Sunday, December 29, 2013

What’s Today?


Okay, so it’s Sunday.  Got it.  Having Christmas in the middle of the week gets confusing as to what day it is.  Thursday felt like Monday.  Then there was Friday and b i n g o it’s the weekend again. 

Yesterday was reasonably nice for December here in New Jersey.  Maggie even had a clip outside.  Dave got in 55 miles on the bike.  Today, however, is a completely different story with rain (at times heavy) that started at around 9 AM.  At least it’s not freezing cold out.  It’s dreary out, so I have my Happy Light glowing as I visit with you here.  Just had my self-allotted one cup of coffee and I cleaned our bathroom a bit ago. 

I can think of another dozen things I should/could be doing this afternoon, but . . . aw, heck . . . I think I’ll just be lazy.  That’s what Sundays are for, right?  The years we worked self-storage, we worked weekends, so it’s nice to have Sundays for just . . . kicking back, especially when the weather is icky out.

Another year is almost gone, and we’ve been on the road for 3.5 years!   Not that we’re actually traveling, but I consider “being on the road” what we’re doing.  Again, if we have to work (which we still do), we’ve got a sweet gig here. 

Well, I’m rambling and have no real news, so I’ll leave you with one of my shorter blog posts!

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!


I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.  We certainly have!

Yesterday was again busy, as the usual crew was here working.  Our electrician also came by and fixed the power issue, so we now have heat in the office trailer again and no incoming voltage issues with our RV.  Yay!  I have been moving some of my stuff back over from our rig this evening in preparation for being back in the office.  I’ve been working from the RV  for about a week, and our dining table is a bit crowded with my laptop and other work items, chess board and Christmas tree/decorations. 

We had a lovely Christmas Eve of chess accompanied by Christmas tunes, laughter (both quiet and not-so-quiet), comfortable companionship and a late evening snowfall of about 1”.  Perfect!

Upon getting out and about this morning, we noticed tracks in the snow around our RV and the company truck . . .

Kitty tracks from Christmas Eve

Looks like the feral cat was strolling around our RV last night.

Deer tracks from Christmas Eve

I’m thinking these are deer tracks, as we did see three of them last night in the distance past that building on the right.  The eerie/cool  thing is the tracks come from the distance  right up to the company truck and  then . . . disappear.  There are no back-tracks or tracks going forward.  I asked Dave if he checked the cargo area of the Suburban just in case a deer was napping?  Perhaps magical reindeer were getting a running start prior to takeoff last night?

Today has been cold with relatively clear skies and the snow is almost gone again.  We had our opening of presents this morning,  breakfast and then, seeing as the roads were clear, Dave went for a bike ride while I prepared our meal.

I watched White Christmas while working away in the kitchen.  Watching that movie is a tradition with me.  Somehow it just doesn’t seem like Christmas without it.  Dave timed it just right; the movie had just ended and the stuffing and broccoli/rice casserole had  just gone into the oven when he returned.

Christmas dinner

Christmas dinner – I’m grateful for the food, to be able to cook a nice dinner and to be able to eat whatever I want.

Dinner was a success and I had a good time preparing it.  We made a wise choice in the rear kitchen layout of our fifth wheel.  I have lots of counter space, room to work and can  access the oven quite easily. 

We watched It’s a Wonderful Life earlier this evening; this time a tradition of Dave’s and I love it, too.  The plan was to play chess this evening, but we agreed we’re both a bit too mentally laid back tired to do so and really enjoy it.

We received a couple of Christmas cards and I’ve had some warm visits via phone along with some holiday emails.  Have been having fun seeing my Facebook community post their holiday photos and updates.  Of course, I’ve also so enjoyed reading the blogs on my list to see what ya’ll are up to wherever you are!

I’m thinking we’ll have a relatively early night.  One crew that has been on-site will not be back until after the New Year, so that means we can set our alarm clocks for 7 AM instead of 6:30 AM!  Whoohoo! 

Well, Merry Christmas to you all.  Hope you are safe and snug and have had a wonderful Christmas!

Thanks for stopping by!




Friday, December 20, 2013

Party Day!


We were again invited to the company holiday luncheon!  We left the property around 10 AM and got home at almost 5 PM.  Whew!  The luncheon is held near the main office, so we had to travel a bit.

Entry at The Stone Terrace IPPE Holiday Luncheon

Christmas decorations at the entry to The Stone Terrace, where this year’s luncheon was held.  We had a private banquet room on the ground floor.


At IPPE Holiday Lunch 12202013

A rare photo – both of us together, “dressed up” and in Scottish attire

Dave had only worn his kilt three times before today – at our wedding and two funerals.  My sash is the tartan of Dave’s clan; I  had worn it on my wedding dress.

