"Not all those who wander are lost" J.R.R. Tolkien

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat at the Hospital

Happy Halloween!

When a family lives in an RV full time, as we have done since mid-June, how and where do you trick or treat?  Since there are two young men of my immediate acquaintance who have not yet outgrown trick or treating and since the question is plaguing them, they are plaguing me! We are currently staying at a military RV park on a military base in southern Virginia but have been uncertain of the Halloween protocol in such a situation since most of the RV'ers here haven't had to worry about trick or treating since the 1980's! 

Uncle Sam has saved the holiday.  One of the perks of being retired military is that we still get to participate in all the cool military benefits:  staying at military campgrounds, commissary and exchange privileges, discounts, getting in free at Busch Gardens and a fun, safe atmosphere for trick or treating!  Last night we took the boys to the Naval hospital, from where Donald just retired, to go trick or treating.  They had a great time and so did the 1,000 or so other people who were there.  We actually ran into two families that we knew and were invited for drinks after the candy-satiated melee was over.  All in all a very pleasant evening.  We did a cursory check over the candy to look for razor blades and cocaine but since the event was sanctioned by an admiral we mostly checked just so we could filch some peanut butter cups and hot tamales.

Today, after running some errands, we were entering the base and we were nearly through the guard shack when we were yelled at to STOP!  Generally speaking this is terrifying because these guys are armed with high powered weapons.  Turns out nothing was wrong; the guys in the shack wanted to hand a bag of candy to each of the boys who, in turn, were thinking they struck gold.  I was thinking I need to invest in more toothpaste.  On top of this sugary excess there is a fire truck going around the base delivering 1200 sacks of candy to kids today.  Furthermore, there is a military housing development next door to the base that is hosting trick or treating tonight.  So, yes, costumes will be donned once more and the orange plastic pumpkins will come home bursting with more sugar than two small boys could possibly need.  As a health conscious mom I have to realize this isn't about need.  It's about fun.  How often do two kids get a chance to trick or treat twice during the holiday?   I certainly never did.  And because it is all in a fairly controlled environment the parents don't have to worry overmuch about razor blades and cocaine.  But rest assured, we will do our part to "responsibly check!"

Saturday, October 30, 2010

What Now?

Yesterday we were a Navy family.  Today we are a retired Navy family.  Interesting word, retirement.  It conjures up images of old people, golf carts, pinochle, free coffee at McDonalds and RV travel.  We are not old (40, 37, 10 and almost 9), we don't own a golf cart, we have no idea how to play pinochle and while not opposed to free coffee, we still have many full price years left.  RV travel, on the other hand, is something we can blog about. 

Nearly a year ago we unexpectedly found out we would be medically retiring due to severe PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome) caused by a near drowning experience during a Naval training known as the "helo-dunk.".  Since finding out about the retirement we kept asking ourselves and each other "What Now?" over and over.  Being a Navy Chaplain is a highly specialized job, requiring a bachelor's degree and a four year Master of Divinity.  You can't just switch jobs.  The obvious answer to "What Now?" would seem to be "take a civilian pastorate."  Great idea but not an option because of the severe PTSD.  So, we began to think outside the box and came up with the idea of buying an RV and traveling the US for a year with our two boys and our two dogs, a neurotic Weimaraner named Shakespeare and a certified Service Dog named Holly.  In taking a year off to travel as a family we hope to arrive at the answer to "What Now."  Our immediate goals are to live authentically, to love each other, and enjoy each day as it comes.

Where are we headed first, you ask?  The answer is, we don't know yet!  We send our household goods to storage in Montana this week and then we will decide.  The Wizarding World of Harry Potter is running at the top of the list but please, we invite you to travel vicariously with us and follow where the road takes us!