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Friday, December 28, 2012

Sarah Update

Sarah and I want thank Cairo’s for having us over for dinner Christmas eve and Cynthia for hosting Christmas day dinner. We had a great time at both places.

Sarah was suppose to get her fourth and final treatment of the heavy duty drugs yesterday but she has been having heart problems, pounding pulse, chest pain/soreness, so the doctor delayed the treatment a week and set up an appointment for her to see a cardiologist.

So today we saw, quick wasn’t it, Dr. Advani, MD PhD. She is a cardiologist and a pharmacologist, I asked her about that and she said her parents didn’t want her to be a doctor but agreed to pharmacy school. She said once she got in she was able to get her parents to agree to medical school. She was very nice and ordered a stress test, echocardiogram and a heart monitor. So if the test were ok today Sarah will get her fourth treatment next Thursday and then on the 11th she will begin the weekly Paclitaxel chemo treatment. Otherwise everything is going good for her.

We had another fire alarm this morning, it seems the generator has a short in it and it fired up but the vents to expel the heat didn’t open so it set off the alarm. They have someone coming in to fix the generator.

I had a note from the Kenny & Angela Harper,  www.rvlifeisgoodtoday.blogspot.com, thank you for the note. I thought about staying in the camper but felt with Sarah and the treatments we best not do that. If we had gone south to do the treatments we would have stayed in the camper. So the good thing is I don’t have to go out if I don’t want to, except to take Sarah to treatment, so it hasn’t been that bad.

Not much else is going on so until later, Dreams Do Come True.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

It is COLD

Ok, someone has it out for me. It is 26 degrees outside and 35 mph winds, gusting to 50 mph. I am so glad we aren’t living in the camper.

Last night was a rough night, someone set off the fire alarm, each apartment has one in it, and ours is right above the bed, very loud. Since I use a CPAP when I sleep it is necessary to have electricity, twice the power went out, five this morning I gave up and didn’t use it anymore.

I am always amazed at the “stupidity” of news reporters who go out in hurricanes etc.; well I have to say Iowa has a “stupidity” factor also. This morning on the local news shows they are talking to the state troopers and DOT guys who are saying stay home don’t go out unless you have to. So what do you see on TV is the reporter and photojournalist driving down the road giving a stall by stall report of the weather. Ok people, what part of don’t go out if you don’t have to don’t you understand.

So I don’t plan on going anywhere today, I am going to stay in and stay warm. I finally bought a winter coat for myself, I needed one.

Here are two pictures taken from our apartment:

This isn't exactly the dream we wanted this winter but it is the one we have been dealt and we'll make the best of it. 

Dreams Do Come True

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Update, 12/18/2012

Ok, short update and to curtail rumors that I don’t cook, here goes.

Sarah is feeling much better and is eating better. Today we ventured out to the RV dealer where our camper was at for repairs, they were done with it. Almost $900 later, none covered by our warranty policy, we were able to finally get it over to the storage site and get it stored for the winter. (Thanks to Mike Cord for taking us out to the dealer and going with us to the storage site.) That being done we headed back to the apartment.

It is a crappy day out with a weather watch, up to eight inches of snow in some places, so I don’t plan on going anywhere for a couple of days. I still don’t have a winter coat, maybe this weekend or I could wait until after the first of the year and get one on sale.

Anyway, we got back to the apartment and I was able to get the truck into the parking garage under the building so it will be in out of the weather. It will cost but I am much more at ease with the truck inside and not in the elements, I wish I could have found an indoor place for the camper.

Now this may come as a surprise to some of you but I like cookies, no, I really do, so we had some cookie mix and I thought to myself, I can do this, so here is the proof.

clip_image002[1]clip_image004Even Sarah says they are good. I currently have a meatloaf in the oven; I love meatloaf, so this proves we don’t always eat out.

As of yet we have not turned on the heat in the apartment, we even open the patio door occasionally when Sarah gets hot. I guess living on the sixteenth floor has some advantage, except the heat is included in the rent.

Sarah’s next chemo treatment is the 27th so she will be able to enjoy Christmas, we are going over to Cynthia’s for Christmas dinner we are cooking a turkey and the trimmings.

Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers and Christmas cards they are much appreciated.

Until later, Dreams Do Come True

Friday, December 14, 2012

Update 12/14/12

The laundry is done and Sarah is sleeping so it is a good time to do an update of what we have been up to, not much really but here goes.

Thursday, the sixth, we met Norma Cairo at the new Hy-Vee store in Urbandale. This store is something to see, it is huge, doesn’t have furniture and the like as I have seen in some stores especially down south, but it is big. They have an area set aside where they do cooking demonstrations and classes. A dietician/chef, who works for Stoddard Cancer Center, her husband is the seafood manager and a chef at this Hy-Vee, put on a class for cancer patients once a month. The purpose is to get the people eating nuitrious food and help with other dietary questions. This time is was seafood with risotto and squash soup. Now I like squash, up to a point, but the soup was to sweet for me, but the risotto and seafood was great.

I did buy a couple of crab cakes, made by the chef, and cooked them that night, they were great.

Sarah & Cynthia did some shopping on Friday, I bought a coat but then split up with them to go find a warm up suit to wear in the apartment, I couldn’t find one my size, that is to say the inseams on all of the pants that fit me were 32 inches and I take a 30 inch. Is it my imagination or is that the trend to have the pants bunch up at the top of the shoes. Anyway I did get a pair of sweat pants to wear so I accomplished half my goal. The other thing I bought was a winter coat, not expecting to need one in the south, I bought it at Sears.

Sunday was a trip to Costco. We wanted to get a vacuum cleaner, the one they have in the apartment wouldn’t pick up a piece of tissue. We found an Electrolux upright with a $50 discount on it and it works great.

Monday we met Cairo’s for dinner at American Legends in West Des Moines. They have good food; we have eaten here a couple of times. We sat and talked for a while; their dog had surgery on its back and wasn’t responding to therapy like they had hoped, but yesterday they told us things were improving so that is good.

Tuesday I went out to Illahee Hills, they had called a few days before, to ride with their driver and fill out paperwork so I could sub for him as needed. This will give me something to do and maybe I won’t eat so much. I am hoping to hear from Enterprise Car Rental, I applied there also to drive part time for them.
Wednesday was another treatment day for Sarah, she handled it well, they have changed the drug for nausea and it seems to be working the best with fewer side effects than the other two. This one does make her sleep a bit more but I don’t think that is bad.

Today we did the laundry. I dropped the basket with the bottle of laundry soap, liquid, and the lid broke on it so the laundry room floor is clean and fresh smelling.

I had a call today telling me I won a bunch of gift cards from some online seller, I have no idea who or what the site is, but they wanted to know my age and I said I was retired. The woman kept asking me what my age is and I said I am retired and I wasn’t going to tell her my age, she hung up. Not sure, what it was all about but I was being ornery about not giving her my age. Maybe I should have just to see where the conversation was going.

Well that brings us up to date on what we are doing.

I still love our view; I watch Mercy Hospital’s helicopter come and go. Cool! The hospital is upper right past the parking ramp.

I hope everyone has a Very Merry Christmas and a Glorious New Year.

Dreams Do Come True

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Des Moines, IA 12/4/12

We are five days pass the chemo treatments and Sarah is feeling better, says she is still tired but otherwise the post treatment feelings are getting better. I guess this is the way it will be for these drugs, two treatments down and two to go, then the doctor changes the drug and it is weekly for fourteen weeks.

