Thursday, June 28, 2012

Grands Time

Tuesday started out at the mall, but we didn't have much time before we had to pick up the kids at VBS.  The mall has changed a lot, so we'll make another trip to cover more ground another day.  The kids really wanted to go fishing again, so we picked up some worms, and that must have been the key, because here are some of the catches:

a small bass with Jack
let this little guy swim back to mom and dad
It was pretty hot, so we headed back to town to the pool and then got cleaned up for Moe's Mexican food before Joe's (Dad) softball game.

All mouths full
Getting high fives for second home run
Mom and daughter are proud

Thus ended another fabulous day.

Wednesday we had to have another bagel at Bruegger's but after that met at Camp Central (the house) and planned our day.  Mandy introduced me to an iPad game that is, as most are, totally addicting.  It's called BraveSmart if you want to check it out, but I only play it at her house or anywhere else that doesn't use our data time, because one can really play it for hours.  Two others:  Words HD Free (scrabble that you play with others) and Draw Free - kind of like pictionary that you play with others.  Haven't been able to play very much at all, just because we're so busy with the kids.

Gary and I had plans for dinner with our great friends, Dick and Diane.  Dick has recently retired (I used to work with him) and we haven't seen them since last November, so it, again, was a great reunion.  Dick BBQ'd some steak which was so exciting for Gary, for it was his first time after surgery that he has been able to eat steak.  It was delicious, and slid down with no trouble.  We barely had room for Better Than Sex Dessert - a creamy concoction of chocolate and vanilla pudding and lots of nuts - yum. 

Of course, the boys made plans to play golf, and Diane and I are going to do something together next Monday, so with hugs, we headed home.  We BARELY made it through the gates at 9:03.  They were still open because of an issue with a motorhome leaving or something, but we won't cut it that close again!

Today we arrived at 10:30 after Jack had met his new teacher.  He is enrolled in a year-round school and begins July 9.   Then we took Granny to Joy Club where she went on a "cruise" for the 'old folks', played bingo and won a pair of slippers.  Off to lunch, and then Moonlight Swirl - a frozen yogurt place that has almost any topping you can imagine and you make it yourself.  It's then weighed and you pay a per ounce amount.  Ooooo, good. 

Mandy and Joe were organizing a swim meet tonight, so we actually got home around 6:30 and had dinner outside, until the buggies were too much.  It was really warm today, like much of the central US, and promises to get even warmer tomorrow. 

Our hearts go out to those who have lost everything in the fires out west.  We hope everything gets under control as soon as possible.  Our home in Sarasota got pretty wet with Debbie going through, but not too much damage.  Every year we pray that there are no major hurricanes, but if there are, that they decide to go around us.

The fun continues...

Monday, June 25, 2012

Family Time

It has been seven months since we/ve seen our Raleigh family, so it was a joyful reunion on Saturday and we spent all day with them doing this and that.  Mostly the kids (Jack, 8 and Ainsley 4) wanted to show us stuff - their toys, projects and school things. 

Sunday was a busy, busy day.  We were up and out of our site by 8:30 to have breakfast with the family before driving to Dunn (45 minutes away) for church where Gary's mom grew up.  She now lives with our daughter in Raleigh, so it's really special for her to see her old friends every once in a while.  It is Gary's brother's birthday on Tuesday, so we met him and his daughter for lunch at Western Sizzlin.  More catching up to do among plates and plates of food.

When we got home, we took Jack with us back to our site where he hung out with us on our own private beach and tried a little fishing.  No luck.  Mom and sister arrived shortly after and we all went into the water
When the kids got tired of the water, Poppy took them fishing off the deck:

Let's go, Poppy!

Not a nibble.  By then we were all starved, so we rigged up a pot of hot water on Gary's homemade burner for some spaghetti.
Well, the spaghetti slipped down pretty quickly, and the kids were off exploring again.  I should have half that amount of energy!  The state park locks up at 9, so before long, we were gathering all the toys and stuff so they could get out in time. 

