Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Castle Fever

Wikipedia, the commonly consulted internet dictionary source, partially describes “cabin fever”  (also known as House Syndrome) as “an idiomatic  term for a claustrophobic reaction that takes place when a person or group is isolated and/or shut in, in a small space, with nothing to do, for an extended period . Symptoms include restlessness, irritability, irrational frustration with everyday objects, forgetfulness, laughter, excessive sleeping,  and an urge to go outside even in the (less miserable) rain, snow or dark.” Well,  then I’ve got a big time case of “Castle fever,” just add debilitating pain to that definition above. The definition of cabin fever above fits me perfectly with the exception that my small space is not a house but our motorhome. It is NOT the elements or climate keeping me confined to the motorhome but I have as bad a case of sciatica as I can find and read about on the internet. Thank goodness I have the technology I have (tv, computer, internet, ipod) or I’d be going nuts. Barbie is a saint. When she vowed on for this gig over 36 years ago, “for better and for worse, in sickness and in health”, I’m sure she never imagined the past 80 or so hours of hell I’ve put her through. The first 36 hours after we got back from the ER at Mountain Lakes Medical Center were hell, pure and simple. The shot and tablet they gave me at the hospital barely took the edge off my discomfort. My legs and feet continued to get numb to the point I couldn’t put any weight on them at all. I was a prisoner in the bedroom of the rv. I couldn’t get comfortable in any position. I was counting minutes until I was due to take the next meds. Pitiful huh? I was trying to get sleep in a sitting position leaning up against a plastic clothes hamper which was sitting on the bathroom sink edge with a small pillow on it. I’m sure you can’t even imagine what I just described. I decided that by Tuesday morn, come hell or high water, I was gonna get to the living area somehow to my recliner. If I could get there at least I figured I could get some rest. I used a folding camper chair as an imitation walker and struggle out of the bedroom for the first time since Saturday. Emotionally, that was a major accomplishment. I could now see the mountains and outside world plus it was more comfortable to sit since I now had a back to the chair. Last night I fell asleep at 12:30am and slept in the recliner until 3:25 when Barbie gave me my next set of meds. I fell back to sleep, and soundly too, until 9:30. Barbie went out yesterday and bought a walker for me. I can honestly say that the numbness in the lower legs and feet is scary but now with the walker I can work on getting back on my feet and building some strength.  I’ve got to be able to stand on my own and be walking soon. Then, Barbie and I will be able to get out on the interesting excursions we’ve planned to write about when we started this blog. ‘Til next time….

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Bumps In The Road With Great Moments

Great Moments:

Barbie writing time……

First off, we did start Saturday with a lovely plan to eat breakfast out at the Valley Cafe and then head to Cashiers, NC area for a craft show. Those two activities were great! As we were out at Bill’s Flea Market, we got a wonderful call from our neighbors Dwayne and Bev letting us know that Dwayne’s medical tests came out great! We are happy for you Dwayne! It was so nice hearing from you. We hope that you two can keep cool in the hot Valrico environment. Second off,my BFF Linda and Bill arrived Sunday afternoon to the Dillard area. We were all supposed to go out for eats and then off to Black Rock Mountain State Park followed by a visit to the Creamery ( a local ice cream and dairy product store). Well…. our two motorcycle friends went to Black Rock on their own and I joined them at Cupboard Cafe for lunch while Jeff stayed in the rig nursing his back. I admire Linda and Bill for driving their Gold Wing from Auburndale, FL to Maine on their three week vacation. They looked great in their leather outfits and helmets!!! We did manage to get ice cream at the Creamery and it was good! Next time we go I will get peach ice cream which has the real fruit in it. Linda got that and it was great! I was sad to leave Linda and Bill but I was very worried about Jeff being alone and not being able to walk. I sure do miss Linda but we are keeping touch most everyday through our e-mails.

Taking The Curves At A Low Speed:

I was not meant to be a nurse. I am similar to Niles on the Frasier show who faints when he sees blood. So, when I took Jeff to the ER I was so nervous that I couldn’t think straight. I despise hospitals. They used to make me have anxiety attacks. But after visiting relatives in the hospitals the past 15 years or so, I have learned to cope with that phobia. “Playing nursemaid” for the one I love the most in the whole wide world has not been easy. It is a new job that I have tried to learn how to do in two days. I have made many mistakes. One in particular was helping Jeff sit up from the bed. I held onto his wrist but pulled too abruptly and his back became more painful for a few minutes.

