Christmas 2016

Christmas Eve
I was having a tough time here at Christmas.  It was my first time being away from family and friends.  I was even having a hard time finding a local church that I enjoyed.  I was floundering and I was getting a little depressed.  Honestly, a girl could only take so much rain and all it ever seems to do is rain in Hot Springs, AR.  I had to get out and about so we were heading to Lowes and we took a wrong turn on a back road.  It wound all over and around.  I thought we were leaving the state and then we passed a small Methodist Church.  The church was advertising their Christmas Eve service at 5:30 pm.  My heart started to melt and I knew this was the church.
We came for the Christmas Eve service to a congregation of about 25 people total and that included the reverend.  It was a very traditional service, but well served.  We were asked to stay for some refreshments afterwards and to visit for a bit.  We sat with the Reverend John Walker and his lovely wife.  We made small talk of where we were from, how we like the area and such.  The reverend was well into his eighties, but well spoken and articulate.  He explained that this was his first church out of seminary school.  He met his wife, of 60 years, from this church and they retired to this church.  Interesting how life can come full circle.  The table started to clear and Don was heading for the desserts that the ladies of the church made.
Then it was just the reverend and I sitting at the table.  I told the reverend that this was my first Christmas away from my family.  I was trying not to cry, but my eyes were watering a bit.  The reverend shook his head and said that I must be all out of sorts.  I shook my head in return.  Then the reverends eyes stared to water.  He explained that last Christmas they lost a son.  We chatted about the pains of missing family and of loss.  We were both out of sorts for different reasons this Christmas.
Sadly, we will be leaving in less than a week and not returning to this lovely little church.  I always believe that God puts people and places into your life when you need them the most.  I needed that church and Reverend Walker for Christmas it seems.  I hope and pray that I was of service to Reverend Walker this Christmas.
Christmas Day
After a heart full Christmas Eve, I awoke realizing that I was an hour behind my family on the east coast.  I FaceTime’d, a bit, with my niece and nephew to see what they got for Christmas and to find out what was going on with the family.  My nephew was all over the place.  I swear that kid is the energizer bunny.  My niece is in the beginning teenage stages of dragging a conversation out of her.  It seems they got almost everything they wanted.  The fart diary that Don bought my nephew was a huge hit with him.  Knowing him, he might fill that diary up in a day lol.  It was great to catch up and chat a bit.
We had Christmas dinner with another couple in the campground, Suzette and Bear.  Bear smoked a whole turkey, which I have never had before and Suzette did the cooking for everything else.  I think we spent more time trying to get the club house oven to work than actually cooking the meal.  The oven kept going to reheat from cooking.  We could not get the stovetop to light either, but everything eventually cooked.  The food was awesome and the company was even better.  I enjoyed the comradery, the laughter and genuine enjoyment of friendship during this Christmas holiday.  I needed it more than I knew, it seems.  God had a plan and all I had to do was listen.  Which, we all know can be a challenging point for me lol.
Much love to all of you this Christmas!!!

Merry Christmas To All

This time of year if always tough.  More so if you are away from family.  It has been five months full time for us this month.  Wow, time is flying.  We have plans with other full time campers to have a smoked turkey and junk food for Christmas.  I will need to start that diet next year it seems.  I know that I am soooo behind on my blogs, but I could not go any further without being very grateful for my family, friends and for everyone that travels.  I want to wish each and everyone of you a very Merry Christmas, a Happy New Year and safe travels.  All our love, support and a huge hug!!!  Don & Char

