Tuesday, September 19, 2017

How “OLD” is Old?

Citrus Heights, CA – Sister’s House

Old Woman Rocking

This past weekend my sister Sandy and husband Arny, who's backyard we are able to have the motorhome in while in the Sacramento area, went to the Reno Air Races.  My other sister Patti and I took care of Arny’s mother…she is nearly 95 years old.  Euleda can doing little for herself.  She needs help sitting up, can’t stand up so is transferred to a Wheel Chair.  She needs help getting on the potty, taking baths, getting dressed, and even eating.  She can hardly see, can hardly hear…but has much of her other senses, is not in pain, but also cannot remember things without many reminders. 

Reno Air RaceThey left around 10 am on Friday, and returned around 8 pm on Sunday.  A caregiver helps Monday through Friday from 8:30-1:30.  It takes two to get her on the toilet, to get her to bed.  She gets up around 8:30, back to bed at 1:15, up again around 3:30, bed for the night around 7:00.  Same thing day in and day out. This past weekend, Patti and I gave Sandy and Arny a long overdue break.

Euleda can still have a conversation…can answer from simple questions to more complex questions…although the latter may need a bit of help to give her recall.  She likes to talk about days long past...but in the middle of the conversation she might forget what she is talking about.  I sat with her on Saturday and Sunday morning while Patti did some errands.  The TV was going despite the fact she cannot see much of what is going on with the TV.  I was petting Skruffy at one point and asked if she could see Skruffy sitting on my lap.  When she said yes, I can see you petting her, I asked what Skruffy looked like.  “A blob of black fur” is what I think she said.  Patti brought her two dogs over for short visits, and she said, “Are those blond dogs yours Patti?”  On Sunday she asked, "Do you have curly hair?", and I replied that my ponytail is certainly curly.  She loves Chocolate, and when her great granddaughter (Arny’s granddaughter) came over Sunday for a visit, I put out a chocolate truffle which I cut into four pieces.  Brittney did not want any, so it was all for Euleda.  After Brittney left there was still one piece sitting there in front of her.  She could not see it…but when I told her she still had a piece left, she knew right where to grab it with her left hand, the only hand that still functions completely.  At one point Sunday she made the comment that she wished she had a small computer.  Thinking she was serious, I told her that her hands probably did not function good enough to operate a computer.  "Well, I doubt I can see the screen either!"  It wasn't that she "WANTED" a computer...what she wanted was the ability to use and enjoy a computer.

Old Man Computer

It is inevitable that unless we die early due to bad health, an accident, natural disaster, or evil doing…we will all get old. Dad turns 90 next year, mom 88…and it is there 70th anniversary too.  They live in assisted living, but pretty much can take care of most of their needs.  Both still enjoy getting on the computer…dad loves his Android phone.  They walk, but both use a walker or a cane or a "GoGO" type of scooter. They go on outings with other people in the Assisted Living place...and love to go out to lunch or dinner with family or friends.  They wish they had a car still, but they gave that up last year when they moved into the Assisted Living facility.  Dad has outlived both of his parents who both died in their 60’s (and in the 60’s).  Mom is reaching the age of her mother when she passed, and her father died when mom was a teenager.  One has to go back to dad’s 2nd Great Grandfather to find an ancestor who lived to be over 90…and he lived to be 96 years old, born in Nova Scotia, died in California….1801-1897, nearly the entire 19th century.

I read many RV blogs, and many times I heard it said, “You need to travel while you can…”  I envy some of the younger folks who are traveling in their 30’s.  I wonder about some of the kids who are being home schooled as they travel with their parents from state to state, and even into Mexico and Canada…will these kids travel when they get older?  Or will they settle into the typical life of getting a job, buying a home, etc.??  I am so grateful that Marcia and I are able to travel as we do…get to see so many places, get to travel to Sacramento to visit family and help out where we can.  At some point, the travel will wind down…but there will be so many memories.  This does not scare me…but losing those memories...having to be totally dependent upon others for EVERYTHING certainly does…as it does for many of us.  There comes a point when death is truly ones friend…I know Euleda is at that stage now.  She has commented to me a few times these past few years that she does not know why God keeps her here still…I wonder if any of us will ever know and understand why.  I know one thing for sure…Patti, Marcia and I all enjoyed every minute we had with Euleda over the weekend.  We laughed, we talked, we shared, we ate, we had a good time.  She is a remarkable lady…when the time comes we only hope it is painless for her.  And I know that when that time comes, she will be missed.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hurricane Update … All is Well

Citrus Heights, Ca – at Sister’s House

Duke Outage Map

The electric company is working feverishly to get power restored … heard that there are 3.5 million (or more) without power…which in Florida where September temps are still hot and muggy, it makes life pretty hard to deal with.  Pasco County, which is technically where the Condo is located, has over 1/3 of their customers without power…which is about half of what it was this morning.