Last Thursday I went to an interview for a shuttle driver position at Enterprise car rentals. I filled out the paperwork and Erin, the logistics mgr, said it would take a week or so to do all the background checks. The job isn’t high paying, $7.25/hr for up to 25 hrs per week, but it will buy the groceries and give me something to do especially when Sarah isn’t felling up to doing anything.

Friday and Saturday, we didn’t do anything; these are the days Sarah begins to really feel the effects of the treatments, nothing drastic, just plain tired so we don’t do anything.

Sunday I went to church, Sarah wanted to go but didn’t feel quite up to it and I am not comfortable with her being in crowds this soon after a treatment. The chemo lowers her immune system and I don’t want to risk her getting any disease.  That afternoon we did go out to Cynthia’s, she wanted my help in putting her patio furniture away, it didn’t take long to do that. We had lunch and Sarah was feeling tired so we came back to the apartment. It is funny, I can’t quite get myself to call this home, even though we will be here a while, it is just another place we have landed for now.

Monday, yesterday, I went out to Shorewood RV, here in Des Moines; I dropped the camper off a month ago to get the washer fixed and the rig winterized. I talked to them on Friday and the girl was telling me they were having trouble with the inverter. I told her there is nothing wrong with the inverter. So I drove out there to see for myself what was going on, evidently the tech figured out his problem and they are suppose to finally get to removing the washer and getting it fixed. We’ll see what happens; I truly miss the efficiency and professionalism of the Excel service center. I hope they can fix the washer but even though I told them I was in no hurry to get the camper back this is a bit long.

Today I have done the laundry, changed the bedding and will go for a walk with Sarah in a bit, so I do keep busy but I do like to drive so I am looking forward to working for Enterprise.  

Until later, Dreams Do Come True

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Des Moines, IA 11/27/12

Cynthia headed for brother Bill’s in Louisiana for Thanksgiving, she left early Thanksgiving morning and was in New Orleans by noon. She flew from here to Atlanta and then to New Orleans, changed time zones twice that might get confusing.

We had a great Thanksgiving, thanks to Norma & Orren, they invited us to their house for dinner and their son Gentry, wife Christa and their three kids, Cali, Zane and Reece ( I hope I spelled everyone’s name right). There was more than enough to eat and of course, I ate too much, but hey, it was Thanksgiving. Norma set leftovers home with us too, I love leftovers.

There are times when Orren buys a new gadget and doesn’t hook it up for a while, well Gentry hooked up the new Blue Ray player to the internet and we watched some You Tube videos on the TV. I got to thinking; I have a Blue Ray player and an internet savvy TV so when I got home I messed with them until I was able to get internet on both.

We spent all day Friday reading and listening to music from Pandora radio on the TV. The wonders of technology.

Saturday we ventured to North Liberty and Carl & Merilee’s, we missed seeing Amy and family but did get to see Steve & Lynne and family. We also got to see Rusty; he is a surgical nurse at one of the hospitals in Omaha. He was moving on Sunday and invited me to help him but alas, I had to decline for fear of killing myself. Daniel helped him though. He got an apartment within a block of the hospital he works at so he doesn’t have to battle the traffic to and from work. We had a nice visit; I even ate a few of Merilee’s brownies and pumpkin bars, delicious.

Sarah gets tired easily so we left around four and headed home. We had planned to go to Omaha Monday to look at the model of the townhouse we made an offer on but the realtors could not get together then so we decided to go on Sunday.

We went to early church and headed west, arriving at Daniel’s about 11:40, they had just gotten back from a week with Marie’s brother in Colorado so they didn’t want to go with us to see the model.

Our appointment was for 12:30 and we were a couple of minutes late, I misjudged the time it would take to drive from Daniel’s house.

We wanted to go through the house again to make sure we didn’t want to do any upgrades to it. We also found out the developer had been out of the country and therefore did not sign our offer etc. and the price was now 5k higher on our home. We resubmitted the paperwork with only a 2k increase so we will see what happens.

I hadn’t thought about it but the storm in the northeast is causing the price of building materials to increase and in some cases skyrocket out of sight. We are adding insulation to the interior walls for noise reduction purposes and were quoted $820 but that number could go up by the time they install it. We believe that even with the higher prices it is still a buyer’s market with low real estate values and even lower interest rates.

Our visit reinforced our decision to buy now, even if we don’t spend a lot of time in it for a couple more years, I feel comfortable knowing Sarah has a place to go to if something happens to me or one of us becomes incapacitated in any way.

Tomorrow Sarah has her second chemo treatment of Adriamycin and Cytoxan, so we know she will be tired and not be able to do anything for a few days. We went to the store yesterday and bought food we know she will be able to eat, mostly bland and soft foods. Today Sarah met Bridget Pagulski, a friend of a friend Debbie Mason, who Sarah has been talking to on the phone and via email. Bridget has just finished her treatments for breast cancer and since it was the same drugs, as Sarah will have, she knows all about what to experience. They met at Panera Bread and talked for over an hour, Sarah says it was great to meet her and she learned a lot of what to do and not to do. Sarah has a difficult time saying yes to people helping her but she is beginning to get better at it. That’s what I am for, I see myself as Mr. Belvidere, the manservant, at least until Sarah has gotten through all of this, actually she’ll probably like it so much she won’t let me out of the role. Oh well, I am glad to do it.

We are going to see the new Bond movie this afternoon with Norma & Orren, the last big hurrah before the treatment.

So until later, Dreams Do Come True

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Update 11/20/12

We are ten days past Sarah’s first chemo treatment and she is doing great. Granted it was the first of four treatments of Adriamycin (doxorubicin) and Cytoxan (cyclophosphamide). These are suppose to be tough on the body, which was proven by Sarah sleeping most of the time after her treatment. Another side effect is not wanting to eat, nothing tastes good, your taste buds are not working and we use plastic spoons etc. because she tastes the metal in the silverware. Twenty-four hours after the treatment she had a shot; I don’t remember the drug, to assist the body in building up the immune system. After 3-4 days, her appetite and energy began to improve and today she is feeling normal. The downside is a week from tomorrow she has another treatment of the same drugs and she will go through it all over again. She will have two more treatments of the same drugs for four treatments.

After the first of the year her treatments, as far as we know at this time, will be every week and consist of the drug Paclitaxil (docetaxel). These treatments will go for fourteen weeks followed by 5-6 weeks of radiation. So somewhere, around the third week of May, she should be done with the treatments and she will be able to get back to her “normal” life. She will have to take the drug tamoxifin for five years but that is a small price to pay for being cancer free.

As I have stated before we have bought a townhouse in Omaha and will move into it the first of June or sooner if we can, Sarah will then be able to recover from all of this. We are planning to go south for the winter of 2013 and every winter after that for as long as we can drive.

We are grateful for all the positive thoughts and prayers sent Sarah’s way, please keep them coming.

I have been keeping busy taking care of Sarah when she isn’t feeling up to par and trying to have patience. I did walk down to the library the other day to see if I could get a library card and I succeeded. I didn’t think they would give me one because of not being a permanent resident of Des Moines. We live on the 16th floor of the apartment building and have a northern view. It is a studio apartment, not much bigger than the camper is, but it is home and we are making the most of it. Here is a night time view from our balcony:


We have been out to eat a couple of times with friends here, Mike & Shari a week ago and Russ & Candi last night. Thursday we are invited over to Norma & Orren’s for Thanksgiving dinner. We have been shopping with Cynthia, if fact we went to Sears Sunday to catch a sale. It seems we both were in need of winter coats because I hear it still get cold here in the winter. We bought coats, which should last us a long time.

