Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Slow Trip To Relearning Old Things

Well I am into week two of my journey and I can tell it is going to be a long slow trip, but that is ok.  I just need to keep on trucking and keep on moving.  I am very proud of the 5lbs that are gone and never to be seen again.

The fun thing about it this time, is that I have a new perspective and learning so much about nutrition that I already thought I knew.  They say it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks, but I am finding that not to be true.  In addition, learning them has not only turned out to be a fun thing, it keeps me focused and interested. 

I am even thinking about setting a few goals here and there.  Not just weight loss goals, but activity goals as well.  My first is to relearn riding a bike.  I bought a bike a month ago and so far I wave to my husband as he rides away on his.  I have used up a few excuses to not get on that bike!  I have actually moved the bike from one place to another on the deck so does that count as exercise:-)  Guess not. 

I have found as I have gotten older I can't walk a straight line much less balance on a bike.  My theory on that one is there is more to balance.  So, I will continue to walk until I reach a 20lbs weight loss then I will challenge the bike.  Oh wait, I guess that would put me just about into the middle of winter.  Shucks!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

So The Journey Begins

My daughter has inspired me to start a new journey.  This one does not involve travel or trailers or any form of fun.  It is a most evil word and hate to even put it in print.  DIET!  Whew, that was painful, but I did it.  I know this is not going to be an easy journey, but a necessary one since I would like to be healthy enough to retire and actually have a quality life.

I just wrote on my daughter's Blog that I had been off and on attending WW since 1972.  That is a long time to not have gotten the message!  In addition, I could probably retire on what I have spent at meetings and for the online tools.  Now, we have discovered free tools and new enthusiasm about making the trip to good health.  I am so excited that there are people responding to Christy's Blog and that they will also be sharing the journey to health.

It won't be a quick trip, but I pray it will be a slow and steady one.  I am sure we will all have a few bumps in the road, but we just need to get back on track and keep on trucking.  See you on down the road, healthier and hopefully thinner.  I am just gonna sit back and enjoy the ride!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Blue Water, Blue Sky and Blue Endings

(Note:  Wrote this and suddenly realized I never posted.)

We left the sanctuary of our home with high hopes that all would go well with our trip and it started out near perfect.  Notice I said near.  What would be a trip without at least one little small glitch.  We didn't forget keys, we checked our lists and lists of lists and we had everything!  We were so proud of ourselves.  We gassed up before arrival for pickup and made sure everything was loaded and in a safe place for travel.  We are on a roll.

I then proceeded to back the truck up to the hitch which was almost perfect (pat on the back as I am getting good at this).  Dear hubby prepared to now do his part of hooking the trailer up.  Whoops!  The blocks on which the trailer set had managed to settle into the ground a little.  OK, a lot!  My near perfect backing up was to no avail because we could not crank it high enough to get the hitch in.  Dear hubby decides that I need to back the truck up onto two boards approximately 8x8 inches and still manage to perfectly line up the truck and trailer without running him over.  Now, I might be getting good, but some things are just a little on the iffy side. 

As I made several feeble attempts, I was proud of Hubby for not yelling as it was only 7 am and the owners might not have been up yet, but the frustration was etched into his face.  Regardless I kept trying and finally managed to balance precariously on the 8x8 blocks and line it up.  Success!  Now all that was left to do was turn it around. 

I got into position and hubby was directing from passenger side of the truck.  Now anyone who has attempted to back a trailer knows that it is actually better to have said advisor outside the truck, but having had only two cups of coffee and Hubby only 5 hours of sleep it didn't quite register at first.  I finally realized we had two blind spots and couldn't move.  So Hubby realizes that he does need to direct from the outside.  Without having to pull forward and backup too often, we managed to get it turned and we were on our way to the gate. 

We had not taken the time to eat before leaving, but brought our breakfast with us.  We decided to stop at the gate entrance and have breakfast.  We were enjoying our meal when we noticed the owner had wandered out to take his trash.  He stood there watching us for a while and I am sure was wondering what in the world we were waiting for, but didn't say a word.  Breakfast under our belt we were off to terrorize the morning commuters.

To get on the freeway there are two turn lanes.  We chose the right lane to be able to make a wider turn.  I glanced into my mirrors and noticed we were alone in the lane, but there were about 15 cars in the left lane.  No one wants to get stuck behind a trailer evidently.  Little did they know who was driving and I was empowered by a 5.7 Hemi and it takes little effort to pull the trailer.  Vroom we were off and got up to speed quickly which surprised more than a few of the 15 cars that were thinking they would get the jump on me.  On the freeway to even passed several of the cars determined to get ahead and I wasn't even up to the speed limit yet.  People are very strange sometimes.  We were officially on our way.

It was a beautiful day and we were enjoying the drive until we hit the TriCities.  Signage is terrible and of course we managed to take the wrong turn.  We got turned around and headed back to where we thought we could get back on the right highway. Wrong!  Signage was worse and we ended up going about five miles past before we could find a place to turn around.  Back on the highway we were confident we would get it right this time.  Wrong!  Signage was more confusing so we missed it again.  We kept driving looking for a turn around exit and then suddenly there was a sign that said Portland.  We had to go through a congested area, but somehow ended up where we should have been the first time.  We were on our way again.

