Today is the last day full day for us in our little RV village. I cleaned the windshield and it was still dirty. The outside was covered in a film of dust and the inside full of cat nose smudges. It took me three attempts to make it good enough to not see any streaks. I'll let you in on a little secret. A fine steel wool with some glass cleaner will make your window the cleanest you have ever seen it. Sounds crazy, but a fine steel wool (grade 0000) takes away all the little bugs and even mineral deposits. I picked up this trick of the trade from my time detailing cars at an auto body shop.
Priorities are always put into place when packing comes into play. A clean windshield keeps us from bashing into some moron driving to slow on the highway. Safety first. My next chore on the list is to re-install the kayak racks onto Shirley. She had them stripped off to haul supplies for grandma's house.
Up against the back wall is the rest of our stuff. The kayaks and bikes will go onto Shirley while T-dub needs to get loaded onto the back of Penny. Wait a minute. It's 70 degrees outside and our last day here. I bought this motorcycle for a reason. To ride. We say goodbye to Phoenix in the best way I can think of.
It's so close. We are getting read to leave and the anticipation is building. Today will be the last day we see grandma for a while. She will be greatly missed and we loved our time here with her. Our lunch is spent with her and the final goodbyes are said. A few last packages are grabbed from the house and then it's back home to start packing up. One of the packages delivered was a set of new thermostats for the RV water heater. A few days ago it decided to overheat and send the water heater into a fault code. This is where owner's manuals come in so handy. Just open it up and scroll down to the troubleshooting section.
Above you will see the pics of the water heater from the outside. It's rusty from that leak I already fixed and I think that also had something to do with this problem. An astute eye will notice the shiny new brass valve is directly located over a few electrical wires. Those wires go to a thermostat which controls the water heater temp. Quick work gets made of the existing parts and things get stripped out in just a couple of minutes. The rubber foam is a mess with the adhesive residue remaining. A little WD-40 (which was made by NASA to displace water for the APOLLO missions; attempt #40) does a pretty good job of cleaning adhesive. That gets followed up with some Goo Gone (invented 1984 by American products to remove grease) and then a light soapy rag.
These things are filled with wax. They get hot, wax expands, pushes metal thingy to make current either start or stop.
With the repair completed my attention turns back to Penny. Her tires have covers that need to be cleaned. The reason for this is to stop the rubber from getting blasted by UV rays. This will cause the tires to wear out faster than anything else. RV's rarely ever wear out the tread.
Clouds roll in and the night starts to chill. Goodyear is forecasted for rain tonight. The drizzle is a welcome relief after 29 days of straight up sunshine. One thing is for absolute certain, we will miss the amazing sunsets in the desert.
Today will be the last work day at grandmas. On the way there we swing by a UPS location to return some amazon stuff. While Katie is inside I spot this incredibly stupid car parked next to me. I should have gotten out and taken a better picture, but this will have to work for now. It's a late model Mitsubishi Eclipse with an anime vinyl decal on it.
The kitchen only has a couple of more outlets that need to get replaced and today is the day. They get replaced in quick fashion. Lucky for me some jerk wired all the kitchen outlets with #10 wire. That means it is thick enough to handle enough power to run a stove. It also means the wires are a real pain in the butt to bend and get into place.
Thick wires are no match for my tool bag. Outlets are getting installed whether the house wants them or not.
The house fights back and one of the breakers in the main electric panel refuses to re-energize. Sometimes stuff like that happens. A breaker that has been in one spot for 40 years does not necessarily want to move from its position. It most likely had a little corrosion on it and decided to longer make a circuit once the switch had been moved. Oh well. Just another parts run to the hardware store.
Have you ever had a problem with technology? Katie is trying to apply for a job and it requires flash player. My Chromebook doesn't have an operating system so that's out. Katie's tablet is a droid and there isn't any flash downloads available from the app store. The last option is the laptop we have with Windows 10 on it. I hate that piece of crap. It's cumbersome and difficult to use. After some work and finagling I get the laptop to work for what she needed.
A few hours go by as the afternoon dwindles on. I ask Eli if he wants to go for a walk. Below is his answer.
Easy way to end an easy day. Maybe tomorrow we'll do something exciting.
We are down to just the last couple of bits at grandma's. Today will be a big day for Katie. Her hatred for painting doors has come full circle. The newly installed front door gets ripped off the hinges and laid out in the backyard for it's first coat of paint. A single stage Rust-Oleum will seal the outside facade against the mighty Arizona sun.
