|I can’t remember if I wrote about getting an email from HP about my computer purchase and delivery. The only problem is, I hadn’t ordered a computer from HP recently. I checked my account at HP.com and saw a delivery address that I never added nicknamed “Dad’s” and a credit card number (the last four digits) that I also did not recognize. I was able to contact my financial institution and they advised me that those four digits had never been one of my debit cards. I also checked my account and there was no deduction for a computer purchase. I contacted HP through their website. I advised them of the emails and they asked for some of my account information. I advised them that so far it has not financially impacted me and evidently someone had already managed to get into my account and make changes and order a computer. Therefore, they could take the information I was giving them or not but I was not going to supply more information for an account that had already been accessed by an unauthorized person. The only worrisome thing about this is the computer was delivered to an address in the neighborhood I used to live in. I have checked my bank account since then and no charges have come through that were unauthorized. I also received several more emails about this purchase and sent them back with a message that I did not buy nor did I receive a computer from them recently. To this day, I have received nothing from HP showing any concern about this. I now still get mundane emails from them but just ignore them.
Another thing I may have forgotten to write about was ordering some ammo online while we were in Kentucky. The ammo came with coupons for alcohol. Now that’s a great combination. Sort of like driving down the interstate and seeing one of the exit signs advertising wineries at an exit.
I also want to mention the irony of driving down the interstate and getting an alert on my phone about road construction. This happened while driving in Pennsylvania and Indiana while on the way to New York. Sort of makes you wonder if states really are worried about driving while distracted or are they actually causing distractions. Just like all the message boards on the highways that flash unnecessary messages for you to read. Like the signs that have you read a message saying “Don’t Drive Distracted.” Does anybody else see the irony in stuff like that.
During January I met up with a friend, Wesley, and we went to see another friend, Bugs, for a visit. The three of us met in 1975 through our use of CB radios and have been friends since then. We haven’t seen each other for some time. Wes and I also met up again on a later day and went out for drinks.
After doing the anti-bloat diet again that ended on January 5th I was at 188 pounds. That’s down from my high of about 205 last September.
I went to Vincennes to get the check from the auction house where I took some of our stuff. After they deducted their portion of the proceeds we ended up with $129. While in Vincennes I ate at Long John Silver with a coupon. I also closed our booth at a vendor mall. I had to pay $16 that our sales didn’t cover for our booth rent. We should get something at the end of the month but all and all it didn’t work out so good. When I got back to Olney I got a cookie at Subway with a coupon. Margie, her mother, and I went out to a new restaurant in Olney. They use car parts for some of the seats.
On January 20th we were on the road again on our way to Arizona for our baseball spring training job. We will be working at Surprise Stadium in Surprise Arizona which is the spring training facility for the Kansas City Royals and the Texas Rangers. There are a lot of Major League Baseball teams that train at various facilities around Phoenix, Arizona including Surprise. These teams are in what is called the Cactus League. We stopped in Salem, Illinois at another Long John Silver and ate with a coupon. Yes I do like coupons. My mother would be so proud. We ended up driving about 410 miles that day to the Down Stream Casino at the Missouri/Oklahoma border. It’s actually at the Missouri/Oklahoma/Kansas borders. That seems like a pretty good test of the new tow bar base plates on the pickup. We stayed at Down Stream that night and I closed the fresh water drain valve. I also lost $40. The next day we went down to the Indigo Sky Casino just across the border from Seneca, MO. They charge $15 but have free laundry facilities. They used to charge $10. We didn’t plan to use the laundry facilities though. They leave their water on all year so we could fill our fresh water tank there and flush the water lines. We ate at the buffet there. Once we were hooked up to the water I found leaks. This was the first time we had leaks after dewinterizing. One of the leaks was in the wash machine plumbing at the end cap. Since we don’t have a wash machine I just cut the pipe and got a “Shark Bite” cap to cap it off. While checking the leak I found what appeared to be shut offs but after a while finally realized that they were the low spot drain valves that we had never used. When I opened the diverter to fill the water heater I also found out that the diverter was leaking. I tried replacing the diverter, but it still leaked at the connection. I finally just hooked the water lines up without a diverter. I really don’t want to have to winterize again but if I do I’ll have to replace the diverter. I also even put in a water detector/alarm in case it leaked again. I had the $1 senior breakfast at this casino. The wash machine plumbing leak soaked several towels in the closet so we did in fact end up using the laundry. After the senior breakfast I played video poker and on the first hand I doubled my $20. I actually won $24.50 and left. We went to the Walmart in Joplin and they had the roasted chickens for $3.02 and we couldn’t pass that up. However, we ate at a restaurant. When we got back to the casino I went to the same machine and doubled my money again. It took a little longer but I made $19.50. Somehow, I think Margie got a woman to leave the machine so I could use it. Margie has wanted to do something with the backsplash behind the stove in the motor home and she did it at this time. It looks pretty good. On the 23rd we stopped at the Newcastle casino near Oklahoma City. I had coupons for $10 play and a free hamburger that I had gotten in the mail. They had no overnight parking signs so we moved on and stayed at a truck stop. The weather wasn’t cooperating so we were heading south to try and stay in warmer climates. On the 24th we stopped at a TA truck stop for the night. On the 25th we stopped for lunch at a Flying J and got one of their pizzas. Surprisingly Flying J has very good pizzas. I also had a coupon for free pancakes at Denny’s which was there, too. I got the pancakes to go.
