Sunday, September 25, 2016

Three Weeks To Michigan

Sunday I went shopping and bought a few fall things.  The planters I keep on the courtyard wall went kaput in the summer heat so I replaced them.  I also bought a new door wreath and a Happy Halloween sign.  I am working a senior lunch next week at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church so I bought a fall runner for a table as a bingo prize.  I have a small wooden pumpkin sign and two jars of candy corn but that will be put together with other things.  Football and leftovers filled our evening!

I had a good dentist visit on Monday, went to Walmart for some mums for the yard and came home in early afternoon.  I didn't do much else for the day.  And when it came time for the debate I just couldn't watch it.  I had taped Big Bang so watched that, turned on the debate for a few minutes and then found a cable station to watch.  Can't we just start over?

Tuesday was Ted's 72nd birthday.  He and Terry went to the gun range that we had attended last week for him to try my gun. He wants to get a handgun and is doing the proper thing in learning about them and how to safely handle one.  I have noticed the one thing newbies do is wave the gun around when they turn to talk.  This is dangerous and will get you disqualified in any competition.  You NEVER break the 180 degree rule.  Ted said he did okay.  It takes many trips for someone to get comfortable loading, shooting and clearing a gun.  

I fixed a nice dinner for us and right before we sat down, Gerre and Barry stopped to pick up Tucker.  They were more upset with him for his disobedience than with the fact that he went missing for 3 hours.  They apologized several times.  I am just grateful he came home and that my fence will now be fixed.  All three girls called Ted and he had a stack of cards to open so he had a good day.

I was supposed to take Irene for her cataract surgery but John didn't go out of town so he took her.  I baked a cake for Shanghai on Thursday here at the house but didn't do much else other than daily routine stuff.  Ted wanted to go to the Mexican restaurant for dinner so I agreed!  We watched TV for awhile before going to bed.

It was my regular day for cleaning but Isabelle came at 8:45 to do me first.  The three ladies were done in 1 1/4 hours, a total of 4 cleaning hours.  That is a bit faster than usual but not by much.  Normally there are only two that come.  Once they left I set up the tables for play and got the drinks and snacks ready.  I was doing well with my score until the last hand and just couldn't get down.  Anyway it was a fun afternoon.

Friday I picked up Irene and we went shopping for a new area rug for my family room.  We found one at our first stop.  Yeah!  So here is a photo to end this week's blog.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Tucker Knows!

Tucker hasn't liked going out on his leash but I am not taking any more chances.  I have called the fence guy since we have talked about getting it replaced so this gave me the momentum to make that call.  Barry will take care of Tucker and his new little tricks.  He has also been ringing his bell constantly to go out so I think wherever he stayed when we were not available gave him a treat each time he did it.  I take him out but no treat unless he actually goes and then it is a very small one.  That has tapered off somewhat now.

I made a fruit salad for a funeral lunch and Ted ran it up to church for me.  I had a doctor's appointment and needed to get ready.  This was just a check up of the basal cell spot he had removed back in early summer.  It was fine.

Friday Ted drove to Waco to work at a boy's ranch shoot to help Mike in his ministry.  They were starting at 6:30 in the morning  and it is a 3 hour drive.  I decided not to go because I didn't know what I would do with Tucker.  He had to check out of his motel early in the morning and I would have had him with me all day.  It is still pretty hot here and I just felt it was best to stay home since we have never been there and didn't know the lay of the land.

I had a lunch meeting for Forum to discuss the basket we are putting together for our 35th anniversary luncheon.  We moved from Beauty Basket to A Day in Town at Christmas because our centerpiece is a donated red tote purse.  We have a Gucci scarf, two sets of jewelry, an Ukta gift card and nail polish so far.  Pat will look for something to serve as a base and Orpha will check on Nutcracker tickets.  We will meet again to put it all together in a presentable display.  We have more donations and some money left to fill it out.  

When I arrived home I spoke with Irene who was at Apple trying to get her phone fixed.  We agreed to meet at Panera Bread later for dinner and see a movie.  I freshened up a bit and met her  as scheduled.  We decided to see Snowden since she had already seen Sully.  Just as we were walking in her phone rang and it was her alarm company.  Her garage door alarm was going off.  We hopped into my car and drove right there, her neighbor had been alerted and had checked everything and nothing was awry so we returned to the movie.  This time we ran into two couples that we both know so we stopped to chat for a bit.  We haven't seen too many folks yet so it was fun to have a short time to say hello.

