March 22, 2018

7 lb, 14 oz

Emmett arrived on March 19, 2018 weighing 7 pounds, 14 ounces and measuring 20.5"!  Mom, Dad and Emmett are all doing well.  Just couldn't leave you stranded wondering about him.  This Grammie is over the moon in love with this little boy already :-))

our first photo of Emmett and Jessica
such a chubbie face :-)

resting in Mike's arms and ready for the drive home!

We are both so excited to be grandparents!  We're planning to drive our home to Maryland early this summer for a visit. 

March 11, 2018

He's Almost Here!


Last November I mentioned that we're going to be grandparents soon :-))  He's almost here! 

January 20th was the date of Jessica's surprise baby shower.  When I got the invitation I was heart broken.  She lives in Maryland and we live in California.  For kicks and giggles I looked online for airline tickets.  I could be in Maryland Friday afternoon, enjoy the party on Saturday and be back home late Sunday.  Just a few details to work out...  YIPPEE!!  I was going to be there to see her in all her girth :-))

My flight was leaving bright and early at 6:00am.  I'm not a morning person but you bet I was up and ready to go this time.  I had my bag packed the day before.  I was going to bring the essential minimums and avoid the hassle (and fees) of having a checked bag.

There wasn't much of a line for security, an added bonus of early departure, so I stepped right up to the TSA podium.  The agent told me I was pre-screened and to take the line on the far right.  While starting to take off my shoes, another person in line said I didn't need to. Another bonus for me :-)  I put my bags on the conveyor belt, walked through the scanner, picked up my purse and bag and was on my way to my gate.  Easy peasy is how I like it at 5 something in the morning!!

My one hour layover was in Salt Lake City.  Just enough time to get a sandwich and use the bathroom.  Soon we were boarding and heading to Baltimore.

I had a car reserved for the weekend.  Good thing too as Mike (my son in law) said he had a last minute interview and couldn't make it to pick me up.  Mike was in on the surprise and even had arranged a one night hotel room for me :-)

I arrived in Baltimore around 4:30, on a Friday afternoon, and had a long drive ahead of me.  No worries.  I enjoy driving and the traffic was only slow for a short distance.  By the time I made it to the hotel it was nearly 7pm.  But I had a mission.  Must.  Buy.  Baby.  Stuff. 

cuteness overload


Lucky for me, the Babies 'R Us store was practically next door to the hotel.  They lucked out when this Grammie entered.  I bought bibs, plenty of clothes to outfit twins, rattles, diapers, wipes, pacifiers, Mommy care items and even a diaper bag disguised as a backpack.  After my shopping spree it was time for a late dinner, wrap up the goodies and get to bed.  Tomorrow I get to see my girl :-))

Saturday I had a few hours to kill so I drove over towards Hannah's house where the shower was taking place.  I was still too early so I went to a nearby park to kill some time.  Hagerstown City Park is a large park in the center of town.  There is an amphitheater, several playgrounds, a pond, an art museum, hiking trails, a train museum and I was lucky enough to find a geocache in the park.

Jessica's friends had arranged a surprise party for her.  She had an idea so when she entered the house she wasn't really surprised.  When she saw me in the group she was quite surprised.  Success!  We hugged, we kissed, and then we took a selfie :-)

Grammie-to-be and Mom-to-be :-))

Mike is a paramedic.  He is currently interviewing at several medical schools.  He plans to study medicine and work as an emergency room doctor after graduation.  Although Mike was on duty that day, he managed to stop by and say hi to everyone and grab some lunch.  He was called to action halfway through the party and had to make his exit.  Our visit was brief as he also had to work Sunday.

Jessica had fun at her party, opening presents, tossing balloons with her feet, visiting with her friends and of course, eating the made from scratch cake baked by Stephanie.


After the shower Jessica and I made another trip to Babies 'R Us.  This time I let her pick some items that she needed but hadn't received as gifts or purchased herself.  Oh Boy, I think I may have already spoiled Emmett :-)  Mike was still working the last hours of his 24 hour shift so the two of us went to see Jumanji together.  How many years has it been since we went to the movies together?!  Sometime during our late night dinner Mike told Jessica that he had to stay at the station for another 24 hour shift.  Life as a first-responder isn't always perfectly timed.

Sunday was my departure day and it came too quickly.  Jessica and I went to grab some sandwiches at a nearby Quizno's before I drove back down to Baltimore.  Mike's station was across the street and we planned to stop in after we ate.  Unfortunately he was on a call.  So we hugged and said our see you laters and I was off.




Jessica started a private group on Facebook and she posts self portraits of her and Emmett most every week.  Here's the latest one taken March 2nd.  She sent me a text on the 8th and said at her appointment the NP said her body is getting ready for Emmett to make his debut.  She said she's tired and moody but doing well otherwise.  I know how she feels.

