Come along for the Ride!

I am so glad you are here. Stay with us as we travel everywhere. I hope you will enjoy the ride.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

This is the link to the Cartoon Praise song by Chris Rice. We might use this as our Bible School Theme Song

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Wills Mountain Church of Christ

It was so good to "visit" our home church this morning. I am so happy to see Wills Mt. going onward and getting strong.
We got there at 8am for the ladies First Place Meeting. It is a great group of well bonded ladies that love the Lord, love the church and sincerely love each other. They are the best of the best. We always have a wonderful review of a study that we work on individually during the week and then we each go home with a new prayer partner for the week. I love this group so much. They are my spiritual family, my support, my encouragement and I hope I am the same to them.
After that we went into Sunday School. Jeff Duncan led our class in a review of the Apostles. The class has been spending the last weeks on in depth studies of the apostles and today was the summary of that.
Then we went into the auditorium for worship. It seemed to me that there were a good many in attendance and I liked seeing that, but most of all, it seemed that everyone was friendly and really enjoying talking and visiting with each other. I loved seeing that, true fellowship.
Bill's mother, Mary came with them again today. She has been coming often with them and that makes me very happy also. I love Mary. She is becoming such a good addition to our family and I feel good knowing that Starla can count on her as a "mommy" when I am not here. I need to feel secure knowing that Starla has someone to turn to when things get rough. Everyone needs as many people loving them and being there for them as possible, this life is hard.
I loved seeing the younger boys praying and serving.
Jeff preached on Wile E. Coyote. How the devil is sly, and cunning (just like Wiley) and how he uses doubt, deceit and distractions to try to keep us from being what God wants to be. It was a good sermon.
After church we had our weekly meal. We always do a pot luck dinner each Sunday for anyone who wants to stay,  And most people do. This gives us more chance to fellowship with one another. All of the food today was good too.
I did some preliminary work for summer Bible School. I liked Jeff's sermon so I asked him if he could come up with two more cartoon "sermons" and then size them down for kids and we would do a cartoon theme.
One of our most faithful, older members was not in service today. She has a very bad heart to the point that the Drs. have told her that they can do no more to help her. So Pops and I and Melvin (one of the other Elders) and his wife, Ginny went to see her and take her communion after church. She didn't look very good and confessed to not feeling good at all. It about broke my heart to see her that way. I love Drenna so very much. She has been a good friend of my husband's family for 40+ years and has a good friend to me since I met Pops 33 years ago. As a matter of fact, when my mom died, Drenna sat by my side and quietly held my hand for many hours. I pray the Lord gives her comfort and strength.
It was very good to visit Wills Mt. Keep growing stronger in the Lord and serve him with all your hearts.

A really nice gift, Thank You.

This morning when we got to our pew at our home church, there was a package laying there with a picture of a FedEx Custom Critical truck on it, not our truck, but very similar. When I lifted up the picture the song lyrics to the song, "On the Road Again." were printed there.
Inside the package was a wonderful cookbook of slow cooker recipes by the Taste of Home people. It is a beautiful book with fabulous pictures. I love it. But whoever left it for us did not include there name/s.
I am not sure who has done this, but I am very grateful. Someone, jokingly, said that maybe they think I need help with my cooking and maybe I do, but I am looking at it as a wonderful gift because I do cook a lot with the slow cooker and we tend to eat a lot of the same things. Now I can try various recipes.
I am very happy with the gift. It was very thoughtful of you.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Ford vs Chevy

Starla drove Pops over to Grantsville to pick up our truck from the garage. We had to have a lot of work done. When the mechanic done our regular maintainence he found some other problems. For one, our idler pulley bearings went out and caused our fan belt to wear. It was almost completely shredded. If that had happened while on the road, we would have had to have been towed and would have lost probably several days of work. Secondly, our drive shaft bearings in the rear end were in 3 pieces. That is so not good. And the mechanic could shake our drive shaft with his hand. This, too, is a big issue and could have caused us to sit along the road. The mechanic told us, we would have been very lucky to make it another 100 miles in our truck. God is so good, to provide this unexpected time off and giving us time needed to get to the garage.
So all of those problems are fixed and Pops brought the truck home.
As he was getting ready to park it. Some one came down the road and ran him off the road. He hurriedly backed it off the road and ended up getting the truck stuck up to the rear axle. He tried to get it out on his own then came in to get my help. We could not get it. So we hunted through the garage for a tow chain. When Bill got out of the shower, he was wearing shorts but put on his boots and came out to help. He didn't even put a coat on.
We knew that without a chain, it was not going to come out so Starla called the neighbors to try to locate one, Bill took off down to Corriganville to his Grandma's to get a chain. And we waited.
We did get a chain from the neighbor and tried to pull it out. But other than spin tread from Pops tires, we got nowhere. Another neighbor showed up with another chain and soon Bill returned with yet another chain and his brother, Timmy. Well we now had 3 chains and 2 trucks . I climbed into our truck. Pops got in his, Bill got in his, Timmy hooked up the chains and Starlawas on stand by. The two trucks pulled and spun and pulled and spun some more. They began to slide towards each other and I thought that they were going to collide. Finally Bill (in the ford) gave a big jerk with his truck and I felt the big truck give a little. Pops saw that there was a sliver of progress so he gassed his chevy and I felt our truck come out. Yay, I did it! I drove it out of the mud.
Seriously, I'm not sure if it was the sudden jerk of the ford or the added assistance of the chevy or possibly my  expert application of the throttle that got us unstuck. I really think we might never know. But what I do know is: we are all a great team. And it is never a dull moment.

