Because We Can - Fulltime RV'ing

Journal Archive 3/11 - 3/20 2013

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Monday March 11 Mission, Texas

A Bump in the Night Day


When I was downloading the photos for yesterday's post I accidentally took a photo on Linda's camera, one that turned out to be very appropriate. What you see is the reflection of the coach steps and light taken just before the sun came up in the morning. It was so dark I couldn't see to delete it, so I left it. Shortly after the sun came up Linda got up and that photo was forgotten.


The sound of voices, beams of light piercing the post midnight darkness, the muffled woof of a dog. A head pops up and sleep filled eyes peer out into the darkness. "Ross, over here," and a beam of light swings towards the drainage ditch and the sound of someone moving through the undergrowth is heard. "We have two on the ground back there," again breaks the silence as more shadows move around just outside our bedroom window. Many lights are seen in the field just to south of us as the action moves away. Difficult time getting back to sleep because of all the excitement.

In the morning when Linda told me all this I asked her why she didn't wake me up. "Because without your hearing aids you wouldn't have heard anything, and without your glasses you wouldn't have seen anything." How lucky I am to have a wife who really understands me.


Linda was laughing as I got ready to feed Red, saying something about loving hearing me talk to him. What can I say, I've always liked fish. Looking at her beautiful smile it dawned on me that she had never fed Red. Can't say that any more, and you know what, she talked to him as she fed him. I wonder if this was one of the things they had in mind when whoever it was came up with the saying: Life is what you make it.

This is being posted just for the record. "I do so promise."

In case you are wondering what that was all about, I was informed this morning that henceforth and forever after the Daily Journal and any successor writings by my hand would not have any photos showing Linda's posterior without her express prior approval. And to quote her, "And since it's not ever going to happen, don't even try." Endangered Bob.

Tuesday March 12 Mission, Texas

Where Is It Day


When I first stepped outside the coach this morning this what I saw. That sight immediately led to a moment of panic. Linda's bike was in the bike rack but mine was gone. I next looked inside the coach house thinking that even if I hadn't put Linda's inside maybe I had put inside last evening. No luck, and a check behind the coach house was also negative.

As I walked back up to the front of the coach Linda came out and said, "What's wrong"?

"My bicycles is missing," was my reply as I continued to fruitlessly look around.

"You mean it's gone"?

"Yes it's gone. For some reason I forgot to put the bikes inside last night and only yours is in the bike rack." At that moment I was thinking maybe mine was targeted because it has front and rear disc brakes.

"Did you look everywhere?" Did you look behind the Explorer?"

"Yes I did and it wasn't there."

Then it hit me. The Explorer, I had put my bike in the back of the Explorer yesterday so if and when I took the Explorer up to Angel's to get the leak that sometimes does and sometimes doesn't leak, fixed, I could ride my bike back here. Sheepish Bob.


Monthly meeting this morning in the Clubhouse, which everyone at Retama should attend simply for the entertainment value if nothing else. Some months ago it was voted to spend up to $700 dollars on a christmas tree to replace the old one that was difficult to put up and take down. There was very little meaningful discussion, which was followed by a quick vote to spend the money. And spend every penny they did.

On a different note, we have been having a huge problem for a long time with the sound system, and this morning one of the resident's made a great presentation on what sound systems have been used in the past and then discussed a number of options for a better sound system that would actually work both indoors and out for our events. He had worked hard to come up with the best value for the money and his recommendation was unanimously approved. I could only shake my head at how the emotions over a christmas tree could cause the community to vote for such an unresearched, poorly presented and sizable expenditure that will be used for a brief time once a year versus this well researched, very well presented and very economic purchase that will benefit the entire community throughout the year. Like they say, never is there a dull moment, or is it, some things are as difficult as herding cats. Kudo's to our governing committee for doing their best to keep a roomful of cats corralled.


Nighttime in the village of Retama, but on Mallard the one eyed monster roams the darkness.


Higher, higher shining bright
On the ladder in the night
What unknowing hand or eye
Could wire this unknown monstrosity?


Linda should be a happy girl, her combination bathroom light, fan and heater has been wired. Sometimes a guy has just got to do what a girl wants him to do. Sometimes a guy is lucky to find a truly awesome girl. Lucky Bob.

Wednesday March 12 Mission, Texas

What Are You Doing Day


"You better not be taking a picture of my you know what."

"No Linda, I most certainly was not. Besides, your hand is hiding it so I couldn't take a photo with it in it even if I wanted to take a photo with your your know what in it." Smart Bob.


"Did you just take my picture again"?

"Yes I did, but your you know what wasn't in it."


"You took another one didn't you"? She may have been trying trying to sound angry, but unfortunately the giggles I was hearing her try to muffle were making me think otherwise.

"Don't worry dear, no you what's were shown or harmed in the taking of the photo." Now I was definitely hearing giggles.


By now she was reduced to outright laughter. As I said originally, no you know what was shown in any photo I took this morning. Good Bob.


