Monday, February 12, 2018

'18/#3 Do My Eyes Decieve Me?

This blog is not so much about our RV adventures as it is about things we observe. I'm not saying these things are traits unique to the area or that it is anything worth noting. These are things that just start conversations. They are oddities, quirks, or any other thing that might have you scratching your head and saying "what the heck?".

This first thing I noticed when we first arrived here in the Rio Grande Valley(RGV). In our travels and over many years we have observed that most state and local laws prohibit certain lights on motor vehicles. Usually they are red and blue which I understand are reserved for emergency vehicles. I personally was stopped in Florida for red light-up valve stem caps on my motorcycle tires. No ticket but was warned and told to remove them. Researching this later I found out about the red a blue light restrictions. Now here in Texas just about any vehicle that is meandering down the road has flashing blue lights on it. Tractors, farm trailers, utility trucks (both public and private), construction vehicles, etc. Too many times I have tried to avoid what I perceived as an emergency situation just to find the local yard crew rumbling down the road. Lack of consistency can cause confusion. Maybe it's just me, but I am starting to get used to it.

I know I talked in the past about what many of the women wear just going to the grocery store. Clothing that leaves nothing to the imagination and teetering on 5 and 6 inch heels. Mary's latest observation is the seemingly acceptable trend of walking around in public in your pajamas. I'm not talking about little children riding in a grocery cart, these are adults with their children. We've seen it at gas stations, grocery stores, department stores, and most other places where we frequently shop. We have even seen it in restaurants! Where has common sense gone? I'm not asking everyone to dress up just to leave the house, but is it too much to ask that they not wear their PJ's out in public?

I know I am starting to sound like a cranky old man but I guess that is what I am. I know I'm old but I try to be accepting of other people and their personal choices. I just don't understand them. Maybe it is like when I was a little kid and we only wore our sneakers to gym class and not during the rest of the school day. I may not be as old as dirt or have been around since the dinosaurs roamed the earth but things have definitely change during my life time.

Well thanks for letting me vent a little from our home here in Pharr because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Thursday, February 1, 2018

'18/#2 Quirks Of The RV Life

Here we are in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV) for the winter. As Winter Texans we are here for the warm weather just like the Snow Birds in Florida. The only problem is that the weather has not been very nice or very warm. The propane truck is a regular visitor here in the park and we have filled 2 cylinders since October which is quite a bit for us. I can't really complain seeing the winter nightmares that the northern states have been experiencing. No matter how bad it gets down here we still don't have to shovel the white stuff!

Lately the sun has started to poke out a little more and the temperatures have been rising so we are getting out more. Yesterday we spent the whole day running around the RGV. I finally got Mary to the flea market in Donna TX that she had been wanting to see. Not like bigger flea markets we have become accustomed to in Florida but not bad. The produce, like it has been all over the area, was awesome. 5 lbs of Super Sweet Texas onions for five bucks and cauliflower the size of your head for $2. Got home and weighed the cauliflower and it was over 4 lbs! 

While walking around the flea market we heard someone yell out "I know you!". We turn around and there is Stacey who we worked with at Amazon in Campbellsville, KY a few years ago. We chatted for a while and caught up before heading on our way. This is one of the joys of RVing. An old friend once said that the RV neighborhood is 3000 miles wide and it seems to be when you run into friends months or years later and hundreds or thousands of miles from where you met.

We were done early so decided to head out to South Padre Island. The park bus was going to Port Isabel near by so we thought we would try and hook up with them. It was really just an excuse for Mary to see the lighthouse again and this time climb it. Well we pulled into the parking lot and our timing couldn't have been comes the bus! We joined the group and had lunch with them. It gave us some time to sit with one of the other work camper couples and get to know them a little better. Talking to them we realized that we had worked the whole summer in South Dakota just over the mountain and one town away. Odds are we saw them in passing well before we got to know them. What do you know, another RVing moment!

Mary got to do the lighthouse thing, with pictures on Mary's Facebook, and we went to the beach on South Padre Island. Walked along the beach, collected a few shells, and waved across the Gulf of Mexico to our friends in Florida. Then it was time to head home.

We had a great day and got to meet some new people, catch up with some old friends, and spend time with our new friends. I know this was a long blog and I need to blog more often but for now this is so long from our home in Pharr because...

