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Chris Tilton's blog
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
Grannie's Work Camp
Mood:  energetic
Topic: General

Ventured to North Carolina to help my Mom with her fixer upper.  A tall task since it has not been lived in since the 1970's.  The goal is to fix the house and barn and it will be a place for her in the winter and in the summer a guest house for vacationers.  

I knew it was going to be a hard week when we entered the drive way and there was a tree that had fallen across it.  She had mentioned it was there, but I was thinking "it's in the South, it's probably a pine tree - no trouble - the Johnsered will cut thru it like butter."  No such luck, it was an oak tree.  It was all that my 16" chain saw could do to saw it up into pieces small enough to manhandle out of the way.

The first night was very rough.  Some of the windows were broken out and the mosquito's were out in force. I think the citronella candles were a scent that beckoned the mosquito's rather than repell them. The first order of business the next day was to get some window screen and tack it across the windows to at least slow them down.

Oh and the Ace hardware where we got the window screen was unique - they also stocked wine.  So we joked that you could go there and get a box of nails and a bottle of Chardonnay. It's a small town the hardware store also had a packaging/shipping operation on the side - so the owner was hustling and doing what it takes to keep customers coming in the door. 

The house itself is an old tenant house and they used to farm tobacco on the place.  There are still tobacco lathes in the barn. Now it is overgrown and suffering from neglect.  I was surprised that the tree's were mostly oak and maple with a sprinkling of pines.  The plan is to have the place logged and plow that money back into the house.  Hopefully the hardwood will bring a better price. 

Our job was to take off the rusty tin roof and replace it with a modern metal roof.  The South side went plenty easy, but the North side was more work. Some of the wood was rotted and had to be replaced.  And poor Dan took a tumble when he fell thru the joists to the first floor. One of them had a rounded top instead of being cut square and his foot slid right off.  A scary moment - I heard the crash and I was on the roof and he was working in the attic.  I bent down and peered inside and didn't see him.  So went down to the attic and looked down at the new hole in the ceiling.  I could see his legs - but they weren't moving.

 So I gave a call and he answered, so that was a relief - at least he wasn't knocked out.  I came down and asked him where it hurt.  Found out that the worst of it was his ribs under his arm - a big bruise about the size of a softball.  A few other cuts and bruises, but that was the worst.  I offered ice, tylenol, but he moved around a little - sat down and took a break and within 30 minutes he was back up top, working thru the injury.

 Anyway we were able to get the roof mostly done.  There were a couple of end pieces that they did not give to us - and the local Lowes did not have that color in stock.  They just cover the ends - so the main roof is good for now.  Oh, and we got a gate up to keep out the curious.

Now we did have a neighbor stop by to see what was up. Turns out that he trains Bear Dogs for hunting.  Not only that, but he claims to have killed 3 bears on her property!  I was warned that there were bears in the area, so I did bring a hunting rifle.  And Grandma Susan did see a live bear about 10 miles away from the place while driving back to her motel. But my understanding is that they generally avoid humans and if you are in the woods to make a lot of noise and even if you are by yourself the guy said to talk - they recognize the human voice and will keep their distance.  The problem is when you surprise them.   If I am in the woods by myself I will bring a whistle and blow it every 50 feet just to be on the safe side ;-)

We did see some interesting wildlife - a box turtle at least twice or maybe three times as big as any box turtle that I have seen in Ohio.  A big lizard called a skink I believe their bodies were like 6 inches long or so. Max caught one and gave it a good shaking.  It either didn't taste good, the tail broke off, or maybe it nipped him but he ended up dropping it.  Oh and we saw 3 blue tailed lizards and a white frog - it was actually on the roof of the house of all places.   

The week was not all work.  We were about an hour and half from Nag's Head.  So we went there to check out the beach.  Very nice beaches but the area where we were at was abit bit touristy - we even passed a ferris wheel!  Young  Annabelle made friends with some girls and passed a ball with them and played in the sand.  

We had a little excitement when Dan spotted a crab making it's way up the beach and went to catch it.  The crab scampered for the nearest cover - under Becky's chair.  She let out a yell and begged Dan to get it away while she lifted her feet.  Then she did a 180 and grabbed Annabelle's bucket and caught the crab in it.  We all got a look at the captive and then turned him loose in the dunes.  But he started going back down the beach - my guess is that at the end of day when folks are leaving the sand crabs come up to scavenge what they can before the sea gulls get their fill. 

