Sunday, July 26, 2015


I have been attempting this blog post for almost a week.  Seems like the days and nights just fly by here.

Last Tuesday night a storm came on quite abruptly with what may have been straight line wind.  We were watching TV about 9 PM when suddenly it started.  We heard what we thought was hail on the roof of our rig and Dave said he saw the living room super slide move.  During that conversation, we were putting on shoes and jackets and leash on Maggie to abandon ship.  Yes, it was that violent.

Storm 07212015 1

This is what we saw when we opened the door, except it was dark and lashing down rain

The next morning, I was able to get some better photos.  We were very lucky that we found no obvious damage.  Dave checked the roof, we checked the awning for rips and worked the slides in and out a couple of times.

Storm 07212015 2

Storm 07212015 3

Tree 07212015

This is the tree. There are still about three big limbs that are detached and just caught in the tree, waiting to fall.  Hoping they will be taken out this week.  Fortunately, they are on the side away from our rig.  Trees provide shade, but we are not fans of parking underneath them.

Did a bit of “shopping” in the office building behind our rig (with permission, of course) and came up with a couple of delightful pieces of furniture to create a cozy workstation for myself.  It’s in the office we’re using in the guard building, where I am testing its functionality.

Workstation for rig

Dave and I have been talking for some time about taking out our dining table and chairs and replacing it with a work area for me. This setup will fit nicely in that space and, once I make sure this configuration will be practical and comfortable, we’ll make the transition.

The big white keyboard is a Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000 Keyboard.  That particular one is at least eight years old.  So outdated that it had a serial connection; I had a serial-to-USB adapter for it.  I used this particular type of keyboard when I was working as a medical transcriptionist.  Well, after really typing on it for the first time last night, I realized it was done.  They have a certain feel to them and one can tell when the keys become clunky and hard to depress, well, it’s done.  In my days as an MT, I would go through one every few months and always kept a new replacement one stashed away as a spare. 

I was pleased when I found one in stock locally at Office Depot, so I boogied over there this afternoon.  Man!  Sweet deal. The keyboard has come down in price over the years and was about $20 less at the store than on their website, certainly less expensive than on the link above.  Nice. 

New ergo keyboard 07272015

Another reason for doing this blog post tonight is for practice on the keyboard.  It does take a bit of training one’s fingers and hands; however, once you get the hang of it, it increases speed and is so comfy.  In all my years of working as an MT, I never had bother with carpal tunnel.  I used a good chair, the keyboard and typing gloves. 

Okay, what else?  We are just in our routine of working and living.  Again, time passes very quickly here.  We’ll soon be coming up on our first month here.  Wow!

It’s almost time for my midnight-ish patrol, so I’ll say cheerio for now!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Three Years and Kickin’ It

I had not intended to write a blog post today, but Facebook brought to my attention memories of this date – July 19 – from previous years. 

It was on July 19, 2012, that I was told a tumor (goblet cell carcinoid) had been found on routine pathological exam of my appendix following emergent appendectomy on July 11, 2012.  Dave and I were also told by my surgeon that I should have follow-up surgery to remove my right colon and ovaries.

Whoa.  Talk about a literal punch in the gut.  That news came outta nowhere.

I underwent the second surgery in August 2012, and have now seen three years of survivorship.  Again.  I say “again” because I underwent treatment for early-stage breast cancer in 2001.

You know, I really don’t think about the GCC these days, although the residual effects of that second surgery are with me daily.  My body certainly isn’t the same following that surgery; I live with a “new normal.”  I’ll spare you the details.

Three years.  The five-year survival rate is about 70-80%.  Could be better odds.  Could be worse.  Those are statistics, and I am not a number.  I have been cancer-free for these three years.  Most days I feel pretty darn good.  Our lifestyle over the past year has allowed me to drop some weight, so I’m back down to a trim 130 pounds, having shed about 15 during those months.  The reality is my long-distance cycling days are gone, but I walk as often as possible and have found that I love walking.  I pretty much eat what I want and do what I want physically.

I have been a bit concerned lately about our future.  Our security job here runs through September and, as of this writing, we do not have anything else lined up.  We are hopeful there will be another assignment for us, as we like and are well-suited to the work, enjoy the people with whom we work and, well, the pay is good.  We are, however, exploring other options for the long term in case that does not materialize.  We would be foolish not to do so.

Thing is . . . all any of us have is right here, right now. Life can change in a literal heartbeat, the ground and life as we know it shifting and falling away from us into the Unknown.  Sometimes that Unknown is kinda scary, eh? 

