Monday, April 30, 2012

Knocking Down the Miles...

Yes folks we are nuts!  We left Santa Rosa at 8:30 Mountain time this morning and kept the wheels turning all day long.  We caught some McD's biscuits in Tucumcari, and blasted on up to Texas.   There the time changed to Central time but we ignored it for the time being.

We buzzed right on thru Dalhart not stopping for anything but the traffic light in the middle of town.  I noticed it was after noon on Central time.  Church was already out!

We did stop at Stratford, Tx a few miles on North, as they have kind of a mini gas war going with the newest station in town.   We filled up brim full at $3.65!

In Guymon, Ok, Loyce decided on some KFC so I cooled my heals while she went inside.  The dinner about drove Biscuit wild, but she doesn't get people food unless she picks up something we drop.  I held on for Liberal, Ks, where I managed a small burger from Mc D's again.  I really don't like them and twice in one day is about all I can really stand........

Of course Kansas goes on and on and on.....  Again we made Pratt and headed up the diagonal Ks 61 for Hutchinson.  It still seemed like it was a million miles on home, but we pressed on.

We finally arrived here in Overland Park about 9 PM central time.  By now we had given up and changed the clock in the truck and my watch.....  Of course the phone and GPS take care of themselves.

It was a 12 hour driving marathon pulling the utility trailer to boot..   Somewhere around 640 miles....That's enough for a big day, and I will not go much of anywhere tomorrow, but we are home!  And do not have to sleep in the motel again tonight!!!   Yea!

Retired Rod

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Traveling home.

Santa Rosa, New Mexico.

We didn't make it to Tucumcari tonight, as I was way too tired.......  Santa Rosa is only about 60 miles short of half way, but adding that onto tomorrow will make that day even longer.  But perhaps I will give up again tomorrow night.

I don't know why I like to get this trip over with and get on home, but usually I blame it on the motel rooms.  Seems like folks have to get up at 5 AM and slam their doors.  But here I go complaining again.

We were up at 6 AM this morning and we were ready to go by about 8:30 but then we had to go store the Motorhome over in Apache Jct.  First you have to drive there and then open the gate while the coach sits in the median of the street with its 4 way flashers on.  Then get it parked.

None of that was too bad, but I had to deal with those new tire covers.  And since I had never used them before, it was a struggle.  Finally it dawned on me to use the awning rod to poke the shot cord back around under the tire.  It went a little better then.

I had taken a shower, but after crawling all around in the dirt and gravel of the lot, I wondered why I had taken the time.  But the covers are on, and the sun will not shine on rubber for the next several weeks of hot Arizona summer.

We were pulling the utility trailer with the motor scooter inside today which started by climbing from 1400 feet in Mesa to well over 7600 West of Heber, Az.  This goes up directly without much pause for level ground.  We stopped at the top and let the truck cool off a bit.  The gauge wasn't reading hot, but the truck smelled hot so we stopped.  Usually we have pulled the trailer behind the MH on these long jaunts, but then we did have a travel trailer that weighed a lot more behind the truck years ago.  So it will be just fine...

The rest of the day was just routine traveling in the car.  A McDonald's burger in Holbrook, and a long trip across New Mexico, that isn't over yet......

And thanks to the many folks that reassured me that our builder will be fine without my scrutiny!!  I am working on my emotions and perhaps will need a twelve step program before its over......... LOL

Retired Rod

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Storm damage, What storm damage?

That storm damage on the front of the house bothered me every time I woke up last night, and I just couldn't understand what was going on.....

See up there on the edge of the garage roof where there is a piece of the styrofoam gone and the tar paper is messed up on the roof?

Here I zoomed in on it!  This is with my android phone, so the photo quality isn't the greatest.....  The chicken wire is pulled back to the corner and the foam was on the ground.  Could wind tear off the chicken wire......??

I rode the motor scooter over there this morning, and took these pictures....  Then I went and found the sales lady wondering about this, and if they had seen it......

The short version was that Todd the construction foreman on my build had seen the way the flashing was done under the foam and that a piece of the wood underneath wasn't right, so he made them rip it out!!  He said "that's not storm damage, its rough in carpenter damage!!"  evidently this is what it looks like now that the wood is correct...  The lathers will come on Monday and fix the foam and wire.......

Again this guy is picky, and he won't cover over anything that he doesn't think is right...  So I think it is OK to just go on home and let him handle all of this....  He is far better at it that I would ever be!  I just need to put my complete faith in him!!

We spent the rest of the day working on the motorhome and utility trailer getting things back together for travel.  Tonight the trailer is hooked up to the truck and most of our stuff is in the pickup ready for our departure tomorrow.

Really late in the day, the sale folks decided we needed to go sign an additional addendum for the security system fiasco.  It didn't change the price, but makes their bookkeeping correct so the vendor can get paid....   Of course that took about 2 hours as we had to go look at what had happened during the day as well.

I didn't take any pictures, but the dry wall delivery was made....  All double pack sheets of 12 foot long wall board.  Carried in 2 sheet packs and placed in the various rooms where it will be put on the walls..........  I want to stay and see this..............but our rent is up in the morning...........  Just have to trust Todd!!!!  He's picky, more picky than I am,,,  I trust,,,, I trust.....

We are going to leave tomorrow!!!  Can't stay here for the next ten weeks!!!!

Retired Rod

Friday, April 27, 2012

Rains just as forecast

We received the rain storm here in Mesa just as it was forecast!  That in itself is somewhat of a miracle here in the desert.  We often dismiss any forecast of rain as not gonna happen!  At first it looked like that would be the case again as we got about 20 drops of rain and a slight bit of wind..

But  then the skies  seemed to clear up and the day appeared to be well on its way to sunny.  That's when we headed out for camping world over in the East end of Mesa.  As we were headed West on the superstition freeway, we ran head long into the wall of rain.

Big droplets that immediately covered the road and required wipers.  It rained heavily for about 2 hours.  We were looking for new tire covers to go over the wheels in storage again, since we plan on leaving the RV here again for the next couple of months.  Of course camping world had all sizes and colors.

We drove back past the locksmith on Main street over by Mesa Spirit RV resort and had a funny key made for our lock on the storage facility.

