Funny thing happened with Tom’s five-days-a-week contribution to Garage Logic…Where were we yesterday???…

We took this photo of a horse that offered this hysterical post while we were in Costa Rica in February 2015.

If you click on this link for yesterday’s Garage Logic podcast in Minnesota and move your cursor to 1 hour, 16 minutes, and 11 seconds on the February 5, 2024 podcast, and you will hear how popular Tom’s contribution to Garage Logic has ended up getting a Minnesota-based company to be advertisers for Tom’s segment on Garage Logics podcast.

The company is one we know so well: Anderson Windows/Renewals by Anderson described as follows:

“Andersen Corporation
Headquartered in our backyard in Bayport, Minnesota, Andersen Corporation is North America’s largest window and door manufacturer. Founded in 1903, Andersen is an international corporation employing more than 9,000 people in locations across North America, with sales worldwide.”
No, Tom doesn’t receive any compensation for his daily contribution to the show, nor will he from Anderson Windows, but it has driven many readers to our site since Joe Socheray always mentions the link to our site when he broadcasts what Tom sends in daily, “This Day in Minnesota History.” This news is fun and exciting to us.
The little morsels, along with support and comments from our readers, provide us with the commitment to continue to post day after day, almost 365 days a year. Sure, we miss a day here and there, and yesterday was such a day.
I hesitate to write anything about my (our) health these days, after all we’ve written in the past. But, in an attempt to be transparent with our readers, as we always have been, I decided to share why we weren’t here yesterday. But, my biggest motivation, as always, is the hope that if even one person can benefit from what we share, it will be worth revealing these somewhat personal details.
Over the past few weeks, I have been suffering from a bladder infection. This is a common condition suffered by many, as stated below:
“Are bladder infections common in the elderly?
Your UTI risk increases with age. According to one study, more than one-third of all infections in people in nursing homes are UTIs. More than 10 percent of women over age 65 report having a UTI within the past year. That number increases to almost 30 percent in women over 85.”
For the younger population, bladder infections are described as follows:
“Bladder infections are common, especially among women. Research suggests that at least 40 to 60 percent of women develop a UTI during their lifetime, and most of these infections are bladder infections. One in 4 women is likely to have a repeat infection.”
The odd thing about it is that people seldom share that they are suffering from these infections since there is a stigma associated with mentions of illnesses and infections regarding certain body parts. I didn’t tell anyone. I had a bladder infection (other than Tom) until yesterday when I was waiting at the urgent care facility where Tom had gone for his respiratory illness over a month ago. My friend Kathy wrote to me on WhatsApp, and I told her where I was and the reason for the trip to urgent care.
Now, here I am, sharing it with the world. Oh well. As I said, if one person gains a bit of insight from today’s post, it will have been worth it.
I figured out how I got this infection, which was vital for me to know since I hadn’t had such an infection in over 40 years, from what I recall. In the past seven weeks since we arrived at Lake Las Vegas, I started working out about a week after we arrived, starting on the stationary bike and adding the treadmill a short time later. I’ve added some light weightlifting and been thrilled with my progress.
However, the infection took hold as I increased the time on the bike. After some research, I found the following portion of an article from Women’s Health Magazine here:

“Can spinning – and exercise in general – cause UTIs?

It is a possibility. The tube through which urine comes out – the urethra – is only around 4cm long in most women, making it relatively easy for the infection to get into the bladder. During a spin class, the urethra and the surrounding area can come into contact and friction with the saddle.

This, combined with the hot and sweaty atmosphere down there, along with possible dehydration, can make a perfect climate for bacteria not only to enter the bladder but also to grow and multiply.”

For the balance of the article, please click here.

So, I had a reason “why,” but I didn’t have immediate means to end it. Recently, while in the US, I’ve noticed several online sites offering appointments with doctors who can prescribe medication to be filled at a local pharmacy. I went to work to find a service that would be suitable for me.

Many of those services don’t treat patients over 65 years old. As a result, I spent a long time going through the details of one such service after another. Finally, I found a company, Sesame Care, found here where my age wasn’t an issue. For a small fee, I spoke to a very helpful doctor and sent a prescription to the closest CVS in Henderson.

When I received a text from CVS, I was able to go online and request the prescription be delivered to me. Within two hours, I had the prescription and carefully followed the instructions for the five-day course of antibiotics. In the meantime, I continued working out but didn’t use the bike and may stick with the treadmill and the weights.

I took the last pill last Thursday, but by Saturday, the infection had returned with a vengeance. I took an antibiotic that didn’t work. On Monday morning, I was miserable and decided I had to have a lab test and see a doctor. First thing in the morning, I tried arranging an Uber to take me to the same clinic Tom had visited, as mentioned above.

