Monday, April 16, 2018

Changed Title of Blog

I changed the title of the Blog by removing the term "Mexico". It has been three years since we have been down there so it seemed appropriate to do this. It makes no difference to readers, the Internet address remains the same, only the title you see when you get here has changed.

Like Trump is so fond of saying, "We'll see how it goes".

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Made Norma's Day!

Made Norma's Day!
Norma was at the local Husky / Mohawk station yesterday paying at the till when another customer came in to pay. The gentleman, about her age (mid 70's), looked at her and asked, "Would you go out for dinner with me tonight?" She said, "No, but thank you SO much for asking!" The clerk told her he was a regular customer and had recently moved here from Newfoundland.
She is quite pleased with herself! "Well, I still must look pretty good"!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Making Plans

We are going a little stir crazy here. The weather has been cold and wet for months and we are hardly ever out of the house. Our friends Ken and Kris have booked space in the Cluxewe Resort and RV Park on north Vancouver Island near Port McNeil for later on in the summer and we have decided to join them. We called and booked a waterfront site for a week starting July 2.

During my work life I have spent a lot of time on north Vancouver Island and actually lived in Pt. McNeil's Dalewood Inn for several months back in the early 70's. It will be fun to go back to see it!


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

CPAP Sleep Apnea Test

For some reason my doctor became concerned I might have sleep apnea. I must have answered a question like, "Are you feeling tired lately". wrong. I said, no I didn't have it but he said sometimes you can have it and not know. He thinks sleep apnea is associated with the A Fib they are going to shock me out of in a few days. Anyway, he ordered a test and yesterday the equipment arrived by courier from the sleep centre in Courtenay.

I know I don't have it and Norma says the same thing. She worked with a guy who did and I display none of the same symptoms. I sleep well, don't or seldom snore, don't wake up in the night gasping for air and wake up refreshed. So I don't have it, I used the equipment anyway.

Well, it probably made it look like I have it! I hardly slept, waking up several times in the night and woke up for the day at about 6:00!

The test consists of a controller that straps to your chest, two tubed that go up your nose and a rubber device that goes on a finger to register blood oxygen content.

It is uncomfortable and has lights that blink all night. The thing on your nose has to be taped to your cheeks and the finger device is tight. It took ne at least an hour to get to sleep and Norma says I was tossing and turning all night as I tried to turn on my side but the wires and hoses would not let me.

I finally took it off at about seven, called the courier this morning and it is on it's way back. They will analyse the recordings and notify my doctor. We have decided no matter what they report, I am going to insist I do not have sleep apnea. Because I don't.

Imagine trying to do a "normal" night's sleep with this!


Monday, April 9, 2018

Still Cold And Wet!

It is still winter here on Vancouver Island. It has rained almost every day with no sign of letting up soon.  The drainage on the bank behind us held up well over the winter although we have been told this is one of the mildest winters we have had in the past few years. It was almost warm enough to have morning coffee on the new porch the other day so we are hoping things will soon improve.

We got a notice in the mail telling us that the shoreline in front of our property would be worked on over the next few years to prepare for rising sea levels. Our house will be OK but it is the seawall and road we are concerned about. Right now in a big storm accompanied with a high tide and south east winds, waves and driftwood can wash onto and even across  the highway to the foot of our driveway. I am very curious to see what work they will be doing. Do they intend to raise the highway?

We lost our lawn mowers, they have moved on to other endeavors. We called around to a few places and found one we are going to give a try. They say they cut 400 lawns a month and I neglected to ask how many crews they had. The cost will be a little higher than last year but I guess that is to be expected. The previous guys wanted to be paid in cash every time they cut but the new outfit will email us an invoice every month with a link to pay them with a credit card.

Our taxes are done for the year, thanks to Turbo Tax. Our total is just over $7,000, some of which has already been paid and I will delay paying until just before the due date at the end of the month. We may as well enjoy the .01% interest rate the bank pays us. LOL.This is probably more than Donald Trump pays.

