Wednesday, 18 March 2020

March 18th

This was not a good day, the wind blew most of the day and the sky clouded over.  There was a forecast of serious rain, thunder and a possibility of hail.  The storm never reached here in AJ until well after lunch time.  When the storm hit, it was typical of a desert rain storm.  The rain came down in torrents and the streets were like small rivers.  The roar of the rain on our carport was so loud you couldn't even carry on a conversation under it.
  We decided we would be gone by Saturday.  First there is a problem with the weather up in Montana and we only have about a 5 day window when it is clear.  It's either make that opening or wait until early April and that would be cutting it close.  There is also the problem with this Corona Virus that is casing problems for travelers.  They are recommending using gloves even when fueling the vehicle.  A good many of the road rest stops are apparently closed.  All of the hotels linked to casino's are closed.  Most restaurants are closed and only offer take away food.  Finally we both are suffering from our allergies and the resulting cough makes folks wary of us.  Finally we have been here a long time, arriving in the first week of November, this was to be our longest stay in Arizona and is still pretty close to be our longest time here.  So it's time.
  We started packing things up and getting rid of junk and got caught up in it.  When we make a decision to go Marg really gets a surge of energy to get on with it.  People were stopping by and at first we said we will be gone by Saturday.  A bit later in the day we were telling folks we would probably leave Friday.  By noon we were in high gear and leaving tomorrow.  That's just the way we roll, I guess.
  In the morning I went to the bank and took all the money out of our Bank of America account.  We were a bit fortunate in that they never held funds on the cheque for sale of the golf cart that I deposited on Monday.  It was funny, the teller wouldn't let me close the account but would let me withdraw all of the money, so I did.  She even gave me a bank draft or cashiers cheque at no service charge.
  We did stop for lunch and then Marg put together the financial statement for the Entertainment Committee.  I acted as scribe and put it in statement format.  Then delivered it to the Treasurer.  It took a bit of creativity to get it to come out to the exact amount of money she had turned in.  It was only out a couple of bucks, but was perfect when we finished.  Just like the old say:  Figures don't lie, but Liars can figure.  LOL  Not that bad really, it was only a couple bucks!
  It was pretty much pack and load all day, but even with our best efforts we could not get it all in the truck.  As a result we have the ladder and a storage bench [the one from the Az room] going back to GP with one couple from home.  We have my hand cart, 2 lawn chairs and two tubs of stuff going back to Stony Plain with another couple.  The rest is pretty much crammed into the truck.  Tomorrow I need to put the bike rack on the receiver/hitch and load our travel gear.  Oh yes take the tv/internet router back to Mediacom.  We cancelled our insurance a while back, so a refund should show up for that and likely there will be one from Mediacom as well.
  Later I went to Walmart where I got Marg some Salonpas patches and cough drops.  The patches ar more powerful than the ones she can buy at home, so I got lots.  On the way back I stopped for fuel.  Didn't have time to go to Costco, but fuel here in AJ has dropped about 35 cents a gallon in the last few weeks and I only needed a top up as I had 3/4's.  When you use a credit card here you have to enter your Zip code.  Not having one used to be a problem, but for the last few years we just enter the 3 numbers in our postal code followed by 2 zeros.
  The most difficult part of the whole exercise is the constant stream of visitors.  Whether walking to the garbage, taking things for the others to bring back or just working on the driveway, there was always someone stopping to confirm we were leaving and the timing.
   She even made supper tonight.  She kept enough in the fridge to be able to make it.  If it had been me I would have said you're taking me out now.  LOL  It was a nice meal, burgers, baked potatoes and veg.  Leftover birthday cake was our dessert.  She Rita come over to help clean out the fridge and freezer.  There were so many bags that I drove her back to their place.
  Well that is a wrap on another fun season in the sun.  The only unfortunate thing is Marg will be spending her birthday on the road and the probability of having a restaurant meal for supper is poor.  There will be no wifi here, so you should be able to reach her using either one of our U.S. phone numbers.  With any luck we will find everything we need along the way.  Will try to pick hotels with wifi, our plans do not include sleeping in the vehicle like some folks around here.  Stay tuned for the tales of our exploits on the trails of America.  <: p="">

