I Remember When…

Being a young woman in the 50’s wasn’t an “equal” time.  Damn, I was devastated when I learned that I couldn’t pitch for the New York Yankees. I survived that disappointment and many more.   I tilted at some windmills and others I just accepted or worked around.

Life on the farm was hard in many ways, but in others it was fun.  I never understood that “woman’s work” was inside when I had to work outside too!

Yes, living in the country meant that you got up earlier to walk the proverbial mile to the school bus and then 8 long noisy bumpy miles to school.   Usually we arrived before the school was unlocked, which meant we stood around stomping our feet to stay warm.  It wasn’t so bad for the boys as they wore dungarees.  Since we were “ladies” we were not  allowed to wear dungarees.  After much protests we finally were allowed to wear pants to school, but had to take them off during classes.

All summer we worked in the garden, helped haying, and fed animals .  We had chickens and even though it was fun gathering eggs, the hens often took offense at us stealing their eggs and pecked us.

Our well was only about 30 0r 40 feet deep and was located about that far from the house. Every summer it ran dry.  We always had a bucket of water by the pump to prime it or you wouldn’t get water.  We kept a couple of metal milk cans to haul water for us and our animals, when the well went dry, we loaded the milk can in the back of the car off we went  to our back-up water source.  It was an artesian well not far from the house.  It was really just a hollowed out place in rock only about 3 or 4 feet deep.  It never went dry and the water was clean even though it had no cover over it.  We caught a small fish and every year dropped it in the well, as long as the fish was swimming we drank the water.  Doesn’t sound sanitary, but I am still alive.

This is a picture of me with two of those cans:

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That’s Mon and Dad priming the pump.  BTW the milk cans were empty.  I was strong, but not that strong.

There used to be a row of Maple trees across the road that every year we tapped for the syrup and cooked it to make Maple Syrup.  I can almost taste those big thick pancakes with fresh home churned butter and smothered in real Maple Syrup.  We did a lot of fishing on Moor pond in the background.  Bass and Pickerel in the summer and winter.

One summer I swam across the lake and back. My brothers were bragging about them swimming across it and I took the challenge and started my swim.  Mom was mad (and probably worried about me drowning) that I was swimming alone and she sent the boys after me with the boat and told them to make me swim back.  That was the one and only time I swam it.

I learned many things the hard way.

I Remember When …..

Life was in the slow lane, but was good.

I remember the time I went to “the ole swimming hole” on my bike (peddle power only) and decided  to give my girl friend a ride home.  Remember we only wore shoes during school, so I was barefoot.  She was on the seat and I stood up peddling.

We came across a rise in the road and started down, my foot slipped off the peddle, and I fell  on the road, she fell on top of the bicycle on top of me.

Up over the rise came a BIG car (they were big then) and slammed on his brakes so not to hit us.

The nice man jumped out of his car to make sure we weren’t hurt.  He got my friend and the bike off me to discover that my ankle was bleeding profusely, the sprocket had  cut my ankle.

I was told by my Mother “Do not take a ride with strangers” and no matter what he said I said, “NO.”

He begged and pleaded to het me to let him help me.  But if you knew my Mother, you knew her word was LAW!  There was no way I was getting in that car.

Finally, over all my objections and after a lot scratching and hitting , he got me into his car.  My friend told him where I lived and he took me home.

I was taken to “Ole Doctor Taylor’s office” and he did the stitches in his office.  No emergency,  or hospital!

I was supposed to be on crutches all summer long , we were so poor, my Dad make me a pair.  I was so ashamed of them that I would conveniently “forget” them and hobble around.

I was also told not to go swimming in Lake Wassookeg Lake so not to get infection if the wound, however I “fell in” on nearly every occasionally got near the water.

I remember hobbling like crazy trying to stay out of Doc Taylor’s eyesight on Fourth of July.  I neglected to bring my handy dandy crutches, and Doc Taylor knew ALL of his patients.

Those were the good old days.  It is so sad that we will never see them again.  Now it is a Corporate Medical Business!

 

I Remember When…

Wash day was a big deal!  First you dragged the machine with its attached ringer out to the middle of the floor, and set up the rinse tub close enough that you could use that handy dandy ringer after rinsing.

Filled the washer with Hot Water usually heated on the stove, added Bleach and Soap!  First you dumped in the sheets, they were always white.  Let the good old machine agitate until you felt that they were as clean as they could get.  Ring them out with the ringer and watch your fingers!  Rinse them once Ring them again.  While the towels are agitating, you carried the sheets out to the handy dandy clothes line and  hang them out.  Winter or summer.

Once the towels were as clean as you could get, you start the process all over again.  Finally you got to the colored clothes, all in the same water, usually.  So by the time you were done everything got bleached.  Sometime a change of water was in order if it was yucky.

My most vivid memory is coming home from school and seeing my one and only Cashmere sweater hanging up over the stove.  To my horror it had undergone the torture of the ringer and Hot Water.

I Remember When…

I remember when buying a new car was not a knockdown drag out fight to the death of your entire savings.   You took pride in your “vehicle of transportation” and could have it paid off and enjoy it for years before it needed tons of work.

We never had a “new” car when I was a kid.  My Dad maintained it forever, until our poor car had congestive heart failure and died and not matter how hard my Dad tried he couldn’t save it.

Usually there was only one or two dealerships in a town and 2 or 3 garages.  You could change your own oil if you were handy.   It didn’t cost an arm and a leg to have it done.

BTW, none of the cars came with seat belts.  There were no child seats.  We drove just as fast as we do now, and our biggest distraction were lighting cigarettes, and hollering at kids.  Nobody ate food in the car unless it was a sandwich brought from home.

Next time I’ll tell you about my first brand new car and about my first used car.

I Remember When…..

Now try not to faint, but I remember the Fourth of July celebrations that were small, but fun.  Lots of food vendors and we used to buy Lobster “all you could eat” for $1.00 a plate.  That’s right one dollar.

Of course the wages were considerable smaller.  Although not that smaller.

My Step-Dad worked on the Railroad making peanuts for hard labor.

My husband’s family used to go down to the coast and purchase a washtub of Lobster and bring them home for a big cook out.  We always dipped them in hot melted butter with a touch of lemon juice.  Makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

Now go eat.

I Remember When….

Going shopping was only to get flour, sugar, salt, beans, salt pork and sometimes a “store bought treat”.  The operative word is sometimes.

We lived on a farm and grew everything.  We had a garden that was at least one acre and my Mother canned everything!  We always had chickens….so we had fresh eggs.  We raised at least one steer….so we had meat, btw that was canned too.  We had a cow….so we had milk, butter, and cottage cheese.

Until I was an adult, I never went to a restaurant for dinner, never had spaghetti, Pizza was unknown, and an Ice Cream Sundae was a dream.

Don’t feel sorry for me, everyone was paddling in that same canoe.  I wonder sometimes if America evolved too far from that simple life.

Life is strange, just when you think you have closed the door on one chapter of your life, a new door opens.  The trick is to have enough guts to step through the door and embrace what is waiting to challenge your courage.

I have discovered that I hate being the new kid on the block.  It might be understandable if you knew my history.  I grew up on a farm and learned hard work was followed by simple fun.  There wasn’t much social life living 8 miles from any town.

After graduation, life continued with working and learning about life, sometimes the hard way, sometimes learning was delightful.

After meeting and marrying the love of my life, I settled down to being a Mother, which was the best job I ever had.  When the Children were in Junior High I realized that my job skills were a little rusty, actually they were rusted solid.

My husband suggested Real Estate, and after looking at the qualifications I decided I had just enough to sneak in the door.  That started a 30 year career as a Residential and Commercial Realtor.

So now you are up to date on my entire life in a nut-shell, which sometime described many of the characters and episodes of that business.  I loved the business and amazingly I was a very good Realtor.  I again learned everything the hard way, but I learned it well.

When I retired and we started traveling I had some time on my hands and started writing about my experiences.  I couldn’t name names so I decided to make it a fictional account, changing the names and events to sometimes protect the innocent and sometimes to protect the guilty.

As I started writing I realized I could make it more interesting by adding murders, jail breaks, love stories with a little sex, and draw from my traits for the main strong female character.  By the way, the sexy boyfriend was just for fun, I have been married to the love of my life for 55 years.  I also never have gone skinny dipping with a client.

The name of the first story I wrote is “Murder on Lake Haverly”, A Maye West Mystery book 1.  I self published it on Amazon and it sells for $.99.

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What took you so long?

Wow!  It has been more than 24 hours and only one person from the 623 area code (that’s  in Arizona) has called to bend my ears on what they think about the “Sit In” in the House of Representatives to try to get a vote on gun safety.

You perhaps wondering why anyone would call me and not the White House?  Well almost 20 years ago I got a cell phone for my Real Estate business and was given my nice new telephone number, unfortunately I share the number with the White House.

If you call the White House message line from the 623 area code, and you fail to dial a “1” you will get my cell phone, at all hours of the day and the night!   Thank you so much!

BTW I am not very nice at 3:00 AM!  If you get me out of bed more than two or three times, I am downright nasty!

Most of you just start rattling off your views of the state of the world and what you know should be done to fix it, without taking a breath  so I can interrupt.

Some of you ask to speak to President Obama!  Right! He is sitting right next to his RED phone with baited breath waiting for you to call.

