Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Where In The World...?

This is a quick post to let you know that we are OK, but our desk top computer that has all our photos on it is in the shop getting fixed.

Gary is doing very well. He still gets tired earlier than bedtime, but Dollywood has been very kind to us and put us three days a week on alternate days so he rests in between work days.

The only place we've been is Knoxville to put our computer in for service at Best Buy. We purchased a warranty on the iPad that covers three other computers, so fortunately the PC waited until now to crash. We think it was a virus, even though we're so careful...

For some reason, we had four days off in a row, and we thoroughly enjoyed them.

During our outing on Wednesday I noticed a class that was being held at the Scrapbook store at 1pm. I asked Gary if he would mind me going, and of course, he said he didn't. So we arrived at 12:30 as I remember free classes fill up quickly, and struck up a conversation with a few girls. It was a card making class, and we had fun creating, but more fun talking. Three of us hit it off, and we planned to have coffee at the Apple Barn on Monday afternoon to just talk.

Sunday we spent in Knoxville driving through a storm front that stopped traffic with hard rain. Then it cleared up and we went from store to store looking for stuff, and finding other stuff instead.

Monday was my date with the girls and we each had a fried apple pie (I had ice cream, as you can see)and we talked for almost three hours. Girls have a lot to talk about -usually their life story, if there is enough time. Well, we weren't able to hear it all, so we are taking another class on Saturday and going out for lunch after.

Tuesday we had to go back to work. Ten to five for Gary and till seven for me. Well, they don't always know how to tell time at Dollywood, so Gary finished at 7:45 and I finished at 8:30. Long day. I thought he would be beyond exhaustion, but he felt pretty good! YAY

Sometimes Gary plays golf with the CG Manager and he felt well enough to try 9 holes this morning. I took the jeep to the mountains. It was so much cooler there that I found myself all the way to Cade's Cove before I knew it. It was very busy, and not only with people. I saw deer, a bear being followed by three foolhardy boys in a field, hundreds of butterflies, and a black crow who asked me to take his picture. Had I known I was heading to the mountains, I would have taken my Canon, so the photos are terrible, and I apologize. So I renewed my nature need, enjoying the sun dappled roads, stopping wherever I wanted to, taking a walk on a "Quiet Walkway" off the road. Nourishing the soul...

So, please forgive me for posting the pictures in a forthcoming post, but I feel guilty that I haven't written in so long. What do you do to nourish your soul?

Friday, June 24, 2011

Work, Play and a Tiny Visitor

Thursday we went to work after an early morning thunderstorm.  It never cleared up, but stayed a hazy warm day.  Gary had a new job:  breaking.  That means he walked around to all our stations and gave workers breaks for the potty or lunch.  When he got to mine, it was hard to leave and go to lunch alone.  But he got off at 5:30 and I didn't leave until 8:15, so he came back to pick me up.

Today we had a tiny visitor.  This is a new 'resident' that will be moved by us to a nearby area.  As pretty as this Writing Spider is, we don't necessarily want a spider right by the front door.  However, they do eat bugs.  It might be interesting to watch him/her grow to it's full size: 3 inches.  Yep.  Three inches.  Can you read what it wrote?  I can't.  Looks like a zigzag stitch to me.  Pretty cool.

Gary had chemo today, again for four hours and everyone was talking about the tornado warning we had in the middle of the night.  Aparently Gary got up and watched the weather, and went outside to move stuff around for safety.  Sure enough, an EF1 touched down in Anderson County downing trees and power lines.  I don't think anyone was hurt fortunately.  I slept through all the thunder and lightning - I can't believe it!  I've never done that while living in our coach.   I told him to wake me up next time.  While he was mainlining, I drove myself over to Dollywood to pick up our pay stubs, make a clinic appointment for myself for this annoying cough I've had since January, and find out about nominating one of our Team Leaders for a service award.  I would like to nominate all of them for their outstanding understanding of our situation and working so well around our schedule.  But we'll start with one for right now. 

