Edgewood, NM to Shalom CHRPALand, Tucson, AZ
Today was a LONG day. We got up and basically packed up the trailer to be ready for our much hoped for phone call that the truck oil pan had arrived! Around 11am we drove into Mom’s, sat with her for about a half hour and then headed over to the Toyota dealership. Truck not quite ready, but it would be. We grabbed lunch at the Wendy’s next door and then at 1:15 we finally were able to leave Albuquerque for good!! Back out to Edgewood to pick up the trailer. We were officially ‘on our way’ by 2:15.
Since we are later in the day on a weekday, we decided to take the alternate rural route down to the freeway north of Socorro. It adds only a few miles and keeps one out of traffic. Still it is two hours to pull into Socorro, gas up, and then I drive down to Hatch. The sun sets behind the western mountains just before we arrive in Hatch, where we fuel ourselves up with burritos and a green chili sandwich (Rick!). The vistas from Hatch to Tucson we have seen plenty of times, and quite frankly, it is gorgeous driving on a clear night, with a ¾ moon in the sky and plenty of stars.
I take a brief 50 mile shift to relieve Rick from Lordsburg to Safford, and we pull into the Shalom lot a few minutes before midnight. They’ve been landscaping, but there is ONE RV spot left on the end of the row! We back in quickly, figuring we can adjust in the morning. Plug in and go to bed!! (Well, Rick takes awhile to unwind ….. both of us had plenty of coffee since Hatch!)
Much of the rest of the drive I was busy texting siblings, sending emails, doing FB updates, etc. regarding Mom’s status and her now pending surgery for Wednesday in Portland. Prayers. Lots of prayers.
I also took ZERO pictures today. ZERO! The best photo opportunities were while I was driving, sadly enough. :(
A Day of Rest
|We are the last in the lineup at CHRPAland RV Park!|
Well, I can’t say Rick and I actually DID very much today! We listened to the click click of the bikes going over the RV hookup metal plates at 7:15, the parade of cars and trucks coming in for the 7:30 CHRPA start time. And we didn’t get out of bed after our midnight arrival!
Rick spent much of the day trying to get the hot water heater to stop leaking after the repairs that were made in Edgewood. Finally enough for him to take a shower by evening….we are hoping the minerals in the Tucson water will plug up the few remaining occasional drips!
We grabbed some groceries mid-day to tide us over for awhile. Afternoon slightly napping and talking with the many people who came over to introduce themselves, investigate the new trailer, etc.
|The first of our Arizona sunsets.|
We joined the CHRPA crew at end of day to celebrate Kat’s birthday. I can’t get internet at the trailer, since we are at the far end, but I can sit outside the CHRPA office and connect there. A little more uncomfortable and inconvenient, but the price you pay for inexpensive lodging!
CHRPA Day 1 – Mom’s Hip Surgery
|This has nothing to do with our Flooring CHRPA|
lesson, but I really liked the front of the Shalom
Scott scheduled Rick and I to work together today at the CHRPA headquarters. I had indicated a willingness to do so yesterday when I overheard him saying how many people would be working Thursday (often a popular day with the locals as well due to CHRPA-School). Our School this morning was on floor repairs, taught by Dustin. I thought he did a good job – we went over to the church to watch a PowerPoint on it!
Scott had a list of things that need to be done in the new office space. (No, they are NOT moved into the addition that Rick and I painted last fall! Still much to be done!) We spent the morning cutting corrugated sheet metal to fit into place for soffits (a portion had been done already) and installing the panels. The electric tin snip work very much like the cement board cutter I used up in Bozeman, MT! And I
have a wonderful supply now of metal ¼”
curly cues to make into ‘stuff’! (Rick
just rolls his eyes on this acquisitions!)
Also got the assessments done and materials ordered (and later
delivered!) to finish the molding around the utility closet and to install the
sheetrock corner bead in the new entry between old and new. I patched a section of damaged sheetrock in one
of the offices – to paint later when the mud is dry. And we cut and painted 10 8 foot sections of
trim to put up in the gap between soffit and wall on the exterior. Not a bad day’s work!
|Rick installs one of the soffit panels.|
|A star made from my sheet metal scraps!|
|Rick and Scott discuss trim.|
|Tonight's sunset as I sit by the office working online!|
|Cacti at Tucson Botanical Gardens|
Ginger’s 63rd Birthday
|Flowers at TBGardens|
Back to trailer for a VERY lazy afternoon. Eventually I went over to the SOOP lounge and found a puzzle! Spent 3 hours working on it! Talked with Luke, text with Mac concerning mom. Saw oodles of wonderful birthday wishes on Facebook!
|In the butterfly house|
Saturday, March 11
A Little Work, A Little Play
A good night’s sleep, although both of us work up at one point to the sound of shots being fired – 8-10 of them! We never heard sirens, so we think it was just someone nearby having a little fun into the air. Hope so, anyway!! A little disconcerting, however!
