Thursday, June 28, 2012

Home again, home again ...

We made it home in good time.  Of course it was 104 here too.  Wonderful.  And the heat hasn't stopped yet.

I had called the a/c people from Tulsa because I knew the unit for upstairs was out.  So they came yesterday early morning.  It was, as I suspected, a problem with the fan.  And it was.  A circuit board (which means $$$) was out.  It will cost $500, but the heater unit is bad, and replacing it will cost about $3000.  AND doing this may break the internal a/c coil.  Nice.

We picked up our fur babies right after coming home.  Simone acted strange all night - in fact she threw up.  She acted like someone tugged too hard on a leash and irritated her throat.  It may have been me since she was ready to walk out the door as soon as we got there.  Today, she is her old self again.

Shadow has never been a really friendly cat.  He wanted to be close by, but he really didn't want to be in a lap and petted.  He never even purred much.  He is a different cat.  For the  most part, he doesn't want to be away from me.  Today is is spending time looking out the window during the day, but at night he is clingy.

So now life returns to normal - whatever that is.


Monday, June 25, 2012

Warm welcome

We were given a very warm welcome back to Texas.  We have stopped in Dallas to visit G's elderly aunts.  Dallas was kind enough to give us a warm welcome, very warm - 106 degrees warm.  While I appreciate the gesture, you didn't have to do it - really.

Yesterday we drove from Cedar Rapids to Tulsa - actually a little place south of Tulsa. Then today was the leg to Dallas.

If G ever leaves for a trip without a map, I swear I will kill him.  That has caused more problems than anything else on this trip.  I really don't think the GPS in the car is working properly.  In fact, I know it.  I cannot input addresses. etc.  The map is ok - until it is messed with!

The road from Tulsa to Dallas is not well marked with road signs.  We wanted highway 75.  That highway and 69 ran together, but 75 wasn't marked well.  The GPS didn't have the markings either.

Tomorrow - home.  And the next day - we have the ac people out.  Our upstairs ac was out before we left.  I will bet it is over 100 up there today.

We had dinner with the aunts.  They are getting so feeble.  But we went to dinner and had a great time.

Bed time now!


Saturday, June 23, 2012

The end has come

We finished off the convention with another train ride.  And to think we made fewer trips this year!!

This one ended at an independent train operation shops around here.  All would have been good with one glaring exception.  We were to get off the train for lunch. They SAID there would be seating.  Do I need to tell you?  No, well I will anyway.  There were about 8 tables that sat 8 - for about 300 people.  Now my math doesn't have those numbers equal.

People were leaning anyplace they could, sat anyplace they could - on the ground or any flat piece of equipment or simply stood to eat a pretty good meal of chicken breast, chicken tetrazinni, a mayo salad, roll and cookie.  That has been a weakness here.

Tomorrow we head to St Joe's.  We want to be as close to Dallas as we can get.  We want to see G's 2 remaining aunts.  They are the only ones left from the 10 children, and my favorite one doesn't sound good at all.  They had lived in Houston until Aunt B's daughter insisted they not live alone, and not live in Houston.  She wanted her mom close, but I don't know why.  She is never home.

It has been overall a good time here.  The meals were the glitch.  I already talked about those associated with the train rides.  We went to the banquet last night.  It was a zoo getting in.  They finally served food.  The tables were not properly set - like only four coffee cups for seven people - things like that.  The food was,  well, banquet food.  There was to be a program, but at 8 it had  not begun.  So we left.  That was ok - I wanted to be home.  I couldn't believe he had signed up for the banquet.  The last one we went to was a zoo too!


Friday, June 22, 2012

Nearing the end of the convention

And I am glad.  I really am ready to go home.  Basically I am a home body who married basically a nomad.  And, of course, since the temperatures here have broken and are back to the normals of 80's, he really doesn't want to go home.  At breakfast he read that the temp  in Houston was going to be 105.  Now I do readily admit I HATE that too, but then I am a house person.  I rarely go out in those temperatures.

