August 2010 Archives

Awake: 8:10am      Temp 63      sleep 7+16     sunny & warm     overnight @ Nicktown.

Kathy made sourdough pancakes with all the trimmings for our breakfast. She didn't know for sure if the starter, which had gathered some mold, would work anymore since it's been over (8) months since we've had our sourdough pancake breakfast. But they tasted great & we are still alive & well.

After I finished the dishes, I called Gary & we updated each other in about (7) min; then Rosemary & Kathy updated each other...which took nearly an hr. Go figure?

We had things to do inside today....relating to our house building. We both spent hrs on our respective computers.

Dinner: Pepperoni Hamburger with sautéed mushrooms, cottage cheese & pear salad, cantaloupe, & we shared a peach. DSC00087.JPG Evening movie: "Murder Most Foul" with Margaret Rutherford, Ron Moody, Charles Tingwell, Andrew Crickshank, etc. When Miss Marple is lone jury member who believes defendant is innocent, she sets out to prove it. 1965. A British movie; usually they add a star to pump up the rating of a movie; this time, they should have pumped it down.

Lights out: 11:47pm.

Awake: 6:51am    Temp 51    sleep 6+49    sunny    overnight @ Nicktown.

We skipped the KK meeting this morning, had a small breakfast & then motored to Ebensburg to attend the 10:30am Funeral Mass for my nephew, Eric. We were talking with some of our relatives outside the church when the hearse arrived.

We joined about (50) other people, family & friends, inside the church where we prayed for Eric & his family.

After the Mass, everyone was invited to join Emily & her children to share in a light lunch at the #3 pavilion in the park in the town of Revloc.  We motored the 4 miles to Revloc & joined Emily & others. We had a fairly long talk with Emily, a tough lady who has a lot of things to clear up, but we feel she will be able to meet & beat that challenge.

We also met Emily's friend, Dave, who has become an important source of support for her & her sons. Soon the time came to say goodbye to Emily & her boys + Corinne.

Then I dropped Kathy off @ Wal-Mart for grocery shopping while I visited the Yamaha dealer & purchased a starter solenoid for Al's Big Bear Quad-runner. I was suspicious that Al had a faulty starter solenoid so in lieu of making a trip back to Ebensburg, I decided to purchase one now. After I picked Kathy up, we made another stop @ the West End Market, & then returned to Nicktown.

I changed clothes & started trying to figure out what was really the problem with Al's Big Bear Quad-runner. At first, I couldn't get the engine started using the normal starting sequence. The Solenoid was not kicking in. I was about ready to replace the solenoid but instead, I loosened & tightened the battery connections, & everything started to work as it should. I took it for a test drive, starting & stopping the engine along the way & it all worked fine.

I called Al to see if he could come over & check it out himself...which he did, & he agreed that all was ok. He walked over with his grandson, Sammy & his granddaughter, Lydia, & gave them a slow ride on the BIG BEAR across the alley to Al's home.

K & I walked to 6:00pm vigil Mass, & afterwards, stopped @ the Nicktown Bar for a Shock Top beer.

Dinner: BLT's, with cantaloupe.

After our dinner, Nick Skyped us for (53) min; we talked mostly about their house hunting & our house building as well as Nick's work & upcoming speaking engagement in San Francisco.      

Evening movie: "Murder Most Foul." We watched ½.

Lights out: 12:54.  


Awake: 6:21am      Temp 48      sleep 6+08      sunny      overnight @ Nicktown.

After our KK meeting, Kathy, Debra & I exercised for (1.5) hrs.

Back @ our motorhome, I had a phone call from Tim @ the Codes office. He told me the address we have (125 Saint Joseph Street) is not recognized. I told him that we have a paper issued on August 30, 2001 from the Cambria County Department of Emergency Services stating 125 St Joseph St. as our address as well as our 911 address; the document was signed by June F. K. DSC00086.JPG Then Tim explained that since all of these yrs, (125 Saint Joseph St.) had no house on it & it was discontinued. The address where you are planning to build a home is: (135 Saint Paul Street). He also said that he will notify the post office in Nicktown but we'll need to inform family, friends, & businesses of the change. He also said that he would shoot this address over to the planning committee & the permit office. I mentioned to Tim that all of these yrs, we thought it was strange that our property address did not resemble the area we are located @.

And with that call finished, our builder, Bernie announced that all of our permits have been satisfied & the excavators will begin digging on Wednesday, September 1st. Gosh, that was sure good news.

Meanwhile, K & I are beginning to resemble the 60's cult with our hairstyles. So, out came the chair, clippers, thinning shears, etc. This was Kathy before her favorite barber casually gave her a thorough trimming. DSC00082.JPG And "voila", here she is folks, Miss Nicktown herself. DSC00083.JPG And this is me after my snazzy hair was restyled. DSC00084.JPG Around 6:30pm, we motored to Ebensburg to attend to my nephew Eric's wake @ Matevish Funeral Home. A fair number of people were there (@ 50). We got to meet & were very favorably impressed with Eric's older children, Martin (21 yrs old & an Iraq vet) & Lauren (18 yrs old, beginning college @ IUP tomorrow) along with their maternal grandmother.

They admitted that they had not seen their father very often & did not really know him. They also got to meet their half brothers (Jacob, Maxwell, & Joey) for the first time.

As would be expected, a rather somber atmosphere prevailed as friends & relatives gathered to share their condolences. A prayer service was led by Fr. Gaus.

Back at the motorhome we had a light supper: sweet red pepper with tomato soup & multigrain bread.

Evening movie: "Petulia" with Julie Christie, George C. Scott, Richard Chamberlain, Shirley Knight, etc. Brilliant film, set against mid-60's San Francisco scene, about recently divorced doctor and his relationship with unhappily married kook. Terrific acting, especially by Scott and Knight, in one of decade's top films.1968. Kathy & I both misled ourselves during the beginning of this story & consequently, bad mouthed what was happening. Kathy therefore payed little attention & fell asleep while I slugged through the scenes...until, I finally realized what was really taking place.Then it was too late for a recovery. Some other time, I'll watch it again.  

Lights out: 11:58pm.
Awake: 6:23am      Temp 60      sleep 6+32      mostly sunny      overnight @ Nicktown.

We walked to church this morning to attend daily Mass. We were a smidgen late due to: our Suzuki's car battery had died overnight. In (5) min, I disconnected the battery posts, cleaned & reconnected them to their posts. No change! So we walked everywhere we had to go today; fortunately our trips were short.

Kathy did (3) loads of laundry this afternoon. Then we walked to the community center & spent some time with Dr. Gerald, Jackie & Brianna talking about setting up a trust. We didn't finalize anything @ this time, but we will be working on this later this fall.

After the Elder Estate meeting @ the social room, we visited the Krumenacker Hardware store & purchased a PVC pipe coupling & had the snapped off section shortened about (3) inches. A similar thing happened a few yrs ago; I ran over a PVC pipe when mowing the leach field with tall weeds.....both times I clipped a PVC pipe. This time, it was an easy fix, but I do need to put high stakes in the vicinity to mark their spots. DSC00085.JPG Dinner: Mushroom, blue cheese hamburger with sautéed onions, brown rice, broccoli, cantaloupe, & green grapes.

After dinner, I got in touch with Dave & we get our 1991 Toyota out of storage for (2) months. To my amazement, it started right up.

Late evening, Al brought his Yamaha Big Bear Quad-runner over for repair. He demonstrated what it was doing & not doing. I let him know that I'll take a look @ it in a day or two.

Lights out: 12:13am.
Awake: 5:57am     Temp 58       sleep 6+30       mostly sunny      overnight @ Nicktown.

This morning K & I exercised (1/2) hr before the KK meeting, than another (45) min after the meeting. Debra joined us on the (45) min session. Albert, the brick man, called us from Indiana, PA. He wants to tour us around Indiana next week to show us similar bricks on homes in the city; we will most likely do that.

Today, we motored to Indiana & spent over an hr looking @ appliances, kitchen cabinets, toilets, sinks, faucets, etc. at Lowe's. Just looking & comparing prices. DSC00069.JPG Next we visited the Foote family. Today, the plan was to walk around the UIP campus;

Melissa & the boys have discovered a "new" sand box (aka, volleyball court) & would like us to see it. I didn't time it, but the boys probably spent over an hr digging, making sand castles, etc. & quickly destroying them; the sand was new & moist so it had good qualities for artistic imaginations. Once an elegant sand castle, now just a heap of sand . DSC00074.JPG Yes, it's a tunnel! network; but not enough time to complete the ultimate vision. DSC00076.JPG The Foote boys also had their mid-day snack after they re-leveled the sand they were working with. From here, Melissa guided us through the Estee Business College building, past the convention center & eventually we walked past the football field & oval track.

