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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Sunday Blahs

With Marti laid up, we're not able to do too much today.  I kind of feel like I have no energy.

Marti is already feeling frustrated with her lack of mobility.  She hates crutches.

She complains that she can't get around fast enough, she feels she can only move as fast as a slow snail.

She said maybe she'd do better in a wheel chair.  I think she'd like this model:

She says it's so hard for her to get up to "powder her nose".  I think this model would solve that problem:

We have a new morning ritual.  Marti is a coffee fiend and I can't stand the stuff.  But she has now trained me in the mysterious art of coffee brewing, and this is why:

Tomorrow hopefully, we'll be able to get an appointment with the orthopedic doctor to get a final read on Marti's broken ankle.  Will she or won't she need surgery?  Can she get a walking cast?  How soon can she go back to work?  And the big question, asked by our daughter Heather:  How long will it take to heal?  She asked that because we have booked a trip to Disney World in March.  If Marti is still in a cast and needs a wheel chair to get around, we get to go to the front of the lines! ;c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Marti's Musings: Down, but Not Out!

Hello, RV family!  (it sure feels like family, with all the speedy responses we got from last night's post!)

Many thanks for your well wishes!  Nothing like a fall on black ice, resulting in a fracture, to make you feel old!  Of course, adding to our justification to "Hit the road, Jack!" I am so thankful for the excellent health care that we have at our disposal.  We had an amazingly short ER visit (which was nice, as I was unable to leave work early for many reasons...) and of course, the excellent news that no surgery was needed.  I left with the splint, and a referral for an ortho consult.  Surprisingly, the pain is minimal (so far!), and I hope the ortho agrees with the ER doc.  Our ER doc was great - he and Paul connected as the doc is in the Army Reserve, and has done three tours to the Middle East.  Anyway...

Yes, I am down for a while, but certainly not out!  Paul has been so loving and attentive, cooking, and attending to my every need.  He even slept on the short couch, so he would be nearby while I slept on the downstairs couch.  (I am not quite ready to navigate a full flight of stairs with crutches!)  Oh, and boy do I not like crutches!  It was waaaay easier when I was 8 years old!

We took a break from doing any preparations on the house for selling, for obvious reasons.  We are fortunate that our son is coming in a couple of weeks to help haul more heavy things to storage/dump or to his home.  Two of my sisters are also going to come in Feb/March, so we hope to stay on track time-wise.  Now, we are hoping the housing market will rebound - it has already shown some improvement.  yeah!

So, it actually is not too bad doing nothing today, probably an indication that my body is recovering from the trauma, as I would typically be going stir crazy.  I find myself dozing on and off - of course, surfing the net, and playing my Nintendo DS is keeping my mind occupied.  Hopefully this will be a quick recovery so we can get back to our preparations for hitting the road.  ~Marti

Friday, January 28, 2011

A New Twist

As many of you know, Marti is an administrator of a nursing home and rehab center.  She was talking to her staff this week to expect many admissions for the rehabilitation services because of the major snow storm we had two days ago.  There are many icy spots and people fall, break bones and need help getting healed and back to normal.

This morning Marti was walking across the parking lot to get to her building and she slipped on some ice and fell down.  She got up and her ankle hurt too bad to put weight on it.  Fortunately the truck that was coming to salt and sand the parking lot came by and the driver helped her get to her office.  Talk about bad timing and irony...

Marti called me and said she twisted her ankle and it hurt pretty bad.  She had some of her nurses tape it up and put it on ice.  I left work and drove up to her office.  This is how I found her when I got there.

It took quite a while but I finally was able to get her out of her office and we drove over to here.


After the X-rays and a visit with the ER doctor, the result was a spiral fracture of her ankle.  Six to eight weeks to heal and a consult with an orthopedic doctor early next week.  

But will this keep Marti down?  Here is her new "office" for the near future.

How is that for a new twist?

I promised her this time next year, we'll be someplace WARM where there is no SNOW and ICE!

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Missing Money Has Been Found!

The check came in the mail!  Really.  Despite the huge snowstorm we had here in Northern Virginia yesterday, the mailman made it through.  (Maybe Nellie from Midlife Cruiser should of had him deliver her new keyboard?).  I'm glad I even spent time with my snow blower to clear the plowed up snow away from my mailbox to make it easier for the mailman to drive up to our mailbox.

