|Blessings, y'all. Sorry about my long delay between blog posts. Don't know where the time went.....it's somewhere with my reading glasses and odd socks, I suppose. More on the subject of time, later.
ANY-how, 2007 has been a great year for Irene and I. It's not often one gets to "live the dream" and while the RV life may not be your dream it's turned out to be ours. And it's a dream that maybe we can keep having, health and stock market willing, for awhile or even longer, which would maybe be the best part. But this dream, while all good, has parts that you remember longer...the better parts; the blessings, many or mostly mundane to be sure, that we've realized are ours in our first year down this new road.
1. Friends and family. I know, I know, we keep leaving. But then we appreciate you so much when we come back. Absence does in fact make the heart grow fonder, especially when you like the people to begin with. And we think you are simply mah-velous, dah-lings, and we intend to stay in YOUR driveway for a whole week next year. Alert the neighbors.
2. Pavement. We are currently in a paved RV park in Pacific. The wind is howling, the rain is pouring. The rain is pouring OFF the pavement and is going way away down a drain about half a block down. As opposed to pooling under our coach. I can remember writing about changing a black-water tank valve in a mud sink-hole in Auburn called the Gold Country RV Park. Pavement, in comparison, is security, health, cleanliness and well-being.
3. Truckers. God, I LOVE truckers. Well, in the platonic sense, at least. Love to watch 'em swaggering into a Love's Truck Stop, rings of keys jangling across sweaty leather vests, beer-bellies swinging like metronomes, puffing fast-food-breath that could knock a buzzard off a meat-wagon...and those are the women. Hey, what's not to love?
4. Big. Except for parking, in the full-timers's world bigger is definitely better. Much better. Any 40-foot RV is clearly superior to any 33-foot fifth wheel. This superiority, as I may have mentioned before, is both moral and physical. So, as others touch their fetlocks when we show up, in turn I bow down to 45-foot, tandem-axle Country Coaches and simply slaver over 45-foot Prevosts with bus chassis, stainless-steel bay doors and 600-horse diesels. Stay tuned to this channel next year. And, kids, forget the inheritance, if you haven't already.
5. Air horns. Ours are so loud I have to aim them up above the roof and towards the sky because otherwise they'd strip the paint right off the fiberglass. And their entertainment value is incredible. There was this bozo trying to merge into a freeway in Kentucky, way too close in front of us, in a big black SUV. I guess I haven't seen anything quite as funny as him spinning off into the neighboring field, arms akimbo, tires throwing mud every which way. High-five, air horns!
6. Rocky the girl-dog. Anyone following my musings this year has read both positives and negatives on this admittedly complex subject. I mean, she CAN be a handful. But I may not have mentioned how downright, deeply satisfying it is when someone unexpectedly comes to the RV door in the late evening, to hear them yelp as Rocky gives them the 90-Decible Woof. You keep your expensive security systems; we'll keep Rocky.
7. Sunshine. Being an RVer means you seldom have to say you're sorry about the weather. You're there by choice, and my choice, right after the first of the year, is to head for Casa Grande again, where my depression will surely lift with the warm eternal-early-summer of Arizona's winter sun.
8. Irene. This is something more than the friends and family post of above. Given how absolutely crazy I am most of the time, how can she stand it? But she does, and more than that, she seems to love me just the same. Yes, it's true I love her back and just as much, but she is so much easier to put up with than I am.....I mean, just LOOK at her....
9. Health. I have been going through my little issues with blood pressure and all this year but, really, with the exception of the occasional bout of bronchitis it's been a remarkably healthy year for me....for us both. I wonder if it has anything to do with our remarkable willingness to leave town in minutes if someone just sneezes in our direction? Whatever....
10. Mountains and desert, and then desert and mountains, repeated as necessary. I love high desert, like around Bend, Oregon, for example. Or outside of Heber City, Utah, near the upper Provo River. And we loved the heavily forested St. Joe river in Idaho. And Yosemite - forest. And Sedona - high desert. And the Star Valley in Wyoming...both high desert and forest. And back and forth and so on.
11. Always being home. I thought when we left that I would miss my home too much. But I don't, and you know why? Because we are home, you silly wabbit. Like a turtle, wherever we go, there we are, shell on our back, at home.
12. Weekends and evenings. Annie taught us this one...if you have to negotiate with, say, DirecTV about their latest billing screw-up (they incorrectly billed us $633 too much this month alone, and if I'm lyin', I'm dyin'.) you do it on evenings and weekends when, even with billpayer-unfriendly Verizon, the air-time is free. I spent ten hours on the phone with DirecTV during November and paid no air-time for any of it. And no, to answer your question, I obviously DON'T think my time is worth anything these days.
13. Wal-Mart and Cosco. I agree, of course, that they are a significant blight on our landscape and should be gathered all together and dumped in Nevada's desert where they would collectively become an immediate tourist attraction equal to Burning Man. But RVers need these guys, and so we do, too. Without Wal-Mart we couldn't have our prescriptions filled regularly, like, anywhere we are, and without Cosco the dogs would be eating boutique dog-food which can make a real mess out of your coach. Dogs don't favor a change in diet.
14. Direct deposit. We don't have a lot of money but it's way fun to look at our bank account on line and find that, like the widow's purse, another mite or two has shown up to keep us in bread and caffeine. After awhile you develop this attitude that enough will show up and you stop worrying. Well, you do. I stop worrying quite as much, and that's pretty good, for me. Keeps the Lexapro at 20 mgs.
15. Doctors who come to the phone. I won't drive cross-country to see any doctor and they in turn don't seem to be willing to drive cross-country to pay a house call on me, either. So the two doctors I know who will come to the phone have been a great blessing to me. I won't tell you who they are. I know how to keep a secret when it benefits me.
16. Three Christmas decorations. We no longer have 23 boxes of Christmas ornaments. We only have three each....a small wreath we put around our little lamp, a Christmas candle, and a man-and-wife Christmas bear set. That seems like enough, as in "less is more." And guess how much time it takes to pack them?
17. Time. Actually, we still don't have enough time, paradoxically. In 2008 I have all these things I'd like to get done - learn guitar, finish a book, play tournament pickleball, get in 75 days of flyfishing, visit the other 20 driveable states we missed in 2007 - and Irene has her own separate but equal list, of course - and it appears we still can't fit ten pounds of stuff in a five-pound-bag. On the other hand we have far more time for ourselves than ever before. And if you'll notice the items on my list? They're all things I'm trying to do for myself, now that we've got at least some non-working hours. So maybe I'm not doin' all that well but hey, how much time do YOU have? I thought so.
Many blessings to you all, and in fact, may God simply rain them down on you. Keep your tires on the ground and between the lines, and we'll see you all down the road.
A. J. and Irene