In the past I have thought of many cute things to say, but sanity prevailed and I just informed you that you need to dial a 1.

I loved the people that call back several times as they just don’t believe me.

The only good thing about this is I always know that some crap has hit the fan in politics!  Some years it is smellier that others.

I figured that at sometime I would have talked to everyone in that area code, but, alas today I got another call.  Hence this epistle.

 

 

To review or not to review

I love to read if I have the time I would read 4,5 or 6 books a week.  Unfortunately my time and lately my eyes tell me that is too many.

Many of the books I read are from Amazon, on my Kindle.  Since I am a full time RV’er I have room to pack the kindle with tons of books.  And yes I know that most RV’ers give and take books from the lending library at the Resorts.

One of my pet peeves is turned down pages on a book and the use of weird things for book marks.  But that is just me!  My kindle is always on the last page I read.

Anyway, my point is, when I read a book my first thought is to review it in my mind.  I leave reviews for writers when they are really good, when the characters jump out at me and leave enough of an impression that I remember their names and the plot of the story.

Recently, I have begun writing again and have a book on Kindle, it is disheartening as a writer to have people read my book and not take the time and effort to write a short review.  I understand that as a new writer I have a lot to learn, and the probability of becoming a best seller is not very high, however everyone has to start somewhere.  I love to create characters give them life, and sometimes let them die, and for a short time I live in their world with them.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dear Son

This letter has been a long time coming, but I think that it is at the right time.  Since I wrote the “Dear Daughter” letter so long ago, this one has been forming in the back of my mind and in my heart.

I see posts on Facebook that you are sometimes depressed and unhappy, and it breaks my heart.  You deserve to be happy!  You were a good child and you are a good man.   What you have become and done with your life makes us so very proud.

You were the happiest baby, and such an easy child to have around.  You were so content playing in your playpen with your toys and the only time you cried was when you were hungry.  You weren’t real happy when kids buried your cars.  You didn’t need to have a great abundance of toys or attention.  You were always able to entertain yourself.

I really tried to help you understand the genes that unfortunately that you got from me.   I know that you struggled with some of them, like anger management.  You did as good handling it, probably more than me most of the time.

We know now that there were a lot of things that you needed and wanted from us and probably we should have known what they were or tried harder to discover them.  The problem with being a parent, as you now know is that there is no manual to help you do the right thing at the right time.  Hindsight has shown us that we missed the mark, sometimes a little and sometimes by a country mile.  For that we are sorry, but as you know “you can’t go back” and there “aren’t any do-overs”, in life.

There are several things that you need to know.

We are so proud of the man you have become!   You have succeeded in the parenting game so much better than we ever did and we are awed with how wonderfully your daughter managed to grow into a wonderful kind, well rounded woman amidst the heartache of divorce at an age that sets the stage for adulthood.   You put everything that you wanted and needed aside to make sure that your daughter had everything that she needed to have the very best start in life.

She loves you so very much and wants you to be happy.  We also love you so very much and also want you to be happy.  You deserve it!  You have made so many people so happy, now it is your turn.

We know that you have overcome many things and your latest hardship was a big one.  You faced it with honor, humility, dignity, and did everything that was asked of you, no matter the cost to you personally.  At the same time you made your daughter your first priority.

We know that you know that we are here for you, and will always be, you just need to ask.

We Love You More

All the jobs I’ve loved and hated before

All the jobs I’ve loved and hated before

In my long young life I have worked at many places some were nice and some were not so nice.

My first job was picking potatoes.  I was only allowed to pick on Saturday and Sunday as Mom wanted one of her kids to graduate from High School.

The pay was peanuts: $.20 a barrel which holds about 3 bushels.  A “section” was about long enough to fill one bushel basket with potatoes.  By the way, the best way to pick the fastest was to stand and bend over at the waist and pick them up one by one using both hands.  I could pick about 20 or 30 barrel a day.  My mother could pick 100 barrels a day.  Amazing woman!   The funniest thing that happened was when one of the pickers put his arm around my Mother to get a little kiss.  He had obviously drunk his lunch or he never would have tried that with her!  She brought her fist up from her waist and laid him out, cold!  No one ever bothered her again.  We didn’t know we were poor.  I loved canned Franco-American Spaghetti cold from the can for lunch more than sandwiches.

We also picked beans and it was harder than potatoes and no more money and it takes a lot more beans to make a bushel than potatoes.

My first real paying job was waitressing!  I was so green and naive and the owner was a really nice guy, but had a cracked sense of humor.  He told me that the Crullers (long round donuts) were called “Male Donuts”.  I called them that until someone took pity on me and explained it to me.  I got a lot of tips because even though I was not a great waitress, I laughed at myself along with them.

Another job was at a new Shoe Store.  My boss told me all about this new shoe that was called “a pound a pair”.  I was fascinated with it and soaked up all the best-selling points.  One day a guy came in and I started telling him all about them, eve had a pair on his feet before he again took pity on me and introduced himself as the owner of the store.  My boss was laughing so hard she nearly wet her pants.  He was impressed though, unfortunately I didn’t get a raise.

I once worked as a waitress for Howard Johnson in South Carolina.  We were supposed to carry everything on a big tray, even if it was a pat of butter!  One day everyone was all in a twitter because the big guy himself was coming in for lunch.  Nobody wanted the honors of waiting on him.  I volunteered and everyone said empathically NO!  I was told to hide in the back room and not to come out under any circumstances!  That job didn’t last long as I was responsible for more broken dishes than the money I earned.  Oh well!  I hated the job and the uniforms!

Now the uniform of the next job was up my alley!  A t-shirt and a pair of little red shorts (I was a lot smaller then) and a pair of rolling skates!  I was a Car Hop if you didn’t guess that already! Girls my age (18) weren’t supposed to serve alcohol so when someone ordered Beer we served it in the plastic cups that milk-shakes were served in.  I got tons of tips and several invitations to go out on the guy’s boats for an ocean cruise.  Now, I am naïve, but not stupid!  Out on a boat on the ocean miles from land with a couple guys and no way to walk home?  I let them tip me real big, but no cruises.

Hey I dated one guy for a couple of weeks, and he seemed nice until two Men in Black Suits knocked on my door with guns under their jackets and nice gold badges in a wallet asked me a lot of questions about that guy.  I spilled my guts!  And the next week I packed up and left town.  My Mother didn’t raise no fools!  Well, I did have two brothers.

I moved to Hartford Conn and went to work for Hartford Fire Insurance as a Keypunch Operator.  What a fun job, setting all day punching holes in cards that the guys across the file cabinets used in the computers?  I put a question behind computers, as they were the very beginning of computers.  My boss used to tell me “A change is as good as a rest” when she pushed something new on me.  This great piece of advice was from a woman that drank her lunch every day.  I lived with two room-mates and that was so much fun.  One of them was such a ditz that the other girl and I helped and encouraged her to get married as fast we could.  The other girl was nice but evidently Mom took such good care of her that she was incompetent at anything that had to do with cleaning.  While I slaved every Saturday washing all my clothes by hand and hung them out to dry and ironed everything she seemed to always be neat and clean for work.  I made the mistake of borrowing one of her blouses and discovered that she never washed anything, when most of her clothes were dirty, she mailed them to her mother, who washed starched and ironed them and mailed them back.  She also failed to get up and get ready for work so many times and we had to pay a taxi that I started to leave her to pay it by herself.

I once got a job even thought my typing skill was minus 10 words a minute!  I got the job because I knew how to set a tab.

Working in the Shoe Shop was an experience that everyone should have! My job was to zig zag the backs of Ice Skates, Bowling Shoes, and Golf shoes on an industrial sewing machine.  I would do about 30 pairs at a time and cut them apart.  I was and am still very fast with my hands and I am ambidextrous.  I wanted a raise from 1 cent a pair to 2 or 3 cents a pair, so when the boss (not the sharpest tool in the shed) came by with his stop watch to time me (supposedly without me noticing) I did a lot of movements and not much work, until he left.  I never got the raise and as a matter of fact, I was escorted to the door and told that they didn’t need me anymore.  There were three very good reasons.  1. I talked up Unions.  2. One of the Supervisors called me out of the bathroom to tell me to get back to work!  I picked him up by the front of his shirt and put him up against the wall with his feet dangling and told him never to call me out of the bathroom again.  3. Another Supervisor thought that we should date and dogged me everywhere. I dodged him but when he got too friendly at work. I told him NEVER to put his hands on me!  Unfortunately for him he attempted it after I saw him put his arms around the girl next to me and fondle her boobs.  I attempted to give him a vasectomy without the anesthetic. If he was slower with his hand I might have accomplished the deed.

When I explained number 3 to the Unemployment Department I was granted full unemployment benefits.

This brings me up to the time I settled down; got married and raised a family! Stay tuned for the next chapter to follow about 20 years later.

Nadar’s Raiders why have you forsaken us?

Nadar’s Raiders why have you forsaken us?

Your dream was only to become President of the US

We wanted you to shine a light on the manufacturer’s short cuts

We needed you to continue making a big fuss

Over their huge profit by using lies and such

You told us what they used to make the shoddy toys

And let everyone know what they were up to

You wouldn’t become one of the good old boys

And helped give some of them the boot and shoe

The advertising of those products on TV

That showed us that they were the best

And the miracles they claimed them to be

Was all smoke and mirrors we could laugh and tee hee!