We ate at a place called "Dirty Dick's Crab Shack."  Their slogan was "Tell them you got your crabs from Dirty Dick's"  Meal was pretty good and they had a nice craft beer selection.  So it was a nice way to cap off the last day of vacation.

Folks in the town were very friendly, so that was a positive.  A couple of people knew the old house back in the woods and were happy that someone was getting it fixed back up again.  It was a tiring week at Grannies work camp - but productive.  We got the roof on and when I stepped on the scale at home - I lost 5 pounds.  When I go back in August, maybe I will lose the other 5 pounds that I put on this winter.  Oh and a special shout out to our Boston Terrier - Max who chased the lizards and kept the bears at bay.

Posted by christ77 at 12:29 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, May 28, 2014 9:40 PM EDT
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Saturday, May 17, 2014
Letter to Margaret

Dear Margaret,

It is with deep regret that I must inform you that I will be unable to attend your graduation party in June. My oldest daughter has a c-section delivery scheduled for that weekend, and we will be watching her children during this event.   So in lieu of my presence I am enclosing a check.  Hopefully it will relieve you of your sorrow.

I know that many think of this as a festive time in your young life. But I with the wisdom of years I must give warning of your impending adulthood.  If you knew what I knew, then instead of skipping down the graduation aisle, your class would shuffle solemnly to the stage, with heads bowed in dread.  And the music played would be a funeral dirge.  

Nay go back, back into the class room I say, delay adulthood as long as possible. Have the counselor recount your credits.  Perchance they miscounted and you would need to go back to school.  This actually happened at South a few years ago where the valedictorian did not have enough credits to graduate.   Or maybe tell the school that I really can’t remember the courses I took my freshman year, and that you would like to retake them to refresh your memory so that you don’t feel cheated. 

For once you leave you will have dreams of finding the cure for cancer, solving world peace, and other lofty goals.  And 10 years after you graduate it will be an accomplishment to make this month’s mortgage payment, drop off the child at daycare with matching shoes, and survive another day at some soulless corporate behemoth  without getting fired.   Yes the world will dash your dreams against the rocky shores of life. 

Many of your generation live their early adult years in their parents basement. Something to consider – all you would need is money for pizza and beer.  And no responsibility.  Get an xbox and the internet and you are set.  Yes if I had it all to do again this the route to go.  The only way that I would have left home is at the barrel of a gun and a quick lock change so that I could never go back.  

Your father has a basement  - so put it to good use, and use the check to open a credit line with Sarah’s pizza.  And the beer can be gotten by any enterprising American teenager.   And I think that it is a shame that an 18 year old can go fight in some god forsaken country, but they can’t go home and enjoy a cold one after a year of fighting for your life. But on the other hand I like the law for this aspect of it- because everyone breaks it as part of becoming an adult.  It’s a rite of passage.  And isn’t that part of being an American – rebelling against authority, or at least questioning it?  So don’t be afraid to rebel and question.

I am given to understand that you are class valedictorian and a member of the honor society.  Very surprising to me as I recall your father and myself in school.  We scarcely cracked open a book, they remained safely in our lockers until they were returned at the end of school year, no wear on them at all. And if curiosity had gotten the better of us and we had opened one of the books – well we would have consumed the same knowledge as a pair of monkey’s.   But then I think that the both of us are relieved that none of our characteristics were passed on to our offspring. 

Now maybe graduation isn’t going to be that bad of thing. Your generation can’t hardly louse things up any worse than what is being done now. And maybe we do need you to enter the work force.  You need to work hard to take care of our social security and medicare.  Focus on getting a good job and a nice house – with a big basement.   Your folks may need to move in with you instead. 

As Shakespeare once stated, Advice is wasted on the young.  So I am sure that you will not heed me at all but:

All things in Moderation.  An old saying but true.  Love, alcohol, etc.

Neither a lender nor a borrower be – Look at the crazy student debt that people are piling up.  After you graduate college everyone wants to reward themselves with a new car.  Get a nice used one instead.

A job is an ends to a means – Not every job is the perfect job.  But getting a nice pay check and living for the weekends ain’t bad.

And the check – remember that studying takes a lot of energy.  And carbohydrates will provide you that energy, so yes even down this path – pizza and beer is the answer!


