Friday, November 19, 2021

Three Months Pass, Now Getting Ready to Head Home

It has been just over three months since we arrived here in Citrus Heights, California.  In 10 days we will leave for our long drive back to Florida.  Of course, with our travels comes more of my blogs ... but this three months of not blogging is the longest spell since we started our blog back in 2012.  I thought about posting something a few times, but it just never materialized.  Well, time to catch up...

INDY


When we arrived at Sandy and Arny's house, Indy was very protective the first few days, then she opened up to Sandy...and about a month later she opened up to Arny.  Protective mode means that if she saw one of them walk out of their sliding door onto the patio, she would bark and bark and bark.  Above you can see that she is looking in the window hoping to see Sandy walk out with her afternoon treat of pork.  I have cooked up so much pork over these past three months, and she ate nearly all of it...I think we had pork for dinner once while here.

Here is Indy sitting on a table in Arny's garage.  It took about six or seven weeks, but she finally started to jump up on Arny's lap...only took a week or so for Sandy's lap.  Of course, Sandy was very instrumental in us getting Indy, and drove me over to meet and pick her up the day we got her, July 4th of last year....Independence Day, hence, the name Indy.

Indy LOVES to run around the back yard, chase the stray cats from the neighbors (the cats trying to catch squirrels...bad cats!), and she pretty much will leave the squirrels alone.  One neighbor, Ed, has a dog named Jack, and she LOVES it when Jack comes over for a visit.  But she really loves it when her cousin Parker comes over...they love playing together, especially "Humpty Dumpty".

Family


During this COVID time period, we had less and less family meals together.  Above was just a few weeks ago.  On the left is Patti and Sandy, on the right is Mom and Tim.  Tim is Patti's brother-in-law.  Patti was married to Tim's brother Terry for a number of years until Cystic Fibrosis took him away from us.  Back in 2018 Marcia and I were in Colorado and visited a small lake where some of Terry's ashes were spread.  You can read about that here: My Brother-in-Law’s Resting Place…in the Rockies.  Tim's twin brother Tom flew out a week later, and is still here, heading back home on Saturday.  We did not have a family dinner with Tom because Arny had some major dental work done and is still on liquids and squishy foods.  It is so neat how Patti and Terry's three surviving brothers still remain so close.

I also was able to get mom down to Elk Grove to visit her sister, my Aunt Mary (Mary and Mom pictured above), and also Aunt Florence, who married my dad's brother.  We actually visited each of them twice!   I was hoping for a third visit before we left, but it does not seem like that is going to work out.

We have tried a few times to get together with my oldest son Michael and his wife Anna, but that still has not worked out.  First time Mom was not feeling up to it (Migraine), then Michael came down with a head-cold, got tested for COVID just in case but that, thank goodness, that came back negative.  We are going to try one more time early next week for a dinner with Michael and Anna.  (Michael did drive up to see his G-Ma about a month ago...they had a real nice visit.)

Motorhome & Car Maintenance 

In preparation for our trip home I had the oil changed in the car, then replaced the air filter and the cabin air circulation filter.  In the motorhome I changed the oil, checked the batteries, fixed a hatch that fell off while opening it, and built a cabinet over the stove where the microwave use to sit.

Inside the cabinet is a new toaster oven (which I bring down and use on the counter top),  some paper towels and, at times, things we want to store there temporarily while cooking so they are out of the way on the counter.  We lost the microwave while driving through Atlanta back in June, and we have not missed it...except for the time which was clearly visible when the motorhome was hooked to electricity.  When we are back home I will stain it...did not want to smell the stain while living in it, and did not want to take it apart once I got it together.  I have knobs that still need to be put on, along with double roller catches to keep it closed while driving.

All that is left is bringing up the tires to proper air level, some minor caulking, and putting a new window regulator into the driver's door (all should be done Saturday if the weather holds.)

COVID

The hardest part of being here is the COVID restrictions, which vary from County to County.  In Sacramento County, where Sandy and Arny live, masks are required at stores, restaurants, etc. etc.  In Placer County, where mom and Patti live, masks are not required but they are suggested.  People are confused as to which county they are in at the moment since only a small sign separates the counties and the cities of Citrus Heights (Sacramento County) and Roseville (Placer County).  Of course, Assisted Living facilities have their own set of rules.  They had to see my Vaccination Card, I have to get my temperature taken for each visit, and I have to wear a mask until I get down to mom's apartment.  Mom only needs to have her temperature taken.  Then there are the few times in which mom is exposed to a sick person, has to be tested and quarantined until test comes back even if it is determined the sick person just had a cold.  Frustrating yes, but it does keep her and others safe.

I too felt at times that I should be tested, and so I bought four self test kits from Walgreens...all four times it was negative...but at least I knew I was ok.  (Above, one pink line is negative, two pink lines would mean you have COVID.)  I have never felt any symptoms, I have not tested positive, and I have been vaccinated (too early for the booster though).  Yet there are many cases reported where people who have been vaccinated have still gotten COVID.  So the vaccination does not stop one from getting sick...but if you get sick, the chances of ending up in the hospital, or the morgue, are reduced greatly.  There are also reports of the vaccination getting people sick...even people dying.  Some people like to live under all the restrictions, others do not.  All we can say is, can't wait to get back to Florida where things are more normal.  (Note: Marcia had a cousin whose adult daughter was in the hospital with COVID for over a month back home in Florida...it really can be a very nasty illness.)

