Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Christmas Post Part Zwei

   I'm back. Actually it is the 31st of December 2014, so I could not have gone any longer without ending up in 2015. It seems lately that I have been spending an inordinate amount of time thinking about my health condition. I remember with fondness how healthy I thought that I was when I was younger, now it is pretty much one thing after another, some more serious than the other. It could be the weather, never having been the type to enjoy looking out of the windows at the frozen Earth around the house, although hanging around in the garage with the gang does ease the pain somewhat. Anyhow enough of my troubles, I think that I let off with the month of June, so naturally July would follow.
   The month started with us getting the trailer out again and getting down to Lanesboro for the 4th of July weekend. We manage to get there almost every year, pretty much for the fireworks display they put on, and we get some riding in also in that area. It's not as good as Wisconsin, where most roads are paved, but close. We celebrated Aaron's birthday on the 8th and on the 9th we were back in Rochester to meet with the doctors from ENT for the word. On the 10th I had surgery for another spot of cancer in my mouth in the same location as before. Luckily this was outpatient so we were out of there in the afternoon. A few days later Jan and I went to Winona for the Dale Warland concert, not as good  as last year but still very good. With doctors appointments, and another trip back to Rochester to take a look at my mouth I did get an ok to travel. I loaded up the GS and headed west, again, I just never seem to be able to go east. I spent the first night in, where else but Hot Springs, for the 2nd time this year. Out across Wyoming, I guess that it is hard to go that way and miss that state. A night in Lander then up to Pinedale to try a pass that turned out too rough, which required a detour through the Grand Tetons. Not a bad detour to say the least, but crowded. I did manage to hit a trail I had been eyeing that turned out to be 34 miles dirt in the Big Horns. On the way back to Minnesota I spent the night at an Air Force buddies home in Gettysburg, South Dakota. A nice trip and I managed to stay dry and uninjured.
  Next up August. Jan and I were over to Rochester again, this time to watch the grandsons while their Mom and Dad were out of town. The deck finally got sanded down to bare wood and finished in another product that I hope stands up longer to our weather. I participated in a very special PGR mission one evening We gave a motorcycle escort from Fairmont to the South Dakota line for the remains of a Canadian soldier from WWII on his way home. It was quite an event with Highway Patrol leading the assembly of vehicles. I didn't get home until almost midnight. The next day in Odin they held a sort of softball reunion for the team that we attended. My brother Paul played for Odin for years and managed to play, without hurting himself too bad I  think. It was like old times, with the concession stand open and the same announcer on the p.a.. This was fast pitch softball which bares little resemblance to slow pitch. It is too bad but that style of ball has almost disappeared from this area anyway. In the middle of the month was the Butterfield Threshing Bee which we attended again, and about that time our Rachel had a big birthday, she was born in 1974 so I'll let you figure it out. The end of the month we loaded the dirt bike in the pickup and headed west again through Wyoming and down to south western Colorado. I did some off roading while Jan checked out the thrift stores in Ridgway. I went over Imogene Pass again and if you scroll back to earlier blogs you can get a more detailed account. From there we went to Antonito, Colorado to catch the Cumbres and Toltec narrow gauge railroad. We did the all day ride through the mountains to Chama, New Mexico, and it was great.
  Then September. We bought a new Ford Escape, I think that the rationale was that 4 wheel drive would be nice in the winter, but we haven't had a chance to try that out yet. We had the trailer out again for our yearly trip to Oakdale, Wisconsin. We spent the better part of a week there getting some riding on the best roads in this part of the country, and some relaxing too, mainly because the weather did not cooperate some days. It was cold and rainy quite a bit, which was unusual. One evening my brother Phil and his wife Laura came down, and we all went to Jackson to the vo-tech school. They were having a 50th reunion and Phil, and Jan are both graduates of that institution. We also laid in 3 tons of wood pellets for the pellet stove, so we are pretty well fixed for the winter. My sister Kathy was home again and we celebrated my Moms 94th birthday on the 28th. The football season is on again so we had football in the yard like we did a couple of years ago. I put the tv on the deck and we sit on the lawn and watch, it always seems like a lot of fun.
  October is next. I ran the BMWs up to Monticello for some warranty work, added some better lighting in the newer garage stall, and cleaned it up afterwards. I rode along with Eli when he went out hunting for a different pickup, having sold the last one for a profit I think. Anyway we found a high mileage Chevy near Hanley Falls and he has been busy spiffing it up. The time he spent working in that body shop has turned into an educational experience that has paid dividends over the years. Our Honda ST1300 got sold to a guy from the Cities area, with Elis' help on Craigs list, so we are down one. We, Jan primarily, have been trying to line up some assistance for my Mom in her home because she really should not be going up and down stairs to the basement. Jan and I ran out to the Hills for her birthday later in October. We spent one night at the Spearfish Canyon Lodge and breakfasted at the Latchstring. It was so beautiful there in the evening and in the morning with the sun coming over the rim of the canyon. That day we toured the National Cemetery at Sturgis, visiting my shop chiefs' grave, and thinking about a marker for us when the time comes, far into the future with any luck at all. That was about it for October.
