Monday, April 24, 2017

Week 10 - The Countdown Begins

We made the decision to sell our lovely home in Colorado while we were in Florida. Mr. Dreamy has COPD and the altitude makes him miserable. There just isn't enough oxygen up here. His breathing troubles are compounded by trips to sea level, so his body never has a chance to build the red blood cells he needs to carry more oxygen.

For weeks before we arrived home I would go to sleep, counting things to do instead of sheep. It didn't lead to a restful sleep. I guess while I've been living a dream, our junk has multiplied. I can't believe how much stuff we need to deal with!

One week ago today we arrived home. We hit the ground running. Within a few hours we unloaded all of the clothes and food and assorted other stuff into the house... the one that is already crammed with too much!  By the end of the next day all of the bus linens (including a blanket and quilt)  and towels had been washed and taken back out. The next day the dog beds and the couch cover were taken care of and our laundry was washed and put away.  Once we had the way clear to begin the process of selling the house, the real work began....

  • We met with two realtors. One came prepared with comps and displays of their color brochures and fancy marketing information. The other walked through the house taking copious notes and will get back to us next week with her presentation. Both realtors gave us some suggestions for things to occupy our time and get the house ready to sell.
  • Mr. Dreamy called 4 driveway guys. The drive needs cracks sealed (a new 1"+ crack that goes across the drive has appeared in our absence, along with other small cracks here and there. Once the cracks are sealed the driveway needs to be coated so it will look all black and beautiful! The driveway guys must be hungry. They all came by to give estimates. Mr. Dreamy went out to look at the job one guy had completed. He wasn't impressed, so will be visiting another job site.
  • We had an estimate to tear out and replace 4 sections of our parking pad (which were cracked), and a patio in the back by a concrete guy. We hired him on the spot and he will do the job next Thursday... maybe! Rain is in the forecast, so we will have to wait and see. 
  • Mr. Dreamy set up visits by a handy-guy to put down baseboard molding in the basement (after carpet is replaced) and to complete other odd jobs around the house.
  • An electrician is coming to bid on creating a chase for the power supply line in the garage. The current situation with bundled wires will not meet code in today's world. The electrician will also fix a 3-way switch we have never been able to figure out and work on the bathroom fan that has been in the process of falling out since we bought the house. 
  • A landscape worker came by to give us an estimate on doing all of the spring yard work I normally do - getting all of the flower beds cleaned up, putting mulch around trees, turning the vegetable garden, adding more rock to beds around the house (where does the rock that used to be there go?) etc. While he was here we had him give us an estimate for cutting down the 20 dead and dying scrub trees and re-sodding the little front lawn that we have.  We have at least one other guy coming to give us an estimate on the yard work and an arborists to give us an estimate for the trees.
  • The furnace will get its annual cleaning and service next week. 
  • We began cleaning up the basement so that carpet can be installed. But, Dreamy realized before we could stash everything in the finished side of the basement into the storage area in the basement, the storage area would need some rearranging and organization. So Christmas decorations were repacked and consolidated (and Christmas decor in the living room was finally taken down after two years!!) and items on the shelves were moved to maximize the space we have. 
  • A few items were put on Craig's list and one (rug hooking frame and bags of wool) has gone out the door.
  • Dreaming called a few estate sale companies. Then we Dreamers visited some estate sales to get a feel for how things might go down here. We weren't impressed with what we saw. So, Dreaming did some more Internet research and made a few online inquiries over the weekend. 
A panorama of the basement

Ten weeks from now we hope to have the house show ready. We have almost 4 weeks of travel that will interrupt our preparations (although contractor work could go on while we are out of town). That will put us in mid-July. Here's hoping!!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Blowing into Lubbock

Lubbock, TX is all about wind. When we came though last year we were practically blown off the road and landed at a campground 20 miles short of our destination. Mr. Dreamy measured gusts of 50 mph. I am still finding pockets of Texas dust that found its way into the motorhome on that trip.

Mr. Dreamy is measuring the windspeed in 2016
This year the land was damp and the winds were manageable, and we made it to our destination. We had followed the same trail as last year: Jacksonville to Pensacola. Pensacola to Beaumont. Beaumont to Lake Medina, and from there into Lubbock. We spent two days at Lake Medina visiting with our friends Carlos and Donna. We enjoyed good food and good fellowship. Leaving our friends is always sad, but we were looking forward to a visit with Adventure Caravan friends, Gayle & Wes when we blew into Lubbock.

