Birthdays and Deathdays…

I know the word Deathdays doesn’t actually exist but for me it seems to go in hand with birthdays sometimes.

The five weeks staring December 31 through February 5 are an emotional roller coaster for me. I’m talking the kind of ups and downs that should only be experienced with the purchase of an overpriced ticket and served with kettle corn and cotton candy.

It wasn’t always this way… it started three years ago today.

Before I go any further I feel the need to warn you… the following is nothing more than a  much-needed dump of mindless drivel. But, after all, the purpose of this blog is to facilitate my mental cleanse in the hopes that I can make myself more in tune with the characters in the WIP, and not the characters in my real world. (Is it bad that sometimes it’s a very thing line?? hmmm)

Anyway, the reason for the messed up month of moods is this… there are A LOT of birthdays and death related days in these five weeks.

Lets begin…

12/31  New Year’s Eve  The birth of a new year is obviously a time to think about the possibilities of what life has to offer if I can just work hard enough to make them happen. Just maybe I’ll stick to this year’s resolution… woo hoo! (UP)

1/11  It’s usually around ten days or so before I start to crack with regard to any sort of exercise plan, lifestyle change, diet, etc. I concocted for the new year – new me mantra. Failed again… depressing. (DOWN)

1/15  My little sister’s birthday! She is an amazing individual; if I went into detail here this post would be much too long-winded (it probably still will be) so suffice it to say… I love the kid! She is the kind of woman that makes me say… Man, where does she find the time?!? She makes me laugh, she makes me proud, and I miss her like mad even though I know she is always just a phone call away. Plus this year she turned 40 and it somehow makes me feel younger to be in the same decade as she. Ha!! (UP)

1/29  My Dad’s birthday. Now this would be a good thing if he were still alive. But the fact is… he is not, and even though he has been gone for 20 years, his birthday is always a time to reflect on what a fantastic father he was. I think of him often. I wonder how he would handle certain things I find myself mired in. I still marvel at how no matter what he had on his plate at the time, he always made each of us feel special and he always seemed to just “get it” as in understand, no matter what “it” was.  If I have done half as good of a job being a Mom as he did being a Dad I can rest easy. I feel he’s still watching over us… I still want to make him proud. (DOWN/UP)

1/30  My Mother died… three years ago today. I think for the first two years I was a little sad but also a lot irritated some how. Yes, I know that sounds bad – but it’s honest. When she first died I felt guilty because I didn’t spend as much time with her as I imagined a “good daughter” would have. Guilt from the grave. The truth is when I was a teenager we fought like cats and dogs. I got married ten days after my eighteenth birthday just to get the hell out of the house. (This marriage lasted 23 months… shocking huh?) But life happens, and as it turns out I ended up marrying a good man (twice actually, for a total of nearly 20 years and divorcing him twice too… but that’s another story) As time went on and I had my sons my relationship with my mother got a little better. Not perfect, not super close, but better… almost comfortable. The more changes I went through as a wife and mother the more I started to understand my mother’s actions, if only partially. She certainly didn’t have an easy life, this I knew, but I never really understood her temperament. I started to realize, albeit too late, that some things I would have chalked up to her narcissistic nature in the past were really just an overwhelming amount of insecurity on her part. Boy… I think I have a lot more to say about this… hmmm   At any rate, today (1/30) is another day to reflect on the loss loved one. (DOWN)

2/4  My wonderful husband’s birthday. We’ve been best friends for over a decade, roommates and lovers for over three years, and married for less than a year. He is my soul mate, and his birthday is certainly a time for joyous celebration!! He makes me happier then I ever thought I could be… and he helps me like, dare I say love, myself… something I wasn’t sure I could ever do. Yes, he is that amazing! (UP)

2/5  Yes, the day after whatever type of celebration we enjoy for the hub’s, I’ll be a bit subdued because this is the day we buried my mother. I will never forget sitting in my sister’s kitchen, making plans for the service and someone suggested the 4th. For what seemed like one of the first times in my life I stood up and said “NO”. There was no way I could fathom burying my mother on my significant other’s (at the time) birthday. I felt it was just one more thing to be pissed at my Mom about. So I stood up… mad. I didn’t get any resistance, everyone understood. But it felt like I had somehow just leaped a hurdle, and didn’t fall flat on my face. I will always remember that day. Now it seems like a lesson from Mom to live how I want to live, to make choices for myself and those I love without worrying about “what the neighbors might think”; which unfortunately she struggled with her entire life. (DOWN/UP)

I know, life is all about ups and downs… good days and bad. It just seems these few weeks kick my ass every year. But, as time goes on and I get older, and hopefully wiser, I try to make the most of the ride so I can make room for the healing.

