Wednesday, December 1, 2010

ANOTHER REPORT FROM FLORENCE, ARIZONA

Near Cochron, AZ

Morning rest break, Linda relaxing

I thought this group of rocks looked like an owl

Some fine Arizona beef - cow and calf

They are fed cotton gin leavings to supplement what they can scrounge in the desert

A Saguaro making a letter R

Blue in the distance. The start of Box Canyon is beyond him

Blue in Box Canyon

A rare picture of me taken by Blue

A road runner. They are hard to get close to as they usually take off when you stop

Time has just been flying by and the blog has been neglected.

I did our load of laundry last Monday morning while Aileen went to the gym and did her other morning stuff. I started phoning all the numbers on the activities section of the Chatterbox trying to confirm the accuracy. I went to the computer lab and used the land line. Ray Troutt from the ATV group was there so we chatted as well. He came over later that afternoon and I made him nine 4x6s that he chose. I charged him a dollar each. I also got the buddy beer list from the clubhouse and typed it out in Excel before sending it along to Dona, the Chatterbox (our community newsletter) editor.

It appears Wendy and Randy have finally bought a house in Coolidge. The deal is to close December 8th. A large For Sale sign appeared in their front window last Monday afternoon.

Aileen had a plaintive computer chat from Bev Monday night. She was in Kelowna at Sears and when she went to start out, her foot slipped off the icy clutch pedal and it seems the clutch fell off or something. Kevin appeared and there was quite a bit of cussing happening under the Tracker. It turned out the cable came off the pedal and it was a chore getting it back on. Because of the chatting, we were late getting to the pool. The Mackley’s were our only company there. It was too cold for McKinnon’s. Salmon Arm was heading for -17C that night and -20C in a couple days.

On Tuesday morning I took Mitzy to the dog park then was sitting by the heater when Ken came by just before 8 suggesting we could go to Casa Grande anytime since he and Harold decided it was too cold to go ATV riding. After I made some porridge and did my usual morning routine, I went to drive down and pick up Ken but the car wouldn’t start. The battery was stone dead from leaving the rear ceiling light on a couple days earlier. I guess I should have put it on the charger when I noticed but at the time thought there was probably still enough juice. It took awhile to find the charger since it had fallen down under the hoses and cords in the back storage bay in the motor home and then awhile to get enough juice to start.

We eventually headed off to Casa Grande via a couple detours poking around. We went to Lowe’s and bought a 4’ x 1/16 x 1 ½ piece of aluminum and some bolts to go with it. Walmart was next to buy a one year phone card and some 4x6 glossy paper. We had lunch at the Golden Corral then stopped at a veggie stand along the highway for some veggies and a honey dew melon. I gave the car a quick wash and picked up 10 gallons of water.

I started grinding off the rivets on the tote but Ken’s drill batteries both died after getting six of the eight off. I got a note from State Farm Insurance saying the Motor Vehicle Department serial numbers didn’t match the insurance so I wasted quite a bit of time finding all the paperwork and comparing all the numbers including on the ATV frame only to find it was the insurance company who missed a letter A in the VIN. I phoned them and they are to get it all straightened out asap. After supper, I tried to activate the new phone minutes online – mistake! What an idiotic site that is! I went to the computer lab and used the landline phone to get it done and have made myself a note to never try the computer again. Buying a 400 minutes one year card and using some bonus minutes from the coupon book that came with the $9.88 double minutes phone ended up giving us 1,000 minutes. We were down to 12 minutes remaining, lower than is comfortable.

I did some more calling on the Chatterbox Activities list and used up 18 minutes. I am getting pretty close to complete now. We went to the pool a little before 8. Bob Lord was in the hot tub but didn’t stay long. We chatted about his new Rhino side by side ATV that he just assembled the other day. He said he got a good deal buying it from Texas still in the box. We may see him out riding one of these days.

Last Wednesday, Marie came over and tried her laptop on our internet and visited Aileen. I worked on the tote awhile and decided to change the plan which meant another trip to Lowes in Casa Grande.

We had an early lunch then went. I took Aileen by Wendy and Randy’s new house on the way. We stopped at Dillard’s first for Aileen to get her face cream then Lowes. I returned one piece and bought another then after thinking some more at the car went back in for another as well. We stopped at Safeway for a few groceries. I was going to get cash from Wells Fargo but they want $5 service fee this year so no way.

