Almost There

 Posted by at 9:39 pm  Nick's Blog
May 162022
 

They call it Texas because it “takes us” days to get across the darn state. We spent Saturday night at the Hampton Inn in Marshall, TX, and were on the road about 10 o’clock the next morning. I was dreading going through the Dallas-Fort Worth area because there’s always so much traffic, but by hitting it at midday on a Sunday it really wasn’t all that bad. There was a lot of traffic, as expected, but it moved right along.

We spent the night in Midland, Texas, which is in the middle of the oil patch. It’s a busy place, but not somewhere I could live. One night was more than enough for us. This morning (Monday) we were back on the road, rolling west on Interstate 20.

El Paso is another town that always has a lot of traffic and road construction going on, and this trip was no different. A few times we had fools changing lanes at the last minute in front of us without signaling, but we made it through the gauntlet.

You know that saying, “Don’t mess with Texas?” Apparently there’s some truth to it, because when we were half a mile from the New Mexico state line, I said goodbye to Texas and suggested something the state could do with itself. Or maybe to itself. I no sooner got the words out of my mouth when a rock flew up from nowhere and hit the middle of the windshield, leaving a nasty chip. Terry was in the glass business for many years and has seen a lot of windshield chips, and said this is one that will probably spread before we can do anything about it.

We got to Lordsburg, New Mexico about 4:30 in the afternoon and checked into a motel room for the night, with 470 miles under our belts for the day. We had dinner at a place called Kranberry’s Chatterbox that we have heard about for years. The food was okay, but the young man serving us seemed like he would have much preferred to be home playing video games.

We will be in Mesa, Arizona tomorrow, where we will spend a week visiting Terry’s parents and sisters, then we’ll go to our old hometown of Show Low for a week for two granddaughters’ graduations.

Our truck has the 5.7L V8 HEMI eTorque engine, and running with the cruise control on at 75 miles per hour across Texas, we were averaging 20.8 miles per gallon. Keeping it at 65 miles per hour got that number up to 21.8 miles per gallon, but if you tried to drive at 65 out there, you’d get run over before too long.

I don’t know if it’s due to my ongoing back issues or something else, but during this entire trip, after about three hours of driving I start getting intense pain in my tailbone. So much so that we stopped at a Walmart, and I bought one of those seat cushions that has a little cut out in the back for the tailbone, hoping that would alleviate some of the discomfort, but it hasn’t. After about three hours of driving, I have to stop and get out and walk around for a few minutes, then get back in the truck and I can usually get another hour or two before the pain starts to be too much to handle and I do it again.

Eventually I have Terry drive, and I can move around more in the passenger seat trying to get comfortable without worrying about running off the road. I have never had this issue before when driving the truck or anything else, including 18+ years of driving a motorhome all over the country.

That’s about it for this time around. I’ll have something more for you in a day or two.

Thought For The Day – The difference between who you are and who you want to be is what you do.

A Quick Update

 Posted by at 10:49 pm  Nick's Blog
May 142022
 

Just a quick update to let you know that we are alive and well. I will have a full update later on, but here are a couple of highlights I wanted to share with you.

We spent three nights with our son Travis his wife Geli at the place they just bought near Gordo, Alabama, which is about a half hour east of Tuscaloosa. They have a little over eight acres, 10 miles down a narrow country road, and they love it after living in Tuscaloosa for many years with neighbors right on top of them. Travis loves gardening and they are both back to the land people. The place came with a beehive and they are learning how to be beekeepers. Here is Travis in his bee suit. They harvested some honey a few days before we got there and it was delicious.

This is love bug season in Florida, and swarms of the nasty little critters are covering cars everywhere. Their body fluids can destroy a car’s paint in no time and they can be a bear to get off before they do any damage. When we had the truck ceramic coated at Global Mobile Detailing a while back, they told us that one of the benefits would be that all we had to do was take a hose and wash it off to get rid of bugs or anything else. I will admit I was a little bit skeptical about that, but it turns out to be true. After driving over 600 miles to Travis’s house, the front of the truck and windshield were pretty nasty. But he took a garden hose to it and most of them came right off. There were a few places that Terry did use a miracle cloth to rub the stubborn bug splatters off, but the whole process only took a few minutes. I’m impressed, and it’s definitely worth the expense of having the ceramic coating done.

We left there today (Saturday) and took highway 82 west through Columbus, Mississippi, then picked up State Route 25 and took it southwest to Jacksonville, where we eventually got onto Interstate 20 westbound. About 440 miles after we left Travis’s house we arrived at the Hampton Inn in Marshall, Texas, just a few miles inside the state line. We have stayed here before and it’s a comfortable place with good rates, and right off the highway.

Once we were checked in, we drove into town for dinner at Cajun Tex, a restaurant we discovered when we passed through here a few years ago. The food is delicious, the portions are generous, and even though it was a busy Saturday evening we got our food quickly and thoroughly enjoyed it.

We were worried about how my back was going to handle the trip but overall it’s been okay, and no worse than when we were at home. But I’m having a lot of problems with pain from my tailbone for some reason. We picked up a driving seat cushion that has a split in the back to alleviate pressure on the tailbone. It has helped somewhat, but not a lot.

We are 1,215 miles from our first destination in Arizona, a week in Mesa visiting Terry’s parents. We’re breaking it up into roughly 400 to 450 mile days, which will put us there on Tuesday when our first hotel reservation starts. We could do it in less time, but right now that’s a pretty full driving day for us.

That’s about it for this time around. I’ll have something more for you in a day or two.

Thought For The Day – Babies recognize their mothers voice in the womb so they can selectively block it out when they’re teenagers.

432 Miles

 Posted by at 12:04 am  Nick's Blog
May 112022
 

We were in no hurry yesterday morning because we knew we didn’t have a long driving day. We left the house a little after 11, stopped at Walgreens to pick up a prescription, and then I realized I had left my wallet at home. So we rushed the mile or two home, grabbed it, and went back to Walgreens. There had been three cars in the drive-in window the first time around, but when we got back there was nobody. So that worked out.

Then we got on Interstate 95 and took it north to hook up with Interstate 10 in Jacksonville. Then we followed I-10 west, stopping for gas at the Busy Bee in Live Oak. They are something like Buc-ees but I have only seen them in Florida. Somewhere west of Tallahassee, Terry took the wheel and turned north on US 231, crossing into Alabama. We had planned to stop in Dothan, but it was only about 4 p.m. when we got there, so Terry drove another hour north to Troy.

