Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Our 2017 Christmas Card

This was the picture we used for our Christmas card greeting.  It was taken by a professional photographer and we are holding our wedding photo.  We celebrated our 50th anniversary in October.  My local church was having photos taken for the new directory and the timing coincided with our 50th. 

The photographer was more excited than we were, she kept saying she was so honored to be a part of our event.  Yet we had no big celebration as other might do. We did go out to a fine local restaurant for a wonderful dinner.  And at various gatherings we have been "announced" as 50 year celebrants.  We do not know where all those years went.  It seems hardly possible.

This was a Christmas present to a few as well, framed portraits.  I ordered more than I should have and Jerry did not stop me.  I was caught up in commemorating 50 and so spent more than necessary.  We had a minor  blip with the company.  
when our order arrived there were empty picture frames.  What?  ?Where are the portraits?  Our Christmas cards were there and the 3 in one frame I chose for us, but the gifts were only empty frames.  I called the company who assured me there would be an envelope replacing all the portraits that should have been included.  A week later another box arrived and there were the portraits which we had to insert in the frames.  Not an undoable task. But later that day another box arrived, an exact duplicate of our order including the tri-framed and all portraits in frames.  Oh no!  I did not want to purchase more, already I was regretting this splurge.  Another call to the company who apologized and said to just keep it, it was their mistake.  And no we would not have to pay to return it or for another shipment.  After all what would they do with our portraits, so we were free to give them away.  Easier said than done, we have no other relatives to give these too, we had copies for the few  family members.  So we have extra framed portraits, anyone want one?  The benefit was double order of Christmas cards, so we used those by sending along more greetings than planned.  

Sometimes ya just gotta play the hand you're dealt!. 

One of those time when I wish I were Clairvoyant

45 year old woven wheat magnet
made in PA by elderly Polish lady
Our best laid plans oft go awry and there is not a thing we can do but roll with it.  Today is the  2nd day or arctic tundra single digit temperatures here at home, and although the sun is shining today's high temperature will be 6 degrees.  Sub zero temperatures at night.  I covered up most every inch of my skin just walking from the car into the Y this morning. We should be traveling southward now to Florida, to sun and fun and two RV rallies. 

 But a couple weeks ago, I came down with the sorest mouth I have ever had, when it started I thought I had burned the roof of my mouth. By the next day, I was  beginning to hurt more but could not see any swelling along the upper right gum, etc, so I figured it would just wear away.  Googling indicated that a burned mouth could take a few days to heal and I was still thinking that's what I had done. 

 That night my upper right throbbed, the pain was unlike anything I have ever experienced.  Actually I have never had a tooth ache in 73 years so I am pretty darn fortunate.  But that Thursday evening I could not sleep and I figured this was  going to mean a dentist visit.  I got through the night by taking an Advil every hour to little relief.  Fridays my dentist is closed but she takes calls at home.  When I told her what was going on, she correctly diagnosed an infection and called in heavy penicillin and told me to follow dosage and to take 4 advil at a time. Call her if not better. Well, yes much relief and I was seeing some slight swelling on the outer gum line, but still no indication, no abscess, nothing definitive.  My right cheek was getting puffy too. But I could sleep that night and I could identify the sore tooth, #4 inside  upper right, a premolar.  It was sensitive to biting on it.  But the unbearable pain was gone and I knew I would live: during the pain siege I was sure I would have to get better to die.  

Monday the dentist xrayed and sure enough a sign of infection above that tooth.  Worse the tooth had an old root canal likely done sometime before 2004 in CA.  I was not sure when.  I learned that a root canal can wear out and in this case infection had proven that.  So we can keep learning at any age.  My dentist said she would send me to an endodontic specialist because she would not retreat the root canal and she was  sure that was what was needed.  Well, but it is holiday times, and  closing in on end of year when those with dental insurance want to use their benefits before year end.  Despite her calls and my pleading the specialist had no openings until January 31.  But we had planned to be gone. What to do?  What are the odds of my going on our merry way south and nothing happening?  My dentist could not predict.  It might never happen again or it might return.  She could try to arrange treatment for me in Florida and could call in another antibiotic prescription if the infection returned.  She knew I wanted to get down south.  But no guarantees, no odds, it either will or won't.  I guess one might call that 50/50.

