Projects

LeRoy’s generator project is still underway and I even got to help this week. Since he moved the generator from the old position up front, driver’s side, to the new one, passenger side rear, the wiring had to move as well. He spent a lot of time under the bus, fishing the big cord from the back to the front. I had it easy. I got to sit in an empty bay and pull, while his position was a little harder to get into.

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He was satisfied with that part of the progress and the carburetor conversion from gas to propane should be ready to install this week. Small steps for a dirty guy!

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My project was a lot cleaner. When we first retired, I thought I might sew for an organization called Sew Much Comfort, adapting clothing for disabled veterans, but having a sewing machine set up takes lots of space in a bus with no slides. Then, too, it hurt my back since the table wasn’t the right height. Trying to think of something that wouldn’t take so much space or special equipment, I thought about knitting. I used to enjoy knitting but hadn’t done any for a long time. I found a pattern for prayer shawls, easy enough to get me started again. Over the years, I have made and given away six prayer shawls to friends who had health challenges and might appreciate a warm shawl that was prayerfully knitted, surrounding them in prayer. This last one had been sitting for a long time. I got bogged down in the middle with a flaw in the yarn and just didn’t continue. This week, I found out that a friend from Northridge Friends Church, our Kansas home church, was beginning chemo and I quickly got to work and finished the shawl. It was a wonderful feeling to share it with her!

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The next project for me is to make a few chemo caps just to have on hand in case someone needs a warm hat for thinning hair due to chemo. It keeps me busy and improves my prayer life!

Saturday was homecoming at Friends University and unbelievably, the 50th class reunion for the class I started with. It seems that it’s usually the same ones who return for reunions, but what an enjoyable group of people they are! I was too busy talking to take pictures, but maybe I’ll get some of the official photographer’s shots later. LeRoy started at Friends the year I was a sophomore, but he played football with quite a few of my classmates and they enjoyed catching up, too. Just in case you care, I was young once!¬†Granddaughter Bailey mentioned this morning that I was rocking the cat eye glasses, but everyone did in the ’50s and ’60s.

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In with the new!

My wonderful husband had his hands full this week, removing this old behemoth

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from the “black hole”

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and putting the new Onan 6.5 gas (being converted to propane) generator where the tool box used to ride.

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The parts for the conversion arrived yesterday, so I suppose that’s coming up soon on the agenda.

This week was homecoming at Sedgwick, so we watched the parade on Friday afternoon. It’s a small school, so it was a pretty short parade, but I caught a couple of our personal highlights.

The football game, along with coronation of the homecoming king and queen, was Friday night. The women were lovely, the guys were studly and the game? Well, the game, from the Sedgwick standpoint, was a dud. I don’t think I’ve ever been to such a high scoring football game, though. 74-46! Something was going on all the time, usually leading to a score. There’s always next year, I guess.

Yesterday was an example that there is always something to see in Kansas. We had to choose which to attend and we chose a vintage trailer show at Dexter, KS. There were also a couple older RVs, very similar to some we had earlier. One was a yellow GMC motorhome from 1973. We had one that the previous owner had named the ‘Nanner Hilton, for obvious reasons.

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We’ve never had one of these Glamper campers but we certainly enjoyed looking at what other people have done to them. I think there were 15 towables and motorhomes, so I’ll just show some of my favorites.

Our friends Gene and Linda Stratton have a vintage camper they call Louise, which had her maiden voyage to Golden Bell a year ago in the summer. They were at another similar show in Abilene, KS yesterday, but I missed seeing Louise. Linda has fixed the inside in such a cute way. It would be a fun vacation spot.

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We’ve had word that changes are happening in the Golden Bell RV park, big changes! The Bluebird bus that was donated to the camp years ago and has been a thorn in the side of park hosts for a good while was moved out this week! Next on the agenda, we understand, is dirt work and tree work to allow easier maneuvering for today’s big rigs. We’ll be eager to see the final product once the team is done.

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Out with the old

Early readers of this blog will remember many pictures like this. This particular one just happened to be the first time, Hatch, NM, September 2010.

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At least once a year, if not more, there has been another incident just like this. The generator doesn’t start. LeRoy has to get out in his grubby clothes, saved just for such occasions, pull the heavy beast out and try to find the problem THIS time, almost always fuel related. The last Sunday before we arrived here at the Landing, the problem was that it wouldn’t shut off! All summer, LeRoy has been looking for a reasonably priced replacement and this week, he found one! So very soon this

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will be replaced by this

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in a new rear bay position. The tool boxes will be moved up to where the gold generator sits and the new green generator will go in this spot.

