Friday, January 30, 2015
Well I drove to breakfast and back without incident taking Becky and Jan with me. Once I returned and Ted was ready, we went to the grocery and also got fuel for $2.42 for diesel. I can remember one summer paying $4.75 in Vicksburg, MS!
I put together the lasagna and laid down for a nap. Everyone here has whatever this is going around and both Ted and I are coughing our heads off. I took Nyquil Wednesday night and it always knocks me out into the next day.
Ted went to another gun thing around 3:00 and shortly thereafter, Eileen and Tom arrived. I walked down and Tom was unhitching the car and then I helped him back into Walter's spot. Eileen says she normally asks someone in the campground to help him! He understood my hand signals just fine and he was parked in no time.
They didn't stop for lunch so I came home and put the lasagna in the oven, tossed the salad and sliced the bread. By the time we finished dinner I was fading fast. I was in bed around 8 with another shot of Nyquil. I was hoping I would feel better in the morning.
I slept better but both of us coughed all night long. We were taking antibiotics but the cough just lingered. We were due at Karen and Dave's at 1:00 so I got the baked beans together, made up the ambrosia and filled our cooler with drinks. Tom drove and it was nice to see our old friends, many of whom remembered Eileen and Tom from last year. We were given an invitation to Vern's 70th birthday party in Colorado for the 4th of July. However, we are already booked for a 60th anniversary party in Bowling Green, KY. We came home about 5:00 and Eileen told me to go to bed. I laid on the couch and was out like a light until 8. I stayed up until 11, took my Nyquil and slept until 6 in the morning.
I took my time getting ready on Saturday. It was 3:00 before we left for dinner at Cheddars. Despite being told we had to wait 10-20 minutes, ww were seated as soon as the guys finished parking the car. We had some time afterwards to stop at Academy for ammo. Ted is going to take Tom to the range to familiarize him better with his handgun.
We went to the Shrine of Our Lady of San Juan of the Valley for Mass. The road we use to get to Fr. Roy was closed for the citrus parade and he was riding in the parade so we thought it a good time to experience the mariachi band during Mass at the Shrine. We left there and headed to a show at Canyon Lake park. It was OK but not one I would tell people not to miss and I wouldn't see it again. The comedian was funny and did great mimicking especially singing as Elvis. He needs more of that and less of his wife singing karaoke.
We continued to be congested and coughing through the night so we are started on Z Paks. We needed bigger guns to lick this thing.
Tuesday, January 27, 2015
Monday was the ladies lunch out. I was picked up as promised and headed to BJ Brewhouse. We have one close to home but I have been there just 2 or 3 times. I really liked the menu. They had Mediterranean chicken pitas complete with yogurt sauce. These are a staple at the Greek restaurants in Detroit but I haven't seen them here in Texas. They were every bit as good as the picture looked. Out of 21 women I was the only one that ordered them.
Ted was supposed to go to lunch and a gun shop with the fellows but when Ted went outside he saw Niles' car go around the bend. They forgot him! He went on to the gun shop on his own and found a new gun. He came home to get his old one to trade and check to be sure he could spend that money. Being on the road it is necessary to watch your cash flow. Nancy is doing a great job of handling our mail (Chris will take it in but that is all!), so our money is getting to where it needs to be. Ted called Don who went back with him and got a few things himself.
Ted ate leftover chicken soup for supper, I wasn't hungry yet. Later on Trudy and Don came by bringing some dessert left over from their Progressive dinner. When we came inside I had a piece with a cup of tea.
Yesterday we tried the new laundromat near Mission West to compare cost and time. Washing costs more but drying is in 4 minute increments so you can buy only what you need. The dryers are big and get your clothes dry much quicker. So cost is about the same but you save some time especially since there are as many machines as you need versus the two here in our park.
Ted then went to try his new gun out at the Gun Range while I did my best tracking Tom and Eileen's progress. They drove beyond Holt FL where I thought they were stopping so scrambled to find a suitable park for them for the night. They ended up in Robertsdale AL. A 40 foot motorhome with a Jeep Cherokee behind it needs a long pull thru spot so they can stay hooked up. Lots of coastal parks are dirt, gravel or grass. If we and they can help it, we avoid those parks. I found them concrete!
