Monday, December 29, 2008

Rain, Rain, Go Away

The state of Alabama has been inundated with rain the last two weeks. It has been cold, wet, foggy, dreary, foggy, wet, dreary and cold up until the last three days when it has been warm, humid, foggy, wet and dreary. Today--the sun decided to come out. It was wonderful!

Despite the wet, Patches has taken a couple of walks every day. I have yet to figure out why she'll wander for an hour in one campground yet at the next one will only circle around the perimeter of the trailer over and over and over, fearful of leaving the "yard" surrounding the trailer. In Langston, we had no one around us, there were trees and squirrels and the lake and yet Patches wouldn't walk away from the trailer except for one day. Vicki says that Patches showed her where the term "'fraidy cat" came from. Sad, but true. But this week I've taken a couple of pictures around the campground because like our trip to the beach, it's been too foggy for scenic photographs of anything in the area.

There was no mistletoe here, but we had holly.

It took me a minute to figure these out, but I'm pretty sure they are bat houses.

This ugly guy was on the side of Black Beauty and as far as I was concerned, he could just stay there because I wasn't about to try to pick him off.

A pretty blue rock?

No, a mushroom!

There's a new campground called Riverside RV Resort down the road (very nice) that also backs up to the Styx River. This is the view from one of the riverfront camp sites.

A long walk can really tucker out a little kitty. When foggy nights prevent me from taking nice pictures of sunsets, you get kitty pictures instead.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

A Belated Merry Christmas

I'm aware that we've gone off the radar for a while; I was being lazy while we traveled and the past ten days or so here in Alabama have been rainy/foggy/cold so we've been huddling inside the RV keeping warm and watching the world go by.

Since today was our first Christmas alone, we decided to do something different so we drove down to Gulf Shores State Park to walk the shiny, squeaky white sand beaches. Squeaky, you say? Yes indeed, due to the fact that the sand here is 99% pure quartz. Lovely soft stuff indeed.

And what did we find beside rain patterned sand? Lovely turquoisey-purple Portuguese Man o' Wars. Very nasty in the water, these were stranded on the beach and were still alive but quite frankly I wasn't the least bit interested in trying to rescue them and put them back in the surf. Often called "jelly fish" these creatures are actually made up of four parts and the transparent sac is the "sail" that catches the wind and waves that move them around the ocean.

Lovely but oh so painful if you are stung by one of the tentacles.



Normally a lovely shade of green, the waters of the Gulf of Mexico put on a silvery hue for Christmas. This is much nicer than snow!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Foggy Morning in the Mountains

funny pictures of cats with captions
more animals
I can always rely on Lolcats to make me smile in the morning.

Fog is in the forecast this morning with visibility down to zero at times here in the mountains. I was planning a shopping foray but that might wait a day now. It has been raining off and on since yesterday, but that's better than the snow/sleet that Ohio is getting or the seven inches of predicted snow that our son in New York will be having to plow.

There is a large indoor pool here at the campground and on Monday I did my water aerobics routine for the first time in months and months. Yesterday it was raining so I stayed home and got my exercise using my Wii Fit (love it!). Why is it that I avoid walking in the rain to immerse myself in the pool to do water aerobics? Does that make any kind of sense? So today despite the rain I will go to the pool and do my workout. I always feel so loose and relaxed after 40 minutes of moving to music and it puts me in a great mood to get things done the rest of the day. Like Christmas cards. Sigh.

Time for some Christmas music to get into the mood.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A Santa Lazy Sunday

EDITED 12/27/08: An anonymous poster brought it to my attention that it was a bad idea to post pictures of other people's children on my blog without the permission of the parents, so I have removed those pictures since I specifically mentioned the town we were in at the time. Mea culpa.

As Denny and I prepare for bed, the gentle "whoo-who" of owls perched in nearby trees lulls us into an easy slumber. In the morning we're awakened by the KA-BLAM!!! of shotgun blasts as hunters in camouflaged duck blinds on the lake start shooting in the pre-dawn hours. I resolve to wait for broad daylight to walk around the campground to be sure I'm totally visible to anyone with a loaded weapon out there.

Yesterday we drove into town to surprise friends Tim and Penny who moved to Albertville just last month. Penny spotted Denny the minute we walked into the mall area so we couldn't sneak up on them as we had planned, but it was a big surprise for them. The surprise for us was that Tim was volunteering as the mall Santa Claus, so I got a few pictures before we left them to their work.

Of course, I had to take the opportunity to whisper into Santa's ear what I wanted for Christmas.


Which required Denny to get into the act and entertain the kids still in the area by having Santa sit on HIS knee.

All in all, a fun first day in Alabama.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Still Cold

Would you believe we left the freezing temperatures in Ohio to wake up to 25 degree temperatures in northern Alabama? We can't win.

