Sunday, April 25, 2021 – First Ride Post Surgery!

Hi Darlin’,
FINALLY took a ride today! Jeff had asked me last night if we could go today, and considering we haven’t ridden together once since I’ve been here, and it’s (hopefully) my last day here before I take off tomorrow, I said yes, as long as it could be fairly early, since the forecast was for temps to be 90 degrees today. I started to get ready around 10:00, Jeff came out around 10:30, and we were almost ready to go when he got a call from his friend Jeff, and asked him if he’s like to come along, so I had another horse to get ready, so it was nearly noon by the time we actually got underway. Fortunately, though, there was enough of a breeze that once we got into the shade, it really wasn’t too bad, surprisingly. Most of the water stretches were dry except on, and we didn’t seen any gators at all, though we did see a lot of birds and a couple of deer, which is more rare. Of course, we stopped at the pagoda for a break, which both Jeffs needed, and frankly, my bum was a bit more sore because normally I put more weight in the stirrups, but didn’t want to stress out my knee so I had more weight in the saddle than usual. But it wasn’t bad, my knee felt okay by the time we got home. A nice ride, thankfully it was uneventful, no drama, just the way I like it. Hosed my two horses down and let them run free again, then I got in my bathing suit and took a swim to cool off myself, hung around the pool for a bit, then deflated my river raft to take with me, since I’ll need that this summer. Took a ride into Walmart to pick up a few things, plus I wanted to take another test drive. I seem to be having a problem with the brake pedal kicking back once it’s warmed up, and after doing some research, I believe it’s just that I didn’t completely bleed the power steering system after I changed the brake booster, so tomorrow morning I’m going to lift it and do the whole process, which could take some time to do it right, but I only have about 80 miles to go, so I’ll have time. I hope that’s all it is, but brakes is one thing I don’t want to take any chances with! We’ll see. I did several loads of laundry so I’ll have a fresh start next week, and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the forecast of where I’m going is right, and we’ll have 60’s at night and only low 80’s during the day, since I won’t have electric to run my AC. I can use the generator, of course, but I’m hoping I’ll only need it sparingly, and will be able to mostly charge my batteries with my solar panel. Looking forward to getting back on the road, but it will certainly take some time getting back into the swing of things again! Finally settled down for the evening, getting down to the last season of this great BBC series I’ve been watching, New Tricks. You would have loved this show, and I would certainly have been pestering you for the definitions of the slang the writers are very fond of, since it’s based in London. Anyway, the time has come for shower and bed, so off I go! Good night, babe! Love you!

Saturday, April 24, 2021 – A Bit of Preparation Today

Hi Babe,
Managed to accomplish getting a lot of little things done today, in preparation for my departure on Monday. Checked the power steering fluid and it was perfect, checked the air in the truck tires, the back four were fine, the front two just needed a couple of pounds, I repaired a couple of things with superglue, including the lid on the garbage can that Lola had unceremoniously shoved off the bench seat in the dining room the other day and broken. I tried to find another one at Walmart yesterday, but all they had were huge ones, so I just fixed it with superglue and duct-tape, that should hold for a little while, anyway. Did some housekeeping and laundry, made up some satin balls for Lola, did my PT exercises, and still managed to play a bunch of computer games and read in between. It’s what passes for a busy day these days, though it’s nothing compared to the way it used to be, when I didn’t have time for anything. Got a lot done, at a leisurely pace, kind of nice. Anyway, I’m further along in getting ready than I thought I’d be, and since I’m only traveling about 80 miles on Monday, it should be an easy trip as long as nothing goes wrong. Finally settled in for the evening, a few hours of telly, and now it’s time for shower and bed. Good night, my sweet! Love you!

Friday, April 23, 2021 – Another Wasted Day!

