Monday, March 22, 2021

SnowMageddon 2021

     Valentine's Day, February 14 was technically the first day of the SnowMageddon, even though we had already had some very cold days before this date. On Wednesday, we called off our night church services because of the anticipation of some very cold temperatures. Cade's baseball games were called off for Thursday and Friday, as well as, Peyton's college football game on Saturday. The temperatures were already below freezing on Thursday and will stay below for the next 10 days. 

    On Sunday, the church services were also canceled. During the afternoon the snow began to fall. At 6 we had our first problem. Rick had been warning renters and children on how to prepare for these temperatures, but Brandi had the first mishap. She had a frozen pipe that flooded her house. So she had to cut her water off and start hauling water in ice chests. We had about 3-5 inches of snow - enough to cover the ground. For the next week, school would be canceled along with everything else. The night temperatures would be under 15 with a low of -2 one night. On Tuesday and Wednesday we received another 3-4 inches of snow. Supposedly this was the lowest temperatures in 70-80 years, and the second longest period of days below freezing.

       We experienced rolling brown-outs, where we would have electricity for 15 minutes and off for 45 minutes. Everyone had a different story. Some people lost power for days, some lost water, and some lost neither. We totally lost our internet and television for 5-6 days. We did lose our water at the end for about 24 hours, but we had already put water in the bathtub "just in case." The grocery stores were very similar to the early days of Covid. People were hoarding up water, bread, milk, and eggs. 

    We did try to save a baby calf, Popsicle, but the extreme temperatures were just too much for him. In all, we lost a total of three brand new baby calves. Mindi had one sink to freeze. Marci's place all froze up. The church and school did not fare so well. The school had many burst pipes. The church just had a few. Rick and I swept water at the church one morning. Rick stayed busy for the entire 10 days helping with problems. 

    I was blessed during this time. I enjoyed the snow and birds. I had enough groceries and Diet Cokes on hand that food was never an issue. I managed just fine without television, stores, and going somewhere. 

Monday, January 4, 2021

Christmas 2020

It is the most wonderful time of the year!

I did have the house all adorned for Christmas since the first of November. Which was a blessing especially after losing time with Covid and sports. Even though Thanksgiving was a bust, I kept looking forward to Christmas. Diana and I went out looking, with some shopping, and dining at McAlister's almost daily prior to Christmas. That was our treat to ourselves. 

December 18 Chad's nanny's husband was tested positive for Covid so now the Christmas I thought was supposed to happen got changed after his family had to go into quarantine. Suzy did end up with Covid also, but none of Chad's family got the virus. Diana decided to keep her littles safe she would just keep them here in Gunter so they would not be exposed and change her plans. So we had Marlow and Jackson from Sunday to Wednesday before Christmas. Christmas Eve (Thursday) Rick and I did Christmas with the girls at Brandi's. Christmas Day we fed cows and messed around until we got to pick Greg and the girls up at the airport. The catch to this is we had no communications with Greg the entire day. We found out that there was a bombing in Nashville that knocked out all the ATT services and the airlines also had some issues. The plane was only 45 minutes late, but they were here and Christmas could begin. 

We started with crafts and presents soon as they got to Gunter at 9 PM, and this was our life for the next four days. Saturday, December 26, was set aside as our family Christmas with food, gifts, and games. Santa did not come in person this year, but he did leave a sack of goodies on the front porch that the girls found on one of their Rhino rides. The food was a charcuterie tray for lunch and Chicken Fried Steak for dinner. We did dinner earlier than normal so we would not be rushed during our games. Games this year consisted of smelling candles, craps, counting marbles, "lump of coal" Saran Wrap, golf, candy cane/ toilet paper, etc.

We did miss Chad and his family, but this gave me special time with Anja and Isabel. They are pretty special girls. Jenna and her family left on Sunday. Monday I had the girls to myself. On Tuesday morning, I had to take them to the airport. So that  gave me about 36 hours to get my house torn down from Christmas and back to normal before Chad's family came in on Wednesday night. He did not think his kids could handle all my trees and decorations. So by the time they got here, the house was back to plain Jane, except for a mound of Christmas presents.