Tomorrow Sarah and Cynthia are going out shopping or something like that. I am going, I really don’t know what I will do, but I will find something to do.

That is about all we have been up to for now. I will let you know how Sarah does with the next treatment.

Dreams Do Come True

Friday, November 9, 2012

Des Moines, IA

Wednesday we took the camper over to Shorewood RV, Des Moines, to have it winterized. I was able to leave the truck with it because I really don’t have a place to park it yet. We are totally moved into our apartment and we took a parking spot in the apartment’s underground parking, I had hoped to park the truck there also but it may be too tight, height wise we are ok, but length will be the problem. Therefore, we may have to park it outside and run it once a week or so, as long as it will start.

Sarah had an echocardiogram on Thursday and they said her heart was in good shape. So today, she had her first chemo treatment. She was a bit nervous but she didn’t take any type of sedative, even though it was offered. The treatment took about two hours and then we came home. She is doing great, but she is tired and is currently sleeping. They said she might do a lot of that.

I can see the biggest challenge I will have is keeping her from doing all the things she has always done, I am sure there will be days she will be too tired but other days I will have to help her keep from over extended herself. It is time for her to let me and others help her, at least for the next six months or so.

We received our mail from SD today and she had some cards in it, she did enjoy them, Thank you.

Dreams to Come True

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Des Moines, IA

What a week we had last week. We took another load of boxes out to the condo and decided to call the complex manager to get the key to the mailbox. First, we tried to find his office but that didn’t happen so I called him and explained what I wanted, he listened and said he needed to call the condo owner. I didn’t like the sound of that but there was nothing I could do so I said ok. A couple hours later the owner called me and said he couldn’t lease the condo to me, the association had a limit of how many condo’s could be leased at one time and they were at that limit. This isn’t what I wanted to hear, so now into panic mode, we have to be out of the camper by Wednesday the 7th because it is going to an RV dealer to get the washer repaired and winterized for storage.

So, here are Thursday, November 1st, and no place to live and tomorrow Sarah is having a port put in for the chemo treatments, we have to be at the hospital at 5 am. I get on the computer and begin searching, I call a few places but the problem is twofold, most complexes won’t lease for less than 6 months and I would have to rent or buy furniture. I would buy furniture but then I would have to rent a truck to take it to Omaha to put in the townhouse. It does get a bit frustrating.

Friday we are at the hospital bright and early. Sarah’s surgery doesn’t take place until seven but you have to be there early for all of the preliminary preps etc. When she goes into surgery I head for the cafeteria, Cynthia calls and we meet up and go get breakfast. Hospital cafeterias must be the same all over, they aren’t expensive and the food is good but it isn’t somewhere you would go eat if you had another choice.

Sarah’s surgery went off without a hitch and we were able to leave about ten. I took Sarah home and she slept most of the day, which was good because I was on the phone looking for a place to live. We met some folks from Des Moines last year while working in Mesa. Bob & Judy Van Cleave, they have a home here and in a prior conversation offered to rent us their house, so I called them and set up a time on Sunday to meet their daughter at the house and take a look. Their house is on the east side of Des Moines and would be inconvenient for Sarah and Cynthia to get together, but I would deal with it. However, I still had hopes of finding something closer to the hospital and Cynthia’s.

Our friends Orren & Norma sent me an email with the phone number of an apartment building downtown Des Moines that had a couple of furnished apartments and would lease for three months or longer. I called them and visited with Connie about what they had etc. Sarah and I decided we would go look at it tomorrow.

Saturday morning I called the apartment complex and said we would like to look at what was available. We toured the apartments available, a studio and a one bedroom. The studio is a bit bigger than the camper but is just one big room, with a queen bed and to chairs, a cabinet with a TV in it and drawers on the bottom, a table and two chairs and a full kitchen, fully stocked with pots, pans and dishes, a bathroom and lots of closet space. The one bedroom was very cramped and even though it had a couch, it was too small. We opted for the studio, all utilities, cable TV and internet, we don’t have that much to put in there but we should fit. The building has a community room with library and computers and a big screen TV, there is also a nice exercise room, so we said we wanted it. Not so fast cowboy, first we have to fill out an application, $35 each, and then we have to see if we are approved. So we did all of that and left. About four in the afternoon, we receive a call saying everything looks good but they are waiting for a criminal background check on us from South Dakota.

It is now Monday, November 5th and the only person I have heard from today is Pat Boone, the singer, and I thought he was dead, to tell us we should vote for Mitt Romney. I did call the manager this morning and she said she had no news but to call this afternoon about one thirty. So we are back in the waiting mode again.

Today is election day, Hooray no more political commercials. We also heard from the apartment complex saying we are approved for the apartment. We spent the afternoon moving our things from the condo to the apartment, then it was out to the camper to get the food out of the fridge and some our clothes. I also dumped the tanks of all water etc. in preparation of taking the camper to the RV dealer to winterize it before storage.

Thursday Sarah has an echogram on her heart and Friday afternoon she has her first chemo treatment. Hopefully it won’t make her to sick.

Even though many won’t agree, Dreams Do Come True.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Decision Made

October 17th
I took the car in to get the service done on it. We were given a free oil change etc. and I didn’t think I would be in town to use it, how wrong I was. Anyway, it didn’t take too long; I killed time by reading on my IPad and getting all the updates caught up since the dealer has free wifi.

October 19th

Today was the day Sarah met her cancer treatment doctor, Dr Hill. He went over the type of cancer she has and the prognosis. He gave Sarah a bunch of papers to look over and it was a general discussion of treatments and what to expect.  Then it was off to see Dr Isaac the radiologist, he will do the radiology treatments, which follow the chemo treatments.

By the time, we were done with the two appointments it was time to eat. So we called our friends Norma & Orren and went to the Pizza Ranch for lunch. For those of you who have never been to a Pizza Ranch it is a buffet style pizza place, however you can order the type of pizza you want if it isn’t on the buffet. We stayed there for a couple hours talking and enjoying our meal.

The weekend was spent around the camper and not doing a whole lot.

October 24th

We picked up Norma & Orren for dinner; we went to the China Buffet. I have to stop going to buffet because I always eat too much. I do like this place though because they have sushi, I think I tried all the varieties they had, all were good.

October 25th

We went out to eat with Dick & Judi Wicheal and John & Kathy Evans, this time we went to Famous Dave’s restaurant.  If you read my last blog, I mentioned calling an 800 number and by answering a few questions, you are given a code. You write the code on your receipt and when you present it on your next visit, you get a free desert; my favorite is the bread pudding. So we all had bread pudding, the other stuff doesn’t count because it is all about the bread pudding. We had a good time visiting and eating. These folks are leaving on Sunday so this was the only time we could all get together.