(Also, as mentioned in a prior post, I won’t have health insurance until March 1 since it’s taking a long time for Medicare to process my Part B enrollment.” I preferred to go to Urgent Care rather than an appointment at a doctor’s practice).

Getting an Uber to come out here, 25 miles from the Strip, was challenging. Uber drivers don’t necessarily hang out in Lake Las Vegas, and with over 300,000 additional visitors here for the Super Bowl, getting an Uber was a challenge. After 30  minutes of trying, I finally got a confirmation for the one-way trip to the clinic. I told Tom he didn’t have to come with me. With his lung condition, hanging around a germy waiting room made no sense.

When I checked in, the receptionist handed me a little brown bag with a specimen bottle and a sanitary wipe. Once the specimen went to their in-house lab, my condition was confirmed. especially when I had blood in my urine. The doctor was very kind and prescribed a different class of antibiotic, and after less than 24 hours, I can already tell it’s working.

It took about two hours for the round trip with the drive-through at CVS for my new prescription until I returned to the condo. Tom was waiting for me in the lobby after I texted him, as he requested, to let me know when I was on my way back. I gave the second Uber driver an additional tip for going through the drive-through so I could get the prescription right away instead of waiting for a delivery. I’ll be on this drug for ten days after taking three pills a day.

By the time I returned to the condo, I didn’t have the energy to do a new post. But today, I am already so much better, I didn’t hesitate.

The cost of the appointment at Urgent Care, plus the two Uber trips and the prescription, was around $206. If I had insurance at that point, I would have had to pay about $500 for February’s premiums (Part B and supplement for Plan G) plus the once-yearly $240 deductible. Overall, it was well spent, and I am happily on the mend.

If we lived somewhere permanently and were no longer nomads, most likely, we’d have seen a doctor more than the few times we each have in the past year. I’ve been to two doctors, and Tom’s been to one.

We are grateful for each day as we continue to enjoy our lives.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, February 6, 2014:

Many times, we’ve seen Vervet Monkeys holding their babies, most often from a distance. Rarely staying still long enough for a photo, we were so excited to get these shots at Khaya Umdani. We’d left yogurt out overnight for the bush babies, forgetting to bring it back inside in the morning. Suddenly, we were surrounded by over a dozen monkeys only feet from us. I asked Tom to avoid scaring them off until I got a few photos we shared with our readers today. For more photos, please click here.

Tom returned from the appointment in Chicago…

We left our trail cam in Marloth Park, with other items in bins that Louise stored for us until we returned in June. While at the Ratel house, the trail cam picked up this photo of a genet, a wild small cat found in the wild.

Around 10:00 pm last night, Tom walked in the door, much to my relief. It was good to see him, although he looked tired and ready for bed. He explained he would have arrived earlier, but when his Uber driver arrived at the crowded outdoor waiting area and asked for Tom, someone else jumped into his Uber. He had to wait until the driver returned from dropping off the pushy passenger.

This antic resulted in him standing outside in the cold, 40F, with only a zippered sweatshirt on over his long-sleeved tee shirt. No doubt, he was annoyed. Still not feeling 100% after his recent bout of bronchitis, it was particularly challenging. He called to let me know he’d be later than expected, knowing I was following his flight status and could be worrying about him.

We headed to bed in no time but struggled to fall asleep. At 11:30, I heard a little snore coming from him, although he is not much of a snorer. When and if he does snore, it doesn’t bother me at all. Finally, by midnight, I drifted off but awoke many times during the night coughing. It wasn’t as bad as the previous nights, and during the day, I seldom have bouts of coughing. Tom is still coughing as well but he, too, is getting better. We both feel fine otherwise.

I might start working out regularly again, starting today, although I have done it a few times while I was under the weather on the days I felt better. Overall, I only missed about five days, and two days ago, when I tried it again, I was thoroughly caught up to where I left off.

This morning, I prepped everything for tonight’s dinner: grass-fed burger patties topped with bacon, tomatoes, onions, and lettuce, with rice for Tom and salad for both of us. Most likely, if we’re feeling well, we’ll go to dinner at one of the fantastic restaurants downstairs in The Village for the first time. We’ll review the menus before deciding which one to try, and hopefully, we’ll try a new restaurant each Saturday evening.

I hoped Tom could share how his appointment went, but the doctor and staff were all masked. Tom had forgotten to bring his hearing aids and couldn’t understand what the doctor or staff said. This morning, I emailed the doctor’s office asking them to send us a written report on his diagnosis.

All he was able to decipher was the confirmation of the prior diagnosis of pulmonary fibrosis caused by asbestos exposure after 42½ years working on the railroad. He said Tom should see a primary care physician once a year to determine the progression of the disease. There is no treatment or cure for pulmonary fibrosis, which is scarring of the lung tissue. Scar tissue cannot be healed.

