First thing I’d like to wish all my loyal followers a “Merry Christmas”. I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving. I know it’s been a while since I put out a post. I was just looking and my last post was on November 16. I try to keep everybody updated at least every couple weeks. And more often when, more exciting things are going on in our life. The last month has been quite busy with normal routine and some exciting or should “I say scary times”. I hope I’ve perk your interest so follow along and I’ll update you on what’s been going on. First off the weather here in Southern California is been pleasant most of the time, days in the mid-60s to low 70s, with an occasional warmer day. And most evenings getting down into the mid-50s to mid-40s. We had a few rainy days which is very much welcomed in this very dry Southern California. But most days have been sunny and bright which I truly enjoy because back home in Wisconsin that doesn’t happen this time of year much. Plus in Wisconsin they have been experiencing many days below freezing and some very cold nights and some snow already. But one thing I’ve noticed here in Southern California unlike the Midwest and most northern states. People do not decorate as much for Christmas. Back home in Wisconsin it becomes a competition to see who can light up their houses the brightest and have the greatest Christmas spirit. But here lighting and decorating seems to be far and few between, they do a little but nothing like I’m used to. So it hasn’t felt really like the holiday season, between the warm temperatures and the lack of Christmas Decorations. Not that I’m complaining because I enjoy the warmer temperatures and can do without all the Christmas decorations. But here’s a picture of Maxine and me in front of the park office (with a few Christmas lights in the background).
Sharon one of the park attendance goes out of her way every year to put up some lights and decorations. This year I borrowed her Dave my “Minion” that I purchased last year and used in Georgia. You can see him in that my previous post here out in front of my rig last year. I’ve been quite busy doing projects here around the park. When I got here George (the park manager) had a list of things he’d like to get accomplished while I’m here and I’m been knocking them out one by one. I like the way he operates, he will give me a list and just setting me loose. I have been working at my own pace and the days and times that I choose. If I need help someone is more than willing to help out, otherwise I just work at the things that need to be done and put in my 20 hours a week. That’s what I like about the guys here at the park it’s all pretty laid-back and the park looks great with all the work they’ve done over the last year. In the last month we had a tree service finally come in and take out a bunch of the dead trees that needed to be cut up. Plus we had the California Conservation Corps (the CCC), came in for about a week and did a lot of cleanup and trail grooming. This is a group of young men and women very similar to the CCC that was in operation during the depression, but they do not have camps and work day-to-day in different areas as needed, in different parts of California. One of the biggest nuisance here at the park are the ground squirrels. Here’s a couple photos of them if you look close they are in the shadows.
Maxine has taken it on as her personal goal to torment them. She’ll be outside over near my rig and spot one, and do her best to chase them and try to catch them. Unlike squirrels in Wisconsin that will run up the trees, and then she’ll sit at the base of the tree and bark at them. These guys are like groundhogs and dig big holes all over. Here’s a photo of the kind of damage they can do.
They’ll undermine the tree roots sometimes to the point that they weaken the support so much that in the high winds the trees have become uprooted and blow over. You can read about some of the damage they do in my old post here from January 2017. And here’s a photo of one of the trees that blew over that year.
But the bad habit she’s gotten into recently is she’ll chase the squirrels into the hole, when I’m not looking, and start digging like crazy in the soft sand. There’s been a couple times where I have lose sight of her for a bit. And then all of a sudden I will see your with half her body down in a whole trying to do her best to put these guys in check. We’ve also made several trips in the town to go to the dog beach, which you guys already know Maxine truly loves. Just a week ago we went in on a sunny but cool day. It was cool enough that I kept a jacket on and did not want to go in the water at all, but that didn’t stop her.
As a matter of fact the surf was larger than normal and there were quite a few people with surfboards enjoying the waves.
You can see some of them in the surf in the background.
After spending about an hour and a half at the beach. I decided to pack up and head to the park. As usual Maxine looked so sad when it came time to leave, you think I was torturing her. But I dried her off put her in the car and with a few minutes we were at Balboa Park.
This was the first time this season that we been here. It’s always an enjoyable place to visit and I was there many times, when I was down here two winters ago. Here’s a couple photos out in front of the duck pond and greenhouse.
You can see the little girl in this one wanting to get up close and personal with the ducks.
If you want to check out some of my old posts you can see more photos and information about Balboa Park here, from back in February 2017. And again here, when my daughter Jennifer was down and we visited it March 2017. As I mentioned in these previous post Balboa Park is the largest urban park in the country, bigger than Central Park in New York. There are many different aspects of the park including the San Diego County Zoo and the veterans hospital and many museums all being part of it. As always there was lots of activity going on including some street performers. These guys would line up several people and then jump over them, quite the performance.
