Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Not exactly quiet....

 We've been staying home mostly after all the excitement of Zion but we have been doing one thing that is pretty exciting:  we are investigating adding solar power to our house.  We live in the desert probably 25 miles from Death Valley.  If you aren't going to use solar here, where the heck would you?  So we've been talking with a couple companies about it.  

To my surprise, there are limits to the amount you can install.  I guess the local utility doesn't want to be paying everyone in the valley to generate power; they would rather sell power to us.  Hmmm.  Well, I guess they have to make money too.  They do have a tremendous amount of infrastructure to support and I'm not really talking about our house being off the grid.  Still, we are talking about $25-40K depending on whether we install it on the roof or in the back yard.  At the end of the day I think we'll be going for roof mounted because there is nothing to stop our neighbors from planting a bunch of trees that would block the sun to a ground mounted array.  (I know trees in the desert sounds dumb but there are lots of people with small forests on their property around us.)

I've been following the blog of a fellow who is thinking of living in a slide-in pickup camper.  Now, I've got to say it would be better than nothing but, whew, I think I'm too old for that sort of thing.  Of course, I'm married so it isn't like a single person doing it alone!  Still, I don't think I could manage it just because of the size of the camper.  We are happy traveling in our trailer but we have comfortable chairs, a sofa, a shower.  I sure wish him all the luck in the world and I hope to read how happy he is in his new rig.

It's time to get moving.  We donate to our local VFW's Food Bank and since Easter is coming up they have some extra needs.  Time to go hit the grocery stores!  Take care & keep being careful.

Sunday, March 21, 2021

What's happening? We had MORE of a good time!

 My wife and I decided that we needed a little time out; this hanging around home all the time is so exhausting!  So we decided to check out the area around St. George, Utah.  St. George is slightly under 200 miles away so it's not a tremendous journey.  We've driven through St. George many times since it is on the I-15 but we had never stayed there.  It is also of interest because it is fairly close to Zion National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park and even the North Rim of the Grand Canyon.  So, off we went!

We took the dog mostly because we haven't found a kennel for him yet.  He spent some nasty time in the local animal shelter and we don't want to make him think those days are returning.  So we had to find a pet friendly motel and, because he is a nitwit and barks when he is left alone, we got to eat more take-out food.  Hmmm, sounds a lot like home!  Anyway, we drove up on Tuesday being careful to stop in Las Vegas at a restaurant that has some outdoor seating where we could eat with the dog by our side.  Driving up through Nevada is a lot like home except that the elevations are higher.  

Then I-15 cuts through a corner of Arizona.  This is stolen from Google Maps.  It gives you a hint of the Virgin River Gorge in Arizona.

It is a short part of the journey but very nice.  Unfortunately there are few places to stop along side the road.  There is actually a Virgin River that is running next to the highway; down maybe 100 feet but it's there.  

So we got to St. George and spent a quiet night having Thai takeout for dinner.  Tuesday we wanted to make a loop through Zion and on to Kanab, UT which we were hoping to use sometime in the future as a place to park the trailer while visiting the North Rim.  Zion was crowded!  I wasn't expecting crowds in the middle of the week; maybe they were Spring Break people but it was busy.  The roads were clean but there was snow on the mountain sides.

We just drove through the park.  We aren't really back country hikers and the dog certainly isn't!  Anyway, we got to see a bit of that beautiful park then went on to Kanab which wasn't quite as wonderful as we'd hoped but it will probably do for a couple nights.  We ended up back in St. George in time for some takeout Mexican food from a nearby restaurant.  

Thursday we found our way back home; amazingly enough timing it so we got lunch in Las Vegas again.  That night I noticed that our heatpump was cycling on and off a lot.  So Friday we got to have a visit from a local repair person.  He spent a LOT of time checking things then, hoping he found the problem, he recharged the system and we'll just see how that works.  So far it is working but if there is a very small leak I'm sure we'll find it given a bit of time!

I can certainly recommend spending some time in Zion even if it is full of people.  St. George seemed like a nice little town.  So we had fun.  I hope you did as well.  Take care and keep washing those hands!

Friday, March 12, 2021

We had a good time!

 After the fun with our uninvited porch guest we were actually looking forward to some invited guests:  our son and his wife visiting from San Diego.  We often go down there about this time of year to celebrate their birthdays; they are about 2 weeks apart.  Unfortunately, right now you can only go quarantine yourself for 2 weeks if you are on a non-business trip to California.  That just wasn't going to work!  We might stay with them but they live in a two-story house and there was no way our dog could manage the stairs.  So, even though they are busy, they managed to get a few days off to spend with the old folks in Pahrump.

