"if you are not living on the edge, you are taking up too much room"

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

getting the dreaded "itch"

Not a lot going on here in Indiana. The weather has turned more "seasonal" which means COLD! :-)
We have been doing a lot of running back and forth between Grand kids and Rudee's Mom's. We have her pretty well settled into a routine now and she is doing her best to adapt.
I, on the other hand, am starting to get a bad case of "hitch itch". Rudee mentioned the other day about just heading down South to warmer weather. "Sounds good to me"! We could stay there until we get called to work or come back for Christmas, whichever comes first. I started thinking about the cost of diesel fuel compared to just sitting here and running the furnace, not sure I want to spend the extra $$ to drive down just to turn around and come back in a couple of weeks :-(
I really don't like the campground we are at though. There are only about 30 sites and half of those are blocked off for one reason or another. We only have 30 amp service and I have to use the macerator pump to dump the black tank into the sewer connection on the site next to ours. Our sewer pipe works fine for the gray water (which we leave open for now) but when I dump the black tank it will not handle the volume all at once and backs up. I learned that lesson the hard way. :-o
Our view out of our front window is of a torn up field with a large John Deer excavator that looks to have not been moved for several months. Out our front door is a broken down construction office trailer and a pile of cement blocks. This place does not have the "it" factor at all! The only thing it has going for it is it is only 3 miles from our daughters house and 15 miles from her Mom's.

I am beginning to think we will not get the call to work until after Christmas and maybe even New Years. I guess things could change at anytime but I can't see anyone leaving a job voluntarily or them terminating someone right before Christmas. I could be wrong though, I think it's happened before ;-) I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

the good, the bad and the ugly

We have been doing a lot of running around lately doing all the little things that need done when you lose a family member. Some of things we can do ourselves but some require Rudee's Mom to be present. She  is 83 and loves to have a "day on the town" since she can't get out on her own anymore. The other day we had to go to the courthouse where she had to sign some papers, afterwards we stopped into a small restaurant to eat lunch. We were in Danville Indiana which holds onto it's "small town" status even though it is in the shadow of sprawling Indianapolis. The restaurant was decorated as a 50's style diner complete with jukebox and the waitress' wore poodle skirts. Lunch was good and Rudee's Mom wanted to pay for ours. She is on an even more of a fixed income now and we were not going to let that happen. She ended up "sneaking" a $20 bill to the young man at the cash register that just happened to be next to our booth and had heard us discussing her finances. He rang our bill up and, without saying a word, reached into his own wallet and pulled out two $1 bills to cover the rest of our check. He then brought the left over change and gave it to Rudee's Mom as if her $20 covered the tab. I didn't know what to say, what a nice gesture for a young man to make! We guessed him to be about 18 years old, his Mom and Dad can be proud of him for sure!
As we got up to leave Rudee went up to him and said "I saw what you did" and he just smiled and said "what?". She gave him the $2 back and thanked him as we walked out the door. She also slipped a $20 bill into her Mom's purse when she wasn't looking too. :-)

So that was the "good" part of this post, now for the "bad and the ugly".
We got our paperwork from the RV dealer to transfer our license plates and apply for our title. We headed for the DMV anxious to get it "out of the way". I always dreaded trips to the DMV and Rudee refuses to go without me! We arrived and took a number. There was only one other person in line but we still had to take a number. :-(
We got called up to the desk pretty quickly and I told them what I needed and handed over my small stack of paperwork. The lady behind the desk was very nice, her name tag said she was the assistant manager and, if age was any indication, she had worked there for a long time. The registration transfer went really easy so I decided to get my address corrected on my drivers license. The post office decided last year that they were changing all the numbers in the shopping center where our UPS store is at. We have been changing our address on things all year long and I just had not bothered (or maybe "avoided" is the right word) changing it on my DL. The nice lady started reviewing my information and typing it into her computer. "You still 210 pounds" she asked. "Well ...... not really" I said taking a big gulp and giving her a number a little closer to my actual weight. Ok I thought that was going to be it, then she looked up at me and, right in front of my wife, asked me. "Do you still consider your hair color black"? What the heck lady??!! Rudee began to laugh and told me I still had a choice, gray or skin tone! Deflated I had to admit "no, I guess it's more gray now" as I lowered my head and slumped into the chair. I suddenly realized I was the only guy in the room! I was out numbered and didn't stand a chance. it was worse than when I was a little boy and my Mom would drag me to the beauty shop to get her hair done!
I finally made it through the "inquisition" and got my picture taken for my new drivers license. That is the "ugly" part because they substituted my picture for a balding, gray haired, slightly pundgy "older" looking guy! I couldn't get out of there fast enough! To this day I get cold chills when walking by the door to the beauty shop and now I am getting the same thing from the DMV. :-)

