Thursday, January 31, 2013

Setting up for Spring Training Baseball Season at Tempe Diablo Stadium

Tempe Diablo Stadium

Baseball fans know that Spring Training Season doesn't start for another 3 weeks, and so I get plenty of questions about why I'm here so early.

Well, those hot dogs and peanuts don't just magically appear at the stands on Opening Day.  In fact, the stands themselves need to be set up, including the tents, coolers, grills, utensils, signage, work areas, cash registers, credit card machines, beer taps, ........ and the electricity and water to run all of it. Even a food and supplies warehouse tent is erected to store the product that is ordered for future use.

All the people that run the concession stands need to be hired, and trained. (This process starts while most of you are doing your last-minute Christmas shopping.)

All the food needs to be ordered, stored, and distributed accordingly.  Did you know that last year, over 15 games we sold 35,000 hot dogs alone???  That doesn't include all the rest of the food options -- hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, chips, nachos, italian ice, hot pretzels, even portabello mushroom sandwiches and pizza just to name a few. That's a lot of food!

Besides what the fans see, there's all the paperwork that needs to be completed prior to game day: liquor licenses, health department inspections, ordering supplies, studying what was sold where last year so that we are properly prepared for the fans this year.

The amount of work and preparation that goes into pulling off a successful season is huge. And the fact that it is so unrecognized is part of our success.

It's a lot of work, and a lot of fun.  I'll keep you posted on the progress and let you know when the team arrives!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

This is Only a Mountain

Probably my least favorite part of living the workamper life is changing jobs and locations every season. Some say that those are two of the top ten most stressful activities in life and I can see why. This season's move has been filled with stressing opportunities.

In addition to what I shared in Diggin' Out about not being able to start my rig's engine in the cold, blowing a tire in transit, and running into road blocks, I discovered more needed repairs when I connected to a water source at my new location.
Old Cracked Water Heater
New Water Heater
Beautiful, isn't it?  That's my new $900 water heater. I know it isn't much to look at, but when I spend that kind of money I really want to show off my purchase. 

Good thing I have a job, right? Well, returning to my Angels Spring Training gig I knew what to expect as far as money and hours, but was surprised when my new boss gave me a 15 hour/week limit until we get closer to Opening Day. New boss, new year, new information, what can you do?

I'm not one to stress about money usually, but this double-hitter really caught me off-guard. 

Interestingly and completely unaware of what I was doing, I caught myself singing the new single released by Jason Castro, This is only a Mountain

Do you know it? The song echos one of the many great promises found in the Bible.
                                              "This is only a mountain, 
                                              You don't have to find your way around it, 
                                              Tell it to move, it'll move, 
                                              Tell it to fall, it'll fall..."

Ok, ok, I realize that in the big scheme of things my little financial shortfall is not really a mountain.  It just feels like it in the moment. 

Isn't that the way it is when we're hit with new information and unexpected challenges? Left without adult supervision our brains can turn our molehill circumstances into mountains of anxiety. But it doesn't have to be that way. The cool thing is that we have the power to control our thoughts.

Immediately I tell myself that I am quite capable of "managing my mountain" and set actions into motion that will relieve my stressful situation.

Ahhh, already I can see and feel that mountain start crumbling.

"You don't have enough faith," Jesus told them. "I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it would move. Nothing would be impossible."    --- Matt 17:20

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

VanGogh at the Denver Art Museum

My latest family outing was a 1,000 mile round trip to view the VanGogh Exhibit at the Denver Museum. And, with our in-laws no less.

Curiously we all meandered through the exhibit, admiring VanGogh's works, and looking forward to learning the entire story about how the artist amputated his own ear, why, when and how. We wanted to get the juicy details on his days in the sanitarium.

But that was just not to be.

There was no mention of the self-mutilation.

There was no mention of the sanitarium.

Only the passionate efforts of a shy minister turned painter.

