Saturday, July 28, 2012

Back to Work and Surprise Event

Monday was my first day back at work.  I had been scheduled easy hours:  11 am to 4:30 pm.  Sweet.  There were some new people to meet and some old friends to catch up with.  It was good to be back.  But it was a hot day and working around the griddle was grueling for the others.  I was on the register every minute as it was a popular day for our guests.

Tuesday I continued to caulk the roof.  I needed to remove our vent cover over the bathroom to clean the fan cover.  Ugh, oh, the back of the cover was completely broken apart from the top from age.  I'm surprised our vent cover even works.  It is holding on by one screw.  We'll have to replace that some day.  It was hot work, but I don't EVER want a leak, so this is one of those preventative maintenance things.  I got a third of it done, and had to call it quits.

We got cleaned up, and decided to go to our fave restaurant for lunch: McAllister's where the sandwiches are so huge, Gary and I always share.  Today it was a Turkey Ruben - yum.  Our big adventure for this week was Oconaluftee Indian Village in Cherokee, NC.  As we still don't have our A/C fixed, Ron was kind enough to drive.  One of our perks was free admission to the village and Unto These Hills open theatre performance.  However, a special presentation was playing that night, so we waited to see if we wanted to pay for that until later.  Meanwhile, we were taken down to the re-enactment of the Attack on the Village in the 1700s from the French. 

Honestly, not so impressed with that performance, mostly because we were crammed in on outside seats halfway through the performance.  However, what happened next was serendipity.  A large group from Polynesia were part of Folkmoot ( an organization founded in 1984.  But please read about it as it's inception is remarkable. 

This group decided on an impromptu performance for the Cherokees and proceeded to sing and dance a polynesian cultural act.  We were very impressed, and asked one of the guides about the group.  We were in luck!  They were performing at Folkmoot in Bryson City, only 15 minutes away tonight.  So we asked someone to take our picture (and we took theirs) in front of the sign, and slowly worked our way over to Bryson city. 

Thank goodness for our iPad, becuase we found the highschool auditorium where the County Theatre was, and found our seats.  I wish I could relate how absolutely wonderful this performance was.  We were blown away.  What a surprise!

Peru and France also performed, but the Polynesian Islands were hands down the best.  There was an intermission at 9:15, but we waited until the PIslands performed again, and then left for our hour and half drive home over the mountains.  Ron did a superb job driving and we all slept well.

Wednesday I worked some more on the roof. 

After I cleaned up, we all headed over to Dollywood for Donna to pick up some tickets for Dixie Stampede for family and for us to see DW's newest ride sensation - the Wild Eagle.  We stopped along the way to see a great Western Music show, and slowly walked up the mountain visiting shops that had cowboy hats.  Nothing Gary wanted, however.

The head index was 105 and it was so humid everyone was dripping wet.  But we made it to the top and watched crazy people screaming on the brand new, 'never before seen style roller coaster in the United States. Featuring a wing style train where the riders are on each side of the track, this new coaster thrills all with its amazing layout and 4 inversions'! I haven't decided if I'm going to be one of those crazy people or not.  Probably not.

We rode up to the Smoky Mountain Opry to purchase tickets for this evening's show.  This used to be the Miracle Theatre which closed last year to many people's chagrin.  But the show we saw was really entertaining.  The cast did music from the big band era, country, a little gospel, patriotic and rock.  There were some good voices up there for sure.

Thursday I completed the roof - yay!  I love preventative maintenance.  So much nicer than having to fix a problem, doncha know.

Gary removed the anode rod to see what it looked like after replacing it a year and a half ago in Florida.  Here is how much deterioration occured with the various water sources we've used:

Not too bad, but he installed the new one anyway.  Interesting that we're drinking this stuff...