Busy around here today. Linda was a happy girl. Our tile is ordered, the dry wall supposed goes up in the bathroom on Friday, The tile installation supposed is to start on Monday. Life is good, but if everything happens like it is supposedly supposed to we will be very surprised. In the Valley things move at their own pace. One can either accept that fact or be upset. Why is that we can't feel sorry the people who get upset?


The sliding door is in so it is really starting to look like it is going to be finished.


This one is for Linda. This one is to prove that even if a photo of you know what had been taken, the you know what still wouldn't have shown in today's Daily Journal.

Thursday March 13 Mission, Texas

Interesting Day

Just in case you ever read them, I posted a new homepage article today.


I could smell something this morning and it wasn't coming from either of us's you know whats. By the way I have been labeled Bratty Bob by a reader for alluding to that which I will no longer allude to. The problem is she, and Jody you know who you are, was right in her comment, so after this sentence no more you know what references.

Since the smell didn't emanate from that which I can no longer talk about, I looked up to see from whence it did emanate. Basil, bunches of basil, leaves being carefully plucked from the stem, lovingly washed and dried and then chopped to make that heavenly dried tomato spread Linda made several weeks ago. Maybe if I write nice she will make it more often. Reformed Bob.


"It's here."

"What's here"?

"Your tile." And with that she literally flew out the door to watch what was going on.


"You should have seen how fast the lift gate went down, it was like whoosh and it was on the ground." It was plain to see that there had been a little girl out there watching them unload the tile. Why should everything in Life have to be so serious? Sometimes I think the two most common emotions we see in people are anger and frustration.


It is on the low end of the cost spectrum of tile, but that small pile cost over three times what the first car I ever owned did. And that is only for the tile itself, not the installation.


I readily acknowledge that I don't always hear very well, even with my hearing aids, but when Linda said, "I hear cattle," even my razor sharp mind was having trouble processing what I had just heard.

"Come here, out back, look."

Wouldn't you know, she was right. What's that saying, you can take the girl out of the country, but you can't take the country out of the girl. Seeing those cows reminded me of the first time Linda took me down to her barn to see her cows. Unfortunately what happened is centered around something I am no longer allowed to talk about (see the first paragraph of today's Daily Journal), so if you want to know the rest of the story, you'll have to ask Linda.


Remember back in high school when that attractive bevy of girls would stand in front of the stands at the football or basketball games and shout something like, "Give me a "V." Okay so this isn't exactly high school any more and that isn't exactly a young lady standing up there, and maybe our hearing and eyesight aren't what they used to be, but all in all, what Roger was doing was pretty awesome in and of itself.

I really have to be careful here to not to let any secrets out of the bag concerning an entry in the upcoming Retama St. Patrick's Day Parade, but suffice it to say that our little happy hour group is going to be having a great deal of fun. Let's just say that before tonight I didn't know how to make the letter "D". Now that I do, it might have been better if I was still ignorant. I'll leave with the saying "Practice makes perfect." And I'll observe that based on our practice we are perfectly imperfect.

Life is not a dress rehearsal. Don't be afraid to laugh, love and retire early.

Friday March 15 Mission, Texas

Another Day


For several days Linda has been making comments about the water in the coach. Those comments weren't exactly falling on deaf ears, it was just that once they got to my brain they seemed to get immediately transferred to the do it later compartment. Thank goodness that woman doesn't give up easily, so when she commented on it again this morning it turned out my do it later compartment must have been filled up.

It took some reading, some connecting and disconnecting of hoses, the addition of a number of cups of salt, and some spitting out of very salty water before Linda pronounced the water was "Much better." After a discussion of how in the future we could determine what was the best way to know when to recharge the softener, it appears an electronic tester will be arriving in a few days. Once again it was Amazon Prime to the rescue.


The wallboard, or at least most of the wallboard went up in the bathroom today. The tile installation could start as early as Tuesday. It is definitely looking like we will be on the road before the end of the month.


As part of the preparing to leave process, Linda was out taking photos of the plants so we could remember what they looked like when they were little. It is unreal how much they have grown in just the few months since they were planted, and as we've said before, in hindsight we should have had the back landscaped when we had the coach house built.


Pretty flowers just seem to show up when I download the photos off Linda's camera.


There is obviously something going on. Sirens, the sound of speeding vehicles and then Omaha, the Border Patrol Helicopter flying by. This was followed by Omaha circling low to the ground near the entrance to the State Park. Certainly the BP activities nearby have really picked up in the past month or so. Maybe it has to do with the cane fields having been harvested so any international visitors are forced to take a different route, or maybe it is for a completely different reason, but for whatever the reason, we have border wars all around us.


While the guys watch the helicopter the girls eat the food. From the look of the smiles on their faces you can see why it is called happy hour. Tonight among the different snacks was a bowl of very spicy peanuts in the shell. They sure tasted good, but.... The but being that some time later I rubbed my eyes. Big mistake. Instant fire and tears. A fast trip over to the coach, opening my eyes occasionally for a glimpse before shutting them tight to ease the pain. Rinse with water, rinse with water. Water soaked wash cloth over eyes. More trips to the sink to flush them out. Relief at last as I lay on the couch with a wash cloth over my eyes. I wake up in the middle of the night and my eyes are fine. What can I say? It was just another typical day in paradise.