Then we merged onto Highway 84 in Oregon.  Oh my goodness!!!  I thought I had run into a brick wall.  The wind was unbelievable.  At that point I think we might have been lucky if we were getting 2 miles to the gallon and we were peddling as hard as we could.  That Hemi was screaming and doing the speed limit was a joke.  Finally we turned south and it was such a relief, well sort of.  The wind was still strong, but now we could at least keep up to speed.  We finally made our first night destination.  It was a really nice park and the lady there made sure we had a sight that was easy to get into.  It was soooo quiet. 

Next morning we hit the road and fortunately the winds had moved on.  We made it to Diamond Lake without incident.  We got checked in and then the attendant informed us she had put us in a beautiful back in with a view of the lake.  I tried to explain to her that we didn't do back ins, but she was convinced that her parking attendants could get anyone in without incident.  With fear in my heart we followed him around to our sight.  I told him I was not good at this and suggested he park it.  He insisted I do it and smiled.  I argued briefly, but he said, "I will make you a hero."  With disbelief in my mind, I reluctantly got back behind the wheel.  He said he would not leave my side and we proceeded to actually back the thing in.  I was relieved when he said your good and he never yelled at me once.  Whew!!!  While we got everything hooked up and settled in for the evening, I was wondering how to ask Albert if we could take this guy with us everywhere we went, but decided maybe he wouldn't quite appreciate that idea.

The next morning we headed to Crater Lake.  For those of you who have never been to Crater Lake, put it on your must see list.  It is absolutely beautiful.  We were having a great day.  Now we had already found out that signage is evidently a problem for us and we circled a few times at Crater before we finally got going in the right direction.  We made it all the way around the lake and it enjoyed it so much.  The brochure confirms that the water is not bluer than the sky, but you would never believe that in a million years.  It is unbelievably blue.  No matter which way you turn there is beauty.

Our second adventure was to visit waterfalls in the area.  We obtained a list and were off.  Now they are listed as Easy, Medium and Hard.  Let me just say that their definition of Easy is not exactly correct.  They fail to mention that the .8 of a mile hike is torturous on a 65 year old plump girl and a 64 year old man with a heart issue and a hitch in his stride.  Where is that darn robot with it's, "Warning, Warning, Warning, Danger" when you really need it.  But, we persevered and it was well worth the torture we went through to get to each one.  I saw my life flash before my eyes often, but I now have thighs and buns of steel from all the climbing.  OK, maybe that was an exaggeration, but I was sure sore for a few days.

After a week, we reluctantly packed it up and headed home.  We headed out for our first stop on the way home.  It was a beautiful day and we just took our time and enjoyed it.  We found Boardman, Oregon and decided to stop to get gas before we traveled the remaining one mile to the park.  I swung the trailer out to miss a telephone pole and then suddenly there was a jolt and a crunch.  I managed to not miss a short bright yellow post guarding a fire hydrant.  I bent the axle pretty good.  We limped off to one side of the station and called our Road Side Emergency group.  Five hours later, a truck with a flatbed took away our sad little Beast.  I don't know if he will ever forgive me.  We stayed in a motel that night and then went to Hermiston the next day to find our trailer repair shop.  It was very sad sitting there with it's bent wheel.  We were informed there wouldn't be anyone there until Monday so we had to say our goodbyes and hit the road for home.  It was a very sad ending for such a great trip.  Lesson learned, no matter what swing extra extra wide  and watch our for stupid yellow posts. 

It only took them a week to fix the axle and we did manage to get him back to the storage facility without further incident.  Now we had to get the siding fixed.  We took our little Beast to what we thought was the best RV dealer in town.  We wanted him restored to better than new condition.  This little episode of repair took 2 1/2 months.  I was beginning to think the Beast had requested new owners and would never return to us, but finally the call came.  We were so relieved that we had not had snow as of yet.  I had visions of having to dig out a spot to park.  It did however snow the very next day.  I am very grateful that we have a merciful God!  After arriving at the storage area, we both just looked wistfully at our little Beast as we suddenly realized this would be our last adventure until the 2012 season.  It was very sad.  We have learned a lot about trailer travel and a lot about ourselves this past season.  We conquered a lot of fears and learned about a few new ones, but all in all it was a fun season for us.  Now we are dreaming and planning our trips for next year.  We are also dreaming of retirement in three years and the travel adventures we will have.  Where will the road take us in the future?  Who knows, but the Beast will accommodate us quite comfortably and will probably make sure we don't have a dull moment.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Giving Thanks For Family, Friends and Technology

I have been looking forward to this holiday, not just because we have a great excuse for over eating, but get to share time with family.  Unfortunately not all my family lives close enough to come for the holidays, but because of the wonderful technology we have today, they are only a text, video or skype away.  I am so grateful for the time we live in!!!  How did we cope with being separated before? 

I laugh when I think of the saying "just reach out and touch someone."  That is becoming more and more of a reality.  I can't wait to see what is in store in the coming years.  Maybe we actually will be able to just transport ourselves to be all together.  It is exciting to see reality catching up with our imagination. 

In the meantime as wonderful as technology is, I have to remind myself that it is still ok to really talk to someone instead of sending text back in forth.  How easy it is to slip into that nonverbal world.  It is sometimes comforting to hear a loved ones voice rather than seeing a written word from them.  As a Mom I still want to think my children like to talk with me.  Besides you can't see or hear emotion in a text.  Yes I know there are the smiley faces, sad faces, grumpy faces and others, but sometimes we need to hear those emotions and share the moment whether it's in laughter or tears.  We need to feel special.  I know it is easier to end a conversation when texting, but as I said before maybe the other person really needed someones time or someone to talk to.

