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Sunday, June 3, 2018

Spur of the Moment? Me?

I'm not a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl. I'm a planner. I have to think things through.  So yesterday morning when my sister-in-law, Suzanna sent me a message asking if I wanted to go to the beach and collect shellfish the first thing that when through my mind was me trying to push one of those clam guns into the sand and whether I could actually do it.  My response was, "Um, boy that sounds like a lot of work."  

Then my brain kicked in with that line from a Darius Rucker song, When was the last time you did something for the first time. I responded with, "What the heck! I'll go."

On the way to the beach we stopped for my shellfish license. Gotta be legal! Then we headed to Potlatch State Park. Once at the beach we gathered our tools which did not include a clam gun thank goodness.  

Suzanna shows off her first find. 


What a perfect day!  Oyster shells littered the beach. Most of them were empty but if you looked a bit and turned some over you'd find a live one. 
This is a cluster of several oysters
In Washington State you have to shuck your oysters on the beach and the limit is 18 per person, per day. They are not easy to open but once you get the hang of it, it's doable. 
Shucking Success!
After oysters we started on clams. This type of clam is below the surface of the sand but not far. You rake away a few inches of sand, rocks and shucked oyster shells. The clams can be seen as you rake but you have to be careful to measure them so you don't take the undersized ones. 
We got our limit of clams and oysters then cleaned up and hobbled back to the car. After a stop for lunch we headed home to relax for a while. Such a fun day!

Murphy got his stitches out Friday. He's all healed up and ready to romp. 

I saw my orthopaedic surgeon on Thursday. He says my fracture has healed well but he still wants to take the plate out. They'll be calling to schedule surgery for early September. It should take about 6 weeks for the screw holes to fill in so I'll have to be careful. One more step in the journey!

Saturday, May 19, 2018

We Have Some Happy News

There's a new baby on the way! My daughter, Christina and her husband Ryan are expecting baby number four! Her due date is December 31st. 

Her other three children are 9 year old Camden, 4 year old Clementine, and 2 year old River. Since we lost Rob at Christmas time last year I think this will make the season a little bit brighter for us. My birthday is December 18th, we lost Rob on December 22nd, his 63rd birthday would have been on the 23rd and of course Christmas in just two days later. Perhaps the baby will come on one of those days?

This certainly changes my plans for the winter. I had just decided to head for Florida for the winter when she asked me what I'm doing in December. I've been there for all of their births and I'm not planning to miss this one so Florida will have to wait. 

On a much lower note, Murphy had an incident which required a visit to the veterinarian and some minor surgical repairs.  

We were out walking my brother's fenced property and Murphy chased an animal of some kind. Generally we see and he chases rabbits but this wasn't a rabbit. 


I believe it may have been a buck. We often see deer up on the hill behind the house and Murphy has matching puncture wounds on his inner thighs. 

The vet sedated him, cleaned the wounds and stitched them up. He has a total of 10 stitches. He's also sporting a lovely cone of shame. I'm supposed to keep him calm for two weeks. Seriously?

Lastly, Thank you! All of you have been so encouraging and kind in your comments. Some days I struggle and some days are pretty easy but I'm doing well. I guess I just want to feel normal again. Whatever that is.



Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Let's Talk About Fear

I'm stuck. 

I have my new home. My wonderful Airstream, Bridget. I have my tow vehicle (still unnamed). My trusty sidekick Murphy will go where I go and keep me company. But I have some crushing fears about starting over and going out on my own. 

Yes, I realize it's been almost five months since Rob passed away. I know that's not a long time in the grand scheme of things but I have to get out of this rut. 

This morning a friend posted this on Facebook.

Why can't I just move forward and live my life? What am I waiting for? Is fear stopping me? Why am I stuck in fear and not living my life?

Having lost Rob so young reminds me not to waste a minute. I feel like I'm wasting minutes... days... weeks.

To be fair, there has been a lot going on and I have legal, medical and other matters going on that can't be ignored. That doesn't mean I can't go on short trips here and there. 

The truth is, I'm scared. I'm scared to pull my new little trailer. I'm scared of damaging it or totaling it or hurting someone. This broken wrist has also amped up my fear level. This has been just awful and I have needed a ton of help from family and friends. I feel like I've gone from ultra-independent to dependent with one ugly slip and fall.

I'm also afraid I'll be bored or lonely. In truth I feel like I had been traveling alone for a long time because Rob was completely unable to help in any way and he slept a lot. I did it all and that's OK because I wanted him to enjoy the rest of his life. I wanted US to enjoy the rest of his life.

I reason with myself. I remind myself I drove the giant dually truck while pulling the 38' 5th wheel thousands of miles. I drove the 38' motorhome while pulling the car more than 18,000 miles. I backed them into campsites, I hooked up and unhooked by my self.

