Another Topsy-Turvy Day

Yesterday seems like a blur….we spent the day at Carly’s house, helping her mount her new Tappan microwave/ fan above her stove. Carly worked like a wild woman, Mark advising her along the way. She scrollsawed and hammered and wired and did all kinds of *stuff*. The net result is great, and we are happy we could at least give moral support!

Today, we went out to the garage to attempt the brakes on the Explorer again. As Mark and I worked, he called me over to have a look….ugh….yet ANOTHER problem. The rear passenger side coil spring was broken. Mark said it looked like it broke very recently. As I looked at the spring, I could see that it was broken in another place. It had snapped what looked like a long time ago as it was quite rusty. This is a little more than upsetting as this is a 2002 model with about 41,000 miles on it. The good news is that the rear brakes are all done and the rotors were in really good condition. No new ones needed! When Mark does the front brakes, he will inspect those rotors as well, but in a glance at them thus far, they look to also be in good condition. Yay, the brake job won’t be nearly as expensive as we thought. We will, however, need to have that spring looked at and replaced.

As Mark worked for a little while, I was able to sneak off and take a few pictures of the boys. I finally settled on one and made up oodles of wallet size pictures to enclose in my exchange cards.

Sounds simple enough, eh? NOT! After trying the laser printer and two different inkjet printers, we were finally able to print up the pictures. It *only* took about three hours…..

My mom called this evening with some very sad news. My Uncle Nick passed away late this afternoon. This is my father’s older brother who was 84. My heart breaks for my cousins, as they loved my uncle so much. He spent many years as a single parent, raising six children, five of whom were girls. This family has had so many tragedies in the past several years. I pray God’s peace on this family.
My uncle had a misfortunate accident last September, when the vehicle he was driving backed into a pond. My uncle fought with all his strength and stamina to release himself from the machine, and in the process, he took in a good deal of pond water. A few weeks later, he was in the hospital with pneumonia. I had no heard how he was doing.
I am so grateful that I took the time off from my crazy schedule to attend my aunt Doris’s funeral, as I got to visit with my uncle at that time. He was such a strong and admirable man.

Lest We Forgot!

A big thank you to all of those who have served and are currently serving this great country of ours! I realize the US isn’t always going to win popularity contests around the world, but I would rather be living here than any other place on this big earth……

May we always remember those who have served….those who have given of their time, efforts, and even lives that we may enjoy living in freedom and peace!

God bless the USA!

Grrrr…What a Crummy Day….

I was THRILLED this morning when I got up at 4:30 to take the boys out. It was actually SNOWING! How excited *was* I? Well, I ran and got my camera! I took two pictures…both into the lights and you could SEE the snow!

This one was off the front porch….(I love those little “trailers”!)

And, one from the back door of the garage….

The sad fact is, this is as far as I got in my picture-taking efforts today. Yup, as I was taking these pictures, I had already made plans to drag out the antique sled (that was mine!) and perhaps tie scarves on the boys and seat them on the sled in the snow. Cute, right?

I made a rip-snorting fire in the garage long before daybreak. By the time Mark and Ben were ready to head out to the garage to do a brake change on the Explorer, the garage was warm enough to work in shirt sleeves despite the temps in the high teens outside.

Mark asked me to help him and Ben get the wheel up in the air and set the jackstands under the car. He was going to do one wheel at a time. NOT!

It took all of our strength to loosen the lug nuts on the first tire. Once this was done, Mark began to take the tire off….NOT! That dirty son of a sea biscuit was adhered so tightly, no cranking, banging, smacking, nor kicking was going to remove it. Mark sprayed WD-40 on it, thinking perhaps that might loosen the bugger up. In the meantime, we moved on to the next wheel.

Can you say EXACT repeat of wheel #1? By this time, I was getting so frustrated. It was well after 11 am by this time. Somehow, I KNEW my day was going to be shot….Mark called the Ford garage and the service manager suggested loosening the lug nuts to finger tight and taking the car for a ride. He suggested doing circles….tight ones….to loosen the “welded on” wheel. He advised the best place to do this would be a parking lot.

We drove two miles to the nearest paved lot. We circled….and circled…..and circled some more.

After doing this crazed exercise, we returned home only to discover that the wheel was as snug as before. Mark tried using a hammer to gently remove the wheel, being so careful not to damage the nice aluminum alloy wheels. Still nothing.

