Sunday, March 31, 2013

Lazy Start to the Week

Last weekend, other than church and shooting, neither of us did much outside the house. It was nice to have relaxation time.

Tuesday I accompanied Gail, my Junior Forum recruit, to the Information Coffee. It was very well attended and I was pleased that Gail signed up to join. She has moved here to be near her daughter, is a widow, and has been looking for volunteer opportunities. I think this is a good fit for her. She thinks so too.

Our Christmas gift to Terry and Carol were tickets to see Jersey Boys at the Hobby Theater. We had dinner at Saltgrass to celebrate both their birthdays which are nowhere near this date but we were gone for hers and will be gone for his. So we took care of all occasions in one fell swoop. Dinner was delicious and the play was terrific. Of course the music is "our music" so that added to the enjoyment. It was a later night than we are all used to.

My Canasta group has switched to Shang Hai and Thursday was the first time I played since Christmas. I got stuck again not going down so I didn't win. Adding all those points in one round is a killer and odds are not everyone, or anyone else for that matter, will get stuck too so they will have much lower scores. The 80 single dollar bills I won playing card bingo in Mission have not proved to be lucky in raffles or games.  They are rapidly dwindling.

I finally tackled a job I have put off for too long.  I cleaned out the office and all my files.  Now I have three stacks of paper about 2-3 feet high each.  I have a shredder but between the paper clips, motor overheating, stopping to empty the bin, etc., I decided to call a professional shredder.  He will be here on 4/12 since he only comes to this area once a week and will shred it all right in front of us in less than a half hour.  What a terrific feeling when all that excess is gone!

We met Gerre and Barry Friday night for dinner and to go see Fantasticks.  This is a 1960 musical allegory and took awhile to get into the rhythm of what the story was.  By intermission we had an idea of the story line but Barry and Gerre decided they didn't want to stay for the second act.  Ted and I decided to stay and the second act was much better because we understood the story line by then.  Other than Try To Remember there were no big hit songs but after 50 years this play still plays off Broadway.  To each his own I guess.

I took advantage of being at the theater to request my two free seats for the season.  We have invited our friends Sherida and John to accompany us to Grease in May.  Now that story I know and the music is right up our alley.  I think we will all like this one.

I baked a lamb cake for Easter dinner using a lamb mold Ted bought me at an antique store in Huntsville.  My Aunt Ret always made one for Easter and the children's First Communion.  When she died, the lamb mold disappeared.  It was the only thing I asked for.  With no directions I was taking a chance but it turned out OK.  I am not the best decorator but for a first effort it will do for the five of us having dinner. 

Today we went to church and God was with us, maybe because he recognizes us from the other 51 Sundays.  We arrived 9 minutes before Mass, not a good idea on Easter, but got the last parking spot. We went to the gym instead of the church and got two seats in the second row.  Mass was over before the church Mass finished and we pulled right out of the parking lot.  Three things that can be a problem on Easter and Christmas but not for us this time.

We went to Terry & Carol's about 4:00 and had dinner with them and our friend Jody whose husband was out of town.  Dinner was wonderful and afterwards we played Shang Hai.  Ted won and I came in second.  I am playing again Tuesday so I hope the card gods are with me.

Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song. ~
Pope John Paul II

Friday, March 22, 2013

Back to the Old Grind

There is always a Piper to be paid and he was waiting for me at home.  The first payment was to the three bins of mail!  Everything important had been handled but the shredding takes forever.  I had a few things to tend to but the banking and bills had all been handled so it was just getting rid of the rest of the stuff - like 99.9% of it.

Then it was on to taxes.  I had done most of the ground work so 2012 wasn't hard to finish.  But after talking with an accountant in the valley regarding a new bill passed in 2010 that I was unaware of, I amended my 2011 and am expecting a nice refund!  It felt good to get that out of the way.

