Gambel's Quail

Gambel's Quail
Gambel's Quail

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Lazy blogger catching up...alot has happened

In my last post we had returned from our grandson watching duties and visiting family before the holidays. Those were good days then in December I got a call from my brother that my dad had taken a turn for the worse with his health. It wasn't so much his physical health as it was his mental health. His physical health hadn't been good for a while due to his broken hip and confinement to a wheelchair for the last 3 years. He just started to loss the will to continue on. It was time to move him from assisted living to a nursing home. I got a flight out of Mesa, AZ and headed back to IL to help with getting him arranged and take care of clearing out his apartment. Before I got there my brother had made the arrangements for a room at the nursing home and had that part done. After I arrived we went through his things and mostly donated his clothes and furniture to charity. Dad was having more pain in his hip and with the will to live fading we called in hospice to keep him comfortable. Fortunately, he was coherent enough to converse in between sleeping. He wasn't eating much any more and it was obvious that his wishes to pass were going to be happening in the next few weeks.

Everyone would ask him what they could do for him and all he would say....over and over again is...pull the chain....pull the chain. We knew what that meant. However in our society we don't honor the wishes of those who are ready to be with loved ones in the next life and out of pain. It was just a waiting game.

One good thing out of this was my brother and I had lots of time to share time together. I feel we came closer together as family.

Along with taking care of dad's things we made final arrangements at the funeral home and cemetery for the inevitable.

Well after about 11 days in IL with an uncertain time line on dad's end of life and all we could do was done, I prepared to head back to AZ.

Remarkably the day before I left we went to visit dad and he was very alert and able to talk with us. Something we hadn't been able to do well since I arrived. As dad laid in his bed I kneeled down next to his bed and said my final good byes. Tears and a lump in my throat made it difficult to speak but we were able to express our love for each other and how grateful we were for the lives we had lived together as family.

After a month and 5 days later I got the call from my brother that dad had passed...January 6, 2018

Glenda and I flew back for the funeral and internment. Difficult time for all the family. Fortunately, our daughters, Heather and Sommer were able to attend and my brothers son's...Logan and Parker happened to still be in town from the holidays before. We had a brief visitation and funeral after. A couple of dad's former boating friends, Chuck and Patty from Chillicothe, IL were there too. 

My brother and I took care of dad's final affairs before Glenda and I flew back to AZ. 

I know Dad and Mom are dancing together in heaven and happy to be together again. 

We slowly got back to our lives here in AZ with visits from friends, Steve and Debbie and Faye and Dave. Of course we got back to our card playing with Ron and Patsy here in the RV park. We really appreciate our friends and enjoy the times we are together. Never a dull moment. 

We continue to take part in the activities here in the RV park with line dancing for Glenda and Pickleball for me. However with so much traveling in the last couple of months we also enjoy just hanging out at the park and slowing down some. 

For the last 2-3 years Glenda and I have tossed around the idea of moving from our 5th wheel to a motorhome. We had attended several RV shows in the Phoenix area over the last 2-3 years also. Thinking about dad's life, our lives and future we made the decision to make the change. We had been drawn to the Winnebago brand and at the most recent RV show we attended we found a motorhome that suited our needs and style so we decided to make the move. We found a 2018 Winnebago Sunova 36Z.  Click on the link and 36Z to get a better view of the specs and lay out. It has everything we were looking for with newer technology and equipment that will allow us to dry camp if we desire. We traded in the truck and bought a small car to pull behind the motorhome which makes Glenda very happy. She never did like driving the big truck around if we weren't pulling the 5th wheel. With this new home comes growing pains. We have been re evaluating our belongings and making decisions on what to throw and what to keep. Storage in this motorhome is very different than the 5th wheel. 

Now we have to get the towing equipment installed on the car and motorhome to safely tow the car. We hope to accomplish this in the next couple of weeks. And as typical with the RV industry and RV dealers we have issues that need to be addressed and fixed before we head out for the summer travels. You would think that a new product would be trouble free for a while after the purchase but not so in the RV industry. In addition, the RV dealers are mostly interested in SELLING their product not SERVICING it. What do they consider a PDI(Pre Delivery Inspection)? Air conditioners that won't work, windows that are broken and trim that is in disrepair. They tell you that they check out the RV for 2-3 days before a customer takes delivery.....YEAH RIGHT. 

Now we have to coordinate repairs too before we head out for the summer at the end of next month. 

I'll refrain from mentioning the dealership but if you want to know just email me. Also a funny thing, they called today to have me answer some questions about the SALES experience. I didn't give them all 5's. 5 means excellent. 