Most of us know about the ear, but not about his desire to preach the word of God to others.
Instead of sharing words, he painted pictures for us, and in doing so have given millions reason to pause and consider the beauty of his paintings, and God's world.

Maybe that's what being saved and having eternal life is all about. . .

Windmills at Sunrise

One really super great thing about road trips in the motor coach is seeing plenty of great scenery.

Mountains, oceans, deserts, canyon lands, wide-open plains, I've seen them all.  Each landscape has its own majestic beauty.

However, one of the best, most spectacular sights of all are the windmills sprouting up all over the nation. Equally as exciting are the solar panel farms that are sprouting up. Slowly but surely we are employing alternative energy sources.

We may be totally unaware of our changing energy sources in the cities where we live, but this I know for sure --- we're moving in the right direction.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Is Internet Dating for ME?

Are you on Match? or E-Harmony?

Seems like the way to go if you're dating these days.

Last night I spoke with yet another friend who is looking for love on the internet.  Almost every single female friend I have is doing it.  My hat is off to them.

Besides being daring enough to reach out to these total strangers, they have completed a task that overwhelms me --- creating a personal profile.

Maybe I'm over-thinking it, but by the time I got to the "Pay here" page of the profile I was mentally and emotionally exhausted.  I opted out.

As silly as it may sound, even describing my physical attributes caused me anguish --- is my body build slender, average, or curvy. Well, we all see things differently so to some I appear slender, I'd say I was average, but shopping for blue jeans these days would definitely put me in the curvy category.

What are my favorite movies, sports, hobbies?  Since I'm and adventurer, the answer to most of those questions are "the next new one".  However that answer is not an option, so I selected from the answers offered and hoped that my future someone special would view my preferences liberally.

Next comes the "Describe what you are looking for in a mate" question. Simple right? --- A caring, kind, compassionate, intelligent, funny, handsome, sexy, adventurous, worldly, romantic, sensitive, financially-secure, community-oriented, socially acceptable, great conversationalist, and exceptional lover that will love me, my family, my lifestyle, and my quirks unconditionally. I'm sure that's not all I'm looking for, but it's a start.

The entire process really made me think, deeply. It was mentally and emotionally exhausting because there was so much I didn't know.  A few weeks ago someone asked me what my passion was and I was overwhelmed with that single question.  Here I found question after question about personal preferences that I really hadn't ever considered voicing.  Sadly I realized that probably no one in my life knew this much about me.

Even sadder was the fact that I didn't know with certainty many of these things about myself. Which, ironically may be the reason I and so many others are not in fulfilling relationships in the first place.

Of course I have to insert a disclaimer here before I have you convinced that I am a wishy-washy woman without a mind of my own.  Maybe I'm struggle with this dating profile because I am so completely satisfied with my single life. I'm very content with living alone. I value the freedom of doing what I want, when, where and with whoever I want. I'm willing to give up this freedom only for something better. I think it's only fair that the man that chooses to give up his single freedoms to spend time with me know what he's getting.

So, do I have to have all the answers? Isn't that what dating is all about?  Getting to know each other, getting to know yourself in relation to another? How I prefer to spend my time with someone will be different than how I spend it alone.

I will try to complete the profile again.  But not until I study a little more.
"It is a sad fate for a man to die too well known to everybody else, and still unknown to himself."
                                                                                               ----- Francis Bacon

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Pay it Forward!

After staying a night at the Microtel Motel in which I was over-charged and under-nourished, I continued down the road to Phoenix.      

Minutes from my final destination I heard a thumping metallic sound, one loud enough to investigate.  

Since I was stopped at the entrance to McDowell Mountain Resort & Casino I pulled in and slowly, carefully cruised into one of their large parking lots --- the very same large parking lot where they were hosting a high-end collector's car show.  

Oh look at that photo! I had no idea how to even begin to fix that! 

