Monday, August 29, 2011

Perspective

2011 August 29

I am feeling more balanced. I am sure that attending church yesterday helped. As did spending a few hours at my brother and sister-in-law's yesterday afternoon.

I am happy to say that the message brought to the people at New Hope Church yesterday was exactly what I needed to hear. The fact that it was my first time ever sitting under a female Pastor was invigorating. There was a whole level of identification available to me that I have never had with a male Pastor, regardless of how impressive his credentials, his sermons or his teaching ability. The interesting aspect for me was that her sermon actually focused on identity and our need to see ourselves through God's eyes, as HIS. That is our primary identity. And though we say we know it, too often we allow ourselves to lose sight of that as the most important way we identify who we are.

Too much of the time lately, I have felt without identity. Maybe, because I am no longer working as a care provider for those two little ones I love so much. But also because for quite sometime I have been without a spiritual home base and have allowed myself to become lazy spiritually. In addition to that, there is the fact that we are in the process of purging our stuff in order to live a simpler, less 'stuff oriented' lifestyle. Too often we become defined by what we own, instead of by who we are.

Spending time absorbing yesterday's sermon was centering for me. And spending time at B & A's in the afternoon, further helped me to see that although what we are doing may seem out of left field for some, it is the right option for us at this time in our lives. This AM, I was able to face a couple of tasks that I had been avoiding and complete them. Granted, they are small things, but they are done. I'm feeling more optimistic in general and less overwhelmed. The actual number of items on our list hasn't decreased by many, but my overall outlook has improved and that seems to be making all the difference.

Perhaps I'll even be able to make that phone call to my organizer friend soon.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

OVERLOAD

2011 August 27
Emotions at the moment red-lining for me.
This week included an earthquake rumbling, a personal moment of panic at the realization that we are about 10 weeks from our planned departure date, watching the coverage on Hurricane Irene and the straw threatening to break this camel's back, gunshots today, again in the alley next to our house.
I have been in a sort of frozen emotional state for awhile. I shared this with a couple of friends who have been in similar situations and they have assured me that eventually I will cry again. I am close right now, but afraid to really "let go", because I need to be strong and get through this life change first.
For those who don't know, we plan to hit the road in our new RV in early November and travel this marvelous area known as North America. We plan to put the house up for sale before we leave. There is still a lot to be done. And my dear husband is recuperating with a ruptured Achilles tendon, so he can't do much at the moment. Preparing for a huge life change can be stressful. And as an overly emotional individual, I have been keeping myself wrapped up pretty tightly to avoid unnecessary meltdowns. The result is, though I tear up and feel sad occasionally, I haven't actually cried in at least 2 months.
This afternoon, 11 or 12 shots rang out in the alley next to our house. I heard people running. I went into our sun porch to look out to see if I could tell what was happening. (The alley ends right along side our house when it intersects with our front street.) What I saw was a family, Mom and a few kids, one of whom was hunkered down wearing his Sponge Bob backpack. This little guy looked to be maybe 9 or 10. He was peering around the brick building across the alley from our house. As I watched, he jumped up and started to run back down the alley in the direction from which he had just come. His Mom, had a child in a stroller and maybe another kid, too. There may have been another woman with another child across the street, too, according to my husband. My impression was that the kid was watching for the shooter and had backtracked because the shooter was now at the Woodland Avenue intersection close to our end of the alley, instead of the opposite intersection, McDowell St, from where we originally heard the shots.
I went to the other room to call 911, which is why I didn't notice the family directly across the street from our house, on the other side of Stayton St. While I was on hold with 911 (ON HOLD! Can you believe it?) I began to shake a little. To be fair, I was only on hold for about 25 seconds, but still! The 911 operator took all the information I could supply, asked appropriate questions and said responders would be sent. Shortly afterward, we heard the police presence driving along all the streets we had mentioned.
I have no idea what happened, either before or after this shooting. What I do know is that the tight wrap I've had on myself is starting to fray. Although I am no longer shaking physically, I am shaking emotionally. As I type, I feel tears welling up in my eyes. I'm not ready to let them fall yet, though. What if I start to cry and can't stop?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

