Monday, December 30, 2013

2013 Year End Update Part Deux

Lets see, I left off at the end of June, so this should start at the first of July, if the sequence is right. We were, all of us out in the Black Hills for a week at a cabin near Terry Peak, minus Hans, and Steve. Steve (Scuba) showed up later, due to job requirements. We all scattered to different attractions in the area, some to Custer State Park and others to Devils Tower in Wyoming. I had a couple of bikes along, so Jan and I got out for a good ride one day, and the dirt bike put on a few miles also. When we got home to Minnesota, Rachel and her kiddos headed back to Norfolk to get ready for their next move, back to Japan in August. We had a few PGR missions in a row ending with one in Comfrey, Minnesota, to help dedicate a memorial to the 4 airmen that lost their lives in a 1963 B-47 crash right outside of town. I had happened to have just gotten home from tech school the day after the crash in below zero weather, so I remembered it well. The next day I rode out to the crash site and met the daughter of one of the victims purely by chance. There is a crater at the site where the bomber went in, and she informed me that "my Dad is in there somewhere", quite matter of factly. She was a small child when it happened, so I am sure that she did not remember him well. Jan and I spent a couple of days in the Rochester area getting some riding in, and then spent an afternoon in Winona at a Dale Warlund concert. Words are kind of inadequate to describe the sound he can create from a choir. I took a quick trip back out to Spearfish to return a towel we brought home by mistake. For once the trip across South Dakota was comfortable and windless to boot. I don't think I mentioned it, but the weather had been fairly nice all month. August started with more bike maintenance, and riding, and a PGR mission. We also had a concrete pad poured for the toy hauler on the north side of the north garage. If we keep this up I won't have much lawn to mow. If I work this right, about the time I can't handle the job, the lawn will have disappeared, hmm, I just thought of that. Jan and I rode over to Rochester to watch Sam, and Gus for a day while Steve , and Gen were out of town. After discovering a blown fork seal on our ST1300 I had to tear the front end all apart to get the fork tubes out for repair, which I did not do by myself. The trailer pad project meant that a couple loads of black dirt were needed to fill in around it, so that needed leveling and grass seed. Eli drove one of the Harris' Allis Chalmers in the parade at the Butterfield Threshing Bee this year. Hopefully a new generation is keeping this event from becoming ancient history, as the older men that actually worked with some of this machinery are going the same way as WWII vets. Jan and I were back to Rochester to visit the Doctors at Mayo, and got another good report. I think that they have told us that we don't need to return, but I kind of like checking in once a year now, just to make sure my body is behaving itself. Sure as Hell, I do not want a repeat of my September 2008 stay there. Late August was hot and humid. Around here those two always seem to go hand in hand, also bike prep for the Colorado trip. August ended with Phil and I on the road heading for south-west Colorado again. We spent a couple of hard days riding in the San Juan mountains, by revisiting several passes in the area. We only got caught in rain once, and luckily after we had gotten down off a particularly tough pass, so we just got wet, instead of hypothermia or worse. After this year, I don't think that I will be doing this too many more times, time does take it's toll, at least when you are off roading. After we got back, Jan and I took over watching Leah and Aaron while Eli, and Lindsey took a bike trip to Wisconsin's Door County. It sounds nice, and as many times as Jan, and I have been in Wisconsin, we have never been there. After they got home we loaded up the toy hauler and headed, where else but, Wisconsin again. We set up at a KOA in Oakdale and spend the better part of a week riding some of the best roads in this part of the world. One day I did ride over to Oshgosh to the EAA museum. I found it to be quite a good display, kind of like the Air Force museum in Dayton, Ohio, but on a smaller scale. We watched the first Viking game sitting on the lawn with the tv on the deck, with the Theobalds, three groups of Kuehls, and a bunch of the neighborhood kids in attendance. Warm and green, not like yesterday's game, white, and below zero. The rest of the month was spent with getting the trailer ready for winter, bike maintenance, a PGR mission, and Mom's 93rd birthday get together in New Ulm. October started with a PGR mission, and unusual weather. Tornados in Nebraska, and eastern South Dakota, while Lead, South Dakota got 55" of snow, yikes! The next major project saw Jan, and I driving to Rochester to pick up Scouba, Sam, and Gus and drive up to Duluth. Gen had left earlier for Ashland, Wisconsin to register for the marathon there, to be run the next day. We all stayed at my brother, and sister in laws home on Lake Superior in Duluth. Paul and Marcy were kind enough