Daily Archives: September 28, 2023

It’s That Time Again . . .

As was thoroughly covered in yesterday’s and today’s Retro-Blogs™, today, September 28th, is our 56th Anniversary, so I won’t repeat the same stories in the old blog posts.

We usually keep our gifts simple, so this year I got her this pillow which pretty much covers our relationship.

She can always use another pillow, right?

It seems the 2nd time’s the charm.

I had a noon appointment at the DPS today, and this time I was in and out in about 20 minutes clutching a piece of paper that says that I’m now an official Texas resident once again. And now Jan has her appointment next Thursday, and I don’t expect her to have any problems either.

One thing I found funny was that for approximately the next two weeks my license is a sheet of 8-1/2 x 11 printer paper. But back when we became South Dakota residents back in 2008 we got our licenses in Sturgis, SD, and we timed our visit for the one weekend a month the traveling driver’s license ladies were in town.

They had six large cases that, when they were opened and set up in the Sturgis convention center, let us walk out with our laminated licenses in hand, not a sheet of paper.

Come on, Texas. Catch up!

For our Anniversary dinner, we were on our way down to the Saltgrass Steakhouse a little before 4pm. I won’t repeat the photos of our steaks, salads, and desserts, since they’re thoroughly covered in yesterday’s and today’s past blogs.

I’ll just post this one of my beautiful Sweetie and her favorite Amaretto Splash Sangria, which we split. Note the two straws.

Love you more and more every year!

Thought For The Day:

The good news is I’m pretty much who I say I am. The bad news is I’m pretty much who I say I am.

And Now On To Today’s Retro-Blogs.™

September 28, 2008

Photos From Our Time In Chicken, Alaska in 2008.

September 28, 2009

Rally ’round the…RV?

First off, I want to wish my beautiful bride Jan,  a Happy 42th Anniversary!

Sweetie, You’ve made it all worthwhile.

Although today was the official start of the Rally, nothing really happened until about 3 pm with the Welcome Meeting, since RVs were still arriving in the morning.

So about 11 am we headed out to a Chinese Buffet we had been told about, China Wok Buffet.  And we weren’t steered wrong.  It was very, very good. Probably in the top 5 of all the ones we’ve eaten at.  We’ll go back.

About 2pm we went over to the Vendor area to look over what they had for sale.

We bought a couple of Rally T-shirts and Jan got 3 more magnetic bracelets. She’s had really good results with the one she got on the ferry to Newfoundland, and wanted to get some more…in different colors.

At 3pm the rally got off to a start with the introduction of the vendors and the seminar instructors. We then had a panel discussion where anyone could ask a question, and hopefully get an answer from one of the experts.

At about 5:30 pm we broke for dinner. Since it was our anniversary Jan and I decided to go to a nice place called Pullman Bay.  Very good food, and even better pumpkin pie for dessert.

At 7 pm we had a door prize drawing session, with about 30 prizes. No luck for us, yet.

We broke for the night about 7:45.

Tomorrow, it starts with coffee and donuts from 7:30 am til 9. Then the first seminar starts.

September 28, 2010

Happy Anniversary to my Sweetie,

My Beautiful Wife of 43 years!

Jan in the Snow

We did the San Antonio – Alamo thing today. We got up at 5:30 am and it’s been a long day. And I’m too tired to post anything else today. So…

September 28, 2011

Happy Anniversary to my Beautiful Bride!

First thing this morning I want to wish my beautiful bride a happy 44th Wedding Anniversary!

I love you, sweetie!


Jan with our daughter Brandi at Gulf Shores, AL in 1975.


Here she is making new friends in Puerto Vallarta in 1997.

Jan in the Snow

And this is in Billings, MT in 2008, still as beautiful as the day I married her.

This morning started with coffee, lots and lots of coffee. Anything to wake up. 7:30 is just too early for any sane person to awaken.

Of course then, some might ask why it’s a problem for me?

Jan and I headed down to the Vendor building about 8:30 to check out the doughnut selection and then Jan headed off to her 9am seminar while I went back to the rig to finish stapling the handouts for my seminar at 1:30.

About noon I picked up Jan from her second class and then rather than going back to the rig, we decided that the cold, rainy weather called for more Chicken Tortilla Soup so it was off to La Carreta again.

Getting back to the fairgrounds a little after 1pm, we got set up for my seminar on the “Do’s and Don’ts of Computer Security”, We ended up with 35 people in the class and once again had a lot of good questions, and hopefully some good answers. At least everyone seemed to be happy with the class..

After resting up and talking with our daughter Brandi, we headed back down to the meeting room for Pizza Night.

