Saturday, March 25, 2017


A Saturday with no giant project on the horizon, no traveling, no outings, or appointments.  Yippee! We've been pushing HARD for three weeks in school and we NEEDED a DOWN DAY!!!! 

Our only project today was cutting this four inch memory foam mattress topper down to Stacia's new bunk size.  This will be her mattress; it's thicker than the ones that came with the RV. 

The sun shone a bit today, and we are learning to take advantage of  such rare happenings. We walked around the park. It's just about a mile around the park....another 7/10ths of a mile if one goes all the way to the road and watches the lambs. Yuuki and I did just that on our solo evening walk. 
A spot like this in AK would be perfect - I'd live in the barn
 No, this isn't just an obscure illustrates GREAT possibilities. It turns out one can FISH in this pond! To the left of Nolan is a dog park. Note the bench. I plan to sit on the bench and read, while Yuuki and Stacia play. They don't think there's any fish in the pond - but it's catch and release and Stacia will enjoy having it so close by. Now...if we can get some light rain or sun.....

I unearthed a DVD and game loaning closet, a book exchange, a pool table AND a fitness room in our explorations.  I am excited. I have really missed having a home gym....and my body certainly has not been happy with the lack of movement. I plan to make lots of use of both the easy walking area AND the fitness room. It doesn't have a lot - but it doesn't need a lot. We are scheduled to be here until the 22nd of July. I have goals for the next four months. There is also a mat and some weights.

I plan to get the boys out walking the park daily  and on the machines too - working towards their epic Alaskan hiking/camping trip with the big Gherkin boys this summer. Stacia is thrilled at the idea of working out with me.

It began to rain. The boys are doing a "Movie as Lit" class. They tried all week to get to The Maltese Falcon. I'm sure they REALLY tried - even though Stacia encouraged them by telling them it bored her to tears when she watched it with Arielle. As they didn't watch it, we planned to take it to Gma and Gpa's last night and watch it together. Alas, their DVD player wouldn't work. A rainy Saturday afternoon was the PERFECT time to watch The Maltese Falcon. 

But WAIT - Nolan went to put the DVD in and discovered an unexpected treat in the DVD jacket....Tim Hawkins NEW DVD, "Just About Enough." They didn't know we had ordered it, switched the DVDs, and have been WAITING to surprise them, when they'd finally watch the movie. BTW, "THAT'LL PREACH." You never know when God has a blessing waiting for you as you do something you'd rather not do.

FINALLY, today, we all watched it. Here the other two Gherkins see the switcheroo.  Stacia commented, "Hmmm....The Maltese Falcon has gotten much better than I remember." πŸ˜›

After dinner, next up was a  Duck's Basketball game. Yay Ducks - up by 14! This is the first time OR has been to the final four since 1939. πŸ€ Ducks - you know - University of Oregon!

Yuuki and I went for a 1 1/2 mile walk. πŸ‘πŸΎ

Stacia read.

The boys are playing Dominion now and I plan to go read as soon as I post this.

Self-care is not selfish!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Medical Update

Michael had three medical appointments and labs recently.

via google
We have repeatedly heard emotional and medical stress cause the symptoms of PD to take leaps and bounds in the direction we are attempting to avoid. The neurologist told us last week "maybe" some of the symptoms will lessen when the stress lessens....

I knew Michael was having more difficulty swallowing the past month and seems to be coughing, sputtering and choking more often. I did not put the dots together. The therapist said it is normal to lose ground during emotional and medical stress. I guess she thinks he's lost some ground. She suggested we put therapy on hold until we have the estate stuff under control, and it is no longer on his mind. She said the swallowing, the voice and more could all be temporary setbacks which will improve as stress lessens.  She felt  trying to push through with therapy while Michael is dealing with medical and emotional stress is counter-productive; it produces it's own stress.

Now, I should probably note we don't feel unduly stressed. We are practicing self-care. There ARE a whole lot of things going on - as there would be sure to be with a messy estate situation to figure out, losing a mom, and a mother-in-law fighting cancer.

Medical stress?  The neurologist told Michael the dystonia and increase in tremors, swallowing difficulty - those are Parkinsons. He said the other stuff is causing medical stress and to get the Primary Doc to figure it out. He stressed (see what I did there?) the importance of eliminating medical stress. Um.....

In December, Michael developed a rash. Around the same time he went from 4-6 hours of sleep, to 10 - 12 hours a day and feels EXHAUSTED ALL THE TIME. He's using the CPAP at least 8 hours a night.  Then came joint pain - in pretty much every joint. It's not the Gulf War/Fibromyalgia stuff - that is muscle pain, and he has plenty of that as well. πŸ˜’ At rest, his JOINT pain level hovers around 5; getting up and moving ratchets it up to 7-8. He's a good sport. Six months ago, he was told they don't like to give vets pain pills. They told him to take Tylenol. At that point, resting pain was around 3. Today she said, "Tylenol isn't helping at all, is it?" Um....She told him to switch to  Naproxen. If it helps, she knows it's inflammation. They also did labs and are talking about a referral to a rheumatologist. She can think of  two kinds of arthritis which may explain the craziness since December.  I helpfully shared if the VA isn't going to give relief for chronic pain, a vet is sure to self-medicate. This IS OR after all.

