Saturday, July 4, 2015

Been way too long since I posted

Happy 4th of July 2015 to everyone.  It's been over 2 years since I've posted anything.  A lot has happened in that time frame.

I have a new normal now.  I ended up getting a divorce and relocating to a new town.  I am still working at the same place just coming in from a different direction now.

Shortly after I moved, and before I could get totally settled, my mom passed away.  It will be one year on Aug 2, 2015 since she passed away.  I miss her every day.  It took many months for me not to cry every single day.  But now I'm down to maybe once a week that something hits me and I remember mom and have a pity party on my own.

Life is good.  I'm OK and hanging in there.  I have a lot of great friends to lean on when I feel down in the dumps.

I still like to scrapbook but am limiting it to the vacations that I take.  I really don't have anyone that will want all these scrapbooks when I limiting what I scrapbook at this point in time.  But don't want to give it up completely.

Well, I am going to try to make a better effort to post more frequently going forward..but making no promises.

Looking forward to the fireworks tonight.  We have been lucky and have had some great weather lately.  Had quite a bit of rain earlier but that has slowed down and the temps have been great.

My friend Lori has a son, Devon.  I enjoyed going to his baseball games this spring and early summer, but they are over now.  I may try to find out when Boone or Perry play and go to a high school game.  I enjoy my time at the ball park.

Well, that's it for today's edition.  Hope everyone is doing well.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

May 2013 be a happier year

   2012 is over...thank goodness.  I am certainly hoping that 2013 will be a happier year for the Albritton/Mersman families.
   Mom, dad and I went down to Louisiana in April and went to the Albritton Reunion.  There were about 90  relatives there!  They thought that was one of the biggest turnouts ever.  I'm so glad that we made the trip down.  We always stay with Dan and have such a great time.  The weather is always so nice and the trip down is fun to watch the shades of green perk up as we get farther south.
   Dad had Alzheimer's for several years but in late September he started having back aches and by the first of October he had been in the ER several times...but it seemed that by the time the Dr got to him the back aches had gone away.  But it turned out they were justified...he had bone cancer and several tumors in his back.  He spent 2 weeks in the hospital before being transferred to a local nursing home in Perry.  He only spent 4 days there before passing away.  It's so hard losing a parent...even though he had Alzheimer's he still had a funny to tell and a sparkle in his eyes.  I just know that he is in a better place and without pain and he has all his old memories back...
   We lost one of our black labs in early October.  I came home one evening and he was 'gone'.  So sad for us.  He was 14 years old but a good old boy.  Russ and I loved him and enjoyed all the years we had with him.
  I went on a vacation in late October after dad's funeral.  It was bittersweet but the trip was preplanned and not really a viable option to not go.  I went on a 9 day trip with a gal pal.  We had a great time.  Mornings were the hardest for me and they still are for some reason.  When I think of dad and him not being around ever ever ever really makes me sad.
   I am going to start writing down as many 'dad' memories as I can.  He was an awesome dad and I learned so many lessons from I want that to be documented,
   Well, I haven't posted for a long time and really would like to do a better job of keeping the blog up to date...but one just never knows.
  I just hope everyone has a great 2013 and that there is more peace on earth this year and not so many tragic stories of death and violence.

