Archive for the ‘Camping’ Category

Tears of release;

Weep with relief.

God On High be praised;

Peace in my soul renewed.

His handiwork shines;

And reminds that it is all Him……………………….


I don’t remember a mortgage being quite like this; ever. If you’ve been reading along, you will know I’ve been doing some head banging. Ok, well, not really. I haven’t just been doing some head banging- I’ve been doing A LOT of head banging. So much so, that I’m pretty sure I have a sizable dent in my forehead.

The requirement changing that I referenced in one of my last posts was just one of the bumps in the road. You may {or may not} be aware of the factors that are taken into consideration for mortgage approval.

One of the things they most look at is what’s called “debt-to-income ratio.” In a nutshell, they want to make sure you aren’t overextended and can actually PAY for the mortgage.

You may think this sounds like common sense, and really, it is. You may be surprised, though, at the number of people who go into mortgages not having a clue what they can really afford- which is NOT the same as what they can qualify for- and then {in the past, before the new regulations} would totally over-extend themselves.

Before the housing bust and collapse, a certain amount of “high risk” mortgages were mandatory. I’m pretty sure that’s come back to bite them in the butt.

SO many people were upside down in their mortgages, and couldn’t sell because the property was now over –valued and wouldn’t appraise. Then, many of those same people had either balloon payments coming due or had an ARM {adjustable rate mortgage} mortgage and had been paying basically the interest on the mortgage with the lock-in-rate coming due.

Many people had planned on having a low payment {or one they could afford} for 5 years then using the equity in the house to refinance at the end of the term, which would allow them to not pay PMI (mortgage insurance). Some people planned on selling the house {with all that extra equity} before their mortgage was set to get locked in; using the profit as their next down payment, and getting a regular monthly payment they could afford.

But the market tanked; home values went in reverse, and a lot of people wound up in houses with regular long-term locked-in monthly mortgage payments they couldn’t afford. When that happened, houses were foreclosed if the bank wouldn’t accept a short-sale, or they couldn’t get the house sold despite listing as a short-sale and still ended up in foreclosure and losing their homes.

Now what we’re seeing are regulations that are super, super stringent. I have heard horror stories of people who were self-employed with histories of consistent income with enough in reserves and other accounts in addition to funds for down payment and closing costs that couldn’t qualify because they couldn’t “prove” where their income for the last 5 years came from because they didn’t hang on to hard copies every single incoming penny.

I have heard all kinds of stories about people who have had closing dates and then couldn’t close for some odd-ball reason; I’ve heard about people who actually did close but then the bank didn’t transfer the funds to them which then delayed their move-in date.

It’s just been strange.

The point here being that all kinds of things are unusual trying to get mortgages these days, and it’s my opinion that it’s particularly so when you don’t have your other house sold. 😀

To keep our debt-to-income ratio where we wanted it to be for the two houses, we went ahead and got rid of a monthly payment. For the last few years, I’ve been paying this account electronically {as I do all my bills} and it *always* clears and is credited to my account in 2 days. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.

Except this time. Nope, this time- you know, the ONE time I NEEDED to have it paid on time- they completely lost the money.

Yep. They sure did.

And it wasn’t just a regular-monthly-payment amount of money. *sigh*

A week after it still hadn’t posted to my account, I started getting mad. My bank showed it had been paid and cleared my account. But the receiver of the money had no record of it.

That resulted in considerable phone calls back and forth with my bank so they could trace the money; and also numerous calls back and forth to the other place.

Then there were faxes. Paperwork needed to be sent to them with requests to different departments on the receiving end; all of which had to be signed. They needed “proof” from my bank that showed they had received the money. Because I don’t have fax capability, that meant that Hunny had to take time out of his massively busy schedule to do it. Blarg.

This one little piece of the puzzle was going to screw up everything else! And by that, I do mean everything.

What hinges on an on-time closing? Let me tell you….. The day we close (Thursday), I have my floor guy coming in to begin refinishing the floors. That won’t allow for carpet to get in until the following Thursday. That’s arranged, too.

The carpet takes two days (Thursday and Friday) and the semi with my furniture comes Saturday.

Because my house is getting loaded {and has some remaining packing} and delivered here, that means someone has to be there to let them in and supervise. That means 2 plane tickets back- flying there on Saturday and then flying home here on Wednesday. Oh- and a car rental.

Do you see all the moving parts to this? 😆

It’s what I call the “domino effect.” Have you ever tried to stop falling dominoes? What happens? Things get knocked all caddywhompus and it’s near impossible to straighten them out.

If I don’t close on time, I can’t get my floors done on time. If the floors don’t get done as planned, that pushes carpet back. If carpet gets pushed back, my stuff will have to sit on a truck, if they let us.

Why else am I so concerned about my timeline? Well, gosh, if you haven’t heard- there was a hurricane. While it didn’t hit us directly {although the Outer Banks got hit pretty hard} because we’re about an hour and a half inland, that means that availability of supplies could be an issue if we are delayed.

And then that might mean another few days in the campground, because our month will be up. Those extra days are paid at a significantly higher price. We’ve talked about moving the trailer to the house and plugging in there, even though we can’t get in because the floors can’t be walked on, but the sticking point is laundry.

We’re doing numerous loads during the week. It’s nice doing them here because we can get them started and just check back, instead of having to literally sit there all day.

We found the local laundromat- they call them “wash houses” here. Not only do most of the machines not work, but they don’t have any hot water. So, laundry is an actual concern. Hunny wants me to get an rv washer/dryer combo, because we have two sets of hookups in the house {even though the bottom floor hookups are in a spot where the floors are being redone} and we may go that route, although I’m not sure how that will work when during the week they are redoing the floors.

