Monday, February 29, 2016


As you have gathered from the last few posts although we were away it was by no means a vacation.  It was not a happy time although there were some happy spots here and there. I'm still crying almost every day.  My friends don't seem to understand my sorrow, but my husband does and so does God so I will get through it.  Life goes on and so do I.

On Thursday I slept all day.  Literally.  I got up, had breakfast, laid down and slept from 10:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.  Wow!  I don't know if I was that tired or still had the medicine in me.  Maybe both.  But so much for getting the car fixed.  I did make fried rice for dinner because Joe and I were still in an Asian mood from having that wonderful sushi.

On Friday we got up early and took the car into the garage.  We said we would wait while they looked at it.  It turns out the dome lights not turning off was a switch that was easily fixed.  In fact it was fixed in a few minutes.  But...  While they were looking at that they found that the burning we had been smelling on the way home from the airport was a leaking timing belt and one of the motor mounts was loose.  So we left the car there, had our friend Carole pick us up, and headed on home.

It took them all day to fix it.  Carole wasn't able to pick us up to take us back to get the car.  We were going to take a couple of buses up there, but it was only 30*F. and we didn't want to stand on the corner waiting for the bus.  So I called a couple of people.  My friend, Paulette, was home and happy to help us out.

After we got the car and spent even more money (but it had to be done) we decided to go out to dinner.  We ended up at one of our favorite places -- East Coast Wings and Grill.

Joe was watching the lacrosse game on the big screen.

I knew I wanted to get wings and I liked the sound of the flavor of the month.

I chose the Polynesian sauce and it was so good!  Tomato, soy and pineapple is a great combination even if it is a little sticky.

Yum!  I really enjoyed it.

Joe got baby back ribs and boneless wings.

They make their own chips.

Joe enjoyed his dinner too.
I'm so glad we discovered this place.  It's only a few blocks from home and even though it's a chain, this is the only one in Pennsylvania.  It is always packed.  And even though it's a little loud with all the big screens playing different sports, you can still hear each other and have a conversation.

Saturday we took little Snowy to the vet.  It turns out she was running a fever.  She got an antibiotic, a B12 shot to stimulate her appetite, eye drops for her weeping eyes, medicine for her gums and we start her thyroid medicine today.  She is feeling better already because she began eating again.  She has lost 2 1/2 pounds so we want her to gain that back.

Yesterday was church.  It was good to be back and see our friends.  And then in the afternoon it was naptime.  This trip has really taken a lot out of us.  I lost both my VISA card and my new phone yesterday.  I finally found my card in the bag from the vet with Snowy's medicine.  But my phone is still missing.  I think I might have left it over at church so I am taking a run over there today and look.  I can't have lost two phones in one week.

So that brings us up to date.  Today is leap day.  I don't have anything special to do.  I just really need to clean.  I mean REALLY.  So that's what's going to happen.

Until later...


Sunday, February 28, 2016


We got up early to go home on Wednesday.  We had to leave DJ's by 8:30 a.m. to make the flight.  It was sad saying goodbye to them, but I was ready to go home.  I liked Tennessee a lot more than I expected I would and we are going to try to visit down there once a year.  That's if we can afford it.

Joe set the GPS and we set off for Memphis and the airport.

We got there with no problem and returned the rental car.  Then we headed for the terminal, got our boarding passes and went through security.  After we were in the waiting area I looked at our passes and found out that we were not sitting together.  Joe was 5 rows behind me and we were both in the middle seat between two people.  I was not happy about that, but what can you do?  We were lucky we got any seats at all because we did it all last minute.

We hadn't eaten breakfast, so we went to a food truck.  Joe got a breakfast sandwich and I got another fruit cup.  And we both got water.
After a half hour wait we were able to board the plane.  The plane taxied out to the runway and then the pilot told us we would have an hour delay because Charlotte's airport was not allowing anyone to land because there was a tornado watch.  I knew we would miss our connecting flight because we had an hour layover.  *sigh*  After an hour and 15 minutes we were finally able to take off.

