Tuesday, January 30, 2007

1/5/07 Just Another Day in Sunny Florida

Another beautiful day here in Florida. We're gonna hit 80 degrees today. From what I hear from friends and family in Delaware their weather is unusually warm too. Here in Florida we've been running about 10 degrees above "normal". Hey, works for me!

Today we went with friends Dale and Karen from Michigan on the hunt for a fishing pier. They have been here several years in a row now and pretty much know the area. After checking out one particular pier we stopped at a beach bar for drinks. From the deck we could see a dry dock shed for boats. Since we spend a good amount of time on or near the water we had seen these dry dock sheds numerous times but not one as big as this, nor one that was four tiers high. This is just one section of it. A lot of money sitting there, that's for sure!

While there, all whole bunch of pelican's came in and landed right in front of the
beach bar.
Shortly before we left the bar to head home a couple came in and sat down a few tables away from us. Now we probably wouldn't have paid this couple any mind except for the fact that they were decked out in Eagles sweatshirts and had Eagle coolie's keeping their bottles of beer cold. Of course I had to go over to talk about how well our team is doing. Turns out they had just moved to Florida from Philadelphia and their hearts were still with the Philadelphia team and had not transferred to their now Florida home team, the Buccaneers. Who can blame them? As we left they caught my eye and gave the Eagles chant with a thumbs up.
We enjoyed our time with Dale and Karen and headed home, retirement is just so good!

1/4/07 Manatees and a Two Headed Turtle

Today we went to Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park, about an hour north of where we are staying.
Visitors to this park can see West Indian manatees every day of the year from the park's underwater observatory in the main spring and also in the lakes as they swim from area to area. The park showcases native Florida wildlife, including manatees, black bears, bobcats, white-tailed deer, American alligators, American crocodiles, and river otters.

We had the perfect day, weatherwise. Sunny skies and about 75 degrees. Here are some pics from our day at Homosassa. As usual for Florida, the park is well maintained with many walkways thru the park.
First order of the day was lunch in the park restaurant. After burgers and fries we boarded the pontoon boat for the ride up Pepper Creek to the viewing area of wildlife.

This is Gi-Gi the two headed turtle. The park ranger told us that each head thinks independently of the other and both think they are in charge! The ranger said that sometimes Gi-Gi doesn't move for hours because one head wants the body to go right and the other wants to go left so there it sits in a standoff. In this picture one half of GiGi was very photogenic and the other just turned its head away as I snapped the picture.

Some of the many American Alligators sunning themselves.

This is one of seven manatees that call Homosassa home. This picture doesn't really give you an idea of how big these creatures of the sea are. These manatees are here because they were injured by boat motors or born here. They were nursed back to health and then kept here because they are an endangered species.

This is Ariel, a manatee that was born here in the park. This picture was taken during one of the 3 daily "shows" where the park ranger gets in the water with the manatees talking all the while about their habits, etc.

The park's resident manatees make the first magnitude spring their home along with fresh and salt water fish that are free to come and go. The Fish Bowl, a floating underwater observatory offers an unequalled, below-the-surface view of manatees and fish in the crystal clear spring environment. Here are two pictures that were taken while we were in the Fish Bowl. All the while Bob was wishing he had a fishing pole with him!

These next pictures of the animals and birds we saw as we walked through the park.

How in the world do those legs hold that body up?

A proud American Bald Eagle.

We had a great day in this park and highly recommend it to anyone coming to this area.

1/3/07 Bob the Handyman

Bob woke early today as he knew he had three jobs lined up for neighbors. Marv, our next door neighbor has a gas leak he needs help with, Karl has a problem with his propane thingamajig and Dave has no 12 volt lights. A busy day for Bob.

I didn't do much of anything, I went to the puzzle room and helped finish another puzzle.

Tonite we'll sit down and explore the possibilities of places to go tomorrow.

Late this afternoon our real estate agent, Rick, called. He still can't get a return call from the couple who wanted to buy our home or their agent. We have no choice but to put the house back on the market. Once again, Happy Campers is not a term that applies to us right now.

1/2/07 Finally! A Haircut!

Blue skies and sunny today. A welcome change to the rainy dreary day it was yesterday.

Today I finally got a much overdo haircut. Six weeks worth of overdue! I had been hearing from other women here at the campground about a place called Hot Headz and made an appointment for today, just a few hours after our neighbor Julie was getting hers cut there. I figured if they screwed up her hair cut I would have time to cancel my appointment. Its just my luck that her and Dave went out to lunch after her appointment and I never got see her. Well, I went. I had an appointment with Kim and told her I wanted a "good trim". When she cut to the satisfactory length and thinned it out I told her that I often think I want something else but am a little scared to try a new cut. She said to me, "It's only hair and it will grow back". So I thought to myself, "Oh what the hell" and told her to do what she wanted. Oh My God! I was so nervous as she was cutting away and I saw more and more of my hair on the floor. When she was all done cutting and blow drying she swung me around in the chair to see my reflection in the mirror. I didn't know who was looking back at me. It was so short! I haven't had hair this short since I was eight years old! When I touched it I was sure I wouldn't need more than a wash cloth to wash it. It was THAT short! I loved it and hated it at the same time. Loved it because it just looked good and hated it because I wasn't sure if I could make it look like this on my own. I'm not good at curling irons and stuff like that. Of course this was so short I couldn't get it around a curling iron rod if my life depended on it. Well, maybe it wasn't that short but it sure seemed like it as this was so new to me. The big test would be when I got home and got Bob's reaction.

