November 2017

11 November Saturday

We went to eat at a nearby diner last night and the chopped steak was awesome! Pink inside, loosely packed, and tasted wonderful. This won’t be the only time we eat here.

Tonight we ate at another place. Jack and I split the fried chicken…2 chicken breasts. When I pulled the meat away from the bone it was pink inside! I asked the waitress if that was normal and she said she’d check on it for me. They warned me when I ordered that it would be 15 minutes to cook the chicken, so now would I have to wait another 15 minutes? While they discussed I told Tj I was pretty full with the appetizer and sides we’d had, and I’d just ask them to take the chicken off the bill and we’d pay for the rest. They brought the chicken back out, they’d fried it again (!), and said we didn’t have to pay for it. It was kinda dry by now, though. I brought it home to make buffalo chicken pizza with. Everything else there was great, though.

12 November Sunday

First impressions of a place are sometimes tricky. There look to be many full-timers here (read: many of these campers have a lot of junk around them). I know that’s rich to say…I’m sure all the stuff I have outside our camper looks like junk to other people, too. But last night there were campers right next to us who had music going past midnight!! I’m trying not to feel fatalistic after just one night here, but it’s discouraging!

And the water pressure is horrendous! Tj told me when he hooked it up that all he could get was 30 psi. That doesn’t sound too much worse than 50 psi which is our max, and I really can’t say that the kitchen faucet seems too low. But when I washed my hair it was horrible!! Fortunately Tj turned on the water pump and that made things fine. I’ll have to see what the office has to say about the pressure. And maybe the neighbors too.

Tj found us a church today. When we arrived they apologized…they were having a special service to honor their pastor who’d been there 25 years, so their start times were wrong! They’d bound and printed all his sermon outlines and gave a copy to each of the staff. It was pretty awesome. Another thing that stood out was the guy in front of us who had a tie with planets on it. When I complimented him he said his uncle had given it to him on his deathbed. Huh. Ok.

13 November Monday

Max had a pretty tough school day today. As awesome as this lifestyle is it’s hard on his schooling. He does really well overall, but times like this when school has been hit or miss several days or weeks in a row make it tough.

14 November Tuesday

School was better today. The first day back is always hard.

15 November Wednesday

Mom and Papa came to visit and brought lunch today. She said they’d bring pulled pork, so without telling her Tj and I bought cole slaw and fritos. She brought the same things!!! Now we have a lot of cole slaw to eat before we leave Friday!

Jack and I brought Tj to the airport tonight. Before he left he did so many things around here: fixed the shower inner dome, installed the railings for the boys’ bed and cleaned out the shower and kitchen faucet.

16 November Thursday

In school I asked Jack what that bird was and he said sausage! It was an ostrich. Heh.

We had a normal day, and Jo called around 8pm to double check tomorrow. I had to ask her to let me go…my stomach was hurting. The boys and I finished packing and got them into bed…and then I started throwing up!!! Ugh! I texted her that I’d probably be later arriving since I was sick. Finally around 2am I felt a little better, but still didn’t sleep well.

17 November Friday

We ended up leaving around the time I had planned. I thought I would be miserable all day…I was shakey this morning. Fortunately I was fine driving.

We went straight to Momee’s trailer and visited with Mom and Papa, Joelle, Uncle Rex and Aunt Donna. After a bit Aunt Donna went and got her sister’s golf cart and let Max drive around the ‘compound’ a while. He was in heaven!

When it was about time to go I had 2 bites of Papa’s fried fish, and then a banana and a little peanut butter. The only thing I’d had on the way down was 2 bananas and 2 pretzels. Jo and the boys and I headed out to the hotel. Everything was fine for a while, but then my stomach started cramping again! Nothing happened, but I was really miserable for a couple of hours.

18 November Saturday

We went to eat beignets with Kelly and Katie this morning. I didn’t eat anything. I’m gonna lay low again today and hopefully I’ll be back to normal.

Around noon we went to Sam’s and waited for everyone to show up. People there: Mark, Linda, Lainey, Mom, Papa, Uncle Rex, Aunt Donna, Sam, Kelsey, Becki, Peyton, Kelly, Katie, Jo, Me and my boys. Later Ronnie and his 4 kiddos with their 2 spouses and 1 grandbaby came. It was kinda like the good old days. There were lots of stories from Sam and Uncle Rex and Ronnie. Lots of good food…from the jambalaya shop and grocery store and homemade. Max got to drive the golf cart again, and Jack jumped a lot on their trampoline.

Sam told the shakey cheese story again…when he showed up the guy had spaghetti and sauce on his head. He claimed he just asked his wife for the shakey cheese and she unreasonably dumped the spaghetti on his head!!

Uncle Rex told about one of the two taxi drivers who had pulled over to rest. She was just ‘ressen on the highwray’ she told him several times. She hadn’t turned the engine off, and probably didn’t even have the car in park. He cuffed her and put her in the front of his car and waited a few hours for a tow truck. She griped and griped at him for doing this, and when she would slow down or take a breath he would raise his eyebrows at her and she’d start off again! What a punk he was! The divider between the front and the back was heavy and would slam down when he activated it. He told her if she didn’t hush he’d put her in the back. She didn’t hush and didn’t hush and he finally got tired of it. He’d even turned on his CB and let the people at the station hear her go on and on. Finally he’d had enough and told her he was putting her in the back, then he slammed down that divider and boy did she jump!! And then she kept begging him not to make her sit in the back but it was too late. Hahahah.