In the midst of all of this, I have the cleaning that I can get to, and getting ready to paint. The plan is to get most of it in one fell swoop so we don’t have to make repeated trips 25 miles away, one way. Lots and lots of organizing; lots and lots of trips for supplies need to be orchestrated; working around contractors.

Next week, I need to get all my utilities started. I very much feel like this is the calm before the storm. I’ll be relieved when the whirlwind is over, but this definitely falls into the ‘the only to get to the end is to go through it’ category.

Tomorrow, we blessedly get to do something “normal,” as we’re going on a homeschool field trip to a farm. They’re giving a tour of- you guessed it– a chicken coop. 😆 I am seriously hoping my kids won’t hijack the instructor. 😆

It’s the last little relaxed day of fun before things seriously get wound up. Hang on to your hats!

Yesterday, I had Gaga {Lady} running through my mind.


This morning, after getting news about travel arrangements, this was the song that came to mind: Shout to the Lord {Hillsong/ Darlene Zschech}.


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That’s what I keep thinking. Yesterday, I was pretty much hating things.

Today? Not so much. Not everything sucks. 😀

I’m consciously making a point to remind myself of specific things to be grateful for.

Let’s see….. you know about the awning crashing down on us in the wee hours of the morning. It took me long enough {and really, this was because I needed some time to fortify myself for bad news}, but I finally got off my rear and called insurance.

I was very pleasantly surprised. Because of our ‘vanishing deductible’ and lack of claims, it’s going to be 100% replaced with $0 out-of-pocket. Yay!

I have heard horror stories about Progressive insurance, but let me say this: I have *never* had an issue with them. We’ve had a total of 3 claims in the last 11 years we’ve been insured with them. 2 have been RV claims; the other for my truck when we had a major storm blow through.

They had their CAT adjuster come out, and within something like a week, we had a check in hand for damage on the trailer. The truck they arranged for and we paid our deductible and that was that. These claims were *considerably* easier to deal with than with the home owner’s insurance to replace the roof. {That was the year where most everyone in town got a new roof- really!}

So, that’s a good thing. The lady I talked to said it would take about 2 weeks. They’ll order the parts, drop-ship them here, and then send out a mobile unit so we don’t even have to pack up and take it to them. In my opinion, you can’t ask for better service!

And, each time I talked to someone, the first thing they asked was “Is everyone ok? Did anyone get injured?” And- it was like they really actually were interested in the answer, and then relieved when I told them we were all inside sleeping and were ok.

So, that was good. I spent the bulk of last week on the phone and computer gathering information. That work, combined with the rain, meant no running at all, which never helps my mood. You don’t know how dependant you are on those good endorphins until you don’t get them for a while.

A cold front blew in yesterday. {I’ve heard there is snow in Denver already!} It’s deliciously nippy, and I can’t wait to get out and run. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the rain will hold off long enough for me to get some kind of run in. If not, I need to head back into town for- you guessed it- milk. *sigh* I have to go regardless, but I was hoping to postpone that until this afternoon.

Another thing to figure out is Halloween. The little girls want to go trick-or-treating, but not only do I not know where to take them, the thought of buying costumes and then having to store them afterwards is slightly irritating.

We brought our fiberoptic witch, but alas, I have no idea where to put her. Nonetheless, she needs to come out and spread some cheer. I need a plug, though, and those are scarce. I figure, if we have camped during Christmas and had a lighted tree, I should be able to accommodate a witch. 😆

Anyhow. That’s my ramble for this morning.

Because life is a soundtrack, and honestly, I’m tired of it being stuck in my head, I’d like to share with you a classic we’re probably all always tired of hearing: Tomorrow, courtesy of the show Annie. 😆


If that’s not your cup of tea, listen to this version, as done on Korea’s Got Talent. 😀


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Hang on, help is on the way,

I’ll be there as fast as I can……

I keep singing this, hoping it will reset something in my head.

I’m not panicking, really. I’m not even so much feeling like the walls are closing in on me.

Nah, having tv has worked wonders on the kids’ attitudes. Now they can’t complain about being bored, which has helped me tremendously. Plus, they are getting into the schooling groove, so that end of things is settling down.

Nope, this mantra is all about the house. Apparently, the realtor tour went very, very well and everyone loved the house. So why am I worried and whiny in my head?

It hasn’t been shown. At. All.

For all the love, I have no idea why. My realtor was going to try to get to the bottom of it. She’s a top seller, and I trust her. This is fair week, so we recognize nothing will happen while that’s going on.

The last time we tried to sell, we were on the market for 9 months and the house was shown a whopping 5 times. I don’t know what it is. I think the location may be harder to find, even though it’s in a good neighborhood. There aren’t many different ways to get there, and if you’re not looking for the street, you will go right by it. While that appealed to us, apparently that means others can’t even find it.

I just feel the clock ticking, as we approach the slow season there.

The real problem is, as I see it, is that the market hasn’t slowed here at all. In fact, compared to my old town’s real estate market, this place is blazing hot.

And THAT, my friends, is what’s got me so worried.

I’m worried that the house that’s pulling on my heart strings is going to be gone in the year {or whatever} it’s going to take to get my house sold. And, since I’ve been out there, I can say that I haven’t seen anything else that I like even remotely as well.

There are any number of reasons why I’m really worried about this whole scenario.

The dogs don’t have the room like they are used to, either.

Big dog is getting cranky, and she repeatedly attacked little dog last night; for no apparent reason. She also always under foot, which is making her cranky with the kids, and that is not good. I don’t blame her for not wanting her tail stepped on, but it’s all accidental; she could move somewhere else so she’s not literally at someone’s feet.

