And the road goes on forever...

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Delays…or Necessities?


March has turned to mid-April already and winter decided to finally arrive for the Midwest. We had several small snowstorms and fairly cool weather and high winds daily, keeping us from doing much outside. Marc lost the battle of the electrical short in the Hideout so we made an appointment for an RV shop to handle it. That was a delay of three weeks right there. It has returned now with the lighting all better, but we still have not received the front panel for the new refrigerator. So, despite my hopes to be able to get this thing on the market during prime selling season, they were dashed day by day. Our only choice now may be for Marc to tow it up north to try and sell it there. What a pain….

Another delay was caused by medical appointments as a result from my urgent care visit in early March. I’ve been undergoing a battery of tests, with more still to come. The follow up doctor appointments won’t occur until mid-May and mid-June so I likely will have to travel here from up north. With the price of fuel, we try and limit our home visits to twice a month, to take care of mail, yard work and laundry, but I already have three trips scheduled during the month of June, so in actuality, much of June will be spent here at home. 

Because the cats don’t travel well, we make the choice to relocate them only twice/year, which necessitates that one of us remain with them while the other travels home to take care of things so the trips are never something we do together. It’s looking like Marc may finally be able to make the first trip north to do his prep and setup for the big RV late this week. He wants to pour some cement pads for the wheels to sit on; it needs to be hauled out from under the shelter to its spot and then blocked and leveled. I won’t follow until that is all accomplished, so it’ll be sometime in May I suspect.

I continue to make more art quilts and jewelry for the next shelter auction (August) since I’m not sure how much I will get done while I’m north. I think I forgot to mention BTW, that my efforts netted the shelter around $700 from their Feb. auction so I was thrilled with that! After pruning about as much as I can in the yard, my yard tasks are done until it gets warm enough for the grass and weeds to start growing again. I’m more than ready to spend time outside and be more physically active—this old horse is chomping at the bit to get on the road!

(shoreline wave using a peacock feather)



Friday, March 15, 2024

Getting Closer to North!


With winter soon on its way out, it’s time for an update although this will cover some personal health issues we’ve both been experiencing that have been no fun. 

Marc really immersed himself into the shelter build in his oversight duties, which meant he was there most days at some point during the day, sometimes for hours. That became his major accomplishment of the winter. The building is about a month overdue but finally reaching the final stages where cabinets and fixtures are about to be installed. 

One weekend, Marc suddenly felt some sharp pain in his back on a Saturday and thought he must have pulled a muscle. By Sunday it was no better, in fact, was much worse and then he took his blood pressure and found it extremely high, so he asked me to take him to ER. After three hours and some scans later, they determined he had a large kidney stone which was in the ureter. He was sent home with some non-opioid pain meds and a strainer and told to watch and see if it passed. By mid-week, other than a short respite for one day, the pain had not abated, so we headed for a urology center in Appleton. We didn’t make it there as Marc was insane with pain, so we again ended up at ER in a major hospital in Neenah, much better equipped than Waupaca’s small hospital. 

Scans revealed the stone had become stuck so emergency surgery was ordered and after a day in the ER and the OR, I was able to drive Marc home with a stent. The stent proved almost as painful as the stone but at least this time they had given him opioid medications, which were of greater help. Several days later the stent was removed and Marc felt as though he was a new man! After nearly ten days of constant pain and not being able to do much beyond lie doubled over in bed, he was joyful to have that ordeal over with. 

I managed to get through helping the shelter hold its online auction, with all the sorting and distribution that entails at the end, and then suddenly one day I started feeling so dizzy I about passed out. So, it was Marc’s turn to take me in to ER. Nothing much was determined, with the exception that I wasn’t having a heart attack and they suspected an inner ear problem, and I was sent home with some referrals and a RX Dramamine pill which did nothing to touch the dizziness. That’s been a couple weeks ago and the dizziness comes and goes, sometimes to the extent that all I can do is sit still or sleep. It will be a convoluted process to see an ENT specialist; I have to have an audiogram first, which an appointment wasn’t available until April and of course, the ENT guy is booking out until mid-June. By June, of course, we hope to be north, so that will entail the three-hour drive back here to Waupaca. GURRRRR….

Moving right along, we’ve wanted to get the Hideout up for sale and knew we had to fix the refrigerator that went out last year. No fixing that; we had to order a new one to the tune of nearly $2000. The original is an Atwood, which they stopped making (well, of course they did) and we prayed the new Norcold would fit through the doorway. The new one fit in (surprise, surprise), but the old one wouldn’t fit out so Marc had to totally disassemble it. RV manufacturers make such sense with the way they build, don’t they? 

As if that wasn’t enough, it also suddenly developed an electrical problem with all the exterior lights so Marc has been working on trying to chase that down for days it seems. That’s where it stands right now, so here’s hoping everything can be resolved soon and we can sit that baby out front with its For Sale sign and attract a quick and motivated buyer. 

We’ve been batting around all sorts of ideas of our build projects for the north property this summer. Marc has to finish up some final touches on the boat house; a piece of trim on the roof of the shop; build a small insulated interior space/room for the well head pressure tank; and lay cement pads for the wheels of the big RV. We’re going to hire his contractor friend to help with a new set of stairs with handrails down the slope to replace the badly canted railroad tie steps before I fall on those and break my neck. 