I did want to stop for lunch at Wendy's because I have a Free Frosty key card that I haven't used yet.  If you buy anything else, you get a free frosty till the end of 2011.  So I'm turning into Wendy's drive thru and realized I didn't have MY keys, just Gary's.  Bummer.  So I ended up having Welch's Fruit Gummies and some Cheezits from the vending machine for lunch.  Later, at home, I had 1/2 a tuna sandwich.  All of this is fascinating, I'm sure...

We like Harry Potter, and haven't seen the first part of the Deathly Hallows, so looked up the location of RedBoxes and found one at Kroger down the street.

  We popped in, pushed a few buttons, swiped our card, and out popped our DVD!  People give us looks sometimes when we are taking picures of wierd things.  Like this.  So that's what we'll be doing tonight.  I hope it keeps Gary awake for a little while...

We're off for three more days.  What SHALL we do??  You'll see...

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Work and Lunch

Sunday we had to work - yeah, I know, Father's Day.  But our kids weren't around us, so it was fun to see all the kids and dads in Dollywood.  It started out pretty nice, but the storms rolled in sometime in the late afternoon.  They passed quickly, but it did make a lot of guests leave early.  Gary had to close, so after I closed my station, clocked out and dropped my money at the bank, I came back and helped him.  He was feeling kinda poopy and really wiped out, but then our son, Tristan, called to wish him happy father's day.  He was in Brooklyn on tour with his band and after passing through Toronto and Chicago he will hit Nashville.  Maybe I can convince them to come to Dollywood for a day on the way back to Miami!

Monday we worked, too, but I had to work until 7:30 and Gary was off at 5:30, and he felt so bad, he drove home and came back to pick me up.  I made him a really good veggie dinner, and between that and the little rest he had, he felt much better! 

Today we had plans to eat lunch with friends Brenda and Walt who are in our campground and work at DW too.  We were going to The Gondolier Restaurant off of Main Street in Sevierville where they were suppposed to have fabulous calzones.  Brenda, Walt and Gary had calzones, but I had this:

It was the veal parmesan sub, and no, I couldn't finish even half of it!  Gary couldn't finish half of his giant calzone, so we had dinner tonight!  However, Walt's favorite cake is coconut, and they had a triple layer one, so we had to try it.  I was going to take a photo of that huge slice, but we all dug into it so fast, I didn't have a chance!  Mmmmm, good.  Why is it I can't finish good food, but  can manage dessert?  I think it's like Jello - there's always room...

After lunch, Brenda took me to the Scrapbook Outlet and Store.  The boys trailed along, but we parted company when we reached the mall.  OMGosh!  I couldn't believe all the delicious beautiful fabulous creative goodies!!  (Is that too many adjectives?)  It's a good thing I didn't bring my scrapbooking supplies with me - I would have sorely been tempted to rack up airline miles on my VISA card...

The boys found us and dragged us out of there, but not before I noticed a class on Saturday that I am going to attend!  Yippee.

Of course, we needed to do the obligatory stop at Walmart where we killed another hour.  Upon exiting, we noticed some heavy duty cloud formations and scurried home to but in a fellow camper's awning and ours.  It sprinkled a little, then continued south of us.

We relaxed in bed, watched an old movie on TCM and then ate our leftover lunch for dinner.  The weather radio bleeped with a strong thunderstorm warning coming our way.  Sure enough, I grabbed some video off the wind knocking around trees and then the power went off for a minute.  So I'm writing this during a thunderstorm, and I'm going to quit soon, because, well, isn't there some kind of rule or something? 

Anyhow we had a good day, Gary is feeling OK and if we get through this storm, I'm sure there will be another someday soon.  Life is Good!

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Say Yes to Drugs


It's that alarm thing again. We needed to be at the Cancer Center at 8:30 for blood tests and a meeting with the Doctor. Gary was very excited at the prospect of this new drug. We found out about it last summer at my brother's home in New Jersey totally by coincidence. My brother's stepdaughter, Marlene, works for a drug company called Celgene. When we were visiting them, she asked Gary why his face was red. Not only had she heard of mycosis fungoides, but they had just received FDA approval for a drug that treats that specific type of cancer! Back in Florida we mentioned this to his oncologist and she pulled out a thick brochure telling all about it. She didn't want to start that course of treatment yet, but after the Ontak didn't work, we had fulfilled the 'prior failure' requirement, so it was full steam ahead.

