Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Maryland Salem Children's Trust

September 27, 2014

Gerry and I attended the annual "Outspokin' Banquet Fund Raiser" for MD Salem Children's Trust on Saturday, September 27.  It is a fund raiser for the Salem Trust and honors contributors and outstanding friends of the Trust.  Gerry has been a member of Chi Sigma sorority since 1965 and enjoyed belonging to the group all those years.  The sorority performs charitable work, is a big supporter of the Salem Trust, and in addition, a great fellowship organization.

We had an opportunity to try out our new car on some mountains and even a couple 9% grades.  It performed well and handled nicely.  The banquet was held in Bittinger, MD at the Mennonite Church Hall.  We weren't sure how long it would take to drive there and arrived early.  As a matter of fact, we were the first ones there and got a ringside seat. 

 Gerry, Kitty, Louise, Mary, Judy & Marilyn pose for a picture.  Louise was the founder of Salem Trust and retired a few years ago, but came back for the banquet.

 There was a silent auction with some nice things that Gerry had been eyeing.  It turned out that others had the same idea and Gerry came away empty handed, but with some money left in her wallet.  She did set a max limit on one item and then proceeded to bid more than double her original max bid. 

 Chi Sigma was selected as the "Friend Of The Year" award and the members went up and posed with the Executive Director of MD Salem Trust (Todd Meecham) and Kristen Fischetti (cute woman next to Gerry) who was in charge of the event.  Todd outlined all the gifts and support to Salem Trust over the years from the sorority and it was a significant amount.

 Dr. Woodrow Kroll, former president of Back to The Bible Ministry was the speaker.  He gave an inspiring speech relating the overlooked child, mentoring, and nurturing from the bible and as it related to the children in Salem House.  He is an excellent speaker and kept everyone's interest.

One other speaker, Justin, was a past student at Salem who told his story about growing up.  He was abandoned by his mother, grandparents, beaten, treated worse than a dog, moved from foster parent to foster parent and had a miserable life.  Finally at 11 yrs old he came to Salem and they turned his life around.  He is now a Senior at a college and looking to working toward a Master's Degree and PHD.  With his determination, I believe he will make it.  Salem requests that pictures of the students not be posted, otherwise I would show you this fine young man.


The school chorus entertained us at the beginning of the banquet and also at the end.  They tried their best and had a couple good singers and were entertaining.


 After the banquet we drove to Kitty's summer house in West Virginia and spent the night with her and daughter and son-in-law.  More to come on that.


I took the following from the Salem Trust webpage in case anyone is interested in learning more about them.

Maryland Salem House 


Restoring Hope

The Maryland Salem Children's Trust, Inc., founded and functioning on Christian principles, provides a home, therapy, and educational services to children who have been abused or neglected, or have educational or behavior needs that require a residential or day school placement.
The Maryland Salem Children's Trust is licensed by the Maryland Department of Human Resources to provide long-term group home care and short-term shelter care to children placed by the Department of Social Services, Department of Juvenile Services and children placed privately by their parent(s).

Set against a backdrop of old-growth cherry, maple, pine and oak trees in the Appalachians and bordered by exquisite Meadow Mountain and pristine state forest in beautiful Garrett County, Salem is a haven for children who have experienced repeated trauma at a young age.

It is a sanctuary whose mission is to glorify God and respect His creation through promoting reconciliation and peace in a broken world.

From its humble beginnings in a single residence over three decades ago to the nine structures now in use and a complete range of therapeutic services, Salem has grown steadily through divine guidance and the help of a world-wide network of friends. In its three and a half decades it has served 700 children between the ages of six and 18.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Happy Birthday Gerry (Updated 11:00PM)


 I hope you have a very happy birthday and I can wish you happy birthday for many more great years.

I didn't know you for all the photos above, but I wish that I could have.  Especially you eating your chocolate cookie when you were about 4 years old.   In any case, I have known and loved you for over 59 years and looking forward to many more years with you.


We wound up going to the Carriage House Inn restaurant in Emmitsburg, MD for Gerry's birthday dinner.  The building that houses the Carriage House Inn Restaurant was built in 1857 and is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Gerry & Larry celebrating birthdays

I ordered the prime rib with French Onion soup and cheese over the prime rib.  I've never heard of this before and thought I'd try it and see if I liked it.  It was different, but very tender and tasty.  The Sam Adams Octoberfest beer went with the meal very well. 

