Because We Can - Fulltime RV'ing

Journal Archive 3/21 - 3/31 2011

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Mar 22 Tuesday

Time warp

Don't expect much in this post and you won't be disappointed and not because I've managed to not write for a while, but because it is catch up time. However since much of the days missed were merely sitting around watching the coach house go up, it isn't like there was a lot to write about.

What freed me from my self imposed state of lethargy was this post by my good friend John of Tire Swing Travels. As I first read it, I found myself agreeing that John was certainly right on, and so many people out there were exactly as he was describing. Then reading the comments I could see that there were others that seeing things in John's post that maybe I had overlooked in my first reading.

Sometimes these Daily Journal's are as much me talking to myself as they are writing down what took place during that day. Many times I have talked about not writing because it wasn't coming out the way I wanted it to read. Or that I just didn't feel like writing, in other words, excuses. I went to the links John so conveniently provided to back up the significant points he made in his post, and suddenly I found myself staring into a mirror, viewing an image I didn't want to be looking at.

Next I perused the blogs listed at the side of John's website, most of which were ones that either I seldom if ever looked at, and if I had, it was only on rare occasions or in the distant past. What an eclectic mix they proved to be., From urbane to almost nonsensical. From technical to down home. From great writing to, I'm not sure how to describe it. A potpourri of how life is lived, described in a multitude of ways. When I was done reading and spent the evening and most of this day lost in a kaleidoscope of thoughts, I realized that what John had said about the personal habits he wanted to further develop in himself weren't just for him, they were for anyone.

The idea is to just do it, to have a can do attitude. Not just do it in the context of, if it makes you feel good, just do it, but rather in a way that you and those around you benefit from this renewed spirit of living Life to its fullest in every moment of time. Today I will not concern myself if my writing is not perfect, I will just do it, and maybe bring enjoyment to others, knowing that if I did not write at all, there would be no chance of enjoyment from what never was. Pilgrim, prepare thyself, the way is hard, but over the distant shining mountains, you will behold a land of gold.


A few days ago, when we returned from the Dallas area, this is what the lot looked like, ready for action. When we last left you, the rough plumbing was all in the ground, and the surface was being prepared for the installation of the rebar under the concrete areas. It is at that point that we shall resume the story of the construction of our Retama Village Coach House.

Nearly finished

Skipping many intermediate steps, here is what it looked like on the 19th. Concrete poured, structure erected, windows in, roof on, and painted. Only the door is left to completely enclose it, and that is only because we wanted our door to open the opposite of everyone else here at Retama. Perhaps that phasing was incorrect, and I should have said, the way we wanted our door to open was with the hinges placed on the side opposite of nearly everyone else here at Retama.


We are now at the point of having closure of the exterior door kind, with the new door having been delivered and set inside the coach house. And there is another closure looming in the horizon, this one of the third kind, or at least in three parts. The, signing on the solid line, handing over of the big bucks, and passing of the keys, kind.

With heartfelt gratitude I want to say, Thank You, to John for his post. For some reason I was slipping into a life with a little "l", instead of the one with the capital "L" and threatening to drag Linda in with me. Maybe it was the excitement of having the coach house built. Maybe it was the stress of having the coach house built. Or maybe it was simply loosing track of what was important in Life because we were having the coach house built. Whatever the cause, and the cause is not importnat, we were not following what is on the bottom of every page of our website. "Life is not a dress rehearsal." Yet how easily we fall into the trap of thinking it is and merely plan, but never do. Today I decided I would just do it, and tomorrow I will just do it again. How about you?

Mar 23 Wednesday

Just doing it

Funny how some things can have an effect upon you in ways you never imagined. It used to be that I could spend the earliest of the morning hours in quiet solitude, browsing the Internet and writing the Daily Journal. With the change in our lives wrought by the coach house, mornings are definitely not the same.


No longer does the coach grizzly rattle the rafters while hibernating till mid morning. Neither is our fist morning exchange, one of me asking her if she wants her coffee now or after a minute or two. No, now it is more on the order of my asking, "Are you getting up?" followed by an immediate "Yes". after which I return to the screen in front of me, only to be confronted in several minutes with Linda saying, "Are you ready?"