“Tied the knot in Sin City”

Seeing as we “Tied the Knot in Sin City”  the shortest road trip ended up being “The Best Road Trip of the Year” was the shortest of them all!

Today’s the day! Our one year anniversary of living on the road! Happy Anniversary Joe, my partner in this wonderfully wacky, gypsy lifestyle. Thank you for all that you do to make this incredible journey we dreamed about a reality. You my love, ROCK!

Okay, if you haven’t already gotten the vibe, this post is going to be a bit on the sentimental side… downright mushy even.

I guess what happens in Vegas doesn't always stay in Vegas :-)

I guess what happens in Vegas doesn’t always stay in Vegas :-)

As it turns out our shortest road trip ever ended up being the very best of all the miles we logged. The distance was a mere 10 miles… the destination was the Little White Wedding Chapel on The Strip in Las Vegas. Yes folks, we tied the knot in Sin City!

Hey... if it was good enough for Joan Collins... ummm wait how many times has she been married? hmmm

Hey… if it was good enough for Joan Collins… ummm wait how many times has she been married? hmmm

Just about one week after a very romantic nighttime proposal.. done at nighttime while watching the water fountain light show at the Bellagio from the promenade, almost under the Eifel Tower (Vegas Style)…  we said “We Do”.

You can just barely see the water from the fountain. Not is action... lol

You can just barely see the water from the fountain. Not in action… lol We were standing under those trees where the people are.

On Saturday, March 31, 2012 we made our union legal. In front of God and everyone walking by on the Las Vegas Strip. We took our vows and committed our lives to each other (and the pursuit of happiness) at the Little White Wedding Chapel. I was a little surprised at first when the ceremony took a turn toward “religious” but we were both happy with how realistic, sincere and romantic it was.

Okay, it was Vegas, so there was a little bit of cheesy bling bling…

Yes... we got married at a drive thru window!

We pulled under the portico where cupids fluttered above with gilded wings…

Yes... we got married at a drive-thru window!!

Yes… we got married at a drive-thru window!!

Getting married in the truck was the perfect venue for us as we are living on the road and spend a lot of time in it. It was kind of like a back yard ceremony… only in the front seat! So, now you see why we have such a sentimental attachment to this truck 🙂

The happy couple

The happy couple

You may kiss the bride...

You may kiss the bride…

It was cute, it was quirky, it was a little outside the box… just like us. After being best friends for over a decade, and living together (in a brick and stick house) for a couple of years it felt a little strange to call him my husband. But no worries… I’ve gotten used to that and the house on wheels  just fine!

This struck us as funny... not just because it's a land-locked lighthouse, but because Providence, Rhode Island is only about 40 miles away from our hometown in CT. Well, that and because I tend to be a little spiritual I took it as a sign that maybe there was a omniscient presence watching over us with wise benevolence.

This struck us as funny… not just because it’s a land-locked lighthouse, but because Providence, Rhode Island is only about 40 miles away from our hometown in CT. Well, that and because I tend to be a little spiritual I took it as a sign that maybe there was an omniscient presence watching over us with wise benevolence… just saying

By the way, in case you’re wondering… yes, the bride and groom both wore their favorite blue jeans. As a matter of fact our wedding song is “Forever in Blue Jeans”, by Neil Diamond. Our “reception” (guest total of 2) was held at a Chili’s in Providence, UT on the way up to Bellingham, WA. Which, ironically, is where we are again at the moment, almost a year later.

My comfy jeans...

My comfy jeans…

Simple clothes, simple rings, for our extraordinary live together

Simple clothes, simple rings, for our extraordinary live together

Looking forward to the next 365 days and who knows how many miles!!

Life is good 🙂

~Cheers~

Just when I got my groove back…

Caution: No Groove Ahead

changes ahead

Time to ramble…

First, it has been five days since I’ve popped into the blogger-hood but it seems like five weeks. Yet even without the daily mental cleanse it somehow feels as though I’ve gotten my groove back.  I did get some great, and by great I mean quantity not necessarily quality, work done on the WIP during the past few days. I managed to get three chapters down and I feel like a have a better sense of how I want it to go. I’ve also gotten back into the habit of writing everything down… and I do mean everything.

