So, after almost 20 years, I find myself back in Phoenix. It feels like I’ve come home. I hadn’t realized just how much I missed the desert until I got back to it. Mind you, getting here was a bit of an adventure. The wife and boy came out the first of October, as she had to start work on the 5th and we wanted to get him into school as soon as possible. I stuck around in CNY until late October, finishing up some projects for my employer, figuring out what was coming to Arizona and getting the RV and Jeep ready for the trip.

We decided to use the move to Arizona as an opportunity to shed a bunch of baggage (furniture and other stuff) that we never really liked and didn’t want to move. So the decision was made to bring only what would fit in the cars and the motorhome. This meant leaving behind the bulk of the furniture (except our bed, Sleep Number beds break down into amazingly small packages, even for kings) and being pretty selective about what else made it on the RV. As it turned out, Kara drove out with the Malibu packed fairly full, then I packed the motorhome full as well, with clothes, tools, computer equipment, pictures, etc. I had to leave the Jeep fairly empty, as I was towing it behind the motorhome and it was already pushing the towing limit for the RV.

Monday, October 19th was originally supposed to be my pull out date, but I didn’t finish loading the RV until late on Tuesday the 20th, at which point I decided I was leaving no matter what. So I wrangled the dog and all three cats out into the motorhome and started off. The adventures started before I even managed to get out of town, the battery door on the RV popped loose and I had to stop to fix it before I could go any further. While getting back into the RV, Bob (one of the cats) decided he’d already had enough of this and was getting the hell out of there. Fortunately, there was a friendly coed nearby from the college who managed to coax him to come to her and we got him back into the motorhome.

From that inauspicious start, things progressed fairly well (I did discovered that cats don’t recognized Chicken McNuggets as food) until about 2 a.m. in Ohio, when the first of the tires blew out. Fortunately, it was on a rear wheel, which are duals, so the only real evidence was the noise. I have AAA, including RV coverage, so I called them out to change the tire (I was pretty sure I didn’t have the right size socket for the lug nuts, I later found I was right). However, the AAA service provider for that area didn’t have the tools to change the tire on a 32′ motorhome either. They were able to refer me to another service provider, who came out and put the tire on (still waiting on the reimbursement from AAA). Luckily, the cats decided to behave through this and I didn’t have to hunt down and recapture anyone.

I got back on the road at about 6 a.m. and made it through Cleveland and Columbus before the next tire blew. In the same position. In retrospect I suspect that the spare was quite possibly the original tire from 1991 and it just died of old age. I limped along to a rest area and spent some quality time taking a nap and then checking Google for the nearest tire place. Apparently 19.5R8 tires are getting fairly difficult to find, as I was only able to locate one within safe limping distance. In any case, I purchased a new tire and had it put on, then hit the road again, heading south through the Smokey mountains. Other than tires, the RV had run flawlessly and the ReadyBrake I had installed on the Jeep was working great. I was even getting reasonably decent gas mileage, which was good, because I was spending a lot more money on tires than I had planned.

I had gone into this trip with grand plans to make sandwiches on the road as my food supply, but that was soon thwarted by the fact that the RV alternator wasn’t properly charging the auxillary batteries and the cooler I had stored my lunch meat in wasn’t cooling. So I was eating at random times, when I got hungry enough. I didn’t want to stop to eat, but I almost had to, because it was impossible to drive the RV, eat a sandwich and fight off Bob at the same time. Any time I would put my food down, Bob would be on it in a heartbeat, tearing off what he could and taking off to eat it somewhere in the back of the RV. Never mind that they had food (in fact, the cats had dumped their food, so it was everywhere), he wanted my food. So meals were rather sporadic and hurried affairs, usually very late at night while the animals were asleep.

It wasn’t until I hit Arkansas that I had another escape attempt by Bob. I had pulled into a rest area to get a few hours sleep, which meant taking Morgan (the dog) out for a walk. While trying to get her back into the RV, Bob decided to make a break for it. This was a bad thing, it was 3 a.m. and the rest area backed up against a swamp, if he went in there, he was gone. Fortunately, I had a secret weapon that Bob couldn’t resist… cold cuts, specifically, bologna. I laid a trail of bologna back to the motorhome and then worked my way behind the cat. While he was scarfing down the bologna, I snuck up on him and grabbed him, throwing him back in the RV. That done, it was time to hit the road again.

The trip proceeded without excitement until I hit Dallas. At rush hour. In torrential rain. And the windshield wipers decided they had had enough and were going on strike. Fortunately, traffic was moving fairly slowly and there was a clear patch on the windshield, so I was able to keep moving until I got out of the rain, but it was a bit exciting there for a while. I made it to Abilene, where I stopped at my sister-in-law’s and stayed for a couple of nights of much needed sleep and food. The sleep was needed because any time I stopped to sleep for a couple of hours, the dog insisted on being walked every ten minutes and wouldn’t let me sleep. So, I hadn’t had more than about an hour of uninterrupted sleep since the trip had started. This also let me wait out the remnants of hurricane Patricia, which were sweeping over West Texas at the time.

