Thursday, January 31, 2013

Hi Jolly


 
There is a monument at Quartzsite honoring a little known fact of American history.

In 1856 the US Army came up with a plan for moving freight across the “great American desert” by using camels.  Several camels were shipped over and a man named Hadji Ali was hired to be the camel driver.

His name was difficult to pronounce and he eventually became known as Hi Jolly.

This monument is the most visited site in Quartzsite and honors the short lived US Camel Corps.

When the American Civil War broke out funds were difficult to get for this project and it was abandoned.

Hadji Ali attempted to run a freight business for a time afterwards but this was not successful and eventually he released the camels into the desert to fend for themselves.

We discovered this site during a geocaching run as it was a visual cache where we had to email answers to three questions to the cache holder.

And now you know about the US Camel Corps….I wonder if there are any stray camels running around somewhere yet.

Long Live the Queen of the Camels

 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Queen cleans up....finally!


While in town and after having lunch where we met our friend, Lila, we headed over to the showers.

We weren’t sure exactly where this was; just that it was across the street from the Roadrunner Market.  All that was over there was a long pole shed, but we pulled in anyway.  On the end nearest the street it was a little cafĂ©.  In the center part was a laundry mat and there on the farthest end was a small sign announcing showers.

It was just as someone had told us, for $6 you get a key to enter a private stall with a large dressing area and a shower.  Included were a towel and washcloth, a small hotel sized bar of soap and there was baby shampoo in case you didn’t have your own.  Then it was 20 minutes of hot water and a marvelous shower.

I washed my hair for the first time in a week – then rinsed and repeated, twice.  It felt so good to luxuriate in the hot water, suds up and get really clean.  My apologies to the man at the counter when I startled him by giving him a hug…I just felt SO good again. We may have been able to shower in the RV, but we wanted to avoid this to conserve water.  Things are a bit different with no hookups.

Our boon docking routine goes a bit like this:  in the morning we turn on the generator and if the weather is cold, run the furnace to take the chill off.   The water heated is turned on so I can do up the dishes from the day before and coffee and cocoa are prepared.  Dishes are a once a day event to conserve water, and this does eliminate the guilt of letting them sit there….not that that has been a problem with me anyway.

Then the hotspot gets activated to check email and post the blog.  After the computer work is done, dishes are washed in the plastic dishpans and afterwards the water is transferred to a large bucket in the shower.  This water is used for flushing the toilet.  We try really hard not to waste any water because the only alternative is to drive the RV into town to dump the tanks and refill with fresh water, which is a hassle and involves a long dirty, rocky, bumpy ride to get into town.

After the need for electricity is over the generator is turned off to save gas and eliminate the noise to the neighbors.  There are those with multiple solar panels near us who don’t run any generators, so there is an unwritten code to try to be quiet with no running of the generators from 10pm to 6am.

In the evening the generators go back on to watch the evening news and shows we prefer – the computers are accessed again and supper is prepared.  I have used the gas oven to bake some cinnamon rolls, but I really like the way the microwave/convection oven bakes better.

Yup, the baking continues and I’m developing a reputation as the cinnamon roll queen here.  There’s nothing as satisfying as mixing up all the stuff and kneading it until it’s a smooth, elastic ball and waiting for it rise.  There’s lots of nice warmth and sunshine to get it rising quickly and the thrill of warm rolls right out of the oven is unbeatable.

It’s not really a big hassle to boon dock, it’s just a different way of living.  The upside is being able to park anywhere you want to, facing whatever direction you choose.  There are no wires or hoses to have to run, except for the satellite dish of course.  Oh, and the price is usually free of very nominal…that’s always nice also.

I think of boon docking as what you do when you live in an RV and decide to go “camping”. 
Boomerville is over now and the 129 RV's that were part of it are slowly easing out, but some are staying to enjoy the tranquility of the desert views in a quieter setting.
We have now moved to the area where the Geocachers are meeting until Wednesday.  I hope to gain a great deal of knowledge from the many seminars they have listed here.  I'm not sure how many rigs we have right now, but it seems most of Boomerville has come over this way.
We are parked off to the side a bit more alone and have a great view of the mountains.  I'll see if Blogger has decided to let me post photos more easily now, so photos are yet to come.
Long Live the Queen of Clean Living

Friday, January 25, 2013

New role models for aging gracefully


Attitude - it's all how you look at things
Later in the day after learning how to age gracefully we headed into town in search of food, a shower and a grocery store.

