Blessings Abound

Blessings Abound

As I travel around the country, through small towns and large, I notice the presence of many churches.  The stained glass windows of many catch my eye, as the sun glints through them.   I don’t often have the time to stop and take a picture, but when I am able, I cherish the moment.   There are times, as I travel through town, there seems to be a church on every corner.  Churches of different denomination yet, just in it’s presence, the message is universal.

Today, as we made our way through town, I began again to notice the churches.  I noticed the architecture of the different buildings, the windows, and most important- the open door of most.  As I was taking a quick snapshot of one such church, a kind gentleman asked if I had seen inside yet.  I replied I had not, and he smiled and said  ” come inside I will show you”.  I walked to the car where my son was waiting, telling him to come along and see inside.

As we walked inside Don, the gentleman leading the way, explained that this particular church, with its stone exterior, bell tower, rich wood interior and traditional stained glass windows, was designed after English country churches common in the 1800s. Built in 1892, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The worship space seats about one hundred twenty people and houses both a pipe organ and a grand piano. The sanctuary underwent a comprehensive historical restoration in 1993. Standing in the church with the sunlight shining through the stained glass windows, the beautiful woods of the pews and ceiling were so warm and inviting, a very welcoming building. I suppose if I lived in this town, I might make this “my church”, but since I do not, I will be content with my visit today.

We thanked Don for the visit and went on our way.  Even though I don’t live here, or worship here, I felt peace and comfort in his church, and, in turn, this town.  I know I will miss this area when we finally move along, but will take with me the blessings we have discovered.

Liquid Gold

It’s no secret that I LOVE coffee.  When I was younger I tried it and thought it tasted awful, bitter and just not something I would ever have again.  One night, in my early 20’s , friends and I had spent the evening having dinner and visiting, when the host asked ” who would like some coffee”?  I guess my eye roll was evident that I was a non coffee drinker and the outcast of the evening.  Being the good host, my friend assured me that he made the best coffee and I should have some.  Reluctantly I agreed; he was right, and I was hooked.

After that night I found that a really good cup of coffee is an art. I proceeded to try new blends, grind my own beans, and experiment with different types of brewing styles.  I enjoyed my time learning all things coffee, and then life got busy. Getting married and having kids, the fancy coffee gave way to name brand, regular old run of the mill stuff. No longer having the luxury of time or money to fritter on lavish fanciness.

Over the years, I have consumed mass amounts of coffee.  The large cup as I headed out at 2 a.m. for a work related trouble. The first cup in the morning as I began the long day getting kids to school and me to work.  My favorite – the large gas station cup, too hot to drink at first, then after 5 miles down the road you take a sip and realize it’s the WORST coffee ever, but you have 300 miles to go and you drink it anyway.

Last summer, while on vacation, I was surprised by an old high school friend. We were spending time on the Oregon coast and he lives nearby. Not only did he take the time to come say hello, he brought coffee mugs that he made!  The most thoughtful gesture and so unexpected.

I use one of these mugs now every day. I love it. Funny thing is, it’s big!  The first time I poured coffee into it and returned the carafe to the coffee maker I thought I spilled it- it was about 1/3 empty.  I can read my paper, or a good book, and not worry about being interrupted because my cup is empty.

So, thank you Randy for one of the little things that bring a smile to me. The gift of your mug and the time to sit and enjoy a cup of coffee. img_3345

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.

For Love of Trains part 2

 

As we travel in our Rv, our trips always include some sort of train activity.  It is a given, a necessity for survival when your autistic son lives for all things train.  As we plan our trips we include train rides or visits to train museums to ensure  harmony along the way.  These plans give us locations to see, and something for our son to look forward to, as he puts up with activities he might not otherwise enjoy.

In the small Northern California town of Dunsmuir, there is a small Amtrak stop, and the Union Pacific yard.  We happened to be camping in the area and decided to go to Dunsmuir for lunch and to watch for whatever train might arrive. Andrew brought his small video camera so  he could film the trains.