It also drives me crazy for others to be with me and have silent conversation with someone else that does not include you.  You automatically think they are talking about you and most likely are.  No matter what our form of communication there should be manners involved.  Can't we give a little of our time to the person we are with?  I think we all need to resist that temptation to answer every time our phone bleeps, buzzes or rings.  Better yet when visiting with someone how about we actually turn it off and revisit the art of conversation.  The old saying still stands, "If you don't use it. You lose it."   Let's not miss an opportunity to let someone know just how important they are to us and how thankful we are to have those conversations while we can.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Travel Time

OK let the adventure begin.  We are prepping to go see Crater Lake and the surrounding area.  We are keeping a positive attitude that we will do everything right this time.  Well as near right as we can.  I know our history with the Beast is a little questionable, but I just know this time it will be different.  I am thinking positive here people.

I have preloaded, prepacked and checking the list, so many lists.  Just in case I miss something, I have a list of the list.  We have enough food to feed a whole campground and now the trailer may not budge.  If it does manage to roll, we will visit every other gas station to make sure we reach our destination.

We have reservations all made and confirmations in hand.  I have reconfirmed these and cancelled two.  We decided to venture into the unknown and found a couple of what we hope are nice campgrounds closer to our destination.  Sorry KOA.  But, I do wonder when someone tells me oh we have you down, but we don't need anything upfront.  Gives me pause for thought, but then we are venturing out. 

I check the weather everyday for the area we are headed and it seems good now.  Unfortunately, we have a history with Crater Lake.  Last time we traveled there, it was on fire and shut down.  So we ventured to the coast only to encounter FOG.  I could hear the ocean, but couldn't see it.  So we traveled to the redwoods and saw most of the trees as they towered up into the fog.  Then we have a knack for taking unknown roads which sometimes turn a six hour drive into 12.  This time we are planning our route a little more carefully.  The navigator learned his lesson on that one.

I even got a quick brush up on camera usage.  My dear friend Rod probably wonders why I can't retain this information, but I do thank him for having the patience and the experience to help me through it.  I have been practicing daily the things he showed me and am hoping for some really good opportunities to take some great shots. 

Hubby likes to take pictures too.  When I got my new camera, I graduated him to his first big boy camera:)  He doesn't know the terms, has no idea what the buttons do and cares less about learning.  But, he has a natural eye for just the right shot and no matter what he has the camera set on, they are perfect every time.  I on the other hand am not a natural, but I am learning that my biggest problem is I need to slooooooowwwww down. 

Like most things I do in my life, I rush through photography and that is not going to produce great shots.  I need to pay attention to myself.   When I suddenly come up on a great shot and instead of just saying, "Oh I SHOULD turn around and get that," I should actually do it.  I have a bad habit of rushing from point A to point B and not enjoying the trip in between.  So, that being said, I am going to make a concerted effort to slow down and really enjoy the experience On The Way to new adventures.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Let's Get Mowin'

My dear husband has had to work for the last last 17 days with only one day off.  They have been busy getting the schools ready to open and evidently there were a few not quite there yet.  He is plum tuckered out!  I am thinking he is more than earning a few vacation days.  I find I don't like having to entertain myself.  Not that I can't, but I would prefer not to.  But, I have been forced to take care of few things around the house. 

I was bemoaning the fact that the grass needed mowing and realized poor hubby just didn't have the energy.  I had just about made up my mind, very reluctantly, to try it myself, when I got a knock on my door.  The kid next door was looking to earn $5 and wondered if he could mow my front and back yard.  Now I am always willing to help out a neighbor kid and who doesn't love a bargain like that.  I told him to have at it!  In the meantime, dear hubby comes home and is mortified that I got someone to mow.  I told him the story and he thought, wow, what a good deal.  Well, I am also a soft touch for neighbor kids and actually gave him $10 and then hubby threw in $2 for gas.  It was great and I didn't have to do it!

I thought we had made a good bargain!  Job was done and hubby could rest.  But, leave it to him to point out that I was not fussin' over the fact that the kid mowed it too short.  I have to admit I do give dear hubby a hard time about that every time he mows.  I tried to convince him that it just looked too short because it had gotten too long.  He didn't buy it of course so next time he mows I am doomed to have short grass like it or not.  Boy, do a guy a favor and he takes advantage ever time. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

New Subject Same Ol' Dummy

OK, I admit this is probably not the most inspired subject, but I have to start by saying that I love photography and up until about a year ago had a good relation with my camera.  Then the D-90 came into my life and it was down hill from there.  For me this was the camera to end all cameras and I was set on possessing it no matter what.  I begged and pleaded shamelessly to buy it until my sweet little hubby gave in.  I consider myself to be of normal intelligence and I pride myself on figuring out just about anything, but this thing perplexes me to no end.  Even with manuals and training dvd's, I am embarassed to say I have spent months of my life trying to conquer how to use the automatic settings on the "thing."