I don’t blame her for feeling cooped up and annoyed that her whole world has changed, because it has, and she is. Out of everyone, the cat has done the best adjusting, and seems to love jumping from bunk to bunk and having little cubbies to hide in. Plus, there’s usually one child or another IN the bunk to give her some love, so she’s happy.

None of us have been outside much lately since it’s been wet off and on and we lost the awning. You never know how much you use things like that until they’re gone. My task this morning is to call insurance and get that end of things sorted out.

I haven’t gotten a run in at all this week. It’s either been rainy, or like yesterday, I was on the phone and doing stuff online literally all day. I got a lot done; just not conducive to keeping my miles going. That’s the other thing on my list this morning.

None of this was in the plan, honestly. It’s not like we didn’t thoroughly think things through, either. I just didn’t expect to find a house I actually liked this soon. I didn’t expect the market to be moving this well during this time of the year. Even my realtor here is surprised.

You’d think that it would give me some hope, but given the location we came from, it is hard to feel really optimistic.

And still, I have to trust that this is all part of God’s plan; that things will work out the way they are supposed to. I just don’t know what path we’re supposed to take. I really could use a buyer *and* an epiphany right about now. I’d love to have the words of direction whispered in my ear……….

So. If y’all are inclined to pray, we could use them. I’m continuing to pray for a buyer; I’m continuing to pray for direction. And in my mind, I keep hearing, “Hang on, help is on the way, I’ll be there as fast as I can……………”

Because life is a soundtrack, I’ll leave you with the real thing, courtesy of the Little River Band:


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It’s a vicious circle, it is. Mmmm hmmmm.

Last week, I managed to get tv. We have long been Dish Network customers {like, over 10 years}, but, of course, didn’t bring any of the stuff with us. Several years ago, we went looking at satellite options for the RV, and basically struck out unless we wanted to go with Direct TV, which we absolutely did not.

As it turns out, about a year and a half ago, Dish Network came out with the Tailgater; a portable satellite dish designed for easy transport. Originally, I thought we’d have to pay the retail price, which I wasn’t necessarily happy with, but it’s something we would continue to use when we went camping down the road; plus, at this point, with no tv options at all and living in the rv, any bit of creature comfort has got to help.

Incredibly, the big cities here didn’t have one. Nope, they didn’t. And I was shocked. I was not of a mind to drive an hour one way to get to Raleigh to get one. Fortunately, the people Dish Network sent me to in Roanoke Rapids actually had one- as in, a single unit. AND- they got me the receiver for free. I, apparently, was eligible for an upgrade.

Little did I know, however, that getting one meant signing another 2 year contract. *sigh* Oh well. We’ve been happy with DN all these years, and we didn’t see anything changing once we got here. I figure it was worth the trade-off.

We have some more fiddling to do with it, but after climbing and putting it on the roof to grab a signal, we were still not able to, so the cable is strung across the road. I just hope no one steals it. Yikes.

5 am Saturday morning, amidst the continued downpour, Murphy came to pay us a visit.

If you’re an RVer, you know how to angle your awning so the water drains off and doesn’t collect. Well, apparently that wasn’t enough of an angle for the kind of rain we had gotten overnight. Yep. You can see where I’m going with this.

Our awning came crashing down. *sigh* It’s like, close to $1,000 to replace. *sigh*

I know this, of course, because when the spring went out on our trip to Oklahoma {the one where we lost the tires and had the blowout on the way home}, we got home and priced it out to replace the hardware. And, because the underside of the awning was stained from campfire smoke, we thought, why not check and see what it would cost to replace the whole thing.

Needless to say, the sticker shocked us right out of that thinking. Now, however, we’ve got no choice. *sigh*

So my tasks this morning are to call insurance and see if that’s covered.

I’d like to run if the rain will hold off.

And I need to get back to Wally world this afternoon. On the list also, in addition to finding shoes that we didn’t get to last week, are ear plugs. Seems oldest dd has an ear infection, which she has gotten from swimming. It’s been really only the last year or so that she’s had continued issues with her ears after swimming, so it’s time.

I also need to write down ingredients to see what I can find for treating it homeopathically {don’t laugh, but now is the time I’m wishing I had some breast milk…… you probably think it’s really gross, but I’ll tell you from experience that it DOES work, because it’s teeming with live antibodies that help all kinds of stuff- works on pink eye, too, and is used for cancer treatment…………

Breast milk used in cancer fight


Cancer, arthritis, diabetes, even acne – is breast milk the new wonder cure?


Breast-feeding, HAMLET, and cancer


Substance in Breast Milk Kills Cancer Cells, Study Suggests


but  I digress. :lol:} to help knock it. I have never gone looking for tea tree oil, but I know I can find some olive oil; maybe some garlic oil. If nothing else, I am sure we’ll be vampire-free for a while. 😀

Now’s the time I am wishing I would have had the space to pack my family herbal book. *sigh*

I will say it feels like a time warp ala Murphy. I am working on options, but honestly, I’m feeling a lot discouraged. I knew going in this was going to be difficult. I just didn’t figure on getting no respite from it. I was hoping new patterns would be established; new habits would take root. And I can say that we’re not there yet.

I can look at the situation logically and know it could be worse; we are blessed to be able to have the option of me and the kids even being here; most of the stress is material, etc etc; we are blessed to have opportunity. I can also look at this and realize the things I did to fill my tank are sorely leaving a gaping hole, and I may really need to seriously think about taking that on sooner than later.

So. We’ll see what this week has in store for us.

And, because life is a soundtrack and it’s Halloween month and I really need a good giggle this morning, I leave you with Time Warp {dance} from the Rocky Horror Picture Show



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Here I Am

{I actually wrote this yesterday, but couldn’t get enough of a connection to post it…….}

Here I am again. I had planned to take the day off, but while signing in to like another blog I read, it dumped me into my dashboard. *sigh* I think it has the most issue with sites that have their own url.

