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|Posted on May 25, 2011 at 10:38 AM||comments (132)|
This will be a short blog as we need to get on the road. We are headed home. We still had four more days planned, but a tornado/high winds hit our property last night and we need to get home to take care of things,
Apparently, our home is okay, some damge to siding and roof, but it turned east and lifted up a huge tree and dumped it on Fito's work shop, plus the roof is missing. The trampoline is gone...our neighbor said there are springs all over their yard. The chicken coop, the horse shed, the turkey pen, the rabbit shed are all destroyed.
We lost several large old trees, including a beautiful river birch down by the lake and a wonderful apple tree.
Fito had bought a green house and was putting it together. Maria said the panels were all over the yard and are all broken. The roof turbines are lying in the yard and several bushes that Fito just planted are up-rooted. There is debris and branches all over the lawn. There was large hail so who knows what our vegetable garden looks like. Maria didn't say.
The fort was picked up and tossed onto the pile of roof tiles we have, breaking tile. Metal was torn off the car port and it look like there was hail damage to Fito's truck, the cars, and other things. I guess we won't know the whole extent until we get home, move some of the downed trees, and start cleaning up.
We are looking at the weather right now and the whole journey back home is tornado and thunderstorm weather. I thought maybe we could go the northern route, but it appears the bad weather is throughout the whole midwest and will be for the next 2 days.
We are just going to head home and pray, pray, pray. We will listen to the radio so we can take shelter if we need to.
We did have an absolutely perfect day yesterday in Palmyra, New York seeing church historical sites. We also saw Niagra Falls yesterday, where we are at right now.
I went to get groceries last night in Tony's car and I did something wrong when I locked it. Then when I went to open it, the alarm went off and I could not get it to turn off. I did not have my cell phone, but 2 ladies helped me. They could not get the alarm off either. I borrowed their phone and called Tony and he told me what to do.
At least I was able to start it and drive, but then the alarm came back on. I simply drove to the motel as it wasn't far away and then Tony came out, did one simple click on the control and it stopped!! Why did it not stop for me or the ladies?? It is very embarrassing to drive a car that is blinking lights, honking, and alarm blaring.
|Posted on May 23, 2011 at 9:56 AM||comments (59)|
Yesterday was New York City. On Saturday, I had told everyone that we would sleep in on Sunday, but I woke up early to work and put pictures on the Web Site.
Around 8 am, I started waking up individuals to take showers (that is sleeping in after the past 3 days). We finally left for NYC around 10 am.
West Point is about 1 and 1/2 hours north of NYC. Tony came with us in the Suburban sothat we did not have to follow him in the traffic or try to park two cars, so we had 11 people in the Suburban.
We drove to Harlem and 127th and parked the car there. Tony figured this out a while back. He found this area was close to the freeway, easy on and off, and there are area to park for free. It's not the driving in New York that is bad...it is the parking. Sometimes up to $50 an hour, depending on where you are.
We then walked to a station and took the subway in to Grand Central Station. What an elegant building! What architecture. They really used to know how to create beauty.
Then we walked 8? blocks to Times Square. TV or movies cannot show what that place is really like. It is full of energy.
We then went to the visitor's center to pick up our tour tickets. I had bought group rate tickets on the Internet as it was cheaper that way.
We then had to walk 12 blocks to the pier as we had tickets for a river cruise. The cruise was incredible and our host was very knowledgeable. But it was soooo cold.
We saw the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan Skyline, Brooklyn, several bridges, and so much more. They still have the pier where the Titanic was supposed to dock at. It is now a memorial to the lost.
Then we took a bus back and toured downtown which has so many sights. We got off at Ground Zero and saw the bronze relief dedicated to the fallen firefighters.
We saw too many sights to name, but it is an incredible and very large, very busy city. So much history, business, and so forth.
We stopped to eat between the two tours at Times Square. The children wanted to eat "New York Pizza." Fito and i gave them money and then went to another shop and had Chinese.
We also bought some hoodies for some of the children who had forgotten to bring jackets. We finished the last tour about 8 pm.
We then took the subway back to Harlem, picked up the car and drove to the Bronx. Fito has a first cousin who lives there, whom he has not seen in 31 years.
Tony has stayed with them a few times while in NYC. We had such a nice visit. Fito's family is numerous, but they are an incredible family; close to each other, kind, hard workers, gracious hosts, and always fun to be around.