Years ago we had a nice meal at Rodeo’s Mexican Restaurant in Troy, and since it is almost next door to the Hampton Inn, we stopped there first. The food was as good as we remembered, as was the service. Then we checked into the hotel and had a quiet evening, both tired after 432 miles on the road. The truck’s computer said we had averaged a little over 20 miles per gallon for the day.

We are about three hours from our son’s house, so we should have an easy day today. We’re looking forward to seeing their new place.

Thought For The Day – The first step in building a life you want is getting rid of the things you don’t want.

And We’re Off!

 Posted by at 12:53 am  Nick's Blog
May 102022
 

Thanks to a lot of hard work by Miss Terry, the truck is all packed and we’re ready to head out on our trip. As I said in yesterday’s blog, we don’t plan to do the whole 600 miles to our son’s place today. We will probably stop somewhere around Dothan, Alabama, which is a little past the halfway point.

I said in yesterday’s blog that we weren’t sure whether we were going to take the Laramie or Terry’s Pacifica, and that even though the van gets much better mileage the truck is much more comfortable to ride in. One reader suggested that the van would be easier to get in and out of. You would think that, but it’s not true. The pickup has an air leveling suspension that lowers it to make entry and exit easier and more convenient, plus it has running boards. So it’s actually easier to get in and out of the truck than to go up the three steps from one level of our house to the other.

Which means the only difference is going to be gas mileage. But that’s alright, we will be stopping at several bookstores to drop off sample copies of my books and meeting with some other authors along the way, so at least part of the trip can be written off as a business expense. That about evens things out.

Speaking of traveling, my pal Judy Rinehimer sent me this picture a while back that a friend of hers took while traveling in Bruges, Belgium. She said the man using this crude portable loom makes beautiful scarves with it to sell to the tourists. I guess where there’s a will there’s always a way.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – I posed nude for an art class today. They didn’t expect me to. I think they were making ceramic bowls.

Wake Up, Sleepyhead!

 Posted by at 12:23 am  Nick's Blog
May 092022
 

I have to give my ever-patient wife credit, because for the last few days she’d have had better company and more help around the house from a mannequin. I have stopped taking the Delta 8 during the day, only using it at bedtime. Otherwise, the Cymbalta seems to be keeping the worst of my back pain at bay. The only problem is that it makes me so darned sleepy that all I want to do is get out of bed, have a light breakfast, and then sleep in my recliner for half the day.

Meanwhile, Terry has been busy every minute making preparations for our trip. First, she wanted to get all of the floors vacuumed and mopped, and then she has several lists of things to be packed. She is the most organized person I know. If I were left to my own devices, I’d grab a couple of pairs of undies, an extra shirt, and my toothbrush and go. Of course, then I’d have to buy everything else I needed once I got to my destination.

The plan is to leave tomorrow morning and go up to Alabama to see our son Travis and his wife Geli’s new house. It’s 600 miles, and there was a time we could easily do that in one day, but there’s no need to beat ourselves up getting there. So we’ll probably stop for the night in Dothan, Alabama on the way, which is about 380 miles from here. This is kind of a test to see how well I can tolerate a long drive. Assuming everything goes well, after a few days in Alabama we’ll go on to Arizona, taking our time along the way.

We debated between taking Terry’s Chrysler Pacifica or the pickup. The Pacifica gets better mileage and we have taken it on several trips back and forth to Arizona, as well as up to Ohio and Michigan to research my Tinder Street family saga. But the Laramie is pure luxury and much more comfortable. There’s a lot to be said for comfort at this stage in our lives.

Usually when we take a road trip I try to post a new blog every couple of days and supplement them with old blogs from our past travels as fulltime RVers. But I have not had the energy or focus to do that this time around, so while we are gone the blog posts will be sporadic, and no doubt I’ll miss some days. We are making family time the focus of this trip. Because I don’t know how often I will post a blog, I will not be running our weekly drawing while we are gone. But I promise, once we get home and back on schedule, I’ll have a lot to share with you.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Congratulations Susan Cameron, winner of our drawing for an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for campground reviews, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day. We had 28 entries this time around. Note: While we are on the road the next few weeks the weekly drawings will be temporarily suspended, but will resume when we return.

Thought For The Day Please wear a mask. Coronavirus has nothing to do with it, some of you are just ugly.

Happy Mother’s Day

 Posted by at 12:04 am  Nick's Blog
May 082022
 

Happy Mother’s Day to all the mothers out there! What would we be without our mothers? Well, motherless, I guess. This year marks 31 years since my own dear mother passed away, and I miss her every day.

She was a sweet lady who was loved by everyone who ever met her. Life didn’t always treat her kindly. She outlived five of her eight children but she overcame her heartbreak each time, picked up the pieces, and went on with her life.

She was a typical stay-at-home mother, like many women of her generation. She took pride in having a clean house and taking care of her family. She tried to learn to drive a car once, and during her only time behind the wheel, she put my dad’s DeSoto in a ditch. That was enough driving for her!

Mom never lost her sense of humor, no matter what happened. She passed that on to me, and it has helped me deal with plenty of setbacks in my own life. As the youngest of her children, I was always her baby, even when I became a grown man with children of my own. I know I gave her fits sometimes, and though she was a short little round woman, she could hold her own.

Do your mom and yourself both a favor and be sure to spend some time with her today, or if you are too far away physically, give her a call and tell her how much you love her. Trust me, when the time comes that she’s no longer with you, you will wish you had the opportunity once more.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for campground reviews, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day Don’t forget to be extra special to your mother today. Remember, you’re the reason she drinks.

Thanks Gwen

 Posted by at 12:39 am  Nick's Blog
May 072022
 

The combination of Delta 8 and Cymbalta seems to be keeping the worst of the pain at bay, but all I wanted to do was sleep yesterday. And while my body appreciated that, I need to be able to function at the same time. So I need to do a little more balancing, cutting the amount of Delta 8 I have been using now that the prescription medicine is in the mix.

I’ve seen a trend more and more over the last five years or so of medical professionals being receptive, and some even encouraging patients who use medical marijuana or any of its legal derivatives instead of or as a supplement to pharmaceuticals. And while I never smoked pot or had any interest in drugs, there’s no question in my mind that it works. After years of having the VA hand me opioids for my back pain, even though I avoided taking them more than I should have, as soon as I started using the medical marijuana oil, I stopped the pain pills and never needed another one. And so far, Delta 8 gummies are legal every place that we are going to be on our trip, including states like Texas, which do not allow medical marijuana.

During the afternoon, our friend Gwen McMichael brought over some Young Living essential oil for pain relief that she says her husband Jay uses quite successfully. She also brought Terry a beautiful little potted plant. Thanks, Gwen, it was nice to see you again, and I appreciate it.

