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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

R.O.

8:17 am - Wednesday - 50 F degrees, 44% humidity, wind 1 mph out of the northwest.....very clear blue skies.  Time to start putting stuff away!

Tuesday we had Santa Ana winds, but not too bad.....I think the worst wind was from 10 am to noon when it was blowing about 19-20 mph, but not bad enough to force us to stow the patio awning.  I had planned to make some minor repairs to the awning fabric, but opted to wait until Wednesday when it will not be windy at all.

TLE went shopping and I hung out in the trailer putting a few things away, keeping my phone close by as I had just called my friend Ruben at Kool Filtration to make an appointment for him to come and service our reverse osmosis system.  Ruben installed our original RO water purifying system in our Ontario home in 1987, and then installed one in our Newell in 2011 as we were preparing to begin our fulltime life.  The last time he serviced our Newell RO system was almost two years ago.  At the time we had purchased a second set of replacement filters from him so we could change the filters ourselves.  In the interim the ultra violet light which helps to kill unwanted microbes in our water supply had burned out requiring replacement, we needed to have our filters replaced, and our system inspected to be sure the 'membrane' was still good.  I had almost forgotten to call Ruben to come out before we leave on Saturday, and wanted to be sure I got his return call.

TLE returned around 12:30 and within an hour Ruben returned my call advising he could be at the Elks Club by 2:30 pm......perfect!  Just as I was hanging up from my call from Ruben TLE called me over to the pantry cupboard where it appeared one of the door hinges was coming apart, so I removed it and took it out to the trailer to attempt to fix it.  I was able to get it back together, but discovered when I went to reinstall it that I had put it together backwards.....doh!  So now I had to carefully unbend the piece I had closed with a pair of Channel Lock pliers.  It took me a while to fix my error, but I was successful and finally reinstalled it just before Ruben arrived.  It was good to visit with Ruben.....it's amazing that it has been 27 years since we first met.  And now we are set for another year of purified water!

TLE and I spent the evening watching the 'Gilmore Girls' mini-series.....we managed to get through two of the four 90 minute episodes on Netflix before it was time to go to bed....it was just a few minute before midnight, which explains why we got up so late this morning.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The bottom line......

7:12 am - Tuesday - 47 F degrees, 39% humidity, wind 14 mph out of the north (not feeling that here at the Elks Club.....maybe 5 mph).....4 days until we roll!

I had my followup appointment at Pacific Eye Institute at 11 am Monday......we left around 10:25 am in order to make the drive over to Upland via Arrow Route.  In spite of Monday morning traffic we arrived at 10:55 am.....I hate being late for appointments.  I wish those who set those appointments hated being late as much as I.  TLE and I sat in the waiting room.....let's face it.....they call it 'The Waiting Room', so there is no way you are not going to WAIT, right?  When I go to an Urgent Care, or Emergency Room I expect to wait as I had no appointment for my 'emergency'.  Having been in numerous doctors office waiting rooms over the course of 67 years, I am accustomed to waiting a few minutes, but Monday I was not called for my 11 am appointment until 11:55 am.....that is a new world record for me.  On the other hand I'm retired.....what have I got to do that's more important than making sure my left eye is healing properly?  So, I 'put my patience in my pocket' as my good friend Karen says, and thought pleasant thoughts.  

At last my name was called and I moved to the smaller waiting room where, ironically, I did not have to wait even one second.  The doctor moved through one test after another, and at the end of about 15 minutes pronounced my left eye to have 20/20 vision again.....I was able to read every single line on the eye chart including the bottom line I was unable to read the day I got the patch off my eye.  He said I was the first followup of the day to be able to read all the lines, and that I was ahead of the typical recovery schedule for someone my age.  I do have to continue to put in the eye drops four times per day until they run out, or I hit the four week mark, whichever comes first......and I do have to wear the dreaded nighttime eye patch when I sleep......and I do have to continue sleeping either on my back, or my right side so there is no pressure on my left eye......I really, really want to sleep on my left side again, and I really, really want to stop wearing that eye patch, but such is life.  By the time all of this post operative stuff is done we'll be half way to Florida.....YAY!

From Pacific Eye Institute we headed back to Rancho Cucamonga where we intended to visit my son's office to go through the few remaining items still on our storage shelves we have in his warehouse, but Chris, TAR (The Amazing Rochelle), and Cynthia were at lunch (one of the consequences of my 11 am appointment turning into an 11:55 am appointment), so we went to Home Goods where TLE wanted to by a new 'shaped' pillow, and some backup sheets for our bed, and then to Rubio's where we had our lunch before getting a text from Chris that they were back at the office.  By the way, we did find some new Queen sheets with a 500 thread count, and TLE did get her new 'shaped' pillow.

In all we made two trips to the local Goodwill with items to donate, and pretty much liquidated the last of of stored 'stuff'.  I retrieved a box of music CD's which I will go through and retrieve the CD's I want to keep, and then give the rest to my kids, if they want them.  Since we will probably not see Chris, TAR and Cynthia before we roll our wheels we said our 'until next times'.  TAR faithfully reads my blog every single day, and is probably the best informed of all our children and their significant others regarding our daily adventures,and lives in general.  Frankly, this was the reason I began to write my blog in the first place.....we wanted our immediate and extended families to be part of our lives while we travel, and to know where we are, and what we are doing.

By the time we began the drive back home it was closing in on 3 pm, and I did need to dump the black tank before it got dark......now, I'm sure I could dump it in the dark, but come on....who wants to mess with the black tank in the dark, huh?  We were home by 3:15 to find a 5th wheel at the dump station.....usually it takes most guys about 15 minutes max from beginning to end to dump their tanks from a long weekend excursion, but 45 minutes later he was still there.....hmmmm.  I went ahead and got the macerator pump hooked up, and the hoses connected so I would be ready to go when the 5th wheel guy finished.  Finally at 4:10 he was done and I pulled my hose over to the dump station and began to pump out our black tank finishing just as the sun set in the western sky.