Let’s see……. where were we……………. Yesterday I didn’t make it to town. Hunny now doesn’t want the boots because he doesn’t think we have space. I had gotten a shoe tote for outside, which I reminded him. I’m not sure he’s entirely convinced. I think I’ll hold off on that for a few more days.

It’s going to be a busy weekend. He’s got a closet repair to make, which, in theory, will give us more critical space for the kids’ stuff. And we need to take a look at more permanent storage solutions and see what we can do to additionally utilize the little bit of space we do have left. I may be using the back of my truck for storage, and then just emptying things out when we go shopping in the big town.

And, we need to get things more settled for our little satellite tv thingy. 😀 He needs a gizmo for the widget so we don’t have to drag it across the street to get a good signal. 😆 More on that later. {I had to drive to get it; nearly to Virginia. Had it been a little earlier in the day and a little more time to map it, I would have driven across the border just so we could say we’ve been there. My one sister had taught school in a town in Va that is, according to my parents, about 30 minutes from us.}

Anyhow. Today looks like more laundry, a run, and a trip into the little town to get something for dinner. I am totally not loving the limited food space. I’m thinking of doing a smaller Sam’s run and then just packing smaller portions and freezing the meats for individual smaller meals. It’s a totally different way of thinking, particularly since the oven in RVs is generally wee tiny, which means a likelihood of doing things in smaller batches. I suppose the kids could eat earlier………

{Because life is a soundtrack,} I leave you with Bryan Adams singing {yep, you guessed it :lol:} Here I Am. 😀


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On Deck

A task a day keeps the boredom away…………. or so I’ve heard whispered through the grapevine. 😆  Aren’t you so glad I’m keeping you in the loop? 😀

Yesterday went well, overall. I am learning the nuances of my nav system, and I’ve come to realize that it’s unavoidable to make some wrong turns because of her directions. C’est la vie; que sera, sera, and all that jazz.

We managed to get to Sam’s Club, then on our way to Wal-Mart, we stopped at TJ Max. One of my quests was to find Hunny a Hawaiian shirt. Strange, but true. Apparently management here tries to lighten the atmosphere by having regular Hawaiian Shirt Fridays. The kids think it would be fun to add Cross-Dressing Tuesdays, but I’m pretty sure that would cross the line. 😉

Not to be left out, it was imperative I find him some shirts- which I actually did, I’m glad to say. 😆 So, that’s one thing I can check off the list.

I know I’m unusual, but one of the things I really enjoy doing is checking out local grocery stores to see what is popular in that area. At the local grocery, we saw some kind of speckled meat something and the ingredients, were, um interesting, to say the least.

As far as I can tell, it most resembled head cheese, but it was more processed and way more spiced than what’s in the picture. On the list of ingredients were things like pig tongue, hooves, skin (if I recall) and all other kinds of parts I would never think to eat. I might be inclined to take a picture with phone but that will have to wait until I go back to that store.

So here’s what I learned about our two usual haunts:

    • Sam’s Club is reversed of ours. {This is really no big deal, because the one we used to go to all the time in Texas was reversed, too. It’s just a point of interest.}
      • And, it has snow shovels. I find this intriguing, because this area doesn’t really get snow overall, but apparently, they are prepared. This is good to know, because our snow shovel from Colorado {as in, when we lived there 17 years ago} expired not too long ago, and I had been unable to find a new one.
    • Wal-Mart is different. While the layout is basically the same, there are some differences in the food section.
      • I nearly fainted when I saw the tortillas. Because Spanish-speaking was a requirement {although Hunny doesn’t speak Spanish and apparently, is not the dominant language out here- for example, one of his utility guys is Hungarian} because there is a large segment of the population that is, I was not expecting there to be a whole lot of difference in food selection.

Well gee. I was way off base. Apparently, they don’t eat many large tortillas, and flour tortillas overall are nearly non-existent, unless you have no problem paying $2.50 for 10. Yes, my NMican friends, you are reading that right. What I paid was cheap for the family pack- I’m thinking it was $3 something for a ton {I think there were like 40 in there} and the price wasn’t oppressive.

For anyone who doesn’t know, 10 tortillas would maybe last us one meal. Just doing breakfast burritos at 2 a piece, that’s still a dozen. I had a moment of “I wish my tortilla press was the large size” because I’d have no issue with making them myself. But, alas, the tortilla press is small and it’s packed {which means it’s great for corn tortillas, but flour not so much}.

Plus, we regularly consume tortillas for lunch and snacks. Humph.

I will have to hunt for other tortilla opportunities.

  • You can get fried okra in the deli.

YES!!! 😆 You’d be so proud of me- I held off the okra, knowing we were doing dinner at Cracker Barrel. So yay. Add that to the list of yummies.

I have no idea how they taste re-heated, but I’m sure we’ll find out because any not eaten on the way home will no doubt be cold by the time we get here.

  • Krispy Kreme doughnuts are sold at Wal-Mart.

While you’re picking your jaw up off the floor so you can begin dancing with glee, I’ll confess this doesn’t actually mean diddle to us.

Nope. We don’t actually like Krispy Kreme doughnuts, I’m sorry to say. Maybe it’s because we didn’t have one locally and therefore only ever had day-old doughnuts, but they were too heavy and there was just something about the taste that was off-putting for us.

Or maybe it’s because we’re strange. Take your pick. 😆

I’m sure there are other differences I’ll write about in the future, but I’m trying not to overwhelm you today. 😆 😀

Sadly, we did end up buying eggs- boring, bland ‘ole white ones. My oldest dd went digging through the cage free and free-range egg cartons looking for green or blue eggs, but was duly disappointed when there were none to be seen. Honestly, we are dreading eating these eggs.

