Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Aussie Weekend

We spent a fun filled weekend in Meeteetse and Cody.  My sister Bonnie Bley and her family were coming to Meeteetse at the end a June and it was a perfect time to run down and get in a visit with them.

I had made reservations to stay at the Oasis motel for Friday & Saturday night back in June, this would give me plenty of time to visit and then I could come home on Sunday afternoon. 

The timing was perfect.  Gary had been in touch with a gentleman from Australia that was planning an American vacation with some of his friends, this man Phil has posted a question on the HOG chapter website about riding over the Bear Tooth Pass.  He wanted to know when was the best time, Gary answered him.  This was a year ago.

About a month ago, Gary received an e-mail from Phil that his group would be in Cody on July 28 and asked if Gary would guide them over the Bear Tooth Pass.  No problem, we were going to be in Meeteetse anyway what was another day. I made a reservation at the same hotel where they were staying, the Holiday Inn.

Friday afternoon we loaded up the bike and headed down to Meeteetse.  We stopped in Eidelweiss for a beer, Gary has wanted to stop there for a long time and it never happened.  For a small bar in the middle of nowhere Wyoming, it was full of people.  We had our drink, then made our way to Meeteetse.

Got checked in then went to Grandma's house.  It was nice to see David & Karen Bain there, so got a short visit with them.  Didn't get to visit much with Grandma on this day, she was pretty tired and wasn't feeling well.

Gary and I went into town to get some dinner and then we waited for the Bley's to go to the Cowboy, the Bley family went fishing for a bit on the Lower Sunshine Lake.  We met up with Mom and Bley crew at the Cowboy.  A lot of fun.  We got locked inside the bar which was a first for us.

The girls in the Cowboy.  Mom got Sam to join in the photo
Saturday was spent just visiting and spending time with family. Our first order of business was eating dinner at the Cowboy for Jim's delicious ribs.  Gary and I got our yearly fix on ribs.  The Chocolatier was hosting author night with Craig Johnson, author of the Walt Longmire series which is now a tv show on the A&E Channel.  It was fun listening to him. Very interesting hearing how he gets his ideas for his books.  After talking with Craig Johnson and getting our books autographed, back to the Cowboy we went.  Again we were locked inside the bar.

Sunday was spent getting the last visiting in before we went to Cody, got photos with my nephews who are growing by leaps and bounds.  Gary received his phone call from Phil so we headed to meet up with the Aussies.

We spent a wonderful time with the Aussies, there were six in all.  We had drinks in the bar, then dinner.  They were kind enough to buy our dinner.  They were easy to understand, but some of the terminology was different.  The ladies told me that they were excited when they saw hamburger and chips on the menu.  They got potato chips.  They call French fries chips, and potato chips crisps.  They had an awful time with tipping wait staff.  In Australia you don't tip.  Also some of the terminology for food was different.  Our appetizers are entrees for them, our entrees are the main meal.  They found it funny that we eat waffles for breakfast, waffles are dessert.

Monday morning we guided them over the Chief Joseph Highway and Bear Tooth Pass, our friend Dale Butterfield came down to ride with us.  It was a cold morning but a very fun time.  We pulled out at our favorite stops, Dead Indian Hill, the River Gorge, Top Of The World Store and Vista Point.

They were very pleased with everything.  I fed the chipmunks at Dead Indian and Vista Point which they found amazing.  We made our way into Red Lodge for lunch and a bit of shopping, then we said our goodbyes.  Their original plan was to ride back over the pass, but they ran out of time.  They had to get back to Cody so they could watch the shoot out at the Irma then go to the rodeo.  We took them over Bear Creek.

Phil gave Gary a very nice belt buckle in Red Lodge and his wife said that they are going to buy t-shirts for Gary and Dale.  We are going to send them a canvas photo of all of us at Dead Indian and then we will go to Red Lodge and buy them the t-shirts that they really liked.  The store didn't have their sizes.

I told Gary that I was very glad he wrote that little blog, they have invited us to Australia and I would really love to go in a couple years.
At Dead Indian: Roxie & Chris Fagan; Rosie & Phil Wilson; me & Gary; John & Leonie Hickey; Dale Butterfield

At Vista Point: John & Leonie Hickey; Phil & Rosie Wilson; me; Roxie & Chris Fagan

Monday, July 22, 2013

Iron Horse Rally in Red Lodge

Over the weekend, Gary and I went to Red Lodge to check out the Iron Horse Rally activities.  On Saturday we met our friends Marty & Vickie Davis and Dale & Kitty Butterfield at the dealership in Billings, then made our way to Red Lodge.

