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, November 29, 2015

Back at it

We woke up in our own bed on Monday morning. We were in service since Sunday afternoon but hadn't even gotten one load offer.
However, before noon we got a load and was backing out of the driveway. We were picking up a load about 4 hours away in Allentown. It was going to Louisville, KY. 
I started the drive and it felt good to be behind the wheel again. Our vacation this time was anything but relaxing and hadn't gone the way I would've liked. It was nice enough though and it is always good to see and spend time with those I love.
We got our load on quickly and I continued the drive until it got dark. Then Pops took the wheel and before long I was in bed. 
I woke up as he was backing into a parking spot at the truckstop near our destination. We still had a while until delivery. So Pops laid down to nap and I fell back to sleep.
At 7am we got up and drove less than 2 miles to our delivery. It was unloaded and that was that. Our first load was done.
We had been predispatched yesterday, so we knew we were headed toward Indianapolis, IN for a pickup. I was driving and Pops went to sleep. 

There was a lot of construction around Louisville so traffic was at a crawl. This city is so pretty with all the bridges and rivers and pretty buildings. I always enjoy driving through here. I crossed the bridge and was now driving in the state of Indiana. 

I would be driving on some rural roadways now and through some pretty little towns and pretty country roads. It was an enjoyable drive.
Pops woke up when we reached the pickup and we were there a little more than an hour waiting to be loaded. 
After we were loaded Pops went back to sleep and I drove a few more hours right back on the same roads I had just traveled to get there and by evening rush hour I was driving back through Louisville again. 
We were headed to North Carolina, the Raleigh area. It was to deliver Wednesday morning.
Before long I was done and in bed as Pops drove through the night to our destination.
We delivered Wednesday morning and then drove to a truckstop to wait. We hoped that we would get a load picking up yet that day and delivering Friday, but it never happened. Because of the holiday we began to worry that we were done now until Monday.
We were offered several Monday loads and even some Tuesday loads. We declined those because we hoped to move sooner. We had one or two that went right away but the pay rate was very low. Finally we agreed to a load picking up Saturday and delivering early Monday morning.
So now we could relax. We went inside the restaurant for supper.
Our son, Drew, was in his first professional boxing match in Baltimore, MD this night. I was so nervous and anxiously waiting to hear from his friends that went to watch and ultimately from him. He has been training so hard for this. He has fought in The Toughman competitions for the past two years, but this seemed different somehow. Bigger.

His friends texted me updates throughout the evening and then the final text, he lost.
About an hour I heard from him. He sounded groggy. He told me that he had gotten knocked out. I thought he meant unconscious, but he meant literally knocked out of the ring.
It wasn't long until the pictures and videos were posted to the Internet. I watched the videos and to be honest, he looked real good right up to that final "lucky" punch.
We are so proud of him. It takes a lot of hard training and dedication to even enter this type of thing.

Thanksgiving day I gave away 2 $20 bills. I am telling you this to make a point. 
The first one was afternoon Thanksgiving, when Bill and I went out to eat. 
We are on the road, far away from home, away from our loved ones, and it was Thanksgiving. We had been given a gift card for Cracker Barrel and they were open and serving turkey dinner. So that is where we went.
We waited until 2pm thinking it would be less busy. But when we got there, we noticed the line was out the door. 
We went inside to give our name and prepared to wait. However, we were seated right away. The tables for two were readily available.
Our waitress came. Her name was Linda. She took our order for the turkey dinner and brought our coffee. She was rushing around from table to table. I told her not to rush for us that we weren't in any hurry. I asked her what time she had come to work and she told me 1 o'clock. Then we talked about her getting off work at 5pm to go shopping with her daughter. 
Many of the stores were opening for huge sales that evening.
I then asked if she was shopping for anything in particular and she named a few things. Then she told me that she really wanted to get to Sears. They had women's boots on sale for $20 and she really wanted a pair.
We enjoyed our meal that included, turkey and ham, mashed potatoes and gravy, corn, stuffing, 2 corn muffins, pie and coffee, all on special for $11.99. 