And it was a terrible flight!  The takeoff was so frightening.  Up, then level off, circle, up, level off, circle.  It went on and on.  Finally we leveled off and I settled down.  

But then there was the landing. The weather was so bad and I was sure we were going to crash.  The plane was blown sideways and almost did a spin.  The pilot would go down and try to right the plane and then go down and try to right it again.  We rocked back and forth and went up and down. I was so sick.  And not just me, but the whole row of ladies behind me and the lady across the aisle.  Joe said it didn't bother him a bit.  I glanced out the window and that was the wrong thing.  I saw the ground spinning around beneath us.  After about 20 minutes of a harrowing experience where I prayed a LOT, we landed.  I was sicker than I've been in a very long time.  I exited the plane first so I waited for Joe and we went to the next flight as fast as we could.  But it was at the other end of the airport and there was no chance that we could make it.

Yes, the flight was long gone.  We went to American Airlines Customer Service counter.  A man was standing at the counter ahead of us.  He had been standing there for 10 minutes.  No one was at the desk.  He said the lady at the desk had said she was taking her lunch and left.  A volunteer came by and said he would find someone to help us.  The man left so Joe and I were first when the lady came back a few minutes later.  There was a long line behind us.

She was able to get us on stand by for the next flight to Allentown which was 7:58 p.m.  It was about 2:00 p.m. then.  So we took it.

I sat in the waiting area while Joe wandered around a little bit.  There was a cool aircraft hanging from the ceiling so you know I had to take a picture of it.

Joe came back and said he had found a sushi place.  We both like sushi and it was lunch time and we had 6 hours to kill so we went for lunch.

It was a cute little food court with lots of different kinds of food.  There were burgers, Italian, Indian, and this Japanese place called Hissho Sushi.  There was a sushi bar you could sit at and some tables.  We both got vegetable sushi and sat at one of the tables.

You can't see it, but the bottom edge of the plate had wasabi and ginger.  The ginger really helped my upset stomach.  We were given chopsticks.  I had never seen any like these.  They were attached at the top and I couldn't get them apart.  Joe said he used them many times when he was in Japan and he separated them for me without breaking them.  This sushi was the best I have ever had anywhere.  Joe agreed.  We were so happy to have found this place.  When I got home I went on the internet and found there is one about 16 miles from us so we are going to go very soon.

We found the gate we were to use and settled down for the long wait.  I took some pictures out of the windows.

And what else do you do with time on your hands except take a selfie?

At one point I was sitting on the floor with my Kindle plugged into an outlet reading my book.  I looked up and saw Joe reading so I took a shot of him.

We had sat there for over two hours when we heard the announcement that the gate had been changed from E22 to E6.  We gathered our things and walked all the way back to where we had started.  Not only was the gate changed, but it was now leaving at 8:15 p.m.  We were still on standby and didn't even know if we would get on the plane.  I asked the agent when the next flight out would be if we couldn't get on and he said 8:00 p.m. the next day!  24 hours later!  So we sat and waited.

Then the flight was changed to 8:44 p.m.  The reason being there was no flight crew.  They had cobbled together everyone except a pilot.  The pilot was on his way in, but was being held up because of the bad weather.  There were tornadoes all up and down the east coast.

8:44 p.m. came and went and the flight was changed to 9:04 p.m.  At 9:00 p.m. our status was changed so I went up and got our boarding passes.  I was so thankful.  And we got to sit next to each other.

Around 9:15 p.m. a pilot came in, talked to the agent, then went out the door.  We thought he must be our pilot, but he walked away toward another plane.  But it was our pilot.  And because we were so late leaving we had to walk across the tarmac and go up the steps.

I was sitting next to the window this time.  I wasn't as scared as I thought I would be.  I just wanted to go home.  Joe had bought me some Dramamine so I took it now. I wasn't as worried about taking off as I was landing.  So about 9:30 p.m. we finally left Charlotte, NC and headed toward Allentown, PA.  It was an hour and a half flight, but the pilot said he knew we all wanted to go home so he'd make it in an hour.  And he did!

