Sunday, June 30, 2013

Busy doing Nothing

Well, we sure have had a lot of rain since we returned from the RV rally.  Not sure if it is annoying us since we were so rain devoid in TX or if it really is more than usual for us here.  Sure makes it hard to keep the place looking neat and tidy.

We had the pleasure of meeting fellow full-time RVers and bloggers - Janice and Dave Evans.  I had read that they were in the area, so I wanted to meet up.  We enjoyed each others company over some Harbor Perk refreshments.

The week was broken up with a treatment  on Tuesday and another MRI on Thursday.  Still waiting on the results from this one.

We were able to manage a couple of river raft rides in between the rain.  So nice to be back on the river and hooking up with old friends.

They are dredging the river (still) and the other day, one of the barges had to wait on the railroad bridge.  Since there are not any brakes on those, he had to beach it.  Happy to report there were no issues when he got the all clear to proceed.

Our latest purchase has been the fold up bike for my transportation.  Was great getting to and from the dingy dock.  Offers some exercise without taxing the feet.

We are gearing up for the holiday week.  Friends are coming to visit on Monday and on the 4th.  So excited to see everyone again.

Happy 4th of July!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Our first RV Rally...

One of the things that intrigued us about the Heartland Owner's Group was their "Rallies".  Seemed like what everyone talked about.  One of the things we truly missed about boating was doing the "summer circuit" and going to Club X, Y, and Z for their Rendezvous, Steak Fry's, etc. , then having them come to our Club for weekend events.  The Heartland Owner's club looks like they're going to fill this void for us.

We were a little taken back at our arrival at the Elkhart Co. Fairgrounds in Goshen, Indiana, by the scope of this thing.  248 units spread all over the place like manure at the ..... well, you know that line.  And they have the ability for 900 hook ups!!!

Tuesday was pretty much a set up morning, then getting a feel for the schedule and meeting the neighbors.  We were incredibly lucky (or fortunate) to pull the spot we did.  We were with all the "poobahs" of the place (Presidents, State Chapter Leaders, District Leaders, etc).

I played golf on Wednesday, while Connie did some seminars on Wednesday, which was a pretty free day.

Wednesday, we had a "dessert potluck" followed by a real potluck on Thursday and a couple of catered dinners on Friday and Saturday.  Great time to meet some of the other Heartlanders from all over the country, plus some of the great friends we had met in Texas and elsewhere.

Saturday, was a highlight as we went to the Heartland Factory to see BigHorns actually in production.  It was fascinating.

Basically the frame comes in one large door, goes back two stations, then moves sideways about 20 stations before it goes forward and leaves the plans as a finished coach.  I've included tons of pictures below:

Connie did a great job all week of "pacing herself", some afternoon naps, limited her walking.  She really enjoyed herself and we're both so glad we could go and experience the event.  We got home around dinner time on Sunday night and found an early excuse to go to bed.  We also were really lucky that we won two door prizes, a thermal bag and a tire pressure monitor for the rig that sits in the truck.

Today, we power washed the rig -- it was filthy from 10 days on the road -- and did all the laundry.  Tomorrow, Connie has a scheduled treatment which is a perfect time for me to clean the inside.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Results from today's consultation

Both of us were a little leary of what the doctors were going to say today, since this was a "got to see you today" type of urgency.

Didn't help the stress level that the first Doctor was 2.5 hours late (had a 2p appointment, finally saw him at 4:30p).  We kept the rig hooked from the morning and I found a parking lot at the Cleveland Playhouse that was perfect!  Girls and I chilled waiting on Connie to let us know if we were heading "east" back to Ashtabula, or "west" to the Heartland RV Rally.

Basically, though, they were both pleased with the way the radiation treatments she did in Texas in late March/early April were working.  Things were shrinking, not growing which is good.  Very good.

With that news, we were "free" to go to the National Heartland RV Rally, although we left the Cleveland Clinic at 5:45p.  Driving by Progressive Field on a night the Indians were home at 6p with a 37' fifth wheel in tow is not that much fun.

Stopped at the first travel plaza in Indiana on the toll road, should be into Goshen tomorrow morning.

What a week....

