Monday, October 31, 2011

Weekend to Remember with Karl and Adam

Karl Rove at the debate.  And Adam running the Marine Corps Marathon.

Kelly works at Clancy and Theys in Norfolk.  They are a good sized builder in the North Carolina/Virginia area and have been around for a while.  They built some buildings on the campus of Regent University and were one of the Gold Sponsors of the debate:  Clash of the Titans: Countdown to Collapse - Solving America's Economic Crisis

Pam wasn't too interested in going (Game 7 of the World Series was on) so I had the privilege of going with Kelly.  On the stage for the debate:

  • Robert Gibbs - Long time advisor to President Obama and former White House Press Secretary
  • Larry Summers - Former Secretary of the Treasury and President of Harvard
  • Alan Simpson - Former Senator from Wyoming and served on the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
  • Karl Rove - Former Deputy Chief of Staff and Advisor to President George W. Bush
The event was moderated by Brett Baier, anchor of Fox News.  

I was struck by the civility of all on stage.  
And the good humor despite the differences in the solution.  
And these guys are good.  They are pros at the top of their game.  Every one of them is very smart.  Very interesting.  All made some good points.

I guess I was most surprised by Alan Simpson.  He took his time allotted to say the debt crisis can not be solved but only one thing.  We have to do a lot of things.  Including raising some taxes, reforming Medicare and Social Security, and reducing spending.  A trillion dollars is a large large number to overcome.  $13 trillion (or more) is almost incomprehensible.  He challenged us all to read the report the commission wrote:  The Moment of Truth

And he had more than one humorous quip:  
- "You can torture statistics and they will eventually confess…"

And each side said the predictable: 
- "We need to invest more in the economy (more stimulus) and raise taxes on millionaires…" - and 
- "We need to curb spending and we don't need more taxes in this already bad economy…"  
blah blah blah….

What I found most interesting were the men themselves and how they spoke, countered the other side and sprinkled humor throughout.  It is a very serious subject but sadly in this day and age all agreed that 'compromise' of previous days in politics has given way to mistrust where that is no longer possible.

I can't tell you how much fun it was to sit there and listen to each of these guys.  No one came up with a new idea but it was interesting none the less.  The fact that each got to speak for four or five minutes a couple of times was better than what we have been getting on the TV with the recent Republican debates.

So that was on Friday night with Kelly.  On Saturday we drove up to Fairfax from Virginia Beach and are staying with friends.  We were here to see Adam run the Marine Corps Marathon.  

What an impressive event.  We got up on Sunday shortly after 5 AM and rode the Metro to the Pentagon and walked over to the starting line.
We found them before the race and they were pretty pumped up.  And a little cold.  It was in the high 30's/low 40's.
Kelly made up some signs
We developed a plan to ride the Metro to various spots along the race route and predict when they would be coming by.  We positioned ourselves at about mile 10 near the Lincoln Memorial and waited about an hour for them.
But we missed them.  So we went to mile 12 and waited.  I pulled out my camera and waited but didn't seem them.  And then they ran by….
We saw them but it was too quick to get the camera out, turn it on, get a good picture….

There were a lot of different scenes and emotions during the day. 
I was a beautiful day for a run after it warmed up.

After about 5 hours we moved over to near mile 26 to see them.
He looked great near the end.  But the last .2 miles was straight up hill to the Iwo Jima Memorial.  We missed that part of it thinking we'd be able to get a better picture here.  
The finish came at 5:30.  We were so happy for them and glad they made it.  It was one of those experiences that will be with them forever.

Happy.  And tired.  And hobbling around.  You could tell who the marathoners were.  Most were the ones with the smile of accomplishment on their faces and the wobble 'my body hurts all over' walk.

We found them over in Rosslyn which was all closed down.  What a mob scene.  30,000 runners.  120,000 spectators…
It was a big and busy weekend for us but memorable on many accounts.  I will never forget being with Kelly at the debates where I got to see and get my picture taken with some pretty heavy hitters on the political scene.

And then to share in Adam's first marathon.  It was great.

That is about it for this looong edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles.  Thanks for joining us.  Have a Happy Halloween!  Until next time...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Shed for Kelly

We love to do projects for friends and family. So when Kelly mentioned she'd like a shed for her bicycle and lawn mower we jumped at the chance to build one for her.  We looked around at Home Depot and Lowe's for ideas and decided most were too big and expensive and that we'd be better off to design and build our own shed.

We decided to make it 4' x 8' x 4 to keep it simple.  We borrowed a truck and picked up materials on Sunday afternoon and got all ready to begin on Monday morning.
We decided where to put it behind her house and set out the cinder blocks on which the floor would sit.  Surprisingly, it took a little bit of doing to dig out the holes for the blocks and make them level.  But after a while, I got that done.

