Friday, February 22, 2013


Sis and I are struggling through this, aching knees (hers), ankles (mine), backs (both of us) and other assorted things slow us down but we keep going. Well, we go for 2 or 3 days then take a "rest" day. Over the course of time we have learned we won't get ahead by pushing harder, we will just end up in worse shape than when we started. 

The appearance of "Winter Storm Q" didn't help us any, and while I certainly understand naming winter storms, I wonder why they are using letters instead of names. But oh well. This morning Sis and I wandered out to the car and were a bit surprised to find Abe wearing a coat of ice. A rather thick coat of ice. I thought longingly of the can of de-icer and the ice scrapers in the now iced-over trunk.But oh well, little good that does me now. I went to the drivers side, cracked enough ice to get to the keyless entry pad and unlocked the door. We turned the defroster on "High" and I surveyed the inside of the car for something I could press into service as an ice scraper. I finally decided to use the trash container and it worked pretty good.

We finally got to the house and got a few things done when we realized neither of us were moving too well so we knocked off early, went to the grocery store and came home.

The cable box suddenly decided to stop responding to the remote and since the box had no buttons on it (why not?) I checked out the remote batteries. They were fine so Sis unplugged the box, waited a couple minutes then re-plugged. The reset worked so now we are back in operation. She has now learned to access the "guide" and she's proud of her new found technical expertise.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

OH! The... WORK!

As a child we moved several times. It seems like every time we moved Mom would already be planning how the next move was going to go. I remember a box of hand crocheted lace moving with us several times. They were crocheted by my great grandmother and as Mom grew older she took up crocheting too. She would somehow manage to crochet doilies with thread, I have several of them and I'm pretty sure my sisters were equally blessed by Mom's handiwork. 

I have no idea what ever happened to the box of crocheted lace, somewhere along the line it was either thrown away, given away or lost. But then again, when Mom died my stepdad told us not to come back to the house again so maybe one of his children ended up with it. 

But at the moment we are trying to move Sis 2. She has had her house for around 25 years. In those 25 years she has been back and forth many times while working elsewhere, once she lived in another town for 12 years, bought another house then moved back and there are still several (at least 3,546) boxes with contents that haven't seen the light of day for a couple of decades. 

This whole situation is not helped any by the fact Sis 2 and I are both arthritic and no longer the spring chicks we once were. 

Just why Sis 2 decided she had to do this move in the middle of the winter is beyond me. It took 4 months of hot, dry Arizona weather to get her knees to the point where she could walk comfortably and that was all quickly erased by the cold wet mid-winter climate here. 

So the process is slow but each day we make noticeable progress. 

25 years is a lot of time to accumulate "stuff". Getting this house "unstuffed" is the job before us now.

Anybody need stuff??   

Friday, February 15, 2013

Good Thing

Sis and I both had memberships to auto clubs. We used her AAA when her Toyota blew up and today we used my AARP travel club when the Lincoln wouldn't start. 

Really, Sis and I are not bad luck in cars. When the mechanic came out and jump started it we drove straight to the Wal-Mart Automotive Center where they came out, tested the battery and saw the battery terminals needed to be replaced. $14.97 put things to rights and they even checked the tires - a chore I had intended to do today but they saved me the trouble. 

Sis took the car problems to heart and decided we are going to move faster to get the house on the market faster than planned. She had forgotten just how much these Arkansas winters affected her arthritis, particularly her knees. 

Hopefully, our project will be finished by the end of this week or soon after and we can return to my home in Missouri then she can return to Arizona to resume her retirement.   

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Escape From El Reno

Don't get me wrong, the people in El Reno were very nice, the manager at the motel was very nice and had no problem allowing us a late check-out since Niece had a 4-hour drive to come get us. 

By the time we had eaten a good dinner, got back to our room and called Niece the beds were mighty comfy and we were glad to have them. 

The next morning we got up, had some coffee in the room then went downstairs for breakfast. We liked the fact that the housekeeping staff were having coffee and discussing the day ahead in the breakfast area. I know some people would look down on such things and for heaven's sake when I have worked in housekeeping for the chain motels I have never been allowed to even go get a cup of coffee in the customer area. 