September 28, 2012

How Far We’ve Come . . .

This is what Amazon’s home page looked like the first day it went online in July 1996.

How things have changed.


For our anniversary I got Jan a Medi-Rub 2000 Foot Massager. I know it’s not the most romantic thing, but it’s what she wanted, so it’s what she got.

Medi-Rub Foot Massager

And she seemed really happy to get it and started using it immediately. And that’s what counts.

After coffee and muffins in the morning, Jan and I pretty much just goofed off all day, and that was really nice. It was overcast, just perfect for doing nothing. I had some projects I had planned to do around the rig, but those seemed to fade as the day went on.

And we did nothing until about 5pm when we headed out with Stu & Donna McNicol for dinner at Fuddrucker’s. And as usual when RV’ers get together, we spent more time talking than eating. I realize that might be hard to believe after looking at me, but it’s true.

Finally leaving Fuddrucker’s , our next stop on the way back to the park was the Mazzoli Ice Cream shop. Jan had seen the place as we were coming into town on Tuesday, and it caught her eye because it was advertising Pumpkin Custard.

And Jan loves anything pumpkin.

But tonight was her first chance to try some, because the place is only open Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Everyone really liked their homemade ice cream, and as it turns out, there’s a good reason for that.

Fred Mazzoli, the original owner, was Milton Hershey’s head dairy chef for almost 20 years, and developed many of Hershey’s famous products. And it looks like that goodness carries on today. Hopefully we’ll get to go back before we leave the area.

Luckily for us, tomorrow looks to be another do-nothing day. Maybe I’ll actually get some of those projects.

But probably not.

September 28, 2013

To My Sweetie . . .

Happy Anniversary!

Today, Saturday, is our 46th wedding anniversary. And we plan on having a lot more of them, too. We are really enjoying the RV lifestyle and plan on keeping on keeping on as long as we can.

We’ve got a replacement gate guard coming in for the day on Monday. She’ll work the gate from 1pm to 11pm while Jan and I spend the day in San Antonio, movie, dinner, shopping, etc. Jan’s really looking forward to it since this will be her first time leaving the gate since we got here five weeks ago.

We’ll probably do it again around the end of October for Jan’s birthday. At that point we’ll only have about 3 weeks left until we head back to Houston on the 24th of November so that will probably be it.

Luckily for us there are people here who do nothing but replacement gate guarding. And they stay pretty booked up. In fact we were originally planning to take off today, our actual anniversary date, but couldn’t find a guard with an opening. They not only have to be licensed, but they also have to be licensed with Gate Guard Services, also. So it does narrow the field a bit.

Today was our slowest day so far. We only had 46 vehicles through the gate. Supposedly they have finished the “coiled tubing” phase, and won’t start the next phase, “flow back” until Monday. And even that probably won’t be that busy.

“Flow back” is where they actually start to put the well into production, i.e. starting to get crude oil out of the well.

We ended up having a good bit of rain this evening. A squall line moved through about 8:30 and drenched things pretty good. And there’s a 30% chance for more tomorrow. Oh boy!

Yesterday when I got groceries at the Wal-Mart in Pleasanton, I also picked up a 12’ x 20’ tarp to close in the back of our canopy once the temperatures start to drop. We have a couple of electric heaters that we’ll use out here and the tarp will help keep the wind out and the heat in.

I hope.

September 28, 2014

Rudy, Rudy, Rudy’s . . .

412 DayTime

First off, Jan and I want to thank everyone for the many warm anniversary wishes. It means a lot that we’ve made so many friends along the way these last 7 years on the road. Thanks.

Following yesterday’s surprise visit, Brandi, Lowell, and Landon showed up about 11:45, bringing POUNDS of Rudy’s BBQ for our anniversary lunch.

Moist Brisket for Brandi, Lowell, and me, Lean Brisket for Jan (or as I like to call it, Dry and Chewy) and Hot Jalapeno Sausage for Lowell and me.

And of course you can’t have Rudy’s BBQ, without Rudy’s BBQ accessories, like Creamed Corn, Boiled New Potatoes, and BBQ Beans. All delicious as usual. And we’ve got so much left over that we can probably eat for another week or so on it.

You can never have too much Rudy’s.

After we got all our hugs in, the kids packed up and left around 1:30. It was really great of them to surprise us like this yesterday and today, and hopefully they’ll be able to come up again before we leave.

Landon and Lowell at rig

The other surprise Brandi left us with is that she told the gate guards up the road that it was our anniversary, and then they started telling the guys coming through their gate on to our gate. So all afternoon I had guys pulling up to our gate and wishing us a Happy Anniversary.