Short Week

We accepted another load picking up close by and going back to Michigan. We knew that we would be going back into the snow and cold, but it was good miles and good pay. So we did our paperwork and got moving.
We had traveled about 30 miles when we got a message from our company, our load had cancelled. Oh well, so much for that. Now what? Well, we had just been going through Fredricksburg, VA so we pulled into a plaza and got our Walmart map out. We looked up and located one nearby. So that is where we headed.
We needed several items so I made my list and headed inside. Pops decided that he would wait with the dogs in the truck since it was the time of day for many load opportunities to start coming in.
I took my time and shopped for the groceries that we would need for the rest of the week. I also purchased a new electric skillet. The small one I had been using was allowing food to stick all the time and this was upsetting especially when trying to make pancakes or eggs. So I bought a new one.
I was just getting everything unloaded and put away when Pops said that if we did not receive a good load within the next hour that we would go home and get our truck repairs done. I suggested we just start for home and see what was offered as we traveled. So that is what we did.
We did get a few tempting offers, including my favorite: Baton Rouge. But we have learned that going there is not a good financial move for us. Even though it pays well to go there, you seldom get anything to bring back out so you must deadhead for many miles to get a load.
The closer we got toward home, the more our company tried to get us loads. So we contacted them by phone and our C-link computer to notify them that our truck was going out of service.
Now my minds gears were turning rapidly trying to think of everything I needed to take home with me, mentally make notes of what I needed to bring back with me and all of the things that I needed to do while at home. My brain was busy.
We drove directly to the garage where we get our truck work done and Starla picked us up there. It sure was good to see her. The dogs were happy too.
It is always so good to come home. My bed felt like it was an acre in size. I am so relaxed this time. We made our list of what I needed from the store. I wanted to cook up a storm. I love to cook. And we all love to eat. Of course a batch of fudge is on that list. We also settled on apple pie and cherry pie, steaks on the grill, pork chops and individual pizzas. Who knows what else.
We went to visit my dad on Thursday. It was so good to see him and it makes me happy that he is liking it there now. My sister, Amy, had just brought him back after a two day visit to her home and he seemed glad to be back to "his home." It is a huge comfort to know that he is being cared for so well and that he no longer has to be alone.
We are getting together with Tom and Drew, and Bill and Starla for breakfast on Saturday morning. I can't wait to see my boys. I really do miss my family when we are out on the road.
It is so good to be home. It is so good to be home.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Not a bad start

I really hated leaving Texas knowing that we were going back to a snowstorm. It was so hard watching the sunset on that Sunday. We had watched the miles of green grass and clothes hanging on the line, and the shorts and kids playing kickball. Oh, how Texas tugged at my heart. But work is work and duty called.
We worked our way up through Texas, Arkansas, into Illinois and then we started to get load offers. They were offering us trips into Minnesota or Wisconsin. But they weren’t wanting to pay us our usual amounts. I couldn’t believe that they just paid us to relocate 1000 miles away and then expected us to run through snowstorms for little pay. No thanks. We declined all of those load offers.
We chose to stop at a truckstop that was still in Illinois although within our distance limit of Gary, IN and we checked in. Pops was trying to nap and I cleaned the truck. As we waited we watched the ice build up on our truck and mirrors. After about an hour we were offered a load picking up that evening in Whitehall, MI and going to Hampton, VA for Tuesday. We accepted and received the load.
We headed out right away because we had 4 hours to our pickup. I was driving and Pops helped navigate me through Gary, IN and then he tried to go to sleep. It was snowing now and laying on top of the ice that had already come. I saw several accidents. And I slowed down and tried real hard not to be one of them. I did not see any road clearing vehicles. The roads were a bumpy washboard of frozen snow and ice. It was a slow trip.
I drove through the city of Grand Haven, MI which billed itself, The Coast Guard City, USA. That caught my interest, since my oldest son, Tom, was in the Coast Guard when he got out of school and one of the boys from his high school class had come to Michigan and served there for years. I texted Tom and left him know my location.
We soon reached our destination. It is right on the shores of Lake Michigan. I backed into the docks and Pops went inside to get our load while I took the dogs for a walk. By then we were loaded, that was quick. So off I drove again while Pops tried to sleep a little more.
The snowing had stopped and it was a little better traveling down out of Michigan. This was my first time coming into MI since working for FedEx. So I now have my fourth state colored in since leaving home last. My four new states this time are: Michigan, Rhode Island, Maine and Wisconsin.
Pops began driving around 12:30am and I went straight to bed. I have really adapted to sleeping in the truck. It has been pretty easy for me to sleep 6-7 hours without waking up. So when I did wake up the next morning we were somewhere in WV. Pops had just stopped at a rest stop for ½ hour so he didn’t want to stop right away, so I waited. We finally stopped at a rest area and I went in right away, nature desperately calling. I took the dogs for a walk when I came back out and then it was time to get moving. I realized that I had not started coffee before going inside so there would be no morning coffee for me. Oh boy.
The only way to make coffee in a moving truck is to sit the coffee pot in the sink. Well, our sink is full of dirty dishes. There was no where for me to put the dirty dishes so I very grouchily (is that a word?) tried to wash and dry dishes while the truck was moving down the road. Try doing that when you’re already grumpy. It was not good. ARRRR! And my First Place lesson this week is all about attitudes! I failed miserably.
I finally got the work done and coffee started, now I was beginning to feel my mood improve, but I was hungry. Yesterday we only drank protein shakes, so I was hungry, very hungry and we had no food except what needed cooked. No way am I cooking while moving down the road.Ugh!
We finally stopped for a fuel stop and before Pops had the truck shut down, I was out the door. I am getting something to eat and don’t anybody get in my way.
I had my mind set on a certain food item from Subway, but of course this stop had no Subway. So I spent way too much at Arby’s to get what I wasn’t wanting. But it turned out to be pretty good anyway. I even ate half of Pops’ sandwich later while he slept. Hehehe
Back on the road again and Eastern Virginia isn’t looking too bad. We made our delivery stop and was unloaded and out of there in no time. We were offered Alexandria, VA for our layover so that is where we are sitting now. Alexandria is just outside of Washington, DC. We have been offered a few loads but none that we are really interested in yet. So we wait.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


We had a visitor today. Ralph, our good friend from back home, stopped by the truckstop where we were staying. He also drives truck and is away from his home and family for several weeks at a time. He is an Elder at our home church.
We had hoped to meet up with him yesterday but it didn’t work out.
I texted with him before going to church and he wasn’t going to make it to Houston by church time so when Pops and I came out of church I texted Ralph again. He said that he was in Houston at the TA.
We pulled in and no one (unbelievably) had taken the spot where we were parked before. This is our favorite spot at that truckstop for many reasons. So we backed in and I texted Ralph asking where he was parked. There is parking for 300 trucks there. He said he was near the entrance about 5 spots down. Well that was only 4 spots from us. We told him where we were and he walked up.
We had a really nice visit with Ralph. I love seeing people from back home. And I am sure that he does too. As you can see, Lucy really enjoyed his visit.hahahha
We chatted and got caught up on a lot of stuff and Pops gave him communion before he left. He was delivering a load to New Orleans, while we just got offered a “relocation load” to Gary, IN. A relocation load is when our company anticipates that freight will be greater in one area so they bring trucks in to that area. And they pay you a small bit to go.
Gary, IN is over 1000 miles away from where we are, so I couldn’t believe that they would pay us to go there, Until we looked at the weather, Uh huh, snow storms. Oh well, life can’t always be 77 degrees and tank tops.