Even as the nurses were hooking him up, the drug hadn't arrived by Fedex yet. The oncology pharmacist ran after one truck, but they assured him that it was on the next delivery. Fortunately it was, and they started the 4 hour drip process at 12 pm. That's along time to sit in a hard chair, so I finally went out to the jeep to finish my book, but fell asleep, and woke up to Gary at the window. He felt well enough to drive home, and we relaxed the rest of the day waiting for any type of reaction. We had a light dinner as recommended by the Doc, and he was fine! We'll see if everything is good tomorrow. We have to go to work on Sunday when we will arrange our schedules hopefully on a regular basis. Then I will decide if I can work for the campground or not.


Bright blue skies greeted us this morning, but we are under severe thunderstorm watch for this evening.  We took it easy this morning, sitting out under the awning and chatting with our neighbors.  Most of them went to work today, but with the approaching weather, they might be coming home early.  We got bored and decided to go out for Gary's Father's Day lunch since we have to work tomorrow.  He chose Calhoun's Ribs nearby considering the weather and as we headed inside, this is what it looked like. 

The rains came and people scattered.  But it was a while before any thunder and lightning occured.  We chose to share a plate of baby backs and coleslaw with corn pudding.  Yummy, but we couldn't finish them, so we brought home dinner in a box!  Thinking about a movie, we checked out the local theatre, but there wasn't anything playing that we were willing to spend $14 on at this time, so we followed everyone on the parkway until our turnoff. 

We were between storms so it was just a gentle rain, but the next onslaught was not long in coming.  We hunkered down in our coach and listened to it thunder.  Our surge protector - something EVERY RVer should have protected our electrical system twice.  Lightning hit nearby, and cut the power to the campground, but when it came back up, our coach was protected against any surge.  This weather went on for another hour, but then the sun came out! 

Meanwhile, Gary played the guitar and I began digging around in my knitting bag.  I've been carrying that around for over a year, now, and had to remember how to do it.  Fortunately, I had a few books with me, so I practiced with a ball of red velour.  I forgot how fun it is.  After I practice knitting and purling a lot, I'll start experimenting with other things. 

Well, we had our leftover ribs, some leftover couscous and cucumber for dinner, and now a little TV.  Gary seems to feel fine, except he's a little 'washed out' as he says.  It's off to work tomorrow, so I hope he continues to feel OK. 

Thank you for all your well wishes.  I think they're working!!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Storms and Sunshine

We knew ithere was a 60% chance of rain today as we headed to work, even some severe weather, so we put in our awning, tidied up outside and brought our raingear.  It was hazy all morning, but gradually got darker and darker.  Thunder shut down the rides, but it didn't start raining right away.  A few sprinkles and brightening skies kept the guests hoping things would move along, but the hosts knew better.  They had heard from Safety that a larger storm was heading our way soon.  Suddenly it got very dark; dark enough to turn on lights.  There was a Grandpa and his 12 month old grandson in his high-end stroller that couldn't get the brakes off.  I came out to try as he needed to head for cover immediately.  Andrew, who decided to stay with me on the hill instead of trying to make it down, came to help us, too.  Soon Mom wandered up to see what was keeping him.  Of course, she got it to roll immediately, and they ran for cover as the first lightning strike and thunder crashed overhead.  Then the rains came along with hail and wind.  Andrew called the boss who said to shut down and head home.  Done.

Back at the campground people were gathered around a MH who had lost his awning in the wind.  That's why, as much as we'd like to leave everything out when we leave home, we don't.  It would cost way to much to have to replace that thing for a little laziness.  Ounce of prevention thing, ya know.

Sunshine woke me at 7 am - yay, it is a play day!  Gary had to have an EKG at the hospital, so after breakfast we headed over to LeConte Medical Center pictured here. The EKG took 5 minutes, the waiting took 45.  Looked good, so he is set for his first infusion of the new drug Istodax tomorrow.  We will probably be there all day, so I will take our new iPad and a new book, too. 