Duke Outage Map

Pinellas County, where our PO Box is located, has nearly 311,000 customers without power, about 55% of their customers.  That figure is down from over 70% as of this morning.

Our neighbor Mary made it home today from the shelter…power was on, and no damage to anything in her condo.  She said that one of the car ports lost its lid…no sign of where it blew to, no other damage anywhere that she saw. 

Marcia’s brother Mike and wife Sandy dropped by the condo today and said all was well…except for the hurricane evacuee who was living in our back covered and sealed patio area.  “WHAT” we said.  “Oh, it was just a little lizard….” was the response.  LOL

Mary, Marcia’s 84 year old cousin who lives just a few miles from us, is not as lucky with her power.  We told Mike to let her know that she can move into our Condo until her power is restored…all Mike would need to do is turn on the water, turn on the hot water circuit breaker, and bring a chair into the living room that she could sit on since we gave our couch and two chairs to Marcia’s son after the house they were living in burned down back in late April 

Have heard from everyone now…some don’t have power, everyone is safe and sound and we don’t think anyone has had any damage to their property.  Others, however, are not so fortunate…they are in our thoughts and prayers.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Hurricane Irma…Rain, Wind, No Direct Hit

Citrus Heights, Ca at Sister’s House

Irma Radar Image

Although we won’t have word until tomorrow (Tuesday) at the earliest, the heart of Hurricane Irma missed our community of Tarpon Springs/Holiday Florida by around 20 miles.  And when it did get near us…it was barely a Category 1 Hurricane.  When we saw it hit the coast at Marco Island, I knew we had a good chance to miss the most powerful punch of the hurricane.  The arrow is the general path of the Hurricane as it passed through the Tampa area.  The “X” in the upper left is the area we live in.  The entire state seemed to get lots of rain and wind from the outer bands.  We will know in the morning if there is any flooding problems…for now, the area is under curfew, and morning’s light will produce a massive amounts of pictures.

I feel for those folks in and around Marco Island…and Naples who did take the full punch.  I also feel for folks in the Miami area in general, and of course, the Keys which took the hardest punch in Florida.  Of course, the Hurricane did massive damage outside of the United States too…it is the nature of the beast of living in this humid area.

Duke Electric Outage Map

Not that our area near the Tarpon Springs / Holiday area did not have problems.  Above is a Duke Energy Outage Map…and our Condo is in this general “outage” spot affecting nearly 1,000 homes.

FOX 13 Live Stream

We kept in touch with the situation by watching FOX 13 out of Tampa via the Internet.  On Saturday morning I did some research on which Television stations had a live stream…and FOX 13 seemed to be the best…maybe not the “technical best”, but because they have what we consider the best Meteorologist team headed up by Paul Dellegatto who oversees the work of four other Meteorologist. When it comes to Hurricanes…they are my team, that is for sure.  That said, they did have some technical problems.  At 9:00 pm Pacific Time Saturday (Midnight Tampa time) it went off the air for about 20 minutes…then it came back on with the rerun of the Saturday morning show.  Figured they had to make a mistake, and after 10-15 minutes of watching what I had watched earlier in the day…I called them.  Got transferred to the “Internet” person, and the nice lady immediately looked at it, acknowledged they had problems much of the day, promised she would fix it, and thanked me for calling.  She had “no clue” that they were broadcasting old stuff…and had been for 20+ minutes. 

At 1:00 am my time, 4 am Tampa time, it happened again…but this time when it came on they were showing what they broadcasted 2 hours prior to this.  I immediately called, and unfortunately the nice lady had left after a long, busy day. Her replacement was more skeptical when I talked to her…asked if I had started the “Miami feed” (did not know there was such a feed), and when I told her this was the second time I had called in the past 4 hours, she said, “Well, let me see for myself…”  And then about 30 seconds I hear the echo of what I am watching…and she gasps and says, “Oh, you are so right….”  Well, it was bed time, and we left the stream going…but by 6:45 when I got up to let the dogs out and feed them, the live stream was gone.