We enjoyed the movie and I think it was done very well.  He is an extraordinarily smart individual with a strong sense of right and wrong.  I applaud him for bringing the truth out about what was going on (especially when I saw the clip of the guy rubbing his head during the Congressional hearings swearing the government was not spying on Americans). I watched him tell this lie!  His path for disclosing this may have not been the best since it exposed much national security but I am not sure how else he would have gotten the word out. It is scary when you learn what really goes on.  Our government scares the heck out of me now.  I don't see justice administered equally anymore.

I dropped Irene at her car and hurried home to let Tucker out.  Irene said her alarm went off repeatedly and she almost called to ask me to spend the night but she didn't.  John is home now so hopefully they will get the problem fixed.

I didn't have a lot to do Saturday except for three loads of laundry.  Ted arrived home about 2:30 and we went to church at 5:00.  Terry and Carol asked us to go out to eat but I had dinner in the crockpot so we came home.

We watched football all evening to end our second week at home.  Next week I have plans but none of them are any more exciting than this week.  Sometimes it is good to just hang loose.

"There's never enough time to do all the nothing you want." ~ Bill Watterson, author of Calvin and Hobbes

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Killing Time

Friday we went to Sam's to pick up a few things.  You can eat your way through there, especially around the weekend, so dinner was much later.  And just pancakes at that!  We weren't too hungry and breakfast for dinner sounded good.

Ted was working a shoot at the gun club on Saturday for the Houston Rodeo Juniors.  Last year they gave away $12 million in scholarships.  While he was gone I looked for things to do.  First up was the 2 x 14 foot runner we use in the RV when we are parked where there is dust, dirt, leaves, etc. versus asphalt or concrete.  I used our shampooer and it came out good.  The water was very dirty!

Next I tackled the linen closet/medicine shelves in our bathroom.  I found all kinds of things that had worked their way to the back - lotions, sunscreen, hair products, medicine, cold remedies.  I need to use these up before buying more!

Then I cleaned the oven.  I had put it on Clean one day last week but there is always some stuff that doesn't burn off.  So I sprayed it with Easy Off and then cleaned it 30 minutes later.  Since I had finished my ironing (much to my friend Carol's chagrin) I ran out of projects.  So I took a nap.  I had gotten up at 7 am to wake Ted and stayed up.

We met Gerre and Barry for dinner a little after 6:00 and then went to see the first play of this season Phantom.  The voices of the Phantom and Christine were amazing.  It was a great production and we enjoyed it very much.  We got stuck in construction lane closures afterwards and it took three times as long to get home.

Since we went to dinner and the theater Saturday night we had to get up for church Sunday morning.  It is fun to see different people than you usually do.  When we came home, Ted got ready to go to the gun range for his usual Sunday shooting. I know he will enjoy seeing his buddies after so long a stretch.  I put the shampooer away, got out my few fall decorations and took another nap!  Ted was home when I woke up.  We watched football and stayed in the rest of the day.

Monday bunco started up again.  I had my card table and four chairs to take to Laura's along with the bunco bag, a gift for Judy and a shopping bag full of paper grocery bags for Carol.  We had three subs and I think everyone had a good time.  I asked one of the new ladies to join us on a regular basis since Nancy had dropped out and she accepted.

By the time I had all my stuff back in the car, Judy was gone and I still had her gift.  On my way to Shari's to pick up my walker and other things she had borrowed, I texted Judy to stop by my house after her lunch was over.  She said okay so eventually I had taken care of everything. Tucker had arrived while I was gone so I was able to spend the rest of the day at home.

Tuesday we took Irene to the gun range.  She needed to re-familiarize herself with her gun since it has been awhile since she shot.  I shot in the next lane at 7 and 11 yards while Ted worked with her.  I didn't do too bad.  I want to try Irene's red dot next time.  I think I would have stopped him.

Irene treated us to lunch at a new Italian restaurant.  She got meatballs and spaghetti and there were about 7 meatballs.  I have never seen that many in one entrĂ©e.  Ted had pizza and I had a sandwich.  It was all pretty good.

We kept getting a message that our cable boxes were outdated and we needed to set up an appointment to have them changed out so that happened on Wednesday while Ted was down at the Chronicle.  I hope I wrote enough down to remember how to use it.