Fitz's main presents were three different Hot Wheel toys that had be assembled. These toys kept him busy the time he was here. I kept the kids while Chad and Tara went to dinner and to spend a night at a hotel for their anniversary on New Year's Eve. Since I had the kids and knew my night would not be good sleep, I had to do the New York New Year's Eve and went to bed at 11. Friday was our Christmas Day with Chad and his family. We did the presents and his favorite foods (pork chops). Some of Justin's family had been exposed to the virus, so they were quarantined and Chad did not get to spend time with the cousins. Diana and Rick came.

When it was time for Chad to leave his car was packed to the limits. The Griswalds have nothing on him. As I stated earlier, Chad's kids are pretty special too. I must be a grandmother.

2020 would not be normal without a side note about Covid. December 26 at noon while we were getting ready for lunch, Rick Ferguson got a call from Mindi that he got to get a Covid shot. The following Saturday, Diana, Rickie, and I got our shots.

As 2020 closed out, God was good to us and blessed us well during the Pandemic. I want to have an attitude of gratitude for the many blessings we experienced during this sad time around us. I am so very thankful for Jenna who has been a front-line worker dealing with this DAiLY 24/7 since the week it all started in March. She has witnessed the effects of this virus daily. I am thankful for Justin, a fireman, who has dealt with this also for 10 months. I am thankful for Mindi, our family "drug dealer", who has had to deal with this and the crazies for 10 months. I am hopeful that 2021 will be better for the families that were less fortunate that had a loss of a family member, a job, or business. As we look forward - God is in control and He has this.

Football 2020

The Gunter Tigers did not disappoint this year - again. We had a very young team, and we did not expect to make it to get to play Canadian, Texas. However, our Tigers made it all the way to get to play the Canadian Wildcats. The Wildcats this year were the real deal; and they did beat us and went on and won the State Championship. We had nothing to be disappointed about. We were one of the top 4 teams in the state of Texas. It is especially amazing that we did get to play all our games (except Blue Ridge) and we got to attend the games. 

I will be the first to say it was a very different year with CoVid. We wore masks to the games, and you never knew from week to week how many fans were allowed and what manner you would have your tickets. Never did we go to a game the old-fashion way and pay for admittance at the gate. We were never allowed on a field after the game to talk and hug the players.

On a positive note, we did have Cade on the team as a Freshman. He started on all the special teams, played defensive end, and if we got ahead he would get to play slot and run the ball. We did get to play in some very nice stadiums this season. We started off in Prosper's new stadium for two games. Then for our playoff run, we got to play in Globe Life Park - the old Texas Ranger baseball park. We finished our season at Abiline Christian University football stadium. 

We had a record of 13 wins - 2 losses (Pottsboro and Canadian). It was a great season. Really these two losses were the only teams that could play with us all four quarters. We know that we have a great three more years of Gunter Tiger football with Cade. The JV, 8th, and 7th teams each only lost one game this year. We only graduated 2-3 Seniors that saw playing time.

We were disappointed that Peyton's Hardin Simmons football season was canceled until February, when it will be a four-game season plus a playoff game. This means he will gain an extra year of eligibility. However, it will work out great for us. We will not have to make choices on which games to go see. We will get them all in.

Monday, December 7, 2020

My Experience With CoVid 19

 The week of November 15 Rick and I did our normal activities. We went to playoff volleyball games, basketball games, church, and a playoff football game on Thursday night. Friday morning, I woke up with a snotty nose, but thought nothing of it. Diana had her grandkids, so we made a day of it. Saturday morning November 21, I woke up with  an aching feeling and some congestion. I didn't have any energy so I laid around and took naps most of the day. Sunday I was a little suspicious so I chose not to go to church or to be around anyone. I did not sleep as much today. Monday still congested, but I felt better. I did continue to stay isolated from everyone. However, with it being Thanksgiving I knew that I needed to be tested before Chad and his family came to Gunter. I went to a drive through testing center at GCC. Tuesday afternoon at 6 PM I received the text that I did test POSITIVE. So all Thanksgiving activities were canceled for all of our families. Wednesday came, and I noticed that I could not taste my toothpaste when I brushed my teeth. So at this time, I had lost my taste and smell. Rick had a mild sore throat so he decided to be tested also. He was positive, also; even though he had the lightest case ever. Diana and I decided to trade some food for Thanksgiving. She cooked the turkey, cream potatoes, and vegetables. I cooked the dressing, rolls, and salad. It was a challenge to cook a meal that you can not taste how anything is seasoned. I watched Hallmark movies and put two Christmas puzzles together. We stayed in our 10 days and away from people for 14 days. My taste and smell did come back after a week. Luckily no one else got the virus from us, even though Diana and Jenna's kids quarantined for 14 days. 

