Thursday, February 9, 2023

The Big News


Sunset at the SSUVFL.

Here is the big news that we have been promising for a little while. We did it! We bought a trailer!

I know what you are thinking. I can just hear your thoughts now. 

"I bet Dino needs that to haul around all of the training equipment that he requires to be the next American Ninja and Parkour world champion" said Jim and Barb N.

"That makes sense. With as active as those two are, they need space to haul around their kayaks, ATV's, side-by-sides and mountain bikes" said Steve and Deb M.

"It's Harley Davidson Orange, I bet they got themselves some new Harley's to go in it" said Kip T.

"I bet they got a huge trailer to haul more stuff to Quartzsite" said Steve and Dianne C.

Well we hate to disappoint everyone but none of the above. Let me show you a picture of the other side to see if that helps you figure out what we are going to do.

Can you tell what it is now?

How about now? We bought ourselves a food trailer! Actually we had it custom built for our new business venture.

Last summer we were sitting around our campfire brainstorming. We learned that when you drink more, the ideas are so much better. Lisa and I both had jobs working for other companies at the time and we decided that we wanted to work for ourselves again. That's when it hit me. Food trailer. Genius! But we didn't want to buy a dirty, greasy used one. We wanted new. So we started researching and found a company in Minneapolis that builds custom food trucks, trailers and carts. If you bring them a vehicle or trailer of any type, they can turn it into a food truck/trailer. They really do amazing work. Chameleon Concessions in case you would like to get your own trailer. Here are some examples of the trucks and trailers they have done. I pulled these from their website. 

Ours was an easier build because they started with an empty trailer. They remove all the wood on the inside except for the floor. They epoxy the floor and install fiberglass panels, run electricity and gas lines and then install your equipment depending on your needs. It is quite the operation.

Everything in the trailer is new except for the beverage cooler. He gave us a deal on a used one that he had.

So that is our big news. Now we are busy jumping through all the hoops that are required in "The People's Republic of Minnesota". We are looking at several festivals already and other venues for the summer. We are excited to try this and looking forward to being out there having fun.

Thursday, January 26, 2023

January Update

 Well January did not start out the best for us. Lisa ended up getting Covid and then a few days later, I ended up getting Covid. Our first time getting Covid. It is funny that just 2 short years ago, if that would have happened, we would have thought we had a death sentence. We would have been quarantined, locked away from loved ones as they planned for our inevitable deaths. We did recover and to be honest, it was no worse than having a head cold. So my words of wisdom would be "Que sera, sera".

I have still been recovering from my total hip replacement. Recovery has been slow due to being diagnosed with I T Band Syndrome with nerve entrapment. 

The symptoms I am having is that there is skin sensitivity on my thigh. I think that means there is a nerve damaged around my hip for that. Also below the knee it is completely numb. The hip itself is much better. I have ditched the walker and the cane. Still limp around though.

Surprisingly our January weather has been very mild. Much like December's should have been, which is great, because December's weather was like January's. Our local deer herd has been coming around more and they are acting more normal. We have not had any wolf sign for a long time so that makes them calmer.
They sure like to raid the bird feeders. We were not able to get them alfalfa this year due to my hip but they are looking fat enough without it. My son and his wife gave us a new trail camera. We have been getting lots of pictures of the critters. Here are a few of them.

Other than that, life goes on. One more thing, we winterized our fifthwheel and put it outside.

Now why would we do that? Tune in to the next installment.

Sunday, January 1, 2023

2022 Wrap

 First of all we would like to wish everyone a happy new year. 2022 was a weird year to say the least and I hope that 2023 isn't a repeat. It goes by so fast and I am glad that we have this blog to look back upon and review all that has transpired over the year.