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There will be alterations to be made, but I for one am ready to move on! There have been far too many winter trips when we froze because we heat with electric heat and summer trips when we sweltered because, again, we are dependent upon electricity.

Granddaughter Jadelyn is a busy girl this year in middle school. I had a picture last year of her on the cheer squad and this week, we watched her playing volleyball. She served four scoring serves in a row, putting her team in the lead. We were very proud of her!

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Today was a familiar trip to a family reunion, but the setting was all new. It was still in the Tecumseh (KS) city park, but since last year they have built a nice new shelter house with inside bathrooms and a nice kitchen, in addition to air conditioning!

Greeting us at the gate is a new carved statue of Chief Tecumseh.

There’s another carving that has many sides to look at, starting with an eagle on top, which of course caught our attention.

But inside, the family that gathered was familiar. This is the reunion of the descendants of my great-grandparents, Thomas and Elizabeth Melton, but none of their children and only a couple of their grandchildren are still living. Today’s gathering included descendants of my grandparents, John and Bernice Melton, and those of one of the two daughters. The group is about the same each year with a few different family members from year to year. Since I’m the youngest child of the second youngest child, my second cousins are closer to my age than their parents were. I grew up with them and it’s always fun to see them again. This is a selfie on a grand scale!

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Another trip around the sun

Yesterday was my birthday, my 72nd birthday, to be exact. How did that happen? I remember Mother saying that even when she was pretty much bedfast, she still felt inside like she was 25. I completely understand! While my body may not always agree and a look in the mirror tells me it’s not true, in my mind I’m as young as ever. Dinner with LeRoy and dessert courtesy of Longhorn Steakhouse.

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For all of my adult life, I have celebrated my birthday with other friends whose birthdays are within a day or two of mine. Lunch on Friday was just that kind of celebration with a friend from long ago. Carolyn Newsom attended the same church camp LeRoy and I did as teenagers and then we met up again in Lewis, KS when she was Carolyn Wright (still is, in fact). We were backyard neighbors and our daughters were best friends. Now Carolyn is a widow and lives with her daughter and husband just a few miles away. Selfies are not our longsuit, but we enjoyed our time together.

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We arrived at the Landing near Sedgwick on Tuesday afternoon and were glad to be back. The trip itself was pretty uneventful but not without its stressors. Before we were a couple of hours away from Las Cruces, Raymond called to say that he wanted out of Casa Arena Blanca NOW! After we talked to him and calmed him down, and after we had a restful evening with friends in Belen, NM, we decided that we didn’t really need to go back. Whatever happens can be handled on the phone. We’ve had moderately good news this week on the Medicare front. At least we finally were able to talk to someone about his case and we have sent all the paperwork they need, for the moment. The woman LeRoy spoke to didn’t think there would be any problems with Raymond qualifying. I guess we will wait and see.

In Sedgwick, we quickly got involved in family life. We picked granddaughter Jadelyn up from volleyball practice one day and got to watch her play volleyball and lead cheers at a junior high football game.

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This week we’re back to ordinary life again and it started with a Sunday afternoon nap. What excitement may come? We’ll see!

 

 

 

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Eventful week!

Where do I begin? On Labor Day, we got to be a part of a potluck dinner here at Sunny Acres RV Park. No matter where we are, good cooks abound when it’s time for a potluck! It was nice to have an evening just to relax and not have a hospital visit to make.

We knew that the Casa Arena Blanca nursing home in Alamagordo was going to pick Raymond up the next day and we planned to be there when they did. Late in the afternoon, their van finally arrived and we went out through the hall doors to the front door. The whole staff was there, applauding, as Dr. Kim handed Raymond his certificate. It brought us to tears.

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This is Casa Arena Blanca’s setting, with a backdrop of mountains. For those who don’t know “arena blanca” means “white sands”, appropriate name for a place in Alamogordo, just miles from the White Sands National Monument.

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Inside, the deep inhale test was a good sign. If you’ve ever been in a “bad” nursing home, you know what I mean. Down the wide hall to his room. No carpet, which was another good sign.

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In Alamogordo, the employment pool is relatively small and while several of the staff we’ve talked to live in Las Cruces or even El Paso, there is a significant group of contract “helpers” who are there for varying periods of time. One of Raymond’s (and our) favorites is a CNA from Louisiana who is just finishing nurse’s training. But just when we were all getting used to the staff, today they moved him to another room. It seems his insurance won’t pay for skilled nursing, so he was moved to a long term care room. He’s on a Medicare Advantage plan and we’ve discovered that even though Medicare would pay for 120 days, I think, the advantage plan is much more limited. The new room is still a semi-private one, but considerably smaller. Instead of a flat screen TV by each bed, there are two older models sitting side by side and only one “box” that allows them to work with cable. We’ll see how that goes. Raymond really likes being able to control his own TV.