We had a terrible scare in the afternoon.  Ted took Tucker out and he went under the fence to the utility easement behind the house.  He usually comes when called but he would get almost to us and then run.  It is like a jungle back there. Three different times be came to Ted then took off before he could get him.  On the fourth time I crawled through a broken slat in the fence and put his treats down.  He walked up and just as I reached for him, off he went!  We looked and called for almost three hours.  I finally brought in all his things I had placed by the fence in hopes the scent would bring him back.  As I walked up on the deck, here he came from the front yard up onto the deck.  He had made his way around somehow and came in under the front fence.  I picked him up and hollered to Ted that I had him.  Ted yelled at him and he knew he was in trouble!  We were both scratched up and bleeding from traipsing through the woods but so relieved he was home.  Now he will go out on a leash until he relearns to come when called.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Busy Day

Since I didn't know just when we would arrive home this week I kept my calendar clear.  I worked on the mail, balanced my checkbook, got my bunco group in order and filed what needed to be.  Once the office was clear I moved on.  Laundry was piled high and it took most of the day to finish.  Now I have several pairs of shorts to iron for Ted.

Ted got up early (for him) to take my car for inspection.  My sticker expires on 9/30!  In Texas your inspection is put into the computer where you have it inspected along with proof of insurance documentation.  You can then mail it, go on line or go to the DMV and submit payment.  We were concerned about getting the new sticker back in time.  Imagine our surprise when the fellow told Ted to go to HEB grocery with the renewal, my inspection report and payment and they would give him my sticker!  And they did!  Who knew?  

Then we went to the park, hooked up with no problems and drove to the RV repair place.  Besides the converter there are a few small things that need tended to.  Ted had to back it into the one open spot and they said it will be 2-4 weeks until they will get to it. I don't think it is more than a half day's work but there wasn't any open spaces anywhere.  Good thing we don't need it while we wait our turn.  If it gets finished while I am in Michigan, Terry will go with him to pick it up.  He doesn't need anyone until he puts it away.  He can't see when to stop when backing into our space.  I just watch that he is coming back straight and stop him before he hits the boat behind us!  We share a 70 foot spot.  We have 40 feet entering from one side, the boat has 30 feet and enters from the opposite side.  There is probably less than three feet on either side when parked.

I was down to stacks of clean clothes, medicines and toiletries in our bedroom and bathroom so I spent Tuesday morning getting it all put away.  Yay!  By noon I was finished and the house was once again neat and tidy.  I called the nail salon to see if it was a good time to come out.  The lady didn't sound like the owner nor acted as if she knew me!  My first clue something was amiss was the sign Under New Management, 20% off.  When I walked in, there were all new people!  Since they are all Vietnamese I never got a good explanation of where everyone else went.  They did a good job and the 20% off was welcome.  I will continue to go there as long as I like their work.

Our A/C was acting up again.  It turns itself off.  The thermostat goes blank and you can't get it to respond.  Then for no apparent reason it starts up again.  The first time we called last fall when it was brand new they said they could not find a problem.  The second time, they removed our $400 original programmable thermostat for an on/off $40 one saying the new A/C was incompatible with the old one. This time the repairman came the next day and I told him my tale of woe.  Because it was put in at the end of summer, we have been gone this summer and it runs intermittently we didn't always notice it.

He immediately said our drain was clogged.  The pan had no water in it but apparently there is a second pipe that runs down to beneath the guest bathroom vanity.  He poured 3 gallons of hot water down and it cleared it.  He said it was partially clogged and the high water level would shut it off but when enough dripped through, it would start up again.  I am glad someone finally figured out the problem.  

Ted went to the neighborhood men's luncheon but didn't bring back any news.  I missed the ladies' lunch so have to wait until October to gather my own news.

We have things under control with doctor appointments made, airline tickets for October bought, laundry and ironing done, house in order, now what?  I am not used to being at loose ends!  Thank goodness the weekend is coming and next week is filling up.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Heading East

We intended to wait for traffic to clear before starting out but left even later when we had to stop to charge the batteries.  Later it was confirmed our converter was only putting out 6.7 instead of at least 13.2 at a minimum.  We will deal with the problem and have a new converter installed back home.

We drove to Deming NM with one stop for lunch and one for Tom to fuel.  He had to pay $2.37 using Flying J and we went into town on arrival and paid $2.13.  With 91 gallons, that adds up.

I had awakened not feeling well, ate a little at lunch and did eat dinner.  By evening I was visiting the bathroom and carrying the wastecan around with me and it kept up all night.  By morning I knew I was in no shape to attempt travel.  We chucked the plans to visit Carlsbad, sent Eileen and Tom on their way and settled in for hopefully a healing day so we could leave in the morning.

