Week seventeen @ BTA

Sunday March 13th, 2022

Sunday morning at around three o’clock and for some reason I was wide awake, I just had the feeling that something was a miss. I just felt that I needed to check the coach, and while I found nothing, i did felt better just for checking, I decided to check that the blog had published and it had not, so maybe that was what was wrong, I don’t know for sure, but all is well now only a couple of hours late publishing. A couple of kitty treats later and Mr. Sam is curled up on my lap, I’m going to go back to bed but I always seem to do well with the Wordle when Mr. Sam is on my lap and on my first guess I hit 4 out of 5 letters on a brand new starter word, and completed today’s Wordle on the second guess, I just can’t explain that, but I’ll take another second guess.

This is our third eight our day, and we will see how it is, the weather forecast for today is a high of only 54°F (11°C), with nothing but sunshine, so it’s hard to know how it will effect the attendance today, we always hope to be busy, as it makes the day pass quicker, but what ever happens will be ok, it’s nearing 4:30 and I’m going to roust Mr. Sam from my lap, as it’s time to get back to bed.

My second attempt at Sunday morning started just before seven o’clock, Mr. Sam was in the big bed beside me, and I could smell coffee. Apparently Mr. Sam had worked Miss Laurie for additional treats, before heading to bed, oh well the kitty outsmarted us this morning, a bowl of cereal, a cup of coffee with a little splash of Irish Cream, and a vitamin and we are out the door headed for the admissions booth.

We are hoping for a busy day, as being busy just makes the days go so much faster, but we have no control on that, so we prepare to take what the day gives us. Our working environment is great and the view from our admissions booth is unbeatable, so on the slow day we just lean back and enjoy our surroundings.

This Mornings View!

Well today was as we had feared, not busy at all, so the day seemed to drag, we are into the spring break time, so our expectation was it would be busier, especially with baseball spring training being cancelled, which draws a lot of baseball fans to the desert, and they will be looking for things to do.

This major league baseball “lockout” is causing huge financial hardship on many business’s that rely on the spring training crowds to in some cases make their year, whether a restaurant near the fields, or the souvenir shops near by. And in all honesty this is just a bunch of billionaires arguing with millionaires, over how to take and distribute the money from the leagues fans. If the fans quit supporting the league the arguing would be over in a heartbeat, I’m thinking it may be time for a wake up call to the owners as they can not survive on television money alone.

I cashed out my money tray at 3:15 today, there was no need for both Laurie and I to be there for a few stragglers, so I was able to catch the end of the Bayhill Invitational PGA golf tournament. This is an important stop on the PGA as this was Arnold Palmers golf tournament and Arnold was one of the greatest golfers for his era. I was lucky enough to attend this tournament a few years ago with Bob Bannon, we were both wintering in the same resort in Florida that winter, it was an experience that will remain highlight of that winter.

Laurie finished our shift and made it back to the coach shortly after four o’clock, and after a little quiet time we barbequed burgers for dinner, burgers are quick and easy, and we have used the Costco sirloin burgers for years, they cook well with little shrinkage, and the flavour is very good as well.

We caught up on the horror inflicted on Ukraine by a child murdering dictator from Russia, this is a ruthless action by a scared little leader that is personally destroying his own countries economy as more and more sanctions are loaded on … conclusion: Putin is a child murdering piece of human waste.

To complete the evening we watched 60 minuets on CBS then switched to ABC to watch American Idol, before turning in for a well deserved rest.

Monday morning and Mr. Sam has decided to get me up to expedite his treats, it is 5:30 so I relented and got this poor starving kitty his morning treats.

Somehow during the upgrade of our blog site I lost all of Mondays data, so I will try to recreate as best as I can, as I have explained before my method of creating the weekly blog is to add short notes filled with details everyday as they happen and then I return to transfer the notes in to paragraphs.

Monday is the start to our four day weekend, and is normally the day to catch up on laundry, and a day to kick back and relax, and today was pretty much the same, I’m pretty sure we had fried eggs for breakfast and we did go for a great walk in the arboretum latter in the morning and here are some of the photos that I took on our outing.

