Friday, November 18, 2011

Busy Week At The Plantation

I don’t know about all full-timers, but we tend to wait until we know we’re going to be stable for a month or more before we make a bunch of appointments like dentist, eye, exams, dogs’ teeth cleaning, etc.  This was especially true for us this year as we were busy and traveling more than usual over the summer and early fall.

As a result, I’ve been getting things scheduled left and right, and this week has been THE week to get many  of these items accomplished.

I made appointments for myself at a local dentist and hearing specialist this week.  The dentist was good news, even though it’s been almost 2 years since I had my teeth cleaned, I’m doing fine and my teeth are O.K.  The hearing test was a different story.  I thought people were really starting to mumble and speak softer these days, but Jim finally convinced me to get a hearing consult.  As it turned out, I really need some hearing assistance.  I’m now getting used to wearing digital hearing aids.  Big adjustment!  I’ll go back and see the technician every week for awhile to have programming adjustments made as I get used to these things.  My only previous experience or knowledge of hearing aids was my grandmother.  She had a big, clunky-looking device with a big wire that hung from her ear to the battery piece which disappeared somewhere down the bodice of her dress.  I remember it making a horrible squealing noise sometimes, and I’m not sure it helped her hear any better.

Times sure have changed! My devices are tiny little things that sit behind my ears, out of sight. There are itty-bitty pieces that sit in my ears with small, clear wires to connect them to the behind-the-ear piece.  They are not noticeable at all, unless you really look hard for them. 

The other major event for this week was getting Mr. BoJangles checked out to be sure he could be put under anesthesia for teeth cleaning and to get that scheduled for both dogs.  Darrell & Judy recommended a local veterinarian, Julie Cleverdon.  I took Mr. BJ to her for a good check-up and she was very thorough.  I was very impressed by her attitude and attention.  The old boy checked out fine and we made the appointment for the teeth cleaning today.  When we picked them up, she came out and talked to us about her findings.  All went well with Jasmine, but Mr. BJ had some tumors in his mouth.  She asked if we wanted her to send them in for biopsy, which we did.  We’ll get the results from that in a few weeks.  We were very pleased with the whole experience with Julie and her office staff.  One interesting resident in her office is a very small fawn she rescued recently.  It wanders around the office like one of the cats or dogs that are also part of the scene there.  I asked what will happen with she grows up, and found that she’ll be released near the Cleverdon farm which is just down the road from the plantation.

I still need to have my regular blood tests done, and my eyes checked, which I have scheduled for the first part of December.

Meanwhile, I’ve been enjoying my regular activities this week, line dancing and water aerobics, and a few walks around the Plantation.  I went to Weight Watchers last Saturday morning over in Daphne, not sure if I want to make that drive every week.

This afternoon we took a drive while we waited for the dogs to be ready, and ended up, where else, the shore:

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There are a lot of Great Blue Herons to be found in this area:Jim 035

And we got to enjoy a fly-over by the Navy (we think these are the Blue Angels)

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In the technology department of our household, we’ve been experiencing more and more trouble with our Cradlepoint router and Verizon air card.  The speed and reliability of our connection has been unpredictable at best and non-existent at worst.  Finally, I called the 3gstore people but didn’t make any decision about getting a new router.  We stopped in at the local Verizon store one day and  I finally gave in and got a MiFi 4G router.  This caused us to give up our unlimited data plan with Verizon, but since we’ve never gone over 5 gigs usage in our entire history of having an air card, I agreed to try it.  What a difference it’s made!  We have great speed and reliability now.  I check our usage frequently, and so far, so good, we are right in line with our usual amount of data use.  Oh, and our bill has gone down $10 a month with this plan. 

Life is great!  (And yes, I can hear you now!)

Friday, November 11, 2011

It’s About Time!!

“Whatever happened to your blog?”….  “Where are you?”…..  “Our friends used to write a blog”…. “sure miss your blog”….  “This would make a good blog picture, if you still had a blog” – those are actual quotes I’ve heard recently and repeatedly, so I guess it’s about time to climb back up on that blogging wagon I slap fell off of, and update my good friends and faithful readers!

We’ve recovered (at least physically, financially, well, that’s another story for another day) from the wedding and have moved on down the road, several of them, actually.

The quick synopsis includes a visit to Amarillo where we once again parked in Vickie & Don’s back yard.  We then took a slight detour down to the Cleburne area where we got to spend some great time with Carolyn and her husband Earl.  While we were there, several other of Jim’s high school friends gathered for a rousing party at a local Cleburne watering hole.

A quick visit to Aunt Ruth and Uncle Wayne in Oklahoma was our next stop.  There we got to meet many of their friends and celebrate Ruth’s birthday.

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Sheridan, Arkansas was the next stop, where we spent a few days catching up with Karon and Dan.  They’ve moved back into their “sticks ‘n bricks” home  in Sheridan, and Karon is now a Weight Watchers leader.  I got to attend her meeting, what a great treat that was!  She also invited me to attend a very special concert in Little Rock, presented by the River City Men’s Chorus, of which her cousin is a charter member.  The concert was the program they are presenting at The Vatican in Rome this month, and was absolutely awesome! 

