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Friday, February 28, 2014

Have you met Noah?

The first rain came about 12:30 am Thursday morning and continued for much of the night, hard at times, but always there.......this is being called the "small" storm by the weather "guessers".  In the 105 days (through Thursday) we have been here at RJRP this is the first significant rainfall we have had, and this time of year is what passes for the SoCal rainy season.  Of course, by anyone else's standards almost anywhere else in the USA this storm is not much to talk about, but the local news stations have been on "STORM WATCH" for a week leading up to this series of storms, and the way they are dramatizing the coming storms you are half expecting at any moment a news story about some guy named Noah building an ark and predicting the end of the world by flood.  

Nevertheless, it is rain, and SoCal needs rain desperately.  Of course, we are reminded all the while that it would take a month of rain like this to make a dent in the effect of the drought these past 4 years......we are just taking it one storm at a time.  Fortunately, the forecast for Monday, our date of departure, is mostly sunny.

I love waking up to the sound of rain on the aluminum roof in the middle of the night.......I always sleep so well when it rains.....I love the smell of the rain wafting in through the partially open window by my side of the bed.  By 8 am the rain had mostly stopped, but this was to be the lull before the much bigger storm coming in Thursday evening.

We had arranged a lunch date in Pasadena with my oldest grand daughter, Cynthia, who is just a few months shy of her 21st birthday.  We had not had a chance to spend one on one time with her and her boy friend, Daniel.  Cynthia is the oldest child of my son, Chris.  I still have a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that I have a grand daughter who is almost 21 let a son who is fast approaching his 42nd birthday.  We arrived at the "Islands" restaurant just before 12:30 pm to find Cynthia and Daniel waiting for us.  We had a great time talking, and we were both glad we had the opportunity to get to know Daniel.  As I told Daniel, it is very important to me that all the women in my family are happy, and I could tell from what I saw in Cynthia's eyes, and her face that she is happy.....that's good enough for me.....welcome to the family Daniel!

There is one footnote to the reason for our wanting to meet Daniel.....and this is done with Cynthia's permission.......Cynthia is 6 months pregnant with their son, and is very excited that she will be a mother in just 3 months....in fact you can see they are both very excited.  We got to see an ultra sound picture of the yet to be born baby, and yep, there is no doubt it is a boy....lol.


Cynthia and Daniel

Of course, the time seemed to fly by and it was time to say our "until next times" to Cynthia and Daniel.  We headed home making a stop at my mechanic's shop to make the final arrangements for our visit there Monday morning to have new steerer tires installed on the Newell, and the 8D battery replaced that I was manhandling when I injured myself three weeks ago.

Next we stopped off at my son's office to pick up any mail that had accumulated since Monday, and were home by 3:15, but would be on the move again within a couple of hours........we had another dinning engagement scheduled for that evening back in Rancho Cucmaonga at the local Zendejas Mexican Grill to meet Rod's (Sharon's fiance) parents, Rodney and Lillian......I missed meeting them at the engagement party due to my aforementioned surgery.  Again, we had a delightful time getting to know Rodney and Lillian, and are pleased to know they will be our future in-laws.

A picture including Rod's parents from the engagement party I missed.  Rodney, Sr. is on the far left, and Lillian the the third person going from left to right.  The other two ladies, I believe, are Rod's sisters....and, of course, Rod and Sharon.

We arrived back "home" for the second time Thursday around 7:50 pm, and by midnight it was raining again.....it is still raining as I write this entry Friday morning, and it is forecast to continue on until sometime Saturday.  I fell asleep in my lounge chair around 10.....even though I love meeting new people is always forget how much it takes out of me....TLE managed to wake me a little after 11 so I could move to the bedroom and continue my slumber in bed.

Three more days until our view changes!  Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Pick it up!

Wednesday is the last day before the incoming Pacific storms slam into SoCal so we decided to put away most of the stuff still out.....the lounge chairs, the awning mat, the BBQ, fireplace, etc..........while TLE was doing the "heavy lifting" I had her move the portable air compressor back to the trailer so I could finish checking air pressure and adding air where needed on the trailer tires.  As it turned out only two of the four needed just a few pounds.  We finished doing all we could do outside around 11, and by that time I was ready for a rest......I wonder how much longer I can milk this post surgical recovery thing......just kidding Elaine....seriously....

I belong to a Newell online forum found at www.newellgurus.com which is one of two Newell user groups.  One of the members recently found a 1979 Newell for sale on eBay located in Colton, CA which is just a few miles north of us as the crow flies.  I volunteered to go look at it for him, so around 1:30 TLE and I hopped in the car to do just that.

1979 Newell, 38 feet long

Like many used vehicles and trailers I have found on eBay and Craigslist which look better in pictures than in person, this 1979 Newell also looked better in the pictures, but for the price it would be a good project for someone with the kind of "do it yourself" skills needed put her back in excellent condition.  It's not a project I would want to take on at my age, but someone with a little vision, and "elbow grease" still could end up with a beautiful coach.  On the other hand, the owner warrants that all the systems work (A/C, fridge, generator, etc.).  I did note that the tire date codes are from 2001, so all six tires would have to be replaced immediately, if not sooner.

From there we headed back south to the Salted Pig for a late lunch/early dinner.....just TLE and moi.  I had, you guessed it, the Street Tacos, and a very good Stout beer.  By the time I took this picture of my tacos, one had already vanished.....I can still taste them. TLE had a "Roasted Beet Salad", which she thoroughly enjoyed.....I guess she has gotten over the "sugar beet experience".


We sat and talked about life past, present and future, and reminisced about our 3+ month stay here in RJRP for close to two hours.  By the time we emerged from the Salted Pig it was after 4, and time to complete one more errand before returning to our coach.....get the propane bottle we use for the BBQ refilled.  The last time we had to refill that bottle was just before we left RJRP the last time in late January 2012.....it lasted over two years!

