Our Eastgate Catamaran Cruise….

Last Thursday we had our 2nd Catamaran Cruise on Southern Wave. I scheduled one for the end of January. It was so popular, all 40 of the spots were taken in a short time. So we scheduled another for Valentines Day. Ron and Theresa headed up the first one. Their son Jeff was here on vacation and was suppose to go. The winds kicked up to 50 mph+, so we postponed it for 2 weeks. It sailed last week and they had a WONDERFUL TIME. Now it was our turn.

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Port Isabel in the distance and the Causeway bridge that crosses to the Island

Its about a 45 minute trip down to the island, so I usually schedule at least one and a half hour to meet and leave. Its nice to get their early, not at the last minute. Some people know where their going, and some do not. So I copy Google maps for everyone with the address of Longboard Bar and Grill. It certainly helps…..After checking off all 40 people, and everyone who was carpooling, off we went to the Island.

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We all arrived with a half hour to spare. I checked them all off and paid the bill. We got a great rate of $32. $3 of it was for tips. Finally it was time to board. Rich and I went in front. Their were benches all around the front. In the center was a table were the food would be brought. Either side was the netting that you could lay or sit on if you wanted. In this area you could gather all the sunshine you could want on a sunny day.

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In the center of the boat, their was a more sunken area under a canopy. It had many benches with a table for serving food in the center also. The very back of the boat was raised and the cook had an area for his grill with a canopy over head. Their were several seats their also for a few people. We had all 40 onboard placed comfortable around the Catamaran.

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The cook is grilling our shrimp appetizers and beef and chicken Fajitas

We finally cast off our lines and headed out. It was about 75 degrees or warmer and a cloudy day. But it looked promising that the sun would come out. The boat just slowly cruised near the shore and we could see all the beautiful homes, condos, and restaurants along the shore.

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Causeway Bridge on the horizon

These are views you never see from the land. These homes are in private areas that are off the main drag. Also I need to mention that we were in the Laguna Madre, the bay area of the island, certainly not the Gulf side. It would be far to windy out their.

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As we slowly cruised along, a girl sang songs and played guitar. It was so relaxing. You would view the homes imagining spending a summer sitting on the gorgeous decks, watching the sunsets at nite, swimming in the pools…...Ahhhhh……so relaxing....all the while, the music played in the background.

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Very soon, the girl deck hand brought around a tray of Butterscotch Snapps shots…..Ohhhh Yum…..Now I’m not a drinker, but those were so good…..Next she brought out a tray of grilled shrimp. I had one and the flavor was excellent, barbeque with a little kick, but I’m just not a shrimp lover. I’m not fond of the texture when you bite into it.

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Grilled Shrimp

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It doesn’t look like much here, but the dish was deep. It fed all of us in the front, with left overs.

Finally the main course came……What a spread. Corn and Flour Tortillas, beef and chicken, pepper, onions, tomatoes, cheese sourcream, amazing. Everything for Fajitas. We certainly filled up on that. The boat was very sturdy. We even walked across the netting to make our plates. The hardest part I found was to hold your plate in the breeze. The food was wonderful. Finally we were near the end of the homes along the shore.

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The boat turned into an inlet. It was so cool to see all the homes and some business. Many were still closed for the season. They will start opening soon when Spring Break comes and then summer. A few people were their sitting on their balcony’s and decks enjoying the view. We all waved back and forth to. We turned around and came back out, now facing the wind.

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Now the Deck hand girl brought out a Beautiful plate of mixed fruit cut in bite size pieces. Honey Dew, Cantaloupe, Watermelon, Pineapple, Strawberry’s, and Grapes…..Just Awesome…..

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Now we turned into another inlet. It is amazing to see how large these inlets are. It branched off in several areas like a highway. As we made it to the end, we seen a hotel we had stayed at in the past. We knew it was on an inlet, but had no idea how intricate it was. Finally, we turned around and returned back to the bay area. Again it became windy.

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Everyone was just enjoying the scenery, the sea gulls, the wind blowing through your hair, the sun that finally came out, and above all….friendship….

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On our way back, we seen 3 Wind Surfers. It was so cool to see them out their, just flying across the water in the wind. They went really fast to. I’m sure the wind was in their favor that day. They made it look so easy to just jump up on their board, hold their sail and take off in the wind. If only I was younger……and thinner….lol…

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Hard to see, but this condo had an Infinity Pool

We floated back past all the homes and condos. Many with pools and even seen 2 with Infinity pools. You could see the water gently cascading over the edge. We passed many boat docks, another Catamaran, Laguna Bobs, which is a great bar and entertainment club. Next was Louies Backyard.

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It is a huge restaurant with large patio areas, indoor dinning and a bar. They offer a rather extensive menu and entertainment. Its one of the Islands favorite places to go. Finally we arrived back at Longboard Bar and Grill. We docked and had to leave this beautiful Catamaran. They had 2 more trips to prepare for that day. Everyone had such a good time. Definitely a great trip worth every dime….

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Longboard Bar and Grill was just purchased this past summer and is remodeling. They have made vast improvements, and is continuing to do so. The have an indoor area as well as a vast outdoor area, filled with several layers of decks filled with tables and chairs. Their is an outdoor horse shoe bar to service everyone, and also a gorgeous stage out by the water for their everyday entertainment.

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The Southern Wave Catamaran docks at the edge of the patio. The new owners are really making it a great place to come and spend the afternoon or evening for fun, food and entertainment.

Longboard Bar and Grill in the Evening….

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Winter……So Glad I’m South…

Today was a rainy chilly day.  A cold front came through yesterday and dropped our 80 degree weather down to the low 40s last nite.  Today is only the high of 49.  For us that’s rather cold.  Winter coat weather.  “Brrrrrrrr”.    The weather has been hard to predict this winter.  We would have cold days and then it would heat up to gorgeous days.  But we have had more than the normal of chilly days.  FB_IMG_1549751855665.jpg

Back home in Illinois and the whole north has had very bad record breaking weather.  The snow storm dropped a record breaking amount of snow,  I believe 10″ at home.  Then a week or 2 later the temperature dropped to an all time low.  -25 degrees.…..FB_IMG_1549752368218.jpg

Now that is so so cold.  In a 2 week period the kids only went to school several days.  Most all the business’s were closed.  Even the Putnam County Court house where Tina works.  Many of the Post Offices were letting their postmen even stay home on the very coldest day.  Cameron, who drives semi from the gravel pit also did not work.  Tammy, of course, being a Nurse had to work.  She drove in to Peoria which is 45 mins away.  I thought she should have just stayed there.  Would have been so much easier.  I just can’t imagine cars even starting at -25 degrees.  The only places that worked were a few of the DC’s in the area…..Of Course my Former Employer was open..….Advantage Logistics….  I’m sure everyone was expected to try to make it to work…..“Really”…..They preach about safety, but they want you to risk your life just to come to work.  If you break down on the road, the time for frostbite at -25, is a very few minutes…..No one should be out in that weather unless it is an emergency.  Is it really worth risking your life?  Is it really that important that the trucks at the DCs are loaded just so the retail stores get their product?  I sure don’t think so…….But they push their employees by making them feel guilty or giving points for absenteeism for not coming in.  The people fear loosing their jobs, especially the ones with families.   I guess that’s why I am retired now.  My attitude towards life has changed.  No Longer do we fear that Corporate attitude that they brainwash you with when your younger.  Were some of the few who have been able to retire and enjoy life after work………lol…..FB_IMG_1549752479359.jpg

This is what you see on the highways.  Its really a scary and unsafe place to be in a storm. They had so much snow and wind, that the roads were so drifted the plows couldn’t keep up.

Our Heroes are the Policemen, Firemen, Ambulance Personnel and the Highway workers.  They have to be out their in full force just to take care of people who are out their.  They all risk their lives for us all.  The Hospitals must have a medical staff to take care of their patients’.  Doctors and nurses risk their lives to go to work.  Then their are the ones like my Son in Law Ed.  They work for a company that has to maintain their plants in order to keep them operational.  It is risky but necessary to keep them up and running.   These are our HEROS…...We owe them all if nothing else…..A HEART FELT THANK YOU”……For doing their daily job….FB_IMG_1549751893612.jpg

This was just west of Spring Valley on Rt. 6..…After its plowed, you can see how deep the drifts were.   I’m just glad I’m not their.  The temperature has now warmed up to a balmy 25.  So the worst is over for them.

