Friday, July 2, 2021

Bye bye Wolf ...

 ... eventually anyway I hope. 

Back in the spring of 2016, Geoff and I took the plunge and got a motor home which we named Timmberwolf. I blame my oldest son for our decision!

Mark lives in Arizona and we talked often about his coming to visit but as a business owner he just never seemed to be able to break free and my physical handicaps made it difficult if not impossible for me to make the trip.

The principle issue was I need to be able to get to a bathroom when the urge strikes. You really can not do that out on the road or flying but then we had the brilliant realization that I could in an RV.

From 2016 through 2019 we made about a dozen trips, some short and some extensive. I blogged about them here on this Timmberwolf blog here at blogspot although I often got way behind on the posting. We have been a lot of places, seen a lot of things, (got a bunch of souvenirs) and spent time with various parts of the family all of which would not have been possible without Timmberwolf.

Then came last year and Covid-19. We weren't frightened by it but at our age and with some additional medical issues it was at least concerning. I was at greater risk than Geoffrey so he undertook all the outside errands and such and I pretty much stayed home. We had hoped to make a couple of shorter trips in 2020 but Covid said NO! so we scrapped those plans.

By 2021 it was clear I wasn't going to be able to make any more trips in the RV. For those who wonder, I didn't get much worse except in the predictability department. There are many weeks I can look back at and see I could have traveled but the problem is I only know with hindsight. Anyway, at this point it was clear we should just get rid of Timmberwolf. The debt on it was still high enough we would end up paying some in addition to what we could get for it but there was also the ongoing added expenses of keeping it somewhere and insurance coverage.

So, end of April we took all personal stuff out of Timmberwolf and took the plunge, taking Wolf to Campers Inn for an estimate etc. It was worth less than we had hoped but just getting out from under it all would still be worth it. For the balance that would be due on the loan we needed to refinance the house so on the 3rd of May we contacted our mortgage holder, Wells Fargo, and started the process.

Two months later we still sit here waiting on Wells Fargo who told us yesterday (July 1st) it would be at least two more weeks because of subcontractor backlogs. All the required paperwork has been submitted (some of it more than once) so I am not sure what we are waiting on but two months is ridiculous. 

Wow! News! Geoff just came into my hideaway here and showed me a copy of an email he just got from the closing company ... July 13th! Hopefully this will work out and won't get mangled because we have had to make another payment on the RV loan and on the house loan. Cross your fingers for us everybody!

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Nurture vs Nature

... or something like that is the phrase in which people debate whether we are who we are because of what we inherit in our blood or due to how we are raised. I think most people either lean towards nurture or favor it exclusively. My self I don't know and can't decide which but researching my natural line vs the adopted one certainly gives nature more strength than ever.

I need to back up a little to explain that. Back around 1972 or 1973, my grandfather sent me (and both of my sisters) a copy of his family tree that his father had worked on, mostly in the earlier years of the 20th century. There were some gaps and unfinished sections and I innocently started trying to fill it all in and thus began a decades long obsession with genealogy some of which I blogged about for a while at genmusings.

The tree was the lines for Arthur S. Adams, possibly begun when he was born in 1896. The photo above was taken about 1950 in Durham New Hampshire. Left to right. Arthur S Adams, my father, Dorothy Anderson Adams, my great-uncle George Stanton Adams, Grace Newhall Adams and Charles Stanton Adams (Arthur's parents) in the back row and the three little girls are my sister Carol on the left, myself in the middle, and my sister Dory on the right. 

I soon added work on my grandmother Dorothy Frances Anderson's lines and when opportunity arose worked on my mother's lines: grandmother Lois Dorothy Kellogg (shown to the right as a bride) and grandfather Edward Howard Hutchison Roth. Lois and EHHR married in 1930, had three children, and divorced in 1929. Lois got custody of the younger two: my mother and her baby brother Howard Kellogg Roth, known to me as my Uncle Kell. EHHR got custody of the oldest child, Edward aka my Uncle Ted.

There were errors I ended up correcting in a little of the tree I'd been sent and much learned about both sides of the family but through it all I wondered ... my father was adopted by Arthur and Dorothy, something we had always known ... actually pretty much grown up with. What might I find there? Off and on over the years I tried breaking through the adoption wall but my father died in 1974 and without him to give permission possibilities to find out more about his adoption were closed.