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Sunday, January 14, 2018

'18/#1 Still In Texas, I Think

Yes, I have been negligent in blogging since this is my first blog of the new year. Our calender is very full and has kept us pretty busy. The New Year celebration was reasonably calm this year. We volunteered to help out in the concession counter in the hall. We sent New Year wishes to everyone on the east coast at 11pm Central time and to everyone here in Texas an hour later. When we got home we watched a couple New Year celebrations we had recorded so in total we celebrated New Year four times. Happy 2021? Just joking.

The weather has been less than ideal. As with the rest of the country Mother Nature is screwing around with our heads. With near freezing temps just spitting distance from Mexico and winds that are 40, 50 and close to 60mph, and our home being a trailer, it rocks quite a bit in the wind. Some mornings we have to look outside to make sure we are still in Texas. Also like other parts of the country Mother Nature is being fickle. Some days the highs don't get out of the 40's and a day or two later it is close to 80 degrees and then it goes back. Oh well, at least we don't have to shovel the white stuff in record amounts like some of our friends. You know who you are (wink, wink).

On another note, this weekend is the Tampa RV Super Show. We haven't missed it more than once or twice in the past 20 years and wish we could be there. Instead we went an RV show here in the Rio Grande Valley. It was less than a tenth of the Tampa show but we still got to look at a few new RVs. Nothing we would consider but saw some new features that looked promising and some that were NOT!
Toilet with a view? NOT!

One of our first RV friends once said thatRVers live in a neighborhood that is 3000 miles wide and I believe him. While we were walking around we met a couple that just happen to have worked in Zephyrhills for the same company we were at for the last 3 years. We knew all the same people and chatted for a while and now have new friends on the road. You never know when or where you will meet new people in the RV community. One of our first RV friends told us that

Well it is time to go to work. Today is our half day so Mary slept in. I am going to roust her out of our bed, in our home here in Pharr Texas because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Thursday, December 28, 2017

'17/#38 Just Things I Have Noticed

Well I hope everyone had a Happy Chanukah or Merry Christmas or what ever you did to celebrate this holiday season. We kept it real quiet. Christmas day was spent in our PJs binge watching all the Christmas shows we recorded all during the month of December. New Years will be much the same. There is a New Years party at the club house but our tradition is to watch the ball drop in Times Square. Since that is 11pm here, our New Year starts a little earlier than everyone else's around these parts.

Pharr Texas has been our home now for two months and I have noticed a couple of things. The first thing that stood out was the fashion sense of the women in the RGV or Rio Grande Valley. It doesn't matter what their size or age but the clothing leans toward "model sexy" if you know what I mean. Pants are too tight, skirts are too short, shorts are too tight and too short, and all this is accompanied by heels that just seem a bit too tall. Now don't get me wrong, there are some women of an age and body shape who can pull off this style and that is not the issue. It is the women who have reached the age where it looks ridiculous. I mean 60 years old and dressing like a teenager? Some of them are in great shape and could wear almost anything and look good....but c'mon! And regardless of age, there are those who can only get part of themselves into these clothes. It is the parts that are not covered and hanging out that make it just not right. And the shoes! So many of these women look like they are in pain and in danger of falling over. This is not a new phenomenon but it just seems more like the rule and not the exception around here.

Another thing we see around here and especially in McAllen are birds. We all know that birds fly south for the winter, but what I didn't know was that they all seem to come to McAllen. In Florida a parking spot in the shade of a tree is a bonanza. Here in McAllen it is a curse. I found a great parking spot near the door, under a tree in the shade and gave myself a mental "high-five".  You all know what I mean. We were inside the grocery store for less than an hour and by the time we returned to the parking lot the truck was covered in bird crap. If we had stayed in there for two hours I fear that we would have come back to a truck size pile of bird crap! When I got the truck to the car wash the guy told me that this is common around here. The other cars at car wash were no better off than our truck. Now I don't care how hot it gets or how bright the sun shines I will not park under a tree! In fact I scope out all the trees and strategically place the truck equidistant from every tree I see! The amount of birds is more than amazing, it is kind of scary. Mary says it reminds her of Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds". You decide for yourself. It has gotten worse since these pictures were taken!

It is only a few more days until the New Year and time to put Christmas behind us. I am signing off now because today we will start taking down the decorations in our home here in Pharr Texas in the RGV because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Sunday, December 17, 2017

'17/#37 'Tis The Season

There are only eight days until Christmas and we are in the middle of celebrating Chanukah and the air is filled with good will. It is a wonderful time of year. It is a shame that this feeling and attitude can't stay around all year long. In our RV park there is an "Angel Tree" to try and give needy children a Merry Christmas, some of the women are weaving mats out of recycled plastic bags for the homeless, and of course there have been food collections going on since before Thanksgiving. We joined a number of other couples and donated our time to ring the bells for the Salvation Army at the Neighbohood Market.
We try to be charitable all year long and I know many others do also but this seems to be the time of year that most people step up. If you are one of those I thank you for your effots but also encourage you to think this way the rest of the year.