We finished our breakfast and went upstairs to get things rounded up to go to Joplin. 

It happened to be Niece's birthday and as I looked on her FaceBook page she said she was on her way to El Reno, OK to "Rescue Thelma, Louise, and the Taco Bell mascot". 

Well! It wasn't like we started out in a Mustang.

Niece called when she got to town because her GPS took her to someplace other than the motel. I told her I would go down and find someone to help her and call her back. On my way down the maintenance man was trying to load a queen size box springs on the elevator. He saw me coming, pulled the box springs out and stood aside. I told him to come on, there was plenty of room, I helped him load the box springs and helped him pull it out when we got to the ground floor. 

Niece arrived shortly in her red car and we got a luggage cart to take upstairs and get her Momma. And the Taco Bell mascot.

Its a good thing we didn't have more stuff. But then, considering Sis 2 had not cleaned out her car since 2002, maybe the amount of stuff wasn't that bad, but we filled Niece's car up. 

By the time we got back to Joplin Niece's face was hurting from laughing so much and none of us had a bit of change because Oklahoma toll booths had eaten it all. 

Sis took Niece's family out to dinner to celebrate her birthday and it was so great to have the family around the table talking and laughing. 

I feel sorry for people who don't have family that can all gather for a dinner, we all need to be thankful for people, by blood or by heart, we all need family.

We spent the night at Niece's house, I loved it when I woke up during the night and her tortise shell kitty, Butter, was stretched out asleep on top of me. I missed my kitties. 

The next day Hubby came to Joplin and picked us up to take us to our home north of Springfield. 

Sis settled into a recliner and slept 12 or 13 hours. I did wake her up for brownies and ice cream but I figured she would forgive me for that. 

The next morning we left my house, still on track to get Sis 2's house on the market. 

Sis was now driving my 1986 Lincoln Town Car. I had always called my car "Abe". Sis renamed it - "Tug Boat Annie". Aww... Who cares? The big car brought us to our original goal.   


Sunday, February 10, 2013

El Reno Bound

Bill, hold onto your hat - I'm continuing the story.

After Sis 2 and I managed to get in the tow truck Sis was very agonized over the disposition of the car. 

Did I mention the name of the towing company was Miller Time? Yeah, you read that right, Miller Time. Sis and I were rescued off of I-40 by Miller Time. 

As she was pondering the car conundrum  Mr. Miller Said "I'll give you $150 cash right now. I will take it straight to the crusher and probably get $250 out of it."

Sis said "I'll think about it. Okay! $150 sounds good!" 

So Mr. Miller took us to El Reno. We were both starving by now but procuring a place to sleep and get the car cleared out was the most urgent thing on our plates right now so we checked into a major chain motel with a steakhouse right next door. The only room available was on the second floor but there was an elevator. They didn't allow pets but Mr. M pulled around to the side of the building so I could hide Honey Ruth and he went in with Sis to make sure we got a room. 

He then drove to the back of the motel to help Sis unload the car. I got a room key, my purse and everything else I could carry and Mr M checked to make sure the dog was completely covered before I went in. I stayed in the room and every time I heard a noise outside I would open the door and drag in the bags of stuff they unloaded. 

When the car was unloaded and the business was transacted Sis and I walked to the steak house. We were crossing a ditch when sis asked "Have you ever been in such a bad situation?" I assured her I had. 

Early 1990 Hubby 3 and I had gone to South Carolina. Hurricane Hugo had been through not long before and we were hoping there was a decent job market so we loaded up my old blue Ford and took off. Hubby 3 had been a resident of Kansas City, MO for a while so we left north Arkansas and went to KCMO. 

While in KCMO we traded my VCR for a camper that fit on the truck. It had a 3 burner stove and refrigerator and a bed. Pretty nice in case we had trouble finding housing. 

Hubby 3 had a sister in the Charleston area so we had a place to go. However, things in Charleston were not what we wanted so decided to leave. But the problem was, we needed money to travel so he managed to sell truck and camper to a man for $2100.00. We got our 4 black trash bags - holding all of our worldly goods - and 2 rifles and 2 shotguns out of the truck and were walking to his sisters house. 