We started the year off with arctic cold temperatures. Making it perfect for working on the inside of our cabin. I was able to get the bedroom about 95% done and our laundry room is about 70% done. But all in all the whole cabin is about 87.63% finished. Now when or if I am fully recovered from my hip surgery I hope to finish it all in the next few months or so. I got confirmation from Jim that he was going to help me with this project so it should be done in no time. Wait. I guess Jim is going to Quartzsite for the winter and told me I was on my own as usual. Oh well.

In April we took a month off and headed to the Gulf Coast. Enjoying the warmth and the surf along the Mississippi coast.

When we got back to the SSUVFL it was getting warmer. So we put inside projects on hold and decided to tackle many outside projects. During the summer we decided to get some part time jobs to help suplement our incomes. We enjoyed many weekends with the grandkids. It is so fun watching them grow.

Fall soon arrived which means the outside projects have to end. Unfortunately for me It was also discovered that I needed a new hip. Mine wearing out from countless death marches and the over active lifestyle I lead. Upon learning that, I had to give up my career at Tool-R-Us while Lisa's grounds keeping job ended. The nursing home really liked her so she became a "homemaker, aka a cook" working inside the nursing home now. She hopes to become a grounds keeper again in the spring.

I had my surgery and have been recovering now for 6 weeks. Recovery has been slow and frustrating but I think I can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

We have some big things coming up for 2023. We can't share any details just yet but we hope to share some of the news in the next coming months.

One thing I hope to do is finish the work on the cabin so that we can start an expansion project for this summer. Yay!

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Lessons Learned

Some images may not be suitable for young children or Jim.

Surgery is over and things are going as well as can be expected. I have spent the last 3 weeks sitting in my recliner, watching a lot of TV. I had always thought that that would be a great way to spend your days, but now that I don't have a choice, I am getting tired of it. Like they say, "Be careful what you wish for". 

Before going into this operation, it seemed like so many people would tell us that they knew someone who went through it. A cousin, a neighbor or a co-worker. And every time they would tell us that there was an immediate relief of pain after surgery versus before surgery. Although I do believe them when they say that, but it makes me wonder if things have been left out of the equation. 

For instance, let's call the time before surgery "A". Then let's call the time after surgery where you are fully healed "C". I can see where there would be a noticeable improvement from point A to point C. So what's missing is the time in between that nobody talks about. "B". That is where I am currently floundering in and from a first hand perspective, it sucks. 

When you think about that type of operation and what they have done to your body, it should not be a shock to how much pain you are feeling. If you Google "hip replacement surgery" you can see what they are doing to your body. It is very traumatic to say the least.

My thigh for instance. I am/was black and blue from my hip to my knee.

Along with the bruising, the skin on my thigh is hyper sensitive to touch. Just putting a finger on my thigh feels like you are trying to push a knife through it. 

Swelling is another issue and now after 3 weeks it is finally subsiding some. Right after surgery it was about twice the size of my other leg.
They told us to get a walker. I don't go a step without hanging onto that for dear life. I just hobble around everywhere with it. Walking has been difficult but it is getting easier. I am sore from my hip down to my knee. I have knee pain because for them to work on my femur, they had to dislocate it from my knee joint. 

There are two different ways that they can do a hip replacement and I am unsure of the differences. One way is to go through the side of the hip to do it. The other is to go through the front of the hip. That is how they did mine. They make a 4 inch incision to do it. 
No stitches. Just some kind of mesh covering the incision. I still don't know how they could pull that femur through that, cut the head off, insert a titanium ball joint and socket through there. It was probably a good thing I was knocked out. Speaking of being knocked out. Remember how I said that it took them 14 tries to do my spinal block. Lisa took a picture of my back when we got home.
Each little dot is an attempt with a needle.

So what have I learned from all of this. Well I have learned to live with non-stop pain. Once the Oxycodone that they send you home with is gone, the only other thing you can take for pain is Tylenol, which really doesn't do a thing for it. 

I learned that if you want a peaceful night of sleep, that is just not going to happen. I can't have the sheets or blankets touching my thigh and if you try to roll over to find a more comfortable position, the pain wakes you up. To be honest, there really are no comfortable positions. 

