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.

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Great Time on a Segway and Seen a Terrific Raptor Show

Were been back at Eastgate now almost  a month already.  The weather has been so nice and warm. 80s’ and 90s’.  We’ve had some rain though.  We have been very lucky in Harlingen, as their has been much more rain to the east and west of us.  Many of the drainage ditches have overflown and homes have been flooded.  So far the new position is going well.  My official name is Event Coordinator.  I have been checking out some great things to do.  Sunday we are car pooling to the Local Theater to see a play of “Steel Magnolias”……Last Wed, I went on a Segway Tour of Harlingen.

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I have always wanted to do it.  We were at Don Wes Flea Market, last year, when the were advertising, and they let me stand on one.  It is balanced by a Gyro inside.  It stands on its own.  It is really easy to do.  This company has tours through out the Rio Grande Valley including South Padre Island.  I had attended a convention for Activity Directors and was able to sign up for this tour, so we could take our experience back to our Parks and book tours with a fabulous discount.

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Check out our helmets…..lol….

Our guide, Rachael, gave us some great instructions and was very patient with training us.  She also had an assistant, John with her.  He was awesome also.  He always followed us to make sure we were all safe.  After about a half hour of instructions and training we took off for the 1 1/2 hour ride through historical down town, focusing on the many murals.

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I didn’t take to many photos of the murals as I was a little nervous to take my hands off the handles.  Sure didn’t want to fall off and make an A***** of my myself……lol….Our first stop was a fabulous garden center, Grimsell’s Garden Center.

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It was so pretty, It had beautiful patios, and gardens.

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I heard some birds tweeting,  I sounded so pretty, so as I walked through, I came upon a garden with a cage of parakeets…..They were so happy enjoying the gentle breeze and singing happily.

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Their cage was on a set of wheel barrow wheels. That way they can wheel them in at nite and bad weather.  They are well taken care of and obviously so happy.

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I continued on enjoying all the beautiful plants on display, and for sale.  Such a beautiful, soothing and relaxing atmosphere in the middle of town.  PARADICE

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Next, back on the Segway’s for another mural.  This building is all the windows and downs painted.  Its is different and a departure from the other murals.  An artist actually has a shop their.

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On we go to Harlingen Lake.  It was huge, right in the middle of town.  I hadn’t seen it before.  It has awesome walking trail around the lake with many grassy areas.  We rode the walkways halfway around, and then got off to rest.  We had the opportunity to either rest or go play on the grassy hills nearby.  It was time to rest my feet as I think you stress your muscles at first.

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Several of us just sat and relaxed, enjoying the beautiful breeze from the lake.  This is a picture of Rachel (Owner) and John.  We had them pose for it.   Nice advertisement….lol…I want to give them all the plugs I can…lol….

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Onward to the Library.   They had a beautiful Plaza area.  The emphasis was obviously on books….The gorgeous arch, was structured with books.

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Some had rather comical names.  One of them, as you would be standing under the arch staring up was named….”Looking Up”…..lol

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This was a cool statue of Thomas Edison.

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.Rachael  and John were always their to help us get on.  So patient

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One of our last murals was down town.  The Lady from the Visitor Center welcomed us and took our picture.  Finally it was over and back to the parking lot.  It was a blast.  The next day I called Rachael and have scheduled 2 tours for our park, one for this Wed. and another in Dec.  I hope they have as much fun as I did.

We also had a Birding Convention in town.  The RGV is a huge birding area.  So many kinds, as we are on the main migratory areas.  They held Bird walks all over during the week, even going over 50 miles away.  For the weekend they had a great show at the convention center.  I went with my Good friend Roberta, who is a permanent resident of the park.  She has 2 birds…..”Maui” a beautiful Macaw, and “Love Love” a cockatiel that has broken hips.

They are awesome birds. Roberta found many books and contacts on birds.  They offered many trips all over the world, even New Zealand for Birding. People come from all over the world for these Birding conventions.   But my favorite was the Raptor Project.

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The Raptor Projects is an extraordinary and outstanding array of eagles, hawks, falcons and owls that have won the rapt attention of enthralled audiences throughout the nation. Presenting almost 1000 educational programs to over 10 million people annually, The Raptor Project leads the way in outstanding, top quality, professional wildlife education. Featuring 15-20 raptors from diverse habitats at each presentation, these dynamic fierce predators capture hearts of both young and old.

