Getting ready to hit the road....

Monday, October 31, 2016

It seems like we have gone non-stop lately, and actually, we have been. We made a quick trip to NJ to visit a childhood friend of Stu's, Tonia. Their parents were friends and the four kids stayed friends for years. But as it does, life intervened and they hadn't seen each other in well over 20 years. Since she was a four hour drive away, we popped up there and spent two fun days. I know this won't be the last time we will get together - life is too short!

Here is a quick photo I snapped on the drive back...

We did manage to see a couple more movies since our last post. First was Deep Water Horizon - excellent movie based on real facts. We really enjoyed the 'edge of your seat' action! Next was The Accountant - oh my!! The trailers were good but the movie was amazing (at least to us). We loved that they left it open for a sequel. The last was the new Jack Reacher movie. While we aren't huge Tom Cruise fans, we had heard the movie was pretty good. Well, it was. While Cruise is aging, so is his character; getting a bit fleshy and a little slower made for more realism. But the best part was the co-star, one kick butt female character who added a lot to the movie.

We also had one last night with Stu's daughters and family. Melissa had won a basket of crabs (already cooked). Toss in some burgers and hot dogs for those of us who don't eat them, some chips (Old Bay chips for the Maryland-ites) and potato salad/macaroni salad, and no one went hungry! Here are a few pics....

Last time I mentioned our current health status:
  • Three vision done, one to go
  • Two dental done
  • Two GP done
  • One hearing done
  • One mammogram done
  • One aorta ultrasound done
  • One colonoscopy scheduled
  • Two skin screening by dermatologist
The skin screenings were done, Stu ended up with three biopsies (still waiting on results) and I had several spot frozen. Had a nice scab on the end of my nose, it gets frozen every year thanks to many years of Florida living.

Stu got new hearing aids (thanks to Workmen's Comp) and he loves them. Much better than the old pair (which were failing frequently), and he can tune them with his iPhone. He also got his new driving glasses and sunglasses. He was amazed at how much more he was seeing. Mammogram, aorta screening and colonoscopy were all fine. Phew!

The only new thing is I will be getting cataract surgery next spring when we return to the area in May. We are opting for spring visits now for several reasons. More motorcycle riding weather here and enjoying the fall in Tennessee more. I will be getting both eyes done and can't wait. It's gotten really hard for me to drive and even the computer and reading is difficult. Sucks to grow old but it's still better than the alternative.

On our many trips across the Bay Bridge into the Annapolis area, we saw watched as several ships crossed under the bridge. Such a fun view, going over the bridge and seeing them cross under us.

Now we are packing up and heading south in the morning. If all goes well, we will spend two overnights before arriving on our lot at Bee's RV Resort in Clermont. We then have less than two weeks before we fly to California for our cruises. We get to spend a couple of days with our friends (and Stu's former partner), Dottie and Bill, before cruise number one - 7 day Mexican Riviera. When we return, we stay on the ship (in the same cabin) and head out for our 15 day Hawaiian cruise. So excited! Stu will be diving, I will be sightseeing and we both will be taking a helicopter tour over one island.

So we will try to post at least once before we leave but after that, it may be a while before you hear from us. Don't worry...we'll be having fun!

Ciao for now!

Interesting Sights and More Medical

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Our plans are to leave Maryland and head back to Florida on November first. We are trying to squeeze in our final friend and family visits before we go. We have a few changes, hopefully, coming in 2017 and if it all works out, we will be changing to a spring visit rather than fall. Time will tell, please keep your fingers crossed for us.

We are also slowing working through all our medical visits.

  • Three vision done, one to go next week when I get my cataract looked at
  • Two dental done
  • Two GP done
  • One hearing done
  • One mammogram done
  • One aorta ultrasound done
  • One colonoscopy scheduled (I start the prep today)
  • Two skin screening by dermatologist will be done today
Sucks to grow old but it's definitely better than the alternative! At least everything so far has shown good results. Keeping fingers crossed for the colon check. ;)

On our way home from our various visits yesterday, we turned the corner and Stu spied this helicopter doing power line work. I grabbed my phone, aimed and snapped the following. (I'm still amazed that it even came out!)

Don't know how much blogging will get done, barely a week after we arrive in FL, we will fly to Los Angeles for our next back-to-back cruise. Mexico and Hawaii (my final state). Woot!

Ciao for now!

A little of this, A little of that

Friday, October 14, 2016

It's been an interesting week. The weather turned cooler and we had trouble starting the pickup (Scooby) on Sunday morning as we headed out to breakfast. Later in the day it was fine. Final errand stop, nada, nope, nothing. Stu walked to the nearby auto parts store and got a couple nuts/washers and a the tool to clean the battery posts. Started just fine. Stu put it on the battery charger overnight, next morning it still wouldn't start.

We had errands to run, when we got back he started working to see if he could figure out if anything else was wrong (battery cables, loose connection, etc) but with the batteries being 4 1/2 years old, we decided to replace them. After pricing at three places (online), he opted to order them from Sam's Club. We had errands to run in the Annapolis area, so that worked.

