Friday, Jan. 17, 2020 – Brought You Home Today

Hi Darlin’,
I did some more cleaning today, finishing off the bench seats of the dining room, so now it smells of leather in here, which is nice. I brought up the little horse trailer, which was back by the barn and covered with green algae, and got down the pressure washer from the attic/hay loft and gave the trailer a really good clean. I’ve made arrangements with one of the OTL board members to go riding in Corbett on Sunday, so I wanted to get it cleaned up a bit. Not that it will stay that way long trying to get back to Camp I in Corbett, but at least it will start out that way! I finished up just in time to shower and change, then head down to the funeral home. I did just what you wanted me to do, had you cremated, and put you in a beautiful wooden box that was inscribed with the poem by Omar Khayyám that you so admired, and what we based so much of our life on. “The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”
It describes our philosophy so well, that it’s all just water under the bridge and there’s no point worrying about it, or wasting time on it, but just to keep moving forward, which is just what I’m trying to do. I had an early dinner with Jayne again, and we talked a lot about pets, as well as some of our mutual history. I’m sure you remember Lord Richie, probably your only competition (though not really, you just thought so), well evidently he passed away quite a long time ago, at quite a young age. Was sorry to hear that, he was a lovely man. Afterward, I brought you home, finished clearing off the dining room table and doing a few other things to spruce the place up, eventually put you in what will be your final resting place right in the center of things, lit a candle, and toasted you with a glass of wine. I’m hoping to have a memorial/life celebration in March just before your birthday, and quite a few people are interested in coming. Not quite sure where I want to have it just yet, I have a few logistical things to work out, but there are a lot of people who are responding, and it’s very heartwarming to see how many people you’ve touched over the years. Anyway, it’s past my bedtime, and I worked hard today, so off I go! Love you, darling! Good night!

Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020 – Another Long Busy Day

Hey Babe,
Well, I told you a long time ago that once you were gone I’d go crazy with cleaning, and even though at the time I was talking about the house in Tennessee, it happened today, big time. I had an appointment with the carpet cleaners for the Open Range at 10:30, and he texted me that he was on his way, but I didn’t have my phone right on me and didn’t get it on time (there’s been a lot of texting delays lately due to the weak cell phone signal out here), and because he didn’t hear from me, he skipped by me and went to another job. I finally called him at 10:40, but it was too late and he had to reschedule for later in the day. I had two drivers come one after another to pick up all your dialysis stuff, one driver took the machines, the Ipad and all the clinic supplies, and another came for all the NxStage supplies, but then there was some confusion because the second driver thought HE was supposed to take the machine, but they were already gone (they actually passed each other in the driveway, not knowing), but I was led to believe what I already said. Anyway, I guess they got that straightened out without me, because they were both delivering to the same place anyway, and I didn’t need to get any more involved. Not too long afterward, the carpet cleaner showed up, made a good deal with me (I managed to finagle a discount, I thought they were too high for such a little job, but they agreed to a 30 percent cut), and the whole job was done in about 20 minutes. Hope it helps get that ladybug smell out! Meanwhile, I started to completely reorganize the trailer. With so much extra space now, I was able to put a lot more stuff away. I rearranged a lot of the cupboards, as well as the stud stall in the back of the trailer. I’m going to try not to clutter it too much, I’d like to keep it where I can open that door into the back if I want. So far, so good. I did lots of cleaning, even used the Lexol cleaner and conditioner on the bench seats of the dining area (well, on side is done, the other will get done tomorrow), and generally kept really busy. Lola made friends with the neighbors behind us (I guess the kids at the front neighbors have left after the holidays, been really quiet back there and Lola hasn’t been out that way lately), and of course, she trained them to throw for her in no time. She spent practically the entire afternoon back there. I’d call her, she’d come, stay for about a minute, I’d go back to work and she’d take off again. She finally came back just before horse feeding time, so I played floppy frisbee in the pool with her, but you could tell she was tired from all the exercise she’d gotten earlier. Didn’t keep her from swimming for awhile, though! She’ll definitely sleep tonight. I’m glad, I’ve been so busy I haven’t been able to spend as much time with her as I’d like.
I had a nice conversation with Jane Alter today, about you and us and the possibility of doing the Convention again this year. Even though she’s 81, she stays really active and would absolutely love to go again, fingers crossed. I asked her to send me a bio I can use in the proposal, as Ashley believes they’ll want to know our team members, and I agree. Hoping Steve can come, but he’s just been made a full professor at Alfred, so it depends on his schedule. Again, fingers crossed! It was a pretty hot one today, but the nights have been getting pleasantly cool, and I’m definitely looking forward to bed tonight after all the cleaning activity today. Love you! Good night!

Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020 – Long Busy Day

Hello Darling,
Had another busy day today, though plans changed at the last minute due to brother Karl. The lift chair I sold last week developed more serious mechanical problems, so I arranged to go pick that up again, hopefully I can find the trouble and fix it once and for all (though the woman was so grateful, she said I had “restored her faith in humanity.”) My plan was to pick it up and then go to euchre at the senior center, but Karl decided he didn’t want to go, he had made other plans to have an early lunch with his friend John, who is leaving tomorrow to go up to his new house in Georgia, so instead of euchre we went to Uncle Mick’s, that little hole in the wall in town, for lunch. We were there a couple of hours before we headed home, where we lugged the chair inside. I finally registered Jeff and myself for the upcoming Cattle Drive Reunion, though the regular website wasn’t working properly (it said the sale had “ended” even though we were within the deadline, but I managed to message someone there who just took my reservation, saying we could pay when we got there. Jeff tried to talk me into taking the trailer up there, but I finally put my foot down and said I didn’t want to do that, it was too much effort just for a couple of days, and besides, the point was to go CAMPING, like we did during the actual drive back in 2016, so he said he might just take his Bronco so he wouldn’t have to stay the whole time if he didn’t want, or maybe just because he’ll want to sleep in it. Whatever. Anyway, after a while, I decided to head over to the local hair salon for a cut, which was okay, though my hair has been so strange with it’s curliness lately, it’s not exactly what I was hoping for, but at least now it’s shorter. Then I headed over to the OTL meeting at Tim’s house, thrilled they managed to resolve the problems with the pavilion at Jonathan Dickinson State Park, so all that is back on track. The meeting went on longer than usual, but there were more people there than usual, and I guess now that we’re getting closer, there’s a lot more that needs to be done. A lot of logistics are starting to get resolved, and I’m doing my best to contribute. The key equestrian organizer seems to be a woman named Anita, and we’ve arranged to go riding this weekend to check out the trails in Corbett, you know, the ones I got so lost on last year? I think I’ve corrected that map now, but it will be good to confirm it on the ground. By the time I finished doing the things I promised to do at the meeting, it was nearly 10:00, so it’s just a bit of TV before bed. Good night, my love! Miss you!

Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020 – Kept Busy Today

Hi Sweetie,
Got a lot accomplished today. Spent most of the day cleaning out the Open Range, making some necessary repairs, some old and some new, and cleaned everything I could reach with Pledge and Windex. I’ve made an appointment with the carpet cleaners for Thursday, and the new converter I ordered should be here by Thursday or Friday, so with a little luck, I’ll be able to put it on Marketplace and craigslist by Friday afternoon. Hopefully I can get it sold in the coming weeks. I had hoped to go riding today, but once again there were scattered showers, and it was very hot and humid, so I had to pass once again. I spent some time on the computer later in the day, updating our business website and starting that LinkedIn campaign we talked about. Looking forward to see if that will work out better than the Facebook campaign we did last year. I also sent out an eblast to our mailing list about the workshop I’m trying to schedule for March 30-31 in Las Vegas. I also finished writing a proposal for that convention in August, would be nice if I could get the team back together and tackle that again, that’s always been a good time, a good reference, and a nice piece of change if I can pull it off. Sent it off to Ashley for her thoughts, will send it to the appropriate person once it’s been reviewed. Settled down for the evening, feeding Lola a lot of leftover liver and burger meat that’s been sitting around too long, which made her a happy camper. Relaxed this evening, continuing the binge, and now I’m headed for the shower and to bed. Good night, love!

Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 – Slow But Productive Day

Dearest Roy,
Started the day by figuring out the reason the batteries in the Open Range aren’t charging; it’s because when the dealer installed the Prosine inverter for us back when we bought it, they completely took out the DC converter! I never thought they would take it out completely, but after careful analysis (and having to persuade Karl to look for horses, not zebras), we finally realized there was a big power cord that went straight to the circuit box marked “in from converter” and a loose ground wire that are exactly what needs to go into the missing converter. The dealer wanted over $300 for a new one, but I found a surplus one on Ebay for about $125, so I ordered it. Should be here by Friday, so the whole thing should be fixed by Saturday. Meanwhile, the professional cleaner is supposed to come on Thursday, so I should be able to put it on the market by Friday, though I have to do some repairs inside. The chairs weren’t put back all the way in last time it was open, so when I opened it this time some things got moved and crushed, so they’re on my repair list now, too. At least I know what needs to be done now, and hopefully it will all be accomplished by the weekend. I spent the rest of the day on the computer and the phone, trying to solve a bunch of problems as well as get some jobs going. I’m trying to schedule a public workshop around the same time as the private one I have in Las Vegas, and to try to do that LinkedIn advertising and marketing we talked about. I also had a conversation with Ashley, the woman from the convention, just to see if we had a chance at getting the contract for that again, and apparently they’re starting with a whole new crew (reinventing the wheel!), but it might make an opening for me, so I started writing a proposal that I hope to finish up and get to the top woman in charge by the end of the week. Fingers crossed, I could use the work! I spent some more time trying to figure out how to rework our website for the public seminar, and all of the things that go along with it. It will be a long process, but I have to start somewhere! Finally quit in the late afternoon, but couldn’t feed the horses until Jeff and Karl got back from their get together with John, so it was after dark, not surprisingly. Had a nice bowl of soup with those dumplings you love so much, and settled down for the evening. Had my shower now, so I’m off the bed. Good night, my love!

Sunday, Jan. 12, 2020 – Lazy Sunday

Dearest Roy,
I took a much needed mostly lazy day today, where the only real chore was to confirm that, in fact, the charger on the Open Range isn’t working properly, but we’re going to tackle that problem tomorrow. I had considered going for a ride, but it was really warm, and there were scattered showers all day, so instead I mostly spent the day reading in the screen room and tossing the frisbee for Lola, though I did a few loads of laundry and did some general housekeeping that was overdue. Late in the day I relaxed some more by binge-watching some TV before finishing up for the day. I must have twisted something somewhere along the line today, or maybe I’m just not used to sitting for such a long time, because my hip is really in pain when I don’t move just right. I guess I’m going to have to take some painkillers tonight, hope that helps! Heading off to bed now, Love you, darling!

Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020 – Lots of Jobs Completed

Dearest Roy,
Today I decided to tackle a lot of long-standing jobs that needed doing, as well as a few new things that popped up. Last night as I was getting ready for bed, I jumped in the shower to take my usual rinse-down when I discovered I had no hot water. When I looked this morning, there were several wires fried down by the hot water tank, so I started to fix it when Karl came by, so I let him do the rest. Meanwhile, I finally pounded the ladder back into shape, so now it’s nice and safe for the climb up to the attic/hay loft. That being the case, I climbed up to bring some stuff down, beginning with the heavy skirting that goes around the RV. I found three pieces that will enclose the gooseneck and put those up, and left the rest in the box, which I have to find a place to store around Jeff’s house, which shouldn’t be too hard.
We tried to fix that intermittent problem we were having with the electrics, you know that little switch on the chassis behind the battery box, but it was practically impossible to get out the battery like that, so we cut open the battery box instead in order to get it out. We did some cleaning of the contacts and connections, made sure no wires were grounding out and put it all back together again. Naturally, we had a problem then, because I had told Karl not to disconnect anything until I put labels on all the wires (you know how much trouble we had getting that system right!) But he didn’t listen and disconnected everything before I got back with labels two minutes later. So naturally, he rewired it wrong when he put it back together, and I was only getting a reading of 6 volts on the invertor, and after screwing around for 15 minutes, he finally realized he put one of the wires on the wrong terminal, exactly as I was hoping to avoid with the labels! Well, eventually we got it right and everything was back to normal, and hopefully I won’t have that electrical problem again.
Then we took off the batteries from the Open Range, because even though I’ve tried to charge them all week, they’re still not working right, so I went down to Advance Auto to replace them. Unfortunately, the guy there was a bit of a hard case, and wouldn’t let me have a discount, even though I told him I would have ordered them online except I wanted to make sure they were bad before I did that. Instead of just giving me the discount, he insisted I order them online, on my phone, so that I could then “pick them up” with the discount. What a load of crap! What I did on my phone instead was confirm I could get a couple of batteries at Walmart cheaper, and left that store, since I had to go to Walmart for some other stuff anyway. His loss, for being so ridiculous. Anyway, I filled up three propane tanks at Jupiter Hardware (best price in town), did my other running around, getting back late afternoon. Jeff and neighbor James were heading out to the mud bog (which was canceled, surprise, surprise), and then off to dinner at the Mexican place, but I have so many leftovers in the refrigerator, I declined to go. Karl put the new batteries on the Open Range, and hallelujah! The slides finally came out! Hopefully we’ll soon be able to learn why the unit isn’t recharging the batteries when shore power is on, but that’s a chore for another day. At least now I can get the carpet cleaners in so I can put it on the market. Spent the evening eating some of those leftovers, and bingeing on Suits and Cheers. After taking a nice hot shower (well, more lukewarm, only because it’s still warm outside), I’m heading off to bed. Good night, my love!

