A Few Degrees South

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Cold morning
We don’t do this kind of stuff in Alabama in November. November is usually our secondary tornado season.

Yesterday was a day of completing a bunch of smaller projects and getting Fred ready to roll as we watched the weather. There was NOMADS items to complete, tire pressure to check, and the aunts business to handle. It was a beautiful fall day. People were wearing shorts and t-shirts. The trees were displaying their beautiful fall colors. Then starting about 5:00 and lasting most of the night, we had rain, wind, sleet, and a thirty degree drop in the temperature. This morning it was 27 degrees. We had 8:00 dental appointments and then headed back home to get Fred and head south. Unfortunately, the weather did not follow the forecast. It was still below 27 degrees at 10:00am and the projected sunshine was nowhere to be found.

Thawing slide toppers
Carefully thawing slide toppers with a hair dryer.

We did not expect the 4:00am sleet/ice to still be around. We thought it would be above freezing by 10am. NOT. The slide toppers were covered by a layer of ice. They did not want to roll up as the slides came in. Yep – we are from Alabama. We don’t do cold. We don’t do ice – especially this time of the year. Lesson learned. If there is ANY chance of frozen stuff, slides should be brought in the night before departure. Instead, our toppers got a little work with the hair dryer to melt the ice in the springs to allow the toppers to re-coil. We got really cold making it happen but everything worked. No damage done, and then we drove three hours to Gunter Hill COE campground in Montgomery, AL. It’s a campground we have been wanting to visit and IF the forecast is accurate we will be avoiding the 19-20 degree temperatures overnight tonight. It should be at or just slightly below freezing here at Gunter Hill. Fred should be happy, and tomorrow with sun and highs in the 50’s we should be able to do some hiking, so we will be happy. We had time for a quick walk through one loop of the campground after we arrived. It’s a beautiful place and we look forward to time to explore tomorrow. A mini-vacation! All is good.

Weather Watching

Sunday, November 10, 2019

We had heavy frost a few mornings this week
We had heavy frost a few mornings this week

First, please accept our apology for the delay in posting last week’s blog. It was there, but never published. Oops. We will try to do better.

As we review this past week, there was really not much excitement. We worked hard and accomplished a lot but….not nearly as much fun or nearly as interesting as travel mode. Glad we will be back in that mode soon. We have really enjoyed being in our home church for three weeks in a row. Such a great group of loving Christians who live their love of Jesus every day!

Last Monday we played catch-up after having the family here. There was laundry, cleaning, and book work to do. Tuesday was dedicated to the bush hog and all that work was completed in one day, a real accomplishment. Now the pastures should be fine until spring. Anne did some more sorting and packing in the house while Max spent the day on the tractor. Wednesday the dumpster was picked up. We were glad to see it leaving. So glad we no longer have to worry about Jean’s storage unit or dividing up Juno’s things. So thankful for the wonderful help from our family. Thursday was errand day, and it took most of the day. There is always shopping to do when we are back in Alabama because we really don’t shop except for groceries when we are traveling. It’s expensive when we get back to Alabama and stay in one place long enough for packages to arrive. Fed Ex came four days in a row. And certain vendors are glad to learn we are still alive. Our favorite Publix grocery store is also glad we have returned. So we continue to work at Aunt Helen’s and our house and on FRED.

Today we are watching the weather very closely. We really don’t want to winterize FRED for one night so we may make a quick trip south to avoid 19-22 degree weather Tuesday. We keep thinking the forecast will moderate but don’t want to take chances either. Oh well, we have no particular schedule right now so a little road trip could break up our work schedule. Not the worst think that could happen. We may be blogging from points south by mid week. Hope you have a great week. Stay safe!

Another Week In Review

(Monday, November 6, 2019 – Just noticed we forgot to publish this on Saturday.)

Saturday, November 2, 2019

November entered with a chill.
November entered with a chill.

Today was a beautiful Alabama fall day. It has been just plain cold this week. The past two days the lows have been 28 and 30. Tonight the low is predicted to be 35 and we will warm up the rest of the coming week. We had lots of rain early in the week and our drought is officially broken. That’s a good thing, but it was a little too much rain too fast and then it was abnormally cold. The coming week should return to a more normal Alabama fall.