Now to the travelog, or what I did on my vacation.  Yesterday I had the morning to myself.  It was just Della, the computer, and me.  I visited some sites, did some on-line buying of embroidery designs (like I need more since at last count I was over 45,000).  I discovered that it's easy to set up a store on Facebook.  Now I know that will come back to bite me in the butt.  Facebook doesn't do anything to help the average person, but I did it anyway.  So I am about half way through loading my stuff.

In the afternoon, we took the fob to the Toyota place.  You see we have one of those fancy-dancy starting thingies that you don't stick the key in to start.  When the fob goes, you have a few times of magically touching the start button with the fob Toyota side down.  We have been depend on  my fob alone on this trip.  But this was the way it was planned.  G figured we would have free time here, and Cedar Falls is certainly big enough to have a Toyota dealer.

The problem with that dang thing was when we followed the manual, there was no battery just staring us in the face when we opened the thing.  Knowing how much normal fobs run, I wasn't about to take the thing apart.  I could just see me breaking welds and the like.  The circuit board had to be removed!  A little step that the fine people in Japan neglected to tell us folks over here.  My son would say he could just see the writer of the manual laughing his a*s off thinking of us poor souls here in the states trying to figure this one out.

So, fob with new battery in hand, we set out to explore Cedar Falls.  We thought we would go down to Czech square, since the closest we got was the museum that wasn't open (still questioning that one!).  Most of the stores are still boarded up from the terrible flood two years ago.

We set out for home with a mission to find paper plates.  That one came out of left field, didn't it?  We needed them so that on Saturday night we can have a smorgasbord of left over Mexican and Chinese foods.  Appetizing isn't it?

That led us to a Dairy Queen.  My diet has completely gone in the toilet this week. The trips we have been on include lunch.  The lunches are big, but do I only eat a little of it, oh, no!  Of course not!  After all there are starving children in _________ (you fill in the blank).  That's always an excuse, right?  AND yesterday put the period to any thought of going home with less of me than I started with.  I had a MEDIUM blizzard.  Something that I have not had in at least 10 years.  And. I.  Enjoyed. Every. Bite!

So as I sit here, falling over this chair on both sides, and before I waddle to the banquet tonight, I'll sign off my little report.


Thursday, June 21, 2012

So, it's Thursday (isn't it?)

We are staying at a really nice hotel.  It is only about 6 months old.  Very clean, very bright, wonderful desk for me to use.  But, and you knew there would be a but from me, the air conditioner is a schizophrenic!

When we first got into the room a few days ago, the room was hot and stuffy.  So we cranked the thermostat down to 65.   After a bit, we were freezing, so we put the thermostat at 72.  Then we were boiling.  It was not 72 I will tell you!  It had to be more like 79.

That night I cranked it down to 67 under G's watchful eye.  In the middle of the night - when I was sure he was asleep - that sucker went down.  I don't know how far down because it was dark and I didn't have my glasses on.  Better.

This was about the same for the next day.  We were pretty comfortable day and night.  We also turned the fan to high which produced a strong puff rather than an asthmatic wheeze.  Worked fairly well.  But it was set at 67.  Uh, not the real temperature.

Last night we didn't change anything.  It was HOT during the night, but we both were so restless, I dared not change it.  I couldn't be assured G was asleep.

This morning I told G we needed to report this to the desk.  Well, he left for this tour of the smokestacks at the ethanol plant.  I didn't want to do this one - hart hats, steel toed shoes and safety goggles.  Not in my wardrobe.  Besides I get freaked out with huge equipment!

But back to the AC.  I am sitting here FREEZING.  How do I get someone here to check the b**tard when it appears to be working fine.  BAH!

We only have two more functions.  Tomorrow night is the banquet.  I don't really know why G chose to go.  We went to one, and it was boring, boring, boring.  But we will go.  Then on Saturday we have another train trip.  We will go to Waterloo.