I've changed my reply over the past two weeks, knowing that something on the order of, "Do I look like I'm ready," while having about as much on as an Olympic diver, is going to mean another day in the doghouse for me. Now I say, "Just give me a minute," (which I have learned she times) and do my best to get dressed with time to spare. Then it is down to the coach house to see if they are doing anything.

This morning it was the installation of the electric and the CATV cable from their respective junction boxes at the back rear corner of the lot to the power pedestal. That leaves the landscaping and irrigation system as the major work items left to be completed, though there are still one or two small things yet left to finish up with the coach house.


Things you never think about but other people do. Included in what we are getting, aside from the property and the coach house, is our landscaping. So when we were asked, "What tree do you want planted," Linda was smart enough to not email back my response of, "A live one." We get to pick from a short list, if we want a free one, or we can pay for one not on the list.

With this being our "hidey hole", not being where we will spend any summer time, and not be where we will actually be doing any staying until the winter of 12/13, we really didn't know what we wanted. The answer came when we walked around Retama, looking at backyards and cruising several the common areas where trees grow in abundance. It turned out to be a Mesquite, one that will have the opportunity to develop multi branches as the photo shows. Linda especially liked the open nature of its growth. Only time will tell if it was a wise choice or not.


For lunch we went out with some of our neighbors. Not our new neighbors, but rather our old neighbors, as in our neighbors we had back in the mid 70's in a place and life far removed from the present. Who can forget that first house they owned. Who can forgot those first neighbors. Who could believe that Barb and Leo, and Linda and I would call the Rio Grande Valley our winter home after all these years. Who would believe that Leo would read my Daily Journal. This definitely is a small world, and it was neat listening to Leo tell of his winning a medal at the recently held McAllen Golden Age Olympics as well as getting caught up on each others family's and lives over the past 35 plus years. Like I said, small world.


With the coach house comes the opportunity to furnish it, which means furnishing it with everything, as in every thing. No shopping for curtains for the bathroom. No shopping for what kind of sink and faucets Linda would like in the bathroom. And even though we looked at water heaters, with this one being a definite maybe, we really need to determine which kind of pipe we want to use to plumb the water lines. Like I said, we are in the basic, of basics. And even this choice does not need to be made for 18 months or so.


Theafternoon wasn't all work and no play. We also visited several landscape stores where Linda found the perfect accent for the coach house. When I pointed out that yard art is a no no in the front yard. She said, then it could go in the back yard. I don't know what the rules are in the back, but I implied that it wouldn't go there either. Maybe on the patio area, she asked, a hopeful look in her eye. Again I shook my head, informing her there was no way to keep it upright in the wind. Eyes twinkling, she announced that it would just have to go inside then. I am already thinking that I'm going to really regret the part of my post of yesterday, talking about "just do it', and a "can do attitude." Linda, it was directed at me, not anyone else. Really, really it was.

Mar 24 Thursday

Having fun

Three consecuetive posts if you count this one. That, "just do it", is starting to sink in a little, and the evening's activities proved that it has some staying power, with more than enough to last more than just a few hours of the day.


Our early morning check of the coach house found a crew already working hard at leveling the soil on the three sides of our lot. It appeared they were pulverizing the ground, leveling it out and raking off the dirt clods that remained. To the casual observer, it probably looked more like a dust storm with accompanying high winds and loud noise. Not sure what the neighbors up the street thought, but seeing the dust all over their vehicles as we walked back up the street, it was probably a wish that all this should soon be over and done.


We also took care of a necessary item for the coach house, insurance. As we learned upon making an inquiry at Retama regarding recommended insurance agents, obtaining insurance on a structure the size of the coach house is not difficult if you just go see Sandra. Sandra being Sandra Zamora who has found a carrier that will insure coach houses. It was a little different from the normal way we have obtained insurance on our homes in the past, but when it was over, we were more than satisfied. We laughed about it and said that once we both remembered that the pace of life is slower in some regions of the world, all was okay.


Free grapefruit courtesy of Pony Express Propane, was what the announcement said on the Retama Village announcements web page. Linda has a magic link in her genetic chain that gets activated every time the word "free", is bandied about. That is why we were in the middle of a grapefruit orchard that had seen its better days, but with numerous trees loaded down with grapefruit. We picked some of the reds and some of the yellows, knowing that worst case we could juice them and add a little stevia if needed to sweeten the juice. They turned out to be very good, and the only thing we would do different if there is a next time, would be to not wear open sandals due to the under growth and dead limbs we had to trample through to get up close to the trees.