We are “only” contractors and obviously do not work at the main office; however, this year again we were included in the holiday luncheon.  We truly appreciate the thoughtfulness of this.

What a fun afternoon!  The environment was lovely and the food was quite good.  The fellowship was . . . wonderful!  This company is quite a rarity these days.  With international holdings, it is family owned and run, and truly the camaraderie is that of good friends and family.  This is not only exhibited during the holidays but year-round.  They truly do seem to care about the people who work with and for them as part of their team.  The two owner-brothers make a point of coming around to speak to each individual.  This is a bunch of huggers, too!  Cool.

I yapped and laughed an entire year’s worth this afternoon!

Working as we do, we are rather isolated at times.  Some days there are people here but many days it is dead quiet.  Although I speak with many of the office folks on the phone and via email throughout the year, it’s different than working in the cubicle or office next door to them.  Associating a face with a voice is such fun and helps nurture that team spirit.

Last year’s “program” was a company-themed rendition of The 12 Days of Christmas.  This year it was a company-oriented episode of “Family Feud.”  So funny!  The two “families” had the rest of us in the “audience” howling with laughter.  The questions and responses were very clever.

I applaud the owners for knowing the value of giving their team some fun time together after working so hard throughout the year.  Again, this can be a rarity in today’s business environment.  Well done!

And you know what?  I’m feeling a bit more festive now!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Snowy Saturday



Dec 13 Dave Ride 2

Dave managed a bike ride Friday afternoon.


It started snowing again at 8 AM Saturday morning, snowed for 12 hours straight (at times close to being a whiteout) and then topped that with an ice storm.


Dave clearing the roof of the first 2” of snow . . . but that was early in the day.


12142013 Warren Glen 1

We took a stroll down the entry drive to the main road out front in the afternoon.


12142013 Warren Glen 2

Took a look at the county road that runs by the front of the property, then turned around and headed back down the entry drive.


12142013 Warren Glen 3

There’s our RV/home with our truck parked to the right and the office trailer to the left of our RV.  You can see the mill building in the background and Musconetcong Mountain rising up behind that.


12142013 Warren Glen 4

Not exactly the perfect day for a picnic!


We both heard the snowplow on the property at around 4 AM (dark-thirty) Sunday morning.  No, we didn’t get up!

Our RV was encased in ice Sunday when we got up and about.  Think a 38”, 15,000+ pound ice cube.  At least the sun did come out a bit and most of the ice melted. 

There’s about 6” of snow on the ground topped with 1/2 to 1” of ice.  Crusty snow!  Maggie has been wearing her boots.  She is light enough that she doesn’t crack through the crust, but goes “skating” on the surface.  She’s so funny.  It’s a new experience for her, this skating thing, and she has been having a ball.  At one point today, she slipped and sprawled – like a novice ice skater might – but got right up and pranced along. She was unhurt and behaved as if it was a fun thing to do that.  I swear she was smiling.

Tonight is going to bring .  . . you guessed it.  More snow!   That’s the forecast through tomorrow evening.  Thank goodness for these . . .


These babies are eight years old now.  Ordered them my first Winter in Minnesota.  I have strap-on cleats on them for dealing with icy conditions.

We’re getting January weather a month early here.  At least Friday is looking better so far; that’s a good thing, as it’s the company holiday luncheon.  We’ve been invited again this year and it’s a bit of a drive from here to the restaurant. 

Stay safe and warm wherever you are!

Thanks for stopping by!


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A White Day


It began snowing at 6:30 this morning and kept it up until around 2:30 this afternoon.  We ended up with just a little over 3”.


December 10 AM

Mid morning



Taken at 4 PM.  Mr. Sun came out for a while!  This is looking out towards the front gate.



Another 4 PM view looking back towards the mill.



Our snowplow guy is here!  Yay!

It’s going to be a cold night, but at least the snow has stopped . . . for today, that is!

Dave has already been up on the roof of our RV to clear off the snow.

We thought it would be a rather quiet day due to the weather, but turns out our boss was here, in and out a bit, and there was a meeting here in the office.  Go figure! 

We also had our mobile tech scheduled to come out today to change out the high-pressure propane regulator on our RV.  Well . . . he’s rescheduled for Thursday.  Some other folks who were to be on the property today have been rescheduled as well.  Sounds like the rest of the week will be a bit busy.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, December 9, 2013

I Think Winter Has Arrived

I must have some Bear DNA in me somewhere.  When the dreary, cold days of Winter come along, I have a hard time getting motivated to go anywhere.  I’m content to just stay home/here on the property. 