We are planning Thanksgiving with our grand kids and looking forward to spending the holiday with family. Last year at this time we were in the oil fields and eating a turkey dinner from a styrofoam box. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

looking to get back to "normal"

We have had a long and busy week with Rudee's family. Her Dad's showing was Tuesday evening and we had graveside and military services Wednesday morning. In between all of this we have been running ourselves ragged doing errands that have to be done in times like this.
Rudee has spent almost all of her nights with her Mother and I have been commuting back and forth during the day. We are both ready for a return to our normal "abnormal" lifestyle. :-)

Before you get to feeling sorry for me I have to confess I have not been spending my nights alone. :-(
A few days ago I got up before the sun appeared and was at the table drinking coffee and surfing the web when my "room mate" ran through the living room. YIKES ..... Mouse!! :-O
I had to call Rudee to find out where the mouse traps were at, seems like I still can't find a lot of things since the move. She was not real happy to be awake at that hour but understood my dilemma. I eventually found a trap and baited it up with some peanut butter for the little sucker.
I then left for the day and was anxious to get back and dispose of the carcass. When I returned that evening the trap was still set but the peanut butter was missing! Well alrighty then, we got ourselves a smart mouse! Not to be out witted by a mere rodent, I re baited and repositioned the trap figuring if he had to eat the peanut butter while facing the opposite direction than the trap would spring and I could claim VICTORY! Now remember the size of a mouses (or is that mices?) head is pretty small so their brain has to be minuscule while I, on the other hand, have a huge head and thus a corresponding huge brain. How could I fail.
The next morning I got out of bed and headed into the living room intending to throw that dead mouse into the trash and celebrate my superior intelligence. The problem was the trap was still set and the peanut butter was once again gone! Hmmmm this thing has to be the only big headed, large brain, intelligent mouse in existence! Ya, that's got to be it. I picked up the trap and examined it, determined to outsmart the little guy. Looked to me like the trap needed more of a hair trigger so I got out the tools. I bent and reshaped the "trigger" a little bit until it was perfect, at least my large, superior brain thought it was perfect.
I re-baited my re-designed trap and set it out (I was positive I would get him this time!) and left to go meet Rudee. That was yesterday morning and when we got home last evening I quickly unlocked the door so I could show Rudee how brave and smart her hubby really is! The trap was there, still sitting upright and still set. I took a closer look and the peanut butter was missing! CRAP! I was even more obsessed at getting this little Einstein of the rodent world outta my house! Maybe if I can't trap him I can kill him from high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity by all the peanut butter I am feeding him!
I decided to give the trap another try, what have I got to lose. I decided if I didn't get him/her this time I would give up and adopt it as a pet. Maybe make a little leash out of string and I can take it for walks around the campground. Don't worry, I would carry some teeny tiny plastic bags so I could "clean up" after my pet. After all, meeting the worlds smartest mouse would be a good ice breaker for meeting other campers, right? We could even put on shows at the campground pavilion showing how intelligent "my" mouse really is. Maybe get free camping and a little $$ to boot. Wow, I see a new work camping opportunity here.
Oh well, for the sake of my marriage, I had to give the trap one more try. I got up this morning and VOILA (or is it "whammo"?) the trap was sprung. I guess my little peanut butter eating friend was not so smart after all! I guess he learned not to mess with me and my "superior" intellect! I did a little happy dance to which Rudee thought I was losing what was left of my marbles. Oh well, it's gonna be a good day! I got my mouse! At least I hope it was my mouse? His head did look a little small to be "my" mouse. OH oh, better get out the peanut butter and reset the trap ...... I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

a time for family

The last week has been a whirlwind. Rudee's Dad went into the hospital Sunday evening and Rudee has devoted her time to taking care of her mother. Thursday it was apparent that the treatments were not helping and decisions were made by the family to bring him home with the help of Hospice. He passed away yesterday afternoon with his family by his bedside. We will miss him but take comfort that he is now cured of his cancer and no longer in pain. Rest in peace Dad, we love you. I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

