Happy Birthday Tammy….Coronavirus..Day 1 in New York City…

“HAPPY BIRTHDAY TAMMY” Today YOUR “42”

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…Just 4 days ago, I was thinking if I should send Flowers or Balloons for your Birthday. Then the realization, that I couldn’t even do that, because its not an ESSENTIAL Business….Then Thur. you called me….“How would you feel about me going to New York”.….I took a moment to pause…..I know she is a devoted nurse, but even “THAT” I didn’t expect….I finally said “I don’t want you to, but I understand why and will support you if you go”. So 3 days later she arrived in New York and today is awaiting her assignment.

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The Staffing Agency that is recruiting the medical field put out a call for 550 RN’s. This is the 2nd wave of hiring that I am aware of. Two of Tammy’s friends from Peoria were already their. On Friday the phone lines were opened and they were to stay opened until they hired the full amount. Tammy and her friend Brittney kept trying and finally made it through and were hired. They wanted them their by Sunday for Orientation..…Wow, that’s only 2 days. So plans happened fast. She talked with Tina, as Carly, who is 8 has been staying with her since the Virus broke out. Tina was on board with her going also. Tina has been an Amazing Sister. She has helped Tammy out so much with Carly. It is so hard finding a babysitter when you are a Nurse. Tina has always been their for her. Lately, Carly has been staying with Tina full time because of the Virus. Tammy could easily be a carrier as she works 2 different hospitals. So now Tina has Officially taking the responsibly of Carly while Tammy is gone and this Health scare is going on. Tina got to work and started lining up supplies.

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She found a local supplier of Alcohol Antiseptic Solution. It cost her $255. Quite a bit. She is gave Tammy and Brittany each a bottle and a small spray bottle to refill.

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She personalized each bottle with their name and tinted Brittney’s blue. Tina also managed to get Clorox wipes, gloves, and masks from her Rotary friends.

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Aunt Connie also made her some masks, and also gave her a “Spirit Bag”…..It is suppose to keep her safe. Of course she had to stop and see Carly. Of course Carly doesn’t know she is leaving. All she knows is that her momma is saving peoples lives. It has to be very hard on a child to understand what is happening right now in the world. I can’t even imagine what a child would think when its her mom trying to save people. That had to have been so hard on them both…..Such emotional times. She also had to stop and say Goodby to Cassidy, her 16 year old, who was staying with friends. Then she went and seen her friend Kathrine who is a nurse in Peru. Kathrine had made her a GORGEOUS Birthday Cake.

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It is FABULOUS and so detailed. The Statue of Liberty even has a mask on it. Katherine, it is so Beautiful.

So finally Sunday morning after packing all her supplies and clothes, Katherine and her mom came by and Tammy along with Cameron, her 21 year old son headed to Peoria. They stopped and picked up Brittney who is also a nurse, and then the 2 of them flew out on Delta, heading for NYC with a small layover in Atlanta.

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They arrived around Noon at JFK Airport. Fortunately Brittney is Uber and Large city savy……lol….They took an Uber to the hotel for around $55. The Agency has put them in a Marriot in private rooms right on Times Square.

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Times Square….Notice all the gratitude’s on the Marquis for all the help they are getting

This is her view from her window on the 17th floor. Brittney is on the 21st floor. She said that one of these buildings is where they drop the ball on New Years Eve. Her other 2 friends from OSF in Peoria are at a different hotel. One is in the Bronx. Their Orientation was 5pm Sunday nite. She had told me that she thinks they will be working 21 days straight. The bus will probably pick them up around 6am and they may not get back till 9pm.

So Today is Monday, April 6. It is her 42nd birthday. I talked with her this morning. They had to go to the Lobby and sign in. They don’t know if they will get an assignment today. They were told that once on the job, they might not have time to eat, so fill your pockets. They took a cab to Target and filled up on Groceries for their rooms. Their were many nurses in the Lobby waiting for their assignments. Tammy thinks they are a bit overwhelmed right now and they have more nurses arriving today. But they will get it together. I’m so glad she has Brittney with her and she is not alone. Times like this you need someone to talk with and lean on. At Orientation, they made it sound pretty grim. It was going to be difficult for them. They would see things and might be forced to do things that were not the norm. I’m sure they laid it on the line. When you watch tv and they interview the medical staff, it is really scary. The first Coronavirus case in New York was reported on March 1. Now as of April 6, their are 122,911 cases and 4161 deaths. In New York City alone, their are, 67,552 cases and 2,472 deaths. New York is scared and desperate. They have a shortage of ventilators, masks and other equipment. They are having to make judgment calls on life or death with many of the patients. So I hope that I will be able to talk to Tammy daily. She set up a family chat group for us all. My hope is that she will at least let us know every day that she is ok. It will be a long 3 weeks. We all Hope she stays safe and Healthy.

So Happy Birthday Tammy…..A Birthday to Remember…

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Tammy Graduated in the Summer of 2014 with her BSN. It was a long 5 years. She decided when she was in her 30’s and with 2 kids (single parent) that she wanted to do this. Scott had had an accident and lost his arm, and Ed, Tina’s husband had been in a 4 wheeler accident. Both were lucky to be alive. That’s when she decided she knew what she wanted. It became her passion. Of course being a single mom and no money she turned to the family. She formulated a plan. We all took turns Babysitting. Scott put her on his payroll so she had living money. Whoops #3, Carly showed up…..Small delay, but she persevered. Right after Carly was born, her Ex Boss Rita, from First Student Bus Company came to the house and took care of Carly. We also had a Baby Shower for her….All Diapers and Wipes…..lol…She had 2 years supply….It was Great…...Tina did her share of helping and babysitting. Brandy had her day to take Carly. I was babysitter/Taxi for Cassidy and Cameron after school. Even Aunt Connie helped when needed. On weekends she had friends help so she could study. Every semester we would get our new schedules to help her…..It was a Long….Long 5 years.….But she did it….Because she wanted it so badly, she applied herself and persevered……

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The whole family was behind her….”We ARE ALL SO PROUD OF YOU”…

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But it was a TEAM EFFORT……This is my Favorite Picture of the Kids….It was taken almost 9 years ago……..Tina, Scott, Tammy.…Their birthdays are all March and April. If it wasn’t for all 3 of them working as a team, Tammy would not have been able to achieve her dream. Now, I’m not implying they all get along….lol….You know theirs’s always sibling rivalry. I could go one forever with stories on that subject.

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SO HAPPY BIRTHDAY TAMMY….STAY SAFE….YOUR COMPASSION FOR PEOPLE WILL PULL YOU THROUGH. WE ARE ALL HERE PRAYING. THEIR ARE MANY, MANY PEOPLE PRAYING FOR YOU, FOR ALL THE HEALTHCARE WORKERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY.

Well all this happened in just 4 days…..Whew…..Everyday is a Roller Coaster….

Day #8 ….of Shelter in Place

This morning I woke up as usual before dawn.  I have never gotten rid of that work mode in my internal clock.  When I was working, we had to be at work at 5:30 am.  If I don’t get by 5am, the cat is in my face and pawing my arm.  He knows what time it is.  After I got up, I feed him his first meal of the day.  Then I opened the interior door.  Its going to be another beautiful day.  It is in the low 70.s and will heat up to the mid to high 80.s.  The air is so fresh in the morning, and theirs a gentle breeze blowing in.  As the sun rises, the rays of light start shinning in and the birds start chirping.  They are starting their day as well.  Such a beautiful morning.  The birds have no idea,  all seems so calm and pristine, but theirs a health crisis looming and shutting down the world.  Nothing in our lifetime has ever happened like this before.  It is a Coronavirus Pandemic.  Then I turn on the TV and check the news on my phone…..Reality sets in…..

