February Photos

Monday, February 27, 2017

Journal: Trip to Iowa, & A Contact Solution

Tomorrow is Hannah’s birthday.  I ordered her what I thought was a beautiful sweater with hand-stitching from eBay.  “New without tags”, it said.
Ha!  The description should’ve been, “Extremely well-used, dirty, and stained without tags”!  I sprayed it with Resolve and washed it; at least it is now clean.  If you ignore the fact that there are a couple of small spots that didn’t come out, it looks fairly nice, though the cuffs are a bit stretched.
Sigggghhhhh...  I’ll give it to her, and tell her she doesn’t have to keep it if she doesn’t like it, or if it doesn’t fit, or if such obviously used sweaters gives her the willies.  Heebie-jeebies.  Cold shudders.  It does smell good now.
I ordered something else, but the arrival date is anywhere between February 28 and March 20 – and once it arrives, Larry is going to wreak, uh, I almost said ‘havoc’ ----- he’s going to wreak artistic license on it, and I don’t know how long that will take.
I can’t tell you what it is, because Hannah reads my journal.  (“Hi, Hannah!”) (waving)
Remember my story of last week about the owl hooting and Teensy – in the house – hitting the deck?  And my remark that I hoped my kitties had enough sense to stay hidden from owls when they are outside?
My blind friend Penny has a solution:  “Tape mirrors to their backs.  As the owl comes swooping down, he’ll scare himself.”  :-D
Last Monday evening, I texted Larry (or thought I did):  “Shall I eat without you, or wait for you to get here?  I’m hungry.”
He didn’t answer.  Half an hour later, I checked my email to see if he’d replied without me hearing the notification.
And then I wrote to Victoria, “Oops, sorry; that was supposed to go to Daddy.  Haha  Wondered why he didn’t answer yet!”
“I didn’t figure I’d be coming anytime soon since I’m in Omaha,” she responded.
“Your loss!” I wrote back.  “It’s mighty good soup.”
Guess what Victoria was doing in Omaha.  (Did you guess?)  She was getting a ‘new’ Malibu LTZ.  And that’s not all! – just a few days earlier, she got this Diamondback bicycle.  I’d say she had a good 20th birthday, wouldn’t you?  Her birthday was the 24th.
Meanwhile, Larry went to Loren’s to get his scissor lift and route the newer shorter cable into the house.  Upon discovering my mistake with the soup supper invite, I sent it off again, making sure it went to Larry this time, telling him of the blunder and admitting that hunger had gotten the best of me, and I’d already eaten my share.
“Thanks for asking,” he responded, “even if you already ate, and even if you asked the wrong person. πŸ™ƒ”  Then he added, “The Internet is not working again.”
Aarrgghh!  What in the world?
The next day at noon, Larry stopped by Loren’s house to check the Internet and call Megavision again, if necessary – and discovered it was working fine. 
It sure is a head-scratcher, when Megavision has problems at the same time we have problems, and we can’t tell which is which!  And they seldom admit it, when it’s them.  :-\
It was another beautiful day – 60°, bright and sunny.  But it was breezy, and we were issued an extreme fire danger warning, from middle to western Nebraska.  The ranchers were looking forward to the moisture set to arrive Thursday afternoon.
A friend from Malaysia wrote to the online quilting group, greeting everyone and wishing them a good morning “when North America rises out of their beds.”  When it’s 11:30 a.m. there, it’s 9:30 p.m. here in the middle of Nebraska.
This reminded me of an old Reader’s Digest article where the author pretended to be awake when he answered the phone, no matter what time it rang, as it seemed to be shameful to ever be caught sleeping.  He’d say all sorts of goofy things in his state of grogginess.
“We here in the United States of America,” he ended his article, “are awake 24 hours out of every day!”
Tuesday afternoon, I made a new appointment for Friday at LensCrafters – but not at the same place (Westroads), as the eye doctor there would be gone on Friday.  There are three LensCrafters to choose from in Omaha and its suburbs.  I made the new appointment at Oak View Mall.  We planned to go to eastern Iowa Thursday and pick up large tines for Walkers’ big forklift, stay overnight somewhere east of Omaha, and get to LensCrafters late Friday morning.

