Thursday, May 31, 2012

Almost There

We drove today in some rain but not bad enough to cause a problem. We also hit a few construction zones but the delays were all westbound. Good news for us.

We arrived in Terre Haute which put us in EDT as soon as we drove over the state line. We pulled into the KOA for the night. This is a nicely treed park with good sized spots. However I feel the $49 price is way out of line for the burgeoning metropolis of Terre Haute not to mention it has no sewers and the wifi won't stay connected. I just gave up and put my own on. The average price of a spot is more in the $30 range.

We paid $40 in Durant, free at the city park in Chanute and $30 in Columbia. The law of averages will work it out in the end I suppose.

We did our "RVers Run" to WalMart in the rain and came home to fix dinner. We have about 140 miles left to Cincinnati where we will stay until next Thursday.

This has been a hop, skip and jump sort of trip. We are in no hurry and Ted has decided he wants to only drive about 5 hours a day. That works for me!

Columbia, MO

We went to the motel to check in after being invited back to the 4 o'clock Happy Hour.  I had a headache trying hard to turn into a migraine and I didn't want to chance sitting in the bright sun which is a trigger for me.  So Ted went over by himself and called later to say everyone was going to dinner.  I sent him on with the other five couples and stayed behind. 

Apparently there was a bad storm through the night and neither Ted nor I heard a thing.  I guess it was a blessing we were in the motel and not the trailer like the rest of the folks.

We had breakfast at the motel and then went back to the factory where Judy and Greg and Linda and Paul were waiting also.  Eventually both their rigs were ready and after handshakes and hugs, they took off.  We will see them in Michigan in August. 

Ed the salesman came to get us.  He wanted to show us the 2012 version of our 2008.  It was laid out exactly like ours but it only had a queen bed, minimal medicine storage in the bathroom and I wasn't crazy about the couch.  It did however have the new shades, electric cord reel, cherry wood and a 44" TV.  But at $106,000 we'll hang on to our current one for a few more years.

This was our rigs' second bi-annual check up.  We also needed the floor repaired where a screw underneath the slide gouged the floor when one of the "feet" cracked.  They had three boards left in Amrstrong Butterscotch, just enough to fix the floor without having to replace the whole thing.  The extra time was having to tip out the slide to replace the foot.  The slide has been working OK but they were concerned it would put undue pressure somewhere and hang the slide up at some point.  Thus the added time.

Our first check up was at no cost.  This one was $700.  We are still pleased with NuWa and the HitchHiker product quality, workmanship and service.  If we ever opt to get a new trailer, it will be another HitchHiker Champagne.

Ours wasn't done by noon so that meant we had to wait for them to return from lunch so we went into town to eat too.  The food was really good, came quickly and we so enjoyed watching everyone greet one another because in this small town everyone knows one another.

We were able to take off about 1:30 and drove north to Kansas City and then east to Columbia.  We have stayed here at Cottonwood several times before.  It is an excellent campground and we were glad it was at a good stopping point for us.

We opted to not unhook and just eat in.  Television is boring with all the reruns so we turned in early.  I was up before 6 and am showered and ready waiting for Ted to get up.  He has to drive so I never wake him; he'll wake up when he's had enough sleep.

I did make a reservation for tonight in Terre Haute, IN.  We will drive out of Missouri, through St. Louis and across Illinois and be at the western edge of Indiana by this afternoon.  From there the drive into Cincinnati isn't bad.  We'll just go through Indianapolis along the way.

It feels as if we've been on the road for awhile but it has been less than a week.  We so easily get back into the RVing lifestyle.

The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” ~ St. Augustine

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Memorial Day in Chanute, KS

We enjoyed our time at Choctaw but were on the road before 8 again on Monday morning. Traffic was light and we went through Tulsa with no problems arriving in Chanute about 1 pm. Greg and Judy were at the campground and said happy hour was at 4 o'clock and we would go out to dinner afterwards. We had a nice visit with them and two other couples, both of them leaving today while we and Greg were just arriving for service. We called it a night early because we had to be at the factory at 7 am.

Lots of folks were up early, hooking up and heading to the Service Department. Several rigs pulled into the bays and once everyone had talked to their technician, we all went to the Grain Bin for breakfast and then back to the factory to take the tour. When Ed saw it was all of us, he showed us the new units and pointed out new amenities since we've all seen them made and know their quality features.The partial and full body paint looks really good but at $12,000 for the upgrade I doubt we will ever imbibe in that feature. We did look at a new rig but it was just a newer version of ours and the one difference was not enough medicine chest space in the bathroom. Other than that it was the same as we have so no sense changing right now.

We will spend tonight in a motel because they won't be finished with our trailer. I think it will be done but something with the slide has to dry so it needs to sit overnight. There sre three motels across the street so we'll just go there.