Sunday, October 18, 2020

My Wanderlust

 CoVid has affected me in several ways, but one that stands out is my desire to travel. We had our lady trip canceled with no other hope to travel. So then when my birthday was approaching, I decided that I wanted to go to the cabin for my birthday. We went August 1-5 to what I call my "happy place." One day we went to Santa Fe, one day to Chama, and one day Red River. The night before my birthday, Rick had a spell of confusion. Later this was quite humorous to us.

   Then in September, we were visiting with Roger and he invited us to go to Yellowstone with them and James/Kay Williams. I immediately found a way. I called this our Anniversary trip September 26 - October 4. Rick and I flew into Salt Lake City. They picked us up at the airport and the adventure began. We spent 3 days in Yellowstone, 2 days in the Grand Tetons, 1 day driving to Cheyenne,  1 day driving to Dodge City, and then 1 day driving to Texas. We were gone nine days. Amazing as it is, Rick never got homesick or bored. We kept him busy day and night diving and hiking. We saw everything there was to see - geysers, waterfalls, mud pots, and lots of wildlife. It ranked up there with Alaska.

  Then in October, Zach was supposed to get married on October 17. Avery's parents both got CoVid so the wedding was postponed on Wednesday. It was a "Bye" week for sports. Rick had worked hard to get all the farming done, so we had really nothing to do. On the spur of the moment, we decided to go to the cabin again. This time we took Sue Lewis, Rick's cousin with us. One day we went to Santa Fe, one day we went to Red River, and one day we stayed around the cabin. 

I have to admit that Rick's retirement has been great for my "wanderlust".

July 4 - The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

    The Fourth of July is our happiest of times. It is when we ALL get together for fun, food, projects, parties, and fireworks. Diana and I started early with our spreadsheet of meals for the two weeks which actually turned in to 19 days. We bought an abundance of meat and groceries for this time together. On June 18 at 11:00 AM Diana and I went to DFW to pick the girls up from Lisa, which was coming from Minnesota. We found a Rosa's opened for lunch. That night at 7:00 PM, we went to Love Field to pick Greg up from Nashville. Friday at noon, Chad and Fitz arrived. Jenna and Jared got to Gunter at 5 and it all began. This year we had seven kids - five years and under. At the house, it was like the old days. We had mattresses on the game room floor and in one of the bedrooms. 
    It was a wonderful 19 days with parties, meals, crafts, and fun times. We had four parties:
1. A Happy Party - this was for all the birthdays we had missed (Rick F., Rick S, Fitz, Mother's Day, and Father's Day)
2. Rick's Retirement Party from TMC. July 2 was his last day to go in full-time.
3. Evan's First Birthday party
4. Isabel's Birthday party
    Diana and I were also the "cruise director" or the "activity director". We did many crafts and projects. Each day we had something planned, including swim time and slime time.
    While the rest of the world was dealing with CoVid, we had a case of chicken pox. Isabel woke up one morning with spots. At first, Greg tried to tell me it was bug bites. In less that 24 hours, I had convinced differently. After calling her doctor's office, it was found that she had missed this one vaccine. Twenty-one days later, Evans broke out in the chicken pox.
    The boys did have a great year of selling fireworks. It was the biggest year ever. They did a private show, Van Alstyne, and Tioga shows. We did not run out this year, and I did get to sell during the shows. To add to the stress, Jenna sold and bought a house during this time. Chad was still unemployed with a few good possibilities coming up, and Tara is going to change jobs very soon.
    With everything going on, it was still "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year."

