Friday, October 29, 2004

7:00 AM Friday, October 29, 2004

Yesterday, Phil and Les returned from their four day hunting trip; our propane tank is reading "empty" again (I shut off the furnace, Phil plugged in the electric heater--although the hot water tank is still lighting?); the appraiser for our house called and made an appointment for this morning at 10 AM but the best happening of all for October 28, 2004 was that Brooke Ann Brown was born at 8:57 PM last night at St. Joseph Hospital in Tacoma, Washington. Right after the baby came, Mari's blood pressure went way up but they quickly got it under control with medication and by the time we were allowed back into the birthing room, Mother, baby and Daddy were all doing fine. At 7 lbs 12 ozs and 20 inches long, she is beautiful with a full head of dark hair and big, wide open dark eyes that seem to be looking up at her Daddy with adoration! Mari told us that seconds after she was born, if they didn't know it was impossible, every one in the room would swear she cooed, "Daddy" ...

The Brown boys adoring the newest member of the family. Posted by Hello

At last, the waiting is over. Posted by Hello

Mari, Brooke and Mike Brown. Posted by Hello

Brother, Jeremy and Grandpa Phil take a good look. Daddy can't stop smiling! Posted by Hello

Welcome to the world, Miss Brooke Ann Brown! Posted by Hello

Grown up brother, Ray with girlfriend, Lisa waiting patiently ... Posted by Hello

Mari's mom, Marlene and sister, Mel waiting patiently. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

9:20 PM Tuesday, October 26, 2004

The hunters are having beautiful clear weather but not only is it wet around here, it is cold. The furnace quit during the night so it was down to 50 degrees inside the motorhome when I woke up! I fiddled with the thermostat and got the furnace to light and watched the thermometer until it was up to 70 again then waited for the furnace to shut off. It did and then it cycled properly off and on all morning and has worked fine all day now. We have an appointment with the local RV center for November 4th to have the furnace serviced and repaired. With luck, it will last until then as the weather is getting colder every day.

Last night I "cooked" a lovely bowl of soup for dinner, Wolfgang Puck brand, pretty good actually--Grilled Chicken with Rice. After my dinner I went cruising on the Internet and found a diary online written by a newly retired British couple who came over, bought a truck and travel trailer and spent about six months traveling around the USA. Hopefully, this link will work ...
They had a great time, danced with the hurricanes toward the end but sold each rig for a good price (housing and transportation in Florida was a sellers market after the hurricanes) then flew home earlier this month.
It was a very interesting prospective for me, seeing my country and it's people from a foreigner's viewpoint. He must be a closet democratic (living in a Monarchy) because I agreed with him for the most part. He critiqued America's "obesity problem" and he made the connection between having money=being slim and being poor=being fat. Of course, he admitted that wasn't always the case because he also saw some very large ladies in designer clothes--but not too often. His comment, "America has one big problem. If they don't solve it, life expectancy must fall. Will that rescue the projected deficit in the Social Security Fund?" was food for thought. Along with other issues, he reviewed our politics, our newspapers, the "Bible Belt", our highways and radio stations. He and his wife loved American food however (taking the risk of being sued), he said, "Stay as far away from Hardee's as you can." But, after traveling and eating many less than memorable meals in England, I'm not convinced an Englishman's critique of our food can have much merit.

