January 21 Monday
Big change in the weather predicted for today, but it wasn't here when we started the day. In fact, this morning it was almost too hot in the coach for comfort and soon Linda had several windows open, while I had my own means of dealing with the heat wave. Given the weather, I would have wagered any amount that the Crown Princess of Fredericksburg would have had her servile slave prepare her a bowl of cereal topped with yogurt and sliced fruit.
But her majesty had other ideas. Putting me to work slaving over a hot stove was probably just another in the many ways she has of keeping me in line, and today was no exception. After all, royalty rules and today the Ruler called for pancakes, so soon I was whipping up a batch.
You might catch the one little bit of revenge I extracted if you have sharp eyes. With all the complaining she was doing about the high temperatures, if you look in the bottom right corner of the photo you will see the heater going full blast. It might not exactly be the revolt of the slaves, but at least there was a mini rebellion taking place.
Before noon, the storm front had come charging through, the temperature plummeting and the rain beginning to fall. I don't know if it was Linda's way of getting back at me, but soon the command came from on high for the galley slave to prepare himself for a walk. I was informed that this was to strictly be an exercise in exercise, with no dilly dallying tolerated. I had to be careful what I said, because I will assure you gentle readers that I am certainly not one to take a stroll when the purpose of walking to raise the heart rate and exercise the muscles. Just ask anyone who has ever had the opportunity to go on one with me, such as my former coworker and good friend, Carl.
As you can see, we somehow got off course and soon found ourselves in the downtown area. Before long the walk for exercise and heart health had turned into an exercise in window shopping. Thinking better of it, my lips remained sealed and I enjoyed the overhanging storefronts as a relief from the intermittent showers that were raining down upon us.
There was one point along the way where it was suggested that I should take a photo of the pretty flowers that many of the stores have planted along Main Street. As I was framing the scene for the perfect picture, a gorgeous young woman happened to stop and read the menu posted for a restaurant which was located back off the street. I couldn't help myself, and just had to include her in the photo.
With the rain continuing to sputter, the day ended with time on the computer, Linda getting more Ebay bids ready to be posted tomorrow, while I sat, surrounded by a cloud of make believe, totally engrossed in one of the many books I am concurrently reading. It was not a case of rain, rain go away, come again some other day. It was a day like all days, not like yesterday nor tomorrow, but a day to snuggle up, open our eyes and enjoy what we were given. Yes indeed, we do live the good Life.
January 22 Tuesday
No post for today. (I didn't post when I should have and there are no photos to help me remember what we did.) It should be mentioned however that Linda does have a recollection of her activities, she put a whole bunch of items up for bid on Ebay. That doesn't mean she is smart and I am dumb. It means both of us are pretty smart. Her for obvious reasons, me because I was smart enough to marry such a beautiful, brainy babe.
January 23 Wednesday
A change in game plan today, Linda was actually going to cook something. It wasn't because I couldn't or wouldn't, it was because she didn't want me to cook. You see, she has had this hankering for a nice warm bowl of chili and today had been designated the day for that event to take place. I wasn't allowed to do anything, it was all hers. Guess she didn't want me messing up her secret recipe, not that she has one, but that didn't matter.
She really took me aback when the second ingredient was sausage. In all the years she's made chili I've never known her to use anything other than beef for her regular chili. We do use chicken in the white bean chili, but that is a whole different variety of chili. A pound of beef, a pound of sausage, cook it up in the slow cooker, add in a chopped pepper, a chopped onion, assorted tomato products, a can of green chilies and you've got the start of a delicious meal. Oh, lets not forget more garlic than most people eat in a week, plus the fact she pours in the cumin and several different chili powders. The aroma of that, almost overflowing slow cooker, is enough to create saliva by the mouthful.
Most of the day was spent in routine things, well as routine as things could be when both our stomachs were rumbling, which a quick trip to the grocery store only served to increase. The closer it go to dinner time, the more fidgety we became, so we decided to go for a walk. Rather than brave the wilds of the streets of Fredericksburg, we decided to take a closer look at some of the artifacts in the combat zone.
Take the half-track for example, did you know that there were more than 43,000 of this odd looking vehicles made during the war? That they could cruise at 45 mph, but got just a little over 3.5 miles to the gallon. Or that the roller like object on the front was to prevent the vehicle from 'digging in' when traversing ditches. Just think what you're missing by not volunteering here at the Museum, then you'd also have the opportunity to learn all this interesting facts and figures. I've only been asked one of those questions, but it never hurts to be prepared in case someone would.
