Saturday, January 29, 2011

We're Moving (A Short Trip)

We woke up to the alarm at 7:15 and had a quick cup of coffee while perusing the Departure Checklists – one for me and one for Gary. I made these lists soon after we got the coach. And we use them every time so we don’t forget things that will cause damage to us or others. Here's Gary takingthe satellite dish down from the roof.
Tasha was worried we were leaving her. Or she was excited to go for a ride. Don’t actually know what she was saying…

We followed our lists and made a departure for Camping World right at 9:30. Perfect timing to get there for our scheduled appointment to get our refrigerator recall kit installed at 10 am. Since I knew the way, and the construction crew had moved the barrels the day before, I was actually calmer than usual.

We met Kevin, who was to do the work, and then wandered around inside Camping World looking for a slide gasket lubricator. I had read about one product and was reading the instructions, but decided word of mouth was a better indicator of quality. I asked a man standing next to me if he had ever used this product as a rubber lubricator. So, as all RVers know, all you have to do is ask a question, and you had better have at least ½ hour to talk, because your life story just falls out of your mouth. Bud had been RVing for 20 some years, and had some good stories. But he had not used that product. He showed us one he had used with success, so we chose that, got some free toilet paper, and headed over to Bella.

Another coach and toad had just pulled in behind us, and they were from New Jersey, so we got to talking while they were unhitching their toad. When I told him what we were here for, he said they had the same situation, but the mechanic had switched the wires between LP and AC currents, so his fridge kept shutting off. Kevin came over and said that she was ready to go. I checked to see if the fridge would change from AC to LP, and it was successful. So, we were headed out to give Bella a run. She has been sitting for 4 months, and that is not good. Lubrication seems to be an important word with all us RVers and so it is. Just like people-joints, you can’t sit (at our age, anyway) for very long without dire consequences. Once again, I knew where we were going and it was a beautiful day, so it was actually enjoyable on the way home.

We pulled her in, got her situated, lubricated the gaskets with our new product, put out the slides, awning and put up the satellite dish.
I am the official satellite pointer. I can get it to read 99 out of 100 as far as reception goes. Lots of men stopped by asking how they could get their wives to do that.

This morning we had a little longer coffee time, but needed to finish cleaning because we were having company: Pam (Tristan’s godmother) and her friend Sandy were coming here to visit on their trip to Florida. They visited us in Sarasota two years ago, and wanted to see our new home. After I did my Walk Away the Pounds exercise, I finished vacuuming and washed the sinks, toilet, shower and floors. (I think I did another mile). We were finished around 11:30 and they were expected to arrive around 1pm. I got on the computer, and had received an email from Pam saying they were not going to make it - they had an emergency and had to return to Canada. Bummer.

Well, we have a very clean coach. I think I’ll go do some wash. We’re going to BBQ tonight – Gary’s famous baby back ribs. YUM! Wish you were here!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Put 'Em In, Take 'Em Out

Last night was a little scary. We don’t like tornadoes (probably like most people) so when the weather warnings began around 5:00, we began getting prepared. Now, it would be unadvisable to stay in your coach if there was a tornado on the ground near you. The strongest building around here would be the cement block laundry room. We’d have to make a run for it and be lucky enough to fit with the other 250 people here at the park. Our flashlights and umbrella were at the ready. Gary had tucked our furniture away and (sadly) taken out the beach balls. We might have had to put in the slides, and so they needed to come out. We’ll put them back in tomorrow.

The weather guys were going crazy. Sightings here and over there! New warning in – take cover immediately! Hail and lightning, trees down, etc. Red all over the place, as you can see in the TV photos.

We did move the bed slide in, and looked after Ron and Donna’s place as they were at the Magic Kingdom. We had some heavy rain, heavy gusts of wind, lightning and thunder for a few hours, but then it calmed down and we had steady rain (which is much needed) and distant thunder and lightning. After putting out the bed slide, we slept like babies.

