June 18, 2018

Hi everyone! We’re on the move! Quite literally. For those of you reading our blog you will remember that last year about this time Larry and I were heavily into getting our lives in better order. We updated our Wills and created Health Directives.

We were also thinking of downsizing but we couldn’t quite agree on what that meant or whether it was the right time yet. That, and the whole Will and Health Directive thing made me quite depressed. We also found out that the market had declined and I couldn’t come to terms with how much we could sell our house for.

Just after I released my first book, Out of the Fog, on Amazon in April Larry and I, after many conversations, decided to take that next step and move. We called our Realtor and found that the market hadn’t strengthened, and in fact, had declined a bit more. As our realtor would explain to us, we might get less for our house, but what we would purchase would cost less as well.

We decided to go for it. We decluttered the house and it went up for sale at the beginning of May. One of the realtors, while looking over the house and measuring for square footage said to us “you realize if you are going to downsize, you’ll have to get rid of a lot of stuff?” We laughed and said we did indeed know this.

Keeping the house and yard clean so that perspective buyers could come and see it is always a fun exercise. Especially when there are two puppies involved. All those everyday things that make life special have to be wiped clean constantly. Here I’m referring of course to nose prints on the window!

One of the really fun things we like to do when someone is looking over our house, is to park a little way down the road and watch who comes to look at the house. We time them, and guess whether they are interested or not. Our house sold within a week, after only being looked at twice. The conditions came off just after the two week mark! While we awaited this, Larry and I went through the house and got ready for a garage sale!

It so happened that our town, as well as the surrounding towns were having their community wide garage sales on May 26! What a perfect time to get rid of all those little collectibles that we no longer wanted or needed.

Everyone loves a garage sale! Larry and I had to haggle over whether this should go or that should go. Larry is a believer in wiping the slate clean. While I am sentimental and like to hold onto the things that have some meaning. However, our intention was to move into some place somewhat smaller so we wound up having quite a selection for our sale. We also sold a few larger items on different websites.

Larry should have been a salesman. He greets everyone coming in and points out things they might like. He makes me tired just watching him. It is very interesting what people are willing or unwilling to buy and how much they are willing or unwilling to pay!

I had a beautiful vase that I put a price tag of $5 on. It was in perfect condition. An older lady asked Larry if he would take $2. He said no, $3 is as low as he could go. I was trying to get Larry in the house to get a bite to eat and a well-deserved rest and he told me he would go, but not to let the vase go for less than $3. I said ok. The lady came to me and again asked if I would take $2. I said no, $3. We went back and forth and she finally decided to pay $3. Then she asked if I had a bag. I said “sure”. I came back with a bag and said “that’ll be $2”! We both laughed!
We met a lot of our neighbors that we never got a chance to in the last 3 and a half years. All in all it was a lot of fun. We sold our extra yard equipment including a snow blower!

The conditions came off our house that weekend and it was then our turn to look. We decided we would look at condos. We would look at bungalows, split levels and two story townhouses. We wanted to make sure we looked at all options.
The bungalows and split levels were older and tired looking. These were in gated communities, most had no yards so we would have to have Max and Maggie on leashes all the time. They were inhabited by older people wanting to take that next step to apartments or senior citizen complexes, people who were divorced or had lost their spouses.

One of the worries Larry and I had was about stairs. The last house we owned was a four level split. There was no bathroom on the main floor so you had to go to the upper level or the lower level. About 7 years ago I broke my ankle, Larry was still working away from home and it was difficult, to say the least, with crutches to go up or down to use the bathroom!

When we were viewing one of the split levels the owners were there and Larry was talking to them, asking how they liked the stairs. The older gentleman said that he liked them because it was part of his exercise.

I remembered when I took a seminar some years back while I was still working. One of the talks was about the fact that people getting older tended to move to bungalows and also that nursing homes were full of people who could no longer carry their bodies around.

We were now both ready to view two story townhouses as long as there was a powder room on the main floor. Then our realtor took it one step further! He showed us a townhouse with a double detached garage and a fenced yard!!! We were sold! Not on the first one we saw, but a very short time later we put an offer on one. We are just finishing up the closing process and we get our possession on June 25!