Monday I double dipped and played bunco in the morning and Shang Hai in the afternoon.  I didn't win a darn thing either place.  In fact, I got "whupped" pretty bad at Shang Hai.  Getting stuck not going down once is bad enough but twice???  But it was great to see everyone again.

Ted and I had several errands to run and did this on Tuesday because he was leaving for Fort Lauderdale on Wednesday.  It was his Piper calling!  First we had to go to the trailer to get the wedding present.  We also brought his suit, shirt and tie home.  We had left it all there so we would have it after our trip to Kerrville when we went to Alabama.  Since that wasn't happening, we moved to Plan B. 

We took the wedding present back to Dillard's and they arranged packaging and shipping of the wedding present.  Then we took trousers Kelly had given him at Christmas to Macy's.  They still had the tags on them but he has lost enough weight that they are too big.  They didn't have his new size so I have a gift card for future use.

My I-Pad cover started coming apart so I called Targus.  They told me to mail it back for a replacement.  So off to the post office we went.  Then there was a stop at Wells Fargo, another at HEB, dropped off four pairs of slacks at the cleaners to be hemmed and finally we made our way back home.  You can spend a whole day just running around and never going very far from home.

I cleaned the house on Wednesday since it had sat for two months.  All things considered, it wasn't too bad, just dusty.  And there were five loads of laundry.  Ted was gone so I had all day to myself to get it accomplished.

Petticoats and Parasols, a Junior Forum "walk through women's fashions show from the 1800s on" was being presented at the Newcomers luncheon on Thursday so I decided I would attend.  The authentic vintage clothes are so interesting to see and the models do such a great job of representing the era.  The gals did an absolutely fabulous job and I was proud to be a part of both organizations.  Again, it was good catching up with so many people.

Today was a Junior Forum meeting and I was assigned biscuits to bring.  I took honey and strawberry jam to put on them.  There were six different breakfast casseroles but they all had meat in them.  You could pick out the few Catholics present because they were eating biscuits, cheese cubes and fruit!  It was a long meeting and after cleaning up I stayed to help get the Installation Luncheon invitations ready for mailing.  I didn't get home until almost 3:00 and I have to admit I am tired. 

I've spent an enormous amount of time working on the family tree that I need to have completed by June.  I have 8 generations and am now looking for a place that can print it in its entirety.  All those I have found only can print 5 generations.  I came across one but I think it involves buying more software so I'll keep looking.  If all else fails 8.5 x 11 card stock and double sided tape will work too.

Well the garage door just went up and that means Ted is home from Florida.  I hope he is hungry because I am.  That biscuit, cheese cube and fruit have vacated the premises and my tummy is calling for something else right about now.  Even a McDonald's fish sandwich sounds good.

Until next time ...

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Roberts Burns and the Plans of Men

We had the roof of the trailer washed on Wednesday and then the sides all wiped down.  Ted "swished" the tanks repeatedly to be sure they were really clean and put his bike, grill, table and chairs away.  We went to the last Margarita night of the season and Karen won $85 on the 50/50.  The number was one off of mine!

Thursday morning I was ready inside so Ted hooked up and it wasn't yet 9 o'clock when we pulled out.  We were paid up until Friday but didn't want to spend Friday night on the road and travel on Saturday.

It was just four hours to Victoria and only 1 o'clock when we stopped.  We could easily have driven on but Ted said he is retired and doesn't have to so he wasn't going to!  It would make for a long day and I don't know if we would have the stamina to empty the trailer after a long haul.  We set up and went to find a nail salon for me to get another thing out of the way before getting home where I had lots waiting for me.

We had just finished dinner when Ted saw Joe, a neighbor down in Mission, pull in.  He remarked that it looked as if Joe had a blowout.  The tire rim was white and without a hubcap and the wheel well was tore up a bit.  Ted went out to talk to him and he said he got only a bit north of Edinburg when the tread separated.  Having had this happen to us three times, we knew only too well about such things.