The soap that didn’t wash like they claimed

The cribs weren’t he safe as they should be

And our children were maimed

We saw what we needed to see

And stopped buying the things they presented

With golden voice or sexy slinking

And stayed with the things that you recommended

We were glad you got us thinking

But there came to you the sirens song

Of gaining the all-important elected office of the President

Maybe you planned to achieve it all along

And we didn’t matter, only your intent

We wish there was someone to take up your staff

And forge ahead with your quest

To make the big guys not take their profit out of our half

And not listen to them and only work on our behalf

Bigger, Stronger and Smarter, but not necessarily in that order!

Recipe for raising children!  At least that was ours.

I’ll give you an example of someone that did not get or understand that concept.

We invited a couple over to our apartment to play cards.

The mother said “We would love to, but our daughter just will not go to bed, she will stand right at our shoulder and annoy all of us”.

“Don’t worry, just have her in her pajamas and I guarantee that she will not fight going to bed for me”.

So the evening arrived and before they got there I went into our bedroom and turned down the bed and sprinkled some “Magic Powder” on our bed and made it up again.

When they arrived, and introduced us to their daughter, I took her aside and asked her to come with me to see the bed that she would go to sleep in. When we got the bedroom I turned down the bed a little and said to her, “I just wanted to show you where you will sleep, but not now, as a matter of fact be careful, because I put some “Magic Powder” in your bed and if you smell it now you will fall instantly asleep.  When you are ready to go to sleep, just tell me that you want to smell the “Magic Powder” and we will come in and you can get into bed.

She was dying of curiosity, and wanted to smell the magic powder, because of course, I wouldn’t let her near the bed.  I played it up real big and told her not even to get too close to the bed.  I told her to come back out in the kitchen with me and only tell me when she really wants to smell the Magic Powder.

She watched us play cards for a while and finally her curiosity got the better of her and she asked me to let her go in the bedroom and smell the Magic Powder.

I did it up big again, and led her into the bedroom and asked again if she was ready to go to sleep, because she would fall asleep in just a few minutes.

She got into the bed and smelled the “Magic Powder” and we talked for a few minutes and sure enough her eyes got heavy and she dropped off.

We had a nice time playing cards and her parents had to carry her out to the car.

I still can’t believe this, but the next day her mother called me and asked “Where can I get some of that “Magic Powder” so I can get her to go to sleep”!

I told her “you dope, it was Baby Powder”!

Are General Physician’s becoming obsolete?

Now let’s think about this! When was the last time that you visited your GP and he/she actually examined you? Never! You are untouchable. You are invisible! Medicine is a corporate business; caring personalities do not enter into it, anymore. In and out in 15 minutes or less, (you can’t even get a good burger that fast) they have to churn out patients by the dozen so that the payments on the yachts are made on time.

Let’s go through a typical GP visit. You are not a new patient, they have your history before them, or at least they could if they cared to read it.

“Hi (looks down at your chart, because he/she doesn’t recognize you) John Doe, “Why did you come to see me, today?” Jeez, I had to tell everyone but my pastor, someone should have passed that on to you!

The cute little person in the adorable scrub outfit took all your vital statistics and asked you again “Why do you need to see the Doctor?”, and when you called for your appointment, several weeks ago, you were grilled by that Oh so nice voice on the phone “Why do you need to see the Doctor?”

Just try to get out of telling her/him specifically why you want an appointment! Not going to happen! I have tried several different tactics to keep my personal information to myself until I see the GREAT AND POWERFUL DOCTOR and to no avail. I finally tell them I need 15 minutes and it is none of your business why or what ails me, it is personal. Unless you have got your medical license you do not need to know.

I know I am a mean bitch, but, if I am only going to get 15 minutes anyway, what does it matter.

Also I am old! I remember the days when you could go see the Doctor in a few hours or at the longest the next day. I also remember when they could actually stitch up a minor wound in their office. If you were injured you went to his/her office and if it were major and needed hospitalization you were sent to the hospital. There were very few “Specialists”.  Sometimes your GP was also your surgeon!

Not so today! You tell them what is wrong and they immediately, well not that soon, send you to a “specialist” or the hospital. Hopefully it isn’t your arm or leg that is hurt, because the hospital will charge you the other two!!! BTW the Specialist usually is not so busy that they can see you within a week. Also they don’t really listen either!

Doctors really do not want you to look up anything on the internet to try to understand about your condition or what the ramifications of any medication that they propose to write a prescription for you to fill at your local pharmacy.  Don’t get me started on pharmaceutical Companies!

I recently became acquainted with Urgent Care! You can get in to see a doctor or a PA in usually the same day. They call you by name and seem to really care about you. Recently I received a call from the PA, a couple of days after my visit to inquire if I was feeling better. When was the last time you got a call from your doctor?

What we need now, is an online virtual doctor that you can talk to and they will listen just like their real life counterparts, and can refer you to a hospital or specialist with specifics on how to reach either one. Doctors will have to become good actors like the “Doctors” on TV selling their Snake Cures. It would save much time, money and aggravation for the patients, and in this fast paced environment it will fit most people’s lifestyle.   Imagine sitting in the comfort of your own home and chatting face to face with your smiling friendly “Doctor”! You probably won’t even notice the difference in the care and concern, it may even be better!

What do think about it? Let me know, I am interested really, please talk to my assistant first and I can give you at least 15 minutes and will almost immediately send you to the proper specialist!

Maine Bed and Breakfast Contest

This is the entry that I would have sent in if I had wanted to own a large Bed and Breakfast in Main for only a 200 word essay and $125.00.

Why would a couple, that have never owned or even worked in a Bed & Breakfast in Maine or anywhere else, want to own one? Well, because it is in our home state! Yes, we were born and raised in Maine.   One thing that we can bring with us is a ghost! That’s right; we have our own personal ghost. My Mother! She always loved my husband, me not so much! But she puts up with me just so she can be near him.  She doesn’t rattle chains or anything gross, but she just might hide things, mostly from us, and she just might make all our flowers bloom and the birds sing.   Everything she planted just flourished and she knew all the bird’s names and they would eat out of her hand.

We have worked for other people when we had to, but the most fun we had was working for ourselves. Long hours and hard labor mean nothing when you love your boss. We have been bossing each other for 53 years, and we don’t see that changing any time soon.

Are we qualified? Of course not! No one in their right mind would tackle something this big. But we have been accused of having more guts than brains; we took it as a compliment.   We are ready willing and able to come back to Maine and play host to all those lovely people who want to have Maine Lobster experience. By the way, Mother is already packed!

Just One More Day!

I would give a lot for just one more day…

To look into the eyes of my new born babies again and feel the wonder of their new life.

To see Disney Land, Enchanted Village, or just watch the joy and excitement of seeing the animals at the petting zoo

To plan one more Birthday surprise and see the light in those young eyes at getting the gifts they were wishing and dreaming about.

To stay up half the night making that special Halloween costume that they dreamed up.

Going to millions of talent shows, band concerts and cheering even though staying home resting after a full day of work, with a backache would have been wonderful.

To have one more day of digging holes in the ice to set traps and watch the red flags fly up when a fish bit – racing to the trap on skates and struggling to pull it up through the ice. Sometime eating cold hotdogs, and drinking Kool aide.

To clear the snow from a big square on the ice on the pond in front of our house and setting worn out tires on each corner setting them afire so we could ice skate for the whole evening.

Tapping the Maple trees (with the owner’s permission) across the road and making tons of Maple Syrup and Candy.

One more picnic with all the family gathered around, playing tag, horseshoes (with real horse shoes).

Putting a wash tub on the lawn so the kids could have a swim pool.

This will give Antique Dealers nightmares; hauling the surrey with the fringe on top over the field with all our fishing gear and lunch to go fishing with no “adults”.

Donning our swimsuit and walking or riding our bikes up the the “Swimming Hole” and swimming all by ourselves with just our dog, Rex.

Watching my husband to be ride my horse on our farm, and laughing my ass of when he landed in the field and Chocolate Boy galloped to the Barn.   Of course the fact that my Mother was killing chickens and hollered at the dog had a small part in the horse turning quick. Still funny.

Playing Cribbage with Mike G.

Erma cooking a Spaghetti Dinner cooked by all the wives laughing and gossiping then the guys cleaning up and playing games

Erma making big pans of yeast rolls and us laughing our asses of when she forgot them and they raised up over the pans and dripped on the floor.

Another huge piece of her Spice Cake!

Haying our field, and when the day was over going to the Old swimming hole for an evening swim.

And yes, Carolyn, one more day driving the Red convertible and this time not running into the truck in a 20 acre field.

One more day fishing with my Mom, either on the lake rowing all over the lake to bag Black Bass or Pickerel . Or when we went brook fishing, walking miles and miles through the woods, me usually falling in at least once and getting mostly “pocket fish”. (Trout under sized to keep).

Damn Wrinkles

Damn wrinkles!

You sneak up on me,

In the dead of night

When I’m not looking.

You give me such a fright

when in the mirror I peak.

You stare back at me!

I scrub and I cream

But still you sneak!

Upon my face,

Upon my neck!

I am losing

The battle of the creases.

Oh, what the heck!

I still don’t look my age

So I have been told,

By kind people that I meet,

Advice I choose to take as sage.

