I am looking for a Doctor, or Is There a Doctor in the house?

The new medicare year has started and we have to “pick” a new Doctor!  Oh! Not all of us do, but some of us lucky ones do if our Doctor has “opted out” of Medicare, or if we are disappointed in the “Customer Service” our present one offers. Many of the Physicians act like we are getting FREE Insurance!  One of them actually said I should be grateful for my FREE Insurance!  About 1/5th on my SS check is deducted to pay for my “free” insurance.

I started paying FICA when I earned $1.15 an hour working at a Fire Insurance in Hartford, CT as a keypunch operator. Us “girls” were never hired to work across the room in the “Computer department” with the MEN who made more than twice our pittance.  

I remember the days when looking in the “help wanted” ads there were two categories: Help Wanted Male and Help Wanted Female.  Guess which one paid more?

You could say my working career was rocky, at best.  One of my last jobs before I met and married my husband was in my home town at a Shoe Factory sewing the backs of skates, bowling shoes and golf shoes on an industrial serge machine.  I proudly admit I was fast with my hands and was campaigning for a higher price per case to increase my pay, unsuccessfully, I have to admit!

Two things contributed to that; I was in favor of unionization, and I let my supervisors know that my body was off limits!  I was 18 years old and full of piss and vinegar, ready to conquer the world!

One day one of the bosses called me out of the bathroom to read me the riot act for not getting back to work instead of smoking!  I told him I had a right to take a bathroom break in no uncertain terms.  He disagreed and finally to make a point, I picked him up by the front of his shirt and raised him a foot off the floor and at his insistence, dropped him.  I am pretty sure that I didn’t endure myself to him or management, if he told anyone, because no one saw it.

The second thing was my campaign to get higher wages was met with cold stares or laughter by my immediate boss.  He wanted to date me, but I said, NO! He used to try to meet up with me by asking me where I was going rollerskating and showing up only to find I was at another rink!

I saw him put his hands around the girl next to me and touch her breasts.  When he approached me, I faced him and clearly told him, “Don’t ever touch me, anywhere on my body!”  He was so cock-sure of himself, one day he tried.  I attempted to give him a vasectomy with my scissors!  His hand got in the way, so it was unsuccessful!  I was walked to the door and told I was fired. I drew unemployment, after my interview with the male interviewer! I have mellowed a little!

After my two children were in Junior High, I got my Real Estate License and contributed handsomely to the FICA coffers! Along with a few other low paying jobs, because the parity between Men and Women’s wages had not changed much in 40 years.

This year my Insurance Company merged with a huge Pharmaceutical Store and probably they were trying, but our “New Cards” did not arrive in the mail.  You have to show that card to get any service!  We waited nearly an hour on the phone to try to find out how soon they would be in the mail. My husband figured out how to print them.

I have been having some serious eye problems by a specialist, referred by my Doctor and they called me to inform me that they had been calling and faxing a request for a renewal of the referral. When I called the doctor’s office to ask about the hold-up, I was informed that I needed to bring the card into the office.  My ID number was not enough!  I will admit I was a little hot under the collar to have to cancel my specialist appointment and wait a week or longer to get in.  My husband works full time and he has one weekday off!

I guess asking the Doctor why they didn’t renew the referral when he knew I had more appointments with the specialist was the wrong thing to do.  How was I to know they don’t talk to each other?

When you call a Doctor’s office one of the special numbered buttons to push is if you are a doctor’s office to get right through. It appeared to me that when he showed me the file, telling me that they wouldn’t know how many times I saw the specialist is he didn’t get any reports, that this was somehow my fault.  But is it my responsibility to make sure he is informed?

 

 

You want me to do what????

Am I the only one that noticed this? As a “Peeking over the hill,” female seeking employment find the employment advertisements a tiny bit confusing? The flowery phrases used to describe the kind of work the employer is looking for leaves a lot to be desired. It should not require a 6 paragraph narrative clearly states what you want to accomplish and what you expect of me.

Also clearly state the name of your company and where you are located. Not everyone is willing to make an hour or more commute. I appreciate not having to plow through the brain-freezing strange and unique forms. You will get fewer applications, but fewer turn downs. Yes, Virginia, some of us will turn down jobs because of the commute.

Please do not assume I am stupid enough to not figure out when you ask, “What year did you graduate from High School?” I do not realize you want to rule me out because of age. And please do not rule me out because of lack of experience when I state I have 30 years in the field you are seeking employees. That coming from someone barely out of diapers is insulting.

I do love the new way of saying “Sorry sucker” we don’t want you by saying, “Although your qualifications are impressive, we elected to move forward with another candidate.” If they were so damned impressive, why didn’t I at least get an interview with a real person?

Throw away those “personality quizzes!  You know, the one predicting my temperament and if I will steal you blind. I have never passed one, and I was a Realtor for 30 years, helping people with the most expensive purchase of their lives.

I absolutely hate anachronisms! Say what you mean. If you are too lazy to type a few words, well, I am not interested in what you are offering.

If you require a resume, why do you need me to fill out a non-interactive employment history? Most of my boss or supervisor’s either moved on to bigger and greener pastures or on to their great reward, and many companies are no longer in existence, through no fault of mine.

Also, do not require me to present myself at a “cattle-call” interview, two minutes long. If you are going to interview a million people for a job that barely pays above minimum wage, count me out! I realize that “times have changed!” But surely, not so much there is never a face-to-face interview, ever?

Just so you know, I am an old school, “8 hours pay for 8 hours work,” and I do not require, need or want you to supply treats, and games with prizes. I want to play games of my choice on my own time with people I know and like. I would appreciate a bathroom within walking distance and the agreement to allow me to go when necessary. No need to ask why you already determined my age.

Don’t get me started on the employment gap! Many people retire and need to seek supplement retirement. What’s wrong with that? It should not be a mortal sin to need to work again. Maybe you should think about maturity and experience is an asset, rather than a deterrent.

 

 

Ridin’ the rails in Phoenix

Riding the rails in Phoenix, AZ is not only encouraged, it is subsidized.  No, I’m not talking about the railroad, I am talking about the Light Rail.  It runs almost from my front doorstep to downtown Mesa, and there is a rumor that it will expand further into downtown Phoenix.

The cost of riding is minimal.  It cost us (senior citizens) only $4.00 for the trip downtown and back.  There are day passes and monthly passes available.  It beat the heck out of driving and paying buckos for parking.

I have to admit I was a little nervous, this was my first time since it first opened and the rides were free for a week.

The security, and the people working at the stations and on the train were courteous, and helpful.  We had to wait a few minutes for the cars to be cleaned.  I was surprised at how clean they were, and there was a rack to hang a bicycle up off the floor, although many people chose to keep them at their side.

We met and saw many interesting people.  The seats could have been a little wider, but that isn’t any ones fault that they were snug but my own.

We got on at Dunlap Ave and 25th Ave, which I said was almost at my front door.  We only had to walk to the front of our complex and cross the road and voila, we were there. When we got to our stop we exited and walked two blocks to our “Meet and Greet meeting” at a Hotel in downtown Phoenix, and then walked the two blocks back and in 20 minutes we were back where we got on.

All the stations are well lit and are populated with workers, we will do it again.  We discovered that it also goes right by Il Vineo where a friend, Michael Powers plays guitar, this will be much more convenient than the hassle of driving.

Try it, you will like it!

 

 

AI, YI YI OH!

It is really funny that after my long rant about turning 70 and getting stupid, more interesting  things happened that turned out to also be stupid.

Checking my replies to my post, I received five from people that wanted me to purchase their “fool-proof” program that will make me rich without even trying, just remit $$$$$ to their paypal account and the money will start rolling in to my bank account.

Today while I was trying to catch up on my writing, I received at least three phone calls, from Mr. or Ms. Nobody, because when I answered, they hung up.  I hope the couple of callers weren’t upset when I screamed, “F%&#k You!

Then the best one or two were from an AI, that informed me that “she was calling to help me find a job” and she inquired what type of position was I looking for?  When I asked if this was a recording, there was a long pause, before the reply was, “Please give me your address, date of birth, and your legal name, or something like that.  At this point I stopped listening and hung up with the same salutation.

When the AI called again, it had learned that I thought it was a recording, so when I asked it again if it was a recording, it paused, and then said, “I guess I have said this so many times that I must sound like a recording.”  I asked several more quick questions, and it made her pause again, before getting right back on script.  I said pleasantly “F#$%K You again and hung up.

AI has invaded our society so thoroughly that it is replacing us faster than we realized.  Another fun fact, now when you apply and receive an “invitation” to an online interview , don’t get too excited, because the last one I did was an AI asking me 4 silly questions. One I remembered was, “What is you favorite movie?”

I spent some time trying to unsubscribe from all the virtual personnel agencies today to discover that there at some that you cannot unsubscribe from.  So I did the next best thing, created a rule that they be re-routed to my “Junk File” so take that AI!

I turned 70 and got stupid!

Yup! Who would have thought that another couple years would make me ineligible for any kind of employment!

I retired after 30 years as a Real Estate Agent selling Commercial and Residential Real Estate, fighting to preserve and save my clients money and dignity, in the space of 8 years, I suddenly became unemployable for ANYTHING.

There are resumes and applications in almost every business in the valley from me   I have same number of “Kiss-off” letters from employers.  Well not really from employers, but from nameless personnel companies or personnel telemarketers.

Now I understand that the personnel agencies are going to employ AI to do their interviewing, PERFECT!

I don’t understand why I have not had ONE decent interview from ONE company that REALLY has a position for a reasonably intelligent female for a Sales Position.  I have had several “Cattle Call Interviews” but not with a real employer.

Just to re-iterate: I do not want an outside sales position!  I feel that with my sales experience, I am worth a decent salary with a commission to match my abilities.

Just for your information: every sales job that I have successfully accomplished top salesperson was ones that I had NO experience with that PRODUCT or business “On the job.”  Of course management tried to hide that a mere female could be the top salesperson.

One local company wanted me to “train” their salespeople and let the “trainer” take all the credit for it.

For all of you business’ that disqualified me because I am not young enough, since when does youth qualify over experience?  Did you think that my 30 plus years as a licensed Realtor made me unqualified to anything but telemarketing or outside sales???

Just in case you still think I got stupid, I have written and self-published eight books.  I will admit they may never be million sellers, but my blood,  sweat and tears are between the covers.  They are all on Amazon.com, just type my name, Brenda Colbath in the search area and they will pop up.

I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I am deleting all the “Help wanted” ads from all the fake personnel agencies and fading into the woodwork.

Thanks for noting!

 

 

This morning I let my mind wander while I was doing the dishes and I began to think about the many things that were a wonderful invention at the time, but later someone made a small design alteration that made the invention many times more efficient.

Sinks are a silly one.  My faucet is set close to the back of the sink so that it makes for many bumped and jammed fingers to get it clean.  The designer probably had never cleaned a sink, or installed one.  If they had ever had installed they would realize how hard it is to get their hands close enough comfortably to screw the parts together.

The reason I am comment on this is we recently had to install a new faucet in our sink in our Modile Home, which by the way aren’t mobile at all, and I felt sorry for my poor Hubby doing the deed.  Every time I clean do the dishes and clean the sink I think about the person (probably a man) that has never cleaned one.