Actually the half-track is not normally part of the tour, being parked off to the side, so it is not something we usually don't talk about. On the other hand, this M3A1 Stuart light tank is mentioned on the tour, even though we never get with 50 feet of it.
We weren't the only ones with tanks on those islands in the broad expanse of the Pacific Ocean. Here is the light tank the Japanese used to defend the islands when the American forces attacked. Notice how much more comfortable this tank appears to be due to the improved air circulation compliments of the several large side openings provided by our American gunners.
Now you would think that will the ink I wasted on describing the chili Linda was cooking, and our reaction to it, that we would have had three or more helpings for dinner. Actually we didn't eat any. At the H.E.B. grocery store we had found some sirloin, thin sliced and stuffed with Parmesan cheese. Because they were reduced in price, but not past their sell by date until tomorrow, we decided to buy them and have them for dinner tonight. Linda wasn't even upset at not being able to eat the chili. She was actually happy because the longer chili sets and blends together, the better it tastes. Don't believe me, look below.
As the day came to close we reflected on what had taken place over the past twelve plus hours. A day when we had fun, a day topped by a candlelight dinner, a day on the road to somewhere that we've never been before. Where that "place" is, we don't rightly know, but that's the fun of living this Life.
January 24 Thursday
Our last day off for the week and the forecast was saying the high today would only be 41 degrees, so something told me it was going to be a stay at home day. With the experiments I had doing with breakfast finally coming to an end, it was back to an old standby once again, eggs. Out came the Poblano pepper, the last green onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, a bunch of cilantro and a slice of Canadian bacon. Some quick knife work cutting them all to size, except for the cilantro which must only be torn, never cut, and they were melding together nicely in a pan containing a dash of olive oil. Having finally learned that overcooking is the worst sin when it comes to fixing this breakfast, it wasn't long before a mixture of one egg, a splash of water and a handful of grated Cheddar cheese was poured over the mixture.
When Linda says, "Wow, this is really good," to started the day, I am happy and this was one of those days. With breakfast over, Linda immediately began attacking the backlog of items she had been trying to get posted on Ebay, while I attempted to make sense out of the masses of information I have acquired relative to the artifacts in the Combat Zone. It wasn't a day for much else, what with the cold weather, and our quartz heater struggled to provide enough warmth in the coach. Since heat pumps are made to heat we turned both of them on and before long it was nice and comfortable in the coach.
Given the fact that she needed a break from the computer and adding in that there was a pile of clothes threatening to engulf one corner of the bedroom, Linda began turning herself into a one woman laundromat. With the first load washed, she proceeded to turn the bedroom into the drying room with the pole strung across the head of the bed and shirts and blouses hanging hanging in abundance. It may have been the fact that whenever she passed the pantry to go work on the laundry, or maybe it had something to do with the bathroom, but whatever it was, it wasn't long before I was being summoned to work.
Back in November when we had been at the Monaco Service Center, she had acquired several short pieces of cable with loops on the ends. They were so similar to the ones that are used on the coach to keep the doors from opening too far on a couple of the cupboards that one might think they were to be used for the same purpose. I had not allowed that line of reasoning to intrude into my thinking, but today I was being offered no choice in the matter for Linda had decided it was finally time. Time as in time to install them, one above the sink, and the other on the pantry door beside the hall.
I couldn't claim lack of forewarning in this matter, especially since she had me stop at the Ace Hardware on our Monday shopping trip. Those four little screws we had spent 15 minutes picking out, had been purchased for the express purpose of attaching those cables to these very same doors. One thing that always occurs when undertaking a project like this is how many trips are required to bring all the tools need to do the job to where you are doing the job, a fact which may actually be inversely proportional to the actual size of the project. I didn't think I needed the electric drill, for example, but after installing one screw without it, I realized the error of my way.
I've managed to get ahead of myself, because before the little drill deal there was the search for the screw. Or to be correct, the multiple searches for the screws. I quickly ascertained the four little fellows Linda had insisted on buying where woefully inadequate for the job at hand. They were not only the wrong type, wood screws versus the pan head screws we needed, they were also too short and thin for the job. It took several trips to the tool box to find ones that worked, something that brought a glare rather a smile to Linda's face. As I was to learn later during a discussion on the relative merits, or demerits of my work depending on who was talking, if I had them all along why did she have to buy the ones at the store. Trying to explain the fundamental differences in how the female mind works compared to the male mind was not an acceptable answer, as I learned.
