Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

It's Bubba's Fault!

At home in Fort Worth...

You may have read earlier in this rag about our previous trip to MCD Innovations in McKinney, Texas when we had them install custom day/night shades in Phannie’s living area.  At the time, we elected not to install shades in the cockpit in deference to our budget but, as time went by, we couldn’t help but bemoan the fact that the cockpit looked so shabby in comparison to the rest of the interior of the coach.  The old sliding curtains filled the need for privacy, but they were becoming faded and droopy, held together by clothespins where they met in the middle of the windshield.  In this regard, Phannie was sort of like a well-dressed lady who had toilet paper stuck to her shoe.

We knew it was only a matter of time until we returned to MCD for the full shade treatment, but it was Bubba who actually made it happen.  If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know that longtime friends Bubba and LouAnn often caravan with us on our RV trips.  We both owned fifth wheels for years before Sandy and I acquired Phannie, an upgrade in travel comfort that certainly was not lost on Bubba and whose merits I lorded over him good-naturedly but constantly.

Not long ago, I invited Bubba to drive Phannie on a short local jaunt, and it was easy to tell that he was smitten; in fact, I thought he was going to gnaw the door handles off the coach.  It wasn’t long afterward, then, that he was flogging the internet in search of his own “Phannie.”  Suddenly, he located a real steal at the very dealer—Motorhomes of Texas—where we had purchased Phannie.  Within a couple of days, Bubba and LouAnn were the proud owners of a 2012 Thor Tuscany, forty-two feet of unfettered luxury with a tag axle, four TV sets and two bathrooms! As happy as I was for them, I was already hunkering down for what would be a major payback from Bubba in the gloating department. 

Bubba and LouAnn's New Coach
Now in comparison with Bubba's new rig, Phannie began to look something like an ugly duckling—especially the old cockpit curtains with the clothespins.  I couldn’t help but envy the Thor’s motorized windshield shade that moved almost silently up and down with the touch of a button.  Frankly, it became more than I could take!  I called MCD for an appointment and drove Phannie up to McKinney on a recent Monday morning.  I told them I wanted their best day/night shades, motorized on all cockpit windows--front and side.  (I knew Bubba’s coach didn’t have power shades on the side windows. Yes, that’s pathetic, I know, but I was desperate.)  The following Thursday, we picked her up, hardly able to wait to see the transformation.  It was everything we expected.

The new shades are wonderful, of course, but what did this little fit of jealousy cost me?  Well, I won’t be so crass as to mention numbers, but the cockpit shades cost more than twice the price of all the rest of Phannie’s unpowered shades in the living area.  A good deal of the extra cost was the installation of custom wood valances to conceal the rollers and power mechanisms.  Am I glad I did it?  Absolutely!  The powered feature is really handy; I can’t imagine not having it now.  I’m already wondering if Sandy will let me do a retrofit to powered shades in the cabin…

Here's a video and some photos for you:

Josh from MCD measures for the windshield shade.

Wilson comes in to measure for custom wood valances. Wilson doesn't work for MCD, but they recommend him highly...for good reason!

 Windshield Day Shade

 Windshield Night Shade
Door and Side Window Night Shades--check out Wilson's wood valances.  Nice job!

While Wilson was doing the woodwork on the valances, we hired him to replace the the bedroom clothes hamper with drawers.  Mui of Two to Travel's Phaeton Journeys recently had this conversion done at Red Bay, and we really liked the idea.  It's not clear why Tiffin put this hamper here; most owners we know don't use it, and the extra storage is most desirable.

Before Wilson's modification
After Wilson's Handiwork

Sunday, March 10, 2013

No Cane, No Pain!

At home in Fort Worth...

I suppose it’s about time for an update on the new hip.  I ditched the cane a couple of weeks ago because I’m walking without limping most of the time now.  There are a few exceptions, as when I have sat for a long time or had an exceptionally active day; but that is to be expected for a few more months.  Oddly enough, the only limitation remaining is my ability to put a sock on my right foot; the range of motion needed is just not sufficient yet.  Physical therapy will soon take care of that and, in the meantime, I have a very effective sock installer in Sandy, God bless her. 

All in all, the experience has certainly had positive results.  The prosthesis will never be the same as the original joint, of course, but it’s pretty close, and it’s certainly a blessing to be rid of the arthritis pain.  Strangely, I have a slight sensation—not painful at all—of the presence of my prosthetic device instead of the natural feel of the original hip joint.  I don’t know if the sensation will eventually go away, and it doesn't really matter.  It’s just a gentle reminder of the miracles of modern medicine and my good fortune to still have access to good healthcare.  I hope it remains so, but I’m not at all confident, given what’s going on in Washington. 

I’m even driving Phannie again!  Last week we took her up to MCD Innovations in McKinney, Texas to have new shades installed in the cockpit.  But that will be the subject of the next post, which will be out in a couple of days.

As you might imagine, it was so good to get on the road again, even for such a short drive!

Look ma, no cane!