I am not mad at them, but wish manufacturers would consult with real people that use the items they are producing to get some real feedback.

Things I wish I had done

When we first moved to Phoenix, Arizona we lived in apartments.  My husband liked the ground floor because he couldn’t see any reason to carry groceries and laundry up and down stairs.  Okay, I can see that, but the view is better from on the second and third floor and it never flooded on the second floor.

In one complex we had neighbors move in above us and I swear, they were elephants.  They stomped from morning until they went to bed.

I came home early with a migraine and after about two hours I had had enough.  I stomped up to their door and banged on it, and told them how I felt in terms that might have made the woman’s hair curl.

I got a call from management telling me that I couldn’t talk to them like that.  They weren’t interested in them stomping all hours of the day and night.

I made up my mind that we had to get out of there before I got arrested, and we did. We bought a house.  The decision was made the day I saw the Mrs. taking laundry down stairs and she was pregnant!!!!

What I wanted to do so bad it hurt: call every charity in the city; give them that address and tell them that I wanted to donate all my household belongings to them and to just come and get them. Oh yes, and my name is Mrs. Ella Phant.

I had so may happy minutes musing about how much fun it would be to watch and listen to the conversation between Mrs. Ella Phant and the charity trying to move her belongings out.

 

The Trickle Down Theory

The Trickle Down Theory

WORKS!

If you are the Trickleor

If you are the Tricklee

Not So Much!

Nadar’s Raiders why have you forsaken us?

Nadar’s Raiders why have you forsaken us?

Your dream was only to become President of the US

We wanted you to shine a light on the manufacturer’s short cuts

We needed you to continue making a big fuss

Over their huge profit by using lies and such

You told us what they used to make the shoddy toys

And let everyone know what they were up to

You wouldn’t become one of the good old boys

And helped give some of them the boot and shoe

The advertising of those products on TV

That showed us that they were the best

And the miracles they claimed them to be

Was all smoke and mirrors we could laugh and tee hee!

The soap that didn’t wash like they claimed

The cribs weren’t he safe as they should be

And our children were maimed

We saw what we needed to see

And stopped buying the things they presented

With golden voice or sexy slinking

And stayed with the things that you recommended

We were glad you got us thinking

But there came to you the sirens song

Of gaining the all-important elected office of the President

Maybe you planned to achieve it all along

And we didn’t matter, only your intent

We wish there was someone to take up your staff

And forge ahead with your quest

To make the big guys not take their profit out of our half

And not listen to them and only work on our behalf

Are General Physician’s becoming obsolete?

Now let’s think about this! When was the last time that you visited your GP and he/she actually examined you? Never! You are untouchable. You are invisible! Medicine is a corporate business; caring personalities do not enter into it, anymore. In and out in 15 minutes or less, (you can’t even get a good burger that fast) they have to churn out patients by the dozen so that the payments on the yachts are made on time.

Let’s go through a typical GP visit. You are not a new patient, they have your history before them, or at least they could if they cared to read it.

“Hi (looks down at your chart, because he/she doesn’t recognize you) John Doe, “Why did you come to see me, today?” Jeez, I had to tell everyone but my pastor, someone should have passed that on to you!

The cute little person in the adorable scrub outfit took all your vital statistics and asked you again “Why do you need to see the Doctor?”, and when you called for your appointment, several weeks ago, you were grilled by that Oh so nice voice on the phone “Why do you need to see the Doctor?”

Just try to get out of telling her/him specifically why you want an appointment! Not going to happen! I have tried several different tactics to keep my personal information to myself until I see the GREAT AND POWERFUL DOCTOR and to no avail. I finally tell them I need 15 minutes and it is none of your business why or what ails me, it is personal. Unless you have got your medical license you do not need to know.

I know I am a mean bitch, but, if I am only going to get 15 minutes anyway, what does it matter.

Also I am old! I remember the days when you could go see the Doctor in a few hours or at the longest the next day. I also remember when they could actually stitch up a minor wound in their office. If you were injured you went to his/her office and if it were major and needed hospitalization you were sent to the hospital. There were very few “Specialists”.  Sometimes your GP was also your surgeon!

Not so today! You tell them what is wrong and they immediately, well not that soon, send you to a “specialist” or the hospital. Hopefully it isn’t your arm or leg that is hurt, because the hospital will charge you the other two!!! BTW the Specialist usually is not so busy that they can see you within a week. Also they don’t really listen either!

Doctors really do not want you to look up anything on the internet to try to understand about your condition or what the ramifications of any medication that they propose to write a prescription for you to fill at your local pharmacy.  Don’t get me started on pharmaceutical Companies!

I recently became acquainted with Urgent Care! You can get in to see a doctor or a PA in usually the same day. They call you by name and seem to really care about you. Recently I received a call from the PA, a couple of days after my visit to inquire if I was feeling better. When was the last time you got a call from your doctor?

What we need now, is an online virtual doctor that you can talk to and they will listen just like their real life counterparts, and can refer you to a hospital or specialist with specifics on how to reach either one. Doctors will have to become good actors like the “Doctors” on TV selling their Snake Cures. It would save much time, money and aggravation for the patients, and in this fast paced environment it will fit most people’s lifestyle.   Imagine sitting in the comfort of your own home and chatting face to face with your smiling friendly “Doctor”! You probably won’t even notice the difference in the care and concern, it may even be better!

What do think about it? Let me know, I am interested really, please talk to my assistant first and I can give you at least 15 minutes and will almost immediately send you to the proper specialist!

Tale of two Shitties!

Yes, that’s right! This is a tale of two customers experience purchasing two cars from the very same dealership. Both times the dealership won, but don’t the always?

Don’t forget that Fairy Tale that you hear from the Insurance Companies that you need “Gap Insurance” to “protect” you because as soon as you drive your new car off the lot it loses value. Uh! Could it be because of the way it is financed? Cars are amortized like a mortgage! That is the reason that your shiny new car loses value! You owe more that you paid because of the interest and/or you paid too much! BTW you can by Gap insurance much cheaper by any other Insurance Company than you will pay at the dealership.

The first time the customers really needed a car, so they were under the gun.  The husband of this couple was recovering from open heart surgery, (a new cow aorta valve and double by-pass). They had been full time RVing for several years without a car, but now it was really too much for the wife to drive the 32 ft. RV to the hospital every day, and to all the Dr. visits. During the hospital stay, they rented a car at about $600 a week.

So when yet another salesperson called to see if they were ready to buy a car, the wife said yes. These are my terms; qualify me ahead of time, get me in and out fast as my husband is a heart patient, no money out of their pockets and they gave then the monthly dollar amount they were willing to pay and not a dollar more. They agreed that they could do that.

Off they went down the Yellow Brick Road to the dealership. They were showed two cars and the third one was a Red Honda Fit. This dealership has a large sign that says that their “Certified Used Cars all are in great shape. That they get a manual, a jack, and a spare tire! They got none of those, although until it was “delivered” to them they didn’t know that.

They arrived at the dealership in North Phoenix at 10:00 am and were told it would not be long, that they we very busy, but would get them in to talk to the sales closer quick. At around 5:00 they said they had to go home that the husband was very tired and he needed to eat. One of the workers went out and got them some dinner, which was nothing that the husband should eat. Boy, wasn’t that wonderful customer service that they experienced?

Yes, they should have walked (and walked was the operative word because you will remember they did not own a car)

Finally at 9:00 after saying no to all the add-ons they finally signed the papers and then were informed that they could come back in two days to pick up their car. Guess they forgot that they did not own a car. Finally they agreed to deliver it.

Now here is another kicker, the salesperson brought out another set of papers just like the ones that they signed. The figures were the same, however they changed the primary name on the title and now it was in the husband’s name. Nice!!!

Understand they loved the Red Honda Fit and named it Red Rover.   They tried many time to get the missing items and were given the “Royal Run Around”. They in fact never got any of them.

The couple received phone calls on a regular basis trying to get them to come in and trade again! Excuse me, they told them over and over that it would be a cold day in hell before they ever stepped foot in the showroom again.   Gotta give then E for effort, they kept calling.

They called again and in a weak moment the wife said they would trade again if they got all the things that were missing on the last car like: Two keys and keyless entry, a jack with a handle (that was missing on their other car, guess how much good a jack is without a handle), a manual, not the 8 x 5 sheets of paper they tried to pass of on them, cruise control, not a dime more a month and not a penny out of their pockets, AND THE BIG ONE they were to be in and out in two hours or they walk.

So they actually went in and purchased a newer White Honda Fit (remember I said they liked their Red one) with all the things they wanted. They were ready to sign the papers when the salesperson came back and said, “Sorry, I missed this on the quote, we need $780.00 more to close the deal”. Guess since they were such a push over the last time they would roll over and play dead.

Well they got up and said “Sorry, we told you not a dime out of our pockets, so thank you very much for all your help, but we are going to pass”.   They walked out and got in their old Red Honda and drove home, laughing all the way.

About 10 minutes later the phone rang and the salesperson said “Come back we will do it”.

So back they went, and said “That is good, but remember you have to get this done in two hours of we will walk out”.   They did get it done.

Just so you think that they were pretty smart consumers, the kicker is coming.

Before they had to do their first service they found out just how they were able to kick in the money!

You are gonna love this!

They were towing the car on the dolly home and when they stopped to do some shopping were checking the straps on the dolly the wife noticed a screw in the rear tire and it was slack. It just happened that they were right next to a tire shop and it was still open. They had to take the car off the dolly and the tire man informed them that ALL of the tires were not legal; they were worn down so much. He further informed them that because the screw was on the side of the tire he shouldn’t patch it. He told them that if they would only drive the far enough to get new tires he would plug it so it would stay inflated for a short time and only if they put it on the front tire which would be on the dolly. It was done at $40.00. And they were able to safely get to Seattle, WA.

They had been driving the car for nearly a year on nearly bald tires! The dealership didn’t give a damn if they would up wrapped around a tree or worse!! They made a sale and screwed them again.

They went to Discount Tire and had to buy 4 new tires at over $400.00.

By the way, the mileage on the car at the time of the purchase of the 4 new tires was 13,000 miles.  When the couple bought the Certified Used Car it had 9000 miles on the odometer.   Have you ever heard of tires wearing out that fast? In case you are wondering the couple is in there 70’s to they didn’t pop a lot of wheelies.

Do you think that they should EVER talk to the Dealership again?

There is an old saying “once burned, twice shy”.   Well they now know that it reads for them “twice burned, forever shy”.

What are the chances that they will take their Honda back EVER to that dealership for service?

 

 

 

Sir Fit the White Knight

Hi, Sir Fit, the White Knight here!

Hoping that your year has been good and you are traveling safe and happy! I am taking over for Red Rover as spokesperson for the Colbath’s. Another family fell in love with Red Rover and she has gone off on a new adventure.   No Worries!  It’s all good!  We wish her well! And I am fast becoming a member of the Colbath family.

Once Dolly–part-on and I met and hooked up we became fast friends and since the real difference between Red and I are mostly color, both Dolly-part-on, Miranda and have I got to be real close friends.