I answered a few e-mails but I couldn’t keep my eyes open, so I sat in my recliner and snoozed for quite a while. While I was doing that, Terry was shortening and hemming some shirts and pants for me. What would I do without her? It’s hard to buy clothes off the rack in Dwarf Portly size.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for campground reviews, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day Storm season is beginning. If a news van pulls into your driveway, remember, teeth and bras, people. Teeth and bras.

May 062022
 

We had an appointment yesterday afternoon with Doctor Creamer’s nurse practitioner at Central Florida Pain Relief Center’s office in Orlando. He is the doctor that did my RF nerve ablations in June of 2020.

Driving in Orlando is never easy, and the traffic is crazy all the time. People think nothing of cutting across three lanes of traffic to then slow down in front of you to make a turn. And just because the speed limit says 55 doesn’t mean you can drive that speed because if you do, someone’s going to rear-end you for sure. But between my GPS and Terry helping me be in the right lanes at the right time, we got there with no problem.

Though we knew it was not likely on such short notice, we were hoping that the doctor might be able to get me in and do the procedure again before we left on our trip for Arizona. By shuffling a couple of reservations around, we could have left as late as the 21st of this month. I thought the chances of getting something done that quickly were pretty slim, and I was right. As it turns out, the doctor is going to be out of town for most of May, so the best we could do was schedule the ablation procedures on two different days, a week apart, June 13th and again on June 20th. They do have me on the list if there’s an emergency cancellation at the last minute, but I don’t see that happening, and neither did Grace, the nurse practitioner.

As I said in yesterday’s blog, I don’t know if I can handle the trip to Arizona the way things are going. She prescribed Cymbalta for me, which is actually a medicine for depression, and I am not the least bit depressed. However, it is also supposed to help a lot with pain. Grace suggested I combine that with the Delta 8 gummies, which have been helping to take the edge off. I’ll try it for a couple of days and see how it’s going before we make a final decision about the trip. Please keep your fingers crossed for me that the combination of Cymbalta and Delta 8 works enough that we can go forward with our travel plans. We’ve got a couple of grandkids graduating and we really want to be in Arizona for that if at all possible, and to visit Terry’s parents.

It was almost 4:30 when we left the doctor’s office and I wasn’t looking forward to getting caught in commuter traffic, but we must have timed it just right because it wasn’t too bad. Once we got to Titusville we followed US 1 all the way home, stopping at Goodrich Seafood for dinner and then at Walgreens to pick up my prescription.

By the time we got home and got settled in,  all we really had the energy to do was relax and watch some television before bedtime. After being on the go for two days in a row with various medical stuff, we are looking forward to staying home today and not going anywhere.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for campground reviews, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day Life Hack: Turn your sofa into a bed by forgetting your anniversary.

On The Go All Day

 Posted by at 1:07 am  Nick's Blog
May 052022
 

After a very rough Tuesday night due to my back pain, we were up and out the door early yesterday morning because we had all kinds of things we needed to get done. Our first stop was at Island Doctors for our regular checkups, which we do every few months. Terry and I both had lab work done a week ago, and they had the results and went over them with both of us. Amanda, the nurse practitioner we saw, told us that everything looked fine. Our cholesterol, blood sugar, and all of the other things they check for are in the normal range.

Terry has had some swelling in her right wrist, and it has been painful for quite a while now. The doctor decided she wanted her to get an X-ray of it, so we went to Port Orange Imaging to get that done.

When Spectrum sent us the new modem and router, I was supposed to return the old one by dropping it off at a UPS Store with the pre-printed label included in the package. Since there was one not too far out of the way, we stopped there first, only for them to tell Terry that the label Spectrum Included was for FedEx. Never mind that there was another sticker on the box that said to drop it off at any UPS store, they wouldn’t take it. The Spectrum store was only a couple of blocks from the imaging center, so while Terry was in there, I ran over to drop it off directly to them. However, when I got there, they had moved to a new location about three miles away.

I went back to Port Orange Imaging, and they were just calling Terry back to get the X-rays done. It didn’t take long, and when she came out, we went to the new location for the Spectrum store to drop off the old router. The man at the counter couldn’t understand why we didn’t just drop it off at a UPS Store, and when I explained it to him, he just shook his head and said they get harder to work with every day.

When Terry’s wrist has been acting up like this in the past, our pal Dr. Melony Thomas at Coastal Integrative Healthcare has been able to adjust it and give her some relief. I called and made an appointment for 2:30 for both of us, and then we drove up to their office in Palm Coast. They have several area locations, including one in Edgewater near our home, but Doctor Thomas has been taking care of us ever since we first moved here when she was still at the Edgewater office. So it’s worth it to us to drive up there, even if it is 56 miles away from home. The good news is, since we were already in Port Orange, it was only about 40 miles.

We got there at 1:55 PM, knowing the office closes for lunch from noon until two. No problem, we sat in the van with the air conditioning on and laughed at three different men who all went up to the door, saw the sign saying they would be back at 2, and then tried the nob, only to find it locked. And the thing is, they all did it one after another while they were all standing there together. I guess you really do have to touch the paint yourself to see if it’s wet.

Melony has known me long enough to tell when I’m hurting bad, even if I wasn’t back to using my cane. She put me on the table to see if she could do me some good, but things are just too aggravated back there.

She was able to give Terry some relief on her wrist, and by the time we got back to New Smyrna Beach, the swelling had gone down quite a bit, and it was feeling much better. Island Doctors called to say they already had the X-ray results, and nothing was broken. They thought it was probably just arthritis aggravated by all the work she did on the loom the last few days getting Kenny’s blanket finished.

Stavros Pizza in New Smyrna Beach is a favorite of ours, and every Monday and Wednesday, a large pizza is half price plus $1. We stopped there for dinner, then made a couple of other stops on the way home, including picking up some prescriptions at Walgreens. All in all, a very busy day.

I have an appointment this afternoon with Doctor Creamer’s office in Orlando. He is the doctor that performed my RF nerve ablations in June of 2020. The nerves have obviously regenerated, as I was told would happen because my pain levels are through the roof at times. It was so bad Tuesday that Terry had to help me get dressed in the morning. I don’t know if they can repeat the procedure between now and when we have to leave for Arizona. Our schedule is somewhat flexible, so if they could do it anytime in the next two weeks, we could reshuffle a couple of stops along the way and still make things work.