I drove up and parked the truck, unsure of what Bob's reaction would be. In the past when I got it cut just a little shorter than usual he would say something like, "Got it cut a little short didn't ya?" Well, I walked into the screen room and he just looked at me. I think it took a minute to register that his WIFE just walked in. He looked and said, "It doesn't look bad!" That's a compliment, trust me. As our neighbors came over for Happy Hour I got much more verbal comments. Everyone seems to like it. As I made walks thru the park some people didn't even recognize me!

The best part of all....this haircut only cost me 13 bucks!

All in all a good day.

1/1/07 Happy New Year!

It was raining as predicted when we woke this morning. Its a good thing we changed the date for our community picnic.

We brought the new year in at Karl and Karen's last night. When the new year arrived we sat in their screen room and watched the fireworks that were going on all around us.

Speaking of their screen room, they ordered one shortly after we got ours to help ward off the no-see-ums. Bob helped them put it up. Here are some pictures of that day not too long ago.

Good thing Bob is handy!

Bob and I wish all of you a Happy New Year!

Monday, January 29, 2007

12/31/06 The End of a Year

Wow...the end of another year. So much has happened for us this year.

As we look back over 2006 we can't help but think of all the changes that have taken place. We are no longer in our home of 26 years, we no longer report to our jobs every weekday morning, and we've been through the pain of leaving family and friends, but also the joy of making new friends.

So we'll start the new year out homeless (in the bricks and mortar sense of the word), jobless, roaming from place to place. Ahhhh.....life is good, very good!

We watched the Eagles beat Atlanta today, 24 to 17. The perfect end to a year!

Tonite we will bring in the new year with our new friends from Canada and Michigan. We gather at Karl and Karen's across the street from us to bring in the new year.

Happy New Year to ALL!

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

12/30/06 Great Day for a Picnic!

We woke to sunny skies this morning and we started right in on the final preparation for our picnic today. Coolers were packed, our ladder golf game put in the truck, our stereo system and its power pack were loaded and soon we were off to Fred Howard Park. We were on our way by 8:30 even though the rest wouldn't arrive until 11 or 11:30. The pavilions are on a first come, first serve basis and we wanted to make sure we got the one we wanted. Needless to say we were the first ones in the park! We picked a pavilion with a view of the Gulf of Mexico. Right near our pavilion we also had horseshoe pits and the always needed rest rooms. We unloaded all we brought with us and waited. Thank heavens I brought a book to read!

Everyone must have been anxious to get the day started to because by 10:30 the others started arriving. You just can't believe how much food we had! Everyone brought one dish to share and the majority of us brought two. We could have fed a small third world country! Bob was in charge of the grill as shown below.

We played ladder golf, horseshoes, took walks on the trails, sat on the benches overlooking the Gulf, sat and talked and laughed and ATE. Oh boy did we eat!

We ended up with 23 of us for the picnic. We ranged in ages from 53 (I was the baby of the group) to 82. Here's a picture of the picnic participants.

From everything we heard, everyone had a great time and we heard numerous times, "When is the next picnic?"

12/29/06 No News is Good News?

I've often heard no news is good news but somehow that isn't ringing true I think. We haven't heard anything from the buyers of our house. They have til December 31st to come up with a mortgage as stipulated by our contract. We haven't heard anything from what Rick our realtor is telling us. In fact, their realtor isn't even returning his calls. Geesh, just what we need!

Well, the picnic has been changed to Saturday the 30th. The forecast is for sunny skies and 85 degrees! The number of participants has grown from the original 8 to 25! Somehow I bet those of you who really know us aren't surprised by that.

I've got 5 pounds of potato salad to make so its time to sign off.

12/28/06 Honeymoon Island

After morning chores Bob and I took off for Honeymoon Island and Caladesi Island State Park.

The pioneers called it Hog Island, but it became Honeymoon Isle in 1939 when a New York developer built 50 palm thatched bungalows for honeymooners. Today, visitors can drive across Dunedin Causeway to enjoy the sun drenched Gulf beaches, mangrove swamps, and tidal flats. Nature lovers will find osprey nests, a wide variety of shorebirds, and one of the few remaining virgin slash pine forests in South Florida. I read about the virgin slash pine forests on a sign there, I have no idea what they are. Actually, we didn't see any thatched roof bungalows either. I imagine since they were built in 1939 that at some point they were destroyed by a hurricane or just simply replaced by sturdier dwellings. Then again, maybe we didn't look in the right place.

