Hunkering In Style!

Our first couple weeks in Galveston were spent reacquainting ourselves with the area. We were here a couple years ago, and stayed about a week in a completely different area and in a totally different time. I mean, there were restaurants and bars open then! So we were basically starting from scratch and HOPING to find reasons to get up in the morning for the next couple months, while the Covidiots run rampant. FORTUNATELY, we are both quite resourceful.

Galveston RV Spot

Our RV spot turns out to be in an excellent location for a lot of reasons. The park is quite clean and modern – with a pool and Jacuzzi that can be safely and social-distantly used. It’s also directly across the road from the beach, and what Galveston calls a “Pocket Park.” That just means a nice stretch of beach with public access through the dunes. We’ve used this amenity almost every day!

Beach Walk

And, as it turns out, the sand on the beach in Galveston is quite compacted due, almost certainly to some physical characteristics of the individual grains about which I am not aware and couldn’t care less!

Beach Ride

Except that BECAUSE the sand is hard(ish), it is very easy to walk on (for miles) and its even possible to ride bikes for aforementioned miles!

Galveston Brewing Company

And, speaking of riding Bikes, there is a road behind the park that is not busy, and leads within a block to the beginning of a Bike trail that goes all the way to downtown Galveston. About 2 miles away, along this path, is The Galveston Island Brewery, with a LARGE outdoor seating area and a very nice selection of brews. Now THAT’s an amenity!!!

Waffle House Al Fesco

And, just a little further is Galveston’s Waffle House, where we again created our own al fresco dining option. None is provided officially by Waffle House, and still NO ANSWER to my inquiry on their corporate website as to why.

Traditional Hanukkah Meal

At WH, we enjoyed a Traditional Hannukkah Meal (Liz ate my Bacon).

There’s also an excellent Walmart in Galveston. And by “excellent” I mean as usual, well stocked with staples, but in this particular case, also offering EXCELLENT produce. At most Walmarts, tomatoes can be found in two places – in produce, but also in sporting goods, next to the croquet sets. And pears are also duplicated merchandising-wise, offered with produce and also in home goods with other, wooden decorative chachkis.

Knitting Fiend

So, with our day-to-day well catered for, we needed to find some things of emotional, physical, METAPHYSICAL and SPIRITUAL nature to help us last a couple months here. That’s a challenge we enjoy, and almost always meet.

For example, Liz has her knitting, and now is taking up Crocheting for variety and challenge.

Gumbo!

Cooking is always fun and enjoyable…

Small-Scale Holiday Decorating

And, we took to holiday decorating with more than our usual enthusiasm. Liz acquired (from Walmart, of course) a HIGH TECH albeit miniature Xmas Tree.

Music © Clarence Carter Music acquired by author Fair Use

We even acquired a couple LED strings, and decorated RV WHERE YET externally and ostentaciously.

And, we bought ourselves a holiday present, which ended up in a “no good deed goes unpunished” scenario. The acquisition was a couple of New Gel-foam mattresses, to replace the AWFUL inner-spring-now-sprung ones we installed when we first got the bus. Acquired at a Great price (Walmart, of course), we had to find a way to dispose of the old ones. Not wanting to just put them in the park’s dumpster, I asked in the office what to do, which led to a massively complicated, days-long snafu…

The lady at the desk said to go ahead and dump them in their dumpsters; and I started to leave the office when the manager, who having overheard permission given, practically RAN out of the back room and said, “NO YOU CANNOT!!!” It seems that the park’s trash hauler won’t take such trash. So I asked what to do…

He said “Take them to the Recycler” (and gave me a general location).  I called…NO, they do not take Mattresses, but referred me to the Galveston Trash Transfer Station.  We went to the transfer station with mattresses tied on the roof, but ran into MORE PROBLEMS.

 

No helmet and vest, no dumping!

 

It seems ONLY GALVESTON RESIDENTS can use the xfer station, and she asked me for a water bill… OF COURSE WE DO NOT HAVE ONE. She said we could pay to use the Xfer station – I asked how much and she said it’s by weight, so probably $1.00. Fearing MUCH worse,  I thought we were on the home stretch…NO PROBLEM I said.

But then she said, “Do you have a Helmet and Vest?” “You MUST HAVE a helmet and vest to enter the Xfer Station, and WE DON’T LOAN THEM OUT, you have to go somewhere and BUY ONE.” No helmet and vest, no dumping!