So. What’s on the agenda today?

  • TV- call and acquire it asap
  • A  run if I can drag my bones out of bed
  • Another trip to Sam’s Club for hiking boots for Hunny, who liked the ones I got for the oldest so well that he now wants a pair, since we’re getting soaked in our tennis shoes
  • Probably a trip to Shoe Carnival because dd#1 needs a pair of tennis and Wal-Mart here had absolutely *nothing,* which was outright shocking. I got her a pair of running shoes that she can’t complain about, but until she gets a pair of tennies to beat around in, I am pretty sure the nag button will continue to be pressed.
  • A nap. 😀

Indeed, the adventures never end! 😆

Somehow, and I’m not quite sure why {except it’s probably the spotty internet connection}, I seem to be leaning more toward the bored side of the scale. I’m pretty sure much of this stems from close quarters and the lack of chicken tv. That means I’ll probably be writing more. 😀

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Well ok. Not really. But it sure feels like I am.

Go get some cheese, ‘cause I’m bringing the whine. 😆

I’m paying $30 a month PER DEVICE for internet. Right now, we’ve got 3 devices. As soon as my son gets the parts to fix his laptop, it’ll be 4. And that’s not counting my Kindle, which I’m too cheap to pay for, and still too lazy to download to my computer because it’s just going to be a royal pain given the download rate. For crying out loud, I can’t get anything to stream for any length of time.

This is not endearing satellite internet to me even remotely. I have no idea why it’s so crappy, except to say it’s a shared signal at a campground. Seeing as it’s still relatively early, and there are not a lot of people here, one would think it wouldn’t be too much of an issue.

Well, it is. And I am trying not to get really annoyed. If it was free, I wouldn’t be complaining. Even if it was $10 a month, I wouldn’t be so ticked off. But this is enough of a pain in the rear that I’m not keen on even using it, and I’m paying through the nose! *Sigh*

I know I’m picky. I admit it. But there is something to be said for paying for a service and actually getting something for it.

In addition to the nearly non-existent download rate, I am having a royally rotten time of even getting to WordPress. I can’t log in 99% of the time. You may have noticed that I’m not liking and commenting as I usually do. Well, you can totally blame the satellite internet/WP combo for that.

I have literally been running in circles, fighting myself. Seems WP somehow doesn’t recognize me, and it’s always timing out my log-in attempts (because somehow it won’t cache me, either), except it may not be WP; more like it’s the satellite connection timing out. I can do some on my phone, but I’m not loving that, either, because it seems to have a mind of its own much of the time when it comes to words, even when I type the whole thing out. Yes, I could turn off the auto complete, but then I lose the spell check.

There is no clear answer here.

What has been made clear is that this is as good as it’s going to get until the house sells and we’re in the next one.

We went and scoped out the other campgrounds yesterday. The one with free wi-fi and cable is nice, if you like a parking lot. It’s got good buildings, but it’s not geared towards kids. Anyone under 14 is required to be accompanied at all times (including riding bikes, it seems). Not to mention- there is zero shade, no grass, no real playground, and did I mention it’s a parking lot? I have no idea where I would park.

The killer though, was the laundry price. It’s twice what I’m paying, per load. Now, while that may not seem like much, when you have 4 kids and are doing laundry a lot, it starts to add up. Combined with the additional gas because it’s at least 15 minutes further, it really will add up quickly and more or less negate the arm and leg it costs for dismal internet here.

The second place we checked out was in the city we anticipated settling in. Well. Not only are we not going to get set up there because of distance, I am very sure we’re not even going to consider living there, unless we can’t find something here. It’s just too darn far away!

Hunny would be looking at least a 30 minute commute one way, in traffic, which could vary his travel time considerably from day-to-day. It would also completely eliminate the option for him to come home for lunch if he could.

What’s interesting to me is that many people out there live in that town and don’t think a thing of commuting that distance. In fact, one of his managers drives 45 minutes one way and doesn’t think a thing of it. It’s just a mindset I don’t really understand. Maybe it’s a school thing-maybe his kids are in a good school or started out somewhere and he changed jobs. I don’t really know.

What I do know is that I’m only concerned with schools as a point of resale. And I have no intention of being that far away unless I can’t help it.

Hunny is getting rid of his motorcycle, and I completely see why. The roads and highways are busy- so much so that riding won’t be enjoyable in the least, and dangerous, so there’s really no point in hanging onto it.

What’s also interesting to me is that people are not interested in living in the country; particularly in the smaller towns. While on the one hand that’s good for me- less competition for houses out in the country, that also means inventory is really low and really not much to choose from. Did I mention that we’re kind of picky and have specific needs with a house? *sigh*

And yet, despite all these little things, I know this is where we’re supposed to be, and I’m standing on the promise of what’s waiting at the end of this part of the change.

So. If you don’t see me commenting or liking, don’t think I’m gone. Just try to keep in mind I’m fighting with myself and doing what I can with what I’ve got. And that it’s temporary {God willing}.

In the meantime, if you’re inclined to pray for a solid, quick sale, or if you know of anyone in that area that’s looking, please keep us in mind. We’d appreciate it! 😀

Because life is a soundtrack, this is what came to mind this morning: Fighting With Myself; The Invisible


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*sigh* I assume it’s because I’m using a satellite connection that I had this all written out and only a single word got saved. Since I have nothing better to do, apparently, I’ll attempt to reconstruct the entire thing………………

It was late when we pulled into the park. Pitch black, actually. And the security gate was firmly down. While Hunny was getting annoyed because he was tired, I was pretty sure our packet was waiting for us outside the office.