Our bill was brought to us when we were nearly finished. As I said we had a gift card. It was for $25, our Bill total was $25.60. 
It was a very nice meal.
Our waitress passed as we were leaving and I handed her a $20 bill. I told her to buy herself a pair of boots on us. She hugged me and thanked us.
It felt great. God has truly blessed us and we wanted to bless someone else.
Each one must do just as he has purposed in his heart, not grudgingly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. (2 Corinthians 9:7 NASB)
Later, we did some shopping of our own, walked 3 miles for exercise then relaxed the evening away. 
During the night I awoke. I was restless and couldn't fall back to sleep for some reason. So I got up and quietly made myself a cup of tea. I sat in the driver's seat and sipped my tea as I read a book on my Kindle. It was 4:30am.
I saw a police officer drive a circle around the rest area and then leave.
Someone knocked on my door. There was a man standing outside. I lowered the window. He told me a story of locking his keys in his car. He called the police who came to help but wanted his car towed, a locksmith called, or a breakage of a window to get into the car. He went on to tell me that he only had $22 on him which he showed me. He told me the tow truck driver wanted $140, the locksmith wanted $40 and he didn't want to break his own window. He asked if I could spare him the $18 he still needed to pay the locksmith. 
So, I gave him a $20 bill. He promised that once inside his car, he would drive up to the next exit to an atm, get some cash and come back to pay me back.
Now I know that he was probably feeding me a line of untruth, but I also reasoned that maybe God had woken me up to help this man regardless.
Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it. (Hebrews 13:2 NASB)
Of course that man never returned. 
The wicked borrows and does not pay back, But the righteous is gracious and gives. (Psalms 37:21 NASB)
No ones likes to be taken advantage of. Way too often human beings will prey on the generosity of others. 
I knew when I handed that man that $20 that I would never see him again. And I believe that he knew in his heart that he was never going to return. God will deal with him. And God also will bless me. 
On Friday we enjoyed a relaxing day at a nearby rest area. The weather was warm and sunny. We walked for exercise, 4 miles. 
I had bought a new computer on Thursday evening so I got it set up and played around with it for awhile. We watched holiday movies on the Hallmark channel and didn't do much of anything else.
On Saturday we drove to our pickup. We were picking up in Burlington, NC and going to Elkhart, IN. We would drive a route that would allow us to stop and attend church in Ripley, WV with our good friend, Keenan Goosman. 
I was so excited. We agreed not to call him, it was going to be a surprise.
But the surprise was on us.
After putting one pallet onto our truck, it was clear that the load was not going to fit onto our truck. We waited for over an hour for the company to decide what to do. And then we were given the message that our load was going to cancel.
Oh, I was so disappointed. I really wanted that load and I really wanted to visit with Keenan.
Why wasn't anything seeming to go as planned anymore?
Our company gave us another load.
It is a military load that picks up Monday and delivers Tuesday. 
We drove to a nearby rest area to get our daily walk. There was a memorial garden there to the NC Vietnam War Veterans. It was a very peaceful, somber place to walk.

We have a big deadhead to pick it up and then will return to North Carolina.
So our change of loads changed our church plans too.
I was disappointed yet again. It seems that disappointment is the theme for my month.
We would now get to go to church in Mount Airy.
We have been there before and are still Facebook friends with some from there. I know that God was in this.
(Mount Airy, NC is the real town that the fictional town of Mayberry from the old Andy Griffith Show is patterned from) and guess what the preacher, David Kern, preached about? 
Yep, worldly disappointments and how We have a hope in Christ that will never disappoint us.
Thank You, Lord, for Amazing me once again.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Week 2 Vacation

Our vacation was not going the way that I had planned. 
Suddenly Starla was not as free to do things like we thought, Or maybe like I had thought. And I was disappointed. 