I have attempted to take photos of family, places and things of interest to me.  It seemed like every important moment of my life was lost or just slipping by due to a camera that would not cooperate.  I was frustrated with the "thing" and myself.  I was actually considering, briefly mind you, on giving up my hobby of photography.  Then after months of frustration, I thought about changing lenses, like that would help in some way, and in the process discovered the lens was loose.  OK, I admit that sometimes I am not the brightest bulb in the house.  Duh.  I really thought that would have solved the problem.  Well, it did to a point.  Now I am back to square one and we are working out our differences.  I have progressed from totally disliking the "thing" to mildly disliking it.  I am in hopes that in the weeks to come I will progress to loving it once again.

It is a rocky relationship, but with prayer and perseverance I am sure our relationship will get back on track.  In the months to come I hope to gain back my confidence and trust.  In the meanwhile, I will try to learn what all the bells and whistles do and move on.  I will watch my dvd's faithfully and read my manual.  Who knows maybe I will even remember to check the lens every once in a while.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Continued Beast Adventures And Bob's Place

If you have read my blog to this point, you know that my relationship with The Beast has been rocky to say the least.  Our current status is moving slowly into the like stage.  In this picture, it looks like we are pushing it instead of pulling it and I have to admit that pushing it off a cliff had at one point crossed my mind.  But my attitude is changing and the Beast is being won over one trip at a time.

On our last trip, we ventured further from home than we had ever dared before.  We were headed to the beautiful North Cascades of Washington.  We carefully planned every step, made lists and double checked everything!  We were not going to make an extra trip back to house just because we had forgotten something. We made sure we had all necessary equipment to operate the Beast and checked off the lists to ensure we were prepared.  Needless to say and as you will agree, we aren't perfect. 

We loaded everything into the truck, double checked the homestead and headed out to get the Beast.  Everything was going perfect.  We were on schedule.  We had figured out our best route.  We thought we had it made.  The hitch was on and I managed to maneuver the Beast out of it's space ready to hit the road.

We left the safety of the storage facility and I was just ready to pull onto the highway when everything came to a screeching halt, literally!  I knew it was too good to be true.  Our electronic brake controller  was having a spasm.  It would go from no brakes to throw you through the windshield stops.  We decided to pull over and call someone who could help.  We were told they would call us right back.  About an hour later the someone had not returned our call.  Frustrated I drove one more time around the block, using precious gas, to try to get the brake to set.  No Luck.  It was decision time as it was approaching noon and our travel time was being cut short.  So much for our early start.  We had to decide whether to cancel the trip and forfeit our deposit or give it a try. 

After one more trip around the block, suddenly the spasms stopped.  The decision had been made for us.  I thought I had actually pushed a right button or turned a right knob and it worked.  Thinking we are ok to move on and the problem resolved, we were on our way again and starting to feel like we were on vacation. Then we stopped for lunch.  I should have learned by this time not to trust anything associated with the Beast.  The spasms were back.  Needless to say 3 hours later, stupid people at the repair shop had still not called us back.  Evidently brakes issues are not a life or death situation when you are sitting in the comfort of a service department.  So when all else fails take charge and get out the instructions to see exactly what to do.  Right.  Well dear husband had removed all our paperwork for some unknown reason and did not tell the someone in charge of loading, because that is what he does.  Miles from home, running late and getting very frustrated with it all we needed to figure out something right or wrong.  I pulled forward a few feet, turned a few knobs and spasms stopped again.  OK, that was simple so we decided we would roll.

We soon discovered many many many miles down the road that the spasms had not actually stopped, but were just at rest.  Periodically the brakes would give us a jolt.  Then just when you really needed them and were praying to Jesus to stop this thing,  they were non-existent.  Jesus and I were communicating a lot that day.  I am a firm believer in instant prayers and hopefully instant answers. 

We actually made it to the resort with no major damage, but were totally stressed to the max.  We got parked and set up just fine.  We have that down to a fine art and work together smoothly.  We decided to wait until after the 4th of July and again try to reach the trailer people for assistance.  In the meantime, we made acquaintance with a few people in the park who advised us on how to set the controller.  It was much appreciated and gave us comfort for the remainder of the week.

We were disconnected and enjoyed visiting the area.  It is absolutely beautiful and the Cascades are amazing!  We relaxed and just played.  Ahhhh!

Then we had to go home.  Used the advice of the people on how to set it no luck.  Called trailer people and we got the "we can't hear you" message, call us when your closer.  OK assuming I can make it closer.  You know they say God takes care of small children and fools, I would say we qualify for that coverage.  We took off, spastic brake and all.  Made it home all in one piece with help from no one, but made an appointment to get the thing fixed before we leave for Crater Lake!!!!

When we arrived at Bob's place, we decided to call and see if there was a better spot for us to park.  The one we had was hard to maneuver around a big blue truck.  He said he would meet us there and find one for us.  He directed us to another corner of the lot and I valiantly tried to park where directed.  Problem was the trailer is about four feet too long and two feet too wide. Men!  Now I was awkwardly trapped.  After a lot of backing up pulling forward backing up pulling forward, I managed to maneuver out of a really really tight spot.  Absolutely did not want to try that again so I turned it over to the men.  Not a good idea.

