Sunday, March 22, 2020

Days 1-6 Quarantined

I have not been out of the house since I cleaned and waxed the front door.  Ted has gone out to the store most days looking for what we could not find - yeast, alcohol and bleach.  He has everything now but alcohol.  I have lots of very well aged Jim Beam if push comes to shove!

Once everything was put away and the desk in my office was cleared, I started in on my closets.  The guest rooms and linen closets were pretty much ok, just a bit of straightening but my clothes needed a going through.  I now have a bag and box for Paralyzed Vets and a big bag to take to Michigan for my daughter’s friend.   Irene cleaned out some of her things and John brought over a box of toiletries, lotions, hair products, etc. that had accumulated without being opened.  My granddaughters will have fun going through it.  The new Kate Spade make up bag may cause a firestorm!

After eating our roast Thursday and grilled cheese Friday, we opted to "buy locally" at the Mexican restaurant to help them out.  They even included a bag of chips plus styrofoam cups of both red and green salsa like you would receive if eating in the restaurant.  Tonight we are having ham.

We are watching Netflix, keeping in touch with our kids, playing games on our IPads, etc.

This morning we watched 11 o’clock Mass streamed live from our parish and it was beautiful.  The message was "the building is closed, the church is not, because we are the church."  Since we have been gone since before Christmas I had many weeks of offerings to make up for.  I wrote two checks and mailed them to the office.  We are good through the end of March!

We received this photo today from our friends who took us out for dinner on their last night in the valley.  I am pretty sure this is the only time I got dressed up in the 3 months we were gone.

Not much else to write.  I personally don’t know anyone that has Covid 19 but the NJ family that has lost 3 members and has 4 still ill after a big Italian dinner is the family of a friend who has moved away but keeps in touch on FB.  What a heartbreaking and loathsome outcome to befall one family.  Keep all in your prayers please.

Instead of singing Happy Birthday when you wash your hands as suggested, try praying the Lord’s Prayer for all of us.  It takes about the same amount of time and we all need it!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Home Again Jiggidy Jig

We were home around noon Sunday, but once again we got separated and ended up arriving separately at the campground.  Ted was parked and hooking up the electric and water when I arrived shortly after him.

I immediately started unpacking the refrigerator and freezer so I could leave it open to dry out.  We loaded both vehicles and took it all home and put it away.  Nancy brought our mail and then followed me to the campground because she has never seen our rig.  I gave her the thank you gift (she refuses to take money) I bought for her.  She has taken mahjong lessons but she and her friends have been using others’ games at the community center to play and had talked about going in together to get a set just for their use.  She was so tickled and I was tickled she was.  After she left we loaded up one more time and came home once again where we stayed put.  I got most things put away and did four loads of laundry.

Ted left Monday to rewash our freshly washed and waxed rig AGAIN.  We drove home at one point in misty rain so he didn’t want to put it away dirty.  I went out a little later and brought the rest of the things home that needed to be.  So much stays there but our clothes, medicines, some toiletries, paperwork plus pantry and refrigerator items can turn into a lot of “stuff.”

Our cedar closet doors are mirrored and a strip of wood that allows the second door to catch the other had worked loose.  So going down the road, one was locked to the floor and the other was freewheeling!  We stopped at Camper World and they fixed it for no charge! Then we put it back in storage.

I was glad Tuesday morning that we had the RV put away and I could concentrate on just finishing up     around the house and start our taxes.  I spent all of Tuesday working on the taxes but I could not figure out how to post Ted’s 1099 for consulting.  I have used Turbo Tax for years with no problems but it couldn’t seem to decide if the amount should go on Self Employment or 1099 Misc.  It either appeared in both spots or went away altogether. No matter how I moved it around it wasn’t working.  I finally signed on to talk to a CPA who agreed that it was confusing. We determined though the amount was appearing in two spots on the worksheet, it was only appearing once on the 1040.  He said they really need to put an explanation on that.  Then he insisted upon staying on the phone until my taxes were finished!  What a relief to have that done.

