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February 2006

Thursday, February 2nd

Wow, I sure broke my new years resolution fast this year.  For anyone who didn't know, my resolution was to post in the blog every day.  Well, when we're setting in one spot vs. traveling some days there just doesn't seem like there's anything to post!  I won't make any more promises like that now.  Looks like we're back to posting every 1 to 5 days like before. 

Hey, I do have something new to tell you about.  You know that Chris has been going to physical therapy for her knee.  She goes 3x a week, and also goes to the gym here on base 3x a week.  Well I started going to the gym with her.  You may not realize it from looking at my 220 lb photos, but there was a time about 20+ years ago when I was in pretty good shape.

So, last weekend I started riding the bike with her, and Tuesday I hit the weight room.  I make the rounds on the machines and came to the curls.  Now I used to LOVE curls. It was my favorite.  So I did 10 warm-ups, added 40 lb and did 6 more, added 20 and did 4 more, and it felt good -- until the next day.  Wednesday I felt a little pain, then last night when I went to bed it hurt to straighten out my arms all the way.  LOL.  Today it didn't feel much better, so I did everything else and skipped the curls.  I'll get back on them Saturday.

So wish me luck.  We'll see if I stick with it.  It will be hardest when we hit the road.  Oh, don't know if we told you last month, but the gym here is very well equipped.  I'll try to get some photos when it's not crowded.



Saturday, February 4th

Today, a special treat for you all. You remember Chris, my dear wife?  The one who, at one time, posted regularly in the blog?  She has graciously consented to write a few lines.


Mac has threatened me with having to eat my own cooking if I donít update the blog today.  UGH!  Totally unfair threatening me with burnt or half-cooked food!  So here is my update to the blog.

 Iíve noticed that since I had the knee replacement, and all the medications that I was taking, my hair was starting to be in pretty bad shape.  Hair was falling out or it was too dry and breaking.  I started taking vitamins for my overall health and calcium to strengthen my bones.  I donít want to ever have to go through any surgery again. 

Mac has already mentioned that we are going to the gym and working out.  Iíve been trying to get my leg in shape and have now started adding some other parts of the body to my workout.  I really want to get into shape and have better strength and endurance.

I started trying to improve my hair also.  I had found a website forum for long-haired people  It has provided me with a lot of information regarding the care of my hair.  Iíve used some of the advice given by the forum users and my hair has quit breaking. Yea!  I want long hair but I donít want ugly long hair.  Hopefully, with the help of other long haired people I will have healthy and maybe even beautiful hair.



Sunday, February 5th

Hey, it's Super Sunday!  I have to admit we're not really football fans.  I really enjoyed as a teenager, played and all, but now we see about two or three games a year, but we always watch the Super Bowl.  Got to right?

I promised you some photos of the fitness center at MacDill AFB.  Here you can see it's pretty big.  Click on the photo to see pictures of inside.  Chris and I have been going regularly, we'll see how long it lasts

Fitness Center at MacDill AFB  Click photo for more


Yesterday, Chris mentioned that she's having fun with her hair, and has joined a long-hair forum online.  She's planning on growing it a lot longer.  Hey, everyone needs a hobby   Last hair cut was December 2003.  Here's a current photo for the record.


Monday, February 6, 2006

I forgot to mention that on Friday when we left to go to PT it was raining. It rained so much and so fast that we couldnít make it to PT. The roads flooded quickly and we refuse to drive through water that is up to the bottom of the car. So we turned around and came back to the RV. It rained a lot in the Tampa Bay area. There were several roads closed due to flooding, reports of 3-4 feet of water in some peopleís basement, etc.

Since I didnít get to go to PT on Friday we went to the gym and worked out. We worked out Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I try to cycle about 30 minutes and then work on the machines. Iíve used the ones to build up my leg muscles and recently started adding the ones that work on the arms and other areas of the body.

Today I went to PT. After working out I talked with my therapist about stopping PT. She measured me and tested my strength and said I was doing great. Sheíll send an update to the doctor letting him know also that I plan on continuing working out at the gym. So I got released from PT today. Yea! 

Also today itís been 8 weeks since I had my knee replacement surgery. Iím really glad that I got it done. I can walk now for long distances and Iím looking forward to some nature hikes through the National Parks that we plan on visiting. Yea me!!

Iíve started feeling so much better lately too. It may be that going to the gym has got those endorphins going or just that Iím not in so much pain any more. Whatever it is I am so glad that Iím feeling like "me" again. Actually I feel better than me, itís a new improved me!

So today we went to PT, then we went to see Macís mom, and he did her taxes for her.  Then we did some needed shopping at Wal-Mart and then the commissary.  Also we stopped at the phone store and got a new cell phone for the business.  The one that we had didn't work as good as our personal phone, so we got a new one.  We also stopped at 2 thrift stores and I found a few things that I bought.  I do love those thrift stores.  I found a brand new, still in the package, high quality satin pillowcase; it was less than $2.00 so of course I bought it!  I only found one book that I wanted to read though.  We also stopped at Sallyís Beauty Supply and I bought some stuff to help me put up my hair in different styles, such as hair pins, hair sticks, etc.

Thursday, February 9

I got to drive by myself to a thrift store today. It isnít too far from the base, only a couple of miles. The thrift store was having a half price sale on all clothing. I was there early too. I shopped and shopped till I about dropped and bought 2 large bags of clothes for only $49. I found several nice items for my parents and I also found several nice items for me!

Later Mac and I went to the gym to workout and I didnít do any workout with the weights; I just rode the stationary bike for about 8 miles. It doesnít sound like much but remember Iím working on getting my leg back into condition. Later Iíll be able to ride farther and at a higher resistance. For where Iím at physically Iím pleased with it.

Later on, after we got home and rested up, Mac probably assumed that was it for activities today but I got bored.  I couldnít concentrate on a book, housework of any kind sounded too boring, so I wanted to go for a nature walk.  Mac said heíd come with me even though I told him if he didnít want to he didnít have to come along. Poor guy thought we were only going to the beach so he wore sandals. After walking up and down the beach and admiring all the sea birds I wanted to walk more. So we stopped by the RV so Mac could put on his walking shoes and away we went. On this walk we discovered a dirt road that we hadnít seen before and walked down it. It was really nice to be able to walk, to admire the birds, the sky, the beach, the water, etc. Iím so glad I got my knee replaced. I can go for LONG walks now!

In the picture of the fitness center (blog entry of Feb. 5) you see a cement walkway which is actually a bridge. The bridge is over a small ďstreamĒ of water. Every time we go to the gym we stop on top of the bridge and look to see what we can find in the water. Weíve seen schools of small fish, large fish, a crab, turtles, one really big turtle and of course birds; herons, ducks, etc. We saw one bird that weíd never seen before and looked it up in the bird book. Itís a common gallinule, not so common to me, Iíd never seen one before.

Common Gallinule or Moorhen - Photo from Saltgrass Flats National Wildlife Refuge

Friday, February 10

Wow this week flew by fast.  Weíve been working at the business every day this week and going to the gym and working out. Itís amazing how time will fly when you are busy.

I did a French braid on my hair today while it was still wet after washing it.  Iím really getting into styling my hair.  I think Iím starting to feel more alive even mentally since my surgery and Iím getting interested in doing more and more stuff.

We did laundry this morning and the place was packed.  We had to wait for some washers so we had 2 washers here, 3 down there, and another 2 over there.  Donít you hate it when you have to do that; fortunately the dryers where side by side.  Iím always nervous that I might miss a washer or dryer and not notice for several days that Iím missing some clothes.

Today we went to the gym and I rode the bike for about 4 miles and worked out with weights too.  Mac now rides the bike to warm up his muscles and then he works out with the weights concentrating on upper or on his lower body; today he worked on the lower body.  Iím not to that point where I concentrate on upper or lower work outs yet.  Iím just trying to get the whole me back into some kind of shape.  When I flex the muscles in my legs the left leg is still so much stronger and the muscles are much more defined than in the right leg.  Some day theyíll look like they belong together.

Saturday, February 11

Mac had said that we should take one day off every week from working out at the gym to rest our muscles so we chose today.  We decided to leave the base and do something, anything, just not stay around the RV!  After we made the decision of what we were going to do today I got dressed.  Itís supposed to start getting windy, chilly and rainy after 10 this morning.  I decided to wear my new Winnie the Pooh overalls that I bought at the thrift store on Thursday and washed on Friday.  I also experimented with my hair and decided to wear a French braid since it was going to be so windy. I must say I thought I looked nice.  I donítí know why I ever stopped wearing overalls, they are very comfortable.