After that, we drove the 12 miles to the Forbidden Caverns, but stopped at a gas station for some water.  Who do we bump into?  Our boss, Gary!  Small world...  He was going one way, and we were heading out the door, so we just said hello and smiled. 

The Forbidden Caverns were discovered in the early 1800s but not opened to the public until 1967. Indians and moonshiners inhabited the cave (along with a few bats) until the smoke from the moonshiner's stills alerted authorities to their whereabouts.  You can still see the barrel rings and smoke damage on the stalactites.  This was the only cave that I had been in with an underground river.  The water was considered 99 percent pure and looked so good, we all wanted to taste it.
cave pool
The longest stalactite was 5 1/2 feet long and here I am easily holding it up.  This cave also had the largest wall of milky quartz in the nation cascading down one wall from about 30 feet up.

  Pictures just don't do caves justice without proper lighting and a tripod, so not many of ours turned out well.  It was a 55 minute tour and really fascinating.  I keep thinking about the people who discovered it and how brave they were to go down in it with just torches.  And of course, thanks to Dollywood, it was free for us.

On the way back to town, there was a sign for the Harrisburg Covered Bridge and we turned onto a tiny country road.  Sure enough, there was a little bridge with modern homes on the other side.  It was built in 1875.  Then we passed another old abandoned mill right on the side of the road.  Had to get a shot of that, too:

We were getting hungry by that point, so we though a tour around the Old Mill area off the Parkway would yield some good food.

 By parking in the back of the The Old Mill Pottery House Cafe and Grill, we found that we had to walk through a lovely garden with outside tables and little streams.  We found a table and ordered when suddenly a Mallard and her three toddlers wandered up to have a swim in the pool. Then a robin took a bath.  Our meal was delicious, and we will be sure to return. 

We walked through the garden on our way to the local shops - I was surprised to see I owned a Doll Store!  Lots of kitsch in the shops, but I made Gary pull over to do a composition of the real Old Mill.  Not that it hasn't been done a million times before, but here's my version.  That's two old mills in one day!

We went home for a little rest and snack before we headed out to Cirque de Chine at the Smoky Mountain Palace Theatre.  This theatre was not built for the Cirque originally, but they have made it their place by adding colorful Chinese umbrellas on the balcony and huge red Chinese lanterns fitted over the hanging theatre lights.  The show was 2 hours with a 15 minute intermission and from the beginning to the end we were totally amazed.  Totally.  What physical talent!  I didn't know a body could do half those things!  The finale was a guys dream stunt.  A guy on a motorbike entered a wire sphere and proceeded to drive all around inside it.  That was cool, but then they added three more guys on bikes and, I swear, they were within inches of each other.  Everyone was holding their breath hoping they wouldn't crash.  They all took a bow then ran out to the lobby where we could have our photos taken with them.  Great ending to a great day.

It sure is fun to play! But tomorrow we will work at getting Gary better - his new drug is ready for him. 

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Artsy Fartsy Tuesday

Monday I worked, but Gary came in to straighten out his schedule.  Since his approved (yay) new medicine will not be delivered until Thursday, he said he felt good enough to work on Wednesday.  Friday will be the first day of his new treatment.  Meanwhile, he took a picture of me at the time clock.

Today was a play day and we woke up early, probably because of the sun shining in my window so early every morning because it's summer!  I LOVE SUMMER!  So we got up, had a cuppa, showered and were in the car by 8:30.  We wanted to find a new place for breakfast, and headed toward Gatlinburg.  The Coffee and Company Cottage had fabulous coffee and a bagel for Gary and a lemon pound cake cupcake for me.  OMG, was THAT good!  I probably had my day's worth of calories at that meal. 

The Arts and Crafts trail is an 8 mile long loop meandering through the mountainside with over 100 artists and craftspeople and their studios and shops lined along the way.  I wanted to find a little suction cup bud vase for my little kitchen window.  Found it!  Gary wanted to find a walking stick medallion that was made in the USA.  Found it! And how much more American can you get than an American Flag?