Little things can sometimes make a difference. This could be called Linda removing some frustrations. We have kept all the switches, hardware, fasteners, screws, etc. for repairing the house part of our home, that we have accumulated over the past five years in a couple of plastic bags. Meaning every time we needed something, it was a mass hunt to find it. Linda has been looking for something to organize all those parts for some time now. I think it stems from the fact that when I am in the middle of fixing something, I usually very politely ask her if it would be any imposition for her to locate the item I need. Or at least what I yell out is a close facsimile of that.

What she wanted wasn't to be found in the housewares section of the stores we looked at. It was, however, found in the fishing department of one of the stores we stopped at today. She even got to cut apart all the little plastic dividers as well as match them to the place they were to go, the result of which is going to make her life a lot easier, as her huge smile testifies.


The highlight of the day wasn't the work that was done on the coach house, it was the Tail Light party, so named because so many of the residents are in the process of leaving for the summer. Held at the clubhouse, it featured a lasagne dinner, followed by a night of karaoke entertainment. As has been observed by millions over the centuries, not all who can sing should let the world know the level of their singing talent. That said, this bevy of young ladies were an exception to the foregoing statement, proudly showing that they could sing as well as shake, rattle and roll with the best of them.


When it came to the boys, there were some who definitely shouldn't be allowed anywhere near an audience, and some who actually knew what they were doing, but even then couldn't do it. Our friend Mark has told me on occasion that I exhibit absolutely no talent when it comes to singing or rhythm, something I was more that able to put on display. In case you are wondering what that photo is about, that's Y.M.C.A. by the Retama Village People, none of which should probably be identified.


As always with a bunch of kids at a party, there is always one who personifies the term, Life of the Party. Tonight was a case of Life imitating Life, where living it someone else's way means just that, where all the hopes you had are just that, and in the end, if you think you can, but can't, it's okay, because somewhere there is someone doing it.

Mar 25 Friday

Not much going on today

Four consecuetive days with posts if you count this one. That, "just do it", is starting to sink in a little, and even if it is a day where there wasn't much to do, the "just do it' attitude helped make it what it was.


Dawn is breaking, it's early morn, the taxi's waiting, blowing its horn. Not exactly, but that was the general idea of what was to be taking place this morning. We still haven't figured out what Linda's problem is with these early morning get up and go's of hers.

Light has barely begun to show around the edges of the coach windows. The coach begins to rock far more than the wind gauge shows that it should. Banging noises, the whisper of water filling the sink, splashing sounds and the coach once more begins to move about in unusual ways. Then what passes for our new, morning greeting occurs. "You up yet?" "Yes" is the reply, though muffled by its passage through a closed door. And another day begins.

Back to that little play on leaving on a jet plane, its purpose being to reference the men's informal breakfast and the fact that Roger was picking me up at 8:30. A great time was had by all, and it is a good way to get to know some of the people who call Retama Village their winter home. Life is changing for us in ways that we never thought possible. Yet in most ways our Life will remain exactly as it has always been.


Eating wasn't the only order of business this morning. Linda had done her usual, taking an early morning walk down to the lot, and discovering that today was the day for the installation of the irrigation system.


All plantings at Retama Village are water conserving in nature. This is the irrigation system that will be under the grass at the rear of the lot. The ground is quite literally as hard as a rock, the top few inches are pulverized, a minuscule amount of compost is worked in, this soaker irrigation system is installed, then sod will be placed over it. Simple but effective. The grass is Bermuda Grass, that weed we fought for decades at our house in California. Like they say: One man's trash is another man's treasure.


Life is gauged by measurements. Sometimes it is age. Other times the importance of ones position in the workplace. At other times it may be the sounds of the happy cries of children or grandchildren. But not always. Sometimes that measurement is made in ways that bond two people together. Those small incidents that in reality performs the function of being the glue of a happy marriage.

Do you see the glue in this photo? Likely not, but to Linda and I it is very real. Linda has always viewed herself as the poster girl for the impossible to suntan crowd. She was never in the group of girls with the highly tanned bodies that the boys always seemed to ogle. And it bothered her. I never let it bother me, for I knew different. Maybe she wasn't the coppertone gal, but to me she was worth more than gold.

