Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Life in a House

I killed my first scorpion the other night.  It was in the kitchen.  It’s not uncommon around here to find them in the house.  The one I killed was little, they have the worst sting.  Fortunately the hammer was in the kitchen and I picked it up, preparing to swing away at it.  Jim reminded me he was on a tile floor and to please dial back the force.  Now we have the rubber mallet on standby for future killings.

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Our neighbors have suffered the loss of two gigantic agave plants.  They were just huge.

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They were collapsed like this when we returned to Tucson.  At first we though it was lack of water, but one out of the three was fine.  Turns out they were done in by the agave snout weevil.  It’s an evil bug that attacks old or sick agaves and lays their eggs in the center.  Then the eggs hatch and proceed to eat the core of the plant.  This is really a problem for people raising agave for tequila.  It took no effort to tip the center of the plant over, it had been hollowed out.

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Here is a picture of the bougainvillea.  Every time I use that word I have to look it up.  Do you think I could learn out to spell that?

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A cloudy day gave us a stupendous sunset.  We did not see so many from the RV park. 

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This guy flew in this morning and perched on the wall for a bit.  Then he flew off, looking for lunch.  I wish he would eat the Gila woodpecker who spends much of the day screaming like a crazy thing.  He’s very annoying.

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Well, it’s time to go out and prune the lemon tree.  It’s developed an odd growth pattern that I would like to discourage.  The deer have pruned the orange trees for us, so they don’t need any attention. 

Monday, October 29, 2018

News From Brazil

Does this sound familiar?  From the WAPO.
Meanwhile, mainstream media is losing its influence. Society has lost its former cohesion. Political parties and trade unions, which once gave meaning to political projects and ideologies, no longer draw support and solidarity. As a result, people’s political choices are often guided by messages generated by their social networks. And when the corruption of political parties, statesmen and leaders is exposed, anger against politicians overshadows all other concerns. That is exactly what happened here in Brazil.
Yesterday, Brazil elected a leader, Jair Bolsonaro, who out trumps our current president.  He’s openly misogynistic, homophobic and has a stated opinion that minorities must bow to the majorities.  He wants to seize land set aside for indigenous people.  This land would be in the Amazon rain forest.  He has announced his desire for increased mining, drilling and agriculture in the forest, as well as putting a paved road through it.  He also has plans to withdraw from the Paris climate accords.

All of the above is not good for the planet.  The UN report on climate change said we have twelve years to do change our emissions to keep temperatures from rising two degrees.  That’s pretty much the cut off for catastrophic changes to the planet.

So, it’s the end of the world as we know it, and I feel fine.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Sunday at a New House

We’ve reached the stage where the bulk of the big things are done with the house.  We’ve entered the stage of the small irritating tasks.  It seems like everything just takes forever.  Monday I have to find a handy person who will come out and hang sun shades outside and a new light over the dining table and make the pipe under the kitchen sink stop dribbling.  Sometime this week the local gardener is coming back to take away the ugly chiminea and dig up some ugly plants.  I’m also hoping he’ll take the corpse of the tree we cut down yesterday.  That sucker grew about 12 feet in 5 months.

It was funny, we were out in the yard yesterday morning, and heard someone saying “good morning.”  After a couple of repetitions we realized it was directed to us.  We said hi, and the neighbor asked us what were our plans for that tree.  As it turns out she and her husband have been cutting it to the ground for the last three years.  We went to Home Depot and got a saw and dispatched it.

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Eventually we hope to get the roots dug out so it will stop growing.

In the 1970s my Dad was Special Agent in Charge of the Arizona FBI office.  Part of his job was to liaise with the Native Americans on the reservations.  The reservations are sovereign nations, and deal with the US Federal Government.  Anyway, during his time here he acquired several beautiful Navajo weavings.  Today’s project was to get one of them up on the wall. 

I resurrected my sewing machine.  It’s a metal Bernina, it’s amazingly heavy.  When we had houses, I sewed a lot, mainly quilts.  The machine has been in storage since 2007, and I’ve lost all my muscle memory on how to use it.  Took a few minutes to remember how to do anything.

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Anyway, I made a sleeve for a dowel.  Then I sewed it to the weaving by hand.  Several finger stabbings later, it was attached.

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The half inch dowel fit and we got it hung.  It’s centered and level.  We’re happy.

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In news of the sporting world, Lewis Hamilton has won his fifth F1 world championship.  Good show Lewis!