A fun part of the day was deciding to re-do the window treatments in Bella.  They are dated (she's a 2003) and I love to decorate anyway, so Donna and I wandered over to JoAnn's to look at fabric.  Last year I made two punchneedle chickens and was always planning to put them in the kitchen.  Donna kindly brought the fabric I had chosen to use that she had bought years ago and put in storage.  When I showed her the fabric swatch, she said "I have 5 yards of that in storage and you can have it".  Our tastes are very similar, obviously - one of the things that make us like to shop together.  But I needed a background fabric so we went searching.  I found the perfect fabric right away, however, we couldn't just leave.  After a while we had chosen fabric for the living area, chairs, bedroom valences and bed shams.  That night at dinner, we continued to visualize where what fabric would go where and began taking off the valences.  The boys got involved when we couldn't figure out how to get one off.  It turned out we needed to remove the light fixture - never would have thought that!

So now we have valences lying all over the place. 

Friday I had to get to work at 11 am, so Gary tried to get the fabric off all the valences with pliers, screwdrivers, knives, etc.  He said half the weight of Bella must be because of all the staples! 

When Ron got home from work, the boys went for pizza while Donna and I tuned into the Opening Ceremony.  One of the most memorable ceremonies was Beijing 's and everyone was wondering if London's could meet or exceed that bar.  There were awesome moments, but I still think Beijing's was a little bit better.  So now the TV will be tuned to the Olympics for the next 16 days.  I'm watching Woman's Basketball as I type, and they're up 11-4 against Croatia.

For those interested in the Polish Noodles Recipe here it is.  For those not interested, please skip down a bit.

Need:  16 oz. sausage (any kind, cut up), 1 small head of cabbage, shredded; 1 bag of Pennsylvania Dutch Kluski noodles.  Cook the sausage in very large skillet till browned.  Drain, saving 4 T of liquid.  Add cabbage to sausage with some water (about 1/2 cup more or less), cover and steam for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, cook noodles and drain.  Add noodles to cabbage mixture and mix.  Cook uncovered for 5 minutes.  S&P to taste.  I think it's even better the next day.  Enjoy!

Finally it's Saturday, and Gary is working at the office, and I'm working on those valences again.  But right now I'm going to bring lunch up to my hubby and work on our Gate Guarding papers.  We should get those sent in, because, once again, we're making plans to do that next year.  That's the plan, anyway...

Friday, July 20, 2012

Nothing Much Going On

Monday I went over to the Foods Office to see Melinda hopefully to get the ball rolling on my papers.  I met one of my leads there, so now he knows I am around.  Melinda took my number and promised to call tomorrow.  So I left the office and walked around the park looking for my other leads just to say hi.  I saw a couple, and they asked when I was starting.  All I could say was 'soon'.

After that Donna and I stopped at JoAnn's to pick up some sizing for a project we have in mind and then over to Walmart.  Always Walmart...

Tuesday none of us had to work, and Gary's golf day was changed to Thursdays, but I can't remember much of what we did.  Wednesday we went over to the Dish Barn for Donna to get some more Fiestaware.  A big storm was heading our way, so we ducked into the Smokey Mountain Knife Works.  Three floors of knives, kitchenware, candy, camping stuff, and toys.  As the storm raged outside, we walked among deer, bear, pumas (all stuffed) and a three story waterfall.  The sun came out, and we meandered on down Rte 66 to home and some Polish Noodles.  This recipe is as old (or older) than I am, and I've been served it all my life.  It's a mixture of sausage, cabbage and egg noodles and really delicious.  If you would like the recipe, just ask.

We hung out listening to Country Music so I could get some kind of education for Texas this winter.  I like country, but don't know the songs, artists or the words, so our friends decided I needed a quick course on CMA.  On TV I could finally put the faces to the music during the videos, and I got to know some of the more recent singers in the business. 

Thursday my last year's Team Leader called to tell me I start work on Monday.  Donna, Ron and I decided to have the breakfast buffet at Aunt Granny's in Dollywood before getting my ID, etc. at HR.  I never get my money's worth at buffets.  I can't eat that much.  After that, we went over to HR to pick up my stuff, and they wouldn't give me anything, but told me to go over to Wardrobe to get my costume stuff.  So we did that, and now I have my outfits, but need to stop by HR on the way to work on Monday to get my ID, etc.  Sheesh.

