As you no doubt are aware, if you follow the blog, I am writing backward. Well, maybe not writing backward but definitely going backward in time to last fall. It is much easier to do that sentimental, stream-of-consciousness kind of writing that I did this morning when writing about December. If I am in the mood, that is the kind of writing that I enjoy the most, when it just flows. Now I must get down to the brass tacks of documenting the weeks between our return home in mid-October and the beginning of the December blog.
Even on cold foggy days in November, the leaves were still on the trees
Why is this so hard, I wonder? Maybe because after a long journey, the return home feels a bit like the same ole same old stuff. Looking at the calendar, what stood out the most was the medical appointments. My regular doctor for another shot in my locking trigger thumb, my annual visit with the Neuromuscular specialist for the IBM, the skin doctor, the dentist for an overdue cleaning, and joy of joys, repeated trips to Rite-Aid for various vaccinations. A flu shot, another pneumonia shot after one ten years ago, a Covid booster, and the dreaded shingles shot. Not a single bad reaction to a single one, even the shingles vax only gave us a tiny bit of a sore arm for a day. Felt pretty lucky with that after some of the horror stories I had heard.
The trigger thumb doctor is great at the cortisone injections but said it was time for me to see the hand specialist and schedule surgery. Oh, Joy. Hopefully, I can get it done in between cruises. I have two coming up this year. Hard life, I know. The Neuro doctor is well acquainted with IBM and wonder of wonders is right here in Grants Pass. IBM groups throughout the world spend a lot of time complaining about how even the best specialists don’t know what they are doing more than half the time. My guy is so cool and studied IBM specifically, so he knows to NOT prescribe any kinds of creepy steroids or auto-immune drugs and simply tracks my progress from year to year. Good news. Progress is very slow and on the IBM Functional Rating Scale of 0 to 40 with 40 being the best and 0 being basically completely incapacitated, I am now 30 out of 40, and last year I was 31. So that means it is going slow and once again he said I probably wouldn’t need a wheelchair until I am 100 or so.
The zinnias didn’t freeze until the middle of November
When we got home, fall seemed a long-forgotten memory from driving through the northern part of the country that we only imagined. The temperatures here in GP in mid-October were in the low 90’s. At least it cooled to the 50s at night, and the days were shorter so it didn’t feel quite as bad as it can in summer, but it was still really hot. We settled into being home, thrilled at what great condition the property was in with help from caretaker daughter Deborah, and friend Gerald who kept the sprinklers checked and running, made sure the salt was filled in the water unit, tried valiantly to damp down the activity of the many ground critters who love our lawns and gardens, and mowed and trimmed the grass.
As you might remember, the MoHo overheating problem was never actually solved during the trip, and Mo said that once again as she drove over the passes, the temperature gauge heated up every time, even though she wasn’t towing the baby car on that solo trip home from Portland. (Remember in that last blog post for October when I said Mo stayed in Portland with the MoHo while I drove home alone in the Baby Car?)
Mo and her brother did some work on the rig, with Dan making a new harness for the hydraulic jack motherboard which had come loose back in Illinois somewhere. We spent the last part of the trip trying to get level with blocks and really missed our jacks.
The first couple of weeks after we got home, Mo spent a huge amount of time on the internet searching for the right parts and then even more time installing those parts. Wonder of wonders once again, Mo to the rescue, and she figured out the overheating problem. She finally decided that even though we had a new thermostat installed at the beginning of the trip, maybe it was faulty in some way so, after much hunting around, she ordered a new one. When it came and she got the old one out, they didn’t match! Seems as though it was the wrong thermostat all along. We made some test runs over the passes, and so far so good! The rig hasn’t overheated once since Mo finished that repair.
Mo also figured out that she needed to replace the solenoid for the unit that operates the hydraulic jacks. Sure enough, after she did that the jacks worked fine, and have worked perfectly ever since. I am so grateful that Mo is a darn good fix-it kind of person and usually can figure out what needs to be done.
Maryruth and Gerald entertained us for a lovely dinner in October when we returned home
I usually begin decorating for Fall on September 1st, no matter how hot it might be. The summer flags go down and the fall flags go up. Not this year. With it already being mid-October when we got home I had my work cut out for me getting out all the Halloween decor in time for my evening hosting the Grants Pass Book Club. I love fall and have learned that I can put up everything for fall and Halloween and only have to take down the 100 percent Halloween stuff to keep the rest up until time to decorate for Christmas. Yes, you may have figured out by now I might be a little bit nuts when it comes to this stuff.
The book club evening was fun, and I served a big mess of nacho bar fixings to accompany the hot cider, topped off with a bit of caramel vodka for those who might choose to imbibe. It was a fun evening, and when it was over, Halloween was upon us.
Since we live on a rural road, I decided to go over to my friend Maryruth’s home for the trick-or-treating festivities. Their home is in one of those nice neighborhoods with sidewalks and level walking where people from all over town bring their kids for the evening. It was great fun answering the door with Marruth and seeing all the little kids in their costumes. I have missed that part of Halloween living where we live in a more rural area.
