Flat Anthony

Funny thing about kids, they grow up. We have 2 sons that are growing into such fine young men, we  are so proud of both of them. For Mother’s day a few years ago,our oldest gave me a pillowcase with his picture on it. Seems kind of funny, but I love it. I bring it with us when we travel.

We have been an RV family for about 6 years, and in that time we have traveled thousands of miles around the country. We have been from the Pacific to the Atlantic, summer and winter. Some of our favorite memories happened because of a chance to buy an old RV..As a parent, it has been rewarding to know that we have been able to give the gift of travel and love for our country to our boys.

Our oldest son is now 22 and, as a young man starting out, no longer has the time to take off for weeks or months at a time. When we travel now, I feel a sadness that he isn’t able to continue to share in our adventures. Our remedy? We call it Flat Anthony- the pillow with his picture on it.

Flat Anthony comes along with us whenever we travel, and this last trip, well, let’s just say he had some adventures.  How could we not take him along?

We didn’t want him to miss beach combing, or climbing on the rocks, the dune buggy ride, whale watching, 4th of July or the evening campfire watching the ships on the river.

It clearly isn’t the same as having him along with us, and I sometimes feel guilty having fun without him. We are so proud of all his accomplishments, and maybe some day, when he is older with a family of his own, he will remember his youthful trips and want to do the same with his family.

Retirement

Being young, and at the beginning of a working career, RETIREMENT was always that mythical accomplishment you strived for; someday.  Someday, I will RETIRE. When I have everything paid for, I will RETIRE.  Someday, when I am older I can RETIRE.  SOMEDAY.

It’s fun to think of the what if’s, and, if I only had….    You know, what if I win the lottery? If I only had no bills.   If I won the lottery, I wouldn’t have any bills!  I could  just RETIRE! How awesome would that be?   I never play the lottery, so that eliminates, that option.  I guess I just have to pay bills the old-fashioned way;  work.

I showed up at work every day.  I worked the odd hours, the over time, the times when I really didn’t feel good but went anyway; much to my husbands  dismay.  Don’t get me wrong, I did have my days of calling in sick, but I was never one to call in very often.  It just wasn’t how I was taught.   We had bills to pay and responsibilities to take care of, so I went.  Our hard work paid off, little by little those bills disappeared.

Pretty soon RETIREMENT seemed possible, like grabbing that big brass ring on the carousel ride. At first that ring is out of reach completely. After a while, with each circle around, you get closer and closer. Finally, the ride circles around, the horse is sliding up, you reach and grab that big brass ring.  Success! RETIREMENT.

I find myself now, smack in the middle of SOMEDAY. Wow, it’s not mythical, it does exist. Dec 30 2013 I RETIRED.  It’s funny to say.  RETIRED.  The word conjures up so many images, many I ‘m not sure I relate to.  It still doesn’t seem quite real, to be RETIRED.

It has been a couple of weeks since I have signed the papers, and turned in my work items.  No longer do I have the laptop, the tool belt, the key ring with its multitude of keys, my I.D. badge.  I also don’t have work orders to do, equipment to build, and every moment of my day to account for.

My husband is worried that I will be bored.  Well, I  may be, at times, but there are closets to clean and  projects to do.  We are also in the process of finding just the right RV to purchase to add to our RETIREMENT portfolio.  We love to travel, and have many plans for some amazing trips to come.  One, in particular, is to Alaska.

I  wrote previously about starting to work, and thinking that 5 years was a long time.  Looking back, 35 1/2 years  seems like yesterday.  At some point I may end up being that RETIRED person, sitting on the porch rocker, sipping coffee and knitting.  I think for now I will just enjoy being the wife, and mom, traveler and writer.

Coast to Coast

My husband came to me about 7 years ago, with the idea of buying an RV to travel from California to Michigan. He shared his idea with me that it would be so fun and what a great way to travel with our boys, one of whom is Autistic. Being the practical/skeptical one, I’m sure I looked at him as though he just fell off his rocker. We talked, ( he talked, I listened, intrigued by his idea ) and came to an agreement that it could work.

For the next few weeks, my wonderful husband scoured the paper and on-line in search of just the right RV. Finding what he thought was a good deal, he would call and talk to the owner, sometimes go look at them. When one would pass the initial scrutiny, we would all go take a look. It seemed there was always something not quite right for us. Too small, too big, too old, the smell of the previous owners perfume that lingered everywhere. I was beginning to think we both had fallen off our rocker.
Finally an rv with low mileage in our price range came up. Although it wasn’t real big, it seemed to have enough room for us, it was clean, and didn’t smell of perfume.  We decided that would be the one.  We bought it, and our adventures began.
DSCF0037

WE spent the next 5 years creating memories none of us will forget.,  some better than others, but all so special.  We traveled from coast to coast, visited National parks and local sights. Watched baseball at it’s all American pastime best, and drove on through the snowy night to reach the family’s home for Christmas Eve.  Each trip a story in itself, in total a collective memory  that binds our family together.

I think there is something about traveling that draws us in, takes hold of part of our soul and feeds it deep down, like a much-needed drink of water on a hot summer day. Once that first sip is taken, it seems there is no quenching that thirst. The thirst for adventure, knowledge, change, excitement, something other than the ordinary day-to-day.

