Friday, November 27, 2015

Friends, Family, Fun and Food - and Some More of That Responsible Stuff

Our final week back in the old hometown has been a good mix of visiting friends, hanging out at home, grandson time, final necessary appointments, and a lovely family Thanksgiving. 

Good friends, Steve and Lori, agreed to be our "address", and have made that piece of our new life so simple. We drove down to visit them, enjoy a wonderful dinner, and pick up the very few items that we actually needed after six months :-) Hard to believe I went out to the mailbox every day! It was so fun to get caught up with them, share our adventures, and make plans to see them again for New Years. I need to set a "photo alarm" so I'll remember to take pics of friends!

Getting to spend time with Ezra is a real highlight of our extended time here. He has grown so much in just three weeks! I went to their place several times, just to hang out, or to take he and his mommy out to run errands. Daddy's work hours get him home in the evening so we've seen him less, but they have all been over to visit a couple times - even better!! No problem remembering to take pics of this guy :-)))

Watching video of himself
Proud Daddy and the little man
Got the rig in and out of Camping World for the slide and windshield-rubber fixes on Monday - two warranty items remain, neither are life-style altering, and we plan to complete those before the end of next month. 

The black trim on the Jeep has been gray from oxidation for months, making it look as old as it really is. I had no desire to pick up the black paint stuff or multi-step restoration kits - I figured there had to be at least one household hack on line that would take care of it. 

Yep! Just this and two paper towels

After "peanut-buttering" our car
Looks like new, and smells great!
A very simple process of wiping on with one towel, scrub very little, and remove with another towel. We'll see how it holds up - and whether or not we attract a large number of squirrels at our camp sites....

I made a deal with my doctor that if my cholesterol was still high when we returned I would go on Lipitor. While all my numbers improved, including decreased weight, and getting my blood sugar back to normal, the cholesterol is still higher than it should be. Not thrilled about the statin, but grateful to have good insurance, and for the overall better health.

Nick and Jillian hosted their first Thanksgiving for the whole family (after just 3 weeks of marriage), and it was a great day! Unfortunately Brian and Shalise had already made plans around her family, and Jeff was not going to travel on this craziest of airport-weekends, so we missed having them with us. But the other brothers and their girlfriends were there, as well as their mom and Jillian's parents. A wonderful family visit with a delicious meal. (Thanks to Jillian for the pics)


Bill made his famous dressing in our kitchen so the rig smelled like Thanksgiving without all the usual work! The boys continued their dad's tradition of barbecued turkey (on his old Weber), and it was fabulous - good job guys!! 

We played a fun game after dinner and then enjoyed way too much dessert. Jillian had to-go containers for all of us to take home left-overs, so the holiday was complete :-)

Emily, Travis' girlfriend, couldn't stay but we sure enjoyed her cheesecake bites!
Food coma
Before we left for the family gathering, Scott (we're staying on his property), and his cousin and daughter came over to play with his radio-controlled cars. Autumn, his daughter, has been "scared of" Bill since she was a baby but has finally warmed up to him, and it just makes him so happy!!  They hung out while the "boys" played with the little and big toys.

Autumn hangin' with Pops
Boys and their toys
Now they're buds...
We have a couple more get-togethers before saying our good-byes on Sunday afternoon. It has been wonderful seeing family and friends again, yet the road calls loudly for us to continue our adventures.

Can we go now?

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Do We Have the Right Stuff?

Doing a quick almost-six-months-as-fulltimers assessment I feel like we were pretty realistic in what we brought with us, and what we didn't.

The biggest change when we leave Santa Clarita this time will the absence of the trikes. We enjoyed them living in town with lots of easy access bike paths, but have only ridden them twice in the months we've been on the road. There have been limited options from the campgrounds without spending more money to upgrade our tires. Loading them on, and unloading them from, the Jeep wasn't a huge issue, but it was still a lot of work for something we weren't using. Tessa never got comfortable with the trailer - a larger one would probably work better, but again we didn't want to put out more money. I'm looking forward to easier access to the back of the Jeep, and one less thing to make sure is secured in our travels.

Otherwise, we haven't found anything else we're ready to toss. Since we have empty space inside and out, there's no urgency to unload.

We've managed to stick with our "one in, one out" commitment for clothes and shoes. I do admit I have added "extra" fun socks, but so far they haven't invaded "non-sock" storage space :-)  Our closet still has room for more clothes, but we have plenty. Have only wanted to wear jewelry a couple times, but the very few pieces I brought take up little space, and I expect to wear them all eventually.

The printer/scanner doesn't take up a lot of space, and although we've only used it a few times, those times have made us very glad we brought it with us! 

Mail? Absolutely no issues with not "receiving" a single piece. 98% of everything we ever handled through the mail, we now do online. Our "address friends" screen what still arrives in the box, texting us a pic of the item (DMV, toll road charges, etc) and we take care of it without ever touching it. Not changing a thing!

We bought a clear elbow and additional sewer hose after a couple weeks, and still want to get an additional length of water hose. There has only been one stop where the distance to the hookups was an issue, but it's unrealistic to think there won't be more. The TST toilet chemical is what we started with and have been very happy with how it works. Adding a little Happy Camper occasionally has kept everything odorless.