While the paint is drying I go about my business and tidy up the cabinets with the handle installation. It's easy going as the sharp new drill bits make a hole without destroying the laminate finish. Then it's off to install a couple of more outlets and light switches.
The day winds down into the late afternoon. We stuck around a bit later than usual so that we could give the door paint enough time to set. Cautiously the door gets hinged back to the frame to avoid damaging the new paint. It will be a full week until it cures to maximum hardness.
Ah yes, another exciting book came in. This one is quite a bit older but still holds some information that I will be able to use. The end goal is simple: build a cheap car which looks slow that is stupid fast.
We get home and I settle in for some reading. The first few pages are all about the basics and then we get into the real fun stuff. Algebraic equations will lead me to the path of building a motor that can handle some forced induction. Finally, all the crap I was forced to learn in high school has paid off. This will be the first time in my adult life I've ever needed to understand this stuff.
Some reading material that I picked out a few days ago has finally arrived. We have a very advantageous situation and we should be utilizing it. In my free time I'll start to do some more learnin' about things that matter to me. I'm already looking forward to settling down and owning another house. Houses come with garages, and garages get filled with cars to work on.
The book of dreams gets put to the side so we can finish up a few lingering items at grandmas's house. Her cabinets that were previously installed still don't have any handles on them.
It's an easy task that doesn't take much time. Measure, then measure, then measure once more. Now step back and admire the work because I forgot my drill bits at home. Dammit.
Tibbs is running around the house like a meth addict on a fresh high. It's 7am and the RV park is still silent. I wonder if I can get outside and beat on some Jeep parts before anyone notices. Slowly, I climb out of bed and look out the window. Yeah... let's do this.
A few quick and hard wraps with a hammer pops the u-joint out of it's driveshaft home. The bearings are still in decent shape but the trunion and cap have worn down enough to make some slop. Then it's the same process in reverse and the new u-joint gets put back in. Once bolted up we are ready to head out for today's adventure.
Four Peaks Brewery in Tempe Arizona offers free tours of their process on Saturdays. The brew pub is located in the oldest poured concrete structure in Arizona. Built in 1892, this old creamery and ice house retains much of it's charm. The bare concrete walls and steel beams are all original. Most of the wood trusses appear to be original along with a few single pane windows.
Our tour guide for the day starts pouring samples from cans.... which is odd. This is our fourth brewery tour and the first one that didn't give samples out of the tap. To be fair the other three were Budweiser (St. Louis/ Houston) and Miller-Coors.
Our tour guide takes us aimlessly through the brew process and rooms. He is knowledgeable in the process, but lacks fluidity in the lecture. The facts just kind of drone on and on with no real rhyme or reason to the process. Below you will see special edition beers aging in old whiskey barrel casks.
Halfway through the tour I'm standing around staring at the floors and walls of the building. This place is a mess. I have 15 years of food and pharmaceutical manufacturing experience under my belt and I know what to look for. The floors and equipment do in fact appear to be clean. It's the final execution from the last shift worked that is ridiculous. The tour takes us in between tanks where guests have to step over hoses. Pallets are on edge and boxes are not put away. This place is a slip/fall hazard just waiting to happen.
Look at this jumbled pile of crap. I don't want to hear that they have nowhere else to go with it. If that is the area you must use, then organize and store it on shelving and hooks. And that paint.... ugh.
The end of the tour takes us into a small bottling room for the special editions. Here our guide points at the wall and talks about what other businesses where here over the years and how they took plaster down to find this beautiful old brick wall. What you can't see is that the wall has flaking paint. Actually, a lot of rooms were in a state of disrepair due to paint. That's not historic, it's called being lazy. I sure hope the boss of this place gets his act together and cleans this place up. It is at a tipping point of either being something special... or getting them a 483 from the FDA.
Problems never stop coming up in an RV. Penny is a 13 years old and she is starting to show her age. The water heater has slowly dripped from the pressure relief valve since we left St. Louis. Mineral deposits and rapid heat/cool cycles lead the seal to stop sealing. A huge benefit of being parked in one spot for this long is the ability to order parts. This special sized water relief valve was delivered for the paltry sum of $12. Nice.