Anyhow... that is it for the Randle household for now. We are alive and kicking and I hope all of you are as well. We are looking forward to some better weather and maybe hitting the road for some short trips in the motorhome. We strangely miss living in it.




Sunday, April 1, 2018

Motorhome Accessory Testing Day

Testing Day

Generator - works
Hot water tank - works
Fridge on gas and electric - works
Furnace - works
Air Conditioning - works
Extra 115 volt fridge above driver's seat - works

Now we wait for some good weather when I will pay the insurance and take it in for a lube and oil change. We are anxious to get out in it!

This is the first year in a long time that everything works right from the start. Usually there is some problem, usually with either the water heater, the fridge or the propane system, all expensive repairs. Last year was an exceptionally expensive year, costing us a total of $4,800 CAN over the winter of 2015 - 2016 plus another $850 for car dolly tires and repairs, This was more than double our average costs.

Friday, March 30, 2018

De-Winterizing

I just realized that the motorhome has not run except for short periods over the winter to keep everything lubricated, for 11 months! It cannot be good for it and I have 3/4 of a tank of almost one year old gas in the tank.

The waterlines and hot water tank were also full of RV antifreeze and yesterday I decided to clean it out and purge the system. I drained the water tank, refilling and draining it several more times. I then hooked up the water hose to the RV, opened the gray water valve to allow the water to drain out onto the ground and turned on all the taps inside. I let the water run until all foam and telltale antifreeze smell had been purged out of the system. I then gave the six gallon hot water tank an extra few minutes to be sure it was completely clean. Then I re-filled the fresh water tank, adding about two cups of bleach. When it was full I used the water pump to pump water from the tank through each hot and cold tap until I smelled bleach and let a couple more gallons run through each tap just to be sure. Done!

Today I will tackle the black (sewage) tank! In theory it should be empty but just to be sure I will put a bucket under it when I pull the valve! When I know it is empty I will leave the valve open and use a hose from up above in the toilet to rince out the tank. Once it is spotless I will close the valve and put in a couple of gallons of bleachy water. Where does the dirty water from the tank go? Into the driveway gravel and maybe into the grass and hedge beside the parking area where it will join the deer and raccoon poop. It will do no harm.

Our intention is to put road insurance on the motorhome when the weather gets warmer and use it a little on the Island this summer.

Image result for rv sewer dumping

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

So Here Is The Deal

I am currently dealing with some atrial fibrillation or A Fib, a minor electrical problem with the heart that results in an irregular heartbeat. They are going to treat it with an electrical shock in about a month that will get it back in rhythm. My 17 year old, five foot, Iranian Cardiologist says it is not a big deal, no one has ever died from AFib and he sees it all the time. He has me on blood thinner to reduce the increased possibility of strokes so I have to watch bleeding. I guess that means extreme sports are off the agenda. Just another of the pleasures of growing older.

I had no complaints and had not really noticed the problem but when I was at the doctor's to discuss my latest lab tests (all OK) he noticed something in my colour and sent me for an ECG. The results clearly showed a strong but irregular heartbeat and the telltale "fluttering" in the upper chambers indicating A-Fib. He referred me to a specialist who examined me, did his own ECG, explained the shock treatment and was delighted to hear that I do not eat meat.

I am not overly concerned about this as the doctor is pretty confident he can shock things back into shape (he has done it many times) and either way he says my life expectancy is exactly the same with A Fib as it would be without it. The only downside I can tell is an occasional "vibration" in my chest after exertion. A little scary now that I know what it is but nothing to worry about.

A sign in the Cardiologist's office stated that the best diet for heart health is a Mediterranean Diet. This works well for me as I love that kind of food. I downloaded some recipes and mad a pot of Greek Lentil Soup yesterday. It is delicious! Norma even liked it even though she hates garlic (I only used half the amount called for). The local deli makes a great Greek Salad probably for less than I could make it for. Tonight I will try a Greek fish dish.

I am actually looking forward to experimenting with this diet.

Image result for afib ecg

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Mexico Memories

I was commenting on a friend's Blog today and was reminded of this occasion in a Guadalajara restaurant a few years ago. I thought I would share the story.

