Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Aside from slightly elevated blood sugar, my results were perfect! The outrageously high PSA test results (11) I got last year have not been repeated and my PSA has since remained in the low "normal" range (1.5). My kidneys, which failed and were repaired with massive steroid doses about 15 years ago are still functioning perfectly. I am a fine specimen! Considering.
Norma's X-rays came back showing the previous (2007) break healed and "without convincing evidence of complication". In other words, whatever happened when she fell in Mexico, even though it kept her in pain and off her feet for almost two weeks, did not show up on the X-ray. It was probably a bruise.
We have his clearance to head out for more adventures whenever we want! Total cost for all these visits, tests, lab work, X-ray readings, etc? $30 (for the PSA test which is not covered by Canadian medical coverage). The rest was free!
Words To Avoid
Here is a list of words to avoid using in your Blogs, Facebook entries or emails. The USA Homeland Security computers that are constantly monitoring cyberspace are programmed to flag these words and to pull these emails or entries out for closer examination. I myself have noticed that many of my Blog entries have been read by someone near Langley, Virginia where I doubt if I have many regular readers.
Here is the list:
Monday, May 28, 2012
Brooks and Linda drove up, bringing Linda's mom, Janice and Jayde, our oldest granddaughter. It was a ton of fun and after cleaning up on Sunday we had the house back to ourselves and had a very relaxing day!
Our friend John, who can work wonders with a microwave radio system, has a little trouble with cameras. It was him who took these shots. In fact, he took 287 shots. These are some of the very few which were kind of in focus..
Croft, Brooks, Jayde and Janice
Croft, Justin, Janice, Norma, Jason and Ricki. Is Jason eyeing my Single Malt?
Croft dancing with Norma, Ricki, Linda and Jayde. Lucky me!
Friday, May 25, 2012
Brooks and Linda are coming up and bringing our oldest granddaughter, Jayde, with them. We have not seen Jayde in way too long. She is 16 and very busy with sports, boyfriends and all the other things that keep young people busy. She is taking the weekend off from all these activities (and Avery - who we have yet to meet) to visit us and it will be great to see her!
Well, I have to cut some wood for the outdoor fireplace so I better get back to it!
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Here they are last year:
Monday, May 21, 2012
Bill in Nebraska asked how our costs while traveling compare with our costs while at home. I picked an arbitrary 170 day period in 2011 and here are the results. It is kind of a hard comparison to make. We did not use the motorhome at all last summer except as an extra bedroom for guests. I flew out to Ontario by myself to visit my sister in June and show those expenses.
Our entertainment expenses at home are always centered around dinner parties so these costs are hidden in “Groceries”. We entertain quite a bit but very seldom “go out”. Canada has almost zero tolerance drinking driving laws and we are a large cab fare from town. I am limited to one small glass of wine if I have to drive. As a result, our dining out in Canada is mainly breakfasts out.
“I” do not buy much liquor in Canada because it is so expensive. Norma buys more than me but that does not make it into Quicken. The “extras” that Canada Customs lets me bring back from the USA last me through the summer.
At home expenses of course include all the house expenses like repairs, maintenance and taxes. I did not include these because wear and tear happen all year but just get worked on and paid for in the summer.
I did not include ferry costs in any of the columns. It costs us $250 each way on and off the Island with the motorhome and $60 if we just take the car. We hardly ever leave the Island except for our winter trips.
The biggest differences are gas and RV parks (which are much cheaper if rented for the whole season). If we did like most of our friends do and stay in one place all winter, our winter expenses would be greatly reduced!
