Sunday, February 13, 2011

Life in the s-l-o-w lane. . .

Nothing wrong with life in the slow lane. It is quite relaxed with not too many demands.

The last two weeks have been a test of sorts here in Houston. Last week we had four days of sub-freezing weather and this week three days. Now, I know that won't garner much sympathy from our northern friends and relatives, but we take pains not to experience that kind of weather. But then, it's only a few days, so we managed to survive! Hahahaha. It was amazing to watch how a city the size of Houston deals with something they don't have much experience with. . . mainly ice with a threat of snow. They started by letting all the schools out early the day BEFORE this was to transpire. Yep, the schools let out shortly after noon in anticipating of the approaching winter storm. Now back home in Indiana, they would NOT send students home until the ice/snow had already been falling and building up on the ground. And then we would have to wait the next morning to hear if school was in session or not. But here in Houston, they not only sent the children home, but they announced that schools and most business would be closed the next day. Wow! I'm thinking. . . maybe they know something I don't. I thought it a wee bit silly, but in retrospect. . . 'twas not. I don't know that Houston keeps a supply of salt on hand for the occasional winter blast. I think sand might be available, but it's obvious, they cannot stockpile large amounts of a product they rarely have use for.

So, back to the closings. . . After everything shut down and everyone was home snug in their slankets, we waited for the storm. We were expecting some rain/freezing rain/ice/ and up to 3-4 inches of snow. The snow never did happen, and the rain/sleet, etc., did not start till around midnight. By morning, there was a layer of ice on our vehicles and that did require a fair amount of muscle to get the hard layer off the windows. It was impossible to get it off the truck cap windows, with no internal source of heat. But the roads that we could see were totally clear. HOWEVER, Houston has lots of bridges and elevated roadways and cautions abounded about staying off those areas. The news reporters were citing accident after accident occurring because people could get no traction and were sliding into one another. Before we ever got out to go to Terry's treatment, they were shutting down the loops around the city and any road that had a bridge on it. Course, remember that everything in town was basically shut down, so there should be fewer people on the roads. Of this, I am certain, but all the hospitals were open, so there were those workers who had to get to/from work. Many came in with suitcases in the event they were called to work over.

I must say, however, the "surface" roads. . . those not traversing any elevations, were totally dry and clear. Even after the rain. So even though we left early for our 4.6 mile jaunt to the Proton Treatment Center, we made it in the usual few minutes. There were many who did not make it in because they were not able to travel on the roadways. By the time we left the center at noon, the weather had warmed up and all roadways were clear once again. Whew.

We had another three days this week of freezing temps at night, so we had to pack up Phaeton Place and get refilled on propane. . . second time in 10 days, but that was easy. We should be good now and not require another fillup. The weather is warming up at night now, with 50's, so the heat pumps should do the job. The park water was shut off those evenings, so it was a minor inconvenience because they shut off ALL the water, including the bath houses and laundry, etc. So we basically boondock, except for electric. No problem.

We continue to meet and make friends in the park. Many are here for cancer treatment. I have never seen so many people look so good with cancer. Most have already had at least one round of treatment and then came here, now years later, when their cancer recurred. I pray for these people daily to maintain their courage in the struggle with this insidious disease. Everyday in the treatment center we see children. The proton beam is a favorite treatment with many childhood tumors because of its precise focus which affords little damage to adjacent areas. But it is heartbreaking to see children suffering. One child they tell me is transported back and forth with his mother on the gurney with him. Please, everyone, pray for the children of cancer.

I have made friends with almost all the dogs in the park. The only ones I haven't are the new arrivals. I carry six treats with me and I am running out everyday, so I must start with more. Pebbles is my favorite Schnauzer. She is a very petite miniature. Her mom, Pat, bred and raised show dogs and Pebbles has 32 AKC champions in her line. She is an amazing little dog, well trained and with perfect features. Pat is here for a recurrence of breast cancer. She had a radical surgery in December and is now undergoing chemo. She was doing very well, but is now starting to have some of the nasty side effects of the chemo. Last week she and her husband were both ill and I regret I had not checked on them. That was during the really cold snap and none of us were getting out unless we had to. Now that the weather is better, I will check on them regularly. I have offered to dogsit and they know I would treat Pebbles wonderfully, so they know they have someone to trust if need be.

The park is filling up. The rodeo is scheduled to start the first of March and people are coming in now to secure their site. Our friends, Dave and Reba are coming back soon for his surgery. They wisely called for reservations. There are still some sites close to us vacant, so hopefully, they will be close by. But we will still connect with them wherever they are in the park.

Terry's treatments are going well. He has one a day, in the morning, so we have the rest of the day. We go out to eat every Wednesday with the other guys (and their spouses) in the program. This Wednesday we are going to meet with Terry's college roommate. He has lived in Houston since graduating from Ball State and he is coming by to pick us up and take us to dinner. He was also best man in our wedding. It will be good to reconnect with Dave after all these years.

My cousin Jim and his lovely wife Lillian continue to be a source of strength for us. They are in the medical field (Lillian retired) and help out with our social calendar. They entertained us and another couple with a SuperBowl party last Sunday. We had a great time with great food and great company. It was most enjoyable. Jim is leaving this week for two weeks in Africa so we are wishing him a safe journey this week.

Till next time. . .


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