Here is the gas line to get gas at Sam's last week...$4.19 per gallon and a 30-40 minute wait on top of it.  I finally gave up, and ended up at a Union 76 station near my sister's house where it was $4.69 per gallon, and I put in 5 gallons.  Another 'last' trip to Sam's tomorrow where the HHR will get its last California tank full.  My feeling is that our gas crisis, our supply chain crisis, our inflation all goes back to COVID and an administration that does not know how to fix it...much like Jimmy Carter in the 70's.  Sure hope this crisis does not turn into Stagflation like we had in the 70's...that was some wicked stuff, and it took over 20% interest rates to squash it.

Miscellaneous Stuff

Sandy and Arny went down to Bakersfield for the Hot Rod Reunion at the Famoso Raceway in late October. Back in 2016, Arny did a masterful touch-up paint job on the Bradford Dragster that he originally painted many years earlier.  See Part One and Part Two of the blog I wrote back then on his paint job.  Well, Randy Bradford was racing at the Hot Rod Reunion and ...

...Randy won the Fuel Altered Division!  Unfortunately he blew his engine as he neared the finish line...but still crossed over first.  (Above is a picture of the final race...clearly that paint job is still holding up.)

Another race car driver that Arny loves is Kyle Larson.  Kyle is an Elk Grove kid, 29 years old, and started racing at the age of 7.  In 2012 he raced his first stock car race...and won...and won again the following week.  He was having a stellar career...until he used the
N-word" while reverting back to his youthful ways as he communicated with a member of his team.  In South Sacramento, which boarders Elk Grove, the kids use/used the "N-Word" in their daily speech, not as a term for racism, but just another word in their vocabulary. Problem is, Kyle was not a kid anymore.  His punishment, NASCAR suspended him indefinitely and ordered him to complete sensitivity training before he is allowed to race again.  He came back on a new team this year, and took it all.  

Kyle's father is of European ancestry, his mother is Japanese American...her parents were in a Japanese internment camp during WW2.  He really is a good young man.  He races clean.  He is liked by most, if not all of the other drivers. When he used the word, he was not using it as a racist.  He does not have a racist drop of blood in him.  Yes, he should not have used it.  I doubt he uses it anymore.  Now he is a champion...and my bet is, he will win many more.  This year he led in each and every stat.  Led more laps.  Won more races.  Fastest out of the pits.  The list goes on and on.


Well, that is our three months wrapped up in a few paragraphs.  At least you don't need to wait another 3 months for my next blog...on the road again in ten days...

Saturday, August 7, 2021

Made it to Sacramento Area - a 3,700 Mile Trip

 

A 2,800 mile trip which turned into 3,700 mile trip.  Left on Tuesday June 22nd, in what normally would be a 7-10 day trip, turned out to be a 6 week 2 day trip.  But it included a visit with Marcia's brother and sister-in-law, visit with her friend of 60+ years, seeing my entire family (children & first wife) with the wedding celebration of my youngest son, meeting my daughter-in-laws entire family, a dinner with Marcia's cousin, lunch with Marcia's niece, and some extended stays at a northwest Georgia RV park, Cleveland Fairgrounds, and introduction to the Amana culture in Iowa.  Had some hot weather, some hot and sticky weather, some hard rains, little bit of hail, high winds, low humidity and extreme fire weather.  Other than having to replace a toilet, and losing our Microwave/Convection Oven to an Atlanta pot hole, our motorhome worked flawlessly, and we are thankful for a safe trip...despite the many patches of rough roads which made driving a bit uncomfortable.  

Dad, it is SOOOO nice up here...there are SO MANY birds and little squirrels, and so far I have seen EIGHT other dogs.  Do we REALLY have to leave?

Yes Indy, we do...but I promise you, you will LOVE Sandy and Arny's backyard...you can run, you can smell, you can ... ummm ... do your business in MANY different places, AND you get Arny treats in the morning and Sandy treats in the afternoon.  And I am sure Patti will bring Parker over for some cousin time now and then too.

OK dad, but I am telling you, it has been a LONG LONG LONG trip so far...I hope we don't have to leave too soon once we get there.

Well Indy, the plan is to stay through Thanksgiving...that is nearly FOUR months from now!  And when we go home, we will be taking the shorter route for sure.

Oh Dad, YOU were so right...I just LOVE this yard, and I can still smell things that I smelled last year when we left...and I think Bubba left something way over in the corner of that old shed over there {snicker - snicker}.

Well, I don't think Bubba left anything like that, but you might still be able to smell Bubba, Skruffy, Parker and Charlie, along with other dogs that have visited Sandy and Arny's backyard over the years.  

Hey, gotta go...I think I see me a squirrel to chase!

The 'famous' Naked Ladies

On Wednesday a new fire started up just north of I-80 which we wondered might close the Interstate down...but the wind blew it north and northeast...it was not a problem for us on Thursday, but it sure did blow up fast and do damage (still doing damage) to the area.  We had an easy trip down the mountain to Sandy and Arny's backyard and by noon we were all settled in.  

Indy RAN and RAN and RAN all over the backyard, and loved seeing Sandy and Arny until they came up to the motorhome where her instinctive reaction is to protect us from intruders.  That, we hope, will change real soon.  This morning she went up to the sliding glass door and looked in hoping for her morning treat of pork.  Once she saw someone moving, she barked...was a bit shy at first when Arny came out, and enjoyed the treat when he gave it to her.  This afternoon (and yesterday) she enjoyed Sandy's afternoon pork treat too, even sitting down when Sandy asked her to.

Mom and Patti came by Thursday late afternoon, and I took mom back to her facility...then picked up Marcia and my dinner meal from Jimboy's Tacos (2 taco salads), the first of many meals we will get from Jimboys while we are here.  

It is nice to be back with family...