Monday, February 20, 2017

Week Eight

Tucker is here!  Gerre and Barry arrived a little before 2:00.  We got Tucker's things all settled and took a ride around the area.  Then we sent them off to get settled into their hotel and I finished up dinner.  When they returned we ate in the coach house because it was too windy at the patio table and too crowded in here.  Around 8:00 Barry suggested they head home, it had been a 7 hour drive and he was tired.

Tucker was fine all night.  He started out in bed with us, then followed me to the couch when I got too warm, and eventually went into his opened crate and slept in his bed.  It rained through the night and he didn't want to go out in the morning so I had to carry him to the grass.  He went fast and hurried back to the steps to go in.  

We picked Gerre and Barry up later in the morning and proceeded to Arturo's for Retama's Couples Monthly Luncheon.  Don, Trudy, Mike and Marion sat at our table and we had a terrific lunch with great conversation.  Afterwards we headed to Mexico for the afternoon.  The weather had turned beautiful and we stayed there for quite some time.  We spent a good deal of time in Pancho's Bar listening to music and enjoying margaritas.  

Once back on US soil we went to Cracker Barrel for some dinner.  Gerre asked for us to just drop them off at the hotel, which we had to pass, because she was tired.  Poor little Tucker headed right to his water bowl when we got home.  I took him out and he marked every tree and bush around us!  Then he was ready to eat!  Ted took him out for the last time in the evening about 11:00.  

Tuesday we headed to the Travel, Health and Wellness Expo at the convention center.  It didn't have nearly as many vendors as the Texas Expo but was fun anyway.  Barry won an opportunity to enter the Wind Tunnel where dollars and monopoly winner dollars fly around and you get 15 seconds to grab as much as you can.  He grabbed $8 and a winner dollar that gave him a portable phone charger.  Ted won an infuser and two different essential oils to use in it by spinning a wheel somewhere!  We also all won free admittance to Matzalan where we hope to visit if we find time.  

We left there and had lunch at Chik Fil A.  Mah Jongg was at 2:00 so Gerre and I had an opportunity to play.  We were able to get in 5 games with Gerre winning one and Jan another.  The rest were wall games.  Gerre thought I did just fine when I exposed my hands and explained where I was heading and where I fell short.  Apparently I am acquiring a good understanding!

The guys were down at the gun range shooting and then Ted helped Barry take his gun apart and clean it.  They needed Niles to help them get it back together at the end.  He has two of that type so he knew right off how to do it.

The weather remains close to perfect.  Ted grilled burgers and we had dinner, finishing up with the key lime pie I made for Sunday night but we hadn't cut yet.  Everyone wanted a tiny piece so we have enough left for another go round.

They left about 8:00 and I did the few dishes, Ted walked Tucker and we settled in for the night.

Wednesday we attended the Mobile Suites luncheon with Gerre and Barry as our guests.  We were delighted to see Sandy and Rusty, wagon masters of The Texas Boomers Camping Club, folks from next door and Retama neighbors among the guests.  There were door prizes and Gerre won a nice canvas cargo tote bag and I won a DRV ladies golf shirt but it is 2X and drowns me.  I posted on the group's FB page and will be sending it to another member.  Two of the bags had $100 bills in them!  Rolling Retreats out of Elk City, OK sponsors the luncheon and are amazing folks to do business with.  Afterwards we went to the Flea Market to look around but it was late in the day and not much going on.  We ate at El Patio that evening.  They had stuffed avocados which they pronounced excellent.

We took a boat ride on the Rio Grande on Thursday.  The Mexican side is very nicely developed but the American side has pretty much been left undeveloped in the area approaching the dam.  A jet ski went zooming by us and the captain said he was a smuggler and there were lots of chuckles.  He said he wasn't kidding.  He had taken the jet ski off a trailer attached to a rattletrap truck that was still in the water.  Went up the Mexican shore like a bat out of hell.  Someone jumped on, he zoomed across to the US side, dropped him off and zoomed back to the trailer and was pulled out of the water and gone!  Right before our eyes!  The BP agents say the flow has slowed down considerably though since Trump was elected.

At the edge of the dam.