Once he got settled he came over and Ted told him what we did, how great Goodyear was about the tires and damage and our subsequent move to H rated tires instead of G.  We put him in touch with Jay who is a Heartland guy and he is advising him on how to proceed to get a new tire, fix the damage and make changes so it doesn't happen again.  Tires should last longer than 6,000 miles.  Joe is a really nice fellow and we look forward to seeing him in Mission next year. 

We made it home on Friday with no problems and started the unloading of two months of living.  It took two trips and we messed up our 2300 sq. ft. house with stuff from our 350 sq. ft. trailer.  I can never figure out how that happens.

I spent the rest of the day working on the three bins of mail and finishing up our taxes.  Saturday morning was more of the same.  We made plans to meet up with Jay and Stella for a late lunch at Sweet Tomatoes.  They hit the road later this week for their summer trip.  We had a great visit and they left for a grandson's ballgame and we went to church.

We sure did miss Fr. Roy at church.  Fr. George is from India and try as I might, I still only get every other word.  No mention of John Wayne, no country music CDs, no dogs, no jokes.  I know I am there to praise the Lord and not be entertained but Fr. Roy is a real tough act to follow.

Our trip to Troy, Alabama has been cancelled.  Ted's niece decided to marry quickly in December when her fiance graduated and got a job that required moving.  They intended to return in April for a big reception for everyone to attend.  In anticipation I bought that wedding present at Dillard's so I didn't have to do that when I got home.  Now I have 12 place settings of silverware that weigh a TON.  I think I will take them back, get a credit and send a check rather than package them up and pay the postage which would be substantial.  But we are still going to Kerrville and will just be home for the weekend instead of in Alabama.

Happy St. Paddy's Day to everyone. 

"The best laid plans of mice and men gang aft aglee". ... Robert Burns

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Ready To Head Out

We had a great sermon from Fr. Roy on Saturday.  The gospel was the Prodigal Son and he said we probably can all find ourselves a bit in each one of the folks mentioned.  I know I am the "eldest son" on so many levels.  In a nutshell Fr. Roy said the story goes like this:

A man has two sons and the youngest wanted his inheritance which Daddy gave to him.  He went off and blew all the money and came back home with his hat in his hand.  Instead of being mad, the father said "Come on in.  We'll have a cookout and tie one on!"  But the oldest boy was pissed."  And that is how we hear the Word according to Fr. Roy.  We told him goodbye for the year and how much we enjoyed his sermons.  He thanked us and wished us safe travels.

We came home and went right over to the farewell party.  We had eaten before we left so we didn't eat anything.  When it was time for the ice cream social we all walked to the clubhouse and got sundaes.  We stayed at the party until time for Pokeeno and then went back to the clubhouse.  We play 10 games - 3 nickles, 3 dimes, 3 quarters and one for $1.  And I won the $1 game raking in $80!  Usually you win about $125 but many folks have left and the crowd was smaller.  But I was happy.

Sunday morning we took Dave and Karen to the Embassy Suites for brunch.  They are so kind and helpful to us that we wanted to say thank you.  We had a nice meal and visit.  They are changing parks next year and we will certainly miss them being right across the street.  The rest of the day we just hung out.  DST had everyone a bit mixed up in their eating and sleeping patterns.

The National HitchHiker luncheon was yesterday and the crowd there was less too.  This is the last one of the season.  We sat with Linda and Gordon who belong to our subgroup Haulin' HitchHikers.  They are not going to Kerrville in April but two other couples that were there are.  This is the group we were with in Manistee MI last August.

After lunch we drove to Mercedes to the Rio Grande Valley Livestock Show and Rodeo.  We saw several shows and looked at many exhibits.  We spent close to four hours walking around.  The rodeo competition part doesn't start until Wednesday so we missed that.  It was pretty late when we got home.

We have no more plans other than getting ready to leave and saying goodbye to our friends.  I have a very full plate when I get home and hope I can get it all done before we take off in a couple weeks again.

Get busy living or get busy dying.  ~ Stephen King

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Seriously, More Fish!

