Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day week-end at home in Lakeland

Sunday morning I awoke at nine o’clock and went straight into the kitchen to pour my first cup of coffee. I found Renee and Wyatt out on the porch. Joey was still sleeping, as well as Dodie. I enjoyed visiting with my daughter-in-law, and playing with Wyatt. I can’t believe how well he is walking! Last time we saw him, approximately three weeks ago, he was just starting to take a few steps. Now he is walking all over the house. Nothing is out of his reach, lookout Mom…
After we spent the morning lazing around the house, Joey went out and picked up Chinese for lunch/dinner. I told him not to get me anything since I was not hungry, but by the time he returned with the food my appetite kicked in. Thank God, they give extra large portions. I had plenty to eat, some from each of the others meals.
After my lunch digested, and Granny was busy playing with Wyatt, I cranked up to mower and started mowing the grass. Since we have been traveling for the best part of the last three weeks, it was getting tall. I accomplished cutting approximately half of the two acres, and decided that was enough for one day, especially on a holiday weekend.
After a refreshing shower, I spent the rest of the day/night visiting and relaxing.
We were all up early this morning, mainly enjoying the baby. This was our last chance, since the kids had to leave around noon to get home and prepare for their workweek starting early tomorrow.
I was tempted to finish mowing the yard, but my aching back persuaded me to wait until tomorrow.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lynne, Styling Dodie's hair
On Thursday, Dodie and I both went to get our hair done. Dodie had her hair colored and styled, while I had mine cut. Afterward, we met Mike Cobb, CEO of ECI Development for dinner at the Riverside restaurant. It is an upscale restaurant on the outside docks at Regatta Point Marina in Palmetto, Florida. ECI owns three developments in Costa Rica, Belize and Nicaragua. Mike was an extremely personable guy, who gave us a lot of helpful information on what to expect if we decide to purchase property in one of these countries.

Friday, we had planned to have lunch with two of my daughters, Kim & Kathy. As it turned out, Kathy became extremely busy in her Florist shop (Oneco Florists), so we went by and visited with them at Kathy's shop. Kim helps in Kathy's shop a day or two each week and this was one of those days. We enjoyed a nice visit while everyone was busy designing floral arrangements. After our visit, we bought a used crib to keep at our house in Lakeland for when our youngest grandchild, Wyatt, visits. Then we had dinner at Duff's Buffett.

Saturday morning, we packed up and drove back to Lakeland in time to meet Joey, Renee and Wyatt at our house. They came to spend the long weekend. Joey and I put the crib together, and Wyatt loved it.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Camping in Bradenton, Florida

We left Mill Creek RV Resort yesterday and headed home to Lakeland. We checked on the cats and the house, but ended up sleeping in the motor home in our yard. When I walked into the house, I found that the door to the room that houses our automatic cleaning litter box was inadvertantly closed before we left for our trip. The poor cats had no where to poop, so guess what happened. We spent about an hour cleaning up, but everything is fine now. We can't blame the cats, it was our fault that they could not get to their litter box.

Chilling at the campsite
This morning we hit the road again. We drove to Bradenton where we had reserved a spot in Arbor Terrace RV Resort. The park is right in the heart of town, but you would never know it while there. As at Mill Creek, our parking fee was reduced by 50% due to our CampClub USA membership. This definately makes camping affordable.
I called one of my daughters that lives in Bradenton and her and her family came over to visit us tonight. Kathy, Brent and Allee showed up around six o'clock and I grilled hamburgers and hot dogs. Her son (and my grandson), Cody was unable to come. Sorry we missed you Cody.

Rear, left to right: Cody, Allee and Hailey
Front, left to right: Evan, Conner and A.J.

Kathy brought me some pictures that I hadn't seen. One was especially appreciated as it includes my grandkids from three of my daughters. When Sandra was in Bradenton after our trip to the Keys, they rounded up all the kids and had their picture taken together. It is rare to get that many of them together all at one time. I will cherrish this picture.

Dodie and I have hair appointments tomorrow afternoon. Lynne, my hair dresser, has been cutting my hair for years. After moving away from the area a number years ago, I always try to come back to get her to cut my hair. Every time I go to a different hair dresser, they chop up my hair. It is baby fine, and very dificult to cut.

Then , we have a meeting tomorrow night. We plan to have lunch with Kim and Kathy on Friday.

It is always great to see my kids and grandkids.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Had to say our goodbyes

I started my morning off, as usual with a cup of coffee. Dan got his electric griddle out and started cooking a whole big batch of blueberry pancakes, so I threw some sausage on my grill. The pancakes and sausage made an easy, but delicious breakfast.