To lay her fears to rest, all one needs do is look at her foot. The sharp contrast between the soft, smooth white skin on the one hand, and the darkly tanned areas on the other, prove her fears unfounded. How many times in our lives do we look at the small defect, the tiny impediment, the easily overlooked and very minor flaw, and magnify it into something that nearly consumes us.

Today my, "just do it", is to concentrate on Linda's beauty. Both her inner and her outer beauty, knowing that I am a much better person for having had the privilege of being in its presence all these years, with the result being the opportunity to share in her Life.

Mar 26 Saturday

Searching for our roots

Four consecutive days of spelling "consecutive" as "consecuetive", is that ever bad. But it is now five consecutive days with posts if you count this one. That, "just do it", is starting to help in ways I never realized, beginning with the questioning of consecuetive, and whether or not it was spelled correctly. Little things do add up.


I have to believe that even though she is not saying anything, Linda has subscribed to the, "just do it" philosophy in her own way. To put the record straight, she has always been a just do it type of person as opposed to my, if I put it off long enough, maybe she will forget about it, style. The one thing I have learned over the years is, that if it something she has asked or told me to do, she is never going to forget about it.

I say that to merely put into perspective the answer I get when I ask her why she is suddenly getting up before 7 o'clock every morning. It is "I don't know." It is not something that concerns me in a physical sense, some hidden disease or the like, but when an old dog starts doing new tricks, or in this case, the old bear starts doing new tricks, it does make me wonder, why? The corollary of which is, what did I do wrong now?

Since it was Saturday, we didn't expect any work would be taking place on our lot, and we weren't disappointed. We did take a number of photos of the underground irrigation lines so that if we ever want to do some planting on our own, which is a certainty knowing Linda, I won't be chopping through the lines when digging in the ground.


Note how there is no soaker tubing in the center area alongside the driveway. Each lot has that area landscaped with larger plantings, I guess you could call it a surprise package of sorts. Since we won't be back for approximately 18 months or more, it should give whatever is planted there ample time to become established. The funny thing is that since we will be living more to the back of the lot, whatever is planted there is okay with us. They try to vary the plants from lot to lot, so we know it won't be the same as what is planted at Roger and Dianne's, nor likely the next several lots either.


We are going to have one additional tree planted when they put in the landscaping on our lot. It is a Satsuma Mandarin Orange, the Miho variety. Linda has wanted one for many years since the original one we had at our house in California died during an all time record breaking freeze sometime in the previous century. With fruit keeping well on this variety until late December, it should be a perfect fit for the times we will be in the Valley.

I should also point out that we have changed the tree that was to have been planted as part of the original landscaping package. Victor, who is in charge of the landscaping, suggested that we might prefer a Mexican Poinciana than the mesquite we had originally chosen. Think Andre the Giant, and Mikey the Midget. Everything we wanted, multiple low branching, yellow flowers, and an open airy nature. But instead on shading half of Texas, it just shades a portion of our backyard area.

I'll leave you with my, "just do it", for the day. To write and publish today's Daily Journal before noon. Right now it is 20 till, so it looks like mission accomplished. Many blogs cover just the day's routine, this one does often enough, but it just goes to prove that Life can be lived in so many different ways, none of which is perfect. The key is to Live Life in a way that when you go to bed at night, you are already eagerly looking forward to tomorrow. I can tell you that not every day is going to be like that, but I do know that when I get up in the middle of the night to get a glass of water, it is going to be always be half full, not half empty.

Mar 27 Sunday

Don't expect much

Yesterday, after four consecutive days of spelling "consecutive" as "consecuetive", I finally discovered that error and corrected it. It should have bothered me but it didn't, namely because for the past six days, counting today, I have been so excited about the fact that I have just written, that errors are merely minor annoyances at the most. "Just do it", is not an overworked term. "Just do it" is something that can uplift a person and give them a sense of accomplishment, even if it includes the fact that they made an error.


As much as I have reveled in my success at writing the Daily Journal as of late, it pales in comparison to the energy Linda generates as she bursts forth from the back of the coach each morning. Not only is she up at a hitherto unknown, to her, hour, but she virtually bubbles with excitement as she begins her day.

