Catching Up With The Family

This past June, we had lots of company. Tina, Miley and Austin came down again for a visit. Ed couldn’t get out of work. My Niece Julie, and daughter Jaylea, also came for a short week. It was her High School Graduation, and her 18th birthday. We all had a Great time. Tina and the kids arrived first.

They boarded a Southwestern plane in Chicago at Midway Airport. They had a stop in Houston but without a plane change. They went to get something to eat and drink and on the return the Captain invited them in the cockpit.

Of course Tina was shocked. The pilot actually left them alone for a few seconds and Tina was afraid that Austin would do something and push some buttons… That would be just like him too. Way to curious on what things do. But it was so nice of the Pilot to let the kids do that. I’m sure it seldom happens. Tina was so excited to get here. She loves the sun. We did quite a bit of swimming in the pool. They all love the water. She took Dad shopping for Fathers Day. She bought him New Shoes, A Blackstone Grill, and Accessories.

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Caption says “#1 Daughter and Son in Law” Shoes and Grill…..Yes, she is a Character….
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These were all the accessories to the grill for cooking.

Rich has been cooking on it ever since and loves it. He said it was the BEST FATHERS DAY present she ever bought. Rich and Tina decided to go to Progresso. She had some dental work to do and also pick up some meds. The border is open to essential travel. So as long as you are going for medical, dental or meds, they don’t bother you. I stayed home with the kids and we went swimming and also got out the electric trike.

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The kids love my Electric Trike. They were racing it with the golf cart.

Julie and Jaylea finally came on the weekend. They drove almost straight through. They had never been down here before. This was actually the honeymoon period of the Covid. We were through our initial lockdown and were opening. Our restaurants had just opened at 50 percent. I kept Julie and Tina informed ahead of their arrival as to the changing rules and our counts. We all felt safe enough to still have fun but be careful. We tried to cram in as much as possible. Julie wanted this to be a very special vacation for Jaylea. She was a Senior this year and had missed all her activities and Graduation parties because of the Covid shutdown. Furthermore, she was going to be 18 while they were here. So we headed to South Padre Island.

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We boarded this boat for the Dolphin Watch and Eco Tour
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We rode clear out beyond the breakers. You can see the white beaches on the other side.
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A Family of 3
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They dragged a net to the bottom for about 15 min. Then they showed all the fish and things….lol… they caught. They gave a description of each one.

I always enjoy the Dolphin Watch cruises. It is always so interesting to see what they find. They cruise around for a long time trying to find the dolphins. They are usually pretty successful. After that we went to Pier 1 to eat. It is a restaurant built on the closed pier. This is where we decided to celebrate her birthday to her surprise. When we were done, The waiters and waitress’s brought out a piece of cheesecake and candle and sang “Happy Birthday”.

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Jaylea was so Embarrassed. We all enjoyed the surprise
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Happy Birthday Jaylea…..#18…. A Big Step. Now your an Adult. Your parents don’t have to be responsible for your any more……lol
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This is the doorway to one of the touristy shops. We went shopping for beach toys, and souvenirs
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View from the inside…….
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We stopped at Claytons to have a few drinks. Julie, Jaylea, Miley and Austin went to the beach.
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Julie and Jaylea at the edge of the mat at the Beach Patrol truck was coming by.
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From Claytons we drove down to the end of the road. The sand is always blowing and drifting on the roads. They use snowplows to keep them clear. It is so beautiful. Many people just park and walk over the sand dune to the beach. The public beach access points cost now. So that’s what we did.

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They all had such a great time. everyone has fun at the beach.

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The beach was busy that day with many of these trucks running up and down the beach selling soft drinks and ice cream.
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Down the road aways, is the horse stables. You can rent a horse and go for a ride. They come across the road and ride up the beach and back. Its a very popular thing to do

Now their was one thing Julie really wanted to do. Parasailing. Tina wanted to do it also. I was not sure, and we thought Jaylea would go also. We had to wait for the weather to be good and the wind to not be to strong. Finally after being canceled once, our chance came. Julie actually parachutes out of planes. She is not a novice either. She belongs to a club in Illinois. She holds a “Class B” license issued by the United States Parachute Association. Student License are rated A-B-C-D and continue from their. She even holds a license # B48666. She has already done 216 SkyDives. She is amazing. I could never even begin to do that. Julie was so excited to do this. So we set out on the shuttle boat to take us to the boat that would take us up. We all had life jackets on. We decided Tina, Miley and Austin would go together and Julie and Jaylea would pair up. I chickened out and decided to be a spectator. We arrived on the boat and climbed aboard. Tina and the kids strapped into the harness apparatuses that you wear.

