Tag Archives: Year-In-Review letter (2015)

2015/12/16 (W) More Blog Stuff

I was awake before 7 AM but did not get up until 7:15.  I removed and cleaned my nighttime bite guard, as I do every morning.  I then cleaned the cats’ food bowls and filled them with fresh food.  Linda was still sound asleep so I worked at my computer for a while selecting and processing photographs for blog posts.  I finished my selections for August and was part way through September when Linda got up so I put that work aside and made our morning coffee.

We both worked on our iPads for an hour doing our usual morning things.  Linda texted John (Smitty) regarding going to Satchel’s this evening for dinner and I messaged our daughter regarding Facetiming with everyone on Friday, which is grand-daughter Madeline’s 3rd birthday.  Linda proofread our 2015 Year in Review holiday letter and found a few things that needed to be corrected.

For breakfast we had granola with fresh blueberries, orange/grapefruit juice, and split a banana.  After breakfast Linda got dressed and I took a quick shower (she took one yesterday.)  I was going to use the bathhouse but decided to shower in our coach to use up more of the remaining fresh water and get it into our gray tank.  The fresh water level dropped below 1/3rd yesterday which meant we still had 40 gallons, easily enough for two more days with a little reserve.  I got dressed and we dealt with a few chores.  Linda vacuumed the inside of the coach, which she had not done since we left Michigan.  I dumped our holding tanks and filled our fresh water tank and updated our water usage spreadsheet.

I calculated our fresh water usage and waste water generation for this past winter.  Over 128 days we averaged just over 13 gallons of fresh water per day and over 120 days generated an average of just over 15 gallons per day of waste.  Those numbers suggest that a 130 gallon fresh water tank and a single 150 gallon waste tank would be well balanced and allow us to boondock for 10 days with some reserve.  That’s only 280 gallons total, 40 gallons less than the 320 gallons (approximately) of the three tanks currently in the bus, so tanks that size would create the space I need in the bay for a water softener, filters, and fresh hose reel, and possibly a shorepower cord reel.  When we pay more careful attention to water management and conservation we can reduce our fresh water usage to 10 gallons per day with a corresponding reduction in waste generation.  That would allow us to boondock for 13 days.  With slightly larger tanks we could stay out 14 days and still have room for the things I want to get into the bay.  Final decisions will depend on more precise calculations and the actual dimensions of possible equipment.

With the chores done (for now) Linda started addressing envelopes and putting postage on them while I made final changes to our holiday letter and started printing copies.  She folded the letters, stuffed them into the envelopes, and sealed them.  It took about two hours to get 34 letters ready to mail.  We skipped lunch and just had a few pretzels.  We wanted to stop at Walmart on our way to Satchel’s so we left at 2:45 PM and drove to the Williston post office, sent the letters on their way, and headed to Gainesville.  John and Ali followed later in their own car.

At Walmart we found Christmas cards for mailing checks to immediate family members.  I got two pairs of shorts, as I forgot to pack mine when we left home, and we picked up two bags of Snyder`s sourdough pretzel nibblers.  I also got a call from Pat Lintner.  We chatted briefly and I said I would call him back when we got hone after dinner.

We were at Satchel’s by 5 PM and sat inside.  We had the same selections as last time: small salad and medium pizza with Daiya mozzarella cheese, onions, mushrooms, and sun-dried tomatoes.  We only ate half the pizza and brought the rest home. This pizza is soooo good.  It’s one of the best we have ever had, including all of the non-vegan pizzas we have eaten over our lifetime.  Only the original Luigi’s Pizza from St. Louis in the 1960’s stands taller in our memories, although the current Imo’s chain makes a similar and very good pizza.

We were back at our coach by 6:45 PM and went for an evening stroll to help settle our dinner.  It was cool but humid and the clouds had cleared out so a pleasant enough evening for a walk.  When we got back to our coach I called Pat and we talked for about 40 minutes with Vickie occasionally joining in on the other end of the call.  They are not leaving Indiana until after Christmas and will spend New Year’s Eve at an RV park near Ocala, Florida as they have every year for many years.  They will be less than 40 miles from Williston at that point but we will already be in Arcadia by then.  Timing is everything.