One of Raymond’s requests is always for coffee with two sugars. In the little lounge beside the nurse’s station, we found coffee pots for the residents! Now if he will just stay out of bed and in his wheelchair long enough to take himself there, he’s in good shape.

We watched him at work in therapy a couple of times this week and he seems to try hard, even though he reminds them before he starts that he’s 80 years old and they shouldn’t expect him to work hard. The therapy staff takes it in stride and one thing I’ve noticed about quite a few of the staff is that they are willing to listen patiently. That’s a real plus, in my book. When we left today, they all knew that we won’t be back until November.

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The latest eventful part of this week is that we have a signed and accepted contract on property in Yuma. You wouldn’t believe how hard that has been! The first property we made an offer on was under contract but the realtor hadn’t deactivated the MLS listing. The next one, after being on the market for more than 500 days, suddenly had 5 offers! They accepted one, so we didn’t follow through with that. Yesterday, though, our realtor called to say that their contract had fallen through and we could make an offer if we wanted. The rest is history! We are set to close on Sept. 29th and we will own a site with two RV hookups in the back and a garage/casita with extra parking for visitors’ cars up front. Welcome to our Yuma Landing!

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Change of Scenery

That title is very descriptive of us right now. Earlier this past week, we took a quick road trip to Yuma, a mission to help friends unload a moving truck.

The temperature in Yuma when we arrived was 117 or 118 degrees, depending on when you looked at the thermometer. Dry heat or not, that’s HOT! LeRoy and our friend Wilbur Bradbury got up at 2:00 in the morning Wednesday and by daybreak, they had the truck and trailer empty. Wilbur and Laura are now headed back to Kelso, WA to pick up their purple Prevost bus conversion and travel to visit friends and family, maybe even us! Eventually they will build a house on their lot in Yuma.

By the time we got back to Las Cruces on Thursday, the 84 degree evening temperature felt wonderful! Raymond was still in the rehab hospital here due to an elevated white count and IV antibiotics. There is, however, an end in sight. He has been accepted and will transfer Tuesday to a permanent home in Alamogordo as it stands now.

Which leads me to the next change of scenery. We will be moving Liberty to Alamogordo on Tuesday the way things stand now. Once we get Raymond settled in there and we are satisfied with the move, we’ll be free to hit the road again, this time headed for Kansas.

Between Yuma and the mountains to the east is an area known as the Foothills. There are many, MANY RV lots there where people come for the winter and stay on their own or someone else’s lot with hookups. Some are empty, some landscaped and some have a shed or two. Still others have a small building called a casita, which may or may not have living quarters inside. On August 7, our last two rental houses in Wichita were sold. We purchased them when we sold the farm in Oklahoma on a 1031 exchange. That just means that we exchanged one income-producing property for another, so the tax on the sale was deferred. Now, we need to roll that money along into another income-producing property. And that leads me to the next change of scenery. Since we have to pick out three possible properties to purchase and turn in that list, we went looking in Yuma. Tucson doesn’t have anything similar that we know of. More on that at a later date when we actually know something, but it currently appears that we will be wintering in Yuma instead of Tucson.

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Waiting

First of all, thank you so much to everyone who sent Raymond birthday cards to help him celebrate his 80th birthday! He read every one.

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He also enjoyed the cupcakes we brought him. I asked when was the last time he had a birthday cake and he said probably about 25 years. When we each had one, we took them to the nurses’ lounge to share.

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His projected date for leaving the rehab hospital had been August 25 or 26, but his case worker has not been able to find a skilled nursing facility that will take him, for multiple reasons. First, several just have no beds available. Second, one that we really liked couldn’t take him because he requires a lift or a two person transfer to get him from bed to chair and back and the state limits the number of people each facility can have that require that. Also, he has a bedsore and his incisions have not completely healed, and they won’t take someone with open wounds! The case worker says in five years, she has never had this trouble placing someone. I know she is just as concerned as we are, since Raymond’s insurance said they will not pay past the 26th. Now he is on IV antibiotics because his white count is high. We see that as providential, though, because had he already been transferred, they probably wouldn’t have been drawing blood regularly.

There has been progress on one front, at least. When we arrived to see him yesterday, his bandages and wraps had been removed and he just has small ones that cover the incisions and a couple other problem areas, so he feels much freer to move. ¬†Please keep praying! We know it’s in God’s hands and he loves Raymond far more than we do.

Once Raymond is transferred to his next “home”, he should be staying there. It may be as far away as Albuquerque, but he shouldn’t have to move again. We have all agreed that once that happens, we will probably be on the road again.

 

 

 

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