Another story was the time he pulled a dude over for speeding. His friend got out and was pleading with Uncle Rex to let his friend go with just a warning, it was his birthday, blah blah blah. After the guy talked a while and UR was writing the ticket he looked up at the friend and then slowly reached up and pulled a doobie from the guy’s hair!! The guy’s eyes got as big as saucers, and then he took off running! Lol.

Sam told about this massive dude, wrestler turned preacher, I think, having passed out after church due to health problems. He forcefully said he wasn’t going to the hospital, but his tiny girlfriend walked up to him and fussed at him; he quieted down and went to the hospital.

When Ronnie got there he told stories about how Uncle Rex would lie to get out of spankings, or how one time he and UR were told to go upstairs and wait for Momee to come up and spank them. When she got there and looked sternly at UR he just started snickering…and after a few minutes she let him go, but Ronnie got a spanking!!!!! I can’t imagine my parents just letting us go like that!!

It was so funny to hear about their childhoods and growing up years. They talked a bit about Mom’s old boyfriend, and just lots of other stuff. Fun times. It was a great reunion.

I ate 2 bananas, a pretzel, a bite of strawberry shortcake cake, and when I got back to the hotel an apple and a banana with peanut butter…to see if I was better. It’s looking good!

19 November Sunday

We went to eat beignets again, and I split a dish with Joelle…it’s looking good! Jack only ate half his serving! Crazy kid. Of course I’m worried about other people getting sick and it being my fault, but I didn’t think this was a thing.

We went to Murry’s and bought a bunch of sausage and a few other things to take back, and then we went back to the hotel. The boys got pretty antsy at the Coffee House while we sat, so I told Max he could watch TV as long as he ran in place during the commercials. Jo and I snoozed until it was time to go.

We ran through the drive through for the boys, and headed to church. It was so amazing to see so many people from my past! So many friends, and parents of friends. I couldn’t believe how many people’s names just popped into my head after not thinking of these people for years. It was so wonderful to talk to all of them, but sad not to talk to any of them as much as I wanted.

Ronnie started Momee’s service, and I could hear the shake in his voice. I can’t imagine losing my mom. Even if she was not comfortable and ready to go, it is still sad. Even though she is feeling so much better than she was, and is now doing so much better than me, I’m still sad. But happy at the same time. I’m grateful for the great witness she was, the Christian example she was to all of us.

After the service there was food in the other building, and more visiting. Ally took pictures of the 4 and 6 of us. When it was all over we went back to the trailer. Mom offered to keep the boys so Jo and I met up with her girlfriend Charlotte and had TJ Ribs. Yum! We stopped and bought a strawberry shortcake cake and brought it home to Mom. Sadly it didn’t taste as awesome as that one bite I had yesterday did. Oh well. It’s probably for the best.

20 November Monday

Today Jo and I are driving back home…but I left the @#$!! lights on in the truck and ran the battery down!!! @@##$$!!!!!! Will I ever learn? Probably not. The jump starter didn’t work the first two times I tried it, so I texted Papa to ask him for a jump. Then I read the directions again. The directions printed on the jump starter say the black clamp goes on an unpainted part of the body, but the directions in the manual say red to red and black to black. I remember reading the manual a year ago the last time I used this, but then Jo was iffy about hooking it up that way, and I don’t distinctly remember what I did. I asked Papa if it would be ok, and then tried it a 3rd time while he was on the phone and it started!! Woot!! I have got to get better at this!

We had an uneventful drive, which is exactly what you want. Jo offered to let us stay at her house but I just want to sleep in my own bed and be in my own home, you know? We stopped to check on the bus and I hooked up the water in the last few minutes of daylight. Everything looks fine!

Near her house on the way home was a Wendy’s so I went through the drive through for us there.

21 November Tuesday

I need a break! School today was just another first day back. We need some rhythm in our days. Hopefully it’ll slow down now.

22 November Wednesday

We headed to Jo’s around 10, and I brought chicken and wild rice soup. I also brought my sausage and cut it up and packaged it for freezing while there.

We had a nice, calm time, and when we got in the truck to leave Jack said he forgot his squid in Jo’s house! He’s actually telling me about things before it’s too late! Ok, he did this this time…hopefully it’s a trend.

23 November Thursday

School today was good, Max finished 6 units with all A’s! He didn’t finish all his projects, but what can you do? Mom was supposed to pick him up on her way home but she brought more stuff back from Momee’s than she expected so I’ll bring him to her tomorrow.

24 November Friday

The boys and I met Mom and Papa at lunch. She sent me a link to the place, but Google took me to an insc place!? They need to update the address on their website. When I typed in the address she gave me I chose Atlanta and it said it was an hour away!!! But I was so hungry! And frustrated! Fortunately I was really only a mile away or so.

After lunch we put Max’s stuff in their truck and Jack got his carseat out to go with them too! Poor boy. I told him we would watch Doodlebops when we got home…he was so excited! He put his seat back in and was ready to go. We saw a Chic-fil-a in the same parking lot so we went there first and he played on the playground with several kids.

On our drive back Jack said twice “I’m gonna sit tight.”

We stopped for groceries on the way back and I bought some premade cookie dough. I need a splurge these days.

I made Jack meatballs with french bread for supper. I told him we were having cookies after he finished up. He said you eat cookies, I want fried egg sandwich please. Silly kid. I gave him some cookies after he ate his fried egg sandwich.

Later that night he’d been in the bed for a bit, but then came and told me I spit the food in the bed!! Translation: I threw up. Wow! I’m sorry he felt bad but what a sentence! I checked and it wasn’t anything. I cleaned it up and he went to bed then.

25 November Saturday

Jack was in the other room playing. I heard him singing “My heart is to bring you praise.” I think we’re doing something right, thankfully.

