The River-A Cell Phones Nemesis

In 2015 I stepped into the smartphone world. Since I already had other Apple products, it seemed like a natural progression to continue with another product. I purchased an iPhone 6 and began my education in Smartphone technology.

I love adventure. I like to explore parts of my world that are sometimes hard to get to. I love the Southwest. I really like Zion National Park. I am so fortunate to have good friends that live outside the park. There is a section of the park called the Subway. From the top down one needs ropes and knowledge that there is rappeling into cold river water, more than once.

The Subway from the Bottom Up

One can also hike the Subway from the bottom up. This trail also presents its own set of challenges. There really is no trail, it is a set of social trails that progresses down a steep slope to the river. Then you follow the river for three miles to arrive at the beginning of the subway. It is not an easy hike. It is a great visual hike.

In 2017 I hiked the Subway from the bottom up. I just arrived at the Subway part of the hike, when I fell off a log into the river along with my day pack that held my iPhone 6. Oh no, what was I to do. The phone was wet and I was a long way from help. I dried the phone off the best I could and continued with my hike. Nine hours later I returned to my friends exhausted and happy. I took my phone apart, yep you could do that, and dried it out. The next day it worked although it had developed a dark side. The right upper side of the phone was black, it worked and so I kept it for a few more years until the dark side began to cover more of the screen. I decided to upgrade to an iPhone 8.

I was happily using my new phone with no issues until…..I met another River. 2021-I was kayaking on the Provo River near Utah Lake in the state of Utah. It is a very silty river and a beautiful place to kayak. I stopped to fix something on my kayak and before I could stop it my phone in its waterproof container disappeared into the river. That river is definitely deeper than it looked. I tried for over an hour to rescue my iPhone 8 without success. Each time I tried to reach it with my kayak paddle the silt would stir up and I would lose sight of it. Other kayakers tried their hand at rescuing it, without success. I had to admit defeat and off I went to the Verizon Store to ask for help. I also called a good friend, Melissa, to mourn my loss. It is good to have friends.

First Photo from my iPhone 12

My iPhone 12 stayed with me until two weeks ago when I met another river up close and personal. On my current trip to the east coast of the United States, I spent three weeks with friends in Florida. We camped and biked and kayaked on the rivers and springs of northern Florida. The last river was the Juniper River. It was a quick, shallow river through a beautiful area. There were alligators, one giant one, and one rapid.

As you may know, I am a photographer. After I am safely on the water I often take my cell phone out of its waterproof case so I can take photos. After successfully managing the rapid, I got caught in an eddy. As I tried to push off the kayak tipped and there went cell phone number three. I got wet, it got wet and the kayak had its first experience of flipping. I worried about my cell phone. My friend Missy was concerned about my camera that was safely inside a dry bag. I kept thinking about that giant alligator up the river. Needless to say, I got out of that river in record time.

Initially, the phone worked fine and I thought all was good. The next morning the phone would not wake up. Oh sigh. Once again the river won. I am now an owner of an iPhone 14.

First Photo on the iPhone 14

When one does not lead a dull life these things happen. When one leads any kind of life these things happen. I feel personally responsible for my phone so I have mourned the passing of each one. I have to talk myself out of deciding I am a bad phone owner and recognize that these things happen not just to me but to many others as well. I am sure we all have phone stories to tell.

In three weeks I am flying to the Amazon in Brazil for two weeks. Oh no, another river! A mighty river. Hopefully, I will be able to keep hold of my new phone so the river does not take it away. No matter what me and my phone will venture south to enjoy an adventure on the Amazon.

Today I am grateful for coming clean and admitting to my cell phone debacle. I have always wanted to be truthful in these blog posts. I want to show my humanity. Today I am grateful for truth and for revealing my humanness.

Today I am grateful.

Oh No, The Check Engine Light is On!!!

One thing that, I believe, every camper rues is when the “check engine” light lights up on the dashboard. What? Why is this happening? Oh no, can I make it somewhere to have it fixed? Oh no, what about my current trip? Oh no!!!

After spending two relaxing and fun weeks with friends in Florida, the check engine light lit up as we traveled north to another hot spring, to camp, bike, and kayak. OH NO! What to do?