Friday, October 26, 2018

Outside

We hiked today.  The desert is eerily green.

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That’s it, that’s all I’ve got!

Thursday, October 25, 2018

And So It Begins

It was (again) off to Home Depot this morning.  Buying a house means multiple trips to the big box hardware stores.  Today’s mission was the acquisition of a blower.  We really did not want to do it, they’re noisy and annoying but it became clear over the past few days that it would be inevitable.  A low voltage lights timer/transformer, 100 feet of power cord and a blower came home with us.

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The driveway is stamped concrete.  It would not have been my first choice, but it came with the house.  The orange and purple flowers from the neighbor’s yard blow into our yard and get stuck in the grooves.  Using a broom is just wasted effort.

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Jim has chased the debris off the drive way and down the street and blown it into the wash. 

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This is a terrible picture of a Northern Cardinal.  He was out in the wash this morning flitting around.  The camera had a split second to see him and didn’t finish the focus.  Better pictures are on the web.  Until today, I didn’t know they were in the south west – now I do.

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I pulled weeds today, part of which was about 20 feet of a vine with stickers.  It’s amazing how all of the plants have stickers, they are well protected.  We also have this volunteer in the hop seed hedge.  Look at the plants to the left and right, and then look at that tall ferny looking thing in the middle.  That was not there when we left in May.  What ever it is, it’s a fast grower.  We’re going to out source its removal, it has a substantial base.

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Tomorrow we’re hoping for the beginning of hiking season.  Enough dealing with the house!  I need to go outside.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

The RV Goes to Storage

Today was exhausting!  I believe the bulk of my neuro transmitters have been depleted due to stress.  It was stupid stress, it all worked out, but until it’s over, you don’t know how things will go.

We took the RV up to Marana to storage.  I really hate doing this, I keep reading that it’s not good for a diesel to sit, but then again we’ve been staying in Tucson for months at a whack without moving and it’s always been ok.  The difference is that the RV is off power this time.  We’re thinking maybe solar panels would be good, except for that we have no clue as to how to attach them to the batteries. 
Here is Jim, turning the battery disconnect switches.  We’re going to go up to the RV at least once a month to run the generator and the engine which will top off the batteries. 

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Jim did an excellent job of getting her between the poles and the 5th wheel next door.  You can’t see it in this picture, but that 5th wheel is the same length (41 feet) that we are.  I am always boggled at how much people are willing to tow.

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One side of the storage place.  It’s really huge.  The manager lives on site and it’s surrounded by fences with razor wire.

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So, we’re out of the RV, the RV is in storage and now we wonder what will happen.  Will we take up traveling again or will we not?  We honestly have no clue.

This happened later.....

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

The Rain is Still Here

The schedule called for us to take the RV into storage today.  Unfortunately, the thunderstorms started early.  The thunder and lightning was very impressive.  We decided that we didn’t want to drive in that much rain, and that I did not want to stand out in it while directing Jim into the parking place we’ve rented.  It’s 12 feet wide, but directions will need to be provided.  So, we paid for another day in the RV park and we’re hoping tomorrow will be better.

Look in the middle of the photo where the buildings are.  That’s a heavy dump of rain on downtown Tucson.

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While we were living full time in the RV, the furniture industry underwent a sea change.  One now assembles one’s own furniture.  This is not just IKEA, but higher quality items as well.  We’re on the hunt for a TV stand that will corral the wires associated with the cable box and the modem, and so far it’s all DIY.  Same with bedroom dressers.  One makes one’s own drawers.  I really don’t want to do that.

We drove up to a furniture consignment place to see what we would see.  Their prices were just laughable.  I thought the idea behind consignment was saving some money.  Ugly lamps – $105!  It’s crazy.  But this was the best.

It’s a custom lodge bedroom set.  For $8,000, one receives the bed, dresser, giant chest of drawers, two end tables, a floor lamp, and two lamps made of of tree stumps.

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This is a close up of the foot of the bed.  Sorry for the blur, I must have moved.

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This is the piece de resistance.  Have you ever seen anything like this?  I just don’t know what to think about it.  If you look closely to the right of it, you can see the floor lamp. 

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It rained pretty much all day.  We got pretty wet coming out of Home Depot. 

This was about 30 minutes ago.  The sun is breaking through out to the west.  Unfortunately the storms come from the east.

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This is sort of east-ish.  The sky is still dark, I think there may be more rain.  The temperature has dropped a bunch.

