Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Medical Update

Well, remember the epidural shot?  The pain was fixed-----temporarily. 😩

So now, we are back to the drawing board.  Doctor reviewed my scans again and thinks he sees what the issue may be.  Need to have another CAT to confirm.  Initial thought is that some of the cement from the kyphoplasty srayed and is very near to & impacting the nerve.

We will weigh our options once we get the results from the scan.

In the meantime, he has prescribed Lyrica and scheduled another epidural.  Unfortunately, my insurance would not approve the Lyrica.  So, we wait for an alternative.

Thanks for all the love and support.



Monday, August 7, 2017

Some closure in Amish country

Connie had her PT session on Thursday, which meant she was a) going to be tired and sore and b) she was going to score a lunch out of the deal.  We need shoes for our upcoming cruise.  Me because mine got ruined last January in the couple trips back to Ohio.  Connie because, well, they're shoes.  Me:  "hey, there's a place that has Buy One, Get Half Off 2nd pair shoes".  We go there.  Result?  She walks out with two pairs of shoes, I have none.

We went to lunch at Brown Bag Burgers, which we'd always passed and never gone in.  Not really a lunch type of place, was more for 4p drinks followed by some gourmet burgers.  Connie said the wings were good, my chicken breast was very good.

Made a 2p appointment with the local guy from Edward Jones, so in the interim I could go somewhere and buy some shoes.  The small amount we were going to be investing wasn't really enough for him to mess with and he was a super nice guy, but he did give us a good idea about CD laddering.

Last Friday was a day I was dreading, and a day I was looking forward to in equal parts.  6 months had elapsed since my mother passed away, and it was time to close her trust.  The part I dreaded was dealing with FC Bank for hopefully the final time.  Man, I had nothing but problems with them.  It was my Mom's local bank, the only one in her little town, and just a pain.  I looked at their locator map and saw that Shiloh, Ohio was the closest branch to me.  I was looking forward to it because my time as executor was about to be over.

I get up Friday morning and took the hour drive through Amish country.  Passed a couple of buggies. GPS said I was there, but I was at an Amish market.  Yep, sure enough, FC Bank had an office in there.  Girl who closed out the account couldn't have been nicer, AND I got to score some Amish cheese and some Amish butter.  Bonus.

Then, I had to drive to the nearest PNC Bank on my way home which was in Norwalk.  Another great run through farm country.  Amazingly, there were no detours, no construction along my route.  I'm thinking the Amish buggies don't tear up the roads too much.

Get home and start looking over CD rates.  Best rates are at the First Internet Bank of Indiana.  (It had kind of a cult name.  Kind of like all those dodges to get religious breaks, like the First Internet Church of God.)  But, after some research and phone calls, we decided to go that way.  Better than the 0.1% APY PNC bank offers in my savings account.

Sunday, I smoked a pork butt.  Been awhile, and never in this smoker.  (Not one of Connie's favorites, but Bethany loves pulled pork).  You can follow it along here.  Result was one of my better efforts.  The process was awful.


Monday, July 31, 2017

Our kind of Mexican food

Connie had a treatment this past Friday.  We put a window air conditioner in their "in laws" loft which worked spectacularly!  Was nice to sleep in temperatures under, um, 80 something?

We had a great weekend in with Bethany and Kingsley while James was out of town, but we were wiped out afterwards.

Today, had to take the truck into Spitzer's for a recall and to have a TPMS changed.  Took awhile and they gave us a brand new 2018 Chevy Silverado as a loaner.  Well played, Spitzer's.  Well played.

Tonight, we made another in the long line of Mexican dishes that are only based in Mexican food.  Spend any time around Connie and I, and you'll know:  nothing spicy, nothing "hot".  Don't ask.  But, there are a great amount of Mexican dishes that we can leave out the "hot and spicy" items and make them Southwest (Ohio) dishes.  Tonight, I made Chicken Kinda Enchilladas.  Here's the recipe that it's based on.

I grilled two chicken breasts, then used my brand new Cave Tools meat shredders.  They were a little overkill, but shredding the chicken was the perfect call.