BUT we did see the mangrove swamp on the ferry ride from Honeymoon Island to Caladesi Island State Park.

The ferry ride took us about 15 minutes to get to the island which is Caladesi Island State Park. First order of business was lunch! After burgers and fries it was time to start exploring. Here's a little of what we saw and a few facts about the island.

One of the few completely natural islands along Florida´s Gulf Coast, Caladesi´s white sand shores have been rated as one of the nation´s best beaches. The park is accessible only by private boat or ferry from Honeymoon Island State Park. I can certainly see where they get the boasting rights of being one of the nation's best beaches.

I could spend EVERYDAY here!

This next one was taken from the bridge that takes you over the dunes to the beach.

I spend a good amount of time while on the beach looking for shells. What I'm going to do with them is beyond me right now but a lot of people were doing it so I joined right in. There sure were a lot to choose from as this picture shows.

I was lucky enough to find a perfect sand dollar,,,,,but I broke it before I got it home.

Here's just another view of the island,,,,what's in the center of the island

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

12/27/06 Bike Rides and Puzzles

Bob went on a long bike ride today, about 10 miles total. He's checking out fishing spots. We got these bikes several years ago when we were vacationing in New England. We were on a country road and passed a house that had about 10 bikes out front with a big sign that read, "FREE bikes, if you need one, take one." FREE worked for us. We pulled over, picked out two and loaded them into the 5th wheel. When we got home we put them in the shed and there they sat. When it came time to hit the road we debated on whether to take them with us or not. We're glad we did! Of course Bob's get used more than mine.

Since I've been here I've made a friend named Nancy from Connecticut or maybe that's Ohio, she's mentioned both. Anyway, Nancy and I work on jigsaw puzzles together. Here's a few we've done in the last few weeks.
You can click on each one to enlarge the pictures.

This one was hard!

12/26/06 A Trip to the Hundred Dollar Store

I first heard this term, Hundred Dollar Store from my brother Billy. Back in Delaware I wasn't a frequent visitor to this particular store. Well, let me tell you that has changed! Not only do I do my grocery shopping there but if we need something for the house on wheels its the first place we go. We get our fuel for the truck there too. We have learned that if you go inside and get a gift card and then use that card at the fuel pumps an extra 3 cents per gallon is taken off the price. With diesel at $2.48 a gallon, hell, we'll take that 3 cents. Its also the cheapest place around to get the beer. The term Hundred Dollar Store sure fits, we can't get out of there without spending a hundred bucks! Do you know what store I'm talking about yet? Scroll down to find out.

Yeppers! Walmart Supercenter! Their grocery prices are unbelievable! I had been to the one in Elkton, Maryland before we left home and thought the prices were good there but its nothing like here in Florida! For instance the jar of spaghetti sauce I use was $2.59 per jar at Safeway when we left Delaware, here in the Walmart its only $1.78. I've only found a few things I can't get in this store. They don't carry the trash bags I like and they don't carry jars of Harvard beets. I guess a trip to the Piggly Wiggly is in order. What a dumb name for a grocery store!

In the late afternoon we had our usual Happy Hour (s).

12/25/06 Merry Christmas

Christmas Day! Merry Christmas to all of you reading this.

Boy do I miss my oven at home! I cooked a turkey breast for dinner, just the breast, not the 13 pound turkey I'm used to making. The RV oven isn't big enough for that!

It doesn't seem like Christmas, its too warm. Not that I'm complaining mind you! It did seem a little strange wearing shorts on Christmas day.

It was pretty quiet in the campground today. Most people who were here stayed pretty much to themselves. Us included.

Many of the residents decorated with lights and such just like those of you in sticks and bricks houses. I can assure you that the trees aren't as big. During a walk we could see little 2 foot trees sitting on dashboards of motor homes. Nope, its just not like being home for the holidays.

My Eagles beat Dallas today!

12/24/06 A Sea of Blue Hair

I need a haircut! I'm way overdue for one as I wasn't able to get an appointment with the lady that has been cutting my hair for years before we left. I went to a shop down the road and asked if they had any appointments open for today and was told they could take me at 4 if I wanted to come back. I accepted the appoinment and as I was leaving happen to look around the shop and all I saw was a sea of thin, blue hair. OMG, what was I thinking! I looked at the stylists and it seemed they were practically salivating at the thought of getting their hands on my head of thick hair! Oh no, this is not the place for me! I called and canceled the appointment as soon as I got home.

Tonight many of the park residents gathered at the clubhouse. After we each introduced ourselves to the group we sat and sang Christmas carols, ate the offerings everyone brought to share and just enjoyed being with each other. We shared lots of laughs, some wonderful treats and picnic list grew by four more.

The gathering broke up around 9pm and then it was on to the Quinn's screen room for more partying. At last count we had 27 people at our place and so much booze we could have stocked a liquor store. Bob and I finally got to bed at quarter to two. At least no one could complain about the noise, they were all at our place.

12/23/06 Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad

I'll start this post with a Happy Anniversary wish for my parents. Today they have been married for 54 years. So Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad, may you share many more years together!