At noon our time, 3 pm Sunday Tampa time, it happened again…this time they started broadcasting what they broadcasted 45 minutes prior.  I immediately called, and this time was connected to a guy who tried to blow me off by saying, “Our engineers know about it and are working on it….”  I told him this was the third time I had called in less than 24 hours, and that the first two times I called no knew they were broadcasting old stuff.  I could not have counted to 10 after I hung up and the live stream went off the air.  Nearly 30 minutes later it came back up…and it has worked great ever since.

NOAA Satellite Image

Another site I used was the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) site.  They seemed to have the best view of the eye of the storm so that I could track its direction.  They provide a 30 minute satellite view of the hurricane which takes about 10 seconds to play.  Every time it did a “wobble” to the north before they expected it to turn, I would say “YES!”, but with the full knowledge that if it turned too early, Miami and millions of people would be put in harms way.  What I truly hoped for was a turn into the Everglades…less population to harm…but no, it turned as forecasted…now it depended on which northern path it would follow. 

Hurricane Irma Heads North

Goodbye Irma…how about headed west and putting out a few fires out here…..

PS:  Why is it that all the news media seem to think we like seeing them out in the wind, the rain, along a beach, standing in water, picking up sand and watching it blow into their face when they drop it???? 

Saturday, September 9, 2017

"Neither tornados nor heat from fires nor gloom of hurricanes stays these RVers from their travels"

Citrus Heights, CA – at Sister’s House

Hurricane Irma Forecasted Path

Above is the most recent, as of 2 am ET time Saturday, of the path and strength of Hurricane Irma.  A very VAST change from just 36 hours ago when the projections showed it on the eastern side of the state.  “IF” this projection holds true, well, the “eye of the storm” (or darn close to the eye) will pass right over our condo in Holiday.

Hurricane Irma Forecasted Path

Above left is a map from google, with the orange balloon showing where Holiday is…in the picture right, which is a blown up of our area of the first picture, you can see the path line…and it sure looks like it will be right over Holiday.  Of course, these projection paths change from day to day…now changing about every 4 hours as its approach is so near.  Who knows…perhaps by Saturday night it will head so far west that it won’t even hit Florida at all…or it “might” just head up to the panhandle where many Floridians have evacuated to.  Marcia said that happened before when a Hurricane was suppose to hit Tampa area, so people went over to Orlando…and guess where it hit?  Yep, Orlando area.  Anyway, not only has the path changed…the strength as it passes through has increased from a Cat 1 or 2 to now a Cat 4. 

Tornado of April 29th

Back on April 30th and May 1st I blogged about a Tornado that we just barely dodged in Blytheville Arkansas on Saturday night (Sunday early morning) when we parked at a Walmart Parking Lot, and just across the Interstate at a Shell Station, a F1 tornado did damage to a Shell Gas Station below.

Tornado of April 29th

You can read about that night by visiting those two blog posts by clicking these two links:   April 30th Post ….. May 1st Post.   That was a very scary 20 minutes…no TV working, and if it wasn’t for our cell phones going off with an emergency warning, we might have just slept right through it.  Well, with Hurricanes you don’t sleep through them…they last for a long time…and if you are in the path, you are scared or stupid.  Thank goodness “WE” are not there, sitting comfortably in Citrus Heights at my sister’s house (comfortable now that the 109 temps have vanished for the rest of the summer…we hope…)  Of course…that was not the end of it because we faced another Tornado being close to us while in Santa Rosa Lake State Park in New Mexico on May 8th!  We also saw some hail as we traveled a few times this year…one hit pretty hard and I was shocked that none of our windows busted in the HHR.  Then there was the fire in Southwest Oregon, which led to our evacuation back to Sacramento.  That fire, by-the-way, is now at 178,000 acres, and only 5% contained…but so far they have kept it away from Brookings and from Alfred Loeb State Park which was shut down…and remains shut down…just five days before we were to return to the park for a two week stay.  We just decided it was best to get out of Oregon so that we did not take up any camping spots that locals who were evacuated from their homes might need.

So what has been going on for the past two weeks????  Family time, Doggie Grooming time, Computer fixing time at mom and dad’s place, and trying to keep cool.  Temps in Sacrament quickly raised right after our arrival, and yes, got up to around 110 degrees.  When it is that hot…the inside of the motorhome is in the upper 80’s.  Thank goodness the hot spell broke on Tuesday, but we will be back in the low 90’s Saturday, Sunday and Monday before they dip back down again.  But that sweat on my brow won’t be from the heat…but from worrying about our friends, family and our Condo as they endure Irma.  Our prayers and thoughts are with all of you...