I CAN’T FIX THAT!

I enjoy and pride myself on trying to fix stuff, with the help of YouTUBE.  I have thought it might be fun to do my own Do-it-Yourself videos.  Get some cute coveralls, possibly a funny hat?  BUT, I am not at all photogenic, especially when I am doing repairs.  I tend to sweat — not perspire — I sweat.  Water running down my face and stinging my eyes.  A good imperssonation of Nixon at his debate.  This is not a good look, especially on YouTUBE.

After collecting Scout from her parking spot in Oxford, MD, I drove to Coopersburg, PA to visit Carol and Keven.  Carol was working on purging stuff, and Scout needed a good going over after being stationary for three weeks in extremely hot temperatures.  Airing out and cleaning was definately required.  It is amazing how dirty a trailer can become just sitting, collecting spiders and dust.  Worst of all, I failed to turn on the propane, so the refrigerator had not been running.  Never leave a RV refridgerator closed and not operating – the smell the mold!  I threw away everything and gave it a good scrubbing with bleach.  

But the more serious, yet another undetected problem is there was no power!  When I arrived at the campground in New London, CT it was 90+ degrees in the shade.  I plugged in the 30 AMP power cord, the lights and thermostat came on, but the roof air conditioning unit did not kick-in.  No AC, no fun.  I was sweating like crazy!

After watching several more YouTUBE videos I suspected it might be a circuit breaker issue.  Scout has three circuit breakers located behind a panel under the refrigerator.   It is easy to cut the power, just unhook the 30 AMP cord.  But, I was not sure how to cut the current running from the solar panel on the roof.  I needed a ladder.   Electricity you don’t take lightly.  I was afraid my might shock myself at best, or set my hair on fire at worst.

Thankfully, after sunset the temperature dropped slightly, and the MAXX Air ceiling fans were operating.  I felt like I was tent camping again.

I left the following morning, hopped the New London, CT to Orient Point, and arrived Westhampton. 

Scout went to WES RV Repair this morning in Wading River, NY.  I look forward to the prognosis, but not the bill.

Thankfully, I am at Robin’s lovely Westhampton home for summer and into fall, enjoying the air conditioning and the pool.

HOW LUCKY CAN ONE WOMAN BE?

My very successful sister Robin, lives in Los Angeles and works for the Mouse, AKA Disney.  She is a newly named VP!  Robin lived on Long Island prior to signing on full-time with Disney and moving to Los Angeles.  I will head to Long Island for the remainder of the summer and looking forward to cooler temperatures and ocean breezes.  Robin visits her home as much as possible, so renting is not an option.   GOOD FOR ME!

This year my arrival is delayed due to major remodeling of two bathrooms and rebuilding the deck.  We started the building permit process last summer, and only got the approval in April.   Robin had hoped her contractor could do the work last fall.  Anyone who has done remodeling understands construction has its own clock, which runs backwards most of the time.

I am a lucky woman to have great friends Liz and Tim, where I have been visiting for 3 weeks.  Even if I try to walk Lola and cook lots of fun dishes.  I have certainly outworn my welcome.  My favorite new recipe is cold chili noodles, compliments of the New York Times Cooking column.  I love to cook and try new recipes, but my 20’ Airstream and cooking for one, limits my creative juices.  Scout’s kitchen is the best of all floor plans, a double sink and lots of counter space — for a trailer.   I admit, I miss my food processor.

Thursday I will collect Scout from her parking place in St. Michaels, MD and head to Coopersburg, PA for a quick visit with Carol and Kevin.  From Coopersburg, I will avoid NYC traffic by traveling north to New London, CT and take the ferry to Orient Point, NY at the north west fork of Long Island.   The ferry is a great deal $66 to avoid the Verrazano Bridge and Long Island Expressway.  Last year I made a wrong turn and ended up on the Southern State Parkway, where RVs and trucks are not allowed.   Once on the road, there was no turning back or places to escape.  It is time like these that a co-pilot would be wonderful.  The lowest clearance under many of the very old bridges is less than 10’.  Scout has a clearance of 9’5”.  I expected at any moment my AC unit on the top of the trailer would go flying off, after a huge crashing sound.  I will never go that way again!

My first activity at Robin’s will be to take everything out of the trailer, clean the cabinets, and sort clothes.  It is time to do some downsizing.  Even in a 20’ trailer you tend to pick-up stuff along the way.  While I subscribe to the run “something in, something out”.  My discipline slips as I stuff, stuff in the overhead bins.  I always have Goodwill donation bag as I drive along the Road2Reinvention.  Robin’s house give me an opportunity to reorganize and plan winter 2020 travels.

Golf and daily walks on the beach will occupy my time until October 19, my tentative departure date from Long Island and drive back to Cary, NC.  Sister Becky, brother-in-law Chuck, and I have tickets to hear Emmy Lou Harris on November 8, and Mom’s 90th birthday is November 25.