29 October Sunday

We’re about an hour and a half out from Thor. A woman in a turn lane to our right just flagged us down to tell us one of our doors was open!! It’s the propane tank door which doesn’t lock, it just has latches to keep the door closed. I think that may mean we’re on the bumpiest roads we’ve ever been on if it knocked those knobs loose during this drive!

We’re almost to the Thor factory in IN and have now seen two Amish(?) horse-and-buggies crossing this 4-land divided highway! It’s a funny sight.

30 October Monday

Today we’re driving to Harrisburg PA. We had plans to stop at a Wal-Mart along the way and buy DVD players for the boys for this stupid-long drive, but we forgot we’d be on turnpikes the whole way and wouldn’t be able to easily get off and on again. Max is doing 2 days of school, though, so maybe it’s a moot point.

We stopped at a service plaza to gas up and get food. As we sat there eating a woman was cleaning nearby and Jack said, “Good job sweep up food off floor lady!” Heh. She didn’t hear him but it made all of us chuckle.

We checked in at the hotel and then had supper at a nearby Arby’s. We went back to the hotel and Tj took a shower, and then we took him to the airport.

31 October Tuesday

I thought I had 3 hours to drive today, but Google says it’s only 2!! Woot! We leisurely got up, ate the hotel breakfast and headed out. I called Grandmom after we got on the turnpike, but my call wouldn’t go through! I tried her several times, and then tried to call Papa just to test it out, but I couldn’t make an outgoing call. The recording kept talking about reconnecting my service. I didn’t want to wake Tj up so I figured we’d wait till we saw Grandmom.

We got to her house just fine and then I had her call me. Come to find out Tj didn’t pay our phone bill! At least that’s what I kept telling everyone. Heh. Actually our credit card changed and he forgot to change it over. Fortunately it was a simple fix.

That night we handed out candy to trick-or-treaters while we waited for Amanda to bring her kids so we could all trick-or-treat together. When she finally got there we could see that her mom had already taken them trick-or-treating without us! That was rotten. Amanda brought pizza so we all scarfed down a piece and headed out. Amanda was so cute with Jack; when I wasn’t right there with him she walked him to the door. Jack said ‘trick-or treating’ every time. Heh.

After a while Grandmom was ready to go back so Nicki and Eddie walked back with her and their new baby. Amanda, Justin, Dominic, Max, Jack and I kept on. After another little while I told Amanda I was fine to go back when her boys were tired out. My boys were getting tired, but also not begging to go on. Amanda kept us going on.

1 November Wednesday

Today at breakfast I had to chuckle. There was a woman with some special needs, but she was at breakfast by herself. She must have had at least one of everything for breakfast! There were 3 full plates of food, 2 full bowls, a yogurt and a banana, and I don’t even know what all else. I can totally imagine Jack doing that when he gets old enough to go to breakfast by himself!

After we were all ready we headed over to Grandmom’s…it was probably about 10am. We headed out to Wal-Mart and I got my oil changed there. Grandmom wanted to buy both the boys toys so we spent a good bit of time in the toy aisle. We had lunch at Subway while we waited for the truck to be ready.

We went back to Grandmom’s then and the two of us snoozed on the couch and chair while the boys played with their new toys. Then we took the dogs for a walk. Grandmom complained that she’d never taken all 3 dogs for a walk before…so why was she taking them all now? She gave me one to walk, but she didn’t like how I walked him. I was trying to use some of the dog whisper’s techniques on him (ha!), and Grandmom didn’t like that he was straining at the leash so hard. So she gave me a different dog, but I treated him the same way. I’m a bad daughter-in-law.

Grandmom and Max went to the school after-care program and got the boys so all 4 boys could play together. After a while inside we moved out the stuff in the back of my truck and all piled in to head off to a nearby park. It was closed! Ugh. We missed it by about 30 minutes.

My boys and I headed off to the hotel, but stopped at WaWa on the way and got supper. I got the Thanksgiving bowl Grandmom suggested and Max had a buffalo chicken sandwich. Jack and I split the bowl which had a base of mashed potatoes and stuffing, then turkey, gravy and cranberry sauce on it. It was pretty good!

2 November Thursday

Max slept hard so Jack and I got ready to go to breakfast. Max woke up while we were sneaking out so I told him where we were going and that I’d bring him some breakfast. As we were right at the dining room Max came running up in his pj’s! He’d locked himself out of the room to come ask me if he could watch some TV while we were eating. Cheeky! On our way back to the room I asked Jack to hold my water bottle and halfway there he said, “I drinked your water!”!!!! That boy is using more and more full sentences!

Before leaving the hotel I called Jo to see if she had more info on Momee and the memorial service than I had. It seems like the service won’t be this weekend no matter what, so that makes my life easier. I was a little stressed about leaving the boys with Grandmom and flying down to LA for that, so I can relax a little now.

Grandmom wanted the boys to go to a park today so I set up the GPS to take us there. I didn’t check the weather before we set out, and it was hot! We stopped by WM to return some stuff and bought Jack a short sleeved shirt. While at the park a reporter asked if he could take the boys’ pictures and put them in the paper! Famous boys!

When it came time for supper we decided to have Mexican, but Grandmom said we shouldn’t got to the place I found on Yelp because it was in Camden. I told her (I’d spoken to Tj about it) that it was on Camden Ave not in Camden and she seemed ok with that. She’d found another place but it had all kinds of food, the one I found only had Mexican, and purported to be authentic. From our conversation I thought we agreed to skip her restaurant and go to mine. When Ryan came in she told him we were going to her restaurant. When I corrected her she got annoyed. Now we’re not having Mexican. Ok then.

