Monday, January 31, 2011

Truck Preps

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 50 degrees, high 56 degrees, cloudy skies, fog

This warmer weather we're having is just a teaser, as much colder temperatures are forecast for late tomorrow and the next several days. Snow is forecast for Friday, but nothing yet on how much. Winter is still hanging around.

With the warmer weather, we have been talking the last several days about getting the RV ready to hit the road. In all the talk about travel, I had forgotten what needs to be done to the truck, until this morning. Suddenly, I realized it was time to start getting the truck ready for traveling. I decided to take it to the Sam's Club in Huntsville to have the tires rotated and balanced. Why do that at Sam's? Well, since we bought the tires at Sam's, tire rotation and balance is free. Make sense? Plus, there were a few items we needed from Sam's.

I was over at Sam's by 0900 hours, just about an hour too early. Our membership hours begin at 1000 hours every day. It was too far to drive back home, so I just hung out for an hour until the right time. The store was very busy, and it was almost 1200 hours before I was finished and headed home. At least that part of the preps for the truck are complete. We still need to have it serviced and clean it up.

Getting away from Sam's at noon, I expected the traffic to be bad. Surprisingly, it wasn't, and I zipped right along, even through Madison. I had to make a couple of stops in Athens, then it was on to the house. Even with light traffic, it was still almost 1400 hours by the time I got home.

The rest of the day was spent resting from the hard start to the day, surfing the web, and reading.

Carolyn has always loved plants. When we went to the west coast in 2004, she had a great time admiring the beautiful flowers we saw. Lori gave her an Amaryllis for Christmas, and here's what it looks like now.

And, here's a picture of paper whites that Terri gave Carolyn for Christmas. Both the Amaryllis and paper whites were grown in the sun coming in the dining room.

Nice, huh?

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Hot Springs Village, Arkansas: It’s All Waiting For You

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Chamber Of Commerce Pitch

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 33 degrees, high 62 degrees, mostly cloudy skies

I was still a little under the weather today, as I feel like I'm fighting several little bugs. I had a good night's sleep, which always goes a long way toward making me feel better. The morning was spent trying to get over some dizziness on my part (no, I don't have vertigo like Carolyn does). We managed to get out after lunch for a ride in the beautiful countryside.

The new home base is located in Limestone County, Alabama. It is in the extreme north central part of the state, and the Tennessee state line is only about three miles away. Most of the terrain around here is rolling hills to flat fields and woods. The predominant soil is red clay, which must be fertile because of the amount of farming that takes place.

The climate is usually hot and humid in the summer, with winters that can be colder than we're used to. Snowfall occurs here, although it's usually not to the extent that we have seen this winter. I saw in the newspaper today that the coldest temperature on record in Alabama occurred near here about 45 years ago when the low was -27 degrees. That's hard to imagine.

The area, which includes Huntsville, Madison, Athens, Decatur, Florence, and Muscle Shoals, is what I would consider fairly prosperous. There are a lot of federal government facilities, universities, colleges, industrial activity, research parks, and tourist attractions. The area is fortunate to have low taxes and a low cost of living. Then, add in the natural beauty of the area, and it's easy to see why the area has withstood the recession so well.

Our goal today was to take a road that we hadn't been on before, and end up in Tennessee before we came home. Well, we took a road that we hadn't been on, but we didn't make it to Tennessee. Somehow, we got turned around and headed west toward Rogersville. Realizing our mistake, we started the GPS and got straightened out as to where we were. By then, however, I was starting to fade a little, so we headed home. On our way, we saw several old houses and barns that would have made good pictures. But.... If you leave the camera at home, it's hard to take pictures. Next time, we'll take the pictures.

By the time we got home, I was ready to meditate, which turned into a little nap. I guess I was more under under the weather than I thought, because I usually don't sleep in the day time. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Decatur, Alabama: The Ballooning Capital Of Alabama

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Repaired Faucets

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 32 degrees, high 68 degrees, clear skies

Today was the warmest day we have seen in about four months. It felt good to be warmer outside for a change, and even encouraged us to do a little yard house keeping.

Last night about 1800 hours, the door bell rang. When I answered the bell, a UPS truck was driving away. Looking around the door, I found that the replacement cartridges for the shower and tub faucets had been delivered. Since the parts were here, we decided doing the repairs on the faucets would be the first thing we did this morning. Oh, by the way - when did the delivery people stop having to attempt to get a signature on deliveries?

After we had eaten breakfast and taken care of a couple other little chores, I turned the water off, turned the water heater off (probably wasn't necessary), and started making the cartridge repairs on the faucets. The parts we received were exactly like the ones that we were replacing, which was what we wanted. Last week, the replacement parts sold to me in Athens were not matches, which is probably why they didn't work.

Within 20 minutes, both faucets were repaired and back in action. Boy, do they work easier! And I didn't forget to turn the water back on.

Since that little repair job went so well, we decided to do a little straightening in the garage. That took all of ten minutes, because we are consciously making an effort to keep things put away, as well as getting rid of stuff that we don't need. The years of traveling in an RV taught us well.

Next was a little straightening of the work shop, which is where I park the truck. That took about three minutes, and most of that time was spent getting stuff together to throw away.

So, did we do anything else? Not really, as I was a little under the weather. Even the little bit we did required me to push myself to get it done. We watched a little television, read a little, debated what to have for supper (leftovers), and tried to feel better. Trying didn't work, but I'm hopeful I'll feel better tomorrow. If so, we'll get out and see what we can scare up.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Dahlonega, Georgia: A Main Street Community

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Lynchburg, Tennessee

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 35 degrees, high 52 degrees, clear skies

We didn't leave the house today, choosing to do some housework that we had been delaying. Several window coverings were redone, and a general house cleaning was started and finished.

As we were discussing what to have for supper, I had a brainstorm that we could have some smoked turkey left from the holidays. Add a can of Lesueur peas, Stove Top dressing, gravy, and cranberry sauce, and we had a good supper. The best part was it only took about 20 minutes to prepare.

I meant to write yesterday about our trip to Lynchburg, Tennessee, when we were up that way this past Wednesday. For some reason, I forgot all about it. So, here's what we saw and experienced.

Now, you need to be aware that the temperature was only 32 degrees, which was plenty cold. That meant it was too cold for us to take the tour through the Jack Daniels Distillery, located just outside Lynchburg. There were only about three cars in the visitors parking lot, and I can't imagine those folks did much, other than stay where there was heat.

It snowed in the area just before we got there, and it stuck to the bushes and trees. In this picture, the snow looks like spring blossoms.

Since we didn't have what it took to brave the cold, we stopped in Lynchburg to get some pictures of the courthouse and town square. Lynchburg is the county seat of Moore County, and the population of the entire county is only about 5,700 people.

The courthouse is quite old, as can be seen in the picture, and is still being used.

The little town of Lynchburg reminded us of little towns we have seen in Texas. Not much to them, but hanging on to the past as much as possible. Here's some pictures of the business area around the courthouse.

Even though there is a distillery in Lynchburg, the county and town are dry, and alcohol can't be sold there.

Our impression of Lynchburg is that it's a nice little town, but if it wasn't for Jack Daniels, the town would have probably died off long ago.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Lynchburg, Tennessee: Home of Jack Daniels' Distillery

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 23 degrees, high 48 degrees, clear skies

Alert!!! We had a clear day!

For the first time in I don't know when, the skies were clear. Bright sunshine was the order of the day, and the temperature reflected the sunshine. Nice!