Atlanta Hair Colorist, New Jersey Colorist and Atlanta Indian Cuisine

I have been with my hair colorist for a very, very long time.  All she does is color.  She left me once to go to Florida (tramp), but came back after not being able to leave her family and friends – yeah me!!!!  I had my first coloring without her.  I was a nervous wreck.  I kept telling myself that she is only an airplane ride away to fix whatever may happen.  I knocked on wood.  I said a prayer.  I lost sleep the night before…..all for nothing.  I met Rasmy Long of Helmet Hair Worx in Atlanta, GA and does she rock!!!!  You go Rasmy!!  I made sure to get my Wella color codes and located a Wella salon on the Wella website.  The best thing to do, which I did, is to let the receptionist know what those codes are.  They can get the color in if they do not have them.  I was so pleased with the outcome and all wore out for nothing.  I needed a drink.
Just across the street is a nail salon called Piedmont Nails and Spa.  I would highly recommend them as well.  They double-teamed me on the mani/pedi, but I calmed down after drinking the glass of wine they offered.  I think I fell asleep actually.  They were wonderful and I felt like a million bucks.
Note:  If you are ever in Cherry Hill, NJ.  Please, see my colorist Michele Miller and my nail tech Toni at Louis Christian Robert John Salon & Spa.  I promise that you will not be disappointed.
Now that I look and feel like a millions bucks, I needed to eat.  We accidently found Planet Bombay Indian Cuisine in Duluth, GA after a movie.  I love Indian food.  We walked in the place and it seemed new, but well loved.  They had some lovely touches, but they (the owner and his family) love what they do.  They were so sweet, so helpful and so grateful.  I wanted to hug them all.  The food was phenomenal to say the least.  We ordered extra naan bread to go home to have for another meal.  I think I rolled out of there.  If you are ever in Atlanta/Duluth, GA…..stop into Planet Bombay Indian Cuisine.  You will not be disappointed.
Don and I are foodies.  Don loves to cook and makes me try things like baked beans with sriracha sauce (that was a huge no), but it forces us to try different things.  We stop at lots of restaurants to eat at.  We do not post them all.  We support those who are small, unique, different, fun and delicious.  For us, they have to show their love in their food and it always comes through if they do.  We plan to work on showing you places to eat, drink and get your hair colored wherever we go……if there was only a job for foodies in an Airstream…..mmmm options…..

My dad and Lake Placid, NY – Delayed Post from September/October (my bad :-x)

The down side of being full time in an RV hits you below the belt sometimes.  To be honest, I never saw it coming.  I suppose I never really thought about it.  I was leaving my family.  My flesh and blood was being left behind while we were galavanting around the country.  I took the time to see each of them, individually, and spent some serious quality time.  It sucked.  I cried.  I miss them.  My biggest loss was my dad.  We are two peas in pod, but actually more like oil and water on most days.  Good lord could we get into it.  I am sure that he felt I never listened and I felt like he never thought I was an adult, but more like 12 years old.  That man could push my buttons.  It seems kind of funny now that I am typing about it.  I wanted to spend some time with him before I wondered off to see this great country of ours.  So I invited him to Lake Placid, NY.
I told my mom to make sure that he packed clothes, personal things, a sleeping bag and a pillow.  Well, we all met at the local Koffee Kup before we left and my dad left all his clothes behind at the Koffe Kup.  They almost called the local police department as they thought the suitcase was an explosive devise.  I kid you not.  Then they realized that a bomber would not put his name on his suitcase if he were leaving it behind.  They called the number and my mom answered.  Yeah, we were not going back for that luggage.  We had hit Newark, NJ by that phone call and I was not going back.  You have to realize that he had nothing.  Not even underwear.  Man was my dad hot.  I thought it was funny.  Mmmmm I am starting to see the oil and water part here.
Eight hours later we landed at the KOA in Wilmington, NY.  We unpacked and headed off to see some old friends from Lake Placid, NY.  We had some wine, lots of wine actually and lots of nuts with a huge amount of reminiscing and laughing our asses off.  We went through old photos and talked about old times.  There is a picture here of me and my dad when we lived in Lake Placid…..notice the six pack in my dads hand?!  My sister swears I put her in the trunk of that car…..the things she says…..it was really nice to visit, but we needed to head back to the KOA.  I was tired.
​My husband says I snore like a freight train when I am tired.  I must not have been that tired as I heard a few bumps in the night and thought nothing of it.  Apparently, my dad fell out of bed.  I actually thought he was stumbling out of bed to get to the bathroom.  I left everything open so that it would be easy access for him.  Apparently, the pull out drawer for the bed that is in the couch does not stay open.  I am not sure that we really know how to use it.  I am sure that my dad thinks I did that on purpose…..maybe I did or maybe I didn’t lol.
While we were in Lake Placed we all climbed Ampersand Mountain in Saranac Lake, NY.  We all died, but we did it.  The funny thing is I always seem to find animals of all kinds when least expected.  I almost peed on a toad, stepped on a snake and met a goat.  Yeah, I am not sure what we were seeing, but a bunch of local guys had a pet goat that was a regular with them when they climbed.  I am still not sure on that one, but those guys were pretty hot looking.  I had to watch them leave us just to make sure their asses….I mean they were okay with that goat.  My thighs hurt for a week after that climb and I forgot to get a picture of those guys….I mean goat.
We wondered off to Wells, NY to see a long time friend of my dads.  The drive down was uneventful, but parking our Airstream was no fun.  We listened to everyone, but ourselves.  We bent one of the fins when parking it in a neighbors yard, but the view was to die for.  You cannot get that anywhere like here.  We had the fin fixed when we got back, but next time….no means no.
​I have to admit that it has taken me almost two months to write this.  Every time I would start to write I would cry every damn time.  It was killing me, but I had to write it out.  I know my dad misses me as much as I miss him.  I just want my dad to know that behind every great daughter is a truly amazing dad…….
I love you dad xo