INERTIA

2011 Aug 25
Our plan is to get on the road, in our RV, on or around, November 7. That is just a little over 10 weeks away! Yet, here I sit, on the love seat, with my laptop open, while there is still so much to be accomplished. What in the world is wrong with me?
Yes, some things have been sold. There are items earmarked for folks that I need to deliver to them or that they need to arrange pick up for. Some things can't be given away until they are no longer needed, for example: our bed, love seat, recliner, stove and refrigerator. Yet there are many items lingering that could be gone. Lamps! We have more lamps than you can imagine. Christmas decorations! Dining room table and chairs, bookcases. Why are these things still here? Why haven't I delivered the two dressers and kitchen rack to my sister, along with the computer? Why am I sitting here typing instead of clearing and cleaning the sun porch or the basement?
Yes, I am lazy, that's a given. But it seems like it goes beyond simple laziness. Each night I head off to bed, determined that I will awake in the AM and make a dent in our crap. Yet, each morning, I arise feeling sluggish and unmotivated. I am like that road to hell. The one that's paved with good intentions.
Non-accomplishment does nothing for my self esteem. In fact, it can open the door to a downward depressive cycle. Maybe that's why I'm blogging about it. The need to face off with these feelings before they begin to run the show. Been there and done that! Do NOT wish to repeat those behaviors.
Add to the equation the fact that Raymond is currently unable to help lug, carry and move things. He sees the Ortho doc right after Labor Day. But even if he is making as miraculous a recovery as he keeps claiming, I don't see Raymond being able to carry boxes or help with the clean out until sometime after mid to late September. There is also the issue of what we each view as essential to have done before calling a real estate agent. This is an area where we are miles apart.
In my scenario, we get rid of all but the MOST essential things (see earlier portion of post). Then we begin a rigid cleaning, scrubbing, deodorizing and disinfecting campaign, which may include taking up the very old carpet from the first floor. We do not (on this we DO agree) plan to do any major work in the house. The plan has been and continues to be, to sell it, "as is". The fly in the ointment seems to be defining what we each consider to be "major" and "as is". For me it is doing the above stated cleaning, etc, along with finishing some half finished projects. For instance, there is a kitchen counter lying up against the wall in the hallway, which I think needs to be installed. There is a partially laid floor in the bathroom that needs to be finished. And I little painting in the kitchen, as well. For Raymond it is doing nothing! No, I'm not kidding; he actually said, "Well, we're selling it as is, who cares? It's not our problem, it's the problem of whoever buys the house." That was his response when I said that we would really need to do some major cleaning.
So there you have it. the summary of why I'm feeling overwhelmed and under-motivated.
In the middle of feeling all this chaos yesterday, both physically and emotionally, I sent a message to a local Facebook friend. She is a professional organizer. She was at one time, one of the owners of a local resale shop. So, I messaged her, explaining my dilemma and asking whether she was still involved with the resale store and also whether she could help me. My thinking being that if Raymond hears something from an outside third party, it may be more readily taken in than if it were just coming from me. We'll see. I haven't heard from Melanie yet . I do hope I hear from her soon.
In the meantime, I think I'll take a trash bag into the sun porch... Doing something, anything, has got to be more productive than worrying about what I haven't done yet.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Day of Excitement

2011 August 24

Yesterday was pretty exciting! In fact, it was so exciting that I almost forgot to write about it. Well, didn't forget exactly, just got so tired that I went to bed before 7:30 PM. Don't judge me! Apparently earthquakes can really suck the energy out of a person. (That's my story and I'm sticking to it.)