Friday, Jan. 10, 2020 – A Quieter Day

Dearest Roy,
Things quieted down a bit today, I didn’t have to go anywhere, so I concentrated on contacting all of the various places that will need paperwork to update accounts and stuff. The funeral home wants to know how many copies of the Death Certificate I need, so that was the exercise for today. Karl talked about going to a movie, but that never happened, which was probably a good thing, it’s been so busy, so a quiet day was a good idea. I had a long conversation with Donna, my friend from Cleveland this afternoon, she’s talking about coming down later in the season.
I’m thinking about going to the Florida Cattle Drive reunion now, and Jeff’s even considering coming with me. I don’t want to have to break down the whole trailer, though, so I think I’m just going to tent it, and hope for better weather than when we were on the actual cattle drive! I know you won’t forget how cold it was, then how rainy it was, then how wet it was (who could forget sleeping in wet clothes in a wet tent, a wet sleeping bag, a wet pillow!) Wouldn’t have thought it was possible, but we did it anyway! Next year, in 2021, they’ll be having the actual 500th anniversary of the arrival of cattle in Florida, so that’s likely to be a big one, I’m thinking about doing that one already, too, but we’ll see.
Meanwhile, once the afternoon ended, I binged on several episodes of Suits, then a couple of Cheers!, two of which you would have hated, as they were retrospectives, but I slogged through them. I finally got around to putting out a couple of mousetraps under the slide, Lola’s been barking at the floor again, so hopefully I can start to get rid of them.
Well, not much else to report. As I said, a quiet day! Love you! Good night!

