My Bro’s New Home

A couple of years ago my brother, Danny’s beloved wife, Bea, passed away. They had a beautiful home in the town of Maricopa, but it was just too big, and held too many memories, for Danny to continue to live there. So after searching for property to build a new home on, Danny finally settled on a nice piece of property in Cottonwood, Arizona. He had a park model modular home built and moved it on his property. He sold his home in Maricopa, and is retiring from his job in Maricopa next week. Then he will live full-time in what he calls his new tiny (approximately 600 sq ft) home in Cottonwood. I have to remind him that Bill and I are full-time RV, and we live in (approximately 300 sq foot) motorhome…

This week we are visiting Danny at his place in Cottonwood. He graciously had a 50 amp electric box installed for us to hook-up to while we are here. And we have water and sewer here as well. Danny asked me if while we are here,  I would help him decorate his new home, and of course I jumped right on that, because I love to decorate, especially if someone else is paying for it. So off we went to purchase some of the essential things like a new shower curtain and rugs. First, I started out giving the tiny home a good deep cleaning, because it had not been cleaned real good after it was delivered to his property, and he has not started living in it yet. Not until after he retires next week.

 

Danny’s late wife, Bea, was Navajo Indian, and their home had a lot of Indian, and southwestern decor. So I stayed with that theme because it’s also my favorite decor. After I got the bathroom set up, I started on his bedroom and used one of the bedspreads he brought with him from his house in Maricopa.

Then it was on to the kitchen. I cleaned and shined all the stainless steel appliances, put out his hot pads, and a few of his favorite things like the soup tureen that I sold him and Bea when we sold our house, and his southwestern paper towel holder and napkin holder…

I just love, love, love his farmhouse stainless steel sink.

Danny had a great idea of hanging the big Bev Doolittle artwork (another piece I sold him and Bea when we sold our house, and one of my favorite Doolittle pieces that I sold them) in the corner of his living room. Bill and Danny worked about an hour and a half to get that artwork hung in that corner, but I think it looks fabulous! Then they hung the big mirror across from the window so the view outside will reflect into the mirror. Love it! The southwest area rug was also in my house and I sold it to Danny and Bea when we sold our home. It’s great that they bought all my stuff, because when I go to visit Danny, I get to visit all my stuff as well. Ha! 🙂 🙂

Next, they hung the Indian Chief and bow and arrows just inside the door of the living room.

Danny wanted to keep the top of this hide-a-bed pretty clear so he won’t have too much to move when he has company stay over with him. So we just lined up his liquor decanters on top of that beautiful piece of furniture. We also hung another Bev Doolittle piece of artwork that I sold him and Bea above the hide-a-bed. Looks beautiful.

When I arrived at Danny’s home, he already had the top of his kitchen cabinets decorated with some of his favorite knickknacks. I think he did a great job displaying his treasures there.

I had fun helping my bro clean and decorate his new home. I love you bro, and I hope you find peace, joy, and real happiness once again, here in your new home in Cottonwood, Arizona.

After we finished getting Danny’s home in order, and took a little break, he said he thought we should go with him at midnight to drive back to Maricopa and get another load from his house there. He is almost all moved out of that house, but still has a few odds and ends to get out of that house before the new owners take  possession. At the time he asked if we would go with him, it sounded like a good idea to leave at midnight and beat all the traffic to and from Maricopa, but at 11:30 p.m. I was asking myself who hatched this plan, and why on earth did I ever agree to it? When we arrived home at 6:00 a.m. I was still asking myself that same question… But, that’s my bro, Danny, and I just never could tell him no!

We have three more days here with Danny before we start making our way to South Dakota for our summer hosting positions. I’m excited to go and see what all South Dakota has to offer, but I’m always sad to leave our daughter, Shantel, in Phoenix, and my bro, Danny now in Cottonwood.

Stay Tuned!

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Easter 2019

Today we took our daughter, Shantel, out to Easter lunch, and had to say good-bye to Shantel until we return from our summer hosting positions in South Dakota. She looked so pretty in her new spring Easter dress.

We took Shantel to her favorite place for Easter lunch, Joe’s Crab Shack, in Tempe, Az.

Even though she almost always orders king crab legs, she still wants me to read the full menu to her, just in case they changed, or added, anything.

When the server brings her the bib, she knows some good food is about to come her way.