So after I finally got dressed Mac dropped me off at a local thrift store while he went to the phone store and took care of boring business.  I found a huge bag filled with plastic hair combs for only $1.98.  What an incredible deal this was.  Later on at night when I took them all out of the bag and sorted them there were 78 hair combs and only 2 that were broken that I threw away.  There are a few with bent teeth that I may be able to use.  Some of the combs have a design painted on them, some are just solid color with an interesting shape and some are solid color with a gold thread wrapped around the molded shape.

I looked up the company listed on the cards but couldn't find anything but sunglasses listed for them.  So these must be several years old but that's o.k. I can still use them.  Several of them had the prices on the cards and they ranged in price from $2.00 to $5.00 each at one time.  Oh yeah, the company name listed on the cards was Tropic-Cal, so if you know anything about the company send me an email.

I also found a large metal barrette which measures about 4 inches across and has 6 plastic "stones" that are supposed to look like polished rocks for only 55 cents.  One stone was missing but I found it on the floor at the thrift store so I will be able to glue it back in.

I love it when I stumble across great deals like this.  Now I need to find a way to store all these new hair toys that I'm finding.  Any suggestions?  Remember I'm in a RV so don't have a lot of room for a lot of containers or to have items sitting out on the countertops.

After we got through at the thrift store, taking care of the phone business, and some other shopping that we needed to do, we decided to go out for lunch.  Itís been a long time since we went out to eat.  We went to The Ranch House on Gandy Blvd., here in Tampa.  We had eaten there before when we were staying here at the base and we enjoyed it very much. The prices are very reasonable and the food is great.  The dťcor in the restaurant is very western as you would guess from the name of the restaurant but the owners are Greek; so several dishes have a Greek influence.  I had pastitsio which is a Greek dish that is sort of like lasagna, served with a salad.  It was very good!  Mac had sirloin steak with garlic smashed potatoes and mixed vegetables.  The mixed vegetables were green beans, carrots, yellow carrots and they were very tasty.  We really like the food at this restaurant and will come here again!  If youíre ever in South Tampa we recommend this restaurant.

Sunday, February 12

I had mentioned in the blog entry on the 6th that I had bought a satin pillowcase. For those too young to remember what they were ever used for, a satin pillowcase was used frequently in the 50ís and 60ís by women who had their hair styled weekly.  Women would go to the beauty shop once a week.  Their hair would be washed, set in rollers, sit under a hair dryer, then styled with a lot of teasing and hair spray.  Using a satin pillowcase increased the life of the hairstyle because the hair would just slide over the pillowcase and the style wouldnít get all messed up, thereby the womanís hairstyle could last all week until her next appointment.  I guess when teasing of the hair became unpopular and when personal hand-held hair dryers were more available these pillowcases werenít as popular anymore.

I had read about using a satin pillowcase because the hair slides right over the pillowcase and wonít get tangled or have a lot of breakage like when using a regular pillowcase.  I never thought about buying a satin pillowcase until I found one at the thrift store.  Since it was less than $2 I decided to try using one and see if they were as good as Iíve been reading about.

I wore my hair in a French braid to bed on Friday and on Saturday night.  When I woke up the next morning my braid was very nice.  Without the satin my hair would gotten all tangled up.  I never would have considered wearing a braid to bed until I used this pillowcase.  The next morning I could easily unbraid my hair and comb it out.  I like using a satin pillowcase and Iím going to buy a few more.  My cat doesnít like it though.  He likes to sleep above my head when itís cold and because he has fur he slides off the pillow now.  So heís had to settle for sleeping between Mac and me when heís cold.

We went to the gym today at about 11:00. We worked out for over an hour and then came home for lunch. Mac made us wraps for lunch.  Heís very ďintoĒ wraps lately.  Instead of having a sandwich or a salad heíll make a wrap.  Heís found some interesting flavors of wraps at the grocery store too that heís been trying out.  Todayís flavor was garlic herb, quite tasty.

After lunch and recuperating from our workout I finally took a small nap for about an hour.  For a couple of weeks now I havenít taken a nap so it was nice to finally be able to fall asleep and actually sleep a little.  I donít know if itís the increased exercise or having more energy now because of less pain but I havenít been taking any naps.  I wanted a nap also because I get up early too.  This week Iíve gotten up as early as 4:00 but on average it was 5:00 when I get up.  I donít get up at that time because I want to, Iíd rather sleep in and enjoy this semi-retired lifestyle.  Iíve been waking up early and I canít go back to sleep.  We also stay up pretty late at night; usually itís around midnight before we start falling asleep, sometimes later.  So thatís why I was so happy to be able to take a nap today.  I was starting to get bags under my eyes from lack of sleep and I donít need that kind of bags!

After I got up I got my new hair combs out and wiped each one down with Lysol.  I also sorted them out and decided that there were about 15-20 that I probably would never wear because of color or design; so those I put in the donation bag.  The rest I tried various ways of storing them so I can see them.  I wound up storing them in a clear plastic container in a drawer along with all my other hair supplies and hair toys.  Iím not happy with this storage and Iíll continue to brainstorm on how I can store them where I can readily see what I have when Iím putting up my hair.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Weíve finally hit upon a time to go to the gym that we like; itís around 10:00 a.m.  If we go too early itís crowded with the military personnel doing their workouts.  Around lunchtime isnít good either, it gets crowded with people working out on their lunch hour.  Later in the day from 2 on it starts getting crowded with people doing their workouts before they go home.  In the evening we donít want to go; weíd rather be at home playing on the computer or taking a walk. 

 So we went to the gym around 10 and worked out for over an hour.  I ride the bike longer than Mac; today I rode 5 miles.  Yea!  Then I worked on just my upper body in the weight room.  Mac has convinced me to concentrate on sections every other day like he does.  So weíll see how well it works for me.  No matter what section I work on I like to do abdominal crunches every day.  Today I used about 40 pounds and did around 80 crunches.  I then worked on the arms using the bicep curls, triceps extensions, the fly, the lat pull, etc.  I was good and tired when we got done at the gym.

 We came home and ate lunch. We (meaning Mac) cooked microwaveable chicken breast that are stuffed with broccoli and cheese.  We also had seasoned green beans and wonderful baked chewy rolls.

 To rest up from our work out and lunch I goofed off on the computer, updating the blog, reading various forums, etc.  Then I did some housework (yawn, boring). 

 Around 3:30 or 4:00 I wanted to get out and go for a walk; so Mac decided to go with me.  What a guy!  It was pretty breezy and cool.  Mac would say it was COLD.  I wore my windbreaker with the hood up and tied to keep the cold wind out of my ears.  We had a great walk though it was a tad chilly.  We walked down a dirt road that we have walked several times before.  There was an osprey way up on top of a pole eating a fish.  We could get very close to the bird.  We could see the feathers being ruffled by the wind; we could see his eye watching us.  It was awesome to see!

 After our walk and working up a good appetite we had an early dinner around 5-5:30.  We had beef tips with gravy, mashed potatoes, green beans with almonds, and dinner rolls. 

 After dinner again we goof off, nothing exciting happening tonight.  It really is getting cold tonight, supposed to be a chance of frost.  I didnít come to Florida for this kind of weather! 

Tuesday, February 14

I got up early this morning as usual, it was about 5.  I looked outside and it was very pretty, the grass had a silvery look to it.  I looked at the car and it also had a silvery look to it.  Oh yeah, the car is silver so that explains why it looked silver.  But there was frost on the grass and everything else!  I think that was the first frost that weíve had here in Tampa since weíve been here this time.  I donít like this cold weather! Whine, whine, and whine!

We went to the gym and got there at 10.  We worked out on the bike and today I concentrated on my lower body.  I also did 100 crunches with 40 pounds.  After I got through working out I was good and tired.  Today, I brought my bag with me and showered at the gym.  They have a nice locker room, changing area, shower areas, and a sauna.  I took a nice long shower.  I think I might start using the shower at the gym now instead of waiting till I get home to shower.  The shower stall there is much bigger than mine, it has unlimited hot water, and free towels to use. 

