Archive for2007-01 – Spring – Here and There

Springtime Beauty

As we ride along, we’re enjoying lovely springtime vistas. The peach trees are in bloom as are the red buds and flowering crab apple trees. It’s really pretty. Down here the trees are that light shade of green that we usually experience about early May in Michigan.

Weather’s been grand so far. Yesterday we had temperatures near 80 even as far north as Locust Grove, GA, where we over-nighted. This morning at 10:30, it’s 62 degrees. Not bad.

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Sorry to leave

We’re near the border of Georgia and Florida headed home. The time flew by We enjoyed the newly renovated condo, but both of us were ill a good share of the time and we were incredibly busy getting all of Mom’s stuff straightened out. I still have lots of paperwork to complete so Mom will be able to get a portion of Hoagie’s pension, but I hope to have the proper papers at home so I can finish it up and mail it out.

We enjoyed the condo and the amenitites more than ever before. It felt good to think of the place as “ours.”

We are thinking that after Mom’s gone, and we don’t have access to the condo, we will probably want to buy a place in Kings Point. It’s an easy relaxing life. For now, our concern is Mom, but we if given the choice, we’d still want to come down to this community.

We need to divest ourselves of some of our responsibilities. If we can work it out, we’d like to spend about six months in Florida with Mom and six months in Michigan. We’ll see.

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“I think we’re alone now..”

Yesterday was the first time we’ve felt that we had the condo to ourselves.

Connie and her husband left for home yesterday (Saturday) before we got up. Her daughter had stayed until Thursday a.m.

It was difficult with them here. In the small condo, we felt crowded and intruded upon, but at the same time we tried hard to be understanding. We knew it was hard on her, especially since she had just lost her father. We put forth effort to make it work.

Things didn’t turn out as we’d expected and we were definitely “taken advantage of” but at least we are now the sole occupants of the condo and it’s a refreshing change.

I wish now that I’d taken a photo of the way the master bedroom was decorated after the “renovation.” Sadly Connie took nearly everything removable out of that room and the adjacent bathroom when she left. After Hoagie died, all furnishings in the condo were willed to my mother. Connie apparently didn’t see it that way. What a disappointment. We’ll go to Brandon today (my birthday) and replace the items we need in order to get by. The place still looks nice and we’re just happy to have it to ourselves. We still have about two weeks before we head home.

I’m finally over my cold (well, except for a little stuffiness). The weather has turned cool with highs only in the mid-60’s, but by about Tuesday, it should be nice again.

Next weekend, we hope our friends, the Conklins, can come over.

We’ve straightened out our status with the management of Kings Point and officially John and I are listed as the condo “residents” so we won’t have problems entering and leaving the gate.

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The saga continues

Hoagie, my step-father died this morning at about 8:30 a.m. It came as no surprise.

His daughter (Connie) is still here and tomorrow her husband and daughter are flying in and will join her. Her husband will ride back with her to her home in Alabama. They’ll leave about Friday and take Hoagie’s ashes up to Ohio where there’ll be a graveside service. Their daughter will only stay for a day.

The renovation is the pretty much complete. The carpet cleaners will be coming Wednesday. John is finishing up a few things that the workers didn’t do.

There’s a chance that it will rain tomorrow. If it doesn’t we’ll try to hide out at the pool while all the folks are here. The condo is small and with Connie and her family, the Duffy’s and us, it’ll be too hectic.

I’m fighting a rotten cold. I’ve had it about four or five days. Or maybe it’s just allergies. Whichever, I hope it’ll soon go away!!

Hoagie, had a long happy life. He was 97-years-old. He married my mother when he was 80 and she was 68! He made her very happy. His patience with her as she was developing Alzheimers was remarkable. He has begged for relief from life for many years. Today there was a lot of reflecting back on his long and successful life.

That’s what’s happening down here. When everything calms down and Connie and her family leave, we’ll still have about two weeks which we’re going to try to fully enjoy. We’ll then pack up and head home. We probably won’t be back until September.