Yesterday was a bus tour.  We went to a museum that isn't open yet.  It isn't even filled out with displays.  Then a little settlement of houses brought in to be like a working man's living area in the late 1800's to about 1930.  Cute little houses.  It ended with a tour of a mansion.  I didn't take the tour choosing the museum  instead because there were a lot of stairs.

Stairs have been my nemesis.  School buses, trains, etc.  I will be glad to get home!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

First train trip of the convention

We had that trip today.  It. Was. Long!  We boarded the bus to go to the train at 7:30 and as soon as we got off the bus we boarded the train.  We got back at 7pm. I. Am. Tired!

It was a great trip - being brought almost all the way back by a steam engine, but that meant that we had to travel more slowly.  The steamer is like me - slower and more fragile!

The bad (and only bad) part of the trip was lunch.  The train stopped at a park that had perhaps three benches for lunch.  There are a lot of us older folks that cannot sit on the grass.  G and I found some playground equipment at the far end of the park and I sat on a hot slide to eat.

The best part of the lunch was a man we came across.  At first I just thought it strange that he had no teeth.  Our group is definitely middle class (or some much better).  This is NOT a cheap hobby.  So I  thought it strange this guy had no teeth.

We talked about the train since they were going to do a "fly by" which means the train backs up to come by at speed for those who want pictures of that.  Anyway, we just sort of mentioned the fly by.

Later G said  - "he must be homeless."  And G had to be right!  This man managed to score himself a box lunch in the madness of getting those boxes!  I know that wasn't the "right thing" to do, but I was so glad he was able to have a meal.  I doubt many, if any others, know about this, but I was happy for this man.

He seemed to be very sweet, and when we were leaving, we looked out of the train window.  He was helping the caterer clean up the area.  Well done.  And thanks be to God.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Last night

We traveled a long time yesterday - much longer than anticipated.  You see, the man who usually reads maps for fun while on the john didn't have a map.  We got lost twice.  I couldn't believe it!  Plus even though we have a GPS in the Toyota, I don't know how to use it, and I wasn't going to try to learn on the road.  I did that once, and it tooks weeks to get the voice quiet again, and not try to find a restaurant in Rockport, Texas.

We finally got to the motel, and discovered they had a terrible storm the day before.  Their power was off for a long while, and the cable wasn't working when we checked in.  That was a tragedy because last night was the conclusion of The Killing .  We have watched this program for two years to find out who killed Rosie.

I had loaded Hulu on the computer, but decided to just check.  Eureka, it was on!  So we got to watch the ending - which was a great surprise, then they repeated it immediately, so we got to watch the bit we missed.

Today we headed out to Cedar Rapids.  On the way we stopped for our first event.  I had not been sure of what it was - a Thrasher Museum?? But it was fun.  We got to ride a street car and a narrow gauge steam engine rail road.  There were many farm implements in the museum.  It was neat overall.

While there, we met out friend from California.  So that was fun.  We had lunch together there, and since the buses for those who were already here and came out there that way were going to not leave for hours, we brought him back to his hotel.

Tomorrow we will take a loooong train ride.  But that's ok.  I will wear my gimme hat however.  This trip has been one for embarrassing things for me.  First was not being able to make the step into the trolley in Eureka Springs, today while riding the steam engine, my wig was taken off my heat by the winds.  Geesh!  What else - uh, no I don't want to know!
Our motel room is nice.  This is a NEW place!!  It still has some paint smell to it.  I can take that after squeeky floors, weird arrangements of rooms, etc!


Saturday, June 16, 2012

Eureka Springs

We are almost finished with this part of the trip. We finally got back to the car to put the parking permit in the window.

Last night was spent out on the balcony eating dinner and listening to a guitar and fiddle player play and sing.  They were good, and the food was ok. Then we returned home for me to get ready to go to sleep.

Why so early?  Well, what's with these hotels.  The last one and this one have ONE chair!  So, I sit on the bed - which is really uncomfortable.  AND they are saving electricity.  The bulbs are so small.  In fact the bedside table lamp has a bulb that would normally be put in a chandelier candle.  I am now sounding like my dad - this is all too dim!