As for the rest of the day, it turned into a lazy, laid back evening, but one where Linda started feeling something that wasn't normal. She wasn't sure what it was, but to her it had the beginnings of how she feels when she gets a cold. That meant numerous trips to the medicine cabinet, then an ultimatum of no reading light when I went to bed. I could tell she really wasn't feeling good, so I meekly acquiesced to her order, and the day ended with her tossing and turning, while I drifted off to sleep.
January 25 Friday
Linda seemed to have been right about not feeling right last evening, especially since she had been up a number of time in the night in pursuit of medications to help her feel better. Now the real feat is going to be if I can somehow avoid catching what she got, which appears to be a cold. I know she would have liked to sleep in, especially on a morning like this, but since we were going to meet Mike at the Combat Zone at 9 AM, she was a not so energetic up and at them girl, poking her head out a little after 7:15. The key words here are poking her head out, as you might notice I didn't say get up. That worked perfectly as far as I was concerned since it allowed me to have a hot cup of Good Earth tea ready for her when she finely made her appearance.
As has been the case throughout this year, I fixed both breakfast and our lunch. Breakfast being oatmeal, since Linda did not feel like eating eggs this morning, and lunch was our usual wraps or rollups, but with a difference. Hold the mustard, skip the turkey and no cabbage on top. In their place was cream cheese and horseradish, thin sliced roast beef and spinach. I could tell from the look in Linda's eye that while breakfast had been just what she wanted, she really, really couldn't wait for lunch time to roll around.
It was a little before nine when we headed up to the CZ and in a few minutes Mike, the museum curator was giving us a personal tour, highlighting some of the key points on each exhibit. Up to this point all that we had learned about many of the artifacts was what we had picked up while tagging along on tours given by the other guides during our first few weeks here. we had also been reading the information in the Combat Zone office, as well as what we could glean from the Internet, all of which we found to be excellent as background information.
Both of us were really appreciative of Mike taking time from his busy day to make our experience, and hence that our visitors, much better. We definitely learned some new things, discovered that there were a few things that we were saying that we shouldn't, and in the end felt a great deal better about the experience we had gained from the WWII veterans who had taken the tours. As Mike pointed out, it is those veterans who provide the best material. Here is Mike showing me the LVT (4), the landing vehicle which was used at the later landings in the Pacific theater.
As you might deduce from the way Mike and I were dressed that it was going to be another very cold day, with the predicted high being only 42 degrees. Plus there were supposed to be showers off and on during the day, meaning it wasn't going to be a lot of fun standing outside talking about artifacts from a long ago war. Part of me wished for the tours to be full of people so I could repeat the things Mike had just told us, and another part wished for three or more of the seven tours to have no people so we could stay inside where it was warm. I wasn't sure whether it was just the fact that I was feeling sympathy pains for Linda or if I was indeed in the beginning throes of catching what she had, but whatever it was, my usual enthusiasm was nowhere to be seen as it approached time for the first tour to start.
My thoughts of staying in the warm office proved to be just that, wishful thoughts, as we had people on all the tours except one. There was a time in the afternoon when I sighed and slumped into the chair after returning from a tour because I had just realized it was 2 o'clock and I hadn't eaten my lunch yet. However, it took just one bite of my roast beef rollup to get me back to full strength on the enthusiasm meter, which turned out to be a good thing in light of our next tour. I had noticed an elderly man in a wheel chair when I walked in, then when Linda told me he was a WW II veteran all my enthusiasm came rushing back. What a wonderful tour it turned out to be. He had not been in combat, but had instead been a flight engineer on a PBM patrol plane in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters of operation. The real highlight was when we were in the Quonset hut and he answered questions from the other people on the tour about some of his experiences. Everybody got into the act and when it was all over there were huge smiles all around.
One thing that I find interesting is how many times people seem to think the tour was great and and express that fact to me, especially after tours like this. It wasn't me, it was them, they were the ones who made it what it was, I only provided the avenues for them to experience something truly unique. While the museum is about a war which was fought a long time ago, it is really about people, people just like you and me who lived through a time that none of them would have wished for, but giving the circumstances rose to the occasion. To me that is what history is all about.
While we were returning from one of the tours, Linda noticed a bird perched on the muzzle of one the 3 inch guns near the entrance to the combat zone. Is it silent testimony to something mankind can not understand?
