Monday, October 29, 2012

2012 October 22-28

            Monday 22nd  Did nothing.  Went nowhere.  Sat, read, watched TV and napped.  Practiced being retired. 

            Tuesday 23rd  Drove into Cedar Park to visit Arik and Jenny (and kids).  It was Jenny’s birthday.  We went in early so that we could do some Goodwill shopping before going to the kids’ house.  Along the way we stopped at a fast food place called (I think) Golden Chick.  I had chicken strips with mashed potatoes and country gravy.  They served it with an extra bowl of gravy on the side.  Ella had broiled chicken and fried okra.  Yeah, we’re not in Iowa anymore.
            We stopped at four Goodwill stores.  The first one was a used bookstore only.  We didn’t bother going in there.  We’re both avid readers, however we don’t want or need the extra weight and storage problems with collecting more books.  It is online reading or libraries for us.  The other three Goodwill stores were full of Halloween items.  We didn’t purchase anything except a digital scale.
            Shortly after we arrived at Arik and Jenny’s, it was time to pick up the kids from school.  Ella and I rode with Jenny to get the kids.  Then, before going to their house, we stopped for pumpkins.  The United Methodist Church near their home had a yard full of pumpkins for sale.  Sofia and Bekket really enjoyed picking out their own pumpkins.
            After returning to the house, Sofia, Arik and I went food shopping at the local H. E. B. store.  Arik used the shopping experience to teach Sofia the importance of starting with the best quality ingredients.  He showed her how to pick out steaks with the right amount of marbling and explained why it was important.
            While Arik prepared the food, Jenny hung party lights on the fence, I watched Bekket ride his bike in the alleyway, and Ella and Sofia did something together.
            Bonnie, Jenny’s mother, came over and it was now time to carve the pumpkins.  Sofia wasn’t sure at first what she wanted her pumpkin to look like.  After deciding, she drew a face and, then with Jenny’s help, used a little punch tool to make small holes.  After that, Jenny cut the top open and it was time to scoop out the insides.  Sofia was excited about this part because she knew that the plan was to save and roast the seeds.     Bekket did not want to touch the inside of the pumpkin.  After I appealed to the ‘boy’ in him by saying, “You need to reach in there and pull it’s ooey gooey guts out!”, he had no problem with touching them.  Grandma Ella helped him with the scraping of the inside.
            I helped Sofia with the actual carving and Ella or Bonnie or Jenny helped Bekket.
            My own pumpkin was green and warty.  I chose it originally because I envisioned it as a frog face.  However, upon examination, I saw that it already had a tiny face on the bottom side of the pumpkin.  All I did was remove a little of the skin to help others see what I saw.
            Soon the food was ready and it was time to clean up after the carving.  The food was fabulous, as you would expect from an executive chef.  The steak was three times the size I would eat for one meal (although I finished it all).
            After I spent some time wrestling with the kids … and loosing, I was dragged away to their ‘secret lair’ while the ‘grown ups’ cleared away the table.  I enjoyed the time with these grandkids that I’ve seen so seldom.  Bed time came and both kids were settled into Sofia’s room for the night because Ella and I were to sleep in Bekket’s room.
            Jenny had to leave or work early in the morning so she was off to bed as soon as the kids were down.  Arik visited with us for a little while before it was time for all of us to go to sleep.
            24th Wednesday.  I woke about 3:30 and was done sleeping.  I tried laying in bed but only lasted a half an hour.  So I was up at four and went downstairs and started some coffee.  Not all of the night’s dishes had fit in the dishwasher.  So, I hand washed those that remained.
            I truly like to wash dishes.  Really!  I know it sounds strange but the fact is I like the feel of the warm soapy water,  I like the progression from the soiled to the clean and I like the sense of accomplishment when the job is done.
            I was reading another chapter of an online book when Raja (their fourteen year old dog) awoke and came down stairs.  She seemed in need of petting.  After a while she also seemed to need to go outside.  So, we went outside for her to take care of her early morning routine.  Raja is one of the most loving animals that I’ve ever seen.  My daughter has said the Raja is the perfect dog for cat lovers because she is so docile and lazy.  And by the way, Raja is a pit bull.  She is so far removed from the stereo type pit bull as you could possible imagine.  He tail starts wagging right behind her ears.
            Jenny came down the stairs next, had some coffee and was soon out the door.  Arik had gotten up so that he could move his car out of the way for her to leave.  The kids came down dressed and ready for breakfast.  Bekket asked for the puppy food cereal which turned out to be some oat bran stuff that I thought only old folks would eat (folks older than me … I mean).
            I was soon time for Arik to take the kids to school so we went up stairs to wake Grandma Ella.
            After the family was gone, Ella went back upstairs to dress and pack our stuff away.  I fixed her some breakfast while she did that.  And then it was time for us to leave.
            Our first stop on our schedule was Sam’s Club.  However, when I saw the Lowe’s next door, we stopped there first.  I needed to purchase some pipe insulation to go around the water hose on the Hitch Hiker and a bucket to place over the hydrant for the water supply.  I’m told that is all I need to do to prepare for winter in Texas.
            Now on to Sam’s to pick up a few bulk items like paper cups and bowls.  Since there was a WalMart just on the other side of the freeway from Sam’s, we drove over there to shop.  However, when Ella pointed out that we would still need to stop at WalMart in Marble Falls, because that was where her prescriptions were, we decided to move on to our next destination, IKEA.
            I have this to say about IKEA … I will never go into one again.  I wasn’t halfway through the place and I told Ella to go ahead and look for the laundry basket that she wanted.  I was going back to the car.  Even following the “short cut” to the exit was taking me forever.  Now I know what a ‘catalogue store’ is.  It is laid out exactly like pages in a catalogue … except you have trouble turning to the page you actually want to look at.  Sorry, to all of you fans of IKEA but I’d rather be slowly dismembered with a teaspoon than shop in an IKEA.
            After a while, Ella came to the truck and woke me from my nap.  Now it was time to say good bye to Austin and Round Rock and head for Marble Falls.  The GPS directed us along a delightfully hilly, twisty two lane highway.  I thoroughly enjoyed the drive through the beautiful hill country of Texas.

