Tuesday, February 27, 2007

2/26/07 What it Looks Like

I received an email the other day from one of our readers asking about our 5th wheel. She wanted to know what it looked like inside. Here's few pictures to show how we are living.

The outside.

This is the kitchen area. I am so
thankful for lots of counter

Where it all gets cooked.

Dining table and my recliner

The bedroom

Dresser drawers and cabinets

Another view

Our computer room

Our bathroom


So there it is. This is what we live in.

Our friend Dale is out of the hospital now and on a strict liquid diet until Friday. We're just glad to have him back in the park.

Last night my puzzle pal, Nancy, and I decided that we won't be doing anymore puzzles now that the winter weather has passed us and it is too nice to be spending time indoors. Now that summer is here (it went to 82 today!) its time to start spending alot more time at the pool.

Monday, February 26, 2007

2/25/07 Yard Sale Day at Suncoast RV

Today is yard sale day at Suncoast Rv Resort. Anyone who wanted to participate only had to sign up for a table and they were in business. You could bring household items you no longer wanted or crafts to sell if that's what you wanted to do.

This is the first one that has been done so turnout was less than they, the organizers, had hoped for. All in all there about 8 or 9 participants. Here are some of their pictures and what they were selling.

This is Linda the park manager.

She had lots of jewelry to sell. Some bought, some she and her husband

Karen, our Canadian neighbor,
sold sweaters she made.

I don't know their names but they
seemed to sell a lot of these little
frogs made out of CD's and felt.

I don't know this ladies name either but these lights are made out of PVC pipe and then drilled in whatever pattern you want with little plastic pieces glued into the holes and then a light wired into it.

These were a few of the "sellers". I saw a lot of people browsing, but I didn't hear how well any of them made out.

This was a day of rest for Bob. He didn't do any work around the place today, he just took a well deserved rest watching TV, playing online pool and I think he even sneaked a nap in while I was doing the laundry.

After dinner I went up to the clubhouse but it was deserted. I guess everyone was home watching the Oscars being awarded. Nancy, my puzzle pal, called and we had the place to ourselves. Do you have to guess what we did? Yep, we started a new puzzle. Here's a picture of the 1500 piece one we just finished.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

2/24/07 Puzzle Room and Tackle Box Cleaning

The biggest thing on my agenda today was the cleaning of the library/puzzle room here in the park. The biggest thing on Bob's was cleaning out his tackle boxes.

Bob got an early start on his task and sat at the picnic table outside and completely emptied both of his tackle box. Discarding things he doesn't need anymore, finding things he had forgotten he had and wondering why he held on to some of the things in there for so long. It wasn't long before he was joined by Dave, Karl and Marv. More fish stories were swapped and before the tackle box cleaning was finished I think they solved all the world's problems.

My puzzle pal, Nancy and I cleaned out the library and puzzle room. We seem to spend enough time in there that we thought it only right to get rid of the some of the junk that has accumulated. We got rid of books that were in bad shape, magazines that were months old or that there were multiple copies of and any other stuff that just didn't belong there. We loaded all the books back onto into the shelves in alphabetical order by author and put the puzzles back according to how many pieces they had. Games were all gathered and shelved together and magazines were grouped by type.

We received lots of compliments on how nice it all turned out.

We went out for dinner at the Red Lobster Restaurant down the street. We had never been to one before and we noticed there was always a waiting line so figured it had to be good. Bob was in the mood for lobster so it wasn't hard to pick a place to go. We had a 20 minute wait for our table so we made our way to the bar with the black plastic thing-y that will light up and vibrate when our table is ready.

Settled in our booth, drinks ordered, we sat back to decide what exactly we'll order for dinner. Bob's choice was easily made as he's been thinking about a lobster dinner for the last week or so. I ordered the combo special they have going on right now, lobster tail, garlic shrimp scampi and skewered garlic shrimp. While it was good, it was too much garlic at one sitting for me taking into consideration that they served garlic rolls too. Our young waiter gave us excellent service and Bob thoroughly enjoyed his lobster dinner.