Grandmom rummaged around and found mac and cheese, hot dogs and Red Lobster cheese biscuits, so that’s what we had. I made the biscuits while she made the other things. Max slept over tonight.

3 November Friday

On the way to Grandmom’s today I stopped to get gas. I forgot until I was pulling in that I can’t pump my own gas in NJ. Man, that’s a strange feeling just sitting there while watching a guy do what I’m perfectly capable of doing. He was kinda snotty when I asked if I needed to go in to swipe my card. Whatever, jerk. He didn’t have any newspapers so I went to WaWa to get 2 papers with the boys’ pictures in them.

While we hung out at Grandmom’s for a while I started cleaning out a closet for her. Dianne and the girls seem to buy so much stuff and then leave it and buy more. This closet was chock full of scrapbooking and other art supplies. It was fun to take whatever I wanted…within reason, of course. Not living in a house does have some disadvantages. The other day I shopped in Grandmom’s basement and found a Swiffer steam mop that Grandmom let me have.

Today we went to Chuck E Cheese and the boys were in heaven. We snoozed again at Grandmom’s, and then went to Ken’s store to pick up supper. I’m so amazed…it’s an awesome looking store! We went on Sam’s house after. We had an enjoyable time at Sam’s until Max lost my keys!!!!!!!!!! Ugh. At least I have Tj’s spare keys, but I tore Sam’s house up! I did find an old iPhone that Sam let me keep, but no keys. I wasn’t good company after that. The crazy thing (to me) is that while I was outside looking for the keys Sam and Grandmom were inside setting up a game! Whatever.

4 November Saturday

Grandmom came to the hotel today to hang out. When I had her and the boys set up at the pool I went out to the truck to tear it apart to find my keys. No luck. But I did find the stretchy fence that came with the truck that will keep stuff from falling out when we open the back. Why haven’t I been using this all this time???!!!

We had lunch at the hotel of stuff from Ken’s: cheese lasagne, chicken pot pie and chicken coconut soup. They were all amazing, but my favorite was the lasagne. Then we drove to Sam’s to do more looking. I found their rake and sent Max to rake the whole front yard. After about 10 minutes, as I was praying, I looked up in the tree and there they were!! When I exclaimed Max said oh yeah, now I remember hanging them there!!! Oh my word. Sadly that sounds exactly like something I would have done. Exactly. This family is doomed.

We headed to the trampoline place, but when we found out we’d have to wait 2 hours I balked. We went next to get Jack’s glasses repaired (a screw fell out of them last night), and then we went back to the hotel. The boys were happy to play with their things. It surprised me that when I asked Jack if he wanted to go swim he said no.

For supper we went to Buffalo Wild Wings. We drove separate cars so after supper the boys and I went home for showers and bed.

5 November Sunday

We went to church with Grandmom, and the music was rocking! I wish I had made Max stay with us…the speaker was wonderful! He was a missionary in Muslim countries and had several stories of how the faith of him and his wife had been tested. Max went with Jack to be his helper. After church we had lunch at Cherry Hill Diner. The waitress was a real pill…she was in a mood and let us know it! Max got hot wings and Grandmom, Jack and I split a special with crab cakes that were wonderful. With our meal we also got a salad, two sides (beets and fries) and a dessert. Yum! Grandmom went on home and the boys and I split a piece of German Chocolate cake that was pretty good.

We went back to the room to nap after I bought tickets for the Alton Brown show!! Tj arrived while we were napping…it’s so good to have him back! When Jack woke up we headed over to Grandmom’s. We ordered cheesesteak for supper and visited a while. We brought clothes for the boys and they spent the night there.

Alton Brown’s show wasn’t at all what I expected. Although, honestly I had no idea what to expect. He sang and told jokes, bantered with the crew and the audience a bit too. One of the guys made him a drink and then he brought out a Price Is Right wheel and choose someone out of the audience. She spun 3 wheels to choose 3 ingredients of her drink, and it was nasty! All 3 ingredients were on the bitter side. AB said he would add 1 ingredient that would change the taste of the drink…nitrogen. He turned the table top upside and the supports made channels the length of the table. He poured the nitrogen into those channels to cool the metal. Then they sprayed the drink into those channels and it froze…now she basically had a slushy. Fun!

The second half of the show he talked about popcorn. He came out with a huge light, probably at least 4′ in diameter, with popcorn kernels all over it. He and 2 of his guys sang while it popped all over the stage. More happened, but overall it was a good show. It was nigh on to midnight when we made it back. Grandmom said we needed to be at her house by 9am to get the boys. Heh.

6 November Monday

We got up early to bring breakfast to the boys but Grandmom said no need. Tj made himself a breakfast sandwich and we headed over there. We just hung around a while and then found out that Ken’s shelves were in. Grandmom and Ken insisted that we needed to rent a truck to pick up the shelves but we unloaded the back of our truck and I drove it to FMP following everyone else in Grandmom’s car there. The shelves fit with a lot of room to spare, and we shopped a little too! We got a replacement thermometer and 2 pizza screens.

When we got to the store we offered to put the shelves together, and so we did. They weren’t hard, and it was fun to be in the back. Grandmom and the boys ate while Tj and I did that. When we were finished we nibbled on the unwanted half of Grandmom’s sandwich. I talked to the lady behind the counter, and she offered to make us an anti pasto plate, and boy was it awesome! We also shopped a good bit and got everything at half off. I told her I wanted to pay full price and she said that even the employees got half off, so that’s what we paid.