Connie and Sloopy waited patiently while I cooked. 
In a medium bowl, I mixed a can of Campbell's Cream of Chicken soup with a ½ cup of sour cream.  I pulled out 1 cup of that and put it with the shredded chicken, ½ cup of CoJack cheese and a healthy sprinkling of Fajita seasoning.  I mixed that all together and spooned it equally into 5 tortillas.  Roll the tortillas together, kind of tightly, then I put them in my greased stainless steel 8x8 pan.  (Love that thing).

I added just a splash of milk to the remaining soup/sour cream mixture, just enough to thin it a little.  I poured, spread that over the 5 tortillas.

I put that in my Brinkmann Table Top grill on indirect heat at about 375 degrees, turning it every 8 minutes for 40 minutes.  (Really love this grill, not sure how I'm going to replace it when it eventually leaves us.)




Really happy with the way they turned out.  Served with a little sour cream to dip.  Yummy.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

A Weekend of Bands

 We left Saturday morning, dropping Sloopy and Tangy off at the Animal Watchers Pet Resort in Vermilion around 9:00.  After a quick fuel stop in Sandusky, we arrived at the Miller's Ferry in Port Clinton.  Judging by the parking, the island was going to be REALLY hopping.




The ferry is basically a car ferry that they put people on, but there were only about 6 cars on our ferry and probably a few hundred people herded in.  Had a few sprinkles after driving through rain the whole way there, but that was the only rain of the day.

The shirt I was wearing, got lots of love all day at Put In Bay



 We got a taxi to downtown from the Ferry and walked over to the BoardWalk Restaurant, one of our faves over the years.

The city dock was hopping which was a welcome sight from past years.  We've been coming to this island since the mid-90's and have seen it where they were rafting 5-6 wide, you had to get there by Thursday to even think about having a spot for the weekend.  Boats from Cleveland, Detroit and Toledo would fill the entire space.  While this wasn't to that magnitude, it was still great to see boating marginally coming back.
Our friend, Karen, joined us at the Boardwalk along with two of her friends.

 We've always had their lobster bisque, especially when we've been there in the fall.  Connie noticed before arriving that they'd added a couple of things to the menu:  Mashed Garlics with lobster bisque and french fries covered with lobster bisque, which was perfect "lunch" for her.  I was able to upgrade the side that came with my Western Chicken sandwich to have the mashed.  Lord, was it good!





We went over to the Tiki Bar at Mojito Bay to put our feet in the sand and have a cold beverage then it was on to the Beer Barrel for the first band of the day.


We've been following Wally and the Beavs for probably 8-10 years.  They play good music, play it well, have a great stage presence and they're all "somebody else" for their day job.  





 Stayed there through most of the first set, picked up a cab and headed back out to pick up the 4:00p Miller Ferry.


It was Christmas in July on the island,
so Connie and I dressed fairly
appropriately.

Coming back was just such a smooth lake.
 After leaving Put-In-Bay, and the Miller Ferry,

After leaving the Miller Ferry, we left for the Motor City.  About  an hour and 40 minute drive to the Holiday Inn Express Woodlawn.  Got there are 6p and had to hustle to get an Uber to take us to our next gig.

This whole trip started the Monday before .  We were going to take our daughter, son in law and grand daughter out to the island, but seeing Wally and the Bears was the key.  We contacted the Beer Barrel and they said, because of Christmas in July, they weren't allowing anyone on the premises under the age of 21.

Kind of bummed at that, then we were listening to Radio Margaritaville with J.D. Spradlin hosting.  He mentioned something about the Detentions, Mac McAnally and Michigan this weekend.  We looked into it.  Couldn't find anything about Mac, but saw on the Detentions website that it was around Detroit.  Now, we're interested.  We got two of the last tickets for sale for the fundraiser that Mac was doing (with the Detentions leading off), then we got information about the block party (Drowned Liver Fest) that the Detentions were playing.

We've been listening to The Detentions since they broke out with Coast on Radio Margaritaville a few years ago.  Not only are they Austin TX based, a lot of their writing is about our winter home of Port Aransas Texas.  Pretty natural fit.  We met Dan and Chris at the Pirates and Poets festival this past February in Port A, so seeing them only a couple of hours from where we're staying this summer didn't seem like a big deal.  It was all predicated on Connie feeling well, which she has been.

