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Showing posts from August, 2010

Officially retired!

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The weekend was busy and very fun. Friday I joined John at Rockwell for the open house at work. They really do a nice job with decorations, cake and refreshments and a couple hours that lets people who are still working stop by. I am so glad that I went. Just like John I was able to see many who he worked with in the past that we have had very little chance to see over the last few years. Also I got to hear a barber shop quartet of fellow Rockwell Collins engineers seranade him with "Bye Bye my Rockwell Buddy", it was awesome. One of the quartet members is a fellow John has known for many years. Thanks to Dale Penner and his fellow quartet members.


Then it was on to the party! It was an absolutely beautiful day. Gabe and Mitch were there to help put it all together and grill the brats. We had so many friends come out to wish us well and several real surprises. John had two very special surprises. The first were two couples who came a very long way to share his day. Dixie and …

The countdown is on!

Just two more days, or as a co-worker of John's put it, just two more wake-ups. Hard to believe we are this close. I've been working on getting ready for the party and its been a little stressful. So why did I think a party was a good idea??  I will enjoy getting to see friends before taking off and it will be good to have our boys around for the weekend. We are putting them to work at the grills for the party. John will have a little party at work on Friday too. After 35 years with Rockwell Collins, I think he deserves it. Well I'm off to do more prep. 

What we won't miss

So now that I have told you what we will miss it is time to flip the coin and tell you what we won't miss.


I think it almost goes without saying but we won't miss having to get up every morning to go to work. I am not an early morning person except when I need to be and it will be nice to get on my body's schedule instead of a work schedule. Now on days I have to get John to work (and until recently) the days I worked it was up by 5:30 and for John to bed around 9. I have trouble going to sleep that early so for me it was more like 10-11pm. When we have had long vacations it seems our bodies fell into an up at 8 and to bed around midnight schedule. I am looking forward to that. Ahh, just to not have to wake up to an alarm.


Local politics is another thing we won't miss. Cedar Rapids is a small city that can't decide if it wants to act like a small town or a big city and it just gets ugly out there. The last straw for us has been the flood recovery from our catastrophi…

Oops forgot one!

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I can't believe I forgot to put this on my what we will miss list.
The Linn County Parks! Squaw Creek and Morgan Creek Parks have been our home this summer. We have logged almost 130 nights in the 2 parks. Since we were still working, these two parks have been the most convenient but after checking out others including two state parks in the area I have to say they can't be beat. They are not FHU but do have electric and water.  They allow 14 out of every 21 nights in each park so every week or two we would switch parks. They each have a little different feel but we like both and change our minds all the time regarding which is best. If you are traveling in this area I would highly recommend them. Squaw creek is in the process of putting in 22 FHU sites. Will have to check those out next summer when we are back.

What we will miss

John and I have been talking lately about what we will miss and what we won't miss when we leave Cedar Rapids. I've decided to do this in two post. So first what we will miss....


People: it almost goes without saying, it is our friends and family that we will miss the most. After all these years (35 for John and about 30 for me) we have been blessed with many wonderful friends. I also have a brother and his wife, a nephew and his wife, and my oldest son in Cedar Rapids. So hands down these people are what have made our lives here so good and we will truly miss them.


Doctors and dentist. Even though we have been fairly healthy, they have been there when we needed them. Our primary care physician and  several specialists along the way. We have had excellent care. We still plan on seeing them each year for  our physicals and check ups but now we will have to do things differently if we get ill out on the road and that is a little scary. The goal is to stay so healthy that we only n…

Reality hits

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Well, it is less that 2 weeks until we are both done, party a little and then start our travels and the reality of all that is exciting but also a little crazy.  We are still finishing up doctor and dental appointments, getting ready for our party, getting the rig shaped up and now we find we need to put new tires on the truck. We have noticed a slow leak on the inside rear passenger side tire. We have a tire pressure monitoring system that we turn on periodically (especially before towing) to check the pressures of both the truck and 5th wheel tires and that is how we discovered this. After careful checking we could see where the tires are beginning to crack between the treads. They are over 4 years old and have almost 50,000 miles so it is just time. Just learned how to read on the tire the manufacturing date - never knew you could do that. So on top of an already crazy schedule we need to research and buy 6 new tires.
I am finding all of this a little overwhelming and have trouble s…

I'm Officially Done (until next summer)

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This morning I put the grades in for the semester so now my commitment to Kirkwood is over until next summer.  I do love teaching so by teaching this class in the summer it is letting me ease out and we will consider it our work-camping for the summer.  It will help us economically so we feel it is a good fit. So I'm retired (kind of).


Took the truck in for an oil change and to find out why one tire seems to have a slow leak. Well wouldn't you know what we really need is new tires. Now this truck takes 6 tires - really big tires- and of course it will be more money than we have ever spent on tires but it is a necessity for our chosen lifestyle. They think they are original to the truck which makes them 4 years old with about 50,000 miles on them so it is just time. Of course it wasn't an expense we were planning on right now but it will all work out. Will probably wait until the week after John retires.


Guess what the weather is like outside??? Yes, rain again. In fact we ju…

Flip and fold

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I was doing laundry today and decided I need to share with you my new favorite tool. You would think after about 35 years or more of doing laundry there wouldn't be anything more I could learn about it but you be wrong. The worst part of this task for me is folding all those clothes and to be honest I am not very good at it, that is probably why I have always hated this task. Well one day last year I was watching an episode of "the big Bang" and Sheldon ( the king of all nerds with OCD) was doing his laundry using a tool that helps fold the clothes and when he was done he had this neat little perfectly folded stack of t-shirts.  Now some of you may have worked in retail clothing and experienced this tool there but that is one job I never had so didn't know this tool existed. Shortly after watching this episode I was shopping for things at the Container Store online for the 5th wheel and what did I find but a flip and fold. Well I just couldn't resist so I splurge…

The last lecture and it's getting noisy out there!

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Wednesday I gave my last lecture for the year. I teach Oral Pathology to dental hygiene students. I love the subject but by the end of summer I am ready for it to end. My lecture is 2 hours once a week for 12 weeks and that's a lot of talking, some days by the end of the lecture I feel like I'm tripping over my tongue. This is a tough subject and we squeeze it into a short time. I'm coming back next summer to teach it again and the possibilty of teaching for a couple years is there, with some of the new technologies out there I may even be able to teach it from where I am. I think it would be a kick giving my lectures over the internet from whatever campground I was in. I'm not sure if that would really work with this course but it is fun to entertain the thought. Tuesday I give the final and then I am done until next summer - on to the next adventure!


It was absolutely beautiful last night. The humidity was down and the temperatures too! I actually turned off the air a…

Trailer Fire

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It was moving day today. Moved from Squaw Creek back to Morgan Creek. Had been set up for about half an hour when I noticed the guy next door getting excited about something. Sat down at the table and realized what he was excited about was a trailer that had smoke coming out of it and he was telling his wife to cal 911. Grabed my camera and headed out. Here is what it looked like.


The smoke was coming out the roof and the vent on the side. Now the whole campground is standing watching for the smoke thinking flames could come shooting out any minute and anxiously awaiting the fire department. Well 5 min later the smoke seems to be letting up luckily because no sirens could be heard. Twenty minutes later the fire truck pulls in but now just a little smoke obviously more of a smoldering fire. Good thing it wasn't an all out flames etc. fire. The whole campground could have gone down before they got there.


This concerns me because we are only about 2 miles from Cedar Rapids NW fire stat…