Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Taking Inventory

Last night I went through my Quicken financial account to determine the age of all the batteries and tires on the motorhome, dolly, Honda and Mazda. everything is OK right now but the motorhome tires will reach five years of age this winter. That means we will have to replace them on the way home through Oregon where there is no sales tax. I will have to make sure I have a couple of thousand dollars left over from the fun we are going to have this winter.

We are towing the Mazda down this year because the air conditioning in the Honda packed it in a couple of weeks ago. I went cheap on repairs in Florida and bought a used compressor instead of a new one. It was a gamble that I lost but how much money do I want to put into a 25 year old Honda? The Mazda is running great. It's battery is five years old so I will replace it at the first sign of trouble. The Honda tires are due for replacement as well but that can wait until next summer. My rule is: tires, five years and batteries, seven years.

Reading George and Suzi's Blog this morning reminded me to check the water levels in the motorhome's two 6 volt house batteries. Like George, I do this twice a year unless we are parked in a hot climate when I usually add one more check to this schedule.

Another project is to replace the Starchoice receiver in the front of the motorhome. I recently bought one of the new smaller non-PVR receivers to replace the older, large receiver that is built into the entertainment center. The old one was awkward to work on because I had to take the front wooden panel off the entertainment center if I wanted to make any changes to the wiring. This new one will slip through the hole in the panel and will also receive a few more channels. Changing it out involves a call to Shaw Direct to make the change in registered receivers. We are allowed six so I will have to take one off the list before they will add this one to it.

The weather is turning here in Campbell River. It is raining almost every night now as well as many days lately. I am getting anxious to leave. Projected date to leave is November 1 (or so).

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Royal Coachmen

We got an email a week or so ago from one of the guys I used to work with suggesting a "Pub Night" at the Royal Coachmen Pub last night. We arrived at about 5:00 and found several long tables at the back with about ten old workmates and spouses, mostly retired and some planning to retire soon. It was a fun evening with pints of beer and food. We do not have the stamina we used to have and things started breaking up by 9:00. It is hard to believe I have been retired for over 14 years!

Richard sent  out some photos of Norma and I this morning. Thanks Richard!

Monday, September 22, 2014

See Mom...

"These are the wires I was telling you about. Than mean Norma made that nice Croft put them on the gate to keep us out."

"I wonder if I can squeeze under the bottom rail? Maybe I can. Those flowers sure look good!"

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Last Bloom?

Summer is drawing to a close but some beauty remains. We did a walk around of Norma's flower gardens the other day and found these beauties holding out in the chilly mornings. It won't be long before the plants are put to bed for the winter.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Two Votes

Two votes are happening today. First is the British Columbia Teachers voting on their contract. They have been on strike since school was supposed to open and facing opposition at every step by our government which has refused to honor court decisions and negotiated contracts. They are impossible to deal with and cannot be trusted to stand by any agreement they make. Mediator Vince Ready (an old friend) has managed to get a tentative 6 year agreement that both parties have agreed to. It includes a 7.2% wage increase over 6 years but does not satisfactorily address the two most important issues, class composition and class size. The Government has kicked a few million into the system, but only the money they have saved by not paying wages over the duration of the strike. If I were a teacher, I would vote NO, but I have always voted no on every proposed contract that has included me. If the negotiating team has done badly, I think they could have done better. It they did good, I think they could have done better. Simple.

The other Vote taking place today is the Scottish vote for Independence from England. The Scots have received very bad treatment from England over the centuries and I am hoping they finally sever the remaining ties and vote for independence. They deserve to have the opportunity to chart their own course.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Catching Up

First off, we had Beau, Norma's lawn guy, bring his chain saw over to help with a couple of problem areas in the yard. Remember the tree beside the workshop that blew over in a windstorm a year or so ago? Well, we strapped it to the fence as a temporary fix but it would never withstand another blow like that and would probably take the fence down with it next time. So we had Beau cut a few of the taller branches off. I will remove the straps and we will hope for the best. For some reason the root system spread along the surface sandy soil instead of going deep for a better grip.


Next we had to deal with a willow tree (or something) that Norma planted about 20 years ago. It has gone crazy and was now probably fifteen feet high and twenty feet across! It also leaned over the house a little and was a major contributor when it came to clogged gutters. It had to go. It probably had fifteen separate stumps and took two truckloads to dispose of. The back of the house is much more open now.


And finally, here is a shot of the full Harvest Moon we got to see a few nights ago. 