Meanwhile Gary played golf and got home around lunchtime.  We wanted to go into Gatlinburg and walk around as it was not supposed to rain until the evening.  Donna and I walked and shopped and the boys sat on the sidewalk benches and people-watched.  The heat wore us out so we stopped at No Way Jose's Mexican food for dinner.  That was good, but we said our goodnights right after dinner.

Later that evening severe weather beeps were continuously on the tv warning of thunderstorms headed our way.  We got them, but not severely.  We woke to hear some people had died in Louisville from those same bad storms. 

Our hummers continue to visit.  This is at the large feeder.

I have a kitchen window feeder, too.  But I would have to stand there with my heavy camera leaning over the sink to catch one eating.  They are very skittish, and any movement would scare them away.  So I have to lay in wait - oh, my aching back.  But they are one of my favorite birds, and I am really looking forward to seeing other species when we travel out west in the winter.

Till later....

Monday, July 16, 2012

More Old Friends and a Little Work

The forecast for the next few days is rain with afternoon thunderstorms (the usual summer weather pattern).  It rained a little overnight, and was cloudy this morning and 72.  I made pancakes and bacon for breakfast, then decided to work on my bedroom window.  The guys at Independence RV said that our window manufacturer was out of business, and it would take him hours to fix.  I said I'd do it.  The window worked up and down OK, but the screen was stuck.  I noticed that the plastic casing was jamming the screen because it was cracked.  I needed to work it like a stuck zipper.  After 30 minutes, I did it, and now my screen goes up, too.  I don't know why I wanted the screen to go up, but that's just me.  It's supposed to, so I wanted it to.

Gary finally got off the couch and wandered over to the CG Office to find out what Rodney and Ron were doing.  We haven't begun work yet, as the 'right person' is on vacation.  Monday we'll have to run back over to HR to get our hire papers.  Gary doesn't really want to work there, so if the CG owner says he can, he will take my job at the office, and I'll work at DW. 

I put up our birdfeeder because I thought I heard a hummingbird while I was outside re-arranging the basement.  Sure enough, 20 minutes after I filled the feeder, a male Ruby Throated hummer came for a drink.  Still waiting for the Goldfinches, Titmice and Flickers that we had last year.

Just as I finished, it started to sprinkle.  We don't have any room to put our awning out and our picnic table is in the front of the coach.  We'll get it all organized when it decides to be nice out for a while.

This evening we were invited to have dinner with our friends, Brenda and Larry in their new home.  I met Brenda last year at a scrapbooking event, and we hit it off.  They lived in a beautiful Navigator in a campground near us and we spent a lot of time together last year.  Due to Larry's health problems, they decided to look for a permanent spot to hang their hats, and found a fabulous former rental home high on a mountain top.

Here's the view as we arrived at 6 pm.  It had just rained heavily, so the clouds were clearing.

And the inside with our hosts:

The never-ending view out their picture windows.  I am almost jealous.  It was a fabulous home and we had a declicious dinner watching the rain clouds form, then disappear.  I would probably get nothing done, just sit there and think I was in Heaven.  We finally tore ourselves away, and rolled back down the mountain in a light drizzle.

Saturday was a work day at the campground office.  I mentioned before that we were hoping the owner would say it was OK for Gary to work in the office, while I worked at DW.  Our hopes were answered, so we spent the day together while Gary did most of the work, I supervised.  The office is open 9 to 7, so we arrived home exhausted and decided to go out to Mel's Diner with Donna and Ron for a quick bite (amidst the rain - again).  We hung out a little at the restaurant, but parted when we arrived home.

Sunday was another office day, and Gary was feeling a little more confident.  Here's a picture of him smiling!

