Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Weekend Off

Thursday is now our new Friday.  We came home exhausted on Thursday but looked forward to our three days off.  We talked with Dee and Andy about the Volkswagen that he rebuilt and the fact that Tom, our brother-in-law, has rebuilt a couple also.  We called Paula and asked if we could drop by on our way out for supper to see the VW's and Tom's Taj Mahal (aka garage).  Andy enjoyed seeing the VW's and took some pictures.  After the tour of the house and garage, Paula and Tom ended up joining us for dinner at a Mexican restaurant by their house.

Yesterday was spend doing errands and errands and errands.  There's still a lot of odds and ends that need doing because of the retirement and move.  Today we did some additional errands and then some laundry.  During the morning, there was a lot of activity and families at the community garden that was just put in at the church where we're staying.  The community had a celebration and work day for everyone to get their gardens dug and planted in the small plots that were allocated for each family.  There was music, food, and balloons for everyone.

We looked up some restaurants off the Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives website and found a German restaurant in Glendale that sounded like a good place for supper tonight.  We invited our co-workers on the project and decided that 8 of us would go for dinner.  There was great food and entertainment which we didn't expect.  We all had a great time!

Tomorrow we're going to go to a church service at the Glendale Methodist Church where we're working.  Then we'll spend some time at Paula's and do some more laundry.  Paige is going to make a pot of the good gumbo soup.  Tonight there is supposed to be heavy winds and rain and tomorrow will have a high in the mid 50's - a good day for soup!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Progress on the project

Today Dee and Paige finished the Ladies Bathroom downstairs.  It's still old, but we think it looks much better.  We even found a basket of flowers that we put in there to add some color to the starkness of all white.

Bob and JW finished the door upstairs.  It is much more solid and safe now, plus it looks a whole lot better.

Paige and Dee are starting the painting of the church secretary's office this afternoon.  Bob and JW are putting in a shelf to set high chairs on.  We come home exhausted each night but with a feeling that we're helping this church family.  Only one day left this week thankfully!  Four days is enough!  We are looking forward to a lazy morning on Friday.

We met Paula, Phil, and Elsie for supper at Famous Dave's tonight.  It was good to visit with them!  Our mail didn't get to Paula's today so we'll be seeing them again soon.

Not any exciting news to report for today.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Working at Glendale United Methodist Church

Yesterday we started our work here at the Glendale Church.  We were given a tour of the church facilities on Monday morning with information regarding the projects requested.  We then met to discuss the "plan" and who would work on each project.

Bob is working with JW replacing a door.  The church is very old and they are finding that nothing is square which caused some challenges for them.  They almost finished this project today and will be moving on to something else tomorrow.  Some of the guys have a major amount of tools with them.  JW and his wife, Arlene, are fulltimers also.  They pull a fifth-wheel with a Freightliner Heavy Duty Truck and it is full of power tools and supplies.  JW and Arlene have done over 50 Nomads projects (working some as leaders) so are very experienced.

Our leaders are Jack and Betty.  They also have done over 55 projects and come with many tools.  Here they are during our lunch break:

Paige has spent the past two days preparing and painting a lady's washroom which is near a huge meeting room in the basement (aka Dungeon).  This is in a building that is used for Boy Scout and AA meetings (they have 12 steps down to this meeting room; all of them numbered!).  We have finished this washroom and it is looking great.  We've told everyone there will be an Open House here tomorrow!  We will move on to paint the secretary's office and then back to the Dungeon to paint the men's washroom.

We work hard throughout the day but have 2 breaks and a lunch furnished by the church for us.  Here we are at today's soup and sandwich lunch:

We have two more days to work this week - I'm looking forward to Friday already!  This physical work sure tires us out!  Tomorrow night we're going to meet Paula, Phil, and Elsie at Famous Dave's for supper and to get our mail from her.  It will be nice to see them!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Before we were Traveling, Now we are NOMADS

Today dawned cool and damp with scattered showers, lighter than yesterday's rain and wind.  Yes it really did rain in the desert (it even snowed at the higher elevations).  By mid-morning the sun was coming out, and it turned out to be a great day for traveling, all of 21actual miles (that is counting the detour that added 20 minutes to our day).  We moved from the north edge of Glendale to the south edge to join 4 other couples in a church parking lot.  Here we are after setting up; the only motorhome amid 4 5th wheelers.

We just came from our "get acquainted" meeting where we learned that one other couple is also on their first project.  The others have completed dozens of these type of projects over the years.  Tomorrow we will go to another church where we will be working (that site doesn't have a parking lot big enough for all of us to stay).  Looks like a lot of painting and light carpentry is in store for us for the next 3 weeks.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Moving Day Tomorrow

Life in Phoenix has been pretty laid back this week.  On Thursday we drove the car to RV Renovators in Mesa to check out the option of replacing our big, old TV in the front of the motorhome with a new LED flat screen TV.  We've been watching a couple of blogs of other fulltimers who've had this change made at this company.  They will mount the new TV on a door, thus giving us additional storage space also.  Our next stop was to Best Buy where we purchased the needed TV.  We will bring the motorhome to Mesa for this change late in March as we head out of Arizona.