Jones RV Park, Norcross, GA

One of my favorite B movies is The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.  This is what Jones RV park is all about.  No…. not post civil war gunmen killing each other over a treasure.  This is about our experience and to give you an insight into “OUR” feelings.

In our last episode we saw that Charlene was a little under the weather, okay sick as a dog, on our trip down.  Needless to say, we were running a little behind (no pun intended…lol) and Charlene gave the park a courtesy call to check into after-hours check-ins, especially since it’s getting late in the day on a Friday.  The young man on the phone was polite enough and told us no problem… just pull in, go to the left, and take any available space.  We get off I-85 make a quick right on Willowtrail Parkway and see the entrance.  We get the immediate feeling that this might not be our first choice in the future.  Left at the first street where the sani-dumps are located and find a pull through, space 102, that gives us an easy in and out.  I failed to mention that the dump station is also numbered spots and both were filled with travelers, hmmmm.  Stopping in the space, pretty darn level too, we decide not to unhook yet.  It’s been a long drive.  Level us out and get Alice up and running.  50 amp service, check; water, check; sewer, check.  All good so far.  I put down our trusty rug, and you want to here.  No real rain for almost 2 months and dust is the word.  I see grass… well, maybe that’s grass.  Oh, there it is, by the water boxes.  Let’s get that picnic table adjusted and ready.  Hey somebody took the picnic table?!? Oops, my bad, there are no picnic tables.  We could go down the road further and keep looking however the speed bumps look tall enough for Alice to bottom out, so here we stay. 

I’m chatting with some people outside with their kids when all of a sudden Charlene let’s out this blood curdling scream… A small furry creature that looks like a racoon in the twilight is coming in the trailer right between her feet.  I know this is wrong, but I almost feel out laughing.  The small furry creature is a mature kitty named “Ms. Jones”.  I’m not sure if the park is named after her or not but she is way friendly and owns the place.  I think she was just checking out the newbie.  A couple hours later plus or minus, 9-930pm there is a knock on the door. Char, looking like death’s best friend, opens the door.  “You are in our space” is the greeting from the woman standing at the door.  Charlene is in no mood for this.  She was given directions over the phone, she feels like $&!#, it’s late, and the park office won’t reopen till Monday morning.  Charlene, I have to say politely although she may have coughed on her accidently on purpose, explained all this to her, there are many other spots open, and the ladies husband even wants nothing of this (I can hear him trying to tell his wife everything is good and they are already in a space with the slides out).  Charlene even called their emergency number and received the same story… Take any space open so we did it by the book.  We go back inside and begin to laugh again about the scream and the “racoon”.  I’m laughing again thinking about the scene. 

