Thursday, July 9, 2020

Chinky-Pox Paranoia

We're living in crazy times, that's for sure. Unemployment rates are 14.7% to 20% depending on who you believe (Unemployment in 2019 was 4.8%). Bars are closed again. Restaurants can only operate at 50% capacity. No organized 4th of July fireworks, but that night San Angelo sounded like we were in a war zone. Mandatory facemask edicts. Social distancing. Here in town most fast food restaurants have kept their dining rooms closed, they are now drive thru only. McDonalds no longer serves breakfast items all day long (the horror!). But EJ and I haven't gotten all paranoid over the virus just like many other rational folks. We no longer trust anything the media says and it is sad that we have to fact check everything they produce. So many don’t bother to check and just believe whatever news(lies) they are fed. We adapt to the degree we are forced to and continue on with our lives.

As long time readers know, EJ and I have temporarily relocated to San Angelo, Texas as this is where my father lives. His health has deteriorated and he is now under the care of hospice. We are staying here for several reasons.1) we hope to be able to once again be with Dad on a daily basis before he leaves this world; 2) we are in the process of wrapping up his affairs.

March 16 was the last day I was able to spend with him. Since he went into the hospital on December 17, 2019 I had spent every day with him. We talked, he slept, I kept occupied on the laptop and I handled the small stuff like getting him food or water and making sure he was comfortable. Not being able to visit with him is an emotional challenge particularly knowing he may pass away before we are allowed to be with him again. So we continue to wait and hope the Chinky-Pox scare ends before he dies.

Dad has always had a big heart and has always helped his friends if they were in a tight spot. He would loan money, buy furniture from someone that needed money even though he didn’t need another thing for his apartment. He would give friends a ride to the doctor or to go shopping. He would even go shopping for them if they couldn’t get out. In the last few years he hired a friend to drive him. Dad paid him every week whether he needed him or not. Even as recently as a couple of weeks ago he wanted to know if “Joe” was still being taken care of. That’s Dad’s big heart. But because he had a hard time saying no to people, Dad ended up with an apartment full of excess “Stuff”.

Unedited view of Dad's apartment

EJ has been working diligently over the last few months to sell odds and ends. Finally, about a month ago I finally accepted the fact that Dad was never going to be able to return to his apartment. It was time to let everything go. I guess I had a glimmer of hope that he might somehow recover and things would return to some level of normalcy. I know that was a pipe dream, but I could still hope. Since then EJ has gone into high gear and has been advertising and selling stuff right and left. Dressers, night stands, lamps, book cases, tables, computers, file cabinets, a water cooler, refrigerator, printers, tools, a huge TV and more. Now we are down to nick-knacks, clothes and a queen sized bed. She has a big sale planned for the remaining items as we are shooting for vacating Dad’s apartment by the end of July.

But now for some RV stuff. We have recently had some major hail storms. Hail 2 to 2.5 inches in diameter fell for about 30 minutes on May 21, 2020.

Hail size San AngeloHail damage

Fortunately we were at the RV and heard the early stages of the storm. I managed to get the Explorer under a shelter here at the Concho Pearl RV Estates and left EJ and the cats in Miss Mosey. Boy did I hear about that later on. EJ was not a happy camper after all the noise and anxiety produced by the storm. Gabby was not happy either. She disappeared during the storm. How she manages to find hiding places in the RV that we can’t find is a mystery. The next day I checked the roof of Miss Mosey and found no damage. But, the Explorer did end up with a few minor dings you can see if you really look for them. Meh! I’ve given up on having a perfect car. It is what it is!

However, Miss Mosey did not escape completely damage free. Our slide toppers are of indeterminate age. They could be as old as 9 years, or not. We think the previous owners told us they had been replaced once. Nonetheless, since the previous owners full timed in her and we are too, the toppers have been exposed to the sun for most of their lives. That means lots of sun aging or damage. The hail was just the final straw.

Topper damage

That’s a lot of sunlight coming through the weather proof fabric. So we ordered new toppers from Tough Tops and installed them ourselves. Youtube to the rescue for installation hints. It was so hot, we could only do one a day. The heat just wilted us.

As I mentioned above, Dad still has a car. It is a 2004 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT that he has had since it was new. It was his wish that “Joe”, his driver, end up with it. I met with “Joe” to discuss it and he didn’t want it. Said he couldn’t afford it. Well, alright. I can understand that. Licensing, insurance, maintenance that takes some serious coin. And if you don’t need the car, it could be a real burden.

So I undertook the task of selling the car. To make it really presentable, I replaced a broken windshield and a O2 sensor in the exhaust that was making the check engine light come on. Showed it to a guy that was going to sell it for me and he liked what he saw. I told him I would bring it back after I got it cleaned up. I bet I didn’t get 3 blocks before that stupid car started developing major problems. Only 5 cylinders were firing. So I thought, I can’t sell it like this. I took it to a recommended mechanic. It had a bad brain box. So he replaced it. I drove it a block and it started missing again. I took it back. It’s got a bad brain box he says. I say, find out what is causing it. After 2 days he calls back and says you have a bad fuel injector wiring harness.

2004 Grand Caravan Fuel Rail wiring

Yep, it’s bad all right. There is a lot of missing insulation and it was shorting out. I did some research and turns out this is a fairly common problem on the early 2000’s Caravans. He couldn’t get the part because according to Dodge it is on national backorder. I called several Dodge dealers myself in a hundred mile radius and yep, it’s on backorder. So, EBay is my friend. I found a dealer back east that had one in stock and it’s being shipped to Dad’s apartment. Should be here late next week.

In the mean time, I have spent way too much money trying to get this car in sellable shape when I probably just should have taken it to the junkyard.

And we haven’t just been sitting stationary. We actually moved! All the way from site 25 to site 42. We went from being surrounded by other RVs to actually having shade trees (well as much as Mesquites can provide shade)  and space tor Gabby and Maggie to explore.

Miss Mosey's new spot

Obligatory cat picture follows….

She has no shame

Gabby enjoying the new yard. That is one relaxed kitty!