Our New Year's Day picnic group has grown from 8 to 12 and I have a feeling it won't stop there. Everyone seems excited about it and some had said it was a long time since they went on a picnic in a park.

Nothing special about today, just another day in warm, sunny Florida.

12/22/06 Reimbursement at Last!

Our checking account was finally reimbursed the funds that were taken by mistake! I think I'll take my time writing that check to the park. Just because I can!

Didn't do a whole lot today, usual things like laundry, cleaning, cooking.

Bob took a long ride on his bike to pass some time while I did the household type things.

During Happy Hour on our porch I brought up the idea of a picnic at Fred Howard Park on New Years Day. The idea was embraced so we'll bring in the New Year that way. There will be eight of us so we'll all pitch in to buy the brats, burgers and hot dogs and we'll all make dishes to share. Should be a good time.

Monday, January 22, 2007

12/21/06 Off to the Park We Go

Today we went to Fred Howard Park. The park was named in honor of Fred H. Howard, former Mayor of Tarpon Springs. Mr Howard also served on the County Park Board for more than 30 years. He a successful real estate businessman who was very civic minded and served the area in many political and organizational capacities. Mr. Howard worked to secure the property for development as a north county park. The park consists of 155 acres and is situated on the Gulf of Mexico.

This is the best state park we have ever been in. It is absolutely beautiful.

There are nine picnic pavilions that are very nicely kept. Each has a dozen or so large picnic tables and everything is in good repair and very clean. Here are some pictures of what we saw.

One of the pavilions and below is the view from this pavilion. What a great place to have a picnic!

Here is a picture of the view from the causeway that goes out to the island part of the park. The island has a wonderful swimming beach, white sand, clean and pretty shells for the taking. On either end there is fishing along with both sides of long causeway out here.

We saw quite a few jet skis being off loaded while here and also several windsurfers.

Another view from the island.

A view from the parking lot on the island of the causeway used for fishing and walking.

The State of Delaware could really take some lessons from Florida on park management!

So there it is, our visit to Fred Howard Park a place that we'll come back to again and again while we're here.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

12/20/06 I'm Mad & I'm Not Taking Anymore!

This has gone on long enough! We're tired of being told by the office personnel that our money will be deposited by Friday, by Monday, by next Tuesday! I asked which credit processing company they used and didn't get anywhere, they wouldn't tell me. I talked to Sal, the new regional manager of the company that bought this campground, oops, there I go again, RV resort. Now I admit, I did get frustrated and probably did raise my voice a little and that jerk used his favorite line on me. "Stop yelling at me or I'm going to have to ask you to leave the park!" Sal uses this line on everyone who has a problem and is frustrated. Everyone is threatened with eviction. He went on to say that he didn't have to take this! Well, neither do I! I came back to the rig and told Bob what happened, he was not happy about me being threatened like that. We decided to go to our bank to see if they could help us.

So off to Wachovia we go. I met with a Mr. Clark and told him what happened. While he was looking at our account he refunded all the charges we had put against us for the overdrafts. Thank YOU Mr. Clark. He asked for the number to the RV resort and called Sal. He told Sal that we were sitting in front of him and that he was not happy about his customers having to wait for this reimbursement when it should only take a few keystrokes to fix. Sal blew him off and said it was out of his hands that he couldn't make the processing company work any faster. Mr. Clark suggested he find a way to get us money until this takes place since we were overdrawn because of this mistake. Sal said something like...."What are they overdrawn twenty bucks". Mr. Clark informed that him while he couldn't divulge specific information that he could assure him that this caused a major problem and that he expected a phone call before 3 pm reporting what was going to be done about this. With this we bade farewell to Mr. Clark and returned home. We weren't there 5 minutes and my cell phone rang. It was Sal requesting my presence in the office. When I got there he had a check already written out in the amount of the "mistake". When the funds are returned, I'll write a check back to Suncoast and all will be fine but in the meantime we'll have our money again. I walked out of the office with a big smile!

Friday, January 19, 2007

12/19/06 Still No Money

First thing I did this morning was check our bank account online. Still no reimbursement from the mistake made when we were charged twice for our 4 month stay in this park. I went to the office to let them know "Friday, Monday at the latest " has come and gone. I was assured it would be taken care of this week. We'll see. "Happy Camper" does not apply to us right now!

The pool is still not heated and lots of people are complaining about that and the fact that the WiFi is not up to par. In addition there are tons of complaints about no activities. There's a whole lot unhappy people here. At least its warm. Most days we're in the 70's and on some it creeps up into the 80's.

I've said it before and I'll say it again,,,,,life is good!

Thursday, January 18, 2007

12/18/06 St. Pete's Fishing Pier

We got up early this morning, took care of what few chores we had and loaded the cooler.

