Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Because No Frymark Move Goes Smooth

We made it to mom's. And she had a roast waiting and it smelled great. Coming home. Is there anything better than going home to see MOM? Seriously!


Before the hour was up our plans were coming undone. Always at the last minute right? So I had to kick into high gear. Here it is  Saturday night and I needed to find a place to stay before Tuesday morning when we were supposed to leave. Sunday is out as everything is closed. So I have Monday. One day.

Luckily, anyone that know me knows that I become a "what do we do to fix it" Natzi. And some calls were made to contacts, friends and relatives so we were ready with names and places come Monday morning.

Mom invited us to just stay with her, but I have an 8 year old and a 17 year old ( who had just been RIPPED away from a job and a boyfriend -- need I say more?) sleeping on the floor in the office.  Plus the two dogs.  This is not a dog house. No fence. No grass even. The house is in the woods.

I wanted to stay close to Mom so I was only looking in the Village. This means I was not going to end up with a fence no matter what. The rules here are extreme.

So here I am with two kids that really need to be separated and two dogs. The two dogs were an issue in a rental. And I only wanted it month by month because we have no idea how long before we can get a location figured out, etc.

Luckily this is a vacation area and it is NOT vacation season. So we started looking at places that would take a long term (30 day) lease. There were about 127 possibilities.  Throw in the 2 dogs. Now there are about 7.  Right.

To make a long story short, in the end just before we settled for a run down and bug infested two bedroom with a reasonable rent, an owner that is trying to sell also came forward with a great offer on a three bedroom. So we are ending up in a place for a little over $500 LESS than I was paying in Ohio.  That's bills and everything. One way or the other we are better off than if we had stayed in Ohio. Because I'm telling you, I was kicking myself for leaving the home we had and all our belongings and ending up in this situation in the 11th hour. It sucked.

We are quite happy with the decision with the exception of two major things.....the drive for Hubs every rotation (about 13 hours) and no fence for the dogs. Otherwise it is a beautiful home and we will be staying here close to mom until March 1. (Unless the house sells because the way I got this place is by saying if they gave me a rock bottom rate I would let them out of the lease if there was someone that wanted to buy the place.)

So our adventure changes. As usual. And now the girls and I are hanging out in a vacation home (well, starting Dec. 1) for a few months.  Love the fact that when we are done I don't have to clean the place. LOL. That's what the cleaning fee is for. (Happy!)

So things should level out a bit....as long as nothing goes wrong with training for Hubs. Not that we expect that, but with the slaps we have taken the last 12 months I would not be shocked to be sucker punched again. Just sayin.

And now begins the getting address changes in, getting into the new place, prepping for Christmas (I brought my quilting stuff with me!) and getting back into a homeschool schedule.

It feels good.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Taking One For the Team OR Truck Stop Showers

One of the funniest parts of our trip was a comment I made about trying out truck stop showers....which resulted in all kinds of conversation. One friend said her girls were dying to know what it was like, and then others joined in. There were requests for pictures even! So I thought it would be fun to go ahead and do it -- even though I was KIDDING! LOL!

On the morning of the third day, I woke up really, really early. And I was stinky.  We were all stinky actually so the trailer was not a fresh smelling living space.  Just sayin'.

We were also only 150 miles from my mother's house.  And it was rather cold...in the 20's.  So I chickened out. No shower.  I grabbed my bathroom bag to go do the max you can get away with in a bathroom and headed inside.

A funny thing happened when I reached for a tube of toothpaste to buy before heading into the bathroom.  I smelled myself.

Oh hell no! (Sorry young ears, but it was really that bad!)

So I also walked over and grabbed a sweat shirt and headed back to the shower area. Unprepared and without a camera -- so sorry, no pictures. (It was much too cold to track all the way back out to the trailer in the truck lot.)

** I just found pictures on the TA site for where we stopped.

I had to be walked through it. I went to the shower area first where the attendant tried to help me. I didn't have a ticket. Where do I get a ticket. At that point another girl came in and she took me to the ticket machine.  Loyalty card? No? Okay. Cash or credit? Okay.