I felt well enough that day to get back to work on the upstairs rooms.  And my throat was well enough to have piping hot coffee again!  This cleaning is taking a while, since I’m going through everything carefully, sorting and organizing as I go along.  Dorcas was happy to receive her baby ring with the little ruby that I found.  But I need to hurry! – there are quilts to make. 
It was so nice out, I opened the upstairs windows.
I went on asking Victoria stuff like this:  “Do you want the pink sandals with the big pink flower?  Black tennis shoes?” and she went on responding, “No, thanks.”
Then the ladies on the quilting group began discussing irons, so I had to take a short break from cleaning to tell my iron story.  I’ve told parts of it before; you will doubtless remember it.  (Warning:  it’s long.  You might want to pour yourself a nice hot cup of coffee or tea before you begin.  Maybe even grab a scone or two.  Or skip it, if you don’t like reruns.)
From my journal of March 07, 2011:
I was nearly done with another apron the other night when my iron went kaput.  I can’t sew without an iron!  Sooo... I did what I do best:  I gathered up the iron and dashed up the steps, calling “Larrrrryyy!” as I went.
Larry then did what he does best:  he took a nap.
When the nap was over (shortly, thanks to teenagers in the house), he got out screw drivers, pliers, and monkey wrenches, and pried open said iron, whether said iron wanted to be pried open or not
After disconnecting and reconnecting various wires numerous times, he came to a conclusion:  “It’s the automatic shut-off that’s causing the problem.” 
He next came to a solution:  “I will override the automatic shut-off.”
With that, he reconnected the wires, turned the dial, felt of the bottom of the iron, quit feeling it really fast, whistled in a ‘letting out the heat’ sort of way, unplugged it, and proclaimed victory. 
He put the iron back together and plugged it in again. 
It proceeded to heat up without benefit of the dial being turned to ‘On’.
And it continued to heat.
It heated until it snapped and crackled.  It heated until it smoked and stank of electrical malfunction and extremely high temperature.  I tell you, that thing got so hot, it would have smoothed out the fur of a Himalayan yak in two seconds flat.
Larry belatedly unplugged the errant thing while I dashed around holding my nose, opening windows, turning on fans, and shouting, “Open the windows!  Turn on the fans!”

Since I had no more Appliance Smoke on hand, nor did I have an Appliance Smoke Applicator, nor do they sell either of the above items in any known shop uptown, I decided a new iron was in order.  Remember:  I cannot sew without an iron!
I accordingly curled my hair all cute-like and put on going-to-town hosiery bright and early the next morning, in anticipation of paying a visit to Wal-Mart’s home appliance department after taking Victoria to school.  I didn’t look like a person who would murder an iron in cold blood, nor yet one who would bring in a hired killer to do the job!  {Did I?}
I got to Wal-Mart... stood on my tiptoes to reach (with difficulty) the irons on the display racks (do they think that people under 5’3” should not iron?!)... selected my iron... and trotted home again. 
Now, I have to have a good iron.  I use it nearly every day, and it’s on for umpteen hours, nearly every one of those days it’s in use.  It has to steam well, have lots of holes out of which to steam, steam well, have a good point on it, steam well, have a stainless steel plate, steam well, and be heavy enough that I don’t have to push on it as I use it.  And it has to steam well.
Sooo... I got one that was regularly $49.95 – on sale for $39.95.  The only one on sale – and the very one I needed.  I got a $3 one-year replacement plan with it.  It was a Shark Professional Removes the Toughest Wrinkles 2X Steam Power X-Tended Steam Burst Technology Self-Cleaning Multi-Position Auto Shut-Off Anti-Drip XL Premium Stainless Steel Soleplate Intelligent Electronic Temperature Control iron.
I. Was. Ready. To. Iron.
I marched off to do battle with scant ¼” seams.
A good friend of mine asked (rather impudently, I thought), “Doesn’t everyone have a backup iron?!”
Oh, you bet, I have (uh, ‘had’) a backup iron.  A cute little travel iron/steamer.  And I had indeed gotten it out The Night the Iron Got Hot.  I plugged it in... turned it on...
The light went on, flickered, went off.  I spun the dial one way and then the other.  The light flickered on.  Off.  On.  The thing warmed slightly. 
The toe or point of this small iron is so curved as to resemble a saddle oxford shoe, circa 1960.  Makes me irritable when I try to stick it into a seam that needs to be pressed open, and the clumsy thing cannot blunder its way in.
Furthermore, it weighs approximately the same as two juvenile hummingbirds, so I must push down on it in order to accomplish anything remotely like ‘ironing’.  My wrists do not appreciate this pushing.
I took that iron upstairs to see what Larry and his tools might think about it.
“It’s got a bad switch,” he announced, after a cursory inspection. 
“Can’t you fix it?” I asked, making my best Bambi eyes.
“Nope,” he said shortly.
I personally think his ego could not handle two defeats in one night, so he therefore would not even try.  After all! – this is the man about whom his two-year-old daughter Lydia once said adoringly, “My Daddy can fix ANYTHING.”  And, for the most part, she was absolutely correct.  He can make a diesel engine out of a paper clip, a garbage disposal motor, and a bit of hair tonic.  He can overhaul a large foreign truck motor with nothing but his Swiss pocketknife.
That Black and Decker iron, however, got the better of him.  (He says it was ‘unfixable’.)