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Jonathon asked a little girl to feed meat to the eagle. She wasn’t even afraid

The Raptor Project founders, Jonathan and Susan Wood of New York’s Catskill mountains have assembled a traveling collection of feathered predators that is unrivaled in scope and size anywhere in the world. Jonathan Wood is a Master Falconer and Wildlife Rehabilitation, bringing unique insights, observations and humor to his exciting, riveting, nationally acclaimed shows.

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This Owl was so beautiful. At first he looked stuffed…lol…but He was real

Many of the birds in About Johnathan Wood - BiographyThe Raptor Project have
permanent handicaps and have been donated to his project by crowded wildlife centers around the country because they were unable to be re-introduced to the wild. Some faced euthanization and now have been tamed and trained to educate the public as charming ambassadors of their species and the environments they inhabit. Jonathan and Susan Wood and their staff operate the organization from a beautiful 14 acre, private facility in New York’s Catskill mountains. All birds are housed, exercised and cared for in spacious, state of the art aviaries.

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Jonathan Wood works with birds in a wide rage of sizes. From small falcons and owls weight 3-4 ounces to majestic eagles with 6-8 foot wingspans. He is honored with 35 years of handling experience and has produced and presented The Raptor Project to over 10 million people… up close and personal!

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These birds were so awesome to see in person and close up.

It has been a fast month already.  Time is flying by and its all most Thanksgiving.  We are doing our final plans on that now.  Thanksgiving menu will consist of 7 Turkeys, 2 roasters of Dressing and 1 roaster of Gravy.   Were on the cooking committee, Well rather Rich is, I will be doing other stuff.  Sure isn’t my forte…..lol….Till next time, which I have a Great Article on Veterans Day to write next, I will leave you a picture of Kitty in the shower…..He loves to drink the water…..lol12233369_10205026521490404_1724181842_n

Our Next Stop….Visit With Good Friend Tammy….Lots of Laughs

After we entered Kentucky through the Cumberland Gap Tunnel we headed north to the Kentucky Bluegrass Parkway.  Central City is on the other end of the state.  It is the home of my friend Tammy and her family.  She was anxiously waiting for us.  We have been to visit her several times before, the last time was 2 years ago.  Time sure has a habit of flying by doesn’t it.  We decided to take our time as it was raining again….Imagine that…We stopped halfway across the state and stayed overnite at a truck stop.  Rich said they have a great theater room their and we could watch a movie….haha…well guess what was on….His favorite channel…USA…Law and Order…Now we have been watching that channel for the last 5 months in Texas.  I think we have seen all the shows 5 times each.  After an hour, I decided it was time to go back out to the MH.  In the morning, we took off and headed for Tammys.  She has a long lane that dead ends at her house in a circle drive.  Rich managed to make it and back up to her house after we unhooked the truck.  It is only level spot.  Well lets just say,  the most level their is.  She was so excited to see us.

I met Tammy back in 1991.  I had just started working at Plano Molding in Feb.  Tammy started in June.  She was so young, right out of high school.  Just a baby….hahaha….don’t get mad Tammy, but you were…..but she was so much fun.  We all worked on a pod.  It consisted of 3 plastic molding press’s that made product and delivered them to the pod area by robots to be assembled by 5 or more workers.  After assembling we packed them in boxes and sent them down the conveyer for shipment.  We made many different kinds of  tackle boxes, lure boxes, caboodles, recipes boxes, cd storage and even a toy line of storage cases.  It was total monotony for 12 hours.

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Top row….Tammy, Mary and me….Second Row ….Julie and Dawn…

OMG…..So Hilarious

We all worked together for 4 1/2 years on nite shift.  6 pm-6 am.  I had a 45 min drive both ways.  You can only imagine how boring it became every nite on the pod.  We all became family.  We knew all about our family’s, good and bad.  Horse play became an every nite occurrence.  There was a lot of wrestling and hair pulling….I can remember a number of times ending up on the floor.  All in fun of course….Lots of times, it was at other peoples expense also.  Those times I can’t write about here…….lol….Just to let me tell you how BAD we were, one nite we brought in Super Soakers……hahaha…….We hid them in the nurses office….The nurse was only their days.  I had the key as I was on first aid committee.  When the supervisor was gone, we got them out…..Ohhhhh what fun we had….We filled them up and shot each other.  Then we hid behind the other pods and shot each other…..lol…Then we would shoot over the pods in the air…..We never got caught or if we did, Larry never really did anything.

