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Welcome to The Clampetts!

Introduction

First blog postKarlaRetirementParty

Hi All!

Here it is fresh off the press, my very first blog.

Let me tell you a little bit about us.  Our name is not really Clampetts but we sort of resemble the Clampetts prior to them striking oil!

My name is Karla and my husband of 13 years’ name is Brian.  We live on at the end of a narrow, dirt road, in a small village, in a small county in the small state of New Hampshire.  I am just recently retired; hence the picture above with the huge corsage!

This blog will be about living off the grid completely and our trials and tribulations of every day living once retired and living in a small, rural area.  It ain’t always easy!  For example, the time I made a custard and the oven kept blinking at me and B was away on a business trip.  Why was the oven blinking?  Would the custard cook?  Well, of course the oven was blinking, it wasn’t getting enough power!  I did not have the appropriate inverter on!  We have 2 inverters that converts DC (battery) current to AC (house) current.  I obviously had a lot to learn. . .

One of the newest additions to our off the grid living and something that makes me very happy, and we hope will make life a little easier, is a propane generator and a new 500 gallon propane tank.  Now the generator comes on automatically when our power begins to lessen.  Since this is a new installation (and not a cheap one either I might add), it still needs tweaking; that would be B’s job.  So far it is working well.  Previously, we used a gasoline fed generator, and required some manual tweaking that was always difficult for me.  I am not mechanically inclined and the generator required a lot of pulling and usually accompanied by some cussing to even start it.  I am not good at jumping up and down while pulling the cord as well as B is!

We live a pretty ordinary life and if you were to visit, you would not necessarily even realize we are off the grid.  However, we do have a few quirky things by today’s standards.  We have a special small refrigerator that requires manual defrosting (yuck) and is deep but short, causing the food that gets pushed way back to freeze.  Have you ever tried reviving frozen celery?  It doesn’t work well.  And our gas powered oven also requires manual cleaning (double yuck, as I cook a lot).  However, my husband has every power tool known to man and uses them frequently.  We have a regular washing machine, but I prefer to hang my clothes out to dry during the summer months, and I use wooden clothes racks in the winter set up near the wood stove to dry most of our clothes.  Why not use the sun and the wood stove to dry one’s clothes???  We do own a dryer but it is at my in-law’s who live a mile from us and live on the grid.

I am also very interested in homesteading, for lack of a better word.  I believe in eating local, either growing my own food or buying local food and meat.  We have raised pigs in the past as well as ducks, chickens, and, if lucky,  B brings home venison – in season,  of course!  I am fortunate to live in an area where I can easily buy any of these items, should I run low on my own food.  By the way, we do have 2 freezers living off the grid.  See?  You would never know we do so.

I hope you like my new blog!  Please feel free to make any comments you care to make.  Well, only positive comments of course!  Ha, ha.

Karla

Missing Minnie and a Trip to Urgent Care – November 18, 2019 – at the Clampetts

Hello Folks,

First off, in my last blog I said we would post a picture of both sides of the Mickey/Minnie cookie jar.  Well, Minnie apparently became a target of lust for Google and/or WordPress because WordPress was giving us some difficulties, and when B went to post her picture again to the blog, Minnie was missing!  I think she was stolen and taken to the Cloud by her captors.  Anyway, we will eventually show you a picture of Minnie so you can get a good idea of what the, already beloved, cookie jar, looks like.  Thanks for your patience.

As to the trip to Urgent Care on Saturday, that was for me.  I got slammed hard and fast with something last Monday/Tuesday and ended up being one sick puppy.  I am not looking for sympathy nor adding drama here, but rather, just telling you how I’ve been feeling.  Everyone feels different when hit with something so fast and violent.

I sat around for several days hardly getting out of the recliner.  Whenever I got up, I went to bed or the sofa and I was wracked with coughing, had a fever, chills, a good head cold, and a chest cold, or so it seemed to me.  I couldn’t sleep; the coughing was so bad.  By Saturday around 2:00 p.m. I knew what I had to do.  In the meantime B had gone to the CVS to pick up my regular prescription and asked the pharmacist for something to help with the horrible coughing.  The pharmacist recommended this “horse” pill, as I call them, that tasted so bitter that my stomach made a lunge every time I even attempted to swallow one, but I did take them.  They did nothing for the coughing.  Hence, the trip to the Urgent Care.

Also, by Saturday it sounded like I had a chorus of feral cats in my chest all chiming in at once and lots of rattling too.  I knew what this meant.  I told B I needed to go to Urgent Care.  He said, “Get dressed and we will go now.”  I did.  Actually, I lucked out, as no one was in the waiting room when I arrived and I got called in quickly.  Sure enough, I had a fever, elevated blood pressure, and it was quickly determined I needed to go and have a chest x-ray.

After what seemed like hours, a gal came to get me with a wheelchair and wheeled me to x-ray, took two of them, and wheeled me back to my room.  And more waiting and more waiting.  Meanwhile, B said someone with kids with snotty noses and coughing came into the waiting area, so he went to the van to wait for me.  Finally, the nurse came back and said, “You have pneumonia.”  Well, there was no surprise, as I had had it once before about 10-12 years ago.