Some nights I just do not feel like working at my computer, or iPad, or reading, and tonight was one of those nights.  Unfortunately Wednesday evening is a bit of a TV wasteland, even on PBS, which is to say there wasn’t anything on that interested me.  The best thing on was a Big Band retrospective on PBS but it was also part of the 24/7 fundraising that has become the network’s defining characteristic.  Whatever the reason, the music did not grab me the way it normally would.  CBS had a 3-hour Survivor finale.  Nope, not going to watch that.  Linda read and I scrolled through channels hoping something interesting would pop up but eventually I zoned out.  Even Ask This Old House (AskTOH) was less interesting than usual.  I guess I just wasn’t in the mood.  It happens sometimes.


2015/12/15 (T) Blog Uploads (finally)

The temperature at midnight was a little warmer than we like for sleeping but still OK.  The humidity was high, however, and everything felt slightly damp.  There was a high likelihood of rain before sunrise but we left the windows and roof vents open and all three exhaust fans running.  We have air conditioners but they are noisy and use a lot of electricity so we do not use them unless we have to.  Mostly, however, we like fresh air and tend to resist closing up the coach.

We were both asleep by 11:30 PM last night and I was up a 6:50 AM this morning.  I fed the cats and then watched a TV program on WUFT’s Create channel called Florida Crossroads.  It was on Florida’s Black Heritage Trail and featured some of the off-the-beaten-path museums and historically black communities in the state.  As the program pointed out at the beginning “If you head down I-75 to Disney World and other Florida attractions you won’t see these places.”  We do not have any plans to follow this trail but the show reminded me that every state has a history that is preserved in out-of-the-way places and it takes time and desire to seek them out.

Linda got up about half way through the programs so I watched the last 15 minutes of the show and then turned off the TV.  The rain increased from a light drizzle to a light rain and Linda pulled up the weather radar on her iPad.  Moisture was streaming northeast from the Gulf in our general direction so I closed the ceiling vent/fan in the bedroom.  It is over the foot of the bed so if water gets in the bedding gets wet.  I left the other two vent/fans open and exhausting on medium speed as no water seemed to be coming in.  They are both directly above vinyl tile flooring so if water did get in it would be easy to clean up.

I made a very full pot of coffee, using up the last of our first batch of Sweet Seattle Dreams beans (Seattle Blend and Sweet Dreams decaf blend, both from Teeko’s Coffee and Tea back home).  The Kindle edition of Dr. Michael Greger’s new book, How Not to Die, was available so Linda initiated downloading it to our various devices.  We both opened the Kindle apps on our iPads and finished downloading it to our devices.

We had English muffins and split a grapefruit for breakfast.  Once we were dressed and the kitchen was cleaned up Linda packed up Madeline’s Christmas stocking, took it to the Post Office, and mailed it.  While she was there she bought holiday stamps including the postage needed to get our Year in Review holiday letter to friends in Ontario.

With the Habitat For Humanity and Webasto Burner Service articles wrapped up (for now) I felt like taking a break from computer-based work but there was too much that still needed to be done.  At the top of the list was finalizing plans to get together with Bruce and Linda, John and Marian, and Al this week or next.  That was all being done by e-mail so it was spread out through the day but I eventually got the visits planned.

I need to work on the FMCA FTH and GLCC websites, and at some point I need to start writing, or at least outlining, new articles based on the work we did to the interior of our motorcoach this past summer and fall.  But the task rising to the top of my list is the blog, now over four months behind.  First, however, I installed the Twenty Sixteen WordPress Theme on our personal site (this one) just to have a look.  It’s a nice, clean, blog oriented theme, with features that make it more responsive with respect to sizing images on different devices but I did not switch the site over at this time.

I spent the rest of the morning copying blog post drafts from e-mails to Word docs and then editing the ones from August to get them ready to upload.  I was able to upload posts for August 3 through 8, including a gallery post of the refrigerator swap at Chuck’s shop on the 8th.  I spent the rest of the day selecting and processing photos for the rest of August.

Our storage ottoman was scheduled for delivery by 8 PM last night but the office closed at 5 PM and it wasn’t here by then.  Amazon notified us that it was delivered today so Linda retrieved it from the office when she made a quick trip to the Grocery Depot for ingredients to make polenta for dinner.

With more light rain forecast for this evening we went for a late afternoon walk.  We got to the northwest corner of the resort and were hailed by Elliot and Jamie who we met at the campfire on Saturday evening.  This is their first winter at Williston Crossings and they are enjoying it, especially the variety and frequency of available activities.  We started to get a few raindrops while we were chatting with them and headed back to the rig at a quick pace.  It was misting by the time we got there but we did not get very wet.

