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.

An Old Tale

As there isn’t much going on around here and certainly nothing exciting I thought I would tell you a story.  The Cowboy’s family has lived in the Boulder valley since the late 1800’s when his great-great uncles arrived.  In 1894 great-great uncle Frank Bliss purchased the Grand Hotel and made it a first class hotel and restaurant.  Family rumor has it Uncle Frank lost the Grand Hotel in a horse race!  Grandfather Clark, as a teenager, helped care for an outlaw who having been shot in the street was brought into the Grand to recover.  Rumor has it the bullet was removed while the outlaw reclined on the pool table. The Grand Hotel still exists in Big Timber and is a hotel/bed and breakfast/restaurant.  It’s one of the places the Cowboy took me during our short courtship. The building is a stately, gorgeous brick building with lots of beautiful oak paneling inside. I think if you click on the photo below it will enlarge–this article hangs in the bar of the Grand Hotel.

And another Grand Hotel story–when my Dad was alive we had all gone there to have dinner one summer evening.  My dad was a southern gentleman, very private and did not like to cause any scenes.  He spoke very slowly and ate even slower. That night the dining room was packed and noisy. Dad began to choke–I noticed but didn’t do anything so as not to call attention to Dad, thinking his choking would resolve.  But, it quickly became more serious and my mother said, “Janna, do something.”  I sprang out of my chair, jerked my father to his feet, performed the Heimlich maneuver and out popped a piece of steak.  All was well except for Dad’s embarrassment!  The next morning when Dad woke I asked him if he was OK and if his throat hurt.  His reply spoken in that loooong southern drawl, “no, I’m OK but daughter, I thought you were going to let me choke to death!!!” So much for my being worried about his being embarrassed!

Geez has our weather been nasty–our high temperature today was around 38 degrees, the wind blew and it spit snow pellets all day.  We went into Big Timber this afternoon–the fall colors along McLeod Street are stunning–

The Cowboy has been working on his chain saws–we cut firewood the other day and two of his chain saws quit.  My morning consisted of routine chores–making granola, bathing the dog, laundry, etc.  It may well be a long winter.

Not Much Is Different

Saturday was a busy day for us–two trips to town to see about Nat–he continues to slid downhill gradually every single day. His care is now all about what he wants and how to keep him comfortable.  We are grateful he can still converse with us most of the time.

Sunday we were back at Nat’s and today we spent most of the day there with him.  Katie stopped by late this afternoon with Brooks and Millie–Nat knew who they were and thanked them for visiting him.

We’ve cut some dead aspen trees for firewood–our house is heated in a variety of ways–we have radiant floor heat in all the basement floors and under the tile floors upstairs.  We have baseboard electric heat upstairs and a wood stove in the basement with floor vents which allow the heat to radiate upstairs–we stay warm.

Sunday and today we’ve actually seen some sunshine.  It might snow tonight and then again it might not but our temps are chilly and the wind is brisk.  Our fall colors will likely diminish after this storm passes through.

What’s Wrong With The Cowboy

Wednesday was a Billings day–a new doctor for me and a haircut.  The new doctor kept me waiting in a freezing cold exam room for 25 minutes–and of course I wasn’t exactly dressed warmly!  He entered the room apologizing profusely and he was all forgiven after writing a prescription for a low dose hormone patch.  Guy readers–if you don’t want to read the rest of this, skip on down.  I started menopause at 54 years of age and about a year after that I started using a hormone patch to control the hot flashes and insomnia.  My previous physician thought I should stop the hormone patches by the time I turned 60 but I didn’t.  Last December at the age of 62, I stopped the patches on my own.  The hot flashes weren’t so bad but I begin to once again have insomnia–go to bed, fall asleep, wake up five minutes later and be awake for two to three hours–awful.  When the insomnia first started early this year, I would have 2-3 bad nights and then several good nights.  Lately, every night was bad and no sleep makes for a crabby me.  I have an old prescription for sleeping pills but I hate using them as they can quickly become habit forming.  I would only give in and take a sleeping pill after I had had several nights of little sleep.  And it seemed as if the hot flashes were ramping up once again–waking up at night all sweaty is disgusting!

This physician saw no reason why I couldn’t use the hormone patches once again.  He gave me many good reasons why it would be OK and so I am sleeping!  The very first night I slept eight solid hours and the same the next night.  I am a happy camper.