At that time it was spring, which is when I usually get the creepin’ crud, and I was at my mother’s.  That time I couldn’t even get myself to the shower, as I got too tired just getting up and going downstairs.  This time, at least, I can manage a shower.  Mostly what I remember is driving myself into Concord to my doctor’s office and getting a high dose antibiotic.  I also remember that about week after that, we were on vacation and I could barely pack a suitcase, because I was so tired and weak from having pneumonia.  Good times.

So, I came out of Urgent Care with two prescriptions to pick up at CVS.  We went roaring down to CVS, but of course, it was a 20 minute wait.  B wanted to know if I had anything else in town to do.  “No, but I sure would like a large iced tea from Dunkin.”  So, we then went roaring to Dunkin for the ice tea and an egg sandwich for B.  Back to CVS and we got the prescriptions.  One prescription is for an antibiotic that doesn’t seem to be working yet on quieting those cats in my chest.  The other is to quiet my body so I am not constantly tearing myself apart with the coughing.  Oddly enough, this one is a tiny little round capsule filled with liquid inside.  Anyway, I am not supposed to drive and take it, so I don’t know what that is doing to my system, but it helps to quiet my body so I can sleep.  The nurse said I could take up to 3 a day, but don’t have too.  The most I’ve taken in a day is 2 capsules.

 Of course, being the smarty pants I am, I only took one of these yesterday, so I was again awake during the night coughing.  I also didn’t think I needed to continue to take Tylenol.  Big mistake.  The “block head” sensation came back.  I really do have a head cold too.

This is the first day I’ve felt at all inclined to sit at my desk, so I guess it is a slow improvement.  I have little or no appetite either, but I am supposed to drink lots of fluids, which is torture for me.  The Dunkin iced tea was good and the sherbet is good, but most things taste horrible.  I love tea, but when I’m sick, tea tastes horrible to me.  It tastes too earthy, so I’ve been seeping my tea and removing the teabag shortly.  Right now, I am sipping tea with a little sugar in it to take the earthiness out of the taste of the tea.  Of course, throughout this ordeal, my finicky stomach has been very unhappy and I’ve had to deal with that too.  It is a most unpleasant experience.  Sick to my stomach, coughing, a fever, and a cacophony of cats.  A great combo.  

So my world continues to be the recliner, my bed, and the sofa in the evening.  B has, once again, been called on as the man of action, and he is none too happy to have me near the kitchen spreading any germs.  So I have pretty much been banned from kitchen duty.

I have no idea where all this bacteria came from.  I’ve never had a cold morph into a major illness and at the speed of lightning too.  Anyway, it is time for me to get dressed and head for the recliner.  

Stay well!  

More Snow, More Cold, and More Leftovers – November 11-12, 2019 – at the Clampetts

Hello Folks,

Winter has set in here in Clampett-ville.  Monday was, as predicted, an overcast day with a few rain showers turning to snow showers about mid-day.   Then more snow in the evening and let’s throw in some freezing rain too boot.  Today was on and off snow showers.  However, now at 4:00 p.m. and about time for the sun to set, shads of sunshine and some blue sky are peeping through.

I had a very busy Monday.  It all started with exercise class.  There was also a request for the hours of exercise to change for the winter from 8:30 – 9:30 to 9:00 – 10:00.  Fine with me, as I will not need to get up until 7:00.  However, it messes up my PT schedule.

Then off to PT, where I had to rearrange the hours a bit for the rest of the month.  No real issue.  After that, it was off to the laundromat.  I was on a roll and, although the place was busy, I had no trouble getting two machines and didn’t have to wait, plus there were dryers available when my wash was done.

As I said, I was on a roll and then went to get groceries.  I felt pretty good until a chill set in.  Unfortunately, I cannot wear layers because of PT.  I never did warm up sufficiently until I went to bed.

I didn’t sleep particularly well either, as my sinuses began to act up.  So today has been a rather down day.  I have napped off and on all day and taken Tylenol to relieve the symptoms.

B on the other hand, had a busy day yesterday, but not until after I got home.  The risers for the septic systems were finally in, so that meant a trip to Lebanon in a partial snowstorm.  Anyway, he got one installed and he has another one to install today before the ground freezes and he has to wait until spring.

Also, today was his day to go to the dentist.  I woke up at 1:50 and he was still home so I had to remind him he had a 2:00 o’clock appointment at the dentist.  Yep.  That’s how we roll around here!

A few weeks ago, Ginger and Mark came up to visit and brought me more dishes.  It seems I had spoken up for Ginger’s grandmother’s cookie jar. as well as some other dishes.  I am just now getting around to write about the cookie jar.

The cookie jar is most unusual.  It is Minnie Mouse on one side, and when you turn it, it is Mickey Mouse on the other side!  We all think it is a bit crudely done, but that is what makes it special to me.  Plus the fact that B has a tattoo on his arm of Mickey Mouse as the Wizard.  Here are a couple of pictures of the jar at the end of this post.

