Friday, April 29, 2011

Getting Older...I Guess.

28 April 2011
I’m sitting in my trailer at 9:00 pm on a Thursday night. Usually about now I am just rolling into the driveway and about to be showered with hugs from the kids (unless there is a new movie on the Disney channel…actually the hug showers happened the first couple of times I came home…now 50/50). I have work in Tucson in the morning so had to stick around a little longer. I worry being gone so much has become the new normal for the kids. While Jill bears the brunt of home life (t-ball, football, piano lessons, homework, school, discipline, dinner, baths etc. etc.) I have a quiet trailer to contemplate the mysteries of life. I’m sure given the choice she would love the occasional peaceful trailer vacation 20 miles from the nearest town. Maybe for her next birthday I can set her up at Quail Ridge RV.

I had a disturbing Teen Wolf/Marty McFly (yes I know that’s from Back to the Future) event yesterday morning. You know the scene where Michael J. Fox discovers a 4 or 5 inch long chest hair as he slowly pieces the puzzle together that he is actually a werewolf. Well it wasn’t chest hair (sorry Jill) but a 1 cm long hair on my right ear that caught the light just right as it filtered through the trailer blinds. “What the heck is that?” I thought as I wondered how long that must have been there to achieve that kind of prodigious length. I’m graying and thinning (signs of my own mortality…at 35 I guess I can expect and accept both of those) but I can’t tolerate hairy ears. It does make me wonder how many people must have noticed my ear but failed to mention anything. It has further strengthened my resolve to let others know when their fly is down or they have lunch in their teeth.

Work continues to go well here. Dr. P and everyone that works in his office is fantastic and I appreciate the warm welcome I’ve received since I’ve been here. It really makes being away from the family easier to handle.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


Last week my RV buddies invited me to Tombstone to hang out with them at the American Legion Post to play table shuffleboard. My friend Ikaika happened to be flying in a few clients to Sierra Vista so I invited him to Tombstone for dinner. After work I picked him up at the Texas Roadhouse (apparently he couldn’t pass up a free steak…dang Hawaiian with no self control) and we drove the 25 minutes to the one time home of Wyatt Earp. As we pulled into town there was a flock of buzzards circling overhead, which seemed especially appropriate for the “Old West”. After a quick stop at Toughnut Street we found the American legion (the buzzards were circling directly overhead- eerily ironic).
We had a great time playing shuffleboard. Once I’m done with all of this residency business and finally grow up I plan on having a shuffleboard table (right next to my shave ice machine) in a game room. Apparently Woodie’s dad was a national champion, and he is no slouch himself. Ikaika and I gave he and Glenn a real run for their money but lost a high stakes game of 2 dollars at the very end. I’m hoping for a rematch at some point. If you’ve never played it I highly recommend it, ton of fun.

After the shuffleboard we walked down the boardwalk to a place called Big Nose Kate’s . That name may be familiar to you as the one time paramour (first I use Victorian and now paramour?!, I promise I’m not a wuss reading romance novels in my trailer at night…see my post on my own manliness as evidence) of Doc Holiday. It was closed as well as every other reputable establishment in town. We ended up at the only place still serving food called Vogans. I have a hard time believing that they have an actual food license. People toss around the phrase “dive” a lot so it has lost a little of its value. This place was a total dive, complete with a very surly, nearly toothless lady who was not pleased that 6 people strolled in at 9:30 and she was going to have to fire up the grill. I’m not sure what time they close but when you are the only food in town at that time of night you can’t be so ticked when you get a few customers with “cash money”. Woodie’s wife Cleda Jane set up shop near the grill so that in her words, “I can make sure nothing happens to our food”. I told her to make sure and not tell me if something untoward occurred because I was starving. There were a few locals who I hoped weren’t going to be driving home later that night. One of them, Griz (no joke that’s what he told me-see picture…dude ‘s mother knew what she was doing-he’s on my left) decided I was a new bud and kept punching me on the arm and chest in a playful, intoxicated kinda way.