Tuesday, 17 March 2020

St Patrick's day 2020

  Another gorgeous day in the valley of the sun.  The temperatures reached into the high 70's so it was very nice.  A special thank you to everyone for the birthday wishes.
  We were busy today.  After breakfast we went out, stopping first at the bank.  There I deposited the cheque for the golf cart as well  as two rolls of quarters and 3 of dimes, so $35 dollars from my poker winnings.  Thought I should bank it before Marg wastes it on laundry.  I stressed a lot of hours over a poker table for that loot, so didn't want her being frivolous with it.  I wanted to get a large cash withdrawal [not as much as my deposit] but apparently I had to have my passport to do that, so will have to go back.
  After the bank we stopped at an RV parts store that friends have had luck getting hand sanitizer at, but they were out.  On to the Dollar General where Marg got disposable plates for cake in the evening.  We also stopped at Walmart where we bought some bins for packing as well a few other things.  Then it was on to the Mexican grocery store on Stapely where she got a couple of milk cakes, on chocolate the other white.  Both with fresh fruit on top and lots of icing.  We also managed to get a loaf of bread and some donuts, so a good stop. 
  By the time we got back to our place it was lunch, so Marg made scrambled eggs [with lots of added things] and toast.  We had lots of visitors today and made the mistake of eating on the outside table so had a few that stopped by and we just had to keep eating or have cold eggs.  Rumors abound here and most thought we were leaving tomorrow.We have barely started packing so departure will not be tomorrow.  I called Gerry to tell him I can't golf tomorrow and due to circumstances he is already packed and leaving tomorrow [hmm when was he going to tell me].  Then the fellow Marg was negotiating with on the golf cart stopped by to check it out.   While he an his dog were sitting in it Marg came out to tell him it was sold to another.  I later came to tell of this as the used car salesman vs the furniture and appliance salesman negotiating on a golf cart. 
  I got the golf cart all washed up and the accessories assembled to go with it.  I had been charging it so it was right up before delivering it and the other stuff.  The purchaser stopped by for another matter, so I just loaded it all up and he left with his bill of sale and the cart.  He also took my hammer/drill so he could put in an anchor bolt to secure the cart.  Another loose end tied up for us.  So I went down to check on one of our offers to take things back to Canada.  Meanwhile Marg packed clothes and got more stuff ready to go.
  Along in about here we had a facetime with Brennan, Jessica and Paityn.  She sure has grown and is as cute as a button.  By then it was time to get some ice for the margarita machine while Marg arranged stuff and put out some other stuff.  A little short on details?  A quick trip for ice and then it was time to go for the corned beef and cabbage.  It was cooked by volunteers in the clubhouse and everyone had the option to take out or eat in.  About a dozen friends and us opted for take out to be brought back to our place for supper.  Not certain what went on, but it was not the best corned beef I have eaten.  One of the things I really look forward to on the day, but a real disappointment this year.  Shortly after a few more friends showed up for cake.  As luck would have it we had some nice Irish Whisky [Tullamore Dew].  We had a few shots of whisky before cutting cake to give everyone tie to arrive.  Well actually there were only a 3 or 4 of us doing that.  I opened cards and passed them around, sure got some nice ones.  By that time we had about 10 more people and were starting to become a party of a couple dozen.  The park managers were here, so we knew there was no danger of being too loud and getting complaints.  LOL
  The cakes were both very good and it was a fun bunch, lots of laughs.

