Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Twists and Turns in Our Paths Forward

At first glance, 2017 seemed a rather routine year for us, but although there were no spectacular events many new developments in old activities and a few new experiences kept us active and interested in life.

For some time, we've enjoyed doggie sitting for Pearl when son Lee and his fiancee Karen were away. This year we had many more opportunities as Lee and Karen spent several weeks in Europe and also got extremely
busy after they entered the real estate business. Pearl is a little cutie, as the photo here shows as she celebrated the holidays last year with a nap under the tree.

In the real estate world, we helped occasionally with renovations at a rental, scouting for new properties to be rehabbed for sales managed by Karen, and a complete remodel of one of the houses to be sold.

The aging process seems to foist one major medical problem on us annually. Sandy had two in 2017. In early spring she began suffering from a prolapsed bladder. The result was an hour-long operation. It was serious stuff, but not without a touch of humor.

Recovery started with an overnight stay in the hospital. The building was crowded and the only available room was in the maternity section. Dick and Lee hurried to the appointed room, and arrived before the patient did. When the attending nurse wheeled Sandy in on a gurney, she looked at the two men, grinned, and announced loudly. "It's a boy!"

Eight months later Sandy had cataract surgery on her left eye. We knew the drill--four years earlier her right eye got the same treatment. Results have been outstanding. Sandy now rates her eyesight as "almost perfect."

Sandy stayed busy with a variety of usual and unusual activities. She continued to polish new items created by Lee for his stained glass business, served as a hostess at two open houses at his studio, and helped at the annual art show held at the local nature center. The "queen of garage sales" orchestrated another success in June during the annual neighborhood sale, which attracted hundreds of buyers.

Sandy made what has become a traditional trip to West Bend, Wisconsin, in July. As usual, she enjoyed staying with cousin Bev Tessar and visiting friends and relatives. In the new twist, cousins Sherry and Gale journeyed from their homes in Athens, Wisconsin, to see Sandy. The result was a wonderful dinner with all cousins present--a first.

Dick broke a vow made years ago when he was a sportswriter. After covering some 60 night games a season played by the Class A pro team at Wisconsin Rapids, he said he'd had more than enough baseball and would never attend a professional game again. Well, in July he and Lee decided to take in a Kalamazoo Growlers game, loved it, and went back for several more. They're planning to join the "howlers for the Growlers" regularly in the future.

We got back into another activity from the past this year. Our move from Utah to Michigan ten years ago ended a regular entertainment--periodic trips to casinos in Wendover, Nevada.. We were the "classic low rollers" risking very little and only playing video poker, a game we thoroughly understand. We made only a few gambling forays in Michigan, but early this year found a casino with atmosphere and video slots we liked just 15 miles from our home. We made monthly trips. Sandy has amassed a nice winnings total for the year. Dick has . . .  let's just say he hopes for better luck next year.

Dick continued participating in a discussion group at People's Church in Kalamazoo, and once again volunteered to serve a shift in white elephant sales at the annual bazaar. Sandy always visits the bazaar as a buyer, but this year she shopped early and joined the white elephant staff. Her expertise gleaned from garage sales and operating a craft business paid off. White elephant sales set a record, contributing to record sales for the entire bazaar.

Dick served People's in a minor way as one of the writers assigned to draft a revised mission statement for the church. He also took an adult education class on major religions of the world. Those activities represent radical changes for a guy who avoided churches for more than 50 years.

We dabbled further into spiritual matters on November 30 by joining Karen and Lee at the annual presentation of Handel's "Messiah" at the historic United Church of Christ in downtown Kalamazoo. Karen has sung in Messiah celebrations for many years, in Germany and the U.S. We've been spectators for several years. This time, Dick added his less than beautiful tones to the singing. Predictions are the Messiah performances will continue despite Dick's participation.

Our never-ending home renovations continued at a slow, but steady, pace throughout the year. The star project was a complete remodel of a spare bedroom into a craft room-office for Sandy. Lee did the work, which included custom shelves, work spaces, storage areas, electronic connections, and lighting. Just as he was about to apply the finishing touches in late November disaster struck.

What appeared to be a minor leak turned out to be a huge problem for the large, rock-clad chimney at the back of our house. Most of the wood under the rock was damaged beyond repair by water, as was the roof area surrounding the whole structure. Lee stepped in to save the day. He demolished the entire chimney structure and the damaged roof area, replaced rotted boards, built a complete new chimney frame, and reroofed affected areas. He worked for two weeks through bitter cold, rainy weather, sometimes into dark hours with the aid of lights he rigged up. The results are excellent, and we're happy to be entering a holiday season able to roast chestnuts if we choose and with a chimney no Santa would be reluctant to use.

Best wishes to you and yours for a Happy Holiday season!



Rummuser said...

An eventful year indeed and thanks for sharing it with us. I wish that I could write something as interesting as this but know cannot for the simple reason that nothing out of the usual routine happened.

PiedType said...

Me, myself, and I did virtually nothing of interest this year aside from eating, sleeping, and breathing -- habits I find impossible to break. Meanwhile, you guys were busy!!

Tom Sightings said...

Sounds like you had a busy and fruitful year. Oh, those chimney problems ... they're a pain in the you-know-what (the wallet!)

joared said...

What do you do in your spare time? Sounds like an interesting year of activities. Glad all was resolved well with medical issues. Wishing you and family a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Better luck for you in the casino in ‘18.

Kay said...

Good gosh! So much stuff happening. Then again, I've been in the same sort of boat. Hope your Christmas was wonderful and that 2018 will be full of fun, good health and adventure.