When I took Mitzy to the dog park I noticed Jordan’s were set up so we visited them a few minutes. They had arrived about 2 pm. Wendy came over to see if we wanted to play cards so that’s what we did after supper. We won’t say who had what points but the score ranged from 10 up to well over three hundred. McKinnon’s and Mackley’s both at the pool with us tonight. I had to take Mitzy to the dog park after swimming since she was behind on visits today.

I didn’t go to bed til nearly midnight Wednesday night but I managed to sleep fairly well until about six. I dozed for awhile longer then had to get going to take Mitzy as Aileen was still soaking her foot. Her toe is improving finally, which is good. She did yoga later in the morning.

I spent much of the day puttering on my scooter tote project. I didn’t go ATVing so I could get more done on it. It turned out no one went since that was American Thanksgiving Day. I’m quite pleased with how the scooter tote is turning out and hope it will work well on the car. I removed the top front rail and have extended it 3.5 inches to allow the scooter to get all the way on and we can close the gate (the ramp folds up and is held by a couple of latch pins) on it. I managed to get the thicker aluminum bent around the corners in a nearly perfect radius so it looks good and is very strong.

Aileen visited Joni for awhile this morning. I printed off some "ATVs for sale" off Craigs List and took them over to Jim. In the afternoon I made some noise in the carport with my drilling and banging on the tote but Aileen slept through it for over two hours. That’s a pretty good nap.

It was quite cool at the pool Thursday night. There was a stiff breeze so nippy getting out of the water. The forecast was for 28F overnight which won’t be good for the lemons, oranges and grapefruit. We had a few days where it didn’t get out of the 50sF. It is still much better than most of the north country though so we’re not complaining.

On Friday morning, Aileen went to the gym again before breakfast. We took Jordan’s over to see McKinnon’s house in Coolidge mid morning then carried on to Eloy where Jim wanted to check out a repair shop for getting the rear seal replaced on his motor home. We had lunch there at a Subway in the Pilot Truck Stop. We did a bit of shopping in Safeway and Walmart in Coolidge on our return. I spent part of the day working on my tote. Pete had dropped off his saw with the metal blade in our absence so I got my hitch cut shorter right away. After some thought and discussion, Phil helped me by drilling a couple of 3/8 inch holes to permanently attach the two inch receiver to the tote. I went to the hardware for the correct bolts then came home and finished the project. It looks great on the ground and now we have to see how well it works in the real world. The project used the expertise and tools of four neighbours to complete. Great neighbours!

I printed our seasonal message for Aileen to include with her Christmas cards. She cooked a nice stirfry and noodles supper. Dona brought a Chatterbox for proofing which I got right at after supper then dropped it on her doorstep before swimming.

I read til nearly midnight then slept til past 7:30 Saturday morning. I had to hustle getting ready for ATVing after taking Mitzy to the dog park. I did manage to make it to the meeting spot before 8:50. We went out the power line route and had lunch near Grayback Mtn then mostly returned the same route. We did about 60 miles and got home about 3:30 pm.

Aileen went to Hunt Highway Safeway and Fry’s. She gave Mitzy a bath and made curried veggies for supper in the crock pot which was tasty. We went to the pool for 50 minutes. We had it all to ourselves which is quite common.

55F was our high Sunday. We went to the Super Walmart at San Tan Valley in the morning. I found a couple pair of non denim pants and my Pero (coffee substitute) that we’ve been looking all over for. We picked up a few other things as well including some clips for hanging Christmas lights. I got the lights all hung while Aileen napped this afternoon then she put the outside tree together when she got up. We went to McDonald’s for lunch as it was the only place we could find some gluten free food for Aileen.

Aileen went off to town for a few Christmas cards after the gym and breakfast on Monday. I borrowed a pick and shovel from the lending cupboard and dug two holes for the new support posts for the motor home bay. I was going to call Brian (the elusive contractor!) but wonder of wonders, he drove by and spotted me and couldn’t not stop. He thanked me for my patience to which I replied, I’m quite patient but my wife is not! It was very cool and even when I was digging, I didn’t get warm. There was a nasty wind most of the day.