It was another busy day, but Donna had to work until 7, too, so I threw together some pasta and shrimp and stuff and they contributed a salad, and it was all good.  Then we hung around planning our play days.  I still have to get over to DW to get my work papers in order and plan to do that on Monday. 

So we'll let you know our plans as they come together!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Fun with Friends

While Gary was playing golf, and Donna was at HR getting her papers, I did some computer work.When Gary came back from playing golf, his eyes were nearly swollen shut.  This was not his MF, but either a bug bite, or lawn chemicals from the golf course.  They weren't painful, but itchy.  Poor guy; we drove him to the drug store where we talked to the pharmacist.  She sold us some Benadryl, telling him that we could call his Dr. if he wanted to get a shot of something, but eventually it would go away.  Benadryl makes most everyone tired, but it makes Gary's legs restless, too, so he limited his intake to one pill during the day and two at night times.

He had made an appointment with the Dr. that put in his port, so we drove over to the hospital for his flush (it took 10 minutes) then we all went out to eat at McAllister's for lunch.  We came home, so Gary could take a nap, and Donna and I went over to JoAnn's to look for fabric that we need for our projects.  She is making a baby quilt for a new grandson, and I am attempting to change my window treatments.  We struck out on all counts, but had fun looking around.

The Parkway, also known as Rte. 441, is usually at a standstill on Friday afternoons, but it moves at a snail's pace every afternoon around 4 as traffic increases during rush hour.  So Donna and I decide to take the short cut on back roads.  I thought I could remember, but Donna had her iPhone GPS working as long as she had a signal, which was very spotty.  We got lost, but eventually found our way back home.  It was a pleasant drive through the countryside, fields and forests.  Next time I'll know the way.

Gary and Ron had had their naps and were excited to go taste their first Buffalo Wild Wings in Tennessee.  The rain had stopped and it was a pleasant 76 degrees, so we ate outside.  They like fried pickle chips, but I like onion rings, so we managed those as well as one buffalito before we called it quits.

We hung out until 9:30 and then Gary's Benadryl was kicking in, so we called it a night after we made plans for Thursday.

We all had breakfast at home, and because it was cool and called for rain, and our A/C in the Jeep works weakly, we decided to drive to Knoxville in the Jeep.  Three destinations:  Walmart to get the fabric Donna needed and towels I needed, Panera for lunch and Hobby Lobby.  Someplace I've never been.  Well, it's as big as a warehouse, and we were in there for at least an hour (the boys got bored and went over to Lowe's).  So much to see!

We couldn't even get to the corners of the store by the time the boys came back in to find us.  But I did add to my granddaughter's collection for her birthday.  It was really pouring when we left for home, skipping Camping World until another day.  Later we got together for dinner for chicken enchiladas.  Yummmmmy!  Both Gary and I were looking forward to a non-interrupted night of sleep.  I'll let you know how that went!  Nitey-nite!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Helping Out

I strolled over to the CG office to see if things had changed any since last November.  Nope, not much.  Everything is still hand written with boxes of paper forms everywhere.  But it is organized as best as possible.  Rodney helped me remember things and told me about some updated info.  I was ready for tomorrow.

Saturday morning I was up at 6:30, which was a little too early, so my sweetie made some coffee which we sipped in bed until it was time to get moving.  I got things ready in the office, and it wasn't long before people poured in.  Fridays are busiest with lots of checkins, but Saturday is busy, too.  After 10 hours at the office, I was pooped.  But dinner was almost ready as I walked in the door.  This situation is reminiscent of the days I was still working in Raleigh and Gary had retired.  All the housework was always done and the supper was on the stove when I came home.  Yes, sir, that's my sweetie.

Sunday was just like Saturday, but not as busy.  Gary came by with lunch, and the CG owner came in to chat for a while.  She owns 24 dogs (she had 27 last year, but lost a few).  She takes very good care of them whether they are given to her or they are homeless.  Needless to say, she knows the vet very well. Bless her big heart.