This morning the sky was bright blue and the sun warmed us up to 67 degrees. We did a little shopping to find hangers for our sign which I worked on yesterday (but it’s not done yet) and another few little things. It was still a little breezy but a really nice day over all. We survived so Life is Good. We fixed our tire cover so that NO ONE can take it off without keys. Sweet.

Later we will get things packed up and ready to leave at 9:30 tomorrow morning to make our 10 am appointment. Oh. I will be riding in the coach, not the Jeep. Hmmmmmm.

Monday, January 24, 2011

A Little Bit of Everything

This is Gary with a beach ball.

We are not near a beach, nor are we going to the beach. He is going to do something special with this beach ball. Something we think no one has ever done before. We could be wrong, so if you have ever heard of anyone doing this with a beach ball, let us know. What could I be talking about, you ask? Well, let me explain.

We have something called ‘slide toppers’ on our coach. We have two slides (parts of the coach that extend out to increase our living space). Over these slides are awnings attached to the edges of the slides. These protect the tops of the slides and keep rain and dirt off of them, so that it won’t get into our coach through the rubberized openings when we close them up again. However, they are made of vinyl, and vinyl stretches a little. Pools of water stay up on the slides until a gust of wind or the pool of water gets too full, and then it gushes off the edge like a waterfall. Woe to a person/thing/pet that is standing in that place, don’t you know. So, our neighbor, Ron jokingly suggested we blow up beach balls and place them between the top of the slide and the vinyl to create an angle where no water can pool. Well, we thought that was a great idea.

So here is Gary, stuffing a beach ball under each of our toppers.

It was a tight fit so we’re not worried that they will blow away. But it has yet to be tested for rain. Tomorrow night it is supposed to be windy and rainy, so that will be a test day. I hope I remember to tell you what happens…

Then we saw this little guy.
Actually he wasn’t little at all. He was about 10 inches wide. Gary needed two hands to carry him to safety. I think he was a Peninsular Cooter. It took me 30 minutes to identify him.

Yesterday we got home from St. Pete around 5:30. Saturday we gave Michelle and Brian their Christmas present: 24 hours alone. That meant we had to babysit 4 of their 6 kids for 24 hours. We arrived at 11:30 am on Saturday and Brian gave me instructions on how to put Tiny Dude (Henry, 3 mos.) to sleep in his crib.
OKaaaay… The kids had coughs, but were ready to play. Brian left to meet Michelle at her school and they were going to Orlando for some fun without kids. We were left to have some fun with the kids. And we did. First the trampoline.

Then some X-box. Crafts and puzzles were next with Lauren.

Lance (9) had a friend over Saturday and Sunday. Dinner was their favorite – spaghetti. Bedtime was 9 pm.
Henry went to sleep at 11 pm with us, and we didn’t sleep all night. Every little noise he made woke us up, and when he wasn’t making any noise, we got up to see if he was still breathing. Graham (4) had a nightmare, but went back to sleep right away (but I didn’t). Anyhow, the parents got home at 3:30 and the kids were glad to see them. (Probably not as much as we were). Merry Christmas, guys!

Today, we headed to Big Lots to look for something to hold up our sign (that I’m still working on). We didn’t find anything, but we did see this rig in the parking lot.
Later we stopped at Camping World and he was there, too! Brave guy.

Thursday will be a big day. We will be driving Bella to Camping World to install the recall kit from Norcold on our refrigerator. That means packing everything up. Don’t mind doing that. We have asked the neighbors to move their trucks at departure time so we have some room to make the turn. I’m not worried at all because I am driving the Jeep. We haven’t moved Bella since we arrived on Oct. 20. I think we might have to cut some roots…

Friday, January 21, 2011

Another Year Older

Our kind neighbors, Donna and Ron followed us to the Jeep dealership so we could have them put in a new water pump. Gary had a Doctors appointment at 2, so they promised to get her done by then. We left there and did a little shopping at Walmart (of course). Donna was doing a spaghetti casserole for dinner and then we were going to watch a couple funny shows on TV – The Middle and Modern Family. We got them hooked on them the evening the President gave a speech about the shooting in Arizona. The programming was really screwed up that night, but they laughed at what was aired, so now it will be a weekly thing for them, too. We talked a little after dinner and then Gary started yawning, so we headed home around 10:30.