Both of us were tired when we got up this morning after our long trip of yesterday. As a result, I didn't get out of the house until almost 1100 hours, when I went to the library. I had checked out some books a few days ago, but we had already read one of them. Another one was read by me over the past few days, but Carolyn didn't care for it. Going to town was not an inconvenience, since I needed to go to the WalMart Mall for a handful of groceries.

The library here has had a benefactor donate a million dollars this week for the purpose of building a new library. The plan is to renovate an old Kroger's grocery store building, which would just about triple the size of available space. Only one problem: the city wants to use part of the building for a new city hall, and the benefactor put strings on the money which would require the entire building to be used for library purposes. It will be interesting to see how this plays out. One thing for sure - the current library is seriously lacking space and decent books.

Before I came home, I stopped at Lowe's to pick up some more blinds for the house. I thought the stop would be quick, since the size I needed was the same as what I bought two days ago. Well, it wasn't a quick stop, since there was a different clerk taking care of the blinds, and she didn't know how to cut them to the length I needed. After she messed up the first one, with me telling her that she was cutting it too short, she called for help, but the help she received wasn't any help at all. In fact, the help wandered away after a few minutes. Finally, I was able to help the lady understand what she needed to do, since I had paid attention when the other blinds were cut. About an hour after I got to the store, the blinds were finally cut. Whew! That seemed like it was harder than it needed to be.

A quick stop at the Mall was next, and then home to a late lunch. Later in the afternoon, we watched some of Tiger Woods' first golf tournament of the year. He still seems rusty, and it makes us wonder if he will ever play as well as he used to.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Vallejo, California: The V

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Winchester, Tennessee

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 27 degrees, high 35 degrees, cloudy skies

We had a light dusting of snow that fell just after sun rise this morning, which was quite a difference from the three inches that had been forecast. Most of the snow was gone by noon, as the weather warmed up above freezing.

Our travel bug was itching this morning, so we decided to take a trip up to Winchester, Tennessee, to see what that area was about. That name of Winchester brings up images of the old West to me, when the Winchester rifle helped tame the frontier. I can't find any information that ties the city to the firearms, since the town was named after James Winchester, a soldier in the American Revolution, first Speaker of the Tennessee Legislature, and a Brigadier General in the War of 1812. Those accomplishments are nothing to sneeze at.

Winchester was established as the county seat of Franklin County, Tennessee, in 1809. I wasn't able to park anywhere near the town square so I could take some pictures, but found this picture of the courthouse on Wikipedia. The building looks to me like what an architect would have designed as modern in 1935, when it was built.

We came into town from the southwest on US 64, which we picked up in Fayetteville. The road is outstanding, with four lanes running through scenic countryside. We could see mountains on the south side with snow on them from the early morning snow fall. There was very little traffic, and the only reason we could come up with for why the road is so good, yet no traffic, is that the area must be busy in the summer.

Most of the commercial businesses in town are located east of town on Dinah Shore Boulevard. Dinah Shore was born in Winchester, as well as former Tennessee football coach Phil Fulmer. On our way out the east side of town, we saw a Mexican restaurant (Margarita's Mexican Restaurant) that caught my attention. Since it was lunchtime, I decide to try it out. Carolyn doesn't usually like to go to places that are not part of a national chain. I, on the other hand, think that we should try local places. For a change, Carolyn was okay with trying this Mexican restaurant.

As soon as we walked in, I could tell that this restaurant was probably going to be okay. It was bright and clean, and we were seated immediately. Our waiter brought our drinks, chips, and salsa, along with black bean dip, in another minute. We both ordered the lunch fajitas, and when the food was served, I have to say that for just a minute I thought we were back in Texas. The fajitas were great, there was plenty of food, the service couldn't have been better, and the prices were reasonable. Then, to top it off, we had enough to take home for supper. Just like in Texas.

I think this experience might encourage Carolyn to try more local places.

After lunch, we drove around town, checking out some of the old houses and the square. Then, we headed across country to Lynchburg, the home of Jack Daniels Distillery. More about our adventures there in tomorrow's post.

It was past 1500 hours by the time we got home. Time for a short bout of meditation after a good day of sightseeing. Our wanderlust should be scratched for a day or two, at least.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Sparta, Tennessee: The Heart Of The Tennessee Highlands

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Carolyn's Glasses

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 37 degrees, high 43 degrees, cloudy skies with a light drizzle all day

Terrell and Kathy left early this morning. So early that I wasn't up yet. Try 0430 hours. They expect to get to Houston this evening for Kathy's medical tests and doctors' appointments.

We enjoyed having them visit, even if it was only for a day. We like having family around. There is a chance they will stop by here on their way home.

The lousy weather kept us in the house until just before lunch, when we received a telephone call telling us that Carolyn's new glasses were ready to be picked up. She went to pick them up last week, but the new lenses were not right, which meant that they had to be redone. When she tried them on today, the glasses were still not perfect, compared to the old glasses, but she decided to try them for a few days to see if she can use them. If not, we'll be going back to see what needs to be done to make them right.

A trip to the library was in order, since we were in town. The library in Athens does not have the greatest collection of books that we like to read, or at least I haven't found them yet. In addition, I don't know who picks out their new books, but it's obvious that person has different tastes than we do.

The last couple of weeks, the library had a limit of two books being checked out at a time because of server problems. That restriction was lifted this week, so I checked out four books. With that many books, I stand a good chance of finding something that I will read.

When we got back home, we installed a couple of new window blinds in our bedroom. The old ones just didn't work for us, and what we have now is much better. The hardest part of installing the new blinds was figuring out where to place the brackets that hold the blinds up. The instructions were a little murky, to say the least. Once we realized what was needed, it went easier than I thought it would.

The county is under a winter storm watch until late tomorrow afternoon. The latest forecast shows us getting up to three inches of snow, but it shouldn't be as cold as the last time it snowed. This is the most snow for a winter we have seen since we were in New York for the winter of 2000/2001, when we saw almost 70 inches. Believe me, what we're getting now is not nearly as bad as that was.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Cullman, Alabama: City Of Churches

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Terrell And Kathy's Visit

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 34 degrees, high 48 degrees, mostly cloudy skies, light rain late

I had a few errands to take care of in town this morning. It seemed like it took half the morning to get out, but Carolyn was having some balance problems, and I didn't want to leave her by herself. Eventually, she felt better, and I went to do my little chores.

When I got back home, it was lunchtime. During lunch, my brother Terrell called wanting directions to the house. He and his wife Kathy were in Athens, so I talked to him as he drove out to our house. We hadn't seen them since we were in Texas back in early December, and anyone that reads the blog knows that I'm always ready to visit with family.

They found the house with no problems, and we sat and talked for some time as we got caught up with what's been going on with each other. They are on their way to Texas for Kathy's monthly visit with her doctors in Houston that are treating her for cancer, and decided to detour by here on their way down. We're glad they stopped. We were able to convince them to spend the night with us.

Later in the afternoon, my sister Judy and her husband Roger stopped to visit with Terrell and Kathy. We all agreed to meet at a local restaurant for supper, which turned out to be an extended gab fest.

When we got home from the restaurant, the gab fest continued. Terrell and Kathy are going to be grandparents again, as their son Scott and his wife Chriselda are expecting their first child in June. Terrell and Kathy think the same way we do about grandchildren, which is that you can't have too many of them.

Terrell and Kathy will be leaving in the morning to continue their trip to Texas. Maybe we can convince them to stop here on their back home over the weekend. In the meantime, we enjoyed the visit.