We all spent most of the Winter in North Phoenix, with our great friends Ed and Alissa, and left in February to take our new job in Waller Texas as Activity Directors at a Theme Park.  Before we left, our friend Hank helped us hook up a special hitch for our storage box on the back of Miranda to hold chairs.

For the first two months it was a kick in the pants interacting with the kids and enjoyed working with Paula, Fran, Jim, and Gayle, however, as you know sometimes “things” happen. The management was in disarray, as well as the lack of equipment to do our job effectively.  We did the best we could to organize the “office” (and I use the term office loosely), do a much needed inventory of supplies on spread sheets, leave the Activity Department well stocked for the next people to take over after we realized that the “new managers” wanted to micro-manage, and had no intention of letting us be creative with the activities.

If you know us, you know that we are very creative!

The final straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak, was when we were told that we were responsible for mowing our sites, wearing uniforms which we had to purchase, and all of this would not have been so bad if we were not working 12 hour days, and only had 2 days of, when we quit the first-time. The new managers thought that we could now work part-time in other areas of the park and only spend a “little” time in the department that we had been working full-time.

Managers/owners really should try to remember that workampers are on wheels!

Our next stop was at a very nice RV Park called Serendipity Bay, which had just got new managers, Tom and Lisa, and we really loved them. The owner of the park was an IT wannabe and he wrote the campground program.  I could have got used to not using the computer for most of the work, and doing almost everything via files and more files, however, the Caliche dust, which is everywhere in Texas was a small problem, but when the Ship Refinishing business next door started sandblasting a boat to prep it for repainting, it did me in.  Even then, with albuterol and allergy pills, I planned to stick it out until they could get someone to take our places, fortunately that was not necessary as a couple that lived in the area, was just waiting for fall to start work, so were happy to start early.   We left on good terms, we hope, with the management, as soon as we could pack and head north to Texas Hill Country to hopefully get out of the humidity.

We spent the summer being tourists, in Comfort, TX and then in Ft. Stockton and in Ft. Davis. (See my blogs)

We also spent two months visiting our Son in Bentonville, AR.  As you probably have guessed, he works for Wal-Mart.  We also took a fast trip to Batesville, AR to pick up our Granddaughter at Lyons College  to come home for the summer.

We arrived at Meridian RV Resort (1901 S. Meridian Rd. Apache Junction) (www.mericianrvresort.com) on Sept, 17th and since we were considered “on the clock” so we couldn’t just set here and play.  So we started Friday night “Happy Hours” and introduced “Nickel Bingo” to the “Early Birds” and now it has become “Quarter Bingo”.  These 55+ kids are a “very young group of 55+”.  They have welcomed us with open arms and we feel like we are “home”!  If you haven’t picked a site for the winter, you should check us out.  Don’t wait, as we will fill up early.  Our next thing that we will do is Halloween.  And we are starting out with decorating tomorrow morning and will have a Pot Luck Party with prizes and a dance with Saguaro Sunset Band playing.

We get to book bands and other acts to perform at our Dinners and Friday Night Happy Hours! Whoo Hoo! This is a Kick in the pants!!! Every Monday Morning we have a meeting with Coffee and Donuts and tell everyone about the activities for the week.

Most of you have our cell #, would love to hear from you.

BTW if you are trying to reach us, our email address at work is activities@meridianrvers.com, you know our personal email and cell numbers! We are looking for acts for our Happy Hours, and would love to hear from you.

Happy Travels!!!

 

 

 

 

Sights of Ft. Stockton

Annie Riggs Museum

Annie Riggs lead a colorful life and bore 10 children to two husbands.  She was born November 24, 1856 near Las Cruces, NM to George & Mary Frazier.  After the Civil War the family moved to Ft. Stockton.

In 1877, Annie married James Johnson, who became the first Sheriff of Pecos County; in St. Joseph Catholic Church in Ft. Stockton TX, unfortunately the marriage lasted only long enough to produce 6 children, while Annie ran the popular boarding house called Johnson Hotel.

By the late 1880’s when the marriage failed and James moved away, in 1891 when she married Barney Kemp Riggs in a Civil Ceremony, and they had 4 more children in addition to the one child Barney brought to the marriage.  

Barney received a life sentence for murder in the Arizona Territorial Penitentiary in Yuma, Riggs saved the wardens life when a riot broke out and later received a pardon, and told to leave the territory and never return

Annie was granted a divorce in 1901 and her son-in-law from her first marriage, Buck Chadborn, was named trustee for Annie’s settlement.  On April 1902 Buck shot Barney in self-defense and, since Riggs did not leave a will, the courts awarded his estate to Annie.   She used the assets to purchase the Koehler Hotel in 1904, and changed the name to Riggs Hotel, which she operated as a hotel or boarding house almost up to the time of her death at age 73, in 1931.

Anne Riggs Museum 1

Annie purchased the hotel for $5000.00 and the rate for a bed was $.50 cents, with family style meals @ 35 cents.  It was operated by various members of her family into the 1940’s then in 1955 heirs of Annie Riggs deeded the old hotel to the Fort Stockton Historical Society to be operated as a museum.

This is a must see!  On one of the walk around porch, hang many branding Irons.   It was fun to walk through the rooms, not just look through doors, as you can only do in many museums.  I have posted several pictures that I took of the outside of the museum; you will have to go through to see the inside.  It is very well preserved. 

Also you may be able to see the inside of the Grey Mule Saloon; it was closed the day we were there.

Annie Riggs Memorial Museum 301 S. Main St. FT. Stockton, TX 79735 432-336-2167

Pecos County Jail

Pecos County Jail

The old Pecos County Jail, one of the oldest structures in West, Texas was built in 1883 of 2 foot thick Limestone blocks that still show imbedded animal fossils; in the close-up picture you will see them.  It was enlarged in 1913 and now includes a museum in what used to be the Sheriff, Deputies and jailers.  The second floor housed the prisoners.   We toured the jail and found that the inside was pretty dismal for the prisoners, but then is jail supposed to be pleasant?  It is all grey; walls, floors and bars.  We turned a corner and jumped d by a prisoner in a black and white striped suit.  Scared the bejeesus out of me.

closeup of fossel imbedded in Limestone block

Jail cell in Peco County Jail

Pecos County Jail 2 jpg

We took several pictures of the cells and one of the large cell with tables, and a shower that was added in 1955. Before that buckets of water were carried up the stairs access to the cells up stairs is by a winding metal staircase.

 

Across from the jail is a nice park called Zero Stone, named because it was used as a zero marking point for all surveys.   The Pecos, County Jail, Zero Stone Park, Annie Riggs Museum, and the Grey Mule Saloon are all within easy walking distance.   

Zero Stone Park with Gazebo

 

Be sure to see the Ft. Stockton Museum where they housed the Buffalo Soldiers and, don’t forget to go see Pisano Pete! 

BTW, just up the street from the Jail is a nice restaurant called “B’s”.  They make a very good sandwich and fresh cut and cooked while you wait, fries, and reasonably priced, too! 

If you are looking for a good priced RV Park in Ft. Stockton, we stayed at Ft. Stockton RV for a month and they were very nice to us.  Dottie helped us find a place near the WiFi tower and Pool.  It is a short drive to Town and very little highway noise, although it is not far off the highway and easy back on, too!. 

Happy Traveling!

 

Another Great Adventure

We have had many Great Adventures in our lives.  Some turned out better than others, and some were Great Disasters!  But we lived them all and are still living this Greatest Adventure to the fullest.

Perhaps some introductions are in order, we are a slightly Over the hill couple in our second childhood.  The reason we know we are in our second childhood is because our kids have become our Parents!! They want us check in every day to make sure that “we are still kickin”.  I suppose it is fair, since we required that they check in when they were young.  Our daughter works in the Optometry field and as soon as we got in town she made an appointment with her Ophthalmologist for Dad because after all, we are driving that box all across the country”.

We are living and traveling in our 32-foot Coachmen Mirada, doing the “full-time RVing”!!   We opted for two Schwinn Cruisers instead toading a vehicle.   If you have ever tried to decide what to take on a two week vacation you have a very small idea of what we went through to dwindle our belongings from a 1450-square foot, three bedroom house down to fit comfortably in a 240-square foot Motorhome.

We have since traded in our bikes for a 2013 Honda Fit, which we haul on a Demco Car Caddy.   The Demco Car Caddy is the best, it has EVERY feature that you could want and need.  We later that year decided we didn’t need both bikes and a car, so the bikes went away.  We do plan on getting two of the fold-up bikes when they go on sale again at Camping World.

One of the first things that we did was to scan the drawing of the floor plan from a Coachmen brochure and enlarge and split it for two pages front and back.  Then we   measured the entire compartment for storage in the under locking storage bins, and all the cupboards, drawers, under the couch, under the dining benches and all of the overhead compartments.  We made and re-made plans for what would go in each compartment several times.

We sold everything that we could on free sites and either shipping or having people come pick-up.  Our collections of Comic Books and Paperback books went to auctions.  What we couldn’t sell we either gave away or donated.  The most valuable Comics, we stored in the Motor Home and have been selling them on Bonanza, and Addies Attic (Webstore).

Since we were full time RVing, we decided to take mostly casual clothes; either knit or permanent press and nearly all had to be folded neatly, and as compactly as possible, so it would not look like we slept in our clothes.

We only have two small closets, and they left a lot to be desired space-wise!   We decided to put shelves in the closets to put plastic trays on, with our neatly folded clothes.

So we called the 800 # for Coachmen and asked if they had any of those nice plastic shelf standards that were installed in the pantry, and we were lucky, they did!   When they arrived Shirl put them in the larger of the two closets (mine) and then made shelves, with our handy-dandy measurements, we purchased plastic bins at our ever-ready Wal-Mart, and two of then would fit perfectly on each shelf.  Now all I had to do is fit everything I wanted to take in 7 bins.

Not going to happen!! After folding and re-folding and throwing out more things, I was able to get everything packed.  Whew!!

Then we had to tackle Shirl’s closet!  His was a huge 7 inche wide, and even with the shelve standards and shelves we could not find any plastic bins to fit, so back to square one again and re-think.  We decided to hang some of his slacks and good shirts and use plastic bins in the overhead compartments over the bed.

The bed was the biggest adventure!! We were sleeping in a California King and were going to expand to a Queen.  Since, Shirl, couldn’t or wouldn’t shrink to fit, basically his feet stick out over the bottom of the Queen mattress.  Back to square one again!  No clever  answer for that one!

We wanted to take Shirl’s keyboard and two 6 ft tables so we took out the mattress, made a storage compartment with a hinge to lift it up large enough to hold them and a couple other things,  don’t remember them or why we felt we needed them.

I wish that we had taken some before, during, and after pictures of this DIY, as it was interesting. First; we had to remove the mattress, and if you ever have done this, you have a small idea of what we went through.  The mattresses on a Motor Home are rigid with wood framing and not even a little comfortable.  We were able to maneuver it out, sweating and probably swearing in about an hour.

Second; now we had to build a frame around the top of the base, this we did with 2X4’s and fastened it to the base with L brackets.

Third; we bought a sheet of 5/8 inch plywood and cut it in two pieces to fit on top of the frame.   We placed three hinges on the plywood to divide it so that we could lift it up to place the tables and Shirl’s keyboard between the base and the top.  We also used some old towels to pad the hinges just for GP. Last; we fastened the top to the frame with screws.