If the trailer is ready by noon as promised we will head to Columbia, MO for overnight. If it gets late we'll just spend another night and head to IL for overnight. Either way we hope to arrive in Cincinnati sometime Friday either early or late.

We have an invitation to John and Sherry's on Friday night and Cindy and Tim's on Saturday. Ted will probably go to the Enquirer lunch on Monday and my grade school group is meeting Wednesday night.

Thursday we will head to Michigan to get settled before the weekend troops arrive at Addison Oaks. We are staying there for a month. Lots will be going on.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Our 7th Summer Out

Besides lunch with Suzy on Friday and church on Saturday, the weekend was spent loading the trailer and getting ready to leave.

I do have news though, Chris's parents house is sold and they are moving about 5 miles away. I guess he'll have to drive to any free meals mom prepares. It is not impacting our arrangement. Rebecca forgot to mention the sale to me.

We left a little before 8 this morning and arrived in Durant, OK about 1:00. This is a nice campground associated with the Choctaw Casino. We spent awhile getting everything in its proper place and then called for the shuttle to the casino. The buffet opened at 4:00 and we had not eaten anything and were both hungry. They gave us $7 each off the buffet price. They also gave us $10 free play money. After eating what was a quite good buffet I played the slots and Ted played video poker. When I had won $50 I put the money in my purse and went to find Ted. He was down about $7 and was ready to leave. The best way to double your money is to fold it in half and put it in your pocket. It is even better when you are using someone else's money.

Tomorrow we hope to arrive in Chanute about the same time as we did here today . Ted learned our friends Judy and Greg are also there for a maintenance appointment and we are looking forward to seeing them and spending some time together.

A big thank you to all our servicemen and women who know better than anyone that freedom is not free. We salute you.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Enjoying This Weather ... But The Heat Is Coming

We've had delightful weather since our return from France but now the temps are heating up.  The 90s are knocking at the door so we'll be glad to head north on Sunday.

Last weekend we ended up going out to dinner with Terry & Carol after church.  On Sunday Ted was up at 7:00 to head to the gun club where he was to referee a sporting clays event and prepare lunch for his own league which has just finished up.  They were going to share the brisket the club was serving at the event they were hosting.  Around 8:00 I got a panic phone call from him.  Seems the brisket was not taken out of the freezer and Mike had 40 lbs. of frozen meat that needed to be ready in three hours.  There were also beans to cook but they would be no problem.

Ted had taken my crockpot and big roaster for his own lunch preparations so I gave them my best thoughts on how to get the meat defrosted and ready for serving by noon.  It all worked out but Ted said he never shot a single round all day.

He came home with his roaster and crockpot to clean just as I was walking out the door to meet Mary Ann and the dinner group for Dining Out.  Again there was an entire table of unaccompanied ladies.  Society is really a "couples" thing and we all should take more time to be inclusive of single people in our groups.  No one seemed to think anything about my appearance at two different events without Ted.

Monday was my bunco group and I had lots of errands afterward.  Make a bank deposit, vote in the primary, mail a package at the post office, buy another box (for the base of the lamp) and buy a few greeting cards.  The day was pretty much shot when I got home but we had lots of leftovers in the refrigerator for dinner.

I worked my last two hours for this season at the thrift shop on Tuesday.  Ted was going shooting so Gerre picked me up and we went out to dinner.  Today our Geneaology Genies are meeting at her house and this afternoon we are driving our friends to the airport for a flight to attend the Indy 500.  I'm glad I left Thursday free because it gives me time to go to the hair and nail salon before we head out.

Suzy and I are having lunch on Friday to go over her Forum Work Schedule for next season.  She too won't be here in August for the sign up so we are having a friend do it for us.  Of course Peggy needs to know where we want to work and that's what we'll put together over lunch.  I recruited Suzy but have been gone so much I feel like I dumped her into the middle of Forum and abandoned her.  She said "not at all" and has enjoyed meeting the new Provisionals (this year's class of inductees).  It is Rebecca's day to clean but I'll pay her before I leave and she knows how to lock up if I'm not back before she leaves.  She and I have been playing Words With Friends and that keeps us in pretty close contact chatting while playing.

The lamp is now boxed in two separate boxes stacked on Chris' bed.  They will go in the back seat of the truck so will be the last things packed.  Chris won't come down until after we leave early Sunday so his bed will be cleared off and ready for him.  I asked Rebecca why she thought her in-laws house had not sold.  She thinks it is because they have not updated the house beyond the "basics" that were used when it was built.  People want granite or solid surface kitchens, hardwood floors, crown molding, etc. in homes today.  I wish them luck over the summer.  They don't plan to move far so Chris housesitting won't be a problem.

Next stop - Durant, OK.