Not knowing where to go we stopped at the first place that presented itself, Sweet Darlene’s Bakery and Restaurant.  I’ve never met a bakery I didn’t like so we ambled in and gazed at the long tables that were packed full of people eating and ordering.  Squeezing our way down to the far side of the room we took two chairs at the end of a table and waited for the waitress.  And we waited…and waited…and waited.

This is understandable when you have a major population explosion in a small town so we just went with it and chatted until we were brought menus.  Our waitress was delightful.  She had forgotten her glasses and so borrowed someone else’s, which kept falling off her face unto the table. Her arms were inked with tattoos and there were as many gaps as teeth in her mouth.  She was delightful and full of personality and quick to smile. Her was a woman comfortable in her own skin.

None of the waitresses were young, come to think of it I can’t recall seeing anyone in this town under the age of fifty…we feel right at home.  About the time she was waiting on us a large group sat down next to us, with the exception of one lady who was attempting to sit on the other side of the group.

Our waitress quickly chastised her and ordered her to sit down “over here” pointing to the seat next to Left Brain.  She then explained that she could sit over there by that other handsome man, but that didn’t happen to be her table.  This was how we met Lila, my new role model.

This cute little lady smiled and parked herself next to my husband and immediately struck up a conversation starting with the standard “where are you from?”  We volunteered that we were from Wisconsin and learned she was from Iowa – ahhh…Midwesterners finding one another in Quartzsite.

There was a sparkle in her eyes and a smile on her lips at all times as we swapped stories.  She is 89 and her husband, sitting to my left, is 90. They had done the full time RV thing for many years before settling into the SKP park in Coarsegold in a park model.  They joined Escapees long before we did.  For example, our skip number is 68640 – their number only has four digits in it. 

She shared the story of being in the California earthquake in the 80’s when their home slide down the side of a hill while they rode it out, with her in the bathtub.  It just goes to show that everyone has stories to share and that is one of the best aspects of this new life – meeting people like her and hearing the stories.  Her only regret was that she did not keep a journal of their RV’ing years.  I gave her my card and explained that I had started a blog to record our experiences.  This seemed to delight her and she borrowed her friend’ card, writing her name and email on it and asked us to send her an email...and I have every intent to do so.

I can only hope to have as much vitality and sparkle as this woman when I reach her age.  In my family people seemed old before their time and most had died by the early eighties.  Now I can see that a person can be alive and full of wonder well beyond this.  Thank you Lila for affirming my lesson on how to age gracefully.
 
Long Live the Queen of Growing Old, Gracefully or Not

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Aging Gracefully


 
 
We have many informative sessions out here in the desert in Boomerville.  The most recent was on how to age gracefully.

Even though I considered this a lost cause for myself, I at least wanted to attend and ask “why?”  My plan is to be an embarrassment to my family and children and I’d say I’m right on track, and I’m pretty sure my kids would say I accomplished this mission some time ago.

But I plodded over to the circle with my chair, water, notepad and big floppy hat to see what I might have missed.  It was a delightful lesson and covered all aspects of being vibrant and alive right up until death.

Being in Boomerville is like attending an RV Elderhostel where we have planned outings, gatherings and classes.  It has been an experience I will cherish for years and is enriching my life in ways I would never have foreseen.

The main ingredient it seems to aging gracefully is attitude.  No surprise there.  Life is what you make it and you need to adjust your mindset to what is happening around you. 

It reminded me of a Jewish precept I’d learned long ago.  The question: “who is the happiest man on earth?”  The answer: “he who is content with his lot in life.”  If you’re happy with what you have and stop lusting over the next “thing” you might be able to obtain, life is so much simpler.  I do not see this as just settling for what you have. 

My daughter wrote a beautiful song many years ago and the line that resonates with me is about stopping the chase of all the shiny things I thought would set me free.  How she got so smart so young in life amazes me.

After shedding all the excess “stuff” of my life, both material and mental, to embark on this RV journey; I have never felt more alive.  My current sense is that whatever happens I am not alone, I am protected and cared for by a higher power. I do not worry anymore about running out of anything, I am certain that I will always have “enough”.  And it really is having “just enough” that you need, the extra is just baggage to drag around.
 
