Sunday thru Sunday, November 3 thru 10—More Family, Early Christmas, and Readying for Our Winter Home


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Early Sunday morning was a repeat of early Saturday morning with Ridge awaking in the middle of the night.  However, this time, he came to bed with us and went to sleep.  I couldn’t sleep, and got up so as not to wake Kay and him—two short nights in a row for me!  After breakfast, we headed for the playground at Burns Park where we found a gym set with several slides.  He climbed every step at least a hundred times, and posed for pictures along the way.  He has so much energy that we tire just watching him. 

His mom called about mid-morning, and we arrived at their house just about the time they did.  After a little transition time, we departed for home, and on the way Kay decided we would clean out the storage building in the little time we would have between arriving home and dark.  Over the course of the last year, we have had significant moisture, and resulting mold and mildew.  Everything was unloaded from the building, and in the process I got stung on top joint of the ring finger of my right hand.  The pain, though short lived, was excruciating, and the finger began swelling immediately.  It has been years since I have been stung, and then this summer/fall, a stinger came my way 3 time, each causing swelling, etc.  We proceeded to finish unloading the building, and pressured washed it outside and in.  To try to rid the inside of mold, we cleaned every square inch with a mixture of water, tri-sodium phosphate, and bleach.  A power blower and fan assisted in the drying, and about half the stuff was put in a pile to give away or donate.  Any valuable gardening equipment was store in the garage for the winter, and the rest was repacked in the building.  Soaking we and tired, we called it quits for the day.

More cleaning and disposal followed on Monday.  Old used oil was taken to the Baxter County Road Department for disposal, and the other unneeded stuff was disposed of.  A bit more packing for winter took place, though we’re pretty much finished, except for loose ends.  Otherwise, it was an uneventful day. 

Tuesday, I picked up a new bicycle ordered the week before, a TREK FX 7.6, an early Christmas present.  This road bike is a better fit, and much lighter than the LL Bean Cruiser hybrid ridden the last year and a half.  We’re looking forward to a lot of bicycling this winter.  A haircut followed, and the stylist did a great job; sometimes it’s good, sometimes it’s great.  And then, it was off to Edward Jones to move a 401k account from post retirement consulting work.  Finally, I drove back home for some quiet time; these chores wear me out!  

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(NOTE:  Driving by Ackerman-Handicap Access, I noted Arkansas Game and Fish Commission dredging the Norfork River on the left descending bank.  It is on the inside of a bendway, and material will deposit there again in the future.  Each river is dynamic and has an energy level associated with it, and will move material from one place to another in an attempt to reach equilibrium.  It had made great progress in “healing” itself after the 2008 floods, but this new work, in combination with minimum flow, has disrupted that equilibrium and so material will be moved from upstream (scouring the channel on the OUTSIDE of endways and removing all life-supporting substrate), and depositing the material on the INSIDE of bendways downstream.  And the rocks being placed in the river for habitat will likely be covered with sand and gravel eaten away upstream as a result of this alluvial process.  So, what we’ll have after all this work is a narrow, more defined channel generally devoid of substrate, with faster and deeper flows upstream, and generally slower flows downstream.  If they had only asked…  There will be no more nor no less fish as the Norfork is for the most part a put and take fishery, and while the fish may be more active upstream, the fishing will be more difficult for waders, and easier to navigate water craft—perhaps this is what was desired!  And, we’re already seeing a plethora of drift boats and kayaks.  And our neighborhood has our road ’s remaining useful life cut short by loads of heavy equipment and rocks.  The way we did business in the US Army Corps of Engineers looks better and better. )

Back at home, a new and improved camera and lenses were delivered late in the afternoon—another early Christmas present—and the rest of Tuesday evening was spent reading instruction manuals.

Free at last, free at last—Wednesday’s calendar was void of any scheduled activities.  We continued packing for winter and I spent some time gathering manuals and instruction books on the internet in pdf to avoid carrying so much paperwork in the motorhome.  We have virtually all of our records, etc. digitized now, and stored on the computer and a backup external hard drive.  I gave the rest of our music collection, except for vinyl albums, to Wayne who enjoys the same eclectic taste we do, so no more cassette tapes and no more CDs.  We honored the day by having a late lunch in town at Chen’s Chinese buffet, our favorite restaurant.

Kay was busy Thursday with much of the day spent in town for “beauty” work (don’t even go there), shopping, etc.  Upon her return mid-afternoon, we drove to our GREAT dentist, Dr. John Lane, in Calico Rock for semi-annual checkups and cleaning.  Dr. Lane is the greatest dentist ever, and such a low key, personable fellow.  He and his wife, Lorie, share a lot of the same interests as Kay and I.

We were honored with a visit from HARP (Harper Ann Riley Painter), Jenny, and Brian on Friday for our early Thanksgiving weekend.  As we’ll be spending the Thanksgiving holiday in the Rio Grande Valley, it’s our final visit before the Christmas holidays, and Jenny wants us to prepare a traditional Thanksgiving meal.  For us, that means vegetarian cornbread dressing (stuffing), broccoli, mashed potatoes, lima beans, ham and pork shoulder in lieu of turkey, etc.  We usually try to prepare at least one of each person’s favorite foods.  HARP has not been feeling well for the last couple of days, so we were surprised at how active she was.  She “investigated” everything within arm’s reach, and climbed every piece of furniture in the place.  She would climb to a precarious position, then stand atop the item with no hands.  She loves to dance, and since many of the Dunnhill toys for Ridge and her are musical, she danced all afternoon and evening.  As dusk approached, we built a fire for marshmallows and s’mores and she had a blast outside, running all over the place—her parents don’t allow her to have sugar though, so she passed on the sweets.  All of our grandkids really enjoy being outside, and it’s fun for us, too, though it is getting more and more difficult to keep up with them as even the 2-year old and 15-month old can outrun us.

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Saturday, we were up early expecting HARP to be up so we could take care of her, allowing Jenny and Brian could sleep late.   But Jenny and HARP were up by 7 AM.  While the BABY and Disney Jr. television stations interested her, neither kept her attention for long as she continued to explore every nook and cranny, low and high.  She climbs more than any kid I’ve ever been around, though Kay says Karyn was a climber.  And she doesn’t seem to be afraid of heights.  We drove to Quarry Park where HARP played briefly on the slides and other gym equipment, but she was more interested in walking and exploring the grounds.  Back at home, Jenny and Brian built a great fire to generate coals for s’mores.  After it began burning without assistance, Jenny and I began preparations for an early Thanksgiving dinner.  She definitely has a better sense of taste than I do as to what seasonings a food items needs; both of us use a recipe as a guide, and make adjustments based on taste.  Dinner was great.  HARP got a bath after playing outside and in the dirt most of the afternoon.  Afterwards, Jenny and Brian stoked the fire and made s’mores while Kay held HARP.  Though busy and full, everyone had a great day.

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HARP woke up feeling a bit worse than the previous two days, but she was a real sport and didn’t whine.  A dose of Advil seemed to ease her discomfort.  We visited until about 11:30 AM, and Jenny, HARP, and Brian left for Memphis as the Advil wore off and her discomfort returned.  

Kay and I washed clothes, cleaned house, and finished packing for our winter down south in the Rio Grande Valley.  We finished just before bedtime.  Tomorrow, we leave for our winter place of residence, the Rio Grande Valley in Texas.

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