Monday, February 13, 2017

Lenovo Ideapad 110S

I am really happy with the $119 Lenovo I scored from Best Buy a few days ago. I was concerned that the 32GB (28GB after the hidden restore partition) solid state drive might not be large enough but my guru friend Rick Doyle reassured me that Windows 10 would not crowd it too much and he was right (was there ever any doubt?). I took it over to the clubhouse and used the park WIFI to do all the updates and Windows used only 15 GB.

I downloaded Chrome just because I prefer it to Edge and installed my Quicken. The drive is still only 60% full so there is lots of room. I just will not be able to use the machine to store photos.

It is blazingly fast due to the solid state drive and is ready to use just a few seconds after turning it on.

The only possible complaint I have is that the case is white, the only choice available in this sale, so it might be a little difficult to keep clean. But that complaint is very minor as it is a quality machine!

Sunday, February 12, 2017


About six last night we heard a terrific BANG outside our rig. Norma thought it was a firecracker and I thought it might be a tire blowing out. Then we wondered if if was a gunshot. Our neighbor came out and said it definitely was a gunshot.

Ten minutes later sirens were heard and about six police cars entered the park and blocked off the row just around the corner from our site. Then a police helicopter started circling the park with it's spotlight on. That made it too noisy to hear what was going on around the corner, if anything.

Curious Norma of course was outside walking around. I told her if the helicopter was looking for someone sneaking around acting suspicious they would lock in on her! She ignored me but eventually came in.

The police stayed a while and then left. That was it, we don't know anything else. Maybe someone who lives closer to the source will fill us in.

Just another night in gun happy America.

Friday, February 10, 2017

Wandering Around Scottsdale

We dropped Norma's gold bracelet off at Jewelry Repair on Main Street in Mesa this morning for a repair. I asked Norma what she wanted to do until it was ready in four hours and she said "Lets explore Scottsdale". We headed over to Scottsdale Road and found one of the resorts we used to stay in when we escaped the north and soaked up summer sun in Arizona back in the 80's.

The Plaza hotel has not changed much over the years. We parked and went in to have a look. The lobby and pool area were the same and we walked on to the casitas that we used to rent for a couple / three weeks at a time for greatly reduced summer rates. Remington's, the on site restaurant and piano bar where we spent many evenings listening to Ike Cole (Nat King Cole's young brother) play and sing all the old favorites. Being there brought back many memories.

We left there and headed down to the Old Town where we stopped for a very late breakfast at The Breakfast Club and headed back to Mesa. Norma's bracelet was ready, he had gold soldered the catch back on, a very nice repair for only $20.

Tonight we are taking it easy as we are meeting our friends Brian and Sue up in Fountain Hills tomorrow morning for breakfast and the car show at Phil's Filling Station, a popular restaurant in Fountain Hills.

Thursday, February 9, 2017


What could possibly go wrong here? A totally blind person with PTSD and a fear of dogs legally carrying a loaded gun. I can't believe he faced opposition.
USA – -( At 27, Carey McWilliams became the first totally blind person in the USA to acquire a concealed-carry permit.
Despite weapons training during his ROTC years, McWilliams has faced opposition to his right to bear arms from both the media and public officials.
Once fervently against hunting, McWilliams now views hunting as a way to connect to a system greater than himself and cope with PTSD brought on by a recent violent dog attack.
In his downtime, he carries a loaded pistol to the grocery store.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

New Laptop

I replaced my Netbook a year or so ago with a small used laptop but was not happy with it. It had Windows 7 on it but it was corrupted and would not update to Windows 10. In frustration I formated the hard drive and installed Linux. It worked OK but was / is really slow and because it has no Windows, it will not run my financial program, Quicken.

When our American friend Paula was up to visit this summer she had a very nice little Lenovo Ideapad, a tiny laptop that was just perfect for what I wanted. I looked into them but they were just a little too expensive than I wanted to pay.

This morning Best Buy sent me an email advertising a five hour sale with this computer on it for $119. Perfect! I ordered it online but when I got to the checkout, it refused to take my creditcard because I did not have a USA billing address. I tried PayPal but same problem, they will not accept an out of USA payment. There was now less than an hour left on the sale so I called the customer service number and finally, after about 40 minutes got someone to take my money! It had free two day shipping so it should be here Thursday.

Here it is:

Monday, February 6, 2017

More RV Servicing!

When we parked here in Mesa Norma noticed a propane smell outside the door and the furnace would not light. We called Four Points Mobile RV Service and talked to Juan who said he could not get here until Monday (unless it was an emergency) which was fine. It was Friday and it was warm enough that we did not need the furnace so we turned the propane off for the weekend. Today (Monday) Louis came out and quickly determined the leak came from the Extend-A-Stay valve that we had replaced in December. This time however it was just a cap that was not tight. I should have found that myself but I can say that about many things. The reduced pressure in the line resulted in the furnace's safety feature preventing the furnace from lighting.

