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December, 2012


What Happened to Mac and Chris?!

Thanks to everyone who has emailed to inquire about our blog, our travel status and our health. The reason for our absence from the blog is a long story, a combination of technical issues and procrastination mixed with holidays and family time. If you want to know some of the boring details I'll fill you in.

Late in 2004 when I started posting the blog online I looked around for a tool to use and found that I had Microsoft FrontPage included in an old version of MS Office. I think it was Office 97! It was easy to use and free so I went with it. Then a number of years ago I upgraded to MS Expressions Web which we've used since.

Two months ago when my computer failed I reloaded everything onto an old one that we kept as a backup, but I couldn't find my old copy of Office 97. Why did I need that? Because Expressions Web is an upgrade disk and you need a previous installation of FrontPage to install it. In October I must have accidentally left behind my old copy of Office 97 when we stopped at our place in New Mexico and "swapped stuff" in and out of storage.

Since then I've been searching for software to use, and procrastinating. I'm not a developer, just a blogger with a little basic knowledge of HTML, so I like a WYSIWYG user interface to make things easy. We also need something modern that will ensure our site can be accessed on all types of devices. I thought about buying a current version of MS Expressions but I don't really liked it. I suppose I never learned to use it properly. We've also wanted something that Chris and I could both use to post to the blog online instead of her having to send me her blog posts to upload. What we decided on is Wordpress.

Of course this couldn't be easy could it? No! Our old web hosting package for MacAndChris.com isn't compatible with Wordpress, and the upgrade hosting package isn't compatible with FrontPage!

What we've decided to do is to route traffic for new blog posts to another of our URL's, MacAndChris.NET. In the short term it will link back to the old content on this site. I'll eventually copy everything into Wordpress and we'll be back to normal, or maybe better than the "old normal"?

I hope we can start posting again within the next two weeks.

UPDATE. See the rest of our December 2012 posts below, and our January 2013 and newwer posts on www.macandchris.net for now...

 
 
December 2012:

Well, I didn't write anything for the blog in November and here it is almost the end of December and I'm finally writing something. But there hasn't been much of interest to write about. We're still in the Tampa area. As mentioned previously Mac's mom requires a bit more assistance now so we're staying close to help out. He takes her to her doctor appointments, shopping, helps by doing chores, etc.

While we've been in the area we've gone to the dentist; got to keep up with that dental work. It doesn't make for exciting writing but it's stuff that has to be done. We've had a few doctor appointments ourselves so got those done.

Our youngest daughter and family live here in the Tampa area also so we've got to visit with them but not as much as we would like. They're busy people with school, homework, after school interest, etc. But we've managed to get together at times.

We spent Thanksgiving with Mac's mom. We went out to eat at Cracker Barrel. It was really busy and I could see why. They had a Thanksgiving day special that included ham, turkey, dressing, gravy, green beans, sweet potatoes, a slice of pie, a beverage and bread for less than $10 a person. Great bargain! We then visited at her house before heading home. We did stop at Wal-Mart on the way home just to see what kind of deals they were going to have later in the evening when the sales started. We picked up some snacks and went home to the RV and watched the Disney movie Brave on DVD.

This year we didn't do any of the Black Friday sales at the stores. We stayed home and shopped online. We've found several nice bargains for Christmas gifts to the family and to ourselves.

Our RV door lock had 2 locks but only one worked to lock from the outside of the RV. We didn't have a key to the deadbolt so anytime we left the RV we were trusting the one simple lock. Mac has never felt comfortable with that so he's done some research, called around to various places, even talked to a locksmith. He ordered the whole door locking area this month and installed it. It's great to finally have 2 locks that work so we can leave the RV and feel a bit safer. Of course if someone really wants to break in that wouldn't stop them but it might discourage them so they'd go find easier pickings.

Our oldest daughter and family from Illinois drove down for vacation and arrived Saturday, December 22. We rented a house for them to stay in while they're here. It is really more comfortable to be able to stay in a house instead of a hotel room. The house is a nice place, 3 bedrooms, fully furnished, and has a swimming pool. Grandson Brody immediately had to check out the pool like any 3 year old would. He started out at the edge touching and splashing the water and then more arm area, then sitting on the side putting the feet in, then some leg and then of course the whole body. That water was too cold for me to put my feet in but that doesn't stop a kid, if there's water around they want in the water. He stayed in the pool playing until his teeth started chattering then was given a nice warm bath.