Our friend Dale is still in the hospital and on a strict liquid diet. He is not a happy camper,,,,but a starving camper!

All in all it was a good day in Florida.

Friday, February 23, 2007

2/23/07 Fishing Day for Bob

Our day started before the crack of dawn today. We both got up at 5:30, Bob, because he is going fishing at 6. Me? I'm still trying to figure that one out.

Bob, Karl, Dave and Dale left precisely at 6 a.m. Temp was around 55 degrees and the sky was as clear as could be. After watching them load the truck with coolers, chairs, tackle boxes, poles and cameras I waved them off with wishes of good luck.

I got a few hours computer time in (read that as I played a half dozen games of online scrabble), got a load of laundry done and then headed for the pool.

I truly don't think I've ever seen the sky as blue as it was today. I wasn't the only who noticed it as this was a topic of conversation in the pool area. There wasn't a cloud in the sky. I stayed there for just two hours as I am trying very hard not to burn and peel. I even ventured into the pool and was very glad it was heated to a nice 84 degrees.

By late afternoon I had the fried chicken done, the spuds peeled for parsley potatoes and the ever present Quinn pantry staple - a can of green beans in the pot ready to be cooked. Bob doesn't like frozen and the fresh ones at Walmart were a few days past their prime.

Afterward I sat on the porch and enjoyed the late afternoon sunshine. I sat and listened to what I could hear. The drone of the rush hour traffic on US 19, the occasional door slamming, the hoot owl, the roar of the motorcycle obviously ridden by a testosterone driven rider. I could hear Vi, our next door neighbor, slamming drawers and cupboard doors as she made dinner. Our doors and drawers have "catches" on them so they don't open while traveling and I think Vi thinks she has to slam them in order for the catch to take hold. Or maybe she's mad at Marv.

At ten after six the fisherman returned. It was then that I learned that Dale had gotten very sick and had to call his wife to come get him. Bob drove by to see how he was only to learn they hadn't been home as yet. We're wondering if she has taken him to the hospital. They came home empty handed. They caught lots of fish but no keepers due to their size. They had fun all the same. As I write this they are on the porch telling Marv their fish stories. I just heard that Dave caught a pelican! Evidently the bird flew by just as he casted and when Bob looked over, Dave's pole was practically bent in half. Listening again I then learned that he also "caught" a dolphin but when the dolphin turned over the hook worked its way loose. He cast one time and as the hook and bait hit the water this black heron type bird dove after his bait and took hook and all. Dave didn't catch many fish but he was the leader in birds!

I knew Bob wouldn't be up long after his long day so I made my way to the clubhouse for some puzzle time and to hang out with friends. Nancy and I finished the 1500 piece puzzle that's been on the table for the last four days. All totaled there was probably 10 of us that had a hand in putting the pieces together.

As I came home for the night around ten my phone was ringing as I walked in. It was Karen, Dale's wife. Yes, she did take him straight to the hospital. It seems our buddy Dale has a bowel obstruction. He was resting comfortably and I knew he hadn't lost his sense of humor when I heard in the background, "Don't send flowers or cards, send money!" He's only expected to be in the hospital overnight. We were relieved to hear he'll be ok.

Well, that's it for another day in paradise.

2/22/07 No Sun For Me!

Remember yesterday when you read that I didn't think I had gotten red, as in sunburned, at the pool? Well, I was wrong! I don't by any means look like a lobster but I won't be hanging out at the pool today! I was a little surprised to see just how much sun I had gotten. I don't think its bad enough that I'll peel so this should turn.

Bob spent a few hours cleaning out his tackle box and getting all his gear in order for the fishing trip tomorrow. It has been decided that the guys will leave at 6 a.m.. They'll have a 45 minute drive to the Skyway Bridge in St. Pete's so they want to get an early start.

