We decided to devote one of our days off (last Wednesday) to the dogs. We started the day from our campsite at Walter Johnson Park by walking past the livestock pens
(good sniffing for the dogs)
and stopping by the rodeo arena. (The day before three cowboys on horses were herding cattle inside the fence as I was walking the boys. They ran right by us, and Chaplin was as excited as I have ever seen him. Evidently, he thinks he is a border collie because he wanted to run with the cows in the worst way.)
We were hoping that the cattle were still there. They were, but this time they were penned and certainly not being chased by the cowboys - much calmer. Nonetheless, Chaplin was still engaged. He seldom focuses on anything for more than a few seconds, but he stared longingly
at the cattle for several minutes before it was time to move along.
After watching the cattle, the four of us hopped in the Matrix for a fifteen mile drive to Elk City State Park. On the way through Coffeyville we were greeted by a two mile display of American flags in celebration of Veterans' Day.
They were spaced about eight feet apart on both sides of the street - an impressive display. These Kansas towns love to decorate.
Elk City State Park is located on the banks of the huge Elk City Reservoir, just north of Independence.
It was a Corps of Engineers property that is now leased by the State of Kansas.
For us, the hiking trails were the attraction. Because it was a Wednesday in November, we had the trails to ourselves. Jasper immediately went into his Oh boy, Oh boy, Oh boy mode.
He truly loves being the alpha male and literally pulls us along the trails.
At one point we lost the trail due to a blanket of fallen leaves. We (Jasper) were able to find our way out as we stumbled upon one of the park roads. We followed the road back to our car.
Hiking in sixty degree weather was a great diversion for both Dianne and me, as well as the dogs.
On the way back
to the campground we stopped in Independence to check out Braum's, the local ice-cream shop. Ice cream is my favorite food, but we don't keep it in the motor home because if it were constantly available, I would not stop eating it. Ice cream shops are a different matter. Dianne had two scoops of chocolate-almond. I had a hot fudge sundae. We may have to go back next week!
MR. MOM - HOUSE HUSBAND! Those of you with a good eye may have noticed the word work(ed) in the first paragraph of this blog. Now for the sad story..... I injured my back at work. I cannot pinpoint specifically when it happened, but the pain that ran from my lower back and down my right leg to my knee was excruciating. I put heat on it every night and took more Aleve than I should have, but about half way through every shift I could hardly walk. The pain lessened when I stooped or when I walked, but was unbearable when I stood without moving for any length of time. By the end of each shift I walked like Chester from the old Gunsmoke series. One of my fellow workers joked that he was getting me a walker for Christmas. I always felt a little better in the morning and went back to work the next day, but the scenario always repeated.
After three days of misery, I called in and went to a local chiropractor - my first ever chiropractic visit, and one of the very few times I have ever called in sick. The good doctor said that I was a half inch out of alignment. After a half hour pounding on me (He was very good, by the way), I felt a lot better. He remeasured and said that everything was back in place. He asked me to come back in two days before I went back to work. The follow-up visit went well and I was, for the most part, pain-free. When I returned to work the next evening, I was pain-free until about 2:00 a.m. (three hours before the end of the 11-hour shift). At that point all the pain returned at the same levels as before. This time, when I got up the next morning, the pain was still there - I could hardly walk. I spent the day hobbling around the motor home. The dog walk was a chore. At 4:00 p.m., an hour before my shift, I was still in pain (though not as intense as earlier). Dianne and I discussed it, and we decided that I could not continue to work. I could probably have continued with shorter shifts (and trips to the chiropractor), but the shifts have already been lengthened from ten to eleven hours (four days a week), and there are rumors that the shifts will go to twelve hours for five days a week - this happened last year. The earned money was not worth any kind of permanent injury or the continuing pain. So I am again retired. Disappointing, but the best decision.
Now for the fun part :)..... Dianne wanted to continue working. So, I am now taking over all the domestic responsibilities, the ones I already did + all of hers. I am now doing: all the dog walking (time for longer walks than before), cooking, grocery shopping, vacuuming, dusting, other cleaning, dishes, laundry, etc. After Dianne's shift ended last night, I greeted her at the door with a glass of wine, a hot-water foot soak with epsom salts, and dinner. (Dianne here: I just finished my overtime, fifth 11-hour day in a row, and I can tell you that I'm LOVING the special treatment from "Mr. Mom;" I'm already spoiled!!)
I (Roger) am doing my best to replicate Mrs. Cleaver, from the old Leave it to Beaver show - except of course for the dress, make-up and high heels. Jeans, shaving every other day, and t-shirts are more to my liking. Dianne tells me she can get used to this.
By the way, after several days of rest and daily stretching (orders from the chiropractor) I am pain-free again. Gotta go. I have a grocery list to work on. (I hope Dianne likes steak and baked potatoes every night.) (Dianne again: I'd be happy with cereal and milk, so long as I don't have to cook it!!)