Now into the scary news, on Thursday, November 29. It rained on and off hard all day. So what did I do? I ended up spending the day in the emergency room. (“Spoiler alert” it didn’t end up being anything serious), so if you don’t want to read about my aches and pains jump ahead to the end to the exciting news, in the next section and skip this part. I will share it with you, but it’s kind of a long story. “Here Goes” A week earlier I had gone to the doctors office for routine physical and annual blood work and that sort of thing. But the day before I had the doctors appointment I got a kind of a sharp pain not very strong in my chest on the left side. So the fact that I was going into the doctors office the next day Wednesday, November 21, I waited to have it checked out then. All my vitals were good and there was no sign of a heart attack or anything serious, we both thought it was maybe just a pulled muscle or little pinched nerve. I was coming back in a couple days later to get some blood drawn for the routine cholesterol test and other blood tests. So we both decided that she could check on me then again, if it got worse I would just go to the ER. It didn’t feel any worse over the next couple days and at times felt just fine this was on Black Friday, November 23. Moving ahead to the next Wednesday, November 28 it was no better or worse in the morning and I went about my normal chores that I was doing here at the park. I was doing some digging of holes and replacing fenceposts and a few other somewhat strenuous chores. Nothing other than normal for me, but by late afternoon when I quit working, the pain had got quite a bit worse and seem to have moved to the left of back side of my rib cage. That evening I ended up in a lot of pain to the point of thinking that I might even have to call 911 to come and get me. There was no signs that said it was a heart attack, but I was thinking it might be blood clots in the lungs because I have had a history of some blood clots in my legs and this worried me. But being as stubborn as I am, I waited till morning and called the clinic first thing, they got me in right away. I packed a bag so that if I have to stay overnight in the hospital I would have something to wear. I made arrangements with one of the guys here at the park to let Maxine out and take care of her if they kept me overnight. And told him I would keep him updated as I found out more. I headed out to Campo, California, about 10 miles away to the clinic. The doctor checked me out, all my vital signs were good and she didn’t think it was a blood clot but wasn’t sure what it was. But there was nothing else she could do for me and felt I needed to go to the ER to get a CT scan. As I said earlier it was raining off and on. Sometimes very heavy as it does here in Southern California, I assured her I could drive myself and didn’t need a ambulance. So I headed into downtown San Diego to the big hospital and the very busy ER. Of course I wasn’t bleeding or in any mortal danger so I wasn’t as high a priority as some other people, which only makes sense. They did do an EKG within a few minutes and that was fine. It was a little while more before a doctor could even come and talk to me, but the nurses were busy moderating my vital signs, which were fine. Once again after poking and prodding and asking all kinds of questions about what I might have done to injure myself, but could not come up with anything for the doctor to come up with a diagnosis. He also did not think it was blood clots but once again weren’t sure. I was still in a lot of pain as long as I didn’t move it was probably only a number two on a scale of 1 to 10. But if I move just right or coughed it would shoot up to an eight or nine of a sharp pain. So they put me on the list for the CT scanned which took a while to get freed up. In the meantime the nurse came in and after trying three times finally got an IV in my arm. By this point I was even more sore and uncomfortable, but I was glad they were giving me the attention they were. As most of you know, that know me I have to be really sick before I will go to a doctor. When I probably should’ve gone much sooner. And this was only the second time in my whole life that I’ve ever had to go to the ER. So obviously I was in a lot of pain and a little nervous. It was well over an hour before they finally could get me to the CT scan. After the scan they told me it would be another half hour or more before they could read it and get back to me. In the meantime seeing that I was stable and they needed the room for other critical patients they moved me back out in the waiting room to await the results of the scan. It took well over an hour before they could get back to me. While I sat there waiting I got to see quite a few doctors come out and talk to people about the test results that they were waiting on. They were releasing patients one by one sending them home because they had minor problems. A couple people had been involved in car accidents because of the rainy weather and thank goodness nothing seriously wrong with them but just being cautious. There were couple young kids which had fevers which ended up being just flulike symptoms and so on. With this being a busy ER they had to handle things that way, not much privacy. The people that did not need to be admitted or had serious problems were given the good news and sent on their way home from the waiting room. As I sat there I saw probably about eight or ten people released and was waiting my turn. But when they came out to talk to me they asked me to come back and wait in a examination room to hear from the doctor. At this point I figured for sure they were going to be keeping me overnight. But within a few minutes the doctor came in and gave me the good news that I had a cracked rib. This put a smile on my face because I knew it wasn’t anything too serious and I didn’t have to stay overnight. He had told me that it could’ve been cracked by just having a hard coughing spell which I did have a couple times over the last week or so. Or I probably injured it doing things here at the park and didn’t even realize it. But with the heavy work I was doing the day before I either cracked it worse or for sure aggravated the heck out of it. There wasn’t really anything he could do for me other than give me a prescription for some pain pills and tell me to take it easy and be careful. And to follow up with my regular doctor if it got any worse. That night ended up being another uncomfortable