Long Live the Queen of Graceful Living

 

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A visit to the Readers Oasis


Sorry about the lag in posting, but I had the sniffles and slept for about 15 hours straight and now feel fine.  The generator is running so I have electricity and the hotspot is activated to get to the internet...all is well.  I have to say that I miss the ease of instant internet more than having water or electricity.


Yesterday Left Brain and I went into town to pick up a couple more LED lights for the RV and to catch a couple more items on our photo scavenger hunt.  One of those items was simply listed as "Paul".  I suppose I could have shot any old Paul around Quartzite, but my readers would be very disappointed as many have been waiting for this day.


It was a warm sunny day and on the way to the Book Store I wanted to drop off these stupid old prescriptions I'd been carrying around with me.  Left Brain saw an article telling us we could dump them off at the Quartzsite police station.  Finally!  We stopped there on the way to see Paul but forgot it was Martin Luther King day and the police station was closed.  Sigh.  Maybe later on we'll try again.

We pulled up to the Reader's Oasis and what a sight it was.  Everything was stacked and labeled neatly enough but it had the feel of shelves ready to collapse on top of me at any moment. 

And then there was this streak of very tan flesh that whooshed by me.  Yikes! 

That must be Paul. 

But what really caught my attention was the appearance of this black and white cat.  It reminded me so much of Baxter that I just had to make friends.  I guess it really shows my age when I'm more enthralled with a skinny old cat instead of a skinny old naked man.
Thank goodness I had heard about Paul before and was prepared for this, or at least I thought I was. 

I'm not sure anything can get you ready for an almost totally naked old man running around. 

Well, he's not totally naked, he was wearing socks and flipflops, some beads, a hat and a ?????, well, I'm not sure what you'd call it. 

His "wardrobe" consists of a crocheted (at least it looked crocheted, I really didn't get that close to look at it) snood that snuggled over his, er...private parts.  One skein of yard would make a wardrobe that could last a lifetime.  I was wondering if he had special ones for holidays, perhaps with tassels or bells.

The sign said it was okay to photograph but to ask permission first, which I did.  I found it very hard to keep a straight face while asking him this, but managed to stammer it out.

He's a very sweet, soft spoken man and assured me it was fine and answered my questions about the cat, whose name is Booth.




Paul was scampering about left and right assisting people in finding their book or magazine that they were looking for. 

Nobody else seemed to be struggling maintaining a sense of decorum like I was.  Maybe they're used to seeing naked men.



One of the Boomers had stopped by the day before and saw him pull on a shirt, get on his bike and head out for parts unknown. 

At first I wondered about the shirt, then I wondered what if felt like to ride a bike with a bare butt. 

Why a shirt?  Then it hit me.  It must be for those stores that post the warning "no shirt, no shoes, no service". 

Well, he has a shirt and shoes, so I guess he's okay.

I would have liked to get a photo of his face as you never see any images of him without them on, but maybe that's part of what allows him to be so nonchalant while pracing about in the buff. 

Or perhaps he's so used to wearing them that he'd feel naked without them?

When I explained about the scavenger hunt and that I needed to get a photo of him, this is the pose he left me with as he said "Here you go!  I hope you win!"  Not many things leave the Queen speechless, but this did it.



Long Live the Temporarily Blinded Queen

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Day Three


 
We ended the other night with a gathering of about fourteen people for snacks and drinks, set up between our rig and Ingrid and Al’s. 

It was an evening of fellowship and sharing of thoughts and ideas about the RV life and life in general.

We met a delightful couple named Steve and Mona Liza who just started full-timing in March 2012, so they are ahead of us by a couple of months.  She also rights as blog, as does Ingrid so we all exchanged cards.

Today we went in caravan style to a place called The Desert Bar, which was located quite a distance away and on the longest, hilliest, dustiest, rockiest road I’ve been on.  This area is very popular with ATV’s and I was wondering if we shouldn’t be in one.

After a long twisty drive we finally caught sight of it, way back in the hills, literally in the middle of nowhere.  It has a saloon, food and music and is only open on the weekend from noon to six.  The reason for this is that it runs totally on solar power.

check out all those solar panels!

 
The parking lot filled up quickly with not only our group but many other people seeking the unique atmosphere of Nellie’s Saloon. 

The food was cooked outside and was incredibly tasty. 

I gave my name to be called as “Boom Boom” and it was worth it to watch the guy put together my order, look at the slip and then his face split into an ear to ear grin as he shouted out “Boom Boom!!”.

