Tag Archive | living

A Day in the Life of a Full-Time RVer

There is never a dull moment when living full-time in Gypsy.

If you miss taking the trash off by one bag  (to the local campground dumpster), you then have two bags, three bags….. and/or the list goes on until you finally decide it’s too much to do the convenient thing and head to the campground dumpster so you do the nice thing instead and head to the dump. Good. Very good.

Except ‘dump’ day ends up being on a holiday, as you so conveniently have forgotten. Drats!

But that’s not all. As stated before in some other post, making a house a home requires some things that are just plain useless but happens to give a sense of happiness and fulfillment when looked at or touched. Oh dear! That does include the ‘greenhouse’ that lives out in the front yard, the rainforest full of tropical foliage, overseen by Matilda, the pink flamingo, who’s beauty is probably seen only by me. Oh well. Still, it’s good. Very good.

Then there’s the over-abundance of clothes which are in all different sizes so as to accommodate the big span of weight difference that varies, sometimes significantly from day to day. So we’re keeping the biggest clothes and the rest are being sorted in various boxes to be donated whenever. Dump day sounds good.

Then there’s the camper toilet. If there’s one thing that needs to be maintained in a camper, it’s the toilet (most especially the grey and black water tanks). Any questions or problems are answered by YouTube, complete with demonstrations. No problem. None at all – until you find out there’s something that you should or should not have done and it should have started a year ago when the Gypsy first started being a home. Oh, good grief! Talk about live and learn! Chalk up another notch in the belt.

Thank goodness for the knowledge of the electric cord and the breaker switch – otherwise, this last hook-up might have turned sweet Gypsy into cinders. There’s nothing quite like the sounds of ‘snap, crackle and pop’ when you plug in the cord, all before you even turn the breaker on! That’s what you call being on your toes. Easy fix though – plug the 30 amp electric plug into a 50 amp converter and it runs as smooth as flowing water. Chalk another one up for the belt.

One thing that’s not good but not strong enough to do anymore is lower the stabilizers. Four of them. Oh yea, they’re total manual, as in a lot of elbow grease. There is zero energy to turn the hand crank to get it done. It’s been mentioned to get a whatever it’s called and do it mechanically but it will void the warranty. However, with things the way they are, it might be useful to have that tool on board, just in case. Otherwise, everything is cool and we’ve been completely safe.

The smoke detector does not like cooking and proceeds to let everyone in the general vicinity know on a pretty regular basis by yelling – loudly. Repeatedly. Makes me wonder what’s wrong with Gypsy’s smoke detector because we don’t hear anyone else’s smoke detector going off. That’s just the cooking part. Wait until it tells you it’s time for a new battery. Peace and quiet then, all of a sudden, you’re about to make a new door through the roof! Battery changed. Mission accomplished.

Even the carbon monoxide detector has to put its two cents worth in every now and again. If that’s not a royal pain in the butt, I don’t know what is. Get on the floor with a lighter and see what happens. Good grief! Nothing happens. The flame doesn’t blow out and we’re not dead. There are candles and incense burned inside and no problems yet. Think it’s just testing itself for something to that effect but don’t know that for sure. Maybe it is something but so far, everything and everyone is alive and well.

Many, many things to learn while living and traveling in Gypsy but the one that takes the cake is the one that happened today.

The a/c. As in quit. Stopped. Kaput. Died. No juice. None. Oh NO! Not only is it hotter than hades here, the humidity is higher than the temperature a lot of the time. Here come the tears as the sweat begins to poor. Weird thing is I’d been reading about the RV a/c online today, about how to maintain it, what to do when there’s condensation, how the heat AND humidity affect the unit, among other things I found to add to the knowledge bank.

Then it died. Dead and not working and would not come on; the coming dread of being stuck inside a hot box with no a/c was quickly overpowering. Calm down, you can do this because you are no dummy. Okay. No Problem. Since the pep talk was working, I pulled up the instructions I already had, briefly read the Greek, then went and turned the whole unit off. Probably blew a fuse was the thought, at least that’s what the most hopeful thought was. Dead, as in graveyard dead, did not fit into this thought process. Grabbed the mag light (a.k.a. the lethal weapon) and hit the floor in front of the fridge. Why do you always have to get on the floor to fix something? Anyway, pulled away the fuse panel cover and looked around. Hmmm…. this was interesting. It wasn’t one of those little fuses you pull out and replace with one of the 20 extras you already have. No, it was like a regular fuse in a regular house, all neatly marked and organized, thank you very much. Flipped the switch for the a/c then flipped it back. That one didn’t blow. Good news. Then there was the Master switch. Flipped that one off and back on. Wasn’t that. Things weren’t looking too promising at that point. Then I noticed this ‘thing’ above the Master switch. Pushed it and it stayed in. So I pushed it again and it stayed out. Pushed it back in again and stood up. Have to try it and see if I’m even close to being on the right track. Either it’s going to work or it won’t. Turned the thermostat back on to low a/c and voila, a/c came on! It must have gone into overload mode and the safety switch popped it off. The ‘hot box’ was steamy within five minutes after the a/c quit but is now cooling the air nicely. First time there’s been a goose bump all day.

