Week eighteen @ BTA

Sunday March 20th, 2022

Sunday morning and I slept in till 6:30, Mr. Sam was stretched out beside me on the bed. This is our Friday and it is looking like another beautiful morning here in Arizona, it is also day three of the plant sale, and the sale appears to be very successful. And I woke this morning to a hot coffee, a vitamin and a bowl of cereal, while watching most of Willie Geist on NBC, before heading off to our shift in the admissions booth.

As usual Miss Laurie helped out in the store, stocking shelves, moving and uncovering racks while I opened the admissions booth, certainly a slower day for admissions today, but it seemed steady enough to keep us occupied. I skipped out at three this afternoon, while Laurie worked till five helping the membership office run their credit cards through our machine, as there terminal is still a down.

I got back to coach in time to watch a little of the golf tournament from the Players Championship from the TPC Sawgrass golf course in Florida, apparently the weather has been a little rough in Florida with two days of heavy rain and the players appear to be dressed for winter while playing today. So the tournament will run into Monday as they have not even finished the third round yet today.

And just when you hoped that Covid was finally over, Tom Brady announces that after five weeks of retirement, he is making a comeback, I can’t imagine anyone who didn’t see that coming, oh boy something to look forward to this next NFL season … NOT.

Dinner was barbecued chicken, with a salad, while watching the news, then 60 minutes, and that’s when our YouTube streaming service decided to pack it in for the night, so we watched the most recent two episodes of the marvelous Mrs. Mazel on prime video, before turning in for the night.

Monday morning at 5:15 and nature called, Mr. Sam was good with early treats, and I decided to stay up, and knock off today’s Wordle, then enjoy some lap time with the kitty. Miss Laurie got up around six, and I decided to head to the arboretum for an early morning walk.

The view as I headed for the Arboretum

As you can see it was daybreak, as I was headed to the arboretum, at 6:30, but it was cool only 42°F (5°C) when I started. The walk was filled with all types of bird song, I must have seen a dozen cottontail bunnies, and the cardinals were everywhere this morning.

I recently downloaded the app “Merlin” to help with identifying birds, it works with photos as well as sound to identify the different birds.

The arboretum is known for hosting a huge variety of birds through the year with this area being a regular stop along the migration route, so many different spring and fall visitors.

This screenshot is from my walk this morning, time stamped at 7:47 am, of all the bird songs that the app picked up in just 95 seconds of recording, in fact as I’m sitting here in the coach writing this blog I’m watching a beautiful male cardinal in the tree directly in front of our coach.

The gallery below are a few of this mornings photos, during my arboretum walk, I love what the morning light does to the views, but it can change in just a few seconds.

I made it back to the coach by eight o’clock, Miss Laurie made a grilled pepper omelet for breakfast, a vitamin, and of course a blessed cup of fresh perked coffee, while I sat and caught up on this weeks blog, it’s now ten o’clock and I’m going to walk to the visitor center. to check on some Amazon packages for some ongoing projects.

As I walked to the visitor center I had to walk by the garden that Miss Laurie had been working on last week, it is referred to as the “Blue Star Memorial Garden” and It is looking pretty good, don’t you think, it is being photographed for a publication, and needed some tender loving care.

Today was just a day of rest, so we spent most of the day kicked back in the antigravity chairs on our patio, it wasn’t a quiet day on the patio as migration season has brought with it a lot of new hummingbirds to the area, many different species, and they just don’t play well together. And Miss Laurie was trying to get photos of all the different species of hummers today

Its 4:30 Monday afternoon, but my laptop thinks it is 5:30, some how it keeps getting confused on where it is located, so I have to take a few moments to let it reprogram itself, it often seems to think it is Sacramento California, and I have not been able to figure out why, we are operating on cellular internet but I know the tower is not all the way in California, but I just ask it to check it’s location and we seem to be all fixed again.

We closed out our first day off with Miss Laurie making pizza in the Ninja along with a little red wine, then some time to catch up on world news then settled back to watch YouTube videos, before heading to bed.

Tuesday morning and by six o’clock dawn is breaking, and Mr. Sam is explaining the need for his treats, today’s Wordle was one of those a double letter words, which seems to wind up so many people. Miss Laurie was up early as well so the kitty has quickly headed to the big bed, and by seven o’clock I have had to closed the window blind as the sun is moving further north in the sky now is almost blinding me. An early breakfast (cheese and pepper omelet) today as we have a kayaking trip planned for today, we are meeting the Savino’s in Gold Canyon and heading back to the Salt River today.

It’s been a while since the kayaks were used so I have to mount the roof racks onto the toad, then load the kayaks, so a busy morning for me today, temperatures forecast for Superior today are 75°F (20°C) but in the Salt River valley the temperatures are forecast for 88°F (28°C), it this still amazes many just how much difference a little elevation change make’s. We are meeting the Savino’s in Gold Canyon on our way to the Salt River to redo the route down the river, this was the trip where we got a glimpse of the wild horses in the Salt River valley.

