August 2009 Archives

Awake: 6:21am Temp 63 sleep 6+12 mostly sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

I checked the Toyota's battery again after having the charger connected a good (4) hrs last evening, & it tested fine; the battery's posts both needed a good clean-up however.

Next, I called our auto insurer on the West Coast & added collision coverage for a few weeks.

After adding a little synthetic oil to our Suzuki & a little anti freeze to the Buick, I topped off our pure water tank so Kathy can do (2) loads of laundry.

Dinner: leftover beef stir fry, brown rice sprinkled with golden raisins + cantaloupe.

Late evening Melissa called: we had planned on visiting the Foote Castle tomorrow but tonight she remembered that she has commitments all day & evening. Sat morning she will be busy making phone calls in search of volunteers for the St. Thomas More book sale but will welcome our visit in the afternoon.

Later evening, Nick Skyped: ever since I downloaded the latest version of Skype, I've had problems. Last time it was the audio which my buddy Ray helped me repair; this time Nick could not see us on his computer so I'm guessing it has something to do with my camera. We didn't talk long since Nick & Eriko wanted to take Jerry swimming before his bedtime.

Evening movie: "This is Spinal Tap." We watched ½.

Lights out: 12:04am.

Awake: 7:51am Temp 60 sleep 6+30 sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

Today I got our (2) old cars out of storage & plan to use them for a few weeks before returning them to storage again. The Toyota's battery was dead so I had to use my jumper cables to start the car, & then drove it to where our motorhome is parked where I charged the battery using my battery charger.

K & I skipped our regular breakfast time this morning, so around 3:00pm we had BLT sandwiches with some really tasty home grown tomatoes from Ken's garden. Oh how we have missed having these homegrown veggies up to now.

K & I attended evening Mass in Nicktown followed by an hr of Catechism with Father Job in the school social room. Afterward, (5) of us relaxed @ the Nicktown Hotel having a few beers @ the bar. Interestingly enough, there were more ladies on the bar side then men.

Dinner: leftover salmon stir fry.

Lights out: 12:09am.

Awake: 6:23am Temp 56 sleep 6+13 sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

Late morning I called my brother in Ebensburg; he has a roof fan that pulls out the heat & fumes from their inside grill in their sunroom. A few months ago, he disconnected the wiring from the fan on the roof but forgot which wires go where. I told my brother that we need to get some groceries in Ebensburg today & asked if this would be a good time to wire up that roof fan. He said: "come on up & we'll fix that fan & then you'll be our guests for a Rotary picnic @ 5:00pm." "You've got a deal" I replied.

My brother climbed up the ladder & I followed after he was on the roof. With my trusty Fluke, I measured continuity with the power off & voltage with the power on; try as we might, we could not get that fan motor to turn, only a dull hum. We could spin the rotor so it wasn't frozen; otherwise, I ran out of ideas. I asked my brother to let me know what he finds out when his electrical friend troubleshoots it.

On to the Rotary picnic; over a dozen Rotarians showed up for this occasion. We were introduced to about half of them, (nice people of course), then went through the food line & picked a table at which to eat & kibitz.

Dinner: Hamburgers or hotdogs, with all the condiments, fresh peach slices with fresh blueberries, potato salad, cold slaw, & several cake selections for dessert. It was all very good & I especially enjoyed the peaches with blueberries.

We thanked my brother & his wife for the I apologized for not being able to get his roof fan running. From here, we loaded up on groceries from Wal-Mart & then returned to Nicktown.

Lights out: 1:21am.

Awake: 6:34am Temp 57 sleep 6+04 fog...sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

While Kathy made her weekly trip to Barnesboro, I mowed our side yard & the usual paths I use a lot, taking a mere (1.5) hrs.

I signed us up for (3) more yrs of Passport America; this allows us to use certain campgrounds in the USA at half price. This system can be a gamble however, some are very, very good & others are very, very not so good.

I ran the Cat engine in our motorhome for a good (20) min.... making me a little antsy for travel.


Dinner: Salmon stir fry & cantaloupe.

Evening DVD movie: "The Family Man" with Nicolas Cage, Tea Leoni, Jeremy Piven, Saul Rubinek, Don Cheadle, etc. Nicolas Cage is a single, wealthy Wall Street trader living the high life in New York City. All that magically changes one morning when he wakes up in a suburban New Jersey bedroom with a wife (Tea Leoni) he never married and two kids he never had...the life he would have led if he had made different choices as a younger man.

Find out what it takes for a single-minded business man to become: The Family Man. 2001. Good story; we not only enjoyed it immensely but also spent over (3) hrs watching it. I finally realized the DVD troubles we've been having are NOT with the DVD's but the fault of the Zenith DVD player itself. The DVD player is now on a list to be repaired soon.

Lights out: 12:10am.

Awake: 8:23am Temp 63 sleep 7+56 mostly sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

After a delicious breakfast of veggie/cheese omelets, bacon, & toasted English muffins, we settle down to perusing our forwarded mail from Alaska. This is the size of box that our mail usually arrives in.


Next I worked a little on a x-word puzzle, spent time on our computer, studied a Thomas electric toy train, read another magazine, etc. And later, K & I walked around town + check a new home being built just outside the town limits.

Dinner: beef stir fry with a mixed salad.

Late Movie: "Manchurian Candidate" with Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey, Janet Leigh, Angela Lansbury, etc. Tingling political paranoia thriller about strange aftermath of a Korean War hero's decoration & his mother's machinations to promoter her Joseph McCarthy-like husband's career. 1962. Great story; add it to your list.

Lights out: 12:27am.

Awake: 6:30am Temp 61 sleep 6+35 mostly sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

Our forwarded mail arrived this morning but we have no time to go through it today.

