Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014--By the Numbers

It has been quite a year for us. Frankly, I don't have enough time or energy to review what we have done and where we have been. But I love statistics, so I did pull together that sort of information about the year just past.

This blog makes 152 for the year. That is a lot of writing and a great way for me to record our lives. Tomorrow, I will use Blog to Print to pull those posts into a bound book of memories. (If you are interested in doing the same, let me know. If I send you a referral and if you use it, I get a little bit off my book.)

We traveled all summer.  I have kept track of how many miles we towed the RV, a well as how many miles we drove without it. We covered a total of 14,477 miles which included 7515 towing miles and 6811 miles without the RV. We covered a lot of miles in our summer travels, but when I look at the total of 14,000+ I realize that for the whole year, it wasn't a lot. I think I drove that much just commuting when I was working. And I think 15,000 is the average number of annual miles for many people.

During our travels, we visited 15 states and stayed in 41 campgrounds. That is the dry overview of the year. If you want to see the interesting overview, you can reread the blog. And please, come along for the events of 2015.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

About Finished

We are about finished--infusing cash into the Arizona economy, that is. Since arriving in early October, we have bought a house, contracted to have the concrete paving and a workshop/storage room built, bought furniture, dishes, silverware and many more items so we could live in the home.

Today, we purchased a set of kitchen knives and pans. That allows us to return pans and knives to our RV. We did not want to have to transfer dishes, pans and other kitchen equipment back and forth when we came to Arizona for the winter or left for our summer travels. Believe me, Bed, Bath and Beyond has been really happy we came to town this year.

On top of all this, yesterday I became eligible for an upgrade to my iPhone. So, guess what I bought today. An iPhone 6+. It will be so fun to use and I will be able to really read the email and websites on the new, larger screen. My phone is the one we use most when we are out and about and the new, larger screen will really help.

Now it is time for someone else to take over support of the local economy. Just about the only thing we still need for the house are a couple of ceiling fans.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Motoring of Old

Earlier this month, we were in beautiful downtown Apache Junction when we noticed a display of old cars. I especially liked this really old Chevy truck. It was made in 1939, before I was born.  It is really old.

And this older VW from 1973 is neat. Look at the sunshade (I guess) over the headlight.

The inner works of some cars had really been spruced up. This is a 1949 Meteor Club Coupe.

And look at this vehicle. It is different.

When we returned to the resort, we watched a Model T Ford drive in the front gate. Then another. And another.

We decided to find out what was going on. We learned that the East Valley Model T Club was having dinner here in the ballroom. How fun.  As you can see above, the cars were decorated for Christmas. Here in another decorated one.

This owner put a bow on the windshield--after he parked.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Best Christmas Lights

Thursday evening we went to Mesa with David and Alice for dinner at Waldo's BBQ and to see the Mormon Temple Christmas Lights. Their annual display is the best and most elaborate we have ever seen.

You can't beat this reflection photo of the temple.

This outdoor nativity scene is wonderful and there is a continuous narration of the Biblical story of Jesus' birth.

Each evening a different area group provides a Christmas concert. The Red Mountain High Singers  were performing the night we were there. The young people are very good.

We also visited the light display last year. If you would like to see even more photos, you can look at the blog I did then.

Inside the visitor center, they have a collection of nativity sets from around the world. It is so interesting to see how different cultures and artists celebrate their faith in Jesus' birth.

They had a similar display last year, with different nativity sets. You can see some of them here.

In case you want some special effects, look at what happens if you move your camera while directing it at Christmas lights. Oops, but interesting.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Christmas is Coming!

No matter how large or how small your house, people all over this country like to put up outdoor decorations for the Christmas season. We see a lot of blow-up Christmas scenes here in Arizona. I wanted to share some of them with you.

We dropped in to coffee and donuts Monday morning and saw how the ballroom in Canyon Vistas is decorated for the holidays.

The Guest Services area has a tree decorated in the same theme.

This is one of the cutest decorated cactus I have seen.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

What A Mess!

Why does our living room look like this?

We spent a good share of yesterday afternoon sitting in the middle of the room with all this mess around us. And this is what the bedroom looked like.

Why? you ask. Our house has lots of windows and the sun is very bright here. We have had our blinds closed most of the time. In addition, there are windows high up on the wall that let in a lot of light in the afternoon. We finally put cardboard there to keep the sun from shining on the TV screen.

We noticed that a number of our neighbors had tinted film on their windows, reflecting the sun. The protective film also provides privacy. We can see out, but during the day others can't see inside our house. One of the neighbors recommended Made in the Shade, who had done their windows. Yesterday they installed the film on our windows.

By the end of the afternoon, the job was complete and we were able to put all the furniture back in place. Finally, we can have the blinds open so we can see out. Others can't see in and the sun's rays aren't nearly as harsh.

By the way, as I got ready to post this blog entry, I realized it is the 1,000th entry in the blog. I really can't believe I have written that much!

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Things Are Happening

It has been a month and a half since we bought our house in Arizona.  We have been busy buying everything we need to furnish it, while waiting for the contractors to prepare the rest of the site and pour the concrete for our driveway and RV pad.  Finally, there is activity in our front yard.

Other workers arrived and began removing the rocks along the edge of the house. They put them in a wheel barrow and arranged them on the other side of the house.

These fellows doing the work have gotten a kick out of me taking pictures and at times have hammed it up for the camera.

I have never watched anything built like this, so it has been very interesting. A workshop will be built next to the house in the spring. They are digging trenches for the footings now, so that concrete can be laid at the same time they pave the driveway. It is a lot of hard, physical labor. They even use a small jack hammer at times.

The tractor grades the site. Before the driver began that, he used a site like surveyors use. You can see that in one of the photos above where they were showing off for me.

When they left for the night, we had a big pile of dirt in the front yard.

On Thursday, Dan the plumber arrived. He had to dig a trench for the sewer and water lines that provide full hookups for our RV.

Dan has been very friendly and more than willing to explain what he is doing. Here he is putting a red sleeve on the blue water pipe, protecting the pipe from the dirt.

Here is the completed trench and the pipes waiting to be connected to the utilities underneath the house.

We're not the only ones interested in what is going on. This morning I looked out and saw these four men, neighbors I guess, who stopped by and asked Dan about the project.

Late this morning, Randy, who is construction supervisor here for our builder Cal-Am Construction, came to see that everything was going well.  Woking with him, we made a couple of changes in the plans.  Randy has been great to work with, friendly, helpful and prompt to respond to any questions we have.

One thing he had to do today was mark out an area of concrete that has to be cut out next week. It is interesting to see what has to be done to connect the utilities from the house to the addition.