Friday, November 28, 2014

Our Thanksgiving Day


Today was certainly a departure from Thanksgiving Days of previous years.

Beginning yesterday, we are on our own here until Monday and we’ve been pretty busy.  There was an issue with a system Tuesday, so we are having to monitor a level readout every two hours.  The tank which supplies water to our RV (and I think perhaps the office, too) had to be refilled today; that involves turning a valve, but one has to check on the storage tank and turn off the valve when the tank is full.  Dave took care of that this afternoon and refilled our fresh tank, too.  The overnight temperatures are below freezing tonight and the next couple of nights, so that means various water spigots need to be turned on around the property to avoid freezing lines; Dave took care of that, too, this afternoon.  These things are in addition to our regular patrol rounds.

We’re both running on less sleep, seeing as one of us needs to be up at all times in order to perform the system check every two hours.  Those two hours really fly by.

I did manage to put together a semi-traditional Thanksgiving meal  with the usual side dishes but sans turkey.  Said bird did not thaw in time, so we had breaded chicken breasts instead.  I made an ambrosia salad for the first time, which turned out well.  This is the first Thanksgiving meal that Dave and I have eaten in shifts.  Oh well, we both ate well, just at different times.   Hooray for leftovers!

After dinner, I discovered that our TV picks up a Fox channel very well.  I ended up looking at most of the fourth quarter of the Dallas/Philadelphia football game . . . and enjoyed it!  Goodness, I had not watched football in . . . well, ages.  Following that was Fox’s Cause for Paws; Maggie and I snuggled in my recliner under a fave blankie and watched that together. 

We had nonstop rain Sunday through Wednesday morning, followed by colder and windy conditions today.  Less sleep than usual and that “I just can’t seem to get warm” feeling contributed to my feeling rather punky most of today.  I rarely take a pain pill, but took half a one a couple of hours ago and am feeling much better. 

Dave has been in bed for a couple of hours now; Maggie and I have the watch until about 2 AM.  I’ll be ready for a shower and my turn to catch some zzz’s. 

You know, our current assignment and locale is not optimal, but I have so much for which to be thankful.  We are employed and our material needs are met, including being able to put a plentiful dinner on our table.  We work with good people.  I am alive after beating cancer twice and, health-wise, the majority of my days are good ones.  We own our home and it has wheels, so we are free to live wherever we choose.  The lifestyle I live is of my own choosing and I share it with a husband who is also my best friend.  Our wee Maggie is a source of delight and comfort who knows, among many things, just when to snuggle in my lap and radiate peaceful “therapy dog” vibes.  While our version of the full-time life is somewhat different than the typical stereotype, we are living Life and collecting so many memories.

Yes, the list goes on and on.  And on.

Life is indeed guid!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Chasin’ Daylight

So it’s been ten days since my last post.  All I can say is that there really isn’t much to talk about.  We have settled into a routine – more or less – and the days seem to slip by quickly and quietly.  We are finding we leave the property much less here than in NJ.

I did recently install a modem/router for the Internet system that services our RV.  Took a bit of time, as there were some system configuration issues; however, AT&T tech support was great, and it’s all working like a charm now.  I enjoyed wearing my geek hat, and this provided the opportunity for me to document system information for the facility.  Dave picked up some extra work this weekend clearing some of the rail tracks and cleaning out a rail building.  These were nice variations in our routine.

Monday is the day we go grocery shopping to either Food Lion (nice store) or Walmart (if we need more than just provisions), perhaps to Lowe’s or wherever else we need to visit to pick up something.  Typically it’s just groceries.  I occasionally get  out to run an errand, but certainly not every week. 

Saturday is laundry day, and that is an all-day endeavor here, especially when one gets started in the early afternoon.  Our washer and dryer are working perfectly, but it seems to take items longer to dry here than in Jersey, probably because of the higher humidity in the atmosphere.  They get dry, but now it’s 1.5 hours in the dryer instead of an hour, and this prolongs the entire process.  I sort clothes Friday evening and have the laundry bags set out in the living room; I usually get up before Dave, so I can grab the bags without disturbing him.  All that being said, I still am so thankful we have our own facilities here and I’m not having to go to a laundromat. 

Maggie Raincoat 11232014

Maggie was not impressed with the rainy and blustery weather today.  Me, neither.

