Friday, March 30, 2012

Moving right along. . .

It's been a busy travel week with other events thrown in for good measure.

We left Victoria, Texas, on Sunday morning and arrived in Houston at LakeView RV Resort in early afternoon. We set up camp and watched the Nascar race. We had an invitation to my cousin Jim's for dinner that evening. It was wonderful as usual with baked salmon, broccoli, cauliflower, a dinner salad, fresh rolls, and angel food cake with strawberries and icecream for dessert. Doris, a retired colleague of Jim and Lillian's was there. We have met her on several occasions there and it was good to see her again. It was a great evening.

Everything went smoothly with Terry's oncology checkup. His PSA is staying way down which is where it should be after treatment and the doctor was very pleased with his overall condition. We don't have to go back for a year now, so all is well.

When we left Houston, we headed north to Henderson, Texas. We met friends last year at the RV park in Houston who live there. Dave was there for prostate cancer and eventually had surgery for that. But he always has a type of lymphoma and is about to start chemo for that. We went to see them and visit. They have just remodeled their home and it is just gorgeous. It looks like something out of a magazine, it is that beautiful. They did a wonderful job selecting all the flooring, paints, trims, etc. I could never do as good a job! We also enjoyed dinner at a lovely Italian restaurant which was very good.

We could not find a campsite in the Henderson area, but the two campgrounds in the area offered to let us park for the night for no charge. Wow. We thought that was pretty sweet. So we did just that. We had plenty of space and were able to put out our slides and run our generator. It wasn't hot at night, so we were able to stay quite comfortable. However, it was quite evident that our house batteries are discharging very quickly. Hmmmm. They are almost 7 years old and we live in the coach, so they get a lot of use. . . charging. . . discharging, etc. Terry wanted to get them replaced.

We left Henderson and drove to Vicksburg, Mississippi, for the night, planning on taking in some casinso. And we did just that. Didn't win big, didn't lose big, and were sufficiently entertained. But, once again, the campground there was full. The campground hostess said she has never seen it like this. She said people told her they were heading north early to beat the high fuel prices. She offered us the very large paved overflow parking lot where one other RV was parked. So we took that, boondocking for a second night in a row. She also allowed us the use of the bath house for FREE! Wow. Really great service. So again we were straining those rapidly discharging batteries.

During our drive over to Mississippi, Terry was on the phone trying to get some insurance claim going for our windshield which is broken top to bottom. It was decided we would head to Red Bay, Alabama, to the Tiffin plant and get it swapped out there. Only problem is that once again. . . the camp is full and we might have to boondock. No problem really, except for those batteries. So, we came through Jackson, Mississippi and stopped at Sam's Club and bought four new batteries for the coach. We wheeled them out to the coach and Terry changed clothes and swapped them out. He had diagrammed the setup and put the new ones in and they worked perfectly. So now if we have to boondock, we will have plenty of lights!

Leaving Jackson, we picked up the Natchez Trace, my all time favorite road. Such a treat after Jackson. I told Terry that I think every road that merges in Mississippi does so in Jackson on I-20. What a mess and everyone drives fast. I was glad to put it behind us.

As we were driving along late afternoon, we got a call from my former colleage Dave. He and friend Mark have a big motorhome and happened to be on spring break this week. I figured they had gone to Florida, where they normally go. Hah. They had driven to northern Mississippi and were camped at Tishomingo State Park, about 9 miles from Red Bay. In fact, they had been in Red Bay to see the Tiffin setup there. When he called, they were on their way to the Coon Dog Cemetary. Hah! When we arrived in Red Bay, they were behind us when we pulled into the camp. We are actually staying at the Red Bay RV park, down the road from the service center where we have full hookups.

After greetings all around, Dave invited us back up to the state park and said he would fix us dinner. Not a bad deal for us! So after we got set up, we drove the nine miles or so back up to Tishomingo and had a great dinner and evening with Dave and Mark and their doggies, Baxter (Scottish Terrier) and Dylan (Airdale). A great time was had by all. Thanks Dave and Mark. We greatly enjoyed the evening.

