Marge’s trip to Florida in the summer of ’78 is now over. She did a great job towing the trailer all the way down and back, to say nothing of living in it with the girls in the summer. They came back in the early part of August, but I didn’t get around to writing about it. Better late than never as the old saying goes. It was great to have all of us together again! The educational part of the journey seems to have been a success. That is immersion in Spanish. The girls took part as well. Ingrid is taking Spanish II this year along with German II which she started in the regular language program at school. She is the only one who has done follow-up language study and practice though. I did buy a short-wave radio with the thought that Marge could keep up with some of the Spanish programs. That didn’t work out as planned though. I have been a “radio bug” since high school and did enjoy some short wave listening on the ham and commercial bands.
Going back to the Florida story; the trailer sprung a leak and rained on Ingrid, or at least dripped on her when it rained, which it did about every day. This is typical of Florida and I don’t think I could stand to live there myself. Some of the people down there tried to stop it with some sort of paint on the roof, but that didn’t really work completely. Eventually, after they reached home I fixed it by removing all the old sealing compound around a roof vent and re-sealing it with roofing cement. Mr. Jack of all Trades I guess.
With the girls back, we went to the Jersey shore for a week which was our summer vacation for this year. The weather was pleasant and we went to the beach several times. We also took a trip to a local reconstructed glass-making village in New Jersey. That was informative and a pleasant outing. I always liked the shore and the ocean, but a week at a time is about the practical limit.
I do have a frog story to share. Florida has some very small, perhaps tiny frogs about the size of two joints on your little finger if you have small hands. One of these hitched a ride north in the trailer and was still alive when we took the trip to New Jersey. These frogs have a tremendous frog croak roughly about like a good sized dog bark. Really!! Our resident Froggie started to sing his song which surprised us almost as much as our neighbors who easily heard it. Marge located it in a track that was part of our door. She escorted it outside so he could do his best, maybe even find a girl frog who liked the sound. We will never know; we did what we could.
The Ford is showing its age and the brakes do not feel as sound as they should. We did have it looked at in the garage and they worked on the car but it still does not seem as good as it should be. We went to a local campground over Labor Day and unfortunately, a rear bearing in the car failed and the axle seized up. Fortunately, we were with friends who helped me get to my garage and back. By the time this was repaired the cost was about $150. I think the ford is about at the end of the line for duty as a tow vehicle. I am going to take a chance and do some modifications on the Chevrolet. It has low mileage for its age and it may be able to use as a tow vehicle rather than buying a new/newer car for use as a tow vehicle.
I used my amateur band radio that I build and am quite pleased with it, especially on trips. The radio is company and takes the monotony of driving around PA on business. Marge now accepts this. Initially, she foresaw me hunched over my radio, neglecting her and the girls. I don’t know where this came from but we got over this phase. My main reason for building it was for company when I took road trips. I have a company car and the radio is easy to plug into the cars cigar lighter for power and I have a magnetic antenna that I mount on the roof of the car. Easy on, easy off. I thought about working on my code and maybe going for the next class license; that could be a good cold weather project.
We tried tennis lessons and finished the short course. It didn’t really amount to anything, I think due to us not having a tennis court near us to practice. Marge and I both joined the Moravian church choir. We have attended for some time now and we both like choral singing. They wanted a tenor and I am a bass. The director did seem to appreciate new voices. Marge has a good solid alto voice and this is now our contribution to involvement in the church; and activity that is enjoyable for both of us.
I had a trip to Harrisburg a little while ago and took Marge with me. We stayed at a quite nice motel and ate at a Japanese restaurant. This was, for us, unusual and interesting. Instead of tables, there were as best I can describe it, steel grills surrounded on three sides with wooden counters. This was the eating area. The cook came with the food for dinner, turned the heat up on the grill and cooked it in front of us and then served it to us.
Some of the cooks were very showy as they flashed their knives, cooked and seasoned the food. Our cook was not very showy but the food was good and the experience was very pleasant for both of us.
We made some changes in the layout of the living room and find that now we use it quite regularly; while before it had been more or less wasted space. The family room in the rear would get quite crowded and junky looking occasionally. I have to do some work on the TV antenna system and that should improve our TV watching.
For the outside, we got some ground cover plants for around the house. I got small ones in 1-gallon pots because (1) the cost is less and (2) it is much less work for me planting them, especially in our hard and rocky soil.
Did I mention earlier that I made some rhubarb wine? I think so but not certain. One gallon came out quite nice but the other is somewhat cloudy. I think I left the rhubarb and sugar in the first stage of fermenting a day too long resulting in a cloudy batch. I think I can filter the clouds out. I got some Concord grapes last week and am in the process of making a batch of Concord wine. I haven’t made that in a while and look forward to this.
I am going to an amateur radio conference next week and our family is going camping for the last time the following weekend. then I hope to be able to get some free firewood for the picking up and then cutting that into pieces. That will take me into October. In October I have a business trip to Duke Power in Charlotte. Later in the month, I have a speech to present at a Utility conference in Scottsdale, AZ. I really anticipate both trips.
I plan to make some bookcases and cabinets for the house. I really appreciate being able to do build things with my hands. I enjoy my work as a manager, and cabinet carpentry gives me another way to express my interests. So you can see I have quite a few projects lined up for fall and early winter in addition to the everyday things that have to be taken care of.