Starting off the New Year with a Bang

Happy New Year’s everyone!  I love the idea of starting over every January.  Cleansing the home and the soul and making resolutions and good intentions and just . . . renewing oneself.  Part of my renewal this year is to reconnect and stay connected with our friends and relatives from home while Everett and I stay happily retired and far south of New England.  To that end, I wrote holiday letters to several folks back home and was thrilled to get one back from Dot and Roger Mitchell.

Dot and Roger have been married forever – they met in kindergarten and never really looked at anyone else.  They’re both good Swamp Yankees who know the value of a dollar and get every penny’s worth out of every one.  They’re also the product of the 60’s sexual revolution, which seems to come up in every conversation.  Dot wrote that since Roger retired last summer things haven’t been “up to snuff” in that area and she was getting disgusted with him.  “There’s nothing wrong with his prostate or his blood pressure,” she relayed.  “It just seems like he doesn’t THINK about it anymore!”  Well Dot has never been one to sit back and let things slide, so she started researching on the Internet and discovered a whole new world of aids and supplements.  “He won’t take Viagra again ’cause the lights danced in his eyes and the package said that wasn’t good.  Well, it was good enough when we were kids dropping acid!” she noted.  (perhaps I shouldn’t have shared that bit . . .)

Dot has settled upon an herbal supplement called Horny Goat Weed.  It’s supposed to get a man to “thinking about it” again.  She’s quite happy to have found a supplier with a “buy one, get one free” policy and has been adding the powder to Roger’s supper for a couple of weeks now*.  I hope her next letter will let us know if 2014 started off with a bang!

Horny Goat Weed*Please note that I am NOT condoning nor promoting such behavior!

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11-12-13 One Kibble

Yesterday was Veterans’ Day – a Big Picture Day.  My maternal grandfather and my father were both Marines.  Everett was Air Force.  All three served during wars.  We visited the Florida National Cemetery for Veterans yesterday and paid our respects.  Big Picture.  Private feelings.

Today is 11-12-13.  Now that’s a small detail kind of day that I can write about.  As you may have noticed, our plans to visit Gettysburg on our way south for the winter were altered by the advancing cold front, and our desire to be well below the snow line before having to deal with actual snow.  We still took our time getting to our winter base, stopping to smell the camel, etc.  Dear Auntie says we’re the only folks she knows who take a month to make the 3-day drive from New England to Florida – though she admits we do see a great deal more of interest our way.  We’ve come back to the wonderful little RV park we stayed in last spring and have spent a week renewing acquaintances with year-round residents and placing bets on which of the other snowbirds will be the next to arrive.  Major excitement as I’m sure you’ll agree.

The oddity of today’s date got me thinking about small stuff.  Like Tyler Dog’s One Kibble Mystery.  It’s been going on for quite some time and has become one of those things one notices as being of some mystic importance.  The dog is an American Cocker Spaniel, medium sized, of placid temperament, and regular habits.  His day-to-day schedule runs to: wake up, scratch vigorously, go out to pee, eat breakfast, nap, take a walk, nap, look out the windows to be sure all is right with the world, nap, eat dinner, take another walk, nap, go out for a last pee, go to bed.  Meals consist of 1/3 cup of kibble for breakfast and 1/3 cup of kibble with a spoonful of leftover “people food” for dinner.  Tyler is an eager eater and most meals do not last more than a few seconds from bowl touchdown to completion.  But invariably – and I mean EVERY time – he leaves a single kibble uneaten.  Not that he simply doesn’t eat it.  Nope, every time – every single meal – he manages to leave one lone kibble floating in his water bowl where it swells up and bobs in the current.

What?

What?

In the years we’ve lived with him, we’ve never actually seen how the task is accomplished.  But after every meal, day in and day out, we have to clear his water bowl of one soggy kibble.  Is he making an offering to some doggie God?  Sacrificing a mouthful to atone for best forgotten sins?  Is it a test to be sure that the meal is safe before proceeding?  How does a creature with a brain the size of a lemon manage this ritual every day with just ONE kibble – never more than one, but always one?  What mysteries do YOUR pets promote?