Great Weekend

We have had a great weekend. We got to the Dallas area on Friday morning, Feb.18. at 6am. It was 67 degrees. We hung out in that area for a few hours and it got sunny and so warm. I had to dig out one of my tank tops to wear. We did some shopping and took the dogs for a walk and waited for a load.
Later that evening we decided to move to Houston. We figured that we would get a load sooner from there. So we arrived at Houston around 11:30pm and it was still warm. We drove with our windows half way down. I love it.
On Saturday morning after coffee, I cleaned the truck up some, then we went in for showers. We were going to get lunch buffet but decided to wait until tomorrow. We got all of our laundry done too. And we took our truck through the truckwash, so it was sparkling clean. It was so absolutely terrific. I saw many of the truck drivers had lawn chairs out and some were even cooking on the grill. That’s an idea, I have a portable, propane grill at home. We took a long walk that evening. We tired the dogs out, Chucky was panting before we made it back. Hahaha
We were going to watch a movie, but we each got busy with other things so we never did. But it was a good day. We realized that we would be able to attend the Berean Christian Church in the morning. It is the one with 3 services going on at once in different parts of the building. Daer Platt is the evangelist.
We got up Sunday morning and went inside for breakfast. We ordered the buffet and it was good. Our waitress, Sonia, was very nice. She talked to us about everything  but mostly about when Hurricane Ike came through a few years ago and how she went to Chicago to escape it. Another waitress came over and she told us that she had gone to Missouri. She said that traffic had the roadways so tied up that gas stations ran out of gas, restaurants ran out of food and she had to pay $12 for a gallon of water! Wow. And then they didn’t know what they would return to find. I can’t imagine. But it was nice talking with them.
We got ready and drove to church. It was 21 miles from the truckstop. I was so glad to be there and they were glad to see us again. They are such nice people. It filled my heart with joy to sit in church with others who love and serve the Lord and hear the Hispanic service singing and praising at the same time. It amazes me to know that there are still so many (yet so few) who come out to worship the Lord.
Daer preached another fabulous sermon. He is so good. What a hidden treasure that little church has in there midst. He can bring the scriptures to life with his voice. He is captivating. It is too bad that they don’t have thousands of people to hear.
His sermon text was Luke 22:24-27. Footsteps of Jesus. He talked about how many want to follow the footsteps of Jesus but yet aren’t willing to go the places where He would go, or visit the people that Jesus would visit. He said, “If you want to have a relationship with Jesus, you need to follow Jesus not try to bring Him along with you.” Wow, I am guilty of trying to take Jesus with me, instead of following.
He went on to talk about Jesus being a servant of the people, and how we too should be. Man, I can’t remember the last time I was a servant to people. He really stepped on my toes and challenged me to try to do better.
We sang, In the Service of the King, which has always been one of my favorite songs. I do need to be in His service. I need to be happy to be in His service. How will He use me?
We also sang, I Gave My Life for Thee. Have you ever read all the verses and paid attention to them? Jesus gave all, what do we do for Him?
Let us all go and do better.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Boston and Beeps

