Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Big Gulps Huh?

23 May 2011
I may or may not have recently stolen a Thirstbuster from Circle K. Let me explain. Last Thursday I was in a hurry to make it back to the Valley from Sierra Vista by nine for a Bingham Boys basketball game in Gilbert. There are only a couple of games on the city league schedule that start late enough for me to make in time. I made the critical mistake of not gassing up before the day ended. Unfortunately, I decided to stop at the commerce center of Huachuca City, the Circle K (sitting next door to the true economic juggernauts - the Family Dollar, directly across the street from the Dollar General). While the gas was pumping I ran in and grabbed a quick beverage. Sometime during the 60 seconds it took to fill up a 44 ouncer the line became 8 or 9 people deep. Being impatient to get on the road I approached a pleasant looking elderly Asian couple who were three or four customers back from the front with a dollar in my hand. I held it out, explained I was in a hurry, and asked if they could pay for my soda when they got to the counter. In what can only be described as some sort of Bizarro World reverse panhandling episode, they began to speak Chinese (most likely), waved their arms wildly and refused to accept the money. Cutting my losses quickly I handed it to the bemused gentleman behind them with a filled out Powerball ticket and scooted out the door. I half expected to be hailed from behind that I had just stolen a drink. My reply would have been to point at my scrubs and say, “hospital emergency” (though I worried they would have noticed “Dermatology” written and scoffed that there is no such a thing as a dermatology emergency (though in fact there is, albeit rare). I hope that the man I gave the dollar to paid for my drink but if he ended up buying a second Powerball ticket I hope he was a winner.
For the curious- Bingham Boys (Revcorp- need to put a plug in for Ryan and Larry who sponsored our team) won by 35 (despite my being there and playing).

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Seniors and Seniority

18 May 2011
Last night I was finally able to move my trailer to the spot I have been waiting for since I got here (the pleasant alternative couple from California finally moved). There are some great shade trees and remarkably the WiFi works a little better (though it’s actually a little further from the clubhouse). The move comes none too soon as I recently returned home and the ants had nearly carried off my entire box of Golden Grahams. I took a little heat from Jill who didn’t appreciate me wasting her favorite cereal, but seriously blame the ants, not me. I’m hoping they don’t realize I’ve moved. Unfortunately the trailer is tilted quite a bit and the levelers underneath are missing. I may have to move or reposition (almost rolled off the bed last night). The constant flux of people doesn’t always work out in my favor though. The last week or so there has been a new senior couple tying up the clubhouse and its TV (pretty sure they’re not watching the NBA playoffs) and they apparently didn’t get the memo that the clubhouse has been my personal office. It has been a good spot to get a little studying in and keeps me from getting cabin fever. I would hate to pull rank on them (“you’re new around here Pops so I’m gonna cut you a little slack”) but I’m positive my 7 weeks here easily outranks them. Probably better off not starting a trailer park turf war though (plus I’m pretty sure they’re in bed by 7:30 anyway).

Monday, May 16, 2011

B- I- N-G-O and Bingo was his……..