And I guess everyone also wanted to give us the day off for it too. Or at least give us a really slow day. In fact our slowest day so far

Only 43 vehicles came in today, a new record for us here. Very nice.

Of course there’s probably fracking in our future, so that count could jump 8 or 10 times. But maybe not. At least for us.

One of the Company Men said they usually don’t frack when they’ve got active drill rigs nearby. So one of our rigs is right next to the frack wells, with still another well to drill after they slide, and the rig in front of us is less than 1/2 a mile from the frack site with only 1 out of 3 holes completed. And then two more rigs another 1/4 mile up the road.

So I guess it’s possible that they won’t frack here until after we leave toward the end of November. And then again we might not be here anyway.

Jan said the Company Man also asked if we were planning to move with the rig. My thought was, well, we haven’t been asked yet.

We did that in 2012, following a Marathon/H&P rig around for 4 months, and it wasn’t bad. Especially since we got off for two or three days whenever the rig moved.

But we’ve got a really nice location here, and the next location may not be as nice. So we’ll have to wait and see.

At least until we’ve been asked.

September 28, 2015

Oh, the Humanity . . .

First off, I want to thank everyone for the many Happy Anniversary wishes. They are much appreciated.

Well, according to the many photos I saw around the net, there was a spectacular ‘blood moon’ last night, but I’ll have to take their word for it. We didn’t see it here, in fact it was so overcast that we didn’t even see the moon at all. Bummer.

Of course we’ve been fooled before, but it looks like Fall has crept back in and Summer has slunk away . . . again. Our temps are back in the low to mid 80’s with nights in the mid 60’s, although we do have some 50’s coming up it looks like.

We did have a forecast of Scattered Thunderstorms for today and tomorrow. But today pretty much fizzled out with only a few drops here and there, and just a lot of dark clouds. So we’ll see how tomorrow goes. It would be nice for another light rain to settle the dust again, though.

I’m not sure if my WordPress blog thinks that I’m no longer human, or that I’ve been replaced by a cyborg, or maybe it just wants to be sure that I can do 2nd grade math. Of course with drones delivering packages, self-driving cars, and who knows what else, anything is possible, I guess.

But a couple of days ago, when I logged into the blog so that I could upload a new post, after I entered my email and password, I got this:

Prove Your Humanity:  7 + 9 =

and then a box to enter the answer.

I guess this is supposed to be like one of the irritating CAPTCHA things used to defeat robot scripts,


and it’s probably easier since I’m better at adding two single-digit numbers together than figuring out what some of those twisted letters really are. It seems like I never get one right on the first try.

But maybe this will cut down on all the Failed Login Attempts I get from Russia and Eastern Europe. We’ll see.

A lot of you have purchased my favorite new flashlight,

Flashlight 900 lumens

KJL Cree LED 900 lumens Flashlight

and it seems like everyone is as enamored as I am. One person even bought ten. (Thanks, Marty). It’s really amazing how much light this thing puts out. The other night it was really humid with a lot of fog in the air, and I was able to make a solid white beam up in the sky. Hey, my own Bat Signal!

Wrapping up with a Landon sighting, he and his parents went to see Hotel Transylvania 2 this weekend.

Landon at Transylvania 2

Looks like he’s all ready with his kid’s snack box (popcorn, candy, and a drink) and his 3D glasses.

September 28, 2016

Freedom . . .

Happy Anniversary

First off, Happy 49th Anniversary to my Sweetie. It’s hard to believe that 49 years ago I got you to say “I do”. And even then it seems like only yesterday when I first met you.

And it’s been a wild ride ever since. And I love you more every day.

Jan and I really appreciate all the comments, both here on the blog and on Facebook also, about her kidney stone problem and our gate loss. We’re going to get back to the Lake Conroe Thousand Trails tomorrow and rest up a few days before we seriously start looking for another gate.

In our first morning of freedom off the gate, I slept in until about 11:30, and I did need it. I was completely wiped after we got to Bryan around 7pm, too tired to even think about going out for dinner, or even eating anything at all. All I did was get a hot shower and went to bed and immediately fell asleep.

I did wait up until about 11pm which would have been the normal time I would have relieved Jan on the gate, but what I did was write and post the blog. Back to bed, I now had trouble sleeping, since this would have now been my awake time on the gate. Hopefully I’ll get back on a fairly standard sleep schedule soon. At least until we get another gate.

About 2pm I walked across the road to the park office to settle up for our 2nd day at Timber Ridge RV Park. This is a very nice park, and at $50 a night it should be. But it was the 4th park I called, and the only one that had a vacancy.