Here at the Park we’ve been busy.  Winterfest Music Festival was held at Schlitterbahn in Jan.  Rich and I went down to South Padre Island and stayed over nite at the hotel.  We attended The “ABBAFAB” Dinner Show the nite before.20190129_210114.jpg

They are an ABBA Tribute Group…  They sang a great “Dancing Queen”.   Very talented.  The little blonde singer was the 4th runner up in American Idol the year Jordan Sparks won.  The next day was the Winterfest Music Festival.  They had groups playing all day with 45 minute time slots.  This was our Favorite.20190130_145709.jpg

Lobo Del Mar is a huge family group.  Mostly men play instruments and sing.  Some dress in kilts.  They play the Scottish bag pipes.  Now the girls are beautiful dancers.  They have lived all over the world including Hawaii and have incorporated all the different types of music into their repertoire.  Now they live on the island and have bought a restaurant.  We intend on going soon.  After listening most of the day, we decided to leave it was really getting chilly with the wind coming in off of the gulf. 20190203_172237.jpg

The following Sunday was the Super Bowl.  Now I know nothing about football.  I wanted teams to win according to color.  It is easier to decorate that way.  So 2 blue teams won.  …….Bummer...…So I hung balloons from the ceiling in the blue, white, yellow, and red colors.  I used plastic table cloths cut in 4s for table runners.  I asked for empty water bottles and received 58 in one day.  I bought 8 lbs of Pinto Beans and filled each bottle with 1/3 cup of beans.  Taped a strip of blue construction paper around the middle and decorated the tops in curly ribbon in yellow and red.  We scattered them around the tables and they were used for noise makers.   …..And they did use them…..

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Rich cooked 6 pork shoulder butts and made pulled pork.  We also supplied little weinies, and nachos and cheese.20190203_165244.jpg

Of course we always have shrimp.  Its nice to provide a luxury item.  We usually get 10 lbs of fresh frozen shrimp.  Its all gone by the end of the nite. 20190203_165308.jpg

Also of course veggies and dip, cheese and crackers and…… a half barrel of beer……I also went out and collected 32 items for door prizes. 20190203_165511.jpg

The 1st prize was donated by the owner.  It was a collapsible canvas wagon and 2 bag chairs.  The rest were many restaurant gift coupons, South Padre Boat tickets, and many other things.  All the food was provided by the owner also…..They all had a good time except they weren’t happy about who won….but….That’s out of our control.…Thur we have a Catamaran trip down at the Island scheduled.  It is a 2 hour cruise.  It includes Butterscotch Snapps, Shrimp appetizers, shrimp, beef, and chicken fajita’s, and fruit plates.  They cook on the Catamaran, and a musician is softly playing background music.  So far the weather is looking like 83 degrees……

…….Hoping It Stays Warm for the Trip…….

Illinois Poem

 

 

 

Tour of CBS Channel 4 and other Things

The local CBS TV Station is located in Harlingen.  I have tried to contact them for a tour but I could never seem to connect.  The Red Hats managed to get a date and I was invited.  I was so excited.  I’ve always wanted to see the inside of a TV Station.  When we arrived they first took us into the room where they make commercials.

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They showed us how they make commercials by layering different ribbons of information.  They started with the basic video and added telephone numbers and pictures and anything that keeps the attention of the audience.  They are working with seconds of time on a graph, adding where to stop and start.  It was very interesting.

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Next they took us in a room where the main feed comes in from the network.  All the local cameras either in the building or out in the community are fed into this room.  All the timing and switching the feed between cameras to the online network, are done in this room.

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Then we entered the last room.  This was the studio where all the newscasts take place.  As you looked around, you seen all the different sets that you see on tv, all in one room.  This was March Madness Week.  So no news at noon.  The room was empty so were able to wander around and try out all the sets.

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This is the monitor that they read from.  It is sitting right by the camera in front of the staging area.  We all gathered around the Lifestyles set.

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The lighting was bright but so perfect.  We were all so colorful in our red and purple.

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Next we went to the weather screen.  lol  I was pretending to do the weather.  As you see the back wall is green, but looking in the monitor, the blue background and Channel 4 logo has been applied.  When they do the weather, they have to watch these monitors to be able to point at the map.  Their is the one by the screen as well as in front of them near the camera.  Quit interesting.  FB_IMG_1522972708827.jpg

We moved over to the News Center.  You can see the monitor in the table.  We took turns taking our group pictures 20180316_121518.jpg

Our guide was right next door at the Storm tracker Center.  You see all the monitors in the back ground.  This was really a fun trip.  I talked to the guide to set up a tour for next fall.  Today the station was empty, but generally they would have been busier at this time.  We would have been able to see the news cast.  So next fall I will set up a tour and well see what happens that day.  I was so grateful for the Red Hats for inviting me and lending me a Red Hat to wear.  FB_IMG_1521899879641.jpg

Last Friday, we had our Farewell Potato Bake that is supplied by the owner.  We had over 150 people sign up.  We ordered huge Texas size potatoes from the Veggie Man.  We supplied sour cream and butter, and everyone brought a condiment to share at their table.  20180323_172707.jpg

From the Super Bowl, we had left over Pulled Pork for a potato topper, and Nachos and Cheese.  I prepared Veggies and dip for Happy Hour.  Rich and his crew started cooking and preparing the potatoes in the morning and by 4pm Happy Hour began.  5 pm we Ate.  After the potato, we served Ice Cream from the Activity Board.  Finally I showed my Seasonal Video.  I take all the pictures of the season and put them together and make a slide show to music.  This year I had 157 pictures, a number of short videos that we took at some occasions, and added 4 songs, making it 20 minutes long.  The evening was finished off with drawings.  The prizes were restaurant cards that can be used for their trip home. Applebees, I-Hop, Burger King, etc.  6 cards totaling $100. Finally it has come time to say good bye.  So many are pulling out and heading back north.  The park is empting out.  But……..The weather is bad up their.  They are all giving up 80 degree weather for snow and 30s.  They are also having an unusual winter.  More snow is forecast.  But away they go…………..

Since April was on the 1st, I pulled rank and said I would not be handling Easter this year.  My contract is technically done the end of March.  We needed a break.   They had to figure out who was going to cook hams for Easter.  They did succeed and around 60 people signed up.  We went to Padre with several friends.  It ended up being 9 of us. 20180401_132055.jpg

After dinner Theresa and Ron and us, went to the beach.  It was beautiful down by the beach.  The water was chilly, as it was only around 74, but it is warming up every day.20180401_202842.jpg

I went wading in the waves on the beach.  It was a little cold, but you grew accustomed to it.  Their were so many families enjoying the weather and the water.

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Kids making sand castles, and kids playing ball in the water.  It was a perfect relaxing way to spend Easter.  Finally time to do a little shopping, and then DQ, and head home.  So nice that this whole atmosphere is only 45 minutes away.   Anytime we desire, we can just hop in the car and drive to the beach.  Everyday can be a Vacation…..Retirement is Grand….20180401_210229.jpg

Next week is going to be an Exciting Week.  We are doing something that we have never done before.   Its another 1st……….Another bucket list check off…..Stay Tuned for the next Blog……

Busy January at Eastgate….

January has been a very busy month.  It has been also a very cold month.  Usually we only have a few cold days that reach maybe in the 40s but mostly 50s, 60s, and 70,s.  This year it has been very cold.  Several times it reached into the low 30,s for several days.  We’ve lost many of our flowers.  We had a good frost that killed many.  They say its been the worst in many years.20180211_054906.jpg

We did a tour to the Marine Military Academy in Harlingen.  We have done this before, but I feel it is such an important part of Harlingen to share every year.  This is a private academy that can house up to 200 students. The cost is $20,000 a semester.  An average student will spend only 2 years here because of the cost for the parents.  Those who attend all the grades will almost be guaranteed entrance to a top college in the nation.  The curriculum is military style with a focus on academics.  Sports are also offered but no vocational courses.