Bob was giving directions.  Albert was only listening to Bob.  Bob and Albert broke a tail light on a parked trailer.  I was telling them loudly that they needed to stop they were going to break the stupid thing, but did the MEN listen, NO!!!  Bob says that it is ok he will take care of it.  Albert looked tired and forlorn so I didn't say I tried to tell you like I wanted to.  The Beast was parked sort of in a spot that we pray left enough room for others to get past us with taking off on side of the trailer.  Tired, frustrated and hot, Bob's disregard of others possessions left a very bad impression.  We have found another place to park our little Beast.  I actually think the Beast will like it and I know we will love it.  We don't have to deal with other trailers or trucks or Bob's yelling.  We just simply pull it in and pull it out.  Now to deal with the brake issue!! 

I am sure that by the time we are ready to leave, we will have all the kinks worked out, well I can hope anyway.  Regardless, we are looking forward to our trip to Crater Lake.  I am just hoping we actually get to see it this time.  Last time it was on fire and blocked off from the public plus every other place we visited was shrouded in heavy heavy fog.  I could hear the ocean, but wasn't quite sure it was really there.  Everyone kept telling us it was beautiful when the fog wasn't there.  I will also be prepared with maps that give correct information regarding whether a road is actually paved, not one lane going around a curve with death looming over the edge of a mountain and make sure it has services available somewhere along the way.  After the last trip, I have a been permanently damaged and have a fear of California.  That is another issue. 

I am optimistic though and will go assuming we are going to have a wonderful time.  In the mean time, I am making lists again and the box of instructions for everything is on top and second is a trust worthy map and my phone with Google Maps.   I might even give GPS lady a chance, but I will check my map just to be sure.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Beast, The GPS Lady, PAM And Paula Dean

Sometimes you just have to wonder what were you thinking when you impulsively do something.  You would think that at our age we would stop and think things through real real careful before making the plunge.  Evidently not.  Yes I am talking about when we purchased the Beast.

It is very wily.  It lulls you into thinking you have it all figured out then it springs on you.  You just get a sense of well being and surprise it is going to test your metal.  Let's see what  you are made of.  Let's see if I can break you.  Well it almost did on Sunday.

We went for a weekend trip to Farragut State Park again.  This time we had no issues with anything.  Life was perfect.  We had great weather!  We hiked to see the museum and just thoroughly enjoyed the outdoors.  We even managed to relax and get a little earned rest.

We knew that when we headed home we had a challenge ahead of us.  We had even taken time to again  entertain the Post Falls Outlet Mall shoppers with our outstanding parking abilities.  Not.  But, regardless we tried and got a little better, or so we thought.  We moved on and put our parking worries aside for the weekend.

Sunday morning came.  We packed everything up and reluctantly left for home.  We should have known from the minute we started the truck that there was a strange force at work. 

I plugged my new phone in and started the truck. The phone suddenly came alive and started giving us directions out of the park.  I didn't know how to make the GPS lady stop so we just laughed each time she told us where to turn.  Now I know you are thinking I set the GPS.  The problem with that is I don't know where to find the GPS much less turn it off.  I can't even find my voicemail on this goofy new Smart phone.  It is a whole lot smarter than me.  If I did indeed set it, it was quite accidental.  As we neared the Post Falls Outlet Mall, we realized it was trying to send us back for practice parking.  We had a good laugh and moved on.  The GPS lady became very frustrated with us and kept telling us to EXIT NOW for at least three more exits.  She finally gave up and moved on to someone who would actually listen. The GPS lady then stopped talking.  I guess she figured she was getting us nowhere.

We made it through the road construction with no major damage, exited without running over anyone and  managed to get the thing dumped and burped with no issues.  We then headed for Bob's.  Dread was upon us, but we knew we had plenty of time to get it done and even had an alternative plan of parking at a different facility called RV Storage for Dummies.  OK, maybe that isn't the real name, but it was easier to get into, but a lot more costly.  Not a good thing. 

Albert was to be the official parker and I was the lookout.  We were in the process and had only minor frustrations with communicating to one another exactly what we wanted the other to do.  Tempers were yet to flare, so I thought we were doing pretty good.  A guy came in with a big fifth wheel he had just purchased and it was his first time to park too.  I thought ah-ha a kindred spirit. It took him about 10 minutes and we had been at it for about 30.  He took pity on us and decided to help.  Thank you kind stranger.  He communicated a whole lot better with the man behind the wheel than I did.  Must be a man thing.  They got it in and all was well with the world or so we thought.

God was not smiling on us quite yet.  I think the vengeful GPS lady was whispering in His ear that we don't take directions and needed a lesson or two.  When we went to disconnect the truck from the Beast, it had an death grip on our hitch and refused to let go.  We rocked.  We pulled.  We pushed.  We begged.  We pleaded!!!  But, no it was not going to let us go easy. 

Two and half hours later, we called our emergency trailer service number out of desperation.  The guy on the other end basically said if it wasn't life threatening to drive it home.  He suddenly realized how close he was coming to having his life threatened when I calmly and firmly explained that was not an option!!!  He immediately said he would get a tech on the phone to assist us.  I really think hysterical women were not his thing.  I turned the phone over to the Man of the House.  The tech explained what was needed to him and then the phone was turned back over to me to relay instruction.  I patiently waited while he got the tools for extraction.  We had everything needed except the WD 40.  I am very resourceful when it comes to improvising and immediately thought of PAM.  Yes PAM.  I had used it before to make my key work in a door and had faith that it would lubricate what needed lubricating.  (Kind of makes me wonder what it does to my insides.)  A few squirts, a careful placement of the screw driver and a whack of the hammer managed to release us from the death grip the Beast had on us.  We were more than joyful!!!  There was dancing going on at Bob's Place. 