The first thing I noticed after we got parked and I hooked up electric and water. Here’s a photo of what I saw.

Timber Ridge RV Park 1

See what’s wrong. There are only two vehicles in sight in the entire park. Since Texas A&M is just up the road, Jan figured they might be rental units for people in town for the games. When I asked the guy in the office about it, it turned out that Jan was almost right.

They’re not rental units, but they are here for the A & M games. People bring their RV here and park them for the duration of the football season, so they have a place to stay and party. We drove around and saw everything from a small camper to an Airstream to a vintage American Tradition.

One thing nice about this part is the really large spaces, large enough to actually park two RV’s side by side, but the space is only for one RV

Timber Ridge RV Park 2

Really nice.

In addition they have an excellent free Wi-Fi system that covers the entire 90 space park. Speedtest.net shows a 26ms ping with 12Mbps down and 3 up. Not too shabby. And they also have a free DirecTV Cable TV hookup right at your pedestal with 32 channels. Also neat.

Tomorrow we’ll make the 70 mile trip over to Lake Conroe for a couple of weeks, or until we get another gate, whichever comes first.

Jan and I headed out about 2:30 with our first stop at Great Clips to get a haircut, my first in about 6 weeks, so well needed. I had called ahead to try and get an appointment for 3pm so we wouldn’t have to wait all afternoon to get taken care of.

But as it turns out, they do not take appointments. You download their app and then you use it to ‘Check In’ at the location of your choice. Kind of like doing the Call Ahead Seating at many restaurants, you don’t have a specific time, but as soon as you get there, you’re the next in line.

And it worked just that way. In just a couple of minutes I was in the chair and the clippers were buzzing. Neat!

Next up was a quick stop at Sam’s Club for Joint Juice for Jan and Lipton’s Diet Green Tea for me. Then it was on down Hwy 6 to have our Anniversary Dinner at Saltgrass Steakhouse, the same place we ate at when we first got here back in August. And it was just as good this time.

We started out with an Anniversary Amaretto Splash Sangria, which we shared. Needless to say, Jan and I aren’t big drinkers, maybe only once or twice a year.

We started out with salads, and I went for my usual Wedge Salad.

Saltgrass Wedge Salad

With a wedge of lettuce topped with homemade ranch & balsamic dressings with bacon, tomato & crumbled bleu cheese, it’s really good. And after Jan had a taste she said she’s getting one next time.

Jan got her usual 12oz Top Sirloin.

Saltgrass Jan'sTop Sirloin

She likes it between Medium and Medium-Well, and always cuts it open to see if it’s right when they bring it to the table. Else she sends it back.

I repeated our previous visit with a Medium-Rare 16 oz Pat’s Ribeye along with really good Sweet Potato Fries.

Saltgrass Ribeye 2

They really know how I like my steak here. It’s Medium-Rare on the inside, with crispy charred edges on the outside. Just perfect.

And of course the big pat of garlic butter makes it even better.

And with these big steaks we had plenty to take home for tomorrow.

Our next, and last stop before heading home, was at the Kroger’s, for our favorite coffees, and also for Jan’s Anniversary Gift.

Now most people know that the 1st anniversary gift is Paper, and the 25th is Sliver. And while the 50th Anniversary is Gold, most people don’t know that the 49th Anniversary is Small Appliances, especially Electric Can Openers.

Proctor Silex Can Opener

Hey, it’s what she really wanted, and I aim to please.

Coming home, she said she was giddy and couldn’t wait to try it out.

Personally, I blame the morphine.

September 28, 2017

Thanks To Everyone . . .

First off Jan and I want to thank everyone for all the congratulations and best wishes. We really appreciate the many kind thoughts.

Now to answer some questions:

First off, just to clarify, even though last night’s blog was dated September 27th, our anniversary is today, the 28th. That way everyone would see it on our anniversary.

Next, we have no pictures of our wedding. When I say it was a small wedding, I mean really small. There was the minister, the minster’s wife as the witness as well as the organist. Now Jan thinks there was another couple there, our next-door neighbors, but I don’t remember that.

But whatever, there was no one to take pictures. Remember this was 1967 when no one was carrying a cell phone camera. In that time period, it would probably been a Kodak Instamatic anyway. But we didn’t even own one of those.

Someone commented that she had seen other couples who were celebrating their 50th, and they “all looked so stiff, angry, sad, old and miserable.”

And we didn’t look that way.