Gerry wasn't as daring and ordered the Maryland Crabcake dinner.  Both meals were served with a nice salad and a small loaf of bread which was served hot out of the oven.  The pumpkin butter added a lot of flavor to the bread.

 We arrived back at the cabin quite stuffed and Gerry wasn't able to eat the cheesecake she ordered for takeout.  It will be something to look forward to on Tuesday.

That was our day, how was yours?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

New Roof On Cabin - Pt 2

Bryan, the contractor assured me the paper stuff on the roof would not leak during the rain forecasted for the evening.  I had my doubts but he sounded sure that all would be well with the roof.

We went to bed a little late and listened to the rain on the roof and wondered if the paper would hold up.  About 4:00 AM I felt a little cold and started to rearrange the blankets and my back side was all wet.  That had never happened before and I got out of bed to see what was the problem.  Yep, you guessed it, the roof was leaking and it picked that spot so I got all wet.  Then I felt the bed and it was wet, so I woke up Gerry and her side of the bed was wet, also. 

Bryan, we have a problem.  I sent him an email since he gets them on his smartphone outlining the problem.  Then we spent the next hour placing buckets, mopping the floor, stripping the bed, etc trying to minimize the damage.  Finally we said that was it and we went out to the motorhome to catch a few hours of sleep.

I called Bryan once again about 7:30 AM and left him a message.  Ooooh ooooh!  No return call.  We went into the cabin and emptied the buckets of dirty brown rain water.  Finally Bryan rolled in with his crew and was surprised that I had a problem.  Once I showed him how serious it was he started work on finishing the roof.  By then it had quit raining.

 They put the finishing touches on the roof around 5:00 PM after working 8+ hours.  I think the job was a little more difficult than they had bargained for and the rain didn't help things any.  The roof color is bronze, but since it was a cloudy day it looks washed out.  Also, the cabin needs painting really bad and we plan on changing the color to a light brown rather than the redwood stain.  The stain doesn't hold up very well.  We just painted the cabin 4-5 years ago.

I mentioned in the previous blog about some neat tools roofers use now.  The electric screw gun was a great idea, but I like the tool below used to pick up screws and other metal objects.  You just run it over the ground or area where the metal is and it sticks to the bottom of the device.  The wheels generate a charge to a magnet and is fairly powerful.  Don't put your external hard drive near it when you are picking up nails. Then when you have all the metal clinging to the bottom of the device, you just pull up a handle and it releases the magnetic charge and drops the metal.  What will they think of next?

One of my first questions to the roofer was who he employs.  A lot of construction jobs are performed by illegals and I don't really approve of that when there are Americans willing to do the jobs.  I would rather pay more and have the funds stay in the U.S.  He only hires legal Americans for his company.  Great!  That is all I am going to say on this, but I do feel strongly about it.

Since it is fall and the temps are low at nighttime, plus the rainy day, the acorns are falling like leaves.  The cabin roof is and always has been a target for these acorns.  The old asphalt shingle roof didn't do much to deaden the sound of the acorns falling from 80ft and striking the roof.  The new metal roof is louder, but not so much that it will be a problem.  It does take some getting used to but that is one of the charms of living in the woods.

Bryan had to use more lumber for repairs than planned and he did not bill us for it and then reduced the bill due to the water damage in the bedroom.  We thought that was a fair deal and accepted his offer.  Now, if the roof problems are behind us it will be great.  As my friend Russell says, " Oh, the joys of home ownership".  

We had ordered a number of items through Amazon on Monday.  They arrived on Wednesday.  The baseplate, tow bar, lights, and other accessories arrived and I didn't even know they were here.  I thought the boxes were supplies for the new roof.  What a surprise to us that they arrived so quickly since a couple cartons weighed 30-60 lbs.  

That was our exciting day, how was yours.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

New Roof On Cabin - Pt 1

Our cabin has two additions built on to the original cabin and the additions both have flat roofs.  Over the years we have had new roofs, repaired roofs, leaks, patches, branch through the roof and other assorted problems with it.  We finally decided to have a new metal roof installed and started the process on October 2011.  Due to scheduling problems, and other hangups we kept either putting it off or the contractor couldn't do it in the time frame that we were in the area.

Finally, this was the year to complete the job.  We contracted with a local construction company, Bryan Gaul Construction to have him do the job.  We picked out the color in August and finally Bryan worked us into his schedule.  He showed up bright and early Wednesday morning with his three man work crew and started the job.