We arrived home and the house felt like an oven.  That wasn't what I was expecting since our home is well insulated and usually stays a pleasant 70 something year round.  I turned on the AC, got the truck unloaded and everything put away.  It still wasn't getting cool.  I was beginning to think we had a broken AC.  I went to get a glass of ice water and glanced at the stove.  Yep.  I had managed to leave on a burner under a griddle for three days!!!  It is a double burner griddle and I managed to turn the burner in front off, but just zoned out the back burner.  It is a wonder I didn't burn the house down.  I do have to tell you that Paula Dean makes a very resilient griddle.  It is still in tip top shape after three days of continuous heat and the stove still works.  God was really watching out for us!!!  Thank you Lord!!! 

I know when I relayed this story to my daughter she was probably thinking she will have to put us away sooner than she thought.  But, until we are definitely certifiable, we will continue to blunder our way through life, laugh at ourselves and make others feel good about themselves.  We wonder what is in store for July and really wonder if this is a good idea, but then that is part of the adventure.  We have learned few things and that was the point of our short little trips.  We will continue to expect the unexpected and maybe even listen to the GPS lady next time.  I can hardly wait. Well maybe.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

New Profession

I guess after nearly 65 years it is time I learned a thing or two about myself.  I am finding that I am pretty set in my ways, I don't like Salmon, I do love grand babes and I don't like hospitals.  The last one unfortunately seems to be my home away from home.  I have become a professional hospital sitter.  Not a profession I would have chosen, but one that seems to have chosen me.

Now I have to admit that as reluctant as I am to accept this, I really don't mind being there to comfort my loved ones.  They may not say a lot, but the look on their faces when they open their eyes and see me there says it all.  Of course, I can't say they are too glad to see me once I turn on my bossy side.  I am the one that will insist they do what the doctor, nurse or therapist told them to do, remind them to drink their water, eat their meal (only other option is to have it fed to them one way or another), insist they can get up and walk, do some things for themselves or whatever suggestion I find that fits the moment.  Amid the frowns, groans and muttering under their breath, I know they will appreciate it in the end.  Well, they better anyway:)

I have learned to keep a go to bag packed and ready at a moments notice.  That is kind of sad, but very true.  Food, water and reading material are essential.  Paper and pen are also a good idea when having to keep track of what needs to be done, picked up or called. 

I have also learned to watch out for lonely male patients lurking in doorways.  You know they are on drugs because you show up with no makeup looking like you just got of bed and they think you look great in that fire engine red shirt and invite you in for a little visit.  I found I can walk very fast on these short little stumps I call legs.  I also can find emergency routes around said patients rooms.  I mean after all even in a hospital I am queen of shortcuts.

 Most importantly I quickly learn where every hand sanitizer is on my way to the door.  I am a good sitter, but I am also a little germaphobic.  I even learned quickly how to put on the Holy Family High Fashion gowns and gloves provided and proudly strutted the runway of the halls.  Yellow gown and purple gloves, hot stuff.  My only issue with them is they come fully charged with static electricity so my hair was on end the whole time I was wearing it and upon removing I often left looking like I had been scared out of my wits.  Sanitized in room, at elevator before getting on, off elevator because I touched a button and last but not least as I exited just for good measure.  Degermed, frizzy haired and free until the next time.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Continued Saga Of The Roses vs The Beast

I woke up early, 5am, in anticipation of the Event.  I announced to the sleepy eyed husband that I wanted to get out of the drive before the morning rush started on Belt St. freeway.  Since he works evenings and had only had 5 hours of sleep, he grumbled and mumbled, but agreed it was probably a good idea.  I had intended to back up the hill, but the trailer had another idea so we backed down the hill.  I still haven't mastered the follow your thumbs technique offered by my neighbor.  I made it just in the nick of time!
I parked it in front of the house and went in to have a cup of hot coffee and get the Grump fed.

We finally realized we needed gas, so we got ourselves together and made a mad dash for Costco before they opened and the rush started.  We managed to get in and out without taking out half the gas pumps and I was very thankful there were no cars to deal with.  Then we were off and it was only 8:30.  We were doing great!

Having discovered the night before we had no electric cord to hook up the trailer, we were on our way to buy one.  We arrived and found NO place to park.  What kind of trailer sales and service place has no place for people with trailers to park?  I managed to block only half of their parking spaces and instructed hubby to hurry.  While waiting, another poor soul with a trailer bigger than mine pulled in and also realized there was no place to park.  He kept circling like a buzzard waiting on his next meal, but I held my ground.  Soon hubby was out the door, we were on our way and the circling buzzard RV took my place.  Now all I had to do was get on the freeway without causing an incident. Success!!

Check in time for the park was not until 2pm so now we decided to practice parking in an empty parking lot at Post Falls, Id.  We were a source of entertainment for about two hours for some gentlemen shopping with their wives.  I still don't have the hang of the follow your thumbs rule, but I am better.  Hubby got frustrated and decides that I need to let him show me how it is done.  Well after about a dozen tries, he sheepishly grins and admits it is not as easy as looks!  He can't follow his thumbs either!  We parked, had lunch, said farewell to the Post Falls practice lot and went on our merry way.