The golden flower in the photo above is the desert poppy, these flowers make up what is referred to the desert bloom. And based on how much winter rain falls in the desert can turn the hillsides of the desert into a golden hue, causing huge traffic congestion on desert access roads as crowds appear to photograph the beauty. We have had limited rain since New Years eve so no one knows for sure how this years bloom will be.

Most of the afternoon was spent on the patio, Mr. Sam in his tent watching geckos, Miss Laurie trying for new hummingbird photos, and me working on the blogsite upgrade. There were some selfish reasons for the upgrade, because of the way I create the blog I use three different platforms to add content, my iPhone, my iPad as well as my laptop, and I was looking for a format that more compatible across of the platforms, the previous format did not work as well on the iPhone or iPad as it did on my laptop, this one seems to be compatible on all platforms.

Dinner was some smoked sausage from the “Pork Shop” these ones were green chilis and cheese, and was served with rice and brussel sprouts. We finished the evening with some YouTube videos, before picking a couple of really bad movies to watch on Paramount+ before bed at ten o’clock.

Tuesday morning and as I’m laying in bed making the decision whether to get up I hear Mr. Sam puking, it’s dark and he sounded really close to my side of the bed, and I know that I don’t want step in a warm cat puke. But it is early, and I can’t turn on the bedroom lamp because Laurie is still sleeping, so past experience tells me that if a pet is going to make a mess it’s always in the middle of everything, the room, the hall, the doorway. So my early morning theory was to avoid the middle’s of everything, and it worked, no cat puke between my toes, so I have decided it’s going to be a great day.

Treats for Mr. Sam, lap time with Mr. Sam for me, it took three guesses for today’s Wordle, I was hoping for a first guess, but it’s still a good day. Miss Laurie got up a few moments later and started the coffee perk, and we caught up on some news, and I just realized that I have lost most of Sundays and all of Mondays blog information, I don’t know how or why, buts it’s just gone. Ok so maybe I was over hoping what the day could be, and maybe today is just going to be Ok.

Miss Laurie is going weeding with Mary today at ten o’clock, and I was hoping to get on the coach roof today, but it is too windy for that today, but I will find something to fix on the coach today, in the meantime a cheese omelet for breakfast, and I’m trying to piece yesterday back together for the blog.

Laurie has just left to fulfill her need to weed, it is too windy to do roof items today so I’m going to tackle a near five year old issue with the coach door. I can remember as if it was yesterday when I was taking delivery of the coach almost five years ago that the fellow that was doing the walk through pointed out an ongoing issue with the door brace, and he said they were difficult to fix. Well today is the day to fix the brace, the purpose of the brace is to hold the door open, so that the wind will not let it swing open too far, and to close the door it has to be released using the door handle.

The one of the door brace is attached securely to the top of the door itself, and there is a mounting plate on the other end that was held in place by five sheet metal screws, but over the years they had loosened and the attaching holes had worn larger. So some wood screws had been used to go into the wood support that sits over top of the metal door frame, and that worked for a while but I couldn’t keep the tight enough, so with the door open and a little wind it would keep working the screws loose. So todays repair will be to remove all five screws, and replace them with #6 stainless steel pan head machine screws with nylock nuts, there is very limited space to work in but, I was able to replace all five, and I believe that will bring this ongoing issue to a conclusion.

Cheese and crackers for lunch, and I decided to get some time in the afternoon sunshine, it was a good day to be gazing off into the sky as I seen a Peregrine Falcon circling overhead what a beautiful site but way beyond iPhone camera range. As I was kicked back Lincoln stopped by to ask for a ride to pick up his vehicle from the body shop, he had been without a vehicle since an accident on New Years Eve.

Of course I agreed to help him out so we headed to Phoenix to drop him off at his vehicle, traffic was not too bad but it was around a three hour round trip, so I didn’t get back till 5:30 but luckily someone had the gate open so I was able to sneak through.

Miss Laurie made fajitas for dinner, and after the world news we caught up on some older issues of “All about Us” a series on NBC that we are now able to stream, so three episodes later we are headed to bed, with the electric heater on.