A beautiful sunrise this morning which pulled me out of bed to take a picture, although I was a little late for the best show. Glad I got up, however, because Liz called shortly after that! She is always up early and hospitals don’t bring out the best in sleep patterns, anyway!! Mom was doing well – staff keeping on top of potential bed sores, infection, bladder, etc. Liz anticipates Mom might get to move to the rehab center by Tuesday or Wednesday.
Conversations this morning with Marge, Ted, and later Bob who rode his bike in to use the internet. Neighbor Joe stopped by, whom we hadn’t seen for over a year (he had suffered through a few medical issues too – seems to be a common theme with all our ‘old’ friends!) And during it all, Rick worked hard once again to fix the water system. Ted loaned him a heat gun which is supposed to make the plexitubes soft enough to mold together. As of 4pm this afternoon, 95% success rate!
|My patch job!|
|Side view of soffit and trim.|
We decided to finish up a couple of our CHRPA jobs today – eg. I painted my sheetrock patching in one of the offices, and both of us installed the trim molding under the soffits outside. We can write down another 2 ½ hours of work now!
Rest of afternoon spent in SOOP lounge doing my map puzzle and catching up on some drawing. Pleased to find I have marginal wifi there – might not have to sit outside the office every night! (Cancel that last paragraph – lost it!) Rick came over and made popcorn for his dinner! I eventually ate salad! Lazy day overall!
Worship and SOOP Time!
Another beautiful morning out. Tucson can be downright pleasant when it is 52 degrees outside in the mornings AND we have that giant tree shading the trailer until 9:30am or so!!
We went to church across the parking lot, which from our current spot is REALLY close – had to walk, perhaps, a total of 40 steps….maybe! Did feel like we were a little in the middle of the parking lot at times as cars pulled in.
Recognized two other SOOPS, Peter and Viola, who sat behind us. They invited us as well to the gathering after church which Marge had mentioned on Friday. We just didn’t know when and where! Well, Viola came over to the trailer after church to make sure we knew the details! Olive Garden! (when have I been to Olive Garden TWICE in one week in my whole life??) We ended up with a group of 13!! Most of us just ordered the soup and salad lunch menu – you can’t go wrong with that!
Shopping at Harbor Freight and then groceries at WalMart to wrap up our ‘outing’. Afternoon on phone or internet catching up. After dinner I went over to the SOOP Lounge for game night – we finished the global map puzzle, others played Mexican train.
CHRPA Day 2
Another beautiful cool morning, but slated to heat up to the 90’s again today! Rick is going out with our ‘neighbor’ from Alberta, Bob, on several jobs. I am assigned to Dan Wilhelm and a tub conversion job, which basically means rip out the bathtub, and install a shower base, frame in walls, etc.
The demolition goes easily, followed by a trip to Home Depot to pick up a shower pan, tiles, plumbing fixture, etc. Upon return, I worked on building a small frame to finish off the wall while Dan did the plumbing connections. Unfortunately, we struggled to get the connections to stop leaking, but were FINALLY successful. Then we couldn’t get the shower pan to sit level because of the height of the drain. So….a frustrating afternoon in some ways.
Rick and Bob had a good day, got their ‘list’ done, and worked together well. Rick is scheduled to help with a handicap ramp tomorrow, and I will be back with Dan, hopefully getting started on the tile process!
I rasped and sanded the corner edges in the office when we got back, prior to taking a shower! Hope to get those corners covered and plastered sometime this week.
CHRPA Day 3
Rick is on the north side of town today with a four-person ramp crew! Abi and Kara, Rick and Hugh. They completed a huge ramp for a mobile home, all but the railings. Abi and Mary will return tomorrow to finish it up.
I went out again with Dan to hopefully make better progress on our shower conversion! We decided to frame off the tiny remaining part of the wall, so I worked on that while Dan still struggled for awhile to make the drain system work. He finally had to drive over to Naughton’s for some parts and we had success! I even installed my frame section myself. It fit tight!
Before lunch we got all the cement board up – not nearly as easy as sheetrock to install. I finally started hammering in the screws to get them started and then drilled them in the rest of the way.