Dearly Beloved and Unbeloved

I wrote this and submitted to my GM at a RV Resort because we were working on a renew Wedding vows theme.  It was rejected, as a matter of fact the whole theme was rejected in favor of a Photo Op of anyone that wanted sort of wedding pictures.

She said it was “sort of funny” in a couple of places.  I leave it up to you to decide if it was a little funny.

Dearly Beloved and Unbeloved

We are gathered here within the site of Lost Dutchman’s Mine on Superstition Mountain to re-new our commitments to all of  our long suffering spouses.

The ceremony is short just like our memories!   Which is a blessing, or none of us would still be married to the dumb-ass person standing beside us!

Matrimony is a solemn state, to which none of us entered into in our right minds.

If anyone present can show more than one reason why any of these people should still be joined, speak now and we will all forget what you said in 5 minutes or less.

Do you solemnly swear to continue suffering through all their peccadillos for the rest or your life or until divorce is a new addition to Medicare part Z with no deductible?

Do you promise to stick together through thin and thick, sickness, which is likely and health which is un likely!  Through Joy, which lasted through the honeymoon and sorrow which lasts forever!

After giving and receiving many insults throughout the years, we do pronounce you joined at the hip in your RV until it is paid off or you forget where you parked it.

Sir Fit the White Knight

Hi, Sir Fit, the White Knight here!

Hoping that your year has been good and you are traveling safe and happy! I am taking over for Red Rover as spokesperson for the Colbath’s. Another family fell in love with Red Rover and she has gone off on a new adventure.   No Worries!  It’s all good!  We wish her well! And I am fast becoming a member of the Colbath family.

Once Dolly–part-on and I met and hooked up we became fast friends and since the real difference between Red and I are mostly color, both Dolly-part-on, Miranda and have I got to be real close friends.

We all spent most of the Winter in North Phoenix, with our great friends Ed and Alissa, and left in February to take our new job in Waller Texas as Activity Directors at a Theme Park.  Before we left, our friend Hank helped us hook up a special hitch for our storage box on the back of Miranda to hold chairs.

For the first two months it was a kick in the pants interacting with the kids and enjoyed working with Paula, Fran, Jim, and Gayle, however, as you know sometimes “things” happen. The management was in disarray, as well as the lack of equipment to do our job effectively.  We did the best we could to organize the “office” (and I use the term office loosely), do a much needed inventory of supplies on spread sheets, leave the Activity Department well stocked for the next people to take over after we realized that the “new managers” wanted to micro-manage, and had no intention of letting us be creative with the activities.

If you know us, you know that we are very creative!

The final straw that broke the camel’s back, so to speak, was when we were told that we were responsible for mowing our sites, wearing uniforms which we had to purchase, and all of this would not have been so bad if we were not working 12 hour days, and only had 2 days of, when we quit the first-time. The new managers thought that we could now work part-time in other areas of the park and only spend a “little” time in the department that we had been working full-time.

Managers/owners really should try to remember that workampers are on wheels!

Our next stop was at a very nice RV Park called Serendipity Bay, which had just got new managers, Tom and Lisa, and we really loved them. The owner of the park was an IT wannabe and he wrote the campground program.  I could have got used to not using the computer for most of the work, and doing almost everything via files and more files, however, the Caliche dust, which is everywhere in Texas was a small problem, but when the Ship Refinishing business next door started sandblasting a boat to prep it for repainting, it did me in.  Even then, with albuterol and allergy pills, I planned to stick it out until they could get someone to take our places, fortunately that was not necessary as a couple that lived in the area, was just waiting for fall to start work, so were happy to start early.   We left on good terms, we hope, with the management, as soon as we could pack and head north to Texas Hill Country to hopefully get out of the humidity.

We spent the summer being tourists, in Comfort, TX and then in Ft. Stockton and in Ft. Davis. (See my blogs)

We also spent two months visiting our Son in Bentonville, AR.  As you probably have guessed, he works for Wal-Mart.  We also took a fast trip to Batesville, AR to pick up our Granddaughter at Lyons College  to come home for the summer.

We arrived at Meridian RV Resort (1901 S. Meridian Rd. Apache Junction) (www.mericianrvresort.com) on Sept, 17th and since we were considered “on the clock” so we couldn’t just set here and play.  So we started Friday night “Happy Hours” and introduced “Nickel Bingo” to the “Early Birds” and now it has become “Quarter Bingo”.  These 55+ kids are a “very young group of 55+”.  They have welcomed us with open arms and we feel like we are “home”!  If you haven’t picked a site for the winter, you should check us out.  Don’t wait, as we will fill up early.  Our next thing that we will do is Halloween.  And we are starting out with decorating tomorrow morning and will have a Pot Luck Party with prizes and a dance with Saguaro Sunset Band playing.

We get to book bands and other acts to perform at our Dinners and Friday Night Happy Hours! Whoo Hoo! This is a Kick in the pants!!! Every Monday Morning we have a meeting with Coffee and Donuts and tell everyone about the activities for the week.

Most of you have our cell #, would love to hear from you.

BTW if you are trying to reach us, our email address at work is activities@meridianrvers.com, you know our personal email and cell numbers! We are looking for acts for our Happy Hours, and would love to hear from you.

Happy Travels!!!

 

 

 

 

Sights of Ft. Stockton

Annie Riggs Museum

Annie Riggs lead a colorful life and bore 10 children to two husbands.  She was born November 24, 1856 near Las Cruces, NM to George & Mary Frazier.  After the Civil War the family moved to Ft. Stockton.

In 1877, Annie married James Johnson, who became the first Sheriff of Pecos County; in St. Joseph Catholic Church in Ft. Stockton TX, unfortunately the marriage lasted only long enough to produce 6 children, while Annie ran the popular boarding house called Johnson Hotel.

By the late 1880’s when the marriage failed and James moved away, in 1891 when she married Barney Kemp Riggs in a Civil Ceremony, and they had 4 more children in addition to the one child Barney brought to the marriage.  

Barney received a life sentence for murder in the Arizona Territorial Penitentiary in Yuma, Riggs saved the wardens life when a riot broke out and later received a pardon, and told to leave the territory and never return

Annie was granted a divorce in 1901 and her son-in-law from her first marriage, Buck Chadborn, was named trustee for Annie’s settlement.  On April 1902 Buck shot Barney in self-defense and, since Riggs did not leave a will, the courts awarded his estate to Annie.   She used the assets to purchase the Koehler Hotel in 1904, and changed the name to Riggs Hotel, which she operated as a hotel or boarding house almost up to the time of her death at age 73, in 1931.

Anne Riggs Museum 1

Annie purchased the hotel for $5000.00 and the rate for a bed was $.50 cents, with family style meals @ 35 cents.  It was operated by various members of her family into the 1940’s then in 1955 heirs of Annie Riggs deeded the old hotel to the Fort Stockton Historical Society to be operated as a museum.

This is a must see!  On one of the walk around porch, hang many branding Irons.   It was fun to walk through the rooms, not just look through doors, as you can only do in many museums.  I have posted several pictures that I took of the outside of the museum; you will have to go through to see the inside.  It is very well preserved. 

Also you may be able to see the inside of the Grey Mule Saloon; it was closed the day we were there.

Annie Riggs Memorial Museum 301 S. Main St. FT. Stockton, TX 79735 432-336-2167

Pecos County Jail

Pecos County Jail

The old Pecos County Jail, one of the oldest structures in West, Texas was built in 1883 of 2 foot thick Limestone blocks that still show imbedded animal fossils; in the close-up picture you will see them.  It was enlarged in 1913 and now includes a museum in what used to be the Sheriff, Deputies and jailers.  The second floor housed the prisoners.   We toured the jail and found that the inside was pretty dismal for the prisoners, but then is jail supposed to be pleasant?  It is all grey; walls, floors and bars.  We turned a corner and jumped d by a prisoner in a black and white striped suit.  Scared the bejeesus out of me.

closeup of fossel imbedded in Limestone block

Jail cell in Peco County Jail

Pecos County Jail 2 jpg

We took several pictures of the cells and one of the large cell with tables, and a shower that was added in 1955. Before that buckets of water were carried up the stairs access to the cells up stairs is by a winding metal staircase.

 

Across from the jail is a nice park called Zero Stone, named because it was used as a zero marking point for all surveys.   The Pecos, County Jail, Zero Stone Park, Annie Riggs Museum, and the Grey Mule Saloon are all within easy walking distance.   

Zero Stone Park with Gazebo

 

Be sure to see the Ft. Stockton Museum where they housed the Buffalo Soldiers and, don’t forget to go see Pisano Pete! 

BTW, just up the street from the Jail is a nice restaurant called “B’s”.  They make a very good sandwich and fresh cut and cooked while you wait, fries, and reasonably priced, too! 

If you are looking for a good priced RV Park in Ft. Stockton, we stayed at Ft. Stockton RV for a month and they were very nice to us.  Dottie helped us find a place near the WiFi tower and Pool.  It is a short drive to Town and very little highway noise, although it is not far off the highway and easy back on, too!. 

Happy Traveling!

 

Another Great Adventure

We have had many Great Adventures in our lives.  Some turned out better than others, and some were Great Disasters!  But we lived them all and are still living this Greatest Adventure to the fullest.