If you recall, a week or so back I found through that there were unclaimed funds that belonged to me being held by the State of Virginia until I could be tracked down.  I filled out all the required paper work and sent it all in.  Then I started looking at the new Winnebago Tours (QD Syl, since you asked) in nervous anticipation.

So tomorrow I'm heading down to the bank, cashing the check and heading right on down to my local Winnebago and buy that new Tour QD's...

Tail light bulbs!

Yep, the check was not quite what I had hoped for, it was $118.00.  Evidently the money was from a refund on an automobile insurance policy that I had canceled years ago when I moved and changed car insurance companies.  I'm going to deposit it in our rainy day fund, where we're sticking all of our "found" money (rebates, refunds, garage sale proceeds, etc.) for odd-and-ends when we head out on the road.

So, like all those tales of WWII soldiers sending Jeeps home from overseas piece by piece in the mail, I guess I'll do the same with the Tour, buy it piece by piece.

So we'll continue to love and have fun with our Journey.  Shame on me for wanting to trade up from it!

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Emergency Road Service

The inevitable things in life:  Death and Taxes.  The inevitable things in RV travel:  Flat tires and breakdowns.

There are Emergency Road Service providers where you can purchase plans to help get you off the side of the road and back rolling down the long lonesome highway.

The two 800 pound gorillas in the market are the Good Sam Emergency Road Service from the Good Sam Club,

And Coach Net Emergency Road Service.

Both plans, for a little bit over one hundred bucks a year will change a flat tire, bring you gas or tow you to a repair facility, along with some other services depending on the exact plan you use and what the fine print may say.

I have read many comments, both good and bad about both these services.  I currently have the Good Sam ERS and thankfully have never used it.  When I bought the Journey back in 2007, it came with a free year of Coach Net.  Because I already had a Good Sam ERS policy, I actually was covered with both plans at the same time for almost a year.

Based on what I've researched, I think I'm going to switch to Coach Net when my Good Sam ERS plan expires in May.  Coach Net seems to be more in tune with the special needs that RVers have than the Good Sam ERS. 

There are other road service providers like AAA and certain insurance companies that have towing available as part of their coverage.

I'd like to throw out a couple of questions:

Which emergency road service do you have?

Have you ever needed to use your service and for what?

Would you renew your service policy or change to another plan?

Would you recommend your policy to your friends?

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Saving My Back...and My Butt

DIY, Do It Yourself.  Yep, I'm one of those guys, a motor head in a past life.  A nice toolbox full of shiny tools, sockets, screwdrivers and wrenches.  And a drawer full of hammers, too.  For persuading. ;c)

When I first started messing with things mechanical, there was just one type of wrenches and sockets, known as SAE (which stands for Society of Automotive Engineers).  There were some other size wrenches out there but you never saw fasteners that needed them, like Metric for junk made in Japan,(like Datsun pickups and Honda Dream motorcycles).  For collectors of English cars like old Austin Healys and MGs, there were nuts and bolts measured in a size that required Whitworth wrenches.  I just dated myself...whoops!

But with good old SAE wrenches measured in fractions of an inch, 7/16, 1/2, 9/16, you could pick out the correct wrench size just by looking at the nut or bolt head.  I usually carried a 1/2 x 9/16 box wrench in my pocket that covered many of the fasteners that held things together.  Saved me a lot of steps.

With modern times, Metric became the World's standard except in the United States.  Congress passed legislation that the U.S. would adopt the Metric system of measurements back in 1982.  Somehow, not everything in the U.S. got changed over and today you find a mix of both Metric and SAE nuts and bolts holding things together.

Therein lies the problem.  The fastener sizes are so close, you can't eyeball the size wrench or socket you need.  You have to have two sets of wrenches, Metric and SAE to fix most everything today.

I do as much repair work on my own cars and the Journey as I possibly can.  With the Journey, I have to crawl underneath it, on my back and sliding myself around with my butt (not enough clearance to use a creeper). 

Because I can't always tell what size wrench I need, I usually have to drag a handful of both types and hope I brought the right one with me.  Too often, I don't get the right one and have to drag (butt push?) myself out from under the Journey and make another run on the tools box, hitting both the Metric and SAE drawers.