McKinnon’s place got listed and it looked like they had a showing right off but the ladies didn’t stay very long. We went to Valley Farms to send off the Christmas cards and the parcel Aileen ordered for Bev and the SPCA. She was able to send the big box for about $7 first class. That is far cheaper than Canada! We went over to Coolidge next and picked up the dog food Aileen had ordered, filled both water cans and got a few groceries at Safeway. I also went to Walgreen’s and they still had lots of sweat shirts at 3/$10 so I picked three different colours. They seem to be well made and fit well. We’ll see how they hold up.

I spent quite awhile trying to figure out getting my pictures resized in the Avery template for postcards. I printed a couple but they don’t quite fill the card. So far I haven’t made any progress with it. I am very pleased with the picture quality on the post card though. I suppose it is something simple but it is certainly eluding me. We went to the pool but didn’t last much past half an hour as the pool was cool again even though it was covered all day except for when it was used first thing this morning. Ken and Char came by just as we were getting out and she thought about getting her suit on but changed her mind when informed we’d had enough.

We were sitting in the front room and kitchen puttering on our computers and I kept hearing music. I finally went out on the porch to see where it was coming from and it was totally quiet out there. After a few minutes, I decided to call Blue. Well it turned out he’d been calling us and the phone was in Aileen’s purse in the bedroom closet and that was the music we’d heard! Duh!!!!!!!!

I was having a leisurely Tuesday morning til Blue called saying he thought someone had gone to the meeting spot for nine and we’d decided on ten am to give it time to warm up. I went up in the car but no one was around so I took Mitzy to the dog park then had to rush getting things together when I returned. I found I needed to air up all the ATV tires. I guess the lower temperature had something to do with it.

Just Blue and I out yesterday and we had a great ride. We went to nine mile gate and over the Little Spline then down through Box Canyon with a couple detours. It took us 3.5 hours to put on just over 20 miles from nine mile gate back to there. Less than 40 miles all together. We drove slowly and stopped often. Lots of yakking and a leisurely lunch made for a good day.

Randy, Ken and Char joined us at the pool. Poor Aileen had to suffer with 84F pool temperature and the hot tub was a little cooler than normal as well. We need to check in the afternoon and ensure it is covered to preserve a little heat.

Bev was very pleased with herself as she passed her air brake course both at the college and at ICBC so she now has the ticket. Kevin went later to ICBC and also passed. They had gone to Kelowna for the weekend for the course and into ICBC at home Tuesday.

I went to bed just before ten last night as I was so tired. It was 7:45 when I crawled out this morning and that was because Mitzy needed to go to the dog park. It was a little warmer this morning and got darn right nice during the day. I took Mitzy for a walk out in the desert mid morning and wished I hadn’t worn so many clothes. Aileen went to the gym and also stopped by to see if Jacquie knew it was Country Store day – she did. I went to the lunch they put on in conjunction and enjoyed my Polish Sausage (and a hamburger which I didn’t need, of course).

Jim had been by while I was at the library wanting to borrow my little hydraulic jack so I took it over when I returned. I visited with them for a bit then rode around a bit more on my bike enjoying the warmth. I needed to go to town for ATV gas so we loaded Aileen’s scooter on the tote on the back of the Honda CRV and gave it a test ride. It seemed to work fine. I took the seat off and put it in the back of the car as it is so heavy and I think would overload the tote and hitch. We went and covered the pool about 4 pm to see if we could get a little more heat built up. It was only 84F last night and that’s where it was today at 4. They sure aren’t very proactive in here about keeping the temperature up there. They really need to fire up the gas heaters when the temperature gets this low.

Wendy and Randy were in the pool when we got there tonight. It was warmer than last night but not by much. Hopefully the temperature will climb with the higher temperatures forecast both overnight and during the day. The lowest high for the next week is 70F with some of the nights staying above 40F. That sounds pretty good to me.

Randy and Wendy have been busy for the past couple of days looking for house furnishings and arranging for their utilities to be connected. The purchase is due to complete on December 8ththen they will have some renovations to work at for awhile before moving. Jacquie and Jim will be into major renovations of their new house when they return to White Lake in the Spring.