Here are some shots I took out of the window.  I took a lot, but most of them didn't turn out because of the reflection from the window and the movement of the plane.

Goodbye, Charlotte.  Can you see the clouds?  It was cool looking.

It was a full moon.  I tried to take a good close up of the moon but none of them turned out.

We watched a lightening storm for a lot of the way.  It was so fascinating to see it from the air.  So different than seeing it on the ground.  It almost looked like fireworks or maybe cannons going off.

We got to Allentown around 10:30 p.m., got our bags, paid for our parking ($56!)and headed for the car.

I started on the way home, but didn't know the way.  By this time it was about 11:30 p.m. and there wasn't much traffic.  That was good.  Joe had the GPS on and I was doing OK but then I started to get drowsy from the medicine.  Then it was more than drowsy and I was having a hard time keeping my eyes open.  I didn't know it would do that to me!  There was nowhere to pull over so I had to keep driving and Joe kept talking to me to keep me awake.  Finally we got to a place where I pulled into a gas station and we changed places.  I don't remember Joe driving home.  I went right to sleep.  We got home around 1:30 a.m.

We were so thankful to be home.  You know I slept good that night.

This is the end of Day 4 and the end of our trip.  Thanks for reading along on this lengthy post.


Saturday, February 27, 2016


The day was rainy and cold.  It just suited the mood.  Even as I sit here and type it I have tears in my eyes.  It was so sad to lay Abbey to rest.

Joe put on his new black shirt and it was a little tight but I told him that with his jacket no one would notice.  He had brought a heavy tweed jacket and we were so glad about that.

I got dressed first.  I had a black and white top and a long black skirt.  I found that people dressed more for the funeral than the viewing so I was OK.

DJ came out of his room wearing a lavender shirt (since Abbey's favorite color was lavender most of the men there were wearing that color) and told me that he had to go into town and buy a new shirt.  "Look at this!" he said holding his shirt out.  It was really large on him.  I said, "Hold it.  Don't return that.  I think you should trade with your dad."  It turned out that Joe's black shirt fit him perfectly and DJ's lavender shirt fit Joe.  DJ still went and bought a lavender shirt and tie but kept the black shirt.  Joe wore the lavender shirt and the purple tie he bought the night before.

The babysitter came and took Brantley.

Isn't he cute?  I would call him "Mr. B." and he would give me a big smile.

DJ and Danielle left to get him another shirt.  Joe and I left last.  We had a key to the house so we were able to come and go as we pleased.

We went to the funeral home and even though we were early all the parking spaces were taken.  We had to park on the driveway.

We went in and found seats in the fourth row.  There were three reserved rows in front of us and these filled up with what looked to be the entire Tipton County Sheriff's Department.  I have never seen so many police in one place.  Abbey was an alderman and her oldest son Ernie and DJ are both police officers.  That's probably why they were there.  When the place was packed and there were no more seats, the police got up and stood against the wall around the room.

The songs were touching.  The preaching was fantastic.  It was just like being in a church service.  Pastor Hunt (who was one of DJ's cousins) gave a salvation message that was second to none.  If you couldn't understand it after that, forget it.

We all gathered out on the porch and the family led the procession to the graveside.  The cemetery is right next to the funeral home.  After a short ceremony it was over and we were all invited back to Buck and Abbey's home for lunch.

There was so much food.  Unbelievable.  And so many people!  Abbey's sisters were so nice to me.  I didn't know how they would take me because of Abbey being Joe's ex-wife and me the current one.  But I didn't have to worry.  They just loved on me and treated me as if I had been a part of their family my whole life.  They were just the kind of people that anyone would want for their family.

I had some delicious Southern fried chicken.  Joe had some chicken and dumplings.  And lots and lots of other things.  For dessert Joe said he wanted pie and I got him a piece of homemade coconut pie which he said was wonderful.  There were a group of people sitting at the kitchen table and they told me to take a piece of the Hummingbird Cake.  I said I had heard of it, but had never had it.  One lady said to me, "That's because y'all are a northerner.  But y'all should try it because it's good."  And it was.