Yesterday I began receiving my ‘birthday calls’ around 10 am. It is our family’s tradition to call the birthday person and sing Happy Birthday over the phone. Mandy sent me a text. She had been to the Dentist for two fillings and couldn’t move her jaw much. Michelle called and all five of her kids sang to me, and then Tristan called from Miami and sang. He will be running a marathon next weekend in Miami Beach which we will be there for seeing him at the starting line at 6:15 am. Not crazy about the start time, but I don’t think I can do anything about it. We’ll drive down the night before, of course, and have to set the alarm. Yuck.

Finally the Jeep was ready, the courtesy van arrived and we all hopped in for the twenty mile drive to Jeep. A few tears escaped Gary’s eyes when he paid the bill, but only I noticed. Well, we all squeezed in and off to Golden Corral for dinner. We sampled all the food and then Donna surprised me with a tiny chocolate cheesecake sampler. There were two pieces each of: turtle, triple chocolate, chocolate chip and a white chocolate. We stuffed ourselves with that, then decided we needed to walk.

Where else could we walk and have fun but Downtown Disney? The lights, the music and the people were invigorating. We found a great parking spot especially since it was about 70 degrees and the place was really hopping. Arriving at the outdoor stage, we got caught up in the Dance Party going on. A single guy was leading about 100 people dancing everything from the Chicken to the Wave. Well, what a perfect solution to doing some calorie burning. Donna and I joined in while the boys watched everyone. There were little tiny kids to 90 year olds having a ball. That guy kept us dancing for 3 hours! There was a contest near the end involving 6 couples – a couple little girls, two little boys, a little girl about 6 and her uncle, a mom and daughter, two other older boys and a man and woman. We had to vote by our applause and cheers. Everyone was close, but it came to a tie between the two little girls and the uncle and his niece.

Everyone kept on dancing, but we decided to take a boat ride. The full moon reflected on the water as we cruised in the lagoon from one end of the strip to the other. Gary sniffed the aroma wafting out of the cigar shop along the way (but gratefully kept walking), and we watched another band performance for a minute. We squeezed back into the Jeep and headed home.

What a great birthday. Thank you all for your birthday wishes. I’m grateful that you could all ‘share’ my special day with me!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Fun, Fun and a little Scary

We had some steady rain on Monday compared to other areas with really heavy duty storms. That was fine with us, because we need the rain, and we were supposed to go to Sarasota (home away from home) to work on the house on Tuesday. The plan was to meet Mr. Renter for the first time, and as we pulled up there they were washing their cars. Hugs and handshakes all around, and we started work. We fixed the door lock and put on a screen door. The bathroom pocket door needed a very thin wrench and both guys dug around in their tool kits to come up with one. Next we had to replace two window sills, but all during this, Mr. Renter was cooking up a storm for us!

Before we could get to the windows, lunch was ready: jerk chicken, rice with pineapple and pigeon peas, plantains two different ways and hot ketchup. Yummy. And then the caramel flan for dessert. Here we are – and they have lived there almost a year, and we were their first dinner guests.
Imagine that! We really had to say no to more wine, but Gary ended up working on the windows while I sat on the porch talking with Mrs. Renter (with another glass). She loves shoe shopping, and modeled her newest acquisition – these snappy sandals.
Wow! They had a zipper down the back of the shoe, too!

Before we knew it, it was 3:30 and I needed to get over to my old hair salon for a haircut and catch up with my hairdresser. She made it quick as Gary had run to the hardware store and was picking me up right after his purchases. It was fun seeing her and the crew again, and of course feeling beautiful once more.
Gary finished caulking the window but we need to go back one day to sand and paint. Mrs. Renter suggested coming on Mr. Renter’s next day off so he can cook us another meal! Don’t need to convince us too much.