Curious about Vogan’s online reputation I found the following assessment from an online poster, “This might have been the scariest place I have ever eaten!” I won’t go that far (we ate once at a McDonalds in Blythe that should be bulldozed) but it was close. Good time.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Stolen Space

I woke up this morning to my Dad shaking the bunk bed to get me up for my paper route. That thought lasted about half a second (weird thought to have 23 years after I slung my last Mesa Tribune) before I realized I was in a rocking Travel Trailer in the middle of the desert. I went to bed last night with a high winds advisory in Cochise County. The warning did not disappoint. One of my RV buddies who just moved back home told me he would not be back next year because it was too dang windy (of course he said a little more than just “dang”). I have been enjoying the wind. Unless you are actively fly fishing or having a Victorian picnic I don’t see how you could complain. Of course we grew up in nearly weatherless Mesa (not counting hot) where even a light drizzle outside was cause for the Bingham kids to do donuts around the house in a rabid frenzy.

I was disappointed after work yesterday to find that my “should have been” new RV space was stolen. My pal Woodie recently moved leaving his RV space open and ready for me. It was a sweet spot with two really great shade trees on both sides. Many a night I have stared out my window longingly (RV commandment #3 “do not covet thy neighbor’s space”) waiting for my opportunity to move my home and assume command of the primo spot at Quail Ridge. I knew eventually it would open up since I’m here until June and everyone flies north for the summer. Sunday at about 1:00 AM I pulled in and was excited to see the spot available. Monday after work a fifth wheel (with California plates no less!) had taken it (I haven’t checked yet but they probably have an Obama 2012 bumper sticker on there). Hopefully I can pull it together and be neighborly.

I also found out that I have ants in the trailer (another good reason to move). Good news is they haven’t yet found my Golden Grahams or Cinnamon Toast Crunch. It’s only a matter of time.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

McDonalds and Manliness

I decided to head back to Sierra Vista early Monday morning instead of Sunday night like I have done previously. Big mistake and I’m pretty sure that will likely be the only time that I do that. Restless couple of hours sleep as I worried I would oversleep and end up being 4 hours late. I got up early (3:30 am- sure some of my siblings are not even in bed by that time) and left by 4 to make it into work on time at 7:30. I’m not usually a breakfast person but by the time I hit Tucson I was starving so I decided on a McDonalds and a Diet Dr. Pepper to get me the rest of the way to Sierra Vista. I ended up needing to use my GPS to find one (man they are everywhere when you don’t need one) and made a quick purchase through the drive thru. Only when I was back on the freeway did I discover that I had been given a Diet Coke instead of a DP. Ticked! I don’t intend to start up a cola war but of all the diet sodas Coke is dead last (way behind diet Big K and even Doctor Diablo-sorry Dad). Last week Ella had Aims testing and was trying to convince Jill to take her to McDonalds for a free breakfast. Apparently the local franchise was offering free mcmuffins to kids during testing week. I’m pretty sure this must have been sponsored by the Chinese government to sabotage our childrens’academic progress because five minutes after eating I was feeling pretty terrible (both physically and mentally) with my decision to go for the Breakfast of Champions that is the golden arches. Of course if Albert at the McDonalds on 6th avenue in Tucson wouldn’t have messed up my soda (I’m not holding a grudge….much) I probably would have felt a lot better.
A couple of nights ago after work I headed over to the Quail Ridge clubhouse to see if I could study (catch an NBA game on T.V). I wandered in and found about 25 people getting ready for an ice cream social. The room was filled with a large RV enthusiast group called The Campers. They meet monthly at different locations for 4 or 5 days doing various activities. As I visited with one of the head organizers (I assume that she was in charge by the way she was yelling at everyone to take a seat) I overheard a gentleman complaining that Dancing with the Stars was about to start and that they needed to get the activity over quickly. I was invited to sit down for some cake and to participate if I wanted to (I decided it would be a little unseemly to just grab some cake and ice cream and run) so I found a seat. They then passed out plastic Easter eggs to everyone that included a slip of paper inside with a specific question for you to answer for the group. When they got to me I was introduced as our “young visitor” (I could have been 60 and still described that way). My egg asked, “Have you ever lived outside the country?” I told them I lived for two years in Russia on a church mission and that I was living in a trailer for a couple of months here working. After I sat back down I told my table that I had come hoping to catch a basketball game. The gal organizing then came over and told the Clay (the very man who was anxious to get Dancing with the Stars started) that he now had the green light to turn on the T.V. With a mortified look on his face he very embarrassedly (is that a word?) turned it to DWTS and told me the women looked forward to this every Monday and that if it was up to him we would watch a game. For some reason Clay decided to hide his passion for a dancing program, as if it was unmanly to watch people dancing (it probably is but I myself have enjoyed So You Think You Can Dance in the past so who am I to judge). First Rick with his poodle and now Clay with his dancing show have felt the need to justify their sensitive side to me. The point, dear reader, is that I am now the gold standard in this community for manliness. I have finally arrived (I hope you are taking notes on all of this Jill…that’s right…MANLY!).