We watched the MNF game between the Green Bay Packers and the Philadelphia Eagles, which turned out t be a very good game won in the end by the Packers who deparately needed a win after four straight losses.

As I watched the game I couldn't help but begin to mentally list all the things I need to do before we pull out on Saturday morning for Yuma......it's not overwhelming, but you know me....I'll be thinking about all the things I need to do right up until Saturday morning.

Between now and Saturday we will be spending individual time with our kids beginning with Sharon, Rod and Brayden James Wednesday night.....then Kate, Nick, Elijah, Charlise and Jolene Rose Thursday night, Tim and Laila Friday night, and Meredith Saturday morning for breakfast just before we fire up the Detroit Diesel.....a lot of 'until next times'!

One more thing about my cataract surgery recovery.......for the first 9 days I would see streaks of light at night when I looked at the headlights of oncoming vehicles......Sunday night when we were on the way home from Pomona Valley Mining Company those streaks were completely gone.  I have heard from others that the streaks of light were something you had to live with after cataract surgery, but apparently that will not be the case for me.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 28, 2016

Rain day #2

8:25 am - Monday - 48 F degrees, humidity 74%, wind - calm......partly cloudy with a forecast high of 57 F degrees......got down to 53 F degrees in the bedroom.

Sunday began with leaden skies, and ended with a beautiful sunset......in between it rained a lot....well, a lot for SoCal........


Another rain day......

.....we were up Sunday a little after 7 am sipping our coffee and commenting about how dark the skies were and when it would probably begin to rain.....such is our simple life.  It did begin to rain a little after 9 am, and it rained on and off the rest of the daylight portion of the day.

Of course, I watched several NFL football games.....there were a number of good games Sunday......regretfully, my Broncos and Seahawks lost, but the Giants and Raiders won....how about them Raiders?  First place in AFC West!

We had plans to meet my brother Philip and his wife Jeannie (she shares TLE's birthday, but not year) for dinner at the Pomona Valley Mining Company in, what else, Pomona.  We have been eating there on a periodic basis for over 20 years, and it the perfect halfway place to meet for lunch, or dinner.

Arrived just in time for a beautiful sunset


 Philip and Jeannie on the right

We arrived just before 5 pm, and within a few minutes Phil and Jeannie had arrived.  One of the big downsides to our lifestyle is that we miss them dearly.  We vacationed almost every year together for years with them.  Every time we get together it is as if we had just seen them the day before.....there are no awkward silences......we just pick up where we left off the last time.  We said our until next times about 7 pm and were back home by 7:30. 

I watched the end of what was a very well played NFL game (Chiefs vs. Broncos) won at the very end of overtime by a field goal (Chiefs) which bounced off the left upright of the goal and barely went through just passing behind the right upright.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Rivalry day......

7:35 am - Sunday - 49 F degrees, humidity  86%, wind 2 mph out of south southeast.....heavy cloud cover remains, and suggests that we have more rain on the way this morning.  I woke up with a sort of college football 'hangover'.....

Saturday's first NCAAF game was the much awaited matchup between the Michigan Wolverines, and the Ohio State Buckeyes.....a great rivalry game which has been renewed well over 100 times....the first game between these two bitter rivals was in 1897.  This year's addition of 'The Game' was and will be a classic for years to come......it was won in the second overtime by Ohio State.  Michigan dominated much of the game, and if not for two terribly thrown balls by the Michigan quarterback, which resulted in 14 points scored by the Ohio State in the first 59 minutes of the game.....Ohio tied the game with seconds to go in regulation time on a field goal forcing the aforementioned overtime periods.

Next up was another annual rivalry game between the USC Trojans and the Notre Dame Fighting Irish.......this game will not be remembered as a classic as it was really over before the end of the first half, but if you are an USC fan like myself it was a great game won easily by the Trojans 45-27.  There were many other great games Saturday, but my brain is too fried right now to recount them.


Trojans and Irish battling in the L.A. Coliseum

The biggest news of Saturday, however, was the rain that arrived with a ferocity around 2:30 pm accompanied by high winds forcing us to stow our patio awning for the first time in the over 3 weeks we have been here at the Fontana/Rialto Elks Club.  It rained continuously, hard at times, for 3, or 4 hours before petering out in the early evening hours.  By the time the last NCAAF game ended I had been watching college football for close to 12 hours.  I kept searching for any other game that might still be in progress, but alas there were no more offerings, and rivalry Saturday had come to an end.

We are now one week from liftoff for our five month odyssey which will see us traveling to the east coast, revisiting some places from our first year on the road, exploring new ones, meeting new people, and making new memories.  We will celebrate the beginning of our 6th year on the road while we are on the east coast, and the beginning of our 7th year living full time in our Newell.  We still have no idea when this part of our lives will end and the next phase will begin, but we will continue to live in the moment, and look expectantly for Miss Serendipity's hand as she 'stirs the pot'.

Next up.......NFL Sunday ticket.....thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, November 26, 2016

The art of nothing.....

7:30 am - Saturday - 44 F degrees, 43% humidity, wind 1 mph out of north.....sunny, but rain is forecast for later this afternoon.

Friday TLE headed down to Ontario around 10:30 am to our daughter's (Kate) home to binge watch the new 'Gilmore Girls' mini series on Netflix and make Christmas wreaths.  I remained home intending to watch some NCAA college football, which I did, and to maybe take a bike ride, which I didn't.  I did, however, do a minor repair to our patio awning......beginning this summer in SLT some of the stitching has begun to come out of some of the seams, and I have been using my silicone based clear caulk, as instructed by Zip Dee, to repair those spots.  We are hoping to visit the Zip Dee awning factory in Elk Grove Village, IL on our way back west from the east coast to have the awning properly repaired.  I am continually amazed at how well all our Zip Dee awnings are doing after 34 years.


