Friday, March 21, 2014

Friday, March 21, through Wednesday, April 16, 2014: Back To The Desert (again):


The major project for me on Friday morning was emptying suitcases and putting things back where they belong.  Becky's major project was to return to the pickleball court.

Saturday was our day to watch a weird movie from the Red box---Killing Your Darlings.  It was primarily about the Beat Poet Allan Ginsburg.  It starred Daniel Radcliffe of the Harry Potter movies.  While it was odd and disturbing, we stuck with it to the end to see what happened---and decided it wasn’t worth it.  The rest of the weekend was very low key, walking the dogs, shopping, etc.  Monday morning, Luis from McMahons RV actually showed up as promised and installed the replacement leg of our hydraulic stabilizer system.  Thank you, Luis.  It took more than three months to get this done.  I remain convinced that McMahons is completely inept.

Wednesday, Becky went to The Elephant Bar for lunch with a bunch of women from the RV park, followed by a shopping tour of several stores.  Meanwhile, I went to the doctor (Michael Sanford) for a periodic consultation regarding my prostate situation.  Nothing new to report, but I'm scheduled for another Lupron shot next Wednesday.  

Thursday, we all went to Pasadena to visit Becky's Dad.  That included Ramsey and Kelsey. 

Becky's Dad is still under 24-hour home care, and sleeps most of the time.  After an hour or so, Becky and I left and headed for a lunch of Thai food at the President Thai restaurant in Pasadena.  Delicious, and large enough that half of it also became our dinner.  Naturally, I had cashew chicken and Becky had shrimp pad Thai.

I had rented The Wolf Of Wall Street at the redbox on Thursday but we decided to wait until Friday to watch it.  While I'm not a big fan of basketball, Thursday night I bothered to watch UCLA lose to Florida in the Round-of-Sixteen in the NCAA tournament.  Not a big surprise.

The wind here in the desert has been pretty wild for the past few days.  It periodically rocks our rig, makes the trees wave, and wiggles our satellite dish, all resulting in irritating tiny gaps in reception.  It also blows a lot of sand around.  It should die down by the end of Friday.  We'll see.

Friday night we finally watched The Wolf Of Wall Street.  It has been well-received by the public, according to the sources Becky consults.  We enjoyed it immensely. We also made a Costco run on Friday, where I picked up another aloha shirt.  I’ve grown used to wearing them since the beginning of our trip to Hawaii. 

Petco had a shot clinic on Saturday (the 29th), and we took Ramsey and Kelsey there for rattlesnake shots.  We got there early but the line was already long.  The dog owners were nice and the wait wasn’t unpleasant.  Because Ramsey doesn’t like shots, reacting rather frighteningly, Becky gave him a sedative to calm him down.  The last time she did this, he didn’t spring back fully for almost a day, so Becky reduced the dosage.  It wasn’t clear whether it was effective this time. 

The clinic people were very helpful, advising that dogs can sometimes “override” a sedative if they are sufficiently motivated so it didn’t really matter whether the sedative had taken effect.  We said we’d better wait until a better time for the shot, but they insisted that they could handle it.  They took Ramsey to a bathroom and shut the door on his leash very near his head---and quickly administered the shot in a hind leg.  I’m not sure Ramsey even knew it had happened.  Success!

To celebrate we had a late lunch/early dinner at Sam’s Sushi with Laura Welch, a fellow RVer at the park.  Becky had just met her recently.  She’s a fun lady.   

Sunday was the day for another sandstorm in the desert.  We lay low most of the day, sometimes cleaning up a little of the sand that somehow got into our rig.

On Monday the sand storm that raged on Sunday died down a little.  We had lunch with Chuck Conway at the Elephant Bar.  As usual, the food was excellent (I had a lettuce wrap with chicken) and Chuck was delightful.  He’s a very interesting chap and we always look forward to spending time with him. 

After lunch, we picked up the recent Hunger Games movie at the redbox.  Becky had seen the first one and liked it.  I had not seen it and wasn’t particularly interested in this new one---especially after I fell asleep after just a few minutes.

Monday was also the day Laurie Irwin, a friend of ours in the RV world, began her stint as a Ranger here at the park.

Tuesday, we took the dogs to the Freedom Park dog run for a few minutes, then drove to Cahuilla County Park which Becky had seen once and thought it was quite interesting.  Indeed it is.  There is a reservoir there that is very large, plus RV sites, a large swimming pool, lots of green space, and other typical park facilities. 

It’s very nice, although the wind had come up again and there were only a handful of people there.  The ranger at the gate didn’t even bother charging us the $8.00 entry fee due to the weather.  Afterwards, we picked up American Hustle at the redbox on the way out of the Stater Bros. market and proceeded to watch it.  We had seen it before, but it was fun to watch it again.

Wednesday was a day for me to visit my desert urologist, Michael Sanford, for my periodic shot of Lupron.  The next one is due in early August, which I will take care of with my Flagstaff doctor, Nathan Benson, when we are in Williams, Arizona.  Wednesday night, we watched two movies:  Frozen and 20 Feet From Stardom.  I don’t care for animated films, so I didn’t watch Frozen for more than a few minutes.  Becky watched it all the way through and said it wasn’t as good as the hype around it.  She did like the music soundtrack.

The other film was a fascinating documentary about backup singers.

I spent much of Thursday (April 3) undergoing a Nuclear Stress Test at the Eisenhower hospital.  My heart doctor, Michael Bagheri, ordered it to determine whether I had any blockages in my system.  I found out Friday that I don't.