After I showered and was getting dressed it started filling up with women changing out of their uniforms into workout clothes.  It was hard to find a place to sit and put on my shoes and socks.  After I joined up with Mac I asked him about the menís showers and changing area.  He said that the men will walk around naked from the showers back to the locker changing area.  Women just donít do that.  Women will always have on at least their bra and panties while changing in front of others.

We came back home from working out and had lunch; tuna fish wraps today.  Iím beginning to like the wraps.  I like mine wrap heated up; itís easier to fold that way.  Mac doesnít care, heíll eat it cold. 

After lunch I goofed off some on the computer, then finished drying my hair outdoors in the gorgeous sunshine that we had today.  I then decided to try and read the book that Iíve been reading for at least 2 weeks.  I didnít finish it today though; I fell asleep after a couple of chapters!  I slept for a couple of hours.  Mac loved the peace and quiet.  Well, quiet except for the snores of the cat.  Yeah, I know I posted recently that I havenít been taking a nap and here I took a nap today.  I guess my body needs it. 

After I woke up, I had some coffee to speed up the process of waking up.  Then I wanted to go for a walk again today.  It was such a beautiful day, lots of sunshine, not much wind, it was great.  We walked down the beach, and then we walked up the road to the office area.  Very close to the office area there is a nest of ospreys.  Theyíve built a nest up on the post that has the sirens on it.  I get tickled every day at noon when the sirens go off; I always wonder if the sirens startle the ospreys or if they know when itís going to sound and are gone from the nest.  So we got kind of close to these ospreys trying to take a picture but one of them flew away before Mac could get a picture taken of them together in the nest.

We also saw a bird that weíve seen a few times before.  Mac got a picture of it and we looked it up in our bird book.  Itís a loggerhead shrike.  Photo at left isn't Mac's, borrowed from online.  Click it for more information.

So then we walked back home and again I goofed off on the computer again.  Thereís been a lot of goofing off lately.  Iím so ready to hit the road! 

Wednesday, February 15:

I forgot to mention that while we were out on Saturday we bought a ceramic heater at Target.  It was on sale and Mac had been meaning to buy one so we did.  It came in handy the last several mornings to keep us warm.  Now we donít have to use our propane, we can use electricity when weíre hooked up to keep warm.

This morning when I was getting ready to leave I mentioned for about the thousandth time that I wish my hair was all one length and not all layers.  Mac says ďYou want me to even it out for you; it will only take a second?Ē  On impulse, I said ďyeah, do itĒ.  So he whacked off about 4 inches!!!!!!!!!  Itís even now in the back but it sure feels short.  I like the thickness of it but I miss the length.  I admit it was easier to put up in a French braid though.  I wasnít fighting with all the different lengths of hair.  He took a picture of the length of my hair after he whacked on it but Iím too scared to see how much shorter it is.  It takes a long time to grow hair but only a second to cut. 

So today, we had a list of errands to perform off base, go to the bank, post office, etc.  So we didnít go to the gym at 10 in the morning.  We went and did all these errands and then we had a late lunch.  We ate at Athenos.  Weíd eaten there last year and we liked it, thought it was very tasty Greek food.  So when we saw their second location we decided to eat there today.  It was great too.  They just have too much to choose from, decisions, decisions. 

The Tampa area has several Greek communities in addition to Cuban, Puerto Rican, etc.  Tarpon Springs, a small city about 30 minutes north of Tampa, has an active sponge diving fleet and a thriving Greek community. Itís famous for the restaurants featuring authentic Greek cuisine and really neat gift shops. 

Back in 2000 when Mac and I came to Tampa to look for a house we were told to visit Tarpon Springs and eat at one of the highly recommended restaurants, Louis Pappas Riverside Restaurant.  Sadly, that restaurant closed in 2002.  The grandson sold it to second cousins.  The grandson created a small chain of restaurants of what he calls the new generation of Greek food.  We havenít eaten there yet so weíll have to try it out. 

So after lunch Mac dropped me off at one of my favorite thrift stores while he performed one last boring errand.  I didnít find anything at the thrift store though, how sad. 

We then drove back home, changed clothes and went to the gym.  We had a good workout and I took a shower there too.  I really love standing under the hot water!  It does feel so good on sore muscles! 

We got through and got back home a little after 7pm so we had a very light supper of Waldorf salad.  Of course, itís our own variation of the famous salad.  Have you ever looked up that salad to find the ingredients?  There are several variations of it.  So after reading all the different ones and experimenting we created our own. 

Later on we watched Lost on ABC, yes, we watch that show.  It has quite a following too.  I recently discovered the forums about the show and the threads on each of the episodes.  Some people are really fanatical about it.  I just enjoy watching the show; Iím not a fanatic about it. 

Thursday, February 16:

As usual I got up early this morning.  I drank a whole pot off coffee and did all my work for the business side of life, read a bunch on all the new forums Iíve gotten interested in, and was bouncing off the walls by the time Mac got up. 

He had no ďrealĒ plans for the day beyond working, so I decided I would drive myself to the thrift store this morning.  I went there and walked around shopping till I about dropped.  I kept seeing things I wanted to look at; but I finally dragged myself out of the store. 

I came home for lunch and afterwards Mac was still in the mood to work!  Whatís wrong with him!  So I left again and went to another thrift store only a few miles beyond the first one.  I looked and looked and shopped till I was really tired.  I just love going through the racks looking though. 

After I got home we went to the gym and worked out.  Tonight I did a full 30 minutes on the bike.  I was doing about 20 minutes and then going to the weight room.  I decided to go back up to doing 30 minutes because itís one of the best exercises after knee replacement.  When I finished that I worked in the weight room on the lower body. 

When we got through we came home and started dinner.  I just wanted something light but Mac wanted meat, what a carnivore he is.  So he prepared him a steak and I had salad.  I donít like eating a lot in the evenings if we have dinner so late.  It doesnít bother him to eat a big meal so late at night.

After dinner we watched TV.  Thursday is the night that most of the shows we watch come on.  But tonight the only one on was Survivor.  CSI Las Vegas was a rerun and ER wasnít on because of the Olympics.  Mac played poker or something on his computer the rest of the evening.  My leg started hurting a lot this evening.  I think I overdid it today with the shopping and exercising.  So Iím paying for it tonight.  I had to get out the heavy duty pain meds from the doctor to help ease the pain.  I finally got to sleep but it was not a restful sleep, I kept waking up aching. 

Friday, February 17:

As you know we used to live and work here in Tampa before we started this wonderful lifestyle.  Recently I had communicated with my friend / former boss who still works at the hospital where I had worked and set up a date to go in and have lunch for today. 

So Mac and I stopped by and had lunch with everyone.  Mac was going to just drop me off and go away ďsomewhereĒ until time to pick me up.  I talked him into staying around the hospital and having lunch with us.  He found a quiet spot to work while I went around visiting everyone.  I went around and said hi to several of the people who are still there, caught up on whoís gone and where they went, left our website address to be passed on to anyone who cared to stay in touch. 

After lunch and visiting some we left and came back home.  When we got home I went back to the bedroom and laid down to rest, Mac laid down on the couch.  We both were pretty tired this afternoon and we both fell asleep and took a short nap.  Iím still sore and achy and really started hurting this afternoon again.  Iím not sure if itís from overdoing the exercising last night or if this is a new phase of recovery that Iím in. 

I found an excellent link to knee replacement surgery.  Itís an interactive and informative look at what is done during the surgery.  Hereís the link: (It may take a little while to load if you have a slow connection).

I have to keep reminding myself that I have had major surgery only 9 weeks ago and Iím going to be sore, in pain at times, tired and to quit expecting instant recovery from surgery.  It takes time, on the outside I may look healed, but on the inside there is still much healing going on.

I mention this because on a few of the forums and blogs that Iíve been reading recently the spouse of the rehabbing person seems to expect too much from them, or theyíre not very supportive of them.  And today while I was visiting at the hospital I grimaced and rubbed my leg so the person seeing me do this questioned ďYou still have pain?Ē  Yes, I told her, I have pain because 9 weeks, 4 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and 14 seconds ago I underwent major surgery where my leg was sliced open, pulled apart, bones sawed on, hammered on, a new knee installed, glued, stitched and stapled in.  So excuse me if I still get sore!!!!!  Of course I really didnít say that to her.  I nicely explained the whole surgical procedure to her and told her that inside my bones and muscles are still healing.  But her seemingly amazement and the post on various forums of people expecting the patient to just jump back into ďnormalĒ activities, my own expectations is just ticking me off a little and I needed to rant a little.  Thanks for putting up with it.

