January 2022

January 1st -3rd

“Mercury Forecast Mesa 20 degrees Edmonton -28 degrees Calgary -15 degrees”

The start of another year. On our way to Arizona !!

Fred & Terry picked us up right on time. We loaded up everything in the back and bed of the truck we were bringing. Not a lot but extra stuff as we needed WINTER gear just in case we broke down etc. So boots, togues, gloves etc stuffed in the bed just in case. And let me tell you it is COLD outside. So glad to be leaving the cold. I wish everyone that wanted to could do so.

We left Saturday from Calgary around 10 am. This was a blizzard warning in place thought to hit Lethbridge and south Saturday evening with winds gust up to 100kmph. This flat area of the world gets lots of wind and blowing snow can be bad for visibility and can ice up the highway. We experienced a bit of this around Claresholm but very little plus the roads remained bare.

A gas stop, pee break and our last Tim’s Horton stop until April 2022.

Arriving at the border there were very few cars and it took only 20 minutes to get thru. Mostly caused by a shift change right on the hour. I do have to say the USA border guards overall are a lot more friendly and professional at the same time than a lot of ours on return.

The roads continued to have light blowing of now across them into Montana but not collecting or making them icy. Through the passes the odd spot had one lane perfect the other with icy spots or accumulation. It was a very easy winter driving experience. Fred’s Ford drives extremely well. It is heavy but steers well and feels safe. In the dark through the passes was a little more challenging as you could not see the black ice but still very easily managed and it is winter.

Beautiful sunset on a dry easy driving highway in Montana

First let me say Daisy from start to finish considering everything was exceptional. She is a pain though for eating and taking care off but she makes up for it by batting her lashes. We were appreciative of Fred & Terry’s flexibility with things. They normally stay at Best Western’s but when I phoned there, they wouldn’t accept a pet. I found a same price hotel Comfort Inn which turned out fantastic. The bed and pillows here were to die for. Comfort to the extreme. We had rooms on the opposite ends of the hotel as the pet section is a separate wing.

It was later already so we headed to pick up some beer for the room and fast food. Feeding women is so much more difficult than a guy. Finding a food, they like that someone carries, and just finding it isn’t easy. We found a close Burger King but no salads, and no wraps for the girls. Whoopers for the guys, done so I ordered a Chicken sandwich (no grilled). Turns out it had a sesame seed bun. Between brought along Yogurt and a bit of chicken they had a supper.

The wonderful mattress and pillows turned out for fraught as young kids were running up and down the halls until 1 am. Daisy wouldn’t calm down or stay in bed so needless to say we didn’t get a very good sleep.

Daisy waiting for us to come to bed

A free breakfast of scrambled eggs and bacon then on our way. We left fairly early around 7:30. Another day with some wind and few spots blowing across the road but the cruise could still be set at 140 kmph and away we go. We had a few stops which was excellent to get Daisy out for a poop and pee. Jackie had her full winter gear on. We had a fairly easy drive today of about 10 hours.

Tonight, our stop was Mesquite NV. We saw a line up on the opposite side of the highway that stretched miles and miles and miles. I was unbelievably long caused by some accident with multiple cop cars.

I don’t have an exact number of times we have driven down ( appr 6 times) but this time the snow was a low as St George. In fact further down on Hwy 93 east of Vegas again snow lined the highway. They had to have some cold weather. In fact it was not until Kingman where Fred was able to remove the snow/ice buildup from his tonneau cover. If he hadn’t some poor guy behind us got really of got hit with flying ice chunks. In Mesquite the girls whipped to Pizza Hut for supper and stopped at Walmart for salads, LOL and came back to the hotel. Pizza and beer how can you go wrong.

All the way to Kingman which is 1.5 hours past Las Vegas before our ice would leave the truck.

Fred came up with the perfect plan. Leave Mesquite later to avoid the Vegas morning rush and arrive in Phoenix before the afternoon rush. Our timing worked out to be impeccable as in both cities it was not busy.

We arrived at our second home around 4 pm. I was going to go out for groceries, but I found chicken breasts and potatoes so we will get those tomorrow. Daisy even loved coming home. It was colder out than I remember and that was at 17 degrees. I started up the water and heater plus turned on the furnace. Tomorrow I will put away all of the Christmas decorations and do my clean up.