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And still it continues…

The condo still isn’t quite finished but maybe today … or tomorrow … or next Wednesday when the carpet cleaners come through.

We’re making the best of it. Connie came back after about a week and is staying until her dad dies. We expect the end to be soon.

The weather the past few days has been perfect.

Mom was in the emergency room of the hospital all day yesterday. Nine hours without answers. Her breathing had been labored so her doctor had her go in for an “evaluation.” It was a loooooooonnnnng day. We got home about 9:30 p.m. The final word was that she isn’t active enough and her lungs don’t have a chance to fully inflate causing some problems.

The Kings Point “garage sale” was last night and will continue today. I got a set of white dishes for the condo.

Today’s plan.. visit Mom and then go to the pool. It’s been so crowded that it’s difficult to find a chair. We want to enjoy this perfect 75-80 degree weather. (So much nicer than last week’s high of about 50.)

It is paradise.

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Almost complete with the renovation

It’s hard to “catch up”.

We arrived Thursday, February 1st, at my mother’s condo in Florida. Here it is Sunday evening, the 11th,…. more than a week has passed, and so much has happened. We came down to care for Mom who has Alzheimers.

When we arrived on the 1st, we were surprised that Hoagie’s daughter , Connie, was living here at the condo where we normally stay. Hoagie is my mom’s 97 year old husband. Connie was hard at work with Carol Duffy (Hoagie’s financial advisor). They were in the midst of a major renovation of the entire condo. Connie left Friday, the 9th, after staying over a week with us.

Hoagie isn’t well at all. Connie was here to see her dad and the whole situation has been very difficult for her. While she was here, she decided to start a major remodeling project of the condo we all have been sharing.

The condo is going to be a lot more comfortable, so I sure can’t complain. We’ve all painted, stripped wall paper, washed, scrubbed, cleaned. It’s actually looking very good. We can have folks come over and we can be comfortable.

So far they’ve bought all new kitchen appliances, all new small appliances, painted everything. They have new towels, bedding, window treatments, light fixtures, and the rest of the package.

Connie’s a nice person. I like her.

Hoagie is very close to death. We know he’s not going to live long – he’s 97 and has been asking for relief from life for many years.. It was tough on Connie. I have been going to see him and over the years we’ve become very close as we shared the difficulties associated with Mom’s care. I’ll miss him.

When Hoagie’s gone. The condo will continue to be my mom’s for her lifetime, so this whole renovation project is going to benefit us.

Connie left this past Friday morning. Her brother, John, is coming to visit (provided Hoagie is still alive) on the 19th. It’s doubtful that he’ll stay here, but he’s welcome. Connie may also return, if Hoagie’s condition worsens.

We, especially my John, worked our butts off. Actually there wasn’t a lot for me to do except look lost and stay out of the way.

We missed that awful tornado that hit Florida. It was north of us by quite a distance.

After driving the 1,300 miles from Michigan to Florida, we didn’t unload our well-packed truck for over a week. Much of our stuff just stayed there, including our bird, Charlie. It wasn’t comfortable, but we are now settling in. Things look grand. The place is nearly complete and we’re pleased with the effort that everyone has expended.

We went to Rockin’ Rondevous (at the clubhouse) Thursday (the 8th) and saw Pat and Paul, Bob (our “worm king” friend), Carl, Marilyn, and a few others. These events are always fun times and we look forward to them. Some of the regular group were sick with a bug that is going around. It was a quieter than usual R.R. but we look forward to next week’s get-together.

We’re enjoying Florida citrus fruit. Carl gave us a couple dozen grapefruit and our roofmate has brought over oranges twice.

Weather’s been cool. Tomorrow should be nice (low 80’s so maybe we can get some pool time in). We’re hoping!!!

Our Florida visit hasn’t been quite what we expected, but we now have a renovated condo and it’s very very attractive and comfortable thanks to the hard work of a lot of folks. (It’s not complete, but should be in a few days.)