The best part was talking to the artists, many of which were in their studios working.  Most of them start the conversation by asking where we're from, which starts us on the story of our adventures.  Sometimes we were in there for half an hour.  It's great when people just click and we found that at a leather store with Doug and Becky from Colorado.  Not only were their wares absolutely beautiful, but we talked and talked.  We even got into politics.  Oh, yeah.  Well, we finally moved on delighting in so much talent. 

But we were getting hungry and there was a pub up ahead.  The Fox and Parrot Tavern specialized in over 100 beers and really good British fare such as fish and chips (our choice) along with a Guiness and a cuppa.  Tea, that is.  Delicious, not to mention the view - we were two stories up in the tree tops.  Lovely.

More stores on the last leg of the loop, and then a leisurely drive home.  It only reached 83 degrees today and even though started cloudless, by lunch it was cloudy which made it so much more pleasant.

Back at home, Gary grilled a couple of sausages and I filled the birdseeders yet again.  Then I got out my sketchbook and vowed to get something in it that I could be proud of.  Today gave me inspiration.


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Work and BEARS!

Saturday I worked from 11 to 8:15. I had a helper with me, Matt, from Atlanta, and he is in his fourth year at UA (Go, Tide!) He had worked at Dollywood last year, but only in Merchandise, not foods, so I was his teacher. He was very quick and we worked well and hard all day. The rides closed for about an hour due to thunder in the area. Safety mandates that rides shut down at first lightning strike/thunder and not reopen for 30 minutes after last strike/thunder. The mini-melt stand is next to the newest Dollywood ride called the Barnstormer. While the rides were closed everyone wanted some ice cream, so we made a lot of money in a short time. This night, Gary's phone was working, and he picked me up right after work.

The new medicine (steroid) worked wonders, and his face is half as swollen as it was when I left for work this morning! YAY. He can breathe easier and see better.

Gary felt well enough to go for a hike to Abrahm's Falls off the Cades Cove loop road. We packed a lunch, grabbed our walking sticks (Gary is almost finished with his), and headed out. Yes, we knew it would be crowded being Sunday and all, but it was a five mile hike, so we hoped we wouldn't see a lot of people, just wildlife. About a mile in on the driving loop, traffic was at a stop, which always means there's something to see. Just follow the direction the cameras are pointing and you'll probably see it. Yup, there was a bear along the edge of the woods about 200 yards away. It looked around, and then ambled into the high grass and was gone. After that, there was another jam. People were pointing up and there were two rangers on the edge of the road. There was a bear asleep in a tree quite close to the road. And here he/she is:

We drove on and parked at the Falls entrance where there was another ranger that notified us of a mother bear and two cubs about 1/2 mile in on the left. Here we are with a family that decided to take their baby's stroller with them on this trail. They all helped pull, push, lift and carry this thing on some really rough terrain. We never saw them on the return trip, so I'm not sure they decided to carry on after they snapped our picture on one of three little bridges over streams.  The little guy is in the arms of Mom taking a shot of hubby and grandpa trying to get this over a 1 1/2 foot wide bridge.  You can see how narrow this is by looking at us.  Brave or ??

Gary is now standing in the middle of the river pretending to look through the binoculars.  We trudged up hill for a couple hundred feet and met people going both ways and resting a lot at the top of the inclines.  Here's a pic of the trail at an easy point.  Often there were tons of rocks and roots and steep inclines and declines.  We found a little spot to play in the water to cool off our tootsies and marveled at the beautiful rhododendrons in bloom.

We asked people on the way back if the bears were ahead, and they said, "Yes, Mama is on the ground the the babies are up in a tree about fifty feet from the trail.  Hmmm.  I' m not real fond of bears, as I've seen how they can hurt people, but no one seemed the least concerned (not even the ranger) so we carried on.   Finally we came upon a group of people all looking up.  The bears!  Mama was indeed near the river and two little ones were high in a  tree.  She rooted around a little and then decided to climb the tree to check on them.  Can you see her teeth?