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Marching to the Cafeteria

They have a very strict daily plan for the students.  They have a daily dress code and march in units.   They live in barracks and have a counselor family also living in each housing unit to watch over them and take care of their needs.  It is a very impressive place.  We boarded their bus, toured the grounds including the gymnasium, weight room,  library, rec center,  auditorium and and finally the cafeteria.  We ate, watched the kids march in formation and then they bussed us back to the Iwo Jima Museum parking lot.  It is the home of the Original Iwo Jima Memorial.  20180122_125212.jpg

It is the cast that made the Iwo Jima Memorial that sits in Washington DC. at Arlington Cemetery.  It is such an honor that it was installed in Harlingen.  It is across the street from the Academy and the back drop for the Academy’s Dress Parades.  They also have a wonderful Museum on the grounds.  It is also the burial site of Corporal Harlon Block, who was one of the flag raisers who’s picture was captured that fateful day.  He was killed in action several days later.  He was from Weslaco which is only about 10 miles from Harlingen.

Our next event was going to the Border Patrol for a Informational Presentation.   The Canadians had to have papers filled out 2 weeks prior to the date.  They said they use to take people back to the housing areas, but not any more.   We were taken to a large room where they hold their meetings etc.  20180125_111638.jpg

At the front of the room were 4 empty chairs.  They were in Memorial to 4 of the Officers from Harlingen that have been killed.  Their name is engraved and also notice the tree on the side holding a pair of empty boots, a gun holster and a hat.  Very moving.

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They held a slide show and gave us so much factional information.  The hot spot of the Rio Grande Valley is in McAllen.  The amount of family’s, men, women and children that have crossed over is astounding.   They are coming to the Park on March 4 to give their talk again.  Their was so much info and facts.  So many people had wanted to come, and the limit was 30, so I decided to have them come and give the same presentation.   Hopefully I can retain some of the facts to pass on.  It was interesting though, the highest quarter for illegal’s was the quarter just before Trumps election.  They thought they wouldn’t get over after he was in office.

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Entrance to Hotel….Concrete tree stumps.  Schlitterbahn has a very rustic appereance.

Next we had the Winterfest Concert in South Padre Island at Schlitterbahn Indoor Water Park.  I sold tickets for this event which qualified Rich and I free entrance.  They also had a 3 day special for a Dinner Show the nite before, Winterfest, and then a Matinee Dinner performance the following day.  All in all, 3 nites at the hotel.  Many went, but Rich and I chose to spend the just 1 nite.  The Dinner Show that nite was “Mirage, Visions of Fleetwood Mac”.  They were based out of L.A.  They were very good.  The next day was the Winterfest.  Live music on stage started at 10 am and continued till 5 pm.  We were also given a Shrimp or Fish Basket from the Shrimp Haus.

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We seen some great performances.  Many people from all over the Valley came to enjoy the entertainment.20180131_103735.jpg

Here is some of our Eastgate group.   I can see about 12 here….It was hard to get everyone.  We were so scattered around.  Total I believe , just from our park was about 24 people.  As we were watching the musical groups, we seen a zip line out of the corner of our eyes.  We walked over and the line was getting longer.  Only $5….Wow….Sure I’ll go.  Many of the people from our park were in line.  I found a partner, Laura from our park.  Rich came over also and went with Gaylon.  It is a zip line that 2 of you sit in 2 seats and are strapped in.  It is called the Soaring Eagle…Soaring-Eagle-Zip-Line-Mooresville-Indiana-6-of-7-1024x683

No place for your feet, just hanging freely.  So the only thing keeping you in is the seat belt.  As I was in line, our friend Ron asked me if I wanted to use his Go Pro camera…..Wow…Sure…He had a short tripod that wraps around your hand.  So finally my turn.  I was excited but also a little scared.  After you are strapped in, it is pulled backwards quite a ways up to the top of a pole.  You stop for about maybe 5 seconds and then start your descent going 30 miles an hour till you get to the end.  Then the brakes are applied and you stop abruptly.  I describe it as a jet landing on an air craft carrier and it is stopped by the hook.  So finally my turn.  Now I didn’t realize that with the camera on my right hand, I also got into the right side.  I now had no place to hang on to.  I also didn’t realize, my seatbelt was not tight.  Their was a lot of play.  Finally we started going backwards up the line…..zip line 2

We were almost to the top and I was feeling like I was going to fall out…All most at the top, it jerked you about 3 or 4 times.  Each time I thought I was falling. ….. OMG…..But the View from the Top was…..ASTONISHING BEAUTIFUL…The island looked so small.   What a View.  I still had the Go Pro wrapped around my right hand with nothing to hold on to.  I tried panning it around to get it on video.  Then all of a sudden we were falling….faster and faster towards the ground.  We came closer and closer and then I could see the end of the line….The platform where we loaded and at the end of the line????  The I-Beam holding up the zip line.  If it did not stop….It would be a DIRECT HIT to the I-Beam….In those last seconds, all my thoughts were, when the brakes went on, I would fly forward and slip out of the seat belt….So at the last minute…The hand with the camera came down and grabbed the seat…..And we stopped really very easy…..lol..lol…OMG….It was a crazy ride.   Many of you have probably seen the Video, It is on FB on my Time Line….So I got out and Rich was next….Him and Gaylon climbed on board and took the ride.  Now he really enjoyed it and wasn’t scared.  He also made them strap him in tight….So Would I do it Again???    Yes I sure would…..It was AWESOME...Now I will show you my Awful picture…..

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….In the corner, you can see the overlay of us at the end near the top of the pole…

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The next day I had to get up early.  We had a SegWay Tour back down at Port Isabel.   We ended up with 2 groups because we had 10 people.  We held one at 10 am and then another at 1 pm.  It was an absolutely Beautiful day.20180201_120705.jpg

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The temperature was in the low 80’s and hardly any wind, and the water and sky was beautiful shades of blue.  2 more weeks and we will be doing SegWay on the Beach at Padre……20180204_175349.jpg

Next affair was the Super Bowl PartyRich and I are in charge of that.  I have a budget to go by.  Rich cooked around 50 lbs. of pork and pulled it.

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We had smokies, shrimp, nachos and cheese, veggies and dip, sausage cheese and crackers and a Keg of beer.  I decorated with balloons from the ceiling in team colors, and made megaphones from construction paper for center pieces.  Everyone also brought a snack to share ….

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I had collected 27 door prizes to give away including 2 Director Chairs from the park owner.   They all had a great time…..Most of the beer was gone, and food too…..Everyone was happy.20180209_120500.jpg

Our last event we just had was our Ladies Luncheon with our 2nd Annual Style Show.  Everyone brought a dish for the food table.  Their was so many wonderful homemade dishes.20180209_124311.jpg

The desserts were out of this world.  Everyone filled their plates, and when we were done we still had so much food.  Finally the Style Show portion.  Last year we chose 3 stores that were in different towns.  They were rather elite stores that are a little pricy.  This year, they choose local stores that were more practical in style and price.

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The first one was Cato’s.  They had some really nice items for everyday.  The ladies had so much fun doing this….20180209_133346.jpg

The next store is Quelles Boutique down town Harlingen.  The modeled many items that were so inexpensive and yet so unique.  Its really a great store that I need to go and check out.  She carries new as well as gently used.  It sounds very interesting to see.  So that has been my month….So so busy…..soon it will be almost over……April 1 is officially the end of the season when everyone is going or has gone back north….

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A Beautiful Day in Port Isabel looking over the Bay to South Padre Island

 

 

Tammy & The Kids Visit….Part 2

FB_IMG_1516214053865.jpgWe had a fun day in Progresso Mexico and then headed back over to the US side.  We headed for South Padre Island which is about a 45 minute drive.  Rich and Cameron were in our car leading the way, and us girls in Tammy’s Jeep.  We arrived after dark at our motel and settled in.  Now we had a number of things planed,  but the weather was going to cause us a problem.  Cameron wanted to do a Deep Sea fishing Trip in the Gulf.  We also wanted to take the Port of Brownsville  Tour and see the ship yards where they dismantle the decommissioned Navy ships.  The USS Ranger is their and the USS Independence just arrived last May.  The weather has not been stable at all this season.  The forecast changed from the 70s to the 60s with some rain.  We had tickets lined up for both but they were both cancelled because of the weather.  FB_IMG_1515893032735.jpg

Tammy did manage to take several drives up the beach.  The first one she was very excited to finally drive up to the end of the road.  South Padre Island has only one main road down the middle.  It continues north until it turns into sand.  It passes all the beach access points, the hotels, condos, restaurants and bars.  It also passes a Zip Line area.  They also offer horse rides on the beach.  It is the farthest north facility on the island.  Then it turns into sand a ways up the road.  It gets so windy the road is always blowing over.  The plows regularly have to plow and maintain the road.  As you see it was sputtering rain on her windshield, but that didn’t stop her.  She drove back to Access 6 and entered the beach.  She said she drove a number of miles north.  On the way they passes the horses out for a ride.