Andrew & Matthew wanted to show us how they could run completely around the ¾ mile oval track without stopping...and they did it twice. DSC00077.JPG When Nathan saw this, not to be left out, he joined the race but started out about ½ of the track behind. He did it, but was smart to take a rest about mid point. DSC00078.JPG Then we continued walking & headed straight to the ice cream store. DSC00079.JPG And Kevin, on his bike, joined us for the occasion. The walk back to the Foote Castle was almost routine, but then we saw something that rarely happens; Matthew & Andrew held hands, walking the last block or so together, calmly talking with each other...WOW! DSC00080.JPG As we entered Nicktown, we spotted Theresa near the church talking with Rich; we've wanted to get together with Theresa, so we parked near the Nicktown Hotel & waited for her to show up. Then we all had a Shock Top beer @ the Nicktown Bar with lots of good talk.

Dinner: BLT, green & red grapes, cantaloupe, & potatoes chips.

Nick left a message on our land-line that he would call us later this evening after Jerry's bath & bedtime. We waited for his call...& finally realized: he most likely fell asleep with Jerry.

After comments from our sons, I realize the announcement of Eric's death sounded rather cold & cryptic. At this time we do not have more information regarding the cause of his death or funeral arrangements. Unfortunately, Eric's short life of only 47 years, was a rather difficult one.

He often made life choices which were to his detriment in spite of much help offered by his mother, uncle, & aunt. He did father 2 children by his first wife, but I do not know them.

He and Emily, married @ 13 years, have (3) wonderful little boys, Jacob, Maxwell, & Joey. Eric loved his boys &, they loved him, so it will be a major loss for them & an extra burden for Emily. More to follow in a couple days..

Lights out: 11:51pm.
Awake: 5:53am       Temp 60      sleep 5+11       overcast      overnight @ Nicktown.

We skipped the KK meeting today & motored to Altoona via the Buckhorn on State road-36. We figured it might be closer & besides, I don't remember driving on the famous Buckhorn? Turns out, it was very scenic & (7) miles closer motoring on State road-36...& the "Beautiful Bath by Folcarelli" was on the east end of Altoona anyway. DSC00062.JPG We looked @ bath tubs: DSC00053.JPG toilets, DSC00055.JPG showers, etc. DSC00061.JPG Greg was our salesman & he was quite the gentlemen + very casual & patient. We did not make any firm decisions. However, just down the road from Folcarelli's we did make a buy a small bag of pretzels @ the Benzel Pretzel factory ....for a small lunch. Next, we found the Belden Brick & Stone Co. DSC00066.JPG We looked more @ stone samples then brick samples. DSC00065.JPG However, Kathy would still like to see the brick that we think we like on a house to get the big picture; the guys @ Belden Brick encouraged us to check out Frankstown up on the hill. We did & we were glad we did as it helped our degree of comfort? DSC00067.JPG Ah, the big picture! DSC00068.JPG As we arrived on St. Paul Street, going to our motorhome, there was a small crowd gathered on the street; neighbor Chuck & some family were taking delivery of his new Quad-runner. What a beauty.

His kids & grandkids were admiring the bright red machine.

Dinner: Crab cakes, rice pilaf with golden raisins, corn on the cob, cantaloupe, & grapes.

My brother Don called to let us know that our nephew Eric was found dead in a motel room, no further details at this time.

Lights out:11:27pm.
Awake: 6:21 Temp 61 sleep 6+21 overcast overnight @ Nicktown. "Happy Birthday" to Eriko in Queen Anne, Seattle, WA. DSC00030.JPG After our KK meeting, Kathy, Debra & I exercised for (1.3) hrs.

Bernie called on our landline; he told me the powers-to-be need one more permit satisfied; the fireplace. He gave us a phone # for J & O, Fireplace & the Beautiful Bath.

We left Nicktown around 1:30pm, motored to Duncansville & spent over (2.5) hrs with Joe, learning all the ins & outs of the modern fireplace of today. Joe has been in the fireplace business for (34) yrs & has (42) different fireplaces hooked up in his store. Here we have a very small sample. DSC00050.JPG This particular fireplace could possibly be the one for us. DSC00049.JPG We spent so much time @ Joe's that we ran out of time to visit the Beautiful Bath by Folcarelli in Altoona.

Dinner: chicken noodle soup with Nicktown made noodles, bread, cherries, cantaloupe, & peaches

Nick called us when walking home from work, with more discussion about buying a house & his future speaking engagements, next in San Francisco.

Lights out: 12:42am.

Awake: 6:53am      Temp 67     sleep 7+08      light & on all morning      overnight @ Nicktown.

Around 12:30pm, I motored to Barnesboro & purchased (5) gal of diesel fuel for the Bob Cat in the event the rain would stop..... & finally it did, around 3:00pm. Then I continued mowing the remaining 1/4th of the open field weeds, finishing close to 8:00pm. DSC00036.JPG Dinner: BLT's; we duplicated our meal of last night, with home grown tomatoes (so good!), cherries & cantaloupe. Again. Kathy washed the dishes for me...& to show my appreciation, I gave her (2) blocks of my Lindt dark chocolate candy. We watched ¼ of the movie: "Rachel Rachel."

Lights out: Midnight.
Awake: 5:25am    Temp 67     sleep 5+18      mostly cloudy      overnight @ Nicktown.

I didn't attend the KK meeting this morning due to waiting for a tractor to arrive. Around 9:00am, Bernie called to let me know that a tractor should arrive shortly.

(20) min later, in came a vehicle pulling a long trailer; it's a nice looking Bob Cat with a rear mower & a front bucket. I was given a short briefing on the mower controls & hydrostatic system & then I was left alone to "cut down those weeds."

I had brunch @ 1:30pm, then continued mowing until I had about 3/4's of our field property cleared before the fuel gage was close to the red line. DSC00033.JPG Good enough I thought. The temperature was in the mid 80's today....and the Bob Cat kept its cool but I was sweaty.

After cleaning up, K & I attended the 6:00 pm vigil Mass @ St. Nicholas.

Dinner: BLT's, with home grown tomatoes from our friend, Jean, cherries & cantaloupe.

Kathy was nice & washed the dishes since I was a little tired. But, we had enough energy to finish watching: "The Wild Bunch" with William Holden, Ernest Borgnine, Robert Ryan, Edmond O'Brien, Warren Oates, etc. Peckinpah's best film won instant notoriety for its "beautiful" bloodletting, but seems almost restrained among today's films. Aging outlaws with their own code of ethics find themselves passé in 1913 and decide to retire after one final haul. 1969. I am not a cowboy/western fan, but this movie had such an interesting review that we voted to watch it. It changed the way western movies were made after this was released; less graphic. Yes, it was a bloody good show.

Lights out: 11:45pm.
Awake: 6:22am      Temp 62       sleep 6+18       mostly sunny      overnight @ Nicktown.

After our KK meeting, Kathy, Debbie & I exercised for (1.7) hrs.

Almost a month ago, I bought a new set of batteries for our brick phone but these last few days, the batteries aren't being charged. This time, I took the handset apart & found a 1980's circuit board; but I also discovered (2) unsoldered wires which led directly to the battery cluster.

All these yrs, these (2) wires were rubbing against their contact but not fastened securely. That explains why, in the past (3) yrs, ever since Gary gave us this phone, I've had to occasionally, bang the handset onto the cradle to get the battery charger working. It took a measly (5) min to solder those two loose wires to the contact & so far, it works like it should. DSC00052.JPG Then, I called Gary & we talked about the brick having some non-charging moments during the time they owned & operated it. We also had quite a loooong discussion about water & plumbing plans.

Earlier this morning, I had e-mailed Bernie, our builder, & offered to pinch hit doing the mowing on our property in lieu of him doing it. All that I needed from him was to have a strong mower delivered with fuel. This evening he responded by saying: "I will have a tractor for you in the morning."

Nick called us & we talked for about (20) min; mostly ideas & thoughts of buying a house during these poor economical times.