Linda started working on dinner by making the polenta and putting it in the refrigerator to firm up.  I turned on the TV for background noise and doodled on my iPad.  Linda set out our salads and then we had a 20 minute break before the polenta was ready.  She served it with Puttanesca sauce that included cayenne pepper and had a nice kick.  After dinner we watched our usual Tuesday evening TV programs, all of them season finales, and then went to bed.


2015/12/13 (N) Test Print

We were up at 7:45 AM this morning.  We were still unable to acquire the Internet via the resort Wi-Fi system so I turned on our Verizon Mi-Fi and got our Wi-Fi Ranger connected to it.  I made the coffee and fed the cats while Linda cleaned the litter tray.

Sunday is pancakes-for-breakfast day but we had some coffee first.  Linda played word games while I put the finishing touches on yesterday’s blog post and started today’s post.  The pancakes were yummy if a bit too much quantity wise.  Linda said I complain if she makes a smaller batch, which is probably true.  I suggested that we should have grapefruit with our pancakes to make up the difference.

At the fire circle last night we met Tom and Cindy.  We have seen them there the last three times but not had a chance to introduce ourselves.  Tom sat down next to me so we finally had a chance to chat.  They are newly retired and less than one year into their RVing adventure.  Like us, they are only here for the month but expressed an interest in getting together to discuss motorhomes and RVing.  Absolutely!

My main focus today was finishing our 2015 Year in Review holiday letter, which is actually a photo essay.  I spent some time looking for a few additional photos that met my criteria and constraints and found one to fill available spaces.  I also replaced several images with better (sharper) versions.  By noon I was finally ready to print a test copy but had to mess around with printer settings for half an hour to get it to print.  It finally did, and looked good, so I should not have to make any further adjustments unless Linda finds something when she proofreads it.  Linda won’t have time to address envelopes until the middle of next week so there was no need to print them at this time.  We will print, fold, address, stamp, and stuff them in one continuous process and then get them out of the rig and to the post office the same day.  Space is at a premium in an RV, even a 40 foot converted highway coach.

With the holiday letter done I decided to make some minor updates to our website having to do with Bus Conversion Magazine.  WordPress 4.4 was available so I installed it.  There were eight updates—three plugins and five themes—so I installed those too.  I did not take the time to update the other three WordPress sites but I need to do that and thought I might get to it after dinner.

We were both focused on our work and decided to skip lunch save for a few pretzels dipped in hummus.  At 1 PM I decided to it was finally time to install the window.  It was a warm, sunny day, which was fine for a short, light-duty maintenance task.  Linda informed me that the weather forecast for the upcoming week had a significant chance of rain, so getting the window reinstalled today was probably a good thing.

It was a simple enough thing to install but I had to get out the Little Giant stepladder and a tool box for a pair of needle-nose pliers.  I cleaned the hinge part of the frame and sprayed it with a dry lube.  With me outside on the ladder and Linda inside I got the window hung and she got the lever mechanism adjusted so we could get the lever pins inserted in the correct direction.  I then installed the E-clips on the ends of the pins.  I noticed that the front pin on the other driver side living room window was missing its E-clip so we installed one there.  At that point we checked the other six windows for missing clips.  They were all good.  I was going to change the pins around on the other three windows that had them in backwards but it was warm with a hot sun on the driver’s side of the bus so I deferred this minor project to another time.

Not having the window in place was starting to bug me so it was good to have it done.  With that minor weight off my shoulders I returned to working on the Habitat For Humanity article for Bus Conversion Magazine.  Although Part 1 will run in February and Part 2 in March I really want to put it to bed in the next 48 hours.  As with Part 1, I reformatted Part 2 in two columns and started selecting and inserting photos in-line with the text for the print edition.  With Jorge doing the magazine layout, and not being a bus person, placing the photos approximately where I think they should go seems to streamline the process.

By 4 PM we were both ready to go for a walk.  We were back before 5 PM and sat outside for 45 minutes using our iPads until we felt a few rain drops and then a few more.  The day had started with fog which gave way to mostly sunny skies that were gradually replaced with clouds and became a dense overcast by the time we went for our walk.  The winds were out of the SSE and darker ones moved in just ahead of the rain drops.  I put our outdoor chairs away and went inside just in case we had an unexpected downpour.

