Getting Ready to Head South

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Today was another mostly gray day. So much for the sun of yesterday. Our high today was 38 with cold north wind. It’s only 8:00pm now and WeatherBug says its already 30 with a wind chill of 23. We have had lows at or below freezing for four days and the forecast is for that to continue for the next 10 days. That is really unusual for this part of Alabama. Now I know we aren’t cold as compared to Wisconsin and Minnesota, but we are not accustomed to prolonged below freezing temperatures. It is not expected get above freezing from Sunday until Tuesday. We need to find warmer weather.

Staging area for loading outToday we worked on packing out FRED. Yes, we are going south! We use the guest bedroom bed as a staging area for all the stuff that needs to be loaded. We started today, of course, with our exercise, then multiple loads of laundry. Before long the staging area was full and we started making trips to FRED. We got in a lot of steps today. We haven’t decided when we are heading south. We had planned to leave January 1, but are watching the forecast. We may leave sooner. They keep throwing out that “S word” that is not a nice word around here. We have had snow once this winter and that is enough.

Max also took time today to clean the gutters. So many trees, which we love. But they make for so many leaves. This time of year, every year, we know we need to get some of the trees taken down. Some have gotten too large and too close to the house. Anyone know of someone in the area that does a good job with that?

That’s about it around here today. Praying for our northern friends during this dangerous cold weather. Also, we would as you to remember our friend’s son who deployed yesterday with the Air Force.

Back To Pine Mountain

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Another cold morning today but the sun was bright. It was 31 by our thermometer in Tuscaloosa. We were up at 6:00 so we could pack up the remaining items on the counters. There really wasn’t much to do since we had only been gone 2 days, but there are always some last minute items and the checklist is the same whether out 2 days or 2 months. We just seem to get more stuff out the longer we stay in one place. We were on the road back to Pine Mountain by way of Birmingham at 7:15. We didn’t want to leave any earlier because we wanted to avoid morning traffic in Birmingham. Traffic was very light in Tuscaloosa, I-59 and in Birmingham. One of the easiest Tuscaloosa drives we have had in a long time.

After getting FRED parked, leveled and secure, we had an excellent ham and cheese omelet. We came home early because Max had a doctor appointment this afternoon. We were stopped at a red light en route and looked across the way and saw a large black SUV with a white and red tag on the front reading “COVERT”. We both read the tag, thought for a moment, looked at each other and just started laughing. We didn’t see the side of the car but wondered if there was a sign stating “invisible.” We both agreed that our nephew would have gotten a good chuckle out of that tag.

Before the appointment we went by Aunt Jean’s to inventory her supplies and visit a little. She has a cough again. They are giving her some of her previous cough syrup and hopefully that will help. Jean was low on lots of supplies so we did all the shopping so she would have a good supply before we leave. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find any red worms for Newdle. We went to the fourth store before getting the worms. There are now in our refrigerator and we will take them back to Trussville before we leave. Oh well, Newdle is worth it. BTW, we bought two cartons of worms this time. Anyway, no problems for Max at the dentist, we stopped to visit with Max’s Mom and Aunt Helen and then it was home for a very late lunch. Guess it was probably “lupper”. Got a lot done today. Tomorrow we will be working to load out FRED. The current weather predictions look nasty for next Monday, our planned travel day. We have decided we may head a little further south a day or two early. We have no intentions of driving FRED in icy conditions. Still several days for the forecast to change. Guess we will be watching the weather like we did when Max was still working. Hope everyone enjoys this “short” week. Sure did enjoy our family time this year.

Merry Christmas in Tuscaloosa

Monday, December 25, 2017 – Christmas Day

We finally had sunshine this morning. It was cold, 30 degrees when we got up, but quickly warmed up a bit when the sun came out. It was a beautiful Christmas Day. You know you have been having a lot of gray days when everyone comments on the sun.

Anne's Family ChristmasWe started the day early, preparing for our big Christmas feast. Anne actually started by mopping the kitchen at 6:00am. Allowing a little time for the floor to dry and for us to have some Christmas Morning tea (“Christmas Morning”, actual name of tea), we then began meal preparation. We also decided to to a little more decorating before Mama Ruby returned. It was a busy day of cooking, cleaning, and visiting with family. We had 20 present for dinner and the only ones not able to be here this year was our Marine Joseph and his beautiful wife and 3 children. They are stationed in Pennsylvania and couldn’t make the long trip back to Alabama this year. They were here to see Mama Ruby in July when they returned from Okinawa. We missed them but so appreciate their service to our country. Before we had our feast we all joined hands and shared something that we are thankful for. After our Christmas meal we took some family pictures and then spent the rest of the afternoon just enjoying our family time. Mama Ruby had a wonderful though tiring day.

We thank God for the blessing of this family day, but more importantly we thank him for his Son Jesus, whose birth we celebrated today. We wish you all a very Merry Christmas!

Sunset on FRED 2's first Christmas
Sunset on FRED 2’s first Christmas

Christmas Eve in Tuscaloosa

Sunday, December 24, 2017 – Christmas Eve

We were up at 6:00 this morning and it was still cloudy, with misting rain at times. Temperature was 43. It never really warmed up and was a gray, cloudy, windy day with intermittent rain. So tired of gray days!

Christmas Eve DeerBut there are blessings on gray days too. Looked out and we had a beautiful doe bedded down in the pine straw just off our bedroom deck, down by the pond. She was still there when we left for Tuscaloosa. So pretty. Last night coming home from Aunt Helen’s we saw a really big buck. He had the largest rack we have seen in a long time. Hope he survives hunting season.

We had a quick breakfast with Jennifer and David and got ready to roll. Jennifer was not feeling well this morning, cold type symptoms, so say a prayer for her. We said our goodbyes and we all left about 8:15. Two GrinchesOn the road again!!! Only a short trip but we are in FRED. We had an uneventful drive to Tuscaloosa and are mooch camping in Mom’s driveway for the next two nights. Nancy was already at Mama Ruby’s house when we arrived. We started helping get things ready for tomorrow. We got some Christmas decorations out and worked on getting some Christmas spirit in various rooms of the house. Also started on some of the food preparations for tomorrow. We left the house about 3:30 for the 4:00 pm Christmas Eve service at Tuscaloosa First United Methodist. It was a wonderful service and the sanctuary was packed. We sang carols, listened to the choir, and then a meditation by the pastor, had communion and closed with a candle light service. Really nice service.

Afterwords we went back to Mama Ruby’s house, prepared dinner then returned Mama Ruby to to the assisted living. Tomorrow will be a busy day.