As I wrote this, we received the medical report from the pulmonologist in Chicago by email. I read it aloud to Tom as it confirmed the diagnosis. As stated above, he’ll need to be in touch with primary care at least once a year to evaluate the progression of the disease. He is most likely prepared to do that when we’re in South Africa and he sees Doc Theo, whom we have determined to be our primary care physician and fully trust.

In tomorrow’s post, I will share details and pricing of finally signing up for Part B Medicare and a supplement. I will share the details of the plan I’ve chosen and why I didn’t sign up for a drug plan. Please check back for the full details of this process.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, January 11, 2014:

As I threw out a handful of pellets, this guy tried to grab my hand, painlessly gumming my fingers. They’ve frequently been given treats by tourists and residents alike, hopefully with items acceptable for their herbivorous diet. We give them a few handfuls of pellets and provide the mineral lick. For more photos, please click here.

Thanks for all the good wishes for Tom and for our early exit from Ecuador, three weeks ago…

There’s nothing more exciting in Kruer National Park than seeing an apex predator crossing the one paved road.

It was a busy morning for me. I had scheduled a call with my dear friend Karen in Florida at 8:30, which we’ll finish later today. I did a load of laundry, hanging it on the drying rack, and emptied the dishwasher, which Tom always does each morning. Yesterday, he vacuumed the entire condo.

The plan was for me to do the remainder of the cleaning today while he was at the pulmonology appointment in Chicago, Illinois, after a more than three-hour red-eye flight. I had to dust all surfaces, clean the bathrooms and kitchen, and wash the floors using the Swiffer wet mop.

After coughing most of the night, I slept very little, aware of where Tom may be at any given moment. Early this morning, we texted back and forth. We talked on the phone after his 11:15 appointment in Arlington Heights. I could tell by his voice he was exhausted.

He wasn’t able to tell me much about his appointment. The doctor and staff were all wearing face masks, and with Tom’s lousy hearing, he was used to reading lips and didn’t know what they were saying. Hopefully, we’ll get a written report soon. If not, we will call and ask for one.

We only chatted for a few minutes. He was back at the airport waiting for his return flight, which wasn’t until tonight, and was going to find a quiet spot for a short nap. It’s not easy sleeping in a chair, but he’s not one of those travelers (neither of us are) who will sleep on the floor. He won’t return to our condo until around 10:00 or 10:30 pm. I bet he’ll need to go right to bed.

After I finished the bulk of the cleaning and talked to Karen, I got back to work on the rest, and now, I’m sitting here content that everything is spotless, and I can relax and focus on today’s post.

Sure, I wish we had a housecleaner here in Nevada, But when we heard the cost for a few hours is $150 per week, we couldn’t justify that expense. It didn’t make sense for every other week or even once a month since we’d still have to clean and do the bedding once a week since we like to be in a clean and tidy environment. We could hardly wait for a cleaner once every other week or monthly.

Since we’re both beginning to return to feeling well again, cleaning once a week will be fine. It’s hard to think of Tom sitting at the airport feeling so awful from his cough and not having slept in over a day. So often, in our travels, we’ve spent a day or two traveling, failing to sleep on the plane. If we have three seats in a row without any other passengers, it’s possible to lie down and sleep for a few hours. That wasn’t the case for Tom last night, and it probably won’t happen again tonight.

Las Vegas is a popular destination, and most flights, including red-eyes, are often totally booked. The crowd is often boisterous and excited to reach their destination in fun-filled Las Vegas. But, for some, like us, Las Vegas is another pleasant city in the desert where we have plans other than gambling and the lights of the Las Vegas Strip.

I’m counting the hours until Tom returns. Tomorrow, we will share his experience here and anything we’ve heard from the doctor in more detail. Thanks for all the love and support. Hmmm…maybe a short nap is on the horizon for me, too.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, January 10, 2014:

When it comes to Mozambique Spitting Cobras, their size is insignificant compared to the dangerous, life-threatening venom they inflict upon their victims. This snake was approximately 1.5 to 2 feet long, 45 to 60 cm, and came within inches of Tom’s bare feet. What an exciting scare! For more photos, please click here.

Today, I won’t be talking to Tom…

One year ago, Hal was looking around the side of the house to make sure we were on the veranda. When he saw we were there, he approached, looking for pellets.

Oddly, I feel fine but cough quite a bit at night, often awake for a few hours. The only help I’m getting is from Hall’s sugar-free cough drops, which surprisingly seem to help quite a bit. When I tried to talk to Tom this morning, I noticed I had lost my voice. I sound like Minnie Mouse, very squeaky. I suppose it’s best not to talk and strain my voice further.

Many times in the past, I’ve lost my voice. It usually happens when the illness is nearing the end rather than at the beginning. I’m hopeful that this cold/flu/virus is nearing its end for both of us. Tom is a little better today but still coughing and napping throughout the day.