I went back to the RV park and begged the manager for some sort of relief. I said I was just trying to do the right thing – I could have just put them in his dumpster under cover of darkness! Or, worse, by the side of a road in the middle of the night, like so many others do… He said he’d get back to me…

After the Mattress incident, we sought solace in alcohol, of course. We had decided the week before to devote our weekly Zoomtail session with Nancy Sinclair and Sid Weseman to HOME MADE EGG NOG; for which Sid had sent a recipe. The recipe recommended construction of said drinks a week or so in advance, so they could mellow and age in the fridge. And now we had an unexpected PROBLEM (well, a couple, actually)….

Egg Nog Confusion

I mixed the nog in an empty milk container, and when I put it in the fridge, next to the actual milk container, I realized Liz could easily and inadvertently use the Nog on her cereal in the morning!!!

Would this improve or disprove her mood?

IDK and didn’t want to find out, so I carefully marked the nog container, knowing full well Liz could still ADvertently use it on her brekkie but that would be a CHOICE not an accident!

And, speaking of Alcohol, we even had a lesson in Texas morality. We needed Rum for the Egg Nog, so we thot to include acquisition of this in our Sunday Grocery Expedition. It seems that NOWHERE IN TEXAS can one buy Liquor on Sunday!!! Wine? No problem. Beer? You can get that at drive through facilities 24×7.

Does anyone besides me see the gross, two-faced inconsistency in these?

Birthday “Texushi”

During our first couple weeks in Galveston, we also celebrated Liz’s birthday. Liz wanted Sushi, and we found an excellent Sushi Restaurant nearby, which provided ample carryout for the occasion. We discovered that Sushi chefs in Texas find all sorts of creative ways to incorporate Jalapeños in their creations — TOTALLY OK WITH US!!!

We also discovered that the Tempura we like as an Apéritif is turned from a cold, soggy, greasy congealed mass back into delightfully light and crispy by our newly-acquired AIR FRYER. We have limited space for kitchen (or ANY) accoutrements in RV WHERE YET, but many people have extolled the virtue of these, so we recently acquired one.

We do shop for such things with a different set of criteria, tho – not “Highest rated” or even “least expensive.” No, we buy according to physical dimensions (i.e. will it fit in the drawer)!

Birthday Excitement

Other than the Sushi, Liz’s all-day birthday celebration was quite exciting, rising to the appropriate level of recognition of the date. 

We also realized with a certain amount of melancholy that LAST YEAR we had an open house for Liz’s 60th — and we saw IN PERSON and UP CLOSE, over 100 people in our small, inside space in Chicago. The very THOUGHT of that sort of gathering/event seems SO BIZARRE and RECKLESS these days!!!

And, finally (for this post, anyway), there was the excitement created by our nation’s healthcare system. Now, before I lose anyone, I am NOT going to get political in what remains of this post. But there is a story that must be told…

Liz was scheduled for her annual Mammogram and visit to the oncologist in early December. She’s 7 years out now from her fight with Breast Cancer, so though these visits are about as “routine” as they can be, they are not something she/we would choose to postpone or miss. Yet, it did (and does) not make sense to drive all the way to Chicago for routine screening tests, with the current COVID situation and restrictions everywhere. What we would be exposing ourselves to far exceeds the small risk from a delayed mammogram – intellectually, at least.

So, Liz asked her doc for an order for a mammogram (why one even NEEDS an order for a diagnostic test is beyond me, and a subject for a future rant) she could take somewhere in the Galveston Area, with results sent back for discussion by video-appointment. So far, NO PROBLEM.

Once she had identified a nearby clinic, and got the order faxed and an appointment set up, we decided we needed to know what this was going to cost. After all, we are FAR OUT OF NETWORK by the letter of our insurance policy provisions, since a screening mammogram could not even remotely be construed as an “emergency.” So this would be an out-of-pocket cost, and I was ALL READY for a big argument!  Even practicing in the mirror my moral outrage that Blue Cross would make us travel, putting us AT RISK in a pandemic to get this necessary prophylactic procedure “in network.” I even called in advance to START the argument – they said you cannot protest a determination in advance – ONLY after.

Anyway, the Galveston Imaging Center said to Liz, “The cost for your mammogram, including interpretation and sending results to your doctor will be $92.” Took ALL THE DAMN WIND out of my sails…talk about a let-down!

I have FAR MORE AGGRAVATING THINGS to argue about than a $92 out-of-pocket charge! 

2 thoughts on “Hunkering In Style!

  • for future medical reference, you can negotiate any cash payment for medical services usually at 1/4 to 1/2 the price your insurance company would pay….

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