Afterwards we returned to Mexico so Gerre and Barry could buy some pottery for their pool area and fence.  We had been invited to a gathering here in Retama later in the afternoon but we got back late and found one of our two AC units was not working.  It gave an error code so we knew what was wrong and Ted spent a lot of time on the phone trying to get an appointment for a repairman.  We were all tired and just called it a day.

Gerre and Barry took Friday to do a bit on their own including visiting Quinta Matzalan, a preserved area and home in McAllen.  Once Ted had secured an appointment for the AC repair for Saturday, we headed to Harlingen.  We stopped at the Marine Museum to view the documentary on the Battle of Iwo Jima and to view the memorial that served as the mold for the bronze memorial located in Arlington National cemetery.  The grave of Harlon Block, the young man shoving the end of the flagpole in the memorial, is from Westlaco, TX and he was moved from Iwo Jima, to a Weslaco resting place and in 1995 was interred in the park in Harlingen.  

Having had enough Mexican and BBQ food, we opted for a nice Italian restaurant in Harlingen for dinner.  It had a nice ambience and was a great farewell dinner.  Our last activity was seeing John Sager perform.  He teased Gerre quite a bit but pretty much did his audience carousing in the seats behind us.  The folks loved it.  He recruited four men to be a The Village People which was funny since the guy being the C just couldn't seem to get it right!  It was very entertaining.

This morning Tucker got packed up by me and picked up by them for the long ride home.  There is a street sale going on in Retama so after they pulled out Ted and I borrowed Niles's golf cart to ride around.  I bought a muffin tin, spatula, two cheese spreaders and a cheese slicer for the grand sum of $1.  I have plenty of these things at home but now I have them in my trailer too.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Week Seven

Saturday was cleaning day.  The dust from the fields here is awful.  I am glad I have no more to clean than this 38 foot RV!  While I did my work, Ted went to have my oil changed and get a haircut.  At 4:00 we went to church and then picked up Susan, Tommy and Bill (Alana - not Ornell - was not feeling well -- I had the wrong couple coming down!) and then we picked up Stella (Jay cannot eat just yet but encouraged her to go).  We had a good Mexican meal at La Patio.  Bill and Stella took soup home to their ailing partners.  We rode them around Retama so Bill could see it.  

Sunday was warm but WINDY!  Ted went to shoot skeet.  Then we went to the flea market with our company when he returned.  Sunday and Wednesday are the only two opportunities they will have to go there.  Ted was waiting for his watch that was getting a new clasp.  Now the fellow is in the hospital.  He checked on it last week so he wanted to stop again.

We split up in the market and eventually met back at the pavilion where the music was.  Susan and I had made several purchases, Ted had rescued his watch since the gentleman had a stroke so chances are he won't be fixing clasps anytime soon and we then headed to the produce barn.  From there we went to Ace's BBQ for an early dinner.  Afterward we showed them our gun range, the Border Patrol station and the palapa on the river so Alana could see Mexico.  She had walked her dog and thought she was in Mexico when she crossed an irrigation canal.

I have kept our calendar open but the health issues of 8 seniors and 3 dogs is keeping us hopping.  My back still flares up and walking at the flea market set it off.  Jay tried to eat a baked potato and had to stop after one bite.  All the mouth surgery is still bothering him.  Stella uses a cane at times and Tommy usually doesn't walk too far.  Alana's dog had to go to the emergency vet with ant bites or chiggers all over so we have to keep reassessing what we can do!

While Bill was in Mexico at the dentist, Alana was at the vet and Jay & Stella took a day of rest, I chose to do laundry.  I used the one by Susan's spot so we could visit while we waited.  While the washer ran we picked up my slacks from the seamstress but I never did make it to the grocery or my Swedish Weaving class!  

Ted had tactical shooting at 5:30 and we had agreed on pizza for dinner.  So Ted was gone, Jay & Stella weren't with us all day, Bill ate after the dentist and Tommy didn't want to be the only guy so Susan, Alana and I went to Titto's by ourselves.  See what I mean?  The best laid plans of mice and men ......

Tuesday Ted went to the range to run clay bird shooting.  Trying to get myself ready for the day set my back and leg off.  It hurt so bad I hesitated going to the grocery by myself so Ted went with me when he came home.  The clubhouse was being decorated for the Valentine's party so we had a little neighborhood game of Mah Jongg in Kathy's coach house that filled a couple of hours.  Ted called the pain clinic and moved my appointment up to this Thursday instead of next Thursday.  