|ITEM||2010/11 USA||2011/12 Mexico||170 Days at Home (2011)||COMMENTS (at home only)|
|Fuel (Motorhome)||4302||4503||47||Added gas to run generator while parked at home|
|Dining||3770||1843||464||Mostly breakfast out while at home, dinner out on the road.|
|Entertainment||1077||95||189||Fishing trip with my son.|
|Groceries (Inc. Liquor)||3606||3896||2463||We used up liquor brought back to Canada We always have leftover liquor from trip.|
|Groceries bought by Norma (estimate)||800||She sneaks groceries in that do not get recorded in Quicken.|
|Admissions & Tours||155||26||0|
|RV Parks||3080||3077||0||Motorhome stayed parked all summer.|
|Hotels||422||0||155||Trip to Kitchener to visit my sister|
|Taxis, buses, Limo Service||68||22||100||Trip to Kitchener to visit my sister|
|Travel (Other)||808||152||512||Trip to Kitchener to visit my sister|
|Cell Phone||331||180||184||Pay As You Go 7-11 phone|
|Heat and Light||1321||Included with RV park costs when traveling|
|TOTALS||$18,231||$14,977||$6,794||$107.25/day in USA, $88.10 in Mexico, $39.97 at home|
Sunday, May 20, 2012
|ITEM||2010/11 USA||2011/12 Mexico||COMMENTS|
|Fuel (Car)||494||212||We drove the motorhome more and the car less in MX|
|Fuel (Motorhome)||4302||4503||Cheaper gas in MX but we drove much further in MX|
|Dining||3770||1843||Gulf Coast restaurants! We probably dined out almost as much in MX but restaurants are cheaper there.|
|Entertainment||1077||95||New Orleans, Beale St, Key West, Cruise Ship, etc.|
|Groceries (inc. Liquor)||3606||3896||Everything we buy in a grocery store. Soap, replacement drinking glasses, books, etc.|
|Admissions & Tours||155||26|
|RV Parks||3080||3077||RV Parks are cheaper in MX but we boondocked much more in USA (Walmarts, etc.). Free parking for one month at friends in FL.|
|Hotels||422||0||Key West hotel for four nights (that took some shopping!)|
|Tolls||5||845||Mexican toll roads|
|Travel (Other)||808||152||Cruise to the Bahamas|
|Cell Phone||331||180||We use Skype more in Mexico|
|$18,231||$14,977||$107.25/day in USA and $88.10 in Mexico|
Wow! That is a little shocking! We visited a lot of famous cities in the USA and tried out some expensive, famous restaurants. The side trip to the Bahamas was fun but a little costly. The USA required a few expensive RV parks ($60/night in both New Orleans and Savannah) while Mexico RV parks average $20/night. Gas is much cheaper in Mexico but we put a lot more miles on down there.
If the weather was a little warmer on the USA side of the border we would probably spend more time there but I just do not like the cold and it got down to freezing on too many nights and some days it was actually colder that it was back home! If we did stay NOB we would have to find a bit of a cheaper way to do it but how can you drive all the way to Savannah, GA and NOT go to Paula Dean’s (or try the beignets in New Orleans)
We also went a little nuts on entertainment in the USA year. I am a blues music fan and had to visit all the clubs in Clarksdale and Memphis. Normally our “entertainment” is going out for dinner and appears as a “dining” expense. New Orleans’ Bourbon Street is also something everyone has to experience once in a lifetime!
The Canadian dollar was worth slightly more in the Mexico year so that probably cut expenses by about 4% that year.
Not included in the above is maintenance and repairs on the vehicles which is about $1000 in both years and medical insurance which was almost $1500 each year.
NOTE: I made a huge addition error the first time I posted this so the difference is now not quite so shocking! Thanks for pointing it out, Kevin! One of the things that saved us a lot of money in the USA year was being able to park for a whole month at our friend’s place in Florida where RV parks are extremely expensive.
Saturday, May 19, 2012
While Les and I were working on the motorhome, Norma busied herself detailing the old Honda. Over the winter it developed a leak in the sun roof and there was a half inch of water on the floor when we got home in April. Mold had set in and it was a real mess! We dried it out and yesterday Norma attacked the mold with an assortment of weapons from a bleach solution to the vacuum cleaner. She did a great job and actually got it all out. When Les and I finished our work, I treated the old Honda to a new battery and it seems to be running pretty good for it's age. It is a 1989 with almost 300,000 KM on it. The age makes it almost a "classic" These old things just refuse to die! It is in desperate need of a paint job which it just might get in Mexico next winter.
Before Les left for home he treated us to a delicious fish and chips meal down on the dock. It was a great day!
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
There was no bruising visible at any time so I don't know how it could be anything BUT a re-injury to the hip. Maybe there was and it healed itself in the six weeks since she fell. She always has healed quickly. Time will tell!
We drove down to Brooks and LindaLee's in Shawnigan lake on Sunday morning for Mother's Day. They had planned to come up for a visit but got the go-ahead for a job that they had to prepare for. It is a $25K fence that requires pre-stained wood. They hate doing these because it is so messy and time consuming but they are about the only fencing company on the lower Island that will do it. Right now things are slow because customers are waiting for the latest sales tax changes in BC to complete so right now, a job is a job and you don’t turn them down because you have to get dirty.
It is always a nice drive down Island and they had made reservations at a very nice restaurant near their house. It was a fairly early night as they had to get up early to start spraying so we were on the road home before ten. It was a nice break, a good visit and a great meal! Thanks guys!
Wednesday, May 9, 2012
This is the first time in history that an American President has taken a stand on this issue. In that sense today is equivalent to the day the first black children were allowed into "white" schools.
It is a great day for civil Rights in the USA! If I was an American I would be very proud of my President. Now get out there and get him re-elected!