16 May 2011
My trailer park is really starting to empty out and most of my RV buds have gone home for the summer. Last week (perhaps to fill the void) I stopped by the Lion’s Club in Huachuca City for bingo night. I have driven by the bright yellow building and its marquee daily since I moved down here and have contemplated playing for awhile now. Bingo is on Tuesdays with the early bird starting at 6:15 (little plug for anyone in the neighborhood). Work has been running later these days so I was a little tardy and they had already started. As I walked in the front door I had 40 pair of eyes (38 elderly women, 2 elderly men) closely scrutinizing me. “Are you here to play bingo?” one lady asked incredulously. In all honesty the way the action came to a standstill (including the bingo caller) I thought I had arrived at a member’s only affair. I was eventually steered to the proper table where I had to again reassure a second woman that yes I was indeed there to play bingo. I was invited to sit at a table with 5 bingo veterans and was graciously loaned one of their multiple (some people have 15 or 20 sitting in front of them) card daubers. Very good group of people that included one of the only guys in the place, Roger, who happened to be the president of the club and perhaps most importantly the snack bar attendant (serves a wicked chicken salad sandwich) at half time (you’ve got to stay hydrated- that bingo hand cramps up easily). I quickly became the table’s Special Olympian as they all took it upon themselves (rightly so) to make sure that I didn’t miss any numbers (which I did miss a fair number of…I started to space out a little towards the end). The gal to my left was not only playing her 18 game cards but my 9 as well and would shoot her dauber over to pick up my strays.
I felt bad for the caller who had angry, grumbling women when their numbers weren’t called for BINGO. Most entertaining was the occasional mistake, such as, “G-75”, which of course should be “O-75”, setting off a firestorm of epic proportions in the bingo hall. Tough crowd. I would love to report an actual bingo, but Roger bingoed (I think I’m creating a verb here) 3 times (very suspicious when you are the president by the way) and took all the table luck (at least that’s what the ladies were complaining) from the rest of us. There’s always next time. Shouting out BINGO remains high on my list of future accomplishments.

Friday, May 13, 2011


11 May 2011
Due to my Dermatology conference I only spent a couple of days in Sierra Vista last week. Ella, when she realized I was only going to be gone for a couple of days, tried hard convincing me it was “take your daughter to work week”. After careful consideration (and a lot of please please! from both Ella and I) Jill and I decided it would be a good experience for her to be Dad’s traveling companion for a few days. We left late Sunday from an Easter party at my folks and arrived at the trailer at about 12:30 am. The next morning as we were leaving I pulled through our space, doubled back and ended driving right by our trailer. Ella said, "Man look at that tiny trailer". We had driven by a lot of big RVs and large fifth wheels. For a second I thought she was teasing me (she is a lot like her daddy that way) but realized she didn’t get a good look at our trailer-which she was now describing as tiny. We had a good laugh.
It’s definitely a smaller but a good portable home for us.
Ella really received a warm welcome from everyone at Dr. P's office. She hung out with Wanda and the office dog Blaze, ran errands, and was even given a facial by Chesney.

I really appreciated everyone there making her feel at home- Sherry, Donna, Debbie, Dr. P, Andrea, Kat, Dave, KK, etc. We even had a nice send off as we were leaving. Good folks down here in Sierra Vista.
Monday after work we decided to go to Tombstone for dinner. We stopped by Target for a T-shirt (didn’t want to walk around with scrubs on) and then made the 25 minute drive. I made the mistake of telling Ella to avoid staring at anyone for too long since there was a lot of what I called "rough and tumbles here”. That really backfired as every other minute Ella was cautioning me that I was staring at people. She got pretty nervous walking down the boardwalk past a “motorcycle enthusiast club”. I showed her the infamous scene of my second scariest meal (see earlier post) and we had an enjoyable dinner at The Crystal Palace.
After Tombstone we hung out playing pool and watching basketball in the Quail Ridge clubhouse.

I loved having Ella with me for a couple of days. I wanted her here not only for the life experience but selfishly because dad wanted his little girl around. She really shines one on one and is a delight to have around. I love her great sense of humor and her beautiful smile. Love you Ell Bell. Thanks for spending a couple of days with me.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Tall Guy on a Little Plane