Then in 2013 into early 2014 I broke through that wall! At some point rules had changed or regulations had eased. I'm not sure what changed but I was finally allowed access to his original birth certificate which revealed his name at birth, Claude Dewey Crippen Jr, and the names of his birth parents: Claude Dewey Crippen (left) and Wilma Haggerty (right). Additional research indicates Claude Dewey never knew he had a son. 

Wilma had been married once and had a daughter, Lee from that marriage and later, after my father's birth, had another daughter, Christie. Both of these daughters had children and Wilma's mother Edith although she divorced Edward Haggerty in 1903 after only two years of marriage, married again in 1913 to Claude's much older brother Samuel. Samuel's granddaughter has written a book about him and his family with Edith: Sam's Own Words.

 My entire life I felt as though I didn't quite fit. This didn't change as I learned about the Adams/Anderson and the Kellogg/Roth lines. My sisters both seemed to fit, I felt out on my own by myself. How much was just imagination and such from a young girl and how much reality I have no idea, nothing was overt and I think it was unintentional. But then I researched my father's natural family and it was like I came home!

In  case you are wondering, dna results confirmed the parentage. The only possible doubt is if the father was one of Claude Sr's brothers, both older than he was but they are unlikely possibilities. A more subjective confirmation is comparing the photos of Claude and of my father shown with me at the left. The photo of Claude is from about 1945 when he would have been in his late forties. The photo of me and my dad is from about 1950 when he would have been about 27 so allow for the age difference. What is fascinating here is that both Claude and my father were marines in World War II, Claude served as a guard at the Naval prison in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, while my dad was in the Pacific.

There are multiple parallels in their lives and in mine for which there is neither the space here nor the possibility of upsetting some current family members but these things also confirm the relationships. There is some more about it in a much earlier blog, Family Matters, which tells some of the search and the results when I met some cousins on these lines with whom I immediately felt like I belonged, a feeling missing from much of my life.

They do say that the oldest child takes after the father's side, the second child after the mother's side and the third child after both. Whether this is generally true or not I have no clue but I have to admit that it seems quite correct with myself and my sisters!

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

To build or unbuild?

That is the question or something along those lines. In the last blog I mentioned that end of 2019 I fell down the rabbit hole of LEGO sets. At the time I had just sent off some sets to my grandson Luca and to Geoff's nephew's kids, Annabelle & Asher. Some how at that point I got started on doing them myself. Not sure how I did that but it turned out to be a very good thing.

We had started planning some short RV trips and other activities when like the rest of you, Covid-19 came along and changed all that. Geoff and I are both in the vulnerable group by age and both of us have Type 2 diabetes. I am older than him by five years and additionally have some COPD issues thanks to over 40 years of smoking. Before any of you get all alarmed over that, I quit smoking around 20 years ago and what issues I have are usually minimal. Basically if I get anything respiratory, I have a hard time getting rid of it and usually need medication and time to do so. You can see how Covid-19 could be a big problem for me.

Based on all that and other factors, I pretty much stayed home and over the last almost year and a half I have been out in the world maybe a dozen times plus a few more times where I just went for a ride and never got out of the car. Geoffrey has done the shopping and medical stuff was taken care of through tele-med visits or just plain canceled. I did go out the two times to get vaccinated but since there is no compelling reason to run around, I pretty much stay home.

I am by nature some what of a homebody and read a lot. I also for many years, over 50, did a lot of genealogy research. I've pretty much run through all the research I can do so that didn't use up any of the time now on my hands. Luckily I had become an AFOL, Adult Fan of Lego, and that helped fill my time. 

At first I had thoughts of designing my own builds once I had a lot of bricks but I soon found my brain just doesn't work that way. I love building the sets and do some minor adapting of builds and build small stuff ... very small stuff sometimes. I do like coming up with stories for my builds and the minifigures.

We have only a small amount of display space so I soon had to unbuild ... deconstruct ... some of my builds to make room for others. Which keeps me even busier and out of trouble.

Almost immediately after I finished the blog I posted last week, FedEx showed up with my current LEGO order, shown at left, a minifigure from the current set and two small sets, #40516 Everyone Is Awesome and #76386 Polyjuice Potion Mistake, a Harry Potter set.