On the road again, I can't wait to get on the road again ♫ ~ Willie Nelson

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Zeroing In

Well I've been gathering up what I think I need for the summer.  I paid the lawn guys and RV storage rent ahead and everything else is taken care of through credit cards and on-line payments.  Both our license plates will expire 9/1 so we will need those stickers as soon as we get back.  Gerre has our insurance info copies and signed checks.  That will allow her to send off the registrations when they arrive and the stickers will be here when we get home.  The Estimated Tax Coupon is packed.  I was in France 4/17 so that payment was a few days late since we didn't return until 4/19.  Hmmm ... I wonder what a 2-day penalty is?  Note to Self:  Check with Tim Geithner.

My niece had called after their visit here and asked us to go back to one of the antique stores to get a lamp her husband had admired.  Ted did that and I had to buy a box to pack the Tiffany-style shade.  It is a foot high and two feet across.  They also wanted Hubble & Hudson pancake mix that they enjoyed while here.  Then their daughter-in-law announced their baby due in October is a girl and the shower is after we leave Cincinnati.  I went off to get a present so I can leave it with them for the shower.  Check, check and check!

With three daughters and three granddaughters, there is a lot of shifting around of clothes so I gathered what needed to go to Michigan and that is ready.  Up next will be our clothes.  We take bang around clothes and nicer for visiting and church.  We also carry Ted's suit and a good outfit for me ... just in case.  In 2009 Ted's nephew was killed in a motorcycle accident and we had to leave the RV and travel to the funeral.  We were glad to have the proper attire with us and our carry-on piece of luggage.  We travel with that in case Ted has to fly somewhere for work.  Each year we seem to remember needing a little bit more.

The last thing I do is pack the food.  I take everything that is in the refrigerator and freezer making sure we have something for our travel days.  Once we stop for an extended period, I go to the grocery.

With busy Wednesday over, Thursday I headed to the country club for the Installation Luncheon for Newcomers.  There was a nice turnout and the speaker did an excellent job detailing her food and travel journalism career with just enough personal stories to make it fun and interesting.  With food prices escalating like they are, it is getting hard for the club to hold the line on the price of the lunches.  An increase may be needed for next year. 

Ted was asked to shoot in a charity event for Elves and More on Friday, a group that provides hundreds of bikes for children at Christmas.  We had no idea when he would be home so I went to Wind Down by myself.  Turns out there were lots of us without our husbands for different reasons and we had a good time sitting around the kitchen table.  These events can get quite crowded so if you are lucky enough to get a seat, you usually keep it.

Today we will be preparing for Ted's last league luncheon that will be held tomorrow and we'll go to church late this afternoon.  While he is off doing that I will attend Dining Out.  Mary Ann is a recent widow so she and I decided we would be each other's date.  With Ted not showing up twice in one weekend, the rumor mill may start!

Next week is busy everyday but Thursday and Saturday.  Since we intend to pull out early Sunday, I'll be very busy those two days tying up any loose ends.

"There is only one thing worse in this world than being talked about and that is not being talked about."   ~ Oscar Wilde


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My "catching up" is running into my "planning ahead"

I seem to be tieing up loose ends on one hand and getting ready to leave again on the other.  All I know is that it never stops. 

We went to church Saturday then to play Canasta.  Ted and I won high couple and got our $10 back.  We had a good time seeing everyone.  We try to attend as many activities as possible in May because many things stop for the summer. 

Sunday being Mother's Day we had two opportunities to go out to eat but I knew every place would be very busy so we opted to have Terry & Carol over for a brisket Ted smoked and avoid the crowds.  I received cards, gifts and calls from all the girls.  It was a nice day.

I had to play Canasta again on Monday afternoon and for dinner we met Gus and Melissa (the last fellow I worked for before leaving Celanese) who are in town staying with their son.  We enjoyed a three hour dinner and Gus picked up the tab because we had them to our house for dinner last time.  Ted tried to split the bill with him but he wouldn't have it.  We hope to see them again in Michigan while up there this summer.

Today I was scheduled to work two hours at the thrift shop but ended up staying for four.  There had been a big push to get all the summer stuff out so we spent today getting winter clothes out of storage bins and preparing them for the fall.  We had to tag, size and color coordinate them on racks where they will stay until they are taken downstairs for final inspection and being put out for sale.  That frees up the storage bins and shelf space for the next onslaught of contributions.  I am filling in for Jill next Tuesday so she can attend the luncheon given for those in charge of service projects.  Those will be my final hours and I will finish the year at 55.5.  Whew!  I just made it past my required 50.

Tomorrow is the Newcomers end of year luncheon with installation of officers and acknowledgement of Activity Chairs.  I think I have been around in that capacity longer than any other Chair.  My group started in October 2001 and we are still going strong.  It should be a nice ending to the year.  The new officers will be working hard all summer getting our Annual Tea and activities ready for next fall.