But I had a new iron.  A Shark.  <. . .feeling all mighty and forceful and powerful and stuff. . .>
I did wish it didn’t have the auto shut-off feature, though.
A lady wrote that she hoped I had better luck with my new Shark iron than she had with hers, which was just like mine.  Hers only lasted 2-3 weeks.
I replied, “Well, if my Shark bites the dust, I’ll just have my husband fix it.”
She answered, “Nooooooooooo…” 
The EuroPro Shark lasted longer than 2-3 weeks. 
It lasted two months. 
However, it was not the iron’s fault, but, rather, the result of a terrific bolt of lightning that fried numerous things throughout the house and made us all positively glow and shimmer.  A tremendous crack of thunder accompanied it without a nanosecond’s pause between flash and crash. 
The iron stood and took it manfully.  The cats, however, sprang so high, they impaled themselves on the stalactites of the textured nine-foot ceiling.
I discovered the iron had croaked right when I needed to iron clothes for church Wednesday evening.  Caleb brought a new one home for me, in the nick of time.
I had neglected to tell him to get a cheapie, since I planned to send the Shark back for either repair or replacement; it was still under warrantee.  He bought me a Rowenta.  And not just the made-in-China Rowenta, either.  It was a Top O’ Ze Line German Rowenta!  I felt like I was driving a Mercedes. The Shark was extra good; the Rowenta was better.  AND! – it didn’t have that annoying auto shut-off function that required me to press the button five times to get it back to High every time it automatically shut off in 8 minutes.  There was an auto shut-off, but it came back on right away, the moment I started to use it again.  (I still didn’t like auto shut-off, but this was an improvement.)
The Rowenta worked great for about three years – and then one of the cats jumped up on the ironing board (one I got as a wedding gift back in 1979), knocked the iron off, and broke it.  It doesn’t steam anymore.  I use it as backup, and don’t fill it with water.
About three years ago, I bought a Rowenta DG5030 Pro Iron Steam Station on SewItsForSale for a very good price – $50 + $20 shipping.  It’s a $170 iron, one of those with a separate water reservoir.  It has adjustable steam pressure, and doesn’t steam unless you pull the trigger.  On full blast, it steams like the Canadian Pacific engine crossing Kicking Horse Pass. 
I absolutely love this iron.  Because water is not stored in the iron itself, it is lightweight and easy to handle, but heavy enough to press well without having to push on it.  Plus, there is no auto shut-off.  Yaaay!
I have oooooone more itty bitty little iron tale, one that happened about 20 years ago.  Bear with me here:
Once upon a time. . . I was ironing. 
There I was, in a gigantic hurry, getting ready for church, ironing my dress – when the iron ran out of water.
But I’m such a well-prepared person, I’d left a glass of water on the dresser for the very purpose of filling the iron.
I snatched it up, poured it in, and went back to ironing.
Only it wasn’t water.
It was grapefruit juice.
It had been in a sepia-colored glass, and I’d thought the stuff was clear.  Water.
So off I went to church, smelling remarkably like ummy-yummy tutti-fruiti.  Burnt ummy-yummy tutti-fruiti.
The end.  The end to the iron stories, anyway.

As I went through boxes and bins upstairs, I found some gifts I’d been saving.  It’s always nice to have gifts on hand – but they’re not much good when they’re buried so deep I can’t find them!  I also found a doll that belonged to Larry’s grandmother.  I’d better save that! 
I found two spiral books called Jar Gifts – one full of cookie recipes to put in a jar, the other, recipes for brownies and bars.  You put the ingredients into the jars in layers so they look pretty, cap it, and cover it with maybe a circle of calico tied with twine or ribbon.  There are old-fashioned labels in the books, to put on the jars.  I gave those to Victoria for her birthday along with a fat column candle.  I always hope my kids don’t burn their houses down, when I give them candles.
I emptied over a dozen boxes, and filled three plastic bins with books, two with albums, and one with dΓ©cor that I’m saving to put in our new bedroom.  I filled three boxes for the Goodwill, and one bag with garbage.    There were still over a dozen boxes to sort through.
Anybody want an electronic battleship game?  How about a kerosene hurricane lamp?  A doll who must’ve slept on park benches in the rain for months on end, judging by the state of her hair?
Hmmmm... I’d better keep the kerosene lamp in case the electricity goes out. 
Loren brought me a whole lot more plastic bins.  I should have enough now that I can pitch out all the cardboard boxes.
It was after midnight when I hauled the boxes for the Goodwill out to the Jeep.  If I wanted to put more in there, I would have to lay down another section of seat, and that seemed like a monumental task that late at night. 

