Thursday, April 22, 2010

Treatment and catching up

Stix n Brix

Gin is resting now after her treatment. I have sneaked in a little nap also. It's not any fun for me to change from night shift to day shift all the time but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it's not a train! I think it's... a motorhome!

Speaking of MH, the spring to fix the lazy jack has not arrived at the dealer yet. I was a little upset but what can ya do. I wonder how upset and disenchanted I will be when we full-time and it's time for service. I know the world doesn't revolve around us, but when we called the service department in early April, he said he was going to order the spring so he could fix it on April 21. He now says it's on back order and MAY be in on the 27th. Somehow I think he waited a few days to order it. Thankfully it isn't absolutely necessary to have it fixed to still go rving.

On a much lighter note, I got buzzed this morning by a hummingbird. He fussed at me some. He must remember our feeder from last year. I pulled it out of the pantry and put out some fresh nectar for our tiny feathered friends. It's the kind of feeder that suctions to the window. I put it right at the breakfast nook so we'll have visitors while we eat our meals.

Yesterday, Gin put the hullavators together and we put them on the Suki. It looks like a moose now with the racks on top but it will be easier for us to put the yaks up there after a few hours of paddling. We adjusted it and tried it out. My arms are a little bruised because I was trying to lift the boat totally wrong. We had a gentle rain so I'm sure that the weed n feed is working good on the lawn. I guess I'll have to cut the grass more often now. What was I thinking.

Well it's gonna be a long week end of work for me but it's only about 15 months left. I know how quickly the past year has gone so I know the time will fly by. And yes we have so much to do...yard sales, paint the house, power wash the fence, craigslist a few things, and almost forgot...enjoy life. ;)

Monday, April 19, 2010

New look and treatment

Stix n Brix

Well does it look different or what.  I made the comment to Gin a few weeks back that I was getting more comfortable with the blog but I wish that the layout was more of a full page.  After going to a geeks on tour seminar at the rally, she decided to surprise me while I was at work.  She is a consummate Ms Fixit of all things.  :)  She found the template and set it up while I added the color.  She then found the picture of Wanda and Suki to add a more personalized look.  We'll probably update that later.  Photos are definitely one thing that I am not comfortable with yet, but I'm working at it.  Picasa looks so easy but I learn by repetition and practice.  I just need more time.

Gin got a call from her doctor's office and they were able to work out a solution with Biogen, the company that makes the drug for her treatment.  She goes in Thursday so this will keep her close to her schedule.  The drug Tysabri doesn't cure MS, but it does give her a better quality of life.  It is a dangerous drug though so she wants to do it right.

Well I've got to go to work tonight.  Only 465 more days but who's counting.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

HMO's and being sick

Stix n Brix

Well it turned out that Gin didn't have her treatment.  Her Medicaid coverage recently changed.  For some governmental reason, she has to go to a new general practitioner before she can go to her treatments or see her neurologist that she has been going to for over 20 years.  I guess it's a kind of HMO.  So now she'll go to her new doc in the middle of May.  Her last treatment was in early March and it should be done every four weeks.  The doctor's offices couldn't just discuss this over the phone to make an exception.  Sure hope she doesn't have to go through this every month.  This new HMO set up has her stressing about our dream to go full-time next fall.  Medicare is Federal coverage and shouldn't be much of a problem but Medicaid is State coverage.  They pay what Medicare doesn't cover.  Her treatments and prescriptions are expensive.  We feel a little frustrated but what can you do.