Tomorrow we need to look for shoes, and the kids have Vacation Bible School.  More fun!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Still Moving North

Wednesday we left around 9:30 and made good time to our small, sweet Colleton SP in SC, although they really need to repave the south end of I 95.  This will be the third time we were here.  Our first was on the way to the RV Dreams Rally in Longview and we had been full timing 4 days.  I'll never forget that after our Edisto River trip we were cleaning our SeaEagle, and who comes around the corner, but Howard Payne (of RV-Dreams)!  He was checking out the park, noticed our boat and walked over.  They had wanted to stay there, too,  but they don't make reservations (and I do), so it was full up.  They ended up staying across the street and having dinner with us.  So it's with fond memories, along with our favorite Ranger, Larry, that we love this park.  It is very tight for a 40' motorhome, and the first stay, I got out and walked Gary all the way to the spot.  But, now he has no trouble at all. 

Thursday was gorgeous and I sat outside and read an entire book.  That will be the last day I will have to do absolutely nothing for about four months.  So I took advantage of it.

We never sleep too well on a pre-travel evening, but the windows were open, the crickets were chirping, no street lights and a cool breeze.  Well, rock-a-bye-baby...  snooore...


Still good weather up the coast, but expecting scattered thunderstorms in NC.  Halfway there we passed South of the Border.  Stopped there once a long time ago.  Everyone needs to stop there, but once will probably be enough. 

Saw the clouds building and we hoped we'd make it in time.   It was not such a great drive today.  First of all, it was going to be hot, and then our LP detector alarm sounded, but I got that off.  Then a dash alarm sounded, and the engine temp was climbing.  We turned off the dash A/C, and it cooled right down.  Fortunately we knew where we were going, because then my MiFi quit, and I talked to Verizon while Gary was making all the right turns.  Got that working again, pulled into the Rollingview CG just as the first thunder sounded.  Because of you, Nancy and Bill, we made a reservation for spot B18 and LOVE IT!  If I roll out of bed in the morning and down the hill, I'd end up in the lake!

We set up hearing thunder in the distance and the heat was oppressive, so I wandered down the path to the lake and  - jumped in!

Yep, I was that hot.  The water was wonderful, but there were those clouds and thunder, so I had to get out.  I had certainly cooled off, though!

Dinner was serenaded by a gentle rain while the rest of the area had severe warnings. 

I think we'll sleep really well tonight.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

On the Road Again!

Thursday was our last day of work at Michelle's.  Nobody was there, not even the dogs, so we washed every slipcover, pillow cover, sheet and towel in the place.  We cleaned out the fridges, washed everything and ordered some Chinese for dinner, as we had planned to stay overnight.  Gary's last - yes, LAST  Doctor's appointment was Friday morning at Tampa General for his two week post-op checkup and check OUT.  The most important thing to Gary was to find out if it was OK to swing a golf club.  The answer was 'sure'.  I saw this big smile on his face!

Saturday I got a haircut, and my girlfriends came over to the coach for a farewell dinner.  We fit in the coach just fine, and had a ball.  It was sad to say goodbye, but we know we'll be back together again in the fall.

Sunday we got the coach all ready to leave Monday morning, but I hurt my back doing something wrong under a slide.   Oh, well, it'll get better, and I'm not seeing a Doctor.  Later that afternoon, we drove one more time up to St. Pete for a Father's Day celebration.  All six kids were there, so it was a perfect time to say goodbye to all of them.  It was just a little tearful, but with promises of FaceTime and phone calls, we are a lot better off these days then even 10 years ago.  At least the kids won't forget what we look like!  Plus we like to send them little things from places we visit which is fun for them to get in the mail.

Here's Gary with his loot.  Michelle videotaped with her phone the kids trying to pick out something for Poppy.  She gave them a spending amount, and they went to the mall.  It was hysterical to watch, as they really tried to pick out some far-out things:  an umbrella, a watch (too expensive), a hat (wrong color) and on and on.  They finally decided on a change counter bank and a pair of sunglasses.  Perfect.  Daddy picked out a couple MagLites that will really be useful!

Happy Father's Day
Lots of hugs and kisses, a couple of tears, and off we went for our drive home.

Monday was a beautiful day, except for my back.  Fortunately Gary had some leftover oxycodone that helped me sleep.  We made reservations for our return in November, turned the key in the ignition and - yes, she started.  Whew.

