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Monday, September 28, 2015

Dead Skunk In The Middle of the Road....

Anyone remember that song by Loudin Wainwright 3rd back in the 1970's?   

Well, that was our excitement this weekend----  on our way home from Steve's brother Pete's and Cindy's marvelous wedding (will write more later about all three weddings we attended this month)   we happened to see a "sachet kitty" in the middle of the road.  We could not swerve to avoid it, due to oncoming traffic.  I think he was already spewing his stink stuff before we hit him... and we felt him roll under the car with a thud underneath by our feet.  EWWWW

Immediately we turned off the air vents so none of the stink would come inside the car.  We drove in a beeline to the nearest car wash with underbody wash feature.  We went through TWICE with the slowest crawl ever for the underbody jets to squirt the most water and soap.  I don't know if car washes in the south have underbody wash, but here in the north they are necessary for road salt in the wintertime.

We drove home, and decided to park out in the yard, and not in our garage.  We rushed out of the car into the house and took showers, but the smell was getting fainter by the time we went to bed.  In the morning it was a bit noticeable, and by afternoon being parked in the open field breezes out at the museum, it was not too bad at all.

Now as I write this on Monday evening, this morning I used it to bring my elderly neighbor to visit her daughter in the hospital, and I could smell a faint whiff when the engine was hot, but otherwise on the inside we were fine.  I think we escaped the worst fate ever!!!!  

On Saturday morning, our neighbors two houses down were holding an auction.  It was all the antique furniture and belongings of their mother who is now in a nursing home.  The house has been on the market for a while, but they also put the house on the auction block too.  Sadly, the only bid was too low, and not accepted.  Here is the house....

(this Zillow link says not on the market, but it still is) 

The day dawned clear and promised to be sunny, so all of the antique furniture was brought outside and set in rows on the stately lawn to get the best attention once the auction started at 10 am.  We wandered over about 9 am to set up our lawn chairs, stake our claim to a good spot, and peruse the items.

Theil Auction and Realty Services held the event....

I had my eye on a couple things, which my buddy Herb Buhl ended up with!  A mission oak fern plant stand and a barrister bookcase.  I will have to have a talk with that guy... hmmm outbidding me!

But the happiest purchase I made was this lovely old oak office chair.  You don't find them too often without the arms.

Here is after we got it home and I cleaned it up

I didn't want a chair with the arms when I sit at my treadle sewing machine (it matches the 101 year old cabinet for my Singer Treadle Machine!) See how cool this parlor cabinet is? The treadle is hidden down inside the cabinet.  The sewing machine rises up and down like an elevator on a rolling spring coil.  When it's all closed up, it looks like a lovely piece of old world oak parlor cabinetry.

This machine was lovingly gifted to me by my quilting teacher friend, Paula.  What a treasure and I love to sit at it and sew blocks for quilts on the 101 year old machine.

Also when using the chair with my sockknitting machine, having arms on the chair get in the way of the cranking motion. So it will do double duty for me.  I got the chair for a mere $25.00!  What a bargain!

Also I bid on two boxes of stained glass pieces, tools, leading and supplies for making stained glass windows!  They belonged to the woman of the house, and these tools are what she used to make the stained glass window in their bathroom.  I have never done stained glass, but there is a book and I am willing to learn.  I paid only $9.00 as nobody else seemed to want them.  My bargain! Each time I look at that stained window in their house, I will smile inside, knowing that Jovie made it with the tools I now own.

The last thing I bid on was something I had admired for a while from a fellow Facebook friend Vicki Hawkins... she buys and collects "Temp-Tations" bakeware sold on QVC.  Although they are not old or antique, the items are all hand painted in a wonderful theme.  The bakeware can go from freezer to oven or microwave to table and have nice metal racks to keep the heat from damaging the diningroom table.  I saw a set in the auction and thought if they don't go over $20 I might go for them.  Yup.. got em.  $20 bucks.   I looked these pieces up and I got quite a deal!   I don't think I would ever buy them new from QVC, but I will watch for this pattern at rummage sales and thrift shops.  They are called Temp-Tations Old World in the blue color theme.

We left the auction before it was done, and had to get dressed to rush over to North Shore Country Club for brother Pete and Cindy's wedding.  It was lovely and I will do a blog post later on the wedding.