Oh, by the way - another snow event is expected tomorrow night. Only expecting up to three inches this time. That shouldn't be too bad.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Boulder City, Nevada: Home Of Hoover Dam

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Vertigo And A Slow Day

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 18 degrees, high 38 degrees, mostly cloudy skies, a little breezy

I guess my enthusiasm got away from me yesterday when we took the little road trip up in to Tennessee. Carolyn's vertigo has been kicking her all day, and the only thing I can think of that might have caused it was the trip. It's a little frustrating, with one step forward and two back. To her credit, Carolyn is determined to keep doing as much as she can, as long as the nausea doesn't get too bad.

As a result of the vertigo, we didn't leave the house today, choosing instead to stay home and hug the gas log. Oh, I take that back - I did take a long walk this afternoon. At least it felt like a long walk, with the wind blowing in my face. So, it was a day of surfing the net, playing computer games, reading, and napping.

On my way back from the walk, I looked at the driveway and anything that might be in the way of parking the RV at the house. The driveway is wide enough and long enough, but there may be a mailbox across the street that gives me a problem. Of course, that mailbox would be easy to move, since it's ours. We're really hopeful we can bring the RV to the house so we can get it ready to travel. We are getting an awesome case of hitch itch, and the only thing that will help is pulling the RV down the road, on our way to adventure.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Columbia, South Carolina: Where Friendliness Flows

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Fayetteville, Tennessee

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 16 degrees, high 38 degrees, clear skies

Carolyn was really under the weather with a vertigo episode this morning, but she started feeling better about lunch time. Knowing there probably wouldn't be a better time, I suggested we get out for a ride in the country. Also, I needed to go pay our RV storage fee and check up on the RV, since it had been about three weeks since I had seen it.

The RV seems to have fared well in the cold weather that keeps hanging on. I winterized the RV when we moved in to the house. But, there's been something in the back of my mind asking if I did everything I should to protect the waterlines from the freezing temperatures. I guess we'll know when we take it out of storage, which we hope will happen in the next few weeks. We plan to move the RV to the house before long so we can start getting it ready for some serious traveling. We have an itch to be on the road, if only to find some warmer weather. Our first trip will be to Texas to see our daughter Lori and her family. While in Texas, we'll take care of our yen for some bar-b-que and Mexican food.

When we left the RV, we drove up to Ardmore for some lunch. We stopped at McDonald's to use a coupon for their fish filet sandwich, which we hadn't tried in several years. Carolyn usually doesn't like seafood, except for shrimp, and sometimes she'll eat calimari. Now, the calimari thing was a real surprise to me. I never imagined she would like that. But, she tried it at the urging of our friend Jerry in Granbury, and found that she liked it. Anyway, going back to the fish filet, we decided to try that again, and found that it was pretty good. That's nice, since Carolyn's choices have now expanded, which means mine have, also.

When we left Ardmore, we drove up to Fayetteville, Tennessee. We were up there when we were looking for a new home base, but didn't spend any time sightseeing. Today, I took some pictures of the courthouse, as well as the area around the square. Here's what the Lincoln County Courthouse looks like. It's a little plain compared to some we've seen, but at least they are trying to preserve it and they're still using it.

A picture of the courthouse wouldn't be complete without a picture of the monument to the Confederate hero.

Then, there's a monument to the gallant Confederate Women.

The area around the courthouse seems to be a busy, vibrant shopping area. Here's a picture of the stores and shops across the street from the courthouse.

There's always one more picture I can share.

When we left Fayetteville, we headed west on US 64 toward Pulaski. Along the way, we saw places where there was ice hanging on the side of the rocks, due to the cold weather.

And, one more ice picture.

These pictures of the ice may not seem like much to some folks, but to someone like me who grew up and lived in Florida and south Texas for most of my life, nature is still impressive.

By the time we arrived back home, our travel itch had been scratched a little. The best thing about the little trip was that Carolyn felt better than when we left this morning. Hmmm - where can we go tomorrow?

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Cookeville, Tennessee: Cookietown

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thrift Stores

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 16 degrees, high 28 degrees, clear skies

We had more snow blow through here last night, with about a inch on the ground when we got up this morning. The latest poop from the weather folks is that we should have another snow event on Monday and Tuesday that may equal the six inches we got a couple of weeks ago. Then, more snow on Thursday. Okay, we'll just stay by the heat and keep warm.

We went in to town after lunch to pick up a few things at the grocery store. For some reason, I keep forgetting that Friday is one of the busiest days of the week, and therefore, not a day that I want to be in a store. It was just as busy as ever today, but the good thing is that I was able to go through the quick service lane with almost no waiting. What took the longest was finding where the crackers had been hidden, I mean relocated. It's aggravating to look where something is usually located, then have to search the whole store to find one item that has been moved. Sometimes, there doesn't seem to be any reason for the move.

When we left the store, we decided to check out a couple of thrift stores for a small end table we need. Thrift stores seem to be on every corner up here. It's hard to believe there can be much money in the business, but I guess there's enough to keep them open. Many of them claim to be supporting religious or charitable organizations, so I guess anything gained is a plus.

The first store had a lot of what what I would call junk - wore out, beat up, used up. I didn't see anything that caught my fancy. The second one had a lot of clothes, and not much else. It was the kind of place where you walk in and say to yourself, "What's that smell?" Needless to say, nothing was bought there, either. That ended the thrift store shopping for the day, but there's always tomorrow, and another store on the next corner.

Speaking of buying groceries. Has anyone noticed how much the price of groceries has gone up recently? It seems every time I go in a grocery store, prices are higher on every item. Earlier this week, I heard that inflation is staying flat. Then, I heard that food and fuel are not used to calculate the inflation rate. Why is that? It would seem to me that food and fuel are necessities, and should be part of the data used for calculating the inflation rate.

Don't get me started on gasoline and diesel. Have you seen the latest price on those items? And it seems to go up daily.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Toledo, Ohio: T-Town

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, January 20, 2011


Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 34 degrees, high 37 degrees, cloudy skies, misty rain in the afternoon, snow late in the evening

The weather forecasters got it wrong - AGAIN. Yesterday, they said no snow and warming trends for the next few days. Today, we're expecting snow this evening, and it has been cold. Just another winter day in north Alabama.

I took back the parts that were sold to me to repair the shower faucet this morning. I explained to the sales clerk that the part allowed the shower head to drip, drip drip, even though the faucet was turned off. His reply: you did something wrong. The first time he said that, I ignored it. The second time he said it, I started to boil. The third time, I erupted.

The parts are very easy to remove and replace. Slide the old part out, slide the new part in after checking inside the assembly to make sure nothing is left in there. Then, I wiped the assembly out to ensure there was nothing in there. Finally, I applied a light coat of Vaseline to the inside of the assembly to make sure everything would move easily. Just as instructed.

When the new cartridge was installed, it would only go in one way. A tab at the top fit in a cutout that made sure the cartridge was installed properly. Even with all those precautions, the new cartridge allowed the shower head to drip.

The fourth time the sales clerk said I did something wrong, I told him I did not appreciate his attitude, and to give me my money back. I was actually nicer about the whole thing than I should have been, but I didn't want to get into a shouting match with an idiot. So, I got my money back and left.

I know I installed everything correctly, following the instructions we had. Plus, Carolyn was watching every move I made, and she agrees that we did everything right.

We went to Decatur to another plumbing store to see if they had the parts we needed, but all they had were the same type of parts as we bought in Athens. At that point, we decided to order the parts from the manufacturer of the fixtures.