Hi Darlin’,
Such a beautiful day today, but I ended up spending almost all of it inside sitting in the same chat room that I’ve been trying to get help on for the last two days, and after SEVEN HOURS watching the queue go from 230 to 22, the dang thing cut out on me AGAIN!! I still don’t have an answer to my simple question, but I finally managed to find a place on their website where I can actually send them an email, though I highly doubt anyone will get back to me anytime soon. Meanwhile, I finally had to run out to do some shopping and drop off some mail, plus I needed to take a longer test drive on the truck just to make sure it’s running okay (well, stopping, actually), and it seemed to be working fine. I’ll check the power steering fluid again in the morning and see if everything looks okay. So another mostly wasted day. I did have one good bit of news, the manager and Loretta Lynn’s ranch has agreed to let me come in a week early and volunteer for whatever help he needs, and he seemed amenable to hearing my suggestions about how they can improve their ride, so there’s that! So now I have to finish planning my trip up there, can’t decide if I want to try some new places after St. Sebastian, or do some repeat visits. I’ve covered most of the places between here and Tennessee over the years, especially those that can handle a big rig like mine, so I’ll have to do some more research and make some decisions soon. Meanwhile, it seems like the season is just about over down here, I was in the Walmart at what should have been a very busy time, late on a Friday afternoon, and it wasn’t busy at all! Still poorly managed, things the website said they had they didn’t have, so it was a bit frustrating, but oh, well, I’ll get over it. Settled down for the evening, had a nice shower, now I’m off to bed shortly! Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Thursday, April 22, 2021 – Truck Repair DONE!

Hi Sweetie,
Well, after days of waiting around, I FINALLY got the parts to repair the truck, they arrived right around noon, so I quickly got busy taking everything apart and putting it together again. While it seemed like a straightforward job (famous last words!), and in fact it really was, but there was this ONE bolt, high up under the brake pedal that took me longer to take out and put back than the rest of the entire job put together! I swear, I had to ratchet that darn thing about 300 times, and that was after I tried every configuration of wrench adapter I had! I was beginning to think I’d rounded out the stupid thing, but I finally managed, about 1/32 of a turn at a time, or so it seemed. Anyway, I finished the job, then took it for a quick test drive up to the mailbox and back, stomping the brakes every so often, and it worked like a charm! No leaking, power steering fluid stayed up well, so I think that solves the problem. I’ll so a little shopping tomorrow, which will give it a little longer test drive on pavement and see how it goes, but I’m pretty confident. Frankly the scariest bit is this tiny little tin clip that connects the brake pedal to the entire braking system, I’ve checked it a dozen times to make sure it’s on right, it just seems like such a flimsy piece for such an important job! At one point during the repair, while I was inside the truck, thank goodness, a tree limb fell off above me and came crashing down, slamming the hood down and make several dents on the hood and along the windshield frame, not to mention making a horrendous noise in the process. If I had been under the hood when that came down, I’d probably have been knocked out cold! I took some pictures in case I decide to claim it on insurance, I’ll call tomorrow and see what that entails. Of course, I can’t do it now, but I might be able to manage to get it done the next time I have to fly out of town on business, maybe find a body shop near whatever airport I decide to fly out of. We’ll see. My hood definitely needs new paint anyway, the clear coat is peeling off and my little repair, though it keeps it from peeling more, doesn’t exactly look very good, if you look close. Anyway, after that job was done, I decided to reward myself and Lola by spending some time by the pool, and the weather was perfect for that, and Lola had a great time, too. I’ve been ignoring her for the last few days, she really needed the exercise. Then, of course, it was feeding time, James and I got that done in no time, and I was soon settling down for the evening. Jeff even noticed that I had combed out Gandalf the goat, which I finished off last night, thanked me, and said he looked like a million bucks now. He was so straggly looking before with his winter coat hanging off in patches, and I took pity on him considering how hot it has been, and he stood perfectly still for me both days. Good goat! Well, now it’s time for shower and bed, so good night, babe! Love you!

