Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Couple of Needlepoint Projects to Share

As I mentioned in an earlier post, doing plastic canvas needlepoint has been a real source of relaxation for me. I feel very calm as I stitch, stitch, stitch. I understand why people enjoy knitting. The flow of color and fiber is soothing to the mind and hands. I have a hard time reading lately, because my mind wanders off and I start ruminating over what needs to be done. For some reason, I don't have that problem when I am stitching.

I have been very prolific, and want to share what I have done.

The key decorator item in the Alfa is the Pendleton blanket we bought to cover the dull couch. 

To keep the arms clean, I have made arm rest covers to go with it.  On the left side, there is just a small space between the couch arm and the wall.  We slide a small folding table in there, so the arm rest  just fits snuggly around the arm.  

On the other side, next to the table, I added a handy pocket.  It is lined and has inner slots for a few pens or pencils.  I was thinking of it as a place to stow a note pad, but as Craig pointed out, it is just right for the Kindle or iPad. 

Or I could add on another pocket below this one at a later time.

I like the way they look and feel.  Functional but decorative.

Earlier in the month I made this Humming Bird Tissue Box Cover.

I sent it to one of the other bloggers, Judy, because she does such wonderful work in wildlife refuges and has been an inspiration to me.  

I'm working on something else now, and will share it with you when it is done.

No ... I am not making a cover for the Alfa! That would take way too much yarn!  

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Dental Emergency, what to do?

To make a long story short, the bridge on my lower four front teeth broke while eating dinner Tuesday evening.  I called my dentist the next morning and I was in to see him the same day.  He stayed after hours to take care of me. 

The bridge work is 13 years old.  One of the supporting teeth had cracked and the other showed root deterioration. So the decision was made to pull them both and do a new six tooth bridge.  

Price tag?  $6872.  With a discount if I pay cash only $6000.

He did the extraction of two teeth, the bridge prep and a temporary appliance right away. I paid for all of that, $500, at the end of the visit so I would not have an open bill. 

He wants to wait at least two months for full healing before doing the new bridge. However, given his vacation time and our travel plans, the next possible date for an appointment is in mid-September. 

What if we sell the house by then? It could happen. Would I want to come back to get this done here?

I've been mulling over alternatives.   I'm in no discomfort and as long as I avoid things that are hard or tough to bite, the temporary bridge will be serviceable for some time.

Should I go to Mexico? I know of several people, including my sister-in-law, who have had work done there. I have the names of a couple of places that are said to be reliable.

Should I go to Thailand? My son is currently teaching English in Thailand, and although I probably would not want to go to Bangkok where he is for treatment, I might consider Phuket. My daughter's brother-in-law has lived there for many years and as a retired New Zealander would be able to help me find a suitable dentist. My son will be going back there in a few months when he finishes his first teaching contract to get his final certification. I'm not sure exactly when that would be, but I'm quite sure I could fly to Thailand, get a new bridge, and fly back for less than $5500.  Phuket is both a tourist and a medical procedure destination for many Europeans, Australians and New Zealanders.  I would not feel uncomfortable there. If I waited until we sell the house Craig could go too and we could make a nice vacation of it.  

Anyway, it is something to think about over the next few weeks.

However, this emergency has made me wonder what I would have done if this happened while we were full timers. I don't wonder about medical emergencies. If something really serious happened, there are ERs everywhere. If either of us got sick or suffered a minor injury, we could find an urgent care center to go to. We have good insurance and are not tied to an HMO.

But what about finding a good dentist and getting in to see him or her quickly?  These things happen at the most inconvenient times, and when you get a toothache, a broken tooth, or abscess, you want to be treated as soon as possible! My bridge did not come out, but it was not right and my teeth hurt. I could not bite and could only eat cut up or soft food. Our teeth are old.

 Are there emergency dentists? How would you find one?  

Any insight or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.  I'd rather ask now than when I am in need.

As for the new bridge, Mexico, Thailand, or my regular dentist here in California?  Any opinions?

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Good Job Craig, Good Job

Sunday afternoon...

This morning Craig and Mick installed the faucet in the lower bathroom. 

Right now Craig is going around the house picking up tools and putting them away. He said I should write a post about it so my readers would see he cares about my stress level.

Thank you Craig.

If I had know it was that easy I would have posted about it earlier. He actually threw a few things away too!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

June 15, Half the Month s Gone

Leaving on our next Alfa Adventure in 55 days!

Craig has really picked up the pace since we returned from our Grand Canyon trip.  He said he hoped to have the house listed by the end of June.  That won't happen, but the end of July just might be possible.  We have several more "two week or more" projects to get thru, but most of the little things are getting done. Things like removing the big dish satellite from the front yard.