Monday, March 16th

A gorgeous day in the Valley.  The sun was up early and temperatures in the 70's, reaching 80 by mid afternoon.
  We had a busy day today.  Yesterday we made a decision we will be returning home much earlier than planned.  While we do not have specific day, departure will be before the weekend is over.  In the morning Marg counted the money from the Entertainment committee twice to be certain of the amount.  With the governor calling an end to any assembly of people exceeding 50 in number she decided to turn in the money she had on hand for the committee.  They started the year with $300 from the association with no expectation of any return other than fun events.  After the last event on Saturday they decided to cancel the rest of the ones planned.  The final tally was something like $803, so a very successful year both financially and with the events they put on for the members here.  When she took the money to the Treasurer he was quite surprised and pleased to have it wrapped up early.  We still have the final report to complete.  I say we because I will be acting as her scribe.  LOL
  I had lent my compressor to the neighbour across the road and the tire gauge fell apart, it was just a cheap model.  So he went and bought me a very nice one when he returned the compressor.  It was too much so I went over telling him I couldn't accept it but thanked him anyway.  Here is an odd thing, his name is Chuck and that is a slang we use for the air nozzle that fits in the hose.  Then I organized a few things as I have been cleaning out the shed and moved the Az room.  I also went to visit with one of the guys [from Stony Plain] who offered to take some stuff home for us to see how much room he has available for our stuff.
  I had committed to play golf with 3 other fellows, so had to leave at 11 AM for that.  When Mickey picked me up he said you're driving.  He has had a few problems and doesn't feel comfortable in some of the high traffic areas.  Nice truck, it's a Chevy diesel with a chip in it that takes it up over 500 hp and a button to push to go over 700, man that thing boogies.  I went a bit of a different way than he is familiar with to avoid the mini-stack and he was so please that it's his new route.  He put on the this golf day as a special deal as he wanted us to play the Raven. It is an upscale course, tough and a bit pricey for me.  Well it turns out he got it together for $60 and that included carts and a free lunch [anything off the menu].  It's one of those where they take your clubs out of the vehicle, give you free range balls, have a large practice area for: driving, chipping, putting.  I think the regular rate at the Raven is $125 per person, which in Canadian would be about $165, so a real experience.  I played unbelievable well on the front 9 at 46, but fell apart on the back as a result of the heat and just losing my mojo.  The funny thing was - he plays this system where each person partners with a different player for 6 holes, receiving a point for each hole the pair wins.  My pick of partners was pure luck and I had the highest number of points or wins, despite the worst score, so that kind of brightened my day.
  Marg had a bunch of stuff packed up in the afternoon, she is an amazing woman.  She also negotiated a sale of the golf cart to the Treasurer.  When she makes up her mind to do something, nothing stands in her way.  That is a major thing off of our things to consider while getting ready to depart here.  The price was a bit of a compromise, but a very fair one to both parties.  I think she also went around and invited a few folks to birthday cake tomorrow.
  One of the fellows I golfed with wanted to go for dinner when we returned so Marg and I joined them at Denny's.  The restaurant was not busy and the food was good, so a nice way to finish the day.
  No blog post yesterday as I plain old fell asleep.

Sunday, 15 March 2020

The Ides of March 2020

The Ides of March are upon us.  The sun shone brightly and it was a gorgeous day reaching about 25 or 6 C around early afternoon. 
  I went out early to the Mesa marketplace where I traded a few pocket books.  I went over to the used golf club stalls to check out old clubs.  There is one that always has wood shaft clubs and today he had a used Taylor Made M4 driver.  After a bit of debate I decided against it, the deciding factor for me was not getting to try it out.  I stopped the large Walmart over there and the situation was a bit better, they had some milk and meat on the shelves today.  I really went for printer ink as mine were done and I had the audit report for the tenants association to print.  Marg did a couple loads of laundry this morning.  With the warm weather it was a good day for drying out on the back patio.  Marg also had a facetime with Charlene in the morning, they are having the same virus problems we are experiencing.
  When I got back we had a bite to eat, French toast today.  Always a favourite of mine, so a good day.  We had a facetime with Bill & Patti after lunch and talked about moving our departure time from here up to when the weather is clear.  There are not as many virus cases here in Arizona as they have in Alberta.  Apparently they are experiencing the same food panic at home that we are here.  I guess it is a bit like rolling the dice on which way to go.  There will be no doubt that we will have to self quarantine for 14 days in any event on our return.  After installing the printer cartridges I printed the reports I needed. 
  A bit later I went to negotiate with the prospective buyer for the golf cart.  He is a friend but his work history is in selling used vehicles, so a seasoned negotiator.  I had to leave prior to completing a deal as we had a celebration after the success of last evenings event.  There was still a lot of liquor left and it was a nice get together. 
  Supper was bbq with steak, potatoes and veg in a tinfoil and a bit of chicken.  It turned out very nice, but it was late enough that we missed out on the ice cream social.  I still went to play pool after ice cream.  Marg did the banking and then payed the balance due, so that is not a loose end.
  The more we talk about it, we seem to be heading to an early departure from here.With the weather and all it looks like if we don't leave by Saturday we could be stuck until the month end.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, 14 March 2020

