At least I am now that my brother has gotten my wireless router up and running at the in-laws house! I can now access email with my own computer and print off anything I need. Whew! But despite my catching up with all my techie stuff, I am still managing to enjoy the "simple" life in the country... but it has NOT been boring, to say the least!
I arrived in the township of Detroit, Illinois (good luck finding it on a map!) at about 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, and moved in, took the spill on the 4-wheeler (already mentioned in a previous post) and got ready for my family to arrive via plane the next day.
Here is a quick photo of my kids with the gifts my Creative Escape Paint Can Swap Secret Sister gave them. To avoid a fight they each shared the Play-doh and bouncy balls.
Wednesday and Thursday nights there were thunderstorms, bringing rain the area just does not need. In fact, the National Guard came to buy more than 1,000 bales of straw from Uncle Jim, bringing trucks and personnel to haul it away to a levee in New Canton, IL. While I thought that the bales would be stacked as a sort of barrier, I learned that they would be placed in a machine that would shoot them on the levee, spreading it out to act as a sponge, soaking up the excess water, and hopefully saving the levee, the town and the folks' farming livelihoods. In the meantime, loading the straw upset a sleeping raccoon, who scurried out of the barn and into a nearby field. The cows in the barnyard steered (no pun intended!) clear of the barn while the the straw was loaded, and even waded in the nearby pond to beat the 90-degree heat and high humidity.
Friday was Rodney's 30th birthday. We surprised him with a party, inviting the local community via the weekly newspaper the Pike County Express. More than 60 people attended the Sloppy Joe supper and it was so much fun to see Rodney's surprised face when he saw all of his family and friends there.
Saturday was a very busy day - we headed off to an estate auction in Pittsfield, which are quite popular here. My parents love them, as do my in-laws, so I have no choice but to enjoy them! I actually placed my first bids ever, in an auction like these, and loved the "rush."
I didn't get everything I bid on, but I did get a handful of great antiques: an oak end table, a small semi-circle table for Rodney to refinish so it is a lighter color and coat rack/clothes tree, complete with wooden crutches, which Rodney's Grandma Velma modeled for us. The wooden crutches were just an added bonus! Hopefully no one here will be needing them.
After the auction, we rested for a couple of hours and then headed to the Western Illinois Fair in Griggsville, IL. We allowed our inner redneck take charge and headed straight for the arena, for the infamous School Bus Demolition Derby event.
I LOVE demo derbies and hope to drive in one one of these days. I am sure I will suck, but as long as it is all in good fun and no one gets any serious injuries, I'd be the first in line! My MiL, Peggy, has a cousin, Roger, who was the oldest driver int he derby. Of course, being from Detroit, IL, we were rooting for him. When we go to the derby and saw his bus, we saw that we had another reason to cheer for Roger - he has painted my parents' last name - Kasal - on the front and back of his bus in red paint! Whoo-hoo! A demo derby AND a great reason to root for somebody! And don't forget the kiddie rides, petting zoo (which featured the usual goats, sheep and ponies, but also a couple of camels and kangaroos/wallabees), cheesy games, corndogs and funnel cake...YUM!
There some great hits between the 12 buses (three heats of four) to bring it to the final six, which the Kasal bus was a part of! There were fires and flying metal. The boys loved the noise, the cheering and the hits, of course, although I wasn't too shy with my praise, either. While the Roger and the Kasal bus didn't win they got respect for being the only bus to be pushed up on to the guardrail of the arena, causing more permanent damage to the arena than any other bus.
Rodney and I stayed to meet some of his friends at the "beer garden" to listen to a concert by the local cover band Antidote, which was a good time. We got in around midnight, but Rodney was kind eough to allow me to sleep in until 11 a.m. then next morning...
Sunday brought sunshine and spotty showers, houshold bills to pay (fun - NOT!) and lunch at Aunt Sam's house for a mere 27 family members. That woman can cook and cook for many! Ham, green beans, homemade rolls, three different desserts ... NO one went hungry! We also found out that Uncle Jim and Aunt Brenda got a new Kubota vehicle to take around when they do daily chores (feed and care for their different herds of cattle). Having seen this third non-car vehicle enter the family, I began to think that when people in the country go through a "mid-life" crisis, they don't get sports cars or boats like the city and suburban folks do. They get other toys, like Peggy's 4-wheeler
Aunt Sam and Uncle John's Gator
And the Kubota, nick-named "The Pumpkin Truck" by the kids.
There is only the youngest aunt left, Aunt Vic, and her DH Uncle Earl. I wonder what they will come home with one day! But the toys were of use for the younger generation. My brother, Joe, Rodney and Rodney's cousin Ryan headed off for an hour or two on 4-wheelers to tear around the local farms. They came back quite muddy, but unharmed.
Slade is feeling much better today, a week after his Flagstaff heart failure incident. Rodney found him touring the property, about a quarter mile from the house and brought him back. He's even taking to jogging across the yard for his dinner and getting down to invite me to play. The Canyon Pet Clinic in Flagstaff has great customer service - they called me yesterday to see how he was doing and I was happy to report that he was doing better than expected.
Now, off to the drive-in movie theater in Pittsfield to watch Kung-Fu Panda. I have not been to a drive-in since I was a baby, so it will be a nice thing to experience and remember this time!