We hung out at Grandmom’s house for a bit and then she went to pick up the boys again to play with our boys. Before their mom came we left to go to the Iron Hill Brewery for supper. Grandmom was whipped, but she said Amanda didn’t come get the boys until after 7pm.

7 November Tuesday

I washed 2 loads of clothes here already. I didn’t mean to, but the first time Jack wet the bed slightly. I washed the second load because Grandmom was washing her things but had plenty of room for our stuff so we threw them in. But then this morning Tj spilled coffee on 1 of his 3 shirts so we did a 3rd load.

We went to the bank for Ken today, and then went to a super WM to get a sewing machine for Grandmom. On the way she needed to send a text to Ken saying she had his meds. Since she didn’t have her glasses handy I offered to text him for her. I sent: Yo Dawg! I got your drugs! Hit me up when you want them. Heh. I laughed a lot more than that warranted. I don’t think he laughed, though. He went home to get them but we weren’t home! So we went to the store to hand them over.

We were starving by this time, but we drove back near Grandmom’s house and ate at the Mexican restaurant I’d found a few days ago. The people working there were Mexican, and the 2 tables of people eating there were all Mexican, too. I think that’s the sign of an authentic ethnic place…when the customers are the same ethnicity as the place. It was awesome food, too. Tj, Jack and I split 2 plates with carne asada, chorizo, chicken, shrimp etc.

We went to Grandmom’s and messed around. Tj looked at Ken’s computer and is hoping to help Ken design and print his menus. After a bit Ken asked Grandmom if we’d go to BJ’s and get him some flour. We left Max behind so he could get a ride in Ryan’s Charger. Jack, Tj, Grandmom and I perused BJ’s and we bought some mints, brownies and cookies. Yum!

We brought Grandmom back to her house and then said our goodbyes!

8 November Wednesday

Today was our 13 hour drive from NJ to IN. At our first stop 4 hours in I got a text from Papa that Momee had just died. Mom has been with her in LA for at least 2 weeks so we knew this was coming, but….you know how it is. I know she’s better off now. I know now she’s not disoriented or in pain, but I’m still a little sad. She hasn’t been the Momee I knew for many years, but that’s the Momee I miss. I’m thankful that we had many years of assurances that she was saved, so we don’t have that to worry about. But it’s still a little sad when your grandmother dies.

When we got off the highway and were on our last 30 minutes we stopped at a convenience store and bought a gallon of milk and some doughnuts. We’re hoping to not have to unhook the truck for the next two or three days…however long we take to get to GA.

The Thor guys had set up the bus with the front tires off the ground, so we releveled. They also left the heat on at 72. Heh. This place was warm! We quickly turned that way down and set up. They’d shut off the water but filled up our fresh water tank. The crazy thing was that this was the first time that the back bedroom stayed cold all night. Usually, even in almost freezing temps, we crack the windows back there. But not tonight!

9 November Thursday

We had our walk-through with the Thor guy early this morning, and then we hit the road. We didn’t have a definite stopping point in mind, so I called a place while we were on the road and the guy said they had plenty of spots so he didn’t take a reservation.

We saw that our mid-day gas stop had a Denney’s so we made the most of that. We were surprised that we were there almost 2 hours! Tj gassed up, then we moved to a parking place, and then we had a nice, sit-down meal. My chicken fried steak with white gravy was awesome, and the mashed potatoes with white gravy were also awesome! Honestly, we’re all so tired from these last few days, this was a nice break.

We set up at the campground while the boys played at the playground. Tj ordered us a pizza and we got into bed early tonight. I think we were both asleep at 9:30!!

10 November Friday

Jack woke us up this morning around 4:30 coughing violently. I thought maybe he slept so hard with his mouth open and it had all dried out. He was thrashing around and not making eye contact, but didn’t seem like he needed to throw up…I figured all that coughing would make him throw up, though. I got the dish towel and held it to his mouth. After he didn’t quit Max jumped out of bed and got me a bowl, and when Jack still didn’t settle down I called Tj to come. I couldn’t hug Jack and keep that towel at his mouth so I thought Tj could hug him. It didn’t help much, though. In the end he did manage to spit up a bit, but I don’t think he vomited. We brought him back to our bed with a towel, but he didn’t settle down to sleep. Tj got him a Tums and I let him have a little water. When he still didn’t settle down I made him go to the bathroom though he kept saying he didn’t want to. He laid on the floor while I went, and then I kinda forced him onto the toilet. He went to the bathroom and then he really threw up. I feel kinda bad that I forced him, but at least now it was over! We changed his clothes and wiped him off, Tj threw everything in the washer (a nice perk of living in a tiny space is that it’s all right there), and then we went to bed. He took just a few minutes and then he slept, and we all slept.

Now we’re on the road to GA. We slept last night at Dad’s Bluegrass Campground, and hopefully tonight we’ll set up our spot for the next month and a half! This last month or so has been so tiring…we’ll all be glad to settle down for a bit.

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.

27 September Wednesday

Today was a day to ourselves! Man, we really needed it. We’ve been super rocky lately, and we just need some time for things to get back to normal, but it’s hard when your time is not your own.

After school when I was preparing pizza for lunch Tj said he’d take over and I should go have some down time! Hallelujah! I needed a break. I went out to eat at a wonderful Mexican place, and then went to 3 Goodwills (where I found nothing exciting!! Boo!!!), and then went to Wal-Mart to pick up Tj’s order and do a big grocery shop.

28 September Thursday

Today was a nice, normal day; and then at 7:45pm I took Tj to the airport. When I got back I put on some TV and painted my fingernails red. I needed a pick-me-up!