While Louis was here we had him look at our Fantastic Fan which had quit working and which I suspected had a bad plunger switch. I was right and Louis simply bypassed the switch. It now works but has to be manually turned on and off until I get a new switch. Not a problem.

The cost was $155, very reasonable under the circumstances.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Old Friend Gone

My old friend Don McRobb passed away a few days ago. Don was my Union rep partner back in Terrace, BC in the 70's and 80's. He was 74 and when I last talked to him in October he was very proud of the fact that he had finally quit smoking. "I may have waited too long though Croft as I am hauling an oxygen tank around with me. It's not slowing me down though". Don and I had our share of arguments but he was a good rep, always having the member's best interests at heart. Here is one of a thousand memories Don and I shared:

Don McRobb Story
The Chief Operator in Terrace was trying to fire an operator for "abusing her (late night company paid) taxi privileges" (an operator gets a taxi ride home if her shift ends after 11:30 PM). They had two charges, 1) She had once taken her company paid taxi ride home at 1 AM when she got off work and had asked the driver to stop at a 24 hour convenience store on the way so she could grab milk and cereal for her son's breakfast. While she ran in and out the taxi meter clicked over an additional $1.15. Some bean counter in Burnaby caught the higher than normal charge and decided to make a big deal out of it. 2) Another time she got off work at midnight and instead of taking a cab directly home she walked across the street to a nightclub where her friends were having a bridal shower party where she stayed for an hour or so before taking her cab ride home. The nightclub was literally across the street, maybe 30 feet from BC Tel's door but the taxi invoice said the bar and the Burnaby bean counters caught it. "She is entitled to a cab ride home from WORK, not from a BAR" said the Chief Operator. They fired her.
This was the first serious grievance we had in Traffic since the Plant (craft/trades), Clerical and Traffic (operators) amalgamation into one Union Local and the Chief Operator never knew what hit her. We had the right to take up to four Union reps into a second level meeting and the company had to match our numbers so the more chicken shit the company's action was, the more we took in so we had four. This meant the Chief Operator had to ask three Plant supervisors to sit in the meeting with her. Their rolling of eyes was very noticeable when they heard why we were there. Us four Union reps had already decided it was going to be a "Take No Prisoners" meeting, ground rules were being set. The Chief Operator started off on the wrong foot by insisting she be addressed as Ms Whatever instead of by her first name. Don informed her that in this room we were all equal, being a boss gave her no extra rights and that we were all on a friendly, first name basis, "Got that?" "yes". "Don't forget it".
So here we were, eight people wasting an afternoon discussing a stupid $1.15. She went on and on explaining her interpretation of the rules the poor single mom had violated and I could see the Plant supervisors still rolling their eyes and knew the fruit was ripe for the picking. So I dropped the F-Bomb. "Why are you wasting everyone's f***ing time with this chicken shit grievance"? Two of the Plant supervisors nodded, one smiled and the Chief Operator burst into tears and ran out of the meeting.
The remaining seven of us just looked at each other and a few suppressed chuckles were heard (except from Don, he was outright laughing). One of the Plant supervisors said, "Let's get together again tomorrow, I will have a talk with her". Another said, "I will pay her the stupid $1.15 if I can get back to my job. We have wasted about $400 in wages just sitting here".
The next day we all met again and she had recovered her composure, someone had talked to her. "I have decided to give her one more chance and am prepared to offer her job back". "No", Don said, "you will not offer her job back because she never lost her job. You will make her whole by paying her for all the time she has lost, restore her seniority, her pension credits, her wage service credits and you will erase this whole sorry affair from her file. This never happened. And you will apologize to her. Got it?" Silence. She was beat and she knew it. "OK, but I want an apology from Croft for what he said to me". I told her that I would but only after she apologized to the woman. She agreed. Don and I were there the next day when our member came back to work and the Chief Operator made an un-heartfelt, weasel worded apology and then turned to me. I said to her, "And I apologize for asking you why you are wasting our f***ing time with this chicken shit grievance". She was gasping for air as Don and I walked away. I think that was the last grievance we had with her. She was no longer used to getting her way and she never wanted to see the four of us again.
RIP Don! We got your back!

Saturday, February 4, 2017

It's Been Awhile

Sorry, I have not been diligent with the Blog. We have been in relax mode in Hope, AZ and not doing much of anything. Our neighbors Bill and Dee's daughter was  close to having a baby so Dee flew back home to help out. Good timing as the baby decided to make an early entrance and was born six hours after Dee's plane landed.