We are having leftover stuffed shells again for dinner tonight.  Last night I steamed a small head of cauliflower from the CSA box from last week. I added cheese sauce, so we having leftover cauliflower for dinner as well.  This is night 3 for the shells and I am more than done with them.  Now I have to start over tomorrow.  One thing about the CSA I do not like; you don’t know what you are getting until you get to the stand.  If they could email the weekly list of goodies in advance, I could better plan my menus.  I guess it is too much work for them, as they are also supplying a local co-op market with veggies and apparently they plan to have enough to supply the store until the New Year.  So I think they do not plan out what they are providing to the CSA group until they figure out how much of each item they have left and what will keep best.

We are also having baked apples for dessert for dinner tonight.  I have been pushing apples to us to ward off evil spirits, but apparently it hasn’t helped me.  We both like baked apples (with vanilla ice cream!) and they are very easy to fix.

So this is what has been poppin’ around here the last couple of days.

Stay well!

 

Snow! Cold! Pumpkin! and More! – November 8-9, 2019 – at the Clampetts

Hello Folks,

We did, indeed, get some snow overnight on Thursday.  I turned on the outside light from the south deck at 8:00 p.m. and it was snowing.  I thought it would be gone by morning, but not so.  We got about an inch here in Clampett-ville and, as of this writing on Saturday, there is still some snow on the grassy areas.  B says it’s because the ground isn’t frozen yet, so snow directly on bare ground melts, but anything exposed to air all around it stays. Here is a picture of my lemon yellow mesh chair on the deck.  Not so lemony, huh???

Friday morning I walked, and boy was it cold!  I was all bundled up in my down jacket, but I really needed long underwear.  I figured walking would warm me up, and it did to a point, but I still could have used more layers.  Here is a picture of the brook with the frosted fir trees and ground.

It was so cold Friday that we started the wood stove early, and B wasn’t too inclined to go outside and do much.  We did drive down to B’s mechanic in Claremont to pick up the van, which was all set with new brakes.  Let’s see how long B can go without getting new brakes again.  It isn’t that he rides his brakes, but rather, he stomps on them.  At least that is my opinion!  Neither of us bothered to make any stops and just came directly home.

I was in the middle of preparing my Long Island cheese pumpkin when we left.  You may recall, I was gifted a rather large pumpkin.  This type of pumpkin has quickly become my favorite.  It is sweet, large, and easy to love.  The skin is light colored, but the interior is nice and orangey, and it is shaped like a wheel of cheese.  Hence, its name.  It is great for pies.  It is also an heirloom variety of pumpkin because it doesn’t travel well.  Do you realize how many varieties of plants have been lost or almost lost because they “don’t travel” well?  It is a lot, my friends. 

Anyway, I had finally hacked it open (B was busy making fire) and was cutting it up into pieces to roast.  It took two cookie sheets to get all the pumpkin into the oven.  So, at that point, I could leave to take B to pick up the van.

Once home again, I let the pumpkin continue to roast, and it took quite a long time to finally soften up enough to remove from the oven.  Oh!  I also decided I wanted the seeds to eat, so I went to great lengths to extract the seeds from the guts of the pumpkin.  Once the first cookie sheet of pumpkin came out of the oven, I shoved a small cookie sheet of seeds with olive oil and salt into the oven.  Finally, everything was cooked and cooled, and I began to spoon the pumpkin into a bowl.  The seeds are delicious too!

Now, here is the thing, I am done trying to tell the differences between pumpkin and squash.  I call this orb a pumpkin, but I have a feeling some people consider it squash.  So be it.  Also, fixing a pumpkin is almost as tedious, and is as much a labor of love, as roasting a chicken/turkey.  To me, there are a lot of steps involved.  The final leftover skins went to the chickens.  I hope they enjoy pumpkin!   

To go with the leftover pot roast from Thursday evening, we each had a small helping of pumpkin Friday evening.  Again, I figure pumpkin/squash, whatever!!  It was very good.  And the pot roast was a huge success!  You may remember it was the first pot roast I ever cooked in the oven.  The meat was tender, flavorful, and downright delicious.  However, tonight, Saturday, we are on day 3 of it, and I’ve about had it with pot roast!  The leftover will probably get bagged up for the freezer for another meal next week.

Today I pureed the pumpkin.  I got 3 bags consisting of 2 cups each for the freezer.  That left me with about a cup of pureed pumpkin for our dinner tonight.  I also am making spaghetti sauce for a jump on dinner for Sunday.  I saw a recipe in one of the “Real Simple” magazines I read on the plane ride.  I tore out the recipe and brought it home.  It is stuffed shells with kale and sausage.  I have kale from last week’s CSA and our own sausage so that will be dinner tomorrow night.

B went to recycling today, but came home empty-handed.  No goodies today.  He did take my Mr Coffee with him.  I was sorry to see it go, but it doesn’t work.  B says it would probably be cheaper to just buy another one, but that goes against my grain.