It was in a Guadalajara restaurant where we encountered our best example of the Ugly American! A couple had just gotten their bill and the guy shouted out, “This is in Mexican! Give me a bill in Real Money”! The waiter was unable to help him and the jerk just got louder and the waiter more frustrated and embarrassed. I tried to help by asking the jerk what the problem was and he indicated he wanted to pay with “real money”. I told him to just give them a credit card and the banks would work it out. He said, “I’m not giving anyone my credit card, I want to pay with CASH”, showing me a wad of US cash. I asked what the bill was and he said “490 whatevers” (about $30-35 US at the time). I said, “Just leave $50 US plus tip and that will be close enough”. He said, “Thanks, why couldn’t they have told me that? I don’t suppose they would have any change?” I said no, they wouldn’t have change so he slapped three US twenties down on the table and they stormed out muttering something about that expensive restaurants should have someone who could speak English. On our way out the manager thanked us and asked if we would buy the three twenties from him as it was difficult for him to deal with. We checked on the Internet and gave him fair value in pesos. The peso was much higher then but it was still one killer propina (tip)! The waiters followed us out to high five us. I love Mexico!

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

I Thought I was Going To Jail

Or, "For Gawds Sake, It's Only Forty Cents"!

Back in the 80's Norma and I were very involved in politics and there was a Federal Election going on in Canada. Norma worked for Jim Fulton, the Member of Parliament for Skeena Riding in Northern BC and served as his very capable Campaign Manager during elections (ie: he never lost). My union had sprung me from the job and was paying my wages to work full time on the campaign as Jim and the entire New Democratic Party was and is very worker friendly.

I either volunteered or was seconded into acting as the candidates Official Agent, the person who is the legal representative of the candidate and is responsible for the proper recording of the finances of the campaign, a position that carries a great deal of responsibility.

As the campaign wore on, our days grew longer and by the end Norma and I were working twelve to fifteen hours a day (I was only being paid for 7 1/2 so the balance was my contribution to the Good Fight).

Back then we were doing the books the old fashioned way, double entry bookkeeping on balance sheets. All was going well until after the first month I balanced the books and discovered I was out forty cents! OMG! How could this have happened? I went back and compared all my entries with the invoices and receipts and the error would not go away. I don't know how many times it had been stressed that the books HAD to balance when I turned them in and I could not find the error! This amount was over a total cash flow of probably  $25,000 so not that big a percentage of the total. Still, my books did not balance and I was sick about it. To me, being out a penny was the same as being out a thousand dollars. I HAD to find that damn $.40!

Then one day we had a visitor to the campaign office, a local accountant who came in to drop off a donation for Jim. As I was writing out his receipt he asked how I was doing with the books (knowing I was an electronics guy, not an accountant). I spilled the beans to him, telling him I could not balance the books and that Jim would probably lose his seat and I would probably go to jail. To say I had put 100 hours into looking for the error is probably an exaggeration but I am pretty sure I put twenty hours into it, time I could well have spent on something more productive for the campaign.

He pulled a chair around to my side and had a quick look while I tried to explain. He waved me into silence, took a pencil, erased a random entry of $xxx.44, wrote down $xxx.84 and changed the total at the bottom of the column. "There, all fixed. This is why accountants use pencils" he said. Twenty seconds. Done.

"How is that going to work?", I asked. "These books have to pass two audits, the Party and Elections Canada! Someone will find an invoice that does not match the entry! I will be caught!" By now I was in a panic. Losing forty cents is one thing, hiding the fact is another!

He said, "Relax, they are looking for international money laundering, illegal contributions and thefts and misappropriations in the order of thousands of dollars, they could care less about a forty cent entry error, you are not going to jail!"

And he was right. I sat on the edge of my chair until the results of the audits were posted and campaign expenses were published and I did not get a late night knock on the door by the RCMP. Jim won the election and once again took his seat in Parliament. The world was once again as it should be.

Jim and his overworked Campaign Manager in or around 1983