This week has just flown by. I cannot believe that it is Friday already. Right now we are sitting near Dallas, Tx. Our friend, Ralph is only about 45 miles from us. We are hoping that we can meet up, but you just never know in this business. But anyway, here’s where we’ve been and what’s been happening:
We got a load out of Harrisburg that picked up in Upper NY, it was going to Oswego, NY. Oswego is right near Lake Ontario. It was a hazmat load and going to a Nuclear Power Plant, cool! The weather was cold and a few snow flurries, but not too bad and calling for nicer starting on Tuesday.
We entered the Power Plant on the exact opposite side (thank you, Gypsy) and was directed on how to get to the other entrance. We could see the huge cooling tower off in the distance. We arrived at the gate and was handed a map of the plant. We were told to drive literally right alongside the cooling tower. That was awesome. Those things are huge and underneath of them is all steamy. It was almost like driving right up to a space ship or something. Anyway, we got our load off and back out through the gate we went.
On the way out of the Power plant, we saw so much wildlife, We saw at least 50 deer and too many turkeys to count. They were everywhere. And I think I saw some moose, but the guard told me that they were just deer. What does he know anyway?
After that we were given a load picking up in New Jersey and going to Maine for the next morning. So we scooted off to our pickup. We still had a few snow flurries here and there, but nothing to really hold us up. I am so ready for this snow to be done.  
It was dark by the time we reached our pickup. We got there and it was a really big place. We were told that our load had a very high theft potential, but we didn’t know yet what we would be carrying. We were told that if we stopped along the way that we were to back our truck up to a building, fence or another truck so that no one could get the doors open to steal our load. Wow, what are we carrying, gold or diamonds? No, appliances. Refrigerator/freezers, dish washers and washing machines! 29 of them. Pops called me while they were loading and told me that they weren’t going to fit on our truck and that this was probably going to be a dry run. Oh yay, little pay.
I could feel them in and out of the back of the truck. It wasn’t long before my phone rang again. Pops said that the shipper was going to get them all on, he stacked them. Well ok, then. Let’s go to Maine.
I wanted to go moose hunting. I want to see a moose so bad. Last time we were up here I had a kink in my neck the whole next day from looking out the window for a moose. But I did the same thing this time.
We stopped at a TA truckstop for fuel. We have stopped here before, there is a woman that works there that I really like. She is so friendly and funny. Well, she’s friendly to me, she picks on Pops. Anyway, I asked her where to go to see a moose. She told me that I was likely to see one anywhere, but she couldn’t guarantee that I would. She said they are all over, “just don’t beep your horn at one or it will charge your vehicle.” Oh, ok, I won’t do that. Well we didn’t see any moose this time either.
After our Maine trip we were offered a short little run into Rhode Island and then back to Mass. I haven’t been to RI yet so we agreed to the load. This is my third new state this trip out. I am excited when I get to color one in. It wasn’t much of a visit though because the entire pickup and delivery took us less than 3 hours.
We have had a pretty good week so far and it is only Wednesday. Too bad that is the thought that went through my head, because I think that I jinxed us. We were offered a good paying load picking up in MA and delivering in Rochester, NY. We do really well from Rochester, so we agreed to the load. What we didn’t know until later was that it had 3 pick ups on the same load, all of them in Boston. In Boston! The actual city, not the suburbs, not the outskirts, not the easy industrial parks. Oh well, I put my game face on and was optimistic. How bad can it be, I drove through Chicago?
So we set off, I was driving and Pops was navigating under Gypsy. We got to our first pick up. It was a little one-lane side street with a small parking lot. We pulled into the parking lot and I wondered how difficult it was going to be to back this thing back out and around the corner. Oh well, I’ll cross that bridge later let’s just get this picked up. Where are the docks? Pops went inside and came out with some papers. “This is it. Let’s go” You have got to be kidding me? I could stayed on the street for that. Well, he helped me get backed out and turned around and off we went to our next pick up. This is when the nightmare begins….
We were going to the Logan airport for a pickup. We were following Gypsy’s directions. Suddenly we saw detour signs and road construction and we couldn’t continue the way Gypsy wanted us to go. We took what we thought was the correct detour. Gypsy got offended, “Out of route!” she said. And then she tried to reroute and couldn’t so she just shut down. “Communications failure.” She shut down! We drove following the airport signs and the detour signs and ended up in between some really tall buildings and a one way, one lane, dead end street. No, I am not making this up. We could see the airport, we could see the runways, but there were some really big, tall chain link fence in the way.
A nice man saw our dilemma and came to our rescue. He gave Pops some really good directions, moved his vehicle so we could turn around and got us on our way. Thank goodness.
Gypsy came back with us again and tried to send us down the same streets so we were so upset with her, we just turned down the volume. If we could turn her off, we would have. Well, we did find the airport, good. But we didn’t see the turn off for the cargo pickup so we ended up going toward the actual terminals. This is not good. There were signs everywhere, No Trucks. Oh no, we couldn’t stop and there was no where no go except keep going, so we did. Before we knew it we were on our way back out of the airport, through a big long tunnel. By this time we had FedEx hook us up with directions and the lady from the airport was telling me, “You’re in the tunnel? Good, when you come out you’ll be coming into the main airport.” I told her we were at the airport and had gone through and now was in the tunnel. “You’ve already left the airport and NOW you’re in the tunnel, oh this is not good. Hahahaha.” Well, I DID NOT see the humor. She gave me directions on what to do once out of the tunnel and how to get turned around and back to the airport and then she hung up.
When we came out of the tunnel we were smack downtown Boston, running along the big, lit up skyscrapers. Oh my, I could really enjoy this if I wasn’t so extremely mad at the world right now.
We did get turned around, and we did get back to the airport and we did find our way this time and we did get loaded, finally. Now one more pick up and we’ll be on our way to Rochester. We were 6 miles to our next pickup across town.
Gypsy decided that she would grace us with directions so we got going, following her command. She brought us right downtown, into the financial and government district of Boston. Cars and people were everywhere. I could see a strange looking bridge ahead. I found out later that it is the Tobin Bridge. Look it up on the web, it is pretty neat. Well, Pops and I figured that Gypsy had messed us up again, this couldn’t be right. We are looking for a freight company. They wouldn’t be here, so we went around a couple of blocks and got away from the city. Gypsy had shut down on us again and would not come back on. We had both totally lost our patience and life was so not good right now. Oh yeah, did I mention that it was 5:10, rush hour?
Pops drove us out of the city, saying that once we get away from all of that we can get our act together, calm down, get good directions and try again.
We tried calling our company for directions, no answer. Pops tried on his phone, I tried on mine, still no answer. I sent messages on the C-link computer. The computer is down, no response. We had nothing. No customer phone number, nothing. Finally, FedEx called us. We got hooked up with someone named Clint and he eventually got us good directions and we made it there. But let me tell you, It was not pretty in our truck for that period. The poor dogs were cowering in their corners trying to be as good as gold so as not to be the object of our wrath. Looking back now, I am kind of ashamed of the way we acted. I know Pops is too. But we both understand the stress and we move on. I was never so very glad to have a load on and be driving away from someplace. I don’t care to ever, ever go back to Boston.
I put the miles between us and Boston as fast as I could. We were on the open highway again and everything was going to be okay.  I drove my share and then when Pops drove, I slept. I woke up and he had already delivered and we were at Walmart. Wow, just like that it was over.
I went into Walmart to pick up a few things and when I came out I cooked us some food. I had picked up a cold so I wanted to make some chicken noodle soup. Just as I finished the soup, we got a load offer picking up in Buffalo, NY and going to Tyler, TX. Oh, yeah, I am so all over that. We waited to see if we would get the load and we did. Yeehaw, out of the snow.
They were actually giving us more time than what was really necessary so we didn’t have to rush. We took our time, stopping along the way to rest and fix a good meal. We laughed about our adventures of the week, but still both agree that we don’t want any more Boston. We spotted the factory where Fruit of the Loom is manufactured. It is in Bowling Green, Kentucky. I do love seeing things like that. And two good things about Boston, I did get to see The Old North Church. This is the church where Paul Revere sent the “One if by land, two if by sea” signals. And I saw the Necco Wafer Factory. I love Necco Wafers. Necco stands for New England Confection Co.
While Pops was driving through Little Rock, AR, I heard a horn blow. Who was blowing at us and why? I heard it again and again, What the world? I got up out of the bunk and ask him what was going on. He was looking around, confused. He didn’t know who was beeping at him or why. There it was again. Is someone behind us, so close that we can’t see them? Is one of our doors open or is something else wrong? The horn keeps beeping. “It is our horn.” Pops says. It is our horn, I can tell now. Hahahahaha
Beep, beep, beeeeep, the cars pass us and gas it to get by. Here comes another car, beep, beeeeep, hahahaha. “It’s not funny,” Pops says. Well I think it is. I wonder what all those cars are thinking? This goes on for several miles. Finally he pulls over, locates the horn and yanks the wires off. There! No more of that. Hahahaha.
We get back in the truck, I head back to the bunk, he takes off down the highway and beeeeep. You have got to be kidding me. What is this? The movie, Christine? No, it’s Pops messing with me, we have two horns and he was blowing the other one just to get me going. Oh that man!
So, here it is, Friday morning, we have unloaded and are at a TA truckstop. It is sunny and the temperature is 75 degrees. I am sitting with a tank top on, my window down, the truck is clean, I have a cold bottle of water and life is good. I wonder how it is in Boston.
Terrell, TX - 02/18/2011
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This is Nine Mile Nuclear Power Plant. The water is Lake Ontario. The blue building to the right of the tower is where we delivered.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Today's Church

Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered in my Name, there I will be in the midst.” Pops and I could not find a church in the directory near where we are. We have already deadheaded to Harrisburg, so we couldn’t justify another big deadhead. That meant that we were either going to have to attend the Trucker’s Chapel this morning or have our own services.
We have not had to have our own services for a long time so we decided to do that. We used the weeks First Place lesson and then we built on that. We really had a good lesson and discussion on worldly and Christian values. We went deeper than just appearances, but other things that the world values and thinks important.
We discussed and shared with each other our weak areas and in what ways we thought we could work to change those. We talked about what our values were before becoming a Christian and how those values weren’t important anymore since becoming a Christian.
We realized that we are still human and sometimes our values are cloudy. We talked about how we strengthen each other and how we, as a team, can work to be what God would want us to be. God has given us several opportunities to “let our light shine” since taking this job. I would like to say that we have done that, but there have been a couple of times where later we wished we had said or done something a little different to shine the light even more.
But we are learning and growing. I know I am. Before coming out here on the road, I had a hard heart for people who asked for money, and I would get upset when Pops would hand someone a dollar or so. I would tell him he was gullible and being scammed. But he did it always when asked.
Now that I see so much of what is sad about this world, and the people who sometimes ask for help, I am more willing to give it also. I don’t know the reasons or circumstances that brought these people to where they are, but I do see them as people, as individuals who really need help in more ways than one. Like the man that we gave the food to awhile back. I wish I had had the time to sit with him and hear his story. He often comes to my mind and I wonder if anyone else was kind to him.
We have people come to us for money quite often. I would rather give food or gas in the car than hand someone money. But God has taught me that it is not my business to judge someone’s motives. I just need to help; although Pops and I have decided this morning, that from now on when we do help those who ask that we will pray with them first.
After all what good is a good job or extra money or excess food if you can’t share it? What does it profit a man to gain the whole world if he does not have love? We are taught by Jesus to love, and not just the lovable but also and mostly, the unlovable.
Go and do likewise.

Meeting up

We wanted to try to get home this weekend to get some work done to the truck and also to visit. But those plans didn’t pan out.
Starla told me that her and Bill wouldn’t be home anyway because they had already planned to go to Harrisburg for the Outdoor Show. Well, I didn’t want to go home if they weren’t going to be there at all.
Once we realized that our delivery was for Allentown on Saturday we knew we could deadhead to Harrisburg for our layover. We talked to Starla and planned to meet up with them later in the day. Oh, good, I can’t wait.
We got to Allentown and off loaded the big battery and then drove on over to Harrisburg. We got there around lunchtime. I got busy cleaning the truck and rounding up our laundry. Then we went in to get showers.  After our showers, I worked on typing up the blog. We are parked in the clear back of the parking lot and it is windy so internet service is sketchy. But I knew I needed to type up our stories while somewhat fresh in my mind and then I saved them so that when the internet was good I could just copy and paste it to the blog.
Starla called us shortly after we got to the truck from our showers and said that they were done at the Outdoor Show and were on their way to the truckstop. They found us right away and visited with us in the truck for about an hour. I sorted through the ton of mail that she brought me and then we loaded into her car to go eat.
We didn’t know where we wanted to go, and we weren’t sure what all was available so we just drove around looking until we decided on Ruby Tuesdays. It is a good choice because you can get just about anything there. We all did thoroughly enjoy our meals. Ummm Ummmm.
Once they dropped us back at the truck they decided to get going since it is a 3 hour drive back home. It was so good to see them, good medicine for the homesick. I wish I could see the boys too. And everyone else too. I miss everyone so much.
Anytime any of you want to visit us, let us know, I’ll tell you where we are going to be and you can show up, hahaha. I do like visitors.

