Saturday, August 29, 2009

A church we saw on the way home

I just love the intricate facades of the old buildings

In remembrance of the great Chicago fire

The parking garage below the condos, I thought it was very unique

There are lots of bridges crossing the river...notice the interesting looking condos to the right..

Looking at the Chicago River on a busy Saturday afternoon

Even the birds like it...

Looking at the back of our heads and our faces at the same time

Ron, me & Donovan standing off in the distance

This is taken from the inside looking up at all the angles

I wanted to explain this neat object near the Chicago Art Institute. I found the explanation for it online and here it is for you who have never been to Chicago...

Cloud Gate is British artist Anish Kapoor's first public outdoor work installed in the United States. The 110-ton elliptical sculpture is forged of a seamless series of highly polished stainless steel plates, which reflect the city's famous skyline and the clouds above. A 12-foot-high arch provides a "gate" to the concave chamber beneath the sculpture, inviting visitors to touch its mirror-like surface and see their image reflected back from a variety of perspectives.

Inspired by liquid mercury, the sculpture is among the largest of its kind in the world, measuring 66-feet long by 33-feet high. Cloud Gate sits upon the At&T Plaza, which was made possible by a gift from AT&T.

We had fun watching people walking around inside and out, I could have stood there watching for hours.

This is known locally as the Chicago bean

This is a reflecting pool, the kids were having a great time splashing around

Looking at one of the bronze lions in front of the Chicago Art Institute

We're on part of Rte 66

This camera shop has been in business since 1899!

Looking towards the front of the library

Looking under the elevated train...

Look at this, they have a Weber restaurant! How about that?

As some of you may know, Ron likes frogs...

The initial reason we were going to Chicago was to drop off our camera at a camera shop that does all their repairs on-site. So, that's where we stopped first. We didn't realize that we would be in that shop for two hours! Ron wanted to get some camera equipment because just prior to dropping off our old camera, which was a Nikon D70, he had bought a new Nikon D90. The new camera didn't fit in the old camera bag, so he was looking for a new one that could fit both of them, plus our zoom lens. We also got a tripod, a monopod, a couple UV filters, a little bean bag pod for my point & shoot Nikon and a few other things that I can't remember.

We dropped the camera off to get it cleaned for sure, because after five years of desert dust, we figured it could use a good cleaning. It also had some issues that we wanted to have checked out. They were supposed to have called us this past week and then, Ron called them and they said they'd get back to us... have yet to hear back on what's going on with it, but hopefully, next really doesn't matter, if and when they get it fixed, we're just going to let them send it over to Donovan's house and we'll get it back from him.

Just so you know, we've been to downtown Chicago before, but, it's been quite awhile since we've been there, at least 8 years. We figured since we drove all the way down there to drop off the camera, might as well do a little sightseeing. So, that is what we did....

Our first look at the big city of Chicago from the freeway

Just to let you know, they don't actually make the Jelly Bellies there at the factory, even though you would think they do. It is a distribution warehouse where they ship them out all over the world. But, it was interesting to see how they make them and at the end, we stopped in the store and bought more candy than we really needed to eat...

Taking the train to learn about how to make their jelly beans

Showing Domi a picture of the Statue of Liberty out of Jelly Bellies

Visiting the Jelly Belly Factory

Daddy helping Domi roast his marshmallow

Domi learning how to make his first s'more

Donovan built an awesome fire

Domi hamming it up

Ron & I and Lucas, enjoying the fire

Donovan, Domi & Krissy, with Tanner

We managed to finally talk the kids into coming out for an overnight at the famcamp. We were going to rent them an A-frame tent trailer, because the weather was so iffy, we didn't want them camping in their tent in case it rained. For some reason, the people at the Marina decided the tent trailer wouldn't be big enough, so let us rent a travel trailer that was already set up in the campground for the same price, but, was much bigger, (29 ft). So, we had them move it onto the site in back of us, facing the lake.

Well, the next morning, Ron went over to the trailer to make sure everything worked and he discovers that the black tank is 3/4 full and there is no fresh water in the tank! He calls the Marina and talks to the guy who tells him there's nothing he can do, unless Ron wants to haul it over to the dump station himself and dump the tank. Ron told him that wasn't his responsibility, that if they are going to rent the trailer, they should make sure the black tank is dumped,the water tank is filled and everything is in good working order. He was really upset that they were being so nonchalant about the whole thing, thinking that they didn't have to do anything about it. So, Ron told the guy that he could tell his superior that he was going to write the the base commander to tell him how they do business.