October 26th

We both knew this was going to be a long day. We had to be at Iowa Methodist, Stoddard Cancer Clinic by 10:30 am for Sarah to get a PET/CT scan. I couldn’t go back with her but they hooked an IV to her and then she had some dye injected so the scan would show all the hot spots in the body. Here is a link if you are interested, http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/info.cfm?PG=pet. Sarah was done with this is a bit over an hour.
Then it was time to have some lab work done, a blood draw. All of these tests, the PET/CT scan and blood work, were done to help the doctor decide on what treatment will be best for Sarah. After the lab work, we went in search of something to eat; Sarah couldn’t eat anything after 6:30 that morning. We settled on soup for Sarah and a sandwich for me from the kiosk in the lobby of the clinic. It wasn’t the greatest but it was filling. I did get a rice krispie treat with chocolate on one side, I love these, when I was at Marsh one of the ladies made these and they were the best I have ever had, these weren’t as good as those but they were ok.
At 3:30 pm, actually closer to 4 pm we, Sarah’s sister Cynthia was with us, met with Dr Hill, he will be Sarah’s cancer treatment doctor, he showed us the scans and went over the treatments. He had told us before that Sarah might be eligible for a couple of studies and he showed us three of them. Only one was appealing at all and he told us to think about them over the weekend. The standard treatment is 22 weeks of chemo. The study had this treatment and another treatment of only 18 weeks, the difference was the elimination of one of the drugs in the standard treatment. So we left his office with a lot of information to digest.

Orren’s niece, Ashley, gave us a lead on a condo we might be able to rent. I had put out an SOS to several people we know in the Des Moines area for leads to possible rental places. I called the number Ashley gave me and spoke with Ed, the owner, and arranged a time to meet him at the condo. So after the doctor appointments we went to the condo and met with Ed and his wife Gail. It is a two bedroom completely furnished unit not far from Jordan Creek Mall, it met our needs perfectly, so we rented it.
As I said it is completely furnished so all we have to move out of the camper our clothes, food and liquids. I will buy a TV but we will want one later for the townhouse in Omaha. I don’t know if I told you we have bought a townhouse in Bennington, NE, northwest of downtown Omaha. It will be ready May 1, 2013 so we will move into it after Sarah is done with her treatments and she will be able to build up her strength and stamina. Our intention is to continue going south in the winter and occasional camping throughout the summer months.

October 27th

My brother Larry and his wife Kathy came to visit. Their grandson Caleb is in eight grade and is already six foot tall, he was playing in a basketball tournament in Ames. So Larry & Kathy came up to spend the night with us and then we went to the game on Sunday. Sarah stayed home, she had a headache and she and Cynthia were going to go over the options of treatment Sarah could choose from. That night Sarah and I discussed the treatments and Sarah made a decision which one she wanted to do. She chose the standard treatment of 22 weeks of chemo and then 5-6 weeks of radiation.

October 29th

Sarah called the doctor’s office and got the ball rolling on the chemo. She will have a port put in this coming Friday, with the chemo beginning on Nov 9th.

We are taking the camper in to Shorewood RV in Altoona, IA to be winterized and fix a mirror I broke, and then put it into storage for the winter.  If Sarah is feeling up to it, we may move back into the camper as early as May of 2013, we will decide at that time.

For now, we have a plan and we are going to follow it. All indicators say everything will be fine and Sarah will come through this with flying colors and be cancer free when all is said and done.

Thank you for your prayers and please keep them coming.

Until later, Dreams Do Come True. 

Friday, October 19, 2012

Post Surgery

Monday, October 15th will be remember by Sarah and I for as long as we live. It is the day Sarah was given, the beginning, of a new lease on life. This is the day she had surgery to remove the spot in her right breast. It began quite early, 7:30, she was given an IV and then went to nuclear medicine to have a dye injected, then she went to get another mammogram which identified the areas of concern. The dye indicated a lymph node had cancer also, this changed the surgeon’s approach and increased the area he cleared of tissue in the breast. When he went to remove the lymph node the pathologist didn’t like the looks of another node so they removed it.

Sarah was in surgery longer than anticipated but she came through it fine and is sitting here at home giving me orders. Actually it is my pleasure to wait on her and make sure she fully recovers from the surgery. We are waiting on the pathology report so we can visit with an oncologist to see what form Sarah’s treatment will take.

Friday, October 19, what a week, the doctors here are great and we were able to get some things accomplished in a week where it takes others a longer period of time. Today Sarah had an appt with the oncologist and the radiologist. First the oncologist, Sarah has to have chemo to ensure a full recovery, radiation is not enough, this is due to the node have cancer cells in it. The treatment takes 22 weeks, so we are staying in the Des Moines area for the winter. (Note to self, buy winter coats.) We will stay in the camper until we find someplace to rent and then winterize the camper and find a storage place for it.

This isn’t what we wanted but this is the hand we have been dealt so we will play it out. The treatment path Sarah is going to go through has a very HIGH rate of success and that is what we are looking for.

So that’s it for now. I will post again when there has been a change in our situation. For now we are back in Iowa for the duration.

Dreams Still Do Come True.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A Bump in the Road

September 20th

We met Mike & Sheri Cord for dinner at Pagliai’s Pizza, http://www.pagliais.com/; this is one of the best pizza’s I have ever tasted. We had a great visit with them and Mike brought me the latest Clive Cussler book, one of my favorite authors, I haven’t started it yet but I will as soon as I finish one of the three others I am currently reading.

September 21st

We met Bob & Judi Van Cleave for dinner at the Olive Garden. We met them at Mesa Regal last winter; they are from the Des Moines area and called to see if we wanted to meet them for dinner. We had a very nice visit with them. We should see them again this winter in Arizona.

September 22nd

Today we went to a “Celebration of Life” for Larry Paterson. We met Larry and Loretta at Griff’s our first year in the camper, 2010. Larry always had a smile, even with his health problems; he was fun and a joy to be around. He will be missed by all.

September 24th

Today I headed into the VA hospital for my annual physical. I get my labs done at 7:30 because I have to fast and then I can go have breakfast before meeting the doctor. Therefore, after my labs were done I checked into the clinic and found out they had changed my appt to Wednesday. The clerk asked me if I got a letter telling me of the change, I said no. We did get the letter yesterday in our mail packet so at least they did send it.

Now I had a problem because my dental appt was for Wednesday at the same time as the one at the VA. I got on the phone to the dentist and told them of my problem. I wanted to get the dentist out of the way this week because we were scheduled to leave next Monday for Omaha. The dental receptionist was very nice and I was able to get in today being Monday, so all is good.

I hate going to the dentist. I go to a Periodontist for teeth cleaning because they check the gums for receding since I have had the deep cleaning I don’t want to go through that again. So I’m sitting in the chair and the hygienist is fussing around and looks like she about to start and I say, “Whoa there partner, I need that thar gas because I am a CHICKEN”. She looks at my chart and there in big bold letters is the word CHICKEN. So she gives me the gas. I could not go through the pain and agony of the cleaning without the gas and even with it, I struggle not to make loud noises, but I made it through the ordeal and was on my way.

September 25th

Sarah had her mammogram today. We went over to Orren & Norma Cairo’s afterwards. Norma & Sarah are beading, Norma is very good at it, and she has some very nice bracelets and earrings. It is good for her to do and it keeps her out of Orren’s hair. Norma made chili, which was very good. The woman is a very good cook. As always, we had a good time.

September 26th

I finally had my physical this morning at the VA. I have a new doctor, Dr. Green, a very nice lady. She is full of energy and as all of the doctors have done in the past twenty years, she told me to lose weight. “I’m trying doc, not doing a very good job but I am trying, most of the time”. I was able to get all my prescription filled.