Friday was the first time I have been entirely alone for a while and as the day progressed it just seemed that doing nothing was more appealing than doing something.....some times you just need a guilty pleasure day when you watch a lot of 'bad TV' as my daughter Meredith calls it, and take random naps.  I watched a little of the 'Steve Jobs' movie on HBO (every once in a while DirecTV gives us all the movie channels free for a weekend.....in this case the entire Thanksgiving weekend).....if the movie is any indication of the kind of person he was he was a brilliant business guy, but a terrible person when it came to interpersonal relationships.  I flipped between several NCAA college football games, but most of them were one sided affairs offering no suspense whatsoever, except for the Memphis vs. Houston game which was a shootout ending in the favor of Memphis 48-44.  I watched parts of a few other movies, and then suddenly is was 2:30 pm and TLE was home......we spent the rest of the afternoon together not doing much.....she did bring home some of the enchilada casserole she had made for our Thanksgiving Eve dinner at Kate's home and heated that up for dinner for moi.....purrfect!

To cap off the evening we watched 'The Martian' starring Matt Damon.....we saw this movie back in 2015 on the 'big screen', but wanted to see it again from the beginning.  Thanks to DirecTV's generous offering of all the movie channels for free this weekend we were able to watch it on HBO.  There is a lot going on in this movie, and I enjoyed seeing it again, and noticing all the things I hadn't noticed the first time.  There are not many movies I enjoy watching more than one time, but The Martian is one of those I could watch a third, and a fourth time.

So that's it.....that was Friday.....no 'bells, or whistles'......just a laid back day....thanks for stopping by!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Am I ever THANKFUL!

7:15 am - Black Friday - 52 F degrees, humidity 35%, wind 3 mph out of north northwest......clear blue skies, and chilly this morning.....love it!

Thanksgiving evolved into a warmish day as the Santa Ana winds slowly petered out.  The wind swept skies, which are a typical post Santa Ana winds product, were crystal clear, and the air was balmy......you could see for miles.  

We didn't have to be at my son's (Tim and Laila) for Thanksgiving dinner until 1 pm, so we lazed around the coach all morning....me watching NFL football....there are three games on Thanksgiving now.....one on a different network.  The first game of the day between the Detroit Lions and the Minnesota Vikings was the best one, and went right down to the wire with Detroit winning on a field goal as time expired.  The Dallas Cowboys vs. the Washington Redskins was close, but Dallas was pretty much in control the entire game.  The last game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Indianapolis Colts was a one sided affair which Pittsburgh won handily 28-7.

We arrived at Tim and Laila's home around 1:15 pm after stopping at a local ARCO  on the way over to fill up with gas.....we filled up the VW with gas more in the three weeks we have been in SoCal than the entire summer at SLT.  I think we were the last to arrive, and as a result we had to park about a block away from Tim and Laila's home.....there was not a single parking spot available anywhere on their street due to all the family Thanksgivings in progress!

 Grandma getting Jolene Rose time

 Our hosts Tim and The Beautiful Laila hosting their first family Thanksgiving

Dinner is served!

I'm sure our family Thanksgiving was much like everyone else's.......we always have a good time with each other......we don't discuss politics, religion, or sex.....always a sure fire formula for a happy, homogeneous gathering.  For me it was just a continuation of our Thanksgiving Eve gathering, which just makes me smile thinking about it.

Our daughter, Meredith, returned from a four day trip to Mexico and joined our gathering about 4 pm.....


.....just hours earlier she was sitting on the beach in Loreto, Mexico (Baja California on the Sea of Cortez) sipping a Bloody Mary for breakfast........what a world in which we live!

In case I have not said it before.......Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!  Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The 'Eve'.....

8:11 am - Thursday - Thanksgiving Day - 55 F degrees, 37% humidity, wind 15 mph out of north......we had a windy night......probably another Santa Ana as it did not get too cold last night......only got down to 70 F degrees in the bedroom with my window open.

Wednesday was another opportunity to spend time with two of my daughters, their kids and husbands.  TLE had made plans to prepare some Thanksgiving sides at Kate's home (used to be our home) in Ontario, as well as cook Thanksgiving Eve dinner for everyone consisting of two large Chicken Enchilada Casseroles.....'everyone' consisted of the aforementioned folks, plus our in-laws (Nick's parents Jack and Nancy, and their daughter Ali).  TLE left before 9 am to drive down to Kate's home, and I agreed to follow later on my bicycle.  It's only 17 miles and this would mark my first bike ride in a week since my eye surgery.

I had a few organizing projects in the trailer which required my attention......I have this hardware organizer (screws, bolts, nuts, etc.) mounted on the wall next to my work bench that has a few drawers which needed some reorganization......mainly that there were things in them that I was not using, and saw no point in retaining any longer.  Ridding myself of the unnecessary items would make room for things I do use, and wish to keep handy.

By the time I had finished 5 of the small drawers had been reorganized, and a lot of small, unnecessary things removed and disposed.....it was now 12:30 pm.....time to get ready to ride my bike to Ontario.  First up was to take a shower and wash my hair for the first time since my eye surgery, then get dressed in my cycling wear, pack some street clothes in the 'trunk bag' on my bike and start my ride.  

It was just before 1 pm as I left the Elks Club parking lot......Google maps told me it would take about 90 minutes to pedal the 17 miles, and it was very accurate.....I arrived at my daughter's home about 89 minutes later.  Predictably the Thanksgiving Eve traffic was relatively heavy as people were making their way out of town on their way to many Thanksgiving destinations.

I spent the next 4 hours reveling in grand kid time with Brayden James, Jolene Rose, Charlise Rae, and Elijah Thomas..........


 Hangin' with the every happy Jolene Rose

Jolene Rose and Brayden James hangin'

Hangin' with my bud Brayden James

Life is, indeed, good

......enjoyed being able to get some one on one time with my daughters Sharon and Kate, as well as Jack and Nancy.  The afternoon/early evening was all for which I had hoped, and more.