We motored to the Foote Castle & spent (2.5) hrs mostly with the boys; I was a gofer for Matthew as he built several different electrical circuits with his Snap Circuit kit. Then I spent time with Andrew on the 3rd floor more or less watching him build creative vehicles using small logos.

Kathy spent most of her time with Nathan, reading & building with his magnets. She also got to hold Gregory for a short time & remarked how strong he his, holding his head erect & looking around.
We enjoyed our time with the boys which went too quickly & then said our goodbyes for now & returned to Nicktown.

After a change of clothes, we motored to the town of Hastings, a (30) min drive, & attended the vigil Mass for 1st cousin, Ruth, & husband, Ed's 50th wedding Anniversary. Afterward, over (200) people...many related, joined in celebrating this event in the basement of the church with dinner: turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, ham, string beans, stuffing, apple sauce & cranberry sauce & wedding Anniversary cake for dessert (all made by R & E's children & grandchildren) It was an excellent home made meal.
We met many cousins that I haven't seen in over (40) yrs. I asked Ruth & Ed if they knew all of these people present; "you bet we do & we could have invited more" they told me.


Lights out: 12:27am.

Awake: 7:00am Temp 68 sleep 7+14 early rain overnight @ Nicktown.

Early afternoon, I called Creslie in Oklahoma & talked about how to bring back the info on our glass dash. I explained that we've been in Nicktown since the last week of April & our glass dash has exhibited nothing but colorful straight lines ever since. I thought perhaps it would repair itself but that's not happening.

Creslie told me he has done many jobs of removing the cover on the dash to access the electronic systems underneath; I listened carefully, thanked Creslie & then got started. I was only (5) min into the process when I must have bumped the right connection and all the data in our glass dash re-appeared. I'll be monitoring that system closely in the event there is a loose connection.

I started reading another magazine & then called my buddy Ray in Ocean Park, WA. Ray & I always have a lot to talk about & this time was no exception; we gabbed for over an hr. One thing we discussed was the latest version of Skype; after downloading, my microphone wouldn't work. Ray told me he had the same problem & he fixed it by going into properties & making a change on the audio. Later I tried that &, bingo, it works fine now.

Late afternoon, I picked another small cup of blueberries from our bush.

Dinner: sword fish, wild & brown rice, mixed salad & Bing cherries.

We called Melissa & set up a time for visiting tomorrow.

Evening: we finished watching the documentary on "Marlon Brando." He challenged the directors, chased women & acted as he very well pleased! But all of his colleagues loved him nevertheless.

Lights out: 11:55pm.

Awake: 6:22am Temp 66 sleep 5+35 overcast...rain overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

After breakfast, I waxed the driver's side mirror + got my long hose out & started to clean the front of our motorhome; poor timing on my part, dark clouds with rain chased me indoors once again.

Inside, I finished another magazine & then K & I walked around town, mostly in sunshine. Since it was close to 5:00 pm, most of the town's people were probably having dinner as no one was out & about save for the Nicktown Hotel where the activity was just spiraling up.

Dinner: Halibut fish with brown & wild rice + fruit salad.

Evening movie: a documentary, "Marlon Brando." We watched ½.

Lights out: 11:46pm.

Awake: 7:08am Temp 69 sleep 7+16 off & on rain overnight @ Nicktown.

After (20) min of exercise @ the community center this morning, I used Kathy's idea of getting rid of the old gas that I drained out of Mac's riding lawnmower last Thursday; a perfect time to have a campfire of old stumps. (8) to be exact, inside our circular drive; all burning @ the same time. By the time I ran out of gas, a rain shower moved into the area. I should have done this a few yrs ago.

I called Alaska for our forwarded mail.

My brother Don called en route to PA., now passing through Memphis, TN., they expect to be home in a couple of days. They really enjoyed their time with the grandchildren + Craig & Nanette.

Katrina called en route to her condo in Denver; she brought us up-to-date on her hiking & camping adventures, plus getting her school room ready for teaching next week. She can't complain about her summer vacation though, all the traveling she's done: Scandinavia, Iceland, Costa Rica, & the mountains & valleys of Colorado. Such a deal.

Dinner: leftover stuffed peppers, fruit salad & Bing cherries.

Late movie: "The Fuller Brush Man" with Red Skelton, Janet Blair, Don McGuire, etc. Usual Skelton slapstick, with Red involved in murder while valiantly trying to succeed as a door-to-door salesman. 1948. Unless you are desperate for entertainment or a fan of Skelton, or of slapstick, I would pass on this one.

Lights out: 12:47am.

Awake: 6:44am Temp 66 sleep 7+00 off & on rain overnight @ Nicktown.

Casual day for us; Kathy read her novel, I read a magazine.

Mid afternoon, I walked over & visited our neighbor Mack; we discussed his garden which is not doing so well. Not that I eased his pain but I reminded him that my cousin Florentz's garden was nothing to brag about; he lost all of his tomatoes due to the blight & his sweet corn is slow growing. Also, our friends in St. Augustine lost all of their tomatoes due to the blight.

As we chatted about the vegetable garden woes, strong winds & low dark clouds moved into the area; now for the 2nd time today, I am chased indoors due to another heavy wave of rain.

Dinner: leftover cranberry turkey stir fry, leftover salmon spaghetti, Bing cherries & cantaloupe.

During Kathy's visit to the library yesterday, she picked up (2) DVDs for us to watch. "I would like to watch a modern movie in color tonight" she told me. So after the dinner dishes are cleaned & our usual news & political programs are covered, I read about the movie we are about to watch & said to Kathy: "this story line is set in the early thirties just like a lot of the movies we have been watching....except in color." Anyway, we started DVD # 1, "The Road to Perdition."

After about (20) min, for no reason @ all, the screen froze. Only one time before when watching: "The Bucket List" the same thing happened & I simply opened & closed the tray once & finished the movie.