Today we are in search of a fishing pier. Bob had read about one in St. Petersburg that we're going to check out.
We left about 10:30 under sunny skies with the temps heading towards 78 today. A perfect day to get out and do something. We headed south on 19 in search of a place to pull in some "big ones". After a 45 minute drive we pulled onto the Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier.
The Sunshine Skyway Bridge. The name evokes a lot of different feelings among residents in the Tampa Bay area. Many people have a feeling of pride because of the length, height, and unique appearance of the cable bridge that opened in 1987 crossing Tampa Bay. Others harbor a feeling of dread when crossing it because they remember the tragedy in 1980 when a freighter lost control in a storm, slammed into the bridge supports of the old steel and concrete bridge, and caused the collapse of the center span during rush hour. Fishermen in the Tampa Bay area are happy though, to be living in close proximity to the longest fishing pier in the world, The Skyway State Fishing Piers.

This is a picture of the newspaper clipping that was on the wall of building on the bridge that sells bait, t-shirts etc.

The car on the end of the bridge stopped just in time before driving off the end of the bridge. You can see the ship that caused the bridge to collapse.

The Skyway Fishing Piers were constructed by removing all the material from the center of the two original steel and concrete bridges, placing it in strategic locations both around the fishing piers and off shore in the gulf, and tying the dead ends of each of the spans together to create a three quarter mile long pier on the north and a one and one half mile long pier on the south side of Tampa Bay. Both are the width of the original four lanes of the two old bridges, and you can drive your car onto the pier and park it right next to the area that you wish to fish. Combining the capacity of the two piers, over one thousand vehicles can park easily, and both the north and south spans have four lanes of parking, roadway, and fishing area. This makes the north span a one and one half mile long fishing pier and the south span a three mile long fishing pier figuring both directions. This is quite a difference from the usual fishing piers where you may have to walk several hundred yards from your car to your fishing spot, carrying all the gear and bait that you need to fish with. At the end of the pier, there is a bait and tackle shop that has all the live and frozen bait that you will need for your day or night of fishing, as well as a complete line of fishing tackle. There are over a dozen picnic tables under a roof that will easily shelter over one hundred people. The south pier is the same but with two bait shops and clean bath rooms, and there is certainly enough stock on hand of food, tackle, and bait to keep thousands of fishermen happy. Both piers are maintained in a clean and well lit manner and the management is constantly roaming the piers to see that they are kept clean and that all the fishermen are served well.

Lots of room to fish!

See that blue water?

There's some B I G fish in that water!

I call this one....

Pelican sitting on concrete.

I don't think anyone will
fight over these drumsticks!
So there we are, our first day "out". It did seem strange to get the truck and go and not have Shag in the backseat, but time will help us with that.

12/17/06 Life Goes On.....

Ok, we've got to pull ourselves up by our bootstraps and get on with living. We've decided that tomorrow we will get out of this park. Bob went through all his papers he's downloaded and the Internet sites he's bookmarked for a way we can spend the day tomorrow. We've got a plan!

Today I got caught up with laundry and cleaning and Bob did little odds and ends and kept himself busy for most of the day.

I had put a roast in the crockpot so we had a good dinner while we watched the Eagles game. Once again, they won.

12/16/06 I've Lost My Shadow

Today I woke up and realized I've lost my shadow. Shag doesn't follow me from room to room. I feel empty. Bob isn't talking. We just sit, lost in our own thoughts.

It wasn't long before the neighbors, one by one, knock on our door to find out how Shag is doing. It hurts to tell them what has taken place. They say all the appropriate things one says in this situation but I'm not comforted, I want my little girl back.

Bob and I pretty much stayed to ourselves today, we need a day or two mourn.

12/15/06 We Lost Our Little Girl

We got up this morning to find that Shag is no better than yesterday. A trip to the vet is definitely in order. I got online and started searching for a vet in this area. Luckily, there was one right across the street from where we're living. I called and was told to bring her right over as the vet was in but would only be there for a short time. After quickly dressing I was ready to go. I put Shag's leash on her and she started walking to the truck, tail wagging. She does love to ride in the truck. Within minutes we were in the vet's office and he did a quick physical examination and told me he could find nothing wrong her and couldn't without blood tests. He went on further to explain that he couldn't do anything right then as he wasn't even supposed to be in the office that morning and had a meeting to attend. He asked if I could bring Shag back that afternoon. I made an appointment for 4 pm. Back at the house we settled Shag on a rug outside in the sun. We tried to tempt her with treats which she refused. Now we know she doesn't feel well. Shag never, ever refused a puppy cookie. We both stayed close to home, keeping an eye on our beloved furkid.

The afternoon seemed to drag by for us as we both kept an eye on the clock, willing it to move faster. Finally the time arrived for our next visit to the vet. Once again I put her leash on and she just looked at me. She didn't even attempt to get up. Bob picked her up and put her in the truck. I got to the vet and he was just finishing up with his patient that was scheduled before us. Shag just laid on the floor, not even lifting her head when this dog walked by her.