This morning as the humidity hung heavily in the air, we were off to our new lot watching the sun as it tried to break through the bands of gray clouds above. As we walked along, there was no stopping every 20 feet to remove a rock from her Keen clad feet, though it must be noted that going the entire distance to the lot without her at least once picking up a boulder of glacial proportions has yet to happen.

With the open field that is behind our lot, there comes birds. Not just a few birds, but enormous flocks of birds. Birds that seem to vacuum the insects and seeds that are present in abundance. Near our soon to be new corner of the world, sat Dianne intently watching the activity around the bird feeders Roger had hung on the back fence. Red wings blackbirds in profusion swooped in, landing, grabbing a beak full of seed and darting off into the nearby trees. And I have to question why Linda is excited about getting up in the morning with the answer all around?


Where there's a will, there is a way. Hanging clothes outside at Retama is a big no-no. Personally I don't understand why, as I've been interested in seeing what color and style of panties the neighbors wear for all of my life. Sometimes it gives me ammunition to suggest to Linda that she be more daring, and other times it allows me to compliment her for her intriguing choice of garments. It has never changed her mind about what she considers stylish, though on occasion, I've considered utilitarian as a better description, and since the only person that ever sees them is me, you'd think my opinion might carry some weight, which it never has, never will, according to her.

All that is beside the point however, because she just tells me that if I want to pick the style, then I can be the one to wear them. Now that is uncontestable logic if there ever was. All of which brings us back to using the inside of the coach house as an impromptu, but highly efficient clothes dryer.


Yesterday I mentioned the Satsuma Orange tree that Linda picked out. There was a photo of it that did not do it justice. In fact you were lucky if you could even determine that I was holding the bucket containing the tree in my hand. It's what happens when the roles of photographer and model are reversed. In the evening we walked down to the lot, me carrying the tree and Linda observing the my arms were getting longer and longer.

Thank goodness I was frequently switching it from hand to hand as we walked, or I would have looked positively unbalanced otherwise, according to she whose commandants are to obeyed. Placement of the tree was directed by the on staff, family landscape architect, who directed the family laborer to first place it in one location, then another. When all was said and done, it was in the spot where it had initially been placed, with the laborer near exhaustion and the architect smiling in triumph at her success.

I must confess to being 3 minutes late in having yesterday's Daily Journal uploaded, but without that goal, it would have been closer to evening when it was written. Today's "just do it", is somewhat different, requiring a much greater degree of intensity on my part to accomplish it. Today, due the results on a brief encounter with the scales yesterday morning, I will be eating no almonds, walnuts, or chocolate chips. This is a real test of the Tire Swing "just do it" system. Results to be reported tomorrow.

Mar 28 Monday

Lots of checking

Day 7 of implementing the "just do it" concept in one small facet of my life each day. An interesting observation is that these are turning out to be more than just ephemeral whims, quickly forgotten in the drive to just do the next one. I don't know if the subconscious mind is at work here, but I'll just accept the results and for once not try to understand the why.


Somewhere between the old normal and the new normal is the real normal. I want my normal Linda back, or if this normal is now her normal, I want to know. Once again, long before seven o'clock, more than two hours before the time she previously, always, dependably, and ever so reliably would arise, the former grizzly, now turned cute cub, is up and ready for the day.

As is typically the case, it wasn't long before she was standing at the door ready to walk down to the lot. Maybe I should re-word that sentence above about her being a cute cub, and change the description to a reliable old dog, patiently waiting for its morning walk. It is probably best that I only briefly consider that description and hastily discard it, or something tells me that grizzly will magically reappear on the scene.

The landscape crew wasn't to be seen and as we approached the lot, her only words were the question, "Is the tree still there?" Trying to think like her, I realized it is probably the best Satsuma Orange Tree in all of South Texas because she had picked it out, and therefore that is what IT is. Fortunately no one had seen IT as IT was partially hidden behind the coach house, so IT was still there, making Linda very happy about IT.


While we were there, Linda the building inspector took a look inside the coach house, noting that they had cleaned up some of the construction debris. They have also filled the various cracks and crevices around pipes or at the junction of two pieces of wood, using expandable insulating foam. It appears that all this is part of the continuing process of proceeding towards a Thursday closing.