One of the cool things we did recently was attend a magic show with Faye and Dave. They enjoy seeing shows and events and invited us to go with them. The show was called Carnival of Illusion and was at the Tempe Center of the Arts and was a small intimate setting with only 5 rows of seats and about 100 folks in attendance. Roland and his wife Susan loved getting the audience to participate. Several audience members were chosen to help with some illusions.

At the end of the show I got chosen to participate in the final illusion where we chose random cards and then in turn we read what was written on them. Mine said "The person who reads this will have facial hair". They certainly got that right. Very fun evening and we were treated with a wonderful sunset and lights on the bridge over the Salt River. Thank you so much for inviting us.

We also had an opportunity to get a hike in with our friends Steve and Debbie while they made a stop in Apache Junction at the Lost Dutchman SP. We've enjoyed so many travels with them and look forward to more in the future. We got a bit of a late start to hike to Massacre Grounds near the SP so we didn't make it all the way before we had to turn back as we were losing day light.

After our hike we went back to their site and they made us a delicious meal and we enjoyed a great campfire. Of course, Steve and I traded some beers and enjoyed some new ones. 

About a week ago we had another opportunity to share time with Faye and Dave by taking them to Boyce Thompson Arboretum near Superior, AZ. This is a desert botanical garden at the foot of Picketpost Mountain.

Dave being the incredible photographer that he is, we thought this would be a great venue for some awesome photos. It was a little cool and cloudy but we made the most of the surroundings and get some mild hiking in around the grounds. Here's a sample.

Enlarge the photos for best viewing
Picketpost Mountain

Such beauty in the desert

In addition to spending time with friends we have also spent time with our son, Chris and his girlfriend, Kendra. 

We continue to spend time with our Canadian friends Ron and Patsy and winter friends Bill and Kay from Wisconsin. Bill and Kay were leaving early to start moving west and north toward Idaho so we all got together for a mild hike and enjoy Aussie Day at Boyce Thompson. They put on a wonderful event including Australian folk music with the Didgeridoo. So melodic and entrancing.

Kay and Glenda with the Didgeridoo

Bark of the gum tree

Palm tree bark

Boojum tree

I know I haven't covered everything we've done over the last 2-3 months including Christmas and New Years. One thing I will say is the kids got me a meat smoker and they got Glenda some essential oils and a diffuser. The place smells wonderful with oil scents and smoked meat.

We've done a pork tenderloin and some ribs so far. More to come soon. 

Thanks for waiting as we dealt with family and new chapters. 
One more month and we begin our summer trek north and west with stops in Nevada for an RV rally and a visit back in the Midwest to see family. (We'll be flying back) Then on ward and Northwest ward. 

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Lazy Blogger...feeling guilty

Well it's been exactly one month since my last post and actually a lot has been going on since then. As I mentioned in my last post we arrived in Gold Canyon, AZ on Oct 5th and got set up at Canyon Vistas RV Resort. We got the rig power washed and I then took 3 days to wax it. It looks really good now after all those months of travel to the NE and Midwest after leaving here last spring. I even installed a new faucet in the kitchen and played some golf with my son, Chris. We enjoyed getting back to our activities here that we loves so much.

Then it was time to head back to the Midwest for some family visiting and watching our youngest grandson, Aiden while Mom and Dad went off on a week vacation with friends to Cabo. We flew from Mesa to Peoria, IL and rented a car. We drove to Bloomington, IL for a quick visit to my Dad and then drove to our daughter, Sommer's home in IN for a few days to see the older grandkids there. Jasmyne is living in MI going to school and working so we didn't get to see her and Brooklyne lives in Georgia with her Dad so we didn't get to see her either. Fortunately we were able to see Caden and Ryleigh the two younger grandkids in Sommer's family. We didn't really do a lot other than hang out and play some card games. We did go to a Mexican restaurant one night and I took Caden to get his haircut. Ryleigh played a lot in her room on the computer chatting with school friends. Caden is big into online video gaming so he spent a lot of time in his room too.

Photo from last summer....Lazy

That's how it goes with older grandkids in and approaching their teenage years. We used to spend more face time with the grandkids when they were younger but now their interests have changed. We understand it and get in as much time with them as they will allow. I did however fix a toilet in their house that wasn't flushing properly. It took a couple trips to Ace Hardware  but I got it done.

After our long weekend with family in Indiana we headed to Bloomington, IL to see my dad and spend some time with him. He's 92 now and beginning to feel the effects of his age and health conditions.

After his hip fracture 3 years ago he's been in a wheelchair and not as sociable as he used to be. We struggle with not always being there for him with our lifestyle and his need for assistance. So far with my brothers help and the help of wonderful care givers at the assisted living home he does pretty good. I know soon he'll need more help and may then have to move on to more skilled care like they have in a nursing home. We make the most of our visits and enjoy some reminiscing. We have additional care from hospice right now and we'll see where that leads us. We appreciated the opportunity to stay at my brothers home while he got away for some time in Florida.