I puttered around the house for awhile and then made my way to the clubhouse to get some puzzle time in since I couldn't hang out at the pool.

That's about it for today.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

2/21/07 A Perfect Day

We woke this morning to blue skies. The weatherman says mid-70's today so chores were taken care of quickly so we could get out and take advantage of this warm weather.

With indoor stuff done we headed out to measure the molding all around our house on wheels so that replacement molding could be ordered. Ours has turned dark in color and we can't get it clean anymore. So we did all the measurements and just as we were taking the last one Bob noticed that there were in fact two different widths of molding so we had to start over. It only took us a few more minutes and that chore was done.

Now what to do with our day.....

Our Michigan friend, Dale, stopped over and he and Bob took off for an automotive parts store to get a replacement hose he needs. I walked up to the clubhouse to see what was going on and saw that the lounge chairs around the pool were quickly being claimed by sun worshippers. I turned right around and headed home to gather all the necessities of sun bathing. With towel, trashy novel, a Pepsi and suntan lotion in hand I headed to the pool. Now since we've had "winter" here the past few weeks even my "farmer tan" had faded so I was starting out with a clean slate so to speak. After settling in on my lounge chair and lathering on the Panama Jack lotion I settled in to the hard work of tanning. It IS hard work! You have to make sure the book you're reading doesn't cast a shadow anywhere, you have to keep turning from one side to the other so one tans evenly and you have to read without sunglasses so that you don't end up with raccoon eyes! I stayed out for about two and a half hours this first time out. I couldn't see where I burned anywhere so I feel confident that I'm on my way to a golden tan. (Hear that mom?)

Bob has invited a few of his buddies to go along on a day of fishing on Friday so the "you shoulda seen the one that got away" stories were flying during the Happy Hour. Our Canadian neighbor, Dave, brought over all the fixins' for strawberry daiquiris so I brought out the blender and made a couple of rounds for everyone. Now I'm not a drinker, the last drink I had was on my 50th birthday and the one before that was on my 40th birthday but they looked so good I decided to partake. It took just one before my lips were numb and I couldn't feel my forehead. One was enough for me, but I have a feeling since Florida is a prime strawberry growing area that this won't be the last one I have before we leave.

After spaghetti and meatballs for dinner I went up to the clubhouse to work on our latest puzzle. Nancy, my puzzle pal from Connecticut, returned from a week long rally so we had lots to catch up on. As a side note, Nancy and her husband Lenny, are going to look for a sticks and bricks home when they leave here in April. In Delaware, our home state. They have a daughter in Dover so that's where they'll settle.

So there it is, a perfect day for us.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

2/20/07 Our First Step to Being Texans

Today we took the first step to becoming Texans. Yep, you read that right, Bob and I will be making our legal home Texas. There are several reasons for this, one being that we don't have to get our vehicles inspected UNLESS we go back to Texas. Let me explain. When we leave Florida we'll take a leisurely paced trip to Texas to get driver's licenses, vehicle tags, and voter's registration cards that will for all intents and purposes declare us residents of Texas. Their driver's licenses are good for 6 years and since Texas "understands" full timing in RV's we will not be required to have our vehicles inspected unless we return to Texas. Every year or two we will renew our registration via snail mail. Of course in 6 years we will have to return there to renew our driver's licenses.

Another advantage is there is NO state income tax! Now how cool is that? While workamping in other states we will make so little that with our deductions we won't owe anything in state income taxes.

So today we made a trip to the bank to get our paperwork notarized, copies made and then mailed off all the information to Escapees, a huge organization for full timers, to set up our mailing address. We know our street name is Rainbow Drive and we'll get the number in about a week. All of our mail will go there and they'll forward it to us on a set schedule if we are stationary for awhile or on a demand basis if we are moving around. Now with the house sold and no household bills we won't really get all that much mail anyway. We've also had some things changed from paper mail to electronic mail. Hopefully we saved a tree!