The first gas station we stopped at that had propane told me.....and this is no joke...."we're not selling propane today due to the weather...".....whaaaat?  In all my years I have never heard that one before.  We finally found a place on Mission which had no issue with the weather (slightly cloudy and warmish by the way) and got the bottle refilled for a flat $20, before heading "home".

We spent the evening watching some shows, including NCIS, and NCIS L.A., which were recorded Tuesday night, and then Revolution and the two hour Survivor season premier, which recorded while we were catching up on the two NCIS'.  

Only four more days after Wednesay.....getting very excited now!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The two edged sword.....

Once we realized we would be here in RJRP for 3 more weeks  while I recovered from surgery we began to find all kinds of positives to our situation......and they are numerous, but as it is with any two edged sword there is always the other side......the largest storm SoCal has seen in a few years will hit us Wednesday night, and after a series of two, or three storms have passed us by on Sunday we will have received a few inches of rain.  With that much rain in what is essentially a desert there will be, no doubt, flooding, mud and road closures.  

In our own localized situation our RV site is surrounded by dirt.....that will make it a little messy as we finish packing up Sunday, and it will mean we will need to wait until we have pulled out of our site to put the VW in the trailer......it means we will need to start putting things away Wednesday to avoid doing it in the aftermath of the storm.

But I forge ahead in the story too quickly.....what happened Tuesday?

The big task, for me, on Tuesday was to clean the massive radiator that keeps our Detroit Diesel cool.   This radiator holds almost 24 quarts of coolant....that is 6 gallons!  I last cleaned it in September just before we left Coeur d'Alene for Sidney, MT and the sugar beet harvest, which, amazingly, is almost six months ago now. I try to clean it at least twice a year.  For the job I borrowed my son, Chris' pressure washer....it used to be mine, but I gave it to him when we started our journey over two years ago.....I may, at some point, buy another one to keep with me, but so far it has worked out that whenever I needed to clean the radiator I was able to borrow one, or pay someone (Spearfish, SD) to clean it.  I had purchased the degreaser the same day (Saturday, February 8th) I suffered the double hernia with the intent of cleaning the radiator that Sunday morning....well, as you know, Sunday morning about 7:30 I was waking up from surgery.

Tuesday was the perfect day for the job.......clear blue skies, and temps in the mid 70's....short pants, flip flops, and t-shirt weather, and who cares if you get a little wet, huh?  TLE graciously helped me unload the stuff out of both engine bays....a lot of the stuff I store in there is too heavy for me to lift right now.  Once she had everything cleared out she left in the car to run some errands, and I dove into the task at hand.  Since we haven't traveled that many miles since Coeur d'Alene it wasn't too dirty, but a lot of black gunk did fall to the ground,which is what you want to see....that means you're getting the job done.  It took a little over an hour for the process, and another hour plus for the engine bays to dry out with TLE arriving home just in time to help put everything away again.


Next up was checking the air pressure on all 6 coach tires, and as has been the case for months and months, the air pressure had not changed.  I think I've only had to add air a couple of times in two years, and once was because the Schraeder valve in the right front steerer tire failed.

After all that work a nap was in order, then I read for a couple of hours, and took another short nap.....I still get tired easily.  Amazingly, even after taking a couple of naps a day lately, I sleep like a baby at night.

TLE roasted some veggies for dinner, and we watched a little TV before heading off to slumberland once again.......just a few days until we roll our wheels, and several of those days we will be watching water fall from the sky.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Time......

Time to start putting things away as March 3rd is coming quickly.  

Time to wind up the LED conversion projects.....waiting for the replacement porch light lens I bought on eBay to arrive to finish the last LED conversion.  

Time to clean the large Newell radiator now that I am feeling better.....that was going to be done on Sunday a couple of weeks ago, but I was busy recovering from surgery.  

Time to say our "until next times".

Time to take another bike ride, and that's exactly what we did around 11 am.....we decided to ride south on the SART to the Jurupa Ave. exit, then take Jurupa over to the Ralph's supermarket where TLE needed to pick up some groceries.  While she was inside (I stayed outside to watch the bikes) I spied a Carl's Jr. across the parking lot.  I used to order their Charbroiled Chicken Salad a lot when I was still working...only has 280 calories....so when TLE emerged from the market I suggested we head over for lunch as it was now close to 12 o'clock.  

From there we rode back up Magnolia to Market then over Mission back to RJRP.  In all we rode about 12 miles.  I was able to ride at a little faster clip than my first outing last Friday, but there still remains some tenderness, which is to be expected.  Just have to be sure not to press it too hard, and that is the hard part.

I had been following the USPS tracking on the porch light replacement lens and it seemed to be "stuck" in Washington State.....it said it would be delivered by March 4th.....uggghhh!  That's one day after we leave......then suddenly around 1pm I noticed it was marked as delivered....wait, what?  Okay, that's more like it.

I headed up to my son's office around 2 pm to pickup the eBay package, as well as any other mail that has come in the past two weeks.  Had a nice talk with my son, and then headed back "home" where I promptly got to work finishing the LED conversion of the porch light that was interrupted a week ago when I broke the glass lens.  Within an hour it was installed and here is the result.



I hadn't taken a shower after the 12 mile ride since I wanted to get up to my son's office before he left for the day, and then work on finishing the porch light, so I took one and then took a much needed nap in my recliner while TLE read.

Around 6 TLE made up some street tacos accompanied by her special salsa and some chips.

Time is fleeting, and there is much yet to do before we change our view......thanks for stopping by!

Monday, February 24, 2014

RING! RING! RING!