But several of the car dealers (and their crews) did, and quickly offered their help. Within minutes the rim was removed, and I was on the road in my car with instructions to return with 2 new rims and tires and a promise that the crew would get me back on the road. 

Now, I know that I have a God that takes care of all of my needs all of the time, but this was absolutely too good to be true.  Even a believer like me finds this one hard to acknowledge and accept.  

What appeared to me to be a monumental challenge was transformed into a common exercise for 2 strapping young lads and their 3 supervisors.  Within minutes the new tires were mounted, my car was loaded, and I was on my way with parting words from the team leader, "Pay it forward!"

A common practice to me, paying it forward always pay off! Try it yourself today!

Saturday, January 26, 2013

It's coming. . .

Tempe Diablo Stadium
Hard to believe that 28 days from this rainy, wet, dreary and damp day that I'll be hanging out at the Honey Brown Sweet Spot, getting paid to watching the Angels play the Cubs on Opening Day. I'll be here for the entire 2013 Spring Training Season with the California Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium.

Join me for the stories of the season!

What's the Limit?

What is my coach height?
After the car was loaded on to the dollie, and the coach warmed up I set out for Gallup, New Mexico.

Ready for a warm bed and a good night's sleep, I stopped on the east side of town and checked out hotel options on my iphone. After choosing one on the west side of town, I turned on the frontage road and started that way.

Nine pm, 16 degrees, and three quarters of the way there I stopped at an underpass warning sign indicating that I had 13'2" clearance.

I stopped right where I was. How tall was my rig? Could I make it?

Not willing to suffer the consequences, I decided that I would not continue on my route.  However, turning around required unloading the car, unhooking the tow dollie, turning the coach around with a dozen small maneuvers on the narrow old road, re-attaching the tow dollie, and reloading the car. Did I mention that it was 9pm, 16 degrees, snowy and icy and dark?

Well, I did it. And, quite effortlessly I might add.

I have searched my owner's manuals and vehicle tags to find my height limit but have not found it yet.  I guarantee before I hit the road again I will know that number.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Diggin' Out PLUS...

I shared the first steps in digging out of the snow in a recently published blog. Now you're going to get the rest of the story.

Shortly after I posed for this photo I enrolled the help of my eldest son to get the snow cleared and reposition the coach for departure. We charged the battery and in no time flat had that thing turned around and ready to go. 

The next morning I returned to the coach ready to head to the land of the SUN.  Cat jumped out of the car and immediately assumed her traveling position -- hunkered down in the pillows on the bed. 

I settled into the driver's seat, turned the key, and wah-la, nothing happened.  The unseasonably cold night had zapped what little charge there was in the battery.  The upside: I would finally be able to use the Road Side Service included in my insurance policy.

I made arrangements with Wayne of Bo Dean's Repair Service to come out and charge me up.  In the meantime, I hurry to Durango (a 20-minute drive), buy a battery, and make it back in time for Wayne to help me out.  

Wish I had a photo of him ---- good lookin', tall, dressed in brand new black Carhartt coveralls --- who doesn't like a man in spankin' new clean Carhartt's?! And that mountain-man sweet talk that came out of his mouth was just what I needed to take the edge off my departure delay. Well, I digress. Back to the story.

Anyway, Wayne helps me with the battery --- which turns out to be the wrong kind of battery for the coach. Yipee, I get to go back to Durango to get the right one, and Wayne leaves for the day.

Now we are on day 2 of trying to leave. . . I install the new battery. Confidently I get into driver's seat, turn the key, and again, nothing.  (Did I mention that we are still having extremely cold temperatures?)

I head back into town and check in with Wayne. The guys in the shop help me through my options: could be a starter --- "Did you bang on the starter with a hammer? Sometimes that solves the problem."

"Can you start your generator? Sometimes if your house batteries are charged you can start your generator and then start the engine off of that."

"You can get it towed here and we can help you with it."

Now, mind you, although the coach is positioned and ready to go out of the parking lot, I still have to maneuver it down a 1/2 mile of snow-packed, slippery, curvy country driveway. There is no way to tow the coach out of there.

I call my Road Side Service again to request another battery jump. Oh so sorry, we only allow one. After that you must have it towed.

Hmmmm........ok. What now?

I drive to a friend's house, settle down with a nice cup of tea and begin calling mobile repair services, praying that I will find one sweet soul that will come out and fix my coach, in the snow, in the single-digit temperatures. After a dozen calls, I finally find one that agrees to the challenge and will be out  . . . in 10 days! 

Surrendering to my stranded status I return to the coach to pick up my Cat. Yes, she's still in traveling position, hunkered down in the pillows and chilled to the bone. I decide to make one last attempt to turn the ignition key. . . . and wah-la, what do you know, it starts! The engine is running!!!

Hmmmm........ok. What now?

Stranded status just changed.  I'm free to leave and do just that.

BUT, the adventures for this relocation has just begun.... tune in for Part 2 tomorrow!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

What's your passion?

I’ve spent the past 90 days working at a beautiful country retreat in Colorado. In my years in hotels, I’ve never experienced the connection that guests have with hotel staffs like they do with small innkeepers.  It’s a very intimate business relationship.

Last week I spoke with a guest from Switzerland. The first question he asked me was,  “What’s your passion?”

Wow. You don’t get that question every day.  Usually the perfunctory, “How are you?” and “Great” or “Fine” response is the norm. 

I had to think. But, I had to answer quickly too. I’m one who believes in living your passion. But how could I be living my passion if I couldn’t even tell someone what is was. 

The first thing that came to mind was, “Travel”.

The next was a question to myself, “Where? When?”

Here was an American man who had just moved from Switzerland with his lover after living in France for two years together. That sounded like a pretty good life to me!  I wondered what his passion was, but was so frantically involved with trying to figure out my own in 60 seconds or less that I never did get to ask.

As I began to babble to him, my mind focused on what brought me joy, and what I was seeking and as the vision became clearer, so did my verbal description.

I told him about my life in my motor coach, how I loved the adventure of it, and loved meeting people, and learning things. We left the conversation with him giving me his contact info and insisting that I stay with them when I come to Europe.

A door was opened. . . A opportunity for a new experience had just appeared.

Living in a motor home has shifted my priorities from collecting things to collecting “experience opportunities”.  

That’s my passion --  to live as many as these experience opportunities as I can fit into my days here on this planet.

How about you?  What’s your passion?  

More importantly, how is it showing up in living your life?

I can't believe I'm doing this. . .

Hmmm, this is interesting.

Have you ever gotten distracted, or been in the middle of something and got called away by an unexpected visitor, or phone call?

I guess that's what's happened here.

The title of this post was included in an on-line list of my unpublished blogs today. When I clicked on it I discovered that only a blank page appeared below it.

I wonder what I was going to write about.

I wonder what "I can't believe I'm doing this . . ." was, and how it turned out.

Whatever it was wasn't as unbelievable as I expected it to be, because it wasn't even remarkable enough for me to write about it.


Friday, January 11, 2013

Diggin' Out

I love Colorado winters. Mornings glisten with ice-glazed tree branches, and sunsets light up the horizon with warm and cheery pink and orange hues. The days are full of sunshine, crisp mountain air and snow that crunches as the crystals pack beneath my feet.

But, Colorado winters are cold. That crisp air hurts when it slaps my unprotected skin. Cold, wet feet are uncomfortable.  And, I despise what freezing temperatures do to my home-on-wheels.

I've had enough. I'm diggin' out and headed south. Shortly the snow will be cleared from the coach, my boots will be stored away, and I'll be on the road to the Valley of the Sun.

I've met a lot of crazy people this year, visited some cool places, and held some really odd jobs.  I'm looking forward to sitting in the sun and writing all about them.