They release the shoot and the boat takes off. The Parachute gently takes you back and up and Awaaaayyyy…..

You ascend to 350 feet I believe. Now when the kids went up, I thought Tina had wanted to get dipped. I told the boat driver to dip them in the water. So we watched and they gently came down and Yes……They were dipped. When they were reeling them in Austin was crying. He lost one of his water shoes….lol….OMG. He had other shoes in the car, but he wanted that one. It turned out, Tina didn’t want to get dipped….lol…..To Late……...So Now it was Julies and Jaylea’s turn.

Julie was ready, but as the girl was putting the apparatuse on Jaylea, she got scared and so no. We tried everything……but no…she didn’t want to do it. So last minute decision…..Julie said “Do you want to go”? Yikes….Quick thinking…..Now or Never….”OK”….

So up we went. I was so glad I did it. It was fabulous. I will admit I felt a little sea sick, but it was fun. I would do it again. Julie was just elated with joy. She was giggling and laughing. She loves the heights. But I guess for me, its another check on the bucket list. We had 1 more important trip I wanted to show them. Boca Chica Beach, a beautiful untouched beach on the gulf. On the way is what’s left of Boca Chica Village.

In the 1967 the town was founded and called Kennedy Shores. Around 30 small ranch style homes were built. The settlement was devastated by Hurricane Beulah later that year. It destroyed the restaurant and public utilities. Electricity was restored but the water system never was. They have huge storage containers and have water trucked in at each home. In 1976 it was renamed Kapernik Shores. By 1990-2000 the population was only 26. As of 2008 only 6 people were permanent residents. Many of the houses were seasonal or some were rented out for seasons. In 2014 Space X owned by Elon Musk, selected the Boca Chica area to be the location for their new Space Port and Control center. Little by little, they are trying to buy out all the residents. Many did not want this, as this was their forever retirement home. But Space X is slowly getting their way. The sleepy little desolate town is now surrounded by a growing construction site. The Launch site is up the road several miles.

One of the rocket pieces in the Construction yard.
This is the Spacehopper. It was their first successful flight on August 19, 2019. It flew up to hover altitude and then moved sideways to land on a landing pad. Entire flight was 57 seconds.

They have moved the Spacehopper to the side of the road, so everyone can see it as they pass. It reminds me of a flying silo or grain bin. Something out of Wizard of Oz and the Hurricane. Their is a great Video on You-Tube. Now just a block past the launch site is the opening to the Boca Chica Beach. We parked on the sand and spent the next several hours playing in the water and sand. Many people were out their fishing and spending the day.

Pretty picture of Jaylea

Some of you might remember, Miley got stung last year by a Jelly Fish. It happened again.

Miley was in the water and came running up to me saying she was stung again. We went down by the water, and their it was. They can sting even when they have just died, so that is probably what happened. It was washing up on the sand and had just died. So what do you do with a Jelly fish if your Austin? You put it on your fishing pole as bait.

What a kid. It tolerated several casts of the line until it finally fell off and disintegrated.

Finally the morning came for Julie and Jaylea to make that 24 hour drive back home. We managed to be able to do many of the things I wanted to show them. But theirs more adventures for the future.

The girls look really happy.

The girls had to be exhausted. We crammed so much into their days. We even made it to the “Wall” at the Mexican Border. Now that is something everyone should see. They had a safe trip home, and Hope they had a good time…..

Please Come Back Again…. Their so much more to see and Do…..

Austin managed to get more fishing in. He so loves to fish. He really thought he would catch a shark….So Tina and I made 1 more trip back to Progresso.

We got up early one morning and left the kids at home with Grandpa. We didn’t want to take the kids with the Covid situation going on right now.
She so enjoyed eating in Arturo’s…..Illinois had their restaurants closed when she came down. So this was a treat to eat inside.

After we purchased the last of the things we needed and we ate at Arturo’s, we got in line to leave. Of course, being the Rotary person she is….and President now actually, at her home club….She spotted a Progresso Rotary Garbage Can.