We finally left there around 11 pm and arrived back to Cromwell at 12:30 am. What a great day, and I wore tennis shoes so my feet did not hurt. Elizabeth told me, I looked weird wearing a suit with tennis shoes. I told her I was a tourist and was allowed to look weird.
Also, I added pics to my Web Site. They are under the family link: NYC vacation.
|Posted on May 21, 2011 at 6:31 PM||comments (62)|
What a long day, but incredible. We left at 7:10 am to get to West Point on time. They had warned us at the banquet last night that there were extra security measures and we needed to be at West Point early, even though graduation wasn't until 10 am.
Talk about a run around. We went to gate after gate and was told it was closed and that they had opened a different gate, only to get to that gate and find it was closed.
They even switched gates between North bound and South bound traffic and we even did a u-turn on the highway to switch gates. Finally around 9 am we entered base.
(We didn't find out until later in the day that they had done this on purpose as a security measure. They did not want anyone [terrorist, etc.] to know what gate they were bringing the guests in through).
The commencement speaker was Admiral Mullen, Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the highest ranking military person. He gave an excellent speech that had meaning, credibility, and integrity to back up the words. He has given his whole life to service in the military and to his country.
Last night, the speaker at the banquet was Michelle Obama and while she has excellent presentation skills and said nice things, it did not have the power, nor credibility, that today's speech had.
There was supposed to be a dance last night, too, but it was canceled due to security and other problems.
Both days it was tight to even get on base and then we were screened on the base before we entered the banquet and the stadium.
They had a parade yesterday that was impressive and then Tony showed us some things and places.
Again, things keep happening. Tony had a date come to the banquet and poor girl, her car broke down on the way to West Point. She had to get a rental and then came late and had to change in the bathroom.
She is a delightful girl, but a mom doesn't tell a son that...or he won't even look at the girl...ha!
My feet are so sore and tomorrow is our day to go to New York City (and walk all day) but I will be wearing tennis shoes so that will be better. We have had to park on one side of the base and then walk all over the base to different events.
After graduation today, Tony was commissioned an officer. They did it down by the Hudson river and it was an absolutely perfect day. Not hot, not chilly, cloudy and sunny, a nice breeze.
Also, at the end of graduation, it is a tradition that the cadets all throw their hats in the air and the small children are allowed on the field to retrieve them. They get to keep them and the cadets even leave notes inside.
Both Rebeca and Elizabeth got had after the ceremony and Elizabeth's had a really sweet note with good advice and a $10 bill.
I had Rebeca and Elizabeth down on the field and I was walking to another area. They were still walking to the front to receive their diplomas...well...I turned to look at Rebeca and did not see a wooden rise that had the electrical cords underneath.
I tripped and fell straight on my face. I scraped my knee and hit my nose really hard. I was afraid it was going to start bleeding.
I was wearing a suit/skirt and was mortified that I had fallen flat on my face in front of a stadium full of people.
Several people came running to help me, but I had already gotten up. One sweet lady told me I had fallen graciously (if you actually could) and that you could not see anything ( and Fito added...at least from her viewpoint).
Oh well...then later in the afternoon, I was sitting by Fito on a bench, the children were playing on the grass under a tree and we were waiting for Tony to finish some things he had to do so we could leave.
Fito made some comment about my hair and then implied that it had been messed up all day. I just about started crying right there. I was soooo tired. My feet were swollen and sore. My knee was aching. Some of my children had just been complaining about why we had to wait so long. I had fallen down in front of so many people and was sooo embarrassed.
But right then, a cadet walked by with his family and he only had his mom (not his father there). There were two people who appeared to be grandparents and it was obvious that they were not well to do, and were struggling.
I immediately saw my great blessings to have work, be educated, have a large family, and have many friends. It had been a great day and we had been blessed with great weather, great words, and the great honor of seeing Tony graduate and be commissioned a Second Lieutenant.
How quickly we let a few miserable moments change our attitude.
|Posted on May 21, 2011 at 7:13 AM||comments (86)|
Quickly, because we must leave in a little bit, I will try to catch up for the past two days.
We left Ohio, Thursday morning and headed east on 70. We arrived at West Virgina several hours later then drove on through Pennsylvania, New Jersey, then fianially...YEA...New York.
We had driven through Missouri, Illinois, and Indiana during the night. 8 states in 26 hours of driving. Over 1500 miles. through rain and fog...ha, at least no sleet or snow.
We saw a Wal-mart when we were close to our destination, so we stopped to purchase milk, cereal, and sandwich stuff. Earlier, I had taken a large pan of Goulash out of the cooler so it would be de-thawed by the time we reached New York.