Our day in the Combat Zone ended somewhat similar to how it began, though this time Mike was not giving us a tour, rather he was arranging one of the new displays. If you think the work of a curator is all done in a nice air conditioned office, picking up relics or artifacts in white gloved hands and muttering little ah's and oh's as he make some new discovery, think again, this is the real world of a WW II museum curator
Linda had gotten through the day without getting any worse, and for dinner it was simply going to be leftovers, the beef burgundy soup. I did make toasted roast beef and Swiss cheese sandwiches to go along with it, something which Linda really appreciated. It had been another day where our expectations of the morning had been far exceeded by the events of the day, one that, while cold outside, had been just the opposite to those who we touched, and who touched us during the day. Life, what's not to love about living it.
January 26 Saturday
It happened last night, not something which was sought out, rather something which just happened. I had read a chapter from the book I am reading on the on the war in the Pacific, Last Stand of the Tin Can Sailors. Then it was time to pick up my "light reading" for the month, Shepherds Song, a novel about the American Civil War and consume a chapter in it. Yes, I am an unabashed lover of history and I make no excuses for it, but the turning point was when I searched through the stack of books I keep on the floor beside me and picked up a used book I had bought several weeks ago, The Writers Craft, A Process Reader. On the first page I read something which changed my outlook towards what has become a "sometimes" Daily Journal. Three simple lines that went like this:
Those three lines struck me like a thunder bolt. I can change. I don't have to do things the way I always have. I can write the Daily Journal everyday. I can write a book on the lighthouse. I can reach for my dream and write a novel. It doesn't have to be the impossible dream, it can be the possible dream. Will I succeed? I have no idea. Should I be afraid to try? No way.
This morning I spent fifty five minutes writing the Daily Journal, then spent additional time revising it, but in the end, I felt good about what I had written. It was just as I was finishing up that Linda made her appearance and she was feeling much better than she had last night, which was definitely a good thing. At the same time I busied myself in fixing lunch, which turned out to be the same as yesterday, a roast beef rollup with spinach. Then it was time for breakfast, which once again was what Linda's chose, oatmeal with sliced fresh strawberries. You have to realize I had no choice in the matter, what with my merely being a slave of Linda.
Once all this work was completed, it was time to head up to the Combat Zone for another day of tours. It was in the forecast, but it was also in the air, this was going to be a nice day. After two days of it never getting above 42 degrees, the temperature was rapidly heading towards shirt sleeve weather. Not only was the weather improving, the outlook on the world was also improving. As if to magnify what we seen yesterday, this morning there were two birds perched on the barrel of the 3 inch gun.
Since today was Saturday, we knew we would have people on every tour, and we were not disappointed. That is not a bad thing, it is a good thing, because it definitely makes for a short day, because just as the old adage states, when you are busy, time flies. I did have a break before the first tour and used it to take a few photos of the TBM Avenger. Did you know we built 9,838 Avengers during the war and the engine was a 14 cylinder, twin bank Wright R2600-20 Cyclone radial? How about the fact that if we put what is arguably the three most famous crewmen that flew in the TBM during the war, the pilot would be George H. W. Bush, the 41st President of the United States, the turret gunner would be none other than Paladin, the actor Richard Boone, and the radioman would be another actor and salad dressing entrepreneur, Paul Newman. The things you learn by reading these pages. But just think how much more you could learn if you went on one of our tours.
Linda had one of those moments that made her day when two gentlemen came through who only wanted to see the TBM and the PT Boat. She was glad to accommodate them, and when she came back she was one excited girl. It seems they had given her a $2 tip for her excellent service. She was so proud she wanted me to take her photo, then it was off to deposit into the donation box. We know there are probably some volunteers who pocket any tips they might get, but that is not the case with us. Everything we get, nor matter where we are volunteering goes directly into the donation box.
After that, it was one tour after another, the usual number of visitors on a tour being between twelve and fifteen. I did have one tour with two young boys, each from different families and as always I volunteered them to hold the doors open as we entered and exited the buildings. They always get their reward, which is being able to hold the .50 caliber, 20 mm and 40 mm shells as I do the talk at the Pt Boat.
Later in the day we day a camera club showed up for one of the tours, and like Linda said, "There's a whole bunch of people out there who have cameras as big as John's." It took just one look to confirm the truth of her statement. I'm not sure how the other guides handle groups like this, but I try to tell them where I'll be positioning the group and when we will be moving. I also ask if they have gotten all the photos they want. The result is that I never have any trouble with them lagging behind or disrupting the the tour. A little bit of treating others the way you would like to be treated goes a long way in these situations.
