We Made It

Before I start this blog I want to thank all our veterans past and present for their service.  It’s kind of strange this Veteran’s Day not to have our World War II veteran around any longer–rest in peace Nat Clark.

Our wheels have finally stopped turning–we rolled into our Pearce, AZ home about 1:30pm and unloaded for a while before calling it a day.  It’s chilly here, our well driller/friend Brian stopped by to leave the backhoe keys (the backhoe stays at his house in the summer) and said it was 24 degrees at his house this morning.  He was blaming us for bringing the cold weather!

Thursday we left about 9am with chains on the truck to get down our snow covered driveway–  Off come the chains.

The roads were snow packed and icy until we reached Bozeman–then it was smooth sailing on dry roads the rest of the way.  But, it was dang cold!  We drove to Twin Falls, Idaho the first night staying in a La Quinta–nice hotel and quiet, waking up to a brisk 16 degrees.  Friday our plan was to drive to North Las Vegas until we realized it was Friday night in Vegas and room rates were double normal prices!  So, the Cowboy drove us to Kingman–600+ miles in one day–UGH!  At least it was warm and I didn’t have to carry those house plants into the hotel!

Saturday morning we drove to North Ranch where our own private RV awaited us in Larry and Geri’s yard.  As always it was so good to see them!  As luck would have it, there was a craft show and spaghetti feed going on at the activity center so that took care of lunch.  Late in the afternoon we went to Wickenburg to visit our friend Jill and her son Fritz who were at Jill and Terry’s newly purchased house for a few days.  Then it was to the Tasty Freez for pizza.  While at the restaurant Larry’s phone rang–seems Emmi was howling in the RV and the neighbors were concerned something was wrong with her–no, she is just a spoiled brat and it’s a good thing we live in the middle of nowhere both in Montana and Arizona!

Sunday we just relaxed and visited–Larry’s sister Deb and her husband Merv were also visiting from Minnesota–we’ve met them before and it was good to see them again.  We also paid Jim, Ellie and the new pooch Baxter a visit–we missed seeing Mike and Pat–they had gone to church and we ran out of time.  In the evening Geri and Larry hosted a potluck for all our ATVing friends.  It was so good to see all those folks–it’s been a while!

About 8am Monday morning we said our goodbyes and headed down the road.  It was such a relief to stop driving.  Our little house summered well and our caretaker Milton did a fantastic job this summer!  We’ve partially unpacked and are now relaxing with the heat on–can you believe that–but it is after all winter, even in Arizona!

Almost Ready

I think I could be perfectly happy to never see another snowflake! We have about eight inches on the ground and more falling–I went to Billings today for one last good haircut and the roads were totally clear from the Boulder Road all the way to Billings.  Seems we might have been right in the eye of this snowstorm.  It’s so icy and slippery–I slip and slid always worrying about falling.  At our age falling on the ice isn’t a good thing!

Monday we stayed home–can you believe it??  We packed and packed some more until we were both exhausted.  I’m thinking one house and a small RV which isn’t big enough to hold anything would be the way to go???  Tuesday we had to be in town before the garbage truck came to Nat’s.  We also were planning on a dump run but had our hours crossed–the dump isn’t open on Tuesday.

Billings was busy today–it almost seemed as if it was Christmas there were so many people out and about.  Do you have cable TV?  Nat had cable TV through Spectrum.  When we called to cancel the service we were told the equipment had to be returned in order for us to receive a refund.  So today I took the equipment to the Spectrum offices in Billings.  Six people waiting in line, two customer service reps helping two other people.  As I waited, more people came in behind me.  I walked up to the counter and politely asked if they could locate some help as the line was getting long.  The woman was very rude and told me, “no, there are just the two of us.”  I told her, “well, my time is way more valuable than to wait in line at a cable company, I will leave this box of stuff over here out of the way and you can process it at your leisure.”  I wrote Nat’s name and account number on top of the box and walked out. I called Spectrum on the way to my hair appointment and the customer service rep who answered the phone was a jewel.  We had been told we either had to return the equipment to the nearest service center–Billings–or drop it at the nearest UPS Store–Livingston.  The helpful customer service rep was very apologetic that the original phone rep had not told me they would send a prepaid box for the equipment.  So, so very glad I do NOT have cable! UGH!

We’ve slogged around in the snow and ice all afternoon packing–without the motorhome and its heat we can’t load some things until the last minute–such as my house plants.  I only have two small ones and they’ve always traveled with us but then it’s been a few years since we’ve left in a snowstorm at a predicted 16 degrees!

Soon we will be seeing sunshine!