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Almost there

We’ve run into every kind of weather imaginable, but right now we’re in Florida (about two hours north of our destination). It’s 75 degrees and partly sunny. I still haven’t seen a palm tree, so I don’t feel as if I’m in the “South.”

When we get to the condo, we’ll quickly unpack the critical stuff and dash over to Rockin’ Rondevous about 5:00. We won’t stay late, but we’re anxious to say “hello” to all of our Florida friends, and since the next few days will be cool and rainy, we won’t be seeing them at the pool. Thursday nights at the Clubhouse are always the most fun of the week.

I might get over to see Mom between our arrival and our trip to the clubhouse, but it might take a while for her to remember me, and I don’t want the disappointment, if that doesn’t happen. Mornings are generally better for her, so I may wait until morning to visit her for the first time.

Last night we discovered a nice restaurant in Macon, GA, Logan’s Roadhouse. The food was excellent, and the atmosphere fun.

Our windshield washer problem solved itself. Apparently it was a frozen line because once we got into Georgia, where it was above freezing, it worked.

This morning the problem was heavy rain which made visibility difficult. We were glad we didn’t have to go north because reports were that they had freezing rain and sleet.

Won’t be long now.

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After yesterday’s experience in the slush, our beautiful black truck (actually it’s a dark dark gray), is dirtier than it’s ever been. It appears to be spread with white frosting. It’s hard to believe that it’s a dark shade.

As we drive along, we’re able to pick out the other cars that came from Michigan. We all bear the same telltale coating. Our overnight stop will be in Macon, GA, and we should arrive about 4:00. John’s going to try to find a place to get our vehicle washed.

Today it’s still cool (29), but beautifully sunny. We’ll be stopping for a light lunch when we get gas. Fuel prices are much better than previous trips. Yesterday’s price was $2.179 for diesel and today we’ll be paying $2.219. That’s about 20 cents cheaper than home. And when I think that a year ago, during our cross country trip, we ofter paid more than $3. Hopefully it’ll stay this way. (I can’t believe that I’m actually happy for gas that’s more than $2 a gallon!)
I’ll write more later.

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If only I could see where we’re going…

It’s January 30th. We’re in northern Ohio on our way to Florida where we’ll stay until the end of March.The only problem we’ve encountered so far on this trip has been our truck’s windshield washers. They aren’t working.The roads have been messy and we’re struggling to see.

John had checked out the wipers and washer solution before we left, so we fear it’s more serious than that. We stopped and he checked the fuses, and the hose.We’ve tried two places to buy a bottle of the washer solvent but no one has any. We’ll keep trying.

We find that semis often throw up enough slush so it washes off the windshield, but here in Ohio the snow’s not quite as deep and hence there’s less slush on the roads.We aren’t making very good time.

Tonight we’ll be staying in London, KY. Temperatures are going to be in the teens. Temperature right now is 18 degrees. Sunny Florida sounds grand, but unfortunately, according to, the whole east half of the country is chilly (including Florida).

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Doing it again

Seems that during 2006 we were always getting ready or recovering from a trip. It was a year of travel for us. We figure we logged 9,000+ miles on extended trips. This year (2007) our travel plans are much more modest. We plan to go to Florida on January 30th and stay until March 20th (we’ll be home by the 22nd). We’ll probably go camping a few times, to a couple festivals, to the Upper Peninsula, and back to Florida from mid-September until Late October. There’s a chance that we’ll spend a week in Branson, MO, in May, but that’s iffy at best.

With so many trips under our belt, I’m getting pretty darned good at packing. Today I’ve spent the day in “phase 1” of our preparation for our January 30th departure. Yes, we have over three weeks, but since I know the last week before we leave we’ll be totally pre-occupied with Snowfest (our huge two-day concert in Frankenmuth, MI), I’m starting now to pull stuff together.

My clothes are ready. That’s the biggest job. I’ve set aside a corner of the basement where I can bring everything that will need to be loaded into the truck. My plan is to have it all done two weeks from today.

Did I ever mention that during the years I was employed, my job was that of “planner”? (A hospital planner.) I guess I’m still at it.

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