I must admit that sometimes it was like the charge of the light brigade, but with a twist, this time it wasn't cannons to the right of them, cannons to the left of them, it was lenses to the right of them and flashes to the left of them. Sometimes I think people, especially volunteers, lose sight of the fact that the reason we are here is to provide an enjoyable experience to our guests. Once we realize it's not about me, it's about them, wonderful things happen. Both Linda and I truly enjoy volunteering here at the Museum of the Pacific War. It is a most wonderful place, a place that constantly reminds us that if it were not for the sacrifices that were made by the people who have served our country throughout its history, we wouldn't be able to share its history.
As a parting thought, I know the photos in todays post are the best, but look at this way, if it wasn't for photographers like me, how would we ever know that the photographs taken by the professionals were any good.
January 27 Sunday
Up early once again, rushed somewhat, but that's the price you pay for making a rash New Years resolution. Of course I could always just let it go and be done with it, but if that is the case, why make those resolutions in the first place. I was able to finish writing the Daily Journal before Linda got up, a deed that greatly improved my outlook on the day. Once she was settled in at her computer checking on her Ebay items, I realized it was time for me to get my butt in gear and fix lunch.
Normal people eat breakfast, then eat lunch, so why does Bob sometimes fix lunch first, an astute observer of these pages might ask. The answer is the words my friend, it's simply in the words. I didn't say eat lunch, I said fix lunch. On the days we work, we take our lunch with us up to the Combat Zone, so rather than be rushed at the last minute fixing it, I do that first. It is simply a mind game I play, but it sure seems to work.
The worst thing I could do would be to suddenly discover I couldn't get everything done and Linda was going to have to hurriedly throw something together just as we were getting ready to leave. I'm not even sure I could imagine the havoc that would raise, and every bit of totally deserved by yours truly. Besides Linda is still fighting off that cold that tries to envelop her with drips, sniffles and runny eyes, so there are other reasons for Bob to on his best behavior.
One thing I have definitely been remiss at is posting any photos of what we eat, so as our roast beef rollups were being prepared, I took camera in hand to rectify this oversight. As you can tell, I have grown a tad rusty in the food photography department, but with practice I'm sure it will improve.
Can't you just taste that cream cheese, horseradish, mushrooms and spinach by looking at the photo? The best thing about rollups is that we can make them our way, or at least I can make them my way. Should Linda not like the way they are made, she will let me know and I will be making changes. I must confess I had almost forgotten about my obsession with food photos until I was reminded by one of our readers. Thanks Richard for getting me back on track. A food photo a day, that's my new motto. (Imagine my chagrin at discovering Richard was so distraught over my lack of food photos that he was having to post photos of his own food on his website.)
Once we arrived at the Combat Zone, I opened up the PT boat building and raised the flags while Linda got out the dust mop and attacked the TBM. This is one of the differences between being a traveler and being a volunteer. The traveler, if they are so inclined, may have dusted the inside of their coach this morning. As volunteers we dusted a TBM-3 torpedo bomber, which both Linda and I will readily confess was not something we dreamed about doing when we were kids. Something tells me we didn't dream about doing ordinary dusting when we were kids either, but that's beside the point.
As we were dusting, yes we, as she got me involved also; it is interesting to look at the plane from different angles and try to imagine what it was like during the war. Here is the rear turret when Richard Boone, the actor, spent his time during the war.
I had to chuckle as I looked at that .50 caliber Colt Browning M2 machine gun that he fired, wondering if he ever had thoughts as to what he was going to do after the war. Maybe it was thoughts about sure having a big gun and traveling in an airplane, which of course could have morphed into, Have gun, Will travel.
The day went by quickly, most of the tours having ten or more people on them, and soon we were taking down the flags, locking the gates and heading home. Someday we are going to have to time just exactly how long it takes us to walk home from work, my guess would be between 45 seconds and a minute. I like this commute far better than the ten mile, 30 minute commute we had in our former life of working when work was actually work, instead of the sheer joy of sharing with others like it is now.
January 28 Monday
The Ebay girl was at it early this morning as she had more than a dozen bids closing this afternoon, and almost every item was selling. Like she says, that's a good news, bad news scenario. Good that we are getting rid of some more things, bad because she has to package them all. Once the paperwork is done, and the money is collected, then, and only then can she mail them. It also looks like the same thing is going to be repeated tomorrow as she has even more bids ending then.