Now it's off for our morning walk. This time we are going to shake it up a little bit more than usual. Eli has really been showing his age lately. Last week he busted out of grandma's house while we were gone and galloped through the neighborhood. He has had a limp that followed him from that day. The old man just can't do that stuff anymore but he doesn't know it. We leave gray face at home and hit the streets for a long walk. Our goal is to rack up 4 miles first thing this morning.
Our first find of the day is this jug of pee. Maybe it's not pee, but it looks like pee to me.
This is the overpass for Cotton Lane. Get it? Why they felt the need to spend tax payers dollars on frivolous concrete work escapes me. Looks nice though.
We trundle forward and get further into this side of Goodyear. I turn left and take us north through a small park that lines a subdivision.
The little park marked the halfway point of our quest. An abrupt turn back south will take us back home to face the rest of the day. I sit down for about 30 seconds and the boredom swoons over me. Hmmm.... what to do. I know Shirley still has the shakes. I guess I can crawl underneath and start looking at things I can't fix here.
Uh, that's not supposed to do that. A u-joint on a vehicle shouldn't move around. Shirley isn't your typical car. She is a 30 year old design that has been at the foothills of glaciers and pounded through sand drifts outside death valley. The part is an easy fix, but fixing it an the RV park is frowned upon. This is supposed to be a nice place with no garbage. I'd be "that guy" outside beating on his old jeep with a hammer which is not good. That kind of behavior could very likely lead to a polite invitation for us to leave.
I sneak under the jeep as night falls and crack a couple of bolts loose. The driveshaft comes out easily and I get a good look at how difficult this will be to do without any real tools. It looks doable. Katie gets her goodbye kiss and I saddle up on T-Dub for a ride to the parts store. Upon my return the driveshaft gets sprayed down with penetrating oil to sit overnight. We'll beat on it with a hammer tomorrow morning. Hopefully it will be quick and quiet.
No matter what we are doing or where we are I can't help but to think about really stupid stuff. It's a disease really. I inherited it from my dad's side of the family. Your mind just never stops wandering. Case in point: A majority of the houses and buildings down here have tile roofs. I had never seen these growing up and sure as heck have never installed one. Makes me wonder..... what does it weigh? Where do they make them? How long do they last? How do you install? The questions keep tumbling into my mind as I'm standing in front of a house staring at the roof like an idiot. This day in age I'm able to pop open my phone and find out anything I want to know. Technology is amazing.
I'll stop the ramblings about tile roofs and we'll roll straight into the main event. It's thanksgiving here in Arizona and the air has a chill. Clouds block out the sun on what is a rare occasion and the temperatures are still in the lower 60's. The Adams family football game is about to get underway. There's a 20 minute hold up once we realize nobody brought a ball. Yep, it's gonna be that kind of game.
The family clan and friends run around for an hour and call it good. After that we kill some time at grandma's and I take a few minutes to shower some stank off. Then it's off to Katie's aunt and uncles house for what is supposed to be a big Thanksgiving. When they say big they mean it. A total of 37 people show up from around the neighborhood. There are 4 turkeys, 2 hams, and more side dishes than you can shake a stick at. Everybody grabs a fork full of something and passes it to the right. Coolers are filled with frosty beverages and there is even Dos Equis on tap. This is Thanksgiving done right.
During all the chaos of preparing I spot a car tucked behind a fence next to the house. If you are not a car person go ahead and stop reading now. The next blurb of letters underneath the picture will be mostly gibberish nonsense.
Quick Specs: 1979 Mustang Indy Pace Car Edition First year of the Fox Body 5.0 2 valve with a C4 automatic, factory rated at 140hp 53,000 original miles Front and rear TRX sway bars Recaro Seats
Total pace car production was 10,748 units. They could be had with the 2.3L turbo 4 cylinder or the 5.0 v8 with either auto or a stick. This car is one of the 2,106 v8 automatics that were made. Katie's grandpa had bought this new from the dealership in Hales Corners Wisconsin and driven it for a number of years. Then when one of his sons graduated from high school he gave the car to him. From there it cruised the streets of Milwaukee before ultimately making it's way down to Phoenix. It's been sitting in this fenced prison for a number of years now. Hopefully it will once again roam the streets as a ferocious Fox Body Stang.
Another day another morning walk. We need to hit our goal of 5 miles a day and the sooner we do it the better. This is the view of the back of our park from the street. It is the closest sidewalk that we have and we like the smooth pavement opposed to the gravel shoulder sometimes.
