Old Diary

Dodged a Big One

The rolling, rolling, thunder had been just around my consciousness level and I wasn’t sure if I was hearing things or dreaming.  When I got up the rolling, rolling, rolling thunder continued and I hopped online to see what was going on.

It was forecast to be a quiet, dry night. But overnight the storms ‘magically’ appeared — from cooling temps after a 90º heat — and the Weather Channel said they had already had 3” of rain fall just to our immediate south.Screen Shot 2016-06-12 at 5.58.25 AM

Normally I’d have worried that we’d be right in the path — but this storm was traveling NW to SE so we missed it.  Well, we missed the worst of it.

Strong storms like this always make camping-departure-day an interesting experience.  We get the option of avoiding the rain if we choose — we only have 4 arrivals today — but those folks who get to go home today face the ugly choice of how wet they want their belongings to be when they pack up.

I find this fascinating.  In a sociological sort of way.

How do we deal with unpredictable?  Are we loosey-goosey and devil-may-care about packing up — figuring we can dry things out at home in the basement/garage?  Or maybe we don’t have a basement/garage and if our gear gets wet the only place to dry things out is in the condo?  Or maybe the kids are screaming because they don’t like thunder and your partner has a headache from sleeping on one of the kid’s Transformers/dolls/legos?  It’s fascinating to recognize the various campers — as families — and watch who goes home when:  during the downpour, after the downpour, way past check-out time — you get the idea.

We had a lot of children in the campground this weekend.  I love it when there are kids here!  That was one of the things I loved about our house in Cudahy.  Living next to an elementary school I had the distinct treat of listening to the sounds of (mostly) happy kids on the playground 9 months of the year; and when I went out to work in the yard during school hours (always my preference) the kids would line up along the fence line and pepper me with questions…. “Hey Mister…”

WE had but one child.  And I was an only child.  I can’t say I missed having a sibling — what did I know — I had no experience of a sibling so I didn’t know what I was missing.   But I love seeing siblings playing together.  They are so diverse!  Sometimes I think these are going to be lifelong friends — they seem to get along so well.  Other times I swear they must hate each other — even at such young ages.

Yesterday 5 little ones were camping in what we call the Electric Circle — 11 sites that can be rented out as a group for family gatherings or small RV rally’s.  The playground is about 1/8 mile from their site; they and their bicycles had made it almost all the way there before we saw them turn around and head back towards their campsite.  We were out in our golf cart at the time and they stopped to ask where the playground might be.  We gave them directions and followed them all the way there to make sure they found it.

One of the five was a little bit chubby — he reminded me a lot of myself at that young age… always the guy wearing the “husky” version of boys wear …and he was at the end of the parade of bikes.  The others were off their bikes and onto the play equipment in a shot … but this young fellow hung back and just watched.   We were done with our rounds and heading back to our campsite when he came up to us and with tears trying to escape his eyes asked how to get back to his campsite.  We’re not sure what the problem was but the other four were having fun and he wasn’t.  On the way back to his site he said he had a migraine — but when I was his age I didn’t even know what a migraine was.  Then again, had they even invented migraines in the 50’s?  I don’t know.

We half followed him and half led him back to his site.  I remembered that sometimes lonely feeling of being the ‘husky’ one, and maybe not being all that athletically inclined.  He finally recognized where he was and took off on his bike  — probably so that he arrived at the site not looking like he needed someone to help him find his way back.  …yeah… I remember days like that.

A week ago we had a family with four kids and the kids were all over at that same playground.  One child of the four had returned to the campsite and I heard a parent loudly inquire as to where the youngest of the four might be.  The little one answered that he was at the playground.  And then the parent shouted, quite loudly (for us to be able to hear) “Don’t you ever leave your brother at the playground along again!”  Being an only child myself, my first thought was, “Well, isn’t that your job — to make sure your kids are safe”  and not the little kids’ job?  But then I wasn’t a sibling.  And I had very, very different parents.

You know that I love diversity.  I love being around different people, different kinds of people.  But that doesn’t mean that I understand them all.  Or that I think they are all good people, or good parents, or good siblings.  Fortunately, it doesn’t make any difference whether I approve — to borrow that old expression:  I’m not the boss of them. They can live their lives any way they want.  And I can be happy I had the parents I had, and the family I had, and the opportunities I had.

This is the kind of Jungle Gym I remember as a kid!

This is the kind of Jungle Gym I remember as a kid!