The one time I will never forget was one nite we were on Pod 1…Tammy was working the link machine.  The robot would come from behind and feed 2 links into 2 tubes that were at the top of the machine.  They would sometimes clog and you would have to climb up the step ladder to unclog them.  Tammy was on top of the ladder and forgot about the robot. It came up behind her and was pushing on her back trying to complete its cycle.  Tammy left out a scream and everyone came running.  I was at the bottom but we couldn’t do anything. As I looked up at her, her hands were inside the tubes….I had visions of her hands being chewed off, even though I knew nothing was in them.  She kept screaming and crying.   Larry the Supervisor and John the maintenance came running and pushed the E stop.  They climbed up and started to pull her down.  Her shirt was caught in the robot, so as she came down the ladder,l her shirt pealed off of her and all she had on was her bra….John through a coat over her and they carried her to the nurses station and then to the hospital.  She was fine.  Bruising and cuts on her back and emotionally drained.   OMG…I can still relive it….What an evening….

During that time Tammy was dating Dan.  We all went on camping trips together.  What fun we all had.  It seemed like during the 12 hour nites, we let our imaginations run and conversations escalated until the unimaginable came out.   One nite we were talking about our up coming camping trip with the whole pod, and we led poor little incent Tammy to believe we were all ……”SWINGERS”……Yes we were trying to get her to commit to……. “SWING”…..with us…..lol….We told her….”Why do you think we all go camping together?”……lol….I think she started to believe us……We all went camping, and we tried to get her to come around the corner of the camper late at nite…..We finally told her it WASN’T…..true…..We had so much fun with her.   Dan and Tammy finaly became engaged and bought a house and started remodeling it.  We took her on a surprise Bacholorite Party to Peoria.  We told her to pack her bags for an overniter.  I made reservations at a motel not far from the gambling boat, Paradise in East Peoria.  We didn’t want to pay for an extra room, so 2 of us went inside and opened the window,….. lol….The rest crawled in…..I think some slept on the floor. We went to the Paradise that nite and gambled.  We had all signed up for a drawing.  While we were playing the machines, Mary’s name was announced over the PA…..would you believe she won $1,000.   How excited we were.   After that we went to Big AL’s strip club across the river in Peoria.  I remember drinking these big huge shark drinks at 2 am in the morning, sitting on the balcony outside.   We went back to the motel, crawled in the window and went to sleep.  Next morning we went to Bob Evans for breakfast and of course, we had Mary pay for all of us….

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Finally Tammy and Dan’s wedding day came….. August 20, 1994…….(its wrong on the Pic.  me bad)…..She was so Beautiful …..Dan was so handsome….

After awhile I couldn’t handle the nites any more.  I was falling asleep behind the wheel on the way home.  I went to days for another 3 years and then finally got smart and found a new closer job.  Tammy and Dan had 2 kids, Travis and Racheal.

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This was taken 2 years ago on our visit.  Travis is now taller than his mom, and Racheal is almost even with her.  She is growing to be a beautiful young girl.

Eventually Dan’s job caused them to move to Central City Kentucky.  He found them a Beautiful home with some land and garages to keep all his man toys….lol…Tammy has been able to stay home and be the housewife and mom….That would be Taxi driver also…..But we have never forgotten our friendship.  We talked often before, and now with facebook, it has just made it so much easier.  3 or 4 years back, Dawn and I made a weekend trip to visit Tammy.  It was a riot.  We pitched blankets on the floor and had a big ole slumber party telling stories till the wee hours of the morning.  Then 2 years ago Rich and I took the motorhome down on its maiden voyage….That is one of the 2 cover photos.

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We had Tammy take a new picture with this motor home.  I have added it to the cover photo slide show.

We had such a great time.  We spent so much time laughing.  That’s what we do best.  lol.  Tried taking some selfies.  lol.

Oh gees….so corny….But is was so much fun visiting again.  Talking about old times, catching up on the family.  Tammy has also become a great cook and host.  She made meatloaf, chicken, salads, and a great fabulous Dump Cake.   Peach Dump Cake.   I will be trying this one.  You don’t leave her house empty.  She is always pushing the food.   Is that why we have gained weight?……..  Guess I can blame her….lol……After a fun couple of days reminiscing old times, we had to leave.  I know it was sad for her and for us.  She loves company.

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They love their baby kittys.  Giving them love and hugs…..

We will be Back Again……Don’t Worry

Next Stop HOME………