September 28th

John & Kathy Evans invited us to go with them to meet Loretta for lunch at Famous Dave’s. Now if you have eaten at Famous Dave’s and never had their bread pudding, you are missing a treat. It is absolutely the best I have ever had, plus take your receipt and call the 800 number on it, get a code and then get a free desert the next time you eat there. 2012-09-28_13-45-27_418

September 29th

We headed for Moline, IL to meet up with Tom & Cathy Gerdes2012-09-29_21-42-34_9692012-09-29_21-42-55_751 and George & Barb Granberg,2012-09-29_21-42-59_8972012-09-29_21-42-48_904 Tom, George and I worked at Ruan Leasing together. Chris & Amy Walkup were going to be there also, but something came up and they weren’t able to make it. Chris we had a great time wish you & Amy could have been there.

We stayed at the Radisson in Moline, it is a great hotel and right across the street from Johnny’s Steakhouse where we ate, http://johnnysitaliansteakhouse.com/ , it is a great place to eat.

We had a lot of fun being caught up on what everyone is doing, Tom & I are not working but George is selling real estate for Ruhr & Ruhr Realtors, http://muscatineproperties.com/. Barb is a retired schoolteacher for the Muscatine school system.

September 30th

Tom wanted to see the American Pickers place in LeClaire, IA, http://antiquearchaeology.com/ and http://frankfritzfinds.com/about.php. Mike and Frank have individual websites so I have listed them.

The building is nothing to speak of, just a small garage, at sometime in the past it was most likely a repair garage. Danielle has her own antique shop across the street from the American Pickers store. It was fun to see, there is a 1950 Nash sitting out front of the store, my grandfather had one just like it, not quite as rusty but the same vintage. I bought a t-shirt with a picture of the car on the back of the shirt. I bet I will be the only one in AZ with this t-shirt.2012-09-30_12-57-21_3852012-09-30_13-01-52_4612012-09-30_13-12-39_982

October 1st

We packed up and headed for the West Omaha KOA in Gretna, NE. We like this campground and as I have stated before it is the only one within decent driving distance of Daniel’s house. It is great to see the kids again.

October 3rd

We drove back to Des Moines. Sarah had a mammogram last week and they called and said they saw a couple things that didn’t look right and they wanted a biopsy of both areas. So we headed back to get this procedure done.

October 4th

Sarah received a call from the doctor who did the biopsy and he said the cloudy area was clean, no problem, but the spot had cancer cells in it. So we have an appointment with an oncology surgeon this coming Wednesday to see what options there are for her.

Cancer is something you always think will strike someone else until it hits this close to home. I always thought I would get it because of Agent Orange. Sarah has always been the healthy one of the family but now my best friend, companion has it, and it is a sobering thought. I pray the doctors can remove the spot and surrounding tissue and Sarah will be free of it, but regardless I know God will not give us more than we can handle and we can handle anything with his help.

October 7th

Daniel & Marie refinished their basement and were needing more room to put things. We had several items stored with them, both in the basement and the garage, so we rented a storage unit. Today we took all of the items at their house and put them into the storage unit, plus a few of their things. I suppose we should have done this from the beginning but there was no need for a unit until now.

October 10th

Today is the day we have been anticipating and dreading at the same time. We were both scared and hoping for the best at the same time. Sarah’s doctor, Dr. Daniel Kollmorgan an oncology surgeon, put Sarah and I at ease immediately. He told her she was going to be fine. Sarah has Stage 1 breast cancer, the tumor is about the size of a pencil eraser and is slow growing, which is why is probably didn’t show up on a previous mammogram. After he examined her, then he gave Sarah her options. A complete mastectomy or a lumpectomy, the mastectomy removes the entire breast and therefore any other cancer cells present. The lumpectomy is the removal of the tumor and some surrounding tissue, then chemo or radiation is given depending on how wide spread the cancer is and if it has gone into the lymph node.

Sarah chose the lumpectomy with five days of twice a day radiation treatments, the radiation treatment is dependent on what pathology says about the cancer and if it spread.

So we are headed back to Griff’s RV Park in Des Moines this Saturday for four to eight weeks depending on the outcome of the surgery, which has been scheduled for next Monday. We are praying for the best results, but prepared for whatever shows itself.

As with all cancer the earlier the detection, the better chance of isolating it and removing all of the cancer cells. The doctor believes this to be true in Sarah’s case.

Until later, Dreams Do Come True.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

50 Years and Counting

September 14th,

We had a great time visiting with Russ & Candi at Smokey D’s, http://www.smokeydsbbq.com/ when you are in Des Moines you need to visit SMOKEY D’S they have great tenderloins and fabulous BBQ. Darren is one of the owners; he and I worked at Ruan. He and his business partner have won many awards for their BBQ, it is that good. So when you are in Des Moines or passing through stop and try some award winning BBQ. Enough of the commercial, Candi is recovering from some surgery and she looks great, of course Russ says he is taking very good care of her. Men are good at that aren’t we?

September 14 & 15th,

Class reunion in Burlington, IA, Fifty years, can you believe it? I never thought about it much about a 50-year class reunion until it was time for it. I can remember my mother saying she was going to her 50th class reunion and I’m thinking, wow you people are old. Now I am the one who is old and attending our 50th class reunion. I don’t know who all worked to put the reunion together but I want to say thank you for doing it and doing a very good job of it. Sarah and I had a great time. It was to see everyone, I know not all of the class was there, but it was great to see those who were and a couple I haven’t seen in years. I don’t remember that last time I saw Jane and Diane. Mike Cummings gets the award for traveling the greatest distance, but then he would get award at every reunion, he comes all the way from Australia.

I had a great time visiting with everyone there, I believe I spoke with everyone, if I missed anyone I apologize; it was just great to see everyone. I am still looking the length of your driveways. Diane has the lead with 300 ft of driveway or something like that. I am looking for long driveways for the RV, I’ll buy dinner. If you have hook ups for the RV I’ll buy drinks also. Thank you to my brother Larry and wife Kathy for their hospitality; we had a good time visiting with them. I also returned his truck, so now he can haul things again. We did get a picture, I want you to see how good looking we are at our age:


Again thanks to all of you who worked on the reunion it was a great time.


I hate shopping but I need a new pair or two of shoes, I only buy running shoes, I am trying to break the three and a half minute mile. Actually, the orthopedic doctor told me to buy running shoes because size, he didn’t want to say fat, running shoes give more cushion to my feet. Anyway, Sarah & I went to Sports Authority store and I bought a shoe called Meling. It was a nice shoe and felt great in the store but after wearing it all day, I decided it wasn’t the shoe for me. Therefore, Tuesday we took the back, I will say the store took them back with no questions asked, that is nice.

We met Tiffany, Matt & Alexa at McDonald’s in Ankeny. Alexa had two catalogs from school with items for sale. We bought an item from each catalog and told them to keep them, I bought what they said they would use; I couldn’t see them shipping the items to us so they will keep them.

Tuesday I had an appointment to take the car in to get a fender bracket fixed, we noticed it when we bought it and I said I would make an appointment to bring it in for fixing. We got a loaner car, it is a good thing we did because the problem was on a recall, and it will take a couple of days to get it so we are driving the loaner. I am glad we didn’t say we would wait.

We also went out to the Iowa Veteran’s Cemetery, https://www.va.iowa.gov/vetcemetery/, so I could get some questions answered. We met Dave, and employee of the cemetery, he answered all my questions and gave us some material to look at. Sarah & I will both be buried there.

In the afternoon we went over to Cairo’s, Sarah & Norma were going to do some beading but first they had to go to the bead store. Since Orren was busy with some phone calls I took them to the bead store, Artistic Beads in Valley Junction, http://artisticbead.com/id73.html, I read while they were shopping. We returned to the house and the ladies beaded. Norma fixed chili and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner, very good.

