Wednesday, December 23, 2015

The Kuehl's Christmas Letter 2015

    It is getting to be that time of year again so I am going to launch into my latest edition of a yearly tradition of relating the mostly boring details of our life here in flyover land. I have not been doing any blogging since last Summer primarily since I just can't get motivated to type it out. Typing with two or three fingers and a spell checker that is constantly interrupting my thought processes does slow things down a bit. Anyhow, for those of you that are waiting for the detailed details of our lives, here we go.
   January, one of these years I think I will start in, say, March just to keep people guessing. Typically January started off really cold with near zero high temperatures and snow to boot. Now Jan and I are starting over with the grandkids with sports games in local locales. Leah is involved with basketball, and soccer in the Fall and Winter, so we get to quite a few of her games, and Sam and Gus are involved in soccer, football, and basketball too, so they and we stay busy attending and putting some miles on vehicles. On the 21st Jan and I flew back to Japan to visit Rachel, Hans, Josiah, Annika and William. The fight over always takes longer because of bucking the Jet Stream all of the way there, I think it was 13 hours long, luckily there are non stop movies to watch and at least 3 meals. If you scroll back through my blogs you can get a play by play of the time we spent there. Japan is such a nice place to visit especially when you have a place to stay and guides that know their way around.
    February started in Japan with a shorter flight home and some jet lag recovery time. Jan is back volunteering at Leah and Aaron's school 2 days a week, and we were helping the Kuehl's move from their home in town out a few miles into the country to the acreage they bought from a dentist's widow from St. James. We were helping them move out there in between basketball in Godahl for Leah, and a trip to visit Jan's sister Paula and her husband Steve in Wadena among other things. Jan and I drove over to Rochester for a Chanticleer concert and a stay over at Gen and Steve's home. The next day was basketball there for Sam and Gus, they really have a lot of sports activities for kids in Rochester among other things to do. We are really lucky to have that city so close with all of the things that are available there. I did some work on the 94 Ducati, by replacing the steering head bearings, after noticing a notch for years. It turns out most of the work involves just getting down to place you need to get to, replacing the bearings wasn't too bad. Jan and I made a trip to Rochester for Gus's birthday party, some of the boys basketball games, and pick up a set of forks for our ST Honda that were getting rebuilt. As I have said, Winter is bike maintenance time in the part of the world.
    March. Jan and I spent some time helping Eli and Lindsey move from their home in town out to the "ranch" in the country. Also the weather was moderating somewhat, with temps in the 40s. Actually it was 48 the day we celebrated Leah's birthday. Eli's brother in law gave him an old skid loader, so we went down to get it, figuring we would need to winch it onto the trailer. Imagine our surprise, when after getting the snow cleared and some shade tree mechanic tricks, he ended up driving it onto the trailer! After some tweeking, that machine has been very valuable at the ranch. Shortly thereafter I had several bikes out on long runs, with temps in the 60s. Spring came a little early this year, with warm windy conditions, getting the Stang out of the garage, and uncovering the trailer, etc.. I was helping Eli to get power back into a couple of their barns on their acreage. He was hoping to put those units into use somehow to generate some income. Riding and the weather continued to improve with only a little interruption from some snow.
    April. Started out this year with celebrating Easter at our house with the whole gang minus the DeFors who are still in Japan for a couple more months. I finally got around to replacing the walk-in door on the garage that has been needing replacement for some time. Things were warm but windy, a common weather type for this time of the year. I made a run up to North Dakota for a couple of days to visit the area I inventoried over 40 years ago when I was an outside plant engineer. Things in Aneta have not changed too much in the interim, and the Top Hat bar is still open in Mayville. I remember walking over there in 1970 after a safety meeting with a fellow employee. I said I should call Jan and he asked "when are you getting married?". It does not seem possible that it was that long ago. Back up in my blogs to see more details on that trip. I have been making it to some Patriot Guard missions this Spring in the area. Jan and I also attended a concert by Joe Bonnamassa in Minneapolis one Saturday night, it was fantastic! Then I started taking the XR650 Honda apart, it had developed a bad knock again. Here we go again. Anyhow, the piston was toast, so this time I took it to a dealer I trust to rebore and fit a new piston. It ended up Honda does not make one that oversize, so I ended up with a 10.5 to 1 Wiseco piston. After re-assembly and break-in, it is pretty snappy. It's getting to the point where I can take apart and re-assemble the engine in my sleep.
   May. A trip to Rochester for Sam's first communion, me home for Leah and Aaron's track meets and back to Rochester for doctors appointment to biopsy my tongue, and pick up Jan who stayed to do some work for Gen. A few days later Jan and I went to look at a new Mustang and ended up trading in our 2011 GT 6 speed for a new GT with an automatic. Along with assorted medical appointments and trips to Rochester for Sam and Gus's events, and St. James for Leah and Aaron's school events, Jan, Lindsey, and I drove up to Andover for Paul and Marcy's moving sale. They sold their home in Andover and are moving full time to the condo they have owned in Duluth for years. The condo is right on the lake shore within sight of the lift bridge. I was making several runs for parts for the 650 rebuild job, and did get it together successfully, ie. it runs. We had our annual Memorial Day picnic in Owatonna again with a pretty good turn out, with some cousins, and siblings etc.. Along with warm temperatures and good amounts of rain comes the problem of keeping up with the growth of the lawn, although it is better than the alternative.
    June. I had a PGR mission at Madison, South Dakota on the 1st and on the 7th Jan and I drove up to the Cities for Gen's Masters Degree award ceremony at St. Marys. I have some educated people in my family  don't I, come to think about it. I have been running our BMW's up to Monticello for maintenance quite a bit lately due to the fact that the shop that I bought them from, which is right down the road, no longer is a BMW dealer. It's not so bad though, it is a large dealer with lots to look at, and Phil is close by, so we go out for lunch once in a while. Eli Leah Phil, and I attended the airshow at Granite Falls that is put on by Fagen's WWll museum. I believe that over 20,000 people were there along with aircraft from all over the United States, from a B-17 to P-51s, P-38s, P-39s, P40s, and assorted trainers and airshow groups. It was a tremendous show, and the weather cooperated. The next day Phil and I headed west on our long tour. Phil had charging trouble in South Dakota and with some help ended up in Rapid City for the night. Check out an earlier blog for the nuts and bolts of that trip. We did get to the Tetons, Utah, and Colorado on a shortened grand tour, but had a good time by not pushing too hard. After getting home Jan and I got the trailer out and loaded up for the run to Lanesboro for the 4th of July weekend. As it turned out that was the only time the trailer got out this year.