At 4:30 we picked up Jay and Stella to meet the four from next door at Fuddrucker's for their Valentine's Special that Susan knew about.  Two burgers, two fries and two milkshakes for $20.  

Jay still can't eat so I promised him my milkshake to drink and I just had water.  It was very good and a nice celebration for the 8 of us on Valentine's Day.  We spent the rest of the evening at home.

We didn't do anything in particular on Wednesday.  The girls were going to the flea market and ropas, something that would have me on my feet for hours ... and that wasn't going to happen!  But we did go to dinner with them minus Stella and Jay.  He is having a hard time still.

Thursday was breakfast out and then my MRI follow up appointment.  He said I have an old, healed coccyx fracture and neither of us can think of anytime this could have happened.  It also showed two arthritic or herniated discs around L5 and S1.  One said herniated, the other said arthritic.  A facit injection was ordered and they got me in on the evening schedule.  

I returned in time to take Susan on the state park tram tour.  In about six weeks the birds will be flying through but there was not a lot of activity other than the chakalakas that gathered at the feeder when the guide shook out seed.

Another stop was a lake created by backwaters from the Rio Grande River.  It now has tilapia, Asian carp and alligator gar due to the flood waters from 2010.  Mexico is the other side.

Our last stop was an original survey marker that remains on the U.S. side and has a partner just like it on the Mexico side.  The guide was very knowledgable and we enjoyed ourselves.

A little after returning home we left again for Westlaco for my injections.  It wasn't too bad and I am hoping and praying this gives me the relief I need.  I have a follow up appointment on 3/2 unless after 3-4 days I don't have relief.  I will get my MRI and treatment file to take home with me before I leave here.  We stopped at Luby's for dinner since I hadn't eaten since breakfast and it was 8:30 pm.

Friday I worked upon my SIL's taxes but I need her AGI for 2015 to support her identity and it is in her file at my house.  She will have to wait until we get home.  Once I put that number in I can file electronically for her.

That night we went to a dance at Bentsen Groves up the street from us.  Ralph and the Cruisers, advertised as the best rock and roll band in the valley, were playing.  We managed three dances but mostly enjoyed the music and watching the dancers.  

I decided not to participate in the gun competition today.  Standing around could get too painful for me  to shoot effectively but by the scores Ted said were posted I could have helped most teams.  It was shotgun, rifle or pistol.  I could have shot any.  Ted's team came in second but he is questioning their scoring.  Rifles and pistol are timed.  Shotgun is hit or miss.  And they put it all into software that can't measure both methods.  He shot with no misses but they gave him a 30 second time which makes no sense.  Stay tuned!

We went to church and a wedding was just finishing up.  The flowers on the altar and in the main aisle were very pretty.  A policeman interrupted the sermon to announce four cars were illegally parked in the alley and had the wedding folks blocked in.  Anywhere else they would have called the tow truck instead.  Several men popped up quickly!  We chose Dirty Al's in McAllen for dinner.  It is a lot closer than their South Padre Island location.  I had the special - coconut shrimp, zucchini and red potatoes.  Excellent!

My injection has not been as effective as I hoped.  However, they said it could take 3-4 days and even Don, the anatomy professor said 72 hours so I am being patient.  

Tomorrow Gerre and Barry arrive and Tucker will stay with us.  The Holiday Inn doesn't allow dogs.  I hope the weather and my injection all work out to a great week for us.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Week Six

What a Super Bowl!  It was the Falcon's to lose and they did just that.  Jim, our bet keeper, had to divide the money by 5 instead of 4 to cover 5 different scores versus 4 due to the historic overtime play.  All were in agreement that this was as fair as you could be in this situation.  Neither Ted nor I won anything!

Ted went to shoot skeet and I played Mah Jongg on Sunday.  Kathy finally got not one but two Mah Jonggs.  She won both games.  However we were told you would normally play 8 games in the time it takes for us to complete two!  I had figured out what hand Kathy was playing and determined she needed a 2 or 4 crak for a pair to win.  I reminded her she could pick a discarded tile to make a pair to Mah Jongg, something you can't do during normal play.  She had forgotten that.  I had her tile and held off as long as I could but eventually I had to throw it or ruin my hand where I was waiting for a joker or 9 crak for Mah Jongg.  It was 50/50 whether she needed the 4 I threw versus a 2.  It was the 4 and she was delighted!  I made fresh chicken tenders for dinner before the Super Bowl came on.