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Hazards of Heading Home

14 April 2011
Water heater is working! I enjoyed my first shower in the trailer. I will complain about the cramped quarters (measurements to follow) later but for now I will just bask in my ability to avoid the Quail Ridge shower stalls, 9 out of 10 rating notwithstanding (yep just used notwithstanding in a blog post, take that bucket list!),and the possible trench feet brewing below my ankles.

Skin screening at the Quail Ridge clubhouse was a success. I walked over at 6:30 to find a mostly full room of people ready to have their skin checked out by likely the only trailer livin’ dermatologist in the state (likely the country but I can’t allow myself to get too grandiose). After flipping a long table on its side on the kitchen counter to serve as a quasi privacy shield I spent the next two hours diagnosing seborrheic keratosis, cherry hemangiomas, and actinic keratosis.

Woodie brought along his guitar and provided the entertainment for the evening. Everyone there was grateful for the time I spent and I was happy to give a little community service. Afterwards I spent a little time chewing the fat and listening to Woodie tell in his words, “clean jokes I have to use in Mesa RV parks”.

The next morning early while I was filling my trailer’s water tank before work I was hailed from across the way by one of my poker buddies, Rick, who was out walking his dog. He thanked me again for taking the time to do a skin screening. I hollered back a “you’re welcome” and asked him what kind of dog he had. He replied that it was half Jack Russell and half poodle. Like a speedy auctioneer (and before I could give him a hard time about walking and owning a poodle) he followed with, “but he acts more like a Jack Russell, and he looks more like a Jack Russell ”. I don’t care what generation you’re from, most guys I know don’t admit to owning a poodle. I gave him a free pass (mostly because I still felt bad about beating his three 8s with my flush the last hand at cards) but I have been working on my poodle material to use the next time I see him walking his dog. There’s nothing wrong at all with a little good natured heckling to win friends and influence people.

The work week in Sierra Vista was a short one as I was scheduled to work in my office in Peoria Wed –Fri. Tuesday after work I stopped by the trailer to grab some gear and finally empty my black and gray tanks (did not want that percolating for a week in the southern Arizona heat). In my haste to leave I inadvertently left my cell phone on the kitchen table. Fortunately, I was only 5 or 6 miles away when I realized I had forgotten it. Unfortunately, the soonest I was able to flip a U-turn happened to be within sight of a border patrol station. In my hurry to be home I didn’t realize until after I had already turned around that I would have been better off going through the checkpoint and then turning around. Judging from my limited view through the rear view mirror it looked like an ant hill had just been destroyed. Finally Rosco P. Coltrane was going to get a little action. As the squad car and truck both with lights flashing pulled me over I prayed fervently that I didn’t have any Central American (hey I’m being politically correct here) stowaway in the bed or under the hood (tiny people on average).

Me- “What’s the problem officer?”
Rosco- “Don’t you think it’s a little odd that you turned around in front of a border checkpoint station?”
Me- “I forgot my phone in my trailer and this was the first opportunity I had to turn around to get it”.

