Thursday, June 22, 2017

I'm Usually A Wimp ... But NOT Yesterday

I'm coming to you today from my wonderful, lovely, fabulous, spectacular COMPUTER!!!  It's a long story.  I'll make it short ... kind of.

Since my computer didn't arrive Tuesday, I started tracking it Wednesday.  Around 3:00 I got an email that said it had been delivered.  WHAT??  I ran around outside in 115 degree heat to find it.  In a panic, I called FedEx who said they delivered it, even got a signature.  I yelled pretty loudly while running to all the houses in the neighborhood banging on the doors.  I found it two houses away where the FedEx gal had not asked to verify the name OR the address.  She just left it there.

I unboxed my beauty and hit the start button.  Imagine my surprise when I read "cannot transfer data ... incorrect operating system".  I'm usually a wimp.  I let people take advantage of me, overcharge me, not do what they say, and I do nothing.  I hate confrontation.  NOT THIS TIME!!  I was mad because they had wiped the hard drive clean, meaning Photoshop was gone with the wind and access to all my images was gone with it.   All my pictures are RAW and PSD files, which cannot be opened unless you have the correct program on your computer.

I can't even find out whether photoshop can still be used because instead of installing the operating system I had, they installed one that was three years old.  I went ballistic!!  At least I called first, giving them fair warning.  I'M MAD AND YOU NEED TO FIX THIS!!

I drove an hour to the Apple store.  I made it perfectly clear I was as mad as a wet hen.  I wasn't waiting 30 minutes or even 5 minutes.  They needed to fix this NOW!!  I related the story, including running around the neighborhood trying to find my computer.  They could have cared less.

I got louder.  People started talking.  They finally got their "best" specialist to help me, who agreed to install the correct operating system AND my backup.  Just sign here that if we lose all your data it's not our fault.  My tolerance level hit the floor.  When Zack, one of the managers came over and tried to say "okay, maybe we better just not do anything .. not touch your machine at all", I exploded ... and I'm NOT sorry.

I told him in no uncertain terms to shut up.  Don't try using reverse psychology on me because it won't work.  I'm NOT signing another "you aren't responsible" statement.  You aren't even IN this conversation!!  At long last the "best" suggested he install the operating system, make sure the backup is going to work, then let me do the backup at home.  That's what we did.  Once it was installed, I got a Tech on the phone, who tweeked things here and there.

Believe it or not, my Photoshop actually worked.  All my images came back on the computer and it WORKED.  I cried.   Here's a picture of my patio to prove it!!
So maybe sometimes you DO have to be a crazed, bitchy old lady and create a BIG commotion to finally get people to pay attention.  Not that it made them care ... they STILL didn't care one little bit, but by golly THIS time they fixed their screwup.  Which begs the question, if it worked this time and Photoshop is still there, why didn't it work three years ago when I had to do the same type of backup??

Sooooo ... now to catch up little by little!  Here's the doe and her not-so-little baby that treated me to a visit a few days ago.  They never come at the same time of day, but have visited me three times.
Baby was just as wary as Mom .. she has taught him well .. as they snacked on the trees and had long drinks at the bucket.
In the interest of keeping this short, I'll stop with the pictures and show you more tomorrow.  In the meantime, to prevent anything like this happening again, because I don't think I can take another incidence of steam coming out my ears and my head exploding, I'm doing a once-a-week backup, which takes just a few minutes (previously I only did one every 6 months).  

I'm also going to subscribe to Photoshop from the net, although I'm not sure my little MiFi can handle that.  You have to connect to your internet service, then the application, which remains on THEIR server in the sky.  The downside is the amount of data you use every time you sign on.  

Now to check my bank accounts and see just how much damage I've done.  Hopefully I won't be crying AGAIN!!!  

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Name That Critter - Grunt Grunt

Seems we are in a cooling trend. It was 100 degrees yesterday morning at 9:00, cranking it up to 115 by afternoon. Hot is hot. I could barely tell the difference, although my huge new air conditioning unit could barely keep up. Luckily there are ceiling fans throughout the house, so I was cool as a cucumber. Then it rained. I kid you not. Today should be 98 - that's the cooling part.

Even though I have only seen the one creepy crawly, I called Eric from the Pest Control Service to come spray and to discuss critter control. That's mainly pack rats. They are exceptionally good at destroying your engine wiring. With my new flashing lights under the rig, I hope it won't be a problem. That reminds me, I forgot to check and see if they are working!!

The critter for the day showed up in the dark this morning - that's 3:30 in case you were wondering. Grunt grunt huff grunt. Rather scared me at first - I was thinking coyote. I was also up since Miss Jessie was sick again. I silently made my way outside to the patio. PIGS!!!  Wasn't I surprised to see Javalinas or peccaries, depending on where you come from. Of course they knocked the deer water bucket over. I made a mad dash for my camera. I got a couple pictures (my camera sees in the dark) but I've no idea how they came out.

Maybe I'll find out today since my computer will arrive before 4:30 according to FedEx. Finally!!!!  I'm still praying for Photoshop. Otherwise, I'm thinking it will take a couple days of frustration before figuring out how to work with the cloud.

The downside is waiting here all day for its delivery when I could be shopping. Not that I have any money left - but you know, window shopping!!  Time to go rebuild the water station!!  If I'm really lucky you'll have pictures tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

It's Heating Up!!

The predicted 110 didn't happen, although Tucson was reminiscent of a toaster oven.  I went way down yonder early in the morning to return $100 worth of stuff I didn't need to Home Depot. By 11:00 it was 108, but in heading back home, it cooled off to 105 at my house. A good day to stay inside and practice my list making skills.

DEER!!!  Momma and her baby came back for a quick snack and a drink as did five bunnies. I think I should instill more wild traits in my puppies. Even the birds dont get up until 7:00.