Errands run, batteries picked up and back home. New batteries in - nothing, nada, nope. Time for more detective work. After pulling the starter, bought new at Pep Boys in Annapolis back on 2012, he found the problem. At installation (by Pep Boys), they had over tightened a connection and it had finally given way. Good news, there was a lifetime warranty on the starter!

In the meantime he had ordered a new backup camera setup for the Freightliner and fifth wheel. We bought this one back in 2008 or 9 and it's served us well. But the monitor was all but dead and we figured the newer technology couldn't hurt. Prices have gone down (a good thing) and he picked a unit with four cameras (back of the Freightliner, back of the RV and the two side ones on the Freightliner for using the directionals).

After looking at the wiring and cables, he feared he might have to completely rewire the setup. Eeep! Good news, after a little finagling, he got the monitor and one camera (on the back of the Freightliner) installed and functioning. Once the starter is installed and Scooby is back in working order (we hope), he will install the one of the back of the fifth wheel. Since this setup doesn't work with the directionals, he will save the other two cameras as backups.

In other news, the medical issues continue to get tested - Stu got an ultrasound of his aorta. He said the good news was he had a heart and he wasn't pregnant. I got my annual mammogram and once again, thank you, the results were good.

Next week Stu gets vision and hearing done and I get some blood work done (to see about continuing current new meds/dosages). Then we both get our annual dermatology screening for skin cancer. Final test is Thursday - I get a colonoscopy. Not a fan of the prep but it's necessary. Sigh...think of me Wednesday and Thursday. LOL!

I also picked up my new glasses. It's so nice to be able to see more things clearly - I was wearing a pair that had a 3-4 year old prescription. I love the frames we got! Heck, I even like my selfie (and I hate photos of me most of the time...LOL).

Yesterday we headed into Annapolis to pick up the new starter, see a movie and have our Thursday dinner. I'd been having trouble sleeping, so I had slept in and not eaten. We opted to try out the Tilted Kilt at Annapolis Mall. We had seen an episode of Undercover Boss featuring the business and it intrigued us, what with our Scottish heritage and all. ;)

We had a good lunch and enjoyed chatting with our waitress, Sylvia. She is from Bogota, Colombia and moved to the states 18 months ago with her husband. We talked about South America, how good her English was, how different the cultures are, etc. Very enjoyable time and a sweet girl (and good waitress).
 [click any photo for a larger view] 

I especially enjoyed the equal opportunity dress code! Yes, he was wearing a kilt.

Here are a couple more photos - we would definitely go back! They've only been open 2 months, so give them a try if you are in the area. They have indoor and outdoor seating. Oh, and the small gift shop is fun but we had already ordered pint glasses online. Love them!

After splitting a lunch entree, we went to see Deepwater Horizon. OMG!!! Intense, edge of the seat action. I was close to tears more than once. Based on a true story, it was very well done.

In other (author) news, I finally finished the first draft edits (on paper) of my middle school fantasy book. Now to type them in, clean it up and send it out for the next round of edits. Here is the tentative cover...what do you think?

Ciao for now!

Road trip, friends and beer!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Things are about the same here in Maryland - still working through our list of medical/dental/vision appointments while we visit with family and friends. Flu and pneumonia shots are now up to date and the list is shrinking. No surprises - phew!

The lab our insurance now uses moved from the same building as our doctor and down to the end of the shopping center and into the Safeway grocery store (no, not a fan and won't use that one again). The tech was great but just going into a grocery store for lab work turned me off. But then again, if we hadn't gone, we wouldn't have met this adorable couple, taking care of each other. She could barely walk and he could barely hear. At one point he turned to her, smiled and said (looking at her wedding ring set), "I love how it sparkles. I remember when I picked it out for you. I had to make payments on it." They have been married 52 years and she was tickled when I asked if I could share their photo.

Here are a couple of other photos we took on the walk around the lake after seeing our primary care physician.

We did do one thing out of the ordinary recently - we decided to take a ROAD TRIP! Very good friends of ours recently moved from Maryland to Tennessee. Stu helped them load up their trucks and they wanted us to come visit. So we did! We made it a multi-purpose trip, taking four loaded footlockers and putting them in our storage shed on our property. We also made a side trip to a local microbrew in my old hometown of Sparta, TN.

Calfkiller Brewing had been on our must visit list since we first heard about it from new friends in Ecuador - they had just been through the area and raved about it.
It all began in 2001 with two brothers, Don and Dave Sergio, who dreamed of having some sort of a business together. Coincidentally, they were also beginning an aggressive home-brewing hobby – expanding their palettes and those of their families. [read the full story]
We sampled two beers, chatted with Don (I think) and his wife, bought two coffee mugs custom made for the brewery and took home a growler full of the beer Stu really liked. Beautiful location, great beer and friendly owners. What more could you ask for?

So, if you're in the area of Sparta, TN and like good beer, we highly recommend dropping in for a taste and a visit.

Ciao for now!

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