And that was where the dead skunk came into play... on our way home. EEWWWWW

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Motorhome Dash Air Conditioner Service

As most of you know, our motorhome is a vintage unit, a 1996 Safari Serengeti diesel pusher.  It was actually made in Nov of 1995.  Bit by bit, things break, wear out, run down or leak.

The last two excursions we didn't have enough freon on the front dash air system to cool us from the front vents.  In those cases, we power up the generator and run the roof air conditioners to help keep us cool.  But we knew the dash system needed to get a good look-see soon.  Especially if we head down south some time this winter, we will need it in good working condition.

Steve had re-charged the system a few times over the years with cans of R134a freon, but this last time it would not take in any more freon, sadly it would not cool or kick in the compressor.  That usually means that there is too much air in the system.  It needs to be brought in, get hooked up to a machine to evacuate the remaining freon, and then have it pressurized to check for leaks.   We had this done once about 7 or 8 years ago and we were good until now.  Time to do it again....

We found a nice local garage able to do it locally:

Automotive Source Inc. Service Center
61 E. Chestnut 
Chilton WI 53014

We pulled the rig around back, and we were about 10 minutes early for our appointment.  We were taken around back right away, and our mechanic Eric was right on the job.  He let us stay and watch by the rig, and allowed me to take photos.  (we hesitate to ever leave our rig unattended at a shop after a VERY bad experience up in Oconto that caused us a lot of money, pain and headaches)    So we request that we can observe as long as we promise to not get in the way. 

Eric brought out the evacuation machine, and said he has been working for this shop for three years now. He drives over every day from Menasha. Happily, he is closing on a home purchase in the area in one week and is quite excited to be a new homeowner in our city of Chilton. He is looking forward to an easy commute of only a few blocks by next week! 

Eric had to remove the little caps on both ends of the dash air system. Ours is a Acme brand model 191633 and has both an inlet and outlet openings.  Eric hooked up the machine and set it to work.  It first has to suck out all the freon and the old oil stuff in the system. 

Then he pressurized the system and watched the gauges for any leaks for a period of time to be sure.  Next it was time to add the proper amount of freon and also some new dye and oil treatment fluid.  Our system capacity is 4.6 pounds, and Eric wrote it right on the case of the unit so we know in the future what it takes.  Here is my Steveio waiting patiently during the testing process for leaks....

Now it time to fire it up and check the coolant from the dash vents.  Steve went back to check the compressor unit at the engine and noticed that one long rib of our serpentine belt has come off!  The belt is still working, but with one piece missing, we will soon see more of it destroyed. 

Soooo, now we ordered a new belt, and it will be in tomorrow.  Good thing he checked!  He is thinking the tensioner pulley is causing some grief too, and it helped shred the belt. We we will also replace the tensioner at the same time.  Steve has an extra one on hand in his box of replacement parts.  Usually Murphy's Law is that if we have a replacement part on board, then the part in working action never breaks!  LOL    So while he changes the belt, he will put on the new pulley and keep the current one as an emergency spare. 

Now... it's time to PAY THE BILL! 


 Steve looks pained.
Tom looks happy (or so he says) ~!

The bill wasn't so bad afterall! 
It was $78 freon
$4.50 dye/oil
and $75 labor

The serpentine belt will be in tomorrow and that is an additional $54 
Steve will take care of installing that himself.

Out of 136 reviews on this place, they have a 99% rating.  I read the two negative ones, and they were quite minor.  The other 134 reviews were great. So I think we will now add this to a place on our list that we can return to.  

Thanks Eric and Tom for the work today! 

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Winding Down the Weekend

Whew... what a busy weekend!  But it's slowly winding down now while we watch the Packer Game tonight on tv.  So far it's a winning score, and we are happy.

I thought I would write up another blog post....

Thursday evening, we unloaded the motorhome after leaving High Cliff State Park....   I didn't feel like cooking, so we hit our favorite Mexican restaurant 2 towns over in Kiel, called El Camino.  The food is SOOOO good, and Steveio had his favorite chicken fajitas and I have my regular seafood chimichangas (they are not on the menu, but they make them for me each time I ask)   They serve you so much food, I take half home and it's lunch the next day. Plus margaritas are only $3 on Thursdays....  link: El Camino Facebook Page

Our weekend filled up before we knew it.  On Saturday morning we got some house chores done, and Steve worked on the broken air horns on the motorhome.  Seems when I blasted them last time, I suddenly lost all pressure.  Steve determined it was some old bad connections, and got it all fixed up.  He also did a few other projects on the air conditioner shroud, fixed the sagging insulation in the engine compartment and I did a good clean-up and clear out of summer items from the rig.

