Friday, April 17, 2015

Party Time!

We have experienced a beautiful week here in Upstate New York that is reflective of this season of rebirth, "Spring". Bright sunshine most days with the promise of showers today. Crocuses are blooming in the front yard and if one looks closely you can see evidence of buds on the trees. Even the grass is beginning to "green up" a bit. Most of the area "Drive-Ins" have opened and you can see the survivors of this harsh winter standing outside these establishments licking their ice cream cones.

I walked in Saratoga Springs Park earlier this week. The landscape was still dotted with mounds of snow piled high by the plows and some of the trails were still icy. The Kaydeross Creek was very high and a few trout fisherman were pulling some newly stocked fish from the stream.

Wherever I wandered this week everyone's face reflected the promise of Spring with smiles of relief that the cold and snow had finally retreated. Though we escaped the most severe days in Florida I could still relate to the excitement that folks were feeling. On Monday the weatherman reported that we were experiencing temperatures in excess of 60 degrees for the first time since October. This news confirmed my long standing belief that we experience six months of Winter in this part of the country.

On Tuesday we invited daughter, Suzie, and her family over for our first cook out of the season. Hot dogs, hamburgers, and salads, "Oh My". Our joy at being outside reminded me of the Robin William's quote that I posted above.

Doctor appointments took us to Albany two days this week so I had the opportunity to walk at "The Crossings" in Colonie. Ducks and Koi were swimming in the pond, the trails were busy, and the playground resonated with the voices of many children exalting in the warm sunshine. I find that this "Spring Joy" is contagious and realized that those who live in places like Florida miss out on this unique experience. This seasonal change is a reminder to me that life is always evolving, moving from times of struggle and darkness to joy and light and of course back again. Spring also represents the promise of new experiences, new life.

AND baseball is back! I have been a Mets fan since their inception. I remember rooting for them as an underdog team when I was a teenager. However, as a working adult with a family, I never really had time to watch the games. Since my retirement from full time ministry, 7 years ago now, I have been able to watch most of the games on SNY. Unfortunately they have not been a very good team these last 7 years and have missed the playoffs each year. Like the season of Spring, this season looks very promising as the Mets are now in first place in their division. Of course, my rational mind reminds me of how many times they have showed promise early in the season before only to fade dramatically in the second half of the season. But the "promise" is exciting and I know, I know, that my hopeful heart may well be broken once again but right now I am enjoying the "party".
We also ordered our 6 game package of tickets of the local minor league team, The ValleyCats. Can't wait for the first game on June 25th. 

Friday, April 10, 2015

No Place Like Home

Arrived home at 3 pm on Monday, April 6th, to the consequences of frozen pipes back in February.

  • There was a painter in my home office who almost had a heart attack when we surprised him by yelling, "Honey, we're home" when he thought he was in the house alone. All the furniture in the office was gathered in the middle of the room as he worked around it.
  • Mary's sewing room was filled with everything from the hall closet, bathroom, and office which had been removed to dry rooms out and do repairs.
  • All the clothes from our bedroom closet were piled on our bed so that plumber could work on pipes.
  • Downstairs bathroom torn apart for renovations with toilet laying on its' side.
Welcome Home!

I immediately went to work in master bedroom and soon had clothes hung in closet and painter helped me re-install closet doors and door to bedroom. We also swept and organized kitchen which had some linoleum removed from floor.

On Tuesday I gathered boxes from neighborhood stores and packed up all my books from the office. Carried bookshelves to garage. Took apart computer desk and carried to garage. Office/den now painted and ready for new carpet. We also continued unpacking. Downstairs bathroom painted and put back together,

All of Mary's clothes which had gotten wet were returned from the cleaners. Most clothes were bagged and on hangers. Other clothes and items are in boxes. I boxed up misc. items from office that were piled in Mary's sewing room. Mary and I met with floor covering guy at his store in Mechanicville. We picked out the vinyl for hallway and kitchen and carpet for office/den.  In the afternoon Suzi picked up Mary and John and they went to Suzi's home for supper with the grandchildren. Sarah stopped by to visit and then went with me to have supper with the Organic Faith gang.

Thursday I took a break from the house chores to write a sermon for Sunday when I will preach at St. Andrew in Glens Falls. In afternoon I watched the Mets play Washington.

On Friday Mary went to Albany to file taxes. I stayed home to meet with the floor covering guy. We tore up a small piece of kitchen linoleum to test how difficult it would be to remove. It came up easily and we discovered that the floor was wet underneath. We decided to remove all of the linoleum so the floor would dry out. It was very wet and we fear there may be some mold. I put window fans to work and Mary contacted Quick Response, QR will come tomorrow morning with the big industrial fans and check for mold. It is much drier now then it was so we are hopeful it will be ok. New floor coverings will not be installed until mid May.

Tonight I am watching the Mets take on Atlanta. So far this year they have been fun to watch. Maybe this will be their first good year since I retired and can watch the games.

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Missing "Mud" Already

Day two traveling north was very pleasant. Clear skies and sunshine with the temp dropping as we head ever closer to home. When we stopped for lunch we noticed that 60 degrees in North Carolina felt a lot colder then 60 degrees in Florida. We departed from Waynesboro, Georgia around 9 am and drove through the remainder of that state and the Carolinas arriving in Virginia (is for lovers) mid-afternoon.
We are staying the night at a Sleep Inn in Dublin, Virginia. We are thinking a lot about our time in Weeki Wachee, Florida and how much we love the rental we stay at. The owners call the property "Camp Mud" and we appreciate all the things that make it a unique property. Here are some pics that I took on our last day there.
view of house from street
 view from canal side
 view from side yard
Beautiful cactus with our car in background
 Tool shed

Tire swing
 Camp fire circle with canal in background

 Our picnic area overlooking canal which runs into the Mud River which leads to the Gulf

 Our Tiki Bar
 Yes, we occasionally see manatee in the canal
 mail box

Until next year!

Friday, April 03, 2015

On The road Again

It is April and once again our "winter sabbatical" in Weeki Wachee, Florida has come to an end and it is time to return to Upstate New York. Our gracious landlord gave us a couple of extra days this year so we did not have to depart until April 2nd. There tends to be a mass exodus of "snowbirds" driving north on April one so delaying our departure will help a bit with traffic.

The other blessing this year is that we were able to pack and clean all day on Thursday and then drive just a half an hour north to stay overnight with Dewey and Elizabeth in Hommossasa. We arrived at their beautiful rental after 4:00 pm feeling exhausted and a little (?) grumpy. Thanks to their amazing hospitality we were soon talking and laughing and sitting down to a wonderful meal of scallops, shrimp, and smoked chicken. After a good night's rest we began driving northward in earnest.

It was a good day's drive and we are now at a Best Western in Waynesboro, Georgia. I avoided almost all of the northbound traffic by staying away from the interstate highways, especially I95. The only traffic we endured was going through Starkville on U.S. 301. Once we passed through that town it was clear sailing all the way to our overnight stop. We experienced two good meals today. Lunch was at the Cedar River Seafood Restaurant in Callahan, Florida and supper was a short walk from our motel to Taylor's BBQ. This is a small and authentic bbq and soul food restaurant that was filled with locals. You step in the door and face a long cafeteria line from which you choose roast chicken, fried chicken, pulled pork, bbq chicken, smothered pork chops, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, greens, etc. The three of us ate for under 20 dollars! Simply amazing.