By the time we came back home, the rain event was over.  It did take several hours for the skies to clear and things to dry up, but tonight it is just like it never happened, other than the fact that the dust has been washed from all the vehicles.

In the afternoon we went back past the new house on our way to Wal Mart and found that the winds associated with the rain had damaged the styrofoam and chicken wire lathing that is on the front of the building.  It also ripped several sheets of the tar paper from the roof, so hopefully it will be repaired before construction continues......  See why I want to stay here and see to it that stuff is correct.......  I just have to trust!!!!  Something I'm not too good at....

Anyway the temperatures after the passing of the storm are now in the 70s and things around here couldn't be any more pleasant......

Retired Rod

Thursday, April 26, 2012


Yep, this building a vacation house here in Mesa isn't overly interesting, as we lost another follower again today.........!  I think it is because we haven't much to take pictures of other than 2 by 4s and you can only stand soo much of that.......

It was overcast this morning, and I thought it should be cooler to go along with that, but the ACs came on early in the morning and never shut down much again.  And as I went out to take Biscuit up to the doggie park it was almost 90....  Then the sun came out for a while just when we needed to go to the house inspection.

We met the foreman, and started right in on his inspection.  Inspection really wasn't what he wanted to do......  he had it all inspected every time he went there.  And he was certain that we were ready for the dry wall, but he wanted to explain it all to us.

So we followed him around as he explained every switch and wire box.  We learned about the fresh air handling of a special duct from the outside, and a vent fan in the master bathroom that runs for 10 hours a day changing the air in the house.

I learned that because the house is so sealed up and tight with foam and insulation that it requires fresh air to be piped in.  This goes into the HVAC to be conditioned and then out into the various rooms.  Then this vent fan automatically expels air from the back bathroom.  Like I said, I am learning.

It took an hour and a half to go thru most all of the wiring and plumbing.  It was 97 again while we were doing this, and I was becoming a tad hot.  Loyce finally gave up and went and sat in the car with the dog.  And with the AC running too.

We didn't find any glaring errors, but then he already knew there weren't any of those.  This fellow is good at his job.  So why did we need to come out here and look at this anyway....??  Perhaps they are selling peace of mind,   that they aren't just covering over mistakes with wall board.  They'll never know, kind of an attitude.  This is the sixth new house that we have built over the years, and we have never had any builder suggest this open wall inspection before the walls are sealed.

Well anyway we were back here at the RV park for the afternoon and it did become much more overcast and a little cooler as we went back to 93.  I hopped on the scooter and went riding all over the city.

This is the first that I have gone out of the RV park with the bike since we came back.  It has been way too hot before now.  But tonight we are to have rain so the bike went back in its trailer for the event.  Maybe it will get back out by Friday..........

Now its time to decide what goes home in the truck and trailer and what will stay with the motorhome.  That will be tomorrow's agenda!

Retired Rod

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

More house stuff.

Our limited time here in Arizona is flying by like wildfire!  We have been studying all of our build documentation to remember exactly how and what we selected to do with this house build.  I'm beyond my younger days when my memory worked fairly well........

I went over and looked at some of the wiring in the den room of the house and wondered, now why did they do that?  But this morning, I found where we had selected that Cat 5 wiring to be put in the den..............  Oooookay..........  I didn't remember that at all..  Surely we had a reason at the time, but I can't remember why....

Sometimes these salesmen explain why we need to do these things and then I agree, but promptly forget what the reason was......

Well anyway we spent the afternoon with the realtor sales lady going over the paperwork and signing the new contract for the revamped security.  She was successful in getting us out of the old contract and in writing no less, so then and only then, we signed the new contract....   You will remember that the old company has left the Phoenix area, but wouldn't let me out of the contract for their services that they couldn't provide.  You know, because they aren't here any more.

Even the home builder had real trouble getting us out of the liability for the total of the payments.  We signed and that means we pay......... period!  I still bet this will come back to haunt us.....but unless its a court order, no money!

Anyway we are again reviewing what we think we are doing and the paperwork that goes with it tonight, because tomorrow we spend as long as it takes with the job foreman going over everything that has been done so far....

I'm not sure that will give us much to blog about but...........

And I am happy to report that it was much cooler today, as we only reached 97 F this after noon.  Heck that's only 37 C.......  much cooler than before....   Uh,  what's it going to be like when we get out of here and have to go back to the mid 60s next week?  Better get out the sweats.......

Speaking of sweating, we went to a furniture store late this afternoon, and we picked out a couple of pieces that we thought would work.......  Put a little down payment on them, to have them held until we are done with the house.    That caused me to start adding up what this could actually cost to furnish this place................................ewww!  See about the sweat comment!

Enough, I just want to put it all out of my mind for now......! LOL

Retired Rod

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Fixing the reservation and Arizona summer.

This morning as soon as the office opened up at the Valle Del Oro RV Resort, I was up at their doorstep with the motorscooter.....  At first no one seemed to want to help me as I was passed around from counter person to counter person, but finally the regular lady that always helps me came out and started to fix things.

She found a little envelope that contained the money that I had given the gate guard and passed it back over to me...  There, now lets just start over!  You want to stay here for a week starting last Friday?  She gave me the Passport America Rate which saved a bit of money.  I think that made up for the fact they will take $50 from my $250 reservation for next winter, and we will have to wait for corporate in California to send it to us in Kansas.....

So I got $140 back in cash, and paid $195 in credit card payment for 8 days.  Also I will owe electric charges when we leave, and if it continues to be over 100 degrees, that could be substantial...  But at least I know that I used the power, so it doesn't seem so bad to have to pay for that.

Once back here at the coach, I concentrated on some of the usual RV chores of draining tanks and packing things differently.  We still have a bunch of stuff to get into the trailer from last winter, but with both the pickup and the utility trailer, we could take almost everything in the RV if we wanted to.

It began to get really hot so I rode the scooter around the park at slow speeds so I didn't need all the ripstop jackets and pants.  I stopped and talked with a fellow camper that has been here since last October.  He bought a park model and has been remodeling it.  Of course I had to have the tour.

By then the temperatures were reaching our 102 high, that we kept for about 4 hours today.  Its hot, but not as unbearable as yesterday.  Maybe I am becoming more used to it but still we are not moving to Arizona full time with the new house, especially not for the summers, when it is much cooler in the Midwest.....