Perhaps some introductions are in order, we are a slightly Over the hill couple in our second childhood.  The reason we know we are in our second childhood is because our kids have become our Parents!! They want us check in every day to make sure that “we are still kickin”.  I suppose it is fair, since we required that they check in when they were young.  Our daughter works in the Optometry field and as soon as we got in town she made an appointment with her Ophthalmologist for Dad because after all, we are driving that box all across the country”.

We are living and traveling in our 32-foot Coachmen Mirada, doing the “full-time RVing”!!   We opted for two Schwinn Cruisers instead toading a vehicle.   If you have ever tried to decide what to take on a two week vacation you have a very small idea of what we went through to dwindle our belongings from a 1450-square foot, three bedroom house down to fit comfortably in a 240-square foot Motorhome.

We have since traded in our bikes for a 2013 Honda Fit, which we haul on a Demco Car Caddy.   The Demco Car Caddy is the best, it has EVERY feature that you could want and need.  We later that year decided we didn’t need both bikes and a car, so the bikes went away.  We do plan on getting two of the fold-up bikes when they go on sale again at Camping World.

One of the first things that we did was to scan the drawing of the floor plan from a Coachmen brochure and enlarge and split it for two pages front and back.  Then we   measured the entire compartment for storage in the under locking storage bins, and all the cupboards, drawers, under the couch, under the dining benches and all of the overhead compartments.  We made and re-made plans for what would go in each compartment several times.

We sold everything that we could on free sites and either shipping or having people come pick-up.  Our collections of Comic Books and Paperback books went to auctions.  What we couldn’t sell we either gave away or donated.  The most valuable Comics, we stored in the Motor Home and have been selling them on Bonanza, and Addies Attic (Webstore).

Since we were full time RVing, we decided to take mostly casual clothes; either knit or permanent press and nearly all had to be folded neatly, and as compactly as possible, so it would not look like we slept in our clothes.

We only have two small closets, and they left a lot to be desired space-wise!   We decided to put shelves in the closets to put plastic trays on, with our neatly folded clothes.

So we called the 800 # for Coachmen and asked if they had any of those nice plastic shelf standards that were installed in the pantry, and we were lucky, they did!   When they arrived Shirl put them in the larger of the two closets (mine) and then made shelves, with our handy-dandy measurements, we purchased plastic bins at our ever-ready Wal-Mart, and two of then would fit perfectly on each shelf.  Now all I had to do is fit everything I wanted to take in 7 bins.

Not going to happen!! After folding and re-folding and throwing out more things, I was able to get everything packed.  Whew!!

Then we had to tackle Shirl’s closet!  His was a huge 7 inche wide, and even with the shelve standards and shelves we could not find any plastic bins to fit, so back to square one again and re-think.  We decided to hang some of his slacks and good shirts and use plastic bins in the overhead compartments over the bed.

The bed was the biggest adventure!! We were sleeping in a California King and were going to expand to a Queen.  Since, Shirl, couldn’t or wouldn’t shrink to fit, basically his feet stick out over the bottom of the Queen mattress.  Back to square one again!  No clever  answer for that one!

We wanted to take Shirl’s keyboard and two 6 ft tables so we took out the mattress, made a storage compartment with a hinge to lift it up large enough to hold them and a couple other things,  don’t remember them or why we felt we needed them.

I wish that we had taken some before, during, and after pictures of this DIY, as it was interesting. First; we had to remove the mattress, and if you ever have done this, you have a small idea of what we went through.  The mattresses on a Motor Home are rigid with wood framing and not even a little comfortable.  We were able to maneuver it out, sweating and probably swearing in about an hour.

Second; now we had to build a frame around the top of the base, this we did with 2X4’s and fastened it to the base with L brackets.

Third; we bought a sheet of 5/8 inch plywood and cut it in two pieces to fit on top of the frame.   We placed three hinges on the plywood to divide it so that we could lift it up to place the tables and Shirl’s keyboard between the base and the top.  We also used some old towels to pad the hinges just for GP. Last; we fastened the top to the frame with screws.

Fourth; Since the original mattress was so wonderful, we sold it on Craig’s list and bought a 6 inch memory foam mattress, and we has two 2 ½ inch memory foam toppers which were California King size, cut to fit our Queen mattress and so now we had about 8 inches of memory foam to sleep on.  Ahhh!

 

Well, another year in the wilds camping out with Mother Nature

This is one of my old Newsletters sent out in December of 2011

 

Well, another year in the wilds camping out with Mother Nature.  NOT!  We have been in Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, Texas, and now Benson, AZ at Butterfield RV Resort.  All in one year!

How did this happen?? Well, Miranda wanted a work out so we just went along for the ride.  She isn’t happy about sitting for the whole winter, but we start her up once in a while just so she can purr a little.  Of course, she thinks that we are taking off and seems a little disappointed that she is just going to sit, however she doesn’t sulk.

This year she had to go through emissions in addition to her 3000 mile checkup and she passed with flying colors.  She is so proud!  She needs a wash and wax before she hits the road again, and is so looking forward to it. She has been longing to have some interior decorating done, but we have been so busy that getting started is hard.  She sits proudly just under the Observatory in Butterfield RV Resort and says good bye to everyone that leaves for parts unknown.  She consented to let us put our name plate on the front as long as we didn’t cover up her name.

We workamped at Frog City RV for a couple months then moved on to visit our Sun and Granddaughter in Bentonville, AR.  We stayed at The Creeks RV Resort in Cave Springs.  Its claim to fame is a Golf Course and club house.  That was fun being with them, but alas our time to move on came and we hitched up again and traveled to Amarillo, TX and workamped at Amarillo RV Park.  We visited The Big Texan Restaurant in Amarillo several times.  We watched a guy from England eat the 72 oz. steak in 49 minutes.  We met him outside and took pictures of him and his certificate.  He was on his honeymoon.  We were happy there, until they told us how much snow they get in the winter.  So we when our time was up we decided to move on and our last stop is at Butterfield RV Resort in Benson, AZ and will be here until April.  They have many fun activities and we try to partake of as many as we can.

Shirl and I entered a Wii Bowling Tournament and I got 7th place and Shirl took last place.  We tried Wii Tennis and it is a workout.  Can’t wait to try it again! There is another Bowling Tournament next month and we will enter again.

This month is the Christmas Dinner, Gift Exchange, and News Year’s Eve Dinner and dance.  In addition we celebrate Shirl’s Birthday and our 50th Wedding Anniversary.  The weather is not being as friendly as Arizona weather usually is and the nights have been COLD but it warms up by mid-morning.  It’s all good!

We met some really Kool people this year; Buck and Samme in Frog City RV.  Started learning about inexpensive wines and was fun. We haven’t been able to meet up with them again this year, but hope to in the future.

Some friends Marianne & Butch Krauth showed up at Butterfield and we had dinner together twice. We met them when we stayed at Downstream Casino and we listened to a Heart concert with them.  Played a new game called “Toss the Pig” that they had and we brought, “Oh Hell”.  Had a great time! Hope to hook up with them again.

We have met a lot of fun people here at Butterfields and will keep in touch with them through email.  Clara Fox is from New Hampshire and is a kick. Enjoyed bowling with Karma, Dick, Doug, J.J. Arlene, and Deb.  We also started playing Cribbage every Saturday morning.  We will miss our new friends Miss Scarlet and Rhett (aka Cathy & Larry) Joe & Karol, Gunny & Cherie, Jack & Janet, and of course Carla & Tom, and so many more don’t have room to list them all.

When our gig is up here we are going to start looking for a car so that we can go sightseeing.  Shh! Mirada doesn’t know it yet, but she will have to pull it.  She is very strong, but it remains to be seen how happy she will be. When the initial shock wears off, she will be proud to show off her new addition.

Miranda wants to go back to the Pacific North West; she misses our Daughter Dawn and a couple of adorable kids, Ruby & Nolan that used to come visit her every day.  She has also told us she wants to go to Wild Cat Drive in McCleary, WA.  Won’t tell us why, but she is the boss. Of course, she knows how much we want to see Hank and Jan and family, so we are looking for a workamper job near enough that we can visit them.

Hope your year has been as much fun as ours has and hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Keep a look out because Miranda may turn up on your door step any time.  She is sure everybody loves her and wants her to visit.

Take care, and see you next year.

 

Dreams are a wish your heart makes!

So why does an “over the hill” old fart think that she can write?  You ask or didn’t ask; here’s the answer!   Because I want to!  I need to write! 

When I was little, I dreamed of many things that I wanted to become; baseball player for the New York Yankees (I was 12 before I realized that girls couldn’t play baseball), that pretty much ended my dreaming, I only wanted to escape into books and become all the main characters. What adventures I had with no one telling me that I couldn’t be anything I wanted to be.  I lived in those books!  So much so that when I stuck my nose in a book my ears turn off!  Literally!  Everything around me disappeared and I was the main character!   This got me into a lot of trouble when my Mother asked me to do something when I was reading, I only heard her when she slapped me up side of the head.    I also wanted to graduate from High School, because at that time, I thought that it was my ticket to success.   Well, another dream crushed, damn! 

When I was in the 6th grade we moved to a different town and consequently were bussed to a two-room school house, until I was in the last month of the 8th grade.   The teachers were, okay, but were not interested in, nor had the time to teach grammar.  In the last month of the 8th grade, the school district closed the school and shipped us off the school in “town”. 

