Friday, February 28, 2014

Wind Chill of -15

Jim is in Tucson, holding down the rig at Davis Monthan Air Force Base.  I’m in freakin' cold northeastern Ohio, visiting my Mom. Last night it was minus 15 with the windchill but warmed all the way up to 5 degrees by the time I got up this morning. 

The big local news last week was flooding caused by a slight thaw. Then the temps went frigid again, so floods will be in the news again with the next warm up. Right now the forecast is still pretty much cold, cold cold. So cold, in fact, that the surface of 88 percent of the Great Lakes is frozen; I read that normally about half of the lakes' waters freeze when winter is bad. 

Back in Tucson's 75-degree weather, Jim is going to the gym, walking Cooper, watching TV and, I assume, visiting various favorite beer stores.  Meanwhile, Mom and I have not done as much as we might have if the weather were a little more conducive.  But I have:

--Visited with my brother, Bob, and SIL Suzie who live in Brecksville.  Suzie picked me up at the airport and luckily I arrived on one of the previously-mentioned thaw days. I had visions of traffic stalled for miles because of deep snow on the roads. Luckily the day I flew in was one of the warmest, clearest days the Cleveland/Akron area has seen for quite a while.

--Spent time time with my son, Paul, who lives in the Cleveland suburb of Lakewood.  Paul stayed with me and his Grandma for three days of eating, shopping, and trying to stay warm.  On that last note, Mom has free natural gas because of a long-ago agreement with the local utility and we’ve been putting it to good use. Jim thinks Mom should really take advantage by putting a heated swimming pool in the back yard, but I don’t think that will happen.

--Cancelled plans for lunch with relatives because of the weather. If there had been a problem with the car, Mom (who is 93) was just not up for a walk to the nearest house in white-out conditions. But we rescheduled and had that lunch today.

-- Pulled my Mom's garbage can the 500 feet to the end of her driveway and then ran out three additional times and set it back up as the wind kept knocking it over.  Luckily Mom puts all her trash inside garbage bags, so I didn’t have to also run down the road and pick up bread wrappers.

Also, I want to give a shout out to Matt, the son of our good SLC friends John and Deb.  Matt is doing remarkably well after some pretty serious surgery earlier this week.  Get well soon, Matt. We continue to send good thoughts!
Me and Mom.
My son Paul holding Moxie (one of Bob and Suzie's many poodles), Mom and me.
Oberlin, Ohio's Black River Cafe where we had lunch today.  Didn't look like much from the outside (Mom thought it was closed) but it was charming and busy inside.  (Jim, I'm taking you here next time we're in Ohio.)  Oberlin is the home of Oberlin College, a private liberal arts college which includes the Oberlin Conservatory of Music.  Oberlin was the first co-educational college in the nation, and the first college to admit both whites and African Americans. 
Bev with cousin Rocky and his wife, Diane.  They treated me and Mom to lunch at the Black River Cafe in Oberlin, Ohio.  Thank you Rocky and Diane.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Returning from a blog AWOL

We’re still camping (if you can call it "camping" when you live in a fully-equipped motor home) at Tucson's Davis Monthan Air Force Base.  I’ve gone slightly AWOL on our blog, however; so much so that a couple of people have sent me “Are you OK?” messages. It's time to write.

Yes, we are OK.  We’re still working out at the base gym, still liking Tucson, still enjoying warm weather (it's been in the 80's but a "cool spell" in the 70s is expected over the next few days.) We've gotten into a working-out-and-then-hanging-out-and-reading mode, however.  This is the first time in nearly 3 years on he road Ive been able to do that.  If I wasn't going to a museum or hiking some historic trail, I’d get antsy. Must be that ingrained Protestant work ethic or something.  But this has been a comfortable break.

Just a few things of note:

---We were driving our tow car on the Air Force Base one day when we heard an awful noise coming from under the hood.  It sounded like a piece of metal caught in the engine.  Jim stopped the car; we got out and looked and didn’t see anything. And the noise was gone. Later that day we heard it again, and again the noise stopped.  The next day we switched on the air conditioner: no cool air. Turns out our air conditioner was emitting a death rattle. Jim got an estimate from a local mechanic who specializes in Hondas:  $2000.  Ouch.  Then we got an estimate from a dealership and they quoted $4000.  Suddenly the first bid sounded like a deal. The shop that did the work was Prudence Car Care in Tucson; if you ever need help with a Honda in Tucson, we highly recommend them.  

---We also took our motor home with its E450 Ford chassis in for an oil change/safety check at Holmes Tuttle Ford in north Tucson and they did a professional job as well. 

---The campground at Davis Monthan really fills up in February when Tucson hosts a huge gem and mineral show, a book festival and a rodeo.  Plus it's warm here, people, (almost too warm) and the campground is full of vehicles with license plates that read Alaska, Montana, Vermont, Illinois and other snowy states. When the park is full, after 21 days campers have to move into an “overflow” area without electricity/water/sewer. We were able to “re up” after our first 3 weeks, but had to move into overflow after the second 21. It’s a little bit of a hassle to move, but the system is very fair.  After just one night in overflow we moved into a corner spot with our own little desert garden.    

---And, as I write I am sitting at Denver International Airport waiting for a connecting flight to Akron, Ohio, or as my son calls it “LaBron James International Airport.”  Not the best time to fly east, I know, but I’m visiting my Mom (who lives about an hour due west of Akron) and it’s always a good time to visit her.  I've been up since 4 a.m. and hope to get in a nap somewhere over Nebraska.
Taken about 40 minutes before landing in Denver. I haven't flown on Southwest with their unassigned seating for years. They now have a much more organized (and less painful) system than they did in the old days when everyone started standing in line two hours before the flight.  
You know you're on the edge of the Great Plains when the airport has tornado shelters. I landed at Gate C45 and am taking off from Gate C45.  Only happens when I have a 3 1/2 hour layover.