We started out with her favorite appetizer, great balls of fire, made with crab, seafood, cream cheese, jalapeños, and served with fries and ranch dipping sauce,

and of course, you can’t have seafood, without hushpuppies, which is another of her favorites…

But she got really excited, when the server placed that big bucket of king crab legs in front of her. Served with boiled potatoes and corn on the cob.

I had fish and chips, served with coleslaw. It was more than I could eat, but not to worry, Shantel said she would be happy to take home any leftovers for her dinner.

Bill/Papa had a shrimp sampler platter, and of course, Shantel asked if she could try one, or perhaps two, of his bacon wrapped shrimp.

When we were all served, Shantel wasted no time getting down to the business of cracking open her king crab legs. And she devoured every morsel.

When it was all said and done…, we asked for a take out box. Shantel ended up with one piece of my fish and most of my fries, two of Papa’s bacon wrapped shrimp, and four hushpuppies to take home for her dinner.

As we were leaving, Shantel asked if we would take her to the grocery store to get some things she was not able to purchase yesterday, because she would not have been able to carry all the bags home by herself. We were more than happy to do that. Then, we delivered our baby girl home, with a full tummy, and a full heart, because she knows how very much we love her.

Happy Easter Shantel, we love you, we are so proud of you, and we are always only a phone call away! See you in October.

Stay tuned as we begin our summer travels, I will post along our way.

Love,

Mom and Papa

Winding Down

Lots of things are starting to wind down in our world right now.

Our time here at McDowell Mountain Regional Park is winding down. We only have two more weeks until we head out to spend a week in Cottonwood at my brother, Danny’s place, before we make our way to South Dakota, where we will host in Visitor Centers in Custer State Park. Neither Bill nor I have ever been to South Dakota, so we are super excited to find out what all that state has to offer. We will be there from May through September, so we will have plenty of time to get out and hike, fish, and explore… all the things Bill and I love to do.

A few weeks ago I posted pictures of all the beautiful wildflowers that were in full bloom throughout the park,

but even they are starting to wind down in anticipation of the upcoming hot summer months.

And sadly, our time we get to spend with our precious daughter (baby girl) Shantel, is winding down as well. With her work schedule and ours, we really only get to see her every other Sunday while we are here from October through April. So with only one more  Sunday (Easter Sunday) left to spend time with her, we decided to bring her out to the park today to meet any of the hosts and friends that were home, and take her on a little hike to find out if any wild flowers were still blooming in abundance within the park. Even though Shantel can’t see, she still loves to go out on hikes, and enjoys having me be her sighted guide to explain what I’m seeing as we hike the trails.

We weren’t far into the hike before we discovered that the wildflowers were not near as abundant as they were a few weeks ago, but the various cactus were in various stages of bloom.

 

I asked Bill and Shantel to stand in front of this Ocotillo plant for a picture. They stood there looking at me and never smiled until I said “ready, set, now look like you love each other” , then they busted out laughing, and I got a great picture. Did you know the Ocotillo plant is not a cactus? No, it is a desert shrub. But, shhhhh, it doesn’t know that it isn’t a cactus…

As I said, we didn’t find an abundance of beautiful wildflowers on our hike, but I stopped to take a picture of this cactus skeleton just because I found it interesting to look at.

Just like I found the contrast of this dead tree, with a flowering bush blooming beneath it ,interesting to look at.

We didn’t do the full hike we intended because Shantel said she was getting too hot. I said “I thought you loved to hike” and she said “I do mom, but not when it’s this hot out at 9:30 in the morning. So we made a plan to go for early morning hikes when we come back next season.

After our short hike, we took Shantel out to lunch, then made our way back to Phoenix to take her home. In the car on the way to take her home, Shantel said she was surprised at how long a drive it is from her home to the park(this being the first time she has been to our park and it is an hour from her house to the park and back), and said she felt like she was back in dail-a-ride mode because it takes at least two hours to get from place to place with dail-a-ride when she is trying to get to work. I told her it is a long drive, but papa and I don’t mind it at all as long as we get to spend time with her. She smiled that beautiful smile at me that always lets me know she feels well-loved when she is with us.

We love you Shantel, and are looking forward to our traditional Easter lunch at Joe’s Crab Shack.

Stay Tuned!

 

Looking For Customer Service

What ever happened to the days when people went to work, and did the job they were paid to do regardless if it is your dream job, or a job you are doing until you find your dream job? What happened to showing up to work everyday and providing the best customer service you can provide, because you signed on to give your best when you took the job you have now?