B also went out on the Gator to see how the trails are doing.  I haven’t heard yet what shape they are in.  I went to two local craft fairs this morning.  I don’t generally go to craft fairs any more, but I like to support the local ones.  I bought some new hot pot holders, a pair of hand knit mittens for early mornings, and a sandwich!  Ha, ha.  I had to add that.  

Cotton fabric today comes in so many prints.  There was a woman selling pairs of pillow cases and one of the prints was marijuana leaves!  Ha, ha, ha.  I almost bought them, but figured I was on a tight budget as the property tax bills just arrived in the mail.  I was also pleased to learn that, at a nearby high school, students can sign up for sewing and had made a whole table of pot holders, etc.  The teacher was behind the table and was telling me about her students.  I was happy to purchase some pot holders from them.

So this about wraps up our last couple of days.  We will be in the deep freeze, with more snow predicted next week.  

Be sure and hug a Vet on Monday!

Stay well.

Baby, It’s Getting Cold – November 6-7, 2019 – at the Clampetts

Hello Folks,

Well, not as cold as it is going to be getting soon enough, but I want you all to know, we have officially started the wood stove at the Clampetts!  Now, at almost 2:00 p.m., it is raining, and cold, I might add.

Yesterday, Wednesday, turned out to be a pretty nice day and was sunny most of the day.  I went for a walk in the morning; my first walk since returning from vacation.  Here is a picture of the brook that runs along the road.  I guess it rained rather hard and long while we were away.

  I met my friend, Missy, at Bubba’s Restaurant in Newbury Harbor, for lunch.  We had a delightful chat over lunch.  There were a few whitecaps on the lake, and it was not warm enough to sit outside.  We drove a short distance to another eatery for coffee and a cookie and continued chatting.  We had toyed with going to a local historic house to see the Christmas decorations done by a multiple of local decorators, but in the end, neither of us were up for it, so we talked instead.  I seem to be still in la-la land from vacation, but am slowly coming around.

Yesterday was also my first day for the local farm fall CSA.  You may recall that, with the fall CSA, you have a choice as to the number of weeks, up to a total of 7, that you want to participate.  I chose the last 4 weeks.  B had an errand going that way, so he drove me up to the stand.  Here is a sampling of what I got.

1 – 3 lb bag of sweet potatoes

1 – choice of winter squash

3 – turnip

5 – beets

1 – yellow onion

1 – green pepper

1 – head of Napa cabbage

1 – small head of cauliflower

1 – bunch of large, nice radishes

2 – heads of leaf lettuce.  I chose a red and a green.  Very gritty.  I need to wash them again.

1 – bunch of curly kale

From the bakery, 1 small loaf of oatmeal bread.  And one frozen soup container.  I had B pick out his choice of soup and he chose a sweet potato and peanut soup!  I popped it into the freezer when I got home, as we had leftover mushroom soup to finish up.

I passed on the bunch of mint, as neither of us are much for mint.  Anyway, we had about 2 grocery bags full when we left.  I had to take care of the veggies once home, so both my regular refrigerator and the dorm refrigerator are the repositories for the most of the veggies.  Now I have to figure out what to use them for.

Today I am cooking a beef pot roast.  Believe it or not, this is the first time I have ever done a pot roast in the oven.  I usually use the slow cooker, but somewhere I read that using the oven uses less electricity than the slow cooker.  The theory being that, once the oven reaches the set temperature, it stays that way due to the insulation, while the slow cooker has to keep using electricity to maintain the temperature at an even keel.  I don’t know how I can tell, but I am trying it in the oven.  I had a heck of a time getting the meat browned; I had grease splattering everywhere and had to get out the mop and clean up the floor closest to the stove.  And wash my glasses.  What a mess!  I used a few sweet potatoes and the 3 turnips, along with carrots, onions, and mushrooms.  I hope it comes out well, as it is a big roast; 4 lbs of local beef!  I meant to cut it in half and use the other half of it for something else, but forgot.  I think I will cut it in half and freeze half of it tonight.  I can only handle leftovers just so long.  I am not sure what to do with the other cooked half, though.  If anyone has a brilliant idea, please let me know!

B was busy recently using the leaf blower on the driveway.  This always makes me laugh as we have no lawn and don’t live where it matters if you have a leaf in your yard or not.  B says that, by blowing the leaves from the driveway, the leaf matter doesn’t build up until the driveway is partially dirt rather than the small stones that we have on top of it.  Anyway, as with everything B does, it was immaculate looking when he was done.  However, it was dark before he got back home, and I asked him if he did the entire road.  He said no, but he did down as far as our turnaround.  Will it need doing again before snow fall?  I don’t think so, as most of the leaves were off the trees when we returned home from vacation.

Today B is a bit antsy, as it is raining.  However, we had some paper trash that needed to be burned, so he is doing that.  He also is catching up on his side business, as it got a bit busy and backed-up while we were gone.  

