Monday, August 31, 2015


I had nearly forgotten four of us saw the optometrist last week. We wanted to get this done before we "hit the road." Three of us needed glasses.

Stacia saw the doc first and was fine.

Alex was next and was near-sighted.
Nolan told her his eyes were just fine, really good in fact. She said, "We'll see." What do you know? His eyes were worst than Alex's. He's enjoying the new glasses. He said he hadn't realized how many stars were in the sky. He must have wondered why we all liked to sit in the hot tub and watch the stars. ::snort::
I got chewed out. Over a year ago progressives were prescribed for me - I simply couldn't get used to them and kept wearing my readers. Now I have bifocals. They all told me that progressives are more "ascetically pleasing." If they give me migraines and make me throw up - they aren't the look for me.  I shouldn't have picked out glasses in the middle of a move...alone. They look suspiciously like red-wire-horn-rimmed glasses.  Supposedly they say, "I'm 50 and I'm fabulous. Get over the bi-focal thing."  I'm not quite sure that's the message I get from them - BUT I am seeing much better. Turns out I needed 250 in my readers and I got this steal of a deal at the Misawa BX a couple of years ago on 200's. I knew they were a bit fuzzy lately, but I wanted to use them all up....
In other news, we cleared our home in Olivehurst.
We returned Rachel's vacuum and two boxes of cleaning supplies we don't need to haul in The Caboose. It appears I have a "buy in bulk" obsession. Living in 268.5 (Michael says DON'T FORGET THE .5) may cure me of this.

AND, I got Eliana time as well as meeting the most adorable 9 month old girl, Tegan, in the spot next door. Yep - in one of those odd coincidences, a family we thought had moved away is right next door to us. That was fun. I wish we hadn't been so busy and could have sat and visited. Next week?

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Our First Night as Full Timers

We assured the Gherkins we will not often be setting up camp after 10 p.m.
I guaranteed all I would NOT make this mistake again. We were met with a strong smell of balsamic vinegar and lemon oil when we opened the door of The Caboose.

I'll have to find a better spot for these to travel.

I expressed my confidence to Michael and the Gherkins that things will feel much better when everything finds a home. For tonight, the priority is beds....which everyone found.

Yuuki was miffed to find her bed crammed in our room, but made the best of the situation.
 As did everyone else


Everyone was in bed by midnight. Tomorrow will be another busy day as we tie up loose ends, see a neurologist, turn over keys, pick up glasses and settle into our new 268 square foot home.

Saying Farwell to This Season

This home has been more than a shelter, it's been a respite for us during our time at Beale. It's  enough under our BAH t we were able to cover utilities. It's provided comfortable opportunities for Pizza and Games at G's, chapel fellowships, PWOC board retreats, hospitality to mission teams and travelers,  and numerous family Holiday gatherings.  We've loved the neighborhood, the hot tub, our neighbors AND living in 3200 Square Feet.
We've had a Gherkin-specific way of saying our goodbyes to a location  since Elmendorf AFB/Anchorage, AK (10 years).  We circle up, share our most challenging and our favorite memories from our time in said location, pray and commit to release the hard (forgive) and move on from the good. We don't want to ever be "stuck" - but to always live fully present where God leads us.

We've made good friends, watched Izaak propose to BreAnne, grieved the loss of two unborn grandchildren and welcomed Dakota into our lives. We've welcomed a daughter in law into our family and mourned her choice to leave our family.  I've been christened Gemma De'Etta by Joy, Michael's mentored two wonderful chaplains as they began their careers, we've loved on countless pre-schoolers and their mommies...and our little gal has learned not all girls are welcoming - the lesson to forgive and move on wiser and stronger will serve her well in the future. She also shared three names of girls who extended true friendship. She also worries about the opportunities for community as we move into our next season.
We've faced health challenges and learned God is truly with us in the midst of each and every Plot Twist.

Some Chaplain may have sang, "Let It Go," as we released our balloons and determined to move fully into the next season.


It IS Sunday; but there was NO WAY I was allowing ice cream, spoons and mugs into the kitchen. I picked up Hagan Daz when I purchased balloons....we enjoyed the splurge outside, near the hot tub, and continued to reminisce.

It was time to hook up The Caboose and move to Fam Camp. We arrived shortly after 10 p.m.

We're full timers!
Note - Michael says we will not release balloons at every campground. LOL


We optimistically believed we would finish the Jewelflower house by 5 or 6 p.m.
Michael suggested we try to get into the Beale Fam Camp a day early. He and the boys took a trip to the landfill, while Stacia and I tackled the oven and pantry. When they returned, we headed to the base with a "final" trip for Airmen's Attic - Cheri, you rock.  We stopped in and secured the last full hookup for two nights at Fam Camp. We grabbed some lunch and headed home to finish. As I said, the plan was to conclude by 5 p.m. and have a couple of hours to organize The Caboose.

7:00 p.m. came and Michael was wrestling with the pump on a irritable carpet shampooer. We were done with everything else, so I headed to the trailer.

