daughter-in-law, determined to make her way home to Bountiful, Texas, for one last look. Page won well-deserved Oscar for her heartbreaking performance, but entire cast is excellent. 1985. Good story; you won’t be disappointed.

High temp=68 Lights out: 11:40pm

Awake: 7:06am Temp 46 sleep 6+42 clouds, then sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

Casual morning; Kathy watches her usual political programs: Stephanopolis; Tim Russert, Meet the Press; etc; while I Skype Ray in Ocean Park, WA. & spend some time on the computer; when the politics get more exciting, I move closer to Kathy.

Early afternoon, Kathy begins cooking/baking for our evening distinguished guests. Hors’deuvers: cheesy olive snacks, BBQ turkey meat balls, garlic Parmesan crisps, pioneer bread pudding with lemon sauce & chocolate chips.

My distinguished brother Don & his eloquent wife Josie arrive a few minutes after
6:00 pm. Don gives us an update on the big dig to reveal the foundation walls of their home; “it’s a big project” he tells us. Along with the dirt talk, we discuss our children & grandchildren; their children & grandchildren; their summer plans; our summer plans, our house plans, etc.

Earlier this spring, Don & I discussed their tandem bike trip plans: leaving from across the Straits of Vancouver Island, (Hwy 101 & Hwy 1) thru Washington State, Oregon, California & terminating @ the border of Mexico. To make their visit more interesting tonight, I had saved a DVR documentary covering some of the initial building of the Pacific Coast Highway & the continuous upkeep of (Hwy 101 & Hwy 1) which they’ll be traveling on.

It was a good evening; the Hors’deuvers were tasty, the wine & beer flowed well & Don & Josie had a good sneak preview of some things to expect when taking their bike trip.

Late DVR movie: “Atlantic City” with Burt Lancaster, Susan Sarandon, Kate Reid, Michel Piccoli, Hollis McLaren, Robert Joy, etc. Rich character study of a city in transition, focusing on small-time losers who’ve stayed there too long & big time dreamers who are just arriving. Lancaster gives one of his finest performances as an aging two-bit hood who’s all style & no substance. 1980. Good story but don’t get any ideas; crime still doesn’t pay.

High temp=63 Lights out: 11:47pm

Awake: 5:19am Temp 61 sleep 5+53 overcast overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I attend 8:00 am Mass, then skip the KK meeting & scoot right out to Indiana, PA for an early grocery shopping spree before visiting the Foote Castle.

Thunderstorms & rain are in the forecast today; when we arrive, Kevin & Matthew are in the back yard using a rented pressure washer; attempting to clean the area where Kevin wants the storage shed erected.

Then we get serious; using shovels, a broom & a wheelbarrow, we measure twice & shovel once, to get an idea of how long, wide, tall, etc this bldg should be. I try to influence Kevin into building a larger unit & slowly, for now, he agrees. We move (8—9) wheelbarrows of dirt elsewhere, sweep the existing small concrete pad clean & begin making the ground ready for gravel, then tamping &, later, the concrete.

Our slow progress was stalled by Kevin’s youngest sister, Billie Anne & her husband, Jason, who drove up from D.C. pulling a rental trailer. They will join us for lunch & then we’ll help load some furniture & boxes into their trailer for their return trip. Kevin’s Mom & Dad in Montana, have passed on her parents’ heavy furniture from Germany & other things to their children: Kevin, Laura, Eileen & Billie Anne.

Kathy has been working in one of the bedrooms, removing wallpaper & beginning to get the walls ready for painting.

Kevin’s grilled hamburgers are always a special treat & this feast was no different; all the condiments + sliced potatoes & a huge mixed salad warmed our palates.

Billie Anne & Jason’s rental trailer is loaded with special furniture & boxes of goodies; we wish them a safe trip & away they go.

By this time, dark clouds can be seen in the distance; our “will work for food” program has been a success today. Nearly as much eating time as working time; heavy rains chase us indoors &, soon after, we return to our bus in Nicktown.

Then K & I attend 6:00 pm vigil Mass; overcast but no rain.