  • Breathe, I must first and foremost remember to take a few deep breaths and relax. Life is not over as I know it and it will work out.
  • Coachnet is my Roadside Assist. After breathing I called them and once they made sure I was somewhere safe they began to help me figure out the best course of action. In this case, they gave me some excellent information. If the check engine light is solid yellow, I can drive on it and it will not automatically go into limp mode after so many starts. Well, that is good to know. They also would call me back the following morning to tell me who they found to look at the rig. Thank you Mercedes Benz of Jacksonville. Whew.
  • Call my friends and tell them I am delayed due to all of the above. It is good to know that they would have come back to help me out if I had needed assistance. It helps to know someone has my back.
  • Go to Auto Zone and ask them to check the codes. Did you know they do that for free? I did not know this. Now I do.
  • Notify my sister, who I would be seeing at the end of the camping week, that there is a glitch in the plans. Ruth was willing to come to pick me up in Jacksonville if necessary. That is very helpful and it is what family does for each other.
  • Drive carefully to the campground and park EmmyLou for the five days we are there.
  • Have fun with my friends.
  • Breathe.

Today, Monday I am at Mercedes Benz waiting patiently. The diagnosis? I need to replace the particulate filter. Don’t ask me too much about this. I do know it is part of the emissions and because it is under an extended warranty, I do not have to pay for it, Yay!!!

Mercedes treats its customers very well. This particular service center has a complimentary breakfast and lunch cafe. How cool is that? After I checked in I had a made-to-order omelet and began to wait. The staff here is helpful and knowledgeable. I am in good hands.

Here I am, breathing and writing and waiting. I will be out of Mercedes in a few hours and continue on my way north. I am grateful that EmmyLou is in good hands. I am thankful it is an easy fix.

I am overly thankful for Missy and Dan and my sister, Ruth and Joe, who were so helpful and supportive. I am also thankful for Tissa and Ed (extended family), who let me park my rig in their driveway for the weekend. It is so good to have so many people that love me and support me.

Today I am thankful.

Desert Rat-2 : Janet Won!

I have been very fortunate with my RV. Shortly after I bought my Roadtrek, I had one incident with a small creature and took care of it quickly. I blocked holes so it could not get to my food and quickly it departed. Since then I have been critter-free, until recently.

When I first arrived in Phoenix I stayed at a marvelous Boondockers Welcome site north of the city. It was rural and wildlife was plentiful. It was warm in the desert, so I decided to leave my front side windows open. I have screens to put over them. No longer traveling with a kitty I decided the windows could stay all the way down. BIG MISTAKE!

No sooner had I climbed into bed than I heard scurrying sounds in my rig. What the heck was that? Then I felt something running down my legs, on top of the covers. Arrgh, stop already! I got up turned on the lights and of course, there was nothing there. Feeling gullible I decided I had scared whatever it was off and returned to bed.

FAT CHANCE! So began the saga of Janet and the Desert Rat. First I put all the food away. Nothing remained on the counters except the bananas. The next morning there was a bite out of one of the bananas. This was war! I love bananas.

The next evening I did a double-check and everything was put away. That little mouse was quite ingenious and I could hear it scurrying up the wall between the interior and exterior of my van. Oh no, it was making a home. I knew it was time to get serious about getting rid of this invader. Oh, but it is so cute, well at least the pictures on the internet are.

Now going on close to five days I had not been successful. I started with “Fresh Cab Botanical Rodent Repellent – Environmentally Friendly, Keeps Mice Out”. I placed it what I thought were strategic spots. It added a pine scent to my RV but it did not seem to deter the determined rodent.

I decided it was time for the big guns. I was going to buy mouse traps. Did you know there are many kinds of mouse traps? There are the ones I grew up with that just snapped and hopefully killed the mouse when it reached for a piece of cheese. Now there are ones that look like a little house. You still bait them but when they go inside the deed is done and all you have to do is throw out the trap. There are sticky papers which I think are kind of cruel. Live traps are also an option. If you research mouse deterrents the choices are plentiful.

Round one-a live trap. I really did not want to kill anything. If I could catch it alive that would be the best solution. The first night I set it out I had no luck. After hearing it crawl up and down the wall that night, I decided that I was going to have to be a big girl and get a kill trap. I bought a couple of the house-type traps. On night seven I set out the live trap and two of the house traps. I could hear the darn thing as it got braver and braver in its wanderings.

