Thursday, March 10, 2016

The House is Coming Together!

Wow! Last post was February 10th! What a slacker! I'll to get more consistent!

Saturday 2/13

Out for our early morning walk, then Nancy did some studying. I ran into town to the bank to pick up a cashiers check for our lot purchase. The lady at Fidelity had stayed late last night to work out the specific amount we needed for the closing. Just after noon we took a run over to Costco to pick up a couple of Nancy’s prescriptions, then a quick stop at Walmart and lunch at Culver’s.

Made a stop by our lot to look at the colors on the mountainside, still trying to work out what color we want to put on the outside of the new house. We are meeting with Paulette Monday morning to pick inside and outside colors!

Back home to watch the Blackhawks play another sluggish game. They stole a point they didn’t earn with a tie.

Sunday 2/14

Lazy morning, took a walk around the RV park at mid-morning. Just after lunch we went over to Karen and Gary’s and then to the Foothills clubhouse for a “musical event.” Turned out to be a guy playing the Spanish guitar, actually very good.

After that the four of us walked around the neighborhood looking at house colors. Then back home and relaxed.

Monday 2/15

Skipped our morning walk as we had to get going a bit early. Met Paulette at the Starr Ridge model to look at paint colors. Selected a paint for the interior (Foggy Morning) that goes well with the tile, cabinets and wood tile floor in the bedroom. Discussed most of the options we want on the kitchen cabinets and clarified a couple of items we were unclear on.

Then we hit a wall on selecting an exterior color. Choices were made more difficult by the fact that the color chart looks considerably different than the larger 8 inch square samples, especially when you get them out in the sun. The ones we liked from the color chart turned out to be no good once we saw the larger sample outside! Paulette is going to get larger samples of a couple of other colors and we will revisit it later.

The we went into town to Pro Source Floor Coverings to pick out a carpet for the guest room, only carpet in the house, so that was pretty straightforward.

As long as we were there we stopped at Beyond Bread for lunch and then back home around 2:30. Nancy and Karen went to the quilt show here at Desert Trails. Gary stopped by with Margo and when Nancy and Karen got back we sat around chatting for an hour or so.

Blackhawks blew out the Maple Leafs, I guess this and the Dallas game last week were bookends to the three lousy games they played in between!

Tuesday 2/16

That loud sucking sound you hear is coming from our bank account!
This morning we met with the lady at Ferguson Appliances and picked out:

A Kitchen Aide convection oven/convection microwave combo (The Lowes website         has better info than Ferguson's)

A Kitchen Aide gas cook top

A Kitchen Aide French door refrigerator

A Frigidare dish washer (the standard one the builder puts in since we never use it anyway!)

A super cool combo shower head with a rain style ring and a hand held center head.

A Frigidare washer and dryer.

       A 65" brushed nickel ceiling fan for the great room and a smaller one for the master bedroom. The two standard fans will go in the guest room and den.

After that we had some time to kill so we stopped at a Hirsch’s shoe store where Nancy had no luck at all, stopped at Culver’s for lunch since we were right there at River and 1st. 

Still had an hour and a half before our appointment at Fidelity Title, so we swung up to La Cantada shopping center and visited the Bose store. We have been trying to figure out what to do about our radio/music choices in the new house. We gave away both of our old component stereos to the St Peter’s Barn Sale in Geneva before we left. We always listen to NPR in the morning and at the old house we had been streaming through my iPod in small portable speaker. In the trailer we get NPR on Sirius - although the Sirius NPR channel programming leaves a lot to be desired. We do get Diane Rehm in the morning and Garrison Keillor on the weekends.

Since Public Radio over-the-air is virtually nonexistent on this side of the Tucson Mountains we had been trying to come up with a better solution than Sirius for the new house. I was thinking WiFi to iPhone to Bose via Bluetooth, but it turns out Bose now has units that will stream directly from your WiFi and can select any internet NPR station you want!

So we looked at a medium sized unit for the kitchen/great room and a smaller one for the master bath/bedroom. Won’t actually buy them until we get into the house with WiFi available, but now we know what can be done. The radios will also pick up our iTunes library from our laptops via Bluetooth, as well as music streaming services like Pandora and Spotify. 