After dinner we went to the clubhouse and had three new players to learn Shanghai. Joanne won! These folks catch on quickly. Next week we are going to a Mickey Gilley benefit show so we won't be teaching Shanghai that night.
This locale is a huge birding area. I have always wanted to see a Painted Bunting and a friend saw two yesterday morning, but in Florida! Aren't they beautiful? I think they look as if they flew through a rainbow and picked up all the colors. The first is a male alone, the second has the green female too.
Today is Spanish class and the grocery. I am fixing dinner for Tom and Eileen tomorrow. If all goes as planned they will be here mid afternoon. I am also attending ladies breakfast in the morning. In fact, I am the driver. Love driving the dually. Parking it is even more fun!
Saturday, January 24, 2015
I made an appointment Friday to get my hair cut and Carmen did a great job. I have used her while here for several years. It was so windy, there was no sense having it styled. So it was just blown dry with a brush and that's all. She said her business is down, many folks have not returned.
When Ted picked me up we headed west to La Joya to El Rancho Charco, a beautiful venue on the Rio Grande River. I have carried an ad around for about three years advertising wagon rides, exotic animals, waterfalls, dance bands and a restaurant. There is going to be an outing there for the folks of Retama but it is scheduled for after we leave. I think one Sunday we will go there with Eileen and Tom.
In the evening we attended a production right from Branson, A Tribute to George Strait. The couple presenting and singing were terrific and the history and life of George Strait was so interesting. A short stint by an impersonator who could mimic anyone was a bonus. I am going to find out where he is performing because he can talk like Gomer Pyle and sing like Elvis. We had an enjoyable evening.
Saturday we headed to the flea market to pick up a few things we knew we needed. These included a card holder for Carol, parsley flakes in a larger bottle than available in stores, greeting cards, wild rice from Minnesota, oranges and grapefruits. About 1/3 of the produce vendors are missing and several vendors we frequented are gone.
Afterwards we went to Gonzales Burgers since we hadn't stopped there on Thursday. Best burgers ever! We sat with a couple from Chicago and had a nice visit. They are taking their motorhome to Houston 3/1 and taking the same cruise twice because 7 days is too short!
I was developing a headache so I came home to lie down and we decided to go to church in the morning. After about two hours I felt better and we went next door to play Card Bingo. Unfortunately neither of us won.
Morning church was as crowded as evening church. Fr. Roy gave his usual interesting homily but we had a different music group. However, we were treated to Clay Walker's song I Want To Live, Laugh and Love. There is always a cowboy song for the week's message as far as Fr. Roy is concerned.
When we got home Ted picked up Don and met Dave at the Skeet Club to shoot. When he came back we went to the grocery and then over to check out Pepe's on the River. The first 5 years we came here we loved going to Pepe's for $10 all-you-can eat fish or shrimp, $10 pitchers of margaritas and a country band for dancing. When the river flooded in 2010 Pepe's became IN the river not ON the river. It stayed that way until this year when it reopened.
Now they are only open on Sunday, there is no food other than a food truck and lots of motorcycles. I am not sure we are going to frequent the place much. We passed Riverside Club when we left that reopened in 2012 and there wasn't a parking spot anywhere. I am sure people came from Pepe's to eat. We like that place too and have gone there frequently and will continue to do so. We actually saw it on Fox News last year filled with women and children filling the bar waiting for the Border Patrol to pick them up.
Ted grilled a pork tenderloin for dinner and I used some of that Minnesota wild rice to make a side dish and had some cranberries too. We seem to be averaging eating out every other day, mostly for lunch. Neither of us are big breakfast eaters so a big lunch and light dinner isn't so bad. Today we skipped lunch because of our schedule and had a nice dinner, just going with the flow!
Now about my title. For the past 10 years we had to make our reservations for the following year to insure a space. There are a dozen or so parks on our road alone and they were all booked solid every winter. This year every park has lots of spaces available. The border situation is hurting the area which took in $700+ million from winter Texans last year.
There were lots of folks over in Progreso, Mexico though spending money. Renee's bakery was filled to capacity, all 13 chairs at the nail salon were filled with folks getting pedicures and the lines back through Customs at times have been longer than ever seen before. I guess you have a lot of folks who still feel comfortable in the area and others not so much. The wave of newcomers each year just didn't happen. The answer will lie in the total spent by the Winter Texans. People vote with their feet and pocketbook. Until the border is truly secure, I think the Rio Grande Valley will suffer.