Who knew they had Rotary in Progresso Mexico….I’m surprised she didn’t want to go to a meeting.

We spent the rest of the time swimming, shopping and packing the Motorhome for our trip back to Illinois. We were all heading back for a month.

This is the sight you see as you Float in the pool…..It is hard to see, but the leaves just glisten and twinkle in the sun as the wind blows……So pretty. So relaxing to float in the pool and look up to this beautiful site as the clouds slowly drifty by….

Kitty Has Crossed his Rainbow Bridge….

About 2 weeks ago, on August 6, it was time for out beloved Kitty who was 18, to cross over the Rainbow Bridge. He was our Kitty, our best friend, and even our little boy who never grew up. He had developed such a personality in his retirement years. He had learned to communicate with us by his actions and just how he looked at us. We carried on conversations with him as if he was talking to us. You know he even “cussed” at us at times when we didn’t serve him properly. Lol He was such a good friend and companion. He had been very sick in May, and we thought he would leave then, but he healed and went on to have a great family vacation with us in the MH, heading up to Illinois and visiting family. He enjoyed the trip, seen all the kids. He had a good time traveling and came back home and had 4 good days, sleeping in bed with us, sleeping on Dad’s (Rich’s) lap draped over the arm of the recliner. That has really consoled us as we know he had a last trip visiting his home he grew up in and visited the relatives. He felt good and had 4 more days back home sleeping in our bed, spending time on Dads lap and on top of me as long as I was covered in a fuzzy blanket.

Kitty’s last photo, laying on Dad’s lap, on the arm of the recliner. His favorite way to end the evening….actually also their way to spend the day watching westerns.

Kitty came to our house in the fall of 2002.  He showed up on our porch one day and never left us.  He was already full grown, so we assume he was probably a spring baby.  We didn’t want a cat, as we still had a dog, Draven.  He did not like cats.  I feed him on the porch and found a Styrofoam box for him to stay warm in.  He didn’t really use it, he just wanted to come in.  I checked all over town including the vet to see if anyone was missing him.  He was a beautiful cat.  He had beautiful white and black hair, and was plump and healthy so I assumed he had belonged to someone.  Well to no avail, nobody claimed him.  I started letting him in.  I would carry him to the sofa.  Draven would bark and was not very happy.  Soon they both learned to tolerate each other and Kitty became a house cat.  Because we couldn’t think of a name, we just kept calling him Kitty.  

During those years, Draven and Kitty learned to get along.  They were never really friends as they did their own thing, but they learned to respect each other.  When they both entered a room, they would go and run up to each other and either smell or bump noses.  I assume it was their way to say “Hello”.  

This was his life in the house…….SLEEP…..
Our Draven…..He was part Beagle, and Lab.

Draven was also a very beloved pet in our house. He slept with us and patiently waited everyday at the door for us to come home from work. Dogs have so much personality, just like little people. But after a long good life, he passed away also just before Christmas in 2010. It was a very very sad occasion. But he was ready. He had a stroke several years before, I would carry him outside and hold him up to pee. He knew what to do, but just couldn’t stand or walk. Little by little he started to gain his strength back in his little legs. I remember how excited he was to be outside standing weakly on his own. He would stubble along excited, sniffing the smells in the grass. When he came to a very slight hill, he stumbled like a drunken soldier to stay on his feet. Finally his strength came back, and he could run and play again. He developed a tumor under his leg after that, but he kept walking. They say a cat has 9 lives…..Well so do dogs…..

Kitty Playing on the Bed

After Draven passed, Kitty had the house to himself. He didn’t need our attention like Draven did. He played but really not lot. He wasn’t a climber, so we didn’t have to worry about him getting up on shelves and counters much. Sometimes he did, but he was a quick learner. He didn’t like the grandkids when they were little. He would take so much and then nail them with his claws. lol. When they became around 7 or so, he decided they were Ok. Yes, he made most of them cry and bleed a time or two. He had very sharp claws. I would buy him the cardboard scratchers and he would make such a mess. He loved them. He could shred them in short order. His only really bad habit was scratching on the wood work. No matter what we did, he would sneak and still do it. He destroyed our new wood work in the living room doorway. He spent time in our bow window in the living room and watch the birds in the tree. He loved looking out the entry way window also. But he never had a real strong desire to go outside. When he did, it would scare him.

