Cave Dwellings: 2012
Cave Dwellings

Buckhorn Creek, Lake O' The Pines, Jefferson, TX

Monday, December 31, 2012


  Well, this has been quite a week.  Christmas Eve I began to feel like a mean “bug” was beginning to take over my physical body.  I immediately went into survival mode and pretended that I felt fine, spending Xmas day with the Heisers, watching the plentiful gifts being open..even taking a dozen Casey’s donuts for their Xmas morning healthy breakfast…




We arrived at 7:30AM and found 3 anxious children and one excited dog who had sniffed out his gift under the tree…Feeling a little weak and puny, I shrugged it off and truly enjoyed the organized mayhem of presents, paper, and a gazillion little Lego parts flying through the air.  We had a great time, and wished we could have watched the rest of our extended Cave kids open their gifts too…

Arriving back at home before noon, we soon began loading up the Hiker…Got a lot done too, considering I felt like a wet noodle…”You are NOT getting sick…You are NOT getting sick”…We pulled the Hiker up on the drive to finish and out, in and out..Damn! It’s getting COLDER…(or is it just moi?)

Wednesday after Xmas we rode up to Uncle Jr.’s house to help with groceries…Even though my brain said I was OK, my stuffy nose and beginning of a cough said otherwise..I decided  walk a wide berth around our elderly Aunt and Uncle, being careful not to touch anything they used, keeping a distance away, and coughing into my elbow…We didn’t stay very long because I had a Doc appt. in St. Charles to see my plastic surgeon, A.K.A., Dr. Magic…That went well,…but I DID  notice he immediately used hand sanitizer after shaking MINE…smart man.

Thursday, Den and I woke up at 5AM, ready to roll ..OK, I was marginally ready…HMMMM..OK, maybe you ARE getting sick..spit, spit, hack, hack….and why won’t these chills go away?? McGyver put the 80 gallons of water on board and we pulled out of the drive at 6:30AM, Donna, you just needed to get “on the road”..?? (Still delusional)…

Our goal was to make Nashville Thursday late afternoon and Wally dock on the North side of the city..We made it with no problem ( me slamming Coldease and clutching a box of Kleenex along the way)…Getting out of the Hiker at the Wally parking lot, I just happened to notice a low rear left tire on the rig…VERY low…NO, REALLY???? THESE ARE BRAND F’ing NEW TIRES!!!!  DENNNNIIIIIIIIS!!!!!  Den took one look and said, “I guess it’s good we are at WalMart. I’ll just pull the Hiker to the tire area, they can take the tire off and take a look, and I’ll meet you inside…by the cold remedies”Confused smile…whatever!

Long story longer, I loaded up on Nyquil, Daycare, and more Kleenex, then went to find McGyver…He was looking very disgusted, and I just got in on the conversation with the tire guy..Turns out they didn’t have a jack big enough to jack up our Hiker and get the tire off…SAY WHAT????..(and, just for the record, Mr. Tire Guy needed some extensive dental work and a little “jacking up” himself. ) Mr.Tire guy suggested a Camping Center a few miles away…We got back in the  Hiker and drove through Nashville rush hour traffic, narrowly avoiding many fender dings..By now, McGyver’s face was beet red and his knuckles pure white..…Bottom line?…No, they couldn’t fix our tire…That Camping Center didn’t DO tires…(or windows)Disappointed smile

  If you are still awake, I will continue, if you aren’t, I will continue…

We finally decided to just go back to the Wally parking lot.  Dennis took our tire off with OUR jack, and rolled/walked it up to the Wally tire center so they could look at it…I sat inside the camper, finally admitting that I definitely WAS sick…and definitely running a fever…I put some soup on the stove, pulled out the bedroom slide and sat on the bedroom step bundled up in 3 coats, leaning my head against the wall…fighting the tears…We’ve all been there…I was defeated…..

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We didn’t pull out the other 2 slides, according to Wally-docking ettiquette (or so we had read online.  We are, after all, Wally-docking virgins)…I lit the candles, not for atmosphere, but because Den said to keep the lights to a minimum, so we didn’t lose our batteries…This was NOT the ambience I had planned on for this trip.. Dennis came back later, saying they had fixed the valve stem, aired the tire up, and didn’t charge us a dime!!..He put the tire back on and came inside.  We ate, jammed up against the wall at our table..I threw the dishes in the sink and we crawled into bed at 9PM…AND, …WE WILL NEVER WALLY DOCK AGAIN!! WE ARE NOT THAT IN NEED OF PUNISHMENT!