Relaxed with a gelato and then back South to Fidelity Title. Signed all the papers, and gave them a check, so now we officially own the lot at 6053 W Ten Star Drive, Tucson, AZ 85713!

The process is truly underway now!

Interesting zip code layout here. Desert Trails is in 85735 which extends South and West from here, post Three points and all the way to Kitt Peak! Everything West of there is the Tohono O’Odham Nation. Our lot in The Foothills is only 3.4 miles due East of where our trailer is parked, but it is in 85713 which includes the small community of Tucson Estates, then jumps across the mountains and includes the City of South Tucson and the South and Southwest sides of the City of Tucson. Not the most elegant zip code! Should cut down on unsolicited tele-marketers!

Wednesday 2/17

Nancy went off to her Spanish class first thing. I did some cleaning, vacuum, dust, a couple of windows.

The Recycling Picnic in the RV Park was today, but we had some house stuff to take care of and it was way too hot to sit out in the sun for lunch, so we skipped it.

Stopped at the Post Office on S 6th St to see about getting a ley for our new mailbox. The mail in Tucson Estates come to community boxes, ours is just down the street. Turns out we have to go to the main post office to do that which is over by H. F. Coors. We were heading that way anyway as Nancy had to pick up a prescription at Costco. No wait at all at the first PO on 6th St., but at the main one we had to wait about 20 minutes, a lot of business people mailing multiple packages. Got registered for your key, have to come back in a week to pick it up.

Stop at Costco and then back to 12th street and lunch at BK Tacos! A quick stop at Walmart grocery and then back home mid-afternoon.

Good game from the Blackhawks tonight. They are a bit up and down right now, but back in first place.

Thursday 2/18

What a spectacular morning in the desert! We were out just before sunrise, the sky to the Southeast was flame red, but to the Northwest there was a cloud bank with an almost indescribable color. Nancy decided “rose gold” was the best description. As we walked out into the desert it slowly faded through various shades of purple and mauve. Really unusual and pretty.

I love the desert at dawn anyway as the rising sun slowly illuminates the mountains and the tops of the cacti. The cholla in particular seem to glow with an inner light in the morning sun.

Nancy went to the yoga class here at the RV Park this morning, my foot is back to 98 or 99 percent of full function, but I’m a bit leery about subjecting it to the strain of yoga poses at this point. Need to get back to Joanna’s “Gentle and Restorative” classes at Tucson Yoga!

Quiet afternoon, I was feeling a bit under the weather and Nancy spent time working on her Spanish.

Friday 2/19

Another spectacular dawn in the desert! This morning we had a scattered cloud cover and the rising sun behind the mountains lit up the clouds is an amazing display of reds and pinks.

Quick trip into town for a stop at the grocery store, then back home. Took all of the ‘stuff’ we have stored in the truck out and sorted through it, condensing some of the bins. This was all the stuff that did not get packed up for the movers, liquids and stuff they could not take; things we needed after they left; etc.

Took as much as I could fit in the smart over to the storage facility. We are trying to lighten up and not take all this stuff with us when we go on the road this spring.

Saturday 2/20

Quiet morning although I managed to burn my fingers slightly picking up a hot toaster! The toaster took it worse than I did as I immediately dropped it on the floor! Nancy was quick with a bowl of ice water and then some pain killing salve, so the damage was not as bad as I thought at first. It did hurt like the dickens though!

After lunch I decided to clean out the main storage compartment in the trailer. Not so much “clean” as straighten. Tends to get a bit discombobulated when I load in cold weather, just throwing things in. There was not a lot of shade yet on the East side of the trailer, so I decided to open the awning. Had not been open this year and - oops - it’s stuck. So I drag out my collapsable ladder and climb up to pull it loose, turns out the bolts holding it to the side of the trailer are loose, causing it to jamb. Got that loose and then released one arm to support the awning and managed to pull one of the other support arms apart at the slide joint!

Struggled trying to one part of the arm back in the other, turns out to be a job for four hands, so Mac, our next door neighbor came over to give me a hand. After a bit of a struggle we finally got it back together. Need to open that sucker more often so I remember how to do it!

Finally got to unloading the compartment, set a aside a small pile of stuff to go to the storage locker, then loaded everything back in a rational manner so the stuff we use most often (trekking poles, hiking fanny packs, yoga mats, bicycle helmets, laundry stuff) are easy to access. Good job done!