WOW! Nolan has been named the "packinator." He has inherited Michael's packing genes. He managed to fit all the food from the freezer and fridge into our small trailer freezer/fridge. The rest of the trailer was less impressive. I couldn't walk in the door....our mattress topper crowned the top of a huge pile on our mattress. I set to work, clearing a path and making beds.

At 8:00 p.m. we declared ourselves done. There are a few things we'll take care of tomorrow afternoon - wipe down the counters (left bleach pen working on grout), touch up the downstairs bathroom, haul the last garbage and move the kayak.
Michael moved Yuuki to the back yard as he shampooed the downstairs and she was irritated at us. I think she was sure she was about to be left and kept whining and trying to get back inside.

We're Moving Into the Caboose

Strange can deep clean say a toilet and if one continues to live in the house....well.....I've cleaned tubs and toilets two and three times....Michael suggested we call fam camp and see if we could get a space a day early. We could.

We're starting our full time adventure tonight. Not sure how we'll sleep in the trailer as we've been busy making this place shine and have a lot of organizing to do in THERE.

Michael sees a neurologist up at UC Davis tomorrow a.m. we'd appreciate prayers for answers or renewed confidence in the course we're on. The meds for essential tremors haven't helped at all - and he's at double the dose he began. His blood pressure is amazing, however.

Until we find wifi....

The adventure begins. Photos to come AFTER we are out of the house.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Cleaning and Playing

We worked hard and long today. We cleared rooms, mopped, vacuumed, touched up paint, washed walls and baseboards, cleaned a zillion toilets and sinks - Michael is shampooing carpets while I blog.

Tomorrow we will finish the kitchen, freshen things ups, organize the trailer and make  a trip to the landfill.

Yuuki is totally "done" with all of us and our crazy ways.  Her chair goes tomorrow.

Maria picked me up at 5:00 p.m. and we headed for Roseville. We had a lot to celebrate - Cynthia's husband will soon be home, Maria was promoted and Holly has a birthday coming up. It was a fun evening with dinner, laughter, dessert and even a quick trip to replenish PWOC's coffee stores.  Each of these women is a jewel and dear to me. We missed those who couldn't make it.

Mindee, Stephanie, Me, Holly, Megan, Maria, Cynthia and Katie
 Dessert at Coldstone - Hunter needed ice cream

It was fun to get out and play. I'm going to miss having a community of friends to visit with face to face when we go on the road.

Note - O.K. I won't leave this post without an explanation of Cynthia's expression.  In order to get this shot, "someone" had to get in front of all the ladies in a packed line, and "someone" may have had to snuggle in and get a bit friendly with the gentlemen in front of the ladies in order to get the do what you have to do. I love these ladies.

Friday, August 28, 2015

We'll Make It

A few days ago my boyfriend encouraged us by reporting, "We're 80% done." I must say THIS is the longest 20%  I've experienced.

We continue to move things from the living room to the trailer. I suppose it WAS progress as the piles used to be in three places.  We needed to repack the back. They put a lovely pass through storage bin at the very end of the trailer. Trouble is you aren't supposed to pack heavy at the end of a trailer.....we're busy rearranging.

I love the way this storage area in the back is shaping up. Four of the big drawers are still empty and may provide a bit more personal storage space, if I can keep from filling them. The best thing is all of these bins were re-purposed from the home.
Gumby and Joy grace the other end of the storage space. Both essentials in this season.
Semper Gumby - Always Flexible
The small kitchen has two drawers. I'm going to have to make use of these containers...though I have no cupboard or shelf big enough to store them.  Again, as a person who dislikes visible clutter, I am taking deep breaths and choosing to laugh at the adventure. Small home, huge living space - all of nature.

Yuuki is determined to stay in the Caboose. 

About mid-day we took all the stuff that will ride in the van to Matt and Rachel's.  The van will be full going to Oregon when we check out of here.  This is why we're looking for a bike solution (and I have photos of the bumpers for a post on that some day).

We stopped by Staples (looking for  a 1 watt wifi antenna - no luck) and the post office. The mail box key was inadvertently packed. They told us we should have left it for the landlord to buy a new one. WHAT?????

We sorted through the pantry and loaded several big boxes to take to the girls - college kids (Arielle and Katie) always need food. Vegan kids (Krista and Arielle)  will be happy to score my pantry.  Sometime in the process Michael remarked, "If I knew retirement was going to be this much work, I wouldn't have retired."

Finally, this afternoon, we started cleaning this house. Walls are spot cleaned, nail holes being filled, window tracks in process.....and while this went on Stacia and I went in search of a Laundromat in Wheatland. I enjoyed a conversation  with a gal who spoke no English, yet was extremely helpful. Laundry knows no language barriers. It was HOT. Took 2.5 hours to do 10 loads of laundry. We were dehydrated when we left. Lesson learned - laundry early or late in the day.

The arrival of clean clothes was properly heralded and then came the realization  most of us have some more pruning to do in our wardrobes if we can go 2 weeks without laundry and still have all the clothes in the Caboose.