It has been great to visit D.C. and catch-up with lots of friends.  It has been very hot and humid, and my favorite public pool feels like a bath tub after a couple of laps.  Friends I missed this visit, I hope to see you on the return in October.

I am one lucky woman.  Great friends, family and places to visit.  I look forward to being back in Scout, even for a short time.

Smashed Window, I love the city.

It is all my fault.  I know better than to leave stuff on the seat of my truck in plain view of passerbys.  Especially, in Washington, D.C.  Kids are looking for a quick score.  So, they got my $20 meter and toll road money.  They rifled through the numerous reusable shopping bags, and glove compartment.   I should have left the door unlocked, less damage.

Otherwise I am having a wonderful visit to my favorite adopted home city.  It is hot and humid, so I am swimming at the Rosedale Recreation Center in my former neighborhood.  Maggie and Lola are going to the Congressional Cemetery every day for a run around and wadding in the spa.

The majority of my friends are all still working, so trying to work in lunches and dinner visits.  I am looking forward attending Friday the Lights for Liberty protesting the mass detention of children migrants.  What would a visit to Washington, D.C. be without a protest?  There will be protests all over the country on July 12, so join me remotely. 

I advocated in Congress for passing Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR) for 17 years.  It makes me absolutely crazy to hear what is happening on the southern border.  We are a country of immigrants who hate immigrants.  Unbelievable, and terribly sad.  FYI, there are no legal channels for most immigrants to come to the U.S., which is why they are crossing the border. “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore…” still means something, as least to me.

Former colleague and friend Andrea has let me park Scout at her vacation home near St. Michaels, MD.  While I enjoy visiting Liz and Tim’s Capitol Hill home.  It is so fun to be in D.C. and not be working!  I also love the anonymity.  I use to know lots of people here and they knew me.  But, I am out of the game now and don’t care.  No more power suits, uncomfortable shoes, and make-up.  The best day of my life was giving away all my work clothes.  I should have bought stock in Nordstrom, instead of all those shoes!

Retirement is great!  I have never been so happy.  I am looking forward to heading north to sister Robin’s Long Island house for the remander of the summer and fall.  The house is getting two remodeled bathrooms and new deck.  The construction pictures look amazing!

I am commited to getting my golf scores into the 90s.

 

 

3300 MILES & HAVING TOO MUCH FUN

I am so far behind on writing, because I have been driving 3300 miles from west to east (right) coast, attending family weddings, playing golf, and getting a colonoscopy.   Okay, the colonoscopy was NAUGHT fun.  Here is my update on the Road2Reinvention.

After leaving my pal Beth, the horses, goats and dogs north of Austin, TX; I made my way to visit former Nevada pals Lisa and Dean just southeast of Dallas.  Lisa and I met in Carson City, NV when I was working for the State of Nevada Employees Association/AFSCME.  Lisa was a very out-spoken transportation employee.  That is my diplomatic way of saying Lisa was a whistle-blower and thorn in the side of management.  We became friends at our first meeting.  That meeting was because Lisa had called out her bosses on using bad materials on state road projects, and she was the inspector.  Rather than correct the materials, they wanted to fire Lisa.   I always considered employees like Lisa job security, and a lot of fun to call the bosses out.

Happily, Lisa retired from the Nevada Department of Transportation, and husband Dean moved to Murchison, Texas!    They hate Texas and plan to return to Nevada, but I love the fact my travels give me the opportunity to visit far-flung friends.

From Texas, I drove north to Arkansas, but was not able to stay in Little Rock as planned.  Campgrounds were flooded and closed.  I pushed on 444 miles to Memphis, TX and the Graceland RV park.  400 miles is TOO far to drive in one day.  I prefer 200 – 250 miles tops a day. But I arrived safe and sound. 

The two things I hoped to do in Memphis was to visit Graceland and eat ribs at Circa-1948 Charlie Vergos Rendezvous, BBQ spot in a basement down an ally from the historic Peabody Hotel.  The Rendezvous serves up racks of dry-rubbed smoked ribs and is a favorite or locals and visitors including Bill Clinton, before he went vegan.  Memphis was a bust!  Graceland cost $70 to visit, and as much as I like Elvis, I wasn’t that excited to see his jump-suit collection.  Worst, the Rendezvous is closed on Sunday!  Onward to Nashville, 225 miles.

While the middle of the country is flooding and suffering tornados, I have been extremely fortunate that my weather has been GREAT!  No rains, high winds or tornados.  My highway Goddesses are watching out for me.

I stayed at a really lovely RV Resort in Nashville, Safe Harbor on the shores of the J Percy Priest Reservoir. Every campsite had a level concrete pad, grassy picnic table area, and fire pit.   It was too hot for a fire, but the evening lake view was very enjoyable.  Downtown Nashville is a great walking area with lots of music history.