We managed to find Farragut Park and checked in.  We were having a great day!  We got set up and only needed to connect the utilities.  Surprise!!! WRONG electric cord, but of course it was.  So, we unhitched the truck and drove 55 miles round trip to purchase a new one.  OK, now we were in business.  We had a wonderful evening and just puttered around enjoying our new little home away from home.

The next morning I was out looking around the trailer and happened to notice a storage compartment that we had overlooked.  I proceeded to open it and SURPRISE there was an electrical cord inside.  Dumb, Dumb, Dumb.  So back we went to return the other cord.  The guys at the counter chuckled and reassured us that everyone has issues at first.  They were very nice and I am sure they were really thinking what dummies.  Regardless we were determined not to let this ruin our outing.  Back we went to the campground just in time for it to start raining.  Oh yeah, it not only rained, it poured buckets.  We decided it was an opportunity to catch up on some well earned rest and just enjoyed listening to the pitter patter of rain and the roll of thunder on the mountains.

We left the next morning without incident and headed back to Spokane.  Now we were on a mission to find the dump station.  We called a friend who gave us directions.  Exit Argonne, turn left on Montgomery and it is right there.  Sounds simple enough, we can do it!  We exited, we turned and saw nothing but a car wash.  Circled back and went the other direction just in case we missed it.  Nope.  Back we went in frustration and circled the block few times just in case we were blind.  Still not there.  I turn a corner without realizing it was a double turn lane and was unaware I nearly demolished a very large truck.  When we stop to seek directions, one unhappy man pulls up beside me informs me it was indeed a double turn lane.  He realizes I am truly horrified that I nearly demolished him and immediately toned it down and was very nice about the incident.  We finally give up and call the daughter to have her Google the stupid dump station.  SURPRISE!  It is in the car wash!  Now why didn't we think of that.  We pull back around and there is a big motor home parked there this time and we realize we really are dumb, dumb, dumb.  We do manage to correctly take care that business and we are off for home.

We got parked without incident and got everything unloaded.  We actually got a good laugh and decided that over all it really was a great weekend despite all the mistakes.  We are ready to do it and this time we know we really will enjoy it.  The Beast has lived up to it's name and I think I will always refer to it as such.  I still have one thing to conquer and that is the follow your thumb rule!  I dream about it!  Left is right, right is left.......

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Conquering Our Fear (Well Sort Of)

I faced the day with fear and trepidation, but knew that after months of fretting I would have to overcome them.  We had planned to get an early start, but kept procrastinating dreading the moment.  We finally got ourselves out the door with keys in hand to go get the little trailer of horrors.

Our history with the "thing" has been a love hate relationship.  We held high hopes of now being able to move on with a fresh new relationship.  After all spring is a time of renewal and we wanted very much to be able to start fresh and new in this relationship.  We were optimistic that love, trust and commitment would come.  We would even be willing to give it a "new" name like Little Trailer of Adventure or such. 

Once we arrived, I backed up near perfect to get in position to hook up.  Next thing I know, Albert is at my window with a look of questioning and let's say, not joyful.  Did we bring the key to the ball lock?  OF COURSE WE DIDN'T!  That would have been the right thing to do.  We had forgot every other key to the silly thing and I made real sure we had THOSE keys. 

So back to house we go.  That is not a short trip and especially not one you want to make with a 5.7 Hemi and gas prices lurking around $3.90 per gallon.  But, we tried to enjoy the ride by taking the back way home through the country and enjoying the nice, finally warm, spring day.  By the time we got back to the trailer we had reconciled ourselves to the fact that no matter what we are going to forget something!  I will also say that one of those keys now resides on each of our key rings.

After several tries of backing up perfectly again, I left Albert to figure out the hitch while I went in and made sure there was nothing that would go flying when we took off.  As I came out the door, I heard grumblings.  Uh oh.  Nothing ever goes back together as easy as it comes apart.  He has a bad leg and was struggling with being down on his knees.  I am standing there encouraging him and trying to be sympathetic, but he is the one who chose to quit physical therapy over my advice not to.  After a few moments of gloating, I did realize he was having a hard time and found something soft for him to get down on the ground with and make him a little more comfortable.  I was no help in remembering which bar went in what or which chain hooked where.  Not my department so I chose to encourage him in between his venting. 

Finally he stood back and said he thought we were ready to go.  Now it was my turn to maneuver the thing out of it's space.  We had watched one person take out a boat and so we decided to try the same technique.  Should have thought that one through a little longer.  The trailer is now on the opposite side of the lot, truck is at an angle and husband is yelling and waving arms "No turn that way. Turn that way!"  Rolled up the window so I couldn't hear husband yelling and decided to figure it out on my own.  Right is left, left is right.  Light bulb moment.  I had read to position your hands at the bottom of the steering column so repositioned.  After moving forward a few inches and back a few inches, I successfully made the turn and it was headed for the gate.  Husband was running behind yelling "Don't forget me."  Hmmm, never crossed my mind:) 

We were finally on our way.  Now we started the debate of freeway or myway.  My way won.  I wanted a chance to get the feel of the thing before I challenged people on the freeway.  Besides there is a lot of construction right where we had to get on and I had visions of being stuck under one of the downtown bridges.  I do realize that eventually I will have to get on a freeway, but then maybe not.  I am the back road queen.  I call them shortcuts.  Albert calls them baloney.  Regardless I knew it would get us home and I was comfortable with it.