Today, he’ll take the third dose of the Z-pack antibiotics. Most often, it seems to take three doses to see improvement. We’re up and about; neither of us is bedridden, and we can eat and hover around the living room as we did when we felt well.

On Tuesday night, we couldn’t get the TV to turn on in the living room, which we use for streaming shows to keep us entertained, especially now that we are laying low. I am more adept and patient in figuring out digital problems and have spent hours trying to get it to come on. Finally, yesterday morning, I called Dish Network and spent no less than two hours on the phone with them and Samsung, the TV brand.

Neither company could determine what was wrong, and Dish Network implied the account wasn’t active. That was ridiculous. The TV in the bedroom was working and wired from the same satellite box. After two hours on the phone, most people would have given up trying. Not me. I was persistent, but neither company could offer any assistance.

I started playing around with the remote settings and got the TV monitor to come on. From there, I called Dish back, and they said it appeared some update came through and caused the dysfunction. They walked me through the fix from there, and finally, we were back on.

Last night, we streamed a good movie on Amazon Prime, the “Sound of Freedom,” Right now, our only streaming services are Netflix, Hulu, and Prime. Amazon Prime sent a message a few days ago stating that members must pay an additional $2.99 monthly if they’d like commercial-free content. We aren’t interested in paying more and will live with commercials. At least they didn’t make it a mandatory increase.

We often use the perks of Prime, including free shipping (in the US only), often same-day or one-day, excellent new content streaming, and free monthly books (we don’t read many books these days), and when we’re in the bush and don’t stream much, we enjoy Amazon Music while sitting on the veranda in the evenings.

I canceled Paramount Plus this morning since we’ve already streamed everything we wanted on that service. From time to time, we’ll add a streaming service to watch a specific series.

It may seem as if we spend most of our time streaming shows. We do not. In the evenings, when we aren’t out or with people, we stream a few hours of movies and TV series. During daytime hours, we are busy with work on our laptops, planning for the future, and reading news and information relative to our lives. Also, we listen to several podcasts during the day while we are researching.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, January 4, 2014:

Like the main photo in this post of December 14th, we again looked toward the driveway to discover giraffes coming our way. What a glorious sight! For more photos, please click here.

Yesterday afternoon, Tom had to go to urgent care…

Today’s three photos we posted one year ago in Kruger National Park on a self-driven game drive.

With Tom’s flight to Chicago next Wednesday at 1:00 am, the fact that he was coughing so much and tired all the time made me get pushy about him going to Urgent Care yesterday afternoon. If he became more ill and was unable to go for his long-awaited appointment with the pulmonologist appointed by the law firm, it could be months before he’d get another appointment. He agreed, and we went to the closest Urgent Care shown online and on MAPS.

As soon as we arrived at the location, we noticed a sign that stated, “Coming Soon.” We had to find another location further away. We registered at the reception desk, and within 15 minutes, he was taken back, with me in attendance, to a treatment room.

After a nurse checked his vitals and asked questions, a doctor entered and examined him. On most occasions, Tom refused to go to Urgent Care this early in his illness. He was diagnosed with bronchitis, not pneumonia, which we feared he had with all the outrageous coughing and his need to nap several times a day.

Nature takes its course when lions and other predators feed on other wildlife in the bush. It can be shocking at times, but after we’ve spent so much time in the bush, we’ve come to accept it as part of life.

The doctor gave him a prescription for Z-pack and cough pills (not a liquid) and suggested he take over-the-counter Zyrtak for the sinus congestion. Off we went to the CVS pharmacy at the nearby Target store. Tom waited in the car while I went inside for the 25-minute wait until the prescriptions were ready.

Back at the condo, I noticed a message on my phone that Amazon couldn’t get into the building to drop off my order of Hall’s sugar-free cough drops. Whoever handles the reception desk during the day wasn’t available when the driver tried to gain access to the building. This morning at 8:00,  the package was outside the door.

Last night, I was coughing every hour or so, but I feel fine otherwise. Most likely, I’ve caught the bug that Tom started with before he got really sick. Once I got up and out of bed, my coughing stopped when using the cough drops. Hopefully, my symptoms won’t worsen over the next few days.

When we “catch” something, Tom is usually sicker than I am. I always feel compelled to keep up with household duties and cooking even when I feel unwell. I am optimistic we’ll both recover soon and continue to enjoy our time in Lake Las Vegas.

As for today, we’ll stay in and be cozy with our two blankets and stream some shows to distract us while we work on improving. All I have left to do today is finish this post, fold and put away the dried laundry on the rack, toss the salad, and cook our two pizzas. That’s an easy day, by my standards.

Sharing dinner with another female.

I paid our deposit for the Ratel house in Marloth Park this morning. It gave me a wonderful sense of peace and excitement at the same time. It’s hard to believe that in a little over five months, we’ll return to my favorite place in the world, outside the USA. Soon, we’ll get busy booking the place in Apache Junction, Arizona, where we’ll head after we leave here at the end of March.