We don't want to add any type of rheumatoid arthritis to this picture, but we do want answers. We are not sure where this road is going and your continued prayers are appreciated.

Note: Michael felt some relief with Naproxen - showing it probably is something to do with inflammation. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Spring Cleaning - Inside and Out

We found our people!

I think we are going to like this spot. There are still no families "just our size and ages," but we've met two of the neighbors already and they seem friendly.

This "RV Resort" has an RV wash. Stacia and I had scoped it out before the guys arrived with our home. Evidently, others had scoped us out, scoping out the new digs. Michael pulled up and I was telling him about the wash - it seemed a great idea to WASH this thing before it was set we talked about it a neighbor came over and told us we could borrow his hose, and the brush from the RV wash and wash it in our site. He is a golf-cart driving host,  and assured us it would not be breaking a rule.

The shindig started with  me trying to wash the top and Michael deciding he'd do it himself. I was given the power of the hose!

Eventually, I was assigned the low spots, Nolan did the high spots, Michael had the hose, Alex had the camera and Stacia corralled Yuuki. Yuuki wanted to fight every big dog in the park. HOWEVER, she scored dog treats for Yuuki as she walked through the park.  

The Couple that works together....

It's nice to have a clean and shiny home again. Spring cleaning inside and out. We now know where all the scrapes, dings and touch up paint is on the body. 😁

Moving Day

There have been two truly horrendous days in our full-time journey. 😰

The day we moved into the Caboose. Michael and I shut the door on our 3200 SF home, opened the door to the Caboose and realized we couldn't even walk in the door. We needed some SERIOUS organizing and MORE downsizing. 

The day we transferred all our things from the Caboose to the motorhome was also horrendous. This was not quite as bad as that first day - but certainly full of overwhelming moments. 

Then there is today! 

We said goodbye to our home of the past couple of months. We experienced many unexpected things here....saying goodbye to Mom G, walking with Mom T through well as good things...selling the van, family visits and birthdays. It was good to be settled these months. 

We had some kitchen favorites, clothes, school books, food, and "stuff" to move into the motorhome. Nolan put the food away. The slides were in, making the drawers and closets inaccessible - most other things landed on on couches etc. 

I found this shot funny.  Seatbelts save keyboards!

Michael and the boys left with YUUKI (who is as bad as a toddler when one is trying to Spring Clean). They stopped by Les Schwab. 

Stacia and I were able to sweep one last time, enjoy the quiet and close out our time in this lovely home.  We headed up I 5 to register at our new site. Lest you think Stacia was forced to stay and clean, or LOVES to clean, you need to know....I picked up a 4 CD set of Greek Myths from the library and she wanted to ride in the Jeep so she could listen to more myths. 

We sold the van while house-sitting. This means all the things we used to store in the van needed to find homes in the motorhome. All but the two big, black garbage bags of things we took to ST Vinnies. 

We looked like one of THOSE families with things spread around our site, all storage hatches open and being sorted through, and stuff piled high on every horizontal surface. By evening all was in order again. 

It's good to be back in our tiny home. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Exchanging the Penny

We needed to return a few things to BreZaak before we move up I 5. We shamelessly pounded on the door until Izaak opened! Poor guy was taking a nap.  Bre and Bella were out for dessert "with the girls." 
Image may contain: 4 people, people smiling, people sitting and food

Talking with Zaak is always great fun - but I didn't snap a photo of the event. Bre and Bella returned and Bre exchanged the first 2017 penny of the year for a $5 coin. The rest of the kids will get a $1 coin as they find 2017 pennies....though most don't seem to find them these days. LOL  I believe Nolan found last year's first penny. 

Childhood traditions carry into adulthood! 

Hello Spring

We have enjoyed house-sitting. Our budget is plumper not paying a site rental. It's fantastic to be 2 min from the girls, their husbands and BELLA. It's ben a blessing to have  space to invite people over. Michael and I loved the sun room. Michael enjoyed being able to record various sports events - the voice command television remote was a fun novelty. We were happy, during the rainiest two months in our family history, not to have to schlep to bathhouses. It's been great for Michael to be able to work on repairs at the motorhome without us all underfoot. ::snort::

We wondered if these two months would be the death of full-time Rving - maybe we'd all enjoy being back in a stick and bricks home and just move to Alaska this summer and be done with it all. We find we still love our simple lifestyle. We're excited to move back into the motorhome. We are still dreaming of a "road trip across America," and this summer's trip up the AlCan.

I found Nadine's kitchen to be just about perfect - bigger than the RV kitchen but not overwhelmingly bigger. We loved the patio off the master bedroom - with the hot tub. These two months have helped us begin to think through what we are looking for in a future Alaskan home.

Michael spent the day finishing up a few more RV repairs. We began to spruce up the home to welcome John and Nadine home. 
Cleaning the Fridge
 In honor of spring, there was a break in the rain today.  Alex took advantage of the opportunity to mow the yard.
Go Alex! 
Last year spring cleaning felt puny in the Caboose - this year we get to spring clean a house and the motorhome. I'm in hog heaven. 😎

Michael brought the motorhome home with him.  Tomorrow we will load our things back into it and say goodbye to this season of house-sitting and hello to spring back in the Motorhome.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Bella Shops!

Bella's new eating habits have necessitated a new size in clothing. Mommy took her shopping - and she LOVES shopping for clothes.