Dinner: leftover eggplant & ricotta melt, homegrown corn on the cob, & cherries & cantaloupe.

Evening movie: we watched ½ of: "The Wild Bunch."

Lights out: 12:07am.

Awake: 7:04am      Temp 59      sleep 6+57       sunny      overnight @ Nicktown.

K & I were scheduled to attend an "Elder Estate Advocacy Services" meeting @ noon today. Also Scott, in Indiana, had set up a meeting for 1:00pm to discuss our Geo-thermo heating & cooling layout with Bernie, the builder.

Scott wanted us to be there @ 1:00pm but we had this schedule conflict holding us back. Just before noon, Jackie from the Elder Estate, etc, called & told us she was running (15) min late & would that be which I replied: "by any chance could we change this meeting to next week because we have another meeting to attend @ 1:00pm?" She checked her list & told me: "next Thursday @ 1:00pm is open." "We'll take it," I said.

Meanwhile, I called Bernie to let him know we could make the 1:00pm meeting after all. We had a few extra min so en-route to REA in Indiana, we stopped briefly in Clymer & perused "Tates" grocery store but bought nothing.

Bernie had not met Scott before & the conversation between the two of them was like, "Greek" to me & Kathy. Some of the builder's terms they used were explained later. DSC00020.JPG Our meeting lasted about (1.3) hrs & afterward, we talked with Bernie outside for a good (20) min. One thing Bernie let us know: he is coming over on Saturday to mow the high weeds where the house will be setting in prep for the excavators, who have been notified. And, he also gave us an idea about "Manufactured Stone" & where to see a good display. The Apple Ridge Stone Company in Blairsville ... off we went. DSC00024.JPG Tammy toured us around the different displays while Kathy collected pamphlets & prices.

My photos did not due justice to what we saw.

Our stomachs were complaining a little so, using our GPS, we found the Pie Cucina Italian Restaurant in town & treated ourselves each to an Eggplant & Ricotta Melt dinner meal with a mixed salad. DSC00029.JPG The restaurant was a first for us, delightful atmosphere & good food.

Lights out: 11:56pm.

Awake: 6:06am      Temp 61       sleep 6+45       sunny      overnight @ Nicktown.

After our breakfast K & I motored to "Corte" in Indiana, PA to look @ more bricks. Without asking anyone, we perused their brick yard but didn't find many different colors. DSC00013.JPG Then Kathy asked one of the workers about this & he recommended Albert, who has a brick display across town. The worker gave us Albert's phone # & cell #. About (30) min later, we were invited to Albert's brick display @ his office. We still like this brick design & color & Albert's cost was a few pennies under Dick's price. DSC00017.JPG From here, we drove across town & visited the Foote family. Matthew has wanted to learn how to solder & un-solder. So this time, I brought my soldering kit & just he & I went to the basement workshop & spent nearly an hr on soldering small wires together, again & again, until Matthew felt fairly comfortable about this.

What did Kathy & the other kids do? While Melissa & Andrew worked in the master bedroom putting clothes away, etc. Kathy played cars, train, building, etc with Nathan & Gregory in the "B" room. Even by themselves, Nathan & Gregory play very well together. DSC00018.JPG She also read several books to the guys before & during snack time. Then we say our goodbyes. DSC00019.JPG From here, we went grocery shopping @ Wal-Mart.

Dinner: Tuna steak, mixed salad, cherries & cantaloupe.

Lights out: 12:07am..
Awake: 5:20am      Temp 60      sleep 5+09       sunny      overnight @ Nicktown.

After our KK meeting, I visited the Krumenacker Hardware store & purchased (2) large water filters & (2) small water filters. After breakfast, I changed all (4) filters. Kathy helped out by washing all (4) canisters. We got (56) days out of those last filters. They catch a lot of iron but so far, we have no iron stains. DSC00003.JPG
Derek from Verizon gave us a courtesy call today; he tipped us off that Kathy has gone over her megabits using her Mifi in the amount of $40 + dollars. Yikes! I let him know that she keeps track of her usage of Megabits.... & (5) days ago, she was not even close to dangerous overuse.

Derek told me that if she watches a lot of movies on her computer or political programs, posts lots of photos, etc., this would use up megabits quickly. I told him that we also have DSL from Verizon & seems that  I should be able to connect her computer to my modem? "Yes, you should be able to, but you will need an Ethernet cable," he said. I thanked him for his good call & will try to get her to use the Ethernet.

Well, we were very surprised about all of this but thankful that Derek from Verizon tipped us off. Immediately...I got into action. I knew right away that Kathy would miss having the use of her Apple computer & that would be a struggle for me to share the use of my Dell. Horrors!

Before we purchased this motorhome, it was equipped with a satellite dish & a wireless system. The cost of using the Satellite for computer signals was quite expensive & we learned from other owners that used that satellite system, it was slow.

So I detached the Ethernet cable from the wireless unit on the motorhome, plugged that end into Kathy's Apple computer & the other end into my modem. Then I asked Kathy to see if she could get a signal. It wasn't immediate & she had to do some finagling, but it worked.Then she had to set up a new work area so the cord could reach.No Mify until August 29th; but Kathy says this Ethernet works just fine. DSC00031.JPG Dinner: BBQ chicken & rice with golden raisins; tomato, avocado salad; & sweet & sour cucumbers.

Lights out: 11:21pm.

Awake: 6:36am    Temp 70    sleep 6+25    early light rain, then sunny    overnight @Nicktown.

After our KK meeting, Kathy, Debbie & I worked out for 1.5 hrs.

Back in our motorhome, Chuck walked over & presented us with some cherry tomatoes & cucumbers, fresh out of his garden. T'was nice of him!

Most of our day was indoors. We reviewed the latest schematics (the final electrical) from our architect ....along with computer time.

Dinner: leftovers but I don't remember which?

We finished the movie: "Advise & Consent" with Henry Fonda, Don Murray, Charles Laughton, Walter Pidgeon, Peter Lawford, etc. Long but engrossing drama of Washington wheeling & dealing, from Allen Drury novel. 1962. Very interesting; seems since 1962, the wheeling & dealing in Washington has multiplied many times over.

Lights out: 11:49pm.


Awake: 7:31am    Temp 67    sleep 7+11    light rain, early & mid morning   Overnight @ Nicktown.

Late morning, we called Gary & Rosemary & updated each other. Mid afternoon, K & I took a walk around town & over into the Shimko area & talked with a few people we haven't seen for awhile.

Dinner: Italian sausage with zucchini, grapes, & peach.

We Skyped with Nick in Seattle for 58 min & 32 sec. Jerry was taking an afternoon nap but Eriko & Momoko were wide awake. Seattle was having one of its really hot days (90s) & Nick & Eriko were both visibly feeling very hot.

After our Skype session, we called Mark & Joan in Ohio & updated each other for nearly an hr. They have had a busy summer, mostly with family.

Next we watched ½ of the movie: "Advice & Consent."

Lights out: 12:11am.

Awake: 5:36am    Temp 64    sleep 5+29    sunny....windy    overnight @ Nicktown.

I called Ray in Ocean Park, WA & left him a message. I was having a problem with my Dell computer & did not want to bother my sons on this matter so I chose Ray. Moments before Ray returned my call, I got lucky & figured out the problem.

Kevin's mother, Diane, called us from Montana; we don't hear from her much but this time it was a social call & Kathy & Diane didn't talk very long.

K & I attended the 6:00pm vigil Mass @ our church. Bernie, our builder, was also at Mass & afterward we discussed the progress on our house construction. Bernie still has to finalize details regarding geo-thermal heating, but will take the info he has to the planning board to obtain the necessary permits. He & the excavators are ready to move.


Dinner: Pasta with white clam juice, mixed salad & we each had a peach.

Lights out: 12:20am.                



Awake: 6:48am    Temp 65    sleep 7+11    overcast    overnight @ Nicktown.

New visitors @ our KK meeting this morning: Max & Diane, who live close to Nicktown during the summer & in Florida during the winter.

Afterward, K & I exercised for (1.5) hrs. Kathy did (2) loads of laundry while I spent some time on the computer. On occasion I had to go outside & drain the gray water from our holding tank.

Dinner: Baked Flounder, rice with golden raisins, mixed salad & a peach.

Movie: "Far from the Madding Crowd." We watched ½.

Lights out:  12:07am.              