In the State of Texas, only essential business are open through the month of April.  Schools are closed till May 4.  Social Distancing protocols, will also stay in effect through April.  Our curfew is still in effect.  All of these things are so important to slow down the Virus.wp-15858549143722686363279323240655.jpgwp-1585854954721101216782641203866.jpgwp-15858548763953078875991208905843.jpgNew York is suffering the worst.  In the past 72 hours their death toll has doubled to over 1900 people.  New York City is running out of hospital beds and ventilators.  Some of the bodies are being loaded into refrigerated reefer vans.  The hospitals have no room nor do the funeral homes.  The news says that as soon as a person dies their is another person waiting for the ventilator.  In Central Park, they have set up a  68 bed field hospital to treat the overflow of patients.wp-15858558279184311807881984732883.jpg

Good Samaritan Purse is a Christian organization from North Carolina.  This hospital is composed of a Respiratory Care unit with ICU capabilities.  The whole world is shutting down and suffering with this virus.wp-15858622341711704446949918497497.jpg

This is a chart of the top 4 countries.  We are #1.  Almost a million people have been affected.  Over 50,000 deaths.  All of this has happened in such a short time.  Just several weeks ago, life was still normal…..How fast it has changed.  Here in the Rio Grande Valley, it is just starting.wp-15858426863556327225060947358458.jpg

As of last nite, we had 106 cases in the RGV, which is these 4 county’s.  We live in Cameron County…..Hidalgo is to the west of us.  Cameron County went from 26 to 37 overnite.  9 of those are in Harlingen.  So it is now here.  Here at the park, our Club Houses are now closed as well as the pool and spas.  Everyone stays home, but we still walk around the park and practice Social Distancing.wp-15858576016314529557232778584838.jpg

One of the couples in the park are making light of the situation.  They set up these chairs so Social distancing can be practiced when your walking…..lol….We also decided the other day to open the North Hall.  We have a nice Library and lots of puzzles that people can take home.  So now on Tue and Fri, 11am to 12noon, they can come in and exchange their books and puzzles, so they have something to take home to do.  They will be sanitized and set in quarantine for a week before being put back into circulation again.  They were pretty excited about that.  Many people still like having the book in their hands to read rather than a Kindle.

Last nite (April 1), we all joined the group “Let Their be Light”.wp-1585858527353512650935258282025.jpg

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Anyone who had a porch lite, turned it on.  Many lite a candle outside their door.  All for the support of our Medical personal working to help save the lives of those afflicted with COVID-19.…They are all putting their lives at risk.  This also includes my daughter Tammy.  She is a RN working in 2 different hospitals in Illinois.  Her youngest daughter, Carly is now staying with my other daughter Tina full time.  They decided since Tammy can be, and has already been exposed, you never know if she may come down with the virus or pass it on.  Tammy brought presents the other day and visited through the screen.wp-15858596841861096119929631148787.jpg

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She brought lots of different treats, matching pajamas for the girls and of course …..”TOILET PAPER”…..  Carly sure misses her momma, but she is also having fun with Miley and AustinShe is in the very good care of Aunt Tina. wp-15858596841861096119929631148787.jpgwp-15858597000025264867740975538780.jpg

This had to have been so hard on both of them.  I’m sure their were tears.  I know Carly wanted to run into Mamma arms…..But this is for the best for right now.

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So Aunt Connie had to get into the act also.  She brought the kids Dirt and Worms...Yum…Everyone loves them…wp-1585859609552821834631707233100.jpg

Of course DeeDee had to see Aunt Connie also.  wp-15858596367927797351413898385405.jpg

These are the strangest times.  Some strange and bazzar  memories these kids will have.  Theirs been nothing like this in our life times.  In years to come when the kids read these blogs, they will remember these stories and how it felt.  Sad Sad times we live in.  But on the other hand, families are now spending much more time together.  They are doing homework, playing games, going out for walks and eating together.  So their is a lot of good also.  They world is on pause.  Maybe this will be a good thing and have lasting benefits for families.

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The unemployment claims have doubled in a week.  It is unheard of.  The families are going to have such a hard time.  Anyone in an non essential job is now laid off.  They are all staying home.  You can’t look for a job as their is none.  The government has passed a 2 trillion dollar stimulus plan, that will provide money for everyone according to their tax filling of 2018 or 2019.  A single will get $1200, couple $2400, and each child is $500.  The checks should be Direct Deposit with in 3 weeks.  That will help but not for long.  The stimulus will also be helping out the small business owner and the Airlines.  Their is much more that is being planned to help.  But its going to be a Looooong Road…..So here we sit….Watching tv….Rich worked on the She-Shed again today.  He put in some more shelving for my crafts.  Only 2 shelves left and I’ll finish painting inside.  But no sense doing it today…..Their is Tomorrow....Tonight, we will sit outside and enjoy a beautiful evening on the patiowp-15858617036986614637159220367896.jpg

It will be a Beautiful Evening…..Just like always….Tomorrow we will get up and do it over again….Thank God for ……RETIREMENT…..

Day 1 of 14…..Tomorrow…. Shelter In Place..Harlingen Tx.

The Cameron County officials has decided to put us in the “Shelter In Place” phase for 14 days. That means we are suppose to stay home. We can go outside but stay away from others. We can go to the Grocery Store, Pharmacy, Appointments, or any essential personal activity that is necessary for you. All bars, restaurants, schools churches and theaters are closed. Restaurants are doing carry outs only and the schools are going to do lessons online for the kids. So the world goes on. People are still binge shopping but it is getting better. Walmart and HEB (Howard E Butts), our Texas based grocery store, is now having a better supply of meat and other products. We still are having a problem with eggs, wipes, and antibacterial soap. I went to HEB the other day at 1pm and had to stand in line. They let in 50 people at a time, sprayed down the carts as they came into the store from the parking lot and handed each person a wipe. The purpose of this whole quarantine is to slow the spread of this disease.

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The curve needs to come down. The worry is that to many will get sick at one time and the hospitals are not equipped to handle a mass of sickness. We need ventilators, masks, as well as other medical equipment to fight this disease. New York is a mess right now. As of today their are about 23,230 total positive cases of COVID-19 and 188 deaths in New York State, with more than 13,000 of those cases and 125 deaths in New York City. They have such a shortage of respirators, masks, and the things the medical community need. The hospitals have no room. They are converting other areas into make shift medical facility’s. Last weekend, they closed the Mexican border for tourists. You can only go over for a medical or a work reason. It is open for all the Commercial trucks so as not to hurt commerce. Not shopping or visiting. So that is the purpose of all of this, To Slow Down the Spread of The Disease.

So here we are today. Our freezer is full. I managed to get a loaf of bread yesterday. I have several pkgs of toilet paper and paper towels. So we have it all. Our day now consists of getting up when we please. watch the Today Show, Dr. Phil and then Price is Right. During that time, I take a shower. Today we went out and worked on the She-Shed. I painted the back and Rich worked on the wooden sidewalk. That was about an hour or so and called it quits. It was over 90 already. Back in the house to watch tv. Later, supper and then sit outside in the evening when it cools down. News at 10 and go to bed. Wednesday, do it all over again. So what’s happening in Illinois.

Tammy of course, being a nurse is busy. She is expecting her hours to go up. Little Carly is staying at Tina’s when Tammy is working. I think they are all having fun.

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Carly wrote this cute poster. It is so AWESOME that that she knows her Mom is making a difference for other people. Miley, Austin and DeeDee of course are enjoying themselves also.

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Austin has been spending time with Ed on weekends in the camper. Tina has also tried to start a Scavenger Hunt Game with the kids in town.