This time however, I tried the same modus operandi to no avail. "OK" says Kathy, "let's watch DVD # 2." "Valkyrie." (5) min later, it was worse. We couldn't get past the coming attractions.

Later, I tried one of my own DVDs that I know had worked perfectly before...and it still works perfectly. I suspect the library has loaned those (2) DVD's out too often.

Melissa called from the Foote castle; she gives us a good report of how Gregory is doing, & how she's doing. Kevin has to return to work on Wed & I sensed a little concern from Melissa regarding her readiness to assume full care of house & children minus Kevin's help. He will be home for lunch & if she feels she needs his help, he can take the afternoon off.

Lights out: 11:52pm.

Awake: 6:14am Temp 65 sleep 5+58 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

After breakfast, I picked another small container of blueberries, & then fixed Kathy up with a full tank of pure water to do (4) loads of laundry. Now I have some idle time to dissect & analyze why my sister Corinne's Sonicare tooth brush is kaput.

It took awhile to get into the body of this Sonicare; a surgeon I am not. If the Sonicare had been alive, I would have surely killed it within (15) min. What I found was....the heart was not thumping; in other words, the batteries were dead & therefore, the micro processor could not function. For the model Corinne has, the batteries, on average, last slightly over (2) yrs & replacing those batteries is no easy I found out.

The following info has been taken directly from the Philips Corporation. .

Taking it to the next level

2002 was a banner year for Philips Oral Healthcare as the company launched the next generation in power toothbrushes -- the Sonicare Elite -- at the American Dental Association (ADA) annual meeting in October 2002. It became an instant success. More than 100,000 dental professionals personally tried the Sonicare Elite since its introduction.

2003 welcomed the release of the Sonicare Elite to consumers. The Elite's next generation design provides an unprecedented level of comfort, and is the most advanced power toothbrush to date to promote maximum oral health and hygiene.

The Head Of Its Class

Although it looks pretty simple on the outside, the Sonicare brush head is a marvel of technology on the inside -- a tidy package of wires, microchips and magnets. When we say it's a finely tuned instrument, we really mean it: There's a microprocessor inside that controls the toothbrush, from its precise head movement to battery charge. And there's a laser-tuned resonator to maintain precise bristle velocity for dynamic fluid cleaning action. Think of the ultra-high bristle speed that a Sonicare toothbrush generates and you can see why it's so important to get this part right.

You'll Get A Charge Out Of This

Most people wouldn't give the Sonicare charger base a second thought, because it seems so utilitarian. But we gave it a lot of thought. This attractive little base charges your Sonicare toothbrush with enough juice to last two weeks. It also has a convenient cord wrap feature in the underside of the charge base to store excess cord.

I haven't completely dissected the main body parts yet, but when I have more time, I'll make an effort to replace the batteries & see if the robot will come back to life.

The Soniccare with its clothes removed!


During my meticulous probing & checking for voltages that were zilch, Kathy made her Monday run to Barnesboro for the library, thrift store & Dollar General. She saved some of that laundry process for late afternoon.

Dinner: pork chops, fried noodles, Bing cherries, mango slices, fruit salad, mixed salad & apple sauce.

Lights out: 11:44pm

Awake: 8:02am Temp 69 sleep 6+55 sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

Before breakfast I raked more dead grass into piles, & then took (4) wheelbarrow loads over to the disposal area in the woods. Next, I lowered the Snapper's platform & finished mowing sections uncut when using the neighbor's riding mower.

Kathy had her special sourdough pancake breakfast with all the trimmings ready to eat when I finally finished. Today's weather: very hot & humid; it was a real treat to be cool & dry again while eating a good breakfast.

Gary C. called with belated birthday wishes; he was out of town for days & when he returned, his thoughtful wife reminded him to make the call.

Corinne will be joining us for dinner tonight. She arrived close to 5:00pm & had a present for me: a worn out, battery powered Sonicare tooth brush. She wondered if I could take it apart & maybe fix it. I enjoy challenges like this & I look forward to the non-bloody operation.

We began our late afternoon social with wine & cheese for K & I, & a bottle of non-alcoholic beer (Odouls) & cheese for Corinne. Corinne gave us an update on her trip to both CA & WA. 1st her visit with her sister, Mary Jo, husband Ed, niece Jen, & nephew, Matthew, in CA. In WA State, she visited with her nephew, Nick, his wife, Eriko, & their son, Jerry; plus she stayed overnight with nephew, Zack, & his fiancée, Katie. It was obvious that she enjoyed her visiting & travels.

Dinner: stuffed peppers, mixed salad, & a fruit salad. After dinner, we watched some slides on our big screen of our touring travels. I have been saving a 1GB memory stick just for occasions like this one; unfortunately Corinne had to leave before finishing the show....but we will save it for the next time.

Nick Skyped us, but for some undetermined reason we were unable to send our audio. He decided to phone us while he & Jerry walked to Trader Joes to buy a few groceries. Our call continued while Nick took Jerry to a park for some play time before returning home where Eriko was napping. Unfortunately, for only the 2nd time in her life, Kathy fell asleep during a phone call. Nick attributed it to boredom, but Kathy denied this, saying she was "lulled into peaceful relaxation knowing that her son & grandson were well & having fun!"

Late TV watching: the new "Do You Want to Be a Millionaire" program.

Lights out: 12:16am

Awake: 6:14 Temp 64 sleep 6+02 sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

After breakfast, I picked a few more blueberries & then continued raking more dead grass into piles inside our circular drive.

Next, we motored to the Foote Castle, arriving @ 12:50pm. The Footes were all at the dining room table having dinner & Gregory was with Melissa in a sling. I haven't seen Gregory yet & hope to get a nice picture of him during our visit. Melissa assures me that Greg will be getting hungry soon.