Today I worked on the camper to get things done before we leave here in 10 days. One of the items is greasing the MorRyde system; this entails me getting under the camper. Since I am a bit claustrophobic it is not my favorite thing to do, it does help the sides are open and the camper does sit high so I am able to get the task done.

I have just finished the book “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand, I enjoyed reading it, and I knew the prisoners of war in the Pacific were mistreated but I didn’t know to what extent. This book took seven years to write and was well documented from both the Japanese and American side. Good book well worth the time to read.

That’s it for now remember,

Dreams Do Come True.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Griff’s RV Park

I belong to the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic men’s organization, and one of the annual drives it has is the Tootsie Roll drive for Intellectually Challenged Individuals. It is held in Iowa at this time of the year. I get an email from the council I belong to here in Des Moines and I saw where they needed someone to man a two hour slot at the Dahl’s Grocery store in Johnston on Saturday the 8th, so I volunteered Sarah & I for it. I didn’t realize the Iowa vs. Iowa State game was being played at 2:30, out shift ran 1-3. It was interesting how many people wearing the colors of the two schools and I couldn’t help adding comments to an Iowa State fan, Go Hawks, or to an Iowa fan, Go Clones, it added to the experience. I don’t know how much money Sarah & I raised but our buckets were full. I like this fund raiser because all the money raised stays in the Des Moines area. In fact there are a couple organizations who have volunteers helping with the fund raiser and they in turn share in the proceeds. The years I was involved we raised over $14,000. It is a great cause.

Saturday night we met long time friends Mike & Debbie Richmond, Mike was a service manager at Ruan when I worked there. He is now the service manager for Ryder at their Delaware shop in Des Moines. We met at Outback and had a great time. Mike has a couple more years to work but from the sounds of it he is ready to hang up his wrenches. Hang in their Mike it is worth the wait.

Sunday Carl & Merilee came over and we drove to Ames to meet Matt, Tiffany and Alexa at Sam’s Club. Alexa needed a winter coat, her old ones were to small so I wanted to get her a new one. We finally found one at Wal-Mart, coat and gloves and she is ready for the winter. I also sprung for lunch, hot dogs at Sam’s Club, I think that is one of the best values around, besides we had fun sitting around talking.

Tuesday, as I have mentioned we bought a car, well it is a suv and I needed to get it licensed and since we are South Dakota residents I called our mail forwarder, Alternative Resources in Sioux Falls, and we filled out the paperwork, I had printed it off their website. My biggest concern was the state won’t accept credit cards or personal checks and since we bank with USAA Bank and they have no facilities in this area I was concerned about how to get a money order. Luckily the post office will do money orders off cash or a debit card. So I was able to mail the paperwork to Alternative and with luck we will have our plates next week.

Later that afternoon long time friends Norma & Orren Cairo came out. Sarah has gotten Norma into beading and actually Norma is very good, she made a bracelet and ear rings that were quite nice. Anyway, we had a great afternoon talking and finished off the day with some grilled brats. We will see them again before we leave the area and maybe they will come over to Omaha in October and we will get to see them before we head south.

Today we are going in to Cynthia’s so I can get her computer sending emails again. Then tonight we are having dinner with long time friends Candi & Russ Cerniglia, Russ worked at Ruan when I did and he has developed a BBQ sauce that is very good. Go to http://www.russandfranks.com/ order some from his website, I believe you will enjoy it.

Tomorrow we go to Burlington, IA for my 50th class reunion, more on that later.

Dreams Do Come True

Monday, September 3, 2012

Griff’s RV Park, Altoona, IA

This is our favorite park; it has cement slabs, great water pressure, and 50-amp service. I really wish they had picnic tables but as someone said it would make it more difficult to mow, but it would still be nice. We have set our time to leave here on 1 October.
Since we have been here, we have driven to Omaha and Kansas City to visit. Last weekend we went to Omaha, a spur of the moment trip with Cynthia & Sarah. Sarah wanted to see the grandkids badly and Cynthia wanted to go riding, so we took her car drove over on Sunday, the 26th. We had a great time; the kids are growing so fast, it is difficult to keep up with them. We looked at a townhouse development and are contemplating buying one at some point in time because, as of now, this is where we want to settle.

Rusty, Carl & Merilee’s son, joined us for the day. He is a surgical nurse at one of the hospitals in Omaha. It was good to see him and find out what he is up to. We got home about seven after dropping Cynthia off at her place.

Wednesday Sarah met Norma Cairo and Linda Carstensen for lunch, Linda worked with Sarah and Norma. I picked up Orren, Norma's husband, and we went to a Mexican restaurant for lunch, the food was good and we visited for a couple of hours. Then we went back to Cairo's house and Sarah was teaching Norma how to make a beaded bracelet. We spent the afternoon with them and ended up staying for dinner. It was fun; we get to see these folks two or three times a year. I have known them for over forty years. Maybe we can get them to visit us in AZ this winter, we'll see.

Ever since my brother gave us his Ford Ranger to drive we have been thinking about buying a car for Sarah to drive following me when we move, we don’t go much over 250 miles at a time anyway so it isn’t too bad and Sarah says she doesn’t mind. So we bought a car and last Friday Cynthia, Sarah & I headed for Kansas City. We stayed at LaQuinta Inn, this was a nice motel, $57 for king bed. The only problem I had with it was the mattress was TOO soft; I woke up with a sore back. Other than that, it was clean and quiet.

Steve & Lynne’s son Zack is in the marching band and they were playing at the football game Friday night. I love High School football, I don’t like sitting in the rain to watch it and KC was getting inundated with rain from the hurricane that came ashore in Louisiana, in fact KC area received upwards of seven inches Friday & Saturday. Therefore, when I saw it was still raining at game time I declined to go to the game. Steve, Lynne and Sarah went and got soaked. The band canceled their part of the evening so I didn’t miss anything. We helped Steve with a sump pump problem and headed home about six thirty and we got home at ten thirty. It was a great time, next time we will plan a longer stay, maybe when we come back in the spring we’ll stop for a few days.

Today we went to Matt & Tiffany’s for a cook out, it rained on the way to their house but wasn’t raining when we got there; however, we weren’t there long before it began. It rained for about an hour or so and then the sun came out. Around five Matt fired up the grill and grilled steaks, hamburgers and hotdogs, he did a superb job the steaks were great. We had a terrific visit with them and plan to see them on Sunday.

Until later – Dreams Do Come True

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Griff’s RV Park, Altoona, IA

It has been awhile since I last posted so I have a bit of catching up to do.

