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Published: March 10th 2019
Nov 6, 2018 – March 9, 2019
I know it has been some time since I updated on what we have been doing since being back in the US but time seems to have been flying by. Now that our daylight is starting to get longer each day and the temperatures are rising (not on all days, but some) we are realizing that our time back here is getting shorter. This is causing us to start looking at places to go in the Mediterranean this year, check our list of things that we wanted to buy to take back to Tsamaya and prioritize what needs to get done before flying back to Tunisia.
November was full of activity – We had a wonderful but short visit with friends Kay and Dan – thanks for taking the detour up to Greenwich. November 16th
we had our first snowstorm of the season with plenty of snow to remind us we are living in upstate NY! The timing of the snow worked out well though as the next day was the annual Holiday Tractor Parade in the village of Greenwich where we live. Since the first year we bought our house in
2015 we have been making it to this great community event. There are some regulations that anyone entering a tractor must follow - they must have at least 1,000 holiday lights on their tractor. If they decide to pull a float they need to add another 1,000 lights. It definitely makes for an impressive sight as these tractors, large and small, travel through the streets of the town. This year they had 60 entrants representing many of the farms in the area as well as various businesses and organizations. To add to the festivities there are a wide range of food vendors selling everything from hot chocolate to oven baked pizza and numerous other delights!
To round out this very busy weekend in November on Sunday we attended a wonderful flute and recorder concert being held in the nearby town of Cambridge. We have been wanting to attend a performance at Hubbard Hall for some time and this one sounded like an interesting one. It is a lovely space which had individual small tables and chairs so everyone could also enjoy the “afternoon tea” which was included in the price. They offered a wide variety of tea, small sandwiches
, scones and baked goods. It made for a very lovely afternoon listening to wonderful music by local musicians.
Thrown into the mix of all this fun in November was some work on the house. Bob decided to work on window trim for the dining room and front room. Trim is definitely not one of Bob’s favorite things to do, but he had been reading about how many would make the complete window trim in the shop and install it in one piece. He was anxious to try this so this is the method he used. It worked wonderfully and definitely cut down on all the trips back and forth to the shop cutting each piece of moulding separately. He was able to complete the trim on 5 windows this way. There are still more to be done in the other rooms but decided to concentrate on trying to finish two rooms completely this winter. Another big project done was putting down the hardwood floor in the dining room which really is getting this room very close to being done. We haven’t made it yet, but we are one step closer!
We had big plans to host Thanksgiving
for Janice’s side of the family, but it just didn’t work out this year due to sickness and other issues that came up so in fact we pretty much skipped this holiday this year. We had bought the turkeys but kept them in the freezer and figured we would just cook one up at another time. Decided to just do some more work around the house as there was plenty of that to do. Oh well, maybe next year. Not a problem, as we have learned it is best to be flexible with plans and knew we would be seeing the family soon at another celebration.
In early December we got together with Janice’s side of the family at a wonderful celebration for Peter, my niece’s son. He had just finished his basic training in the Marines and he was going to be back home for a few days before heading off for more training. It was great to have a chance to congratulate Peter and wish him well as he continues his training in the Marine Corps. It sure was wonderful to see most of Janice’s side of the family at this celebration for Peter.
took a short but wonderful trip to South Carolina to have a chance to visit with some of Bob’s relatives. We flew down this time to have more time for visiting rather than being on the road. Bob’s namesake, Uncle Bob; his daughter Maggie and family; Uncle Charlie and Lynn; and her daughter Michele. We had wanted to come to South Carolina the last time we were in the US and it didn’t happen, so we made sure it did this time. As always it was great to reconnect in person with family – thanks everyone for the wonderful time. We were just sorry we didn’t get to see Ben (Maggie’s son) but somehow school got in the way (just imagine that!)
On December 14th
in 1968 19 other kids and I with 2 teachers from my high school set out for a hike in Vermont. Unfortunately we didn’t make it out at the designated time as we got caught by a few problems – the hike was longer than expected and the weather turned bad with lots of snow and wind. Thankfully everyone in the group kept their heads about them and we were able to overnight in
a lean-to. Fortunately for all of us the rescue team was able to find us the next morning and we all were brought out to safety by that evening. Thanks to one in the group (our Hiking Club President) she spent quite a bit of time trying to find us all again in order to get a 50 year reunion together. As it was winter and close to Christmas not everyone that would have liked to come could make it but fortunately 8 of the hikers and 1 teacher did. It was wonderful to reconnect after all these years and have a chance to share what we have been doing in the last 50 years and our memories of the hike. I hadn’t really thought about it in a very long time, but it was wonderful to find out what memories we all had (as well as having many of the stories trigger other ones!) It was great to share our experiences with each other as we never really seriously did that since the hike. Near the end of the evening, one of us mentioned that it was interesting to hear how many of us have had similar experiences or
interest over the years since – providing service to others through our professions or volunteer work, interest in the outdoors through activities such as hiking, skiing, scuba diving and finding ways to help with trail maintenance (guess that shouldn’t be a surprise as we were all members of the hiking club) and still shared our sense of adventure even if the cold does bother some of us as a result of frostbite. It didn’t seem to stop any of us from living very full lives and enjoying our 50 year reunion full of stories and learning from each other details that we never knew! Thanks to everyone that was able to make it to the reunion and rekindle the binds we have as a result of this experience together.