Off we go bouncing and along thinking we had conquered the world.  Then came the first STOP sign and Five o'clock Friday traffic.  Albert was yelling go, go, go forgetting I had 26 extra feet of vehicle to get across the road.  I waited patiently for my chance.  While making the turn I realized I had backed up traffic a little.  Maybe 10-15 cars.  Surprised nobody honked or I just couldn't hear over GO GO GO.  Either way we made it.  That was the only hurdle we had on the way.  I got in the lane I wanted in and stayed there.  Albert kept watching the white line on his side and was quick to tell me how close I was getting.  I never crossed it, but yes I was close. 

Then we got home.  We live on Belt St freeway.  That is what I call it since it is a shortcut to WalMart, is located between two major roads, two strip malls and a high school.  Need I say more.  Albert decided we should take the cross road located almost in front of our house and just shoot right into the driveway.  We were not going to challenge the traffic in order to back into the driveway especially at 5 o'clock go home time.  So he instructs me to wait while he puts out boards so I won't have to jump the curb as we have a small driveway and he figured the back wheels would catch it.  He failed to tell me that he hoped I would turn mostly on the driveway and not through 6-8 feet of the lawn.  Whoops! 

It was in the drive, but a little crooked.  Husband immediately starts yelling and waving arms.  I roll up window and figure it out on my own.  I did listen when he was advising me on how close to the steps I was since we have such a narrow driveway.  Finally I heard "That's good turn it off."  I turned it off and just sat there for a few minutes letting the realization that I now had a big honking trailer in my driveway and eventually had to back it out onto Belt St freeway.  But then I realized that was another day and would face that giant when it presented itself.

We then proceeded to de-winterize the trailer.  Instruction books in hand we proceeded.  While Albert did that, I loaded up for our trip the next weekend.  We are officially road ready.  Well, the trailer is road ready.  I have a week to mentally get there.  I will be soooooo ready for a vacation by then.

I now realize there will always be something to challenge us on this thing and we might as well enjoy the trip.  We are living our dream.  Granted it seems like a nightmare some of the time, but it really is a cute little trailer and I am sure it will take us on a few adventures.  I am looking forward to finding all the back roads that avoid freeways:)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spring And A Little Sunshine Please!

I am waiting patiently for spring to officially be here.  I have a feeling it will be a little longer than we had hoped.  So far this week we have had rain, snow, grapple and just about any other description of moisture that could possibly fall from the sky.  The real cruelty of all that is the small snippets of sunshine that we are teased with in promise of a beautiful spring day.

I realize I should not complain since there are parts of our country that are enduring much worse, but I am really tired of the weather.  I have even promised not to complain when we finally have summer.  Believe me when I say that is a first for me. I have never cared for hot weather, but this year it is wonderfully anticipated by one and all here in the Northwest.

Our poor trees and flowers are so confused that they just might stay hibernating.  Usually tulips are everywhere and I haven't seen one.  My Iris's are up and wondering what is going on.  I heard geese the other morning and could have sworn they had turned around and were headed south again.

Ok enough of the complaining.  I do hope to see spring and a lot of sunshine soon as I would love to enjoy the outdoors on  our first adventure next month.  I am taking clothing for every condition just in case.  Great weather would be just the order for our travels this year.

So if you see Mr Sunshine any where out there send him my regards and tell him we need him and really soon.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Up Up and Away or Not

No I am not talking about the Superguy, but we could sure use one right now.  Have you seen gas prices lately!  Oh my goodness.  Maybe Superguy could twist a few oil mogul arms or necks.  Well, it is just a thought.

ATT0004513.jpgMy biggest disappointment is the timing of this onslaught of price raising.  It is killing our dream a penny at a time.  Travel I guess will be a little closer to home than we had originally planned.  Reservations have been made for our first official outing in May, but we might have to rethink July and September. 

Our first option would be for prices to go down and we would get to visit the Cascades and Crater Lake.  Our second option is a staycation, but then we would miss the luxury of our little home away from home.  I think not.  I have figured out a freat way to get our monies worth.  We will stay at Bob's Luxury Health Spa Storage Facility.  Oh yeah, my dream vacation. 

It will definitely save on gas since we won't have to pull the trailer to a different location and we will lose weight because we can't afford food since the gas prices are driving up the cost of that.  I have give this a great deal of thought and have come up with a plan I just know will work. 

Our itenerary will look kind of like this.  We will plan a day trip to visit the daughter three miles away, use her pool, the workout facility and take an evening stroll along the walking path through town.  Our location at Bob's Luxury Health Spa Storage Facility is ideal as we can bike or take a walk on the Centennial Trail which is only two blocks away.  We can also walk to the river and watch the sunset on the water from the bridge on Mission Ave.  We can jog to the local coffee haven for a morning latte.  We will dine on our meager meal with a beautiful view of the mountains overlooking Liberty Lake and the boat which is in storage next to our trailer.  In case we decide on luxury dining, Wendy's is just next door.  Come to think of it most of the resorts we have looked into offer just about the same amenities. Hmmm what does that say?  I have even figured out a way around the no WiFi problem by hijacking a nearby freeby.  Hey, who says you can't be happy making do.  Where there is a will there is a way.  The more I think about it, I think it is a plan.  Not everyone has access to a $30 a month luxury resort.  Aren't you jealous? Thought so.  Let you know how it goes:)