 First they had to remove all the old shingles and padding.  This looked a lot like back breaking work, but they had special shovels that made it easier to pull up the old shingles.  The trash trailer was parked near the cabin and they shoveled the debris right into the trailer. They had a neat tool with a large magnet that would pick up the old roofing nails and other metal objects.

Shingles removal from the screened in porch, along with some rotted wood.

 Here I am supervising the removal of the bad wood on the porch.  I think they could have finished the job a lot sooner if I hadn't helped them.  Notice in the picture above how bad the pitch is on the porch.  In the winter time the snow would melt and freeze and get under the shingles and eventually rot out the support beams and plywood underlayment.

You can see the rotted roof joists in the top four joists.  This is the part above the bedroom and we've had a leak problem in the corner next to the porch numerous times.  Different roofing contractors have tried to fix it correctly, however they all failed in the long run.  I hope we have better luck with Bryan repairing the problem.

Hey guys, check this out.  It took a few minutes for them to come up with a plan to make the repairs.  In the end the joists were replaced and new plywood was put down.

For some reason they decided to work on the small entrance porch first, rather than the bedroom area.  As it turns out, that was a mistake.  It was interesting to watch them work and to see all the equipment they have to make the job faster and easier.  The worker on the right has a machine that inserts the screws in the footers.  The screws are on a plastic belt and he made short work on placing the screws in their proper places.  

Bryan is the one not working in the picture above since he is the boss.  Actually, he was a hard worker and all business.  The small porch roof was completed and they called it a day.  

2nd mistake of the day.  It was obvious that we were in for a number of hours of rain.  The only thing protecting the roof was a paper underlayment.  I was assured it wouldn't leak and everything would be fine.

 Then they quit for the day and left without putting the metal roof on the back part of the cabin.  Of course, that is where the flat roofs are and with the heavy rain we received that night, the outcome was easy to predict.

Since I'm writing this a day after this part of the job, I am going to close for now and continue on with day two of the work on Friday.  Stay tuned, it gets better.

We did visit with Sherwin and Linda on Thursday when we met them for dinner.  They are on their way to Tucson for the winter and made Chambersburg, PA their first stopover for the night.  They had a long day of driving and we also had a long day, so it was a quick meal at the Longhorn Steakhouse and some fast conversation.

Everyone seemed to enjoy their meal selection and I was very pleased with the chicken I ordered.  We all were fading fast so we took them back to their motel and bid them farewell until we see them again in December.  Thanks for stopping by and taking time for the visit.

That was our day, how was yours? 

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

75 And Still Counting

Well, I made it to the 3/4 century mark today and celebrated my birthday in an unusual fashion.  First of all, I really am not that much into celebrating my birthday, but this one was different.  As they say, if I knew I would live this long I would have taken better care of myself.

The day started off very early with Gerry and my getting up early and hitting the road for a 1 1/2 hour drive to my doctor appointment.  The doctor's office was moved from one building to another about a block away and the new Suite # was 250, while the old # was 230.  Yep, I pulled into the wrong parking garage and made the trip up to the old office and then had to drive down to the new building.  Luckily it wasn't for a "memory" doctor.

The office visit went well and we were out of there fairly quickly after filling out all the paperwork.  I hate to have to fill out the somewhat identical forms for every doctor, but help is on the way.  This doctor also is using computers to keep the data and only changes will be needed to be filled out in the future.  

We decided to go to Panera Bread for lunch but the line was out the door and there wasn't a free table in the place.  No problem, just walked across the street to the Chipotle Mexican Grill.  It also had people lined up to the door but it looked like the line was moving quickly.  We soon had our tacos and burrito and were seated by the window enjoying our meal.  We were both amazed at the traffic coming into the parking lot as it was never ending and very busy.

We stopped by a few banking places to take care of some business and then decided to stop by the Montgomery County Liquor store for some wine.  WOW!!  The wine prices were very high compared to everyplace else around the area and we were shocked.  I needed to use the men's room and asked the ladies at the checkout where it was.  The reply was: "go next door and use the men's room at the restaurant".   What?  I thought all places of business had to have bathroom facilities, but I guess if you are a government store that doesn't apply.  I did not care for their attitude and walked back to Gerry and said let's get out of here and take our business elsewhere.

Next stop was  Costco to buy Gerry a new computer (on my birthday) since her old one had given up the ghost.  Since she knew what computer she wanted, we made it a quick stop and go there.  We did fill up the car with gas at $3.12/gal.  Cheapest gas around Frederick, MD 

Hey dude, I got a Dell!
Then we drove to the Ott House for dinner with Cassie, Jack, Elizabeth and Sarahbelle as our final stop for the day.  As usual Gerry and I had a nice meal, some cold Yuengling drafts and nice company.  By the time we finished our meals we were running on empty and headed back to the cabin.

