Just around the corner….

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Awake: 6:55am      Temp 35      sleep 6+52      mostly sunny      overnight @ Nicktown.

Kathy & I were planning on visiting the Foote Family today but both Jerry & Momoko have high fevers & both are hurting. Besides Eriko definitely did not want to spread what they have & give it to the Foote Family.

About 7:15am, Chuck & his son, Nate, arrived to install a glass door on my basement shower. Chuck told us a few weeks ago that he would do his best to get the door installed before Christmas &, by golly, he's done it.

Meanwhile, Nick & I agreed that we were taking the wrong road to successful music. I decided to call the installers & let them talk to Nick; well, Randy opened Nick's eyes & all that we should need is a stereo audio cable to plug into the wall. So, away we go to Ebensburg + we needed some groceries anyway. Kathy did the grocery shopping & Nick & I bought some batteries, a memory stick for Eriko's new camera & a stereo audio cable. Back @ the house, we explored the cute gismos on the walls on the main floor, DSC0001465.JPG                                               & the basement floor; DSC0001466.JPG                                          they seem to be almost everywhere.              


 Now, I've known ever since they installed the system that they were associated with music & speakers but had no idea of how to get the music to the speakers. Within minutes, Nick had some beautiful music raining down from our ceilings. WOW!

Remember this from a few days ago? Yes it's those super sweet candy houses & NO' we did not have this scrumptious (2) day leftover delicacy of graham cracker "gingerbread houses;" I'm not sure just what happened to those DSC0001468.JPG ...but our dinner consisted of ham & bean soup, with Como bread & delightful music. After dinner, I played (2) games of UNO with Kathy, Nick, & Jerry & then it was Jerry & Momoko's bed time.
Bed time for us was:12:38 am.

Awake: 7:00am      Temp 40      sleep 8+12      partly sunny      overnight @ Nicktown.

About a month ago, Kathy started looking on line for a ping-pong table top to set on our pool table. Both our boys, Nick & Zack, are avid ping-pong players & would definitely enjoy having that set-up during their visit this Christmas. It took awhile on the computer to find what we wanted; but finally there was one already being auctioned off for a reasonable price. She added her price a little higher then the bidder & watched closely for a few days. Finally, the time was up & Kathy was the winner. Shipping was free & we had our table tennis conversion top, Regulation 5' X 8'. DSC0001459.JPG Timing was just right as Nick was here to help us change over from a pool table to a Ping-pong table. This is all of it except for the net. . DSC0001460.JPG Now that the Foote family has arrived, the younger people are getting introduced. DSC0001461.JPG                         < and later, a little Rummikub was played until dinner: DSC0001462.JPG                                                 And this is little Abbey. DSC0001463.JPG After dinner, high tech Nick started looking around at our hex & bedrooms. He thinks that we could easily bring in wireless music @ no charge. So to get started, we felt special wiring was required so it's down to the laboratory for a meeting of our minds. DSC0001464.JPG We didn't get far with soldering very thin wires, so tomorrow we'll attack it a lot smarter... I hope. Dinner: Lasagna, fruit, salad & Como bread.

Lights out: 12:03am.

In regards to future posting,: we have 6 youngsters, all under 9, & 9 adults. So there might be a slowdown... so hang in there.
Awake: 8:00am      Temp ?       sleep 6+02      overcast, then gentle rain      overnight @ Nicktown.

Actually Melissa called us around 6:00am & wanted to know if she had awakened me; I told her we turned the lights out @ about 2:00am. When she heard that, she said she would call us in a few hrs.

We both fell asleep & woke up again @ 8:00am. Nick & Jerry were already up & munching on dry cereal.