All of us are Patriot Guard Rider members and it so happened that the Montana Patriot Guard Riders would be leading the parade.  The parade was organized as a fund raiser for the Montana Honor Flights.  These take veterans to Washington DC to see the memorials.  Right now they are organizing flights for the WWII vets and then will make their way to the other war veterans.  They will take a veteran who is terminal so that they all can get a chance.

We left Billings at 1:00 pm and arrived in Red Lodge a little after 2:00 pm.  Wandered the streets of Red Lodge, checked out the vendors and people watched.  The main street of Red Lodge was nothing but wall to wall bikes.  We heard that there were 10,000 bikes in and out of Red Lodge for the weekend.

Got to the staging area for the parade at 4:30 pm, the parade started at 6:00 pm.  The Budweiser Clydesdale horses were behind us.  We were able to watch them get the horses ready and hitched to the wagon.  The horses would pose for photos and were not shy at all around people.  Pretty impressive to watch all that goes on to getting these horses parade ready.  The Budweiser dalmation was running around and posing for photos with the children.

There were sure a lot of people out on the street to watch the parade, right after the parade we all left for Billings.  We wanted to leave before the deer came out and also with the traffic.

We had a fun night in Billings, Gary & I stayed at the Butterfield hotel.  We stayed up visiting and drinking until around 1:00 am.  Let me tell you, crown royal whiskey and club soda is a very refreshing drink for summer and they go down smooth.  Needless to say that I was not in any condition to do anything.

We woke up bright and early on Sunday morning to head back to Red Lodge.  Sunday was a chapter event, we hosted the Belgrade chapter for a lunch.  We had to be in Red Lodge by 11:00, left Billings at 9:30 for a very nice ride to Red Lodge.  The Belgrade chapter arrived and we all had a nice lunch of pizza at the Red Lodge dealership.  A fun time.  Belgrade hosted us a lunch back in June.

It was too early to go home, so the Davis's and us rode over the Bear Tooth Pass and Chief Joseph Highway, heard that there was road construction so Gary wanted to check it out before we meet with the Australians next week.

There is road construction by Long Lake, but you are only delayed for at the most 30 minutes and it is a mile long with hard packed dirt.  We stopped at the Top Of The World store for a bit.  I saw people looking across the highway and then I spotted the black bear with her two cubs.  Glad I brought my big Nikon camera with my zoom lens.  I got a few shots of the bears.  A nice treat, hope they will be here next weekend.

It was cold on top of the mountain, but as we made our way down it got hot again. It was 65 degrees on the top and warmed up to 95 on the bottom.  It was a very fun weekend, now we get a bit of a rest and back at it next weekend.

Here are some photos of the weekend.
posing from the trailer

Black bears at Top of the World

Chip the Budweiser dog

Looking pretty for the parade.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Kitchen Remodel

Remodeling a kitchen is a huge undertaking and a huge process.  We went to Lowes on Memorial Day weekend to look and talk to them about new kitchen cabinets and countertops.  We have talked for months about this project and what we wanted.

Looked through several catalogs, watched a lot of home improvement shows and we finally figured out what we wanted.  I have extended my countertop and cabinets along the sink wall and at the end I put a pantry, we wanted a built in dishwasher and I wanted an over the range microwave.  I made an appointment at Lowes.

That took over 2 hours, in the end I bought cabinet and countertops.  I have hickory cabinets and went with quartz countertops.  Since it was Memorial Day, Lowes was having a sale on cabinets and countertops.  With this purchase I got a free sink, a free base cabinet, all the hardware for cabinets free and I qualified for a 10% gift card which was $332.  The countertops were on sale and the price included installation.  I just had to pay for mileage for countertops.  I managed to get the cabinets and countertops for around $5500.

With the gift card we bought the microwave, dishwasher and faucet for the sink.  The total cost for the appliances was $800 and I paid just over $400.

When I placed the order for the kitchen on Memorial Day, I also called a local contractor.  Told him that my cabinets would be here at the end of June and that I wanted to hire him to install them.  He said he would do it and he charged $35 per hour.  We figured that was very reasonable and we didn't have to pay mileage.  He said that if he needed to go to Billings for anything he would just charge his hourly rate, no mileage.  I just needed to call him when the cabinets were in.