Irresponsibly and irrelevantly,


 J. Chris Tilton


Posted by christ77 at 9:04 PM EDT
Updated: Saturday, May 17, 2014 9:07 PM EDT
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Thursday, September 5, 2013
ma and pa go to New York

Well the drive to New York was mostly unevental - that is until we got to New York itself.  The GPS went insane and decided to take us thru downtown New York!   The Lincoln tunnel was like 4 lanes of traffic going down to 2 lanes.  Then we missed a turn and where trying to get back where we needed to be in stop and go traffic. Then another tunnel to get to Queens.  Finally get to the expressway for the last leg of the trip and there is car wreck backing up traffic.  We lost 2 hours in that mess. At one point we were like 2 hours ahead of Uncle Vaughn and he beat us to the hotel by like 15 minutes.

Feels like you can't drive for more than 15 minutes without paying a toll to someone.  We spent a good 30 to 40 dollars in tolls.  While in the state of New York we paid more in tolls than in gas I am sure. People talk funny around here.  The guy at the pump in New Jersey asked if I was paying with cash or a cawd?  I said cash or what???  he said 'cash or a credit cawd?'   Oh, a credit card.

Stopped in New Jersey for gas - one of the last places in the country where you can't pump your own gas, they do it for you. (I think Oregon is the other).  I guess you wouldn't want such a dangerous and complicated process like putting gas in your car to anyone but a professional, right?  In Ohio, when my kids were 12 years old I had them gas us up. But then we were safe about it - I made them put out their cigarettes first... Just kidding.  But geeze talk about make work for somebody.

The railway and the subway system is hard for an out of towner to figure out.  Thank god the people of New York are helpful and polite to us lunkheads from out of town.  We had to ask umpteen times for directions or for what train/subway/stop to use and the people were great. They patiently pushed and prodded us along and we got where we wanted to go when we wanted to get there.  So nothing but praise from me.

I will never forget walking out of the Long Island Railroad car into Penn Station and seeing the people scurrying hither and thro.  Everyone seeming to be going somewhere with a purpose.  That is except for me and Becky.  We had no idea where to go.  I did the tube in London as a teenager and have had a couple of trips to DC where I used the subway, but neither prepared me for this.

Times Square was a circus.  Saw the naked cowboy (underwear, cowboy hat, and cowboy boots), a naked woman (high heels, thong, and that was pretty much it), spider man, mickey mouse, street vendors, tons of people with all sorts of accents - I could pull up a lounge chair with a 6 pack of beer and be entertained all night just watching the folks walking by.

Callies wedding - which was the whole purpose for being there, was quite the event.  It took place in a nice Cathlolic church on Long Island. While we were outside, one long limosine pulled up and we thought oh, cool they rented a limo.  Then a few minutes later a second stretch limo pulled up and then a rolls royce!  One limo apiece for the bridesmaids and groomsmen, then the rolls for the bride and groom.  Lots of expensive wheels in the parking lot of the church.

Ceremony went smoothly. Being a Catholic wedding the attendees got a work out - standing up, sitting down, kneeling. Working up an appettite for the reception.  

The reception was held at a yacht club.  And it was what one would picture in their mind for a yacht club.  Marble floors, nice decor, and an excellent wait staff.  The dancing was a lot of be-bop music.  And the young folk were getting into it.  But I was hoping for slow song or two so that I could get on the floor.  That didn't happen - which may have been a good thing, it kept me from embarassing myself.

Found it interesting that for the first dance and again for the mother/ son dance that both Kyle and Callie chose country songs. Maybe they need to leave the east coast and move the midwest ;-)

My sister, Heather, was on the dance floor quite a bit.  But I noticed her husband, Tim, did not dance - except the father/daughter dance.  But then he dances like me - about as good as a fence post.  The rest of the Grace clan acquited themselves well on the dance floor. 

 They spent more on one wedding than all 4 of my kids weddings put together. It was quite the event.  It was the first child of Heathers to be married.  And I told Callie afterwards that she has raised the bar high for her siblings.  They will have to marry a Kennedy or something to outdo her.  

We went to Fire Island where we hung out on the beach a bit and retired to the house that was rented for the weekend where we had a meal prepared by Michael. It was surprisingly good. I remarked to him that the only thing Joe could cook was ramman noodles, so I was impressed.  Had a few drinks afterwards and got to talk a bit with the east coast portion of the family. It was interesting that Michael and I were the last two to go to bed.  Then the next morning - he was up first and then I.  That might be my problem and in the future, Michaels.  We get no beauty sleep, we burn the candle at both ends.  So in another 30 years he might look worn and haggard like me!