Carolyn wanted to go to Hobby Lobby while we were in Decatur, so we stopped there. That place has more in the way of gee gaws. I was walking around while Carolyn was looking for what she wanted, and I was amazed at the amount of stuff they have. Knick knack heaven for people who like that sort of thing.

On our way home, we stopped at the library to return some books and pick up some new ones. There is still a limit of two books because of server problems, but at least we can get those.

When we got home, I called the manufacturer for our shower fixtures and explained what I needed. From what I was told by the person on the telephone, I was given the wrong parts at the plumbing supply place, and there was no way that it wouldn't leak. The new parts I ordered will be here early next week, and the best part is that they are about a third less expensive than what I bought here.

Take that, surly store clerk!

Update - I just looked outside, and there's about an inch of snow on the ground. That was quick! It's still snowing.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Columbiana, Alabama: Come For The History, Stay For The Shopping

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mish Mash

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 34 degrees, high 36 degrees, cloudy skies

When we went to bed last night, the weather forecast was for more snow, starting tonight. Now, it appears the snow threat is gone, with rain forecast for tomorrow afternoon. Okay!

Carolyn wanted to get out today, so we went in to Athens and had lunch at Cracker Barrel. That's not my favorite restaurant, but it's what she wanted. Her wish is good enough for me. Most of the time.

Carolyn enjoyed her meal, while part of mine was forgettable. Maybe I should get what she had next time.

We needed a replacement cartridge for our shower faucet. Stopping at Lowe's, we went through all their cartridges, but didn't find what we needed. Down the road a short distance, we found a plumbing supply store with a replacement cartridge that the sales clerk said would work for our needs. We bought two of the new cartridges and brought them home. After resting a few minutes, we decided to see how much trouble changing the cartridge would be. To our surprise, the change of parts was easy. Only one problem: the new cartridge allowed a drip, drip, drip from the shower head, even though the water was turned off. I can't stand a dripping faucet, especially when I'm trying to sleep at night.

We took everything apart and examined it carefully, again. Comparing the old and new parts, we noticed the old part had a brass piece as part of it's innards, while the new one was all plastic. Cleaning the new part up again, we reinstalled it. Still drip, drip, drip. Everything was taken apart again. The old part was cleaned up and reinstalled, and guess what? No leak, and it appears to be working much better. It appears that over time, calcium and other crud had built up inside and outside the cartridge, making it difficult to turn the water on and off. Now, it seems to work great. We'll keep a close eye on it, and if it starts giving us problems again, we'll call the manufacturer to have some new parts sent to us. In the meantime, the parts we bought today will get returned.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Somerset, Kentucky: Welcome To The Heart Of Lake Cumberland

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

House Work

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 38 degrees, high 45 degrees, cloudy, fog, rain

What a miserable weather day this was. Cold and wet.

Maybe the weather wouldn't have seen so bad if I had not not needed to go to town. I needed a haircut, so that was enough reason to go. Another reason was that Carolyn was making noises about wanting to do some house work, and I needed to stay out of the way. How is it that in a three bedroom house, I seem to get in her way when she's doing her thing on house work?

I looked on the Internet for barber shops in Athens, and found one just off the square that seemed promising. Well, that was a mistake that I won't be making again. I told the barber to leave me enough hair so I could still comb it. By the time he finished cutting, I was down to almost nothing on my head. I know my hair is a little thin, but as short as it is now, I won't be combing it for about six weeks. Needless to say, I didn't leave a tip. I'm not worried about offending the barber, because he's not getting another chance with me.

I took care of a couple more errands in town and headed home. Hopefully, I had stayed away long enough to give Carolyn her space. And, I timed it just about right, as she was finishing up when I got home.

After lunch, we replaced a window blind in our bedroom. Sounds easy, right? Well, nothing seemed to go right, as my cordless screw driver didn't have the power to take screws out or put them in. I have a power drill that has much more torque, so I was able to use it. With other little things that occurred, the little job that should have taken a maximum of 30 minutes ended up taking well over an hour. I was having to use my left hand, which is the one that was recently operated on, and caused myself some aches in the wrist. It feels okay now, but it hurt like a son of a gun earlier.

We are having a problem with the faucet being difficult to operate in our shower. looking on the Internet (what a useful tool), we found what we think the problem is. The fix will involve replacing the valve cartridge, so we'll pick that up tomorrow. If Lowe's doesn't have one, we'll order it over the Internet.

A lot of people think that there's less maintenance living in an RV. There is, if you want to ignore everything and have it fail. We have found that periodic maintenance is important in an RV as well as a fixed base. Just about everything in the house is new, except the shower faucet. So, once we get that fixed, we should be in good shape until something else needs repair.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Waldport, Oregon: Where The Forest Meets The Sea

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Apple Pie And Ice Cream

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 35 degrees, high 48 degrees, cloudy, light sprinkles all day

The snow is just about gone, helped along by the warmer weather and light rain we got today. We have a few small patches here and there in the yard, but those will be gone tomorrow. It was beautiful while it lasted.

A couple of weeks ago, we received word that Carolyn had a suspicious spot in an x-ray performed as part of her yearly health exams. She had to have followup x-rays performed and we obtained her records for previous years so some comparisons could be made. Today, she received word that there was nothing to worry about, and she should continue the yearly exams. Whew! We were worried because we didn't know for that two weeks what she would have to do. I think Carolyn will sleep better tonight.

The primary heat source for the new home base is a heat pump. Those of you who have heat pumps have probably run into the same problem with them that we have - the house just doesn't feel warm. I don't know why that is so, unless we're used to feeling radiant heat from the furnace and electric heaters in the RV. Just before Christmas, we had a gas log installed in the fireplace. Wow! What a difference in the comfort level. We can now feel the radiant heat, plus the house is much more comfortable. And, the best thing is that I don't have to cut wood for a fireplace. There's also something about sitting and watching a flickering fire. Why, it's almost like sitting in front of a camp fire, except for the smoke not getting in our eyes.

Is there anything more American than apple pie and ice cream? The only thing that makes it better is if you use Blue Bell ice cream. And we did!

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Brenham, Texas: The Home Of Blue Bell Ice Cream

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Snow Melting

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 20 degrees, high 40 degrees, mostly clear skies

Clear skies today meant that the snow is starting to go away. Too bad, because it was beautiful while it lasted. At least we can go out the front door now, instead of the garage. Until yesterday, the front entrance and sidewalk were covered with snow and ice, which I didn't want to shovel. Lazy? Maybe, but I was willing to let nature take care of it.

We felt a little travel itch this morning, so we took a drive down through Decatur, Hartselle, Falkville, and on to Lacon. When we lived in Athens back in the 1980s, Lacon had a flea market that was popular at the time. Just about anything a person wanted could be found there at a decent price. The thing I liked about it was the characters that could be seen there. That flea market was the first time I saw someone other than a policeman wearing a pistol on his hip. And we were in Alabama, not Texas, where it might be expected to see that sort of thing. However, in the time we lived in Texas, I never saw a person wearing a gun in plain view, other than law enforcement officers. That didn't mean the guns weren't present, just not in plain sight.

But, I digress. When we got to Lacon, we saw that the flea market was still there, but it looked a little worn. We were going to stop and look around, but the recent snow had made such a mess that we would have been walking in snow, ice, and mud. We'll go back when things have dried out a little.

We drove back to Athens via I-65 to Decatur, where we turned off and took US 31 on to Athens. By the time we got home, the travel itch had been scratched, if only for a day or two.

