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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Veterans Hospital, Des Moines, IA

Today, Oct 24th, is the day I have been dreading for six months, but more on that later.

We arrived at Griff’s Valley View RV Park last Monday, Oct 17th, and got settled in for our short stay. We immediately renewed an acquaintance from our previous stays, John Evans. Now John had quite a scar this past summer with an infection he had in the esophagus. The doctors do not know what caused the infection or can they give it a name, but with Someone watching over him from above and an abundant of prayers down here John has recovered to be able to continue his lifestyle. I know his wife Kathy made many a trip from the campground to the hospital and indeed stayed at the hospital at times when no one could predict which way John’s illness would go. We are grateful he is getting better and continues to improve each day.

We also had a great visit with Dick & Judy Wichael and Richard & Rose James, we spent the better part of Tuesday afternoon in Dick & Judy’s camper visiting and catching up on what has happened over the summer. This is what full timing is all about, getting together with friends you meet on the road and enjoying the good life on the road. Earlier in the day we took care of dental appointments, all is well for both of us.

Wednesday, Oct 19th, Sarah had her annual physical, everything was normal on her tests so she is good for another year. We had lunch with Norma Cairo, the better half of a couple I have known for over forty years. Sarah and Norma had to hit the local beauty supply store to stock up on whatever it is they stock up on. That night we had dinner with Norma and the other half of the better half, Orren,  which I believe to halves make a whole. We went to Prairie Meadows, the local casino and horse track. Wednesdays is the night of lower priced prime rib, although the cut and the quality is not lowered. We had a great time and a very good meal. We do have fun when we get together. Next time we are together I need a photo of the two of them. We hope to see them sometime this winter in AZ.

Thursday, was a day at the camper, laundry etc.

Friday the 21st was the beginning of my hell week, actually it only lasted five days but it seemed, at times longer. I had appointments with the Pulmonary and cardiac clinics.

Now the pulmonary clinic, for those of you who have never had these tests, it is the premise of how much of a blow hard you are. You sit in this little box and blow into this contraption to see how much capacity your lungs have I guess. Here is a good site to explain what they do: tp://www2.nau.edu/~daa/lecture/pft.htm/~daa/lecture/pft.htm

I was able to get through the test without much trouble. Although, when you have this guy standing next to you saying take a deep breath and then blow as hard as you can until he tells you to take a deep breath again or you begin to see stars and images of your long lost relatives, whichever comes first. Good news is my lungs are working fine.

The next was a cardiac ultrasound. This site explains this procedure: ttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Echocardiography. Now the doctor called it cardiac ultrasound but echocardiography is another name for it and I guess for dummies like me the first is easier to say but I always had trouble remembering what the name of the procedure was. Anyway, I was able to get the procedure done a couple hours earlier by going to the department and asking if they had any cancellations. So instead of 12:30 I got in at 10:30, at least I saved sitting around for a couple of hours. The technician did run into a bit of a problem, it seems the images he was getting were not of the quality he wanted. I thought well you should get better equipment, I didn’t even give it a moments thought that it could be my fat body blocking the signals. They, of course, had a solution and that was to give me an IV and put some type of dye in it, this worked and he was happy with the results. Someone said it is a radioactive dye, I suppose they might be right I did have a certain glow the rest of the day.

Friday night we met Mike and Sheri Cord,  2011-10-21_20-04-28_73they have been friends since we moved to Des Moines several years ago. They were our co-managers at Illahee Hills when we managed the facility there and Mike worked with me at Marsh the whole time I was there. We went to Felix & Oscar’s: http://felixandoscars.com/. They have some of the best pizza in town. We had a great visit with Mike and Sheri, Mike has a site on EBay called “qualityucantrust” he sells shoes at great prices, check it out you may see something you like. Mike said he had a couple of books for me and I suggested I would call him the next day and we could meet.