The drive back was almost exactly 12 hours from Long Island to our home. Max was certainly excited to see us back.  One curious thing was we asked Chelsea and Dan to watch our place.  Take care of the animals while we were gone.  We asked them to feed and water the chickens and of course collect the eggs.  We need to be more precise in the future. When we came back there was a shelf of the fridge full of eggs.  I guess next time we need to add additional instruction - collect eggs AND place them in an egg carton!  Anyway good to be back.  Back to the grind though.  Working from home today and I am also on call this week.  Uggh. 


Posted by christ77 at 12:57 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, September 9, 2013 8:05 AM EDT
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Thursday, March 21, 2013
Mr Cuddles barfs

This morning I found a strange glob of shredded material on the floor - right in the doorway between the living room and dining room.  Mr Cuddles has barfed before, but it has always been the dry cat food.

Becky got up a few minutes later and when she sat on the couch - exclaimed - hey why did you eat the rest of my beef jerky???  I told her that I didn't eat it, but it must have been that shredded up mess I cleaned up earlier.  She has brought it on the trip to chew on the airliner for her ears and had some left over.  Mr Cuddles then decided to help himself to the leftovers and the spices must not have agreed with his delicate constitution. Hopefully it is a lesson learned to stay out of people food...

Posted by christ77 at 9:54 AM EDT
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Monday, March 18, 2013
Random thoughts on san antonio tx

Had a good time visiting Joe in Texas.  He looks sharp in his dress blues.  I enjoyed watching the graduation and coin ceremonys. Joes squadron was awarded a 'Warrior' status for their performance during basic.  Joe was nominated to be a honor graduate, but the Drill Instructors superiors turned it down.  But at least it was considered.  On the other hand, he got a compliment from his DI during the coin ceremony.  The other graduates he gave a courteous 'good job, good luck', but to Joe he said, " good job Tilton, you are going to go on and do great things."  So he must see something in him.

Sea World was fun, the zoo was a good time, and we did see the Alamo.  I can see why it was over run - Low, thin walls. One thing I noticed was a lot of women that wore skirts and cowboy boots.  Not saying it's a bad thing, but its a different look.  The river walk in San Antonio was a good time, but it got crowded in a hurry due to it being St. Patricks day.  We finally got tired of fighting the crowds and called it day.  But not before having a nice steak at the Salt Grass Steak House.  Poor Sam ordered the least expensive steak, but it turned out to the biggest steak - she could only eat half of it.

 Our GPS was confused at times - I think it is due to the access roads that run next to the highways for one.  But the first night we had a devil of a time finding our motel. I could tell that we were heading away from civilization.  The lights were getting fewer and I could swear we could see the glow of the eyes of coyotes by the highway.  We finally gave up and called them for directions.  

Becky survived her first plane flight.  She was so nervous before we left, but really enjoyed the trip out.  Any more I don't like heights, so I just read or watch a movie on the tablet. But on the way out she wanted me to look out the window and look down on  this or that.  But really I just want to read and forget that I am 10,000 feet up in the air. So I reluctantly looked out the window.  Now we did get some turbulance on the last leg back to Dayton, but she managed it just fine.  

Joe's girlfriend went with us and was a trooper through out the trip.  They are still very serious and very attached.  The plan is to get married once he is finished with tech school.  Then she will go with him to whereever he is stationed.   Which at this point could be South Carolina, Europe, or Japan. 

At the graduation was a father of one of the graduates.  He had a red beret and all sorts of campaign ribbons and stripes on his sleeves. One of the other graduated asked him what he did - "I kill bad people" was the reply.  The graduate then asked well can you elborate a little more - "I am very good at it" was the responce.  Sounds like a guy that you would not want to mess with. 

There is a small museum on base. And I did a double take when I saw an ancient man in World War 2 aviator gear complete with goggles in one of the exhibits.  He entered the air force in 1943 and retired in the 1970's.  So he had some stories to tell. We got a picture of him and Joe - grandma Susan had the best comment when she saw the picture, "before and after."  I was thinking that could be me someday - a living museum exhibit - 90 years old standing next to a Atari 1200 or an IBM mainframe in a computer museum.  "Let this be a lesson to you boys, save for retirement or you'll spend the rest of your life working like me..."