Another notch in the belt.

A lot of ladies I know would never do this, travel or live in a camper and go thousands of miles away because they don’t think they can do it.

Yes, they can. Yes, you can. It only takes one time and you can pep talk yourself into anything you think you can’t do.

You learn by the predicaments you get yourself into and by figuring how to get out of them. You store away every little bit of knowledge that YOU experience and rely on that in the future. You ask for help when you are really in a jam and someone will be right there to help you. (Believe me, I would have searched the world over (actually, the campground) for Ron if the a/c did not come back on and he would have helped)! Most fear failure – the only failure there is will be if you don’t try something outside of your boundaries and comfort zone, especially if you want to badly. It doesn’t have to be camping – it can be anything you want it to be.

Just believe in yourself. You’re smarter than you think you are and a lot smarter than most people think.

On a personal note, there are many legitimate fears in my life that will never be conquered before I leave this life, and I don’t want to waste any more precious time trying to beat those fears when I can do the one thing that doesn’t cause me fear. Gypsy. Towing Gypsy. Living in Gypsy. Traveling in Gypsy, Miss Ellie and Hershey, the Wonder Dog. She’s home, no matter where we are. It’s a great feeling to hook her up and set off to some far off place with no specific plan in sight. The feeling that brings trump any and all ‘real’ fears.

Love

Nanny

 

Expectations

Why does everything have to turn into a shouting match?

Whatever happened to polite, adult conversation to settle a problem, one problem at a time?

In this world full of technology, Facebook and text messaging, there is no conversation other than short, brief, to the point phrases. Without any concept of proper English or correct grammar. Add to that all the curse words and urban language, it has now become a prevalent source of communication and, more importantly, the biggest source of miscommunication.

Growing up with an alcoholic/drug addict family member, her world had been full of shouting matches. Lots of anger, tears, wanting and wishing he would see the light of what he was doing, trying to help but getting nowhere that lasted for any length of time. After a time, it became bullying, then threats of harm. Conversations over the years could not happen and there were times she could not walk away for the very reason of literally having to ‘watching her back.’ Back then, there wasn’t the technology available like today so it was a conversation, face to face, which led to heated discussions, name-calling, bullying, so forth and so on. How in the world to you get through all the mess to get to the problem to discuss it rationally?

She’s open to any ideas here because there’s another situation basically the same without the drug/alcohol involvement. Although an olive branch had been stuck out for her the past couple of weeks, she had learned in her lifetime that it’s better not to expect anything because if those expectations were not met, there would be disappointment. Well, it was easier that way until she decided a while back that life was not meant to be lived that way. Walking on eggshells was a constant problem for her but it was better than having no expectations.

You see, she expected things in her life; some empathy, thankfulness, gratitude, respect for the position of hierarchy in the family, manners to include “mam” and no perverse use of curse words, just to name a few. Most important however, was communication without resorting to Facebook and text messages. Face to face conversation, civil conversation, to brainstorm, work it out, everyone see their part in the big picture and how and what needed or could be changed from all to achieve the goal.

She, however, did not receive any of that. Instead, to stay afloat while living with this the past 20 months, she resorted to their own behaviors in order to get to them. That did not work; it only caused more anger and discrepancy within the relationships. The thing was she thought she had rose above all of that only to find out it was right under the surface, just waiting to explode. Yes, was she angry and upset; not with them but with herself. So much for bettering herself and making it in this little world of her own making.

They also say things happen for a reason and she thinks they did. She’ll soon be living in another place, away from them so maybe all involved, including herself, can work it all out in their minds just how important family really is. Being a family of one is mighty lonely when the rest of the family of four live right next door.

Although she’s not lonely most times, she finds herself mighty lonely on the weekends when they are home. “But you live in the yard” doesn’t always cut it when she is wanting someone to take the time to visit with her, or yell hey through the door when walking through the yard. Again, back to those expectations which she expects not to expect because they seldom happen.

“Nobody thinks about you,” and “Nobody cares about you,” really showed her where she stood in the grand scheme for the family of one.

Hence the olive branch from the blown-up, shouting match from yesterday.

And still, she does not know what she has done wrong this time either.

Like the saying goes….. “Life goes on.”

Love

Nanny

 

Redneck Stuff

the big dogs

the big dogs

I did not know that ‘redneck’ was considered a derogatory term until I looked up it’s meaning. Uneducated could not be farther from the truth. Being a “GRITS’ chick myself (Girl Raised in the South), a redneck one at that (forget the part that I’m past the half century mark), I consider redneck a high standard of achievement and certainly not for the faint at heart. Not everyone can be a redneck either; it takes a lot of guts and courage to be a true redneck! (BIG laugh)! Besides, it a lot of fun and that’s what counts.

hershey enjoying his saturday of no chores

hershey enjoying his saturday of no chores

Saturday dawned a beautiful day. There was too much to do before there could be any fun. They call that self-discipline, which I don’t seem to have too much of, but I did that day. So I took off the trash, came home and did the chores, all of them (well, almost all of them), then took my usual cold shower before going to the laundromat. No redneck here. I was the pristine and proper Southern Belle and dressed for it, just because I could. Besides, I was sick of shorts and t-shirts and being in Gypsy because of pounding ear infections and by golly, I wanted to be a lady and go visit with my best friend! Well, as the saying goes, Bless My Heart!

