Friday, August 29, 2014

Aunt Happy, The Girls, More Hail Repair, and Rides

Billings, MT  High 88  Low 63

Last Saturday Aunt Happy turned 101. When I talked to her she told me that somebody had said she was starting to look older and that really did not sit well with her. However, she is doing good – really good for 101. But I know she would be really happy not to see 102 on this earth.

We had two very unhappy pups when we picked them up from the Vet. Skitz had to have two teeth pulled and was really angry with me. They slept most of the time and got to have a little bit of dinner. Skittlez finally relented and let me hold her. Scooter curled up in Jim’s lap for the evening. They are feeling much better today but I still feel so bad for Skitz.

The repair work is coming along quite well. There is some mess involved. It was getting dark when these pictures were taken.



Old siding down and Tyvek started.


Small hitch – need to have Charter Communications remove their box from the back so Jim could get new siding up and they could put the box back up. The Charter guy lent a helping hand.


While all this is going on, Michaela is painting the wooden shed.


Jim got a call from the roofing company. They will be here today to start on the new roof. Should be finished by Saturday. Maybe, just maybe we’ll be out of here by Tuesday.

Todd has the neatest bike. He’s going to ride it to work today because a lot of the guys he works with (at a FORD dealership) want to see the bike. It has a gas motor and gets fantastic mileage.


And this is our new ride. (I wish.) Jim took the truck in for it’s yearly maintenance and this is the loaner he brought home. I fell in love with a burgundy CTS and he thought I’d enjoy a test drive. It is really nice but I am so spoiled by our truck. The truck rides so nicely and is so comfortable. Cars just don’t seem that comfy.


carI was really surprised to see an analog clock. I guess it’s a Cadillac thing.

Things have not slowed down around here. Our goal is still to get out of here next Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


Billings, MT  High 77 Low 63

Last Thursday we drove to Billings in the pouring rain with brief periods of clouds.



We were too exhausted to do anything that night but Friday morning Jim measured and counted and figured everything we would need to repair the hail damage on Todd’s house (our house but the kids rent it from us). Then we went on a shopping spree. The small metal shed is completely destroyed and has to be replaced.


Todd and JimThe weather report said more rain on Saturday and Sunday so Jim bought rain suits for him and Todd. Best buy he made. We are only going to be here about a week and Todd has to work so rain couldn’t stop the work that needed to be done. Thank goodness there was no lightning or thunder.

First job was to put new skirting on the mobile home. The second was to work on repairing and replacing the busted fence pieces and to make new gates. The hail really did make a mess of things.

The roof needs to be replaced, but we have a contract with a company that is going to do that for us. We have over $10,000 worth of damage.

P1080897Tonight they are tearing down the old metal shed. That will make it easier to replace the siding. We’re also going to add Tyvek before putting up the siding. Then they will put up a new metal shed. The wooden shed just needs to be painted and Michaela is going to do that.

We’ve also had doctor appointments. Me – mammogram, blood work, doctor and eyes. The doctor told me that everything is perfect and to keep on doing whatever it is I’m doing because it’s working. The eyes have changed a little bit so I might think about getting new glasses.

Jim just had an eye appointment and his has changed just a little bit also. He also got all his CPAP equipment updated.

The girls went in today for blood work and shots. Tomorrow they are both having their teeth cleaned. The doctor is going to be very careful with Scooter because of her heart murmur.

We did get to take a wonderful break and met up with Debbie and Steve at Cracker Barrel. They have been full timing a little over two months and were headed to South Dakota. Hopefully we’ll get to see them again in Arizona in the Spring.

Debbie and Steve

I have spent very little time on the computer which means that blog reading has gone down the drain. It will probably be next week when we leave town before I can catch up.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Pay Dirt

Helena, MT  High 89  Low 61

Pay dirt is defined as: to get something of value. And that is what happened last Saturday.

These fine fellows were watching all the comings and goings at a garage sale next door.


As you all know we go to garage sales every week-end with my sister and her husband. Normally we walk away empty handed because living in 23’ doesn’t give us much room for anything. But that was not the case last week-end.

P1080885I got 13 tops in really great shape for $1 a piece. I was only going to buy a couple of them but Jim and I couldn’t decide which ones we liked best so I took them all (well I did leave a couple behind that I didn’t really like).

Then we went to another sale and Jim found an Ugly Stick (a fishing pole) and two reels for $20. We came home very happy campers.

Sunday night Don fixed his tacos that are to die for and we had a small family get together. I really do like his tacos.

Great Nephew Zack


My nephew, Chris and his wife, Randi


Jim and Don

Jim and Don

Then for the pièce de résistance we got to spend some time visiting with Roger and Lyn. We had met them previously in Q but never had a chance to sit down and just talk. They were in town visiting friends and were staying at the fairgrounds. Sure am looking forward to seeing them in Q again in January. And of course, I forgot to take any pictures.

