A week (or so) on vacation and an update

Update: We have camped several times since my last blog post but I had huge blogging issues when I changed from an iPhone to a Samsung Galaxy. I’m back on iPhone (6plus, LOVE IT!) so here I am blogging again via phone. 

Now for the fun stuff- camping!

Y’all know I’ve blogged a bit about Travel Day, that terribly exhausting time where you pack pretty much everything you can think of, forget too many important things and THEN load it all and hit the road. 

It’s my least favorite time. And let me just say if you don’t find travel day stressful then we can’t be friends. Unless of course, you bring puppies or kittens or chocolate- then it’s on like Donkey Kong. 

But back to the matter of travel: it seems like we learn something new every single trip, and this one was super helpful. 

TAKE A NAP FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE!

Seriously. 

Ninja Man brought the RV home from the storage facility and parked it in front of our house. Of course with the truck hooked to it, the whole enchilada gets parked in front of ours AND the neighbor’s house.  Anyway, we began loading it. 

And we loaded. 

And loaded some more. 

I know, we should have “two of everything” and we do- as far as the toaster, kitchen utensils and bed and bath linens go. But the clothes, food and perishable necessities have to be loaded each time since we store our rig when not in use. 

So back and forth we went, loading to the point of (some) blood (his knee), sweat (both of us) and tears (guess who…). And did I mention my house needs to be in near perfect order? That’s something I have learned is super important to my mental health- I don’t want to come home to a messy house. It’s a deal breaker. 

Since our destination was ONLY 45 minutes away, at my breaking point I informed my husband that the pups and I would just meet him there. Not only that, but I was going to nap. Right now. 

The pups, clearly on my side, jumped up to snuggle with me on the sofa. 

To my surprise, Ninja Man stretched out in his recliner and dang if he wasn’t asleep in a matter of minutes. 

The pups and I looked at each other. This, being an unprecedented event had us all perplexed. But not so much that we didn’t cozy up and fall asleep too.

And there we were. Already one hour past the time we wanted to leave, RV nearly packed, house pretty much ready to lock up, and the whole lot of us snoring away. 

Just 30 minutes of this was exactly what we all needed. When we awoke I was back to my fun loving self and no longer feeling the need to convoy, Ninja Man had settled his attitude and the pups… well, they were ready for a treat. 

We piled into the truck, bid the house adieu and off we went for our adventure. 20140511-195800.jpg

I’ve often said a nap cures pretty much what ails ya- and it’s true about Travel Day. 

We leave tomorrow and take the short 45 minute drive home. It doesn’t matter so much how far we are driving, preparing the rig for the road is the biggie. I think we will get up early so we can get a nice short nap- just in case. 

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Our former storage spot.

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The Truth. Getting there.

“I just want to be there. I don’t want to go through the rushing, frustrations and anxiety that is the process.”

I wonder how many more times I’ll say this before we leave.

When bloggers post whatever it is they are blogging about, it often reeks of perfection. It also frequently makes the rest of us feel like we might never reach such levels of that imposed perfection.

That’s what today’s blog post is about.

I am here to share the truth- the back story, if you will, about all it takes to get from home to campground.

Here we go.

Family had just left on Christmas Day. Driver and I spent the following day getting ready. Laundry, cleaning house, napping, more laundry, dinner out so we wouldn’t mess up the kitchen, more laundry and a trip to drop off prescriptions.

Plan: leave at 11:00 am the next morning.

At midnight, we had this in a pile on the floor. By morning, this pile tripled in size.

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Midnight.

Yes. It. Was.

I was as tired as one would be on the day after Christmas with all the doings of that blessed day plus all the regrouping afterwards. Add getting ready to leave for a week and staying up till midnight is just par for the course.

Travel Day:

It is:
A) stressful
B) busy
C) full of lists
D) and THEN we load up and go.

On Travel Day we decide stuff like I need to clean out my car so I can pack it. We took two vehicles for the 1 1/2 hour drive- just know that by the time we arrived at Travel Day, driving alone contributed greatly to the length of my marriage.

So I cleaned it out, put the seats down to make a huge dog bed, and began loading.

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And I kept loading.

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That Happy Camper bag was a suggestion of better things to come. I wasn’t convinced that there would really be a Happy Camper but I could hope.

