Thursday, April 21, 2011

On Our Way to Wyoming

Written on April 21, 2011 between Cheyenne and Casper, Wyoming.
Sure grateful there are Plan Bs to every great plan. This past year has been filled with activating several Plan Bs. Our original plan was to leave Texas on March 14 and head for South Carolina to spend a few weeks with Randy’s parents and Paul and family. We did pull out March 14 after saying good-bye to several good friends and headed to South Carolina. We stayed a couple days in Warner Robbins with our good friends, the Hocketts. It was a great time together along with time to travel over the old stomping grounds. One of our highlights was lunch at the Boarding House, a restaurant that has been in existence since 1968 and serves its meals just like it did years ago when it really was a boarding house for young people. Come in, sit down, and start dishing up the home cooked dishes; absolutely so quaint. While we were in South Carolina, my dad went into renal failure and wasn’t pulling out of it. So, we decided we needed to return to Texas after just a short but good week. Karl and Angela came out to South Carolina the first week as it was their spring break. We were able to enjoying the company of friends and family along with go to Charleston for an afternoon and the next day. While in Charleston, we did a walking tour led by the great tour guide, Cousin Aurelia and then we went on a horse carriage tour. It was really quite interesting and I sure did learn a lot. We crammed as much as we could into a short week. We left March 26 heading back to Texas. Once in Texas, we again started helping mom and dad by getting dad settled into the nursing home and cleaning dad’s truck and their small camper to sell and whatever else needed done to relieve mom of stress during a difficult time. Dad is stable at this time which gives us the comfort that it is okay to head off for our mission. So, once again, we shared some tearful goodbyes and headed out towards Wyoming on April 19. Lo and behold, our trip has been one of interest. We had to travel through several grassland fires in the panhandle of Texas; lots of smoke and air activity with the helicopters and planes dumping slurry and stuff. The next day in Cheyenne, Wyoming, we woke up to a few inches of snow and the warning of severe high winds on the highways. Sure glad we aren’t leading a boring life!!

"Smithizing" the Bighorn

This winter has given us some time to “Smithize” our new little home. My organized little brain (okay maybe not the brain but the thoughts that work their way out) is always trying to think of ways to make things more convenient, able to fit in a smaller area, or is there space that can be better used and yet stay with like items together. You know the cleaning products do not belong in the bedroom. So, I have dreamed up a few “honey do” projects along with reorganized the outside storage several times when I discover new totes and such. We now have some new shelves in my makeup cabinet, a 19” TV (thanks Karl and Angela) mounted in our bedroom, and, hopefully, a file cabinet built into one of our cabinets. We should probably share this with the manufacturers as all full-timers would benefit from a file cabinet. No the list is not done yet and as with a stick built home…it never will be done!!
Randy has also participated in the “Smithize” project. I am so very fortunate to have such a knowledgeable, talented man in my life. We are benefiting from a digital thermostat (not standard in RVs) which keeps the temperature during the awful cold spells quite comfy and I am sure we will experience the same benefits when it gets a little warmer. Then I am spoiled rotten, as I now have an automatic igniter for the oven instead of getting down on my hands and knees, turning upside down and trying to light the pilot light (not a good thing when you suffer from vertigo). Even though doing the projects didn’t come easy, it was great to learn from each one of them.
P.S. This was written a couple months ago but silly me, never got posted. Anyway, all has been done except the file cabinet..which kept being put on the back burner. I just hope the back burner gets taken care of this summer. More to follow.

Activities of the Winter

We have really, really enjoyed being in the same RV part as my parents these past months. We have shared great ideas/information, learned things together, discussed several past memories, and lots of opportunities to help each other. Plus, I am also grateful we were together during the transition period for grandma as it really helped being able to hold each other up during a difficult time. One of the things we did for my parents was to “pimp” their home. There camper is six years old and didn’t have the new digital TV. So, with some encouragement (didn’t take much) we talked them into getting a new TV and we bought them a home theater system for Christmas with surround sound. The TV was first for a few weeks and they really enjoyed the new HD view. But once we (well, I should say Randy as I am only the assistant) got the theater system hooked up and pumping through the camper, they were like kids with a new toy. Now, I am not so sure their neighbors feel the same as the volume was not quite as low as previously. It really rocks their camper!

Music in the Camp

One of Randy’s goals for quite some time has been to learn to play the guitar and what better time to start then now. So, after a few weeks here, he contacted a local guitar teacher and took lessons. I must say he has progressed quite well. Just a tidbit of interest; his lessons were held in a Model A garage which was converted to the music room. The building was so very narrow and quaint. It was part of the teacher’s family homestead and I am so glad they didn’t demolish the garage. With hearing Randy strum along, I wanted to be able to do something and a piano just isn’t a good idea for the Bighorn. We located a dulcimer at a thrift store and I have always enjoyed the sound of a dulcimer. We purchased the dulcimer hoping to be able to find a teacher and to my blessing, one of the fellow RVers offers to teach dulcimer to several who are interested. So, my teacher, Maurine Augustine, has graciously taken on the task of lessons with hopes to be capable of strumming a few songs other than Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star and Mary Had a Little Lamb before departing. While I recovered from surgery, I had to take a bit of a break and Maurine broke her wrist but it hasn’t slowed us down…just a slight vacation. Along with myself, another fellow RVer, Donna Brown, strums the dulcimer and has taken lessons for a couple years from Maurine. Several afternoons were spent during the last couple of months with the girls getting together to strum a tune or two. These two ladies have become super good friends and I can hardly wait until we can continue our jam sessions next fall. Look out, there may be a new group arising from the Hill Country!! P.S. Randy didn’t continue with his lessons but hopefully will pick up his guitar a time or two this summer with the Martin’s Cove jam sessions. My teacher, Maurine and I during a lesson. Look how she is watching my fingering. The girls during one of their beginner jam sessions.