Meanwhile, I spent some time with Matthew while he worked with his snap circuit kit. I want him to be more careful when building a circuit without referring to his manual; I talked with him a little about this as I couldn't help seeing quite a few burnt out solid state units defunct. Those diodes, transistors, resisters, integrated circuits built into a music box, alarm units, etc, can get rather costly over a period of time.

After Kevin changed Gregory's diaper, I was able to get a fairly good photo of him. He's a good looking fella & seems to be quite content in his new world so far.

In the back yard, we watched the boys fill the small swimming pool with water & when no one was watching, Nathan came with a bucket of sand, & the water turned brown.

Look closely to see Andrew's gray boat that he made with the help of the Lowe's guy.

We left earlier than usual due to grocery shopping @ Martin's & Wal-Mart...arriving in Nicktown around 5:30. We had just enough time to clean up & get to the 6:00pm vigil Mass.

Dinner: Cranberry turkey stir fry with whole grain bread.

Late movie: "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning" with Albert Finney, Shirley Anne Field, Rachel Roberts, Norman Rossington. Grim yet refreshing look at angry young man, who in a burst of nonconformity alters the lives of girlfriends Field & Roberts. One of the first and best of Britain's "angry young men" dramas of the '60s.1960. Kathy didn't care much for this movie & I admit, it was different.

Lights out: 1:07am.

Awake: 6:22am Temp 63 sleep 5+46 sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

After breakfast, I got the 12 Volt windshield wiper motor that I found in the garbage @ the Newell Service Dept out from our basement storage area. The positive voltage leg was burnt but, at the time, I thought by chance, maybe the motor & gearing would be ok. Using my Fluke meter, the motor's winding checked ok; next, using my battery charger, I applied 12 volts to the positive lead with the negative lead grounded & what a smooth running motor it is. Both high speed & low speed are normal. I'll set this aside & perhaps have a good use for it someday.

Before dinner, I raked some of the dead grass inside our circular drive that the riding mower spit out yesterday, into piles.

Dinner: Salmon spaghetti & a mixed salad.

Evening movie: "One Sunday Afternoon" with Gary Cooper, Fay Wray, Neil Hamilton, Frances Fuller, etc. Cooper is at boyish best in this original version of James Hagan's play about a turn-of-the-century dentist & how his infatuation with a sexy vamp (Wray) who weds his rival almost ruins his marriage & his life. Touching & lovingly made piece of Americana. 1933. Kathy thought it was a little slow but charming nevertheless.

Lights out: 12:12am

Awake: 6:08am Temp 60 sleep 6+54 sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

This morning's project: change all the outdoor water filters & replace them with new ones. As Kathy washed the water canisters, I did the replacement. Then I ran water through all the filters for about (10) min, & then filled up the pure water tank of the motorhome.

About 3:13pm, neighbor Al pulled up on his quad runner. He told me his step-father's riding mower is not running well. At this time, Kathy & I were all setup to cut each others hair, so I told him to hold-on & I'd take a look @ it when we finish.

Sometimes our hair cutting goes well & other times it doesn't. This time my faithful & happy customer was not as pleased as she has been other times; she felt that I had taken more hair off then was necessary. Even after some very careful scrutiny, her comment remained: "It'll grow." I, on the other hand, was quite content with my trim.

With the hair cutting session over, Al drove his step-father's mower onto our yard & we both studied the symptoms: backfires, & after maybe (10 to 20) min, the engine shuts down. I cleaned the spark plug (which was ok) while Al used his air compressor to clean the air filter (it was ok also). I did find some corrosion on his battery connection which might be causing the backfiring. Otherwise, nothing!

Al tested the mower by cutting some of our grass...but not for long; the mower shut down about (4) min later. Then Al left me scratching my newly cut scalp to go mow some of his own yard.

Slowly it occurred to me that...maybe there is old gas in the tank. So I drained his tank into a jug & replaced about the same amount with newer gas. Of course I had to test the mower inside our circular drive. No backfiring & I finished mowing the inner circle within about (25) min. My conclusion: old gas on a hot day just might bring on vapor lock, especially when loading down the engine. Al told me later that his mower was showing the same symptoms.

Dinner: Salmon patties, brown rice with golden raisins & broccoli.

Mid evening, my sister Mary Jo called from Lodi, CA. She brought us up-to-date on her recent activities of visiting the Hurst Castle with her daughter, Jen & sister Corinne; & we brought her up-to-date regarding the new Foote addition, Gregory Ian.

Later, Gary C. & Rosemary called regarding Gregory; these guys were lucky...they were near the top of the notification list.

Lights out: 12:36am

Awake: 6:40am Temp 64 sleep 7+00 overcast overnight @ Nicktown.

Our architect visited for nearly an hour this morning; Kathy wanted to be here for the occasion but was needed @ the Foote Castle.

After my breakfast, I motored to the Foote Castle to spend some time with Kathy & the boys while Kevin was @ the hospital with Melissa & Gregory. They were enjoying their special "congratulatory" dinner provided by the hospital.

After playing an exciting bowling game, the boys got the urge to travel. Matthew & Andrew quickly began building a "train" on the couch, bringing all kinds of things they might need while traveling. They had books galore & a bus & airplane for future travel. Matthew was the engineer, Andrew had his own compartment, & Nathan was given a special seat at the end of the train. I have a feeling they have gone on similar adventures in the past.


When Kevin returns, he will get the boys & go back to the hospital, pick up Melissa & Gregory & they will all come home together as a family unit. However, he might have to help the boys disassemble their fancy train first.

When Kevin arrived; Kathy was released from duty & we said our goodbyes for now.

