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

Saturday, June 9, 2012

It's been brought to my attention by various means that I have been seriously neglectful of the blog.  Honestly, what can I say?  Starting blog because you are planning a yearlong RV trip and want to keep everyone informed and hopefully entertained is purposeful.  Continuing the same blog when the RV trip is done and you've bought a house just doesn't seem exciting.  Not enough alligators, breakdowns, lack of hot water and sewer hoses spewing over your spouse, I guess.

Not that I'm complaining about the sewer hose thing!

I suppose the purpose of this post is to play catch up once again.  I'll feel like a more responsible blogger to my (20???) followers if I tell you what we've been up to and post the photos my mom has been asking for.  I'm such a good girl!

So, for starters, I got a job.  A real live job where I wear a dress sometimes.  And heels.  Don't get shocked; it's just Tuesdays and Thursdays.  I'm doing bookkeeping and general reception for a tiny, old fashioned dental practice here in Salem.  Really old fashioned.  No fax, email or internet.  I actually print out the billing statements and seal and stamp them the way we did in the good old days.  Apparently the practice just graduated from an appointment book to a computer system in the last few years.

Shucks.  I would have loved pencilling in appointments!  There is just one dentist who does her own cleanings.  No hygienist.  There is an assistant who helps with the surgical stuff.  And me.  The job fell in my lap in an odd way.  I met the dentist through a mutual friend back in February; we spent about two hours together but didn't really hit it off.  For who knows what reason, when her bookkeeper resigned, she sent me an email asking if I wanted the job.  Truly bizarre.  When the email came, I didn't even remember who she was!  I asked her why me and she literally said, "I wanted someone I didn't know."

Okay.  Really weird but it is good to get out of the house and make a little money.  Don arranged his schedule to be home on those days so he is doing school with the boys.  That's also a big change because I'm learning that usually school doesn't get done the way I would do it, but it does actually get done.  I just have to take a big breath and let it go.

We were sports crazy this spring with weekly swimming and nightly soccer/basketball practices.  Back to back games on Saturdays but we really loved it.  We've reached a time of life where our Saturdays are devoted to whatever the boys have going on but actually enjoy it.  It must be my previous life as a cheerleader (how on earth did I ever do that?) but I absolutely cannot watch a game quietly.  I'm nice, not a crazy critical, screaming parent.  But I'm sure noisy!

Another new development is the discovery that with all the sports going on and having pre-teen boys, our food bill has skyrocketed.  There is just not enough food in the house, according to them.  It's astounding what they can put away and still be hungry.  Just another new phase of our lives!

A big change has been the acquisition of a class A motorhome.  Our 5th wheel has been on consignment since December and we got rid of our pickup shortly after.  The RV was generating zero interest so we decided if we have to owe money on something ridiculously useless, we may has well have something useful.   We were able to trade straight across for a 2000 Four Winds Infinity (35 foot).  We took her out this past week for her maiden voyage and had a great time discovering one of Oregon's state parks.  Having found out that as a disabled vet Donald can camp for free, we plan on getting familiar with as many state parks as we can until we can (please, God) sell this RV.

Maybe the last big news is that I've decided to write a book.  I'm a little hesitant to say that because it's one thing to do a blog.  A full blown novel is such an entirely different story (HA! -- get it?).  Many people have told me to write about the whole PTSD thing and I've tried.  Truly.  But it just gets depressing.  I think I need another decade or two for emotional cushioning.  However, in March an idea literally just wandered into my head and I started writing.  And writing.  And writing.  It's become a bit obsessive, actually.  I hear the characters in my head all the time and sometimes they say and do things on paper that I never imagined.  I have about 100 pages so far; I started chapter 9 this morning.  I find myself feeling impatient, the way I do with a book I'm reading and I want to know what happens but I don't want it to end.  It's a bit the same with writing.  I want to know what happens, because I don't have it all worked out yet but I know I'll be sad when the whole thing is finished because the characters are becoming real to me, having lived with them for several months now.  Sounds crazy, I know!  Feels crazy to say it!  Anyway, my brother-in-law encouraged me to use the blog as a platform for the book so maybe there will be excerpts along the way.

Now, I'll get on to the photos.  We cut down every tree we had because they were hideous eyesores or one windstorm away from being an insurance liability.  I've been busy gardening and repainting my kitchen walls and floor.  Both turned out remarkably lovely, if I do say so myself.  Sadly, we forgot the camera at every sporting event we attended this spring, so none of #1 and #2 in action!  Aside from cutting down trees, we tore out the last of the carpet to discover some really beautiful wood that needs some professional refinishing and the boys and I ripped out three layers of linoleum in the kitchen in order to redo the floor myself.  What I thought would be a few hours project turned into four twelve hour days and some very, very sore muscles.  You decide if the finished floor is worth it!

There used to be six trees along this fence.  The stump of the huge maple was fashioned into a throne of sorts!  And yes, redoing the fence is this month's budgeted project.

My Craigslist find, a 10 x 10 gazebo-turned garage.
Too bad there is now a 35 foot motorhome in this spot!

The new wood in dire need of help but oh-so-much-better than the nasty carpet.

My friend had a surprise 40th in May and I did a half sheet cake. . .

. . .almost 100 fairy cakes. . . 

. . . and four dozen regular cupcakes.

That same weekend, while tied to the kitchen making and decorating cakes  . . .

I decided I may as well paint.  Crimson . . .

and Brown Bread.  Countertops are in the near future, too!

The boys' creation from leftover homemade fondant.

And then #2 woke up 3 weeks ago and wanted a David Beckham haircut!

Ripping out 3 layers of lino.

It took a whole day just to eliminate the green paper backing from the bottom layer.

Then there were all the tacks and nails to rip out!

First coat of Brown Bread.

The squares took another whole day of measuring, masking,  and painting.  My knees were killing me!

Less than $100 and I have a brand new floor!  Nice, right?