Monday, June 28, 2010

Three Bull Snakes is 3 Too Many

for me. I know bull snakes are harmless, but I don't like snakes so am moving my trailer to a more "civilized" spot in the Park where there aren't any snakes. Right now I am located next to some open fields and there isn't much traffic around my trailer, just me walking back and forth.

I ran over another one this morning mowing around my trailer and he was just 20 feet away from the trailer. Friend Mike came over and got him out of the tree and disposed of it for me, and not where the birds could get to him either as they were trying to get him.

Ewwwwwwww, I just get shivers thinking about snakes. Well, am off to the hot tub for a little recuperation from the day.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Red Ant Story

There is a an ant pile at work, that I've been trying to get rid of without any luck. Have tried chemicals and drowning them. Well, they have declared war on me and attacked me last Monday while I was weeding the flower pots around them and putting in some mulch.

I didn't know they attacked me, never saw them. Then Monday afternoon the tops of my feet started itching and burning, by night I was developing red spots with pus. Oh man those things itched soooooo much. I didn't have any antihistime. I was putting everything I had in the trailer on them and I'd wake up in the middle of the night several times wanting to itch. But, at that time I didn't know I had been attacked by red ants, it wasn't until yesterday that I determined IT WAS THEM after doing some searching for types of bug bites on the Internet.

I have counted 18 bites and 3 more have popped up today. I think they crawled inside me and are attacking me from within! War has been declared. Mary, at HPC, asked me today if I am going with a nuclear device to get rid of them. Am going to try vinegar and soap suds next. Any successful suggestions are welcome.

Itch, itch, itch.

PS the post below this one is new today too.

Okay, Okay - Craming 7 weeks here

I started working early May at High Plains Camping, located at Exit 70 on I-70 at Oakley Ks. HPC is primarily a one-night RV Park. Mary has worked extremely hard over the last decade building the Park into stop that would be a memory on one's way to their destination. She has received high ratings and high grades from Woodalls and Good Sam to name a few; and A+ ratings from guests who have participated in Guest Review.

I met Mary via Twitter, then Facebook around a year ago. When I was planning my '09 Fall Trip it had to include a stop at HPC, and a one night visit turned into two. This was in mid-August of last year and one can go back to my Aug '09 posts to read about the Park. I also have a link to HPC on the right.

Well, because of that friendship that developed, I am now spending 3 days a week working there. I drive out on Sunday evenings, work Mon thru Wednesdays and leave Thursday mornings to come home. I do weeding, gardening, planting, painting, sweeping and clean rest rooms/showers and the laundry room and whatever else Mary has on my to-do list. One of my pet projects is de-weeding this area that has overgrown with bindweed, rye grasses and what ever else. See what I have uncovered.
The other day, I kept hearing this hissssss, hissssss. No rattle, just hissing. Now when I go out to that spot, I have a long tool with me and I make lots of noise and shake the bushes. I really don't want something hissssing at me any more, even if it is a bull snake. I just uncovered an animal hole the other day. Could that be the source of the hissing sound?

Here's a couple of my 4-legged friends. The big one is Harey and the little one is Hareitt. Can't figure out which one is which? Neither can I.

It seemed every week I worked there, the weather was a factor in how much work I could get done outside. It rained, rained, rained. I'd come home to Ellis and the weather would clear up thus leaving a lot of outside work for Mary to do when she could. I did miss some weather excitement here at home - two different weeks there were several tornadoes around the immediate area one week and the next week a micro burst did considerable damage around town. My house and daughter's made it through those experiences. I had several anxious hours, waiting it out in Oakley and wondering how everyone was faring at home.

I like the work, it is sometimes taxing on me at times and I hope I am of worth to Mary in what I am able to get done. I like the variety and the work gets me outside and when it gets hot, I can move inside and work. Mary has even trusted me to open the office in the morning, giving her a chance to sleep in a morning or two.

Several weeks ago, I had a pleasant surprise when my friend Geri (I met on my southern states trip in '08) from Florida, let me know that she and her husband Chuck, would be coming thru the area. Geri had been having a rough time recently that resulted in some unexpected surgery while in they were camping in Arkansas. So their forward movement to Spearfish SD was slow. They came to HPC and ended up spending 3 nights. That was mainly due to an accident Geri had when she was closing the door on their 5th wheel trailer there in Oakley. A gust of wind caught the door just as she was closing it and yanked her out the door and threw her to the ground. Her left shoulder hit the bench on the picnic table. To make a painful story short, she went to the hospital in Oakley, had tests and found that she had badly bruised herself. Thankfully, she didn't break any bones, but it has been very painful.