It's been a lovely couple of nights with Miss Jessie getting sick around 1:00 am. Nothing wakes me up faster than a dog getting sick on my bed!!  I was finally able to contact the pest control service to be sure there was nothing in the back yard she might get in to. Nothing - nada he said.  It's good to know these things - and since he gave me a good description of scorpions, rest assured I have NOT seen one - YET!!

I even took a shot at trimming the bushes early in the morning while it was still cool. The roses look much better and I now have an unobstructed view of the water station. It's so peaceful and quiet, except for the occasional train which I love to watch. Yesterday I saw an entire train of HumVees, tanks and military equipment going by. What a sight to behold!!

I was home by 11:00 and stayed inside the rest of the day. I've discovered my tolerance for heat is better than I thought, except at night. I've changed the AC settings a dozen times to where I'm comfortable. That night setting of 83 just isn't going to hack it. I need cool to sleep. I'll sacrifice a daytime degree or two to have cool nights. With last months bill a total of $80 - that's right, $80 for a month - I can splurge a little!!  In California that bill would be $400. I kid you not!!!

In other news, the computer repair is done (I found you could actually check its progress on line) and should be in the mail today. Hopefully I'll have it by tomorrow at the latest, just in time to be totally frustrated by it.   Computers are like that. I envision losing my Photoshop program and having to download from the cloud with my not-so-powerful Verizon MiFi. Another trip to Way Down Yonder may be required.

Another scorcher is predicted for today, so I better get going. I picked up some solar blinking lights for under the rig. Dan says they keep the dreaded pack rats away. Between rid-a-rat, the lights and my pest guy, I should be safe - maybe!!!

With storm clouds on the horizon, the sunrise is gorgeous. I'll be sitting on the patio!!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Coyote Butt!!

I've been wondering why I haven't heard any coyotes since arriving a few weeks ago. Even so, I'm always leery about letting the puppies out. I have a fenced in yard, but it's only about 30 inches high. We had lots of coyotes on the ranch back in the day and would lose kitties to them occasionally.

Mr Chance kept saying they were here, you just couldn't see them. Well this morning I caught site of coyote butt!!  Even with the 104 temperature yesterday, it cools off overnight. At 5:00 every morning I let the dogs out with a watchful eye for snakes, then close just the screen door. All that nice cool air comes inside on the morning breeze.

Just as I looked up, I saw something moving through the scrub brush. Deer??  Nope, too small. Rabbit?  Nope, too big for a rabbit. Bobcat - one has been seen here before. Then I saw it.  Coyote butt!!!  BIG coyote butt!!  TWO of them. As big as German shepherd dogs, they trotted by before I could grab my camera, paying no attention whatsoever to the dog smells all over my yard.

They were too fast for a picture. Maybe next time. I was wondering why the little critters didn't come out early when it's cool. Now I know. Bunnies and quail never show up until 9:00.  How exciting - something to test my camera and stalking skills!!

I hope all you guys had a nice Fathers Day. Patty, Dan and I went to Saguaro Corners for a huge John Wayne burger. You can't beat a burger covered in cheese, barbecue sauce, bacon and crispy onions!!!

The weather guessers say 107 for the next three days. Probably a good idea to stay inside. What about my computer you ask?  I'm calling them today. Pray I get some good news. Even I'M bored reading my blog with no pictures!!!

Next up - Harbor Freight - hold your nose!!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Fathers Day!!!

To all the Dads and Stepdads out there, Happy Fathers Day!!  I hope you have a great day with family and friends!  Even if you hate that tie, wear it anyway!!

In my world of scary electrical wiring, I'd like to tell you about the great job I did yesterday.  I cannot lie. I did absolutely nothing, even after watching the You Tube how to's on wiring a 50 amp plug.  If you need help, don't call me.  Call Dan or my friend Nick Russell, now that he's home from his one week trip through RV Hell!!!  

We ran into a little trouble because neither Dan nor I can read print that small when it's black on black. Dan got one side hot and even though we were BOTH totally hot in 96 degree sun, that second leg just wouldn't produce. I called Handyman Bob. Turns out he's used to reading small print, not to mention he can actually see. Problem solved.

Dan hooked up the second box like a pro and we were in business. Then he spent some tractor time filling in the trench with me on the shovel. I really wasn't much help.

Up next, spread 25 tons of gravel over the dirt. The first bucket spewed out so much dust we couldn't breathe. With the neighbor's driveway full of limousines, I saw a big car wash bill in my future. I got out the hose and tried to control the dust as best I could. At least he couldn't say we didn't try. It actually worked pretty well. Try as I might, pictures still won't load. I wish I could say my computer is fixed but I have no idea. The 3-4 days turns out to be NOT including the shipping days, and of course not Saturday and Sunday either.

So after raking and shoveling while gulping down 8 bottles of water, Dan and I finished the job. I parked the rig and did a test run on it's AC. It worked just perfectly. I think I only have a 100 amp service, so I'll have to watch the load I put on it, but I don't have to worry about the fridge and vent fans any more.  YAY!!!!

I can't thank Patty and Dan enough for doing all this work for me. I think I'll be buying hamburgers for Dan for the next ten years. I'm pretty much set now, with every item checked off my list. There are still things I could use for the house, but they will have to wait. Honestly, I can get by with what I have, but a Breville oven would be nice. Considering I exceeded my budget by $2,000 it will have to wait. I really need my computer back to see where I'm actually at!!

In the meantime, I'm slathering sunscreen all over my neck where I got sunburned. It's a small price to pay for my fabulous RV parking place.  Time to relax and enjoy!!!

Saturday, June 17, 2017

A Man With A Tractor

As you may know, Mr Chance has a tractor. A backhoe to be exact. Nothing comes in handier than a backhoe when you have 48 feet of 24" trench to dig. Once we figured out where to dig, Dan put in some hard labor at the end of a shovel to get past the gas and power lines at the beginning. That was certainly interesting finding wires that went nowhere.