We seem to be chasing daylight these days with the early arrival of darkness around 5 PM.  On the days Dave rides, he pretty much has “breakfast” – at around 1 PM – and then immediately gets ready to go out.  We’re getting about 4-5 hours of daylight right now to do things.  Crazy.  Seems like 6 PM rolls around pretty darn quick and we’re back at work. 

As you can tell by Maggie’s expression above, the weather was  lousy out today.  Chores done, I spent time in the kitchen . . .

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Pizza casserole . . .  yummy!

This was a major deal, actually, as we really aren’t eating nearly as much these days.  Good news is I’ve lost 10 pounds since leaving NJ.  No, we’re not starving ourselves; most days my main meal is my first one . . . my breakfast . . . and it’s a good one, so anything later is definitely on the light side.  Of course, Thanksgiving is coming, and I will be cooking our nice meal for that.  I’m thinking I’ll need to set my alarm clock so I can get started cooking well before noon . . .

Always in the past, we have taken time out to stroll a mall wherever we are at Christmastime – sometimes for shopping and other times just to take in the atmosphere of a mall at the holidays and window-shop.  I make my traditional stop at Hickory Farms and stock up on goodies.  This year . . . ??  I honestly don’t know when we’ll have the chance.  Hopefully we can squeeze in a trip sometime.

Being even more at-home folks these days, I am so thankful our RV home is snug, cozy and comfortable.  The curtains I put up in August really do add a nice touch and help with light filtration now that we’re daytime sleepers.   I appreciate having an office away from our rig and I’m glad I have my virtual assistant work to keep me occupied at night (and for the extra $$ it brings in).

Lights from dollar store 11232014

Picked up some lights at the dollar store for our office suite.  Since we’re over here a good bit of the time and at night, I’m hoping this will add a festive feel.  Might even add a couple of decorations or perhaps a wreath for our suite door.

This is certainly a different existence than we had previously, but we’re adjusting.  We run errands together now, work together . . . essentially are together 24/7 except when Dave is riding or pulling our work shift while the other sleeps.  I tell ya, it’s a good thing we get along so well! 

Looks like where we were in Jersey will be picking up 6-8” of snow just in time for Thanksgiving.  Will I miss shoveling snow or holding my breath while Dave gets on the roof of the rig to get the snow off the slides? 


Thanks for stopping by!



Thursday, November 13, 2014

She Nailed It!

I mentioned recently about getting my hair cut for the first time down here in SC and not being thrilled about the experience.  It really wasn’t a very good cut and needed some tweaking, and the entire experience left much to be desired.  With that in mind,  I had decided to visit a few salons to check them out.  There are a couple on the “square” in downtown Darlington.  The silver necklace chain I had ordered recently to replace a broken one was in at the jewelry store, so this was a good day to take care of both errands.

After parking and walking the square over to Studio 36, I saw a sign on the door which said they were closed from 2-3 PM.  Hmmm . . . what to do, since it was not quite 2 PM.  I prowled a couple of shops and then made my way to the Jewelers Bench to pick up my chain.  The remainder of the time was spent sitting on one of the benches on the square, enjoying the cooler temperatures and people-watching. 

Three o’clock rolled around and back to the salon I went, where I met Channon, co-owner and stylist.  We talked a bit and she took me as a walk-in appointment.

Hallelujah!  She nailed it!  Pleasant experience and a great cut.  I’ll go see her next month when it’s time again. 

Whew.  What a relief.  Working with guys in the type of environment I do, my monthly salon visit is the one “girlie” thing I get to do for myself away from home and the job.  It’s a wee bit of indulgent pampering and, by gosh, I’m gonna find a place that is pleasant and relaxing with a stylist with whom I can develop a rapport.


It is definitely cooling down outside, and there were a few drops of rain a bit ago.  This is courtesy of the Polar Vortex that has been blasting much of the country and is now making its way here.

Didn’t we used to just call these events a “front” or, even yet . . . Winter?   Seems like weather events have such dramatic names these days.