Spring arrived in our section of Florida today! We creeped into the low 70's today and the weatherman says we'll hit the 80's by Friday. He also assured us that the cold weather is behind us and its clear sailing from here on out.

This afternoon Bob worked on polishing the rig again, its almost done now, and I did our laundry and worked on a new 1500 piece puzzle me and the puzzle pals are doing. This kept us busy until the bell rang for Happy Hour.

Monday, February 19, 2007

2/19/07 Is it Warm or Is It Cold?

Before anything else I want to take the time to wish my little brother Billy a very Happy Birthday. Forty five years old and he's still (and always will be) my little brother. So Happy Birthday Billy, may you have many, many more!

It's warming up here finally! We made it into the low 60's today. The weatherman says mid 70's tomorrow and by the end of the week we'll see 80! Spring is here!

As I ventured outside I saw half the people in long pants and jackets and the other half in shorts. Our neighbors from Canada, Karl and Karin also had a hard time agreeing which it is as this picture shows.

I have to agree with Karl on this one.

2/18/07 A One Tank Trip

Today we just had to get out of the house! We bought a book shortly after we were here called One Tank Trips, Off the Beaten Path.

It gives you ideas for day trips that will take a tank of gas to get there and back. Today we headed to Land O' Lakes to go to Famous Treasures Antiques.

Here's what the book says about it:

The exploring adventure begins even before you walk through the door. You'll find a 1928 Ford F-3 truck parked out front. It's the first one Coca-Cola purchased from the automaker. Everywhere you turn, something is sure to catch your eye. I was amazed at the variety of antique china, silverware and even old military uniforms. The discoveries here range in price from a buck or two all the way up to $100,000 for a rare Babe Ruth lobby card. They tell me it's the only one in existence.

So off we go, cooler packed, tank full of gas although this place is only about 25 miles away. Bob and I can spend hours in a place like this, though we rarely buy we like looking at "old" stuff.

It was an enjoyable drive as we hadn't been out in a few days unless you count a trip to the Hundred Dollar Store for groceries and even that is only a mile down the road.

We find our way and could see the treasures from the road as we neared. Right hand blinker on and Bob turns in. Then stops! The gate is closed. It's SUNDAY! They don't have hours on Sunday!

Oh well, it was a nice drive. We'll come back again,,,,,during the week.

2/15/ thru 2/17 07 Again, just living

We haven't done a thing!

2/14/07 Happy Valentine's Day

Happy Valentine's Day to you all.

To celebrate the day we went to the Crab Shack for dinner. Nothing fancy, Bob was in the mood for steamed crabs. After a call to the restaurant to make sure they had crabs we were on our way. Unfortunately Bob didn't specify STEAMED crabs and had to make do with king crab legs. A disappointment to be sure.

The residents of our park had a Valentine dessert party in the evening hours but by the time we got back we were so stuffed from dinner we couldn't force down a morsel of the tasty treats.

It's very cold here in Florida right now, not the weather we came here for at all. We're in winter coats and long pants as it going down the 30's at night and not getting out of the 50's during the day and its windy. Come on spring!

2/7 thru 2/13 07 Just living....

It's just too darn cold to do anything outside or to go anywhere. This past week we haven't done anything worth telling you about unless you count something like I won $29.00 at bingo!

My puzzle partners and I did finish a huge puzzle we working on.... This took 6 of us a full week to complete. Way too much of the same colors.

2/6/07 Happy Anniversary to US!

Twenty six years ago today we got married, so Happy Anniversary to US!

So what did we do on this special day? Not a damn thing out of the ordinary. Bob puttered around the house, I worked on the puzzle up in the clubhouse and since we both ate late lunches we weren't really hungry enough to go out and eat and take the chance of not being able to finish a restaurant meal.

Bob did "arrange" our sea sponge with the ivy plant. I think he did a good job!

He also set up our garden flag....this is in case Happy Hour starts at two!