Not sure that anything else was noteworthy other than we talked to the realtor lady again today and we are to go see her again tomorrow.  Nothing new happened on the house today, as there seems to be a shortage of stucco folks now.  With this influx of new homes, I guess they are very busy.

And for Sandra up in Ontario, yes the home will have that adobe look with the stucco concrete outside walls, but will not be nearly as thick.  Old adobe was often 18 inches thick to keep out the sun and the heat.  Adobe was essentially clay mud and straw that was made into bricks and cured in the summer sun.  I'm sure that the stucco will have better durability.  But then remembering the adobe restaurant we were in at Messilla, Nm, I think it was about 200 years old and made out of adobe.  It was cracked and repaired, but still very much so standing!!

Summer is well under way here in Arizona......

Retired Rod

Monday, April 23, 2012

Record Temperatures

Mesa reached a historic temperature this afternoon when we made 106 F or 41 C for several hours.  We had worked on clearing out the utility trailer in the morning, and had the scooter out and most of the stuff out on the ground as well.

Loyce worked on sorting our stuff while I loaded things to stay here in the truck.  We got most of it complete, but the temperature was reaching 97, so we quit.  We went in the AC and busied ourselves in just cooling off.

As the afternoon progressed, the temperature in the motorhome climbed as the temperature outside climbed.  At 106 official airport temperature,  we had about 84 inside, and the AC was running without stopping. Our temperature gauge here on the coach said 108.  It has always been most accurate so we feel it was correct today as well.

As the sun went farther into the West, we came out and headed back to the storage building. We loaded another big pile of stuff into the compartment.  It was still overwhelmingly hot so we never turned off the truck as we ducked out of the heat into the cab.

Next it was back over to the new house.  We had several questions to answer as how the water piping  worked.  If we can understand these things prior to our meeting with the project foreman, we will be able to ask informed questions and make good decisions.

It took until well after dark before the temperatures began to fall, and the news programs on TV were all over the new records that had been set.  I can't help but wonder why we seem to be present for all of these events.

We had this same temperature last summer when we were up in South Dakota, and we were traveling.  The ACs couldn't keep up then either, but we stopped at a park and got hooked up to 50 amps under a shade tree.  There is no shade here but we didn't have the heat of the engine to overcome either.

Its not supposed to be as warm tomorrow, but we will almost make 100 again.  Stay tuned for more records to be broken.....

Retired Rod

Sunday, April 22, 2012

House Pictures

It was about 5:30 without daylight saving time so the shadows were long but they are building many new homes all at once.

A street full of new homes!
Even on the West side of the street as well.

On both sides!
I didn't spin around and take the house beside me on the right but it is much farther along than ours.  It was the one I was taking pictures of before we had ours started.

But we're here to look at ours
Like usual, it doesn't seem like this will be ours.  Its just another one in the string of new houses, but we are calling the shots here, so I must concentrate on what is right and wrong.....

Its looking like a home now!

Trash door out of the garage

This door out of the garage is an option and costs about $2K.  How can it be that expensive?  But if we want to go get a shovel out of the garage to plant a bush, it seemed like a good thing..

Water heater muffler?

Do water hearers have mufflers?  I do realize that the outer pipe is to isolate the hot inner pipe from coming into contact with the wooden building materials, but it still looked like a truck muffler to me!

HVAC is in the attic

I wanted pictures of the HVAC system, when our sales lady was taking the photos, but as you can see, you can't really see it!  Oh, its up there in among all the pipes.....  Somewhere..

Now for more pics of the mechanicals.  This is the pony wall that becomes the island once the cabinets are mounted in front of it..  These pipes will be hidden in the wall behind and under the counter.  If we ever have to get in there, this picture will be valuable then.

Mechanicals under the island sink

The stove will be gas, but they wire the wall for electric as well.  I thought that was kind of interesting.   They also put both gas and electric behind where the dryer goes.

Stove connections

Master Bedroom
 The master bath is off to the right thru an archway that is barely visible.

From master BR to garage

Looking back out of the master bedroom you can see clear out into the garage, but you are looking thru the center hall bath.  It will have doors on both ends.  Also the laundry room is beyond the bath before the garage.

The walking tour outside.  Its all covered with the chicken wire that holds on the stucco.  Its ready for the concrete people to do their job.

Remember, I wanted pictures of the electrical panel?  Well there it is beyond that scaffolding.

Of course it is just jammed with wires under this dress panel.  The breakers will be added as they pick up the circuits when they do the finish wiring.

Electrical panel

Cold water distribution manifold

The cold water is separated from hard water and soft water.  There is a hose bib on the back of the house which is hard water for the outside.  This requires piping to be put in the ceiling all the way back there that is hard water.  Also both hard and soft water are under the sink and hard water is behind the refrigerator.

This manifold is for the soft water that goes everywhere else.  It will be up above the front bathroom, but it will be about impossible to get at in the attic.  Again this picture will be valuable in case of trouble.

And this entire post was completed with the blogger editor.  But moving pictures to the left and right causes the wording to cover over the photos.  I have tried to use the space bar and fix things in the HTML part of the editor, but it just got worse, so I went back to the photos down the center.

Blogger are you listening!!!

Retired Rod

Restaurants and High Temperatures

The old sun came out this morning, and the air conditioners fired up into life  and haven't cycled off ever since.  I put the awning out to keep the sun off of the passenger side of the coach, but we don't have any window awnings on this cheaper rig like the big boys do.

We didn't have any groceries at all, other than a few bottles of water and a couple of cans of diet pop, so it was up to Ihop for breakfast.  We had a sample platter, which was the breakfast equivalent of a meat lovers pizza.  Ham, sausage links, bacon and eggs...  with hash browns and a couple of cakes thrown in for good measure......  No lunch required for me after that bad boy...

We drove by the house after that, but workers were there finishing up the stucco lath and chicken wire.  We signed a paper stating that we wouldn't go near workers or be on the sight when they are, so we just drove on by.

Next it was time to go and rent the small storage locker to store all the stuff that we brought down here with us this time.  We had the truck quite loaded, and will continue to bring stuff each time we travel.  It isn't realistic to think we can purchase everything for this new place new.  Perhaps we will be great garage sale shoppers when we come back this fall.