I have diligently tried not to post any food photos since I resumed writing the Daily Journal, and if one should have slipped in, it was only through force of habit. However, one can not go for unlimited amounts of time without the need for food, so here is what Linda can not do, but which I find quite easy, finely and fairly uniformly diced onions and sweet red peppers. [Editor's comment - Bob is right, I can't chop veggies that small] These then make up the base of our breakfast eggs. Before you think that there will be a procession of ingredient photos, rest assured that this was enough to dull my appetite for food photos today. So perhaps it would be fair to say in this instance, my gain is your gain.


Here is Tom's modern relative, Linda Sawyer, busy washing the back of the coach. Actually it was only the area you see her brushing that she washed. Because only moments later, I was the one with the brush doing all the work. Oh, if you could have only heard the litany of cooling wonders that rolled off Ms. Sawyer's tongue, claiming how nice the water that would occasionally splash on her, felt. Then you too would have taken up the bush, just as I did, and would have washed the coach, just as I did. My reward was a big smile and two twinkling eyes on her part, with damp clothes and slightly aching arms on my part. I'll put up with the latter to get the former any day.


On our sixth or seventh trip down to the coach house to check on any progress, Victor stopped by and informed us the sod would be going in tomorrow, with the palm tree possibly being put in late this afternoon, or tomorrow morning, with our Satsuma being planted at the same time. As you can see, the Satsuma was planted, but the palm wasn't, which is why there is no photo of the palm.

Wow! Did yesterday's, "just do it", ever prove hard to accomplish it. Trying not to eat any almonds, walnuts, or chocolate chips proved to be far more difficult than I imagined. And I know that if I had just said to myself in the morning, "no almonds, walnuts, or chocolate chips today" without the "Just do it" for added emphasis, I would have snitched. It's great to have that sense of accomplishment that comes from doing something that you probably shouldn't have been able to do. Today, due the difficulty of accomplishing yesterday's "Just do it", I will once again make no almonds, walnuts, or chocolate chips today's Just do it. Got to lock those good habits in so they are just that, good habits.

Mar 29 Tuesday

Going in circles

Day 8 of implementing the "just do it" concept in one small facet of my life each day. It is the eighth consecutive day for writing the Daily Journal, which just goes to prove that habits beget habits, whether they be good or bad, and repetition and perseverance leads to results.


Once again the family cute cub was up before the dawning of the early light, ready to go. It would be a morning of split personalities, with Linda having sod watch duty, while I was assigned DirecTV duty. With the sod scheduled to be delivered between 7 and 8, it meant a quick breakfast of blueberries topping a mixture of Uncle Sam and granola cereal.

She was soon on her way down to the soon to be, our lot, and within a few minutes my phone was doing its thing. I could tell from the excitement in her voice that things were happening, and I soon learned that the palm tree was planted, but the sod had not yet been delivered.


In a few minutes the phone was once again doing its thing, and upon answering, I hear, "Do you see the sod truck?" Now the phone said it was Linda calling. The voice said it was Linda calling. So why was she asking me if I had seen the sod truck if she was the one down at the lot looking for it?

However she wasn't finished talking yet, and as the story unfolded I walked outside to look for the errant sod truck. Turns out she had heard a truck driving up the street, then heard the truck slowing down, at which point she got out her camera. Then, rather than stopping, it continued up the street as she snapped a photo of it as it passed by her perch on Roger and Dianne's patio.


Outside, I looked around and there, over in front of the Clubhouse, was a sod truck. All this time I was on the phone with Linda, so I gave her a continuing rundown as I watched the driver talking to someone, getting back in the truck and starting to drive back toward Linda. At least I thought he was driving back to the lot, but when he drove down the street in front of the coach it was apparent he still didn't know where to go. Then I saw him turn on the street that would take him closer to where Linda was, all of which was relayed to her via the phone.


This time when the sod truck came down the street as Linda later told me, he was slowing but not stopping, when a woman suddenly started waving madly at him, which got his attention and resulted in his stopping a short distance beyond the lot that will soon be ours.


So that was how Linda made sure the sod was where it needed to be. Soon the sod was in and we even had our tree planted. While all this was going on, I was watching as our new DirecTV HD receiver/recorder was being installed. It didn't take long, the phone calls they had to make to activate the receiver actually taking more time than the physical installation. The difference in the picture quality is beyond description, and we can now see for ourselves that HD is as good as people say it is. Better late than never.