Fourth; Since the original mattress was so wonderful, we sold it on Craig’s list and bought a 6 inch memory foam mattress, and we has two 2 ½ inch memory foam toppers which were California King size, cut to fit our Queen mattress and so now we had about 8 inches of memory foam to sleep on.  Ahhh!

 

Our home on the Range

When we bought our Motor Home it was going to be for week-end jaunts to flea markets, but, when life sends you Lemons, as a good friend said, you make Lemonade, and so we became full time RV’ers.

We bought our 32 foot, 2005 Motor Home in 2009, with only 6000 miles on her odometer; she has 35,000 now, in great condition.  And for the first two years, we just enjoyed her, and if it seems strange that I refer to it as a “her” it is because we named her “Miranda”.  She is a Coachmen Mirada and when we sent out Newsletters, everyone mistakenly called her Miranda, so we let it stick, and she is a good sport about it and doesn’t   correct anyone, she just smiles.

Our Motorhome

She is a good girl, and gets really good gas mileage, 7 to 8 mpg.  We don’t try to get where we are going in a huge hurry and set the cruise control at around 55 to 58 mph.  We like to see the scenery and not whizz by to get where we are going, most of the time we are going to a new job and have time to enjoy the trip.  You never can tell we might want to stop and explore.

When we decided to go full time RVing we had to re-think a lot of things.  I have posted quite a few pictures to show the before and after of our re-modeling project.    I have to admit, I didn’t think about writing about our DIY projects so they aren’t great.  Forgive! After a very short time it became evident that the couch was comfortable only laying down, but was an uncomfortable as heck to set on, even though it made into a bed, it had to go!

The main area also had a Dinette set consisting of two bench seats facing each other with a table attached to the wall between, that could be taken off and put between the two seats, and using the back cushions, actually make a full size bed, so it was advertised to sleep 6, that is if they were very good friends.  The dinette set was a pain in the back, to get at the storage under the seats and not that comfortable to set on either.   I was ready to get rid of them the first year, but it took two years for me to convince my husband.

Set of 2 Dinette Chairs with storage under from 2005 Coachmen Motor Home 1

Set of 2 Dinette Chairs with storage under from 2005 Coachmen Motor Home 3

Our Mobile Office

Cclose up of cabinet with sliding doorsIMG

We drew up plans to make a storage cabinet with sliding doors and adjustable shelves using Note Pad.   My Husband, did a great job of figuring out the sizes, we went to Lowes and bought a sheet of 4X8 plywood and they cut it to our specifications so all we had to do was put it together and stain it. Sounds real easy, right?  We had to hunt for sliding door tracks, and decided on some heavy vinyl tracks, which work good if periodically you soap the edges of the sliding door.   We also stained the cabinet grey and put two coats of Varathane.

The Dinette Set and the couch were bolted to the floor, with big bolts, and so were the seat belts!  It took several days of working to get them both out of the Motorhome. BTW, the couch came apart in two pieces, so getting it out the door, was not that hard, even though we were told it was put in before the coach was built and we would have to take off the door.

Couch to bed from 2005 Coachmen Motor Home 1

My Bed

I put an ad on Craig’s List and within 2 days sold them for $300.  With that money we paid for the material for the cabinet and purchased one of our 2 Heat/Massage chairs to replace the couch.  Those chairs were the best investment we have made in a long time.

Heat Massage Chairs 1

We also purchased two Grey file cabinets for our office, which we put on each side of the cabinet.  We discovered that we have more “stuff” (don’t we all?) than we could fit into the cabinet and file cabinets, so purchased some White plastic cabinets with drawers, which we adhered to the top of the file cabinets with some putty designed for sticking stuff down when traveling in a Motorhome when we travel we lock the file cabinets, and tape the plastic drawers shut.

Cabinet  with sliding doors 1

BTW, the “putty” can be purchased at any RV store.   We stick anything down that could vibrate off any surface.

The table we cut down to a size that is big enough to fit our laptops back to back.  We then purchased two office chairs. Unfortunately there is not enough room to put a piece of paper or a book, on the side by the laptops, so in our next project we are going to make a new table with a leaf only on one side.  About the only thing that we like about the table is that it is Grey.  Shirl designed the cabinet and will design the table on the computer on Note Pad.

Our Office

I don’t know if you can see the workmanship really well, I truly wish that I had had the foresight to take before, during the construction, and after.  But they are what they are, and we like them.

Two more projects are coming, the mugly, ugly TV goes out and a new flat screen smart TV goes in with doors to protect it while traveling and new curtains with Cornices for the main windows.

 

Buffalo Soldiers

 

This week we toured part of the Historic Ft. Stockton and plan on going back again in a couple weeks to see more of the fort buildings that are being renovated.  The only building open was the museum.  Some of the buildings will not be available to tour, but seeing where these brave men fought and died is worth heat. 

The 10th Cavalry Regiment was formed September 21, 1886 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  They were named “Buffalo Soldiers” for two reasons, their fierce fighting, and by their black kinky hair, which to the Native Americans reminded them of the big, hard to kill Buffalo which sported large shaggy fur on its head and shoulders.

The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry fought during the Civil War as part of the Union Army.  As slaves and as freemen the Black man has served in French and Indian War, American Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, in the Battle of New Orleans.  In the Civil War (oxymoron), 180,000 Black men wore the Union Blue, and 33,380 died in that conflict?

When that war ended the Western unrest began.  The Indians resented be pushed off their land and onto Reservations, where they could not hunt as they did in the past.  Their Buffalo were being hunted for sport to extinction, and they relied on the Buffalo for their livelihood. 

In July of 1866, Congress passed an Act that increased the number of regiment’s form 19 to 45, and they stipulated that 2 cavalry and 4 infantry units “shall be composed of colored men”.   For the first time the regiments were authorized as part of the regular army.

They were the 9th and 10th Cavalry and 38th, 39th, 40th, and 41st United States Infantry.  Colonel Edward Hatch was selected to command the 9th Cavalry, and Colonel Benjamin Grierson commanded the 10th.

The 9th Cavalry was stationed at Fort Stockton in the summer of 1867.  These men came from the cooler climates to the South East United States, and the fact that they were able to acclimate to the dry, hot of the west is testament to their strength. They were named Buffalo Soldiers by the Indians as a gesture of extreme respect, because the Buffalo was the most sacred animal to the Indians. The 10th accepted the compliment and used the image on their crest. 

Black troops served at Fort Stockton from 1867 to 1886, and Black units have served in the Spanish American War, Philippine Insurrection, Mexican Punitive Expedition, World War 1, World War 2, and the Korean War.  In the mid 1950’s the last Black units were desegregated.  

When we go back I will take some pictures and post them. 

 

What Workampers want to see in Work Wanted Advertisements?

Our MotorhomeEmployers Listen Up

Even though we do want to know all the wonderful things that your park has to offer!

What we really want to see is specifically WHERE you are located, what are the hours that you are expecting us to work for trade-off for our site, what is included with the trade-off site i.e. water, sewer, electricity, propane, laundry stipend, and what HOURLY wage you are paying in addition to the trade-off, or for all hours worked. We also want your website address, the physical address, your telephone number, who to contact, and their position.  I prefer to not send out cover letter with “to whom it may concern”.

Be prepared for the questions that we will be asking.   Wi-Fi is important to us, as we want to keep in touch with relatives, and we will be looking for our next position, as most of the Workamper jobs are from 3 to 6 months.  Most of us follow the sun!  That is we want to go North in the summer, and South in the winter.

Don’t do the “your site is worth X dollars per hour bit”, as most of us are wise to that ploy.  Some of the Managers try to lump the “retail value of the lot rent, electricity, water, and sewer, along with their inflated value of the amenities and add the monthly pay to that and try to make you think that the value, is equal to what you are being paid.  NOT!  It is true that most of the parks have a specific place that they allow the workampers to park, not premium sites, but most of us do not expect that.

We will be asking if you have Wi-Fi, is it high speed and/or do you have repeaters throughout the park, and if everyone is on in the evening, can we still get on to check emails.  We KNOW, or should know, that streaming videos are out of the question.  We also want to know about the cell phone reception, even though we will be checking with our carriers, we still want you to tell us honestly.

One of the questions that I ask is “What are the good, bad and the ugly about your park and the position”? Maybe not in that actual form, but I will ask enough questions so that I will have a pretty good idea, however I have been bamboozled enough times, that I know that I am not even close to perfect.

For instance, we took a job that promised $2500 a month plus a FHU site, 8 people to manage, sounds great, right.  We got there at approximately $500 expense, and found that they were using ”the new math” and the only way we would actually receive the $2500 a month, was if we stayed a year. This was not going to happen with no one working for us, and none in sight, office not finished, no computer, telephone, and no equipment to do the job. The last straw was that we were responsible for mowing our own site.

Every day we were informed of a new task was our responsibility, so that we ended up working from 8am to 8pm every day.  We only got 2 days off when we quit the first time and stupidly relented to stay, only to be dismissed when they hired new managers.  We left the next managers well equipped, us a lot sadder, but wiser.  We are still smarting from that experience.

Remember, we travel to the jobs at our own expense!  We are pulling 54 feet total length and we estimate the cost to travel, at the current gas prices and several nights stay on the way, at 50 cents a mile. So, if we travel 500 to 1000 miles to the job we estimate the cost to get to the job at $250.00 to $500.00 and if we get there and you have used a lot of “poetic license” with the condition of the park, and what you actually expect form us,  please remember we are on wheels!  Do not think that just because we traveled a long distance for the job that we are so desperate that we will cave in and stay.  There are other places near you, most of the time that are also looking for workers.

There is a need for good workers and most of us have worked in other professional positions and are retired, but do not mistake that to mean that we will work for nothing. As a matter of fact most of us need to be paid in addition to our site.  Not all of the workampers are independently wealthy.  In addition to the expense of traveling to your part/resort, we are also responsible for our health insurance, and repair of our vehicles.

Many of you state in your ads to send a picture of us and our rigs,  work history, and references, but are reluctant to give us specific and honest information about your site and exactly what work you expect us to do.  That should be a two way street! Remember since most of us are “retired”, we are also not 21 anymore.  If the work is heavy lifting, please be specific about how much and how often we have to do heavy work.   Even though we are healthy we are not pack mules and may need to stop and rest occasionally.

Happy Traveling

Fuddruckers

Luby’s Fuddruckers Restaurants, LLC 13111 NW Freeway, Suite 600 Houston, TX 77040 Phone: 713.329.6800

To whom it may concern:

My Husband and I are full time RV’ers and sometime try new places to eat, however, while in Kerrville, TX we drove through the town and nothing looked inviting to us, however we spotted your Fuddruckers restaurant and remembered that in Phoenix, Arizona we have had many good meals.

We noticed on the Menu that you have Buffalo Burgers and decided to have them as we do not eat a lot of red meat, however, Buffalo is an exception, since while in South Dakota we had Buffalo Burgers, and Buffalo steaks several times and the local people told us to have them cooked “medium rare” because the meat is so lean and the Buffalo are not fed any additives. 