Carolyn spent some more time on genealogy while I was watching the pilot episode for The X-Files. Then I took another walk around the neighborhood, enjoying being able to get out in the nice weather. The forecasters are talking rain for tomorrow, so I may not be able to walk. But, give me half a chance and I'll be out there. If I can't walk, at least I can watch some more X-Files episodes.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Leeds, Alabama: People, Pride, and Progress

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Hardee's Biscuits

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 15 degrees, high 38 degrees, cloudy skies

Another cold day here, but there are signs that the lower temperatures are starting to moderate a little. Today was about 10 degrees warmer than yesterday. Hey, we'll take what we can get!

We decided to have a late breakfast/early lunch (brunch) by going to Hardee's for some of their great biscuits. I think that if we could make them as good as Hardee's does, we would never eat out.

The restaurant was fairly busy, as usual on a weekend day. We were watching what people ordered, and the most popular dish appeared to be the biscuits and gravy. It looked good, but wasn't quite what we wanted.

After leaving Hardee's, we stopped at the library to pick up some new books to read. The cold weather is keeping us inside more than we're used to, so we tend to read more. I found a couple of books by two of our favorite authors, David Baldacci and Dean Koontz. In addition, I checked out the first ten episodes of The X-files. When the show was on television, we never seemed to watch it, so it's good to find the videos. No commercials means we can watch the shows without interruption, which is the way I like to do it. The library is having problems with their server, and were limiting everyone to two books and two videos until the problems are fixed. Fortunately, The X-files videos have several episodes on each dvd, so that's a lot of viewing.

From the library, we went out to visit my sister Judy and her family. Roger was at his truck accessory store in town, but we had a good visit with Judy and her daughter Traci.

By the time we left Judy's house, Carolyn was getting some vertigo symptoms. There's some rain headed this way, so it must be affecting her balance. Once we got home, I watched some college basketball, while Carolyn did some genealogy stuff. Later in the afternoon, I went for a walk, the first in quite some time. Even though it was only about 34 degrees at the time, it felt good to be out. Maybe I'll be able to get out some more in the next few days.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Tunica, Mississippi: The South’s Casino Capital

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Water Leaks - No, Not Us

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 5 degrees, high 32 degrees, clear skies

Did you notice the low temperature of 5 degrees this morning? And we continue to be told that global warming is the reason for the cold weather. In the words of Carolyn, how blonde do those idiots think we are?

I had to go to Huntsville this morning to have the stitches removed from my left wrist. The doctor says everything continues to look good. He also said I could go back to normal activities and to let my comfort level with the still sore wrist be my guide as to what I do. I have to go see the doctor again in four weeks, and that should be the last time.

Traffic was very heavy this morning. Apparently, a lot of people have not been going anywhere the last five days, and the gates were opened today. The streets in Huntsville were not in as good shape as they are in Athens, but were still drivable.

Most of the schools in the area have been closed all week, and now there's a discussion going on about how the missed days are going to be made up. Some people are upset that Monday, which is Martin Luther King Day, and normally a holiday for kids, is going to be used as a make up day for one of the missed days. Personally, I don't see the conflict. Most kids have no appreciation for historical figures. If they weren't in school, they wouldn't be doing anything to celebrate Dr. King's life. In fact, their parents would probably prefer that they be in school.

When I got back home, I was stopped at the mailbox by the neighbor across the street. It seems they had a pipe break under their house due to the cold weather, and she didn't know how to turn the water off. I grabbed my big pliers, took the cover off the water meter, and turned the water off for her. Her husband was at work, and he was trying to talk her through how to turn the water off. I noticed that he came home a couple of hours later, so I guess he fixed the leak. It was probably hard to get a plumber today.

After going in the house, I started thinking about whether we had a leak or not. None of the obvious clues were present, such as hearing water run or low water pressure. However, I knew I wouldn't be able to rest easy unless I crawled under the house and checked. So, I put on some paper clothes over my other clothes and got under the house. Whew! No leaks, and everything looks good under the house. Now I can rest easy.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Buffalo, New York: The City Of Good Neighbors

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A Drive To Admire The Snow

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 14 degrees, high 28 degrees, clear skies

Since we found that the roads were in good shape yesterday, we decided to get out for an extended drive today to see the beauty of the snow. At least it's still beautiful now, but that won't last long with warmer weather forecast for the weekend, as well as some rain.

There were a lot of snowmen that had been built, which is not surprising since the kids have been out of school all week. Naturally, I forgot to bring the camera so I could get some pictures of the better ones. Suffice it to say that there was some creativity put in to many of the snowmen that we saw. One in particular that I liked was a snowman in the form of a gorilla.

We drove all the way to the Decatur bridge going over the Tennessee River, then over to I-65 and back to Athens. We continue to be impressed at how well the various governments here handled the roads and snow. We weren't sure what to expect, but have much more confidence in the ability of the different agencies to handle emergencies.

A trip to town wouldn't be complete without a stop at the WalMart Mall. Carolyn wanted to get some crochet stuff so she can make us some scarves to wear in this cold weather. She found some material that should do the trick, and is hard at work making scarves as I write this post. She made the last scarf I had, but it got misplaced somewhere. I'll make good use of the new one.

By the time we got back home, both of us were ready for a little rest. I mixed some meditation with a very short nap of about five minutes, and felt much better. It would be nice to get a half hour nap every day.

Supper was bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwiches, along with chicken soup. A warming meal on a cold evening. Now, on to watch a little television and staying warm by the gas log.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Memphis, Tennessee: Home Of The Blues

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Why Is It.........

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 17 degrees, high 27 degrees, partly cloudy, snow flurries

See how cold it was last night? tonight's low is forecast for even lower, at about 12 degrees. Brrrrr! At least we're in a warm house during this extended cold weather. In looking at the weather in the rest of the country, it looks as though it would be hard to find a warm spot, except maybe the Arizona desert.

Since the temperature only got up to 27 degrees today, there was not any melting of the snow. And, tomorrow is more of the same, so no melting until Friday at the earliest.

We had appointments this morning for our annual eye exams. Since I didn't know what the condition of the roads was, I drove the truck down to the nearest road. Surprise! The road, which is Alabama 127, had been plowed, and was in very good shape. I drove in toward town a couple of miles to make sure there were not any conditions that would stop us, and found that the county had also plowed their roads. It looks as though local government did a good job of responding to the bad road conditions.

Our appointments were scheduled for 1015 hours, and we arrived about 20 minutes early, primarily because we didn't know what the condition of the city of Athens roads would be. Not to worry, since they had also done a good job of clearing the streets. I know that these local governments don't have nearly the size of area to service as New York City, but maybe New York could learn something about service from the local folks. Or, maybe they could hire a few hard working people from here to help them out.

Our exams went well, with nothing unexpected found. I do know one thing: I get tired of hearing people like doctors and so forth saying that I'm doing well for my age. As opposed to what? Do other people who are becoming or are senior citizens feel like the doctors are being somewhat patronizing when they say things like that? Just the other day when I was seeing the cardiac specialist, the nurse said there was a reason for the symptoms I was describing. My ears perking up, she said I was getting old. Do I really need to hear that?

Speaking of doctors, my respiratory ailments from three weeks ago came back on me, and I went to see that doctor this afternoon. This time, he prescribed medicine that he said was more powerful than what I took the last time, and should knock my ailment out. My only question is why didn't he prescribe the stronger medicine to start with? Maybe I wouldn't be going through this again.