By this time I was getting out and out sick. I had to cancel dinner at Matt and Rachel's and I wasn't happy at all about it. This was my last good chance to get Gemma De'Etta snuggles from Elianna and fun with Joy and the boys. Michael and the kids headed over....and Rachel helpfully sent photo messages during the night. It really WAS fun - helped me feel I was part.  The night was perfect - everyone needed to have a bit of fun - but we didn't have a lot of time for social pleasantries...Matt and Rachel are close enough not to be offended when I had to cancel and they could leave when they needed to.
I thought this was plain mean - love the photo though!
He's still got the touch

Rachel sent this home! I love it. This year's PWOC theme is surely appropriate for us as we uproot from military life and "normal" living. If you look to the left under the roots you'll see "Beale AFB." This cup will also remind me of the fantastic ladies I've been able to fellowship with for two years. Rachel designed it - which makes it even more precious!
Two days and a wake up!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Moving Things to the Caboose

Our goal today was to sort through the piles of stuff left in the house. We had taken EVERYTHING out of the trailer, this allows us to see how much space we have, touch each piece and decide if it goes with us or is donated. We are working on our second donate box (after the 4 van loads we've already donated).....anyway....I didn't think it would EVER fit. Take a look at the "piles".....
In the living room
Guitar, Ukalele, Microscope, Telescope, Warm Fuzzy Blanket
In the laundry room
The rolling totes are to be our ottomans until we save up to buy ones we want

 In our bathroom
The stuff in the tub came from the trailer so we had something to sleep on
I was slightly panicky at the thought of all this stuff still HERE after the movers left.  Michael is the voice of reason...there were many empty totes and tubs to use for organizing so the piles weren't as big as they looked. We ARE taking stuff to the girls. We have things here for friends. We are also taking some things to my parents. This allows us to get to things we may need before we are ready to take delivery of ALL our household goods - things like school books, van seats and suitcases. It's been a god-send as we find things the movers missed to know we can stuff it in a suitcase and take it to Oregon. LOL
We also had eight years of camping gear in the trailer to sort through so some of it was sure to be "non-essential." I'm sort of surprised there is only one little box full for donation at this point.

I was SURE we didn't need these - a mosquito hat and a snowsuit. If we take a wrong turn and in up in either the Amazon or the Arctic; we're prepared. We don't plan to be anywhere near snow or ice in the winter - but you never know. Michael pointed out we HAVE gotten quite lost before - it's part of the adventure.  Nonetheless, I must tease.

The kids worked HARD today. Here, Stacia moves the microscope and telescope to the Caboose.  My favorite two "moves" of the day was 1. the Big Wave curtain from the Butler's Pantry to  the Caboose - the bunk room is behind it and, 2. The "Welcome" decal on the front door  - taken directly from the front door of our current home.

Even Michael was stumped by this. We THOUGHT it was a screened room for the awning - but it's not the right shape. We settled on a mosquito netting for a canoe....then I found the hammock. We decided we aren't going to be camping, rather living, in nature. IF we find a place to hang the hammock that is THAT infested with mosquitoes, we'll stay inside. 

Yes, I did bring the essentials for Holidays....the wooden "wreath" works for Christmas and Easter, the birthday hat is in, Amon's Adventure, flags for each season  and the Resurrection eggs. 

Things ARE fitting much better than I expected.  We'll have some stuff to take to Matt and Rachel's so we have room to fill the Caboose and van with things going to Oregon...but we think it will all fit when we get back and settle in.

I did learn today one should not remove labels from plastic totes with heat guns. ::grin::

Michael also fixed my closet. I'll see what fits in it tomorrow.

Our goal is to finish the trailer in the morning and begin cleaning our current house in the afternoon. We turn over the key on Monday.

OH - we can't find the mailbox key. That's going to hurt. We'll call them in the a.m.

Three days and a wake up until we become full-timers.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Down Day

Michael declared today would be a "down day."  We got a surprise call from Discount RV Repairs in North Highlands - the Caboose was ready! We drove up to pick er up. The AC looks great, all the work looks nice....done 2 days early (6 days before original date given)....and about 1/2 the price of the quote from the jokers in Yuba City.  I can't believe they had great Yelp reviews. Lesson learned?

Not an actual photo of the Caboose - we have significant delaminating in the front
As we drove home with the Caboose, Michael got a huge grin on his face. "We're going to do this! In four days."  It was worth the work to see the total joy on his face in that moment....and that expression will keep us moving through the next four days of hard work to actually pull away from our "home."
Other fun for a down day - we checked out a historical spot we'd drive by for two years.

We finally grabbed lunch at 3 p.m.  I checked out the mega blenders at the BX and then met the family at the bowling ally.  (Photos compliments of Stacia).

Our next stop was Lowes for a quart of eggshell white paint, Sam's for a trailer size grill and Walmart....Walmart was a bust. We're looking for a 1 watt wifi antenna....need to find time to look at other places. We did get the measurements for a folding table we plan to use in the van while traveling.  Oh and Michael picked up ICE CREAM.....somehow tonight feels like a Sunday?

Four days and a much to do...but Michael says 80% of the work is behind us.