Finally, I remembered that the place where we purchased the tires offers free rotations. Mark called them and they said that everyone was coming in to have their snow treads mounted, but they could do it.

I had made a pot of meatballs and sauce this morning, so before we left, I made pasta and we ate.

We arrived at the garage at about 1:45. I had followed Mark in the new truck as we had several things we could do while waiting on the car. We ran to the post office where I was FINALLY able to mail out two packages to a couple of my Scottie friends. And, I got the stamps to mail all of my Christmas cards. Then, off to Lowe’s to grab some screws Mark needed and to look around a little. After that, we stopped at WalMart to grab a few odds and ends. Then, on to the auto supply store to pick up brake pads and rotors….to the tune of over $250.00!

Finally, at about 4 pm, the service man called and said the tires were rotated! Hurrah! BUT, did I know that my car was out of inspection? Like, it was SUPPOSED to be done last FEBRUARY? UGH….I have no idea HOW that happened. We made an appointment for next Tuesday, hoping and praying we can get the new brakes on by then!

By the time we got back home, it was dark, so no cute Scottie pictures to send. I told Michelle that we will get up early tomorrow, and as SOON as the sun is UP, we are OUTSIDE to take pictures. She agreed.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I got to do one of my FAVORITE things TWICE today! (NOT!!!!!!!!) On the way to the garage, I had to fill up the Explorer. On the way home, I got to fill up the pickup truck. The gas station is located at the head of the lake and the wind is exceedingly STRONG there. AND, my warm little gloves were at home on my table…….ughhhhhhhh……….I figure the wind chill factor must have been about -45 there as I stood filling the bottomless tank.

OK, I am just going to go hide under the covers and PRETEND this day never happened! I feel as though I was run over by a Mac truck. Sometimes life is just draining, and THIS was one of THOSE days!

Tomorrow, we are going to Carly’s house. Mark is going to help her install her new Microwave/fan combo. She bought this on Black Friday and Mark agreed to help her…it will be a nice change after the events of this day.

So much for singing Christmas carols, wrapping presents, watching old movies, baking cookies, and doing all the FUN stuff….oh, how I LONG for simpler days…….And, if you are doing any of the above things, please know I am there in spirit!

Dress Rehearsal!

OK…so it is supposed to be 40 degrees today…it is obvious to me that SNOW is NOT in the making any time soon. (although I understand my hometown was under a snow advisory yesterday….there is NO place like HOME!!!!)

Yesterday, I decided to consider my options and Michelle and I played dress rehearsal with the Scotties. Hmmm…where should we place their tiny hineys? Let’s see… bout next to the little Christmas tree. After all, it IS “Scottie-size”! We *placed* the boys and there was JUST enough room for their hineys and NOT much else…..

TAKE 1….or, WHY do my boys resemble WINSTON CHURCHILL????

Take 2…”Hey, Angus, tisn’t THAT far of a leap, is it?”

TAKE 3…”MURPHY! Stop horsing around, or we are gonna become permanant FIXTURES!”

And, finally, a fair picture. Both boys looking, but the exposure is not so great.

So, still holding on to those cards and thinking they might not get sent til JANUARY! The weather report said colder tomorrow with a possibility of SQUALLS…..hmm….squalls COULD be just the ticket. OK, we will hold out ONE more day. Then, those cards get sent…picture or NO!

Aha! We Have a *Light Dusting*!

Yes, we got a light dusting of snow yesterday and this morning, too! Right now, I am thinking perhaps I could meander over to the ski area and take pictures. After all, I can heard the hydrants happily humming every time I take the boys out!

In looking at Blogger “problems”, I saw a comment about not being able to post pictures. It said that if that happens, you need to go into “settings” and fiddle around with the “FTP” info. As it was, I was going to ask Mark about it last night, but I forgot! This morning, the little bar is BACK! Hurrah! No need to bother Mark!

So, here is my little tree I mentioned the other day.

The little tree definitely needs some decorations, but no one has been so inclined! I need to comment that this picture, as well as the wreath, look out of focus, because I took them in the total darkness! (WHERE is that tripod?)

I am hoping Michelle will help me take pictures of the boys today so I can (FINALLY) send out those cards!

The weather report is calling for “flurries”! Perhaps………

My 100th Entry!

