Saturday, July 16, 2016

2016 Southern OR Kite Festival

Crowds, shuttles, sunscreen, wind, Charlie Chaplin, Peter Pan, kites of all varieties, giant wind spinners, Winnie the Pooh, vendors and loud speakers, all add up to create the Southern Oregon Kite Festival in Brookings, Oregon.  This was the 24th year of the festival - always the third weekend in July. 

I would love to give you more details on the types of kites flown - but we're newbies at this. We didn't see some of the fun ones showcased on the website, but we did see plenty of kites and enjoyed a great day out and about in the local area. 

The Train Kites flown by the Bay Area Sundowners were fantastic

In the future, we'd take a cooler (you never sure if those will be allowed at group events), chairs or a blanket to sit on, hats and money for vendors. However, we kept this outing very cost effective. The festival is free. The shuttle is free. We had $4 cash on us...and Nolan found some Kettle Corn we shared as we waited for the shuttle back to the parking lot.

We stopped at Dairy Queen for eats and treats before heading home. The video below showcases a bit of the day. 

Friday, July 15, 2016

#WYFF - The Pharmacy

Michael gets healthcare through the VA. The kids and I have been Tricare Prime. There are NO Prime doctors in Crescent City, CA or Eugene, OR. These are two cities where we have grandparents and wouldn't mind visiting to take care of medical issues.  I called and talked with a Tricare rep who CONFIRMED we are not near a Prime area. We changed our insurance to be Standard. The big difference is we now have a $300 annual family deductible...but we do NOT have an annual family PREMIUM. Since we had to pay a co-pay for docs on Prime anyway,  this is about mox-nix. I'll track it for a year and see. With Standard we don't have to have a referral from a PCM to be seen at civilian docs, we DO have to find a doc who is a "network provider" to be most cost effective. I found a group here in town and made an appointment for Stacia. The rest of us will wait until October for a new fiscal year. It turns out the only Tricare provider in town (which I could find) is in a county community health center. This was a new experience for a child who has known nothing but military clinics her whole life. 

Another new experience was waiting 4.5 hours for our meds. This was NOT the pharmacy's fault. The doctor had not filled out the form correctly - during our wait we saw many others with the same problem. The pharmacy calls the doc and gets the info they need if a doc gives insufficient or incorrect info.....our doc wasn't returning calls. I called, they called, they faxed, and we waited. When it did go through, it was a drug Tricare wouldn't approve. We had been told it would be $100 - that will go a long way to our deductible. ::snort:: When it wasn't approved, the pharmacist found me an OTC med, same med/different name, for $20.  I think I get why Tricare said no to this one. LOL 

While in town, Stacia and I also bought groceries for Mom G, stopped by ST. Vinnies to deliver some things Mom G was ready to get rid of and picked up meds for Mom G.

We had been told Michael qualified for an expedited disability application with Social Security???? It sure doesn't seem like it would be a benefit. We can wade through the system and they'll deduct whatever they award from what the VA awarded. I ended the visit by telling them, "I don't believe we'll pursue Social Security assistance at this time."   This may be something to research. It didn't make a lot of sense to me.  The fun element of the visit was the security guard. As he was searching bags he noticed my folder with Beale AFB on it. Turns out he was a fire dog there in the 1980's. We had a great conversation. 

Thus went our Friday. Stacia and I didn't plan on being in town all day. We didn't finish that corner we began....but Michael and the boys did get a lot done outside. 

#WYFF (Where's Your Feet Friday) is sponsored by Fulltime Families. View more of our Friday exploits by clicking the #WYFF tab above. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Swimming and Cookies

Surprise, surprise! The bridge over the river to Mom G's has been experiencing a "full closure" yesterday and today. We needed a down day and slept away most of yesterday.

Today, Michael wanted to swim down the river. The kids and he have new masks and fins - they needed to be broken in. Stacia opted to stay at the Caboose and I stayed with her. These three enjoyed a 3 hour swim from the middle fork of the Smith River to the Jed Smith State Park.  They swam down to Mom G's - stopped to visit and check in - and then continued on down to the state park. Stacia and I drove down to get them.

We have one neighbor who hasn't warmed up very nicely. They are elderly and come and go. Stacia determined we needed to bake them cookies today. I was skeptical. I've felt a bit intrusive as our overtures haven't seem to be very welcomed. But - we DID have a whole day free.....and she pointed out she hadn't baked COOKIES from "complete scratch" since we moved into the Caboose.

Stacia's instincts were right. She took them to the neighbors and they said, "Thank you!," over and over before she could leave. She had more cookies in the oven. They even waved at us as we left to pick up the guys from their river adventure.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Our Ever Changing View

The Hiouchi RV Resort is the closest campground to Mom G's. It's our current home.  We chose our space with care. We thought about the other side of the park - near the restrooms, duck pond, and open fields - but we were told the fields fill up with lots of tenters in the summer. We ended up behind a building - not real lovely -  BUT a great way to hide our bikes and such behind the caboose.  We're in the older section of the park. We have wider spaces, most stay on the other side, and no one seems to knows about the dumpster on this side of the park. In other words, it isn't overflowing!
This is twice as wide as many spots - see the building? Do the trees give
the effect of nature?  We've begun watering our site - hoping for green. 
Before summer truly began we were pretty isolated on this side of the park. We had a camp host, elderly couple and a couple of road construction workers. A fairly respectful and quiet group.  They told us they put traveling groups over here - and they come and go quickly.  Which held true until after the 4th of July.  Here are a few shots of "our site." 
What could Stacia be up to? 
Lamps at each site make for good reading lights

I've really come to love this view! The sun coming over the mountain in the morning is beautiful. This is the view from the table outside our door. It's a lovely view. It adds a relaxing touch to meals.
I'm very aware of dead trees these days and this view could be improved! 
Our view is, however, ever changing! 