When minor details seem major, it’s time to hit the hay.
Wednesday, I still had this nasty cold, and it had been 11 days.  Guess I should have taken Granny Clampett’s cold cure! – hers’ll get you over it in a week to 10 days, without fail.
But I was getting better (though that wouldn’t last). 
I went on working on the upstairs – and I kept getting sidetracked, looking at old albums.  I’d just about decided to forget trying to scan old pictures... but now that I’m looking at them again, I see that I just must do that.  I need to make these treasures digital, so they can last forever!  And I should do it, rather than some offspring, because I still know the names with which to label them.  Isn’t it disappointing to find a box of old pictures, and nobody still living has a clue who anyone is, or where they were taken?  (The pictures, not the people.  So far as I know, no one in my immediate family has been kidnapped.)
I found a shot of me at age 20, when Hannah was 6 months old.  I’d bought a floor-length evening gown, cut it shorter, and with the excess fabric made Hannah a dress to match mine.  And woweeeeEEE, do I ever have a fancy hat!
After picking up the grandchildren from school, I had a snack – cheese and pretzel flip crackers – and then returned to the cleaning. 
I managed to go to church that evening, though I stayed in the front vestibule, where I could cough and sneeze and blow my nose without disturbing anyone or distributing germs directly onto hapless parishioners.
I had sent notes to three of the children telling them there were things for them in the Jeep – and two of them actually remembered! 
Later, Lydia wrote, “Thank you! 😊 The kids really enjoyed the Bible and the yearbook.  I was amazed at how much Jacob looks like Jeremy did!  I’ve always thought that he looked more like my side of the family.”
I replied, “Yeah, you claim a kid because he’s so cute, and then, lo and behold, some while after you think it’s an established fact, you learn he looks like your husband!”  heh
Home again, I packed our bags in preparation for our trip to Iowa.  Victoria would take care of the cats.  Tabby needs soft food on account of losing several teeth to gum disease a few years ago.  That kitty is so small, and I spend time every day coaxing him to eat.  He still seems spry enough for his age, and doesn’t appear to be in pain, so I mollycoddle him along, and enjoy his waning years. 
Here are pictures of the cats.  Teensy sleeps so funny... and Tiger nearly fills up the bed (which is actually a dog bed).  Tabby, silly little thing, generally rushes toward me every time I aim the camera at him.  But I caught him sleeping on the deck in the sun this time, and he didn’t even notice me.
 “I’ll feed Tabby tomorrow morning,” I told Victoria, “and then you can take care of him later that night.  He’ll need to be fed Friday morning again, and then we’ll be home late Friday night.  He’ll be okay until then with just a couple of visits from you, as he does still eat some of the dry food, and I suppose he gets some nourishment from it, even though he swallows the pieces whole.”