Well, as you can imagine, those must have been the magic words, because within about 5-10 minutes, they called him back, said they would be right down to pick up the trailer and do everything Ron asked them to do. They were super polite and asked if there was anything else we needed and hopefully, we weren't going to write to the base commander. While we were waiting, he took me over so I could look at the inside. While we were sitting on the couch, I noticed that the seat of the dinette looked pushed in. So, Ron took it apart and the frame was broken, so that was an added thing they needed to fix. We found out from the guys who came out to get it that this was a trailer they had picked up from FEMA and they hadn't even gone through it to see what worked and what didn't...obviously! But, even though they hadn't done it, they still expected to rent it in that conditon! We also noticed that the anode tube that fits into the hot water tank was not attached and of course, there was no water pressure. The guy who came out to look at it, said there was nothing he could do about it now, so as soon as they brought the trailer back, all freshly dumped and fresh water in the tank, Ron fixed it so they would have good water pressure.

These people have no business running the famcamp if they can't do simple fixes on a rental trailer. I guess they are just used to setting up tents and what special talents do you need for that? Anyway, the trailer got there just in time for the kids to show up...wish they could have stayed more than one night as we had fun.

Donovan & Krissy have got their neighbors hooked on Pegs & Jokers, too

This is actually Tanner, the dog's chair, but, after all that work on the basement, Ron made the dog share his chair...

cutting to fit...

With two people working, it gets done faster

Adding the drywall

Adding the insulation

Ron working on another outlet

It's kinda hard to tell in this picture, but, the meter shows that the electric outlet is hot

But, we did catch them starting the wiring

By the time we got down there to take pictures, the walls were all framed

Here I am, blowing bubbles for the kids to chase and pop

and his scooter

On sunny days, Domi goes outside to ride his bicycle

Saturday, August 29

Hello there, sorry I haven't posted anything for awhile. We are still at visiting Donovan, Krissy & Domi, doing various things while here. We drive over to their house every day, although, since everyone went back to school, we've been waiting until the afternoon to go. While here, we've done various things, like visiting the Jelly Belly Factory in nearby Wisconsin, walked around downtown Chicago and watched Domi playing with the neighborhood kids. One of the major things Donovan asked Ron to do was help him frame up the walls in the basement. So, that is what they have been doing since we've been here. They not only framed the walls, but, put in insulation, put in wiring and drywall. Now, they have progressed to the ceiling, complete with lights.

Ron's appointment at the VA was last Tuesday and they took some ex-rays of it, as well as the front & back of his chest, took several vials of blood and gave him shots for tetanus and pneumonia. He has another appointment this coming Tuesday so the doctor can go over the results of everything.

I've been working on my arm, but, the thing that gets me is how weak my fingers are. I can't put any weight on it at all, but, I'm trying to work on that. I think it's going to take quite awhile to get full use of it back, playing with Domi shows me just how limited my arm really is and it's quite disheartening.

As you know, we stayed at the famcamp another week, but, we hope to be leaving either the 1st or 2nd, depending on what the doctor at the VA tells Ron. We're hoping it will just be a strain he has put on his knee and we don't have to stay around for any therapy.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wednesday, August 19

Hi, just wanted to update you on my arm. The good news is that I can get back to using my arm. I do have a fracture, but, it's only minor, I don't have to have it splinted or put in a sling. I do have to do some home therapy to get it back to working like it was, since it's been idle, for the most part, in a temporary splint, just because I wanted to make sure nothing serious was wrong with it. It's nice to have my arm back, but, I can't lift anything heavy for the next two weeks. The doctor also told me that I might not get full range of motion back like I had before, because elbows don't take well to being banged up. Hopefully, he will be wrong on that...

Since we weren't quite sure what the orthopedic doctor was going to tell me, we decided to stay another week, just in case. It's a good thing, too, as Ron got an appointment for next week at the VA to see what's going on with his knee. He is having a lot of pain just putting weight on it, so he wants to know if it's anything serious or not. We also decided to have our six month cleanings at a local dentist. So, at least we're getting something accomplished with staying here an extra week.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Monday, August 17

I got a call today from the orthopedic clinic to schedule an appointment for Wed at 1PM. I was surprised to hear from them, I was under the impression that the doctor wouldn't want to bother with me because we are here just temporarily. My CT Scan is tomorrow, so hopefully, the doctor will get the results & can tell me exactly what's going on with my arm. We've arranged to stay another week at the campground. So, I'll let everyone know what is happening, when I find out...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Ron was actually thinking of bringing our rig to the event. Imagine the people that would be interested in looking at our '59 Flxible bus...

This cute little tricycle, an original by Harley Davidson, was sitting in the back of the red truck