For dinner Linda heated up a couple of cans of Amy’s vegan chili with saltine crackers on the side and the last of the broccoli Cole slaw.  After dinner we tuned in PBS and watched the 1981 Simon and Garfunkel Central Park reunion concert followed by a documentary on The Carpenters.  The resort Wi-Fi was still not providing Internet access so I turned on our Verizon Mi-Fi and spent the better part of the evening copying blog posts from e-mails into Word docs.  Linda played word games and eventually went to bed to read.  I switched to my iPad to finish up this post and turned in for the evening at midnight.


2015/12/12 (S) 8 Panel Paper

We slept in this morning and did not get up until almost 8:30.  Yesterday was not an unusually physical or stressful day but we were tired and slept well overnight.  I have noticed over the last 10 years that some RVers continue their routines into retirement with almost military precision, getting up at a certain time each day, usually Oh Dark Thirty, walking their dog(s), and cleaning the entire outside of their rig before breakfast.  Not us.  We have a window in the evening during which we usually go to bed, and Linda is more regular in her sleep pattern than I am, but bedtime is governed by what we are doing (or what is on TV), how tired we are, and whether we have to get up the next morning.  We usually get up when we feel like it unless we have to be up at a certain time, such as for my trip to Suncoast Designers in Hudson’ Florida this past Monday.

I made our morning coffee and Linda prepared our cereal and juice for breakfast.  After breakfast she pulled the litter tray out of the shower and cleaned out the residual litter, which we do not want in the waste tank, so we could take showers.  She got her shower, got dressed, and got back to work on her counter cross-stitch project.

I finished up yesterday’s post, e-mailed it off to myself, and started working on this one.  After letting the hot water tank recover I took my shower and trimmed up my beard, which was starting to bother me.  Not enough to shave it off—that would freak out the cats—but enough to need some attention.  I got dressed and settled in to work on our holiday letter.  Now that I have the special paper I can finalize the layout to fit the panels.

Except for a quick lunch break and a walk around the resort I worked until 4 PM on the layout.  I placed four of the panoramas on the last two panels by turning them 90 degrees, and enlarged them to fit the space.  That part was easy but getting captions on them required the use of text boxes which are a pain to work with in Word.  I used the space that was freed up by moving these images to rearrange others and enlarge some of them.  When I was done I had space for four more photos, if I can find ones that are:  a) technically good, b) interesting, c) from the needed time period, d) of something that is not already represented, and e) in the correct orientation (portrait vs landscape).  If not I will just enlarge a couple more that are already there.

Microsoft Word is really not the right tool for this kind of project.  Everything flows and every time I changed something everything after it would move.  That would just be annoying if it moved in a way that made sense but sometimes things would jump around or completely disappear, which is aggravating.  I think the addition of the four text boxes was responsible for that behavior but I wouldn’t bet on it.  The correct tool for this project would be something like Microsoft Publisher but I only do this once a year and never feel like going through the learning curve until I already have too much time into the project and are too close to being done.  Maybe next year.  Or maybe I will work on this throughout the year, adding one or more photos at the end of each month.  Yeah, right.

Linda made Spicy Broccoli Cole slaw and put it in the refrigerator to chill.  We then sat outside for an hour enjoying the cooler tail end of another gorgeous day.  Linda made Spicy Potato Curry for our main dish and we ate at 6 PM.  Like last night we changed into warmer clothes after dinner.  Even with the high temperature in the low 80’s it cools off quickly once the sun sets.  We left around 6:30 and walked to the firepit with our well-provisioned wine tote.  John had the fire going and there were already eight people there so we were not able to claim our usual seats.  John had switched his and Ali’s seats and I ended up sitting next to John and Linda sat next to Ali so we could chat.

By 10 PM everyone had left except the four of us.  I had restacked what was left of the fire logs and they were still burning nicely but John had to go close up so he and I spread them out and we walked back to our coaches.  Linda made a bowl of popcorn (at my request) and we put on the TV for background noise while we used our iPads.  Our Wi-Fi Ranger had lost its connection to the Internet.  It was able to connect to the resort Wi-Fi signal but could not reacquire Internet access.  We tried connecting directly to the resort Wi-Fi with our iPads but still could not acquire the Internet.  I finally gave up and turned on our Verizon Mi-Fi so we could do a few things before going to bed.


2015/12/10 (R) Reworking Articles

I got up at 8 AM this morning, fed the cats, and made a pot of coffee.  Linda was up by the time the coffee was brewed and we enjoyed our first cup before having breakfast.