Yup — we missed the storm this morning.  I think that as we go through life we miss some of the storms and we find ourselves right in the middle of others.  We all get to react to whatever is happening — storm or calm — as best suits us.  Sometimes we make good choices and we have a blast on the jungle jim. Other times we get a migraine and after we arrive at the playground it doesn’t look nearly as appealing and all we want to do is go home.  Sometimes we aren’t kids when we make those choices.  Sometimes we’re retirees!  Sometimes we’re RV’ers. time and chance

It’s easy to get all self-determined, to let one’s ego rise up and appear to be in control. But the facts of life are simple.  We aren’t always in control; the best don’t always win; misfortune happens to us all and it’s not in succeeding that we prove who we are — rather it’s in how we handle what comes our way that demonstrates to all around us who we really are.

kids playing in the mudI tend to remember the little children who have been here from week to week sometimes better than I remember the parents.  It tickles me when the kids remember us too.  They are so open, honest, and creative.  I love when they are so excited about nature that they end up filthy in mud collecting snails, or when they dream up stories about a kangaroo in their ear.  It’s great to be excited about life.  It’s great to see opportunity at every juncture.  These are the minds of the future. And if they have anything to do about it — it may just be a pretty great future!  At least it will be interesting.

Thanks for stopping by, and I’ll be here tomorrow to chat. Why not stop by?

Family, Old Diary

And the Good News Is…

noahs arkThe way things are going we may start looking for Noah and his Big Boat.  We have more rain — some of it forecast to be severe — in the forecast for today and tomorrow.  Fulton — just down the river — is expecting flooding later today.  So, with soggy skies we aren’t going very far or doing very much.  We’ve been reading, writing, and attending to small indoor chores.

But the Good News is that I have returned to my last summer’s weight loss mark — I’m back down to 30 lbs beneath my high weight mark sometimes just short of retirement.  During the winter I’d slipped a little and in the last three weeks I’ve managed to get back to my pre-Cudahy weight!  Feelin’ good; lookin’ better; gettin’ as much exercise as feels good and the weather permits (Ain’t no way I’m goin’ out to walk a couple miles in a rain slicker!)

x7322I finally finished that Peter Mayle book that has been dogging me.   Usually his stuff flies by as if inhaled but this one was different.  I’ve never been keen on collections of essays, and that’s what this one was.  But the premise — tastes acquired because of wealth — caught my attention and in the end it turned out to be an interesting and amusing read.  No way high on my recommendations list, but It’s Ok.

I have only 20 pages remaining in my re-read of The Seventh Commandment by Lawrence Sanders.  That was the one I started last fall and never finished after we returned to Cudahy.  I pretty much started from the beginning being unable to remember much of anything from last October. It’s not his best work, not his best leading character, but I like Sanders’ style, his books are long enough to make them worth while reading — I hate short stories.  With the rain in the forecast I hope to finish that today.


On the Small Space Living front, I’m pondering how better to deal with my power supply issue.  The one drawback to having committed to a short RV is finding ways to cope with how do you live with the storage issues you’ve created.  I am happy with how much we’ve downsized; I’m happy with being able to stow what we have on board — but some things have yet to tell us where they want to live within Journey.  I have been playing around with locations for my backup disks and my server — they are easy — they’re only 8″ x 8″ x 2″ — but this uninterruptible power supply is a bit bigger — 9″ x 15″ x 10″  and it wants to live near the server.  I might end up making a little storage / stowage box for the lot of them and let the server live on top of the UPS — or something — still thinking about that.  Yesterday I had pencil and paper out trying to figure a way to have Home Depot cut all the major cuts I needed for the parts out of a single handi-panel — 24″ x 24″.  That didn’t look like it was going to work.  So, I’m still contemplating.  Of course it’s possible I’ll figure out how to do it and then 2 days after I build it I’ll find just what I want at Bed, Bath, and Beyond in La Crosse or something…. Isn’t that always the way it goes?

babyTurtleI should have baked bread yesterday.  But I was too lazy to go down to the basement (meaning go outside in the rain) to get out my two jars of flour.  I’m terrible; I know.  It’s not like I’ll melt in the rain!

We saw our smallest turtle yet on the road yesterday.  Most of the painted turtles we’ve seen have been 5″ – 9″ in diameter.  Yesterday we saw one that was scarcely as large as a quarter.  One of the students thought he might be a year old hatchling — seeing as it’s too early in the season for them to be hatching yet. But he was a teeny thing.

geeseThere are a flock of geese here raising their young and I’m developing a better sense for the expression “silly goose”!  Peg has spent a good while just watching the babies and moms and dads and uncles and aunts meandering around the campground.  We’re accustomed to being hissed at by now.  And we do our best not to intentionally irritate them. That said — it’s still a strange life they lead!  And we’re also appreciating how LONG the hatching season must be — some of this seasons chicks are quite large already with feathers and some are still quite small and dressed in only their baby fluff.  When you live in the city and see maybe ONE robin’s nest and only those chicks it’s not so easy to get the sense of Spring as a season for babies — and not just a singular TIME for babies.  I know that sounds stupid but I never lived on a farm, and never spent much time around baby critters.  The idea that there’s enough time for them to mature for their winter flight South if they are born 2 or 3 months after the earliest broods just never crossed my mind.

Well, there you have it for today.

Tomorrow — Wednesday — is moving day.  Not sure if I’ll write in the morning, or after we make the move — a lot depends on what the skies look like when I wake up.  Talk to you then.