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This is such a cool idea. Kids can go for a walk with their parents and start watching other peoples windows. A great idea to do to keep their interest and get exercise. Ed is still working also. He works for Air-Products, which is a supplier to Hospitals etc. Tina works at Putnam Co Court house, and she is still their several days a week. She must be Essential workforce.

Scott and Brandy are out of work. They had to close the bar, and Scotts season in the truck hasn’t started up yet. Staci, Brandy’s daughter is home from Chicago also. So they are having their fun in their big machine shed garage.

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Around 7 or 8 years ago or more, I bought this yard tent for Scott. He just now put it up. Looks like a good place for Brandy to keep safe and keep her distance….Brandy, where’s your cooler with refreshments.

Scott is having fun on his Hover Board. This was a video and they had the music cranked up and he was dancing. He also had a beer in his hand…..

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Scott and Staci took a ride up in the Scissor Lift. They both had their beer in hand, singing Karaoke. When your bored, I guess you can have fun anywhere. Today, the local Fire Departments have decided to help kids celebrate their birthdays. Tina posted one today. The little girl was out on her porch. The fire engine pulled up with their lights one. They sang Happy Birthday on the Speaker. How cool is that. They made it a Very Special Birthday.

Illinois is also on a Stay At Home order from the Governor. As of today the have had 16 deaths, and 1,535 cases. The streets of Chicago are empty.

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State Street

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Marina Towers by the Chicago River

It seems like most people are taking it seriously, and having fun with it. The kids are doing ok and their is so much more family time. This is really a blessing in disguise. Family’s are home schooling online and entertaining their kids. Its really so nice to see.

But not all are really taking it as serious as they should. Their was an incident in the park the other day. We had a number of people in the pool. A resident came in with a guest they never registered. Of course the people in the pool began questioning them. They got in the pool which put the number over 10. So several of our people got out so the number came back to below 10. They talked about the quarantine issue and said that some parks had closed their pool. The guest said yes, she came from a park that had closed their pool. Of course that stirred them up and I agree. If your park has closed their pool, why do you come over to ours. We are suppose to stay away from people. Stay home at your park. That’s where you belong. The person who brought her over said, But their are no cases in her park…..I said to her….You can be a carrier and not know it….Educate yourself. This is a 55 plus park. We are really the higher risk. It is stupid to bring in a guest when this serious health threat is happening. She never really got it. She called everyone rude. “No, many are worried and taking this seriously”…..Why can’t she. She was more concered about the rudness. We are really lucky to have our pool still open. People need to follow the rules set down for us. They are all for a reason. Do what the government officials want us to do.

So much stuff is going across FB, that is funny and trying to help make this go by easy. I need to share a couple with you.

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Do you need a Vacation????….Here are some choices of places to go…..And its Cheap…

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Mancave, She Shed, Kitty’s Jealous????

I think it’s time for a Fun Blog. Too much uncertainty in this world right now. This morning we woke up to a Note on the Door…..It was taped to the outside. Rich went out and got it, and said….Official Notice.…My first thoughts were….Ron closed the pool, spas and both halls. How will the residents handle that…..MUTINY….Their will be Bloodshed..

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Rich looked really confused as he read it to himself….He finally gave it to me and I DIED LAUGHING…..I knew who wrote it. Lol…..

Official Notice

This House Now Belongs to Dashboard Kitty.

Papers have been filed at the County Court House. Due to Rich Bergen having his own Man Cave and Margaret Bergen Having her own She Shed, I DK (Dashboard Kitty) am laying claim to this residence. You may bring in food snacks and clean the litter daily. Leave the remote on the couch…

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Now you can see why he is called Dashboard Kitty. Now really only 1 person calls him that, so now I know who Kitty asked to draw up the Eviction Notice.…lol…Is He Jealous.?….Well Kitty, Sorry, You don’t scare me. I’m not leaving. You’d miss sleeping in bed with us. Nobody to scratch your neck. Besides this house is bigger than the Man Cave or the She Shed. Your going to have your Buddy (Roberta), take us to court….lol..So why is he Jealous??…….He must want his own house with the name “Cat House” on it….

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Pouring the Foundation for the Man Cave….Dec. 2018

Rich built his Man Cave about a year and a half ago. It started out as a nice shed and evolved to a pretty nice Man Cave. Roberta and Ken were at a Flea Mkt and found this sign made of Styrofoam and already painted….

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He has everything in it needed including a Frig and Kegerator. But it started to accumulate totes of stuff. Stuff we brought back from Illinois. Stuff from the Motor Home, Christmas Stuff and Craft stuff. So we decided this year to build a shed for my stuff. It started out as a regular shed for storage….But as we always seem to do, our imagination takes over.

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Cameron came down for 3 weeks and helped Grandpa build it. Rich started letting his imagination take over and he decided to make it look like a General Store.

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Cameron did a lot of the roof work as it was easier for him. They worked faithfully for several weeks. It was pretty neat to see Cameron working with Grandpa again. Rich started thinking about the Insurance commercial on tv about Sheryl’s She-Shed. So it became a She-Shed.

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This is what it looks like finished on the outside. We have had so many comments about it. It so darned cute. Rich is going to build a wooden sidewalk and connect with the concrete patio. Then the area that is dirt and grass will have a gas fire ring and finish it off with red mulch, joining the flower garden. Cameron worked really hard while he was here. He also finally got to go on the Deep Sea Fishing trip that he has wanted to do for years. Him and Grandpa went out for around 8 hrs with a group. Guess it wasn’t the right time as they didn’t catch much. But he had fun. Finally after 3 weeks Cameron went back home to the Cold, Cold weather. We put some lights on the She-Shed posts, so here is what it looks like at night.

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We turn the lights on every nite and enjoy it. So now while we all seem to be quarantined at home. We are loving the evenings sitting out in our own little fantasy world. The weather has been so nice. Beautiful evenings. So for the next several weeks, we are living the Real Retired Life. Every day is the same. Nowhere to go, nothing to do, just relaxing and sitting on the patio in the evenings. “What Day is It???

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So Kitty, I’m sorry we are not moving out. Your Eviction Notice means nothing to me. It is Null and Void. You will have to have your friend file a restraining order I guess. All you get is 1 bedroom, and we share our living room and kitchen with you. You even sleep in our bed. So don’t be so Greedy….

“This Case is Closed”

….By the Order of the County Court House…

“Coronavirus”…The World is Going Crazy

Look back at 1 week ago today. What were you doing? Did you ever think we would be in the state of fear that seems to be possessing everyone? One week ago, I was planning for our Farewell Potato Bake. Ordering our potatoes, setting up the grocery shopping list, butter, sour cream, veggies and dip etc. We were excited for our final concert show of the season. It was Leslie Blassing from the Island. She has such fabulous vocals. A gifted singer, who makes it look so easy. She was singing a Sunday Matinee at 2pm. She sings at the Island mostly, but it is Spring Break for the month of March and she likes to leave. lol. Tens of thousands of the college kids come from around the country and party. Concerts are set up at different locations and bars. Different weeks bring different groups of kids according to their Spring Break from college.

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I was of course aware of the Coronavirus. I had watched it from the beginning in Wuhan China. I watched the news on the Princess Boat in the harbor with the passengers all quarantined. I have an airplane tracker App. on my phone, so I even watched as the first 2 planes that flew home with the Americans from China. One went to Alaska and the other California . Then they came to San Antonio. Soon the US was reporting the Coronavirus was breaking out in different states. Finally it hit Texas but it was only in the northern part, so what’s the worry?