 I did enjoy the weather in San Antonio, temps got progressively warmer during our stay and were to be in the 90's our last day. Quite a contrast to Ohio, it was spitting snow when we left.  Joe is changed.  Very polite, very mature, very meticulous with an attention to detail.  He is so looking forward to tech school and getting on with his career. Right now he is at Shepards AFB in TX.  Unfortunately he is in an old section of the base as far as living quarters and shares a dorm room with 2 other guys.  So he isn't happy about that, but is happy that basic and the DI's are behind him.   



Posted by christ77 at 8:17 PM EDT
Updated: Wednesday, March 20, 2013 12:49 PM EDT
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Friday, March 8, 2013
Last letter to Joe in basic training

Well I bet that you are elated – almost done with basic training! You are practically a veteran now. Any word yet on tech school or what’s next?  And from the quick description that you gave during your phone call, beast week was a beast.  I told the guys about the big tents flopping in the wind and both of them were in the army and they were impressed that it must have been quite a wind to do that. 

Incidentally, on the drive back from Columbus this week I saw a big C-140 cargo plane doing touch and go landings at Wright Patt airforce base.  Amazing to see those big planes go over top the highway.  They just seem to hang in the air – like they are going too slow to stay airborne.  Anyhow it made me think of you and wondered where you would be sent next and what you would be assigned to do as a specialty.

Spent the day in Columbus on Thursday.  We were supposed to go early in the week, but we had 6 inches of snow and so they cancelled.  Lots of wrecks on the roads as it started as freezing rain and switched over to snow. There is still snow on the ground but it is melting fast.  Interesting machine that we are getting the software set up on.  It is a multi-million dollar machine that puts coatings on eyeglass lenses.   It is enclosed in glass with an air vent system that keeps any dust particles out.  Right now they use people to put the trays in one end and take them out the other. But I guess that they will eventually use robots to do that too so that it is all automated.  My piece doesn’t seem too hard, I just need to sit down next week and get it coded before I leave.

Your mother and I are getting ready to eat breakfast at a restaurant in Camden.  It is a little Mom and Pop place – not the best in the world, but it is a change of pace.  Plus it’s always good to support local businesses whenever you can.   Got some chicken feed for the new baby chicks we get the weekend after we are back. 

From looking at the paper we will see you for sure on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.  Although Saturday looks to be the only day that you are allowed off base.  I want to see the Alamo sometime, but if you are not up to it we can do it on one of the other days by ourselves. Another off base thing is the RiverWalk area, looks like there are some nice   For sure we can probably spend time on base watching a movie or two, getting a meal, and so forth.  I remember that you have some friends that might want to go to different places too.   I guess we can work out the details when we see you. 

 This is the last letter that we will send since we will be seeing you next week.  We are both looking forward to seeing you. 

Mom and Pop

Posted by christ77 at 8:41 PM EST
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joseph letter

Hope that you survived Beast week OK.  I guess they gave you gear to keep you warm at night.  It’s Saturday morning here and it’s snowing lightly. Since I am on call I am just staying inside today.  Got the wood burner fired up, so I’ll be staying warm and cozy.  Listening to some old tunes today – Green Grass and High Tides Forever by the Outlaws, some Marshal Tucker and Charlie Daniels.

Lots of stuff going on at work, I am going to Columbus next week for a couple of days. There is a program written by a contractor that needs fine tuned.  So I have no idea how it is coded. It’s always fun to dive into someone else’s code and try to figure out what they doing.  Also the vendor will be there for the device that the software works with – so no pressure to perform at all!

By the way I don’t know it the latest fad hit before you went to boot camp or not but you remember how gangnam style was a hit on the internet and all?  Well the latest internet fad is the Harlem Shuffle – it started in February, but I am not sure if it was before you went in or not.  Anyway it is a song compiled by a guy from Brooklyn.  And there is a dance called the Harlem Shuffle invented like over 10 years ago – he just put a song to it and gave it the same name.  Any way there is a bunch of youtube video’s out about it.

So being a hip guy and all, I wanted to find out some more about it.  There are few lyrics, but there is a lady singing some phrases in Spanish.  Come to find out that one of the things she says : ‘Con Las Terristoristas’ means “With the Terrorists”!  Only in America could a hit song have that in it. I just shake my head and smile.