Our ride to Clermont Independence RV was about 2 hours and a bit, but they said they could get everything done.  The thing I was most excited about was changing some of our old incandescent and flourescent lights to LED.  Chris had done a little deal with a manufacturer, and gotten some great prices he could pass on to customers.  LEDs are a little pricey as you know, but so much nicer now that they make warm white as well as bright white.  SO much better in the baths and over the sink.  Even our bed reading lights are cooler and nicer.  We'll never have to change them, and Chris installed them for free. 

It was late when they finished their jobs, so we opted to stay on property overnight.  We filled up with propane and they parked us.  Thank goodness THEY parked us, for Gary, as good as he is with me directing him, would probably break a sweat getting into this spot.  This is a picture of the beautiful Essex ($500,000 appx.) coach we're next to.  I could have reached out the bathroom window and touched its mirror!

Reach out and touch someone
They gave us a key to the gate, told us where we could walk and where not to due to the alarm sensors, notified the police we were there and after all that, we decided we'd just hole up inside with our 50 amp, water, and new lights, and hang. 

This morning we bought a dozen donuts for the staff for being so wonderful and spending so much of their time off the books with us, and finally got rolling around 9 am.  Traffic on I 4 and  I95 is hectic, and Gary was really glad to pull into our spot in St. Augustine, set up and relax with a cold glass of tea.

We had some lunch, and headed over to the St. John Creek for Gary to throw in a line.  Here he is:

Not a Nibble

A large male muscovy came up behind me and started yelling.  Then suddenly he took off and landed in the water.

 He was angry because I was between him and his family.  Here they are all together. 

Then trouble started.  These domestic ducks jumped in the water and headed toward the mom and babies.

 Mom got scared and flew to the dock I was standing on.  The white ducks went after the babies, who were crying for their Mom.  I turned to Mom and said 'get on back in the water and help your kids!'  She flew back in and herded them under the dock.  Father played halfback until they were all safely on shore, and then I got this shot of them walking home.

 Someone told me that she had had four babies with her this morning.  No telling why the white ones would hurt the babies, but I bet that's what happened. 

Since we were up before 6 am this morning, it will be early to bed.  There's a front coming up from the Carribbean that we are racing from so will probably get an early start tomorrow, too.  We'll be in SC tomorrow at Colleton State Park in Canadys.  I hope our favorite Rangers, Larry and James, will be able to welcome us.  We'll be able to spend two days with them before heading up to NC.

But let me tell you:  I like to move it, move it.  I like to move it, move it.  Move IT!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Making Plans to Head Out

I can't believe we've been in Florida for 7 months.  Gary is in great health, finally, so we are looking forward to heading up north to visit our friends and family who have been patiently waiting for all the hundreds of healthcare professionals to say "you're good to go!"  Friday is Gary's last checkup on his surgery, and he's eating so well, he can hardly remember how it used to be.  So we surely expect a green light. 

Each month, a bunch of my friends get together at each other's homes for a little fun, food and wine.  I have been mooching off them for these past months, so I decided we all just fit into Bella for a cast-off dinner on Saturday.  We all started out living in the same neighborhood, but now only half of us is still there, but we continue to meet as we have been for 6 years now.  It's always great to catch up on each other's lives, hopes and dreams.  Gary is going to the driving range to see if he can swing a golf club again.  He has buds that are waiting for him to play in our future travels, so he thought he'd better practice a little.

Gary's Garden

We worked yesterday washing slip covers, walls and windows at Michelle's while they are on vaca in Utah.  We're going back tomorrow to finish the laundry, clean out the fridge and wash the floors. That will be our last day of work, but not our last day to see them.  We'll head up again on Father's Day for a last hug goodbye until the fall.  However, we may see them in Pigeon Forge if they can manage it. 

Removing gum from the fenders with ICE

Meanwhile, we are just sorting things out, tidying up and looking forward to this weekend.  Monday we start up Bella and drive up to Independence RV in Clermont where they have been holding on to our new ladder for 6 months.  There's an air-conditioner special we want to take advantage of, and a couple of other adjustments and check ups for Bella, and then we'll head up to northern Florida. 

I can hardly wait! 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Work and Play

Tuesday we expected to go to St. Pete to help with the children because Dad was out of town, but Michelle said she could handle them, but could we come Wednesday?