So, I went to the laundromat, threw the clothes and stuff in the washers, fed them their meal of quarters and left to go visit my best friend, who lived a mile down the road. Well that was the plan but when I got there, she wasn’t home. Fiddle. I called her and she had taken it upon herself to go galavanting around with brother-in-law to parts unknown. How dare she and not let me know! Shucks, I hate sitting at the laundromat but at least I had brought a good book, “The Snowflake Effect”. While I’m sitting in the truck yakking with her, her hubby appears at my truck window and scares the poop out of me! Geez! He’s pulled up behind me and I had not heard him. We’re shooting the rifles, want to go? You got it, I sure do! Haven’t target practiced since before my dad died so yea, I sure did want to go. I followed hubby down to where they’re shooting and then run back to the laundromat to get my laundry. “Bring it here”, they said. No problem! In their dryer it goes. Out of the house I go. (How I end up with a pair of underwear that belongs to neither of us, I do not know. I shudder at that thought.)Back to the range in the woods I go.

Only to pick up hubby to head back to the house to get his Son’s truck, the big four-wheel drive, to “unstick” somebody that was stuck. Apparently, someone got stuck, Son took dad’s truck to pull that person out and he had stuck dad’s truck. Now we were on the way with Son’s truck to “unstick” everybody that was stuck.

Well, we showed up at the giant mud hole and what a sight to behold, all those stuck trucks. Yes, it was hilarious and yes, there was lots of laughter. How could there not be? This was redneck heaven! Son gets in his truck (remember, I am said passenger in his truck, dressed as a Southern Belle, in the middle of the woods with a gigantic mud hole around. Nowhere else for me to go other than sit tight and hang on because it was going to be a bumpy, muddy ride! Oh YES, thought the redneck GRITS ‘girl’ in me. Southern Belle or not, this was going to be fun!

hmmm...not looking too good from this angle

hmmm…not looking too good from this angle

Hang on tight, I’m going to snatch. Yea, I’ve heard those words plenty of times before over the years. And he snatched, and snatched, and snatched, until his truck was stuck slam up to the rims and the mud was directly under the footstep of the door. Way to go, young man! By that time, I had lost it completely. I had NO place to go! My whole world was one giant mud hole and I couldn’t quit laughing! Well, let’s see how they figure on working this one out.

Hubby ends up riding the four-wheeler to the nearest farm and grabbing a John Deere tractor. Actually, in my not so humble opinion, it was nothing more than an oversized lawnmower but hey, this might work. Obviously, I didn’t have much confidence in that particular John Deere and was thinking we need to go to my family’s farm and get the John Deere 4840. Now that one would pull all three vehicles out in one shot. But alas, that was not to be. Somehow or another, that oversized lawnmower pulled Son’s truck out. Woo Hoo!

looks even worse from this angel

looks even worse from this angel

Since it was so late in the day, we left the tractor and stuck trucks to go get all the shooting equipment we had left at the range in the woods and take it home, or so we thought that’s what we were doing. Weren’t long before a call came in. The oversized lawnmower had pulled everyone out but the original stuck truck was stuck again, in the same big hole that Son had been stuck in and said tractor would not pull it out. Oh my, it kept getting funnier and funnier. Definitely not the afternoon planned and it was getting dark outside now, but laughter was great.

So, here we go again, Son and I, to get double-stuck truck out of said monster mud hole. Oh, she was stuck and I mean good. Had to use a hoe to clear the mud away from the hitch just to get the rope on it. Another round of laughter. That seemed to take forever as we were all overtaken by mud. Funnier and funnier. Mind you, I’m still a Southern Belle passenger in a world of mud. Could NOT get any better than this except my rubber boots would have been really handy right then instead of my dressed to impress sandals. Good grief, I should have come dressed as a normal redneck GRITS!

things get funnier by the minute

things get funnier by the minute

Hang on tight, I’m going to be snatching hard and a lot. Yep, told you I had heard those words before. And he did, and did, and did, and did, and I wondered if we needed to go get the John Deere 4840 after all, and he still did, and did, and did, and I was soon overtaken by laughter as everything in the front went into the back and everything in the back was trying it’s best to come up front, and still he did and still I laughed until finally, the truck was free! Free! Free at last!

Out of the mud, on dry road, darkness falling quickly, I eased myself out of the big truck and laughed at the afternoon. Three stuck trucks, one stuck twice, an oversized John Deere lawnmower, a redneck Southern Belle in the midst of a redneck happy reunion, plenty of thank you’s and a lot of laughter; I call that a great afternoon!

Gotta love a redneck!

Afterthought – my dressed to impressed sandals ended up spending the night soaking in Clorox water to remove all the mud stains. Ha!