We loaded Driver’s truck too.

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Finally, we got to the storage place. Yes, we have to store it, as our HOA doesn’t allow RV’s in the hood.
Two things happened here:
1) I sat in the car and prayed
2) a big guy named Kevin was visiting his RV just across the way. He began talking to us and I learned he has been doing this for 22 years. A retired truck driver, he’s been all over and back again in his RV.

Now let’s do the math. Though we stop by each week, I have never – ever – seen anyone hanging out in the RV storage area.

Today I sat in the car and prayed. Sometimes I just think I’m too wimpy for this, but it’s our dream, and once we GET THERE, I am in love with this lifestyle. So I prayed that God would bless us with a good experience that would honor Him.
Kevin walks up, introduces himself. He is a handsome black man. about 6’4, 300 lbs and a smile that won me over. Out of the blue, he begins to encourage me. “Man, you are going to love it!” He says. “Just wait till you get there, it will be all worth it,” he added.

I did the math. God sent Kevin to assure me that He heard my prayer.

I took a few deep breaths, got my second wind and realized, regardless of my fatigue, fear and anxieties, THIS is going to happen and I WILL love it.

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We stopped to put air in the RV tires, and Driver’s portable air machine was broken.

We went to a truck stop, towing the huge trailer along, only to discover the air machine was – yes – broken.

Now we had to go somewhere else.

That put me out in the parking lot, holding traffic at bay (read: BIG trucks and ticked off car drivers) while I directed Driver around all the stuff we should not make contact with such as metal to concrete or metal to metal. It was kinda nice to have something bossy to do.

Between the two of us we did a fine job even though we were both pretty frustrated over the broken air machine.

We crossed the highway, got air and were on our way.

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One would think the stress is over.

Nope.

Now I’m worried about the hugeness that is Baby Beluga. No matter how many times Driver says it tows like a dream, I’m still new at this and frankly, our little 40 ft dream on wheels that came true scares the snot outta me. That’s the nicest way I can say it.

So I began thanking God.

I drove, Driver and Beluga in my rear view. Surprise: that made me anxious.

So I continued to thank God.

I thanked Him for Driver, for Baby Beluga, for the pups who rode with me, for the fact that we were driving only 90 miles and there was only 80 to go.

I thanked Him for the gas in my car, the breakfast in my tummy, the crackers in the seat beside me and the fact that every single traffic merge- every single one- was wide open for Driver to tow through.

Yes, Virginia, God is real. If you don’t believe yet, I have many, many other accounts to share, much deeper than this. Just email me.

By the way, I don’t know why but every time God sends me an angel, it’s always a big black man. Usually Jamaican, but always soft spoken and genteel. I love God’s way.

So on with the trip.

Truth: we arrived safe and sound.

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Truth: I took a nerve pill when we got here. I had a prescription for 30 in Oct of 2011. I just ran out. I come from addictive genes (don’t we all?) so I don’t mess with stuff like pills that chill me out so much that I’m actually pleasant to be around. Basically, it was as much for Driver as for me, since I didn’t lose it , not even once. While some – maybe all- do not see the faith statement vs nerve pill, I can answer that as well. Email me.

Anyway, we arrived. I was chill and so very thankful to be at the very moment we were at. Parked and setting up.

I walked the dogs, swept our “porch” and began unloading the car.

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Truth: the place is cluttered upon arrival but it gets better. Everything has it’s place.

By the time I took this picture I was feeling so much better. We are here and all that stress is behind us.

I’m ready to play house now.

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I enjoyed putting everything in it’s place, especially these two items. The card – ADORABLE – is from my friend Heather. The quilted mat is PERFECT for our little table, and from my friend Martha.

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Truth: it has been a very long series of days to get to this point. I’m exhausted but blessed in so many ways. I have my faith and an eye witness to God’s blessings. I have friends who love me enough to make something that is absolutely perfect for me. I have Driver who is oblivious to my stress levels (yes, most of the time this is a good thing) and I have these two furry friends who can’t wait for snuggle time.

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Stressful? Oh yes it was.
Blessed? Oh yes it is.

Truth: my jaw hurts from clenching my teeth so many times today. I’m beyond tired and still have to set up the bedroom.