On the other end, Dan dug a hole for the pedestal. I'm allergic to shovels.   About that time the last load of gravel came for the driveway. I was cornered. Time to pay the piper Harvey Trucking for a total of 12 loads.  Ouch!!!

With that completed, we headed off to Lowes for supplies. I'm sure I saw tears coming from my credit card. Then came the hard work. Dan on the tractor and me in the trench with the shovel (I broke out in a rash from the allergic reaction) we crossed the driveway in an hour or so.

Time for pulling wire through the conduit. We did it one piece at a time to preclude any problems. Since I was in the hole, Dan gave me the blue goo. Be careful not to get that on you. It was too late. Blued and glued, we finished in no time. While I ran off to pick up the actual power box, Dan installed a water line. Might as well have it all while the trench is open.

Yup I got pictures, but the blog doesn't like my phone, so you'll be aptly inundated when my computer returns - IF it returns.

Today the handyman/contractor will come by to double check our work and wire the box. Maybe I'll have power for the rig by noon. In the meantime, I'm watching Miss Jessie closely. Last night she either pulled a muscle or pinched a nerve. She's stove up like a rock. She's walking, but you can tell she's hurting.  Either way, there's not much I can do.  I'll give it til Monday.

It's heating up in the high desert. Although Tucson and Green Valley show highs of 117 (OH MOMMA), it's only getting to 108 here in Vail. Which reminds me - Dans son Mark has a pool and they are out of town. I may just have to sneak over there!!  Or maybe its time to hit the road!!!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Electricity - Not My Forte!!

Next on the list - electrical connection for the RV. All I know about electricity is to flip the switch. Just to prove it, when I headed off to town, I couldn't get the garage door to work. I sprayed lubricant on the track. It didn't help.   Eventually I figured out none of the lights worked and went to the main panel. I flipped the 20 amp switch and what do you know - power!!

I was off to Home Depot for a pressure treated 4x4. None existed of course. I seem to have that problem with MEN stores. Next stop Lowes where a nice guy in aisle 435 helped me find them. It's a big store!!  With all my seats down my big $11 8 foot long purchase fit in my Jeep with room to spare. 

Upon arriving home, I called Handyman Bob. He's a retired contractor in my area who has agreed to help with the electrical connections. I'm not sure of my level of confidence, but the Electrical Contractor wanted $400. $150 for parts, $250 for labor. That's pretty steep. Since Mr Chance will be overseeing the whole thing, I think I'll be okay, since Dan wired the plugs at his house.

Day two without my computer. The withdrawal symptoms are beginning to nag at me. Can't check my accounts - have no idea if I've any money left - and can't process my pictures, not to mention typing my blog on a teeny tiny screen where I can't even see most of the words. You'll be happy to know the deer have not been here in a couple days, so you won't be inundated with photos upon the computers return. I apologize for bad English and misspelled words. Proofreading is not the easiest when constantly scrolling.

So now it's shovel time - wish us luck on our electrical endeavor!!!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

There Are No Words

Other than what a dummy or oh $#¥&@?!! there are no words to explain it. It's my fault 100% for having a glass of water on the table. I spilled it when I reached behind the computer. I admit I said a lot of bad words when the display went black.

After being on the phone with the best Apple Tech I've ever worked with (he called me back three times to see if I needed further help) I took my computer to the Apple Store 50 minutes from my house. They too were very helpful, unlike some other people's experiences

Bottom line, it got wet, it has to be sent off for repairs. I'm banging my head against the wall as I type because here's the deal - it's not just any computer. It's a very specialized hand built computer for photography with extra equipment not found on your normal MacBook Pro. A replacement can be built for $4100 plus shipping and warranty. The repair will take 4 days and cost $1500. That's an expense I didn't need right now. I almost cried.

It's not that I don't have the money, I have a savings account for emergencies. I just thought that emergency would be something more like the start of my RV cover!!  I think I'll go drown my sorrows in a case of Pepsi!

In the meantime you will get a reprieve from deer pictures. I can post, but can't upload images. I'll probably get instant arthritis in my thumb since the keyboard is so small on my phone.

The other "happening" yesterday was the cutie pie electrician who showed up for my rigs 50 amp service. Not much for him to do since Dan is doing all the hard work with the tractor.  I should get his estimate today if I can figure out how to get to all my junk mail on my phone, since that's where it will go first.

My entire schedule has changed. It's funny how I've become so dependent on that computer. I do have a backup, but of course it's home with all my password info. So sorry Charlie, you shouldn't have ANY liquid on the table!!

While waiting at the fancy Mall that is LaEncantada, I stopped in at Crate and Barrel where one glass cost $12 and a cookie scoop $28. I'm definitely on the wrong side of town!  I spotted Williams Sonoma where the cookie scoop was only $15. I guess I've become a Walmart Girl.

On my way home I ordered a pizza from Arizona Pizza Company. Maybe THAT would make me feel better!!!

So - it's a waiting game until my baby is repaired and back home!!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017


I try very hard not to get ripped off by unscrupulous people.  Yesterday I failed miserably.  It's a little harder to look things up on your phone than the computer, but I do it all the time.  I know to watch out for "Ads" and only click on REAL links to REAL businesses.  I looked up Vail Locksmiths, called and made an appointment to rekey the locks.  

The first order of business was HOW MUCH was this going to cost.  $20 per lock and $20 service call.  Okay, I can deal with that.  15 minutes AFTER the appointed time, they called to say they would be 90 minutes late.  I won't be here ... I rescheduled.

This time ten minutes after the appointed time, the tech called to say he would be 15 minutes late.  35 minutes later, he finally showed up in an unmarked truck.  My radar antenna went up.  He looked at the locks and started counting up each dead bolt AND door lock.  No I said, I only want the deadbolts keyed.  "Oh, but you'll get locked out for sure" he stated.  The total would have been EIGHT giving him a nice chunk of change.  No ... just the deadbolts.