Awake: 5:35am    Temp 66    sleep 6+10    early morning rain with thunderstorms. (Woke me up twice), overnight @ Nicktown.

Father John Paul from Nigeria honored us with his presence this morning; 1st he said the morning Mass, & then he joined us for awhile @ our KK. He will be in town for (2) days only & then flies to San Francisco, CA & where he will begin work on his masters & then doctoral degree in clinical psychology.

After our breakfast, Kathy picked a nice container full of blueberries while I spent some time on my Dell computer. As a matter of fact, most of my day was spent on the computer, working X-word puzzles & taking some time to read an aviation magazine.

Dinner: sirloin steak, broccoli, (potatoes & corn-on-the-cob from Florentz's garden), red grapes & an orange.

After dinner, we called Melissa & talked about how their boys were getting back on schedule after having such a busy week of company.

Lights out: 11:37pm.


Awake: 6:49am      Temp 65     sleep 7+01     fog, then sunny      overnight @ Nicktown.

Today all of our West coast family + Katrina & Mary Jo are leaving us. A sad day for us parents!

So after breakfast, my bro Don brought Mary Jo to Nicktown & dropped her off @ our place @ 8:20am. Then we took her to Indiana, Pa with us & she will ride with Zack, Katie & Katrina in one car of the caravan; Nick, Eriko/Momoko & Jerry in the other car. Don & Josie are also traveling today & to help them leave a little early, we volunteered to take Mary Jo. DSC00025.JPG Time was of the essence when we arrived @ the Foote Castle; some suitcases were packed, others still being packed. DSC00045.JPG It wasn't long before we started saying our goodbyes & thank you for all the GREAT SURPRISES they brought along with them, especially themselves...& for others manufactured here in PA. DSC00047.JPG We watched them pull out toward the driveway & slowly disappear down the street. DSC00048.JPG After the caravan left, K & I spent about (45) min with the Foote boys, then we had some shopping to do @ Wal-Mart & returned home.

Back on our property, I shut the power off going to the high water alarm switch down on our septic system. This past week, I've noticed that the auto alarm was not sounding off when dumping our gray water. The same thing happened a few yrs ago & I fixed it by opening the electrical box & using Ant, & Roach spray to rid those creatures, & then, I made sure all the wiring had solid & tight connections. I guess I'll have to put that on a semi-yearly clean-up program.

Melissa called us mid afternoon; she had found a charger that was left plugged in upstairs in Katie's room. She wanted Zack's address so she could send it back to Seattle ASAP.

Gary & Rosemary called us mid afternoon; they wanted to know if all of the gang got to the Pittsburgh airport ok. "We thought they had" we told them; "even Mary Jo."

Dinner: Salmon, rice with golden raisins, mixed salad & a PA peach.

Lights out: 11:25mp.
Awake: 6:20am     Temp 67      sleep 6+45      early light rain     overnight @ Nicktown.

After our KK meeting, we returned to our motorhome & had a small breakfast before we spent time on our respective computers.

About 12:30pm, we motored to Ebensburg & joined our kids & grandkids @ Don & Josie's home for the afternoon. Our grandsons always enjoy visiting D & J due mainly to how nice Josie & Don care for them & allow them to play with the bigger metal Tonka trucks, car carriers, & other metal excavators that were was prized possessions of their son, Craig. Without a doubt, Nathan was the champ speedster on the back porch. DSC00028.JPG Yes Andrew, these metal trucks are a bit heavier than you are accustomed to. DSC00033.JPG With all the surprises being exposed, Nick & Zack + their ladies, & the Footes too, can let their minds relax & bask in the sun today. DSC00032.JPG Hey, what is everyone looking at? DSC00038.JPG Here in Pennsylvania we call then "touch me not-sprouts." Or Wild Impatiens or Jewel Weed. DSC00044.JPG When you touch or lightly squeeze the ripe seed pods, they explode. Here we have our champ Nathan taking a quick energy opportunity before getting back on the speeding car carrier. DSC00040.JPG Oops, is this a peek-a-boo or what? DSC00041.JPG May we have your attention please: On this special occasion, Melissa baked a cake to recognize Katie & Zack's engagement as of several months ago.The wedding day has been set for 12th of June, 2011. DSC00042.JPG I titled this photo: "Splendor in the grass." DSC00043.JPG Don & Josie were very gracious to have all of us over for a delightful farewell gathering & a belated celebration of Zack & Katie's engagement. The company was great, the boys were busy playing, the snacks were delicious, the conversation was always interesting & the beer & wine was most soothing. DSC00027.JPG Thank you very much brother & Josie.

Lights out: 11:48pm.
Awake: 6:19am     Temp 59     sleep 6+26      sunny      overnight @ Nicktown.

@ our KK meeting this morning, there was some talk about my surprise birthday party lthis past Sat....because many of our KK members were there & I thanked them for their participation & keeping the whole thing secret.

After the meeting, Debbie, Kathy & I exercised for (50) min. Then we motored to the Foote Castle & joined the gang for lunch with leftover food from the party. Actually, it was darn good as I only ate a small piece of dessert at the party.

About an hr later, we all walked over to the Mack Park swimming pool & spent about (3) hrs, going in & out of the pool.Such a beautiful & warm day it was. We had (9) adults & (5) children not counting Momoko.

I spent most of my time with Nathan when in the water & watched Matthew & Andrew having fun when not in the water. When in the shade, I played with Gregory.

I took a break by walking back to our Suzuki, driving it to Sheetzs fuel station, topping it off, re-parked & then walked back to the swimming pool.

I didn't go back in the pool but remained in the shade with Eriko, Kathy & Gregory.

Back @ the Foote Castle & after the Foote boys were finished with their showers & in bed, Nick got out his I-Pad & watched a short movie with Jerry. DSC00026.JPG I didn't watch the movie but later, using Goggle Earth, Nick showed me several pictures of our property taken from the satellite. Here you can see our oval driveway & if you look real close, our motorhome.on the left. A section of Nicktown is on the right. photo.PNG We snacked & both Kathy & I had a beer.

Lights out: 11:35pm.
Awake: 6:38am      Temp 56     sleep 6+52     sunny      overnight @ Nicktown.

Since we are expecting our family to visit us today, we both got busy & cleaned up our respective cluttered areas & reorganized.

Last evening, we made plans for the out-of-town family & my brother Don, Josie, & my sisters Corinne & Mary Jo, to join us for breakfast @ the church hall here in Nicktown. DSC00016.JPG This is not only a breakfast but also a social meeting place where we see & talk with many of the people around town without having to drive, walk, etc. DSC00017.JPG Then around 2:30pm, the Foote Family arrived from Indiana & joined us on our property. The kids stayed mostly outside until we all went on a walking tour of our acreage...except Corinne; she wanted to look over all the Happy Birthday cards I had gotten. Oh yes, blueberries are still in season. DSC00019.JPG After a casual nature tour, we all lined up next to our motorhome for another photo opportunity. DSC00020.JPG Just look @ these special astute guards....watching over our humble home on wheels. DSC00021.JPG Then Don, Josie, Corinne & Mary Jo had people to see & things to do, so they motored back to Ebensburg.

Melissa & Kevin offered to take Jerry & their boys to the school playground so that Nick, Eriko/Momoko, Zack, Katie, Kathy, Katrina & I could share that beer time that I thought I was going to have yesterday. We each (except Eriko/Momoko) enjoyed a Shock Top beer or two @ the St. Nicholas Bar.

Afterward, we met & walked with the Foote Family returning from their fun @ the school grounds. Then it was time for the Foote Family to leave so we said our goodbyes for now & thanked them for caring for the boys while we enjoyed our beer.

Nick & Zack, along with Eriko/Momoko, Katie & Jerry stayed for awhile in our motorhome. Here we see Jerry catching up on his English reading. DSC00018.JPG Both Zack & Nick did some more updating on our respective computers during their visit. Thanks again guys.

Dinner for us two: Crab cakes, rice with golden raisins & walnuts, & cantaloupe slices.

Lights out: 12:07am.
We weren't in our motorhome more than (5) min when our phone rang; it was Gary, my "air traffic controller" buddy. Gary talked loud & emphatically; he & Rosemary were in Spangler; they just finished going to church & now, he can't get his son, Dan's, car started.

