Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Into Each Life, Rain Must Fall

Tuesday 4/12: So, the narrative below ends abruptly on April 5th.  Good reason for this. As I had noted, Nancy went to Chicago on Monday to help Joan with issues around her Mom’s injury. Wednesday afternoon I called Gary and asked if he wanted to run out to Fred’s Arena for pizza. Karen had gone to Minnesota for a quilting conference on Tuesday, so I knew he was a bachelor like me.

We had a pizza and then on the way back we were in a fairly serious accident and we both ended up in the hospital! The poor little smart gave it’s all to save us though, it is a write-off after being hit almost head-on by a Chevy pickup going about 60 MPH!

No point in going into details, but Gary has seven cracked ribs and a lung puncture, along with bruises and a black eye from one of the airbags.  I have a broken sternum and substantial bruising and contusions around my waist and hips. All of our injuries are from the seat belt/shoulder harnesses. The smart maintained the integrity of the safety cell, with just a slight kink in the right side "A" pillar. Right in the center of that pic you can see a silver rectangle. That is the horn of the safety cell where the front structure attached. That front structure crushed as planned and absorbed energy, the safety cell has no deformation at all at that point! The driver's door still opened and closed normally! Since the hit was 45 degrees on the right front all four of Gary’s airbags triggered while only the front two on my side went off. 

I had a titanium plate put on my sternum on Thursday  morning and that pretty much took care of the serious pain. Nancy came home early and picked me up at the hospital on Saturday, while Karen did the same for Gary on Sunday. So, besides the new Jeep we will be looking for another smart car as well when we get back to Chicago.

Nothing but good to say for the staff and the treatment I received at Banner University Medical Center!

On the good news front the house is moving along. All of the plumbing and electrical wiring that goes in or below the foundation is in place and all the tension cables for the Post Tension foundation are in place. Apparently they pour the concrete around and over the cables. Then a week later they come back with a machine and apply tension to the cable to firm up the foundation.

It’s now Tuesday 4/12 and we are getting back into a fairly natural rhythm. Walked around the RV park the last couple of mornings, but today we went out into the desert again and encountered a light rain along with a beautiful rainbow. Tucson has officially had 3/4” of rain the last couple of days. This is the only place I have ever been where people get excited about rain in the forecast!

Monday 3/28

After our morning walk we took our bikes over to the Foothills first thing this morning and did a short ride around the area with Gary. No action at the lot so far.

After the ride we went to BK for lunch and did some shopping.

Tuesday 3/29

There have been beautiful, cool mornings with scattered clouds the last couple of mornings.

After breakfast we headed into town to REI. Nancy had a coupon and a dividend so she used them to purchase a new new pair of hiking boots for me! While we were there I also picked up a new pair of brake blocks for my bike, the rear ones are almost worn out.

After that we drove up to LA Encantada shopping center to the Bose store. Nancy made a stop at AJ’s Grocery to check it out. I have decided on a Bose Soundtouch 10 and a Soundtouch 20 for the new house. We gave away both of our old stereo systems when we moved, plus FM reception is not very good this side of the Tucson Mountains and we always listen to NPR in the morning. The Soundtouch speakers can operate from a WiFi system or Bluetooth. Receiving from WiFi means they can pull in any FM station on the Web, in addition to all of the on-line music services. They can also link to the music library on my laptop, iPod or iPhone with either WiFi or Bluetooth. The Soundtouch 20 will go in the kitchen, the 10 in the master bedroom. So now we have a radio and a stereo system for the new house.

 I was under the mistaken impression that there was going to be a price increase so had decided to buy them now instead of waiting. Turns out I was wrong, but there was a bit of a sale so we went ahead and bought them anyway. 

We stopped at Culver's for lunch, then back home. I spent the afternoon setting up the Bose systems so we could check out their operation. They can be controlled from pre-select buttons on the speakers, my laptop, or from an app on my iPhone. A slick setup and the speakers have the usual incredible Bose sound in a small package.