S

Grief Revisited

It’s been over two years since the big “C” took my dad from this earth and left me a pile of poop to deal with. It’s been one year since I wrote the post “Grief: Self-Pity: Complain. Since then, I’ve learned a lot more than I ever thought possible, good and bad, how it works (only from my perspective), and how horrible people can sometimes be.

Everybody, ever single person on this planet, deals with grief in a different way. Oh, we all may follow the ‘general guidelines’ or ‘steps’ that we are told we are going through but reality might be somewhat different. Science and reality do not necessarily coincide when it comes to loss and grief.

We can grieve over anything – death, loss of job or finances, our kids leaving home, our kids getting into trouble. The list goes on and on. I’ve grieved over many things in my lifetime, not really realizing that’s what was happening, but the death of my dad and the ensuing negatives from that took a lot of myself away from me before I managed to stand back, step up and gain some type of control again over myself. No, it was not easy but somehow I managed. A lot of hard work and a constant mental challenge, not to mention I had been sick for the previous eight years and did not know what was wrong.

So I embarked on a self-awareness journey of sorts to change myself so I would see things differently than I had been, to know there was good in the world and good people who did care, to bring back those few friends I had kicked to the curb because I couldn’t handle anyone being nice or having sympathy for me. Oh boy, did I do some terrible things to the people I needed the most. However, if I hadn’t done all of that, I wouldn’t be the person I am today, and I happen to like that person now.

I wrote that post in August 2013. Sometime in November, it hit me that I didn’t want to live like this anymore. A mere thought that came right out of the clear blue. You see, the thing was I was not grieving my dad so much as I was grieving the way things were since he had died. An alcoholic/drug addicted brother who loved nothing better than to threaten my life or the life of my beloved Hershey, the Wonderdog. He’d ride by and yell out the window; he’d beat on the house in the darkness of night; he’d sit on the front porch and talk to me while I was inside. Doing everything he could do to scare the crap out of me, and he did. Because he’s mean. He’s violent. He’s literally a psychopath without any feelings. Addiction only made him meaner and stronger. Add to the fact that his two daughter and his ex-wife became part of the pack, I literally became homebound in my dad’s house. I couldn’t or wouldn’t leave, I was just that scared. I was told by my son that nobody thought about me and nobody cared, not even family or law enforcement. I felt like a prisoner in a world not of my making and was coming unglued.

In December 2012, I bought “Gypsy ~ The Airstream”, my saving grace although I didn’t know it at the time. The bad stuff continued, just because they could do it and knew they could get by with it. I would get beat up if I went outside, my dog would be killed if he was outside, and on and on it went. I was sick at heart but also sick at body. I could and would go three days at a time without eating but the fight and will to survive was stronger than the will to not be here any longer. I knew, I KNEW, that somehow this would get better although I didn’t know when. Hell, I couldn’t even figure out what to do, I was so scared. I didn’t want any of my friends or family around because I didn’t want them to be ‘targeted’ for such behavior as I was getting because they were there for me. So I tried to keep them safe by keeping them away. I didn’t give any of them the choice; I just made that decision myself. Oh, they all knew what was happening, or the family did, but those that were nearby who could have helped at the time chose not to. The ones that would have helped were far enough way the damage was already done.

After no help whatsoever from law enforcement (I had to be hurt first before anything could be done…..yea, right), I had a call from my kiddo telling me to pack a bag, grab the dog and come to his house. He and his father had towed Gypsy – The Airstream to his house, set her up and was waiting for me to move in. To be perfectly clear, he set her up in his yard, where I would be safe. So I packed a bag, grabbed the dog and officially moved to his yard. Left the rest of my stuff at dad’s house until things cooled down enough that I could go get them. That never happened but that’s a different story.

Before the week passed, I was hooked up to electricity, water and sewer, and also had an internet connection. And I was safe. I could relax somewhat and hopefully be able to handle ‘the rest of the story’ without all the harassment, bullying and threats toward me. For a long time most didn’t know where I was, and some still don’t, but I’m in a place where it would be utter stupidity or a very serious, off-kilter high to bring somebody around here to bang on Gypsy and scare me again because there’s protection all around.

Things were really good for a few months while I regrouped but I was still sick and getting sicker. Docs couldn’t find anything super out of the ordinary but I knew I was going downhill physically regardless of what I did or tried. When things started getting off kilter around here (me thinking because I lived in the yard), I became the useless creature I was before I came and believed myself to be the bad person even though I didn’t know what I was doing that was so bad. I helped all I could, physically and financially.

I never really had a chance to grieve my dad’s death; I was living with too much trauma and fighting for survival and forcing myself to live by eating, if not everyday, at least by the third day. “Nobody cares about you” and “nobody thinks about you” are very powerful words when coming from someone in your immediate family. So what’s the point?

There’s been some tough times, really rough times, where I’ve resorted to a person I never thought I would become. I did not like me and I certainly didn’t like their behavior, or their choice of curse words, or their lack of empathy for anyone. I especially did not like the fact that I was only seen as a means to an end and used as such. Actions speak louder than words and although I tried to play the game their way, it wasn’t working out with how I really was. Expectations as a parent? There were none of those anymore. Just a means to an end.