Sunday, October 24, 2004

12:50 PM Sunday October 24, 2004

As of 10:15 AM this morning my sweetheart went off on a four-day deer hunting expedition with our friend, Lester in his motorhome towing his Ford Ranger pickup. Phil, who sold all his hunting rifles will do his "hunting" with a digital camera. They will stay in an RV park near Randall, WA and most likely "road hunt" in the foothills of the Cascades where Phil has hunted for many years in the past. Just a few moments ago, I received a cellphone call that they have arrived, have the motorhome set up and are off to hunt the rest of the afternoon. Their three hour drive was uneventful ... just the way we like them!
I'm late getting started on my blog today because one of my closest friends, Helga (you met her in the blogs telling about the last garage sale) needed some assistance early this morning. Fortunately, it turned out her problem was NOT life threatening. However, we didn't know that and she was very distressed because she was experiencing nausea, vomiting, severe dizziness and cold sweats and asked me to come to her house and take her to the hospital. When I got there, she couldn't walk and I knew I couldn't lift her so we made the decision to call an ambulance. When they arrived just moments after the call, the paramedics checked her out, made sure she was stable then transported her to Mason General Hospital. The ER doctor after getting a normal EKG and checking all her vital signs, which were fine determined she was suffering from "Vertigo" brought on by a "possible" inner ear infection. He gave her a "miracle" pill and phoned in a prescription for a few extra in case she had any more problems. Within an hour, she was fine and I delivered her back home safe and sound. A very happy outcome to a scary situation.
What am I going to do while Phil is gone you ask? Well, believe it or not, I still have the back of the truck full of boxes to sort through ... yup, I ran out of time and didn't finish sorting these things before the garage sale. And, I'm going to (for the third time) rearrange and reassess my needs versus my wants in every cupboard and closet in the motor home. Hopefully--since we've been living in the rig for more than a month--I've learned some things these past few weeks that will streamline our living space for the future. I don't know if four days is enough time but I'm going to give it my best shot!

Thursday, October 21, 2004

8:18 PM Thursday, October 21, 2004

This morning I spent an hour writing a diatribe about a "bait and switch" episode that Phil and I did a little dance with the other day then, just as I was ready to publish ... my computer hiccuped ... then, shut down completely ... then restarted. I lost the whole thing! Thoroughly disgusted I quit the computer for the rest of the day. When am I ever going to learn to "save" (in whatever fashion is necessary) what I write as I'm writing it? I might retell the tale another day but most likely I won't. Once I've said (in this case wrote) my piece, the inclination or incentive to reinterate seems to be lacking. If you want to know who/what it's all about, send me a note and I'll answer you personally.

Monday, October 18, 2004

9:53 AM Monday, October 18, 2004

Phil and I drove to Tacoma to visit his son, Mike and family yesterday. Phil called, didn't get an answer, so ... left a message to let them know we were coming. They didn't get the message ... and we showed up unannounced, just a few days after they moved back into their big house in University Place, a suburb of Tacoma, WA. Mike, along with help from his brother Rick had repainted every room and ceiling prior to the move and everything is bright and shiny white, awaiting daughter-in-law, Mari's exceptional decorating talents just as soon as her energy is back up to speed. Mari is expecting their long awaited baby girl any day with a C-section scheduled for the 29th of October if she doesn't make the grand entrance on her own before that. The baby is growing fast and the doctor says she'll be close to 10 lbs. by that time. We are very pleased that we will most likely still be in the area to meet our newest grandchild face to face. One of her older brothers, Jeremy who is 13 says he's ready to be a big brother and is taking the job of being her idol very seriously. Her oldest brother, Ray is living in his own apartment and we didn't get to see him or hear his comments about becoming the grown up brother of a tiny baby girl. Daddy, Mike is positive there has never been a child so anticipated and so loved before she is even born. We agree.

Jeremy 13, Mari and Mike Brown 10-17-2004 Posted by Hello

Mari is so ready ... Posted by Hello

Mama, Mari due any day, any moment! Posted by Hello

Enough tiny clothes for triplets! Posted by Hello

Daddy, Mike showing Grandma Joy his baby girl's new toys. Posted by Hello

Baby girl's bedroom redy and waiting ... Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 16, 2004

7:45 PM Saturday, October 16, 2004

This is another experiment. There isn't a lot of choices but I wanted to try another font just to add something different. This one is very clean and crisp looking ... it's called "Trebuchet" which means "a heavy-duty bucket used to throw heavy things (like rocks)." Okay ... ?
Phil and Lester went fishing this past Thursday and "had a ball" according to Phil. Lots of nice fat trout took the bait and none were the worse for wear when they released them back into the lake to swim another day. They were having so much fun, it was difficult for them to quit but they came home before dark because Les remembered it was the evening that Wook-ee and Zena had to go to "Puppy School" in Olympia. Those puppies are so sweet, growing so fast and learning so much so quickly, they are just too-o-o-o cute!
I took the day off for myself as well and managed to take care of some overdue personal maintenance after I went back to bed about 10 AM and snuggled in for a little morning nap. How decadent is that? On Friday, we rode along to Camping World in Tacoma with Gloria and Lester in their big, comfortable van and I had a fabulous time. I've been wanting to go shopping there since we bought the motorhome and we've delayed the trip until we knew for sure what was really needed. Bought some necessary things and some not-so-necessary things (fun stuff) and signed up very painlessly for GMAC Fulltimer's Insurance. Our new lifestyle is now official ... ;-)