Our park has it's own bus and there are always trips going out to all kinds of events in the area. The residents go to concerts, shows, shopping, and restaurants as a group with Merlin as their chauffeur. This week we are joining them. One night we are going over to Hidalgo to see Christmas lights. Apparently there is quite the display in that town. Later on in the week we will take the bus to Progresso and do a little shopping in Mexico before Christmas. We don't need anything but it is fun to go and wander around. I'm sure we will find something we just can't live without.

We are just about done with all our own Christmas preparations. The decorations are done inside and we have an inflatable to set up outside. All the gifts we have gotten for family have been shipped and Christmas cards are almost done. A little grocery shopping for our Christmas Eve and Day dinners and then we will just sit back and binge watch holiday classics we have been recording all month.

I will try to blog again before Christmas but just in case Merry Chistmas from our home in Pharr Texas because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Friday, December 8, 2017

'17/#36 Vacation? From What?!?

We are still in Texas and this morning we are watching it snow outside our windows. The temperature was 34 degrees when I woke this morning and the high is expected to be in the mid 40's. We high-tailed it out of South Dakota to get away from the winter weather and this morning it is warmer in Keystone than it is here in Pharr. Go figure. Fortunately this weather is not the norm for this area, or so we've been told. Next week it is supposed to warm up again. Right now Mary has gone back to bed and is buried under the covers trying to stay warm.

The past 3 days we spent up in San Antonio, TX. It is a place I have been trying to take Mary for a number of years and we finally made it. Working 12 hours a week is exhausting and we needed a vacation. LOL! It was a 3 1/2 hour drive from Pharr to San Antonio and we stayed in a very nice hotel near the Riverwalk. We walked along the river and took a boat tour and enjoyed all the Christmas lights decorating the shops and landscaping along the Riverwalk.

Like I said we stayed in a nice hotel and for those of you familiar with RVing you know that the one thing that is missing in the bathroom is a tub. Within minutes of getting back to our room Mary was in the tub and soaking all here troubles away. I think she was looking forward to that tub more than seeing San Antonio. With the sounds of splashing and aaahs coming from the tub I just relaxed and let Mary enjoy herself until she became a giant prune. Life is good!

We did a little shopping while we were in San Antonio for things we couldn't find in Pharr. Being from New York I like my bagels and the frozen grocery store things they call bagels just won't do. We found a great bagel shop and stocked up so I could have my bagel fix every once in a while. I was doubly excited to see that they had bialys. If I have to tell you what a bialy is you wouldn't understand. Needless to say I was as happy with my bagels as Mary was with her bathtub.

While we were in San Antonio we were able to catch up with our friends Tommie and Burnie. We workcamped with them several years ago in Cody Wyoming and have stayed in touch with them. We actually haven't seen them since 2012 but it was like we had seen them just yesterday. The joys of the RV community and the connectivity of the internet, you gotta love it!

Well that is enough for now. I am going to enjoy one of my bagels here in our home in Pharr Texas because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary

Saturday, December 2, 2017

'17/#35 Texas vs Florida

Well we have been here in Texas a little over a month now and are settling in nicely. We have met a lot of great people and more are arriving every day as the winter progresses. Speaking of progressing, where has the year gone? Can you believe that it is already December? The rest of the holiday season and then 2018! WOW!

After spending 30 plus years in Florida we are noticing a few differences between the people who head south to avoid the cold and snow. They all like their Bingo and their social get togethers and there always seems to be a group on the shuffleboard courts. Golf seems to be the main attraction in Florida while here in Texas ready access to Mexico and the inexpensive drugs  and dentistry is the reason for so many who winter here. Another difference is their self-given titles. In Florida we know them as Snow Birds but here they are called Winter Texans. What ever you do don't call them Snow Birds down here. They take offense to that and that is why the locals cater to them even putting out a newspaper for them. Ain't that special?

 I guess we are now Winter Texans and will be part of the group until we leave sometime in the spring. Then we head north for a yet to be determined destination for the summer. I don't know what we will be called next winter. We might be back in Texas or find something in Arizona or New Mexico or even southern California. Our house is on wheels and our plans are written in jello, so we will see when the time comes.

Our day at work is almost over so I will close this blog for now at our home in Pharr Texas because....

Home is where we park it,
Frank and Mary