So instead of treatment on Thursday, we spent the day doing yard work.  Gin burned off a little bit of yard debris while I cut the grass, edged the driveway and sidewalk, moved a woodpile, put down some concrete blocks to park the mower on and laid out some new sod in the front yard so that it will hopefully look better next year when we put the house on the market.  I was sore but it now looks like someone actually lives here.  I had a very bad night Thursday night.  I woke up about 1:30 very, very sick.  I never throw up, well maybe once every 20 years or so.  This time, it was both.  I was up the rest of the night and I didn't know whether to sit on the toilet or hug it for dear life.  I was so weak Friday that I even called out of work Friday night.  I feel much better now but definitely not 100%.   I plan to go to work tonight.  Sometimes ya just gotta do it.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Back Home

Stix n Brix

Yesterday was overcast which is the best day for traveling.  As we prepared to leave, we got a pleasant surprise.  The lazy jack worked!  That meant that Gin didn't have to waller on her back to push it up.  I still plan to take it in to have a new spring put on it so it'll work better.  It was an uneventful 3 hours on the road and it was a roundtrip total of 318 miles.

Today is Gin's treatment day.  It has been about 6 weeks since her last one so her energy level is real low.  I know it took a lot out of her to go to so many seminars at the rally, but she (we) thoroughly enjoyed it.  It's also my day to cut grass for the first time this year.  I have let the yard go a bit so now I must pay the price to get it back in shape.  There are roses blooming on ugly bushes, and asparagus sprouts past their prime. 

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Willow Tree RV Resort (Longs, SC)

Longs, SC
Willow Tree Resort site #8

Willow Tree is a beautiful park that was built about 8 years ago.  It was done right.  All the sites are wide and long with paved parking and concrete patios.  Most of them are pull-throughs.  I’m glad we got the rally rate for 7 nights.  In the 1980’s, the lake was actually a quarry so the water is very clear and cool since it’s about 35-40 feet deep.  They quarried coquina which is a type of limestone rock.  They have a very nice paved path around the lake with a nature trail in the woods.  They also have several birdhouses for bluebirds and swallows.  There is a resident pair of Canada Geese here.  Yep, that’s Wanda the MH in the background.

Apparently they can’t read too good.

We finished up Sunday by going to a campfire at Howard and Linda’s along with the rest of the dreamers that were left in the park.  Denny played his guitar and sang a few songs for everyone and we all enjoyed talking and dreaming.

Monday we slept late and enjoyed the kayaks on the water.  It is amazingly clear and a beautiful blue hue.  It has been some chamber of commerce weather the whole week.  Gin enjoyed fishing even if they didn’t bite.  After a while, I paddled toward her so we could chat.  The front point of my yak knocked her rod out of the holder and we watched the rod drift down away from us through that clear blue water.  What cha gonna do.  :(  These pics were taken by Paul, another rv dreamer that left Tuesday morning.

We finished off Monday night with a campfire at Gene and Jinny’s.  It was nice to be able to just chat with them for a while.  They are from New York and are getting ready for the road in the future also.  They seem like a good match for each other as are most rvers.  When you live in close quarters, it’s a good thing to be able to get along with your mate.

Tuesday was another beautiful day and I took some time to take some photos around the park.  There is a kildeer sitting on her four eggs and it’s interesting to watch her.  She protects them by running away from the nest and acting injured.

There are also a few loons that like it on the lake.  Every time I tried to get a photo with one of them in it, they would go under for a fish.  This is a shot of the four cottages that are across from us…

and the office complex where the swimming pool, laundry, and exercise rooms are.

There is some nice landscaping around also.  We like this park and maybe we can stay here a month in the off season to get the good rates.  It’s close enough to North Myrtle Beach but still very remote.

We enjoyed a late lunch in Calabash, NC at Ella's and took a nap after we got back.  We noticed a nice boat landing on the way there into the black water of the Waccamaw River.  It was calling for us.  :)  We visited a bit with Lee and Martha, the only other rv dreamers still here.  We are leaving on Wednesday while they are leaving on Thursday.  We did the usual packing of the outside stuff to get ready for the road in the morning.  It always saddens us and this time is even harder because we had so much fun with some wonderful people.