We arrived in Surprise on January 27th and I had already located a casino we could stay at. It didn’t have hook ups but we didn’t need them. They only allowed a seven day stay. So, we started looking for somewhere else to stay. Most if not all of the RV Parks were full or cost too much. While we were driving around we passed a Moose Lodge that had a couple of motor homes in the lot. We pulled in and I went inside (they have a bar that’s open every day). When I asked the barmaid what was necessary to stay in their lot she said you had to be a Moose member. I asked what that entailed and she said I had to fill out a short form and pay $60. That was $40 dues and $20 activation. So, for $60 we could stay for our whole time in Surprise (the Moose Lodge was actually in Goodyear). That sounded like a perfect solution. Especially, since there was a bar, they served an all you can eat breakfast every Sunday for $6, and there was other food offerings such as, a full dinner on Wednesdays, wings on Monday, as well as a Superbowl party. There were also no hook ups at the Moose Lodge either but I located an RV supply store that had a free dump and water in the back that was accessible 24/7. Along with our solar panels and inverter we had power for lights and TV and didn’t need electrical hook ups. So until about March 28th this was our home. I think that is the longest we’ve gone without hook ups and feels pretty good to know that we can do that and don’t have to rely on anything. Of course it was February and March, so the temperatures weren’t really an issue. It never got real hot and was nice and cool after the sun went down. We do have a propane furnace if it got too cold and the refrigerator runs on propane. The RV supply store with the dump and water also had propane at reasonable cost. The casino we stayed at for that first seven days was the Dessert diamond I won $105.72 on February 1st. I also won some candy bars in a drawing there. The first week or two at the stadium consisted of getting all of the concession equipment out of storage and getting everything set up to operate. The first event at the stadium was some college baseball tournaments before the Spring Training games actually got started.
I ended up having to call the vendor mall back in Illinois to see if we had any more money coming. Instead of mailing it like I requested they had been holding it. So they mailed the 33 dollar check to Margie’s mother and she deposited it in Margie’s bank account.
We found a laundry we liked and even went out of our way to get there during our stay. The first time we were there I talked to the owner, a while. He said he had dreamed of owning a laundromat for about 20 years. He said that last year after the economy improved, which he attributed to President Trump, and because of some investments he had he was able to finally buy this one. He hoped to find and buy another one soon. I hope he does since he seems to take pride in it and take good care of it.
I had to take a food handler’s class on line in order to do my job at the stadium. One of our first days I helped Margie put up some canopies for the retail department. Both the retail and food functions are taken care of by Aramark. Every day when the employees arrive for work there is food waiting for them to eat. It’s nothing really great but it was OK. As warehouse employees, Margie and I arrived before most of the other employees and before the employees meals were ready. However, in my position I was able to go eat while I was working and I was also able to get food at the concession stands for free. I had training on February 8th that included the job, safety, customer service, food handling, and alcohol. During this training I received TIPS certification for anyone that serves alcohol. Being warehouse employees, Margie and I were responsible for delivering food or merchandise to the various food and retail locations. Margie has a Fit Bit and it was normal for her to register 25000 steps or more during work. She figured out that she walked about 250 miles in about 31 days. Part of my job required moving beer kegs that I found out weighed about 165 pounds. We moved them on carts but we still had to lift them to put them in place. Me and the other food service warehouse employees loaded up flat carts full of food items and delivered them to the concession stands. There were a total of five of us in foods along with our warehouse manager and only Margie in retail. One of our foods guys quit a little ways into the spring training season. He wasn’t replaced but some others pitched in and helped out. There was another warehouse manager that worked some evening hours and weekends. Considering the 165 pound kegs and other weight and amounts of food items I pushed and pulled around the stadium this job made me feel pretty confident that as I was getting older I could still do some pretty strenuous tasks. It’s good to know and when my son refers to me as healthy as a horse compared to others he knows it feels pretty good. This job was definitely a good workout. There were games almost every day and a few night games and double headers. We picked up several stray baseballs that were used for practice. They were nice souvenirs since they say Spring Training 2018 on them.