Of course there are things on for next weekend too and I'm looking at my calendar wondering how I am going to get the RV ready to roll.  There are several things I need to take to folks up north, paperwork to take with me, clothes, food, maps and camping books, etc.  I have next Thursday and Saturday open and I intend to keep them like that so I don't forget something important.

We almost had a new housesitter this summer.  A couple we know is between houses but now appear to be moving in around July 1 so Chris breathed a big sigh of relief when we told him they wouldn't need our house.  He so looks forward to his "bachelor" time alone away from Mom and Dad.  In today's economy there are lots of adult children living at home again.  It's a win-win situation for all of us.

Ted is in Dallas and I intend to get a lot accomplished tomorrow.  Wish me luck.

"Always gotta keep busy or the voices start telling me to do wild things." ~ Steve Brown

Friday, May 11, 2012

Back on the Ground

We used to fly all over when Ted was working.  He racked up 3,000,000 miles on Northwest during his career and that kept us in frequent flyer miles for years.  Those miles have dwindled down to a precious few now so I was happy to see I've earned enough on my own account for a free ticket.  We did use a chunk of his for our one-way fares to Rome in the fall.  He's not out of points but his total isn't all that impressive anymore.  And this past trip we enjoyed flying into and out of Flint, MI.  Much like Lexington, Sarasota and Daytona Beach that we've used over the past year, it is so stress free compared to the big airports.  But now we're home with no flying scheduled for awhile.

I kept Wednesday free to get caught up, but Ted joined the fellows in our neighborhood for their monthly luncheon. Thursday I had a dentist appointment and then attended the ladies' neighborhood luncheon.  We both like to attend these when we can to stay abreast of what is going on around us.  And we have great neighbors and enjoy their company.

Today was the Junior Forum Installation Luncheon.  As part of the Social Committee I needed to arrive by 8 a.m. to help set up the room.  These gals never fail to impress me with their creativity and imagination.  I had helped last week with the name tags and programs so I knew the color scheme.  I didn't know what the centerpieces would look like nor what the skit would be.  I wasn't disappointed!

We had over 150 members attend the luncheon.  What impresses me most is when they introduce those who have taken on leadership roles, almost the entire room is standing.  Our group has donated more than 250,000 volunteer hours over the past 30 years.

Our incoming president, Penny, is a nurse by profession and her introduction and that of the first few new Board Members were plays on words in the health care line but then a stack of papers was given to the outgoing president to read while at the podium and she took Penny to task for her "secret life." Penny is a Biker. She and her husband ride Harleys. All the presenters on stage turned into Biker Babes and the music changed to suit that theme. The rest of the Board Members were introduced in an entirely different vein than the first few and they received their "biker" hat. We all had a lot of fun with the rest of the program.

We had a great lunch, acknowledgement of a tremendous amount of people and an all around good time.  I won the centerpiece (it was fixed so I would!).
Tomorrow night is Canasta and Sunday I'll start thinking about what all I'll need to get ready for over the summer.  Thngs are winding down but I still have several things on my calendar so gettng ready to roll will be done a little at a time.
"I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve." ~ Albert Schweitzer

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Spring - For The Fifth Time

We experienced spring down in the Rio Grande Valley while there in February.  Then we came home to spring in our own yard.  We arrived in southern France for one more go at it and as we traveled to Paris we enjoyed the flowers and trees blooming along the way.

We arrived in Michigan Thursday for another enjoyment of the trees budding, the lilacs blooming and spring once more in the air.

On Friday Kristin arrived here from Florida and we picked her up at the airport.  Sam had a baseball game that we all attended.  He had an exciting night getting a run, getting hit by a pitch and making a great catch at second base when bases were loaded.

We all had things to do Saturday morning.  Allen took Sam to ball practice, Kara took Morgan with her to the hairdresser and Ted and I picked up the cake and delivered it along with photos and certificates for display to the restaurant.

Because Allen was the lector and Ted & I were communion distributors, we were seated in the first row.  All the children looked great in their good clothes.

Ted served the host to Morgan and I served her the wine.  Because we were on the side and not the middle, the number of First Communicants coming to us was less than when we served at Sam's Mass two years ago.

There was a private party room reserved at Dave & Buster's for 50 people after Mass.  Besides dinner, everyone received $10 play cards for the arcade. We all either gave our cards to one of the kids or gave the tickets won to Morgan.  She ended up with almost 8,000 points and had a good time choosing gifts.

Today everyone came for dinner and to watch Morgan open her gifts.  Kara is taking Kristin to the airport and I'm helping Sam with spelling words and vocabulary.  Tomorrow everyone goes back to school or work except us.  We'll find something to do I have no doubt.