Gayle and Wes were great tour leaders. They picked us up at the campground and took us out to dinner at Cagle’s Steak House. This historic restaurant on the outskirts of the city serves mesquite grilled ribeye steaks. It is a huge operation and must have a huge following despite its location out in the fields surrounding Lubbock. The fields around the city are most often planted in cotton. In Lubbock cotton is king. In fact, this area boasts the largest contiguous cotton growing region in the world, according to Internet sources! As we came into the city we could see that fields were being readied for planting. Gayle and Wes took us by the huge expanse of cotton warehouses, and the cotton gin plants. The size of the piles of cotton seeds outside the gin was mind numbing.

This pic, from the Internet, shows one of three or four piles of cotton seed!!!
Its funny how things connect. The Elvis tribute at our recent Tiffin Rally included some great music by a Buddy Holly look-alike, who at one time worked in Vegas.

Lubbock is Buddy Holly’s home town. Although we stopped for lunch near the Buddy Holly museum we didn’t go in. We chose, instead, to go to the Silent Wings Museum. This facility, housed in one of Lubbock’s former airports, details the use of gliders in World War II.

I found it fascinating. Perhaps even more so as I will be heading to France soon, and will have an opportunity to visit Normandy, one of the areas where gliders played a pivotal part in the war. Another dot connected!

Our friends thought we might enjoy visiting the American Wind Power Center. We certainly did! The center has over 150 windmills on display. Every shape, every size and every color. There are wood windmills, including a replica of one of he first windmills constructed near Jamestown, VA.

There was also a collection of doll houses that had been donated to the museum by a husband and wife who had made each model over the past 40 years. The collection was awesome, in the true sense of the word.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Dog Gone

I dumped my dogs at the flea market. Seriously! The campground in Jacksonville has a flea market next to it. I take the dogs over there to walk as they have large expanses of open grass, all surrounded by fencing. On a recent Saturday we had our usual morning jaunt. I walked into the flea market, which was just beginning to come to life, to deposit the little baggy of doggie doo in one of their convenient trash cans. I never fail to garner attention when walking two fairly large hairy beasts. This was no exception. Within moments I had several vendors coming by to pet the dogs and admire them. One vendor asked if they were going to the groomer. The groomer? Says, Dreaming, as she vaguely recalled seeing the groomer’s “shop” at the flea market on a previous trip. The groomer! Thinks Dreaming, with a lightbulb popping up over her head showing that she had a sudden, brilliant idea. I executed an immediate U-turn heading to the groomers. Where again the hairy beasts drew attention. A bath and brush out? Of course. Why not! So, off I went, returning to the motorhome minus two dogs. And, yes, I did go back to the flea market a few hours later to get my dogs out of hock by paying the reasonable fee for washing and brushing said large, hairy beasts. Their nails were trimmed, their hairy paws were clipped and they were clean from their ears to their tails… or to the stub of a tail in Tucker’s case.

Gypsy looks a bit miffed about the whole deal!

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Next Stop, Jacksonville

The Tiffin Rally was fun. We Dreamers came up a day early, and boy were we glad that we did. We had the opportunity to sit back and watch as over 150 motorhomes tried to come into the KOA campground on opening day (There were 300 motorhomes in attendance). KOA campgrounds are usually nice. They are clean. They are predictable. They often have narrower roads with more camp sites tucked in here and there that require a bit more maneuverability.

This post was wiped out by one of the rally attendees. Apparently he turned too soon and now he'll need some bodywork and painting.  At one point we heard that the motorhomes were backed up on the highway trying to get into the KOA, where they had three lines of motorhomes at the entrance feeding into two roads in the campground. One fellow told me it took him one hour and 20 minutes from the time he entered the park until he was parked at his campsite. On top of that, the area is experiencing above average temperatures. Hot tempers and hot temperatures aren't always a good mix.

The first night of the rally we had folks over for Happy Hour. I discovered that there were 7 other couples from RiverBend coming to the rally. I gave them each an invitation to our site on opening day. In addition, we Dreamers met some folks in RedBay on our way to Florida before Christmas. I sent them an email. I knew of a couple from Colorado who were also attending, and sent them an email. What fun!

Throughout the days of the rally we often bumped into each other. It was nice to see some familiar faces in the crowd.

Gay, Jerry, Jim, Lani, Greg, Vikki, Donna, Dreaming, Judy, Bill & Mr. Dreamy
In addition to the three items that Tiffin offered to fix there were other vendors who had service folks for their components. So, while we were here we also had maintenance performed on our tow bars and AquaHot system, and received a free radio system update and a check on some component of the A/Cs. How pleasant to have technicians come to us!

The rally had a buffet dinner each evening followed by entertainment. The first night's dinner was a fiasco. I am thinking that Golden Corral, the provider, had never dealt with 600+ hot, hungry people. Each evening improvements were evident and the process of acquiring our food became faster. We were entertained by a country music group, and a blind singer and piano player - Sarah Getto. Look her up, she is amazing!