2/5/07 Back to Tarpon Springs

We took a ride to Tarpon Springs today to see if a "garden flag" we wanted had arrived yet as the flag store was all out when we were here before. The store did get its shipment in. The flag will be set out on its stand next to our Happy Hour Bell.

We took our time going the shops one more time at a leisurely pace and bought a natural sponge that will be used as a base for an ivy plant we have.

While in Tarpon Springs we also went to their small aquarium. Here's some pictures.

Before long it was time to head back home.

2/4/07 Super Bowl Sunday

Today is Super Bowl Sunday and this is the day I'll host the Super Bowl party for the park.

We had 48 sign up to attend. It will be held in the meeting room in the office building where the big screen TV is. My friend Nancy is my partner in this party planning and we were busy pretty much all afternoon setting up tables, moving things out of the way to set up serving tables and then shopping at the Hundred Dollar Store for party supplies and food.

I had asked the RV park to contribute the lunchmeat/cheese platters and they agreed that they would take care of the cost of them. Everyone was asked to bring a dish to share and to also chip in a dollar to cover paper products, condiments and whatever we could buy with any leftover money. Need I tell you Walmart was a ZOO when we went to get our food/supplies?

Let me tell you we had plenty of food!

Somehow I don't think some of the park residents quite "get" the idea of a Super Bowl party. I was under the impression that you came to watch the game, (at the very least the commercials) eat and just have an all around good time! By the end of the first quarter there only about a dozen of us left to watch the game! The residents came, they ate, they left! By halftime we were down to half a dozen to watch the game.

It really didn't matter to us who won since the Eagles weren't in it. We were mostly there for the food and the commercials and the company. Bob did win $25.00 in the football pool.

Next year, when our Eagles are playing, it will be all that more enjoyable!

1/30 thru 2/3/07 Happy Birthday Marv

Nothing to report on the first days of this time frame.

On the 3rd of February we helped Marv celebrate his 82nd birthday.

He didn't know that we were having cake for him so it was quite a surprise when he arrived home after a day at the races and then dinner with his wife, Vi, and his sister, Marlis, from Arizona. Marv is just the coolest guy! He's the first to arrive for Happy Hour everyday and entertains us with stories from days gone by. Marv was quite a character back in the day! He is also a die hard FORD fan as his birthday cake shows.

If you are ever in the market for a cake go to Walmart,,,,they make good cakes!

1/29/07 A Good Day for Soup!

Winter has arrived in Florida! It's cold outside, now I know all of you in Delaware and other northern states will say, "Get out of here! You don't know what cold is!" but trust me, its cold here! Everyone is running around in long pants and jackets and it isn't getting out of the low 50's here. Considering two days ago it was in the mid 70's, this is cold! Ok, Ok, chilly! Satisfied?

Today I'm making a big pot of homemade vegetable soup, something to warm our innards!

1/28/07 A Day of Rest

Today we just rested! After the long day in the sun we had yesterday we just hung out today.

Bob looked on EBAY first thing this morning and sure enough there were about a dozen auctions for the special aluminum beer bottles that Budweiser made for the event. Some were empty and some were being auctioned off as full bottles. Now Bob and I thought about EBAY yesterday and we have about 8 of these bottles. No, silly, they aren't full! If you know Bob, you know better!

Our neighbor Dave from Canada brought over a grapefruit he bought in the market today. Notice anything unusual about it? Yep, that's a snail that has attached itself to the grapefruit. Dave didn't notice it when he picked out a bagful of the fruit.

This was the highlight of our day.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

1/27/07 Sunshine, Pirates and Beads

We got up early today to get a good start on our drive to Tampa. We heard the crowd would be HUGE so we wanted to get there early to insure a parking spot.

Today we joined over 400,000 others to celebrate GASPARILLA!

This whole thing is centered around José Gaspar, known by his nickname Gasparilla, who supposedly lived from 1756 to 1821 and was a Spanish Pirate, the "last of the Bucaneers." He is claimed to have raided the west coast of Florida during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Though he is a popular figure in Florida folklore, no evidence of his existence appears in writing before the early 20th century. His legend is celebrated every year in Tampa with the Gasparilla Pirate Festival.