It took him about 30 minutes, whereupon he wrote up the bill and tacked on an additional $99 for labor.  Wait ... no one said anything about labor.  They said $20 per lock!!  Well they should have told you ... you can pay me now.  This guy looks like a pretty unsavory character, he's bigger than me and I'm pretty intimidated by this time.  Since he couldn't get one lock done (a bad dead bolt, he tried to sell me one for another $25), he dropped $40 off the bill, so I paid him just to get him out of my house.  

As I went out the back door to watch him drive off, I immediately noticed he put the lock on backwards.  The locking mechanism was on the OUTSIDE of the door.  Good grief.  I ran to the truck and told him ... he came back and turned it around and left in a huff.  When I double checked it, he didn't tighten it down at all.  I grabbed a screwdriver and went around to every lock to make sure they were all installed correctly.  

The last dead bolt was in the garage.  I went to Lowes and found one for $12 which I installed MYSELF.  He would have charged me $65 ... $25 for the lock and $20 for each side, since he said it was a double dead bolt.   

WHAT A RIPOFF!!!  I was so irritated that I let this happen that I closed my finger in the car door and badly broke my nail.  Nothing like adding insult to injury!!  This picture is MY handiwork.
The second disaster happened shortly thereafter.  By then, it was afternoon, so I grabbed a glass of water and sat down at the computer.  I reached behind the screen and hit the glass, dumping it on the table and floor.  Instantly I picked up the computer, but apparently it was too late.  The screen went black.  WHAT???  

Once I cleaned up the mess, I called Apple (luckily I got one of their most experienced Techs) and we ran check after check.  Finally, he told me how to hook it up to the television and VOILA ... I have a computer screen as big as a TV.  Here's my morning's work station.  It's a little disconcerting to have the pictures you are looking at as big as my head and the letters half an inch high, but it does make it easier to read.

The worst of all ... I have to travel 45 minutes across town to the Apple store for diagnostics and repairs, meaning I will probably be without my computer for several days.  Want to hear the BAD news?  It's going to cost between $500 and $1000 to fix.  What a stupid mistake on top of a big fat ripoff.  I should have stayed in bed.
I'm a whipped pup this morning ... I feel bad because it's really nothing compared to what Nick and Terry Russell are going through.  They have had some very bad luck on their trip to Arizona after having parked their rig for several months.  Things just have a way of deteriorating.  All their troubles may have happened anyway, but it's sure disheartening.  I'm sending them lots of love and prayers.

I'm hoping today will go a little better as the electrical contractor comes over for the 50 amp service installation estimate.  Thank goodness this time Mr. Chance will be here to run interference.  The first time I spoke to the guy he sounded enthusiastic and willing to do the work.  The second time, not so much.  

My computer appointment is at 5:45 this evening.  Here's hoping I get good news!!  If not, I can still post with my phone, but I can't upload images ... so no more deer pics for awhile!!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

My Kind Of Visitor!!

If you're talking to me, I really AM paying attention, but I'm casting sidelong glances out the windows constantly looking for visitors.  What to my wondering eyes should appear but a doe and her baby!!  Right here in River City about 50 feet from my back door.  Who would have thought there were this many deer in the desert.  

Here mostly for the palo verde trees that are blooming like crazy, this Momma brought her baby to my door.  He's been shedding his baby spots so he's a little rough around the edges.
How do I know it's a he?  I enlarged this photo as big as I could and I spy horns.   Would you look at those ears?  They're almost bigger than his head!!
They continued browsing through the trees, snacking away before taking a VERY long drink at the water bucket.  
He's just a cutie patootie!!  I watched for about 30 minutes.  I know you are probably going to get tired of deer and bunny images, and I probably will too, in about three years!!
Mom ... leave me alone!!  The doe decided his ears were dirty and licked them for about ten minutes, all the while baby tried to move his head away.  There was no stopping her however, just like when Mom spit on a handkerchief and cleaned YOUR face!!  Finally they wandered off down the hill.  I still can't believe it.  I have palo verde trees, ocotillo, cactus, scrub brush and deer in my back yard.
While I waited for the locksmith, I noticed Miss Jessie had taken to a new spot.  It seems the back of the couch is now her territory.  Every time they go outside, I keep a wary eye out for predators.  Although I haven't heard any coyote, I know they are around, as is a bobcat that has been seen wandering the perimeter (not seen by me .... yet!)
Cooper on the other hand, in a rare moment of NOT playing the ball game, has taken over Jessie's bed.  I was not far behind him when the locksmith called to say they would be over an hour late.  I rescheduled for today.  I'm hoping he brings lots of ID.  You know me, always suspicious.  
Next up ... the electrician who should arrive tomorrow to give me a price on that 50 amp service for my rig.  Dan says the electrical wires left from the hot tub should work just perfectly for the rig, saving me a chunk of money ... that is if the electrician will use them.  Honestly, it's not that I need a 50 amp service, but I think it would be nice if I'm ever here in the summer again to keep the inside from baking any more than necessary.  

Since Dan arrived home after driving an RV from Vermont to San Diego ... yup that's right, over 3,000 miles in less than a week ... we had a celebratory dinner of Ugly Steaks and carbs (meaning corn and potatoes).  It was fabulous, as are all of Miss Patty's meals!!

One more trip to the far side of Tucson to Home Depot should net timers for the outside lights, some sliding glass door hardware to prevent unwanted guests and pruning shears to keep my view of the deer unobstructed.  Might as well get a few more ugly steaks while I'm there, after all Father's Day is coming up this Sunday.  

To top that, it's time to mow the lawn.  The previous owners left a lawnmower, but I have absolutely no idea how to make it go.  It should be interesting!!  Luckily, there is an Emergency Hospital just a few miles from here.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Don't Send Me To Jail!!

