Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Surgery Success, More New Friends and a Blast From the Past

At Lake Conroe Thousand Trails, Willis, Texas...

I'm hoping that the successful outcome of the surgical repair of my meniscus will signal our nearing the end of the medical and dental issues that have confounded our travel plans this winter. In regard to this procedure on my knee, I wasn't prepared for the dramatic improvement just one day afterward. Houston is not my favorite city in my beloved state, but this place does have some fine physicians. In the photo below, it's easy to see my pleasure at the post-surgical checkup by Dr. Launikitis:

This guy knows what he's doing. I was expecting a much more invasive procedure, but he did the work through two small incisions in the knee, into one of which was inserted a camera, and the surgical instruments were manipulated through the other. All of the work was done by the surgeon and an assistant while looking at the camera's image on a screen above the operating table. The incisions (one of which was still covered) can be seen below. The indentations are from the  bandage wrapping that had just been removed:

I'll be getting the stitches out in about a week and, hopefully, that will be that.

I'll be heading to the dermatologist next to have my yearly face-freezing to remove the little pre-cancerous lesions that seem to plague some of us with very fair skin. As far as I know, that will finally be the end of all this medical falderol although, for a while, my face will look like I have leprosy or something.

We had the good fortune to run into friends Dick and Judy again while we are here at Thousand Trails. We took them to Vernon's in Conroe for some good catfish one evening, and we had lots of fun talking and carrying on:

Then Dick and Judy introduced us to new friends Richard and Karen, who joined us for pizza on another evening. We do enjoy meeting such fun and interesting people in this lifestyle:

Since my posts seem a little sparse when we're not traveling, I'm going to fool around with posting some 'blasts from the past.' I'm sure few readers go way back in this blog 13 years ago when we first started RVing, so I thought I would post a few pics from the earliest years forward and say a few things about them. This first photo is from the very first day of our very first RV trip on May 13, 2005:

We learned so many lessons during our first few years of RVing. This was a relatively inexpensive Jayco fifth wheel that we grew to despise because of its terrible floor plan and single air conditioner! In Texas! What were we thinking?! What is not shown is a Jayco bumper-pull trailer that lasted in our possession for one day! That's all it took for me to realize that it wasn't something I wanted to hitch up and pull with our Suburban. The next day, I took it back to the dealer and canceled the sale, swapping it for this fifth wheel. I also scurried around and bought a Dodge diesel truck to pull it. The Dodge truck I loved and eventually traded for a newer one.

During that trip--to Florida--we stayed at the tony Emerald Beach RV Resort in Panama City and thought we were in tall cotton! It was a beautiful park, and in the post I complained about how unbelievably expensive it was--$40 a night! How times have changed!

I also noticed on that post a comment from longtime RV blogger friends Gordon and Juanita that I believe to be our first contact with them. We ultimately met up and became good personal friends years later.

On our way back from Florida, we also toured the McIlhenny Tabasco factory on Avery Island, Louisiana:

This was a really interesting stop, and I would recommend it for everyone. (As I look at this photo, I realize that I still have in my closet that shirt from 13 years ago; I'm not sure what to say about that, but I will admit that it's getting a little faded nowadays. You might say that I'm not much of a shopper.)

Well, what do you think? Does this old stuff have any appeal? It's fun for us to look back through 500 blog posts over 13 years, but I'm not sure that would hold true for anyone else.

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; 
please forgive me if I don't appreciate it as I should each day.

I had rather see the world and own little than to own the whole world and see little of it.  
--Alexander Sattler

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Medical Issues, Neat Gadgets and Good Friends

At Lake Conroe Thousand Trails, Willis, Texas...

Not too long ago, I mentioned in a post that our health seems to have improved after we began fulltiming. I didn't knock on wood at the time, although I knew better. So what do I get for that omission? Besides the recently mangled finger I wrote about, I now have in my left knee a torn meniscus that will need surgery. I have to tell you that this has been a winter quite unlike any other when it comes to the number of visits to doctors,  dentists and optometrists. Usually, when we set aside some time each year to take care of routine medical and dental issues, we get by quite nicely with just a little fine tuning here and there. This time, it seemed like we needed a major overhaul!

Thankfully, my upcoming surgery is by no means serious and will not require an overnight hospital stay. I really have no right to whine like this; I'm getting old, and this is what happens to old people. And, since I've never gotten old before, this is all new to me; perhaps I can be forgiven until I get used to it!

Since we have been doing a lot of sitting around between doctor visits, I tend to spend a lot of time on the Internet. I ran across an ad for some neat connectors that I wondered why hadn't been invented before now. One is a short hose that fits Phannie's fresh water filler receptacle, on the end of which is an ergonomically-designed grip that makes connecting a hose so easy:

I just leave this in place all the time and no longer have any difficulty connecting the water hose. (And yes, I've tried the quick-connect thingies before and not had very good luck with them.) I'll tell you where to get this gadget later, if you're interested.

Offered by the same company are TV cables whose end fittings follow the same concept. Have you ever had impure thoughts about those tiny nuts they put on these cables? Only Lucifer himself could have devised anything this difficult to get started on the little threaded post on which it is supposed to fit:

Here's the solution: Cables with big plastic grippers formed around the little nuts to enable you to spin them onto the post with no difficulty at all:

There; aren't you jealous?  Well, you needn't be; you can get these with a few clicks of your computer mouse at The guy who makes them is Jim Wright, and he is the real deal in terms of honesty and the proud maker of a quality product.  And, just so you'll know, I have no financial interest in promoting these products. I just happen to like them.

There is, of course, an upside to spending extra months here in the Conroe area where the kids live. We have thoroughly enjoyed our extra interaction with them, and we'll be sad to leave for the summer. (I suppose this will be when the doctors let us go after having taken delivery of their new Mercedes we've bought them.) We also have a number of RV friends who travel through the area from time to time. Chip and Diane visited a few weeks ago, and we just concluded a nice visit with Steve and Jackie below:

We had a lot of fun with these neat folks going to restaurants, movies and playing games and, oh yes, the girls did do some shopping (what with, I don't know; the doctors and drug makers have all our money). We feel so fortunate to have connected with a number of couples like these who have become dear friends. In Steve's and Jackie's case, as with others, it was purely good luck; we just happened to park Phannie beside them one day and struck up a conversation.  

More later; let's all remember that spring is just around the corner!

Thank you, Lord, for this wonderful life; 
please forgive me if I don't appreciate it as I should each day.

I had rather own little and see the world than to own the whole world and see little of it. 
-- Alexander Sattler.