We are back at our camp now and will hang out here till we get the windshield replaced. Hopefully it won't take too long and we will head to Indiana for doctor appointments when we leave here.

Our daughter says Aenea, our little granddaughter born at 28 weeks is doing well. She has gained back to her birth weight and continues to do well in the NICU at UVA. Prayers are still welcome for her. We will be headed there after our Indiana doctor appointments.

Till next time. . .


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Leaving Mission. . .

This morning we broke camp in Mission, Texas, and started our trek north. Actually we had been breaking camp for several days. We started a few days ago getting things put up and getting the coach ready to go.

The Texas Room is not completely finished, but it is more complete than we thought it would be by now, so we are happy. We have work to do when we come back next fall, but we may even ask John to help with it and get it all done in a week or so. We think the room will be a great benefit to us and give us a little more space while we are there and even make it more sellable when we decide to leave that area.

We drove 245 miles to Victoria, Texas, and are camped in the Gateway to the Gulf RV Park. This is a nice park and very convenient for us. We were out visiting with neighbors tonight and met "Morgan" the macaw. She even let me hold her. She is a beautiful bird and was very mild mannered.

We also talked with the couple next to us. They now live in Tennessee, but are from the Richmond, Indiana, area and she graduated from Ball State. He was a printing and graphic arts teacher. Hah. Imagine that. We lived about 35 miles from Richmond, both graduated from Ball State and Terry has a degree in teaching printing and graphic arts. The fellow, Terry and I are all vocationally licensed. Small world indeed.

Tomorrow we head to Houston where we have reservations at Lakeview RV Resort for two nights. Terry has his one year cancer checkup at MD Anderson on Monday. Then we will start heading east and north.

Just a note about baby Aenea. She is doing very, very well. She first came off the oscillator, then off the regular vent. She now breathes totally on her own. She is on CPAP, but they are also weaning her off that. She is involved with "Kangaroo Care" which means Mom puts her into her shirt for some skin to skin contact and then they wrap up in blankets. Tom thought they may remove all the IV's for supplemental nutrition today. She has been getting her mother's milk since she was born. She is almost two weeks old now.

Till next time. . .


Thursday, March 22, 2012

Texas Room, work continues!

The Texas Room is not done and will not be done before we leave here on Saturday. We knew going in that it would not get finished, but we actually are further along than we anticipated we would be at this point, so that makes us very happy.

While I was gone to Virginia, Terry took delivery of the kitchen cabinets. He has those installed and the microwave/convection oven set. Because Home Depot jerked us around a lot on the cabinets and damaged them and delayed delivery, we were not able to get the countertop set. That is inconvenient at this point, but we really hadn't found the countertop we wanted, so perhaps next fall we will be able to find just what we want.

The refrigerator that "was no longer available" was found and it is in and working well. . . freezing ice cream hard just like Terry likes it. We have more freezer space now so next year we will be able to take advantage of sales of frozen goods when we return here.

I am finishing up the painting over the bathtub which was not ready when we painted before and I have been painting coats of white to my ironing board wall unit. Terry wants to hang it before we leave.

So things are coming along. The outside is cleaned up and all extra items have been returned to the various stores. Terry thought he would get a little more "down" time before we left, but without me being here last week, he really had to hustle to get everything done.

Last evening we went out to eat with Mom and Dad at Mr. Gatti's one last time. It was pretty good. . . pizza, pasta, soup, salad, drink, etc., all for a $3.99 coupon. They have four coupons left for when my sister and niece get here in another three weeks to drive them home.

We bought ribeye steaks for tomorrow lunch and are going to have a feast for Mom and Dad. I just rushed home from Virginia and with finishing stuff up on the Texas room and getting ready to roll and all, kinda feel like I'm not spending enough time with them.

