Thursday, November 8, 2012

With Family

As with all things Luth and van, we ended up sticking around in Tulsa a lot longer than we originally expected. Between waiting on parts and coming up with new things to do on the van, our few days at Josh’s turned into over a month. Poor Josh and Brit. They moved into their house on a Thursday (or was it Friday?) with his parents staying with them, as they were in town. Then, right after the parents left Saturday morning, we pulled into their driveway Saturday night. While we were there, Josh and Jonathan’s mom moved back into their house as she had a new job in town and has no house of her own there.  How Josh and Brit have been able to put up with not being alone for a single night in their new house, I will never know. Bless them! They have more patience than I do on that front, that is for sure.
While living in their driveway, we did get to see some interesting creatures. Who knew you only had to go to your own (or your relatives’) backyard to see some critters? Despite the three cats and two Great Danes that claim Josh and Brit, there were some small animals that would avail themselves of the yard when the pets were not about.

One was an entertaining squirrel who liked to chitter at you from the trees and then lay lazily on the back fence.

One was a young possum who would amble along the yard in search of food. One night it thought it might find something in the trash can, so it crawled up the fence to reach the (closed) lid.

As “electrician” Jonathan scoped out the attic for a project, he discovered a set of bats taking advantage of the roof’s warmth between the attic vent and the screen.

While Jonathan was still making repairs to the van, I found out that my mother’s extended family was going to have a family reunion dinner one weekend. I had thought that we would be on our way elsewhere by then, but as the day approached, we were still grounded. Deciding to take advantage of our carefree schedule and our spare vehicle (while we still had it around), I decided the night before that I would take my truck and go to the family reunion.

It was a delightful and whirlwind trip. Leaving early for the 5-hour trip, I whirled in in time to take a buggy ride with my great aunt Sadie and (2nd-cousin) Aunt Rose as well as my old friend Floyd driving. There were yummy desserts on display to tide you over until dinner was catered. My grandparents and other cousins and greats arrived. Michelle and I did a puzzle while the younger cousins tossed around a football and volleyball. Dinner was great, catered by my family’s Cattleman’s Café. Later, I talked with fellow travelers about Alaska. After staying the night with my grandparents, I rose early to help with making breakfast for their hunters. I must say that my grandma’s French toast and syrup is one of the best breakfasts you will ever have. One Home Depot trip and a Dropbox and Password Safe lesson later with my parents, my mom joined me for the trip back to Tulsa so that she could get back to Shell Knob via my truck.

Apparently October was the month for deer attacking cars. First, Jonathan’s dad, Dave, had a deer try to take a ride in the passenger seat with him. That totaled the car. A day or so later, my Dad’s mom was driving home and a deer tried to remodel the radiator on her car, totaling it. Fortunately, there were no injuries suffered in either case. My grandma, however, had no way to obtain a new vehicle. Thus she was stranded at her house. My dad arranged for a vehicle for her, but the problem was getting it to her (in Kentucky) in a timely manner. As Jonathan and I had been planning a visit anyway, we took her the vehicle.

Kentucky is beautiful this time of year with the changing leaves, enhancing our travels. Not only did we get to spend some quality time with my grandma, but my half-sister and her family as well. Despite me only ever making it over that way every four years or so, we only stayed for a few days. I was ready to get moving on to some warmer weather.

Don't I have an adorable nephew?

On our way back from Kentucky, however, we stopped back in Shell Knob to visit my parents again. One of the main reasons was to deliver pictures of my dad’s grandson to him. Forgetful me, though, forgot to give them to him, so I had to mail them from Tulsa. Then, as we were expecting a few more items to have arrived in the mail while we were gone, we stopped at Josh and Brit’s again. While there, we discovered the right rear CV joint had gone kaput (it even smelled burnt weirdly enough). Knowing the issues we had had trying to fit the spare CV joint on the last axle, we had to order a whole new axle/CV joint combo. Back to waiting…

At least this wait allowed us to get our vehicle insurance and registration renewed. I also got to go fabric shopping with Brit for pillows and dog beds. I even added some magnets to the rear curtains for better light blockage. That allowed me to work on Brit’s late grandmother’s 1951 Singer sewing machine. It is rather impressive for a 61-year-old machine. Still runs beautifully.

So for these nearly two months, we spent a lot of time with family. It was really good, but I am ready to move out, heading for warmer weather. On Thursday, November 8, we finally put Tulsa in our rearview mirror, planning on visiting Baja after a few stops in the southern US.

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