Now the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. 

The Good – Easy access from I-85, 50 Amp Service, Water and Sewer and pretty darn level.  Close to where we needed to be and Ms. Jones was a highlight.

The Bad – Dirty, Run Down, Transients (people not at park) use the showers and bath, Laundry was in very poor condition (washers had grease, ink, and even toothpick/metal sticking out of holes in drum). This is not just RVs and many are in various stages of disrepair/not road worthy by any estimation. Trash overflows everywhere and people just add to it (my picture was a good day).  Speed humps that would bottom out an Airstream and they are scraped up to show it.

The Ugly – Spot 101 didn’t have sewer hookup so the <insert favorite expletive here> so they dropped their tank on the ground and let it run under our rug and Alice then they boogied out late at night so no one would notice.  We did and let management know.  They did nothing to assist us…. Period.  We of course disposed of the rug, I couldn’t be like others in the park and just left it behind.  Maybe the fact they allow campers to use the dump station as spots has something to do with it… yes people were parked with slides out at the dump station.  

Kenmare, Ireland

Kin folk said Jeb move away from there… it was time to load up the car and head to Kenmare, Bay that is, great friends, great scenery.   So after a great, but too short, time in Dublin we packed our bags, jumped on M50 and M7, and headed south to Charlene’s friend Katherine (Kate)’s place just outside of Kenmare.  A motor way is a motor way; however, it only takes you so far.  Then the real “driving experience” begins.  Roads were built in the US for the car; In Ireland they were built for the horse and just paved over when cars arrived.  Experience is really a word for… wrong side of road, no shoulder, HUGE trucks and busses coming the other way and wondering why you said yes to a $3000 deductible on the rental. 

 We get to Kenmare and call Kate for the final directions.  Turn left where the green pole with the yellow hiker symbol is.  Really?  That’s the directions?  Okay…. Left it is.  We head up hill and up hill and up hill on a road that was even narrower than any we had been on so far.  A bunch of S’s, backing down the hill to find a wide spot so a car can pass, and another left and we are almost there.  We see Kate standing in the road, cell phone in hand and Charlene starts jumping up and down in the seat like a 10-year-old that just saw the entrance to Disney.  We pull in the drive and see Kates cottage.  Okay cottage may not be descriptive enough so here is couple pictures of her little place.

 After picking our jaws up off the ground we settle into our bedroom in west wing then head to the kitchen for a quick nosh and see her view.  Only one word describes this…. WOW.  What would it be like to wake up every morning and see this.  Wait!!!!  We will have many of these views as we travel full time in our Airstream so this is just the first of many.

 The food is great, the drink is great, the people are great, the friendship is ever greater.  Kate and her Husband Sean take a day to show us the Cork County coastline.  Ireland is such a beautiful place.  The weather was the best we could have asked for.  Slow down Don…. Rewind the tape…. I have to say Sean is a real trooper.  This tour started with picking him up at Shannon Airport where he arrives after a 13-hour flight from Jakarta.  Sean was entertaining and stayed awake and pleasant the entire day.  I would have been grumpy and fallen asleep early on. Back to the story.  Along the way they take us to a Light House.  We stop to see the sights and all of a sudden two farm dogs, one black and one yellow, obviously well cared for join us for our walk.  I could not have ordered a more perfect moment.  I hope you enjoy these scenes as much as we did.