And then reality set in………Friday morning one of the lady’s from the park came in. She just left Dollar General. They were buying toilet paper, paper towels and water like crazy. She said the line was all the way to the back of the store. Wow….I had no idea they were hoarding. So I decided to immediately go out and join the band wagon…lol...My excuse was….”The Cat Needed Food”….I went to Dollar General, the parking lot was full. They were grabbing the carts from the people who were done shopping and loading in the car. So I grabbed a cart from some guy and went on in. I headed straight to the back. Went around the corner and a bunch of people were grabbing 24 pks of water off the rolling cart. By the time I got to it, the half of cart of water was almost gone. I got the last 2 pks. They had plenty of toilet paper and paper towels, but they were picked over. So I picked up 2 big double pks of toilet paper and a large pack of paper towels. Wow, couldn’t believe how people were shopping. That night I went to a Concert at the Harlingen Municipal Auditorium.

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Cici and I seen Burlap to Cashmere. 3 guys, 2 guitars, and a keyboard. Very talented. I suspected that their would be some empty seats, and their was, but not to bad. Saturday was when I realized what hoarding was going on. A friend was at Walmart and took a bunch of pictures….

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No Water

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No Dish Soap, cleaning products, Wipes, Diapers, and Anti-bacterial Soap

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No Beans….Really, even the Pinto and Navy Bagged Beans were gone.

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Even the Flour was picked over….The sugar was worse

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Bic Lighters……Why…Oh Why….

The people are panicking. Even all the Cooking oil, Canola and Wesson Oil was totally gone. Hand Sanitizers and Baby Wipes are gone everywhere.….Everyone wonders WHY all the Paper products…..But I seemed to join them to an extent. I’ve made sure I have doubles of all paper products and Laundry detergent. I figure if I have to be quarantined for 14 days, we should be fine. Rich and I have both been shopping at different times to load on a few things, even for the cat. He is set with his treats and regular foods. Rich even went to Progresso and loaded up on Meds for couple of months.

On Monday the CDC had started addressing the area with limitations on restaurants and social gatherings. We can not have over 50 in a group, and later it became 10. The upper management made the decision to close all Park functions. So the St. Patrick’s Day Corned Beef and Cabbage was canceled. All activities, Bingo, Dances, Cards, Exercise classes and the Farewell Potato Bake have been canceled. So the season is now Officially Over. All the Parks in the Valley have now official canceled all activities. The Canadians have received letters from their insurance company’s. They have been given 10 days to get back home from the time Canada declared a National Emergency, or their insurance will be no good. Many of them are leaving this week. The Valley is emptying out. The Winter Texans are heading north towards home. Some stay because they say we are safer. Some are bored because nothing to do. Some have their family’s calling them to get home NOW…..Today many restaurants are closing dining rooms, only offering drive through and carry outs. All schools are closed.

Down at South Padre Island, all beaches, beach access points, and community buildings are closed. All Concerts canceled. They have 24 hours to move out their equipment. The kids are their already for Spring Break so now what…..Do they party in their rooms??? I really don’t agree with closing the beaches. At least on the beach, they are out in the open. They are not congregating together. They would be safer as far as passing the virus. But that is only my thoughts.

Now the Country is in panic. The Stock Market is Crashing, Canadian Border is Closing. Mexico has talked about it, but so far its open. The Hospital ships are moving to large cities to help. Their is a huge shortage of masks, ventilators, and other medical equipment. They can’t even keep food in the stores. Schools, restaurants, social functions, and many business are shut down. Even churches are holding services online. Unemployment is on the rise. The Cruise ship industry is in shambles, and the Airlines are flying with half empty planes…..

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So

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So now here we are. Our frig is full, we are practicing Social Distancing in public. We are told to wash our hands at least 20 seconds with soap and water. Do not shake hands or touch your face. We are in good shape. But we are on Social Security. Our check will still come. I feel bad for the young parents. They are trying to maintain a living and pay bills and feed their children. Many of them have jobs in the food industry, so now they are done for 14 days. Many are still working but now their children are home and they need child care.

So where and when will this end. At this time the Government is seriously talking about sending out relief checks to help. Right now they say this is 14 days, but the president makes comments that we really don’t know. It could last till July or August. It is going to destroy many business and lives.

In one week, we went from….Normal”…. to ….PANDEMIC”…. Definition….A disease Epidemic that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple continents, or world wide.

Who Would Have Ever Thought This Would Happen …. One Week Ago

Connie, Tammy and the Kids Last Days of Vacation…….Part 4

Now that Tina and the kids had left, things quieted down a bit.  I took a day to take Connie site seeing and shopping.  Our first stop was the Museum of Arts and Heritage.  It contains the actual house belonging to the founder of Harlingen, Lon C Hill.  Also their was the first Hospital of Harlingen and the Stage Coach Stop that was moved in from several miles out in the country.  Then on to the Iwo Jima Memorial.20190418_1158548738467382576573432.jpg

This is such an impressive site to see.  It is the original first sculpture.  It is the clay cast that was made to mold the bronze Memorial in Arlington Cemetery, Washington DC.  It was a picture that was taken by an AP news photographer, of 4 soldiers raising the flag of the United States at the battle of Iwo Jima against the Japanese in WW II.  It was later in years made into a sculpture to honor our soldiers in battle. 20190418_1159311359531357824814867.jpg

One of the flag raisers was Corporal Harlon H Block, just a young man from  a little town west of here, Weslaco Texas.  He is buried at this site.  20190418_1208047820625982269052270.jpg

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Little did he know he would be killed in battle 3 days later.  This sculpture was given to the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen for several reasons.  1.  The Marine Military Academy was across the street.  2.  The street in between was already called Iwo Jima Blvd.  3.  Harlon Block was a home town boy.  It arrived on 10 semi flat beds in 1981 and was reconstructed.  In between the sculpture and the Military Academy lies a beautiful parade grounds used by the Academy for Military Parades.  Many visitors from Harlingen as well as far away including the students families come to view the Parades.  Nearby is a small but wonderful Museum filled with a wealth of historical memorabilia from World War II.  Also we seen a 32 minute black and white slide show, many actual shots of the Battle of Iwo Jima.  I never get tired of watching it.  It is so impressive and informative as to the reality of the war.

We drove across the street and slowly drove thru the Marine Military Academy.  I showed Connie the dorms, Gymnasium, Cafeteria, Class rooms and many others.  The school is a private college preparatory academy for classes 7th – 12th.  It is extremely expensive to attend therefore I have been told the average stay for a student is 2 years.  If the student attends all 6 years, they will likely graduate with an entrance into West Point or any other High ranking college, graduating with a very high rank.  Next we went shopping.  Amongst others Connie wanted to do Burlington Coat Factory.  First time for me.  We seen lots of bargain stuff.  I bought Carly an outfit.20190418_1711324737293413788877434.jpg

Of course we found something else.  This cool unicorn trunk to put stuff in.  We also went back to the Island to the new Sea Turtle Inc.  They rescue and treat the injured and keep the ones that cannot be rereleased in the waters.  It is a new building with a number of huge tanks for the ones that have found their forever home.20190419_1307384700962464836390273.jpg

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This one is Gerry.….Hes been here since 1980 and was on Johnny Carson.

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This one is Allison, she arrived in 2005 and has rudder attached to her back.  She is missing 3 of her 4 flippers. 20190419_1340591719390303973342248.jpg

Their was a very interesting display on the garbage that is found in the ocean waters and how dangerous it is to animals.  So much plastic is thrown overboard or washed out to sea.  The turtles think it is food and take bites.  It is so dangerous for them to ingest.

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The girls found a tank with a bubble in the bottom.  They crawled in from underneath.  It looked like they were in the tanks.  From their we went to the South Padre Island Birding and Nature Center.20190419_1437415067563501753533916.jpg

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It is a beautiful place full of birds, butterflies, and some alligators.  Its trails are all boardwalks that are built above the ground.  The birds, gators and wildlife have so much area to roam and be free and we are above them and…..SAFE…..20190419_1458192968984700477143471.jpg

This was a sleeping Alligator.  Or at least he looked like it.  He never moved.