Linda has been in holiday shopping mode and ordered a 250 sheet pack of 8.5×14 brochure paper for our holiday letter.  The paper is 38# double-sided coated color laser printer.  It is made for quad-panel (three folds) brochures and is scored every 3.5 inches so it folds into an 8.5”x3.5” finished size.  Using the front and back it has eight panels.  The current layout of our letter takes two full 8.5×14 sheets so it should use all eight panels.

At 9:30 AM we had granola with fresh berries for breakfast.  Linda opened a new bag, transferred it to the plastic container, and put a piece of Frog a Tape on it so she can tally the servings.  She wants to know how many servings we get from each batch so she can better estimate how much to make to take with us next winter.  The real limitation is the size of the new freezer.

After breakfast Linda settled in to work on Madeline’s holiday stocking and I walked to the NAPA store to get the E-clips for the window lever pins.  The local NAPA store ordered them yesterday from two different places but neither order came in.  They reordered them from Jacksonville and said they would be in in the morning.

When I got back to the coach I revisited our holiday letter and adjusted the layout so the photos and captions would fit on the 3.5″ panels and not fall on the folds.  I had to shrink the photos slightly to get two of them side by side and I had to shrink the panoramas even more.  I also modified the captions to make better use of the space, moving the location to the top line with the date and leaving more room for the description underneath.  As a result of those changes the layout only used six of the eight panels so I will have to add photos or figure out how to enlarge some of the existing ones to fill out the space.

Somewhere in the middle of all this we took a lunch break at 1 PM.  Linda made vegan grilled cheese sandwiches and sliced an apple in half.  Simple but delicious.

I had a call from my sister and spoke with her for a while about our dad.  Later I called the social worker at the hospital and she called me back a short time later.  I then called our attorney’s office but did not get an answer, so I contacted him by e-mail.  I got a call back from him not long after and was able to expand on the reason for my call.

I e-mailed Brenda Phelan about the Arcadia Rally at the end of the month and dealt with e-mail correspondence from Gary at BCM.  He wanted to pull Part 1 of my 2-part article on Habitat for Humanity (HFH) up to the January 2016 issue to plug an unexpected hole and needed me to do some urgent last minute work on it to get it ready for Jorge to lay out.  This sort of thing happens all too often, but I agreed to work on it this evening.  Truth be told it wasn’t as big a request as he thought it was and I don’t mind helping him out if I can.

The temperature got up to 77 degrees F today with partly cloudy skies but by 4 PM the sun was low in the southwest sky and it was starting to cool off.  We both needed to get off our butts and move around so we went for a walk through the resort.  We ran into John using his electric motor bicycle to escort someone to their site.  As he passed by he said we had a package in the office so we altered our walking route to go there and retrieve it.

It was one of several packages we are expecting from Amazon and had supplies Linda needed to continue working on her counted cross-stitch project.  We stopped and talked to Jeff and Kathy briefly, dropped the package back at our rig, and walked part of the newer/north end of the resort.  It was still pleasant outside when we got back to the rig so we sat outside with our iPads and had a few peanut butter pretzels as a snack.

By 5 PM the sun was below our horizon, which consists of RVs to our southwest.  There was still plenty of daylight but by 5:30 it was fading and cooling off fast.  I finally went inside and started working on the HFH article for BCM.

For dinner Linda made a nice green salad and reheated the leftover pizza from last night’s dinner.  It was just as good as last night, maybe better.  I continued working on the article after dinner and watched our Thursday evening TV programs out of the corner of my eye.  By 9:30 PM I had spent all the time I cared to in front of my computer but was not done with the article.  Moving photos around is time consuming and a bit tedious.  I like to stay productive, so I switched to my iPad to work on this post.  Yeah, it’s still a screen, but I interact with it differently and have more options as to where and how I sit.  We were up until 11 PM but fell asleep quickly once we got to bed.


2015/12/05 (S) Saturday Night Fire Circle

I was awake at 6:30 AM and finally got up at 7:15.  I fed the cats and cleaned their litter tray, both of which are chores but I don’t mind doing them.  I sat on the sofa with the heater pad on my lower right back and finished yesterday’s blog post draft.  Linda got up at 8 AM having been awake since I got up.  At 8:20 I was going to make coffee but Juniper climbed in my lap so Linda took care of that chore, which is certainly one of our more pleasurable.