My reasonable self says just hook up and get moving and the fear will melt away with the miles. My fear is like trying to squish a spider. It keeps getting away and I can't seem to catch it.   

The 2018 International Airstream Rally is being held in Salem, Oregon this year in June. I was born in Salem and It's just a few hours away. I think I'll go. I may not take Bridget because it's late to get registered and space is hard to come by. But I'm going to check into my options today and see what's available. I'm hoping it will help me break the ice and get moving forward. 

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The "W" Word

I'll never forget the first time I had to mark the Widow box on a form I was filling out. I was in Medford, Oregon standing at the counter in the urgent care center I had driven myself to after falling and breaking my wrist.

Yesterday marked four months since Rob passed away. So much has happened but things are starting to slow down now and I'm spending more time thinking and examining my feelings. I'd known it was coming for years but suddenly I'm a widow.
This picture just makes me happy.

People ask me how I am often. Emotionally I feel OK especially since the sun has started to shine more often. The thing is, I feel a little lost. Like I have no identity and no purpose. 
 
Doesn't everyone sleep with a pony in their mouth?

I also feel incredibly brain damaged. Is there an official diagnosis of Widow's Brain? I lose things all the time. I forget what I'm doing. I say inappropriate things at inappropriate times. To an extent I've done this all my life but it's worse now. 

Fortunately I'm able to laugh at myself most of the time. I lost my Kindle somewhere along this path and have never found it. I've replaced it now but I will always wonder what happened to it. Perhaps I threw it into the trash or a donation bag. I may never know.
Romping in Uncle Bruce and Aunt Suzanna's field.
I'm not writing this to complain or garner sympathy.  I'm just thinking "out-loud" about who and what I am and am not at this point in my life.

I'm not sure what to do with myself most of the time. There are things I think I'd like to do but I really don't seem to have any drive in a specific direction, no passion. I guess it's just too soon.
So many windows to look out in our new home.
After spending the last twenty years taking care of someone so important in my life to have him suddenly gone and not needing my help all the time I've been set adrift. I know it will take time to find myself and figure out how I want to spend my time.

I have lots of family nearby and I enjoy spending time with them. The thing is, I'm a single now and not part of a couple and things are so different when that happens. I had no idea.  
We planted a succulent pot yesterday.
I'm very independent and very stubborn and I know I'll be fine. I just need to find out what makes me tick now. I'm working on getting into a routine so I don't spend too much time sitting here watching TV or not showering until noon. 

With better weather comes more time outside and Murphy is loving that. We walk around the property every evening and he gets to have a good run. He's also starting to enjoy playing fetch (sometimes). 
Murphy's third birthday was yesterday. Can you believe it? 

I do plan to set out on a long trip in the fall. I haven't spent much time planning yet because I'm trying to be still and let things unfold. I'm going to have to have another surgery on my wrist before I head out because they want to remove the plate they used to stabilize the fractures. I'm not looking forward to that but I'm pleased with my recovery and my scar is looking better every day so I can't complain. 

Thanks for listening friends!
 

Monday, April 9, 2018

A Big Mistake in a Tiny Package

It's been such a long, awful winter but spring has arrived and things are slowly improving in the little RV. 

My last post detailed my misadventure to Texas to pick up my Airstream. After having surgery to repair my fractured wrist I decided to bite the bullet and have it shipped from Texas to Washington. To make a long story short, it arrived very quickly. I moved in and quickly realized I had made a huge, tiny mistake. It was just too small and I began to get depressed. When you're on the edge anyway that's the last thing you need. Two weeks of sitting in a tiny tin can in the rain with one arm useless and a big, bored dog was two weeks too many. I knew it was not going to work. 

I began to weigh my options and soon decided it was a question of my happiness and emotional and physical well being rather than money. 
I started looking at larger Airstreams and found one I wanted to see right here in town. My sister-in-law, Suzanna and I drove over to take a look. It's only three feet longer but what an incredible difference that three feet makes. It's also wider by 15" so it feels so much more spacious.
I thought and pondered and finally decided it was the one for me so I made an offer. This is a 2016 Flying Cloud 25 FB used only five times by an older couple. It's in beautiful shape and it's darn near perfect for Murphy and me.  
He's on my bed. He has one too!

My dad and my nephew helped me bring it home last Wednesday and we started moving in right away. I'm so much happier in here. There are tons of windows and so much light even on rainy days. We are still getting settled and organized but wow what a relief. 
He can see out all the windows and loves it.

My wrist is healing well and I'm actually typing for the first time with both hands. I got my cast off last Thursday and started physical therapy. I'm wearing a brace when I'm out or doing something physical but I have my arm back and that's a great thing. 


Monday, March 12, 2018

Trip Cancelled - Boo!

I didn't fall off the face of the earth but i did fall. I slipped on some ice in a motel parking lot in Medford, Oregon. I broke my arm during that fall. I did a fine job of the break too! 