Dinner: Soy nuts, mixed nuts & popcorn while watching DVR movie: “Inter-Mezzo: A Love Story” with Leslie Howard, Ingrid Berman, Edna Best, Cecil Kellaway, John Halliday, etc. One of the best love stories ever filmed, as married Howard, renowned violinist, has an affair with musical protégée Bergman (in her 1st English-speaking film). 1939. Interesting saga; did Howard return to his family? Don’t know do ya!

High temp=61 Lights out: 11:47pm

Awake: 5:31am Temp 51 sleep 5+59 overcast overnight @ Nicktown.

Early morning, Ray & I Skype using text messages until Kathy wakes up; then we switch to audio & video.

K & I attend 8:00 am Mass & then join the KK for an hr; today’s hot topic: none. All subjects were lukewarm.

Back @ the coach, I Skype Ray again to finish up our earlier conversation; signals were still fairly good.

I was nearly finished with breakfast when the doorbell rang; it’s John B. He pays a visit to check on my groundhog adventures of yesterday. We chatted briefly & then John insisted that I finish breakfast while he walks down to the lower field & looks for evidence: dead or alive?

I meet John as he returns to our bus; he tells me there are no clues of activity & the fact is that Mr. or Mrs. Groundhog could very well stay in his/her underground penthouse for days without resurfacing. Groundhog expert John B. has to leave now so I will see him tomorrow during KK time.

Call my Brother Don in Ebensburg; “you’re lucky to have reached me” he says. “We just dug through the phone line & the electrical line, so we have no inside phone or electricity.” “Good thing you & I have our cell phone then” I tell Don.

Don, plus (2) helpers are in the process of digging down (5) ft along the outside walls of their home; moisture & mildew in the basement prompted this excavation. Realizing a lot of this manual labor may tire my brother out, I suggest he & Josie take Sunday evening off & visit us in Nicktown. My brother liked this idea.

Mid afternoon, our near neighbor Chuck visits while looking for one of his dogs, Sissy; she’s been missing all morning & that’s not like her. We tell Chuck that we haven’t seen Sissy but will keep a good eye open. Meanwhile, Chuck shows us his lower leg; it was really swelled up from his mishap on Wednesday. He’s guilty of not following strict instructions from his nurse, Kathy, & right there on the spot, Kathy scolded Chuck for being too stubborn. Chuck says he learned his lesson & will shape up.

Dinner: Tuna & noodle casserole with broccoli.

We watch the O’Reilly Factor; then the News Hour with Jim Learer.

DVR movie: “The China Syndrome” with Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon, Michael Douglas, Scott Brady, James Hampton, etc. Heart pounding drama about attempted cover-up of accident @ California nuclear plant is as much a probe of television news as it is a story of nuclear power….& it scores bull’s-eye on both fronts. There is no music score; story tension propels film by itself, along with solid performers by Fonda as TV reporter, Douglas (who also produced film) as radical cameraman, & especially Lemmon as dedicated plant exec. 1979. This movie & story were GREAT! Perhaps it influenced our country too well & scared the general public into voting “no more Nuclear Plants.”

High temp=72 Lights out: 11:26pm

Awake: 6:11am Temp 42 sleep 6+57 overcast overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I attend 8:00 am Mass & then join the KK for about an hr; hot topic: Groundhogs again; the damage they cause, how to catch them, how to get rid of them, etc. Afterward we visit the Krumenacker Hardware store to purchase more flags to continue marking those tree stumps in our lower field.

Late morning, Zack calls from Seattle: a rather large truck had a run in with his car being driven by his girlfriend, Katie, while turning onto a narrow street. For a few yrs now, Zack has retained his up-front, passenger side, wrinkled fender; now his car is balanced with the drivers rear fender also wrinkled. Luckily KT has her own insurance & the police report has the truck driver definitely @ fault. Zack’s question to us: shouldn’t Katie & Zack’s insurance agent work for them in getting after the insured truck driver’s company for remuneration? We most definitely agreed.

Earlier @ the KK meeting, experts Bill M. & John B. released a few important tips on getting rid of Groundhogs; I decide to try one of their methods this afternoon. 1st, I carry a water hose, shovel, strike anywhere matches & about (2) gallons of diesel fuel to the suspected underground enemy area.