This evening at the Longhorn Steakhouse when our server seemed surprised that we had been married for 50 years, I told her that we were married in Alabama and that they marry young there. And that I was 15 and Jan was 14 when we got hitched.

I let her stand there with her mouth open for about 10 seconds before I told her that actually I was 18 and Jan was 19 at the time.

She’s 345 days older than me. I was born on October 5th and she was born on October 25th, but a year earlier. So we’re now coming up on that sweet spot where every year for 20 days we’re the same age.

Another question was whether or not Jan and my mother ever got along. The answer is a resounding NO!

Over the 40 years (my mother died in 2007) the best they were ever able to do is probably best described as ‘respectful disdain”, light on the ‘respectful’ and heavy on the ‘disdain’

That;’s why I said in yesterday’s blog that Jan was determined that the marriage would last at least 5 years, because my mother said it would never last. And I think my mother believed that until the day she died.

Jan and I headed out for the Longhorn Steakhouse down in The Woodlands about 3:45. About 5 miles before we got there it started raining a little, and then a lot. But by the time we pulled into the parking lot, it had slacked off to just about nothing, Even so I tried to let Jan out at the door, but she said it wasn’t raining so she was OK.

Boy, did she regret that.

I  parked about 50 feet away, and just as we got out of the truck, the bottom dropped out, like someone had just dumped a water bucket on us. And by time we traversed the 50 feet to the front door, we were soaked. But our server quickly brought us towels to dry off with.

We each started off with a Black and Blue Margarita, made with Blackberry Tequila, Blueberry Liqueur, and Triple Sec, along with fresh Blackberries and Blueberries.

Longhorn Steaks Jan Black and Blue

Very tasty and it really warmed us up.

After our salads, Jan got the 8oz. Flo’s Filet, and a Baked Potato.

Longhorn Steak Jan Flo's Filet

She said it was so tender she could have cut it with her fork.

I bumped up my selection from the 12oz Ribeye to the 18oz Bone-in Outlaw Ribeye, as well as my favorite Grilled Mexican Corn.

Longhorn Steak Outlaw Ribeye

Our steaks were just delicious. In fact we’ve never gotten a bad steak from either Longhorn or Saltgrass. They’re definitely both a cut above Texas Roadhouse where the quality can vary a lot.

Even though both of us had leftover steak, we decided to split a dessert, the Apple Goldrush, with Blue Bell Natural Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, and topped with Bullet Bourbon Caramel Sauce.

Longhorn Steak Apple Dessert

Also really good, and so big we had leftover dessert too.

Longhorn Steak Jan and I

Tomorrow we getting together again with Debi and Ed Hurlburt to check out the All You Can Eat Catfish at the Paradise Grill over in Coldspring. Really looking forward to it.

Wrapping up, several people want to know where I got Jan’s thermal Cat Mug.

Cat Mug 2

You can get it here.


September 28, 2018

The Story Behind The Story . . .

Many of you have seen the photo below of Jan and me on a Roller Coaster at Tampa’s Busch Gardens back in 2009. But for many of you, this will be your first time to hear the story behind the story.

It’s a Small World After All . . .

(Insert annoying theme song here.)

About noon Jan and I headed over to Huntsville for some lunch at Rosie’s Mexican Cantina. We had first eaten here several years ago, and we always make sure to go back when we’re in the area. It’s that good.

After lunch we made a quick stop at Sam’s Club for kitty litter and vitamins, and then it was back to Athens, where we found a note on the door telling us to come over to my Uncle Ed’s for dessert about 5:30.

We ended up going over earlier so I could see my cousin Anna Jean, who had dropped by for a few minutes.

And now back to the small world.

Our regular blog readers may remember the story of this picture. It was taken at Busch Gardens in Tampa FL when we visited there in April of 2009. Jan and I were riding the ‘baby’ roller coaster in the kiddie area. Jan still swears it wasn’t the ‘baby’ coaster, but Busch Gardens disagrees and says it is, but it’s now called the Sand Serpent.

To quote:

Travel to Timbuktu and you’ll find young kids’ favorite ride in the park, Sand Serpent, formerly Cheetah Chase.

This fun-filled family coaster zips, zooms and climbs five stories into the air before bringing riders back down in a roar of laughter.

As you can see one of us is having a good time, and one of us, not so much.

Anyway, when I first posted it here on our blog in 2009 it was apparently picked up by a reader and posted here on Awkward Family Photos.

Thanks a lot!


A few months later, we got an email from some friends back in Houston who told us our photo had gone viral. They said their son was in class the last day of school, and to kill time the teacher had brought in his laptop and was showing the kids some of the photos on AFP.