If you follow my blog, you know my husband, Bill, and I, have a daughter, Shantel, that is totally blind, but she has never let that get in the way of her living her life to the best of her ability each and everyday. She has a job in a call center, that just so happens to be in the customer service field, and she shows up everyday anxious to do her best to provide the best service she can for each and every call she takes.

The past two weeks Shantel has been working a lot of overtime, because the main call center for the company she works for is located back east, and they have been hit with extreme cold weather, that caused a lot of folks to not be able to make it into their jobs. So, all the east coast calls were rerouted to the Phoenix based call center where Shantel works. This caused Shantel to have to work ten-hour days, then deal with the two-hour Dial-a-Ride ride service two and from work. Dial-a-Ride is another whole nightmare story, in regards to customer service, but that will have to wait for another blog posting.

When I talked to Shantel today, she told me that last night she decided to treat herself when she finally got home from work, and use Uber Eats, to order her food and have it delivered to her.  I Googled Uber Eats and found the following information. “Uber Eats is a food delivery platform that makes getting great food from your favorite local restaurants as easy as requesting a ride. Uber Eats is the easy way to get the food you love delivered” Shantel has used Uber Eats several times in the past with no problems. So, because she was tired, and just wanted to order her food, eat, take a shower, and go to bed so she could get up and do her job well again the next day, she called Uber Eats and placed her order. She told me she always tells them she is visually impaired, and needs to have her order delivered to her door. In the past, this has never been a problem. However, last night, the driver called her when she was in the parking lot of Shantel’s apartment complex, and told her she didn’t want to walk to Shantel’s door with the food because it was too dark… She told Shantel she would leave her food order in the parking lot and left!! There is no way Shantel could have ever found her food order in the parking lot, and there is no way she should ever have to do that. Shantel called and made a complaint to the Uber Eats customer service line but they just told her “they will look into it”. I am beyond appalled at the lack of not only customer service by Uber Eats, but also the lack of common decency, for our fellow human beings ,by the Uber Eats delivery driver that told Shantel she would leave her food order in the parking lot and left, even though she knew Shantel is blind. If that woman was afraid to deliver the food order to Shantel’s door in the dark, perhaps she shouldn’t be working for a delivery service at night!

Shantel has also used Grubhub, which is another food deliver service, and found them to have excellent door delivery service. However, Grubhub doesn’t deliver from some of Shantel’s favorite restaurants.

Of course as her mother, I’m always upset when I hear about some of the obstacles Shantel has to deal with in her daily life. I know we all face obstacles in our lives, but sometimes I just think Shantel gets her share, and then some… However, being the beautiful, old soul ,that she is, Shantel never lets any of it get her down. She just keeps on going ,and makes the very best of what she has to work with… I asked her what she did for dinner last night since it was late, and her food order (that was already paid for) was left somewhere in the parking lot, and it was too late to start cooking dinner…? She laughed, and said “lucky for me, I found a can of soup in the cupboard”.

That’s our girl! We love you Shantel.

Stay Tuned!

 

 

Unmarked

I’m not one to visit gravesites of the deceased. I don’t believe they are there in the grave so I see no reason to visit the gravesite. When my father died in 2006, I took my mother to visit his grave, and she would always take flowers to place on the grave. When my mother died, in 2016, and the graveside service was over, I never went back to visit her gravesite again. Again, I don’t believe she is there so what is the purpose of visiting the gravesite…? However, for the past few months, I’ve had a nagging feeling urging me to go and visit my mother’s gravesite. I shared my feeling with my husband, Bill, but again I reminded him that I don’t believe in visiting the gravesites of the deceased because they are not there…  But today, Bill, suggested we take a ride to the cemetery to visit my mother’s grave. I agreed, and off we went.

Before my parents died, they made arrangements for all their cemetery needs, from the gravesite to the grave markers, and everything was pre-paid in full. When my father died there was no problem getting his grave marker installed in a timely manner. His name and proper dates were all correctly installed on his grave marker, and there was a blank space at the bottom of his grave marker where my mother’s name and dates were to be installed…

 

When my mother died on 3/10/2016, and we met with the folks at the cemetery office, they assured us that everything was in order, and pre-paid, for my mother’s information to be installed in her space of the grave marker she would share with my father. They were both buried in the same grave as a double-decker type of grave…

Well, imagine my surprise when we arrived at the gravesite of my parents, and my mother’s information was not on the grave marker, three years after she has been dead!

 

You can see the holes in the stone where the information marker is to be placed, but no marker is there. So off we go to the office to find out what happened. Why was my mother’s information not on her gravesite stone?