The first day on English the teacher started talking about diagraming sentences and a whole lot of other things that I was totally in the dark about.   It never made any sense to me, and to this day it still is somewhat of a mystery.  Thanks to spell and grammar check I hope I can sound reasonably intelligent.

One of my English teachers required us to write one full page of anything we wanted to write, be it prose, a story, or even copy something from a book (with acknowledgement).  So I had a little fun with him; I wrote stories that ended in cliff hangers, and when he asked (in fun I am sure) what happens next, I would laugh and tell him he would have to wait till next week.  Near the end of the school year, he took me aside and told me that I should do something about my writing.  The sad thing is I can’t even remember his name. 

No matter!  I am now working on a couple books, but have put them aside to concentrate on a short story that I am doing as a Christmas Gift for some friends that have been very good to me.   It has their whole family as the main characters, on an adventure that takes place on a newly discovered planet in another galaxy.  Oh and there is a Dragon!

Another book is based on my 30 year Real Estate Career.  It is a murder mystery and some people will recognize themselves in it, but with different names.  Some will laugh, be proud, and some will be unhappy at my portrayal of them, even though it is accurate. 

 

 

 

Our home on the Range

When we bought our Motor Home it was going to be for week-end jaunts to flea markets, but, when life sends you Lemons, as a good friend said, you make Lemonade, and so we became full time RV’ers.

We bought our 32 foot, 2005 Motor Home in 2009, with only 6000 miles on her odometer; she has 35,000 now, in great condition.  And for the first two years, we just enjoyed her, and if it seems strange that I refer to it as a “her” it is because we named her “Miranda”.  She is a Coachmen Mirada and when we sent out Newsletters, everyone mistakenly called her Miranda, so we let it stick, and she is a good sport about it and doesn’t   correct anyone, she just smiles.

Our Motorhome

She is a good girl, and gets really good gas mileage, 7 to 8 mpg.  We don’t try to get where we are going in a huge hurry and set the cruise control at around 55 to 58 mph.  We like to see the scenery and not whizz by to get where we are going, most of the time we are going to a new job and have time to enjoy the trip.  You never can tell we might want to stop and explore.

When we decided to go full time RVing we had to re-think a lot of things.  I have posted quite a few pictures to show the before and after of our re-modeling project.    I have to admit, I didn’t think about writing about our DIY projects so they aren’t great.  Forgive! After a very short time it became evident that the couch was comfortable only laying down, but was an uncomfortable as heck to set on, even though it made into a bed, it had to go!

The main area also had a Dinette set consisting of two bench seats facing each other with a table attached to the wall between, that could be taken off and put between the two seats, and using the back cushions, actually make a full size bed, so it was advertised to sleep 6, that is if they were very good friends.  The dinette set was a pain in the back, to get at the storage under the seats and not that comfortable to set on either.   I was ready to get rid of them the first year, but it took two years for me to convince my husband.

Set of 2 Dinette Chairs with storage under from 2005 Coachmen Motor Home 1

Set of 2 Dinette Chairs with storage under from 2005 Coachmen Motor Home 3

Our Mobile Office

Cclose up of cabinet with sliding doorsIMG

We drew up plans to make a storage cabinet with sliding doors and adjustable shelves using Note Pad.   My Husband, did a great job of figuring out the sizes, we went to Lowes and bought a sheet of 4X8 plywood and they cut it to our specifications so all we had to do was put it together and stain it. Sounds real easy, right?  We had to hunt for sliding door tracks, and decided on some heavy vinyl tracks, which work good if periodically you soap the edges of the sliding door.   We also stained the cabinet grey and put two coats of Varathane.

The Dinette Set and the couch were bolted to the floor, with big bolts, and so were the seat belts!  It took several days of working to get them both out of the Motorhome. BTW, the couch came apart in two pieces, so getting it out the door, was not that hard, even though we were told it was put in before the coach was built and we would have to take off the door.

Couch to bed from 2005 Coachmen Motor Home 1

My Bed

I put an ad on Craig’s List and within 2 days sold them for $300.  With that money we paid for the material for the cabinet and purchased one of our 2 Heat/Massage chairs to replace the couch.  Those chairs were the best investment we have made in a long time.

Heat Massage Chairs 1

We also purchased two Grey file cabinets for our office, which we put on each side of the cabinet.  We discovered that we have more “stuff” (don’t we all?) than we could fit into the cabinet and file cabinets, so purchased some White plastic cabinets with drawers, which we adhered to the top of the file cabinets with some putty designed for sticking stuff down when traveling in a Motorhome when we travel we lock the file cabinets, and tape the plastic drawers shut.

Cabinet  with sliding doors 1

BTW, the “putty” can be purchased at any RV store.   We stick anything down that could vibrate off any surface.

The table we cut down to a size that is big enough to fit our laptops back to back.  We then purchased two office chairs. Unfortunately there is not enough room to put a piece of paper or a book, on the side by the laptops, so in our next project we are going to make a new table with a leaf only on one side.  About the only thing that we like about the table is that it is Grey.  Shirl designed the cabinet and will design the table on the computer on Note Pad.

Our Office

I don’t know if you can see the workmanship really well, I truly wish that I had had the foresight to take before, during the construction, and after.  But they are what they are, and we like them.

Two more projects are coming, the mugly, ugly TV goes out and a new flat screen smart TV goes in with doors to protect it while traveling and new curtains with Cornices for the main windows.

 

Shirl & Brenda Colbath July /2012

Hi There! Mirada Here to let you in on the latest news!

Can’t believe that half a year has gone by. We camped in Benson, AZ at Butterfield RV Resort for the winter while Shirl & Brenda worked for our keep.   Once we park I get to rest up for the next trip.  It is when we move that I have to go to work. 

This time I got a nice long rest as we were parked next to a Grocery store and a Walmart was within walking distance.

We have had some minor health problems this year, but are on the mend now.

 Oh! Don’t worry about me, I am in perfect health!!

It started out with Shirl suddenly having vision problems-blurred vision and double vision.  He went to several Doctors to try to discover what was happening.  Good thing that Brenda knows how to drive me.  She even learned to back into our parking space in the dark!!! Of course Shirl and I helped a lot.

A Doctor in Sierra Vista, AZ sent Shirl across the street to the Hospital to get a blood test, and on the way over he tripped on a stump sticking out over the sidewalk and fell.  He broke his partial plate and loosened some teeth. He looked like someone beat him up. Can you imagine, some people actually thought Brenda did it!!

When he went for his appointment with his Heart Doctor he was told that he had to have a valve job/by-pass and it needed to be done sooner rather than later.  Because his teeth were so bad he had to have the rest of the top teeth pulled.  After he had Oral Surgery and was healed, the time it took to try to get scheduled for the heart surgery (you know how much fun working with Insurance Companies can be), they had to take him to the ER and he was admitted.  He was so sad when they cut his wedding ring off as he had it on his finger since they got married over 50 years ago.  It was so cute Brenda said “we’ll get it fixed, and then we can start 50 more years”.

At the beginning of the year we couldn’t even see the tunnel to see if there was a light at the end of it.  Now we all can at least see the tunnel and the light. 

Today they informed me that there is a new member being added to our family.  They brought home a 2008 Honda Fit.  It is kinda cute! The back seats fold down to make cargo room and it is RED.  I was really thrilled to have it parked next to me, until they told me that I would be pulling it behind me.  Wait a minute!  Shouldn’t they have asked me first? They have been looking for a Car Tow Dolly for it to ride on.  They found a new hitch so that they can put the bikes on too!  Wow! Good thing I am strong.

Shirl went to the Dentist and now he has new teeth!  Wow.  It was a chore finding something to eat, got tired of mashed potato and Oatmeal. 

Hooray! The Heart Doctor appointment went well and he was released with no limitations. We got a job near Redding California so we leave this heat Tuesday morning!!!!!

They are taking me to the Dr. before we hit the road for my checkup.  They promised to wash me so I will look good as the new car.

Well, that’s all for now, take care, see you on the road again.

 

 

 

 

 

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year from the Colbath’s

The Colbath’s have been wintering in North Phoenix RV Park in Phoenix, AZ and volunteering as Activity Directors but will be heading for Waller, Texas in January to work as Activity Directors at Lone Star Jellystone RV Resort. 

This year I am tagging along with them.  In case they didn’t introduce me, I am Dolly Part-on.  So far Miranda, Red Rover and I are getting along very well.  Red was a little nervous about driving up on me at first, however, after the first time she was happy with the easy ride.  Miranda is such a trooper and Red and I have become very attached to her. As a matter of fact she doesn’t even show any increase in gas consumption.  

We first got together the summer when we were all planning on going Northern California to work, and were disappointed that the wildfires made us go home early.  Last summer we went to Mt. Rushmore in Keystone, SD and they worked at Mt. Rushmore at the Book Stores, and met lots of nice people from all over the world.  We all had a good time and the Colbath’s did a lot of sightseeing courtesy of Red Rover while Miranda and I stayed home. They are trying to get all the pictures in albums to put on Facebook.

They have several projects scheduled to accomplish before we all hit the road. They have the new TV installed and are setting up the Wii game from Santa.

They plan on removing the mini-blinds in the bedroom and replacing them with black out roller shades and drapes.  In the living room they are replacing the cornices with new ones covered in the same material of the new curtains. Brenda has never made curtains, but since she got her new sewing machine and Shirl made her the two legged table she is going to tackle it.  She didn’t even ask me for my help.