  November started out with us signing up to get our heating and air conditioning system replaced. We have been running the same air conditioner since 1975, and every spring we wonder if it will take us through another summer, but it always has, so I guess now is the time. Right about then I developed a problem in my eye lid, a sty maybe?  So I started visiting assorted medical professionals to get that cleared up. Veterans' Day has been pretty good now that there are a lot of things available for free. We ate breakfast, lunch and had a haircut for no cost, to me anyway. Hy-Vees' breakfast is actually a lot of fun, kind of like eating at the chow hall with a bunch of guys mostly, from all of the branches, finding out where they served, what they did etc.. Right before that Fall came to a screeching halt with temperatures dropping into the 20 to 30 degrees below average for the rest of the month. I was also working on the XR650 Honda as it has picked up a rattle again, maybe clutch or oil pump, I hope, cause they will be easy to replace. No such luck, those parts did not help the problem, probably a piston again. Jan and I drove over to Rochester for Thanksgiving and Black Friday, but we don't get up early anymore with stores being open the night before and sales for extended periods. Motoprimo in Lakeville was having sales on Friday so we ran up there on our way home to pick up some oil and stuff. There was a drawing in the afternoon and I won an electric scooter that was worth a lot more than I would have paid for it. All in all we will have around $600 in it in taxes etc. before it's done. I had hoped to get out of it something like what it is worth, but I have my doubts.
  December, Jan and I returned to Lakeville to pick up our winnings. We took my Mom to Mankato for her doctors appointment, and I got ready for my 3 year colonoscopy, which thankfully went well this time, so I won't be doing that for 5 years this time. I had a PGR mission to Baltic, South Dakota on the 10th. We went to Redwood Falls to a basketball tournament that Leah was playing in and on to the Cities for Donna DeFor's Christmas concert at Wooddale. We spent the night at Phil and Laura's and got home the next day. Jan and I were over to Rochester for Sam and Gus' Christmas concert at Holy Spirit and home late, for a next day dentist appointment, who discovered a broken filling which was repaired a couple of days ago. Saturday the 20th was Christmas at our place, and as usual it was kind of crazy, but a good kind of crazy. Everyone was here including my brothers and their wives, the only missing were the DeFors who are in Japan still. After that Jan spent some time cleaning up and rearranging things. Leah and Aaron had their Christmas program at St. Paul's and we spent a day with them when day care was not available. We get to hang out and catch up on their movies. We got 3 or 4 inches of snow the other day and the temps have really tanked. Yesterday we finally made the decision and bought our tickets for a trip to Japan to visit Rachel and her family, so we will be busy in the coming days.
  So all in all not a bad year, bad things caught before they get any worse, everyone else reasonably healthy, and Jan and I being able to do an awful lot of things that we wanted to do. Jan has been spending a lot of time
with her Mom's things and now she has volunteered to help with Aaron's class. That poor teacher has 20 youngsters to ride herd on and try to teach as well, so Jan has given her a little breathing room. I am spending time this winter planning another trip to the west and who knows what else will crop up. So stay healthy, happy as is possible, and with any luck at all I will be writing more next year about this time. For a more complete synopsis of things scroll back through some of my older blogs AND LEAVE A  COMMENT if you please.
             Pete Kuehl  31 December 2014

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Christmas Post Part Ein

  It's funny, when I am not in front of this keyboard, I think of all kinds of profound things to say, but my mind goes blank when the screen lights up. So we shall just have to go with the  run of the mill mid level vocabulary I normally go with, ok? Anyhow, as years go, this one has not been extraordinarily different from the past several years, so I will try to fill in the blanks for those of you who do not read my slowly posted blogs. Traditionally I start with January because, you know, it is the first month of the year and does make a natural starting point, so I will stick with tradition, not wanting to confuse anybody.
  So it's January 2014, let me see. The temps were in the negative region a lot of the time, and we made several trips to the Fairmont ER or Sherburn to help with Jan's Mom's medical problems, and Fairmont scouting out a new refrigerator for my Mom, so we, and primarily Jan, are entering an era of caring for our parents. In the middle of the month we had some freezing rain progressing into near blizzard conditions, and a trip to Rochester to visit the Theobalds. Later on it was brutal cold and high winds, and more trips for doctor appointments for me and Jan's Mom. We did get our new couch in there, and I worked on re-assembling the engine on my 185 Honda. We got a used carpet remnant to replace the several scraps that I have covered the floor in the shop with over the years.
  February is next. It looks as if I spent considerable time on projects that have been hanging fire for years, one, a model of a B-36 that I started on in the 60s I think, and am finally getting together and painted, and second our Honda 185 that has been sitting disassembled in the garage attic for at least 10 years. Eli got the tank and frame all nicely painted with the proper color, and I spent a lot of time with a scrub brush and parts cleaner on the rest of the bike. When it was finally reassembled it looked pretty good, and actually ran, although the carburetor needs work. The weather continued with January's trend of below zero days and nights, and some snow. The 15th was our 43rd anniversary, so we took a couple of days and ran out to the Hills. It was 5 above here and 65 by the time we got out there. Jan and I tried to get over to Rochester one day but had to turn back due to bad roads, watched the Kuehl kiddos, and started to develop a cold.