The day started off with a visit to my Urologist for my regular three month cystoscopy. Dr. T saw no new tumors! YEA!!!! And double YEA, since that means that I get bumped up to every six month cystoscopes now. I forgot to ask him how long I have to be tumor free to get bumped to once yearly, but I'll ask him when I see him in six months! Curious too to find out how long I must remain tumor free to be considered cancer free.

After the doc, I picked up my brother and we had a late breakfast together. That was nice. One of the things I will miss when we're traveling is those occasional breakfasts with Vinny. Is it odd that one of my brother's is my best friend? Well, even if it is, I don't really care. He's one of only a few people whom I know I can always count on.

When I dropped him off, our Daddy snoozing on the front porch so I just headed home.

I hadn't been home very long, when there was a shaking of our whole house. Truth be told, I was in the bathroom and thought I was hallucinating at first. The bathroom window seemed to be moving in and out. I also had a strange butterflies - in - my - stomach feeling, as if we were moving up and down in an elevator. As I ran down the stairs to the first floor, yelling, "Raymond, did you feel that?" I was pretty sure it had been an earthquake.

Now, I have heard about animals who react prior to such occurrences. Let me assure you, Greyla is not one of those wonder dogs! Before I had ventured to the second floor, I had been on the front porch, reading the newspaper. Greyla was stretched out on the glider. She did not move from her spot, neither to accompany me indoors, nor, apparently as a result of any rocking and shaking the house did. I looked out to find her still in her recumbent position on the porch glider, oblivious to any earth movement. I find it a little odd that a dog who goes on alert at the sound of people talking a block away, has no apparent reaction to the rumbling of the earth. Oh well, she IS an enigma.

Since we wanted confirmation of what we assumed to be an earthquake, I went immediately to the Internet. Doesn't everyone? Sure enough, at http://earthquake.usgs.gov/earthquakes/recenteqsus/ I was able to get the scoop and was amazed that it was felt as far north as New England.

All in all, the day must have taken a lot out of me, because at 7:15, I headed to off bed. Did that earthquake sap anyone else's energy? Maybe it was just a coincidence, although I don't believe in coincidences.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"We're Not Lumberjacks..."

2011 August 14

The first clue that we are not lumberjacks, should have been the fact that we do not own a chainsaw. We do, however, own a reciprocating saw which we use like it's a chainsaw!

Raymond was determined to remove a large branch from the maple tree which grows next to the spot where we park our RV. He had already removed an offending portion of the branch when it proved to be too close to the ladder on the RV. Now, he was simply making sure no part of this tree limb ever came in contact with our home on wheels again.

I had just driven us home from our first weekend camping in the RV and went in the house to have an iced tea and a little rest while Raymond plied his skills as a tree limb amputater. Raymond assured me that it would take him "about 30 minutes" to trim off what he felt was necessary. After about an hour, I thought I should see if I could help in any way.

The offending branch was very long and very thick. I took a turn at trimming some of the lesser branches, so Raymond could take a little break. This was a much bigger job than either of us anticipated. But, we kept at it. Little by little, we were piling up a whole lot of maple tree in our yard and there was still a lot to go!

Eventually, we had managed to trim away many of the smaller branches and were left staring up at the main branch which needed to come down, according to my dear husband. The problem was that the branch was very tall and very thick. The branch was going to be taken down in increments, because otherwise it would simply be too heavy. We put all of our skills to use and attempted to predict which way the top portion of the branch would fall. Then Raymond took his turn climbing the ladder, but he wasn't happy with its placement, so he came down, repositioned it and scaled it again. It was a humid day and we were hot and sticky. In spite of that we were trying to hold on to all the good feelings we had from our successes during our first weekend away in the RV.

Raymond was concerned that the branch might fall onto our fence, while I was certain it would fall onto the cement area where our garage used to be. We were both wrong!