Still Busy

Whew!  Friday morning was spent recovering from jet lag–going to the east coast just wears me out!  Friday afternoon we went to town–attorney’s office, bank, etc.  There are lots of decisions to be made at a time such as this.

A watery rainbow. Every day since I came home we’ve had rain/snow–not much but just enough to keep everything wet and muddy.

Saturday we spent in town at Nat’s house cleaning, tossing, boxing–the Cowboy’s daughter Shannen and her family came from Billings to help and they were a tremendous help!  It’s a relief to point someone in the right direction and they just go without needing a lot of direction.  We treated them to a late lunch then left for the day with a sense of relief that chore was behind us.

Today the Cowboy and I enjoyed a late breakfast and then began moving the stuff we brought home from Nat’s in the small cargo trailer into the horse trailer we are taking to Arizona.  Yes, we are not taking our new to us motorhome.  With all the stress of Nat’s last days and death the Cowboy wasn’t able to get everything fixed the way he wanted in the motorhome.  He’s not comfortable starting out on a 1500 mile journey in an unproven motorhome–we’ve never spent even one night in it and only drove it home, parking it in the driveway.  So we will travel to Arizona in the truck pulling the aluminum horse trailer we purchased last year.  All is well.

As we were unpacking some of the boxes from Nat’s I found the baby monitor type camera we purchased so Nat could signal to Barb in her bedroom that he needed assistance.  I suddenly had a bad feeling–in all the tossing on Saturday I remembered seeing a little white box and cord–I thought it was an old style answering machine and tossed it!!!  Luckily we hadn’t taken all the trash bags to the dump so we spent some time going through trash bags today–and found the monitor for the camera in the third bag–yeah!!

Our weather is about to deteriorate–snow is coming and very cold temps.  We are ready for some warm weather and sunshine!

 

Home Sweet Home

My plane arrived 45 minutes early in Bozeman just after noon today–I had to wait a bit for the Cowboy and one excited little pooch.  Ten days is a long time to be gone especially during this time–I am very glad to be back in Montana with my little family.

Last Monday I flew from Little Rock to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  Once a year my Kimberly-Clark nurse friends have a gathering–we each take a turn hosting–last year was my turn and we were in Tucson.  Elaine was hostess this year–she and her husband Mark have a time share condo in West Palm Beach, Florida.  There are four of us–Elaine, Shirley, Kelly and myself–unfortunately Shirley was unable to join us this year.

Tuesday Elaine had planned a nature hike at the just down the road John D. MacArthur Beach State Park.  Valarie was our ranger/guide and our group consisted of only two other people.  The guided hike was awesome–Valarie was so knowledgeable about the sea turtles and other animals plus all the native trees and bushes.  She also had a sense of humor–right at the beginning of her talk she said, “we are going to have a little fun before we start, come over here.”  There was a HUGE spider in its web just off the deck of the visitor center.  She had us stand with the spider in front of our faces–I WAS NOT in any way close to that spider–WARNING–this photo just looks as if I was really close.  We all had a good time posing with Mrs. Spider who according to Valarie had all ready eaten her mate, laid her eggs and was dying.

Look at the weight on these sea turtles–the park is a prime nesting ground for both the Leatherback and Loggerhead turtles–seeing a turtle nest hatch is on my bucket list.

We enjoyed lunches out, the resort amenities such as the hot tub, and the company of great friends.  We strolled on the beach and shopped just a bit.  The days went by too fast and it was time for Kelly and me to head back to the airport in Fort Lauderdale–we spent last night in an airport hotel as we both had early flights.

Our two little Halloween monsters–Brooks and Millie.

Now it’s time to get ready for our departure to Arizona.  We will be busy the next few days.

We’ve Been Busy

We’ve been busy to say the least!! Friday morning Mom and I drove to Little Rock for shopping and lunch. Friday evening was rehearsal dinner at Ross and Vicky’s–my brother and sister-in-law. We had a fantastic meal after the rehearsal and lots of help made quick work of the cleanup.

Saturday evening after much work on the part of both bride and groom families, we had a wedding–in a hay field right as the sun sank behind the trees. Hannah was a stunning bride and my nephew was looking mighty handsome too! The second photo is Vicky and my other nephew Trenton who was best man. Third photo is me, my Mom, brother Ross, and my sister Ann.

It was a beautiful wedding and the happy couple were on their way to Cancun today.

Today the rest of the family headed off to church–it was “pastor appreciation day” and my BIL Danny is the pastor. And their church gifted them with a money tree–proving money does grow on trees!!