Kathy was pretty tired from her broken sleep period last night, but had enough strength to go to daily Mass @ Nicktown, with an invite for dinner at the school social room sponsored by the Legion of Mary. This was a 1st for both of us; a little spiritual & social experience with some darn good food.

Lights out: 11:14pm.

Awake: 6:22am Temp 66 sleep 6+13 fog--mostly cloudy overnight @ Nicktown.

When I returned from the Koffee Klub meeting, I listened to a phone message from Kathy; she said: " I want you to come over here; I could use some help in taking care of the boys. Melissa is having contractions (6) mins apart & I'm pretty sure that she & Kevin will be heading to the hospital soon." I asked her if I should take the time to have breakfast, & she thought that would be ok.

When I arrived, Melissa was walking around in the basement, focusing on her crocheting & noting the length & interval of her contractions. It wasn't long after my arrival that Kevin & Melissa left for the hospital; time: 2:15pm.

Meanwhile, for whatever reason, the Foote boys were wound up; maybe having their mommy & daddy gone for the day, their schedule disrupted, the uncertainty of the whole situation, wondering about this new baby,& having Gramma & G-daddy in charge. Anyway, I was glad that Kathy called when she did; we had our hands full the rest of the day & evening.

Kevin called mid evening & announced: Gregory Ian Foote was born @ 7:07pm weighing 7 lbs & 7 oz. Both mother & baby were doing fine.


Picture taken 3 days....19 hrs later.

After successfully getting the boys showered & Andrew & Matthew sleeping peacefully, with only Nathan left to get to bed, Kathy dismissed me around 8:00 pm & I drove back to Nicktown.

My dinner: Leftover Lasagna, 4-bean salad & a mixed salad.

Lights out: 12:08am

Awake: 6:30am Temp 71 sleep 6+06 cloudy...rain overnight @ Nicktown.

After my breakfast, I spent some time on our computer; sending messages to Kathy & our architect.

To take a break from the computer, I spent some time trying to find out why Lydia's "Leap's Phonics Pond" game quit working. Removing (11) screws just to access some of the electronics was noteworthy in itself. I followed the 4.4 volts as far as I could & then the roadblock; another multitude of screws to get into the next layer of electronics. By this time, I thought perhaps I had better ask Donna when I see her next, if Lydia is really attached to this game. Donna indicated it's no big deal if you can or can't fix it. So I brought it back to our motorhome & when time permits, I'll get into that next layer of wizardry.


To take a break from the electronic game, I brought in our (10) spot hummingbird feeder, washed & filled it to a minimum, then hung it back where it was.

Next, I washed, dried & froze some of our blueberries.

Dinner: leftover stuffed pepper, mixed salad, cantaloupe & a delicious peach.

Early evening; TRW with heavy, heavy rain.

Later, I talked with Kathy to find out: How are things out there? She said everything was fine & nothing is happening with Melissa.

Lights out: 12:09am

Awake: 6:24am Temp 71 sleep 6+01 overcast overnight @ Nicktown.

This morning, the town had a Parish Breakfast @ the church hall & I couldn't resist. They usually get a fairly good crowd for this social occasion & meal & today was no exception. I spent a little time talking with Al, my colleague in lighting up the Fatima Shrine. We need someone to build us a box with legs to store the transformer in; then we will be completely finished.

My sister Corinne called from Seattle; she sang part of the "Happy Birthday" song as well as having sent a birthday card. Her time in Seattle was short; attending a reunion @ the college where she got her Masters degree & also visiting Nick, Eriko, Jerry, Zack & Katie. She didn't have much time to talk but also mentioned how much she enjoyed being with Mary Jo & Jen in California & touring the Hurst Castle + time on the beach.

After that call, I motored to the Foote Castle for an afternoon visit. My gosh! When I see the pregnant lady (Melissa), I wonder: how does she tie her shoes. She is BIG but looking good; her doctor gave her until Thursday & if she doesn't deliver by then, he will induce her.


Andrew was building a beautiful bridge using their Geomeg building magnets when we arrived; besides the magnets, he works puzzles & builds Lego cars & trucks....repeating these activities until he perfects his goal, & then moves on to another item of interest.

The Footes have an overhead unit of (3) halogen lights in their kitchen; (1) light is not working. It blinks on occasion or doesn't light @ all. Kevin has changed bulbs to no avail, so it's my turn to see what's happening.

It was a tricky problem; when twisting the bulb back & forth in its socket, it would occasionally light up...but never stay lit for long. On my first attempt, with the power off, & using a thin screwdriver, I lifted the small contact metal plate out a little to make sure the posts would be touching that contact...but each time, those little metal plates would spring back to where they had been.

Ok, then, my 2nd & last idea was to add some solder to the posts, file the solder flat & down to 1/32 of an inch. Bingo! The light is working again; the posts simply weren't touching their little metal plates.

The boys were playing in the back yard when I finished; they had run water into the small plastic pool & were splashing around. Little by little, that pure clear water turned to brown....I know what you're thinking...but you're wrong... it's due to Nathan's many trips back & forth from their sandbox; Kathy & I kept our distance.

Then it was time for me to leave; I wished Melissa an easy delivery; Kathy, a pleasurable & casual evening with good sleep & the boys to have more fun with Gramma, & for Kevin....good luck with it all.

En route to Nicktown, I stopped @ Wal-Mart for a few groceries & then picked some blueberries from our bush.

My dinner: leftover turkey meat, whole grain bread & mixed salad with cauliflower.

Late evening; I talked with Rosemary & Gary C. When the baby arrives, they would like to be 4th on the call list. I couldn't guarantee such an outrageous request but I agreed to do my best.

Evening movie; finished watching: "City Lights" with Charlie Chaplin, Virginia Cherrill, Harry Myers, Hank Mann. Chaplin's masterpiece tells story of his love for blind flower girl & his hot-and-cold friendship with a drunken millionaire. Another of the all time greats. 1931. Amusing & well acted.