Sometimes I have a snip-it of conversation pop into my head (no… I’m not hearing voices, well I guess I am, huh?) or I can see the characters in the book interacting with each other and I write it down. Or I’ll see an outlandish outfit on someone and actually write down the description to use later. There’s a crazy cat lady in the book I’m working on so whenever I see a(n) crazy eccentric old woman (sorry – don’t mean to be rude here) I watch her for as long as I can without looking like a stalker. Weird right?

Anyway, my point is… things have been going well in the house on wheels and I’ve been feeling productive. I haven’t lost anymore weight since those first two weeks, mostly because I’ve been sitting on my ever-expanding buttocks (said like Forest Gump) for up to 8 or 10 hours a day… drinking pots of coffee. I know I know, I need to commit to making the time everyday.

I toyed with the idea of using some sort of recording device, I’m sure there’s an app for that on the phone. I could just speak the words, conversations, scenes, etc. while out getting some exercise in. But then I guess I might look like one of the crazy people I always keep an eye out for…  and then I could end up in someone else’s book… as the crazy chubby lady who thinks she’s a writer! Ha!!

Anyway, uggg… as soon as I say the word “exercise” I pull my little tortoise head inside my big tortoise-shell and find something else to do. Luckily, lately that’s been writing. Hey! It just occurred to me … the tortoise wins the race! So I’m good. LOL

Second thing, we found out this week that the hub’s will be taking his crew to the night shift. That means instead of him being gone all day… and me being able to parade around in my black fishnet stockings, high-top red converse sneaks, pink tutu, Boston Red Sox hoodie, and Mardi-Gras mask… ooops… no wait… that’s the crazy cat lady I mentioned… or is it? Anyway, it means he’ll be here trying to sleep all day… about 8 feet away from where I’ll be trying to work all day.

He will leave at 5:30 p.m. and get home around 6:30 a.m. This is the first time he’s ever had to work nights since we’ve been together so I’m not sure how I’m going to deal with that… especially after I feel like I just got into my grove. (Yes, that annoying sound like nails on a chalkboard is me whining) I know, I just need to suck it up and deal with it.

And I certainly don’t want to sound ungrateful. I do understand how fortunate we are that he has a good job. That said though, he has worked his ass off to get where he is today and he still does it day in day out, so luck had nothing to do with it. A better turn of phrase would be – I’m lucky to have him working so hard so I can dedicate this time to writing. So I need to put my big girl panties (not to be confused with granny panties) on and make it work.

So, the question is…

Should I try to stay up all night and sleep with him during the day??

Stay on my usual sleep pattern and then take off with the truck so he can get some sleep without me clicking away on the keys?

I’ve always been a night owl so maybe the stay up all night idea isn’t a bad one…

Hmmm…. we will see.

Does anyone else out there work at home on an opposite shift from their partner? How do you deal with it?

Thanks for stopping by.

That’s all for now :-)

Hmmm... mine? Perhaps... lol

Hmmm… mine? Perhaps… lol

“The Bad” and “The Ugly”

If you missed it… here’s “The Good”  Read on to see The Bad and The Ugly…

Okay, it’s time to fill you in on The Bad that pops into mind when I reminisce on the past 365 days, and 25,000 miles. I’m not really sure “Bad” is the perfect word here, but it wasn’t all peaches and cream folks. Logging that many miles there had to be some issues, especially for RV rookies like us. I’m happy to report that each of the obstacles we’ve encountered have taught us something about not only RVing, but about ourselves as well.

I already filled you in about the muffler scare so I won’t include that one again. But not too long after that incident we encountered another little SNAFU.

No Lights, No Brakes… No Problem

On the way to what we thought was going to be a job in Clarksville, TN (It got pushed back and we ended up in Benton, TN instead) we decided to stop for the night at a Camping World in Calera, AL (the best Camping World for an over night so far!) Now, you would think that finding a huge RV dealership right off the highway would be easy right?? As it turned out for us… not so much. Somehow once we got off the interstate we missed the turn we were supposed to take and ended up in a very dark residential neighborhood.

We didn’t know it at the time, but the darkness was attributed to a severe summer storm that had just blown through. As we made our way up a very curvy road Joe found a large intersection that he felt would make a great spot to turn around. Again… as it turned out… not so much.

While backing into the road something happened to the trailer brakes and they locked up. Now this may not seem like a big deal. I mean after all we were in a quiet residential area… but did I mention it was DARK and we were on a very curvy road and it was close to or after midnight???

