Catching Up On Activities Around the Park

Their has been so much going on that I have not written about.  It seems life at Eastgate is so busy.  Never a dull moment.  On the other hand, the other problem is that I have had to find another way to transfer my photos to my laptop from my phone.  I did have my phone synchronized to Facebook.  All of them would go directly to fb and I could choose those to download to my laptop to write the blog.  Now Facebook has done away with that feature.  They have started a new App called Moments.  So far I have not found it compatible to the laptop, only the phones.  They seem to want you to share your pictures with everyone else.  That’s really not what I do.  So I’ve had to find a new cloud for storage.   That has been completed, and now I am moving forward again.  My phone is not quite a year old and it seems it ran out of storage already.  You mean 2550 pictures + is too many?…..lol….I guess…..I went to see about an internal memory card.   Well Samsung 6 doesn’t have one…..Darn…..So I have had to  download remove at least half my photos in the phone.  So now I think I have it figured out…..Its 2 steps forward and 1 step back….lol….That’s just the way it is.

In this blog I am just going to cover some of the things briefly that have been going on.  First we have started a Garden Club.

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We only have five members.  lol  Pretty small.  We decided our first challenge was to spruce us our entrance.  It is full of Aloe and Mother in Laws tongue.

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Very uninviting.  We wanted to completely redo it with plants that would flower and have different textures.  Now how does one raise money?……Have a Plant sale….lol…The girls drove through the park and found lots of plant starts that people wanted to get rid of.  They found old pots from people, used tin cans and milk cartons to repot in.  We advertised, we would take any pots or items that people were getting rid of.   We received more plants and pots.  We also made some mosaic blocks for the garden.   We scarfed up cement stepping stones from everywhere,  and also found some broken ones.   lol….We made many of the blocks.  The girls are now pros at mosaic work.  Finally we held our plant sale on two different

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Saturdays during the Jam.  That would help bring in people.  We set up by the office so we were in great site of everyone.   All in all we did great.  We made over $250.  That was amazing.  Today several of us went to Grimsells, the Garden Center and we’ve come up with a plan of flowering plants.  Now just submit it to Debbie and get her blessings and away we go.  Now we feel good about presenting the owner with our plan and ask for the balance that we may need.

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This sign will be moved also as it is a blind spot as we leave the park.  Their is a bicycle path, right by the street, following the length of the park.  Soon this should be transformed.

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One day we were all going to go to Boca Chica Beach at Brownsville to collect shells.  Alice and I couldn’t go till late morning.  The others left early trying to beat the tide.  Low tide was around 5 am.  Well we didn’t meet up like we planned, but it was a beautiful day.

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The sound of the waves crashing to the shore and the feel of the sea breezes whipping across your face and hair are just indescribable. So beautiful.  The beach is so untouched by the real world.  When vehicles drive over it, it doesn’t take long for the tracks to disappear due to the raising tide.

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The sea gulls are flying around, and here and their you see the lone fisherman.

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One night I went to the grocery store and found this little gem sitting in the parking lot.

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I thought it was really pretty neat.

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We had a Ladies Day luncheon.  Some wonderful food, and wonderful decorations.

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So much food.  What great cooks they all are.

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Their was so much food, we could have feed another fifty people.  These were the decorations hanging from the ceiling and the fans.  The girls made them.

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I’m saving them for Easter for table centerpieces.  To pretty to not use again.

We also hosted a Super Bowl Party.  We served Wings, smokies, Nachos and Cheese, veggie tray, Shrimp and Cheese Ball.  Everyone brought a snack to pass.  It was Great, more and more food.

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20160207_165711My Cheese ball….Pinterest is so full of ideas.

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We had prize giveaways and a Kindle for the Grand Prize giveaway at half time.

Next on the agenda is our Woodcarvers show here in Harlingen.  This year I haven’t done any woodcarving.  My friend Cici entered for her first time this year.

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She received a First Place, a Blue Ribbon……She was so excited.  Her Dolphin is beautiful.

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This was the table of our club. We have lost several members this year.  Some real talent.  These Hummingbirds were carved several years ago as a club project.

