Friday, June 30, 2017

Pushing Buttons!!

It's 5:00 am ...... is YOUR AC ON??

I try very hard not to push buttons.  They get me in trouble.  Whether on purpose or by accident, pushing buttons is detrimental to my mental health.

Up at 4:30 am, I finished packing the rig and deposited Jonathan in his traveling cage.  I went down my list item by item, closing up the house and setting the alarm systems.  By the time I got MYSELF in the rig, it was a HOT 92 degrees.
I don't know about you, but as I drive along, I think about all the things I should have done.  Did I get my makeup bag?  Did I turn off all the lights?  Did I close the garage door?  Good grief woman ... think about something else!!

I thought about Republic Waste Services that was supposed to take my trash away on Wednesday.  They forgot.  As Patty, Dan and I came home from a fabulous dinner at Red Lobster (you know, the one with those amazing cheese biscuits?), Dan checked the bin.  It was still full.  RATS!!   They were leaving about the same time I was.  

After going online and making a report ... you forgot my pickup ... they said it would be taken care of on Friday.  I'll be in California Friday.  So now I must call upon one of my neighbors to take the bin in to the garage for me.

My next thought was ... BOY it's HOT in here.  It seems my dash air is not working.  It's not blowing hot air, but it's certainly NOT cold.  With sunglasses having some kind of protective coating, I can't see a thing.  After hitting every button on the dash, I discovered the green light (means AC is on) is NOT shining brightly in my eyes.  I hit the button.  I also hit the generator button just for good measure.  It took three tries.  Seems I was pushing the OFF side instead of the ON side.  I'm beginning to worry about mental processes but am blaming it on the sunglasses.  Finally ... cool air.

That's when I hit the OTHER button.  Totally by mistake.  In fact, I'm not really sure why my hand was anywhere near the radio/map, but a fingertip must have touched something.  Instead of Satellite Radio, I had AM Radio.  

I tried a couple of buttons to get my satellite radio to return, but it wasn't to happen.  An hour later, having listened to something between Hard Rock and La Bamba music, I pulled over to let the dogs out.  That's weird.  The satellite button was completely gone.  WHAT??  

I had another 2 hours of driving to go, listening to the CD player with Sonoran Dogs blasting away.  It replayed five times.  I know all the words to Alice From Nogales.  Upon arrival in Quartzsite, I kept pushing buttons until the Satellite Radio button magically reappeared.  YAY!!

That excitement quickly dissolved when DishNetwork wouldn't work.  I didn't have my channels.  I called them, which usually takes five minutes for a quick "send me a new signal".  This time however, it wouldn't work.  I spent over an hour standing on my passenger chair plugging and unplugging everything.  They finally gave up and told me to call a repairman.

In one last attempt at a fix, I stowed the dish, counted to 20 and pushed the GO button again.  Oh the elation!!!  It worked.  I would at least have entertainment for the next two days as I make my way through the valley of Heat.  It's presently 106.  It's so hot outside that I can't let the puppies out.  I felt the ground and it will definitely burn their feet.  
Thoughts of the gorgeous sunsets crossed my mind as I began to take off one piece of clothing at a time.  My two little AC units can only keep the temperature at 86 degrees.  It's okay ... by this time tomorrow I should be in lovely COOLER Tehachapi.  

Until then, I'm turning on my air conditioning.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

OFF AGAIN ......

Yes, I'm off alright ... sometimes in the head, sometimes when Apple Techs makes me crazy and sometimes when I'm hitting the road again!!  Today it's the latter.

But before I go, I've got a few more images to show you.  Maybe fifteen minutes after the bobcat left the area, this beauty showed up for a drink.  He probably wouldn't appreciate the comments, but he's much older than the last boy that visited.  
He also appears to be much fatter and healthier.  Not quite as tentative as the young one, he stayed for a long drink, even though he noticed me right away.
In no time he wandered off through the brush.  Their coloring sure fits the desert.  He was almost invisible after four or five steps.  This is just the coolest!!  I'm pretty privileged to have these guys in my back yard ... AND that I actually get to photograph them!!
I said my goodbyes to Lizzy as she sunned herself on the garden wall.  These lizards are even harder to get close to, thus the rather blurry image.  It's fun that she's on the wall every morning ... just like clockwork.
So it's off again as I head back to California.  It's not going to be a comfortable drive, even with the air on.   Quartzsite temperatures, my first nights stop, will be around 105 ... maybe higher ... but it's better than the 118 they had last week.  I'm hoping the weather Gods throw in a few clouds to cool things off.  I can't wait to come back!!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

You Are Not Going To Believe Your Eyes!!