Bill decided to go on one of the organized ATV trail rides from the park and invited me along. It was a lot of fun traveling around the desert on old mining roads and ATV trails. We were gone about six hours and I was sunburned and spitting dust when we got back but we had a ball. Lots of interesting people and the leader had all of the route mapped out on his GPS so he knew exactly where he was going and more important, how to find his way back through the labyrinth of intersecting roads and trails.

Yesterday we moved on to Mesa Village, our old standby RV park in Mesa, AZ where we are settled down now. It is so much warmer here with temperatures pushing up into the high 70's and low 80's. The StarChoice / Shaw Direct setup was almost a record for us, taking all of five seconds after I set the skew and elevation.

When we arrived Norma complained of smelling propane outside the door, a warning which I tried to ignore thinking it was her imagination because I could not smell anything. After five or six pesterings from her I went out and had a good sniff and she was right, there was a leak. She narrowed it down to the furnace so we tested it by trying to start the furnace but all ot did was blow, click and make a "whump" as it tried to light and then turned off immediately. Something wrong! I turned off the propane and Norma called a local mobile RV repair that was highly rated. We are waiting for a call back but it will probably be Monday before he comes out. The only thing we need the propane for is hot water but we can heat water on the induction stove until it is fixed. They charge $65 for the visit and then $90 per hour so I may as well get him to fix the ceiling exhaust fan while he is here. I think the plunger switch is shot so it should be a simple fix.

Our friend Paula came over for coffee this morning and ended up staying for breakfast which for her is a cup of coffee and toast. Like I have said, she is easy to entertain!

Well, we were up very early (6 AM) for some reason and it is noon now. I feel a nap coming on.

The Ride:

Thursday, January 26, 2017

An Adjustment, A Conference... And A Lineup

We headed of for Los Algodones, Mexico at 8:00 AM precisely for my 11:00 AM appointment. We made it to the office at 10:30 with a little time to spare. I was not happy with my partial plates and hoped they could adjust them to fit better. Well, the denturist looked at them, the dentist looked at them and they both decided they fit as well as they could ever be expected to. They sent them out for some grinding down and shaping and when they returned they did not feel any better. I simply hate the f*&%#g things and will not be happy with them. Period.

The main job of the upper and lower partial is to fill in a two tooth on each side space at the back of my mouth where I have not had teeth for many years. I am quite used to this empty space and have learned to chew just fine without those teeth. In my mind they are not necessary and are certainly not worth the trouble of carrying two partial plates around in my mouth thank you very much.

The other job the upper one does is to fill the gap where my right eye tooth used to be before it broke off at the gumline and was extracted. They could not include this tooth in the bridge they built because it would have made the bridge to long (large) so they put it on the partial. The solution is a single implant which cannot be considered until the extraction has had at least 3 - 4 months to heal.If at that time I still want it, I need an MRI of the area for $150 to make sure the jaw structure is strong enough for it. If it is they will do the implant for $900. Then I wait for six months for all this to heal and then get the implant crown for $400. Then I am done. Like they told me, I have to wait for the implant and maybe I will get used to the partials. Don't hold your breath!

By now ir was about 1:30 PM and the lineup to get back to the US was about two blocks long! The border guys are trying to impress their new boss and are making it difficult to cross the border! It took us two hours to get to the front and I then fully expected the agent to say, "Aren't you the guy who called Trump an asshole on Facebook?" I am not sure how I would have answered that and thankfully he did not ask it. He simply asked what I was bringing across and grinned when I pointed to my teeth and waved us through. Phew! Made it again!

Monday, January 23, 2017

A Visit From Wandering Mike!

We got an email last week from our American lawyer friend Mike who used to Blog as "Wandering Mike". He would be driving by and would we be available for a visit? Well, of course we would! We always enjoy a visit from Mike and since he suffered some recent health issues, we were very anxious to catch up with him and get the latest reports.

Sure enough a couple of days ago we got an email saying he was registered in a nearby hotel and would be over to see us. We had a great visit with Mike, eventually inviting our neighbors Bill and Dee over for a drink and to meet him. Conversation turned a little "left" among a group of people of similar political opinions. Later on, Norma, Mike and I headed down the road to a local steakhouse for dinner. It was a great time and it was very dark and raining when we got home.

Mike dropped in for coffee the next morning before heading off towards Riverside, California where he has an appointment this week. It is always nice to see Mike who actually made his way up to our house in Canada last summer. For those who know him, he is doing well and is dealing with the effects of his rheumatoid arthritis.  He is managing it with a herbal salve and diet but has his bad days which is why he gave himself so much time to drive from Alpine, Texas to Riverside. We were very happy to keep him occupied for one of his travel days!