Wednesday we worked outside removing black mold and yellow pollen.  The deck and furniture Ted washed, the front porch furniture and door I washed and waxed.  Then Ted tackled the courtyard.  The slate was absolutely black!  He spent a long time trying to buy bleach and or alcohol to no avail.  So he tried vinegar which many posts said works well.  I made a roast for dinner but we ate sandwiches instead so it will be tonight’s dinner.

So we finally felt like we were in a good spot.  I tackled the rest of the mail - my sister in law’s taxes and Christmas cards!  I always do my SIL’s taxes for her and the packet was waiting for me.  I think it is awful for someone with one mutual fund and a SS 1099 has to file 8 pages.  And free tax preparation is not free!  Ask for that Schedule B and up pops a $50 charge.  She doesn’t know this, I just pay it.

Then I sat for a long time looking through all the Christmas cards that had come in after we left, which was a few days before Christmas.  I had several addresses to change in my data base but I took a good amount of time to look at the photos, read the letters and note the greetings written in the bottom, it was nice!  When they all come in December and everything is so rushed they get a quick glance so I really enjoyed taking more time with them this year and I will do so from now on.

Ted went shooting today with Tal, his shooting buddy.  It is outside, using his own personal equipment and they agreed to stay 6 feet apart.  Not too much left to do around the house.  I washed my combs, brushes and mirrors.  I guess closets are up next tomorrow.  I am not sure how much more time I can spend doing these types of things!  This too shall pass.

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Our Last Retama Week

We kept our calendar clear because we had several last minute things to get done.  We returned to Mexico on Monday for our teeth cleaning appointment, our appointment was at 2:00 but we didn’t get in until 3:15.  Then we had a few things to pick up so I grabbed 8 rolls of TP because the rumblings had started.  When I opened my bag at Customs the guy said “really?” so I told him Costco was out!  I bet he realizes now I was ahead of the curve!

I received a message from Paul that the Hitchhikers group was meeting Tuesday at Mr. Gatti’s so we told him we would come.  We immediately ran into Ken and Susan Wilson before the others arrived.  We had a decent crowd but again you only get to talk to those right by you!  We returned home in time for me to play mahjong.

Richard was supposed to wash and wax our RV on Wednesday but he had his calendar mixed up, happens every year, so he was coming Friday at 2:00.  When we set up the Mobile Suites luncheon at Smoked Oak, the owners gave us a gift certificate for two meals and drinks.  We didn’t think we would have time to use it so when Wednesday opened up we took advantage and headed to Mercedes for brisket.  

Thursday is a blur.  Ted was packing up the coach house things, checking tires, caulking, etc.  I have no recollection of what I did!

I took off for the grocery early Friday because once they start on the washing of the RV, I can’t get out or in.  I only spent $114 so I didn’t do any hoarding but I know we stripped our kitchen when we left so there isn’t anything we are going home to.  Lo and behold there was Richard washing the RV when I returned.  I had groceries that needed to be put in the refrigerator so I insisted he stop until I had them inside.  We are pretty much used to the “manana” attitude but I just put my foot down (nicely of course).  

I played mahjong and Sue said Niles wanted us all to go to pizzeria.  I explained we had 4:45 haircut appointments and planned to go to the fish fry after because it was Friday.  When I got home she texted the fish fry was good with them and they would meet us.  We were on our mahjong thread so Linda jumped in and said they would like to come too which was fine.  When we arrived Peg and Mel saw us and motioned us over to a table they were at so 8 of us shared our farewell dinner. 

Saturday we pulled out about 8:30.  I missed the east turn off 281 because Ted left the rest area before me and I never did catch up to him.  So we were separated for about a half hour while I continued on and then went east into Kingsville.  I saw Ted go by overhead as I waited to turn on to the ramp to 77, so I caught up with him right away.  

We stopped in Victoria so we could go through Houston early Sunday morning instead of late Saturday afternoon.  We were told not to go to church because we are over 60 (way over!) but we did go out to dinner.

Victoria is the hardest city to get around.  It has 59 BR and 59 plus 77BR and 77 all neatly wrapped in a loop that I can’t remember the number.  We left with neither telephone so I got my GPS out to find gas at Walmart. Then we used it to find a Mexican restaurant because we hadn’t had it but once in 3 months.  I had nothing to go on except name and distance so chose the closest that was not a bar.  We pulled up to a Valero station and I was already looking at our next option when Ted noticed it was a full restaurant at the back of the property.  And it was very good!  We would certainly go back.