Jackie took Daisy for a walk as she had forgotten her phone in the truck. It took a while as she was stopped by neighbors welcoming her back.

Daisy is sound asleep on the couch after an exhausting day driving, LOL

Nice to be home, nice to have a good drive, wonderful that Daisy was well behaved and awesome that Fred & Terry were flexible with the inconvenience of having a dog. I think secretly Fred love Daisy.

Everything was wonderful on our arrival.

Thought of the Day

“There ain’t a man livin’ who hasn’t talked to his dog.” – Hank Williams “Dogs have boundless enthusiasm but no sense of shame. I should have a dog as a life coach.”

January 4th

” Mercury Forecast Mesa 18 degrees, Edmonton -28 degrees, Calgary -28 degrees ** extreme cold weather warnings in both cities ** “

Wow, is it cold in Canada. EXTREME COLD WARNINGS for both cities and lows down to minus 31 and 35 at nights. I am so glad I do not have to be in Canada to endure this. Having said that 18 to 20 is warm and beautiful and not hot.

It was wonderful sleeping in our own bed, with a cool night and warms sheets in the dark.

Jackie has moved her walking time back a bit as at 7:30amd it is only 5 to 7 degrees, so the ladies have decided on 9 am as the perfect walk time. First day walking and I understand Daisy loved it getting to me her old friends in the dog park plus getting to run around and walk in the resort.

Today was a great day to get a few things done. I started by removing all of the Christmas decorations. Put as many away as possible and will place the remaining when I get my shed done. I hope to find a fair amount of room for stuff even though it is on the small side. I hate being confined by small spaces. This lot is too small, and our Oasis lot is too small. Never enough room.

I then started tree removing and trimming. I removed the tree in the back, I removed a tree on the west side where I am going to place my shed. I trimmed back the lemon and orange trees and a couple of bushes. It is all piled on a tarp tomorrow to take to the dump in the morning. I will modify my rear deck now with the tree gone.

A full day outside working in the sun was great.

Jeff & Wendy arrived, and we walked over to say hello. Their rental unit looks like a winner for them.

Our first BBQ supper outside was awesome. I had to put on the heater as my legs and toes were a little chilly. I hate safety features on anything. Tonight, to start my heater with a BBQ lighter was a pain but finally got it done.

BBQ porkchop, potatoes and salad sitting outside watching the news was just a nice feeling.

Our first supper outside of 2022

Daisy stayed in the house while I worked, and Jackie went to get groceries. Baby steps to get her to stay at home herself. Slow process but achievable.

Thought of the Day

How many times have you gone to a BBQ and the person says ” Well done is ok right? ”

January 5th-6th

“Mercury Forecast Mesa 18 degrees, Edmonton -28 degrees, Calgary -24 degrees”

What gorgeous weather. Not so much for Alberta. With the wind it is hitting -34 degrees or more at night. That is ridiculous. Hard on vehicles, difficult on people as outside activities are limited and just not fun, unless you like to be trapped in your house.

First thing this morning was a trip to the dump to get rid of all of my branches that I removed to trim the trees and make easier access to the shed.

Then off to Home Depot to up some material to build the base of the shed. On the way Fred washed his truck. I picked up my material I needed, and we headed home. Fred went home to polish, vacuum and clean out his truck.

I levelled the area, move stuff around to get it out of our way and worked on building the base. It didn’t take me long.

After lunch we headed to Lowes to pick up the walls and sheathing. Fred helped me and did quite well today. Two different ideas on how to build a slant shed each correct in their own rite but one more time consuming than the other. The first day we got the long back wall done and started on the slant side walls. These were taking a way to long with angle and measurements, so we stopped about 4pm which is a long enough day. Then I decided to build the side walls the old fashioned way and got one done in about 1/2 hr after Fred had left. I will get the other two done tomorrow.

First day and not a long day we got the base levelled and built, the back wall up and sheathed and one side wall done. A good day and it will be a good enough sized storage locker.

I know everyone says they had the best Dad but I DID have. It is 12 years ago now that we lost Dad.