The grass does not grow under our feet. As soon as we put an offer on this home, we started packing up our belongings. The house, overall, will be about the same size as the one we just sold, but the basement and yard are much smaller. The front yard will be looked after by the condo board, the back yard is ours, as well as Max and Maggie! We are looking forward to this change.

I continue to make bracelets and will be offering them on this blog, soon after our move is complete. I now have my book, “Out of the Fog” available in paperback on Amazon. If you haven’t already – check it out!

Just to top the cake a little, we have our daughter’s dog “Winston” for two weeks. He is about 4 times the size of Max, the larger of our two! Still a puppy at heart though. As he stares out the window wondering when his mom and dad will come and get him, I’m sure he feels abandoned. C’est La Vie! They will return and life for him will go back to normal.

As we sit amongst our boxes, our adventure continues, stay tuned!

April 17, 2018

We are on again!  It’s been a busy winter and we will try to catch you up!

In the later part of November I did what I usually do that time of year, Christmas shopping, cleaning and baking.  I’m sure a lot of people have this done by the end of November, but while I’m not a procrastinator, I definitely have to wait until I get into the Christmas spirit.

With Larry fully retired for about a year at this point, he had the time to help.  He helped with the baking and good soldier that he is, he did a lot of the baking cleanup!  A luxury I had not experienced before.  Having someone clean up after you is quite luxurious.

Larry had a rhinoplasty and septoplasty on December 5.  He has had trouble breathing for the last years and he was looking forward to the surgery.  But when I went in to see him after, I could tell he was not amused!  For those of you who have experienced this procedure, I’m sure you understand.  But Larry was not quite prepared for how he would feel and experience afterward.

The first four days were hell on wheels for him.  Packing in his nose did not allow for taste, smell and he couldn’t really eat either.  He had to sleep sitting up and kept waking up because he couldn’t breath.  He got the packing out on day 4.  He was definitely able to breath better, but something else he was not prepared for, he still couldn’t taste anything and that would last another two weeks!

On December 17 we attended a Play at the Barn Playhouse.  This is a farm where they turned a barn and some other out buildings into something really special.  There is a craft area and at Christmas there is a Christmas dinner and play.  During the spring, and summer they also offer plays and they have food kiosks outside and they always offer hay rides!  This time we went with our daughter, her boyfriend and his mom and step dad, along with other friends and members of his family.  We had a really great time and definitely put us in the Christmas spirit.

Christmas was quiet, Katie and her boyfriend were with us for the day and we played games and enjoyed a traditional Christmas dinner.

Like most of the world, we’ve experienced, shall we say, dynamic weather.  We had the longest, coldest winter in quite some time.  We miss the days when we would hi-tail it down to Phoenix.

I have also been involved in doing crafts and this winter has been no exception.  About 7 years ago I started making and fixing bead jewelry and over this last year I have ramped this up.  I am heavily involved in making bead crochet bracelets and am starting to make diffuser bracelets and chakra bracelets.  Stay tuned, because I plan on offering some for sale on this blog!

Another one of my passions is writing.  While I have started blogging, I have also been working on writing a book!  I’ve been working on this for quite a number of years, but have really pushed this last six months.  With the help of Larry, who would read it when I was stuck and asked questions which got me going again.

One of my Christmas presents from Katie was tickets to see Rod Stewart!  It was an amazing concert.  At 73 he puts on a better show than a lot of the new artists who think it’s ok to lip sync!  He is another of those artists that Larry and I grew up with.  He sang an amazing amount of songs, including a couple of new ones.  Yes, he’s still having children and creating music!  There is a lesson for all of us of a certain age, that is to never stop!

On April 15th I finally got the nerve to go into the Amazon site and publish my book as a ebook.  The book is called “Out of the Fog”.  It is a non fiction memoir of my experiences of loss.  I think that those who read it will find value.  I really feel that sharing our stories can help each other.

If you find value in reading my blog, please go to Amazon and have a look at my first book.  Out of the Fog, by Shirley Crandell.  Let me know what you think!

I have already started my second book, this one will be a fiction; Larry and I will be collaborating on this one.

This next chapter is certainly going to be an interesting one, with new experiences.  We look forward to all your comments.

November 22, 2017 – Reflections

A few days before we actually got home, on one of those evenings after settling in. Larry suddenly said to me “on a scale of 1 to 10 what would you give this trip”?