Wednesday, April 21, 2021 – Another Wasted Day

Hi Babe,
Another good night sleep, and another wasted day, even more so than yesterday. I decided to try to get a start on my taxes (the deadline was extended again), but I didn’t get too far when I figured out there was a wrong figure on a 1099G that I had, and I spend almost the entire afternoon standing by a chat box trying to get it straightened out, but just as my number was coming up, the network disconnected and I lost my place in line, and by then it was after hours, so I got nothing resolved after six hours of waiting. Grrr! I did manage to load a few things up into the attic with James’ help, but I literally did nothing but read and play computer games until after the horses were fed, then I finally switched to a few hours of TV, and now I’m headed off for shower and bed. I’m hoping my truck parts will come early enough tomorrow to be able to get them installed, and hoping that solves my problem. I guess I could still go out to Dupuis for the weekend, but the forecast is still calling for very hot temps, not sure I want to do that. At least at the horse camp I’m going to on Monday they’re calling for night temps in the mid-60’s, so that won’t be too bad. Just have to wait and see! Meanwhile, good night, my darling! Love you!

Tuesday, April 20, 2021 – A Wasted Day

Hi Darlin’,
Had a really good night sleep last night, obviously making up for the last couple of nights that haven’t gone so well. Got up late, did literally nothing all day except my PT, reading and finally watching a bit of TV this evening. I did spend some time combing out Gandolph the goat, his coat was looking really ragged and he wasn’t shedding very much, and it’s been so hot and humid I finally brought the shedding scraper out with me and took a lot of hair off. I’ll have to do it again once or twice to finish it off, but it looked a lot better, and I couldn’t believe how still he stood for me, he seemed grateful for the attention! Anyway, I just couldn’t get enough motivation going to do anything, I feel like I’m on hold and I hate that. If the parts come on Thursday early enough, and I can get the truck fixed, I was considering leaving on Friday, but it’s going to be so hot this weekend, I think I’m better of staying where there’s electricity until I start going north. Plus I think I need to drive the truck around a bit and make sure it’s fully functional before I head out. Grrr! I SO wanted to be in a horse camp today! The only good news today was that I didn’t seem to have any side effects from the vaccine, not even a sore arm, which is evidently common. Felt perfectly normal all day, just lazy. I did do several loads of laundry though, that was the extent of my exertion today. Now it’s time for shower, bed and book! Good night, sweetie! Love you!

Monday, April 19, 2021 – A Day of Highs and Lows

Hi Sweetie,
What a day! Despite taking a couple of antihistamines before I went to bed, I had a hard time falling asleep for hours. Finally woke up when the alarm went off, got my chores and breakfast done, then decided to leave early for my second covid vaccine, and it’s a darn good thing I did! As soon as I started moving in my truck, something felt off. The brake pedal was hypersensitive, then the brakes wouldn’t let off even when I took my foot off the pedal, and my power steering seemed to quit. I kept going, hoping it was just a fluke, but by the time I reached the entrance to the turnpike, it started to make a terrible noise and I had to shut it off. Fortunately there is an extra lane between the turnpike turn and the road, so I stopped right there. I called Jeff and thankfully he answered. He came out in his truck, and I took his truck and left him to wait for the wrecker I had already called ($150 for six miles! Crazy!), and just as I was parking the truck I got a text that my covid appointment was past, was I going to be there within the next ten minutes, if not they would cancel it! So I immediately texted yes and got in the door as fast as I could. The rest of the process went just as quickly as the first shot, so I was out of there in no time. After I got back to the house, I started some research on what might be wrong. The wrecker guy suggested the brake hydro-booster, which I knew nothing about, but it did seem to fit all the symptoms. Although, I had put in some power steering stop leak yesterday, and I was promptly told by several forum folks that that was a no-no, it probably screwed up the system. I tried draining the power steering fluid and flushing the system and refilling it, and that seems to help the power steering, but it still made an awful noise once it warmed up, and I’m pretty sure that it is, in fact, the hydro-booster. There’s one more diagnostic I have to do tomorrow to confirm it, but I’ve already ordered a new one (well, re-manufactured), plus a gasket, but it won’t get delivered until Thursday. I can get one locally, but I don’t trust the Buick and I don’t want to keep bugging Jeff, so I guess I’ll just wait for it. All my plans for leaving tomorrow are out the window, unfortunately. And, of course, it rained a lot today, so I got wet working on the truck, nice and dirty by the end of the day. Sigh… So other than me finishing off my covid vaccine, the rest of the day was kind of crappy, though the silver lining is that this happened before I hooked up the trailer and tried to pull it anywhere. So NO STOP LEAK! Why do they make the stuff if it’s bad for your system? Go figure. Anyway, I’ve had my shower and I’m off to bed, hopefully to get a better night sleep than last night, and a better day tomorrow! So far, no side effects from the second vaccine! Good night, babe! Love you!