to let us hang out there for a couple of days. Anyhow, we all drove over the Ashland area to cheer her on. Jan, and I, and her boys, Sam, and Gus followed her on the course, clapping, and ringing our sleigh bells. She finished in a personal best time of 3 hours, 33 minutes. This should qualify her for the Boston marathon, but only when the backlog from last years bombing is cleared, I guess. Jan and I went over to Rochester to go to Sam, and Gus's school for VIP day. My sister Kathy was home at this time too. I started the pellet burner already, and Jan and I got another ton of wood pellets at Menards, and I was trying to get some last minute rides in before the snow flies again. Jan and I were to Leah, and Aaron's school for a visit the first of November. Anyone that wonders what we retired people are doing with all of our spare time, evidently did not have grandchildren in church schools. It has been fun and it keeps us out of trouble, don't you know. Kathy and I attended the cousins get together in the Cities at Rhonda's home on Lake of the Isles. I won't even try to spell the name of the treat that is served at these get togethers, but it sure is tasty. Kathy, Jan, and I were back to Rochester again for Sam's birthday party, along with all of the Kuehls, minus Mom, and the Theobald familys. I did the AARP driver's safety course again mainly for the insurance break, and a contractor started on finishing up the tile job in our bathroom. Veteran's day has turned out to be better than I remember it, getting free breakfast at Hy Vee, lunch at Appleby's, and a haircut at Great Clips, but I am sad to say no free tires at Fast Lane. I ran a bunch of old blue jeans up to Grove City to a friend that has been making quilts from them for autistic children. When I arrived a U-Haul was backed up to the house loading furniture. Mike is giving up their home and moving to Council Bluffs, Iowa, so I took them home and disposed of them. He just did not have room for them and was already backlogged with orders, and was trying to nail down a job there. His wife is a nurse, so she was already employed. It is too bad I enjoyed moving them up to them, and Jan had been collecting them at work, so that won't be done in the future. Jan, Leah, and I drove over to Rochester, me to a PGR mission in Byron in the rain, and the girls with Gen, and her boys to Austin to the Spam museum. Jan and I spent some time watching the final season of Dexter, what a bummer of an ending, although, what could you expect to happen, a happy ending? I guess you could have hoped for more. For Thanksgiving Jan, and I were back in Rochester with whole gang again, for some good eating etc.. I changed the front tire on the Harley, and that about finishes November. I am sure that you all will be glad to see that this note is about to wrap up with my take on December at our house, so here it is. I did manage to wrap a couple of gifts, and we got to watch our son in law, Hans' change of command ceremony, live from Yokosuka, Japan. The reason Rachel and her kiddos headed back to Japan in August was to get Josiah, and Annika into school, while Hans was still in training for his new job at Newport, Rhode Island. Anyhow, this is an achievement he has been working towards since he was commissioned, I would imagine. He has finally got command of his own destroyer, the USS Curtis Wilbur, stationed at Yokosuka. If you read this blog you should be able to jump to Rachel's blog and get caught up. She is a much more experienced blogger than me, for sure. Jan, and I made a few more trips to and from Fairmont with her Mom to doctor appointments etc., and we picked up a new mattress set. It seems as if, one can never find that perfect mattress, but you have to keep trying. We met Phil, and Laura in New Ulm for lunch and some shopping for the girls anyway, Phil and I checked out the countryside in the meantime. Jan, and I have been visiting Hanska furniture lately too, eyeing some new furniture, and we actually found a remnant for the floor in our bathroom, which is now complete! We had Christmas at our house again this year with everyone here minus the DeFor's  who, I just related are in Japan, and Jan's mom who did not feel like traveling up from Sherburn. Leah, and Aaron's Christmas program was the other night, and I still cannot get over how much they have to recite, and songs to sing. I don't recall that much memorization when I was that small, until I got to catechism mind you. I had a PGR mission the other day. Thank God, we had a couple of days above 40, and sunny too. I believe that I have heard that this has been the coldest December in over 10 years, and I think that they are correct. And that brings us up to date, all in all it has been a pretty good year, with Jan and I reasonably decent health. You have no idea how thankful I am to be able write this note at all, and the fact that all of Jan, and my children's family's are doing better than well. Kind of like Lake Woebegone, where all of the people are good looking, and the children are above average. With that thought I will leave you, and I hope to see you here next year, around this time, and in between too, if you care to check me out in the meantime.