He lived a good quiet life in the house. He was so quiet that one time we thought he was lost. We hadn’t seen him. I called and called his name. Searched all over in his hiding places even down basement. I walked around outside and around the block calling his name. I thought somehow he got out and ran away. About 3 days later, I needed to get into the hall closet. It is a very small closet. I opened the door and their he was laying on the bottom on a towel. He slowly got up, and simply walked out as if he had just got up from a nap. Now we had all walked by him many, many times and he never meowed. Crazy cat. But he never meowed, he was so quiet. The best behaved cat ever. Always used the litter box also. He was happy to just exist in the house. Then we decided to retire in 2014, and go full timing in the Motor Home.

Kitty wasn’t to happy about this. We started to train him by taking him on short camping trips. I remember the first time we left the driveway. He had never been out of the house, nor did he want to be held and carried. It was shock enough to go out in my arms, as he struggled, but you should have seen him when the MH moved. As we drove out the driveway, we twisted and turned to make the curve. He was looking up and I thought he was becoming the Exorcist Cat. He head was going 240, and his eyes was bulging and he was making an awful shrill loud “meoooooow”…… Can you imagine what he was feeling and thinking as he felt his world moving and churning and seeing trees moving out the windows that had never moved before?. Poor Poor Kitty. But he soon learned to love the traveling.

He started to explore his new world while traveling down the road.
He would explore but not stay up their very long.
This was his favorite place when traveling….He loved to sit by Dad on his footstool.
He always wanted Dad to pet him. He never asked me when I was in the passenger seat. He always wanted his Dad, the man who never liked cats……lol….
When we were parked his footstool was by Rich’s recliner so they could sit together. Then he started to become a lap cat. He would paw at him and then crawl up in his lap. lol..
He liked sitting on me when I was covered with the fuzzy blankets. This was his favorite in the MH. He loved his fuzzy blankets.
He also loved sleeping in bed during the day. This little stuffed animal was left by Cassidy for us when we left. Again, he liked the fuzzy.

The summer of 2016 we went to work for Adventureland in Altoona Iowa. It was a Fabulous summer. We decided to buy a yard fence so he could spend time outside in the lush green grass.

Poor Kitty, he looked so sad.

He never liked that idea, nor did he like the grass. He didn’t want to lay down. He didn’t know he could even jump over the top, as it was open. We tried several times but it just wasn’t something he liked.

We tried to train him to a leash and halter. Nope, he hated it too. He would pull backwards and back out of it. ……..But isn’t that such a pretty picture of him…….

While we were at Adventureland, we decided to take a long weekend, leave the MH and travel in the little S10 truck home. Oh how he hated that trip. The truck was so small, he was hyperventilating. We stopped and tried to give him a break outside and I thing it made him worse. It was a rough 5 hours for him. And then we had to go back……But he survived. In 2017, we went back to Illinois in the car from Harlingen Texas.

I bought him a soft sided carrier and left it on the seat open. He crawled in and decided he liked it.

We used the carrier for the trip. We put the back seat down and had his carrier right in the middle so he could see between the seats. His cat litter was in back and his food and water on the floor. I was worried that it would be a repeat of his little pick up truck trip. Only this would be a 24 hour trip. He was so good. I kept him in until we passed the check points about an hour away from Harlingen. After that, he roamed the back seat and enjoyed the trip. All our luggage in the back gave him a mountain to explore.

Of course he had to close to Dad, so he climbed under the seat between his legs while Rich was driving……Such a character.Their feet are touching
Here is Christmas Kitty…..He was NOT IMPRESSED with us at all.

When we moved into the trailer he had so much more room to explore. We started putting up the Christmas tree again. He has always been good around the tree. He liked to lay on the tree skirt.

Or if a bag or something was laying on the floor, he had to lay on it.

I found this note on my door one morning……so Hilarious…..From Kitty’s Lawyer, Roberta….lol..

Kitty had a babysitter here at Eastgate. Roberta would come in a feed him and spend time with him. We used her several times when we were gone for a week or more. She was so good. She knew just what he was thinking. Like a CAT WHISPERER. Roberta called him Dash for Dashboard Kitty. ……lol….After we bought the trailer, Rich built a Mancave on one side for him. This spring, he built me a She-Shed. So one morning when we got up, this paper appeared on the door. So Funny, Kitty had filed papers on us for the house…..He even gave us rules on his litter box and food. That Silly Roberta, she wrote up the petition for him and posted the paper. Kitty like any other cat was always experimenting to find new places.