While they were visiting, the Browns from Nebraska spent a couple of nights at the Park at the same time. I met the Browns and their dog Kaycee at Harlan County Lake, near Alma NE last June - my first trip right after I retired. The Browns were going to Atwood KS, where a 40th high school reunion was taking place over Memorial weekend. That was a great friends reunion week for me. Geri and Chuck followed me back to Ellis, on Thursday, and spent a few nights at the City Lakeside Campground.

The first place I parked my trailer, turned out to be location for the water to run down the slopes when ever it rained. Wasn't real happy walking through the mud all the time (remember I said earlier that it rained so much when I was in Oakley), so I moved the trailer about 20 feet west onto a little grassy knoll. Now I was 40 feet from the hookups. I had an extra 20 feet of 30 amp cord and ended up buying another 20 feet of water hose. To keep the cord and hose up off the ground I bought some of that wire garden fencing and used that to hold the cord/hose up off the ground and out of the water washing down the slope, Now my big problem is emptying my holding tanks from 40 feet away. Well, I only have 20 feet of sewer line . . . so I got to initiate my blue tote. Blue totes, for those not familiar with trailering, are containers that you dump your "waste" into and then haul the stinky thing to the nearest dumping hole. I simplified the process for you as it's a hot, stinky job. I am not really relishing doing it this summer when the temperatures are in the 90's/100's. But "snaking" waste thru 40 feet of sewer hose doesn't sound much better.

Here's one of the pretty sunsets over the prairie we get. And here's a sunset with an approaching storm.

And, here's the storm (below picture).

US Hwy 83 runs north/south and is a very busy highway for transporting over-sized loads - in this case parts to the wind turbine machines. Most of the equipment is headed north but occasionally I see bases and blades heading south. The "pilot car" business must be booming as we see these oversized loads almost every day. I once said that I should get into the "escort" business (meaning pilot car) since it seemed to be so lucrative.

Got some funny side glances from people I didn't know. Now I call it the "pilot car" service.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

My Brother's Daughter

My niece Jennifer. She and Mike are getting married Friday, June 25th. I wish I could be there, I wish I knew my niece. She really must be a great gal or my brother wouldn't have kept her. Her mom would keep her no matter what, I know. Jennifer lives 1500 miles away and I don't get out to California very much any more, where I grew up.

I imagine she is a strong person both in determination and perseverance. She's a beauty, I can tell that and she reminds me of her mom. I bet she has patience, that because she is my brother's daughter; but I hope she doesn't have his somewhat satirical outlook, instead has his sense of humor.

Aw Mike what can I say. By now you know what kind of family you are marrying into. You must be a great guy since my bro is trusting his daughter's life and well being to you. I can hear my bro now: "Good luck, Mike"

Congratulations Jennifer and Mike. I will be thinking of you on Friday.
Auntie Em

Friday, June 18, 2010

What a summer . . . . So Far

I made a list of items I would like to get with my earnings this summer - like a new mirror for the passenger side of my pickup (I messed it up 3 or 4 years ago backing out of a garage and have been using clear duct tape to keep the mirror in place - cheaper than a new mirror), new LED lights for inside the trailer, gravel in the driveway and in the back where I park the trailer - things like that. Well, so far I haven't done anything, but instead it will be the medical bills I have incurred (a story to be coming up), the deductible for the new windshield on the truck (this story comes in a bit), payments on a new laptop (another story to come after that).

Okay, will start with the easiest one: THE WINDSHIELD on the truck. It was one of those weeks I forgot something from home (other times it was when I forgot something from the trailer and I needed at home). I forgot my daily medicines and I asked Juno if she could drive about 35 miles down the Interstate and meet me at Collyer. Yup, we planned it for 8:30 p.m. only that was one of the nights they were having bad weather around Ellis. She hi tailed it out to meet me (this was when I lost my cell phone in Ellis and hadn't gotten a new one yet - that's another story) bringing her dog Buster with her. She quickly said it was really bad and stormy at home and couldn't chat, but brought Buster since he's scared of storms, handed me my meds and took off.

I was casually driving back to Oakley and at 8:48 p.m at MM#107 on I-70 near Quinter KS I met a kamikaze pheasant aiming right for my windshield. Blam. Next thing I know I am looking at my rear view mirror just hanging there and all these little spidery cracks going every which way. And the sun was just starting to set and reflecting off those hundreds of cracks! It was two weeks before I got the windshield fixed - the supplier brought the wrong size to the body shop in Oakley the first time.

The CELL PHONE story. I lost it, looked for it. Kept calling it. Disabled it. Police called housemate at home a few days later, when I was in Oakley, and said they found the lost one right in front of the post office where it couldn't be missed. Ya, like it was there when I went back to look the day I lost it. Not. Anyway, got a a new one with gizmos and gadgets and a camera. Whoopie. So was learning about a new cell phone.