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This was a beautiful walk out to the pier.  This was all shallow water full of crab, fish snails and ducks. 20190419_1515471042480478050570140.jpg

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Such a beautiful view of the bridge coming from Port of Isabel to the island in the distance.  On the walk we seen several turtles.  They loved to dig in the mud. 20190419_1552485231534597102920834.jpg

Many bird watchers were their with their binoculars.  The area was full of lush foliage that was a home and haven for birds and wildlife.  We came across 1 more pier and found another sleeping alligator.  He was right next to the post and never moved.  He was much smaller than the other one.20190419_1603116609505219380753557.jpg

Finally after a full day, time to head home.  The next day we took off to Boca Chica Beach again.  Tammy loves that place because she can drive down the beach in her jeep.  We went through Brownsville and past the Border Patrol check point, past Space X again and right down to the beach entrance.  I wouldn’t let her go south as that was Mexico.  So we went north on the beach.  It was such a beautiful day.  I had also checked the Tide report.  I certainly didn’t want to be marooned on the beach.  We drove 4 or 5 miles on the beach, watched the ocean waves beside us, passing  vehicles fishing and grilling out.  Just enjoying a fun day of sun and water.  We approached the end and found ourselves in front of the Port Of Brownsville inlet.  Just across from us was South padre Island.

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It was so pretty.  We parked the Jeep and climbed up the big concrete/stone retaining wall.  Right in front of us was South Padre Island and one of the Dolphin Watch Cruises.

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It was windy but so pretty.  Behind us was a number of houses on a hill.

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These houses do not have any utilities to them.  They are all owned by private owners.  All water has to be trucked in from Brownsville.  They all require generators for power.  We are told when you take the Dolphin tours that if these houses are ever demolished in a hurricane, the government will not let them be rebuilt.  They don’t want them their.  So far they seem to be fine.  What a great Vacation home away from civilization.  But I bet the weather is brutal at times.  It gets the direct wind and rain from the Gulf.  We turned around and started driving back slowly.  Tammy, Connie and Carly started walking the beach while I drove the Jeep.

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It was so beautiful watching them walk, listening to the waves roll in from the ocean.  The wind blew and the sea gulls swooped and fly from the shore line to up in the air, chasing anything that looked like food. 20190419_1911514184852462720873849.jpg

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I came upon a log that had been washed to shore.  It had apparently been submerged for a long time.  It was full of barnacles that had attached to it.  I had never seen them before.  Pretty interesting. 20190419_191923165950046638024157.jpg

It was nearing time to go.  We still had to go over and visit my friend Gail Rollo.  She has written a series of Childrens books.  I bought Carly one last year and now her and Tammy wanted to purchase one for her First grade Class.

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Gail was so Happy to see us and Carly Gail dedicated a book to the first grade class.  Carly was so excited.  She read the whole book to Gail and all of us.

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She really reads well for only first grade.  Gail has just released her 2nd book in the series.  Its called …..”Gorilla of My Dreams”……Its a dream she had as a little girl and has never forgotten it.  She has self published her books and they are available on Amazon as well as many book stores.  She is an ….”Awesome”….. lady.  You can also check her out on Facebook as well as Amazon.  Finally it was Easter Sunday and time for them to go.  We went to Golden Corral for Breakfast.  When we came home guess who had been their…The Easter Bunny…

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Carly was so happy.  She thought the Easter Bunny might miss her.  She got her bag and started collecting all her eggs and surprises.  The Easter Bunny left Cassidy her new hair iron that she has been wanting.  Now they had to pack.  You  would never believe all the stuff they had to pack.  The little trailer was so loaded down.  They had bought so much, including bags of fruit.  They also brought back the things Tina had bought that she couldn’t put on the plane. 20190421_1251364733610969203983122.jpg

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Finally it was time for them to leave.  Their was just enough room the kids to sit.  After Hugs and Good Byes they took off loaded to the hilt.  24 hours later they pulled into home again.  I can’t imagine driving with her,  packed in tight like the kids were, but it is what they do.….lol….. and Connie survived….

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“GET IN THE CAR CONNIE !!!!!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tammy & Tina, Their Trip Down Boca Chica Beach…..Part 3

We packed up all our stuff from our fun day at SPI Beach, our shells, towels, beach chair, and tent, etc. Rich, Connie, Cassidy and I went home. We were tired. The girls and the 3 little ones decided to go for a drive on the beach in Tammy’s 4 wheel drive Jeep. Last year Tammy found Beach Access 6, and drove on the beach for miles. On the trip back she got stuck in the sand trying to exit the access. She had to get help to pull her out. So now they want to do this again.…..Crazy…..Tammy drove all the way north on the main and only road passing the last of the hotels and restaurants, horse back ridding, Zip Line and all the beach Accesses.

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Eventually the rode ends, and it becomes just sand. Because of the winds, the road blows over and covers with sand. The plows have to plow every so often to keep it open. They found beach Access 6 and found they are charging now to gain access with your vehicle. So they decided against that. But of course their is another place to drive on the Beach. Boca Chica Beach is further south, the other side of Brownsville on the Mexican Border. It is probably about a 45 minute drive from Padre. They have to drive around the Port of Brownsville which is a 17 mile man made deep water sea port. This takes you into Brownsville to get to the other side. Then you follow the Port on the south side all the way back out to the Gulf. This area is very large wildlife refuge, full of Wildlife, Dunes and secluded beaches. Their is 1 small Village, Boca Chica Village that was built in the 70’s. It consists of 1 street with a boulevard of Palm trees down the middle. The ranch houses on each side are falling in a state of disrepair.

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A hurricane came through many years ago, and destroyed all their utilities. Now the homes that are occupied have generators and water tanks. It is quite a unique little village that is simply standing still with time…………...until now.

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Stargate Office

Right next door we have a new development. Space X, owned by Elan Musk. Several years ago we heard of the possibility of this being a Space Launch site. Finally this past year they have started building. Their are 2 sites. The first one is just west of the Village.

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The Launch site is further east past the Village and almost to the Beach. They have been building what they call a Hopper. It is not the actual rocket ship, but a test vehicle to test the engines. It is tethered at all times. Last January we had severe winds and the tethers broke and it fell over. Really rather funny I thought. The nose cone was broken. Several weeks before the girls came they started testing. They fire up the engines and keep it tethered to the ground, running their tests. When this happens the road coming out of Brownsville (the only road) is closed to all traffic.

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Right past the Launch site is the opening to the beach. The road just dead ends on the beach on the other side of the dunes……Absolutely beautiful……Now Tammy was on the beach. She decided to head south…..Oh No…..What is south????,………Mexico, mouth of the Rio Grande River. I‘m not sure if they thought of that at first. On the way down they stopped and the kids collected shells.

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Dead Jellyfish like the one that stung Mileys leg.

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Kids had a great time. Finally they arrived at a point where the beach ended. They looked across the river area and seen cars and people walking around. It didn’t register with them yet that they were at the mouth of the river and Mexico was on the other side.

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As they sat their watching, a car drove up and parked in front of them. Suddenly they seen a boat appear on the shore. 2 women got out and got in the car……OMG….It suddenly hit them…….They just witnessed 2 illegals crossing the river to the US. They better get out of their. They turned around and high tailed it back up the beach. Suddenly the car was right behind them. They were worried as to what their intentions were. Tammy got over to one side and the car flew by them up the beach…..Whooow….They were safe. They drove all the way back towards Brownsville. Several miles before you enter Brownsville, their is a Border Check point. As they approached they seen the car stopped. They stopped for the officers to check them. They seen one of the ladies being escorted into the office. The girls told the agents what they had just seen. The officer asked, “Was their just one lady?” They said “No their was 2 that got out of a boat”.….the agent said……“Ohhhhhh, Thank You, Have a Nice Day” Away they drove back into Brownsville and civilization and back home.