The saddest part for me was talking to Abbey's husband Buck.  He asked Joe if he had done a good job raising DJ for him.  Joe told him he did an excellent job and DJ and his brothers had grown to be wonderful young men.  Buck started crying and said he had done his best.  He said he didn't know how he would be able to get along without Abbey there.  And he thanked us for coming all the way from Philadelphia.  He said it meant a lot to him and he was hoping we would show up.  Then he turned to me and said that Abbey had thought the world of me and was so looking forward to meeting me this spring.  All I could do was cry just like I'm doing now.

In a little while Joe and I decided to leave.  We told DJ and Danielle we would meet them back at the house.  We changed our clothes and while Joe slept I watched a youtube video and was finally able to buy minutes to put onto my phone.  I tried to switch my minutes over to the new phone again and still couldn't do it.  I'm going to try to get ahold of them today.

When DJ and Danielle got back I asked to take some pictures of them.

Everyone was saying how much Joe and DJ looked alike.  You don't see it so much in these pictures, but they stand alike, they gesture alike, they have the same likes and dislikes down to their favorite color and favorite food.  It's amazing.  And DJ definitely has Joe's chin and eyes.

DJ and Danielle got changed and then took us out to their favorite restaurant -- The Oriental Noodle.  It was a little hole in the wall and I would never have seen it if I were trying to find it.  It was pouring rain so we ran through mud into the place.

The guy who owned it is a former Marine.  He and Joe were talking about the service.  The food was great.  Everyone was coming over to see the baby and say how cute he was.  He was sleeping most of the time.  DJ treated us which was really nice.

So then we went home, talked for a little bit and went to bed.  We knew we had to get up early to get the plane to go home.

This is the end of Day 3.  The hardest day of the visit.  One more day to go.


Friday, February 26, 2016


I did not have a good sleep on Sunday night.  It's always tough to sleep in a strange bed.  But I was so tired I fell asleep right away.  Four hours later I woke up with the alarm on Joe's CPAP machine going off because the mask was leaking air.  Then I couldn't get back to sleep.  When I did fall asleep I woke up about an hour later.  I went to sleep again and again slept only an hour or so.  So I read for awhile and then got up around 7:00, took a shower and got dressed. I heard D.J. and Danielle in the kitchen eating but by the time I got there, they were gone.  Joe got up then and we decided to go to IHOP for breakfast.  We left a note telling them where we were and what we were doing then hopped in the car and took off.

We had rented a Subaru and let me tell you that car was a dream to drive.  We also rented a GPS and it was a life saver on not getting lost.  It told us that the nearest IHOP was 15 miles away.  I said, "15 miles!" and Joe said that's the way it is down there.  There are no corner stores or walk down the block to a restaurant.  If you don't have a car or don't drive, you are sunk.

Here is the front of D.J.'s house.  His pride and joy Jeep is out front.  I'm glad he didn't move it because I used it as a landmark the whole time we were there.

He has a lot of ground around his house.
 It wasn't hard to find the IHOP.  And driving around there is really easy.  Even in rush hour it's not crowded like it is here.

We got seated right away.  Our waitress was so nice and attentive.

I had chicken and waffles with blueberry syrup.  It was wonderful.

Joe had the breakfast sampler and coffee.

Lots of coffee.
 The food was really good and we were full by the time we left.

We then went next door to Walmart.  We had brought light weight and in between clothes thinking it would be warm down there.  It wasn't.  So we were freezing.  I bought a very pretty long gray sweater that I ended up almost living in while I was there.  It was so warm.  I also got some sweat pants and a hooded pullover sweater.  Joe got a camo jacket and some shirts.  We found out that Abbey's favorite color was purple and a lot of people were going to be wearing purple to the funeral.  Joe wanted to honor her and wear purple too.  He found a purple tie, but there was no shirt anywhere near that color.  So he bought a black shirt.  It was a little tight on him, but he figured he could pull it off for the funeral.