As Gin as been known to say, stay focused on what’s ahead and the rest will follow.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

More Rally

Longs, SC
Willow Tree Resort site #8

It’s just been so busy in a good way.  Friday was a full day at the rvdreams rally.  We went to the morning seminars by Howard on buying an rv, boondocking, and working on the road.  At some point in time when we finally full-time, we plan on doing some type of volunteering for a campsite.  We may not need the money, but it would be nice to give back.  Gin stayed at the rig in the afternoon to fix the ham for the potluck while I went to the Picasa seminar put on by the Geeks on Tour.  It sounds so easy but it would take me a while to get used to it.  We enjoyed a delicious meal and a hilariously funny game of rv family feud afterwards.

Gin was a little sluggish Saturday morning so she skipped the first class on rv weight safety put on by Walter Cannon of RVSEF.  He also did a class on tire safety and Howard finished the morning with a class on choosing campgrounds.  We also got a handout about packing your rv for full-timing.  We had a quick lunch and came back to another class by the Geeks on Tour about setting up a blog.  Yes the hardest thing about it is coming up with something to say.  :)  Then it was open rig walk-through.  It was kinda like speed-dating or scavenger hunting because you wanted to see as many rigs as you could and talk with the people.  We ended the day with a nice catered meal of steak and shrimp and a sock hop.  Yep almost everyone shook their booty…even us.  Gin even danced right out of her leg brace.  It must have been at least 15 years since we danced like that.  And of course, we never remember to take the camera.

This morning there was an early farewell breakfast.  We made it and I was surprised that most of the dancers were there too.  We have thoroughly enjoyed our time here and we learned a few things at the seminars and talking with the other dreamers.  The main thing was indeed the people.  Everyone is so very friendly.  I took Smudge for a nice long walk and the park is much emptier but many are here for a day or two longer.  It will be a long 16 months until retirement but having something to look forward to will make it go by real fast.
We did take the camera to the breakfast so here’s a shot of Howard and Linda during the farewell song.


It was a nice banquet hall with just the right amount of people at the rally to have fun.  Maybe we can come back to another one before long.  Full-timing will come around sooner than we think.  A campfire at H&L’s is planned for those of us still here.


Thursday, April 8, 2010

Rally Day 2

Longs, SC
Willow Tree Resort site #8

So we hit the ground running this morning.  We're not used to seeing the sunrise when we are rving but we had a beautiful one this morning.  I stepped out the door to take Smudge for a stroll and it was glowing through the clouds over the small lake.  This is a nice CG and I'm glad we got the rally rate of 30 bucks a night.  The place is full but it's not just rv-dreamers.

We went to the morning seminars on the emotional aspects of full-timing, selecting a home base and insurance considerations, and the cost of full-timing.  Since the afternoon seminars were about tv options and high speed internet, we didn't go.  Gin certainly has us covered on those topics.  We took the afternoon to spend a little time relaxing, walking the dog, and fixing the Google Chili for the chili cook-off tonight.  I went ahead and made some brownies for Friday's potluck.

It was once again a fun evening.  There were 16 crock-pots of chili and fixins and it was all gone by the end of the evening.  My cheeks hurt and my belly is sore so I know I did my share of laughing.  The rv gadget that we shared was the flowbee hair cutting system.  Another couple there was already familiar with it.  Dan has been cutting his hair with it for 20 years also.  Tomorrow will be some more informative classes and socializing afterward with a potluck dinner.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Longs, SC
Willow Tree Resort site #8

We arrived at Willow Tree today around 1:00, got a bite to eat, and went to the RV Dreams social and checked in for the rally.  This is a really nice campground but as Howard noted, it is in the middle of nowhere to be so close to Myrtle Beach.  I had to trust the tom-tom when we got close, so the last 15 minutes took us 30 minutes of driving.  We rode our bikes around the big pond.  It's 1 mile around.  Our site is waterfront.  We may get the kayaks in the water tomorrow afternoon if the weather is nice.