Every Year, LEGO puts out a collectible set of minifigures as well as some superhero and Looney Tunes sets. To bump the order up a little to make the free shipping threshold I included one minifigure from the current series #21

These figures are random and from the packaging one never knows what you'll get. This time around I got Airplane Girl which comes with a choice of either hair as shown or a flying helmet with goggles as can be seen on her left.

The first one I got from this series (12 in the series) was the BeeKeeper guy. I now have five different minifigures but of the seven remaining there is only one I really want and that is the Castaway guy. I guess people hoping for the ones they want is what keeps people buying them!

The Harry Potter set is a small one and is one of the ones that comes with an opening method I do NOT like although I have to admit it works better than many similar. 

You have to push down on the semi-circle and then pry open the rest of that end of the box to get the set open. Most sets have small bits of tape instead that are easy to cut open. I much prefer those.

The sets generally come with numbered bags of pieces. As this is a small set, there are only two and the piece with stickers is small, with three mirror stickers. 

 In the upper right of the image to the right is the tool without which unbuilds would be much more difficult and I think my finger nails would go out on strike. When I first started out, I had small sets which do not come with that tool and I got some pretty ragged fingernails but then, in a bigger set, I got one of these tools of which I now have quite a collection!

The other set in this order, #40516 Everyone is Awesome, was the main reason for the order. It was created (as most of you will guess) in honor of LGBTQ month. Many of the torsos, heads and hair are in new colors here. The set was designed as shown and that is how I have done it at first but many people out there have posed there minifigures differently and have them walking around or sitting or whatever. I am contemplating how I want mine to be but for now they remain as designed.

I will try not to bore you all with LEGO stuff, there are naturally other things in life! But I will pop up with stuff here and there. Until next time ... stay safe.

Wednesday, June 9, 2021

That's What I Get ...

... for not blogging for months and months! There have been a lot of changes here at Blogger.Com so please excuse any screw-ups first one being trying to get this stupid image to look alright.

The image is from "Notifications" and tells me that the Follow By Email is going away ... as of last July, almost a year ago! So for now I guess I will just let people know by broadcast email of my own just in case any of you want to still follow me not that there were very many at the beginning. 

Way back in March of 2019 on "Evolution & Ascent" I said I was changing this blog and actually did for a while but my last blog was in December of 2019 Bats in the Belfry about the cat that got in our attic and none since then! As usual I meant well but life got in the way. I wrote a few blogs in my head while doing other things but none that ever came close to getting typed in. I not gonna promise because that almost guarantees it won't happen but I am going to try to post once a week.

Sooo ... back in 2018 at the end of tax season (mid-April) I bid goodbye to H&R Block and retired for lots of good reasons including getting old! The only time I regret it is when I wish I had that extra income I had back then! Between arthritis and other things which there is no need to dwell on, it has become harder to travel at all and last year with Covid-19 issues took the last of that away. 

We have taken no more trips and finally decided there was simply no reason to keep Timmberwolf the RV so six weeks ago we finally started the process of selling it which include needing to refinance the house in order to pay the part of the loan that selling it won't cover ... six weeks later we are still waiting for Wells Fargo to finalize that eventually we will have the RV loan payment and the storage place and extra insurance fees all gone. It was worth having and we saw a lot of great places and got to see and spend time with family that we would otherwise not be able to.

Covid-19 changed things for a lot of people, for many it was more than it did for us. I stayed home a lot anyway but now even more so canceling or doing from home by computer doctor's appointments and Geoffrey took over all the errand running so only one of us was exposed. He took what precautions made sense and to a large degree we are still doing all this even though we have both been vaccinated.

Back in late November of 2019 I got started building LEGO sets ... got started when I gave some to my grandson and to Geoff's nephews kids and it has kept me busy and mostly out of trouble ever since. So I am what is known as an AFOL - Adult Fan of Lego - or as Geoff sometimes terms it, a Legomaniac! One of the things we were going to do in 2020 was go to a LEGO convention in Tennessee. All those sort of events were north of here so it was gonna be part of a trip in Timmberwolf but Covid-19 killed that idea both our possible trip plans and the conventions all ended up canceled!

.BUT ... guess what? A couple of weeks ago the local news mentioned that for the first time ever Jacksonville would be having a LEGO convention ... October 2nd and 3rd. I immediately got tickets! You can be sure I will include LEGO building in future blogs and yes, I have been watching LegoMasters on TV and did last year. Some of the builds they do are fantastic. I pretty much just build the sets as they come maybe making some changes, they do great stuff from scratch!