Sleeping has become a big problem. Jeff has been sleeping sitting on the edge of the bed with homemade contraptions to rest his head upon. We have a memory foam bed that is super soft and lovely to sleep on. But it is not conducive to correcting back problems. So as soon as Jeff lays down, I have to help him get back up again because his back goes into spasms. I was sleeping in the living room area of the rig on Saturday night and Sunday night in Jeff’s leather recliner chair which is very comfortable. But Monday night I slept in the bed with Jeff while he sat up most of the time on the bed. I got rested up but he didn’t get much sleep. So today we took a lawn chair from the shed and “made” it into a walker so that Jeff could try to get to the recliner chair to get his legs elevated and hopefully get some much needed sleep. It worked!!! He didn’t fall. But we are still worried about his right leg not moving properly due to the sciatica problem. As soon as he feels like he can move around better, he will go to a doctor. We are hoping that will be this week. I went out and bought him a real walker today which will work so much better.

The little bumps in the road will not stop us from living our dream of travelling. We are grateful that it occurred in our retirement and not in our working lives.

So, keep us in your thoughts and remember to ENJOY THE MOMENT!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Trip to the ER

Not since I broke my left arm playing sandlot baseball in Poitiers, France (where we lived while my dad was assigned to a tour of duty by the Department of the Army), have I visited a hospital emergency room for treatment. Well, that was until last evening. I can’t stand visiting hospitals let alone having to make a trip there for treatment. So, you can imagine it must have taken a major issue for me to have Barbie take me to the Mountain Lakes Hospital emergency room in Clayton, GA, last evening. For what you say? I have never been in such immense pain for my back ever! I’ve strained muscles in my back numerous times in my adult life and I’ve hurt but again I say, NEVER, has it been so intense that I felt the need to go to the ER. The bad part of it is there was no one singular event that I can pinpoint as the cause for the incident. Sure, we packed and loaded our motorhome to leave Floida and I was a little sore. Once we arrived here in Dillard, we set up the motorhome for our extended stay. Yes, I was on the ladder stretching to clean the front windshield and installing window shades. And, we have done shopping and even went to Sapphire Valley yesterday morning for a great arts and crafts show. So I could have expected my old back to be sore but I was in excrutiating pain by last evening at 8:00pm. Whatever the trigger, my sciatica reached a new level of pain. Like I answered the ER Doctor when he asked me, on a scale of 1 to 10, how bad was the pain---I told him a 10+. At one moment during my struggles before we went to the ER, I thought perhaps I had a kidney stone because I’ve known folks that have had kidney stones and they had spoken of the pain worse than childbirth. Not only was there back pain but my legs “tingled” as well, and my right leg has been all but numb for the past 24 hours. Nevertheless, after seeing the doctor and him asking questions and checking me out, he said sciatica it was. He gave me an injection of demoral for pain and a muscle relaxant tablet. He observed me for about 45 minutes then sent us off with a prescription for lortab for pain and one for flexeril, a muscle relaxant. Of course, no pharmacy is open in this area after 9:00pm so Barbie couldn’t go out to fill them until this morning. It was a rough night with little or no sleep and this morning wasn’t much better.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Georgia On My Mind

We’re here…….on the site in Dillard, Georgia. It’s a great view from inside the “Castle.”

Thru Windshield

As Barbie posted, we arrived Tuesday afternoon. Because we have no set timeline to follow we are taking our time setting up. Of course, all the mandatory utility and inside set up was done immediately Tuesday. Earlier this morning we washed the front windshield and attached the window shades to the outside of the coach. It is incredible how the shade helps keep the heat out of here. Barbie pulled some weeds from the mulch this morning and we got the table, chairs and umbrella out of the shed and set them up on the deck. The morning coffee was had on the deck this morning. River Vista looks great. Lots of greenery and flowers. I’d say the park is about half full until the 4th when it will be full.

Pond & MtnsWe used our first full day, yesterday, to go out for breakfast at Valley Cafe and then took care of priority #1---getting a golf cart.  Found a great deal on a 2005 electric “Champagne Edition” Club Car at All American Carts just south of Tallulah Falls. As we are chatting and finalizing the deal with “Eddie”, we start talking about Florida. Seems as though Eddie grew up in Florida. So as we further question him, he says Winter Haven and the Brandon area were his homes. So Barbie asked him where he went to school. Would you believe for junior high he went to Horace Mann Middle –Barbie’s school, or should I say former school. Small world I’d say. Eddie actually left Mann the year before Barbie arrived. Back to the cart, it was the former cart of the wife of the head honcho at the Orchard, a golf community in the Clarksville area. It’s a beauty and the price was great-thanks to “Horace Mann Eddie.”