I went back to exercise class this morning, and my limbs know it now!  It won’t take many sessions before I am back to normal.  Because the class is 8:30 – 9:30, I had to let the critter duty go until I got back.  They were all alright, but teasing for treats.  I got them their treats and dumped out the water (it had a thick layer of ice on top of the two pails) and re-filled them with clean water.  I also went looking for eggs.  No eggs yesterday and no eggs as of this morning.  Hmm.

While I was re-filling the pails, I noticed the two ducks went in their cage and seemed to be staring at something in the corner of the cage.  Once I returned to the pen with the water, I checked the cage.  Sure enough, one of my white Leghorns was sitting in the corner of the pen.  Those rascals must be laying their eggs in the duck cage!  I didn’t have time to do anything then, but I’m going back out as soon as I finish this blog.  Sneaky little devils.  I just thoroughly cleaned their cage last Saturday.  Sigh.

B just came in to tell me that he had one of his “epiphanies” that he is famous for, and decided to burn the paper in the wood stove he installed in the shop.  I said fine but just don’t burn it down and please use it all, as I have more to add to the bin!  So far, everything seems safe.

Oh!  I have a bit of a rant before I close today.  My Mr Coffee brew basket broke before vacation, so I am back to using the percolator on the stove.  I am beginning to get the hang of using it again.  Anyway, I bought the Mr Coffee at Walmart (!) several years ago for about $15.  And guess what folks???  The part is no longer available!  I think that is one of Walmart’s tricks.  Anyway, I’m done with Mr Coffee, at least for the winter, and will continue to use the percolator even if the grounds are re-used in it.  I just adjust for it by not adding as much coffee to begin with.

Okay.  I’m done and it is time for me to check on those eggs and wash some dishes.  Some things never change.  But I am happy to be back home.

Stay well.

Back In the Saddle Again – November 4-5, 2019 – at the Clampetts

Hello Folks,

Wow!  We have been a bit busy.  On Saturday, we started with chucking the pieces of split wood, that had fallen down from the pile, into the woodshed.  Our woodshed is full to capacity of chucked wood.  That’s the way we do it.  The rest of it is stacked. We finished this on Sunday. 

Because we didn’t trust the rest of the stacked wood would stay stacked, B nailed a tarp across the open building housing the wood.  We both know that if we have a wind like we apparently had Thursday evening, the tarp will be little protection.  However, it made us feel like we were, at the least, trying to protect the wood.

Apparently, we had a really big blow on Thursday evening as we were trying to get from LAX to Baltimore.  As I have mentioned in the past, B gets out a really big, sturdy ladder and ties it to the roof and anchors it to the deck floor.  This is so that, in the winter, he can climb up and sweep off the solar panels on the roof.  The ladder was dangling when we got home.  How it ever managed to not slam into the big sliding glass door, I do not know.  Thankfully, it did not.

Then we both spotted what looked like a protrusion on one wall of the new shop.  I had spotted it while doing dishes, but forgot to mention it to B.  Then this morning, Tuesday, B noticed it himself.  He went out to check it out and sure enough, one of the aluminum chairs from the deck had apparently blown with such force into the vinyl siding on one wall of the shop that it broke the siding and embedded one of the chair leg caps into the siding!  That is some wind!  

Yesterday, I was supposed to go to exercise class, but I never made it.  I simply overslept.  But I did get up and going in time to go to PT.   At the end of the session, we discussed how much longer for me to continue with PT.  The final outcome was I would continue to go weekly through November and then monthly starting in December.  I figure by now my leg/ankle is about as good as it is going to get.   If not for the continuing issue with the wound, I think it would be even better, but until the wound heals completely, I suspect I’ll continue to have issues.

Anyway, after that, I went to get groceries.  I don’t like going at 11:00 a.m., but I was already practically on the doorstep to the grocery store.  There were a lot of people, but I managed, and then a stop for gasoline and home.

Meanwhile B was taking care of some errands at the other end of the village.  He also suddenly realized it was the day for the mass clean out of the sewage systems.  You may recall, B had difficulty even getting a new company out here to take care of the problem, but finally found someone from Vermont to tackle the properties.  B went along with them (2 trucks, 2 drivers) to make sure everything was done properly.  There were no issues other than B is buying several risers (whatever they are) to make the procedure go more smoothly when we do it again in a couple of years.  

I am continuing with doing the laundry!  I had LOTS of laundry to do when I returned.  I can say I now have it done, so I am back to what I left before vacation.  Today, Tuesday, was cloudy and overcast all day, so I decided I had to take the pile of blankets/puffs to the laundromat once and for all.  I gathered up as many quarters as I could, loaded up a bag of supplies, filled my car, and was off before 9:30.  It took just about 2 hours to get 6 blankets/puffs and a load of laundry for myself leftover from vacation done.  I even remembered to bring the 3 tennis balls to throw in the dryer when drying my 2 old winter down jackets I wear outside at home and to the critter pen all winter.  They are scarred and stained and the down has settled into certain areas, but they still have life left in them, so worth washing.