It’s because of this that I buy Iams – the pieces are small, and there is more nutrition in it than in some brands.
“Maybe the novelty of someone else feeding him will confuse him into eating πŸ˜„πŸ˜„,” wrote Victoria.
I swept the floor, vacuumed, cleaned out the litterboxes { :-P }, and left a bag with birthday gifts on the table for Victoria.
Thursday morning, we headed east, driving one of Walkers’ pickups. 
“Do you think Victoria will be unimpressed when she walks into the house and the bat that was in there when we left starts swooping around?” I asked Larry. 
He, being the eternal optimist, allowed as how the creature would doubtless find its way back outside by the time she got there.  I, being more of a realist, stated that if it did stay hidden wherever it went to hide when we were hunting for it, then it would immediately come right back out of hiding the moment I walked back in the door.
But... I have to admit, I have seen neither hide nor hair of it, and Victoria evidently didn’t see it either, or I would certainly have heard about it, possibly on the airwaves, without benefit of a cell phone.
My first indication that an alien was in the house was when Teensy came spinning, slipping, and sliding around the corner, running flat out, and taking wild leaps every few paces.  What in the world?  It’s usually silly old Tabby (who’s 19 years old) racing around like a lunatic, pretending the werewolves are after him {or he, after them}.  I hopped up and went to see what was going on ­– and a bat dive-bombed me.  What did I ever do to them?!!!!
A friend wrote to ask, “Did you know that many med schools teach that if someone has been in the same room with a bat they need rabies shots?”
Mercy!  That’s a little extreme, don’t you think?  First, the bat never came close to me.  Second, the bat doesn’t have rabies; he was behaving perfectly normally.  Third, the side effects of the rabies vaccine are nothing to be sneezed at.  In some cases, it has even caused paralysis of the legs.  They don’t talk about that, of course, because they don’t want people to avoid the vaccine that might save their lives. 
But I sho’ ’nuff don’t plan on getting vaccinated every time a bat dives at my head.
(Okay, okay; I know that the vaccine is supposedly active for ten years or more; but ‘they’ – whoever ‘they’ are – recommend booster shots anytime someone incurs a bite from an animal that might have rabies.)
As we traveled, I sent a message to the quilting group:  “If any of you are looking for a new project, getting a little bored with nothin’ but plain ol’ bed quilts...  you might try this.”  
Shortly after noon, somewhere in the middle of Iowa, it started raining; but we got ahead of the storm as we drove, and picked up the tines before the weather worsened.
By 7:00 p.m., we were heading back west.  We ate at a truck stop in Des Moines.  Larry had a chicken southwestern salad with eggs on it, and I had a chef salad.  He had apples and caramel dip; I had mixed fresh fruit.  We each got a bottle of peach tea, too. 
The place was sort of like a giant warehouse, what with the concrete floors and all the ceiling structure showing.  And it was cold in there.  But our salads were good, and it was cheap.
The rain hadn’t quite turned to snow that evening when we got a motel in Walnut, Iowa.  It was a lovely room with a comfortable king-sized bed, and the wall behind the headboard was painted a rich red and heavily textured.  Red is my favorite color.  Unless it’s brilliant blue.  Or purple.  Whichever is brightest, that’s my favorite.  There were nice chairs... end tables... pretty lamps... microwave... refrigerator...  And it was only $64 – quite a lot less than the motel on the other side of the Interstate.  

And look! – I have my Oklahoma mug!  I like to take along a ceramic mug to warm coffee or tea in motel microwaves.  If you warm beverages too many times in those little corrugated paper cups they give you, you eventually have something resembling a limp paper towel.  Did you ever try drinking coffee out of a limp paper towel?  πŸ˜
We could hear it thundering outside, and the rain was still coming down; but the wind was picking up, and the temperature was dropping.
All was quiet throughout the night until a siren outside went off at 7:00 a.m.  I have no idea if it was the town ‘get up!!!’ alarm, or a fire truck, or a patrol car, or what.  But it was high time to get up, in any case.
There was snow on the ground, as promised – but only an inch or two, rather than the 8 to 10 inches that had been predicted.  Out in western Nebraska, however, there was a foot of snow.
The nice older man who runs the front desk came into the breakfast area and offered us eggs and/or potatoes.  I chose eggs, sunny-side-up.  
He went off to make them.  Several minutes later, he came out and apologized for the delay, and inquired again into exactly how I wanted the eggs.  Five minutes later, he repeated this performance.  He was such a sweet man, one just couldn’t get mad at him. 
Directly he came out and said the eggs would be done shortly; he was having troubles with his skillet.  “I have to ‘sneak up on’ the eggs,” he explained, that is, not heat the skillet too quickly, or the eggs would burn.  I assured him all was well.
Feeling certain that eggs were forthcoming, I toasted a piece of bread and buttered it in anticipation of an egg sandwich.  I waited until I thought the toast would soon be unpalatably cold, put jelly on it, and ate it, sans eggs.
A couple of minutes later, the man brought one egg out; it had gotten done sooner than the other.
Now, I’m not sure, but I think he got it mixed up with those cute little rubber Fisher Price toy eggs.
I valiantly ate it, and washed it down with orange juice.
Soon he brought out the other egg.  It had its own little plate under it – well, unless it was just burnt on the bottom.   The top was still runny.  Neither egg had more than a speck of salt or pepper, and there was none to be had in the breakfast nook.
I downed, uh, most of it, leaving the cardboard(?) bottom behind.  I washed Egg #2 down with milk, since the orange juice/egg combo had already given me a stomachache, and I threw the burnt part away when the nice old man wasn’t looking.
Meanwhile, Larry happily ate a waffle that he had made himself.  Now, that’s cruel and unjust punishment, to eat a scrumptious waffle right in front of someone who has just been served a rubberized-and-burnt-but-uncooked egg.
Oh, well.  It’s fun to tell people, “I had Fisher Price eggs for breakfast!”
And then we were ready to head for Omaha, some 50 miles to the west.  We gathered our bags and headed for the door.  The kindly Fisher Price Man came to open the doors for us – and then he proceeded to ask this rather backwards, inside-out question:
“Are you usually a controlling type of a person?” 
I looked at him a bit blankly.  (I am, but how would he know that?!)
He laughed.  He was kidding.  So then he said, “You’re so quiet, calm, peaceful... so I was just wondering, do you have a sister?”
I think he meant, an available sister. 
I don’t imagine Lura Kay would want me to give him her phone number.  John H. might have something to say about that, too.
So I didn’t answer that particular question.  I just laughed and informed him, “All my family and friends would think your description of me was really, really funny!”
Larry didn’t argue with that statement, either.  He has, however, heckled me about it periodically since then.  “Be callllm and peeeeceful, now!” (when I’m exclaiming over somebody driving like an idiot on the ice.)
Our appointment at LensCrafters was at 11:00 a.m.  We would’ve had plenty of time to get there, were it not for the Eggs Fiasco and the bad roads, which had caused quite a number of accidents.
We got there 15 minutes late.  When I called an hour earlier to let them know we were going to be late, they were solidly booked all through the day.  But by the time we got there, the entire batch of patients throughout the rest of the morning and afternoon had canceled – every last one of them!  ​What a bunch of weather wimps.  :-D
Ah, well; at least that meant it didn’t matter that we were late.