But on the other hand I look at another aspect of it. Only in American could you have the multi-culturalism to make it happen.  A dance created by a black guy, a latino song writer who compiled the song, and the first hit youtube video for the Harlem Shuffle was made by some white guys in their college dorm room.  That’s America – everyone working together to make something happen.

Spoke with Vanessa on the phone this week.  Had not talked with her in a while and so I wanted to catch up. She is doing well.  Her job is keeping her busy of course.  They have a nice tax refund coming and so they are going to catch up bills and put some of it back for a trip to Alabama.  I guess that is the closest beach for them.

Power just went out for a minute – fortunately the document autosaved.  Well the power flashed 4 times, even Chelsea and Dan were affected in Gratis.  Oh their refund is messed up – turbotax said that they would get $4k but their deposit was only $2k. I think it is because they are behind on their student loans and they kept so much to pay them.  Also I have not seen any tax document from Last Chance Garage – so you need to contact them and have the mail out the W2 so you can do taxes.


Posted by christ77 at 8:41 PM EST
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nuther joe letter

Recuperating from a late night this morning.  We baby sat Annabelle while Chelsea and Dan went to Dave and Busters to celebrate Dan’s birthday.   They stayed out later than what we were expecting. Fortunately Annabelle was fairly well behaved and slept most of the night. Your mother fell asleep holding her on the couch.  She had a couple of fussy moments, but that’s to be expected with a little one.  Dan is thinking about getting back into mowing lawns this spring.  Lots of future in that… Chelsea better hurry and get her degree so that they can make some real money. Oh and it is a sleep-in Sunday for us,  we both laid back down after breakfast for a nap. 

We did spoil Cash and Serenity a little this weekend.  I got Cash a ball glove and bat, then got Serenity a volleyball. According to Chad they had fun playing with the box that the volleyball was in after we left – go figure.  Oh and Chad is starting to do some work on your car.   No ETA, but I guess some progress is being made.  Also the battery is ruined, he is going to replace it – but will probably ask to be reimbursed at some point.

I am on call next week – yeehah.  I did work from home on Friday – we had an ice storm over night. It left about an 1/8 to an ¼ inch of ice depending on where you were at.  There were some wrecks on the interstate.  I did get some wood split today.  Had to do a little repair work on the tractor first – an old hose was cracked and needed to be replaced.  Keep getting a whiff of anti-freeze, but can’t tell where it is coming from.  I did top off the radiator the last time that I used it, so hopefully it is just some splashed on the engine.  Oh your friend Cody is having problems with his car still.  It has been out here for the last 2 weeks, he had not had the time or money to get it fixed.

Your mother got her  first batch of maple syrup done this week.  It turned out pretty good all in all.  Once you are settled in for your specialty training maybe we can send you some when we send your lap top, etc.  Also don’t forget to do your taxes once you get settled in – you have until April 15th.  So there is plenty of time, but don’t keep putting it off.   Even if you have money coming back, there is a penalty for filing late.  I got mine done this weekend – I am getting back a whole $18 for Federal, but I do get about $250 back on State. 

I did fire up your lap top this week.  Your Norton anti-virus was expired, so I changed you over to Microsoft Security Essentials – it is free and that is what I use.  I did upgrade the operating system etc.  I will leave it unplugged like it was so that lightening or a power surge won’t knock it out.  I have been playing a little bit of World of Tanks,  I am about a million credits away from the tier 10 now.  I am still thinking March to get it.  The group that I am with though doesn’t seem to do a whole lot.  I am concentrating on the grind but if things don’t change then I may forget about them and just do public matches.  I have just as much fun doing that.  I have seen Asa on there a couple of times, but he is on late generally – close to my bedtime, so I haven’t sent him an invitation.

Look forward to seeing you in March,   Ma and Pa

Posted by christ77 at 8:40 PM EST
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joe letter

Sound like things are improving for you at basic.  I am sure you are wanting to get this behind you and to go on to the next big thing.  I posted your mailing address on the family group on facebook.  So hopefully folks will take a few minutes to send you a letter or two.  What a way to start your birthday – on guard duty of course!  If you haven’t already, I hope to have your first legal drink with you when we visit in March.

2013 is shaping up not to be a good year health wise on your mothers side of the family. Your uncle Tom was taken to the hospital again.  Couldn’t talk, couldn’t walk.  A CAT scan showed no sign of a recent stroke.  He is recovering – he is back out of the hospital. I guess they want to do an MRI and see if that shows anything.  We plan to go visit him tomorrow.  Angelique has been posting on facebook about her pregnancy.  So far, so good, all seems to be well.