All this skips the electric meter getting installed, the walk through inspection of the coach house that resulted in a few minor things to be completed, as well as the flushing of the fire hydrants. It also leaves out the phone call from our son where we learned he has found a new training method to practice his swimming stoke for the upcoming triathalon he is going to be in by laying on his coffee table. And how could I not mention the great time we had topping off the day and enjoying Life with Roger and Dianne on their back patio. Truly, Life is not a dress rehearsal, so don't be afraid to laugh, love and retire early.

After the difficulty I had the previous day trying not to eat any almonds, walnuts, or chocolate chips, I was amazed at how easy it was to "just do it" today. My current "just do it" is going be to try to overcome something that has bothered Linda for a number of years, and something that I can not seem to realize that I do. Today I will work on not interrupting Linda when she is talking to me. If I can accomplish this, my other "just do it' days will pale in comparison. What all these daily goals leave out is the fact that Linda has noticed that I have become much more likely to stop what I am doing at the moment, and do what ever it is that she asks me to do. A benefit I hadn't even realized that was taking place. I don't know if it is focus, purpose, desire, or something else, but whatever it is, the results are far greater than the amount of effort to "just do it".

Mar 30 Wednesday

Waiting for tomorrow

Day 9 of the "just do it" daily change in my Life. It is the ninth consecutive day for writing the Daily Journal, however due to going on the Bentsen Palms buggy tour this morning (the 31st) and closing on the coach house this afternoon (also the 31st), and the resulting celebration, the Daily Journal is little late in being written today. But since it isn't every day that someone buys a new RV lot, perhaps you can forgive me for being tardy.


It actually smells worse than it looks. This is the waste trap under the hall vanity, and at some unknown time in the far distant past it developed a leak, a leak which has continued to the present. Mrs. Bloodhound, aka the cute cub, can smell one particle of odor in one trillion parts of air. All my life I have watched perfectly good food go into the compost pile or trash because "it doesn't smell right."

I had been busy writing the previous day's Daily Journal when I noticed piles of unusual things appearing in my peripheral vision. It was then that I learned the super sniffer had detected an odor that didn't belong under the hall vanity, and was in the process of doing something about it. Of the three rings that were in that system, all three were loose.

After tightening the three rings came cleanup time. However, to put things in there proper perspective, once the nose who knows had done her sniff and empty, she decided to go shopping, leaving me to take care of cleaning things up.


I must confess I was concerned about just how long she was gone on her shopping expedition. Either she was spending all the money we had set aside to buy the coach house, or she was marooned somewhere with the Explorer pulling its usual, not wanting to start routine. In the end, neither was the case. She was into gardener mode, and had spending her time checking out the various fertilizers available for our her Satsuma Orange tree.


With the coach house closing tomorrow, one of the tasks Linda assigned to herself was to check on the coach house progress throughout the afternoon. While it didn't include the multiple trips typical of the earlier part of the week, she was not one to let any work or uncompleted work to pass by her eagle eye unnoticed. With clipboard in hand, she marked things off, or noted things which need additional attention. One of her decrees was the door would be painted with semi-gloss paint, not the flat paint that Raul had decided to use. With all the coach houses on our street having semi-gloss doors, he was not painting ours with flat paint. It's one of those things were I could almost hear the family grizzly saying, "You want to paint it flat, by the time I have finished with you, flat would be an improvement on your condition."


All's well that ends well, according to William Shakespeare and Linda. The end in this case was the meal I fixed, which unfortunately also subjects, you the dear reader to a food photo. I know this is one of the nemesis of the RV blog world, but having been one of the pioneers of the food photo, I feel it is my prerogative to post a food photo on occasion. Barbecued pork, butternut squash drenched in fake maple syrup, and a delightful lettuce and cabbage salad made for a wonderful meal. Life is truly good, and with closing on the coach house coming tomorrow, completing our transition to be real Texan's, it doesn't get any better than this.

If you have been interrupting your wife, husband, partner, or significant other for years, you know how hard it was for me to not interrupt Linda when she was talking to me yesterday as part of my, Just do it" regimen. I wasn't perfect, but it was enough of an effort that Linda noticed it and commented positively on my poor attempts at being more attentive to her. Needless to say this is going to be my focus for a few more days at the very least, and I can only hope to slack off from my previous "just do it" goals. For each of us there is something that we know we should not do. And I can tell you first hand, the joy you get from not doing it is hard to beat. I hope you too had a "just do it" in your life today.