Emmett's official due date is March 12th, tomorrow.  Ron and I will be in Long Beach at the annual California Parks and Recreation Society Convention and Expo.  You can bet we'll keep our phones next to us until we get The Call!         

March 3, 2018

Long Time No See

Yes, it has been quite awhile...  I simply got too overwhelmed with life and the blog suffered.

Both Ron and I needed a break from the stress and decided to take a week long vacation between Christmas and New Year at the Escapees Park of the Sierras located in the foothills outside of Yosemite National Park.  You must be an Escapees member to stay there.  They have a first time visitors discount so our week was only $62 plus electricity.  We ran our electric fireplace the whole week and our bill was just $32!


The park sits on 160 acres, 40 of which remain undeveloped, in the Sierra Nevada foothills.  This a co-op park.  Each member of the park volunteers in various capacities to keep the park in good working order.  When one of the members takes their RV on the road that site is put into "rental status" and visiting Escapees members (like us) can stay in the park.  It's simply gorgeous here and we considered joining the co-op.  But not right now.  So maybe in the future this will be our home base...

there are plenty of open spaces in the park

complete with views too!



During our stay at Park of the Sierras we ventured out to nearby Yosemite and Bass Lake areas.

We entered the park from the south along highway 41.  We've never come in from this entrance.  The cost to get in was $30 per vehicle.  The 5 day pass would have been useful if we had planned to spend more time there.  No worries, we still enjoyed our day!  Not wanting to drive the additional hour to The Valley Floor (we've been there many times), we took another road.  We ended up driving through what looked like rental homes.  There was even a small school.  Perhaps this is were some of the seasonal workers live.  The road ended near some trails.  Hmm, wonder where this goes??



The trail wasn't exceptionally long but we did end up at some gorgeous waterfalls!  Of course we lingered and took plenty of photos :-)


The next day we decided not to revisit Yosemite and instead visit Bass Lake.  Plenty of areas to explore here too.  The lake was so low!

such a sad sight, we need more rain
 
According to the trail map there are some waterfalls around here somewhere.  Let's go see if we can find them.  Never did find the falls, but the adventure sure was fun!

what's that circle thing?

still not sure how it got there, but it looks interesting

the creek is flowing nicely


   
We left Park of the Sierras just before New Year's Eve.  The next day we awoke in a new park.  Still not back to Rocklin.  We decided to get a couple of slide repairs done while out and about.  This is, after all, how we plan to succeed with our 'working retirement' so why not make the most of it.  Nothing special here so no photos.  We did accomplish our goal of finishing the two slide repairs in two days so all is good.

Another Project Is In The Books

before
After our return back to Rocklin Ron began another home improvement project.

Each RV is unique.  The cabinets are different.  The closets are different.  If you've had more than one RV, you know the drill.

There simply wasn't anywhere to put the X-Box.  Roamin had a shelf under the TV with the stereo lower and to the left of the fireplace.  Raven has a completely different arrangement for the entertainment center.

Ron's solution: let's see what's behind there and maybe we can make it work.  Spoiler alert: it worked :-)


So on a January weekend while I was away from home (more to follow) Ron tore into the walls with his trusty tools.  He really does enjoy his DIY projects.  The pantry door came off, then he cut into the side of the cabinet behind the TV.  To his relief, there's plenty of room back there for him to make an added shelf for the X-Box.  

Measurements were taken.  Wood was purchased.  Wood stain was custom matched to the color of the faux paneling.  After many trips back and forth between the house and the shop Ron finally attached the finished shelf to the back side of the fireplace plywood! 

  

    

Each day when Ron began working on the area the fireplace was moved aside.

 Behind the fireplace there are plenty of wires.  That's also where the sub-woofer is mounted.  The fuse panel is under the pantry which adds to the quantity of wires.

The stereo was moved to the far left.  On the right is where the X-Box now resides.  The center cubbie holds our Roku and the X-Box controller.



Part of the idea is to never need to open up the space behind the TV again.  But in reality it's always a possibility.  To help accommodate this Ron made two hinged doors to close up the wall between the two areas.  Plus we don't want the pantry contents to fall into the abyss when we're moving :-)

The cabinet came with one shelf in the middle.  When Ron was done, he added two more shelves in there as well.  Now we have plenty of room for other stuff.  In the process we cleared two other small cabinets.   

after, just needs the trim put back in place

The project came out great!  The X-Box has a permanent home.  I have more open cabinets.  
It's a Win-Win :-)



December 23, 2017

Temporary Chaos


yikes! good thing it's temporary

As some of you know from first hand experience, RV cabinets are typically not made to hold much weight.  But what is the purpose of this?  I know the manufacturers want to keep the overall weight down but sagging cabinet bottoms is a good way to get your contents broken.