We headed back to the house to change for the viewing.  I wore a short gray dress with black leggings and that wonderful gray sweater I had just bought.  Joe was wearing black pants, a gray shirt, black jacket and a black and gray tie.  In Philly we always dress up to go to a viewing.

D.J. came back to the house.  He had been at the funeral home.  He said he was just going in jeans.  Jeans?  He had to be there early, so since Joe knew where it was, we just went ourselves.

The viewing as at Covington Funeral Home.

The place was packed.  And almost everyone was in jeans or some other casual wear.  Joe and I were definitely overdressed!

It was so very sad.  I so wanted to meet Abbey.  We had planned on going down in about 8 weeks and Abbey and I were looking forward to sitting in a corner and talking and talking.  She was one of the sweetest, nicest people I have ever had the privilege to know. It was strange to be there looking at her body and not talking with her. I'm so glad I had the chance to know her through talking to her on the phone and emailing.

Joe introduced me to her sisters and brother, her other children and some other family members that he knew, including her husband.  Everyone was so grateful that we came all the way from Philadelphia.  Everyone was so nice to us.

We saw D.J.'s ex-wife there and went up to talk to her for awhile.  Her cancer is back and she may be losing her vocal chords entirely.   Please  pray for her.

Sometime during the day I lost my cell phone.  I searched the room we were in, all my pockets, my purses, the car.  Nothing.  D.J. had been calling me and he said no one answered.  So we left the viewing a little early and went back to IHOP and Walmart to see if anyone had turned it in.  No luck.

I ended up buying a new phone because I had to have one.  The lady in Walmart was about to close up, but she opened the store up again to help us. Everyone we met down there was so nice and helpful.  She tried to get my minutes transferred over, but their system was down.  When we got home D.J. tried and later I tried.  No luck.  So I ended up buying minutes so I could use the phone.  At least I was able to keep my number.  But all my contacts and photos are gone.  Things I will never be able to get again.  I didn't save them anywhere else.  Oh well, it's only a thing. So my old phone is somewhere in Tipton County, Tennessee and your guess is as good as mine where it is.

As we were driving back to D.J.'s house we passed a DQ Grill and Chill.  Every time we passed this Joe kept telling me how good it was.  So this time we stopped and went in to get burgers.  (We have Dairy Queen but no Grill and Chill.  I have never heard of it before.)

We got burgers and Joe got a blizzard.  There were only two other people in there -- a father and daughter.  We started talking to them and he and Joe struck up quite a friendship.  They exchanged phone numbers and even called each other tonight.  This was a God moment for sure since he is a born again Christian and so is his daughter.  We had such a good time talking with them.

When we got back to the house D.J. and Danielle were waiting for us.  They were worried because they didn't know where we were (we had been gone 3 hours) and I had no phone so they couldn't reach us.  They thought we had gotten lost or something happened and we couldn't even call 911.  It's nice to know your kids care about you.

So after spending some time with them, we went to bed.  The funeral was the next day.

This is the end of Day 2.


Thursday, February 25, 2016


We are back after a very long and very hard trip where everything seemed to go wrong.  But God is good and saw us through it all.  And there was a LOT of good that happened during our trip south.  There is too much to tell in just one entry, so I will tell it in parts and hope you don't mind reading a lot as you go along.  And be prepared for picture overload.

We got up early and headed for the Lehigh Valley International Airport in Allentown.  By driving for two hours to Allentown we saved $600 each on our tickets as opposed to flying out of Philadelphia.  The flight from Allentown back to Philadelphia was 16 minutes and we got on the exact plane we would have paid the extra money for.  Fortunately we were able to sit together both flights because I was scared!

Here is Joe pushing the luggage cart from our car to the main entrance to the Lehigh Valley International Airport.
 Since neither of us have flown since the 90s, we weren't sure what to do or where to go.  The ticket agent was so great.  She showed Joe how to use the kiosk and got us boarding passes.  She checked in our baggage and told us where security and the gate was.  The TSA were great too.  So nice and helpful.  Of all the airports we were in this week, Allentown was by far our favorite.