If they can’t do that, which is entirely possible, I’m hoping they can shoot me up with some cortisone or steroids or something to give me some relief until we can make it happen. Because the way things are right now, I’m not sure I could make a long trip like that and then back home.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an RV camping journal donated by Barbara House. Barbara makes several variations of these, and they all have pages where you can list the date, weather, where you traveled to and from that day, beginning and ending mileage, campground information including amenities at RV sites, a place for campground reviews, room to record activities, people met along the way, reminders of places to see and things to do the next time you’re in the area, and a page for notes for each day.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day If you lose one of your senses your other senses are enhanced. That’s why people with no sense of humor have such an increased sense of self-importance.

May 042022
 

There was a term in the car sales business called hammering someone. That’s when a salesman has a customer that he literally hammers into signing the paperwork to purchase a car. It’s a high-pressure sales tactic, something that I did not believe in. I sold plenty of cars just by being myself and trying to help my customers find the right car for their needs and budget. However, there was that one guy…

They were the first customers on the lot that day, arriving in two vehicles; him in a decked-out four-wheel-drive Chevy Silverado pickup gleaming with chrome add-ons, and her in a four-door 1961 Chevy Biscayne with faded paint, worn out upholstery, and a lot of miles on it. They got out of their respective vehicles and the man said, “My wife thinks she needs a new car. She doesn’t, but I’m tired of listening to her complain. Help her find something quick, so we get this over with.”

I introduced myself and asked her what kind of car she had in mind, and he said, “Something cheap. The only place she goes to is the grocery store and our daughters’ houses to see the grandkids. What’s the cheapest new car you have on the lot?” I showed them a couple of base models while he stood with his arms folded across his chest, shaking his head, saying, “There’s no reason for you to have a new car. Anytime we go anyplace, we take my truck.” He also told her to make up her damn mind because he had to meet the boys for lunch. A couple of times, she opened her mouth to say something and he gave her a look, and she quickly changed her mind about that.

We settled on what actually was the least expensive car we had in stock, but it was still too much as far as he was concerned. When he looked at the window sticker, he said, “I’m not paying for air conditioning. She doesn’t have air conditioning in her car now and doesn’t need it for as little as she drives.” He also mentioned again that we needed to speed this up because he was having lunch with the boys. I told him that it was Tucson, Arizona, and I didn’t think I’d ever seen a new car come through any dealership that didn’t have air conditioning. He muttered that it was a waste of money, then said, “Okay, here’s the deal. I’m not paying more than $225 a month, I’m not putting any money down, and that car of hers is a classic so don’t try to rip me off. My buddy told me he’d give me $10,000 for it today.”

I suggested we go inside and work the numbers. She started to say something and he shot her a look, and really did say, “Hush.” There was no question in my mind that this woman had been browbeaten ever since the day she said, “I do.” I didn’t like the man, but I decided he wasn’t walking out of there without buying his wife that car under MY terms.

As we were going inside, I paused to look at his truck and complimented him on having such a nice ride. “You bet your ass it’s nice,” he said. “It’s got every option they make. Most expensive one they had on the lot!” I asked if it came with the tonneau cover and the chrome push bar and bed rails and running boards, and he said no, he had had all of that added on and told me the truck had a stereo system that would blow my mind.

We sat down, and as I started trying to work the numbers, he reminded me again that we needed to get things going as he was having lunch with the boys. He also reminded me that he wasn’t putting any money down, and his friend would give him $10,000 for his wife’s old car that very day, so I’d better sharpen my pencil. I crunched the numbers and said, “All right, here’s where we’re at. I can give me $3,000 for your trade, and I need $2,000 down, and your payments are going to be $255 a month.” I smiled at him, and as expected, he hit the roof. “I told you I’m not paying more than $225 a month, and you can forget any down payment because it ain’t gonna happen. And like I said, my buddy says that car of hers is worth $10,000.”

“No problem,” I told him, nodding my head in agreement. “You said your buddy will give you $10,000 for that old Chevy today even though it doesn’t have air conditioning and it‘s a  three-on-the-tree shift with almost 200,000 miles on it because it’s a classic. So let’s do this. Give me a check for $5,000, which is your $2,000 down payment and the $3,000 trade allowance I offered you. I’ll hold the check a couple of days, so you can sell her car to your buddy for $10,000 and still put five grand in your pocket. Problem solved.” I handed him a pen and told him where to sign.

His mouth looked like a fish’s does when you pull it out of the water, and he sat there for the longest time. Then he remembered his other demand. “I told you I wasn’t gonna pay more than $225 month.” I told him I remembered him saying that, then said, “We’re running out of time if you’re meeting your friends for lunch.” I asked him where they were meeting, and he mentioned a popular café not far away. His wife spoke up and said, “He can be a little late. They get together every day.” He gave her a look, but at least he didn’t say “hush” again.

I said I had been in that diner, and they sure had some good-looking waitresses. Then I casually asked, “Please tell me you’re not one of those cheapskates who sit there half the day shooting the bull and then only tips the waitress a quarter. I hate people like that.” “Hell no,” he replied. “I always leave a buck or two.” I smiled and sprung the trap when I said, “That’s interesting. You’ll give some good-looking young waitress in tight jeans a buck or two every day. But your wife, the woman who raised your kids, the woman who’s been by your side all these years, the woman driving a beat-up old stick shift car with no air conditioning while you drive that big fancy truck of yours isn’t worth a dollar a day to you. Because that’s what we’re talking about, a dollar a day. That’s $30 a month, which covers the rest of the car payment. I’d pay a dollar a day just to have her drive by in her new car with an automatic transmission and air conditioning and wave at me. But I guess we all know what your wife is worth to you, don’t we?” There was silence at the table for what seemed to go on forever, and then his wife looked at him and said, “Sign the damn paperwork. Now!”

Sometimes you do have to hammer people. And it’s not about the commission you will receive.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us. It’s things like this that keep me up late at night thinking about the choices I have made in my life.

Thought For The Day Please cancel my subscription to your issues.

It’s Finally Done!

 Posted by at 12:46 am  Nick's Blog
May 032022
 

Terry spent much of yesterday doing the final finish work on the new blanket she wove for our son-in-law, Kenny. This involved knotting and trimming all the fringes on both ends, then gently washing and wet finishing, which is fulling. I asked Terry what that meant, and she said the washing process fluffs up the material and sets the threads, tying everything together so it will last a long time.

As I said in yesterday’s blog, Terry said there would be some shrinkage, and the finished blanket shrunk 9% in width and 20% in length, which still leaves it at 57×76 inches. Plenty big enough for Kenny to snuggle up in on cold Arizona winter nights.