I would have arrested myself on the spot with that kind of lame excuse. As I was directed to stand by the hood of the squad car as the border patrol German Shepherd inspected my truck I was reminded of the time I was pulled over while my brother Lance and I were heading to clean the Alta Vista building late one night. I had crossed the first several feet of the gore point while trying to get onto the 51 from the 202. Etched in my mind is Lance laughing at me as I (a fairly straight arrow) was given a field sobriety test for the world to see. When I return I’ll be waiting for one of my Sierra Vista patients to say, “hey aren’t you that goofy looking guy I saw get caught trying to smuggle Mexicans (one political correction per blog) into Phoenix?”

If my mishap at the border checkpoint had been my only (or worst) mistake heading home I would have considered myself fortunate. In my hurry to get home and trying to make up for lost time I decided to eat dinner on the road. Tragically, dinner consisted of me stopping at the Subway in Casa Grande, ordering a 12” meatball sub, and attempting to eat it as I drove…….disaster. Being a doctor doesn’t necessarily mean you are smart nor have any common sense, just that you are persistent.

This morning as I left for work our 2 year old Zachary, waving wildly goodbye, raced me down the circle wearing a camo shirt and diaper. Maybe there will come a time when Glenn, wearing a diaper and sucking on a pacifier, chases my truck out of the trailer parking lot as I leave for work. But until that happens, as Dorothy long ago observed, there continues to be no place like home (of course if that happens I will go RV to RV confiscating the alcohol and /or get Glenn checked into a dementia ward).

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sierra Vista Poker night

Home sweet home. After just four short nights in the trailer my legs forgot what it was like to not hang 18 inches off the bed or be curled up into a ball. I made it home late Thursday night in just a little over three hours, record time (my first trip back so even if it took me 8 hours it would have still been a record).

My last night at Quail Ridge was spent hanging with the boys in the QR clubhouse at poker night. As previously mentioned I was hoping to bring something to share with the group to eat. I didn’t make it to the store so after an exhaustive search through my semi-stocked trailer cupboard I decided on a half eaten box of mini powdered donuts (the partial bag of chili cheese Ruffles seemed a little too WT). The poker boys consisted of Glenn, Woodie, Rick, and Dale, an affable group who all seemed genuinely happy to have me (and my quarters) playing with them.
As the evening wore on it was enjoyable to find out about each of them, their families, former occupations, and what had landed them in the Southern Arizona desert. I won’t bore the reader with a detailed account of how the actual poker went down. The game was Texas holdem with a cap on raising making bluffing nearly impossible. Generally the best hand won out. The beginning of the night found me quickly down $12.50 (and earned much consoling from my tablemates) before I rallied and ended the night on our predetermined last hand with a diamond nut flush (badly beating Rick’s 3 eights) and up $7.50. I had a great time and am already a little wistful as most of my new QR buds will be heading back to cooler climates shortly. This may be my first and last poker night here. If the troops are able to rally for one more night I plan on putting that $7.50 towards something better to bring (only three donuts were eaten that night….all by me).

The ring leader of the RV boys is none other than cowboy poet Woodie Cochran.

Woodie and his wife Cleda Jane tour the country performing their music and comedy.

I heard a steady barrage of doctor jokes at poker night, unfortunately there is not one that I can safely repeat on a family blog (where did all the clean doctor jokes go?). After the game he promised to get me a couple of CDs of his music to listen to during the drive back home to Phoenix. His first CD, titled Leather and Lace is an enjoyable blend of old school country with…….ok I’ll stop there…I have no idea what I’m doing giving a music review. Suffice it to say I quite enjoyed the music (Cleda Jane has a fantastic voice) and I have been humming Paper Thin Walls (the story of a man who catches his wife with his brother at the motel 8 and guns her down) and A Women Knows all day.