May 25 evening

May 2013 – Office trailer to the left of our RV

I really like and appreciate my office even more during Winter.  Yes, our RV stays cozy; however, “my” section of the office trailer is divinely snug.  My section is the approximately 10 x 10 area closest to our rig.  There’s a door that separates my portion from the rest.  I can crank up my little ceramic tower heater that supplements the electric baseboard heaters and stay comfortably toasty!

Dec 8 2013

December 8, 2013

Yes, we had our first “real” snow event yesterday.  The forecast was for up to 4”, but we lucked out again and only got about an inch.  That’s fine with me!  Last night it turned to freezing rain followed by a light, drizzly rain most of today.  It warmed up enough that most of what you see melted by this afternoon.  However!  We have yet another event coming in overnight and through tomorrow which is again slated to bring 2-4” with a high of 32 tomorrow.  The rest of the week will hover around freezing for highs but at least bring clear skies.

photo (3)

See that vertical “wire” hanging down off our RV and attached to the bucket?  That’s no wire, folks, that’s an icicle!  Pretty darn amazing.


Chicken Fiesta Soup

Chicken Fiesta Soup in the slow cooker last week seemed a good idea, and it was!


Chess Early December

Holiday Chess

We’re still enjoying our weekend chess matches, with usually two games each weekend evening.  I’m playing better and giving Dave a run for his money.  Last night we ended up in a draw and I’ve won a game here and there.  Of course, I did look up opening chess moves on the Internet.  Punk

I got out the Christmas decorations and what you see above is as much as I’ve done so far.  I still have lights to put up in our RV, the office and a string or two outside.  Haven’t been too motivated to do any of that yet, although the weather hasn’t been cooperating with putting up the outside lights.  Maybe later this week.  Better get it done if I’m going to do it!

We did make a trip to the mall Saturday afternoon.  We don’t go that often; in fact, it’s really at Christmastime that we journey over there unless we need something, say, from Radio Shack, etc.  We have again been included in the company holiday luncheon coming up in a little over a week, and I really didn’t have anything dressy enough.  I scored an outfit that will do quite nicely and can be worn for other things.  To top it off, when I was checking out, turns out both pieces were on sale, so I ended up saving about 50%.  I can live with that!  We’ll get in another mall journey soon to pick up some Hickory Farms goodies – another Christmas tradition – and prowl around a bit.

It’s been a full day at work, so I think I’ll have a bit of an early night.  I wonder how white it will be when we greet tomorrow!

Thanks for stopping by!


Monday, December 2, 2013

Duncan Lou Who and Panda Paws Rescue


For some time now, I’ve been a total fan of Panda Paws Rescue.  Amanda is truly an Angel on this Earth.  Check out her latest miracle, Duncan Lou Who.



Thanks for stopping by, and remember how to fly!

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Peaceful Holiday Weekend? Not!


Well, folks, I’m a bit punchy-goofy weary.  It’s quiet around here again right now, as weekends typically are used to be.  For over a month, we’ve had some sort of activity around here every weekend.  You’d think a holiday weekend would be serene . . .

Even on weekends, we rarely sleep in, and are up and about by 7:30 AM.  Yesterday, we slept in.  At 8:17 AM, my phone rang.  A power company truck was at the gate needing in to do some work at the substation on the property.  Fine.  Mad dash to bolt out of bed and throw on some clothes.  The gate has to be opened, as does the office for visitors to sign in and we find out what’s going on.

The FedEx delivery that was supposed to happen Friday was next up.  It was my turn to trot to the gate, although I didn’t really mind.  This was a special package for Dave for Christmas, all the way from Scotland.  I was relieved that it actually arrived after Friday’s delivery fiasco.

Power crew leaves.  They get signed out and gate opened and closed.

Put on laundry.  First load was in dryer and the second on just started the wash cycle when clunk . . . the power goes off.  This was right at 11 AM.  Oh good grief.  This happens now and then, usually associated with bad weather of some kind.  In this case, weather was not an issue.

First priority is a phone call to the power company.  Of course, it’s an automated system that does not understand the normal speaking voice, (I know from past experiences) so I have to speak loudly and sternly.  Otherwise, the automaton on the other end says something like, “I’m sorry, I didn’t get that,”  similar to this voice-activated elevator sequence (pardon the language, it’s in Scotland).  Sorry about the alignment; I couldn’t place it in the center of the page.


Electrical items – computers, phones, printer, washer, alarm system - get unplugged in the office during a power outage to protect against surges when power is restored.

Next is to fire up our generator, which is a manual pull start model.  No problem.  Get the power cord adapter out of the storage box in the office.  Unplug power box from source on office trailer and plug into adapter.  Unplug RV.  Turn off furnace inside RV.  Take off the weights holding down the tarp over Genny’s shelter.  Fold back tarp.  Lift cover.  Check gas level and top off if needed.  Begin start procedure, which we do as a team. 