Then, we’ll book the month we’ll spend in Minnesota to see our kids, grandkids, and friends. From there, we’ll begin the two-day journey to Marloth Park, South Africa.

Despite this recent setback, life is good, and we look forward to the future.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, January 3, 2014:

Not all wildlife requires a daily supply of water, but the zebra does, never staying further away than ten meters from a safe water supply, Picky drinkers, they taste the chlorinated pool water, only taking a sip, detecting the chemicals. When cleaning the pools in Marloth Park, the staff uses very little chlorine due to the fact that the animals drink from the pools. For more photos, please click here.

The days and nights seem to blend together and the weeks are flying by…

A pelican in the Galapagos Islands, working on a fish.

With only 51 days until we depart Ecuador to head to Tom’s pulmonology appointment in the suburbs of Chicago, time is flying by so quickly, much to our surprise. I don’t believe that we’ve discussed Tom’s health issue yet. However, it appears he may have pulmonary fibrosis caused by asbestos after 42½ years of working on the railroad.

We will share more about this situation when we know more after January 10, 2024. At this point, all we know is that his appointment is on January 10, 2024, and no matter what, we were heading to Illinois on about January 8. We’ve yet to book the flight, and will do so after I see the cardiologist next week on November 22.

Gosh, we sound like a mess! No matter how hard we’ve tried over the years, we couldn’t avoid our current medical issues and have decided we need to address them in the US, not in a foreign country. My heart issues are a result of heredity and Tom’s…well, from asbestos exposure. We found this out when he had a second x-ray when we were in Minnesota, and he went to Urgent Care for a bad cough.

But we carry on, hoping to get some answers and make decisions based on those answers. This doesn’t necessarily mean an end to our worldwide travels. But, we may decide to make some adjustments that coincide with the necessary imminent and long-term medical care.

Of course, this is at the forefront of our minds, but neither of our situations requires we leave any sooner than planned. Tom is feeling okay right now, with occasional coughing, and I am working on finding a combination of medications that will work for me. I have had to stop two of the drugs the cardiologist in Manta prescribed for me since they made it difficult for me to breathe, a common side effect.

The one drug, a blood thinner, is not causing issues, and another drug I had with me, with an increased dose, seems to be working for part of the day, which, after seeing the doctor next Wednesday, another increase in the dose may do the trick. We shall see.

In the interim, we’re staying positive and doing our best to enjoy the remainder of our time in Ecuador. It’s still cloudy and rainy every day, so we aren’t using the pool as we’d hoped. That would have been an excellent exercise for me. But, for now, I am not doing extensive walking since it seems to exacerbate the Afib. Once the drugs are adjusted to my needs, I should be able to walk longer distances.

A few readers have written asking if we’ll still do the posts if we stop traveling for a while and, as in the past when we had obstacles to bear, we’ll continue to write each day as long as our readers are still interested. This is life. No, it’s not easy, and a certain amount of worry and concern are to be expected now. However, it doesn’t hinder our joy of life, of being together and thinking about the future.

We intend to return to Marloth Park in June, as planned. By then, we’ll have a better handle on managing our healthcare, and with excellent medical care available to us there, we feel comfortable making the trip. Between now and then, we aren’t so certain.

We have many friends our age who continue to travel with medical concerns, some with major medical issues, and we applaud them for their courage. We hope to use them as role models and continue our lifestyle as long as it makes sense. We won’t take any unnecessary risks that could cause harm to either of us and fully support this with one another.

So that’s our news for today, dear readers. We’ll be back with more soon.

Be well

Photo from ten years ago today, November 17, 2013:

My parent’s wedding photo. Please read the post from that date that explains why I posted this photo. Please click here.

Tom’s trip to urgent care…Visit to Costco with information overload…Another Minnesota Vikings disappointment…

The Vikings lost last night for the second time in the regular season. Our sons are big fans of the Vikings and were sorely disappointed, as was Tom.

Yesterday, we took Tom to urgent care for an unrelenting cough he’d had since he got the flu on the last cruise. We’d tested him for COVID-19 at the time, which was negative. But, his cough, mostly awful at night, was worrying. Finally, he agreed to get an appointment at the same urgent care facility he’d visited when he got COVID-19 pneumonia in 2022 when we were in Minnesota to see family. As it turned out, he was so sick and potentially contagious that we never saw family during that visit.

The doctor spent a lot of time with us and prescribed several prescriptions for Tom, which hopefully we can pick up today. The Walgreens pharmacy had to special order one of the meds, a popular drug we were surprised they didn’t have on hand. That was frustrating since the major medication would help him the most. Now, we’ve lost a day or two in his recovery.

