Venture Out - Cudjoe Key

Venture Out - Cudjoe Key
Fox at Quail Run

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Sometimes You Get a Deal



Wesley Chapel, Florida (high 62, low 38)


Our warm weather has ended and another cold front has moved into central Florida.  We don’t mind though. At least the sun is shining.

We’ve been busy but have done absolutely nothing fun or picture worthy.  We went to the dermatologists office for our annual skin check.  Al wanted to also talk to him about the poison ivy he has been plagued with for weeks.

The doctor wasn’t convinced Al’s rash was poison ivy.  He gave him some sort of cortisone cream in a large jar.  He said it could be some sort of allergy and that if it didn't clear up, to come back and they could biopsy the skin to get a better determination.    The cream seems to be working very well and Al has finally gotten some relief from all the itching. 

After we left the doctors office, we stopped by the camera repair shop where my beloved little Cannon SX 50 HS waits repair.   I bought that camera in May of 2013.  I made the mistake of not buying an extended warranty, which would have been very inexpensive at Sam’s Club where I bought the camera. 

Canon PowerShot SX50 HS Review  Goldilocks Dream Camera

Sometime last summer, shortly after the warranty ran out, the camera died.   Canon was no help and estimated the repair cost at nearly what I paid for the camera.  Once we got back to Tampa,  I found a reputable local camera repair guy, who felt it could be repaired for less than $200, but it turns out Canon doesn’t sell the new lens assembly that we need.  I don’t why, and I’m not happy with Canon about this.  If I didn’t love this camera so much and if there was anything else comparable, I would not give Canon any more of my business.

We decided to go to Target to look at the newer and better version of the camera, the Canon SX60 HS.  It has a better and more powerful zoom lens and better processor. It was on sale for $499.   At this point, we were running out of options and no other brands of cameras have the super powerful zoom (stalker) lens of the Canon.

It turned out that Target had one display SX 50 Hs camera left, which is the same as my damaged camera.  They weren’t sure they could sell the display camera, but we got a manager involved and got the camera for a great price of  $214!  That’s about what the estimated repair would have been if we had been able to get the part we needed.   Yes, we bought a 2 year extended warranty for $30.  I’m sure I’ll end up with the SX60 at some point, but for now I have my favorite camera back…..with an extended warranty.  Sometimes you get a deal!

Lesson learned.  Buy an extended warranty.  Electronics aren’t made like they used to be and I’m hard on them.


Al is scheduled for his rotator cuff surgery next week.   It’s not going to be a fun Christmas for us this year, but at least it will be done and we can get him healthy enough to go to the Keys.  He will need some physical therapy. We’re not sure how long that will take, or when he will be able to function enough to do what he needs to do to get the motorhome to the Keys.   Our departure date is up in the air right now, but since our Rv lot is rented through January, we can’t go before then anyway.  We’re hoping for early February, but as always that depends on my Mom.

In the meantime, we’re dreaming about the Florida Keys.




Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Sometimes, Things Are Put in Perspective


Wesley Chapel, Florida


We rarely have time for any fun when we’re back in Tampa, and this time is no exception.  I have been busy trying to  find some ways to help my mother with her daily life.  She will be 85 this month and is needing more assistance.

We signed her up for Meals on Wheels.  It’s only $4.75 a meal and she gets a nice hot meal delivered every day.  It takes some of the pressure off me and my brother.

After the last outing to the doctor, we decided to get her a “rollator.”     She’s pretty stable at home, but when we take her out of the house, she’s pretty wobbly.  I found a brand new rollator on Craig's List for only $60.   That’s one nice thing about living in Florida….lots of cheap stuff for the elderly.  Hugo Portable Rollator Walker with Seat  Backrest and 8 Inch Wheels  Blue  Health   Personal Care

We’re considering getting her one of those lift recliner chairs that gives you a boost when you get up.  Unfortunately, there aren’t many in the furniture stores that you can actually look at.  They can be ordered but who wants to buy a chair without trying it out first.

I recently became aware of the possibility of an additional financial benefit for Mom from the VA.  Many of you know Howard and Linda from Rv-Dreams.  

Howard recently wrote up an extremely helpful blog post about elder care, with links to many resources.  Read about it HERE.  Much of his post was geared to benefits for veterans and their spouses, but there is some information for elder care.

My Father was in the military during wartime, although he was never in combat.  When he died Mom was able to have his death considered to be service connected, so she got some additional financial benefits.

After reading Howard’s  blog, I learned that as a widow of a Vet, she may be entitled to some additional compensation for “aid and attendance”.   Of course, dealing with the VA is going to be a challenge.  I’m trying to get my ducks in a row if she should need to be moved to an assisted living facility in the future.  The average cost of assisted living care is $3700 a month.

So…..that’s what we’ve been doing, mixed in between annual doctors appointments for us.


Something happened yesterday that really brings home what is important and what isn’t.

Last week, when we went over to the beach, I bought a cute pair of crab earrings from the visitor center gift shop.  They were only $12, but I liked them.

Yesterday, we went  to Walmart.  I wore my new earrings for the first time and Al even complimented me on how cute they were.

While shopping, Al noticed one earring was missing.   We felt pretty sure I lost it in Walmart, so we retraced our steps in the store with no luck finding the earring.  We even went back to the truck, but still didn’t find it.  We kept looking as we finished our shopping, but had pretty much given up hope.

I was a little upset, but kept reminding myself it was only $12 and I could buy another pair if I wanted, but I really liked those earrings.

As I was looking down towards the floor, I looked up one aisle and noticed a man with two artificial legs standing next to the freezer cooler.  As I looked up, I also noticed he also had a prosthetic arm.  Wow.  That stunned me.  This guy had three missing limbs.  I assumed he was the Marine from Tampa that was injured by an IED while in Afghanistan in 2011.  A few charities got together and built him a special custom built home, and he was all over the news a year or so ago.  It appears he is doing pretty well and I was glad to see him standing there grocery shopping like everyone else.

Boy, that puts the missing earrings in perspective, doesn’t it?

He was standing tall and straight on metal legs.  It stunned me and immediately brought tears to my eyes.  

I saw no wheelchair.  He was walking and functioning with three prosthetic limbs.  I was surprised at how tall he was and that he had such great posture.

If I hadn’t been looking down at the ground for my earring, I might have never noticed. This man was functioning so well with so little.

I found Al and told him about what I saw.  We decided my lost earring was not important at all, but almost as soon as those words came out of my mouth, I looked down and there was my lost earring.  It was in the same area that  I had already searched twice.   I think the Marine was my good luck charm!