But with a small storage locker, we can put things in as we get them before the house is done.  We had to sign up a bunch of papers and put on a lock.  Then after learning our new gate code, we drove in and emptied the truck.

Loyce went over to Wal Mart and purchased a few groceries, so we can make breakfast tomorrow, but by then the temps were above 95....  We came home and burrowed into the AC.  High afternoon temp was 102 or 39 C at the airport weather station 5 miles South of the RV park.  It began to get hot in the motorhome even though both ACs were running all the time.

Eventually, we went back over to the new house and Loyce walked Biscuit around the neighborhood, while I studied the wiring and plumbing inside.  I took about a zillion pictures, but they are still on the camera card.  I will get some edited and up in the next day or so.

Later tonight, we went over to Fuddrucker's for that famous small third pound burger.  Loyce likes their grilled chicken salad  and we came away stuffed.....   Not a small food day to be sure....

Forecast for tomorrow   104  and I think that is 40 C.  Yeow!!  In April????  Wonder what the summer will hold for this desert as far as temperatures this year..................!

Retired Rod

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Yep, we drove straight on thru to Az!

I said I wasn't going to do it, as there would be trouble registering at the RV resort, but don't pay any attention to the man behind the curtain...........  Remember the wizard of Oz, LOL....

And we were somewhat certain that our watch was on Mountain Time when we left the Motel at 8:30 this morning, but then what time is that in Arizona,  but are they ahead or behind.......  Oh, yeah they are on with California in the summer......

We buzzed right over to Albuquerque before lunch, but after yesterday's dismal luncheon, we stopped and purchased Subway to go.......  Of course half the sandwich didn't make it 10 minutes, but we really did wait until about 2:30 to eat the second half........  Somewhere around Gallup we called the Valle Del Oro, and they said it was no problem and we didn't need any reservations as the park was empty......  Just get here before dark and the gate guy would park us.

Well then OK we drove right thru Holbrook at about 2:30 regular Mountain Daylight saving time......  It takes about three hours to go over the next mountain to Payson and then descend down into the valley that Phoenix and Mesa are in.  By now we were somewhat beginning to think on Arizona time, without the daylight saving bit.  So by about 5 Az time we were in the storage lot starting up the motorhome.......  It was HOTTTTTT!!!!

As we drove down the big hill from Payson, the temp on the gauge went out into orbit..  From the 73 up in Holbrook, it went to 97 as we entered the town of Mesa.   The motorhome gauge read over 100 just sitting in the parking space, before I started the motor.  Must have been 120 inside.  Didn't take too long to get the genny started and booth roof airs going.

But the trouble began as we reached the gate guard shack here at the VDO park.  Yes, he could register us, but it took cash and he had to have three days worth because the office doesn't open until monday!  We tried to explain that we had money on deposit with the park, but even after he made a couple of phone calls, the only answer was to go get cash out of the bank vending machine over by the new house......  This place has rules, and then more rules...... Perhaps that is why we want the private house....  Heck there's no one here hardly, park models are empty too.  But gotta go by the book!

And to add insult, he somehow did look us up and knew to put us back on the same spot we had last winter.  But he couldn't look up anything remember and couldn't take our credit card.....  Loyce was loosing her patients and I wasn't too happy either.....  But we had just driven 1200 miles in two days so I think we were mostly just tired......

Tonight we did go out for a sandwich since we have no groceries at all, and then drove over to the new house in the dark.....  We sat outside for a while but couldn't stand it and had to go inside in the absolute darkness.  We could make out room to room but couldn't see too many of the details.....

It seemed exciting just the same.   And every lot has a house on it now in various stages of completion.  What a change from the empty expanse of lots we chose ours out of only two short months ago......

I was just outside, and its still 81 out there.  Booth A/Cs are blasting along at full bore.....  Its midnight on my watch, but I can't remember if that is daylight, or Az time.........  Well I'm tired anyway so good night.......  LOL

Retired Rod

Friday, April 20, 2012

We left the home front this morning.......

Well now, I see that I am up to my usual old self, as my posts are so exciting that I lost a follower yesterday.....  LOL  Must not be too interested in my piling of junk out on the curb.  But I was excited to pile it out there, because after I finished the blog last night, I went and piled even more old electronic stuff out side.  You know, it was dark and the pile only looked a little bit bigger........... A couple of laser printers and another old computer box.... I keep remembering how much that stuff cost back in the day......

But we will never know if the neighborhood rummage picker uppers will get it before the actual Junk Guys on Saturday, because we didn't hang around long enough to find out how it all goes.

This morning early, we piled a bunch of stuff into the Ford Pickup and filled her up with gas and left town....  Like as though we couldn't stand it anymore, and needed an Arizona fix.  So..... tonight we are in the Motel 6 in Tucumcarri, New Mexico.  That is about 600 miles away from Overland Park/Olathe, Ks.

We did get the call to come back for the open wall inspection, but really don't need to be there until the middle of next week, but our curiosity to see how it is coming along is killing us........  Again, Kansas is a long way across, when you leave from the Northeast Corner and head to the Southwest corner.

But it didn't seem like so far today, because we are now quite accustomed to the towns and where things are.  But we haven't quite got it down as to finding favorite burger stops and such.  We ended up eating deli sandwiches from the quick shop gas stop in Greensburg, Ks.  Its not that bad, but still leaves a lot of room for improvement...

We hit Dalhart, Tx about 6 PM and folks were heading home or somewhere because the streets were loaded with country Cadillacs.  And of course we were driving ours too, so we just fit right in.  Our truck is registered in Missouri at the Lake place so we even appear to fit the bill.

That has to be, because we had to have a truck with insurance in Missouri in order to have boat trailers registered in the state.  And it gets really confusing because then Kansas wants to have the truck registered in Kansas but won't register the trailers because they are in Missouri...........

Hey maybe we should register a car in Arizona,,,, that could add to the laughs!!

Well anyway we are headed back to the motorhome and will get it set up on an RV lot and become Rvers again.  But first we have another 600 miles to get back there....

Maybe we won't drive it all in one day because we will have to find a spot and get registered and they
don't do it after quitting time on Friday nights......