Sitting in some church's parking lot two blocks from the Cleveland Clinic with the rig and the girls.  Thought I would reflect on the week passed.
We had nothing but rain and miserable weather the first part of the week.  Awful.  Zero good.  Don't think it ever broke 60.
On Tuesday, there was a little bit of a break, so I thought I would dump the water out of the raft and maybe take a little test.  Got just far enough away from the dock and the engine died.  Rowed myself back to the dock (which was a great cardio workout, by the way) and took a look at the engine, the line, the tank.  I couldn't figure out anything simple, which would have been all I could have dealt with.
Tuesday, I got up early and headed to the south of Ashtabula County (actually, into PA) and had a Nissan outboard guy take a look at it.  Turns out, our tank lid has a leak and there was tons of water in the tank.  He went in, cleaned some things up, and within an hour, I was back on my way.
I took Connie to Ashtabula Medical Center at noon, as she was scheduled to do some CT scans and MRI's.  After she was done at 4:30p, we headed off to our daughter's place to celebrate her 27th birthday.  Hardly seems possible.
My good friend Rich was in town at the airport for some business, and we were fortunate that he could join the four of us at a restaurant in Rocky River for dinner.  Great times as always.
While we were gone, the girls and Tucker kept themselves amused at Bethany's house and continued on after we got home.  Damn, that dog can play hard.
Wednesday, we headed back to Ashtabula and stopped at the Cleveland Clinic in Willoughby Hills for my blood work as I had an appointment on Thursday as part of my annual check up where they tell me I'm fat and need to change my diet.
Rained again on Thursday, so no packing.  We did however feel safe since we hadn't heard from any doctors saying to get Connie to the hospital making our reservation for the National Heartland RV Rally in Goshen, Indiana put on by the Heartland Owners Club.  A solid week of networking, meeting old friends, making new friends, hearing seminars from suppliers and what not.  We'd been holding off until what we thought was the last minute.
First trip for the bike!
Friday morning it let up and we could get the rig packed and head to the Ohio Heartland RV Rally at Scenic Hills RV in Berlin, OH (Amish country, Little Switzerland, etc.).  Sugarcreek, OH that we got the call we didn't want to get.  Our oncologist was setting up appointments for Connie at the Cleveland Clinic on Monday to see their radiation oncologist and gamma knife specialist.  Results from the CT scan weren't good.
It was as we were passing through
Nothing that was going to make us turn around that moment, but it was going to make us change our plans.  (more on that in a moment).
There were 8 couples at the Scenic Hills RV Park, all Heartland owners and 3 couples from Xenia -- about 17 miles north of where we both grew up (Wilmington) and 8 miles west of where I taught for my first four years (Jamestown).  Was a fantastic time, with eating and a campfire being the main attractions.
Our first meal on Friday night was at Mrs. Yoder's kitchen, a great buffet that was packed on a Friday night with both tourists and locals.  (The parking lot was the giveaway).

Saturday afternoon we took a drive into Sugarcreek (the park gave us a couple for a 1/3 lb. of free cheese at the Swiss Village Bulk Foods -- can't pass that up!).  They had samples of Homemade Chocolate Chip Cheeseball with graham cracker prezels that was awesome!
On the way back started looking for a furniture piece Connie had seen at the RV office which would be the answer for our dilemma of sitting in our recliners and not being able to put down our beverages.  Not only found that in a color/wood we liked, but also a "C" table that solved the same problem for our couch.  Wonderful!

Saturday night, we went to an Amish family's house for dinner.  Spectacular food!  We finished the evening around the fire (with hard woods supplied by the campground, which was outstanding).

Sunday, our change of plans took effect.  We were supposed to roll over to Bethany's in laws to celebrate his birthday and spend the evening with them on our way to Goshen, IN.  Once the Monday appointments took place, we called our friends Don and April, who have a church behind their house, to see if we could bum a night there.  Worked out well, generator worked well, good night of boon docking (or "coon doggling" which is a long, funny story I won't get into).
Got business done Monday morning and took off to the Cleveland Clinic where I dropped Connie off for her appointments, then found a large church parking lot where the cabbies are all sitting, waiting for their next fare.
The girls and I will sit here until after Connie's appointments.  If she has no further appointments the rest of this week, we're heading to Indiana from here.  If she has to come back this week, we'll go back to Ashtabula and have to scuttle plans to do the rally.
I'll be blogging either tonight or tomorrow when I know.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Treatment day and we entertain Tucker...