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Now theirs 2 reasons I would not have done this. First the obvious one is the Illegals. They were crazy to be near that desolate area, …..ESPECIALLY IN THE EVENING AND OUT OF STATE PLATES...….and a pretty red Jeep with 2 women and kids in it…..Who knows what could have happened to them. Secondly, …...THE TIDE….If you look at those beach pictures, when the tide comes up, their is no where to go as their are high sand dunes. They had no idea when the high tide comes in. It is around 5 miles or so down the beach to the Rio Grande. They could have been marooned.

They finally returned home after dark. The kids came in whimpering. Suddenly they realized they have gotten sunburned. As the moms took off their shirts, the whimpers became crying…..lol….Then out came the lotion and spray. The crying escalated into some screaming……lol….Miley took it pretty well but Carly was really hurting. They were so red. They all slept in the living room on the sofa recliners. In the morning the lotion and spraying process was repeated. Poor Carly’s ears looked like Dr. Spock. They had a huge blister on the top of each ear. We decided to keep them home for the next 2 days. We broke out the Adult Coloring books and pencils. They played Airport in the bedroom. I walked in and Miley was selling tickets to Austin. He bought a ticket, and Miley told him to enter and board the plane.….So Cute…..

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The kids spent lots of time in Grandpas new Man Cave watching TV. I stayed home with the kids while the girls went to Walmart, the outlet mall, and several flea mkts. Rich went back to Progresso with them, and Tina bought several MK purses for her friend. We finally let them go back into the Spa. They sure heal fast.

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Austin sporting his new Deer Head…..Crazy Kid….

Back home Tina is a member of her local Rotary Club. I contacted our local Rotary that has adopted our park for the Flag Sponsorship Program and arranged for her to attend a meeting as a visiting Rotarian.

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She brought a flag from her Club and a Flag exchange was done at the meeting. I was invited along, and found it very interesting to be present. Thanks to the North Harlingen Rotary Club, Landon Jennings for inviting us. Finally Tina and the kids week was over. She was flying out on Wednesday. It was such a fast week. Tammy was staying until Sunday.

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We drove them to the airport and let them off at the door after hugs and goodbyes. They had had such a good time. The kids didn’t want to go. Tina was hoping the plane was overbooked and she could take a voucher. The week before she heard they were offering $1000 Vouchers..But no such luck….The Plane was full but not overly full. We drove back home and Tina said the kids wanted us to take a picture of their plane. We are only a mile away so we patiently waited and their they went…….

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Back in Chicago with Ed picking them up….and of course, DEE DEE

facebook_15584762163481756897153604411883.jpgDeeDee and the Kids sure Missed each other….so did Mom

Now we have a few more days of fun with Tammy, Cassidy, Carly and Aunt Connie.

.……Its Not Over Yet…….

I

Tammy, Aunt Connie, and the Kids Finally Arrived….Part 2….

Tammy, Cassidy, Carly and Aunt Connie arrived on Friday nite around 6pm. They had left northern Illinois the nite before around 6pm. ….. Ohhhhh what a ride.…24 hours in the car, over 1,200 miles nonstop, except for food and gas. Connie had worked that day, and the girls had school. Tammy worked the nite before and had tried to sleep that afternoon. Tammy picked up the girls and last was Connie. Uncle Brian was their to see them off.

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Tammy and the kids had been here before, but this would be Connie’s‘ first time. She was very excited and if you know Connie, you would realize she had to bless the car for the trip.

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She has oils and things…lol...really not sure what all...but after they were all blest and the car was safe, away they went pulling Tammy’s new Camper. She was so excited to bring it. She wanted to set it up just like she was camping. Her and Carly were going to sleep in it.

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It is a little teardrop camper. She has graduated from tent camping to this. You can’t stand in it but it sleeps 2 and has a tv inside. The back end opens into an outside kitchenette, complete with her much needed coffee pot. The former owner also threw in a large screen tent that encompasses the back end into a screen room. Tammy drove for 24 hours, only stopping for gas, coffee and food. She tried to sleep once but after a short time they took off again. Connie of course stayed awake, and made sure Tammy was alert at all times. All I can say….”Glad I wasn’t in that car”….lol….Those 2 together when their both tired is not a good thing.

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But after 24 hours they pulled in extremely tired. Tammy insisted on setting up her camper. The cousins were glad to be back together.

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We spent an evening of eating, touring the park, taking Connie up to her trailer that she was sharing with Tina, and discussed our plans for the next day. But they were so tired they went to bed early….

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The kids decided to try out the Spa right by us. The next day was a very busy one. We decided to head to Progresso Mexico. Now this past month has been full of news of the US Government threatening to shut down the borders. The illegals, from many different countries, are coming up through Mexico in the thousands and crossing. The Border Patrol has been so busy trying to stop them, and processing the ones that make it across. Their are so many escaping from their countries from poverty and the threat of harm and murder of their families. Most are just looking for a better life. But also their are the criminals, drug runners for the Cartel and many other not so nice people. The government has put up miles of coiled barbed wire, and also new gates on the bridges. At Progresso, their are now swing gates installed in the middle of the bridge for the car lanes as well as the walk lane. They can now totally close down the bridge if they wish. Around 300 Agents were taken from our area to help other areas with processing of the illegals. Now Progresso bridge is running with a skeleton shift. We usually drive across and the wait time has been around 1 hour to get back in the USA. We decided to walk across as their were 2 cars of us. Everyone had passports but Connie. We had verified she could use her Birth Certificate and Drivers License for ID. We parked our cars and started the walk. Now it isn’t really far. The parking lots are right by the bridge and after you cross the bridge you are already in the town of Progresso. We stopped in the middle of the bridge over the Rio Grande River where the plaque is….The official Border.

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Tina, Miley and Austin, hamming it up

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Rich and Connie….Brother and Sister

Everyone stops to take these traditional pictures…..Finally walking across to the other side of the bridge the kids seen the hats being shoved through the bridge railings. On the other side was Mexicans begging for money. If you looked down below you would see at least 10 to 15 people begging…..”Hey lady, Quarter, Quarter Quarter”….They would be sitting or roaming around waiting for people to throw change over the railing. Finally we entered into Progresso, went through the turnstyles depositing 4 quarters and we started shopping. We held on to the kids hands and warned them to always stay close. Our first stop was at a small plaza that Tammy had been to last year.

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Their was another Artist spray painter their. Cassidy picked out a picture and had him paint it on a dish. It is so cool to watch them paint. It looks so easy. We stopped for a drink at Poncho’s Bar inside one of the stores.

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Connie looks drunk doesn’t she?……lol…But she’s not. We headed down to our Pharmacy and introduced Connie to our girl……Its like a candy store. The prices are so cheap and all stacked like Walmart. It is just so hard to understand why Mexico can sell these drugs so cheap compared to the US. No wonder the US citizens flock to Mexico to buy their meds. United States government and Drug Company’s are raping the US citizens for their meds to sustain their live’s. Many people go without because they can’t afford to pay the price. Even dental work is cheap. Theirs a dozen dentists every block. Many are trained and licensed in the US. You can get a set of dentures anywhere from $350 up. You can get them in a couple of days depending on when the dental lab is open. We actually have people come and stay at the park just so they can get all their dental work done in Mexico.

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We shopped some more, Tina was looking at all the MK purses, Austin found a deer head with antlers that he wanted. Finally we decided it was time to head back. We made our way through all the people back to the bridge. The car lanes were full. They were in line at least 4 blocks back. At intersections cars butted in. Very frustrating when your driving. A 4 hour wait in a car is common these days. Our Pharmacy girl told us several days before they were backed up to 1 am in the morning. Some even ran out of gas.