We did have to stop by the Post Office to mail a package, but it was from a bid that closed several days ago. In a perfect world everyone would pay for the item as soon as the bid closes, but in the real world that almost never happens. Many bidders do pay immediately, but there are always that one or two that can't get their act together. While Linda seems to outwardly complain, I think she secretly gets a great deal of satisfaction from these situations.
In that former life she lived, aka, her working life, she sent a fair amount of time in collections. These situations gives her the opportunity to summon up the dark side, and release a little pent up frustration. I marvel at how seriously she pursues the collection of a 99 cent bid, you'd think the fate of our Country's financial markets depended on that handful of coins. The penultimate is when she tracks the bidder down and calls them on the telephone, she's a woman not to be trifled with. Late payment was what had held the mailing of the package setting on the dash of the coach, but now it was time to send it off.
Because we were out, there was another stop on her list, the far out of town thrift store, the one that has cheap books, as she so aptly described it. The last time we were there, the parking lot had been nearly full, and that was the case again today. Their secret is simple, low prices, high turnover, and numerous shoppers. As you can see from the photo, Linda was not going to be denied any bargains.
The nice weather of the past two days was continuing today, though it was cloudy, so with her cold symptoms greatly diminished, Linda suggested we take an afternoon walk. Before we started the ground rules were laid down. I was not walk at some insane speed that would cause pain tomorrow, but far more importantly, I was not to take a route that meandered all over the place. Instead, I was to walk the straight and narrow, following a path where we would walk in one direction for 20 minutes, turn around and walk the same route back, completing the walk in a total of 40 minutes. I was strictly informed, with Linda using a very firm tone of voice, that she would not tolerate any deviations from these instructions.
You may correctly infer from the above comments that my walks are not leisurely strolls, nor are they ones there the route is predictable. Nodding my head in agreement, we set off. The pace was comfortable and not so gentle reminders were occasionally directed towards me regarding the promises I had made. I must admit, I was the epitome of a gracious companion, both in terms of speed and direction. Due to the fact the streets dead ended several times, I carefully consulted with Linda before making any change in direction.
The streets of Fredericksburg are wide, but other than in the immediate downtown area, sidewalks are not part of the planning process around here. That served to keep us off the main streets and in the residential areas. Most of the houses where we were walking were small, but cute. There was always the person who wanted to stand out, so we would occasionally pass a house of a different color, once bright red, another time one which was purple, but in general they were quite modest, but well kept. As you can see, the same comments applied to the neighborhood churches.
We were not sure what the reason was the seeming general overall pride in the community, but from what we have heard over the weeks we have been here, the strong German heritage of the area seems to have much to do with it. Speaking of German heritage, it shows up everywhere. Notice the signs on this senior center.
Now you would think that with all the admonitions I had received prior to our setting off on this walk, I would have remembered to keep my mouth closed and walk the straight and narrow. Not Bob, get me out and I want to wander. Why would anyone ever want to take the same route back and forth all the time? Talk about boring. Suffice it to say, Linda set the ideal example of a steam relief valve that had been tied down. Once we had been back for a half an hour or so and the fires burning in her eyes had cooled down, she finally talked to me. It was a case where the lack of anything happening was far more significant than a major explosion going off. If we take a walk tomorrow, I can promise you that whenever and wherever she wants to turn, her poor slave will immediately do like she commands. Sometimes I forget why I wear that wrist band that says, Linda's Slave. Today I was reminded once again.
I made guacamole for dinner, which was as delicious as always, but it was while preparing the avocados that we made a startling discovery. We always try to buy them so they show the same degree of ripeness, but this time we got a surprise. One of them was the usual oblong shape, while the other was a bit more rounded. It was when I cut them open that the true difference became apparent. We won't be buying any more rounded avocados.
The day was certainly reflected in those two seeds, but when it came to a close we had enjoyed it every bit as much as we had the guacamole. It's not the little parts, it's the whole that matters. A fitting commentary on that old saying, don't let little things ruin your day.
January 29 Tuesday
Yesterday I had promised Linda I would do two things for her today, and once I got the Daily Journal article written I set out to accomplish the more immediate of them. Two cloves of garlic and three slices of mild sweet onion, cut into small pieces. A skillet with olive oil and breakfast begins to cook. Two eggs, two heaping spoonfuls of sour cream and several ounces of shredded Mozzarella cheese. Into the skillet this mixture goes and is topped with two handfuls of fresh spinach and a sliced Roma tomato.