29 September Friday

Today was the typical day-after-Tj-leaves: I cleaned out the fridge and made a meal plan to eat all the odds and ends left over from a week of craziness. Then after school and lunch Jack and I took a wonderfully long nap.

After the boys were in bed for the night and I read for a little while, I snuggled down to work on my second basket and watch a movie. Then one of Tjs old friends asked how I was…there’s an active shooter here! I texted TJ, and have now turned off the TV and all other lights. I’m not turning on the a/c so as to keep the sound down, too. I’m glad the boys are asleep. TJ says if we hear shots to put the boys on the floor. I think in the bedroom would be best…there’s more cabinets around in this area than in other parts of the bus. I’m not too scared. But it’s crazy to think about. We are in God’s hands. Whatever happens he already knows.

30 September Saturday

I’m glad I didn’t freak out about the shooter…turns out it was a hoax! Times like this certainly make you think about your priorities!

1 October Sunday

We went to the Academy chapel this morning, and I was hoping to hear their awesome organ. They didn’t play the organ, but we did get to hear from a female chaplin! Oh well. We’re gonna go back next week at the earlier service and hopefully they’ll play it then. And hopefully it will be awesome.

2 October Monday

We went out to eat after school, and then went shopping. I couldn’t remember the name of the soup I wanted, but after tasting the great soup at this restaurant I remembered it’s Tom Yum. The waitress here told me where to get some, so we’ll be going out to eat again soon :-)

3 October Tuesday

I finished my second basket tonight. I probably could have finished it quicker, but I keep waffling on the best way to finish it. Run the stitches out at the handle or in the middle of a row? Oh yeah, and I had to rip out the beginning a million times because I thought I could wing it and not follow the pattern. I can’t.

4 October Wednesday

We did our errands in the morning and school in the afternoon. It’s crazy how different it seems. We take the same amount of time for school and free time, but it sure seems like we have less free time when we take it in the mornings.

We bought a saber for Greg, and then went and ordered a display box for it. We got the mail, and then went to the nearby thrift store where Max found a Dalek shirt!

We went to the Commissary afterwards and I was looking forward to making a cake with whipped cream and raspberries in the middle. I was so bummed not to find any raspberries! Wal-Mart had them Monday, but I know better than to buy them before I’m ready to use them. Oh well. I did buy 2 boxes of Devil Cremes at WM the other day so I guess I should wait anyway. I haven’t been able to find Devil Cremes for over a year!

5 October Thursday

It’s supposed to rain this afternoon, so we’ll go outside for a long break from school this morning. Or that’s the plan. Homeschool and travel sure make you be more flexible.

I had a long chat with Mom during my school break. I love that!

6 October Friday

Max had a super short day, so when he finished up around 11 we headed out. I had planned to sightsee Saturday and then Wednesday when Tj was home, but the forecast shows snow Monday, so I hate to take the chance.

We headed over to Outdoor Rec to see about our package from Amazon, and then I got some info from ITT about the places to visit. After getting a full tank of gas we headed out to the German bakery someone told me had wonderful black forest cake. It was an hour and a half drive there, but the scenery was beautiful. Majestic mountains and a beautiful blue sky with awesome white clouds.

We finally made it to Gold Camp Bakery, and I ordered a miner’s pasty for us to split for lunch while I figured out what all desserts we would have. I took Jack to the bathroom while she heated up our lunch and saw that the faucet lit up when you turned it on! The hole where the water came out had a ring of blue light. Fancy! When we went to the bathroom again before leaving I realized that Jack left his big winter coat in there the first time…I’m so glad we got it!!! We ended up having chocolate peanut butter pie, bee sting cake and black forest cake for dessert, and I got a soft pretzel, a kaiser roll and a nut roll to take home.

We then drove to Phantom Canyon Road for the other reason we drove all the way out here. It was a dirt scenic highway, and I stopped so many times to get out and take pictures…it was beautiful! The drive was never scary, but it was often only wide enough for one car. A few cars passed me going the opposite way, but the traffic was so scarce it was easy to take our time. Towards the end of the drive we drove through two rock tunnels. I stopped the truck several times in the tunnels to take pictures, and the second time I opened the sunroof and let the boys stand up while I drove through. What good memories!

We needed milk at home, so we stopped at Wal-Mart once we got back into civilization. Max headed off to the Lego section while I started shopping. I finally broke down and bought the red coat I’ve admired for the last 5 or so years. I only brought a casual heavy coat on this bus trip…trying to be reasonable and not pack heavy, but I’ve missed having a dressier coat every time I went to church in cold weather. I’m so excited! I also bought some raspberries, so I’m planning on making that cake Sunday after my nap.

Google was telling me to turn East out of the parking lot and I said which way is East? Max said it’s right. I was astounded and asked how he knew, and he said it was because the US is West of Europe…and then I died laughing! Turns out he thought Google was saying go East like go right. Heh.

7 October Saturday

We had a lazy morning in bed. I finished my book while Max played Legos and Jack played with his marble tower and watched Animusic 2. Now we’re gonna get ready and go eat some Tom yum soup, and see the Manitou cliff dwellings.

The soup was good, but it wasn’t the taste I remember having in Cabot. I’ll have to try the soup there when we go back and see if it’s the soup or my memory. The ginger chicken was wonderful, though. I asked for medium heat expecting Jack to eat it and Max to complain but eat it. In the end Jack seemed to have some trouble, so I guess it was hotter than I thought! I didn’t make them finish their last bites.

