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Family Time and the Motor Home

TBUTLER

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We are wrapping up a three week stay with our family in Missouri. We've had a chance to see all of our grandchildren and enjoy some time with each. Ryan is now a freshman in high school and a new member of the marching band. Spencer is in eighth grade and enjoys sports as only a young boy can. Kaitlyn started sixth grade in the middle school and is just getting involved in 4H and is picking out an instrument for the school band. Elaina is a fourth grader, a junior cheerleader and really enjoys taking care of her younger brother, age 8 months. Luke is setting weight records for 8 month old babies but that will change as he has just figured out crawling and is about three days short of becoming a real carpet terror. They are all growing up fast. The two older boys are already taller than Louise and likely will pass me before we see them again next spring. I'm glad that we aren't feeding and clothing them! Our children, the parents of these wonderful children have weathered the economic downturn and are making a recovery along with the rest of the country. Our son-in-law works in the housing industry and we were particularly worried about his business but he has come through the tough times and is rebuilding his business. Our son is working in the petroleum and natural gas industry, needless to say he is doing well with the present boom in that industry.

Watching the grandchildren grow up is a thrill but also quite humbling. We went on a hike with Ryan. He is working on his Eagle Scout hiking merit badge. I indicated a desire to take on a ten mile hike with him. The hike was about all I could manage. The trail was rough and overgrown with brush and weeds. He took the hike in stride, I was beat by the time we reached the parking lot. Louise went along as well and was able to finish the hike despite crippling pain in her knees. We both felt in pretty good shape having just been on hiking trails frequently in the last four months in New Zealand and Australia. It will be a while before I'm able to get Louise on the trail again. Wisdom would have had me choosing a different trail if I had thought about the wet summer and its affect on the growth of brush. The trail was one I had hiked before but it has been rerouted over rougher ground than the old route which I loved to hike almost 30 years ago.

We have been pleasantly surprised by August in Missouri. Today is one of the few days we have had temperatures in the mid 80's. Most days have been in the upper 70's and low 80's with frequent cloudy and rainy days. Nights have been in the 50's and 60's so the air conditioners are getting a real break. A normal August in Missouri has frequent days with temperatures in the upper 90's. We remember them well enough that we don't live here any more. Neither do we stay at home in Texas. I'm still working with the dealer for Carefree of Colorado trying to resolve issues with the awnings. The replacement canvas which was shipped to us here in Missouri arrived and I immediately found three of the four awnings to be significantly different than the original awnings. Two were narrower than the original and one was much longer, not matching the length of any of the others. I have a warranty claim number and they are supposed to be replacing them for me but as of this date, I haven't heard of a schedule for their arrival. We'll have to pick them up at another location on our route of travel.

Both Louise and I have had dental exams and subsequent dental work. We also visited our dermatologist and both of us have passed our annual skin check with flying colors, always a relief. Louise renewed contacts with her bridge club, a group of ladies she played cards with for many years. Tomorrow we'll attend the monthly meeting of the Missouri Pilots Association and touch base with a number of friends. We'll get updates on their lives and let them know what we've been doing since we last saw them. I wanted to fly while here in Missouri but the weather, foggy and low clouds and blocked that activity.

So what does our motorhome have to do with all this? It is the magic vehicle that makes it all work. We have been able to stay here in our own "home" parked in our daughter's driveway. We are within a few miles of our son and we have plenty of time on our own as well as time to visit with each of them. We aren't inconveniencing either of the families. We have our schedule and their schedules are their own. We don't have to worry about carrying suitcases and living in motel rooms. We are cooking and eating the food we need to remain healthy when we aren't eating at restaurants or with family. It's a budget thing, it's a health thing, it's a convenience thing. Our motorhome is an important part of our life and staying in touch with family.



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