Sunday, November 5, 2017

Retirement Life...

 So when we last were together, it was springtime here in Florida.  Things were about to get very busy!!  Andy had accepted a job in St. Louis and Amber was trying to get the house sold in Virginia.

In May I flew to Virginia to help wrap things up there.  There really wasn't much for me to do.  Their friends threw a wonderful good-bye party for them,
Liz, Maralee and Molly.

Amber & Margaret

 Quinn wrapped up 1st grade.  This was her 1st grade teacher Mr. Powers,

 and we packed them up for a little trip to Florida while Mommy and Daddy and Daisy the Hamster moved to St. Louis.

Those girls are great travelers!  They know just what to do.  They carry their own stuff, stay close and keep themselves occupied.

We had a fun week in Florida.  They each had their own rooms which was a first here.  Usually they have to share or sleep in the living room!!
They thought it was so funny when Grandpa threw a watermelon in the pool to cool it off!!

We swam in the pool, visited manatees and mermaids, read books, watched movies, hung out with Zoe and Charlie and had a wonderful time together.

Berit was paying close attention while Grandpa explained the ins and outs of chess!!

Visiting Mimi and Grandpa is never complete without a ride in the Mustang!!

Visiting the Weeki Wachee Mermaids never gets old either!  Notice the turtle swimming with the mermaid in the picture below.

Then it was time to fly to St. Louis to see their new home!  I really didn't take many pictures there.  We were busy unpacking and organizing and getting bedrooms set up!!
 We went to an art fair near their new house and there was a small mariachi band playing.  And it was soooooo hot!!!

 The girls in their new back yard, reading books.

I was only home for a couple weeks when it was time to pack up again and head to Michigan for Scott and Emily's wedding!  Here I am with two of the beautiful flower girls!!
 My beautiful children! xoxoxo
 My beautiful children with their spouses and fiancee!

We had wonderful family time!  Amber and I threw together a quick "rehearsal dinner" at Scott and Emily's new home the night before the wedding.

It was nice to meet some of Emily's family we hadn't met yet and for them to meet some of our family they hadn't met yet!!

Of course the wedding was beautiful and everyone looked so wonderful!  We also got to see Tyler and Jessie's new house and had a wonderful lunch there before Amber and family had to head off for the airport.

 While Scott and Emily were on their mini-moon H-man and I stayed at their house and took care of Murphy.

I even got to attend Loretta and Sandy's retirement party and catch up with a few old friends!!

Back to Florida for a few weeks and then we were packing up again.  This time we were flying to Seattle so we could take a cruise to Alaska out of Vancouver with H-man's brother Dan and wife Cheryl


We were in Seattle the better part of a day so we got to see some sights like the Space Needle and the Chihuly glass garden!  Absolutely beautiful!!

We went on a 7 day cruise through the inner passage and had 3 ports to visit.  It was beautiful there!!  We saw so many new things and the ship was beautiful too!  Great service, friendly people, a wonderful experience.
 Dan an Cheryl on the bus ride from Seattle to Vancouver.

 Vancouver Harbor as we were boarding the ship.

 Dan, Cheryl and H-Man on board waiting to set sail.

 This was our "window" in our cabin!  Just above water level and amazing views!

 Howard's Birthday dinner, complete with cake just for him!  Happy guy!!

 Bench on the deck with the name of our ship.

 Finally at sea.

 Relaxing on the deck.

 Dressed for dinner every night!!

 First port, Juneau!!
 We were in port and then took transportation to the glacier.

Dan saw a bear at this stop but none of us were with him at the time!!

Next stop, whale watching!!  These whales were making bubble nets to trap food.

We saw many beautiful sunsets like this one!

Another port stop, Skagway.  On this stop we took a train way up into the mountains and then on the bus ride back to the ship, our bus driver got sick and we had to pull over and call for a new driver!!

On our way to another glacier.  All those pieces of ice had broken off from the glacier and floated down stream!

 The glacier!

Final port, Ketchikan.  We did a little shopping here and then went on a boat from the show Deadliest Catch.

On board the ship from "The Deadliest Catch".  These people were so nice.  We saw eagles and crabs and even an octopus!

Unfortunately Dan couldn't make this trip as he got sick the night before at dinner and still wasn't feeling up to it!  He wasn't down for long though, thankfully!

The end to an amazing and beautiful experience.  Highly recommend!!