Finally it was our time with Dr. St. John. He took some blood for testing and I waited while they ran the tests. He came out shortly afterwards and said he was baffled that the tests show that Shag isn't dehydrated since she can't keep anything down and doesn't even attempt to eat or drink now. He said it would be just a little while longer until all the tests are done. I managed to get Shag outside in case she had to "go". As I was walking her she did make an attempt but much to my horror all that came out was blood. I knew were in trouble then. I carried her back in and told the lady behind the desk what had happened and she ran to get the vet. He called me into the office and said that were was something seriously wrong but he couldn't tell more without possible exploratory surgery and he didn't know if she would make it through it. My heart is breaking. I told him I couldn't make any decisions without Bob and that I had to get him. I assured him it wouldn't take me long as he was just across the street and that I would hurry. It was after hours time that we were in now as it was. He told me that was fine that he would stay as long as needed. I raced home to get Bob and we jumped in the truck to get back to our little girl. Dr. St. John took the time to explain everything again to Bob and then left us alone to make our decision as to what to do. It seems Shag had a tumor and it ruptured. Dr. St. John could treat her but it would only fix the symptom, not the root of the problem. We didn't even consider surgery, Shag is 17 years old. Did we want to put her through that? What if she didn't make it and we weren't with her? No, that wouldn't do, instead we made the most painful decision that pet owners could make. We would help Shag to the The Rainbow Bridge (click). We called Dr. St. John back in and told him of our decision. He brought Shag back in to give us time with her. I don't think I need to tell you that we both cried,,,,buckets.

I held Shag's head in my hands and told her I loved her and to wait at the "bridge" for me. This is truly the hardest thing I've ever had to do. When our goodbyes were done we rang the bell to let the vet know we were ready. Oh God, would I ever be ready for this? Are we doing the right thing? Does she know how much we love her? The time had come and within minutes our little girl was romping with the other dogs waiting for their humans....at the bridge.

Once again Dr. St. John left us alone with her. It was so hard to walk away and took much urging on Bob's part. But walk away we did, without our little girl, without our furkid, without the little white dog that shared her life with us for the last 15 and a half years.

Bob and I sat on the porch for awhile..... remembering,,, smiling at times,,,and crying a lot. Oh how we are going to miss this little dog.

Shag at her happiest, hanging out the window as we drive the down the road.

Here's Shag just lovin' life, she's camping with us.

I dreaded this time of year because Shag just loved to go out in the snow and the snow would stick to her fur and freeze. What a mess she was when she came in. I can remember many a snow with the kitchen floor covered in towels until she finished thawing out. This picture was taken after a very heavy snow, about 2 feet.

Shag's Portrait

12/14/06 Its raining, its pouring, the old man....

Nasty day here in paradise, its raining. Not much to do other than sit around and watch TV, read or play online Scrabble. I'll guess we'll have a quiet day to ourselves.

Shag is really feeling bad now, I think a trip to the vet is in order. She's still not eating or drinking which really has me concerned. She just lays around which is so not like her. Usually, if I move from one room to another or go out to the screen room she is right behind me but today she just lays and barely raises her head as I walk by. I guess she's caught some kind of bug or something. If she's not better by tomorrow we'll go in search of a vet.

12/13/06 Oh No, This Is Not Good!

I went into the office today to get another one of those papers they hand out telling you what TV station is on what channel as we threw ours away by mistake. Why oh why can't all areas keep the same channels? I've lived with 3, 6 and 10 all my life for the major stations, now I have to learn 8,9 and 11 and I can't keep straight which one is ABC, NBC or CBS! When they make me boss of the world this is the first thing I'm changing!

Well, when I entered the office there was woman who was highly irritated, extremely upset, oh hell, she was pissed to the max! I couldn't help but listen as I waited my turn. I soon figured out what she was so upset about and stepped up to the desk and said, "Excuse me, is this something I should be concerned about too?" Kathy, behind the desk said yes if I paid on the first and paid by credit/debit card. I did both. The heck with the TV channel paper, I went right home and pulled up my bank account on the computer! My heart sank when I saw Available Funds $0.00 OH NO! It seems as though the credit card processing company Suncoast uses processed all the payments twice! An extra $1600 + out of our account that we weren't expecting! I went back to the office to let them know it had happened to me too. I was then informed that it happened to 42 of us in the park! The office knew this happened on Monday and here it is Wednesday and no one told us! We had used that debit card several times since Monday as I had gone and done a "big" grocery shopping and we filled the truck tank and bought beer. Of course this wiped out the couple hundred we had in a savings account linked to our checking account too. As far as we were concerned we should have had a little over $500.00 to get us through until the next retirement check hit. Thank heavens any bills we had were paid, the pantry was well stocked, the truck had a full tank and beer was in the fridge. I was assured this would all be straightened out on Friday, Monday at the latest. It had better be! Thank heavens we have a bit of a cash stash.

Poor Shag, our furkid has an upset stomach. She can't keep anything down, food or water. She had gotten sick during the night last night and bless this little dog, she managed to "heave" only on the tile or a throw rug. What a good pup! All the same I hate to see her not feeling well.