I have learned that doing anything for yourself is difficult to say the least. From going to the bathroom, sitting at the dinner table or just getting up out of your chair. It is a struggle that causes pain and discomfort.

I have learned that at Physical Therapy, they try to see how much pain you can take. I know in the future that if I ever have to do the other one, the pain would have to be unbearable before I go through this again. Maybe I will just get a scooter and say "To hell with it" and just scoot around everywhere.

Last night was a milestone for me. After more than three weeks, I had my first beer. That may be a new world record for me. It was good, so good. It was like drinking the nectar from the gods. I only had one if you can believe that.

Christmas is fast approaching so we would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

First Time Being Abducted by Aliens

 There I was, a young man living deep in the woods of the SSUVFL. Some might say that I was the ultimate specimen of manhood. A perfect mix of John Wayne, Clint Eastwood and Zac Efron. That's why it was not unusual for me to take a nightly 10 mile hike in any kind of weather. If you know me, you know that I am the epitome of health and fitness. What was unusual that particular starry night was that way off in the distance I saw a shimmering light. As I watched the light, it began to get closer and brighter. Could it be an Unidentified Flying Object? Otherwise known as a UFO.

Preposterous I know, but bear with me. Before I knew it the light was directly overhead. They say that most people facing a life or death situation such as that, a fight or flight response will kick in for self preservation. I would like to add that there is also a third type of response. That is stupid dumbfoundness. As I stood there looking up at the light I could feel a certain warmth running down my leg. I had a sensation of being whisked away. Things after that are kind of a blur but I can relate to you a few of the details of my abduction.

I recall looking up at a white ceiling with some sort of apparatus up there. I could feel my body being tilted at an odd angle while something grabbed my left leg. Putting some kind of boot on it and then being tied down. Then the same happened to my right leg. My arms were grabbed and tied down also. It was kind of scary being aware of what is going on but having no control of anything. I closed my eyes hoping that when I opened them again it would all be over, but when I opened them I was still there. Again I closed them and this time when I opened them it was over. A blink in time. 

I relate that story to you because once I got into the operating room, that was the closest thing that came to mind about what happened. It was surreal to say the least. 

I am ahead of myself so let me start from the beginning of that grand and glorious day. We got the call the day before to let us know when to show up for surgery. 6 AM. Alarms were set and we were as prepared as possible. 

Winters in Minnesota can be challenging at times and of course when it comes to something like this Mother Nature just had to make it more interesting for us. Maybe it humors her? I don't know. The drive from the SSUVFL to Fargo promised to be snowy with blowing snow, dropping temps and ice covered roads. So we awoke at 3 AM and hit the road at 4. Top speed for our journey was a whopping 50-55 mph. 80-88 kph for our Canadian friends. It was a white knuckle drive for sure as in several areas we started to slip and slide. 

We eventually made it. Got checked in and waited. They hustled us to the pre-op rooms where they wanted me to strip down to nothing. Okay. Lisa, cue the music! After the show was over I was glad to have made a few bucks. I received another Covid test because having one 6 days away was too far in advance. It had to be within 5 days of the procedure. Oh well. I am not responsible for what they find up there.

It came back negative so I was cleared for surgery. We said our goodbyes and I wondered to myself if Lisa was going to visit Dr. Hot Bod. He is one of the orthopedic Dr.'s I've seen and works downstairs. It's okay. I've seen Lisa's dermatologist who I call Dr. Soft Hands so I guess we are even.

In the operating room I was propped up so that they could do a spinal block on me. As I was sitting there, there was a table full of all kinds of torture instruments. I made a comment to the nurse standing in front of me so that I would not fall off the table, "Oh look, there's the hammer, I've heard about the hammer."

She said to me "Don't look at that stuff." We both looked longingly into each other's eyes as we shared a moment. I think some of the meds have already started working.