After their breakfast, Nick hinted that he would like to see his boxes of Transformers in the basement. He had not forgotten them in the least. DSC0001449.JPG Nick & Jerry were in the game room for some time looking & at the Transformers with Nick telling Jerry what the names of his Transformers are & what they can change into.
                                 Believe me, this is a drop in the bucket. DSC0001450.JPG Nick always treated his toys right; they are still in good shape & probably will remain so for yrs. DSC0001451.JPG Since Melissa & the Foote boys are coming over to our place around 12:00 noon, I thought it best to have my cereal breakfast before they get here. Some times I sit on the camel saddle with my back to the sun ...when it's shining & have breakfast as I read. Well this morning, Momoko, who calls me "Gee daddy", brought her chair over as soon as I sat down & started looking @ my remaining breakfast cereal.

I wasn't particularly interested in sharing my good food but she was sooooo-cute & so gentle when she spoke in Japanese; mind you, she also spoke some English, she will be age (2) in February. Yes, I let her have some yogurt, blue berries, spoon size shredded wheat, whole bran wheat checks, small strawberries, etc. How could I resist. DSC0001452.JPG The Foote's arrived shortly thereafter & the party began in the game room. Luckily we got that Foosball Game working the right way because these youngsters sure did have a good time practicing. DSC0001453.JPG                  Then the young ones took a healthy snack break @ the round table. DSC0001454.JPG Next on the agenda; Melissa gathered all the youngsters & headed for the game room to make small houses out of graham crackers & cream cheese frosting, decorated with colored Cheerios, pretzels, raisins, etc. Eriko lent a hand. DSC0001455.JPG The boys have experience with Legos so they had no problem constructing these houses...except one. DSC0001456.JPG         They ate a lot of the decorations & frosting resulting in a little wildness afterwards.


                   After a minor storm tho, they did calm down to some good reading. DSC0001457.JPG Dinner: Beef stew with noodles & bread.

Lights out: 10:48pm. 

Awake: 5:45am      Temp 40      sleep 6+19      gentle rain -continuous      overnight @ Nicktown.

We skipped the KK meeting this morning & Kathy broke a lot of empty boxes down for me to either take to the burn pile or to keep for our kids to use for shipping after Christmas.

After our breakfast Kathy motored to Barnesboro & did some more grocery shopping & other shopping.

Meanwhile, yesterday, just as we were leaving the Foote family, Matthew was seriously getting into the Gabriel 725 Erector Set: DSC0001442.JPG & he let me know that the remote control unit was not working. I quickly looked it over & discovered a broken wire, so I took the remote control home to check it out.

After Kathy left for shopping, I took the remote apart on my work bench & found yet another broken wire. I substituted new wires & got rid of the old ones, checked the resistance & put the remote unit back together. DSC0001443.JPG Next, I gathered many rough & decrepit cardboard boxes, set them near the North wing garage door, put my raingear on, & then placed the boxes outside & closed the garage door.

It took me (6) trips back & forth to the burn pile to finish this round of expanding the space in the hex.

Tuesday evening, we were expecting our Son Nick, his wife Eriko, & their (2) kids, Jerry & Momoko to arrive at our place around 11:00pm from Queen Anne Hill in Seattle. Kathy would check on face book every now & then to watch their progress.

Dinner: ham & bean soup, toast & oranges.

Evening time: after the kitchen was cleaned up, mostly by Kathy, she took some pictures of her kitchen from various angles & areas in the hex. Here are a few that caught her eye: DSC0001441.JPG                                                   And a few more: DSC0001445.JPG                                             That's all for now. DSC0001446.JPG As we were sitting in our rocking chairs, reading our books & listening to good music, a car's lights lit up our entryway. It had to be Nick & his family & it was. DSC0001447.JPG We helped them bring in their luggage & other things & then Nick was curious about how the house turned out so we gave them a free tour.

It didn't take long for Jerry & Momoko to find out where the toys were placed, & that satisfied them for quite some time.

Talk about time, we toured & chatted for quite a while & nearly forgot how late it was; I knew Kathy was very sleepy so finally we all agreed to hit the sack & call it a good night.

Lights out: 1:58am.
Awake: 5:39am       Temp 28      sleep 6+01      cloudy, then rain       overnight @ Nicktown.