Monday we had decided that our site was just too unlevel to be comfortable.  Our front wheels were off the ground, so we had back up on six inches of board.  Which made the front steps a little high, so we used cement blocks under our step stool.  And we still weren't truly level.  The thing that clinched it was that our sewer ran uphill.  Can't have that.  So we asked the manager to move and he said yes, so we packed up everything and moved two sites away.  It took 1 hour to level in our old spot and 5 minutes in our new one.  That old spot was good for fifth wheels, but a little difficult for a Class A. 

We got cleaned up and headed over to HR at Dollywood.  Things have changed a lot, and the person we were to see had moved to a new job.  We were helped with our paperwork and walked over to Safety to have more papers signed.  It was fun walking through the park noticing all the changes.  I still wish we could have an air-conditioned job, though.  It's gonna be warm out there. 

As far as beginning work, we will get a call on Wednesday or Thursday.  In the meantime, I need to get some work shoes, and try to remember how to operate the register.  We returned home around three and chatted with some old friends from last year that stopped by to say hi. 

Then, around the corner came our friends, Donna and Ron.  We had not seen them since October of last year, but they looked the same and it was like no time had passed at all!  The boys were trying to get the sewer line draining in the right direction.  Now, this is how to do it:  The owner (Ron) supervises:

You would think they needed an engineering degree, but 30 minutes later, they had a great looking setup.  And, most importantly, it works!

After they got the A/C going, they came over and chatted until we whipped up some tacos, chatted until 9, then we had to call it a night.  Thunderstorms woke me at 4 am, but Gary was getting up at 5:30 to play golf (yes, really) so it was hard to get back to sleep.  After both alarms went off, and he closed the door on the way out, I got a couple more winks, but got up at 7.  For the first time in months and months, I had coffee alone.

Well, we're off for more adventures today, so I'll be filling in later all the fun stuff we do.  Thanks for visiting!

Friday, July 6, 2012

New Scenery, Old Friends

Monday we had lunch with our friends, Dick and Diane at our local Winston's.  Then Gary went with Dick back to their house, while Diane and I browsed through the Shops at Bailywick.  This building has stalls for individual vendors and sells all kinds of interesting decorations, soaps, jewelery, etc.  Diane was looking for something on which to display her decanters, and found a lovely filigree tray.  We joined the boys back at the house and had a couple of laughs on their porch.   

The kids were waiting for us, so we played with them until dinner time.  Mandy has made Scotch Potch, a kind of liquid beef stew with mashed potatoes.  Yum.  She's a very good cook, and we always want seconds.  We left for home before we were locked out.

Tuesday Gary and I had separate lunch dates; he with an old workmate and me with an old friend.  It was great catching up and yet seemed like just yesterday that we saw them.  I love that.

Back to Camp Central, where we played again till dinner.  Beer Can Chicken was on the menu, and Joe cooked it perfectly! We had a little time to play, until we were off to the campground for the evening.

Wednesday we planned to spend the day at the campground.  The boys brought their fishing rods, but it was so hot, we all took a dip in the lake first.  The water was actually like bath water, so we had to swim a ways out to get any thermocline.  Our neighbors came down to the rock; the little boy with his pole and the little girl in her swimsuit.  Joe brought their dog, Brutus, a golden lab, and the neighbors had a golden lab, too, named Rita.  So everyone had a playmate.  All the guys finally went to fish and actually caught a few (no keepers, though).  After a few hours, we went back to the house for pizza, and said our goodbyes.  We are going back in September, so it won't be as long as last time, thank goodness.

Thursday we were out of the campground about 8:15, dumped, and made it to Gaffney, SC around 12:30.  We were going Freightliner to have our oil changed and radiator looked at as we overheated for a minute on the way.  They got right on it, and we were out and parked at our free spot (50 amp) by 4:30.  Our radiator was fine, it was just that we were running the dash A/C and were low on freon, so the engine was working a little to hard.  They fixed everything just as a severe storm warning bleeped on the lounge TV.  We hunkered down watching the radar, but everything went right around us.  We got about 24 drops of rain.  I was really hoping for a good rain to wash off  Bella, but now she's twice as dusty. 

