Yes, we’ve been home for quite a while, but we’re still busy as can be. When we got home, Helen was pleased that all her plants had made it through the winter without losing any to frost. Her elation was short lived!
This is what we found March 4th. 25 degrees Fahrenheit! We had a few days that were even colder and many of the plants that looked so green on our return just wilted and died from the frost. Apparently we should have stayed in Mexico an other Month. It wouldn’t have helped the plants, but we would have felt better. It is now May 3rd, and we have yet to use air conditioning as opposed to past years when we would already be on the A/C 5 weeks or more.
I shouldn’t complain, but I REALLY don’t like cold weather at all. However, I was able to get a lot of hard work done while the days were cool. That’s COOL, I can work outside when it’s cool, but I didn’t do anything on the really cold days. I did change the oil on the motorhome and the two cars, as well as the transmission fluid in the Jeep. I repaired the exhaust leak and that was no picnic. Working from under the bed, I was so far down in the engine compartment, head first, that I thought Helen might have to call the Fire Department to get my carcass out. I got out OK, and I’m glad to have that done.
On the way home, our rear slide kept inching out and we had to stop numerous times to move it back in. The underside of the motorhome was covered with the fluid used in the leveling and slide units and I had to add about a gallon to the reservoir. After cleaning the underside with engine degreaser and allowing it to dry, I had Helen operate the slide a number of times with me watching from below. I could not see a thing and reluctantly turned the job over to “Save-a-Buck”, an RV repair a few miles away. There was a cracked hose and a broken fitting. A new hose was fabricated locally, but the broken fitting could only come from HWH and it was $120.00. I’m done with the motorhome for now, thankfully.Off to Brooksville in Helen’s Lincoln and I noticed that the steering was loose. When we got back I jacked up the front end and found that both ball joints on the driver’s side were badly worn. Another job comes to the head of the work list. Since I have replaced ball joints a number of times over the years, I chose to do the job myself. The job has changed! In the past, the ball joint was held on with three bolts, and you can get them off any way you want as new ones come with the joints. Not with the Lincoln. The ball joints are PRESSED in. I bought the joints at Autozone and they loan out tools to make most jobs easier. The tool from Autozone only made the job possible, and just barely so. I got them in and had the front aligned and now the Lincoln rides straight and true.
During all this time, Helen has been working outside almost non-stop. Unlike trees in the north, ours do not lose their leaves in the Fall, but in the Spring. The trees are never really bare, but old leaves fall as the new ones grow out. Therefore, the leaves fall for weeks…….and weeks.
This is a picture of Helen sitting in her new hammock with a book in one hand and a drink waiting. Oh, if it were only true! She found a place for her hammock and wanted me to see how it would be. I put it up, grabbed some props, and had Helen pose. A moment later she was back working on the landscaping. As I look out the computer room window, Helen is STILL in the midst of planting and raking and trimming.
During this same period of time,our dogs were not forgotten. I worked at getting the pool uncovered and the pump working. We let them in the water from time to time, but they make their own opportunities, too. Busy working on something around the back, I inadvertently left the three doors to the cabana open. Coco has enough oomph to chase down any crack in whatever blocks her from the pool. This time it was the maze of doors, another time I was caught off guard as I opened the door from the family room and another time, our son, Scott, opened the door a crack. Coco throws herself through with such abandon that there is just no way to stop her. They do enjoy the pool though, so it’s worth it.Jodie above and Sandy below, Coco on the bottom.
During this time we also celebrated Easter with a traditional Easter Dinner at “Peppermint Patty’s Restaurant”. Well, maybe it really wasn’t “traditional”. We found that a new restaurant had opened up on the east side of the county and specialized in seafood, northern and southern. The owner/cook is from Massachusetts and they have real whole clams, fried and steamed. On Easter, they had a special “clam boil” that included steamers with Portuguese sausage, onion, and potatoes. We’re used to steamers alone or with lobster and ears of corn, so Helen and I went with clams and scallops. Our friends Lynn and Jim Eckhardt tried the boil and I know they were not pleased. Steamers are something you grow up with and Lynn and Jim had not. It was messy and not to appetizing for them, though Lynn tried a fried clam and said it was good. Our other friend, Barbara, chose something normal as well.
After dinner, we all returned to our house where Helen had prepared a nice Easter table for desserts.
Left to right is Helen, our older son P.T. (Paul Jr.), Then Sara Anne Smith-Merritt, and Barbara Kennedy. Helen had enough pastry for about 40 people, but leave the macaroons for me!
Left to right again, it’s Barbara, Jim, and Lynn.
Now it’s back to the old grind and I’m working to repair the damage to the Jeep that occurred in Mexico. I have a plan and I’m seeing a welder tomorrow, so that will be done in a few days.
There has been a lot more going on, a new roof on the house, new computers, new TV, more miscellaneous stuff too numerous to mention. Now, we hope to chill out for a short spell.