We were a little leery about the address.  It was just a street in Trenton, MI.  Once we got close in the Uber, we knew that we were in the right place.

 

This is the third 'Drowned Liver Fest'.  It's basically a neighborhood block party.  The Detentions have played there 3 years.  Imagine a tent in an undeveloped field with a Honda generator providing power and a stage with some tables and chairs under it.  Across the street were a few tables put together with food and a tiki bar in a guy's front yard.  That's pretty much what we saw.  It was great.


The Detentions were terrific.  Tight vocals, good guitar playing, mix of their things and a few covers, with great stories in between.  Just a really great night of music (much better than the pics below)



Connie started running out of steam just as they were finishing up, so we got an Uber back to the hotel and called it a night.  Great, great Day 1.

We checked out of the Holiday Inn Express after breakfast and watching a bit of the Open Championship.  Went to St. Clair Shores after going through Yelp looking for ideas.  Mike's On the Water was perfect.  Located at the end of a marina with a view of Lake St. Clair with a good menu was great.



Unique theming in the bar section.
People placed 5x7 or 8x10 pictures
of their boats.














I had a Mike's Burger which had cheddar cheese embedded in it, while Connie had a Lobster Roll.


Kind of weird, on the way out, we saw our server leaving.  Then some other employees.  Weird time for a shift change, since it wasn't that long after 1p.  Then we saw the sign:


We were lucky they didn't pull the plug earlier, we would have missed out.

Took the short ride to the Holiday Inn Express Roseville where we relaxed a bit before heading to the Selfridge Air National Guard Base for the evening concert.

We headed out for Selfridge around 5p for our concerts.  Guy in front of us got instructed to pull into the lot by the gate guard.  "He must not have been on the list."  We hand over our ID's.  "I don't have either of your names on our list."  Uh-oh.  Pulled over into the lot, called the head of the concerts as instructed by Guard guy.  Car behind us, same deal.  They're going to need a bigger lot.

Shortly, though, someone came to lead us through.  Judging by the size and scope, Selfridge used to be a big hitter in the past.  Right now, a National Guard base, judging by the rows of now vacant housing, this base used to be gigantic and I'm sure a lot of servicemen passed through these gates.

The setting was drop dead beautiful.  The stage's background was Lake St. Clair.  It started as a beautiful day, boats on the water.  Excellent.  Dinner was included and, other than the soy burger, was great.





 It was a small, crowd by design.  Only 120 tickets available, plus any of the Selfridge group were there.

 Detentions started things off.  Met up with them prior to the show and chatted about their night and day in Detroit.  Great guys.  

#NTLAF


Mac McAnally (along with Eric Darken) were the headliners.  Mac's been writing #1 hits since 1980 (he played a short medley of "his daughter's college fund hits").  Second time we've seen him without Jimmy Buffett.  He tells great stories behind the songs he wrote, how they go to where they were, and some pretty good inspiration.  Huge supporter of the Wounded Warrior Project.





Mac told a great story about "Down the Road", a piece he did with Kenny Chesney.  Got a call that Kenny was going to cut a Mac song "and he didn't care which one."  Got to the studio, and there was Kenny, his producer and "that guy" (Eric Darken).  3 run throughs, 45 minutes later it was in the can and a huge hit was about to go live.
About three pieces in, just before dusk, the wind started blowing and everyone started preparing for the jog to cover but it never did rain.  What it did do was blow in the bugs.  Couple that with the stage lights and it was a protein fest.  Mac and Eric did a sensational job of persevering through the swarm.  For the encore, they just switched the lights to an amber and that helped.

Not rain in the light.  Bugs.









Best "story" (it's all about the "stories") was the two girls (upper 20's we're guessing) that were ecstatic we lent them our bug spray, then were nice enough to walk with Connie to the port a johns.  Shortly after they got back, they went over to the guy next to me and started going on and on about how they loved listening to him on Radio Margaritaville, and thought he was just great, etc.  Guy was very thankful to them, very gracious.  Only thing was, I could see J.D. standing behind the stage talking with Dan and Chris.  I got their attention.  "Um, that's not J.D."  Dude was kind of dressed like him, but it was dark.  So, they went back over to their seats a little dejected, and I grabbed them and said follow me.  We went back stage and I introduced them to the "real" J.D. Spradlin and the Detentions.