Still, I had not had a chance to grieve for my dad.

In November 2013, I decided that was it. I wasn’t going to be the pawn any longer. That didn’t work out so well for me and my sweet Baby Girl. If I didn’t walk the ‘right’ path according to the rules, I didn’t get to see her. I’ve been a month at a time before without seeing her because I didn’t do something right or someone had a bad day and who better to take it out on than me. I couldn’t be a Nanny unless I followed the specific guidelines that aren’t laid out. Those come on at a whim. So Baby Girl is now a pawn in the game of keeping me in line. Why? No idea. So I quit. I kept the peace and simply did not engage. I did not comment or answer. Guess how well that went over.

In February 2014, whatever had been wrong with me physically for the previous nine years came to a head in a big way. I started vomiting. Everything I ate and drank came back up. I went from 128 lbs to 99 lbs. After two months, I ended up in the ER, which led to this doc, then that doc, then another doc until finally I had the answers and how it could be fixed, all the options. At the ripe young age of 51, none of the options appealed to me but I had to pick the one that would give me the best quality of life so I could at the very least complete some of the bucket list. Otherwise, I would be on the same track and most likely be dead before the year was up (doc’s words, not mine).

And still, I hadn’t really grieved my dad.

In July, after months and months of vomiting, I had surgery. Whoever would have thought a gastric bypass on a 110 lb person would be the answer? It was and it wasn’t. It is but it isn’t. You see, I had been severely malnourished for the past nine years. Bloodwork would show it but doc’s would say take more of this or more of that. I had injections of this and injections of that. Still, nothing was working. The real culprit was my body was not absorbing any of the nutrients I was taking and/or eating. That affected every aspect of my life; physically, mentally, emotionally. The poor body was a basket case, the past two years just about doing me in. I honestly thought I was going crazy but that was the furthest thing from the truth. I was deprived of nutrients, no matter how many I took.

In that five month span of being so sick I could hardly move, much less function, and not once did my neighbors come check on me, walk a mere 40 feet to my door to say hey, are you ok? Is there anything you need? Not one single time. Which brings me back to “Nobody thinks about you and nobody cares about you.” I got it.

They did come see me in the hospital and pick me up to bring me home but they were sure hoping to eat at the Cracker Barrel on my dime. Mind you, I couldn’t eat after a gastric bypass and that was a restaurant. No way. Then the long drive home, but first we had to go somewhere else to pick somebody up. Oh God, please hurry them up so I can get home and lay down, I’m hurting so bad! My last dose of morphine had been way earlier that morning and I had asked the nurse to shut it off. Wrong move. If I had known we were going to be doing all that, I would have dosed myself good right before I left.

And I still hadn’t grieved my dad and now I hurt so badly and the pain meds made me wacky and off kilter. Plus, I wasn’t allowed to drive. That there is a monkey wrench thrown straight in the chain.

They did not come over to say hi or check on me to see if I was okay. Only the dog for company but he surely couldn’t help by driving me to the store. That’s okay though, I was used to this behavior and it was a shame, quite a shame as his dad and I had brought him up to be a good, empathetic person, showing kindness and respect towards others.

I compare all of this to the relationship between my dad and me. We were both there for each other when needed. I took care of him through his sickness, held him as he took his last breath, drove or flew a thousand miles each weekend when he was in the hospital for a month at the time. He did the same for me, helped me through the last years, until he died, although he, like the rest of us, thought I was losing it. I have no regrets about living my life like I did for my dad. He was the best dad. Somehow, since the last surgery, I’ve had a chance to grieve him, put things in perspective and in their proper place. That’s a good thing. Why?

That gastric bypass which I thought long and hard about before deciding it was a go actually was the best thing to happen. After the pain eased, my body went on nutrient overload, literally. No other way to put it. I was She-Woman. All the misguided puzzle pieces clicked into place and my mind, body and even my soul began to clear. I could think straight, I felt good physically, my brain was actually working again. The depression I was being treated for and the crazy so many thought about me was wrong. When the nutrient overload started, it started a roller-coaster ride of misdiagnosis’s over the years. Depression was not one of them; crazy was not one of them; malabsorption of nutrients was what it was. Working your way out of what people have believed about you for so long is a real pain in the patoot, especially when it boiled down to a medical ailment. But I couldn’t think about what people thought; I had to work on getting some normal back into my life. In other words, to hell with others and their negative thoughts.

So I grieved my dad, in a good way. I guess some things happened while I was down and out but when I ‘came to’, the thoughts were all good, the memories were good, the love and caring will never be forgotten. Mind you, I’m still a little angry at him for putting me in the position of being the brunt of my sibling’s rages against me because he enabled the behavior although he refused to see it, but I don’t have to deal with that anymore.

I’m not special; I’m not any more special than you are. I’m not entitled; any more than the next person; I’m just a very simple drop in the bucket who’s worked all her life just to experience loss on some grand scales, as many of you have. A home, a job, a family, death. But I have learned from all of those things. I’ve also learned that through some of the worst times in life, including the loss of my dad, that I have somehow found a strength inside that kept me going one more step…then another….and another. And to make sure I eat before the third day.