I continue to be amazed at the efficiency of a really small kitchen. There are a couple pans and utensils I haven't used, but they fit nicely in the space we have, and as I get more comfortable with the convection oven I'm thinking they'll be useful. The Keurig is still a favorite, even though it is the one thing that will cause a power fault when we're on 30 amp :-(  I turn off other things to ensure we have our coffee!

There are several things we haven't used at all. Some, like tools, we hope we never do. Others are seasonal so we'll see if the colder temps bring them out. 

There are four options already in the rig that I considered "whatever" items I could do without if we didn't have them. Instead, I love all of them: stacking washer and dryer, TV over the windshield (in addition to the larger one across the room), water and ice in the frig door, and the outside TV. Who knew? Apparently Thor did.......

I'm looking forward to pulling out the Christmas decorations in a couple weeks - I'm sure I'll be happy I brought everything in that box! 

Saturday, November 14, 2015

The Excitement of Being Responsible Adults

Doctor and vet appointments, lab work, dental and periodontal appointments, vehicle maintenance, rig warranty work and maintenance, picking up the mail, stocking the pantry - all that grown-up stuff that needs doing, but isn't particularly great blog fodder.

We're getting it all done while back in Santa Clarita for the month, expecting we won't be back in the area for a long time. The time is going by quickly, hard to believe we've been in one spot for two weeks!

While it's less than interesting, it does feel so responsible to get it all done :-))))

More fun has been the time spent with Ezra! Just hanging out with him and his mommy is so fun. Missing that will definitely be the hardest part of "leaving" this time.

Following one appointment we stopped by Bill's former work place for a surprise visit. Great to see everyone, all of them excited to hear about our adventures, and of course for Bill to know he never has to go back to the job!

My "borrowed-daughter" Megan joined us for brunch with Ezra and his parents - we had a great time getting caught up.

Megan with the little man
Family (thanks  for the photo Mommy )
The weather has been hot and cold and windy and calm, even a little rain one morning. We've been very comfortable in our little storage lot :-)

Still plenty to get done in the next two weeks - some more practical stuff to check off the list, and hopefully lots more time with family and friends.

Moon rises over our neighborhood

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Nick and Jillian Get Married

Nick is Bill's oldest and our second oldest. He and his lovely bride, Jillian were married Saturday.

Friday evening was the rehearsal dinner where the wedding party and family from both "sides" got to know each other and enjoy a yummy dinner.  Not surprising, the wedding party met at the venue afterwards to rehearse our "parts" for Saturday.

Groom and bride
Father of the groom - all spiffy for the big day!
Groom's Mom and Bride's Dad
Son number four - Travis - and girlfriend Emily
Listening to groom's mom's heartfelt words
Groomsmen provide musical backup while the couple attempts to pay attention to their part
A fun evening, getting excited about the next day!
An evening wedding, in November, outside.  And the weather is as perfect as the setting. 

Photos are taken before the ceremony to take advantage of the light.

The couple
Three brothers - Travis, Corey, Richie (Craig Jennings, photo credit)

The ceremony also starts nearly on time - wow!

The wedding party is lining up and we see a weird light in the night sky. At first it's a helicopter, then it isn't. Information the next day references a test rocket in San Diego - but on Saturday night it's a UFO with wedding wishes.

Later in the evening I suspect there was a landing.....
It is a beautiful, sweet and personal wedding. I don't take photos as I want to be present for this delightful moment. With the whole wedding party shod in Converse you know we all had a good time :-)

Dinner is very good, the cake beautiful and tasty, and the DJ had the dance floor rockin' all night.

Richie catches the garter
We are so happy for the new couple - and we got great in-laws in the deal too! Looking forward to seeing everyone for Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Our First Week Back

So much cute in one pic (thanks to Mommy for sharing)
Saturday we arrive back at our sweet mooch-docking spot in Santa Clarita and get set up.  It's hot!

FHUs, fast WiFi, security cameras, fenced and gated - sweet!
Not the 109 it was when we left in June, but hotter than anywhere else we've been since. 

Top priority is seeing that grandbaby and early in the evening his parents bring him over for a visit. We're also kinda excited to see them too :-)

Ezra's first Halloween in his foxy feet
Very excited about his first pumpkin patch
Sunday our host, Scott, has planned a BBQ for the family. He pulls his new travel trailer up beside ours for added shade and we turn on the outside TV for a day of football. 

I didn't get a lot of photos, having too much fun getting caught up with everyone.

Me with Ezra, Nick, Bill, Jillian, Corey, Scott, Brian
The week flies by as we take care of wedding prep, hair appointments for all three of us, Camping World warranty work, an afternoon movie and dinner at Ezra's house. 

They really should have a dress rental service too
Found a huge selection of "adult coloring books" at Barnes and Noble - score!!
Neither of them are too impressed

Two thumbs up for Mommy
Enjoying her first movie theater (all nice and clean too)
The morning of our CW appointment the dining room slide jams again, but is out this time and we have to cancel. Mobile tech tries to release the jam, realizes later there's a motor default, and gets it closed up that afternoon. The following day we give CW our nine item list, and pick it up at the end of the day with four of them done, one we decide not to have done, and the rest pending warranty approval. Overall we're happy half are done and have our fingers crossed for a quick turnaround on the others.

We're re-set for Thursday Night Football and ready for the wedding activities to get started the next day. But that's it's own post :-))))