OK guys–you can start reading now. 🙂  What’s wrong with the Cowboy–only once in our almost 24 years of marriage has my dear husband taken a vehicle to a repair shop.  We did take our newer, under warranty truck to the shop but that’s different.  The Cowboy’s pride and joy–the 1997 Ford F350 is sick–it won’t go into overdrive.  The Cowboy ordered one part and installed it but that didn’t fix the issue.  Thursday morning we took the truck to Livingston to a transmission shop.  I’m thinking the Cowboy has had enough “fixing” with all the repairs he’s had to do on the motorhome and that’s entirely OK–someone else can work on the truck!

We’ve had rain/snow and very chilly temps–the snow didn’t accumulate except up on the mountains.

 You know it’s fall when the crows begin to gather and you see lots of bald eagles–we’ve seen about six on our way to town at various times in the last two weeks.

 We bought that spruce tree at Costco when it was about two feet tall–it’s grown beautifully–being under the lawn sprinkler system doesn’t hurt!

Our neighbor is supporting lots of deer!  And a little restoration–we continue to shake our heads over this motorhome and it’s missing pieces.  No generator, no stereo system, no remote controls, no sink and stove covers and the refrigerator was missing several parts–a door handle, the vegetable/fruit bins, and the drip tray under the cooling fins.  We finally located a door handle on eBay–it was actually a pair so now we have matching door handles.  The drip tray and veggie bins have been impossible to find so today, the Cowboy created a drip tray out of copper–won’t rust.  The refrigerator is original to this 2001 motorhome but someone had installed a new Amish cooling unit so hopefully the refrigerator will last a while! 

Today was a beautiful sunny but windy and very chilly day!

Meeting Ourselves Coming And Going

We’ve been so busy I forgot to write a blog last night–didn’t even think about it.  So, let’s get with it and I will see if I can remember what we did three days ago!!–my sleep issues continue and that doesn’t help the memory!

Surprise, surprise–Saturday had the Cowboy working on the motorhome once again.  We had gotten in the habit of not winterizing our RVs as we would leave for Arizona early enough to avoid the freezing temps and come back to Montana in the spring after the freezing temps had hopefully gone.  This new to us Beaver coach is not easy to winterize!  The HydroHot system alone took five gallons of RV antifreeze!!  And it’s impossible to “blow out” the HydroHot system so that wasn’t an option.  But now it’s ready for those freezing temps the weather man tells us are coming.

Saturday evening we attended the wedding reception of friends/neighbors–Keith and Dee.  Photo borrowed from Dee’s Facebook page.  It was a very fun evening–lots of friends and neighbors, good food, dancing–lots of fun!  Even the kids enjoyed!

Saturday was damp and chilly with intermittent rain showers–the showers held off long enough for the outdoor wedding to proceed.  Saturday night it rained and Sunday we woke to this–

Rain and snow showers continued for most of the day–we decided to be couch potatoes–we had earned it!

Nat has had a few bad days starting early Sunday morning–exhausting for all his caregivers.  Monday night he finally slept and today is much calmer.

Monday morning I washed windows–a chore I despise with a passion!  My rule is to wash the windows once in the spring and once in the fall–if they are dirty in between, too bad!  There are lots of windows in this house!

Monday evening we met Sarge and Sarah for dinner at Sage Lodge in Emmigrant, Montana on the way to Yellowstone Park from Livingston, Montana.  It’s a brand new, massive hotel/cabin/restaurant complex with views which will knock off your socks!  We dined in the Grill–the dinner dining room.  They also have a breakfast and lunch dining room located in the hotel portion of the development.

Not the greatest photo but you can see the view from the hotel lobby of their man made pond and the peaks–stunning! The buildings in the background are the private cabins–very luxurious!  Our dinners were fantastic but pricey and the service was great.

My meal of beef tenderloin–so tender you could cut it with a fork.

Tuesday was yoga for me and finishing up the winterizing of the motorhome for the Cowboy.  We then went to town to relieve the caregiver who had been on duty except for a short, five hour break since 9am Monday morning!  Barb was there and we had a good visit.

So, I think I covered everything we have been doing–doesn’t seem like much when I write it down!

Monday morning dawned chilly and beautiful.

 Even the grasses are colorful this fall.

Isn’t this the greatest photo–I love their happy expressions doing something they both enjoy–a guided fishing trip on the Little Red River in Arkansas.  My beloved sister Ann and brother in law Danny.