A blog reader asked me how much time was involved in a project like that, and Terry said from planning and laying everything out, getting the loom set up, then the actual weaving process and finish work, it was close to 70 hours if not more. A production weaver could do several blankets a lot faster that would be all the same. But for Terry, each piece is individual and made with love.

I knocked out another chapter in my new John Lee Quarrels book yesterday, and then we installed the new modem and Wi-Fi router that Spectrum sent us. A couple of months ago I signed up for faster service, although I really haven’t noticed it being a heck of a lot faster, and sometimes it was even slower than normal. I complained to Spectrum several times, and they said they would look into it, and then out of the blue, with no notice, the new modem and router arrived. I haven’t messed with it long enough to know if I can see any real difference or not yet.

In yesterday’s blog, I announced that Lois Thurston was the winner of our drawing for an autographed copy of Terry’s cookbook, Miss Terry’s Kitchen. Lois, if you’re reading this, my e-mails to you keep bouncing, saying they were undeliverable due to a policy violation or system error. I’m not sure if the problem is on my end or yours, but please e-mail me at editor@gypsyjournal.net with your mailing address and how you want the book autographed, and I will get it in the mail to you.

This brings up another issue I need to mention. I don’t make a penny off of the drawings, and neither do the authors who donate their audiobooks or written books to be used as prizes. Most people who enter the drawings are very good about following the rules of only one entry and including their full name and a valid e-mail address. And most people quickly claim their prize once they are notified.

But you know there’s always going to be that small segment of people that makes things difficult. I have sent people an audiobook code that they won and had them not redeem it for as much as two years. Then when they finally get around to redeeming it, it’s no longer good, and they want me to send them another one.

These things have a shelf life, and after a certain amount of time they expire if not used. Audible only gives authors a certain number of codes and then there aren’t anymore. I have also had people win an audiobook and tell me that they don’t like audiobooks and can they have a printed book instead, or can they exchange it for something else or get the cash equivalent instead. No, Sorry, you can’t. If you don’t want the prize, please don’t enter the drawing.

And then we have the people who enter drawings before they even start. It doesn’t work that way, either. Once I announce the new drawing in Thursday’s blog, you have until Sunday evening when I actually draw the winner to enter. If you enter on Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday, your name just gets deleted because there’s no active drawing going on. Yesterday I had seven entries for the drawing that ended Sunday night. And if you enter multiple times, you wind up in the spam folder, and you don’t get in at all. I really like being able to offer these prizes to our readers, but please folks, give me a break and play by the rules like everyone else.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day – The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. – Walt Disney

A Big Project

 Posted by at 12:43 am  Nick's Blog
May 022022
 

Terry has been busy trying to finish a big weaving project before we leave on our trip, a throw blanket for Kenny, our son-in-law. When she finally took it off the loom yesterday and stretched it out, still folded, on the floor in her loom room, it measured 65×95 inches. She had to make it big because Kenny is a giant. He’s something like six feet and a gazillion inches tall.

Here it is stretched out on our bed. Today Terry will finish the edges and wet finish and block it. She tells me that since it is 100% virgin Shetland wool, it will shrink a bit. Does that happen with Shetland sheep, too? If they get wet, do they turn into gerbils?

This was a double weave project, in that the blanket is so wide it was woven folded in half on the loom. Don’t ask me how she does it. I have Velcro closures on my shoes because I get my finger caught trying to tie a knot.

I finished the last of the corrections for the recent chapters I wrote in my new John Lee Quarrels book yesterday, then cranked out another 2,500 words or so.

And some good news, at least for the last two days. By cutting the Delta 8 gummies in half and taking one every six hours or so, I have been able to keep the back pain under control enough that I can tolerate it. And by portioning it out over time, I don’t feel wasted like I did when I first tried them a few days ago. I’d much rather go this route than use the prescription opioids I try so hard to avoid.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Congratulations Lois Thurston, winner of our drawing for an autographed copy of Terry’s cookbook, Miss Terry’s Kitchen. If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know what a fantastic cook she is. The book has recipes for everything from appetizers to main dishes to desserts, along with lists of all of the ingredients and supplies you need to be a hit at your next family dinner or campground potluck.

We had 111 entries this week. Stay tuned, a new drawing begins soon. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day I bought a new pair of shoes with memory foam insoles. No more walking into a room and forgetting why I’m there.

Warming Up

 Posted by at 12:30 am  Nick's Blog
May 012022
 

It’s starting to warm up here on the central Florida coast, with the weatherman saying that it will be in the 90s every day next week. Combine that with the humidity, and I think summer is going to start early for us.

I’m not looking forward to it. Just like some people who live in cold climates hibernate indoors all winter long, we do the same thing during the summer, letting our air conditioner keep it comfortable and only venturing out when we have to. It’s a good thing that Terry and I are able to keep ourselves busy without having to be on the go all the time.

Speaking of being busy, I spent part of yesterday reading through and making corrections to the chapters I’ve written in my new John Lee Quarrels book in the last couple of days. While I was busy with that yesterday, Terry was paying bills for the new month and balancing our checkbook and things like that.

We did knock off around 3:30 in the afternoon to go to Dustin’s BBQ for an early dinner. Back at home, I spent two or three hours doing some more corrections, then we closed up shop for the day and watched television for a while before getting ready to write the blog and going to bed.

I will be back at it again today. I’m closing it on 16,000 words and should go well past that number today. That’s just as well because Terry told me to stay out of her way because she’s going to finish the blanket she has been weaving and get it off the loom. I try never to get in the path of a woman on a mission.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us. Let’s find a different place to go swimming, okay?

Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an autographed copy of Terry’s cookbook, Miss Terry’s Kitchen. If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know what a fantastic cook she is. The book has recipes for everything from appetizers to main dishes to desserts, along with lists of all of the ingredients and supplies you need to be a hit at your next family dinner or campground potluck.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn this evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day I really scared the mailman by showing up at the door naked. I’m not sure which bothered him more, the fact that I was naked or that I knew where he lived.

Flying On Delta 8

 Posted by at 1:02 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 302022
 

For years the Veterans Administration prescribed pain pills for my back issues. Hydrocodone, oxycontin, morphine, you name it and at one time or another, I had it. The thing is, I really don’t like taking narcotic medicine. There are too many side effects and other issues that I did not want to deal with, so I would only take the medicine when I was really hurting bad.

This is called chasing the pain, and any doctor will tell you that’s not a good idea. You’re supposed to take the meds ahead of time before the pain gets out of control. However, I saw too many people start out that way and let it get out of hand.

Eventually I got a medical marijuana card and switched to sublingual oil with varying amounts of THC in it. That worked very well, and the day I started using it I stopped taking any of the pain pills. I never got high from the oil, and I used it on a regular basis.