Finally the teacher said “And this last one is my favorite”. Our photo popped up and the class roared.  Then after a few moments, our friend’s son pointed at the screen and said “Hey, I know those people.” And the class really broke up.

But wait, there’s more.

In November of 2009 we were back here in Athens on our way back to Texas, and visiting relatives. Coincidently, my cousin Glee and her husband were up here visiting from Florida. Now, I hadn’t seen Glee since I was about 13, and I had never met her husband before, so we had a good time catching up on things.

Sitting around talking, it turned out that Glee and her husband lived in Tampa. So I then related the story and showed them the photo on my phone. I also mentioned that I had wanted to ride SheiKra, the big vertical dive coaster, and had convinced Jan to do it with me by not telling her that it was 200 feet high, and that at the end of the ride, it drops you straight down from that 200 feet at 70 mph.


Well, my devious plan was working until we took the train ride around the park right before riding the coaster. As we pulled into the station nearby, the conductor who had been narrating our trip, said he had ridden SheiKra once, and he never would again. He said it scared him to death, and he almost wet his pants. Well, of course, that ended any chance of getting Jan on the ride.


As I’m relating this story, Glee’s husband looked over and said, “At the end of the ride, did the conductor say, “If you enjoyed your train trip today, my name is Dave. Otherwise it’s Mary””.

I said, “As a matter of fact, he did.”  And then Glee’s husband, Dave said, “That was me!”

You can start humming the ‘Small World’ theme here, because there’s still more to come.

On our visit here this time, my cousin Jimmy who is visiting from Fort Myers with his wife Beth, and who I also don’t think I’ve seen since we were kids, mentioned he was a Chiropractor there.

I then said that one of my clients, Dr. Heimlich, that I do the computer and website support for in Houston, was a Chiropractor.

Jimmy then said, “Well I went to chiropractic school with a Myron Heimlich in Texas.”

OMG! Segue the Small World theme into the Twilight Zone theme.

I don’t know what it is about coming back to Athens, but strange things happen here.

Tomorrow Jan and I are having lunch with two of my second cousins, Anna Jean and Marjorie. We got to see Anna Jean for a while this afternoon, but with both of them together, it should be a hoot.

And for another coincidence, Yes,  my Dr. Heimlich’s uncle is the famous Maneuver guy.

September 28, 2019

The Big Five Two . . .

Yay Us!

Fifty two years ago today Jan and I stood in front of the minister in a small chapel on the Northington Campus of the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, AL and said our ‘I do’s’. The only other person involved was the minister’s wife who played the organ.

And it’s been a wild ride ever since.

Love You, Sweetie!

About 2pm Jan and I drove over to my employer’s office manager’s house to take a look at a computer problem she was having. She had moved her computer to another room and couldn’t get back online.

Turns out that the problem was that the outlet she was connecting her cable modem to was dead. It worked about six months ago, so no idea what happened.

Jan came along to see Jennifer’s kittens, the two that she found behind the office when they were about three weeks old. She ended up hand-feeding them every couple of hours for several weeks until they could eat on their own.

Jennifer's Cats

I told Jan that I would be searching her thoroughly when we left to be sure she wasn’t trying to smuggle one home.

Jan and I had decided to have our anniversary dinner at our fav Saltgrass Steakhouse, the one over on the Kemah Boardwalk this time. We knew it would be busy on a Saturday night, so we called ahead and got a reservation for a window table at 6pm.

Saltgrass Kemah View 1

As far as our dinner, we went with our usual favorites, our Wedge Salads,

Saltgrass Kemah Wedge Salad 2

Jan’s Filet with Green Beans,

Saltgrass Kemah Jan's Filet

my Ribeye, large enough to have some to take home.

Saltgrass Kemah Pat's Ribeye

After a great meal, we walked around the Boardwalk,

Kemah Broadwalk Fountain

and sat on the water just enjoying the view.

The rides were very busy with long lines at all of them. Typical Saturday night there.

Kemah Broadwalk Rides

A great time.

Saltgrass Kemah 52nd Anniversary Greg and Jan

So now we’re working on the next 52!

September 28, 2020

53 And Counting . . .

In 1967, 53 years ago this afternoon, Jan and I exchanged vows, rings and “I Do’s” in a little chapel on Northington Campus, the married student’s housing at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, AL.

I was wearing a suit and my beautiful red-headed wife was wearing a wedding dress that she had made herself the week before.

We have no pictures of our wedding. When I say it was a small wedding, I mean really small. There was the minister, the minister’s wife, who was the witness, and also the organist.