After that I cleaned our our bikes, they have been sitting under the front overhang since mid-December so they were a bit dirty. Pumped up the tires as well.

We decided to run into BK Tacos for dinner and hit there just right, no line when we walked in but the place was full, a line out the door about time we got our food! Timing is everything!

A beautiful sunset while we were eating. The Santa Catalina Mountains to the Northeast of the city were actually glowing red from the setting sun and the sky above them was various shades of red. This is the only place I have ever been where sunrise is spectacular in the West and sunset just as beautiful in the East! I later learned that this phenomenon is due to the lack of moisture in the air so the rays of the sun light up the sky on the opposite horizon and the blue right on the horizon is actually the shadow of the earth! Here is a map of the mountain ranges around Tucson.Our new house is on the West side if the Tucson Mountains, just North of Highway 86. The yellow line at the bottom of that map is the Mexican border.

After dinner we swung by Target to pick up a new toaster and a couple of other kitchen items, then back home.

Sunday 2/21

So last night I went to check something in my checkbook and oops - all of my Quicken data is gone! No big deal I thought, I can just retrieve it from my back-up drive. Just to see if it was temporary I did a restart. Window popped up that a software update was ready to install on the restart. OK, it does that all the time.

When it restarted I got an Apple and a loading line that ran for a while and stopped! Oh, Oh! Turn it off and back on, same thing still sitting there. By this time it was late so I let it cook overnight. Same thing this AM.

So I called Apple Care and at first the lady tried a new restart, which also failed, then a reinstall of the operating system, which eventually did work. Did not lose any data, but Quicken data is still missing. I’ll try to retrieve it from my hard drive tomorrow.

Nice walk in the desert this morning, then I spent an hour or more with Apple care. Nancy spent the afternoon working on her Spanish homework, while we watched the Blackhawks tank in the outdoor game in Minnesota. Beginning to wonder if this team has the steadiness to go deep into the playoffs, may be an off season.

After the game I loaded the bikes on the back of the smart. We plan on going with the bike group tomorrow morning, even though it is supposed to me another day in the mid-80’s!

Monday 2/22

Early morning walk in the desert so we skipped the Monday morning park meeting. Off with the bike group at mid-morning for a ride along the Aviation Parkway Bikeway. We go to the East end and ride back into town for lunch. The regular ride is 12 miles, but we opted for the 8 mile option since this was the first time we’ve been on our bikes since October!

Beautiful day for a ride, mid 70’s and a light breeze. We stopped at the new downtown location of Thunder Canyon Brewery. Pretty good lunch. This adds a third good brew-pub in the area.

While we were on the ride I got a call from the Post Office saying that our PO Box keys were ready. Good timing since we were already over on the East side! So after the ride we stopped and picked up the keys/ We now have an official, permanent mailing address:

6053 W Ten Star Dr,
Tucson, AZ 85713

Quick stop at the bank and grocery on our way home and then vegged the rest of the afternoon.

Tuesday 2/23

We decided to skip our morning walk in the desert and head up to the Desert Museum for our morning walk, then it turned into a full day outing! It was a beautiful morning, a bit on the cool side compared to the last two weeks with a light breeze.

At the museum we managed to connect with a docent who is a master gardener. Nancy spent quite a bit of time picking her brain on natural plantings and got some great advice and a lot of information. One thing she said was to look into Tohono Chul Park for their gardening classes. When we got home I checked it out and we found a natural gardening class this coming Saturday! Already signed up!

After the museum we swung by The Foothills to check out where our mailbox is. We wondered how we would tell which box is ours, turns out they have the house numbers on them - Duh! And we actually had a couple of pieces of mail! One of which was our membership info from the Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society. We joined that to get some info on natural plantings and maybe discounts on plant purchases. 

Stopped by the house like ours that the Newcomb’s are building and ran into Danny, the tile installer that we met at the store when we were picking out our tile.  Walked through the house and it is coming together nicely, we are liking it more all the time!

By then I noticed we needed gas in the car and suggested running into town for lunch at Beyond Bread, so away we went. After lunch we made a stop at Trader Joe’s and then headed home. So it was mid-afternoon by the time we got back from our “quick morning walk!”