Saturday, March 14th

A nice day in the valley, no rain and sunshine.  Not certain how warm it got, but this was the kind of day we signed on for.
  We took it kind of casual, sitting around in PJ's.  It turned out to be a bad choice for today as there were people stopping by, something I cannot recall happening before.  One of them was here to see if I would golf on Monday at the Raven.  Apparently they have a reservation and were looking for a 4th player.  In the past the is one fellow here who has tried to interest me, but it is an upper end course both in terms of difficulty and green fees.  They apparently have tee times at $60 [which is equivalent to $80 for me], which is about half of some of the prices I have heard and much less than even bargain rates I have heard.  At some point I must have weakened and agreed to play.  Two of the guys are very good golfers while the other fellow is often at about my level although he has the odd hot streak where he scores much better.  Should be interesting.
  Shortly after we got dressed Marg had to go out with Patti to pick up snacks for the entertainment night this evening.  A separate group are putting the evening together and Marg's group are providing some funding as well as table snacks.  I went out back and worked on packing some stuff up in the shed so that everything is not last minute.  From her shopping trip she said there were lots of shortages in the stores they visited: no toilet paper, very little tissue; no hand sanitizer, very little frozen food or meat.  I guess now people have started to buy groceries to last a long time.  I guess the hysteria continues to spread.
  When Marg got home we had a bite of lunch then had a bit of quiet time.  At 1:30 I had to go to the hall and help with set up for the evening entertainment while she had to go at 2 to set out the table snacks. Some time ago they changed the way they do snacks to use only prepackaged individual serving ones.  With this virus thing that turned out to be a very wise decision.  The people attending events have been very positive about this change.  It took a while, but things were looking pretty well complete when we left.
  A bit more quiet time before supper.  We ate in tonight, we still have lots of food in the house.  Shortly after supper we went down to the clubhouse.  It was a fun night.  There was a bar set up and they had so much donated liquor that drinks were free and served by waitresses.  The entertainment was a line dancing demonstration, a skit, a lip sync act, a comedy act and a live blue grass group.  The MC told a few jokes to keep things moving.
  Yous truly was the one billed as a comedy act.told about a half dozen funny stories that I cleaned up for this group and managed to get a few laughs.  I think it was about 20 minutes or so.  There was recorded music with dancing between acts and for a period when the last act completed.  All in all a fun night.that will likely put some cash in the organizations coffers.


Friday, 13 March 2020

Friday, March 13th

A cooler day with a few sprinkles of rain that were short term.  The sun shone in the early part of the day and it was nice until later in the afternoon when the cool winds picked up.
  We were up fairly early and getting organized.  Although all 3 of our visitors had their main suitcase packed and in the truck last night, they had a lot of last minute stuff to do.  Our plans were to be on the road by 8 as aside from the rush hour issue we also had concerns with the heavy rains last night in the Scottsdale area, one that we would be going through.  Our group were pretty good and we were a couple minutes ahead of the planned time.  Normally they require you check in for 3 hours on international flights, but Cassie had checked them in yesterday so it was only 2 hours in their case.  I parked in a handicap stall using Marg's pass.  They are large spaces and the closest to the terminal.
  Traffic was lighter than expected, probably just one more example of how the virus panic is impacting the city.  There are reports of many cancellations where they will have large groups of people congregating.  There are reports the cancellations are having a significant impact on the local economy.  It was good for our group as we made it to Sky Harbor about a half hour earlier than the deadline. The airport was busy although there were some domestic flight cancellations as a result of people changing travel plans.  Fortunately that was not the case on the West Jet flight the kids were on.  We watched until the cleared security and breathed a sigh of relief they were gone.  LOL  No not really but we were glad they didn't have any glitches.
  Back to the vehicle I had left in the oversize parking lot.  Marg came down to the ground floor with me and waited at the smoking area outside on sidewalk.  After checking out it was easy to pick up Marg on the ground floor.  Traffic home was light as rush hour had that time.
  When we got home we stripped beds and assembled all of the laundry.  There was a lot so we went to the laundromat on Delaware.  Marg used one of the largest washers [it took 32 quarters for a load], two of the medium washers [15 quarters a load] and one regular washer [10 quarters].  It was kind of funny when the huge machine went on spin as it had a duvet and mattress pad which were no doubt heavy when wet.  The machine was shaking a lot, so we just pretended it was someone else's load.  Hah.  They advertise it as being good for sleeping bags, so I never saw the attendant looking troubled about it.  Then it took four of the over-size dryers to finish.  These were only a quarter for 8 minutes.  unfortunately nothing seems to dry in 8 minutes.  This was good news / bad news.  Good news - we had enough quarters.  Bad news - they were all my poker winnings.  That was my safety net should I have a run of bad luck and I have not had a winner for 4 weeks.
  Back home it was pretty much lunch time, so we put the bed in the Az room back together then had a bite to eat before getting into anything more.  Marg did the steaming and put everything away while I went to play pool.  I think I had more fun than her.  Duh.  My game was good today and I managed to get on a few winning teams.  When I got there, they were talking about the corona virus, so I told them I had been drinking the antidote, Corona beer and that it didn't seem to help me feel better.
  At 4 it was happy hour at our place.  It was cool out by then but we still had 3 couples and a few single folks.  It was a good group and we had lots of laughs. 
  Supper was eat in tonight, we had enough eating out to last us for a while  Well hopefully I am back on track with the blog posts.