I was really relieved as I spotted it. I gave it to him, telling him the code was in there somewhere. He finally found it, and off we went, in the absolute dark, in a strange park, to find our site.

We finally found it about 20 minutes later, only to discover they had drawn our approach into the site backwards. Now, some people may not care about this. But when we have utilities to connect, {like sewer, for example}, stuff like this pretty important.

He flipped a u-ey and drove all the way back around the park while I stayed put and illuminated the site. Even though we are well prepared to unhitch at night, we decided the night before that having another vehicle gave better light that our massive flashlights and hitch lights.

We ran out of stack-its trying to get level, which we never did. Hunny decided he would find a different level site in the morning.

To say we were exhausted was an understatement. The early part of the day was spent in the torrential rain; the last bit to get out of Jackson took us well over 20 minutes to go 2 miles, due to heavy traffic and construction squeezing it into a single lane.

Let me tell you- if people weren’t so greedy and rude, thinking they could pass everyone in the merging lane only to end up sitting because others won’t let them in- traffic would never get to a stand-still like that, as semis try to force people out of their way. Just sayin’.

We were tired and annoyed by the time we got there only to drive aimlessly in the dark because sites and roads were not clearly marked and THEN to have to turn around because they drove us in backwards- well, we were a bit grumpy.

I don’t recall in recent memory *ever* being so glad to stay put a day. Normally, I want to go and get there and get it over with. But I was so, so glad we had a day off the road to rest.

When we travel, I try to keep us under 500 miles a day towing, and then give rest days if we have some back-to-back long days. The only time we’ll consistently go over is if it’s a straight shot and we know the roads, like to our one spot in Texas (another Yogi). We were really ready for a break after having two days of close to 500 miles. And it didn’t help that we were losing time, either, because even though we were still on Mountain time, the other states weren’t.

One of *the best things* about this whole trip was taking a break that day; in this location.

We had been working the kids hard. And I do mean HARD.

Originally, we had planned on leaving on Monday. Then it got pushed to Tuesday. Sunday night, for example, I had planned a quick re-grout of the kitchen. Turns out, Hunny’s way with the grinder was waaaaay faster than mine; but we blew grout dust all over. He got a good roll on just after 8 pm. This, of course, resulted in a few broken tile. Guess what I was doing at 11 pm? Yep. Sticking tile so I could grout the next day.

At some point, we realized we’d never actually leave if we attempted to get everything done on the list. Fortunately, we had someone coming to help once we were gone, and my in-laws totally stepped in the gap for us. I am pretty sure we’d still be there if they hadn’t been willing to help.

After I sent everyone to bed late that night, it was around 12 am when I realized the hanging work light in the attic was still on. So, I got the oldest out of bed so he could go up and turn it off, since I had no intention of crashing through the attic floor. We were back at it by 7 ish the next morning.

As part of my OCD bedtime ritual, I walk the house and make sure the doors are locked; the windows are all actually shut {I do have kids, after all :lol:} and the freezer in the garage is closed because if it doesn’t close all the way- well, you can imagine what happens.

You can probably also imagine me trying not to cry at 12:30 am the night before we were actually leaving when I saw the puddle of blood on the garage floor. It was too late.

My choice was- leave it or clean it, all the while hoping some my side of beef was salvageable, since it was pretty new. We were not that lucky. We hadn’t packed the meats yet, and while we managed to save some hamburger and some roasts; everything else was pretty much soup.

In the end, I decided I needed to clean up then, because I knew I’d have a frozen sheet of blood puddle in the bottom of my freezer, and I’m pretty sure that’s not a date-worthy project. Plus, if melty ice cream was an indication, I really didn’t want to deal with the blood dripping down the sides once it froze.


I probably would have cried if I hadn’t been too exhausted. If I’d had the time, I would have cooked it all up the next few days. But I didn’t, so it got pitched. 😥

To say we all needed a break is really kind of an understatement. To sweeten the deal, a friend lived 20 miles away and brought her kids to play. It was hard to believe that after knowing and working together online for about 10 years that we had never actually met in person. We had a great time!

If you’ve done a lot of travelling, you’ll know that there are always things that happen. Most of that is the beating vehicles (like RVs, for example) take on the road. All in all, we’ve come out ok, with no more bruises than we expected. We’ve got a bunk house closet fix to deal with, and that’s about it.

Hunny had decided he was just going to level us more on the site we were at. He didn’t get very far. Turns out, he boiled his battery out, which meant 18 miles to get a new one. Thank goodness we had planned on taking the day off!

So. Now that I’ve rambled on and on, it’s time to wake up and see some pictures. Yay! 😆

Yogi on the Lake Jellystone Campground Park Resort, Pelahatchie, Mississppi: splash pad, pool, playground, tennis, activity center, putt-putt golf, cabins, rv and tent sites- all of which we basically had to ourselves. one of the best things about homeschooling is once the other kids go back to jail you pretty well have most places to yourself, unless you meet up with other homeschoolers. 😆

Splash Pad

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Yep. That was our mantra during the last unplanned time away.

Some of you might have known about our aunt, who, at 59 years old (she turned 60 a few months ago), was diagnosed with a very rare, very aggressive uterine cancer last August. When she was diagnosed, she was stage IV. For those of you who have dealt with cancer, you might have an inkling of what this means. Stage IV means a spread to other organs, and is usually a terminal diagnosis.

In this case, there was zero survival at 2 years.

That being said, her course resulted in some amazing (and, as I understand it, documented by her doctors) developments, as her body worked to re-route functions.

We knew she had started getting hospice care at home a few weeks ago, and then we waited. Two weeks ago tomorrow, we learned of her passing. And so we got ready to head out.