One of the blessings, if you can call it that, of a cancer diagnosis is putting your world,  your life, your relationships, your beliefs into sharper perspective.  It brings into precise focus what is truly important in your life.  It can also be a reminder to lighten up. 

Fighting, beating and living beyond cancer is serious business, not just for the survivor but for spouses, partners, friends, caregivers and everyone affected by, and on the periphery of, the survivor’s diagnosis.

A few ants in the kitchen?  Annoying as hell, yes.  But, hey, no one told me today that I have cancer. Lighten up!  It’s a great day!  Woot!

Not sure where we’ll be in three months’ time?  The Universe knows what It is doing and things unfold as they should.  We’ll see what shakes out and try to put together a parachute of our own to help float us to where we are meant to be.

No one told me today that I have cancer.  Lighten up!  Life is an adventure!


Evening storm 07192015

Approaching storm this evening

We have settled into a routine here again.  Our day starts between 11 AM and noon, feeling no guilt at sleeping in to such hours since we are working night shift.  We make a grocery run one weekday and another weekday is laundry day.  There may be days when we need to run another errand or perhaps I stay here and Dave heads out on the bike.  We are back on the property by 4 PM if we do leave and begin our on-duty time through the night into the early morning when facility personnel are back on-site.  Honestly, I’m content with not having to go anywhere the days that aren’t for getting provisions or doing laundry.  Weekends are different, as we are on duty around the clock from whenever the last person leaves Friday until the first one arrives Monday morning.  I have been working my virtual assistant job quite a bit during the days and overnight in between patrol rounds. Evenings after dinner we watch some TV together; right now we are making our way through Frasier. 

Yep, Life is indeed good.

Three years down the path of survivorship and I am grateful for this moment.  Right now, at this place.  I am grateful for and still head over heels in love with my brave and strong yet gentle (and oh-so-patient) Scotsman after being together essentially 24/7 for almost 10 years.  Truly the legacy of William Wallace (“Braveheart”) lives in the Soul of my husband.  I am grateful for our wee Maggie, the sweetest and most cheerful-hearted dog.  I am grateful for our home, our work and our adventures in Life we share.  I am grateful for the adventures yet to come for us. 

I am grateful for right here, right now.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

It’s Saturday, Not Sunday

For some reason, Dave and I both have felt like today is Sunday.  Well, tomorrow is Sunday.  Of course, by the time you read this it may very well be Sunday.

It can be a dizzying world when one works night shift.  That’s okay, though.

I’m not sure about the type and size of the font I’m using this evening.  I just updated Writer on the laptop I’m using in the office.  Yes, we have a spare laptop, just in case one crashes;   I keep my main one over the rig.  This one is also a Lenovo and is a few years older, but it still works just fine.  Right now it’s working just fine, that is.  I use it to do my virtual assistant work at night when I’m just hanging out here in the office in between patrol rounds.  I’m not crazy about moving my main one back and forth (plus it’s a hassle) each evening and don’t want to leave it over here as it essentially has our lives on it.  If you’re a full-timer, you know what I mean.

So!  It’s been about a week since my last post.  Can’t say there has been anything exciting happening, but that’s really a good thing for a change.  We have been working nights and pretty much laying low during the daytime inside where it’s cool.  Yesterday and today the mercury has topped out at 100F, but our rig has been comfortable inside.

We hardly ever use the ceiling fan in our living room, but Dave took it apart today for a good cleaning and we’ve used it today.  I do believe it helped keep the inside of our RV home at a comfortable temperature (along with the A/C units) even with the triple digits outside. 

After some research, this week I booked an appointment with a local surgeon for later this month in order to get my annual CT scan and mammogram arranged.  Of course, it’s always pretty much a roll of the dice when looking for a new healthcare provider.  I pick out two or three possible candidates, research different aspects of each and then narrow that down to a final choice.  Ideally, I would have preferred to return to New Jersey in order to follow up with my surgeon there, but that just wasn’t doable . . . at least this year.  Who knows what the future holds, eh?

It’s nice to have the capability to stream Netflix again.  We’ve been watching a few episodes of Frasier (never realized how funny this is; I find myself busting out laughing at Frasier and Niles) each evening and NCIS (used to watch this religiously on network TV years ago) a bit now and then.  We’re playing a bit of catch up with Longmire on the episodes we have not yet seen.