Monday was the Ladies Off Site Luncheon at Peppers.  It was a really nice restaurant with a great menu.  I picked up Joanne, Cathy and Bev.  I was stuck on my Swedish Weaving so I picked up Bev first who explained what I needed to do.  When I came home I had to pull out a whole row but am now on the right path.  Ted was gone to the gun range when I got back so I did two rows and all is well.

The next day was Pat's birthday potluck so I used my Instantpot to steam eggs to make deviled eggs (the free ones from HEB!).  I put water in the bottom, set 6 eggs on the rack and chose Fish Steam since it was the lowest setting with Steam in it.  When it pressurized it went to 10 minutes but I was told to stop it in 6 which I did.  I let the steam escape on its own for 6 minutes, then released the rest and put the eggs in ice water for 6 minutes.  Perfect!  So I did it again with 9 eggs.  Same perfect results.  Once The Bachelor was over I mixed the filling and my 30 halves were all ready to go.  I forgot to mention the eggs peeled easily, every one of them.  

My sciatic nerve, or whatever it is, is still giving me fits.  The orthopedic doctor who did my hip has a "not my job" attitude about it.  Dr. Chang hasn't had any suggestions and the neurosurgeon who gave me four prescriptions and PT last year had sent me to the hip doctor.  And so it went.  So I have made an appointment at the pain clinic and just maybe someone will order a CT scan or MRI to have a good look.  Ted insists it is stenosis that he was operated on for in 2006.  I am just tired of the constant pain from sometimes not at all up to excruciating.  I am convinced it is nerve related because I have discovered different "moves" that will relieve it.  Putting my foot up against a wall and stretching my quads, placing my right ankle on my left knee and pushing down on the right knee, doing squats, etc.  I think it is a pinched nerve that I can sometimes get unpinched.  This getting old isn't for sissies!  Wish me luck!

The doctor at the pain clinic listened to me!  I explained how I have had this pain for two years, had my second hip replaced and I still have the pain.  The neurosurgeon gave me 4 prescriptions that sent my BP sky high and ordered PT.  Nothing worked well so I have been just dealing with it for some time but there is something wrong.  This new doc agrees with me, the sciatic nerve is getting pinched and inflamed and the piriformis muscle it runs through spasms at times.  That is why I can go from zero pain to excruciating so quickly.  He gave me two muscle relaxants, one for day, one for night to hopefully give me some relief until he can order an MRI.  When I returned home I received a call and an MRI is scheduled for Friday.

Thursday was breakfast out.  I picked up Barb, Cathy and Joanne and headed to my favorite place for breakfast, El Estacion, complete with bakery which I resist!  When I returned I took my new slacks to a lady advertising in our clubhouse that she does sewing.  She was a hoot and it turned into a fun visit.  My slacks should be ready on Monday.

That evening, 11 of us went to Saltgrass Steak House for dinner.  Their 4-6 pm specials are priced really well.  My getting one of them, and using our $25 reward on our Landry's card, made our bill not bad.  By the time we got home there was an email thanking us for eating there and saying we have 61 points toward another reward.

Friday was my MRI.  It took about an hour and a half because they did 3 "photos."  I should hear from them this week.  If not, I have another appointment on 2/22 but he had indicated I probably would be coming in earlier.  I hope so.  The muscle relaxants are helping.  

I returned just in time to go play Mah Jongg.  We played 5 games in 2.25 hours.  It just depends on who you play with on how fast you can go.  I got a Mah Jongg on the last game but had been one tile away on another two.  I am just glad I can reason my hand out enough to play to "close" even if I don't win.  I guess that competitiveness will come eventually.

We stayed in for the evening and talked to Susan.  They are due in today at the campground next door.  Plans are made for dinner after church tonight.  Bill and Ornell are due in too so I hope they and Jay & Stella can join us. He had 3 hours of dental surgery in Mexico yesterday and may not be up to eating yet.

Our weather has been terrific and on some days unseasonably warm.  

The sunsets continue to delight us all.