We stopped in West Memphis, Arkansas for a few days to revisit one of our all-time favorite RV parks – Tom Sawyer’s Mississippi River RV Park.  A few days of relaxing and watching that mighty river roll by did a lot of good for our souls.

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That quiet time also got us ready for the next leg of our journey….

Red Bay.  This was to be a “quick stop” just to have 2 windows replaced and a small adjustment to one mirror.  Ha, ha, joke’s on us.  What happened instead….the slide floor that was replaced last summer had to be redone!  Since they had put it in just over a year ago, they were very quick to get it done again, and this time they accomplished it in one day.  That made our stay just about a week.  While we were there, we had the good fortune to be able to spend a little time with good friends Dortha & Mark; Molly & Bob; and Sylvia & Glenn.  And we got to meet Pam and Randy and see their new residential refrigerator.  We also found that our former HR Director from Colorado Springs Utilities, Steve, and his wife, Shirley, were making their first visit to Red Bay with their new 2011 Phaeton. 

Below is our “happy” little group:  from the lower left corner working around: Mark, Dortha, Molly, Bob, Randy, (not really visible except for her hands is Pam), Shirley, Steve, and me.

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But…we also found that our coach was one of many that needed to have the wet bay floor replaced, along with the top rails.  We were way down on the list for those items, so rather than hang out in Red Bay for several weeks, we opted to go to the Birmingham area where Jim could stay while I went to my Weight Watchers camp in October.  Dortha told us about an RV park in Hoover that she’d discovered, so we tried that one, we like it a lot!  It’s a city park located next to a local baseball stadium.  There are no special amenities, it’s just a basic parking lot with hook-ups, but that works for us, and the price is right.

I went to “Camp Taz” in Mississippi, and got all re-energized with my Weight Watcher friends.  We kayaked, visited a national wildlife refuge, took lots of walks, and visited for a week.  New recipes were tried and we all came back with a new commitment to the program.

Here’s the 10K Posse: Carol, me, Taz, Ann, Jules, Karon, and Elaine:

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One night we made Chicken Picatta, No-Noodle Lasagna and salad:

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This big ol’ alligator was enjoying just layin’ around, half-in, half-out of the water at the Noxubee Wildlife Refuge:

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As soon as camp was over, we headed right back to Red Bay with our still-open service number and were lucky enough to get right into the bays.  We got both the wet bay floor done and the top rails done in a week and were once again cleared for take-off from the runway. 

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On the way out of town, we made a stop to see Brannon at Custom RV to have the “Air Force One” supplemental brake system installed for the Equinox.  This replaces the  Even Brake box that sat on the floor of the car with a gizmo attached to the brake pedal.  We were never sure how well that was working, and was a pain to install every time we towed the car.

This new system is connected directly to the motor home’s hydraulic system through a quick-connect, so when the motor home brake is applied, the car brake is also applied.  The gizmo that’s attached to the car’s brake is always there, but out of sight and out of the way so we don’t ever have to do anything with it directly.  There is one cable that hooks up the indicator lights that gets plugged in, plus the quick-connect to the hydraulic system, and that’s it, easy, easy to get ready to tow.

We stopped for one night back at the Hoover RV Park on our way to our current location – Rainbow Plantation in Summerdale, Alabama!  Once again, pulling in and settling in to our site in the campground gave us the comfortable feeling of coming home.  We’ll be here  until at least Christmas, and who knows…maybe we’ll hang around a little longer.

It didn’t take long to find our way to the beach:

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We got here in time to see Judy and Darrell before they had to run off and temporarily rejoin the W*rking World.  We fixed up a nice pork tenderloin on the grill and paired it with acorn squash and salad for a late lunch last Saturday.

Then on Sunday, Terry and Randy arrived and have taken up residence just down the row from us.  We got together last night for a dinner out at a local Mexican eatery and really enjoyed getting caught up with them.

We’ve joined the local Foley YMCA and I’m going to water aerobics classes there and will probably start either a Yoga class or work with the weight machines next week.  I’m also going to the line dancing group which meets 3 mornings a week.  I’ll try a couple of different Weight Watchers meetings and decide which one I like best.

Last year when we were here, we decided to add our names to the waiting list for one of the ERPU lease sites.  At the time, our name was #42.  I just checked it again, and we’ve moved up to #26.  We haven’t actually decided if we’ll take the plunge when our name moves up to the top, and it looks like we will probably have about a year to continue thinking about it.  To refresh, the 5-year lease costs $14,500 and is renewable for $1.00.  There is an annual maintenance fee of $750.  We can have a storage building on the site, most of them already have one that we would purchase from the current leaseholder.  If we get a site and then want to release it, we would get our $14,500 back.  It’s not a great investment as far as a return on our money, but it’s also not a loss.

That was the whirlwind-catch-up with us.  We’ll be hanging around the Plantation, till next time…