Back in Seattle after the cruise we had another afternoon so visited Pike's Market.  It was super crowded down around the waterfront so we didn't spent much time there.  We were really ready to get back home!

Sadly things took a turn for the worse when we got home, for Charlie.

He turned 10 on Sunday and on Monday he started acting strange.  He seemed to have some sort of a neurological problem with his head kind of shaking and lots of pacing.  He couldn't seem to lay down.  The vet's diagnosis wasn't really conclusive, probably some type of brain tumors or stroke.

 He continued to go downhill for the next two weeks and we finally had to make the decision to put him down when he just wasn't Charlie anymore.  We miss him.

We were supposed to go to Camelot a couple days after that but our hearts weren't really in it.  We did go for 2 nights and to check out the place because there had been lots of updates in the past year.  First time I had been to the beach since we moved to Florida!

We dove by our old house on Tacon.  This was the first home we owned and where we lived when Amber was born.  Place looks great!

Then we drove by the last home we owned when we lived in Tampa.  This is the house we lived in when Ty and Scotty were born.  Scott was only 1 when we left here!

Back at the beach, hot and windy but still as beautiful as ever!

I had the pool all to myself!

Sunsets rarely disappoint at the beach.

Beautiful as always!

In mid-September we spent a few days preparing for Hurricane Irma!!  She was supposed to come right up Florida and do lots of damage.  We had food, water and gas for the generator and put away all the outside stuff so we were prepared.  We were really lucky.  No power outages and no damage.  All around us people lost power but we were spared!

My Zoe girl.  She's still hanging in there at 13-1/2.  Her hips are shot but she loves her food and still makes an effort to follow me from room to room.  She doesn't seem to miss Charlie as much as we do.

A few days after the hurricane we were supposed to fly to St. Louis to visit Amber and family.  I was scrambling because our dog sitter had evacuated Florida and texted me to say she wasn't coming home until October!!  Thankfully I found someone else but then we worried that the airport wouldn't open before our flight was scheduled to depart!  Turns out we were one of the first flights out after the hurricane!!  I've never seen the airport so empty!

Stopped in at Columbia Restaurant right there in the airport for a yummy Cuban!

We had a lovely visit with the Porters!  We visited the zoo and Grant Park.  Love them!!

Before dinner bug hunt!

A little chilly but they went swimming anyway!

Dinner date with the girls at Steak and Shake!

Grant's Farm and goat feeding!

Snow cones, so good!!

 Never pass up a chance to go on the Merry Go Round!!

At the zoo with the whole fam!

Petting the stingrays!

When we got back home we celebrated our 43rd Anniversary!  Roses and more roses!!

In October I flew to Michigan to dog sit Murphy so Scott and Emily could take their real honeymoon to California!  Murphy and I had some good walks and long talks on the couch!!  I also got to spend some time catching up with my friends and enjoyed lots of lunches and dinners while I was there.
 Murphy, enjoying one of our crisp, fall walks!

We met up with Tyler and Jessie and Kona for a fun morning at the dog park, then went back to Tyler and Jessie's place for lunch.  These dog cousins get along so well!

He's not a fan of the camera but these beautiful red leaves were too good to pass up!

Howard has been busy with his "job" in the solar industry!  We are still hoping to get our own solar pool heat this year.  We had to stop swimming a few weeks ago.  Well, I did anyway.  Howard actually jumped in the pool yesterday and today but did admit it was a bit chilly, under 70!  We've had a nice little cold front come through so the doors are open and airs off!!  But that also means the pool is much cooler!

This is Tucker.  I see him on my morning walks and finally met his owner and got permission to bring him carrots!

I've found something to occupy my time.  In April I took some training to be a Guardian ad Litem.  I got my first "case" in July and then added another case in August.  A Guardian ad Litem is appointed by the Court to be the voice for a child who is in foster care.  I go to Court hearings and do monthly visits in the home to see how "my" kids are doing.  It's sad but rewarding at the same time.  I'm also helping H-man keep his logs and files straight.

Great costumes this year.  Cheetah and Jane Goodall!

We've been here a year now.  I will say that summer was tough.  So doggone hot!!  And humid!!  I would go for  a walk and then have to hurry and jump in the pool!  We survived it though and now our reward is a beautiful fall and hopefully winter with NO SNOW or freezing temps!!

One of our resident snakes, Little Fred.

One of the first lemons off my little tree!

So that's it!  We had a busy summer  but we are winding down the year.  We may have one more adventure before we say goodbye to 2017!  I'll keep you posted!