Mike’s Follow Up…

Today, we made the trek down to the VA hospital in Lake Nona from New Smyrna Beach for Mike’s follow up appointment. We are at an RV Park in NSB temporarily until our “home base” campground gets power restored. Thanks Irma!

On the route, we saw so much flooding and many trees toppled over by the strong winds. We were shocked at the debris and the damage that had been done so far inland.

His follow up appointment went just about how we expected….”It could be this or that, but we need to run some more test.” The tests are scheduled and our waiting continues.

I will tell you that I’ve been a bit “down” about the whole thing. It could be the stress of trying to escape Irma’s grasp and having just returned to Florida only to have to move around waiting for power. However, I won’t complain. I’ve seen dozen of posts of people still waiting for their power to come back on and they’re staying positive about the situation.

We’ll just keep pressing on since life never goes how we plan. On a happy note, we do get to have a couple days at Fort Wilderness for my birthday; it will be a welcome time of relaxing and having fun.

Yours Truly,

Marlie

 

Adventuring in the mountains

We have enjoyed being near Asheville, NC for the last two days. Tomorrow, we will get our rig into travel mode and start the journey south towards Central Florida. From what I’ve heard, the area we live in was hit pretty hard by Hurricane Irma. To be quite frank, I don’t want to go back. The weather here in NC is gorgeous, and the people are so friendly. Tennessee had friendly people too. Mike and I kept commenting to each other that we live in the wrong state. Why are people in Florida so unfriendly? One reason could be the age difference at most campgrounds and rv parks. Our family sticks out like a sore thumb at most places. That’s my theory anyway.

Today, we found a great hiking trail in the DuPont State Forest. We hiked to a stunning water fall that a scene from the first Hunger Games movie was shot under.

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After our hike down the mountain, this was our first glimpse at the Bridal Veil Falls.

We decided to bring Chocolate along with us on our four mile plus hike, and he did shockingly well. We did take turns carrying him sometimes. He made it known that he was too tired to go on any further by promptly plopping to the ground.

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The family taking a quick break on our trek.

Buttons did well, of course, she is a trail dog through and through. I really believe she would love to live in the woods somewhere, chasing rabbits and drinking stream water. But at the end of the day, she would come home for her soft, comfy sofa to sleep on.

Emma and Jensen did the longest hike that they have ever done today. Although the trail was marked as “easy to moderate”, we did have the challenge of walking back from the water fall up steep grade hills. Neither kid complained or whined; they just kept walking and rested when they needed to. Mike and I were so proud of them!

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The water fall was just breathtaking. Mike, Emma and Jensen went up the falls to see the place where the Hunger Game scene was filmed, and I kept the puppy back to give him a little break.

Tired and hungry, we trekked back to the truck and made our way towards our campground. We had a marvelous day.

Yours Truly,

Marlie

In the path of Hurricane Irma

After much discussion and debate, we decided to evacuate ahead of Hurricane Irma’s path of destruction through Florida. For the first few days of hurricane coverage, it seemed as though the worst of the storm would be on the east coast and that inland areas would be spared. But, Thursday afternoon, the track stared to shift more towards inland Florida, and we decided to head out of town.

I seriously think that my husband, Mike, would have weathered the storm by sitting outside in a lawn chair, but I’m not the “bring it on” kind of gal.

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Leaving Florida behind

We packed up our rig and left Friday morning for North Georgia. The trek north was pretty slow going. Since reports of insane traffic were coming in, we opted to program our gps to avoid any interstates. We passed multiple Florida National Guard units on their way south, and we saw so many people prepping for the storm. In Florida, we had no trouble finding diesel for our Dodge truck, but once we crossed the state line into Georgia, diesel was hard to come by. We found a small town two hours into the state that had one pump with diesel, and we waited in line for about twenty minutes to get it.  It took us about twelve hours of actual driving to arrive at my aunt’s house in Gainesville, GA.

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Even the small towns on our route through back roads had traffic and often no fuel.

Her house sits on a “small” hill, but to our rig, it might as well have been Mt Everest. Mike and my brother, John, who also evacuated with his wife and kids, were able to position the rig for us to stay overnight, but the jacks in the front of rig were extended out as far as they could go. It seemed precarious to even walk around in the rig that night, and I was nervous to even turn over in our bed. But everything was fine.

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Our rig on a small Georgia hill.

We woke up the next morning to cousins, aunts and uncles. It was a fun day of hanging out with family. We did decide to keep moving since Hurricane Irma was predicted to bring strong winds and possibly flooding to Georgia.

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Jensen, Emma with Chocolate, Logan and Bella

We drove up to Pigeon Forge, TN to try to get out ahead enough that Irma wouldn’t bother us too much. And that plan worked. Other than some light rain and some gusty wind, we had no issues with Irma. I will share some more of our TN stay in another post, but we are grateful that we made it far enough away from the storm in time.

We have heard from our family that stayed through the storm in Florida, and thankfully, other than no power and some downed trees, all of our family members are safe and sound.

Yours Truly,

Marlie

A visit to the VA hospital…

When I wrote the previous blog post about Chocolate, I was sitting in a waiting room at the Orlando Veterans Affairs hospital in Lake Nona. Mike was having a “routine” procedure that will hopefully identify some chronic issues he’s been having physically.

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Before

I gave him a hug as the nurses wheeled him off into another room, grabbed an iced chai latte for the wait, and found a sun lit room to write a blog post. I wrote about Chocolate’s first week home with us which was perhaps the only thing that could have distracted me from the anxious feeling I felt while Mike was having his procedure done. You see, I’ve never been on the opposite side of the hospital bed in our marriage. Mike was the one to see me wheeled away with each c-section I had for our kids, Emma and Jensen. This time, he was the one in the bed, and I was the one waiting. And although the testing wasn’t major surgery, it did make me nervous for him.