Ah, there it was, the sound of something catching a cute little desert rat. I could only hope. I turned on the lights and there was the little culprit caught in my live trap. Ah-ha, I had prevailed. The mouse was still alive, I could only hope it was the only one. I duct-taped the ends of the live trap and put it outside until morning.

When morning came I took a half-mile walk into the desert and once I felt I was far enough from the rig, I opened the trap and the little rat ran into the desert to create a new home. I went back to my rig and got out of there before it could find its way back. Now I had to hope it was the only one.

As I have not heard anymore moving up and down the walls, I have gone back to my slovenly ways, leaving a few nuts, and fruit on the counter and so far nothing has touched them. The other day I was looking at my water pump which is hidden under a compartment inside the rig. I found little pieces of cloth and threads in there. I recognized what they belonged to. I cleaned those out, made sure the Fresh Cab was in place, and closed the compartment. Those pieces of thread and cloth certainly indicated that the little desert rat was making a home somewhere in the walls.

One day I was cleaning out one of the cabinets where my food is. There was more evidence it had been in that cabinet. It had bitten into the uncooked rice and chocolates. Chocolates! If I had known that earlier, the war would have escalated sooner. That cabinet is the only one with a hole in it. I moved all my canned and glass goods into that space and all other food moved into a cabinet with no entry points.

I think I have been successful.

Living this lifestyle presents unique challenges. I have to consider things I would not usually think about. It allows me to be creative in a thought-provoking way. It gives me a chance to meet up and win a challenge with a determined yet cute desert rat.

Today I am thankful that I was able to catch and release this little rat instead of killing it. Today I am thankful the rat is gone.

How Plans Can Change in a Moment

This morning I drove to McCall to pick up my groceries and run a few errands. Everything was fine. I began the return trip to Donnelly and all of a sudden my rig wouldn’t go over 45 mph. What!!! I had trouble getting my sweet girl to get up the minor hills. I was glad to get her back to the house.

With one phone call to Coach-net, my roadside assist, they gently and kindly took the decision making out of my hands. After a few conversations, they had contacted Mercedes Benz in Boise. After another conversation, I found that the towing will be included. It is 94 miles to Boise from here so I am thankful for the free tow. Did you know that if you have work done on your Mercedes within a year Mercedes will free tow your vehicle? Sweet!!! Coach-net told me the towing would be covered no matter what. Sweet!!!

Now I have an appointment with Mercedes Benz in Boise for the third week of this month. I am going to winterize my rig, just to be safe. Next week they will pick up my rig and tow it to Boise. My friend Linda and the owner of my summer home in Idaho is coming to pick me up next week. Together we will winterize the rig, and close the house for the winter. I have a home to wait in in Bosie while I wait for the rig. I have friends to visit and stay safe with. Maybe I will even get a cat, back on my bed.

Small town living has its bonuses. I called the Chamber of Commerce in McCall to inquire about rental cars. They guided me to the local small airport. They will have a car for me tomorrow. Since I don’t have a way to get to McCall they are coming to pick me up. Small towns are marvelous for personal service. I am feeling blessed. I am thankful for being in a small town where everyone will pitch in and help.

 

This afternoon I am thankful for so much. I am thankful that I was not on the road somewhere remote and distant. I am thankful I was able to drive my rig, slowly and carefully back to my summer home. I am thankful for Coach-net who took me into their hands and guided me to the right contacts. I am very thankful for Linda and Steve who are taking me into their home in Boise. First, they offer me this place and now their home. It is good to have such good friends.

Things can change at a moment’s notice.

 

It Takes Just One Person-It Takes a Village

Today I went on a bike ride. This is my last day in Borrego Springs for a bit and maybe until next year. I decided to bike to Henderson Canyon Road to see what the flowers looked like. Were they there? Were they big? Were they small? And off I went.

When I arrived at Henderson Canyon Road there were paper napkins all over the road. It appeared that a crate had fallen off something and smashed and it’s contents, the napkins were scattered far and wide. The wind was picking them up and blowing them into my desert. How could that happen? I propped my bike on a sign and decided to take action. I was going to collect every single napkin. I didn’t care how long it took. They were not blowing into my beloved desert.