We parked nearby and headed toward the Amtrak stop. Looking at the schedule, we found that we would not be seeing Amtrak – it makes its pass through town very early morning.  Andrew knew, however, that other trains travel this route all during the day so it was only a matter of time.  As he set up his video camera  we noticed some workers on the other side of the track.  We didn’t have long to wait before the horn of a train could be heard, and the shout from Andrew “here it comes!”

Pulling in to the station was a Union Pacific train.  The train pulled in slowly and stopped at the small station.  As we watched, the 2 workers we had seen on the other side of the track  picked up their bags and headed to the cab. At the same time, the 2 workers that had just arrived on the train, grabbed their bags and climbed out. This  was a simple crew change,  exchange in a normal workday of some train employees. We didn’t speak to the workers but what came next was so kind- an act of generosity that  reminds me there are great people out there.

The new crew climbed in the cab and suddenly one of them leaned out of the cab and called to Andrew to come closer. Andrew walked  closer, and the employee  opened the side cab door and leaned out, handed him a  lantern!  As he handed it to Andrew, he claimed he didn’t need it anymore.   Just like that, this man gave a boy something he always wanted. As quickly as he came out of the cab he went back in, told Andrew to cover his ears, blew the train horn and they were off. Andrew calling for them to drive safely.

We watched as the train disappeared down the track, another day in the life of a train lover..

 

 

 

 

For Love of Trains part 1

Andrew LOVES trains. That is a fact that is obvious the moment you meet him, almost as obvious as the fact that he is autistic. For us, this love affair is part of our family experience, it is a daily staple. It is woven in our conversation,our travels and yes our home decor. The love he has for trains however, has brought opportunities and has brought out the kindness of people that is so incredibly heartwarming. Two recent incidents, with regard to trains, have touched our family in such a warm way.

We travel in our RV as often as we can, summer being the longest trips for obvious reasons. This year we had a few trips already so our summer trip was not as far or long. It was however, one of the best we have had.

Part of our trip took us back to Portland and the Oregon Rail Historic Foundation (http://www.orhf.org/), home of Andrew’s favorite train, the 4449.  Visiting this museum and seeing his favorite train, was all he talked about for most of our trip. The day came to visit the train and you would have thought it was Christmas.  We had been to the museum before so Andrew knew just what he wanted to see. As he walked around, you could see the excitement in his eyes, his love for these big machines just radiating from his every pore.

While speaking with the gentleman in charge that day, I commented about Andrew being autistic- he said he knew- has a son on the spectrum as well.  We finished our conversation and then he looked at Andrew and told him to follow him. They walked over to the 4449 train and he told Andrew to go ahead and climb up in the cab, ignoring the please keep off sign, then he called over one of the workers to climb up with him.  Here was a sudden kindness to a young boy from a man who could see the thrill this small act provided.  The thrill that he was IN the cab of his favorite train, the thrill to “drive” that train-if only for a moment even if it never actually moved. We can’t thank him enough.

 

 

 

 

Summer 2016

For the past few years, we have been fortunate to take our summer RV trips. We have had some incredibly memorable times traveling around the country, seeing such wondrous sites.  It can be a challenge, planning just the right trip, with time and money constraints and the desire to see everything.  Somehow we manage to have just the right trip for us, at that moment.

Because we had already had a couple trips this year, our summer trip was not as long as some of our others have been.  We packed up the RV- a feat in itself- and headed out, just as the temperature in town heated up. We headed  to the Oregon coast, and to a climate I am more suited for.

We took our time heading north, and our first stop was a rest area in Canyonville Oregon. Nice big spot to stop for a night.IMG_2527

Next day, we continued to our destination of Seal Rock Oregon. We had the best spot- looking over the cove for great beach walking, tide pool searching, looking for shells and just an overall great week.

With Seal Rock as our base for the week, we had time to explore the coast.

I will say, I would certainly spend more time on the Oregon coast.  There is so much to see and do, all within an easy drive. More than anything, I found that being on the coast made me feel so refreshed.