I know this all sounds rather mundane and routine, but you know what?  I really am content just doing our own thing and having some peace and quiet . . . and no traveling on a schedule . . . for a change.

Seeing new places is interesting, but it’s also restful to be somewhere for a while and just . . . “be.”

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Yesterday and Today

Yesterday (Friday) was pretty much spent settling in. 

There was a power hiccup yesterday morning while I was still asleep, and Dave had to call one of the facility guys in to reset and start up some of the pumps, etc. that need to run 24/7.  I was up and stirring about just as that wee bit of excitement was winding down.

We go up front and just check the parking lot occasionally while on duty, looking out the windows in the front of the building.  Dave noticed a large yellow dog curled up by the front office door during one of these checks.  As soon as it saw him, the dog bolted and hightailed it away.  We’ve joked about how the dogs are coming to Dave now, just waiting for him to get on the bike.  Hahaha!  Actually, Dave’s two bike runs so far have been dog-free.  That’s a good thing.

Dave was getting some things out of the basement yesterday and noticed the floor of the basement was slightly wet on the driver side.  Turns out we had left those doors closed but not locked, therefore not getting a tight seal on the basement.  There was no evidence of anything leaking and the dampness was on the one side, so we figured it must have been the fact that the door was unlocked during that nasty storm we had the evening before.

So!  Everything came out of the basement!  This was a prime opportunity to do that review of what’s in our storage boxes, to vacuum the basement and rearrange everything nicely again.  Things got a bit haphazard during the three months we had been pretty much mobile. 

I did manage to get the living room vacuumed, which was the one thing I really wanted to accomplish yesterday.  I spent my night shift working my virtual assistant job in between keeping an eye on things and doing my patrol drive.  I’m  still adjusting to the night shift cycle and was fairly zombie-like when I snuggled under the blankies this morning around 3 AM.  I turned the light out and my lights went out. 

Keeping that in mind, along with the fact that we’re settled now for a few months and not having to hit the road anytime soon,  today (Saturday) was a day of rest for yours truly.  Dave got out on the bike this afternoon and I settled down with Maggie to watch The High and The Mighty, a John Wayne film I had not seen.  Imagine that!  There’s a film with The Duke in it that I hadn’t watched!  WiFi is provided here, so we’re able to access our Netflix streaming feature again.  Woot!

After the film and Dave’s return, I whipped up some dinner.  Leftovers tomorrow!  Yay!  The rest of the evening has whizzed by, Dave has gone to bed for his first sleep shift, and Maggie and I are on duty here in the office.  I’ll be heading out for the midnight-ish patrol drive in a bit.  I’m thinking Maggie may get a much-needed clip here in a bit after I return from patrol.

The weather here has been in the upper 80s to low 90s so far, with a nice breeze.  No complaints about that, not even with the storms we have had.  They were suffering under about two weeks of triple-digit temps right before our return.   The humidity has been surprisingly low, too.  Not bad at all for early July; however, I am expecting all that to change as Summer progresses.

I’m thinking I’ll take advantage of our time here to get the truck’s oil changed, see if Maggie needs any vaccinations since there’s a good vet not far away and take care of a couple of other things.  Might as well since we’re stationary for a bit, eh?

Well, my one cup of coffee is finished and it’s almost time to venture forth and drive the property.

Hope you’ve  had a safe and enjoyable Fourth of July!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Survived First Night Shift

I certainly did survive and, although ready for some snooze time at 3 AM this morning, I didn’t feel totally wiped out.

That came later and lasted all day.  Take into account we traveled yesterday and then I was up until 3 AM with no nap, we have been traveling heavily (for us, at least) the past three months and the atmosphere here today was that of an afternoon thunderstorm brewing . . . wow-whee! was I drowsy and slooowww-moving today.  In fact, I sat down in my recliner to wait for a computer to process an update and the next thing I knew my phone was ringing 30-45 minutes later.

Whoopsies!  Momma snoozed.

I wasn’t the only one.  Maggie was plumb tuckered out, too.  When we went over to the rig from the office this morning, she made a dash for the bed as soon as her harness was off.  When I looked after having my shower, she was flat out on the bed totally zonked.  Takes her a bit to get used to the new schedule, too.  She’s crashed on her bed here in the office right now. 

Nights go by rather quickly, actually.  The first 24-48 hours of night shift are a bit goofy; just takes  my body a bit to get back in the groove.