Late in the afternoon we went over to Karen and Gary’s. We all went to dinner at La Parrilla Suiza to celebrate Karen’s birthday. As on our previous previous visit the food was excellent. This seems to be our new favorite Mexican restaurant.

Wednesday 3/30

Usual morning walk in the desert, then Nancy was off to her Spanish class, I did my weekly house cleaning. After lunch went to Costco as Nancy wanted to pick up some contact solution that was on sale and I wanted to order another pair of glasses without the sense coating that makes them so hard to clean. Turns out Costco will not sell glasses without the anti-glare coating! How stupid is that?

Anyhow, the visit was no a total loss. We always walk through the whisky aisles to check out what they have. Today I found my favorite, 10 year old Laphroaig, for $29.99 a bottle! That is about $16 a bottle less than it usually costs here and an even greater savings over the cost back in Illinois! So I bought four bottles! Dropped three of them off at our storage locker on the way home, no point in carrying them around with us all summer! We also picked up a 24 bottle case of Mexican Coke for a good price. We like the Mexican since it uses cane sugar instead of the corn syrup used in the US product.

Thursday 3/31

Took our regular walk in the desert, then we both went to the yoga class here at the park this morning, my first yoga class since before my foot surgery. Beautiful day, a bit one the cool side. High in the 60’s

Nancy did laundry and studied her Spanish. I put the new brake pads on my bike - and fixed a loose retainer on my rear fender. Then relaxed and read.

Friday 4/1

Cold this AM, 43 degrees! We decided to skip the morning walk since we were going to the 4th Ave Spring Street Fair.  After breakfast we headed into town. Parked in the Garage at 4th and Broadway. As we came down the stairs from the garage we ran into Karen and Gary getting off the elevator from the same garage!

Walked with them for a while, but got separated along the way. Had a pretty successful visit to the fair, usually we don’t buy much other than the face and body creams that Nancy purchases from a local woman. This time Nancy found a nice key hook made from cholla wood. Something we will need by the garage door in the new house. Nancy also picked up a couple of cute blouses.

Had lunch at a new restaurant on 4th Ave., Latin It Up. Nothing fancy, but pretty good Cuban sandwiches. Not up to La Septima in Brandon, Fl., but hey, we ain’t in Florida!

Back home we had a package delivered from SwissTrax with samples of the plastic floor tiles we are looking at for the new garage.

Saturday 4/2

Up early to head to H F Coors for the First Saturday seconds sale. Thought the crowd would be lighter, but no soap! Lot full and lots of cars parked along the street. Used to be light crowds, this thing is getting out of hand.

Then up to the Northwest side for the Tucson Cactus and Succulent Society annual members only garden tour. Eight lovely gardens, a lot of natural plantings. Nancy learned a lot about the plantings, I got a lot of ideas about landscaping and different kinds of garden paths.

Stopped at Beyond Bread on Ina for lunch and then headed home. On the way home Joan called and told Nancy that her Mom (who will be 102 in June!) had fallen and broken her hip! Oh, oh! Looks like Nancy will be heading back to Chicago pretty quickly.

Gary had called me while I was waiting for Nancy at H F Coors, he and Margo had walked past our lot and they are putting in the footings for the foundation! Yeah!

Drove by our lot on the way home and the wood footings are in showing the full outline of the house on the lot! Seems real now! Looking at the room for our front garden we do not have as huge a space to fill with landscaping as we thought, especially compared to some of the gardens we saw today that covered more than an acre. Things are really looking encouraging!

Back home watched the F1 qualifying from Bahrain. Another dull and boring session due to the cockamamy new format! They have screwed up the best part of the F1 weekend!

Sunday 4/3

Up at dawn this morning and out in the desert early. Another beautiful morning, we love the desert at dawn!

F1 race first thing this AM, one of the better of the recent races. Great to see Rosberg win the first two and Haas F1 is off to a great start!