We decided to not go to the gym today; this will be our day off for the week.  Iím very sore this evening and Mac said then we wonít go; thereís no need to push it.  What a great guy I married! 

I sat outside with my laptop the rest of the afternoon and enjoyed the day.  It was an absolutely beautiful day today.  The sun was shining, the temperature was in the upper 70ís, birds were singing, it was just wonderful.  I came inside when it was close to dark and the mosquitoes started getting me.  Yes, we are still fighting with mosquitoes in February, after a frost, and with weekly spraying here on the base for mosquito control.  Mac had wanted to eat dinner outside until I told him about the mosquitoes; he quickly changed his mind after that.

For dinner tonight Mac grilled some steaks, we also had a vegetable mix of broccoli, yellow carrots, green beans, and zucchini.  It was very good too.  Later we had some dessert, Mac had leftover Waldorf salad and I had jell-o.  He probably had some candy that I didnít notice him eating.  He bought a couple of bags after Valentines Day because it was half off so I think/hope heís still working on that. 

No TV tonight for us; we goofed off on the internet the rest of the evening before going to bed.  We enjoy goofing off like that and then sharing various interesting things that we find on the internet.

Before going to bed tonight I reflected on my day, it was great to see the gang again.  It was doubly great because it reinforced to me that I am so happy that we are living the way that we are.  We are living our dreams while still young and ďhealthyĒ enough to enjoy it.  We are truly blessed. 

Saturday, February 18:

I woke up early today but because of pain!  I think I overdid it in my workout Thursday.  My leg has been slowly building up in pain since yesterday afternoon.  It is so depressing to have this happen again. I felt I was doing so good I havenít had to take any heavy duty pain meds for several days and now Iím back on them.  They are pain medications but they donít know you out like some do.  They arenít addicting either if I remember correctly.  So if my pain is really intense it just takes off a tiny edge of the pain. 

Iím up and down doing stuff this morning.  I canít seem to get comfortable and pain free today.  I decide that Iím going to do laundry today so I sort the laundry and do the presoak in Oxi-Clean that I usually do.  I also hand wash the dresses that I recently bought at the thrift store.  Mac hung up our outdoor clothesline on the back of the RV.  I hung all my hand washables out to dry. 

While Iím resting from my labors of the morning Iím goofing off, stretched out on the couch.  Mac found on the internet where to go see the manatees right across the bay from us.  If we had a boat it would be a quick straight shot over there but we have to drive all the way around the water to get there.  We decide to run over and see the manatees.  We got ready to go and decided to eat out for lunch too. 

We got in the car and we didnít drive but maybe 2 miles when we changed our mind about going to see the manatees.  Itís going to be a long drive over there and already my leg is bugging me.  Also, Iím not feeling very good today at all.  I have a deep ache in my leg, feels like itís all the way down into the bone.  I feel weak and puny today too.  Maybe Iím coming down with something.  So we changed our mind about going today.

We went to the BX/Commissary area here on base.  We ate a bite of lunch in the eating area.  Mac wants to go to the Class Six Store (where you buy booze) and get some wine if any good stuff is on sale.  I decide to wander around the BX and buy a slip to wear under the new dresses I bought.  I found a slip and the price is reasonable so I pick one out to purchase.  I also found a nice color of polish for my nails.  I want to find an extremely lightweight sweater, maybe short sleeve, crochet, lacy looking, something that will look nice over my dresses which are all sleeveless.  I need something that I can wear with the dress to cover my arms when Iím in air conditioning.  I found the perfect lightweight sweater and it was only $92.00 regular marked down to $78.00!  How outrageous a price is that!  I couldnít believe they wanted $78 for it much less $92.  No thank you very much!  Iíll look around in the thrift stores and Iíll find something that I want for much less than that.  I can then use the $70 that Iíll save to buy a gallon or two of gas! 

I donít mind paying high prices for important things, such as Iíll go with the high-priced, high-quality surgeon to operate on me, no bargain hunting there.  Iíll shop around and try to find a bargain but still to me I have to pay a high price for gas because I have no choice in the matter.  Itís not like I can buy any at the thrift store.  But for clothing I will not pay high prices, I refuse.  So, I bought the slip and the nail polish and left.

I have to jump in and agree with Chris here.  After retiring from the Air Force I worked for two large companies (Fortune 500).  I dressed fairly well, like most of my contemporaries, suits, dress shirts, ties, shoes, etc. (Ralph Lauren, Bill Blass, Nautica, Land's End, and a bunch of names I no longer remember).  When we sold the house and moved into the RV I kept one suit, a couple shirts, a few ties, and one pair of shoes.  I gave thousands of dollars worth of clothes to Goodwill.  Now, I can't imagine paying $40 for a tie, or $500 for a suit.  There are so many other things that I'd rather do with that money.

OK, back to Chris now...

I met up with Mac and heíd found some wine which heíd already loaded into the car.  We went to the commissary and did a little bit of shopping to get some needed items, milk, coffee, etc.  Iím starting to drag my leg along with me.  Iím not limping because itís not my knee that hurts; itís a different leg pain.  So I gave up and went to the car and sat in it waiting for Mac to finish up.  It doesnít take him very long at all since weíre just picking up a few essentials.

Iím not liking this pain thing that Iíve been going through the past day or so.  Iím really getting nervous that maybe Iím getting sick or that Iíve hurt myself working out too hard, etc.  I can work myself up real good at times. 

After we get home and get everything put away, I told Mac Iím not going to the gym today.  Iím going to go to bed and rest for awhile. He went to the gym and had a good workout and I rested in the bed. 

When he gets back home Iím sitting outside goofing off on the internet.  I couldnít get comfortable in the bed; my leg is bothering me too much.  This has not been one of my better days today. 

I get the clothes all sorted into their proper hamper, strip the bed down and go over to the laundry.  Mac helps me out at the laundry with loading the washers.  Then he goes home and says heíll come back to help fold.  He does come back just in time to help me finish loading the hampers into the car.

When we got home and unloaded the car, I put the clothes away and then Mac helped me make the bed.  I had purchased a very nice, thick, high quality fitted white sheet recently at the thrift store.  I soaked it today in the Oxi-Clean and it looks so clean and fresh.  We both donít like sleeping under a top sheet anymore, we used to.  We like the cotton thermal blanket to sleep under.  Itís full of holes to let air in to keep you cool, and if you cover it over with another blanket all the holes provide warm air pockets to keep you warmer. 

Iím old enough to remember when everyone used white sheets.  I remember before there was such a thing as permanent press, or wash and wear.  I remember washing sheets, hanging them in the sun to dry, and then when I put them on the bed, the sheets smelled so good. 

So tonight when we made the bed and put the white sheet on the bed it brought back memories of crisp, sun-soaked, air-dried sheets that felt so good to crawl between after the nightly bath.  Ahhhh!

Sunday February 19:

Iím starting to feel better today.  Maybe it is just from working out too hard and not that Iím getting sick or something.  I have to be careful for the rest of my life about getting an infection, an infection would go right to my artificial knee joint and that would not be good at all.  I havenít studied up on it but I know I was told that when I ever go to get my teeth cleaned Iím to let the dentist know that I have an artificial knee and the dentist would give me antibiotics to ward off an infection. So Iím still so new at this that a lot of things make me nervous. 

This afternoon I feel good enough to go to the gym with Mac.  Iím going to take it very easy though.  I rode the bike at a real low level of resistance, and then I did just a few of the leg exercises in the weight room with not much weight added.  I donít want to overdo and I donít want to strain myself at all, I just want to limber up today.  I took a shower afterwards and Iím feeling good with the workout that I did today.

By late afternoon Iím feeling back to 100% myself; so I must have overdid it Thursday and pushed myself too far.  I have vacuumed the carpets around the RV quickly this afternoon.  I canít stand it when they start getting dirty and itís been a few days because Iíve felt so bad. 

