I’m So Lucky, I Could Cry!!

photo 2

Are you a glass half full kind of person, or a glass half empty kind of person? I try to be a glass half full kind of person. And when things really go to hell, I try to be one of those annoying people who says, “Well, look on the bright side of things.” I know, I hate those people too. But, I am one too.

Today was a doozy. Woke up, had breakfast, went to the pool for a swim, and then took my car in for a routine service appointment. And that’s when things went to shit.

I was expecting my car appointment to take about an hour. But no. As I was checking in, they told me that I was due for a REALLY BIG service this time. Ok, whatever.

And they were like,

Do you understand what we are saying? Please step into the office cubicle so that we can go over this with you. This is a REALLY BIG service appointment. Three years/30,000 miles/$1300. Is that ok? It’s $1300.

And I was like,

WTF? $1300?

Well, I signed the approvals. Gotta take good care of my little Abbey Roadster. And then they told me that this was gonna take all day. They would give me a loaner vehicle, and I’ll have to drive back at 5:00, during rush hour, to pick up my car. OK, me not so happy at this point.

So far, not having such a great time at the Nissan dealer. But, it was to get worse.

I opened the front passenger door of my car to reach in and get my stuff so that I could put it in the loaner car. Just then, a huge gust of wind swooped in on me. As I reached out to stop the door from slamming shut on me, I dropped my iPhone on the pavement. Completely shattered the glass. Great!

Such is life sometimes. But no, this gets worse. I take the loaner car and my shattered iPhone, and I head home. As soon as I got home, I got a phone call. The toilet tank had shattered in a 5th floor condo that we own and rent out. Water had leaked all over the condo and had seeped all the way down to the 2nd floor.

Instead of having lunch, I was making calls to our tenant, calls to the water damage restoration company, calls to our insurance agent, calls to the plumber to replace the toilet, calls to the liquor store to ask for a quick delivery (I’m kidding! I’ve got a fridge full of jello shots, and fixin’s for gin & tonics).

What a totally shit day, eh? Or was it? I realized that, once again, I must be the luckiest person on the planet, because who else would be so lucky as to have had such an awesome morning swim before the shit hit the fan?!

Life was full of good fortune for me today! Might be a good day to buy a lottery ticket?! If I win big, I could use some of the money to pay for the car, the iPhone, and the broken toilet and water damage!

Yep, it’s a great day! Think I’ll have a couple Jello shots!





Most Complicated Little Road-Trip


Been super busy lately. Too busy to blog. OK, I exaggerate, and I’ve probably used that excuse before. But here’s what’s goin’ on….

Our impending cross country RV trip is inching up closer and closer! In an attempt to not go into total panic mode in the middle of June, we’ve been trying to take care of stuff now. So freakin’ much to take care of!!

Just for starters, here’s a look at my little “To Do” list. Somehow, road-tripping has become quite complicated. And, notice how most things on the “to do” list involve money flying out of our pockets. What with that?!

1. Buy bug screens for the RV

2. Buy Tire Pressure Monitoring System for the RV

3. Remove one of the seats from the RV

4. Have more solar panels installed on the RV (looking like we’ll be driving 1150 miles out of our way to have this done, but hey, always wanted to visit Portland, OR)

5. Download apps to help us find campgrounds, dump stations, diesel fuel, and places to sleep for free (Walmart parking lots, etc.)

6. Put together an RV tool kit and roadside emergency kit

7. Buy rain ponchos (25 years in Southern California, so we’re ill-prepared for anything but sun & a few clouds)

8. Gather up important medical info for us and the dogs

and a biggie….#9….prep our house to rent it out while we’re gone…can’t begin to explain all the stuff that needs to be done to make this happen!!!

and the biggest biggie…#10…plan our basic route. This seems easy. It’s not. We’ve changed our route a bunch of times already. And today we decided that we will most likely drive up to Portland first to have a really top-notch job done on a solar panel upgrade. Besides this latest thing, some part of every day is spent trying to figure out what route to take. There’s so much to do and see across the USA and Canada, that it is sometimes overwhelming trying to pick what we think will be the most scenic and the most fun route.

So there you have just ten of the things on our “to do” list. The list is endless!! It’s all fun stuff, and much of it, once we hit the road, won’t even matter….figuring out which clothes to bring, which baseball hats to bring, how short to cut my hair before we leave….won’t matter at all. We’ll be road-tripping, and that is all that will matter!!


I Have A Dryer Sheet Tucked Into My Shirt…Now What?