After our KK meeting & back @ our house, K & I continued our organizing until breakfast time @ 11:30am. After breakfast, Melissa called to let us know that Abbey is doing fine, just fine, according to the specialist in Pittsburgh. We are all thankful for that.

She also said their sidewalk in front has the cover off & it will be OK to park in front of the house. Well, I took that to mean that it's the perfect time to drive the 84-Ford van with all the stuff that was packed inside over month ago. Kathy drove the Suzuki.

Sure enough, the Foote parking spot for the van was wide open. Today is Matthew's 8th birthday & we are here to help celebrate. Melissa told us that Charles, from southern Taiwan, will also be here. Charles is a student @ I.U.P, majoring in English. I've been to Taipei, Taiwan many times so we had something in common. He's seems like a really nice guy. DSC0001439.JPG Due to the van plan & getting ready (taking off water proof blanket), we were a little late so we did not have a lot of time to spend before the party, but enough to have a bowl of chicken & rice.

                   I couldn't pass up this picture of Abbie looking @ another youngster. DSC0001441.JPG Shortly after 4:00pm, we sang the: "Happy Birthday to Matthew song." He blew out the candles on his cake & blew them out & blew them out (relighting candles) to gales of laughter from his brothers. Matthew then cut the cake & distributed a piece of cake with ice cream to each person; both very good. Then the presents; he said his two favorite presents were: Electronic Playground 130. DSC0001440.JPG & the other: the Gabriel 725 Erector Set that Kathy cleaned up all the pieces.

We said our goodbyes to Charles & later, we motored back to Nicktown where we had some popcorn before retiring for the nite.

Lights out: 11:26pm.
Awake: 7:14am      Temp 26      sleep 6+30      flurries      overnight @ Nicktown.

Today is: trim the Christmas tree day. We worked together in getting the lights on & the ornaments in place. Kathy had many small ornaments that her dad made & other things she has collected.
                                 Here is the Christmas tree with out a flash. DSC0001436.JPG                                                  And this is with a flash DSC0001437.JPG I also spent some time in my laboratory cleaning up the rubber/plastic goalies for the Foosball game. They were dirty & tough to push on the iron rods; 1st I used a drill bit turning it by hand with the size a fraction larger than the goalie's body. Then I used sand paper rapped around a smaller drill bit to smooth the rubber/plastic. That made a nice difference.

Finally I was able to push the goalies onto the metal rod & finish the project. Oh, but wait a minute! About that time, Kathy came down to the game room; she looked things over, got out the photos from years ago in Alaska & pointed to the mistakes I was making; by golly she was right.

So, once again, from start to finish, we both had many bloopers but finally tonight, we got it right. Whew! DSC0001438.JPG                                    Dinner: Stuffed peppers with toast.

Nick called, basically wanting to know details about Fed-Exing some of their stuff to our house.

After talking with Nick, we called Mary Jo & thanked her for the goodie box she had sent a few days ago.

Later, Melissa called, inquiring about our arrival tomorrow for Matthew's birthday. Gregory woke up so it was a very short call.

Lights out: 11:38pm.
Awake: 6:10am      Temp 29      sleep 6+24       flurries, then snow all day       overnight @ Nicktown.

After our KK meeting, & back in my laboratory, I spent some time using Kevin's powered Dremel tool to re-do the top section of the hall tree project. It saved me a lot of time. DSC0001434.JPG In fact, by late afternoon, I was able to re-set the top section together & use some slow epoxy curing glue to help it along with my heat lamps. DSC0001435.JPG Then K & I attended 6:00pm vigil Mass & afterward, with the snow slowing the traffic down, we joined some of our regular KK people @ the Nicktown bar for an extra good pizza with beer.
Lights out: 12:44am.
Awake: 6:25am      Temp 33      sleep 7+34       mostly cloudy      overnight @ Nicktown.