Saturday March 16 Mission, Texas

Shopping Day


I remember back in the days of that other life, the time of something called work. On Saturday mornings we would go to the farmer's market, then Trader Joe's, followed by Whole Foods and with a final stop at the local grocery store for anything left over that we needed. My comments to Linda about why are those old retired people in the store in Saturday morning when they could shop any day of the week always earned me a smile from Linda. Now I know why.


Back from shopping Linda was putting things away when I discovered the wind had blown over the tomato plants. Returning to door of the coach I called out, "We have a minor problem out back." As I was to learn, this was not a minor problem, it was the closest thing to a natural disaster to befall the area this year. When all was said and done, the only real damage was that the largest green tomato had been knocked off the vine. She was not a happy camper, but at least I didn't hear any mutterings about an insurance claim.


I have no idea what her reason was for taking this photo, but being a loving husband, I'll post it. Good Bob.


"What did you do"?

"I put some bird seed out."

"What did you do, put the whole bag out"?


In the end it turned out the whole bag was the quarter cup that was left in the bottom of it. For a second of so as those red winged blackbirds were swooping in I thought we were going to be part of the remake of the movie, The Birds.


Tonight when Jeff brought over those infamous peanuts they carried a warning label. Like I said yesterday, it was just another typical day in paradise.

Sunday March 17 Mission, Texas

Fun Day


Who would have believed it! Instead of international visitors, today we were visited by Martians.


So maybe they weren't really Martians, just two people dressed up for the Retama St. Patrick's Day parade. Linda had noticed our shadows when we were outside a few minutes earlier and took a picture of it. Lucky Bob.


Sometimes it enough to just post photos. This one of those days.



I'll end today with Linda's favorite Duck joke: Why did the duck cross the road?
(answer below)

He was tied to the Chicken.

Monday March 18 Mission, Texas

Hot Day


Linda was an excited grandma today, having just learned that our oldest granddaughter had been invited to be part of a softball tour of Italy. Even though she is only a freshman, it seems the combination of her playing ability and way she interacts with other kids made her a candidate. To hear Linda talking to our daughter about it, it was a case of there being quite a few 14 year old's in the family at that moment. Now I know for certain that Linda was full of giggles and Oh my gooshes at that age. Happy grandma, happy daughter, happy granddaughter.


The thermometer says it all. It really is time to leave and find cooler weather and in another week or so that is exactly what we will be doing.


Not the normal spot for happy hour, but with the temperature being what it was Linda came up with the brilliant idea of moving the chairs over between the coach and coach house. There was shade, and the narrow opening seemingly increased the faint breeze that was blowing. In the end we all had a great time, and to think, it was due in no small part to the smart, beautiful woman who is my wife. Lucky Bob

Tuesday March 19 Mission, Texas

Short Day


Linda likes it when the cows stop by and trim the trees across the drainage ditch behind the coach house.


Linda was excited when the FedEx truck stopped because she couldn't remember what it was that she had ordered that was shipping by FedEx. That meant it was going to be a surprise.


It was the new screens for our fans.


We are a little behind the times, but better late than never. Instead of having to take out all those little screws every time the screen was cleaned, now it just pops out and pops back in. Happy Bob. Now the fan can get cleaned whenever it looks dirty rather when Bob finally takes out all those little screws. Happy Linda.


Linda likes to take these photos with all the lines from shadows in them. I liked the southwestern beans and hamburgers I was cooking. Smiles all around, you can't beat that.


This time Linda knew what was being delivered.


A very happy girl. There is a certain item that all females wear that has to be hand washed. No more for Linda. The big test is tomorrow when she will be putting the one she is currently wearing in this ball and washing it. And I am going to stop writing about this right now before I say something (and there are many things I could say) that would get me into a whole lot of trouble. Smart Bob

Wednesday March 20 Mission, Texas

A Charged Up Day


Out with the old, in with the new. The coach batteries are going on 8 years old and just like tires there comes a time when it is best to replace them. For ours, today was the day. We bought the new batteries at the Interstate Battery Center on the 83 eastbound frontage road just west of Ware in McAllen. Nice people who know what they are doing and have excellent pricing. It's just too bad I asked for the wrong battery.


Seems that instead of taking the old batteries out and then going to get the new ones, I simply copied the battery page from the coach manual, took it along and asked for that battery. Right battery as far as size was concerned, wrong battery as far as how the cables connected. The manual said post connections, the battery was actually screw connections.


No problem exchanging the batteries, and with a core charge of $60, we were going to have to take the old batteries back anyway. No major problems with the installation, though I will say if you accidentally let a ground wire touch a positive terminal for even just a second, the sparks sure do fly. What can I say, nobody's perfect. When the coach started right up after I was done I don't know who was happier, Linda or me.


It wasn't the usual happy hour at the end of the day, though it was certainly a happy end to the day. Tonight I became an Elk. Good people, good fellowship, good food and the prospect of future RV sites at Elk Lodges as we travel. Life is very good indeed.

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