My friends. $12 to take a shower.

Of course at this point I was committed and I would have paid $20 to wash off the funk. So I paid. The good news is if we had half a clue all of us could have gone in and showered which would have made it $3 each and less of a sucker punch. LOL!

But back to the showers.  I can't say if where we were - a TA - is average or what. I can tell you these showers were NICE! Marble walls, very clean, plenty of towels and a bath mat.  And they are cleaned between each use so there can be a wait.

Still, don't forget your safety gear -- shower shoes. I used crocs. Thank goodness I was too lazy to put on shoes before coming in or I would have been showering in socks, which is gross.

These showers had two areas. Regular sink/toilet area and shower area. Plenty of room. There was soap. Since I had my bag I had my shampoo and razor and all that handy.

I only have two complaints.

1.  The temperature fluctuates.  It did get nice and hot and had a steady, nice pressure.

2. It has a huge mirror and I got a good look at myself after only having a medicine cabinet for 3 years.  Shudder.  Just, shudder.

Sorry I don't have my own picture, but hey, there will still be months before we are able to find a new home so all is not lost.....except my truck stop shower virginity. Which was painless.

Too bad the rest of the day went down hill from there.

Only about 150 miles to travel and in that time we had:

1 very large and scary spider running loose in the van which made Mouse scream in terror and cry for about an hour. Songbird tried to get it but we were packed to the hilt and it was IN THERE somewhere. Why didn't we stop? Because....

A 2 1/2 hour traffic jam. Only covered about 7 miles with a stupid detour. Never did figure out why it became such a parking lot so many times.

1 Chinese fire drill in the middle of the 2 1/2 hour traffic jam. Songbird and I had several cups of tea for breakfast so it was bound to catch up with us in the jam. Murphy's Law. So, since Songbird has her license, I told her to jump into the drivers seat when I jumped out. Then I jumped into the trailer and used the bathroom. Then we switched.  Yes we did. And I'm sorry but that was the best thing EVER!!!!!!!!

Finally we made it to mom's in one piece.

But very shortly after arriving our plans went south. But that is another story for another day.

Today was all about the shower.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Our First Full Day Homeless

So to continue on the beginning of our saga. Our second day of travel went really great. Hubs was feeling much more confident in his abilities with hauling the trailer. Weather and traffic were cooperative.

We did hit one snag when the Dobie got loose at a truck stop. The collar broke and she took off -- towards the highway and trucks. I about had a heart attack.  Luckily some of the other people gassing up helped us to catch her. You just have to stay still and try to call her to you and hope she gets close enough to grab. Try chasing that dog and its all over. That would be a big drawback of adopting dogs that have been strays. Training them to come back is almost impossible...and we haven't been 100% successful ever.

Otherwise it was a kicked back travel day that we stopped when we felt like it. There was no rush to get back on the road.

At one stop an elderly black man started up a conversation with us. He is an independent trucker that is 2 years away from full retirement and looking forward to it. He is also a Vietnam vet so him and hubs chewed the fat for awhile.  Out of the blue he looked at us and said "This might surprise you, but I want to know, how did HE get re-elected????? After getting over the shock of the question (we don't normally have people start talking politics to us out of the blue) we had to confess we had no clue. This gentleman is very remorseful to see the country he defended on the road it is on. And that's when I bailed out of the conversation. LOL! I must admit it was a surprising end to a very nice conversation with a stranger.  A conversation we never would have had at any other time as we have always traveled in a hurry.

Again we enjoyed the day and the lack of schedule.  Hubs said he could get used to this. Anyone that knows him and how he can't stay still would be surprised to see this.