I actually stopped at another laundromat that is a bit closer to home, and it had big signs about “new ownership”, which could be a good or bad thing.  The floor was dirty, but I figured without an attendant, not much I could complain about.  I ended up going to the one I have used in the past.  Due to some unforeseen issues, it looks like I will be drying more clothes commercially this winter.  I will wash and dry what I can by using the wood stove, but for items needing a dryer, I suspect I’ll be hauling them to a laundromat.  I am checking into the closest one to our house.

Of course, none of this was without some drama.  I started down the driveway, only to see a birch tree lying across the entire driveway.  I moved what I could in order to drive around it and left the heavy trunk part for B to deal with.  It was done by the time I got home.

Then B had some errands to run down to Claremont including getting the ridge cap for the garage roof.  This is the issue that we seem unable to get any roofer to look at, so B has decided to fix the problem himself.  I am not happy with this turn of events, but winter is chasing us and no sign of any roofer coming along.  I hope to be home the day he gets up on the garage roof.  Sigh.

Also, near the gasoline station we use, there is a family run outfitter store.  I needed new winter boots for, again, being outside at home  and for the critter pen.  You may recall I had to have one boot cut off me last year when I fell.  Anyway, they had a sign out front saying “boots”, so we went in.  I did get a new pair, but a different brand than my previous boots.  My right foot continues to be larger than the left one and these didn’t come in half sizes, so it is a much larger size than I normally take.  However, there are “pulls” on the side of the boots for me to easily pull them up.  I think I’ll like them.  One more winter item done and crossed off the list.

So now it is time for me to start dinner.  We are having leftover Italian pie and I am making a mushroom soup.  Soup sounds good for this dark day.  

Stay well.

Vacation Wrap-Up – November 2, 2019 – at the Clampetts

Hello Folks,

Here we are, home at last, but not without a bit of drama.

We gathered our stuff and were ready to leave beautiful sunny, but breezy, So. California by 10:00 a.m. Thursday.  B had changed our executive car pick up to 10:15, but in hindsight,  he wished he had made it for 10:00.  
Once down in the parking lot, we saw the executive car waiting for us.  The driver was early!  We were in the car and on the way to the LAX with a minimal amount of traffic, at least by SoCal standards.  Hence, we were at the airport in plenty of time.

And, the plane was on time!  We boarded and away we went to our stop in Baltimore.  I even had a young, skinny girl to sit next to.  Heaven.  

As we have mentioned before, B watches the plane on the old iPad from the WingX app, and he has a window seat to also let me know what’s coming up.  When we got to the Rockies, all of a sudden, they were all white capped.  B enjoys watching the app and looking out the window.  

So around the time we got to Columbus, Ohio, and were traveling at 600+ MPH, things began to look not so good.  Suddenly, B said that, although we hadn’t felt the airplane banking, we were going west.  Huh???  Then the captain came on to say the whole East Coast was socked in with a line of thunderstorms.  Even big aircraft can’t handle thunderstorms.  This was Thursday night.  The upshot was we were diverting to Pittsburgh to land for refueling and to wait for the line of thunderstorms to move out to sea, along with 3 other Southwest Airlines planes also headed to Baltimore.  

Then the real fun began.  We landed in Pittsburgh at roughly 8:00 p.m. and the updates came at half hour intervals.  All but about 12 of us got off the plane in Pittsburgh to presumably get something to eat/drink and/or make other arrangements.  The hours dragged on.  Finally B went out for a sandwich, but by then everything was closed.  We waited for more updates.  

By 1o:00 p.m., B knew we weren’t going to be making our connecting flight, and he was concerned that all the Baltimore hotels would get filled up with all the passengers. So, he was using his cellphone to get us a room in Baltimore for the night.  B did manage to get us a room at the local Holiday Inn on the airport grounds, but it was one of a only a couple of rooms left.  Then he decided to try and get us on another flight Friday to Manchester.  He waited and waited in line while I waited and waited on the plane.  After what seemed forever, he made it to the counter and, because the original flight didn’t start from Pittsburgh, the counter people could not print the boarding passes, but after some arm twisting by B, got us on a flight at 12:50 p.m. Friday to Manchester.  In the meantime, SW had texted that they were putting us on a 6:45 a.m. flight to Manchester but that meant 2-3 hrs sleep.  B cancelled that one.

At 2:00 a.m. we limped into Baltimore.  Once the pilot got the okay to leave Pittsburgh for Baltimore, the sequencing began of all the planes grounded due to bad weather on the East Coast.  Then B called the Holiday Inn for transportation after trying to print our boarding passes from a kiosk that apparently wasn’t working!  

And the cars piling up at the airport picking up passengers was unbelievable!  At most airports, there are cops and you can’t stay parked at the curb, but no cops around, so dozens of people were just parking at the pickup places in front of the airport, creating a huge traffic jam.  It was darn chilly and windy waiting curbside too at 2:00 a.m.  We eventually got to our room and B remembered he could then print the boarding pass, as the Holiday Inn has a business office.  Eureka.  We had our passes.  It is now 3:00 a.m.

