Summer Travel Map

Monday, December 23, 2013

November 5-December 23: Low Profiles and Holiday Plans

December 23, 2013
Cederholm Compound, Peoria, Arizona

Ah, the joys of relaxing! We’ve been trying to do that ever since we got back to our winter “perch” in early November. Some days, we’re successful. Others, well, not so much. But, that’s life!

In our last episode, we’d just arrived back in Arizona and gotten our “rolling home” back in storage. As usual, the first few days back involve putting “stuff” away, clearing a mound of laundry (there always seems to be more laundry “ready” at the end of a trip), and getting ourselves (and the pups) back into a different routine.

This year’s shift was more pronounced than usual, since we’d just made the cross-country trek in a bit of a rush given the issue with the coach. But, within a few days, we were back in the saddle.

The next phase of our “welcome back” process involves doctors, dentists, vets, and groomers. Anything that gets done on a schedule gets bunched into mid-November. It gets a little hectic, but we’ve found that it’s better to get all of these kinds of appointments out of the way. We get new prescriptions good for a year, we identify any issues needing attention (thankfully minimal this year), and we can get on with the holidays.

Everything was pretty much on the “good” side of the ledger until Geri came down with a bout of bronchitis. This year, I guess I got a “sympathy” case, as I was under the weather at the same time, just to a lesser degree. We were coughing, sneezing, and feverish. It got to the “we need to see someone” point on a Sunday, so we headed for the local “urgent care” place. We were amazed when they didn’t have anyone on staff willing to help Geri and wanted to call an ambulance to take her to the ER. “Uh, no thanks”. We got her in to the regular doctor’s office as soon as possible, she got the normal Prednisone and antibiotic doses, and things were on the mend within a few days. Whatever we both got is one of those “hang on for weeks” diseases, though, as it was well into December before we felt better.

The pups checked out OK as well, with no lingering effects from Maya’s cancer and Merlin’s pancreatitis being observed. Merlin’s beginning to show signs of some dental deterioration, so we might have to address that in 2014. Doggie dentures?

The key thing we had to do was get Geri’s (now) annual MRI to check her kidney. Everything was normal, as expected at the 4½ year mark, and she won’t have another test until this time next year.

Once things settled down a bit, I took the motorhome in for diagnosis and ultimately, repair. I had been very concerned that the issue was going to be a very expensive head gasket failure. Instead, it was only a moderately expensive fuel injector replacement issue and several days later, things were running well again. Unfortunately, the past couple of years have been full of these kinds of expensive issues and projects, to the point where we’ll need to cut back on travel for a while to rebuild reserves. But, that’s a retiree’s life!

Just before Thanksgiving, we actually started a spell of bad weather. Rain measured in inches instead of hundredths! No sun! Cold temperatures! Film at Eleven! Yes, it was quite a spectacle, with rainfall totals catching up to “normal” (around eight inches year-to-date) after five years of drought conditions. Other than the idiots caught driving through flooding washes, most natives appreciated the change.

As has been our custom over the past few years, we were the recipients of holiday hospitality on Thanksgiving, sharing turkey day with the Pell clan. It was awesome as always, even if we were still a bit under the weather and couldn’t hang in until the last wine was opened!

In early December, Geri had to make a quick trip back to the periodontist for an abscess near one of her implants. (Dental implants!) It was easily addressed with some digging and more antibiotics, but the revelation was that her teeth have happy faces embedded in the screws!

So, by mid-December, things had settled down enough so that we could finally recover, relax, and get ready for Christmas. We were able to sit back and smell the flowers, enjoy a nice sunset or two, take a gin-and-tonic on the patio, and reflect on the year and how lucky we are. We decided to focus our holiday decorations on the outside of the Compound this year since I’m going to start painting the bedroom any one of these days now. I haven’t started, of course, but I’m fixin’ to finish thinking through the process any day. We did do a good job with the decorations, though, completing our conversion to LED lighting and emphasizing diversity in a rather homogenous neighborhood.

Geri loves these lilies, and I enjoy making weird photos

We are blessed with awesome sunsets quite often

The neighbors began decorating for the holidays in November...

...and we did a reasonably good job on our place!

I even managed to pull together a “holiday card”, which was delivered electronically this year for the first time.

Merry Christmas to all!

As always, please feel free to click on any picture to enlarge it.