            After pickup some RV supplies and lots of groceries at WalMart, we went through the self-check out lane.  After scanning and bagging everything it wouldn’t take my ATM card.  … Oh yeah, a safety feature of our credit union … we had spent too much in too many diverse locations … suspicious activity.  Fortunately, I could use the same card in ‘credit mode’ and make the purchase. 
Roof vent cover
            We got home, unloaded the truck and put stuff away.  It was too hot (96 by my outdoor thermometer) for me to crawl around on the roof installing the three roof vent toppers.  So, I took a nap.  By six it had cooled down enough that I climbed to the roof and got two of the vent tops installed.  Dusk was quickly approaching so I saved the third cover for another day.
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            25th Thursday  We drove into Austin to visit with Heather.  Mike was at work so we didn’t get to spend time with him.  We had never been to their apartment before.  Heather was a little concerned about how their dog, Lily, would react to us.  Evidently Lily doesn’t like strangers and especially men with deep voices (me).  It wasn’t a problem.  No barking but a lot of licking and jumping.  She was so happy to see us it was if she’d known us all her life and couldn’t believe we hadn’t visited sooner.  We got a tour of the apartment.  It was not very big, but very nice.  They have been talking about trying to buy a house in the area, which is not very far from either of their works. 
        We visited there for just a short time before it time to go to lunch at Bartlett’s.  Ella and I had only been there one other time.  And that had been for a hot fudge sundie.  Heather and Arik are both chef/managers there.  Since Arik was working, he came over to say “Hi” and give us a hug.  We had expected to see him there.  However, we had not expect to see Jenny also.  Some friends were taking her to lunch in honor of her birthday. 

            Heather told us about a gluten-free menu that she had developed for the restaurant and how well received it had been.  She ordered her desert from the gluten free menu and we got to sample it.  It was inspired by a chocolate pie.  This, however, was served in a small bowl and had no crust.  It was like a mousse with some chocolately  liquor, topped with a huge dollop of whipped cream and candied orange peel.  It was very good (and I’m not a fan of chocolate). Follow this link to Bartlett's home page and see that they are talking about my two kids who are chefs.

            Ella and I shared a warm brownie that was more assorted nuts than brownie.  It was three or four inches square and was crowned by a huge scoop (about a cup) of ice cream over which a coffee/caramel syrup had been drizzled.  It was almost more than two of us could eat.
            After lunch we went back to the apartment just long enough to get Lily.  From there we went to a park where we could talk and Lily could run.  She is a high energy dog and the apartment is really too small of an environment for her.  Which is one of the reasons that the kids want to purchase a house with a large, fenced yard.  We stayed at the park until nearly four when I told Heather that Ella and I would need to leave around five so that we could get back to Shady Oaks before dark.  (I’m not comfortable with all the twists and turns and deer and cattle that roam the road, to be driving it at night.

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            26th Friday we both had Coffee, I with the guys at 7:30 and Ella with the gals at 9:30.
            Shortly after sun up I was going to go to the roof and install the third vent cover.  However, as I opened the vent in preparation, it rained in my face.  I hadn’t realized that it was raining before.  What a surprise.  It rained off and on (sometimes quite hard) most of the day.  So no working on the roof.
            Since we were stuck inside on a cool and rainy day, I decided to bake some bread for the potluck.  We have potlucks twice a month in the rec hall.  I made a large loaf of potato bread which I baked in a skillet in the oven.  It turned our so well that we ate half of if before the potluck.  So, I baked another loaf and made some candied oranges slices also.  Ella sliced a bunch of our tomatoes to take to the pot luck also.

            27th Saturday was still cool but not raining so I was able to install the third and last roof vent cover.  This last cover was installed on a vent that had a fan in it.  Because of the fan, the screws that came with the kit would not work.  So I went to the closest hardware store.  I had driven past “Buchanan General Store” many times and not really even noticed it.  Once inside, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was just what I was looking for, a real neighborhood hardware store that had bin after bin of hardware.  I was able to buy the eight screws that I needed without having to buy a bulk package.  I’ll be back to this store, I’m sure.
            On my way out of Buchanan General Store’s drive, I saw the sign for another RV park.  Being in no particular hurry to climb back up on the roof, I decided to take a little drive and check out the park.  Excuse me, this was not a park, it was a resort.  I guess the fact that it had a swimming pool and hot tub made it a resort.  It was very nice and neat.  The prices were only slightly more than what we are paying at Shady Oaks.  I was surprised that there were so few people staying there.  Makes me wonder why people aren’t staying there.  Oh well, back to work on the roof.  It had been week since I had dumped the holding tanks, so I did that also.

            28th Sunday we returned to Cross and Spurs Cowboy Church for the service.  There was a baptism at the end of the service so we got to see that horse tank in use.  After the service we drove into Burnet (not pronounced bur-net, but pronounced burn-et) and had a buffet lunch at the Highlander Restaurant.  The rest of the day was spent relaxing, reading, taking a little walk, watching television and yes taking a nap.


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