Another concert hit our calendar and this one got us in the holiday spirit as it was the annual Christmas concert by the McKrell’s – a great Irish group that is well known in the area that put on a fun concert in Saratoga.
The Christmas and New Year holiday is always full of get together’s and this year was no exception. The tradition on the Waller side of
Flooring, Window Trim and Wooden Shutters
a couple more things off the list of things to do
the family is to get together on Christmas eve which we did again this year. It is always fun with plenty of kids in the family to get in the Christmas spirit and enjoy a great lasagna dinner hosted by Mike and Marie. The next day Bob and I went down to Mom’s and made a pancake breakfast complete with strawberries and whipped cream with one of Janice’s sister and husband making it as well. We completed the Christmas week with the get together with Janice’s side of the family having another chance at great food and socializing. We still weren’t done with entertaining through as we decided to have two of our neighbor couples join us at our house for appetizers and drinks just before the New Year. December was definitely full of great socializing with family and friends!
Now in the New Year we were still being reminded that we live in upstate NY as we continued to get snow that needed to be plowed and/or shoveled but we also have been enjoying watching the birds at the birdfeeder and the orchid blooms in the house.
We knew that Bob needed surgery on a bunion and
wanted to have it done this year before heading back. As the surgery was scheduled for the middle of February and knew that he wouldn’t be walking for a while he recovered, got a few more things done on the house – finally got the siding finished on the front porch as was only working on it when the days were “warmer” for outdoor work. When we set up our temporary kitchen we didn’t get a chance to put the microwave above the stove where it was planned for so Bob figured that was a quick job that could be completed as well. As a result of moving the microwave, that gave Bob the opportunity to make a few more kitchen shelves and a new workspace to fill that “hole”. One evening when he was sitting in the living room looking into the kitchen he got the idea that he could make a cup holder that would help free up space on the shelves so another creation was made! I know Bob is getting anxious to get started on the permanent kitchen cabinets, but I keep telling him that he has made the “temporary” kitchen so nice that I am
not in a hurry as there are plenty of other “fun” jobs to do on the house. Guess our idea of “fun” jobs aren’t the same, so I am pretty sure that the next time we come back to the US I’ll probably see some of those permanent cabinets. One hint I have is that Bob has been busy lately ordering some specialty tools that he wants to have for making the cabinets. All kidding aside it will be wonderful when we do get our permanent kitchen cabinets done.
After Bob’s surgery he could not put any weight bearing on his left foot and was suppose to keep it elevated with ice on it for 2 full weeks. As he said he used to think the recliner we have was a comfortable chair but his opinion has definitely changed as he got real sick of it! We bought a knee scooter which helped with having some mobility thankfully. Bob is in the next 2 weeks of recovery which allows him to be in a walking boot – he had hopes that when it said “walking” it really meant it, but it in fact allows more mobility but still not
fun as it has a very thick sole making him “lopsided”. It has allowed him to get out in the shop which he has been very happy about – just getting to be around his tools and wood and a little sawdust around has been good for him. He has been able to do a few small jobs out there which he has enjoyed. Still keeps it elevated and with ice on it after sitting for long periods of time, but another step closer to getting rid of it completely. The last 2 weeks he will be in a surgical shoe and then freedom to walk and that means we can book our flights back to the boat.
We had tried a few times to get together with Bob’s sister and her husband that live in Vermont but something always got in the way. With Bob recovering but still semi-mobile, we finally were able to make the trip up to their place. It was a great change of scenery for Bob as he has been stuck in the house and a wonderful visit as always. It was a very relaxing couple of days and we even got a chance
to get together with other relatives that live near them and to have a great tour of the public radio station that two of the relatives work at. Very interesting to see the workings of the radio station and what both Matt and Eugenia do for them. We lucked out that both the day we drove up and the day we came back to Greenwich were gorgeous sunny days with great views of the Green Mountains and the Adirondacks.
Our great niece Hannah just turned 2 so enjoyed seeing her on her birthday opening her presents and eating cake – she is growing up so fast and it was also wonderful the interactions of Hannah with her brother, Gabriel. So great to see them get along so well. With us being away for a part of the year we always really notice quite a change in the kids and this year is definitely no exception especially at their young ages.
We just booked our flights to head back to Tunisia which is where Tsamaya is patiently waiting for us. It is always good to have a definite date to aim for so we can concentrate on getting done
what needs to be done before we head back – finish checking off the list of items we wanted to buy in the US, cancel or postpone various services in the US such as phone, garbage pickup, finish up with a couple medical appointments such as our annual physical and then of course try to fit everything into 2 suitcases and cross our fingers that neither adds up to more than 50 pounds each. We still have a few weeks left to worry about that.
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