I’m getting two pairs of glasses:  one with graduated lenses, the other with one prescription only throughout the lens.  The doctor called them ‘craft lenses’, since I will use them when I play the piano, use the computer, sew, and quilt.  She spent a little time to get them right for the distance I most need them for each of those activities.  My eyes are healthy, despite the Blepharospasm.  The doctor will give me the name of a doctor who gives Botox shots for the condition; but I don’t like the side effects.  It’s $12/unit, and each treatment consists of 4 units, and the affects wear off in four months.  She assured me that the shots do not change one’s appearance.  I’ll...  think about it.
Larry, meanwhile, was trying to put in contacts – first time, for him.  By the time he’d put them in, taken them back out, and then put them back in, as required, he looked pretty much like someone had beaten him up good and proper.  His eyes were all bloodshot, and his hair, which is thick and coarse, was standing straight up on end.
But the contacts were in, and he said he could see quite well at a distance.  He would need to get some magnifiers if he wanted to read while wearing the contacts.  He especially wanted them for riding his bike.  With his glasses, because he leans far forward over the low handlebars, he either has to tip his head back to see out of the proper spot in the trifocals (very uncomfortable), or look over the top of them, which makes everything blurry – and he often wound up simply looking down at the road just beyond his tire, which isn’t safe when one is pedaling along at 25 mph.
After leaving LensCrafters, we made one quick trek around the mall, and found some lanterns on sale at Sears.  Thinking they would make nice gifts for a couple of the boys, we got them – and then, because we also got a no-fee Sears card, wound up paying only 68¢ for both.

That was all we bought at the mall.  Next, we headed to Cabela’s, where one of the most interesting things is the aquarium.  I do believe some of the same big fish are in those tanks that were there ten years ago – and they are bigger than ever now.  It’s particularly fun to walk through the aquarium tunnel when little kiddos are in there, too, and listen to them ask questions or explain to their parents just what the fish are doing, what they are eating, where they are going, and why.
We bought one package of elk/bison/beef sticks and headed for Bass Pro Shop.  We had a $50 gift certificate; surely we could find something to buy there.
Well, we did, but it cost more than $50.  We decided to save the gift certificate a while longer.  But we did have a gift certificate we would definitely use:  one for Cracker Barrel.  And we were hungry.
I ordered the four-vegetable entrΓ©e, choosing a baked sweet potato, coleslaw, steamed broccoli, and turkey noodle soup.  I got iced apple cider, too.  Larry got the chicken dumpling dinner and raspberry tea.  Everything was scrumptious – except, for some unknown reason, some upstart chef in the kitchen decided to put some sort of oil on the broccoli.  I wanted steamed broccoli, not oiled broccoli!  Aarrgghh.  I’ve had steamed broccoli in other Cracker Barrel restaurants, and it was just that:  steamed.  It usually arrived with a little pat of butter, should I wish to put it on (and I did).  So I did what I generally do in such situations:  I gave it to Larry.
I’m generous like that.