This is the shower in the Motor Home
I walked into the Kitchen, and their he was sleeping on folded towels.
This was a row of 12 stapled solo cups. I was making Sparkle Balls. He had to climb in the middle.
We received something from Amazon…..He loved the big box. We saved it until the styrofoam was destroyed. He would lay in their and flex his toenails.
He liked little boxes too.
He thought he had a new friend.

The last year or so, he started slowing down, but I think he was getting smarter and smarter. He was communicating with us more and wanting much more attention and petting. He loved his neck, nose and forehead scratched. When I was laying on the sofa, he would put his paw on my arm and gently flex his toenails until I either petted him or feed him. He developed so much more personality. He started to eat more table food. He never cared before. He liked cracker and potato chip crumbs. Kitty wanted to lick our ice bar and popsicle sticks. Then it was lick our Ice Cream bowls. He liked to sample things. Not much but he would taste several licks or bites and then be done. He started to be demanding about his food. He had dry food as well as treats. He wanted more and more. He would stand in front of you and just stare. I told him he had to meow for food. So I started to meow. Low and Behold he started to meow. So that became his new thing. He would stare and then start a soft meow until you moved. I was his food person.

He learned how to ask for water. After all these years he even learned how to put his foot on his plate when eating so it wouldn’t move away…

When he got sick in May, he vomited and had severe diarrhea. He was so bad, I thought he was going to die. He slowly got better. I took away all dry food and treats and gave him only wet canned food. Pet Smart recommended Pumpkin Puree. It is good for the Digestive System. He loved that also. He finally felt better again and acted normal, but he lost so much weight. He started demanding more food. Every time you moved or got up, he went to his bowl. I started to feed him more often but he never gained much weight back. If it wasn’t for his long hair, he would have looked so skinny. But he was feeling good when Tina and the kids came. They were here for 10 days and then we all went back in the Motor Home to Illinois. He had a good time with the kids. He got to see all the kids and they all petted him. We stayed at Scott and Brandy’s one weekend to house sit. They have 2 big cats, Seymour and Clyde. I usually keep him in the bedroom, but I let him out to explore the house. Twice he found one of the cats. It was so funny, his hair went up, he became a lion on the prowl. He chased them around the living room. I bet he felt so good… a BIG FEROCOUS CAT…...He enjoyed the trip.

Sleeping in the area over the cab. He looks so comfy and peaceful.
He was so relaxed and content on the trip.
This photo was taken on the way home after a long day of driving. Kitty had to lay close to Dad again.

After we got home, Kitty had 4 good days before he got sick again. He ate good. He slept in bed with us. In fact one morning I got up and he didn’t even hear me. He was sound asleep. He usually starts his nite sleeping next to his dad. So you know what that means. Rich moves over closer to me so Kitty can lay next to him and spread his legs out. lol. Rich would have to pet him and then tell him it was time to go to sleep. He would be happy, lay their awhile and then move to the foot of the bed. Thus was his routine for most of our retirement years.

Sometimes we would catch him in our bed taking his day time naps.
Such a cute face.

Around day 5 after being home, he as usual demanded his breakfast. Late morning all of a sudden he started to violently vomit. He started to arch his back and stand their. Then the diarrhea started. He slept under the kitchen stool all nite and didn’t leave the area. He was having severe diarrhea all morning . He was so much sicker than in May, so we made the decision that he should not suffer anymore. After seeing him get so sick last time, we knew it was his time. So August 6th in the afternoon, he made his way across the Rainbow Bridge. It was a very very hard decision, but we knew it was the right one. We never dreamed when he came into our lives 18 years ago, we would grow to love him so much. Kitty retired with us and had 6 great years being a traveling Retired Kitty. He was never to old to learn new things to do. He would spend hours sitting in our laps, especially Dads, as we watched tv. He became so loveable but yet independent.

I’m sure if he could talk, Kitty would say, he had a very long and a very Happy Life….. He gave us years and years of love and companionship.

Love That face…..He would cover his face with his paw when he was in a deep sleep.