And Elvis came back for an evening, as Dwight Icenhower wowed the crowd.

And of course, there were new motorhomes to drool over. We Dreamers hopped on and off the coaches several times. We saw a few changes we would enjoy having, but not enough to want to buy a new motorhome. We were intrigued by Tiffin's new Class C 24' motorhome, the Wayfarer. It was quite roomy inside and the use of space was well thought out. Perhaps some day we will buy something like that. We could leave our big guy in Florida and travel back and forth in something a bit easier to maneuver, and something that has far better gas mileage. Who knows. Could be. Some day....

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Fix It

We are heading home. Finally! Well, to be honest, we are heading home with a number of stops along the way. It will be a while before we are seriously on our way!
First, we are leaving our new piece of paradise at RiverBend to attend a Tiffin RV Rally at Lake Okeechobee, FL. One nice thing about the Tiffin rallies is that they bring a service crew in to fix  three minor things on each motorhome. So, a few weeks before the rally Mr. Dreamy and I looked around to find three things.

We had to look... 
and think about it!

After the experience we had with our previous motorhome, this is a novel experience.

OK, we have a blind that isn't working. That's one.

Hmmmm..... Think. Think. Think!

Do you think the LED light strip over the door awning is sagging a bit?

Think. Think. Think!

We are missing a screw cover in the closet.

And, so it went. We couldn't find much to be fixed at all.

I guess our motorhome understands our thinking and our conversations.

Suddenly, the water and tank gauges stopped reading levels accurately.

Then, an edge of the counter simply fell over.

Next a light cover fell off, in the wee hours of the morning when nothing was touching it.

Then something else went awry. Something that is really worthy of being fixed by the Tiffin crew. But... do you think either of us can remember what that thing is?! No!

Do you suppose they can fix my brain?!

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Prest-O Change-O

This winter I participated in a mystery quilt while staying at RiverBend RV Resort. The instructor gave us fabric requirements a few weeks before the start of her 4-week class. I had fun shopping online and settled on some fun fabrics from Bear Creek Quilting and from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

Each week the instructor gave us the instructions for one row of the quilt, and told us to use a light, a dark and medium fabric choices. These are images I found online of the first three rows presented to us.

I used various combinations of the lights, darks and mediums I had purchased and created the first 3 rows. The 4th row was completed when I was not at the resort. Although the instructor gave me the pattern, I wasn't thrilled with it. The fourth row had triangles and I liked that the other rows were all squares and rectangles. So I made a decision not to include row 4 in my finished quilt. 

Then, I looked at my rows, and made another decision. I didn't particularly care for the light fabric I had used in one of the rows. That's OK I said to myself. I'm accomplished enough to use my seam ripper and carefully remove, and then replace the squares I didn't care for. 

Here is the row in progress of the change:

And, Prest-O, Change-O
Here is the revised row.

I started puzzling about how to put the three rows together. I looked at them this way and that way. I tried them with sashing between the rows and without sashing. I then had a big "Ah Hah"! I decided to cut two of the smaller rows and piece them together, so the top of one would have the bottom of the other, and the top of the other would have the bottom of the first. Confusing?? Not really. I pulled the larger row apart and inserted a butterfly from the backing, and put butterflies in on the sides. 

I'm not totally a fan of how the quilt "balances", but it was fun to try something so totally different. I finished by quilting it on Bette, my 1955 222K. While in the process, she developed a terrible squeak with each stitch she made.

I stopped sewing and pulled out the oil. The squeak was coming from the head. I oiled everything. The squeak remained, whether I ran the machine or rocked the hand wheel manually. I just couldn't find it. The next morning the squeak was worse. I was seriously worried as Bette has always purred along quietly. I was concerned that I had done irreparable damage by making her work for hours as I quilted. I brought out the engine stethoscope Mr. Dreamy has, hoping to isolate the location of the squeak, and took off the embroidery foot for better access. The squeak was GONE! Doh! Bette is just fine (and well oiled) and now that the embroidery foot has had a smidge of oil, it has stopped squeaking!

I took my finished masterpiece that I named "Constructed. Deconstructed. Reconstructed." down to hang it on the fence in order to get a shot of it with a pretty background. The Percheron's came up to inspect it.

B: What is it?
D: Not sure. It has orange in it.
B: Yeah, but it doesn't smell like carrots.
D: It's made out of fabric.
B: Could it be a saddle blanket?
D: Not sure, but maybe we ought to leave, just in case!
B: Yeah, I don't want to do any work today!

What is Four?

Have you ever thought of the meaning of "four"?  Four is the number of: seasons in a year. corners and sides to a square. virtues....