Monday, July 30, 2012


   On Thursday, July 19 I went out around 8ish to put fresh cool water in the dogs swimming pools.  It was a really gorgeous night out.  Nice and cool and a wonderful breeze.  Decided to walk around the east side of the house and go up front and water there as well.  As I was walking to the east I could here a distinct HSSSSSS (not of the animal variety).  I thought to myself that I must not have gotten the water turned off.  Walked back and No...the water was off...but could smell gas...and detected that the regulator up at the house (keep in mind that our gas METER is about a block out in the bean field) was leaking at what seemed to be an alarming rate of speed.
   I immediately headed inside to call Black Hills Energy to let them know of my problem.  When I think back now, I was really lucky.  The dishwasher and the clothes dryer were both running and of course the Air Conditioner had been running off and on...but since it had cooled down so much that evening it wasn't currently kicking on and off (probably a good thing).
   I called the emergency number and the gal on that end wanted my address of course.  She then asked if anyone was there with me.  I said "No, just me and my two cats".  She said "I'd like you to walk outside and keep walking until you don't smell gas".  I'm thinking 'she just wants to know how far the gas has permeating into the air'.  But her next statement brought the whole situation into a different light.  "What is the name of someone who could tell us how to get to your house in case we can't reach you?"  OK, my interpretation of that is "If your house blows up and you're in pieces...we still need to get who can tell us how to get there?"  I said to the gal "You're sort of freaking me out now".  She said she just wanted me to be safe and to stay as far away from the house as possible.  So I'm pacing out by the gravel road and she says she has put in a service call the they will get there as soon as they can...but may be up to an hour!
  I sneak back up to the car parked by the house and gently open the door to get my lawn chair out and a box of kleenex (you know me, I'm crying by now cuz I'm freaked out).  I put the lawn chair out by the road and just sit staring at the house waiting for it to blow up and knowing that I will be traumatized for life if that happens to my two buddies inside.  There was no way I could get the cats I just prayed for the best and if the house did blow..that they went quick and did not suffer.
   I gave them Lori's name and number since I didn't want to freak out my mother and I knew Lori would keep a level head (even though if she got the call she'd know I was looking down from heaven at that point in time).  So I had to call Lori and tell her.  She assured me that all would be OK..even though she did suggest I get in the car and back it out to the edge of the road.  I decided that might not be the best idea since there was gas smell every I just sat in my lawn chair and called lots of friends to help while away the time.  But believe it or not I got I had to sneak back up to the car and get my blanket. 
   After an hour I called Black HIlls Energy back and she said that the guy was having to come from NEWTON and would probably be at least another 1/2 hour.  WTF!!
  I got cold enough that I decided to go sit in the garage in Russ' truck.  I was cozy in there but afraid I would fall asleep and miss the guy pulling into the drive.
   He got there around 10.  I walked him around the east side of the house and as soon as we turned the corner I could smell gas.  It took him another step or two.  He was hoping that there would be a shut off valve at the house so he didn't have to trek out into the field to find the meter and shut off out there.  He got out his wrench and started what I thought sounded like I headed east towards the bean field.  I was afraid he was going to spark something and we'd all be blown to kingdom come!
   He got it shut off at the house.  He then needed to go in and check the house for the level of fumes.  He asked me to stay out side and his next statement was "If I come out take off running as well."  Well, I can laugh at that now, but at the time I'm freaking out and walking rapidly towards the road.  It took him a bit to come out and I was afraid that he may have been overcome with fumes..but he finally came out and said the house was fine.  A little more detected in the basement but not enough for concern.  He said I could go back in the house and he was going to check some more things outside.  
   He then came back in and said that he was going to have to go out to the meter after all because he felt there was a leak underground....UGH.  So trying to explain where the meter is in the middle of a bean field is not fun.  But I did the best I could.  He went out and tried...but came back in and said that he was seeing a reflection but not seeing the yellow pole that they put up for an identifier.  I finally said that Russ said that when there is corn in the field, he goes over about 6 rows and heads straight north and usually runs into it.  The guy said that was helpful.  So after 15-20 minutes he came back in and said that he found the meter and was able to get the gas shut off out there.  That's pretty much the end of their story.  They shut it off and then it's up to you to figure out how to get it fixed!!  So he left around 11.  It was after midnight before I could get to sleep and then woke up at five the next morning.
  So now it's Friday and really the only impact I have is that I don't have hot water.  I took a shower as soon as the guy left so I could get the last of the hot water out before it cooled off.  I then made some calls Friday morning.  2 of them were too busy to help and the other 2 never called me back.  So now I'm going into the weekend with no hot water.  But a good weekend for this to happen.  I was headed to my folks in Perry on Friday after work and spending the night.  We had a reunion in Perry on Saturday and then I had to head back to Ames to my boss' son's wedding at 4.  So I was able to clean up at my folks on Saturday.  Russ didn't get home that weekend so he missed ALL the excitement.
   I did go over to Lori's on Sunday evening so I could have a nice shower and wash my hair.  
  I emailed a client/friend of mine that I know through the office and he gave me the name of a plumbing company in Ames that he thought might help.  They did come out to the farm Monday morning and determined that there was NO underground leakage but they could not find a regulator to replace the one that was outdated.  They had some calls made but didn't get an instant still no hot water..but at least I have someone working on it.  SO Monday night I did have to take a cold shower and let me tell you, even though I came home feeling like a cold shower would feel good.  IT DIDN'T.  They were able to get the regulator late Tuesday and came Wednesday morning and got me all fixed up.  The guy from the plumbing company even came in and lit my hot water heater for when I got home I HAD HOT WATER.....YIPPEE.  Now waiting for the bill.  But what do you do?  Hopefully, this will be the last time we have to deal with this kind of it will be worth it.
  So that's my story.  The guy that came on Thursday said that Northern Natural Gas owns the main line and BHE takes care of it for them and he didn't understand why they didn't have someone more local (like Ames or Des Moines) to come out and take care of situations like this so the customer didn't have to wait so long for a response.  I agreed and will be writing a letter to someone.  Not that it will change things but still want them to know how freaked out I was sitting out there waiting for someone to come not knowing if my house was going to blow up in front of me!
  Sorry this was so long...but that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

Hope everyone else's summer is not as eventful as mine turned out to be.