That pile of poop is still there only it’s not as large as before. Pretty soon it will be down to nothing. I should be able to be out of sight and out of mind soon. At this point of the game, it should be a good thing and is eagerly awaited. I sometimes think about the past and what’s lost but I know I’m making new memories regardless of family. There’s a big difference between being tolerated and being accepted; I’ve accepted the fact that I’m just tolerated by those I love the most and accepted by those I care about the most.

Some people are going to grieve forever; I see it happening with some; they can’t or won’t let go. Grief is different for everyone but I have chosen the high road and will look back on the past with fond memories. I won’t tolerate anything less.

Love,

Nanny

 

Return to the South Forty – Day 5 – The Mission Ends

 

the real south forty

the real south forty

Day 5? Already? Starring out the window of my original destination from Day 1, looking at the land rising towards the sky, I knew what I’ve always known; I did not want to return to the Eastern Shore. No surprises there. The trip has been a mission of sorts, to figure some things out, what to do, where to go from there, what was I able to do health-wise, does it really matter to anybody where I am, etc. Not random thoughts of displeasure but deep soul-searching of doing what’s right for me and for those I love.

Regardless, that didn’t stop the feeling of sadness as I crossed the Continental Divide, heading towards the Eastern Shore. I had made some incredible new memories, been a few places I had not been before, resurrected the past and put it where it needed to be; yet I could not seem to stop the feeling of sadness and loss of peace that was quickly creeping up as I slid down the other side of the great Divide. I lose a chunk of my heart every time that happens but my spirit and soul is always and forever embedded deeply on the other side of the Divide.

So I buried the feelings and enjoyed the road trip; well, until the Piedmont, and the awful traffic, and the crazy drivers. Then, of all things, I stop for gas and who should I see but an old flame. A good man, a good person, but not our time. I had just lost my dad. Not a good time. Still, it was good to see him because he made me realize that yep, there were good things and people at the Eastern Shore. I have to say that was strange, so far from home, and seeing someone from home. Interesting, but weird.

Finally off the interstate and gee whiz, 63 mph is so slow after traveling 75 mph for hours and hours. It’s going to take forever to get home! Not really, it just seems that way when you have to slow down but ‘they’ really do want to nail your butt and I don’t have much butt to nail!

I stopped at a roadside stand and picked up a fresh melon for the nightly snack. Actually, truth be known, I was putting off the inevitable and I knew it. But it kept looming closer and closer until finally, it was here…..the Eastern Shore.

Suddenly, I was excited. Why? I was going to see my doggie! Hershey, the WonderDog! When I opened the door to Gypsy, that fella was all over himself, shaking his all over body shake so hard that I couldn’t even pick him up. He was so excited to see me that he finally jumped right out the door, ran around the yard, jumped back in Gypsy and finally let me pick him up, for which he planted a big, slobbery kiss right in my smoocher! Ha! That I did not see coming!

Then there’s Baby Girl, that sweet little Angel sent straight from heaven. Well, on some days. Full of energy, full of life and it’s full-steam ahead. She always shares her big laugh with me and thinks Nanny here is her own personal play toy. I guess I am until I say no. Oh my goodness! Her world has come to and end. Ha!

Lots of feelings and emotions, lots of realities. Needed the experience to get away from the hustle and bustle of trauma and drama. Life was so peaceful for a few days. Returned to the hustle and bustle of trauma and drama. But you know what? I can handle that. Why? Because I found out how dependable my truck really is, how many miles I really can travel in a day, what I need to make sure I’m taken care of if a medical emergency should arise but, most importantly, knowing how I feel about leaving my family. In other words, I can pack up and leave again tomorrow without a single regret.

That was my mission for this trip………to find out if I could “without a single regret.” I don’t think I’ll live a long and healthy life so ‘without a single regret’ means I can and I will.

S

courtesy of google images

 

Return to the South Forty – Day 4

ridge top

ridge top

Looking from the top of the ridge, I had the first view of a mountain where the top was shrouded in heavy fog and clouds. A most enchanting sight to see, especially since Ridge Top was really at the top of the ridge. I could only imagine the views I weren’t able to see from my perch at the top. What a way to start the day.

farming valley

farming valley

It was time to hit the trail again. Still heading east on the old road, I encountered some beautiful and enchanting views, too many to be remembered but some would be engrained for a lifetime. One view in particular caught my eye; there was a valley below and a few people lived in it. Looked like a little farming village with barns, tilled ground, crops. What a sight for this old farm girl. Couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like growing up on a farm where the land goes up and down all the time.

soco falls

soco falls

My destination was to hit the high road north to the tallest point in Tennessee but that ride came to a screeching about halfway when I found the coolest waterfall on the side of the road. Actually, I missed it and had to turn around and I’m sure glad I did. Foot path down, one I could do, or most of it anyway, until I had a birds eye view of the falls. Wow! No other way to describe it. I have seen a good many waterfalls on this trip, more than I’ve shared, but this little jewel was fantastic. She was just a beauty in the woods, water cascading over the rocks, flowing down into the stream below. The whole area was like a fairyland; lush and green. I made it a point to carry a piece of that peace with me.