Mac cooked Italian sausage, with red sauce and ziti tonight for dinner.  I took my first bite of it and WOW it had a kick to it.  No vampires will be coming around here tonight!  Mac said he usually adds just about a teaspoon of garlic but since the jar was almost empty he used all the rest in the jar.  It was a delightful garlic dish with just a hint of sausage and sauce.  Later when I went outside I yawned and out of the sky a vampire fell at my feet!  My breath can kill a vampire at 100 yards!

This evening I worked on the business side getting some searches done; then goofed off on some forums. 

Monday, February 20

Happy Birthday Mac!  Today is Macís birthday, yea!  I told him he didnít look a year older than when we went to bed last night.  We went out to lunch with his mom and our daughter and grandbaby.  It was a good lunch even if we ate at TGI Fridays.  We didnít set out to have lunch there but the restaurant that Mac had chosen for his birthday meal doesnít open for lunch.  I guess we should have checked first.  Itís amazing how manyNicole & Austin restaurants arenít open for lunch.  I guess itís not cost effective or something.

The baby is so cute; heís such a good baby too.  Heís always happy, not fussy at all.  After lunch we went back to Macís momís apartment.  We had a small list of things to do for her and we visited some more.  The baby played on the floor, cooing and kicking. 

Afterwards we went to Wal-Mart and got an oil change in the car.  Itís Macís birthday and we can do anything he wants so here we are at Wal-Mart.  Nicole, baby Austin and I walked around looking at stuff and having a good time.  Then of course my leg started hurting; so I walked up to the front of the store and sat in McDonalds resting my leg until the car was done and it was time to leave.  I didnít think weíd be gone from home this long and left my pain medication at home.  I think Iíll start carrying a small pill holder with an emergency supply of pain medications.

We left Wal-Mart and headed back to the base.  The commissary closes at 7 so it was too late to stop there and get some milk.  We stopped at the convenience store here on base and picked up milk.  We got home a little after 7 tonight so itís too late to go work out at the gym.  We had a late lunch today and are still pretty full from it, so we ate Cheerios for dinner. 

Mac played poker or something online.  I goofed off on some forums that Iíve enjoyed reading and writing on lately.  Then it was early to bed for Chris.

Tuesday, February 21: 

Today I got up early, duh!  I worked for a few hours on the business side of life; then I did a very small amount of housework.  Then finally we got to go to the gym and work out.  I biked slowly today and did it for 30 minutes, then I gently worked on my leg muscles in the weight room, did some crunches, and triceps.  I donít want to overdo again so Iím trying to not work on any one section but doing the overall body like I was doing before.  Mac continues to work on upper body one day and lower the next.  Itís not bothering him at all.  After the workout I took a shower and got dressed.  Boy, I feel tired!  But itís a good tired.  I feel like I had a good workout today.

We went back to the RV for lunch and Mac made us wraps.  Very interesting combination he made today, he microwaved a Maple Leaf Farms stuffed chicken breast, chicken Kiev, then he cut that up into bite size pieces, put on the wrap, (current flavor is garden spinach herb) with some bacon ranch dressing, salad greens, tomatoes, etc.  It was outstanding!  Heís really a great creative cook. 

Mac needs to do some work this afternoon of phone calls.  I donít like to get in his way so I decide to leave and go to my current favorite thrift store.  After I got through shopping there I decided to head up to the other thrift store thatís only a few miles beyond it.  I had a great time looking around at both stores.  I found a few items to purchase so I feel like I saved over $50-$75 by finding what I did today.   

If you remember my ranting about the shopping at the BX Saturday and seeing the sweater there for $78.00 todayís trip to the thrift store was extremely productive.  I found the sweater that I was looking for and it was less than $4.00.  Itís red, very light weight, short sleeved and has a pretty tone-on-tone design woven into it; perfect for several of my dresses.  I also found a pink sweater that looks crocheted, very open and lacy looking, short sleeved also.  It too was less than $4.00.  I also found a brand new with tags still on it pair of shorts for myself for less than $4.00.  So I think I did great.  I spent a lot less, got a lot more, and still have $$ in my pocket. 

I was very tired and sore when I finished shopping.  I made myself stop at the commissary and pick up more milk, bagels, bread, supper and other needed items.  Then I drove on home to the RV.  I made it.  I was tired and sore but I walked through the store shopping, drove on home and I did it.  I must celebrate the small victories!  Yea me! 

I picked up a meal in a bag of shrimp, noodles and vegetables, (canít remember the name of the dish) for dinner.  Mac cooked it and we had that with some bread from the bakery section.  They were out of the great buns that we usually get (Portuguese Rolls) and all that I could find was a bag of 4 ďsnowflakeĒ buns.  The buns have a lot of flour on them so I guess thatís why they call them snowflakes; your plate is covered in snow from them. 

Before and after dinner we sat outside the RV enjoying the great weather.  Itís so nice!  But all good things must end and here come the mosquitoes so back inside we go.

The commissary has for a month or two had 6Ē chrysanthemum plants for only $1.99.  Weíve bought 3 previously that I had forgotten to mention when we bought them.  One was a medium purple, one is mid-purple with yellow center like a daisy, and one is a beautiful color that is just a blush of pale pink with darker centers.  Today when I went to the commissary they had a new shipment of chrysanthemums in and they were only 99 cents!  I had to buy 2, I got a deep purplish burgundy and the other one is the same color with a yellow center like a daisy.  So now we have 5 chrysanthemums around the door area of the RV.  Weíll probably plant them all around here somewhere when we leave and see if they survive until we come back next year.  The first one we purchased over a month ago weíve already trimmed all the dead blooms off and it has new buds forming. 

Nothing on TV tonight so Mac plays some more poker or something.  Iím really tired this evening so I went to bed fairly early, even for me it was early.  Before I went to bed I detangled my hair and brushed and brushed and brushed it.  I was enjoying the silkiness of it.  Iíve changed shampoos and conditioners recently and I really like what itís doing to my hair.  Itís very soft and silky.  So I was providing myself some much needed pleasure this evening by brushing my hair.  I was brushing my hair and remembering how much as a kid I enjoyed brushing my momís hair when she had it long for a short period of time.  I enjoyed brushing my grandmotherís hair too; when I got to stay with her.  She really enjoyed it.  She had long hair almost to her waist and it was fun to play with it.

Wednesday, February 22:

This morning I woke up very early about 4:30.  I guess because I went to sleep so early last night.  I worked solid for about 2 hours before Mac got up.  Yes, Mac got up early this morning.  (Expressions of shock resound across the world)  He too started working early so good progress was made on the business side today. 

Around 10 we go to the gym and work out.  Good workout today by both of us.  Mac is really getting some nice muscles.  I grabbed his arm today and there is a really nice muscle under that shirt.  My knee area is starting to look so good!  The muscles are defined, the knee swelling has gone down so much and my muscles have built up so good around it that it looks just like a real knee now.  The doctor is going to be so pleased with my progress.   

We head home to have lunch, forgetting that we really donít have anything to eat in the RV for lunch.  We actually have food in the RV but nothing sounded appetizing and we didnít want to cook.  So we went over to Seascapes Restaurant right here on MacDill back by the water and beach area and had lunch.  I was going to have a cheeseburger & fries, a good healthy meal, but the special was a schnitzel sandwich so I had that.  It was really big.  I didnít enjoy it that much but Mac thought it was good.   He ate half of mine and his BLT too.

We left the base after lunch and Mac dropped me off at the thrift store and he went to Loweís, which is about 2 stores down the street.  Heís getting some items that are needed to start getting the RV ready to hit the road.  I was along for the ride and Iíll go anywhere if you tell me I can go to a thrift store! 

When we got back I went to stretch my leg out and relax it back in the bed room; next thing I knew it was 2 hours later.  I guess I fell asleep.  When I got up Mac was busy FINALLY fixing the hot water heater.  I was impressed; itís only taken him 7 months of procrastination to get around to it. 

After having a cup of coffee and stumbling around here trying to wake up from that deep sleep, I suggested we go down to the beach and let the breeze blow the cobwebs out of my brain; so away we went.  I slipped on my flip flops and Mac his sandals and we walked over to the beach.  At the marina area there were 2 herons that Mac took pictures of and he was getting a kick out of watching them.  I walked on over the hill to the beach area, kicked off my flip flops and stood there soaking in the gulf air.  The sun was at just the right height in the sky to start having some sunset colors; I could see and hear the various birds, gulls, terns, black skimmers, etc.  It was so wonderful! 