We needed to go to Michelle’s in St. Pete on our way home to pick up some car seats we were borrowing for Donna and Ron’s grandkids who are visiting next weekend. I love the Sunshine Skyway Bridge. The water makes me remember why it was that we moved to Florida. And tonight the moonrise was magical.
It was great to see the kidlets again, and a college friend of Michelle’s and her family were visiting from Rhode Island. We hung around for an hour or so, and then packed the car seats in the Jeep and kissed her goodbye. Normally I am not superstitious, but just before we left, Michelle said, and I quote: “I worry about you driving that Jeep all over the place”. Well, we had just had her serviced the week before, and the tech said everything looked good, so I felt very confident driving her. About 15 miles from home, a warning light came on: Check Gauges. Ugh oh. The temp gauge was in the red zone. Gary slowed down, prepared to pull over, but the temp gauge went back to normal and the alert light went off. I, being the novice car mechanic that I am, figured she was thirsty. Well, duh, yes she was, but the question was why? Gary was praying that it was just the thermostat that had broken. The other possibility was the water pump. We limped to the next exit, a Love’s truck stop, and took a look under the hood. We saw a little smoke and a burned looking area of something, but no water was leaking. Of course, that’s because there WAS no water left. Gary waited till she cooled down and filled her with water, and we saw a big leak under her as we left. We hoped we’d make it home: me with my eye on the gauge and Gary with his eye on the speedometer keeping it at 60. Highway 4 in the dark can be scary. The big signs of the RV Park never looked so good. We pulled in at 9:30 and Gary immediately researched how to change a water pump and thermostat online.

Amazingly we slept well and only woke to a heavy shower that came out of nowhere. Every RVer knows all you have to do is go out, look at something and scratch your head and a dozen guys show up to see what’s wrong. Well, it works! The consensus was that the thermostat could be changed by anyone, but it was most likely the water pump because they could see a leak and smelled antifreeze (a slightly sweet smell - I asked). Great. Our neighbors kindly offered to drive us to the Jeep dealer and then we would go to Walmart. Donna is cooking dinner for us tonight, so they needed groceries, but tomorrow is my birthday, so Gary is taking us all out. He gave me a choice: Bonefish Grill (to use a giftcard we have) or Golden Corral with Donna and Ron. I’d rather have friends at my birthday dinner, so Golden Corral it will be! I will be thinking of all my friends and relatives as I lift a glass of iced tea in celebration. Thank you for being in my life.

Just remember: getting older is better than the alternative. I’m just glad wrinkles don’t hurt.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Few Low-key Days

Friday was a do-nothing day. But Saturday we needed some pieces for our Tire Cover Project. If you remember, our old tire cover was stolen from a Walmart parking lot. But we received a new one for Christmas. This time it will not be easy to take off. I am going to attach grommets around the edge of the cover, run wire through the holes and padlock it to the Jeep. It will probably take us 3 hours to get it off if we need the spare, but it would take someone else three hours, too.

So off to a hardware store to get the pieces: wire, ferrules and grommets. We passed a hardware store in Kissimmee the other day so decided to head there. We parked a couple of blocks away which was so fortuitous. The brick sidewalks had etched stars on corners and embedded steel circles with cutout pictures of cowboys on horses, wolves baying at the moon, landscapes, boots and other cowboy scenes. We passed a chili cookoff in the park and made a note to check that out on the way back. Milkenson’s Hardware was born in 1873 on Main Street. It had tall tin ceilings, linoleum floors and photos of the town from way back on the walls. They had everything we needed and more, but we resisted.

Now for some chili. Oh, no. They stopped cooking an hour ago, and now the judges were deciding on the winner. I counted 25 entrants with some really cute names [none of which I remember – didn’t think I needed my camera – WRONG].