We ended up staying the night at a TA outside Nashville. And after a crack on FB about staying at a rest stop for the first time ever and maybe I should try a truck stop shower next....well, it generated enough response from so many friends that I guess I was committed to it. But it could wait until tomorrow.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Homeless Saga Begins

The movers finally finished packing our stuff out of the house. The house has been cleaned. Last check for utilities and anything still owed has been paid.

Key has been turned in.

So for the first time ever we are homeless, without an end destination or time firmly in place.

Intentions and plans abound....but the safety net is gone.

We didn't get on the road until 4:00 pm to start heading south. After checking our maps we decided to head west first instead of south like we usually go in order to avoid the tail end of the mountains in Kentucky and Tennessee.  We were both a little nervous about pulling the trailer so far, but that was what all the camping trips were for...to get our trailer legs. Hah.

The goal was to get to the West side of Indianapolis that first night. Only a couple hundred miles but it was a start.

When we stopped for dinner we didn't want to leave the dogs in the trailer alone or crated in the cars so we got it to go and then all of us had dinner inside the trailer.  It was not rushed. It was clean. It gave us all a breather from travel.  We loved it.

We have never traveled like this before. In our own space at stops and with no clock to watch or time to beat. Its rather nice.

A funny from this stop. We are parking in the truck area obviously. A 30 foot trailer does not park well anywhere else. The cool thing is that the truck/trailer and then the van pulled in behind it is the size of a semi so we just park it all together and fit rather nicely in a semi spot.

Anyways, as we were loading back into our cars to move on, a man came out of the truck next to us and scared Mouse to the point of tears.  She didn't realize that people stayed and slept in the big trucks. So then she got a lesson on truck driving. LOL. She is so high strung.

We pulled over at a rest area for the night. I wasn't sure how it was going to be....we have never slept at a rest stop. We wondered how the noise from the highway along with the generators from the semi trucks running all night were going to effect our sleep.  I am glad to report that it was no problem. I won't say it was soothing, but it was like having a noise machine. We slept just fine. For free. Important for the homeless.

And after our nights driving Hubs was feeling much more confident about pulling the trailer. He got the feel for the wind effects that suck you in close to a truck and then spit you back out when they get close to you. It was no longer intimidating.

All in all, our first day of our new life was rather easy.

Small blessings.

I'll take them.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Girls Are Worth It

One of the hardest parts of our moves is always leaving "My Girls" behind.

I did not grow up a Girl Scout. My father was military and we moved so much that there were very few things my parents wanted to spend the time and money on. The future was always uncertain. Moves were unexpected and quick. Not a good combination for the "finish what you start" mentality.

When Songbird started school I wanted her in Scouts.  It wasn't the crafts and fun. It wasn't the camping...although that is fun. It was the social aspect.  Not social as in socializing. Social as in service to your community.

When you move around as much as we have, connecting to your community is rather hard. So we have to find an interest and dive into the community in that area to feel like we belong and to connect to our area. For many that can be church. For others its volunteering with the schools. The possibilities are endless.

As I had kids and settled into life, I wanted something more on the giving end. I wanted the same for my kids. So Scouting became an important part of our lives no matter where we moved.

What I didn't go looking for was to be involved in Scouts myself. But, as happens many times, I was pulled in during a crisis when another leader was needed.

And I never left -- except for our stay in Waco -- but Songbird was still in a troop even though I wasn't.

Part of the reason I wasn't involved in Waco was because it was so heart breaking to leave my girls in Omaha behind. They were amazing! I enjoyed every minute with those girls! And I wasn't big on strangers kids. They changed all that for me.

When we came to Ohio Songbird was about done with Scouts and going in other directions. Now I had Mouse asking me to join. She was pretty much the troop mascot since she was adopted so she was now old enough to be a scout herself and she was ready.

Of course there was a shortage of leaders as this was a super troop with almost all age groups.  That's alot of leaders to need on hand.  I knew I needed to be away from Mouse to get her to interact but I had almost all the training already so I went ahead and agreed to work with the older girls.

It's been a blast.  And yes, I have found I like the older (middle school aged) girls the best! Not quite into boys yet, old enough to behave, but young enough to be a hot mess! Love it.