At that point, B realized he didn’t have the power cord for the laptop!  He remembered putting it down to pack in his carry-on bag instead of the big suitcase.  Sure enough, no power cord.  As luck would have it, we were able to contact the office at the hotel and they are mailing it back to B, as they did find it in the room.  In the meantime, B is limping along on the laptop battery, until it runs out.  Stay tuned for more on this adventure.

We got up and went for our hotel breakfast.  This Holiday Inn has pretty much the exact same stuff as the free breakfasts we get at hotels in the Choice franchise, but they wanted $12 each for it! After much debate, we decided buy the breakfast. The same old stuff as all the Choice Hotels, except the bacon was a little more lively and I got a decent cup of decaf coffee, as the hostess made a fresh pot.  Then we hustled on to another shuttle and off to the airlines again.

Once through security by 10:00, B decided to check at the counter to see if we could get the 10:50 a.m. flight to Manchester instead of the 12:50, as we had about 2 hours to kill.  So, we were the couple that everyone hates, as we got standby status for the 10:50 flight.  Sure enough, after everyone was boarded and the airline took a head count, they had exactly 3 seats left open and, can you believe this, two of the seats were side by side!  It was only a 53 minute flight and it was bumpy, so no refreshments were served.  No worries.

I’ll tell you, when we landed in Manchester, I had all I could do not to get down on my hands and knees and kiss the floor!  But I had to use the bathroom, so that took priority and the floor would have been germy anyway.

It was cold and windy in Manchester.  B went after the van and I stayed curbside with the bags.  Because he had unplugged the van battery so it wouldn’t drain while we were gone, I am never sure if or when he will be there to pick me up but it wasn’t too much of a wait.

We were both glad to get off the interstate (big back up on 93 in Concord, but we switched to 89 at that point) and drive more sanely home on the back roads.  We had a few errands to do, but finally we were home for good.  I felt surprisingly great Friday but today, Saturday, I am having a disorienting day.  Sigh.  But we are home!!!

So this ends another great vacation.  The washing machine is running; we have had company and, other than a splitting headache, all is good.  The critters were all happy to see me and I have even cleaned out the pen and picked up 2 eggs today.  Of course, I had help cleaning the pen!
I hope you all are having a delightful weekend.

Stay well.

Back in Orange County, CA – October 29-30, 2019 – at the Clampetts

Hello Folks,

We arrived back in Orange County, where we began our trip 2 weeks ago, on Tuesday.  We skipped breakfast at the motel in Bakersfield because I was getting sick of the selection and because the breakfast was in a restaurant across the parking lot and you needed a breakfast pass, which we were given when we checked into the motel.  B went ahead to get his orange juice and scope out the selection while I was finishing up getting ready.

B came back to say he got into a tussle with the lady at the restaurant as he tried to explain he only wanted an OJ and was coming back for breakfast with his wife.  She informed him in a not very nice tone that he had to have more breakfast passes in order to do that.  In all fairness, Bakersfield, as well as most of California, does have a problem with homeless people and I suspect they have figured out they can get a hot breakfast at some of the motels.  Anyway, B was none too happy when he returned to the room, so I suggested we go to the old standby, Denny’s for breakfast.

There was a Denny’s not far from the motel, so we loaded up the van and moved to Beverlee, as in Beverly Hills, that is.  No, no.  We went to Denny’s in Bakersfield for breakfast and had a decent breakfast and a great male server.  Then we were off to Orange County via the major freeway, Interstate 5, which goes into Los Angeles.  The first part of the trip wasn’t bad, but of course, as we got closer and closer to Los Angeles, it got hairier and hairier, but the old jitney made it and we pulled into our favorite motel, which is close to the garage and house.  The staff is always very accommodating to us, as we have been staying here with them for 8 years or so.  They gave us our favorite room up on the top floor, the 4th.  I like it as all I have to do to watch the Disney fireworks at precisely 9:30, is step outside the room and watch.  B says we could drive over to Anaheim to see them closer, but why drive when you can watch from the balcony of your room.

Per what is becoming the usual when we arrive in OC, I was sick to my stomach and had a headache once we rolled into OC.  Traffic was heavy and much too aggressive for my taste, and the freeway has lots of dips and curves, and driving as fast as B does makes me ill.  Anyway, the staff said we could check in early, as it was only 12:30.  I had a long nap while B cleaned out the van and went to the garage.  When I came to at 2:45, I felt like going and having my nails done.

And, yes, I did have my nails done before we left NH, but guess what?  All of a sudden, the gel or shellac polish began to lift up and peel off!  It happened even before we left NH, but no time to do anything about it, plus the salon wasn’t open Monday, so I had to live with 9 nails polished.  Then the issue persisted until most of my nails were without polish.  So, B took me to one of the many nail salons run by the Vietnamese.  They sure do know how to do nails.  I had a little difficulty making them understand what I wanted and anyway, they encouraged me to use a powder method which was new to me.  They said it would keep my nails stronger and the shellac or gel would not peel as quickly.  Plus I could get a nail on each hand hand-painted: not a transfer.  I chose the brightest red they had and I have a white flower with a silver center on each ring finger.  The women in the shop (I have been to that particular salon before) are super nice, hard working women, but very difficult to understand.  I had to wait about 35 minutes while they finished up with their clients. 