I moved on to Ashville, NC.  I passed on visiting the Vanderbilt mansion, paying $70 to see America’s opulence by robber barons does not appeal to me – now or then.  American’s have a strange love affair with the rich.  Personally, I am disgusted by great wealth when millions of Americans live in poverty, and we are caging children.  Maggie and I sought out a nice dog park, walk along the river and good Carolina barbaque.  Downtown Ashville is very cute and full or nice shopping.  When you live in 20′ shopping for stuff is not a sought after past-time.

Full-time life in an RV, like any homeowner-ship, regulary presents an opportunity for repairs.  Somewhere along the road my Sharp micro-wave convection oven died.  Fortunately, I was heading east on Highway 40, where Out-Of-Doors Mart, in Colfax, NC is located.  This Airstream and RV Dealer has the very best parts department and great customer service.  When I called, lucky for me they had a replacement micro-wave in stock.  I removed the broken unit and they  promised to recycle (rather than just throw in a dumpster, I hope).  I was able to install the new unit, with minor modification of the mounting and purchasing some high density foam from Amazon.  Yes, I am proud of myself when I can do repairs myself, my labor rate is very reasonable.

June has been spent with family in NC.  Niece Rachel finally married her partner of 10 years Adam.  The wedding was on the beach at Emerald Isle, NC.  My 89 year old mother Mary and step-father Erv (Chapel Hill), sisters Robin (Los Angeles and Long Island), Kerry husband Buzz and son Connor (Anchorage), Becky (Cary, NC) and Brother-in-law to be Chuck, nephew David (just back from deployment in Afghanistan) wife Camilla and son Benjamin (Italy) were ALL in attendance.  It was a wonderful family week at the beach and instead of horrible predicted weather of rain and storms, the sun came out and we spent our days in the waves and on the sand.

The following week we all returned to Cary, NC for the wedding of eldest sister Becky (Rachel’s mother) and best guy Chuck.  Chuck’s two lovely son’s and their wives joined a small group of their friends to celebrate Becky and Chuck’s happy day.  “BROTHER-in-LAW” Chuck and I got a round of golf in, before departing to the outter banks.

After a winter in the desert, Maggie and I are catching up on beach time, we travelled to Roanoke Island to visit Kitty Hawk and surrounding sites.  Washington, D.C. pals Liz and Tim joined us in their VW pop-up for a fun weekend of beach and site seeing.

It has been a whirl wind trip, 3300 miles departing Tucson, AZ on May 15 and arriving NC on June 5.

So, to finish off a great winter to summer/west to east trip, sister Becky and I underwent colonoscopies together today.  Wow!  Do we know how to have fun or what?  I will leave all my readers with a caution to make sure if you are over 60 to get your colonoscopies!  Yes, the prep is absolutely HORRIBLE.  I hope you all have the success Becky and I had today, both a clean bill of health.  Again, it is great to have Chuck my new brother-in-law in the family, who kindly drove us, waited and brought us home.

Maggie and I are headed to Washington, D.C. our favorite city.  We will visit friends and former colleagues.  I am looking forward to daily swims at my Rosedale swimming pool and Maggie is looking forward to her daily visits with BFF Lola to the Congressional Cemetery.   I hope my D.C. friend with dogs will join us?

Next installment from Washington, D.C.  Stay tuned.  Thanks for reading, and I hope you got to the very end!

TWO DAYS IN HEAVEN

The very best two days of 2019, spent on a ranch outside of Austin, TX.

I am so fortunate to have met Beth in Washington D.C., and now call her a friend.  We were colleagues, but never socialized.   We saw each other in across the room in meetings.  Occasionally, on Sunday afternoons I would see Beth walking out of a movie matinee, as I was walking in.  So, I knew Beth and I were kindred spirits, we loved movies on the big screen.  Two plus hours of escape in a dark theater, where there might be a happy ending.

A few years later, I learned Beth also loved horses and enjoyed riding in her spare time.  I asked her husband Allan (also a colleague) once about the horse, Allan said, “yes, she loves the horse more than me”.

Beth announced her retirement in November 2015, I was jealous.  But, Beth gave me the kick in the ass I was looking for.  In her retirement speech Beth said, “she was done”, aka “TOAST”.  I also felt burned to a crisp.   Beth told our assembled colleagues, she had grown up on a ranch outside of Austin, TX.  She and her brother had worked hard, got good grades to get away from the ranch.  Now all she wanted was to go back to that ranch.  And, she did.

Beth was an amazing advocate for workers.  Tireless, dedicated, professional and passionate.  Now retired she is living on her family ranch herding goats and cows instead of Members of Congress.   Much more satisfying.  

I am so grateful in retirement to spend time with Beth, and her horses Hazel and Hope.  Hope is a very special horse, sweet and gentle, a wonderful riding horse.

I had the best two days of 2019, riding Hope, swimming/floating in the crispy clear river with Beth.  Drinking wine and watching the sunset, listening to the goats.

Next time, I promise to join Beth cutting brush with a chain saw.  Brush, goats, horses etc., all better and more satisfying than herding Members of Congress.  Cheers! In retirement, my friend Beth. 

THANK YOU!  Looking forward to our next visit.