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This year this project won a 3rd, but also won Peoples Choice.    All of our parks carving members had something in this project.  Notice the hunter by the tree.  The dogs have the raccoons cornered in the tree.  ……lol…..Peoples choice is an honor.  These group projects are all on display in our north hall.

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Now my last piece is about a couple who has become good friends.  Gail and Dewey have been together for several years now.  Gail has been coming to the park for around 20 years with her husband.  Dewey had been coming over 15 years.  Gails husband died 5 years ago, and Dewey and his wife divorced.  They had been friends for years but they finally got together as a couple and are so happy together.

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Gail is so sweet. She plays pool with the lady’s.  Dewey plays with the men.  They have decided to move back to Missouri near her kids and grandkids.  They were so excited to begin their new adventure together.  Gail put her trailor on the market and it sold really fast, so they left last week.  We will so miss them.

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This year when we first got here, Gail had fallen and broke her arm.  She had a lot of fun with her cast.  Her daughter had sent her some stickers and she had us all autograph it. She couldn’t play pool till recently, but she still came and gave everyone moral support and visited.  ……..Good Luck Gail and Dewey……..I told them…Their the lucky ones, most people leave here in a box…..lol…They are heading for a new……” NEW ADVENTURE.”….Miss you both…..

 

 

 

 

 

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Texas Gulf Trawling Shrimp Boil & Tour

Monday Feb. 22, I had a car pool trip scheduled to Brownsville to the Texas Gulf Trawling Co.  It’s about a half hour drive, located at the Port of Brownsville, which the mouth opens up to the Gulf of Mexico.  This company is one of the largest Shrimp Company’s in the area, with 15 boats in their fleet.  At the height of the business, they had around 30 boats.  They fish for shrimp from the Rio Grande River in Mexico up to Louisiana.  Where they fish is according to the season of the year.  The boats leave with a crew of anywhere from 3 to 6, depending on peak season.  The crew consists of a captain, header, and a rigger.  Their is always just one captain of course, but more of the other 2.  The headers job is to dehead the shrimp when they are brought aboard.  He is also a cook.  The riggers are dropping the nets and bringing them in.   They are the lowest pay of the jobs.  They are out in the gulf for min. of 30 days, but can be up to 60 days.20160222_112642When we first got their, we were taken to a metal building out by the basin.  It was open to the water at the shore side.  Their was 2 conveyors running from this building to a shrimp boat by the dock.20160222_094718

This is how the shrimp are unloaded from the boat.  We were served coffee and cookies.  Finally it began.  The son told us the history of the business.  It has always been family owned starting with his grandpa.  In the 50’s they not only were building boats for others, but now built their own boats to go shrimping.  At the peak year, they built 22 boats.  They no longer build them.  Their last boat was built in 2001.  They no longer foresee building anymore as the shrimp industry in the US. is dwindling to 10 percent.  The foreign markets are now flooding the stores with farm produced shrimp.  Many of them contain antibiotics, growth hormones or animal  byproducts.  Texas Gold Shrimp are wild caught.   The are caught in the deep Gulf and headed and immediately frozen to keep them fresh.

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We were taken on the boat and the father continued with the tour. In the back of this picture, this boat had just come in while we were in the building.  It had been out 33 days.  They were now repairing and getting all their duties done.  This also includes emptying their freezer before they could leave the boat.  They were busy with nets and hosing of the decks. The father was full of info.  He answered all the questions that were thrown at him.  We seen the freezer which was in the hull.  It was huge and a walk in freezer.  The header came aboard and gave us a demonstration. He puts a shrimp in each hand and simply flicks the head off with each thumb. He must be extremely fast to keep up with the catch.

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20160222_122743It is his job to dehead all the fish that is dropped on the deck as the nets are pulled up.  The boat is equipped with 4 nets that are dragged on the bottom.  Wooden doors on the nets, keep the mouths open as tickler chains drag the bottom and keep it stirred up, driving the shrimp into the nets.    The nets are lifted every 45 mins or so to see if they are needed to dump on the deck for the header.  The nets are dumped and immediately put back in the water and the header keeps deheading.

We were then allowed to walk through the cabin area…..What an Eye Opener……Not a Job for Me….

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The Kitchen area….so so tiny…Their was just enough room to walk through.

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The booth were they eat their meals…..Notice the edge on the table, so their food wouldn’t fall off.