I honestly didn’t really even think about it very long and I said “12”.  He looked at me like “are you nuts”? Before I explained I asked him what his score was, he said “about a 6”.

Then I had to explain why.  Well, we’re both 64, so the very fact that we were actually able to complete this journey was amazing.  We moved around more than we have in awhile.  Climbing over things, around things, taking the kids on literally hundreds of walks; we saw things we will probably never see again and are grateful we did, just one example was Oak Island.  We worked together, and therefore got closer.  We talked and didn’t watch tv.  That is why I gave the score of 12.

Larry was thinking more in terms of how much work the trip was.  We never realized it would be.  Days when we took wrong turns and weren’t sure how we would find our way out.  Days when we only ate once because the weather was bad and the roads were bad and we couldn’t actually find a spot to stop.  So many days when the kids were sick.  Trying to keep a semblance of cleanliness with all the muck.

We agreed that we were both right.  We both agreed that we were happy that we had completed the trip that we had planned so long for.  But we both agreed we were done!

We have been lucky to do a great number of things so far in our lives, living abroad, travelling and even owning property in Arizona.  The motorhome was another such adventure.  Larry had told people along the way on our trip to Newfoundland that this was a bucket list item, and it was true.  We decided to sell the motorhome and try some new adventure.  What that is right now we’re not sure, but it will take time to find the right buyer for her.

We spent approximately two weeks on our return unloading the motorhome and cleaning her up again.  We had our daughter’s convocation and birthday to attend towards the end of October and of course we had to go through a whole book of notes on our trip to go through so that we could complete our blog.

Before our trip we found out that we could stay at Walmarts, we found out that you definitely should ask at each one if you don’t want to relocate at an inopportune time.  We found that most truck stops welcome rvs as well.  But there again there are a few that don’t so be sure to look for signs.  We also learned that most large grocery stores as well as Canadian Tires!  Casinos, I understand also allow overnighting, some of them actually have special areas for them.  We never checked this out, but that would have been fun!

We are so grateful we took the time to get to know the rv before we headed out on our long trip.  So grateful we found out the generator needed replacing while we were still at home and not on the road.  Repairs can be made on the road, but when parts need to be ordered it could take a long time.

It was definitely a trip of a lifetime, but as we sit in our living room with way too much snow already, we are happy to be home!

October 1 – 3, 2017

Day 31

We had a pretty good sleep.  Quiet.  We dumped again.  We’re doing this quite regularly as we never know when we won’t be able to find a dump site, or spend extra time looking for one.  We’re getting closer to home!  The kids are done and so are we, our tempurpedic is calling!

Roads were both good and bad.  We drove from highway 28 to 41 to 2.  We stopped for one more meal in Michigan.  A gas station with a café.  I went in.  There’s the café in the corner.  I check the menu, yes, there’s burgers on the menu.  I noticed that it is a small café, about 6 tables, and there are people at about 4 of them.

I see a man in an apron coming over to me.  He reminded me of someone on tv.  He had teeth missing and shall we say, he was less than pristine.  He asks if I want to order something.  I say “Yes, to take out”.  He motions over to the table area.  It’ll be about 20 minutes, I have to serve all these other people first.  It was a bit amusing, I felt, because there really weren’t that many people to serve in my estimation, but, he may have been on his own and not used to it.  I was willing to wait 20 minutes, and was going to do just that, but he was still there and he again stated he had all these people to serve and then said that there was food in the warming area and motioned over to the counter.

If you’ve ever watched the series “Deadwood”  there is a character, E.B. Farnum.  This is who this gentleman reminded me of.

I did grab a burger and a chicken burger and went back to the rv.  They were actually pretty good.

On to Duluth!  Duluth was weird, construction and a detour, and yes, a wrong turn.  We thought we might be heading up to Canada a little early, towards Manitoba, which we didn’t want to do.  But we found our way back and on the right track.  We then started looking for a place to stop as we had done over 400 miles today!

We found a rest area in a place called Floodwood.  Not a very big area but it would be home for the night.  There was a railroad running along one side and the highway on the other.  To top it off, mother nature was showing herself with heavy wind and rain.  The train went by and blew it’s whistle!  It was very loud.  All in all a busy night!

Day 32

We awoke at 6:30, gone by 7:15.  We’re heading for Minot, tomorrow – Home!