12/12/06 Party Central at the Quinn's

We certainly are enjoying the new screen room. We usually have 8 to 10 over in the late afternoon to discuss the latest problems in the park, world events and our previous lives. (No news as yet as far as when the pool will be heated)

Bob has taken to riding his bike quite a bit. He's actually leaving the park and riding down Highway 19,,,,on the sidewalk of course. I take mine for a few turns around the park but that is as far as that goes for me.

We haven't been out of the park to "go" anywhere since we've been here and neither one of us knows why. This is so unlike us. Usually when we're in a new area we pack up a cooler, put the Shag in the back seat and off we go to explore. We've spent a lot of time re-arranging things, fixing minor things, sitting around with our neighbors and taking walks around the park. Maybe this is all part of de-stressing. We have said to each other, "We're gonna be here for 4 months there's no rush to see everything all at once". Bob has spent time on the computer printing out information on things to do in the area so when the urge hits us we'll have plenty to see.

It's almost time for Happy Hour(s), gotta run.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

12/11/06 Waiting for Fed-Ex

I made several trips to the office today to find out if the Fed-Ex truck had arrived yet. The lawyers office had called me this past Thursday and said they were sending papers to be signed for the sale of the house. They should have been here on Friday but hey, sometimes things happen,,,even with Fed-Ex. Finally at 2pm I called the attorney to let them know I hadn't received the papers yet. Much to my surprise the paralegal who is working on our settlement told me that she didn't send them since the settlement wasn't going to take place. W H A T ? ? ? ? Why not? How come? Who said? What is going on????? The poor woman, she felt so bad, she thought our real estate agent had informed us already that the buyers had a problem securing their mortgage. I thanked her for the information and then promptly speed dialed our agent. When he realized it was me on the phone he said he was just getting ready to call me. I informed him I had just gotten off the phone with the attorney's office and what I had learned. He told me not to get upset that it wasn't a done deal yet that this happens quite often. It seems as though the buyers went to a very small mortgage company that left no room for anything other than perfect credit. Our buyers have good credit, just not perfect. He assured me that he had a list of mortgage lenders that will have no problem getting them approved at a good rate and that he will forward the list to their agent. Whew! Ok, it may be set back a little in time but its not a done deal. They asked for an extension on the contract to give them time to apply elsewhere. No big deal, we'll make December's mortgage payment and settle in January.

The Eagles won!

12/10/06 Major Cleaning Day

Today was the day for cleaning! We cleaned front to back and top to bottom, nothing went untouched. The windows had to be cleaned to get the travel grime off too. A lot of work for a major cleaning like this but oh so worth it.

I've been spoiled the last two weeks with getting to watch the Philadelphia Eagles play on TV because of nationally televised games. Today only the locals to Philly get to see the game. I'll have to follow along on the computer to keep tabs if they are winning or losing. We're gonna do it this year! I just know it!

I checked our bank statement today online and the RV park we're in hasn't processed our payment as yet! It's been 10 days! Hmmm....did our payment get lost? Do I go to the office and say something? Do I keep quiet and hope it stays lost?

12/9/06 Finishing Touches

Today Bob put the finishing touches on our new screen room. He had to put up the vinyl section that hangs from the bottom of the rig to the ground to close off that area. There were lots of tiny little openings where the screen room attached to the rig so it was off to Home Depot in search of something to fill in those voids. He was soon back with weather stripping made of foam rubber that fit very nicely the cracks and crevices.

Let's have Happy HOUR, not Happy HALF Hour! All of the neighbors came over and we sat in a bug free environment! Not one no-see-um bite! Hallelujah!!!!! Happy Hour stretched into several hours and when everyone left they were all HAPPY!

12/8/06 Let's Build an Addition

We woke to sunny skies and decided to start right in on the "building" of our screen room. Let me make a correction here, BOB started building the screen room. My role in this is "gopher". This is a role I'm quite comfortable with. The first thing I have to go get? Beer, of course!

Let the building begin....

Bob getting the tools out.

Bob heading for the beer! After all, one has to have nourishment when reading through all the directions!

The first screen wall goes up.....

This is going much faster than I thought!
....and he hasn't even cussed yet!

Houston, we've got a room!

Here's Bob taking a well-deserved break,

This screen room was made with a motor home in mind, not the shape of a 5th wheel trailer. Because of this there was an opening under the part that hangs over the back of the pickup truck. There's not much sense in having a screen room with such a big opening available to the no-see-ums and mosquitoes. Bob gave this some thought and off to Home Depot he went. Not only did his ingenuity take care of the opening problem it turned out to be functional too. Yes, that's a fan you see. Here in Florida we have days when it hits 80. Ahhhh, life is good!

12/7/06 No-See-Ums be Damned!

The screen room arrived today! Those pesky little bugs won't bother us anymore. Unfortunately, its rainy and drizzly so we won't be putting it up today but at least its here.

We went for a ride to Walmart just to get out of the house. We ended up buying a small refrigerator for the beer and my Pepsi's. This will be set up outside on the patio so that we don't have to keep going indoors for our liquid refreshment.

We'll worry about the extra weight of this fridge and where it will be stored during traveling later.