Genny’s shelter, which Dave built.


Meet Genny.  Her handle folds down and she stays in her shelter.  She’s a big girl, construction-grade, and runs whatever we want/need in our RV.

Well, even though we exercise Genny regularly, it was bloomin’ cold out.  Took a bit to persuade her to fire up, the longest it has ever taken.  Thank goodness it was sunny and not blowing, snowing or raining – even though it was pretty darn cold.  Once she was humming along, the adapter gets plugged in and I check Genny’s “pulse.”  Everything looks good, so the power cord gets plugged into the RV.  Furnace gets turned back on.  Water heater gets switched from electric to propane. 

I send an email to our boss advising him the power is out.  Of course, our Internet is also down at this point; my iPhone sure is a handy in these situations.

We thought we might not have water; we’re on a well and when the power goes out, the water stops flowing.  So . . . valve on hose into our rig gets turned off.  Faucets opened inside the rig and water pump turned on.  Faucets turned off once flow is seen.

At 12:18 PM, the alarm company calls with an automated message telling me apparently there’s been a loss of power to the alarm system here.  No kidding, but thanks for the call.

Dave was then free to hop on the bike for a ride whilst I awaited the arrival of the power company.  As Dave was leaving, another power company guy came to finish a bit of the work the other crew started in the morning.  Dave leaves.  Power guy is ready to leave (all this coming and going means the gate has to be unlocked, opened, pulled shut and locked).  He has called about our power outage but hasn’t heard anything.  He says he will call me if/when he finds out something.  Good guy, that.

Our RV is nice and cozy again and it’s cold out, so I go inside for a while.  Sit down and start to doze.  That won’t do, so I start dusting furniture.  At 12:22 PM a neighbor calls asking if it’s okay to cut firewood from the downed trees at the other mill down the road.  Yep, help yourself.

The nice power guy called at 2:30 PM to tell me a crew will be working our problem in about an hour.  It’s now an hour past the initial restoration time provided by the automated system during initial contact.  Lovely.

Time passes.  At 3:31 PM, the power company calls to ask if we have power.  No.  Okay, they’ll be sending someone shortly.

At 4:25 PM, I call the power company and, using the “elevator technique” above, am connected to a live human being.  Oh.  They are on their way.  A crew truck and one guy shows up about 4:40. 

From then until 5:10 PM, it was hanging out with the crew guy and getting our site electrician on the phone, and passing information back and forth.  Did I mention it’s dark and cold(er) by now?  Electrician arranges to have a buddy come see if he can get us back up and running, as it appears not to be a power company issue.

His van shows up and power company truck leaves.  More time in the dark outside and finally at 6 PM, we have power again!  Whoohoo!  Only seven hours off the grid this time!

Let Genny run a bit just to make sure the power is stable, then turned her off and reversed the above process, getting her snug for the night.  Our RV is now back on shore power and all the unplugged items in the office get plugged back in.  Water pump gets turned off.  I start up the laundry again.

I shoot off another email advising our boss that power has been restored.

A quick dinner, some chess and the last load of laundry folded and put away around 10 PM.

And that was Saturday.

This morning we were both up around 3-4 AM, probably from being unable to sleep after spending so much time outside in the cold Saturday evening.  Dang.  We were both so wasted, we decided to postpone our Perkins breakfast, getting a couple of things at Lowe’s and a wee holiday excursion to the mall. 

At 10:33 AM, the son of one of the company guys calls and is heading our way to fish.  I’m finishing my breakfast, so Dave gets the gate.  They get signed in. 

Okay, so there’s a minivan parked in the driveway out front and a woman hanging around.  Sometimes folks park to make phone calls, motorcyclists have been known to stop for a break and consult maps, etc.  Well, she’s been there a while (we’ve been keeping an eye on her, me via the office window and Dave via binoculars) and now there’s a pickup.  Okay, let’s walk out and see what’s up.  Another trip to open the gate and walk down the driveway.  Sure enough, she’s broken down.  I get her name and phone number; she says a tow truck will come get her vehicle.

At 12:10 PM, the fisherman calls to alert us to someone walking a property road by the river, headed towards the mill.  Dave jumps in the company truck to go investigate.  He returns shortly, having advised the person that they are on private property.  They’re leaving.

We decide to get a few things from the grocery store, so make a short trip out around 1 PM, arriving back a bit after 2 PM.  Tow truck comes to tow stranded vehicle.  Fishermen are ready to leave, so they sign out and are let out through the gate.

In between all the above activity, there are periodic patrols of the mill down the road, too.

Dave’s watching a video and I’m blogging.  It’s just about 4 PM and getting dark already.  We’ll each grab a light dinner and then play some chess later.

I bet we’ll sleep tonight!

Thanks for stopping by!