Heavens to Betsy!!  I had no idea you were not supposed to feed the animals in Arizona.  Apparently it's okay to feed the birds, but the rest of the critters are a no-no.  Please don't send me to the big house!!  I never did have any intentions of feeding the deer.   I know that can cause problems.  Since I always have so many leftover carrots from Jonathan (I buy a bag, he eats six) I thought maybe the bunnies would like them.

Now I feel bad about this picture, but decided to show you anyway.  I promise I won't put out anything but water from now on!!  As it turned out, the rabbits weren't interested.  The squirrels ate about half.
Try as I might to get both water stations going, the drip system only wanted to work on the bottom container, and not all that often, in spite of the sprinkler settings.  A couple of dove came over to find the container empty.
Here's a little push-up lizard.  I'm sure it has a REAL name, but I have no idea what it is.  In spite of my SMILE for the camera, they won't hold still long enough to get a good picture so I can check it out on the internet.  Dan calls it a push-up lizard because he bends his little arms and does push-ups while he's basking in the shade.  Cute little guys.  I hope they are busy eating bugs around the house.  So far I've found five critters INSIDE.  They are now deceased.  Smashed to smithereens.  I couldn't even tell you what they once were.
I just love watching the quail families.  Here's dad keeping watch while mom and his two babies meander through the grass looking for dinner.  They come every morning and night.  Another family with three babies share the dinner table with them.  You can buy quail blocks to feed them at Walmart, but I didn't want to do that unless I was here to KEEP feeding them.  
Patty and I headed off to Green Valley to finish off the last of my "need this" list, but of course I forgot to take the list.  We did pretty good, adding to it two chairs and a gallon of Home Defense bug spray from Big Lots.  What a find!!  Big Lots in California is a dump of epic proportions.  I NEVER go there.  Here, it's full of good stuff where I filled half of my list.  Watch out for those prices though.  Home Defense at Big Lots - $14.  Home Defense at Ace Hardware - $5.99 with a rewards card.

While looking for a better water station, Patty and I came up with a roasting pan from Walmart.  It's metal so will last, just the right depth and will hold plenty of water.  Last night I completely rebuilt the water lines and tested the drip system to see if it worked.  I used bigger nozzles so more water will come out in the short five minutes it runs.  Today we'll see how the critters like it.

I had another surprise visitor yesterday morning, but I'm saving those pictures for tomorrow.  I sat on the porch last night in my two new $24 chairs from Big Lots and watched the sun set.
On today's schedule ... call the Electricity Expert and get a 50 amp plug set up for my rig, get a locksmith to change all the locks to only ONE key, put out the old garbage cans because the new ones arrived that cost less than Waste Management and spray the house inside and out for bugs.  I will have a pest service guy, but haven't been able to catch up with him yet.  Still so much to get done.  

For now, I'm fixing a cup of coffee and sitting on the patio enjoying the cool morning air.  Wish you were here!!

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Isn't She Just A Dear?

It's another beautiful day in the neighborhood!  The train was running a little late this morning at 5:19, not that it mattered really, because I was up at 4:45.  I like the mornings.  It's light at 4:30, cool and quiet like a desert should be.

So I've stalled long enough.  Isn't she just a dear?  A gorgeous little doe came to my water station.  I looked out the window for bunnies and was shocked to see her standing in the bushes.  I grabbed my camera and froze in the window so she wouldn't get scared.  Pretty wary, this little girl.
She sipped a little water, although there wasn't much left.  Between the quail, roadrunners and bunnies, that little dish full doesn't last long.  Today I'll try to come up with something a little bigger.  She started nibbling on the palo verde trees.  Palo verde means green stick or wood, named because it's branches are all green.  Those branches perform photosynthesis ... your useless information for the day, however pretty interesting.
I stood and watched for about 30 minutes.  Who would have thought there were deer in the desert?  Especially during the hot summer months?  Actually I'm at about 3300 feet in elevation, but still, it's HOT here.  Funny, it's about the same temperature as my house in California.
Miss Jessie spotted her right away, since the house is on a hill above the water station.  She watched intently, but didn't bark.  I can't say as much for Cooper, which in the end was probably what scared her away.  Okay, really it was me who slowly opened the door to go outside.  She bolted.  RATS!!
I'm hoping she wasn't too scared and that she comes back.  Just to be sure water is available, which I think is one reason she's here, I refilled the big bucket and set the drip system to turn on at 5:00 in the evening, refilling the bowl.  Today I'll hit Walmart to see if I can come up with a better container as well as a block of seed for the quail.   Deer in my back yard ... I'm in heaven!!

With another long list of "needs", I braved the traffic to Target.  Not my favorite store due to their prices ... I never get out of there for under $100 ... but I discovered them to NOT be busy at all.  It instantly became my number one store.  Walmart here isn't bad, but the closest one is small with not a lot of product ... mostly food.

I even cooked my first meal in my new house.  Sort of anyway ... it's hard to make anything when you have so little in the cupboard.  About half a pound of hamburger tried to become meatloaf.  It helps if you start with better meat.  I threw in every spice I had, along with some grated onion.  I invited Miss Patty to dinner, but she was otherwise occupied.  That was a good thing.  Believe me, it looks better than it was.  At least my record here is still intact ... no burials.  Too bad I forgot to get "leftover" containers.  I've added those to my new list of pruning shears and pizza.
I did notice something rather weird about my gas stove.  I've never had a gas oven with overhead microwave before.  Maybe someone can help me.  When I turned the oven off, I noticed hot air (and I mean LOTS of hot air) coming from under the control panel ... almost like the heat was being exhausted into the room.  Is that really how it works?  I think it raised the temperature of the house three degrees.  Is it not vented to the outside??  If so, I guess I won't be doing any baking in the summertime!!  I see another Breville oven in my future!!

I've been keeping an eye out the window, jumping up every so often to see who is at the water station.    Here it is 6:00 and all I've seen are birds taking a bath.   Apparently desert creatures like to sleep in!!  By the way, I slept great for yet another night.  Maybe it's the nice soft bed or maybe it's not having neighbors playing loud music.  Whatever, I'm liking it!!