This morning, I was asked to hang around because Don, a Bassett employee, would be coming to our house to shave down our garages' concrete entrances, since, when it rains, water comes into our garages. DSC0001429.JPG Don was very concerned about using his (2) electric rotary saws with diamond blades. He & I didn't want the dust coming into our garages, so he told me that it would be slow going because of that. DSC0001430.JPG                Several times before noon, I checked on Don to see how he was doing, DSC0001431.JPG & a few times during mid afternoon. The ledge definitely had a slope, but he was concerned would it be enough; he was hoping for rain as a test. Having the garage doors closed, saved dust from coming inside; Don definitely did his work well. He left @ 3:05pm & told me that he might be back if water gets into the garages.

Kathy & I set our Christmas tree in the tree stand but waited until until the next day to spread the branches out. DSC0001432.JPG About 3:30pm, we motored to Indiana, PA to do some more grocery shopping @ Wal-Mart & to attend the First Annual Christmas Pageant - "The Christmas Story," as put on by the Indiana county Catholic Homeschoolers in the St. Thomas More basement church.

(3) of our grandsons: Matthew, Andrew & Nathan were the wise men; costumes made by Melissa & crowns decorated by the kings themselves. DSC0001433.JPG The Nativity play was delightful. It was followed by a social & refreshments, of which we were happy to partake since we had not had supper. We were glad we could squeeze this into our busy schedule.

Afterward, we continued our shopping @ Giant Eagle.

We returned close to 10:00pm & had some more healthy snacks with popcorn.

Lights out: 11:46pm.
Awake: 6:32am      Temp 47      sleep 7+25      light rain & windy      overnight @ Nicktown.
After church this morning, Kathy dropped me off @ our house & she motored to Barnesboro to stock up on yogurt, & have Wojcik's switch watch bands from the leather strap to my old metal band, get fuel for the Suzuki, & stop @ Bobik's Home Center for more fasteners for the goalies of our Foosball game. DSC0001419.JPG Daughter Melissa called; she would like to make pizza at our house today & wanted to know if that would be OK with Kathy. I told her: "I am sure that we would be honored to eat your homemade pizza."

When Kathy returned, she had done everything thing she had to do. We ate our breakfast earlier then usual this morning to prepare for the Foote family due to arrive around 11:30am.

They actually arrived shortly after noon & the boys were just as excited as the last time. They headed right for the toy station & spent a fast (30) min playing with those different toys.

Then, everyone but Melissa & Abbey, put their coats & rain gear on because we were going to select a Christmas tree @ the Kline Tree Farm; a mere (10) min drive. Several trees of different varieties were mounted on (3) pronged re-bar so one could get a good look @ the trees before buying. DSC0001420.JPG We made our selection fairly fast & then the gentle tree farmer removed the rebar, took the tree over to the Christmas tree bailer & watched it being shrunk for travel. DSC0001421.JPG                              The boys were quite amused with this machine. DSC0001422.JPG                                 And now the the wrapping with red string. DSC0001423.JPG                           Pretty neat; easier to handle & tie down on a car. DSC0001424.JPG Back @ our house, we witnessed Melissa's talent in making some very delicious whole wheat pizza with (3) different toppings: pepperoni, cheese, & green pepper & onions. I couldn't resist joining the others & having a taste...of about (4) small slices. DSC0001425.JPG NO, Melissa is not pregnant already again; she is carrying little Abbey in a sling.

At this time, our switchboard might not be ready for Christmas hookup, but to be sure that the plugs, receptacles & weights work well, Matthew & Nathan, & later, Andrew, made sure that all the wires & plugs could be twisted, pulled, & scrutinized, without falling apart. DSC0001426.JPG                                      And here is their masterpiece. DSC0001427.JPG                                   And the latest picture of little Abbey. DSC0001428.JPG After the Foote family left for their home, I sawed a small layer of the trunk off of our Christmas tree & then K & I brought the tree into the entry hall.

With a towel, & lots of paper, we dried the tree limbs & then placed it into the tree stand where it will be decorated.

Dinner: Clam chowder with toast & tangerine for dessert.

Lights out: 10:42pm.


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