I’ve been busy…real busy. Been working on our plans for the big cross country trip. And ya know what has been of the utmost concern to me? Bugs. Bugs that bite. Bugs that just annoy. Bugs, gnats, noseeums.


I’ve lived in Southern California for more than 25 years, and I’ve all but forgotten about how, in other parts of the universe, bugs can be quite pesky. Take my last trip to Asheville, NC…..by time I left that place, my legs were freakin’ covered in itchy bug bites. Pretty much sucked.


So now, I’m realizing that, when we go travelling this summer, I could be in for a spankin.’ Therefore, I’m spending a substantial amount of time researching how to keep the bugs at bay. The largest amount of suggestions so far, have come from my on-line friends at http://www.airforums.com  (all things Airstream). Got some interesting ideas from those peeps, which gets me to why I have a dryer sheet stuffed in my shirt.


A couple people on the forum discussion, swore that dryer sheets keep away bugs. As luck would have it, or unluck, there’s been some weird little black bugs flying around my house lately. I don’t know what they are or where thy are coming from, but here they are. They are tiny, and annoying. Perfect!


I bought a small pack of dryer sheets yesterday. Didn’t even open the box, and the odor could kill a horse. Sorry, I just don’t like the overly strong, pungent, fake flowery-like stink. But I figure, if this works, I can get used to the smell.


So, I’m sitting at my computer, and here comes a couple little buggies. I tore open the box of dryer sheets, and stuffed one into the top of my t-shirt. 1/3 tucked in, 2/3 sticking out, like a napkin (not like I use a napkin, but some folks, usually men wearing crisp white button-down shirts, do).


I’m practically choking on the fumes. Ugh. These sheets must super-charged with weird chemicals. And, apparently, the little black bugs are thinking the same thing, ’cause I haven’t been bothered by one in about 15 minutes! Woohooo!!! Maybe this actually works!!


Experiment #1 complete! Tomorrow I’m gonna try placing some dryer sheets by my balcony doors to see if they can altogether keep the bugs from coming in.


At the suggestion of some others on the Airstream forum, I also bought some tea tree oil. Something else that, in my opinion, is uber stinky. I might try that tomorrow too. Mark hates the smell of tea tree oil too, and told me it’d for sure repel him. Not my intention, but hey, if it also keeps the bugs away, I’m going with it!!



Jello…A Gateway Drug


Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about Jello. That’s normal, right?


Swimming makes me think about Jello, and I’ve been swimming a bunch in the last couple of weeks. And now, every time I think about our RV, I think about Jello.


And because I’ve been thinking so much about Jello, I’ve really had lots of time to analyze a lot of stuff about it, and about its role in my life. And I have come to the conclusion that Jello is one of those so called “gateway drugs!”


In the Beginning There Was Jello

When I was a kid, I was a competitive swimmer. Way back then, it was a fairly normal practice for us kids to bring small boxes of jello to our swim meets, and to actually eat the stuff right out of the box. The “science” behind this, was that the sugar would give us energy. True, in the most basic sense. Just needed another 20 years to evolve into a sports nutrition/energy plan that actually worked!


Anyway, this is how it went down….first you’d lick your index finger, then stick it into the open package of Jello. The jello granules would stick to your finger, and then you’d lick the sugary stuff off of your finger. And then you’d repeat the process.


Did I mention that you’d share your package with 2-3 of your swim buddies? Yep. Double dipping at its best. Perfectly acceptable in the 1960’s and 1970’s!


And so began my long-time like of Jello. Not LOVE. Just LIKE. Since my competitive swim days, I believe I’ve had a normal relationship, and normal consumption rate, of Jello.


Then There Was Booze

Right around Halloween time in 2013, is when my relationship with Jello changed dramatically. At a Halloween party, I was reintroduced to Jello shots. These were not the run-of-the-mill college Jello shots. These were sophisticated grown-up Jello shots. More refined, more delicious than I remember them ever being back in the day.


And Now There Is The Airstream

I’ve spent the past 5 months obsessing about those Jello shots from Halloween. Can’t get them out of my mind. And then I had one heck of a bang-up idea.


I’ve decided to make Jello shots to take with us on our RV trips! It’s gonna be, like, my gimmick…my thing…an ice-breaker at campgrounds….my little party on wheels. This is gonna be great fun!!!


I just bought some jello and some booze so I can do some recipe testing. Once I make a batch, I’ll have to see how many I can store in the tiny RV fridge. I do want to leave  room in there for some food.


Now you can see why I’ve had Jello on the brain lately. Swimming = thoughts about Jello. RV road trips = thoughts about Jello.