After talking to the “family service counselor” on duty and explaining that my mother has been dead almost three years, and there is still no name or dates on her gravesite stone, and that all of that was pre-paid and was supposed to have been taken care of within weeks after she died… we were asked to wait in a room while the “family service counselor” went to speak with her manager. A short while later the manager came into the room and tried to tell me that the gravesite marker had never been ordered and had not been paid for. By now I’m doing all I can to try to keep some zen in my voice as I explain to him that everything had been pre-paid, and I was witness to when my parents paid for everything. I told him I could go home and get my papers (I never thought I would need to take them with me today because I never thought in my wildest dreams that her gravesite marker wouldn’t have been installed). I described the man that we met with, and the manager told us that man was no longer employed there, and there was a reason why he was no longer employed there. I continued to insist that the gravesite marker for my mother had been paid for, and at that point the manager said he was going to go back and reread the original contract and excused himself from the room. When he came back, he looked at me and asked if I’m a patient person? I mustered up a smile and said yes, but I wanted to scream I can be, but your making it very difficult!!! Then the manager said he found in the original contract where everything was pre-paid and it was their mistake and he just couldn’t be more sorry…

The manager showed us on the paperwork where the person (that was no longer working at the cemetery office) wrote on the paperwork when we met with him the day after my mother died which was 3/11/2016, “pre-paid final date (shown in the middle of the next photo. The manager said perhaps he was waiting for the final date to put on the gravesite marker.. Well I might not be the sharpest tool in the toolbox, but I know that the final date would be the date of death which for my mother was 3/10/2016, which is also listed on the paperwork. So instead of anyone picking up the phone to call and clarify, they just did nothing, and so my mother’s gravesite has gone unmarked for three years and counting… Had Bill and I not gone to visit the gravesite today, her gravesite might have stayed unmarked forever!

After a lame attempt to try to explain what might have happened, the manager looked at me, and most likely saw I was not buying any of it so he finally said “there is no excuse, this is entirely our fault, and we are going to order the gravesite marker with your mother’s information today. We will email you the proof for you to approve, and we will install it as soon as it comes back to us. He even offered to give us a memorial inscription free. I told him I wasn’t looking for anything free, I just wanted them to make her gravesite marker as we agreed upon in the first place which was to have her name, date of birth, date of death, and a cross to match my father’s marker.

So now we wait… it can take a couple of weeks to get the proof to approve, then 8-10 weeks to get the gravesite marker back and installed on her grave. That will put Bill and I into our time to leave Arizona, and make our way to South Dakota. So, because I have been reminded yet again that we have to follow-up on everything, and leave nothing to chance ,and hope good, quality, customer service will prevail… I asked them to take a picture of the gravesite marker when it is installed on my mother’s grave, and email it to me so I know it actually got properly installed this time.

When we left the cemetery, it was lunch time so we went to one of our favorite places, to get great, fast, food, Pei Wei. The next photo shows what my fortune cookie said…

 

I guess we will just have to wait and see…

Stay Tuned!

Happy New Year

I’ve never been one to make New Year resolutions. I prefer to make positive changes in my life anytime I feel the need to do so. Throughout this year, and especially in the last few months of this year, I’ve made several changes in my life that are bringing a lot more positive energy around me, and into my life.

I’ve always been dedicated to my Catholic Faith, but this year I started dedicating even more time to my prayer life by dedicating a time of day as my prayer hour. This is in addition to my regular morning and evening prayers. I’m amazed at the difference a dedicated prayer hour has made in my life. It has sharpened my focus on what is really important, and meaningful in my life. It has allowed me to look for things in my life that tend to drain my energy, and replace those things with things that bring me positive energy. Did you know there is actually a list of “Everyday habits that drain your energy”? Well, there is, and this is what it says:

  1. Taking things personally
  2. Holding on to the past
  3. Always checking Facebook
  4. Sleeping in late
  5. Fueling drama
  6. Over stressing
  7. Having a poor diet
  8. Complaining all the time
  9. Overthinking
  10. Gossiping
  11. Not living in the moment
  12. Trying to please everyone
  13. Worrying about what others think

Some folks get so caught up in the things on the list, they don’t even realize that is what is draining their energy and causing so much negativity in their lives. Another big change both Bill and I have made in our lives is deactivating our Facebook accounts. We had a conversation one evening and discussed how much negativity is out on Facebook, and asked ourselves why we were allowing that to come into our home and our lives. Then we simply made the decision to drop Facebook from our lives, and for us, it has been wonderful. We want our friends to feel comfortable to stop by and visit us, call or text us, instead of being virtual friends on Facebook that might read a posting and hit the like button or send a heart…