Cart 3


Cart 1

We’re gonna make a run to Home Depot tomorrow to get an indoor/outdoor carpet for the inside of the shed plus pick up some flowers to brighten up the site. Did either of us say how glad we are to be here yet?

‘Til next time…………………

Dillard, Georgia Bound

Barbie here writing to you today. We left Crystal River at 9:38 A.M. on Monday, June 21. It took us 35 minutes to hook up the car because it was new to us concerning the brakemaster braking system that we now need for the Terrain. I think once we do it a couple of times, it will become a habit and easy to do. But we needed to do it right so that the car’s brakes wouldn’t catch on fire and ruin the car. Leaving Rock Crusher was kind of nice because we knew that Dillard might be a little bit cooler. At least the nighttime temperatures would be slightly lower, we hope.

We stopped twice to make sure the brake system was working well and that the transmission didn’t blow up in the car. Anyone who knows us remembers that the Ford Escape we had last year had blown the transmission with 862 miles on the car while traveling to Dillard. We had been stuck in Perry, Georgia for three days until they gave us a rental car to go on our merry way while they kept the Escape to put in a brand new transmission. But that story is in the past and we have gotten rid of the “Lemon Escape” that so many people in America have had trouble with in towing. We stopped at Twin Oaks Campground in Perry , Georgia at 3:30 for the night. We love this place! They are very friendly and happen to be a Passport park , in which we paid $18 for a 50 amp full hook up. They have these flowers which bloom when the sun goes down at about 9:00 or a little before that. They “pop out” when they bloom and are really neat to see. Of course, that is the excitement of the park in June. They don’t do this year round.

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This is what they look like when they bloom.






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A close up shot of the pretty flowers.







After eating some great leftovers from our trip in Crystal River( El Ranchito burritos, seafood from Dan’s Clam stand), we went to bed early. It was very hot outside but with both air conditioners going on in the rig, it was very nice.June 2010 011

Dan’s  Clam Stand in Homosassa, FL







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Barbie eating clam chowder with her new hairdo. If you are every Crystal River, go to Cynthia’s Salon and ask for Laurrie. She is GREAT!!!






                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                We  left Twin Oaks at 9:27 Tuesday morning and didn’t have much traffic on our way to Dillard. We arrived at our summer place at 1:50 and it was very hot!!! After unhooking we found out our water wasn’t working properly, no pressure,  when we hooked up. So,  Richard, the manager of the park, came up and fixed it for us. He is a great manager! We cooled down in the rig and then proceeded to get the inside of the rig fixed up. Thankfully a rainstorm came through at about 5:30 and really cooled things down. We took a ride around Dillard at about 7:30 P.M. and the temperature was 72 degrees and nice! After a dinner of grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, along with a Mike’s Hard Limeade for our Happy Hour, this couple was ready for bed early at 10:00.

Remember….. enjoy a great moment!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father’s Day

“My father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person, he believed in me.”
Fathers Day Quote by: Jim Valvano

Today is the day set aside to honor our fathers, not only appreciating them for who they are, but for making us who we are.

In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the third Sunday of June as Father’s Day. Why did this take so long, after all  President Woodrow Wilson’s signature made official an annual Mother’s Day more than half a century earlier in 1914. Although not  holidays as we think of in the way of Christmas, Thanksgiving, etc,  both of these days are meant to remind us of the importance of not only our parents, but all those who, like our parents, steer and guide us through our lives.

I can’t imagine any father that can live up to the ideals  set for them in society like  “The Father Knows Best “or “Cosby Kids” versions. That is unrealistic in our  world. No real father has all the answers; the best ones are those that simply teach us to ask good questions.

Most father/son and father/daughter relationships are full of lifelong tensions and complications. I know that’s how my dad and I were-although the tensions and complications were fewer and far between the older, or should I say, more mature I got. There’s really no avoiding having some issues with the very person whose job it is — indeed, whose very definition is — to first tell you what you can and can’t do, and later  to push you out of the proverbial nest and trust you to make your own decisions.