Now some sizes of fastener are pretty close between the Metric and SAE systems.  If you don't get the correct wrench size wrench on the bolt you're working on, you can round off the head and now you're in deep doggie do.

So, what is the solution?  I found this Kobalt wrench at Lowe's.  It is called a "dog-bone" wrench and it had two swivel heads that have a wide variety of openings.  The good news is you can easily find the size you need, be it Metric, SAE, or some of newer, fancier fasteners that are shaped like stars, squares or tamper proof designs.  You can even use it on rounded off fasteners.  Pretty neat.  For about 30 bucks.

Now this wrench won't work in every application due to clearances and long, threaded bolts and such.  But for me, butt crawling around under the Journey, sliding on my back, I no longer have to take half of the wrenches in my tool box with me.  My back and butt feel better already. :c)

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Marti's Musings: and just a bit more

We didn't get quite as much done today, as yesterday.  Paul is fighting a cold (could be that 10 degree weather we had yesterday!), so after church this AM he pretty much took it easy.

We did locate our 'holding pattern' room - the front computer room (remember, all cleaned out except for the desk) - will now hold the boxes headed to storage at our daughter's, and the futon now has our RV bound items. 

Trying to sort things out we sort of came up with a system - black garbage bags are for true garbage; white bags for donations, and laundry baskets for the RV.  T'hat doesn't count the plastic bins that will be permanently stored, along with the boxes. 

At least all (I hope!) the pictures are now stored in 3 bins (I know! I know!) - the largest one holds paintings, and family pictures that are irreplacable; the middle sized one holds our picture albums, and the smallest holds loose photos.

Now to find a system for things the kids want, and where to store them.  sheesh.  It never ends!  (or so it feels)  ~Marti

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Marti's Musings: A little more progress

Are you sick of hearing of our baby steps towards getting ready?  Sorry - but, too bad!  LOL  Just kidding.

I had a heck of a week professionally, and Paul didn't have a great one either.  I think that is why we hit the ground running this morning and got LOTS done today, weeding out the house.  We had great motivation - something along the lines of  "Let's get out of here!".

I took on the computer room, weeding out the bookcase and miscellaneous junk.  Piles of trash, books for the recycling store (2nd hand store) and give away/Salvation Army soon emerged.  Paul, meanwhile, was lugging junk up from the basement for a dump run.

One pick up truck full of trash later, 4 cases of books (gee, you'd think we like to read or something), and 4 bags of give away to the Salvation Army later - and we felt like we had actually made some progress.  The computer room is nearly done, except for the desk, and few other things (the book case is empty!).  The basement is 75% done - with the Christmas pile that I dread going through, miscellaneous toys for give away and the "keep" corner.  We even got an I-love-you package ready to send to the grandkids in Oregon!

We are more determined than ever to get the house ready asap.  I admit that I had not felt the urgency, as I do now.  With our jobs being a constant source of aggravation and more importantly s.t.r.e.s.s - it is more than time to hit the road!!!  It is much easier now to pitch/give away things - the urgency to get out is helping with that issue for sure!

We have a list of to-do's, and a game plan in place.  Our goal to put the house on the market is still March - which is a mere 6 weeks away.  We have little time during the week, but we are trying to make the most of the weekends. 

Up next, Paul plans to paint one of the bedrooms, and I will empty the closets. Packing up various precious items for keeping - we picked up 10 cardboard boxes today (on sale at .58 vs 2.50 each!).  There are some little things that I can do each night, barring me getting home at 10 or 10:30 and then not having an ounce of energy to do anything after a 15 hour day!  We also purchased a large plastic container for those beloved pictures that cannot be replaced. 

Progress!  WOO-HOO!

Friday, January 21, 2011

A New Winner to the Picture Contest

Hats off to Jeff, who had the correct location of the pictures.  Kuwait, in the Middle East.  You remember Saddam Hussein's next door neighbor, who was invaded by the Iraqi army in August 1990?  Desert Shield and Desert Storm.

The first picture was, in fact, taken from a helicopter.

You might remember pictures like this:

Here is a better perspective:

It is a picture of one of the Kuwaiti oil wells that were set on fire by the retreating Iraqi army.  After the war ended, the fires were put out but many of the wells like the one in the picture were abandoned.  You see many of them as you fly over.