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We deposited our 2 quarters to go through the turnsyles. We started walking the bridge, and near the middle it slowed down. Their are 2 Border Patrol at the gates near the middle checking Passports. On this side (Mexican Side), was a number of illegals sitting or laying, waiting to be able to pass over.

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Now normally the would only check your passport on the other side of the bridge. This is a new procedure. Their were so many people that now if you have a scannable passport, you may proceed ahead to the other side where the main Border agents were. All others that would be a manual check like Connie would have to wait in the other line. Her line was backed up. We sent Tammy and Tina and the kids on home and waited for Connie. It was at least an hour for her to get through the first gate in the middle. We then went on to the other end and waited for her their. Finally after over 2 hours of waiting, she finally came out. She had no problems other than the line was so long. We finally arrived back home after an exhausting but fun day. Sunday we headed to South Padre Island. We reserved tickets for the Original Dolphin Watch.

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This is the company I usually use for the park tours. We get discount and their very nice. I was told that the boat we usual use was booked. It is in the back ground and its a double decker. They were putting us on the Diver 1.…It is usually used for Scuba Divers. Well, it was ok but I will never put the park people on it. The kids had fun and that’s what counts. This boat had a large fully enclosed cabin, with a smaller deck on top. We took off towards the Laguna Madre at first to do the Ecology part of the trip first. They throw their nets over board and drag the bottom for 15 minutes. Then they bring them up, sift through the seaweed and debris to see the sea life they found.

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The kids all gathered around. They didn’t bring up to much today, just squid and some other small things. Then we headed out to the jetties, which is the opening to the Gulf of Mexico. We were off to see the Dolphins.

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We stayed down below but the kids mostly stayed on top. It was way to crowded for us. They were able to see the dolphins. Tina managed to get some nice video of them swimming near the boat. The kids really enjoyed it. Finally, time to go back to the dock for our next adventure. We stopped at a souvenir shop first.

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Austin spied this one and wanted to walk into Jaws.…lol..This was the store entrance. We shopped for beach towels, sand toys, and anything fun for the beach. That was were we were headed next…...But where’s DAD?

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LoL……He got bored with all the girls shopping. He went back to the car, got out his chair and hat, got a drink and began people watching……We all laughed at him. Finally after all our purchases, off we were to the beach. We went to a small bar that also had beach access. Boomerang Billy’s had food, drink and our favorite singer, Leslie Blasing. It would be a good place for the adults to enjoy and the kids could go down to the beach. After eating, I went down to beach and brought my newly purchase shade tent. Its big enough to put 2 lawn chairs inside.

But it was really windy and somewhat chilly. It was so peaceful to hear the ocean waves and the seagulls in the air. The kids had a great time playing in the water and building sand castles with their new toys.

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Carly wearing her googles

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The girls had put sun block on them but we didn’t realize at the time what was happening…...They were getting …..”FRIED”….After several hours, we packed up and left. Rich, Connie, Cassidy and I were in our car, and Tammy, Tina, and the 3 little ones in Tammy’s car. We were tired and decided to head home. The girls had other plans. Tammy wanted to ride the beach in her Jeep. She had done that the year before and got stuck. We left them to their own demise. lol If you get stuck, We will be far away, Don’t call us. These girls are way to adventurous.

Well something did happen. The story of the sunburn kids and their latest adventure will be the next blog……All I can say, ……Glad I wasn’t with them…..

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Austin was AMAZED at this fish.

Kids are Coming….Tina & The Kids Flew in First…….Part 1

Several weeks ago, a number of the family came down.  It was a Fabulous 10 days We crammed so much into such a short time.  Last fall Tammy and Tina decided to come down during Spring Break.  Tammy brought Cassidy and CarlyCameron had to work and he also Graduated from EMT Basic.  He is an adult now, so adult rules apply….lol… Tina brought Miley and Austin.  Ed had to work.  Aunt Connie (Rich’s Sister), decided to come with Tammy.  We waited a long time for this.  Tina and the kids and Connie had never been here before.facebook_15568880698765066574729503143414.jpg

Tina arrived on Wed.  Her and the Kids flew into the Valley International Airport which is only a mile from us.  Frontier Airlines started flying nonstop from Chicago O’hare  last fall.  Tina was able to by 3 round trip tickets, for around $400.  That includes an extra charge for the seats, so they could all sit together.  The drawback was no carry on, only a small back pack.  Everything else would be an extra charge.  So they all layered up their clothes….That is a Phenomenal price….Especially for non stop…

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The kids hadn’t flown before so they were so excited.   Aunt Beth (Ed’s Sister), drove them to Chicago.  Its probably at least a 2 hour + ride.  Beth and Ed will be babysitting poor little DeeDee.  It will be the first time her mom and kids leave her for a week.  The flight down was only a little over 3 hours.  We watched the plane on the Flight App on the phone.  Pretty cool.  You can tell exactly where they are, when they land.  We went to the Airport just before they landed.  They have just remodeled  the airport and it is really beautiful.  Small but very nice and easy to get around.  They arrived right on time.   From cold weather to 85 degrees in 3 hours.

They were so excited to be here.  We left and came straight home so they could take off some of their layers of clothes….We put them in a rental for the week where they would have space.  The trailer is a 2 bed, 2 bath.  Tina and the kids would have one bedroom and Connie would have the other one when they came.20190504_0735472891828742097800470.jpg

We gave them a tour of the park.  Of course the kids had to take turns driving the golf cart.  We went past the pool and spa’s, and then went and ate supper at a Mexican Restaurant, Vegas Café, and stopped at the Dollar Store to pick up some essentials on the way back home. facebook_15568885783095479797923792054485.jpg

Of course we had to enjoy the spa that is about 20 feet from us across the fence.  After a nice relaxing evening, sitting out, we all went to bed.  Thursday we went to Progresso Mexico.  This would also be a first for Tina.  In recent weeks, their has been news articles that President Trump would close all borders.  All the illegals are crossing in the thousands and looking for asylum.  This particular border at Progresso really doesn’t have that much of a problem.  That is more west and in California.  Many of them are crossing the river here to sneak across, not at the bridges.  Here at the Progresso crossing they have installed large gates in the middle of the bridge for the cars as well as the Pedestrian traffic.  I was told they were for closing if the Caravans decided to rush the bridge all at one time.  But this illegal activity to the west is calling for more Border Patrol in other areas.  We were told they have taken around 300 agents and transferred them to other areas to help patrol and processing of illegals.  Now this is starting to cause a back up time coming back into the US.  So far we have only ever had a 2 hour wait to cross back.  Walking is usually fairly fast.  Maybe only a half hour.  facebook_15568884663625614373645679982511.jpg

After only a half hour drive from Harlingen, we crossed over in the car.  We always drive over anymore as we are getting to lazy to walk like many do.  lol…….We started shopping at all the little shops on the street.  The kids were very observant as to what they seen.  Many little kids were trying to sell items on the street.  Old men and women were sitting on the sidewalks shaking their cups for money.  We kept the kids close and held hands.  What we didn’t realize was that Austin was watching the little boys approaching people with their shoe shine kits.  They wanted to shine peoples shoes for a dollar or two.  This is causing an impression on him that i’ll write about later.  We came upon the man who paints pictures with spray cans.