Katie and I sit around the RV for the rest of the day and catch up on some simple chores. Katie ops to work on hemming some of her pants up from recent goodwill purchases. She's got no problem wasting a day away doing next to nothing.
I on the other hand hate to sit around. Being bored is not really for me. The RV is covered in a layer of dust from the surrounding area. Dust is bad for the paint. More importantly it makes us look like a bunch of poor schlubs who are homeless. Not this ride. This 32 foot house is getting a bath.
First time I got to use my new collapsible ladder.
I'm forced to basically give the RV a sponge bath. The RV park charges $25 for "water usage" if you want to wash your rig on site. It's really just a deterrent to keep people from getting bored and washing their rig once a week. I skirted around this by wiping a section down with soapy water, then wiping it down with a clean water sponge. One of the security guys who cruises around saw what I was doing and slowed down to catch a look. No hose... no problem. It's the kind of situation where you are better to ask for forgiveness than permission. All turned out OK and Penny got a much needed bath. It only took me 4 hours. Now what to do with the rest of the day...
Nothing quite like a romp on the motorcycle to bring a smile to my face. Work at grandma's is starting to run on the lean side. Most of the things she needed done have already been accomplished. There's a couple of things left to do but we still want to enjoy Phoenix to the fullest. A ride on the motorcycle to go hang up some curtains is the best of both worlds. T-Dub clicks off 500 miles on the way. Another milestone.
Katie picked out the curtains and now she gets to hang them up. We stick around long enough for a delicious lunch and head out on our way.
I wanted to stop at Cycle Gear and start looking at some cold weather jackets for the bike. Preparation to ride in the cold Houston winters is going to require a jacket of some sort. The prices here are way out of our range. Maybe if we had jobs it would be fine, but it's a much harder justification when you are just burning through the bank account. I will keep looking through thrift stores in order to save us some cash. Even though we are at an RV resort for the month, we are still living life on the road.
In my head I have been preparing for this day. I'm already trying to figure out how it is all going to be hooked together in the easiest fashion possible. In the past, old retrofit lights have been a real pain in the butt for some of my projects. That's not the case this time. Grandma's house already has wiring and switches in place. That's a huge bonus for just adding a couple fixtures. Daisy chaining a few lights together turns out to be a piece of cake.
Step #1- Lay out where the lights are going to go. Measure equal distances off the wall and find your spot. Check the ceiling for rafters, duct-work, wires and other obstructions if you can. At the very least you have to make sure there isn't a rafter in the way. This can be done with a stud finder or a trip up into the attic. Use the template provided in the box to mark you cut out. DO NOT CUT THE HOLE TOO BIG. You will never be able to cover it with a trim ring otherwise. You don't need to go full Hulk Hogan on this stuff. Make the hole small and enlarge it too fit.
Step #2- Using a drywall saw (or a an old sawzall blade) cut the hole out. Ask your beautiful wife to hold up a box to catch the insulation that is bound to fall to the floor. The insulation will most likely be fiberglass and make you itch until sometime next week. Now we can run a wire over to the existing light fixture.
Step #3- Hooking up the wiring is easy. You can simply turn off the switch and the power will be off at the wires. Sure you can flip off the breaker, but that's all the way outside. These retrofit recessed lights came pre-wired with simple push in connectors. Strip the wire back and match the colors up.
The recessed light gets pushed into the hole and then the trim gets added. I opted for the trim/baffle and LED light all built into one. It is the same cost as buying all the parts separate and way easier.
Step #3- Snap the little spring thingy's into the light fixture and... VOILA! Super sweet LED lighting.
Super simple post today. We didn't do a whole lot besides sit around all day long. I didn't even think to take some pictures until the end of the night. Enjoy some pics of our oasis during a night walk.
Buckeye Arizona holds one of the only free parks in the area. Most places try to scalp the users for $7 a car or $80 a year. We figured it was time for us to get out and see a little bit of the countryside. Katie gets the Camel-backs cleaned up for the first time in nearly a month. Most of the hikes look easy and the temperature is lovely. I think we will keep today to only 3.5 miles. Let's roll.