“Choices made, whether bad or good, follow you forever and affect everyone in their path one way or another.”
― J.E.B. Spredemann
― J.E.B. Spredemann
Friday, January 23, 2015
Trudy and I had made plans to go to lunch and shopping while Ted and Don did another "double." Pistols first at the gun range, skeet second at the Skeet club.
We went to Renee's which is a spa/beauty salon/boutique and tea room. I bought a Vera Bradley bag as a camera case and Trudy bought a dress. We had a nice lunch, her treat to me for Ted always picking Don up to go shooting. From there we went to Victoria's to check it out. We both bought a few gifts and I can't believe I am Christmas shopping already! We returned home around 5:00 and decided not to do Margarita hour next door. Other than Don and Trudy, all our friends have moved to other parks and it isn't the same.
Thursday morning was the weekly ladies' breakfast and it was not far so I planned to drive myself and let Ted sleep. But these wonderful women of Retama sent a FB message saying they would pick me up. I was tickled they included me! I am still an eggs and bacon person and it amazes me so many of the ladies do the refried beans and tortillas like I do toast! We had been instructed not to sit with whomever we rode with so we all chose a different table. Two new (to me) ladies sat down and we were quickly joined by another three.
Ann asked if I was going to the lunch on Monday but I admitted I had not yet signed up. You have to keep up with this calendar while here! She told Linda who runs these things that I was coming to the lunch and she was going to pick me up. So I guess I'm going! I sure haven't cooked much while here.
As soon as I returned home we left to pick up Jay and Stella and headed to Mexico. We all had our grocery lists of needed medicines and they along with Ted were getting pedicures. It is the only time Ted will go, even though he enjoys the results. I had mine when I had my manicure last week so I was good, I just waited and observed. The instruments and basins were all cleaned with bleach after each customer. One girl was being so thorough with one lady, taking longer than anyone. When we left I said I wanted her if we came back. The lady tried to ask the girl her name but she didn't understand and almost looked scared that maybe she had done something wrong. Spanish class to the rescue! "Como se llama" I said and she smiled and answered Selena. I was proud of myself over such a little thing.
We went to the Super store to check prices and got the analgesic cream there plus penicillin. We moved on to my favorite, Almost Free pharmacy, to get the rest. Someone on Retama FB had asked if anyone was going to Mexico. She needed lots of vanilla for folks back home. At breakfast I asked who that was and she was sitting two seats over. I bought her six bottles of vanilla at the pharmacy along with Ted's eyedrops and Retin A cream for a friend. I picked up a Z pack to keep on hand just in case. Traveling like we do it isn't always easy or inexpensive to get to a doctor for a minor thing that would require an antibiotic. I just toss them when they expire and we haven't needed to use them.
On the way home Jay wanted to eat at Luby's but Stella nixed that. Then she suggested Gonzales Burgers and he nixed that. Ted suggested Cheddars since we all like that and we figured mid-afternoon was a good time. Wrong! We had to wait about 10 minutes to be seated. This restaurant is always packed! I wasn't really hungry so only ate my bowl of soup and took my half sandwich home. We left about 3:30 and finally there was no one waiting. The hostess said 3:30 to 4:15 is about the only lull they have but not on weekends. The food is good, plentiful and very reasonably priced. There is the answer to success.
Tom and Eileen are due in one day next week. Their spot is occupied until 2/1 so they need a spot for 1-3 nights depending on their arrival. There is a place for sale and I wrote a private message on FB to the owner. He called and agreed to let them park on his spot but he has someone coming in 2/1 so it will be a day of musical coaches as everyone settles in for February.
Our beautiful weather is giving in to windy and cooler for two days and then the next week looks really good!
Tuesday, January 20, 2015
It's been a long time coming but yesterday it arrived. No rain, plenty of sunshine and 85 degrees. Perfect! I know rain is coming two days this week but I was basking in the perfect combination.
Folks finally getting to enjoy the pool. It was kept heated the whole time!
Monday was Ted's day. He met the "gun people" at someone's port home to attend a gun safety talk by a Border Patrol agent. When they finished everyone went to the gun range for instructions from the agent because he is the trainer for the Border Patrol. Ted said he helped him improve his accuracy. Ted seldom shoots a pistol but he has them and does on occasion.