So we ordered two of them, paid extra for cheese, my husband ordered Onion Rings, he asked for his to be cooked medium and asked for mine to the medium rare.   We were really hungry, we waited for at least 20 minutes, were about ready to ask if they were having trouble catching the Buffalos out back, when our buzzer went off. 

I took two bites of my Burger and discovered that it was very close to “well done”.   We discussed whether to have another one cooked when the Staff Manager came by and asked how our order was.  I said ”Its not done like I ordered, I ordered it Medium Rare”; he said “Sorry about that, but the Buffalo meat is frozen and we have to thaw it”.  I showed him the burger and he agreed it was not cooked right.  So he said he would make me another one.  He started to take my plate and I asked him to leave the plate so I could at least eat the Fries.  So off he went! 

Twenty minutes later he came back with another Buffalo Burger with no cheese and asked me if I wanted a knife to check it?  I said no I will just wrap it up and take it home, because my husband by that time had eaten his burger (cooked the way he wanted it).  Of course, they put fries on his plate instead of the onion rings he ordered, but since they were not on our bill we just let it go.

To his credit the Staff Manager asked if I wanted a knife to cut it to make sure it was done right.  I figured that they would be “extra careful the second time” and just left the restaurant, while we were cooling down the car, I decided to take a quick bite, I discovered that this one was so well done that it would have been like shoe leather. 

We went back in and showed the Staff Manager that it was not even close to what I wanted; he asked if I wanted yet another one cooked.  I did not!  I asked for my money back!  I also said that if the cooks were trying to get even with me for sending it back, they did a great job!

For about 5 minutes both the Staff Manager and one of the other employees tried to figure out how to make the register put the money back on our credit card, finally in desperation, he just guestimated what my burger would be and handed the money to my husband. We left, very unsatisfied.

We both have worked in Sales and Customer Service for most of our lives and this wasn’t even close to what we would have done. 

First, you have a big sign in the lobby that says something like this “frozen? All our meat is fresh”.   Second, if you do not sell enough Buffalo Burgers to have some meat thawed, maybe you should not have it on your menu.  We should have been told up front that the Buffalo meat is frozen and has to be thawed! And we also should have been told of the wait time for our order, so that we could have picked another item that would have been faster.

 And what does fresh or frozen have to do with cooking it properly? 

6/25/2014 phoned corporate offices left message as no one answered the phone.   Left the following message “ This is Brenda Colbath, (telephone #) for your email address to send a letter of complaint, if I receive a call back within 24 hours will sent it to you, if not will put it on Facebook thank you the number is(telephone).

As of today, I have not received a return phone call.

 

Why do people need to lie?

I will never understand why people need to lie.  In my other life I was a Realtor for 30 years, and during that time I sold many homes to many happy people and never had to lie, to make the sale.  If I knew of a defect in the house I would disclose it, as a matter of fact, would try to find the defects, and would either negotiate the repair of the defect or try to get a satisfactory price reduction, to make my client happy, or find them another home.

In my current life I am a full time workamper and take jobs for a full hook-up site, or FHU and salary, which most of the time is minimum wage.  I do not lie on my resume, on my work history, and have permission from anyone on my references.

The information that I receive from prospective employers is a horse of another color!  As an example;

About 6 months ago I talked to the National Supervisors about a position as Activity Directors at a “Theme Park´ (which will remain nameless), for my husband and myself, I was told that:

  1. They just finished a 5 million dollar Rec Center (the operative word here is finished).
  2. We would be co-directors (we assumed that there was another couple to share the work load, not so, we are it).
  3. Our salary was $2500.00 A month and FHU (Full Hook UP for RV) and propane at ½ price.
  4. We would have a staff to schedule the work.
  5. They would like us to arrive a month early so that we could get familiar with the “program”.

So far this is what we found when we arrived nearly a month early:

The manager was new and did not know we would be on salary and we would have to work for site which was 9 hrs. each.  When we told her 9 hours was not enough time to get ready and that we were supposed to be on salary, she had to “check on it”.  We were finally told that starting Saturday we would indeed be on salary.  So we either had to cool our heels at our site or go the work gratis.

Seeing the disarray of the Rec building, the tee shirts, and the ceramics, we opted to go to work.

BTW the 5 million dollar Rec Center was not completed- no Wi-Fi for us to work with, no computers, and our “office” is not finished, and has a trench through the middle of the floor, also there is no telephone.  There are no other directors; my husband and I are it!!!

On our own time we inventoried all of the ceramics, tee shirts and kitchen supplies and put all of them on spread sheets on our own computers.  There was no inventory available and certainly no spread sheets.

Our staff consisted of us for a week, until we begged for another couple that was also waiting to go to work in the store.  They were assigned to us and between us we prepared all the paints for painting the ceramics by manually shaking all the gallon cans and marking the colors of each one, labeling and filling all the under stock paints and the small containers for everyday use.  We moved the ceramics and tee shirts into the new area of the rec center from the old area, cleaned the kitchen, and cleaned the tables and set up for the Sunday morning breakfast that we were also in charge of.   We also had to hunt and peck for whom to order supplies from, have managed to find all of the vendor’s telephone numbers and have ordered supplies for all or part of the year.

It seemed like every day a new task has been  assigned and when we asked where was the information on previous years so we would have a track to run on we were told to “make it up as we go along”.  That is what we have been doing, but do not know how long we can take the disorganization.  We set-up all the activities for a month on the very slow Wi-Fi and program and was told it was wrong and needed to do it different!   I do not have time to putz with the program now and will get around to it when I can, otherwise someone else can change it.

We are responsible for cleaning the Rec room and taking out the trash, wash and drive the Train and Fire Truck (either us or one of our many workers) around the park on a weekly basis.  In addition we have three costumed characters that we have to have all three out every day (one at a time).

The final straw that is breaking the camel’s back was delivered last week, when we were told that we were responsible for mowing our own site.  Most of us RV’ers do not carry lawn equipment with us and a Full Hook-up site means it is provided without us having to mow.  Maintenance was told they could only mow our sites on their own time.

We now have another couple coming to work this week and were told that they have three more people that we can call in to work.  Must be the new math, because, that doesn’t sound like ten people.

We are looking for another job and will have to leave just like most of the other people have done in the past.  It seems that this park has a reputation of going through people fast.

Just for the record, I do not like to leave a job until the end of our contract, however, what RV Parks/Resorts needs to understand about “Workampers” is that we are independent contractors, and we are on wheels!  Most of us are retired or “just tired” and are not slaves or indentured servants and we work most of the time for minimum wage.

Employers should feel lucky to have us work for them!  We do many of the jobs that they could not get anyone else to do.  And sometimes we feel like they think that the site that we get is a big perk.  We more than earn that little piece of dirt with water, sewer, and electricity!

The funny thing is even if they told us the absolute truth we might have taken the job, and would have stuck it out until the end, and smiled all the time, because we are honorable people.

And they are always glad you came

Remember the song from the TV show Cheers?

That’s what it felt like when we visited our RV friends at Leisure Valley RV Park and Butterfield RV Resort and Observatory was sorry we had to leave. We got lots of hugs, with everyone asking where we were off to this time.

When we got to Leisure Valley, we parked in a pull-through up front in the nightIy spots and didn’t even unhook the White Knight; Sir Fit. It was a blast to play Bocce again with Juanita & Tim, Jack & Carol, Bob, Elmer and all the other friends.  We also enjoyed the “Happy Hours” and the “Redheaded Slut” drinks!  Just saying!

The Hot Tub was wonderful and hated to leave it.  The night all us “girls” spent in it gabbing was great fun.

Had fun playing bingo; Shirl won a game!! But all too soon our time to leave came and we had to head down the road.

When we got to Butterfield, we parked in a pull-through, but unhooked Sir Fit from Dolly Part-On, as we wanted to do a little sight-seeing.  The last time we were at Butterfield we didn’t have a car. Larry and Kathy were nice enough to take us to Tombstone and to watch the Cranes land in the Marsh south of the Park.  This time we went to Bisbee and took the Queen Mine tour.  That was very interesting and a little cool.  It is 47 degrees in the mine and it is an hour tour.  We rode (thank you) trams down into the mine and saw much of the equipment that the miners worked with and our guide had worked in that mine.  Those miners were strong men-the drills weighted over 200 lbs.

We visited with Clara, even though she was just getting over a cold.  We also played games and visited with everyone as much as we could and got lots of hugs.  Clara and Tom are heading off on an around the US trip and hope we meet up with them again.

We played Bridge Saturday morning and Texas Hold’Em one evening.  I only lost 50 cents.  We watched Clara do some make-up Wii bowling and went out for Pizza with Larry, Kathy, Steve, and Diane one night.

We also watched the Super Bowl and had a great time cheering for the Sea Hawks.  We must have cheered enough as they really whipped the Broncos!!! Also ate tons of good food while relaxing in our chairs that Shirl carried up to the Rec Hall.   Was great to see them finally come into their own and get the recognition that they deserve.

Our White Knight (Sir Fit) loved getting out on the road and made great mileage (36MPG) as he knew he would be hooked up on Dolly Part-on behind Miranda for the rest of the trip to Texas.  He really strutted his stuff!   Miranda and Dolly was real proud of him.

The road trips are always fun.  Sitting in our fish bowl front window seats we can see all the scenery as we speed (55 MHP) by.  This trip it was interesting to see the frost on the trees that made them look like they had lace on them when we got into Texas.  BTW remember the song “Waltzing across Texas”? Well it would have been a long dance.  I-10 is a long stretch on road that seems like it goes on forever and we remarked once or twice that it is miles and miles of nothing by miles and miles.  Still it is beautiful country and the roads were very good.  And very little construction!  Yeah! Many times on our trips we find construction and in some places, they have a desperate need for it.

As it turned out, we probably should have stayed a couple days longer as we encountered several days of cooold weather.  In Ft. Stockton the water pipes were frozen and we had to go into the restrooms to get some drinking water.  We pulled into Kerrville KOA, because there was a lot of fog or haze up ahead of us and our smart phones suggested we get off the road.  The nice man (owner of the park) came out with a big bucket of hot water and thawed out the faucet to let us fill up our water containers for the refrigerator.  We then unhooked the water, drained the hose and used our fresh water from our holding tank to take showers.

Well we got here at Lone Star Jellystone RV Park and are starting to get organized.  Stay tuned for more adventures on the road.

Big Brother technology is watching out for you Sister

Just when you thought technology was at its apex, along comes the iBag for shopaholics!  That’s right now you can buy a handbag that will stop you from overspending by going on a shopping spree.  It will actually lock so you can’t open it to get your handy dandy credit card and further it will alert your partner (which can be anyone of your choosing) that you are in danger and are on the prowl at a mall or your favorite shopping spot.

The company says “tongue in cheek” that women are more likely to use their credit cards to over shop and not pay off the balance at the end of the month.  Duh!  Could it be because the disparity between the salaries women can earn to the amount that men can earn is still far apart? They are developing a male version.  But don’t hold your breath that it will be locking to prevent him for shopping.  I could not find a site where it is available at the present time, but rest assured the iBag is on its way.