A few months ago, a dear friend of mine gave me a small friendship banner. The words on that banner resonated so much with me that I have it hanging on a door in our home to remind me every day what genuine friendship is based on. This is what the friendship banner says:

“Friendship

We have genuine friendship when it is based on true human feeling, a feeling of closeness in which there is a sense of sharing and connectedness. I would call this type of friendship genuine because it is not affected by the increase or decrease of the individual’s wealth, status, or power. The factor that sustains that friendship is whether or not the two people will have mutual feelings of love and affection, genuine human friendship is on the basis of human affection, irrespective of your position. Therefore, the more you show concern about the welfare and rights of others, the more  you are a genuine friend. The more you remain open and sincere, then ultimately more benefits will come to you. If you forget or do not bother about others, then eventually you will lose your own benefit.”

H.H. The XIV Dalai Lama

That is what I want my friendship with others to be, and what I want from others as my friend. And, for me, that just doesn’t happen on Facebook.

I will continue to work on myself, my goals, and doing me throughout 2019.

I wish all of you the very best.

Happy New Year!

 

 

Colors Of Fall

This week our son Pat, and daughter-in-law Celina, took us on a spectacular drive to see the fall colors on our way to visit Crested Butte, Colorado. About an hour into our drive, we started seeing the beginning of the leaves changing colors.

For our daughter Shantel, remember when you were a little girl, and you asked me what its like to see color? And I started teaching you what colors might feel like if you could feel color? I told you colors like red, orange, and yellow might feel warm to the touch, while green and blue might feel cool to the touch. Well, the leaves on many of the trees along our drive were changing from green,

to yellow,

and in some areas, we even saw hints of red.

Before we made our way into Crested Butte, we stopped at a beautiful lake named Lost Lake. Oh, Shantel, all the beautiful colors of the changing leaves were also being reflected off the still water of the lake. So as we were looking at the leaves on the trees around the lake, we were also seeing their image reflected on the water. Even the clouds in the sky were reflecting on the water. All of these images created a peaceful, calming, feeling.

We took a short hike around part of the lake,

and around every curve of the trail was a scene more beautiful than the last. In the next picture, we were looking across the lake at trees displaying every shade of color.

And in this next picture the clouds were moving across the lake creating shadows that reflected off the water.

We left the lake and made our way into Crested Butte. What an adorable, colorful, little town. Every building in the town is painted a different color. Orange, red, blue, and green, just like the colorful leaves on the trees.

And they have the most beautiful flowers planted in big flower beds and hanging pots all along the street and sidewalks.

Aside from the magnificent colors we saw in the fall colors of the trees, the highlight of the trip for me, was when we visited a little mini donut shop where they make mini donuts fresh right in front of you, and they come with hot toppings of your choice. Papa and Pat bought six of the donuts with a variety of toppings, like hot caramel/bacon to name just one. Then, they sat outside the donut shop on a bench and ate all the donuts. But the look on their faces as they enjoyed their sweet treats just made my day. As you know I don’t eat sweets, and Celina didn’t have any either, but she stood close by and kept handing Papa and Pat napkins to wipe their hands and face after they finished each of the six donuts. I got so tickled watching them, I could hardly hold the camera straight to take some pictures.

Just before we arrived in Crested Butte, we passed a grave site and stopped to make a visit. The headstone said the person died in 1881. But there was a message engraved into the bottom of the headstone that read,

“My good people as you pass by, as you are now so once was I. As I am now you soon must be, prepare yourselves to follow me.” I thought that was a profound message on a gravesite headstone, so I included a picture of it here on my blog as a reminder to enjoy every minute of your life, and especially enjoy the donuts!

Big thanks to Pat and Celina for taking us on such a beautiful drive and spending their day showing us around Crested Butte, Colorado.

Stay Tuned!

Previous Older Entries

Wheeling It

On the Road Since 2010, Traveling Across USA & Europe With 12 Paws

The Brantley Blog

In the eyes of the law, we reach adulthood the day we turn 18 years old. God help anyone who actually believes that.

the next few years

family life..with a unique perspective of motherhood

Gotham Girl Chronicles

a mixture of random musings...life in NYC...travel...photography...cycling

Blooming Burgh Boomer

Living An Active Full Life

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