Saturday, Oct 22nd, we met Tiffany, Matt, Bryon, and Alexa, 2011-10-22_12-11-52_995 2011-10-22_12-11-32_378for lunch at the Red Lobster in Ames, IA. It is fun getting together with them. We don’t see them enough throughout the year but we have fun when we do. However this time I was a bit rushed because of having to get ready for Monday. Carl and Merilee had come over earlier in the morning so they joined us for lunch. I don’t remember the last time they had seen Alexa but it was good to get together.

Saturday was also the day I began my liquid diet for my upcoming colonoscopy. I won’t go into the details of the prep but those of you who have been through it know the details, I will say the VA has you drink 4 liters of the prep and it isn’t fun.

Monday was the day, I was at the VA by 9:30 for my ten o’clock appointment. Everything went right on time and I found myself in the recovery room and going home by 12:30, so the day wasn’t too bad.

Tuesday morning I had to be at the VA for my annual physical which began with lab work at 7:30. I saw the nurse at 8:30 and the doctor at 9:00. All the tests were good and I don’t need another colonoscopy for ten years.

Later we went to lunch with Laurie Robinette, she is a manager at Marsh and I worked with her there, Laurie RobinetteWe met her at Culver’s and had a great visit. Thank you for the free yogurt.

Then that evening we met Candi and Russ Cerniglia for dinner at the Drake Diner, www.drakediner.com. We hope to see them in AZ this winter.

On Wednesday we left for Centerville, IA to visit mom and my sister Tara. We had a great visit and enjoyed being with mom. We stayed at Honey State Park, http://www.iowadnr.gov/Destinations/StateParksRecAreas?state_park_list=honey_creek.html, not to be confused with Honey Creek Resort.

On Saturday we took off for Smith Center, KS to the Excel service center to have some things taken care of on the camper. Then it is off to Mesa, AZ. I will wait until then to write again.

Dreams Do Come Again.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Correction to Previous Post

It has been pointed out to me that my parents raised SIX children not five as I stated, “I still don’t know how my folks raised five of us without going off the deep end”.

Tara, I apologize, I didn’t mean to forget about you.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Good Bye Omaha, Hello Des Moines

Our time in Omaha is over. We had a great time with the kids, it is interesting to see them go from not really knowing you and in Eli’s case he didn’t know who we were, to acting like you have always been there. We were able to watch the kids at different times so Marie could run errands etc. Again it was a lot of fun but it does get tiring. I really wish I had their energy. I still don’t know how my folks raised five of us without going off the deep end.

We got to celebrate three birthdays while we were there. Eli’s first birthday, his grandmother’s, Marie’s mom Elia, birthday, she is a few years older than Eli and Eli’s great grandmother, Jewell Marie’s grandmother, birthday, now she is a few years older than Elia. We had a great time with all.

I did lose my mind one day and helped Daniel rake leaves, I felt guilty since I mowed Robert’s front  yard when we were in WI so I helped Daniel with the leaves. He has one of the vacuum gizmos to suck up the leaves and grinds them to a fine mixture and then he puts them in the bags the city governments makes you buy so they can pick them up easily. The yard looked pretty good when we got done. Daniel still has a couple trees that haven’t lost their leaves yet so he'll be doing this again.

We had rain on our trip over to Des Moines this morning but other than that it was an uneventful trip. Not much going on this week other than doctor appointments and visiting with friends. So I’ll make this short and I will write more later.

Dreams Do Come True

Adventure for the Day

Wednesday the 12th my uncle Ernie and aunt Shirley came got us for a day of adventure. We stopped in Ashland, NE for lunch but before eating we went into artist Gene Roncka’s Gallery, www.generoncka.com. He has a photo of Ashland taken from 200 miles above the earth by Nebraska’s own astronaut Clayton C. Anderson. The Gallery is small but has some beautiful paintings, Roncka paints buildings a lot like Kincaid where the windows glow as if the lights are on in the house.

After buying some post cards, this was the only size pictures I could afford, we went to Cheri O’s Coffee House & Ice Cream Parlor, http://www.cherioscoffee.com/. The food was very good and the apple pie with ice cream was excellent. The purpose of our adventure for the day was to go to a licorice factory, then we discovered it was a place that sold licorice, this did not diminish our quest at all. But before we got to the licorice store we stopped at Baker’s Candies, http://www.bakerscandies.com/, in Greenwood, NE. They make a melt away caramel unlike any I have ever tried before. Of course I had to spend a few dollars there, they had the bridge mix I love.