I called him on June 21 to let him know that the cabinets would be here on June 29.  Gary and I had to pick them up.  Lowes would have delivered them to the house but would have charged us $250.  We could do that cheaper, we have a little utility trailer and we will use that.  When I called the contractor he told me that he would be out of town June 27 and would be back around the 1st of July.  Just give him a call on the 1st and he would let me know when he would be here.  In the meantime, Gary and I started the demolition of the old cabinets.  It wasn't that hard.  We left the cabinet with the range hood on it and also the base cabinets with the sink.  That was dealing with electricity and plumbing and neither one of us was going to touch that.

It didn't take long to tear down and I chipped off all the old ceramic tile that I hated. Going to put something else up but not sure what I want yet.  My house is in chaos, have dishes and utensils stuffed in boxes stored throughout the house.  Our dining table and chairs is in the living room.  I would stand in the kitchen visualizing the new look.

I called the contractor on July 1 and he was still out of town.  He said he  would call me on Wednesday to work on the arrangement to install and that he would have them done by the end of the week.  Wednesday came and no phone call, I didn't call him on Thursday due to the holiday.  I took Friday off anyway, no phone call from him on Friday morning so I called him in the afternoon to find out when he would be here to install.

I asked him when he would be here to install my cabinets, he just laughed at me said that he couldn't pinpoint a date because he was busy with other projects.  That made me mad.  I have been dealing with this guy for a month and he would never return a phone call.  I personally think he forgets, Gary said that our kitchen project is too small for him.  After his call, I then called Clayton Fortune.  Clayton couldn't get to it right away, but would call me on Wednesday. 

Clayton called and he started working yesterday morning.  He and his son got 8 cabinets installed yesterday and Clayton is back today with Jim Kuntz to finish up.  Clayton got all the upper cabinets, the pantry and one base installed.  Today he is finishing up with the rest and he will get the microwave going.

First he has to fill in the floor where the old base cabinets are.  Once he gets that done, then things will move quickly.  This afternoon I will call the countertop people and have them come Monday for the template and hopefully it won't be long before they install.  We then will need to get a plumber over for the sink and dishwasher.  Clayton is recommending Adam Ketterling.

To this day I still have not received a phone call from the first contractor and I'm not going to call him.  I am also not going to recommend him if anyone asks.  I'm sure he does good work, but getting him to commit to do the work is a chore.

I can now see why people do their own projects at home.  We never thought it would be this hard to get them installed especially when I had called. 

I have been taking photos and will get them posted soon.  I want to wait until everything is finished.  Mom will come over today to get a sneak peak.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

All Class Reunion

This last weekend, Hardin had an all class reunion.  Big Horn County is celebrating it's centennial this year and this was one of the big celebrations.

I didn't register for this event, our class just had our 30th two years ago.  Our friend Kitty Butterfield graduated from Hardin and she had signed up, so she talked us into joining the festivities.

The only festivities we did were the street dances on Friday and Saturday night.  Friday night was a DJ and on Saturday a live band.  Local one called Exit 53. 

The town was crowded with a lot of people and it was fun seeing old classmates.  The only classmates from my class were the local ones, but I did see a lot of Mary's.  They said I could be Mary's proxy.  I talked with Lisa Contway, Rhonda Clark and Joann Braaton.  Lisa's youngest sister Wendy was with them too.  I didn't recognize her at all, of course she was just a little kid when I saw her.  Didn't see too many from Bonnie's class, but then I probably wouldn't have recognized them anyway.

We ate dinner at the 4 Aces both nights and it was packed.  The city blocked off the 200 block on Center for the dances and we could have open containers in just that area.  Weather cooperated both nights.  It did rain hard on Saturday night at midnight.  We just walked in the door to the house when the rain hit.

All in all a fun weekend. 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

New Glasses

Picked up my new glasses last night and it is going to take a bit to get used to.  I had to have a stronger prescription this time and progressive bifocals.  I had bifocals with my old prescription but the lens were no line bifocals.  I also went with a new frame style, instead of the oval I usually wear, I went with a rectangle frame. 