We got to the ball field where we were parking and were quite surprised to find many cars already there. It wasn't long before we boarded buses to take us to downtown Tampa.

Once we reached the area we started walking down Bayshore Blvd, the street where the parade would take place later in the day. As we were walking around getting our bearings we found our way to a bridge that goes over the harbor area. We found that there was a rather large crowd that tied their all boats together for their party area. These boaters took great pleasure in throwing beads to those on top of the bridge where we were standing.

It wasn't long before Bob was hungry and went in search of food. You can imagine how expensive food and BEER was at this event.

We made our way back to the bridge thinking that would be a good place to watch the pirate ship arrive. We were soon asked to move on by Tampa's finest because we didn't have tickets. Tickets? What tickets? Where do you get the tickets? It seems as though to be on the bridge and on the harbor side of Bayshore Blvd. you paid for a ticket and in return received a rather large ticket encased in plastic attached to a lanyard worn around the neck. Having one of these also gave you the privilege of having a seat in the bleachers during the parade. So in search of tickets we went. It took us awhile to find someone who had them but we willingly forked over fifty dollars to get them. Are we ever glad we did.

We made our way down to the harbor area. Here's an "early" picture of the harbor traffic.

Take note of that blue sky!

Most of the boaters took great pride in decorating their boats and themselves.

By day's end all the beads this crew is holding will be thrown to those standing dockside.

Watercraft ranged from yachts

to the smallest of dinghy's

It seems like all those in the boats wanted to "outdo" the others with their decorations.....

This is one of our favorites.

It wasn't long before water traffic increased

There was something to see no matter where you looked.....

On land....

on sea......

and in the air.....

The time had come that those on the "right" side of the street had been waiting for. Arrival time for the pirate ship. We heard it before we actually got to see it, the pirates were shooting off the cannons! The 165 foot Jose Gasparilla made its way into the harbor. We could hardly see it at first because of all the smoke from the cannons.

Then we finally got a good view of this majestic ship.

Look at the boat traffic!

Take note of the pirates known as the "Krewe" in the bird's nest.

We think the best part of the "show" was at the end of pirate ship's arrival and all the boats trying leave at one time! You never saw so many near misses! : )

It didn't help matters any that just at the time all the smaller boats tried to leave a tour boat came in to dock. Take note of the all the smaller craft in the background then use your imagination for the confusion that ensued.

This is a scheduled tour boat that came in right in the middle of it all!

Now it was time for us to find our place on the parade route. All ticket holders were assigned a set of bleachers. The parade was to start at one o'clock but we never got to see the first participants until 2:30. It took that long for them to get to our part of the parade route. It was worth the wait. Here are some shots of the parade.

Patiently waiting....

and still waiting.....

and some passed the time reading....

This pirate kept watch for the first parade float....

We watched the parade particpants come.....

and go.......

Some of the floats were something to see!

All the hands you see in the air on both sides of the street aren't waving hello. All these parade watchers are all yelling, "I want beads!, I want beads!" That had certainly become the cry of the day.
Some people really went all out in dressing for the occaision.

Here's a picture of one parade participant who seemed much more interested in her beer than the activitities around her! Take note of that beer bottle, you can bet your bottom dollar they'll be up for auction on EBAY tomorrow!

Budweiser made these aluminum bottles with Budweiser on one side and Gasparilla 07 on the other.

After hours of watching the parade the end had finally come. Here's everyone gathering up all the beads that didn't make it to the sidelines.

I was surprised to find out that Bob has a real talent for catching beads!

It finally came time for us to call it a day. We couldn't bear the weight of any more beads and we had to be back at the bus no later than eight. See the line in the picture below? We were at the end of the line at one point and this is the line that leads to the spot where you get on the bus. We waited two and a half hours just to get on that bus!