January 17, Houston

Most of our time in Houston has been spent working at the Thornton house--so much to do to keep a property in good shape. I've waxed floors and need to do a second coat--probably tomorrow or Tuesday. Riley has hung new mini blinds and fixed electrical problems. We've had someone out to fix a broken window and a gas leak and to put in a new linoleum floor in the kitchen and utility room. There are still a couple of electrical issues that I would like cleared up--outside lights don't work--but frankly we are tired and Malcolm doesn't seem too concerned about them. The last week plus we have been doing yard work--the chain saw massacre as we call it--and are hoping to finish up today. Heavy trash pickup is Tuesday so we have been working under a deadline. It rained the other night and we discovered the culvert in the ditch under the driveway is stopped up and prevents the whole side of the street from draining properly. Cleaning it out is not a chore we look forward to, but will tackle it later today. Malcolm & his brother-in-law Gerry have done a lot of painting and I hope they finished up yesterday. I need the paint stuff out before I can wax the floors. At any rate it has been a cooperative effort and Malcolm will probably move in soon while decisions are made concerning the Woodcrest house where he lives now. It has problems that need to be fixed with no one in residence.

Riley scoring the linoleum before removing it.

Margie ironing the linoleum to loosen the glue.

More pictures of Thornton work, the house and some trees on the property.
While the work on the property has been fairly time-consuming we have managed to have some fun too. Christmas was spent at Nancy's with all my siblings except Gaynell, whom we missed very much. The food was good and the company even better, as usual.

Margie, Richard, Nancy, Mom & Lloyd

Granddaughter Rebecca was back in Houston for a week and she came with us too. In fact, we took a day off from working on the house to spend with Rebecca and went to see the "Lemony Snickett's" movie--quite fun with a scary Jim Carey and a wonderfully ditsy Meryl Streep. Think I like the Harry Potter movies better though--this one was probably better as a book. It has certainly sold more copies than the Harry Potter series. At any rate it was fun getting to see her and Sarah both.

Margie and granddaughter Rebecca

Margie and granddaughter Sarah and Mom

My long time friend Benegene had us and other friends over for New Year's Eve--dinner and games--that was fun too. One of our friends from Baylor, Elaine, was there and it was good to see her again. Benegene has done a much better job of keeping up with schoolmates than I have. On my birthday, we went out to brunch with Benegene and Sharon and Richard. We dined at the Magnolia Bar & Grill where they have a super New Orlean's style buffet. Yummy!

We have also spent a day with Clark & Marty and had lunch at the Hobbit Cafe with Margaret and Bob--both a tradition! So we haven't been all work and no play, but it feels like it most of the time. We are hoping to be finished with all we are going to do by Tuesday, then will go down to Galveston for a few days to relax at the seashore. Next week will be spent getting needed things done for the RV.

Bob & Margaret Simmons

Mom and Aubrey are doing well. Mom has improved a great deal and has come a long way toward being able to take care of herself since the stroke last February. We've enjoyed visiting with them very much.

Aubrey, Tracey (Mom's aide & friend) and Mom exchange Christmas presents.

As you can see, we are spending more time in Houston than originally planned but do hope to be on the road again in a couple of weeks heading for South Texas.

Love to all,
Margie & Riley

P.S. Our cell phone has been on the fritz lately and so we sent it into a Radio Shack shop for repairs. That particular model Samsung phone is the only one we've been able to find that we can use to connect our Apple laptops to the Internet while on the road, and Sprint no longer sells them so we've got to get it fixed or find a replacement. Indeed, given the possibility that Radio Shack won't be able to repair our phone (or that it might fail again), we've used eBay to find a replacement from a private party. The replacement won't arrive for at least a week, but when it does we'll just keep it as a backup that we could have activated by Sprint if our original phone fails again. Meanwhile, we've really noticed the inconvenience of having no phone. --Riley

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