But whatever, there was no one to take pictures. Remember this was 1967 when no one was carrying a cell phone camera. In that time period, it would probably been a Kodak Instamatic anyway. But we didn’t even own one of those.

Along the way we had two great kids, Christopher Andrew and Brandi Leigh, and two fantastic grandkids, Piper Jean and Landon Thomas.

Kemah Aquarium 51st Anniversary Jan and Greg

At that time, Northington, an old Army Hospital dating from the beginning of WWII, was the married student’s housing for the University.

Northington Campus

Northington Campus 1999

The long wings, making up the hospital wards, were cut up into individual one and two bedroom apartments, each with their own entrance. There was a waiting list to get in so it was a few months before we got an apartment there. In the meantime we lived in a concrete block duplex with cracks in the wall that let in daylight.

Later in the winter we got a letter from rental agency reminding us that during extremely cold weather it would be necessary to put anti-freeze in the sink, lavatory, and toilet drains to keep the pipes from freezing up . . . INSIDE THE APARTMENT.

We spent most of the winter cuddled up with our cats under the electric blanket.

Really nice for newlyweds.

Then ten years later, while we living in Montgomery, AL, we got to watch Burt Reynolds and Sally Field have Northington Campus blown up around them in the stuntman movie, “Hooper’.

And, amazingly, it all seems just like yesterday.

On our 50th anniversary, we were up at the Thousand Trails in Conroe, and had our anniversary dinner at the Longhorn Steakhouse in the Woodlands.

Our waitress, a cute Asian girl, seemed surprised that we had been married for 50 years, She said she had seen other couples who were celebrating their 50th, and they “all looked so stiff, angry, sad, old and miserable.”

And  we didn’t look that way.

I told her that we were married in Alabama and that they marry young there. And that I was 15 and Jan was 14 when we got hitched.

I let her stand there with her mouth open for about 10 seconds before I told here that actually I was 18 and Jan was 19 at the time.

She’s 345 days older than me. I was born on October 5th and she was born on October 25th, but a year earlier. So we’re now coming up on that sweet spot where every year for 20 days we’re the same age.

And actually, she didn’t know she was older than until we went to get our marriage license at the courthouse. I think she stood there for a few seconds with her mouth open, rethinking the whole deal. But then, apparently just said, “What The Heck!” Or words to that effect.

But it worked out for the best. I got a sexy Cougar and she got her own personal Boy-Toy.

Another question was whether or not Jan and my mother ever got along. The answer is a resounding NO!

Over the 40 years (my mother died in 2007) the best they were ever able to do is probably best described as ‘respectful disdain”, light on the ‘respectful’ and heavy on the ‘disdain’

As I’ve said before, Jan was determined that the marriage would last at least 5 years just to spite my mother, because my mother said it wouldn’t even last that long. And I think my mother believed that until the day she died.

And it’s been a wild ride.

Three years later, in 1970 I was working for the DOD at the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, SC, part of the Marine’s Parris Island complex. During the next 3 years, we were also at England AFB in Alexandria, LA and Otis AFB on Cape Cod, MA.

Two years later, I was a Broadcast Engineer at Channel 10 in Birmingham, AL, part of the Alabama Educational Television Network.

By 1974 I was a Broadcast Engineer at Channel 20 in Montgomery, AL. This is also where Jan started her first job as an Accredited Medical Records Technician at Jackson Hospital there.

Three years later, in 1977 I was Chief Electronics Engineer for Alabama and Georgia with Storer Cable, which later morphed into TCI and and then was parceled out into Comcast.

Then in December of 1978 we moved to Houston where I worked for a NASA contractor on the Space Shuttle.

Over the next 30 or so years, Jan worked, first at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, then Medical Center del Oro in Houston, Polly Ryon Hospital in Richmond, and finishing up at Clear Lake Regional Hospital here in Webster, TX.

Luckily we both chose careers where we never had any problems finding a job.

And then almost 30 years after moving to Texas, in 2007 we chucked it all, bought a big RV and hit the road full-time. And 13 years later, after 49 states, 8 Canadian Provinces, and almost 90,000 miles, it’s still our home.

Like I said, it’s been a wild ride, But a really fun one!

And it’s not over yet.

September 28, 2021

Does Amazon Read Our Blog?

First off, Jan and I want to thank everyone for all the many emails and comments congratulating us on our 54th wedding anniversary. We really appreciate all the kind words.

Readers will remember that back in June I ordered these flamingos for Jan’s Flamboyance.

New Facebook Flamingos

According to the ad, they were Made In The USA, and Shipped From California, unlike most FB stuff that usually seems to come on a slow boat from China, literally.