My Dad Jesse Willard

My Dad Jesse Willard

This man was the most gentle, quiet, giving, unselfish, loving person I have known. He is still one of the smartest guys I know. Mechanic, machinist, welder, carpenter, plumber, inventor he did it all and did it very well. He built his own homes and ran a service station. Other kids may have had a parent drive them to hockey for a bit each week, but my Dad spent countless hours on my cars every week. I mean countless hours. You just don’t realize how much one does for you. I could phone Dad and get an answer from him on any problem I was running into with electrical, car, plumbing etc. He always had an answer or if not a suggestion to help. This is man that never swore, rarely drank, and a man never to anger. I am so grateful to have his violin sitting in our living room as a reminder of him everyday. I miss my Dad as I am sure most people do losing a parent but I do have to say it is one thing to lose a parent but it is another to lose a Super Dad. He was amazing and was a huge factor in how I am today as a person.

I started at 9:00 this morning and worked to about 4pm this afternoon. This 20 above is such a comfortable temperature to work in.

It was a good day’s progress including a couple of trips to the Depot to pick up stuff. We got both side walls up and complete. We got the front wall all framed up and installed. We installed all of the rafters. (First time ever where I didn’t bird mouth the rafters) There is no snow load factor, it is in a protected area, and it is a slant roof plus the height worked out good doing it this way. Never mind the speed.

We got the roof sheathing done and I finished installing the roof edge and shingles.

Two things to mention. Arizona does not sell spruce products, but they do sell fir. It is a lot straighter but is very hard. It is difficult to screw into and hard to nail into. It is nice but leaves a lot of splinters in your hands.

Fred & I stopped for lunch at Chick-Fil-A. Wow are they organized. The lineup was at least 20 cars which at any other spot would take a long time to get thru, so we were hesitant. Abot 10 cars back a young guy with a portable menu electronically takes your order. Another 5 cars forward a young lady takes our money. Nearer the window a runner comes to our window with our meal all predicated by our name taken at our first encounter with a staff member.

Very very good chicken sandwich but I would say in my opinion the Popeye’s one is still a bit better.

A good day’s work and the shed is starting to look good.

A long walk around the park with Daisy and then some TV time to end the day.

Thought of the Day

A man needs a shed to clear his head.

January 7th

“Mercury Forecast Mesa 21 degrees, Edmonton -23 degrees, Calgary -22 degrees”

Well look at that. Here in Arizona we are +21 degrees and in Calgary it is -22 degrees. Which would you take ?

I worked on the shed this morning finishing off the front wall. Only the door and trim now to get done on Saturday. Plus the painting. Starting to look good !

It was nice to buy Christmas gifts that people put to good use. August had a blast on his skis that he received even though it was still very cold outside. I hope they get some great use of these. Also talking to Victoria their new Roomba is working great for them.

August trying out the new skies.

Off Jeff, Wendy and us to Western Sky Golf course for their first round of the year and our first round in three weeks. Overall, everyone played quite well when you consider the time frame off. I was very happy with the front nine shooting a 39 but had a couple of not so perfect holes. Still anytime low 80’s I don’t complain. The slice after 3 weeks came to bite me today. I wish I could get rid of that. On a tight course I get killed due to that.

First game of 2022 for the Graces and us. Western Sky was in perfect shape.

After golfing in a beautifully warm day with Daisy being the best playmate ever, we decided to order from Fat Willy’s and eat supper at our house. Fat’s had our order ready right on time and everyone enjoyed their choices.

A great day, a fun day golfing, and capping it off with a nice golf game and visit with the Graces was awesome.

Thought of the Day

Golf is a puzzle without an answer. I’ve played the game for many years, and I still haven’t the slightest idea of how to play.

January 8th

“Mercury Forecast Mesa 23 degrees, Edmonton-25 degrees, Calgary -16 degrees”

What a wonderful warm day.

Jackie actually slept in today instead of going on her normal walk. I think Daisy was disappointed.

Fred came over around 9:30 and we started working away. We finished off the exterior of the shed today. We made our door and installed it. We applied all of the trim on the cable ends and side wall. We also installed the eaves and soffit material. So, I have the painting of the walls and trim and then the shelving and hangers and it will be complete. It is going to come in very handy.

Fred saved me at least $100 as I was going to use smart trim boards, but he suggested smart siding and rip it. Smart siding is only 3/8 while trim is 3/4 so I was hesitant, but it worked out perfectly.

Good looking shed.

Just the painting of the walls and trim left to do.

We dropped off the tools at Fred’s shed and had a couple of beer. Life is Good.