After enjoying our lunch we walked around to take in the sights and seize the photo ops that abounded. 

I love old rusty junk and this place had no shortage of it.  The majority of the photos will be posted into an album called The Desert Bar on my Facebook page.

the bathrooms dug into the side of the hill
 
I absolutely loved this place and it will definitely be one of the highlights of this trip.  Kay and Tom joined us in our car for this trek and afterwards we stopped at Wal-Mart and Safeway for a few supplies.

On the way back to Boomerville we actually found the Bureau of Land Management agents at their campsite and could finally get our permits to stay here.  It’s pretty relaxed but we’ve been warned they do patrol from time to time.  Hard to keep herd on several thousand RV’s, so I wasn’t too worried about it.


We’re avoiding the big RV show until Monday or Tuesday due to the crowds.  It should be a little bit quieter after the weekend is over. 

I have a list of things to photo for the Boomer scavenger hunt and I see that “Paul” is on the list, so we need to get into the Reader’s Oasis Bookstore before Wednesday when the hunt ends.


loved this beard!
 
I had no idea I would love boon docking this much and am losing my fear of it.  We did sign up with a group of others to have our tanks pumped out as we get a better price if several sign up at one time.

We still need to learn how to play Pegs and Jokers as well as something Kay calls Combat Bocce Ball.  Hmmm….that sounds interesting.

Long Live the Queen of the Desert Oasis

Friday, January 18, 2013

Day Two


I woke early with giddy excitement at what the new day might bring. There was a pretty sunrise with stars that I failed to photograph properly.  Looks like I need to dig out that tripod again for those shots.

After a light breakfast we headed into the town of Quartzite and visited several of the vendors that were already set up for the big RV show starting on Saturday. 

There are some glaring differences between our last stay in Mesa and our newest digs here in the desert. For instance, this was the office in Carriage Manor.  (sorry - I am still unable to load photos....grrrrr.  I will keep working on this).

This is the office here in Boomerville.  But for all the variances in their appearance, the services rendered are the same and the price here is much less.

We are supposed to obtain a 14 day permit from the Bureau of Land Management but every time we go past their tent we have not yet found anyone to talk to.

Others in our camp have said not to worry about it; your 14 day stay doesn’t start until you are “caught”.  I certainly don’t mind doing it the right way, but it would be nice to be able to find the people.

The town is set up for the thousands of people coming through and we did find a couple of LED lights to start replacing our old ones.  The LED lights use much less voltage and give off a nice bright light.  Now that we know these fit, we’ll stop back tomorrow and get a couple more.  They are a bit pricey – anywhere from $8 to $20 each but they last forever and don’t get hot like the older style.

While in Quartzsite we had lunch at Silly Al’s.  Left Brain enjoyed his Reuben and I was in love with my Mediterranean pizza.

We visited the Escapee happy hour on our way back and after we got back to our rig we soon had Tom and Kay knocking on our door.  They had arrived while we were out and we had a lovely chat to catch up and then we all went to the Boomer happy hour.  There seem to be a lot of happy hours here.

After we returned to our rig again Al and Ingrid stopped over for a bit and while we were chatting we were visited by an ultra light buzzing over our RV’s.

So, it’s been another fun day here in Boomerville.  Tomorrow there is a class on Boondocking 101 that I want to attend to learn any other tips I can pick up for our stay here.

But now it’s time to run the generator and get this blog written so I can post it in the morning.

Long Live the Queen of Quartzsite

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Day one in Quartzite


We left Mesa at 9:00 and headed westward into Quartzite.  I felt a childlike tingle of excitement as we approached our destination, not having any idea what to expect.  The coordinates were entered into the GPS and I followed with the written directions provided by friends who had been here before. 

What a sight! Nestled at the foot of the mountains was Quartzite and everywhere you looked there were RV’s parked off to the sides in the desert. We left the paved road for a gravel road and finally a primitive road better suited for ATV’s than motorhomes.  The Boomers were diligent in their efforts of placing signs along the way and we finally arrived.

If the RV’s were magically replaced by tents and shanties, this had to be what it felt like to enter a mining town.  I found the check in tent and entered us as number 55.  The gentleman guiding me asked if I’d like full hookups.  I replied yes and I’d like to be near the pool and clubhouse as well.

