The Longdogs

The Longdogs
Harley takes his role as navigator seriously!

Summer Day Camp - Courtesy of Bass Pro

Thursday afternoon we headed across San Antonio to take the kids on an outdoor adventure.  It was an outdoor adventure held indoors.  I actually saw an advertisement for Bass Pro's Summer Day Camp for kids on a bill board as I was driving back from Florida earlier in the month.  Events may differ from store to store but here in San Antonio, they offer camp events Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday.

We missed the craft making event but the kids had the opportunity to earn a number of badges.  When they first arrived, they each got a camping lanyard to wear.  Then prior to each badge program, they received a little workbook and a pencil.

A short video narrated by a college student aged host was presented.  They were able to answer questions in the book as they watched the video.

The camp host also asked questions as he talked to the kids.

Some of the badges also required that we do a little scavenger hunt in the hunting/fishing area of the store.

Then, the kids got to participate in the more hands-on action.  First, there was archery.  Cameron had no problems handling the bow.  The target was a little more elusive although he did manage to hit an iron javelina next to the target.  lol.

Morgan was having a little more trouble with pulling back on the arrow hard enough to get a shot off.

No problem.  The instructor was there to help.  She held the bow steady so Morgan could put all her effort into pulling back the bowstring.  No one was harmed in this endeavor and the kids had a great time.

Then it was off to the gun range.  The range is an inflatable structure rigged up for shooting BB guns.  Cameron had a pretty good handle on this activity as this wasn't his first time with a BB gun.

It was Morgan's first time though and after this pose, she got some hands on help from her Dad.

Both of the kids were pretty pleased with their target shots.

After all the camp activities were completed, the kids also got to ride on an unusual carousel.  No horses but lots of animals to ride on.

Last stop was the shooting gallery.  Sorry I didn't get a photo of the target but it was just like a shooting booth at the fair with ducks in rows.  These bows had arrows with bulbs on them to knowck of the target.

Some were more hung out to dry than others after this all afternoon event.

If you have kids or grandkids, check out your local Bass Pro Shop.  The day camps are going on until 7 July.  It was a great free event and the kids had a ball.  Thanks Bass Pro.

The Bussey Armadillo

Our days have been much the same lately, nothing exciting, but pleasant enough.  Steve and the grandkids often take off to the park right after breakfast to take advantage of the cooler weather (mid 80s) before the heat of the afternoon hits (100s all this week).  One morning Steve and Dave installed electrical hookups on the RAV so it could legally haul a small trailer.  Dave doesn't move easily until later in the morning so it ended up being a rather hot install.  Lunch is next in order.  Steve and the grandkids are always ready to eat, lol.  Sometimes swimming is on the agenda for the afternoon.  Our neighbors have a very large above ground pool which they have invited us to use whenever we like.....the kids definitely "like" often.  We are also still putting away things at Steve and Helen's new house so that occupies an hour or two or three each day.  The kids have their own rooms which are already set up and have turned their walk-in closets into clubhouses so they have plenty to keep them busy while Steve and I work away.

On this particular Saturday, we decided to make a trip to Bussey's Flea Market for a walk around.  The kids like the giant armadillo out front. was hot.  We didn't get there until about 1:30 and some of the vendors were beginning to pack up because of the heat and smaller crowds.

We spent an hour or so browsing but the only thing we ended up buying was a phone accessories kit for Steve's new phone.

Speaking of phones, for those of you looking at getting a new Iphone, let me tell you about Steve's experience with Verizon last week.  We stopped at Verizon because he was having a lot of trouble with his existing flip phone shutting off.  Yes, even though we all like new techie things, we all still have flip phones.  He was pretty sure he wanted an Iphone this time as he likes the way his Ipod works and they would be very similar.  He decided that he didn't really want the newest Iphone 5 because he just didn't need it but the Iphone 4S looked really good.  He and the salesperson talked about the functions, how it worked, the camera, etc.  It was $99 so he said he'd like that.  Then the salesman said they had a special deal going where you got $99 worth of accessories so the phone was basically free.  So he said he wanted the black one.  Later that evening when he had already loaded up his contacts and set up a bunch of other things, he realized that it was an Iphone 4 not a 4S.   Hmmm, at no time did the salesman mention the 4 nor was there one on display.  So the next morning, he was there when they opened.  They hemmed and hawed around, the manager finally came over.  They finally decided that they could take the 4 back without a restocking charge (really....since you tried to pull a fast one on the customer) but he wouldn't get the accessories.  So, he went to Best Buy to buy a cover for the 4S and we got the rest of the "assessory kit" new at the flea market for $10.  Watch these cellphone companies....they are definitely sharks.  The "new every two" plan no longer exists....oh, yes....there is a $30 upcharge every time you get a new phone...that is not for the phone, it is just to "add" the phone.