The LAPTOP story. My laptop was slowing dying, it finally died - probably the motherboard. I had stuff backed up on an external drive (little did I know when I downloaded my pictures there would be sooooooo many duplicates, triplicates, what a mess) luckily. So I ordered a new MacBook on a Sat and it was delivered on the following Wed. So lots to learn there too, besides the cell phone. This is all good for my 68 year old brain? I still have stuff to load on this new one, but luckily I had a lot of hard copies. Am dreading doing all my documents - think I'll save those for when I take the old in to a computer store, take out the hard drive and see if can load from there. Oh well, and then it might not ever get done.

When my friend Geri and her husband were visiting here in Ellis I had a scary MEDICAL EXPERIENCE. Had to keep Geri company (see my other posting about her accident). I was siting at housemate's computer checking my emails (the reason being in the previous paragraph) when I started to feel dizzy, not the spinning kind, just dizzy. I went to lie down on my bed, after 15-20 minutes it was still there and every time I moved my head - whoops. I hollered at Jim (he was still asleep) to get me a cold, wet washrag for my forehead. Tried that for 20-30 minutes, nope still dizzy. Jim call Juno to take me to the hospital as this isn't going away. Juno came over and they tried to get me to sit up - ohhhhh no am going to pass out, lay me back down. Okay, let's try that again - ohhhhhh no am going to pass out again. I can't make it to your car Juno without passing out. Call an ambulance. Meanwhile I had the wet washrag over my eyes as it seem to slow the dizziness down.

That was an my very first ride in an ambulance in my life. Don't remember a lot - remember the oxygen they were giving me, pricking my finger to check by blood sugar level, them telling me to keep breathing slowwwwwww, and calls coming in about a car accident where the EMS could find the car but nobody was around - look around the bushes they were told (never heard the end of what happened). I still wanted to pass out. Don't remember too much in the ER room except I was there for a hours. They did tests and kept talking to me and I kept wanting to pass out. I just wanted to go to sleep is all.

All the tests came back normal, no stroke, no heart attack, blood sugar levels normal. I had been having trouble with my ears and the thought was that my inner ears were upside down or something (that's not what the ER doc said really). They gave me some Dramamine and within minutes I was feeling sooooooo much better, color was coming back and I could sit up without feeling like I was going to pass out. Whew. Those are all not my favorite feelings and never will be on my list of FAVS.

So I visited my personal doc and "Doc Lisa" gave me meds for the ears and ordered a scan of the carotid arteries. Meds didn't do much good, heating pad felt better. Ears are still bothering me but that could be due to my TMG nerve being irritated (which will be a visit to my neurologist later). Anyhoos, the scan showed I have a slightly twisted right carotid artery with a very slight kink. Well, hello I don't need that artery twisting and kinking up on me. Doc Lisa sent the info about the scan to my cardiologist (gee, am beginning to feel like a celebrity with all these specialists in my life) and am now waiting to hear from him. Doc Lisa says if he doesn't call me next week to let her know and she's gonna whup him into action.

Well, lets see anything else? Oh yes, Jim and I had our annual eye exam. He's getting a new lens. But my cataract - well I have never ever wanted anything in my body to get bad before, but the cataracts are it. They have just a wee bit more to go before they can be removed, meanwhile it's blurry out of the right eye.

Oh there is something else. Have you ever been in your vehicle when it was lifted off the ground, even slightly? This happened to me the day before the pheasant hit the windshield. There is an area, I am learning, between Quniter and the Campus Road overpass (near Oakley) that can get some really nasty weather thru there. A rain squall opened up and poured buckets, the wind was blowing (I learned over 60 mph later), pea size hail was coming down, people were stopping under overpasses (a real hazard when the rain is pelting you, windshield wipers can't keep up, and all you see is a blur of red tail lights ahead of you) and I was trying to find an OVERPASS to get onto to get away from crazy drivers, when all of a sudden the whole truck lifted up. When it came down the spinning rear wheels hit that pavement and wiggle, wiggle and zoom we did. Holy moley what was that I thought. The next day, I learned from a local farmer that around in that same area a huge and very old cottonwood tree had been pulled right up out of the ground, roots and all. Okay, something hit us and I am here to tell about it and the tree isn't.

Well drat, was hoping to get my pictures loaded and finish these two blog entries and GUESS WHAT? I left my camera out in Oakley! LATER. Back in Oakley and downloaded my pictures to iBook and oh no they took something simple and made it a bit more complex - Natch.

Finally figured it out and now can download my pictures to the blog. Here's some recent storm photos from to show I learned how. That 68 year old brain is still working!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Okay, I am working on my next Blog entry

It'll be full of action, excitement, renewing friendships, work, weather and kamikaze pheasants. Oh, and I'll find a few other things too like my very first trip in an ambulance.