Been way too long since I've posted

It just seems that one thing after another keep me from logging in and updating my blog.  I can't believe that it has been almost a year!  Here's the update:
Took my folks to Louisiana last fall
Took my folks to Louisiana this spring for the Albritton Reunion
Taking my folks to Louisiana this fall

My brother lives down there and we stay with him and always have such a great time.  The weather is always very nice and we can take long walks each we all really enjoy it while we're there.  We also have a cousin that loves to do a big family fish fry when we are there and that's always fun.  The reunion is great but this year there were over 90 people not a whole lot of close visiting time to be had.  So the family fish fry is great to be able to sit one on one with cousins and sort of get caught up.

I have another trip planned for this fall.  A friend and I (the one that I went to Washington DC with in 2010) and I are going to head west this time.  We are going on a 9 day trip out to California.  We will spend 3 nights in San Francisco, take a train down to Huntington Beach for 2 nights and then take a bus down to Los Angeles for 3 nights.  I'm looking forward to this as I have never really been to California (only long enough one time to board a cruise ship).  Lots of side excursions on the agenda as well.  So that will make it a trip to remember.  So I'm saving all my nickels and dimes (and quarters) to help pay for this great trip.

That's it for the normal update.  Will post my Gas Leak story next.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Fall Update

I can't believe how quickly the time flies. Tomorrow is October 1...where did the first part of this year go? I guess I have done a lot this year. Earlier in the year took my folks down to Louisiana to see my brother and go to a family reunion. Then in late September went on a bus tour with 3 other girlfriends to a Cranberry Festival in Warrens, WI. We had a great time with the exception of me having a gall bladder attack (didn't know it at the time that was what was happening). So now I get the pleasure of having my gall bladder removed in the next few weeks.

Later in October I'm taking my folks down to Louisiana again. I'm looking forward to a restful week down there. As a rule we don't do a whole lot..but still have a great time. Then the next thing you know it's Thanksgiving...and then Christmas and before you know it....It's 2012!!!

We have had some awesome fall days around here with LOTS of sunshine. I love days like these. So I'm going to enjoy each one and soak up as much sunshine as I can...cuz I know what's around the corner. I'm not even going to mention it yet. But it's Iowa and we know what that means.

Well, not much of an update but it's something anyway.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Bird Sanctuary

I can't believe the different kinds of birds that have been showing up this spring at our feeders and suet feeder! Here are what I can remember:
red headed woodpecker
  • red bellied woodpecker
  • baltimore orioles (these just showed up this weekend)
  • gold finches - male and female
  • ladder back woodpeckers
  • thrasher
  • rose-breasted grosbeak
  • indigo buntings
  • bluebirds
  • male and female cardinal
  • nuthatches
  • downy woodpeckers
  • juncos

It's been so fun the past few weeks to watch the comings and goings of all the different birds. I really don't do anything super special. We have two hanging bird feeders and one suet feeder. I try to keep the bird bath full of water for them. But other than that...nothing fancy...just a good buffet I guess.

I will try to get some snapshots through the window if I can. It's been interesting to see which ones will be on the feeders at the same time. Some share much better than others.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Hurry up spring!

Our winter has not been as bad as last year..but never the less I am ready for spring. We've had some teaser days with today being one of them. I was out running errands at lunch time and had my car window down. What a treat to breath in fresh air.

Pretty uneventful winter at our house. Russ probably had the worst truck driving winter on record. It got to be funny (probably not so much to him), but where ever there was bad weather out east, that was usually where Russ was either headed, there, or trying to get out of. He got to Atlanta right before their ice storm and sat for 2 days. Got to Chicago in the middle of that blizzard. He was the only one that made it to the loading dock that day. All employees didn't make it. So he sat there for a couple of days. So needless to say he's had a rough winter and I've heard all about it. So I'm cheering for spring to make his driving days easier.

Had our annual scrapbook retreat at a Bed and Breakfast in Valley Junction the first weekend in February. We always have so much fun. We've lost a few of our regulars and gained one or two along the way. But there is always an abundance of laughs and good times. I worked on my Washington DC album and got over 30 pages done. Not quite done with all of them but have a night of cropping coming up this Friday, so will continue to work on the album then.

Planning on taking my folks to Louisiana again this spring. We are hoping to leave on Good Friday and get down there on Saturday. Then we can all celebrate Easter together. Mom's birthday is May 6, so we'll celebrate early while down there. The Albritton reunion is the last Saturday in April, so we'll go to that and then head home on Sunday. We'll stay with Dan while we are down there. It's always so nice to spend some time with him. They should be having nice weather by then..hopefully in the 70's.

Well, I'm sure we're all anxious for spring to arrive so we can see those fresh new flowers pop up out of the ground and watch the grass grow. I'm even missing my lawn mowing chore. I don't listen to my MP3 player much unless I'm mowing the yard, so I'll have to get it out and charged up and get my Glee music loaded onto it so I'm ready to go.

Since March is coming in like a lamb, I guess that means it is going to go out like a Lion. I hope that doesn't mean some kind of storm...especially not a snow storm.