After the fall I drove to an urgent care center and had it looked at. During all of this I was texting with my daughter. Once we knew what we were dealing with my Son-in-law flew from Portland to Medford, drove me back and took me to the ER.

The ER doctors set my fracture with this creepy, Chinese finger trap thing and splinted my arm with instructions to see an orthopedic surgeon ASAP.


I ended up having to come back to Olympia to see a surgeon so I'm at my parent's house being spoiled and Murphy is at my daughter's house in Portland. 

I had surgery last Thursday to stabilize the fractures with a plate and screws. This is how it looks although this is not my arm.

I have decided to have my Airstream shipped up from Texas. It will give me a chance to get settled in while I'm having physical therapy. I think it'll be here next week.

So, I'll just be over here learning I am not in charge and to let people help me.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

The Journey Begins Anew

The day after tomorrow Murphy and I set out on our first adventure since three became two. There have been weeks and weeks of hard work making the leap from one chapter to the next. The weather hasn't helped my slug like behavior at all. We've had so much rain and even a few days of snow and really cold temperatures since Christmas.  My determination to spend some time on a beach in the sunshine is winning out and we are nearly ready to go. 


I mentioned before I intend to keep traveling so I needed to find and purchase a new rolling home. If you've been following along for a while you know we have had two brand new RVs and they have been complete junk. Nothing but problems from the beginning. This experience led me to look for something well made and significantly less likely to have major issues. I chose to purchase a pre-owned Airstream travel trailer. 

After weeks of looking I found one in Texas that belonged to a very kind and patient couple who didn't want to sell but in practicality they needed to sell. My son-in-law flew down to Dallas on a Saturday and met with a fellow Airstreamer for an informal inspection and walk through. They deemed it a safe purchase and just like that, I own an Airstream. It's a 2012 Airstream Bambi Sport 23FB. Thank you Ryan, Brian, Meg and Sean!

Having found my new rolling home it was time to find my tow vehicle. Again Ryan to the rescue! Murphy and I went to Portland for a few days and poor Ryan accompanied me all weekend while shopping for a new truck. He was very patient but we just couldn't find anything I felt was right and within my budget. 

I was just about to give up and go home when my daughter and I were having a conversation at breakfast and I decided to see what would come up on my search if I opted for a two wheel drive rather than a four wheel drive truck. Bingo! I found a beautiful truck just back over the Columbia River in Washington State so we packed up the kids and headed to the dealership. 

As soon as I drove the truck I knew it was "the one". It already had everything I planned to add like a bed liner, a hard tonneau cover and a towing package. It also has super low mileage and stilled has new car smell at four years old.

I'm at the tail end of sorting through everything I own and packing up what I plan to take to live in the Airstream. Once I'm all loaded up I plan to make the 2,600 mile drive to Texas to meet my new rolling home. This is a very rough idea of my route because it's winter!

I haven't had the time or the brain power to think of names for the truck or trailer or even the blog but I'm hoping after I get going they will come to me.  

Murphy and I will be staying in some motels on the way down but I'm hoping it will only take a few days to make the trip because yuck!!

Stay tuned for the next chapter!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Life Goes On In the Little RV

Today marks a full month since we lost Rob. Each and every day brings a new challenge. Some are blips, some are gut-wrenching and some are just downright ridiculous.  

Why does a funeral home choose to mail customer satisfaction surveys?

Why do I burst into tears every single time someone asks me how I am?

Why does Verizon require an official death certificate be shown in person at an official Verizon corporate store?

Why is the afternoon the hardest part of the day?

Why is it so hard to get all of the claim forms and other documents I need to do the things I am legally required to do?

I'll spare you the rest of my whys and start on what's next. 

I don't want to stop traveling. I've grown quite attached to the lifestyle. I know it will be different now.  I also know Rob was unable to help in any way for the last three years so I am confident in my ability to do everything myself.  

Funds will be tight for the foreseeable future. I've been meeting with a financial advisor who has helped me come up with a plan. I think it's a good one.  

I need to downsize. I don't need all of this space and I really can't afford it. My plan is to buy a quality, used RV and tow vehicle and continue with my travels. 

As much as I love the Pacific Northwest in the summer and fall I've had enough rain. I want to go somewhere sunny, warm and dry. 

So, I plan to continue to blog about my travels once I have my new rolling home. There are some things we really wanted to do but couldn't because of Rob's medical needs. 

We really wanted to boondock in the desert but we needed a lot of electricity. I can boondock now. There are places we couldn't go because it would have been too difficult for Rob to get around. I can do those things now. 

I feel like I have so much more to see and do out there. Like Alaska! I really want to go to Alaska. Maybe I'll join a group and take a trip there one summer. I'm sure Murphy would love Alaska.

See you soon!