We are leaving for Houston on Saturday, but will spend the night in Victoria. . . then roll into Houston on Sunday. Already emailed my cousin and have an invite for Sunday dinner, so we will be able to touch base with them. Monday is Terry's cancer checkup at MD Anderson.

Life is good.

Till next time. . .


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Family Time

I spent last week in Virginia trying to help the kids as much as I could. I wanted to make sure that Jocelyn got where she needed/wanted to be and took care of Ronan to help with Tom's schedule. Without close family around them, they will have to come up with a schedule for NICU visits by Mom and Dad, Tom's work, and Jocelyn's pumping schedule. Ronan is not hard to care for, but with his many allergies, extra care is important. Fortunately some friends have stepped up to help, so they should be able to cope in the weeks ahead.

Aenea is doing well. She had been placed on an oscillator, a different type of ventilator, but was stepped off of that yesterday and is now on a regular ventilator. All her systems are working and she spends most of her time sleeping which is just what she should be doing at this stage. Jocelyn was not able to hold her while she was on the oscillator, but now that she is off that, Jocelyn actually got to hold her last night. From the look on her face, she was all about that. The last time she held her was when she was born at home into her mother's arms and Jocelyn placed her upon her chest where she rested while being transported to UVA ER.

Fortunately my flights back to Texas, Charlottesville to Atlanta, Atlanta to McAllen, were uneventful and earlier in arrival in Texas than scheduled. No problem there. Terry was waiting for me. It was hard to leave the kids and the new baby, but we must leave on Saturday for Houston, so we have work to do till then.

First up is dinner out with Mom and Dad at Mr. Gatti's later this afternoon. Looking forward to that.

Till next time. . .


Friday, March 16, 2012

Aenea Anwen Lynch

Our new granddaughter was born March 12, 2012, in Virginia. She was just 28 weeks gestation and weighed 2.75 pounds and measured 14.25 inches. She looks absolutely perfect, just very tiny. She is doing very well and is not requiring much more than normal NICU care for her age. I will blog more about her later, but I am currently using Terry's netbook with a dinky keyboard that I love to hate.

She was born late Monday night at home and we found out early Tuesday morning. I hopped a plane from McAllen to Charlottesville and arrived late Tuesday night. I am here to help with big brother Ronan so Mom and Dad can spend as much time as they want with the new baby. I fly back to Texas next Monday.

Jocelyn is doing remarkably well, busy with the breast pump. Mother's milk is so very important to preemies. She had been ill a few days before the surprise birth, but there is no determination of what she had or what caused the premature birth.

It will be a busy time in the weeks and months ahead for the family as little Aenea (uh-NEE-ah) gains weight and strength. All is going well so far and prayers are always welcome.

I will blog more when I return to Texas.

Till next time. . .


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Winding down!

Well, this morning we went to breakfast. The park puts on a different breakfast every Saturday and we haven't missed one while we have been here. There are pretty good for $3 and we enjoy getting out and visiting with other park residents.

John came back this morning and worked on the bathroom sink. There was a leak and he fixed it. But when he fixed it, he re-assembled something incorrectly and you couldn't move the plunger to open the sink up again. Terry fiddled with it and got it working, but the handle is leaking now. It's not leaking from the drain anymore, so he is going to have to work on it again.

It was a cold day here in the RGV. . . colder than yesterday I think. But there isn't any wind today. Terry wanted to work out in the building, but it was chilly, so he got out the fireplace heater we bought to put in the room. After using it for a few hours, we think we probably didn't need the heat pump/AC unit we bought. The little fireplace heated the entire space and it felt so warm and toasty in there.

I cleaned on the inside. Going to do the windows on the outside tomorrow and also work more on the back door. It is a used trailer door and works nicely as an egress door, but it needs to be cleaned up. I removed the stickers off the new windows and swept and mopped the floor this time. I hadn't mopped the tile yet, but I went over it today. It looks so nice. I am going to love it.