So I rearranged my thoughts and tried desperately to rearrange my attitude to focus on this upcoming week.
It was going to be busy. 
Monday morning Tom and Sophia had a baby appointment. They were finding out the gender of the baby today. I was very anxious while waiting. The appointment was at 8am and by 9:30 I still didn't hear anything. I kept texting, but no response. 
And then I got a text from Sophia. She was going to keep it a surprise until they came up for dinner that evening. 
Starla and I were shopping. I was looking at baby things. I was trying to imagine our new grand baby and whether it was a girl or boy. I think most of the family was hoping for a boy. 
Later in the afternoon Starla prepared lasagna for our supper. I was excited to see Tom and Sophia pull into the driveway. 
She brought a cake. The inside of the cake would reveal the gender of the baby. They had a long series of ultrasound pictures. As I looked at each picture I got more and more excited. At one point I couldn't identify what was on the picture and asked about it. Sophia said, "That's his foot." 
I caught that right away. "His?" 
"You said, his. It's a boy."
Oh yay! A boy that looked to be growing healthy and strong. 

I told them how I have been praying for this baby from the moment I knew of it. 
We called Pops, who was still hunting in Ohio, to tell him the news. He was excited to know that he was getting a hunting buddy.

Then we called Frankie and Melynie to tell them. Sophia mouthed the words, "Melynie is crying." We could hear her. She was really crying. Something was wrong!  When we got her to calm down enough to understand her, we found out that Derrick, our oldest grandson, in the army, had just been deployed and was already somewhere in the Middle East. She had just gotten word that morning. 
She was so distraught. I took the phone and went into the next room. I had prayer for her. She seemed to get a little peace after that and calmed down some. We talked a little more and I told her I would see her Wednesday and that I love her so very much. I told her to trust Derrick to God's hands. And then we hung up. 
In such a brief time, I had received news of a brand new grandson and then news of our oldest grandson. And what a range of emotions!
We ate our lasagna and tossed around boy names. It was so amazing to know that I was now praying for a little boy. 
On Tuesday morning I heard from both Tom and Sophia that they had chosen the name Mason.

In keeping with getting all medical screenings done, I was scheduled for a mammogram and blood work this morning at the hospital in Somerset. 

Starla had plans for today so I had made arrangements to meet up with my sister, Amy for breakfast after my testing. 
The place was packed. The line for registration stretched out of the front doors. But once I got registered it all went very quickly. I was in and out of the lab within 10 minutes. There was a short wait at the imaging department and then the procedure took about 15 minutes. But then I dressed and was out of there.
Amy and I went to King's restaurant for breakfast. We had a real nice time talking about our kids and how our lives turned out. Her and I used to spend so much time together and then we each got busy raising our families. Now we are looking forward to getting "our time" back.
After breakfast I drove back home.
Later that afternoon I got a call from the Dr's office. I was told that all my blood work was fine except that my cholesterol is high. So high, in fact, that the Dr wanted to put me on meds. I asked for 1 month to focus on it and try to get it down by diet and exercise and they agreed to that. So I have an appointment for December 28th for a recheck. They also told me that my mammogram checked out fine but that my Pap smear did not. So further testing was required of that and I should know something by the end of the week. 
So now I was a little concerned. I want to be healthy. I realize that I need to take an even more active role in my own health, at least as much as it is up to me.
I went to bed early that evening. I needed time alone to process, ponder and research.
Our daughter in law, Melynie was having surgery on Wednesday. She had to be at the hospital at 6am. Starla and I were going over to wait with Frankie. I had baked a meatloaf and got them some other food and gift cards so that she didn't need to worry about cooking afterwards. 
Before she went in we had prayer. Frankie went to work for about an hour. Starla and I waited. It wasn't long before she was in recovery and coming out of the anesthesia. She got silly and we had a good time with her.
This is Melynie and our grandson, Derrick.