Got a little lost on the way out of the base.  Was waiting on the flashing lights to escort us out of there, but nope.  Just kept driving the Perimeter Road (aptly named) until we finally found a way out of there.

Another terrific night.  Spent the morning in the hotel, catching up on work (doing this blog) then we're back out of Detroit.  

Terrific weekend.  Terrific.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Physical Therapy

Had my very first physical therapy visit yesterday.  Was very interesting as we reviewed all my issues and conditions.  Since the therapist was part of the Cleveland Clinic, he had my history readily available.

Learned a lot about how to continue to ease the pain and strengthen my back.  Also learned I should be sleeping with a lot of pillows.

A little sore and stiff today, but I do think this is going to continue to get better.

Thanks to all for the well wishes!
Connie


Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Announcing our 2017 Fall Trip to Texas Route



We have most of our reservations made, so it's time to announce our trip to Texas this fall.

Are we passing through your town??  Let us know, we'll do dinner or at least get together!

Trying out a few new things (Santa Claus, Indiana!), a few things we're used to (Tom Sawyer's Mississippi River Park), and a couple of casino RV parks -- one we've been to (Ameristar in Vicksburg), one we're going to try out (Diamond Jack's in Bossier City).  Haven't been to Paducah or the Land Between the Lakes for years.

I wish we had a "go to" that was Northeast of Houston.  Going to try this place, it's about the third or fourth different place we've tried.


Sunday, July 16, 2017

Working at the Stadium and a visit from our daughter and Grand Daughter



Two of the last three Saturdays, I've had the opportunity to work at First Energy Stadium for my daughter, who's the General Manager in charge of merchandising.

On the 2nd of July, I worked the U2 concert.


 

This past Saturday, I worked the CONCACAF 2017 Gold Cup soccer game.



I really enjoyed working both events and, if anything, enjoyed working and watching my daughter Bethany do what she does.

Basically, I did anything the merchandise department needed.  Run merchandise to the booths, pick up money, help sort inventory, count, box up, etc. anything they needed.   Long days, not a whole lot of pay, but I still really enjoyed the experience.


Because of the late night, we stayed in at our daughter's house in Fairview Park.  Left in the morning and took a wonderful drive back along the lake (US 6).  Got into Lorain and suddenly realized we've never found (by land) the marina where we got weathered in back in our boating days.

Once, we were going back to Ashtabula from Cedar Point.  Our boat was such that our passenger seat could face the aft or rear of the boat.  Suddenly, my wife mentioned that I should take a look at the clouds she'd been watching for awhile.

Good Lord.  It was pitch black.  I knew we had to get off the lake.

Nearest point I could find at the time was Lorain, and Spitzer's Marina.  Like a lot of boating stories, what should have been awful turned out to be a great time.  We couldn't return to Ashtabula for 3 days because of the lake.  Where we ended up was just wonderful.  There was a crafty festival just south of the marina.  The Coast Guard dumped a car into the basin and then did a demonstration of how they would blow up inflatables and raise the car up to get out anyone in the submerged car.  Fascinating stuff.

Until today, we'd never "found it."  Crossed the tributary into Lake Erie and went looking.  Found Spitzer's Riverside Marina and something clicked that there were two marinas -- a Riverside and a Lakefront.  Found it.  Had a great time reliving those memories.

As we got home and were unpacking, Connie realized that we had left our toiletry bag at the Davis house in Fairview Park.  We do our laundry at our daughter's, my wife had put the bag in the dirties and I left the dirty bag at the Davis house.  Our daughter decided to bring it to us, and bring out her two dogs and daughter.

Had a great time, very relaxing.  Ate some smoked pork, a box mix of potatoes (Kingsley's new fave), some home made bread.  Baby K was also taught by Gammy that she could dip her bread into the sauce from the Au Gratin potatoes.

This is how Tangy learned to steal seats.  From Tucker.





Great weekend slowly coming to a close.