We like it best without the fiberglass and wheels...on the other hand, we have enjoyed getting to know a variety of people as they come and go outside our window.  This week we've toured a Monaco Knight and a Forest River Charleston - both lovely Class A's. Last night, a gentleman preparing to leave this morning brought Michael shower tokens! The day before someone left a bike rack. We tracked them down online and they said they "may" stop by on their way south, but if not, it's ours. This morning I found SEVEN SHOWER TOKENS on our picnic table outside the caboose. I've decided, instead of bemoaning the robbery of our view....I will enjoy the adventure of the ever-changing view. I know it will stabilize in the fall and winter.  Instead of being disgruntled the rest of the world is traveling, I'll travel through their stories. 

I still don't love the sound of diesel engines warming up at 0530 - but I'm getting there. ::wink:: 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Having Fun

Our neighbor at the park last night was a fun conversationalist. He owns an industrial coating company which makes things for Boeing, Douglass and other such companies. He was traveling with his son's family (5 children).  He gave Michael and I a tour of his Monaco Class A... They talked again this morning. I was tickled when he gave Michael some colorful advice. He says we need to get out and have fun, and we need to do it NOW. He insisted we should consider taking out a loan for a Class A, go out and live it up for a few years and then sell it or let the bank have it back.  With the admonition to, "Go out and have fun - you won't get any younger," ringing in our ears, we headed off for a day of "fun work." 

It's hard to believe this is our 6th week here at Mom G's. In some ways it feels we've made no dent....and yet we're seeing we'll keep at it, a day at a time.  

About once a week we need a burn day. One of the neighbors is gracious enough to let us haul brush to his yard - and we burn whatever he has there along with  our today the guys worked on burning.  Yes, we have a permit.  I preformed as the mule to take a bit more brush down to the piles. 

Can you spot Alex in the brush - he's handy with the hose, while Michael and Nolan man the fire.

There were three piles like this to take care of today

Meanwhile, back in the house....Mom G was in the mood to help sort through this corner. I'm actually not sure why - but it was nice to see progress. This corner was full....couldn't see the floor. I didn't take a photo at the end of the day. The work bench on the right is cleared, all the tools and projects from Dad G have been moved out to his shed per Mom's request. Mom wanted to make this an art corner. I've got her paints and pencils in the drawer, canvas and models on top, one shelf filled with frames and such and under it are her sewing projects. I moved a rocking chair out,  moved the little ottoman in, made a little art and Bible research library on a small sideboard which you can barely see on the left, and bagged up many blankets and such which she was ready to take to ST. Vinnie's. I also hung a Chinese checker board she wanted hung. Our final project will be to empty one of the trunks and fill it with photos. We thought this would be easy - but when we opened the trunk instead of what she expected to find, we found Israel papers, books et al. It's going to take a bit of time.....but we've almost got this corner cleared. Our goal is to get the main living area organized ...the goal is NOT to get rid of her things, but to organize it so the space is safe and livable.

We had fun discussing the, Mom G tells Stacia about various doll clothes we found and she sent quite a few outfits home with Stacia.

We also got laundry done and  sheets changed....a productive day inside and out. All six of us felt good about the work at the end of the day. The very best type of day possible.  

The kids enjoyed an hour to swim in the river, Michael put away hoses and such and I came home to start dinner. I actually came home, took two Alieve, turned on a heating pad or two, and laid down for a bit before starting dinner.  I was simply too sore and tired to walk down to the river. LOL 

It was an upbeat evening as we all felt good about the day's accomplishments. 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Leaving Suburbia - Again

Our day began early.   By 0745, we were sitting outside the VA with another vet - all of us hoping to score the first 0900 appointment. All appointments are walk-in.  Jim wanted to see a different VSO than us;  we DID both score the first appointment of the day.  Our VSO is very encouraging. She stressed again  she'd never seen a claim go as quickly and smoothly as ours has - God has blessed us in the  midst of the storm.  She told us to give the VA and the Department of Defense a month to work out their kinks - if they don't she'll step in and get the ball moving. Basically, we're waiting for  the massive amount of paperwork to hit the right desk.

It's never fun to have others voice the prognosis for Michael; words like permanent and static still don't sit well. We chose joy today, over anxiety about the future.  We left the VA office in fairly high spirits and picked up the kids from the girl's home. We arranged to meet Mom, Dad and Lorri for lunch before we picked up Yuuki (who was sleeping over with my parents) and headed for the border.

And here we are....dinner is done....the van is unpacked....we visited Mom G....and we're settling down for a night around the fire.  We love to visit our family in Suburbia - they all have lovely homes. We love to get back to our simple life. I think we've become minimalists at heart.  (Except, of course, for techie items...I'm dreaming of a Go Pro at this point.)

Keep On Looking

It's no secret we've been looking at various options for a new home. Our trailer is showing some wear and tear - and our van is about done pulling the thing over the mountains. The doctors say we need to find a rig I can drive. I'm not comfortable pulling the trailer with the van. The van is  still running well, and we are in no danger of it exploding; but we think it wise to begin to consider options. 

There is a man in Tucson who is convinced he "has our motor home." Maybe - but we continue to look....and you never know what you will find when you look in Eugene, OR.  I could drive it, it has 2 stories, the custom artwork on the side appeals to me....but Michael drove on by.  I guess we need to keep on looking.