Fred had a new router and couldn’t it to work so we went in to see what we could do. We tried a few things to no avail and then I remembered the WPS button. I pushed it and it went right in, like it was breaking. We had to use a knife to get it out. I thought I had broke it. Fred has a nice Mac Notebook ( Note to self- never buy Apple- no enter button) I was playing around with the Mac and entered the password for the router and lo and behold a message pops up it found the router. Instantly working. More luck than management but nice that things worked out.

Jackie and I headed out to pick up some groceries and then we are done for the day.

Another day in paradise!

Thought of the Day

There’s a funny thing about paradiseevery day is pretty much the same as every other day. One slides into another; weeks become months.

January 9th-10th.

“Mercury Forecast Mesa 24 degrees, Edmonton -2 degrees, Calgary 8 degrees”

Finally, the weather is getting better for our Canadian friends. Calgary is 8 above every day this week so it will be a sloppy mess. Nice for them to get a break. Today and yesterday our weather was gorgeous.

It was a fun Sunday. Along with us, Ralph & Tracy, Jeff & Wendy, and Fred & Terry played golf together. Yes, you read right. Fred golfing. Fred hates golf but Terry convinced him to come with us as a group. Funny thing is Fred could be good as it hits the ball a mile and with more practice may start to like it.

So, the 8 of us in two foursomes had a lot of fun out on the course. And it was a warm beautiful day. A low 80’s score I can live with, so all was good, and it was a lot of fun.

After golf we stopped at Fat Willy’s for supper on the deck. It cools down at night, so we were lucky to get a patio heater. The food and service tonight was excellent. I had the French Dip with the roast beef and bun exceptional. Jackie had the California Chicken Sandwich which I had a bite of was wonderful.

Good service, good food and good friends make LIFE IS GOOD

Jackie went with Daisy for her early morning walk with Terry, Tracy and for the first time Wendy. As usual when they got back and hearing about the walk Daisy had a great visit with her buddies at the park.

I started first thing this morning and finished putty patching and caulking the shed. I then sanded it all. It was ready to paint. I have one small piece to install which I will do later.

I golfed with my group today. It wasn’t the most stellar game. Chips gone wrong, putts not wanting to drop and missed shots. That happens but an 80 yr old beat me today, again ! I lost money today.

I had all of the guys over to my place after golf. Our group was 8 guys today. Jackie’s covid safe snacks work out perfect. I am getting low on Rum though. LOL

Another fun day.

Thought of the day

I miss the 90’s when bread was still good for you and no one knew what kale was.

January 11th-12th

“Mercury Forecast Mesa 22 degrees, Edmonton 3 degrees, Calgary 7 degrees”

For the next week our temperature is 70 degrees EVERY day. That is nice. I am booked for more golf than normal this week. I have 5 days out of 7 with games. So far this week it has been GREAT game, OK game, Great game, Poor Game so covered just about everything. 3 different courses also which does make a difference. Sunday was at Viewpoint with our gang of friends, Monday was at Viewpoint with VP men’s group, Tuesday was with Jeff& Wendy at Johnson Ranch (I love this course) Wednesday was at Longbow (beautiful high-end course).

Monday was at Viewpoint again with my guys. Another fun outing at our resort course. It was surprisingly cooler today. The group as a whole had a less than stellar outing. That happens as we all know with golfing. Cooler temperature and wind do affect the game.

I really liked the Johnson Ranch layout and course. Everything about the course was great. It was funny as they changed Hole one with Hole 10. I restarted my watch 3 times before I figured out their system. It was a fun game with the typical good and bad shots thrown in. Luckily for me I played very well that day. After golf we stopped at the clubhouse outside eatery, and I have to say the food was amazing. Jeff’s brisket sandwich looked excellent, and he said it was awesome. Jackie’s chicken burger looked amazing and bonus we had direct heat from an overhead heater. Great day with Daisy having another nice golf outing.

The pic doesn’t to the surroundings justice. We are on the top of a mountain with a Par 4 and a Par 3 shooting away down the hill.
Beautiful views from the top of the mountain.
Do we look like Cactus ? Just because we are wearing green !!

Today was at Longbow which is a higher end course. A strong breeze was a factor today but not the biggest factor. The stimp meter was 11.5 which is fast as a typical PGA game is set at 12 on the stimp meter. There was a ladies tournament going on hence the fast greens. Needless to say this was the biggest factor in poor scoring for everyone. Out of group only ONE was even to their handicap and none below. My partners today were 5 and 6 handicap players and both of them finished off with an 85 score. There were a few swear words as their ball flew past the hole. Putting killed us with 4 putting happening on a few holes. Everyone was much higher than normal score wise put teh course was in excellent shape and fun to play.