We’ve also decided since its waterfront lake property, we need to be able to enjoy it as such rather than just have a pretty view, so we’re going to build a small dock at the end of our boardwalk so we can leave the kayaks parked for much easier use and also occasionally leave the pontoon out and parked in good weather. With more room, I can also turn my bench to face the lake and maybe we can even enjoy some BBQing there.

(area for dock)

Come along and I’ll spotlight it all in future blog posts! 



Friday, January 12, 2024

Winter Follies


We followed our warmer than normal winter into the new year with bare grass and fairly mild temps. All that is changing now, with two major storms hitting this week, which should leave us with around a foot of snow on the ground by Saturday. I was just thankful for the break that we got for so long; it really helps psychologically to weather winter in the far north. 

I finally gathered and indexed all the art I had made for the shelter auctions, took pictures of it and wrote descriptions, then put it on a thumb drive for the shelter director to easily upload it to the auction site when it’s time. It’s a real smattering of items—from bookmarks, to wall art quilts, rope baskets and coasters, and decorative stitch pots, and I even threw in a few pair of newly fashioned earrings. Sixty-one items altogether and by my reckoning a value of around $900-1000. It will be wonderful if it all sells with generous offers. There will be enough to serve for several auctions, which she normally holds at least twice a year. 

Just recently I am moving more into experimenting with hand painting fabrics and embellishments to attempt more collage type art, also incorporating a lot of the momagami I’ve been crunching up.

Marc is busy making boot jacks and birdhouses but those won’t be finished for awhile yet. 

He's also taken on a project dearer to his heart; supervising a building project (but for free)! The shelter finally broke ground on a stand-alone surgery center and the director jumped at our offer for Marc to keep an eye on things and to check for deviations from the plans or in how things should be built. It’s really helped him to fill the long winter days, pouring over plans and specs, just as if he’s back in the business. He’s also worked on some minor repairs to their existing building because everyone knows how difficult it is to find a handyman these days who actually knows how to fix something!

I can’t think of anything else too exciting with us so it may be awhile before I post again; perhaps when the new building is finished this spring. 


Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Just a Smattering


I had a blog post going a couple weeks ago and lost it into the internet netherworld. Frankly, with not a lot going on since returning home, I don’t have much energy to come up with one, especially as my pursuits now seem to revolve around my volunteering and sewing projects. 

I’ve been diving into doing some new stuff and found one type particularly appealing: called stitch pots. They are basically just roughhewn, hand sewn decorative vessels on the rustic side but are great fun to design. They start out flat in design and sewing, then end as various sized vessels. It’ll be interesting to see if they sell at the shelter online auction in February but I do plan to line my RV valances with some as well. Especially these first two. 

I caught up with some fall home chores and this month have participated in two shelter events: photos with Santa, and the annual deer hunter widows craft show. I was able to sell a few of my goods, plus others’ donations, while we sat with the most adorable puppy and two kittens, all ready for adoption. They captured everyone’s hearts.

Also in October, we sadly suddenly lost another long-time volunteer, who passed away after just a few days of not feeling well. She had come to our fundraising meeting on a Wednesday and died that Sunday. She was younger than I and always a real workhorse at events as she was strong and tireless. She is really missed.

Earlier in October, I had some skin cancer cut off the end of my nose, with the stitches making me look like Frankenstein just in time for Halloween. Due to lots of nerves in the nose, it actually proved to be quite painful and swollen for a time and my nose continues to be red and numb. Thankfully, it was just basal cell so not too worrisome. 

Other than a brief Halloween snow, we’ve enjoyed great fall weather, with temperatures way above normal and days and days of no precipitation of any kind. That allowed me to do quite a bit of yard pruning and clean-up and Marc got lots of scrap stuff hauled away to recycle, like much of his steel and aluminum. He’s been having quite a few bouts with his back going out so hasn’t been particularly busy so far. 

Now, onto another note about blogs. I have several bookmarked from older days and have noticed the evolution as people age out of the RV lifestyle or move on to other endeavors they don’t care to share with a readership. Mine too, has greatly evolved and I often think of totally giving it up. It's been going a long time and actually I had one before this which started in 1998 under our own webpage called "Itchyhitch" that we had to pay for. One thing stops me. Actually, two things: the blog serves as a visual diary of our lives, and two, I often wonder how many of you tune in just to see how we’re faring? Blogs I follow, whether I personally know the folks or not, give me the sensation that I at least keep up with someone’s wellbeing (or not, as the case may be).

I suppose, however, that without travel and new things to see, there’s only so much interest my blog can now hold for folks and I worry about being just mundane with everyday “life”. Nothing so much to learn from that, eh? The truth is often a hard pill for us to swallow, but realistically, we’re just now old people slowing fading into a life of fairly sedentary retirement with a small budget which prevents exotic or other travels. Plus, the desire is just no longer there given the cats. It’s disruptive to them, hard on them and they just plain hate it and their wellbeing matters greatly to us. Traveling down freeways across the country is no longer at all thrilling to us either; nor would fighting for RV sites be of interest. With the purchase of our northern property, we have the perfect camp spot and it’s all to ourselves! We get the best lakeside spot with the enticing view, there’s no other loud neighbors, barking dogs, running kids passing through our spot or late-night boom box activity. 

I guess where I’m going with all this is that going forward, I’ll likely continue the blog but the posts may become fewer over the course of the year. I hope you continue to check in occasionally but, in all likelihood, the days of any big announcements are probably over. 

Have safe and memorable holidays!