Starla and I went for Chinese after that, then back home.
What a busy week and it was half over.
I had one more medical test to undergo, a colonoscopy. So Thursday was to be my prep day for that procedure. But first, I was meeting up with my very good friends from when I worked at the nursing home. I picked up Carol on the way and then we met Margo and got into her car and drove to Ruth's. 
Ruth and Ann's home is beautiful. Their table was set so pretty. It is always so good for my spirit to spend time with these women. I am so thankful that God brought such an unlikely bunch together. 
Brunch was nice. The food was good and the company was great. But it was time to go home and start my prep for the next day.
This is Carol, Me, Ruth and Margo

This is Carol, Me, Ruth and Ann

Pops had called me that morning and told me that he had shot a deer and would be home late that evening. I couldn't wait to see him. I missed him so much. 

My sister, Amy was going to waste her day off work by taking me for my colonoscopy, but now that Bill was home, he offered to do it. 
I must admit, I was nervous about this deal. Like childbirth, anyone who had ever gone through it, liked to share their experiences. And to make matters worse, the hospital was running on unexplained delays so the wait lasted over 2 hours. 
But then, it was over. Just like that. Bill asked me how it was and I told him that I didn't think they had done it. But they had and the Dr informed us that he had removed one very small, benign polyp. 
I guess after anesthesia you say some strange things, I know Melynie did. This is a text message I sent my sister. I didn't know that I did, I found it later on my phone:
We are having bacon and eggs and pancakes and cheesey hash browns and coffe and water and I'm really cold and my hand hurts a lot and I'm really cold and I have s headache but John said I need coffee and it will stop and dr Sadat is really nice and sue got me a warm blanket. They messed my hair up. My hand hurts. Bill is being nice I miss you.
After that we got a bite to eat (I was starving) and then went home. 
I got another call from the Dr's office. My Pap smear recheck came back ok. So...I am pretty healthy, except for the cholesterol. And if Pops and I continue on with our diet and exercise, I am hoping that it comes down. 
Saturday was mostly preparing our truck and ourselves to get back to work. The truck was clean. I had worked on it little by little during our time home. But now we needed to restock and repack our belongings. 
I am looking forward to getting back on the road. I always love spending time with my friends and family, but truck driving is my "normal" right now. And it always feels good to get back to normal.

It is fulfilling to see our kids living their lives. I may not always agree with or like the choices that they make, but they are their choices to make. I love the adults that they have become. I am proud of each of them. And when they are living true to who they really are, I get such joy from being near them.  I hope they never let anyone or any circumstance steal from them their real selves. 
We will be attending church today at Wills Mountain Church of Christ, our home church. I look forward to worship with our church family. 
After that we are scheduled to go into service. Who knows where we might go. Thanksgiving is Thursday. It would be nice to share that day with someone, maybe here, maybe Texas, maybe Kansas City. 
And there is a lot of snow in the west and Midwest. I absolutely hate the thoughts of that. 
I'm thinking it might be time to start thinking about what life after trucking might be like. 
Bye Boots.  She was a great walking companion for me these past two weeks. She and I averaged 15 miles a week. I will miss her.

Monday, November 16, 2015

1st week of vacation

Pops is off to Ohio for his annual hunting expedition. And I am having a hunting expedition, of sorts, myself. I am having just about every preventative medical test done.
Monday morning I had a Dr appointment. Pops has asked me to agree to a complete and thorough medical screening. So it began with a complete physical, including a flu shot, then a gynecological exam. Happy Monday! 
Tom and Sophia were going to come up for supper but Tom wasn't feeling too good, so they didn't come. 
Tuesday morning I woke up early and went for a drive. I was feeling nostalgic and drove over to our old house, where our kids were raised. It really is run down now. 

Tuesday I was to have breakfast with my brother but I received a text from him that it wasn't going to work out for him. But I went into Somerset anyway because I was meeting my sister and niece for lunch.
It was a nice visit with them. My niece is moving to Nashville, TN to start a new job as a TSA agent at the airport. I sure hope that all goes well for her.
Sophia came up for a visit Tuesday evening. Her baby bump is getting really cute. It was good to see her.
Pops was having some nasty luck of his own in Ohio. His crossbow that we had just put $135 into broke a string so he couldn't hunt on Monday. He found a place that could change the string but he had to leave it, which meant no hunting for him on Tuesday morning either. And besides that, there is some problem with the well and there is no water in the house. Ugh!
Starla and I had a mini trip planned for Wednesday and Thursday. We were going to Deleware to The Christian church at Seaford to hear Ray Bennett preach. It was their 50 year celebration. We were attending services Wednesday and Thursday evening. Then we planned on going to Rehoboth Beach through the day on Thursday.