By 9:30 p.m., we’d come through Fremont; that meant we had 50 miles to go before we were home.  The road was mostly snow and ice-covered.  From morning ’til evening, we’d seen numerous cars and trucks in the ditches.  On the west side of Fremont, we wound up following a snowplow that was spreading a de-icing corn mixture on the roads.  Those blinking blue and yellow lights are blinding – no fun, when one needs to pass one of them!
Speaking of lights, I sure do like the lighted keyboard on my new laptop.  I don’t look at the keyboard for regular typing, but now and then I need to use a Ctrl or Alt or F-number function, and sometimes that requires a glance at the keyboard.  When it’s dark and we’re driving along, the lighted keyboard is really handy.
By 9:55 p.m., we could see the lights of Schuyler up ahead – we were about 25 miles from home.  We’d seen three cars in the ditch in the last 20 minutes or so.
But with good tires, four-wheel-drive, and a heavy vehicle, we were fine.  No slipping or sliding.  Larry is a good driver. 
We rarely let snowstorms stop us.  Motto:  If it snows, have a snowball fight!
See more photos here:  Trip to Iowa and Heading Home.
It was a quarter ’til eleven before we got home.  I unpacked our bags and put everything away, then headed straight for bed.  My cold was back full force; it hadn’t ever gone very far away. 
The cats were happy to see us.  And while Victoria had taken care of the cats, Kurt had scooped the snow on all the walks and the deck.

Saturday afternoon, it only got up to 28°, but there was a steady drip-drip-dripping noise outside, because the sun was melting several inches of snow off the roof.
But!!! – there was a crisis!  Larry hadn’t been able to get his contacts out when we got home, and he’d slept with them in his eyes!  They’d been in his eyes more than 24 hours.  Good grief.  He went to an eye care center in the morning, but they wouldn’t take them out for him; wanted him to set up an appointment, blah blah.  Something about the doctor who does that not being there at the moment, more blah blah.
So he left them in his eyes and went about his business.  He talked to Caleb, who offered some ideas, so he tried again in one of the bathrooms at the shop.  (Don’t worry; the rooms are nice and clean.)  The attempt was unsuccessful.  I looked for help on the Internet, and learned that the contacts had doubtless dried out and needed to be rehydrated.  The more rewetting drops in the eyes, the more likely they’ll come out.  Siggghhhhh...  This worries me!

I talked to him on the phone, informed him that he needed to quit working on this, that, and the other thing (he’d been washing the pickup we’d driven to Iowa), come home, and get those contacts out of his eyes, or let me help him.
I drove to the shop to pick him up, since he’d driven the company truck there, and needed a ride home.  Once here, he tried again to extract the contacts... and failed.  By now I was getting extremely concerned over the welfare of his eyes, which were quite bloodshot.
So I did it for him.  This was not in my job description!!!  Aarrgghh, I used to shed tears anytime the kids put their contacts in.  Now I have to actually remove them for my husband!!?!  I’m not cut out to be a nurse, doctor, optometrist, or even a vet!  Yet I’m constantly being pressed into these duties by kids, husband, and pets.
Just because I married, acquired pets, had three and a half dozen kids (I did! Really!  Half a dozen plus 3 equals 9.) ... Well... I’ve done nurse duty, doctor duty, vet duty, optometry, and even dentistry.  And I don’t like it!!!!!!!!!  Furthermore, I’m not dainty enough to faint, so ... I have to do it.  :-P
Larry gave me a big hug and said, “Thank you for helping me!” 
I hugged him back and said just as sincerely, “You are NOT welcome.” 
He laughed.  He laughed!
Then he informed me that he thought probably the reason he hadn’t been able to get those contacts out was that he hadn’t been rough enough with them, like I had done.  Mind you, I removed those awful things in what I considered the most delicate of delicate ways possible!
I pointed at our framed marriage certificate, and said that it doesn’t say a word about removing husband’s contacts for him.  And again, of course, he laughed.
Lydia wrote to offer some advice, and to say that she, too, had had a difficult time removing her contacts when she first got them.  “You have to be able to touch your eye and squeeze the contact a bit on the edges.  πŸ˜¬πŸ€•πŸ˜πŸ€“  Am I helpful? 😁
No,” I retorted, “you’re making my hair stand up on end!!  I don’t like contacts.  Not in your eyes, your sisters’ eyes, your brothers’ eyes, your father’s eyes, or in mineI don’t like contacts!  :-P
Lydia, being her father’s daughter, wrote back, “😁lol  It gets much easier.  Your eyes adjust after a while, and so does your brain.”
“Here’s one problem,” I told her.  “Daddy’s index finger and thumb are about 5” in circumference at the tip (I never exaggerate), and they consist of chunky cement.  :-O”