Well, Gary decided he needed some guitar picks, and there was a music store across the street. Pedestrians rule, so cars are supposed to stop for you as you cross the street. They did, thankfully. While Gary was inside choosing colors, I decided to step outside to soak up a little local color. The buildings were adorable: adobe, southwestern style, 1800's . I can just see hoop skirts and parasols combined with horses tied to hitchin’posts. Apparently back to back freezes in 1894 and 1895 wiped out their citrus industry. The freezes, combined with South Florida's growth and the relocation of steamship operations to Lake Okeechobee, left Kissimmee dependent on cattle raising; thus the cute sidewalks.

This morning was cloudy, but warmer than yesterday at a high of 72 finally at 4 pm. I spent the morning working on my Workcamping Resume. This has to be much different than a standard resume. Employers are more interested in your life skills than the year you graduated high school. I have a fair amount of those skills, but don’t really know if they are applicable to Workcamping. We’ll see. After lunch, I went outside to look at our plaque that was carved on Thursday at the RV Show. Hmmm. I thought I would try to paint some swishes on it to match our coach. I had some touchup paint to use, so I made a quick sketch, and then onto the paint.
The semi-finished piece is drying in the bay. I need to fill in the letters, add the wheels and front window.
Stay tuned for the finale. Gary is thinking about how to hang it…

Donna brought over some of her Delicious Lemon Cookies still warm from the oven. They were huge and had a cake texture, light and lemony. Fabulous with a cup of tea!

Gary grilled a small pork loin and I tried to roast a rutabaga (alias yellow turnip). Convection ovens are supposed to be a little faster, but these took twice as long. Maybe I didn’t have the temp up high enough. I hardly use the oven, so I obviously need to practice some more. Brownies, anyone??

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Tampa RV Show and Dreamers

What a fun day. We woke up to freezing temperatures, but the sun was warm. Making the 11 am meeting at the Tampa RV show meant we needed to be on the road by 9 and we made it out at 9:10. Thanks to Linda and Howard we had a ticket for free admission. Sure enough, by the time we walked to the arranged meeting spot, there were RV-Dreamers already catching up with each other.
The crowd grew and grew and finally Howard and Linda arrived looking wonderful as you can see.
We had a little lunch in the floating restaurant (it literally floats on a lake) checking out Linda’s new Droid 2 and her Kodak playsport video camera. They are both cool toys – perhaps we will look into the video camera as ours is nearly dead.

After lunch, we split up to check out the show. We were interested in getting our sign carved by an outfit that was there last year. Let me explain. Last summer in New Jersey we had fun cutting out a piece of pine in the shape of our coach. We sanded it, painted it gold and decided to rout our names on it and hang it outside. Bob even found a router for us to practice with, but it is harder than it looks. We thought we might paint on our names, but it would look so much better routed. Tossing in our basement, we got excited to think that we might have the guy we saw at the RV show last year do the routing for us this year. Would he be there, though? We walked and walked and found him in a different place. Would he do it? YES. Gary ran back to the Jeep to get the plaque and Chris McCloud of Signmasters routed that thing in less than a minute. Here is the unfinished product.
The letters need to be painted inside the routing and green swishes painted on to match our coach. Then lots of polyurethane to protect it from the elements. Yay, a project! We’ll take another picture when it’s finished.

We talked to Freightliner and Cummins confirming our choice of how wonderful our coach is using these two components. We also were considering a macerator for our black tank. Guess what that does. There are so many unique and innovative products out there. I wish we had unlimited funds, alas, we have to pick and choose carefully. We walked out with tons of brochures, a couple of t-shirts, caps and free samples. It was getting cold again, but the sunset was gorgeous.

An easy hour ride home, leftovers for dinner, and blog time. Tomorrow it is supposed to be warmer with temps in the high 70’s by Monday.