Wednesday and it is a six o’clock rise today, and I was greeted at the foot of the bed by Mr. Sam, and as with most mornings we complete our morning ritual, and I scored today’s Wordle on the second guess, it is a crisp but clear morning as dawn breaks over the mountain range. Miss Laurie has just started the coffee and by 6:30 the kitty is on his way to the big bed, and we are catching up on some local news, today we are going for supplies, and a propane refill, and I’m going to finish the upgrade on Ray & Karen’s trailer.

After a breakfast of biscuits and jam, I decided to take a little walk through the arboretum, there were lots of birds, as well as some new blooms and there was one of the rarest sights of all, work actually being done on the “Benson bridge” that has been closed for more than a month now.

The blossoms on the Joshua tree are huge, and almost every branch has a flower now. And now we have some red “Danger” tape at the end of the Benson bridge that was certainly confusing the poor hummingbirds, but alas the elusive worker was nowhere to be seen.

I walked up to the visitor centre to pick up our new Clam that was delivered by FedEx this morning, and now I realize that the Clam ordering process was part of the Monday blog information that was lost. I have been looking at purchasing a new Clam all winter, to replace our original Clam that we had purchased in Arizona way back in March of 2018. Our friends had one that we got to enjoy in Quartzsite back in January, it was neat because set up is very quick, and it comes in a storage bag that is easy to handle. We had used it steadily for the last four years, but our original was starting to show its age, so we disposed of it last fall before leaving Ontario. Our new Clam has a number of features that the old one did not, like built in weather panels, I also purchased a rain fly to protect the roof and also a floor panel to hopefully make it escape proof for Mr. Sam. This will also make it enclosed enough that it could be used as a camping tent for visitors with the addition of some camping cots, but mainly to keep us dry and insect free in British Columbia this summer.

Our original Clam beside the coach at LHR

Today the only work required to complete the wiring upgrade on Ray & Karen’s trailer is cutting new battery cables then crimping the lugs onto the cables and then connecting the two other batteries to the already upgraded balance of the system, quick and easy when you have all the required tools to complete the task.

We are heading to the Savino’s after lunch today, Miss Laurie will drop me off to complete my task, while she heads to Mesa to pick-up this weeks grocery supplies. Then Karen prepared dinner for us, poached salmon, garlic potatoes, and a kale salad with some white wine, another great day, with an amazing couple.

We got back to the coach just before dark, Miss Laurie put away the groceries, before watching a couple more episodes of “This is us”, before turning in, another chilly evening, so the heater was on again.

Thursday and at a few minutes to six, I decided it was time to get up, much to Mr. Sam delight, it was a chilly night again, and yes another electric heater night. Laurie got up soon after, as it’s quite light out by about six thirty in the morning now.

A cup of coffee with a splash of Irish Cream, followed by some depressing news about Putin’s war, and I was ready to get out for a walk in the arboretum. I kind of got off trail a bit this morning, and walked up behind the picket post house, it was before the arboretum opened so I felt there was no harm, but know I’m going to have to go back for a better look.

After some fried eggs with toast, Miss Laurie headed off to do more weeding and I headed up onto the coach roof, todays project was the installation of the “softstarts” on the roof air conditioners, and the skylight over the shower, needs to be replaced.

Well it was a little windy on the coach so I only got one air conditioner done this morning, didn’t want to have an air conditioner cover get destroyed blowing off the roof. So we can now run an air conditioner unit with our battery bank, as the “SoftStart” reduces the start up load allowing it to start on our inverter.

So I moved onto the skylight, this has been a problem spot for some time. So today I start removing multiple layers of sealants and Dicor to remove the old skylight. The old skylight was cracked in a number of spots, which explained the water leak, but the skylight I had purchased is not going to work for a number of reasons. But the main reason is that the original skylight was a inner and outer skylight built into one, as opposed to a single outer dome.

Barbecued chicken breast with a salad for dinner, catch up on the news before catching a couple of episodes of “This is us” (we are actually on the current season now) before heading to bed.

Friday I woke to the smell of perking coffee and Mr. Sam sitting beside my head, he was looking for his morning treats, it’s just six o’clock but it will be a crazy day because today will be the first day of the “plant sale”, so members get 20% of the plants.