Enough said.....I think it's time for a dip in the pool, maybe lunch first though.  See you later.

Escape from Brownwood, the Kids Are Coming

Saturday morning we hit the highway again headed towards Brownwood Tx to pick up the grandkids for six weeks.  This time we didn't have to leave until just before 0800.  We made a quick stop on the way hoping to have Steve's 2013 Tundra truck inspected for Texas since he has Texas plates but this is the first time the truck has been in the state.  They didn't like the film he has on the headlights to protect them so we moved right on.  Halfway to Brownwood, we made a stop at the Starbucks in Marble Falls to get some caffeine.  The GPS decided not to work which doesn't make a difference as far as the trip since we know the road well but it really helps to find our way to the kids' mother's house once we get there.  We managed to get Helen on the phone and she gave me the appropriate turns on the backroads from mapquest so we arrived a bit early and killed about 15 minutes before we picked them up at noon.  Naturally they hadn't had lunch so we drove until we got to the Texas Stop Sign (Dairy Queen) in San Saba.  Did you know that San Saba is the Pecan Capitol of the World????

By the time we got to Blanco, we needed gas and everyone was ready for a stretch so we stopped at the Courthouse where they were having a little market day.

Most small towns in Texas have really great courthouses and Brownwood is no exception.

We checked the booths as we walked around the courthouse square.  Interesting but nothing we couldn't live without and we really just needed the break from the road.

I think most of the booths were about ready to call it a day anyway.

Back home in San Antonio in time to hit another inspection place for a sticker.  This place paid no attention to the film on the headlights but they were concerned about the tint strip across the top of the tall in no way comes anywhere close to obstructing your view but there is an imaginary line that they are supposed to follow so Steve borrowed a razor blade and scraped it off. Another quick stop at Silver's Feed Store to pick up the special allergy food for the longdogs.  We were five minutes after closing but they opened up for us as the register hadn't been closed out yet. Lucky longdogs as the cupboard was bare.  Then home in time to fix dinner....not too hard since I put a crockpot full of boneless barbeque ribs on before we left.

Hitting the Highway Again

Short post for a very, very long day.  We left Lynn Haven Florida at an hour when people should be tucked in bed fast asleep.  It was dark out, pitch black, O-dark-thirty by my watch....actually 5:30AM.  We headed northwest across country towards I-10.  In addition to dark, we had plenty of fog.  The humidity was thick enough to cut with a knife.

By the time we hit Alabama, the sun was out and we were rolling right along.

Traffic was good through Mobile and on through Mississippi.  In Louisiana, we stopped at the Rest Area near the John C. Stennis Space Center.  It is a great rest area.  It has some great pull through places for an RV to stop for a nice rest on the far side of the rest area but, unfortunately, you can't stop overnight.  I've never had a chance to stop and take one of the tours but it sounds interesting if you pass through here.  I have to say that all the rest areas across Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana on I-1- are beautiful and have security.

We stopped for gas and picked up food along the way but this wasn't a pleasure jaunt.  It was a very long day.  We arrived back in San Antonio at about 9:15 PM.  Definitely not a relaxing RV trip but we needed to get back so we could head out again early Saturday morning.

A View of the Beach, Panama City Beach

To say that our time back in Florida was busy would be a real understatement.  Most of our time was spent working on final touches to the house and a few visits with friends of Steve and Helen.  I hated the thought of leaving without at least one view of the beach since I don't know when I will be back in Florida again.  Wednesday, Steve had an appointment for a deep tissue massage to work out some of the knots so I dropped him off and drove up the road to Pier Park.  If you haven't been there, Pier Park is a big multi-use shopping venue that includes the big box type store furthest from the beach working towards more beachy stores near the shore.  This is looking out toward the  gulf.

And looking back towards Pier Park.

Ah, the beach!  It was windy, humid, and hot but a little better closer to the water.  I thought I might melt walking around the rest of Pier Park.

The sand is beautiful, soft, and very white.  It was a one red flag day so people were in the water but very close to the shore.

There were numerous parachute riders out in the water being towed down the beach.  This part of the beach was in front of a big hotel so you can see it is much more crowded than right next store.

There is a big pier that people fish from.  I didn't have time or feel like paying to walk out there though.

This fountain was near Starbucks where I stopped for a cold drink while walking around the stores.

It's a nice place to visit and I'm glad I got one more chance to see it.

Painting the Town Panama Redd

The days are passing by in a blur.  We had to get a couple more pieces of baseboard, paint them up, and then cut and fit them before we finally finished all the baseboards on Saturday.  Helen's a caulking whiz so she handled the final finish work.  They look great.  While she was at work, Steve painted the front porch and I painted all the wrought iron railing.  It seems like we were doing all kinds of other small projects in between too.

