Maybe this year can be the Year of More Consistent Posting? I always start out thinking it will happen, but sadly it never seem to work out.
So, this can fill in for the Yearly Christmas Letter, which I gave up years ago. I still receive a few of those the old-fashioned way, and often plan to write back to those friends too, but those intentions don't always see action either. I'd be curious to see some sort of report about the Christmas card industry - I suspect things have dropped off there.
Once again, we had an interesting year. I got to experience the joy of frozen pipes when temperatures dipped severely in February (just about the time I was thinking we'd made it through the worst of winter). Because things had been (relatively) mild I forgot about turning a heater on in the garage to keep a temperamental pipe warm. It's one we've always had trouble with, so I should have known better! Unfortunately when I realized the pipe was frozen, I turned on the heater then left for a meeting, only to return home a few hours later to water pouring out of the garage ceiling! Luckily we have a wet-/dry vacuum and it got a workout. The plumber was able to repair the pipe, I was able to turn the water back on, the weather improved and all was good. Until the next month when I was out of town and another deep freeze occurred. This time I had, as I always do, shut off the pump before leaving town and set up a heater in the garage so I felt confident things would be OK. I don't know what happened, but the heater wasn't running when I got home - something happened with the circuit breaker - so when I got the heater running to warm up the area the pipe again broke. I caught this right away, and this time the plumber and I agreed to just cap off that pipe since it was just the bathtub faucet that wasn't being used anyway. Tom is working on installing a wall heater that will turn on automatically when the garage gets to a certain temperature but wasn't able to finish it for this winter. I think we're all set, though - while we were away in November temperatures got to -30F and we had no problems when we returned.
When Tom returned from his Philippine winter, we met in Portland to visit Jon-Erik. He spent a few weeks working on our Texas house then came back to Bozeman for the summer. He got the yard in shape, replaced the upstairs deck, and was able to get rid of 2 vehicles! That's as far as our downsizing efforts have gone but at least it's a start.
We also took a short camping trip to Glacier National Park with my brother and family (their "last family vacation" before Lindsey heads to college). We combined this with a celebration of our parents' 60th wedding anniversary; we got a hotel room for them and arranged a great dinner at Many Glacier Lodge. The rest of us decided to take a hike earlier that day to Hidden Lake up on Logan Pass, where it was still cold, snowy and icy. I decided it was too treacherous for me and, with Tom and nephew Cameron, turned back. I managed to slip on the icy slope and ended up with a broken wrist (which we didn't confirm until I saw my doctor the following day). All that ice was put to good use in an improvised ice pack, and along with an Ace bandage and Aleve the rest of the trip was fine. We were returning home the next day anyway and I was able to get an appointment later in the day where the x-ray showed the damage. We used a splint for a week, then saw an orthopedic surgeon and decided on surgery. My first broken bone! It's mended nicely, and some physical therapy helped but now seems to be just about as good as new (although I have a scar, and pins and a plate).
Since I was one-handed for the rest of the summer, that meant I could take it easy when we had other company! I tried not to milk the situation too much.
Tom and I took our November cruise we'd book 18 months ago - Istanbul to Dubai. We spent 2 days in Istanbul before sailing, and 3 days in Dubai after. Both were interesting places, and the cruise was enjoyable. Once we returned, Tom headed south to Mexico where he will spend his winter.
Barnett Drum Carder
1 week ago