Our oldest (16) decided he wanted to stay home, which is completely understandable. It also solved the dilemma of how to coordinate care for the chickens, some of which are still inside at night (yes, this includes the three boys. *sigh*) For a long time, I’ve been naysaying Hunny’s concept that at some point, he wasn’t going to want to go on vacation with us any more. I’m not saying this has actually happened yet, but I’m beginning to think that there may be some writing on a wall somewhere. 😀

That Monday we got details and sorted out the details of our trip. Tuesday we washed bedding; packed clothes, food, and did last-minute shopping. Wednesday morning, we headed out.

Normally, we stop along the way for lunch, pull (well, push the button) out the slide and make hot dogs for lunch. Come to find out, the battery was completely dead. It was so dead, that even though power from the truck should have been able to get the slide out, it couldn’t even switch. This also meant that there wasn’t enough power for the fridge to switch to propane. Fortunately, the fridge was full which means it will stay cold at temp for several hours.

The first day of travel was the longest day, but not terribly long. We have a campground that we really love (even though it’s in Oklahoma!) mostly because we really enjoy the owners. And we always get the same spot across from the pool, which makes it easy for the kids to go swimming while we stay inside and stay cool. 😆

Thursday morning, we decided we should probably get a battery. We were kind of kicking ourselves for not stopping along the way the day before, but we were sure we could find something along the way. Which is, of course, what we did. We found another Walmart , but never quite made it there. This was because there was a Tractor Supply literally across the street. And, you all know by now that my absolute *favorite* store is Tractor Supply- even if it’s not in the middle of Chick Days. 😀

30 minutes later, we were back on the road with a new, functioning battery. Yay! (It could have been worse- we could have had to make numerous stops to find the right battery, thereby causing us to pull into camp later)

We have never stayed in that part of Oklahoma. We thought about it once, only to find that the KOA was basically in the parking lot of a casino/race track combo, that at the time, was a huge mud pit. It was also loaded with traffic for the casino and race track, and we decided it was not someplace we want to stay. I guess if you want to go to the casino and racetrack, it would be ok, especially if you didn’t have kids. We LOVE KOAs overall, but this one is not our cup of tea.

Sunday and Monday I had spent scoping things out. We have our set places, and typically use KOAs for overnighting along the way; not usually as destination parks (unless it’s a good one that we know) for lengthy vacations. One of the reasons we hadn’t gone and spent time with them there once they moved was because of the lack of campgrounds in that area. This time, though, I was determined to find something.

My standard first place to check is Woodalls. I have used this site for years and years and I’m on the forums. Thankfully, I found a campground that had a pool. If you have never been to Oklahoma in the middle of summer during a heat wave, let me summarize it thusly: God made Oklahoma as a preview of what Hell is like. It’s His way of giving people a chance to get a taste; thereby giving them time to repent and be saved. The end.


It was so hot, that if we had gotten there any later in the day (this was our short day, so we were there by around 2 pm) we wouldn’t have been able to sleep at night because the air conditioner wouldn’t have brought the inside down to decent sleeping temps (see the above “it could have been worse” point). It was so hot there, that when we went and got ice cream (which partially melted on the way home), even after 3 days in the freezer, the ice cream still hadn’t re-frozen solid.

When we got parked and got camp set up, Hunny noticed that one of the tires had gone completely bald on the inside of the tire.  (It could have been worse- it could have blown apart while we were in the midst of construction in the middle of nowhere)  We attribute this solely to the absolute terrible roads in the state. Parts of it were like going down a washboard- remember those gravel roads that make your teeth rattle? Ya, like that, except now add some pot-holes.

We would have to change it out. Fortunately, we found a mobile unit on Friday (after the service). And, it didn’t cost an arm, a leg, or first-born child. It could have been worse.

Because we stayed a day longer than we had anticipated, this meant we had to move to another site. Honestly, this begs the question: if you have to pack up and hitch to move, are you better off to not just go? At the actual moment I was walking back to the office to see if the only remaining site we could fit into was available, the cousins pulled in. That basically made the decision for us. So we packed up, hitched up, and moved a few sites down.

This got us into the shade, but gave no grass for little dog. The awning rolled up just fine, but in trying to extract it, one of the springs went out. It could have been worse. It could have been a deal where the whole awning and mechanics would have had to be replaced, or wouldn’t have functioned in any capacity at all.

After the tire debacle was resolved, we needed to do some food shopping. A few hours later, I went to call the teenager at home (you know, to make sure he was alive and hadn’t run out of food) only to discover my phone was gone. This could only mean one thing: it got left somewhere on the Walmart food trip. *sigh* (I had given it to my daughter to hold while I got my wallet out)

And, it was going right to voice mail. I was not optimistic. Back to the store we went, and by the grace of God, it was in the lost and found and no one had made any calls or done anything else with it. Wow. I was sure it was gone! It could have been worse.

Our way back home got us to the same campground we really like. Later in the evening, my daughter realized her IPod was missing. *sigh* (Remember- we’re up to 2, and this makes 1 for her, although at the time, we were thinking this completed the 3) The next morning, she went back to the office and indeed, it had been saved. Yay! (She was really sweating it, too, because she paid for the thing with her own money. She is the only one in the family who has an actual IPod, and she loves it.)

On the road we went the next morning, to make the long leg of our journey home. When we were around Amarillo, Hunny let me know one of the other tires was feeling hot. Ugh oh. We were hopeful it would make the 200 miles home.

You know what’s coming next, right? Ya. We didn’t make it. We got just outside of Hereford when the car on our right let us know something was amiss. Seriously? How did we miss it? It was really windy (as usual for this part of the country) and the roads weren’t great, but not as bad as they were in Oklahoma.