When I set in front of Linda, she said, "It looks wonderful," which was the best compliment I could have asked for. Then when she had her first bite I waited expectantly for her comment. She wasn't saying anything and I was sure why, then she took another bite. Finally I couldn't take it any longer and asked her how it tasted. Her soft voiced reply, "It tastes wonderful," completely made my day.
Now that I had done my good turn, it was Linda's turn, and soon the washer was running, washing our sheets. Normally she takes them to the Laundromat because of the drying time, but today she had come up with a plan on how to dry them outside. She had made several trips in and out of the coach when she asked me to come out and look. She had rigged up a clothesline from the fence to the ladder on the back of the coach. That's what I've always admired about Linda. Rather than complaining about why she can't do what she wants, she figures out a way to overcome the obstacles preventing it from happening.
As much trouble as we sometimes have growing plants, that certainly hasn't been the case this year. The pansies and dianthus she had bought in Reedsport last fall, and so loving placed in our mobile garden, were still blooming. This in spite of having endured several nights where the temperatures had dropped down into the upper teens.
I had earlier mentioned that my promise had included the completion of two jobs, so now it was my turn to do my second good deed of the day. Out came the ladder, the bucket, and the soft brush, then up the ladder I went. It was time to do something I had become an expert at putting off, scrubbing the roof of the coach.
There was a reason for all of this, Linda wanted to wash the sides of the coach, but couldn't until I washed the roof. Now we have been here for almost two months, and in that time have had many days off, but for some reason I had always put Linda off when she asked when I was going to do my part. So why didn't she just wash the sides if I was so into dragging my feet? Streaks and marks would get on her clean sides if it was the top after the sides. I had to chuckle at this though, the sides were covered with road residue from our trip to Fredericksburg in late November and she was worrying about some little streaks. For once my brain engaged before my mouth and my lips remained tightly compressed together.
All that of course is a mute point when it is man versus woman, plus I was really on a roll today as she had yet to find fault with me, and I wanted to keep it that way. A long time ago I learned the fault is not in the way she sees things, it is in this way I do things, so all my energies were being directed at doing things right. As I struggled to get everything up and on the roof, I could still hear her words ringing in my ears. It had been a simple request on my part for a little help in marshaling the equipment needed and providing a modicum of transport to the roof on her part. "If I go up on the roof once, you'll expect me to do it every time," she had stated ever so fervently that I knew there was no chance of changing her mind.
Eventually all was set and I took brush in hand and began the task of scrubbing the roof. Suddenly I felt a push and looked behind me, I was all alone, then it happened again. I knew that there was a wind advisory out today for gusty winds, though they were only predicted to be 35 mph, but what had just hit me felt more like a hurricane. Nothing is ever easy, but eventually I got used to the occasional push from nowhere. The other problem was the roof is more like an obstacle course than an open field. What with having to watch out for solar panels, skylights and all manner of assorted connectors and wires, I still managed to complete the job without once ever so much as falling off.
Once our jobs were done, mine was washing the roof and taking photos from up there was done, while Linda's was watching from a safe distance on the ground and taking photos of me risking my neck, I retired to the coach. It really hadn't been all that difficult, but none the less, I was happy to be once again on the surface of the planet. Meanwhile Linda was taking her turn with the bucket of soapy water, though was perch safely on the ground washing the tires and rims. The best part of the job, I was still in her good graces and the the day was getting shorter by the second.
Dinner was leftovers, chili, asparagus salad and cole slaw, then while Linda used Turbo-lister to get more Ebay items ready, I enjoyed an evening of reading. Reflecting back, it had indeed been a very good day, but then that is what everyday is, it is only a matter of degree as to just how good it has been.
January 30 Wednesday
Somedays are better than others, which means the converse is also true. Doesn't mean it was a bad day, just means that some days are better than others.
A mind, a million thoughts, a hint of song, what was it? At last it comes to me, Carpenters, one of their early songs, Someday. A little thought, a change here and there, more changes, yes, somedays are are not the same, but if not, then just what are they?
For Linda it was truly a day for Ebay, as she spent time packaging items from bids which had closed and for which payment had been received. Then it was more time spent preparing listings for new bids. We had brought all those boxes along, boxes filled with things, things we no longer needed. Now they would become someone else's things,
As for me, I was hard at work on the computer. Just as the writing bug had disappeared for a time, now it was back with a vengeance and so the words just poured out and onto the screen. We did have to take several breaks during the day, the first for lunch and the second for dinner.