"It won't even turn over" he told me. "Can you come down here & help me get this thing started?" he asked. "Wait a minute! Is this some kind of trick?" I questioned. "No it's not," he persisted!

"As you come into Spangler, just go straight across the street & climb the hill to the church. We want to get out of here now & I know you can help me." Gary was getting louder, more intense & sounding desperate. "Ok...ok!" I told him. "Should I bring some tools?" "No, no! I have tools. I think it's the battery. Just get down here!"

After I hung up the phone, I told Kathy that I've never heard Gary sound so troubled & somewhat distressed. I started to change clothes & Kathy asked me...why I was changing clothes? I don't want to get these good clothes dirty, I told her. When I started toward the door, she acted like she was going to go with me. I stopped her & insisted that she should simply walk over to the Nicktown Hotel Bar & wait for Nick & the gang to join her. "After I get Gary's car running, maybe he will join us for a beer," I told her. She stood @ the top of the stairs & wished me luck.

Lickety-split down the hill I went; in Spangler, waiting for the signal light to change, I could see (2) people @ the top of the hill, probably Gary & Rosemary, I thought. I've always felt good about helping people who need help & are not being lazy about helping themselves.

"Where's Kathy?" Gary asked. "She's back @ the motorhome & will walk over to the Nicktown bar shortly," I told him. "Oh, you shouldn't have left her!" he said. "Well, she has to greet the gang over @ the Nicktown bar, & let them know that I'll be there soon. Maybe you & Rosemary can join us," I suggested.

Then I followed Gary over to where the car was parked. He told me he had trouble opening the hood the 1st time & then he closed it. Now he was fiddling with the latch & struggling again to get it open. Jeez, I thought, he's a worse mechanical guy than I realized.

He wouldn't let me move my hand over to where the latch mechanism was.... & finally, he raised the lid. "See, the battery looks good but I don't know why the engine won't turn over" he mumbled. Then he started talking about Kathy again; "you should call Kathy, he said." "Why?" I asked. "Tell her this fix will take longer than you expected & maybe Rosemary could use your car to go get her." "Nah, I said." "Well at least you could call her" Gary was sort of encouraging me to walk up a ramp.

"There is a phone you can use right inside the door of this building (the old school)." "No, I'll just use my cell phone to call her, just to make you happy Gary!"

About that time, I was only a few feet from the door, trying to get my cell phone from my belt when Gary opened one of the double doors & from inside, a rather large crowd of people started singing: "Happy Birthday."

I hid behind the other closed door for a few seconds because I didn't think this BIG CELEBRATION was for me since I'd already had my big surprise celebrations.

This festival took some real long term, serious planning. Again, I had no idea of this happening either. A LOT of people knew about this setup & said nothing! As I gazed around @ the people, I saw some of our kids: Nick, Zack, Eriko, with Momoko, & my sister Mary Jo, who flew in from Lodi, CA on Wed evening, of which, I knew nothing. DSC00006.JPG My sister Corinne, Zack's fiancée, Katie, grandson Jerry, my buddy Gary, who opened the door for me tonight, & Melissa over in the corner.... DSC00007.JPG Quite a few of my 1st cousins were here tonight: on the right side, Bernie (only eye glasses can be see), Rita (same birthday date as mine...age 92) Lou Ann, husband Herk, & Louise with husband Jimmy. DSC00004.JPG Quite a few Koffee Klub members can be seen mingling with my 1st cousins. DSC09999.JPG More KK members mingling with my 1st cousins. DSC09998.JPG Time for dessert: from left to right:Orange Cheese Cake; Ice Cream Cake, Butter Pecan cake, & the brownies from IUP. The 3 cakes were made by the team of Katie, Melissa, & Katrina. Nick of course was the supervisor.. DSC00008.JPG Since I have had so much experience blowing out candles lately, I was called to do the final dessert candle blow out. DSC00010.JPG Just in case I ran our of steam, my windy back up crew was standing by. DSC00011.JPG I cannot personally thank our Kids & others involved enough to have done so much to recognize their ole man's 70th birthday. It wouldn't have been as much fun for me & maybe for them also, if I had knowledge of all the surprises that suddenly popped up along the way.

I have great admiration for all of you. And I sincerely & humbly thank you guys for all you have done.

This week of having fun, adventures & unbelievably nice surprises will remain in my heart & mind for as long as I can remember it.WE are so lucky to have such a wonderful family,cousins & friends.

Opening a few birthday cards & a cherished amount of my inspiration to wash the daily dishes...."Lindt Intense Dark Chocolate, 70% cocoa." DSC00013.JPG Our terrific growing family DSC00009.JPG So, now I know why my brother had to go to "Johnstown" on Wed evening...he & Josie were actually going to Pitt to pick up Mary Jo who has been kept in hiding from me until this evening. And who said there are no secrets in a small town?!

And so, the thickened plot has been revealed. Melissa seemed a bit more anxious than usual that we leave her house & not be late for church...what I didn't know was that as soon as Kathy & I left, (3) cars from the Foote Castle headed in (3) different directions.

Food had to be picked up from IUP; cakes taken from their hiding places at the Footes & brought to the meeting place at Holy Cross School & the building had to be opened & set up; beer, wine & soft drinks had to be purchased.

Of course, the get together at the Nicktown Bar was just a ruse to get me back to Nicktown from Indiana.

And Gary's "car trouble" was the final piece in the puzzle to get me up the hill to the old Holy Cross School since there would be no other reason for me to go up there.

Ah, Gary, what are friends for but to help out?!

Another WOW! What a GREAT DAY!!

Lights out: 11:46pm.
Awake: 7:32am     Temp 60     sleep 7+41    sunny      overnight @ Nicktown.

At our KK meeting this morning, the members sang a quick song & gave me a signed birthday card from our frequent members. Plus, Donna baked a delicious cake for the occasion; very thoughtful of you Donna.

Back @ our motorhome, my buddy Gary called from St. Augustine with Happy Birthday wishes for my 70th birthday.... I thanked him profusely.

We are invited for a birthday lunch @ the Foote Castle today. Melissa has told me that a 1:00pm arrival time would be quite suitable for her time schedule. That will work for us due to the fact that we planned to attend 4:00pm Mass @ St. Thomas Moore Catholic Church during our visit. Kevin had told me that he'll be making the usual hamburgers with blue cheese; plus hot dogs & baked French fried potatoes.

I like his rendition of the grilled hamburgers. Arriving @ the Foote Castle, we parked in our usual spot and walked toward the back entrance, & here is what I saw: DSC09970.JPG Our kids with big smiles wishing me a H.B. & on the sidewalk was written "HAPPY BIRTHDAY G-DADDY" + a drawing of a cake with candles. Wow! DSC09985.JPG All this recognition...I am getting; I have never been so honored before in my life for just a birthday. Wait a minute! What's with the hats? Hey, that's Charles Virgos famous dry ribs from the Rendezvous in Memphis you have on the grill. How did you get these? Another big surprise! My favorite ribs! DSC09973.JPG Nick explained that he ordered them earlier this week & they arrived on Friday by FDX of course. I'm are we ever going to keep up with these guys....picking out some of their favorite best things for them on their 70th birthdays? "Master Planner," Nick & his cohorts obviously did a masterful job. DSC09976.JPG Before we sat down for lunch, Eriko presented another surprise for me: several jars of my favorite Nescafe Excella coffee from Japan. DSC09988.JPG Lunch consisted of Rendezvous ribs, Kevin's French fries, Kathy's broccoli slaw & fruit salad. The ribs sure made it a smashing meal for me. After finishing our lunch, Katie brought out the birthday cake with lighted candles; butter pecan cake made by Melissa & frosted by Katie. DSC09991.JPG I expected the "come-back-to-life- candles & sure enough, there they were. I bet it took a good (3) min for Mr. Windy (that was me) to keep those candles from relighting; the boys squealed & laughed with delight. DSC09992.JPG They laughed & they squealed DSC09997.JPG And they squealed & they laughed DSC09996.JPG Then the birthday song was sung; I cut the 1st slice & one for Kathy & then I let the experts take over.

Melissa was keeping a sharp eye on the time as she didn't want us to be late for 4:00pm Mass @ St. Thomas Moore. So we had our cake with ice cream, & of course, it was yummy. Then we changed our clothes & got ready for church.