After lunch….tile time!!! Dan got started and then let me set about three rows of the back wall in myself – he buttered and I placed the tiles. After that, I went out to the tile saw and made all the cuts, including the cut out for the shower head! We were all done shortly after 2:30! (Except for the small section of wall where we ran out of tiles….it wasn’t part of our initial estimate.)
Rick had started the laundry already, so I grabbed the black paint and a small brush and went out and touched up the paint jobs on about 6 of the trucks. Nothing major on most, just MAYA that needed a bit more. Puzzle time, and a long phone conversation with Liz round out the evening.
Wednesday, March 15
CHRPA Day 4
Another beautiful sunrise! Temps in the trailer have been in the upper 50’s most mornings – just pleasantly cool! (Unfortunately temps have been near 100 degrees in the trailer when we get back from the job! AC time!)
Rick has been changed to go back out with Abi and finish the rail. They also did a rail assessment, so Rick was able to see the process from the very beginning. He is hoping to get enough skills to be able to offer to build ramps for Baker City residents.
I originally was scheduled to go out with Dan again, then changed to Don, then changed back again to Dan. I was glad because I really wanted to see the shower conversion through to the finish line. We stopped and picked up the tile we needed, got it installed (I again doing the cutting), and then drilled the holes for the safety bars. Dan was using a diamond drill bit and I sprayed with water every 4-5 seconds and STILL each hole took nearly 2 minutes! We had 12 to drill! Not a fast process. Then I installed the toilet safety rails while Dan began grouting. Finally we caulked all the corners, etc., installed the rails and shower fixtures, and finally, put up the new curtain rod. We proclaimed it done and Maria and Adina came to admire! (BYW, Maria did deliver more breakfast burritos and OJ this morning!)
Lunch, and then up to the rooftop to service the swamp cooler! I cleaned the pan while Dan put in new pads, we tested the water system and motor, installed a new fuse, and switched the vents blockers from furnace to cooler. It was hot up there, but a nice view of the Tucson Mts. to the west!
Last stop was another cooler service and a furnace assessment. Over near the airport and RIGHT under the flight path! The homeowner was at work and her daughter did not speak a lick of English. We struggled at times. Some cute kids! It was a different kind of cooler, so we had to make a trip to Naughton’s to pick up giant size cooler pads (extra thick ones). By this time clouds had obscured the intense sun and a nice breeze was blowing up on the roof! We didn’t get back to CHRPA HQ until 4:30! A full 9 hour day!
We walked down to Taco Giro for dinner, with a conversation with Liz enroute! BIG dinner meals that will be tomorrow’s as well! Beautiful sunset to the west while we walked home. Puzzle and computer time, then bed time!!
Thursday, March 16
CHRPA Day 5
Thursday is CHRPA School Day! This morning Ted and Elinor led some reminder hints about electric boxes and fuse boxes, etc. I learn just enough about electricity to be dangerous! I still would never feel comfortable doing much on my own concerning electricity, but I learn a little more each time we come!
Rick goes out again with Abi today, but no ramps – they are fixing an awning that is preventing a front door from opening smoothly. Also had a few water heater assessments to make.
I am with Dustin and we are bound for the far reaches of the county in Marana and beyond! But first Home Depot, stops at Dustin’s house and a potential house to buy, then drop off some roof sealant for Abi and Rick, and THEN house to do our assessment for a lady living in a small mobile home out in the desert. She is definitely in need of assistance, and while Dustin does the assessment, I get the figures and facts for the paperwork from her.
Then on up the freeway some more and out toward Saguaro West National Park. Dustin has been working here all week installing a new swamp cooler. We have to install the duct work into the trailer heating system UNDER the trailer. We struggle at times to get the pieces to fit together, and then we discover we are 10 inches short. We brought a few extra pieces with us (just in case this happened), but didn’t have one big enough for the second large section. Scrounge in the yard, which was filled with debris, and Dustin found the underpan for an old BBQ – the right size and very well corroded, so usable for our purposes! I cut everything with the electric tin snips, and then we BOTH went under the house to maneuver the pieces into place and attach them. Dirty work!
While Dustin then checked the swamp cooler function, I installed two posts out by the front steps under the railings.
Enroute home I talked with Luke briefly as he wanted to discuss putting money down on a condo unit! Hopefully it proves to be a good choice.
Quiet evening – Rick watching March Madness Basketball. I got caught up on some of my drawings. We are packing for our adventure tomorrow up to Phoenix area and Carefree, AZ – Ron and Lynne Rutter!