If you run into us on the road, come over, say hello, get a couple Jello shots. We are actually only lite drinkers/shooters, so these are really meant to be shared with our fellow campers, glampers, and travelers!


So Party On, and Long Live Jello!


The Great Swim Race….Smackdown @ the YMCA


The funniest shit happens to me when I go to the pool. Yesterday I got to race against a remote controlled speed boat. Me, lane #5. Speed boat, lane #2.



There I was, minding my own business, gettin’ my lap swimmin’ on, in a luxurious lane all to myself. I noticed the strangest thing a couple lanes over from me. Three guys in street clothes, standing on the deck, were launching a small remote controlled speed boat into lane #2.


I’m estimating the boat was about 16″ long, and a real beauty, as far as fake toy remote controlled water craft go. This is the YMCA, after all, so you know they’re not lettin’ in any trailer trash or riff raff with broken down water craft.


I yelled over to the guys,

That’s cool. How fast does that thing go?


They replied by puttin’ the petal to the metal to show me, and the boat took off like a bat out of hell. And then one guy yelled,

The fastest lap, so far, is twelve seconds


Twelve seconds! That’s fast. Faster than I swim. But I couldn’t help myself, ’cause I’m a non-recovered competitive freak, and I yelled back,

I want to race it!


And that was that. Game on! Boat in lane #2. Me in lane #5. One length of the pool. Winner take all (all of nothin’ except for bragging rights!)


The count down began….3….2….1….GO! And I swam my little heart out to the other end of the pool, taking only one breath along the way. And I touched the wall and looked up. And I could see the little boat in lane #2, still about 8 feet from the wall.


I raised myself up out of the water, pumped my fist in the air, and shouted out a great big WOOOOHOOOO  (just like the Olympic swimmers). I’d won!!!


But wait. This couldn’t be right. They must have let me win. I asked if they had run the boat on a slower speed. To which they replied,

No. We ran into the lane rope about half way.



I laughed loudly, and then yelled back,

Well, I am still the champion, unless someone disputes it!!


The woman in the lane next to me laughed. And she told me she’d watched the whole race. And, she told me that I was ahead of the boat the whole time, even prior to it crashing into the lane rope. Just sayin.’


So much fun to be had at the pool. I don’t understand why people tell me that lap swimming is boring! Maybe if it’s boring, you’re just not doing it right!! Come to the pool with me. I guarantee something weird and wonderful will happen!

Drive It Like You Stole It, Baby!!!!



That’s me. Driving it like I stole it…..NOT!!! More like, grasping tightly onto the 10:00 and 2:00 position at the stop light!


Since test driving our RV before we bought it, I have yet to get behind the wheel. And although Mark test drove it on the surface streets, parking lots, and freeways, I only test drove it in a parking lot. Was too scared to take it out on the streets!


Yesterday, all that changed. It’s time I learn to drive Fiona, and not just in a parking lot! So out I went, into the real world of traffic, right turns, left turns, stopping and going, and even making u-turns.



Mark likes to drive. I don’t really so much love driving. I’ve been perfectly happy to let him drive so far. That puts me in charge of the music, and of yelling at him when he’s speeding. It works for us me.


But, as we’re planning our big cross-country trip, it became obvious that Mark can’t do all the driving. Well, he could, but he’d be exhausted. I really need to be able to help out, even if I just take over little one-hour shifts so that Mark can lay down in the back with the dogs, and rest. So, there’s that.


And then there’s this. Recently, a fellow Airstreamer and active poster on one of the Airstream on-line forums, was traveling with her husband, and was quite a ways away from their home, when he had a massive cardiac event. He died a few days later. And there she was, far from home, in an RV park with the Airstream, alone.


This amazing woman shared the experience on line as it unravelled. It was heartbreaking to read her story. And it was a wake up call as well. As she wrote about suddenly being alone with her RV, and having to do everything that her husband always did….emptying holding tanks, driving, etc….it really brought home the fact that I need to be able to handle things on my own, just in case.


And there you have it. The reasons why I am finally learning to drive Fiona.


Fiona is actually quite easy to drive. But it will take time to get used to her 25’+ (including bike rack on the back), and driving using only the two side view mirrors and the rear view camera. The rear view camera…you know when they say, “Objects may be closer than they appear,”….yea…that’s an understatement! If a car looks like it’s 25′ behind you, it’s basically right on your sorry old lady ass.


My next lesson in self-sufficiency while RV’ing, is going to be “Emptying The Holding Tanks 101.” That’s gonna be a fun one!!