Stay tuned and we will know more tomorrow....

Retired Rod

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Clean up and Short pants!

We are having clean up day here in Overland Park, and the refuse folks will take stuff that normally would be rejected at the curb.  Soooo, I have been rounding up all my outdated electronic toys for the project.

Naturally they have all been carried to the basement as they were replaced.  You know the deal, we might need that later.......  Ya, right, shoulda dumped the thing right at the time.........

So I was making the stack of stuff out on the curb.  3 TVs, all analog of course, and can't pick up anything out of the air.  We do have cable here, but most of the desirable stuff is HD and up on the channels with a decimal point in their nomenclature.    And a few old soldier dead computers that are holding down desks in the basement ham shack office.  And a printer and an old fax machine that was all the rage back in the 90s......  Its stacked in a pile out on the curb now...

But that's when Loyce informed me that it wasn't supposed to be taken out there until Friday sometime. The neighbors probably think we are the pits here with our old junk stuff out a couple of days early.  I told Loyce to put it back in the garage if she wanted to.........  But that didn't happen.....!

I think I will go back down stairs and look around some more and see what other outdated stuff should be carried out there...   Of course I have a bunch of antique ham radios that have tubes in them, and are really not worth much but too special folks that like nostalgia...   Like me!  And no they won't be going anywhere near the curb, but I'm certain that Loyce will toss them the very moment I pass on!!

We had 76 here today, and it was sunny and quite nice for a little while this afternoon.  But tomorrow they forecast rain so perhaps my short pants weather will be Short Lived!!  LOL

Retired Rod

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Darned Yard, and Huck Finn.

OK, for Sandie, we haven't returned to Arizona yet, because we haven't heard anything from any of the builder's people telling us they are ready for us to return.......

But I was comparing the fact that we are in the 60s here in Kansas, but when we return, it will be really hot down there in Arizona.  We have never been there when it is so hot.  But we did go to South Dakota during the hottest week of the summer last year and we camped and traveled in 108 so we mostly think we can do it again.

We have talked some about where to camp, but will likely go back to Valle Del Oro as we have money deposited for next years camping, that we won't be using.  Perhaps we can take that out in trade for camp site rent now.    If we ask for money back, they will take $50 off of it rather than give us all of it back.  We'll have to see how that all plays out.  Also Loyce has a laundry card that still has money on it and we would like to use it up.

I said something about going back to Golden Sun to save some money, but Loyce just groaned at that one.  Their lots are soooo small, and they don't have any place to potty your dog unless its right outside someones door.  When we were there, the rains filled up the dog park as it was where all the run off water went during the big rains we had.  It also doubled as the tennis court and the shuffle board court.  All of it in the bottom of the water run off pit.

But I know it won't rain while we are down there when its 100 outside.  Well unless we get to the late summer monsoon season.  At least there won't be a trailer on every lot now that it is beyond winter season.  I know, maybe we should camp at the Wal Mart in AJ...    That would be a hot steamy night or two.

Here in KC, it was yard work day.......  And I hate yard work...  Will be glad that the Az place will be all rocks and desert stuff.  Won't have to mow that every week, LOL...  Just Round UP the weeds and stuff that grows that we don't want.  We do that at the lake too.

But for most of the day, we started with the mower and mowed and then trimmed.  My neighbor across the back yard has had trouble with his lawn mowers and hasn't decided how to get them fixed.  He was out with the walk behind but it was barely running and the grass had never been mowed yet this year.

After mowing ours, today I went over and made some hay out of his yard.  I didn't ask, as I knew he wouldn't let me mow it, but rather knocked it down before he knew what was happening.  He again attempted to mow some of it with his broken mower, but mostly he was just trimming the parts I couldn't do with the tractor.

After that, I went to Lowes and purchased ten bags of brown mulch.  Had to load them into the truck and then out again here at home.  That still makes the surgery bark, as they weigh about 40 pounds a bag.  It was late in the afternoon by the time that was all spread in the flower beds..  Its kind of like spreading rock.  Dump it in a pile and then rake it around until it looks right.

Much later in the afternoon  I made it to Wendy's for that burger......  And I was physically bushed.  So the rest of the day was spent reading a book on the computer.  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn!   Remember I read Tom Sawyer last winter, so I had to read the next book in the series......   And again every other word is the N word, because the fellow that traveled down the river was a slave that ran off from the house where Huck was living as an adopted child.

Huck couldn't stand being in a house or having to wear clean clothes and going to school and church, so he went off with his father.  Or rather his father kidnapped him......  But eventually he got away and headed down the river, finding the runaway slave from the old house.  They referred to him as the N....r Jim.  Repeatedly.  It was just his name.  Boy times have changed....

If you enjoy something written in broken vernacular, this ears the book ferran u!

The day just slipped away, once I was on the computer.....LOL

Retired Rod

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

A damaged tree in the Neighbor's yard

Not much excitement around here today, as we were still cool but the wind finally went away..  But sometime last night in the big wind my neighbor's tree in the back yard broke off about two feet above the ground.

It just snapped off like something had hit it.  But nothing was around.  It was a Maple tree, and they are notorious for being soft.  We also have a Maple tree about half way across our back yard from where the broken tree is.  So I fully expected ours to be down too but it was fine.  Our tree has more red in its leaves, so it is a different type of Maple, and perhaps that made the difference.  These trees are about 5 inches in diameter.

This afternoon I was cleaning out some of the basement after our big construction remodel from last year.  I was never able to do much after all the surgeries, so it still needs attention.  We are having the neighborhood cleanup put your junk on the curb day this Saturday, and boy do we have junk that could be tossed!

I see it is to get much hotter down in Arizona starting this weekend.  Temps might reach the century mark by Sunday....  Really, in April?  When we have to go back?

Retired Rod

Monday, April 16, 2012

City boy at Tractor Supply

Today I decided that I needed a new floor mat in the back end of the pickup truck.  I had an old carpet that I had purchased for the pickup before this one, and this one is over five years old.

The carpet was dirty and had ground in oil spots among other nasty stuff.  What to do.  I decided that I would go over to Tractor Supply and ask them.