A spinal block is where they inject a spinal anesthesia into the spinal fluid. Never having one before I assumed it was one injection and that was it. Stab after stab I felt in my back. Over and over it went. Name, rank and serial number started going through my mind. Finally the main anesthesiologist came over and she tried another 4 times until she got the needle in. Worst experience of my life. Apparently they kept hitting bone, cartilage and nerves. Lisa later on counted 14 needle marks. Fourteen. When they hit the nerves I nearly passed out. After that, that is when I felt like the aliens took over.

Up in the recovery room I really had to go #1 and I was not going to do it in a bed pan. I have way too much pride for that. So I had the nurses come in and get me out of bed to get to the bathroom. Once there, performance anxiety set in as they were outside the door along with Lisa and what sounded like half of the hospital staff. Mission aborted. After everyone left for a while, I swallowed my pride and did the deed in bed. After a few times I was getting pretty good at it so to challenge myself, I started to add a distance factor into play. Note to self. Don't do that. That was going to be the alternate title of the blog. "First time peeing in bed."

I was up in recovery until the next day. We were waiting to get released and also watching the weather as more snow and wind was going to move through. Mother Nature just toying with us some more. But this time Lisa had to drive us home. Another perilous drive and we were back safe and sound in the SSUVFL.

Lisa is taking great care of me. We have developed a rhythm to get in and out of bed. It is a two person job for sure. Moose likes to sit with me all of the time.

Lisa is also outside doing the snow blowing. After all these years she kept telling me she didn't know how to use a snow blower. I sure fell for that one.

What a woman. Thanks so much to our neighbor Chuck ,who also came over and plowed the long stretch of our driveway with his ATV.

So until next time.

Friday, November 18, 2022


 My hip replacement surgery is only a few days away and we are making preparations for a six week recovery. We have been given pamphlets, that's plural, about what to expect and tips to help you recover. We were required to watch an hour and a half video on the same subjects that the pamphlets cover. We have purchased and received many items to help me get around and to just help make recovery easier.

Items like a walker.

It even has wheels on the front. That will help me get around and to prevent falls. A fall would be very bad I assume. I'm guessing that if I fell, I would be like a turtle on my back. A sad little turtle bawling like a little baby from the pain.

I got a super long shoe horn to help me get my shoes on.

A device that will help me get my socks on without having to bend over.

Who knew there was such a thing? I have a reacher/grabber thingy to pick things up. Just an FYI, it will grab a beer can out of the fridge.

We have grab bars in the shower so I can hang onto them as I seductively bathe myself. That's because Lisa won't sponge bathe me. We have a toilet seat riser to help me do you know what. But you really didn't need to know that and I will not demonstrate it for you. We also have grab bars to assist in getting up.

I was hoping to get a scooter but my nurse said that I need to walk to get stronger, not ride. Even though I would look awesome on a scooter. I was planning on wearing my motorcycle jacket when I was driving it. One of the best things we did get is an electric lift chair. How did I ever live without one?

I also found an APP for my phone that makes bell sounds so that I can ring my nurse every time I need something.

I have been DVRing lots of movies to watch. Weekends will be taken up with football. A good friend of mine Jim said that he loves the Hallmark channel so I have been watching lots of Christmas movies. We are so in the mood for Christmas now. My daughter even brought over some gaming systems to keep me entertained. So bring on the surgery.

Thursday, October 27, 2022



In this episode of many ramblings, I would like to share with you some of the struggles I have been dealing with. These struggles are real, very real.

The first being this blog. I know I have mentioned it a time or two before but I am going to mention it again. It started out as a journal of our journeys and experiences that we could share with friends and family. After all, not everybody sells all of their belongings and travels the country in an RV. It was fun for us as we explored new places, met new friends and discovered new sights. 