Dan & I working on some complicated strategy
Since the kids have to leave today, Dan & I checked out a few problems they are having with their motor home. The 30 amp electric cable was heating up considerably, mainly, I felt, due to the condition of the male plug on the end. It was definitely overdue to be replaced from a life under various voltages, not all up to the desirable 120 volt range. We cut the old plug off the end of the cable and installed a new Bakelite plug. (Much more desirable than the original rubber plug integrated into the cable that comes from the factory).

After our electrical engineering project was completed, we tested it out..... no hot cable anymore.... Yeh!! We had both worked up a sweat, so the two of us headed to the pool to bring our body temperatures down. It sure felt great after our labor in the sun. By the way, my outside thermometer is currently showing 99 degrees!

We came back from the pool and checked out his generator. It had cut out on him on the way here, making their trip miserable with no air conditioning. When we cranked it up, it started and ran without a load, but the governor was oscillating to an extreme. After the generator warmed up, it smoothed out to some extent, but was not running properly. I set the idle adjustment up to a little higher RMP and it settled down, so we turned on the A/C to put a load on the generator. It ran much smoother, and seemed to handle the extra load with no problem. Life is good…. They will have air conditioning on their return home.

Tori on her new bike

The gentleman that lives across the street from our campsites, yes (the one that brought to my attention that I was in the space backwards), was having a garage sale. He had a beautiful pink bike, with multiple gears, both front and rear suspension, etc. It was brand new with only one little scratch on it. Tori fell in love with it, so we went over for her to take a test drive. I bought it for her. My granddaughter deserves a sexy bike, right?

Skeeter, waiting for the food to come out

After relaxing for a short while, they packed up, said their good by’s and headed for home. The generator finally died on them before they made it home. Oh well, I thought I fixed it. I guess Dan will need to get a real mechanic to take a look at it.

Tori wearing her fake nerd glasses,
Skeeter relaxing in the shade

Ginger enjoying a day camping

Dodie & I have decided to stay over for another day. Who knows, maybe two more days. Life is good when you're retired.

Saturday at Mill Creek Resort

I climbed out of bed at 9:00 AM, poured a cup of coffee, and opened our motor home door to find Marcene, Dan & Tori sitting on the patio. It seems they have been up since 7:00. Wow, that's early for a day off!

We lounged around most of the morning before going to the pool to cool off. It was extremely hot today. The thermometer showed 97 degrees at 3:00. It was probably closer to 100 degrees mid-day, but I didn't think to look.

Dan, settling into the pool routine

Marcene & Tori, poolside

After our swim, Dan & I checked out his refrigerator. It was not working on 110 volts. Checking the circuits, we decided the problem was in the "Brain". I suggested that we hot wire directly to the heating element. As hot as the weather is, I doubt if it will freeze everything in the fridge even though it will be cooling constantly without the thermostat in the equation. At least their food won't spoil.

Later, after the world didn't come to an end as was predicted, I threw some rib-eye steaks on the grill. We had baked potatoes, Caesar salad and corn along with them. The steaks had been marinating since yesterday afternoon, and were extremely tender. I added a little bit of Jack Daniels to the marinade. Everyone thought the added flavor was a good touch. We finished off the meal, after a break to let our food digest, with key lime pie.

Life is good....


Friday, May 20, 2011

Visit with my oldest daughter

Dodie and I awoke this morning, loaded a few items into the motor home and drove an hour to Mill Creek RV Campground in Kissimmee, Florida. We met Marcene, Dan and Tori for the weekend. They have an Alumalite (by Holiday Rambler) motor home, so we decided it would be fun to meet halfway between our respective homes. They live in Palm Bay, FL. We arrived first, around three o'clock in the afternoon. I went ahead and did the registration for both of our rigs, since they would be arriving after the park office closed. During several phone calls with the park manager, Gordon Dickson, we became old friends. Gordon is one of those persons that you just feel close to after a few conversations. When we arrived at the park, Gordon proved to be all I was expecting him to be. You couldn't ask for a more obliging manager. He assigned our two rigs to adjoining lots, making sure that our space was positioned so Dodie wouldn't miss her satellite TV reception.

As I pulled up to our lots, Dodie suggested that we pull in rather than back in, as we are supposed to do. She stated that that would allow us to have our doors facing each other, and we could set up a common outside lounging area between our two motor homes. Although I understood her reasoning, I quickly let her know that it would be a total pain for me, due to the location of all the hook-ups.

I told her that I would think about it while I unhooked the Hummer, but was not really wanting to go through all the extra work to accomplish her suggestion.