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It was chilly to be on the beach.  The wind blows in from the ocean constantly.

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But I guess if you love horses and the beach, it doesn’t stop you.   It probably was a dream come true for some of those people.  The weather just didn’t cooperate.

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Along the way Tammy stopped and they looked for shells.  She actually found some large Conch shells.  They probably had washed up from the storm that had just come in a day before.  Carly brought her fish net and loaded it up with all her special shells she found.  They loved ridding on the beach.  Its such an exhilarating feeling as the wind blows and the sea gulls fly and chirp.  The feeling of peace, tranquility and Freedom.  Mother Nature at her best.

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Carly on the upper deck…..It was so Cold and Windy

The next trip we did was the Dolphin Eco Watch.  The boat is a double decker.  It holds quite a few people.  It is around a 2 hour trip in the bay, looking for dolphins.  They also drop a net to the bottom and drag it to catch different types of fish.  It was so cold.  We bundled up in our sweat shirts and jackets and boarded.  The girls had so much fun….Even Tammy.  We seen the dolphins many times just swimming around near us.  They would surface and then go under and come up a ways ahead.  The deck hand had dropped the net and reeled it in.  He had quite a few different variety’s of fish.  He cleaned them out of the net and put them all in a bucket with water.  He took them out 1 by 1 and showed them to the kids and adults.

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He actually caught a Sting Ray.  He explained the danger and how to react when near a Sting Ray.  He also showed a Puffer Fish and several others.  Finally he dropped them all back into the bay.  Then they took the boat clear out past the Jetty’s of Padre.  The wind was blowing, the waves were blowing high and splashing against the Jetty Rocks.

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It was so beautiful to see all the hotels at a distance and the beaches.  We also seen Dolphins clear out here.   Finally after almost 2 hours we went back to the docks.

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Now we were all hungry.  We decided to go to Pier 19.  It is a restaurant out on a dock.  Very cool atmosphere.  Every table is by a window.  It is a long and narrow restaurant as it is built actually on the pier.  We had seen Dolphins near the restaurant when we were on the boat, so decided it would be a great place to eat.

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They had some great food.  I had a Hawaiian Burger.  It was awesome.  I can’t wait to go back.   The next day we decided to go to Brownsville to the Gladys Porter Zoo.  It is situated on 31 acres.  The zoo houses about 400 animal species and over 250 tropical and neo-tropical species and subspecies.

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We didn’t see to many animals as it was still so cold.  But we sure seen Flamingos.  It is such a beautiful unique zoo.  The animals are all housed in areas that are natural to their habitats.  You don’t see many in cages, as they are all in natural out door settings.  But since is was so cold, I think they were mostly brought into their indoor areas to escape the unusual cold weather.  Just Carly, Tammy and I went here and we had a great time.  We also took another side trip out to Boca Chica Beach.  It is on the south side of Port of Brownsville.  It is a desolate beautiful area just a stones throw from the border.  After a 20 mile drive it dead ends into the beach at the Gulf of Mexico.  Several years ago they anounced that Space X had bought some ground for a new Missile launch area.  It is being built now, but we were told it would take another 2 years before the first launch.  That night ate out at Louies Backyard on the Bay sideTammy and Carly stayed at the hotel as they were tired.

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Glen and Kathy from the park came down to spend a nite.  They had spent the afternoon at another Club listening to the singer “Leslie”.  After she was done their, she came to sing at Louies.  We had some good food and fun times.

The next morning, Tammy wanted to go for another drive on the beach.  Rich and I and Cameron stayed in the room.   Awhile later, Tammy called…….”Dad do you have a tow rope in your car?“……lol….Oh no…..They had driven into Access 6 again and drove for miles up the beach as it was low tide.  They had a great time until they came back and tried to get back through the Access area.  In these areas the sand accumulates into drifts.  If not cleaned out regularly with a plow, it is like snow drifts up north.  You simply get stuck and end up bottoming out if you keep trying.  Well that’s what happened.   The other thing was, all this time she thought she was in 4 wheel drive.  Cameron had showed her to put the switch in 4 wheel but neglected to show her the other part of the process.  She was lucky she never got stuck earlier.  Well “Dad” didn’t have a tow rope…….Rich and Cameron drove out their and their was a whole crowd helping her.  She had of course bottomed out trying to get out.  Several vehicles tried pulling her but to no avail.   Finally another Jeep hooked up and pulled her right out.  She was so excited that she never took any pictures.  She was disappointed when she realized others were taking pictures but she didn’t get any.  So another Adventure for her to talk about…..lol….But no pictures.   Later she had to wash the Jeep as she was so full of sand.

Our stay at the island was coming to an end.  We had nice rooms.  Cameron stayed with us in ours so the girls could have their room to them selves.  Our room was obviously quieter.  When you went into Tammy’s room it was a disaster.  Clothes all over, and Carly always had her little toys out on the table playing with them.  She always has to have play time with her little toys.  We had a great Breakfast every morning down in the Lobby.  All the cold cereal, donuts, bagels, and toast as well as eggs, potatoes, waffles and juices.  Anything you could want for breakfast.

We left the Island to go home, but Tammy was still staying another day or two.  We both drove and headed for Brownsville,   77 Flea Mkt.  This turned out to be a beautiful day.  The Flea Mkt is huge.  Rich and Cameron took off and us girls started to slowly make our way through.  The girls had fun, even Cassidy.  We found a cheap stroller to put Carly in.  She would have never walked the whole thing.  20171230_133504.jpg

Cassidy found quite a few things.  Several pairs of slacks, make up brushes, and her best item was a blue tooth speaker with disco lites on wheels.  It was made like a rolling suitcase.  Great for taking to her friends or wherever she wants to go.  Tammy found a rolling suitcase for herself, and many other things and food items.  We were half we through and I was tired.  I mentioned, are you getting tired yet, but…… NO…..she wasn’t…..So we finally did the WHOLE FLEA MARKET.   I don’t think I ever walked the whole thing before…..Now we were very hungry.  We ate at a Chinese Buffet.  Good Food.  So we finally went back to Harlingen and Tammy went back to Padre.  That nite they decided to go fishing by the Causeway.  FB_IMG_1515891798874.jpg

Would you believe Cameron caught a Sting Ray.  It was being chased by a Puffer Fish.

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He finally pulled it on the dock.  A Mexican who didn’t speak much English helped Cameron get it off the hook and finally sent it back in.  FB_IMG_1515891839792.jpg

Now that is something you sure can’t catch in Illinois.  More memories were made.  The next morning they decided it was time to leave.  The kids wanted to go home.  They arrived back at our camper around 11:30.  Tammy come flying in and said….”Dad, Dad, take me to Mexico one last time….Please?”  Cameron said ” No, you don’t need to go”…..Tammy looked at Cameron and said….“I’m the mom your the kid…..You can’t tell me what to do”…..Then she looked at Dad and said ” Please Please, I want to go back one more time”.….So of course, Tammy, Cameron and Dad went back to Mexico…..I took Cassidy and Carly and went to Mr Gatti’s.  Its a Pizza Buffet.   It also has Pasta, Mac and Cheese, Baked Potatoes and the fixings and a great Salad Bar.  We went back to the park and I had 2 more things to do with the kids.  My friend Gail Rollo has written a Children’s book.  She is selling it in certain book stores and on Amazon.  She has been doing some book signings also.20171210_124501.jpg

Its a wonderful book of a dream that she had when she was a child.  After all these years, she has written the book and Published it.  Were all so proud of her Accomplishment.

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I wanted Gail to sign one for Carly so we stopped at her house.  Gail read the book to her and then signed her very own book.  Carly loved it.  She held the book with 2 hands against her chest when we left.  It was very special to her.