Cycling “Dog” Report . . . Or Rather, Harassment:  While Dave was not chased by a dog today, he related a somewhat more disturbing encounter.  He noticed a vehicle at a slow rate of speed behind him at one point.  Typically this is a motorist who is either a bit timid at passing a cyclist or is waiting for oncoming traffic to pass in order to give the cyclist a save berth on the right.  (Note:  There are minimal to no shoulders to the roads here.)  Dave started to get a slightly “weird” feeling about this, wondering what was up.  Finally the vehicle passed and, in when doing so, a male stuck his head out of the passenger window and “barked” at Dave . . . “woof woof woof!”

This is definitely not good.  Dave is an accomplished, safe and courteous cyclist, obeying the etiquette and laws of the road . .  .  keeping as close to the right as possible, etc.  This was a blatant display of harassment which could have had unfortunate results for all concerned.

More bluntly stated, “What the hell is wrong with you people down here?”

<insert dueling banjo music here>


I hear and see that NW NJ is receiving their first installment of snow this evening.  That’s a bittersweet thing . . . it really is beautiful, but sure is a lot of work when it piles up to two feet or so.   Surviving in that weather environment kept us hale and hardy, and it was fun to see Maggie walking on top of the ice-crusted snow, but . . . I won’t miss some aspects of the experience. 

Okay, I think I hear that wee container of Blue Bell Dutch Chocolate whispering to me . . .

Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Who Let the Dogs Out?

Being chased by a dog (or multiple dogs) when cycling is no laughing matter.  The obvious danger is the dog actually latching hold of one’s leg and inflicting injury; however, there is just as great a peril of the dog becoming entangled in the bike’s wheel(s) and/or swerving to miss the dog, which could result in a mishap.  There is significant risk of injury to both cyclist and dog.

In the almost four years we were in New Jersey, Dave racked up 26,000 (yes, that’s 26,000)  miles on the bike with only one minor encounter of the canine kind. 

We have been at this location in South Carolina six weeks and Dave has ridden 1,000 miles.  The above occurs every time he goes out, which is four to five times a week.  The question is not “Did you get chased by a dog?” but “How many today?”

South Carolina beats Missouri hands down in this regard, although in MO, Dave was once chased by 10 different dogs during one outing alone.

In Texas, of course, if you ride in the countryside – at least in ranching country, which was my old cycling area – being chased by the occasional cattle dog (and buddies) was a given.  Those guys were usually just out for the run, the fun of the chase.  “Here’s the ranch.  You know there’s these two dogs that wait at the top of the hill.”  Okay, no biggie.  They run a bit and then give up.  No harm, no foul.

No cows here, folks, just cotton fields as far as agriculture/farming/ranching goes.

The behavior by humans here shows total disregard for the safety of others and their dogs.  Examples:

  • Dave recently saw a guy walking a bike across a four-lane divided highway accompanied by two dogs . . . without leashes.  This was not a cyclist by definition, but just a guy with a bike.  Two unleashed dogs?  I know that highway.  Those dogs were lucky to get across without getting creamed by a vehicle.  That’s not to mention the guy was taking risk himself attempting to walk a bike across.
  • One of today’s dog encounters (there were two) takes the cake.  There was a guy walking along the country road up a ways in front of Dave, going in the same direction.  The dog happens to look back and comes tearing away from the guy after Dave.  Running away from his owner, back in the opposite direction from the way they were walking, to confront Dave on the bike.  The dog was so crazy, Dave had to swerve and almost caught the dog in his front wheel.  Yes, the owner was yelling at the dog, but to no avail.  WTH?
  • Then there’s the one with its owner in their yard which bolted out into the street chasing Dave as he rode by.  The owner just stood there in his nice yard in front of his nice house.  Baffling.

What the hell is wrong with people down here?  <--- That’s a rhetorical question, to which I don’t expect an answer. 

Is it a trait of the South?   Am I living in a real-life version of Deliverance?

Yes, there are leash laws for this county and the State of South Carolina.  I looked ‘em up this afternoon.  I’d say 80% of the population in this county is in violation.

Do these people not realize that if their dog bites someone the dog can be impounded and they can face hefty fines?  Do they not care enough about their dog to keep it restrained and out of harm’s way?  Dave has seen numerous dead dogs by the roads here.

Again, these are rhetorical questions and apparently the answer is either yes and they don’t care or no, they haven’t a clue.   I really do not understand the mindset, either way.

I have never lived anywhere that had such an apparent problem with this.  It angers and troubles me, for Dave’s sake and secondly for the dogs at risk.