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Corona Virus or CoVid 19

     It has almost been a year since I have written anything. I have just been loving life and taking so much for granted, then the Virus HIT and did it ever hit. It started out just a discussion the first of March. We heard about it in Italy and China. Spring break came and so did the virus to Texas. We knew it would effect Jenna, being the Supervisor of two ICU units in a major Dallas hospital. But we didn't think much about us in rural Gunter, Texas.
     Rick and I went on our Spring Break Mission trip to Lake Lavon for three days. When we got back on Thursday, that is when our world as we know it, started to change. Discussions of grocery shortages and toilet paper shortages were the topic. Friday it all became a reality when we went to Sherman for the first time this week. We went to Aldi, Walmart, Dollar Tree, and General Dollar. At General Dollar I finally found a bag of dried Pinto Beans to cook for the weekend. Toilet paper was at  the Dollar Tree. The other stores were low on many items or out.  On Friday our school announced "No school" next week and UIL said not events until March 29.
        On Saturday, large churches started canceling services for Sunday. First Baptist Gunter said we are going - just spread out, no passing of the offering plates, and no shaking hands or hugs. It was sad at church, where we couldn't hug our church family.
       Monday and Tuesday, Diana and I made the rounds. The stores and shelves were empty. No one was smiling or talking. It was an eerie feeling in Walmart and Sams - like someone had died. The meat, eggs, cheese, milk, and paper good shelves were all empty. We made out second trip to Aldi to pick up a few items we passed on, not knowing that these were not going to be available anywhere else.
     The Governor (Abbot) made first a statement of no more than 50 people in a place and then came back and said 10 people. Restaurants have been hit hard. Each day there are fewer people eating out.
Our school personal met on Monday to start discussing online learning and how to carry it out. Monday morning Abbot also stated no STARR testing this year.
     Wednesday we rode to Prosper with Brenda Lampe to find out that stores are shortening their day or not opening at all. On Thursday, Abbot declared the state of Texas in a disaster situation and closed
all schools, bars, gyms, and restaurants can only offer carry-out or drive through meals. UIL sporting events are now canceled until May 3.
    It is such a strange time. I am doing a Psalm 23 Bible study which is so relevant to the time. We will "walk through the valley" which means we are not stuck here; we will be moving forward. We know that God is in control and has a reason for letting us go through this. As I told Brandi earlier today- and this to shall pass. Our goal is to keep the faith and learn from this.
    At night Rick is racing and I am on my electronics, until it is time to watch the Netflix series, "Longmire." Sheriff Walt Longmire, his deputies, and Indian friends have been our entertainment through this crises. It is a great distraction at night. All high school, college, and professional sports have been canceled at this time.
    Friday night at 10:25, we lost one of my favorite singers of all times, Kenny Rogers.  He was one of the first concerts Carl and I went to in Dallas in our early married life. I have tickets and pictures where he was performing with George Strait in one of the first concerts. I did not realize I had seen King George in concert until I was looking at concert tickets and pictures. I believe we also saw him with Barbara Mandrel, not for sure about Dolly. We saw him several times in Reunion Arena, which is gone today. Then when Choctaw and Winstar started doing concerts, we saw him numerous times there.
    Sunday night we got the message that Dallas county was going on lock-down Monday night at midnight for 10-12 days. All non-essential businesses will be shut down. So Monday morning early, Diana and I decided we better go stock up on what we could, in case this comes to Grayson county.
We did score big! Who would ever think that we could excited over toilet paper, wieners, smoked sausage, chicken breasts, and ground beef? I spent $100 on groceries - just in case!
     During this time I am learning to use two new kitchen gadgets - an Instant pot and an Air Fryer. This gives me something else to research and do - the search for new recipes. Rick came home for lunch several days. Diana and I did venture out to Van Alstyne to get plants for the garden and a few flowers.
    On Friday March 3,1 Rick, Peyton, Brandi, and I mended the fence along the railroad tracks at the Barbee place. I did have a horrible fall with bloody legs and bruises. Rick got cut up and scratched pretty bad. We looked like we both had been in a fight and lost. When it was bed time, I thought I was having a blood clot. It scared me to death. I thought I was dying. I had severe leg/thigh cramps. I took two baby aspirins and made it to bed, where I elevated my leg. Then I laid as still as I could. I thought if I laid still, the clot would not go to my heart. While I was praying, that this was not "the big one", God showed me what the people with CoVid 19 are thinking- am I going to die? WOW!