Gold Spike NHS

 

 

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While planning our trip, it was always understood that we would go to Salt Lake City area to see Gold Spike National Historic Site.  With Andrews love of trains, and his desire for over a year to see this, it was automatic.

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The drive there, as previously noted, was rather uneventful, if not boring.  To be honest, Nevada and Utah on highway 80 are not exciting at all, but we  muddled through and reached our destination.  The first night was just set up in the campground and rest. The next morning—-THE PARK

I don’t think I have ever seen such an excited boy, as Andrew was, to finally see his dream spot. We no sooner pulled into the parking spot and he was out the door, heading to the entrance, knowing his two favorite trains waited for him just on the other side.

Gold Spike NHS is the spot where the transcontinental railroad, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific met in 1869, uniting the country by rail.

We spent four separate days visiting this Historic site. Each day Andrew was as excited as the first

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We were able to get up close to the two trains- the Jupiter and the 119, exploring and asking questions of the park rangers. We were fortunate to also watch a reenactment of the meeting of the 2 trains.

The park staff were so pleasant and made us all feel like friends. After seeing us each day for 4 days, they never got tired of our questions and were always pleasant

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For being about 30 minutes from our campground, Gold Spike NHS is an interesting site, and a must see for anyone interested in the history of trains, and how they united our country.

Before we left the area we stopped in Brigham city, and the Brigham city train depot. This is a small depot/ museum. There are many artifacts of the late 1800’s. As Andrew spent time on the telegraph machine, the proprietor commented how enthralled Andrew was with the machine. I told him how Andrew had asked me for a telegraph system not long ago. With that, he looked at his wife and asked if they still had that “old one” well they did, and he presented it to Andrew, who was beyond thrilled.

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It has been those little things on this trip that have made me smile. Gold Spike NHS and the person involved in the reenactment helping Andrew drive the spike in. The folks running the train depot museum giving him a telegraph. Each small act of kindness has made our trip special.

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We Have Become “Those People”!

When we bought our first rv, we were excited to discover a new way of travel, and another way to see this beautiful country

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Granted, our rv was not new, in fact it was pretty old, but we loved it and it served us well for 5 years.  We made several cross-country trips, and some short ones, each one had its unique experience or adventure. This was all new to us, but we embraced the journey and  enjoyed all the experiences we encountered.

I recall, driving down the road in our old rv on our first long journey, seeing the large rv’s pulling the matching vehicle behind.  We marveled at how big they were and that their pulled vehicle sometimes was a Hummer!. We could not imagine how much it cost to drive all that. We rattled on down the road in our little rv happy to join the other travelers.

Pulling in to a campground one evening, we plugged in and hooked up the water, ready to enjoy ourselves, when I looked a few spaces over and saw ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE! There it was, big with matching car- a Jeep, I think,  and matching lawn chairs and ground mat, a satellite dish and all things fancy.  I felt like we didn’t belong, maybe we were in the wrong park, we didn’t have the “right” rv.  I looked around and saw everything from the basic tent to pop up trailers to rvs like ours and the big guys with the matching everything.  I went back inside our little rig and commented to my husband about what I saw. I loved his response; ” they may have all that stuff, but we are all at the same park enjoying the same sights”

The next evening was July 4th, the park was in an ideal spot to see the towns firework show.   That evening, as all the campers brought their lawn chairs out to the grassy spot, I watched as everyone enjoyed a really great firework show. At the end, the group wandered back to their spots, happy with the evenings show. What I noticed then, was that most people went back to the fire pits to roast marshmallow’s and enjoy the rest of the evening, except for “those people”.  I noticed that those people had retreated back to their fancy rigs to watch tv or whatever they had in there.  We chose to join the group and spend the rest of the evening with conversation and meeting other people.

