21 Aug 2011

In The Driveway

Posted by Sam

June 24, 2011

Bright new greetings from the bus in the driveway in Havelock, North Carolina. This week I had my second cataract operation and not only can I read the road signs, I can put away the magnifying glass I’ve been using for the past year. The good news is that I can read the ball scores on TV; the bad news is I’m shocked at how old I look!

We have thoroughly enjoyed being close to the kids these past six weeks, The Grands have kept us busy with a flurry of T-ball, softball and LaCrosse as the school year ended. We have dinner together two or three times a week and help out where we can. Grampa especially likes a little list of chores, now that he has all our stuff polished.

We are looking forward to flying out to Seattle/Tacoma on July 13th. We originally planned to fly to Utah after our visit and rent a U-haul to drive our stuff back here. (It’s still in a storage unit in Logan.) We have calculated the cost at $3,500 though, so may just leave it there. We expect to be back in the Northwest in three – four  years, and while there is stuff I’d like to have (my art) there’s nothing I need.

We are planning to rent a place in New Bern, NC when we get back. We aren’t sure about continuing our job. If we do, it will involve a smaller geographic area than we worked before.

I am feeling much better. My shoulder has improved, though I hope to get a cortisone shot before we take our trip. My foot has healed up nicely. I still can’t quite get the diabetes and liver function under control. I’ve had an ultrasound which ruled out a liver tumor but my liver enzymes are alarmingly high. I don’t drink anymore (although I remember those days fondly) and I quit taking all arthritis and pain meds in February. I had a screen for hepatitis last week but don’t have the results yet. The next step is to change the diabetes meds since it appears something I’m taking is irritating my liver. Dave figures it’s Diet Coke. I hope not.

Anyway, it would appear that life on the road as we’ve enjoyed it is coming to a close. We’re having kind of a hard time with the transition, but are talking it out, and fortunately have given ourselves enough time that we are coming to fairly comfortable conclusions.

We  find a lot of similarity between Oregon and North Carolina; the ocean, the rolling Piedmont, piney woods and a mountain area blue and cool six hours away. New Bern was established in 1710 and was the states first capital. The Tryon Palace, home to early Governors, is still the main tourist attraction. It is an artist friendly town of around 30,000, has two community theatres and a beautiful waterfront. (Also the birthplace of Pepsi, originally known as “Brad’s Drink,” developed in a local drug store soda fountain.)

We are following, in addition to the Mariners, the Kinston Indians, a farm team for Cleveland. Kinston is the smallest city in the nation with a minor league team, and baseball in Kinston (an hour away) goes back to 1908. They are in the Carolina league and are moving next year, so we are glad we’re getting see them now.

The family made a trek last week to Beaufort, NC to see the new Blackbeard exhibit. They have found the wreckage of his flagship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge, that ran aground in 1718 in Beaufort Inlet. They have built an exhibit around the artifacts recently brought  up. We loved it. Xander got pretty excited yesterday when he caught me in my black eye patch. ( only wear it at night for a few days); he’s got dibs on it when I’m through.,

This afternoon we are going to explore Bath, NC, where Blackbeard “settled” after a pardon from the King. He evidently didn’t stay “settled” long, but there are probably still some pretty good T-shirts for sale. Legend has it that there is buried booty somewhere around Bath.

Tonight we are going to see “The Promised Land,” an annual pageant the Mormon Community presents near Bath. It’s the story of one family’s journey and travails to go west. Susie has a lead role, and Katie is proudly playing “a townspeople.”

Winter, spring and fall in North Carolina are wonderful “weather-wise.” Summer, not so much, and summer arrived instead of spring this year. It’s been the hottest, driest spring in Eastern NC since 1957. Temps have been running in the mid nineties. It gets down to the seventies at night. (Fran Greenlee, in Bend was rejoicing the other day because it has finally gotten into the seventies during the day!) Dave is tanned and happy in the heat.

We do get some breezes. Had some in the 50 mph range the other night! By the time we got out to put up the awning the rainwater in the driveway was over the tops of our feet. These storms are very dramatic, constant lightning and sometimes, hail as big as a quarter. Fortunately the hail has missed us.

We always like to share culinary adventures in the South, and we often think of Jim Gozdowski when we make these stops. Jim always counted on Dave to visit the, shall we say, “not so mainstream” spots and try the “unknown special.”  At Ghent’s Sandwich Shop in New Bern (est. 1949) the perky little waitress said “We’re famous for the hot hamburger plate, y’all should try it.”  So we did; Dave also ordered an Arnold Palmer, which he had to explain, was half ice tea and half lemonade. “Cool,” she says. “Who’s Arnold Palmer?” We described Arnie as best we could and she said: “Oh! Like Tiger Woods only a rilly nice person!” Yep. And the hot hamburger plate turned out to be a slice of wonder bread topped with a burger patty and cheese, and the whole plate covered with french fries and gravy!! And it really wasn’t nearly as tasty as the fries and gravy we enjoyed in Quebec. But it ate okay, even if we didn’t cover the mess with ketchup the way Miss Perky recommended.

Well, that’s the latest Word from the Bird. Hope you all have some sunshine and cool breezes. We’ll be in touch.


Sam & Dave

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