OK, Norma wanted to add a picture of Beau working his magic:

Saturday, September 13, 2014

35 Years Later

Can you believe it? They are just as good now as they ever were! John Travolta and Olivia Newton John:

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Blogging Funk

I have been in a Blogging Funk lately which you may have noticed. Nothing much has been happening and I have been lazy. I am doing maintenance around the house but only what has to be done. My ambition is low. I can't blame the weather, it has been great. Warm and sunny for the most part. Catching up:

1) Norma had her appointment with the local denturist who told her she had problems with her $40,000 implant job. No kidding!. The bottoms were great but the posts in her top jaw had migrated so they were no longer in contact with the magnets in the dentures. He sent her to a specialist who X-ray'd her and advised her to have the posts removed. That is happening today. She then waits for the swelling to go down and if necessary, returns to the denturist to have the magnets removed from the denture and repairs made to fill in the holes. This will effectively undo half of what the fancy pants "specialist" brothers in Victoria did. The bottom plate will remain bolted in place forever while the top will be just like any other denture. Hopefully the pain will stop and costs can be kept in check.

2) Beau, Norma's lawn boy, came to the door yesterday and called me. "Croft, you better come and see this. You won't like it". I followed him to the far end of the patio and there, under a chair, was a dead cat.  It had been there a day or two because the fly activity was advanced. Yuk! Norma said it looked like the neighbour's cat so she went over to tell them in hopes they would take care of it but no, their cat was alive and well. I got my shovel and placed the cat into a plastic bag and disposed of it. I don't know what it died of but I have rat poison on the floor of my workshop.

3) Our friend Brian was over for coffee the other day and gave us a fancy exterior wall lamp he had bought in a garage sale but had no use for. It matched one we already have on the patio so he thought we could use it. I bought a couple of fluorescent bulbs for it, wired it to an extension cord and tested it on the front of the workshop last night. It is low wattage but it gently lit the patio and looked good. I will mount it and wire it in properly today. Thanks Brian!

4) It was time to stock up on my meds for the winter so I ordered them from my pharmacy. Yesterday I went to pick them up and immediately noticed that one of the meds, Xalatan eye drops, were Pfizer brand and not the generic I had ordered. Knowing there was a huge difference in price, I questioned the pharmacist. I was told they were out of the generic but Pfizer had a program where they will cover the difference in cost between their brand and the generic. I guess they are trying to get customers back, He showed me the bill where he had made the adjustment. A bottle of name brand Xalatan from Pfizer that lasts one month costs $30+ while the generic rings in at $10+ for the same amount. Pfizer had indeed covered the $20 difference for each of the nine bottles I had ordered.

5) Finally, it is Sept 11 today, the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks on New York City. I still remember being hunkered down in an RV park in Bend, OR watching CNN 24 hours a day as the drama unfolded. It was a trying time for the people of the US and for those of us visiting their country at the time. However, as bad as it was, it was over in a very short period of time. We have to remember the people of Gaza face this terror 24/7, year round with their aggressor being subsidized and supported by Canada and the USA. It is insanity!

Friday, September 5, 2014

Rich Dentists

Several years ago Norma was told she needed dental implants. Her dentist here in Campbell river referred her a pair of Danish brothers in Victoria and convinced her they were the best thing since sliced bread. Long story short, they gave her implants and dentures over a several month period at the cost of $30,000 (direct to them) and and additional $10,000 for travel and hotels. She had "insurance" but they had a limit of $1,500 per year and only paid $3,000 in total because it was over two years. This took a large chunk out of our retirement savings! Their method was to permanently attach the bottoms to her jaw and that has worked perfectly. They are as good today as when they were put in. Rock solid. The top jaw was done differently. They embedded four metal rods into the upper jaw and equipped the upper plate with four tiny strong magnets. When she put the denture in, the magnets snapped onto the posts and held solid. This worked well for three or four years before they started to loosen and wander a bit in the jaw, no longer lining up properly.

This was not a perfect solution but she had suffered with bad teeth for so long she was happy to get rid of at least most of the pain and inconvenience and lived with the results until she went back to see him five years after it was done and was told she should have been coming back once a year to have everything checked and tightened. He tightened everything and charged her $1,000.

Several months later we were in Mexico when she started gagging in the middle of the night and spit out one of the implants! She went into the bathroom to rinse out her mouth with Listerine and the Listerine came out her nose! There was a hole right through into her sinus cavity.That quickly healed over and she refused to go back to the over-paid Danish brothers.

Now everything on the top is loose again and yesterday she went to a local denturist for an opinion. He said she is not the first person who has come to him after seeing those jerks in Victoria. He had a look and sent her for X-rays. He is sure he can do something for her, hopefully using the same upper denture. The X-rays are next week. The saga continues.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Goodbye Cricket!

I finally got rid of our loud cricket yesterday afternoon. I really did not want to pull the fridge out over the laminate floor so we put up with it's nightly "chirping" hoping he would tire of not having a willing female answer his desperate call. Yesterday I noticed him walking across the living room towards my computer room, perhaps to relocate. I pushed him into the middle of the room while I went for a towel, picked him up and shook him out over the lawn. I am sure his mating call will be met with more success outside.