It was wonderful to see our old next-door neighbor and good friend, Nelleke, again, who works at that urgent care facility. She’s the X-ray tech and did Tom’s intake. She, too, is a regular reader of our site and knew everything we’d done and everywhere we’ve been. We’re working on planning a get-together with her, her partner, friend Sue Sue’s daughter Sherry, and her husband Michael. Hopefully, this will all work out. We’d love that!

Fortunately, nothing horrible was found on his X-ray besides the same appearance of his “honeycomb lungs,” the same thing they’d seen on his last X-ray when he had COVID-19. The doctor explained this can happen for long periods after being infected with COVID-19. The end result, he, too, has long-haul COVID-19, just like me. Hopefully, this new round of drugs will help him.

Also, after finishing the post yesterday afternoon, we headed to Costco, only a few minutes from our hotel. We had about $500 in shop cards we’d accumulated since the last time we were here, including credits for using the Costco credit card worldwide for fuel and annual perks.

Most of the credit came from booking one of our recent cruises through Costco Travel. Each time a customer does so, they receive a “shop card” once the cruise has ended. We had booked many cruises through Costco, but seven were canceled due to COVID-19; thus, we never received those shop cards.

Walking into the store reminded me of past visits during our travel years and feeling overwhelmed by the amount of “stuff” in the massive warehouse store. We were in a state of “information overload.” I had a list of items we wanted to buy, but as it turned out, they didn’t carry most of my list.

We left with only purchasing dinner to bring to Greg’s house while we watched the Minnesota Vikings’ second game of the season. What a disappointment! Our favorite team has had little success over the years, and yet Tom and our kids and some of our grandkids continue to watch with the hope that someday they will do well enough to go to the Super Bowl, let alone win the big event.

After the game, we headed back to the hotel, leaving leftovers for Greg and enough leftovers for us for tonight’s dinner. To keep costs down, we’re trying not to dine in a restaurant more than once a day, and when we’re alone, to have meals we’ve selected from the grocery store that we can reheat in the hotel’s microwave oven.

With plenty of good shows to stream, we don’t mind the quiet nights when we don’t see anyone end up hanging out in the living room in our suite hotel room. We have a refrigerator and use of the big kitchen here for dishes and flatware. It’s easy for us to entertain ourselves.

Today, at 1:00, as mentioned, we’re meeting old friends Pat and Charlie in Albertville for lunch, about 40 minutes from here. Thus, if we’re hungry tonight, we can eat our leftovers from last night. If not, we can eat them tomorrow night since we have no plans for Saturday night at this point.

Many members of Tom’s family are out of town this weekend, but once they return, we’ll make plenty of plans with them, and our schedule will fill up in no time. In the interim, we can spend lots of time with my son Greg, his girlfriend Heather, and the two remaining grandkids, Madiighan and Miles, who spend every other week at their mom’s house. They’ll return to Greg’s home this Sunday for a week, and we’ll plan something with them during that time.

That’s it for today, folks.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, September 15, 2013:

We had dinner in a cave restaurant in Kenya. Diners began to filter in around 8:00 pm, filling all tables by the time we were ready to leave around 9:45 pm. We’d be warned not to rush the servers worldwide when customs and expectations differ from the US. Many countries’ servers are accustomed to taking their time in delivering the food and the bill. Most often, as is the case here in Kenya, tips are only allowed to be paid in cash, not added to the credit card slip. Of course, this requires us to keep adequate foreign money currency on hand. For more, please click here.

Immigration changed the rules again…Oops…Tom spilled iced tea on his laptop…Medical test results!!!…

A lone zebra stopped by, but a short time later, a few friends joined her.

Based on a new document posted in the past 24 hours, it appears that Home Affairs will allow visa extension candidates who filed before March 31, 2023, to stay in the country until December 31. I forwarded the new document to the attorney and will speak with her on Monday to verify the amendment to the last agreement stating we had to clear out by April 30.

Hopefully, they don’t make any further changes impacting our preferred departure dates, which are up in the air right now. What a relief this would be if this new document is accurate. We’ll report back here accordingly.

Tom spilled his entire mug of iced tea on his laptop a short time ago. It’s supposed to be water-resistant, so we’ll see how that goes in the next few hours. I looked online, and if necessary, he can replace it at and have a new one in four or five days. He’d be lost without it.

Zebras are heading down the driveway to continue on their pellet search.

Yesterday morning, we met with Doc Theo for Tom’s aortic aneurysm screening and blood test results, followed by his cardiac stress test. Theo was delighted to tell Tom he was in tip-top shape. His tests were all normal. He did fantastic on the stress test. Theo couldn’t believe how Tom was so young for his age, taking no medication and having no known medical conditions.

I was a little anxious as Tom was having his stress test on the treadmill. I hadn’t had any cardiac tests since the surgery four years ago. I knew that at some point I’d have to be tested but put it off, justifying it with the fact I’ve had no cardiac symptoms.