We took a 3 day weekend off from working at grandmas and did a little shopping. Katie has been flipping through all the local Goodwil stores in order to find some cold weather clothes. Houston winters still get chilly and we simply are not prepared for the weather that lay ahead. While out on our little trip we drive past a grocery store and I see something I want to share. This is a normal thing down here in Phoenix. The parking lot for the grocery store is entirely shaded.
It's just another example of people adapting to the local environment. Obviously this roofed parking was put into place to stop cars from spontaneous combustion in the summer heat. Last summer it was so hot here that they grounded some flights from the phoenix airport because it was too hot to fly. I want this to be clear. It gets so hot here that physics do not allow air planes to develop lift because of the air density. This is a sign. Move north.
Lower cabinets need a friend. Who would have thought they make wall cabinets that match? This will be an easier install than the bottom was yesterday. First thing to do is measure and then start laying out the outline. Figure out where the studs are and which cabinets go where. Proceed to screw the first cabinet to the wall and step back to admire your work. Then, and only then, can you notice that the cabinet is off center and doesn't line up with the bottom. Huh... I only measured once. Dammit.
I have to pull the cabinet down and start over. Now I'll eat my words and do what I said in the first place yesterday. Time to measure, then measure, and check it once more.
Katie and grandma start going through the Arizona room looking for things to start filling the cabinets with. There is still a lot of unpacking to be done here.
I get the cabinets wrapped up for the day and we decide it's time to head home. The handles and finishing touches will be taken care of another day.
Our glorious day gets wrapped up with daily chores that still need to get done. Kitty has got some dirty ears and I get volunteered to hold him down. This is my life.
Another day of the handy-couple lifestyle. Mr. Kitchen is a little short on space and Grandma wants things to change. She needs room for her good china and guest glasses. Who are we to deprive her of that? The bottoms get put in first. It will be a lot easier to line up the top row once we have something to use for support and more measurements. Now we got fairly lucky here. The floors in the house are already level and there is no need for shims. Under the cabinets is nice flat linoleum that serves as a great base for a small row of cabinets. I cannot stress this enough.... measure, measure, measure. We planned on putting in these cavernous storage containers while still leaving room for the fridge door (remember we turned that around) and a wine cart on the other side.
Lady luck struck twice in this installation. A piece of 6 foot counter top fit where we needed it with just enough room. The three separate cabinets get screwed together and then the counter top gets laid on for a test fit. Again... don't be stupid. Check, measure, then measure it again. The counter hangover (it had a long night) gets split between both sides and glued into place. There are a few different ways to attach this but a quality wood glue will never let go, never squeak, and most importantly never allow the top to shift from a good bump. After that we stack on about 500 pounds of boxes and let it sit overnight.
The cabinets will form a bond with it's new counter top overnight with all the weight pressed on it. It's going to be a long marriage so they might as well get a chance to talk alone. We head home with some cool boxes that showed up for Shirley. In preparation for our trip to Houston next month I've ordered a bunch of parts for the old girl. The front suspension is just plain worn out. Tony's got the space and tools which I plan on taking full advantage of. Below you will see what $500 in Cherokee suspension parts look like. No off brand crap for me. When you buy cheap crap it works like cheap crap. Our lives are at stake when we head 20 miles into the desert alone or drive down the sides of mountains with no guardrails. Shirley is getting the good stuff.
A nightly dog walk outside the park caps off the evening just the way we like it. Another gorgeous sunset over our little piece of paradise.
Time to head out to Grandma's house and do some more work on her wall. The first coat of drywall has been completed and cured over the weekend. Now for the fun stuff. Most people fear drywall like it's the black plague. Fear not, for it isn't that bad. After the first coat is dry just take a mud knife and knock off all the high spots (assuming you didn't go ballistic on the first coat). Then go ahead and 2nd coat right over the top. The key here s to make the seams about 18"-24" wide and just thin enough that you can barely see the tape through the wet mud. If you catch a chunk of something and get a huge line through the 2nd coat it's okay. Leave it alone. Don't go back and try to fix it to be perfect or you'll just screw it up even more. Then let it dry.
I spend the rest of the night with Katie just doing some random house chores and working on this blog. Sometimes a little antique roadshow in the background is just thing I need to finish the day.