As time went on, and many of our trips concluded, it was time to sell our little rv.  For  a couple of years  after, we found that we really missed it and decided to buy another one.  After lots of saving and planning and searching we found one!  Funny thing was though, we have become ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE!  We bought the BIG rig. We don’t have the matching car but we have some of the “stuff”

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I didn’t really realize we became those people until the first night in the campground with our new rig. We pulled in, hooked up and I l looked around at the few other campers already there. We were the biggest. I still didn’t feel like those people, we  are happy to talk with others, we like the campfire and meeting people from other places.  I kept noticing, people would walk by and we would get that sideways glance- like they were afraid to approach us.  Would we judge them because they were there in a tent? Absolutely not. We are nice, really.

After a little while  some people approached us and began chatting. How big is that? What kind of gas mileage do you get? Mind if we take a look, we’ve never seen one like that.  We are always happy to invite people in, we love to talk and share stories.  We may look like Those People, but we are here, just like everyone else to enjoy the beautiful country we live in.

For all you travelers out there, enjoy the countryside, but hang out at the fire pit, roast a marshmallow, share a story.

About Time

Day 1

DSC_0126   started very early, with still much packing to do, but with the days temperature climbing to 106 degrees, it was draining. Packing for a 2 month trip, through different time zones and climates, makes for a challenge to be sure we have what we need. I suppose if we don’t have it we will make do. We were able to get on the road by 3:45pm, later than I had thought we would but it was ok. We drove and by the time we reached Fallon Nevada, we were pretty tired. We found a rest area and pulled in next to the big rigs, for a night of sleep. Even with the low rumble of the big rigs idling, we were able to sleep quickly. When the sun began to peak, the big rigs fired up and began pulling out- that was our alarm clock for the morning,
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was not so exciting, long drive through the desert of Nevada and the blinding snow like landscape of the Great Salt Lake Basin of Utah. Nearing Salt Lake City, I called the campground to get the exit information. As I looked at our calendar, I realized I had made a mistake. Our reservation didn’t start until the next day. Somehow I got our travel days wrong. I called and they did have a spot for us, but not the one we had reserved, so for the first night we had one spot then would move to our reserved spot for the rest of the time. When we pulled in and I saw our reserved spot- occupied for that day- and the temporary spot- we would be in, we asked if we could just stay in the temp spot, it was nicer. Sorry, no , it’s reserved for the weekend, so we had to move. We settled in, and anticipated a good nights sleep; 8am, the train rumbled past and     DSC_0141

made its presence known by the mandatory whistle. Not long after, the campground was coming to life.
Day 3 Up with the train and Andrew was ready to head to Gold Spike National Historic Site DSC_0214 DSC_0148 We managed to have some breakfast, and explain to Andrew that we need to be back before 2pm to move the rv which meant this trip was just a check out. Our trip to Gold Spike NHS was fun. As we got closer Andrews excitement became electric. The joy for him to finally be here was magical to see. We spent as much time as we could before we had to leave, and Andrew, knowing we would be returning, was ok with that. Back to the campground to move the rig.
Back at the campground we moved our rv to its reserved spot, and got settled in. Andrew and I took Henry for a walk, and when we came back, Mark was on his knees wiping up a water leak from under the kitchen sink. Oh great! After some investigation we discovered it was the sink drain pipe connection. It’s accessible but in order to repair it will involve some work. For now we have it sealed and not leaking, but will need to keep an eye on it and get it repaired properly once we return. Andrew wanted French fries for lunch so we got out the fryer, Mark put the potatoes in, and the oil bubbled up and over! Great, a mess. We got that cleaned up and made lunch. Later we realized we had the wrong hose for the propane for the bbq grill, so the steaks we were going to have for dinner would have to wait, we had grilled cheese sandwich instead.
As the night wound down, Andrew went to bed,