We called Sheldon (where we were staying) and he gave me directions to his mom's house. We drove that way, but then got lost. We then put the address into the GPS and it took us to the wrong town.
We called Sheldon again, he gave us new directions and we headed off again. Just then maria called and said the Newcastle police had called and were looking for her. i called the house, my mom answered and said the police were with her right now.
She said she was okay but was afraid because it was lightening and thundering. She then asked me why i wasn't at home. i asked to speak to the officer and they said that my mom had tried to call someone and had mis-dialed.
The woman then called the police department. The young adult girl who is staying with my mom showed up just after the police had arrived. It was only 8 pm when she called and it hadn't started storming yet.
I then called Maria back and told her Mom was okay and she could just go home, that she did not need to go to our house.
I then told her to take a large piece of paper, write our numbers on it in large print, and tape it right beside my Mom's phone. Older people become more like children as they age. you have to do many of the things that you would do with a child to reassure them and help them feel safe.
The drive was long, but the crew did surprisingly well. I think they have been more cranky since arriving than on the trip. We had to give them a lecture yesterday because they were complaining about what we were doing.
I have to go, today is graduation...will add more later...
|Posted on May 19, 2011 at 9:57 AM||comments (60)|
We are in Ohio. It is 8:30 am and we drove all night. We had to bypass one area in Illinois as there was a bridge out. And then I got back on the wrong road and didn't catch it until 30 miles or so.
So that slowed us down. We should be in New York, I estimate around 7-8 pm with stops included. We need showers now...what will we look like then?
There has been construction, detours, etc. It was super foggy in Illinois and I had to keep slowing down. We ate last night at Wendy's from their dollar menu. We spent $38 for 10 of us. I am impressed.
Right now we are at Bob Evens and I put a $6 limit on their breakfast's. We will see how well we do.
We have 3 laptops that they have been using for entertainment. So far that has worked really well. Right before we left, Matthew bought the first two seasons of "How I Met Your Mother" and they had a marathon last night watching the show.
We brought the PS3, but there is not enough current for it to run. There are 4 cell phones among us, but none of us have the Internet on our phones.
I remember the old days in the station wagon with only the alphabet game or camp songs to keep us entertained. Actually, my children still play the Alphabet game. Sometimes, we play it by finding the alphabet by billboards, etc....things we see on the road.
Other times, we start with A, and each person has to name an animal that starts with A, then B, and so on. When you are last, out of 10, it gets really hard. My husband is amazing, at how many animals he can think of.
Our food is here...I will catch you later.
|Posted on May 18, 2011 at 3:27 PM||comments (104)|
We are almost ready to go. Look out New York. Benjamin arrived from Kansas about an hour ago and they are finishing packing everything into the trailer.
We are taking the Suburban (which seats 7) and there are 10 of us. When we reach West Point we will have Tony's vehicle, too, and then we will not be so crowded.
We bought a large cooler yesterday and in it are frozen pans of enchiladas, lasagna, and goulash. I had made a lot so we don't have to eat out as much. Even if we had the money, I do no like eating out as your energy level always goes down.
I also took stuff to make spaghetti, Ramon noodles, pancake mix, snacks, water and juices.
We took out all the trash, changed the sheets on the beds, the house is clean, and the animals are taken care of. A friend is coming to stay at the house so my Mom will not be alone. Maria and Travis will come each day to check on things and will stay the day or night depending on their schedule.
I bought my Mom some frozen prepared things she just has to microwave. She will be happy. She likes that stuff and I do not let her have it very often.
If we can, we will drive straight through to New York which is over 1500 miles and about 25-26 hours. AAUUGH....but we have left so late, we have to now.
We had car problems, children scheduling problems, and then money problems. We had to use some of the trip money before we even let, but I called our small town bank (which I love) yesterday, and we were able to secure a loan for the trip.
We are waiting right now for the paper work to be done, then Fito and I will sign the papers, and we will leave.
The past few days have been crazy loco. Fito and I have been trying to finish projects, turn in work that has to be done while we are gone. make final arrangements. Check on stuff. And the list goes on and on.
I will try to post everyday where we are and what we are doing. This is going to be such an amazing trip. Fito doesn't even know yet what all I have planned.
The only children we are not taking are Douglas, Ary, and Celeste and Maria and Travis -- the married ones. But over July 4th weekend we will go to Houston to see Douglas, Ary, and Celeste.