Check out all the hot October sunshine pouring in the windows and the green leaves on the trees
I may have mentioned “Fall”, but with temperatures in the 80s and all the leaves on the oaks still bright green, it was hard to realize that it actually was technically fall. Most years by November 1 the leaves have turned and the colors in Grants Pass are postcard brilliant. Not so this year. But the weather played a nasty trip and overnight it went from the 80s and sun to the 50s and rain, but still no frost.
My zinnia bed bloomed fully until the morning of November 15th when a hard frost finally put those brilliant little flowers to rest and they were relegated to the compost pile. Finally. Still, the leaves didn’t fall from the trees until early in December, so our fall raking chores were postponed until the weather turned really cold and really wet. So much for raking this year. The colors this fall were somewhat subdued, with only a bit of color finally showing up in early December. I have photos to compare so I do know that it really was a poor year for color in Grants Pass.
Deborah with me in the sunshine at Schmidt Family Vineyard
Lovely place to be on a fall afternoon
Mo and I spent a lovely afternoon at our favorite local winery with Daughter Deborah.
We also managed to complete two fall puzzles that were fun and challenging. It seems that as soon as we finish a puzzle and put it away, I get antsy to bring out another one. Puzzling is the one thing I can do that will take my mind off of all the other things I am supposed to be doing. I get a bit obsessive, I guess, but it is such a soothing activity that takes my mind away from everything else. I need that sometimes I guess.
Thanksgiving this year was hosted by Daughter Melody and Robert at their home in Brownsville.
Mo and I drove up early on TG morning with an invite to stay in their guest room. Daughter Deborah drove with her son Matthew and our neighbor Karen (the elderly lady who lives across the street). Karen is a bit forgetful and gets confused sometimes, but she really loved the trip and spending the day with our family.
Neighbor Karen, Daughter Deborah, and Grandson Matthew at Melody and Robert’s home
Axel and Py doing what young people do, hanging out in the media room with their phones
We also enjoyed having the grands visiting for the day with Axel and their partner Py joining the family for the festivities. Grandson Xavier had to work, but I got to see one grandkid for the day so that was great.
Mattie was an honored guest as well
Somewhere during the middle of November, Mo said thought it would be fun to spend the night at Seven Feathers on the way home from Melody’s place. The Casino and hotel are only 45 miles from home but on the I-5 route. We checked into making a reservation and were a bit daunted to discover that the cost with the dog would be more than 200 bucks for the night.
Why stay in a hotel when we have a MoHo only 45 miles away. We decided instead to drive home from Brownsville, rest for a day, and then on Saturday, we drove the MoHo back to Seven Feathers for a great night at the RV Park associated with the casino. RV people traveling I-5 through Southern Oregon are often familiar with this Casino and RV Park. It is a wonderful park with a beautiful indoor pool and lovely grounds.
Seven Feathers RV Park is a very nice park
For less than half of the cost of the hotel, we had a perfectly level spot on cement right near the pool, with full hookups. In Canyonville, the sweet gum trees at the park had turned gorgeous colors of red and orange and even though the weather was wet, we enjoyed every minute of our stay. Mo and I drove over to the Casino for a bit of entertainment, where the small amount of money we chose to donate provided us with some noisy colorful entertainment for an hour and a half or so. We didn’t care to spend the big bucks for the steak house restaurant, and the buffet is only mediocre, so eating our own meal in the MoHo was perfect.
Mattie enjoyed the walks around the beautiful grounds.
Part of the draw of Seven Feathers for us is the pool. Early Sunday morning we put on our suits and walked through the chill to the waiting heated pool. Locked?? It seems that the pool closed that morning for some repairs and swimming was not to be part of our Seven Feathers stay on this trip.
The drive home was a perfect test for the MoHo, with 4 passes between Canyonville and our home in Grants Pass. Not once did the temperature gauge needle budge from its normal operating zone. What a relief after all that trouble and worry on our long trip last summer.
Grandson Matthew is a great roof climber for putting up the lights
During the last days of November, it was time to take down all that orange and gold fall stuff and get started with Christmas. The weather was warm enough for Matthew to get the lights up before the first of December. It was good timing because after that week the weather turned foggy and icy and I wouldn’t have wanted him climbing around on a slippery, icy roof.
By the last days of November the leaves finally started to falll
With the outside lights going up I was inspired to begin the inside decorating, beginning with the Christmas Village. I have been doing this village for about 40 years now, adding more and more in the early years and cutting it down a bit in the last few years since we moved into Sunset House. Sometimes I think maybe I don’t need to do it, but after it is up I am always glad I made the effort.
In the midst of all the decorating and un-decorating, visiting, making Christmas cards, and reading books for the book club, I kept on writing and writing about the cross-country trip. It was on November 30 that I wrote that very last blog post and I haven’t had the mental energy to try to keep catching up on the back posts until these last couple of days. Finally.
Now, at last, I am all caught up. It somehow seems an important thing for me to do on this last day of the year. I can begin 2023 with a clean slate, all caught up and ready to go for the next year.