OK, if you made it to this point of my blog, you must have napped somewhere along the way..I totally understand…Sooo, we left Nashville and headed for South Georgia…I was now fully admitting I was pretty sick…and Dennis was now held hostage inside the cab (albeit extended) of the GMC with a sneezing, snotting, wet mess of a wife, now sounding like she was going to cough up a lung…Happy Trails, RoySad smile.. To cap it all off, when we pulled in here, our tire was low again…AHA!!! THAT’S WHY THEY DIDN’T CHARGE US..THEY DIDN’T DO ANYTHING!!Steaming mad…Dennis aired it up with our little compressor, and that will have to be addressed later…Just get me a bed.

So, enough of the sob story…We are now camped, until this Friday, at a lovely little campgrounds called Cotton Hill, now serving as our sick bay and “chill out” spot…It is on Walter F. George Lake, 17 miles South of Eufaula, Alabama…It is a great Army Corps spot for $12 a night, with full hook ups and a laundry..I did manage a short walk around and there are lots of campers here. We are right on a little bay…

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Named for one of the principal towns of the Lower Creek Indians, Eufaula was settled on the site of Creek villages at a time when the land was still claimed by the Creek Nation.  By the time of the Civil War, Eufaula was a prosperous river port on the Chattahoochee River and a commerical center for much of the surrounding area. Many of its elegant antebellum homes still stand today, saved from destruction when Union troops halted just west of town after receiving a truce request from Major General Samuel Jones who had just learned that the war was ending. Today the city and surrounding area are home to more than 20 structures and districts that are listed on the National Register of Historic Sites. Some of the old homes in Eufaula are considered the finest examples of their architectural styles in the United States.” You knew I had to throw in some history, at least.

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  Yesterday, moi and the now also ailing McGyver ,(it was the closed cab ride here, I just know it), took a ride into Eufaula to the Wally…We needed to replenish the Nyquil, DayCare, Musinex and Ibuprofen…Oh, and I really made a great discovery..KLEENEX, EXTRA SOFT WITH VICKS BAKED INTO IT!!! I was like a kid in a candy store when finding this, and was temped to buy them out, but Dennis convinced me 2 boxes should suffice..(key word here is should.)

Well, that should just about do it for my Happy Medical New Year…This trip hasn’t yet lived up to it’s full potential,.. such as sandy beaches, 70 degree temps and cocktails with umbrellas in them by the campfire…If Dennis and I ever are released from “sick bay”, we shall REALLY  appreciate good health in 2013..As for New Year’s Eve tonight??? I see a light dinner, followed by some heavy shots of Nyquil, followed by an early bedtime, snuggled up with my new best friend, Vicks dosed Kleenex…Green with envy…HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL !!!!!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Whirlwind of Caves, Wolffs and Heisers..

First of all, the new header photo was taken in August 2005, and that is at Ortona South Army Corp campground near LaBelle FL…We will be staying there Jan 5th for 2 weeks…That was a very nice park , and it books up 6 months ahead in the Winter months…I got lucky and got a spot only 3 minutes after it was legal to book one…Seems like lots of Army Corp campgrounds only allow you to book 6 months in advance…kinda dumb, I think..but I’m sure they don’t give a hoot what I think!

I am going to make this blog mostly photos in a few collages…It is 5:15 PM on Sunday night, and the only family here now are McGyver and I…The Wolffs were the last to leave, and they pulled out toward Zionsville, IN this morning about 9:45…That was precisely when I began janitor, laundry and mopping duty…I also took down all of our Xmas d├ęcor, as we are hopefully pulling the Hiker outta here on the 28th…Tomorrow we will have some adult beverages with some more of Den’s family in the afternoon, followed by a stop at his brother-in-law’s in the evening. 

Xmas we are going to be at the Heiser’s by 7:30AM…bringing Casey’s donuts…to watch Taylor, Peyton and Cam open Santa’s bounty…Wednesday, we go up to Uncle Jr. and Jeanettes to help them get some groceries, and I have a 3:30PM Doc appt. in St. Charles…THEN, we will pull the Hiker up on the drive to finish loading and hopefully be on the road Thursday AM about daybreak…I have no idea how or when we will get the Hiker all packed..Disappointed smile

  OK, here goes…


The party started Friday evening at The Olde Tyme Inn..Taylor babysat so Den and I could accompany our kids and spouses “out on the town” for a few beers and wines…As you can see, we had a great time!!