Nick invited me for a birthday beer at the Nicktown Hotel at about 6:00pm. He said he had talked with Eriko & Melissa & they agreed to watch the boys along with Kevin so that Nick, Zack, Katie, & Katrina could enjoy some adult time with me & Kathy. I was delighted that they were willing to come to my little corner of the world again so the plan was made.

Mass @ the St. Thomas Moore Church was routine, except Father Willie wasn't officiating. The back-up priest did a good job however & the music was terrific.

Afterward, we motored back to our motorhome; along the way I was talking to Kathy about how these guys did all the surprises without me knowing about it; especially the flight in & a week's vacation.

This posting is ½ of the journal for this day. Stand by for the continuation which should appear within a day or two?
Awake: 7:28am     Temp 65     sleep 7+14      mostly sunny      overnight @ Nicktown.

This morning, we had a call from Nick letting us know that he & Zack would be attending our Koffee Klub today. Great! Unfortunately, due to a recent funeral for a popular Nicktown person, many of our Koffee Klub members were absent; but I hope Nick & Zack enjoyed the idea of meeting (6) times a week to start out our day.

Afterward, we gave them a tour of our workout center & the 3/4 gym for the school children &, of course, our social room.

Next, they joined us in our motorhome & before too long, Nick was showing Kathy a few new things on her Apple computer while Zack was helping me install an outside Hitachi storage Disk, which I bought a few months ago. Gosh it was nice having these (2) computer gurus helping us straighten out some of our glitches.

Then it was time for them to leave & return to the Foote Castle....and we will meet up with all of them @ a place Melissa calls: "The Big Sand Box" on the IUP campus.

We arrived @ the meeting place around 1:15pm & found all were there except the Footes. However it wasn't long before we saw Kevin riding his bike & the rest of the Foote family walking to the meeting place. Melissa wasted no time in getting her homemade slices of pizza out, & Kathy exposed our grapes & cherries. DSC09958.JPG We sat in the shade & watched the children run & play while we did some more gabbing. Eriko & Momoko won the grand prize for the best smile & wearing the best Hollywood outfit of the bunch. DSC09959.JPG Kathy was the runner up as popularity winner because she had the children all gathered around her, letting Nathan & Andrew take turns removing & replacing her earrings & the rest of them watching.

You have to look closely at the 1st photo to see Kathy surrounded with the boys.

We did spend some time @ the Big Sand Box ....but there was little shade & it was a very hot day.

Our next move was to try & keep our cool as much as possible by walking about (10) min & having some very good ice cream @ the....forgot the name? After that tasty treat, K & I drove a short distance to buy some wine for tonight while the rest of the gang walked slowly back to the Foote Castle. Back @ the Castle, Nick found an empty rocking chair & spent some quality time with his young daughter. DSC09960.JPG Meanwhile, Nathan opened his birthday gifts from the Foote grandparents & got right with the program of making green worms using his new Play Doh. DSC09965.JPG Later, one by one, the Foote boys took their showers & then Eriko followed with Momoko. Still later, Nick followed & showered with Jerry. Once the Foote boys were in their pajamas, Katrina read them a good book before bedtime. DSC09969.JPG Then only Jerry & Momoko were downstairs, so we spent some time with them as well as continuing our gab session with our adult kids until Kevin & Katrina got ready to do the evening run with Kinley. That was our cue to leave.

It was another fun day & tomorrow we will meet again.

Lights out: 11:51pm.
Awake: 6:06am      Temp 67     sleep 6+02      overcast     overnight @ Nicktown.

After our KK meeting, Kathy made a trip to Barnesboro to return a library book. After she came back, we motored to the Foote Castle & prepared to help Nathan celebrate his 3rd birthday. Nathan is a dump truck fan so Kathy found a little boy outfit & did her sewing magic. DSC09944.JPG When we parked our Suzuki near the Foote house, I noticed an extra white car parked nearby....maybe a neighbor & thought nothing more about it.

We entered the house by the front entrance & several of the boys, who were eating a snack in the dining room while Melissa was reading to them, greeted us quickly & then returned to their table.

As I passed & glanced into the dining room, I saw a different boy seated amongst the Foote boys. I didn't say anything but thought to myself; he looked like Jerry. Then.....from the dining room, Jerry spoke up: "Where did G-daddy go?" Then down the stairs they came: Eriko holding Momoko, Nick, Katrina, ....Zack, & Katie. What a wonderful surprise!

"How did you do this?" I asked. They explained that Nick started planning this visit (6) months ago & all the tickets were bought @ the same time so that they could arrive & depart about the same time. "We came for your birthday!" they said. "Unbelievable!" was the word I used several times....along with "WOW!" And they are staying for a week. Here is a photo of Eriko with the newest member of the Nick-Eriko clan: Momoko, + Nick & Katrina. DSC09916.JPG After a few more questions & answers, I floated around to see what was happening elsewhere & witnessed Zack entertaining the boys in the downstairs playroom with his juggling act. DSC09920.JPG Here is the birthday boy Nathan walking around holding Big Bird. DSC09919.JPG Later we guys & Katie found our way to the 3rd floor & the builders began to show their talent; I'm not sure who put this space age rocket together but Jerry sure admired it. DSC09929.JPG After a while, we were all called back to the main floor to begin celebrating Nathan's 3rd birthday in the dining room. DSC09931.JPG Nathan requested a "dump truck" birthday Melissa made him one. DSC09934.JPG Always a good birthday treat: cake & ice cream. Left to right... Matthew, Nathan, Jerry, & Andrew. DSC09937.JPG Now it's time for Melissa & Matthew to attend the 5:30 Mass @ St. Thomas Moore. Matthew is in the early stages of being an altar boy.Weather permitting, they either walk or ride their bikes. DSC09942.JPG When the cats are away, the mice will play. Some of the faces however, are hidden to protect the guilty. DSC09947.JPG Kathy & I hung around & gabbed with the adult kids until Katrina & Kevin went for their evening run with Kinley. Then we said our thanks, wonderful to have you in PA for a week & we will see you all tomorrow. Oh, before we left, we invited the adult kids to come & join us @ our 8:30am Koffee Klub. Hmm, Nick committed to come but Zack & Katrina were not so sure. Lights out: 12:14 am.
Awake: 6:15am     Temp 68      sleep 6+39      partly cloudy      overnight @ Nicktown.

After our KK meeting, K & I exercised for (30) min; then after our breakfast, we motored to Somerset, PA to look @ a building that had a brick called, Chatham which Kathy thought she might like for the house. After seeing the brick on a building she was not as enthused about it. DSC09904.JPG Next, we spent a good (1.5) hrs in Lowe's Home Improvement... DSC09906.JPG looking @ windows & doors. Roy was very thorough in his salesmanship. We learned quite a bit from his (21) years of selling Pella's products & he even printed out a few sample window prices that might make our choosing a little easer.

From here, we retraced our steps & did some grocery shopping @ Conzattis Italian Market & Wal-Mart in upper Johnstown.

Continuing our way to Nicktown, we sought out a house in New Germany that has a brick color & style that both K & I like, #715 Ashmont Modular & wanted to see a finished house with that brick on it. I think we still like it. DSC09908.JPG Next, we visited a store in Ebensburg "BCI" Flooring. Bruce showed us several samples of the bamboo flooring which we continue to admire...maybe for our main floor covering.

Then we made a stop @ "The Long Barn" in Ebensburg & spent some time looking @ their Cabinets, Windows & doors. DSC09909.JPG and shingles DSC09911.JPG After that workout, we both agreed that a beer & a tuna salad @ "Off theRack" would be great...which it was. Then I called my brother, Don, who lives in Ebensburg & asked if it would be OK for us to pay a short visit since we are in town. "Yes", he said; "but @ 8:00pm, we have to go to we can only spend an hr with you".

I wanted to pick up some of our mother's old photo albums. I thought it was strange that my brother & his wife had to go to a meeting in Johnstown so late but I didn't ask any questions.  It was a long day for us but well worth the traveling.

Lights out: 12:04am.

Awake: 6:28am    Temp 67    sleep 7+03    mostly cloudy    overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

After our KK meeting, K & I picked blueberries for about an hr; then I made a call to Nature Drilling Inc. in Ebensburg & asked them for some assistance with our well. They were pretty sure they could give us a service call by mid afternoon.

Around 3:00 pm, in drove one of the Nature Drilling Inc. trucks. I suggested they cut off (25) ft of the PVC piping on Pump # 1 to perhaps raise the pump another (25) ft off the well floor to try & eliminate some of the iron water from this well.