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Their were 2 bedrooms with bunks….The crew might have to take turns sleeping if their are more than 3.

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Oh My ……the bathroom…..Rather disgusting….lol…

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Then up the stairs to the captains helm.

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The view from the windows…

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Rich and another girl from the park, Pat in the cabin.

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Nice soft seat….lol….Our neighbors Gayle and Marjo and one of the employees.

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Finally time to go back in to our tables and get ready for a shrimp feed and contest….

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They were preparing all the shrimp as we walked in.

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The son showed us how to use a deveiner.  You can devein the shrimp with out the tail or leave it on.    Your Choice.

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We had a contest and 2 of our girls competed against each other.  Who could be fastest, Marilyn on the left or Terri on the right……Well Terri won.  She LOVVVVES Shrimp. She won a free Deveiner.

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Rich tried it also just to see how easy it was.

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Finally it was time to try the shrimp……Well I don’t like it at Alllll……So Rich ate mine.   Margo decided to try it even though she doesn’t like it…..lol

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Look at that face…..hahaha….After we left, we stopped at McDonalds for me….lol…It was a very fun morning.  We learned so much.  Again I have only shared a portion of what we learned.  They covered all about the market, what wild caught means versus farm raised,  quality, and the processing of the shrimp that takes place in Port Isabel, which is only about 10 miles away.  We also learned that this summer they will be refurbishing 2 of the boats, including the one we were on.  The price tag is over $120,000 each.  So much information.20160222_095719

 

 

 

 

Tour of the Marine Military Academy

Out by the IWA Jima Monument is a private high school, the Marine Military Academy.  It is a college preparatory boarding school for boys for grades 8-12 with a optional post graduate year.   Since 1965, MMA is the only private school in the world, based on the values of the U. S. Marine Corp.  Boys come from all over the world to attend and are turned into cadets who will reach their full potential in life.  They offer a wonderful tour of the campus grounds and several buildings on campus.20160209_095016

We arrived at the Museum to board our bus from the Academy.

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We were greeted by our guide.  He was dressed in the Military uniform, and had a deep voice that carried through the bus.  He was very friendly and full of so much information, that I know I forgot a lot.  He is a retired Marine and is employed in admissions.  He thinks of these boys as his.  A very commendable quality.

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We boarded the bus, all 32 of us, and proceeded from the museum across the street to the gate.

Marine Military Academy Entrance

The gate was very impressive.  Double gates had a large gold rifle mounted in the center.  Black fencing surrounds the grounds and the lane is lined with palm trees.  As we drove along, we passed the home of the head military person in charge.  (forgot his rank)…As you can tell I have NO Military background.  We approached the campus and we were in front of all the barracks.

The school at one time housed 500 cadets, but as a sign of the times it has a size of around 225 cadets now.  Part of the reason is the cost.  It cost $37,000 a school year to attend.   Imagine that.  The average attendance for a cadet to attend is 2 years.  If a cadet attends all 4 to 5 years, he will most likely be guaranteed a spot at West Point or any elite Academy.  He will surely be given scholarships for any college.  This school had turned out many top notch people, doctors, lawyers, physicians, and even Generals.  You are not expected to enlist in the Marines, you can still enlist in any branch of service if you choice too.20160209_103051

We turned and stopped at the front of the Gymnasium.

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We entered the building.

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It was shiny clean modern gym.  On the wall was the MMA Emblem.

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The pads under the basket ball hoop said “Fighting Leathernecks”.  We were told why the Leathernecks.   Long time ago the Marines would stand guard.  Their collars were made of leather to help support their head while doing guard duty.  Another reason, was during hand to hand combat, the leather collar would also protect their necks from decapitation….Wow….I would have never thought that…..rather gruesome….. Off the side of the gym, we entered a state of the art exercise room.

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The cadets spend much time here, and theirs always an adult in duty.  They said otherwise the cadets would get so caught up in trying to get buff, they would probably injure themselves.  lol.  Boys love to build muscles.  We boarded the bus again, and proceeded to the back 40.  Back their was where they spent many hours doing all the things I would just shudder at.   lol.

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This is where all the obstacle courses are, mud bogs, zip lines, buildings to repel off, and many other courses spread over the area.  This was just like Boot Camp.  Next stop was a Class room.