I knew it was going to be a chore, but I got started. A few minutes passed and another bicyclist rode by. He looked back, turned around, got off his bike and started to pick up napkins. Two more saw us, they got off their bikes and joined our effort. Four more came saw all of us, got off their bikes and started picking up napkins. Before I knew it, every single napkin was in someone’s hands.

What to do with those napkins? Someone had a bag and in they went. Others got stuffed into a day pack. The rest got stuffed into pockets. Except for the smashed wood bits no one would have ever known that a few minutes before there were hundreds of napkins on the road, blowing off into the desert. We picked up every single one.

When the first biker stopped, I laughed when I saw him start picking up napkins. When the others stopped my heart glowed. None of us talked very much, we just went to work. What a team. I enjoyed this moment in time. I truly had no idea this would happen.

One person’s action can have a chain effect. And that is why I titled this post “It Takes Just One Person/It Takes a Village. My action triggered everyone else and for those few moments, we became a village. It was companionable and fun. And when it was done, we thanked each other, mounted our bikes and left. I was proud and delighted.

If I hear someone say, “What difference can just one person make? What difference can I make?” I now know it can make a difference. It is a simple lesson with impactful insight.

It was a good day today.

 

 

 

 

 

Expect the Unexpected

As most of you know I had surgery to remove my right thyroid about two weeks ago. Why remove it? It has had a nodule on it for about seven years.The nodule has been growing a small bit with each ultrasound. The last ultrasound showed a speedier growth than the previous ones. With consultations to my Endocrinologist and Surgeon, we decided it was time for it to go.

With three biopsies that showed it was benign, all of us expected the post excision biopsy to be the same. Well guess what? It is not benign, my biopsy shows a papillary cancer, encapsulated and well defined in the nodule. So now what? The plan is to remove the other lobe and be treated with radioactive iodine and become a Synthroid user for the rest of my life.

I am disappointed and sad. I am also a weary¬†of having the C word wander into my vocabulary, again. Everyone reassures me this is different. Thyroid cancers are slow growing. I will probably die of something else first. Yet, I wasn’t expecting this and I am not happy, at the moment.

What about Africa? What about traveling back east? What about the rest of my life? It pisses me off that cancer can stop so much. When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer I was ripping angry. Now I am just confused on how to handle this information.

Both of my doctors tell me it is OK to do Africa for two months. When women are pregnant they wait the full nine months, if they have to, before removing a cancerous thyroid. I get it, I really do, it is slow growing. I also know that when I found the lump in my breast they told me not to worry. “It doesn’t look like cancer.” When They thought it showed up again (it did not), I was told not to worry. I have now trained all the doctors to never tell me not worry.

I also remember Jim’s (my deceased husband) surgeon when they first thought he had metastasis say, “Go to Peru, make memories for you, make memories for her, make memories together. When you return we will get the bone biopsy. Same diagnosis, same treatment, same prognosis.” After the trip to Peru we returned, the biopsy was positive, he went on chemo and five months later he died. Now I know this is not the same but….I need some convincing.

My surgeon says I am experiencing some PTSD and I am sure that this is correct. What do I do with that information? He reminded me that this is a whole different type of cancer. Jim’s was aggressive with a poor prognosis.

I am seeking a second opinion to confirm that it is OK to wait five to six months before the rest of the treatment. I am thankful that the Moores Cancer Center is close.

When I had breast cancer, Jim was here to support me. Now I am alone. I know, I am not alone but I do feel a bit alone. Who do I talk to? Who do I share this news with? What if no one offers to help me out?

I am not alone. My friends have boldly stepped forward to love and help me. I don’t see that changing unless I do something really, really stupid. And even then I think some of them would be here for me. That is what friends are for.

I was hesitant to write this post. As I look back over the years I have pretty much shared everything, why not this? What I need from all my readers and friends is good, positive support. I don’t want to hear the worst stories. Please don’t ask me how I caused this cancer (I got that from a few people when I was diagnosed with breast cancer). All I want is love and support and an occasional ear. Diversion therapy is good.

I will continue to plan my life. Africa is still on, at the moment. I am not sure when I will leave the west coast, that depends on the second opinion appointment. After some quiet contemplation, taking a few days to digest and work through this information, I plan to go back to experiencing life to it’s fullest day by day. As one of my friends said to me “This is just another of life’s big hiccups”.