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Our next stop was Roberta’s.  Roberta and Ken have 2 Parrots.  Maui is a Beautiful Red and Blue Parrot.  20171231_133908.jpg

Cassidy met her 2 years ago.  At that time Maui was the only one she had.  Since then, Roberta has been given Benny.  His owners had passed away and he desperately need a family.   20171231_134030.jpg

Benny is a beautiful blue and yellow Parrot.  Roberta is so good with birds, animals of any kind and has a wonderful green thumb.  She can grow anything.  So Carly poised for this picture with her doll and they had their matching dresses on, that they bought in Mexico.  Finally Rich, Tammy and Cameron came back around 5.  They drove across this time.  Tammy had to walk almost the whole length of the shopping area that we stick to in Progresso.  She shopped and shopped and made sure she had her Margarita.  She loved it.  20171231_173423.jpg

But now it was time to head out.  I thought they would be to tired to drive, but they wanted to go.  The kids sleep at nite and travel better.  So around 5:30 the left.  I figured they would stop and sleep.  It is a very long drive.  But with Cameron and her driving, they made it straight through in 22 hours.  They pulled into home in Illinois before 4 pm the next afternoon. …. OMG….No way.
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It was a great time having Tammy and the kids here.  We didn’t get to do everything we wanted but we did a lot.   We never had a dull moment.  It was so nice after going on 4 years that one of the kids have finally came down and seen where we live in the winter.  Their is so much to offer in the Rio Grande Valley.  It is such a different life style than back home.  Harlingen area has so much to offer.  So much to see and do.  It never gets old.  Much history and many things I’m sure I haven’t discovered yet.  It is a life style that is so unique, and so hard to describe to anyone up north.  It is an area the Winter Texans come back to every year to enjoy the warmth of the weather, the beach, and the culture of the Southern Texans……It is so nice to think, the beach and the ocean are just a short drive away.   

…….We Made So Many Wonderful Memories…..

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Hurricane Harvey, 2017

We were very lucky.  “Harvey” missed us.  It came in on shore a little over 200 miles north of us.  It directly hit Rockport, Port Aransas, Victoria, Refugio, and Port Lavaca.  Corpus Christi was just a little south of the eye.

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One thing we realized down here in Texas living near the Gulf is, Hurricane season is taken very seriously.  The weathermen are always reporting on storms coming off the coast of Africa.  We knew this season started in August and ended the first of Nov.  Here is Eastgate we knew that all annuals or anyone who left their camper here for storage, had to anchor their units to the concrete pads.  Now after this past week, I understand why.  438842BA00000578-4818354-Hurricane_Harvey_is_expected_to_become_a_major_storm_once_it_mak-a-80_1503611478314

This storm started a week or two earlier as a depression #91.  As they watched it cross the Atlantic it escalated as it reached the Yucatan Peninsula.  It slowed down over land and then as it crossed into the Gulf of Mexico it started to escalate from a tropical storm to Hurricane.  They initially knew it could come ashore as a Category 3, but the warm waters escaladed it to Category 4, which meant it contained winds of over 125 mph.  It was predicted to land a little more south.  The Rio Grande Valley started to prepare.  Everyone was stocking up.  South Padre Island closed all beaches and they started boarding up windows.  If the winds reached over 45 mph, they would close the bridge to all traffic.  They have an Emergency text system in place for their residents, that you can get this information as it develops.  We took down our screen room, and put in all our awnings.  When Rich put up the shed, one of the requirements was also to anchor it.  So he constructed a wire anchor system that runs through both sides of the shed and is anchored to the concrete.  The park went around putting all the pool chairs and anything loose away.  They also inspected some of the homes of people who were not here and made sure everything was safe as possible.  We were suppose to receive up to 70mph winds at one point.  Also 4″ – 6” of rain.  Well, not a whole lot happened.  I woke up at midnight to hear the pitter patter of the rain.  The wind wasn’t bad.  It was suppose to escalate in the morning.  Nope, we were very lucky.  It came ashore around Port Lavaca, which is a little over 2 hours north on the coast.

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We caught some of the outer wind bands but not fierce.   Up around Corpus Christi, Port Aransas, Victoria and Port Lavaca, it destroyed the towns, hotels, homes, Rv Parks, and Boat Harbor’s.  Some of the smaller towns evacuated.  One of the Winter Texans from last year, said she had workamper friends in one of the parks.  They could not leave until all the guest campers were gone.  Then they could leave.   I don’t know if I like that or not.

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The towns were really tore up.  The rain was horrible.  They said that some areas around Houston could receive 50″ before it was over.  Just imagine that much rain and it comes ashore at 125mph.  “Harvey” came ashore and hovered for awhile.  It actually moved like it was a drunken soldier on shore.  It was downgraded finally to a tropical storm, but the tail end was still feeding the bands over the Gulf with water.  It continued to rain.  Houston started to flood.  Houston is a very low city.  It is only 50 feet above sea level.  It was built on flat marshy ground. It is prone to flood but nobody expected it to flood this much.  Reports started to come on tv of all the rescues.

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The interstates started filling up.  Some of the drivers just didn’t understand.  They continue to think they are almighty and can drive right through, including semis.  We seen reports of so many people just walking through the water to safety.  Abandoning their vehicles or homes.  The 911 calls were coming in.  People were beginning to be trapped in their homes.  The water kept rising.  Some were in their attics with nowhere else to go.  They were advised to bring an axe with them so they could chop a whole in the roof if needed.  …….”Get out of your house”…..”Stand on your roof”….  “Bring a piece of material with you that you can wave to draw attention”.  The calls kept coming in.  The people were told they were on the list.  But the Emergency people couldn’t help until daybreak, and even then, it was still impossible in many places.  Finally you seen boats coming down the streets.

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Individuals were going out with their own boats, canoes, airboats, even jet skis.  They were going out into the neighborhoods and picking up people and bringing them to high ground.  The local Convention Center opened up for the victims.  They kept running short of cots for them to sleep on.  Some people slept the night on the floor.  But at least they were safe and dry.  This flood had overwhelmed everyone.

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The news showed so many people being rescued with dump trucks.   Many times they used ladders to help the people get in and out.  So many people, young and old were carried through the water.  In one case, Nursing home residents were trapped and needed someone to come get them.  No one came.  Finally the nursing home owners were so devastated and helpless, they took a picture of all these poor people sitting in chairs and the couches waist deep in water looking so forlorn.

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I can’t even imagine their thoughts.  I’m sure they thought they were at deaths door.  She sent the picture to her daughter for help.  Her daughter put it out on Social Media and the news.  In less than 2 hours, Help Arrived.  Here’s all those people today smiling, happy, warm and dry.  So Happy to be Alive.  How awful for them.

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The National Guard was called out.  National Guard brought in around 30 helicopters for air rescue.   The US Coast Guard also brought in their helicopters Every available resource, was called in.  Fema, Red Cross, so many agency’s arrived, their was help arriving from all over the US.  Even the Border Patrol from the Rio Grande Valley came with over 30 different types of boats.  Of course all the news people arrived.   The reports and pictures on tv were constant the first 2 days.  It was ongoing for so long.  The storm stagnated in the Houston area, then went back out over the Gulf.  It reentered east of Houston around the Beaumont area and headed north west, slowly dissipating, but did much more damage and dropped a lot of rain in the Beaumont area.  They faced so many dangerous issues.

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Now they also had floating islands of Red Fire Ants.  They had come out of the ground and attach themselves to each other and become a floating colony.  You certainly don’t want to get into a nest of them.  Also, now the bayous had filled up and the city had to release some of the water in the reservoirs so they wouldn’t break.  Now Alligators were also swimming in the water along with Snakes Sewage and Chemicals had been leaked into the waters by now.  It was so dangerous to be in the water, but many had no choice.  Now here it is a week after “Harvey” landed, and the city still has water.  They said it may take weeks in some areas to totally empty.  Another occurrence they may find is floating caskets.

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With the ground being so saturated, some caskets may just surface and float.  How awful it would be to come across a casket.  The latest count of deaths was 39, which I thought was pretty good.

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Through all of this their is always “HERO’S” that give selflessly of themselves and their money.  In Houston Jim “Mattress Mack” Mcingvale has 2 very large furniture stores called “Gallery Furniture”.

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He opened his doors to anyone who needed shelter.  They made his new furniture their home.  A place to rest and sleep.  He fed them, and donations of all sort came in.  He even gave out his cell number for anyone who needed help and couldn’t get it.

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He not only let the flood victims sleep in his beds, he also let the National Guard rest.  “What a hero”.  He also did this for Hurricane Katrina.  He wants to help and share all he has to the people who need his help.  It was said he was losing $30,000 a day.