Then, in June of 2020 I had my RF nerve ablations done and I didn’t need the oil anymore. So for two years now the only thing I have taken was the occasional ibuprofen or Tylenol PM now and then.

Fast forward to the present and my nerves seem to have regenerated and the pain has been debilitating. My medical marijuana card has long since expired, and most of the pain pills were outdated and turned in to the Sheriff’s Department for disposal. I do have a few Tramadol pills left, and some Flexeril. I tried them for three or four days but they haven’t done much good.

Someone told me about Delta 8, which is a derivative of the cannabis plant and is legal here in Florida. Several of the local smoke shops carry it, so yesterday I tried one of the 20 milligram gummies. I was told to see how that affected me and if it didn’t do anything to take another one an hour or so later. That was in the early afternoon, and after chewing down one of the gummies, I didn’t notice any change at all. An hour and a half later I decided to take half of another one rather than a whole one. Still nothing at all and the pain had not decreased in the slightest. I gave it another 30 minutes and took the other half.

Bam! Just like that I was higher than a kite. I have never liked being high from alcohol or anything else because I can get in enough trouble under my own steam without having anything help me along. That’s why I don’t drink or do anything else along those lines.

I managed to crank out about 800 words in my new John Lee Quarrels book, and realized I wasn’t concentrating from sentence to sentence. So much for that idea. At 5 o’clock I parked myself in my recliner and slept until after 7. By then I felt a little more normal, but the back pain had not changed.

Now it’s a little after midnight and my head is finally clear once again. And I will say that my back pain is significantly lower right now. But if I have to take so much Delta 8 that I get wasted first, to feel good hours later, that’s not going to happen. I’m lazy enough already. I don’t need something that makes me want to sleep all day. So now I guess I’m looking at Plan B, or Plan C, or whatever number we are, and whatever the heck it is.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an autographed copy of Terry’s cookbook, Miss Terry’s Kitchen. If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know what a fantastic cook she is. The book has recipes for everything from appetizers to main dishes to desserts, along with lists of all of the ingredients and supplies you need to be a hit at your next family dinner or campground potluck.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day I am starting to think I will never be old enough to know better.

I’m Sniveling

 Posted by at 12:48 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 292022
 

One of my least endearing character traits is my tendency to snivel, and I’ve been doing a lot of it the last couple of days due to my back pain. I have been relatively pain-free in that area for the last two years, except for the normal aches everyone with a bad back has now and then. But the nerves I had severed by the ablations two years ago seem to have regenerated in the last few weeks, and the last three days have been sheer agony. I’m sniveling so much that nobody could blame Miss Terry if she used a pillow to smother me in my sleep.

We are supposed to leave for an extended road trip early next month, and I’m not looking forward to it with this going on. I managed to get an appointment with the nurse practitioner who works with the doctor that did the ablations a week from today, and I’m hoping they can help me out in some way so I can handle the trip.

Terry is such a trooper. Even with her own medical issues, she still takes care of me. There’s no question about it, I don’t deserve her, but I feel so blessed to have her in my life. She always says we got married for better or worse, and when the worse part comes around, she never lets me down. I belong to a couple of Facebook groups for CPAP users, and it surprises me how many people have said that their significant other doesn’t like them using the machines to help them sleep at night. One woman actually said her husband threw hers away because he told her he just couldn’t handle it. I think I’d have retrieved it from the trash and kicked him to the curb at the same time.

Okay, that’s enough sniveling for now, but I reserve the right to snivel again at some point in the very near future.

I managed to get another 5,000 words written in my new John Lee Quarrels book yesterday, and while I was doing that, Terry was busy with her weaving project. She tells me if all goes well she should be able to finish the weaving today and take it off the loom to begin the final stages of trimming, wet finishing, and such to get it ready to give it to our son-in-law, Kenny when we are in Arizona.

Today will be more of the same, writing and weaving, and no doubt some more sniveling, too.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Be sure to enter our latest Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an autographed copy of Terry’s cookbook, Miss Terry’s Kitchen. If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know what a fantastic cook she is. The book has recipes for everything from appetizers to main dishes to desserts, along with lists of all of the ingredients and supplies you need to be a hit at your next family dinner or campground potluck.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day I always start the day with good intentions. Then I get out of bed, and that’s usually where it all goes wrong.

Another Chapter Done

 Posted by at 12:59 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 282022
 

We were up and out the door early yesterday morning, or at least early for us. We started the day by going to LabCorp to get blood and urine draws for doctor appointments we have scheduled next week. A couple of weeks ago when I had my colonoscopy, the nurses at Advent Hospital had to stick me two or three times before they were finally able to hit a vein. But the young lady at LabCorp nailed it the first time, and I didn’t even feel the needle go in.

When we were done with that, we went to the UPS Store in New Smyrna Beach to drop off an Amazon package to be returned. We used to be able to drop them off at any UPS drop point near our house, but Amazon changed that for some reason, and now we have to go to an actual UPS store.

We weren’t supposed to eat anything before our lap appointments, so when we got home, Terry made us both small bowls of mixed berries, along with half a bagel.

My back has been kicking my butt for the last couple of weeks now, and I had hoped I would get a call from Doctor Creamer’s office in response to the message I left on Monday. I know there’s no chance he can get me in to do anything until after we return from our trip out west, but at least I would like to get on the schedule for when we return. I guess I will try calling back again today.

After answering several e-mails I wrote another chapter for my new John Lee Quarrels book, which proved to be rather difficult because I was tired and kept nodding off. I finally gave up and went and sat in my recliner and napped for close to an hour, then wrote half of the next chapter.

While I was doing that, Terry was busy finishing up a weaving project on one of her big Glimakra looms. I think she said this one is going to be a blanket for Kenny, our son-in-law. I don’t think she’s ever happier than when she’s weaving or knitting or doing anything that involves fiber. And I just love to see the look on her face when she’s doing it.

I haven’t had much chance to use my Quest 3D headset the last few days because my back has been hurting so much that just getting out of a chair or walking is enough of a challenge, let alone virtual boxing. I wanted to find some kind of storage case for it, and someone recommended the BOBOVR C2 Carrying Case by the same company that made the BOBOVR M2 Pro Battery Pack Head Strap I ordered a couple of weeks ago and have been so pleased with. The nice Amazon driver delivered the case yesterday, and everything fits in it perfectly. I will be taking it on our trip because I know everybody wants to try it out.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

It’s Thursday and time for a new Free Drawing. This week’s prize is an autographed copy of Terry’s cookbook, Miss Terry’s Kitchen. If you have been reading this blog for any amount of time, you know what a fantastic cook she is. The book has recipes for everything from appetizers to main dishes to desserts, along with lists of all of the ingredients and supplies you need to be a hit at your next family dinner or campground potluck.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn Sunday evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day Bacon is 73% fat and very salty. Me too, bacon, me too.