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Ya Know How It Goes?

First off, ya know how I said I'm terrible with names?  Well in case you were an early reader yesterday, Pat's husband's name is JIM ... not Bill.  My apologies to JIM.  He's such a nice guy, he probably doesn't care, but my apologies anyway!!

Ya know how it goes when the moon stays up all night and then it gets light around 4:00 am?  Yup ... that's how it's been going here.  There's one thing to say about not getting great sleep ... every once in awhile you just crash and burn.  Last night I didn't hear a single train.  Interestingly enough, the trains on the tracks closest to me run their last one at 9:00 pm with their first morning run being 6:00.  It works for me!!
Ya know how it goes when you have Plan A and no backup?  Plan A was to forego all the "house" stuff and try to find something to wear.  My three summer shirts didn't last long in 102 degree weather, not to mention my one and only pair of shorts.  In spite of the traffic and hoards of people (doesn't anyone work on Friday?  Is school out?) I made it to J C Pennys ... a store much bigger than my Walmart.  I am SO not used to this!!

Ya know how trying on clothes is the pits when you've gained weight?  I don't know what in the world I was thinking, but I even tried on bathing suits.  I have no idea why, because you'll NEVER see me in one.  It was a bad idea ... depressing in fact.  Since Pat was able to get the treadmill (left by the previous owner) to work, I'm getting on it as soon as I finish typing!!

Ya know how it is to wait in line when there are only two checkout stands in this HUGE store? The two next in line had an entire grocery basket FULL to the brim.  As they finally moved up, they went through everything item by item ... nope too much, nope no coupon, I don't know, should I get this?  The second cashier had a lady with three teenage girls and twelve bathing suits.  Nope, no coupon.  Nope, too expensive.  Nope, not on sale.  Several people just dropped their items and left the line.

Thirty minutes later I finally got to the register.  Yes, I'll take them all!!!  Just ring 'em up, you've got eight more people in line.

Ya know how it goes when you get a hankering for something good?  Back in my car at 112 degrees, I pulled up Beyond Bread on my phone.  Gosh, it looks to be just a couple of miles away, and off I went.  After about three miles, I looked again, to find that Google had shrunk the map so it looked like it was close.  It wasn't.  I had no Plan B.  I was committed.  Eight miles later, I arrived at my destination.

The place was packed ... not even one single seat, inside or outside.  I tried to order the same sandwich we had before, but alas, it's only available on whatever day it was then.  Okay, just a regular Reuben sandwich thank you.

Ya know how it goes when you order something and it's not at all what you expected?  I'm not a fan of sauerkraut.  Not even a little bit.  I'm proud to say it has only touched my lips ONCE in my lifetime.  Well twice now, because when I arrived home, I bit into a huge Reuben sandwich with the biggest pile of sauerkraut on it I've ever seen.  RATS!!  I was SO looking forward to that great sandwich!!  I choked down half of it and saved the rest for Miss Patty.  Had she not been around, it would have died a horrible death as the first entry in my cemetery.

Ya know how it goes if you remain perfectly still, critters will come visiting?  There are bunnies all around.  I finally caught this one yesterday after making sure the drip system was working down the hill.  It drips water into containers every morning when the sprinklers come on, for the quail, squirrels, bunnies and deer.  Look at those ears!
In no time at all, he was off as others stopped in for a sip.  I could sit here all day and watch for them.
Next up was a huge roadrunner.  I've seen several juveniles hanging out, but this guy ... he's BIG!!  That's a garbage can lid on the ground.  Funny, I haven't seen or heard any coyotes this trip.  I'm guessing they are further up in the hills where it's a tad bit cooler.  Yes, the last couple of days have been above 100, but the nights cool off considerably.
Ya know how it goes when you wait and wait for something to happen ... and when it does, you're so surprised and thrilled that it happened to you that you freeze up and forget to get pictures?  Well that's what happened to me last night ... but I'm going to wait until tomorrow to show you, because THIS time I DID get the pictures.  

Friday, June 9, 2017

Finis ... Acabado ... Kumaliza ... Terminado!!!

At long last, after three full days, the painting is FINISHED!!  This room took two full coats, three if you count the primer on about half of it.  My poor puppies are so happy to be out of the bedroom where they've been in jail.  At long last they are off the bread and water diet and won't get two feet from me.  I guess they thought they were in trouble .... which they were!!  They howled and barked almost every hour.
Cooper especially loves the bowling alley living room where he can chase his ball for hours and not get it stuck under furniture.  Once done, I headed off to Ace Hardware with my list of "needs".  Boy is that place expensive.  I almost bought a can opener (it's amazing how many things you use every day in your home) for $14.99.  They had the exact same opener at Walmart for $4.49.  I know, because that's where I went to get everything else I needed.
Two hours of hunting for stuff like dog bowls and outdoor rugs and I was beat.  It was a lovely hot day and I was on my very last shirt, not to mention my ONLY pair of shorts.  The second I walked in the door, Miss Patty called.  We're going to Saguaro Corners for dinner and some music.  Wait ... I have a carload of stuff ... I need a shower and have to feed the dogs ... what, don't you have a shower in that place she asked?  

Why yes ... yes I do.  I threw everything on the floor, fed the dogs and got cleaned up as much as I could.   Saguaro Corners has a huge patio outside, misters to keep you cool and really great food.  Every Thursday night they have entertainers who sing (the guy way in the back) while you eat their wonderful food.  
As the sun went down, the almost full moon came up.  What a great place to hang out with new friends.
That's Pat on the left with her two friends in white (I'm terrible with names, but their mare just had a filly and they were pretty excited about it), mother Gloria who is 86 years old, me, Miss Patty and finally Pat's husband Jim ... it's JIM not Bill.  I told you I was terrible with names.  Gloria and I talked like school girls all night.  She's originally from Columbia, now living in Denver.  