While in SD they had good friends Samme and Richard stopped by to laugh and share some local wine together.  They also went to Belle Fouche; SD to spend a couple days with the Reilly’s and have a Fourth of July cook-out. Darn, they left Miranda and me at the park. They took a short side trip from Keystone, SD to Seattle, WA for a week-end visit with their Daughter and friends, the Waller’s.  Was fun to see everyone and had a fabulous Pizza night at the Waller’s.

They did a bit of cave trekking in Black Hills Cave (took the self-tour, which was a little scary with no guide, but the routes were clearly marked. They also toured Thunder Falls which was another self-tour, but a straight walk to the fall.  Wind Cave was built up to be the most wonderful thing and a must-see, however what they didn’t say was that  there were over 200 steps down! They were very happy to see the elevators that took them 200 ft. up!  They visited Flintstone Village, climbed a mountain (small) to see the Dinosaurs. They visited the Hill City Museum and got lots of pictures of Dinosaur bones and fossils, they also had some great earrings. 

 Four Mile Western Town was fun; however, they were dismayed that they could name most of the tools that were used in that era.   Storybook Island was fun even if it really was for children.  Aren’t we all just grown up children? They visited Ellsworth AFB and took the tour of the Missile Silo, and many planes of that era.  Red drove them through Bear Country (she did allow them to roll down window cautiously to take a few pictures). The 1880 train from Keystone to Hill City and back was fun, Red complained that she had to stay at the station, but the train insisted.

The Rangers get tons of calls every time it roars though by people thinking the forest is on fire, and that is a very big concern in the Black Hills.

They toured the Black Hills Gold Factory in Rapid City!!! It was fascinating to see how they make the jewelry and was invited to purchase a piece of Black Hills Gold.  You just can’t go the Black Hills without a small sample of the Gold.  Brenda’s earrings have opals too!

They toured the Big Thunder Gold mine right in Keystone that didn’t actually produce any gold, but spent some time panning for gold. 

They went to Custer State Park and got to see tons of Buffalos just roaming.  Red wouldn’t let them out to take pictures; however she let then roll down the window again.  From Custer they went to Hot Springs to see the Mammoth Site.  That was great!  A Mammoth skeleton was discovered by accident, the site was preserved by a building around the site to protect the bones for studying. Actually the bones of more than 80 different animals were uncovered.  They think that there was a sink hole where the Mammoths fell in trying to get a drink of water and could not get out so were preserved. Brenda thought that they were all male Mammoths as the females would be too smart, but alas not true.  

Oh, well we will all hook up soon for our journey to Texas with several stops in Southern AZ to visit friends in Casa Grande (Bocce anyone?) and Benson (yes, Clara we are visiting).  We are anxious to get “On the road again”.  Miranda has to go for her check-up and we have to get all packed and then it is a GO! Now that Miranda and I are getting along so well, I suppose that we will be content to let Red take them out sightseeing in Texas. 

Well, take care and will talk again next year.

 

 

HI Red Rover & Miranda Here!

Well, we had another adventure! 

It all started with Shirl getting a release from his Heart Doctor with no restrictions! Yeah!

So Shirl and Brenda accepted a job in Lasson National Forrest at Hat Creek RV Resort.  They were hired to work office and escorting  guests to sites and general maintenance, well when they got there (about 65 miles east of Redding, CA in the mountains) they were put to work in the Deli.  Wait a minute; they had no experience in a Deli!  So they dug in and learned to make all kinds of sandwiches, Nacho Grande’s, Breakfast Burritos, Mac and Potato Salad and Old Fashioned Shakes on a Vintage Shake machine.  

I need to back up a little, because before we could drive all the way to Hat Creek we needed to do something about me!  Yes it was all about me!  Just as we were getting ready to start our journey, Shirl developed some double vision and driving both vehicles was a little difficult for Brenda. She is good, but not that good.

She started researching what the cost of having a “four on the road” hook-up VS car dolly.  It seems that the 2009 HONDA is ready but the 2008 is not without a considerable expense.  So Car Dolly it was going to be.  If she had asked me, I would have told her, but no one really asks my opinion.  I don’t think that they asked Miranda if she wanted to pull me, either.  She is such a good sport.

Brenda started haunting Craig’s List and eBay for Car Dolly’s; also she did a lot of research on what features you should have on a Dolly.  She discovered that there are 4 features for safety and ease of loading and unloading.  Finding all four at her price was difficult.  She finally found one and so we traveled to the Grand Canyon area to pick it up.  Just to set you straight, Shirl drove the Motor Home and Brenda drove me to pick up my Dolly.

I thought they were buying me an American Girl Dolly, what a surprise when they hooked up this funny looking thing behind Miranda and drove me right up on it!!  They hooked me to it securely and then we started driving. 

Brenda had never driven the Motor Home with the dolly and me behind her.  The biggest challenge was getting Gas.  You have to make sure you can get in and get out of the station.  It is true that the car does follow you, however you have to remember that you cannot back up with a dolly, I guess they are a little finicky.   So we are now 53 feet long with all of us hooked together.  Amazingly Miranda got the same mpg with us as she did alone.  Brenda did real good driving us, and we made it up and back.  We heard her talking about getting her CDL license.  OMG!

We all traveled to Northern California and took a job in the Lassen National Forest.   Guess they didn’t think that one through as they didn’t take into consideration that as wonderful as being in the cool forest near a great fishing stream is, that in the forest, sometimes there are Forest Fires! Duh!

They worked in the Deli at the park and learned about using the Panini machine to make hot sandwiches, and also made many kinds of cold sandwiches too.  The Deli had a nearly antique Shake Machine and it was a blast from the past, making Milk Shakes the old fashioned way.

So while they were working at Hat Creek they left Miranda at the park and the three of us went to Washington State to their Daughter’s 50th Birthday Party That girl really knows how to have a Birthday Party!! She hired a band called “Wired” to play and all her friends helped make it happen.  A friend, Ali let her use her house and another friend Dee took our Son Chris, his friend Micah, and us out sightseeing in Seattle.  Brenda got some great pictures and will try to put them on Facebook.  

 That’s when I really strutted my stuff, 35 mpg!! By the time we got back to Hat Creek the wild fires were just a little too close for comfort; about 4 miles from the park.  The smoke was so thick that even Miranda and I were coughing, and it would not be good for Shirl so soon after Heart Surgery. So we decided to leave and try to get out of the smoke.   We had to go a back road to Shasta and back down I-5 to Redding, as the road from the part to Redding was closed.  We stayed at a Casino for a few days, but the smoke started coming over there too, so we moved.  We had to go all the way to Sacramento, CA area to get out of the smoke.

So we came home to Phoenix, AZ! We decided to stay in Goodyear as there was a Swap Meet that we wanted to check out, since we are out of work again, maybe we can get rid of some of our “Treasures”.  

Shirl went out to hook up and Brenda decided to go out the help him, and she couldn’t get the door open!  Help! She was locked in and he was locked out!  Good Sam’s road service sent out a locksmith, who was a firefighter/paramedic and he couldn’t get the lock to open or get it out of the door, well finally the Police and Fire Department came and they sawed the lock out, but ruined the door, so now we have a temporary lock while we are waiting for a door to come from the factory.  For several days we were tying the door shut with a rope, but then KISS RV came out and put a loaner lock in the door.  It will be 2 or more weeks before we get the new door.

We decided to go to North Phoenix RV for the rest of the winter.  The park had not had any activities for many years, so after talking with the managers we agree to create an activities program for them.  It took the guests a little time to get used to the idea, but by Christmas they started having fun.  We did Bingo every Monday night, Game/Social get together on Thursday night.  We also cooked Breakfast every other Saturday. 

BTW, Shirl is in great shape, they walk 2 miles a day and both have slimmed down and have more energy. 

 

 

 

 

Buffalo Soldiers

 

This week we toured part of the Historic Ft. Stockton and plan on going back again in a couple weeks to see more of the fort buildings that are being renovated.  The only building open was the museum.  Some of the buildings will not be available to tour, but seeing where these brave men fought and died is worth heat. 

The 10th Cavalry Regiment was formed September 21, 1886 at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  They were named “Buffalo Soldiers” for two reasons, their fierce fighting, and by their black kinky hair, which to the Native Americans reminded them of the big, hard to kill Buffalo which sported large shaggy fur on its head and shoulders.

The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry fought during the Civil War as part of the Union Army.  As slaves and as freemen the Black man has served in French and Indian War, American Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, in the Battle of New Orleans.  In the Civil War (oxymoron), 180,000 Black men wore the Union Blue, and 33,380 died in that conflict?

When that war ended the Western unrest began.  The Indians resented be pushed off their land and onto Reservations, where they could not hunt as they did in the past.  Their Buffalo were being hunted for sport to extinction, and they relied on the Buffalo for their livelihood. 

In July of 1866, Congress passed an Act that increased the number of regiment’s form 19 to 45, and they stipulated that 2 cavalry and 4 infantry units “shall be composed of colored men”.   For the first time the regiments were authorized as part of the regular army.

They were the 9th and 10th Cavalry and 38th, 39th, 40th, and 41st United States Infantry.  Colonel Edward Hatch was selected to command the 9th Cavalry, and Colonel Benjamin Grierson commanded the 10th.