Raymond was standing on the eight foot ladder, about five feet off the ground. I was attempting to hold the ladder steady, directly behind him, but on the ground. When the branch fell, it came straight down, just to the left of Raymond. It grazed his arm and then continued downward until it hit the support brace on the side of the ladder. It was so heavy, that it broke the support brace. As the support broke, the ladder toppled to the right, causing Raymond to drop in the opposite direction. It all happened so fast. Suddenly, the ladder was laying on it's side off to my right and my husband was laying on his side off to my left. As I began to step toward Raymond, something told me to look where I was stepping. It was that still, small voice that kept me from walking directly onto the saw blade. Raymond had locked it in the "on" position and it was still going! My first thought as I reached out to Raymond was that he had dislocated his left shoulder this time, because it looked like he had landed on his shoulder. But, he said that the pain he was experiencing was in his left leg. Let me just say that Raymond is usually very accurate in self-diagnosing injuries. Probably all the years he spent playing various sports and having all sorts of sports related injuries have given him a pretty good basis for recognizing what part of him is hurt and how badly. This time, as he tried to stand, he said, "I ruptured my Achilles tendon."

We took a trip to the ER, where I left him, while I went to see if any of my brothers could help me finish the task Raymond and I had started. This was the only way I could get Raymond to go to the ER. He wanted to finish removing the tree limbs from the parking pad, so that we could pull the RV into the yard. He was concerned that if we left the RV in the parking lot, someone might vandalize it. I promised him, that while he was at the ER, my brothers and I would clean up the tree cuttings and pull the RV into the yard. And when that was accomplished, I would come back to the hospital to get him.

Thank goodness for Vinny and Davey. They came over, got blistered hands, sweaty bodies and sore muscles, but that branch surrendered! We got the part that Raymond had cut cleared away and then finished cutting the remainder of it. Then, with them guiding me, the RV got backed into the yard without any new damage!

I dropped my brothers off at their house and headed back to St Margaret's ER to check on Raymond's status. He was in an exam room, waiting for the CRNP to return. He was accurate in his diagnosis, the ER doc confirmed that he did indeed have a ruptured Achilles tendon. He came home with a hard boot/cast on his left foot and leg, crutches, a prescription for pain killers and instructions to call the orthopedic group in the morning and to keep his left leg non-weight bearing. The CRNP suggested that he shouldn't climb stairs and should stay in bed, with his leg elevated, except for bathroom trips until he could see the orthopedic doctor. Yeah, right!

I love my husband, but he is not a compliant patient. Thank goodness he only had to wait until Tuesday morning to see the doctor.

In spite of the fact that it is a ruptured tendon, the doctor and Raymond have decided to go with the more conservative treatment. No surgery. Raymond is wearing a lovely black boot with an slightly elevated heel and major support from his toes to his knee. He will be wearing it for at least four to six weeks, possibly longer. The good news is that he is permitted to weight bear slightly, as long as the device is properly in place and he is getting better using his crutches.

And the lesson learned? We are NOT lumberjacks!

So Many Firsts

2011 August 14

We picked a lovely weekend for our first trip in our motor home. The moon was nearly full. We hoped to be far enough away from light pollution to see part of the meteor shower. At 3 AM, on our first night at the campground, Greyla indicated she wanted to go out, so we crept quietly out into the moonlight. It was so peaceful. There were only the sounds of crickets, cicadas and the occasional snoring camper, along with our footsteps. Walking along with the moon lighting our way through the campground, I felt safe, as if I was strolling through my own little village. It's such a foreign feeling for an urban dweller like myself. Even with my dog and my husband along, caution dictates that we never walk in our neighborhood after dark, let alone at 3 AM! As I shared this experience with another camper in the morning, she smiled, as if she truly understood. And she assured me that it is a feeling I will have in many places, as we travel.

Earlier, we had each taken our first shower in the RV. Even though we were hooked up to the park water supply, I practiced taking a quick shower, using the on/off valve on the handheld shower unit. Raymond didn't. He said there would be other times when he could practice taking a quick shower. Most impressive to me, was how hot the water from our little six gallon water heater got. Am I silly to be grateful for such things?