Iím standing there soaking all the beauty into me; then a man starts playing the bagpipes.  It was a hauntingly beautiful sound.  He could really play them good too.  It brought tears to my eyes.  The man is in the Reserves and is stationed here from New York.  He came down to the beach to practice his pipes and enjoy the scenery.  We told him how much we appreciated his playing. 

Bagpipes at Sunset - WOW

So after that piece of heaven we had to come back to earth and the RV.  Time for dinner, Mac made a meal in the bag, beef goulash served with the last 2 snowflake rolls.  He says weíve had this goulash before but tonight we didnít care for it that much.  Maybe our tastes are improving!  I picked out the carrots and meat and with my bun thatís dinner for me.

No good TV tonight; Lost is a rerun again!  Itís the original first show from season one.  So I started updating the blog and who knows what Mac is doing over there.

Thursday, February 23

Whatís going on?  I slept in till 7:10 this morning!  Thatís late for me. 

Iím sitting around this morning goofing off on the internet, visiting forums, emailing my daughter, etc.  A bunch of random thoughts and memories are flowing through my mind so Iíll share a few with you.  You have nothing better to do than to read my random thoughts, right?

Our neighbor paid me the greatest compliment the other day.  He told us that when they went for a walk along the beach the other day they met a man there who needed to have knee replacement surgery but he keeps putting it off because he knew someone who had their knee replaced and they still can't walk right or bend, etc.  They told him that their neighbor (me) had my knee replacement done and told him how great I'm doing.  So now I'm being used as an example of how well the knee replacement surgery can go and how quick the recovery time can be with doing what the doctor tells you to do.  That was so good to hear.

I forgot to mention the little bit of excitement that we had yesterday when we returned home from our workout at the gym.  I had just opened my car door and had leaned towards the center of the car to get my water bottle when out of the corner of my eye I saw a HUGE FURRY CREATURE almost in the car with me!  I screamed so loud and hard, and then Mac screamed because I startled him.  It was just a large friendly dog that had escaped his leash.  I scared him and he ran away.  Our neighbor across the street from us laughed and laughed and laughed.  He said it was so funny to see.  Actually my throat is still sore from screaming so loud.  Itís a wonder all the windows didnít break in the surrounding RVs and cars.

Iíve mentioned previously that I soak our whites in Oxi-Clean and I thought Iíd update you on how well itís done for us.  Itís been over six months and every time that I do the laundry I soak the whites, I try to soak them for at least 2 hours; but sometimes itís been much longer up to and including overnight.  We havenít had anything bad happen to our whites from this soaking.  We have older underwear and newer underwear, both kind are still in great condition.  The elastic hasnít worn out quickly from the soaking.  The only thing that we have noticed is that the T-shirts that have any writing or design on them or any other color canít be soaked as long because Oxi-Clean will fade out those colors quicker than without using it; probably not as quickly as bleach would though. 

Overall I am very pleased with the results of using the Oxi-Clean.  It removes stains very well; it keeps our whites very white and doesnít wear out the elastic on the underwear, socks, bras, etc.

Thursday, Continued... 

Chris explained to me that what's posted above was "just some random thoughts" and below is her "real" blog for Thursday.  She seems to be making up for all those months of light postings.  We both feel like we're coming out of hibernation the last couple of weeks.  Getting back to being our old selves.

There is a very thick fog this morning.  It is so thick that you canít tell when the sun comes out.  It stays foggy most of the day and the sun doesnít come out until afternoon. 

Around 10 we went to the gym and worked out.  Iím doing much better since I changed back to working on a good overall body workout and not concentrating on upper one day and lower the next.  I go see the doctor tomorrow morning and I donít want to be too sore from pushing myself exercising so Iím very easy on myself today.  The shower felt good too.  Even though I didnít push myself very much I did sweat a lot.  So that water felt good to stand under. 

Every time we go to the gym we stop on the little bridge and look for fish or turtles, etc.  We see various birds, itís always interesting.  Today walking across I was almost to the end of the bridge when I stopped in my tracks; literally stopped with one leg still in the air.  I saw a snake with its head up and it was looking at me, the big heat source.  So Mac came over to look at the snake and it was a black snake, not poisonous at all, one of the good guys.  It was cool to see one that close but it was even better when it slithered away and went under the bridge.

We went back to the RV and Mac fixed us some great wraps again.  We had a message from our daughter Nicole that she wanted to come over today and visit.  So after lunch we talked with her and told her we had no big plans, so come on over.

She got here about 2 and the sun has finally burned through the fog, so we walk over to the beach.  She hasnít seen our RV Park before so she wanted to see the beach area that we keep talking about here.

She was excited to see the beach and kicked off her flip flops and walked in the water.  Well I had to kick off my flip flops too and walk in the water.  The water was warmer than we thought it would be, so Nicole squats down and sticks baby Austinís feet in the water.  Heís now a true Floridian, heís been baptized in the Gulf.  Of course, all of him didnít get wet but hey itís one of those new progressive baptisms, it works only on the feet.

So we all enjoyed the beach, it was fun watching Nicole stick Austinís feet in the water, then into the soft white sand, point out the birds.  Of course, Nicole had to run through the birds setting them off into flight.  She was fun to watch.

We came back to the RV and Austin needs rinsing off.  Heís got sand all the way up his legs into the diaper area.  So around to the other side of the RV we go, strip his clothes off and give him a nice warm outdoor shower.  Nicole thought that was just the most fun, Austin got a kick out of it too.

After Austin was showered and dressed we went across the street to visit with our neighbors Al and Shelby.  They are leaving here on March 1, heading back home.  So we had a nice visit with them and then came back home to the RV.

I get out my laptop and Nicole goes online using it.  Mac puts CDs into our new portable CD case that he bought at WalMart the other day.  One of the CDs that we have is from Cirque Du Soleil, Mystere.  We started talking and remembering going to Las Vegas and seeing the show.  It was so great.  Mac put on the CD, it was so appropriate to listen to this evening.  The fog is blowing in again and with the Mystere music on it is even spookier looking fog. 

When we lived here in Tampa we had gone to Las Vegas one year for Macís birthday.  Our other daughter Tina met us there and the four of us had a great time.  Mac had made reservations for us and got us some of the best seats in the house for the night we went.  I wonít tell you all about Mystere, just that if itís still playing you should go see it, it is outstanding.  Before the show starts they have a ďclownĒ that goes around in the audience and does various things to make you laugh.  They have a lot of different activities that they are doing with the audience before the actual performance starts.  One of the performers dressed as a small child bounces a huge ball into the audience.  People in the audience throw it back to her.  She tried to play catch with Nicole, no going.  She tried to play catch with Tina, no going.  She tried to play catch with Mac, he plays catch with her.  She looks at him and calls him Papa.  She plays catch with him a few more times and away she goes.

At various times during the performance, I think when the show members are backstage changing costumes, the little girl and the clown and others will come out and do different things to keep the audience entertained.  Every time she came out sheíd be doing her cute stuff and then sheíd do something and call out ďPapaĒ, the lights would shine on Mac and heíd participate in whatever she was asking. 

Once she had a golf cart all decked out like a childís car and she was zooming around the audience walkways.  She stopped up at the top of the stairs for our section and called out ďPapa, comeĒ, the lights shine on Mac again and she continues to tell him ďPapa, comeĒ, until he gets up and goes to her.  He sits in the car and away they go.  A few minutes later we see the car enter the stage area and now Mac has been dressed up like a baby girl.  Heís got a blonde wig with pig-tails, heís been put in a baby dress.  They drive around the stage and he just sits there waving and waving so calm and collected.  They drive off on the other side of the stage and then here they come again.  Except this time the car wonít go and now Papa (Mac) has to push it back across the stage.  The girls and I are just cracking up, it was so incredibly funny to see Mac with his beard, dressed up like a baby doll.  I had tears rolling down my face, it was so funny.

The only bad thing about the show is that you arenít allowed to take pictures or videos of the performance.  So there was a great event in our lives that only lives in our memories.  Mac said he wishes that the show would have taken a picture of him with the performers that he worked with, that would have meant a lot to him too.

So we reminisced about that trip to Las Vegas, Mac cooked us a great dinner of roast pork, seasoned mashed potatoes, and corn with black beans, tomatoes, etc. in it. 

