The Magnificent Seven

2011 Move In House Recent Photo

It was seven years ago today that The Better Half and I took possession of the retirement house we had our contractor build. After many home improvements and landscaping events the (clickable) images show the then and now images of our humble abode. The left image is how the place looked when we moved here; the right image is from last year but essentially how we see it today.

Even after seven years of being magnificently happy here, we are still making changes to the landscaping and other things to try and constantly improve and/or maintain the property. 2018 will likely see new paint for the house, courtyard wall and retention walls. We also still have it in mind to build an RV shelter on the south side of the property with full hookups.

We are still having to deal with some health issues this year with ongoing visits to various medical professionals for checks this and that plus we will probably undergo some fairly invasive procedures which are a little risky, but considered to be necessary for continued well-being. More on that after we’re done with it.

We are looking forward to a great new year with plans to see the families on yet another motor tour or two in the Class A Motorhome. Hope your year is going as well.

What’s for Dinner? New Year’s Eve Version

Grilled Pork Loin Filet

On this last day of 2017, The Better Half and I collaborated on this wonderful, healthy and delicious dinner. She prepared the sugar snap peas and baby bok choy on the side, as well as the marinade for the entrée which was reduced later to be used as the sauce drizzled over the food. My part was to prepare the pork on the grill using a timer/temperature probe to ensure the meat was cooked to perfection. And, as you can see in the clickable image above, it indeed was.

We had decent weather today with the high temperature here about 65° and partly sunny. Three years ago, on this day, we had snow! So, we’re thankful for the climate we got today.

We hope your holidays are going as well as ours.

happy-2018.png

Today was ‘Run the Generator Day’

Clickable ImageWe try and maintain a schedule to run the little Honda EU3000is generator from time to time in order to keep it ready for use. However, due to a couple of extended excursions in the big RV, we let the regularity lapse a bit. It was long overdue, but today, we got it running again. It was a bit hard to start, but the generator finally started after several tries.

We originally bought this generator to power up our travel trailer. Now, however, we have the Class A diesel pusher which features an integral Cummins Onan 6KW diesel generator.

These days, the Honda only gets used for several things as needed, including running garden tools in areas where there is no commercial electricity. This includes the west rock and cactus garden for bush whacking and cactus clean up and once in a while down the road when native vegetation grows into the roadway.

It ran for thirty or forty minutes today using one of the big RV’s A/C units as a load. Next time we run it, an oil change will be due for the Honda.

2017 Federal Tax Preparation - First Cut

tax timeWe now have taken a first cut at our 2017 tax situation. After paying out to the Feds last year, we adjusted our withholding to try and prevent paying the lump sum. I used a spreadsheet earlier this year to figure how much we were going to withhold and from which (we have several sources of income). Unfortunately, after putting the preliminary numbers into the tax program, it looks as if we have over withheld and will likely get a larger than we like refund (hate to lend money to the government). The preliminary refund calculation shows that we’re going to be getting back over $2k.

I suppose that after we have completed the final cut for 2017, I will re-assess the withholding and make adjustments. A couple of things may have changed in our favor, including a slightly lower annual income and we have begun supporting the tuition fund for our local Christian Academy which is not only a 501(c)(3) Federal deduction, but a dollar for dollar state income tax offset. We paid no Arizona state income tax last year nor will we this year.

Now, all that’s left to do for the tax return is to wait while the various 1099 forms trickle in and go over each item again. I may tinker with some withholding numbers for 2018 in the meantime.

Classic Car Show

Classic Pickup Truck

The Better Half and I had a busy day today; we needed to go grocery shopping for the week after just returning from our K-Stan excursion yesterday. It also happened to be the annual Cops Who Care Classic Auto Show at the civic center. Neither of us wanted to miss that, so we went this morning and shopped later.

We took a lot of pictures of the hundreds of classics at the show, but too numerous to post. This nice red pickup was one of the cleaner ones on display. Clickable image courtesy of TBH.

Fill ‘er Up

Fuel Stop

As we departed this morning from last night’s campground, we stopped at a nearby fuel station to fill the tank. When we were done, we took on 56 gallons of diesel which cost a nice round $200. The price of diesel back home is seventy cents less than we paid today. Welcome to Taxifornia.

At that price, the cost per mile of travel was $0.38 as compared to an average of $0.26 we got during our eclipse excursion in August and September. We got 9.5 miles per gallon on this last tank of fuel.

Since I don’t seem to be able to talk family and friends to move out of the maxtax state, I will just have to put up with the extra expense to see them from time to time. In the long run, it is worth it to us to be with our folks.

Tulare, CA B-17 on Display

B-17

The Better Half snapped this (clickable) image of a B-17 parked at Tulare Airport, just alongside CA SR 99. There are a number of aircraft on display with this WWII bomber and a Vietnam era F-4 Phantom parked close to the road. The B-17 is placarded with AMVETS signage by the fence in front.

We departed the Los Angeles area this morning and made our way up through “The Grapevine” mountain pass which is Interstate 5 from the north San Fernando Valley to Grapevine, CA. When we came through here last April, we had gusty winds up to 30 knots through the pass, but this time not so much winds and just a lot of traffic.

One more travel day tomorrow then we will be taking a break for the week and the Thanksgiving Holiday. If I don’t post between now and then, please have a blessed and safe Thanksgiving.

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