Truth: it is a very good day. With bikes to ride and pups to walk, tomorrow will be even better.

Thanks for stopping by and sticking with this “truth” story. I promise most of my future posts will be fun and upbeat, but just in case my blog looks even barely “perfect” now you know… The Truth.

God bless.

Camp BoTown

Our very first campsite EVUH was at Beaver Run RV Park near Metter, Ga. It was just a hop, skip and a jump from our home and even closer to the Camping World parking lot (see previous post). Wherever Baby Beluga parks will be called BoTown, a combination of our name and, well, “town”.

This park was very nice and clean, and the peeps there were oh, so friendly and helpful. This guy’s name is Huey. He and his family are frequent visitors and he was so helpful and led us right to our spot; number 15.

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The place was really flat! That helped a lot for these first timers

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We set up camp, strung our little string of Tiffany lights (we decided we need a second string) and Driver replaced a burned out bulb by the door.

“You should bring a ladder,” I said before we left the house.

Well, who needs a ladder when there is a big picnic table nearby?

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This is Huey and Jingles. Jingles has bunny ears on because it is Easter weekend. We also met Huey’s wife and Jingles’ mom Janice. We hope to camp with them again someday.

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Huey even shared his wood and lightered pine, which gave us a pretty fire in the firepit.

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By evening, we toasted our little campsite and our big whale of a camper

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Our next trip is in 2 weeks, a weekend outing with our church. We are looking forward to a sweet time with our church family.

Bringing Baby Home

It’s a girl! Well, maybe she is… I’m not too sure but I’ve been referring to our long-anticipated RV as a girl – a girl baby Beluga whale!

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She kinda resembles one, don’tcha think?

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This is our girl in her natural habitat.  That is, until we get her weaned and in the Great Outdoors!  And yes, we have an HOA. I’m waiting for their sweet letter, a welcome note if you will!

But even the HOA cannot rain on this Beluga parade!  I am Snoopy Dancin’ happy. Or as my favorite Duck Dynasty dad says, “Happy. Happy. Happy.”  Yeah. THAT happy.

I will never forget the first moment when my Driver and I connected with Baby Beluga.  It looked like this:

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Why I photographed this:  well, Driver and I have been talking about getting our very own RV for more than T*W*E*N*T*Y years and I did not want to Miss. A. Thing.  That very moment it clicked into place resonated with me. It was like pushing a button or crossing a line.  It was here. Now.  And you know what? I just had to have the picture of that “real” moment.

Driver was ready to go.  One more check of Beluga and off they went!

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I followed behind in the SneakMobile.  One day I might tell the story of the SneakMobile and how it is black and how I gather up the ladies in my ‘hood and we sneak off after all have gone to bed, sneaking all the way to Dairy Queen or Sonic, in our P’s and our J’s, get ice cream and then sneak back home.  But there’s no time for that right now… we are talking about Baby Beluga, tee hee!  So off Driver went with Beluga following dutifully behind.  This is how they looked going into the ‘hood:

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That thing on the far left of my windshield is not a taco; it’s something coming off of the interior of the SneakMobile. Driver has to fix it.  It’s an old paid-for car that I LOVE and don’t want to part with because parting with it means payments and I’m highly allergic to such things.

“Can you park it?” I asked.

Driver assured me he could.

And he did.

I really had no doubt.  I even helped a little, but I know he could have done it fine without me.

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Once we got her home, we had to do the first, main thing.

Introduce Hoover to her.

“Thanks for the big doghouse,” he said.

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Today was day 2.  Hoover and I took a nap, right there in the driveway.

It was perfect.

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I had just picked out my Lucky Camping Socks when all of a sudden….

We found it.

She is a 36 foot dream on wheels and I am so excited I can hardly stand it. My Driver and I have been talking about her for 20 years and seriously looking for her for two years. Count ’em. TWO YEARS. It’s the longest we have ever waited, shopped and dreamed over a purchase. And we have done it with immense planning, saving and as much common sense as we could have mustered.

Spoiler alert! This is NOT the one we bought:

When we began searching, we found this:

Super expensive. This is one of the nicest 5th wheels on the market... which is why it won't be following us home!