Paige needed a hair cut so on Friday she went to the beauty shop down the street at the recommendation of Uncle Phil.  It was a nice little shop and they did a very good job - it helps to have very short hair!  Meanwhile, Bob took a long motorcycle ride, solo, to the West and South.  We also did a lot of little errands that needed doing.

Today was a bit dreary and rainy so after going out for breakfast with Paula and Uncle Phil and then doing some errands with Paula, Paula and Paige honkered down in the house and watched 3 episodes of Northern Exposure taped for us by Dave.  Bob spent time in the Taj Mahal (also known as Tom's man cave) with Tom. 

Tonight we went out for a Mexican dinner and then spent some time on Skype with Dave and Valentina.  Valentina is looking forward to her 13th birthday party in two weeks.

Tomorrow is moving day as we move the motorhome about 10 miles away to southern Glendale.  We have a meeting at 6:30 tomorrow evening regarding our Nomads service project and will meet the other participants at that time.  This project will be for 3 weeks - Monday to Thursday from 9 to 3 each week.  We are looking forward to his new experience.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Sightseeing on 2 Wheels

Tuesday we met up with motorcycling friends, Doug and Estelle, who are originally from Minneapolis and were our role models for the full-timing lifestyle. Lots of people live and travel this way, but they were the first couple we knew well. Although they have stopped traveling and now reside in the greater Phoenix area, they are still motorcyclists, so we got together and went (where else?) lunch!!

Rock Springs Cafe, north of Phoenix off of I-17, is known for their pies, and we verified they also make great lunches to go along with them. Doug's brother Gary was visiting from MN and had brought his own motorcycle along so the 2 brothers could do some extensive riding while he is here. We were joined at lunch by one of their cousins, who has also moved to AZ, and one of her friends, also visiting from MN. Turns out that Paige and the cousin's friend worked at Allina at the same time and both worked in the clinic business area.  Sure is a "small world" isn't it?

After lunch, we split up to do some of our own sightseeing, but we will meet up with them again before we leave the area.  Here is the view of a sidewalk in Cave Creek.  Grandpa is standing by some "Mickey Mouse Ear" cactus.

On our way back to Paula and Tom's we saw a powered hang glider, but were unable to get a photo of it.  We have also seen a number of hot air balloons, but haven't taken a good photo of them either.  The weather has been terrific!  It's supposed to cool down (to the mid-60's) and rain this weekend.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Uncle Phil's Birthday and Scottsdale

On Friday afternoon, we spent some time touring Scottsdale prior to dinner with Nicolle, Jeff, and Parker (Paige's former co-worker and her family).  As we drove around in our Saturn Vue, we noticed all the high end cars in this part of town.  This area seems to have more of the higher priced stores, houses, and cars. This is VERY different from the poverty we saw in Loiusiana.  We saw where Taliesen is located and plan to view that Frank Lloyd Wright house in detail when we can take Paula with us.  We stopped at a grocery store called AJ's - wow!  This grocery store had a sushi bar, a humidor with wine tasting, and many unique already prepared items.  We met for dinner at Flo's which is an Oriental restaurant and had a very nice visit with Nicolle and family.  It was so good to see them!

Today was Uncle Phil's 80th birthday.  We planned a "surprise" party but knew that he probably wouldn't be too surprised as he could see the shopping and running we were doing the past couple of days.  It was a perfect day for an outdoor party - sunny and in the mid 70's.  There were about 30 guests and tons of food.  I tested my new convection oven by making a Chocolate Eclair Ring and it turned out great.  Everyone brought food and helped out.

Here are some of the pictures:

This is a picture of Uncle Phil and Elsie with friends Gene and Shirley who have a condo in Scottsdale and also live in Alaska.

Uncle Phil's cake was nearly a fire hazard!

Uncle Phil with his beautiful new birthday hat.

While we were enjoying the birthday party here in Phoenix, our good friend KJ was enjoying her 50th birthday party in Minnesota.  We wished we could have been there to congratulate her but will have to celebrate when KJ and Rob come to visit us here in March.  Happy Birthday KJ!!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

So this is what Retirement is like

It has been about 1/2 a week since our last blog.  Well, this is to say that nothing much of significance has happened, just routine stuff.  As reported a month ago, our microwave has been working just fine, as long as we don't need power for more than 59 sec.  Our troubleshooting led us to believe the cause might be this, that, or another thing (cheap, moderate, or really expensive) but we can't tell what will fix it without throwing parts into it until it starts working right.  We took the easy (?) way out, and replaced it with a new unit.  Here are Phil and Bob (former carpenter and former electrical guy) planning their approach.
By this time the older unit is already gone and we are getting ready to hang the new one.  It turned into a long afternoon, but everything is working as it should.

With taking things easy, comes "Happy Hour".  Here we are with our root beers, catching up on the day's news.
By the way, Paula's dog had to show off his latest haircut.
More excitement is on its way: dinner tomorrow with a former co-worker and her family, followed by a birthday party for Phil on Saturday. 

We have one more quiet week here before we start our next 3-week service project with the NOMADS, which will be about 10 miles away.