On Sunday February 18th I walked over to the Moose Lodge for the all you can eat breakfast. We had been staying there for about two weeks by then and two of the motor homes we originally saw there were still there. I met Dan that day and heard why the two motor homes had been there. It turns out the he and his “girlfriend,” Karen had been staying there as long as back in November. I know it was that long ago because that’s when he said they were out in his pick up and got rear ended. The accident totaled his truck and they were both injured. One of them even had to have at least one back surgery and both of them were having physical therapy. Their doctor had not released them to travel yet and that is why they were still there. Dan really wanted to be back on the road. The strange thing about their story is that both motor homes were theirs. One belonged to Dan and the other one belonged to Karen. They both also had their own towed vehicle. Karen had a Jeep and Dan had already replaced his pick up with another one. On a couple of other occasions I met and talked to a fellow named Doug who seemed like a character. He was in his 80s and wanted to take Margie and me to the penitentiary at Yuma for the tour. He seemed to enjoy the Yuma penitentiary tour. We never made it to Yuma with him.
We went to several casinos in the area and went out to eat at several local restaurants. One of the restaurants we went to was Rudy’s, a bar-b-que place. While we were standing in line a woman asked us if we had ever been there before. She was very nice and told us that if we told them at the register that it was our first time they would give us samples of their meats to help us decide what to order. She also had coupons for free drinks and she gave us two of them. We found a restaurant called TJs that we ate breakfast at that we liked enough to go back to. We went once for their all you can eat fish. I even won some money at some of the casinos we went to, including the $105 at the Dessert Diamond. Casino Arizona only gives new players 2100 points which are only worth $4.20 in the gift shop but nothing for gambling. However, I never managed to win the Queen of Hearts drawing at the Moose Lodge. I went almost, every Wednesday evening for it and it got up to I think about $13000 dollars which the person who finally won got half. I went the last Wednesday we were there and that was when the Queen of Hearts was finally drawn and the pot was won. I would have loved to have won it but I was glad that it at least got won while we were there. For those that may not know, a Queen of hearts drawing entails a deck of cards, including the jokers, dispersed into 54 small envelopes with numbers on them. Then people buy tickets for a drawing to be able to pick a numbered envelope. The first two tickets drawn got a free drink. The third one got to pick a numbered envelope. At that point something was won no matter what card was in the envelope. However, if the envelope contained the Queen of Hearts the person got half of the accumulated pot. The winner on March 28th picked envelope number three. Envelope number three contained the Queen of Hearts and half of the pot amounted to about $6200. The winner bought a round for the lodge members present. I would have left sooner but what the hell, I got my free drink first and then left. Not a very good return on the chances I paid for in each weeks drawing. One of the times I sent Margie a text with the possible numbers and asked her what she thought if I got a chance. She chose 10 for the day of the month of her birthday. I didn’t when the drawing but it just so happens that the winner chose number 10. That was freaky. It wasn’t the Queen of Hearts though.
One of the people Margie worked with told her about a food truck festival in the town she lived in with her brother. So, one Friday we went there and ended up meeting this person and her brother there. I had crab macaroni and cheese from one truck that was very good. There is a lobster lady that seems very popular but she wasn’t there that Friday. They evidently have several of these food truck festivals in various towns in the area.
As usual, for Margie’s birthday I wasn’t sure what to get her. With this lifestyle, firstly we don’t have the room for many gifts and secondly it’s hard to surprise someone when you’re always in such close quarters with someone. At the last minute I remembered that a theatre in the area sold large $10 bags of popcorn. Since Margie really likes popcorn, I went out and got her one.
Once again, when St. Patrick’s Day came around I was wondering where I was going to get my corned beef and cabbage. Luckily, as I had hoped, about a week before it there were fliers in the Moose Lodge advertising corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day.
We needed three more Geocaches to reach 200. We ended up with 203. We didn’t find a couple of them. We had to go find one that was placed on 9/9/09, since that was the date I gave Margie her ring. I was checking the Geocache app on my phone later and saw that one of the Geocaches that we couldn’t find was replaced. So, we went and found it. It was a cool one that had a fake magnetic plate covering it on a light pole. Another cool thing was the two cards that looked like they could be exchanged for movie tickets that were stuck between the plate and the pole. We had trouble believing they were real. I checked online and everything indicated that they were real. I even showed them to the cashier at the theatre when I got Margie’s popcorn and she said that indeed we just had to show them at the box office and we could exchange them for movie tickets. We hung on to them for a while and finally, shortly before we were finished working at the stadium, we went to see a movie. Sure enough I showed them at the box office and they were exchanged for the movie tickets. So, we got to see a movie for free because of the Geocache. Well, we did spend about $17 for our sodas and snacks. This was the first theatre I had been to that had very comfortable reclining seats.