After work on Thursday I stopped by my trailer to gather a few things to bring back with me to Phoenix. Woodie stopped by to invite me over to give me his music and to say goodbye to my new buddy Dale, who with his wife was leaving the next day back to Washington State. After climbing aboard his palatial RV (it really did seem huge compared to my modest trailer) I was introduced to their wives. Dale’s wife, after shaking my hand, insisted that she had seen me somewhere before. Cleda Jane replied, “He’s tall and handsome and you wish you had met him before”. Dale’s wife readily agreed that this was true (I’m not sure if it was to the tall or the handsome part but I’ll say both). Ahh if only I was single and into septuagenarians….. I might never leave. The men folk didn’t seem to begrudge all the attention this young stud was getting at the hands of their women folk. Dale was concentrating on his tumbler full of adult beverage (he was consistently pulling on his flask at cards the night before) while Woodie was looking for his music. After a quick skin check of Dale’s back for a suspicious mole (I correctly surmised it was going to be a harmless seborrheic keratosis, oft referred to as a ‘barnacle of life’) I was off to Phoenix. I offered to perform a skin cancer screening for the general population this next Monday for anyone interested. Woodie enthusiastically volunteered to make some flyers and get the word out to our (emphasis on our) community.

Friday, April 8, 2011

RV Chronicles

6 April 2011

Jill’s 32nd birthday today. Pretty sure this is the first time since we have been married that I will have been gone. We have been pretty fortunate generally with work and other obligations that I haven’t often needed to be away from home. Thank goodness, I am a real homebody. I called and talked to Jill at noon and she was being taken out to lunch by Suzanne Davis. I am sure grateful for good friends and family who have taken an interest in Jill and I and our young family. Tristine even stopped by with some flowers. We are really surrounded by some great people. The good news about missing Jill’s birthday is that we have generally called a truce when it comes to things like birthdays and Valentine’s day. One day when we have more money that may change but for now the pressure is off (though I did get her a pretty sweet camera for her birthday last year, thank you moonlighting at the urgent care). More on Jill in a minute.

For lunch today I went to Chipotle (yep SV really does have it all) for a burrito bowl. For the curious the best burrito/bowl consists of rice, pinto beans, chicken, mild, medium, and hot salsa, sour cream, cheese, and lettuce. The place was packed with military personnel, not a chair to be had. I decided my only option was out on the patio. I lasted all of 30 seconds before all of my lettuce literally blew away and I retreated to the safety of my truck in the Lowes’ parking lot. You’d think this place was next to Lake Michigan for all the wind. I watched a couple of carts whizzing by me in the parking lot and just hoped I wasn’t going to get broadsided.

After work I nervously drove into Quail Ridge hoping my home wasn’t on its side from the nor’easter blowing through. Still standing but my now former BFF Allen did not pull through for me and I remain hot waterless. I tried calling him but didn’t get an answer (do they even have caller ID in SV?). I’ll be heading home tomorrow night so I’ll have to deal with it next week.

Jill and I have been married for 13 years this July. In that time she graduated from ASU with a degree in fine arts, had four children, and was our best janitor at Alacrity janitorial (sorry Vern). She has been in young womens, primary, and Sunday school. She finds the time to work on emergency preparedness and sew. She has been my biggest supporter and confidant. She is an amazing woman with many talents and a wonderful mother. I love her and consider myself to be blessed.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Happy Birthday!

This has been such a fun birthday even though Jeremy is out of town, so many friends and family made sure I felt loved today.
My good friend Suzanne took me to lunch today with my two crazy littlest boys, along with her son Patrick and another friend Melissa. It was so fun and such a beautiful day.
I got all sorts of texts, calls, and singing messages, that I loved from all of my dear family and friends. I also got some pretty delicious brownies, that Zac nearly dumped and trampled on, thanks for saving them Taylor.
Topping it off my beautiful sister n'law Tristine brought me these fragrant roses and some yummy ice cream. Thank you so much to all of you.
So grateful to have so many who I love and who love me and our family as well.
The kids wanted to make my birthday special (especially Ella) with Daddy being out of town. Grandma/Mom , came over after school and took them to the dollar store so that they could each get something for me.
Ella and Caden decorated a little bit while I was at Tay's t-ball game with Zac. They put up streamers and E made a sign.