Lights out: 12:24am

Awake: 6:25am Temp 61 sleep 6+09 sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

My brother called from Tyler, Texas; he & Josie drove (2.5) days making the journey a casual experience. They also took their bikes so they could get a little exercise during their visiting time.
I called Kathy in Indiana, PA. I let her know that I won't be joining her today as it's been (2) weeks since our last mowing so I must do the grass cutting now. She told me that she'll be working outside today also....painting the Foote storage building & nailing some fence slats.


She got started while Kevin took Matthew & Andrew to Lowe's for kids' project time & Melissa put Nathan down for a nap. Kathy reported that Melissa is feeling good, moving around as if she wasn't sporting a huge frontal basketball & not getting any indications from Gregory that he is ready to face the world. The boys got right into helping with the painting upon their return; they actually painted some of the storage building before turning the brushes on themselves. They have the "Blue Men" in Las Vegas; we had the "Gray Guys" in Indiana.

I talked with Chuck a little; he's taking his med's & feeling a lot better these days. He told me it's ok to use his wheelbarrow & just park it in the same place when I'm finished.

I spent (3.3) hrs mowing our grass, with only (10) trips to the grass dumping area. A larger wheelbarrow sure cuts down on trips to the woods.

Dinner: hamburger, spinach salad, whole grain bread, leftover fried noodles & some cantaloupe.
Evening movie: "City Lights." I watch ¾).

Lights out: 12:23am

Awake: 6:19am Temp 51 sleep 6+00 mostly sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

Kathy was my 1st caller this morning & wished me a "Happy Birthday." She is quickly absorbing the pattern of living @ the Foote Castle & is happy to be helpful to the Foote family.

Next, @ the Koffee Klub, the present members sang the birthday song, & then presented a signed birthday card from everyone; then some homemade goodies from both Donna K & Bonnie Lou. This has been the custom for yrs @ our Klub & I think it's a personal & likeable gesture. I used to be very shy about celebrating my birthday....but these guys are so genuine , thoughtful & casual, I'm ok with it now.


As we were leaving from our mid morning social hour, Lydia gave me an electronic game to my spare time.

After my breakfast, I motored to Spangler & picked up # 4 halogen bulb; then took the time to wire the bulb into the system @ the Fatima Shrine. During my time there, Gary & Grace from Landenberg, PA called with "Birthday Wishes."

@ some stage in my wiring up the light, Father Job came by & not only wished me a "Happy Birthday" but wished me a H.B. from Fr. John Paul, living in Africa. "How did he know it was my birthday" I asked. Father reminded me that Father John Paul's birthday is also today..... & I had forgotten that.

Later evening; Katrina called with her "Birthday Wishes" while stuck in rush-hr traffic in Denver. We yakked for close to an hr.

Sometime during the evening, Melissa called with "Birthday Wishes." She was very busy & couldn't talk long.

Zack called from his rental house @ Queen Anne hill with "Birthday Wishes." We talked for about an hr.

Nick called after Zack hung up & had "Happy Birthday" wishes as well. We also gabbed for nearly an hr.

Not to forget: my brother & his wife Josie sent a H.B. card; my sisters Mary Jo & Corinne & niece Jen sent a delightful signed & messaged H.B. card from Lodi, CA.

Bob & Mary Ann Brenner Skyped a H.B. message from Memphis, TN.

Dinner: leftover Lasagna, leftover fried noodles, fresh mixed salad & cantaloupe.

I finished watching: "The Gold Rush" with Charlie Chaplin, Georgia Hale, Mack Swain, & Tom Murray. Immortal Chaplin classic, pitting Little Tramp against Yukon, affections of dance-hall girl, whims of a burly prospector. Dance of the rolls, eating leather shoe, cabin tottering over cliff...all highlights of wonderful, timeless comedy. 1925. These silent Little Tramp movies are creative & most amusing.

Lights out: 12:16am

Awake: 6:13am Temp 53 sleep 6+41 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

With Kathy staying @ the Foote Castle in prep for helping Kevin with the young Foote boys, I am my own boss; I can have my computer time anytime I choose. I can leave without saying where I'm going; I don't have to explain where I've been, etc, etc.

But, you know, I do miss Kathy...but not a whole bunch...just yet. Let's face it; going on (5) yrs now, Kathy & I have been living in a fairly close this motorhome of about (500) square ft. & for the most part, we both love it & we each have our own space most of the time. Sitting here in Nicktown for months is not so we enjoy visiting our grandchildren nearby & spending time with people we know. When we are touring, probably the most time spent in one place is (2) weeks; otherwise, we are on the go.....touring.

Mid afternoon, I filled the pure water tank with 163 gallons & @ the same time, empty the waste water.

Next, I participated in saying the Rosary, then Benediction & Mass @ 7:00pm. Afterwards, John, Al, Theresa & I had a cold beer @ the Nicktown Hotel. Very crowded & there were quite a few young ladies in the bar side during our visit.

Dinner: leftover stuffed pepper & a spinach salad.

Lights out: 12:19am.

Awake: 6:20am Temp 64 sleep 6+12 partly sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

After breakfast, I motored to Strollo's in Spangler to purchase more
conduit couplers, a few more sweeps & another (13) ft of electrical
wire. Having these items, I finished the wiring & conduit job.

Al arrived @ precisely the right time; now all the remaining ditches can be covered & I know he'll be happy to do it. Remember, he's been after this project for (5) yrs now!

Next, I began wiring the (3) halogen lights to the transformer system;
another light is on order & we should have it by Friday. That's all for
today on this project; now for some good leftover grub.