Sometimes you just gotta kick back and take a day off. Today is going to be one of those days. Katie and I set up our chairs outside after a late breakfast and just enjoy the weather and watching the people walk by. I tend to get a little stir crazy and always need something to do in order to occupy my time. The license plate bulb for the jeep has been burnt out since our last trip (a year ago) and I'm finally going to replace it. It's not an easy in and out. This is a mid-western jeep with mid-western rust. The screws are mostly disintegrated and need to be drilled out. I go full incognito mode and work on it in between people walking by. A total of 20 minutes is spent on the project and POOF! New light. Guess I didn't need to avoid that for a year. Well that is enough for the day. Enjoy some cat pictures.
Grand Avenue on the west side of downtown Phoenix is having their 10th annual street fest. We want to go and see what's free but still sit back and count the pennies of our travels while we are parked. It's a beautiful sunny 80 degree day. We opt to hitch a ride on T-dub and make our way 21 miles west through city traffic to avoid the highway. The roads are flowing pretty good and we arrive in about 45 minutes. Upon our arrival we take a ride up and down the avenue to scout out a parking spot. Looking for a place to park is always easier when you live the motorcycle life. It can fit anywhere.
The festival is pretty small. I'd say it was only about 10 blocks long and all of it was really located on one side. It was a small enough ordeal that they didn't even shut traffic down. Our stroll down the street was filled with an eclectic bunch of people. This is mostly an arts gallery and boutique strip that is located right on the edge of the rough side of town. We saw people of every color and background cruising down the sidewalk to catch a glimpse of what local businesses had to offer.
I am sucker for hot rods of any flavor. These late 20's to early 30's coupes are a car that should be on everyone's bucket list. Strap a few hundred horsepower to a frame with a couple of seats and this is what you get. No airbags or onstar here, just the open road and an attitude.
Haifley Brothers hot rod's were cool enough to even have the doors open. People were free to walk right into the shop and look at current builds that were going on. It's so awesome to see a small shop that still has an old vibe to it.
Don't let all the pictures and praise give you a false impression of a pretty place. Every business we strolled past either had barbed wire, razor wire, bars on windows, or combinations of all the above. It's the kind of place you walk the streets during the day, and take a cab at night. Right next door to the hot rods was a bike shop. Unfortunately nobody was around to let us take a look inside.
A sneak peek inside the bike shop
Random street art on a building.
We hit the road by 4pm in order to get home before the sun sets. On our way through Estrella Village some random dude in a car next to us a stop light strikes up some chit chat as we sit. I like this place. It's got a good vibe to it.
We finish the night off by taking Eli for a ride around the block. Yes I know the picture is blurry. It's all part of capturing the moment and snapping some evidence of our life. That and I was too lazy to stop pedaling and stand still for a picture.
Grandma answers her phone as soon as Katie calls. She is meeting us at Home Depot to pick out her new lights and pay for a few more supplies. Eli gets to share his bed with a box of recessed lights for the rest of the drive to her place.
First order of business for the day is to put together a frame for the old window. It's almost always easier to assemble this ahead of time. Trying to bang studs into an existing hole and toe-nailing them in can be done, but your chances of being out of square increase dramatically.
Once inside Katie and I will lift it up into the hole and start convincing it to fit with a few taps of the hammer. I always build my walls on the tight side so that they basically stay in place without having to use any nails. Just a personal preference I suppose.
The wall doesn't fit on the first attempt. It's been so long since I've done this I made a rookie mistake. Both wall ends have the same measurement, but the middle is a 1/4" shorter. I should have known to check somebody else's work instead of thinking it would be straight. Old houses are never straight. It only take a few minutes to pull the wall apart and nip 1/4" off the ends. Then it is right back up into the hole to be filled.
Drywall gets cut and put into place. Prior to that Katie went around the outside edge with a roller and primer. The mud will never stick the way it should to the satin paint that is already up. Primer will promote a better adhesion with less chances of cracking.
The Sheetrock goes together without much fuss. I'm forced to go old school on this. It's paper tape and pre-mixed joint compound. I would have rather used fiberglass mesh with a quick set 45 minute compound, but you gotta work with what you got. Not too bad a a couple of hours work. Tomorrow will be the next coat of mud, and I'll tell you how to do it with barely any sanding at all.
So apparently there is a 5 foot by 6 foot window that weighs about 1,000 pounds I need to take out of the wall in the kitchen. It used to be an outside window until the "Arizona room" was added on. What is that you ask? Well my northern friends let me tell you. It's a basically a 3 seasons room that actually gets used all season. Not really a problem with snow down here.