After the race we went over to the lot and walked around looking at the position of the house. A lot easier to visualize things now that there is a physical outline on the ground!

Back home we watched the Blackhawks game that we had recorded this AM - it was on at 9:30 AM here and we were watching the F1 race.

Blackhawks seemed to break out of their slump once again, hope it sticks this time! By the end of the 2nd period they were leading Boston 6 to nothing! Patrick Kane had a hat trick. Then the Bruins scored twice in the last minute of the 2nd! Hawks hung on to win 6 to 4, but it wasn’t pretty!

Nancy did some laundry, she is packing and getting ready to fly to Chicago tomorrow - could not get a flight today! She should get there before her Mom has surgery tomorrow.

Monday 4/4

Up early, Nancy had a flight out at 7:15 AM! Thankfully it is only a 20 - 25 minute drive to the airport that time of morning, nice to be living in a mid-sized town again, even we are almost out in the boonies! Actually we can see them from here!

Called my friend John Fortman at Lou’s Jeep in Geneva to ask his advice about buying a Wrangler. He agreed with me that the used prices are pretty ridiculous. Said he doesn’t even bother going to the auctions because they are selling there at retail! Driving through town the other day I saw a TJ Wrangler on a used car lot. Looked it up on line when I got home: 2006, 68k miles, asking $18K! I can buy a new one equipped like I want for about $27, so why would I buy a 10 year old one?

Anyway, John said if I wanted to order one the way I want it I should do it now. Orders probably close around the end of April with build-out in May to get ready for the 2017s. John put me on the line with his service  manager Mark, who used to be Service Manager for the Chrysler/Jeep dealer in Aurora. He gave me the name of the sales manger and said he would do right by me.

SO, I called and talked to Dave at Riverfront Chrysler Jeep. He said he could find what I wanted and said he would call back in an hour. Called back and said, “Nope, we’ll have to order it.” I knew that all along since I had been looking and knew there was nothing in dealer inventory anywhere that matched what I wanted.

Dave said if we place the order now it should be in the third week in May. Perfect! We’ll be in Kane County May 25. So I placed the order and we’ll have a nice new Wrangler when we get back to Illinois!

Sent Nancy a text and told her I bought a new Jeep! It’s a Wrangler 2 door, soft top with half doors, AC, auto trans, and towing package, nothing else. I wanted a basic Wrangler without all the fru-fru. Of course it comes standard with all the safety stuff - anti-lock brakes, stability control, airbags, and tire monitors, plus an 8 speaker stereo/CD player, cruise control, intermittent wipers, etc.

One reason I had to order it was that I wanted half doors, which dealers simply do not stock. Having it Tucson all the time I expect to have the top down or completely off 90% of the time with a bikini top for sun protection. I think they look a bit tacky with the top down and the full door frames. So half doors with canvas windows!

Here’s a pic of what it will look like:

The back and forth on that pretty much killed the afternoon and I watched a couple of hockey games in the evening.

Tuesday 4/5

Up and out for a walk on my own before 7 AM! Decided going out in the desert alone was not the wisest choice, so I did 2 miles around the two RV parks. Later in the morning I went into Costco to pick up a prescription for Nancy. Nancy had been ribbing me for buying the Jeep as soon as she left town, so I sent her a text about the great deal Costco had on a 60” flat screen TV. She didn’t buy it though, texted me back “Fortunately it won’t fit in my car!”

Stopped at  Roma Imports to pick up some air dried beef for Andrea (Desert Trails manager) and David. David is a computer consultant and he worked on my laptop for a couple of days trying to recover lost Quicken data and was unable to help, so he did not charge me.

Back home, quite afternoon. Ran back into town to Beyond Bread for dinner (and lunch tomorrow!) and made a stop at a Safeway for some stuff.

Blackhawks play tonight in AZ so the Chicago Center Ice feed is blacked out. Have to watch the AZ broadcast on Fox Sports. To add insult to injury they are delaying the broadcast by 2-1/2 hours because there is a Suns basketball game!

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