Every single day I thank Rv-Dreams for their inspiration for our present lifestyle. We love, love, love it. Thank you, thank you Howard and Linda.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Mostly Eating

Yesterday Gary and I decided to find a Borders or Barnes and Noble to do some research. When we go out west this year (holy cow – it’s THIS year, now) I’d like some info on places to see. Of course, all the national parks and tourist things, but we also like off the beaten path things, too. We spent a couple hours at Borders browsing and sharing a cup of coffee, and then tried the southern style chicken sandwich at McDonald’s (BOGO free coupon). Gary loves Chic-Fil-A, however, McDonald’s figured out that since Chic wasn’t open on Sundays, they’d pick up the slack with an even better (I think) tasting sandwich available all the time. It was yummy! We’re still eating too much, and it’s so cold, it’s not too much fun to do outside things.

Gary was outside this morning sweeping, when he called to me to bring the camera quick. Across the pond was a blue heron trying to eat the eel he had caught.<
He didn’t succeed, but he tried as you can see by the bulge in his throat.
The eel was about two feet long and about 5 inches around. I think eating it would have killed him.

Today we went on a hunt for a used book store. We could have searched the net first, but we were in the car when we thought of it. We didn’t find one, but we did eat at Sweet Tomatoes to have some hot soup on this ‘high of 57 degree day’. Well, we rolled ourselves out of there…

Then when we got home, Gary spied this red shouldered hawk across the pond in a tree.
Pretty boy. One of these days, something will be on THIS side of the pond. Just as long as it’s not the alligator…

Tomorrow is going to be fun, even though it will only be 57 degrees again. We will meet Howard and Linda and some other RV-Dreamers which is like seeing family again. We are bringing our motorhome plaque to hopefuly be engraved by someone making signs. I will be glad to be forced to walk the whole day. Don’t you burn more calories when it’s cold out?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Visiting Old Neighbors

We have been doing mundane things like groceries, refilling the gas tank, eating too much.

Thursday was a little warmer and I convinced Gary to walk with me to the ‘woods’. This is a wooded area on the other side of the park. There are trails to take but I like to go off the beaten path (if safe). A little ways in take a jog to the left then sharp right and you’ll end up in a long-leaf pine forest. When the wind blows it makes the softest swishing noise. This reminds me of the pine forest behind our house in New Jersey growing up. I would take a book and beach towel, hike on down there and find a soft spot on the needles. The breeze would stir the branches into whispering and sighing, and the smell of pine would permeate my clothes making my outing last that much longer on the walk home. Ahhh, memories. That’s what life is made of.

Yesterday we got up fairly early (maybe 8) and were on the road to Sarasota by 9. It takes an hour and a half on highways 4 and 75. We needed to clean the gutters, and hopefully get inside to see What They’ve Done to the Place. I love coming into our neighborhood as it still is a home for us. But first we needed to stop at our storage units to put in the Christmas stuff and take out the Little Giant ladder. I made Gary buy the heavy-duty one years ago, and heavy it is. But it’s safe for climbing the 30 feet to the roof of our old home in Raleigh and the 12 feet to our home in Sarasota. It also holds two people without getting that wobbly feeling. Yes, we did get it in our Jeep (might have taken a picture – forgot) and fortunately, the storage unit is right next door to our neighborhood. We pulled onto our street and immediately see our ‘gardener’ Mike and his wife Stacy. Hugs and Happy New Year wishes ensue. Stacy pulls out her phone to show us their new home in Waynesville, NC that someday they will move to permanently. It’s an adorable old bungalow cottage on six or so acres. Other friends drive by and wave, so we stop to see them and neighbors recognize our Jeep and come to visit. It was very smart to arrive on a Saturday because we got to talk and visit with 10 of our old friends.

Our renter asked us in, and she showed us a couple of issues we could fix and one we couldn’t. We’ll have to call a professional for that one. Once again, the ladder came in handy when we had to clean the ceiling vent 25 feet up in the hall. It was so strange seeing someone else’s furniture in our house. But they are the best renters. We couldn’t be luckier and the best thing is, they love it there and want to stay forever. That’s such a load off our mind.

A nice visit with another relocated neighbor with drinks and snacks, and then it is dark. We decide to stop for sushi on our way back to Kissimmee and boy, that was delicious. No more sushi craving.