We were home before 7 pm, and spent the evening watching a two hour episode of 'Survivor'.....this is probably one of the best seasons ever.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Jeepers, Creepers......

8:08 am - Wednesday - Thanksgiving Eve - 53 F degrees, 68% humidity, wind - calm.....being greeted by crystal clear blue skies.....got down to 56 F degrees in the bedroom last night with my window being open once again.  I slept until 7:40 am, which is late for me.....TLE is still slumbering away as I compose this blog entry.

As I have written previously, we (TLE almost exclusively) have been replacing our red (TLE says the color is 'chili pepper') throw rugs slowly but surely with pretty much identical throw rugs from Kohl's......the most recent acquisition came through Kohl's online store as we could not find this particular size (60" x 48") in their 'bricks and mortar' stores.  TLE left mid morning Tuesday to drive over to the local FedEx center in Bloomington to pick up the rug plus run some errands, and I remained behind to begin to rearrange the front inside portion of the trailer to create a space for our new fold up back/ab machine to be stored while we are in transit.  

The rearranging process took much longer than I expected, however, I love this kind of project and the time just seemed to evaporate.......I was just about done when TLE returned from her errands around 12:30 pm with the new throw rug.   When I began my reorganization of the front of the trailer I initially thought I would have to part with two items.....an extra folding chair (just like the one I use at my computer station) which we had never used in 3 years, and a 'creeper' I have been carrying for 5 years, and never used.  The extra chair was purchased originally as a backup for my computer station chair, and the original chair is beginning to show signs of daily use, so our plan was to swap them, putting the unused chair in place of the current one, and put the current one into storage at my son's office where we store a few other things.  I was just going to give the creeper away, probably to my youngest son, but as it turned out I found room for it next to the back/ab machine.....


The back/ab machine will go in the space between the creeper (on right) and the bench grinder (on the left)

......so now I am asking myself, even though there is room for  the creeper....."Why keep it?"..... and that is the question.   Essentially I moved the Black and Decker Workmate (left bottom of picture) to the left, and the electrical outlet module (just above the Workmate) to the left and down a few inches.  The creeper used to be stored to the left of the Workmate, and the extra chair (now going to storage) was where the back/ab machine is going.  

By the time I was finished it was time for a snack, and a nap.  An update on my 'bionic' eye....things continue to progress steadily.  I can tell the swelling in the eyeball has lessened, and it doesn't get tired as much.  I don't have that overwhelming feeling of needing to just close my eyes for a while to rest them.  I'm enjoying not wearing glasses all the time....I only wear off the rack reading glasses now (2.00) and I love that.  I am getting tired of wearing the eye patch to bed every night.....who wouldn't, right?  I can now return to exercising, and as of Tuesday I can now wash my hair in the shower.....does it ever need washing!

Our time here in SoCal is rapidly coming to an end.....we have been here 20 days now and we will be rolling our wheels once again a week from this Saturday southward to Yuma for our dental appointments the following Monday.

Oh, one thing I forgot to write about Monday is that after returning from 'junking' I spent about an hour going through all my clothing and 'thinning out the herd' a little....I ended up with a 30 gallon trash bag of things I no longer wear, which we will donate to the local Goodwill.  Suddenly there is a lot of room in my closets and drawers!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

24/7......how do we do it?

7:30 am - Tuesday - 49 F degrees, humidity 79%, wind 2 mph out of east southeast.....hmmmm, that is different.  The temp inside the bedroom got down to 58 last night with my window open.....perfect!

Monday was a hangout kind of day for us......until about 10:30 am when we decided to go 'junking' which is just another way of 'hanging out', right?  There are actually several good thrift stores within a short distance of us including one called 'Mega Thrift Store', and is it ever 'Mega'.  How it was laid out, and the variety reminded me of a well run Goodwill store.  It is located at the intersection of Foothill and Cedar.....probably a little over 1 mile from the Fontana/Rialto Elks Club.  As it turned out both of us found things we could not live without.  We next visited the local Goodwill, but did not find anything we needed, so it was off to Costco and Smart and Final to do some shopping.

When we lived in our 'sticks and bricks' home a trip to Costco meant a lot of bulk purchases, and the car was usually full upon return to our 'sticks and bricks'.  Of course, over the years of  'sticks and bricks' living we became attached to certain brands we found at Costco and we continue to shop there for those brands.  Compared to others checking out we look like pikers.......our basket is never even close to full, and it cannot be full, because where on earth would we put everything?  We have only been to this particular Costco at Sierra Lakes Shopping Center one time and that was the last time we stayed at this Elks Club......the parking lot there is a nightmare, and the layout of the interior streets in this large shopping center is pathetic.  Just getting in and out of that parking lot without being involved in a car accident each time seems miraculous to me.  By the time we arrived back home it was close to 2:30 pm......doesn't get much better when you can 'hang out' with your best friend all day long, right?  

You know, periodically I get asked how it works being with your spouse/partner essentially 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  It is a valid question, and I sometimes am in wonder at how well we get along being together 24/7.  Having been on the road for close to 5 years now, and having lived in the Newell for almost 6 years now we run into a lot of folks just like us.....husbands and wives, life partners, etc. who are also together basically 24/7 and get along quite well, so I know we are not unique, and I also know others who have left the 'fulltime' lifestyle as it was not working for them.

You might wonder if we, and others like us have some sort of secret formula which defines our success.  I'm not sure about everyone else, but our secret, as it were, is that we have always been good friends going back before the first time we dated just shy of our 19th birthdays.  When we were married back in 1971 we made it a point to never go to bed angry with each other.....over the years this policy led to some late nights as we strove to resolve our differences before going to bed.  The end result, we both believe, is that our ability to each take responsibility for our part in the dispute and apologize has built a level of trust between both of us. Knowing your partner has enough self awareness to know when they have crossed a line, or offended you, and is willing to take full responsibility creates a reservoir of trust, respect and good will that makes us always feel safe with each other.