Next, I 'framed out' a floor while Pam started painting the OSB boards that were going to be the floor and the side walls.
Next the walls need to be framed.
Before too long we had the floor and a couple of walls up.  We decided 8' was too high for the ceiling/roof so we made it only 6' 6".
Then built another wall and stood it up. 
Then we cut the pieces for the doors and painted them.
Then we put the front on and squared it up.
Pam also worked on the trim.
Another big effort was hanging rafters for the roof, putting the OSB down, wrapping it with a drip edge and putting the shingles down.  

Just in case you are wondering that took us into day three.  At the close of day three, I was trimming the overhanging shingles.  But ran into a problem.

I sliced the top of my hand under the sharp drip edge as I was trimming them.  Yikes!  I cut a gash in my hand.  Good thing we were done for the day.

Off we went to Urgent Care (Patient First here in Virginia Beach) to sew up my hand.  An hour later I was all fixed up.

Here is a before and after shot:
The doc did a terrific job and I had very little pain or issue with it.  The next day we finished up an hung the doors on the shed.
Kelly's bike and lawnmower plus some extra things will fit nicely into it.  We still have to make a few shelves, but we put a lock on it and will finish it up this week.  Mission accomplished.

One thing I was happy about it that it is solid and plumb.  I built a shed years ago in our stix and bricks house and had no concept of how to use a level.  So we are learning and almost complete with another project under our belt.

That is it for this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles ~ thanks for joining us.  Until next time...

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Dental Work and a Fixed Bed

One thing we haven't quite figured out during the last 2 1/2 years of full-timing is getting regular checkups on our teeth.  We have looked a few places but $75 or $100 to get our teeth cleaned just doesn't appeal to me.

Shortly after we started full-timing we were in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas along the border of Mexico and we went to Nuevo Progresso, Mexico.  We both got our teeth cleaned for about $25.  But that was two years ago when it was relatively safe.

So we have put off teeth work.  Back when we had our house and I had a full time job we got our teeth worked on at least yearly.

Our daughter Kelly knew we were coming to the Virginia Beach area and saw a Groupon advertisement for a Mahanes Dentistry in Virginia Beach.  -Really?  a Groupon ad for a dentist?
It advertised a dental checkup, x-rays and teeth cleaning for $49.   Sounded like my kind of deal.  So we scheduled an appointment and arrived on Wednesday.
We were seen promptly and I was very impressed.  Renee, the dental hygienist explained how she wanted me to bite for the x-rays and I watched them appear one at a time on the monitor as I sat in the dentist chair.
She also poked around and checked out old fillings and new areas for some work.  When the dentist came in they pointed to the teeth in question and wrote up some notes.
Again I could see exactly what they were talking about.  It was my first experience with monitors mounted on the wall for patients to see notes, x-rays and charts.

My cleaning went fine.  Just for old times sake I was admonished to floss more.  Unlike Pam, I only occasionally floss.  She had periodontal disease years ago and flosses daily.  As a result her gums and teeth are in great shape.

So we were very impressed with the dentist and the treatment.  So we will be back.

How about you?  What do you do for dental work?  If you are Full-timers or extended-timers, do you have a new dental situation for when you are on the road?

On a different subject..., we replaced the controllers for our Select Comfort bed.
Over the past few months we noticed the digital readouts on both controllers were going bad.  Then finally about 6 weeks ago, we lost the readout all together.

I called Select-Comfort and they wanted $300 for a new unit to fix the bed.  Yikes!  I didn't like that number….

While we were back at the factory in Red Bay, Alabama last month, we went to the old parts store and found a couple of used controllers.  We got the circuit boards from each one and we were all fixed up!  Total cost: $ 25 each.

That solution worked fine for about 6 weeks.  But,,,,then we had no display in either controller.  Those controllers went bad.  This time I asked about the warranty when I called Select Comfort and the replacement cost went down to $105.  They prorated what was left on the warranty.

So we ordered a new unit and a single wireless controller.  They no longer make one for each side of the bed.

The package arrived last week and we did the installation.
We had to plug up the mattress while we unhooked everything. Then we removed the mattress so we could get to the bed frame.

The bed sits on a frame that folds in the middle.  It is secured with six screws underneath the top of the mattress.  The bottom half of the platform is over the storage area.  We removed the arms that hold the bottom end of the bed platform up over our storage area and then removed the entire platform.
Then we unhooked hoses and changed out the power unit that was plugged in underneath the top half of the bed.
The new unit is a little smaller than the old one so it fit well into the space.  Once we double checked the air hoses and power unit, Pam screwed down the bed platform again.  (you can tell here who is doing the work and who is doing the videography….)