Road has been pretty good, lots of wind though.  We tried to find a place to have lunch, but everything seemed to be on the opposite side of the divided highway.  So we’re having our meagre food in a dilapidated rest stop.

The road is long, straight with not much to look at and then there’s the relentless wind.  Our motorhome is like a wall as the wind hits it and we move through.

For grins I call the Walmart in Minot to see if overnighting is permitted.  we were not going there on a whim this time.  Woo Hoo !  It is!  Our last night in the states should be a good one and we should have no trouble finding food.  Larry is getting tired of driving and just plain tired as am I but tomorrow is home and this keeps us going.

At first I thought the Walmart might be a little difficult to find, but it really wasn’t.  There were other rvs parked there and there was a myriad of restaurants.  We settled on a Village Inn.  This is a family restaurant with good food, including home made pies.  On Wednesdays they even give away free pie!  Alas, it was not Wednesday.  We had a good meal, and also got a 25% discount for seniors; unheard of at 25%!  Larry went over to a place called “Buffalo Wings”  and picked up some wings for lunch the next day.

We went back to the rv to settle for the night.  Tomorrow – Home!

Day 33 – Final day!!!!

There was a semi parked nearby us in the parking lot and he had his generator going all night.  Also, Walmart started cleaning their lot very early in the morning with one of those street sweeper machines.  All in all a very noisy night again and we were eager to get on the road.  It was overcast as we set out before 7:30 am.

Cold, windy and some rain.  No man’s land except for a smattering of small towns.  Larry continued to fight the wind like a warrior!

Border crossing was easy, but we had to pay an exorbitant amount of duty on a few bottles of rum we were sure would cost less getting it in the states.  Not really!  Lesson learned.

Construction followed.  It seemed like we hit every construction area across Canada and then again through the states!  The saving grace was that things were starting to get familiar!  Larry was sure the bad weather would last right until we were at our door.  I checked the weather on my phone and it said that it was at least partly sunny starting Dundurn and totally sunny in Saskatoon.

Larry didn’t believe me because as we trekked along and kept getting closer, there was no sign of this.  Low and behold just like they said, in Dundurn it started getting sunny!  As you can imagine this aided in our excitement!

We arrived home at 4:00 pm.  The kids were so excited!  They were just like kids running through the house checking everything out! By the way, so were we!  The house seemed so big!  After living in a 35 foot motorhome for over a month, the house was gigantic!

We unloaded the things we needed, showered to get the road off of us and spent a quiet evening watching some of the 135 shows that were taped while we were away!

We’re Home!!!!!

 

 

 

September 29 – 30, 2017

Day 29

Up at 7:30 and we had showers in the rv.  Now this may not seem notable, but even though our shower is not as small as I’ve seen rv showers, it is still difficult to maneuver. First, it’s a step up into it and it takes a bit of finesse to get the water temperature just right.  Then it’s somewhat of a ballet to get soap, shampoo, conditioner et al and make sure everything is rinsed.  The water pressure is not like at home, shall we say.  Then remember that step coming out!

After showers Larry went outside to do the tear down, black water dump, etc.  But, the camper next door thought it was a good time to get acquainted and chat.  When Larry is working on the black water he likes a little alone time.  Nevertheless, there he was, having a visit.  Wouldn’t you know it, the sizer flange was in crooked and he had to try and pry it off.  Of course Larry was a little self conscious about this and of course the next door neighbor had to give his thoughts on how best to do it.  This is why we didn’t leave our camp until 10:00!

Traffic was fierce, roads bad, construction and even some rain in and around Cleveland.  Looks like we’ll be stopping after Anarbor.  Stopped actually just before Flint Michigan.  at a truck stop.  Most of the truck stops like this you can stay the night.  We  couldn’t stop around Anarbor because there was too much construction and traffic.  However, this particular truck stop had signs posted “No overnight”.  The rain started falling heavily, so we parked for a bit to see if the rain would stop.  When we drove into the truck stop we noticed a truck parked in a lot across the street, so we decided to check it out.  We noticed another truck there as well as an rv!  So we figured it was ok to park.  It was next to a Coney Island restaurant and had a green space!

Larry went for a walk back to the truck stop and around the restaurant.  He noticed a sign around the restaurant that said “truckers welcome”!  He also mentioned that the store in the truck stop was amazing with all kinds of goodies, souvenirs and liquor!