I decided to get a head start on transferring all of Gerry's data from her old computer to the new one and wound up staying up until midnight.  Finally I had to call it a day and hit the hay.

Thanks to all who called me and wished me a happy birthday and those that sent TXT msgs, birthday cards and emails.  It is nice to be remembered.  That was how I spent my 75th birthday and the first full day of autumn.  (Autumn began at 10:29pm on 9/22)  How was your day?

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Happy Birthday Cassie & Roadtrip


Friday we had a get together to help Cassie celebrate her birthday.   It was a day early, but Larry Jr, Jane and Grant were stopping over for the night and we had Cassie & family join us for dinner and then some s'mores.

Gerry prepared a huge batch of spaghetti, large enough to feed 20 people and we went through half of it.  I guess we will be having spaghetti on the menu for a couple days now.  It was delicious and we can't let it go to waste.

Green is Cassie's favorite color so we got her a birthday cake with green icing.  We all went outside to enjoy some s'mores and surprised Cassie with the cake. 

 Cassie, with her pumpkin coffee and waiting to cut the cake.

We didn't have enough candles to put on the cake and also there wasn't enough room for "ALL" those candles.  So we improvised and provided her with one candle to blow out.  Notice the "candle" on the right of the photo.

This is Larry Jr. lighting the "candle" for Cassie.  She managed to blow it out and now will have all her wishes come true.  

We all had a great time helping her celebrate her birthday and by the time the party broke up Grant, Sarahbelle & Elizabeth were worn out from making the s'mores and keeping the fire burning.  Jack had been up since 4:30am and he was snoozing on the lawn chair toward the end.  I would have been snoring by then, but he is a lot younger than I.

We sat outside around the campfire late and then all of a sudden a cold breeze came up and chilled us all.  It wasn't as cold as the previous week or so, but enough to drive us indoors before calling it a night.  

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Have Log Splitter, Will Travel

We've had a number of trees cut down the past year or so and have save a lot of the wood, but haven't had time to split it.  Our neighbors, Diane & Ken have a log splitter and offered to split the wood for us a couple times.  We haven't found a time where it was convenient for both of us until today.  Diane called and asked if this was a good time to bring the splitter down and I was glad to see them here.

They use their log splitter a lot and have the procedure down pat.  He runs the splitter and she brings the wood to him and then stacks the split logs.  I jumped in and started helping them and Gerry came out and we had a chain gang going and it took us about 3 hours to split most of the wood.  The splitter ran out of gas, but by then all the good oak wood had been split and most of the hemlock.  I can do the rest of the wood by hand later this month.

We wound up with three stacks of firewood and an additional stack for the outside firepit.  It will come in handy this weekend and also for the Apple Festival weekend in October.  There will be a hot time in the old town the next couple weeks.

The third stack is larger than the one above and an additional stack about 5ft high is on the porch.  Hopefully it will get us through the cold nights coming up in October.

We wound up working harder and longer than we have in a long time and it felt good doing the manual labor.  Now we can relax for a month before we have to work like that again.

Thanks a million Diane and Ken.  It was being a good neighbor above and beyond the call of duty. 

That was our day, how was yours? 

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

It's A Girl

We welcomed a new addition to the family and it's a girl.  Yes, Sarahbelle  Alexus McClure arrived this morning at the Circuit Court in Hagerstown, MD.  Well, technically she was officially adopted by Cassie & Jack and we went to the court proceedings.  It was a surprisingly simple ceremony.  Once  the judge was seated it only took 5-10 minutes at the most.  Cassie, Jack, Sarahbelle and their lawyer sat where the prosecution lawyer would be sitting and Cassie & Jack answered a few questions and that was it.  Short & sweet. 

It was a "get us to court on time" type of day.  We left early enough but  then got stuck behind a school bus, along with about 20 other cars, on a 2 lane road.  Once we passed up that impasse, we got stuck behind a "Sunday driver" on Tuesday who was driving 35mph in a 50mph zone.  No way to pass with curves and hills along with 2 cars ahead of us.  Finally, we got around him and scooted along until we were stopped by a very slow moving train.  I dropped Gerry off at the courthouse and then had to find a parking spot. 