The storm?  Man.  It hit this afternoon around 5 PM and what a toad-strangler that was.  The wind was about as strong as I’ve seen with a thunderstorm and not tropical storm.  Crazy.  There were a few small branches down here and there, including one that came cascading off the big tree next to our rig.  No harm  done, though, as far as we can tell. 

Rainbow after storm 07022015

This was after the storm passed.  If you look closely, you can see the second rainbow to the left of the main one.  Nice!

Dave had returned from his bike ride as the skies were darkening.  This was his first ride back here and he encountered . . . no dogs!  Yay for him!

We have had a rather quiet evening, making patrol rounds on schedule and then just hanging out.  The crew is gone until Monday, so it’s just us and the . . . geese, frogs and whatever.  Boy, were the frogs in fine chorus following the storm.

More rain is in store for tomorrow, but that’s okay.  We’re enjoying having a few quiet days around here to become beings of the night again. 

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

On Station, On Duty - Darlington, SC

We  enjoyed another morning without alarm clocks, awaking a bit before 8 AM.  Once again, we steadily but unhurriedly prepped for getting on the road for the final leg of our journey to Darlington, SC.  We pulled out of The Barnyard RV Park in Lexington, SC at about 10:45 AM and hopped back on I-20 East.

With a 90-mile drive ahead of us, we took advantage of the one rest area on today’s route about 30 miles down the road.

South Carolina rest stop 07012015

This rest area was not far on the east side of Columbia.  The Barnyard’s address is listed as Lexington, SC, but GPS showed us as being in West Columbia; therefore, Columbia itself was just a wee hop down the interstate.  Getting through Columbia was a breeze.  I-20 doesn’t go directly through it, I suppose, and that helps.

Ever notice how these rest stop photos all kind of look alike?  Guess they do.  Really it’s to document our rig being there . . . me indulging in taking photos of our rig on the road.

Ahhhh . . .  coffee!  I confess I have missed my late-night one cup of java.  We have use of an office again this time for which we are grateful.  Sure helps a lot since we are sleeping in shifts.  We have our laptops set up on a table facing each other, Maggie’s bed in one corner (although she prefers a towel-covered chair when she and I are on duty together) and our coffee station set up on another small table.  It also gives Dave a place to put the bikes . . . in a closet in this office.

Darlington office 07012015

That black lump in the chair to the right is Maggie

I have to say I miss our washer and dryer.  We sold them to the facility manager when we left here in March; he jokingly offered today to sell them back to us for twice what he paid for them.  Hahaha!  Ah well.  I know where at least one laundromat is, so no big deal.  If we are ever somewhere long-term again, we’ll get another set if it is feasible.

With about 50 miles to go after the rest stop, we arrived at the facility a bit before 1 PM.   After the guys watched us trying to back the rig into its spot, one of them stepped up and offered to do it for us.  “I sure appreciate it.  I would have gotten it; it just would have taken a while.”  “We didn’t want to you be trying to do it in the dark.”  Haha! 

Darlington 07012015

Home until October 1

We spent the rest of the afternoon getting set up . . . plants out, frog whirligig in place, solar lights and some other lights set up, macerator hooked up, etc.  Sure was glad to have that leftover chicken noodle casserole for a  meal. 

There’s something about returning to a familiar place.  We know where the stores are, what the job entails, what the environment has in store, the people with whom we work. 

Yeah, temporary insanity leaving here.  Oh well.  It seemed like the thing to do at the time, we gained some  experience in campground work, we traveled a bit, we took care of some personal biz in Texas and we learned valuable lessons.

Dave and I each have a  Road ID bracelet that we wear when traveling, cycling, whatever.  It has contact info on it in case we are involved in an accident.  Dave was unable to locate his when we left here . . . we thought it was still here somewhere and we’d never see it again or perhaps stowed in the basement someplace we had not yet looked.  Well, guess what I spotted shortly after we arrived this afternoon . . . perched on a stepladder in the guard building?!

Dave bracelet at Darlington 07012015

Well, there’s an affirmation that we made the right decision in returning here! 

Okay, so it’s almost time for my midnight patrol rounds . . . driving the property in a facility truck.  Then it’s only a couple of hours until I wake up Dave for his shift.  Amazing how quickly the night goes. 

This evening I am thankful for an uneventful trip, not only today’s section  but the all the days of travel we have racked up these past few months.  We have been very fortunate to have had no mishaps or mechanical issues.  I am also thankful to be back doing the type of work which we enjoy and to which we seemed suited. 

Thanks for stopping by!