Saturday saw us up early (way too early for me) to hold the last garage sale.  Sales weren't exactly brisk but, on the upside, it didn't rain and we did move a number of items.  When noon rolled around, we loaded up the leftovers and dropped them off at Goodwill.  They needed to go and putting them back in the garage would have just been a delaying tactic. 

We made a mad dash to tidy up the whole house in preparation for an open house from 1 to 4 pm.  That turned out to be a fizzle but again, on the upside, it meant that we got a ton of jobs finished up in a hurry.  Guess no one was reading Craigslist.

Saturday night, we were supposed to meet a diverse group of the kids' friends at Patches Pub to celebrate Helen completing her PhD.  It's a fun place close to the beach.  Parking was a little tight but we found a place down the road.  They had a fantastic band, Panama Redd, an acoustic classic rock band based in Panama City, Florida. The band gets its name from Robin Heaths red hair and the fact that she is multiple generation Bay county native. Robin had a powerful voice that was great no matter what she sang.  

If you are in the Panama City Florida area and get a chance to hear Panama Redd, be sure you do.  

Sunday, we finally had a down day to relax.  We hit the spa for a relaxing pedicure.  Then we headed east for "linner", (combination lunch and dinner :) ) at Shan Kishi in Panama City Beach.  It is a Japanese fusion and hibachi restaurant, very good.  Finally we stopped to have some frozen yogurt at Menchies on our way home.  Chocolate banana and dulce de leche were fantastic.  

Fun and great company, what more can you ask for?

Tuesday through Thursday

The new inflatable bed is working just great so I get a good night's sleep to tackle the next day.  We each have a lawn chair to sit in at the end of the day and even their old ginormous TV to watch.  I brought my laptop along and my Kindle so I am set for any free time.

We've been busy each day since arrival working on the kids house here in Florida.  Helen had gotten a lot done while Steve was in San Antonio handling things.  That was a really nice surprise.  First thing to tackle back here was the grass.  The seed heads were waving high although the grass itself wasn't that long.  It's a fairly big yard too.  I started washing some windows and screens as well as cleaning up spots with a magic eraser.  Even though most of the rooms have been repainted, having movers come in to pack up always leaves clean-up.  I also did a bunch of paint touch up.  Just little dabs here and there that needed cleaning up.

Wednesday the master bedroom and the office/bonus room had new carpeting installed.  It looks great and really changes the look of things.  So yesterday, Steve and I spent the entire day cutting, piecing, and installing baseboard.  We completed the master bedroom, the laundry area, the master closet, and are still working on the office/bonus room.  Helen had painted all the baseboard while Steve was gone which helped a lot.  They have an enormous 4 shelf high shoe rack running the length of the master closet.  I painted all the boards and blocks for it in the office the day before they came to do the new carpet.  Worked out really well as I wasn't outside in the heat not to mention the rain.  That is all back in place now too.  Today we will finish the baseboard in the office/bonus room.  I think we are going to need at least one more piece.  Then we have the caulking to do.

Got to run.  Steve is back with coffee.

On the Road Again

After a couple of days of trying to bring some order out of the mess at the new house, Steve and I hit the road for Florida.  No, not in the RV, just in the RAV5.  Steve is a great traveling companion and it is fun to have a travel partner anytime.  We left at 5:45 AM (not my idea you can bet) and arrived in Panama City at about 7:00 PM.

I think I forgot to mention that I haven't been able to find my camera since I was at the Memorial Day party.  Searched my house high and low without any luck so I didn't get any pictures until I remembered that Steve's big camera was in the back seat.  So we were already heading into Mobile when I got a few photos.

Ah yes, Florida is not far down the road now.

Mobile has some interesting buildings near the highway.

Is there is light at the end of the tunnel?

Yes, I do believe there is.  We just have to get under the river to the other side.

 The end is in sight.  Only a few hours more to Panama City.  Thank heavens we just have to make the panhandle and not the middle of the state.

That's right.  Rain ahead.

All in all, we had a good trip, stopped at some nice rest areas, got gas a couple of times, and got some barbeque at The Shedd in Ocean Springs, MS.  We got to use the HOV lane in Houston which saved us a long wait in traffic.  We saw a couple of accidents holding up traffic on the west bound lanes.  We had one of those accidents occur right in front of us.  An SUV either had a blowout or got hit by another car's blowout and swerved and skidded across eastbound lanes, then the median, and rolled over onto it's side in front of three lanes of west bound traffic.  By some miracle, all three lanes of westbound traffic managed to stop before hitting the SUV.  If they had their seatbelts on, they were probably shaken but okay.