We were on the way to the cliff dwellings and saw a playground on the way. Max asked to stop, so the boys played a while and I watched. I was chatting to a lady in the park and looked over and Jack had a little girl’s swing and was slowing her down! Her dad was swinging next to her, so I apologized to him and got Jack away from there as quickly as possible, but the dad and girl didn’t go back to swing. I didn’t let Jack swing then because that wouldn’t have taught him anything. Guess I wasn’t watching as well as I should’ve been!

We got to Manitou and it’s just a recreation of the original Anasazi cliff dwellings. We were able to walk in and around them, which we wouldn’t have been able to do if they were the original ones, but those are a many-hours drive away. I bought a scalloped Turkish bowl and some praline pecan butter at the gift shop.

We went to WM to return the pants I bought that didn’t fit, and to get eggs and lunchmeat. Max went and picked out the food while I stood in line for the return…he got exactly what I asked for! Once we got home I told Max if he’d take Jack to the playground for an hour I’d give him a Devil Creme. Heh.

8 October Sunday

We went to the early service today, and got to hear the organ…it was beautiful! There was a lady in front of us with short, curly hair, just touching her shoulders; she had a rat tail that went to her knees!!! It was a tiny braid, and it wasn’t matted at all, but it was so long! We walked to the Visitor’s Center after church for some exercise again and saw a sign saying it’s 1/3 mile…not too bad for a Sunday stroll.

At home I made cheese sauce to cover our broccoli and baked potatoes, then Jack and I took a nap. When we got up Max and Jack went to play with Caden and I made a cake. Boxed chocolate cake with upgrades, homemade whipped cream and raspberries in the middle, and that divine chocolate buttercream frosting on top. I think I need to make that black frosting thinner. I kept the cake in the fridge because of the whipped cream, and the frosting was about as stiff as fudge, which meant every time you cut a slice of cake you just mangled it. But, boy did it taste great!!

I brought a piece to Caden’s place but they had company and I didn’t have enough for all of them, so I brought it back home and the boys and I ate it. After supper I had sooooo many dishes to wash! Then I battened down the hatches because the forecast says 100% chance of snow that starts at 2am and continues 24 hours!

9 October Monday

I awoke at 6:30 and checked outside…disappointment! I expected great big fluffy mounds of snow, and there’s only a thin layer on things that are raised off the ground. I’m going to read my Bible now and wait for more snow. Not that I want great big piles of it…I have to go pick up Tj tomorrow and don’t want to drive in that mess. But, you know….

We did school, and took some time out to go play and walk in the snow. I’d never seen such fat/fluffy/wet snowflakes! It was beautiful. And serene. And by supper it was basically all melted. Which was good since I need to drive to the airport tomorrow morning to get Tj.

10 October Tuesday

Jack and I left the house at 6:30am to get Tj. I met Jon Thompson for the first time, but it was cold outside of the restaurant! Jon had to leave his house early for work anyway, so he got Tj from the airport which was near his work and took him to a restaurant where they ate breakfast and waited for me to come.

We went home and Tj went straight to bed. The boys and I had school and then lunch, and then we all drove over to the Arnold’s son’s house for supper. Which was the biggest pizza I’d ever seen! We visited for a while and then went to their condo in Denver and had second supper with their other son and visited some more.

11 October Wednesday

We just had a regular day. Tj didn’t leave the bus, and I just ran to the store for groceries.

12 October Thursday

We had our weekend today and went to the Royal Gorge. On the way there there was an accident that delayed traffic for an hour, but we’d already bought our tickets through ITT so I hated to just give up and throw away about $80! We finally got moving again and went straight to lunch at a BBQ place. I had bbq nachos, and Tj had a burger with both a patty and pulled pork and bacon on it. Both our lunches were awesome!

The Royal Gorge was beautiful. Our tickets included a gondola ride so we did that first. The views were amazing. The boys got to play on a playground there and burn off a little energy they’d accumulated sitting in traffic for so long. When we went to ride the carousel there was a man sitting on the only bench seat, and his son was on a horse. Jack went right up to the man and sat next to him! He’s so awkward and doesn’t even know it! Crazy kid. We walked back over the bridge over the gorge next, and then went to the visitor’s center where Tj bought 2 t-shirts.

While we sat in traffic earlier Bill asked if we wanted to have supper with them so we headed straight to the diner next. It was great to see Mrs. Norma again, but it was sad to see her memory’s going. She told us a few stories that were completely unrelated to the topic of our conversation, and then told us a story starting with, “A few months ago…”. When they heard enough of the story to recognize it Bill and Teresa reminded her that that had happened years ago when she was living in Germany. Otherwise, though, we had a great visit with all 3 of them.

21 September Thursday

After school we went to the Garden of the Gods and the rocks were magnificent! Max found a painted rock and re-hid it.

At 6pm we went to the meet and greet for Tj’s reunion. Max wanted to go but we told him there weren’t likely to be kids there. In the end there were a few, but he would have been totally bored. We milled around and talked to a few guys, and here and there a girl, too. The spinach dip wasn’t anything to brag about. On our way out we saw Chrissy!!! It was so good to see her after all these years. We got back home around 10pm. Max had gotten a little scared right before we left saying he thought he heard someone else breathing in the bus. (Days later he realized it’s the sound the ice maker makes!) I bought a little black clutch at Goodwill that I used tonight instead of my backpack. It was just the right size, but the opening was a little tight for my phone, so Max was just texting Tj during the night.