     I did wake up Saturday morning, just scarred and sore from out afternoon of fencing. Our only excursion was to Lowe's this weekend for lights for the garage and a ceiling fan for the game room. I did make masks for the hospital since there is a major shortage of these.
    The virus is still spreading with more cases daily. The story of New York City is devastating with 5000 new cases per day. Grayson County is now up to 7. Now it looks like it may go through the end of April on Shelter-at-home. My new theme song is "wasted days, and wasted nights."
    Welcome to my "Sweat Shop." After all the wasted time, I decided to start sewing masks, since now there is a major shortage of them. Jo Ann's Fabric store is giving away two yards of material for those people willing to make masks. I got mine and started sewing, only to find out that there is no elastic available. I found one package at our local General Dollar store. My first 10 masks went to Roxie Miller with her home hospice unit. I then made a few with ties. Wow! It took way too long. Rick ordered me some elastic off the internet. He thought he bought 144 yards  times three for $50. It turns out he bought 9 yards times three or 27 yards for $50. We were scalped, but I did have enough elastic for 100 masks. So for the next several weeks in my time, I sewed masks.
    April 5, Sunday, started Holy Week. This week without the churches opened, I decided to make a more conscientious choice to experience this special week. Each day I read what Jesus did on that day. I continued to make masks this week and pass them out. Rick took off work on Thursday and Friday. We repaired the fence around our home place, we trimmed trees, worked in the yard, planted the garden, and washed vehicles. No family time, no egg hunts, no Easter clothes, no Easter meals, and no face-to-face church. However, I did do some more reminiscencing of Mom and Dad's anniversary on April 11, Good Friday's in the past, and Easters.
   Easter 2020 - We watched our church service on-line and First Baptist Dallas with Robert Jeffress. Rick and I went to Taco Bell drive through for lunch. We took our food to the Brookshire's parking lot and ate under a tree. We piddled around the after noon, then we went up to Pottsboro to the lake to fish in the boathouse. I caught one, Rick two, and JB four. We brought our catch home and Rick filleted them. We then fried them for our Easter meal. We Face Timed the all the kids. I have now made about 130 masks and passed out about 110.
   Week 5 - It is like Ground Hog day the movie. Another day the same thing. Jerry did come in on Tuesday from the valley. On April 14 was the anniversary date of when Daddy passed away. It has been 30 years. As if this day wasn't kind of dreary, Chad's telephone call made it worse. He lost his job today. This is when it became real. The virus is really hurting our economy. Gas is $13 a barrel; and it is $1.10 at the pump. We have not seen this price since the early 80's.
   Week 6 - We worked on Rick's house the weekend. We made 4-5 trips to Lowe's. People are out and about. You have to stand in line to get in the store. The roads and fast food businesses are busier. It is like it is coming back to life slowly. President Trump says we will be coming back soon.
  Week 7  - My new theme song is "wasted days, and wasted nights." This week at the grocery stores there were no cake mixes and yeast. Every week it is something different. Rick has started cutting hay, and I am just hanging out. We did finish the Netflix series, "Hart of Disie." We have started Michael Jordon's "The Last Dance." I am watching the Hallmark series, "Where Home call the Heart". April 27 was Rick F's birthday. He did come to Sunday meal for Social Distancing. April 30 was Fitz's second birthday. We just did FaceTime throughout the day. May 2 was Jackson's third birthday. I did go with Rick, Diana, and Jerry to Jenna's for a Social Distancing birthday party. May 1 was the first phase of opening back up. Restaurants could open up with 25% capacity as well as a few other stores. Still no beauty shops or nail salons.
   Week 8 - On Suday we did have a Social Distancing get-together at the Hinds with church people. We kept our distance outside around a fire pit.
   Week 9.... Slowly things started getting better.  The kids never got to return to sports or school.
   Graduation - May 29. Peyton did get to graduate on the Gunter Tiger football field with one of the most memorable graduations ever. The students were spaced 6 feet apart on the field. The kids were allowed to have 10 tickets each with the families sitting in groups of 5 each with assigned seating. The graduates entered the field by walking through the large tiger head one last time. The kids got to wear shorts with no dress code under the gowns. After the ceremony and the throwing of the caps, Davis and Miller did a firework show. All left the stands by groups at the end.We went to Brandi's for a family get-together. It was a great ending to a crazy school year.
  June 14 our church opened back for the first time with about 60 percent of the people. The next week we had a case of CoVid so the numbers declined. We started Firework season with grandchildren, so we missed the next three services. We still only eat out occasionally, and our shopping is mainly just Aldi and Walmart.
  I kept telling people not to rain on my parade that July 4 was coming and it is "the most wonderful time of the year."