Dinner: finish the Italian tuna casserole, with fried noodles, mixed
salad, a banana & some more mixed fruit.

@ 9:15pm, I motored to the Fatima Shrine & adjusted the lights plus
checked the brightness of the statues. It's nearly a full moon night but those bright statues
sure look good to me.

Late evening, I called & talked with Melissa for awhile & then Kathy.
The boys were all in bed now so do the snacks & sweet goodies automatically come out of the woodwork now?

Lights out: 11:32pm

Awake: 6:15am Temp 59 sleep 6+27 sunny overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

Kathy left the Koffee Klub early to continue making noodles @ the church hall. This will be the last noodle making for the yr. I'm sure the ladies will be most cheerful about that.

During our Koffee meeting, cousin Dave informed Al & me that he had a straight steel bar about (6) ft in length & would be proud to let us use it. With that delightful statement, I was actually excited to return to tunneling.

After breakfast, I drove to the church parking area, got my equipment &
tools, found the heavy (6) ft bar that Dave is loaning us, & along with
Al, we started swinging the sledge hammer @ the steel bar making slow
progress as before.

Al had rigged up a fulcrum system by using another shorter borrowed steel bar that helped retract the (6) foot bar when we wanted to. My excitement quickly died out about having a longer bar; yes, we were making progress but it was so......s-l-o-w!

Finally, I realized that Dave's bar was a hexagon & if one of my socket
wrenches would fit on the end, I could use my torque wrench to rotate the bar & then hammer the bar in, rounding out the tunnel & making the hole easier to slide the bar in & out.

It worked like a charm & before we knew it, we were running out of bar length with no signs of seeing metal on the opposite end; our (6) ft bar was a bit short of the sidewalk width by a mere (1-2) inches.

All of a sudden, in came Barry; we explained what was happening & quickly he knelt down close to the opposite opening & had me hit the bar several more times. He told us the bar is real close & sounds like it's hitting rock. After a few anxious moments of maybe hammering that bar too far in & not being able to retract it, Barry got a grip on the rock, moved it & brought cheers to the onlookers. Wow! The tunnel is open for business. Then that masked man rode off without our chance to thank him profusely. Ah, such excitement.

Now I could continue running more wire with conduit & Al could carry on returning sod & dirt to the trenches.


Meanwhile, Kathy has been very patient as she planned to have me drive her to the Foote Castle earlier today, but later she said not to hurry & just keep working on the project. She will spend (4 or 5) days living with the Footes & being ready to help Kevin when Melissa goes
into labor & to the hospital to deliver their 4th baby boy. We did arrive @ 7:00pm & the Foote family was happy to see her.

I didn't stay long as I hadn't eaten yet & wanted to get a few groceries before returning to Nicktown.

Dinner: leftover Italian tuna casserole, fried noodles, mixed salad & a fruit salad.

Lights out: 12:08am

Awake: 7:00am Temp 57 sleep 6+46 sunny overnight @Nicktown,PA.

After my 11:00am breakfast, neighbor Al & I met @ the Our Lady of Fatima Shrine between the church & school in Nicktown. The shrine, built sometime during the early 50's, was originally lit up @ night; long since has that brightness faded away.

For the last (5) yrs, Al has wanted to re-wire the system & return to a lit up Shrine @ night.

We began our project by spraying an orange paint path on the grass,
marking where we will dig a trench & bury our low voltage wiring inside a conduit; the total wire run is about (70) feet with (2) sidewalks to be tunneled underneath the concrete. Al, Oscar & I dug the trenches, with extra credit going to Al for doing more than us.

Using crowbars, pry bars, straight bars, anything we could find, even a few temporary helpers, we finally tunneled underneath the 1st sidewalk. Then I was able to begin laying the conduit; with wiring & sealing all conduit connections.

Late afternoon, Al & I began tunneling under the next sidewalk, even wider than the 1st. We were getting nowhere fast; we needed a longer steel bar. Finally we both agreed to call it a day.

Mid day, I made a trip to Spangler & Barnesboro with Kathy; she, to the library, thrift store & Dollar General; I to Strollo's for more wire & conduit.

Dinner: Pork chops for me & chicken for Kathy; with broccoli, cauliflower, fried noodles & mixed fruit salad.

Later evening, we called Nick in Seattle & wished him a "Happy Birthday" with (25) min more of good talk.

Lights out: 11:48pm

Awake: 6:52am Temp 65 sleep 6+47 cloudy...late afternoon rain overnight @ Nicktown.

Today is the St. Augustine church picnic & I've been threatened by my
buddy Gary C.; recently he has made the statement that if we don't
patronize their church picnic, they won't come to our church picnic in
Nicktown. Hmm, he kind of has me over a barrel unless I have a genuine
good excuse...which I could probably fabricate....but I won't do
K & I will go to their picnic today.

We arrived in St. Augustine about 12:30 pm to a line of people that
stretched out at least (200) ft plus. From yrs past, we know this line
moves @ a snail's pace; my buddy Barry, who I spotted in this long line,
told us he had been waiting close to an hr already.


We passed on getting in line & entered thru the back door of the dining
room to visit Rosemary & Gary who were working inside. After a good chat
& letting them witness our smiling faces, we ordered (2) chicken & noodle
dinner take-outs for our meal tonight.

En route to Nicktown, we made a side trip & a quick tour of the Prince
Gallitzin the event we might want to bring our motorhome
over here some time.

Back @ our motorhome, Kathy did (2.5) loads of laundry.

My brother called; he has returned from his annual visit with his
buddies; also included in this trip was another visit with his & Josie's
daughters & their families; total distance: (1700) miles. He reported having
a great time. Keep in mind, he is 50% retired; what's my brother going to do
when he's fully retired?

Dinner: Chicken noodle with mashed potatoes, bun, & cupcake.