Another Word About The Shingrix Vaccine

I don’t want to sound like a broken record but neither do I want any of you readers to suffer from shingles.  If you had chicken pox as a child, you have the shingles causing virus in your body–it can make an appearance at any time.  After writing the blog about the vaccine I’ve heard from so many people who have either had shingles or had a relative with shingles–

My uncle got his (vaccine) recently and it made him feel terrible. But, after mom suffering 17 years with face/eye shingles and losing the sight in her eye, I have to buckle up and do it. Hard when one already suffers a chronic illness to sign up for more pain and sickness.  from my high school classmate Karen.

My mother had shingles and the doctor said it was the worst case she’d ever seen. Think of the commercial on tv and easily double it!! She suffered for approx. 10 years until she died. At that time I said as soon as I turn 60 (that was the age back then) I am getting the shingles shot-it was zostavax at the time. Hubby and I got the shot and we were given the impression that it was good for life. Later (too late) we found out it was only good for approx. 6 years and was only 50% effective to start with and decreased as time went on. By 6 years it was useless. Well, 61/2 years after the shot I got shingles. I didn’t even think it was shingles as I’d had the shot. Well. here I am 22 weeks later, the shingles became phn-postherpectic neuralgia. I”ve been on gabapentin all this time and I’m told I have to have 5 days straight with no pain before I can go off the meds. I’m still waiting for one day without pain!!! I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy! Needless to say hubby got the shingrix shots as soon as they were available. I can’t have it until I am free of this for one year! Please, please please, everyone, get the shingrix shot. A few days of feeling like crap are nothing compared to what I am going through.  from Janice, a blog reader.

As I said in the “shingles blog”–my grandfather had shingles and went blind in one eye from the virus, my brother had shingles and now my poor mother has them.  Nat had shingles and he will tell you, “they made an old man out of me.”  The Cowboy was going to get his vaccine at Costco today–he is so dang healthy (takes no meds and has a blood pressure of 112/80!)  he does not have a Medicare drug plan thus his insurance won’t pay for the shingles vaccine.  Costco is the least expensive place–$171/injection.  But, Costco was out of the vaccine as was Walgreens.  Our local clinic has the vaccine–now how is that possible–small town clinic has Shingrix but not Costco???  But, the clinic wants $271 per injection.  The Costco pharmacist told the Cowboy to keep checking–some days they have the vaccine, some days they don’t.  We will be back in Billings next Wednesday and will check again.

Wednesday we attended a hospice care conference with the hospice providers at Nat’s.  Thursday I went to yoga in town, checked on Nat, came home and fed us then went up to Ken and Leslie’s to check on their kitties–they were in Moab ATVing.

Chilly, rainy fall weather–our high today was in the low forties!!  We made a Billings run for Costco, Walmart (still LOVE that app), RV parts and the perfect fabric for making new valences in the motorhome.  And the fabric was the perfect price–40% off and I had a JoAnn’s coupon for 25% off my entire purchase!!!

It seems as if the entire population of Billings had a cold today–the young woman who brought out our groceries at Walmart, the checker at Petsmart–isn’t it a little early???  I had the hand sanitizer out and applied after every stop!

Snow On The Mountains

Snow on the mountains–we had rain Sunday evening but our mountains got the snow.  Monday dawned cool and very blustery–made for a chilly morning walk!

Sunday we spent more time in the motorhome–the Cowboy installed the bracket for the inverter and permanently mounted it.  We’ve ordered a control panel for it–does anyone else have trouble with Amazon and their Prime two day shipping??  I order something on Monday and sometimes I get it on Wednesday–that’s two day shipping.  Other times such as with this control panel, I order it on Monday and it will arrive on Thursday–that’s not two day shipping! Might be we live too far out in the boonies??  We have the same issues when in Arizona but we sort of live out in the boonies there too! 🙂

The cleaning is mostly finished in the motorhome.  I still need to steam clean the carpet but will wait until we are finished with projects before doing that little chore.  High end motorhomes such as this Beaver have carpet lined drawers and shelves–needless to say, the carpet in the drawers was gross so the Cowboy spent Monday afternoon cutting new carpeting for the drawers–much better.  But I have noticed some things our Country Coach had which this Beaver does not.  In the Country Coach we had a pull out trash can and a pull out laundry basket.  There were lights inside most of the cabinets/closets which came on when the door was opened.  The Beaver has none of these features but we do have two potty rooms–one for each of us I guess! 🙂

Today was a much needed yoga day and the Cowboy crawled around beneath the motorhome greasing all the fittings.  I tweaked my back/hip yesterday afternoon so I’ve taken it easy–no cleaning for me today.