Next camping trip will probably be Halloween at High Cliff State Park, which is a huge event to attend with the kids and grandkids.

Speaking of kids and grandkids, we got a happy surprise visit from our daughter Heather, son-in-law Jesse, and both grantots Jameson and baby Whitney!   Wheeee heeeeeee

I got in a LOT of cuddles, changed a poopy diaper, fed a bottle and played with the sweetie who is starting to smile back at us!  Big Brother Jameson got to pick a restaurant --- link: Penelope's Pizza Facebook Page

It was such a nice visit and we got to spend some time just marveling at how much she is growing in her short 6 and a half weeks.  Giving Jameson as much attention and interesting things to talk about is important too.  He got to ride in our car to the pizza place, and was doing double digit addition in his head.... and just started second grade!

Saturday night, our nice neighbors to the back had a party... and invited us over to hang out.  Crackling campfire, good laughter, and dogs hanging out looking for treats.  We are so lucky to have a bought a house near such great neighbors!

 We hung out till late, 
and then toddled across the yard to bed.  
Easy commute! 

Sunday morning started with fresh bagels and coffee on the porch.  The mornings are crisp and cool, but as soon as the sun comes in, it warms up and we are comfortable.  Soon Steveio hopped on the lawnmower and I set about knitting socks on my antique circular sockknitting machine. I have to get some inventory built up for upcoming shows and Etsy sales for seasonal holiday shopping.  I can do about a pair an hour, and am working up some bright colorful wool socks in blends of pretty yarns.

Cup of coffee
French vanilla creamer
Soft celtic music
and creative yarns! 

At noon, it was time to load up my sockknitting machine and head over to the Calumet County Historical Museum.  We volunteer there to staff the museum during their Sunday sessions.  Here is a blog post I did earlier in the summer about helping out there: 

and their website:

I have been working on the Fiber Display.  Today I took care of spreading more Howards Feed N Wax on the rest of the fiber tools--- spinning wheels, yarn swifts, niddy noddies, and hand cards.  Even a big ol' treadle sewing machine got a good soaking in of preservative conditioner on the dried out greyed wood. It also repels insect intrusion with the natural orange oils. I am proud to say the display is looking quite fresh.

(this is only half of the fiber display) 

A fellow member dropped off some sheep-shearing tools from various eras in the past.  I went through the box to identify most of the equipment and decide what else can go in the Fiber Tools Display and which should end up in the Agriculture building.  We have a lot of different displays depicting early life in Calumet County, WI.

Once our chores were done, we set up for visitors.  We had a whopping 13 people stop by this afternoon!  Steve likes roaming and poking around in the agricultural displays with people, looking at old farm implements and small engines over the years. Someone came in and donated their dad's chainsaw, from the early 1950's.   It was fun to document the item and get it ready for cataloging.

I set up my sockknitting machine and kept working on socks while Steve visited with people and helped show them around the various displays.  My sock machine garnered attention all by itself... and is an antique from 1925, so it fit right in.

This is such a fun place to hang out. While there, I explore a lot of the old newspapers, photos and albums of scrapbooks that people have donated. I am learning more and more about our tiny community.

Admission is FREE
but donations are gladly accepted. 

Well, it's Packers half time now, so I will wrap up this blog and get it posted. Steveio is starting to make some popcorn for the second half of the game. The doggers will gather to beg their share.  He better make a BIG bowl! 

Friday, September 18, 2015

I Apologize

Many of my dear readers have been writing to ask how things are, and if everything is okay. Thank you SO MUCH for checking in on us!

Yes, things have been crazy....  family obligations have taken the forefront. It has been an roller-coaster for sure. I have not had a lot of computer time, and when I have, it has been a crazy turmoil of emotions to write about. I think I am in a slump.

Maybe writing about them makes them more real.  
Makes them keep me awake at night. 
Makes them scary. 

I am trying to focus on the positive....