Evening movie: "Sullivan's Travels" with Joel McCrea, Veronica Lake,
Robert Warwick, William Demarest, etc. Tired of making fluff, movie
director McCrea decides to do a "serious" film; to research it, he sets
out with ten cents in his pocket to experience life in "the real world."
1942. Sullivan tried his best ....but this good idea slowly went awry due to
the distraction of a beautiful lady.

Lights out: 12:14am

Awake: 6:30am Temp 63 sleep 6+17 fog, then mostly sunny overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I skipped the Koffee Klub this morning & motored to Indiana, PA for
grocery shopping @ Wal-Mart & Martin's. Then upon request, we arrived @
the Foote Castle @ 10:30am ready to join the demolition crew of (2),
Kevin &Matthew.

Today's target: the dilapidated green house. The windows & the
door were removed last week, & the roof sections were grounded just before
our arrival. What is left is all 2x4's, which are loaded with screws &
nails. However, the base of this structure is 4x4's & those could be used
for other purposes.


My assignment: remove the screws using a power drill. Matthew's job: using
a magnetic wand, pick up nails & screws & put them in a container.
Kevin's job: supervisor; but this supervisor does many odd jobs on the
side & certainly does not goof off.

This greenhouse must have been a homemade project; steel bracing was
throughout the roof structure &, I can't emphasize enough, loaded with

About 2:00pm, we broke for lunch; Kathy & I had a tuna & noodle meal
which was very good & the rest of the family ate other food. After lunch,
Kathy, Andrew, Melissa & Nathan all did what they could to help.

Melissa did a marvelous job of organizing work for the boys without
slowing down our work-in-progress. I for one was impressed. We stayed as
long as we could; the 4x4 base was taken apart & only a few screws needed

Both Kevin, the supervisor, & Melissa, the youth organizer, thanked us for
helping & we thanked them for the dinner meal. We said our goodbyes to the
boys & headed back to Nicktown.

After hot showers, K & I attended the 6:00pm vigil Mass &, shortly
after, visited Maria & her husband Bob. Dozens of other people we didn't
know, or hadn't seen for years, were gathered mostly in the back yard for this
delightful wine & food gathering.

Some of the back yard group were playing bean bag horse shoes or swinging
on swings, some were sitting in a semi-circle & socializing,while some
were in the house having a bite to eat. We had no idea this gathering
would be so large & well organized. After a little wine (homemade by Bob)
& quite good, we kibitzed with a few people we did know in the

Later, Maria invited us for a tour of their home; (3) stories & well
planned, well built & on a nice piece of property. Back in the kitchen, we
couldn't help but sample some of the goodies spread about the table &

After being away from Nicktown...basically for (40+) yrs, I am beginning to
recognize some of the young guys & gals who are now grown up & have
families of their own. We were both extremely delighted to have been
invited to this gathering.

Lights out: 12:05am.

Awake: 6:42am Temp 66 sleep 6+44 rain, heavy @ times overnight @ Nicktown.

Melissa called mid morning to confirm our visit with them tomorrow; she has plans for us to help them dismantle the old green house in their back yard. Kathy reminded her that we'd do our shopping early, get that business done & should arrive @ their home around 10:30 am.

We both spent a sufficient amount of time this afternoon on our miniature house plans; she on the top level & I on the basement level. We are using a ¼ inch to (1) foot scale.

Dinner: Italian tuna casserole with grapes, Bing cherries & mango slices.

Lights out: 12:13am.

Awake: 6:20am Temp 64 sleep 6+13 afternoon rain overnight @ Nicktown.

I started about 12:30 pm working on the 120 volt electrical wiring coming from the church wall & introduced a Junction box complete with the GFCI unit. Now we can easily plug in our transformer which reduces the 120 volts down to 12 volts & light up the Fatima Shrine figures. It took a little longer than I thought but it tested "A" ok @ 3:30pm. While I was occupied with the electrical circuit, Kathy spent about (4) hrs working on the kitchen house plans.

After storing my tools from that project, I picked some more blueberries on our property.

Dinner: turkey, broccoli, gravy with mushrooms, Bing cherries, grapes & mango slices.

Evening movie: "Tokyo Joe" with Humphrey Bogart, Florence Marly, Sessue Hayakawa, Alexander Knox, etc. Lesser Bogart film about American in postwar Tokyo pulled into smuggling & blackmail for the sake of his ex-wife & child. 1949. We agreed to watch this flick impromptu, but I didn't realize the story incorporated an airplane & background shots of how part of Tokyo, Japan looked a few yrs after the war.

Lights out: 11:58pm.

Awake: 6:15am Temp 66 sleep 6+13 intermittent rain overnight @ Nicktown.

Kenny called & we continued our talk about house plans; he reminded me of other things that must be considered like filing for permits, planning ahead for a contractor, etc.

Gary C. called; he gave me a briefing about his recent truck travels & the loss of his air conditioning compressor...leading up to losing his alternator as well; interesting story.

Larry G. called from Wisconsin; we talked about their 4th of July fireworks & the ahhs & oohs that came from the crowd. Larry & his wife Sally may be traveling east & might look us up in the process. I encouraged him to let us know & we'd treat them right.

Early afternoon, Kathy brought in the cardboard from the Suzuki & we both spent some time continuing our dimensional miniature model house plans.

Dinner: stuffed peppers, grapes, Bing cherries & mango slices.

Evening movie: "Billy Liar" with Tom Courtenay, Julie Christie, Wilfred Pickles, Mona Washbourne, etc. Cast excels in story of ambitious but lazy young man caught in dull job routine who escapes into fantasy world, offering some poignant vignettes of middleclass life. 1963. Attention-grabbing story; how many Billy Liar's do we have out there? Any of them in our government!

Lights out: 12:07am.


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