Church Camp and thereabouts

13 October Friday

We sent the boys out to play at the playground and we got all packed to go. I drove the first part of the trip separately and made one last stop here in CO. I called Grandmom and visited with her while I caught up to the boys.

We got to the campground in Amarillo and got just about all set up and then the smell! There’s obviously a cow farm upwind somewhere. Yuck! I hope this smell isn’t here the whole time!

I pulled out most of our leftovers for supper while we watched Lost.

14 October Saturday

Tj woke up early and went to get doughnuts for us…the boys never woke up! After he’d been back 30 minutes or more we finally heard some stirring. We all had doughnuts and chocolate milk a la Monmon. Yum!

Our first stop today was Cadillac Ranch, and of course we forgot our spray paint! They were selling it for $4/can at the gate but we passed. Then a woman offered us her partially used can. Awesome! We all sprayed a bit, I sprayed an arrow. Max climbed some nearby hay bales, and then we headed back out. The spray paint guy had cross-sections of the paint made into necklaces and key rings, and even though they were really pretty we passed on those too.

We went to the RV museum next. It was so cool to see so many very old RVs. A lot of them reminded me of Monmon’s old apartment…so much of the cabinetry was made of varnished plywood. We also bought another light switch (of the kind that are always going out) to have on hand, and saw some cool camping chairs that we later ordered online. We shipped them to Jennifer’s house and they’ll bring them to camp for us. Awesome friends are awesome!

We headed out to Palo Duro Canyon next, but it was drizzling. Fortunately 1/4 of the way there the rain stopped and the weather was beautiful out there. We stopped at a mom and pop hamburger stand and had a small lunch. Jack spilled his coke on me there! That’s the first time that’s happened in a long time, thankfully. When we got to the canyon we walked and hiked a bit. On the way back I went to call Hometown Auto in Bebee to see if I could get an appointment…and then Tj and I got into a great big ‘discussion’ about the stupid calendar. It really annoys me that the calendar changes all my appointments when I cross timelines. If I want an appointment for 2pm on the 17th that’s when I want it…not for it to change to 3pm and cause me to miss it because I was in CO when I made it and will be in AR when I attend it!!!!

It almost made us yucky with each other, but then I realized we’re different people. What’s important to Tj isn’t important to me, and vice versa. And that’s ok. It’s normal. It would be strange if we always agreed on everything. But sometimes it’s hard to just let it go, and let each other be different. Tj sees my anger and frustration at the program as frustration at him. Ugh. Humans. Both of us.

We got over it, though, and then went to the Big Texan for supper. Ummmmm….steak.

15 October Sunday

We left the camp about 10:45. Fortunately the smell from the first day was pretty much a one-time thing. We caught a whiff of it once or twice more but that was it.

We just passed the Britten water tower leaning over! One of it’s legs is completely clear of the ground which makes me think it’s not supposed to be leaning at such an angle!

One thing I forgot to mention about Colorado is that it’s the place with the awkward entrances to stores. You can see a store from a semi-main road, but then you have to drive all the way around to the side or back of the building to find the entrance! That was annoying the first few times till we figured it out. And then it was only slightly less annoying. Heh.

In other news I’m still taking my Flonase and it’s working for me now.

16 October Monday and Tuesday

We got to Mt Magazine Monday evening. Tuesday and Wednesday we did school until lunch and then drove and walked to various overlooks. There’s just something about looking out over to other mountains that is so beautiful and serene. We went to The Lodge and sat outside and watched the hang gliders lazily soar…sometimes below us and sometimes above. I’d like to do that some day.

Each day I made a couple of recipes for camping this weekend: Italian Pressed Sandwiches, Mom’s enchiladas, pizza dough and chicken for Buffalo chicken pizza. TJ made Alton Brown’s chili for Frito chili pie. Sometimes while I cooked Tj and Max played with our new Recoil set. The second day TJ wiped out! The palm of his hand is torn up…he’s gonna be sore tomorrow!

One day we did a little hike to the highest point in Ar, Signal Hill. It was cool to see a map of AR set into the ground with rocks.

19 October Thursday

We’re driving now to Petit Jean for church camp! The Jones are on their way too. We stopped at WM for some last minute things and should be there within the hour.

What a wonderful time Church Camp has been, even better than usual. Of course I appreciate it more now seeing all these friends we haven’t seen in a while, and getting to spend a whole weekend with them. I went on fewer walks than ‘usual’, but I did play kickball with Amy and the Burlesons, etc. I made homemade cinnamon rolls Friday morning and I had to add probably a cup of flour to the dough! I’ve never had to add any flour, I guess it was the humidity. Speaking of which, we slept with the windows open the first night, and then saw that there was 80% humidity in the bus! We ran the dehumidifier after that, and slept with the a/c on to help it out.

JP and JJ brought their Recoil guns so several times adults and kids got to play this weekend.

The weather was great till Saturday night. All of the tent campers went home except for the Addison’s future son-in-law, poor sap! One camper camper left because they didn’t want big limbs falling on their camper. I laughed, until that night I heard bigger thumps on our roof than ever before. Thank the Lord there was no damage though. We had lots of campfires, and pecans, and the kids played games in big groups. It was just a wonderful time!

We and the Joneses stayed till Monday morning and then went to David’s on the way home. Afterwards I drove ahead to the base and picked out our site. When he was finished setting up Tj took the boys to the hardware store to buy a new motor for the back bathroom fan. That night I went to Jennifer’s for girls night. I brought all the shirts I was considering using for our family pictures the next day and got the girls’ approval. We watched a few episodes of This Is Us, and I gave the girls their Christmas presents. I stayed up till 1:15am without it even being a struggle! But that’s not to say that I do that usually, I’m still a morning, not a night person. I did two loads of wash while there, which was nice.