Then Covid hit and that kind of sidelined us. We built our barn and cabin. We settled down vowing that one day we would hit the road again. But as we live this new life off the road, we have decided that we do like it here in our Super Secret Undisclosed Virus Free Location. We love the solitude around us as we sit out by a fire. Not having to listen to barking dogs or radios from the campsite next door. No kids running through your campsite. Thinking about that makes me believe that that is better than any campground we have stayed in.

And to be very honest, the magic of traveling has worn off for us. Cudos to the people we have met on the road that are still traveling now. We still follow their blogs and adventures. We said that if traveling is no longer fun, that it was time to quit. That is what happened. Finding places to stay became a hassle and we found ourselves going to places we already have been to because of familiarity. 

So since this is no longer a travel blog, posts are going to be few and far between. Unless inspiration hits me. We have a big surprise for next year but you will have to wait to find out about it.

Another struggle that has reared its ugly head lately is warranties. Buying a warranty for anything is always a gamble. Makes me wonder if products these days are just not built that well and the company selling the product knows it. The tool company I worked for sold replacement plans on nearly everything it sold. Do you buy a 5 dollar warranty on a 20 dollar tool now making the 20 dollar tool cost 25 dollars. Then do you hope that it breaks so that you can get a new one?

Don't even get me started on car warranties. This past week I have had two things break. One with a warranty and one without. Both ended up costing me money out of my pocket. The first one was my new eyeglasses. The bow broke and I have not had these for very long. So I bring them to the store and show them to them. They look at them and then tell me that I may have to buy a new frame for $80 because I didn't purchase the $40 warranty when I bought them. Lets see now. Do I spend $120 on an $80 frame? What a scam!

Next item I did buy a warranty for and that is tires. I got the road hazard warranty in case we ran over something and a tire needed to be replaced. Well as luck would have it Lisa ran over a nail and where it was in the tire I new it couldn't be repaired. I took it to the dealer and he looks up and sees that we have a road hazard on the tires. Yes! Finally a warranty is going to pay off. They order the tire and a few days later I go back for installation. "That will be $200 sir". "What?! I have a warranty". Upon further explanation he said that under Biden's economy, the price of the tire has doubled and the warranty only covers the original cost of the tire. Plus it doesn't cover labor, balancing, disposal and other things. But I did save $139 because of the warranty. Bend me over Gladys and get out the vaseline. 

Finally the last struggle we have been dealing with is pain. I say "we" because Lisa feels my pain with me. I know everyone knows about my hand fiasco which still continues to this day with no relief so I will not delve into that any more. My newest pain though is in my left hip which also spreads to my right hip. I had x-rays taken and it was confirmed that a total hip replacement was in my future. Surgery was originally scheduled for October 16th but before that could happen I needed a pre-op physical. 

During the physical they do an EKG which came back abnormal. Great! The DR. could not sign off on the surgery until they had a heart stress test done. So that was scheduled and completed last week which was interesting. Since I have hip issues, they did the test differently than having me run on a treadmill. It went like this. 

They first put in an IV which they injected a syringe of some kind of radio active dye that would show up in a CT scanner. They had me sit for an hour to let that circulate through my body.Once that had time to circulate through my body, I was put into a CT scanner for 15 minutes to get pictures of my heart. Next I was taken to another room where instead of a treadmill, they would inject a drug into me that would simulate the same effect. Soon as I was injected, it was immediate when  I started feeling the effects. My breathing became labored, my heart started racing and it really gave me a sense of panic. They had me on a heart monitor to keep tabs on me and the nurse was there to coach me through it. After about 5 minutes it was over. Back to the CT scanner I went. 15 minutes later I was done.

Walking out with Lisa I said nonchalantly "As I was laying there I was thinking, I hope they don't find something else wrong with me". Lisa looked at me like my teeth had just fallen out of my mouth and said "You're just thinking of this now? I've been worried for 2 weeks". My bad. Oops.

Well the test came back normal and the surgery has been re-scheduled for November now. So fingers crossed my dream of becoming more like a terminator will be getting closer.

See, my hip will look like his.

Until the next installment. Stay frosty my friends.