This is a port home that has a carport for your RV.
There are four accommodations areas in Bentsen Palms. Regular homes in Tanglewood, port homes as part of Retama Village where we are in a coach house spot
and then the regular RV park next door. And there are one bedroom casitas within the RV park for those without an RV.
I spent the day doing a bit of cleaning and worked on my Swedish weaving. I am 17 rows away from being done. Then I have to learn to tie the fringe on both ends!
We went to a Mexican restaurant for the Couple's Lunch. We met two more couples but we didn't like the food. For one, they didn't bring what we ordered and then claimed the kitchen changed the special and two, what they brought we didn't like, greasy and drowning in melted cheese. We didn't like Mambo's next door last year and we don't like Koko's this year!
I did a load of laundry when we got back and then put together a bag of things needed for Shanghai. In the evening we hosted a game during Game Night. Four others joined us and we have a start to getting a regular group going. Bruce was the big winner even though it was his first time playing and Ted was last! I liked that it turned out like that.
Saturday, January 17, 2015
On Friday we had our unit washed and waxed then we went to a Skymed luncheon. We invited Dave, Karen, Dulce and Berndt to join us as our guests. There was a huge crowd, a nice lunch and new info on what our insurance policy covers. I have left a message with the company because I want more info on some of these benefits. "Certain circumstances" is a bit ambiguous to me when you are talkng about a legal document.
We were home mid-afternoon when I received an email from our church. One of our beloved and gifted deacons had died in a tragic accident. Ted and I are devastated. I feel so badly for his wife and children especially, but also for our entire church community. It will take a long while for us to come to grips with this horrific event.
We returned home and eventually went next door to see a comedy team. The wife was under the weather so the husband performed on his own and did a good job. He took our minds off our sadness for a couple of hours.
There was an RV show going on in Mercedes so we headed that way on Saturday. The weather has been great for a couple of days now. After the show we ate at Olive Garden then headed to church. Fr. Roy was in rare form and had us in stitches as soon as he stepped on the altar. It lifted our spirits to be in church with laughter surrounding us.
Later that evening, we went next door again to hear Mario sing. Ted said we saw him several years ago when he first came here to perform but I didn't remember him. It was an enjoyable two hours and spending it with Trudy and Don made it even better. Mario said he was friends with Mickey Gilly and talked about the movie Urban Cowboy. He said he knew everything about that movie. During intermission I told him about our friend Tommy and how he ended up playing the wedding photographer in the movie. NOW maybe he knows everything about it.
Sunday was shooting and football for Ted. For me it was banking, reading and swedish weaving with a peek or two at football. I must say the last 5 minutes of the Seattle/Green Bay game were exciting. I have no horse in either of these races so it was just something to pass time for me. There was a talent show next door and Karen had offered her season tickets at Victoria Palms to us because David has the flu but we declined. Playoffs you know! Staying home was a welcome choice.
Saturday, January 10, 2015
This weather has been the pits! I know many have it a lot worse but cold and rainy is not fun when it is supposed to be sunny and 70!
Friday we did laundry, then got fuel, shopped for a coat for me and bought groceries. That was about it. We are warm and dry but getting cabin fever. Everyone is expressing the same thing. We are used to being out and about. Having a potluck with the grill going is not possible on the patio right now. And I watch the energy being wasted on heating the pool and hot tub that no one can use.
Saturday morning was a couples' breakfast and it was good to be in so many folks' company. No one really wanted to leave the clubhouse but the clean up crew wanted to get things back in order. Ted went for another fill up of our propane. The furnace is running constantly. He ran into the lady that has Mark's mailbox key and she said we received mail yesterday. It is a check so we will stop by the bank and deposit it.
We decided to go to the boot maker to order the custom boots I am having made. Seems cheaper than bunion surgery! Since we were already that far east we traveled on to the Premium Outlets. I bought a new Coach purse, a pair of Lee jeans and two more sweatshirts since I have been wearing the same 3 or 4 everyday we have been here! Ted bought a pair of jeans too. As we left, Ted pulled into Whataburger to use the bathroom and ordered a coffee. When he went to pay they told him there is no charge to seniors for coffee! Good to know.