The good news was… we worked extremely well together to try to quickly assess the problem and safely maneuver out of the situation. In a flash, Joe was able to disconnect the break line cable from the trailer to the truck. The bad news was… that when you disconnect “the plug” that works the trailer brakes you also lose all your lights on the trailer. Did I mention is was DARK?

Ok… I guess you got that part. Anyway, in a moment of clarity I remembered that we had a mini battery-operated lantern in our bedroom so I grabbed it. Joe pulled a highly reflective road triangle from… well, I don’t really know where he pulled it from, and he taped them to the rear bumper.

Not very big is it??

Not very big is it??

Viola! We were on our way… limping along a dark country road somewhere in Alabama with our tiny little lantern blinking away on our bumper… heading toward that Camping World we somehow missed the first time. Thankfully we made it without getting rear-ended or picking up too much speed to actually stop the trailer and we pulled into the Camping World.

Finally getting there and pulling into the area designated for overnight parking was much like what I imagine Charley felt like when he found the golden ticket for the Willy Wonka tour. Wooooo Hooooo!! We made it!!

(Google images)

But with every up there seems to be a down and once we were backed into the space and were ready to hook up our electric Joe realized that we didn’t have a compatible adapter for the service they provided. Oh well, all that meant was that we wouldn’t have air conditioning for the night. The storm that had just blown through cooled things down enough and there was a nice breeze. Honestly, after the adrenaline rush we had trying to not get creamed by speeding teenagers trying to make their curfew, we could have slept on rocks in the desert.

The Flat Tire in Atlanta

After we picked up Joe’s son at the airport in Atlanta, we were on our way to Benton, TN and things were going well…. until… pop! went the tire. It seems there’s never a dull moment when you’re pulling a camper for miles and miles.

Once again somehow we managed to work together as a cohesive unit without panicking. Even Devin was involved using his iPhone to find the closest tire place. With the tire off the camper we limped off the freeway at the next exit without causing a catastrophe on what must be one of the nation’s busiest freeways. Traffic on the interstate outside Atlanta… yeeeeesh!

We found a place to drop the camper, and yes me too, and the boys went in search of a new tire.

Once I was dropped off in what appeared to be a somewhat safe place and the boys were headed to get the new tire and yes, a spare as well, I headed to a convenience store located next door. I was in search of something cold and refreshing.

It wasn’t until I made my way back to the camper that I noticed “it”. “It” was yellow tape that looked like it had once been draped across the parking lot of the abandoned motel where our house was now located. WTH? “Is that crime scene tape?” I asked myself as I stopped dead (poor choice of words?) in my tracks.

Crime Scene tape? Perhaps the bigger question should have been… How did we miss this pulling in?

I decided if it was crime scene tape it looked old enough that the murderer must be long gone, or returned to the scene of the crime and was holed up in one of the abandon rooms planning his next outing. Whatever, I had more important things to worry about… my ice was melting!

As it turned out, the tape was just some old construction barrier tape for work that must have happened who knows when. Before I could even finish my first drink the boys were back with the new tire and spare. They put it back on the camper and we were once again on the road.

All in all not such a bad string of “Bads” but this is where we get into the “Ugly”.

And finally… the ugly

Like I said, thankfully we didn’t end up with too much “ugly” in our travels. We had two, to be exact. The first one came as we were traveling from Tennessee to California. After having another flat tire, thankfully on a much slower paced highway, we decided to stop and have four new tires put on the camper. We found a great place that did the work right away for us and charged a fair price.

So, with new rubber on the house wheels we were feeling pretty psyched that we shouldn’t have any issues for the trip west. Ha! I told you we were green. As we did our happy dance for about fifty miles after leaving the tire shop Joe let out a quick “WTF?” while looking in his side mirror. Of course my first thought was “Crap another flat tire???” But nope that wasn’t it.

This time as he made his way off the highway he said, “The curtains are flying out the bedroom window!” Crud… that couldn’t be good. Sure enough the window was only attached by the hinges on the top and flapping in the wind. Luckily it stayed attached until we were stopped. It seems somehow the little plastic doo-hickey on the pull-cord to the blinds got stuck in the track. It caused just enough of a gap for the wind to catch the window and break the crank mechanism.

Not having any parts available we had to tape the window shut so it would stay secure. The best way to do that was with black gorilla tape. Yes, really. Talk about ugly! But better a little temporary ugly than trying to replace the whole window… but yeeesh!

If you expand the pic a little on your screen you can see the hideous tape.