Apr 272022
 

We were up early yesterday morning because we had an appointment for Wilkie’s Pest Control to come by and do their quarterly spraying. If you live in Florida, you have a “bug man” because if you don’t, all kinds of critters will find their way inside your house. Wilkie’s is a family-owned business that has always treated us right, and if they tell you they’re going to be at your house at a certain time, they don’t keep you waiting all day until they finally show up. In fact, the man was here yesterday about 20 minutes early, which was fine with us.

After he left, we went to Leon’s Automotive, another small family-owned business we know we can trust. We had dropped the Pacifica off there Monday to have an oil change, have them change all the filters, rotate the tires, and look things over so we will know we are in good shape for our upcoming trip out west.

Back at home, I wrote another chapter in my new John Lee Quarrels book and answered some e-mails that I hadn’t gotten to earlier. Three were from people inviting us to look them up either on our way to Arizona or back again, offering us a place to stay overnight, or dinner, or whatever worked for us. While we appreciate everybody’s hospitality, we don’t have an itinerary set in stone. We spent too many years always having to be someplace for a rally or a speaking gig or something when we were fulltime RVers, and on most of our previous road trips since we sold the RV, we have had a schedule to meet. Except for knowing that we have hotel reservations in Arizona starting May 17th, we’re going to make this a laid-back trip, stopping along the way when we see something that interests us. We would hate to make plans with somebody and then have to change them at the last minute or feel obligated to skip something we want to do along the way to be there.

Another of the e-mails I got left me scratching my head. Someone I know wrote to me to say that she knew I was into genealogy and tell me how disappointed she is with the Ancestry website, especially their DNA results. She told me that she did her DNA last year, and when looking at her matches on Ancestry, it shows one of her uncles as a match, but not his two daughters. She said she knew they both submitted DNA tests to Ancestry, and she can’t figure out why they are not showing up as matches.

I wrote back to tell her that maybe Ancestry just hasn’t gotten the files uploaded yet, but she said no, the cousins told her that they had other matches. Then she added that when her uncle married his wife, he adopted her two little girls from her first marriage, and according to Ancestry, they wouldn’t show up on her DNA chart. I wrote back again and told her that Ancestry was correct. If her uncle adopted the two children, there would be no DNA connection because they don’t share the same bloodline. She responded, saying of course they share the same bloodline, he adopted them, and they have his last name. She said she is not going to renew her Ancestry membership because it’s obviously a bunch of crap. Okay, fine, you do that.

When I was telling Terry about it we had to laugh because sometimes people come up with the strangest things when it comes to their families. We once spent some time talking to a waitress on a slow evening at a place where we were having dinner, and when we told her I was a writer, she said she always wanted to do something like that, or anything but waitressing, but she just wasn’t sure what. I told her that was okay, I was 55 years old (at that time), and I still didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up. (And I still don’t!)

She laughed and said her mother always complained because she had not gone to college like her sister, the “successful” daughter. Then she told us that even though her sister had a college degree and was a school teacher, that didn’t mean she was smart. She went on to say that her sister had had the same boyfriend since they were in 7th grade, but a year or so earlier, he had lost a leg to an IED while serving overseas. He was back home now and out of rehab, and the mother was pushing them to get married. She told us the sister confided in her she was hesitant about that because as much as she loved the guy, she just didn’t know if she could handle it if their child was born without a leg like its father. I almost shot Pepsi out of my nose when she told us, “and she’s the successful sister!” I don’t know what she studied in college, but it obviously wasn’t biology or any other science.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Thought For The Day I followed my heart, and it led me to the refrigerator.

Orphans And POWs

 Posted by at 12:21 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 262022
 

Note: Nothing new to share with you today, so here is a repost of a blog from our fulltime RVing days about a visit to an interesting Kansas town.

Yesterday was yet another busy day for us. We were up early again because there were several things we wanted to do in Concordia before we left town and we still had a 250-mile drive ahead of us.

Our first stop was at the National Orphan Train Complex, a small interesting museum that tells the story of the 200,000+ orphaned and disadvantaged children who were loaded onto trains back in Boston and New York City and brought to rural areas across the country in the hopes of finding them good homes.

P1140202

The stories of these children told at the museum through books, signage, and displays range from heartbreaking to endearing. While many of the children were placed in loving homes and assimilated into the family and the community, there were also many who were seen as simply free labor and treated no better than slaves or indentured servants. Many of them were separated from their siblings, never to be reunited again. While the Orphan Train program did a lot of good, there can be no question that a lot of misfortune and pain came from it also.

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In my blog the other day, I mentioned how friendly people in the Midwest are. Here is another example; I knew that there had been a German prisoner of war camp in Concordia during World War II, and after we toured the Orphan Train Museum, I asked the curator if she could tell me how to get to the old POW camp. She said she could do better than that and pointed out a gentleman working in the yard and said he was Paul Rimovsky, director of the group which is working to preserve the old camp. I introduced myself to Paul and told him why we were in town and inquired about the camp, and he immediately stopped what he was doing, jumped into his car, and led us two or three miles north of town to where the old camp was located.

Paul gave us a tour of what remains, which includes a guard tower, a wooden guard shed, and one of the warehouses built to serve the camp. At one time over 4,000 German POWs were interred here, as well as over 800 American soldiers assigned to guard them. Paul said that while most of the POW camps scattered around the country held enlisted personnel, Camp Concordia housed mostly officers, including some diehard Nazis who made life difficult for the guards and other prisoners.

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We enjoyed our visit with Paul, who told us he grew up in Norfolk, Nebraska and that when he was a youngster he taught himself to play the accordion. When he was 10 years old he was hired to be the opening act for an older boy who performed magic tricks at schools and auditoriums around the area. Paul grew up and ran a music store in Concordia for most of his working life, while that young magician went on to fame as televisions’ late-night talk show host, Johnny Carson. How cool is that?

In one more example of how nice the folks from Concordia are, when we drove back into town we stopped at the Visitor Center to purchase a book on the POW camp and inquired about the Cloud County Historical Museum, which wasn’t scheduled to open for over an hour. Tammy Britt, the nice lady at the Visitor Center, called out to another lady who was there, who happened to be the museum director. She said there was no reason for us to wait, and she went right over and opened the museum up for us. Try getting that kind of service in the big city!