Since I had forgotten coffee mugs, that hot water, directly from the kitchen faucet was how we made our instant coffee. Again, I was impressed by how well that hot water heater works! Usually, I am a 'real' coffee snob, but by the end of the trip, I'd started thinking that instant wasn't so bad, after all. That was a first I never anticipated!

We cooked our dinner the old fashioned way, on the wood fire in our fire ring. Well, the hot dogs and baked potatoes, anyway. The creamed spinach we heated in the microwave - another first! All in all, the meal was very good, especially since Raymond loves hotdogs and in spite of the fact that we had neglected to bring butter for the potatoes.

As we went to bed on Saturday night, Raymond had the forethought to wind the awning in because he thought we might have rain. Since we were heading back home on Sunday, he didn't want to roll up a wet awning in the morning. About 1:30AM we heard the pitter-patter on raindrops. Raymond was right about the weather and we were experiencing another first - our first rainfall in the motor home.

Sunday morning was going to be the test. It would be the first time we emptied our tanks. Raymond, not only read the manual,but also, spied on our next door neighbor as he drained his tanks, hoping to glean some practical knowledge. We opened our brand new sewer hose and accessories package, hoping we wouldn't have a poop disaster. We did good! We managed to hook everything up properly, with no leaks and not a drop of sewage anywhere it shouldn't have been. Another first! I was very proud of us.

We were very happy with the weekend, and with how well we handled all these firsts. There had been little glitches here and there, but we faced each one and worked through it to a solution. (With the exception of the TV). We headed home relaxed and happy. We were planning when we would take our next trip and where we would go. And we were talking about all the places we want to visit when Raymond's retirement date comes around in the first week of November.

When we arrived home, Raymond suggested that I park in the grocery store lot, directly behind our house. He wanted to take off more of the offending tree limb which had caused the original crunch to our ladder, before we pulled the RV into the yard. When he assured me, "It will only take a half hour," I knew he was under-estimating. I only wish I had realized what would come next. But, since it wasn't a first, I'll tell you about it in my next installment.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Our First Camping Adventure, Part 3

2011 August 13

We had a little disappointment on Friday evening. Raymond was hoping, actually, planning, to watch the Steeler preseason game against the Redskins. He couldn't get the TV in the motor home to work. No matter what he tried. He read and reread the TV manual and the Thor manual, but couldn't get any reception. He played with the antenna. He pressed buttons on the remote. Then he pressed buttons on the TV. He tried one thing and then another. Still, no reception. The campground supposedly had access to several channels. The TV supposedly has a built in converter, so a digital converter box isn't necessary.

At first, I felt really bad for him. I mean, it was the first preseason game and he really DID want to see it. TV was very low on my list of priorities. In fact, television hadn't even made it onto my list at all. But I understood Raymond's frustration, if it had been hockey season I would've been in his shoes.

In spite of his frustration, Raymond would not ask any of our neighbors or the camp hosts for assistance. When I suggested it, he insisted that this was a problem he needed to figure out for himself. So, he continued to read manuals and press a variety of buttons throughout Friday night . When I got up on Saturday morning, he was at it again. Determination alone, however, was not sufficient to get TV reception.

By the time we left the campground on Sunday, Raymond was was no closer to TV programing. And I was feeling less sympathetic. In fact, I was wondering why he didn't find it as ironic as I did, that he had spent so much time trying to resolve the issue of TV reception when we had a beautiful nearly full moon and had hoped for a glimpse of the Perseid meteor shower.