Friday, March 17
Visit with Ron and Lynn Rutter
We are off on a beautiful St. Patrick’s Day around 8:30 to drive up to Carefree, north of Phoenix, for an overnight visit with Ron Rutter, Rick’s college roommate from Wooster. They haven’t seen each other in over 40 years!
The sides of the freeway are ablazed with bright yellow flowering bushes – I think I identified them as brittlebush. We follow our map and Google maps on the phone to take us up to Ron and Lynn’s beautiful home among the desert flora. Wow. I feel like I am in a resort of sorts! Landscaped back yard with pool and Jacuzzi, barbeque fire spot with covered roof, saguaros and ocotillo, agave olants and bouganvillia. A huge covered patio with plenty of furniture to curl up and listen to the morning music of birds. (Can you tell where I am sitting right now?) The house is decorated with artwork and memories from around the world. Ron spent 20 years in the military and his oldest son is a Marine who has been stationed throughout AND travels to various countries as well. They also have some incredible family antiques in the way of furniture which help round out the rustic, old look.
Ron Barbequed some chicken for lunch along with fresh fruit, and then we headed down to the Carefree town center which was having an art and wine show. We declined on the wine portion, but thoroughly enjoyed wandering thru the booths and admiring some very upscale (and expensive art!) Carefree was established as an artsy community about 50 years ago. Some wise city planning went into it with commercial areas hidden within the desert growth, street names of Nonchalant and Ho Hum! It is a beautiful retirement area for the Rutters, away from the harsh Ohio winters and closer to the San Diego climate Lynn grew up in and they both enjoyed for years while Ron was stationed there.
Back for a superb Mexican meal Lynn prepared – chile relenos, enchiladas, fresh salsa and guacamole, chips, rice and beans – the whole thing! Add a few glasses of wine around the patio table and it was 11pm before we wrapped it up for the evening. (Oh, I forgot the lemon bars Lynn had prepared ahead from their lemon tree!)
Needless to say, our visit has been an escape from the tiny living quarters of the trailer, a warm hospitality and sharing of old stories, catching up on lives, etc. Lynn and I felt like we knew each other ahead of time from our Christmas cards over the years!
Saturday, March 18
Back to Tucson!
A beautiful leisurely morning with good coffee, breakfast, and more conversation before Rick and I take off around 10:30am. We will come back to this little oasis in the dessert and wonderful people!
For an alternate route back down to Tucson, we head east on US 60 toward Apache Junction, then south on Hwy 79 toward Florence and the north side of the Catalina Mts. NEW ROAD! The mountains are much more impressive driving south rather than when we came past them a couple years ago and were heading north toward Globe. Florence is set out in the middle of the desert with a state prison. Some nice saguaros dotting the landscape, but the desert got dryer looking the further south we went, compared to the lush green desert around Carefree.
Discovered the location of Gold Canyon, a town at the base of the Superstition Mts east of Apache Junction. Carl and Arletta often winter there and I think the Freemans were there right now! Mostly we found a traffic jam for 15 miles as it is the current site of a Rennaisance Festival taking place! While Rick drove thru the mess, I enjoyed a phone call with my mom (and Liz in the background!) A good 15 minute call and she sounded MUCH better!! Encouraging.
Back around the edge of the Catalinas and into Tucson around 2 pm. A stop for groceries at WalMart and back to a very warm trailer (101!!) at 3, ready to make some lunch/dinner!!!
I spent next few hours in SOOP lounge on computer and puzzling while the laundry processed. Rick watching basketball games.
A lazy night!
Both of us felt the desire to get a few more of the tasks on the New Addition list done prior to our departure, so we skipped church this morning and headed over to the office instead. Over the course of 4 ½ hours, we got the utility closet trimmed and painted and the exposed sheetrock corner between old and new covered and two layers of mud applied. I wanted to paint, but it needs another layer!
A hot day, basketball, computer time, and then puzzling with the SOOPS in the evening.
CHRPA Day 6
Another hot one!! Just when we are getting ready to leave at the end of this week, the weather is due to change to something a little more tolerable!
Rick went out with YAV Mary to pick up and install a gas stove unit, and then did some plumbing work on showers and faucets. Touchy stuff to sweat a plumbing connection in close quarters and flammable walls. But they got ‘er done!
I went with Abi and Hugh to build the ramp that Rick helped assess last week. Our client was an older man who kept falling on his stairs from the mobile home and then calling 911 when he needed to go to the grocery store because he couldn’t get down the stairs safely!! He looked a bit like Einstein! I put in a couple dozen lag bolts and uncountable screws! Did some of the cuts for the decking planks. Fortunately as we worked down the ramp, the shade also moved in the same direction. Thank goodness as it was 95 degrees outside!