When I finished unhooking the Hummer and returned to the motor home, Dodie brought to my attention that we were spending the week end for the purpose of visiting with my daughter and her family. "Don't you want to be able to make it easier for us all to visit?" Dodie was making a very solid point.

Guess what...... I pulled our motor home into the space rather than backing it in. After an extra half hour in the grueling Florida heat, I had everything set up. I had to fish the sewer hose under the motor home to the sewer outlet using the extension hose, had to get the extra electric extension cord out and had to get the extra water hose out. Well, it did work out, and we ended up with a neat common area when they arrived.

Gordon stopped by while I was getting everything set up to make sure that we were able to lock in on the satellite, which we were. He asked about me being in the space backwards, thinking that I did it to be able to get satellite reception. I explained to him why I had parked the way I did. He thought that it was a great idea, since we were going to have both motor homes there in adjoining sites.

Just as I finished setting everything up, the guy that lives in the house across the street (not a part of the campground) sauntered up to me. I turned toward him and said hello. He looked at me as if I had committed some horrible sin, saying "Do ya realize that you are parked backwards in that space, son?" After explaining my reasoning to him, he shook his head and walked away. Some people just don't understand.

After my ordeal with the set up, I was sweating and somewhat overheated, so I put on my bathing suit and went to the pool. It was great. The water was a perfect temperature, and cooled my overheated body down to a respectable temperature.

The kids arrived around six o'clock, and backed in to their space. After we got both awnings out, and all the chairs, etc., we had a great set-up. Life is good!!!

I threw hamburgers on the grill and we had a very enjoyable evening, and look forward to a great week-end's visit.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Weekend at Madeira Beach KOA

We loaded the motor home yesterday morning and headed to Madeira Beach for the weekend. KOA offered a promotion for this weekend. Pay for Friday night and get Saturday night free. They call it their “Care Weekend”. They asked me for a donation to the children’s cancer fund, which I gladly obliged.
This is a nice campground, located on the water. It is close to the beach, plus you can bring a boat. I plan to return with our jet boat sometime this summer. They have a swimming pool and Jacuzzi amoung many other activities. It’s geared toward kids, so there is a multitude of families staying in the campground.
We left the two cats at home, since we will only be gone two days, and brought Skeeter, our dog. This is Skeeter’s first trip in the motor home. He absolutely loves it. He will definitely become a "motor home dog". He road on the dash during the trip here. He had a ball looking at all the traffic and sights. Once at the park, Skeeter adapted to campground life like a trooper. I’m sure this will be the first of many trips for him in the motor home.
We slept in this morning, but plan to get out and scout around the area for the remainder of the day. There are several restaurants that sound inviting, so we will probably choose one and have lunch out.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Lannie's Sixth Birthday

In addition to it being Mother's Day, Happy Mother's Day all you Moms, it is also Lannie, our grandaughter's, birthday. Six years ago today, she was born on Mother's Day. This is the first year since that both celebrations have been on the same date, so it is a special year for Lannie.

Make a Wish
Donna, Joey, Riley and Lannie came up for the weekend so we could all celebrate the occasion together. We had a nice visit last night and today. After a dinner consisting of Roast Pork Lion, French Fries and Baked beans, we brought out the Birthday cake. Lannie did a great job of blowing out the candle. Of course, she made a wish beforehand.

Cutting the Cake
Everyone was waiting for Lannie to cut the cake so we could have a piece. Once the cake was cut and the pieces were handed out, we all enjoyed our cake.

Of course, Lannie was dying to open her presents, so we had to eat fast.

Lots of presents
Finally, the part that Lannie was waiting for came..... Opening her presents. She received lot's of great presents, but the one she seemed to like best was the cash money. I guess she takes after her Grandad.

Lannie counting her money

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Finally, a Florida tag and registration for my car hauling trailer

I finally found the time to rewire the plug on the trailer and take it to the scales to get a weight ticket, required by the DMV. Today I went down with all of my paperwork and obtained a tag and registration. It took three separate trips, but finally it is done. Now I have Florida tags on all of my vehicles. Life is good....

Later, Dodie & I went To Brandon to a doctor's appointment. Afterword, we found a small family owned Italian restaurant, Angelina’s, and decided to try it. It was great. Dodie ordered the traditional spaghetti, while I ordered Veal Picatta. In addition, they had Escargot on the menu, and I could not resist. I seldom find Escargot in a restaurant these days, so when I do I usually order it. Our meal was exceptional. I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone in the Brandon area. We will definitely try it again in the near future.