Last Sunday afternoon, Max’s sister Marsha arrived as we prepared to spend a week working on LOL stuff. Later in the day Max’s brother Randy and sister-in-law Debra arrived. It was great to visit with family again. Monday morning we began our week’s work. The first task was to empty Aunt Jean’s storage unit. There was just no reason to continue to pay rent since she is not going to ever return to assisted living. Jean’s only other relative, a niece, Lois, meet us in Trussville to start the monumental task. There were lots of memories, laughing, and a few tears shed throughout the day as we decided what each person wanted to have as a remembrance. Doing this task before her death in some ways was a little easier. We shared fun stories of our times with Jean as we decided what we wanted to donate to our local charity and what items we just couldn’t part with. By mid afternoon we were on the way to Hope House with donations and Lois was on the way home with her items. Max and Randy had to return Tuesday morning to pick up the final few items and officially close our account with the storage facility.

The reminder of the week was spent on the mountain emptying Aunt Helen’s and our basement of Max’s mom’s items. Thursday, Anne went to Tuscaloosa to close on the sale of her mom’s house. Another bitter sweet day. Otherwise, the five of us spent an exhausting but good week visiting and sharing more memories while emptying the two basements. There were several more trips to Hope House with goodies we hope their clients can use and when they headed home today, Randy and Marsha had their vehicles loaded with precious treasures.

We are so very thankful for our family. We are all ready for some rest but it was good week.

Week Two Back in Alabama

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Today ended another busy week trying to get things taken care of here in Alabama. Of course on Sunday we went back to our home church, Lester Memorial. It’s always good to be back to worship at Lester and be with our Sunday school class afterwards. The aunts were glad to see us when we went for a visit after church. They again had no complaints and had nothing but good things to say about their caregivers.

Sumatanga signWe contacted our friends Rita and Dave Sunday afternoon to arrange to go to Camp Sumatanga for a quick visit Monday morning. Rita and Dave are doing a great job leading the NOMADS team working at the camp. It was great to have a few minutes to thank the team for coming to Alabama and working at our camp. We have worked with several of the team members on other projects so it was of course great to see those guys again. While at camp we stopped by the office and visited with Daphne, the interim director. We went back home by way of Oneonta and stopped by our local produce stand and they had a few small watermelons that had been picked Saturday. So… yes, we got one more last melon. Such a treat to be having good melons this late in the year. Tuesday and Wednesday, we stayed at home and worked on various business items for the LOL’s and for us. We also started working on cleaning Fred. Front cap is clean and the back cap is washed and waxed. Got to get the sides done before we get back on the road. Fred has been in lots of rain and picked up lots of road grime since we last gave him a good wash. Thursday we made a play day and went to Huntsville for some shopping. Friday and Saturday have be total wash out rain days so we have again been working at home. We still have lots to do at our house.

Today was the Covered Bridge Festival in Oneonta and the annual Pancake breakfast for the Blount County Children’s Center. Unfortunately, the rain meant most of the outside activities were called off but we enjoyed visiting with old friends and fellow employees from Max’s years at the court house and of course some great pancakes. It’s been a good week.  Hope your week has been good too.

Goodbye To Wood Manor

Friday, October 18, 2019

We have had a very busy week. It it may not be very interesting to anyone else but we will give you a quick run down of our week. Beginning on Monday, we headed to the nursing home to check on the LOLs. They had a few problems our last week in Sebewaing. We received multiple calls for various incidents, so we had to go see them and check on things for ourselves. Unfortunately, Helen and Jean are declining. The dementia is taking its toll. They both did still know us so we count that as a blessing. It’s now difficult to have a conversation with them because they seem to change the subject and we can’t figure out where they are coming from. Also, such a blessing is that they for the most part seem happy. Monday we also picked up our mail, went to the grocery store, and returned home to trudge through the mail and do laundry.

Tuesday was time for Anne to have a dental checkup, then back to Oneonta for more errands, a hair cut for Max while Anne went to the court house to pay Fred’s taxes and get his tag and registration for another year. While there she also paid the property taxes because we will be working the Florida Disaster Rebuild in December when those are due. Went home with a real dent in the bank account. Then to the library to renew our library card so we can continue downloading the books we enjoy listening to on long travel days. We were excited to drive by the produce stand and find they still had some Blount County watermelons. And they are still GOOD! According the ladies at the stand it will probably be the last one we get. They have picked the last ones. We are savoring this last one.