Well today was a jackpot kayaking trip down the Salt River, the water level was much higher, this made for more current and a much quicker trip, we found a number horses right on the river’s edge, we seen turtles, a giant blue Herron, some Canada geese, a king fisher, mallard ducks, and a river otter. Here are a couple of the photos that I was able snap with my iPhone.

After today’s adventures we stopped at a pub called Red, White & Brew, they had a number of local breweries on draft, and Miss Laurie ordered a mixed beverage, but it arrived too full to almost drink, but a quick evasive action was taken to save as much as possible.

On our journey back to the coach, we made a supply stop in Gold Canyon at the Basha’s grocery store, and we’re still able to get back to the arboretum before the gates closed. It was a busy day with lots of things going on, so it was nice just to lean back for a while. Dinner was barbecued sausage, with cold slaw and potato salad, before watching a couple of episodes of “This is Us” before turning in (a point of correction, we are still a whole season behind on this series) for an earned rest.

Wednesday and again for some reason I’m wide awake at two in the morning, it was even too early for Mr. Sam, although he did come and visit with me as I sat in my chair (ah, un-bribed kitty love), I completed today’s Wordle, responded to a couple of emails, and I read a few articles regarding some planned repairs before heading back to bed. Before waking again after seven o’clock, apparently I had slept through Mr. Sam capturing another mouse, our kitty earning his keep, if you would. All I really remember was the smell of coffee. After breakfast I just walked to the front gate area to admire some of the the arboretum plants in bloom, below are a few of the photos.

Today is going to be another busy day, Ray & Karen are coming out to the arboretum at around eleven this morning, as Ray is going to help with a couple of RV projects that I have started. The thing with full time living in our coach, just like a home there are always things that need attention. And if you have to get someone else to fix everything that goes wrong, your going to spend a lot of time in RV repair shops, and you are going to learn a lot about patience.

Because we are heading to Vancouver Island this summer, and most of Vancouver Island is a “Rain Forest” so I need to get a couple of persistent leaks resolved, so I enlisted a second set of eyes to look at the problem and listen to any thoughts and ideas that he had toward a solution of these issues. And Ray made a couple of suggestions that I may have seen, but had pretty much ruled out, but with the second look and an open mind, and obviously my previous failures, I decided to try everything that was suggested, as sometimes that second opinion, can change one’s perspective. I also asked his opinion on the skylight concern, and he agreed that there had been some mediocre to poor repairs of the coach roof in that area, Ray also agreed with my plan for a suitable repair to that area. The dual pained skylight in in transit and should be here by the weekend, so I should be able to get it installed before the next possible rain event.

Ray and I worked on the coach leaks for close to four hours today, and while I still have more to do, I was left feeling that we had accomplished a lot in the process today. Miss Laurie was preparing dinner for Ray & Karen, and being this close to St. Patrick’s Day, corned beef and cabbage seemed the only appropriate meal. And Miss Karen made cheesecake for desert, I have not had Karen’s cheesecake since we stayed with them in Florida, many, many years ago, and did I mention she makes it from scratch! Now I have had lots of cheesecake, from lots of places, even from the Cheesecake Factory, this beats them all hands down, and did I mention it’s been years since I have had some.

The original plan had us all taking a walk in the arboretum after dinner, but time got away on us again and we never got for the walk, and they had even brought their puppy Trapper with them. Most RVers have pets to keep us company on our travels, they help make our rigs a little more like home.

I for one was completely exhausted from two days of activity, so after I let Ray & Karen out of the arboretum, and walked back I knew we wouldn’t be up very late tonight, so a little mindless television, before turning in for an early evening.

Thursday and again I’m up in the middle of the night, this is a habit I need to break real darn fast, again I sat for a while to respond to email, complete today’s Wordle, spend a little time with Mr. Sam before returning to bed, to wake up close to seven to the smell of perking coffee. The previous couple of days were hectic to say the least, so I have things to accomplish today but it should be a better paced day.

The day started with a check for any mail at the visitor center, the problem is that I have been waiting for a replacement credit card since February the 3rd. And what should have been a non-story, but after six weeks it is a problem that I’m going to have to deal with today.

So a little background is needed, to understand the problem, when ever we use a Canadian dollar credit card to make a purchase here in the states we are subject to the exchange rate at the time of the purchase, so if our Canadian dollar is having a bad day, our purchases made that day reflect badly for us. So I applied for an American dollar card through our Canadian bank, and because I use an electronic wallet I was able to start using it immediately through my electronic wallet. For some reason the physical credit card did not arrive to our Canadian address before we left in November. So I used the electronic version a few times before it started to decline (and no it wasn’t that I had not paid the bill) so I called the credit card department of the bank to get the issue corrected. And here is where it seemed to go from bad to worse, so my call to Visa way back in February was almost an hour long, and at the end of it we agreed that sending out a new credit card from our Canadian bank, and that is what I have been waiting for, I did receive the PIN number for the new card about three weeks ago, but no card has showed up yet.