9 May 2011
I’m back in my trailer in windy Sierra Vista after a short 10 hours at home. Home late last night from Tampa and then left this morning at 4:30 to make it here in time for work. Non- stop 4.5 hour flight from Florida that probably could have been a little more comfortable. I decided to try and book the early bird special that Southwest offers. For an extra 10 dollars they will automatically sign you in for your flight and let you board sooner than most of the people on the flight (commoners I call them). My master plan (as it always is) was to get one of 11 seats- any of the six front row or 5 emergency exit seats. Most of the time when people comment on my height I just explain, “it’s mostly neck and upper back, I have pretty stubby legs”. But even these stubby legs want as much leg room as possible. After I checked my luggage and received my boarding pass I was dismayed to see A-43 on my boarding pass. Gripes! I just paid $10 and there are at least 42 people boarding ahead of me including three people in wheelchairs (I’m not going to disparage those in a wheelchair but they are on to a pretty good thing…like going to the front of the line at Disneyland…quite the racket). After at least 40 people boarded in front of me I was pleasantly surprised to find the aisle seat in row #1wide open right next to a delightful senior couple (I didn’t ask but they could also be living in an RV park). Total score! Who walks past an open aisle seat at the front of the plane where most peoples’ legs can stretch all the way out? Answer: smart, intelligent people. Worst seat on the plane.
A couple of thoughts. The flight started out well enough. As we were taking off I put my head back and immediately dozed off (I usually have more staying power…those Sudokus don’t do themselves) but was startled awake with a jolt while we were still climbing much to the amusement of the flight attendants, who thought I had just suffered a mini seizure. Everything was great until the “permission to move about the cabin” was given. There was not a seat on that plane closer to the lavatory (rather pretentious name for an airplane bathroom) than mine was, a fact I should have realized from the start. If I had raging diarrhea or an enlarged prostate my seat would have been sweet, but since I had neither it was rather unpleasant. There was a constant and steady stream of people bumping me on their way to the port-o-potty in the sky (dang aisle seat). You would be shocked at the number of people who went into that restroom without shoes on. Yikes. As I kept tabs on the frequent flyers (yep I was keeping track of the multitude of tiny bladders out there) I wondered at the wisdom of passing out soda and water to people. I know staying hydrated is important but you are just making it uncomfortable for passenger #1 (that’s what I referred to myself as; hey I was in seat #1). Without getting into specifics I don’t even have to mention the time the flight attendants were forced to pull out the Lysol disinfectant as the loo was apparently assassinated by an inconsiderate passenger. I also unfortunately was front and center to hear the complaining from the flight attendants who really weren’t that excited dealing with such thirsty flyers (though admittedly some of them deserved the sniping……i.e . the bathroom ninja who ruined the water closet). Next time I’ll just be content with my knees up near my chin in the middle of the plane.
(I tried to squeeze as many names for bathroom as I could in this post… how many can you spot?)
(I’ll try to class up this blog with my next post and limit all of this potty talk).

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Outhouse to Penthouse

5 May 2011
I find myself now in Tampa, Florida for a dermatology review course. The time change is a killer…I didn’t make it to my hotel room until 12:45 AM and I don’t think I fell asleep until 3:00 (that would have been midnight AZ time). It made for a tough 6:30 AM wake up call. Unfortunately I felt compelled to eat breakfast (some sort of internal policy about not passing up on complimentary breakfast) though I don’t generally and my body thinks it’s 4 am- imagine getting up at 3:30 and eating bacon) and am feeling a little sick about now. I had a real scare at the Tampa airport last night. I was last man standing at the luggage carousel and the familiar “my luggage didn’t make the plane transfer” feeling was there. Several years ago Jill and I survived 4 days with just the clothes on our back on the Big Island in Hawaii when our luggage didn’t make it. Luckily for me my bag was here. I was scanning the belts looking for a black bag with a large yellow stripe. Somewhere along the way my bag was compressed by some luggage jockey and the outer zipper was closed hiding the indentifying yellow stripe (and smashing my Poor Brothers jalapeno chips in the process- yep I pack and expect my chips to arrive intact- see previous post about how being a doctor doesn’t mean you have any common sense). I’m betting my bag made 2 or 3 trips on the conveyor belt before I realized it was mine.
This hotel has one of the nicer rooms I’ve stayed at before. Likely that’s explained by the culture shock of going from trailer park to hotel room in a 12 hour span. On a down note the nights I’m here for the conference are costing me more than two months at Quail Ridge RV (living the high life has its price). I’ve heard they even have a “cement pond”. I’ll believe it when I see it.