Sometimes I get lucky and sometimes there's a little skill involved with photography.  For the most part, you just have to be in the right spot at the right time.  

Early yesterday morning I was outside in the cool air (about 85 degrees) taking pictures of the Mexican Bird of Paradise plants in my back yard, always keeping an eye out for the slightest movement.  It's usually a bunny or Gambles quail scurrying through the underbrush.  

It was the color that caught my eye first.  This isn't one of my pictures, because that oriole flew so fast across the yard there was no way I could focus in before he was gone.  I guess they migrate here?  He sure was a beauty!! 
About that time, not watching where my feet were going, I tripped over the patio rocks and almost went down with a crash that would have awoke the neighbors.  Just as I stood back up and collected myself, this guy landed on the ground in front of me.  I'm guessing it's some kind of cardinal, one I've never seen before.  He was just beginning to stretch his wings out when I snapped this picture.
THEN I SAW HER ..... sneaking up to the water was the most beautiful kitty ... a large Bobcat.  OH MY HEAVENS!  I've heard tell of this elusive creature ever since I've been visiting here, but never in a million years did I hope to catch a glimpse.  I froze.  She didn't see me.  Suddenly something in the pan scared her and she jumped straight up in the air like a kitty cat, which of course she is.  I stifled a laugh!!
Since she has no predators in this area, she wasn't too concerned about keeping an eye out.  I slowly raised the camera and snapped away.  After a long drink and lots of lip smacking, she headed right for me.
I'm madly focusing and clicking while not moving even a fraction of an inch.  This is the first time I've ever seen a bobcat in the wild ... and she's right in MY back yard.  How cool is that???
She walked straight ahead before finally turning at the last second and slinking off to the left.  Look at those back feet!!!!!  It seems all the critters come up from beyond the railroad tracks and wander off to the left of my house.  It must be a game trail of sorts to their hunting grounds, or maybe just a way around all the houses.  Patty said it best ... this makes my house worth a million dollars!!  How could I be so lucky!!!!
Ten minutes later, the coyote stopped by to say hello.  I must have a sixth sense because every time I looked out the window, there was another critter.  THIS time not a favorable one!!  I spotted something moving, but couldn't really tell what it was.  It looked like a squirrel until I saw it's tail flip up in the air.  RATS!!!  It's a HUGE pack rat!!!  Drinking at MY water station!!  Well that's not good at all.  You just stay way out there in the desert little buddy!!

Not to be outdone by all the attention Jessie has been getting, Cooper decided a trip to the vet would be a good afternoon pastime.  Last evening after being outside, he made a beeline for the door before I could get the glass slider open.  BAM!!!  He hit it head on.  Really, it didn't seem to bother him at the time.

In the morning however, I could tell he was really hurting.  He has a history of pinched nerves in his back, so off we went to meet Miss Amy at the Vets office just one mile a way.  Very convenient!!  She checked him out from stem to stern and thought he would be just fine.  It's how you and I would feel if we took a tumble ... probably a big headache and sore back.  With no neurological signs and a couple of pill bottles in hand, we headed home.  This morning he's back to playing the ball game, so he must feel better.  

My short time here has come to an end, as I head out tomorrow morning early to beat the heat.  Not that that's going to happen, but hopefully Mother Nature will keep it under 105 for my trip back to California.  I'm sad to be leaving the critters, but happy to be heading to cooler temperatures in the 90's.  AHAHAHAH!!

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Coyote .... Up Close And Personal

Another crises averted.  Not really a crises, but my brain goes berserk when things like this happen, making me THINK it's a crisis!!  I have to admit, I don't think I've ever sweat so much in my LIFE!!

I awoke to the AC motor running, but it sounded like a little man was in there with a hammer.  My problem was who do I call?  The Trane AC warranty is not yet in my name because I never received paperwork for the property signed by BOTH parties, which is what they wanted to transfer the 10 year warranty to me.  The AC unit is only ONE year old.

If I call the Home Warranty people, whose number I didn't have, they could send out a fly-by-night guy who probably wouldn't be able to fix such a large unit (least that's been my experience).  My last option was to call someone the Chance family recommends.  I tried the last two options.

Home Warranty said someone would call in two hours.  No one did, so I called THEM!  They don't service this area ... it's too far from Casa Grande where they live.  As the inside temperatures rose, I fixed up the rig for occupancy and turned THAT air on.  At least the animals would be cool.

