Friday, August 27, 2021

Busy August


My lovely sister Gio.

August is nearing its end and you know what that means? Pumpkin spice season! 

August has been a very busy month for us. We decided to take a break from the outdoor projects and started to get some work done on the inside of the cabin. First order of business was to get the cedar boards up on the ceiling in the living room.

Lisa is getting pretty good with the nail gun. She no longer screams when it goes off.

Working on that high ceiling is always a challenge but we got that done. Lisa then started staining like a mad woman. Once she had enough boards stained, I started to hang them up on the kitchen wall. She went with a different color for contrast and it really turned out great.

We were on a roll and things were moving along well so we continued around the south wall.

Also the area above the cabinets needed to get done. That was not fun working over those cabinets.

That was about 2 weeks worth of work. Out of the blue we got a call from our asphalt company saying they were in the area and were going to do our driveway. Yay! We have been waiting all summer for them to get to us and this was going to be our last big project.



I think it looks great and we got more than we had planned, but that is a long story that I beg you never to ask Lisa about. For everybody's sanity, please don't ask her. Don't!...... Zip it!.......... Zip! We needed a break so we loaded up the camper and headed out for some laughs and debauchery. Once back home we decided to start some more outside projects because August was nearing its end.

We have a fire ring out back and wanted to improve it a little.

We haven't planted grass back there yet so I took my tractor and leveled the area better.

It's taking shape.

Finally the finished product. Not bad for a couple of amature landscapers. Ironically though Minnesota is in a burning ban statewide so we can't enjoy it yet. Once that was done it was time to get ready for some VIP's.

First up on the visitor list was my sister and her husband. Jeff has never been to our super secret undisclosed location ever. But once the background checks were completed, the non-disclosure documents signed along with covid paperwork, quarantine requirements met, he was allowed to enter the property. Which was great because it was a lot of fun. Maybe they could even help us hang up our new microwave?

Many alcoholic beverages were consumed, even against the surgeon general's warning. We went for an ATV ride around our property to show them the land.

When we were out on the ATV's, something caught Jeff's eye in the woods. He saw a Chicken in the Woods mushroom. So we went back to harvest that for them.

Here is Jeff killing a poor innocent tree fungus.

Once they surgically removed it from the tree we brought it back and soaked it in vinegar to kill all of the bugs that lived in it. Gross! Once soaked, they diced them up and marinated them in garlic, olive oil and teriyaki sauce and then thrown on the grill.

Then they attacked them like a Husky eating ham. (Inside joke). They said it tasted like chicken.

I did not eat any for fear of my life. I am extremely allergic to mushrooms and any other form of tree fungus. One bite would kill me. I'm also a firm believer that not everything was meant to be eaten. Like mushrooms, cow tongue and pigs feet. Just a few examples.

After that, Jeff wanted to play some bug zapper tennis. I think it was the mushrooms talking but I went along with it. We were both quite good. He said he was like Billy Jean King. Whoever he is?

I have to admit that he kind of looks like Billy Jean King in a way. The competition heated up and both of us were in rare form.

It was a fun 2 days, but like they say, "all good things must come to an end". They left bright and early the next morning vowing to do it again. We then had to get ready for our next VIP's coming in the next day. I had to go close the gate and put out the signs.

That's right folks! Jim and Barb were on their way. We got a message from them that they were going to stop by on their way north. Then it dawned on me. He said that he put a GPS tracker on our rig. Never had I thought that that was part of his diabolical plan to find our super secret undisclosed location. 

They arrived on Tuesday afternoon and were just going to stay overnight. It was really quite the low key kind of affair. We didn't do much but hang out and visit. They inspected our work on the cabin. There were no words muttered like "Let me help you with building something." or "Let's hang your microwave while I am here." Nothing. True to their words, they left early the next morning.

Before they left though, they had a Lisa sandwich for the road.

Friends like them are hard to find. We are truly blessed to have them in our lives, especially since we never asked. They have left a lasting impression on our hearts. Much like the lasting impression their truck has left in our BRAND NEW ASPHALT! I noticed that when they visit us it is for hours, while when we visit them it is for days. Things that make you go hmmm?