Well at least it only took me two hours to get it out. The window was screwed, glued, and built in place. I had to take my time pulling everything apart so I didn't break the frame or glass. This allowed Katie and I to throw it on top of Shirley and drop it off at the local Habitat for Humanity. It's a win-win. They get to re-sell the window and we don't have to figure out how else to get rid of it.
On our way back from dropping off the window we swing by Home Depot to pick up some supplies. Shirley gets a few sheets of drywall and some 2x4's thrown on the roof. This is a first for me. I havealwayshad a truck when going to the lumber yard. Now I'm "that guy" who straps crap to the roof. Well it's what we have and it works.
After getting everything unloaded we decide to call it a day. I'll tackle framing and drywall tomorrow. Eli gets a quick whistle and he jumps into Shirley without a complaint. We are getting ready to leave and I see Grandma's neighbor watering her rocks. HER ROCKS. She must have come from a place where there was grass. Old habits are hard to break.
Today will be a day off from the housework. Shirley gets dropped off at the local tire shop for a tire balance and rotation. Just across the parking lot is a huge antique mall. We don't have any money to spend or any space to put stuff. For some inexplicable reason though it is still one of the random things we do to pass the time for free. This place is huge and stuffed full of eclectic old commodities. One thing catches my eye that I would have bought if we still had a house and jobs. It was a solid brass serving tray with 6 solid brass goblets for $30. Not really sure why... it just looked really cool.
We pick Shirley up from the shop and head home for lunch. The shakes are still there. Dammit. Well that's really the one thing that I can't check myself so at least it's done. With lunch knocked out of the way we spend the afternoon heading into downtown Phoenix to see the Art Museum. It's free every Wednesday after 3pm.
We don't make it more than 15 feet before Katie gets her 1st scolding from the museum staff. She reaches out and touches the wall covered in fake butterflies. "Please don't touch the wall" we hear from an usher behind us. Oh it's going to be that kind of museum.
The halls are full of statues and sculptures. All of them are legit old things that have a real history. This Japanese suit of armor was from the late 1800's. Very cool.
This ink on paper was created in 1632 and is still in one piece.
I don't have a degree in the fine arts. I'm mostly tasteless and have a poor sense of style. But I do know what crap look likes. Polka dots on paper? Crap.
Our stroll slows to a crawl as we stop and read almost every single plaque in the building. We need to avoid rush hour at all costs. Phoenix traffic is no joke. I now know more about Chinese ceramics from the Qing period than I would ever have possibly thought. At least I feel enriched from the visit.
Here is a collection of portraits of a guy in a speedo. A total of 144 of them. Yes it's weird, but still better than polka dots.
We finally make it through a couple of hours and pass the madness of rush hour. Apparently the south side of Phoenix is supposed to be one of the rough neighborhoods. I make the call to drop Shirley south before we head west. Our route takes us through Central City, Estrella Village, and western Tolleson. Ehh... not that bad. A little razor wire and some bars on windows. Not many bail bond stores or even lotto marts. I've seen worse.
Shirley has developed a bad case of the shakes. It's been there for a while but it is definitely getting worse. Anything over 65 mph and this 20 year old jeep vibrates like a a pager from the 90's. There is a whole bunch of parts on the underside that can cause this and none of it is easy to fix, or easy on the budget. A quick look underneath shows a nice collection of red Moab mud still stuck to the inside of the wheels. Well, that might throw the balance off just a tad.
I get a few curious looks from passerby's while lying underneath the jeep with a putty knife. We are after all in an RV Resort. There is zero tolerance for working on vehicles here. It's just not allowed. Sweeping up the scraped mud into a dustpan shows me just how out of balance the tires really were. A lot. Alas it doesn't solve the problem. I'll run the Jeep down to the tire shop and get them balanced to take that out of the equation first.
It's Ticket Tuesday at the local cinema. Any matinee shown before noon is only $5. There's only one movie playing before noon today, and that is Bohemian Rhapsody. It's a hollywood movie on the formation of Queen. If I have to explain to you who Queen is then you should stop reading this blog and head to a record store. Freddie Mercury was a household name in the mid 80's and this movie really shows a good glimpse into the life of the band. I'd recommend it for anything under $10 in admission.
Westgate 20 complex is your one stop shop for a night out.
We scrounge ourselves back to the RV and take Eli for a stroll. Just another day here in Phoenix.