I hired someone to do it!  Craig wanted to, but he can't do everything.

As I compose this post, Craig and our handyman, Mick, are installing a new vanity in one of the bathrooms.  Still to come are the mirrors, medicine cabinets  and details like towel bars and new baseboards.  If all goes well we will have three complete bathrooms by the end of the month.  Well, almost complete, Craig had to special order some woodwork for around the doors and it might not be here for a few weeks.

I, on the other hand, have not been doing very much. There really isn't much I can do without Craig's help. It is a waste of my time to clean since new clouds of construction dust seem to settle over the floors every day or so.  I refuse to get serious about it until the last really dirty job is done.  I would like to be washing windows, but we still need to sand three sets of stairs and two deck surfaces.  That will cover the windows with sawdust for sure! Best to wait until the deck is done.

Many drawers and closets are close to being emptied, but that doesn't mean their contents are gone.  Much is piled up in the garage waiting for either a flea market day or donation. There are also lots of piles of stuff around the house.  If I take it out of a closet, it doesn't go back in!  

I really need Craig to work with me in getting rid of things.  The stuff is both of ours and many things might still be needed before we are out of here.  Last week I went through the garbage cans, or bags of junk in the garage, three times to retrieve something I had tossed. 

But I find it very difficult to deal with the disorder. There are little collections of tools here and there waiting to be used to finish this or that.

I'm not a very good housekeeper to begin with, but I find having the additional mess everywhere very stressful.

Every room seems to look like this.  Stuff everywhere!

Oh well, this too shall pass.  We will get there. It is our time!

If you are a full timer, who got rid of all your stuff and sold your home, what stage of the process did you find the most stressful?

How did you deal with it?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Pickets done!

[From Craig]  In response to all of the "we want to hear about your getting your house ready for sale" comments to Merikay's last post, I've volunteered to do some of that.

Long-time readers may recall a post last Halloween, in which Merikay noted that our house has 516 pickets in its deck railing, each of which had to be sanded and then stained before we could put the house up for sale.  We stopped work on that project when the weather turned. Today we finished sanding and staining the last 71 of the 516.  Here are some of them:

Which is not to say our deck sanding and staining are done.  We still have 2 1/2 flights of stairs plus two areas of deck boards before our deck work is done.  

Between Merikay and I, we will try to keep our home preparation fans in touch with our progress.  It's just that we're getting close enough that we want to be careful that our blogging doesn't affect our coming home sale in any way...

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Senior Discounts

 I want my blog to be about positive things.  Things I want to remember, or things I feel might be of benefit to others. In the long run I do not want to remember or look back on these stressful days of fixing up the house and saying goodbye to treasured possessions  Posts about Craig fixing this or my painting that are of no real value or interest, so I have decided to not write them any more.

So, until we are actually traveling  or if I think I have a good food or craft idea to share, my entries may be more limited.

With that in mind, I thought I'd pass on this list of senior discounts I found on the Escapee's Forum. 

We don't eat out very often, and when we do it is rarely at fast food places, but when in a rush or on the road we have.  I'm going to make it a habit to ASK if there is a senior discount.

Seems like we have been to many of these places and have not seen any sign of them.

 One thing I have noticed is that many of the discounts listed below are for certain times of the day or certain days of the week or month.  But time is what we have the most of.

I'd be interested in learning about any other discounts you may know about.  They may be anywhere in the country, because who knows where we will travel once the house is sold!

Posted 18 March 2012 - 10:28 AM on SKP Forum: Subject Senior Discounts
Dunkin Donuts gives free coffee to people over 55. If you're paying for a cup every day, you might want to start getting it for free.


Applebee's: 15% off with Golden Apple Card (60+)
Arby's: 10% off (55+)

Ben & Jerry's: 10% off (60+)
Bennigan's: discount varies by location
Bob's Big Boy: discount varies by location (60+)
Boston Market: 10% off (65+)
Burger King: 10% off (60+)

Captain D's Seafood: discount varies on location (62+)
Chick-Fil-A: 10% off or free small drink or coffee (55+)
Chili's: 10% off (55+)
CiCi's Pizza: 10% off (60+)
Culver's: 10% off (60+)

Denny's: 10% off, 20% off for AARP members (55+), free coffee with AARP card
Dunkin' Donuts: 10% off or free coffee (55+)

Einstein's Bagels: 10% off baker's dozen of bagels (60+)

Fuddrucker's: 10% off any senior platter(55+)

Gatti's Pizza: 10% off (60+)
Golden Corral: 10% off (60+)

Hardee's: $0.33 beverages everyday (65+)

IHOP: 10% off (55+)

