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Thursday, June 21, 2018

Out Of Circulation

For a while, that is.  Spent the last week in NJ taking care of my 96 year old dad while my brother and SIL were away, he is living with them for the foreseeable future.

To extend my absence further, Marti and I are leaving for a cruise in the Caribbean next week with daughter Heather and grandsons Andrew and Owen.  Should be a lot of fun, the height of summer and hurricane season to boot! 

Hope Royal Caribbean knows what they are doing!   😅

PS:  No title yet but we're getting closer.  In the modern era of electronic titles, you'd think it would be a snap to produce one.  Nope, but I now have a letter authorizing South Carolina to title the Journey.  We'll have to wait until we return from the cruise and see what happens.


Thursday, May 17, 2018

I'm Sick Of Looking At Santa, Too!

Life goes on, we have not been able to go anywhere in the Journey since we parked it in the storage lot last July.  Lots of things got in the way, like my back surgery (I'm doing fine) and a battle over the Journey's title between South Dakota and South Carolina DMVs.  Seems the title is electronically maintained in SD and it will take about 5-6 weeks for it to be transferred to SC.  It's already been over eight weeks and I'm ready to do battle again tomorrow. 

I have periodically run the Journey's generator and diesel engine to keep the batteries charged and the engines lubed, but it is better to run it on the road.  Since the SD registration expired back in February I can't drive it until I get SC plates on it.  If I hadn't already paid the annual SC vehicle tax of $1800, which the SC DMV requires before they will talk to you, I'd have just renewed in SD for a fraction of that.  DMVs are never fun to deal with, no matter what state.

So I'm keeping busy volunteering at the USO and our church (rode herd on a bunch of middle schoolers today at an after school homework helping session, and boy am I worn out!).  We have taken two car trips to NJ (750 miles one way, boy do we miss the Journey...and its bathroom) to visit my dad who is having some health challenges and our son Corey's family.

There are a few new faces in the family, daughter Heather got a new puppy, a rescue.  Colby is his name and he is the sweetest little guy.

 
Corey got a new dog last year, a rescue from Georgia.  He was supposed to be a mix of Bloodhound and Lab, after DNA testing, he is a mix of American Bloodhound and other breed(s) undetermined.  He is the size of a small horse, but the most gentle dog you'd ever want to meet.  Here is Colt.


Another new addition is Jackson.  He is grandchild number NINE!  We need a spreadsheet to keep track of all the birthdays now!  We can finally say he is the Caboose.


Marti is already spoiling him.


Jackson has two big sisters, Anabelle and Lizzie.  Anabelle is showing her artwork at a school art show.  Yep, that's a cast on her arm, she broke her elbow playing on the monkey bars at school.  She's a tomboy.


Sister Lizzie is our little lady, always wants to wear dresses. 


While we we visiting, Corey and DIL Amanda ran a 5K race with the girls at our old home area of Sandy Hook, NJ.  Jackson was so bundled up he had a hard time cheering them on.


After the first lap, the girls had enough and joined us as spectators.  Corey was happy.  In fairness to Anabelle, it's hard to run with a cast from your fingers to your shoulder.


Lizzie stuck it out with her mom and made it on her own two feet.


 Later, after the race, we walked around Sandy Hook, where we lived for 11 years while I was stationed there in the Coast Guard.  Sandy Hook is a 7 mile long peninsula pointing at the mouth of New York Harbor.  There are many old gun emplacements all around the Hook from days when the Army had many cannons guarding New York.  The decommissioned base, called Fort Hancock, is now a part of the National Park Service's Gateway Recreation Area.

Lots of memories from our walk, our three kids still consider it home after growing up there.  The girls enjoyed hearing stories from Corey about how he, his brother Ryan and their friends played on all the crumbling gun emplacement structures that time has worn down.  I'm glad I didn't know that at the time and even more glad they survived without a pile of concrete falling on their heads.


Before we left, we wanted to get some family pictures.  Amanda and her kids.


Corey, Marti and the kids.  No matter how hard you try, someone is always unhappy at too many pictures being taken!



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    Insert picture of South Carolina License Plate when I finally get one!!!!

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Saving Christmas (Again)

Last year I wrote a post about how I saved Christmas when Santa's sleigh harness broke and he crashed into the ocean.  History repeats itself, at least around me, as I got another chance to save Christmas.

I've been enjoying my volunteering at the USO at the Columbia, SC airport near where our home base is.  Always something to do to help out our transiting military folks as they pass through the airport to and from assignments.  It's been really nice to see many families reunited in time for the holidays.

This USO has three wonderful full time ladies that run the place (along with about 150 volunteers), they put their heart and soul into making sure everything possible can be done to support the troops.  During the course of the year they put on special events for the military members and their families and at Christmas time they do several amazing parties and concerts for those stationed at nearby Fort Jackson.

Last night I got a chance to volunteer at a family Christmas party at the Fort with an Army brigade that had had a tough year, tragically losing several members to a training accident.  The Christmas party was a way to have the families gather and have a special fun time to put the sadness behind them.

Santa Claus was enlisted to visit the children at the party.  He arrived on a fire truck.


The kids were delighted to see him and rushed out to greet him.





Inside the building Santa sat in a chair and handed out gifts to the kids as they sat with him.


A few kids weren't quite sure what to make of this jolly, old fellow in the red suit.


Other kids thought it was a blast to meet Santa and tell him their wish list.


Two of the USO ladies even had to get their picture taken with Santa, Katie on the left and Anne Elise on the right.


Once all the children had met Santa and received their gifts, I too wanted to get my picture with Santa as he sat by himself.


Here is my picture with Santa:


Yep, that's "Santa Paul".  I never played Santa before and it was a last minute call as the original volunteer who was going to play Santa got sick and couldn't come.  So I was able to step in and "save" Christmas.

The USO ladies, Katie and Anne Elise said I did such a great job that they have plans to use me again for another occasion.  Something about being shot out of a cannon wearing a ballerina costume...

Here's to wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year wherever your travels have taken you!


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