We have a lot in common, including her french fries, my beans and rice and our dessert ... cheesecake with mango sauce.  She says anything mango here, doesn't really taste like mangos when you've had them ripe in Columbia.  What a sweetheart!!
Just the night before, I was awarded with my first official Arizona property sunset.  
They can be pretty spectacular!!
So the very first thing on today's list is HOME DEFENSE.  I've found a couple of critters inside, but nothing like the one I found IN MY BED this morning.  I'd swear it was a scorpion, but the tiniest little thing I've seen ... maybe 1/2 inch across.  I smashed him to smithereens before I could really see what it was.  That's when I read a note from the previous owner about those little sticky boards in the garage.  I thought they were just for bugs, but he said they are scorpion boards.  Good grief!!  I thought scorpions were big ... like 2-3 inches long!!  

I did catch a poor lizard on one board ... it was so hot the glue was liquid, so I used a small stick to pry him off.  He ran away into the bushes.  I'm sure I'll be able to spot him again ... he'll be the one with a million tiny rocks stuck to his belly!!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Thunderstorm In 100 Degree Weather!!!

AND WE HAVE A BED!!!  Who knew sleeping on the floor for two days could be so horrible??  I might have slept in the rig, but with temperatures outside in the high 90's, inside with no 50 amp service for air conditioning, would have been worse.  

The painters showed up at 7 am ... talk about prompt!!  You just can't begin to imagine the transformation that took place.  But the bed ... let me tell you about the bed.  Although I received two messages they would be late, the bed crew showed up right before the big storm, so it stayed dry.  It's soft, pillowy and wonderful since the head raises up so far.  It's LOVELY.  I had a great night's sleep with the exception one train, but with no aching hips, I went right back to sleep.

The second crew showed up with furniture around 4:00, right in the middle of a HUGE thunderstorm.  A monsoon of EPIC proportions that I've heard about but never seen up close and personal.  

It's a good thing the couch was wrapped in plastic, because it just poured buckets!  In two seconds outside, my shirt was completely soaked.  Luckily it quit just in time for the little kitchen table and chairs.
So here's the family room before.  Remember the turquoise?
Gone in a flash ... here's the new relaxing, bright AFTER family room where the puppies and I will spend most of our time.
Here's the front door before ....
And AFTER.  Actually, this room ended up being a tiny mistake.  I only had plans to paint this and one other wall to remove the pink.  The painters went a tiny bit too far on one wall in the family room.  To keep from having four colors of rooms, I decided to paint this entire room this soft gray.  
A little nervous when they started for fear it would be too dark, it's spectacular!!  It's so relaxing, matches the carpet perfectly, and with the white ceiling, it's my favorite room.
Once the furniture was delivered, the puppies were finally happy enough to settle down.  They just needed somewhere to park their little butts.  I put the old curtains back up and they match just fine.  The little wood table in front is a drop leaf with two chairs, perfect for drinking coffee as I look out my door at the beauty of Arizona.  This morning there have been quail, two big cottontails, three roadrunners and one big lizard.
The kitchen also changed dramatically as the pink disappeared under primer and paint.  Yes, it's costing me a little more in paint and labor, but it's worth it!
Here's the AFTER kitchen ..... I even cooked some chicken in the Instant Pot last night.  My first meal in Arizona.  Apparently Arizona doesn't know how good a cook I've become, because it came out terrible.  Not inedible, I choked it down, but it really was worthy of a burial.  So far however, my little acre of happiness has no cemetery.
As the storm was coming in, I took this picture.  I was sure there would be no rain since it was so hot, but Mother Nature fooled me with sheets of water like I've never seen.  The really good part is it soaked all the plants, since I haven't been able to figure out the sprinkler system.  That will be today's project.
Hopefully they will finish painting today.  There is still one small turquoise bathroom to transform.  Once done, I can finally hit the thrift and dollar stores for the stuff I need, like door mats and cleaning supplies.  I'm beginning to think I might just like living here!!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Watching Paint Dry

After a horrible night's sleep, I arose the first day and got right to work.  Not really ... I sat on my porch and watched the sun rise.  Blocked by a big tree next to my yard, it didn't make for a good picture, but it sure was nice and cool out.

At 8:00 on the nose, the ADT alarm guy showed up.  Little did I know, we would become well acquainted over the SIX hours he was here.  Good grief Charlie Brown!!  After dealing with a high-powered idiot over the phone regarding this installation, I wasn't looking forward to being nice.  They wanted a LOT of money for the alarm system service ... and he wouldn't listen when I told him I wasn't paying that.  He offered gift cards, insurance discounts, everything he could to push me into buying in.   I finally got mad, as accountants can occasionally, and gave him what for!

It's a good thing I'm a stubborn old hag ... sometimes being rasty pays off.  Anyway, the kid arrived, did his thing, then I had to sit through a sales pitch like that of a time share.  I'm not buying it I said over and over and over.  Finally, I was allowed to sign the REJECT sheet and we got down to business.  If this costs me over $30 a month, I'm NOT doing it.  Period.  Cappish?????  Speaka de English????

At the five hour mark, I'd had it up to my gills and my patience wore thin.  However, I ended up with a telephone line (their cellular system is much more expensive, so we'll hope the telephone service is okay here) and with the help of the kid's boss, a bill for $20 a month.  Grand total ... $40, much better than the $60 they wanted in the first place.  I don't need no "stinking Visa gift card" but I'm getting one anyway.