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We went into a Math Class.  It was a small room, but it was constructed like theater seating.  Their was only 3 rows, but each row was raised, so all students could achieve  great visual and attention on the teacher.  Back to the bus again.  On the way he gave us some more info.  This Academy is on the edge of the Harlingen Airport.  The Airport was at one time a Military base.  After it closed the MMA opened bordering the new Harlingen Airport that was formed.  Many of the cadets also attend flight training classes.  He said their are more students who have achieved their pilot license than have gotten their drivers license.  The boys lead a very structured schedule.  It is just like boot camp.  Every hour is accounted for.  It is full of studying time, and the time for sports and physical training.  They have to earn time off.  Their are no cars or bikes of any kind belonging to the cadets.  A family with children lives in each barracks, so they have someone watching or someone to go to if needed.  Also on all four corners of the campus, are where all the houses of the teachers, etc. are located.  So they have a visual of all the barracks on all four sides at all times.   It is all about discipline and learning and self respect……..On to the Cafeteria for lunch.

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We were able to eat the same meal the cadets eat for $10.

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We went through the line choosing our fruit, main dish, vegetable, dessert and drink.  The cadets are not allowed any soda.  That is something that is given for a reward…..I would never last…..lol….

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20160209_113232We sat in the brightly decorated dinning Hall.  It was full of natural lighting from the ceiling.  We were waiting for the cadets to come in for dinner.  They had finished their morning classes and were in their dorms getting ready for inspection were they would line up military style.  We raided the ice cream cooler filled with fudge cycles, ice cream bars and sandwiches, and headed outside to the porch area.  The cadets were lining up and getting ready to march in.

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Finally, they marched in…..Company by Company….

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Our guide has his son enrolled here.   He is 16 and his dad was very proud to introduce him to us.  Finally it was over.  We boarded the bus and was taken back across the street to the IWA JIMA Museum.

20160209_095032Some of us went into the museum and some of the guys had earlier walked around the equipment that is on display.  Some went over to the Monument for a walk.

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This tour was actually done several weeks ago.  Last Friday was a Military Parade at the parade grounds in front of the Monument.  My friends Cici, Larry and I went.  It was so impressive.  The cadets marched from the Academy across the street to the parade grounds.  They went through the weapons inspection and all their other routines.  The band played, as they did their routines.

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The last march they did was to march in front of us in the stadium seats, their commanding officers, and mostly important was the veterans of our past wars.  They invited 2 surviving members, who fought at Iwa Jima to attend.  The flag was flying half mast for the Ceremony……

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……..The Marine Military Creed…….

………And Most Impressive…..A Night Time View of the Iwa Jima Monument…….

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Tale of a New Frig & Winterfest

Last year, while we were here in Southern Texas, our 4 door frig that runs on propane or electric started having problems.  It was toward the end of our stay here.  We called an RV repair person, recommended by our friend.  The electronic board was going out or the “mother board”.  It would take a week or 2 to order and have it come in, so he offered to let us use a used one that he had and we would replace it this year.  This summer, the door broke on the hinge.  It was on the frig side, not the door.  So we decided to just replace the whole fridge with a regular residential frig.  Now keep in mind this frig has to go in and out the door or through a window.  To come in the door it had to be under 29″ wide, with out the door, and the height could be no taller than 64″.  The frig sits on top of the furnace. Sounds easy right?….lol…4-dr-refrigeratorSo several Saturdays ago, we spent the day looking for a nice black frig that would fit.  We went to Conns, here in town and checked. Found one fairly reasonable.  We decided to ride down to Brownsville also to check out Best Buy.  They had one also but not deliverable for several weeks.  We went back to Conns.  Now we were set to order it, but they were going to charge us $75 delivery charge as it was coming from McAllen.  Even if they dropped it at the store, still the charge.   That just set the price over the one in Brownsville.  So we were discouraged, and home we went.  Then the light went on….HOME DEPOT…..Now we knew that.   lol….We went out and found one and ordered it.  Now how hard was that.  One week and it would be delivered FREE…..and less money than the others.  So the following week Rich prepared the frig for take out.  Several days before delivery, Rich took out all the food and pulled our frig out.  We have another frig outside.   Now their it sat in the Living room…. lol…It was almost to big to go out the door. So now for several days it sat their.  He put his recliner in the middle of the floor, so he could see TV.  lol..20160130_075136Finally the nite before, Rich took off the screen and part of the main door assembly and we Pushed…..Pushed….Pulled….Pulled….Turn it a fraction….Pick it up, Let it down….and finally SHOVE IT OUT….It made it out the door.  We did tear a piece of the dash, but it was out.  We started measuring and got out the paper work….GUESS WHAT…It was ordered in white….grrrrrrrrr….we wanted black.  We went back out to Home Depot.  And YES we were right….It was coming in white.   They told us that we had to refuse the delivery, and wait a day so it was returned to the warehouse.  Then come in and reorder.  So that is what we did.  We reordered and had to wait another week for delivery.  All this time now, we had no frig inside.  Do you know how it feels to get up in the morning and not have anything cold to drink?…Everything was outside.  Gees, you have to be dressed decent, just to go out the door.  We have neighbors about 10 feet away.   But we survived .20160127_165508In the meantime we went to “Winterfest” at Schlitterbahn Water Park, on South Padre Island.  It is an all day music festival with different entertainers every 45 min.