For those of you who may still be wondering, yes, we did get our microwave hung up, Lisa and I.

September is right around the corner now. Still lots to do and fun to be had. So tune in again for the next installment.



Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Visiting an Undisclosed Location

 Notice that I didn't say a "super secret undisclosed location"? That's because these particular owners blab about it to everyone. I am just surprised that they were able to keep their pie holes shut while we were there. But the minute we left their driveway they plastered it all over the internet. Let's just call them Jethro Buckhumper and Bambi Poledancer. I may have mentioned them before in a blog but I don't remember. But if you have read their blog I think that Jethro may have mixed up some of the facts. So I would like to set the record straight.

For weeks we would get messages and texts from Jethro and Bambi saying things like this. "Please come for a visit! We are so bored and you two are the most spectacular people we know and we need a piece of that!" Every day we would get messages, sometimes 2 or 3 times a day. Then one day they sent a message saying that they swallowed the Kool-aid and got the "VAX" and were having some side effects from it. A little worried we agreed to visit them out of the kindness of our hearts.

We loaded up the fifthwheel and made our way to their undisclosed location. Jethro said that the vax had affected him so I went in first to check on them and this is what I found.

He asked me if I thought anyone would notice? I said "No, hell I don't see a difference at all". Then Bambi walked into the room.
Again I said "I don't see a difference at all". In fact I thought she never looked better.

But all kidding aside, we had a great visit. Now that we are safely ensconced in our super secret undisclosed location again I can share all of the details of the trip. We arrived Tuesday afternoon. There was even a sign to welcome us. 

I am not sure what the hole meant but was willing to find out. That was just one of the weird things that happened that week. Another was that Jim said that I should sit outside their bedroom window. I said "what?' Sure enough, I went around the house and there was a chair there for me.

I thought the vax was really playing with their minds because I am not that kind of guy. We enjoyed Barb's tacos for dinner. Shrimp tacos so we felt special. The next day was filled with fun and frivolity. It started with us building Crepes.
This was my first attempt. Not bad.
My second one got a little more creative.

They were very good but I thought they were blintzes. I have never had one before because I always thought that my man card would get revoked but Jim assured me I was okay. We then went out and picked flowers.

This is turning into one of our strangest visits. He wanted to hold hands and skip through the forest but that is where I had to draw the line.

Now anyone who has been invited to their undisclosed location knows that he only invites people with marketable skills to help him build his house. Lucky for me, I have no marketable skills. At least that he knows about. But that didn't stop him from getting work out of me the entire week we were there.
Here I am helping him fix his Ranger.

Here I am helping Jim work on his porch.

Here I am helping him load the skidsteer for a job.

Here I am about to help install trusses on a persons shop that I don't even know.

Here I am helping Jim at someone else's house doing something or other.

Here I am helping Jim clear some trees.

If you want a relaxing vacation, go to Cancun or anywhere else for that matter. Maybe that is his plan for keeping us away. In between all of the work, we did get out and do some fun things. One day we drove through Custer and Hill City to look at all of the people clad in leather. Unknowingly to us though, we became part of the "Super Spreader" event. Oh well.

One day we were going to get into the Jeep when Lisa saw a big snake crawling up the windshield.

We yelled for Jim since it was his Jeep. I was cowering in the corner with Lisa and Barb. I think I even wet my pants a little. But Jim was our hero. He said it wasn't a rattlesnake but a 5 foot bull snake. Whatever it was it wasn't happy. It was hissing and lunging at us anyways. Jim was so cool and calm. He grabbed a stick to try and get it off of the Jeep. Here's a short video of him being a superstar. Turn up the volume.

We had a little archery challenge. I saw a tree stump out in the middle of their meadow. Jim got his range finder out and determined it to be about 240 yards. So we used my bow and we each had two shots to see who could get closer. After our shots we went to look for the arrows.

Just as we found the arrows Jim yells "BEAR!" So I turn around to look behind me expecting to see a grizzly or something. He chuckles and says "Ooops. It was just a chipmunk. Hey I found my arrow!" Right where he was standing. Imagine that. Mine is in the foreground of the picture. He won the five dollar bet and he gets bragging rights.