Then she started climbing down with them and we all decided we should probably go.  There had been a lot of damage from the storm a month ago, and there was a lot of work on opening the trail that had needed doing.  But it was just beautiful.  We could hear birds, but not see any, and all we noticed was this little many legged creature.  
One more little bridge and we had made it (along with many others).  The falls were beautiful and Abrahm's Falls has the most water cascading than any other falls in the National Park. 

 Soothing to the soul.  We found a shady spot and had our lunch watching water spiders dance on the surface.  I left a little momento on the rock with another rock.  But at first rain, it will wash away.   Can this be the first sign of fall?  We are so looking forward to coming back to see the leaves in all their fall glory. 

We stopped at my favorite old house in Cades Cove: the Dan Lawson house.  I could move into that house tomorrow.  What a view everyday from that front porch.  The cars might have to go, however... 

It was an pleasant ride home and as we were cooling off, Billy the CG manager stopped by to ask me if I'd like a position in the office.  Every camper knows that if you work for the CG, your rent is $0.  So that is an attractive offer.  We need to find out what Gary's schedule is, and then ask Dollywood if I can work around Friday and Saturday (my days in the office), so we'll find out on Tuesday!

It was one of those days you cherish forever because it was so perfectly lovely. 

Friday, June 10, 2011

Somewhere over the Blue Birds?

Yesterday, Gary didn't feel well enough to go to work, so I left at 10:30 and around 4:45, a storm blew up and I was told to close my stand.  It was still storming by the time I got to the Cash Office to turn in my money, and while I was asking the cashier questions, Gary was supposed to be picking me up, but both times I called, my call went immediately to his voicemail.  So I forgot to clock out.  Ooops.

I walked over to the Gazebo to wait for him, but couldn't be sure he'd get my message. And then a knight in shining armor came to the rescue!  Kind Camden Brown offered me a ride home when the person borrowing his car came to pick him up.  I took him up on the offer, and Blake, whom had helped me set up that morning came in on the horse (car) and swooped me up and drove me all the way home.  I promised to buy him some mini melts any time he wanted them.  Thank you Camden and Blake!

Gary was surprised to see me, and discovered that his phone was not working, so I could have waited for a long, long time.  To make it up to me, we went to Mellow Mushoom for our favorite pizza - the Magical Mystery Pizza.  Michael, who had worked there last year was back again this summer and was surprised that they sold wine and margaritas.  Sevier County is not technically a 'dry' county, because you can buy mixed drinks, wine and beer in restaurants, but there is just one liquor store in Gatlinburg. 

I wish I had a picture of what happened today.  This morning Gary brought in the hummer feeder to be refilled, even though I hadn't seen any hummers around.  I thought fresh syrup would entice them to come back, so I dumped out the old and filled it up with fresh.  Gary picked it up and carried it out and on the way to the post, a hummer flew over to him and started drinking as he was walking!  He must have been really hungry!  How cool is that? 

But I did get a picture of two Eastern bluebirds beginning a nest in our neighbor's tomato birdhouse.  They have a lovely calling voice, too. 

We visited Gary's Dr. at 12:45 and got some news:  His two Drs. had confered and decided that a new drug was in the cards.  We just hope it will be delivered by Tuesday morning.  In the meantime, he wrote a prescription for a cortiscosteroid to reduce the swelling of his eyes his breathing passages.  He forbade me to post a picture of his poor face.  But it is pretty bad.  He only complains every 20 minutes versus every 10 like yesterday (like most men).  He can't start his prescription until tomorrow morning as it will cause insomnia.  I will go off to work alone again, until he is feeling better.  Fourteenth day of 90+ temps.  *Whew*

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Big Changes

Tuesday is Gary's regular chemo day, but we needed to see the Dr. today. This drug is not working, and his poor little face is not getting better. Fortunately, the Dr. agreed, and put in a call to Gary's oncologist in Florida. Bummer, she wasn't at work today. We will have to wait for a phone call to know what magic elixer to try next. Between the two of them, I hope they come up with a winning combination. Gary feels very self-conscious, and I understand that, but all we have to do is look around that waiting room at the other poor souls who are so much worse than he is, and it puts things into perspective. Still, he has cancer. Ugly word. The Dr. gave us hope by revealing the fact that four more new drugs have come out for what ails him, whereas even just 5 years ago, there were none. Timing is EVERYTHING in life. That kind of goes hand in hand with my mantra: it was meant to be for a reason...