They each took turns taking pictures.

Here is all the sweet stuff they got for me, they sure know what their mama likes.
We had maple donuts for our birthday cake and a single serving of pie that Grandma and the kids got for me to put a candle on. Thank you guys for making my birthday so fun and special.
Ella's video doesn't' have sound it was on a different camera. I'll have to try uploading the other two videos again, they aren't working. didn't work, files must be too big.
This is a total side note on Zac. We all know he is one active, crazy fast runner, and climber monkey. This afternoon, before nap, I was on the phone while zac threw a couple of the dogs chew toys over the fence. Taylor comes in to tell me about it. I'm on the phone, we walk outside. T proceeds to climb on a chair to look at the items on the other side, telling me he can climb over and get it. He starts the ascent onto the wall looking to me as he straddles it, I nod and give the OK so he jumps down. Meanwhile I'm still on the phone and Taylor throws the items back over to our side of the fence and Zac has gotten himself almost completely over, at this point I am holding him up only under his arms and have been standing on a chair to watch T. Zac badly wants to get down on the street side of our wall. I put the phone down so I can lift him back up. We go inside to see if Taylor made it around the houses back to our circle. Because there was no chair on the other side of the wall to assist him back over to our side. After checking out the front window to see if Taylor is back, which he was, but Zac didn't stand there long enough to realize this, Zac runs back outside. I am still on the phone, i look through the kitchen window and see that zac is already nearly up and over the fence wall again. I finally make a hasty goodbye of my 5 min. conversation and run out there to keep him from climbing our six foot wall and falling to the other side. Nap time.
A few hours later after his nap I go outside with Zac and move the offending chairs that have so conveniently been sitting against the fence to help our 2 1/2 yr old climb the wall. After putting them against our house, Zac says to me, looking up to the top of our 2 story roof, "I can't climb up dere, its too tall." He is a serious nut that keeps me moving ALL day long. I just shake my head and laugh.

Hot Water Heater

5 April 2011

This morning right when I got to work I called a mobile RV repair service that advertises in my RV park to see if they could come and take a look at my water heater. Allen was very accommodating and told me they could come out today and that they would give me a call when they figured out what was wrong. I was thrilled with the quick service and told Allen I needed a Sierra Vista BFF and this kind of service made him a leading candidate (and also that he is the only person I know here). No call all day so I figured that they weren’t able to make it. I was pleasantly surprised to find a bill for $87.50 on my kitchen table (I had previously hidden the keys on the propane tank). Now $87.50 seems like a completely random number for a service charge with no parts involved but if it meant that was going to have a hot shower I was at peace with the cost. I immediately tried to get hot water at the kitchen sink….nothing. Went to the back of the trailer at the hot water heater and the pilot was out. I again tried to light it but no dice. At this point a bedraggled looking gentleman named Ron with a pink heart pillow clutched to his chest (apparently recently had a bypass) with Paris Hilton’s dog Tinkerbell in tow (I should be embarrassed that I know that…..I am ….a little) wandered over. He kindly asked me what was wrong and after a quick explanation he told me he was good with RVs and would take a look. After gamely applying my lighter to the pilot light for 30 seconds and unsuccessfully lighting it he informed me I was in trouble and that I should use the clubhouse showers if I wanted a warm one. Not helpful. At all. I foolishly was taken in by his official looking slippers and allowed my hop to rise. My general rule of thumb is to underplay my hand, than people will be pleasantly surprised at my amazing performance. Don’t advertise yourself as a concert pianist only to underwhelm your audience with “here we go, in a row, to a birthday party” (you all know the tune). The appropriate tact should be, “yeah I play a little” only to blow them away with Chariots of Fire. I digress. As soon as Captain Ron left I called Allen who informed me his guy Sonny had the heater working and he wasn’t sure why it wasn’t currently heating my water. He promised to stop by in the morning which made me feel a lot better about my earlier BFF proposal to the man.