Super expensive. This is one of the nicest 5th wheels on the market… which is why it won’t be following us home!

So we quickly nixed that idea. The plan is to actually own one like this one day, but after it’s 10 years old AT LEAST! I’m pretty sure we will love it even more if we don’t have to pay a gazillion bucks for it!

We continued to look. During the two years, we climbed in and out of dozens, certain that we’d found “the one”. Then we’d leave the dealer / individual / place where we found one unlocked / campsite where we’d stalked one we thought we might like / and we’d clear our heads and realize that no, it wasn’t “the one.”

And we kept looking.

Our criteria was simple enough: 5th wheel for him, pretty inside for me. I’m not even sure there are words to begin to describe how incredibly ugly the interiors of RVs can be, but I think I nailed it once or twice. My Driver even knew what I would and would not like.

“Don’t go in,” he would say, exiting the metal door and shaking his head. “It’s in the “puke” brown hue.”

Yes, I had described it well enough and he saved me multiple times from having to see yet one more puke brown / green / mauve interior.

No one could have been more surprised than me when we found our gem.

Purple.

Oh. Yes. It. Is.

The fabrics (tiebacks, pillows, comforter, etc) are a deep royal purple color.

I know you are on the edge of your seats so I’ll just show you a picture.

Or two.

Super pretty. Who knew I'd love it? I figured I'd be sewing from dusk to dawn to cover the horrors of RV interiors gone wrong. But no. I like it. A lot.

Super pretty. Who knew I’d love it? I figured I’d be sewing from dusk to dawn to cover the horrors of RV interiors gone wrong.

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When I said purple, I meant PURPLE! And guess what?

Iloveit.

yesido.

I LOVE IT!

The only problem I can imagine having is when my sister Carol sees it. She is going to go nuts. She is the most purple loving person I know and dang skippy, she could OD on this purple. It is so rich and regal and has retained its deep hue even though it’s from 1999 and this is danged 14 years later!

Here she is. I'm so stinkin' happy I could hug her! She looks a bit like a baby beluga whale, doesn't she?

Here she is. I’m so stinkin’ happy I could hug her! She looks a bit like a baby beluga whale, doesn’t she?

Today we put the money down on our little dream wagon and I had to carry SOMETHING home so I took a pillow. Yes I did. I told the guy I was going to take something and he said, “please, not the furniture,” and I said, “No, silly, I just want something A) to see when I wake in the middle of the night and convince myself I dreamed it all and B) to match some other fabrics with. So the little pillow went home with us and it is sitting quietly beside me now, being REAL.

And tonight, REAL is wonderful.

We did a few things “first” after we put our down payment into the hands of Mr. Salesman. We walked around the RV store and looked at hoses and plugs and grills and chairs and little bowls that smush flat and big metal things that get screwed into the sides, top and bottom of the RV. I don’t know what all we saw, but I do know what I bought. I bought the socks. These aren’t any socks.

They are

My LUCKY RV Socks.

I had to have these in order to live a normal life.

I had to have these in order to live a normal life.

I found them when we first arrived at Camping World and had to have them, RV or not. I carried them in my hands for so long I was afraid I’d forget to pay for them so I left them at the register with a responsible looking young lady. Of course I couldn’t leave them with just anyone.

“These are my Lucky RV socks,” I told her.

“Um, huh?” She asked, and even cocked her head a bit.

“Yes. My Lucky RV socks,” I repeated. “I have carried them around for so long I think they are already mine, so I am afraid I’ll walk out with them.”

“Then they wouldn’t be lucky,” she noted.

“Exactly,” I agreed.

I left them with her, but I had confess I had to walk by a time or two to make sure they were still there and some traveler from Kentucky or Texas or wherever else didn’t buy them.

And indeed, we found the RV, we got the price where we desperately needed it and I stole a pillow. All because of my Lucky RV socks.

I shall wear them tomorrow and I may, just for good measure, take the pillow on a driving tour when I go to the insurance company, the bank and all the other places I have to go in order to make this wonderful thing happen.

So that’s where we are. Lucky RV socks, found RV, stolen pillow, downpayment, and now I have to try to sleep.

It’s like Christmas. At ten years old.

It’s just too wonderful.

Good night.