Got the pickup truck stuck in the back field last weekend.  You know how the top layer of the ground freezes overnight, but there is mud underneath?  Well I walked out the field and saw where a deer broke the wire and bunch of insulators.  So loaded up the truck and went back out fix it all up.  So I got it all spliced back together and fixed.  But of course the truck got stuck when it thawed out.  So I left it parked there all week knowing that there would be freezing temps all this weekend.  Went out and drove it right up out of the ruts.  Well it wasn’t quite that easy as the front doors were frozen shut  - but the back doors would open so I had to crawl to the front.  Max looked at me like wtf??  What a hassle.  But your mother got some pics of the truck with all the mud, snow, and ice on it.

Oh and the Bush’s place – you wouldn’t recognize the field behind the house now.  ALL the woods are gone.  Well except for a 20’ strip along the creek.  Quite a transformation from what it was before.  I guess they want the land to pay for itself, so they are going to put every inch they can into crops.  So no more deer back in that creek bottom area.  They have been burning stumps and such most every day. With corn at over $7 per bushel, I can’t blame them.

I went to the South girls basketball state tournament game. Since I was a junior high coach, I got invited as a courtesy.  It was a low scoring game and the team had problems with a simple half court trap. They lost by three points.  They did not have that good of a season, I think they only won like 6-7 games.  Oh and the South boys team is hurting.  They have one tall player who is like 6’ 5”, he got hurt in practice.  He was one of their big scorers and did a good job on defense.  They start the state tournament next weekend, so they will be hurting.

It was a pleasure to talk to you on the phone today.  I think it did your mother good.  Glad to hear that you are improving and doing well.  Oh when you go out on beast week do you get to do marshmallows and make smores???  Something tells me – not so much…

Yore pappy and mammy  

Posted by christ77 at 8:40 PM EST
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Joe letter


Not that you would care, but I am getting callouses on my hands from doing all the chores by myself.  While we are cutting up wood in our struggle to survive the latest cold front (9 degree temps and more snow) you are in balmy San Antonio courtesy of the air force.  It must be nice to be able to live in such a mild climate as opposed to the harsh, bitter winter we now have in the barren plains of Western Ohio.  Oh to be there.

Just got your letter a few minutes ago – quite a coincidence that a few minutes after I sit down to compose a letter, our first letter from you would arrive.  Too bad about your tail bone.  I would have thought that they would have given you some athletic tape and a piece of foam rubber to put on it before physical training.  Maybe you can improvise something. It does look like your mile run and pushups improved significantly.  Just remember that this is like 2 a days in football, once you get this behind you then things will get better. 

Played our last basketball game of the season just this morning.  Had a bad first quarter, but played even the rest of the game.  We made a good run in the 4th quarter, and closed the gap but gave up some easy baskets when we were pressing in the last couple of minutes and ended up losing by 10.  Our bus driver to the game was your old bus driver.  She said hi and asked how you were and I told her about the Air Force and everything.  She was happy for you and wished you well.  She has friends in Fort Worth and they have made side trips to San Antonio, she liked it.  This is the last season that I am coaching for a while plus I am no longer doing stories for the paper.  So I am taking time off from sports.

Bought some beer for the super bowl tomorrow.  Of all things – Rye Beer.  Saw it at the store and had to try it out.  Smooth taste, not bad.  It will just be me and your mother for the game.  She wanted to do up a vegetable tray, but I told her not to bother since no one else will be here. One last swallow of the rye whiskey remains – I will finish it tomorrow night.  Chelsea will probably stop by to do her laundry tomorrow but that is it.  Oh, I guess her job is going OK.  They are slowly catching up on bills. Little Annie has 3 teeth now – 2 on the bottom and one on top.  Little Elaina has glasses now.  With both her parents being near sighted, she didn’t have much of a chance at normal vision. 

We are giving serious consideration to coming out for the graduation.  We need to pull the trigger by next weekend as you get the best air fares about a month out.  So me and your mother will talk things over and make a final decision between now and then.  It will be the first time that she has flown, but it would be good practice for when you go overseas.   We would like to visit where ever you end up being stationed overseas.  

Posted by christ77 at 8:39 PM EST
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