 The next day we decide to head out on our own and drive the “Ring of Kerry”; a scenic road trip that starts at Kenmare Bay and goes a hundred or so miles around the peninsula.  There are many artisans, we have been told, along the way.  If you see a sign, just follow the road and pop in.  We decide to do just that and make a right up a drive marked “wood working for sale” and pull up to a small house and workshop.  Out steps a woman in her 60s who greats us warmly.  She asks us about “us” with genuine interest and tells us that with her first husband they lived in a 34’ caravan (trailer) for 20 years driving around New Zealand.  Small world.  Her and her late 2nd husband came to Ireland to do woodworking, okay maybe art would be a better word for what they did, and make Irish Pipes aka Uilleann pipes.  She even invited us into her beautiful home for a tour.  The interior was all done by these craftsmen/artists and was breathtaking, sorry no pictures… I didn’t even think to snap any photos I was enjoying her company so much.  On display in the living room was her pride and joy, a set of pipes.  These weren’t just any pipes… they were hand hewned out of ebony, ivory, and silver by her husband.  He did his own silver smithing…. everything.  These were a work of love and took him over four (4) months to complete.  They were not just an instrument; I think they were her husband personified.  There was so much to see, so many people we spoke with and even a life size statue of Charley Chaplin who lived there.  Here are a few pictures.

 Our time was drawing to a close and it was time to head back to Dublin, the airport and home… My next blog will tell you about that experience…. LOL.

A little problem at the dump……..

We have dumped before without issue, but last night and I do mean night – as in pitch black – was not a good idea on any level.  I was tired, Don was tired and it was very dark.  I have to admit that we gave it our best shot, but we missed terribly.  I ran and screamed with the flashlight and left Don in the dark with the dump problem.  Yeah, I am surprised we are still married with this episode.  All I hear is “censored” and where is the “censored” flashlight.  The “censored” flashlight was with me and far away from the dump problem.  Yuck does not even come close to covering what happened and I am not even sure that I can describe what happened in an intelligent manor.  Once the hose let lose and it was spraying all over…….I ran far away and left poor, poor Don to the spraying festival.  The saying really is true that shit runs down hill and I was the shit running down hill lol.
Daylight review:  Once the “censored” settled and the sun came up we decided to review what happened.  We realized that the last person who dumped before us left their accessory attachment attached to the hole in the ground.  We attached to that and it was not a fit, but we did it anyway.  We never saw the extra piece, until this morning.  Note to self…….never dump at night in the dark while tired…..never do that again, ever.
BTW, we will be looking for a new sewer hose today, as I am not really sure what happened to our hose from last night.  No idea.  Don, do you have any idea where it might have gone?!

Storage & Laundry = Full Time

What did not sell at the estate sale was either given to charity or was taken away, for free, by the cleanout people we hired.  Nothing was left, nothing.  Hard to believe my life is now in a 5×5 storage unit at Public Storage or in an Airstream.  We put things like artwork, pictures, important files, uniforms, trophies, etc. in the storage unit.  We still need to go back to the storage unit and fine-tune it, but for the most part it is done and good enough to be left.  However, the Airstream is still a work in progress and I am fighting for closet space……you all know I am going to win the closet, right?!
I am used to doing laundry every day.  We had septic in our house and septic systems are delicate things.  They do not take lightly to 15 loads of laundry in a day. It was a good habit for my OCD on cleaning.  Now, I am learning to do laundry every 3-4 days.  I am only 5’ 3”, so I keep the laundry basket on the top shelf of the closet.  You know out of sight, out of mind lol.  We have a lovely little Laundromat by us that is run by a 70 something little Korean lady who keeps the place immaculate.  My greatest fear is not being able to find a laundromat like that when we get on the road.  Save me from myself!
So, what this all means is that we are very truly full time…..full freakin time!  It felt like we would never get here, yet here we are.  We cannot turn back.  We sold everything and rented our home.  Most of the stuff I was glad to see go.  I never realized how much stuff we actually had.  Yikes!  I never considered us to be hoarders, but it sure seemed like it when we had to clear out.  Next time forget the packing and the estate sale as I am burning the place down and buying everything new…….Don is going to be hard to replace lol.