We had a place and we could spend the night – awesome!

Day 30

We were up at 730 and Larry took the kids out.  He noticed that the one truck was gone and he told me that the other rv would be there for a while, because it had a “For Sale” sign on it.  We had a bit of a laugh over that.

We visited the store, which was interesting and got gas.  They had a McDonald’s attached and so I went in to get us some breakfast sandwiches.  I placed my order, 2 large coffees, 1 sausage mcmuffin meal, no cheese; (we don’t like the American sliced cheese); 1 Egg mcmuffin meal, no cheese (the one with the Canadian bacon).  I was guest #280.  They had a TV screen with the orders being served and the ones in progress.  At this point of course, mine was “in progress”.  I watched, knowing that mine could take a bit longer because it was “a special order”.  (Should it really take longer to leave something off?)  Then they called #281, no biggy.  But then I noticed #280 was gone off the screen!

So the first chance someone was in hearing distance I said “Excuse me”  “Where is my order? It’s not on the screen anymore”  So he goes over, grabs two sandwiches, both with “special order” stickers and 2 hashbrowns.  I take them back to the rv, not very happy.  We sit down to eat.  I open Larry’s sausage Mcmuffin, no cheese, awesome.  I open my egg mcmuffin, no cheese, no meat!  Argh!

We hit the road.

Eventually we stopped for lunch, at a KFC.  Ordered Larry Spicy Big Crunch, fries and 5 hot wings.  For me, 2 piece white meal, with mashed potatoes and coleslaw.  Get back to the RV and opened it up.  Some kind of mini sandwich for Larry, no spicy big crunch, no fries and the wings looked like hell.

Mine, 2 piece white, was one white, one wing.  instant mashed potatoes and green beans!

Our food was lacking today, but the roads started getting better and we stopped a bit early at Marquette at a really nice wooded campground.  There was a pizza hut next door to the campground so we ordered a pizza and some wings and you know, they weren’t half bad!

These days we are focused on returning home.  We could probably have done more sight seeing, but we were becoming exhausted and longed for the familiar.  The kids were doing really well on their food mix of rice, chicken broth and kibble and we continued to give them this, because they seemed so much better.  Even Maggie has settled a bit on the road too.  She is finally able to nap some along the way!

September 27 – 28, 2017

Day 27

We woke early to fog, but no one else had knocked.

Larry stopped for gas before we were to head down the road again, but he was given attitude, because he apparently was “blocking access”!  WTF, we really needed to leave New Hampshire at this point.

The roads were still winding, hilly, steep, so we’re taking longer, but we finally got to Vermont.  So pretty!  The architecture was amazing!  These are 300 year old houses and they are being spruced up with work being done to the outside.  We can only imagine what they are like inside.  They are either white with columns or all brick for the most part.  Buildings you see in gone with the wind, maybe on a smaller scale.

It didn’t take long to go through Vermont, then on to New York.  Same kind of roads.  We hoped to make it to Syracuse , but it’s slow going.  We stopped to look at a place that had hand made Adirondack furniture.  They were amazingly colorful but most were $500 or more!  No sale.  Guess we’ll stick with the plastic ones!

We made it to the I90 and the trip started moving along.  We noticed Truck service road signs and decided that would be the place to stop for the night.  We wound up picking one about 65 miles out of Syracuse.  It had been a long enough day.  We were hoping for showers, dump and water, but didn’t get any of them.  They didn’t even sell power ball tickets!  Huge lot though, lots of trucks but we were the only rv.

Day 28

We woke before the alarm and we were on the road before 8 am.  We got outside Rochester and decided to stop at one of the service  areas to take a break and get gas.

Parked, kids had an outing, Larry a break.  We then moved on to get gas.  I went into the store to see what they had in terms of souvenirs and maybe even a power ball ticket!  They actually had them!  I got a ticket, yet another hat for Larry and a couple of fridge magnets.  I thought it was taking me along time and headed out, thinking Larry would probably be finished and waiting.

Nope, he was still at the gas pump, doing something around the gas tank.  Good, I thought, he’s just finishing up.  Wrong!  The gas cap had broke off in his hand.  He couldn’t get the centre of it out so he could put gas in and when he would get the centre out, we would have no gas cap!  He was not happy!  words were said and the rv was smacked!