Once I got to the courthouse getting through security was a mess.  Had to take off my belt, wallet, keys, etc and be "wanded" down.  I guess I looked suspicious or something.  I hurried up to the third floor and was looking for courtroom 4 and saw a man waving and yelling at me.  "Grandpa, come down here and hurry."  Huh!  Well he was the bailiff and they held up the proceeding waiting for me.  Wow, I held up a Judge and wasn't held in contempt.  As soon as I entered the courtroom the baliff left and ushered in the judge.  

We took a lot of pictures in the courtroom after the ceremony and wished the judge happy 59th birthday.  It was a special day for him, also.

Cassie, Sarahbelle, Jack

Elizabeth, Cassie, Sarahbelle, Jack

The Jury

Gerry, Me, Cassie, Jack, Sarahbelle, John,Vicky & Eliabeth
 Jack's father, John, and his wife Vicky attended the ceremony and are in the picture above.  Darlene was too late to see the ceremony, but arrived just afterward and was able to be in the pictures.

We all hung around the courtroom for a while and then drove to Williamsport, MD for a party afterwards to celebrate the event.  Cassie had arranged to rent an ice cream shop that didn't open until later in the day and had bagels, blueberry muffins, fresh fruit, coffee and other goodies on a table.  We could also order off a breakfast menu and they brought it over from their cafe across the street.  Everything tasted great and we even had ice cream after the party.  Super idea on Cassie's part.

Desert Rose Cafe, Williamsport, MD

The Sweet Shoppe

 If you are in the Williamsport area I highly recommend the Cafe and Sweet Shoppe.  The young woman who owns the two establishments has decorated the Sweet Shoppe in the 1950s style and it looks great.

There were numerous photos taken at the ice cream store and I've included a few below.

Sarahbelle with camera gift

The old folks corner
When Sarahbelle opened her camera the first photo she took with it was a selfie.  I haven't seen it, but I convinced her to take a selfie with each of us sitting around the table.  In the case of the one with Sarahbelle and me, it was like "The Beauty and The Beast".  She will probably erase that one.  LOL

The party broke up a little after noon and we all went our separate ways.  Gerry and I came back to the cabin and tried to stay awake.  To make the day complete, we had to wait once again for a tree trimming company that had the road near the cabin blocked.  I stopped and tried to convince them to cut the Forest Road tree branches, but they said it wasn't their responsibility.  I did try.

Later in the day Gerry and I split some firewood with an awl and sledge hammer.  We wanted to stock up on firewood and clean up an area where the logs were stored.  At the rate we worked today it will take us until we leave to finish the job.  It was nice doing some manual labor once again.  Tiring, but nice.

That was our day, how was yours?    

Monday, September 15, 2014

BBQ Marshmallows and a Fire

Cassie, Jack and the girls came up to the cabin on Sunday afternoon to visit with Erin.  2 guys and 6 dolls and the chatter was nonstop.  Cassie and Erin hadn't seen each other for a couple years and were catching up on what had been going on in their lives.  

Jack and I went out onto the porch and had an adult beverage to get away from all the chattering.  The quiet out there was wonderful.  

Gerry had prepared some country ribs in a crockpot and then we applied BBQ sauce and finished them up on the grill.  That was my contribution and through pure luck they turned out great.  The meat was tender and melted in your mouth.  In addition Gerry had prepared a hot apple/squash casserole and that really hit the spot also.  Sliced tomatoes and homemade french fries were added to the meal and everyone wound up eating too much.  Cassie & Jack brought some dessert for later in the night.

Gerry, Erin and I had collected some dry wood for a campfire and we fired it up early.  It was a cold afternoon and evening, so the fire felt good on these old bones.  What is a campfire without marshmallows so out they came.  Of course they were over a year old and a "little" hard but we convinced the girls they would heat up fine.  Surprisingly they did and the marshmallows disappeared very quickly.  

I had gone out and put my game camera in a tree near the campfire and didn't tell anyone.  I wanted to get some candid photos and wound up with over 350 photos and had to delete a number of them for various reasons but still have way too many to save.  Here are a few of the photos taken just before sundown.

We had to bid a fond farewell to the fire.  Finally everyone had their fill of marshmallows and some dessert and decided the warm cabin was more inviting.  We all piled into the cabin and continued on with the conversations.  Gerry prepared her special hot spiced apple cider and I had two coffee cups full and could have drank more.  I do love the stuff.  

We enjoyed the visit with the family and had a great time.  That was our day, how was yours?