And yet, so many of us are blessed with fathers and “father figures” who teach us by example, who love us no matter what, who give us the gift of their attention and admiration, who lay down a path for us, then gently nudge us down it. The men in our lives who are able to do those things are truly remarkable and deserve our deepest gratitude. Even for the grownups, fathers are someone whom you look up to for the most experienced and honest advice that is always in our best interest. For this great figure in our lives that we know as father - it becomes our utmost duty to pay our humblest tribute on the occasion of Father's Day.

Thank you for everything Dad. We may not have said it often enough, but how could we let this day go by without saying how much you meant to us.

We appreciate everything you did for us. And, I know you’re watching over “the Castle” as we motor down the road on our journeys. After all, your name and memories of you, always ride with us.

So I encourage each of you to take time today to think about your father, the father of your children, those who have “fathered” you and your loved ones throughout your lives. If those men are still in your life, be sure to thank them. If they have moved on, simply give eternal, everlasting thanks.

‘Til next time…………….

Thursday, June 17, 2010

On the Road

We are sitting here on our site in Rock Crusher Canyon RV Park, Crystal River, FL after making the nearly two hour trip from Valrico to here this afternoon. Our plan is to leave here Sunday or probably Monday morning and stay in the Perry, GA area at Twin Oaks RV Park for one night and drive to Dillard the next day. If you have followed our last couple posts you’ll remember the plan was to leave Valrico Wednesday after I “flunked” out of jury duty Monday. Well, so much for that plan. I’ll have you know that I was in the first group of 35 taken out of the jury auditorium to a criminal case courtroom AND was the first juror selected to hear a case beginning Tuesday morning. Lucky me huh? I wish the case had been a little more interesting but I will say it was entertaining. It will be a great campfire tale down the road. At least we, the jury, were able to reach a verdict within 20 minutes and I was home by 3:30 Tuesday. I do feel good about completing my civic responsibility however.

Barbie and I worked extremely hard packing the rv this morning to prepare to leave. We have a loaded rig for sure. I’m certain if we forgot anything, we really didn’t need it anyway. After arriving at Rock Crusher and getting set up we decided to make a fast food stop for dinner since we had essentially nothing to eat all day. We had gotten back and were relaxing in the rv when a knock came to our door. Tom and Wendy, a workkamping couple working after hours security here at RCC, said they needed some help with some unruly campers. We stepped outside and the “unruly” campers were my former carpentry and cabinet making teacher at Chamberlain, Paul Lucas, and his lovely wife. What a small world and a great surprise. Seems as though they are camping here for the weekend and it came up in conversation with Tom and Wendy that Paul worked at Chamberlain and Tom and Wendy knew I retired from CHS in November. From there they decided to visit and I’m glad they did. I always felt that you meet the best people camping. So, until next time……………..

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Treat for You

Wow! This is the newly retired Barbie writing this blog today. This is my first time at doing this so please bear with me. I was a math teacher and not  an English teacher , so grammatically correct sentences are not my forte. LOL Hopefully Jeff and I will alternate in writing on this blog since I now have all the time in the world to do the things I want to do, right?

My last day of working as a teacher was busy. I was only going to work for three hours but worked for four and a half because I had people coming up to me wishing me well and safe travels. I didn’t go to my own retirement reception because I don’t like to be put on display. Plus, usually people feel obligated to attend and I wanted people to say goodbye personally which meant more to me than a big “shindig”. I went out to eat with my BFF on Thursday instead of going to the traditional end of the year luncheon which was held at school. Linda and I went to the Cheesecake Factory and then shopped around a bit. That restaurant is fantastic. It is a bit pricey, but great food. We walked around the mall with the leftovers in the bags since we couldn’t put it in the car due to the temperatures in the high 90’s. I bought a new brassiere, since I will need all the support I can get living with Jeff 24-7. haha

On Friday, after I got home at 1:00 Jeff and I went to Walgreen’s to fill prescriptions. Then we headed to Wally World to pick up Jeff’s contact lenses and glasses. We didn’t know the glasses were in so that was a very nice surprise. We purchased a new vacuum cleaner called the Hoover Nano , which has 12 amps and is very lightweight. It is a beautiful blue color and that baby really sucks up the dirt! It was only $54 and will be placed in the motorhome. Off next to Camping World for a beautiful new  25 foot sewer hose, again in my favorite color of blue. We had an early dinner at La Septima, a Spanish restaurant in Brandon, Fl , and enjoyed the picadillo meal. I couldn’t wait to get home and start cleaning the house and organizing notebooks to bring on the trip. I made a notebook divided into 49 states and Canada (after all the motorhome won’t travel to Hawaii) that will serve as a “Places to See” kind of book which we will take while travelling. It is divided into restaurants ( like the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives places from the Food Network), historical places, and just plain weird things to see. I also made a little notebook to keep e-mail addresses and e-billing information. That is a life saver since I will still be doing internet banking for everything.