I have said before, and I still believe that if your marriage/relationship has existing issues before you head out to live full time in a tiny space those issues will only be magnified, not diminished.   Those that successfully transition from a 'sticks and bricks' home to living in a tiny home and continue for years on end already had a good relationship, and usually see that relationship strengthened.  

When we talk with folks who want to go 'fulltime' they always ask about how we got rid of all our 'stuff', how we chose our particular tiny home, what it costs to live on the road, what you do when things break, etc.  These, of course, are all valid and important questions, but the most question.....How to you live together 24/7?......is rarely, if ever asked, and it is probably the most important question about this lifestyle one can ask their spouse/partner, and themselves.  A certain amount of relationship introspection is necessary in the months and years leading up to your launch date to be sure your relationship is solid, and that you are prepared to live 24/7 with each other in the same small space week after week, month after month, and year after year.  Ultimately, the state of your relationship before you begin your 'fulltime' life will determine to a large degree the longevity of your 'fulltime' experiment.  Many things may change about how you conduct your 'fulltime' life in a tiny home, but the one constant is you must have a strong, resilient relationship regardless of whether you live in a 5th wheel, a Class A, Class B, Class C, travel trailer, tent trailer, or tent......whether you stay in one place for weeks, or months at a time, or move a lot.

In our case when I approached TLE about traveling and living full time in our Newell after retirement she was unsure how being together 24/7 would work, and look like.  Let's face it, we were both working at the time and saw each other for an hour, or two in the morning, and in the evening......being together 24/7 is a whole other animal.  She was still over a year away from retirement, so I suggested we rent out our 'sticks and bricks', and live in the Newell in a nearby RV park for a year before we went on the road, and she agreed.  Needless to say, there were adjustments we both had to make in that context, but we figured it out, and within 6-8 months TLE agreed she could live with me in 220 square feet.  Of course, she was still working, and we were not together 24/7 yet, but ultimately her instincts were correct, and now we find ourselves just a little over 60 days from having lived in our Newell 'fulltime' for 6 years.

In closing, when you and your spouse/partner begin to think about going 'fulltime' the first question you should be asking AND answering is 'What is the state of our relationship?'.....of course, if you are a single guy, or gal the foregoing does not apply......this is strictly advice for couples, not singles, or families with minor children......there are completely different issues, and questions which must be asked and answered.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Waiting mode.....

7:03 am - Monday - 53 F degrees, 94% humidity (that is not a typo), wind 3 mph out of the northeast....it began raining around 10:45 pm Sunday and rained most of the night.....yes, most of the night!  Very unusual for SoCal.

Sunday, was, need I say it......NFL Sunday Ticket so you know what I was doing most of the day.  I really can't do much else besides take a walk....I can't work on the Newell, I can't take a bike ride, I can't wash my hair, I can't sleep on my left side, I can't put on eye makeup.....oh, I guess that one doesn't apply to me.....I can't rub my left eye (this is off the table for a long time), and I can't exercise until Wednesday due to my recent eye surgery, so I am in waiting mode right now. 

I was looking at the weather in South Lake Tahoe for the next two weeks, and things have turned decidedly colder.....the highs have slipped to low 40's, and high 30's with overnight lows getting into the teens with several days of snow in the offing including today.  Glad we are at lower elevation and warmer temps now.

The Denver Broncos had their 'bye week' this weekend, but the NY Giants and Seattle Seahawks were playing and they both won their games.  The Cowboys won their 9th straight game after losing their opening day game.....what a turn around for them.  The night game saw another once great team, the Green Bay Packers, lose their fourth consecutive game.  Right now everything is turned upside down in the NFL and it seems everyone except the Cleveland Browns and Jacksonville Jaguars can win on any given Sunday.....they are a combined 2 and 21.

We had made plans a few days ago to go to dinner with with good friends Paul and Kayre Hood, and Brenda Wendt at 'Rock and Brews' in Rancho Cucamonga.  'Rock and Brews' apparently has some involvement by Gene Simmons and Paul Stanley of the rock band KISS, and have stores all over the U.S., and a couple in Mexico.  I have been riding mountain bikes with Paul and Brenda since the 90's, but our friendship goes beyond mountain biking, and even though all of us are a little the worse for wear, and we don't ride as oft as we once did, we still make it a point to get together whenever we can.

Dinner with good friends at Rock and Brews....left to right: TLE, Kayre, Paul and Brenda

They offer a lot of main stream, and craft brew options, and the food is great......Yelp gives them 4 stars (the Rancho Cucamonga store) on over 140 reviews.....we would have to agree, the food and brews are great....I had blackened fresh salmon with roasted vegetables, and enjoyed every single bite.  We arrived at 4 pm on a Sunday and the place was packed......I mean packed!  They have a lot of seating capacity and we were seated very quickly.  We did have to wait a while for our server to come to our table, but once she arrived things happened on a very timely basis.  In all we spent two hours talking about everything under the sun, as we always do......good times!

We were home by 6:30 pm and I settled in to watch the end of the Packer vs. Redskins game....it was close until the middle of the 4th quarter when the Redskins pulled away to win 42-24.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

One on one.........

8:44 am - Sunday - 61 F degrees, 31% humidity, wind 2 mph out of the southeast....ahhhh....a change....it's always out of the north here.  We got a little rain overnight, but have awakened to partly cloudy skies.

Since the temps have cooled so much TLE and I decided to take an  'out and back' walk on the PET**......we had high clouds which dampened the effect of direct sunlight.  We left to walk around 10:30 intending to walk at least 1.5 miles out before turning around, and we hit that just as we were coming up to Palmetto.  In all we covered just over 3 miles in about 57 minutes averaging about 3.3 mph.