By bedtime I was feeling better with the help of some meds and slept pretty well.  We were on the road by 7:45.  We did great until we hit a 5 mile stretch in El Paso that had construction plus an accident.  It took us a whole hour to cover that 5 miles.

We stopped outside Van Horn for a lunch break.  The scenery is so much nicer through this stretch than our last trip out here.  I think it was during a drought and everything was brown.  Now everything is green.

We stopped in Fort Stockton for the night.  Flying J was the same price as everyone else so we bought our fuel there, stopped at Walmart for a couple things then came home for dinner.  We only had 5 TV stations but the football game was on one of them so Ted was happy.  The wifi worked there so I was happy.  Just a day and a half to home!

We had to deal with the batteries again in the morning.  It is aggravating but with patience they charge and the levelers go up and the slides come in.  We have made arrangements with the RV repair close to home to take it in Monday.

We traveled to Luling with just a slow down on 1640 in San Antonio where a ramp to I-10 was closed.  Once we got past that, it was smooth sailing.  We decided to stay hooked up so we didn't have to run the levelers, only the slides.  We learned in the morning that helped.  

I started packing up the things that needed to go home.  I put the bags in the backseat so our first trip home would be fruitful.  We planned to bring my car back to the park and really increase our ability to carry a lot.

Ted grilled burgers and after dinner washed the bugs off parts of the trailer.  The more we get done, the quicker the clean up will take.  The two cleanest days for the trailer are the day we put it away and the day we get it out!

We had no battery issues Saturday morning and left on time.  We stopped at Buccee's, a Texas institution, for $1.99 diesel and coffee.  After the dryness of Phoenix, the 100% humidity hit us right in the face!

We pulled into our neighborhood campground close to noon, set up, putting only 2 of the 6 levelers down and the slides went right out.  I had changed the sheets that morning so a huge amount of laundry went into the truck along with some pantry items and we headed for home.  Of course this makes my perfectly neat house messy once we sit all the bags around!

We returned in my car, which started right up thank goodness, because it carries more than the truck.  Ted started on the outside and I did the inside.  We opted to leave the trailer for two nights so we can take it right to the repair shop versus putting it in storage and then getting it back out.  It gave me time to really clean good too.  By 7 or so we headed home with just the refrigerator needing emptying and cleaning the sides outside.

After Mass Sunday morning we went back and I cleaned out the refrigerator, tossing leftovers and doing those dishes.  Then I cleaned the inside putting everything back in bags to be loaded into my car when we left for home.  When Ted finished up outside, sat a bit to cool off, we left for home.  Monday morning we will take it in for a new converter.

It was another terrific summer out discovering America.  Seeing so many friends and relatives along the way made it even more enjoyable and having it culminate in a family 60th wedding anniversary, a rare occasion, was just icing on the cake.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Reason For Our Trip

On Saturday morning we got ready and headed into Phoenix.  The family was starting to arrive and we were taking Terry and Carol to lunch so Pam could do whatever she needed to without worrying about feeding them.  After lunch we went to Pam's where five more had arrived.  By dinner time the last three expected at the airport were on the ground including Tom and Jeanne, the Guests of Honor returning home from Mexico.  Their 60th wedding anniversary is this week.

Unfortunately their luggage didn't arrive with them.  It must have liked Cancun!

Pam fixed dinner and with the visitors and those that live in the area, there were 27 people aged 78 years to 11 months.  We had a great visit and I ate half a dozen imaginary meals fixed by Josie who has quite the imagination.  Her magic ingredient is "a pinch of salt."

With folks dealing with a 2 and 3 hour time difference, it wasn't long before everyone headed to their various accommodations at Tom's, Pam's, hotel or RV!

We were all attending Mass at their church at 9:30 Sunday morning.  We had a 40 minute drive so had to leave about 8:30 since parking and seating would be at a premium they said.  We ended up going to Tom's, leaving the truck and riding with Paul and Pam.  We ended up with two dozen people occupying three entire pews.  When Mass was finished Tom and Jeanne were invited to the front to be prayed over and blessed by the priest.  We were all invited to their friend, Barbara's, for a brunch immediately afterwards.  

Afterwards everyone took off in many directions and we rode back to Tom's where the truck was parked.  Before we left, however, we watched a DVD of the British vacation we took with Tom and Jeanne in May/June.  Then we drove back to the RV park.  We had a few hours so I got a white load of clothes together and we took it to the laundry.  We availed ourselves of the pool while it washed then I transferred it to a dryer and continued enjoying the pool until it dried.  After folding it all we returned to the RV, freshened up some, and drove to the Italian restaurant where we had about 30 people for dinner compliments of Tom. It was a delicious meal and we enjoyed our dinner companions of nephews Chris and Sean and is ter-in-law Erma.