A social date this evening! Abi and Alli have invited us over for dinner, joined by Carrie and Josh. An adventuresome meal of falafel, pita pockets, feta cheese, and cucumber yogurt sauce! We brought wine and ice cream! Always fun to just sit and visit with these amazing young adults. Abi is starting to get wedding stressed, as she and Josh are marrying on the 3rd of June in Minnesota!
CHRPA Day 7
Today is Scott’s birthday! We all signed the outside of a package Ted wrapped up in cardboard (a map of Tuscon valley trails that was given to Ted by a client, but perfect for Scott! It will look great in his new office….when said office is ever finished!)
Rick and Don head out to do a little roof assessment, and then a major floor repair. It sounded like a huge chunk of the floor needed to be replaced. NOT a clean job, according to Rick. Grubs, dirt, gray water, etc. But the owner was finally able to safely access his kitchen again!
Hugh and I went back to the Keller (Einstein) home to finish up the railing of the ramp and then patch a small hole he had in his bedroom floor. We had some equipment issues since we weren’t in the ‘ramp’ truck, but we got it done! I sanded it all after lunch while Hugh worked on the floor repair. Then we loaded up Lenny with all the discarded step lumber and trash.
It is always interesting to work with Hugh. He can share stories from a varied and interesting life in many places. Hugh seems to seek out the marginalized and learn their stories. He works for CHRPA a couple days a week, but then I think he spends much of the rest of his time doing repairs for former clients on his own!
A quick trip to the post office and battery store after work. Packages to mail and a new battery for the trailer. (This has not been an inexpensive trip repair wise!)
CHRPA Day 8
Roof Day!! Rick and I are both working together today in a team with Josh and Tim (Scott’s brother in law) Tim formerly owned a roofing company, and Josh worked roofing every summer during college, so Rick and I were in good company!! Josh and I stopped to pick up plywood while Rick and Tim went over to Scott’s mom’s house to do a quick repair there. Basically we put 10 pieces of plywood down, broke for lunch, and then put TPO (a rubberized roofing ‘fabric’) down. Josh uses a heat gun to melt and seal the seams. Edges are anchored with lots of screws and plates. Plenty of work for everyone. A nice breeze came up during the afternoon which cut the heat somewhat. Our clients brought us out cold water three different times! Nice! A good day and we were all pleased with the results.
We got back by 2:45! Earliest day yet!! Decided to go out to Beyond Bread and Bookmans since we had the time. A good dinner and then spent far too much at Bookmans – audio books for the truck travel, puzzles for Ginger, music for church, etc.
I spent a little time working on the puzzle while doing the laundry. Quiet evening. Much cooler and a chance for some rain this evening.
CHRPA Day 9
Our last day for this ‘go-round’! CHRPA School today is Cooler Repair 101, which means the Cooler season is upon Tucson, so it must be time to leave! I think we have had cooler training three times and then we leave! This one was interesting because basically Dan went over just the tools and parts necessary to have on the truck during cooler season.
Rick and Mary are off for a couple of different jobs – potential water leaks and cracks in wall and cupboards pulling off walls. They are back early after a frustrating time not being able to help people in the manner they wished. Some of it was just misunderstandings with what CHRPA can and does do. Cosmetic repairs are not our business! So when they got home they worked on the final checkoff for the new addition – washing the windows and putting up the screens!
I was on another four person crew assigned to a modular home out in the SW corner of the city to replace some of the siding. We took two rigs and I worked with three men I had not worked with before: Al (local from Tucson), Ken (a new Mennonite volunteer) and Bob H (our neighbor in the CHRPA campground). We drove clear out to the home, assessed materials needed, and then Ken and I drove back in to Home Depot to pick up the necessary items. By the time we returned, Bob and Al had cut off the deteriorating siding and were waiting for our arrival! Basically I caulked the rest of the day! The guys cut and screwed up new siding and I caulked all the seams! (Plus any other holes I could see in the side of the home, of which there were plenty!)
Back to CHRPA headquarters to say our goodbyes to folks! Cleaning of the trailer and a relaxing evening. I finished the puzzle in the SOOP lounge and Rick watched a couple of basketball games. We will try to make our ‘getaway’ by 7:30am tomorrow morning.
Cooler today!! We even had a few raindrops while driving out to the job site. The wind picked up but wasn’t really a problem.