Friends were of mixed opinion, go on your way and risk it, might never happen, get it treated when you return in spring.  But I am not a gambler and the older I get the fewer risks I am comfortable taking. Jerry said I could decide and either way it would be ok.  There were two more days during which we could cancel all our reservations in FL without paying a penalty.  The penalties would have been nearly $600-up to $1000.  Jerry said ignore the $$.  But not me, I am too cheap!  Look at what else I could do with that $$.

So I canceled and said, "we will stay north."  Fortunately we do not have to go out in inclement weather if we do not need to.  We have little snow, a smattering on the ground, but it is brutally cold.  This cold is expected to hang around for another week.  Hunker in.  Then I called the specialist and the January 31st opening was gone, now I cannot get in until February 13th.  I figure the worst that will happen is he will do another scan and evaluation and say, all it well.  No need to retreat the root canal.  And then we could go south later than planned.  We will have missed out on the RV rallies though.  As another local friend said, "you can be sure now that you will stay home that not a thing will happen, but if you had gone...."  

So here we are.  All is not lost, I have unlimited projects to keep me occupied at home.  And there are far worse things can happen to a person.  And perhaps we can get some southern migration in later.  It is our intent to look for a permanent wintering RV spot in Florida and that will take some consideration and exploration.  Meantime, that's my little tale of woe for the Christmas season, kind of like a lump of coal in the stocking for anyone who remembers coal as I do. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Meandering blogger

Ally our 2016 American Allegiance
I have not been posting to this blog but happened here after getting a notification about a comment.  So I have updated with a photo on the sidebar of our now new, to us, 2016 American Allegiance Coach, our new vacation home on wheels.  We acquired Ally, her name,  end of February, 2017 at Lazy Days in Seffner Florida where we wintered  some of our 2016-17 snowbird south. Since I did create this blog to record our RV adventures long ago, I thought I should get busy with posting the new addition.

This was not my idea, I was quite satisfied with our Excursion, but Jerry wanted newer, better,  it had under 62,000 miles which is nothing on a diesel, but he  wanted this upgrade, tag axle and a hundred other things, newer.  He began to develop a litany of things that would have to be done to fix the Excursion, and admitted it would cost way less than the new coach, but that he felt it was time to upgrade . 
2008 Excursion which we traded in for Ally

2017 February Florida, moving out of Excursion into Allegiance
what a siege and chore unloading and loading.  We were loaded up
for winter, so it took days to transfer stuff. 
Yes Ally is ultra luxurious but what a siege.  I could write the longest blog post ever about the entire process, but I have already done that on Facebook, so not repeating everything here for non Facebook people.  I fear spending big sums of money in retirement because I have a phobia of ending up a bag lady.  I always have had that, maybe it started  with warnings from my Polish grandma, "always have a way to take care of yourself and earn money so you do not end up old and poor"  something like that she told me in Polish.  Jerry who is not a spendthrift by any means, though, reminds me that we can't take it with us and we just as well enjoy while we can.  We have no one that close to us to leave sums of money too and most of what we leave will be going to various charities and organizations that we support.  While they will likely put our names on a plaque somewhere in gratitude, we should reap the rewards of the working we both did in our careers.  Further, he knows while I shudder,  that no way are we approaching financial destitution in fact, we are part of the better off retirees, we own our home. no bills, some months do not spend all our income and we do not need to save and pinch pennies and debate about purchases.  When we see something we want, we buy it.    

Back to Ally, Jerry spotted this American Coach and had been on the lookout to upgrade, even though we really liked our 2008 Excursion.  I was reluctant to do this, spending really big buck$ and then some, but I should have known that once he starts on looking at a new vehicle, it is going to happen.  Well while we were in Sefner, he couldn't get the right deal on the price of this new coach nor on trade in for ours. I was relieved but his mental wheels kept on churning and turning.  So we went on to Texas, Port Isabel where we intended to spend the rest of February and early March.  That is another story entirely and although the weather was fabulous there along the gulf, that border area is just not a place I care to revisit.  The RV Park was old and very cramped, so that we couldn't look out our windows without seeing the wall of another coach or trailer squeezed right next to us.  That is  jut not the way we like to live, so  we  were waiting out February and wiser for the experience. 