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We did get a 5 gallon propane tank for the grill and made a Target run, so the day was not a complete loss. 

Sunday, October 21, 2018

The Rain Was Here

Marco and his crew were out early today to wash and wax the RV.  We all know what happens when you wash the car, right?  This afternoon we were getting severe thunderstorm and hail warnings.  The weather heads were right!  I’m blaming Jim for this.

This was about three in the afternoon.  We stopped by the RV to cover the newly washed tires and bring the slides in. 

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Later it just rained pigs and chickens.  The short palm tree is acting as a really excellent splash block to disperse the water. 

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We’re going to have to put some sort of water dispersal device under this downspout.  The bougainvillea is just taking it in the head from the water landing on it.  Or maybe I’ll just trim the plant back so that he’s not in the rush of water.  The water drains to the wash which is good.

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Rain.

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This is a weird weather pattern.  We’re still waiting for our high pressure system.

This was later.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

It’s the Low Point – Dummy!

We’re winterized – we’ll find out how well we did in the spring when we de-winterize.  Only then will we know if all of the water lines and tanks were protected.  Yesterday we got ourselves wrapped around the axle after unhooking the city water from the RV.

The white object on the left is the water filter for the ice maker.  Behind it, where the label says “ice maker shut off” is, oddly enough, the ice maker shut off switch.  On the far right, out of frame is the hose that goes to the ice maker.  Not wanting to put antifreeze in a residential refrigerator, we unhooked the filter, so the water would drain out of the hose to the ice maker.   After unhooking the filter, we opened the shut off valve and expected a small amount of water to dribble out.  Nope, water dribbled out and didn’t stop.  It was weirding me out pretty good, where was the water coming from?  The water pump wasn’t running, there was not city water attached, where?  Hence the title of the post – it’s a low point, dummy.  If you look over to the right at the valve handle, that’s the low point drain.  It was closed, and so the low point was the ice maker filter.  After we opened the low point drain, the filter stopped flowing.  Note to self, remember this next time.

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Today we went back and ran the antifreeze through the pipes and taps following the directions in the Beaver manual.  It took six gallons.  While Jim opened taps in the RV, my job was not to let the antifreeze tank run dry.  Last time we did that, we burned up the switch that sucks antifreeze out of the tank as well as the water pump.  In our defense, we did not know that the Prevent-a-Freeze system had been turned on by the mechanics during a maintenance stop.  It’s a cool system, instead of having to attach a tube to the water pump and stick it in the jug of antifreeze, one pours antifreeze in the reservoir and the Prevent-a-Freeze transfers it through the RV.

In the spring, I think the first thing we do is connect to city water and run water through the ice maker filter until it’s no longer pink.  Then we install a new filter and hook it back up to the hose leading to the freezer.  We’ll leave the ice maker shut off valve closed until the rest of the RV is cleared of antifreeze.

Yes, I know this was a boring post, but we’re leaving future selves notes on how this went.

In news of the weather, we still have a low over us, pulling up moisture from the gulf south east and generating high winds.  I will be very happy when the ridge of high pressure establishes itself.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Day Two of the RV Unload

I have to tell you, I knew this would be bad, but I did not think it would be this bad.  One of the really good points about the RV was the massive amount of storage; big closets, drawers everywhere.  Massive medicine chests (plural).  Over the years we filled it all up.  The house has way fewer drawers.  We’re going to get it all in, but it has been a struggle.

One of of larger boxes we have yet to unpack is full of baby clothes (his and mine, hand made with love), our parents’ wedding albums, black and white pictures of people we don’t know.  That box has been in storage since 2007.  What do we do with it?  This box is weighing on me.

Tomorrow is our last day of getting stuff out of the RV, there is still some cleaning to be done.  Before we left we ordered a wood cabinet with two adjustable shelves.  Jim picked it up and only got one shelf, so we have to go back so they can measure it and make another one.  It’s always something.

This was tonight.

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Other than working like dogs, I have nothing interesting to report.

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Storage Solutions

Friday it rained because of the remnants of Hurricane Sergio.  Yesterday it rained pigs and chickens due to a low pressure system pulling water up from the gulf.  This morning it also rained so we did not get the RV washed and waxed.  We had to push that out a week towards better weather.

Since yesterday was rained out, we went to the Container Store to see what they had.  They had a 25% off sale.  We bought storage.