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Hotels and Motels all over are filled.  Some people left before the storm and some left after and found a place to go.  I believe Fema or the Red Cross is paying for the rooms for most of this month to give the families time and everyone to make plans for the future.  They are located all over Texas and probably Louisiana.  I do know that here in the Rio Grande Valley, we have many families that are in our motels.  All across the valley, the school systems are going motel to motel, enrolling the children in school.  All they want is the child’s name and info.  Their not requiring Birth Cert.  or papers.  They just want them in school so their life can continue as normal.  Country Suites here in Harlingen posted on FB the other day, the items they needed.  It contained from a Wheelchair and cane, on to clothes and personal care items and food.  They alone have 22 families.  We have at least 6 motels full.  Before you knew it, the word got out.  They have so many contributions that they are sharing across the Valley.  One person thought it was important to give the families a Cook out on Monday for Labor Day.  So many people have volunteered to help to put on a Celebration.  H-E-B is a huge chain grocery store in Texas.  In fact in the valley, their is no other.  …..No Krogers, Hyvee, Albertsons, just H-E-B…..  They deployed a convoy of 15 vehicles including 2 Mobile Kitchens, water and fuel tankers and H‑E‑B trailers, that will deliver much‑needed relief supplies and services to the communities in the affected hurricane area

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The H‑E‑B Mobile Kitchens, are two 45‑foot‑long food preparation facilities that are each designed to serve up to 2,500 meals per hour, will set up and serve hot meals to first responders and storm victims.  Also H‑E‑B’s DRUs that are fully equipped with an H‑E‑B Pharmacy and Mobile Business Services unit, which allows displaced residents to fill prescriptions, cash checks and pay bills, as well as provide access to an ATM.  One of the kitchens stopped in the Victoria area.  The other went on north to Houston.  Another fact to mention is the pets.  Anyone who had a pet, it was rescued with them.

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Pets have become a family member and they were treated as so.  The shelters have included them.  Their were pictures and stories of all the pet rescues.  So many people came out of their homes with their cats and dogs in carriers.  The ones that are found without owners have been taken to shelters.  Some are being shipped out of state to no kill shelters to find new homes.  Our shelter in Harlingen has made several trips up to take homeless animals.  They are all asking for donations of food, blankets and money.  The animals are being taken care of which is wonderful.  They all need a home.

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A week later, everything is still in turmoil but they are getting a handle on it.  Their were 3 large shelters open in Houston, but they are back down to one.  Their were actually around 142 shelters open around the area.  Over 100,000 homes are affected with flooding in Texas alone.  Over 300,000 homes were without power.  A state of disaster was declared in 50 county’s.  The discussion has been ongoing…..Should the mayor have evacuated Houston???.   It had happened in the past for another Hurricane that never happened after all.  Their was traffic jams and people died in the heat.  The mayor didn’t evacuate do to that reason.   I do agree with him.  Houston is the 4th largest city in the US.  How do you evacuate a whole city.   Where do they go.  If you’ve ever been through Houston in rush hour, you would know how bad it is.  That is only a small portion of the people.  To my understanding he made the right decision.  When you realize only 39 lives were lost, that is a small percent considering the population.  Some of those lives were lost in vehicles trying to escape the flood.  Some of those did not use common sense when traveling in flooded waters.  So many near fatal accidents happened that we seen on video.  It is sad that anyone died but you have to pick the best scenario for all.  I believe they were so fortunate that only 39 lives were lost so far.  It could have been much worse.  But I’m sure it may go up as they continue the search.

 

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White Caps on the Houston Interstates

 

Now we start watching the weather forecast…..Another storm coming off the coast of Africa.  Already a massive Hurricane.……IRMA…..Of course their are many storm tracks.  This one they think,  will follow up the East Coast of the US…..So we Wait and Watch

 

 

Back In Harlingen For a Month…

Wow, hard to believe we’ve been back for over a month already.  Back to the everyday life.  So what is that…..

Rich is working on the rental trailers.  When people move out, their is always repairs or updates to be done.  He just finished replacing a floor and drawer area in the bottom of a closet that had rotted.  Now he is working in another that had a water leak in the kitchen.  New plywood and flooring, and also the counter top was so bad, that he is now building a new counter top.  He bought a sheet of laminate from Home Depot and had to cut around it and then glue both sides and glue it down.  It is a process but a huge money savings process on a counter that is an odd size.  In this picture, he had just cut it to size.  He will then take it off, glue the bottom of the laminate, and the top of the base of the counter.  He will then put the dowel rods on top of the base on the glue surface as in the picture.   Then he will lay the glued laminate down on top the dowels. Then starting on one end of the counter, he will take out the dowels one at a time, pressing down the laminate to the counter making sure their are no air bubbles.  Then he will cut a strip and do the edge the same way.  After dry he will use a router on the edge to cut it to a smooth finished edge.

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I am back at the theater, Cinemark 10.  I only work the outside box office.  During the school months the Box Office is only used on weekends.  Otherwise the tickets are sold at the Concession Stand.  I have been getting an average of 20 hrs a week give or take a few.  But the business has lessened during the week because school is beginning soon.  Starting next week during the week the tickets will again be sold at the Concession Stand.  Now I will only be getting weekend hrs.  But that ok, it is still something.  My week days will again be free.  It has been interesting in this job.  I have again met many nice customers.  I enjoy the joking that can be in 30 seconds of contact as you sell a ticket.  Some people are so spontaneous.  But then their are others.  I have been chewed out in Spanish on the Phone.   Box Office is also the switch board per say of the theater.  I answered one day and the man spoke in Spanish.  I said, “Sir I’m sorry I don’t speak Spanish”.  Now usually they change to English at this point.  Did this Guy????…..No….His voice raised and he again ranted in Spanish.  I again repeated  ”I don’t speak Spanish”  I would get a Spanish speaking person on the line.  Well, his voice raised HIGHER and LOUDER…..I can only imagine what he was saying.  So I got a manager and guess what…..He Hung Up…..lol  Oh Well…..        Another lady called one day.  Now keep in mind we have 10 theaters playing 10 or more movies.  She asked me what movies we were playing, what times, and what time did each end.  Now each movie also plays an average of 4 times a day…..Do I have time for that with customers at the window????  Nope…..Tried to be nice, but she was rather abrupt and finally hung up….Everything is online you know….About a half hour later she called again and asked about 1 specific movie.   So much easier to answer that.   Another time nobody was at the window and a customer called.  As I was answering her question, a lady and her husband came to the window and started to order their tickets.  I held up my finger saying, 1 minute please.  She stormed through the theater doors.  I was done with the call and she came out.  I apologized to her and said I was taking to a customer…..She said rather blatantly and rudely,…..”Well, I Am A Customer Too”…..He husband muttered something to her and she said, “Well never mind, Just give me my tickets“.  But most people are very nice.  I have a couple who come at least once a week.  He usually brings several pages of jokes to read.  Also a very odd old man who wears a big straw hat.  He has turned out to be the most pleasant man to talk too.  So many people come regularly because of our prices.  You see we are a discount or second run theater.  Therefore our prices are cheap.  Week ends are the most expensive….$2.79 a ticket.  Tue and Thur….$2.17 a ticket.  Monday….Groups of 3 or more $1.30….Seniors….$1.68……Wed. Discount day for all …. $1.41 for all……Most people are happy about the prices.  But you have no idea, how many people complain….”What, I thought you were the Dollar Theater” …….Go to the big citys…Check their prices…lol20170726_125930

Temperature has been running around 100 degrees.  My Box Office has A/C of course.  The other day it started raining, and it came down in sheets….It was beautiful…The temperature fell.  My windows were fogging up and it became hard to see.  I realized finally, I was getting really cold….Now that’s a new concept…Cold….I went and checked my thermostat and it was set at 61 degrees….Wow…No wonder, so I set it back at 70.  All in all it has been another experience to add to my list. It’s the first time I’ve ever handled a register.  It’s touch screen.  Once you learn it, it’s really easy.  All the employees are really nice.  Of course their mostly kids.  Some will be going off to college soon and some back to high school.

While we were in Illinois, Richs’ shed was delivered.  He needed a shed to put in his tools.  So he ordered a shed from Sam’s Club.