It will all get messed up once again when the kitchen cabinets are installed, but that is okay. I wanted it cleaned up. I think I may put our lawn chairs in there and maybe we can "cozy" up to the fire some evening. Hah.

I have a lot of things I'm thinking I would like to buy and put in the room, but I probably won't do that this year yet. Probably will wait till next year. We leave here in two weeks, so we don't have time to do much. And it still isn't finished. . . the woodwork needs to be put down, gas installed, heat pump/AC installed, etc.

I included some pictures I took after cleaning today. They are pretty self-explanatory. There will, of course, be doors on the closets when we are done!

Till next time. . .


Friday, March 09, 2012

Texas Room Day 30!

We started out at 7 a.m. this morning by returning some stuff to La Popular, the local Mexican lumber yard. The gal working the register told us to come then because she is there and she speaks English. So we took advantage of her advice and got our returns made in record time.

When John came, he started working on the water heater and got it installed and cooking water. I had hoped to take a bath tonight in the new tub, but with everything they did today, I have to clean before I can use the bath! Also today the bathroom vanity was installed. They still have a leak they are working on, but John will work on it tomorrow. My mirror is hung in the bath. We moved the washer/dryer into place but it won't get installed till next fall when we have our gas installed.

Also the light fixtures are all up and they look really nice. I went out tonight and bought some rugs for the bathroom. I really like the tile which has an orangey tint, very subtle. So I bought "burnt orange" rugs and towels and they really add some color to the room. I'm so tired of the greens and browns, so decided on something a little more bold.

I called about our kitchen cabinets, but it will be Monday or Tuesday before they get delivered. Hopefully John will be able to help set the upper cabinets. It would be nice to get the microwave installed yet this spring.

Till next time. . .


Thursday, March 08, 2012

Texas Room Day 29!

What a day! The winds continue down here in south Texas. Actually they kicked up even higher during the night and it was really rocking the motorhome. Don't know how strong they were, but the 35 mph winds yesterday were considerably less than last night. By morning it was back to the 35 mph winds and John had that to contend with while he put down the skirting around the Texas room.

Around noon, Lowe's delivered a partial order (yeah, thanks for that Lowe's and for NOT calling before you came). The refrigerator was not in and that is what we wanted more than anything. But the water heater, washer/dryer, and the bathroom vanity was delivered. We just set that stuff in the Texas room and perhaps tomorrow John will get to it. Tomorrow is technically his last day for us, but if he gets some time next week before he leaves, he may come work. We don't intend to do anything once he is gone. Terry needs to rest up as he hasn't been able to rest properly during the day. Today it was so hot and just being outside all day in the wind was tiring.

So we are getting closer with the room, but there is still a lot of work to be done. All the interior doors, trim, still some painting, water heater installation, w/d installation, kitchen cabinets ordered but not yet in, A/C/heat pump, etc. We plan to finish it up when we get down here next fall. But the worst of it will be over before we leave in a couple weeks.

Till next time. . .


Wednesday, March 07, 2012

Texas Room Day 28!

Whew. It's tiring watching John work! Today he got all the gas lines run under the room. We won't, however, be hooking the gas up this year as we don't plan on using it in the 2 1/2 weeks we have left here. So we will do that once we return next year. The commode was put in yesterday.

After that, John worked on getting the tub installed and the panels around the tub. It really looks nice. Terry spent most of the day cutting up cardboard to take to recycling and getting stuff in the trash barrels. I dry mopped the tile. John didn't want me to use the wet mop yet, but I was able to get some of the dust up.

Once we got that done, Terry got some stuff ready to return to Home Depot and after supper, we loaded up that stuff and headed out. We were gone about three hours. Returning the stuff was easy, but then we had more to buy. We did get a bathroom door. Whoo Hoo!

Tomorrow the water heater will be delivered along with the bath vanity, the refrigerator and the washer/dryer. The kitchen cabinets are due next week.