Once out of Abilene, I once again had a fairly uneventful day of driving, the weather was good, the RV was running well (even managing to keep up with the 75+ mph speed limit) and life was good. Until I hit Benson, Arizona, when another tire blew out. This time it was on the same side (driver’s), but it was the inner tire of the dual wheels. The problem was, it was 10 p.m. on a Saturday night and nobody within 40 miles of Benson stocked an 19.5R8 tire. I had planned to make a side trip to Sierra Vista to drop off a keyboard and six boxes of vinyl record albums at my father-in-laws, instead, I had him meet me in Benson and we off-loaded the records the next morning, after I’d spent a night in the Motel 6 at I-10 and SR-90. After we’d transferred the albums, I waited for Kara and the boy to meet me while I moved the RV to a truck parking lot and unhitched the Jeep.

Once Kara met me, we transferred the animals to her car, loaded the shredded spare from the RV into the Jeep and drove on in to Phoenix. After a night in Phoenix, I finally found a replacement tire for the RV and got it mounted and balanced, then headed back to Benson with the tire in the back of the Jeep. At which point, I had to wait for AAA again to put the new tire on (I really have to get a proper socket for those lug nuts). Finally, I was able to hitch the Jeep back up to the RV and get the whole load to Phoenix. I was never so happy to see South Mountain in my life.

Sitcoms, Gay Marriage, Whatever…

I was watching television with my wife the other night and it reminded me why I don’t typically watch sitcoms. For starters, all the men are such absolute idiots, you wonder how they manage to stand upright, much less hold a high paying job. But that has nothing to do with this post…

What brought this on was the season finale of “Rules of Engagement“. As is typical in this type of show, they try to wrap up most of the season’s loose ends and create a bit of buzz for the next season: babies born, couples wed, that sort of thing. Nothing wrong with any of that, even if one of the couples being wed was same sex. Actually, it is the same sex wedding that bothered me, but not for the reason you might think. Both parties in the wedding are actually straight, they’re getting married because one has lost his work visa to stay in the country and the other is trying to help out. It’s a spur of the moment thing in a hospital chapel and that is what bugs me. In New York state, there’s a 24 hour cooling off period after you get the marriage license before you can actually get married, you can’t just get married on the spur of the moment. Now I realize that the writers are probably LA based and may not have known this, but you’d think that someone would have have pointed it out. The other problem is DOMA (the Defense Of Marriage Act), I personally think it’s a bad idea (the states should be able to decide these things for themselves), but it means that same sex marriages aren’t recognized for immigration purposes. So not only is the marriage a sham legally, it’s not even a useful one! But since it appears the show has been cancelled,it doesn’t really matter.

For the record, I think the state should get out of the marriage business entirely. All legal marriages should be “civil unions”, if you want a “sacred marriage”, you do that separately in the church or religious establishment of your choice. That way religious establishments aren’t forced to perform (or even acknowledge) marriages they don’t condone, but you can still have the legal benefits. The civil union would be a simple (or not so simple) contract between the two parties outlining their rights and obligations as a married couple. Deities need not be invoked or involved. For those wanting a religious ceremony, they can have a church wedding with the attendant vows and ceremony, but that wedding won’t be legally binding until they sign off on the civil contract.

Still Alive!

It’s just been a very busy year with moving the in-laws to Arizona, raising a three year old, changing churches, I’ve not really thought about blogging too much. I’m hoping to get started again, so we’ll see what happens.

Valentine’s 2010

I’ve been trying to put together a new mix CD for Kara each year with an assortment of love songs and such. And trying to do it without repeating more than one or two songs from the previous year.

This year’s Valentine playlist (try to pin down my musical tastes from THIS list..):

  1. Wished For You – Squirrel Nut Zippers
  2. And I Love Her – Beatles
  3. Can’t Get Enough of You, Baby – Smashmouth
  4. What I like About You – Romantics
  5. The Promise – When In Rome
  6. My Girl – The Mamas & The Poppas
  7. I Will Be There – Phil Keaggy
  8. L.O.V.E. – Nat “King” Cole
  9. MonsterTruck 2000 – This Train
  10. (Tell Me) Everything About You – Undercover
  11. I Want To Hold Your Hand – Beatles
  12. I Love You – Pep Squad
  13. Together – Bon Voyage
  14. I Will Be Here – Steven Curtis Chapman
  15. You Are Mine – Mute Math
  16. Take My Hand – Dido
  17. Truly Madly Deeply – Savage Garden
  18. Kiss Me – Sixpence, None the Richer
  19. Then I Met You – The Proclaimers
  20. Let’s Face The Music – Taco
  21. You Are Everything – The Stylistics
  22. Anniversary Song – Cowboy Junkies

Three Years

It hardly seems possible, but Kara and I just celebrated our third anniversary yesterday (July 21st). It seems as we’ve known each other forever, but also as though we’ve only been together for months. I suppose that’s the mark of a good relationship, eh? And now we have a beautiful 14 month old son who keeps us very busy as well. I took the day off work and we had a picnic and went geocaching. Kara had never been and it was fun, even in the rain. Timothy certainly enjoyed being out in the woods and we found some local parks we didn’t know about. It was just a nice relaxing day and we’re looking forward to many more anniversaries in the future.

Out for a Ride

Out for a Ride

Originally uploaded by Jim Nutt

They grow up so fast. We had pictures taken for Easter on Friday and this is one of the shots. He’s really enjoying that horse! What you don’t see is Daddy standing very close to make sure he doesn’t ride the horse right off the table he’s standing on. Looking at this picture, it’s hard to believe that only 10 months ago he was utterly helpless and dependent on us for everything. Now we’re lucky if he’ll let us cuddle with him before we put him to bed at night.