I did find an iWallet designed for men that houses credit cards and cash that is supposed to protect credit card info from being stolen by credit card thieves.  Interesting enough site where I found both of these showed styles, a place to “like” on social networking sites, and a shopping cart, but alas, no pricing.  So I did what I always do and clicked on the “buy” button and checked out the prices.  It also showed $100.00 dollar bills in the money holder.  The lowest priced iWallet was $269.00.  However, could not find a pricing for the Ladies locking purse.  Wanna guess the price? And you bet it can be put on your handy dandy Credit Card.

Ladies save your money and your sanity and cut up your credit cards and get a Debit card.  Now you can only spend the money you actually have, and no big bills at the end of the month.

Ah Yes 2013 was a great year.

We spent the winter in North Phoenix RV Park volunteering to be Activity Directors which meant that we did the things that we love to do.  Plan Parties, Pot Lucks, and Theme Dinners and breakfasts.  We must have done it well as people threatened to disable our RV so we couldn’t leave.  We got a lot of hugs and lots of “will you be back next year?” and “you throw a heck of a party, thanks!”

In early spring we were offered and accepted a Workamper Job with the Mt. Rushmore History Association as Cashiers at the Book Stores in Keystone, SD.  We were to arrive on May 1st for our first day of work. We arrived close to Keystone in a snow storm so bad that we not only had second thoughts about the job, but were not sure where we were.  We saw a sign for Custer’s Gulch RV Park and pulled in.  The people at the office were very nice and let us stay the night even though they were not open for the season.  The season is quite short in South Dakota, as you can imagine. The next morning we woke to a winter wonderland, the ground was covered with about 3 or 4 inches of snow.  It started melting and was gone by the next day.

We were offered, an RV space, contracted by the Historical Society for $1.25 an hour for each of us deducted from our pay.  We chose to get our own site and pay for it and keep the $1.25.  As it turned out it was to our advantage, as the first week one of the workampers wives was taken to the hospital and was out of commission for several weeks, so we volunteered to work overtime which meant we worked 6 days a week and did grocery shopping and Laundry in our day off.  By the time she could come back to work and we were back on 5 days a week we were exhausted, but considerably richer as the most we paid for our site and electric was about $400.00 a month.  She returned to work and finished her contract and by the time we left she looked in good health.

We decided on Holy Smoke RV Park (very few RV Parks or Resorts are open until the 15th of May).  Holy Smoke RV Park was basically a site with full hook-up with no amenities except deer and wild turkeys,   sometimes right next to our Motor Home.  Several times, we had to wait for them to get out of the road to get out of the park.  We also learned to drive down the mountain at night with our high beams on, as the deer crossed the road at their leisure, and we heard that there is at least one deer hit every year.  The owner also owned the Holy Smoke Restaurant just a short climb up the hill from the park and served Buffalo Steaks. YUM YUM!! BTW Buffalo steaks or burgers have to be cooked rare or medium rare or it is like shoe leather!  Hard to imagine that something that good is actually good for you.

The nearest Walmart was in Rapid City about 30 miles and Laundry was in Hill City about 12 miles away.  Red Rover loved the drive as it was all four lane highway.  During the tourist season as you can imagine, the prices go up exponentially with the arrival of tourists; everything gets more expensive in Keystone than we were willing to pay.   We discovered a great place to do laundry!  In Hill City there is a Gas Station/Deli/Laundry/Casino on the main street!  You did see that there was a Casino, right?  Well, most of the time while our clothes were drying we played a little.  We won enough money most of the time to pay not only for our Laundry, but to drive to Rapid City and pay for our weeks groceries.  We are not real serious gamblers, if we win with our $10.00 we stay, if not we leave.  The first week we went to Rapid City for groceries and Gas we stopped at a little Casino call Jokers, and I walked out with $148.00.  We didn’t win all the time, but was fun when we did.

Cashiering is not difficult.  Learning the somewhat antiquated computer system was somewhat of a challenge, when in the middle of a very large order the computer shut down, we sweat a little trying to remain calm; smiling when we had to “reboot” and start all over again, while keeping people from charging like angry Rhinos to get their purchases rang up so they could catch their tour buses, or just get on with their tour.  Sometimes we just wanted to say “Calm down, you are on vacation”! We understood no one loves to stand in line, but” we could only do what we could do”.

We worked in one of three stores, but rarely the same on two days in a row.  As you enter the park through the big Granite arches on the right is the Information Center which is manned or womaned by a Ranger or two when the busy season started and a small book store.  They also rent (for FREE) wheelchairs! Directly across the Granite walkway is the Audio Tour building where you can rent Audio Wands to hear information about what you are seeing and about the park.  On either side of the Audio Tour building, in huge letters is sign for the Mens and Ladies Rooms.  Several times a day a frantic vacationer would come in, interrupt another customer and say “Where’s the restrooms”, after a few weeks on the job we would just point with a smile across the walkway.

As you walk up the 200 yard Granite walkway you will see a bust of Gutzon Borglund, the sculptor on the left, and on the right is a plaque that has all of the 400 workers names.   The amazing thing to me is that he scouted the Black Hills on horseback for weeks to find this mountain.  He looked at it and decided that it would be perfect.  He didn’t have any of the modern technologies to ascertain that it could be sculpted, I say sculptured for want of a better word!  BTW 90% of the sculpting was done with dynamite.  When the guys first started working with the dynamite, they complained of headaches, when they started wearing gloves the headaches stopped. One of the ingredients in the Dynamite is Nitro Glycerin.

Btw, there were minor accidents in sculpting the mountain, but no one lost their lives, and it cost less than a million dollars.  By today’s rules and regulations, it could not have been done.  Most of the workers were mine workers, so were familiar with the tools and the concept.

As you continue up the walkway, there is a huge gift shop on the left and a restaurant on the right. As you continue up to the sculptures, lined with granite pillars with a flag of each of the states and several provinces.  At this point; if you are not awed by the spectacle of the magnificent faces, just wait until you get to the Grand View Terrace!  You can look at “the guys” (as we called them) through the Viewers or just take tons of pictures.  Many times I took visitors (point and shoot) cameras and took pictures of them with the faces as a background.  We are probably in hundreds of pictures just going to and from work.

You may see several White Mountain Goats just walking in the park and feeding.  As many times as we tell people that they are not tame, photography enthusiasts try to get close and sometime try to get a picture of themselves beside a goat or worse, a picture of their kids beside or on the back of a goat. One of the Rangers jobs is to protect the visitors from themselves and their enthusiasm!  The goats are not indigenous to the area.  A brilliant bureaucrat decided that it would be great to have several on display for visitors to Custer State Park and had nice large fenced arena built just for them.  Guess what? He forgot that they are Mountain Goats and can climb!  They promptly got out and went up into the mountains never to be rounded up.  They multiplied and you may see them along side of the road and if you climb on the mountains.   As a matter of fact sometimes looking through binoculars you will spot them on the Presidents heads.

Now that you are at Grand View terrace you will not only see the faces but looking down you can see the open auditorium with the stage.  You can take two flights of stairs down or the elevator to the main floor to the Ranger Station, the largest Book Store, the Borglum Museum, Movie Theaters, and more bathrooms.   When you look out through the full wall windows you will see the Sculptures.  Every night there is a patriotic presentation with a movie and all the past and present Veterans are invited up on the stage for the flag lowering.  I have seen the Rangers make special arrangements for dis-abled Veterans to get to the stage.  It is very moving and most people have tears in their eyes and sometimes just telling tourists about it we get a little misty eyed.

If you are into hiking there is the Presidents Trail that goes as close as you can get to the mountain and down to the Sculptures Studio.  At the Sculptures Studio, there is a “Ranger talk” several times a day. The studio was actually used by Gutzon and there is a 1/12 the size model of the faces on the mountain.  I have taken many pictures of people in front of them.  Another side light, when you got down to the Sculpture’s Studio the only way back to Grand View Terrace is a lot of steps  or back up the Presidents trail.  The Sculpture’s Studio does not have a public restroom, however about half way up the steps there is one. I worked there a lot and that was the hardest thing to say no to people.  Sometimes people got down there and realized that they could not climb the stairs and we called the rangers to arrange transportation back.  Several times we have had to call the Rangers to come get people that collapsed from the strain and lack of water.  We have a fountain at the Sculpture’s Studio, but no water for sale.  The Rangers could make arrangements for handicapped to drive down, but because there was a very small parking lot it could not be open to the public.  I climbed the stairs once and that was enough! When I worked down there and Shirl worked up at the top, I dropped him off and drove down.  There is an electronic gate that our badges would open.  I felt a little guilty, but we got enough walking just getting to work, we lost about 30 lbs each.

We were asked to invite people to purchase a yearly membership in the Historical Society.  They got a 15% discount in all book stores in any National Park in the US and 10% at the other concessions by Zanterra. They cost $30.00 for individual membership, or $50.00 for family membership which gave them two cards and 2 audio tours.  We received a credit for the sales of them and at the end of the contract we were given gift cards, the value of which depended on how many memberships we sold.  We really enjoyed spending them when we got back to Phoenix.

We were given a VIP card and one of the History Society cards that got us into many of the things to see in the Black Hills, and we did as much sight-seeing as we had time for.  Look on facebook and as time permits I am putting albums on of the attractions that we had time to visit.  We really enjoyed our time in South Dakota.  The scenery is beautiful and the people are friendly and the air is fresh and clean.  If you haven’t visited this area, you should put it on one of your must do’s!

Been away for awhile

It’s been over a year since I have blogged.

No excuses.

2012 was not a very good year for my family.

2013 was a lot better; however will blog about it later.

My husband, Shirl, had heart surgery; he now has a new Aorta valve donated from a very giving cow, we were never told whether it was Daisy Mae or Ferdinand, and a double By-pass courtesy of one of the best Heart Surgeon in Phoenix.  He was pretty resilient in his recovery, mainly because in the previous two years he became a whole lot more serious about his health after he had two stents put in.  He is a very stubborn man, and when he likes something he wants a lot of it, so to give up butter (cold Turkey) was an accomplishment.  Of course, the heart to heart talk with the surgeon that inserted the stents didn’t hurt either. We were walking a mile a day within a month of his discharge.  We progressed to 3 miles most days.

About 15 years ag0 he had a virus attack his heart, and no, we don’t know what kind of virus it was, and, basically he died in the Doctor’s office.  Thankfully, he was revived and spent a week in ICU and the aftermath was that he has a-fib; i.e. his heart has an irregular beat.  Good thing that he was never a regular guy.  The part of his heart that controls the beat was and still is damaged, but the rest is in good shape now.

If you have ever had to navigate the mired of rules with Medicare Health, you can sympathize. Sometimes the cheapest is not the best.  Too bad the government didn’t get that memo. The Insurance plan that we chose does not have a monthly premium, but has co-pay for a Doctor visit, Hospital, Urgent Care, and Drugs.  Which works great for us most of the time? Read on!

We were in Benson, AZ working at Butterfield RV resort that had a work-out room, and tons to activities in addition to a heated pool and a spa.  The neat thing about this resort is that we were within walking or biking of a Walmart and right next to a small strip mall with a Safeway and an Ace Hardware.  We did not have a car so this was ideal as we could ride our bikes up a modest hill to Walmart and pack our groceries in cloth bags on the back of our bikes.