Which means another phone call, which I have been putting off till today, it’s just has the makings of being a long drawn out process, and I was correct, an hour and a half later and I’m almost very positive that I may receive a replacement credit card with in the next month. Compare this to an American Express card that needed to be replace that was in our hands and also sent from Canada in less the ten days, here is a company that understands customer service.

Now to explain why we want an America dollar credit card, all purchases are in American dollars, then I can watch the exchange rate daily and pay it when the Canadian dollar is having a good exchange day as opposed to the rate at the moment of purchase.

On a welcome note there was an announcement out of Canada today that on April the first we will not need to have a negative Covid test to return back to Canada in May, another welcome savings.

I was able to complete much of the resealing of the roof to rain gutter joint on the left side of the coach, or at least until I ran out of sealant three inches from the end, I need another tube of sealant anyway. After lunch I settled into the antigravity chair, and I could hear a diesel running, and I made the assumption it was just another delivery, but to our surprise it was Tom & Kathleen back, they had taken their coach to the repair shop, and were supposed to go visit their daughter in Colorado, but an illness had derailed that plan so they were back a couple of days ahead of schedule.

And I know you may find it hard to believe, but we got together for a welcome back happy hour or two, before breaking up for dinner shortly after six. Dinner was left over corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots, then we watched three more episodes of “This is Us” before turning in around nine thirty.

Friday morning and I’m back to somewhat normal morning with a six o’clock start, treats for Mr. Sam, followed by the appropriate cuddling time before Miss Laurie rose. And as this is our Monday morning a bowl of cereal, a vitamin, coffee with a little Irish helper and we are ready for whatever the day will bring, and we were headed to the admissions booth by 7:45. I open the booth and Miss Laurie helps out in the store, restocking shelves, there was a lot of items to price and get out to the displays, so it was close to eleven o’clock before Laurie made it to the booth.

There was another school trip today with over 100 children, which just makes people cringe as they try to enter the arboretum, once the groups are in the park, they are kept busy which keeps them quieter, until it’s time to leave. It also caused a little bedlam in the picnic area around lunch time as well, the attendance today was just under seven hundred visitors, not including the school trip.

Our replacement skylight made it here today, I unpacked it and took it to the coach roof to confirm it was the correct one. Looks good, will try to install it over the weekend, it is just too much wind this afternoon to attempt any repairs today. So I watched a little golf before dinner, tonight dinner was barbecued chicken and salad, and as we try to catch up on “This is Us” to at least get to the current season, so we are a few episodes closer after tonight.

Saturday which is our hump day, and at 5:45 I rolled out of bed much to Mr. Sam’s delight, and after his morning treats, he spent some time on my lap, it was another double letter Wordle this morning, but my 22 day streak is still intact. A bowl of cereal again this morning, as we watch some local news before heading off to the admissions booth, it should be a busy day at the arboretum, lots of tours, spring break, and an 80°F (25°C) sunny day forecast, the only restriction today will be the traffic from the Renaissance Festival which creates a real traffic hazard on highway 60 for a couple of months each year.

Admissions was busy today but not really, we have it down to such a science, we have dealt with pretty much every thing that can cause havoc to our day so now we just roll with the punches. Today’s attendance was just over seven hundred visitors, not as busy as we expected on a “Spring Break” weekend but still not too bad. I’ve been kind of baiting a cardinal with regular sunflower seeds just beside the admissions booth, this has been happening for a couple of months and at the beginning the seeds would be there all weekend, but over time they disappeared regularly. Now if I put out some seeds Mr. & Mrs. cardinal are there within a few moments, so now I will feel guilty when we aren’t working, but they are so beautiful and every one around gets some great pictures, just another thing I will have to figure out.

So after work today I did the next step in the process for the installation of the new skylight, a little repair of the fiberglass surrounding the opening, and tomorrow I should be able to prepare the roof to fit the new skylight, so either tomorrow after work on Monday it will be in place, and sealed, after many resealing efforts.

Tonight was burgers on the barbeque, which used to be a Friday night thing, but now seems to be a Saturday night thing, either way it is good. Another few episodes of “This is Us” and Miss Laurie is headed for bed, I’m working on this blog as always, it is in reasonable shape, and with a few touches, and maybe a photo or two more it should be ready to publish soon.

Tomorrow is the first day of spring, and I hope that means some good weather for most of you, we have 0.05 inches of rain in the forecast in the next day or so, that’s like ten or twenty drops on the windshield, we would get more dew on the morning grass on a summer morning back in Ontario. But in a land that survives on two to three inches of rain a year it is newsworthy … jus’saying.

Happy first day of Spring!

Blog 409

Day 1629

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