We retired in 2006. Since then, we've spent most of our time traveling on our boat, Wild Blue. From the Florida Keys to Desolation Sound in Canada, San Francisco Bay to the Erie Canal and down the Hudson River to New York City... we've been going where the weather suits our clothes.
When traveling by land, our home is a NuWa HitchHiker 5th wheel, pulled by our truck, Big Red.
I recently published a book about our travel adventures with Molly the Boat Cat; Cat On A Leash is available in paperback and all eBook formats.
We rescued another furry kid from the shelter; Isabella (Izzy) is young, but a wonderful traveler. Her personality is completely different from Molly's, but she is a real delight... a little furry bundle of joy.
For more on our boat cruising, check out "The Cruising Adventures of Wild Blue and Crew" on www.c-brats.com
There was a partial eclipse of the sun today. Locally, the event was to start at 5:08 and be done by 6:51. From the information, it was only going to be a small part of the sun that would be eclipsed.
Joan made a viewing device, because you aren't supposed to stare into the sun...
You punch a hole in one piece of paper, let the light from the sun shine through that hole onto another piece of paper. What you'll see is something like this...
Not as much of an impact as staring at the sun, but it does keep you from frying your eyeballs!
After the peak time, I asked Joan what she had in mind for supper... "Dominoes." The power of suggestion: earlier today, we had discussed how Dominoes stock has been doing well. A couple years ago, they started an advertising campaign that pretty much admitted that they knew they needed to improve their pizza. And, apparently, they did. We haven't had Dominoes in quite a while - I guess we'll see if their pizza improvement is as good as their stock.
On my way to pick up the pizza, I got caught at our swing bridge - a boat on the ICW going through. Fortunately, not a huge barge, since that usually ties up about 20 minutes. But, while waiting for the bridge, I had a view of the setting sun...
Yeah, one cloud right over the sun. All I had was my phone, so it would have been beyond the capability of that lens, anyway. Still, kinda pretty.
Back to the pizza - it was also the first time we ordered Dominoes on-line. Just like it is supposed to work, it was ready when I got there (the bridge only slowed me by a couple minutes)
The pizza was better than I remembered. And, I kinda know my pizza. ;-) Back when I was in high school, I dated a blonde girl who worked in a pizza parlor. Yeah, the same girl, only now it is the Blonde, with a capital B.
A view of the progress on the dock...
It is coming together. Certainly better than it looked first thing this morning...
We needed it - today, we took a break from babysitting workers.
The main thing left to get done is the dock. Our builder starts on that this morning, and we know we don't have to be here to make sure it is being done the way we want.
This morning, Joan said, "How about let's go out for breakfast?" Didn't take me long to say, "Sure!" As we were driving out, we met Pete (the builder) on his way to our place... "Call if you need us for anything."
We drove across the Causeway and had a leisurely breakfast on South Padre Island. Not wanting to head right home, I suggested a walk. We drove north to the nature trail by the SPI Convention Center.
I miss the Orcas...
Not sure how Wyland picked what whales for his famous "Whaling Walls," but I have never seen Orcas in the Gulf... but this wall always makes me smile.
From there, it was the walkway across the marsh to the Laguna Madre...
A blessedly gorgeous day here in the Tropical Tip - it was in the 70s when we first got up, but was still 77º around 9:30 when we were walking here.
Heading south on the island, Joan said, "Let's drive by the boat sales place at the marina and pick up a new annual pass for the park." Who am I to argue with that?
No, I don't have any immediate plans to put a boat at our new dock - I will be happy to get the kayaks and paddleboard out again, though. We drove into the county park at the southern tip of the island - not many RVs there right now; the summer people have mostly left, the winter people aren't here, yet.
Not much of a crowd on the beach...
And by that, I mean: there were about a dozen "early winter Texans" and a few surfers. Weekday in late October - so quiet.
We walked a bit, then headed back for home. Across the Causeway...
Two and a half miles across the Causeway. The water was quiet and a pretty shade of blue-green. Joan said, "With all we've been dealing with with the house, seeing this pretty view reminds me of what brought us here in the first place."
The concrete guys showed up this morning to remove the forms.
The guys doing the paver stone work are it, and we are still waiting for the refrigerator repair guys.
A different guy showed up with the part to fix the fridge. Yep, it didn't... didn't fix the fridge, that is. He pulled the thermostat and the fan started up. Our new friend, Tony the refrigerator repair guy said, "I told them I didn't think it was the fan motor."
I asked him if he had another thermostat with him... "Yes, sir. It's in the truck."
He was going to take the new fan motor out and put the old one back in. I said, "Leave it. Bill me for the thermostat. If those two things don't fix it, we'll buy a new one."
As of right now, the only noise out there is the sawing and pounding as the forms come off our new seawall cap. We had them build in a slight depression in one spot to act as a trough to let water drain better.
Speaking of water draining, there was a 50% chance of rain last night, but we only had a few sprinkles. Just 20 miles inland in Brownsville, they had between 2 and 6 inches of rain overnight. Plenty of flooding there; we dodged that.
I visited with our builder, and they will start on the dock tomorrow. He has already cut most of the composite boards, so that should move right along. The end is in sight. I am looking forward to sitting out on our deck, enjoying the peace and quiet. One of these days.
I had to call the shutter guy this morning - yep, one of the shutters was stuck in the up position. To his credit, he said, "I'll be out there around 1:00," and he was here around noon...
When they took the shutter down, it was apparent that the problem wasn't the shutter, but the hole that was drilled to run the shaft through the wall to the exterior. As near as I can tell, they started from the outside, trying to line up with the fixture that was already inside. It didn't line up.
Complicating matters: the inside connection is right up against some very pretty crown molding in our bedroom. "We're going to have to pull that molding off."
"No, you're not. That was custom done. It worked before the shutters were removed - we need to make it work now." Well, there was a bit more discussion than that.
In the middle of dealing with this, the concrete truck showed up... with a bunch of workers. I said, "Joan, can you keep an eye on the concrete while I finish dealing with these shutters?"
She ram-rodded that crew. I "borrowed" the drill with the extra long bit from the shutter guy and drilled it out. It took both of us to finesse the fitting back behind the crown molding. Amazingly, the concrete crew had that long line poured before the shutter guys could finish rehanging the shutter.
And Joan handled all those guys just fine...
Then, as fast as the flurry of activity hit, it ended. It was quiet. They all left. We visited with the guy who will be doing some paver stone work - he will get that done after the concrete has set up. He was already trying to do a sales job on Joan to do more work on our parking. Ummm... my dance card is full.
The only thing left to get done today was the refrigerator repair. When mid-afternoon rolled around and there was no sign of them, Joan called the store. Yeah, they lied - there is no repair man coming today. Oh, there was an excuse, but we are dealing with the mañana attitude. For the most part, we have been able to stay on top of that... not much you can do about it when they say they're coming and they don't.
"We'll be there first thing in the morning. Really."
In the grand scheme of things, the fridge repair is the most minor of what we are trying to get done. Doesn't make it any less frustrating. Talking with the guy who is doing the paver stones was interesting: when you tell him HOW you want it done, he doesn't speak much English... his English got WAY better when he was later trying to sell Joan on more work.