In January Shirl started getting some double vision, He had a prisom put on his glasses and that helped some.  Then all of a sudden Shirl started getting too tired to walk, ride, and work was getting hard.  On yet another appointment with another Ophthalmologist in Sierra Vista, we were sent over to the hospital across the road to get a blood test.  Since it was across the road and at that time we did not have a car, we opted to walk.   On the way, Shirl tripped over a branch on the sidewalk and fell face down.  Damn, we could see the Hospital!

An Emergency Vehicle saw the accident and stopped to help.  They transported Shirl to the Hospital across the road and he had an MRI and it appeared that he did not fall due to a stroke. Good news!  He looked like a prize fighter that lost the fight!  We actually made it through our contract with the resort, in May and headed for Phoenix, for another visit with his Heart Doctor. (His heart surgeon advised us that he would need a valve replacement sooner rather than later” the Doctors words”).  I now know what being in shock feels like.

Now the fun began.  Because his teeth were in such bad shape, he needed to have all the top teeth and some of the bottom teeth pulled, and it needed to be done before he could have Heart Surgery. If he didn’t do it before, he would have to wait at least a year after Heart Surgery to have them pulled.  Remember I told you he is stubborn?  He neglected his teeth in favor of minor things like a roof over our heads and food!

Since he was on Coumadin he had to stop taking it and had to have two shots a day of Lovenox for a week before an Oral Surgeon could pull them.  Wonderful!  Guess what? Going to a Doctor’s office to have the shots was out of the question.  The logistics of Shirl giving himself the shots was not good.  Soooo, I was drafted to do the deed!  It took me two days of a lot of “self-talk” to get mentally ready, because I am not a Nurse and usually pass out when I get have a blood draw on myself, and from this experience do not aspire to be one.  The good thing is that the needles come all filled and sealed, and when they are used all you had to do was press on the plunger again and the needle disappears inside. Easy Peasey! Not!

We thought we needed to have an Oral Surgeon pull them; however we have since learned that you can’t bleed to death from teeth being pulled.  Oh well! To soon old and too late smart! We got a lot of free quotes form Dentists that would pull the teeth and only charge $4000.00 for the set of upper dentures and a new partial for the bottom.  We were starting to be afraid that Shirl may have to go toothless forever.

Through a lot of fighting with the Insurance Company by going up three tiers of Insurance Representatives, we finally got the okay to have the teeth pulled and got partial payment for the Oral Surgeon.  When his mouth finally stopped bleeding and healed, we had another appointment with the Heart Doctor and he told us the time is now for his heart surgery. We only had to deal with the Insurance Company.  Fun Stuff!

We were told by the Insurance Company, that the Catheter that he needed to have to ascertain the condition of the heart, before surgery had to be “Out Patient”, and we were responsible for the whole $15,000.00, yikes!!  We were devastated.  So while we were trying to figure out how we could possible pay for the out-patient procedure and the surgery, our children came to town to visit.  While we were all out walking, yes, he still liked to walk, Shirl became so distressed that we took him to the hospital and he was admitted.  Once he was admitted it was determined that the catheter was necessary and was done, so we dodged that bullet, and it became part of the hospital bill.

The saddest thing that happened was that they had to cut his wedding ring off as it was very tight on his finger and he probably would have some swelling.  We all almost cried when he looked up with very sad eyes, and said “I have had that ring on my finger for 50 years”!  The Nurse that was cutting it off almost cried, too.  He was delayed a day because of an emergency of his heart Doctor and when he finally went up for surgery we were glad, scared, and relieved.  Then we all just withdrew into ourselves and waited.  When the Doctor finally came out and said it was a success we were all nearly ready to collapse. Shirl was doing fine!

BTW, all surgical patients look like hell after surgery! There were many tubes and IV’s hooked up to him, he was pale as a ghost and with a wonderful Nurse at his side at all times.  She patiently said many times “Mr. Colbath just relax and lay still” as the first thing that he wanted to do was get up.  I was a basket case, and probably looked worse than him.  Our Daughter was a Rock.  I probably leaned on her a lot more than I remember. She stayed with me until he was released.   Even though our Son had to fly back home, we communicated by phone and email often.

The follow-up by Banner Thunderbird Hospital was excellent.  As soon as he was released we were visited by a nurse and therapist on a weekly basis to make sure he was taken care of. He had a fuzzy Heart pillow that was given to him at the hospital that became his best friend. Heart patients cannot use their arms to push themselves up from a chair for months.  Before he could leave the hospital he had to learn how to dress and undress, how to get in and out of bed, how to go up and down stairs and get in and out of a shower.  The hospital staff was amazed at how fast he progressed!  We came to visit every day and stayed until time to go home to dinner. As a matter of fact, I cooked food for him and brought it in to be heated for him.  We walked him around the “track” as many times as he would and could every day.  By the time he was released, he was walking by himself and they told him he was setting records.  LOL

We also found out he doesn’t do well with pain medication.  Every time they asked if he wanted some pain medication he said “I guess so” and when we were visiting him he was telling us about the dog that was biting his hand and that all of the members of all of the Star Trek, Star Wars, and Babylon Five, movies were visiting, we decided that he did not need any more pain medication and told them not to give him anymore.

While Shirl was in the Hospital, I rented a car and when he got home we had to take it back.  Wait! I got used to the convenience of having a car instead of taking the Motorhome everywhere.  So we succumbed and let Bell Honda talk us into coming in to look at cars!  That experience is another blog altogether!  The result is we bought our Red Honda Fit, which a friend of our Daughter, named Red Rover! If you read some of my newsletter, you will learn about her, Miranda, and now Dolly Part-on.

We winter in North Phoenix RV Park and the road inside the park was exactly ½ mile around, so we started slow and gradually by the end of the first month after surgery he was not only making it around once, but up to 3 miles.    Living in a Motorhome was a challenge, but together we managed to make it work.

When he was released with no restrictions, we accepted a job in northern California in Lassen National Park at Hat Creek RV Park, where I would work as host checking people in and Shirl would do minor maintenance and lead Motorhomes to their sites.  We felt this would be reasonably easy work for him, even though he had no restrictions.  When we got there we were put in the Deli making sandwiches and Shakes.  We had an hour of training and started working full time, 8 hours a day 5 days a week!  During this time we took some time off and drove to Renton, WA to celebrate our Daughter’s 50th birthday. We had a blast! She throws a great party.  Wired, a Seattle based band played and our Son flew up and it was great to spend time with both of them. A friend of Dawn’s gave us a room in her house and it was across from the party, so if we pooped out we only had to walk across the street to bed.

We were doing fine, and adding some much needed money to our coffers, until the wild fires closed down the site and we ran for our lives!  I drove to Redding, CA via Shasta Lake.  We stayed in a Casino parking lot, until the smoke drove us further south to Sacramento, CA and finally home again to Phoenix where we spent the rest of the summer and the winter.

 

 

Working: On the Road

We are Workampers and take jobs as they come, doing jobs that owners of Resorts need done and we work reasonably cheap, considering what employers would have to pay for full-time help with benefits.   Since most of the workampers are also drawing Social Insecurity and have a retirement income, we don’t have to have top dollar for our labors.  Some of us are on Medicare with a Medical Supplement Plan.  We are able-bodied or we couldn’t drive our “Big Box”, as our kids call it, around the country. 

Some of the jobs are checking campers in using a computer system, ringing up sales, cleaning up around the office and park, and escorting campers to their sites. 

Sadly some of the Resorts or Camp Grounds lose site of the fact that we are Senior Citizens and expect us to work like teenagers, however when we interview with Managers we ask a lot of questions and ask that they put in writing what our specific duties will be, how many hours we will be working for the site and what perks we can expect.  By perks I mean, 1. can we use the facilities on our off time? 2. Will you provide a Full Hook UP? 3. What is included? Laundry, Propane, and discounts at store? 4. Do you give an electric allowance or is it included? When you figure the value of all these things together and divide the number or hours we will work a month combined the wages are a little better than the minimum wage or should be. 

Of course, if you get to the Resort, and the terms have changed significantly, guess what?  You are on wheels, and can say Thanks, but No Thanks.   Your expense can be considerable so be fairly certain what you are getting into.  We figure our Motorhome costs about $.50 a mile depending on the price of gas. 

 And we don’t try to get from point A to point B in record time.  We drive no more than 1 1/2 hours at a stretch, then we stop, get out and stretch our legs, and change drivers.  This was we are both fresh and alert.  I know there are many couple, where the man does all the driving and it makes me nervous knowing he is going to be tired by the end of the day.  I see them come in to register and they are just beat. 

We also have several websites that we use to find jobs.  They post the positions with contact information, the rest is between the Managers and the Workampers to sort out. Happy traveling!!!

Gratitude, Gratis, Grateful, Thankful, Thank you

This has been bugging me for a long time!
Has gratitude died the same ignoble death as customer service?
How long has it been since you felt good about the time and energy that you expended selecting the “just right” gift for someone, paying the expense of mailing it so that it gets to the person “right on time” for their “special day” and NEVER getting a thank you? Never mind a formal Thank You card, not even an email, text message or a phone call?
I was not brought up in a high class society, however, the mere jesture of verbally saying thank you was not lost on me. Maybe it was because I never had much that any little thing, so that when I was given “something” it was to be treasured and taken care of and thank you was natural.
It seems today, that everyone has so much of everything that no one is grateful for anything and everyone expects to have everything that they desire, and never having the need to say thankyou and some people, never appear to earn it.
I was talking to someone the other day and she told me that she gave a friend’s Daughter $100.00 cash for graduation gift in a card and NEVER got a thank you card!!! She was setting beside the girl in question and she never even said that she got the money, never mind thank you!
How hard is it to just set down at the computer to write a short note??? Pick up the phone and make a short call?
And by the way, lets try to get the gifts in the same year that they were intended for!
Guys! Chirstmas is in DECEMBER! Not July or when to hell ever you feel like it! It doesn’t mean much, if the gift is so late no one remembers what it was for!
I realize that everyone is BUSY with their life, but just remember, this little phrase of wisdom, “It’s better to give than receive” however, I have added a second line, “If you can’t take time to say thank you, don’t expect me to give again”.
Just an observation from the “time traveler of life”.

This doesn’t end with gifts not acknowleged!

When was the last time that you said “thank you” to:
1. the person that waited on you at a restaurant?
2. The person that washed your car?
3. The person that repaired your car?
4. The person that rung up your groceries and packed your cart?
5. The person that prepared your taxes?
6. The person that gave you directions to get to your destination.
7. The spouse that loves you and tries to make you happy.

Take time to smell the roses and to be grateful for the blessings that you get along the road of life.

Thanks you for reading and hope you enjoy your “Time traveling through this life”.

Traveling Etiquette

Just a quick note to let you know that when you drive an 18,000 lb vehicle you cannot stop on a dime, nor can we see you when you are in our blind spot.  We also cannot accelerate from 0 to 60 in 10 seconds.

Both my husband and I share the driving experience so that neither of us drive more than 1 1/2 to 2 hours at a time.  When we are in the passenger seat we act as co-pilot to help navigate and to watch out for you.  Running over you or getting side-swiped by a mis-calculation by either of us will cost us both money and injury!