After our visit there we drove to Bartlett, IL to perform our grandson sitting duties. Aiden is 4 years old and still wants as much grandpa and grandma time as he can get. We very much enjoy the opportunity to spend this up close and personal time with him because we know in a few short years he'll too be in those teenage years and will probably be too busy for us. That's life and we know how it works.

Heather and Paul have two dogs. Izzy and Zeus that love as much attention as they can get too. They're up at 6 am and need fed and walked each morning then during the week Aiden goes to Daycare(school) which gives us some relax time preparing for the evening and playing games, hot wheels and trains.

Aiden needed a haircut so we made an appointment at KidSnips in the Arboretum Mall. Cool place where the kids sit in little cars and watch an IPad with movies while getting the haircut. Great concept and after the haircut they get to pick a small prize from  bucket to take home.

Aiden loves trains and his mom has taken him on the Metra train to downtown Chicago and then ride back. We thought that would be a fun thing to do too so after Mom and Dad left on vacation last Saturday we spent that day on the train and some time in downtown Chicago at union Station. It was cold and wet that day so we didn't get to enjoy much outside the train station. However the train station it's self is quite an experience. So many different people. We had a fun time.

The rest of the weekend was playing with Aiden and then getting him ready to go back to school on Monday. On Tuesday we got a call that Aiden needed to be picked up due to a behavior issue. Disappointing but these things happen. It was a pretty quiet day as consequences needed to be enforced. Later in the day we did play some board games but no IPad or TV.

Wednesday was the same since he was not allowed to go back to school the whole day after being sent home. But he did have swim lessons that evening and we enjoyed watching him becoming more comfortable with getting his face under the water and floating on his back. Coach Brian makes sure you get wet.

It was another quiet day but as the day progressed we talked a lot about listening and following the teachers directions. We really got our one on one time. This lead us to buying some new games that Aiden could learn and we could enjoy playing with him. Glenda did some grocery chopping and came across some kid's card games and Connect 4.

Oh my goodness, they worked wonders. We played game after game of Connect 4, Candyland and War(card game). The fun thing is, Aiden was winning most of the Candyland games and a fair amount of Connect 4. The Connect 4 box says for ages 6+.....Aiden is 4. He always had to be yellow and would typically put his first chip in the middle slot to start the game. We would try to outwit him but many times we would outwit ourselves and he would win.

We told Aiden that if he had a good school day on Friday we would take him to his favorite restaurant. 2 Toots in Bartlett, IL. They have booth arranged around a train track with a train that has baskets on the train cars that bring your food to you. He loved it.

On our last day watching Aiden we took him to the Stratford Square Mall where they have a small train that takes kids and parents for a ride around the inside of the mall. Glenda did the ride while I took a couple photos.

I then took my turn on the carousel with Aiden. I actually got a little dizzy going round and round.

 That evening Mom and Dad returned home from vacation and immediately Aiden got them started with the new games.

I got this photo the next day with Heather doing a selfie with a sad face after her 100th game of Candyland. We had a wonderful visit and really enjoyed spending time cultivating our relationship with him.

On Sunday we left early for the drive back to Bloomington, IL for one last visit with Dad before driving to Peoria, IL to turn in the rental car and board the flight back to AZ. It's going to be a while before we see everyone again. November in the Midwest is a crap shoot on weather and we didn't win this year with our fall visit. Wet, cold and windy, Reminded us why we chose AZ to come to for the winter. We left IL in 30 degrees and we arrived in AZ in 60 degrees. The next day I immediately put my jeans and long pants away and got back in my shorts.

Lazy Blogger.....we didn't take any photos while we were visiting our daughter, Sommer and Todd in Indiana and while visiting Dad. I'm so sorry I didn't get that done. I try to capture photos each time we are with family but I really fell down this time and I sincerely apologize to them for that. As you see in my post we did take some(a lot of) photos of Aiden while we did our care giving duties. That doesn't mean we don't love everyone the same just that the little ones seem to get more of the attention and I'm not as focused on photos when we visit. Lazy or not focused? You decide.

Feeling Guilty.....The time went by so fast with everyone and we do wish we could see more of everyone. My brother takes so much responsibility in checking in on Dad and handling his affairs while I winter here in AZ. I do what I can while there but I know it's not the same as the sacrifices that my brother makes. I truly appreciate his willingness to take that all on. I also know the rest of the family would like us to be closer too. We try to make our time count when we're there with them.

One day we will slow down and I hope we've done enough to show them how much we do care.

So there you have it.....I am a Lazy Blogger and have Guilty Feelings. Now you know why.