We had a great time in WI, I was able to watch Mason play baseball, he reminds me a lot of Robert at that age. Mason is doing good for a seven year old, he is still learning the basics. He went to a baseball camp put on by the Snappers, a minor league team playing in Beloit, it was fun to watch Mason and see how his level of play compares to others. I think he is a bit above average, especially in hitting, he will get the rest as time goes on. Then there is Madyson, she amazed me at her dance/gymnastics class. She is an enthusiastic dancer and I believe someday she will rival her aunt Catherine in dancing. In gymnastics I was amazed at the things she does, she does things I would never have tried and she is good. The kids came out to the campground one night so we could build a fire and have S’mores, I am not much for campfires but we had a great time that night. Mason made me a S’more and it was delicious.DSCN5843It was great to see her and Mason and of course their mom and dad. DSCN5847

On the 9th we headed for Coralville lake and the CORE park there. Now I am somewhat of an optimist, I guess you have to be to live this lifestyle, so we left WI with a half tank of fresh water because I thought we would be able to get into one of the FHU walk in sites at the park. Well, I was wrong and actually I am glad I was wrong because I didn’t like the area the FHU sites were located. So we parked in the West Overlook site 67, we were backed up to the lake and had a great view. DSCN5947

We came to Coralville because Carl & Merilee live in North Liberty, five miles down the road, and Sarah’s brother, sister, nephews and nieces were all going to be at Carl & Merilee’s over the weekend, Aug 11th. We had a great time. As I stated before I didn’t fill the fresh water tank and so I was worried we wouldn’t have enough water on board but it worked out well, I didn’t shower for eight days. That isn’t true, it was seven days. Actually, we showered at the house and in fact we stayed Monday night at Carl & Merilee’s, so as it turned out we had plenty of water in the camper. Monday we went and saw the Bourne Legacy, good movie, I ordered the original three and I will get the Legacy when the price comes down on it. DSCN5912Merilee made t-shirts with CAIN 2012 on them for everyone. We are going to try to get together the first weekend in August each year.

Like in years past when we would all get together at Carl & Merilee’s in Galesburg, we ate too much. Merilee is a great cook, she didn’t cook as much this time but what she did make was great. I gained at least five pounds. We had a great time and thank Carl & Merilee for their hospitality.

Wednesday saw us hooking up and heading south fifty miles to Crossroads RV Park, Mt. Pleasant, IA to see friends Dave & Shari Frantz. They had been at Amana Campground, Amana, IA but things didn’t work out there so they were able to get on at Crossroads, they hosted there in years past.

Thursday I went with Dave on a road trip to Cedar Rapids so he could take care of a few things, Sarah stayed at the camper and beaded. She is finally making some bracelets she can sell, so we will see how that goes.

Friday morning Sarah and I left on the cemetery tour. Both of our parents are buried in the area plus Sarah’s sister and my daughter, so we headed out to visit the grave sites and put some flowers on them. On our way from one cemetery to another in Burlington we went by Mark and Beth Steingraber’s house, actually I took a chance on finding it and knew I did when I saw their camper in the driveway. They have a very nice home. It is a townhouse with three bedrooms and two car garage, big kitchen and living room, very nice home. We told them we were at Crossroads and they know Dave & Shari so Beth was going to call and invite themselves out for dinner, we were cooking hamburgers at Dave & Shari’s. So that evening we had a great time. I addition to Mark & Beth, Ron & Vi Powell came out with Mark & Beth. Sarah and I had never met them before, they are a delightful couple, they own the Collision Center in Burlington. We had a great time and the libations flowed freely. DSCN6013L to R, Shari Frantz, Mark Steingraber, Beth Steingraber, Ron Powell, Vi Powell, Dave Frantz and Moe, Sarah and me.

Saturday found us on the road again meandering our way to Griff’s RV Park, Altoona, IA. We love this park it is quiet and sits out in the country so if you don’t know where to look you wouldn’t find it, http://griffieon.home.mchsi.com/. We are in site E8, never been in this circle before but I like it. This park is full most of the summer, you need to get reservations sometimes you may get lucky and there will be available sites. We have seen and visited with friends, John & Kathy and Dick & Judi, others are here but we haven’t seen them yet. I am a bit concerned though we have had the units on both sides of us leave, I wonder if it is because the camper is dirty. I will have to get that taken care of sometime next week.

Yesterday we went to Matt, Tiffany, Bryon and Alexa’s house so we could go with Alexa to her second grade open house. She is in a small class, nineteen, but I still don’t envy her teacher. Alexa’s desk is in the first row, so she will have to pay attention, DSCN6025 I always preferred the last row of desks, out of sight out of mind. The we went to eat at Hickory Park restaurant, http://www.hickoryparkames.com/, we ate there before and it is a very good place to eat. The service was okay, the kitchen forgot Bryon’s meal but he did get it. Then it was off to Wal-Mart because Alexa needed some shoes for school. We got all of that taken care of and headed back home.

Sarah has been bothered with some eye pain and so she made an appointment with an ophthalmologist for this morning. All is good news, she has some eye floaters, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floater, I believe most middle age and older people have them, but Sarah also has a fold in the vitreous of the eye, http://www.everydayhealth.com/health-center/posterior-vitreous-detachment-info.aspx. The doctor told her she had nothing to be of concerned with right now, so all is well with her.

Tonight we are meeting long time friends Norma & Orren for dinner at Prairie Meadows Racetrack for dinner, they have great prime rib there. While waiting for our friends I went into the casino and sat down at a penny slot. Most of these machines don’t make sense to me so I just put money in and push a button. I did manage to play for about twenty minutes and left with $5.50. We spent almost three hours visiting with Orren & Norma, we had a great time.

Today I finally got my battery project done and cleaned the truck. Life is good.

Till later – Dreams Do Come True

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Hidden Valley RV Resort, Milton, WI

We have been here over a week now and I do like this campground. I don’t care what they call it this is still a campground. I guess resort in the name comes from the fact they have a pool, Frisbee golf, baseball field, skateboard area and a couple of volleyball courts along with a nice play area for the kids, and they can charge a higher price for the sites. All in all even though we don’t use all the amenities I still enjoy the park. The people are friendly, they have seasonal units here, and we just plain enjoy it.

Last Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday we got to see Mason play baseball. It was great, he reminds me of his dad when he first started playing organized ball. Mason has some talent and if he applies himself will be better than Robert was. He is already hitting as well as or better than his dad did at this age. It will be fun to see him play next year and see the improvement he makes.

Tonight we get to see Madyson dance. She has dance and gymnastics on Tuesday night, I am looking forward to this.

Last Wednesday I cleaned my brother Larry’s Ford Ranger, he is letting us use it until September, we are very thankful for that. The truck was dirty, but we managed to get it looking respectable. Thursday I cleaned the front of the camper and after letting it sit all of the week before in the 100 degree heat in Burlington, the bugs were baked on but my DWG Dri Wash n’ Guard made short work of them. Then on Thursday I tackled the front of the F550, talk about a challenge, I hadn’t cleaned it since April, something I will not do again. It took me several hours to get it back to the way I wanted it. Now everything looks good and we are relaxing.

We are here until the ninth then it is off to the CORE park at Coralville, IA. We will be there about a week, then on to Crossroads RV Park, Mt. Pleasant, IA to visit with Dave & Shari Frantz good friends we have know for quite some time and finally to Griff’s RV Park in Altoona, IA, a favorite park, to stay until Oct 1. We will do our doctor appts etc. before heading south to Mesa, AZ for the winter.