20160127_151912They were all the entertainers that come to the Rio Grande Valley for the winter entertainment at all the parks. They usually have a circuit and perform a different park almost every nite.  Our entertainment in Eastgate , is on Friday nite.  Many come from Branson Mo.  Some are closer.  Many are from RFD TV.20160127_135544Mario performed, early afternoon.  We have seen him several times.  He is from Branson.20160127_124701Another GREAT singer is John Sager, Also from Branson.  He was a wonderful singer and full of energy.  He is scheduled to come to our park next season.  Also a guy named Greg ?…..Already forgot.20160127_154816He used to sing at the Play Boy Club years ago.  He was an Elvis impersonator and some others.  Once his voice was warmed up, he could really belt out a song.  Very Powerful.  The very last performance was the local High School.20160127_163920They had a Mariachi Band.  These kids were so talented.  They sang and played their traditional music.  It was Awesome.  It was a fun day, but it was cold.  They moved it inside by the indoor water park at Schlitterbahn, but it was still a very chilly day.20160127_121538The best part was, all the gift shop items was 50%  off…….Wow….That’s my price.   I bought a Tie-dyed zipper sweatshirt for $12.50.20160212_085153Several visors for $2.50 each.  Another pull over sweatshirt and Rich bought sweatpants and t-shirt, all for $10 each…..Great Day for bargains.  The best part was, our tickets were complimentary, as I was given some to sell for the park, therefore mine were free.   Some of the perks of this job.

Now all this week Rich has been working on the box that the frig would sit in.  It was now to wide for the new frig, but would just barely fit the height.  He took the side and made a narrow little pantry.

20160212_085246He made shelves top to bottom and we have clear plastic containers that are wide enough for cans.  Each one will slide out so we can see what is in the container.  Now he just has to make a door for it.  It will solve our can storage problem of them all jumbled together under the sink.  Finally the big day came.  We got the call.  The frig was on the way.  I had to go to the office, but that’s ok.  I really didn’t want to be their.   I knew it would be a very tight fit, and I wouldn’t be any help.  I just knew their would be a few choice words said….lol….So our friend Ken came over.  They took off the screen door again, and after some other adjustments they began.  Rich said it was an extremely tight fit through to door.  They pushed…pulled….brought it back out twice.  They problem is, as the frig goes through the door, the dash comes out and you have to turn it to clear the dash.  Finally after time, and some more small rips in the dash and a dent in the wood, it was in…..Now it had to fit in the new opening….Bingo….Fit like a Glove….Rich had to do some minor adjustments to the ceiling light, as the freezer door hit it, but it all worked out….I came home that day, Hoping it was in.   I was worried that we might still have to take out a window to take it through…..I looked outside…..Nothing….No sign of the frig, or the box.    Good Deal….It was In…and …It looks Marvelous, and20160211_172435

IT SURE IS NICE HAVING DRINKS AND FOOD INSIDE AGAIN…..THE SIMPLE PLEASURES OF LIFE….LOL…NOW TO CLEAN UP THE MESS…..