To my surprise, it took only about (20) min to cut the piping, attach another pitiless adapter & splice the electrical wiring.....& they were done. We tested the shortened well pump longer than it took for them to do the work.

Afterwards, it seemed that the pure water raging out of the hose lasted longer than previous tests. I will be spending more time with this well later this summer.

Dinner: Beef stir-fry, veggies, cherries & cantaloupe.

Melissa called after dinner & told us how much the boys & she enjoyed the dairy farm tour yesterday. Today however, there was little fun. All the boys fell asleep on the way home last evening & therefore, didn't sleep well @ all. She went on to say they woke up at their usual time & were grouchy, not nice to each other & just downright tired. We felt badly about that of course.

Later, we tried to Skype Nick in Seattle for his 32nd birthday. No answer. We even kept the Apple computer on past Kathy's bedtime in the event he would call us back. It didn't happen.

Lights out: 11:36pm.             



Awake: 6:02am      Temp 63      sleep 6+34      sunny     overnight @ Nicktown.

At our KK meeting this morning we had a special visitor: Judy, who went to the same high school but was a year younger than me. She spends winters in Naples, FL & usually spends the summer in PA. It was fun to catch up with her.

Afterward, K & I exercised for (30) min & then breakfast. Mid afternoon, Melissa pulled into our circular drive with the boys. We joined her in their van & rode about ½ mile to the Barr-Ridge Dairy Farm. Basically we were interested in seeing the newborn heifers & Rosemary was our tour guide. The boys were not shy about getting up close & personal with the calves & had them eating out of their hands within minutes. DSC09881.JPG

There were about (25) young heifers & as we toured, we saw another who had been born moments earlier, was still unsteady on her feet & who was being cleaned off by the mom & her helpers. DSC09890.JPG We saw about (175) milking cows all total. DSC09887.JPG The boys looked @ the cows & the cows looked @ the boys. DSC09889.JPG There were plenty of things to keep the boys interested as Rosemary toured us around the farm; just follow the leader to be the king of the mountain of sawdust. DSC09892.JPG Congratulations to all (3) kings they return to terra firma. DSC09896.JPG You don't want to pass up a swinging gate either. DSC09897.JPG Milking parlor before the cows come in. DSC09898.JPG Cleaning the cows teats before milking. DSC09902.JPG We stayed to see about (24) cows being milked & Beth let the boys push the button that starts the automatic milking.

Before leaving the Bar Ridge Dairy Farm, Melissa gave the boys a healthy snack & Rosemary poured lemonade into our glasses. Then we thanked Rosemary for such a casual & thorough tour of their modern Dairy farm.

Melissa dropped us off @ our motorhome & they returned to their Foote Castle. What an interesting afternoon it was for us & the Foote boys.

Dinner: Pea soup, bread, cherries, cantaloupe & a peach.

Lights out: 11:25pm.

Awake: 6:09    Temp 65    sleep 6+38    overcast    overnight @ Nicktown.

After attending 8:00am Mass,  Nick Skyped us & we talked with him for quite some time asking about his recent speaking engagements in Minnesota, & California. Very interesting of course; later we saw Eriko, Jerry & little Momoko as they slept in this morning. Jerry was still a little sleepy & in his "Woody" pajamas, the sheriff in Toy Story.....whereas Eriko & Momoko were looking wide awake. We watched & talked for 1 hr & 9 min.

Later, we got a phone call from my sister Corinne; she sounded great, very happy & positive when talking about her new change of employment & getting more organized in Pittsburgh.

Dinner: tuna steak with rice & golden raisins, mixed salad & cherries.

Lights out: 11:28pm.     


Awake: 5:54am    Temp 56    sleep 5+45    sunny    overnight @ Nicktown.

I skipped the KK meeting this morning but Kathy attended. I invited my 1st cousin Flossie (Florentz) to dowse my # 1 well for iron & pure water...& to find out at what level the iron is seeping out from?

This well is (110) ft deep & usually the pump is lowered to about (10) ft from the bottom of the well. Florentz couldn't get a reading of which water flow was @ what level, the pure or the iron, so I used his bundle of string tied to a rock, & attached a small metal can above the rock, lowered the rock & the metal cup & submerged both. Then pulled them both up & that metal can was filled with pure water. So I theorized that if I raised the water pump about (25) ft higher from the bottom of the well, maybe I could get more pure water out of the well in lieu of the iron water. Florence said it would be worth a try.

Meanwhile, he asked me to not talk to him for awhile so he could concentrate on using his dowsing rods & find another better well with little iron. He probably spent a good (45-50) min & finally told me: there are a lot of different water flows on your property but I could not pick out one that has little iron in it, so you'll have to depend on your pump # 2 for now until the commercially filtered water is brought into your property maybe next yr. I thanked Flossie for his efforts & then reported this to Kathy.  

After that dowsing experience, I was energized to start pulling the (100) ft deep pump & tubing lines up & lay them out to begin the shorting process. That was, until I found out: that pump & electrical wiring & tubing all weighed a bit more than I expected. With Kathy's help, we brought up the tubing about (25) ft., & tied it securely for now.

Still looking for something to bring pain & suffering to myself, I started mowing the grass; that was until I fiddled with the self driving mechanism. That took about (40) min of my time. It was close to 4:00pm when I really started mowing & I didn't finish until about 8:00pm.

Around 5:00pm, a small distraction took about an hr of my time: Kathy opened the door & told me that something was wrong with the electricity in our motorhome. When I stepped inside, there sure was something wrong: lights on our Silver Leaf Electronics read-out were flashing "red & green," my battery pack was reading "low" & not charging & the air conditioning automatically shut down.

I won't explain my fumbling troubleshooting process but I will admit that I caused the problem. It seems that when I shut off the pump #1 electricity, I also shut off our 50 amp power for the motorhome & it instantly switched to battery power. Kathy didn't realize it & I was outside mowing. The batteries powered the air conditioning for @ least (1.5) hrs & then dropped off & whatever else she was using also lost power. Switching on the correct outside circuit breaker brought everything back to normal save for the battery charging; that took quite a long time due to a regulated slow charge setup.

Dinner: Sirloin steak, a small baked potato, broccoli, cauliflower, mixed fruit & cherries.

Late evening movie: "The Courtship of Eddie's Father." We watched ½.

Lights out: 11:29pm.                



Awake: 6:36am     Temp 55      sleep 6+19      sunny     overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

After our KK meeting, we returned to our motorhome for breakfast & then, using our printer, I made a copy of the various appliances from which Kathy will be choosing. 

Next, we motored to Duncansville & spent about (1.5) hrs with Jill who had done several computer renderings of possible kitchen layouts. She & Kathy discussed these & made changes in appliance location to better fit the kitchen dimensions & Kathy's preferences. DSC09876.JPG
We talked to Jill about Bamboo flooring; she recommended Carpet One in Hollidaysburg, about (2) miles down the road. We talked with the store owner & learned more about what we needed to know about Bamboo flooring.

Back on our property; for some time now, I've wanted to bring the # 1 pump & well back to life again. It's been sleeping for over (6) yrs I am curious if it will work at all.

As I turned on the switch, I could hear the pump running & water noises but very little water was coming out from the faucet. This low water flow went on for (20-30) min but I was happy to see that it was working @ all. Then I thought of an idea; why not pour some Iron Out into the well & see what happens. My gosh, that motor wound up, the water shot out, & the pressure was strong; it was amazing! However...the water was still contaminated with a lot of iron. I ran that well pump for about 1.5 hrs & the iron didn't go away & the well didn't go dry. I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this well, but for now I quit.

Dinner: Kathy's homemade crab cakes, asparagus, cauliflower, bread, & fruit salad.

We watched ½ of the movie: "Interiors." Then decided that this movie by Woody Allen.....was not for us.

Lights out: 12:09am.
Awake: 7:00am     Temp 63     sleep 7+18      early morning rain      Overnight @ Nicktown. 

After breakfast, K & I motored to Barnesboro; then using the Suzuki, Kathy returned a library book while I picked up the Toyota Mini van from Annette @ Al's Tire Service. Then we both motored to the Foote Castle & spent the early part of the afternoon playing with the Foote boys.

First Kathy was invited to the 3rd floor to see Matthew's new creations, including a motorized tram that actually worked & the Brio "Metro." While Kathy was upstairs, Nathan & I spent some time making different configurations with the magnet set.

