Saturday, June 11, 2016

We're not in Idaho - Week 1 in Cresecent City

We looked forward to spending the summer in Idaho as Camp Hosts. This would allow us to see how many hours Michael could realistically work.  It would also give us "free rent," and allow us to build up a buffer in our budget.

We are not in Idaho.  In May, we accompanied Mom G  to a doctor's appointment where it was confirmed it was time to have more hands on the ground if Mom G were to have her wish of continuing to live in her home. We don't have a lot of extra moolah in the budget (understatement ::snort::), but we have time and the freedom to live where we need to live. This is a huge benefit of living full time in an RV. No one else is in a position to move down here.  We talked to an "RV Resort" (not sure what makes a park a resort) across the river from Mom G's. They have blocked out a site for us until the end of 2016 and will extend as needed.  Mom G has voiced she would like help with her "projects," that she knows the house needs to be "in order" because we're all worrying about it, and that Michael can "do what he needs to do" outside.

We are excited to be here. I was not prepared for the emotions.  Our year of traveling is certainly not going as planned. ::snort:: BUT we know this is where we need to be. There were also feelings of hoplessness when we were reminded how big the job is...and feelings of joy as we watch Stacia build a relationship with Mom G, and the boys willingly pitch in to help...for the past twenty years we have kept up with family as best as possible, helped out financially when we were aware of needs - but we have not been able to be a daily presence in our parent's lives. We are happy to be in a season where we can be a presence.

I want to be very careful about what I write about our days. We love and honor Mom G.  She is 87 years old (rapidly closing in on 88), and only recently quit driving. She lives alone in a home 13 miles from town. She has great neighbors - but the house and the property are a lot to keep up - for anyone.  She is in the process of sorting through things - and she lives in the same home her parents lived in. This is not an easy task. Each item is full of memories of days past...and her memory is SHARP. I wish mine were as sharp. My kids joke that I can't even remember who gave me what for last mother's day.  I digress. The stories she tells are priceless - this is a precious time. It is also a hard time - emotionally and physically. We're going to have to figure out how to pace ourselves and how to prioritize.

I filled the first few days inside the house with Mom G. We concentrated on daily upkeep things...dishes, laundry, changing beds, bringing in mail, rounding up garbage, cleaning the fridge and recycling. We visited the doctor, the bank, the pharmacy and the grocery store.  Michael and the boys began tackling the  yard....after a trip to town to buy yard tools and supplies. They  began with a tree that was threatening to pull down a power line (and several more were discovered), mowing,  and washing Mom G's car so it is a step closer to selling.

Where there's a mower, there must be an Alex....

More trees in power lines

I begged Michael NOT to climb the ladder - with his balance issues this would be a recipe for disaster - I can't face the idea of him out of commission. Nolan was a champ and rose to the occassion.....and Michael is looking for an opportunity to have help with a couple of the bigger trees Mom G wants taken care of....because they are beyond us....we're good but....

Work is interspersed with Patrick McManus around the fire at night....and the kids made it to the river twice this week. That's pretty sad as the river is only steps away; we need to figure out how to get them down there more often because we love their help, but we want them to make fond memories on the river too. 

Day three Michael decided to tackle a gnarly, big, dead tree which has fallen over. We sort of thought it would be a one day job. We've spent two and a half days on it and are about half done.  We're reclaiming the  yard....berries and a really NASTY thing called Cork Elm have grown up around the tree and are taking over the lawn. Stacia and I first came outside when Mom G was napping...then we decided to help...because this is a job where you see big progress right away.

THIS was the point where I thought we were about to reach the neighbor's fence.  Michael says it's still 15 feet ahead. 

We made some finds as we cut back into the brush - but this was the best! We put it to use. 

We made three big piles - Cork Elm (for buring - and here is Alex tending the little burn stove), thorn things and dead apple wood. 

We drug out big pieces to cut and stack, and we're thinking we'll need to rent a chipper or eco-dumpster, if they have those here. We'll get some quotes and see - right now we're doing what is cost effective - eventually we'll need to begin to look at ways to make it less labor intensive. LOL 

Saturday the kids worked from 0800-1300 and then we sent them to the river. Michael and I continued a few more hours. We haven't made the progress we hoped for - but we've made a small dent and we've realized this is going to be a sustained effort, and doesn't have to be accomplished in a week.

 Mom G also got 35 Walmart bags labeled and ready for us to drop at ST. Vinnie's. I've worked out a routine to entice Mom G to eat with little goodies...watermelon, muffins, banana, Chicken Divan, Veggie Pot Pie. Alas, she doesn't like hummus either. I am still the only hummus eater around.  Stacia and I  love the stories of Mom's childhood, and we've moved boxes and bags to where Mom G would like them. We will find a routine which takes into account fun and relationships, one focused a bit less on will be a great summer, fall, winter.....

Wildflowers from the park - and yes, they are fine with her picking them for me. 

There are woodpeckers outside the kids' bunkroom window

Creator and Guardian of the fire (no white gas, Don). 

I wanted to see what would happen, so I threw a handful of popcorn into the fire. I envisioned them popping OUT of the fire. They popped and burned. Oh well. 

Thus ends Week 1 of our Crescent City adventure. It's not Idaho, but we do have the benefit of visiting with Mom G and accomplishing a worthwhile task. We're exhausted. We got started, continued summer school, had a home cooked dinner every night and enjoyed lots of time around the campfire. We know where we need to adjust for balance over the long haul. It's important for us to remember this is not a two week visit - this is our life for as long as it needs to be. We don't need to put all of life on hold to accomplish the goals.

By the way - somewhere in here is #WYFF.....

What's Missing?

Check it out. I ordered a "veggie burger" at Carl's JR and got this.....I sort of thought I was ordering a veggie pattie. ::snort::