Back then I was half the woman I am now and I was wearing a cute light blue sundress and flip flops. There we were, walking down the road, each carrying 2 black plastic garbage bags and a gun under each arm. 

About that time in my story Sis2 and I arrived at the steak house and I had to pause long enough to be seated and order our sweet tea. Sis was laughing at the mental picture of us trudging along the highway each with trash bags and a gun under each arm.

So I resumed my story. The highway had no shoulder on it so we were walking on the side of the road with him closest to the road and I was on the outside and a few steps behind. Suddenly I fell straight into a drainage ditch that was fortunately dry. 

But the ditch was about 4 and a half feet deep and very narrow. I hadn't seen it because the tall grass covered it completely. The fall had knocked the wind out of me even though it was a straight fall and I had landed on my feet. Now I was chin deep in a roadside ditch with a gun still under each arm and trash bags on the roadside. I couldn't speak for a few minutes, my head was surrounded by grass and Hubby 3 walked a ways down the road, still talking before he realized I was gone.

He came back and was mainly concerned about the guns but he finally did help me out of the ditch. 

Sis 2 said she felt better because in that bad situation I was still able to laugh about it and she knew we would be able to look back on her car blowup and laugh about it too. 

We had a wonderful dinner and returned to the motel and called my niece, Sis 2's daughter. 

Next: Escape from El Reno      

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Sometimes Things Just Blow Up

I hope my friend Bill doesn't have a heart attack when he sees I am actually posting to my blog 2 days in a row. Usually he sends me an e-mail reminding me I need to post. 

So we were headed down I-40 toward Oklahoma City and once in a while singing "Oklahoma". Maybe some people would not call it singing but we try.

Somewhere about 10 miles west of El Reno, OK the car started making a noise and the "oil" light came on. We stopped at the next exit and pulled up to an island of gas pumps. The pumps had "out of order" signs on them but Sis 2 decided she would just get gas on down the road, but would add oil here. 

She added (oh the horror!) 5 quarts of oil then got in the car announcing "Hey, we are really good now! It's ABOVE full!!". I kind of intimated that was really not a good thing but Sis 2 is a bit set in her ways and I decided to keep my mouth shut. 

Back on the road the noise sort of quieted then got louder. We passed a sign telling us it was now 8 miles to El Reno and I suggested to Sis 2 she might want to slow to maybe 50 or even better 40 mph to increase our chances of getting to El Reno. 

Her response was to accelerate to 80. Then she grinned and said "See? It smooths out fine about 80!" About that time I heard things hitting the pavement behind us and smoke started coming out from under the car. 

"What's that?" 

"You blew up your car" I said as the engine died.

"What do I DO now?"

"Get over on the shoulder as far as you can!" 

She managed to get on the shoulder and got it a bit on the far right outer edge as the momentum of the car ended and the smoke became more intense.

"Get out FAST!" I yelled, "It might go up in flames!" I grabbed my purse and the chihuahua (Yes, we were traveling with Sissy's Chihuahua, Honey Ruth) and exited the car. We stood there as the smoke turned black, I was backing away and pulling Sis with me then the smoke slowed. Oil could be seen dripping from under the car and we were thanking God we had not filled the tank with gas. 

After determining we were not going to catch on fire we went back to the car and sat down. 

"I've never blown up a car before, have you?" 

I realize that even if I am the youngest sister some of my uh, "life experiences" were probably off the radar of my older sisters so I admitted that I had, indeed, blown up cars. Plural. 4 to be exact. 
The first 3 had been while I was married to my first husband, Ed. He and his family were mechanics and sometimes they bought junk cars that still had a few miles left in them and they would restore them. Along the way, I would drive them in the meantime. When I pulled into the yard with the latest victim there was never any criticism, it was just another day at the garage. My 4th victim was a 1987 Mercury Cougar. It was white with a burgundy top and burgundy interior. I loved it. My 3rd (also a mechanic) bought it from his boss. There was a slight knock in the engine but the boss insisted it had been there since the car was new and 88,000 miles is, really, nothing. 