I think we need a road trip.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Bozeman, Montana: Bozone

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Another Inside Day

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 26 degrees, high 30 degrees, cloudy skies, light snow flurries

The roads are still considered impassable here in Limestone County, but tomorrow should be better. Even though people are being asked to stay at home, our garbage was picked up today, rather than on it's normal day, which was yesterday. I didn't have it out because I didn't think the garbage folks would be doing their thing. Luckily, I saw them coming down the road and was able to get our stuff out before they drove by.

About mid-afternoon, I started the truck and drove around the neighborhood, being careful to take my time. The roads in our neighborhood are in good shape, primarily because there was so much four wheeler traffic on them yesterday. I didn't venture out on to state road 127, since there is a hill we have to go down to get to the first stop sign, and I couldn't tell if it was iced up or not. There was some traffic on the state road, so we may be able to get out to go to the eye doctor for our yearly exams tomorrow.

So far, there has been little melting of the snow and ice, and the forecast for the next three days is not promising. Lows in the low teens and highs in the mid 20s are not conducive to melting the bad stuff.

So, what do we do when we're stuck in the house like this? About what you would expect: television, reading, surfing the web, a little house cleaning, a little cooking..... Just about what most people do in the same situation. Are we getting cabin fever yet? No, but I can't say what will happen if I can't get Carolyn out and about tomorrow. Even if it is to go for eye exams.

I saw an excellent football game last night, as Auburn won the BCS championship on a last second field goal, 22 to 19. Both teams played well and both deserved to win. As it was, the SEC won the BCS championship for the fifth game in a row. With all the changes in the league next season, it will be interesting to see which teams stand out.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Sparta, Tennessee: Hometown Of Lester Flatt, Bluegrass Musician

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Blizzard Of 2011

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 27 degrees, high 30 degrees, cloudy skies, light snow

Well, the promised snow made it here last night. In our area, we have at least six inches on the ground, while areas around Athens received up to a foot. We are located in Limestone County, and authorities have declared the roads to be impassable, and are asking everyone to stay at home. They don't have to ask us twice, since I'm not good at shoveling snow. Besides, I don't have a shovel, so I guess that's that. Anyway, we have plenty of toilet paper to last through the emergency.

It should warm up a little tomorrow, allowing some of the snow to melt. If it doesn't melt tomorrow, then it probably won't until Friday because of the low temperatures that are forecast.

I couldn't let this snow event happen without taking some pictures of it. I know, all snow looks the same, but this is our snow.

Here's one of the pictures I took.

And, another one behind the house.

All schools were closed today, and most work places were, as well. There was a lot of activity with people riding four wheelers up and down the road, dragging people on garbage can lids and sleds. It looked like fun, until they got spilled. One plus was that the snow was packed down in the road a little, so maybe it will be drivable by Wednesday.

Since we were house bound, I took the opportunity to go through our paper work. culling out what was no longer needed. It seemed like we received a torrent of receipts and other paper when we bought the new home base, but much of it was not needed. Plus, I had not been through our traveling paper work in a few months, so that was more to go through and get rid of, as in shred. Carolyn loves to run the paper shredder, so she had a good time.

Yesterday, when we ate at Cheddar's in Huntsville, I had the chicken strips, red beans and rice, and broccoli, while Carolyn had chicken fried steak with Italian green beans and mashed potatoes. My food was as good as ever, but Carolyn was disappointed in the chicken fried steak and the mashed potatoes. I almost warned her against getting chicken fried steak anywhere but Texas, but didn't. She was so disappointed with it that she is planning the same meal at home just to show that it can be fixed the right way. A plus for me in keeping my mouth shut, and I get a good meal out of it.

The BCS game is playing tonight, and I am rooting for the SEC team, Auburn. Both teams have had story book seasons, but I have always been a Florida and SEC fan. If Florida can't be in the game, I'll root for the SEC team that is. In this case, War Eagle!!!!

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Bozeman, Montana: Montana’s Trailhead

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Waiting For The Blizzard

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 17 degrees, high 30 degrees, cloudy, windy

Carolyn hasn't been out for a couple of days, so we decided to take a ride up to the Elkton, Tennessee area. The ride wasn't to see anything in particular, but to shake off some rust that will only get thicker if the threatened Great Blizzard of 2011 takes place.

The ponds were all frozen that we saw during our ride, but I don't know that I would trust the ice to hold me up. Maybe another day or two of the cold weather, and the ice will be strong enough to walk on. There was a lot of ice hanging off the rocks and cliffs along the drive.

During the drive, we decided to make a big circle by going to Huntsville and our favorite restaurant over there, Cheddar's. We tried going to Cheddar's on Friday, but it was just too busy. It was a different story today, as we drove in to the parking lot at 1100 hours. We were seated and served our meal within 20 minutes. As usual, the food was good, there was plenty of it, and we had enough left for supper.

After getting home, I tried to watch some of the pro football playoff games, but found myself drifting in nap land. The pros don't seem to have any attraction for me, and haven't for several years. On the other hand, give me a good college game, and I'm watching until the end. It's too bad the last college game will be tomorrow night, but I'll be watching. War Eagle!!

The storm has not hit this area yet as this post is being published at 2200 hours on Sunday night. The weather folks say there's not enough moisture in the air, but that will change. We're still being threatened with up to eight inches of snow. Terri lives in Tuscaloosa, and she posted on Facebook that the storm had reached there with snow and sleet about mid-afternoon.

I think I'll go to bed and dream about warm sunshine. This has seemed like a cold winter, so far.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Pueblo West, Colorado: Where Eagles Soar

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Preps For Blizzard

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 26 degrees, high 38 degrees, partly cloudy skies, windy

The preparations for the great winter storm of 2011 continued today, as the throngs in the stores were snapping up everything on the shelves. Even the paper towels were running out, as I guess people think they won't be able to get to the store for the next month. So, what did I buy? Bread, milk, ground turkey for chili, deodorant (hey, I might not be able to get to the store for a month, and I don't want to smell), and bandages for my wrist. I'm supposed to keep the incision where the surgery occurred clean and dry, and I'm having problems finding something to cover the bandages with that doesn't leak.

While I was in town, I looked for some yard sales to check out, but didn't find a single one. I'm looking for books and yard tools. I guess the cold weather has put a damper on people wanting to put their junk outside and try to sell it.

The word from the forecasters now is that we could receive as much as eight inches of snow, with most area roads being closed. That doesn't seem that bad, considering that we received much more than that when I worked in New York about ten years ago. There were many mornings when I went to work while there that the roads had not been plowed, yet I didn't have any problems. It was actually fun to be the first vehicle to make tracks in new snow.

I haven't been getting as much exercise recently as usual due to the cold weather and having a rotten cold. Today, I felt better, and decided to take a walk around the block, which is about a mile. I bundled up with about three layers on plus gloves and a hat. Stepping out in to the wind blowing about 30 miles an hour, I had second thoughts about what I was doing. With a temperature of 38 degrees and the wind, it felt like I was back in New York. Stepping out smartly, I made a total distance of about a half mile before I gave up and went back in the warm house. I guess I'm getting soft, because in the past that kind of cold would have invigorated me. It certainly gave me some incentive today. Such as going back home.

Since it was so cold and we didn't want to get out in it, we spent the day vegging out in the front of the television, reading and surfing the web. The storm is supposed to hit here tomorrow night, so maybe we'll try to get out for a while tomorrow.

Hmmmm. I wonder if I should have picked up a case of toilet paper?