Late in the afternoon Paulette sent us an e-mail with the pricing on the house upgrades we want or are thinking about. After going through the list and knocking off a couple of items that turned out to be pricier than we anticipated the number came in right about where we wanted it to be! So we’re happy tonight! We will be meeting with the Herder’s tomorrow to work out a few more items and finalize a lot of details.

Wednesday 2/24

Nancy went off to her Spanish class this AM. I made a run to fill a propane tank and then updated my notes on the house in preparation for our meeting this afternoon.

Late in the morning we made a rundown to the Farmer’s Market in Green Valley for some frozen salmon from White Cane. Quite  a gusty East wind, so it was a bouncy ride down I-19! The smart moves around a lot like old VWs in a crosswind!

Stopped at BK Tacos for lunch, then back to Starr Ridge. We were early for our meeting so we drove around looking at house colors. The house up in the Foothills where we are building have the older style stucco, so the same colors are not available in the Dryvit that Herder uses now. We decided there was one house that we liked and it turned out to be the color we had settled on as “not perfect, but the best of what we saw” last week! That may be what we end up with, but we are waiting for a couple of other large samples.

Met with Paulette and John and hashed out a lot of details about pricing, modifications and construction, He will be writing up a contract and we should get it signed next Tuesday! He said they have finished up a couple of houses in the last couple of weeks and should be able to start on ours quite soon - yeah! If things go really well we may be in by early November. Could be December though. John said one delay is that the synthetic stucco needs to ‘cure’ for two months while they are doing interior work.

Then we drove up to our lot to look at he large paint sample for “Monastery Brown” in the sunlight there. Still looks pretty good. Met the man who lives South of us. He was very nice - even though our house will be blocking a lot of his view! He said it would not, but I wonder. All the neighbors are really nice and the neighborhood is incredibly quiet, even during the day. I had wondered about the planes headed into Tucson that go along the East side of the Tucson Mountains, but one went by while we were standing on the lot and if you were not looking at it you would not have even noticed the sound.

Thursday 2/25

Never took any notes so I have no idea what we did today!

Friday 2/26

After our morning walk and breakfast we headed over to look at Newcomb's house to take some measurements.  Stopped at Karen and Gary's as they wanted to come over and take a look. Danny was there getting ready to lay more tile, but we were able to walk around and get our measurements. Spent the better part of an hour looking around. Nice to see a house just like ours coming together - although figuring out the reverse flip will make your brain hurt! “Let’s see, this will really be the West wall and that door will be on the left instead of the right …” it’s crazy!

Late in the morning we made a run to Costco to pick up prescriptions, stopped at Culver's for lunch and then Walmart for groceries.  Back home mid-afternoon.

Saturday 2/27

The Master Gardener we talked to at the Desert Museum earlier in the week had recommended the gardening classes at Tohono Chul Gardens. We checked it out and found one this morning called "Drop Your Rake and Your Shovel" about low maintenance, low water native landscapes. Right up our alley!

It is a bit of a hike up to Tohono Chul, at Oracle and Ina on the far NE side. Saturday AM traffic on Oracle was light, but it still took more than 50 minutes to get up there. Well worth the effort though, it was an excellent talk by a landscape designer and a landscaper about the rights and wrongs of working with natural plants. They had some excellent examples and suggestions for landscapes that use all native plants and do not require any long term irrigation, such as this yard on the SW side of Tucson! 

Walked through the gardens after the class, we will probably join in order to save money on future classes. Stopped at Beyond Bread on Ina for lunch, then Penzy's Spices and  a salon where Nancy wanted to look for nail polish, then back home over the pass. Starting to see flowers blooming there already.

Sunday 2/28

Nice walk in the desert, then the Sunday morning TV shows while we were eating breakfast. Blackhawks game was at 10:30 AM today! Actually forgot about it for an hour or so, then watched it on the DVR. Good game, beating the Capitals.

Otherwise an fairly uneventful day. I loaded the bikes on the car for tomorrow’s ride.

Monday 2/29

Morning walk in the desert, then Nancy went to the Monday meeting just to see what was going on and find out where the bike group was going. 

Bike ride was on a new section of the Santa Cruz trail North of Grant Rd. We rode about 10 miles, but skipped the lunch since we were back a bit early.