While the family was at church I once again drove to Little Rock to return some boots I purchased and then on to Benton. Remember our good friends Gina and Rollie? Their daughter and her family now live in Benton and Gina just happened to be at their house this week. We haven’t seen Gina and Rollie in a while–it was so good to see her! We had a great visit and I enjoyed seeing their son-in-law Parker along with the two grandchildren–Jolee and Job. Was sorry to miss Dr. Ashley–she was working.

And, last but not least today was my great niece Leah’s birthday. One of her presents–

a dinosaur costume–why you might ask–we have no idea but she was having fun with it and we laughed so hard watching her have fun!!

The Cowboy and Emmi are holding down the fort–they all went out to dinner last night–daughter Shannen and her family plus Lonn, Katie, Michael and the babies. Tomorrow morning I head to Florida and on Thursday back home to Montana–I am ready!

Home In Arkansas

The airline powers that be cooperated and I had uneventful flights on Monday arriving in Arkansas thirty minutes early. Barb was kind enough to take me to the airport so the Cowboy could meet with the tire shop guy–our motor home flat tire is now fixed but we need a couple new lug bolts–if it’s not one thing, it is another.

We eat well in Arkansas–homemade soups, breakfast frittatas, etc.–and I’m sure as wedding preparations go, we will eat more and well.

Wednesday my sister decided our mother’s house needed a little maintenance. Here in the land of heat and humidity this green stuff called mold accumulates on anything left outside including house siding. Out came the buckets, hoses, brushes, bleach and Tide–Ann and I knocked out that job in a couple hours.

Danny and Ann also needed to do a little maintenance on their own house while the cats supervised.

This is where I grew up–my brother Ross now owns the farm raising cattle as my grandfather did.

Today Ann, Niki and I wandered to Little Rock for a little shopping and lunch. Mom had an early dinner ready so Danny and Ann could go watch their granddaughter cheer at the local football game. I am a fair weather (it’s raining) great aunt so I stayed home to visit with Mom and Chuck. My niece Niki took some of these photos with my camera.

Nat died this afternoon–we are relieved his suffering has ended. Nat and his great great grandson Brooks.

More Beautiful Fall Weather

Our temps have reached near 70 degrees for the last few days–chilly mornings, sunny and warm afternoons–perfect weather–now if I could only find a place where the weather is this perfect year round!

Saturday we stayed home and puttered.  I quilted and finished a little quilt for Jeane.  The Cowboy worked on various motorhome projects.  It’s amazing what that man can do–the front windshield curtain in this motorhome is operated by an electric motorhome and the previous owners told us it didn’t work–one of the ONLY things they told us didn’t work!!  The motor does work, it just needs to be re-wired–someone unhooked the wiring???  The shower glass wall is curved with a curved hanging door.  It’s bearings are worn and thus the door was always in danger of falling off–not good–it’s glass!  The previous owners’ answer to this problem was to remove the door and place it on the bed every time they moved–not happening!  So, the Cowboy is using his lathe to create new bearings–he is amazing.

Sunday Nat rallied to a certain extent and we gathered at his house.  It’s a roller coaster to say the least.  Nat was a bomber on a B29 aircraft named Flak Alley Sally during World War II–when I Googled the plane name this photo popped up.  We also have a copy of this photo or a similar one in Nat’s things.  Nat is in the second row, far left.

Monday we ran errands in town, dropping off Jeane’s quilt and making various other stops.  Tuesday morning I am heading to Arkansas–I’ve been torn about whether to go or stay and the Cowboy wants me to go.  This is a trip that has been planned and tickets purchased for a long time.  My nephew Clayton is getting married Saturday evening.  On the Monday after the wedding I am traveling to West Palm Beach, Florida for my yearly gathering with my Kimberly-Clark Corp. nurse friends.  It’s a long time to be gone but I can always jump on a plane and come home–so I am going and I can’t wait to see my family.

My little bunny quilt–now it needs to be quilted.

Chinese Cooking Class

Almost all our leaves are gone and the ones left have a brownish rather than gold tint. Our weather this week has been amazing–it was 70 degrees with sunshine today!

The high school in Big Timber offers adult education classes during the school term.  We are usually in Arizona by the time the classes start but this year is different.  One of the classes offered was a Chinese appetizer cooking class to be held at the private home of a talented local cook.  Tom and Lynn’s kitchen is every cook’s dream kitchen–huge industrial stove and hood, stainless steel sink and counter tops–gorgeous!  We chopped, stir fried, sipped wine, dipped and sampled.  We learned how to make egg rolls and fried wantons–Chinese food is a lot of work! And the egg rolls and wantons are deep fat fried–not exactly healthy–but delicious!  There were five “students” and we enjoyed ourselves immensely.  We don’t drive much at night any longer–doesn’t that make me sound old!!–and I slowly drove back up the Boulder dodging the deer and elk to find dear husband waiting up for me.