We pulled over to the side of the road and saw our poor, shredded tire. Well, not really. We saw the rim with some rubber pieces. The firewall was still intact. Hunny had seen a few tire pieces in his side mirror and was going to pull over once we totally cleared the city.

So here we were, on the side of the road, outside of a town, with a totally blown tire. We were outside a veterinary supply store, so I was planning on heading in to see if we could see their phone book. Lo and behold, a FedEx truck pulls up to turn back on the road, and comes to help- with his phone book. 😀  😆 We got the number of a tire place, and off he went.

Hunny called the tire place, which had tires, but no mobile unit- but, they had the number of a place that did. 30 minutes, y’all. They said they’d be there with 2 new tires in 30 minutes. And it was getting cloudy, which meant we weren’t baking in the Texas heat. The tires also cost about the same as we had priced earlier at Walmart, of all places.

It TOTALLY could have been worse!

We didn’t get gouged on either price; not the cost of the tires, nor the cost of the mobile service, which actually cost less for them to come to us on the side of the road than we were charged to change out a tire in a campground. And we thought the price in Ok was reasonable for mobile service!

No one was hurt behind us; we weren’t hurt;  the underside of our rig wasn’t shredded; it didn’t happen in a construction zone with heavy traffic; it didn’t happen in the middle of nowhere where we didn’t have a cell signal (that came about 40 miles later); the tire place HAD RV tires AND a mobile unit, AND the heat wasn’t oppressive.

That, my friends, is God in action. 😀

I say this in all sincerity. Hereford had a 2010 population of 15, 370 people. When we got home (to our town of about 50,000), we called around to several different places, and had to end up ORDERING tires that took 2 days to get here. While I admit that where we were just past Hereford is 50 miles from Amarillo, the odds that they actually had our tires when our own home town did not- well, that, imo, is more than dumb luck, especially considering that tire blowouts aren’t generally considered ‘lucky.’

And now that I’m counting, I can relax. That’s 6 for the trip (because everything goes in 3s):

  1. battery
  2. bald tire
  3. awning spring
  4. my phone
  5. Ipod
  6. blown tire

We knew that the trip wasn’t a vacation and certainly wasn’t a pleasure cruise by any means. But, it could have been worse, and this trip will forever remembered as such.

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Again. It’s that time of year again, which means this particular dilemma is a yearly thing for me.

Our anniversary is in December. Originally, we thought this would be great and would give us an excuse for time out for Christmas shopping. Where we live, that means a few hours out, if you include lunch.  😆

Our shopping options are pretty limited, and we do a lot of our shopping online. I’ve also gotten better about looking at the post-Thanksgiving (which is my birthday this year) sales and trying to get up early and getting stuff before the mobs hit. Or going in between the mobs. Either or is fine. And that’s only if the stuff I want is on sale.

Every other year, we spend 3 weeks over the Christmas/New Year’s holiday hunkered down in the Texas Hill County. This is our year to go. I am hoping to have the chickies set up to where we can do that, but I admit to having separation anxiety, as we’ve not gone on vacation at all since we got them. (We had a staycation, but that doesn’t count :lol:) So, that’s on the radar.

Those are all things I think will work out. What I’m stumped on is the anniversary get-away.

Every year, I hem and haw and we end up staying put.

On the one hand, a weekend trip out for us would be nice. But we have “requirements.” In a perfect world, the room would have a kitchenette, a king-size bed, a two-person jacuzzi, and a fireplace, preferably a kiva. All of these things we have at home.  😆  Well, ok, we don’t have a kiva, but we do have a fireplace.

I also want to be in the mountains. Option number 1: there is a town where I can find all of these things that is just over an hour away. There is, however, no real shopping, as it’s a ski and touristy town. We don’t ski. The shopping is all outdoors and pricey stuff that we wouldn’t buy because what would we use it for? So, it would not be a Christmas shopping venture.

The second part is what to do during the day? While we love the mountains, there really is nothing else to do in this town during the winter if you don’t want to ski, so that means staying holed up in the room doing what we would normally do at home. Ok, so we could be in the jacuzzi and see the fireplace and the tv at the same time-that’s a perk.

But at $170 a night plus food that close to Christmas, makes me wonder if we wouldn’t be better off to just send all the kids to the in-law’s for a few days…… it just seems like a lot of money for doing what we do when we’re at home is all. And, if we are doing our three weeks vacation, I’d rather save that money for when we’re actually gone, as it would cover most of the lodging (we RV) for that entire time.

Option number two: where I’d really like to go is over 200 miles away (one direction) and does have very good shopping, and I found a room with a cheaper price tag.  I think I can give up the kitchenette (take a cooler like usual), and it has the king bed and a kiva, while the other room just has a wood-burning fireplace.  It doesn’t have a jacuzzi.  😦

Lower cost, but more in gas; good shopping.  In the mountains and away from home.

Normally, I go back and forth, as neither of these options is a clear winner. It’s hard to justify that kind of money that close to Christmas, whether or not you are taking an extended vacation.

I have, however, hit upon Option number three .  (ya’ll know I’m option 3 girl, right?) I don’t know why it took me this long!!  😆

In November, I have a regular visit to the rheumatolgy clinic at a major teaching hospital in a relatively near city. What I’m thinking now is that since we have to go up the night before, that we can stay in the regular hotel and check out as usual that following morning. Go to appointment early am. Hope they let me out at a decent time. Drive to other city; check in to the other hotel; do some shopping and goofing around….

This hotel in particular says it has rooms with jacuzzis, but no pics.And actually, I have a lot of sifting through options to do in the one city, so maybe I ought to get to it…… 😆


Which option gets your vote, and why?

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