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
She also asked him how she could gain weight. It is really hard to find fattening food these days! Everything is marked "Low Cal", Reduced Fat" or some equivalent claim that it will make you skinny. If you are already too skinny, it is tough. He told her to simply eat more pasta and high protein food. I have been telling her this for years but she has always eaten portions about 1/4 - 1/2 the size of mine and she skips far too many meals altogether. She has to listen to all the diet advice out there and do the opposite! At least she recognizes the problem now.
Going to Mexico does not help in this endeavor. Even I loose weight down there as a result of the better quality food available and the smaller portions in restaurants. The warm (hot) climate encourages a lower food intake as well and it was warm this year. Right now my pants are falling down and I am breaking in a new hole in my belt. Don't worry I will be back up to my "fighting weight" before long.
* This is MY x-ray, not hers.
Sunday, May 6, 2012
Yesterday I changed out the main bathroom exhaust fan. It quit working sometime over the winter and that is no surprise because it is at least 25 years old. I took the old one out and took it down to Home Depot to try to find a replacement. I was surprised to see these things come in a huge range of prices all the way from $20 to $300! The ones at the top end have a heater, a light and a humidity sensor that turns them on and off automatically. I opted for the $20 model but don't tell Norma. Her theory is, the more you pay, the better it is, but this one does everything I want (moves air outside) and I do not need one that wipes my butt for me.
The new ones are all either a little bigger or a little smaller than the old one. Going bigger would involve cutting a larger hole in the ceiling and probably having to do some work up in the attic which I wanted to avoid. I went for a unit that was a tiny bit smaller but after I installed it, discovered the plastic cover for the unit did not quite cover the hole in the ceiling. I solved the problem by modifying and reusing the cover from the old unit. It is a little yellowed with age and if we do not like it after a few days, I will take it down and spray it white.
I am giving myself the rest of the day off.
Saturday, May 5, 2012
If you have a clear night, why not try one yourself? The trick is to use the "Moony 11" rule. This tells us to set the shutter at the reciprocal of the film speed and shoot at f/11. This is because the light we see from the moon is actually reflected light. Therefore if you have a digital camera, pick a fairly high ASA of maybe 500. You then set the shutter speed at 1/500 of a second and set the lens opening to f/11. Maybe try a couple of different settings as insurance but following the "Moony 11" rule will get your exposure in the ballpark. Do not rely on the camera's meter because it will be seeing a lot of dark sky and will try to average the reading to make everything come out. In other words, it will not work!
This is not my shot but it will give you an idea of what you are going for!
Wednesday, May 2, 2012
1) The brake lights that did not work and the associated problem of the dolly brakes not working.
2) The annoying "Check Engine" light.
3) The daylight running lights came on when the ignition was on "Accessory". This made listening to the radio when parked impossible.
Yesterday was the last day we could drive the motorhome as the insurance expired at midnight last night. We picked the rig up last night after the shop was closed and I went down this morning to pay the bill. I was pleasantly surprised.
The brake light problem turned out to be a blown fuse (although I checked the only two fuses with the word "Brake" on them and they were good...
The "Check Engine" light indicated another low fuel pressure condition which they reset. He says it is probably the result of driving up steep hills while overweight and towing the car. It just cannot suck fuel fast enough. Resetting will solve the problem until next time.
The accessory switch problem was a result of the same garage making an error when they installed the daylight running switch when we imported the motorhome. It was a simple fix for them.
The bill was $90. I expected more as some garages charge $100 just to scan the engine computer. We have always had very good, reasonably priced service from Mel Penner Automotive her in Campbell River. Thanks again guys.
The only other thing I have to have done is something with the suspension. We run overloaded all the time and reducing the weight is simply not an option. There is very little room for "stuff" after subtracting the weight of the unloaded rig from the maximum allowed weight. Adding a leaf to the springs will cost me $500 and adding air bags, $600. I do not know which route to go.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Well, my son had these new meters installed on his house a couple of months ago. His bill has always averaged $300 per month. He runs his shop off the house power so his usage has always been higher than normal but it always averaged $300. His first bill after the new meter was installed was $600 for one month! He just assumed it was an error and called to get it fixed. Before long his second bill came in for another $600! He now owed them $1200 for two months! He called to complain and they said the reading was based on usage and was correct. He asked them to test the meter and was told they would not. He could have it tested at his own expense but the bill must be paid in the meantime or his power would be cut off. No negotiations.
He then got the bill for the meter on the vacant suite. Not only is the suite vacant but the power is not even connected at the breaker panel in the suite as the inspections have not been completed. The power company says the empty suite has used $400 worth of electricity in two months!
He called again and after explaining the situation, they reversed this charge. He then suggested that they may have a batch of faulty meters but got nowhere with them. The battle continues but he had to give them some money to avoid being disconnected. They are not interested in discussing the problem. Their attitude is, just shut up and pay!
They have not yet started replacing our meters in Campbell River and I am going to put a sign on mine telling them they do not have permission to change it. Stay tuned.