The second picture is one of many farms that have sprung up in the Kuwaiti desert.

There are still many miles of desert between Kuwait and Iraq that look like this:

You can see the shell holes from the Desert Storm battle.  The only thing growing here is shrapnel.

Flying around Kuwait and Iraq requires special equipment.

I'd have rather been sitting on my body armor than wearing it...

The funny looking towers are water towers.

And the birds eye view of an housing complex in Kuwait City where I had an apartment. 

Yeah, I was "roughing" it.  The water is the Persian Gulf.

One more souvenir shot:

And for  my RV connection to my RV blog, I saw a Tiffin Allegro Class A motorhome parked in Kuwait City.  Sadly, I didn't get a picture of it.  It was a surprise to see.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures.  We'll do another picture contest one of these days.  Jeff, send me an email at address at the bottom of the page to tell me where to send the Chocolate Cheerios.  You won 'em fair and square!

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

More "Where Am I" Pictures

Well, nobody was able to identify the picture from yesterday (where and what is it?)...

although there were some good guesses and one was in the parking lot of the ballpark.

So here are a couple more pictures.

And one final picture.

Yep, that's our Journey and no I did not drive it to where the pictures were taken, as much as I'd have loved to.  Since this is an RV blog, I thought I'd include this picture just to keep it an RV themed post. ;c)

Good luck, good guessing and another box of Chocolate Cheerios is riding on it!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Got a Phone Call...From Myself!

I came into my office and there it was, the blinking red light on my phone.  Oh crap, that's never good.  Somebody left me a message.  What kind of trouble am I in now?

Taking my pen and paper, I dialed in to my voice mail.  The message was from Paul Dahl!  Huh?

I listened to the entire message and it really was Paul Dahl.  From Oklahoma.  This is weird.  Seems that I, er, I mean he had been doing some research on line at a website called  Paul had at one time lived on the same street where one of my previous offices was located.  The website indicated there was money being held by the state of Virginia for him, I mean me.

Paul had the same first and last names as me and even had the same middle initial, but it was for a different name.  Phew, at least something to tell us apart.  The money, however, was not for him, it was for me.  Paul was kind enough to do some research on line and track me down in a military locator website and call me at the office.  He explained everything to me.

Being the trained investigator I am, I was somewhat skeptical at first and thoroughly researched everything.  Results were yes, the state of Virginia did indeed have some long lost cash for me from an insurance company I dealt with years ago.

So I obtained the Virginia Unclaimed Money forms, included all my documentation to prove that I was the Paul Dahl, not the other Paul Dahl, and sent it in.  I'm waiting to hear back from Virginia as to exactly how my money got lost and what it's for.  I don't know how much it is, but just in case I've been looking online at those new Winnebago Tours. ;c)

For some fun, can you guess what this is a picture of and where it was taken?

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.

Monday, January 17, 2011

A Great Weekend and I Met My Long Lost Uncle

Despite the 1000 mile round trip from our home in Northern VA to our grandson's in South Carolina, it was still a great trip and worth every mile.  Little Owie wanted to know why we couldn't live next door to them (that house is for sale).

One thing the boys love to do with Marti is play Mario games on their Nintendo Wii.  It is a lot of fun, but sometimes Marti actually does something different with the boys...

        We took a trip to the Zoo.

 It is all designed to look like the African Jungle.  The snow looked out of place for some reason.

The zoo had lots of hands on things for visitors to do... feed a giraffe... and feed goats, and

milk a pretend cow.  That wasn't easy.

Andrew showed a skill we didn't know he had, he's quite a rock climber.  He climbed a 50 foot high rock wall 4 times.

While we were at the zoo, we met my long lost uncle.

The family resemblance is remarkable.

You can see that Andrew and my uncle even walk the same way.

Lastly, we saw the elephants.  They were kind of just standing around.

Then one elephant came over to us and turned around.

The elephant gave us a quite a surprise.

It didn't smell very good at all!

It is hard living so far away from the boys.  We are looking forward to full timing and being able to stay for a long time at a campground just 2 miles down the road from their house.  Until then, we'll just have to dream of the fun we'll have down in warm and sunny South Carolina.

Thanks for visiting and feel free to leave a comment.