December 2012


         The beginning of December was filled with the anticipation of visiting Jason and Betsy in Texas.  We had yet to visit the “Hartong Ranch” as it has been in various stages of repair over the last couple of years.  When Jason and Betsy said that we coud have their King size bed and bathroom we decided to go. 


image006.pngimage007.jpg         Diane had been watching airline ticket process for months.  It was cheaper to fly all the way to Tyler than to stop and drive 2 hours from Dallas.  So we flew all the way to Tyler.  The cost of flying the dog coach was $25 more than our ticket and the cost to check the suits cases was more than the cost of the flight.  Who figures these things out?  How much extra fuel do you burn with a 9 lbs. dog onboard vs. a 40 lbs. suitcase and two people?


         Betsy and the kids met us at the airport and it was great to see them.  The kids are getting so big and grown up. 


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We all piled into their van and we were off to Sam’s Club, Walmart and the Health food store.  Betsy is a gluten free Vegan.  It took me awhile to wrap my head around that one.  But she looks and feels great.  It definitely agrees with her.


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         “The Ranch” was typical East Texas I guess.  Not being from Texas I had to surmise.  Each of the neighbor’s places looked pretty much the same.  Each had various items in their yard and one or two burn piles.  The neighbors have redefined outdoor furniture.  A couch or chair sitting on the front porch is furniture but out of doors.  Hence, becoming outdoor furniture.  Jeff Foxworthy is starting to make more sense now. 


         Jason’s house was all brand new.  He has built/remodeled it from the ground up while renting and living elsewhere.  They have new bathrooms and kitchen and are still working on Amasa’ bedroom and office.  It is very nice and all are anxious for it to be done. 

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         Jason has two buildings on the property not counting the hog shed on the back fence line.(No hogs.)  The second building he intends to gut and use as a huge workshop for all of the ballet costumes, Shiloh Studio scenery and various tools he has accumulated, the most recent, according to Facebook yesterday, being a welder. 




         Their family is very active in their community church.  The kids are enjoying collecting “awana” bucks by memorizing scriptures.  We went to the Wednesday night session and got to see all the activities.  We went again on Sunday as Amasa was dancing in the Christmas program.  We stayed through two services.  We got to observe Jason preaching to his Junior High kids.  He has such a good rapport with the kids.  Diane returned on Monday morning to help with the craft session.




         Church aside we visited some of the local restaurants and nearby communities.  We enjoyed pizza, Jason style.  We had a bonfire in the backyard.  When it turned cold we played games with the kids and taught them how to play Bridge.  We enjoyed a buggy ride, an East Texas Burger and a local craft fair.  We got to Santaland and Taco Bell.  Zimri loves Monopoly and The Settlers of Cantan.  He was pretty scarce in sharing his wood though!  Zimri is very competitive and calculating.  You can always see the wheels turning. 




         We enjoyed a night out with Jason and Betsy to celebrate Kylie’s Williams birthday. 




         The restaurant was called Pine Lake but in Spanish.  Lago del Pino.  They had this great outdoor patio over looking a lake.  The patio included a huge fireplace with authentic long horns.  There was no doubt that you were in Texas.



         We went to a Sub Station that didn’t serve subs.  We played Apple to apples there on the out door patio. 


         While we were there Jason took a couple days off and I watched while he moved the whole house water filter from the Laundry room to a cutout he made on the outside wall.  When he reinstalled it he put in extra valves so he could backwash the filter.  Removing the filter from the Laundry room was in preparation for the installation of cabinets above the washer and dryer.  The new cabinets will be a welcome addition, as they could use some pantry space and Betsy would like to see the top of her dryer.  Jason wants to custom make them so that they are extra deep.  They have lots of projects brewing. 


         While I was watching Jason work he made the mistake of asking me to do something.  It was what seemed to be a simple request.  All I had to do was wrap teflon tape on a couple of connections.  Well, of course one of the two connections leaked after installation!  Jason graciously blamed it on some of the previous plastic connector being stuck in the grooves, but I’m not sure.  After working one whole day to move the filter we had to work the next to fix the leak.  Once complete, it did work and they can now back flush the filter.  All in all it was fun to see him work and really gratifying to see that he has become so talented, in so many things.


         The visit to Texas went really fast and it was great to see everyone and see everyone doing so well.  We really had a great time!  Owning a home is a never-ending project and they seem to have lots and lots of plans.  It will be fun to see the progress when we return on future visits. 




         I returned to Florida motivated to work on our house.  I painted the screened porch after finding the final leak in the roof.  I know.  Never say never.  I have been chasing leaks in that porch for 12 years.  With the installation of a new roof on our building the leaks have stopped.  Water was coming off the roof into the eaves and then draining down the wall outside the Tyvek but behind the siding.  It was frustrating but now fixed.


         We had a small tragedy.  The shelves in the garage fell off of the wall.  After twelve years the plastice “U” clamps gave way.  Not a single screw came loose.  Nothing on the shelves broke but it did dent the car.  We were lucky we were home and could take care of it the same day.  New shelves were back up by evening. 


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         This was our first Christmas in Florida.  The weather has been awesome.  Mostly 80 and sunny.  After we Skype’d with the kids and Grandkids and watched them open our presents to them, we walked 18 holes of golf.  We practically had the course to ourselves.  It was pretty neat.  I think I am going to get used to this.  Tennis, golf, boating and butterflies in the backyard in December!


         New Years Eve was spent with friends.  We invited ourselves but the Coles graciously conceded to host the party.  What great friends we have.  Dinner for 8 and a good soak in their hot tub made for a perfect way to close 2012.




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         New Years Day we enjoyed a Rosebowl Party at the Sharpnacks!  Jan is an alumnus of the Univerity of Wisconsin, a loyal Badger through and through.  There was standing room only as we cheered the Badgers on. 


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         What Wisconsin game would be complete without a cheese head or two?  Wisconsin didn’t win, the Big 10 rarely does, but it was a great party!  We are starting 2013 with a flurry of activity.  Can’t wait to start the next web page!