When Tom was done, after the glowing reports from Theo, Tom stepped out to the waiting room, knowing I’d be a little more anxious with him watching me perform the test. I was worried that since I had Covid-19 last April, suffering from the headache, facial pain, and allergies, I had been relatively inactive over the past year. I was fearful I wouldn’t be able to handle the required pace on the treadmill.

A few giraffes quickly moved through the garden.

Other than running around the house performing household tasks and cooking, I’ve spent the better part of each day sitting. It was hard to feel like exercising, although I tried many times when I had the darned headache and couldn’t seem to get motivated.

But, once I got going on the treadmill, all wired up for the EKG, comforted by Theo that he wouldn’t push me too hard, I took off and could keep up without an issue. He pressed me to do the test up to my maximum heart rate for my age. All the while, he kept reassuring me I was doing great and that the results printing on the machine were all looking perfectly normal.

When all was said and done, he gave me a clean bill of health. There wasn’t a single issue during the test or after during the cool-down period. I was pleased and so relieved! Theo said there was nothing on the printout that indicated I’d ever had heart surgery or had any issues at this time. Maybe I’ll be one of those lucky heart surgery patients that never need more surgery or stents down the road.

This Big Daddy stops by every day.

Tom is willing to walk with me twice a day, once in the morning and another in the afternoon. Theo suggested we both start exercising regularly to maintain our good health. This morning, we took our first walk out on the dirt road, watching for lions or any other wildlife who may be out and about. After I build stamina, most likely, we will do one long walk in the morning after breakfast and be done with it for the day. We’ll see how it goes.

Last night, we had a fabulous time at Jabula. David always reserves our two usual seats at the bar. Our food was perfect, and the Cheers-like bar occupied every barstool. We knew everyone there. That’s what makes it so much fun, but we always love meeting newcomers.

We were back home by 8:30 pm, 2030 hrs., bellies full, and we were ready to hunker down for the night. We watched a show, but I fell asleep at the end. After that short nap, I had trouble sleeping and was awake for a few hours. A nap may be on the agenda later today, before or after the second walk.

We are very grateful for the immigration news (if it doesn’t change again), the results of our medical tests, and to be enjoying our lives more than ever with this new peace of mind.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today,  April 1, 2022:

This was the first shot of one of the manatees in the warm waters by the Tampa Electric Company in Florida. For more photos, please click here.

Tom has left for Nelspruit for his medical tests…No results until Friday…

On Sunday, on our way back from the afternoon party, we were fortunate to see these giraffes on Olifant Rd. What a treat to see the young calf! Dad must be the darker, taller giraffe on the left.

Tom left for Nelspruit this morning at 8:45 for his 11:00 am appointments for two medical tests; a chest x-ray (he coughs) and an aortic aneurysm screening (heredity issues with men in his family). I just received a Whatsapp message that he’s arrived safely, and he’ll text me again to let me know when he’s on the way back.

We won’t get the results until Friday when we return to Doc Theo for test results and our two cardiac stress tests. I’ll be glad when all of this medical stuff is completed. Hopefully, we can have peace of mind with positive results. I’m still taking all the allergy meds and the Prednisone. My allergy symptoms are gone, and the head pain is less but not entirely gone.

It’s another cooler and beautiful sunny day. This morning, I baked Tom a double batch of keto blueberry cake, one of the few keto desserts he likes. I had to hurry and get it done since load shedding is starting soon, and I can’t use the oven during that period.

Both pans are done and out of the oven. It smells good here. Now I’ll wait for them to cool so I can cut them into individual servings and place them in ziplock sandwich bags. I wouldn’t say I like using so many plastic bags, so we save the old ones and reuse them for as long as possible. We place the empty used bags in the freezer so the crumbs in the bags don’t spoil, and then take them out for the next batch. We’re able to reuse them four or five times before tossing them.

With the latest holiday season in the works, vehicles blocked our view of the giraffes. We were lucky to get the shots that we did.

Sitting here at the dining room table preparing the post, I am reminded of Tom being in the US only a few weeks ago and how long and tedious that time was without him. I wanted to go with him this morning, but he knows how I dislike the drive to Nelspruit and insisted he’d be fine on his own.

This morning, up and dressed before he left, I said, “I am ready to walk out the door with you right now.” But, he insisted he’d return in no time and for me to stay behind, get today’s post done and enjoy quiet time in the kitchen prepping for tonight’s dinner and baking his blueberry bread.

Now, with all of that done, with the house cleaned after Vusi just left, once I am done here, I’m at a loss as to how to occupy myself without him here. Yesterday, I did all the financial stuff for the first of the month, sent our Nevada accountant a message for tax filing, and feel comfortable that everything is under control.