and pretty much sleepless night because of all the poking and prodding and uncomfortable positions that I was in, for the six or seven hours that I was in the ER. The funny thing is all that time I was in the ER, I probably only saw the doctor for about 15 or 20 minutes total. It made for a long and interesting day which I don’t want to experience again anytime soon. Now with the comfort of knowing that it wasn’t anything serious I started my trip back to the park which is about an hour’s drive. But on the way I stopped at the pharmacy to get the pain pills the doctor had prescribed. Both him and the pharmacist warned me not to take these and try to do anything other than sleep and they did knock me out right away. In the meantime while I was waiting for my prescription to be filled, I called both of my daughters to let them know I was fine but that I had an exciting day in the ER. (“Diana B.”, you should be proud of me, because I took your advice). My good friend Diana had kindly told me that I need to keep my daughters informed of anything that might happen. Because if I didn’t when I would tell them everything was fine they would stop believing me and she is right. Because as many of you know earlier this year when I had a few problems I kept them in the dark for quite some time trying to save them from worries. I’ve been informed by a couple people that I’m getting older and need to take it easier “when the heck did that happen”. My brain still thinks I’m in my 20s or 30s but my body doesn’t want to agree anymore. The funny thing is I’ve been to see more doctors in the last year that I probably had in the previous 65 years of my life. People say it sucks to get old, “I’m sure glad I’m not there yet”. By the next day Friday I was feeling quite a bit better and within a few days the pain went away and everything seems to be normal, but I am being extra cautious not to aggravate or make it worse again. I know that was a long story to get to the point but I wanted you all to field the pain I felt “LOL”.
Now to the exciting news about what’s going to happen this spring. As you all know if you’ve been following along on my blog. My oldest daughter Crystal and her husband moved to Olympia, Washington back in September. When I spent a week up there visiting her, the first week of October. One day when we were hanging out together, she was telling me about her bucket list plans, that she was hoping to do some time in the foreseeable future. One of which were spending several weeks or more traveling around Europe sometime in the next year or so. The plan was that she was going do it by yourself, because her husband travels a lot for work and really wasn’t interested in doing it, “plus someone has to earn the money to pay for it”. But it always been a dream of hers. And she asked if I would want to join her as we share so many of the same interests. I thought about it and loved the idea, but what would I do with Maxine for that long of a time period. I slept on it that night and started thinking about how we could make it work. We talked more the next day and as far as storing the rig it shouldn’t be any problem at all. And we started comparing notes and dates, to see what would make the most sense. At that time she wasn’t working at all and didn’t have to go back to work if she didn’t want to. But I knew she would because she’s not the type to sit at home and let her husband take care of her totally. She was already looking for a job, at least seasonal work. Within a week she had a seasonal job at Target and has been working a lot of hours ever since then. When I left there the second week of October we had not made any plans other than to dream about it and see if we could make it work. Over the last couple months we talked about it off and on and a little more seriously. We talked about finding someone to take care Maxine and have explored several options. And what she would do if she did take on a more permanent job between now and then. As we talked and did some exploring of options. We found a travel package put together by a company called “EF Go Ahead Tours”, (Grand Tour of Europe) a 16 day excursion in May that caught our interest. If you’re interested you can click here to go to their website. But both of us wanted to do longer stay if we were going to do this trip. We figured we could do Great Britain, Scotland and Ireland on our own, either the front or back side of the tour of Europe. And we agreed that we would need to add at least a week to the timeframe. So far it was a nice dream, but if we were going to do this we had to get more serious. So fast forward to just a few days ago when things got more serious. We were both in contact with the tour company and talking and exploring our options and costs. After exploring the options of where we wanted to go in the United Kingdom. And talking with the agents at the tour company one of the people there offered up the idea of doing a back to back tour with two of their packages. The dates we were looking at we would be able to do on the front side there tour “Highlights of England, Scotland and Ireland” starting April 29 for 12 days, check it out here. Finishing on May 10 which is the date we were looking at doing the European tour. I know we could of done the United Kingdom for less money on our own. But this idea is so much more convenient. So after crunching the numbers and exploring all the options we put our deposit down two days ago. So our Christmas and Birthday presents to ourselves will be a father and daughter 28 day trip to explore Europe. There’s still a few hurdles we have to overcome, the biggest one finding someone to take care of Maxine. And a place to store my RV and car while were gone, but that part will be easy. The plan is for me sometime in April to head back up to Olympia get everything figured out so that on April 29, we will be off to London. So if anybody knows someone I could hire to take care of poor Maxine, who has to stay behind, in the “Olympia- Seattle” area let me know. I may have to change my blog to “On The Road With Crystal and Me” for a month or so. As you can tell it’s been a busy and exciting month. I’m sure there’ll be lots of exciting decisions and plans made over the next few months between now and May. But look forward to lots of posts and photos about our European adventures this spring.
Thanks for taking the time to follow along, and once again “Merry Christmas” to all and to all a good night.
Till next time safe travels best wishes, Rick