Then it was off to Lincoln to see if we could find the licorice place. We did, it is a block from the Amtrak station in the Haymarket District and is know as Licorice International, www. licoriceinternational.com. Here is a copy of their brochure,

 PD_0395 PD_0394

2011-10-12_14-30-16_147This is the store. They have licorice from over 40 countries. I didn’t know licorice was made in other countries but then again I never really gave it much thought. There is an Irish Toffee licorice that is very smooth and does not have the heavy licorice taste, it is very good. Australia has several different types of licorice. I bought a couple different ones, my favorite is the chocolate cover strawberry licorice. When you go in the store you see these shelves arranged by country of origin and you can sample each licorice to make sure you like what you are buying. It was a great visit and of course I bought several different types of licorice.

2011-10-12_14-31-16_780I highly recommend the Licorice International store any time you are in the Lincoln, NE area, you won’t be disappointed.

After buying plenty of licorice we headed back to the camper and visited for a while. It was the end to a great day and visiting places we would most likely not have seen. Thank you Shirley and Ernie for the great day.

Dreams Do Come True.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Our Last Week in Omaha

We are down to our last week in Omaha, we go to Des Moines next Monday and then we start with the doctor appointments, I have five and Sarah three, but then we are done for another year.

Eli and his sisters have kept Sarah and I busy and tired. Here are some of the things we have done, more will come later.

Sarah and I went to see the Holy Family Shrine, on a day where we didn’t go into see the kids until in the afternoon. The shrine is located not to far from the campground on the south side of I 80, you get a good view of it eastbound on I 80. Here are some pictures and their website, http://www.holyfamilyshrineproject.com/. It was a great visit.

2011-09-29_12-05-59_10Inside the chapel looking out past the altar.


2011-09-29_12-11-56_7492011-09-29_12-12-04_6872011-09-29_12-16-30_8002011-09-29_12-16-42_373I really like the etching of the Holy Family in the glass. According to a panel in the visitor center this piece of glass is 16’ x 8’. It would be interesting to know how they shipped it. I’ll bet it was VERY CAREFULLY.

2011-09-29_12-29-39_7622011-09-29_12-29-45_570This is the entrance to the visitor center and the rest of the shrine.

2011-09-29_12-32-24_896T2011-09-29_12-32-33_947This is what you see from the interstate.

Since my last post we have been to  Pooley’s Pumpkin patch, this was a great place for the kids, www.pooleyspumpkinpatch.com. This pumpkin patch was not as crowded as the one we went to last year. They some animals for the kids to see and hold. The kids didn’t have to stand in line to do anything which made the visit better for the kids. We did eat there, now I know I have been accused of writing about nothing but food but this place had the best cheesecake funnel cake I have ever had. Well actually it was the first one I ever had but it was very good.

We found a Yogi Frozen yogurt store within a Scooters Coffee shop. Now if you have never had the pleasure of this type of store it is a bit different. We have been to a couple like establishments in Lenexa, KS and Rockford, Il. The yogurt is self served and is dispensed from wall mounted machines and then you put the toppings you want on the yogurt. The cost is by weight which can be a bit high if you load you cup up with heavy candies. But it is so good.

We have been able to sit with the kids a couple of times so Marie could run some errands. It is interesting to watch the three kids play together. As with Mason and Madyson it was fun to stay with the kids but I totally understand why we have our kids when we are young, I was tired at the end of the day and to be truthful Sarah worked harder than I did in playing with the kids. We have really enjoyed our visit to WI and now NE. Once we leave here it will be a while before we see them again and I am sure there will be some big changes in them when we see them next.

I am trying to learn how to build a web page, I did it once many years ago but it all seems to be more complicated now or maybe I have killed off to many brain cells and there aren’t enough left to process the instructions to build a web site.

More later.

Dreams Do Come True.