Walkin' the PET**

There were a number of interesting college football games which I flipped between most of the morning.....a number of them were being played in areas being hit by freezing temps and snow.....in fact the Michigan vs. Indiana game ended in near blizzard conditions.

A couple of weeks ago after arriving home we got together with all our kids, except our son Chris and his family, who were out of town.  We love being together with all our kids at one time, but as we get older we find we don't do as well in large groups, especially when it gets noisy as many conversations are in progress.  Naturally, with age comes diminished hearing, and we find that it is hard to hear what is being said when there are many conversations in progress, so we always make it a point to get together with our kids and their families one on one while we are in town.  We were disappointed that Chris, Rochelle, Christopher, Cynthia and our great grandson D.C. could not be on hand, and we knew they also would not be in town for Thanksgiving, so we asked Tim (our son) and Laila (his fiance) to set up a BBQ at a later date when we could spend time with Chris and his family in a less noisy environment.....that night was Saturday night.

We arrived at Tim and Laila's home around 4 pm and everyone was already there......we spent time with my oldest grandson, Christopher, and his girl friend Lena.......we enjoyed getting to know Lena, and spending time with Christopher.....can't believe he is 16 years old and has a drivers license......how is it possible that much time has passed .......

Lena (left) and Christopher (right)

......had great one on one conversations with our sons Chris and Tim, pictured below.....

 Chris (left) and Tim (right)

.....and with Rochelle and Laila.........

 I have a lot of beautiful ladies in my life.....TLE, The Amazing Rochelle (left) and The Beautiful Laila (right)

 TBL and TAR*


Tim BBQ'd ribs, his first time, and they came out wonderfully.  Laila provided a wonderfully tossed salad with Bleu Cheese dressing, and rice as sides.  We had a great time having one on one conversations......it was just how I saw my day ending.  I'm looking forward to some more one on one time with our girls over the next couple of weeks, but first up is THANKSGIVING!  We'll have everyone there except Chris and Rochelle who will be spending Thanksgiving, as they usually do, boondocking out in the high desert in their Class A diesel pusher.

Thanks for stopping by!

*TBL and TAR = The Beautiful Laila and The Amazing Rochelle
**PET = Pacific Electric Trail

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Positively positive.....

8:07 am - Saturday - 56 F degrees, 21% humidity, wind 3 mph out of the north........got cold last night......had my window in the bedroom open and the temp got down to 58 inside.....outside the low was 46.......sweet!  Forecast high for Saturday is 76 F degrees.

TLE had another play date Friday with Brayden James, Sharon and Rod's son, for the day so she was up and out of the Newell by 7:45 am......for me it was the first day I have been able to sleep in since Tuesday.  

In the interest of full disclosure, I stayed home as my left eye gets tired and sometimes I just close my eyes to give them a break.  My left eye has been poked, prodded and stuck a lot this week, and there is some healing to be done.  As might be expected, and it is totally normal, there is swelling which is why I put Prednisolone drops in my eye 4 times a day....to speed healing and reduce swelling.  I'll be taking those drops for a month.  That being said, I see improvement every day, and I am getting used to not wearing glasses constantly.  I have a pair of prescription Bolle sunglasses that I have used for years to mountain bike.  Since the operation I have removed the prescription insert as I am able to see into the distance now.  I do wear sunglasses every time I go outside during the day as things are still too bright for me, but that is getting better, too.

Prescription insert removed....now they are just sunglasses

Most people who have this 'intraocular' surgery will tell you that your vision is restored as soon as you take off that patch, and that is true.  What I have not heard is the recovery from that surgery, and the adjustment to seeing things through an artificial lens takes a while, and intellectually speaking, that makes sense, and that is what I am experiencing so far.  So far the experience has been a net positive, with the positive side of the ledger getting longer day by day.

I did manage to spend some time in the trailer working on my Cannondale Bad Boy, which has seen a few hundred miles of riding in the past six months with no service, other than the new hydraulic brakes I installed a few months ago......it needs a little tuneup, and I will continue that process Saturday as I cannot go back to riding until Wednesday.

In addition I took out the trash, and washed the dishes......and then it was time to give my left eye a break, so I took a nap.  And that is how the rest of my day looked.....catnaps, watching a little news, more drops in the left eye, and more catnaps.

TLE returned from her playtime with Brayden James after 4 pm and we settled in for the evening.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, November 18, 2016

The gift....

7:12 am - Friday - 53 F degrees, 19% humidity (yeah, it is REALLY dry!), wind out of the north at 10 mph......forecast high today is 77 F degrees......ahhhh.

When last we left off I was sporting an eye patch and looked something akin to 'One Eyed Willie' of Goonies fame.  Fortunately it is only a 24 hour thing, and first thing Thursday I was transported by TLE back to Pacific Eye Institute for my follow up examination.  Once again I drew an early appointment.....7:30 am, which meant another early morning for me.  Thursday was also the day TLE had volunteered to watch our grandson, Brayden James, for our daughter Sharon, which meant she had to drop me off around 7:15 am in order to be at Sharon's home by 7:30.  

I was called into the examination room a tad after 7:30 am, and the attending nurse immediately began to remove the eye patch and attending bandages......was I ever looking forward to that.  That eye patch was the most uncomfortable part of the entire process from beginning to end, including the large needle stuck in my eye.  As she pulled the final piece of adhesive tape holding my eyelid in place my left eye was suddenly flooded with light....and not just light.......pure white light.  As my eye focused I found I could read things across the room easily.....in fact it took me a second or two to begin to realize this was a whole new world......I haven't been able to read (with my left eye) anything further than a couple of feet for a year.

Very quickly she placed a black disc over my right eye and asked me to read the letters being projected on to the wall 10 feet away.....just a week before I could not even read off the largest letters......I read them out loud with growing excitement......the letters continued to get smaller and smaller, and yet I read them in rapid fire succession.....finally she came to a very small line that I could not read.  I hear her say "Wonderful!  You are one line from perfect vision in your left eye!"......yes, it is wonderful.  