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So this was a shed that came in 3 million pieces, with pages of directions and pictures….OMG….so that mess is suppose to make a shed,……and it was so hot….So you work in the morning for awhile and then at nite.  I almost passed out one day, well I felt like it….lol….Finally a week later with several other guys helping he got it done.20170707_150420

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He now has a place for his tools.  We have a washer and dryer inside.  He built 2 work benches, so now he is set.20170616_194014

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Ive finally been spending time at the Pool.  The pool is around 88 degrees.  So so nice.  This is the view as you lay on your back sunning in the pool.  The gorgeous Palm Trees..…They just blow in the wind.  It still doesn’t seem possible that this is my life now.  I can do this everyday if I choose too.  I still think of the people at Advantage where I worked.  They are doing the same ole drag day in and day out…..Their is hope out their….Just takes time……My message again is “SAVE YOUR MONEY….PUT IT IN THE 401K”….After a nice dip in the pool and floating on a noodle,  lol, now time for the Spa/Hot Tub.  Ohhhh just feel those jets pound on the sore muscles.  This is the Life.      Last week we went to South Padre Island.20170716_145340

We drove to Access 6, which is free parking and entrance.  Rich had our chairs and walked up the ramp and down to the beautiful sand beach.  We found our spots in front of the Life Guard.  It was a beautiful day.  Even though it was near 100 in town, it was a wonderful cool and breezy temperature at the beach.

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This was the gorgeous view down the beach towards all the hotels and Beach Clubs.  Many people were out but it wasn’t crowded.  The water was so nice.  Wasn’t cold at all.  You could just step right in.  I walked out till it was up past my waist.  The power of the waves felt so good as they pulled you back to shore and then back out.  When it got to be hard to stand, I decided to go back and sit and just enjoy the sun. 20170728_151000

So many Sea Gulls were their.  They were watching all the picnickers and waiting for free handouts.  Sometimes they just congregated in groups and faced the Gulf and just stood their.  They were fun to watch.  We just sat their and listened to the pounding of the waves….coming in….going out…over and over.  The sounds of the Sea Gulls, and the kids and family’s on the beach.  Laughing and Playing.  Finally time to leave.

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Behind us the Beach Patrol had stopped and was visiting with the Lady Life Guard.  Now we were hungry.

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So we headed to everyone’s favorite…..Louie’s Backyard.  Well lets say one of everyone’s favorites.  Their are so many all the way up and down the beach on both sides of the island.  Louie’s is on the Bayside.  They offer fine dinning, cocktails and entertainment every nite of the week.  They offer an All-You-Can-Eat Seafood and Prime Rib Buffet in the Dinning Room, drinks and snacks on the patios by the Bay or an abbreviated Menu in the Sports Bar.  That was were we went.  They had home made Potato chips on the bar, and the Special of the nite was Barbequed Ribs.  Ohhhh Yes….That’s what we got….They were fall off the bone good, with lots of gooey sweet barbeque sauce….Yummm…..So, the end of another day….We could have stayed for entertainment on the outside patio deck on the bay but,  we were SO FULL….Time to go home.  So Ill close with a picture of a beautiful Plumeria that is growing in our Memorial Garden.

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It as started from another plant in the park.  All you do is cut off the stalk in a long piece and it will root.  Some many have been started.  This Plumeria was planted last Nov. So it hasn’t even been there a year yet.  We have a wonderful gardener in the park that has started it from a cutting and tends to it regularly.  Roberta is such a talented lady. 

She can make anything grow.

 

Winterfest at South Padre Island on The Gulf

Winterfest is held every year on the island.  It is an all day music festival of 5 musical groups that are playing in the Valley for the winter.  Last year we went and the weather was so cold.  They had it in the indoor water park at Schlitterbahn.  It was still cold   They had patio heaters running but it didn’t help.  I usually get a pair of tickets free as its one of the perks with the job.  Rick from Schlitterbahn came up and gave me my bundle of tickets to sell in the park.  He is the manager or chairperson for Winterfest.  As the date came closer we realized it would be warmer weather.  We decided to spend the nite at Schlitterbahn.  They were running a special of $59  for a nite.   Great way to spend the evening.  Finally the day came and the weather turned out to be beautiful.  It was a little chilly but sunshine blue sky and no clouds.  We met some friends their.  Ron and Theresa Fisher our friends from AdventurelandS met us their, and Alice and Tom met us also.  20170125_115012.jpg

We enjoyed watching and listening to the bands at the Outdoor Water Park.  It was a beautiful outdoor Tropical setting.  We were served a Shrimp or Chicken Basket from Shrimp Haus.  Then we decided to take a walk to the crossover bridge that took us to the beach on the Gulf.20170125_115134.jpg

This is the bridge view from the concert area.  The water park of course is drained right now for the winter.  We took a walk up the stairs behind the stage area to get to the bridge.

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From the top of the stairs we had a great view of the Concert area.  Onward we went, all 5 of us, as Tom stayed back.  He can’t walk that far.   We crossed over the bridge and the boardwalk extended a long distance ahead stopping at the beach with the ocean lapping on the sand…..20170125_133033.jpg

What a beautiful view it was.  Left to Right.  Alice from Maryland, Theresa and Ron from Nebraska, and Rich.  Were all Eastgate folks…..lol….We headed on down the boardwalk to the Gulf.  20170125_133548.jpg

It was a beautiful day, a little windy and beautiful blue sky.  The sand was so pretty and the sea gulls were flying around enjoying the wind and the waves.

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The view up the beach to the hotels was so beautiful.  The haze in the air made the hotels look so magical.  People were just walking and enjoying the sun, water and the sounds of the waves lapping on the beach.  Rich found a chair that someone carried down from the Water Park….lol….received_1354518004569754.jpeg

Theresa snapped this picture.  One of the few pictures that I allow of me…..lol….

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We walked back up to the Concert   This is the view from the top of the bridge over the drained Water Park.  20170125_115045.jpg

We went back to our seats by Tom.  This was the view of Schlitterbahn Water Park from our table.   We stayed for the rest of the performances.  20170207_075654.jpg

This is John Sager.  He is a performer from Branson.  Very Popular in the Valley.  He is an Awesome singer and has won many Awards.  The last performers were the Port Isabel Mariachi Band.   They were awesome also.  Wonderful musicians and singers and only High School.  They played last year also.  We all finally left, and stopped at the Schlitterbahn Resort to check in.  Alice and Tom and us were staying the nite, and Theresa and Ron heading home.  But not before we had supper together.  We headed to Louie’s Backyard.

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Its a really cool restaurant on the Bay side of the Island.  Most everyone had the Sea Food Buffet.  Of course I don’t like fish so I had Prime Rib.  After a great dinner and conversation we all left.20170125_182519.jpg

Outside was a Catamaran taking off with a party group.  The music was blaring and laughter in the air.  Such a beautiful Sunset.  The lights on the boat were so pretty as it went floating by.  Finally we said goodbye to Theresa and Ron as they were driving back to Harlingen.  Tom and Alice and us went back to the hotel to enjoy a peaceful evening in our hotel room.  In the morning we headed back to Harlingen 20170124_140710.jpg

We have been doing crafts on Tues.  This is our latest one.   I’ve been trying to do things cheaply and using recycle.  These are water bottle made into Whirlygigs.  They are colored with permanent markers.

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This is the finished product.  Really easy and very cute.  Great project for kids….lol

or Seniors????

 

Happy New Year! Where Did Dec. Go

December is almost over, in fact it might be after I get this posted….lol…We’ve done so much in the park already.  The park is almost full.  Some have driven or flew home for the holidays, including Canadians.  They are starting to return now.  After January 1st, they will all be back.  The ones who don’t come till after the holidays will probably all come by next week.  We’ve been ……BUSY BUSY BUSY…..We scheduled a Downtown Historical Jackson Street walk.

It was a beautiful day.  Harlingen offers this tour every Saturday to the public free of charge.  Over 20 murals to see, and so much history.  We did this as an Eastgate tour.  Its so nice for everyone to be together.  Lunch after of course.  20161216_092729

Racheal from SegValley Tours came for Coffee and Donuts and brought one Segway.  After her demonstration, she invited everyone to try it out in the parking lot.

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Margene who is 84 and her daughter Kathlynn, and Rachael, owner of SegValley Tours

So much fun was had by all.  This was their chance to fulfill their bucket list.  Next we had our Annual Golf Cart Christmas Parade and after was Ice Cream and Singing Carols.