refreshing and rejuvenating

refreshing and rejuvenating

Forever onward, I took the high road north, up into the clouds. Again, I couldn’t resist and pulled off the side of the road. Before me was a true fairyland, the one where you expect to see fairies sprinkling fairy dust. It was so overwhelming in those woods with all that before me. Stream flowed gently over the rocks. Nothing looked disturbed, like it had been the same for a thousand years Everything was green; the trees, the rocks, the land. Mother Nature at her absolute finest. I couldn’t resist the pull of the water. I had to get in, a baptism of sorts. I needed to be a part of it but I also needed it to be a part of me and I felt like that was the thing to do. I’m so glad I did, too. Refreshed and rejuvenated, my baptism.

fairyland

fairyland

almost there

almost there

After a small regroup from that little adventure, it was on to the high mountain. A good little distance but worth it to be in and above the clouds naturally. Twist, turn, twist, turn and there I was, at the summit. In and above the clouds. Nothing, absolutely nothing to see, which was amazing because of what I already knew was out there. Before me were Christmas trees, then fog and clouds. Behind me, the mountain went straight up to the summit, then fog and clouds. Wow again! I knew what I wasn’t seeing and it was amazing. Probably a disappointment for those that had come for the big view because they’d never seen it before; me, I was just as impressed with the things I knew were out there that I wasn’t seeing. Ethereal.

christmas trees - clingmans dome

christmas trees – clingmans dome

Headed south back down to the reservation and I made one stop at a shop I still hoped would be there. It was. Authentic Native American pottery and jewelry, both Cherokee and from the west: Navajo, Sioux, Lakota, Zuni. I knew what was authentic and these goodies were. Even found a new Cherokee artist who made beautiful pottery that I loved. Beautiful work these people put into their crafts. Lots of time and effort. Everything has meaning and it meant something to me.

mother nature

mother nature

On the easterly route again, I passed through another tourist town and kept on trucking. Cute little place but not what I was after. Actually, I had a destination in mind; the day had passed so quickly and I’d not realized it. I had spent right much quality time in places that made me feel good, alive, more than human, spiritual. I wanted to enjoy those feeling as long as possible so I reached said destination for the evening, the same destination from Day 1, even had the same room. Ate my meal, brought back my to go box for the evening goodies and settled in to think about the day. All good for the soul, mind and body. I was on a roll. This journey had turned more spiritual than I had thought, I realize that now.

I had no clue what tomorrow would bring, where I would be, what I would be doing. But that evening, I knew where I was and I knew what I felt, and it was all good.

To be continued….Return to the South Forty – Day 3

S

soco falls - a perfect moment in time

soco falls – a perfect moment in time

 

Return to the South Forty – Day 3

mountain foliage

mountain foliage

This was going to be the hard day, the one with all the memories attached. Moments in time never really go away and three years worth of those moments were going to be felt that day (refer to previous entry Return to the South Forty – Day 2).

I woke up and looked at the mountain I had driven beside thousands of times. The road on it had taken us to the grocery store, school, work, ball fields, Tennessee, friends homes’, our home, our very livelihood, and secret memories of someone special I’d rather not share. Yes, this was going to be tougher than I though because I already felt the flood of memories and emotions coming in. This would, by far, be the most bittersweet day of all, and the most important.

ball field

ball field

The first place of all to go to was the ball fields. I worked, my kiddo played ball; all kinds of ball. Baseball, football, soccer, even basketball. He was pretty darn good at it to, especially baseball and football. When that ball connected with the bat, you would hope the bases were loaded because he would bring those runners in. Football? He became an expert on the quarterback sack. I’d seen him chase the quarterback the whole football field and then drop him five yards from touchdown. Yea, these are some good memories so it has to start with the ball field.

the sitting tree

the sitting tree

My, how things have changed. A couple of the front fields were gone and had been made into a nice park area, complete with a walking/running/biking path. Whoever designed it made it where the Valley River was in the forefront of the meandering pathway. Benches and swings had been set beside the river but the old trees that hung over the banks, the ones we had sat our butts on so many times, were still there and had grown so much over the years. I sat down on one of those overhanging trees and listened to the river flow, the imaginary loudspeaker yelling home run, the fans cheering in the bleachers, remembering my kiddo and I playing tennis and knocking so many tennis balls over the fence, which landed in the river, never to be seen again. Beautiful world, beautiful place to be but then again, it always was to me. An important place doing some of the really important things in life. Having fun.

valley river

valley river

I did a drive-by of the town but that was all I needed to do. I’d already settled it in my mind. Forever onward, I headed east towards the next county. Another fine place and where the real South Forty is and those special memories that come with it. I did a drive-by and realized that although everything had changed, it was still the same. Enough of that. Onward again, this time heading south in the North Georgia mountains.