We circled See-More around and nosed him into a nice spot alongside the road next to a five-wheel that was setting off a bit by itself…at least until we invaded the neighborhood.  After setting up camp we hunkered down in our chairs with our Kindles to enjoy the mountain view and relax while reading.

With the sunshine beating down I was almost too warm with my sweatshirt on but the breeze required it.  It felt good after the cold stretch we had in Mesa and the mountain views were stunning.  After a bit our neighbors drove up and sauntered over to introduce themselves as Al and Ingrid from Colorado.

What a fun couple!  We visited until 4:00 when it was time to join the other Boomers at the fire pit for happy hour and introductions.  Being new visitors to Boomerville we were given Marti-Gras style necklaces to wear so others would know of our virginity and be able to assist us in finding our way.

We also met up with our friends Sherrie and Jack that we met in Blaine MN last summer.  There were some snacks set out, including adult gummies to enjoy. These apparently have vodka in them.  After visiting for a while we headed back to See-More to fix a little supper, crank on the generator and watch the news.

Without electricity there isn’t a lot to do and when the sun goes down it gets quite cold in the desert.  So we crawled into bed and I read for a while under my covers until it was time to go to sleep.  It’s a wonderfully lazy lifestyle dictated by the rising and setting of the sun.  It feels so pioneer- like, with the exception of having Kindles and checking email on the phone.  Tomorrow we will explore Quartzite and all the vendors that are out there and then stop by the Escapee happy hour and look for our other friends we met at the Escapade.

So, we’re here and settled in and finding our way around.  Blogger is still balking at adding photos so I will continue to load things into Picassa Web as needed to add images of our days here.  We were given a list of things to photo for a visual scavenger hunt and it appears there will be no end of photographic opportunities, so this will probably remain strapped to my body for the duration.

But for today, I just wanted to get this much posted – photos tomorrow.

 

Long Live the Desert Queen

 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Off to Quartzite


Well, tomorrow morning we begin our adventure of experiencing Quartzite.  We've only heard the stories, good and bad, so this should be interesting.


Quartzite is a small town (under 4,000) on the western side of Arizona and during this time of year it is estimated that between 750,000 and 1,000,000 million arrive, most of them in RVs.  Mind you this is out in the middle of the desert with nothing nearby.  These are photos I found showing some of the views.

It will be the first time Left Brain and I have ever camped completely self-contained for this period of time.  We figure we will either love it or hate it.  But the price is right...it's free for two weeks.  They tell me there will be a tent with a table on the side of the road where you get your permit from the Bureau of Land Management for your stay.

During this time there is a huge RV show, as well as rocks and gem shows, which apparently is the really big draw.  Most of the sales take place in tents set up for the occasion.

The traffic is horrendous, the noise level high, it's crowded and dusty and dirty.  I can't wait.

One of my stops will have to be The Reader's Oasis.  It is run by a man who prefers not to wear any clothing.  He was a stripper in his youth and can be seen in the store wearing his "briefs".  It seems he is a bit of a character and I can't wait to meet him.

One of the Escapees groups named Boomers has a little (or rather large, actually) village they establish called Boomerville.  My friend, the Divine Miss M, calls this even the Woodstock for Seniors.  I was too young to attend Woodstock being one of the younger boomers, so this is my chance to experience something of this type.  It would not surprise me if there are many hippy dippy types from the Sixties showing up here.  There should be lots of opportunities for photography!

I am uncertain as to what kind of internet I might have available during this stay, so the photos and stories may be delayed until after our departure.

Long Live the Queen of Quartzite

Monday, January 14, 2013

Too cold for plants

As the weather dipped downwards the news was full of reminders to protect the three P's - pipes, plants and pets.




So I brought Henry inside for protection.  I wasn't sure how he'd feel being inside the RV instead of sitting out in front, but Bear went out of his way to make him feel welcome.

In fact, perhaps a little too welcome.  I could hear them chuckling and sharing stories into the wee hours last night.

As soon as it's warm enough for Henry to resume his post as sentry outside, Bear may want to join him.

It's so hard to keep one's loyal subjects happy.

Long Live the Queen

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Winter wonderland

I love these cold winter mornings.  Waking up with the puffy comforter pulled tight to me and snuggling with Left Brain until I have sucked all the heat possible out of his body.  Then it's time to get up.