I'm thinking it's a guy thing. But I guess we'll find out when the Pens hit the ice.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

2011 August Part 2

2011 August 12 Part 2
So much to learn. So much to try and remember. So different from camping in a tent. Just as different from renting a vacation house. And different really, from how it will be when we are full timing, too. Currently, we are in the in between stage; still living in the brick and stick house, but getting accustomed to the motor home.
We haven't really tent camped in years. Once we realized that we could rent a house for vacations, sleep in a bed and cook in an equipped kitchen, and bring the dogs, while being only steps from the beach, we took the lazy way out. In recent years, our vacation houses even have the linens provided and the beds made upon our arrival. So, let's just say we became somewhat spoiled.
Packing up the RV for a short journey north required a different mind set from packing for a rented house at the beach. It also is a slightly different approach from packing for tent camping. Let's face it, we're on a learning curve here that is outside of our experience. It's going to take a little time and patience for us to get it right.
Nice to smell the woodsmoke of campfires. Good to have a bed to sleep in. Really nice to have your very own toilet and shower. Better if we had remembered to pack the soap and shampoo. Well, at least we have towels and toilet paper.
Cups for morning coffee? Oops. But we did remember the 24oz Teva tumblers. Too bad they're not microwave safe. To be honest, the only coffee we brought was instant, because I didn't want to drag the coffee maker out of the house for two days. So it would've been a good idea to bring microwavable cups. Live and learn.
"Did you pack paper plates and plastic utensils?" "Yes". Only at dinner, there were no knives for cutting anything. Oh well, adapt.
We did remember both the dog's dishes and her food. Apparently we find it easier to care for her than for ourselves. Or, maybe she just requires so much less than we do. It's all a learning process, what to bring; how to work the equipment; what's necessary and what isn't.
We are simply content and grateful we have the option. The learning will come in time.

2011 August 12, Part 1

Our maiden trip in the RV started out to be a little challenging.

First, we couldn't get the fridge to run using gas. Then according to the gauge, we didn't have any propane. Deciding what to pack is always tough with us, because I am fairly minimalist and the DH wants all sorts of doodads. The poor dog was a stress ball. Many things would be simplified if we were currently living in the motor home, as opposed to taking off for a few days. And lastly, the ever present obstacle of getting through the minimum clearance of our gate without any scrapes or bumps.

The drive north on 79 was pleasant. We left early enough that we didn't get too bogged down in the traffic at Wexford. We had one little scare, as an 18 wheeler pulled alongside us. Turned out he was trying to get our attention to let us know that the rear storage compartment door was flapping. Apparently, we hadn't locked it properly. But, it was an easy fix, although pulling out into traffic again from the shoulder was somewhat hairy.

There was something very relaxing about just setting the cruise control, staying in the right lane and letting the world drive past us. We had no time table, no schedule and no "personal best" time to beat. (I tend to compete against myself when I am driving a route that I have driven often. For instance, my personal best to Corolla is 9.30 hours.) But this time, even though 79N is a road well traveled by us, there was no pressure, no race against the clock. We had reservations at a campground and we'd get there when we get there.

When we arrived, the camp hostess, Betsy, couldn't have been kinder. We explained that we would need to purchase propane and she told us that her husband, Jim, would escort us to our site and he would help us with anything we needed.

Jim turned out to be a font of information and anecdotes. And even though I was the one driving, he shared his expertise more readily with Raymond, for which I was grateful. Upon opening the compartment where the propane is located, Jim showed us how to turn on the valve. Yep, the fridge wouldn't work because we didn't open the valve! Go ahead, laugh at us, we did! Jim also shared his hard gained wisdom of the black tank, it's use and how and when to empty it. This is an area of knowlege male RVers enjoy sharing. This isn't the first time one has offered his experience. Thanks, guys, we appreciate it. And I appreciate that you mainly want to share this wisdom with my dear husband.

After making sure we were situated appropriately to allow for ease of hook up and operation of the slide out and awning, we settled in. Water, check; electricity, check; sewage, not yet. OK, we're good to begin this next step in the adventure.

