December 2016

7 Dec Wednesday We were having a normal day. We were all excited because we were going out to eat steak tonight to celebrate Tj’s checkride. I was filling up the mid and getting ready to go dump and Jack was on his last paper for school. He’d gotten up to fill and drink his water bottle and was fussing a little bit, but I figured it was because of that paper. All of a sudden he threw himself on the floor, and I didn’t think it was just temper. I went to the dinette bench and sat down and pulled him to me so we were eye-to-eye. I was asking him as I did this if he was ok, and if he needed a hug. Right about then I noticed that he’d lost all color in his lips. I yelled to Max to get me a bowl, covered Jack’s mouth, but it was too late! I got a face full of vomit! I was so surprised that it’d splashed on my face and in my hair. A second or two later I yelled again for a bowl and Max was in the background freaking out cause we were blocking all the bowls, but then he found a big cup in the bathroom and got it to me, but it was too late again. I caught some of the 3rd or 4th round, but most of it went all over my favorite shirt and on the floor. Poor Jack! He said a couple of times that he wanted to sleep. I sat him down right there and laid him over and he shut his eyes and seemed to go to sleep right away.

Ugh. Now what to do? I had Max climb behind me into his bed and told him to pull his curtain (thankfully he’s rigged up a curtain recently) because I was going to take off my clothes right there. I got Jack and myself out of our outer clothes and walked J to the shower. When he got in he just sat down…he’s so pathetic when he throws up, poor baby! I washed him and dried him off, and before he was all the way dry he had to go to the bathroom. He was a little more sick there, but not much. I dressed him and put him on my bed with Milo and Otis (his favorite move for the last year) while I showered. He seemed like he would fall asleep, but by the time I finished wiping up the kitchen he seemed back to normal.

I was so bummed to tell Tj that we couldn’t go out, but he ran through Zaxby’s for us…the fried mushrooms were great as always, and he got fried cheese that was also awesome!

The next morning I let Jack have a piece of bread for breakfast. A few hours later he had a cup of milk. At lunch we went out to eat that steak and Jack had a plain cheeseburger, and then ice cream an hour or so later. I know how lucky/blessed we are that he (and Max for that matter) usually are sick all at once, not all through the night. I guess we’ll never know what caused this one.

8 Dec Thursday Jack asked Tj to sing “monkey bird”… Mockingbird. When we asked him to sing it he said, “Let’s hear it, Daddy!”

That night the pipes froze! I’ve been so paranoid about them freezing because of the extreme damage that was done to our house growing up the time Papa forgot to turn off the ice maker and it froze. We came home from church one Sunday morning and as we drove up the driveway you could see a fountain of water pouring out the bricks of the front face of our house!!! I still have the 2″ section of copper pipe that burst.

Anyway, I’ve been stressing and worrying about how to handle things in the bus this winter; reading tons of stuff on the FB forum for fulltiming families. And then this. We knew it would be in the 20’s so we set up the bus accordingly, but when Tj got up at 3am to go to the bathroom he told me there was no water running! Ugh. We turned the propane heater on and let it run 10 minutes or so and then the water started running again! Tj decided we’d run the kitchen faucet all night so he went outside and opened the mid tank so it wouldn’t overflow (again). He ran it at a pretty forceful rate. I think you only need to let it trickle, but I guess the sewer hose could slowly freeze and clog if the water was only at a trickle.

I was so extremely grateful that we haven’t seen any negatives from the freeze, and then yesterday I read that we don’t have as much trouble when they freeze cause the pipes aren’t copper! Oh yeah! What a relief! So now I have a list of what we do if the temps are going to be in the 30’s, and what to do if they’re going to be in the 20’s. The next night it got down to 18 degrees, but we were all set, thankfully! We’d only set the propane (central) heater to 60, and while that was fine for the 30’s, from now on when it’s freezing we’re setting it at 70 degrees.

10 Dec Saturday Of course now that it seems like we know how to take care of our pipes, I found condensation behind our mattress!! Ugh again! I think the great temperature difference between outside and inside combined with the lack of air circulation causes condensation…and not letting it dry out could lead to mold.