The enemy has (3) escape exits all within (20) ft. Keeping that in mind, I fill the (10) ft hose with diesel fuel, lay it aside; then soak (2) dried pieces of firewood, set then on fire & position them in each hole burning vigorously. Next I take the water hose, now filled with diesel fuel & having one end of the hose shut off, I maneuver the other end down into the main (most active) exit attempting to get the hose in as far as possible; then let the hose drain the diesel fuel into the groundhog’s compound as far as possible, pulling it out to leave a trail of fuel. Once out, I ignite the main exit & pour more fuel on each of the (3) holes to keep the heat on. I kept the heat on above the compound for @ least an hr….until the diesel fuel gage read empty.

When the smoke cleared, I blocked all (3) exits, made sure all fires were out, then carted my equipment back to the coach. I’ll be monitoring that area for activities as the days go forward.

Dinner: leftover tuna stoup with couscous, broccoli & bread.

Evening time: Nick calls on Skype; for whatever reason, signals were b-a-d. We were getting the cell phone ready for a backup when he managed to get the message thru that we should talk on our landline so we can both talk; dah! Good idea. We spent close to an hr on the phone while watching little Jerry on video as we talked about his 2nd birthday celebration tomorrow & his latest achievements. The package I mailed on Mon arrived in time for Jerry’s birthday. The video was choppy @ times but still reasonably good enough to watch.

Movie tonight: cancelled…due to more important entertainment watching & talking with Nick, Eriko, & Jerry.
High temp=63 Lights out: 11:32pm

Awake: 5:17am Temp 35 sleep 5+58 mostly cloudy overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I attend 8:00am Mass, then join the KK meeting for over an hr; hot topic: reminiscing Nicktown when it had (3) grocery stores, (3) gasoline stations, (2) lane bowling alley, roller skating area, etc.

After breakfast, I insert more rods into tree stumps having a total now of (63).

Around 2:15 pm, the Foote grandchildren & Melissa arrive; the day is cool so most of their visit time was inside our home on wheels. Both Matthew & Andrew were entertained by Kathy using 3D foam stick-on letters & shapes. Matthew is intrigued with spelling & now knows how to spell several words so he & Kathy were busy looking for needed letters & spelling words. Andrew just enjoyed sticking the shapes on paper in no organized manner & Nathan was content to crawl around, stand up & pull on anything he could reach & try putting it in his mouth.

About 3:30, Matthew wanted to go outside so he & I planted another (36) flags on tree stumps in our lower field. It was another good visit with the Footes.

I call my brother Don in Ebensburg; their visit with their kids & grandkids in Maryland & Hilton Head, South Carolina went well. My brother tells me that he will be working on a big home project; there is moisture seeping in their basement so he & a helper will be digging down the outside walls for a check & a fix.

Dinner: Turkey burgers with horseradish, homemade bread from Shirley, (3) bean salad, & broccoli.

We watch the evening news with Jim Learer; then the O’Reilly Factor.

DVR Movie: “The Wild One” with Marlon Brando, Mary Murphy, Robert Keith, Lee Marvin, Jay C. Plippen, etc. The original motorcycle film with Brando’s renowned performance as pack leader terrorizing small town; dated, but well worth viewing. 1954.
It kept us on the edge of our cushions; Kathy had no trouble staying awake.

High temp=51 Lights out: 11:14pm

Awake: 5:16am Temp 40 sleep 5+48 partly sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

Ray texts me on Skype @ 6:45am so we text back & forth until Kathy wakes up @ 7:00am, then we switch to audio & visual for (20) min to see each other while we chat.

K & I attend 8:00am Mass & then join the KK afterward; hot topic: food waste.

After KK, Kathy & I visit the Krumenacker Hardware store where I ask Byron about flag markers I could use to alert myself where there are tree stumps hiding in the grass. He quickly shows me options; red, yellow, white…bundles of little flags on steel rods (1.3) ft length that can be inserted into stumps as an alert when mowing. I take (1) bundle with yellow flags @ a fair price.

After breakfast, using my cordless drill, I plant (13) yellow flags inside our circular drive which so happens to compliment our dandelions; will they grow? Yes, the dandelions will grow.

Next, K & I drive to Ebensburg to grocery shop @ Wal-Mart & make prints from pictures from our memory stick of house plan ideas. Then we drive further east on US Route 22 & visit Hines Equipment to see what mowing equipment is available @ what cost. This was our 1st look-see for a mower & obviously, the good ones are expensive.