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Austin, Texas: The People’s Republic Of Austin

Not all who wander are lost.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Followup On Wrist Surgery

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 27 degrees, high 51 degrees, partly cloudy skies, windy

Today, I had to go see the doctor who performed surgery on my wrist for a followup checkup. The worse part of the trip was that I had to go all the way south of Huntsville, or about 45 miles away in bad traffic. Going to the office was not so bad, but when we started back home, it was lunchtime, and traffic was terrible. Plus, all the restaurants in Huntsville that we thought about having lunch at were packed. As I've written before, there's no sign of a recession here.

The doctor said the wrist looked good, and I should have a normal recovery. He said that the damage was worse than he first thought, and he had to do more repair than anticipated. There is quite a lot of bruising that I was unaware of because it was beneath the dressing. I will go back in a week to have the stitches removed. No word yet on whether any physical therapy is planned.

By the time we got back to Athens, it was almost 1300 hours, so we stopped at Mickey D's for a quick lunch. I wanted to eat in Huntsville, but as I said, it was just too busy.

There's a lot of excitement here about some weather that's heading this way. Apparently, we could receive up to 7 inches of snow, beginning Sunday and continuing through Tuesday. The local weather forecasters are reminding everyone to prepare for what might be coming. That reminds me of when we lived in Florida and along the Texas gulf coast. It seemed every time a hurricane got within a thousand miles, people started freaking out and emptying the stores. What was really funny was to see how fast the toilet paper was stripped off the shelves. Forget about bottled water or batteries, where's the toilet paper?

It will be interesting to see if that same scenario plays out here.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Decatur, Alabama: The Ballooning Capital Of Alabama

Not all who wander are lost.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Met New Doctor

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 28 degrees, high 44 degrees, clear skies

Today was nicer from a weather standpoint, at least with regards to the rain. I can take cold weather, but don't throw that nasty rain in there with it!

Our morning was spent taking care of little housekeeping chores, especially by Carolyn. I usually help with the housework, but the surgery on my wrist this past Monday put that kind of stuff on hold. The biggest thing I had to do when Carolyn was doing her housekeeping thing was staying out of her way. It seemed every time I needed to get out of my little spot to do something, she was fussing at me about finding a place to sit down.

One of the most important things we have to do since we have changed our home base is finding new doctors. That's a difficult thing to do, since relationships take time to build, and getting a doctor we trust is even more difficult. Today, I had an appointment to see a cardiac specialist to start setting that relationship up with him. I have some minor issues that may or may not get worse with time, and I want to try to stay healthy as long as possible.

The worst part of the appointment was interacting with the nurse who was assigned to get my medical history. She was not the easiest person to talk to, and within about two minutes of meeting her, I had my dander up and was ready to walk out. This lady is the sort who would be classified as a crusty old nurse, while I might be classified as a crusty old man. Personally, I think I'm easy to get along with, but I won't sit and be talked to like I was today. Once the nurse figured that out, we were able to maintain a civil conversation. By the end of our interaction, she had softened up a little, but you can bet that I will be watching her in the future.

When the doctor came in, he reviewed my medical history with me again, and gave me a thorough exam. I didn't have any specific complaints today, other than wanting to be able to take less medicine. He said he would discuss that further with me once he had received my records from my other doctors. I'm scheduled to go back in two months, so he should have a better idea of my condition.

When we left the doctor's office, we went to my sister Judy's house to see how her husband Roger was doing. He had to see his doctor yesterday about his breathing difficulties, and there was some concern that he might have to go into the hospital. Fortunately, he is doing better, so no hospital for the time being. As usual, Roger was back at work today.

By the time we got home, it was time to start thinking what to have for supper. The new home base has a large refrigerator/freezer, so there is plenty of room for food in it. So, Carolyn went eenie, meenie, miney, mo, and out popped pizza. With the salad she prepared, it was pretty good.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Jamestown, Tennessee: J-Town

Not all who wander are lost.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

In Spite Of The Rain

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 36 degrees, high 40 degrees, rain all day, cloudy skies

The rain started about 0700 hours this morning, so it made us think about what we were going to do for the day. Nothing was scheduled with any doctors or anyone else, and we had planned to take a little road trip so we could shake some of the holiday dust off. So, did the rain keep us at home? Why, no. It made us think a little more about where we would go and what we would do when we got there, but we've never been people who let a little rain stop us from doing most of what we want to do.

Our original plan for the day was to go back to the Florence area to do some exploring. The rain caused us to scale the plan back a little. We still went to Florence, but didn't do any exploring. Instead, we decided we would go to Olive Garden for a nice lunch, and then to the mall to see what being in one of those things was like nowadays.

We got to Florence shortly after 1100 hours, and found the Olive Garden located next to the mall. It has been almost a year since we had been to an Olive Garden, and we really enjoyed the experience at that time. We were hopeful that this experience would be just as good. Well, we didn't think this particular restaurant of the chain was a good as what we have come to expect. Oh, the salad was still excellent, the service was very good, but the entree we ordered (chicken parmigiana) was not memorable. There seemed to be something missing, including the portions being much smaller than we remembered. We also ordered an appetizer of bischotti, which wasn't as good as expected. We brought home what we didn't eat and had it for supper.

When we got in to the mall, two things stood out to us. The mall seemed like it was empty, and sales were going on in every store. I guess shoppers are still suffering a hangover from the holidays.

We managed to find a few things that we were looking for, including some stuff Carolyn wanted at Bath and Body Works. By the time we meandered all the way from one end to the other of the mall, Carolyn's vertigo had kicked in, and it was time for us to get out of there. This visit reminded us of why we don't like to go to malls. Too much stuff that we don't need or care about, at prices that are generally too high. Finding the things we bought at a decent price today was an exception to the rule.

By the time we made it back home, it was time to settle in and rest. Carolyn prepared the leftover food from Olive Garden for supper. She did some seasoning on everything to help the taste, which was what was needed. Of course, that still didn't help the small portions. Oh, well. Not every place can be like Texas.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Bozeman, Montana: Bozangeles

Not all who wander are lost.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Relattively Easy Night

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 28 degrees, high 53 degrees, partly cloudy to clear skies

I slept better last night after the wrist surgery than I thought I would. I woke up once about 0300 hours due to pain, but the good drugs I was given took care of that. I had no numbness or tingling in the wrist or hand. As long as I remember that the wrist was operated on yesterday, the pain is manageable. Let me forget and do something I shouldn't, and I come to my senses in a hurry. Of course, Carolyn doesn't miss a chance to razz me when I do something stupid.

After the good night's sleep, it took me a little while to get going this morning. Once I did, we started getting all the stuff in the home base sorted out and put where we can find it. We don't have much more in the house than we usually carry in the RV, but the house is not as organized as well as the RV is. There's an old saying about RV storage that goes "A place for everything, and everything in it's place." That's our goal for the house.

Recently, Carolyn had a medical test performed as part of her yearly physical. Last week, she received a call from the facility that performed the test that said she needed to go back for a followup test due to an anomaly in the first results. She had the followup test performed today, and we're waiting for previous years' test results to be sent from Texas so they can be compared with these more recent results. We'll keep everyone posted once we know what all this means. Hopefully, it's just an anomaly that can be explained with the previous results.

When we left the hospital, we went to see my sister Judy, who asked for some help with a computer problem she has been having. Her husband Roger was not there, having opened their truck accessories parts shop in Athens. Roger has been suffering with cancer for several years now, but still goes to his shop every day that he feels like it. He's one tough old bird.