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Austin was fascinated with him.  He painted a picture for him.  It was really amazing to watch how he painted.  The best part was watching Austin’s face.facebook_15568881788396038366823087900328.jpg

Of course Tina had to buy it.  It was only $20 which wasn’t to bad of a price.  Miley picked one out also.  The painter gave Tina a good deal on the 2nd one.facebook_15568881914266153448500970549651.jpg

We walked down to our favorite Pharmacy and introduced Jasmine the owner, to Tina.  It is amazing to a first timer to see all the different meds that are sold over the counter.  They are so cheap.  Many people including us buy all their meds in Mexico because of the price.   Its just like shopping at Walmart. facebook_15568882056764633303189266670436.jpg

We went to one of our favorite restaurants to eat lunch “Arturo’s”…..Its a very nice clean place to eat.  The waiters are all dressed up and prices are very reasonable.  So after much shopping and Tina looking at MK purses, we decided to leave and head for South Padre Island.  The wait line in the car to get out of Mexico wasn’t to bad at that time.  Maybe a hour to hour and a half.  After about a 45 minute drive, we finally arrived at Port Isabel…..queen-isabella-causeway-2874046372562694780.jpg

Now for the beautiful 2 mile long Queen Isabella Bridge crossing to South Padre Island.…It is the only crossing to get to the Island.  The Island isn’t very wide.  It has 1 main street lined with touristy shops and restaurants and a street on either side.  The side streets have either Bay or Gulf property and are lined with Condos, Hotels and Restaurants.  First we stopped at the Visitor Center to see the huge Sand Castle.   facebook_15568882516748162135186682069756.jpg

We headed to the beach for some fun.  Miley and Austin were having a blast.  We hadn’t intended on them getting wet, but they of course did anyway.  They were running up and down the beach.

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All of a sudden, Austin came running towards us.  Miley was behind but not running as fast.  More like a fast walk.  Austin said Miley got stung.  As Miley came up to us, she was crying.  She said she got stung by a Jellyfish.  It wrapped around her leg.  She felt something on her leg and thought it was seaweed.  She grabbed it and it felt like jelly.  As she squeezed it to pull it off, it started to sting her leg all the way around to the back.  She of course panicked as I would have also, and pulled it off and ran.

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As I looked down the beach a Beach Patrol truck was coming.  I stopped them and they checked out Mileys leg.  The said it was either a Moon Jellyfish or a Portuguese Man Of War.   …..Oh Yuck…..The life guard had some spray to help diminish the sting, but it would probably take up to 4 hours to go away.  Do NOT wash it with fresh water, only sea water.  If you use fresh water it could open up any of the poison cells that may still be attached to the leg.

That was the end of the beach for the day.  We went to Louies Backkyard to eat.  It is located on the Bay side of the Island.  We sat on the Patio area and enjoyed the evening as the sun started to set. facebook_15568883633436535587075356408699.jpg

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The view from their is so pretty.  The Catamaran “Southern Wave” had taken off for a sunset trip.  We had a great relaxing dinner and finally decided to head home…..
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It was really a long day.  Miley was feeling better but she could still feel the sting.  We did so much in one day.  Normally we would never do Mexico and the Island in one day.  The next day was Friday.  Now we would be waiting for Tammy, Connie and the kids to get here.  They left on Thursday after school was out.  Tammy believes in driving straight through which is almost 24 hours.  I think she is crazy, cause she probably wouldn’t let Connie drive and I was right.  Friday, we spent the day staying in touch with them during their drive.  We did some shopping and then it was pool time.  Tina wanted to start on her tan…..We went to the pool around 2pm.  Probably wasn’t the best time as that is the time set for the residents to congregate together and solve all the problems of the park.  As we approached with the kids, I could tell what they were thinking as they stared at us.  So I kept them in the shallow end while Tina laid in the sun.  I was talking with one of the lady’s and the others were looking toward the kids and getting excited.  They said, “look what they are doing”..….lol….I turned around and all they were doing was clearing out the box of noodles that we all use to float.  I told them to put them back…..Only 1 apiece….Some people seem to forget they were kids once, but it is a 55+ park….lol… Finally evening came, and sure enough less than 24 hours after leaving Illinois, Tammy, Connie and the kids pulled in…...So that’s a continuing story for the next blog….20190504_1110198368004227238005493.jpg

Look who’s here…...Carly and Cassidy..Tammy is pulling her new little teardrop camper with her red Jeep.….Here’s just a few more beautiful pictures from the island….

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Southern Wave” returning with their mast lights all lite up…..

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View from the patio deck of  “Louies Backyard”

 

Visit To The Culinary School For Lunch

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Harlingen is the home of TSTC Culinary School. (Texas State Technical College). The students learn from cooking, baking, presentation of food, to the proper serving etiquette of the meal. They also learn how to prepare a menu, cost analysis, and shopping for their menu. Every Monday, they send out an Email presenting their Menu for Wednesday. I am on the list and have been getting it for almost 2 years. I have never gone as I was busy or I just didn’t know exactly where it was. The Campus is large and very spread out. The lady’s were just taking about it when we attend the Play at the Theatre on Sunday. Monday morning their it was …….My Email from Chef Emma...…

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Yum Italian….My Favorite…. I grew up in an Italian town, so this was certainly the key to my stomach. I contacted several lady’s and we set our lunch at 11:30 am. I called out to the school and talked with Bobbi…..Very nice lady on the phone….Extremely friendly and helpful to me as a first timer. Finally after another call or 2, we had reservations set for 5 of us. I picked everyone up and we headed out. Several had been their before but just wasn’t sure on exactly where it was. I had the map Chef Emma sent in the Email. We pulled into the parking lot, and the building said Science..Hmmmmm….Lila went in to explore the halls….Bingo…We were in the right place. We wound through the halls of students with their bookbags, and found Room 185.

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As we entered, they were all ready for us. They took my name for my reservation, and then seated us and presented the menus. This was just a regular class room with round tables set up for the lunch. Their was probably 4 or 5 tables with people seated already. They started serving at 10:30. The First year students would be waiting on us and serving the drinks and food. The Senior students were in the kitchen preparing the dishes for us. Our waitress introduced herself and took our order. We were their Guinea pigs.... lol…The menu’s were fabulous. Some things we heard of some things not. We mostly all chose the same things. We chose an Appetizer, or they called it a Starter, an Entrée, and of course a Dessert. After a few minutes of laughter and visiting, the meal began…..First the appetizer..Yummmm…..“Bruschetta”

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The flavors were wonderful….Tomatoes with Garlic, Basil, and Balsamic on a toasted baguette. I am not a tomato lover, but this was “Awesome”

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Theresa ordered the Minestrone Soup…..This was not just a cup or Appetizer size….It was huge. It was also served with 2 pieces of Toasted Baguette . I had a taste and it was wonderful. Rich in flavor. Next, time for Main Course……“Shells stuffed with Ricotta Cheese with Spinach”……“Wow”

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We all ordered the same. The presentation on the plate was very appealing and the shells were huge…The flavors again….just wonderful…During this time Chef Emma came by and introduced herself and told us a little about the program. Everything is made from scratch, including the Creamy Cheese and Spinach filling. Finally last course….Dessert……“OMG”

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Just look at this….Its called “Deconstructed Chocolate Tiramisu” Believe me, it even tasted better than it looked….It was Heavenly. The flavors of chocolate and whip cream were to die for. We all had a good laugh when Debby said...”This is another good use for our wine glasses”. None of us finished out meal. We all took home 2 of our 4 Stuffed Shells. What a Fabulous Meal.

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After we were done eating, Chef Emma again came around, also Bobbi, the girl on the phone who took my reservation. Such friendly lady’s. They made us feel like family. They told the rest of the lady’s how to sign up for emails for their menus. Finally our waitress presented us with our bill It was only $12.75. Very Economical.

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Finally after much visiting and laughter and just a great time, it was time to leave. We each paid our bills at the cash register and headed out to the car and home. What a fun afternoon.

Thank you TSTC Culinary School…..Great Job, Great Food….Not only Great, Fantastic…..The Lady’s from Eastgate Mh & Rv Park Will Be Back…large_Logo.gif