Sunday thru Saturday, September 8-14—A Tough Week

After spending part of the early morning with Ridge and his parents, we drove back home after what seemed like a 6-week absence; of course, we left for Wisconsin and Michigan on July 28, returned home on August 20, then left for Colorado on August 26 and finally arrived back home September 8—38 days away from home.  But, for the most part, we escaped hot weather. 

Glad to be back home, we made “To Do” lists, and began working on the items in earnest Monday morning.  Over the course of the week, we changed the oil, oil filter, and air filter in both the motorhome and the Explorer, as well as the motorhome generator; reinforced the under sink water filter bracket in the motorhome; and repaired, for the 3rd time, the hood hinge on the motorhome.

The hinge for the hood is connected via an adhesive, not a bolt or screw, and the adhesive failed on all three connection points, likely due to the pounding caused by rough road joints (Missouri and Michigan roads) on our trip to Wisconsin and Michigan!  Neither Gorilla Glue nor epoxy gel (recommended by the Winnebago dealership where we bought the motorhome) worked, so I took neighbor and very close friend Wayne’s advice and used JB Weld.  We both worked on the hinge for parts of 4 days this week, with Wayne doing a lot of the work and all the supervision (thank goodness he was there to help).  First, I took the hood off the motorhome, then the hinge.  We removed all the paint on the connection surfaces, and sanded the motorhome front cowling where the connection was to be made, preparing all surfaces for the JB Weld bond.  And then, Wayne and I worked in tandem to spread the JB Weld adhesive to both the hinge surfaces and the motorhome surfaces, and apply multiple clamps to hold it in place; it was like a well orchestrated dance, and we do really work well together.  The following morning, we removed the clamps, and the hinge held.  We then mixed fiberglass resin and hardner, and covered each connection with fiberglass (resin, cloth, and resin) to reinforce the bonded surfaces.  These dried in about 4 hours, and we applied another coat of resin to smooth the surface.  The connection points are now stronger than ever thanks to Wayne! 

130912_E_Tree_001Since we belong to Amazon Prime, we order a lot of our “supplies” and the parcels trickled in all week.  Finally on Thursday just after lunch, the motorhome Onan generator oil filter and wrench arrived and I drained the oil and removed the oil filter.  In the course of adding new oil, straight line winds from the north came out of “nowhere”.  Now understand, I’m only about 40 feet from our patio, have my hearing aids in, and have no external noise.  I finished adding oil, getting soaking wet by the hard driving rain, and come in to shower and notice our neighbor’s HUGE oak tree laying partially across the patio—and I didn’t hear it fall.

As I began to take inventory, a sickening feeling came over me at the damage, particularly to the trees on the back of our property, and our landscaping efforts over the past several months.  We emailed our neighbors who were fishing out west with the bad news.  They were quick to action, calling a tree cutting service.  130913_Tree_1370Friday morning the tree trimmers/cutters showed up in force, 4 and 5 strong most of the day, and cut the two trunks of the HUGE tree as well as the 7 others it knocked down. 

The two photos show before and after.130725_E_004  They did a great job of clearing all the debris, and had two loads of shredded wood chips from the trees.  130915_Tree_1389We lost all the trees on about half our our back property, and now have lots of open space and sky.  With sawdust and leaves everywhere, we began the process of “picking up the pieces.”  The stacked stone wall forming some of the beds around the patio was toppled in several places; we lost several solar lights, a solar pump for the bird bath, a couple of tube feeders, a couple of humming bird feeders, a cast iron hummingbird bird bath, a tubular patio chair; and several of our plants look a lot worse for wear:  rare white butterfly bush, a 10-foot lantana, and a couple of plants put in last year by Kelly Thomas Landscaping (fortunately, the new Japanese maple was unharmed, saved by the the big pine which took the brunt of the force and had to be cut).  We continued raking, and otherwise removing debris from the patio, beds, and dry creek, calling it quits before lunch on Saturday. 130915_E_Tree_008 It sure looks different around our patio now, but we’ll have to treat it as an opportunity and start the rebuilding process!  One poignant memory I have with respect to the large tree is the “squirrel interstate.”  Recovering from a radical retro-pubic prostatectomy for cancer in December 2010 and January-February 2011, I spent countless hours watching squirrels play and run back and forth across a particularly long, horizontal limb on the big tree; it was also their escape route when they sensed danger.  Wayne would join me for several hours each day in the adjoining recliner, and we would laugh as the squirrels traversed the limb.  The tree may be gone, but the memories of it will live as I do…

After cleaning up the mess, I successfully loaded Windows 7 on the Apple MacBook Pro, and then loaded some software that I couldn’t “live” without:  Windows Live, Quicken, and Streets and Trips.  This allows me to carry only one computer now when we travel.  The process of loading Windows on an Apple computer appeared daunting at first, but after beginning, proved to be fairly simple, though time consuming.

So, all in all, and despite a tough week, we are truly blessed to have great neighbors, and to have been kept safe in the storm.  Until next week…

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