Judy's computer problems were easy to find and repair, and I got her back online. That's quite a compliment to pay me, asking a non-geek like me for help on a computer. Maybe I'm getting smarter than I realized. Right, until my computer crashes again.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Oklahoma City, Oklahoma: The City

Not all who wander are lost.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Surgery On Wrist

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 19 degrees, high 43 degrees, clear skies

The big news for today was surgery on my sore and hurting left wrist. I've been having problems with the left hand and wrist for about a year, and the hand was getting weaker. The pain was keeping me awake at night, and it was time to do something about it.

We woke at 0405 hours this morning, and my usual preparations for planning were not to be found. For some reason, the new clock was five minutes late in alarming, but at least it did alarm. Then, Carolyn had some problems getting going, and we didn't leave for the hospital until after 0430 hours.

Once we were in the truck, Carolyn started setting the GPS unit up to give us directions to get to the hospital. I reached over to pick up the address to give to her, and couldn't find it. Where's the address? I pulled over to see if it had fallen between the seats. Nope, not there. Behind the seats? Nope. The only other place I could imagine the address being was lying on the sidewalk, or at the front door, where I must have dropped it while locking up. Carolyn said keep going, I'll find the address using the GPS. Right. Well, that didn't work, and I was driving away from the house, where the address must have been.

I asked Carolyn to dial 411 on the telephone to find out where the hospital was located. She was given the address for Western Union. About that time, I'm thinking that this is not a good start to the day for us. And, the tensions were starting to get a little tight. No yelling at each other, but the signs were there.

Once we were in Huntsville, I used the telephone to try 411 again, and finally got the correct address for the hospital. Carolyn put it into the GPS, and found we were only three miles from the hospital. Whew!!

Even with the goof up by me on losing the address, we still made it to the hospital by 0530 hours. As we were getting ready to leave the truck in the parking lot, Carolyn noticed that the address that I had thought I had with me was lying on the floor board next to my feet. Drat! All that aggravation because something slid off the seat.

We walked up to the hospital entrance, and couldn't get in because a patient had fallen in front of the doors. How in the world did that happen? Eventually, we made it in, and the rest of the experience was not bad at all. I was taken in to prepare for the surgery about 0615 hours. The nurses placed IV ports in each hand and checked my vital signs. The anesthesiologist came in and talked to me for about a minute, letting me know I was not going to be given anything to make me sleep, but might get a little drowsy. A few minutes more, and the doctor came in and chatted for a couple minutes. Then, after another 15 minutes or so, it was my turn to go to surgery.

Remember I was told that I would be given something that would make me drowsy? Well, somewhere between the prep room and surgery room, the nurse injected the stuff that was supposed to make me sleepy. The next thing I knew, the surgery was finished, and I was being asked if I wanted something to drink. What happened? Where did that few minutes go? I don't remember anything about those few minutes when the surgery took place. Actually, it was a pretty good nap.

The doctor said the damage was a little worse than he expected, but that I should have a good recovery with no further problems. So far, the pain I'm having is not as bad as they told me it might be, but if it does get bad, I have some good drugs to take care of it.

By 0800 hours, I had been checked out of the hospital and we were on our way home. How's that for efficiency? Less than three hours for the procedure, start to finish, and that included doing the paperwork. Not bad.

The rest of the day was spent taking things easy and trying to keep the hand elevated. It feels good to be on the road to having a pain free hand and wrist again.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Albuquerque, New Mexico: The Duke City

Not all who wander are lost.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Return To Pulaski

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 25 degrees, high 40 degrees, clear skies

Carolyn and I may have turned the corner to getting better with the colds we have been fighting. We felt well enough today to get out of the house after lunch, taking a drive north across the state line to the beautiful little town of Pulaski, Tennessee.

After driving around the little town, you'll never guess what we decided to do. Nope, we didn't go to McDonald's, or any other fast food place. Carolyn decided she wanted to go in to the local WalMart Mall to see if they had a good craft and sewing material section. Well, were we surprised. This particular WalMart has a very good craft and sewing section, and Carolyn spent at least half an hour checking it out. When we went in the store, we were only planning to pick up a couple of items. By the time we finished looking around, we had more than 20 items, and had to go through the greater than 20 items checkout line. One reason we stayed as long as we did is that Carolyn's vertigo did not act up, so she was having a good time, looking and shopping. I know a trip to the Mall may not seem like that big a deal to most people, but when you suffer with vertigo like she has, it's a big deal when you can do it and not get sick

The store wasn't very busy, and most of the shoppers seemed tired to me. I guess all the pre-Christmas shopping wore them out. Or, maybe they were still recovering from the first of the year parties.

It was almost dark by the time we got back to the home base. We were talking about how early it gets dark here in the winter, so saying it was almost dark is not as late as it sounds. After putting everything away and resting from the trip, we had a nice sandwich made with some hearty bread we bought. I can eat just about any bread for a sandwich, but Carolyn likes one with some body to it. I have to say that the bread was excellent.

After eating, I realized that we didn't have an alarm clock. We need to get up at 0400 hours in the morning so I can be in Huntsville at 0545 hours for the surgery on my left wrist. So, I went down the road about a mile to the local Dollar General and bought one. We haven't been sleeping very well, but it would be just like us to sleep well tonight, getting up late for the trip to Huntsville.

I checked the clock to see if it would alarm, and it did. Now I hope it keeps decent time and alarms when it's supposed in the morning. I'm ready to get my wrist repaired. I've had enough of the pain and stiffness.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - New York, New York: Gotham

Not all who wander are lost.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Mediocre College Football Teams

Elkmont, Alabama

Weather: low 45 degrees, high 54 degrees, rain until about 1000 hours, then cloudy skies

The rain started last night about 2100 hours, and continued all night with lightning and thunder rolling through. The weather seemed more suited for the spring season that the winter. At least we didn't get any tornadoes out of the system.

I hate to write about our travails with our various little sicknesses that are plaguing us, but they are affecting us so much that they restrict how much we get out and about. Carolyn seems to be getting better, but she had a tough time sleeping last night because of her cough. I didn't sleep well, either, but I think I'm starting to see the daylight at the end of the tunnel for what ails me. I certainly hope so.

Can anyone remember when college football teams used to try to play in a football bowl game on the first day of the new year? If a team played on that day, it was a pretty good bet that they had a good year. Now, the best teams play as much as a week after the first of the year, and the two most successful teams are playing a full ten days after the first of the year. With the way the bowl system is set up now, teams that only won half their games are in a bowl game. Somehow, that doesn't quite seem right. Does mediocrity get rewarded now?

There were several teams that won 7 games and lost 5 playing today. One of those teams was Florida, who had what I consider a mediocre season. Yet, they played Penn State, another 7 and 5 team today, and beat them. It was an entertaining game, but in past years, I don't think it would been scheduled for the the first day of the year. In fact, not that many years ago, the two teams might not have been picked for a bowl game at all. Just an example of what I was writing about above.

We completed putting stuff away from the holiday, which didn't take all that long. We are trying to keep the home base lean and mean from a stuff and things standpoint, much like living in the RV was. We haven't figured out where we want everything yet, but if we stay lean, it won't be a big deal.

At supper, we talked about taking a trip. We have been busy getting settled in the home base, and then the cold weather came to slow everything down. I'm not sure where we'll go, but we're getting hitch itch that we need to scratch.

Happy New Year, again.

More later, be safe.

Today's Town - Picayune, Mississippi: A Precious Coin In The Purse Of The South

Not all who wander are lost.