I remember turning over in bed about 6:20 because I heard the coffee maker finish perking, and I saw the time projected on the ceiling by our clock.....I was thinking "it's so warm and cozy here in bed......I'll just lay here enjoying the feeling for a while.....".....famous last words....actually famous first words of the day.....lol.  TLE's phone began to ring at 6:25......I know, because there it was on the ceiling when I opened my eyes.  Whenever the phone, any phone, rings before 7 am it is never good news....in my opinion.  TLE, uncharacteristically, popped out of bed like a cork from a champagne bottle, walked quickly to the front of the coach to the spot where she leaves her phone at night and answered...."this is Elaine".....that's how she always answers her phone.....it sounds more like, to me, "this Elaine".  All that aside, Ranger Robyn told TLE that Carolyn was sick, and would not be able to open at 7 am, and could Elaine work from 7 to 11 until she could get someone in to relieve her.  You have to understand this about TLE, and it is part of the "Lovely" part about her.....she rarely, if ever, says "NO".  I say "NO" all the time.....TLE, not so much.

I lay there listening to TLE get ready to walk over to the Kiosk, wishing all the while that she could have stayed and snuggled with me for a while....it is one of the things I love about retirement and our nomadic life......TLE is much more relaxed....BUT...it was not to be Sunday morning.  By 6:45 she was on her way....I fell back asleep for about 30 minutes and then got up to face the new day alone.  

And ALONE is pretty much how I spent the entire day......TLE arrived back home a little after 11, made me a sandwich, and then headed off just before Noon to spend the rest of the day shopping with her daughters, Sharon, Kate, Mere, and Sharon's (and ours, too) good friend Amanda, for a wedding dress for Sharon's wedding......yes, there is a date....January 17, 2015!

I was still full from all the fireside snacks Bill and Carol had brought with them Saturday night, so I didn't eat breakfast.  I started out the day watching two British Premier soccer matches, napping, and reading a new book.....yep, I am back in the reading mode again.

TLE arrived home sometime between 4 and 5 pm with the news that a dress had been found after visiting numerous bridal shops.....of course I am not allowed to see any pictures of said dress, just as Rod will not be allowed to see it until he and I see Sharon walking down the isle in a little under 11 months from now.


Left to right: Amanda, Kate, Meredith, TLE and the bride to be, Sharon

We spent the evening watching "The Amazing Race" season premier show, and then an old black and white move called "Love Affair" with Irene Dunn and Charles Boyer made in 1939.  It was the predecessor to the 1957 remake "An Affair to Remember" with Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr, which is probably better known than the original.  We both enjoyed it and it was a nice cap to the day.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Two week "anniversary"

Saturday marked 2 weeks since the onset of my double hernia.....hard to believe it has already been that long.....time is flying by, and within 8 days we will be on the road again.  I still get tired easily, and continue to have tenderness in the groin area, and both are to be expected.  I still have to hold myself back from trying to do too much.

After my Friday posting about our late breakfast at Simple Simon's my daughter Kate mentioned she had not yet been there for breakfast, or lunch, so we made a date to meet her, Nick (future son-in-law I hope....love the beard), and our two grand kids, Charlise and Elijah, there at 9:15 am for breakfast Saturday morning.

TLE had to work in the Kiosk from 7 to 9 (the flu is making the rounds) to fill in for someone else.  I picked her up in the car at exactly 9, and we were on our way.


This place is very popular on Saturday mornings (they are closed on Sundays), and it is usually tough to get a seat inside, but just as we put in our order a table came open, and we were able to eat inside....I love eating outside, but it was only 48 degrees at 9:15.....I would have been fine with that as I was dressed for it, but the grand kids only had t-shirts on.

We had a lovely breakfast, and then took a nice walk down the mall.  There is a cool antique emporium on the south side of Mission Inn Blvd. called Mission Galleria that we had never been in so TLE and I bade Kate, Nick and the kids farewell and headed inside to explore their four floors of treasures.  I found a treasure trove of state license plates, but I was not willing to pay the $12 to $16 per plate they were asking, and their prices were firm, so I passed.  TLE, other hand, found a Marcasite ring for $20 she could not live without.....it actually is quite beautiful and matches almost perfectly some Markasite earrings she has, so I pulled out my bank card and transferred some money on her behalf.



The "must have"

We spent the afternoon sitting outside reading......I was finishing my read of "Dog's Run" that I mentioned yesterday.....the book has a surprise ending that totally caught me off guard, but I enjoyed the book thoroughly.

TLE headed back over to the Kiosk at 4 pm for another 2 hour shift to fill in, again, for someone else.  At 6 we were expecting some friends from our AYSO soccer days, Bill and Carol, to come visit and sit by the fire for a few hours, as well as our daughter Sharon, and her fiance, Rod.  We went through four bundles of firewood over the course of 5 hours, and had a lovely time......next weekend it is supposed to rain, so this is probably our last shot at a weekend fire.

The sunset was balmy and beautiful......TLE got this shot on her way home from the Kiosk.


Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Weekly weigh in....

Drum roll please...........my new low during this weight loss process is.....188.0!  Not having exercised for 12 days I am tickled to have been able to continue to lose weight, and if nothing else, stay below 190.  

I was given permission by my doctor on Thursday to start riding my bike again, but decided to wait one more day.  Friday promised to be warmish, getting into the low 80's, and by 9:30 am the air temperature was actually quite pleasant for a late February day so I got out our single bikes, checked the air pressure in the tires and we headed out on a gentle, slow rolling 9 mile round trip bike ride with a late breakfast at Simple Simon's thrown in for good measure.   It felt ever so good to be back on my bike, but there was the expected tenderness in my groin area which will, no doubt, be present for the near future.

We arrived at Simple Simon's around 10 am.......TLE got a cup of coffee and a croissant, and I a cup of coffee and a bagel.  As we sat outside sipping our coffee and nibbling at our pastries we couldn't help but feel happy that the last 12 days had turned out so well, when it could have turned out so badly.


The ride to and from Simple Simon's was extremely pleasant.....we arrived back "home" around 11 am.....TLE had a 3 hour shift in the Kiosk commencing at Noon, so she took a shower and was on her way by 11:50.  I decided to head to Subway to buy a footlong Club for the first time in 12 days.  Of course, I love their Club sandwich, but after 2+ months of eating one every day it has been nice to eat TLE's cooking again.  

