Wednesday, December 7, 2016

It's Christmas 2016 in Minnesota, the first part of the puzzle

   Sooner or later I need to get started on the "Kuehl's Christmas Letter 2016", and I guess that today is the day. My blogging has really slowed down over the years even though I keep doing things that I could be putting down on paper, so to speak. This Christmas letter will be a shortened version of our year, and since I am writing mostly me. As far as health problems go we, Jan and I, have been pretty much trouble free PTL, with no major surprises. The weather has for the most part been unusually nice with 70 degree days lasting until almost Thanksgiving, and plenty of rain. Luckily we escaped the worst of the down pours but still managed to get over 3 feet of water. So anyhow I need to get started here with the first month of the year as is my usual practice.
   January. It seems as if we got some snow that needed moving around, and Jan and I were working on another Winter project in the basement. A few years back we covered the walls in part of the basement with prefinished car siding. We liked it so much that this year we did most of the rest of the basement. I have always said, "if this house ever catches fire it's going to burn for a week", or something to that effect. A few trips to Menards and many days of labor (I don't work that fast) and the project was completed to our satisfaction. We had trips to area towns to watch our grandchildren in their sports activities, and toward the end of the month we traded our diesel pickup for a new F-150, what a change. Jan got a new dishwasher, one that is quieter too, and she is helping out part time at St. Paul's school with the younger kids.
   February. It started off with me coming down with a cold a couple days after my second pneumonia shot, a connection maybe? Anyhow, Like most winters, I spend some time in my shop putzing with the bikes, it's a good time for tire changes and cleanup and inspections. We had a couple of pretty healthy snow storms the first part of the month, with heavy snow and high winds, and closed highways at times. We did celebrate our 45th wedding anniversary on the 14th and made a run to the Black Hills a week later for the night. The month was fairly quiet except for chasing around to an assortment of basketball games around here and the Rochester area to watch the grand kids play ball, at least the grand kids in this part of the country that is. That's about it for this month.
    March. A little snow greets us this month, followed by a good return trip to Mayo for a check up, and more basketball. A couple days later I had one of the bikes out for a ride so things are looking up. Just like that it started to tease us with spring like weather. I got the Mustang out of the garage, got the trailer unloaded (we use it for some storage during the Winter),and started on a project in the garage, and made it to a Patriot Guard mission. Later in the month the first of the heavy rains started in. For Easter Jan and I drove up to Wadena to spend the day with her sister Paula and husband Steve. The end of the month Jan and I flew to Washington D.C., to surprise our Granddaughter Annika who had won a competition for writing,
   April. Our daughter, Rachel's husband Hans is at the Pentagon now, so Jan and I got the tour and Hans and I hit the Marine Corp museum at Quantico, both are impressive to say the least. Jan and I helped move her mom Bernice from the rest home here in St. James to one in Windom that has a special care unit. It is sad to see someone that you knew so well, deteriorate at what seems like such a rapid rate to just a shell of that person. It is scary to think of yourself going there in the future, maybe.
I ran up to Delano to help my brother Phil put some accessories on his new BMW in anticipation of our Summer trip out west. I made a swing down through Iowa checking out Air Force radar site locations from the Cold War. If you back up to my previous blog you can see a more thorough explanation of that trip. We ran back to Rochester to check out another spot that was bothering me, which turned out fine. With my track record on oral cancers I head right back over there at the slightest hint of trouble. We celebrate with Chicago popcorn and cokes in the Mayo subways as a tradition. I was doing as much riding as possible, made a PGR mission in Larchwood, Iowa and Willmar, and started mowing the lawn I see. That about does it for April.
   May. More PGR missions and back to Rochester for soccer games and Gus's first communion, and the ladies to  garage sales in Byron, and me to the bike shops and the mall book shop. The major project the first part of the month was tearing down the old barn at Eli and Lindsey's farm. It was in tough shape but hand built in the late 1800s, so it did not want to come down without a fight. All of the big heavy beams were pegged together pretty tightly yet, but the roof was shot. With several lengths of chain and his skid loader we managed to get it down without so much as a scratch PTL. He sorted out the good wood and burned a lot of the marginal siding and stuff. I finally found a print of a B-52D in Vietnam colors that I had been looking for, for ages, it's "Linebacker in the Buff" by Keith Ferris. I got it framed and matted and it hangs in our bedroom with 3 other Vietnam themed prints. Jan and I hit a few more sporting events and I made a run down into Missouri. This was the trip that was supposed to go as far south as Louisiana and Mississippi but got cut short by watching the weather channel one morning. Oh well, sooner or later I will make it that far south, I just don't want to go during the Summer when it is hot and humid down there, even worse than here. Toward the end of the month we had a PGR mission to Rushford to dedicate the new Veteran Cemetery. It looks like a beautiful location, with nice landscaping and facilities on site. It's worth a visit if you are in the area.
   June. I made a change in my stable by trading my Harley in on another 650 Honda. It was to the point where that Harley was not getting out of the barn unless there was a PGR mission real close by so out it went. I was doing maintenance on the bikes with oil and tire changes, one of the drawbacks to riding a lot. I mentioned the rain we got his year earlier didn't I? We were getting 2" rains every couple of days along here, sometimes more, sometimes less but a lot, with flooded fields and our sump pump going virtually non-stop. On the 20th Phil and I headed west to Wyoming and Montana for our long Summer trip. We rode the Big Horns, Bear tooth Pass and The Going to the Sun highway in Glacier National Park, and a long slog across central Montana and North and South Dakota to home 5 days later. Also see my previous blog about that in more detail. After I got home Jan and got the trailer out and loaded up for our annual run down to Lanesboro, Minnesota for the 4th. That will do it for now. I will finish this up later this year when a little more time has passed. So stay in touch and leave a comment if you will? Pete Kuehl  & December 2016


DD4 said...

I really enjoyed your Part One of your Christmas letter, Pete. It amazes me how detailed you are. It must be fun for you to read your notes and re-live your trips and activities.

Merry Christmas!

Ardy said...

Part I read!! Merry Christmas!