I was really discouraged when I saw it and had to deal with it alone (Tj was at the crash pad). Pulling out the mattress to air that area blocks the back bathroom, besides the fact that it’s so heavy and awkward to move that mattress by myself. After a while, though, I figured out I could just rotate the whole thing head to foot and air both places out at once. The head of the mattress would hang over the foot of the bed, not take up too much room, and have enough air circulation to dry out. Pulling it out a few inches would also allow the bed frame at the head to dry out as well.

I’m tired of all the things we have to learn about living in a camper in the winter. I really believe, though, that when we see the Grand Canyon, or Mt. Rushmore, or the mighty redwoods, or the San Andreas Fault it will be all worth it!

Later that day Tj texted me that Jim wanted to go out with the other guys from their class for lunch, and since they carpooled could I pick him up? The boys and I went to get him and bring him to his pad. He changed clothes and brought the boys home while I ran to Kroger for cheese and cokes. We all ate lunch together then at about 2:30.

This definitely had been a season of flexibility for all of us. Tj has been living this life for the last year and a half, but with us all in this tiny place now we’ve really adapted to his lifestyle a good bit. We have weekends when he has off from work…two weeks ago our weekend was Friday and Saturday, and last week it was Thursday and Friday. I really don’t have any concept of what day of the week it is anymore! Without having a church to go to (we have a couple more Sunday’s of worship from our old church left to watch online), and without having friends near to plan and do things with, every day has the potential to be the same! Along with that not having a designated grocery shopping day and not having a large (or even midsize) fridge/freezer/pantry means that I sometimes need to go shopping the same day I actually go, which is kinda a pain. And since the washer is kaput I don’t have a set day to do laundry, so we’re haphazard all around! I miss my planned life of the last several years.

Not only is every week subject to change, every day is as well. I haven’t been sleeping as well since I was worried about the bus, so I’d sometimes start school later, and if it was supposed to rain around lunchtime I make sure the boys got to go outside for as much time as they can in the morning. I’m learning to be flexible, and it’s coming easier now than when we started. But again, when we (hopefully) get to see all those sights it will be all worth it. And really, these are all first world problems.

These last two or three years we’ve taken off the whole month of December, and what a luxury that’s been! This year I know we’ll want to take days off here and there to see the sights, so we’ve been continuing with school every day Tj has work. I’m thinking now that we’ll probably take off about two weeks when we get to Texas…and I guess that’s when we’ll make our chocolate bread house (and/or bus).

11 Dec Sunday Jack drew tables today, and I think he may have drawn them yesterday. I asked him to draw some shapes, so he drew a triangle, a square, and a circle, and then he said “Draw table.” He then drew vertical lines down from each corner. They really looked like tables!

He’s also starting to handle setting his shower water himself. I walk him through it, and sometimes I have to tell him more than once that if it’s too hot to get out of the water. You’d think that would be intuitive, but apparently with Jack it’s not.

He just wants to be a big boy so bad. He always wants to help, which is so sweet and awesome. He rolls his bed up and can put it up. He folds his pj’s and puts them where they go. He can put the mayo on his bread, but it gets everywhere else too. Ah, well, can’t have everything!

12 Dec Jack had his 4th spelling test, and he got all 8 words right!! That’s the first time that’s happened. I just wonder what’s in that little head sometimes. One of his words was ‘are’. When I looked up he’d written ‘er’ and was erasing the ‘e’. Then he wrote an ‘e’ after the ‘r’. He paused, and then he wrote an ‘a’ before the ‘r’. It was laborious but he got it!

The night I wrote that last post Max fell out of his bed!! I had my new light-blocking curtains up (well, they’re still not up permanently, but they were temporarily up then), and he was heading to the bathroom, but he was half-asleep, and he fell out of his bed! Poor punk! Fortunately he seems fine.

Also, that day his friend he plays with often asked if he wanted to be her boyfriend! A day or so later she left a note folded up on the wooden play boat asking if he liked her and if he wanted to be her boyfriend. This really irks me. Guess I have to get over it, though. Tj asked him what he thought about it and he said he made that commitment last year, and he would tell her that. I just hate that he’s being pushed that way. Just play and have fun and leave the grown-up things for later. Old lady rant over.