DIL pulled into their driveway right ahead of us so timing was great.  So here we are in Florida....almost totally empty house.  We each have a lawn chair.  There is a huge very old TV.  The washer, dryer, and fridge are selling with the house so we have them along with the stove, microwave and oven.  Steve and Helen have some camping pads to sleep on.  I brought along an inflatable mattress.  We used a bike pump to pump it up.  And, while unloading the car, Steve found my camera down between the front seats.  I was a happy camper.

About two hours after I went to bed, I woke up on a deflated mattress on the wood floor.  Scrambling to get up off the floor to go to the bathroom was not a pretty sight. There won't be a picture of that.  Trying to get back to sleep on the floor was not any prettier. I was not a happy camper.  Good thing I had a glass of wine for dinner and two Tylenol PMs before bed so I managed to get back to sleep.

Today I painted woodwork and cleaned windows and screens.  Helen had to go into work and Steve did the yard and installed a new light fixture.   Tonight I went to Walmart and bought a new inflatable bed and a pump that plugs into the wall.  I think I'll go with the two Tylenol PMs again.

Somebody please come and buy this nice renovated house next week.

Moving Right Along

My posting has been a little erratic lately since I've been busy trying to help my son and daughter-in-law with their move.  They are moving to San Antonio but it is kind of a drawn out process.  First, we have a new Dr. in the house.  Helen finished her PhD.   Yay!   Lots of hard work there but it is done and she did it in less than normal time while working a full time job and keeping up her triathlon training.  She is definitely the energizer bunny and such a smart and sweet DIL.  Second, they have the house in San Antonio now so I was helping out by cleaning the kitchen cupboards and some other things before Steve got back to San Antonio.  They had their household goods packed up about two weeks ago in Florida.  Steve came west early because he had the kids for the weekend before the movers were to deliver here.  We worked on some last minute updates to the new house like caulking and painting in between the kids visit and the furniture delivery.  I can't say too much because Helen doesn't know all about it yet.  lol.

Then we had the household goods delivery.  OMG, if you have never lived through household goods shipment, you have never lived.  One company in Panama City packed up the household goods.  Then a driver from another company loaded it up in his truck.  Finally, it took over a week and a half for it to be delivered to San Antonio.  It was actually delivered by another driver because the first one got sent on another job.  So the second driver brings it to the house and another company's helpers come to help him unload this.  Sounds really convoluted doesn't it?  And why you might ask?  Well, Congress wants to support small business.  Now, don't get me wrong.....I support small business too.  But when everyone gets a piece of the pie, the owner of the pie (the household goods) is left to try and prove just who out of this convoluted process is responsible for damaging the goods or the property while they were loading the goods.

On the Florida end of the pickup, they managed to scratch the brand new tiles and tear out the new transitions strips between the new tile and the wood floors. We were much luckier at this end because the driver padded the entrance door frames as well as the door frames into the other rooms.  He also padded the banisters going upstairs and rolled out a runway for the carpet going through the downstairs rooms and up the stairs.  So that was a good start to the day.  They were also very careful bringing all the boxes and furniture in.  Even the driver and helpers at this end were really frustrated by the job of marking the items that was done on the other end.  They couldn't tell what rooms things belonged in because they were so poorly identified.  The driver actually called his company and the other company to let them know how bad it was.

We were all exhausted by the time boxes were marked off the list, unpacked and boxes hauled out.  I really hated when my DH insisted on everything being unpacked when we were active duty military and my son wanted most of it unpacked too because these days it is so hard to get rid of all the boxes and packing after the movers leave. And you always need to make them put the beds together and the mirrors on the dressers or you will never see the screws again.  I can remember moves when we slept on the mattresses on the floor because the movers could not find any of the screws to put anything together.

As I said, we were fortunate with the crew in San Antonio.  They worked hard and they both cared about what they were doing and knew how to do it well.  We had lots of bottled water available and brought in pizzas for lunch for everyone.  The driver told us he was going to go back to only doing moves for corporations.  When a corporation hires a move, the same crew packs it up, drives it directly to the new location, and unpacks it.  There is no confusion about who was responsible for damage.  He enjoys helping military families but the breaking up of the move to give everyone a piece of the pie is just too stressful on everyone.

Before I retired, I was a contracting officer supervisor for the Air Force so I know about all those laws and rules passed by Congress that we were required to abide by when awarding contracts to businesses.  DoD is the easiest target for Congress to use to enforce their special programs.  I believe in supporting small business too but it shouldn't be on the backs of military families when they are already stressed by uprooting families and moving.  Tearing down one household, moving, and setting up a new household is a stressful and tiring business.  It's good when family can help.  We began the task of putting things away.  That is gonna take some time.  Enough said.

And then we were off to Florida to get that house sold......