Thursday, March 12th

A rainy day in the Apache Junction and area.  This has been one of the wettest winter seasons we have had in Arizona.  I can only hope that it is doing something to alleviate the 4 or 5 year long drought cycle they have had here.  I know from our trip to the Boulder dam that the water levels have a long way to recover in the Colorado river.
  We got up an active early to attend the regular weekly coffee klatch. The numbers of people were down a bit, probably for a couple of reasons:  weather, folks going home, the virus threat.  Who knows?  Donuts were free, so even though we had last pick at our table it was all good.  After coffee there was a full board [bored?] meeting that Marg stayed for so I walked home.
  Our group were up and about by the time I returned to our place.  Our plan was to go to the Superstition museum when Marg returned.
  I forgot to take the camera so we used Cassie's phone at the museum.  It save the day, but then I had to figure out how to use the pictures.  This techno-peasant is really punching above his weight on this one.

   It is always interesting to see the recognition of the amount of movie activity there was in the area around Apache Junction when we had never even heard of the place before.even though the kids probably had not heard of most of the actors.  They had a bit of fun with it and then we went on for a drive down to Queen Creek where I showed them the golf courses I played there.  Then on to the Olive Mill, eventually making our way back to the 202 and our place.  We got back a bit before supper and our guests all packed their luggage to be ready for an early morning departure.
  It was the kids last night in Arizona and we earlier had an arrangement to go out for dinner to Santan Flats, but with the weather we changed it and went to the China Buffet.  When I say we, there were 21 of us.  Usually a group of that size is a problem with being seated, but not that night.  We went right on in.  Another first, probably a sad testimonial to how people are spending less in this economy.
   The selection of food at this buffet is awesome.  It is mainly Chinese, but has a considerable western area, sushi bar and a sizable dessert area.  I think everyone had a good experience and enjoyed the dinner.  It was cute how the two young handicapped girls took a liking to our Cassie and she helped make their evening a little more fun.  The other thing that was new to the kids was what we do with our fortune cookies.  Everyone reads theirs aloud ending it with either "in bed" or "between the sheets".  Makes for some very humorous fortune telling. 
  After we got home we started thinking about the travel day on Friday for the kids return to Edmonton.  We decided to go out looking for face masks considering the air circulation on the place and number of potential people on it.  We had no luck even when checking for dust or painting masks.  Just after Home Depot Cassie suggested a hospital might be an idea to try.  As luck would have it Mountainview was right in that area, so we stopped at the emergency entrance.  Cassie & Sam ran in and sure enough she talked her way into 5 masks so they were set.  Just as we were driving out of the parking lot Cass got a text from Daniel suggesting we try a hospital.  Pretty funny that they were both on the same wave length.  All that running around really cut into the time so bedtime came quickly.