We made our way to Mexico along with lots of other Winter Texans.  I did get that last cinnamon roll and while Ted had his pedicure I went to the drugstore and to find the honey.  I thought I remembered where Ronnie got his but that wasn't the right store.  I asked at the pharmacy where I could buy honey (they do sell vanilla) but I got blank stares.  So I just bopped in and out of stores until I found it at a meat market.

Meanwhile back at the salon Ted was nicknamed Roja Hombre because he turned red from laughing. He is terribly ticklish and has a hard time holding still when someone touches his feet.  But he thinks it is worth it in the end.  I will introduce him to my salon when we get home.  There isn't anything I can do about the ticklish part.

Since we didn't know if we were leaving, we started making preparations.  Ted had a few jobs to take care of and I started packing up the inside.  I had to separate all the things I bought for others into individual bags and then using the receipts, break down the pesos into US dollars.  Those bags are now ready for distribution.  As it turned out, we didn't have to leave so we are ahead of the game.

We have had no rain in two months and the dust has been unreal.  We climbed high, dusting the slide tops, ceiling fan, even the inside of the oven that I seldom use because I use the convection oven.  Today we took the four A/C filters down and washed them.  On Tuesday a fellow is coming to wash the roof.  We had the whole trailer washed and waxed when we arrived and yesterday Ted was putting another coat of wax on the front to keep bugs from sticking.  This fellow stopped by and offered to finish the job.  Ted told him he was almost done but he could come back on Tuesday and do the roof because it is as dusty as everything else.

I made deviled eggs for Margarita night on Wednesday.  One more thing out of the refrigerator.  Last. night we all headed to the Riverside Club for dancing and dinner.  The musician is supposed to play from 2-6 but when we arrived at four, he had gone home!  So 16 of us had dinner and I had cod while Ted had shrimp.  I am going to grow scales soon!

We have a farewell party tonight because everyone is heading out pretty soon.  Pat and Vern leave on Tuesday and we go on Thursday but there have been departures every day since March 1.  We signed us up and our FL friends for next January.  On 2/1 we will leave with them and head to Florida for a month and be there for our daughter's wedding.

This afternoon will be our last Mass with Fr. Roy for the year.  There is also the ice cream social and Pokeeno tonight so we will just have to see how long the party lasts.

Leaving is bittersweet this year because our group is now divided in thirds.  Three couples are going to Llano Grande, three to Victoria Palms and three are staying here.  I think some may be cutting off their nose to spite their face but everyone has to do what they think is best for them.

I like this park because of its size.  The other two mentioned have 1800 spots!  We are close to the skeet club and Fr. Roy.  There are lots of churches but as long as he is at Our Lady of Guadalupe we will attend there.  We are next to McAllen that has every chain store and restaurant known to mankind.  I don't think sales of these spots are going to happen anytime soon.  That will be plenty of time to make a change then.

Quote BulletAll change is not growth; all movement is not forward. ~ Ellen Glasgow

Monday, March 4, 2013

No Tacos This Trip

We were all discussing the restaurants we have gone to this season and Ted and I realized we haven't been to a Mexican restaurant even once but we've had lots of fish.  We started with shrimp at Alejandro's, the tray of fish and shrimp at Dirty Al's,  talapia at Pappadeaux, some kind of fish at Mambo's, wonderful parmesan talapia at Red Lobster and even fish sandwiches at McDonald's on Ash Wednesday!  For the most part we have eaten at home.

On Saturday Ted and Don were in a skeet tournament.  Ted came in first in the 12 gauge in his class, second in the 20 gauge in his class and Second Overall in the 12 gauge portion of the tournament. His student Don came in first in his class in the 12 gauge. Don was so proud of himself and Ted was proud of him!  Their names will be in the magazine Skeet Shooting next month.

They were gone all day so Trudy and I did what all women do when left alone - we went shopping.  Trudy wanted to go to the Hanes store in Mercedes so we started there and ended at a darling boutique in McAllen where we also had a nice lunch.  No fish, chicken salad.  I bought a few things and am ready for summer.