Monday, February 7, 2011

A weekend at the Races

Our brother-in-law, Tom, is a regular at many desert races. This past weekend I rode along with him and a neighbor to the Parker 425, hosted by the Blue Water Casino in Parker, AZ. We left on Friday morning to meet up with a number of friends and neighbors who were already there for registration and tech inspection.  Here is a closeup of Rob’s car:

On Saturday morning, they sorted the cars into the various classes on the streets of Parker, then started the racers one by one in 60 second intervals. Here are a couple of cars (in orange and blue) that are sponsored by Banning Motorsports while they were staging:

A lot of action takes place in the pits. Here are quite a few volunteers (including Tom in the foreground) making things happen for their friends:

After the last lap, every finisher was introduced to the crowd before they had time to clean things up. This is how one car finished:
They had found some rocks out there in the sand. Some had better luck and others had worse luck, but that’s racing. Overall I found this to be a very family-friendly activity.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

All Alone in Phoenix

Bob and Tom left yesterday morning at 10:30 for the races at Parker.  Bob was pretty excited about this trip.  He left with instructions to take a lot of pictures so he can produce a post for the blog.  Uncle Phil, Elsie, and I did some errands in Glendale and then stopped for fish for lunch.  Later on, Elsie had me over for a wonderful supper of linguine and meatballs (made from moose meat and very delicious!).  The weather warmed up a bit and that was great!

Today Phil and Elsie left for Parker early this morning.  Paula went to the Phoenix Open to meet up with some friends and spend the day.  So, I had a day to fill myself.  That wasn't too difficult!  I've finally been able to get some reading in.  This was one thing that had gone by the wayside pretty much in the past year.  I also did a good cleaning of the motorhome and some tax data updates on the computer.  As soon as I finished that, David texted and asked if I was available to Skype.  Good timing!  Uncle Dave had all of Brett's girls and Valentina over at his place.  It was a nice opportunity to briefly talk with the girls - they were pretty busy spending time together.  I sure love Skype - it helps bridge the missing of the family.

I also got a short walk in.  It's amazing but right here in the city are all sorts of animals!  We hear the rooster crowing early in the morning - he lives next door with some other animals.  There are many horses around here - yesterday we saw someone riding a horse down a main street in Glendale!  Here are a couple pictures of some local sites.

Do you know what this is?  (hint - there are only 3 letters in the name)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

We've arrived in Phoenix!

Yesterday we arrived in Phoenix at around 1 p.m. We were warmly greeted by Paula and 3 dogs.

It was great fun to catch up with Paula and also Uncle Phil and Elsie who are also staying here in a motorhome.  Paula is participating in some of the Phoenix Open golf festivities this weekend so we went out for dinner with Tom, Phil, and Elsie while Paula attended a concert and froze.  This is our motorhome at the prestigious TWS RV resort.

There appears to be a cold front that follows us on our travels so far.  Those Minnesota weather gremlins are sticking close to us.  The temperatures in Phoenix, as well as most of the south, are experiencing record lows.  It's been sunny here, but the high barely reached 50 today.  Tonight the temps are due to be below freezing again.  The TV stations here have featured many pictures of frozen fountains.

The temperatures are forecasted to be in the 70's for next week.  Boy would that be nice!  I dream of sitting outside in a lawn chair!!

Bob is leaving for Parker, AZ tomorrow with Tom.  They are going to the off-road races at Parker.  Paige will be having some quiet time reading and organizing the motorhome.  Phil and Elsie have extended an invitation to play cards also.  Should be a great weekend!

Although we have the next 2 weeks available before our next service project, we took a little time this afternoon to scout out both our work site and the parking area we will move to, both SW of here.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tucson, AZ

We know it's been awhile since we've updated everyone, so here goes:

Sunday 1/30 was a driving day to complete our journey across TX (including El Paso) and getting to Las Cruces, NM.  We arrived in Las Cruces early enough to set up and have a pleasant conversation with our new neighbor, who was replacing the battery in his Honda ST1300.  After cleaning up some leftovers, we found a nearby custard stand for dessert.

Monday was another driving day to get to Tucson AZ where we met up with one of Paige's former coworkers and her husband who have been on the road fulltime for about 6 years.  We found the RV park they are staying in, and got one of the few short-term sites available:

They came to visit us at our place for awhile, then we went out to dinner together to keep the conversations going.

Today, Tuesday, started the day by taking a walk around the park.  Here is one of our neighbors:

If you can't make out the sign in the windshield, it says "Trailer Trash" but notice their car to the left, a Rolls Royce.

Later we played tourist on our own for most of the day, first visiting the Pima Air and Space Museum which has everything from a Wright Brothers replica to a supersonic Blackbird.  We took the tram tour outside where they have all their planes.  Interesting but we froze after awhile!

Later in the afternoon we toured the Mission San Xavier del Bac.  This mission is a Spanish mission that was built around 1690.  Very beautiful!

Back at the RV park, we closed out the day with a wonderful dinner at Dan and Pam's place.  They gave us lots of good ideas and encouragement, and we wished each other well tonight, as we will leave for Paula's in Phoenix in the morning.  We hope to see them again before we leave Arizona.