After quite a time, and a myriad of tools he finally managed to pry it off, but when it came off it did with force and hit him in the cheek!  OMG!  Caught him and I off guard, I was so concerned about his eyes and glasses, but he was ok.  When the gas cap came off, it was like I was seeing it in slow motion.  What an experience!

Now we had to get another gas cap.  We phone a couple of rv places, one of which I spoke to a lady in parts and told her our situation and she stated “is that a thing?”  Really?  I said “yes, that is a thing.”  I said goodbye.  One of the rv places suggested I check an auto parts store like NAPA.  I called one other, then NAPA.  He said “sure, just bring everything you have and we’ll find you something to fit”!

We hadn’t planned on going into Rochester, but this NAPA was fairly easy to find.  Go Google!  The parts person was true to his word, he not only found something to fit, he actually had a Coachman gas cap!  After a puppy outing and lunch we were on the road again with an easy out and back on I90!

A couple of miles in and traffic was at a standstill.  There was a transport in the ditch.

And so it goes.  Weather, construction, accidents, only allows for about 300 miles a day.

We spent the night in a really pretty campground off 832.  It had a small lake, and not a lot of campers this late in the season.

Larry spent some time cleaning the black water tank.  We had a supper of frozen pizza.  We really have appreciated the small toaster oven we brought along.  We watched a bit of a really good series called “Deadwood” and off to bed.

September 25 – 26, 2017

Day 25 – Calais!

After our morning routine we headed out towards Calais.  We decided to go through the United States going home, hoping that there would be better roads, cheaper gas.

We finally had good roads!  I actually got caught up with my blog notes!

I was a little worried about going through the border, Larry was not.  The reason I was worried was because of all that has been happening with the terror attacks and such, that the security would be tighter.  I had read reviews on-line and there were some very negative.  Saying that they were asked stupid questions, delayed and boarded to check things out.  I was also wondering about the kids.  We had their papers with us, guess I was just be paranoid.

We arrived at the border with no lineup!  Being it was 2:30 in the afternoon, we thought for sure there would be.  The agent asked a few questions that we didn’t feel were weird in any way.  He asked if we had citrus fruit, no; he asked if we had liquor.  He did board, saw a very lived in rv.  He opened the fridge and said “I’m taking the tomatoes”.  We said “sure”.  He then left and said we were good to go – Yay!

Off we went, found the first truck stop to spend the night.  Big truck stop, restaurant and convenience store, gas and a place to stay.

Larry went to the convenience store and for $20 U.S. he bought a nice red and 18 cans of Coors light!  He was a happy camper!  We ate dinner at the restaurant and called it an early night.

Day 26 – Conrad

We had an exceptional night, the kids slept!  They’re doing much better.  Tidied and hit the road!  Highway 9 to Bangor, then I95 south.

The leaves on the trees are unfortunately changing colors in Maine.  The temperatures though aree nearing 30 above.  Apparently it is unusually warm.

We needed propane.  It’s very difficult to find propane in the U.S.  I looked on line and found that some U-Hauls have propane.  There was one in Portsmouth, this is just outside of Boston.  The highway system there was evil looking, and because it was so close to Boston, we were afraid we’d make a wrong turn and wind up in the thick of it, so we carried on.

We made the change to Highway 9, heading to Manchester, called a U-Haul there and they did not have propane.  The next town that had a U-Haul was Conrad, so I called, and they did have it!  It was a little further than we had intended on going but we gained an hour and decided to go to Conrad.

We asked the lady who was getting our propane where we might overnight and she mentioned the Walmart.  She gave us directions.  She said that she had seen rvs there from time to time.  This one had a really large parking lot, but there were lots of signs saying “no overnight parking”.

We figured that since we asked at the last Walmart we stayed at and got information that they did not mind, we’d give it a go.  Just as we parked another rig parked next to us.  Strength in numbers?  Then a semi truck with a load parked, then another rv.  We were confident.

I went into Walmart and bought a few things and we ate dinner.  At around 730 there was a knock on the door.  We were told we could not stay.  We had to go somewhere else.  We went next door to Toys R Us!  They were already closed.

We slept lightly that night and it was hot.  They kids got up for water but not for outside – yay!