After dinner, visiting, etc. it was getting late, around 8:45, so Mac took Nicole and Austin back up to the other side of the gate where she parked her car.  When Austin and Nicole left it finally hit me that we are leaving in a few days.  I gave the baby an extra hug.  When she left I cried some bittersweet tears.  I want to go and have fun living this life but I know when I return the baby will be so different.  I wonít be around to watch him grow and change, it really makes me sad. 

As I just mentioned it just hit me that we are leaving in just a few days.  I donít know what Iíve been thinking about (probably my leg) but weíre leaving in just a few days!  So while Mac is gone I start getting out some stuff that I know we want to put in storage.  I want to get it all ready for tomorrow.  When Mac comes home we take everything out from under the bed.  Then we quickly sort through what is to stay, what is to go to storage, what is to donate, etc.  Weíre ready to go to storage in the morning after my doctor visit.

We watched Survivor from our satellite on West Coast time after we finished sorting out the boxes for storage.  Itís around midnight now, time to go to bed.  So we go to bed and watch one of the late shows while we fall asleep.  Before we go to sleep we set the alarm clock to get up in the morning.  I donít want to miss this doctorís appointment. 

Friday, February 24:

I kept waking up several times throughout the night last night.  One time I woke up about 4:45 and started the coffee, then went back to bed.  I got up before the alarm clock went off and the coffee was ready to pour, nice and hot.

Iím really excited this morning to go see my surgeon.  I feel that Iíve done really good and if he agrees we plan on leaving and heading to Key West.  But Iím also a little nervous, what if Iíve damaged my bone with the heavy lifting that I was doing with weights?  What if he says sorry we need to cut you open again, this is healing totally wrong, etc, etc.

So I was just a tad wound up this morning.  We got everything that we want to put in storage loaded into the car.  We got cleaned up and dressed and away we went. 

At the doctorís office they took x-rays again.  The nurse watched me walk back and forth to the x-ray room and said that I walked like Iíd never had or needed a knee replacement.  Then the surgeonís assistant came in to the exam room and talked with us and was very impressed with how far Iíve come.  I asked for another prescription of pain medication and she gave me one.  Iím only taking Tramadol but when Iím really hurting it does work and takes the enough edge off of the pain so that I can tolerate the pain.  I will only need it occasionally when Iíve overdone it while my leg finishes healing. 

The doctor makes an appearance in the exam room finally and I jumped up and gave him a big hug and said ďthank you, thank you, thank youĒ.  I think I embarrassed him a little; he didnít stay long at all.  His assistant talked with me about the pain, that I am still healing and will experience pains but they will continue to be less than I had after the surgery.  We talked about the scar, the scar area is still healing all the way down inside so the nerves in that area are coming back to life and thatís why the scar area is so sensitive to touch. 

Then the best news of all: I donít have to go back to see them until December!  YEA!  Iíve come so far in only 10 weeks.  I was so incredibly happy when I heard that, I started crying.  I have my life back, Iím pain free relatively; just some minor healing pain which will go away totally.  I can walk without the bone on bone pain.  I can see that I do have a future now of being able to do things, go places, have a life.  Do they understand they gave me my life back???????  Iíve had to stop writing this and cry again.  I am just so happy!!!!!!!!  We set up the December appointment and left.  I keep crying Iím so happy.

We go to the DMV to pick up a book for Macís mom.  Sheíll have to take the test again when her licenseí expire next January.  Sheíd been asking us to pick her up one for quite a while.  I guess she feels it will take her that long to study for the test.  The DMV office is about 2 doors down from one of my most favorite thrift stores so I looked around in there quickly while Mac walks down and picks up the book.  I found a book that Iíve been looking for so that was nice to find.  I didnít get to look at clothes though, when Mac returned he was ready to go.  We have a lot to do today and need to get moving. 

We went over to Macís momís apartment and visited for a short time.  Then we went to Sonnyís Barbeque right next to our storage facility.  We ate lunch and then went to storage.  We loaded the boxes that weíd brought from the RV and we took out our snorkeling equipment.  I happened to see my metal detector in there and said letís bring that too; I might be able to start using that again very soon. 

We headed back home, stopped at the BX to pick up some bleach and other items.  I found a hair toy that Iíd seen a woman at the gym using and when I asked her where she got it she said the BX.  So I found the last one there, yea!  It is really turning out to be a great day for me!  I received great news, found a book Iíd been looking for and the icing on the cake, a new hair toy.

We went back home and we both went back to the bedroom and laid down.  Mac watched some mindless stuff on TV and I worked on a word search book that I picked up in the BX.  K.C. curled up on my lap and would every once in a while nudge my book or pencil reminding me to pet him.  It was an enjoyable rest period we spent in there for about a hour.

Nicole called and wanted to come visit again for a short time; so when she was close to the base Mac and I both went to pick her and the baby up.  We stopped at the BX and she enjoyed looking around, she was starving so we went to the food court and she got herself something to eat.  Afterwards we came back to the RV and visited for awhile.  We had found a box with her name on it that weíd forgotten about when we put it under there.  So today when I talked to her on the phone I said Mac wonít open it because it has your name on it.  I guess she was curious enough to come over again today.  The box had quite a few of her keepsakes that we must have put in the RV one time when we went to our storage; so she was happy to see all her old treasures.

She left earlier than yesterday, she left before 8, she wanted to go to the mall and pick up something sheíd been looking at for several days.  Sheíd finally made up her mind to buy it.  I drove her and the baby back up to her car and then turned around and came back to the RV.  Itís been a chilly damp afternoon and evening so I was glad to get back home and into the RV.

I could have eaten Cheerios this evening for dinner because itís so late but Mac decided to bake some biscuits and cook sausage.  He had sausage, eggs and biscuits and I had just sausage and biscuits.  Iím very tired.  Itís been an emotional day, good emotions but theyíre still tiring.  I went to bed as soon I as finished eating and went to sleep.  I donít know when Mac came to bed I was so soundly asleep.  I slept much better than I did the night before.

Saturday, February 25:

Today we decided to go see the manatees.  We had wanted to go last Saturday but I was in too much pain to sit in the car for any distance.  Today we drove over there and it wasnít as long of a drive as we thought it would be.  TECO (Tampa Electric Company) has a free viewing area set up to see the manatees that come there in the winter, attracted to the warm water.  Hereís a link to their site about the manatees:  The webcam that they provide during the season is great, you can control the camera and get a better view of the manatees.  Sadly since itís a warmer day there were only about 4 manatees that we could see but none good enough to take a picture of for the blog.  It was very interesting though and next year, if weíre here during any cold weather, weíll go see them again.

We walked around the environmental education building and saw all the information there.  I especially enjoyed the gift shop.  I found a removable vinyl etching of manatees that we bought.  You can look at the various designs at the manufacturerís website: .  I think you have to be a dealer to buy anything from them but itís a great site to get ideas from; now you just need to find a dealer to buy from.  We had the ďPelicanĒ one on our door window and today we bought ďManatee SceneĒ for the same door window. 

Since they are removable we can easily switch them out depending on our mood and location.  Weíre going to use the manatee one while in Florida, then the Pelican one while near any seashore.  We are looking at getting a western scene for when we go out west.  I didnít see any on this website that I liked for the west though.  We had found the pelican one last year while in Key West.  We bought it at the ďyard saleĒ on Sigsbee.  There were several dealers there of small portable items.  The seller had several interesting ones but I only bought one so I could see how it worked, how long it last, will it really fit my window, etc.  The pelican one last year cost us about $7, and this manatee one was $8.50 or so, no more than $9.  Iíve only seen the dealers at the flea market down on the Keys and at the flea market we went to in Albuquerque.  So I plan on hitting the flea market and finding some interesting new ones to add to our look.  I think if I find a cute Christmas one Iíll go ahead and buy it even if I find it in July.  Iíd love to find one of a California Quail, that is such a great looking bird.  Wouldnít that look great as etched glass decal?  I love flamingos but I donít care for it as etched glass.  I guess because I canít see the beautiful pink of the bird, just a bird shape.

So after viewing the manatees it was time for lunch.  We decided to come on back to the RV and have lunch here.  Mac made us some great wraps.  We worked most of the afternoon on the business side of life.

Later in the afternoon we went for a walk on the beach.  It was so great!  There were many people out enjoying the warm weather and several kids were in the water.  We then went to the gym and worked out.  We got home after dark and Mac made us dinner.  We stayed up pretty late tonight goofing off on the internet.