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Mark and I sat outside talking and enjoying the evening, By midnight or so, we decided to get some sleep.
Day 4- started at 2:390 am and then 4:30 am with the trains making their pass trough town. We did wait until about 7 before we actually got going. Andrew was again excited to go the Golden Spike NHS, as this would be his day to spend as long as he wanted. We enjoyed our second trip the park, on the way back we stopped at Gold Spike Burgers. Andrew was so tired he was falling asleep. We had our lunch and headed back to the rv for a nap. After a nice nap, Andrew and I went swimming. The campground has a pool area with hot spring pools and a water slide. Andrew and I swam a bit then he went down the water slide. While he went on the slide, he had the Gopro camera, and took a video of his descent.
Day 5 Henry woke me at 430 because he had to go out. Ok, but I couldn’t find his leash anywhere! Finally found it, it had fallen on the ground outside the rv door. Took Henry out and came back to bed. We didn’t get up until 9am. We had some breakfast, then headed back to Gold Spike NHS for the hand car ride day. When we got to the park this time, they were doing the reenactment of the hitting of the spike ceremony. After that ceremony and Andrews ride on the handcar, we headed back to the rv. We made a side stop to a company called AtK that has a rocket display. This company recovers the boosters of the space rockets and refurbishes them for the next mission. They also test other missiles. Quite an impressive display of rocketry. Stopped at Wal Mart for some propane, for the grill. Back at the rv for the evening, it has been just a relaxing evening. We went for our evening walk, and will soon head to sleep.
 

 

 

 

 

Wants and Needs

Merriam Webster defines Need as:

“something that a person must have : something that is needed in order to live or succeed or be happy”

It is always funny to me, when my son comes to me and says, ” I NEED this!”  This, of course, being whatever latest toy/Lego he just HAS TO HAVE. He doesn’t just want it, he NEEDS it, and is quite persistent in his announcement. With him though, that NEED can change as quick as the next commercial, or the turn down the next aisle at the store.  For him, NEED versus WANT are equal.

It isn’t always material things people insist they NEED.  Relationships can fall into that category at times. I have listened as people espouse how much they NEED the other person in their life.  That all-consuming, can’t spend a minute apart, what do I do without you, NEED.   It is wonderful to have a partner to share your joys and sorrows, your adventures and boring days, but to place your happiness on their shoulders  becomes smothering and draining. Why would anyone want that?   Isn’t it better to be proud of yourself and your achievements, secure in the knowledge you can take care of yourself and be self-sufficient, bringing all that to a relationship?  Encouraging the other person to be all they can be, not basing your happiness on them?

I would guess most people confuse what they want with what they need. Do we NEED that 3000 square foot home, with a pool? Or that fancy car? No, of course not.  Do we WANT them? I know I do. Do I have them?  No. What I do have is a decent size home, no pool. We have decent cars, no Mercedes or BMW, but decent.  You see, we didn’t go overboard with what we bought. We bought what we could afford, we worked hard and so far we have done pretty well.   We have planned for our wants and made certain our needs were met first.  Now we have the opportunity to purchase a really big want!  A new, well new to us, RV.

Yes it is big, and a bit costly, o.k. really costly.  Do we NEED it? According to Merriam Webster no.  Do we want it? Absolutely.  We had an RV before, and spent 5 years taking cross-country  family vacations.  We had our easy trips where everything went rather smooth.  There were those trips that became “adventures”.  You know the type; where it seems any and all mishaps occur, and during the trip it is all so stressful you think why in the world did we do this?  But, in  hind sight, those adventure trips are the ones you retell, with fondness and laughter, well after the stress has worn off.

Our summer travels will take us to the familiar and the new,  to family and strangers.  We anticipate “adventures” and hope for smooth rides.   Clearly this is not a NEED, according to Merriam Webster.  It is not a must have,  we can live without it, be successful without it and happy without it.  By all means,  it is a want.  So, for our youngest son, who says he “needs to travel” and for us as parents, who find comfort in the adventures, we will embark on new journeys.  We will experience new adventures, and working  together, find what truly brings us joy, as individuals and as a family.

