Author Archives: Jim Muller

Late January 2021 Status

We already have a couple of feet of snow and have another 6 to 8 inches this today.  We have been doing a fair amount of snowshoeing and skiing, just on our property and the neighbor’s land.  It’s nice  not having to drive to go skiing.  We have a HUGE puppy (we calls him “Clifford”) who needs exercise, and so it is best to just use our own trails.  Which are lovely, by the way.

Eric drove to school for the first time today, but fortunately was home not long after the snow started.  A huge milestone, to send the kid off in the car, and a little nerve-wracking. The school administration prefers that kids – at least seniors – not be in the building if they are not in class, and since his last class is a study hall, he just came home.  He is back doing in-person classes because of grades.  The deal was if he was not passing everything, he would return when in-person classes started up again.  He wasn’t, so he is.  He doesn’t like it and insists remote students get more attention than in-person students, but he has not raised a fuss at our insistence on living up to the deal.  Summer school may be in his future; although he may yet pull this out of the fire

They are talking about starting up high risk sports, but Eric says he isn’t going to play basketball.  He has realistically assessed that he is too far out of shape, and even if he made the team just by virtue of having been on it before, he wouldn’t get any playing time.

We got the first dose of our Covid vaccine last Sunday.  Scheduling was tough, we spent the better part of one day trying to get appointments on line.  The system often crashed (too many users) or appointments that were listed as available disappeared during the process (competition from other people).  That evening, Kathryn sat with my computer on my lap and logged in every 15 minutes when Lo! Some local appointments opened up and we nabbed them.  The vaccination sight was at the local SUNY and was extremely well organized.  We have had no reactions other than a sore arm for about 36 hours.  We go back on Valentine’s Day for our second dose.  It has been a huge relief to get the shot.  I know people who haven’t been able to get appointments, although I think things will open up soon.

Our nearest neighbor (across the street) died last week of the virus; she’d been in the hospital with it for 3 weeks.  Her husband, home alone, was very sick.  Kathryn was calling him every day because she was afraid he would get worse, and no one would know.  However, he seemed to pull out of it – two days before his wife died.  Both in their mid 70’s (which no longer seems old to me), both had some chronic health issues but nothing life-threatening.  She had broken her wrist in the autumn which required surgery and she had been in rehab for that; she was discharged and home only a couple days before she developed symptoms.  There seems no doubt she brought the virus home when she was discharged from rehab.  Though we weren’t extremely close, we’ve been neighbors since 1981 and that is a very long time to live across the street from somebody. 

The neighbor next to these folks died in the fall from pancreatic cancer.  She was Kathryn’s age and would occasionally ski together.  Kathryn said to be nice to because the wives around here don’t seem to be doing very well [a feeble attempt at humor]. 

On a more positive note, Kathryn has been swimming quite regularly at the Rome “Y”  and it makes her very happy.  She has played some pickleball there too which has been fun.

Kathryn is in the midst of the very large job of stripping off the wallpaper in the bedroom, which turns out not to have been very “strippable.”  Then to spackle, prime and re-paint/re-wallpaper.  It seems it is taking forever.

The puppy is 90 pounds and is looking quite huge (which is why Jim calls him Clifford).  Kathryn tries to get him out a couple times a day, if only for a mile or so (which is just enough to warm him up, certainly not enough to tire him out).  He is a good dog, though a bit rough with the older dog. 

Snowshoeing January 2021

We finally got a snow base and a couple of inches of new powder made for near ideal snowshoeing conditions. Today Kathryn and I took the dogs and snowshoed a trail to the turn around log. Tripp ran around in the deep snow while Cullen followed along in the packed trail. We managed to get a good trail packed for about 1.5 miles of the lollipop loop.

December Lock Down Activities

We are hanging in, staying home and limiting our exposure.  Eric has been struggling doing remote learning and now HP is going 100% remote for the next 100 days.  He has been accepted at three colleges (Hilbert is his 1st choice (near Hamburg ), HCCC and Canton.)  He played on the HP soccer team a little bit which we supported as it was the only socialization he was doing. On Friday Eric finally had success passing his driver’s license test. A nearly perfect score and he nailed his parallel parking this time.  He is quite proud of himself. He took advantage of his new freedom and drove to an outdoor basketball court where he and 3 friends chatted and played basketball.  We did take out for dinner Friday night and he drove into Holland Patent to pick up our food.