Fall Projects 3

It isn’t just people preparing for winter as the seasons change.  We’ve apparently got a black bear at the campground – I haven’t actually seen him, just the footprints in mud, claw marks on trees, and evidence of his forays into the dumpsters (i.e. trash bags strewn around and emptied of anything edible).  The night security man says he’s had to use his car horn and headlights to drive the bear away from the campsites and that the thing’s a menace.  But I ask you, if you were trying to get in a little last minute shopping to prepare for a long trip (like hibernation), wouldn’t you get a little irritated by store personnel trying to push you away from the best bargains?  And it’s not like there are a lot of campers at the moment – who wants to be in a tent when it gets down to 40 at night . . . and there’s a black bear wandering around looking for protein?

Everett and I are finalizing our plans for the 2013 snowbird trek to Florida.  We expect our workamping gig to be over shortly after Columbus Day and have mapped out our 1st day’s travel south to end in one of the few (very few) campgrounds in Connecticut.  We’ve agreed to not travel more than 5 or 6 hours on any day, thus decreasing our chances of death by spousal assault or tired-driver-syndrome.  Our goal is to spend a few late October days in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, with a guided tour of Civil War sites and monuments.  It’s something neither of us has ever done and we feel drawn to do so.

Our next “real” stop (not counting the overnight stays every 250+/- miles) will be at Lazydays RV in Tampa, Florida, where we have an appointment November 4th for a general overhaul of our 6-year old 5th Wheel.  We’ve got a list of things we’d like them to check out and hopefully settle a minor difference of opinion between me and Everett.  I think we bought a used beauty of an RV with tons of life left in her and all she needs is the mechanical equivalent of a mani-pedi to feel fresh and ready to tackle the next 5 years.  Everett says no amount of make-up is going to turn an old sow into something you’d take to the prom.  I suspect he’s already shopping for another RV and, by extension, probably looking for an updated Ethel as well.  There should be lots of them in Florida.  We’ll just have to wait and see.

We have a winter rental agreement with the nice folks at the central Florida park where we spent last March & April, and will use that as a home base this year.  I’m especially looking forward to riding our fold-away bikes on the trails there and to spending Thanksgiving with Everett’s aunt & uncle who live nearby.

Our biggest plan is for Disney World in early December.  We’ll camp at Fort Wilderness and put Tyler Dog into Disney’s Doggie Daycare and act like kids every day for a week.  With luck, this may rekindle some sparks and lessen my concerns regarding the potential updating noted above.  Of course, it wouldn’t hurt if I were to get my own mani-pedi overhaul in the meantime . . .

This life is for loving…

This quote is a great reminder of what it’s really all about. Check out Jump For Joy!’s photos and quotes to bring some joy and inspiration to your days.

JUMP FOR JOY! Photo Project

“This life is for loving, sharing, learning, smiling, caring, forgiving, laughing, hugging, helping, dancing, wondering, healing, and even more loving.” ― Steve Maraboli

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Fall Projects

Kids are back to school, nights are getting colder, and New Englanders are concentrating on getting ready for winter.  While Everett and I are making plans to finish up our New Hampshire workamping gig and travel south toward Florida to avoid the entire issue (more about those plans later), most of our friends and family are discussing an ambitious assortment of projects.  My sister Eunice decided to bring her house up to code this fall and make the old summer kitchen a four season room.

Some background info is required here, so please stay with me.  Snowshoes was one humdinger of a mouser and the prettiest ginger cat (with big white paws) you ever set eyes on.  He belonged to Eunice and her ex-husband George Brown.  They lived next door to me and Everett for years until George made his mistake and was summarily kicked out to find an apartment in Lewiston.  Snowshoes was heartbroken.  George had been the favored recipient of the dead mice left in well-displayed pieces on the bathroom floor and Eunice (who tended to scream) was not an adequate substitute.  Shortly after George left, Snowshoes disappeared as well.  This past week Eunice hired Skip Bailey to put a foundation under the old kitchen wing as a start to her project noted above.  While inspecting the crawl space and existing underpinnings, Skip discovered that poor old Snowshoes hadn’t gone far.  The remains were quite mummified and flatter than French crepes, but completely intact.  “My ex just loved that cat,” Eunice was heard to say.

Though I can’t say for sure, this might possibly account for a recent incident at the Lewiston Post Office involving federal investigators and a package addressed to “George Brown c/o General Delivery”.

Snowshoes the Cat