Roamin's cabinets were no different than Raven's cabinets.  We got used to it at the time and didn't think much about it.


Raven has a large cabinet over the front sink area that extends nearly the entire width of her.  In the short two months of having to deal with a sagging shelf we knew it was time to do something about it.

Luckily Ron is tool savvy!  Plus his ability to design what needs to be made is uncanny!  Yes, he does read this and he approved this message :-))


Once the cabinet was emptied Ron got to work.  Mind you, this was a long process and everything went in and out of the cabinets frequently...  First things first: assess the situation.  As soon as the top layer was opened up we knew what was needed.  The entire cabinet (~16" x 72") was void of any interior support.  Time to go get some 1" x 2" boards and hardware.

      
Good thing we have a small air compressor as it came in handy a few times on this project.  Ron assembled right angle hardware on the cut pieces prior to installing them into the cabinet. 




Notches were cut out for the light fixture wiring.  The supports were spaced 9" or 10" apart across the entire length of the cabinet.  




It was a tight fit working in the back area of the cabinet.  The doors had to come off for the time being.  The shelf couldn't come out so it had to be taped up and back out of the way.






Once all of the supports were in place, Ron's outside-of-the-box thinking/designing came into play.  He created a plastic holder for all of our shaker cups, ninja cups and water bottles.  Because the front of the rig is curved Ron had to design it with that in mind.  The holder itself is screwed directly to the vertical facade pieces so it won't budge.  It takes up the entire center cavity.  It sure simplifies getting what we need.








I bought a couple of organizers from Lowe's and put them into the left cabinet section.  I highly recommend using some sort of grip-mat on the base of the shelves.  It helps keep glass from shifting due to road vibration.  I even put it on the store bought shelves to keep items in place.

Another holder that Ron designed and custom built is this organizer.  Our soup mugs and coffee cups each have their own slot on the top section.  The center section holds our dinner plates.  The plates are easily removable because they slide in/out.  But when we drive we put a small piece of grip-mat under the front of the bottom plate.  The bottom section holds two cookie racks perfectly!  There is an area to the far right of the holder that is 'wasted space'.  I decided to use this for items that I rarely use.  I hadn't put down the grip-mat when the photo was taken, but it's there now.

Slowly but surely Raven is going to get this type of added support to her other cabinets.

This morning Ron and I hitched up Raven to Rainer.  I'm happy to report that everything in the front cabinet was in place and unbroken when we arrived :-)  Right now we're at Park of the Sierras (an Escapees park) in Coarsegold, CA.  We plan to spend the Christmas holiday here and then we have a couple of repairs to tend to on the road before returning to Rocklin in early January.

November 24, 2017

Three Weeks Away & A New Home

Ron and I have been parked in the same spot in Rocklin for quite awhile.  Working and home life have kept us off the road lately.  We began planning for a fun get away, mostly to keep our sanity :-)

We left with Roamin in tow on a Saturday afternoon in early October.  Our itinerary included the Pomona RV Show, then make our way down to Patagonia, Arizona to spend time with my cousin David, then make a stop in Moss Landing while working for a couple of days and end up back in Rocklin three weeks later.

Stop One: Pomona RV Show

"We're Just Window Shopping" = famous last words!!  We wanted to check out the RV's and see what was in store for when we upgrade in a couple of years.  I bought multi-day passes because I knew we'd want to visit the show several times.  I also booked a spot at the KOA campground which is right next door to the show.

Ron and I had discovered on our drive that the refrigerator had a problem.  The freezer seemed to be working all right but the fridge part continued to hover around 45 degrees.  Not at all what is supposed to happen.  Ron researched a bit and thought he had a solution.  He also found out this particular model of Dometic refrigerator was discontinued.  In the end, we called Howard, a mobile RV mechanic.  His name and number were on the advertisement sheet on the reverse side of the campground map.  Ron spoke with him on Sunday night.  He answered Ron's questions, explained his charges and gave us the choice if we wanted him to come out.


Howard arrived as promised Monday morning.  While he did his thing, I did laundry and Ron learned a bit about RV refrigerators and how they operate.  Turns out the part Ron thought was broken wasn't the problem.  There was another part which had calcium buildup inside.  During the drive some of the calcium must have dislodged and then became stuck in a cooling tube.  Howard says he sees it often.  His solution: lets carefully hammer on the solenoid to try and free the clog... ??  All I know is it worked!   Once Howard was finished and the laundry put away Ron and I headed over to check out some RV's.