We’ve been watching our old church online since we left, but we found out recently that our pastor is leaving for Boston. I’m so sad, but I understand. When God calls you somewhere you have to go! We’ll probably start going back to a sticks-and-bricks church in another couple of weeks.

Also, in another couple of weeks Tj will be finished with his training and we’ll be out of here! I know he’ll be glad to have that behind him. It’s been much harder than he expected. He already knows how to fly, but I guess going from such a small airline to such a large one brought so much change; so many things for him to learn.

Tj got out of work around lunchtime every day this week, so he would eat lunch here and take supper to the crash pad. His weekend was Friday and Saturday so we went to see Fantastic Beasts Thursday night. Jack was great through to 10 minutes of opening stuff, but then the movie started with a bang and he started saying “I have to go bafroom”… he’s figured out that if he he says that I’ll take him seriously. But I have figured out that he says that to get out of doing something he doesn’t want to do! I pulled him over to me and sat him on my lap and he was fine for the rest of the movie, thankfully. I was bummed about the movie; although it was fun to watch, the graphics were good and I liked the period memorbilia, the storyline was so thin. There were so many times when there was an obvious way out of the trouble and the main character didn’t take it. Max liked it, so I guess that is all that really matters.

I tried to talk Tj into going to Graceland, but he thought that was too much money. I wouldn’t have gone myself except our friends from Spain wanted to go a few years ago. I pestered him a little bit, but we’re on our big bus trip and we have to go do some things…not just sit in our comfy bus all the time! So we went to the Memphis Railroad and Trolley Museum. There was a large model train the boys sat on and had their picture taken, and a Thomas room with a couple of tables with trains for the boys to play with. Tj and I enjoyed reading a lot of the history plaques and seeing all the memorabilia. We bought Jack a train for Christmas there.

After that was lunch at Belly Acres. Tj mixed up my burger order, I wanted one that was half beef half chorizo, but got one with tons of grilled onions and tomatoes on it. It was fine, but the fries were really good and the chocolate shake was exceptional!

From there we went to the Slave Haven Underground Railroad Museum, but we ended up not going in because it was crazy expensive for what was there. It was a tiny house and would have cost us $40 to go in. We had remarked on the new parking lot and sod, and I guess that’s where it came from.

We went back to the Bass Pro Shop Pyramid then so we could take a picture of our feet to post on the FB Full-time Families board. I was talking up the elevator ride to Jack and Tj said we should just walk right on the elevator and not give him any choice. It went much better than we expected! Jack sat down in the elevator all the way up, but he didn’t cry or throw a fit. He walked off and then out onto the balcony. He was definitely scared to be out there, but I covered his eyes (a la Mama when she took me on the Space Mountain ride!) and walked him out to the edge. We sat with our feet at the edge of the balcony and took our photo. Jack didn’t try to go back inside, he even played by the building, but he never walked willingly onto the glass floor.

I was hoping we could stay there long enough to go right to the Peabody to see the ducks…just to say we’ve done it, but there was still an hour or so left when we were ready to go. After tooling around inside Bass Pro a bit we went to Aldi…Tj’s been wanting to peruse their aisles a while. We headed to Kroger then for a couple of things, and then went home. I got out at the office to pay for our second month here and get my new Star Wars shirt.

We watched a couple of episodes of Lost and then Tj and I bought some more Christmas presents and more stuff for the bus off of Amazon. Every time I think we’ve about settled in and gotten all we need to live like we want to here we end up buying several more things for the bus. Money pit! But worth it! I’m still so excited that we get to live this adventure. We’re very blessed.

I thought I’d try to list all the places we’ve eaten here in Memphis in case I’ve forgotten to blog about them, these are all I can remember now:
The Lunch Box (awesome BLT with fried bacon!!!!)
Memphis BBQ Co (pretty good ribs and sausage, awesome cheese fritters!!)
Gus’s World Famous Fried Chicken (great chicken)
Brother Juniper’s (awesome open faced omelet with feta)
Huey’s (decent burger)
Charles Vergos’ Rendezvous (good ribs)
Belly Acres (milkshake heaven!!)