We hurried home and boiled spaghetti for when we returned and then left for church. Fr. Roy is real upset with those "damn terrorists." He said their dark evil will never extinguish the light of Christ. We returned to the park and completed our Skyline chili for dinner. Then we went next door to the RV park for card bingo. I won over $50!
Sunday was cleaning, catching up with my sister by phone, tortellini soup for dinner and Ted shooting. Not too exciting.
But today the sun is out and it is in the mid 60s! At least it is heading in the right direction. Here is our spot with double drive and coach house.
We went to the HitchHiker luncheon today and old friend Bill was there but Judy is under the weather. They are parked right down the road from us and next to the park Jay is going into. Speaking of Jay, they were on their way here when they got the call that his uncle died in East Texas. So they headed that way and won't be here now until Friday.
Ted is washing his truck and I am alternating between arguing with my lawn service and finding the closest Enterprise so he can rent a car. He needs to make a trip to Corpus Christi to see a new customer tomorrow. He will be going into the McAllen newspaper at some point but that is local.
I pre-paid my lawn service through January and tried to send a photo of the check to two different emails I was given. Both came back as invalid. They said they would send me an email so I could reply and that never came either. I finally called, got voicemail and told them I have checks proving I have paid through January and I am not paying the bill they just sent for December.
We spent one hour at Enterprise waiting for a car! People were returning them and they were going out as quickly as they turned them around. It was crazy! I drove the car home and Ted drove the truck stopping at HEB for drinks and snacks to take to Tom's who had the guys to his coach house to watch the Ohio State game. Ted was the only Ohio fan!
Ted drove to Corpus Christi for the start up of the press run and then drove back. I took the truck to the nail salon! I miss having my own car.
The ladies potluck was Wednesday afternoon and we went next door to Margarita hour to visit with Don and Trudy. They stopped by earlier in the week to tell us they have rented a spot here for next year. That means all our friends will have left there by next year.
Today I joined 20+ ladies for the weekly breakfast. The weather guessers are saying the weather will warm up and dry out starting tomorrow. Today is warmer and dry, though overcast. Keep your fingers crossed!
Wednesday, January 7, 2015
The weather on Sunday and Monday didn't improve but we did take a walk next door to visit Don and Trudy. They are only one of two of our friend couples still in the RV park. They are going to look over here next year too. We also attended computer school to learn how to navigate the website to stay on top of things.
Our biggest problem has been the electric. Our rig has a built in surge protector. If voltage drops or peaks, it shuts the electric down to protect us. It kept shutting off and our readings said low voltage. We had an electrician out twice and they said the electric post was fine. We tried the 30 amp instead of 50 and it did it less but we still needed to get it fixed. Mark, the owner, told us to do whatever needed to be done.
On Tuesday Ted called AEP, the electric company, and then went shooting at the range. The fellow arrived and pulled the meter and we could hear the crackling. It was obvious where a part was burned and was causing the problem. That's when the fun began!
AEP said only the meter was theirs. The post belonged to Rhodes Enterprises or the HOA or the lot owner. Great! I finally determined that Mark owns the post, Rhodes should have spare parts, AEP needed to shut off the electric and we needed the electrician back to change the part they needed to get from Rhodes! Whew! I called Ted to come back because this was getting complicated.
AEP turned off the electric, the electrician came back then left to get the part, returned and fixed it. Now it got to be even more fun. Ted called AEP to come restore the power. We waited a couple hours and at 3 he called back. THEN we were told the city had to inspect it but no permit had been pulled so our request was just sitting there. So Ted called the electrician who was probably sorry he had ever met us. He said he would go right then to pull the permit so the city would inspect it!
By now it is the end of the work day and we know nothing else is going to get done and we have no electric. If it wasn't for his CPAP machine we would have been OK on 12 volt and propane. Ted finally asked Kathy next door if their post would support both of us, one in 50 amp and the other in 30. She said no problem. We turned off the water heater and kept the fireplace off and had no issues through the evening and night.
The inspector came the next day and we waited and waited for AEP to come and restore power. By the end of the day I was on the phone with the city saying they sent a clearance to AEP and AEP saying they never received it! The next morning at 7:45 the original AEP guy showed up and said he thought we were going to call back that same afternoon two days ago. I told him we did and what had transpired. He said we didn't need a permit, inspection or the green card the inspector gave us!!