We’ve spent a lot of time at Nat’s the last few days–Nat’s life is ebbing away.  Our small family has been gathering at his bedside off and on.  Jenn and Barb have been providing such tender, loving care for Nat.  It’s a hard time for Nat’s family but he’s lived a good life and is ready to go.

Today we took some time and went to Billings.  The Cowboy received his Shingrix vaccine at Costco and we both got the flu vaccine.  We had a good lunch at Jake’s, shopped a little and came home.  I’ve loaded a quilt on the frame and the Cowboy examined the backs of his eyelids.  He’s not having any side effects so far from his Shingrix vaccine other than a sore arm–a good thing!

Grubby hat, grubby coat but still my favorite Cowboy on a chilly fall morning.

 

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary to us–twenty four years ago in a snowstorm we stood in the living room of friends Terry and Jill and were married.  We had a whirlwind courtship of two months before getting married but I’m thinking it was a good decision!  The Cowboy’s truck was finally ready in Livingston so we decided lunch at the Rib and Chop would be our anniversary celebration. We had a great meal–delicious–and good conversation.  I would say it’s a sign of a good marriage when you still talk–I see couples sitting in restaurants never saying a word to each other or they are focused on their phones–we talk.

Our weather yesterday and today has been outstanding–60 degrees, no wind and sunshine–perfect Indian summer and it’s to continue!

Sunday I sewed the blocks of the bunny quilt together and attached the borders.  I am anxious to start quilting some of my own projects again.  The Cowboy is taking a watercolor painting class soon so he found his watercolors and practiced–I liked his finished project!

Monday we went to Nat’s to check on him and to give his newer care giver a little helping hand.  Back home I walked Emmi and the Cowboy discovered a streak of energy enough to wash the grime off our jeep and car.

 Gloomy skies early Monday morning before the sun came out.

We had eight ladies at yoga this morning in Nancy’s “barn” guesthouse.  Our teacher Julia has been so busy with her two sons this month that we’ve been using a DVD and it’s a good work out.  Julia will be back in November and we will be very glad!  On Thursday we all go out to Julia’s house north of Big Timber for yoga.  Normally by this time we would be in Arizona so I may get to enjoy lots of yoga classes this winter.

Winter Arrived

But it’s not going to stay long–this coming week our forecasters are calling for sunshine and highs in the 50’s.  Our four wheel drive diesel pickup is still in the shop and we had to drive the jeep in the snow today–here’s a link to what happened the last time we drove the jeep in a snowstorm!  To be fair, today’s roads were a piece of cake compared to the roads on the December night in 2013 when we rolled the jeep over in a ditch–it was eighteen degrees below zero that night and the the roads were pure ice.  Today the roads were just slushy.

Thursday the Cowboy dropped me at Julia’s for yoga and then went to visit his dad.  Once home the Cowboy puttered with those dang chain saws (one chain saw now runs and cuts) and I hung out in the quilting studio–working on my Buggy Barn bunny quilt–I finished all nine bunnies!  It was mostly sunny and warmish–we decided to take a late afternoon drive up the Boulder to look for critters.  No critters to speak of–just deer– but the scenery was beautiful!

Friday I made a run into town to check on Nat leaving the Cowboy and Emmi at home.  My guy is one happy cowboy–the motorhome AquaHot now totally works!!!  The system heats the whole coach and heats our hot water. It’s such a relief to him to have that system finally fixed!  He could make the bedroom and bathroom zones heat as well as heat water but he could not make the living/dining/cockpit area zones heat.  He ordered a new pump for that zone but yesterday decided to take a new route and now thinks this zone had an air lock.  It works and now we can be toasty warm!  We also made a failed attempt at getting to that inside dual off the rim flat tire we have but while the Cowboy has massive amounts of tools his compressor was not up to the task.  So, we wait for the tire shop–who are so busy installing winter snow tires for people!

I can help you says Emmi!

Today we braved the roads to check on Nat and were so glad to be there when the Cowboy’s friend Royal called to see if it was OK for him to visit.  Nat was alert enough to recognize and talk with Royal–they had a good visit. Nat can tell many stories about the scrapes the Cowboy and Royal found themselves in as teenagers!  Royal took us to lunch–he is such a funny guy–we had a great visit!

Safely back home we are warm and watching the snow fall–a very good day!

Nat built the fence you see in this photo.