Sunday, April 18, 2021 – Lazy, Itchy Hay Day

Hi Babe,
Last week when I was digging up chaney root, I evidently ran into some poison ivy or similar plant, now my arms are covered with rashes, and I have secondary rashes all over my throat as well. What a mess! And they all itch like crazy! Naturally I’m resisting the urge to scratch, but the last few days have been a constant effort to wash with coal tar soap, pat it all down with alcohol hand sanitizer, and cover it all with Gold Bond powder, which seems to work for a while, at least. I’ve even resorted to taking some allergy pills, but they tend to knock me out so I’ve cut back on those, taking two before bed, and sometimes one in the morning. There doesn’t seem to be too much I can do to hasten my recovery, I’m stuck for a week or two. Weird, because I usually don’t have a reaction to that kind of thing, so I don’t tend to look for it, but obviously I got into a whole mess of it somewhere. When I got back last night, Flash’s feed bag was on my lounge chair outside, the strap had been ripped all the way off one side and most the of way on the other side. I have no idea how that happened, I can only think that whoever fed him last night forgot to take the feed bag off and he wrestled with it for awhile until it was ripped off. I don’t know if it was James or Jeff, no one’s said anything to me, but it’s beyond repair, so I had to order another one, an unexpected cost to taking a day off and leaving the task to someone else. Oh, well, that’s the way things go. I ordered another one, but it won’t be here until Tuesday, so I can’t leave before that comes now. Anyway, I did make a run to the feed store for hay, then spent most of the day reading and putting a few things away, then Jeff’s boarder came to ride Flash for a bit, she’s been looking at Paso Finos and I offered to let her test drive Flash to compare it with some of the others she’s been riding. Of course, that delayed feeding again, and it was nearly mosquito hour by the time that was done. I certainly don’t need any more itchy spots on me! Settled in after that, now I’m heading to the shower for another round with my coal tar soap, then off the bed! Good night, darlin’! Love you!

Saturday, April 17, 2021 – Hanging out on Hutchinson Island

Hi Darlin’!
Had a good night sleep though I woke up early, probably because I went to bed early, took care of the critters, then headed out to brother Glenn’s condo on Hutchinson Island where I spent the afternoon with sister-in-law Dena, walking a mile on the beach, then hanging around that the pool most of the afternoon. Nice and relaxing! Then Glenn showed up and grilled some nice big hot dogs while I made my way through a bottle of wine, talking with some of his friends. A very relaxing day, which was lovely and much needed. James took care of the horses, and I got home just after sunset and settled down for the evening. A lovely day, very relaxing and very enjoyable! Of course, after settling down to a couple of episodes of New Tricks, it’s time for shower and bed, so that’s where I’m off to! Love you, sweetie! Good night!

Friday, April 16, 2021 – More Jobs Done

Hi Sweetie!
My focus lately has been to get ready to travel next week, and today I managed to finish off a long-awaited chore, to reseal the roof of the trailer. It was misty this morning, thus too damp, but the moment the sun broke through I was up on the roof, squeezing sealant all along the old sealant. It wasn’t long before the roof was really hot, so I had to do it mostly from a standing position. Got it done, though, glad of that! Afterward, I ran out to Walmart to do some shopping, then after a while I got my bathing suit on and headed out to the pool for a bit. Figured I better get what time I could in there, since I’ll be leaving next week, and I won’t likely have many swimming opportunities for awhile. Started a new kindle book (I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately) before finally coming back to the trailer, showering, then feeding the animals (the goats really gave James and me a hard time today!) before settling in for the night. But the time has come to head for bed, so good night, babe! Love you!