I have been with these girls for 4 years now and I LOVE them.

Tonight Mouse and I had to go say our good-byes.  Mouse said goodbye to her age group last week. I still had to bring her to the older girls meeting also for goodbyes as she is well loved. It pays to be cute.

Once again I am leaving a group of girls that I would really love to stick around and see grow up. They are amazing. And the service projects they come up with for their community? Great stuff! They love to help others. They have all the idea's needed...as adults we just have to provide the ride or the direction on how to get where they want to go.

I never saw myself as loving this. It was a temporary thing. Today, I can honestly say its one of the most satisfying and fun things I do.

Girls need adults other than family to be in their corner. They need adults to cheer them on and encourage them to be all they can be.  They need adults they can cut up with on a camping trip without worrying about being kept in line when they are too loud or too boisterous.

They need you.

If you are looking for a way to give back to your community, please consider Scouts. Its not as hard as you would think. The older they are the more THEY run the show and you just facilitate.  And our youth want to help their communities! You could be the one to make it happen for them.

Our girls are worth your time.  And guess what? If you try it and don't like it? You don't do it again. No harm, no foul. But maybe, just maybe, you will find out that this is worth two Fridays a month.

What I know for sure is...

Girls are worth it.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Marching Forward

It's been crazy here. Good crazy, but crazy.

I/we managed to pull it all together and get things ready before the movers came. There have been some forgottens and panic moments when something was already packed or missing....but it wasn't my stuff - and we will leave it at that. Lol.

The dogs troll around nervously. The house is almost empty and they don't like it.

Actually the movers were supposed to be done Friday but they weren't and now have to come back to finish on Monday. I warned the lady that came to do the walk through and the crew the day they showed up. They all thought they knew better than me .... And they couldn't complete the job.

But I'm not complaining as it leaves me with the washer/dryer, the couches and a tv to watch over the weekend. Everything else we need is in the trailer which we pulled up in front of the house last night.

It feels really unreal this time. I think it must be because we don't have an actual destination or end time for what happens next.

We know the area we can live in ....and it is very large. We know there will be training and possible back to back rotations to complete before we will be able to even begin to look at houses. It could easily be six months. It's a big unknown.

So next week we start a whole new life adventure as travel trailer full timers. It should be interesting with an active 8 year old, snarky 17 year old, 70 pound Doberman, 9 pound chihuahua and the two of us. I'm sure it will not be boring.

I can't say I'm real excited as this is not the road we ever saw ourselves going down.

Who knew we'd have a president that would force so many out if the military and close down the contracting jobs at the same time?

Who knew we would have to use the money we worked so hard to save for retirement to keep ourselves afloat for so long?

Who knew the economy would be at its worst ever when we did get out?

We sure didn't.

Now it's time to do our best to get back to where we were at least. I really don't feel confident that we will with the way things are going. I think our nation is following Argentina's downward spiral almost exactly. I honestly doubt that it will get better.

But I'd love to be wrong.

So we march forward in hopes that we can recover from the damages done. Not everyone can recover from their losses.

We march forward to teach our children that you exhaust every possible avenue before joining those on assistance. Many other people have already reached the point of being out of options.

We march forward to teach work ethic to our girls. Lets face it - too many people do NOT have any work ethic- or never had it modeled for them. We can do better than that for our girls.

We march forward to teach that taking care of yourself is a personal responsibility - not a government responsibility. Again, there is a large population of capable people that think the rich owe them assistance and the government must provide for them. We don't.

We march forward to show that anything worth having is worth working for. We don't believe in collecting the money taken from those that work while we don't when we are capable.

And most important - we march forward because we are capable. There are many that are mentally or physically unable. We are not.

So I'm thankful we have the opportunity to keep marching. I'm thankful we have not yet been broken. I'm thankful we are mostly healthy and whole.

So. We are putting our marching boots on. And marching forward.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone