MaxxAir Fan Installation

There is possibly nothing you can’t do, if you watch enough YouTube videos.  This summer Scout is sitting in my sister Robin’s driveway in Westhampton, NY, while Maggie and I enjoy her home and daily trips to Cupsogue Beach.  

I decided to replace the two ceiling fans, because they are very noisy, and when it rains the hoods must be closed to avoid raindrops on your head.  Also the trailer can become very stuffy.  MaxxAir fans look great.  The fan can remain open when it rains and promises to be quiet when running, and there is even a remote control!

Caulk Removal tool

Available via Amazon, the fans arrived as promised, and after watching 3 YouTube videos I felt adequately empowered for DIY installation.  Climbing on top of the Airstream is not my idea of fun, but once on top I felt confident I could do this.  A check-list of tools and supplies is a very good idea, and saving me from multiple trips up and down the ladder.  A trip to the local True Value Hardware store for a caulk removal tool and denatured alcohol, recommended in the YouTube videos.  I was ready to DIY.

Every project I embark on is judged by the number of trips to the hardware store and the purchase of additional tools for any project.  I am pleased to report this project only required 2 trips, the second for self-drilling metal screws because the pre-drilled holes didn’t line up.  I plan to write to MaxxAir and suggest they offer an Airstream model.  The wiring was super simple, only 2 wires: 1 black and 1 white.

It was the removal of the old fan and caulk that took the most time, but the denatured alcohol is a great solvent.  I am thinking I might re-caulk the entire roof, which is suggested maintenance every 5 years.  But maybe too ambitious.   When am I ever going to play a round of golf with all these projects?

Originally I was thinking I would only install one, but when I saw how great the first was, I decided to do both.  The kitchen fan has a remote control, so I lay in bed and control the speeds.   No more rain drops on my head, and peacefully quiet.




My younger (very successful) sister Robin has a lovely home in Westhampton, NY (Long Island), but is working for Disney in Los Angeles.  Her Long Island home is mine for the summer.   How lucky can a sister be?

As a RVer (almost full-time), it is great to have a home base to get things done.  I really enjoy DIY (do it yourself), but it never ceases to amaze me how long a DIY project takes.  When I was a home owner, I always tried to do the job before I called an expert.  I am even more committed to doing it myself, now that I am retired.  I have all the time in the world to figure stuff out.

It only took me “all-day”, 2 trips to the local True Value Hardware store (thankfully only 5 minutes away), to complete today’s project.

I was replacing a very old and rusted recessed light fixture.  Leaving a gaping 11-inch hole.  So, I needed to jerry-rig the hole to install a new outdoor light fixture over the front door.  Thankfully across the street there is a house under construction and the non-English speaking workman were very gracious and helpful.  I needed a 14” 2×4 piece of wood to secure the light fixture.  

Why don’t I take before, during and after pictures; or better yet YouTube videos? 

My summer Airstream/Scout projects are to make new curtains, finish cushions, make a new bed coverlet, re-upholster dinette, replace ceiling fans, and repair kitchen drawers.  Thankfully, I have all summer.  But, I am already feeling the summer is quickly slipping away.  CRAZY.

Regardless, I am a lucky sister.  Thanks Robin!

Lydia and Bruce arrive next week for the PGA Open Golf Tournament, and visiting Bruce’s Mom in Montauk. Robin will be here in mid-June. Lots of fun for 4-of-July, and Yellow Party.  So looking forward to former work colleagues Madeleine and husband Norman, Nanine and Michael, and Alaskan pals Mary Ann & sister Melissa (with Alaska fish).  Ann and Jamie?  It is going to be a very fun full summer.

Dates are still available, so come and visit!

P.S. I have 3 very sucessful sisters.  Becky, No. 1, sister is a realestate mogel in Cary, NC; Kerry, No. 3,  is a wonderful retired school teacher in Anchorage, Alaska and continues to promote early childhood development.  Robin is No. 4. and I am No. 2.

Most of all my sisters are my best friends, we fight and fuss, but we love each other.  I am so very, very lucky.

Back in Washington, D.C.

Maggie and Lola enjoying the pond at Congressional cemetery.

Always fun to be back in my adopted hometown of Washington, D.C.  Maggie gets to hang with her BFF Lola, walks in the hood and daily visits to the Congressional Cemetery — the very best dog park ever!  Yes, dogs run free and off leash and get to pee on the interned.  J Edgar Hoover has a little fence around his plot, because peeing on him was a favorite attraction. 

Cemetery’s K9 Corps is a private dogwalking program, bringing life, community, and volunteerism to this extraordinary burial ground. Dog walking at the cemetery is permitted by membership only. As far as we know, it is one of the first programs of its kind. It is organized for the continued support of the ongoing work at Historic Congressional Cemetery through funds raised through donations and each member’s ongoing volunteer work. Day passes for non-members are offered during office hours Monday – Friday, 9-5 for $10, and interested dog walkers can apply to join the waitlist through this website.  Read the stones behind this dog in the video below.

Take a walking tour with your cell phone, compliments IZI Tours app and radio reporter Liz Ruskin.   Historic Congressional Cemetery: The Dead Tell the Best Stories.

I love Washington, D.C., especially Capitol Hill.  Best of all, I am no longer one of the self-important people who populate the city.  I have almost run-down 3 pedestrians who stepped off the curb in front of my truck against the light, because they were engrossed with their mobile phone and texting while walking.

D.C. is under construction.  There are construction cranes littering the skyline. Glass and steel high-rises everywhere.  Good architects incorporate the old facades of houses and buildings, incorporating them into the new structures, retaining the remnants of the old city.

Best of all is the new Anthem, a fantastic new music venue and auditorium opened in October 2017, the Anthem is part of District Wharf, a comprehensive redevelopment of the area.  Gone are the old all-you-can-eat (gross) seafood buffet restaurants and seedy motels, replaced by luxury apartments, condo, shops and trendy restaurants with outdoor dining.  The old fish market is the only thing that remains from the previous waterfront establishments.  Another neighborhood yupification (infested with Yuppies) in D.C.

The Anthem has a movable stage and seating that provides a capacity of 2,500 to 6,000.  Balconies are closer to the stage than most venues, I don’t think there is a bad seat in the house and the acoustics are fantastic.   I heard Brandi Carlile there on Saturday night, it was possibly the best concert I have attended.  The Anthem is AMAZING.

While in D.C. Maggie will see her Vet, and I am doing my routine health appointments, dentist, etc.  I am also trying to see as many dear friends I can before heading north to Long Island for the summer.

Beautiful and interesting sites to visit, remember all Smithsonian museums are FREE!  I am always amazed how many foreign tourist come to see our National Capitol.


Spare tire!

When I say spare tire, I don’t mean the one around my waist.  My tire karma has not been good.  First, the tire on the passenger side of the Airstream shreds into pieces while driving at 60 mph on 40 East.  I had planned to buy new tires this summer for Scout, so was not a huge surprise the tire shredded.   I now have 3 new tires, 2 on the trailer and a spare.  

Yesterday, driving north to Washington, D.C., the passenger side tire goes flat.  A brand new Goodyear tire!

What the F*ck!

Thanks to good Samaritan Roy, who stopped and tried to plug the hole, then put the spare tire on. So where should I spend the night waiting for the Goodyear store to open?  You guessed it, in a Wal-Mart parking lot.  

Lessons learned: 1) just put the spare tire on, and don’t try to patch a brand new tire; 2) “Never say never”, because one-day sleeping overnight in a Wal-Mart parking lot, is the best option.

Lola and Maggie, can you tell them apart?

Today, arrived in Cheverly, MD where Scout is parked in friend’s Madeleine and Norman’s driveway.   Maggie and I will stay on Capitol Hill with Liz, Tim, and Lola, Maggie’s best friend.  Then on to Long Island for the summer at sister Robin’s house in Westhampton, NY.   Come visit!

Happy Mother’s Day

I am fortunate to spend 2018 Mother’s Day with my amazing Mom, Mary.  88 years old.

Mom and stepfather Erv live in a great retirement community Carolina Meadows, in Chapel Hill, NC.  The community is beautiful and full of very interesting people including many retired academics.  Best of all, it is an enclave of Democrats, hard to find in North Carolina.  Erv serves as the precinct chair, and runs a tight meeting I am told.

In 2007, Mom and Erv left their home in Willow, Alaska to take up residence near my older sister Becky who lives in Cary, NC.

Growing up, we moved lots as a family, never staying in any house for more than 7 years.  Protecting us from becoming hoarders, we don’t collect dust collectors or other “stuff”.  Mom’s parents lived in assisted and full nursing care for more than 10 years, and she vowed never to burden her 4 daughters with hard decisions of elder care.  On her 80th birthday she brought out 4 banker boxes, and told us ‘this is all the stuff that is left, take what you want, the rest is going in the trash’.

Last summer Mom had a stroke and now has a couple of stents.  But she is holding her own, and peddles her bicycle wheelchair almost everyday.   I remember Mom walking the dog every morning, it was her exercise and daily meditation.

She was able to hold her first great-grandchild Benjamin before Nephew David and Camilla left for Italy.  

At the Jon Stewart March on Washington, with sister Becky.

I am incredibly grateful to be the daughter of Mary Reardon.  Mom was a social activist in her day and I got all my liberal politics and moral compass from her.  In the mid-60’s we lived in Altadena, CA before moving to Alaska.   Mom was active in community organizing, civil rights and opposing the Vietnam War, it was 1960’s.  I remember her always wearing a anti-war pin.  She volunteered driving visiting Russian basketball players around Los Angeles -during the Cold War.  She worked with a neighborhood group opposing a ballot proposition that would allow discriminatory housing practices.  My Mom was a rebel in her own way.

In the spring 1968, we moved from Southern California to Anchorage, Alaska.  Four daughters and a Dad sinking into alcoholism, he was dead in 7 years, the move was a culture shock.  I don’t think any of us owned socks, certainly not mittens.  Mom was essentially a single parent working in the business office of Providence Hospital for a very tough supervising nun, Sister Agnus.  She would come home in tears, because she hadn’t been able to balance the cash drawer, the Sister was a tyrant.  Fortunately, Mom got her real-estate license and became a very successful agent and later a broker.

My best times with Mom was driving around Anchorage looking at houses she would later show customers.  This was before the internet and virtual home tours.  Mom had a mobile phone the size of a small suitcase in her car.  She sold many of my friends their first homes in Anchorage, Alaska.  I was glad my friends got to know her as well.  They know how truly amazing she is, and I was happy to share her.

Mom married Erv in 1978.  He had come to work for her as a real-estate agent, but she told him he couldn’t work for her and get married, so he quit.  Good thing.  

Their lives in Alaska was full of flying in Erv’s small plane and fishing, they would later move to their cabin in Willow and turn it into a retirement home on the shores of Shirley Lake with a view of Mt. McKinley out their front window.  Mom would strap on her cross-country skies and ski around the lake with her sweet Australian Cattle Dog Aussie.  They would later spend time in an RV traveling around the lower 48 states. One day, Aussie escaped the RV in a Wal-Mart parking lot while they were loading groceries.  Thankfully Erv happened to look in the rear-view mirror and there was Aussie.

Mom served on the community board for the Valley Hospital, in Palmer, AK.  Sarah Palin was also on the board, but Mom said she rarely contributed or even spoke at meetings.  That was many years before Palin ran for office, or saw Russia from her front porch.  Mom was one of few (if only) pro-choice voice on the board, she has always supported Planned Parenthood.  She volunteered as a guardian ad litem for native children, and she and Erv were active in a small Methodist Church in the Matanuska Valley.  

They have lots of new retirement friends at Carolina Meadows, playing bridge, book clubs, and Erv (age 91) playing croquet with his custom make wooden mallet.  They have a very good life together.  

I have been blessed with a good life, because of my Mother.