22 September Friday

Today we toured USAFA. Tj took us around to all the places he remembered. It was interesting to see where he spent all his time, and to hear the stories he recounted. There was a pizza lunch provided, and as soon as we got there they made an announcement that more pizzas had been ordered and would arrive soon. When they finally got there Tj was in the bathroom with Jack, so Max and I got in the line to get lunch for all of us. I left Max in the line and went ahead to get the plates, and then Max saw Tj coming back so he left the line to tell him where we were. In the end those few minutes cost me pepperoni pizza! At least we got enough to eat. Heh. This wasn’t a very well planned reunion, but it was fun to visit with old friends and for us to get a glimpse of Tj’s past.

We left the boys again for the dinner provided tonight. There was more milling and talking to people who’s names I’ve heard but don’t know. We sat with Bobby and his wife, and the food was pretty good. We got back around 11 and the boys were still awake, barely, watching a movie.

23 September Saturday

We were told we should walk to the game because parking was $10 and likely to be a hassle, and we were only about a half mile from the stadium (I just googled it and it’s a full mile!!). The forecast called for rain, but the sun was shining an hour before the game, so we were hoping for the best. We bundled up and started walking, but it started drizzling halfway there. Ugh. I was hopeful it would just drizzle the whole time, and for a while it did. We immediately stood in line for bison burgers, and
they were awesome! Halfway through eating, though, the rain picked up. The AF had told the head guy he couldn’t have this reunion this weekend, but he did it anyway. One of the results of that is that there was a tent for 500 people for the tailgate, but there were about 1,000 people there including other reunion years. People started pushing in, and a couple of tables were shoved out into the rain so there was more room. The rain fluctuated a bit, and slowed down when we went into the game, but after a short time there it really picked up. We got to see the teams run out, the coin toss, the kickoff and a couple of plays and then we gave up. Tj figured if he was freezing with all the meat on his bones, how cold must our boys be? He read later that there were something like 21,700 people in the stands, but after the rain delay it dropped to 75! We really froze on the way back. One truck stopped and offered us a ride but Tj turned them down. My leather Goodwill boots lasted for a long time, but by the time we got back I could feel the water sloshing in them. Max was miserable during the walk, as we all were; I told him it would be funny looking back on this…what an adventure! He wore his new light up shoes…I hope they still work after all this!

We walked in the bus and had the boys strip down on the gray rug. Max went immediately into a hot shower while Jack hung out at the heater. Jack showered next, and when he got out I saw that there was a leak!!! What it looks like is that the bed slide-out’s seal didn’t unfold properly and water seeped into the room. There was water on either side of the bed, and some had dripped into the area under the bed. Tj watched it a good while and did a good bit of research on youtube, and that’s his best bet. He put the slide in and out a couple of times, and went outside to adjust the seal…now we just wait and see. Fortunately it looks like we’ll have enough rain in the near future to really research this! :-(

24 September Sunday

We’ve been trying to find Mrs. Norma since we started this bus trip. We know she sold her house in Shreveport, but we can’t find her. Tj saw that her DIL attends a church here, so we planned to go there today to see if we can find them.

After a lady helped us find classrooms for our kids Tj asked her if she knew Bill and Teresa, and she said she went to LA Tech with them! She said Bill goes to their other campus now, so we sat through Sunday School and then hopped in the truck and booked it over there. We walked in as they were on their first or second song and Tj saw Bill right away. Sweet! After church we stood around for half an hour catching up. We’ll get to see Mrs. Norma sometime this week.

We went out to Over Easy for lunch. Tj had steak and eggs, and the steak was excellent! I got the crab Benedict on Tj’s recommendation, and we split half and half even though his was vastly superior. He’s a wonderful husband!

25 September Monday

The boys finished their school quickly and we headed over to Tj’s sponsor’s house for lunch. We ended up staying there until after supper! They were such a great couple, and they took him in just like family. I know that’s what sponsors are supposed to do, but I’m sure they’re not all as great as these people are. They had a few pictures of him around the house, and we got to watch some videos of Tj. Seeing him at 19yo was pretty surreal.

Their house was beautiful, and their backyard was amazing. It makes me want to have a professionally landscaped yard one day. For lunch we had homemade bread with butter, roast and veggies, cuke salad and tomato salad; and there was homemade ice cream and home cooked peaches for dessert. Wow. When it got down to supper time she pulled out some chili she’d made the night before and we had that with salad and more bread. One thing that cracked me up was when I mentioned that we started out doing Saxon math with Max Dr Arnold said he knew him!! He didn’t speak too highly of him personally. Said he often was drunk and once while teaching he’d gotten his foot stuck in a garbage can, and then proceeded to walk around the classroom like that the rest of the class! Klassy!

Another thing that cracked me up…when we told them the story of how we eloped, and that we drove to CO for our 1st honeymoon, she sided with Mrs. Norma that we should’ve visited her and her family! It still amazes me that people think this is a reasonable idea.

26 September Tuesday

Today after school we got to see Mrs. Norma. It was sweet. She looks exactly the same, only shrunken 10%. She sounds the same, even. It’s funny what you forget about a person, but recognize again when you’re with them. We went out to Cheddar’s for supper…it’s her favorite spot. I sat next to Teresa and we got on famously. I think if we lived nearby we’d be fast friends. I’d told her on Sunday about Mrs. Norma’s way of giving a restaurant (any restaurant but Luby’s) the X, and she said that Cheddar’s was Mrs. Norma’s favorite place, and that she often gets the hamburger, and that she didn’t know about the X. Well, tonight Mrs. Norma ordered her burger well done (I don’t know if that’s how she always gets it), and then she complained that it was tough. Teresa silently looked at me and made an X on the table! I laughed so hard. Maybe Tj and I bring it out in her if she’s never had a problem with the burgers before? Jack and I had the cheese dip and it was awesome.