Sunday, February 26

Does your RV hot water heater have an anode rod?  I've planned for several months to install one, and even  purchased one, but I've been procrastinating. 

The other day our neighbor told me about a leak he saw on our coach.  I inspected and sure enough, there was a leak from the nylon plug in the hot water heater where the anode rod goes.  So, I guess it's time to do this.  Click here to read about fixing this simple problem, and preventing future ones. 

This morning after enjoying goofing off on the internet we decided to head out.  Weíve made a list of much needed items that we will need and may not be able to get while down in Key West.  Weíve decided that Mac will drop me off at my favorite thrift store and heíll go to Wal-Mart and shop from the list.

I had a great time shopping at the thrift store this morning.  There werenít many people at the thrift store yet.  I found such great items today!  Sometimes you have to hunt and hunt and donít find anything and other days you feel you need another cart you find such great stuff.  I found 4 pair of shorts for me, 2 of which were brand new, 2 pair of shorts & 1 pair of short overalls for daughter, 2 outfits for grandson, 1 pair of shorts for husband, 2 pair of slacks for my father.  While looking at baby clothes I happened to see the bags of toys that the store has for sale.  I picked up a bag to look at it and discovered that the bag contained many very nice baby toys including electronic toys.  I picked out 3 or 4 bags of toys.  I found a great purse for me, a new wallet, a CD holder, and various things that I canít remember.  Guess what I paid for all of that?  $39.10, we walked out of the store carrying 4 huge bags of toys and clothes for under $40.  What a great find today.

Mac got through shopping and picked me up and we decided to eat lunch out today.  We went to the Ranch House Restaurant again for lunch.  They had some very interesting Greek dishes and other items on the lunch menu today.  I decided to have the chicken salad served with fresh fruit.  Mac had sirloin tips and as his side items chose the garlic smashed potatoes and the mixed vegetables.  Both our dishes were very good and we enjoyed our lunch.

We drove back home and unloaded the car.  Boy, was that little car packed with goodies!  Beside all the great stuff I found, Mac had bought a lot at Wal-Mart including a new portable sewing machine for me!!!!  What a guy!  Iíve been complaining about not being able to sew because of the missing foot pedal that he just decided to stop my complaining by buying a new one.  Itís lightweight, actually weighs less than the one I canít find the pedal for.  It was reasonably inexpensive too less than $100.  It will be great to be able to finally get to all the sewing projects now.  I can hardly wait. 

Mac bought several cans of propane for our Baby Q Grill.  He also got another 7 gallon water jug just like the one that we have.  He got several items that would help extend our dry-camping & boondocking adventures.  When he was at the checkout the clerk asked him if he was getting his hurricane supplies.  He told her no, Iím getting my get out of here supplies.

I enjoyed opening all the bags of toys and sorting through them.  Of course, some items are unsuitable for a baby or toddler so these went right back in our donation bag.  All the electronic toys were in good working order.  My daughter can clean all the toys off with Lysol and they will be good to use.

After all that fun of sorting and looking at toys I decided to get the clothes sorted and ready to go to the laundry.  Weíre leaving Tuesday and I want to get it done before we leave.  So after getting the clothes sorted and the whites soaking in Oxi-Clean we went to the gym and worked out.  I decided to only ride the bike tonight and not do any weights.  Iím experimenting with what feels the best on the leg and I donít need to lift weights every day.  Boy I was sore though from riding the bike for 45-55 minutes. 

This evening around 6 or so we took the clothes over to the laundry and I finally finished up at about 8.  While there I met a very nice woman and we talked and talked.  There were also others in the laundry room and we all talked about what are good places to eat and great places to see locally.

There are many restaurants that by looking at them you decide for various reasons you donít want to try it.  One that weíve always admired here in Tampa but thought it would be too expensive is the Colonnade Restaurant.  It is right on Bayshore Drive and always looks crowded through the windows when weíve driven by.  It looks like an expensive place.  One of the ladies this evening told us that it is quite reasonable, especially the early bird specials.  But, she said if you want to go there you better do it before July.  They are going to tear it down to build yet another hi-rise condominium.  Hereís a link to their website. .  So Mac and I plan on trying to visit the restaurant before July, hopefully weíll be able to in April when the girls come down to visit the area.

After getting home and putting all the washed items away, I decided to just eat a bowl of Cheerios for dinner.  Itís too late to eat a heavy meal.  After I ate, I was so tired that I called it a night.  I was asleep within 10 minutes of my head hitting the pillow.

Monday, February 27:

Weíve been working a little bit all weekend getting things ready to leave tomorrow.  Today we are really working at getting things done.  When the RV is parked for a long period of time we tend to spread out and now we have to put everything away. 

I took everything out of the bathroom cabinets and wiped them all out.  Then I sorted and tossed old medications and put the keepers away in the newly cleaned cabinet and drawers.  The bathroom was the last room that needed cleaning when I started my deep cleaning before my knee replacement.  So it felt good to get that done.  Now I feel like I need to start all over and do a deep cleaning of the RV. 

I sorted some clothes out again of mine, donating the last of my elastic waist shorts.  I donít really care for pants with elastic waist and now I have plenty of zipper shorts so I can get rid of all that I donít want.  I also got rid of the shorts that I felt were too short and I never wore out in public.  Now I have plenty of shorts that are just exactly what I want.

Our daughter and grandson came over this afternoon and visited for several hours.  It was great to see them!  Babies grow too fast!  He has already grown so much.  In the month that weíll be gone to Key West he will grow a lot.

Weíve been busy all day with getting the RV ready to go and working on the business side of life.  We didnít get to the gym today but I guess we got a good workout with all the work that weíve been doing today.

Tuesday, February 28:

I woke up this morning at about 2.  I felt like something was sticking me in the lower back.  I got up and then tried to go back to bed and just couldnít get comfortable.  So I just went ahead and got on the internet and goofed off on various forums.  Iím also just a tad excited that we are leaving today and getting back on the road.  Iím glad we had this great place to stay while I recovered from my knee replacement surgery but we are so ready to get back to traveling. 

Mac FINALLY got up around 5:30, (I think heís a little excited too).  We continue getting things ready to hit the road.  We say good bye to several people that weíve been friends with around the park.  We pull out of the RV park and drive over to the commissary and buy needed grocery items, stocking up on those that we may not find down in Key West.  We hook the car up to the RV and then we go to the gas station and fill up with gas.  We FINALLY leave the base about 12 noon.!  Yea! We are out of here! 

We drive up Dale Mabry and take the Gandy Bridge and then get on I275 in St. Petersburg.  It is such a beautiful day today.  Cool temperatures, sun shining, no clouds, what a day.  We stopped for lunch at the south rest area of the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. 

Itís the first time weíve stopped at this one.  Weíve stopped at the north rest area before and it is very nice but we think the south is the best because of the outstanding view of the bridge.  We walk around, enjoying the view and looking at the water; it is so pretty and clear.  As we were crossing the bridge to come to the south side rest area we see that this area would be great for a day camp too.  You would take the south side rest area exit and then turn towards the fishing pier area.  There are many places to park along there that would be great to day camp.  Weíll do that someday; but today we must continue on to Sarasota and get checked in where we are going to have our repair work done.

The Sunshine Skyway Bridge is a well known local landmark, and an impressive structure among bridges of the world.  In fact, it's the world's longest cable-stayed concrete bridge - 5.5 miles.  It's also famous (or infamous) for two other reasons.  Many people remember the disaster here in 1980 when a ship rammed the old bridge during rush hour, knocking out a large section and killing 35 people.  The new bridge is currently one of the top bridges in the nation for suicide jumpers.  These sad facts aside, it's really a beautiful bridge!  See the link below photo for more information.

Here's a link  to more information about the bridge


End of Month Update.  I've uploaded some photos at this link that didn't make it into the blog this month for one reason or another.  Several nice wildlife photos of water birds (Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret, Tricolored Heron), and a few of the family.


Since we've been stationary so far this year, I haven't posted our expenses for camping, or our gas mileage.  I'll start this up again at the end of March.


We heard from several readers this month, and we're very happy that you enjoy reading the blog.  We enjoy writing it, and we like getting your emails. 

This is a "reverse blog", so earlier posts will be found above -- scroll up -- also see left sidebar for blog index

Continue reading to March 2006




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