Monday, December 28, 2009

The Latest In Eyewear Accessories

No caption is really necessary, is it?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Park Model Tango

Location: Alamo, TX

A few days ago we got to watch a park model delivery. Park models are somewhere between RVs and mobile homes -- they don't have holding tanks or dual-fuel source appliances like an RV does so they have to be placed on a somewhat permanent site. They are smaller than mobile homes and are meant to be vacation residences so in some places taxes, permits and fees may be lower or non-existent.

Here is the setup: the park model is on a wheeled frame with a ball hitch. The truck pulling the home must come up Hibiscus and make a left on Gardenia, then back the park model into the corner site (circled in red). We are directly across the street in the blue-circled site, facing towards the lot. We have a front row seat!

We didn't know it was coming, but all of a sudden there was a park model in front of our rig, waiting to be backed into the site (on its left rear) by a huge yellow truck. John asked the driver if we should move our toad (the gray car), but he said no.

The driver started the turn.

It became immediately obvious that moving the car would have been the best for all concerned, but now we were blocked in. As the driver inched backwards, workers put boards under the tires to protect the grass.

It also became obvious that the truck could not make the turn. We moved the car up, towards the rig, until there was about 1 inch in between them. The truck kept inching on. Workers hovered over the car, ready to tell the driver to stop the turn. He made it -- the truck missed the car's bumper by the narrowest of margins.

Now that it was past the car's bumper, the truck needed to straighten out, because the rear of the park model was way too far to the right and was about to take out the car port of the next-door neighbor.

The driver pulled forward, hugging the car.

Then he began the straightening turn...

And got the park model into its site.

And here it is, perfectly placed on its concrete pad. Workers came by later and removed the tires, connected the utilities and installed a skirting around the outside.

Want a job driving a park model delivery truck?

Friday, December 25, 2009


It started with a kind-of pressure feeling in my lower tummy. The right side got better; the left did not. Pretty soon I make a late evening trip to the Emergency Room, where I'm X-Rayed, CT Scanned, blood-tested and probed until the doctor tells me I have inflamed pockets in my colon that need to be treated so they don't burst. And treatment is IV antibiotics.

When the clock reaches 4:30 A.M., I'm finally taken to my room.

Flash forward 2 and a half days, and I'm let loose with an additional 10 days of oral antibiotics to take and the promise that I will go for a colonoscopy within 2 weeks. I have had my vitals taken every few hours, and my intravenous drip changed four times a day. The first day I was on a total liquid diet, and three servings of broth, juice, and jello was enough to make me want to jump out the window. Later I got a modified diet which tasted like bland on toast, but it was so much better than broth, juice and jello! (And, yes, I know what I'm in store for on the day before the colonoscopy!)

This hospital was just barely on the US side of the US/Mexican border. The care was good, and everyone spoke English (except the folks who emptied the waste baskets), but the facility was in need of general maintenance and comfy beds. And better food. Oddly, for me anyway, the majority of the nurses were men.

I'm glad to be home, and hope I don't have a recurrence -- it can be a dangerous disease, requiring surgery to remove portions of the bowel. But for now, I'm happy to be sipping a glass of non-alcoholic wine, watching a football game, and looking at the holiday decorations and lights in the park.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Keet Antics

We've been letting Baja and Newfie out of the cage for a bit each day. Their wings were clipped in the pet store, but they can fly well enough to flutter slowly to the ground. Once there, however, they can't quite get the lift to make it back to the grill work on the cage where they are able to get around using their feet and beak.

John to the rescue!!!

He hung a soft rope from the cage to the floor, and the keets quickly discovered they could use it to climb up to the cage. Now they can come and go as they please.


We caught Ivy and Candy, the older and supposedly wiser keets, blocking Newfie's way back in. They perched on the edge of the door, slightly leaning over and staring down at the climbing Newfie -- resembling really mad and vengeful little green and yellow vultures. When Newfie tried to enter the cage, they pecked her back outside repeatedly. Finally I had to stand outside and give them my best "prison matron" glare, and they backed down and let her in.

Two against one just isn't fair.

Saturday, December 05, 2009

RGV Weather

Location: Rio Grande Valley, TX

Two nights ago the weather was warm, people ran around in shorts, and the sleeping was comfortable with just a sheet for covering. We had a beautiful sunset that nicely silhouetted the palm trees, but it seemed to usher in a nasty cold front.

The front brought cold, horizontal rain during the day yesterday, and last night the temperatures hovered right around freezing. There was even a possibility of snow!

We didn't get any of the fluffy white stuff, but if we had it would have been a really big deal. It has only snowed here once in memory, and that was on December 25, 2005. The local kids were all hoping! But we woke this morning to green grass and a bright sun. Temps will stay relatively cool today (high 50s) and then start back up to the more normal 70's and 80's.