north georgia mountains

north georgia mountains

My, my. What a view! Nothing can be any prettier than a view of the North Georgia mountains, unless you’re in North Georgia and looking at the view of the North Carolina mountains. Even after seeing either view thousands of times, it never gets old. Dropped in at Brasstown Valley Resort and spent some time sitting in an old rocking chair, looking at the view. Kiddo, friends and I would go there to eat, play pool and shoot darts. Kiddo became quite a pool shark at his young age. He actually won $10 from this fella. I wasn’t going to let him keep the money but the poor fella said please let him keep it because he earned it, fair and square. I couldn’t argue with that logic. All of this passed through my memory bank as I sat in that rocking chair, looking at the mountains in the not so distant distance. But, forever onward. There was a lot of ground to cover that day and the most important part would be the most time-consuming and most bittersweet.

fires creek falls

fires creek falls

fires creek

fires creek

I headed north and then headed west, then headed north again. Destination known. Fires Creek. Probably the most important place to be. Go way up and down the road (literally) and hang a left at the sign. About two miles in, this is where we camped (very primitive), swam, played, lounged, talked, laughed, met new people, squealed when we put our hot bodies in that cold water, hiked. Our home away from home unless we were going camping somewhere else, which we frequently did, like every single weekend, excluding winter. I never worried about my kiddo while we were out there, not even when he slashed his foot open and I didn’t have enough first aid equipment available for that deep cut. Yea, up and out we went, to the hospital a ways down the road. Doc fixed him right up and said get back to camping. What a cool doc!

sitting rock

sitting rock

I sat down on one of the many big rocks by the creek. In my mind, I was watching my kiddo slide down the falls, jumping straight into the deep hole, watching him float, get hung up on the rocks, and make friends with any and all other kids. I remembered the big copperhead that was under the big rock that I sat or laid on while kiddo played. He was safe; nobody was going to be messing with him, especially me! I remembered the Easter Sunday that Dana, April, kiddo and I went to the creek after church and a meal that Dana had prepared while we were at church. We spent the afternoon together at the creek and had a wonderful time. Great time, great food and great friends that were closer than family.

trailhead

trailhead

I loved this place and didn’t want to leave. Leaving my perch on the rock and grabbing my backpack, I decided it was time to hike the trails. I knew none of them would be outside of my physical boundaries so I was really looking forward to the gentle exertion. It’s not like I haven’t hiked them all before because I have; it’s because I wanted to hike them again and that was the memory day. As luck would have it, there were even more trails than before and I was on them all, as far as I could go, wherever they should lead, which was usually to some spot on the river that was sloping slowly upwards. I spent the rest of the day there, enjoying the peace and wonder of it all. I felt all the same things I felt all those other times. Some places are just special and have a significance that we might not can identify. All I know is I felt so close to the Creator while there, and always have. I don’t need a photo to remind me of that spiritual place; it was and is, forever and always, engrained in my heart and soul.

red clay

red clay

Leaving a piece of my soul behind and taking with me the peace of the creek, I headed out to the main drag again. Out of the woods. Into the real world. Turned east towards town then south again, towards the lake. Talk about memories! These are the funny ones. The mountain lakes are full of clay; actually, the whole world is clay. And it sticks. Forever. Even with clorox. (Big Laugh)! Well, me not exactly realizing so much about how clay works, I proceeded to be creative with the kiddo. In other words, he was going to become a piece of art. I was going to paint him with clay. So, I did. Even his hair. Oh my, the funniest sight I have ever seen! And he dried like that! Until he finally got in the lake to get the clay off. Well, that didn’t work out so well. At all. This was not good. Finally got him cleaned up enough where he could change clothes and get him home for a shower. That pretty much did the trick, except for his scalp. It was clay red. As in stuck forever clay red. Don’t know how many times we scrubbed that scalp but that clay was no going anywhere! Oh dear, and he has to go to school tomorrow. However is he going to explain this? My mama painted me? I would imagine that somewhere, somehow, there’s still some of Lake Chatuge’s red clay stuck on that head somewhere! Great memories!

happy chicky

happy chicky

Forever onward, I headed back out to the main drag, headed west again back to my town, then east. Beautiful drive between these two towns and I needed to see those ‘grey-backed gorilla’ mountains that I loved. This lands me in the Nantahala Gorge, a most wonderful drive with a mountain at one side and a river at the other. Destination known. Nantahala Outdoor Center to get on the Appalachian Trail. Yes!!! Received my day pass for parking and up the trail I went. It was a pretty nice hike. Easier than I expected, especially since I’d never been on this part of the trail before. Hiked and hiked and hiked until I knew it was time to turn around and head back down to civilization. Saw quite a few thru-hikers on my daily excursions in and around the trail and they’re pretty interesting people. Me? I was just happy to be on the trail once again.

 a view from the trail

a view from the trail

It’s getting late in the day and time to reach the end destination although I wasn’t really for sure where that would be. My parking pass included the next two days and I wanted to be close enough to NOC without having a long drive. As I drove out of the Gorge and along the road heading east, I knew where I wanted to go. With a name like Ridge Top, where could you go wrong? Destination reached.

It was time for food, replenishing the nighttime snack supply and going over the day to see how it all felt.

Day 3 has ended on a good note; Day 4 is coming up next.

S

nature at her finest

nature at her finest