Left, is John Wolff, decapitating a bottle of champagne for mimosas on Saturday morning.  Look carefully at the knife in his hand on the upper left hand corner…He got the champagne VERY cold, then use the knife to cut off the end, cork and all…As you can see, it worked…The food being cooked was venison steak, and our son Kelly got his deer this season…so we scored some great venison..He marinated it, then wrapped it in bacon and pepperoncini pepper…put it on his George Foreman in the tailgate of the old blue truck, and we were in Venison Heaven…(so was the deerSarcastic smile)







Above is just some of the great fun times we  had…and opening gifts in our living room by the fire….




The collage on the right was later in the evening Saturday..That crazy looking thing in the left middle pic is a remote control helicopter that Chris got as a White Elephant gift from Cindy…and her husband immediately took over playing with it in our kitchen…If  you look closely at the upper left pic, it looks like Cindy is wearing it in her hair….and she almost WAS!! John had it hovering everywhere…Oh yeah, I might take a moment to mention that Dennis asked Cindy where the helicopter came from..Turns out it came from the Rural King just a couple miles from here…Needless to say, McGyer, former pilot of a Cessna , now has his very own remote helicopter to play with on our trip..I wondered where he went this morning…obviously, to Rural KingWinking smile!!


So, that pretty much somes up our Christmas Cave-A-Palooza for the year of 2012….I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday like we just did…Food, family, fun and FABULOUS times!!! One more thing…if you haven’t seen the Xmas movie “Christmas With The Kranks”, go get it and watch it…Based on a book called “Skipping Christmas” by John Grisham, it has now become one of the new classics…at least at our house!!

“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?” 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                ~Dr.Seuss, The Grinch That Stole Christmas

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Few Pictures That Didn’t Stay in Vegas…

  Our kids posted a few fun pictures they took in Las Vegas last week…



Tim and Terrie had a romantic dinner in “Paris” the night before they left….



The above pics were taken from the Eifel Tower…That hotel/casino was not there the last time Den and I were there…Actually,the last time we were there we ended up staying with our Cougar in Sam’s Town..NEVER AGAIN!!. They had razor wire on top the concrete fence…to keep the bad guys out…The day we got there we were told by our camping neighbor that there were gunshots the night before….No wonder he had 2 Doberman Pincers camping with him… We stayed one night and got the Hell out of Dodge Vegas!!

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Terrie, the night of her birthday…That would be her brother, Kelly, running from her in the background…Surprised smile


….Isn’t it nice they could spend some calm, quiet,  and reflective time, relaxing and breathing in the lovely desert air…Disappointed smile!!

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….I cannot understand where they get this craziness that they are so aptly displaying…GOSH DANG, I LOVE OUR FAMILY!!

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It took me a few minutes to understand why they are all dressed in hospital gowns….Then I read the name read the sign…”Welcome to the Heart Attack Grill…Food Worth Dying For”..One of Tim’s detective friends and his wife went along too…

It’s sooo nice to see al 3 siblings and their respective spouses spending quality time together…Be forewarned…We are all getting together again this weekend to have our Cave Family Christmas, here at the ‘ol homestead…Dennis and I are still hoping to leave for Florida sometime after the 27th of December, weather permitting..We have reservations for January 5th at the Army Corps Ortona South Campground for 2 weeks…I have the rest of the trip planned, but I’m scared to put anything more down..afraid it will  bring bad luck if I actually put the whole trip plans on my blog…My luck, the whole thing will fall apart…Crying face!!

Before we can go anywhere, we had to take the GMC to the diesel doctor…It seems we need new fuel injectors, to the tune of about $3000….YIKES! This could be beans and weenies for the first part of the trip South…On a more positive note, the fuel prices are heading least for now…I have been hauling some stuff out to the Hiker…but McGyver won’t let me take any canned goods or things that could freeze just yet…

The weather guy is predicting some snow and 40 mph winds for here for Thursday…Chris, John and the Wolff Cubs are coming in Friday night, so I sure hope it won’t prevent them from arriving…Hey, those darn weather guys almost NEVER hit the target, right????? Thanks to all for reading this drivel…Hope you enjoyed the pictures of our kids in Vegas..These are the only ones they published for us to see..I have a feeling there are more, but don’t want to askEmbarrassed smile

“Las Vegas is perhaps the most color-blind, class-free place in America. As long as your cash or credit line holds out, no one gives a damn about your race, gender, national origin, sexual orientation, address, family lineage, voter registration or even your criminal arrest record. Money is the great leveler.”