We sold our RV   2 years ago, and since then we have  struggled with not having it.  Yes it was old and broke down at times, seemingly even sitting still, but it was ours.  We cherish those times, so much so that we are planning to  replace the RV with a new one.   A new set of adventures await us and we are excited to see where the road will take us next.  Stay tuned,  you never know what fun we may have

791a

Decisions

How do you know when your decision is right?  Change can be scary and making the wrong decision can have unintended consequences. So how do you know?

Some things are easy, like getting a haircut.  Oh wait, as I have recently lamented, haircuts are scary and can definitely have adverse repercussions.   What if it’s too short?  What if it is cut so oddly that it takes months to grow back to some semblance of normal? People will stare, will shake their head, will laugh.   Best to stick with the long hair, straight, no chance of mistake hair.

School is easy.  Oh wait, maybe not.  What if it takes 6 years to get that degree? I shall be older then.  Not that I wont be older anyway, in 6 years.   What if I flunk out?  What if I don’t like it?  People will stare, will shake their head, will laugh.  Best to stick with what I know.

Work must be easy then.  Oh wait, maybe not.  I have to spend at least 8 hours A DAY there, sometimes more! I have to be on time, pay attention and do my best.  People will stare, will shake their head, will laugh.

Vacation!  That’s it, the easy one.  Oh wait, maybe not.  I have to have money, a plan, maybe even someone to go with me.  People will stare , will shake their head, will laugh.

Life, it’s not easy.  There are choices to make,  consequences to consider.  People WILL stare, WILL shake their head, WILL laugh.  But in the end, the choices we make are OURS. Not theirs.   They can stare, as you accomplish that goal, shake their head- in agreement- as you explain your latest plan. Laugh -with you- at your funny stories.

Don’t be afraid of change.  As scary as it might be, as hard as it might be, it makes us who we are.

What’s in a name?

I took our dog Henry to the dog park this morning.  Saturday mornings are busy there, and today was no exception.   When we showed up, there were already several other dogs there  and Henry made the rounds of greeting each one.

photo (3)

We have been coming to the park for about 6 weeks now, and we are  becoming friends with the other owners and Henry with the dogs. Henry will be 6 months old next week and some of the other dogs are the same age.  It’s nice to see them and watch them grow along with Henry.  Sometimes it will be a week or so in between seeing some of Henry’s  friends, but we tend to get a warm greeting when we arrive.   This morning, as we came through the gate and started to walk to where the others were, we were greeted with smiles and  ” OH, Henry is here! Hello Henry”.    I got a smile and a hello directed at me, and it dawned on me, I don’t know their name nor they mine.

Maybe this is dog park etiquette?  I somehow have to earn my way into first name basis?   The dogs run around sniffing each other- I don’t think that would be appropriate in my case.   We exchange pleasantries as we monitor our dogs behavior, and clean up after them, but so far it hasn’t occurred to anyone to actually  exchange names.

As we go along in life we are defined by many things, each one a name.  I am a wife, a mother, sister, aunt, coworker, a friend, Henry’s owner, new blogger.   Most important I am me.  Finding  my spot in the family, and in life.   I don’t always get it right, but I am here, giving it a shot.

The Lego Effect

My youngest son LOVES trains.  Anything and everything about trains. Real trains, toy trains, train books, train pictures, you name it he knows it.  I don’t mind it too much because I try to also use it as a learning tool for him.  Transcontinental Railroad? great geography lesson.  Having an autistic son, makes you have to think differently.

Anyway- when he was about 8 he came to me and said he wanted a Lego set. He had never had any Lego’s, never showed an interest in them- was even given a set that Christmas and wasn’t interested.  It seems he saw something on you tube and just HAD to have it.  I asked him to show me.   Excitedly, he brings me to his computer and shows me- a 300+ piece Lego set!  Wow, really? THAT ONE?  I don’t think so.   I can see it now, mom to the rescue, building the Lego set.  No thanks.  Not only that, it was over 100$.

After much pleading from him, I caved and we headed to the toy store.  As we cruised the Lego aisle with its eye popping prices, I reminded my son he had never built Lego’s before and maybe he should start at the beginning.  We came upon the perfect beginner set for him. Image

Best of all it was under 10$.  So now home to see if he could follow the directions and build this new toy. Have you ever looked at Lego directions?   Good thing it’s only 73 pieces.Image

I should not have worried. We got it home and within minutes he had it put together, and taken apart and reconfigured.   It was interesting to watch how he processed the instructions.   Clearly he thinks in pictures.

Fast forward a couple of years.  We now have more Lego sets than I care to admit. Which means we have more Lego pieces than anyone would ever think they need. . Image

There is always a new set my son NEEDS, at least according to him.  The interesting thing is, Lego’s have been an incredible eye opener. I have learned that my son is very patient and creative and logical. It is incredible to watch as he now puts together the most elaborate of sets with hundreds of pieces, seemingly in  the blink of an eye. Image He now sees things on you tube or internet in general and decides he wants that, so will use the pieces he has to create his own. Who knew that a bunch of plastic bricks would provide so much?   We all fit somewhere, and Lego’s have become a part of the picture inside my son.  I am forever thankful for their place in our life.