Today we hung out with Donna and Ron checking out the hotel their son and family are staying at during their visit the end of January. Then we went over to Downtown Disney for a walk around. We had planned to have dinner there, but it was so early, we decided to go find a Steak and Shake. I had coupons. I can’t believe it’s come to coupons. My mom used them at the grocery store all the time. I used them off and on in my stix & brix life, but now it’s a challenge to find the best ones in the Sunday paper that we all can use for restaurants, car maintenance, food or anything. Hey we need to save that couple of bucks on a regular basis. Then we can afford sushi once or twice a year.

All things considered, a good weekend! Hope you had one, too.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Nature Walk Sabotaged

This morning was a little cloudy, but warm in the 70s. After we put away our Christmas and Halloween decorations by moving things around in the basement, repacking and discarding, things were a little neater.

Today I really wanted to get away from it all, and see some nature. We asked Donna and Ron if they’d like to visit Tibet-Butler Preserve. The preserve was purchased in 1989 by the South Florida Water Management District to protect the watershed along Lake Tibet-Butler.
Right now there are six trails throughout the preserve with markers explaining various plants and animal habitats.
It was a nice walk, a great day (not too hot or cold) but the largest animal we saw was this Red-bellied woodpecker on a dead tree.
The smallest was an ant. (I didn't take a photo of him)
We didn’t see another human except in the parking lot.
So an hour and a half walk without seeing the water (Ron couldn’t walk that far) was a tiny get-away at least.
The preserve was right next to the highway, so the noise was bothersome.

On the way home, we found a Baskin-Robbins, and the flavor of the month was Chocolate Escape. Well, OK, then. If I couldn’t escape in the wild, I would try to escape with chocolate. Ooooo. I should have taken a picture of that sundae! I’m embarrassed to say I ate it all. I'm glad we walked a little! Donna is cooking dinner tonight for us, but it will not be until 8 pm until I am hungry again.

Tasha is feeling all better, and was taking a serious nap on my recliner earlier this morning.

All in all, life is good.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Anodes and Hot Doggies

If you remember, I mentioned that I would take photos of the big ‘anode replacement procedure’ going down today. Well, most of it was done while I was with Donna in Belk’s exchanging a sweater. But here is a picture of the anode that was replaced.
The new one is 8 inches long and ¾ inch wide. It goes in down near that rusty place where you can see a shiny new nut.
That’s the new anode. Gary needed two helpers for this job: Ron with some Liquid Wrench and Terry with the right size socket. Between all three it took about ½ hour to drain, clean and replace the anode (after a run to Camping World for the right size). Yay, baby. Good job! He also cleaned all the windows (with no help).

Tonight we met some new Boomers whom Donna and Ron knew. We had finger food at Donna’s place. I made Hot Doggies to bring. It sounds really strange, but I had them 20 years ago at my son’s preschool picnic. Another mom brought them, and they were delicious. I wrote down the recipe and never made them, so I thought I’d look in my recipe box to see if I had even kept the recipe card. There it was, so I tried making one to see if I remembered correctly. Yes, they were delicious. The recipe is: cut the crusts off of white bread. Spread mayo on the bread. Cut dill slices into long slivers. Cut hotdogs on the diagonal. Heat them. Place a dog and two slices of pickle on the bread and roll up. Secure with a toothpick. Eat. Ewe, you say? Try it. You might like it.

We had fun talking about workamping. Bill and Carol had run a Christmas tree lot in Boca Raton, FL for four years. It took one year (30 days) to learn how to run it efficiently. They said they had a good time, but it was hard work. The main thing is location, location, location. Chris and Bob worked with COE (Corp of Engineers) in Cape Cod for three years. That is a bid job. You submit the lowest pay rate you will be willing to accept, and the COE lets you know if you’ve won. Donna and Ron have worked for See’s Candies twice (and never again unless they are not managers, just employees), gate guards for oil rig construction, employees at Disney and Dollywood – and they have only been fulltiming for 5 years. All different ways to make money on the road, not just work for a campsite. Oh, the wonderful decisions we will need to make…