Phil paying the bill ... heck, someone has to do it! Posted by Hello

Happy Camper! Posted by Hello

Gloria and Les discussing a serious purchase. Posted by Hello

Wonderful friendly pit bull resting while his owner shops at Camping World. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

7:47 PM Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Just realized I can change the colors of my text! What fun! It's amazing how little it takes to keep me entertained lately ... could it be the beginning of my second childhood? ;-)

Everyone we talk to about our lifestyle change to full time RVing (after they tell us we're either crazy or very adventurous) asks the same question: "Where are you going first?" It's very difficult to answer that question because our "plan" is to have no "plan". However, we do have some things we desire to or wish will happen. One of my wishes is to disengage myself from my watch, although one of my fetishes is clocks ... I just love clocks and knowing what time it is has always been important to me. Being on time is important to me as well, probably a subconscious need because my mother was chronically late and got away with that behavior her entire life. Her tardiness was forgiven because she was always the life of the party once she arrived and even though her being late was rude and in my opinion, very self-centered, she never felt it necessary to change her ways and never managed to get anywhere on time.

So, when you see me again, after we're on the road ... check to see if I'm wearing my watch. If I'm not, my wish will have come true ...

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

9:55 AM Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Start to finish, from beginning to end it took us 2 hrs. and 20 minutes to drive less than a mile to fill up our propane tank. Of course, it's only the second time we've moved the motorhome since we've been living in her full time. Phil and I thought that was pretty good considering how inexperienced we are at all the things that must be done. For example ... outside, the black and gray water tanks must be dumped; all the cords, cables and hoses must be unhooked; the awnings must be rolled up; the engine must be started and the slide retracted after cleaning the debri off the awning that covers it; the jacks must be raised and the jack stand pads stowed and all the basement "pods" must be locked. Inside, everything on any flat surface must be stowed where it can't slide around or fall and break and for us that means the dinette seats and under the table are stuffed full; the bathroom counters are cleared off and the bedroom nightstands are pretty well stabilized (it worked great) with nonstick rubberized shelf liner; coffee pot and miscellaneous kitchen stuff went in the sink; driver and copilot seats were turned back to facing forward after stowing the printer and computer stuff that we set up on the passenger seat while we're parked; flat screen computer monitor is unhooked and stowed in the swivel recliner wrapped in an afghan and I stuffed my big purse between the computer tower and table leg on the floor to slow it down should it decide to take a walk; privacy drapes must be opened and fastened back behind the seats; refrigerator and freezer doors must be tightly closed; area rugs must be taken up in the living room, shaken and stowed before the slide comes in; I have to remove the padded headboard I made for our bed, raise the blinds and make sure the driver can see out the back window and probably some other things that I've forgotten already. Then, of course, the whole scenario is reversed once we're back at our parking spot. So far, we haven't created a checklist but I plan to put that together for us before we head south. Here are a few pictures I took during the whole process.

Our beautiful new home ... ready to head down the highway any day now. Posted by Hello

Phil watches the attendant fill 'er up. She took 17.6 gallons~at $1.89 per that came to $33.36. Not bad considering we've been using the furnace nonstop for almost a month! Posted by Hello

Time to go ... Posted by Hello

Slide is in ... almost ready to go. Posted by Hello

Bathroom ready to rock and roll down the road. Bag hanging from the shower rod is our soiled clothing bag. Posted by Hello

All my "stuff" stowed in the dinette ready to take the trip three quarters of a mile to the Chevron station for our first fill up of propane. Posted by Hello