There was a "small world"  moment at check-in when I noticed a couple that had the last name of Rommel.  They were from NC so I asked them if they had a son in Raleigh.  They did.  I work at the same place as their son.  I guess that's not quite as "small world" as a couple of years ago when we were at the NC Outerbanks.  I saw a camper and truck from Maine that had a Raleigh thin blue line sticker.  I asked the couple about it and their son worked with me also.  Maine.  Small world.

We had a catered dinner and social time.  We met Jim and Linda that have a blog that I have followed for quite some time.  Sitting at our table were James and Tonya.  They are from Jacksonville, NC and have lived in their 5er for 4 years while he finishes his time with the military.  He retires this summer and they hit the road.  Also at our table were Sherry and David.  They made their maiden voyage here in a 2004 Winnebago Brave 34 ft.  They had posted it on the rvdreams forum and we posted that we had a rig very much like theirs.  They were hoping to meet us and we will gladly show them some things that Gin did to make the rig a little better.

It is an interesting blend of folks here.  Most are not full-timers yet.  Several don't even have rv's.  But we all seem to know how to enjoy each others company.  We plan to go to some seminars in the morning so I better get some beauty sleep.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Going with the flow

Stix n Brix

It was a very nice visit with both families but we sure could tell that the "great northern migration" of snow birds was in full flight.  We were on I95 and the traffic was terrible.  I made the comment that I enjoy posting on the blog when we camp because I usually have something to write about whereas the time between trips can be a bit dull.  Well that must have been an omen, because late last night, Gin heard water running under the house as we were getting ready for bed.  We grabbed a flashlight and went in the crawlspace to take a look.  A pressure tank had rusted through and was spraying water all over the place.  Luckily, it looked like it had just happened so we turned off the water to the house.  Timing is everything.  So Easter Sunday we went to Lowes and Gin installed a new tank.  All is well.  I'm so thankful that she knows how to do so many things.

That changed our plans for the day.  We put some food in the MH in preparation for our trip Wednesday to SC.  The pollen is just so thick right now that we want to wait to wash her as late as possible.  We did try a different setup for the hitch but that didn't look like it would work too well.  I needed to move the MH to try to hook up the Suki and that's when we found out that the jack under the driver's seat is not working.  It has always been a lazy jack but we now have to raise it manually.  We did this 3 or 4 times and it still didn't improve.  We'll carry our poles and blocks with us and take her to the dealer when we get back.  Hopefully it won't take long to fix it and it won't cost too much.

I've got a couple of work days ahead of me and I know Gin will be busy getting the last minute things ready.  We have already learned to take things as they come and roll with it.  Life is too short to worry about things too much.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Fortune Cookies

 Stix n Brix NC

I don't think I've yet mentioned the reason I chose the by line of "find beauty in the ordinary".  It's kind of corny how I stumbled upon it.  Perhaps it stumbled upon me.  I enjoy reading the little sayings in fortune cookies.  A few years ago, I was going through a little stress at work and I opened a cookie.  It said, "You have the ability to find beauty in the ordinary.  May you never lose it."  For some reason, it struck a chord with me and helped me calm down and put life in perspective.  I listened to the song of birds, smelled the flower blossoms, felt the gentle breezes, and enjoyed the sights of what I had ignored because I was just so accustomed to them.  I felt more alive and at ease with myself.  Oddly enough, I opened another cookie a few months after that which simply said, "You will find beauty in the ordinary."  It stumbled upon me and has become my mantra.

Yesterday I opened another cookie.  It said, "The change you started already has far-reaching effects.  Be ready."  This reflects well on our current place in life.  We are looking forward to the full-time life but know that we have a lot ahead of us this year as we thin the house.  Some times those sayings are spot on.

This is Easter week end and we will be spending time with Gin's family and also with mine.  It's nice to be close enough to spend a few hours with each family.  We'll then get ready for the rv-dreams rally in SC so we can learn more about the full-time lifestyles.