We had a little bit of a wait, so I was taking pictures in the waiting area.  Here is the control tower seen out of the window.

We were laughing about this and I really took this picture for my brother, Larry.  This used to be a bank of pay phones, but now everyone has their cells.

I got a water and Joe got a soda while we were waiting.  We really wanted something to drink but carrying those bottles around and on the planes was a pain.  We hadn't eaten breakfast so Joe got a muffin and I got a bag of chips which I didn't finish.

Watching the planes.

This was our plane and I was standing at the window watching them load the luggage.  Yes, we went down to the tarmac and climbed the steps into the plane.

I was pointing out to Joe that they were loading our bags.  Everything was going up a conveyor belt into the belly of the plane. I had just said, "There's mine."  I saw Joe's bag behind mine.  They all went in easily except for his which go caught in the belt and fell to the ground.  I started laughing and he took this picture.

Here's Joe in the plane just before take off.  We were sitting in the last row of a very small turboprop plane.  I was scared, but the takeoff was smooth and actually the best one of the four.

Allentown, PA from the air.

I thought it was cool seeing the clouds up close and personal.

There was snow in some places in Allentown and as you can see most of the Lehigh River was frozen.

Limerick Nuclear Power Plant.  I've never seen it from the air before.

We made it to Philly.

Here is the plane we flew on.  Tiny with propellers.  There was a lot of turbulence when we were landing and I got sick.  I felt as if I were on a roller coaster.

We still hadn't eaten except for that little bit, so we stopped to get some food.  Joe had a bagel.  I told him with his hat he looked like a little Jewish man.  He liked that!

I had a fruit cup which was delicious.  I didn't have time to finish it, so I ate the rest of it at D.J.'s house.

We took off from Philly.  This time in a jet.  It was a much smoother ride.  I was hoping to see some of the country we were flying over, but it was very cloudy and stormy so we flew above the clouds where it's always sunny.  I thought it looked like heaven at first, but later decided it looked like a snow field.  I was disappointed not to see the ground, but it was nice.

We landed in Memphis and it was a much smoother landing than the one in Philly.

Welcome to Memphis!

The airport was filled with beautiful fountains.

 D.J. was supposed to meet us at the airport but our cell phones didn't work in the airport and we couldn't find him.  We went down to get our rental car.  We just got in the car when my phone rang.  I answered and it was him.  He and his girlfriend, Danielle,and Danielle's baby Brantley were in the airport and had been there an hour looking for us.  I told him where we were and then both of our phones went out again.  Joe went to find him and as he rang for the elevator the doors opened and there they were. 
All of them were surprised.  I was sitting in the car waiting for them, but I would have loved to have been there to see their faces.

D.J. drove the rental car back to his house.  He insisted we stay with them and not get a hotel room.  I think he wanted his dad close.  So we stayed in Danielle's oldest son's room.  He was with his dad.  We had our own bathroom.

D.J. gave me a tour of the house and it is beautiful.  He is fixing it up so there are a lot of "projects" he is in the middle of, but you can tell how nice it is going to be once he is finished.

We had to go to Walmart to get some things we hadn't brought with us.  Since we were flying we decided to buy things when we got there rather than be stopped when going through security.  The Walmart there was huge and beautiful.  Besides getting our toiletries we each got a St. Patrick's Day t-shirt for $3.  I also got a gray and black purse for $8.  The only purse I had with me was a pink quilted one and I thought it would be better to have black or gray.  I've been looking for a new purse and this was was beautiful.  The prices were so different than up north.

We went back to D.J.'s and Danielle's mom came over with dinner for us.  She brought us salad, spaghetti and garlic bread.  Everything was yummy.  Her name is Sandra and she was so sweet and nice.  People kept coming over and bringing food.  That seems to be the thing they do there.  We used to do that here in Philly, but I don't know anyone who does that anymore.

After a lot of haggling, Joe was able to cancel the hotel reservations and since we were beat we went to bed.

The end of Day 1.  More to come.