Not much in the way of pictures this time around but I'll do better in the future. There will of course be more LEGO in the future as well as our other adventures. Roomba is still Roomba-ing, no more cats have crept into the attic. and the hat collection still grows just much more slowly. Anything any of you want to hear more about, just let me know ... or ask questions or something.

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Bats in the Belfry ... Cats in the Attic

Life never stays boring around here!  A few weeks ago I started hearing noise in the ceiling ... movement type noises! At first I though it might be something on the roof or even from next door as sound can do strange things.

After hearing it a few more times, I asked Geoffrey to listen for it and we soon found if we made any noise in the bedroom, there would be NO noise up there. So ... logic dictated that we apparently had something alive up in the ceiling space, I dread to call it an attic as my concept of attics is old fashioned and you can get in them easily and walk around. Here it is the space between the ceilings and the roof.

After a few days to develop certainty, we decided we better find someone who knows about wildlife where it shouldn't be. Geoff and I are too old and handicapped and chubby to get up there and look ourselves! We soon had Jason of TruTech Wildlife Removal coming out to check on our noises. A large outfit with a local office.

Jason has lots of experience with raccoons and squirrels and other sorts of mammalian intruders but what he found was new to him: kittens! Three of them to be exact, tucked away in the edges of the bedroom ceiling crawl space. We pretty much knew right away who had deposited them there as a black calico female frequents our backyard and when last seen had obviously recently had kittens.

The picture to the left is not her but looks a lot like her.

We were immediately relieved that it was not one or more squirrels. Some of them live in the trees in our backyard but I really did not want them in my attic! Jason tried to catch the kittens but was afraid of hurting them and had trouble trying to get to them.

He finally decided to try warning them off and put male raccoon scent up in the attic space.It took a few days to be sure but the mommy cat apparently took her babies elsewhere. Whether it was the general disturbance of being discovered or the raccoon scent we don't know but a couple of days later, all was quiet up there.

Jason and his assistant returned and disinfected etc the attic area and then cemented shut all the entry points so we can relax about the possibility of squirrels.

Don't know where the mommy cat took her babies and have yet to find out which house she really lives at but we don't think she is a feral cat.

Roomba bits and pieces and other stuff

To start with, I must say that getting Geoff the Roomba was a brilliant idea. Once things settled down a little and they got used to each other, my floors get cleaned on a regular basis. One does end up talking to it like to a small child, one cannot help it and sometimes I have to laugh when I hear Geoff talking to it in another room.

Geoff insists it follows him around and when it is scheduled to do the living room and our offices he brings it in here to spend time with mommy because it tends to stay in his office and not even come in here. We have even been reduced to shutting the office door and trapping it in here so it will clean my office!

Overheard the other day, Geoff, in the bedroom, says “I know, you need to go home and get charged.” and gently picks it up and carries it to its charger/home. It does needs to work on finding the way home.

Things have been relatively quiet recently. I did manage to burn my wrist on the oven rack. I forget what I was cooking, one of those things that insists on being turned over halfway through I think. The burn was worse than usual so I figured I better see if we had any burn ointment around to put on it.

Poking through the first aid collection in the bathroom I came across some packets of Burn Free, a burn gel we had had in the RV. They had spent a couple of years in there and suffered through the kind of heat we get in there when its parked so instead of a gel it was a liquid! But, it was all we seemed to have so I dribbled it over the burn.

Instant relief! In spite of having overheated while sitting for ages in the RV, this stuff worked! I'm not one to particularly brag on a product but this one I figured I should share about. Most household burns are so minimal a few minutes in cold water or such works fine but sometimes you need more and this stuff is it! The next day I ordered more of it to keep in our various first aid kits!

My entire life I have had black thumbs not green ones ... probably all of my fingers as well. I have tried more gardens than any reasonable person would attempt and had little to no luck. The large fern we had in front of the house even died, following into death the azaleas that had flanked it. The azaleas down around the mailbox do just fine so I figure there is a radius to me black death thumb.

Recently I spotted the cutest little air plant and holder at our local grocery store from LiveTrendsDesign. I couldn't resist and told myself that maybe an air plant would be an exception and actually survive. One year my sister sent me a Christmas Cactus and it lived for a few months even so maybe ...