I called Home Warranty back and little Miss Jessie wasn't happy that I was unhappy.  After putting me on hold for ten minutes, she gave me a new name ... All Arctic Air ... but said she did not have their phone number.  Then she "forgot" to send the repair call to them.

As the heat rose even higher, I deposited the animals in the rig and searched the internet for a phone number.  GOT EM!!  A very nice man said he would stop in before the end of the day.  I deposited myself on the couch to wait.  Lo and behold, he showed up at noon.

What a nice guy ... been in the business 40 years he said, as his trainee began work on the unit.  When the second cover came off, he said "there's your problem" ... they overcharged the system so much that freon gets drawn back into the compressor, causing it to run terrible, like water in your gas tank.  He discharged some freon and just like that I had a working system again.  Thank you Kevin!!

Although it's not quite as fast to cool as before, it worked it's way down to a nice 79 degrees.  When it's 107 outside, that's pretty acceptable.  So on with the pictures!!

Here's a shot of my back yard where I sit and keep watch while the puppies roam the grass.  You can never be too careful when there are coyotes around.
This lone deer came by a couple of times to graze on the trees, but when the coyotes showed up, the deer disappeared.
Here he is ... cute little guy!!  It's very hard to get coyote images.  They usually come by in the dark and are very wary creatures.  I had just snapped a picture of the sunrise.  He saw me about the same time I saw him, and he froze, as did I.  Slowly I raised the camera and snapped away.  
He stood perfectly still, watching me watching him.
The only thing that moved were his ears.  Finally, the snapping of the camera lens was more than he could take, and he ran off into the scrub brush.  I didn't see any others around and this guy was very young, so I imagine he may be on his own.  What a beauty though ... 
Last night as I was letting the dogs out, I spotted two more javelinas just below my fence.  I almost got one picture before he snorted and ran faster than lightning down the hill out of site.  I'm not kidding, that guy ran faster than a race horse.  He was booking it, snorting and squealing all the way!!!  This morning I saw evidence they came back last night for revenge, knocking over the water bucket again.  

Time is getting short here ... I'm starting the pack-up so I can head North to cooler temperatures.  Time to start making up my list of to-do's.

Monday, June 26, 2017

It's Panic Time In Vail!!

I'm   M  E  L  T  I  N  G   !!!

So .. wouldn't you know just when everything is going swimmingly, my air conditioning unit would die in the middle of the night.  When you're a newcomer, it's hard to decide who to call.  Here's hoping they can come quickly.  I've already turned on the air in the rig for the puppies and Jonathan and it's only 6:00 in the morning.

I'll let you know how it goes.

UPDATE:  Lucky for me, I had a Home Warranty included with the sale of the house.  After searching through my computer's memory banks, I finally found some documentation with a phone number.

Although I have to pay for a $65 service call and may have to wait two days for service, it will be covered under this warranty, even if they have to replace the entire unit.  YAY for Home Warranties!! Now it's just a waiting game!!  Hopefully they get everything repaired so I can be on my way at the end of this week, which was my plan.  Now that I have THAT under control, here's a few more pictures.

The sunrises here are just as spectacular as the sunsets!!
Poker last night was a great affair!  I met lots of new people and got reacquainted with some I had already known.  It's penny ante poker with a $5.00 buy-in.  I think we talked and ate more than we played poker, but it was a lot of fun.  I've never heard of so many different games before.  Seven card, five card, no peek, Woolworth or Baseball, Follow the Queen, the Good the Bad and the Ugly ... so many weird names!!  Although I lost, I only dropped $2.50.  Not bad for a great night of fun!!

I think my buddies followed me from California, as an entire group flew over the house yesterday.  Maybe they are just waiting to see if my air conditioning is fixed!!
These guys are around every day.  Roadrunners galore flit across the yard, especially when the sprinklers are on!!
This is the only time I've seen a pair, who seem to stick together.  Hopefully they don't pick up on little Lizzy the lizard living in the bushes below them!!
And the trains go by .... this is the second train I've seen, full of military tanks and gear heading East. See the dinner bell triangle in the corner?  A house warming gift from Pat Jones.  What could be more perfect for my new cowboy house?  I'm thinking maybe I'll ring it every time a train passes by.
It was a beautiful piece of moon stacked next to several bright stars last night, lulling me into peaceful bliss before the storm of no air conditioning this morning!!  I hate that I've inherited my mother's stress level!!  I like everything to go along smoothly.  Bumps are NOT my specialty!!
I've still got those special images of a critter I spotted yesterday.  They'll be first on the blog tomorrow.  In the meantime, I might as well commence with packing, since the air is ON in the rig!!  