So 4 straight days of golf. Tomorrow it is shelf day in the shed.

Thought of the Day

Do you ever get up in the morning, look in the mirror and think “That can’t be accurate.”

January 13th

“Mercury Forecast Mesa 22 degrees, Edmonton 2 degrees, Calgary 5 degrees”

Another beautiful day and every day for the 7 over 70 degrees. So yes, it is nice.

Jackie was up and out early for her walk with the girls and Daisy. Daisy loves her romps with the other dogs. She sure gets her exercise. In fact, she is staying quite slim which is great.

Running full speed around and round. No dogs EVER her size but she takes care of herself.

Jackie was golfing today with her ladies’ group. I believe this was Wendys first time in the group this year. Covid has changed the gatherings etc which is too bad but still to get out and golf is very nice. This was the first time they actually gathered at the south pool tables and firepit outside for a get together. The social part after golfing is always fun to get know everyone just a little bit better. I reminded Jackie her cart doesn’t have brakes anymore so be careful. LOL

And guess what one of the ladies gets a HOLE IN ONE. These are fun but are like looking for the Holy Grail to find. I know a few people that have multiple ones like Bob Ferris, Sandy Sutherland and Denis Holden’s wife but most never get one. I am so lucky to say I have one and will remember it forever.

This lady in group on the short Par 3 uses a 5 wood and drains it. Nice!! Oh, how I would like another.

The ultimate golf experience.

Today I started at 9 am and ended at 4:30 pm finishing up the shed. I can say it is DONE with one quick exception and that is a small caulk line at roofs edge to the house. I need the tall ladder so will plan it around something else I need to do.

I am ecstatic with the looks and functionality that it provides. It now provides storage for 4 chairs, 3 sets of extra golf clubs, all of the Christmas decorations including my Noel and Santa Bear, ladder, misc small tools (as we keep most at Fred’s) paint cans, sundries, small table, tree trimmer, blower, tarps, sunscreens and misc. boxes. It has made a big difference in our closets. Very happy with the looks and functionality and I built it for less than a Resin (plastic) one from Home Depot the same size. All is good.

Another shed all done and will be very useful for us.

A wonderful supper and a bit of TV watching, and another day done and over and fun!

Thought of the Day

I picked up a hitchhiker. He asked if I wasn’t afraid, he might be a serial killer? I told him the odds of two serial killers being in the same car were extremely unlikely

January 15th

“Mercury Forecast- Mesa 22 degrees, Edmonton 6 degrees, Calgary 8 degrees”

Weird weather in Alberta. 8 above then next day -15 degrees. That kind of weather is hard on people and driving with ice then melting. This time of year, in Mesa it is wonderful as it is consistent, it is warm during the days and cool in the evenings. For the conversion people 22 degrees is 72 degrees Fahrenheit.

Tuesday looks horrible.

I am planning just to do a little organizing house/shed today. Look at what I need to for the addition to my rear deck and go with Jackie for groceries.

The wind is out a little today that usually subsides in the afternoon as we are planning a get together wiener roast with the group. Fred & Terry, Jeff & Wendy, Ralph & Tracy and Jackie and me. These are fun. I will bring all of my cutoffs from the shed building. Fir burns and cracks wonderful.

I had previously mentioned how our block has been devastated in the past few years losing some wonderful people. We have at least a 50% turn over. We have lost some very, very nice people and just recently another. Bob Prosser was a very talented musician that played on his back deck with a group of friends whose music was enjoyed by everyone on the block. Besides the talent he was just a NICE man. Sad again and so young.

Bob & Chris bought the unit that Derrick & Ann had built that is the twin unit to ours. Derrick and us both dealt with a sales lady named Patricia that was awesome, but we are the only two units with the additions on the wrong side as she wanted us to have the trees on our patio side and when she ordered Derricks, she just used the same floorplan.

No one knows what life brings so as I have said before you have to enjoy yourself while you can. It is ok to be selfish with your time and your wants. Try to put a smile on your face every day as it would not be a fun life to be grumpy. Always think positive as nothing brings yourself or others down like negativity. There is some good in everything and everyone.

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