Sunday, December 23:

We all met up at Busch Gardens and went to Christmas Town. This is the first year for it in the Tampa park. I think they've had it a few years in Williamsburg VA.. It's a special event that was on the weekends for the Christmas season. The last night at the park was the 23rd so we all attended that night. It opened at 6 and ended at 11 I think. It was really pretty, with all the Christmas lights. The kids enjoyed playing and riding the rides and we adults enjoyed the lights and music. It was a great way to celebrate.

Monday, December 24:

For years this is the day we celebrate Christmas since our daughter who lives in the area spends Christmas Day with her husband's family. We all gathered at Mac's mom's house and spent a wonderful day. We had Christmas food, the opening of presents, laughing and talking. A good time, hopefully many wonderful memories for the children.

 
 
Tuesday, December 25:
The plan was to take the IL family to Busch Gardens today but they decided they'd rather have a relaxing day. So this afternoon we headed out to Fort DeSoto County Park. It has one of the best beaches in the country. It was fun and relaxing to walk along the beach and look for shells. The water was cold and no one wanted to go swimming except for grandson Brody who got all wet playing in the water. Typical three year old boy! If there's water he's in it.
This evening we had left-over food from yesterday's Christmas feast and played some cards. It was a great day.

Thursday, December 27:

Today Tina and I went shopping. Mac's mom loved the pajamas we'd got her for Christmas so she asked me to find some more for her. After Christmas sales are just the place to find some. Unfortunately, we only found one pair and they were exactly like the ones I'd bought already but she was happy with them so that's all that matters.

We also went to 3 thrift stores in Brandon and found some nice stuff. I found several articles of clothing for grandson Evan. I also found a tiki mug from Harvey's Lake Tahoe; just had to buy that since that's a favorite place of ours.

While we were shopping we stopped for lunch at a Thai place at the mall. It was okay food but will not become a favorite place to eat.

Friday, December 28:

Today we all went to Busch Gardens. It was fun but a short day. We didn't get there till 11 and after parking, etc. it was soon time for lunch. The little ones enjoyed the play area for children. We intended to ride the sky ride but we got rained out. It was predicted to rain later in the day but it came in early and soon we all left. It was a good thing we did because I think it rained the rest of the evening.

Saturday, December 29:

Today we have to move from LazyDays RV Park. When we arrived they'd told us that we'd have to leave this day because they were fully booked. It's okay with us to move since it is an expensive park but we didn't want to move while our family was vacationing here but things like that can't be helped. It usually seems to take about half the day getting everything put away, move, then get everything back out and set up on a new site.

We've moved about 4 miles down the road to Southern Aire RV Resort. It is less expensive to stay here and we're actually closer to I-75 to run up and visit Mac's mom. There are many huge oak trees with moss hanging from them. Also quieter here since we're further away from the highway. At the other RV park sometimes the traffic noise from I-4 was very loud since we weren't that far from it. I think we'll enjoy staying here especially since we'll be saving money.

Mac ran up to see his mom this afternoon and do a bit of grocery shopping with her. Later we went down to visit the family. We had a pizza and game night this evening.

Sunday, December 30:

Today we all went to Busch Gardens again. We got there around 9 when the park opened. The day stayed sunny but it was pretty chilly when we got there this morning. I think the temp was in the 40's but it soon warmed up. After lunch I was shedding my jacket and enjoying the day. Florida winters are so weird, 40's in the morning and 70-80 in the afternoon.

We all enjoyed the day today. The older kids got to ride some of the thrill rides they'd wanted to ride. We got to walk around and see the animals and just enjoy being together. It was a really great day.

Mac and I left around dark and went home but the rest of the family stayed longer. We went home and enjoyed the quiet. Parks are just so loud! I'm also tired of hearing Christmas music!! Hell-o Busch Gardens, Christmas is over!!!!! Change the music! The lights are pretty but I'm tired of the music. End of rant.

Monday, December 31:

This afternoon we drove over to the Tampa Electric Company manatee viewing area. When the water is so cold the manatees will congregate here and enjoy the warmer water that is being returned to Tampa Bay from the electric power plant.

Mac and I have been here before but this is the first time we've seen so many manatees. It was really quite awesome to see. The whole family enjoyed seeing the animals and then walking around the trail, the pier and visiting the gift shop.

We then headed out to find a beach. Our FL family had recommended Apollo Beach but they hadn't been there in a few years and didn't realize that the beach was washed away and wasn't nice any longer. We did find a beach that we'll visit later in the week since it's getting too late to enjoy the beach today.

We went back to the house we rented and celebrated the arrival of the new year. We played cards, ate pizza and had a great time laughing.

 

 
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