Thursday, Jan. 9, 2020 – Another Busy Day

Dearest Roy,
I kept busy again today, starting out with the usual chores, then discussing with brother Karl the problems with the Open Range that needed to be solved, then kept an appointment down at the funeral home in Lake Worth where I picked out a beautiful carved box for your remains. As promised, I’m going to have it engraved just as you wanted it, with the poem by Omar Khayyám:
“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”
I’m so glad we always had the philosophy of looking to the future and not wasting time on the past and things we couldn’t change, it served us so well, and continues to do so.
Then the folks at the funeral home did something really above and beyond. Remember that Australian movie we watched about a week ago, Red Dog, a legendary canine that traveled thousands of miles across the countryside in search of his master that had died? At the time I said to you they should have just let the dog see the body, he would probably have figured it out. With that in mind, I took Lola with me, hoping they would let her see you, so that she would be at peace. She’s been sitting at the screen door a lot, evidently waiting for you, and I wanted to try to let her have the chance to understand. Well, at first they were reluctant, saying I would need to schedule a viewing to do that, which wasn’t something we were going to do, but after a while, they got together, and all being dog lovers themselves, they brought you out to a small viewing room and let me and Lola spend a few minutes with you alone. Lola took a good long look at you, and even snuffled your face a little, and I really think she understood. Their kindness made me a bit teary, and was so grateful to them for that gesture! Really above and beyond, and much appreciated!
Since we didn’t get a chance to see our friends on Boxing Day this season, and since I was in Lake Worth anyway, I contacted Jayne to see if she wanted to have lunch together, and she met me there so we could travel in one vehicle. Ironically, she suggested we have lunch on the Lake Worth Beach, which, of course, brought a moment of tears to my eyes. You and I both know why. After that night I fixed your motorcycle during a rehearsal of Lysistrata, which evidently impressed you enough to start noticing me as something more than your T&A character in the play, and we starting talking after every rehearsal, longer and longer each night, until two weeks later, on the night before we opened, we spent the entire night talking, driving down to Lake Worth Beach to watch the sun come up over the Atlantic Ocean together, then having breakfast at John G’s right there on the beach (Eggs Benedict, of course!), that was when I knew we would spend the rest of our lives together. That night, after the opening night cast party, I asked you if you wanted to come home with me, and you said yes (which I famously joked about later, “and I haven’t been able to get rid of him since!”), and that was the beginning of it all. Hard to believe it was almost 34 years ago now! Anyway, I decided it would be a great way to circle back and close that loop, so we went down to that same building, though John G’s is gone and a new restaurant is there called Mulligans. Naturally it’s completely different, but the location is the same, so it fit the bill. It was very windy, but we sat outside with Lola anyway (who kept herself busy pointing at pigeons that were walking by looking for scraps) and reminisced a bit, and got caught up on each other’s lives somewhat. It was a nice lunch, and I appreciated the company.
After dropping her back off at her truck, I took a quick detour to Walmart for some fuel, then up to Town and Country for hay, where I got a phone call from Karl wanting to go back to the Irish Pub but Jeff’s job was turning out to take longer than I expected and could I come and get him and take him to the pub? So I turned back around and we did just that. You know what a sucker I am for Guinness on tap, and I ended up probably having one too many, because we stayed until the Irish music started (a regular Thursday night event, apparently), and Jeff joined us after about an hour, making it quite the family affair. Inevitably, we talked about stuff that happened when we were kids, about the cottage, about times from nearly 40 years ago now, some of which I had never heard before. Eventually we made it back home by 9:00, got the animals fed, and finally settled down for a short evening. Good night, my love! Love you!

Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020 – Busy Day

Dearest Roy,
Today was a busy day, which is a good thing, because it means I’m moving forward, like we’ve always done. I called your sister yesterday to let her know what happened, and messaged her daughter Sue, too, and later in the day I e-mailed your daughter Kim to let her know as well.
This morning I managed to get the lift chair that you decided you didn’t like to work, though for a while there it quit. Not sure why it stopped, or even why it started again, but it was working when brother Karl and I loaded it up into the truck and delivered it to a very deserving woman up in Stuart, who, like you, was having trouble walking and getting up out of her chair. Got a good price on it, actually made a bit more than I bought it for, so that was a good thing. I made most of the arrangements with the funeral home, so that’s being taken care of as well, and spoke to Candy up at the Fresenius (you know your usual nurse Rita is on vacation), who said she would make all the arrangements for picking up your dialysis machine and all the remaining supplies, which will certainly give me a lot more space in my kitchen and in the stud stall!
After we dropped off the chair, we headed over to the Kane Center, because it’s Wednesday, and you know Wednesday is Euchre day. I know you were helping me today, because my partner (not brother Karl) and I won every single game except one, when I figured you went out to lunch or something, so thanks for the help! I brought Lola in with me, all dressed up in her Therapy Dog vest, and she made a lot of people smile like she always does.
Shortly after we got home, brother Jeff invited me to come with him and Karl to join their friend John at Angelo’s Too, so I got that Italian food I was craving last week after all. Got home and took care of the horses, and shortly afterward went to that OTL (Ocean-to-Lake) trail ride meeting, in person instead of on the phone like I had done the last two months, and there’s a bunch of problems they’re having to face now because of a screw up at Jonathan Dickinson State Park, so it looks like that will keep me busy for a while, too. You know how I love to solve problems! Finally got back home at nearly 9:00, so now I’m settling down for the evening to a little TV before going to bed. I love you, I miss you, but I know you’re keeping an eye on me, because I can feel you here with me. Good night, my love!