What we did this week

When we left Knoxville and headed over to North Carolina for our pickup, we got to travel through the Smokey Mountains on a route that I have not been on before. It was so wild and gorgeous. I had always heard how pretty they are and I’ve seen them from other routes, but this way was the bomb. There was a river canyon that followed the road and the pine trees covered the mountain sides and it was an enjoyable drive.
When we got to North Carolina I was happy to see that some people have their gardens plowed and are ready to be planting soon. Our good friend, Nadine, said it was 70 in Pinetown, NC the other day. I am ready for warm weather.
But first we have to go to Rochester, NY for a delivery and it seems to never be warm there. We were going to Eastman Kodak. We have been there before. We haul paper in to them. We got unloaded early in the morning so we headed to the truckstop for rest and warmth. It was 2 degrees and the winds were horrible.
We needed to repair a headlight that had broken in two when we hit a bump the night before. We nearly froze to death while working on that. We kept having to climb into the truck to get warm. I made us each a bowl of oatmeal thinking that would help us be warm while outside, but that didn’t work.
While we were eating our oatmeal we got a load of paper products leaving Rochester and going to a distribution center in South Bend, IN. We got moving right away. We are carrying store flyers. It was a nice drive to South Bend. We did run into a few snow showers around Lake Erie, nothing that lasted very long, thank goodness.
We got there early in the morning as soon as they opened and got the load off. There was a Pilot truckstop 2 blocks away, so we went there. I was hoping to get a load out right away. We both like to keep busy running although it does make it hard to sleep the way we need to. Pops loses sleep because of fueling and helping to load and unload when it’s my turn to drive. He is really good to me. I never have to fuel or secures loads unless he needs help. But on the other hand, I do all the paperwork and cleaning and cooking. He helps with groceries and laundry. We do make a pretty good team.
We were dispatched on a load picking up in Indiana and going  back to Rochester. Oh boy, we are going to get into snow yet, aren’t we? And this cold is ridiculous. We picked up a big load, heavy. It was 10 pallets of Mylanta. It was heavy and because of it being liquid it rocked the truck while moving. It was hard to get used to. I prayed for bare roads while carrying this load and we didn’t really have any snow that stuck to the ground.
It was during this delivery that we noticed that Chuck was sick. He was really sick. I was convinced that he was probably going to die. We didn’t know what was wrong. He was unresponsive and not eating, drinking, or moving at all. He would moan from time to time. I was so worried. I looked up stuff on the internet and tried to figure out what it could be. I was sure it probably was the ice melt from the parking lots. It is lethal to animals and some of the liquid ice melting products contain the same chemicals as antifreeze which is toxic to animals. I was so sick that I couldn’t eat either.  His stomach was so hard and big. It looked like his stomach was a volleyball. He was sick like that for many hours. During the night he vomited and what came up was polyfil fiber from a pillow. Why had he eaten that? I know that dogs will eat grass to make themselves vomit when sick so did he thing polyfil would work like grass? He still wasn’t moving much. I would not take him to a vet because I thought they would want to keep him and there was no way I was going to leave him somewhere and drive off. No Way! I would have him put down if he was that sick. Well, in the middle of the night while I was driving, I felt something nudge my leg. It was Chucky, he was trying to get my attention. I was happy about that, I looked for a place to stop the truck but until I found somewhere he had already vomited up a huge pile of polyfil. When and how and most of all Why did he eat all of that? I can’t believe that he didn’t strangle while eating it.
But now he was better. That was it, right back to normal, just like that. Needless to say we got rid of that dog pillow. I am so glad he is better and thanks to all of you who wished us well during that hard time.
Our next trip was to Milwaukee, WI to a cocoa factory. We were hauling empty plastic containers from Williamson, NY. Oh boy, did it smell good here. It smelled just like a steaming hot fresh cup of cocoa. Yummy, bring on the toast.
I really enjoyed Wisconsin. I have not been there before so I got to color in another state on my FedEx travels map. We were offered 23 load opportunities, one right after the other. Sometimes we had 3-4 at once to try to choose from. We finally accepted and received a load from Franklin, WI to Allentown, PA, it was a hazmat load.
We went to the shipper and got the load. It was a huge battery. It was 4 feet by 4 feet and about 6 or 7 feet tall, one big battery! Well the shipper did not offer us any placards for our truck, they said they don’t use them. Well, I know we cannot move our truck without the proper placards so I made some. I got out our hazmat booklet and looked up the placard. I drew one on the back of one of the others that we have, then I went in and had the shipper make me several copies. After that, I covered them with shipping tape so that they would be durable for our trip. We fastened them to the truck and drove away. Oh I hope they last and don’t blow off.
I was driving and looking around (as usual) I noticed a place called The Cheese Castle. I’m not sure what it was but thought it was interesting, especially since Wisconsin has so many cheese plants. And that reminds me of something. Several years ago while my husband was hauling into and out of Wisconsin, he came home and was talking about all of the cheese plants (factorys) that he saw. Our youngest son, Drew, said, “I didn’t know cheese grew on plants.” It was hilarious and we still chuckle about that when we remember it. As a matter of fact, when our good friends, Doug and Lettie got married, Pops was telling that story before that wedding to the guys in the wedding and Lettie’s brother, Dan couldn’t stop laughing, he giggled all throughout the wedding.
As I was nearing Chicago we passed someplace like a hotel or something and sitting outside of the building was, guess what? The Oscar Mayer Weiner Mobile. Yep, I couldn’t believe it. I had seen it on TV and I love the Oscar Mayer bologna song, but I never dreamed I would see the weiner mobile. There it was, I wish I could’ve gotten a picture.
The Chicago city skyline is amazing. It is a pretty city when seen from a distance, but I just hate driving through there. It is eight lanes (one way) of frustration, no matter the time of day. But we did enjoy the sights and especially when we caught sight of Lake Michigan. It was such an amazing shade of blue, Aqua, I guess. And the lake seemed to go on forever and ever. It was so sparkly and pretty.
We really have a wonderfully beautiful country. I hope I never get tired of seeing it. We are truly blessed. God is so good.

Thursday, February 10, 2011


I know it's been a few days since I've written and I promise I will later, but right now I am so upset.
Chucky is sick. Really sick!
Last night he was panting and kept turning his ears back and was pacing. He was in obvious distress. He peed on the floor. I thought he was just being impatient, so I hollered at him.
When I finally got to a place where I could stop the truck, I took them out and he peed a lot. Then he got back into the truck and drank a lot of water. He was still panting and pacing. I couldn't calm him. After about another hour it was Pops' turn to drive so I went to bed. Chucky got on the bed and went to sleep. He slept good until this morning when I got up but I could tell, he was sick. He wasn't walking right and seemed tired and weak.
I took them out to pee and he went, then when we got back to the truck, he began to shiver and moan. I put his sweater on him and I covered him with a blanket and held him. He stopped shivering after a while  but he will not do anything. He won't eat or drink. He is sleeping calmly, at least it looks calm to me, but he peed on the floor again and will not move around or respond when I call his name. If I pick him up, he is listless and wants to lay back down.
His belly is hard and bloated too.
I feel so bad. I don't know what to do for him. I will not take him to a vet and leave him there.
I worry so much. He has been my faithful friend for almost 14 years.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Open Door Christian Church