Wednesday (June 5th) was a treatment day for Connie.  A double header with both Herceptin and Zometa.  A little tired on Wednesday, she was really zonked Thursday & Friday, rallied a little on Saturday and felt pretty decent today (Sunday).  We've got some big tests on Tuesday.  Her first MRI and Cat scans since she was diagnosed at the end of February.  This should give us some assessment as to how the treatments are going.  I know she's both excited and nervous about them.

The weather has been miserable.  Today was the first day we've broken 70 and actually seen the sun.  We ran the furnace every morning this week.  Yuck.  Not helping Connie feel better, thats for sure.

Thursday, our daughter Bethany came over to Ashtabula and stayed the night.  I have to talk about a great pork chop recipe I made for the three of us, and our friend Lenny who came over.

Started with a layer of peeled (I hate peeling apples, thank goodness Bethany was up for it) apples.  Cover them with brown sugar and some garlic.

Next, layer the apples with thinly sliced onions.

Then, take 3-4 slices of bacon and wrap 1" thick pork chops.  Place them on top of the apples/onion layers.

Cooked those at 375 for 20 minutes in our convection oven, then flipped them for another 20 minutes.  Delish doesn't start to describe them!

As I mentioned, our daughter Bethany came over Thursday and stayed till Friday morning (we had donuts for the first time in forever!!!) and left her baby with us as they were headed south for a wedding and 1st baby birthday of some of their friends.

Tucker has been mentioned before in this blog.  He's a Puggle, and he's all boy.  Our girls, especially Carmen, love having the big lug around.  He's got a ton of energy, and when he finally expends some, he's a terrific dog.  Huge bark, though.  Huge.

He's also used to getting up with his daddy at 5:30a.  We didn't break him of that, we adjusted.  Dark that early.  As I said, when he expends his energy, he's really good.

Took him to the Ashtabula Dog Park with Carmen and they REALLY had a great time.  Tucker was faster in the straight aways, but Carmen had some jukes that made him barrel roll.  45 minutes of pure doggie enjoyment, just the two of them in a big open field.  Shot some video, but it was really too quick to be enjoyable.

Spent a little time over at Lenny's on Saturday, too.  His big girl, 'Dessa (an 11 year old German Sherpherd), wasn't too fond of Tucker.  A little too much energy, and then, there's the bark.  She's already made her thoughts known to Carmen and Sloopy.

Carmen and Tucker are really BFF's.  They play, they wrestle, they snuggle.  Sloopy can take him or leave him, but then again, its a pretty well established fact that she's a diva.

We took Tucker back home today to the West Side of Cleveland, and stopped over to see our friends Don and April (who have 3 cockers) who live on the southeast side.  I think Carmen was OD'd on dogs that were not her sister.  We had a great time, spent a couple of hours with the sun was finally out and we could sit on their back porch and just talk.  Very relaxing.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Season has Officially Begun

And, just like that, another week has gone by.  Sure did go by fast with all the fun we had.

For starters, we headed to Cleveland for the Reds vs. Indians game on Thursday.  The dogs even had a road trip since we were spending the night with Bethany and James (and Tucker).  All the kids got a along famously.  Carmen and Tucker are bffs now.

It was a beautiful evening for a ballgame.  I was almost too warm in my jeans.  :-)  Was not complaining!

We loaded up and headed back to Ashtabula on Friday afternoon.

The busy weekend was just getting started.  The kids headed East to our place.  One of Bethany's friends from high school was having a baby shower.  It was a really nice shower.  It was so nice seeing the girls again.  

After the shower, we returned home where the guys had put the raft in the river.  Unfortunately, when we arrived, so did the rain. 

James & the besties (Tucker & Carmen)

Once the weather cleared on Sunday, I was able to take a short raft ride with Bob.  Was fun getting back on the river and seeing old friends.  Looking forward to many more rides.

The business has been very busy this week (always a good thing).  

Tomorrow is treatment day.  This will be the first one at the Ashtabula facility.  Will be nice not having to drive (ride) all the way to Cleveland.