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Looks Can Be Deceiving In The Desert

Things aren't as they seem in the desert.  With those thunder clouds right above my back yard, you would think it was raining cats and dogs.  Looks can be deceiving however, as 103 degree temps and clouds make for rain that mostly evaporates before it hits the ground.
Although blocking the sun, which lowers the temperature several degrees, the clouds never did let go of very much water.
I took pictures of the big wet drops on my back walkway just to prove it DID rain.  The only thing accomplished was humidity!!  So here it was a beautiful HOT blue sky day, with black clouds and rain in the desert.  They keep telling me it's monsoon season.  I wish it would get here soon!!
With more rain expected early this week, I panicked over my forgetfulness and not getting my rig roof repaired.  Try as I might not to bother the Chance household constantly, this one definitely requires Dan's expertise.  He brought it with him in a caulking gun.

I already had the ladder set up ... you know anyone over 50 shouldn't be on top of a ladder, let alone the top of a motorhome.  We break the rules all the time.  After some investigation, it seems that a four inch space of eternabond did not have the "bond" under the tape.  For whatever reason, probably a tree limb, the remaining tape tore, but there was no hole or exposure to allow rain to enter the rig.  

Dan said he could easily cover the entire area with Dicor, sealing the edges of the torn tape and filling in the area devoid of bonding material.  That worked for me.  He was done in a flash.  Just to be sure, he doubled checked all the other areas on the roof.  Everything looked good.  Now I know what to look for, I'll be a little more vigilant.  

On a short walk a few days ago, just to see where the property lines are ... they could be anywhere since nothing seems to quite line up ... I spotted this guy chirping up a storm on top of a very tall ocotillo.  He looked kind of rough, so I gave him what for ... he should be keeping his feathers a little more tidy.
He flew right down to my feet.  Yikes!!  I'm sorry ... I didn't mean to offend!!  He bravely walked right up to me.  I thought birds in the desert were wild!!  I took a step back, he followed.  I ran ... he chased me a short distance, then flew away.  I guess I better keep my opinions to myself!!
Then there were these guys ... I think a family of four, although it was so dark I could hardly see.  I only heard the grunt grunt of pigs .... or rather javelinas.  I instantly grabbed my camera and turned the settings to 0-Dark-Thirty for a picture.  The camera wouldn't focus.  RATS!!  The first couple of pictures were blurry. 

They dumped over the water bucket and proceeded to dig into the now soft wet dirt.  At least they left the water station alone!
The camera lens needs some kind of definition to focus on.  I quickly flipped the focus switch to OFF and set the lens to infinity before they got away from me.  Not really even seeing what I was capturing, I snapped away.  
I know I called them pigs, but looks can be deceiving here too.  Back in California, our hunters at the Shooting Range I ran, were always hunting wild pigs ... feral hogs to be exact.  Although they look much like these, they are not the same.  Javelina are smaller native species that feed on prickly pear, as evidenced by the bits and pieces left on my front walkway.  Also known as peccaries, javelinas are a totally separate family of mammals.  They have no problem invading human spaces and are known to hang out in Phoenix and Tucson.  Who knew?  They look like pigs to me!!

Although I thought they kept going around the property, they fooled me and backtracked to the other side of the house, where they dumped over another water bucket and rooted holes around the base of a couple of trees.  I think some motion lights might be in order!!

Today I've been invited to a poker party!!  Several households in the subdivision get together once a month, more for the food than the poker.  It's a chance to meet more of my neighbors.  You KNOW I'm not cooking anything for this first time meeting.  No use testing my luck.  I bought a pie!!  I'm terrible at poker, but that's okay ... they will be happy I contributed to the pot.

Stay tuned as I catch up on my images ... you won't believe what I caught on camera!!

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Meet Lizzy ....

It's fun living out in the desert where critters roam.  The best part of all is that I actually live in a subdivision of one acre lots, so I have plenty of neighbors, but they are far enough away it feels like no one is around.  That's when the critters come out.

Meet Lizzy!  She crawls up my little concrete block wall every morning and hangs out on the corner surveying her territory.  About 6:30 she climbs down to the grass for a few morning snacks.  I'm pretty sure I'm the only house in the entire subdivision with grass and rose bushes!!
Once done with that, she crawls BACK up the wall and hangs out in the shade of a terra cotta pot.  It's a ritual ..... every morning.  When it starts to heat up, she hides at the base of the bushes in the shade.