Today we - now get ready for this newsflash - rode a train.  It was a nice trip - with scenery we have seen 25 times, but that is just being an excursion rail road.  This was a lunch trip.  The food was really good!  We had a great time.

Then we bought the daily pass for the trolley.  We rode two of the routes, saw some beautiful houses, and traveled several hair pin turns to get to HIGH altitudes.

The hills here are steep.  When we rode the trolley back, we chose the stop that is up the hill from the hotel.  That was a crazy trip down.  The sidewalk is as uneven as a dirt road.  An unimproved dirt road!  Several parts of the trip had to be a 30 degree path.  I certainly watched my step closely.

The part I would like to forget - getting on the first trolley.  G stopped one in the middle of the block.  The part of the street I had to use was way lower than the step.  The driver - sitting in the middle of traffic - had to lower the wheel chair lift to get me on.  I could have died!  My knees simply won't put a lot of push into things.

So, we are on the road tomorrow on our way to Iowa.  It is just a sleep stop, so I am not expecting drama from a 100 year old hotel.  I need a break!

Tonight will go out in style here.  Our room is under the room that can be rented for special occasions.  We have a wedding reception going on up there.  It is only 5:37 - the thing hasn't even begun, and we are hearing a lot of heavy steps.  Oh well - I have my ear plugs, and they have worked well for the last two nights!


Friday, June 15, 2012

What's the deal?

My house is almost furnished with antiques - and no not G and I.  I really love old things.  At least I did.

Last night we were in Hot Springs, Arkansas.  We were in an 80 year old hotel in a neighborhood that has seen its last days or at least better days.  I think we escaped bed bug free ... at least I hope.  The only real place to eat (without a $4 parking fee for 2 hours) was at the hotel.   It was EXPENSIVE Italian.  And they had the gall to remove the dish I wanted from the menu.

Well - we got out of there.  Tonight?  I am so glad you asked.  We are in a hotel that was built in 1905 in Eureka Springs.  I have to admit, the room is nicer.  The elevator sucks as  much as last night's, and we are once again on the fifth floor.

This place is a full out tourist area.  When we got here, we found streets that were about the width of our single driveway.  We couldn't find a place to park at the hotel, couldn't turn around due to the traffic, and played near bumper cars with a USP truck (second time after we did get a turn around place). 

We finally found the parking lot for the hotel at the bottom of the hill on another street (??!?!?!?).  We parked there, found a phone to call the hotel.  They sent a shuttle (immediately - before I could sort luggage) that brought us and our metric ton of luggage back.  They are there at our call - for a tip each way.

We will see what tomorrow brings.  We are staying here for two nights.

See ya and peace

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Still here

Still here, still kickin', on the road to Iowa, have wonky internet right now.

We are in Hot Springs -  in a hotel that has to be 100 years old.  The internet was free for 30 minutes,  but I looked and looked and found a couple that are free - the only problem being they conk out quickly and I have to reconnect.

Catch you tomorrow - hopefully with better internet!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Well ...

Yesterday we got pedicures (yes G gets them too!), and I wanted a manicure as well.   My manicurist's next appointment came in talking about finally getting a hold of her oncologist.

So feeling like we had something in common, I asked what cancer she had.  She said breast cancer, and so I asked what was the medication she was taking.  It was femara - like me.  Only, she was having a lot of problems with it.

She couldn't sleep (yes), she was gaining weight that she couldn't get rid of (oh, yeah), her glucose was erratic (um, yes - that's why I am taking metforamin and testing twice a day), her blood pressure was high (yes - that's probably why I am seeing a nephrologist for the protein in my urine), and generally retaining fluid (nope),  But I certainly listened.

I can and should go off it this month or next at the latest, but I really thought I would stay on it for a while longer since I have about four months of pills left.  Now I am thinking I won't.  Perhaps I can get my body straightened out!

But anyway.  We are headed off to the internet dead zone tomorrow.  We will be there until Tuesday, so I will be out of touch.  I have Wednesday to get ready for Iowa.  So you all take care until I am back in touch!