                                                                                ~Marc Cooper

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Playing “Mrs. Doubtfire”…I DO have her weird sense of humor!

  After having the Heiser grandkids here at our house over the last weekend, I moved in at their house Sunday for 3 nights, 4 days…until Ter and Tim came back from their trip to Vegas…So far, the Las Vegas PD hasn’t called for some bail money so that it  a good sign…Terrie’s kids pretty much watch themselves…I am only there to make sure that there is one adult in the house who can drive, cook, and make executive decisions..Wait a minute..I may have used the term “adult” a bit loosely.  I am probably the farthest grandparent from an adult…My role model is Mrs. Doubtfire…especially when she vacuums to the rock tune “Dude Looks Like A Lady”..I DO, however, have the REAL body suit that matches hers…

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I think I climbed those steps 1000 times…..All the bedrooms are upstairs, and I had their master suite all to myself..At least I did until Bogie decided to find her way to the bedroom. Bogie is their deaf rescue dog, who thinks she makes the house payments at 185 Cobbler Court…

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…..I rest my case…HEY!!! THAT IS MY CHAIR AND PILLOW ON THE RIGHT….DOWN, BOGIE!! ….NOW!!! (It’s almost impossible to discipline a deaf dog…especially when she give me the following look….Annoyed

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The oldest 2 kids are in middle school and ride the bus..I have to say that these two kids are amazing…They have to walk 2 blocks to the bus stop, leaving the house at 6:40AM…They set their own alarms, get up, dressed, get their own breakfast and out the door…Actually, the first alarm to go off is Taylor’s…and that starts at 5:15AM..I know this because I can hear it too, so I roll out about 5:30.….Peyton’s goes off a little later (12 year old boys are notorious for NOT being as “high maintenance as 14 year old girls.) .Once the 5:15 buzzer starts, I think Tay hits the snooze button 3 times, and actually rises about 5:35AM…Peyton’s alarm sings for another 25 minutes, and he finally makes it up by 6AM…(Sometimes Taylor  has to roust him, but he always manages to make it)…Campbell, the youngest, rides a different bus to the elementary school..He needs to be awakened no later than 7:15AM,and this is where I felt somewhat needed..I got him up, got breakfast and we bonded over The Disney Channel until 8:03AM..This is when I walk him to the school bus stop, which is visible from their front door…WHEW!..

Once the kids were all on the bus, (Peyton’s job was to feed Bogie and take her out to potty), I was free to come back to Sandwich (a 20 minute drive). Rest assured that Bogie happily slept in every available couch and chair in the house while no one was homeWinking smile..…

At our house, I did some cleaning, some laundry, dinked around, made the kids some food and was back at the Heiser homestead by 3PM, when Taylor and Peyton got off the school bus…and Campbell got off about 4PM…How does Terrie EVER remember these schedules????

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Wednesday was my last official full day of acting the “nanny” role and resuming my Granny one…Is it just me, or do the words Nanny and Granny come from the same nurturing vocabulary??

Terrie and Tim’s flight was due in Wednesday, late afternoon.. I was at the Heisers when the kids got off the school bus Wednesday.  I had made spaghetti and fried chicken for a dinner that night,knowing that Tim and Ter would be  hungry, and they could all eat together…Terrie called about 4:30PM and said they were driving home from Midway Airport and about 1 hour from home, so I left the kids in Tay’s hands and began the traffic rush hour drive back to our house..Taylor, being 14 going on 30 and a very busy neighborhood babysitter, qualifies to watch her younger siblings for the hour…I piled all my stuff into the GMC and headed home about sunset..

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This is a large farm owned by the Rosenwinkle family and I drive by it on my way home..The Rosenwinkles own many farms out our way…They use to own much of the property in Chicago that O’Hare Airport is now occupying..hence the MANY farms…They aways have their silos at this particular one decorated with red and green Xmas lights this time of year…I took this photo “on the fly”while driving, which is probably NOT a good idea, but you can see the colored lights waaay at the tops ….

Terrie called me about an hour later, after they got home, telling me how much they appreciated my “nannyism”, and officially promoted me back to Grama…I had a great time with the kids,and they definitely helped me stay young while I was there….And now, I am back home, and Den and I spent today helping Uncle Jr. get some groceries..…Right now, I am done blogging…and it is very nearly cocktail hour.   I will most definitely find a glass of wine with my name on it…Martini glassRolling on the floor laughing…Thanks for checking in!!!!!