Monday, December 9, 2013

Saturday, December 7, through Tuesday, December 17, 2013: The Indio Experience:

Saturday morning, in preparing to leave the RV park for the move West, we discovered that part of our hydraulic system wasn't working.  We could move the slideouts but couldn't raise the stabilizers or the landing legs.  That meant we could not move the trailer.  A panic phone call to the company that made the system revealed that they have an emergency person on call 24/7. 

After a little more than an hour with him on the phone, deploying some clever-but-complicated overrides, we were on our way.  But, we clearly have a problem that requires fixing---sooner rather than later.  We decided to blow off Ehrenberg and go directly to Indio, where we had a reservation starting on Sunday.  We called to cancel Ehrenberg and move Indio up a day, and both requests were honored.  We completed the 240-mile run to the Indian Waters RV Resort in Indio without further incident (although the winds were a bit scary).   

We arrived at Indian Waters just after 3:00PM, and settled into a nice pull-thru site.  I think it's the same one we had the last time we were here.  The rest of Saturday involved football (and a little wine).

Plus, we learned that our son-in-law, David, had slipped on the ice in his driveway and had torn up his ankle---ending up with a plate and several pins to hold it all together.  He will be immobilized for two months.  

Sunday was a more normal day, with a little football (some of the games in the East were played in some very snowy weather) and we watched the dogs romp in the enclosed dog area at the RV park.  Sunday evening, we watched Heat (with Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy) from the Redbox.  It was very funny.

We had made a tentative appointment for Monday morning with Benlo RV, a repair shop in Indio with which we were familiar and very comfortable.  Early on Monday, I checked our service contract and discovered that, since we were within 100 miles of McMahon's RV, where we had bought the rig, we had to first take the rig there, to give them a shot at making the repairs.  I called the contract people and begged for relief from that provision, since we believe from past experience that the McMahon's people are incompetent.  My request was refused.   So now we will have to see if McMahon's can fit us into their service department. 

My call to McMahon's had its high points and its low points.  The first words out of the service manager's mouth were to the effect that they could not take us until after the first of the year.  After I begged for a while, he allowed that they could squeeze us in for an analysis of our situation on December 19, but still no work could take place until January.  After some more begging, he allowed that they would break their rules and send a tech to our RV park within the next 45 minutes---to assess our situation.  Wow!  Louis showed up on time and spent the next hour poking this and measuring that.  I have no idea what he decided, but he said I would hear from his manager in due course.

Later on Monday, we went to the Mens Wearhouse in Palm Desert to help my wardrobe a bit.  Somehow my clothes don't fit quite as well as they used to.  I think they've shrunk a bit. They're also a bit aged.  It happens to be two-for-one days at the store and we ended up with, therefore, two pairs of slacks, two belts, and two dress shirts.  I'll be dazzling, I'm sure.

Monday night, the Bears beat the Cowboys in verrrry cold weather in Chicago.  Hooray.

Tuesday was a pretty mundane day (dinner was from Panda Express) until, in the middle of the night, Becky got an email from Marshall Rutter announcing that his daughter, Deborah, had been appointed as the new President of the Kennedy Center in Washington---to start next September. 

She will be responsible for managing the center, with an annual budget of nearly $200,000,000.  She has been the President of the Chicago Symphony for the past ten years and this is a very big step up.  I have known Debbie since she was nine years old, 48 years ago (we last saw her two years ago at Marshall's 80th birthday party) and it seems strange to realize that she has hit it very big in the arts management business.  Congratulations, Debbie.

Wednesday, we picked up my new slacks and otherwise just treaded water.  Thursday was not at all memorable, except we did enjoy complimentary breakfast waffles and orange juice at the clubhouse.

We were invited to attend Bill Ukropina's annual Holiday Lunch---scheduled for Friday at the Rose Bowl.  We loaded the dogs into the truck and headed West about 8:30AM.   We arrived in Pasadena early enough to take the dogs for a long walk around Brookside Park, the site of the Rose Bowl, before changing into our party clothes.  The lunch was delightful, taking place in the visitors' locker room. 

There were about 200 people there. 

The guest speaker was Wayne Cook, a former UCLA quarterback from the '90s, who gave a terrific talk about overcoming adversity.

After lunch, we stopped at the Langham Huntington Hotel for a drink.  It's a lovely Pasadena landmark and usually a nice respite from the hurly-burly of modern life. 

It's Christmas Party season, though, and the bar was filled with young revelers who were very loud.  Becky guessed (correctly, it turned out) that they were employed in the financial services industry.  Good guess, Becky.  Then we checked into Le Reve, a former Quality Inn in East Pasadena we have stayed at previously.  The place is a little odd, but it's comfortable and the people are very nice.  In our room, we had a typical dinner of cheese, salami, and crackers, washed down with some nice wine. 

Saturday morning, we stopped at the nearby Target to buy a Christmas gift for a young boy in Indio who has a parent serving time in jail.  It's part of a program supported by the RV park.  We purchased a remote control car.

Before heading home, we stopped in at Becky's father's home to visit, then on to her sister Wendy's for a while, then headed back to the desert.  The rest of Saturday, and all of Sunday, were relaxing.  Sunday night, we watched the NBC live version of The Sound Of Music, which we had previously recorded.  It's one of my very favorite musicals and, while the critics savaged it, I loved it.     

Monday, we decided to splurge on lunch at the Elephant Bar, one of our favorite places in the desert.  Just before we got there, Becky suggested that we instead try the restaurant at Tommy Bahama's.  

The place is pricey but very good.  I had a blackened fish reuben sandwich that was absolutely delicious.  I'm sure we will return. 

Monday night, I watched the Ravens pull out another last-minute win---this time over the Lions.

Since we are moving to the Thousand Trails RV park in Palm Desert on Wednesday, we headed over there on Tuesday to scope out the available spaces (after having waffles at the lodge and meeting a nice couple from Rochester Hills, Michigan, who are excited about watching the Rose Parade in person). 

We earmarked several acceptable ones.  We also met with Kate, the manager, to clear up some issues with our dogs, and we stopped at McMahon's to talk with Tom, the Service Manager to keep the ball rolling on the projected repairs.  From what Tom told me, they are as incompetent as ever.  It's a good thing we will be here for 2 1/2 months, giving McMahon's enough time to get their act together on our problems. The rest of Tuesday was relaxing and preparing to leave.      

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