The shorter one is 28” high and the taller one is 32”, so good size, too. And it would be a perfect addition to the yard.

The first Rut Roh! came 9 days later when I received a notice that the order had shipped from . . . China, via China Post.

The second came about a week after that when I clicked on the ad again, and it had disappeared, or at least the flamingos had. There was something else being sold.

But since I was still getting tracking info as it crawled across China, I was somewhat mollified.

But then about a week ago, the entire company website just disappeared, but the tracking info said the birds were now in the US and in the hands of the Post Office, so maybe things were still OK.

Then yesterday, a package showed up in the mail. It was about 14” long and about 5” square, and it was half crushed. Not a good sign all around.

And it didn’t get any better, or any bigger when we opened the package. Inside were two smaller boxes, and inside those boxes was this.

Wrong Flamingos

For the record, they’re about 8” tall, and not metal, but some sort of resin. And broken, of course.

Well, $^%$#%

So without telling Jan I started working with PayPal (which is how I paid) to get my money back. And though it took a couple of months, I finally got a complete refund. Then checking around I found the same ones on eBay, for a little more money, but shipping from South Carolina, verified by eBay.

So I put in my order and six days later they showed up in a much bigger box than the little pink ones above.

And this morning Jan found them waiting for her out in the living room. Which is where they stayed, since it rained all day. And it doesn’t look any better for the next few days.

Jan and I headed down to Galveston about 3pm for Saltgrass Steakhouse Anniversary dinner, after spending an hour or so driving and parking along the Seawall.

Jan Saltgrass 54th Anniversay

Just as beautiful as when I married her.

After I mentioned in yesterday’s blog about Amazon ‘taunting’ me with same-day delivery and then not delivering, Well, after I posted the blog last night, I went to Amazon to order something for us, rather than work, and it popped up and said that if I ordered in the next 13 minutes it would be delivered between 4am and 8am this morning. Which was only about 5 hours away.

So I had to try this so I went with it. And according to the email, the package was delivered here at the rig at 5:56am. Nice.

So does Amazon read our blog and decided to make amends?

Jan wanted me to clarify something. In last night’s blog, talking about the early years of our marriage, I mentioned Jan saying this.

Jan later said she was determined for us to stay together for at least the first five years just to spite my mother.

What I left out is that my mother said the marriage would never last five years. So the above was Jan’s response.

My mother was determined that I would marry the girl who lived here.

Wallace House 1

And yes, it was featured in Life magazine.

I dated her for about a month or so, and though she was rich, she was a little too crazy even for me.

Though Jan and my mother settled into an uneasy truce over the years, my father was crazy about Jan, and she him.

September 28, 2022

Saltgrass . . . Again?

I left work a little early today, taking some time off for our Anniversary.

We headed down to Galveston to first drive around for a while, checking out all the new things that seem to spring up every time we visit.

We had a 6:30 reservation at our usual celebration spot, Saltgrass Steakhouse. We had asked for a window seat, and as always before, it was waiting for us with a great view of the Gulf.

Galveston Waves 20220928

The ocean was a little rougher than usual. Whether it’s due to Hurricane Ian on the other side of the Gulf, I don’t know. But it is fun to watch.

Jan and I don’t drink much at all, usually just sharing a drink on a special occasion, so tonight we got an Amaretto Splash, with tequila, schnapps, fresh pineapple juice, and Disaronno.

Saltgrass 55 Anniversary Amaretto Splash

Jan was wearing one of her Anniversary gifts, a pair of Flamingo Earrings.

Jan's Anniversary Flamingo Earrings 55

She says they’re new favorites.

Forgoing the Bread, we started with our usual Wedge Salads,

Saltgrass 55 Anniversary Wedge Salad

with Jan moving on to her favorite 9 oz. Filet with the Grilled Green Beans.

Saltgrass 55 Anniversary Filet

I, of course, got the 16 oz. Ribeye, also with the Grilled Green Beans.

Saltgrass 55 Anniversary Ribeye

Always delicious and perfectly done as usual.

One of the reasons we didn’t get the bread was to leave room for dessert.

Unfortunately for Jan, it was not yet Pumpkin Cheesecake time at Saltgrass, so we went with our old and delicious standby, their Carrot Cake, splitting a piece.

Saltgrass 55 Anniversary Carrot Cake

Here’s to another 55 years!

Saltgrass 55 Anniversary Greg & Jan

And tomorrow we get to do it all over again . . . kind of.

We’re having lunch tomorrow with our Alvin Opry Group at the Saltgrass up in Webster.

You can’t have too much steak.

Can you?