This long tall young fellow came out with his blue jeans and big buckle and a cow boy hat and asked what I wanted????  Ah,  well,   I need a pickup mat.........  You know so stuff doesn't roll all around back there....

Well we don't carry anything like that, but us guys just use a horse stall mat.  Ok, let me see one of those.   We walk all across the store and out into the attached yard where the gates and waterers are stored and over by the fence there is a big pile of black mats.  They were 4 x 6 and looked thick.  Oops that isn't gonna roll up and go in my car.............

So I go after the truck.  Its a city truck ya know, with 4 doors and a short box.  And a grand pa topper on it too.  But I go get it and go back to the store.  This time a different salesman is at the register and I start in explaining about the pickup mat, and he looks puzzled.......  Darned city people......

So I walk around the store looking for the original guy and find him in the back.  Oh, you want a horse mat! So I go back up front and ask for a horse mat for my truck....  Well why didn't you ask for that in the first place?  I paid the $34.95 and he announces over the PA system to load out a horse mat at the North Gate.

And yes I had that much figured out and had already parked out there.  It took two of the guys to pick the mat up and put it in the back of my truck...  Man, how much does that thing weigh?  Oh,  85 pounds......  Holy Cow!  But it fits width wise and is about 3/4 inch thick and is only about 5 inches too long, and I already paid for it..  So I thank them and drive off.

Back here at the house I have to cut off the excess of this mat......The extra five inches.  So out comes the box knife and a steel yard stick and I can't hardly scratch this bugger.....  Its about all I can do to move it a little in the back of the truck.

After dragging the knife across about 20 times, I have finally made an indentation.  And a half hour later, I get it cut off......  One things for certain, this mat won't be loose in the back of the truck and stuff that's on it won't be sliding around any.....

So much for me and tractor supply!  I just wish I didn't come off as so much of a city boy!!!!!! LOL

Retired Rod

Sunday, April 15, 2012

It was for real!

Damaging, life-threatening tornadoes hit many towns from Nebraska through Oklahoma on Saturday. A late night tornado hit Woodward, OK causing extensive damage.

I finally went to sleep about 2 AM as most of it had passed us by then.   But the wind is still blowing at noon today....

Storm Warning tonight, and Arizona progress.

A significant severe weather outbreak is in the Plains, and is expected to continue through the evening. Expect severe thunderstorms that can produce large tornadoes and softball size hail.

Kansas City is right in the corner where all those Red watch box counties stretch East over Northern Mo and Southern Ia. But sometime tonight it is all to track East over us as well. The sky is totally unsettled and boiling with nasty clouds here and now it is dark and can only be seen with the lightning. I think Red boxes are tornado warnings.

So while I haven't gone to the basement yet tonight, that doesn't mean I shouldn't. So while looking out from under a rock, I will continue this post......

We had the progress eMail pictures from Mesa today so I will copy them here:

From the street

The entry way.

Garage with water heater platform and water softener loop.  Also optional door into the back yard.

Laundry nook just in from the garage.

Guest bathroom tub.

Master bathroom shower.

Master bath toilet  plumbing.

I think that's the front door we're looking out in the distance.

The realtor lady knows that I am interested in the wiring and plumbing and hvac, but doesn't understand anything about what she is looking at.  So she sends me pictures of pipes and stuff.  But not the electrical panel or the central ac unit or the main water manifold.  Just random pictures of stuff...  In this last picture, if she would have just turned around and taken the picture the other way, we would have seen the ac and furnace unit that was directly above her head.

And that would be why we need to go back and do the walk thru inspection with the project foreman before the drywall goes on........

I didn't see any low voltage wiring in any of these pictures, and next we should begin to get some outside black paper and foam insulation.  After that the chicken wire goes in that holds the stucco.  Somewhere around that time will be the insulation in the walls.

After that the drywall will be next.....  Loyce get your hat!!

Retired Rod

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Working at my son's house.

For the last several days, I have been going over to my son Chris and DIL Melissa's house to help in their big cleanup and remodel of the kitchen and downstairs after their midnight accident.  They had the ice maker in their fridge give out and caused the kitchen to flood.

It had been running for several hours when they found it in the middle of the night.  Their kitchen floor was made of wood, which promptly buckled, and the ceiling in the basement was  suspended and the tiles were soaked and fell out.  It was a mess!

So for the last several days I have been helping re do the ceiling.  The service pro folks had been hired by the insurance company to help clean up, so all the old tile had been removed to the curb.  And after several days of the big fans running mostly it is now dry.

So Chris and I have been cutting all the new tiles that are not used in full size and mounting the light fixtures and stuff as the room comes back to shape.  Also the walls had holes knocked into them to allow the insides to dry out as well.  And later this afternoon I was re taping the wall board and fixing the holes.

These holes are under the new baseboard that will have to be installed.  Its a big remodel job because you never know where to stop as you renew the interior decorations.  So that has captivated my time and sent me home quite tired at night.

I left Chris as he was rehanging the bathroom sink.  The new floor was about a half an inch thicker than the old, so everything had to come off the wall and be moved.  Its kind of hard to shave off some of the porcelain pedestal that sits on the floor..........

Of course when they get all done, their house will seem newer and nicer.  A silver lining in the anguish of water damage.

We were hoping to have a call from the folks down in Arizona about how our house is coming along.  But as usual, they have so many irons in the fire keeping all of us happy, that we never heard one word....   But they work Saturdays and some on Sundays so the project will march right along.

Its just a matter of time now and we will have to return to Arizona for the open wall inspection, so the dry wall can be installed and the house closed up with doors that will lock at night.

Retired Rod


Friday, April 13, 2012


OK, now that I have offended all the people that live and work in Texas by saying that my wife doesn't like to go to Texas, lets see if I can get into trouble even deeper....

We have no trouble going thru Texas on the way to Arizona, and actually kind of enjoy Dalhart, well except for the smell.......  So North Texas is fun.  We enjoy Amarillo, except that they got 4 feet of hail yesterday.  We had fun going to Palo Duro Canyon, and my grand dad actually owned some dry land out by Friona.....

We have wintered in Texas and have come back to Texas after being in Arizona for several springs, but what I think bothers Loyce is anytime we get next to the Mexico border.  I think she is uneasy the closer we get to being able to cross into Mexico.  Spanish is not a language that she had any formal schooling in, so its the unknown.

And its not just Texas, we seem to be uneasy in the Southern part of Arizona as well.  Remember she isn't too fond of Yuma either.....  And if I ask her, she would just say I don't like it.  That's all.  I'm not too sure that the news media helps this much, and also the late night shows about the border wars showing the drugs coming into our country and illegal border crossings.

Also, we have lived most of our married life in the smaller cities of the Midwest.  But in those cities   we have been in urban neighborhoods.  So home owner associations are most of what we know.  We have never lived out in the country or away from the modern conveniences of shopping like JoAnn Fabrics and Wal Mart.  Or the local quilt shoppes.

Going out into the country is for Vacation!  You know, head out to the park or something like that, for a day or two.  But even that had better have a big grocery store within a few miles....

We are on the Southern edge of KC here in the Olathe/Overland Park area, where I can ride my scooter off into the rural roads at the drop of a hat, right after I pass the nearby Wal Mart..

So all of that influences our choice of the county line residential area down between Mesa and Apache Junction.  We are actually in Mesa, and Maricopa County, for taxes and police coverage but can toss a stone into Pinal County South of Apache Junction.  So its out of the city so to speak, but not far enough to be rural.   And there are oodles of houses together so that we feel more secure.

Also, since we will not be there much of the time, we didn't want to be isolated without neighbors.  So choosing this housing complex works for us, even though they won't like our RV.  But then RVing has become more difficult for me now anyway with my special needs because of my health.

So I hope that makes some sense.....  But believe me we don't just categorically hate Texas.  It just isn't my wife's first choice.....  There now am I out of trouble or did I dig my way in deeper?

Retired Rod

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Nope not an RV in Sight!!

As nice as it would be to have the perfect place to put an RV right next to your new home, I have never found any residential properties where this can be done in Arizona......   Frankly the zoning restrictions of any newer neighborhood will strictly prohibit such an "undesirable" practice.

When I explained to our realtor, that the window sticker of our Motorhome exceeded the price of of this new home that we were purchasing, she looked at me in disbelief.  After all we were folks from the "trailer park" as she put it....  I ignored that comment and went on to explain that most diesel motorhomes were higher than a quarter of a million bucks.  And in some cases 4 times as high.  And since you can't finance a motorhome for 30 years, many of them are just paid for outright.

Yep,  there's more millionaires over at "that there trailer park" than you got down here in any of these cheaper suburbs.........

But the lot that we purchased is only 120 feet deep and 65 feet wide.  The setback from the street is only 20 feet, meaning that even my large pickup may be too long to park out in front.  We did purchase the option to have the garage made 2 feet deeper so our cars won't be so scrunched.  That cost 2 K more.

The covenants on the property prohibit parking any vehicles on the property other than in the driveway  or in the garage.  It also prohibits parking your cars in the street as well.  People violate this of course, but the neighbor up the street squawked about a car in the street across from him and I had only met him for 30 minutes.  So how long do you think it would be with the motorhome parked in the street out front, before the police show up?  May as well make the call myself......

I read the covenants before we purchased this property, and it prohibits almost everything you can think of.  Other than going into your house and keeping your head down.  Want that satellite dish?  Better keep it down low where it can't be seen from the street or you are in violation.......  Don't even mention that I am a HAM......  Just imagine that great big tower and antenna in the back, hanging over the neighbors concrete block fence walls.  I could run enough power to make their stereos dance when they were turned off!!!!

Now wouldn't that make me the prize on the block....... LOL.  Ya, they just don't know what might move in next door.....  Out of that trailer park....

But the point is that most people think of us RVers like they think of the movie Christmas Vacation.  You know the famous scene where the antagonist is emptying his Black Tank down the storm sewer...  And the famous comment that the "Sh*tters Full Clark!"  And most of all they don't want them any where near where they are.

So it will remain to be seen how much trouble I get into by parking the coach across the front of the house for a few hours while we unload some of our stuff.

I do know of two places where this RV utopia can be found.....  The nicest would be Retama Village South of McAllen, Texas.  They sell RV lots and then smaller houses in the same sub division.  And then finally they combined the two and you can back your motorhome right into the front of your house.  Or into a large attached garage, depending on how you build it.

Trouble is, my wife doesn't like to go to Texas!  , but wouldn't that be cool on a lot of your choice out near the lake somewhere?  I'm thinking of Speedy in that question....

The other option is in Bracketville, Tx and is the old Fort property where folks build a metal canopy that goes over a large concrete patio and RV parking spot.  Some of the folks there have built homes under the metal roof as well.  The best example of this is Kit and Jerry who have a blog and are building such a home as we speak.  And I mean they are pounding the nails and running the saw.

Here is a picture of their canopy before the beginning of the house build.  She has taken extensive photos of the construction process, and they are posted in their picasa web album which can be linked here or from their blog.  Just click on Kit and Jerry above.  These folks are from Indiana and couldn't be nicer.  They are gate guards at oil well properties, and their blog is Very Interesting, as they describe all of the vehicles that come on the properties, and what they are there to do....

Since this has gotten quite long, I will end it for now, but must report that it is much cooler here last night and tonight.  Almost freezing both nights.  We usually get this cold snap around the first weeks of April every year, but from then on its spring!

Retired Rod

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Working on the Cable TV wiring, and Pics from Az.

What the heck did I do with today?  Well.................  I fixed on Loyce's TV in the bedroom....  Seems that she wasn't on the cable channels that we restarted at the first of the month.  So with some reprogramming of the TV and a call to the cable company to check and see if she had the extended basic and so forth I think she is back in business.

Then I decided to rewire the cable box with a bypass so she can watch the native cable without the box. They have a bunch of HD channels that come in without the box.  But the guy on the phone didn't really want me to know that.  "Oh,  you can see some of that with your cable ready TV..... Not all TVs will do that....."   Well guess what buster, mine do!!  And I have several brands of TVs too.  They just won't tell you that so you will rent one of their expensive boxes...

Gets me hot just telling you about it.....  Cable is a rip off......!!!

Anyway I was out and about with the red scooter looking for cable splitters and ended up in Wal Mart's stuff on cards in the TV section.