Make A Plan

“Make a plan”,  my husband tells me that all the time.  I try, I really do, but  he’s so much better at it.  I can get one started but I am so indecisive, and I procrastinate, that he just takes over and finishes the plans.  That isn’t always a bad thing either.  It’s not that he does it all, it really ends up a collaborative effort.

A few years back we were planning a cross-country trip in our RV, talk about a collaborative effort! It took many nights of pouring over maps and searching for places to stop on the way.  The only thing that was a certain, was that we needed to be in Michigan for my husbands parents anniversary/birthday party.  His parents were both turning 90 years old and it was their 65th wedding anniversary.

Coming from California, we have a couple of route choices, each with their own positive and negative aspects.  Not only was it the route to get to Michigan that needed to be decided, but the entire trip.  How long would we go, what else would we see, where would we go? And so the planning began.

We had one month for our trip .We chose to start on what is known as “The Loneliest road”, highway 50.  We would than go to Mt Rushmore, and on to Michigan. After the family party we would head to Niagara Falls, and New York city.  We planned to go to Washington DC, but when we heard our son’s friend was playing baseball that summer for the Cape Cod League, the plan changed, and we went to watch him instead.   A decision that turned out to be a true slice of all American fun.

The route home was a bit more direct, with a stop in Kansas to see the Wizard of Oz museum, than pretty much straight home.  All in all a lot of driving, tons of fun, a couple mishaps, that we fondly recall as “adventures” now.  But to be sure, one of the best trips we have taken to date.

What has become most important for me, for us, is that we had a plan.  Everything seems to come down to having a plan.  When my husband and I got married, we had a plan.  From the music played before, during and after the ceremony, to our vows, we had a plan.  For our life, after that ceremony, we have had a plan.  I admit, some of our plans have gone  awry, but we have adjusted, and are actually ahead of ourself and our plan. Countless nights have been spent pouring over bills and maps and music and  forms, making choices and putting it all into the current plan.

I believe that, as a family, we have made plans, shared our points of view, and though it may seem a bit lopsided at times, we have worked as a team.  While no plan is without its share of pitfalls,  we have weathered those adversities and are still hanging in there.  Each one of us has contributed, and I marvel at all we have accomplished so far.

Decisions

Decisions are made every day by each one of us.  Big decisions, little ones, trivial ones and major ones, each with their own pros and cons.  Choices we decide today may not seem to  have any immediate repercussion, but there is always something. Always.

I don’t always have an easy time with decisions.  It can be scary to make some decisions, and I tend to stress over many of mine. Lately I have had to make some very big decisions. The latest one was whether to retire or not. What a life changing choice that was!  At one time retirement was an event far off in the distance, something to work toward, but elusive.  Many what if’s and unknowns.  It took many nights of talking and planning. contingencies and lists.  Now that I am retired, though it’s still new, I think it was the right choice, the right time.

Several years ago, my husband came to me and said we should buy an RV and drive across the country to his family’s  home in Michigan.  With an autistic son, traveling can be a challenge, so the theory was, an Rv could be a better way to travel. For 5 years we used that Rv for all of our trips. We had some great adventures and I can honestly say, my husband was right- it’s the best way to travel.

So now we are looking to purchase another RV. A big one, an expensive one, and the decisions are difficult and stressful.  New, used, gas, diesel how long. All things to consider, but the biggest decision is, are we ready to make such a large investment?   The investment isn’t only money, although that is huge, it’s an investment of time and commitment, family.

When we planned for retirement, buying a new Rv was one of the pieces of our plan.  Like making that step into retirement, buying a new Rv is not something one just jumps into.  With this new purchase, we make a statement about how we want our life to be.  We want to travel, see the country, have adventures, explore what is out there.  It’s exciting and intimidating and downright scary, but I think we are ready.

It’s funny how we make some of the decisions in our lives.    Do we flip a coin, write a list of pro’s and con’s, take a poll among our friends and family?  Some decisions are even made for us, by others. Whatever the manner, we all are faced with choices every day, and hope that in the end we choose correctly.

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.
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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

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