We stopped in Flintstone, MD on the way to have lunch with Tom and Sophia. It was a little place called, The girls are cookin'. It was pretty tasty and the prices weren't bad either. Then we got moving again.
Starla's mother-in-law, Mary, had never been to the ocean, so we asked her to go with us.
It was a great trip. We met up with some dear friends and Ray preached so good, as usual. 
The day at the beach was cloudy and cool. But it was so enjoyable. Mary really had a good time. It was fun watching her enjoy it. We saw a lot of dolphins too.
Then we went shopping in the afternoon. We went to the outlets. It was so nice to walk around and spend a peaceful day. I did finish up with my Christmas shopping while there.
After shopping and before church we went to eat with 3 of our friends from out there. I just love getting to be with them.
Ray preached another good sermon.
After church that evening we hit the road. We were tired and it was very windy and those two things combined made for a long trip home. We got home around 2 am. But that was ok, we could sleep late the next day. And we did.
I was going to the house of a friend for tea at 11:30, but she tried and tried to reach me to cancel. Finally, I saw her message. A big pine tree had fallen the night before in the wind storm and fell on their house. Oh my. I am sure that was very scary for them. So we had a free evening. 
On Saturday morning Starla and I had plans to meet our very good friends for breakfast. We picked Carol up on the way and met Ruth and Margo there. We went to the Casselman Restaurant in Grantsville, MD. It was good for my soul to be with them. They mean the world to me. 
Saturday was the day I planned on cleaning the truck. So that is what I worked on. I got a lot done but Not all of it.
Sunday morning I got up early and walked. I got in a three mile walk before church. I was meeting my son, Drew, and going to church with him. He attends the Winifred Road Christian church in Cumberland, MD. It was a nice service and I got to talk with some friends that I hadn't seen in a while. After church we went back to Drew's house for lunch. We were making a no carb pizza. It was a first time experience for both of us. And we both loved it.

This was ours.

Drew's dog Bullet. He's a silver lab.

Here is the recipe:
7 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
7 eggs
Mix the above and spread onto ungreased baking sheet. Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes. Then remove from oven and cover with sauce and your favorite toppings. Bake another 10 minutes. Let stand 5-10 minutes before cutting.
We used turkey sausage crumbles, turkey pepperoni, and mushrooms.
Give it a try. You will like it.
After lunch Drew had plans to train. His boxing match is coming up in 10 days. Boy, that sure makes me nervous.
I went up to the mall. I figured I would catch a couple of movies. And I thought that Bill P. And Starla might like a day alone together.
I saw The Peanuts Movie and also Love the Coopers.
The Peanuts was cute, but it basically was just all the concepts of the Peanuts characters made into a movie.
This is me, Peanutized

Love the Coopers is a movie about a family gathering for Christmas dinner. It goes into each of the family members details and if you have ever not wanted to attend a family get together, and who hasn't, then you will like this movie. 
After the movies I came home and Starla had a nice dinner fixed of baked Fisk, scalloped potatoes and salad. I am tired. It is early but I am going to bed. 
Tomorrow is the day we find out the gender of the new grandchild. I am so excited. I am already so in love with a child I never met. Finding out the gender will make it seem so much more real. 
Pops called tonight. He attended church in Beverly, Ohio. That is where he always goes when he is out there. He went back again for evening services. During the day he worked on cleaning the house at the hunting camp. I guess the other guys left a pretty big mess. Oh well, no use complaining. That will get you no where.
One more week off, it looks like it's shaping up to be busy too.