Saturday, October 09, 2004

7:50 PM Saturday, October 9, 2004

We wrote, "... everything goes, including the house." in our newspaper ads for the garage sale and on the first day Phil led walk-throughs for three potential buyers. On Friday morning, the first lady who looked, called her husband and they came back later that day and he took the tour. On Sunday, she came back and told Phil they wanted the house and agreed to the "as is" stipulation to get the price we offered. This morning, we drove to Olympia and I signed all the papers and agreed to the 2.5% fee for the agent even though Phil and I both thought they told us, because he was a friend of theirs, he'd do the paperwork for "free." Oh well, I don't know how to do the paperwork and for sure, even if I did, I don't WANT to do it ... so compared to 6% (the usual real estate agent's fee) it's a bargain and we capitulated without too much argument. It amounts to about $3,000, payable at closing; we can live with that. We've asked for a closing date of October 30th but realistically don't expect it to happen until November 10th. Once the check clears ... we're out of here!

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

11 AM Tuesday, October 5, 2004

I'm taking the morning "off" today as is Phil ~~ he's gone fishing with Lester. Our local volcano, Mt. St. Helen is spewing steam and ash thousands of feet in the air again, monopolizing the TV news. I remember well, the catastrophic eruption of 1980 and thankfully, this will not be a repeat of that "event" according to the experts being interviewed one after the other this morning! However, the weather is perfect and the skies are clear so we're getting a perfect, bird's eye view of the lady showing off her stuff. Our final garage sale; our last hurrah so to speak, went about as well as any sale could possibly go. Our dear friends, Les and Gloria's voluntary participation began weeks before the sale and continued nonstop for all three days through the end of the sale. Les "toted that bar and lifted that bale", encouraging Phil and making jokes to break the tension as we came down to the wire. Gloria filled in the gaps, cheering us on with mega moral support and garage sale expertise. As a complete surprise and so gratefully accepted, our friends, Sandy and Ray arrived 30 minutes before we opened on Friday morning and when they saw the state I was in (to put it mildly, I was somewhat discombobulated from the stress of the days leading up to the sale) they volunteered to stay for a few hours which turned into all day for two days. The entire sale proceeded flawlessly as the four of them, plus Phil worked like the team of pros that they are helping customers, running the cash register, wrapping and bagging with smiles and "Thank You" after each sale! My precious granddaughter, Megan, after putting in several hours on the previous Wednesday evening working very hard, arrived at 6 AM and using some of her valuable leave from work, my daughter, Bobbie came before we opened and the two of them worked until midday as "security" and "customer service" inside the house. Megan had to leave and go to work but her mom, my daughter, Violet came and pulled the afternoon security/service shift with her sister. Saturday and Sunday, our long-time friend, Helga, worked the security shift inside the house and also took special care to make sure all the items were marked and displayed to their best advantage. Moi? I spent all day Friday and Saturday and half a day Sunday in the downstairs bedroom/office marking merchandise that didn't get marked prior to the sale and running it out to the tables. Consequently, I missed most of the "fun" but my job was important as well and that quiet time gave me an opportunity to calm down and get my mind off all the hypothetical disasters I was conjuring up in my nightmares. We had 35 folding tables plus all the counter tops in the kitchen filled to overflowing plus two clothes racks in the entry. The most expensive item we had for sale was Phil's 8 MM Mauser hunting rifle but the majority of sales were small, inexpensive items and the garage sale customers responded with enthusiasm to the low prices and large assortment. Then Monday, Les came back down, disassembled his tent while Phil took a truck load to the landfill, helped Phil break down the tables then went home and prepared a baked salmon dinner for us! Do we have the world's BEST friends or what? Phil and I had arrived about 10 AM and while I went to my podietry appointment, Phil went through the house and garage like a whirling dervish and had most of the leftovers packed into boxes within just a couple hours. Tomorrow, we will donate our leftovers to my favorite charity, "Kitten Rescue" for their next fundraising garage sale, sort through a few personal boxes of belongings stashed in the upstairs bedroom and the office, clean up and most likely make some appointments to interview a few realtors so we can put the house on the market. I haven't completely come down off my adrenalin rush yet and I still feel exhausted but I'm so relieved that for the most part ~~ the hardest part of becoming fulltiming RVers is over!

Three generation: Granddaughter Sara (class of 2005!), Joy, Grandson Joe and daughter Bobbie surprised Grandma (Joy) and stopped by on Sunday Posted by Hello

Sister Dixie gets a hug from Phil ...  Posted by Hello