We’re leaving here on Thursday (in the rain) and we’re headed east to Billings. Need to do some work on our son’s house after the terrible hail storm they had. I also have doctor appointments and so do the girls. On September 2 we are headed east to Virginia. We will be back in Arizona the middle of November to start all of Jim’s doctor’s appointments again.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Catching Up

Helena, MT  High 91  Low 60

Tara brought Emmet over to visit. Good times


tara1With the new chairs, carpet and quilt, I really hated the bench cushions. Jim agreed with me and we found some great material. Jim was going to make new cushion covers but he said he was going to borrow Judy’s sewing machine. I laughed and told him I doubted she had such a thing. I was right. We found someone to make them for us. Here are the results.

We went from this


To this


Jim redid the frames with matching buttons. Boy do they look good!


Skittlez has established her nest behind Jim’s chair. We had to help her get the stuff up on the platform so she could arrange it how she wanted it.


When Scooter isn’t relaxing on the bed she sometimes takes over Skittlez’s nest.


It’s hard to believe that we will be leaving here a week from tomorrow.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Devil’s Brigade

Helena, MT  High 87  Low 58

The Devil’s Brigade (or I should say, the few remaining members who were able to make it) was in Helena this week-end for their 68th annual reunion.


There was a memorial service at the monument that is installed at Memorial Park. What an honor it was to be able to salute these courageous soldiers.


The following is some of their interesting history.

1st Special Service Force.patch.jpg(This was their shoulder patch.) The 1st Special Service Force (also called The Devil's Brigade) was an elite American-Canadian commando unit during WWII. The unit was organized in 1942 and trained at Fort William Henry Harrison near Helena, MT. Fort Harrison was picked due to its flat terrain for airborne training and its close proximity to mountains for ski and winter training. The unit fought in the Aleutian Islands, Italy, and southern France before being disbanded in December 1944. Modern American and Canadian special operations forces trace their heritage to this unit.



The volunteers for this elite 1800-man force consisted of  misfits, mountaineers, miners, loggers, trappers, ranch hands, boxers, a safe blower and a few criminals.  The training the FSSF received in Helena was unlike any military training ever done before — covering everything from parachuting to mountaineering, skiing, winter survival, demolitions, unarmed combat and training in both American and German weaponry.


The 1st Special Service Force was officially activated on July 20, 1942 under the command of Lt. Colonel Robert T. Frederick.

P1080871Much feared for their fighting prowess, the moniker "The Black Devils" was adopted after the discovery of the personal diary of a German officer referring to them as "die schwarzen Teufeln (the Black Devils). With blackened faces, small units would often overwhelm German defenders without firing a shot, and then disappear into the night.

From the outset, the 1st Special Service Force was armed with a variety of non-standard or limited-issue weapons, such as the M1941 Johnson machine gun. Frederick himself participated in the design of a fighting knife made exclusively for the Force called the V-42 combat knife, a derivative of the Fairbairn-Sykes fighting knife.


This link First Special Service Force gives you a great overview of the battles that these men fought in. The First Special Service Force captured more enemy soldiers than any other unit in the war.


Here in Helena, they are remembered for not only their wartime bravery, but their antics — including a gusto for blowing up things in the Helena Valley (and a bath tub in a local hotel), regular brawls at the Gold Bar — taking out their front window at least four times — and some decidedly quirky behavior, such as one fellow who kept a foot locker of live rattlesnakes under his bed.


Another gorgeous sunset in Montana.


Saturday, August 2, 2014

Montana Trivia

Helena, MT  High 84  Low 62

Okay, so I’m bored. How about some fun Montana Trivia to liven up the conversation.

According to the 2010 census Montana has 130 incorporated towns with Billings being the most populous with 106,954 people and Ismay being the smallest with 19 folks.

The largest snowflake ever observed was almost 15 inches wide and recorded in Montana on January 28, 1887.

Giant Springs, MT is home to the largest fresh water spring in the U.S.

In Montana, the word "ditch” can be used to order a drink. It means "with water."  "I'd like a Jack Daniel's ditch, please" means, "I'd like a Jack Daniel's and water." This is not a joke. In fact, all you really have to ask for is a "Jack ditch."

It is illegal to have a sheep in the cab of your truck without a chaperone.

It is illegal for married women to go fishing alone on Sundays, and illegal for unmarried women to fish alone at all.

The average square mile of land contains 1.4 elk, 1.4 pronghorn antelope, and 3.3 deer.

The Roe River is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the world's shortest river. The Roe flows 200 feet between Giant Springs and the Missouri River near Great Falls. The Roe River competes with the D River in Lincoln City, Oregon for the title of the shortest river. Both rivers have been measured on different occasions, with lengths varying from 58 feet to 200 feet.

In 1888 Helena had more millionaires per capita than any other city in the world.

The Montana Yogo Sapphire is the only North American gem to be included in the Crown Jewels of England.

46 out of Montana’s 56 counties are considered "frontier counties" with an average population of 6 or fewer people per square mile.

Every spring nearly 10,000 white pelicans with a wingspan of nine feet migrate from the Gulf of Mexico to Medicine Lake in northeastern Montana. 

The "Going to the Sun Road" in Glacier Park is considered one of the most scenic drives in America.

In Whitehall it is illegal to operate a vehicle with ice picks attached to the wheels.

In 1884, the citizens of Montana were fed up with lawlessness and forming a large vigilante force, they executed thirty-five horse and cattle thieves that year.


Okay – this gives you several good reasons to visit  Montana or maybe it will make you want to avoid it altogether.