Oh, I was emailing the folks down in Mesa again over the security system, and we are not any farther along than we were.  Realtor gal keeps telling me its OK, but can't get anyone else to be onboard with that...    She sent some pictures....

Back yard is about 25 feet deep, so with a few bushes and stuff around the fence wall, there might be room for a tree or two.   

She isn't supposed to go into the house while the workers are there, and the plumbers were starting on their part of the rough in.  So just pics from the back slider where the little patio is.  And I do mean little.  Its about 10 by 10....  Grill will have to be in the back yard in order to have room to sit out there.

It will still have a lot more room than the RV park lot, and it will be ours, so getting kicked out mid season because it is rented to someone else won't be a problem again.

Perhaps about 2 and a half more months and we will be looking like a home......

Retired Rod

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

More Taxing Days of Taxes.......

I'm not so sure that I want to spend much time messing with this computer tonight because that is what I was doing all day.  Working with the program Turbo Tax, hunting all the nuances to make it print what I wanted for a tax return.  And then once I thought it was alright, running the auditor at the end........

Then being startled to find a big list of stuff that wasn't OK according to the program.  Then struggling again to clear out all the idiosyncrasies that were of my own creation.  Perhaps if I had gone thru the laborious process of answering all the questions of the interview then perhaps the audit review process wouldn't have had so many issues.

But that is complicated by years of actually doing tax returns with various forms of software professionally and my own comprehension of what a completed return should look like.  And as usual I let go of those ideas very reluctantly.

But one thing that helped me this year was only having to do one state.  We have managed to get all of the income to be sourced here in Kansas, and finally after 7 years of being outside of Iowa and Missouri, we have succeeded.  So doing the state was almost simple.  But as we find more of the puzzle in random 1099s, I'm certain it will have to be amended.........

But for now the big tax puzzle is over...........  Extensions filed and estimates mailed.

It was after 4 PM when I was finally mailing the returns and retiring to Wendy's for that celebratory burger. Celebrating that it is mostly over for another year, but it wasn't long as I went to Wal Mart to shop for some drink bottles.   Seems that I have left mine in the motorhome........

Once back home, I went sound to sleep for about two hours, and even then awoke to some TV watching, but no serious computer time!!

I did see on Facebook where Fillmore, Doug and Jo Ann's famous and faithful standard Poodle had passed away today.  For those of us who followed Doug's blog for many years, Fillmore was the center of many of his stories.  Doug passed away last summer from many years of battling   cancer.

I did get to meet Fillmore one night down in Tucson at the Diamond J campground.  We only camped there for a couple of nights, but Jo Ann graciously invited us over to meet them.  Fillmore was a card and immediately knew that I liked dogs and wouldn't leave me alone to talk with the folks.  He just kept bringing over his toys and wanting to play.  He just wouldn't be done with it.

After all, we had come just to meet him, and the fact that we needed to talk to his parents was only secondary......  May he play with his master Doug forever........

Retired Rod

Monday, April 9, 2012

Easter and the grands.....

I got to reading scooter blogs and darned near forgot to post something.  And the Easter Holiday is over, so it will be back to work on that tax return for me in the morning, unless I procrastinate.. again..............

We had a sunny normal mid 60s day here, and Loyce had the other two grand daughters today.  They played here and played at McDonalds play land about a mile from here.  She gets them chicken McNuggets....  and they are too excited to eat them...

I rode the little red scooter, and went to Sam's Club thinking I would buy some over the counter drugs.   Wrong!  They were closed for Easter....  Even the gas pumps were closed...  So I rode some more and went to a different station....  Purchased about a gallon of gas for $4.  Man that little bike is stingy on its gas usage...  I've ridden it all over and it only took a gallon?

Anyway no news here other than Loyce enjoying the grand kids and me reading the internet....

Retired Rod

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Holiday Weekend

I'm worthless today as I didn't have the drive to work on the taxes at all.  I did work on picking up all the papers that were strewn all over our kitchen and hearth room.  It was a mess and Loyce was trying really hard to put up with it.

I asked her if she wanted to take over on the job  but she just said, yeah right!  So she went and picked up our two grand daughters so their mommy could go to work.  I never asked what Ben had planned, but grandma doesn't mind at all.

So between playing with the kids and watching stuff on TV and the internet, that was our day....

Tonight I watched the Catholic Mass from the Basilica in Washington DC.  It was the full candle lighting service and it was quite beautiful.  We are not Catholic, but still the pageantry of their service for Easter one of the most striking worship services you will see.

So with that, I hope you are with your family and loved ones on this Holiday and pass on the wish that you have a:    

                                 HAPPY EASTER 

Retired Rod

Saturday, April 7, 2012


We were much cooler here again today, as it struggled all morning to get beyond colder than we saw all winter in Arizona.  Do you want some cheese with that whine???

It didn't matter because I was stuck inside on the computer typing in numbers upon numbers....  Hmm, how do you enter that one??  And just for good measure, I don't like the GPS interview hold your hand style of inputting my numbers, so I turn that off.  And for some of it, I just go straight to the forms and enter the stuff that way.  But it does argue when I am wrong, so even inputting stuff at the native level, it won't let you do a bad tax return......  Our deadline here in the US is April 17, this year....  so that is only 11 days off.....

By mid afternoon, I realized that I didn't have any copy paper to run the printer with and Kansas wants original forms to scan, so I set out looking for forms.  Not at the post office or the library......  The lady at the library said to go online and print out the forms, but to send in original black ink hand written paper, and they would take that.  She said they hadn't sent out blank forms for a couple of years now....  Its tight here in Kansas...

Ok well lets go home and see if I can print them out.  I have both a laser printer and an ink jet, but the ink jet turned out to be dry.  So now it was off to the Cartridge World for a new ink cartridge.......  The place was closed.   Argh, I mean out of business closed.  I did buy a case of paper at the Office Depot, where I learned that a new cartridge was $35.  Heck with that!

Back home looking on the internet, I realize that the closest C World is over in old Overland Park.  Road Trip!  But at least there is a Wendy's on the way.....   Refill of my cartridge  $11.50.

So tonight the return is complete enough to know how much I owe to the Feds.  Still gotta do that state!   And the estimates, and the .........  It will be several days before its all done.

Retired Rod