Monday we started getting things ready for our Tuesday departure.  One of our lights needed attention which we fixed and we have a pinprick hole in the icemaker line.  Ted just turned it off and we will deal with it Tuesday before we leave.

A little after lunch we headed in to Tom's for a big Labor Day Anniversary Party.  Sean smoked two huge pork shoulders and two chickens that looked like small turkeys.  So many provided dishes that it was hard to keep track.  Many went swimming while others just visited.  After dinner we gave them their gifts and we watched a video their son put together.  It was a wonderful celebration.

Today we head east for home.  There will be trips to the airport today, tomorrow and Saturday as the family returns home after this wonderful celebration.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Last Day and Then We're Off

On our last day we drove back toward the Grand Canyon and visited the Planes of Fame Museum.  I wanted to see Patton's Constellation "Connie" but we were informed it was bought by a Texan who flew it out in February under its own power.  I found the stories of the people more interesting than the planes since I don't understand all the parts!

From there we went to the IMAX theater to see the film about the Grand Canyon.  We certainly got to see a lot you can't see from the rim.  It also told the story of first known residents and initial exploration by Europeans.  Those rapids are really a wild ride.

We ate some lunch there and while waiting for the others to use the restroom a man was in line pushing a man in a wheelchair with no arms or legs and trying to push food on a tray down the line.  People just kept getting their own food and ignored him.  I asked if I could help him and he asked me to carry the tray.  I did and then wiped the table for them and brought napkins to the table for them.  They thanked me and no one batted an eye.  I don't understand such insensitivity!  

Thursday we were hitched up and ready to roll about 8:30 Thursday morning.  Tom was stopping along I-40 for fuel and we told him we would wait for them at the first rest stop on I-17.  We didn't realize the last 15 miles before the rest stop is a series of harrowing 6% slopes of several miles with a leveling off before the next one started.  Eileen was a bit rattled when they arrived,

The scenery was beautiful and we took a short walk around to enjoy the view.  The ride down  paralleled Oak Creek Canyon and was quite spectacular.  I enjoyed it but Ted was very occupied at the time.  The truck in front of us was riding his brakes and plumes of smoke kept pouring over us along with the burning smell.  Sure hope he made it.

We arrived easily at our next "home" for five days - Desert Shadows RV Resort.  It is a 10/10/10 park according to Good Sam, the Gold Standard of ratings.

It takes very little time to set up so we left almost immediately for Walmart to leave my prescription and then did a Keystone Cop run to In-N-Out Burger.  It sits on a corner where you can't turn in from "there."  We ended up on the freeway and had to go to the next exit, come back, then ended up on a ramp to another freeway but went straight instead, made a U turn and finally found the elusive driveway!  But don't tell anyone!

I had never been to an In-N-Out Burger and found the burger very good.  That is all they sell so it was easy to order.  Afterwards we went back to Walmart, picked up my pills and came home.

It was still over 100 so we went to the indoor pool.  With a bar of soap you could have taken a bath.  We didn't have to worry about a sunburn and the water was still cooler than the air and we stayed until 6 pm!

There was a couple in the pool that talked and talked to us.  They were interested in all our travels and I think were just happy to have someone to talk to since most folks who winter here have not returned.  They told us to be sure to come back to the pool while we are here.  

We settled in to watch the Arizona/Denver game and I made reservations on line for a boat cruise for Friday afternoon.  We will be occupied Saturday, Sunday and Monday so we wanted to spend one day with Tom and Eileen.  They have a friend they will visit with over the weekend.  Pam invited them to join us on Monday but they said no it was family.  Their choice!

Friday we drove an hour east to Saguaro Lake for a cruise.  It was hot as all get out but we stayed in the enclosed lower deck that had A/C.  It was a relaxing and peaceful ride.  Here are a few photos.

These mountain peaks are used on the Arizona license plate but I can't recall their name!  

The saguaro cactus only grows in the Sonoran Desert.

Beautiful rock formations.  

Here are two entrances to canyons we floated down.

We stopped at Bobby Q's for lunch/dinner and it was pretty good but I thought the meat was mushy.  The funny thing that we found in the morning when we left was that going out the back gate and turning left, it brings you to the In-N-Out on the next block!  We all had a good laugh.