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The carts were all decked out in Christmas lights and decorations.  A group of ladys walked ahead of the carts dressed as the Reindeer and sang Christmas Carols.  They traveled all over the park ending at the hall for the rest of the party.  Of Course Santa was their too….fb_img_1482885997722

We had our Christmas Dinner, with platters of ham and everyone bringing a dish or two to serve at their table.  Also the table decorating contest.  fb_img_1482885968815

They all out did themselves this year.  The tables were beautiful, from fun and festive, to beautiful and elegant.  This was the first place winner.  Great group of people who put so much effort into their Gingerbread Truck and Camper.  The hill was also lite up with lights.  Awesome Job.  mistys-family

Rich’s brother John came down from Illinois to be with his daughter and family from New Braunfels Tx.  Its about 5 or 6 hours away.  They met down on South Padre Island for Christmas.  We went down the following day and spent the nite.  Misty, Mark and the kids had a great time on the beach. mistys-family2

They enjoyed fishing on the jetty.  The fog was pretty thick that morning.

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You could see it just come in and blow through the island.  It was hanging pretty low.  This was an awesome picture of the fog covering the lower part of the hotel.  The top part just appeared out of the fog like a ghost.  20161227_140444

Also the  Pirate Ship cruise went by.  It was rather spooky too with the fog that was present.  They offer games and pirates fighting.  A very authentic feeling of a pirate ship.  After Mistys family went back home, John and Glenda came by and spent 2 nites.  We took them to Progresso Mexico for their first time every.20161230_140634.jpg

They had a great time.  It is quite an experience for anyone.  We sat down at the Red Panty Bar on the tables on the street.20161230_151341.jpg

Ordered a few drinks and Glenda took it all in.  Street musicians playing drums and trumpet as well as a man playing guitar behind us. 20161230_162333.jpg

Now this is what every women loves including me of course…lol…..Shopping for jewelry from the street vendors. 20161230_143754.jpg

Now this was in a store for sale.   Beautiful isn’t it. The price on it is $250.  I love it.  Now if I had a house, …..lol….and a little extra money, I would certainly remodel my bathroom around this toilet.  They also have sinks…..lol.. The following day we went to the 77 Flea Mkt.  It is so big you can’t see it all in one day.20170101_001557.jpg

Rich did find a new pal.  This is for Scott and Brandy at the bar.  Were not sure if its a “Sally or Sam”….lol….Scott already has “Bones and Trixie”, so this will be a nice addition to the family.  We spent New Years Eve with a group of friends.

We spent the nite with a fire pit and Tom smoked a brisket…..At midnite the fireworks in town were huge.   They went off in all directions.  The next day we heard a lot of people woke up because of all the noise.  Happy 201720161221_183321

Some of the lights of our park.  This is 2 Mesquite Trees.  The owners have them decorated so beautifully.  They are near the entrance and give the park a great impression when you pull in…..20161221_183704

This camper is in the RV section.  It is beautiful and complete with music as you drive by.

“Happy New Year 2017”

……May it be everything You Want it to Be…..

 

 

One Month at Eastgate

We’ve been at Eastgate about a month now.  It already seems like we never left.  We arrived on Sunday and quickly settled into our jobs on Monday.  So much to be done.  The weather has been beautiful, in the 80’s and beautiful blue sky.  Every day more and more people pull in.   Motor Homes, Fifth Wheels, pull Trailers, and the ones that own mobiles.  Every time someone comes in, you look to see if you know them.  And everyone is always asking and waiting for their friends from last year to show.  You hope they all were healthy and can come back.  And then comes all the New Ones.  They’re all so anxious to finally be here after days and days on the road.

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We did have a storm front come through one night.  The winds suddenly picked up around 9:30 pm.  Rich was watching out the window and our stakes to the sunscreen came out and then a support pole broke.  We ran out into the blinding rain and wind and unzipped the sunscreen from the canopy.  It was over in about 20 minutes.  The winds were gusts of 54 mph.  Fortunately it was warm rain, but the wind took your breath away and the rain just beat through your clothes instantly.  Immediate feeling of a drowned rat….lol….All was good in the morning.  Rich fixed the bent poles and all was fine.  Now Cathy another workamper didn’t fare so well.  She lost her whole awning.  Now that’s expensive.

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Time now to start enjoying the luxury of southern living.  One of our 2 hot tubs….This one is maybe 100 feet from our campsite.  Rich started working in the rentals.  Many of these trailers seem to develop soft spots in the floors after time.  That is his first project, pulling up a carpet in the living room and fixing the floor that is disintegrating.  Then he will also be replacing a bathroom sink and the kitchen sink.  I busily started to plan our season of activity.  The board usually does the everyday schedule and I arrange the outside trips and special events within the park.  Our first event was Veterans Day Breakfast.  All Vets ate free.

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2 little girls and their parents were invited to come.  Launa 4, and Pearl 2.  Their parents have been teaching them what a veteran is.  So they wanted to come and meet them and give them a bag of candy.  They were so sweet.  After presenting all our Veterans, we gave them a copy of a poem we read and the girls gave them candy.  Then the girls took the mic and sang our National Anthem.  Then Launa put her hand over her heart and said the Pledge to the Allegiance.  They were just so amazing.  Their was a few misty eyes let me tell ya.  It was so touching….These are wonderful parents to teach their children at such a young age about our heritage of our country.  Their an Amazing example of Great parenting. 

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We just finished Thanksgiving.  We had cooks this year, we didn’t cook….Hurray…We have a wonderful NEW RESIDENT that has only been here 2 weeks.  She had agreed to cook last Sept.  She didn’t even know us yet….lol…Paulette and her Husband moved from Houston.  Paulette and Roberta, another good friend here, cooked 7 turkeys, dressing and gravy from scratch.  We served 112 people this year, up from last year.  Our park is full this year.  No more prime sights available.  Many people go out or go the South Padre Island for the Holiday.  They did an awesome job.  Thank You so much girls.  Your so Appreciated.

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Everyone brought their own table decorations.  Some elegant, some fun.  Then we have the fun ones, the ones we love to laugh with, cause we know every time their around, they will do something crazy…..

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This table was so pretty.  They used regular brown paper for the cloth and handed out crayons to color and write what they were thankful for…..Great Idea….Actually, if you didn’t see our faces, you’d think many of us were children.  lol.  We have reverted to childhood.

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We also had a more somber moment.  We lost several more residents this summer and the families and friends wanted to plant 2 different trees in their memory.  So our new area that the Garden Club was going to develop, took a new and much more meaningful path. A MEMORY GARDEN.  A Miniature Bottle Brush Tree and a Pine Tree were planted and 2 plaques were installed in their memory.  It will be a beautiful area with room for more if needed.

I attended the Convention in Mission with Sandy.  It was for the Park Managers and Activity Directors.  You could obtain info on services and fun stuff that you can offer your residents.  We received lots of free stuff as well as making many contacts.  I was surprised at how many places I already knew of and new many of the people because of last years contacts.

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Seg Valley was also their.  They offer tours all over the Valley including South Padre Island.  I worked for Racheal and Brian last year on Sundays at DonWes Flea Mkt.  Brian has now attached LED lighting to the Segways…..Amazing….Can’t wait to see it at nite.  It was so good to touch base with them.  They will be coming to the park in a few weeks for our Friday morning Coffee and Donuts.  They will do a talk and demonstrate the Segway.  Then outside people can try it out.  I can’t wait to a ride again.  They’are so much fun.  I will be scheduling a ride on the Island soon.  This time the beach.

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Now we had a new trailer come in couple of weeks ago.  This is what we all do…..Gather around and sit at a trailer and watch…lol…Entertainment….So now Thanksgiving is over.  Time to take down decorations and Decorate for Christmas.  This is always a fun time.  Well all be doing that next Thursday.  Our park is very full this year due to the reduced rates our Park Owner has offered.  He also gave the Canadians the cost at Par.  That means they pay the price at their money rate.  They save lots of money that way as their dollar is worth much less than ours, so we have many new Canadians, even French Canadians.

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Now I don’t want to make you feel bad, but this is South Padre Island…SPI….It is only about a half hour away……Beautiful beach’s…..lol……Beautiful Blue Ocean

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I’ll finish with a new family picture that Tina, Ed and the kids had taken.  This is just 1 of many.  They were so so good……And of course Dexter is so cute….