We use credit cards for everything since we haven’t had or used checks in almost two decades. Instead of saving receipts that the credit card companies have for our purchases. Every few weeks, I enter every purchase into our Excel spreadsheet. I look at the online statements to enter the correct amounts with the exchange rate based on how the banks debit us. We’ve found we pay less in exchange rates using our credit cards than we would by using cash.

The dad was keeping a watchful eye on the traffic.

We only get South African rands for tips and miscellaneous cash transactions, which are few. We tip Zef and Vusi on the same day each month and always keep enough cash to do this. We usually go to the ATM in Komatipoort once a month. Also, Louise arranges for three bags of pellets every few weeks, and we reimburse her almost ZAR (rand) 900, US $49.24 each time for the three bags.

The pellets last longer now than they did in the winter since the bush is lush and green, and the animals don’t need or eat as many pellets at this time. Of course, I’m always giving Norman and his family carrots, apples, and vegetable scraps which they love.

As a matter of fact, Norman has already been here three times this morning, standing in the garden, looking at me. I ask him, “Norman, do you want your lunch?” His ears flip back and forth, and his mouth quivers in sheer delight. There’s no doubt in my mind, after all of these months I have been talking to him, that he knows exactly what I am saying, not unlike a dog would after repeated human language. These animals are more intelligent than most people think.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 28, 2022:

Karen and Rich were married on February 11 when Omicron hit, and we stayed behind to avoid infecting the bride and groom. For more photos, please click here.

Update on headache and face pain…Hopeful…

A Medium Daddy is sniffing and approaching a female kudu.

For a while, a few weeks or so, my headache improved tremendously. When it flared up, I took a medication Doc Theo had prescribed that contained cortisone but was instructed to use it sparingly due to potential side effects. If I could have taken it daily, I’d have been headache and facial pain-free. But I’ve only used it a few times for two consecutive days, enjoying the relief by the second day.

It wasn’t until I started taking a non-prescription antihistamine that he suggested, Fexo 18, fexofenadine, for the past week that I began to notice a good improvement in the symptoms. I never thought it was a brain issue. I am convinced it is an allergy problem and nothing more serious requiring specialists or brain scans.

This Big Daddy has been visiting us each day.

It seems the symptoms are worsened with more humid weather, but also consider the following:

“In spring and summer, during tree and grass pollen season, levels are highest in the evening. In late summer and early fall, levels are highest in the morning during the ragweed pollen season. Take a shower, wash your hair, and change your clothes after working or playing outdoors.”

Covid 19 symptoms vary from person to person. When we both got Omicron on a cruise ship last April, the first symptoms I experienced, besides the sore throat, were a headache over my left eyebrow and pain when touching my left cheek. These symptoms, overall, have continued since that time to one degree or another. I’ve been treated for sinus infections and would have relief for a few weeks, and then it would start up again.

Early on, I was treated for trigeminal neuralgia, which made some sense. But the excessive sneezing and runny nose didn’t coincide with that diagnosis. Plus, the medication for that condition made me sleepy and sluggish during the day and caused me to gain weight, a typical side effect of that drug. I stopped taking it a month later, and the headache and face pain returned.

He loves his pellets.

Then, off and on over the past several months, I’ve had short periods with less pain in my head and intermittent face pain. At this point, I’ve been pain-free for the past four days since I started taking the strong antihistamine a week ago. The sneezing and runny nose are less; the headache is 90% gone, and the facial pain. Perhaps, this is actually under control with this over-the-counter medication.

Years ago, when I was allergy tested, dust, dust mites, ragweed, and grass pollen were the allergens to which I responded the most. Right now, ragweed is at its highest level in the fall here in the Southern Hemisphere. There’s more dust and pollen here in the bush than anywhere we’ve ever been. Imagine the dust the animals kick up every day which enters the house. and no amount of hand dusting can eliminate it.

When we were in Minnesota in November and December, the headache almost disappeared after the first few days with snow on the ground. But, in our old lives, I experienced many symptoms in Minnesota during the summer months due to these same allergens.

Such a good-looking animal.

So now, I wait and see if the headache and face pain continue to improve. If so, there won’t be anything I need to do in the future other than continue taking this particular antihistamine when returning to South Africa next year. We’ll see how it goes.

On Friday, we’re both going to see Doc Theo. Tom would like the peace of mind of having an ultrasound called an Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Screening test because several male family members have died or experienced this condition requiring treatment. Doc Theo will arrange for the test for Tom, which requires that we travel to Nelspruit, most likely to Mediclinci, where I had heart surgery.

Also, I am overdue for a heart scan and plan to do it on the same day as Tom’s test. Hopefully, all will be fine for both of us. We’ll report back what we discover.

That’s it for today, folks. Have a fantastic day, and be well.

Photo from one year ago today, March 20, 2022:

Bossy arrived with three young calves. She was on babysitting duty. This is her male calf. For more photos, please click here.