The Lake Nona VA hospital is a beautiful facility, and so far, all the times that Mike has had to go there for this or that, the staff have been quite lovely.

His procedure went according to plan, and we will know the results in a couple of weeks. Have you had to wait for results before? It’s riddled with anxiety. Meanwhile, he is getting no relief yet since he’s waiting for a diagnosis.

Patiently waiting for results when living life is somewhat hindered by a physical impairment is excruciating. We want to know what’s going on, and we pray that it’s treatable.

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After the procedure, Mike was still high on pain meds, and he was repeatedly asking for pancakes.

Testing went well, and we were able to enjoy a quiet meal together afterwards. Because he hadn’t eaten the day before the VA visit to get ready for the procedure, he was quite happy to eat.

Meanwhile, we’re waiting…

Yours Truly,

Marlie

The joys of having a puppy in an RV

If you follow our blog, you will already know that we adopted a puppy quite by happenstance on National Puppy Day. Tomorrow marks the one week anniversary of bringing this little guy to his new home.

Chocolate

I won’t even hesitate to tell you that I was not in favor of bringing a new dog into our home, but Mike, my husband, had promised our daughter, Emma, that she could adopt a dog when she was old enough to take care of one herself. And although I didn’t care for the idea, Mike and I want to always fulfill our promises to our kids.

I will admit that the puppy stage is one that I detest. Yes, I know, I may seem horrid, but the mess from the puppy does eventually subside. Then the struggle of potty training and just manners training in general is worth it!

For the past six days, Emma has done a beautiful job at caring for this little buddy. She learned very quickly that puppies are more work than she realized. She has done so well helping Chocolate adapt to our lifestyle and being patient, for the most part, with his mess.

We all have pitched in to help Emma. Jensen has been such an asset to his sister by taking Chocolate out to use the bathroom and wrestling with the little guy when Chocolate needs to burn off some energy.

Mike and I have both assisted Emma with dealing with frustration and the “how to’s” of puppy training. Overall, our family works very well together. It’s taken hard work and patience, but even in the just the last six days, Chocolate already feels quite at home. He’s a happy, healthy pup who loves to chew on sticks.

Yours Truly,

Marlie

 

How to deal with hard water hair…

Recently, I noticed a not so great change in how my hair felt. Now, this is nothing new. You see, with curly hair, I have absolutely no idea how my hair will act or feel on a daily basis. There’s not a certain way my hair should “look”; it’s just a daily toss up.

But this change was a little different than “Wow, it must be crazy humid today!”or “I thought my hair looked better before I got into the car. How did it change from the RV to the truck??” (I often have conversations with myself.)

My hair had seemed to be brittle and almost like hay….not cool at all. I wondered what could be the problem…hormones, not taking fancy hair vitamins, etc. Then it dawned on me: our RV park gets its water from a well. That’s it!

I instantly started doing some research and found that there are various methods of helping the “hard well water” hair problem.

One was having a water softener. Check!

Another was rinsing with vinegar. Um, yuck, that smell is the worst. Gonna pass on that idea.

Still another was to try a shampoo and conditioner for use with hard water.

Oddly enough, the day I did this research, we had gone to visit with Mike’s grandparents, and I mentioned to his grandma that I was having a “hard water hair” problem. She said that she went through the same thing, and she recommended Ion products to me.

I stopped the next day and picked them up from Sally’s Beauty Supply.

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I tried them that night and they helped instantly! How can this be? Well, I was surprised too! But, my hair felt much silkier after I used the Ion Hard Water shampoo and conditioner.

Even today, during a swim in the pool, my hair felt so soft and silky. Hallelujah for products that work!

I had to pass this along, just in case someone out there is battling the “hard water hair”. There is help and hope and a great shampoo/conditioner duo that will come to your rescue!

Yours Truly,

Marlie

How Book lovers survive RV life…

One of the biggest issues to me about RV space is how few books we can keep with us at any one time. All four of us love a good book, and sadly, a library is not feasible in our 450 square foot home. Let me tell you about some of the resources we found to ease this trouble.

First, a quick confession. I don’t care for ebooks…there, I said it…well, I typed it! A book doesn’t seem “real” to me without physical pages. However, the best way I have found to help with my “anti-ebook” mindset is audiobooks. I can still enjoy a wonderful story or informative work without compromising and reading virtual pages. I’m not sure why that is such an issue with me. Reading blogs, social media sites, etc don’t bother me, but a book in ebook format makes me cringe. I still have multiple books on my Kindle app that I haven’t finished.  One such app that I love to use for audiobooks is Hoopla. We easily connect our local library cards to this app, and a whole virtual library is at our finger tips. By the way, you can also read ebooks and listen to music through Hoopla. Of course, Audible is another great app for audiobooks. We connected to Audible through our Amazon Prime account to listen to channels for free. Winnie the Pooh, anyone? I have to give Spotify and YouTube honorable mentions for read-a-loud books. We regularly look at both of these sites for books.

Second, the physical, local library is a great resource to use. We usually have a “library day” during the week to get our “real book” fix. This past week we found Green Eggs and Ham, a book that I used to read to our kids when they were teeny tiny. We brought it home and read it again even though we all have it practically memorized. Local libraries work well for our family especially since we can renew them online with no problem. Goodbye library fines!

Third, we rotate our existing books. Yes, from time to time we sift through the books we currently own and replace them with something new. Our kids have a bookshelf of sorts under the entertainment area in their room. We try to go through these books fairly often to allow for new reads. We donate the books or give them to family and friends.

There you have it! We, the books lovers, find creative ways to enjoy books without toting them around the country with us.

Yours Truly,

Marlie