Friday was another day for us to visit Becky's dad in Pasadena.  He was awake a lot more this time.  On the way back, we stopped for a late lunch/early dinner at the Panda Express in Beaumont.  As usual, it was delicious.

The highlight of Saturday was a Costco run after taking the dogs to Freedom Park for a nice walk.  At Costco we picked up the usual array of goodies, plus a new set of prescription sunglasses for me. 

We then took Ramsey and Kelsey to the vet to get weighed.  Both of them have lost about a pound on Becky's diet for them.

Sunday evening, we met Don and Elaine LaMarr at their La Quinta (second) home for cocktails, then dinner at El Ranchito Restaurant in LQ.  Don and Elaine are former LA Junior Chamber buddies of Becky's, and live in La Canada.  Don recently retired and the two of them travel a bit now.  They are nice people and it was fun seeing them again.

On Monday, Becky watched a couple of movies from the redbox, neither of which interested me and I don't remember their names.  Tuesday I had a follow-up appointment with Dr. Robert Czako, my primary doctor in the desert.  He was not happy with our intention to leave the area on Thursday, and convinced us to stay a little longer---to take some more tests.  He administered two regarding my heart and was pleasantly surprised with the results.  It is possible that the diagnosed problem may not really exist.  More tests are necessary, and, among other things, I am now wearing a heart monitor 24 hours a day for a week. 

On the way home, we stopped at Bristol Farms for some take-home sushi.  Yum!

Wednesday, the LaMarrs stopped by to see our rig.  They are leaving on Friday to head back to La Canada.

The big local news on Thursday was the closing of the McMahons RV store next to our RV park.  Mysterious!  We heard from a reliable source on Friday that it had been bought by Camping World, and it is believed that the store will reopen in a few days.  We'll see..

Friday morning I had a CAT scan of my lungs since Dr. Czako was not convinced they had completely healed from my pneumonia bout.  I will find out the results in a few days, I guess.  The test itself was a non-event.

Friday also involved another Costco run, plus a sushi lunch at Sam's Sushi, a favorite of ours.  The Baked Lobster Roll at Sam's Sushi is a real keeper!

We also picked up two DVDs at the redbox.  The first one was Anchorman 2, which I watched against my better instincts.  It was awful!.  Will Farrell may be a comic genius to some people, but I don't get him.                 

The second one was August: Osage County with Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, etc.  It was depressing, but very well done. 

Saturday and Sunday, the wind came up again---this time dumping lots of sand everywhere, including all over our rig again.  On Sunday, we just went shopping at our favorites:  Costco and Wal-Mart.  Saturday night we hit the redbox again and watched Hometown, starring Jason Statham (who is pretty good), James Franco (who is pretty bad), and Winona Ryder (who is apparently back from her cinematic exile, though obviously not yet finished with acting school). 

The movie was another generic shoot/blow-em-up, but was actually entertaining.  Sunday night we watched another redbox film: The Past.  It won a Golden Globe as Best Foreign Film this year, and for unexplained reasons was actually rejected for nomination for an Oscar.  In any event, it was excellent---notwithstanding the subtitles which normally bother me a lot. 

A couple of weeks ago, Becky bought me a motion monitor called Fitbit in an attempt to  see if I could get a bit more, well, fit.  After a shaky start, I finally hit a groove, and am now walking at least 2.5 miles a day.  (She won't let me back in the house after dinner unless the 2.5 miles have been verified.)  Of course, I feel better for the effort.

Tuesday was a busy day.  First, we were visited by Sundance Custom RV, a mobile service I had called  last week to service our air conditioners.  We had not had them serviced in the three years since we bought the rig, and it was time to deal with that issue.  In the past week, with the intense heat (a few days near or over 100 degrees), one of the units had started throwing its circuit breaker every half hour or so.  That's a bad sign. 

Keith from Sundance discovered that, somewhere along the line someone (quite probably one of the rig-wash people who use high pressure hoses) had bent the cooling fins and the blower motor blades, making the unit work very hard and cause the amperage drawn to rise to the point where the breaker would throw.  He fixed that problem and performed regular maintenance on the two units.  He also suggested we might look at them more often.  Good point.

Tuesday was also my last (I hope) visit with Dr. Czako for the season.  He looked at all of the latest test results and pronounced me fit to leave the desert on Thursday.  Finally!  That's the good news.  I celebrated by making a chopped olive sandwich for lunch.  It is one of my favorites and I have not had one for many years.

The bad news is that on Tuesday the bed cover on our truck broke and is now jammed in what is, thankfully, a position that is open enough that we can hook up the trailer.  After a very long phone call to the factory and visits to two dealers, including one on Wednesday morning, the advice is that we need to junk the old bed cover and order a new one.  Since we are leaving on Thursday (tomorrow) that means we will need to wait until we get to Nevada to complete the  transition.  And, of course, there is not a dealer where we are going (Pahrump) which will require us to go to Las Vegas for the installation.  That's OK. 

After shopping a bit  (two new sport shirts for me, for starters), and a delicious lunch at the Elephant Bar, 

we spent the rest of Wednesday just getting ready to leave the desert after what was supposed to be two and a half months but turned out to be more than four months.  Of course, I didn't realize that "getting ready to leave" would include a last minute decision by Becky to wash the rig.  We finished that at 6:00.   



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