Back on our property, I plant (35) more flags into the tree stumps.

Dinner: chicken cacciatore with salad & bread.

We watch the O’Reilly Factor & finish up the DVR movie: “The Red Pony” with Myrna Loy, Robert Mitchum, Peter Miles, Louis Calhern, etc. John Steinbeck adapted his own stories into this warmhearted screenplay about a farm boy who learns about responsibility when he’s given his own pony. Keen observations of family dynamics make this a standout. 1949. Yes, it’s s-l-o-w @ times but with a strong message; would be great for kids.
High temp=51 Lights out: 11:19pm

Awake: 5:00am Temp 49 sleep 5+43 rain overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I attend 8:00 am Mass & then join the KK for over an hr; today’s hot topic: Food Waste.

After breakfast, I visit Carol @ the Enchanted Gardens; we discuss the church hall’s air conditioning; weddings; her husband Dave & his classic cars, her (90) yr old mother, oil prices, the classic car show in May, etc. Carol & I always have a lot to talk about. She’s a busy gal; I had to make an appointment for this yak session. Next, I mail Kathy’s package at the post office.

Mid afternoon, K & I review our slide show of pictures that we might use as ideas for home building.

Dinner: Pork chops, broccoli, fried noodles & mixed salad.

Kathy called Melissa to check on her health; she’s feeling much better. They placed an ad on line for one free metal shed. (5) interested parties responded and one lucky soul came with a truck & hauled it off. Now Kevin & I can get busy preparing the area for the new shed we’re going to build.

DVR movie: We finish watching: “That Hamilton Woman” with Vivien Leigh, Laurence Olivier, Alan Mowbray, Sara Allgood, Gladys Cooper etc, Olivier & Leigh….both breathtakingly beautiful…enact ill-fated historical romance of Lord Admiral Nelson & Lady Emma Hamilton in American made film intended to spur pro-British feelings. P.S. It was Winston Churchill’s favorite movie. 1941. Even though it took (3) nights to finish, it was well worth the wait. Be like Winston, watch it more than once.

Also DVR movie: “The Little Red Pony.” We watch ½ of this story. I apologize to Kathy that I find this movie…s-l-o-w… I would rather read Eileen’s “Memories of Growing up in Kirsch Town.” She reluctantly agreed but questioned: “why when I’m wide awake, do you decide you don’t want to finish the movie?!”
High today: 49 Lights out: 11:28pm

Awake: 6:40am Temp 46 sleep 6+55 overcast, then sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

Kathy makes her special sourdough pancake breakfast with all the trimmings.

Gary C. calls: he asks what plans we have for today. “My sister, Corinne, will visit us @ 4:00pm” I tell him. “How about we come over around 1:00pm & show you our new bike?” “Great idea, come on over,” I respond. Their timing is good; we haven’t seen them since they left Pahrump, NV. January 20th.

Having our front door open, we could barely hear the Honda engine pulling into our circular drive, it’s very quiet. Their Honda is of medium size & Rosemary sits higher than Gary which allows her to see over his helmet & still be shielded from the wind via the windshield.

Inside the motorhome, we have a good ole time catching up on each others activities since those Pahrump days. Then they have to leave; it’s threatening rain & they want to get back before their motorcycle has to double as a boat.

Kathy begins making dinner while I spend some time on the computer.

@ 4:00pm sharp, Corinne arrives looking good & with a nice smile; before entering the bus, I give her a brief tour of (2) basement bays just because she has never seen even a little of the fantastic water works or the phenomenal electrical compartment of our coach. Girls usually don’t have any questions about this sort of stuff & Corinne was no exception.

Inside, we waste no time getting right into another gab session; having our jaws already warmed up with Rosemary & Gary.

Dinner: pepper streak, broccoli & a mixed salad. During & after dinner, we continue our gab session until around 8:00pm. We enjoy Corinne’s company; she’s an interesting person with, not only a vast knowledge of religion, but also an ongoing knowledge of our many cousins & other relatives; she is definitely our go to person.

DVR movie: we continue watching “That Hamilton Woman” for @ least an hr more; then someone began to lose interest so we’ll finish another night.

Lights out: 11:17pm


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