Estate Sale, Consignment, Donate, Barter

So, what did we do with all of our stuff. I tried all the usual on-line options eBay, Facebook Yard Sales, Amazon Trade-In, eBay Valet without much success.  I did okay, but they were not worth the work and effort for what little you made.  I do better with interacting with people, especially in person.  I guess this is showing my age lol.  I like to dicker and socialize while doing it.  Just my nature, but my grandmother always said my mouth was like a bell clapper.  I found a consignment shop called 2nd Time Around that specializes in higher end clothes that I have done very well with and they have locations all over the country.  I bartered for services with things that people wanted of ours like mowing my lawn for a propane tank, helping me put up a storage shed on a rental property for outdoor furniture, etc.  But, when you have an entire home to sell of things you need a professional and I do not mean a yard sale Queen either.  I had to meet with several estate sale companies for find the one that worked for me.  My estate sale girl Lynn only took a 30% share of the profit without a minimum.  Some estate sale companies not only take a certain percent, but also require a minimum sale of lets say $4,000.  Some even required a minimum of $10,000.  I am not that rich with home furnishings, yikes!  Also, you have to be realistic on what things sell for.  That table might have cost you $375, but you might only get $25 from the estate sale.  I hate to say it, but it is what it is.  Try to remember that they are just things.  I had to say that I love people and not things through most of this process.  Our estate sale is tomorrow, bright and early.  Whatever does not sell will go to charity or even put to the curb. What is that saying…..another mans trash it another mans treasure!

Packing and Insomnia

Hello night owls!  This is our very last night in our home and I cannot seem to sleep.  I thought that I would be more emotional about it, but I think that I am just too tired to even think about it.  We have had a very taxing week.  Between packing, sorting, consigning, donating, moving the Airstream……yeah I am beat.  The estate sale starts tomorrow and we have to be out of here by 7:30 am sharp.  Yet, here I am typing at 3:00 am in this blog.  Lord, save me from myself.  I need all the prayer I can get sometimes.  I never really understood what the term the devil is in the details meant, until this past week.  Anything that could of gone wrong did.  My anxiety was through the roof and I wanted to murder someone, anyone.  Yet, here we are on our last night.  Sometimes you just have to give it to God and let it roll……see you on the road in the morning!

Packing and Crying….

Today is bitter sweet.  I am the third generation living in our family home that we just rented to a lovely young family.  I have been packing up all the pictures, artwork, photos, etc.  Some I will miss and some I cried packing up.  Especially the ones of my grandmother.  This was her home and my dad grew up here.  Heck, I grew up here and then moved back a few years ago.  While I was typing this I was crying and eating my fifth taco (a beer might be next).  I needed the break from packing, but I needed to reflect a bit.  I am going to miss this old home…..the people….this small town…….my neighbors and most important my family.  My parents live three doors down.  My only sibling lives a few miles down the road with my niece and nephew that I love to the moon and back.  All this to move into an Airstream full time.  I am so excited to do this with Don and see this great country of ours, but it sure is bitter sweet.  I need a hug and an ice cream today xo

We had a Shitty Day!!

First run with Alice and Lucky went well, except for Sunday. I am making breakfast when all of a sudden Charlene says, “Don are you emptying the tanks?” She points out the window and all I can see is brown sludge coming up through the waste connection and draining all underneath our trailer. Thank God my tanks were closed, because the sewage was going up our hose and getting on everything we had including what was sitting outside the trailer. Needless to say, we threw the food in the trash and went out to breakfast (lol). Looks like we will be replacing some items. On a positive note, we didn’t kill each other and we will continue to get on the road.  We won’t say anything bad about the KOA in Coatesville; but the Manager on the other hand……

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