John plans on getting the skirting done tomorrow. I hope the wind dies down so it will be easier. We have had strong winds for two days. I think 35 mph winds with higher gusts. It has really been wicked, but that is part of living in the RGV.

Till next time. . .


Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Texas Room Day 27!

Today the tile was finished. The grout was mixed and applied to the tile throughout the room. It was sponge mopped once and will get it again tomorrow afternoon. Woo hooo!

Till next time. . .


Monday, March 05, 2012

Texas Room Day 26!

Today John has been busy laying tile! It really looks good. He starts by laying out the grid through the entire room, including the bath and closets. Then he cuts the small pieces that fit around corners and around pipes, etc. Then he starts putting down the thin set and laying the tile. He started back in the bathroom. It was tedious work, but since he had already cut everything, it was easier than it could have been. Once he turned the corner into the hallway it went quicker and then the lounge area promised to be a lot quicker. It is 5:30 now and they plan to finish. Probably not another hour's worth of work. It will have to sit overnight and he said he will be able to grout tomorrow. Then it has to sit for 24 hours, I think.

Lowe's called and they will be delivering on Thursday. Washing/dryer, water heater and refrigerator! Whoo hoo! We are getting there. While there is still a lot of work to do, it is getting closer to being finished. Still not sure if it will be done before we leave. We don't have a counter top or a cooktop, and we haven't heard if the cabinets are in yet or not.

Till next time. . .


Sunday, March 04, 2012

Painting is done!

Today Terry and I painted the walls. It didn't really take long to do. Terry does the roller part and I do all the cutting in and the ceiling and the corners. The color is "weathered sandstone" and is the same throughout. It looks darker in the bathroom, but there isn't as much light there. It is much cooler today and in fact it started out cold this morning. But the day has turned into a beautiful day with plenty of sunshine and nice temperatures. There is a slight breeze. Don't need any heat or A/C today. Just gorgeous. We worked early today so we could come in and watch the Nascar race. Whoo hoo! I think later I will go out and maybe sweep the room and help Terry clean up the lot a little.

Till next time. . .


Texas Room, Day 25!

Friday John spent the day under the Texas room laying pipe. Whoot! He wishes he had made the room a few more inches off the ground because he has to suck it in when he scoots under the joists. But he got it done! All the plumbing underneath is completed and nothing is leaking. He still has to run gas lines underneath, but the big part is done. Terry sat at the edge of the room with all the parts in bags and as John would call for them, he would pass them under to where John was working.

When John went home for the day, we were able to push the dirt back in the hole and cover up the connections. There will still be skirting to put around the unit, but this had to be done first. None of the appliances are set yet, but we are getting closer.

Yesterday Terry and I painted. The ceiling is done. We actually primed the entire place on Friday evening, then yesterday painted the ceiling. Actually, the closets are done as well. Today we hope to go out and paint the walls. We went last evening and bought more paint, thinking the one gallon we got earlier would not do the trick. So we are all set now.

We have a big delivery for Thursday, but the tile has to be laid first. If it doesn't get done, we will have to postpone the delivery. That includes the washer/dryer, the refrigerator and the water heater.

It's coming along!

Till next time. . .


Thursday, March 01, 2012

Texas Room Day 24!

Today John sanded all morning. He got the drywall ready for painting. After lunch Terry and I started applying the primer. It took us most of the afternoon and into the evening. We used four gallons of primer. While we were doing that, John worked on the plumbing. He has the water lines plumbed into the building. He certainly works quickly!

We are dead tired. . . wait. . . maybe just dead. That would explain how tired we are. It was supposed to get to 88* today. Don't know if it did, but it was breezy, so it was nice under the canopy all day. The room is so well insulated that with the breeze going through, it stays nice enough to work. It was a little hot in the closet though. Tomorrow it is supposed to be 95*. Ugh. Hope it doesn't get that hot. It would make working a little uncomfortable. Once we get the area painted where the air conditioner will go, it can be installed.

Till next time. . .