We were home in time to go to church at 5:30 where a Hispanic priest from California, visiting relatives in the area, said Mass.  Fr. Roy spoke at the beginning.  He told us that little Puebla, his three legged dog, had died the night before.  She lost her leg to a fungal infection and finally succumbed to it.  Fr. Roy loves his animals.  The little black and white spaniel dog kept walking in front of me as I made my way back to my seat after Communion.  No matter which way I stepped, he was there.  The first rows were chuckling at my dilemma.  Everyone is used to several dogs in church and love having them there.  As we drove away, a young couple was feeding the llama some carrots.
We will miss attending church here when we leave.

Since we are winding down, on Sunday we invited Dave, Karen, Dulce and Berndt to help us finish off our brats from Cincinnati.  We needed to get a few things from the Don-Wes flea market since we have had a few more requests so we did that and bought a bag of oranges and a bag of grapefruit too.  Ted started the grill when we got home while I fixed brocolli slaw, beans and baked apples.  Karen made a chocolate pie.  It was breakfast, lunch and dinner for us.  Afterwards we all walked around the park twice.

Today we are going to Mexico with the last of the shopping requests from there - some medicine and honey.  It will be a big payday when we get home and give everyone what they have requested.  Just maybe I can get a last cinnamon roll from Renee's if Ted gets another pedicure!

Friday, March 1, 2013

Shot Not Heard Round the Campground

Wednesday we joined several couples at Schneider's German restaurant.  It appears most of them are moving to Victoria Palms in light of the sites being for sale here along with a 10% increase in price for next year.  Since we are coming for just one month and Victoria Palms won't even take a one month reservation until December 1, we are reserving here for next year on the premise that we seriously doubt the sites will be sold.  If we get "shoved" out, we will go somewhere else.

We had a great meal of food like I ate at home when I was a kid.  Ted had zweibel schnitzel which is grilled onions over pork loin with fried potatoes.  I opted for just sides - spaetzel, German potato salad (not as good as mine) and awesome red cabbage.  Everyone enjoyed the food and many had apple strudel.  It looked good but I passed.

The next day we went next door to Retama Village whose owners took advantage of the turmoil here to have an open house of their sales and rentals.  It wasn't productive because we aren't interested in buying and they don't want to rent for less than 3 months if they can.  Probably around December 1 a one month rental will be more attractive if they have nothing lined up.  Something for us to keep in mind.

Then we went to Walgreen's only to find out neither of us had our wallets and we had to come back.  Later on we went back and stopped at Wal-Mart too.

Today Ted went shooting and afterwards we went to Dillards to buy a wedding present so I don't have to do that once we get home.  The Fed Ex guy dropped off a package and that is where the shot in the title comes in.  One morning around 5 o'clock Ted said he was awakened by a single gunshot. However no one else heard it including me.

We had a motor replaced on our awning because it would stop short of closing and in a few minutes would then close all the way.  Ted checked the batteries and they seemed OK.  Then our LP detector started going off.  We checked everything and decided it needed to be replaced because Dave's detector said to replace in four years and ours was five years old.  Today Fed Ex delivered it.  Ted hooked it up and it appeared not to work.  Dave and Ted went to check the batteries because it runs on 12 volt and the battery had blown up!

So we think the battery was going bad and the awning possibly didn't need a new motor just better 12 volt power, the sulfur smell from the battery may have set off the detector and the shot was the caps flying off the battery when the case cracked and blew up!  So now we need two batteries!  Never a dull moment.

We may have to leave a week early if Ted has to make a business trip.  Usually he would fly off and come back but the timing overlaps with our scheduled departure.  Since I have stuff piling up at home I would rather get home sooner than later.  After all, we only have 2.5 weeks before we hit the road again.  We will know more on Wednesday.  We will either be leaving the next day or leaving the next  week as planned.

Talk to y'all later.