Yes, we’ll be arming Dave with some sort of defense – air horn, pepper spray (my least favorite idea, because it can backfire depending on which way the wind is blowing), extra water bottle . . . something. 

I cannot imagine allowing our dear Maggie to run loose in the manner exhibited by the majority of dog owners in this area.  I love her too much . . .

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

For the First Time in Over Four Years . . .


Blue Bell 11112014

There’s Blue Bell in our freezer!

You just can’t get Blue Bell in New Jersey, and we’ve been away from Texas since 2010.  I’d heard BB was available here and, sure enough, there it was in the freezers at Walmart.  I had a dab of the Dutch Chocolate this evening, and it was yummy.  Having lived in Brenham for a few years, I had met Belle, the BB cow.  A taste of home and Texas.  Nice.


Those aren’t rain clouds; it was just overcast today and quite very mild, but that will change come Thursday, when we drop into the 50s for daytime highs.  I’m ready.


See the dots on that column?


In NJ, we had stink bugs this time of year.  Here in SC, we have these.  I’ll take the “gals” versus the stinkbugs any day.

Our days are pretty much the same Tuesday through Friday.  Dave was out on the bike for a couple of hours this afternoon, getting chased by “only” two dogs today.  I changed and washed the bed linens.  Dinner done and dusted (yes, I did a bit of cooking and we ate together), Dave has gone over to our RV to catch some zzzz’s before his shift around 2 AM.  I’m here in the office visiting with you for a bit before working my virtual assistant gig for the remainder of my shift.  I’ll do a patrol somewhere around midnight.  Maggie’s here with me, patiently lounging on her bed.

That’s it for today.  Well, that’s something, at least.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Gosh, Another Weekend Just About Gone

The days seem to fly by here.  Perhaps it’s working a night shift . . . I don’t know.  We have settled into a routine and have pretty much adapted to the different lifestyle.  One thing that is different is our eating pattern . . . breakfast at noon.  Wow.  Different.  Dave typically has a bike ride of a couple of hours in the afternoons, so we rarely end up having meals together and I certainly am not cooking daily major meals when we were in New Jersey.  I seem to be cooking a “real” meal we have together about twice a week.

Dinner 11042014

Teriyaki Chicken one day this past week fed us for a couple of days

One of the advantages of our eating habits is that I have lost some weight, which is a nice thing.  When I first moved to MN in 2005, I found a pair of Land’s End soft corduroy leggings (in essentially new condition) for $5.00 at the local Goodwill store.  (This was a nice Goodwill, where one could find brand-name, quality items.  Picked up some great, heavy sweaters there, too.)  Well, I wore the heck out of those leggings in MN and they kept me warm and comfy.  Gained a few pounds over the years and, although I could still wear them, they did not fit as well.  I hung on to them as they are of good quality and a rare find.  Guess what?  Had them on yesterday and they fit perfect again.  Boy, did they feel good and . . . well, just comfy.  Kept me nice and toasty all night while working.  Yay!

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View from the truck on patrol earlier this week

I got our chess set out yesterday and we had a game last night.  We had not played since one of our holidays to Cape May, so it had been several months, perhaps a year?  Seems like the first couple of games are a bit awkward until one gets back in the groove.  Dave taught me how to play when I spent the Winter of 2005/2006 with him in Scotland.  He really does excel at the game, but I have gotten to a point over the years of giving him a good match and even winning one now and then.  Long and short is, it’s not as much of a slaughter as it was when I was first learning.  Ha!  The set is on our dining table, ready whenever we are in the mood.

That reminds me . . . I had a good opening move when we were playing routinely.  I need to look that up on the Internet and see if I can find it again. 

As I’ve previously mentioned, we are running off our fresh tank here and using a macerator to dump our tanks due to the hook-up situation.  One of the perks at this location is a divine shower stall in the office suite we’re using.

Shower at Darlington 11092014

Haven’t measured it, but it is definitely a two-person shower, with room to spare

This is a huge, tiled shower compartment, which is a lovely change from the smaller shower in our RV.  Our RV’s hot water heater is good, and I’ve never had a problem with running out of hot water while shower, but, I tell ya, a leisurely, decadent warm/hot shower at the end of my shift at 2 AM feels really, really good!