It was funny during the exam, the dr. must have told me about 10 times that I am 50 years old.  My eyes are older too.  Eyes sort of work like a zoom lens on a camera when you look from close to far, mine don't zoom because I'm 50.  Seems like when a person turns 50 things fall apart, but not at 49.

I didn't get the transition lenses this time, I had spent time going back and forth from the exam room to the vision center that getting transition lenses wasn't in the order.  No problem I bought clip on sun glasses that so far are working just fine.  I liked the transitions because they would darken up right away when I got outside, but the down side was they would not lighten up as fast when I came inside. 

It took only a week for these new ones to come in, when I picked them up last night I was told to give it about a week to get used to them as the progressive is different from what I had before.  If things don't focus right after a week, I'm to go back and they will fix it.

It is taking a while to focus on the bifocal part, seems like things are very fuzzy.  Right now it is hard to see the computer screen unless I cock my head a certain way.  Reading a book, I can read better without the glasses then with.  I will do as told and wait a week.

My insurance paid 100% on the frames and lenses and all but $4 on the eye exam.  Beginning this year, insurance will pay for sunglasses.  Since I got these in the last insurance year, I can get sunglasses this year.  Going to wait and see how I focus with this prescription first.  If I decide to get the sunglasses, then will talk to them about getting the no line bifocals.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Kitchen Demo

I do not have a kitchen.  We got it demoed which wasn't hard at all.  The only things we left for the contractor to do is the cabinets with the sink and the cabinet with the range hood.  Those two deal with plumbing and electricity which Gary didn't want to touch and he doesn't have the right tools for those anyway.  All the others just took a hammer, screwdrive and drill.

Last Friday I got a call from Lowes informing me that my special order cabinets have arrived, I was not ready for them last week.  We did talk to our salesperson and got things in order of what I needed to do, I also paid for my countertops.  The installer for the countertops called and she will call back on July 3rd, that way I can give them a better time frame for them to come down and do a template of my kitchen.  Called the contractor and told him that my cabinets would be here on the 29th of June, he will get in touch with me this afternoon.

Monday we started packing things up, I started in the very top cabinets.  Some of the stuff I wondered why I kept, but it seemed like a good idea at the time.  Then we started packing my dishes from the main cabinets.  Gary brought home a bunch of boxes, so dishes are packed and stored in our back room.  While Jennifer and I were at class on Tuesday, Gary started taking down the cabinets on the east wall.  He got the very top ones done while we were gone, he just needed our help when he unscrewed them from the wall.  They weren't heavy and to me it was amazing that just two screws held those cabinets in place.

Decided not to take out the base cabinets along the east wall, mainly because of the plumbing and Gary doesn't have the right tools to take the sink apart anyway.  We will let him do that.  I then took a flathead screwdriver and hammer and I took off the ceramic tile that was on the wall.  Those came off very easy, the glue holding them on was old.  We have lived in the house for 27 years.

Wednesday we went to Billings and bought our appliances, the dishwasher, microwave and kitchen faucet.  When I bought the cabinets, I qualified for a 10% gift card which we used towards the appliances.  I have all stainless steel appliances now, so my kitchen will match.  I bought a high arc faucet with a pull down sprayer.  The original price was $804 and we paid $471, my gift card was $332.  Everything is stored on the porch.

We finished packing up the rest of the kitchen, moved the table into the livingroom.  The refrigerator is now against the north wall, so is the stove.  My dishes and stuff is stored in boxes throughout the house. My house is in chaos right now. Saturday morning we hooked up the trailer and headed to Billings to pick up my cabinets.  Lowes would have delivered to the house but would have charged me $250.  Friday night our salesperson called and said the cabinets are ready to be picked up.  Told her that we would be there around 7:00 am.  Gary wanted to get there before traffic was busy.

We had to wait about a half hour for the cabinets, apparently the right hand was not talking to the left hand.  My cabinets were up in a loft and a worker had to get them all down.  They were on two pallets, fortunately three Lowes workers help us load the trailer.  We have everything stored on the porch, all the cabinets are in boxes right now.

We then finished with the demo in the kitchen.  The cabinets on the west wall were not as easy on the east wall.  Not only did the former owners screw the cabinets in the wall, but nailed them to the wall and then screwed the cabinet together.  Gary said a few choice words.  We got the cabinets down and a hammer works well.

Now I'm waiting for the contractor to call so that he can get started.  I'm waiting anxiously to see my new kitchen.