Monday, January 3, 2011

Shopping Day (Again)

Donna came over this morning and announced that she had just received an email from Christopher and Banks (a clothing store with really cute clothes) that the whole store was 50% to 70% off. Yippee skippee! Come one, boys, drive us there! Well, I did a little damage, and Donna did a little more than me, but she needed new clothes. Now, a rule of fulltime RVers is that if you bring one thing in your RV, you need to take one out. Otherwise you will have to spend a whole day purging all your belongings because you are over your axel weight. And every RVer knows how dangerous it is to be over GVW. So she brought over some of her clothes that she thought I’d like, and sure enough, I did! So now I have to get rid of some things. Maybe tomorrow.

Tomorrow, Gary and Ron are going to empty our hot water tank, remove the anode (the rod that slides into it to draw corrosion and lime from the inside of the tank) and replace it with a new one. It’s very, very rusted, so we’ll see what happens. Maybe I’ll get some pictures of that – I’m sure you’ll be terribly interested. But I haven't included pictures since New Year's Eve.

We are having so much fun with Donna and Ron. We do things together every day. I think RVers in general are a really cool bunch of people. Before beginning to fulltime, we joined an organization called Escapees. It was started in 1978 by a couple wondering if there was a club for RVers, would people join. Today there are over 32,000 members. They offer support, parking opportunities, knowledge and education, fun and adventure and a chance for people with a common interest to bond together in groups called BOF (Birds of a Feather). Since Gary and I are baby boomers, we decided to join the Boomers BOF. Apparently it’s a rockin’ group that have a lot of fun meeting in anywhere for anything anytime. That’s my kind of group.

We checked with Publix to see how Gary’s application is doing. They will be hiring the middle of January, so we are keeping our fingers and toes crossed. With diesel at a record high around $3.28 gallon, we are sooo glad we are not moving. I hope it goes down before we leave Florida around the middle of March.

Tonight, after shopping for shoes at the outlet mall, I defrosted some chicken parmesan which we had with salad. Then we played a word game for a while, and called it quits around 10. Tomorrow we will be meeting some new RVers that are friends of Donna and Ron for some finger food at their place.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

The last day of the year. And what a year it has been. Completely changing our lifestyle, full body radiation for Gary, Granny moving to North Carolina, renting our home, moving and sorting and garage sales. Whew, it makes me tired just thinking about it all again. That stuff just took three months. The next three months were great. Adventures day after day. Visiting long lost family. A sad period. A little frustration with Doctors, and some more adventure. And here we are. The last day of 2010.

I wonder what 2011 will have in store for us? Life is an adventure and we are out there to meet it, greet it and enjoy it.

Donna and Ron had to work today, so we cooked dinner for them and we ate on our patio.
It was so great to be able to sit out at night and not freeze. By the time we got to the clubhouse at 9pm, the party was in full swing.
A new little girl (13 years old) had been asked to sing for us. She sang mostly western, but with this older crowd, added a few oldies into her repertoire. The crowd loved her, as she really had a sweet voice but strong. Her name is Ashleigh Lynne, so if you get a chance to hear her, listen up. I am amazed to say that this three hour party with a bunch of 75 plus party-goers, a DJ and snacks was the best New Year’s Eve I have ever been to. We danced and danced and before we knew it, it was midnight, and we were still dancing.

We danced while we cleared the tables, we danced while we were putting away food, we danced while we washed dishes. And we danced all the way home to watch our own private fireworks. Casey (19) purchased some earlier in the week and he so wanted to show someone. So we sat on our patio, he stood by the lake edge and proceeded to do his thing. Here are some shots of the display.

I think we got to bed this morning around 2:30 am. But I woke up at 7:30, made coffee and visited Tasha on the patio. It seems like Florida weather is here for at least the next week. Wow, we’ve missed it! Tasha is doing much better. She must be on her 15th life by now.

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope all your wishes come true. We’ve given up on resolutions…