When we are merging on to a major highway we have to look back to make sure we have time to get up to speed so as to not make someone in the right lane have to brake to let us merge.  You could consider doing this too!

When we are driving 60 miles an hour in the right lane and you want to merge, you might want to consider not speeding up and cutting in front of us.  You can always pass us as soon as you successfully merge.

When you are traveling behind us and we have our right blinker on, and you are going to move to the left lane anyway, why not stay in back of us instead of speeding up and passing us on the right side only to whip around in front of us to get there faster?

By the way, we have large blinkers on the back of our Motorhome, why can’t you see them?  When we have the right blinker on it means that we intend to turn right.  We have to move over well before the turn off because we are 32 ft long,  so speeding up and passing us on the right side makes you “not the sharpest tool in the shed”.  For us to “miss a turn” is a bigger problem than for a small car, as finding a place to turn around and get back to the proper turn off is no small undertaking.

Another thing that we do as a courtesy to truckers, other motorhomes, or campers when they pass us, we will blink our headlights to let them know it is safe to  move to the right lane.  Why do none of you do this for us?  So far we have only had two truckers (one of them was a Wal-mart)blink the lights for us and none of the motorhomes or campers.

We will continue to give you the benefit of the doubt, but please just think about being just a little bit more courteous.  Everyone on the road will appreciate it very much.

On The Road Again

After several days of very cold (freezing) weather, we decided to look very close at the weather from Washington State to Central California to determine the best time to make the trip through Grants Pass and the  Siskiyou mountains.  On iGoogle we added cities from Washington to Central California to look at the 5 day weather forecast and consulted the Siskiyou County Road Cams.  They change the pictures every 10 minutes and show from the Summit, which is 4310 feet to Yreka.  We watched the weather forecast of several key cities to determine the best time to start and how much driving we would have to do to make it through the pass on bare roads.

Well we figured it right!  Here  we are in Durango RV Resort in Red Bluff, CA.  Can’t say it is Sweater weather, however, there is  no snow.   If you are going through Red Bluff or just  want a nice  place to stay, look up Durango RV Resort up and take advantage of great service and wonderful amenities.  Every night they light the Gas fire pit and you can set around, sip a brew and talk to other travelers about your experiences.  They have a Club Room, laundry, pool (closed for the  winter) and Hot Tub that is kept at 104 degrees.

We didn’t go out to the Fire Pit last night because we were so tired from two days of traveling 350 hard miles a day to get here.  When we are in no hurry we only drive about 3  or 4 hours a day, don’t get up early and usually arrive before the office closes so we don’t have to do night check in.  We always look for interesting things to see and do along the way and take time to smell the Roses.

There are several new things that we learned about traveling in cold weather.

1. Make sure you empty both holding tanks before it freezes.

2. Un-hook the water from your rig and drain all water from your hose.  When the water freezes in the hose it take a long time for it the thaw.

3. If it is going to snow or if you even think it will snow, put all your slides in.  This should have been obvious but removing the ice and snow from the slide roof is no fun in the freezing weather.

The fourth thing we learned is don’t ever go North in the Winter time again!

It’s Snowing!

Well we made the decision to leave the Workamper job and head south to find another job in the warmer climate.  Actually the decision was mutual.  Evidently the last person that arrives at the Resort gets the housekeeper job until they move up the ranks to the office or other job, at least that is what it appears.  We are not opposed to housekeeping, it just was not the job we applied for and discussed with the Manager.

Probably a lot of  drive who all the way up here cannot afford to turn around and go back.  Driving a motor home is not cheap!  We have figured out that it costs us about $.40 a mile not including staying overnight in RV resorts.

Fortunately, we have friends and relatives in the area that will allow us to stay in their yard with the use of water and electricity.  We have to go out every couple of days to empty our tanks and purchase LP, and purchase groceries.  We also do a little bartering for the electricity and water.

Grocery shopping in an RV is fun.  You park out in the “back 40 acres”,  so you get exercise walking to and from the store.  The best part is your frozen food doesn’t thaw from the store to the RV.  And you can put it away immediately.

We have weather icons on our iGoogle page from Lacey WA to Yreka CA and as soon as the weather breaks we probably will head south and keep watch for a Workamper job in the Southwest.  In the meantime we will enjoy having our “little visitors” (children of the nice people who have rented us their driveway) come down every day to play on our computers and “drive” the motor home to the Zoo, Circus, or somewhere else fun.

To Lie or Tell the Truth!

The older generation was taught to tell the truth.  Remember the admonishment in court “the Truth and nothing but the Truth”?

Well, recently we have begun a new career as “Workampers”.  We travel around in our Motorhome and take jobs that pay for our site and  sometimes a little more, which supplements our Social Insecurity.

So far we have only taken 2 jobs.  The first one was as Housekeepers.  We knew what we were getting into up front and took the job because we wanted to be near our Granddaughter for her 19th Birthday Party.  It was hard work cleaning cabins in the humid heat of Oklahoma.  We did our job well and was at work on time every day and  left on good terms with the employers.

Recently we accepted another job in the Pacific North West to be near our Daughter and  an aged Brother for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The job description and the information that the Manager gave us was glowing!  Hot Tub, Heated Pool, Club house exclusively for Workampers, not a lot of work until summer.  We were begged to come for the Winter because one of the Managers was going to CA to be with her Daughter when she gave birth to her first Grandchild.  We were told that we were needed to help take care of the office and various duties.  The lake was stocked with trout and we could fish without a license because it was private.

Now this is  what we found when we drove 1500 miles at more than  $700.  First the  Pool and Hot Tub are always closed for the Winter!  The lake is  a “catch and release” with only one fish per day to be taken.  We will be taking over the “housekeeping” duties exclusively (not what we were offered or wanted).  Our cart is not totally covered so we get wet going from one restroom to another to clean them, and our training was one day for  about 2 hours.  The people that we are taking over for told us that the Manager said “we LOVE to clean”.  Before Workamping we never had  a job in this capacity, EVER!

We called the manager to our Motorhome to discuss the discrepancy in the duties and was told that “maybe in a month or two” we might get to do a day of the work that we were promised.   We will be doing the Housekeeping duties exclusively.

Now here is what we are deliberating!  Do we bite the bullet or Bug Out?

We might have taken the job even if they had told us the truth.  Doing office work or a little maintenance would have been to our liking.  We had chances to take jobs in warmer climates doing work that we are qualified for and would like to do.  Nowhere on our resumes does it show “housekeeping” as a position that we have held.

So what do you think?  Tell us your opinion.

Adventure of Sleeping in a Motorhome

Adventure of Sleeping in a Motorhome

 

The bed was the biggest adventure!! We were sleeping in a California King with a 2 inch Memory Foam topper and were going to have to get used to the expanded Queen size bed in the Motorhome. Since Shirl couldn’t or wouldn’t shrink to fit, and refused to let me cut off his feet, he had to be content with his feet sticking out over the bottom of the bed.

We had 2 -2inch Memory Foam toppers and that was really not a problem, we just un-jipped the covers and removed the pads. We measured the size we needed and used a large pair of scissors to cut them to size, then we jipped them back in the covers and folded the excess under.

We found a 4 inch Memory foam mattress at our handy dandy Wal-mart and with the toppers, we were now all set. We found that it was more comfortable with one topper on the bottom, and one on top.

Being Scotch, with the excess topper material, we now had Memory Foam Seat pads for Pilot and Co-Pilot and enough to put a pad on our couch.

We set out looking for a mattress cover for our mattresses to keep them from shifting when we got in and out of bed and just turning over. The fun thing is the covers that we found were about 8 inches longer than our trimmed mattresses. We thought of several solutions for this and finally decided that we would just adjust them each morning rather than make any more modifications on the bed.

If you think of a way, other than re-building one let me know.

A brilliant idea

If you have ever slept on a mattress that comes with a Motorhome, you will know how much I wanted to get rid of the “Boards R Us” Brand mattress. We came up with the brilliant idea to build an extension on top of the bed. We first measured the tables and the keyboard to make sure they would fit.

There was an existing bed frame with a plywood top, which also hid the fresh water storage tank. All we had to do was build a frame on top.

We took out the mattress, and built a 3 ½ inch high storage frame large enough to hold the two tables Shirl’ keyboard and a couple other things. We used two large pieces of 3/8″ plywood, cut to fit on top. We put a hinge on each side so that the top would lift up to put the tables under and slide one all the way to the top of the bed. We added a small piece of wood to the under side of the top so that we could prop the top up to put stuff in the compartment.

All this sounds so easy and clever!

It only took three days for the both us to accomplish this task, but we now had a place to store more stuff. Some time down the road we need to put some braces under the plywood as without the tables in place we kind of roll into each other, sort of like Ethel and Fred Mertz on I love Lucy.

Getting Ready for the Road

One of the first things that we did was to scan the drawing of the floor plan from a Coachmen brochure and enlarge and split it for two pages front and back. Then we measured all of the compartment for storage in the under locking storage bins, and all the cupboards, drawers, under the couch, under the dining benches and all of the overhead compartments. We made and re-made plans for what would go in each compartment several times.

We sold everything that we could on Free sites and either shipping or having people come pick-up. Our collections of Comic Books and Paperback books went to auctions. What we couldn’t sell we either gave away or donated.

Since we were full time RVing, we decided to take only casual clothes, either knit or permanent press and nearly all had to be folded neatly so it would not look like we slept in our clothes.

We ran into a small obstacle when we looked at closet space of which there wasn’t much.

So we called the 800 # for Coachmen and asked if they had any of those nice plastic shelf standards that were installed in the pantry, and we were lucky, they did! When they arrived Shirl put them in the larger of the two closets (mine) and then made shelves, with our handy-dandy measurements, we purchased plastic bins at our ever-ready Wal-Mart, and two of then would fit perfectly on each shelf. Now all I had to do is fit everything I wanted to take in 7 bins.

Not going to happen!! After folding and re-folding and throwing out more things, I was able to get everything packed. Whew!!

Then we had to tackle Shirl’s closet! His was a huge 7 inches wide, and even with the shelve standards and shelves we could not find any plastic bins to fit, so back to square one again and re-think. He decided to hang some of his slacks and good shirts and use plastic bins in the overhead compartment over the bed.

Another Great Adventure

We have had many Great Adventures in our lives.  Some turned out better than others, and some were Great Disasters!  But we lived them all and are still living this Greatest Adventure to the fullest.

Perhaps some introductions are in order, we are a slightly Over the hill couple in our second childhood.  The reason we know we are in our second childhood is because our kids have become our Parents!! They want us check in every day to make sure that “we are still kickin”.  I suppose it is fair, since we required that they check in when they were young.  Our daughter works in the Optometry field and as soon as we got in town she made an appointment with her Ophthalmologist for Dad because after all, we are driving that box all across the country”.

We are living and traveling in our 32-foot Coachmen Mirada, doing the “full-time RVing”!!   We opted for two Schwinn Cruisers instead toading a vehicle.   If you have ever tried to decide what to take on a two-week vacation you have a very small idea of what we went through to dwindle our belongings from a 1450-square foot, three bedroom house down to fit comfortably in a 240-square foot Motorhome, you are in for a fun time.

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