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Some assembly was required.  They’re actually easy to put together.  Elfa has done a good job with making them idiot proof.  We only had to back out one part, and that was no biggie.  The only tool required is a rubber mallet.  There was a lot of beating on the top and bottom cross bars to get them in.

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This is the left side of the closet.  We put two shallow drawer units here, so we could still get to the hanging clothes.

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Here we have the right side of the closet.  Most of our clothing is folded, so the drawers will be good.  Eventually I’m going to put a shelf on top of the bottom hanging rod, as well as one in the middle of that space.  We need more horizontal space for shoes, bike helmets, sheets and towels and etc.

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When we bought the house we were so enamored of the side yard that we completely failed to notice there is no linen closet.  So the master closet will have to provide space for all the things one stuffs in a linen closet because there’s no good place to put it.

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On the other side of that low wall is a very wide and deep wash.  It’s a soothing view.

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Tomorrow we’re driving the bus over to the house to unload.  Jim and I were putting stuff in the truck this afternoon and were both attacked by some melancholy.  We’ve lived here since 2011 and it feels very odd to think about being out for the winter.  We haven’t had a house since 2007.  If we are efficient enough, this will be the last night we sleep in the RV for awhile.

Friday, October 12, 2018

Meeting the Neighbors

We have an in ground trash can at the house.  It’s weird.  It makes the garbage guys get off the truck, lean down and haul it out of the container.  It’s a narrow street and they use small trucks.  I was looking in it today and found these guys.  The first is a Western Banded Gecko.  We dumped him out of the trash can on the driveway and eventually he wandered off.  Hopefully he’ll find something to eat.  Who knows how long he’s been down there

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This was also in the trash can.  It’s a dead scorpion.

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So today’s key learning is to look before putting a bare hand anywhere.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

Back in Tucson

Ack thppppptttt!  New (to us) houses are exhausting.  We’ve spent the last two days deciding how big of a TV the living room would tolerate, how big a pair of loppers were required to prune the dead fronds off the palm trees and what size of sun shades for the patio.  These are momentous decisions.  We bought bigger loppers today, the smaller pair goes back.  I have to tell you, the previous year’s palm fronds are tough.  Also, there has been much thinking about where stuff will go.  The hacienda is a little light on storage.

Anyway, we’re here, we’re tired.  The HVAC guy came today, the cable guy comes tomorrow, and we get the RV washed Sunday.  We’ve been reading up on how to winterize the RV, which we have never done ever.  An El Nino winter is forecast, so we must get it done before going to storage.

This was day before yesterday.  I never get tired of looking at that.

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This was tonight.  Sergio the tropical depression is arriving tomorrow.  It’s been windy and overcast.  There will be rain over the next couple of days.

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So, that’s it.  We’re moving in to the house, slowly but surely.

Monday, October 8, 2018

Boulder City, NV to Buckeye, AZ

Today’s route was US93, to I40, back to US93, thence to AZ60, followed by AZ303, and finally hanging a right onto westbound I10 into Buckeye.  US93 runs diagonally across AZ, parts of it are hilly, but it’s not awful. Parts of the road surface are awful.  When we reached the RV park at the end of the day, I felt like I’d been beaten with hammers again.

When one leaves the Lake Mead Recreational Area, one turns east on to US93, toward the Hoover dam.  One will pass by a sign indicating how bad the winds are across the bridge.

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Yesterday we drove out and looked at the sign and its location.  Although GPS does not clearly depict this, shortly after the warning sign there is a round about.  Should there be a high wind warning in effect, you do have a bail out plan.  Go around the round about, go back the way you came and get on I11 west bound.

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Eventually you will intersect with US95 southbound.  Go that way and replot your course.  There are many options available to you which do not involve high winds on a very tall bridge.

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We had a very calm morning, and so were able to drive across the bridge and continue down US93.

The route takes you through Kingman, which has just become a bear to transit.  There are two stop lights before you reach the exit for US93.  There is a TA travel plaza on the right which is very busy.  Between the lights and truckers wanting to make a left coming from the other direction, it’s very tedious.  If you need diesel and are going south on US93, don’t go to the TA.  There are stations just outside of Kingman that are much easier to access.

See this truck?  He pulled a tonnage move on us and just forced his way in front of us.  Jim had to slam on the brakes to avoid hitting him.  So annoying….

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Tonight we’re at the Leaf Verde RV park which I have previously reviewed.