The 9th Cavalry was stationed at Fort Stockton in the summer of 1867.  These men came from the cooler climates to the South East United States, and the fact that they were able to acclimate to the dry, hot of the west is testament to their strength. They were named Buffalo Soldiers by the Indians as a gesture of extreme respect, because the Buffalo was the most sacred animal to the Indians. The 10th accepted the compliment and used the image on their crest. 

Black troops served at Fort Stockton from 1867 to 1886, and Black units have served in the Spanish American War, Philippine Insurrection, Mexican Punitive Expedition, World War 1, World War 2, and the Korean War.  In the mid 1950’s the last Black units were desegregated.  

When we go back I will take some pictures and post them. 

 

REX

We got Rex when he was a small pup and he became a member of our family, that is, to everyone except Mother!  She would not let him come in side even in the dead of winter.  There was none of that dog sleeping at the foot of our beds, or getting up on furniture or even playing inside.  I don’t know was breed of dog Rex was, only that he had Light Brown long wavy hair.  I remember one winter it was snowing and we lived in a drafty old house behind the stores in town.   We begged to have him inside, we were sure he would freeze.  She declared that he had fur and would not freeze.  No amount of tears or begging by all of us moved her even a little bit!  So out he stayed.

When Lloyd came home from working on the railroad, he saw all our sad faces and went to bat for us.  I remember him saying “Now, Allie, look at their faces, can’t we just have Rex in for a little while to warm up”.  Wow!  She relented and said yes, with a Big But!  She said “He stays behind the stove, if he comes out from there, he goes out”.   So we got him in for several nights while it was below freezing.  We were thrilled. I’ll tell you more about Lloyd later.

Rex was with us for many years, and he traveled all over town, when we were in school.  All the store merchants loved him and used to give him scraps, he would come home with a bone nearly every day, which was a good thing as he only got table scraps.  I remember so many wonderful things about him.  He was so big that his back would scrape on the under-side of the table on the very few times he was allowed in, probably when Mom wasn’t home.

He was just a big friendly dog that we never gave it a thought about him defending us in any way.   We kinda thought of him as “The Cowardly Lion like in the Wizard of Oz”.  No matter we loved him anyway and he tagged along with us to the lake to go swimming.  In those days Mom would make my older brothers take me along with them, even though I couldn’t swim much and they were not a lot older than me.  Guess she figured, (wrongly) that they would take care of me!  There were two places to go swimming, one was a beach and the other was “the old swimming hole” which was, were the boys wanted to go so they could dive in.

I remember this day very clearly!  The boys were diving in and having a great time, I was setting on the ledge and crying as I wanted to go to the beach so I could go in swimming.  They finally had enough of my crying and told me to jump in or they would throw me in, and they would save me if I couldn’t swim enough to get to the shallow place to climb out.  As I was getting up enough courage to go in, sure enough they pushed me in.  I could tread water and dog paddle a little.  I cried for help!  They said “Sink or swim”.  I was panicked, and drank a lot of water trying to say on top, when out of nowhere, in jumped Rex and swam over to me so I could grab onto his tail and he pulled me in to shore.

On the way to and from the lake, by the store that rented boats, there was a mean dog that used to chase us all the way by his property and scared the bejesus out of us.   Rex didn’t always go to the lake with us, but this day Rex was with us and when the dog came charging out barking and snarling, Rex’s hair stood up on his back and as he growled, he ran at the dog ready to do battle for us.  He put the dog right back in his yard cowering and he never came back out barking at us again.  I swear Rex smiled and puffed his chest out as he marched us home.

I remember another day when after he got hit by a car, he crawled home, and that the Vet said there was nothing he could do for him and even though I wasn’t allowed to be there for him, I watched from a hiding place as the Vet gave him a shot and Rex went to sleep for the last time.

What Workampers want to see in Work Wanted Advertisements?

Our MotorhomeEmployers Listen Up

Even though we do want to know all the wonderful things that your park has to offer!

What we really want to see is specifically WHERE you are located, what are the hours that you are expecting us to work for trade-off for our site, what is included with the trade-off site i.e. water, sewer, electricity, propane, laundry stipend, and what HOURLY wage you are paying in addition to the trade-off, or for all hours worked. We also want your website address, the physical address, your telephone number, who to contact, and their position.  I prefer to not send out cover letter with “to whom it may concern”.

Be prepared for the questions that we will be asking.   Wi-Fi is important to us, as we want to keep in touch with relatives, and we will be looking for our next position, as most of the Workamper jobs are from 3 to 6 months.  Most of us follow the sun!  That is we want to go North in the summer, and South in the winter.

Don’t do the “your site is worth X dollars per hour bit”, as most of us are wise to that ploy.  Some of the Managers try to lump the “retail value of the lot rent, electricity, water, and sewer, along with their inflated value of the amenities and add the monthly pay to that and try to make you think that the value, is equal to what you are being paid.  NOT!  It is true that most of the parks have a specific place that they allow the workampers to park, not premium sites, but most of us do not expect that.

We will be asking if you have Wi-Fi, is it high speed and/or do you have repeaters throughout the park, and if everyone is on in the evening, can we still get on to check emails.  We KNOW, or should know, that streaming videos are out of the question.  We also want to know about the cell phone reception, even though we will be checking with our carriers, we still want you to tell us honestly.

One of the questions that I ask is “What are the good, bad and the ugly about your park and the position”? Maybe not in that actual form, but I will ask enough questions so that I will have a pretty good idea, however I have been bamboozled enough times, that I know that I am not even close to perfect.

For instance, we took a job that promised $2500 a month plus a FHU site, 8 people to manage, sounds great, right.  We got there at approximately $500 expense, and found that they were using ”the new math” and the only way we would actually receive the $2500 a month, was if we stayed a year. This was not going to happen with no one working for us, and none in sight, office not finished, no computer, telephone, and no equipment to do the job. The last straw was that we were responsible for mowing our own site.

Every day we were informed of a new task was our responsibility, so that we ended up working from 8am to 8pm every day.  We only got 2 days off when we quit the first time and stupidly relented to stay, only to be dismissed when they hired new managers.  We left the next managers well equipped, us a lot sadder, but wiser.  We are still smarting from that experience.

Remember, we travel to the jobs at our own expense!  We are pulling 54 feet total length and we estimate the cost to travel, at the current gas prices and several nights stay on the way, at 50 cents a mile. So, if we travel 500 to 1000 miles to the job we estimate the cost to get to the job at $250.00 to $500.00 and if we get there and you have used a lot of “poetic license” with the condition of the park, and what you actually expect form us,  please remember we are on wheels!  Do not think that just because we traveled a long distance for the job that we are so desperate that we will cave in and stay.  There are other places near you, most of the time that are also looking for workers.

There is a need for good workers and most of us have worked in other professional positions and are retired, but do not mistake that to mean that we will work for nothing. As a matter of fact most of us need to be paid in addition to our site.  Not all of the workampers are independently wealthy.  In addition to the expense of traveling to your part/resort, we are also responsible for our health insurance, and repair of our vehicles.

Many of you state in your ads to send a picture of us and our rigs,  work history, and references, but are reluctant to give us specific and honest information about your site and exactly what work you expect us to do.  That should be a two way street! Remember since most of us are “retired”, we are also not 21 anymore.  If the work is heavy lifting, please be specific about how much and how often we have to do heavy work.   Even though we are healthy we are not pack mules and may need to stop and rest occasionally.

Happy Traveling

Old Tunnel Wildlife Management Area

Bats emerging from caveOld Tunnel Wildlife Management Area

Last night we visited the Old Tunnel WMA to watch the Mexican Free-tailed Bats emerge from the old abandoned Railroad tunnel. It houses a seasonal colony of approximately 1 to 3 million Bats.

Everything that you have heard about Bats is not true, however they are wild mammals, and do nurse their young.  Since they must be warm, many bats occupy a small space. The females leave the tunnel in the spring and go south to warmer climates to have their babies and come back with their pups later in the season.

It was awesome to see them swoop out of the cave in waves in a vortex and fly high in closely knitted packs that looked a lot like black smoke as they got further and further away from us.  The Volunteers from the Department of Wildlife asked us to be somewhat quiet and not take lots of flash pictures, however I did get one picture from my small camera that shows them if you look very closely.  It looks more like a lot of foliage on the tree than bats because of the distance.

They have a lower viewing area that you pay $5.00 each for and you get a lot closed to them, which would have been great, and we would have done it, however, by 8:00 they were sold out.  We didn’t even think to bring our Binoculars! Duh!

To get to the Old Tunnel you have to come in from either Fredericksburg, TX or from Kerrville, TX.  We are currently staying in Comfort, TX so we took 87 south then East on FM (Farm Road) 473 which takes you underneath I-10 and then on a two lane paved road 5 miles,  then when FM473 takes a right turn to Sisterdale, go straight ahead on Old #9 Hwy for about 8 more miles.  You can’t miss it! It is on the right and there are signs.  When I said straight, I was kidding, the road is a typical farm road and twist and turns a lot, so if you don’t want to end up in the “pucker brush” take it a little slow.

Next to the Bat viewing area there is a Restaurant that has live music.  We walked over and listened for a few minutes, but decided to head back before there was a caravan of cars.  Well worth your time, if you are down this way, a must see.

 

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