It's interesting how things work out.  If we had decided to skip going to Freightliner, we would have been in Pigeon Forge during a 90 mile an hour wind/thunderstorm in which two people died and a little girl nearly drowned in the Smokies.  Our campground lost some limbs, but no one's rig was hurt and everyone was OK.  But Gary made the decision to stop at Freightliner on the way, and not on the way back to Raleigh in the fall, so we escaped that storm.

Friday we were out of the parking lot around 8:15 and headed up the Saluda Grade before we knew it.  Gary needed to put Bella in 3rd gear and we followed a truck all the way doing about 25 mph.  It was easy going even with the A/C on.  We arrived in our campground about 12:15, set up and wandered over to the office.  Our friend, Rodney, was working today and the owner, Mickey, was also there.  I am planning to work at the office while we're here, but need to work out the schedule yet.  The manager called and asked me to work Saturday and Sunday, so I will have to get up early again tomorrow.  Since we were up early every day for the past weeks, with busy, busy days, I was hoping to be able to chill before starting to work at Dollywood, but that's not to be.  Monday we will head over to HR to get our assignments, outfits and ID cards. 

But the best thing about Monday is that our dear friends, Donna and Ron, will be arriving and parking next to us.  We haven't seen them since last October.  So, let the party begin!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The Fun Never Ends

A hundred and three today.  Mother Nature is throwing a hissy fit to end all hissy fits.  Record temps are being set over 2/3 of the country.  Whheeewww, it's hot. 

So where do a lot of people go when it's so hot?  The mall, the pool and the movies.  Been to the mall, been to the pool and so Mandy and I took Ainsley to the movies to see Brave.  Ainsley looks just like Merida with her red curls and blue eyes.  Like all Disney movies, it was adorable and it was my first 3D movie.  Cool.  Literally.

I love figs and we bought a tiny fig bush in Florida about four years ago.  It struggled along, but never was happy, so we brought it up to Mandy's.  She planted it on the front lawn in the flower garden.  This is what it looks like today.  That is Gary's mom standing there.  Even though she's only 4'11", the tree is big!  And it's got figs that will be ripe in about three weeks.

It was too hot to cook, so we wandered over to the Asian Cafe for some sushi. Here's Gary's plate:

Mandy and Joe and Jack ordered so much sushi, it came in a three foot long boat.  They dug in before we could get a picture.  We had leftovers, they didn't.

Sunday I had a headache, probably from the heat, so took it easy in the morning.  Around 1, we picked up some corn on the cob and tea and headed to Camp Central for a huge fish fry.  But first we had our leftovers for lunch.

While we were playing with the kids, it got darker and darker.  A storm came on very suddenly with hail and wind.  But it left just as quickly making everything dripingly humid.

Joe's parents and sister and her friend were coming over, too.  Everyone arrived around 4 pm and we were introduced to Carlos, Mandy's room mate.  It turns out that he has played with our son, Tristan, many times, and I remember him from Tristan's highschool days.  Small world. 

We had bass and striper, burgers, pasta salad and watermelon, asian salad and zucchini cake for dessert.  Virtual feast, and we waddled upstairs for some exercise with the kids before we headed home.  We had put in the awning as usual, and, as usual, were glad we did.  Just some twigs and leaves scattered around and the chairs were wet. 

Thunderstorms are predicted every afternoon this whole week, which is a typical summer pattern.  It's getting close to leaving time on Thursday, so we'll be planning our way tomorrow morning until we meet for lunch with friends.  Because it's so hot, we don't want to be going over the mountains into Pigeon Forge late in an afternoon, so we may take two days to get there.  But you'll know soon as we do!