We arrived around noon, and she had decided to take them to Universal even with the threat of rain.  We would stay at the house, babysitting Henry and cleaning.  Gary didn't work very hard at all, so that meant I would hardly be able to move the next day.  But it really looked great when she arrived back home at 9:30.  It did rain hard, so they went to the movies as well as the park.

Anyhow, we finally got home at 10:15 and stayed awake to hear our son, Tristan, interview with BlogRadio at 11 pm.  That was fun.  It was a call in show, and Gary was tempted to call and ask when Tristan was planning to cut the grass (a childhood chore at our home, and standing joke). 

Last night we got some good thunderstorms that came in from the coast, and they will continue today on and off.  Our big plans are to rest and do our wash.  I took an hour to clean our entire 'house' on Tuesday.  

Thursday we had to go back to St. Pete to return Michelle's credit card that we used to pick up stuff for Henry on Wed. night.  Once again, it rained on the bridge, but it was good to see the kids to kiss them goodbye.  If we leave here on the 18th, we won't see them again.  So, just in case, we said our goodbyes. 

Today was a do-whatever day - I love those days.   A whole day to do whatever you want and our fun included soup at Panera (Gary sniffed the bagels as he's not allowed one yet) and then browsing at Barnes and Noble's.  Gary's been looking for a new cap as his Margaritaville one has just about fallen apart.  Edwin Watt's Golf Store was next door to B&N, so we popped in there.  Way back in the corner he found the hat he has been looking for.  Here is my honey sporting his new cap:

ready for the course
We stopped for ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery (it's on Gary's diet - not mine) and the girls behind the counter gave us and another couple a singing debut.  They were so cute singing R-E-S-P-E-C-T from behind the counter.  We gave them a big tip.

Storms are again in the area and it is pitch black out there (it's only 7 pm), with lots of thunder, but no rain just yet.  One thing we all hate in our lifestyle is hail, right? 

Anyhow, it's coming for us, so I'm going to sign off now before we lose power or something.  Yikes, lightning really close.  goood byyyeee!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Coming Home

The forecast was for storms coming up from the south west today up and down the west coast.  But it was dry when I left for St. Pete for my couple of hours with the grands.  It started raining lightly at Rte 275 but when I got to the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, the heavens opened and it rained so hard it was hard to see.  It never stopped raining, although it eased up a bit.  Turning on to Michelle's main road, the water was up to my hubs and over the curbs like a lake.  I was literally wading through water (just what the Weathermen say NOT to do).  But, hey, I'm in a Jeep, right?  Made it, no problem.

We all played Monopoly and did well until the 5 year old decided he was bored.  Then we played puzzles, then chess, then back to Monopoly.  Then dad came home and I was on my way to the hospital to see if my hubby was allowed to escape.  Yep, he was up and unhooked from everything.  We just needed the last OK from Dr. V, and we could leave.  Of course, that took 2 hours, so I ended up grabbing a salad from the cafeteria and Gary had some jello, soup and pudding.  Meanwhile I was making up a list of 'soft foods' that he could eat for two weeks. 

The rain had mostly cleared up, and we only got some sprinkles on the way home.  I tucked him in, and went to Walmart to get the food on my list.  It's been a long time since I've bought baby food...

At 2:30 he needed a little medication for the pain, but after I mashed up a pill and gave it to him in applesauce, he slept fine.  Saturday we hung around close to home.  Here's a little stowaway:

Sunday was pretty and very warm.  A couple weeks back I had ordered an awning shade advertised on RV  A special offer for a black 20x8 shade with 4 spiral tiedown stakes, 4 ball bungees, 4 patio stakes, and 7 patio light holders for $39.00.  I had to pay shipping for $22.00, but it was still cheaper than Camping World with all the accessories and larger, too.  It was delivered Wednesday and today we went to pick it up from our friend.   Here we are putting it together and it was EASY! 

sliding in the s-hook clips

screwing in the anchors

We probably won't leave it up all day as we're supposed to get 20 mph winds, but it really helps keep it cool under there.  It's so large (20 feet) that it covers our chairs and picnic table, too.  Neat!

Well, time for bed.  Thanks for checking up on us!