A minute, or two later my doctor, Dr. Fabricant, comes into the room and shines a small light into both my eyes, pauses and then pronounces the lens implant a success.  He extends his hand for me to shake, and I clasp it tightly with both my hands, and with tears beginning to well in my eyes, say "Thank you sooooo much doctor........you have given me a gift!".....he turns his head to look at me directly in my eyes and says....."That is what I love about this job!".

So, my vision is restored in my left eye, and now I am seeing colors, and shades of colors I haven't seen for years.....I feel like I am living inside a high definition TV........


......I am a happy guy....I only have to wear glasses to read now.  TLE has loaned me some of her off the rack reading glasses, and they work wonderfully!  

TLE returned from Sharon's home with Brayen James in two to drive me home around 8 am.  I spent the rest of the day by myself enjoying and getting used to my restored vision, and all the brilliant colors I am now seeing.  When you lose visual acuity and clarity over years and years you don't realize how much you have lost until it is suddenly, overnight, fixed......wow!  I have this new found depth perception, too!

TLE was home by 4 pm after a fun day playing with Brayden James......I enjoyed the day being alone, which is a rarity for me....I am rarely alone......and I enjoyed the time.  I do have to wear this eye guard every night now for the next month to give my eye time to recover, plus I cannot exercise for 5 days,  wash my hair for a week, or rub my eye for a month.....according to TLE I am a major eye rubber....and I have to put drops in my eye (see yesterday's blog post for the eye drop descriptions) for the next month, also.  Other than those minor inconveniences I have been cleared by Dr. Fabricant to resume driving.  According to TLE she feels much better about me driving a 20 ton rig down the road at 60 mph!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

'One eyed Willie'

5:40 am - Thursday - 48 F degrees (see, I told you it's getting cold in SoCal), 31% humidity, wind 12 mph out of the north......yep we've got us a Santa Ana stirring things up in Fontana......didn't see that coming.

My appointment for my 'pre-op' stuff and actual surgery was 7:15 am......no doubt you noticed at the beginning of yesterday's blog post that I was at my laptop at 4:46 am......I was there because I knew if I didn't get my blog post done then it would not get done, and I have faithfully posted every single day of the year since early October in 2012 when we began our first stint at Amazon.  I even posted within hours of my double hernia operation from the hospital in order to not miss a day.  I knew after the procedure I would probably not feel like posting, and I was right.....I pretty much napped on and off all afternoon......but I get ahead of myself.

After getting drops in my eye to dilate it, a valium to relax me, another pill to reduce pressure in the eyeball there was a numbing shot (big needle) right in the orbital socket, followed shortly there after with another shot right in the eyeball......didn't feel a thing.....just a little pressure.  The valium helps it all seem like some out of body experience, for which I am grateful! I was finally walked into the operating room around 9:30 am. The procedure takes about 6 minutes beginning to end.....no lie.....I was completely awake and completely aware of everything going on......at one point I said, outloud, "Wow, that was quite a light show!"......the doctor replied, "Well then, you know exactly when I inserted the new lens.".....he then said...."We're done Clarke", and they were.  They put a bandage over my eye to keep the eyelid shut, then some cotton over that, and then a 'patch' that reminded me of what a fly eye looks like.......

On the way home.....

Breakfast of champions

......before I went into the pre-op room I told TLE that I would like a late breakfast (I had been fasting since 8 pm the prior night) consisting of an In-N-Out burger, fries and a Dr. Pepper, and that is exactly what I got!

We were home by 10:30 am, and I spent most of the rest of the afternoon napping.......

Nap time

......I was up way too early, and it was time to catch up a little on lost sleep.

So, what is my impression of my experience having intraocular surgery?  There is a lot of ground work which must be completed......the initial evaluation by the surgeon, a physical by your primary care physician, blood work, and the filling of a prescription for special eye drops (Ofloxacin - an antibiotic, and Prednisolone - a steroid to reduce swelling).  Next up is a second appointment at the surgeon's office to do tests upon, and to measure your eyeball, an finally the day of surgery.  I chose to use Pacific Eye Institute (Upland, CA) based on a recommendation from our long time Optometrist, and I have no regrets.  They did a wonderful job from beginning to end of keeping me informed, followup phone calls to remind of my appointments, and to be sure I had gotten my blood work and physical exam done, and finally a few hours after I had returned home to be sure my recovery was proceeding properly.  I am very impressed with them I can, and will highly recommend them to others in the future.

Well, that was my day, and what a day.....stay tuned for the results!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Fast......

4:46 am - Wednesday - 55 F degrees, 63% humidity, wind - calm.......forecast is a high of 70 F degrees.......a drop of 10 degrees overnight!  I'm up early as I must be at the surgical center for my cataract surgery by 7:15 am, which means we must leave Fontana for our drive to Upland by 6:15-6:30 am at the latest.......yeah, I know, it takes me a while to get going in the morning......:-)  I began my pre-operative fast at midnight......no breakfast this morning.....no coffee this morning.

Tuesday was to be the last hot day during our stay here......the next 15 days will see temps more in the range that I am used to for November in SoCal.....60's and 70's......no more AC!  Man, I really hate living in AC, but the alternative is even more unacceptable......living in a 'tin can' without AC when it is hot (for me hot means anything over 85 F degrees) is not advisable.  So, while I hate AC, I am grateful I have AC that works so, so well.

Since I will be prohibited from doing much physically for the five days following my surgery I opted to dump the black tank a few days earlier than I would normally.....normally I would have dumped it Friday, or Saturday.  I also opted to take a last bike ride until after I am released to resume my normal physical activity next week.

 I headed out west on the PET around 1:15 pm hoping to do at least 10 miles out before the turn around, and ultimately top out at 20 miles for the ride.  Thank goodness the weather front moving in which will bring down the temps was beginning to arrive, and there was a good cloud cover as began my ride and we were already past the 'heat' of the day.......