If you expand the pic a little on your screen you can see the hideous tape.

Our camper is a 2006 and we had an awful time trying to find the replacement parts. We stopped at every RV dealer and parts center we came across and no one had what we needed. So, that tape stayed on there for a few months. I finally found an online parts place (Pelland Enterprises) that had what we needed. Hooray! It fit perfectly and now we can open and close the window again 🙂

Unfortunately, we still have the sticky residue from the tape being on there so long to somehow get off. So it still looks ugly 🙁

Definitely a project requiring warmer weather, a bottle of Goo Be Gone, a scrubber (me) and rubber gloves.

Definitely a project requiring warmer weather, a bottle of Goo Be Gone, a scrubber (me) and rubber gloves.

Okay, finally ugly #2. No, not that kind of number two. Yikes! It’s a wheel/tire problem… again. This time it was a truck tire that had been leaking around the wheel from an earlier incident. We decided to just use our spare rim at the moment as we are toying with the idea of upgrading the truck shortly and don’t want to spend the money on a new set of wheels.

So… we are suffering the consequences. UGLY…

I cringe every time I see it...

It looks small in this photo, but it’s a full-size regular tire, not one of those doughnut things. But I still cringe every time I see it…

I’m not sure if it’s a good thing that the ugly wheel is on the same side as the ugly window. All I know for sure is when I see them it triggers the theme from the show “Sanford and Son” in my head. Yes, really… over and over.

Ahhhh…. good times.

Well, if you’ve stuck with me this long (1712 words… sorry) but…  thank you!! As I mentioned, we’re toying with the idea of upgrading the truck, but we’ve been dragging our feet a bit as this truck has a great deal of sentimental value to us. Stop by for tomorrow’s post and you’ll see why 🙂

~Cheers~

“The Good” – The Bad and The Ugly to follow…

Let’s start out this little trip down memory lane with The Good. Trying to pick out the “Best of” entries from the journal of our travels over the past year proved to be a little more difficult than I originally thought. So, in the next two post I decided to just let rip with what stands out from memory… some good, some bad, thankfully not much ugly.

The Good – Some family time with the boys

While we were in Tennessee for a month, we had some family visit for a while. My son, Nick stayed with us for a weekend, and Joe’s son, Devin stayed with us for nearly the entire month. It’s funny how even at their ages they act like boys sometimes… I guess flatulence and gross images on YouTube will always be hilarious! Good times 🙂

Nothing like a little gas to get the giggles going

Nothing like a little gas to get the giggles going

Apparently the nastier it is the funnier it is.

Apparently the nastier it is the funnier it is.

We stayed at Black Bear Cove RV Resort in Benton, TN which is located on the Hiawassee River, and close to the Ocoee River. They both have some great white water rafting opportunities, offering class III and IV rapids. The Ocoee also has a USA Olympic whitewater training section open to the public. Joe and Devin braved the rapids, I picked a quiet spot by the Hiawassee and read for the afternoon. It  was very peaceful.

Perfect spot for quiet time with a good book or an empty notebook waiting for the words to come

Perfect spot for quiet time with a good book or an empty notebook waiting for the words to come

I wasn’t the only one to take advantage of the river when it wasn’t raging. The boys plopped into the tubes almost every afternoon. Ahh… nothing like a nice lazy float downstream.

You sure you don't want to come? No thanks, I have a nice chilled bottle of wine waiting for me at home. Take your time ;-)

You sure you don’t want to come? No thanks, I have a nice chilled bottle of Riesling waiting for me at home. Take your time boys ;-)

Rolling on the river...

Rolling on the river…

I wasn’t a total slug or wimp the entire time we were in laid back Tennessee. I did get up enough nerve to go zip lining with the boys at Ruby Falls in Chattanooga. It was a total blast! I’m so glad Joe and Nick prodded me along to finish each of the obstacles. Some of them were scary as heck, but that sense of accomplishment I felt after finishing was well worth the anxiety.

Woohoo! I made it through and survived!

Woohoo! I made it through and survived!

Great memories :-)

Great memories :-)

Here are some links if you’re interested and in the area:

Black Bear Cove RV Resort

Quest Expeditions – Ocoee River

Ocoee Outdoor Adventures

Hiawassee Outfitters

Ruby Falls

ZipAirstream – Ruby Falls

I think I’ll break here for now. Check back for part 2… affectionately known as “The Bad and The Ugly”.

Thanks for stopping by!

~Cheers~