So for now that is it remember, Dreams Do Come True.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Leaving Sheridan Lake

With my mother in the hospital we left Sheridan Lake on Sunday the 15th and headed for Honey Creek State Park at Lake Rathbun, IA, with a stop at Mitchell, SD to visit with Clancy & Amy and the kids. I had hoped to make it to Centerville to see mom again but it wasn’t to be, she passed away about an hour before we arrived at the campground. She wasn’t in any pain and died peacefully, I know she is with dad now and has completed her journey. We will all miss her but the memories are there to sustain us.
We stayed with my brother Larry and his wife Kathy, THANK YOU, for putting up with me for such a long time, we were there six days, I can be a difficult person at times, so again thank you. The visitation and funeral were well attended, I saw a lot of people I haven’t see for forty years or more. It is interesting how this seems to be the norm for weddings and funerals. You see people you haven’t seen for a lot of years and you catch up but at the same time you know you most likely won’t see them again for years. Life is that way, we meet someone who we enjoy visiting with over a day or years and then we are pulled apart by any number of circumstances and we go for years without seeing them and a situation arises which allows us to renew our friendship. So it was this time for me, a sad occasion brought on the joy of seeing long ago friends.
Burlington HS administration was very gracious in letting us park the camper and truck in one of their parking lots for our stay in Burlington. It worked our great because my brother lives a half a block from the HS so I was able to check on the camper daily.
We headed out last Monday, the 23rd, for Hidden Valley RV Resort in Milton, WI. This is a nice campground, more money than what we want to spend, but it is the best in the area. There was one closer to the kids but they were more expensive and not as accommodating and as nice. So we are here until August 9, then to Mt. Pleasant, IA, Coralville, IA, ending on August 19th at Griff’s RV Park for a month or more.
So the circle of life ends for mom and continues for the rest of us. We will continue on this journey through life with the knowledge that our time will come to a full circle also at some future point in time.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


Last week my mother went to the hospital, she was 88. We drove to Des Moines last Tuesday and visited with her. My sister Colleen and brother Larry were there also. We visited with the doctors and asked that mom be transferred back to Centerville, IA, where she was living in a facility managed by our sister Tara. Bottom line she went back to Centerville and enjoyed seeing her friends for a couple days. We left South Dakota to be close to her but mom passed away yesterday at 3:04 pm while we were on the road.
Her funeral will be Friday at 10 am.
We will miss her but with her medical issues we know she isn't going to suffer anymore and she is with our dad.
Sarah and I will spend the rest of the summer in WI, IA and NE. before heading to AZ for the winter.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Another week at Sheridan Lakes

All we do up here is work, well at least that’s all Sarah does. I don’t know if I really explained our duties here. Sarah is on the janitorial staff, well there are two of them on the staff, 2012-05-18_15-47-34_2822012-05-18_15-47-38_549this is Sharon and Sarah. As you can see they are prepared to clean 68 outhouses in the various locations around the forest. These ladies work hard and deserve all the compliments they get on the cleanliness of the outhouses.

Now I work as a camp host while it isn’t a very demanding job from a physical labor stand point it is demanding from a time stand point. I have to be in the campground seven days a week except for Tues & Thurs from 8 am to 8 pm. This is bad but then add to that no internet access and I thought I would go nuts the first couple of weeks. Now I do get into town on Thursday and get on the internet, the Slate Creek CafĂ© has free Wi-Fi and I go there for breakfast and do my internet access. We have a beautiful view of the lake and our camp loop is generally one of the quietest loops in the park.

Ok, so what have we been up to.

Tuesday, June 18, 2012

We left the campground early and headed for Wind Cave National Park to tour the Wind Cave. I am writing this at the camper so I have no internet but you can Google Wind Cave National Park and read all about it. This cave has more than ten miles of passages explored and most of that was done by a young man named Alvin McDonald, he was sixteen when he started his explorations and spent the next four years of his young life exploring the cave. He died of the  plague, I believe, at the age of twenty. In the thirties the Conservation Core came in and put in lighting and cement paths and stairs so ordinary folks could see this fantastic cave. DSCN5619This formation is called the box something because it resembles the way a cardboard box is made, the honey comb type of structure. Ninety-five percent of this type of formation in the world in found in this cave, five percent is found in England and no other cave in the world has this particular formation. Here are a few other pictures from the cave.

DSCN5549As you can see some of the passages were rather narrow. The guide kept saying don’t touch the walls. I hate say this but it didn’t matter if I went straight at it or turned sideways, I TOUCHED THE WALLS. DSCN5573DSCN5602DSCN5603There were a total of 450 steps we had to navigate. I asked the guide if they were all up and he said no. Boy was I relieved, I didn’t know how they would extricate me from the tunnels.

DSCN5608DSCN5609DSCN5612DSCN5623DSCN5624DSCN5625The pictures don’t do justice to the color of the walls and ceiling, it was a great trip.

The rest of the week was work. We did go out to eat on the 21st with Mark & Sharon. We went to the Alpine Inn in Hill City. You have your choice of steak or steak, it was good. We ate there the first time we came up to see Mark & Sharon.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

We headed for the South Dakota Air & Space Museum located at commercial entrance to Ellsworth AFB. I was disappointed in that they didn’t have very many displays but what they had were interesting. We took a tour of the airbase and the missile site that was used for training purposes. At the height of the cold war, for you young folds that is the period of time when the American and Russia were nuclear powers, there were fifty minuteman missiles sites in South Dakota. These were unmanned sites and were controlled by a central command center. Each center controlled ten missiles, these centers were strategically located throughout the area. When the cold war ended and the nuclear treaties signed the US was allowed to keep two missile sites, that I know of, one of them being here in SD out by the Badlands, the other by Tucson, AZ.

Human’s are interesting beings. Last Saturday night the campground was filling up and we were down to one camp site left. A car pulls up and asks if we have any camp sites left and we say we have one. We show them the location of the site on the map, knowing it is the last available site in the campground and they want to go look at the site, knowing if someone comes in while they are “looking” at the site we will be obligated to rent the site to the requestor. It is interesting how people react to situations and what is available to them.

As you know if you saw my previous post, we have a forest fire going on across the lake. Sheridan Lake has group camping, a marina and a beach on the north side of the lake. Unfortunately these are located on the north side of the lake and this is where the fire is raging. As of today they are saying it is contained to about 350 acres so it isn’t a big fire but it has closed the lake to boating of any kind and we’ll see what it will do to the camping reservations we have for this weekend. Here are a few pictures I took today of the fire.

DSCN5655IMG_1476The helicopter dropping the bucket for more water.IMG_1534IMG_1542IMG_1543IMG_1604IMG_1606IMG_1608IMG_1609IMG_1610

We are safe on the south side of the lake, this fire would have to escalate substantially to get to us, so we aren’t worry about it.

Friday, June 29, 2012

The Forest Service opened the north side of our campground and opened the lake to boating again. We have had a few cancellations, I don’t believe they were due to the fire though. I did have a couple of campers leave today who were booked through till Monday, their reason was they couldn’t get out on the lake. They left before we found out the lake was open again.

July 4th week should be interesting, we are preparing for a busy week, no one has a day off, we are on call to help where ever needed.


Almost half way through our gig here.

Dreams Do Come True

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Forest Fire–Black Hills National Forest–Sheridan Lakes

Breaking News:

We have a fire raging on the other side of our lake, it began Thursday with some young people having a fire a popular swimming hole and it got away from them. It has covered 175 acres or more and the fire caused the closure of our north beach area and marina along with the campgrounds on that side of the lake. Here are some pictures of it, mostly smoke but it is my first forest fire.

DSCN5656DSCN5657DSCN5658DSCN5659If this picture could be made bigger you would see flames just above the shoreline.DSCN5661DSCN5665To the far right is the dam and a place called Dakota Point, it is a favorite fishing spot and it has a rocky cliff where the young people like to go and jump from the cliffs into the water. This is where the fire began and it has spread.

These were taken from our south boat ramp, the lake has been closed to boaters so the helicopter can dip the bucket it has beneath it into the water and then dump the water on the fire. I wasn’t able to get pictures of the helicopter because it wasn’t flying when we were taking these pictures.

We are hopeing the fire will be contained and extinguished by this weekend but we don’t know.

More in my next blog, plus I will catch on the other things we have done.

Dreams Do Come True