Archive for the 'retirement' Category

What’s for Lunch?

Meatball Sandwich

When you’re retired and budget your time to try and enjoy life, sometimes working in the kitchen can be a chore to The Better Half. Now, don’t get me wrong; she enjoys preparing meals, particularly during the weekends when we have a main afternoon dinner on both Saturday and Sunday. On the weekdays, however, a quick salad or sandwich, or some weekend leftovers fill the eating requirement.

Today she prepared Meatball Sandwiches. Since Thursday is our regular grocery shopping day, she put a couple of hoagie sandwich rolls in the cart while we were shopping. When at home later, she broke out some previously frozen meatballs that were extras made at the same time for a weekend dish featuring meatballs and pasta (or something). Add a little cheese, some homemade (also previously leftover) marinara sauce and - voilá - meatball sandwiches! These were tasty. Clickable image.

Asymptotically Approaching the Limit

Parkinson’s Law is an old adage which says something about consuming all the time available to complete a job. Well, a corollary likely applies to consumption of all the space (area) available for RV storage, particularly in our case.

Entering the RV Drive Clearing the Patio

(Clickable) Images above - Entering the RV Drive and Clearing the Patio

Originally, when building the house, we had our contractor construct an area behind the house to park a 24 foot travel trailer with access from the road just west of the house. Eventually, we had the area paved and a wall constructed to define the “RV Drive.” Soon after the wall and concrete were complete, we upgraded to a 32 foot Class A motorhome which fit - more or less - comfortably in the RV Drive space.

Parked - View 1 Parked - View 2

(Clickable) images of Palazzo parked, jacks down, all three slides and the awning out

Now, we have upgraded to a Class A diesel pusher which is just about the shortest in the diesel category at 35 feet nine inches. We have three slide outs and an 18 foot awning, all of which can be deployed in the space available behind the garage. But just barely.

Bedroom Slide and Patio Clearance Departure from the Concrete

(Clickable) images - bedroom slide proximity to patio and Palazzo departing

The forward starboard slide (dining room) is no problem but the aft bedroom slide must be past the patio in order to deploy. The Better Half guides me as I position the RV in this regard.

The port side slide clears the wall on that side by a foot or so when fully extended if the RV is precisely halfway between the patio and the wall. TBH also calls the position out as I’m entering the spot. We have two-way radios available, but she prefers to give hand signals.

All images courtesy of The Better Half.

Healthcare Status Update

nullIt has been several months since I posted anything about our health status. We have both had issues, mostly minor. The Better Half is just getting over a two-week bout with common cold and sore throat. She is still a little congested and taking some OTC elixir to help with that. She no longer has the sore throat and headache symptoms that have been with her for the past couple of weeks.

Just before the new year, I underwent a routine colonoscopy where five benign polyps were removed. The proctologist that performed the procedure said everything else looked normal and advised me to schedule another routine colonoscopy within five years.

Later this month, I am scheduled for more bladder resection surgery. The urologist was not completely sure that the last small tumor was completely excised, so we will do the fourth or fifth of this procedure in less than a fortnight.

Lastly, and not least, is the discovery by the family doctor that my kidney numbers were low in a routine blood test. I saw a nephrologist yesterday to confirm this and found out that the numbers are indeed in a bad place and may have been caused by several factors; there are a number of OTC pain relievers that can cause kidney problems and the intravenous contrast dye used when I was having CAT scans in the past is a no-no. We will be taking corrective action on these things to see if the kidney numbers start moving in a good direction. I had a blood test today and will repeat the same test in eight weeks.

For all the maladies we have encountered there are several things that all the doctors recommend; lose weight, drink more water, less beer and get more exercise. Starting today, that will be the drill.

Updated Aerial View

2017 Aerial View

Last June we posted an updated aerial shot of the homestead courtesy of the Maricopa County Assessor’s website. I was surprised to see an update for 2017 of our property, but here it is. There is not much changed from the last aerial except this time, the RV is not parked in its spot behind the garage and the runoff creek on the west side of the property is clearly complete in the new photo.

There are some other minor things that appear in the comparison of the last versus the current including some changes to the shrubbery in the courtyard and elsewhere. We are still a work in progress on a smaller scale, but even those are important to us. We have a project of bringing rocks to the east of the driveway to keep the monsoon runoff from undermining the concrete on that side. That should be complete before the summertime, so we should be OK there.

It has been interesting to watch the progress we have made since first starting to build the house in 2010. We may never be “absolutely complete,” but we’re asymptotically approaching that point.

National Team Roping

Team Roping

This is the first year that The Better Half and I have made an effort to go out to the Rancho Rio rodeo grounds and witness some of this week’s final National Team Roping championship ropers do their thing. We have been talking about doing this for a long time, but being basically reclusive in our retirement, we have been sitting it out. Today, however, on a whim, we decided to head out to the arena by the Hassayampa and check it out.

TBH took the (clickable) image above of a roping team just at the point where they both had ropes on the steer and were about to take him down. As I recall, this team had a eight second or so time which was pretty good although there were better times later in the session.

We were there for about an hour or so and besides the action in the arena, there were commercial booths, horses, dogs and cattle everywhere and about several hundred horse and livestock trailers plus motorhomes, trucks, cars and sand rail ORVs. AND it was a beautiful spring day with the high temperature under mostly blue skies at about 80 degrees. Today was most enjoyable.

Satellite RX to Go

Deployed Stowed

You may have read here and on the other blog about our new motorhome. Having graduated form an “entry level” RV to this new one encouraged us to ask for a number of desired add-ons, one of which is satellite TV reception.

Since we are already DirecTV™ customers, we opted for the Winegard™ satellite system which is DTV compatible. In the clickable images above, you can see the rooftop satellite dish deployed and in the stowed position.

I got the satellite antenna system and the DTV receiver activated today. I first had to turn the satellite dish control on and it began auto acquisition of several satellites in the “constellation” of geosynchronous birds. That process took a while with the system retrying several times before locking on. But, when that was complete, it was all downhill. I got on the phone with the DTV folks who walked me through the rest of the setup.

After that process was complete, we now have very satisfying HDTV reception on the three TVs in the motorhome - a 48″ TV in the parlor, a 32″ TV in the bedroom and another 32″ TV behind an access door outside on the passenger side of the rig for outdoor viewing. I verified that all were working as advertised.

Having the satellite system gains us independence from the limited and often flaky cable access in many of the RV parks we have visited, and, in fact, we can now camp in areas with no hookups and still be able to enjoy our TV entertainment.

Don’t Blink

The “Arizona Outback” is a colorful and intriguing part of our state that is mostly situated in La Paz County to the west of Wickenburg. There are several communities along US 60 and SR 72 where the lifestyle is largely agricultural with the a few other jobs in support (stores, cafes, motels, RV parks, etc.).

One of the communities is diminutive, even when compared to the other small towns and settlements out there. That is Gladden, pictured above, where there is a ranch with livestock, a motel and an RV park. When you pass through Gladden along US 60, do not blink, or you will miss it. There is not even a reduced speed limit imposed in Gladden since there aren’t any cross streets to consider.

The Better Half took this clickable image of almost all of the town as we passed through there on Friday. We are in Palm Desert, CA, tonight through Monday, when we will return to Arizona and resume retirement. (That’s a funny concept, taking a vacation from retirement.)

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