  March follows, in my books anyway. I was nursing a cold and we had  heavy snow storms, which always means time blowing, and scooping snow- more fun in the snow. We celebrated Leah's 8th birthday on the 8th, and spent early morning hours at the Fairmont ER again with Jan's Mom. The next day I was at Cpl Caleb Erickson's visitation in Waseca. The Cpl was killed in action in Afghanistan. Patriot Guard missions are really starting to slow down, particularly KIA's, which all in all is not a bad thing. Primarily what we are doing now is veteran funerals. I was over to Waseca the next day for the funeral and burial. Luckily it was a sunny day with melting temperatures, so standing in a snow bank at the cemetery was ok. Jan was spending more time with her Mom, who seems to be failing mentally, and is no longer able to stay in her assisted living apartment. The weather is moderating, thank God, and I managed to get bikes out of the garage again. Jan did manage to get her Mom into the rest home here in St. James, so the trips to Sherburn won't be done any more.
  Then comes April. I started getting the trailer out of hibernation, then we had a heavy snow, and then the temperatures started heading in the correct direction. Bikes were running out of the garage and getting serviced in anticipation of trips to come in the coming season. Jan and I ran over to Rochester to see Sam and Gus' program, also here in town for Leah, and Aaron. My brothers, Phil, Paul, and I did some projects at my Mom's house one day. I did get the 185 running, but it turns out that it has a plugged low speed jet that needed to be cleaned. It has got to the point that I can pull the carb off of that engine in a matter of minutes, I've done it so many times over the years. Easter was at Eli and Lindsey's house as is usual, and I see that I must have been trimming trees and cleaning up the yard. Was doing a lot of catch up riding whenever the weather co-operated and made a PGR mission at Yankton, South Dakota. Jan and I went to Leah's first piano recital here in town, it looks like we may have another pianist in the making.
  May, what can I say? We were getting some moisture, because I mowed the lawn 3 times in the first 10 days of May. Jan and I made our first trailer run to the Albert Lea KOA over Mother's Day weekend. This is pretty early in the year so it was not unusual that it was cold and rainy, but we did get some riding in, and there is heat in the trailer so it's not too bad. The next major project to start out was the change of the living room and den carpet, which necessitated getting movers to move the baby grand to another room, pulling all the wood work, and painting the walls. Luckily I was not tasked with the paint job, or moving the piano, whew. With the change of the season came trips to Wooddale for Donna's choir concert, Blaine for our nephew's stepdaughter's funeral, Mankato to pick up my sister Kathy, Rochester again for Sam and Gus' program, and Owatonna for our annual Memorial Day picnic. Jan's Mom, Bernice broke her hip in a fall, and Rachel fearing the worst, made a flight home from Japan, and we went to the Cities to get her from the plane. Rachel, Josiah, Annika, and William are living in Japan, where her husband Hans is stationed in the Navy. Hans is in command of the destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur, so Rachel being a COW (commanding officers wife) has a lot of activities on her plate along with three young children to ride herd on. So May was busy in mostly good ways, and just on the last day, Phil, and I departed on our bike trip to places southwest mainly.
   June started out with Phil and I on the road across Iowa, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Texas for starters. We wandered across northern New Mexico, western Colorado, and Wyoming, South Dakota, and home. We never even got wet or had bike trouble, and while we were gone they had several inches of rain at home. I think that we ran out to the south ahead of the weather and it swept in behind us and had moved to the east by the time we returned, sometimes you get lucky. Less than a week later Jan and I got the trailer out and loaded, and on the road back to the Hills again, to Hot Springs this time. Before Gen, Sam, Gus, Eli, Leah, and Aaron showed up Jan and I managed to get some riding in. One day we ran down to Fort Robinson in Nebraska, it was an interesting trip. Once the gang arrived we spent time touring the area and hanging out in camp. If you scroll back through my blogs you can see a more detailed tale. At home again, we took down another ash tree east of the house that was starting to look a little shaky, so that was the last ash tree of the four that we had at one time. I'm not sure if it will get replaced or not. We made a trip to Rochester again, although this time was to Mayo for a check on another suspicious spot in the same area as my major surgery six years ago. I heard the dreaded word again "biopsy". Anyhow. after that and a pet scan we went home to wait for the results. It's cancer again and surgery was on the 10th of July. They can't quite figure out how it can show up in the same location again since all of the tissue was removed and replaced with skin from my leg. The thinking is that a margin of the original had some cancer in it and developed from that. Phil and Laura were down and spent the night toward the end of the month. That about wraps up Christmas 2014 part Ein. Stay tuned for the next part.