One good thing about the contacts – my laptop screen didn’t glare on his glasses when I was using it Friday night as we drove. 
But anyway, that was done, and now I could concentrate on what I needed to do:  Hannah’s children’s piano teacher had sent a baby quilt for me to quilt, and I needed to get some batting for it.  The back was flannel, and one of the lady’s friends had told her she didn’t need batting, but she wanted to let me decide.  Quite often when people use fleece backs, they don’t use batting.  But more often when the back is flannel, they use batting.  I think it’s much nicer with batting.  Also, there is a little too much fullness in the middle of the quilt, as the borders are a bit tight.  Batting will keep it from puckering.
So off I went to Hobby Lobby for batting.  I even remembered to print a coupon.
When I got home, I loaded the quilt on the frame, found an appropriate pantograph, and began quilting.
I’m using a train pantograph, and it consists of multitudes of diagonal lines – and the wheels on the carriage don’t like diagonal lines!  Arrgghh.  I know this, but forgot.  My diagonal lines are usually made with rulers – but I can’t do that and follow a pantograph, both at the same time!  I’m making an art deco train for Weeble Wobbles.  :-P
I need me an Infinity!
Sunday was a pretty day, but only 28° by 9:30 a.m., and the wind was blowing at 17 mph.  The little birds clustering around the feeder had their feathers all fluffed up.
My cold was worse than ever, so I stayed home from church.
It was Trevor’s first birthday, and Dorcas sent pictures.  He sure is a cute little guy!  I wish they weren't 1,025 miles away.
Acckkk... Teensy just came in, delicately wiped his feet off on my skirt, purring the whole time, and then headed over to his trough to chow down.
I need me one o’ them thar T-shirts that have pawprints all over it and the words, “My cat walks all over me.”
Poor old Tiger is having twubbles and twials with one of his ears again.  I just put drops in it.  He doesn’t like it, but he always lets me... and then forgives me.
Larry brought home some groceries last night after church – including cinnamon rolls... Amana cheese curds... crackers...  cottage cheese... yogurt...
This morning I decided I’d better call for a doctor’s appointment, as this cold wasn’t going away.  I got one for 1:00 p.m., so off I went to David City.
I now have a prescription of Azithromycin for respiratory and ear infections, nothing too serious (saith he who suffereth not from said malady).  I always wonder... how do doctors keep from getting every last germ that comes down the pike?!  I mean, he had me AAAhhhhhhhhhhhhh right smack-dab in his face, in triplicate!
I took the first dose at about 2:30 p.m., and I do believe I’m feeling better, maybe.
Can you tell I had to wait a while in the doctor's office?  And I only had my chintzy little dumbphone?  And the only things to take pictures of were the pictures on the wall?
And look! – I’m not the only one who takes pictures of red trucks.
Doesn't it make you wanna go on a scavenger hunt through the cupboards and play with all the toys you can find, when you're sitting there in the exam room waiting... waiting... waiting... and you left your magazine out in the waiting room and forgot your knitting? 
A friend remarked, “You were obviously bored!” to which I replied, “Who, me, bored??!  I refuse to ever be bored, so long as I have my brain along.  My brain is full of ideas, some worthwhile, and some tomfoolery – but always busy!  ((...giggle...))”
Tonight for supper we had venison (Larry smoked it on the Traeger grill, and it’s soooo tender), broccoli (steamed, to make up for that poor broccoli at Cracker Barrel that got itself oiled somehow), cottage cheese and pears, and blueberry yogurt with granola on top.
Pet peeve of the day:  when the little foil tab tears away from the foil lid atop the granola, leaving the foil lid tightly intact.  Aaauuuggghhh, I will have granola on my blueberry yogurt, I will, I will!!!  <...stabbing the hapless foil lid with a butter knife...>  Ah-ha.  Let that be a lesson to foil lids everywhere.

And now my letter is done, and I shall go to bed.  Tomorrow, I quilt!

,,,>^..^,,,       Sarah Lynn       ,,,>^..^,,,