Home church of our good friends, The Fatulas

Our visit to Opendoor Christian Church

We were so excited to realize that we would be able to attend the church of a very good friend of ours. Chad Fatula is the evangelist at the Opendoor Christian Church in Hillsville, VA. We knew yesterday early that we would be able to stop there so Pops called and gave Chad the heads up. He, too, was so excited that he went in to his bedroom and shook his wife, Diane awake and asked her to guess who was coming to visit.
Anyway, we stayed at the Flying J truckstop about 11 miles away and woke up this morning and got our showers and had some coffee. When we arrived at the church, Chad and his two sons, Drew and Chaz were waiting on the front porch of the building. I was so happy to see them and we all greeted each other with hugs.
Chad is a very low key and laid back kind of guy so we had to lead the conversation like we were pulling teeth. Hahahaha, that is so NOT TRUE. He is one of the most outgoing, enthusiastic, energenic people I know. You are lucky to be able to get a word in edgewise. But he is such a blast to be around. At least I think so, but I do kind of feel sorry for Diane, as I am sure that she feels like she has 3 kids with Chad being the ringleader.
We had a good Sunday School lesson on Mark 8:27-32 although we only made it to verse 30. The scripture is about Peter's confession that Jesus is the Christ. But our lesson was more about who people thought that Jesus was and why the other disciples didn't really have an answer at that time. Good lesson.
After the lesson was over they began their worship service. Chad preached a sermon from a series, Myth or Messiah. His scripture was Zechariah 9:9-10, The Coming King. He used these prophesy scriptures to point to the coming Messiah and then gave several New Testament scriptures to show the fulfillment of that prophesy. It was a good service and many of the people there told us how much they really enjoy having Chad as their evagelist. I hope they do realize the treasure that they have.
It is a small church. Only about 30 people but there were only 18 or 19 when Chad first came there. The building itself is beautiful. It has so much carved, old wood and is so pretty inside. I hope we get to visit there again. I was so uplifted and so glad to be in the company of loved ones.
After church, I went out to let the dogs out. The boys came with me and played with the dogs in the grass. The dogs were so happy to be allowed off their leashes and to be able to run and play with kids.
Then we all loaded up into Chad's truck and drove down to North Carolina, not very far away, for dinner at the Golden Corral. We ate until we were stuffed. It was so good. I had the best steak ever. Oh my, it really was good.
Then we drove back to the church and stood and talked for at least another hour or so. It was hard to leave them. I know we will get this way again, we do a lot and it's just a matter of time until we're here again for the weekend. I can't wait.
Take care, Fatula's. Thanks for a good day.

Time spent with Chad Fatula and family at the Golden Corral

Chad Fatula

Diane Fatula

Drew Fatula

Chaz Fatula

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Last trip of the week.

We needed groceries. We found a Walmart in Salem, NH. We went in and shopped for awhile, getting what we needed and looking around. When we came out, I fixed us some lunch while we waited to see if we might get another load for this week. It being Friday, we thought maybe we wouldn't but than again since the ice storm and not much doing business, we thought maybe we would. So we waited. We didn't have to wait long. We were offered a load from Amsterdam, NY(near Albany) to Knoxville, TN for Monday. We accepted the load and waited to see if we got it. We did.
So I finished the dishes and cleaning of our home area and we took off. We were going to be going across upstate NY after leaving New England. I had been in and out of some of these areas but never straight across. We got to cross the Adirondacks, The Berkshires and we saw the Erie Canal. Upstate NY truly is a pretty place. Well, and the roads were good, so that helps. I can't wait to see some of these places in the summer and fall. Our country is so incredibly amazing and beautiful. Our God is so good. And I am so grateful to be able to see so much of it.
We picked up our load and left the area we still have so far to go, 834 miles, but we have the whole weekend to do it. We are exhausted. We have worked hard and traveled so many miles, with not a lot of sleep on bad roads.
We came to a welcome center in PA just south of Binghamton, NY on route 81. It was 8pm and we decided to get some rest, so after taking the dogs for a quick walk, we went to bed. Pops woke up around 3:30, he was cold. So he got under the blankets and fell back to sleep. It wasn't so easy for me. I was awake. So I got up and read my book. I read until it was finished and then crawled back into bed. We woke up again around 7:30. We made coffee, walked the dogs and away we went.
Pops drove and I tried to chat and keep him company.
Later I laid down to take a little nap.
We are now in Hillsville, VA. We are not far from a good friend of ours, Chad Fatula. He is a preacher and has a church about 10-15 miles from here. We will be attending there in the morning and I am excited to see him and his family. I am also excited to be able to go and worship with some people that we know.
After church we will have to get going. We are about 185 miles away from Knoxville, and would like to get there before evening. Our delivery isn't until 8:00 Monday morning but maybe they'll take it early and we can started on another busy week.

Some pix and tribute to the nephews, I love you, boys!

This is the little box we brought from Connecticut to West Virginia during the ice storm