I'm hoping this weather pattern is a freak occurrence; even Nashville, TN had two inches of snow on the ground when I drove through yesterday. It was quite obvious that the people of Nashville aren't used to a lot of snow by the skid marks crossing from one side of the highway to the other all the way through town. I was exceedingly grateful that all that seems to have occurred the day before and that the roads were clear and dry for me.

The snow ended at the border of Tennessee but southern Tennessee and Alabama apparently were hit with five to six inches of rain over a two day period so the water level of the rivers and creeks along the roadways were only about five feet below the bridges. We're parked on Lake Gunterville at our current campground so I'm hoping their dams or whatever water control systems the state of Alabama uses is sturdy. I am not in the mood to have to hitch up and flee high water right now, since it is supposed to rain all this week. But it will be a lot warmer so I can deal with whatever else comes along.

As for today, we're going to go surprise some friends who just moved to the area who don't know we're here in town. It should be a good day.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Cool, Clear Water

That is a line from one of my favorite songs by the Sons of the Pioneers (from back in the days of Roy Rogers on TV on Saturday mornings). What it means is that our water lines started thawing today and that *crossing fingers* so far there are no signs of water leaks.

Which means that once I do some final shopping, get our Christmas gifts to the grandkids shipped and take my mother to the eye surgeon for her follow up visit after the cataract surgery, Denny and I will be able to hitch up and move the rig to someplace where the temperatures are a lot warmer until Spring. Yay, and Yay, and Yay. By Saturday, we will either be in southern Alabama or northern Florida and once again will have resumed our peripatetic (Hi Coll!) lifestyle . You have no idea how good that sounds to me. We do this with the understanding that we will have to return in the Spring to take over the supervision of my mother's care until cold weather once again returns or her condition warrants a more supervised environment but until then...WHEEEE!

On the road again, just can't wait to get on the road again.....

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Still No Lazy Sunday Pictures

As I am still at my mother's house,there will be no Lazy Sunday pictures today.

My concern is over the water lines in the fifth wheel, as they are still frozen and now we fear that the water pipes in the walls of the rig may have frozen and therefore may shatter, which will be rather disastrous since that would mean peeling off the skin of the rig to access the internal lines. Ultimately, at some point this week we will find a RV repair service that has a large, heated service bay to thaw out the trailer and see what damage has been done, and once that has been repaired (IF it can be repaired) we will hitch up and take the trailer to Florida where we won't have to worry about frozen water lines. There will be no Christmas with the family this year, after all. This has been something I have been building up to for the past ten years, however, I wanted it to be a choice we made, rather than being forced into the decision. However, with the fifth wheel being our only home, we have to protect it as best we can and that means taking it to a warmer climate.

See? J-ello.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Here We Go Again

Many is the time you'll hear a fulltime RVer say "our plans are made in J-ello". This is simply a way of saying the vagaries of life tend to change your travel plans at the last moment. Once again, our well-laid plans turn out to have been made in J-ello. Yesterday the water lines inside our trailer froze up, as did our fresh water tank so that we have no water to the rig for cleaning, bathing and bathroom use. Since we are parked in a mobile home park there is no bath house to use, therefore it has become apparent that Denny and I cannot stay here in Ohio for the winter. I have no idea what damage this may cause and we probably won't be able to leave until after Christmas but leave we will. In the meantime, I will have to contact some of the local social service agencies to see what type of assistance I can get for Mom who can't handle the basement stairs to do laundry and who no longer has the strength or stamina to keep the house clean. Denny and I will come back in the spring when the campgrounds have opened up and all chance of freezing weather has passed, but in the meantime I've got a lot to set up and get settled so we can get out of here before too much damage is done to the internal plumbing and walls of the rig. Something folks in real houses never have to think or worry about--sigh.

The best laid schemes o' mice and men aft gang aglay.--Robert Burns

Friday, December 05, 2008

Somber Today

Well, after 26 years Denny and I have separated.

Okay,okay. It's only for a week while I keep an eye on my mother after her cataract surgery, but the feeling is strange nonetheless. When you have been with your loved one for 24/7 for the last ten years, a separation can be rather wrenching to say the least.

The surgery went well and Mom and I are going in this morning for the bandage to be removed. One eye down, one to go. Physically, my mother is still going downhill and I have to admit I've never felt more helpless. This is a journey this RV Vagabond is not yet ready to take and I will have to spend this week with my mother trying to wrap my head around the idea that my life as well as my mother's is never going to be the same. So for a while, the explorations on this blog may simply be of all the options one must examine in trying to see that a parent gets the care necessary for his/her well-being. And for the mental health of the primary care-giver and others involved.

In the meantime, I've put up the Christmas tree, gotten out the angel display and arranged the Christmas candle with its wreath. There are still leaves to rake outside and cleaning to do inside. Note to self; if you do settle down and buy a house, make sure it's out west where there is no grass to cut and no leaves to rake. Golly, I've gotten spoiled by these last ten years of travel without the responsibility of yard work and maintenance!
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