After lunch I spent the afternoon reading a new book on my Kindle by another author who also lives fulltime in an RV, Nick Russell.  He released a new book a few months ago called "Dog's Run".  Nick also writes a daily blog which can be found here.  Nick is an excellent writer of mysteries and I highly recommend this book as well as his "Big Lake" book series (Big Lake, Crazy Days in Big Lake, Big Lake Lynching, and Big Lake Blizzard).


We have a back log of recently released movies we have yet to see......we don't like going to see a movie the weekend it is released......we don't like long lines, or big crowds....so we wait several weeks before we go to see a movie on our "must see  on the big screen list".  I noticed that "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" was playing at the Regal over at the Riverside Plaza at 9:20 and suggested to TLE that we go to see it.....of course she agreed.  The movie grabs you by the throat early on and rarely lets go.  We both enjoyed it immensely along with the other two couples in the theater......our kind of  "crowd".  

We arrived back home just before midnight with big grins on our faces.....another day lived well!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Wishes do come true

The last few days I have been wishing for two things.....in the over all scheme of things they are not big things, but in my narrow world they are big things.....1) Having the 13 staples that were beginning to irritate me a lot removed, and 2) Being given permission by my surgeon to ride my bike again.  Thursday was the day that both of those wishes could be granted, and I had essentially been focusing on that day all week long to the exclusion of most anything else......I was in a holding pattern.  

Thursday finally came and there we were at 10:30 walking through the door to my surgeon's office, just a stone's throw from Riverside Community Hospital where the surgery was performed.  Within minutes TLE and I were whisked into Dr. A's examination room where he pronounced me well on my way to a full recovery with no complications.  As he asked me various questions about the past 10 days he began plucking the 13 nemesis staples from my abdomen one by one......funny, I expected a little more discomfort during this process, but only felt very minor sensations as they came out....of course there is always one staple that is hard to get out, but even that one caused me no pain, or discomfort.

As the good doctor was cleaning off some of the remaining adhesive from my original surgical dressing I asked "doctor, may I resume riding my bicycle today?", and he answered quickly "Of course!  But, nothing too strenuous for a while, okay?"  Yes, okay.....YAY!

I was feeling a little bit giddy after we left and suggested we head over to Goodwill to see if they had anything we couldn't live without, and then on to the supermarket to do some much needed shopping.  I found nothing at Goodwill, but TLE found a couple of clothing items to replace some others that no longer fit her. I was just kind of floating on air as I walked around each store.....no more feeling of the staples pulling a little as I walked.

We arrived back "home" by noon time.....TLE made me a sandwich accompanied by some chips and her amazing salsa!  I was tempted to head out on on my bike after lunch, but decided to give myself one more day before I get back in the saddle.

I haven't read any books on my Kindle for several months.......I had started a book written by my friend, Brian Gore, "Shadow on the Mountain" back just before we started the sugar beet harvest, but never finished......I was soooo tired every day that the last thing I wanted to do was read a book.  For whatever reason I hadn't pulled it back out to finish.  I decided Thursday to get the Kindle charged up and make an effort to finish his book.  I have gone through periods when I read a lot, and then periods when I don't read at all.  Brian is a western writer and this particular book is the second of the "Ben Jensen" series.  Brian also writes a regularly published blog called "Goin' RV Boondocking", which I highly recommend.  

During the morning the USA women's hockey team was leading Canada 2-0 with just 3.5 minutes to go in the game and we were thinking the USA would win, but Canada staged an unlikely comeback tying the game with just 54 seconds remaining to send the match into overtime where they (Canada) scored the sudden death winning goal with 12 minutes remaining in the overtime period......a devastating loss, to be sure, for Team USA.

I spent the afternoon reading Brian's book, and really getting into it again.  He is a good writer, and I'm looking forward to reading more from him as he continues adding to this series.

For dinner TLE prepared my usual street tacos after I grilled up another batch of carne asada on the BBQ.  

I have pretty much hit another weight plateau at 188, where I have been since the surgery, but I am hoping that adding bicycling back into the daily mix I can chisel away at my weight and hit my goal of 185 before we leave on March 3rd......just three pounds to go!  Right now my total weight loss stands at 23.5 pounds and I am ecstatic.  TLE is also in a holding pattern on her weight loss.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Not much.....

Wednesday started out looking like rain......it was ever so dreary and cold.  That it did not rain was surprising, because it looked, smelled and felt like rain was coming.  TLE had volunteered to take the morning shift of another camphost whose husband was going in for surgery that morning, so she was off to the Kiosk around 6:30.    Since there had been a very heavy dew during the night and early morning I decided to wipe down the VW before the inevitable sun came out......no need to hook up a hose to wash her off.....just get out a couple of micro fiber towels and it's as good as if you washed her.

I watched the end of the Russia vs. Finland Ice Hockey match in which Russia lost 3-1 and was eliminated from medal competition.....that was not expected.  A little later on the USA topped the Czech Republic 5-2 to move on to the semi final match on Friday against Canada.  TLE returned from the Kiosk around 10:30 and we spent the rest of the morning watching the women's figure skating short programs.......like I said.......she loves figure skating.

The forecast had Santana winds coming in Wednesday evening and lasting into the afternoon Thursday, but they did not materialize here in RJRP.....no doubt a few miles to the west they are feeling them, but we apparently are in the sweet spot right now.

I was feeling a bit tired, so I took a couple of naps in the afternoon, and before I knew it the sun was setting on another day.  Some days are just lazy days, and Wednesday was one of those days.  I really am hoping when I get my staples out Thursday the doctor will release me to do a little light bike riding, because I am starting to get a little stir crazy.

TLE and I watched an old movie I had never seen before......"The Barefoot Contessa" with Humphrey Bogart and Ava Gardner released in 1954.....I think I was 5 years old then.

I took a couple of pictures of the porch light and the rear back up lights so you will have a better idea of what I'm talking about.......


 The porch light sans the broken lens and old bayonet bulb

One of the back up lights....same fixture

The replacement is on its way

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Counting down again

We are looking at departing RJRP on March 3rd.....that is our new departure date and will make it 3 weeks later than our original departure date.  I feel comfortable with that date, and my body seems to be co-operating.  Tuesday was the first day I did not take one pain killer pill, and I am moving around more easily, but still very cautiously.

I was able to get to the 4th and final docking light late in the morning, and coverted it to LED strip lights.  I had it all re-installed.....keep in mind that I test the lights all along the process, even after they have been installed in the docking light fixture, to be sure they work properly, and at each of the three tests I did using my 12 volt bench tester they worked properly, but as soon as I finished the re-installation and turned on the lights for the final test one of the two strips would not light up......ugghhhh!  So, back to removing the 9 screws (3 are just phillips head screws and are easily removed, but the last 6 require the use of the aforementioned 1/4" open end wrench, and that is a slow process) that hold these lights in place.  Ultimately, I had to remove one LED strip, as there was an unseen defect that ultimately resulted in its failure, and installed a replacement.  Once that was done I went through the re-install process, and this time when the switch was thrown it worked!  

From there I went to remove the porch light fixture.....as I removed the 2nd of 2 screws the lens and bezel slipped from my hands....I watched in horror as the glass lens hit the ground shattering into a hundred pieces.  I really enjoy keeping my coach's original look, and did not want to replace the fixture with something that would look out of place so I took the metal bezel into the coach, got out a magnifying glass to see what the manufacturer logo said......I could barely make it out, but the letters spelled FoMoCo.....Ford Motor Company.  I got on eBay and started my search and what do you know?  This light fixture is from a 1964 Ford T-Bird.....it was one of two back up lights.  It was then I remembered that the two back up lights on my coach are the same exact fixture!  I found a used replacement on eBay for $20, and there were multiple auctions for this same fixture.  At any rate, the conversion of the porch light is on hold for a few days until the replacement fixture arrives in the mail.

There are actually a number of Ford products used by Newell in our coach.....the steering column, the entry door handle and latching mechanism, the docking lights, the backup lights, and the porch light.....there are probably a few more things I have not yet discovered that are Ford products.

While I was engrossed in my LED conversions TLE was going through her recipes to "thin out the herd" so to speak.   By the time I had finished with what I was doing it was coming on to late afternoon, and time for a nap....I had just run out of gas.  I guess that is the biggest residual effect of my injury and subsequent surgery.....I get tired very easily.

So here we sit just 12 days from our new departure date getting excited again about a view change.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Washington's Day...

When I was growing up we celebrated Washington's birthday on February 22nd....no matter what day of the week that was each year (the same for Lincoln's Birthday).  At some point, I think in 1971, it became President's Day and is now celebrated on the 3rd Monday of February every year, but for me it will always Washington's Birthday.  Being the last day of this long weekend the park began to empty out around mid morning.

We spent part of the morning watching the Ice Dancing finals "live" from the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia......TLE loves figure skating and ice dancing a lot, and I guess I am not far behind her.  An American couple was favored to win, but the way these Olympics have been going we were a little skeptical....the reality has just not lived up to the hype in most cases.  As it turned out they won the gold medal handily, nevertheless, I watched their performance fully expecting some bizarre mistake, or accident to snatch gold from their grasp.  It never happened....in fact all 5 of the top couples skated pretty much flawless programs with Davis and White taking gold with a record setting score.  For once the reality lived up to the hype.  

In order to finish the conversion of my docking lights to LED I needed a 1/4" open end wrench to properly, and more easily remove the remaining screws holding the last two in place.  I don't have a 1/4" open end wrench.....my smallest is 5/16".....and except for this one sole application I have never needed one.  I hate buying a tool that has but one purpose, and will probably not be used again, but using the needle nose pliers to remove the screws was just taking too long.  TLE drove me over to Autozone where I found exactly what I needed for $5.  This little wrench has a lifetime warranty......that may turn into a few lifetimes as it will get used rarely, but for $5 the process of removing and re-installing the lights is significantly faster.  After our return I dove into converting the 3rd of four lights, and had it done in a little over an hour, so now there is just one more to go (left rear), and I will tackle that Tuesday.  I think I will also convert the porch light to LED while I am at it.  Some may wonder "why doesn't he use an adjustable wrench?"......unfortunately it just won't fit.....the space is very narrow, and only an open end wrench will work.

While I was working on the left front docking light Ozzie and his wife dropped by to ask about our Newell......Ozzie is one of the few people we have run into who knows about Newells.  He has been in the market for a pre-owned Newell for a while.....we spent at least 20 minutes talking about Newells in general, and about our coach specifically.

We had received a call from our son, Tim, earlier in the morning suggesting we meet he and his girl friend (Laila) at the Salted Pig for a late lunch/early dinner around 2:30, and, of course, we had to include our oldest daughter, Meredith, who missed our last lunch there.   Meredith arrived at our coach around 1:45 and we sat and talked for a while before leaving for the Salted Pig around 2:20.  Tim and his best girl, Laila, were there waiting for us, and we proceeded to have a great lunch.  Since I've been under 190 pounds for the better part of a week I decided to go for it and had my first hamburger in a few months.  They have several interesting burgers there including "The Really Good Burger" (what I ordered) which includes jalapenos, cream cheese and crispy onions along with a fried egg......I know....sounds really good, huh?  We ordered a plate of their "Filthy Fries" (laced with beer cheese, crackling dust, herbs and roasted garlic) as an appetizer.  Of course there was draft beer to be consumed......I had two pints of the Highwater Campfire Stout of which I cherished each sip.

Tim, moi and Meredith......this is the first time I've worn my Tabasco tshirt in a long time.....it's a medium....it fits perfectly now!  

Frankly, virtually everything on their menu sounds extremely appetizing to me.  Fortunately for me we will only be here a couple more weeks, so I won't have enough time to sample everything on the menu.  It was a delightful 90 minute meal, and is one of the things I am thankful we are still here to enjoy......more meals and more time spent with our kids.

Only a few more days until I get the 13 staples removed from my incision.....they are really beginning to bug me.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Catching Fire

I don't think I realized it was the long President's Day weekend until Sunday morning......this is the time when you begin to see the weekender crowd beginning to leave the park as they return to their regular sticks and bricks lives.  When that expected exodus did not materialize was when I it occurred to me it was a three day weekend for most of these folks.  It wasn't that long ago that we looked forward to the long weekends, and took full advantage of each and every one of them always trying to squeeze every last second out of the weekend, while doing everything we could to make it feel like more than three days.

My condition continues to improve steadily. and I'm down to almost no pain medication now.  There is a lot of tenderness, and I still move slowly and with caution, however I can bend over and pick up things off the floor now without any discomfort......as long as I do it very slowly.

We watched the Winter Olympics on and off for much of the morning, but around Noon we headed over to Moreno Valley to our secret $2 movie theaters (Regency) to see, for the first time, "Hunger Games: Catching Fire".  I wasn't quite up to sitting in a theater chair for over two hours a few days ago, but Sunday I thought I was up to it, and I was perfectly comfortable.  We enjoyed this current Hunger Games installment and are looking forward to the next one to be released later this year.

We arrived back "home" just before 4 pm, and by 5:30 TLE was serving me my daily offering of  "street tacos".  Actually, after 9+ weeks of Subway footlong sandwiches forming the cornerstone of my diet it is nice to be eating TLE's freshly prepared food again, and still see my weight remaining under 190 during the past week of inactivity.  The one thing I have noticed over the past few weeks is that it doesn't take as much food to give me that "full" feeling anymore....that must mean my actual stomach has shrunk along with my exterior.

The weather continues to be a non-story here in Southern California, unlike the rest of the nation......our weather is just very pleasant day after day.....mid 70's, and mostly clear skies with very, very little precipitation.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Funkadoodle

It feels like we are in sort of a sports vacuum right now.....sure, the Winter Olympics are in full swing, but the sports I enjoy on a seasonal basis are just not grabbing my attention right now, even two weeks after the Super Bowl.  By now I would have been watching NBA and College basketball.....with interest......but the interest is just not there.  I find myself in kind of a funk for the first time in a long time.....we should be roaming the earth....changing our view on a regular basis again, but alas, due to my accident we are stuck.  Mind you there are many people who would love to be "stuck" here at Rancho Jurupa where every day feels like Saturday, but when you have become used the nomadic life sitting in one place for too long begins to feel claustrophobic.  I know....."poor me".

TLE tells me it is a blessing the Winter Olympics are on now as they keep me occupied most of the day whilst I recuperate, since I am essentially "housebound", and that is probably the gist of it all......I am housebound while I recover.  Before the injury I always had my daily bike ride to capture, if for a short time, that feeling of freedom......now my bike sits collecting dust, and I sit in my recliner.  What is humorous for me is that this has only been going on for a week......it's not like I've been sitting here for months on end recuperating......it is only a week, with at least another week to follow.  We could probably leave here next weekend, but now our good friends whose home we are heading for will be out of town on March 1st attending a funeral, so we have decided not to leave until after March 1st......probably March 3rd, or 4th.

On the other side of the coin I have been able to get back into some long side lined projects such as the conversion of my docking lights over to LED's.  I spent part of Saturday converting the right front docking light over to the strip LED's, and that occupied me for a good two hours from beginning to end.....two down, two to go.

The rest of the day was occupied by the Olympics for me, and for TLE going off the Kiosk to work from 3;30 to around 6.  The rest of the evening we watched the Winter Olympics including the exciting replay of the overtime period, and shootouts of the USA vs. Russia hockey match, which the USA ultimately won.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Weekly weigh in

For a week before my unexpected surgery I was stuck at 190-191 pounds.  Just as 200 was a magic threshold, so is 190 pounds.   Since last Sunday morning's surgery I have dropped to 188.8 as of this morning (Saturday)!  Nothing like abdominal pain to reduce your appetite.  TLE says she has me on a new diet.....she calls it the "street tacos" diet.  That's probably pretty accurate since I have had street tacos pretty much every day except Thursday when I had Rubio's fish tacos.

Friday was very warm here in RJRP.....it topped out at 88 degrees!  All the while most of the rest of the country is still in a deep freeze.

Late morning TLE headed over to donate some time at the Kiosk.......we were not included on the current 4 week schedule since we were supposed to have been gone, but since we are still here they are using TLE to fill in for others who need time off, or are sick.  While she spent 4 hours working I decided to get back to a low impact project I had last worked on when we were still here two years ago.  My "docking" lights still have the old style automotive bulbs in them, and draw a lot of power.  Two years ago I had bought some automotive style LED's to replace the old ones, but they would not fit properly.  These lights are very hard to take out, so I just abandoned the project until another time.  I still have about 20 feet of strip LED's and decided to removed the bulbs and replace them with strip LED lights.....it came out great!  I wish I had taken a picture at night so you could get the full effect, but it came out better than I anticipated.


Yes, they are old Cadillac fixtures.....very cool.

About the time I finished with the first of four docking light conversions TLE returned from the Kiosk, and we spent the rest of the afternoon resting, reading (TLE) and napping (me).  We had planned to go to the movies and see the recent Hunger Games offering, but that late in the day after standing for a few hours working on the docking light I couldn't see myself sitting in a theater chair for a couple of hours, so maybe we'll try again Sunday.

Of course, the Winter Olympics are still going on so we spent part of the evening watching them again.

By the way, I finally took the dressing off my surgical wound.  The actual incision is 3.5" long, and there are 13....count them.....13 staples....I was not expecting that.  I guess the seriousness of the injury and operation is starting to hit me.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Feeling normal

I has only been 5 days since my nether regions were sliced and diced, then put back together, and I don't feel anything near normal yet, but the amount of improvement I saw Thursday has added to my optimism that I will feel normal again in the not too distant future.  Right now my days have taken on an ever so narrow focus.....my sense of accomplishment must come from the incremental improvements in my condition......there is no bike riding, and there will be none for another couple of weeks.  I am hoping when I see my doctor next Thursday I will be allowed to do some bike riding again.  There have been no Subway footlongs since Noon on Saturday, but I am maintaining my weight at 190, give, or take a few 10ths here and there....I was actually below 190 for one day, Wednesday, when I came in at 189.6........a weight marker I haven't seen for many years.

TLE continues to lose weight and has just dropped below another marker she has not seen in many years.....I will leave it to her to disclose the actual numbers, but from my perspective she is looking great!

The big thing in my life Thursday was to drive into my son's office (chauffeured by TLE) to pick up the owners manual for our VW Beetle.  I was able to acquire one on eBay for around $40 and it arrived Wednesday via USPS.  I've been able to figure out most things for myself, but there are a couple only the owner manual will answer.  One was how BIG is that gas tank really?  It turns out its capacity is 14.5 gallons, including a 1.9 gallon reserve when the fuel light comes on.......that is good to know, and explains why the most I could get in the tank just after the fuel light would turn on was just over 12.5 gallons.

We headed into the office around 12:30, but stopped off first at Rubio's for some of my favorite fish tacos.  TLE informs me that their two fish taco plate with 2 sides comes in at 600 calories, so I promised to only have a salad for dinner.

What she saw

What I saw

Several people commented on the first picture (TLE put it up on Facebook) saying I looked like I was getting too skinny.....it's probably because I'm still wearing my XL size t-shirts.....I'll have to break out my assortment of medium and large t-shirts again.  I am definitely not too skinny.....yet.

We spent the evening watching the Winter Olympics.....it was a good day full of promise and a return to normalcy.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Rehab

There is not much that stands out about Wednesday.  I was pretty much a slug all day long just laying around not doing much at all.....although I did manage to get out with TLE and walk one circumference around the Cottonwood section of the RV park.  I am still rather stiff from the double hernia surgery Sunday morning, but I am seeing noticeable improvement every few hours.  All that being said I can feel that I have a long ways to go and the temptation to do more than I am doing is always there.........although I'm sure TLE would say I have kept her very busy moving and lifting stuff I would normally take care of, as well as helping me out of my lounge chair several times a day.

Obviously with inactivity comes the boredom demon, and with the boredom demon comes the temptation to snack more often to break the boredom.....the last thing I want to have happen during my rehab time is to gain 10 pounds after all the hard work I have done the past two months.

My friend Tom McCloud called from Arizona mid morning to check in on me........we should have been at his home Monday evening if the dastardly Jello had not dictated otherwise.  We will get to Arizona.....we will.....just a few weeks later than planned.

As has been the case since my surgery I spent the rest of the day napping and watching the daytime version of the Winter Olympics.....what I am finding out is much of what they show at night in prime time can be seen during the day on NBC's alternate sports channel on DirecTV.  They do save some of the really good stuff for the prime time show, but a lot of it is a repeat from earlier in the day.  I also watched a British Premier League soccer match between Arsenal and Manchester United which ended in a 0-0 tie.

We had a beautiful sunset that TLE managed to capture.......



On the other hand I was "quick" enough to get this great picture of the "street tacos" TLE's loving hands prepared for my dinner before they disappeared into my digestive system.....


Yes.....that is a margarita in the background........

TLE went to bed a while before me as she ususally does, while I fell asleep in my lounge chair.....as I often do.....but finally waddled off to bed around midnight.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Hotel California

There is a haunting line from the well known Eagle's song, Hotel California, that goes something like this: "You can check-out any time you like......BUT....you can never leave". 
Why does it take soooo long to be discharged from the hospital?  Everyone kept telling me I was being discharged, but there I was hour after hour awaiting the lady with the wheel chair who would carry me to the front door and freedom.  

I've only been in the hospital for multiple days twice in my 64 years, and both times it took hours from the time the doctor said I was "free" to go until I was actually free to go.  My first multiple day stay in a hospital was back in November of 1978 when I was admitted for surgical repair of a ligament in my ankle which had become detached after I survived a 60 foot fall off a cliff while deer hunting.  Not much has changed in the intervening 36 years, and I began to feel like we would not be allowed to leave the hospital Tuesday, but after several hours of impatient waiting the nice lady pushing the ubiquitous wheel chair arrived at room 584-A to take me down a couple of floors to the main entrance of Riverside Community Hospital.  They offer valet parking, which TLE had used when she arrived 4 hours before to pick me up.....initially the young parking valet said it might be as long as 20 minutes before they retrieved our car, but in actuality it took just 4 minutes......always good to lower expectations, and then exceed them almost immediately!

The entrance

I think we finally got home around 3:30 and TLE made some "street tacos" from the left over carne asada from my daughter's engagement party, and they were delicious.  Let's be frank, Hospital food is just not that good, so anything with even a little flavor tastes wonderful!  Hospital food does not just taste like it came out of a box, but like they cooked it without removing it from the box.

Even though it had only been parts of 3 days since I left the coach I still felt quite disoriented for the first hour, or so after we got home, but within an hour or two I was back in the recliner resting, and learning how to get out of it without hurting myself.

We spent the evening watching more Winter Olympics heading off to bed around 11:30.

I want to thank all of those who sent well wishes via the comments section of the blog, or directly to me......via text, or e-mail....it means a lot to me to know so many are out there pulling for me to get well quickly.

Hope to take a walk around the park today, and just enjoy being alive, and on the mend.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Zero Day - Back to square one



No one has ever poured an entire bowl of jello on my head before, but this past Saturday Miss Serendipity did just that.  I like to believe that nothing happens that is without reason.....what that reason may be I am still trying to figure out, but here we are still in RJRP....there are no wheels rolling......I didn't sit down in the drivers seat of the Newell Monday morning, look at TLE and say "It's good to be moving again".....and she did not reply "Yeah"......no, none of that happened.  Instead I awoke Monday morning  with only one thought on my mind....well...two thoughts on my mind.  One......when will I be discharged from the hospital?.....and two.....when are my bowels going to begin working again?  I don't mean to gross anyone out, but sometimes life gets right down to the essentials.

Dr. Astarita came by around 10 am and said he would have me discharged when I (here comes one of those essentials again) began to "pass gas"......okay....lovely.....my job Monday was to "pass gas" so I could go home.  As nice as Riverside Community Hospital is, it is, after all, a hospital.  People check in to hospitals because something is terribly wrong, and they need medical help....there is the ever present sound of faint moaning wafting down the hallways of the surgical wing....there is the ever steady stream of family and friends visiting in every semi private room all day long......and you are being awakened at all times of the day and night to be poked and prodded by a nurse.  The man I was sharing my room with (he was admitted with a burst appendix and was in a lot of pain after his operation to save his life) had no less than 5-7 people in his side of the undersized room all day, and into the evening.  My life revolved around prying myself out of my bed about ever 90 minutes to go to the bathroom, and all the attendant discomfort associated with that maneuver.   I was hooked up to an IV the entire time, so I was being over hydrated and that water has to go somewhere.....I was just the vessel it resided in for 90 minutes at a time before I had to "go" again.   There is no point in arguing with doctors, or nurses about the need for some much fluid.....you just stick your arm and and let them stick you again.  Of course going to the bathroom meant I had to take the IV stand with me.......you cannot imagine how difficult it is to unplug, and move one of those around your bed several times each night, then back into position so you can lie down again.

I did eventually "pass gas", but that miracle occurred late in the day, and by the time the good doctor came by again "we" (he) decided I should spend one more night.  As difficult as this "hernia" thing has been, the Sugar Beet Harvest was way more difficult, so I guess I should keep things in perspective.  

TLE came by in the morning to visit, but since I was doing fine, and improving steadily I saw no point in her returning.....no point in both of us being stuck in the small room with too many visiting relatives.  They seemed to feel sorry for me that no one was visiting me all day long.......hmmm.....I felt sorry for the poor guy who seemed to just want to be put out of his misery, or at least sleep.

I watched more Winter Olympics to pass the time, and finally turned off the TV around midnight.

So, our departure plans are on hold for at least two weeks.....maybe three....we'll see......I could probably be ready to go in a week, but I am not going to push it....I do not want to experience that kind of pain again in my lifetime if I can avoid it.  It is surprising how often owning a large motorhome involves lifting something.  My nurse says I'm not to lift anything greater than 15 pounds for 2 weeks......15 pounds? The thought of lifting something heavier than a coffee cup right now is very unappealing.  Besides it's not so much the lifting, but the pushing, pulling, and moving of things is always going on.....now TLE will have to be my go to person for these mundane tasks.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, February 10, 2014

D minus 1

I'm spending a couple of days at Riverside Community Hospital learning more than I ever wanted to know about hernias.  My particular hernia is called a Ritcher Hernia....a particularly dangerous one.   If not reduced quickly it can result in part of your intestine dying.  By the time I arrived at RCH it had been 12 hours since the onset of symptoms.   Fortunately only a small piece of intestine had bit the dust......about the size of a quarter, which the doctor was able to quickly excise and repair. 

I woke up from the anesthetic about 7:15....of course it only seemed like a few minutes that I was out and not the 3+ hours I was under the knife.  TLE was summoned from the waiting room and I attempted to communicate with her, but the words just would not form..... It seemed add if my whole body had been given a shot of novacane.  I wanted some water in the worst kind of way. 

Around noon I needed to go to the bathroom, but I just could not relax enough to go so the nurse had to cathterize me.....she did what they call a straight cathiter..... put it in and then take it out after I urinated..... she warned me that if they had to do it again it might be in for up to a week.....okay, that got my attention.   The catheterization was as uncomfortable as one would imagine....especially when a woman you do not know, and have never met before is handling your manhood, and you just sit there acting like this happens every day. 

I slept a lot during the day, and when I wasn't sleeping I was watching sports I would never ever watch on the Winter Olympics..... sports like Curling, Biathalon, Women's Hockey. 

Not much else to report.....based on the information I have gathered it looks as if I will be out of action for a few weeks. 

Thanks for stopping by!

P.S. - Please excuse my spelling..... I'm using my phone to write the blog and it is challenging to say the least.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

D minus 2 - I did not see that coming. ..

No, I did not....Saturday started out innocently enough.  First up was a haircut at Supercuts, and then over to West Marine to pick up the Delo 100 oil, then get gas.  I needed to be home before 11 am as Ruben from Kool Filtration was coming to service our reverse osmosis system.  We had about 30 minutes before Ruben's arrival so I got TLE to come out and help me move the large 8d battery that I removed back in November.   What happened next was what I did not see coming.

TLE grabbed one end of the mammoth battery and I the other and we lifted and moved the battery.  Apparently during that short lift a hernia was born.   Within 30 minutes the pain began, and would not go away.   As a result I was unable to attend Sharon's engagement party.  

I didn't figure out it was a hernia until just before TLE got home..... just thought it was gas. 

TLE came home around 9:30 just about the time the pain was increasing..... by 11:30 I decided I had to go to the hospital.  We arrived at the hospital about 11:40 and I wad being treated within 10 minutes. Ultimately they decided to operate to repair the hernia. 

I will be here until Monday, or Tuesday at the latest.   Looks like the Jello had other plans after all. 

As a result we will not be departing on Monday as you can well imagine.

Thanks for stopping by!