Summer Travel Map

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

February Update

February 24, 2009
Peoria, AZ

I know, I know – it’s been quite a while since the last post. Sorry, but there just hasn’t been a lot to write about! Things will definitely pick up over the next few weeks, as we’ll be winding up our winter “rest” and getting ready to head out for “summer vacation”. Hmmm, what about spring and autumn? I’ll have to think that through…

Life has been generally simple for the last month or so. After a health scare last year, Merlin (the Yorkie) is doing well. On the advice of one of the vets, we’ve weaned him off of the anti-seizure medication that he’s been on since he was a puppy. We’re reasonably convinced that he was misdiagnosed in the beginning: he likely has a neurological condition that causes him to periodically shake, as opposed to petite mal seizures. Since the medication isn’t particularly good for his liver, we’re happy to get him off it. We’ll continue to monitor him closely, but he’s doing pretty well for an “old man” (he’s almost 11).

On the home front, Geri finally convinced me not to install the “pond-less waterfall” kit that I’d bought last winter. She’s been concerned about the implications of putting that much stress (between the size of the hole required for the pump well and the amount of water involved) too close to the cement block wall we share with the neighbors. In addition, she reminded me that what I bought wasn’t what she wanted in the first place. Accordingly, we picked up a modest little pre-molded waterfall fountain at Lowe’s and the “dig a big hole for the big pump and pile up the rocks under the rubber liner” kit is now on sale on eBay. One day, I’ll learn – maybe…

I’ve started getting the coach ready for travel, mainly doing some storage reorganization and a couple of small projects I’d identified last year. I relocated the propane line used to fuel the outside stove/grill, routing it through a protective PVC pipe as opposed to the way it was zip-tied to the frame (the propane connection is on the driver’s side and the stove/grill goes on the curb side, so the line needed to be routed through the bay. The new location will be much better, and will allow me to store the venturi pipe I made for the generator exhaust in that compartment. More space – woohoo!

One more complex project will be removing the mirrored backsplash behind the kitchen sink and stove, and replacing it with tile. We’ve wanted to do this for just about as long as we’ve owned the coach, and now’s the time. The mirrors are only held on with thick black “goo” tape, and last fall one piece started to come loose. When it rubs against the countertop, it makes quite a squeak while we’re going down the road. I removed that piece, and figured this winter would be a good time to bite the bullet and replace the rest. We did some shopping at a local tile place, and found a nice set of tiles that should work well in that space. One complicating factor is that there’s a rope light built into the countertop that looks nice with the frosted edge of the mirror, so we’ll use colored glass tiles for the bottom row, with travertine above. We’ll put 2” x 2” rosettes on 45 degree angles at various points in the travertine, so there will be quite a few cuts involved, but they’re all the same cut so it won’t be too complicated. Since we’re going to remove the linoleum and tile the kitchen and bathrooms in the “stick house” at some point, I picked up a wet tile saw that’ll do the cuts relatively easily. I’ll do the “demo” this week, and look to install the tile next week. Because of the way they’ll have to be laid, I’ll probably do the bottom row of glass tile first and let them set before I install the stones. “Demo” will be a little complicated because they installed the mirrors over wallpaper that’ll have to be taken off. It’s always something…

Over the last couple of weeks, both Geri and I have been feeling a bit under the weather, which has been unusual for us over the last few years. When I was working and traveling a lot, I’d get a sinus infection once or twice a year, and would be miserable for a week or so. Once retired, I avoided this syndrome – until now. Fortunately, I know what to do (plenty of fluids, keep nasal passages open as best as possible, scrounge for leftover antibiotics in the medicine cabinet, even try that ZiCam stuff), and things are getting back to “normal”. Of course, “normal” for me usually involves a mild amount of sinus congestion, but at least the worst is over.

Geri’s just getting over a “coughing – sneezing – stuffy” spell herself; I suppose it’s for the best that we were both “under the weather” at the same time. We’re in the process of getting her various medical appointments completed, and everything’s going well. She was overdue for the “clear liquids” procedure (if you don’t know what that is, consider yourself lucky), so she’s having that done today; I’m composing now from the waiting room. As a precursor, the gastroenterologist ordered a CT scan, which was clear from his perspective, but picked up a small abnormality on one kidney. So, we got a referral to an urologist and will have that checked out on Friday. It’s a busy week, but worth it to make sure everything’s OK. One check with the “female doctor” early next month and with the primary to renew prescriptions before we head out, and we should be all set!

March will be a busy month with trip planning and “annual maintenance” activities (oil changes, etc.). I might have to change the brakes on the Range Rover before we go; I’ll check them when I rotate the tires. I have most of the maintenance items I need “in stock”. Actually, I’ve picked up several years’ worth of filters, since it saves on shipping charges (most stuff is cheaper online). I need to make a stop at the local Cummins-Onan shop for filters (oil and air) for the generator, and I’ll have everything I need. Then it’s just a matter of scheduling things out on the calendar, since I like to break the work up into 3-4 hour chunks.

On the home front, we’ve been eating well and continuing to find lost treasures in the “wine box”. For Geri’s birthday, we made a nice “surf and turf” with king crab legs and filet mignon, which was fabulous with a 2001 Alta Vista Malbec. Last week, I found a bottle of Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2000 while looking for something else, and was worried that it might have been past its peak. We paired it with a roasted chicken dish, and it was very nice (but I’m glad I didn’t let it sit longer). That reminds me of another project I haven’t gotten to: culling the “wine box” of bottles that need to be consumed soon. It’s a tough job, but I’ll find a way…


PM Update: We got home from the endoscopy center and everything went well with Geri’s test. Yeah!