Linda worked on her counted cross-stitch project and I worked on our Holiday Letter all morning.  I had a finished draft by lunch time and Linda read through it.  I have it set up for 8.5×14 inch legal size paper, but printing it that way will depend on whether we can get high quality glossy color laser paper in that size.

Linda reheated the last of the red beans and rice for lunch after which I washed some grapes.  After lunch Linda continued to work on her project and I turned my attention to another article for Bus Conversion Magazine.

I had some correspondence with the publisher, Gary, yesterday regarding my article on servicing the Webasto burner bearings and decided to finish my article on Butch Williams’ installation of an International Thermal Research OASIS Combi in their MCI MC-9 NJT bus conversion.  The work was done in October and November 2014 and the article was basically written in January 2015 but I had not selected or processed any of the photos.

I read through the article, highlighted several places with missing information, and rewrote some things.  I then selected 36 photos and started processing them.  The processing involved various adjustments such as alignment, lighting, and color followed by resizing and sharpening in two different sizes.  The larger size is typically 1900 x 1272 pixels as that will fill the screen of a 17 inch monitor and I don’t feel a larger size is needed or supported by the level of detail in the images.  The smaller size is typically 300×200 pixels.  I embed the smaller images at the end of the Word document with the image number and a caption.  I used to embed them into the article but the editor and layout person need the ability to fit them into the layout and I ultimately developed enough confidence in them to do that.  This is always subject to change, however, as is everything connected with this magazine.

We had dinner at 5 PM, earlier than usual.  Linda made a nice green salad, sautéed and lightly glazed some baby carrots, and heated some Amy’s vegan macaroni and cheese.  The reason for the early dinner was the holiday parade down Main Street in Williston at 6 PM.  We left at 5:30 and walked to the corner of NE 5th Street and Main Street.  NE 5th Street is the street that leads back to the front entrance of the resort and is towards the end of the parade route, which comes down Main Street from west to east.  There were already people there, all from the RV Resort as near as we could tell, but we were early enough to get seats on the low brick wall that borders the parking lot for the funeral home.

Main Street is also US-27 but the police closed it down at 5:45 PM.  The parade started at the west end of Main Street by the high school so the lead police motorcycles did not reach us until 6:20 and the front of the main parade did not get to us until 6:30.  There were cars with beauty queens, simple floats with seasonal themes, Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, politicians, fire trucks, horses, and an elephant with Santa Claus riding on top.  It was a classic small town holiday parade.  It was all over by 7 PM and we walked briskly back to the firepit.

The firepit at WCRVR is about eight feet in diameter, surrounded by a concrete floor ring about six feet wide and covered by an inverted conical roof about 24 feet wide at the lower eaves.  A massive 8 foot diameter inverted conical hood is suspended over the firepit and the 12″ diameter flue pipe runs out the center top of the roof.  The outside perimeter of the floor has large wooden rocking chairs (think Cracker Barrel restaurant), a bench, and a few other chairs and there is a little bit of lighting up in the ceiling.  It’s a wonderful place to sit and enjoy the fire, visit, and listen to people play their guitars and sing.  The flue does not draft correctly so it tends to be smokey, but that is the only downside.  If not for that it would be perfect.

John was there with a couple of other people and had a nice fire going.  Even though it was in the mid-to-upper 60s there was a strong north breeze and the fire felt good.  Lots of other people eventually showed up and filled almost all of the seats so John got his guitar and started playing and singing.  Linda walked back to our rig to fetch our plastic wine glasses and opened a bottle of Egri Merlot.  It’s a good life.

I got a call from my sister and stepped away from the firepit.  She called to let me know that our dad was back in the hospital.  When I returned to the fire circle John was busy playing and singing and some folks had left so I tended the fire.  By 9 PM everyone had left except for John, Ali, and us.  I continued to tend the fire while the four of us talked.  Just before 10 PM I spread out the last embers of the fire and we all returned to our rigs for the night except John, who does the closing rounds on weekends.

Back at our motorcoach Linda put on the Michigan State vs Iowa Big 10 Championship football game.  Though not particularly interested in football I was too tired to work so after sending an e-mail to our son I laid down on the sofa; the first time I have done that since we built it into the coach.  By the time the game was over it was 11:45 PM.  We watched a few minutes of Cook’s Country on Create and went to bed.  I turned the TV on in the bedroom then turned it off.  I turned down the brightness of my iPad display and with only the dim light of the ceiling vista, and whatever light could get in around the window shades, worked on my blog post until 1 AM.