A bowl of cereal, with that cup of fresh perked coffee, maybe even a little Irish Cream (we’re saving the milk for the cereal) and we are off to the admissions booth. My, my, my there was a lot of volunteers here this morning and by eight o’clock we knew why, cars, people, and carts full of plants.

So what is the worst thing that could go wrong on your busiest day of the year? The credit card machine in the store went down, on one of the biggest sale day of the year, not the day for an IT failure, but at least our terminal was up, and it was a busy day in admissions as well with over a thousand visitors today. But the crowd has changed, yes quite a change from our regular visitors to spring break visitors, impatient, short, demanding, quite a change in a week, but spring break is only a month or so.

Leftover fajitas for dinner, tonight before an update on what that “Wack-Job” child killer Putin, did today, before watching some regular television, then bed.

Saturday and I’m woken by a black kitty licking my nose, shocking to say the least, Mr. Sam was hoping I would get up for his morning treats. And if it wasn’t four o’clock it might have worked, he gave up a few moments later but now I was awake, and after an hour of tossing and turning, I gave up and got up, much to Mr. Sam’s delight. So I decided to knock off today’s Wordle and work on the blog.

Cereal, a vitamin, and cup of blessed coffee, and we are ready to take on day two of the plant sale, it could be even crazier than yesterday because it is the weekend, I’ll let you know how it works out.

So I mentioned yesterday that some of the visitors were, shall we say, not nice at all, and it continued today. Usually most visitors are aprishative of the beauty of the arboretum, and in awe of the ninety eight history of the foundation, but again today, the visitors were uncaring and in many cases just plain rude. We had just a few visitors less than a thousand today, it seemed smoother that yesterday, and only two more weeks of plant sale, there won’t be many plants left by then.

We stopped for a couple of cocktails at the Anderson coach, after our shift, we needed a little time after the last couple of days. The Andersons are leaving for a week of vacation time tomorrow, so it just seem right to enjoy a cold beverage before their departure.

Burgers on the barbecue for dinner, and just a couple of some “Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives” before turning in, it has been a productive week, and the push is on to get everything ready to leave in just fifty days from today.

Update: Ray had worked at discharging his battery bank this week, and had managed to get them down to the 50% range, before starting the recharging process. Batteries were discharged 160 amp/hours, and with the charger being turned on it was charging at 76 amps, and Ray reported that the bank was fully recharged in 2.25 hours. Making the time and dollars to upgrade the wiring a total success, and will allow the Savino’s the ability to boondock this summer with much less generator run time.

Early tomorrow morning many of you are preparing to turn your clocks ahead for the start of daylight saving time, but not for us here in Arizona, one of the few spots that do not change their clock twice a year, so today we are in Mountain Standard Time but tomorrow we will wake to be in Pacific Daylight Saving Time. We will be an hour later that Ontario but the same time now as British Columbia, so no clock adjustments on our journey north in May.

In closing this weeks blog, I’m sure you have noticed our updated look, I thought it was time to try a new format, a little larger typeface, and with the dark back ground I find easy on the eyes, is it better, please let me know what you think.

It also seemed as I reviewed the last blog was maybe too technical for some readers, and while I want to relay as much detail as possible for some other readers, I also understand that some just don’t care about so many details. So to help with both I’m going to try to highlight the more technical details in a different type colour to be avoided.

God bless and care for the people of Ukraine

Blog 408

Day 1622

5 thoughts on “Week seventeen @ BTA

  1. Like the bigger font- easier to read. Dark background is ok – just have to get used to it! Staying in touch with both of you . Stay well & carry on – your pictures are amazing!!

    Like

  2. Seems by your comments on the Ukraine Russia war that your just another westerner with an uninformed media driven opinion. I think you’ve been in the US a little to long. If you want the truth give me a call sometime. We have direct knowledge from both countries from family and friends in both countries. Hope all is well …..Bob

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  3. You certainly are keeping busy.
    I do like the new format – look forward to seeing what you will do next.
    Great pictures once again.

    Liked by 1 person

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