As I was about to begin bellyaching about our LACK of snow here in the Bristolwood, I saw that this is my 100th entry in my blog! I had contemplated beginning a blog about two years ago, but always felt too intimidated to begin. Now, in looking back at previous posts, this is kind of cool. I have always wanted to journal, but wanted to add photos and other elements. An “e” blog is pretty nice, as it is easy to add photos and such! I made memory photo albums for the kids when they were small, and I just love embellishing and making things “pretty”. When one thinks about it, life is all about “themes”….We go from one season of life into another, and it is nice to have left a piece of each season “bookmarked” for those who might care to take a look at some point.

I have been trying to get some decorating done…when Michelle and I went to the non-event show, we took along a little Christmas tree I bought last year at WalMart for $5.00. Rather than boxing it back up again, I decided to place it on a table in the living room for now. When I took it to the show, I had completely forgotten lights for it, so I bought some “cluster lights” from the dollar store. These have a little group of several lights in each “cluster”. The net effect is that this little tabletop tree lights up the whole room!

Okay, now that I told about the little tree, my button to add pictures seems to have disappeared! Hmmmmmm….WHERE did it go?

Well, I also hung our big wreath on the garage. This wreath is 5 feet in diameter…It came with white lights wired in it, but I didn’t think it was good enough, so I added a set of 150 muticolored lights last year. Well, as it seems to work out so often, when I placed the wreath on the outside of the garage, only a small portion of the white lights lit…We fiddled around for a while with it, then took the multicolored lights out, and replaced them with another set.

Now, I am going to bellyache!!! It is Sunday night and we have NO snow!!! When I got up with the dogs this morning, I could hear the hydrants over at the ski mountian, working to make some snow. Sad, sad, sad! Maybe I need to buy one of those things and decorate my house! I still have no pictures of the Scots for my cards. Tomorrow, we are going to take pictures. We will just have to change our setting. Bummer, but sometimes things just work out differently than we thought!

Wild Weather With Whipping Winds!

Well, today is Friday, and we STILL have no snow. Boohoo…

We were supposed to receive a shipment today, but instead, we decided to make a supply run. This is something that isn’t *really* necessary, but has become somewhat of a “tradition”. After all, we do have most of the business supplies shipped directly.

Now, the weather forecast for today was a bit “dicey” as our local weatherman describes it! We were expecting high winds with rain turning to snow late tonight.

Mark decided we should try to leave early this morning so we could head back home before too late. He really didn’t want to be driving the new truck in bad weather. He hasn’t driven it that much yet, and felt a bit uncomfortable about making a long trip. The trip is about 11 hours without stops…

I put together a gift basket of soaps, lotion, and whipped shea butter for out rep, a small basket of soaps for the office girls, and a little crate for the fellow who always helps me load the truck. We were out the door and on our way by 6:30.

We made three stops on our way today…one for banking, and two store stops. The day was beautiful and warm. Although it was overcast, it was still a very nice day.

By the time we arrived at our destination, we had passed through some stormy weather. As it worked out, we were able to load with no rain! Yay!

We began heading home by about 2:30. We stopped at an Arby’s for late lunch, then filled the truck with gas and headed for home.

I had wanted to see the movie Polar Express, so Mark had loaded it onto the MP3 player for me. As we drove home, I became steeped in the movie, totally oblivious to anything other than the movie. It seemed funny to me that lights kept flashing, so I looked up. Good heavens! Mark’s knuckles were white, and he was stiff as a 2×4….The “flashing” was a sustained lightening show! As I looked up, I could see WHY Mark was so tense….it looked as though we were driving into a sheet of rainfall. The tail lights of cars and trucks in front of us seemed to disappear into the dense wall ahead of us, almost like phantoms ships at sea….When Mark saw me look up, he made a comment about how he hoped he wasn’t interrupting my movie….hahaha!!!

Thankfully, this particular portion of our journey was short lived. As we drove, the wind seemed to pick up, but at least we were no longer driving blindly!

Our new truck proved to be worth its weight in gold! Our previous truck was 2 wheel drive. When we bought this new truck, we got 4 wheel drive, and the thing weighs a great deal more because of the 4 wd. Well, we were thrilled to see that our gas mileage was about 19.5 to 20 MPG, even loaded!

As we drove nearer and nearer to home, we observed that the temps had dropped from 73 for our high to about 39. The closer we came to home, the more the wind seemed to pick up. We got home at about 8:30.

The winds are really kicking now. I imagine we will be finding more fallen trees after this round, for sure! We are supposed to be getting some snow later tonight, so perhaps I can get a snowy picture tomorrow.

It is always so much fun to travel, but getting home always feels sooooooo good!