What a wonderful surprise. On Saturday my cousin Bill called at about noon, and after explaining that he and his wife, Deb were in Charlotte visiting their daughter, Jamie, asked if they could come up and visit the Pony. Bill and Deb are avid, long-time readers of the blog. By 3:00 pm they were here. We had a great afternoon chatting, made a trip out to Gene’s to see the Pony, went out to dinner, and took this picture.
You see a lot of smiling faces here, mine in particular, as the visit did a lot to lift my spirits during my period of forced inactivity. While we’re on this topic of visitors, please know that anyone is welcome to visit either the Pony, his engine, or both. Just let me have a little advance notice, so that I can see if the Pony is in the mood for visitors. He can be a little temperamental, especially if Gene and I have been working on him.
Pretty cute, eh? You can sell anything with puppies, and I’m sure that’s a Pony in the background.
And Gene stopped by last week with a little get-well gift. Look at this little Pony.
We still had the little bear out from Christmas, so stuck him on the Pony. Jim made the wire rim glasses at some time earlier and for some other purpose, but they look good on the bear and help him to plow those nice straight furrows.
No changes in the Cost-O-Meter lately, but as a part of getting the information together for my 2010 tax filings, I took a look at the Big Cost-O-Meter of all family expenses. I’ve been using Quicken to do this for five years now. A couple of things I noticed:
* Cost of Groceries and other household items after remaining constant in 20o8 and 2009 increased by 13% in 2010.
* Gas for the car increased by 68%, 2010 over 2009. I know we’ve been driving more, but a big part of this was inflation.
* Health insurance was flat versus 2009, but deductibles and co-pays were increased.
* This one must be more our fault than inflation, but the cost of dining out rose 40% in 2010. Spending time in the kitchen is less and less fun.
* Gas/Electric utility costs were up 8%.
* After going nuts on neat stuff for my bike in 2009, I hardly spent anything in 2010, so that area went down by $2500.
* We spent 22% less vacationing, just didn’t do much.
So, all in all, going into 2011 things don’t look too bad, and there ought to be plenty of money for the Pony, right Princess? Look at all that money I saved last year by not buying bike stuff!
There are moments in life where suddenly one is faced with the potential for two radically different paths. The Princess was facing one of those today. A few weeks ago she went in for a mammogram, and then got a call that she’d have to go in for a follow-up. For this one though she was instructed to report to UNC’s cancer hospital. Oh boy, I gotta tell you this is all I thought about each night as I tried to go to sleep. It weighed heavy on The Princess as well. She asked me to go with her, so today we drove over to the hospital, for her appointment.
The minute you walk in the door of this practically new facility, you know you’re in a hospital. It’s got that antiseptic smell and the familiar background sounds of hospital PA systems. You overhear people talking about their cases, or the cases of loved ones. Nuthin there made me feel comfortable, but still there is always hope. The Princess was called back for her test; I waited in reception trying to read, but only overhearing people talk about cancer. It wasn’t long, maybe 15 minutes and The Princess emerged…smiling… “everything’s fine,” she said.
I’m telling you, how relieved we were. The Princess (having been raised Catholic) said she felt like she’d just come out of confession. We practically skipped back to the car. In less than an hour we were sitting on the front porch of a country ice cream store, in rocking chairs, on a sunny, 75 degree day, looking out over an unspoiled view of North Carolina farmland. We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome to the day. Woo hoooo!
Pony work starts back up tomorrow. I’ve been doing some research and consulted with brother Jim during my rehab. I’m now pretty straight as to how the rings should be installed and positioned on the pistons, so Gene (his hands) and I (my sidewalk superintending) will try to complete that task. I wonder if the Pony is worried like The Princess and I were today. He’s got good cause.
Thanks for reading.