We spent the night quietly and we leave this morning for the campground close to home.  

Monday, March 9, 2020

Starting to say So Long!

Our weather continues to be most pleasant as we took a scenic ride aboard The Dreamer from the Riverside Club on the Rio Grande.  There were about 30 Retama ladies so we pretty much filled the boat.  Unlike my last trip northbound, this one traveled southbound toward the dam and highlighted many entertainment venues on the Mexico side. I was delighted when as we returned it passed up Riverside and proceeded to travel north along the new wall up to the pump station.  I knew immediately that I had to make a reservation for Irene and John.  We thought there were no trips available in the weekend that included the wall.

After we all placed our lunch order I went to the bar and was able to book seats on a 1:00 trip for Saturday for John and Irene.  Since we have both taken various trips on the Dreamer we elected not to go because seats are hard to come by due to the interest in the wall, so we left space for others.

Monday evening we were invited to Sue’s to welcome Dortha and Mark back visiting. I made a Waldorf salad when I returned from the boat ride.  The first spot we rented in Retama was Mark’s back in 2012 or so.  They subsequently bought a port home, eventually sold it to Sue and Niles and moved to Fort Worth.  We moved across the street to 4012 and except for one year down the street, that has been our winter home.

Tuesday was mahjong and I won two games!  Jokers are such a blessing.  When I arrived home my phone started dinging with a group message.  Niles wanted to go to Pizzeria for dinner.  Ted had not started anything and I hadn’t given dinner too much thought, so we piled 6 of us in the Expedition and met the other 6 for another gathering.

Wednesday I intended to do laundry and had it all sorted but Ted wanted to go shopping for shorts.  So we left and the laundry would wait.  We were invited to dinner by Trudy and Don to thank us for all the rides and the shooting instruction Ted has given Don so we had to get dressed for dinner as soon as we returned.  They took us to LaCosta, an upscale Mexican place that did not specialize in Tex-Mex but rather upscale cuisine. They ordered Shrimp/octopus/fish in sauce.  Presentation was beautiful but I didn’t want to order something I had no idea if I would like.  So I had grilled tilapia, green beans and red cabbage.  A terrific WW selection.  My meal was pointless!  Ted, of course, had a ribeye steak that he said was excellent with green beans and onion rings.   To celebrate the end of another Retama season because Don and Trudy were leaving Thursday morning, we finally stopped at the Homemade ice cream place.  I had one scoop of cheesecake with raspberries ice cream in a cup which made my pointless dinner right about on target.

Thursday I was picked up by Teresa and Mimi to go to breakfast.  There were 10 of us but you only can talk to those right next to you and across from you.  When we returned Ted had left to go shooting so I packed up my soap, quarters and laundry and headed to the washateria for the last time. By the time I returned in an hour and a half Ted was home washing his truck and waiting for my car so he could wash it too.

Friday we stayed close to home waiting for John and Irene.  Ted was shooting at the range and I was at the clubhouse playing mahjong.  Ted had returned before I did and our company came in right behind me.  They had checked into the Hampton Inn already so we left for the fish fry at Mission West.  We had a bit of a wait but we all agreed it was worth it.  We told them we were going to do exactly what we normally do while down here so they got a flavor of our winters.  So we stopped at the ice cream place again! Afterwards Ted drove us down to the wall so they could see it up close.  We drove through Bentsen Palms next door and around Retama.  After visiting they headed for the hotel, we had a full day planned for Saturday and after their drive they were tired.

We picked them up Saturday morning and headed to DonWes flea market.  John wanted a leather wallet, Irene wanted playing card racks for her many card groups and I bought a mahjong set as a thank you for our neighbor who takes care of our house.  After strolling around a bit we headed back to our place where we had lunch I had prepared and visited until it was time for the boat ride.  We drove them to Riverside and used the hour they were gone to go to Walgreen’s.  We were back right before they returned.