We had a good time.  We ate out quite a bit and they managed to go check out our local casinos.  She likes to gamble so it worked out well.  We could take them to various local sights but actually this area (and the drive to get here) are quite well known to them.  So it was lots of talk and eating.  What's wrong with that?  Our son is an IT guy so he was able to help my wife with her computer which has been slowing down.  That was a good deal!

They left on Sunday then on Tuesday our daughter came to visit.  Well, actually she was in Las Vegas but we managed to get over and have lunch with her.  We just saw her when we visited her in Texas so it hasn't been a long time but it was fun.  She had lived in Las Vegas for something over 12 years so Texas is quite a change.  Of course, Texas in the pandemic is nothing like it will be in normal times so we are hoping she will get to start enjoying her new town and state.  It is funny.  When she lived in Las Vegas we would just go into town to buy a few things and we never thought to stop and see her.  Now that she has moved my wife cannot go into the city without remarking on how strange it feels now that she isn't around any more.   

We got our second COVID vaccination yesterday (the Moderna variety).  Our local Walgreen's was doing us old folks so my wife got us in line.  It was quite easy and painless (in spite of the really long needle they used).  We both have a sore arm today but it really isn't bad so we are just perking along.  We won't be abandoning our masks any time soon but we want everything on our side that we can get!  We've noticed that some restaurant staff have a pretty poor track record with using masks correctly but we have continued to patronize the restaurants.  In our town there isn't much work except hospitality so those folks need customers if they aren't going to be on the poverty rolls.

I came across something amazing the other day.  A nurse in England had been caring for her husband who had Parkinson's Disease.  She noticed he had an odd odor on his body but then she noticed the same odor on another person with the disease.  She got in touch with some university people and talked with them about the possibility of a 'sniff test' for the disease.  And now it looks like that may happen!  Isn't that amazing!  A woman with a really good sense of smell may have discovered something that will help millions of people with a horrible disease.  Now that is good news indeed!  

My mother had dementia for nine years before she died in 2005.  It got to the point where she was unable to move around on her own and was wheelchair bound.  At that point a new doctor was assigned to her and he put her on medication for Parkinson's.  I never learned his reasoning however suddenly she was able to walk again!  It didn't last long, only 5 or 6 months, but it certainly made an improvement in the quality of her life.  It makes me wonder if there might be some similar hint for people with dementia.  Wouldn't that be wonderful.  

Gotta go.  It's my day to cook and I'm doing Shepard's Pie.  It's easy but we both like it so why not?  Have a good one and keep washing those hands and wearing those masks!

Friday, March 05, 2021

Well, that was different.

I started this post on Tuesday 2 March but got interrupted and here we are days later but the facts are the same!


Today I can't complain about how things are so dull; at least not this morning!  My wife and I had a quiet night as usual and I got up about 06:30.  I was wandering around in my robe and decided to open the blinds in my office which is right next to the front door.  I didn't see anything but after a few minutes there was a loud thud!  I looked and someone was trying to get up.  He'd fallen against the house.  Apparently he'd spent at least part of the night sheltering there.

Soon after he was wandering down the path towards the road but decided to relax in our driveway.  He just lay there once in a while looking for something in his backpack.  This guy was clearly under the influence of something so I called the Sheriff making it clear that this was no emergency.


After a while an officer showed up.  Our visitor was still just taking it easy in the drive.  I should say it was about 25F out there.  After quite a bit of discussion, we had another officer show up and then another and then some EMTs.  Apparently the guy was just under the influence because the EMTs had a look at him then left.

That photo was taken as a screen shot from a Ring video.  After a whole bunch of checking him and his possessions, the original deputy took our visitor off.  And that was that.  For us the mystery is what the heck was he doing here?  You can see from that photo of the four emergency vehicles that this isn't actually downtown!  I mean it is at least 2 or 3 miles from the nearest place you could buy a beer and he had several in his pack.  We aren't on the way to anywhere except more isolated homes.  There aren't any places out here where the homeless have their camps.  It is just strange but I guess we'll never know the answer.


However I was curious and had to go back and check the Ring history and, sure enough, there was our visitor at 02:42 a.m. coming stumbling up the walk to the front door.  Yes, that is a beer in his hand.  

So that's the excitement for today.  Well, not all.  Our son and daughter-in-law are coming to visit us on Thursday and staying the weekend.  Getting the place ready for visitors is work!  Take care & thanks for stopping by.