2015/12/04 (F) The Chores of Life

The overnight low was forecast to be in the mid-50s so before going to bed I closed the roof vents and we only left the windows open about half an inch.  I was up at 7:12 AM this morning and put on my sweats.  I fed the cats (they insisted), took out my nighttime bite guard, washed it, and put it away.  I then sat on the sofa with the heater pad on my lower right back and Juniper on my lap while I worked on my iPad.

Linda stayed in bed until 9:15 AM.  She is having trouble shaking the congestion and cough but the nighttime medication seems to control it and allow her to get plenty of much needed sleep.  Once she was up I made a pot of coffee and she fixed bowls of granola for breakfast.

My main focus today was working on our 2015 Year-in-Review Holiday Letter but we had other things to do as well.  At the top of my list was mailing the FMCA Freethinkers Chapter certification paperwork to FMCA HQ.  I also needed to do a load of laundry, our first since we left home a week ago.  Linda planned to work on her counted cross-stitch project but also needed to make a run to the Publix grocery store on the southwest corner of Gainesville.

The word “chore” is often used pejoratively, and that is an appropriate use according to the definition, but the first meaning is “…everyday tasks of running a household or farm.”  The definition goes on to include “…. difficult or unpleasant tasks …” and some chores are certainly more (or less) pleasant than others.  Linda likes to cook and I don’t mind doing the laundry but neither of us particularly enjoy cleaning.  I don’t mind dumping our holding tanks, a chore that many RVers apparently find onerous, but I do not like adjusting the pressure in our tires.

I gathered up the soiled laundry and laundry supplies and loaded them in the car.  The north bathroom/laundry building is in plain sight of our coach, and not that far away, but I had more stuff than I could carry in one trip and it was heavier than I cared to schlep around.  If we had an appropriate wheeled cart I might have used that, but we don’t.  I got two loads started but held off on the third until I had taken a shower.  The bathhouses are in the same building as the laundry.  I added my towel to the third load and started it.

In the middle of doing the laundry I was back at the coach, got the FMCA chapter certification paperwork in an envelope, addressed it, and added stamps.  I was going to walk to the Post Office but in the interest of time I drove to the Resort office instead.  That little task had been nagging me for quite a while so I had a sense of relief, as much as accomplishment, when I put the envelope in the outgoing mailbox.  Linda walked down and used the shower facility.

As soon as I got back to the coach with the clean laundry/supplies and brought them inside I put the 2m/70cm ham radio antenna back on the roof of the car.  Linda then took the car and headed for the Publix supermarket at the southwest corner of Gainesville.  I did not want to unload the car, and had work to do at the coach, so Linda went to Publix by herself so there would be room for the groceries.  I put the laundry away and then settled in to work at my computer.

I realized this morning that I do not have SPSS installed on my ASUS laptop so I will not be able to analyze the data from the FMCA education surveys myself, at least not until I get home.  That is unfortunate as I do not know at this point if HQ has the ability or willingness to do the analysis we need done.  I sent an e-mail to the committee chair and executive director to let them know.  Mea culpa.  I replied to a few e-mails and then resumed working on our Holiday Letter.

I realized last night that some of the images which had already been post-processed had dates in the file names that were different from the dates when they were taken.  As I was trying to arrange them in chronological order I went back and found the originals and corrected the dates.  I then continued placing and captioning the photos.

When Linda returned with the groceries I helped get them into the coach while she put them away.  She finally found the Snyder sourdough pretzel nibblers we like and we finished an open container of hummus and had some fruit for a light lunch.

For dinner Linda made a salad and sautéed mushrooms, onions, and broccoli as a topping for a baked potato, which we split.  I had a little vegan sour cream on my half.  After dinner we changed into warmer clothes and packed a bottle of wine and our two plastic wine glasses and walked to the firepit.

Friday and Saturday nights during the winter folks at the Resort gather at the firepit to enjoy the warmth of the fire, have a glass of wine, talk to one another, and listen to live music provided by volunteer residents.  Our friend, John Smith, is the main entertainer, doing mostly folk/rock/country-crossover.  He is also responsible for the fire since Kevin and Sharon sold their park model and moved to The Villages.  (We are still having a hard time comprehending that move.)  John performed solo in clubs and bars for a living many years ago before he and Ali got married.  Jeff sometimes brings his guitar and performs as well, his specialty being old time country music (such as Merle Haggard).  Other musicians occasionally show up, or at least they did two years ago.