Mar 31 Thursday

The end is upon us

Day 10 of a daily attempt to "just do it" regarding something in my Life. It is also the tenth consecutive day for writing the Daily Journal, though due to a full day, yesterday's the Daily Journal was quite late in being written. With my propensity of "not writing" at the drop of a hat during these past months, I need to credit a little overflow of "just do it" with being able to overcome any unwillingness to write.


I know there is going to come a day when I discover the hibernating grizzly is once again in the back of the coach some morning, but today wasn't it. However, for the first time since she turned into a cute cub, I was required to awaken her, and it was actually after her new normal time of arising.

The reason is shown in the photo. Mike Rhodes, the visionary behind Bentsen Palms, gives a once a week tour of the area, and we were signed up for today's adventure. Lasting some three plus hours, it is a great way to learn about the history of the local area, have fun, as well as learn that there is far more to do in the area than is apparent at first glance.

Looking at the buggy that you ride in for the tour, you might notice the reason why we were there 45 minutes early, the back seats. The ride you get when sitting back there is the stuff of legends, and being part of that legend was something that Linda was trying to avoid at all costs. And considering that the tour is free, that is a pretty bold statement.


The tour leaves from the office at Bentsen Palm Village RV Resort which is next to Retama Village, so while Linda sat on the chairs in front of the office, I took a walk through the resort. What a difference a few weeks makes, with most of the sites now being unoccupied, when the last time we walked through here virtually every site was bustling with the activity of Winter Texans. Later, during the tour Mike remarked something like: no one builds an RV park with the idea of making money after they've built their first one. Fortunately for everyone that stays there, this was Mike's first RV park.


Just before 9 o'clock we all piled aboard, and began what proved to be a fun time. Since we arrived here, everyone was telling us that we really needed to go on Mike's tour, and afterward we not only knew why, we are joining them in urging others to just do it if they are in the area. Mike turns out to be a very complex individual, one who thinks in terms of the future and what will be, leaving the here and now to others that work for and also with him.


Even though the tour takes three hours, it doesn't seem nearly that long. The main reason being that other than the periods when Mike is driving us from one location to another, he stops, turns off the engine, and interweaves his vision of the future with the past and the present. Plus he is also quick to point out that his wife, Lori, is who really runs things in their family. And listening between the lines as he talks, I came away with the idea that there is more to that than his merely saying the words.


No, Linda is not taking a photo of a dead palm tree, or at least I don't think that is what she is doing. The water you see is the Rio Grande and what you don't see is any walls, fences, or other impediments to accessing the river. Down here you can take a boat out onto the river. You can watch the members of the nearby Mexican wake boarding club having fun. You can simply enjoy the river.

Funny how the people who live far away think that to be here is taking your life into your hands. It's Life and each of us has to decide how to live it. For some it is in cave 50 feet underground where nothing can get in, but also where they can never see out. For others it is in an open boat in the middle of the ocean, traveling to who knows where and finding who knows what when they get there. Each of us gets to choose. Each of us gets to live. Each of us is going to die.


Smiles abound in the Retama Village sales office. Jennifer's because she has just sold a coach house and Linda because she has just bought a coach house. YES!! We are now owners of an RV Coach House at Retama Village, but our Life is no different than it was just moments ago.


As you can see, Linda wasn't interested in the new 41,472 square inch mansion I had just bought for her, and quickly turning her back on that splendid edifice, she focused on her new garden area, and with it the chance to cut, pick, prune, fertilize, water and get her hands in the soil with a need that was overwhelming her. Just another of those things that can happen when you are not afraid to laugh, love and retire early.

Update on yesterday's "just do it." The best way to find out whether I was making any headway towards my goal of not interrupting Linda was to come right out and ask her. The results were most satisfying, because she had noticed several times when I did my usual and interrupted her, only to abruptly stop and close my mouth. Nothing like a little positive feedback to reinforce my task for this week. Yes, I have decided that this fault of mine, and it is a fault, needs more of my attention than I ever realized. Isn't it amazing what reading someone's words can do for you when it strikes a ready and willing listener.

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