Anyway, my nails look great again and my fingernails are no longer ragged.  While that was going on, B went back to the garage and went out on his bike to look over the very large tract of houses where our house is.  Our house looks the best I have ever seen it, as the tenant oversees a lawn maintenance crew and has put in very nice landscaping, including a number of desert plantings.  They also fixed the broken sprinkler system, so now the lawn gets watered regularly.  He has done an excellent job.  They are very good tenants.

Once on the road again, we decided to have an early dinner, since we were out and about, and stopped at a Romano’s Macaroni Grill, which is near the motel and a favorite of ours.  We had a great dinner, had an extremely cute waitress (ha, ha) and enjoyed ourselves.  Then back to the room.  We decided to stream “Press”, a new Masterpiece from PBS series, and we forgot to go outside at 9:30 to watch the fireworks!  Ha, ha, ha.  Then it was time to hit the hay.

Today we woke to sunshine and temperatures in the low 70s, but very windy.  It had been a very unseasonable 95 degrees here while we were up north.  It is so windy that it was worrisome for officials working on several major fires, including the Getty Fire, which is the closest one to us.  The wind was supposed to die down this afternoon.  We went to our favorite breakfast place, Westminster Café, met our favorite waitress who has been our waitress ever since we started going to the café a number of years ago.  It was like old times.  She always remembers us.  I had a half a sandwich, as the thoughts of eggs about made me want to run.  They do serve super good food. 

After breakfast/lunch, I wanted to go to Macy’s Department store in the local mall.  We no longer have a Macy’s nearby in NH.  B reminded me that there is a big sales tax in CA, which we don’t have in NH, but sometimes I just want to see the clothes up front and personal and feel them.  I didn’t splurge by any means and because my card was inactive and was re-activated, I got an extra 20% for the purchases today.  Unfortunately, the brand of clothes I like are no longer being carried by Macy’s.  I had even thought about taking pictures of what I liked after trying them on and checking for the correct size and then ordering from home; hence, no sales tax, but that did not come to fruition.

Meanwhile, B was watching live coverage on a local TV station in the room about the wildfires and grass fires going on around the state.  Then he had to print our boarding passes for our upcoming flight home.  We have to fly from LAX to Baltimore and then home, rather than to Chicago and home.  That makes for a very long leg.  Oh, well.  B also called the executive car company and asked to be picked up sooner than planned.  We might as well hang out at the airport as sit in the room and wait.  Fine by me.

By then it was time to go biking.  We suited up over in the garage and got the tandem out of the mothballs.  B thought riding around the tract would be a good warm-up.  We rode 6 miles in the tract looking at all the houses.  By then, my shoulder and my bad leg were acting up.  B said we could drive to a couple of parks nearby and we should walk some instead.  We walked a dusty trail that we had once biked on and then drove to another park nearby (except for heavy traffic, that is) and this park has flying a remote airplane club.  Well, guess what???  Too windy today to fly remote aircraft!

We debated about dinner and decided on the Souplantation.  The Souplantation is a lot like a Sizzler, but without the beef, ha, ha.  We used to always go to the Souplantation early on in our visits, but then thought they were too loud and moved on, as they say.  But soup sounded good to both of us, so we tried it out again.  In the first place, the location of it had changed and we went to a much newer and brighter building.  The seating area was huge.  The soup selection was very good and some soups we liked more than others.  Oh, by the way, because it was before 5:00 pm, we got the senior discount which made it even nicer! 

As I write this, B has left to take the van back to the garage and lock everything up until the next visit.  We have a noonish flight tomorrow, so it is time to wrap up another vacation.  I am leaving you with a few more random pictures we took over the last 2 weeks for your viewing enjoyment.  Hopefully, my next blog will be from back in NH.

Oh dear.  B just texted me.  Things are not going well.  Apparently the keys supplied with the new lockset, that he bought and installed on our first day here, do not work in the locks.  B discovered this when he tried to lock the deadbolt (but AFTER he had already locked the knob from the inside).  The supplied keys don’t work in either lock.  B said he tested everything in the installation, but apparently never thought to make sure the keys supplied were the right ones.  We’ll have to get a locksmith on our first day out here next time.  We had a bad experience with Orange County locksmiths years ago, so we’re leery of that.  B says he may go to a local NH locksmith and ask them how to just drill out the knob lock himself and replace it.

At the High Desert Museum, a deer had apparently wandered through some fresh concrete:

Buck mule deer at the National Wildlife Refuge:

Pheasants at NWR:

Ducks galore at NWR:

Ferns and Redwoods in northern California:

Stay well, folks.