Erlanger Church of Christ where we attended 2/2/11. Erlanger, KY

Icy Roads in New England

Nephew, Levi

Nephew, Jake

Nephew, Mikey

Nephew, Aaron

Nephew, Scott

Lots of New England

This week has gone by so very fast. I just can’t believe it. We have been so busy and traveled a lot. We started out the week with a real quick trip from the rest area in Florence, KY  with a pick up in Florence only going up to Cincinnati. It only took a few hours and so we were a little discouraged and thinking that was it for the day, but before we even got it off loaded we were offered another load from Florence going to Painesville, Oh.
So we went to pick that load up and was a few minutes behind because of the short load and the man at the pick up point was in a foul mood. Pops was upset by him. Why is it that one negative attitude can upset so many other people? Anyway we got that on the truck and left for Ohio. It took us until late that evening to get up there and on the way the offered us another load. This one would pick up in North Jackson at a FedEx Freight Terminal. It was going to be a truck to truck transfer. That means that another Custom Critical truck would bring the load that far from somewhere and we would take it the rest of the way. A lot of Canada loads are truck to truck transfers and also if there is a truck that is not a team of two drivers then one driver can’t always go the full distance in the time allotted. It was a big load of office furniture that just came up from Cincinnati. We couldn’t figure out why that didn’t just give us that load in the beginning and give the other guy our load that we brought up from there. Then no transfer would’ve been needed. Oh, Well. We got the furniture loaded and away we went. This is our third load of the day. We are tired. And it’s only Monday.
We drove for awhile and then took a little break to sleep and then got moving again. We were headed into Methuen, MA. Pops drove across Interstate 80 in PA which is not the best of roads in good conditions and we were getting sleet. He took his time and he does a really good job. I tried to get some sleep although I figured it wouldn’t be easy because I had some concerns for my son Tom going through my head and issues with my dad still arising. But I did sleep and it was good even if it was short.
When I woke up, we were in New York, I think and the roads were horrible. There were several inches of icy slush on the roads and no plows in sight. Traffic was pretty light though so that was a good thing.  It took us 24 hours to drive a trip that should’ve only been about 10 or 11 hours. But we arrived safely. We got the furniture unloaded and thought we found a Walmart to sleep, but they wouldn’t allow overnight parking so we had to find somewhere else. We decided to go up the interstate 6 miles and cross into New Hampshire to the welcome center.
We found parking there along with several other trucks. It was a nice place. And the workers were friendly. We realized that throughout the day and night while we slept there that they had gotten over 18 inches of fresh snow. It was lovely to look at, but once we were told that 12-18 more inches were expected we decided we were leaving with or without a load. We had already predispatched on a load to Missouri, but it had cancelled because they were getting some of the same storm affecting New England. So without a load we decided to go a little south to Hartford, CT.
By this time our truck was covered in 2 inches of ice. Our radio or our C-link computer would not work properly. The further south we traveled the more it rained. But the temperatures were rising a little and the rain proceeded to melt the ice off our truck, even though it was freezing on the trees and sidewalks. We hung out for only about 2 hours before we were offered a load leaving Shelton, Ct and going to Clarksburg, WV. We agreed to the load.
When we got to our pickup point, Pops went in to find out where to back our truck in and came out carrying a box. What is this? This is it! This is what we are driving all that way for that much money? Hahahaha.  (See the picture)
While driving down to West Virginia we were offered many loads. Boy, they are trying to keep us busy. I do like the predispatch though. It makes it so much easier to know when and how to sleep, stop, eat and so forth. But no, we weren’t interested in going to California. We don’t have good luck getting loads out of there, so even though they pay well to go there, you sit too many days trying to get out and it doesn’t pay in the long run. And we aren’t interested in Alberta, Canada, thank you. Way, Way too cold there and again no loads out. But once again, we hadn’t even hit Maryland yet and we picked up another load going from Meadsville, PA back up to Haverhill, MA. We did check the weather channel before accepting and we found out that that it was to be sunny and upper 20s to low 30 temperatures.
Once we delivered the little box, hahahaha. We headed for a truckstop in upper PA to wait until 4pm the next day for our next pickup. That gave us almost the whole day to get showers, do laundry, clean the truck, replace a headlight, brush the dogs and a couple other odd and end things. Downtime…… is good.
I got a call from my good friend, Carol, awhile ago. Her call was good medicine because I was having a heavy homesick day. She is doing well and still working way too hard. I miss my good friends from Rest Assured. She said that Ruth always asks if she’s talked to me. I miss you guys so much.
I hate homesick days! I miss my family. Last night while driving to West Virginia, we came less than 20 miles from home. Being this close and not being able to see my family is worse than being half way across the United States. I know Pops gets upset when I am homesick. He doesn’t know what to do to help me. I don’t know what to do to help me either. I just hope everyone of you know how much I love and miss you.
So we are sitting in Meadville at a business waiting, our load is not quite ready. We are supposed to be in Haverhill, MA by 8am. I hope that all goes well. I don’t know where we will go from there. It will be Friday. Maybe we will pick up one more load to get us back out of New England. If not, I hope that weather isn’t as bad as it was.
Love you.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Big Sigh,......

Wouldn’t you know it, we were offered another load. Oh, I’m tired, I don’t really want to do it, but Pops said I could have the day off, he would take care of it. It was picking up in Ohio and going to Florence, KY. It wasn’t a real far trip but it was all in one day and we figured with Florence being just slightly south of Cincinnati that we wouldn’t have any trouble getting a load from there.
So I sat back in my jammies and Pops got going. It didn’t take long to get to our pick up but we were about 45 minutes early and the product wasn’t quite ready, so I fixed us some lunch while we waited. And we also got the directory out and started to look for a church to attend in the morning. I was amazed to see that within a 15 miles radius there were about 10 churches to choose from. We made some phone calls and other inquiries to see if anyone we knew might know of any of these churches.
No one could really help us out until we talked to our former minister, Wayne Jocelyn. He had heard of the retired minister that still attended the Erlanger Church of Christ. So we decided to go there and it was the closest to us anyway.
Our pickup was finally ready so Pops secured it and away we went.
We arrived in Florence, Ky right around 8pm. They have a big water tower just as you come into the city. On it is written, “Florence, y’all.” Pops and I have taken an interest in these water towers, we see so many of them. It is fun to see what different places do to make theirs unique.
When we got to our delivery we were told to go to any empty dock, but there weren’t any. Pops went inside to ask and they said that they had no way of moving a trailer out of the dock for us, so they didn’t know what to do. They called the owner of the company and he suggested calling someone in to pull out a trailer. Well, that was going to take 3 hours!!! They scratched their heads a few times and then decided to try to unload us with a forklift. Ok, it worked and we were out of there in less than 1hour and a half. But we had to turn around and go back because we left our power cord for our lift gate there.
After that we parked at a rest area at exit 179. It is the nicest rest area that we have ever stayed at. It is in the middle of a huge field, a good area for dogs.
Sunday Morning we got ready for church and left a little early. No one had called me back about parking so we thought we would go see for ourselves. We did park about 2 blocks away from the church and walked up. We were greeted right away by a man entering the same time we did. He showed us to our Classes. We had ladies class and mens class.
Our lesson was good and everyone joined in on the discussion. It was about the Israelites and how they constantly grumbled and complained even God always met their needs and how our society is never satisfied with what we have either.
The worship started with a praise team leading us in uplifting, praise songs. It was good. The worship leader is a school teacher and his wife played the keyboards. They are new to this church and what an asset.
The sermon was brought by Kent Allender, the minister there. He spoke using scripture from Luke 5:12-32. The Compassion of Jesus. He used 3 illustrations. Jesus touched the untouchable, Luke 5:12-14; Jesus saw the unknown, Luke 5:17-19 and Jesus approached the unlikely, Luke 5:27-32. Pops and I both enjoyed the message and were challenged to be more compassionate with those we meet.
After church we went to the TA truckstop to do laundry and get a bite to eat. Well, we got more than a bite. We went into the Country Pride Restaurant for dinner. I had the chopped steak dinner and Pops got the meatloaf dinner. Both came with soup and salad so until we ate that, we ended up taking our whole dinners back to the truck with us.
We left the truckstop and went back to the rest area that we liked so well. When we got there, I thought that the truck could use a good cleaning, so I staked the dogs out in the grass and Pops laid on the bed. Cleaning our truck only takes a short time. I shook the rugs, brushed the mats, wiped up the floor, dusted the dashboard, and cleaned the counters and glass. Just as I was laying the last rug down, I heard a scraping noise outside and looked up to see that Chucky had pulled out his stake and was dragging it around the parking lot looking for us. I looked to see if Lucy was still okay and she was, she was just sitting there watching Chuck as if to say, “You are gonna be in so much trouble.” Well I just thought it was funny but only because there weren’t many trucks here and no one was moving. So I grabbed them both and brought them back inside.
So clean house, full bellies and the rest of the day to do what I want. I think I’ll be reading my book now. Talk to you later.