Kathryn has been working with her new dog – a 6 month old, 79 lb, Newfoundland / Golden Retriever cross.  She has been taking Tripp to dog obedience school once a week and they are doing great.  Mainly Tripp gets distracted by people and events near him so Kathryn takes the dog out to socialize and experience new environments. At home, Tripp does the exercises perfectly, but puppy (and owner) struggle with the distractions of multiple dogs/owners in class.  Kathryn is trying to get him out into busy situations, to practice.  A couple classes ago, the dogs were given time to “socialize.”  The next thing , Tripp and two other dogs are tearing around the room and one is growling!  It is Tripp! Mortified, Kathryn separates him.  The instructor does his little assessment thing, bringing each dog to approach the other.  His conclusion: Jennie thinks she is alpha dog and was picking on Willow and Tripp decided to put Jennie in her place.  Tripp is not, he assures, an aggressive dog. 

Kathryn and I are still running every day – either outside or on the treadmill. We have been playing pickleball outdoors when the temperatures are above 45 degrees and it isn’t rainy or windy.  Out of our group of 12 seniors that play there are about 6 die-hards that will show up.

The picture below shows Eric and I cutting our tree, the decorated tree and a centerpiece that Kathryn’s brother sent us.

Walking the Burgine Disc Gold Course

Mark, Matt and some of their friends designed and established a disc golf course on land owned by the county. Mark invited us to visit and walk the newly established course. It was decent weather (for mid-November) and a good opportunity to visit with Mark, his daughters Molly and Kate and sister Jeanne.

Last Home Soccer Game

Shout out to varsity Boys Soccer Seniors (Thomas Breil, Josh Dzeikan, Colby Germond, Dean Kousouros, Eric Muller, Jack Schroth, and Jonathan Tolpa) on their final home game tonight! And what a game it was – HP boys varsity soccer advanced their season record to 7-2 with their 1-0 win against Herkimer. Dylan McQuire got the lone goal and HP senior goalie, Jonathon Tolpa, had six saves for the shut out. Boys Varsity soccer team has two more Away games. Unfortunately, they entered this pandemic season knowing they were not being permitted a championship game and yet – they still played their hearts out, simply for the love of the game!

What’s Going On?

Eric’s senior class had booked a bus to go to the inauguration, but last night they canceled it due to COVID-19 concerns.  After the zoom meeting, we agreed we would also be afraid of violence – especially if Trump loses – so am relieved it was canceled and we don’t have to make that decision.

We have 2.5 inches of snow on the ground which has warmed a bit and refrozen so it is pretty icy.  Eric’s soccer practice was canceled. It was difficult walking in the woods, though the puppy loved it.  He bounded through the woods like the deer he was trying to locate.  Tripp is 65 pounds already at 5 months.  He is fun.  Tripp and Kathryn are in dog obedience class and he is the star pupil.  Or, maybe she is the only handler who has ever done this before, and who knows the difference between a correcting tone of voice and a cajoling tone of voice (it is not rocket science, really!).  In any case, they don’t get much attention from the instructor other than a “Very Good!” every once in a while.

Kathryn had been getting up before sunrise and sitting out on the lawn with the dogs, which was lovely, but the snow stopped that although the weather should improve this week.

The town of Marcy took down the pickleball nets so our pickleball group members  are all in a quandary about what to do.  Many of us are not anxious to play inside.

We bought a treadmill to assist in the transition of our running program from cross country and road running to indoors.

Eric has been accepted to the three colleges he applied to:  Herkimer Community College, Hilbert College and SUNY Canton.  Of course, that is pending graduation, which for a moment makes for a shaky first marking period.  He says he has learned his lesson working remotely and pulled it together.  Hilbert College is his first choice.  Kathryn and Eric are going out there for a departmental event.  Even though he has already seen the campus, We are hoping he will meet some of the instructors in the department, and his enthusiasm will continue.  And  it won’t hurt us to get out of the house.   We will also meet with the financial aid counselor, though I doubt that will help much.  Small colleges and especially colleges like Hilbert are not having the trouble with covid that others are.  One article I read said it is because of the emphasis on community and being socially responsible.

Kathryn decided to renew her LCSW so she crammed 36 CEU’s into a couple weeks.  Fortunately the state waived the requirement that any CEUs be done in person so they could all be on-line.  The first course on neuroscience of trauma was very good.  The second course on mindfulness wasn’t well done, but provided enough hours and credits to satisfy the requirement.

We have cut a bunch of wood and should be good through the winter. 

Kathryn bought wallpaper to do the big bathroom and our bedroom but haven’t gotten there yet. We are probably not going to do anything for Thanksgiving. .

Last Of The Garden Produce

Today, October 26, I had the last tomato sandwich made from our garden tomatoes. This is about the latest I can remember ever having garden vegetables. This was a good year for the garden, despite the drought. We enjoyed tomatoes, green beans, spinach, swiss chard, broccoli, egg plant and acorn squash. The peas, water melon and potatoes were disappointing.