Jack in the Box: up to 20% off (55+)

KFC: free small drink with any meal (55+)
Krispy Kreme: 10% off (50+)

Long John Silver's: various discounts at participating locations (55+)

McDonald's: discounts on coffee everyday (55+)
Mrs. Fields: 10% off at participating locations (60+)

Shoney's: 10% off
Sonic: 10% off or free beverage (60+)
Steak 'n Shake: 10% off every Monday & Tuesday (50+)
Subway: 10% off (60+) Sweet Tomatoes: 10% off (62+)

Taco Bell: 5% off; free beverages for seniors (65+)
TCBY: 10% off (55+)
Tea Room Cafe: 10% off (50+)

Village Inn: 10% off (60+)

Waffle House: 10% off every Monday (60+)
Wendy's: 10% off (55+)
White Castle: 10% off (62+)

Retail And Apparel

Banana Republic: 10% off (50+)
Bealls: 20% off first Tuesday of each month (50+)
Belk's: 15% off first Tuesday of every month (55+)
Big Lots: 10% off
Bon-Ton Department Stores: 15% off on senior discount days (55+)
C.J. Banks: 10% off every Wednesday (60+)
Clarks: 10% off (62+)
Dress Barn: 10% off (55+)
Goodwill: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Hallmark: 10% off one day a week (date varies by location)
Kmart: 20% off (50+)
Kohl's: 15% off (60+)
Modell's Sporting Goods: 10% off
Rite Aid: 10% off on Tuesdays & 10% off prescriptions
Ross Stores: 10% off every Tuesday (55+)
The Salvation Army Thrift Stores: up to 50% off (55+)
Stein Mart:: 20% off red dot/clearance items first Monday of every month (55+)


Albertson's: 10% off first Wednesday of each month (55+)
American Discount Stores: 10% off every Monday (50+)

Compare Foods Supermarket: 10% off every Wednesday (60+)

DeCicco Family Markets: 5% off every Wednesday (60+)

Food Lion: 6% off every Monday (60+)
Fry's Supermarket: free Fry's VIP Club Membership & 10% off every Monday (55+)

Great Valu Food Store: 5% off every Tuesday(60+)
Gristedes Supermarket: 10% off everyTuesday (60+)

Harris Teeter: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)
Hy-Vee: 5% off one day a week (date varies by location)

Kroger: 10% off (date varies by location) [NOTE: it is 5% on Wednesdays]

Morton Williams Supermarket: 5% off every Tuesday (60+)

The Plant Shed: 10% off every Tuesday (50+)
Publix: 5% off every Wednesday (55+)

Rogers Marketplace: 5% off every Thursday (60+)

Uncle Guiseppe's Marketplace: 5% off (62+)


Alaska Airlines: 10% off (65+)
Alamo: up to 25% off for AARP members
American Airlines: various discounts for 65 and up (call before booking fordiscount)
Amtrak: 15% off (62+)
Avis: up to 25% off for AARP members
Best Western: 10% off (55+)
Budget Rental Cars: 10% off; up to 20% off for AARP members (50+)
Cambria Suites: 20%-30% off (60+)
Clarion: 20%-30% off (60+)
Comfort Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Comfort Suites: 20%-30% off (60+)
Continental Airlines: no initiation fee for Continental Presidents Club &special fares for select destinations
Dollar Rent-A-Car: 10% off (50+)
Econo Lodge: 20%-30% off (60+)
Enterprise Rent-A-Car: 5% off for AARP members
Greyhound: 5% off (62+)
Hampton Inns & Suites: 10% off when booked 72 hours in advance
Hertz: up to 25% off for AARP members
Holiday Inn: 10%-30% off depending on location (62+)
Hyatt Hotels: 25%-50% off (62+)
InterContinental Hotels Group: various discounts at all hotels (65+)
Mainstay Suites: 10% off with Mature Travelers' Discount(50+); 20%-30% off (60+)
Marriott Hotels: 15% off (62+)
Motel 6: 10% off (60+)
Myrtle Beach Resort: 10% off (55+)
National Rent-A-Car: up to 30% off for AARP members
Quality Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Rodeway Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Sleep Inn: 20%-30% off (60+)
Southwest Airlines: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before bookingfor discount)
Trailways Transportation System: various discounts for ages 50 and up
United Airlines: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking fordiscount)
U.S. Airways: various discounts for ages 65 and up (call before booking fordiscount)

Activities And Entertainment

AMC Theaters: up to 30% off (55+)
Bally Total Fitness: up to $100 off memberships (62+)
Busch Gardens Tampa: $3 off one-day tickets (50+)
Carmike Cinemas: 35% off (65+)
Cinemark/Century Theaters: up to 35% off
U.S. National Parks: $10 lifetime pass; 50% off additional services including camping (62+)
Regal Cinemas: 30% off
Ripley's Believe it or Not: @ off one-day ticket (55+)
SeaWorld Orlando: $3 off one-day tickets(50+)

Cell Phone Discounts

AT&T: Special Senior Nation 200 Plan$29.99/month (65+)
Jitterbug: $10/month cell phone service(50+)
Verizon Wireless: Verizon Nationwide 65 Plus Plan $29.99/month (65+).