Until the morning several months later when we were on our way to work and the slight knock became a big knock and that was the end of my Cougar. 

So once Sis 2 knew she was not alone in the "I Blew Up A Car" club it seemed to calm her a bit. 

She called AAA and they were, as always, so very helpful. The nice lady quickly dispatched a tow truck and they let us know when the truck headed our way so we were going to be rescued soon. 

Fortunately the weather was nice and we were comfortable waiting in the car. I was keeping an eye out for the tow truck and he arrived in about 20 minutes and as most of us know, that is great time. 

The driver was great. he was prompt, he was very polite, and once he understood we were just rolling with the punches and pretty much laughing at the situation he was joking with us. 

He got the car hoisted and got in the truck and I was attempting to follow. 

Attempting. I have been too long off the farm. Or trucks grew. Or it might be the fact that I am (very openly)  a Fat Lady. 

I reached up and grabbed the hand hold, put my right foot in the door and attempted to gracefully swing into the truck seat. Attempted... I could not lift my butt high enough to slide into the seat. 

Attempt 2 - I grabbed the hand hold, put in my left foot, pushed off the ground with my right foot and again made a mighty swing for the truck seat. I still could not manage to lift my butt that high.

Okay, Maybe there was a lack of "pull" in the proper direction. I grabbed the hand hold with my right hand, reached across the seat and the driver grabbed it, I put my right foot in the truck and made a mighty swing and still no luck. By now I was laughing so hard I couldn't do anything. I finally gave up and crawled into the truck on my knees and managed to get myself on the seat - still laughing. 

Sis 2, however, grabbed the handhold, swung into the truck in one smooth motion like a gymnast. 

El Reno - here we come!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Adventures With Sis

Getting Sis to AZ last year was pretty much a piece of cake compared to getting her back to Arkansas this year. 

After spending several months in the delicious sunny warmth of Arizona and the arthritis relief the climate offered she was ready to take the plunge and put her house on the market. As usual for Sis 2 she took a bit of "persuasion" in the form of a tentative offer from a prospective buyer. 

I was willing to fly west and accompany her on the journey but unfortunately Sis 1 was busy in the Great White (and getting more snow by the minute) Northeast. Sis 1 doesn't doesn't "do" cold very well but by the time this adventure draws to a close, she might be happy to need the snow boots she had to buy. 

The flight west was uneventful and a few days later Sis had moved out of her temporary home in an apartment then we loaded into her 2002 Toyota Corolla (275,000 miles on it) and headed east. Our first night out we stopped in Tucumcari, New Mexico where we met a world champion bad front desk clerk. 

You know how some people are just not meant to work with the public? Well, Tucumcari's Red Roof Inn has one working the desk. Her way-too-long sparkly pink nails were her main focus. People were standing line to check in and she kept saying she "needs to finish this" before checking in customers. Was she playing Farmville? Updating her FaceBook status to "Avoiding work"? Chatting with a potential mate on e-Harmony? Bidding on fake nails on e-Bay? We will never know but finally we were checked in to a room with 2 beds after 25 minutes. Went to our room and it only had 1 bed. We decided to get a refund and go to another motel because anyplace that employs Sparkle Pink Nails I Can't Read A Room Chart might not need our business anyway. 

We got a refund and went to Day's Inn. By now we were so tired the Taco Bell in the next building looked mighty attractive. After checking in and buying a Bag o' Food we looked over the map and decided to go for Gallup, New Mexico the next day.

Sis and I are not out to set any fast travel records.

The next morning dawned and we both discovered our arthritic bodies were not happy about the change in climate. We were awake but couldn't move. Literally could not move. I finally managed to kind of roll to the edge of my bed and land on my feet so Sis 2 managed to use the same technique and after moving around for a bit we could finally move enough to check out, make our way across the icy parking lot to the car without mishap and once again hit I-40 for our day of travel. 

Gallup, NM was not a bad goal for the day and we reached it without a problem, after checking in, we again looked over out map and decided we would try to reach someplace east of Oklahoma City for the next day of travel.