It was not to be. Air plants must be stubborn tough little things because it held out for weeks and weeks and then whoops ... it looked sort of gray and well, dead. I looked online and tried soaking it and a couple of other suggestions with no luck.

On another front, as Geoff puts it, the snowbirds have arrived, in this case he refers to the Canadian Geese. In face, our pond behind the house seems to have exploded with flocks of egrets and cranes of various colors, geese and who knows what else. I can tell which ones are geese but after that, Florida has a gazillion different water wading birds! The pond over near Publix used to draw most of them to its east bank where they would bask in the afternoon sun but construction has disturbed that landing spot so they seem to have taken to our ponds instead.

And just in case anyone is wondering how my hat collection is doing (probably not), there are around 70 to 80 of them hanging out in my closet. Shortly before our last trip I ordered an NCIS hat since I am a fan of the show.

After we got back I sent for a Black Rifle Coffee Company hat choosing this one since I had none in the light blue and I find I tend to wear them more often with the mesh back, a bit cooler in Florida than the solid hats.

Why Black Rifle Coffee Company? BRCC first off is very supportive of veterans and first responders and actually not only hires returning veterans but is veteran owned and operated. Their coffee is excellent and only the fact that I am a tea drinker keeps me from buying their coffee. Most of all, their attitude and Youtube videos are a riot. I don't use the coffee but I can support them by buying other stuff there.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

HIdden Inside ... Part 2

This one is going to be mostly pictures. I carted the geode stuff out to the garage as the first thing most of the instructions I read tell you is do it somewhere you don't care if it gets damaged like Geoff's tool bench out in the garage. He's already got cardboard on top of it (an unfolded cardboard box) and I added a small cutting board lest you think I don't care if we damage his tool bench! (By the way, the cutting board ended up splitting in two then three pieces!)

On go the goggles and now the search for a chisel which Geoff thought he had a good one but all we can find is a tiny one ... oh well, one works with whatcha got.

We start with the original geode I got back at Wall Drug and Geoffrey snaps on his gloves ... his gloves? Definitely he and I have different ways of doing things. I tend to plunge right in more careless of self I guess. Whereas he dons all the protective gear he might possibly be in need of.

Okay, now we're ready. The original geode is on the cutting board and the tiny chisel aimed at what looks like a weak spot and part of a possible crack. Tap ... tap ... tap ... wait a minute I think we need a Wham! more than a tap. I wish I could just snatch up the hammer and give the stupid geode a whack but old age and arthritis have combined to weaken my right hand and wrist to where they are really useless for this kind of thing.

It's cracking! He did it! It falls in pieces - two main pieces, one little one and a bunch of shreds.

That geode had a nice thin outer shell and was not too much trouble to crack open. We now started on the others with less luck getting two more opened of the twelve we have. One of these had babies inside ... okay, what would you call it? It opened to a nice lining of quartz but also had a number of small round crystals, loose and unattached.

The other was a small one that came apart into three pieces.

Of course, a good workman blames his tools (that's not how it goes?) and off Geoff goes to the nearby Ace Hardware to get a better chisel.

We got two more opened both with difficulty but they finally yielded to the new chisel. The two more to try I had chosen because they were different colors on the outside. They weren't as light as the earlier ones but didn't seem quite as solid as the rest of the unopened.

The original geode is in front, a pale one on the right and reddish on the left

The two above shown with the original both were more nodules than hollow. A 'nodule' is a geode that is filled inside without the open areas common to geodes. The grayish one is what I personally call stupid looking but it is interesting in that although mostly filled with the clear quartz common to many geodes, there is a small area in the middle that has not yet filled in leaving a small hole more easily seen on the half on the right side of the photo below.

The reddish stone on the left in the picture of three turned out to be a full fledged nodule with rock filling most of the cavity and an interesting arc of quartz curving around like a comet with a tail. This one I think I will have polished when I can find someone who does that kind of thing.

So here I sit at my rocky desk with six opened geodes and five or six unopened ones still out in the garage. Not sure how long they will stay unopened, they are of various sizes and all are rather heavy so are probably filled on the inside,  a couple of them are quite small.

I have reassured Geoffrey that I have no interest in becoming a rock hound or whatever the term is for a geode chaser. It has been truly interesting following this trail and looking inside some rocks but enough is enough and except for getting that one rock (well, the two halves) polished, they'll become part of my shelves and gather dust with the rest of my treasures.