I’ll Be Honest

Taken from our hay fields–Boone Mountain

I’ve been getting flu vaccines for 20+ years and have never had any side effects other than a sore arm.  The first shingles vaccine which I received in about 2011 didn’t bother me at all except for the sore arm.  This Shingrix vaccine was another whole ball of wax!!  My arm is still sore three days later.  Wednesday afternoon/evening I felt awful–achy as if I had the flu and those symptoms continued into Thursday morning.  By afternoon on Thursday I was fine.  I will endure those side effects gladly rather than have shingles!  My mom is miserable at times and we have a lady here in our community who is struggling with shingles on her face.

Thursday I spent the morning in bed, the Cowboy worked on various motorhome projects.  Friday we went to town to get antifreeze for the AquaHot system and to see Nat–we had a very nice visit with him.  He has good days and bad days mentally–Friday was a good day.  Paul, our UPS man brought the new to us inverter.  The Cowboy loves a bargain and while shopping Amazon for a new inverter, he stumbled across a “used, but new” Xantrex Pure Sine wave inverter/converter.  The inverter was new, never been used in its original packaging but had been dropped.  It was deeply discounted and could be returned for a full refund if it didn’t work.

The Cowboy connected the inverter to our system this morning and it worked–hurrah!!!  He has to build a bracket for it as it’s much larger than the fried inverter he removed from the motorhome.

Saturday I gave the Emmi girl a much needed haircut–might have gotten it a little too short for our cooler weather but it will grow.  I spent the rest of the day cleaning in the motorhome–I think I might be about half finished???

Our fall weather has been perfect and the leaf colors are outstanding–we took a drive up Elk Creek tonight to look at the fall leaves and see if we could spot any critters.  No animals except deer and turkeys but we enjoyed just seeing all the golds and reds.

This is the same mountain as in the first photo which was taken from our hay fields.  Driving up Elk Creek you are up close and personal to Boone Mountain.


Jim Meachum Moments

While walking out to the motorhome a garter snake startled me into jumping.  And dang it, on the way back to the house another garter snake slithered across the grass in front of me–I screamed loud enough to cause the Cowboy to come see if I was OK–I call those Jim Meachum moments–as he HATES snakes!!  In the jeep on the way to town this morning a rather large spider dangled himself right in front of my head–I managed to stop the jeep and I am sorry to say, the spider is now very dead! (Sorry Angie!) Another Jim Meachum moment as he also HATES spiders.

The Cowboy has spent lots of time in this position–

Seems the inverter in this motorhome is fried, kaput, done.  Once the Cowboy removed the inverter he decided to see if it was fixable by taking it apart.  Nope, fried–in the next photo you can see circled in red the “fried, burned, melted” part.  Probably a previous owner overloaded the inverter by trying to run an appliance/heater with too large a power draw.

Amazon to the rescue, a new inverter should be here by Friday.  The Cowboy joined an AquaHot forum and it’s a good one.  The owner/moderator is extremely knowledgeable and sells parts and tools for repairing AquaHot heating systems.  Our parts and tool came today–the Cowboy was able to make the AquaHot fire and burn for the first time–hooray, hooray!!!

Monday we went to Big Timber to visit Nat and for an unsuccessful parts run.  In the late afternoon we took dinner to Lonn’s–it was Katie’s 30th birthday–we had a great time and the meal was fabulous if I do say so myself–spaghetti, homemade bread, salad and rhubarb crisp.

I’m going to be walking soon!!

Tuesday was a much needed yoga day for me and the Cowboy was working on the motorhome.  Today I went to town again–to see my nurse practitioner.  It was just a routine visit–my blood pressure was fantastic, had blood drawn as I take a statin and received the first Shingrix vaccine.  My appointment was at 8:30am and by the time I left the clinic I was starving (had to be fasting for the blood draw)–so I found my friend Jill at her office and we went to breakfast at our local bakery.

I spent the afternoon in the motorhome cleaning–oh, my goodness–how in the world could anyone be so filthy?? But I did make some progress and I made the lights in one of the potty rooms work–that’s an accomplishment for me!  One of these days we will be ready to take a trip in that motorhome–I hope!