It is all fixed and we unplugged from Kathy's and into our own. I wrote Mark and told him what happened so he has a record to reconcile any charges. They felt bad we had to go through this. It would have been much worse if Kathy hadn't been agreeable or her post wouldn't have been able to support both RVs on it.
I went to Spanish class that is being taught by Marisa who is in a Mobile Suites just like ours. She and I were picked up by Beverly and Carolyn to go to the breakfast Thursday morning with 30 other women. We had to speak Spanish in introducing ourselves and others as part of our 10 minutes a day practice! Fun times. I am third on the left holding my coffee cup.
Last night we went to a Victoria Palms dance featuring a 17 piece orchestra. All our old Bentsen Palms friends were there, 5 other couples. We had not seen them since July in Michigan at Dave's 70th birthday party.
Stella texted me this morning to let us know they have hail at Inks Lake and aren't coming until Monday. With no road crews around, it is best to stay off Texas highways in this crazy weather.
Now if we can just get the temperature up to normal. Enough of this jet stream dipping all the way down to the Gulf.
Thursday, January 1, 2015
Wednesday dawned cold and drizzly but the temperature had stayed in the 40s so the icy roads they had warned of did not materialize. We hit the road by 8 am for our final destination for the next two months, Mission, TX.
It was an uneventful trip with just two restroom stops and we arrived in weather that was rainy, windy and cold. As soon as we arrived, Niles, from the spot two doors from us, came down to help Ted back the trailer in. There were garbage cans out, a repair truck across the street, palm trees and the bushes that divide our two drives to dodge. Niles is a former truck driver and talked Ted back into our spot in no time. This is a sample spot, not ours and not our rig. But they are spacious and some folks have a studio set up in their coach house. We do not have access to ours. It is filled with the owners stuff.
I just wanted him to get it set up level so I could go inside. Poor Ted had to deal with the utilities and came in cold and wet later on. We both had a hot drink and then settled in before Ted decided to go get our propane tank filled because it appears we will be using the furnace for a few days yet.
Our favorite church was only having an 11 pm Mass followed by a potluck party so we chose to go to the Basilica for a bi-lingual Mass at 5:30. It was decorated as beautifully as last year.
I have found you really have to pay attention because you never know when the priest is going to switch between English and Spanish. The opposite language is displayed on a screen except for the Sermon. Father just wings it between the two languages.
Afterwards we ate at Furrs Buffet since things were starting to close and the few open had long waits. We like Furrs and eat there on occasion with Jay and Stella and it was fine after a day of travel and bad weather. There was an open city party at the Convention Center and a dance at the RV park that Don invited us to but even with three things to choose from (four if you count seeing a movie), we just wanted to come home and relax. I missed the ball drop in Times Square and that was only 11 pm here!
New Years Day did not get any better weatherwise. Since our DISH satellite is not set up yet the football games Ted wanted to watch were unavailable to him. So we went to Walmart for a few groceries. Having the kids for a week lowered my inventory. After dinner Ted went to the clubhouse to watch the Alabama/Ohio State game. I went to bed at 11:00 and did not learn until the next day that Ohio had won.
Friday I went to the coffee and muffin gathering for the ladies. Afterwards I stayed to help take down the Christmas decorations. An hour later I returned for the Swedish Weaving class. It was an introductory one but I am going to need help with the edging since I didn't get that far last year so I will be attending. We are also having Introductory Spanish in January. I don't think I will have any trouble filling my time here.
On Saturday the Welcoming Committee came to give us a packet and answer questions. Other than needing info on how to access their website calendar, we didn't need any info. They stayed for an hour as we got engrossed in conversation. Everyone has been so friendly and helpful.
We went to our favorite church and saw Fr. Roy. His three dogs were dressed in red robes and crowns in honor of the Epiphany. There were also three human kings and a llama posing as a camel. Never a dull moment at that church. We stopped at CVS then tried Cheddar's for dinner. There were people outside, in the vestibule and mobbing the hostess so we moved on. We have a Landry's card so went next door to Saltgrass, flashed that card and were seated immediately. I don't know what the folks waiting thought! By the time we left, the wait was one hour.
We had a bit of sunshine, blue skies and 55 degrees. I am hoping it continues heading to that sunny and 70 we like best.