We walked through many, many travel trailers.  We checked out different manufacturers and floor plans.  We even went into a few 5th wheels and Class A coaches knowing full well we can't have/don't want that type of rig.  Our last stop of the day was the Rockwood display.  Roamin is a Rockwood and we wanted to check out the new styles.  You know, for future reference :-)

A few were out of the question for one reason or another.  When we stepped into the 8335BSS we were floored.  So. Much. Room!

from the Forest River website
The rig had so many great points compared to Roamin.  Bigger kitchen, bigger bedroom, deeper closet, bigger bed, bigger fridge (we still found the discontinued model in some of them at the show), two couches AND a dinette, bigger TV (don't judge, it's home), better sound system, 50AMP with two  A/C's, better stairs, two doors, lots of windows :-), WiFi booster built into the rig and more!  A few not so good differences were less 'garage' space, no separate coat closet, two dump valves (one under a slide), plus a narrow & deep pantry.  It was also four feet longer.  Could it fit into our already tight spot back in Rocklin??  We had a lot to ponder...

The next morning we went back to see the trailer.  We were leaning towards buying it, IF all of the conditions were right.  As Ron says, "If all the stars align".

Happy Birthday to Ron!!

All of the stars did align and we were at the show until after closing time working with our sales person and the finance department.  It was Tuesday.  The show still ran until the end of the weekend.  They wanted us to wait until the show ended before we could pick it up.  But, they had a different one in stock locally.  Same floor plan, same features.  We could pick up our new home at a nearby dealer two days later!!!  YES :-))

Moving Day

Thursday arrives.  We have some stuff boxed up after a trip to Home Depot yesterday.  The dealer positions our new home in the parking lot next to Roamin.  Door to Door.  Wish I got a photo.  We were up and down the two sets of stairs for almost the entire day!!  Final paperwork and inspections were done and we rolled out of there at 7:30PM.  We were so exhausted that we called a local campground for a quick pull through site for one night.  KOA was booked :-(

Here are some photos of Raven:

view coming in the front door, we love the huge kitchen window

big open kitchen :-)

full entertainment center just across from the double recliners

the second couch is more than big enough for Rufus!

basic bathroom but it has two doors

plenty of foot room for us and Rufus's bed

meet Raven, our now home!!


Stop Two: Patagonia, Arizona

We did have a couple of nights in Quartsite on the way to Patagonia.  At this time of the year we seemed to be the only one in the park.  I didn't bother taking a photo.  We did get out and explore the area just a tiny bit.  I could see how it would be better experienced once the tents are set up.  One day we'll go there in January, just for the experience.

Patagonia is an itty bitty town in south Arizona.  David chose it as a midway point between his home in Texas and our home in California.  The small campground is very basic.  Gravel all around with sparse dry grass patches.  But it had full hookups at a decent price of $33 per night.  Over the course of our five days there we found about 100 marbles strewn about our campsite.  Who ever gets our spot next may be in marble heaven! LOL

so that's where I left 'em...

Ron and I were pretty much still unpacking/organizing at this point.  We did manage a day trip to Tombstone.  David and Dee went a bit earlier in the day.  We did catch up with them at the tour depot.  We paid our fee and hopped aboard the bus.

David and Dee, too bad she didn't look when I took the photo
        
We drove past parts of the city while learning a little about the town and it's history.  Quite the colorful past.   Old western towns can be interesting.  I'd like to come back another time to visit some of the more historical sites.  One day isn't enough...















We walked in some of the shops.  We bought a few souvenirs for ourselves.  We have a lot of wall space in Raven so we bought a small wall hanging.  Ron bought himself a new hat. 

Our daughter and son in law are expecting their first child in March.  Our first grand-baby!!  We didn't know it's sex when we were in Tombstone so we came home with two t-shirts.  Jessica and Mike are having a boy :-)  Friends are having a granddaughter around the same time so the new parents will get the other one :-)


Stop Three: Moss Landing

During the previous weeks we received additional work for the Salinas and San Jose areas.  One of the benefits of this lifestyle is being able to change plans, if needed, in order to help our clients sooner.  I looked up campgrounds near Salinas and found Moss Landing KOA.  You know how much I love the beach.  This campground is within walking distance :-)



The park is small but situated in such a way that the sites have ample space between neighbors.  We ended up staying at the park for four days, we liked it so much.  During our stay two other Rockwood trailers came in.  We all decided on an impromptu walk through.  The first one belonged to an older couple who travel with their grand kids on occasion.  They have a bunkhouse model with a Murphy bed in the front.  The second one is a couple with grown children, no grand kids yet.  Their trailer was purchased  a couple of months earlier.  This was their maiden trip.  Good times :-)

Ron and I walked to the beach a few times.  Why not, it's just that close :-)

the color was not altered in these two photos

we found some geocaches on the walking path

I tell you, those three weeks flew by quickly.  We all had a great vacation from the usual.  We're already planning for our next outing.  We're hoping to take a trip to the Sierra mountains in late December.

nope, he's not spoiled... :-)
  
*As always, you can click on any photo to see it larger.