We were the first to arrive (besides John) and chatted with him for quite a while before anyone else showed up.  Other folks drifted in and John eventually fetched his guitar and played.  Ali was visiting with Jeff and Kathy and was one of the last to show up.  Jeff and Kathy’s dog, Teddy, has lymphoma so they stayed at their 5th wheel with him.  We stayed to the end, said “good night” to John and Ali, and walked back to our rig.  We watched an hour of Create TV and went to bed.


2015/12/03 (R) 2015 Year in Review 

It cooled off overnight and was 60 degrees F outside when I got up at 8 AM.  We left the windows open a bit when we went to bed last night but it only dropped to 71 in the coach.  The forecast high for today was only 73 with partly to mostly cloudy skies, so the coach was going to be comfortable all day with just fresh air and perhaps the bathroom exhaust fan running.  I made a pot of coffee and then Linda got up and made oatmeal for our breakfast.

Linda’s goal for the next couple of weeks is to finish the counted cross-stitch needlepoint Christmas stocking she is making for grand-daughter Madeline.  She has to keep very careful count of her stitches, so I am not allowed to talk to her, or myself, while she is working.  It should be a very quiet two weeks.

The new pull-out pantry shown in nice light.

The new pull-out pantry shown in nice light.

My first goal today was to finish the BCM article on servicing the Webasto WDB2010 burner in our Aqua-Hot diesel-fired hydronic heating system.  This was work I did back in January while we were in Quartzsite, AZ.  I post-processed the last 10 photos, inserted them into the Word docx, added captions, and then rearranged them according to print edition and digital edition bonus content section.

I had an e-mail back from Chuck about the Prevost Community AITA NAPA discount card.  I followed his directions and completed the online application.  He called mid-morning and we talked about the chassis batteries.

I finished the Webasto article but did not upload it right away.  I had an e-mail from Gaye Young, FMCA National Secretary and chair of the Education Committee, with the preliminary results of the survey that went out this fall.  After looking through the data I wrote an e-mail to the committee with some observations.

Today was pretty much a stay-at-home day except for an early afternoon walk.  We had black bean soup and vegan grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch and then walked up to the office to make copies of the chapter certification paperwork for our FMCA Freethinkers group.  I will mail the forms to FMCA HA in Cincinnati, Ohio tomorrow.

We talked briefly with Janet Rawley in the office and checked out the activities center across the street.  They have moved the library and game tables from the office to the AC and are going to redo at least part of the space as offices.  Given the number of additional park models and RV sites they should expand the mailboxes as well.  There was a basket of tomatoes at the AC, free for the taking, so Linda selected a few.  On our way back to our rig we stopped to chat with Jim Rawley (Sonny Fox on XM) at their 5th wheel.  Jim and Janet were part of our circle of friends two years ago and their rig is just a few sites down from John and Ali’s.  We dropped off the tomatoes and paperwork and continued on our walk around the newer section of the park.

A panoramic view looking north into part of Williston Crossings RV Resort from the passenger side living room window of our motorcoach.

A panoramic view looking north into part of Williston Crossings RV Resort from the passenger side living room window of our motorcoach.

Back at our coach I started working on our 2015 Year-in-Review Holiday Letter.  I was working on my ASUS laptop when the file manager suddenly would not respond to mouse clicks or let me close it.  I tried clicking a few other things and windows popped open that I could not then close.  This was strange behavior indeed, and something I had not seen before.  I was able to click the shutdown icon in the tray and forced the machine to close programs and turn off.  I restarted my computer and ran a complete scan with the ESET Smart Security program.  Complete scans take quite a while so I used my iPad to play a few games and work on this post.  When the scan was finally done I reviewed the findings and got back to work.

I uploaded the Webasto service article to Gary at BCM and then got back to work on our 2015 Year-in-Review Holiday Letter.  Linda can only count so many cross stitches per day before she gets cross-eyed.  She also needs very strong light, so when the sun gets low in the afternoon sky she quits for the day.

Dinner was salad and reheated red beans and rice, a dish that holds up well over multiple servings.  After dinner I got back to work on our holiday letter and worked on it until bedtime.  I selected about 50 photos and will try to do captioned pictures instead of extensive narrative.  The local CBS affiliate had the Lions–Packers game on instead of our usual Thursday evening programs so Linda flipped between the game and whatever was on PBS.  My computer worked fine for the rest of the evening.