Tuesday morning I had a massage scheduled with Christy Materna, and she’s as awesome as always! Man, that felt good! While Tj did school with Jack he said he got an A percent!! I guess he’s heard Max shout out enough that he’s gotten an A 100% that he felt like he should get one too :-)

When I got back I ate a hurried lunch, and then we went to get Jack’s ID. Jack and I took a nap after that, but Tj stayed up and worried about his schedule. We were sure we’d be going to NJ after dropping the bus off, but his schedule had him flying the entire time we planned to be in NJ. Ugh. That night he went out with his guys for some Recoil and supper. Fun!

Wednesday morning we met J Alford for family photos…I hadn’t thought about it being 9am and how cold it was then!! Tj and I had short sleeves on and it was in the 30’s! Doh!

From there we went to the church and visited a bit, then to First Street Cafe for lunch. Sadly I think they’ve changed management and their Reuben isn’t what it used to be. And they no longer had the awesome fries they used to have! Makes me so sad. We shopped at Dirt Cheap for a bit and bought Max 3 pairs of shoes and Jack a new school book.

We went home for a nap, and then we met the Hoopers so Tj could present him with a saber from the Academy. Tj feels disappointed that we gave it to him at a restaurant, but I felt like presenting him a gift from us to him in front of a group would be showing off. After handing it to him we realized that the handle was bent!!!!! Great! We give him something with a lot of meaning and it’s broken!! Fortunately Tj called the AOG and they said they’ll send Greg a new one with return postage for the broken one. I’m so thankful they didn’t make a fuss at all about that!

27 October Friday

We drove from AR to MO today. It was a pretty short drive, and pretty easy, too. The hardest part was getting onto 67/167 right at the base. All the construction has the onramp there shorter than normal, and the concrete barricades make it hard to see the traffic, and the rain had fogged up the windows a bit. I sat with Max to help gauge the ongoing traffic.

When we got set up at the campground in MO Tj and I each confessed to the other…he had forgotten the pin on the drive from Petit Jean, and I hadn’t been careful when checking the traffic coming out of a parking lot. Whew! The Lord has been good to us!

We’re eating lots of leftovers today to empty the fridge before we leave the bus at Thor. At 8:30pm Tj unhooked the water hose outside…campground rules. We followed the rest of the 30 degree weather checklist, but slept with the propane heater set to 60 and our windows cracked…it gets so hot in our bedroom. Everything worked fine this morning when Tj hooked our water back up. We won’t have sewer hookups tonight, and the following night we’ll spend at Thor so we’re planning all that out too.

On top of all that Tj can’t find a campground close to Mom with long-term stay, and we don’t want to talk to her right now. It seems like Momee is on her deathbed. Mom is in LA for the time being.

28 October Saturday

Jack came and got into the bed with us this morning. He was pretty quiet, but his lips had color so I didn’t think he was sick. He seemed so quiet and sad, though. I played ‘Shake It Off’ thinking a happy song would set him to rights. We got out of bed and I started getting ready to make him an egg sandwich. After a minute he still looked so sad. I sat down and hugged him and then he had a few tears roll down his cheeks!!! My poor baby!! When I asked him what the matter was he just said I’m happy. Poor kid. He just can’t tell us what’s wrong. Nothing will break your heart more than to see this usually happy boy so unexplainedly sad, and to know that we can’t help the root cause of his sadness. But it’s 2 hours later and we’re driving from MO to IL and he’s laughing uncontrollably.

Tj and I wracked our brains, and the new plan now is Tj and I will drive toward NJ Monday after the walk through with Thor. He’ll catch a plane to work in Harrisburg PA and the boys and I will spend the night there and continue on to NJ the next morning. Tj will fly into NJ Sunday night the 5th, and we’ll make our way back to Thor Wednesday the 8th. We’ll head down to GA when Thor is finished. On the drive today I called 3 places and finally found a place an hour and 12 minutes from Mom’s. I was hoping to be about half an hour from her place but beggars can’t be choosers! The closer places to her wouldn’t let us reserve until 2 weeks out and they were full then, so we’re still on several waiting lists. I don’t know if it’ll be a good move to move the bus closer to Mom if a spot opens up. Lots of ‘we’ll see’ like always.

When we got to the campground tonight Tj stopped short of the office and I ran up to it to check in. As I was passing this car stopped nearby the woman in it started shouting, “Hang on hang on hang on!!” I kept running because I had no way of knowing that she was shouting at me, but she was! She was the camp host, and they were leaving for the season. She told us how to find our site, and then they left. Well. We found it, but it was an awkward setup. We drove around to look at the one pull-through site thinking we could do like we’ve done the last two nights and just not disconnect the truck, but there was no water at the pull-through. Then we looked harder at our site and Tj tried to pull forward into it and the electrical line wouldn’t reach. We started looking at all the sites and most didn’t have water. There were a few communal faucets with ‘no permanent hookup’ signs…ugh. Then Tj had the brilliant idea to use the camp host site!!! We hooked everything up while the boys were at the playground, and just crossed our fingers that we wouldn’t be called out on it. We worried a few times as we saw this guy dressed up like a ranger come around, but I think he was just exercising.

When the boys came home from the playground Max startled a deer! It was cool to see their little white tails running off into the forest right in front of our bus.

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