Friday, June 7, 2013

REVIEW: Nordic Ware Microwave Rice Cooker and Vegetable Steamer

Last month I bought this little, plastic, eight cup, rice cooker at Target.  It was on sale for less than $10, and I figured I couldn't go wrong. I was attracted to it because it was small and lightweight. With only three burners on the RV stove, steaming a pot of rice in my usual fashion takes up precious space.

I have used it in the house at least ten times since I got it, and each time what I made in it came out good. The white rice I made was perfect. I made brown rice to put into a soup. I wanted it to be underdone so it could finish in the broth, so I cooked it for less time. It worked. Rice sometimes sticks to the pot when cooked on the stove. I had an electric rice cooker that was hard to clean.  With this one, the rice didn't stick and so the clean up was easier.

I often make vegetables in the microwave using a much heavier Corning ware casserole dish. They came out just about the same using the steamer. I have also made small new potatoes which I usually boil stovetop. Again, the results were comparable.

I haven't tried any pasta yet, but the instructions say you can make pasta in it. 

Overall I would give it an 8 out of 10. If you don't have the space for a large electric rice steamer in your RV, and don't want to steam rice or veggies on the stove top, this does the job.

If you are looking for one, try Target, Kmart or Walmart.
They also have them at Amazon:  NordicWare Microwave Rice Cooker

Have you found any innovative treasures for your RV lately? 

Membership update: We joined the Escapees. They are having a sale right now to celebrate their 35th anniversary  and a new membership is $35 instead of $70.  A good deal!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


I don't know if this works, but it seems like it should.  I would try it before posting the information in my blog, but we do not have a mosquito problem here.  There are a few in the forest, but most of the area around our house is very dry.  Also our main evening deck is on the second floor and they do not seem to find us there.

I want it in my blog so I can find it in the future.  If anyone tries it, let us all know if it works!

HOMEMADE MOSQUITO TRAP:  (sent to us by Craig's friend John Black)

Items needed:
1 cup of water
1/4 cup of brown sugar
1 gram of yeast
1 2-liter bottle

1. Cut the plastic bottle in half.
2. Mix brown sugar with hot water. Let cool. When cold, pour in the bottom half of the bottle.
3. Add the yeast. No need to mix. It creates carbon dioxide, which attracts mosquitoes.
4. Place the funnel part, upside down, into the other half of the bottle, taping them together if desired.
5. Wrap the bottle with something black, leaving the top uncovered. (Mosquitoes are drawn to the color black.)
6. Place it outside, in an area away from your normal gathering area.

Change the solution every 2 weeks for continuous control.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Questions about Memberships

As we are coming closer to being full-timers, I am starting to look into several things more seriously. One is memberships. We joined Passport America last fall and have used their discount program several times with good results. The discounts have more than paid for the cost of membership and we will continue it. 

We joined FMCA two years ago because we wanted to go to their rally and take the seminars. We also got it for a couple of other discounts, including a discount on the driving class we took. Since I didn't think we wanted to go to any more of their rallies I was going to let it lapse, but then we discovered a nice discount on a tire purchase. We will need to buy more tires sometime in the future, so I will keep up the FMCA membership.

I'm wondering which others we should join. We are most interested in finding decent parks with reasonable costs or discounts. 

I've looked at the Escapees website.

Are any of you members? $60 per year is only $5 per month, it seems reasonable enough. We plan on getting our mail in South Dakota, so the Escapees mail forwarding service is not a draw.   

We don't want to register the Alfa in Texas because we don't want to have to go to Texas for inspections once a year. (We may go to Texas, but we don't want to have to go to Texas.) 

So we would be looking at the Escapees for their parks discounts and any other benefits we don't yet know we need. If you are a SKP, which benefits do you use?

We sat thru one sales pitch for a membership program when we were in Las Vegas. We did it so we could get a few nights at the resort for free, and will do so again if we have the opportunity. But we are not ready to jump into a contract for owning a site. Besides I have heard that if you want to buy into such a thing you can get them cheaper as a resale. Much like time shares.

Are there any programs that we should be wary of?  Any rip offs?