.......as it developed I decided to turn around at Milliken Ave., which was precisely 10.12 miles 'out'.  The 'ride' back for reasons I have mentioned previously went faster than the ride out.  In all I covered just over 20 miles, my goal, and did that in about one hour and 35 minutes.....it was about 2:50 when I put my bike back in the trailer.

We were able to turn off the AC by 5 pm.....about 2 hours earlier than the norm the past couple of weeks as we saw the outside temp drop into the mid 70's.  TLE had me grill up some carne asada for a 'street taco' dinner.....thank you TLE!

Time go get ready for surgery!  Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

PreOp

7:33 am - Tuesday - 60 F degrees, 33% humidity, wind 3 mph out of the north.....high clouds and the promise of cooling temperatures come Wednesday.......projected high for Tuesday is 83 F degrees.

Getting cooler.....finally!

Since I will not be able to ride my bike, or exercise for at least a couple of days following my upcoming cataract surgery TLE and I resolved to get out and ride the tandem Monday, and hopefully Tuesday also.  We began our ride west on the PET around 10 am hoping to do an 'out and back' of 20 miles, but in the end I left it entirely up to TLE to decide when it was time to turn around.  Even though I have not ridden as much as I would like the last 60 days I have ridden and have gotten 'seat time' whereas TLE not so much until we arrived back in SoCal.  The forecast high for Monday was 89 F degrees.....another warm day......but as long as we kept moving the breeze created by averaging 12.5 mph on the tandem kept us comfortable, and other than two, or three times we had to stop at major streets for traffic when we felt the full intensity of the sun, remained comfortable for the entire ride.

As we approached Day Creek Blvd. and the 8.5 mile mark of the 'out' portion of our ride TLE let me know it was time to turn around.......okay, I was hoping to reach 10 miles 'out', but 8.5 is 1.5 miles further 'out' than we did the other day, so it's a net gain.  Our return ride saw us cruising at about 17 mph, and as high as 20 mph as the grade is slightly downhill with a slight tailwind.   We arrived back at the Elks Club just after 11:30 am quickly turning on both AC's to cool the interior of the Newell, and then spent about 30 minutes cooling down.

I spent part of the afternoon creating an email list for the future TVC employees we have recruited for the 2017 summer season, and then sent the first of many emails to communicate with the group as a whole.  

All the while I was carefully following my 'PreOp' instructions by putting antibiotic drops in my left eye every four hours, and ultimately I received the phone call I was awaiting from Pacific Eye Institute advising me when I must arrive at the surgical center for my operation......7:15 am Wednesday......that is going to be an early morning!  I, also, must begin 'fasting' at midnight Tuesday, wear warm comfortable clothing, and wash my hair and face before arriving for the surgery.  Okay, let's face it.....I am nervous, but excited about getting vision in my right eye restored.  Right now anything beyond a foot or two is very fuzzy and seemingly getting worse by the day......I obviously reached a tipping point this summer where the cataract worsened exponentially. The actual procedure takes just 6 minutes, but there is PreOp, then PostOp time.....I am told I will be at the surgical center for 3 to 3.5 hours before being released to go home

The MNF (Monday Night Football) game pitted the Cincinnati Bengals vs. the New York Giants......the Giants are the only NFC team I root for, and once again on this night they won another close game 21-20 with great second half defense.  So this weekend I won the trifecta.....the Broncos, Seahawks and Giants won.....that has not happened for a very long time.  You might wonder why I am not behind the L.A. Rams.....well, they left Los Angeles 30+ some years ago for St. Louis so my loyalties, understandably have shifted.  Frankly that has worked well, because it seems that one of the three teams I do support are always in contention.

One more day until surgery day.....YAY!!  Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 14, 2016

Mi familia......

7:36 am - Monday - 62 F degrees, 33% humidity, wind 3 mph from the north......clear blue skies.

We are now 5 days past Election 2016 and we still see a small segment of the population fighting the results of the election, spewing hate, destroying property, injuring those whose political views differ from theirs all because of an unexpected political outcome.  That is all I have to say about that.....time to get on with real life.

Sunday was one of those days I love and cherish about being back in SoCal.....we had a family brunch at the home (our former home) of my daughter, Kate, and husband, Nick.  We arrived precisely at 10 am and found the rest of our kids, and grandkids already there.  

 Less than 11 months until Tim and Laila tie the knot!

 Sweet Jolene Rose....

 Brayden James showing how he can stand up on his own!


My daughters have all become very good cooks, as it were......I am very impressed.  We had a wonderful couple of hours carrying on 4, or 5 simultaneous conversations as Hockwald's always do.  I am love with the men my strong, independent daughters have chosen to spend their lives with.....I am in awe of the strong, independent women my sons have chosen.  Life is good, and my family is growing in ways I never envisioned.

We were back home in time to watch the thrilling end to the Broncos vs. Saints game played in New Orleans........the Saints had just tied the game (with seconds to go) on a touchdown and were getting ready to kick the extra point which would have won the game for the Saints.....then the completely unexpected happened.....a Broncos special teams guy hurdled the offense line as the ball was snapped, blocked the kick which was recovered by the Broncos and run the length of the field for a 2 point conversion giving the Broncos the win by 2 points......OMG!

The rest of NFL Sunday was just like that......the Cowboys came from behind against the Steelers to win in a game that saw at least 8 lead changes.......the Seahawks outlasted the Patriots in a Super Bowl like game in New England for the night cap.   The entire day was full of amazing comebacks, and upset victories.....almost felt like college football.

Just a few days now until I go 'under the knife' to have my cataract surgery (Wednesday, November 16th).  I've started my two days of antibiotic eye drops leading up to the surgery.....by the end of this week, God willing and the river don't rise......I shall have distance vision in my left eye once again.....YAY!  It does not seem possible we have been here 12 days already.....time is fleeting!

Thanks for stopping by!