First and foremost, our darling little grandtot number six is FINALLY gaining ground, maintaining her blood platelets and putting on more weight.  whew!!!!

You go, Whitney Wonder Wade!   
You grow and prosper and gain strength and keep up that smile! 
Just look at those dimples????

The toll that cancer has taken on my father is hard on the entire family.  We have been doing what we can, and helping him out with controlling and understanding his health issues, household tasks, errands and bookwork. Helping him with his denial.  Helping him trust the doctors and nurses.  I am so glad that my siblings are pitching in and helping with him too.  The telephone lines are burning up back and forth as he calls to complain about every little thing, but given the fact that he is facing such a terrible disease, we can let him ramble.

Sadly, another dear family member is also facing a serious health crisis, and it's tugging at my heart and making me even more sad about this terrible disease.  We will see how things progress with the next doc appt. and go from there.  It gets to where I hate to even answer the phone.  I can't take any more bad news.

On top of all the sadness, we do have three HAPPY events going on in our month of September!  We have THREE WEDDING CELEBRATIONS!   I will write a blog post about each one in the next few days, so each wedding gets it's own page.

On Monday, I was able to spend a wonderful morning with grandtots Allegra and Mason.  After bringing Allegra to school, little Mason and I had a day to ourselves!  It was nice to have some one-on-one with the little 3 year old guy.  I kept him busy and his naptime in the car was well-needed as I brought him home again.

This week, Steve and I had the chance to escape out to High Cliff State Park for four days.... our friends Herb and Karen were up from Milwaukee and we had made reservations with them months ago to spend some time at the park together.  It was a nicely timed escape, and the weather was going to be gorgeous!

The camp hosts for the month of September had left the park to attend a Volunteer Jamboree sponsored by the Wisconsin State Parks....  we were supposed to go too, but instead decided to stay at High Cliff and take over the hosting duties while they were gone.  That way we could also spend time with our friends and get in some host time to help the park too.   We moved the host sign to our already reserved campsite and took over from there!

I drove out the motorhome to the campground and we got all settled onto our campsite, but we didn't really need to put out the awning.  The shady campsites at High Cliff State Park are so nice this time of year, an awning really isn't so necessary.  There was a strong breeze all four days which kept us cool, even while the temps were up in the 80's each afternoon.  Imagine that for weather in September in Wisconsin!  Geee!!!

Our friends Karen and Herb have the same brand of vintage Safari motorhome as we do, 
but theirs is a year newer and a couple feet longer.  
I really like their mural on the back of the American Eagle and flag... 
(ours has two white tigers that are "meh" to me....) 

The dogs really enjoyed being at the park again.  Long walks and watching the squirrels gathering the hickory nuts and acorns are a bonus!  Each time I took a different route around the park, so they could explore and sniff and enjoy their little "vacation" too.

We shared cooking meals and dessert and treats....  
and each evening ended with a nice campfire!
( we really needed this.... )

We proudly gave Herb and Karen the "Grand Tour" around the park...  and managed to catch a lovely sunset while exploring the pavilion, tower and Steve's maintenance shop.

 It was breathtaking.. pics didn't do it justice.  
Quick as a wink, it was gone....  

When Steve wasn't working, the guys were problem solving and figuring out stuff for repairs on our motorhomes.  Being almost 20 years old, there is ALWAYS something that needs to be done...  Karen and I shared projects, tips, and space-saving ideas.  Karen is also a fibery-person and loves to knit, spin and weave too.  We found a lot of cool things to explore and figure out together.  

Thursday came around way too fast, and it was time to load up and head out. Herb and Karen loaded up their car on their dolly and headed from here up to Peninsula State Park in Door County... There they go!  Thank you, for your much-needed and well-timed visit! 

We dumped our holding tanks, and got the rig ready to roll the short 13 miles back to our house.  Big journey, eh?   I decided that Steve should drive the rig home, because I was feeling a bit of a funny vibration or shudder on the way to the park on Monday when I was driving the motorhome.  He drove it back (but on a different road) and he decided all was fine, and it was just the road surface that I was on.  Wonderful! 

Now it's back home to reality. Home to medical calls, hospice reports, caseworker calls and worry, stress and emotions.  

....and home a big bowl of garden fresh tomatoes to get canned up.  
Sometimes we have to smile at the little things......