Allegiance hall way, residential refrigerator.
Behind the closed doors to the left are the separate washer and dryer. 
Jerry began making phone calls back to Florida to the sales consultant at Lazy Days and learned the American Coach was still there.  They thought they had sold it but the potential buyers couldn't qualify for financing.  We were paying cash.  For the life of me I cannot understand people financing motor homes, especially as vacation homes.  We have never charge a vacation in our lives, if we couldn't pay for it we  didn't go.  The Allegiance had barely had a first owner who kept it only 4 months and then upgraded to something bigger, a bus. Well that first owner took the depreciation, because just like automobiles, these babies depreciate the minute they leave the lot.  The Allegiance is 42 ft, but what a difference those 2 feet more than the 40 ft. Excursion make.  We gained a half bath which I really appreciate when Jerry is in the shower and the main bathroom is occupied.  We gained a residential refrigerator and a stacked separate washer and dryer, unlike the all in one combo we had in the Excursion.  I really like all these amenities, the beautiful dark cherry high gloss  luxurious cabinets and the new microwave convection oven, the all induction cook top and the dishwasher!  I never thought I would want a dishwasher in the coach, but when we winter for months, I was missing that.  I still prefer my own cooking a lot of the time when we are traveling, so despite eating out when we chose to, I cook most meals in our home.  I have always dislike washing dishes and although it isn't that bad for two people, I am much happier with a dishwasher. We have 3 smart tv's inside, one is going to come out and become cabinet space and we have an external TV for watching outside. 

Living room area sofa, not fully pulled out, there is an extension,
to the sofa which is white leather. That's why a cushion is on the
kitchen  counter, sink area to the right
King size bed
There have been some minor fixes needed, stuff the former owner never found or perhaps didn't have the acuity that Jerry has for all things electronic and mechanical.  We have an appointment in August at the factory in Decatur Indiana for some slide warranty work. That fits with our planned trip to my PA home area for my 55th high school class reunion.  Although he vowed that it would fit into it's own house that we have here at our home in MN, sure enough when we got home in March he called a contractor to have some roof beams elevated.  With each newer, bigger coach, he has enlarged the shop/house for coaches.  It is now fully extended and can go no bigger, but the beams were a bit too low for this coach, so there was an adjustment needed. Did I mention the bed is king size, which I dislike and so does he.  We are accustomed to queen size and this meant buying new linens too.  So although this is more comfortable with ability to raise feet and hear, etc. similar to the  luxury bed we have at home, with massage features, etc, we both would have opted for a queen size.  But the new coaches all have King size, likely that works well for big people, or those who are king sized themselves. We are not. We talk about replacing this King with a queen, making this bed is  hassle because there is barely enough room for hands to fit between the head and the wall. And the pillows, too  many all nicely decorative, but have to be removed for sleeping and then stored across the room.  We took several pillows out and have them in a big  bag stored at home, they will likely visit Goodwill store soon.  

We traveled  to Goshen Indiana in May to a Pushers annual event that Jerry has wanted to attend for some time. Another long story and one chronicled on Facebook.  We have some home projects under way including taking down 3 of our magnificent big ash trees from out back, victims of the emerald ash borer that has devastated this region.  I had new quartz counter tops put into the kitchen and am still waiting on the tile for the backsplash.  After I debated and pondered and made my decision, the contractor later advised that the tile was on backorder and there would be a 8 to 10 week delay.  So although  the counters were done end of April, we are waiting.  Surely this will end, but I decided to wait,  After all it took me 3 years to do this project that I have been thinking about and took me a month to decide on both counters and backsplash.  So waiting and keeping busy at home, gardening, weeding, and life. This is the update for today, last photo of the happy man in our new vacation home. 
Jerry watching one of the 3 inside TV;s from the sofa.