Finally he was gone and my alarm system was talking to me .... WAY too much.  As soon as I can, I'm turning her off.  That's the exact moment when the Painters arrived.  Good timing!!  They made the rest of my day fabulous, albeit boring.  There's nothing more fun than watching the paint dry.  
Here's a couple of BEFORE pics just so you can see the color scheme.  They had a little trouble with the turquoise.  Two coats of primer/sealer and two coats of paint will be required to cover it up.
Here's my choice of paint.  Isn't it pretty?  I love it ... so much lighter and brighter!!  I'm totally enamored with the husband and wife paint team.  Both speak Spanish faster than lightning and never quit talking the entire afternoon.  I picked up a word or two here and there, just enough to know what the conversation was about.  They're funny and are doing an amazing job of painting!!
At 5:30 they finally called time so I could run to Ace Hardware for one more gallon of primer.  All of the pink (which is most of the house) requires primer.  On the way home, I stopped in at a little Mexican eatery ... a dive really ... between the railroad tracks.  Best Mexican food ever, full of REAL chilis.  This is enough food for four people and it was $10.90.  Pretty crazy!!  It's what's for breakfast because all I ate last night was the tiny tostada on top of the rice and beans.
I will be spending today watching more paint dry, hoping they finish up.  They might have gotten further yesterday, but car trouble sent the husband to Mexico for repairs (it's cheaper there).  Hopefully I can stay awake today, since I got a great night's sleep, or as well as could be expected when you're sleeping on the hard floor.  With a little benadryl and earplugs, I didn't hear a single train!!!

Next up --- the furniture should be delivered today!!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

An Epic Day Of Firsts!!

First Day at my new house!!  What an experience!!  I packed up early at the fairgrounds and headed over to my new digs.  I forgot some little things, like those tennis balls under my windshield wipers, requiring a quick stop alongside the road.  I was too nervous about backing into my driveway!!

I navigated the 8' wide under-construction roadway for the last half mile and made the turn immediately over the railroad tracks with no problem.  Trying not to make all my new neighbors mad, I unhooked on the road above and drove down to the little cul-de-sac where I prepared to back in my driveway.

It was easy peasy since Dan had widened the road about three feet, but that first hump was troublesome.  Something scraped bottom.  YIKES!!  Okay, that wasn't exactly what I said, but you get the picture.   I kept going and going .... slowly of course .... until VOILA!!  I made it in on the first try!!  It's perfectly wide and long enough!!  I can go back another ten feet, but there's no use tempting the Landslide Gods on the newly planted earth.
I unpacked even more stuff, which of course never was what I actually needed.  I think I made at least 20 trips back and forth throughout the day ... and again this morning when I couldn't find my toothbrush.  Once I had Jonathan's cage set up, I had to figure out how to get him inside with no chance of flying away.  A first for Jon, he rode in a big cardboard box, not the least bit happy about it.  

Here's a good look at the painting that will take place.  Spanish speaking Iris showed up bright and early to give me a quote.  Here you see my dilemma ... turquoise and bright pink adobe, all painted with semi-gloss.  I'm not sure how this is going to shake out in the end, but at least it won't be these colors.

She helped me estimate the amount of paint needed (I think I have enough for a house twice this size, but the current colors will require two coats) and said her husband would arrive first thing today.  WAIT ...  I don't have any paint yet!!
I made a huge list of things I needed and took off for Home Depot.  My first trip to Man-World.  I have to say unlike California's stores, there were very helpful people on almost every single aisle!  Three of them stopped to give me a map, along with every aisle I needed to navigate for my long list.  

I went into sticker shock when I hit the checkout stand.  This is NOT your grandmother's paint at $20 a can.  The good stuff is $45 a gallon.  No thank you ... what's middle of the road?  $35 a gallon.  I felt my heart begin to beat wildly!!  The final tab was $545.  That's right .... HOLY COW BATMAN!!

Back home, I took down all the curtains and outlet covers, ripped all the nails out of the walls (there were LOTS) and filled them with putty.  Paint was so expensive, I decided only two walls in the living room needed to be covered up.  The other larger walls will do just fine.
Throughout the day, I spotted quail after quail ... over 20 in all, grabbing a drink at my feeding station.  I even have a couple of roadrunners and two huge jackrabbits!!  The water setup needs a little help with the drip system which I may be able to fix today while the painter is here.  Plus, they need feed ... the one thing I did NOT get at Home Depot!!
It was the first night sleeping with the trains on the bedroom floor.  Yes it was EPIC!  Yes, that didn't really work out so well.  The bed that was supposed to be delivered Sunday, disappeared into LaLaLand.  They called to say everything else was being delivered tomorrow.  I got a little upset with them.  Sleeping on the floor is NOT my idea of fun and using the rig with it's now 105 degree interior wasn't acceptable either.  At long last, they said it would all be here tomorrow, but I'm not holding my breath.  I have to say it will be exceedingly wonderful to sit on a couch instead of the floor.  The puppies agree.

Sleeping with the trains should be a story of itself.  The first big rumbler came by at 9:00pm.  I was pretty sure it came right through the bedroom window.  I could feel the vibrations, remember I'm sleeping on the floor.  I timed it.  In 90 seconds, it was gone.  Not bad I thought.  The next one with horn blowing (it's the farthest one away) came on about 10:00.  90 seconds and it was gone.  

Okay, I can do this!!  The third one at midnight, plus the uncomfortable puppies, my hips screaming and my nose totally plugged up, I limped to the bathroom for a Benadryl.  Please God, let me get some sleep.  I don't know if any more trains came by, but I got 4 lovely hours of sleep before light hit the windows.  Time for the puppies to go out.

Another first ... puppies on the lawn while I have my coffee outside on the patio.  It's cool and beautiful.  This prompted another first for me ... pooper scooper duty.  I added more tools to my second list.
After a full day of being uncomfortable, I still love it!!  Train whistles are blowing as I type.  I figured out the stove (heated my leftover pizza in a frying pan ... greatest idea ever, attributed to Barbara Westerfield) and heated my coffee in the microwave.  Everything works fine.  Since the painter has been delayed until noon, I'll make another "stuff" run.  It dawned on me I have no real food, no spices and no pots to cook with other than one frying pan, which is okay, because I don't have anything to put food in once it's cooked.  I expect this is going to be another epic receipt day!!