We skeedaddled out of there on Sunday with what was left of our dignity. It is always a fun time when we get together. It's too bad they didn't offer up their spare bedroom and save us $500 in fuel money. It was worth it though. Maybe we will get to do it again in the near future.


Sunday, August 1, 2021

Mayo Update


I don't always use Mayo.......but when I do, you know it's serious. Now picture the guy in the beer meme saying it.
Jokes are not that funny when you have to explain them. Sheeesh.

So the time has finally arrived. It was time for my Mayo Clinic appointment in Rochester, Minnesota. As we were driving the 4 and a half hours to get to Rochester, we were thinking we were lucky to have possibly the best hospital in the world so close to us. There are people that have to fly in here from around the country and also from around the world to get here. We went the day before so that we could easily find where we needed to go. If you have not been here, this place is huge. Covering many city blocks. I told Lisa that this is like Disneyland for sick people. Lisa laughed and spilled her wine.

Now before I go on, I want to put out a disclaimer. (Funny how we have to do that in the world today.) Some things I may say are from my observations and experience at the Mayo clinic and are not said to be mean or anything else. I can't believe I have to have a lawyer to express my opinion.

Well anyways, we got there the day before and found out where we needed to go and park. So thankful that we took the Jeep and not our 1 ton Dodge dually down there. We would not have even fit in the parking garage. 

We then located our hotel for the night. When the ad says that it is in the Mayo clinic area, that is code meaning it is in Rochester only. There are many hotels within walking distance of the clinic as we saw them when we drove through there. Once checked in it was time for dinner. I looked for restaurants on Tripadvisor. The place I picked was called Canadian Honkers Restaurant and Bar. Number three on their list of the best restaurants. I was kind of in the mood for Canadian cuisine since we haven't had Canadian food since our Alaska trip. We are so international.

This restaurant is very near the Mayo Clinic. So as we are sitting there watching people coming and going, I make this observation to Lisa. I said to her "There are so many old people here, and now we are one of  them". She belly laughed and spilled her wine. Actually she kicked me under the table and then gave me "The look" and then spilled her wine.

The next day was the big day. I felt like Dorothy going to meet the mighty powerful Oz. My appointment was in the Gonda building on the 15th floor. Coming from a place where a 3 story building is considered a skyscraper, this was amazing. It was like an airport. People rushing everywhere, gift shops, coffee shops and people rushing everywhere. Did I mention that there were people rushing everywhere? The people at the information counter pointed us in the right direction to our bank of elevators.

Once on the 15th floor we checked in with the receptionist for my xrays. This is one well run operation here. This area of the 15th floor deals with nothing but hands. Again, amazing. I heard my name called and was escorted to an xray room. Five pictures later I was back waiting for the hand specialist to see us now. Lisa and I were both a little nervous. This is the big leagues now. We didn't have to wait long.

We were escorted back again to a room by a nurse who was very nice. She went through our information and asked us lots of questions. She took measurements and ran some tests. She spent at least a half hour with us. Once she was satisfied with the tests she went to get the doctor. Dr. Shinn came in. Very friendly and right to the point. He looked at my hand and finger. He wanted to do an ultrasound on my hand so we went into another room. Lisa didn't come with. He found the nerve he was interested in and traced it up and down my hand but everytime he got to the middle of my palm he lost it. He said there was too much scar tissue to see it.

We went back to the other exam room and Lisa asked how it went. I said "It's a boy!" Dr. Shinn laughed, the nurse laughed and Lisa laughed and then spilled her wine. I think Dr. Shinn had an idea of what the problem might be but he didn't say anything. He did say that this perplexed him and he wanted to dig deeper into my problem. He ordered another EEG nerve test for my arm. Also he wanted an MRI done on my hand, forearm and elbow. 

I felt that he was very interested in my problem and quite willing to get to the bottom of it. I sure hope that he can. Lisa looked up his bio and he is a doctor and a scientist. He wants to figure it out one way or the other.

So I go back in September for more tests and also to see the doctor. Things are looking up.