Jan 3 we were off to the VA hosp for some followup. Had an orientation, lab work and Dr. visit. All looks Ok. Cholesteral is a little high so they put me on Zocor to help bring it down. My checkup in S. Il last Oct showed my level was OK. So we questioned this and Dr explained that since I had the little episode, my age, overweight--these factors all mean I need to have it even lower. That made sense so now we are working on that. Everything else checked out OK. Dr asked about my CPAP card. I asked "What card?". So she set me up with an appt at the respiratory clinic. Evidently the newer CPAP's have a card similar to a credit card to register your breathing, etc. Every couple of months you send it in, they read it and return it with any recommended changes. My old one didn't.

Next week Kay was off to Savannah again. For this next 3 months it worked out that she was here one week and Savannah the next. Long, boring rides for her but she was really needed up there. Not much I could do so it worked out OK for me to stay here. It is warmer here also.

I tackled cleaning the stove top. Took it all apart and thoroughly cleaned it. Put it back together and only had 2 left over screws. Not bad!

We kept the respiratory clinic appt. They fitted me for the new CPAP and explained the procedures. This is a really nice unit. Can't believe the changes in them since I first got one back in mid 90's. On the way back we stopped at a Lowe's for a couple of things. I always check the kitchen faucets to see what they have. We want one with the pull out sprayer. Found one we liked and it was on sale. But--none in stock. They called another Lowe's that was on our way home, they had one so we stopped there and picked it up. Now that is service. I installed it the next day. Not hard to do but hard to access. Had to take part of a cabinet apart. No left over parts this time!

We had heard about Solomon's Castle from a couple of the other volunteers. They said it was unique and had good food. So off we went (B&D, Kay & I). Was only about a 40 min drive. Now this place is something else as you will see in the pics. The story goes that Howard Solomon bought the property and later moved down there. It was dry when he bought it but was very wet when he moved there. So he decided to do something special with the place. He is a sculptor & artist. The whole outside of the castle is covered with aluminum printing plates from a newspaper printing plant. He did all the work and he is creative. Lots of metal sculptures, stained glass & paintings inside. But these are not your ordinary sculptures. He has a very imaginative mind. We took the guided tour of the house and they had names for all the things he made but I cannot remember them. With my bad hearing and trying to take pics I didn't hear everything either. For example: The elephant sculpture--check out it's tail--it's an oilcan spout. And the 'bird' in the tree--it is a shovel (spade) head, 2 lawn rakes and a sickle. This is typical of all the objects in the house. The restaurant is styled as an old pirate ship. Generous portions and tasty. We were done with the tour and ready to leave. I started talking with one of the tour guides and asked if Howard was around. She said he was back in his shop and to go on back. So I walked back there and he was toiling away. He stopped and talked and showed me some of his new creations. He has quite a workshop. I highly recommend a visit if you are in the area. It is east of Bradenton on RT 64. Check out his website (www.solomonscastle.com) if it is back up again. He said he was having problems with it.

Speaking of problems with a website. The people hosting my site sold out and the new people never notified me or anything, just cut me off. So I was checking around and found out my son-in-law will host it for me. Only problem is I created my site with MSFrontPage and he doesn't support FP. So I have been fiddling around trying to figure out how to change things around. Probably have to wait until we get up to SC in mid-April and have him help me.

Some of our major projects at the park this year were: painting the park managers house (it is a park owned house), painting the inside of the visitor's center, painting the bathroom in the shop, painting one room in the ranger station, replacing the bad boards on the steps and deck of the visitors center. Plus the small projects that crop up while we are here. In the next 2 years we will paint the ranger station, visitor's center, pavilions, & shop. The state came up with a new color scheme (instead of dark brown with darker trim, they went lighter) and the parks have 3 years to complete the change.

While working on the above my feet started hurting and I decided it was my tennis shoes. I had and old pair packed away so I found them and wore them. The first day I wore them the soles fell apart. So I quit for the day and headed for a shoe store. Not a "shoes 'r' us" type store but one where they fit you properly (Red Wing). When they measured my feet they said that I wore an 11. I had always been buying  a 10. As you get older your foot size will change so next time any of you need shoes go to an actual shoe store and have them measure you. You will be happy. Kay, Bob & Donna all went up there later and their sizes had changed also.

I was feeling sore and achy. Muscles all hurt and when done for the day I just crashed in my recliner. Wasn't able to do anything on the MH that I planned as a winter project. This went on for Jan/Feb. We all got to talking, and Donna and Bryan (new guy to the park) both said that happened to them when they were on Zocor. I checked my VA meds and the cholesterol meds they issued me was Zocor. Called VA, they had me come over, ran tests and said that was most likely the problem. I quit taking them and within 5 days I was back to normal. Felt great. Didn't even occur to me that it was a reaction to the meds.

Kay was eating something and felt a filling come out. Went to a dentist and he said either a root canal (pricey) or pull it (not as pricey). She opted to pull it as it was a back tooth. If she had wanted the root canal done then we would have found the money somewhere to do it. I can understand why some poor people have the dental problems they have. They can't afford to get it done. We got some insurance for Kay but it won't take effect til this summer.

  Later                                       Pictures