With all of our sightseeing and story gathering done, it was time to get on the road. We took off and headed north, passing through a lot of countryside with not much to see in it except pastures and farmland, broken up by occasional small towns. It seems like almost every small town in Kansas and Nebraska has a city park with RV camping allowed. You could spend an entire summer in these two states and never have to go to commercial campground.

250 miles later we arrived in Pender, Nebraska, the home of Blue Ox towing products. Blue Ox has its own campground with about 20 sites, all with 30/50 amp electric full hookups. I had let Mandy Johnson, our contact at Blue Ox, know that we were coming through the area and wanted to have them service our tow bar, and maybe do a factory tour if we could. Mandy said no problem and that she would reserve a site for us in the campground. There are only three other RVs here, and we certainly didn’t expect that we would be assigned to the personal campsite of the company’s owner! While all the sites are nice, this one borders on the luxurious, with well manicured flower beds, a brick walled outdoor kitchen with stainless steel barbecue grill and refrigerator, a fireplace, and two patio tables with umbrellas. Heck, I may just stay here forever!

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Today we plan to sleep in, and then not do much of anything else. We’ve covered 1,265 miles, seen a lot of things and been busy, busy since we left Show Low, Arizona six days ago. It’s time for a day off.

Thought For The Day – There is a very fine line between “hobby” and “mental illness.”

Not A Lot Going On

 Posted by at 12:20 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 252022
 

We didn’t have a lot going on yesterday, so I don’t have much to tell you about today. I spent part of the day writing, knocking out another chapter in Pucker Factor, my next book. This one starts off with a literal bang. A bunch of bangs, actually, as Somerton County deputy John Lee Quarrels is ambushed on a dark Florida road in a sparsely populated part of the county. Wounded and disoriented, he has to make his way on foot to safety before his attackers return or he may die. I think this is going to be a good one, folks!

Besides the writing, I had to do some research about illnesses to be able to write about a medical condition that is stressing out another one of the book’s characters. That took me down a rabbit hole that kept me busy for a while.

I also talked to our son Travis for a bit. He and his wife Geli are doing a final walkthrough of the house they are buying today, and they will be closing tomorrow morning. We are excited for them because this is something they have wanted for a long time, and have worked very hard to achieve. We can’t wait to get up to Alabama to see it!

While I was doing all of that, Terry was busy researching some weaving patterns for her new Louet Spring II loom. I know she’s eager to start a project on it, but since we’ll be leaving within a couple of weeks for our trip to Alabama and Arizona, I’m not sure if she will wait until we get back or start something now.

Sometime around 7 PM, we decided that we should probably eat even though we weren’t very hungry. Terry heated some leftovers, and we ate them along with some smoked barracuda on crackers that we got at Port Orange Seafood the other day. The owner of the shop told us that it would taste very close to the smoked amberjack we got there before, and he was right. It was absolutely delicious, and we’ll be buying some more of that again!

We rounded out the evening by watching the latest episode of Call the Midwife and then Secrets of the Zoo before it was time to write the blog and get ready for bed. As I said, there was not much going on, but that’s okay, too. Sometimes we need days like that to recharge our batteries.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Congratulations Rob Stone, winner of our drawing for an audiobook of Adam Gaffen’s Into the Black: Tales from the Cassidyverse. Science fiction fans are going to love this one, as Kendra Cassidy’s dream to drag humanity to the stars, as well as the dreams of her crew are revealed. It’s an old-fashioned whodunit, with an extra dose of interplanetary politics thrown in for good measure. We had 23 entries this time around. Stay tuned, a new contest starts soon. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day I always see more people walking into Walmart than I see walking out of Walmart. But the meat is cheap, so I don’t ask questions.

Happy Birthday Mustang

 Posted by at 12:37 am  Nick's Blog
Apr 242022
 

A week or so back, I mentioned that our family has a lot of birthdays in April, including our daughter Tiffany’s birthday on April 15th. But I failed to mention that this year April 15th was also another important birthday. It was the 58th anniversary of the Ford Mustang.

I love classic cars, especially old Mustangs, and I have had a bunch of them over the years, everything from show cars to daily drivers to hulks that were just bought to cannibalize when restoring something else.

My first Mustang was a 1967 coupe, which I bought right after I got to West Point, and I drove the wheels off of it. Since then, I have had 14 (yes, really) 1967 Mustangs, both coupes and fastbacks. Again, several of those were bought as parts cars for restoration projects. I also had a 1969 Mustang Mach 1 and four or five 1966 model years. Through all of that, I have never owned a Mustang convertible. I don’t know why I never got around to acquiring one over the years.

I don’t have a classic Mustang these days, but my garage queen is this 2018 EcoBoost Premium that I bought new and still has only 1,600 miles on it.

The first Ford Mustang sold, a sky blue convertible, was actually sold two days before the official date they were supposed to go on sale when a 22-year-old Chicago school teacher named Gail Wise saw it in a dealer’s backlot and plunked down the sticker price of $3,447.50 without even asking for a test drive. I’m not sure where that car is now, but as of 2018, Gail and her husband still owned it, and different experts valued it at anywhere from $350,000 to $450,000. That’s a pretty good investment if you ask me!

I have never met Gail, but a few years ago, I met another lady with a Mustang convertible who had an interesting story to tell. This beautiful old 1965 ragtop was parked next to me at a grocery store, and I couldn’t help admiring it. The lady who owned the car came out, and I complimented her on her nice ride. She said it was a gift from her husband, and I said she must have been a very good girl. She smirked at me and said, “No, he was a very bad boy.” Then waved as she drove away.

And finally, here’s a chuckle to start your day from the collection of funny signs we see in our travels and that our readers share with us.

Today is your last chance to enter our Free Drawing for an audiobook of Adam Gaffen’s Into the Black: Tales from the Cassidyverse. Science fiction fans are going to love this one, as Kendra Cassidy’s dream to drag humanity to the stars, as well as the dreams of her crew are revealed. It’s an old-fashioned whodunit, with an extra dose of interplanetary politics thrown in for good measure.

To enter, click on this Free Drawing link or the tab at the top of this page and enter your name (first and last) in the comments section at the bottom of that page (not this one). Only one entry per person per drawing please, and you must enter with your real name. To prevent spam or multiple entries, the names of cartoon or movie characters are not allowed. The winner will be drawn This evening. Note: Due to the high shipping cost of printed books and Amazon restrictions on e-books to foreign countries, only entries with US addresses and e-mail addresses are allowed.

Thought For The Day I wonder what the part of my brain that used to store people’s telephone numbers is doing these days.