The next thing we did (after no treatment, of course) was drive back to Knoxville to exchange our iPad for the one with 3G and a GPS chip inside it. Our salesperson failed to mention that the iPad we purchased did not have that chip, thus no GPS app we wanted would install. The guys gave us a hard time, but our favorite helper, Gretta, said no problem and took care of it in 10 minutes. We will give her kudos on the Best Buy survey, where we can also a win $5000 shopping spree.

We stopped on the way home to wash Mesa (our Jeep) as it's not supposed to rain for another week at least, and the local kitties climb all over her every night with their dusty paws. I like kittie pawprints, though.

It was Gary's day to play a little golf with Bill and Billy, and even though they teed off at 8:30, it reached into the 90s before the 15th hole.  Too hot to play golf, but he still loves the game. 

I, on the other hand, had planned to wash the coach - the outside.  Butttt, it got so hot so quickly, I decided to play Angry Birds on our new iPad.  It is addictive, and time passed faster and faster, but, I reasoned, Gary was playing, so why not me?  I passed the fifth level, then got down to cleaning the inside of the coach and some laundry.  He got home a little wilted and rested while I made lunch. 

Thunder sounded over our mountain, so we scrambled to put in our awning, but it rained 20 drops and blew away.  So we decided to scoot over to Walmart for some distilled water for the batteries and more birdseed.  Even though batteries are capped, in this heat the water can evaporate even faster than normal, so Gary keeps a close eye on the water level.  Only use distilled water in batteries, and clean the terminals often to keep them corroded-free.  Some day (when we win the lottery) we will replace these older batteries with AGMs or gel batteries.  We have to do some more research when we are ready, which I hope will be in a long while.

Gary grilled a pork loin with sweet potatoes and greens, and it had cooled off enough to eat outside with the birds.  The photos I got of them were too wiggly to post, but young flickers tried to figure out a way to get the sunflower seeds out of the side of the feeder (like bugs on a tree).  They finally figured out that they needed to get them out of the bottom dish.  Then we played some more on our iPad discovering all kinds of new things. 

Tomorrow it's back to work, Hi Ho, Hi Ho.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ooops, My Bad

I was really sure we had Saturday off. So I got our collapsible bucket out filled it with awning cleaner and water threw the hose over the coach ladder and up I went. The roof was filthy (we're under a tree) but the awning was filthier. Because we had rolled it up wet during a storm and it got mold spots, it was going to be tough to get clean. Normally I would use bleach for mold, but on a beige canvas awning, not a good idea. It was already 84 degrees but I was working with water, so planned on staying cool. Gary climbed the 6 foot ladder and scrubbed the seam at the bottom, and hard as I tried, that dirt was not budging. I left the detergent on, wet it lightly again, and we rolled it up to 'soak'. Meanwhile, I finished scrubbing the roof. We opened it up again, gave it another scrubbing, but no luck. We'll have to try something different. Ideas, anyone?

We were pooped, and came in to get showers to go play when I got a call from my boss: "where are you? You were supposed to be here at 11". (it was 11:08) Well, there was a miscommunication somewhere and we ended up being 45 minutes late. Gary worked at sausage and needed to close by himself. I had to close two registers and help him clean. We won't be late EVER AGAIN.

So we got home at 9:30 and ate dinner in bed. Whew.

Sunday we DID have off, thank goodness, because it took until 4 pm to recuperate. We crawled into the Jeep to go somewhere. Gary had a great idea to go to Apple Valley Gift Barn and Restaurant. There were so many beautiful apple items, but my favorite was the caramel apple ice cream. Yummy! We sat on a bench in the shade and people watched. It was a cute place, and we'll probably return in the fall for some fresh warm apple cider. We did a few chores, like placing steel wool around the openings from the basement into the coach. We don't like little wild creatures in bed with us unless invited.