The new unit works like a champ and we are happy campers so to speak.
The new unit has a left and right button and the two unit version is replaced with the single controller.  As per the directions we pumped up both sides to 100, then backed it down to 40 and 45.  Then we put the mattress back in place and we were done!

I was wondering, what kind of bed do you have in your RV?

Two more things taken care of this week, now on to the next project…

That is it for this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles!  Thanks for joining us and until next time...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Virginia Beach Week 1 Highlights

We have been here a little over a week.  The first few days we stayed at Ocean Pines Campground at Ocean Naval Air Station.
(This is a photo off the website since I didn't remember to take my own while we were there…)

The campground was once a mobile home park they have converted to a campground.  The laundry facilities and restrooms are good.  But it is about 4 miles from the beach.

After three days, we moved over to Dam Neck where we have reservations.  Sea Mist RV campground is where we stayed last year for a couple of months.  They opened up 26 new sites and the old portion of the campground is closed until they can finish upgrading it.
The new portion has nice concrete pads with 50 amp electricity and full hook ups. And it is only about 200 yards from the beach.  And the price is right at $450/month.

Kelly lives in Norfolk with is about 30 minutes away.  Last weekend we met some of her friends and had dinner at the Baron Pub in Portsmith.   We took the ferry across from Norfolk.
We walked about 4 blocks down to the pub and met her friends.  There were about 15 of us in the group.  I sat next to Megan from DC who was visiting her boyfriend here.  She is in a small group in DC that includes Betsy who is the daughter of very good friends of ours.  I have known Betsy's parents (Ed and Candice) since the mid 1970's from my Arizona State days.  Small world!

Earlier in the day, Kelly had us go with her to her workout class.  Ugh oh…
You have to figure that anything with 'Extreme' in the name is going to hurt a little.  Or a lot…
Pam and I survived.  We were out of breath a lot.  The real soreness didn't set in until the next day or two.  But it was fun and Pam and Kelly are going back for more.  Since I was the only guy besides Heath (the trainer) there, I decided I would stick to biking and walking and running…

In fact we all did some of that yesterday.  It was the 2nd Annual 'For The Love of Meghan Team' (Susan G. Komen) Run for the Cure here in Virginia Beach.  We ran to celebrate the life of Meghan, our daughter-in-law who succumbed to breast cancer 18 months ago at age 28.  She ran in a few of these and would be right there with Ricky and Nicos and Pam and Kelly and Lauren and Dan and Ryan J and Ryan H.
We ran to shake our fist at this deadly disease and to raise money and to remind ourselves to check regularly for breast cancer.  We saw a number of different messages during the day:  'Save the boobies', 'Check your tatas' etc.  Among my favorite is 'Squeeze.  And we ran to have fun.

We also ran for survivors Sue (my sister in law), and Barbara (friend from our Hawaii days), and Rebecca (friend from our Korea days) and Gill (next door neighbor in Fairfax).  All are doing well now.

It was a beautiful day for a walk or a run.
And we were off!

We are definitely enjoying it here in Virginia Beach.  The weather has been fairly warm (low 70's) and only a little rain.  We plan to be here until after Thanksgiving.

Thanks for joining us today on the Roadrunner Chronicles.  Until next time...

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Roof Work in TN

We have been looking forward to seeing everybody in Tennessee for a while.  We hadn't see Joan and Mike, Michelle, Jeremy, Kayla and Noah since January.  And we planned on helping with Mike and Joan's roof which needed to be done.  The good news was that we only had half a roof to do.  The other half had already been replaced a few months ago.
But it was a big job for Mike and I.  We had to take off two layers of shingles,
There are a number of ways to scrape off shingles.  I have seen some use a shovel.  The best way I know of is to use the tool that is laying there right beside Mike.

Here's another picture.  The roof shovel thing is the best invention I have seen in a while.  It made a hard job a lot easier.
It took us a while, but we were able to scrape up the old shingles and felt and nails.  And I only had a couple of blisters…

We left piles of shingles on the ground to pick up later.
Then the fun began.  We rolled out the felt paper to cover the roof.
Then we laid some shingles in place to start putting those down.
We put them across the bottom and sides first.
Then it was a matter of hauling the shingles up the ladder on the other side of the house and moving them into place to put the rest of the shingles on.  We had a nail gun to use the last time I worked on a roof.

This time it was one nail at a time.  Eventually, we got it done.

We had sore backs and I had a few dings in my fingers and hands, but we were glad to get it finished.  Thankfully the weather was nice in East Tennessee and we didn't have any major issues.

That is all for now on this edition of the Roadrunner Chronicles.  Thanks for joining us!  Until next time...