Monday, December 23, 2013

2013 Year end update part 1

Well, I guess that it is that time of the year again, that I need to bring the rest of our small world up to date on the year of our Lord 2013. Like a typical blog I may slide some photos in somewhere, so stand by. As usual I will start with the month of January, which stands to reason, I think. Jan and I had spent the first few days of the month in the Cities at a nice motel with the rest of the family, most of the time. Rachel, Hans, Josiah, Annika, and William, were all there too, so we had a really special time over New Years. We all agreed that this was an idea of Rachel's that needed to be repeated some time in the future, although we came close in the Hills this Summer. There were a few days of above freezing weather, and then more cold, a typical winter. I see that I had our new Triumph out a couple of times, so the weather had turned quite nice temporarily We were also getting over to Rochester and here in town to Grand kids school programs, and running Jan's Mom and me to Doctors appointments in Fairmont. I think that I mentioned some time ago that this getting older business is not as much fun as I hoped it would be when I was a child. Jan and I ran out to Sioux Falls to pick up a new shower enclosure to replace the one we have been fighting with for a few years now. Believe it or not, but as of now it has turned out very nice. Let me see, we are up to February. It started with my Aunt Dorothy Boltes' funeral. Dorothy was my Dad's sister and the last member of the Kuehl family of 8 children. Like most down time, I do spend some time out in my shop tending to the bikes. Since I can't ride, I sit and clean and polish stuff that I won't take time for in the Summer. The biggest project in the house this month, was a paneling job in our treadmill room. It has never really been finished well. Jan picked some finished pine, that is actually produced in Hill City, South Dakota. I also picked up a power miter saw to assist in this job, man, I wish I had done that 30 years ago. I have done most of the oak trim in the house over the years with a hand saw. That power saw made a world of difference, and Eli and I are still using it for trim work. Anyhow, the room came out quite nice, if I do say so my self. On the 14th we celebrated our 42nd anniversary, my how the time does fly when you have someone to love around. The weather this month was up into the 40s and down below 0,  kind of a roller coaster ride, so to speak. Next up, March. I was starting in on redoing our 650 Honda, which has been laid up since last Summer with a bum engine, for the second time in a couple of years, but that is a whole different story. Jan, her Mom, and I made a run to Rochester for Gus's birthday party early in March. We also got some inches of snow that needed blowing, so it must have been reasonably deep. Then a couple of days later we got 2 inches of rain, which, naturally, turned to snow later. Jan and I drove out to Sioux Falls and Flandreau to hear a blues group we have followed for a few years, it was late by the time we got home. Got all of the parts needed for the 650 rebuild and dug in, only to discover a small part missing, that required a run to the Lakeville Honda parts counter. I took the concealed carry class here in St. James along with 15 or 20 other people looking to claim their 2nd amendment rights, so now there are a few more of us out there that may or may not be armed, that being the point of the exercise. I did finish the 650 (Harry) work, and he fired right up when I got done, wonder of wonders. April was next. We were hoping for warmer weather. I do spend a lot of time complaining about the weather don't I? Phil, Laura, Jan, and I made a run to the Hills just to check things out. We spent a couple of days in Deadwood, and the weather did co-operate for once. We actually saw 50 degrees for the first time about here, then 6-8 inches of snow a couple days later, so back to reality, however ugly it can be in the Spring around here. Our drain project started out by jackhammering out the old drain pipes in the basement and replacing them with plastic. Part of the job got rid of the floor drain that had never worked correctly, I think that it had been partially filled with concrete when the floor was poured 60 years ago. Now