Linda's slave had asked her about 12:37 if she was ready for lunch and her answer was pretty noncommittal, indicating she wasn't very hungry. Slaves are always in danger of being unpleasantly terminated should they fail, so I really had to put on my thinking cap for this one. The result was something that she found to be most satisfying.
What I did was to make her roast beef rollups with any wrap. A slice of roast beef, trim off all the visible fat, spread non-fat cream cheese and horseradish atop it, add several small slices of fresh Poblano pepper, a pile of fresh spinach, roll this colorful creation up and stick a cocktail toothpick in it. From the way Linda was sounding you'd have wondered if I had bought her a diamond necklace of something, rather than enjoying her first taste of today's noon repast. Two of those each and lunch was more than taken care of.
That left only one other thing which was dinner. This time it was, clean out the refrigerator night as we are going grocery shopping tomorrow. Pork quesadillas, asparagus with garlic and cole slaw made for a second great meal in a row. I just hoped Linda didn't expect me to heat up things like this every night.
I'll end the day as it began, "Somedays are better than others." Had today been one of the "others", or had it been "Someday"? It's something only you can decide.
January 31 Thursday
When they switched the days we lead tours from Thursday through Saturday to Friday through Sunday, we decided to change our main shopping day from Wednesday to Thursday. It's therefore probably not to difficult to guess what is planned for today, so once breakfast was over and the dishes washed, it was off to the store.
There is one thing we have learned while here in Fredericksburg, the sign on the front facade is not always correct. The one which says Always may mean always open, or it may mean always has a large selection, but it doesn't mean always having the lowest price. We have discovered several times that among the items we regularly purchase, one or two may be lower at the H-E-B grocery store. The problem is that given the different things we buy, if we were to buy the same items at both stores, the total cost at Wal Mart would indeed, always be lower. So unless we specifically need something at the H-E-B, we do our grocery shopping at Wal Mart.
Of course the H-E-B didn't win any points with Linda last week when we drove over there to buy some cucumbers and they were out. Seems like she does not like the regular cucumbers, but instead enjoys the smaller pickling variety. I understand it has something to do with waxed skin and large seeds in the regular kind. The Wal Mart doesn't carry the pickling variety, so the H-E-B is the place to get them, then when H-E-B didn't have them it was a wasted trip. Of course we did buy a couple of Poblano peppers and the "going to be out of date sirloin", but the memory of those pickleless purchases had left a bad taste in her mouth, so grocery shopping only taking place at the Wal Mart today.
One little change Linda recently made in her daily routine had been the incorporation of a fresh squeezed lemon or lime in the water she drinks. It really does seem to make her feel better, and even I can attest to that, plus she really does believe it works, so there is a double plus to drinking it. I got a good chuckle this morning when she very carefully selected four lemons for this week's tonic. Then over at the other side of the produce section she looked at a huge bin overflowing with limes.
The lemons were three for a dollar, while the limes were only twelve cents each. It doesn't take a mathematical genius to figure out that even if you have to buy twice as many limes, they are still cheaper. Don't just look at it as only four cents, look at the principle of it. She carefully looked over the limes, then reached in and pulled out a plum. Well not really, it was more like a grapefruit. Okay, it was loser to large lemon, but actually it was a lime. The sight of that monster lime got me to thinking, maybe these were what they use to make that soda pop we sometimes buy. Could it be we had finally seen the elusive fruit they use to make lemon lime soft drinks, the rare lemon lime?
On the drive home Linda was skeptical of my claims regarding the discovery of a new fruit, but stranger things have happened. We did have one additional stop to make, at the ACE Hardware. We had brought along several badly tarnished brass items with the thought of selling them on Ebay, then Linda, checking on sold items, discovered that if they were cleaned and polished they would go for three to four times the price of tarnished ones. That led to a search for the brass polish we had used at the lighthouse, Never Dull, and today we found it. I think Linda has some plans for my future and it involves some shiny brass.
Back at the coach I had to put on my best imitation of Superslave for Linda, carrying in all the groceries in just one trip. That's eight bags in my right hand, and after wards I wasn't sure exactly how much that arm had been stretched compared to the left one, but it was rather considerable.
The day ended with a bowl of navy bean soup and fresh baked cornbread, then it was time to simply sit back and relax. Another day was ending, one where we found a new fruit, or was it like Linda said, sometimes Fruit Loops aren't just in cereal, they can also be found inside the human brain. May your day have been filled with as many smiles as ours was.