Monday we knew we had to work (we were early) and Gary had to run a lemonade stand all by himself. I was in my favorite mini-melts stand up near Barnstormer. There was no breeze and I was hot, hot, hot. I considered jumping into the freezer for a few minutes...

We were supposed to work 11 to 6:30 and I was closed out at 6:15, but it was Gary's first time alone in the lemonade stand, so he needed help closing. We finally got on the bus to the parking lot at 7:30.

The birds must have been starving as both feeders were empty. So we refilled those and I did this and Gary serenaded me with the guitar.

So, I'm closing with this thought: work is good, retirement is better. Later...

Friday, June 3, 2011

Noise and Toys

Yay, no work today. No work tomorrow and no work Sunday. The whole weekend off again! Yippee.

Today we wanted to have breakfast at our favorite, Panera in Knoxville and purchase an iPad. This past weekend, our son-in-law convinced us that an iPad would fit all our needs in one package. We also wanted a Sam's club to find the Kodak Play Sport video camera to video, take a photo of a video frame and take regular photos even up to 10 feet under water! We are the kind of people that keep an electronic for years and years as long as it works. I have an IBM laptop I bought second-hand 8 years ago - you know, the model with the little red button in the middle? Oh, you don't remember those? Well, I tried to buy a new button, as mine is disintegrating, but they don't make them anymore. Still works, so we're keeping it. Our video camera was state of the art 10 years ago. Remember cassettes? Ha. So off we went.

We took a couple of hours in Best Buy (after a delicious brunch at Panera) to pick the brain of 'Doctor Doug', a true geek - knew everything about everything. We found a really decent GPS app - something really important to us as you remember, and ended up with the iPad2, 32 GB with internal wifi. We have a Verizon MiFi for internet anywhere it's available that we can run up to five devices on at one time. It's only $35 a month for 3 GB which is plenty as we don't download movies and music. So I think we're set with that (it's charging right now).

The iPad cannot connect to our (old) Brother printer/fax/copier/scanner, but there was an HP wireless printer/scanner/copier for $50 because we were purchasing that iPad,that not only will work with the iPad but will work with our HP desktop, too!

Then it was off to Sam's Club for gas - $1.43/gal! - and in for the Play Sport. The original for $119 was out of stock, but they did have the upgraded version for $20 less than Best Buy. Gary's charging it right now, too.

It was destined to be a noisy day. First we drove 10 miles behind 4 motorcycles (so much for our quiet country scenic road we chose to drive), but it was so hot, we had to drive with the A/C on anyway. Then when we arrived at Panera and chose a table outside (too noisy inside, I've always thought), a construction worker repairing a sidewalk turned on the compressor in his pickup 20 feet away. Sheesh. Two fire engines, a police car and an ambulance came tearing by as we were leaving, and the music section in Best Buy was helping a bunch of teens decide which bass was the loudest for their cars. Tomorrow we are definitely heading for the hills, although it's Saturday and who knows what will be out and about...

We had an early dinner (7:30) and I changed the hummer food as it was a little cloudy looking. Immediately the two guys that fight over the 6 openings in the feeder showed up and began their territorial dance. The light was fading as I was trying to get shots hiding behind the Jeep side mirror and reaching over for the shutter button on the tripod. But I put the selector on sports (rapid shutter speed) and got a few: here he is coming in for a landing:
He's not quite turned around enough to see his beautiful red throat:
A mother titmouse listening to her baby screaming "Feed me! Feed me! in the nearby tree:
And Mr. Cardinal grabbing some sunflower seeds:

We had a little campfire, a couple of s'mores and talked with neighboring campers in a pleasantly warm evening. Tomorrow promises to be another hot day, so we're heading to the Sugarland Visitor Center and doing the 2 mile loop hike if we have enough energy after scrubbing our 22 foot awning from the roof and ladder. I hope we do, because we've really enjoyed getting to know the Smokies, and we've barely begun. Maybe, just maybe, we'll make it to Abrams Falls at the far end of the Cades Cove loop that was closed last weekend.

Another day to enjoy. Lucky, lucky us.