Stopped by Newcomb’s house again to double check some measurements. Then we stopped by the Foothills management office and picked up our key fobs for access to the swimming pool and tennis courts; rented two RV storage space for the truck and trailer. We need two because the largest space is 50 feet and we are 62 feet! Drove down to the lot to check out the spaces. Turns out there are units in those two spaces! They are apparently working through some issues with people using spaces other than the ones they were assigned. Noted a couple of empty spaces and went back to the office and got reassigned. Hopefully they will still be empty when we need to use them! The property manager said they are sending out letters about getting hang tags for the units in storage and they will be towing unauthorized units in the near future!

Tuesday 3/1/16

A red letter day! After our morning walk we met with Paulette Herder to hash out a few final details on the house and actually signed a contract and wrote a check for the initial payment. Still a couple of minor loose ends to wrap up, but we are almost there. The contract calls for completion by November 1st, so we should be settled in by the end of the year!

After our meeting we swung by BK Tacos for lunch, made a stop at Walmart and Walgreens to pick up a prescription and then back home.

Wednesday 3/2

Nancy had her Spanish class in the morning while I cleaned.  Nancy finished up the income taxes and I went over to the pool hall to fill out the forms on-line.

Discovered that they have taken the restrictions off of the RV Park WiFi so we can start using our WiFi Ranger again. Means I can encrypt so I don’t need to go to the pool hall to log onto bank and credit card accounts. We love the WiFi Ranger, it pulls in the weakest RV Park signals and we can hook up our laptops, phones and Kindles!

The Blackhawks, fortified by their new players after the trade deadline, played their second great game in a row against a pretty good Detroit team.

Thursday 3/3

First time to Tucson Yoga this winter! My first yoga class since my surgery. Our regular teacher Joanna was off so we didn’t get to see her for the first time, she will be back next week.

A stop at Exo Roast Co. to pick up some coffee for Nancy, then Food Conspiracy and back home. Stopped at Starr Ridge to pick up three more exterior paint samples for the new house. We are having difficulty settling on a color. These three are supposed to be shades of gray, but they are way too blue. Looking like Monastery Brown is the color!.

And as good as the played last night, the Blackhawks matched the effort on the downside tonight.

Friday 3/4

The last two days I have been struggling with either allergies or a cold - turns out I apparently have the flu! I have been wiped out all day today.

Nancy spent most of her time taking care of me and studying her Spanish.

Saturday 3/5

We were scheduled to attend the Tucson Festival of Books walk-through this morning, but I just could not make it. Nancy went and represented both of us.

Sunday 3/6

Off first thing in the morning to Rillito Farmers Market to see if White Cane had received any cod. They had, yeah! Also got a couple of salmon tails. Stopped at Trader Joe's since we were right there.
Monday 3/7

I was much better this morning, fortunately good enough to go with Nancy to meet Paulette at Arizona Cabinet and Countertop to go over the specific plans for the cabinets in the new kitten and laundry room. Got all the additions we wanted, the new kitchen is going to be really nice!

Ran by BK Tacos for lunch, Reyna the lady that usually take our order gave us two nice Mexican coffee mugs! That was really nice.

Swung by Starr Ridge and looked at the pavers on a couple of driveways and then on a house in the foothills. We could not really see any color difference so we told Herder’ to go with whichever looked best and told them the pattern we liked. The driveway, front and back patios will be stone pavers, a standard upgrade over the regular concrete. Stopped by Karen and Gary’s to take a look at the new plantings they are doing.

Back home I vegged and Nancy studied Spanish.

Tuesday 3/8

Oh, Oh, Nancy feeling punk this morning. She thinks it might be flu so she started taking TheraFlu. She had a dentist appointment today so I swapped with her. She will take the appointment I have next week.

Otherwise we are just taking it easy!

Wednesday 3/9

Nancy went to her Spanish class this morning despite still feeling pretty poorly. I did my Wednesday housecleaning and a bit of straightening out of the truck and trailer compartments.

Late in the afternoon the RV Doctor came by and we managed to repair the broken spring hanger pin after a bit of a struggle to get it properly lined up. Could not have done it with the ability to jack the trailer up and down with the BigFoot leveling system.

Blackhawks lost in a shoot-out tonight. Pretty good result considering the game featured the two worst referees in the league and their lousy officiating was on display all through the game. Fortunately effecting both teams fairly equally.

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