We are "officially" homeless

Yesterday was an interesting day. Rudee's Dad went into the hospital Sunday evening when he started having trouble breathing. They diagnosed him with pneumonia and admitted him. Since then Rudee has been spending the night with her Mom while visiting her Dad during the day.
Her Dad is very civic minded and voting is not something he (or us for that matter) take lightly and he has been looking forward to casting his presidential vote for the last 4 years. We both knew that being admitted to the hospital was not going to stop him from voting so Rudee started making calls early Monday morning to find out what options were available for him. Neither one of us wanted to see him walking down the highway towards the county courthouse in a hospital gown dragging IV bags along behind him because we both knew he would do it if there was no other way!
Thankfully they have a procedure in place so Rudee made the trip to the courthouse for the forms to fill out. While there she checked on our status' as well because after the last election we got a letter from the election board telling us that our "address" at the UPS store could not be used under Indiana law as a "domicile" as far as voting is concerned. Therefore we were not allowed to vote until we had a "fixed domicile that we returned to every day" and could then re-register with that address. This would mean we would have to change our drivers license address since they have to match. We decided to just give it up and would miss voting this time around. Both of us were pretty bummed because this would be our first election to miss voting in 35 years but we didn't pursue it any further.
Rudee decided to bring it up to the County Clerk who is in charge of elections in our county. She said we were indeed registered as active voters so could have "probably" voted with no ill effects at our local polling place. Rudee explained our circumstance and the letter we received from the election board. The clerk decided we were homeless and could vote as such as long as we could do it before noon today when the early voting polls closed.
She called me and I made a mad dash to the courthouse. We filled out the necessary forms and got to vote. The address they put down for us was the courthouse address so I guess we are now, truly homeless. :-)
They actually came to the hospital for my father in law to cast his vote so he was a happy camper as well.

I'm not sure what we are going to do in the future. Most likely we will be changing our State of residency pretty soon because most of the states that are "full timer friendly" allow you to vote without difficulty. We have been dragging our feet on changing for a variety of reasons but now feel like it is time to make a change.

No word from the company yet besides "just hang loose a few more days". We are taking advantage of the down time to get everything ready for the road. I finished up preparing the Dakota for towing and made sure our tow bar, supplemental brake system, wiring, lights etc, were all ready to roll when the time comes. We are also grateful that Rudee can spend time helping her parents and siblings. I'll keep you posted.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

"heck I can do that myself"

We are still cooling our heels in Indiana, no word from the company on our next assignment yet but we are hoping it will come soon. In the mean time we have been catching up on chores and spoiling the grand youngins. :-)

The biggest advantage of trading the 5th wheel for our motor home was the fact that Rudee and I can once again be in the same vehicle while we are traveling. Our Dodge Dakota can be towed "4 wheels down" meaning you don't need one of those car dolly's and can just attach a tow bar to the front of the truck and hook on. When we bought the truck (used) it had a Roadmaster baseplate already installed by the prior owner. The problem was he did not include the arms that attach to the baseplate and then hook to the tow bar. I figured all I had to do was call and order the arms and we were good to go, or so I thought. :-(
I called Roadmaster and got the part numbers and placed the order. The next day one of their technicians called me back and said they redesigned their arms a year ago and I would have to  cut off a tab and re-weld it in a different place on the arm to make it fit. He said even before they redesigned them the arms were made specific to the base plate and it was a crap shoot making another pair that would fit. Well alrighty then. The tow bar I purchased (used of course) is a Blue OX and would still need an adapter to hook up to a Roadmaster base plate but all this would be moot if I couldn't get the correct arms anyway. I decided to cancel the order and called Blue Ox and ordered a whole new base plate for the truck.
The base plate arrived on Wednesday and I made some calls to see about installing it. Camping World was booked until the first of December and would be almost $300 for them to do it. I called another place and they told me their labor rate was $80 per hour but could not give me an idea of how long it may take them. They said it would take longer than an hour but wouldn't know how long until they were finished with it. Ya right, well how about I just give you a blank check then?
I looked at the directions and decided I could probably handle the job myself, didn't look too hard and I could save some $$. The problem was having to do it in the parking lot of the RV park in the cold but good buddy Rob Runion came to my rescue and offered his help as well as his garage!
Thursday evening we all met at Rob and Jany's and us guys started working while the women started ........... well doing what women do when they are trying to stay away from the men who are doing "guy stuff". :-)
We got the bumper off and started removing the old base plate. Everything was going great until the final 2 bolts. We worked for over an hour trying to get these removed but they wouldn't budge. I even started calling around for a torch to borrow. "Look out girls, the guys are talking about using FIRE"!
Rob then pulled out the trusty hand held grinder and we ended up cutting the Roadmaster brackets off. Whew, I was getting worried there for a minute.
The Blue Ox bracket went on pretty easy. We had to position it and then drill 4 holes in each frame rail end for the bolts and then "bolt er up" and put the bumper back on. We both stood back and admired our work, even the ladies were impressed! :-)
We are now ready to tow the Dakota! Thanks, Rob. I couldn't have done it without ya!

Saturday we are baby sitting the grand kids so Amanda can work some OT. They spent the night last night and enjoyed sleeping in the new rig. They are staying with us today until Amanda gets off work, I just hope I can keep up with them! I'll keep you posted.