There is so much left to do before we tentatively depart out of here on Wednesday, June 16 ( provided Jeff flunks out of jury duty Monday). I am a list keeper. I have note pads all over the place. I even have a note pad telling me where the note pads are in case I forget that too. From getting an oil job on the car to getting tags for the cars to turning in clothes for charity, there is plenty to do in the next few days. I am planning to keep in touch with my BFF Linda through SKYPE. That is a funny word.. do you pronounce it SKIP or Skipe? Who cares, I hope it works.

But a very important project I need to start will need your help. I need to start my “Bucket List”. How do I start it? I have made different options to look at. First option, write things on notepads when the thought comes into my head. That doesn’t seem organized, but I could organize it daily onto the computer. If I did it on the computer to begin with, what type of program do I use? A word processor? A data spreadsheet? Someone told me to text it on the phone and then download it to my computer. I laughed at that suggestion because two years ago Jeff was at a conference in Orlando and he texted me when I was camping at our place in Rock Crusher. My phone doesn’t have a typewriter pad like some do, so I spent 18 minutes typing two sentences that had no caps, spaces or other punctuation marks in it. Jeff had a big laugh at reading that message. I finally learned how to do that, but I don’t text people. I talk to them or e-mail them. So, if you have any good suggestions on how to organize my “Bucket List”, please let me know. I have several thoughts already on scrap paper, but being newly retired means a touch of senility, I am told. haha

Thank you to Linda C and Sandie for making comments onto the blogs. They are much appreciated.

I end this blog today with this thought…. Enjoy the Moment!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Countdown at 0 = Last Day

Just a few minutes ago I watched Barbie walk out the front door to her last day of work as a teacher at Mann Middle School. As she said in an email she wrote to her faculty, “it’s been a great ride for 30 years.”  So now she joins me as a former educator. Our lives as educators has been a fulfilling one. It has enabled us to make a difference in thousands of young peoples lives. It has been challenging and frustrating, but all in all, neither of us have any regrets. It is hard to believe all those years are behind us. But, they are. Time to move on. For the past 36+ years of married life, we never have had a vacation longer than 17 days. That will change now. We’ll start our final preparations to head north this afternoon. A trip to the local Walmart and Camping World for a few supplies is on the agenda. Then we’ll take a few days to tie up some loose ends here, plus I have that jury duty gig Monday. We hope the wheels to the motorhome will be rollin’ by Wednesday. Then that long awaited endless vacation called “retirement” begins. And you can read all about it and follow us right here. Join us on the “ultimate” vacation. ‘Til next time……………..

Friday, June 4, 2010

Odds and Ends

It’s been a busy week completing simple tasks as we ready to begin our travels north. I had my follow-up appointment with the optometrist and placed my order for new contact lenses. On Tuesday, I went back to Chamberlain High School and spoke with the senior class on their last day at senior sendoff activities. I have been invited by my successor to attend the commencement exercises next Monday and join him on stage to shake the graduates hands after they receive their diplomas. I’m thankful to Mr. Morrill for asking me to be a part of the ceremony. These students were my first freshman class once I became the principal. The school year, and teaching career for that matter,  ends for Barbie a week from today. Retirement is ever so close for her. Speaking of Barbie, TODAY, is her birthday as well.

Barbie Bday

I also created an Excel spreadsheet this week that will allow us to project a monthly budget and also keep actual expenses for our records. I have been reviewing several rvers versions of their budgets and believe I have integrated the best and most appropriate parts of each and personalized it for our purposes into a workable format. And finally, I just this morning received the call from Classic Coach Works that the renovations to our motorhome have been completed. I am anxious to see how the new tvs and the cabinetry looks. This afternoon we will go pick it up and bring it home. I’ll post pictures on my next entry. ‘Til next time……