I kick the furnace on (or up if it's been really cold during the night) and stumble into my sweats and fuzzy socks.  Then I turn on the computer and while it's booting up I fix my breakfast of dry honey nut cheerios and coke zero...the breakfast of champions.  Or on those really cold mornings I'll pop a hot cocoa into the Keurig, adding lots of marshmallows of course, so I have something to warm my hands.  My understanding is that the marshmallows help to conserve the heat of the brew.  That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

The interior of our mobile paradise is snug with all the blinds pulled down to conserve the warmth, and the light coming through in the morning gives the feeling of being inside a coccoon.

I like to nestle into my bench seat at the table with legs folded up and pull a quilt over my legs until the furnace starts to make things really toasty.  Then I settle down to the serious business of checking email, reading Facebook and my blogs, followed by some senseless computer games...oh it's a good life, this retirement.

While the caffeine starts to percolate my brain and I come awake I begin planning my day.  Hmmm, what would the Queen enjoy today?  Life at Carriage Manor has me spoiled now with all the activities and things to do; but I know that after we leave here I will be just as excited about the prospect of going for a hike or what ever the area has to offer.  I'm pretty easily entertained.

But the cold quiet mornings are a special delight during this winter period.  Yes, I truly love winter in the southern climate.

Long Live the Queen of Winter

PS - Sorry for the dearth of photos lately - Blogger has declared some sort of mutiny and I have to load them through my Picassa albums.  I'll get more things loaded to keep the photos coming.
 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

A few of my favorite tools

Living in an RV doesn't allow for a lot of space for fancy gadgets, but I do have a few of my favorites that are a must have.

The one I use the most is my ulu knife and bowl. 

This is something Left Brain discovered in Alaska and I don't know how I'd live without it.  It slices and dices like a dream.

It makes short work out of chopping onions or anything else that needs serious dicing.

It sits on the kitchen counter and is always at the ready.


For grating I have a couple of tools. 

One is this little guy that I like for zesting lemons. 

I have a larger grater for cheese.

But my very favorite (don't tell the others) is my newest toy.

Yes, I've learned to play the mandolin!  Not the musical kind, however.  My musical talents are limited to tuning in the radio or playing CDs.


This little gadget has three blade sizes that you can change with a lever and makes the thinnest, most uniform slices you can imagine.  You just need to be careful not to remove any fingers during the process.  But that's what makes it so FUN - the thrill of possible dismemberment. 

Long Live the Queen of the Kitchen

 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

The Queen has taken up clogging

I have taken up a new sport - clogging.  But perhaps not the way you are thinking.  There's nothing resembling tap dance in this kind of clogging.

It all started after a particularly bad night of not sleeping.  I may have gotten a total of four hours in and even those were not restful.  It seems that when the family is staying with us I tend to be hypervigilant and things don't operate as normal.

After a full day with the family I arranged to run back home for a little break and take a shower before supper at Sister Mary's.  Then I would return to her house to make the corn dish and help with supper.

To begin with, I was clogged up.  I won't go into detail here, you know full well what I mean.  So, you can imagine my relief when things suddenly moved and I had some success in that department.  Yup, I was a very relieved woman...until I tried to flush the toilet.

This all occured while Left Brain was off watching the Packer vs Viking game and there's no way I was going to interupt that.  I knew what had to be done...I just didn't want to do it.

We have a sink snake that has done the job before, so I felt pretty confident when I fished this down into the black hole and worked away at it.  My goodness but this is a disgusting job!  But it should be over soon.  Nope.

No good.  Since we don't own a plunger or a larger toilet auger, I washed up and braced myself to a nighttime trip to Walmart.  It was a dark and stormy night as they say and off I went, my gloom matching the sky. 

I tried to call Sister Mary and explain I might be late ask if someone could start my side dish but the phone would not work.  I turned to the right, fully expecting to see Rod Stewart sitting in the passenger seat. 

As I wandered about the store trying to find the plumbing area I was approached by two young men in the electronics department that wanted to know if I had a moment to take a brief survey.

They looked a bit put off when I blurted out "Don't talk to me...I'm all backed up."  I sure that made no sense to them, but they did leave me alone.

I finally located the area I needed and wondered again why these things are never in the same spot in all the stores.  I picked out a toilet augerand  a plunger.  I don't like using chemicals but as a backup I wanted to be ready for chemical warfare if needed.  So I finally found a product that proclaimed itself safe for plastic pipes and septic systems.