I just got back from using the clubhouse shower. A couple of thoughts. I brought my tape measure with me and the shower measures exactly 3.5 x 3.5 feet. Who in their right mind thought it would be a good idea to recreate the size of an RV bathroom in an actual bathroom. I’m pretty sure they are there so people can escape the narrow, claustrophobic confines of their rig, not make them nostalgic for them. Thankfully no sign of foot fungus ……yet.

On the positive side my social standing in the community is on a decided up swing. I was invited to the weekly card game held every Wednesday night. I told them I wasn’t any good (a lie) and that I didn’t have any money (true). I’ll need to figure out what I can bring to share, I’m leading towards something with plenty of fiber (enter the conquering hero).

Sierra Vista RV Adventure

4 April 2011

Well after months of fretting over where I would live for a 3 month rotation in Sierra Vista I have finally arrived and am safely here. I am now working for the next 11 weeks or so in Sierra Vista with Dr. -------/ Dermatology as part of my ongoing dermatology residency training. When I first heard 6 months or so ago that I would need to live in SV my initial thought was that I would not want to stay in a place that had roommates (ie. Hospital housing) so I found and purchased a lightweight travel trailer. After having second thoughts about the sanity of living in a trailer (and realizing I was probably too young and possessing too many teeth) I attempted to find alternate housing. I left messages with every Bishop (5) in the area to see if any elderly widower would want to rent out a room….. and heard back from exactly zero. Apparently I need to work on making my voice sound a little less creepy. Next I called a Robbie on Craigslist with a room thinking maybe it was a young military guy (SV sits next to Fort Huachuca) looking for a short term roommate. Turns out it was a single lady (really Robbie?) with a 9 year old daughter. Strike two! Not going to risk 15 years of school and training by putting myself in that kind of situation. Strike three was a big whiff on a sloooooow curveball after multiple attempts to obtain a room with the hospital housing for medical students. Pros: it would be close to work and I would be able to eat all of the bad chicken fried steak and potato flakes I could stomach for free. Cons: sleeping on the bottom bunk while med student Mortimer McGoo tosses and turns passing flatulence all night (see above reference to hospital food). Alas, not to be. I was assured medical students only.

I arrived with rig in tow late last night (Sunday) after an uneventful 160 mile drive from Mesa where I had picked up the trailer from Ryan’s house. After the initial white knuckles of pulling so large a trailer for the first time I settled in at 60 mph with the F150. The V6 did an admirable job and the sway bars Dad and I had installed did a great job. I ended up getting a total of 240 mile for my 23 gallons of gas. Not great. I don’t have a calculator handy but rest assured that is a pretty crappy miles/gallon ratio. After arriving at about ten PM I high beamed the entire neighborhood multiple times looking for my pre- determined lot #--- at Quail Ridge RV, a nondescript 20 x 80 foot pad of gravel. After unloading the truck and getting more or less situated I settled down at around midnight.

I made it to work at 7:30 this morning, after fighting through heavy military traffic heading to the base. Seems like a good crew to be working with at the derm office. At lunch I headed back to Quail Ridge to pay by bill and get my propane tank filled. I met my nearest neighbor Ray, who filled my tank for me. Unfortunately I have been unable to get my hot water heater working. Luckily for me I am able to use the RV park clubhouse facilities. Their bathrooms were rated 9/10 by some online poll (yes I researched the bathrooms prior to committing to this place) and they are extremely adequate. I just got back from taking a shower. I am hoping that this does not turn out to be junior high revisited where I come down with a case of athlete’s (old guy’s) foot . I neglected to bring any flip flops. On the positive side at least now, unlike in 8th grade, I am a dermatologist and can prescribe all the fungal medicine my size thirteens might require. I plan on calling a mobile RV repair if I prove unable to fix the water heater. I don’t want to spend the rest of my time here heating water in the microwave to wash my hair and shave in the morning. Last night was freezing so I have now tested the furnace and will be firing that up tonight. I just got off the phone with Jill. They sound like they are doing well, hopefully E and C can pitch in and be helpers for mom.