The lawyer handling the settlement called to double check our Florida address and to inform me that papers were going to be Fed-Ex'ed that needed to be signed before the actual settlement date. It's getting closer! I thought I would have second thoughts about this but surprisingly enough I don't.

12/6/06 Internet on Demand

The cable guy showed up at 11 o'clock this morning and 20 minutes later we had Internet on demand! Oh happy day!

We didn't do much of anything at all today, kind of overcast and cloudy. It even rains in paradise.

12/5/06 WiFi is the PITS!

One of the reasons we picked this resort is because they advertised WiFi. We're finding everyday that the connection is spotty at best. It gets very aggravating to be in the middle of something on the computer only to be kicked off. This will not do! We are so spoiled from having our Internet connection through our cable company in Delaware that our tempers flare very easily when we're kicked off. I went up to the office to find out what the problem is only to be told that the WiFi system needs to be updated and it is on the list of things to do for the new owners. The nice lady did suggest that I call the local cable company to see if we could get a connection through them. I did call and yes we can get a cable connection! In fact, they can come here tomorrow to do it. The best part of all....it's only $19.95 a month! This will be twenty bucks well spent.

12/4/06 Screen Room is Ordered!

We took the step today of ordering the screen room. After much research we decided to go with the one from the manufacturer of our awning. This was $750.00 we didn't plan on spending but I have a feeling it will be $750.00 well spent.

Shag loves to spend her time outdoors just laying in the grass watching what goes on around her but the poor thing is so bothered by the bugs too that she has to come in at 3:30 before the no-see-ums show up.

We just did normal everyday stuff today, grocery shopping, laundry and scratching.

12/3/06 We're Still Setting Up

Here we are day 3 in Port Richey and we're still getting settled. Basically, we're good to go but Bob is busy tweaking things.

We got rid of the sofa that came with our rig because (1) we never sat on it and (2) it became a catch all for everything we carried in the house. In its place we put the desk that you read about earlier. Bob wanted to run the dedicated electrical wires, or some such thing, so that it was on its own circuit. I think I got that right. Anyway, since we don't have a washer/dryer in the rig (not yet, anyway) he used those lines and ran them to the living room area for our computer, printer/fax/copier and who knows what else to run off of. Here's a picture of the finished lines, some of you will understand what he did and some of you won't. I fall in the won't column.

I'm betting the female readers don't have a clue what they are looking at, and that's ok. I don't understand it either but he worked so hard it I thought it was worthy of a picture.

We've had it with the no-see-ums! They are just unbearable when they come out. My arms and legs look the girls on the Survivior TV show when they show close ups of their legs to show the bug bites. I'm trying everything under the sun for the itching. With all the remedies the neighbors have given me I could open a drug store.

I think Bob feels sorry me because he has spent the day on the computer researching screen rooms. You just can't be outside when they are around.

This is it for today, I have to use my hands to scratch!

12/2/06 Pictures of Our Winter Perch

Woke up to sunny skies today and its definitely a shorts and T day! Ya just gotta love this Florida weather! Shorts in December, yep, life is good.

Here are some pictures of the place we're in.

This the office where the business end of things take place.

Here is the pool area, now it is supposed to be heated, but isn't. We're told it will be fixed in two weeks. Everyone is hoping so.

The building behind the pool is the "clubhouse". It has a large fireplace, tables for sitting and an ancient pool table. The new owner says the pool table will be covered with new felt but from what I'm hearing the winter residents think a whole new table is in order. Regardless, every afternoon a group of die hard pool players gather and play on this pool table that has seen better days.

This next picture is an area I'm quite familiar with. The laundry area. Now I have to admit I've never done laundry outside but I do think it is a good idea. Its not hot and one can sit at the pool while their clothes are washing and drying.

It costs us $1.00 to wash and $1.00 for an hours worth of dry time. I've learned that if you wash when someone else is and are lucky enough to grab their dryer when they have just a few minutes left on the timer you can add a quarter for an extra 14 minutes. Since the dryers are so hot I can dry my clothes in a half hour and only spend fifty cents. That's fifty cents in my pocket!

This next one is a picture of what "our street" looks like.

Pine trees and palm trees.

There is about 8 "streets" in this park. We live on Pine Avenue,,,,how appropriate.

This next picture is a little garden area that you see when you first come into the resort. That's a fountain in the forefront.

Colorful foliage

Now let me take the time to tell you about US Highway 19. Think Route 1 going thru Rehoboth on 4th of July weekend when the 4th actually falls on a Saturday. Got that image in your mind? Bumper to bumper....gridlock? Ok, now double that! No, that's not quite right either, TRIPLE that!

This is a major road here in Florida on the west coast and traffic is just unbelievable! You truly take your life in your hands driving this road, at least in the populated sections of this highway. This next picture is one of 19 from in front of the resort office, this gives you an idea of what a metropolitan area we are in and why this place is not referred to as a campground. Of course when I took this picture the light up the street must have turned red and traffic looks sparse. Trust me, it's not.

So this is where us snowbirds are perched for the winter.