It was surprisingly warm, so we turned on the AC before venturing outside. Greyla was still a little stressed, but calmed down considerably once we had the camp chairs out with her water bowl in easy reach. The campground has a sign, as you enter, "RELAX, YOU'RE HERE". Ah, a motto to be taken to heart.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Finally It Can Be Revealed

This morning we had an appointment to get the motorhome PA safety inspected at Jeff Critchlow Auto Care on Babcock Blvd. We are now at home, with the RV tucked safely into its spot in the yard, with brand new PA State inspection stickers proudly displayed on our windshield. It means that when we have the money, our adventure can begin, legally.

Before I share a back story that I have been silent about, allow me to give a thank you to the mechanic who did the inspection, Darren. Great guy! He helped us with some glitches that we have had and shared with us from his accumulated knowledge as an RVer himself for many years.

The "back story" is one that brings me shame and embarrassment.

After our last venture out in the RV, as I was attempting to back through the 9' 3" opening in our fence with our 8' 6" motorhome, I had an accident. Since I must pull the side view mirrors in, in order to clear the opening, I must fully rely on Raymond to get me in without hitting anything. As we were attempting this particular feat, I answered incorrectly when Raymond asked if I needed him in front of me, in the grocery store parking lot, OR behind me, in our yard. Because I was stressed, hot and frustrated, I said that I didn't care where he was as long as he realized he was now my eyes, because I was backing up blind. He opted to stay in the parking lot, in front of the vehicle, probably because he was stressed, tired, hot and annoyed with my tone. Oops!

As I moved the beast backward, slowly, I heard a loud "C R U N C H". I immediately hit the brake, as my stomach fell below my knees and my anxiety level rose to new heights. To Raymond, I yelled, "What the hell did I hit?!" I sat in the cab of the vehicle, feeling sick, angry and incredibly stupid! Raymond reported that I had hit the tree, which according to him, "knocked out a taillight & bent the ladder". Now I am really a mess! So, I got out and went to survey the damage. Apparently, the nub that remained from a tree limb previously removed, had caught the top of the RV ladder, bending it and thereby causing the ladder to break one of the lights at the top of the vehicle, as well as cause a split to the corner of the vehicle's fiberglass. I felt seriously ill.

I also felt angry, mostly at Raymond. Realizing that this was completely irrational anger, I managed to tamp it down enough that I didn't become a screaming banshee. My rational mind, which, doesn't always get a lot of playtime, kept reminding me that I was the one who had failed to insist that Raymond guide from the yard, where this may have been avoided. Desperately wanting to cry, but unable to(that's a story for another time), we managed to get the RV into the yard without further damage, either to it or to our marriage.

So, when I called to make the inspection appointment, I failed to mention this occurrence. Seems I should have. This is where Darren comes in. As the inspection mechanic of a "new" vehicle, he couldn't allow the broken light atop the rear end, nor did he feel the broken piece of ladder at the top was stable enough to, say, NOT come loose and hit someone as we cruise down the highway. He took a few minutes and went to get a new light cover and he removed the broken section of the ladder. He then asked Raymond to come into the service bay, so that they could talk. He shared many RV pointers with my dear husband and asked if Raymond wanted him to remove the vestiges of yellow paint that remained from my BP gas fill up excursion, no charge. [I blogged about that already. Another humbling, embarrassing moment.] We also both spoke with him about the split caused by the ladder meeting the tree. He explained to us how to fix that ourselves. Darren, you are a good man.

So, now, the RV is inspected. It is safely ensconced in its place inside our fenced yard. Our relationship survived a bump. I learned to hold my tongue. We both learned that guiding the RV requires enormous patience. And, I learned that even when there is a huge screw up, it's NOT the end of the world!

Next step, heading out for several days at a local campground to get our feet wet, so to speak. All we need is for Raymond to have several days off work in a row. You would think that should be easy for a retired guy. Well, if my retired guy didn't also have a "retirement job" at Macy's, it probably would be!