I found myself mumbling a Dirty Harry routine as I pictured the encounter I'd soon have.  With a swagger in my step, or maybe I was just weaving from sleep deprivation, I proceeded to the checkout.

Then I went to leave the store, trying to remember which door I came in and where my car might be.  It was pitch black out there now and raining hard.  I looked up to the heavens and muttered in disbelife to G-d..."seriously?"

After returning to the scene of the slime I proceeded to try the plunger first.  I plunged hard for several tries to no avail...nothing was going to budge.  It looked like it was going to need the auger.

It took me ten minutes to get the stinking wire off the end of the auger to release it in order to begin my journey to the center of the earth...or at least the septic tank.

I stook over the throne, poised for attack with the end of the auger in the tank, feeling very much like a snake charmer and a killer cobra.  Then I remembered that I would have to turn the water off before opening up the hole.  So back outside into the rain to shut off the faucet.

Okay, she's back, she's ready to go in....and when I stepped on the foot pedal to open the hole it dawned on me.  I really should have done this before all that plunging.

So, releasing my snake into the shower stall, I retrieved the plunger again and opened the hole and plunged.  Whoosh!  Down it went.  I ran back out into the storm to turn the water on again.

The toilet had started to have an acid reflux thing going on and we dared not gaze upon the open throne while flushing. That probably should have been our first clue that disaster was headed our way.

I filled the bowl again and put the pedal to the medal.  Whoosh!  Touchdown!  The crowd went wild!  Well, just the Queen doing a little touchdown victory dance in her own personal end zone.

After washing up my implements of destruction and leaving them in the shower stall to dry, I was then able to go and join the family for supper.

When I arrived and shared my misadventures my son-in-law summed it up beautifully.  He said "it's a crappy job but somebody's gotta do it."

Long Live the Queen of Plumbing

 

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Les Miserables

Left Brain is safely back and all stuffed up with a headcold.  It seems any time we share space with the kids one of us gets sick.  Maybe this is what led to those 55 and older housing developments.  It's a way to quarantine ourselves from all those young germs.

Since pickleball or anything physical didn't appeal to him at this time we opted to go see a movie.  We like to pick the one nearest lunch time and call it a popcorn lunch.

So it was off to see Les Miserables.  I don't generally like musicals where the entire script is sung, but I have to say this was delightful.

It brought up the issues of the very wealthy having all the power and the many poor who have no rights and are starving to scrape by.  The antagonist in the story was imprisoned for having stolen a mouthful of bread for his sister's child to prevent the child from starving.  Twenty years for this crime with hard labor and chained like a dog.

Despite the abject poverty and harshness of life the people experience all the ranges of life; caring for a child, falling in love, preparing a revolution, maintaining ones honor as well as the evil that has overtaken others.

It takes a lot to make me cry but I was not able to hold back during this film.  In my mind this has the capability of becoming one of the great films of all time.  There are so many wonderful films out right now - make sure you don't miss this.  It's best seen on the big screen.

Long Live the Queen

 

Monday, January 7, 2013

Life without Left Brain

Left Brain left me recently.  Oh, it's okay, he's back home again, he only flew back to Minneapolis to escort the kids back home.  Hmmm.  I'm living with a personal escort...that sounds more exciting.

Anyway, I digress.  He was only gone for three days but I learned a lot about myself  during that time.  I never thought I'd be lonely, and this was the first time I truly experienced that feeling.

When we had the "sticks and bricks" house he would be gone for up to two months at a time and I was just fine with that.  I had lots to do and friends nearby to pass the time.  I also had the two cats for most of this time and then She Devil at the end.  This was so different.

It was the first time in eight months that we had spent a night apart.  I had no idea all the odd sounds the RV was capable of making.  It wasn't that I had any fear for my personal safety or anything, this park is about as safe as you can get.  It just felt so hollow, so quiet, so empty.

But I busied myself with taking preparing for our next move in the middle of the month.  I figured out a new arrangement for the kitchen table to maximize space for the computers and eating.  This involved many shopping trips and return visits to get rid of what didn't work, which oddly coincideded with lunch time.

I cleaned out the Arizona room, I dumped the holding tanks, swept the patio, rearranged the patio furniture and cleaned out the fridge.  The recycling and trash were taken in and the RV cleaned up.  Now what do I do?

Although it was nice to have complete quiet after the family left and my brain could begin to function again, it felt like something was missing.  It did give me an opportunity to learn more about the TV and how to operate it.  And I finally went through the instruction manual on cd for the GPS and understand it better.