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Maggie’s impression of a pillow sandwich

Our Maggie is one smart pup.  I dry her feet (and belly and face, when necessary) after being out in rain, snow (she does wear boots when needed), bringing her to me, turning her around facing away and lifting her up on her hind legs so I can dry the front ones, her “beard” and belly.  I’ll say, “Let’s do your feet.” or “Feet, Maggie.”  I make it a sort of fun time with lots of “silly talk” about her feet, her wee face, etc. 

Well a couple of months ago, when I picked up the towel and said, “Feet, Maggie,” she came over to me and turned around! It’s been the same ever since.  She’s one clever doggie, our Maggs, and quite the character.  She brings us so much pleasure, love and laughter.

Tomorrow is shopping day, so I’d best add a couple more items to my list.   Hope you’ve had a good weekend!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Strolling the Square

This afternoon I had an appointment for a hair trim.  Yep, have been looking a bit shaggy the past few days.  After almost four years with the same stylist in New Jersey, going to a new stylist was a bit . . . traumatic.  Well, that first visit always is, eh?  Dave says it looks good, but my personal jury is still out.  We’ll see how it does tomorrow after washing tonight and the wee bit of styling I do with it.  I’ll also see how it does as it grows out.  I was somewhat amused listening to the women talk in the salon . . . man, I’m definitely in the South again!  One doesn’t hear those types of accents anywhere but the South.

Sunset 11042014

This evening’s sunset

I planned to arrive at the Square early prior to my appointment, as I needed to pick up my bracelet from the jewelers.  Yay!  The jeweler did an excellent job in resizing my bracelet, and I can now actually wear it without worry that the clasp will accidentally open or the bracelet will slip off my wrist from being too large.  I am quite pleased.

With a bit of time to spare, I walked the Square, popping into a few stores to nose around a bit.  This included Carolina Drug (drugstore), which indeed has a working fountain/grill.  Cool.  I can see getting a burger or shake there in the future.  There was also a clothing resale/consignment shop; didn’t get anything, but I always enjoy poking around in those types of places.  I have picked up some excellent items for quite the bargain at similar places in the past.

Dave had a bike ride and dinner is in the oven . . . a teriyaki chicken dish.  It’s about time for the first patrol of the night, so I’d best be toddling off for now.  Hope you’ve had a great day!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Wintry Weekend

Friday was pleasant, and I grilled burgers for us that evening.  Saturday, on the other hand, brought downright chilly weather with rain and wind throughout the entire day.  We made our patrol rounds and did a few things indoors, but in the afternoon the three of us (that’s including Maggie) snuggled up on the bed and watched a Netflix movie via our Roku streaming stick – perfect cozy interlude on a blustery, wet and chilly Saturday.  Today started off definitely chilly and windy; this evening the wind has dissipated, but temps will bottom out at around 30F.

Just to be on the safe side, Dave drained our water hose which is outside.  If you recall, we’re running off our fresh tank, and he uses the hose to top off our tank every few days.

Friday I ventured to downtown Darlington and the jewelry store on the square.  Last Christmas Dave gave me a lovely silver bracelet; however, the clasp was of poor design and kept coming open.  I had it changed out for more secure lobster-type clasp while still in New Jersey.  This resulted in added length to the bracelet, making it too large for my wrist . . . especially since I have lost about 7 pounds during/with our move here to South Carolina.  Having previously noted the independent jewelry store on the Square, I took my bracelet in to see what they could do.  Sure enough, the jeweler said it would be no problem to take out a section of the bracelet.  Yay!  Guess what?  He said he would attach a loop (?) to the section he removes in case I would like it as a pendant or charm.  Sweet.  I also wear three pendants on a silver chain . . . well, last week the chain broke.  Bummer.  The jeweler helped me pick out a similar chain, and I have that on order, too.  All this for an extremely reasonable price, and I’m supporting a local, independent business.  One of my aunts sent me an American Express gift card for my birthday and I’m putting it to good use.  Thanks, Linda! 

While on the Square, I ventured over to the Merle Norman studio, which also has a hair salon in it, and made an appointment for a cut next week.  Going to a new stylist is always a bit of a freak-out, but I’m hopeful this will be a positive experience.

That’s really about all that’s been happening.  It is very quiet here and, from a security standpoint, that’s a good thing! 

Thanks for stopping by!