Wednesday morning we pulled out in Fred headed to Tuscaloosa. We have a contract on Anne’s mom’s house and we went to finish the job of emptying the house. We have been working in Tuscaloosa when ever we weren’t on a project for the past year. Anne’s brothers spent last weekend, while we were driving back from Michigan, in Tuscaloosa working at the house. That work is greatly appreciated. We spent Wednesday through Friday making the final donations and cleaning the house. We took a break Thursday night and went to Sam’s to pick up a few things. When we walked out of the store we saw one of the most beautiful sunsets we have ever experienced. Regrettably, taking a picture in the parking lot was not an ideal location but we will share what we have.Thursday night sunset

As of this afternoon Wood Manor is ready for the new owners. Now we hold our breath, praying nothing goes wrong between now and the Oct 31 closing. It was sad for Anne, leaving Tuscaloosa this time. We said goodbye to the neighbors. They were always so good to Anne when she lived there and to Mama Ruby and Daddy Dwight. But, it’s time for someone else to enjoy the beautiful home Daddy Dwight built for the family. And time for us to move on.

FRED says goodbye to Wood Manor
FRED says goodbye to Wood Manor

“NOMADS Rolling Down The Road Again”

Goodbye to Lake Huron
Goodbye to Lake Huron

Sunday, October 13, 2019

After three weeks we finally adjusted to the nightly trains and Anne slept right through all the commotion Thursday (our last night) night. It was probably because she was so tired. Anyway, we were up by 6:30 Friday morning so we go begin saying good bye to our team. First on the road at 7:00 was Hilary and Michael. They were headed home and had a long drive through what could be some bad weather. Suzanne was next out about 8:00 and then it was Jenny and Tom who changed their travel plans because of the early snow storms coming across Colorado. Bruce and Jackie left a short time later. We left next headed south, leaving Reid doing some work and cleaning on his RV before his short drive back home. We really enjoyed working with this team and are praying for safe travels for them all and all the other NOMADS traveling this weekend.

We saw some really nice fall color on the drive from Sebewaing to I-75 in Saginaw. Much prettier than the foliage a few miles north where we were working.

The Saturn rocket in the sunrise reminded us we were back in Alabama
The Saturn rocket in the sunrise reminded us we were back in Alabama.

We drove about 4 hours to a rest area on I-75 near Bowling Green, Ohio,  Friday afternoon. It was a fairly large rest area next to a busy interstate but we still slept pretty well. Saturday we drove 9 hours and made is just inside the Alabama state line and spent the night at the welcome center. It was a very quiet and restful night before we drove on home this morning. This afternoon we have been opening up our and Aunt Helen’s house and getting organized again. Tomorrow morning we will be at the nursing home checking on the ladies. We will be very busy during our time at home the next few weeks. Hope you all had a great weekend.

Completed Our Work At Bay Shore Camp

Thursday, October 10, 2019

We finished the Sebewaing project with another day of glorious weather. Perfect for working outside, and we had a lot of outside work today.

Reid started our day with devotion. He shared an excerpt from “This Far By Faith” by Faith Fowler an intercity Detroit pastor. Through her leadership, impoverished urban areas are being transformed. Reid has been involved in building some tiny homes for the homeless as part of the ministry there.

Today we all worked very hard to get as much done as possible for Bay Shore Camp. We have all grown to love the staff here and appreciate their passion for ministry. There are so many young people who come to summer camps and have their first introduction to a life with Christ while here. It is joy to be a small part of this ministry. We are blessed to be a blessing.

So how was our little cottage at the end of our last day in this beautiful place? The siding on both side walls is complete. The siding on the front of the cottage is complete (except the little bit at the peak) and we even got the French door lock installed today. The siding on the back is complete to the level of the special trim for the eave. Max and Tom and Hilary got that area ready and David, the facilities manager, plans to have some of his guys complete that area soon. Inside, the bedroom is painted. The walls need a second coat of paint but the room looks good. The living room and kitchen walls have been primed. The bathroom drywall has been completed and needs a final light sanding and then primer and paint. The cottage is not complete but the camp is very pleased with the amount of work we completed. They feel that with all we have done, they can finish it up themselves. We will be anxiously awaiting pictures of the completed project.

The team went out to dinner tonight at the Lamplighter and Jeff and his wife Cindy joined us. It was another wonderful time of fellowship and sharing. We said our goodbyes and thank yous to Jeff and Cindy and hope we can return here sometime to work with them again. We will wait and say our goodbyes to the team tomorrow. Put it off as long as possible. This has been a wonderful team. Tomorrow we all head back south.

The team at the end of the project
The team at the end of the project