But he was only gone three days and soon it was time to pick him up at the airport.  Sister Mary went with me to retrieve him and that was such a good thing.  In my compulsion to have everything shipshape for his return I decided last minute to haul the trash to the dumpster on the way to pick her up.  Ah, all is complete and ready for his return!

We got tothe cell phone lot in Phoenix and what a marvel this was.  All the cars face the large screen announcing arrivals and I had a sense of deja vu.  Except for the clunky metal speaker hooked on to the window it felt very much like being at a drive in movie.  I should have brought popcorn.

Oh scrap the popcorn...I should have brought my phone!  I was so smug with all my preparations and I was just telling her how I made sure the phone was all charged up and ready to go when I realized my purse was missing.  Huh?  Oh no.  It was either sitting on the couch at home or on the patio next to where the trash cans were.  I have no drivers license or phone.  Oh this is just wonderful.

To be in a cell phone lot with no phone is like sitting in a toilet stall with no paper.

Thank goodness she had her phone with her, but it was almost dead.  After rummaging around in the car I found the phone charger and adapter and miracle of miracle it actually fit her phone.  We turned the car on for a while to make sure it was charging the phone and sat back to wait.  Wouldn't that be the utter insult to be able to get the call but have the car battery dead.  The way things were going I wasn't taking any changes. She called and left a message for Left Brain to call her number when he arrived without going into a lot of details, bless her heart.

He arrived right on time and we headed out to pick him up.  Thankfully Sister Mary has been here countless times to pick up people and knew exactly where to go.  We found him quickly and scooped him up to head back home.

After we were settled in again I told him of my loneliness.  To put it into perspective I advised him that if he had been gone for another day or two he would have returned to an RV with new cats.  I don't think he'll leave me again.

Long Live the Lonely Queen

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Our newest geocachers

Em's first find
It was a little hard to explain why we love geocaching to the kids, since there doesn't seem to be any real point to it.

It involves driving around in search of junk and generally results in having lunch or a snack somewhere on the way to keep our strength up.

But as it turned out they really didn't care about the why, but instead just enjoyed the thrill of the search and taking turns with following the GPS compass.  We have so much to learn from kids.

opening up the tiny one they found here
We started with a second visit to one we had found before as I wanted to grab the Magic Bus and relocate it somewhere.  Then they wanted to do some new ones that we all had to search for.

We had one that we couldn't find, but others that were successful so a good time was had by all.




They were blown away with how tiny they could be and what odd spots they might be located in.

These guys are real troopers and were happy to prowl around odd spots with us and moving rocks, spider webs and crawling around on the ground.  Oh, do we know how to have fun or what?

I think they love it for the same reason I do, there's usually food involved somewhere along the way.




The one they are working with here had a coin theme and was only for coins and nothing else.  It was a fun one to find and share the joy with them.

We also got to introduce them to playing pickleball, but the weather was not cooperative and with the  wind blowing it was hard to keep the ball in our court. 

But we played enough that they got the hang of it and seemed to be catching on very well.  Those long arms of the older granddaughter sure come in handy for catching the ball; I wish I had a bit more height on me.

It was a fast few days with the kids trying to share all our new games with them.

Long Live the Queen of the Cache

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I can breathe again!

The company is gone and the RV is once again quiet.  Especially since Left Brain flew back with the grandkids as they were not sure they liked the idea of flying alone.  So, until Sunday I am a free woman!

The day was spent cleaning out the Arizona room where the kids stayed, putting things back in the outside bays and organizing stuff in the main living area.

I find myself thinking ahead to the days where we will once again have feline family by glancing at areas and thinking that would be a good spot for the litter box, I could put their water and food there, that kind of thing.  But I will try to stay on course and wait until we have done this for a full year before adding cats back into our lives.

Maybe it was inspired by the new cat rug I received as a Christmas gift from Vern and Lorraine.  Vern is a hooker, and I mean that in a good way!  He loves making rugs and I saw this one in the catalog and he surprised me with it for Christmas.  It is so soft and fuzzy.  I guess this will feed my desire for a cat until the real thing comes along.

Long Live the Queen of Cats

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year

The blog is tempararily discontinued while our grandkids are visiting us to bring in the new year.  We are having too much fun with them to write anything right now, so until Thursday the blog will be silent.

Long Live the Queen of Grandkids