the run to the street is the only future problem in that regard. We plan on jetting that section of pipe every year or so to get rid of tree roots, rather than digging up the lawn to replace that pipe, not that my lawn is that nice you understand. I actually got a bike out now and then so it wasn't too cold or I was desperate, one or the other. Jan and I also started out to Virginia later in April. We had a nice trip except for getting caught in a speed trip in a crummy little town in West Virginia. I tried to avoid that state one time by going around through Washington D.C., which turned out to be a mistake. Anyhow, we spent some time at Appomattox Court House in Virginia. It seems that just about anywhere you are out there, history is all around you. Jan and I helped Rachel move from one home into the house they had just bought in Norfolk. Luckily she had a mover do the heavy lifting, but we did spend several days getting thing arranged, pictures, books, and window dressings hung. Hans got back from more training about then, the first part of May. Jan and I headed home on the 8th and arrived the next day at our house. Mom and I drove up to St. Peter to meet my brothers for lunch, for Mother's day. Suddenly we had warm weather, with a high temperature of 102 on the 14th, and 80s on either side, and I was down with a cold at the time, rats. My brother Paul had his 60th birthday party at Bailey's in Ormsby, and Jan and I took the Harley to the party. Jan and I helped Eli, and Lindsey move to their next home, a real cute one here in town that I have always admired. Phil, Paul, and I changed out the kitchen door to the garage at Mom's house one day. Now it is a good steel insulated unit with a dead bolt lock. I made 2 short trips to Iowa in 2 days, the first one I was sure the battery was toast on the BMW, so I turned around and came home. The next day I got to Mason City and realized that my billfold was laying on the counter at home, so I limped home at 55. Lucky I started with a full tank of gas. After that I put a credit card in the pockets of jackets I might be wearing the next time I do that. Phil and I made our traditional pilgrimage  up to Cambridge to check out the bikes and have a burger and fries at this joint on the main drag. I wonder how long we have been doing that? June started out with a Patriot Guard mission in Sioux Falls. It was cool and rainy and I know that I took a bike to this one. My sister Kathy was home at this time, having come home to attend Paul's birthday party that was held last month. I was getting out more on the bikes too. I ran the Triumph (Tony) in for his first check-up, which is primarily an oil change anymore. I was also up to Phil's to help change a tire on his dirt bike, to get it ready for our trip to Colorado in the late Summer. The bathroom project was coming along with the walls getting tiled, finally. Patriot Guard missions are picking up now too, except they are mostly Veteran funerals and not combat related, which is a good thing, now that combat operations are winding down. Jan and I went down to Peterson, Mn., and met the Theobalds to watch Steve play softball and see their parade, which is always fun for all. I headed west on Tony on the 17th. I spent the first night in Spearfish, and ran over the Big Horns to Riverton. I had planned on going further west to Dubois and south from there, but the weather looked really nasty in that direction, so I headed to Casper for the night. The next day I made it all of the way home, somewhere over 700 miles at one time, and I never got wet once. Both of the days were complicated by stiff cross winds, which probably contributed to an eye problem I developed on the trip, part of the cost riding, I guess. Rachel, Josiah, Annika, and William, rolled in from Norfolk toward the end of the month too. We had a picnic out at Lake Hanska with everybody here plus Rachel's mother in Law Donna, who came down from her home in Bloomington. The end of the month saw us convoying the whole family west to the Hills, minus Steve, and Hans. Steve had to work another day and Hans was tied up with the Navy. So here ends part one of our saga. I need to proof read it a couple of times and find some pictures to illustrate us a little, and part 2 will follow when my fingers stop bleeding from all of this typing.