We all left for church at 4:00 and Fr. Roy was in rare form because directives had come down on changes due to the coronavirus.  The first thing I noticed was the holy water fonts were empty.  He said he was going to fill them with Jose Cuervo tequila since the alcohol would kill any germs but he was afraid the neighbors might want to come bless themselves too much.  No holding hands at the Lord’s Prayer, no hand shaking at the sign of peace and no wine at Communion.  Fr. Roy said he was just glad there was no Lone Star or Shiner virus!

After Mass, we had two hours until show time so we drove to Alton, TX to Golden Chick.  We love the chicken there and I can have a roasted breast and fresh fruit!  Another pointless meal except I eat their yeast roll for probably 4 points but it is worth it.  We all enjoyed our meal.

Our entertainment was Spittin’ Image, a set of identical twin men who were hilarious.  Their music was very good and varied but their jokes and interaction with the audience was outstanding.  I have never seen John and Irene laugh so hard.  She said she would love to hire them for a private party!  They continued laughing just talking about it all the way home.

Sunday morning we headed to Mexico.  First up was my weekend concession, a cinnamon roll from Renee’s bakery with coffee.  We split up walking there because John was looking for a wallet and we ladies were just browsing.  By the time we met up at the restaurant, Ted had eaten his pastry.  John and Irene had eaten breakfast at their hotel so just had a drink.  The mariachi band was playing too; we didn’t know if they would on Sunday.

We left, but our stopping and looking was too much for the guys so they went to pick up John’s wallet.  He had his whole name put on it!  Then they went to Poncho’s and were on their second beer and margarita by the time we girls wandered in.  Irene bought two slide and earring sets, one for each of us.  I told her that was not necessary but she insisted.

We came home and looked at two coach house lots for sale, both belonging to our friends, Niles and Mark.  Irene calls them she sheds!  Mark has his lot rented to Mitzi and Ron and now lives in Fort Worth though he was here visiting last week.  Niles bought Mark’s house so now his lot and motorhome are for sale.  It seems there is a lot of “musical housing” going on!

Then we played a game of Shanghai.  Despite getting a Shanghai, I lost, coming in third in a race of four!  We had a B1G1F credit in our pizzaria account so we opted for hand tossed pizza for dinner.  We visited a bit more when we got back from the restaurant before our guests left to get a good night’s sleep before heading home.

It was a terrific weekend and I know they had a great time because when they got in the car John said they would come back next year!

Sunday, March 1, 2020

No Company This Week

Wednesday morning Gerre called to say they were unable to come because through the night their daughter in law was taken by ambulance to the Philadelphia Medical Center Hospital to be put on an oxygenator to add oxygen to her blood.  It was getting touchy!  We told them not to give it another thought and just go to their son.  I have not heard from them with an update.

So Tom, Eileen, Ted and I went to church for Ash Wednesday then to London Grille for fish and chips.  It was really good!

Thursday we had free since our trip to Mexico wouldn’t happen.  Our garbage can cabinet soft closing glides decided to break and wouldn’t stay closed so we did a lot of research, bought a replacement, it didn’t fit so we went on line and are expecting what we think will do the trick.  It arrives Thursday.

Friday I played mahjong and we went to Golden Chick for their shrimp and catfish dinner with Eileen and Tom.

Smoking on the Rio was Saturday and we left at 8 am to arrive early to get in with enough time for the 10 am fajita meat judging.  We ran into Dave and Karen who had friends with them but they were assigned a different table so we really didn’t spend any time with them.  We walked around and were offered ribs, fajita, chicken, sausage and Tito’s vodka!  We eventually decided we were too full to do the 2:00 rib judging so we headed home.  We had a chance to regroup before church, followed by dinner, followed by a show at another park.  It was a Dolly Parton Tribute and most enjoyable.

Sunday was Wine and Cheese on the Patio for the ladies of Bentsen Palms as guests of the ladies of Retama.   We were all asked to bring a bottle of wine and a finger food.  I took Moscato so
I would have a wine I liked and a tray of chicken salad in puff pastry.  It turned out really, really well.

Tomorrow is ladies lunch preceded by a boat ride on the Rio Grande.