Lizzy's cousin Bob tried to sneak in the garage one day.  He made it past the scorpion sticky trap on the way in, but wasn't so lucky on the way out.  He WAS in luck this day however, as I was able to peel him off the sheet trying my best NOT to get bit.  He ran like the wind back into the desert, probably carrying a ton of tiny pebbles on his belly.  I hope he survived.
The weather here remains a little weird ... one day early last week it rained buckets of water in about five minutes.  No, the roof on the rig was NOT repaired.  YIKES!!  That reminds me, I need to ask for Dan's help on that one.  At any rate, the rain made this cactus bloom with some beautiful flowers.  I got a quick picture with my phone, figuring to get a better one with my camera later.  

Turns out these guys only bloom for one day.  When I went back, they were all dried up and gone.  RATS!!  I'll keep an eye on them ... maybe I'll capture them better next time.
It's been hot with spells of rain, as you can see by the radar.  With the temperatures back in the 90's at the end of this week, it will be time for me to head back to California.  I'm not looking forward to that trip ... Quartzsite, where I spend the night, will be a scorcher!!
Remember I mentioned we went to Saguaro Corners for Father's Day?  Here's the John Wayne Burger, about five inches of burger, bacon, barbecue sauce and fried onions.  I ate the whole thing!!
Dinner last night was at the Last Chance Ranch, where Dan cooked T-bones to perfection and Chef Patty made grilled corn on the cob and a green salad, coupled with my potato salad.  YUM!!  

For now, it's back to working on pictures ... those javelinas are just waiting for my photoshop touch!!

Friday, June 23, 2017

A Man And His Tractor

We're back in business baby!!!  Gosh ... I'm sure you can imagine how happy I am to have my computer up and running again.  What a relief!!  It did take me a full day to recover from my rampage.  I hate getting mad ... it makes me feel out of control, which is probably why I don't let it happen very often.  I spent most of the day yesterday on the couch getting rid of the headache it caused.

So here's a picture ... a REAL picture ... of the man on his tractor.  Having lived with and been involved with a construction company using lots of backhoes every day, I have to say Mr. Dan Chance is a TRACTOR man.  It takes more coordination than you can imagine to run one of these babies ... and he runs it very well.
He first dug a hole by hand for the 4x4 post at one end.  Then we went to the electrical box to dig that out.  There were wires and lines everywhere, some we never could identify other than they were cable ... not like electrical wires that could electrocute us.   He dug out the trench probably three feet, just to be sure he didn't hit anything important, like a gas line.  As he dug very gingerly, I kept a close watch on the hole for wires or pipes.

Once that was done, we ran down to Lowes for supplies, where we were greeted by the biggest creepy crawly I've ever seen.  It was the color of concrete and about three inches long.  YIKES!!!  Dan loaded up our supplies and we were on our way, ready for the wire installation.

June probably isn't the best month to do this work.  It was hot, although not as hot as it is now.  Between the two of us, we went through over a dozen bottles of water each day.  
Finally done with both the wire and the water line, Dan covered it up like a pro.  What would take a shovel three days, took him 20 minutes.  Now for the important stuff ... the hookup.  I think I already told you that story, so I won't regale you with the specifics again.  Dan wired the box and I've got a nice 50 amp service for my rig and a water line in the trench should I want to hook it up some day.  
That wasn't the end of the tractor work however.  Dan had the truckers haul in one really huge load of 3/4 inch gravel.  Bucket by bucket, he spread it over the entire driveway area.  When this dirt gets wet, it becomes a death trap of mud for vehicles.  He did such a good job, he really didn't need to rake anything, but we took turns smoothing it out.  Dan of course doing 7/8 while I did the rest. 
Here she is folks!!  My baby is backed in on her new real estate.  In the end, she will sit back a bit further, but Dan didn't want those rear tires to sink into the trench.  Once a few rains have hit and the dirt compacts, she will move back another ten feet.  
That was the big project ... the thing I most needed to complete ... also the most expensive and it's DONE DONE DONE thanks to the TRACTOR MAN!!

It's supposed to cool off today, down to 101 from the 115's we've been having.  Really, it's not that bad if you have a good air conditioning system.  I just stayed inside and played with the puppies.  Miss Jessie who has been sick three times a night for the last three days is finally well again so I can get some sleep.  Weird how I don't hear those trains at night, but a little dog throwing up brings me right to attention!!

Today I'm going to surf the internet, just because I can.  I'm happy to report that none of my checks will bounce because I was able to balance those accounts.  YAY FOR WORKING COMPUTERS!!

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.