We also found a Lego resale store in our travels. They have bins full of different pieces and figures that you can buy by the pound. One time when we were out driving I wanted to get a picture of an intersection. On one corner was a sign twirler who was of course making money legitimately holding and twirling an advertising sign. While on another corner of the same intersection was a couple begging for money. I just thought that was rather ironic.
A long time ago I had tried to contact the two guys we shared our truck with when we started truck driving only every other month. I tried more than once but never got any response by email, or texts. I finally got an email from them and got caught up on their lives a bit including the fact that they had finally left the company we had all worked for and were now driving for another company as independent drivers. I told them what we were doing and where we were and they said they’d see about coming by to see us if they were in the area. Well they contacted us and let us know they would be coming by where we were and were going to stop by. I think it was a Sunday when they came by in their truck while on a run. We went out to eat and they stayed for several hours. We had a good time seeing them again.
One evening we were watching TV and heard a pretty bad wreck at the intersection near us. I could hear what sounded like at least three vehicles colliding. It was a little ways away from us but we could see a little of what was going on with all of the emergency vehicles arriving and personnel working the wreck.
Arizona does not observe Daylight Savings Time. So, we experienced something few people in the United States do. Another ironic thing I observed goes with my thought that we are all being dumbed down with signs telling us things that everyone should know. The highway we took every day to the stadium had four different signs and stripes at each exit that reinforced this thought for me. One sign would say “through traffic merge left” meaning get out of the exit lane. Another sign would say “right lane exit only.” Then on the exit sign was another sign stating “exit only” And then there were the dotted lines that indicate an exit lane. Just how stupid are we that we need this many reminders of what to do at each and every exit on a highway. It’s like the highway I was on one time that had signs before every bridge telling you that the bridge froze before the roadway. The stupidity of this was the money wasted on three different signs before three different bridges. All three of the signs and bridges could be seen from the first one.
Margie gets pretty antsy when we don’t have a new job lined up before the current one is over. We had some possibilities but did not have anything lined up. I on the other hand tell her that I’ve seen many opportunities available well into the summer season and would like to fly by the seat of our pants. As fate would have it, we were wondering what we were going to do after spring training was over and got a message from some friends. They were asking if we were still interested in an opportunity they had discussed with us over a year ago. They sell jewelry at various festivals and such but also work occasionally for a fella that rents equipment at car shows. That was the opportunity they were asking us about and it sounded really good to both of us. We ended up having a lot of trouble getting in touch with the fella but we finally connected. When he found out that we could also drive a truck he was pretty excited, since he has a tractor trailer that he drives to some of the events with the equipment on it.
The last several days of March consisted of tearing down the concession stand equipment and putting everything away for another year. All and all, working spring training was a pretty good workamper job and the first one that we have committed to doing again. So, if all goes according to plan we will be back again next year. It has everything we want in a winter Workamping job. It’s in a warm climate that we like to be in anyway and it only lasts two months. A couple that Margie worked with in retail had a reservation lined up at an RV park for next year but decided they weren’t coming back. Margie gave them a check for a deposit and their reservation was changed to us. There is a good possibility that Margie’s mom may come with us next year and work in retail. There was a lot of leftover food that we were allowed to take with us. Man if only we had more room and a deep freeze. We still took as much as we could. There were hamburgers and chicken patties among other things.
About 25 years ago when my son was about 10 years old, I got a pager. One of the reasons I got it was for him to always have a way to contact me. The pager became a cell phone and one cell phone changed to many different cell phones over the years. However, I never wanted to change my number for the same reason as why I got the pager in the first place. I never changed companies or the phone number so he would always have a number memorized to reach me in case of an emergency or any other reason. Right after we got to Surprise/Phoenix, Arizona my plan finally paid off. However, not in the way or for any reason I envisioned 25 years ago. I got a text message from a number I didn’t know. The message said, “Hey it’s your son I lost my phone. And don’t know anyone’s number but yours. What’s Erins number?” Not exactly the scenario I envisioned when I decided to never change my number about 25 years ago when he was 10. However, regardless of the scenario and in the words of Hannibal Smith on “The A Team,” “I love it when a plan comes together.”