Then I was invited to see the new Brio train track that Matthew recently devised. It was modeled after the DC Metro which they had recently ridden on. I was quite impressed with the layout which allowed for overhead traffic as well as underneath traffic thru tunnels. DSC09873.JPG
Then Nathan pulled Kathy into the first floor playroom, chose a book, & Kathy began reading to him; it wasn't long before Andrew & then Matthew joined in listening to the story. DSC09874.JPG Meanwhile, Melissa had a time scheduled for grocery shopping @ Giant Eagle with the boys; perfect I thought, I needed to visit the Culligan water treatment experts while in Indiana so that freed me up to do just that.

As the gang got their act together for grocery shopping, I motored to the Culligan experts & talked with Brad about the iron in our well & what to do about it. He showed me several state-of-the art water filters that have proven records for filtering out the iron. I told him I would keep that in mind.

When I returned, I found Kathy & Nathan coming up the alley with a full wagon of goodies; the rest of them were not far behind. DSC09875.JPG The next hr was spent in the back yard, mainly watching the boys play together; all was fine until...Melissa started to have the boys bring Kathy & me each an ice cream cone...then things got even better.

When Kevin returned from his work, he & I talked about his repaired muffler & tailpipe + having the inspection completed on the Toyota.

Not long after that, Melissa & Matthew changed into their bike outfits, said their goodbyes & peddled across town to attend the 5:30pm Mass. It was also time for us to leave as we had some Wal-Mart shopping to do, so we said our goodbyes for now & motored on.

Dinner: Italian sausage with peppers, onions, mushrooms & a mixed salad.

Lights out: 12:17am.
Awake: 6:17am Temp 63     sleep 6+18      partly cloudy     overnight @ Nicktown.

Early morning, Melissa called us & wanted to know if we were available to come to Indiana & go swimming with the boys.

Seems that perhaps Kathy zigged when she should have zagged or overdid exercising yesterday, anyway she is in much pain with muscle spasms in her lower back, so we had to decline the Indiana invite. We also skipped the KK meeting this morning & while Kathy was doing some appliance research on her Apple, I exercised for (1.6) hrs in the community Center. Here are some of our humble workout machines: DSC09877.JPG
After brunch, I picked blueberries for (1 hr 45 min). Then Skyped my buddy Ray for about 45 min in Washington State. Most of our talk involved remote control model airplane flying & motorcycles but no old girlfriend talk.

Ray spoke well, looks good & who would believe that he will turn 70 next yr!

Before dinner, I e-mailed some electrical suggestions to our architect before he finishes with the construction documents.

Dinner: Pork chops, yam, broccoli, cherries, mango slices & apple sauce.

Lights out: 11:42pm.
Awake: 6:35am     Temp 62      sleep 6+49     sunny    overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

After our KK meeting, I had the opportunity to go airborne... such a deal! I couldn't resist.

The steeple of St. Nicholas Church is being resurfaced with long lasting slate & some areas covered with copper; the boys working on this project agreed to allow me to go airborne in order to take aerial photos. I wanted to capture a 360 degree view of the village of Nicktown.

They harnessed me up & clicked me into the spacious bucket for two & within a minute, we were as high as the steeple...about (110) ft. DSC09858.JPG
Kathy looks pretty small from the steeple height. DSC09857.JPG The wind was calm & the nearby visibility was ok, but unfortunately the distant horizon was a little hazy. Here is a photo of State Road-553 going east thru town heading toward Cambria County. DSC09842.JPG There are so many trees in the village that taking a birds eye view is most challenging. Here is a view of going west on State Road-553 heading to Alverda. DSC09853.JPG From the church, this is State Road-271 going south towards Duman's dam. DSC09848.JPG Here is a closeup of the copper work these guys are doing. DSC09863.JPG And a sample of the slate work on the steeple. DSC09859.JPG When descending to earth, Father Job announced to the small crowd: it costs $10.00 to go up......and $100.00 to come down! That brought a good laugh to all.

I thanked the guys who have been doing the slate & copper work & returned to our motorhome.

Meanwhile, Annette called from Al's Tire Service; "the Toyota mini van is fixed up" she told me. "Did you do the inspection I asked her?" "Just a minute" she said. "Someone forgot to do that but we'll take care of it & call you when it's finished."

Kathy did (1) load of laundry this afternoon.

Dinner: Pistachio crusted salmon with rice, asparagus & cherries.

Later we talked with Melissa about their Toyota van & the inspection process.

Lights out: 12:01am.

 Awake: 5:45am    Temp 60    sleep 5+56    sunny    overnight @ Nicktown, PA.

After our KK meeting, K & I worked out for (1.5) hrs. Then after brunch, Kathy drove the Suzuki to downtown Barnesboro while & I drove the Foote's Toyota Sienna to Al's Tire Service in Barnesboro.... to have the muffler fixed & an inspection done.

In Barnesboro, I bought a new replacement battery for: "The Brick" phone. I didn't know how long the batteries had been in the Brick, maybe (2 or 3) yrs, or longer, but they refused to charge up & so, new batteries.

Back @ our motorhome, Kathy did (2) laundry loads while I took off the Suzuki's air filter for a check; it is fine.

Dinner: leftover chicken noodle soup, large salad, cherries, mango slices & cantaloupe slices. Evening movie: "Our Vines Have Tender Grapes." We watched ½.

Lights out: 11:46pm.


Awake: 6:33am      Temp 68     sleep 6+15      overcast       overnight @ Nicktown.

NOAA (National Oceanic, Atmospheric, & Administration) has foreasted heavy fog & rain for later today. So after our coffee, we dressed appropriately for picking blackberries & blueberries on our property. DSC09824.JPG
I'm not sure when we started but we finished filling our bowls @ 9:25am. Heavy rain began @ 10:05am. That was a close one.

Next, we motored to Indiana, PA, not to visit the Foote Castle, they should be on their way home after spending the week-end in D.C.; this time we went to the Jimmy Stewart Airport to watch a C-54 (4 engine) cargo plane, scheduled to take off @ noon today.

We were a little concerned about the weather, since the heavy rain & fog we were experiencing along the way, might cancel their flight. My buddy Barry & his sister Susan, had already arrived & were gazing out the lounge windows toward the big C-54 on the tarmac. DSC09825.JPG Today this cargo plane is destined to fly to Oshkosh, WI. About (20) min later, the rain subsided & the fuel truck started pumping in (700) gallons. Barry & I walked down to get a closer look @ the plane. This plane was built around 1945 & was only used during the Berlin Airlift; in fact, it really is a flying museum & all about the B.A. DSC09829.JPG Kathy opted to stay in the lounge to read & watch the slow action thru windows. DSC09827.JPG The pilot told us that during cruise, they burn about (200) gallons per hr. The ceiling was rising nicely so the pilot called in for a VFR ( visual flight rules) flight plan; with all engines running, DSC09834.JPG we waved, they waved & the plane taxied out toward the runway to do his run-up check. Minutes later, they roared down the runway & were airborne. C-54 heading for Oshkosh. DSC09837.JPG We didn't realize that John & his son Rick were also watching the slow action from another viewpoint. As Barry & I walked back toward the lounge, there they were.

We gabbed a little & then K & I motored back to Nicktown, changed our clothes & drove to St. Augustine to visit & have dinner with Gary & Rosemary.

These young people have us figured out: within minutes, we are served wine with an assortment of cheese & crackers & then we got into the updating of each other's adventures.

Over (2) weeks ago, G & R drove down to Pensacola, FL to visit their youngest son, who is a naval aircraft traffic controller on a carrier ship. So, G & R as expected, were treated like Royalty & were given the best of tours of the simulators & had a rooftop view to watch the Blue Angels practicing their routines, etc. No question about it, G & R had the most adventurous stories. The best I could do was to show them a full blown drawing of our home without wheels. DSC09839.JPG Dinner by G & R: Lasagna, salad with fresh homegrown lettuce & other veggies, pickles made by Rosemary from their homegrown cucumbers &, for dessert a tasty, light chiffon pie. After that scrumptious meal, we settled down to two games of "Diminishing Bridge." I can't believe it happened but the girls won over us guys...again. DSC09840.JPG Thank you R & G, for a fun time & another delicious meal. Lights out for us @ 11:49pm.


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