Monday, November 28, 2011


Hi All.

TexCyn has requested an update, so here it is. 

We are doing OK.  The roof should be finished by the end of the week.  Rain and the Thanksgiving holiday have delayed progress. 

It makes me deeply unhappy that the dream of jumping in my RV and taking off for the desert southwest for a few months was, in fact, just a dream.  This experience has taught me much about the importance of living one's life rather than planning it.   Although the dream did get me through some stressful times in the last year of my doctoral program. 

But the house and the cancelled travel plans are the least of our concerns now. 

My wonderful father-in-law has been in ICU since last week after having bowel surgery.  The pain of the damaged house is nothing compared to seeing him struggle. 

Thanks to you all for your very supportive comments.  I knew you would understand - we have a lot in common. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Warning: unbridled bitterness ahead .....

This is what my house looked like this AM. 

To those of you who have wisely divested yourselves of your particular money pits, I commend you.

Why am I so bitter?  This is the simply the latest occurence in a long line of such instances when homeownership has prevented me from traveling. 

And not only are the costs out of proportion to any satisfaction one might receive from owning, but I keep fixing things that don't stay fixed.  For example, I just had the stone porch repaired and now it is in much disrepair once again, as you can see.  In 11 years, I've had to redo the porch 3 times.  The same porch, I might add, that gives me absolutely no pleasure. 

For me the oft-touted "financial advantages of home ownership" do not in any way compensate for the missed opportunities.   I now think the entire notion is a complete scam perpetuated by the following: landscapers, pest controllers, revenuers, and insurance companies.  I know there are many others to add to that list.   

My long-awaited trip is postponed indefinitely now.  The one I planned and saved for over the last 14 months.  I'll have to see if there is enough a) time or b) money to salvage any part of it when this is all over.  To say I am disappointed doesn't really cover it.   

I am way behind in following your blogs. It may be some time before I get back to them. I'll be honest with you - at this point it is just too painful.

Thursday, November 17, 2011


We got hit.  This is the view out of our front door. 

It happened about 12:30 yesterday.  Neither John nor I were home but stuck in seperate buildings on campus until the all-clear sounded.  We thought everything was OK.  Then I went home for lunch as planned and saw this. 

Good news: the interior looks good, all things considered.  Best news: Doris, who was home alone, was unhurt.  Just shaken up. 

Other good news: We have had a tremendous outpourings of help.  Everyone we know has offered us housing.  And finally, no one was killed in this terrible storm though 84 houses were severely damaged and a few destroyed. 

The 3 of us are comfortably housed at my father-in-law's condo.  We have everything we need and clean-up has begun.  There is a tree crew there now and we will know more when they complete their work. 

Needless to say, all my travel plans are on hold for now.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Task for Today

Called the dealer and ask why this Winnebago Minnie is so cheap.  Looks like it is priced at one-half the NADA value. 

Maybe because it's been sitting around a long time?   

The internet is a powerful RV shopping tool, but it's like seeing with just one eye - you miss alot. 

I'm still hoping to find a rig close to home (like this one is) but time is running out .....

I'll let you know.   

UPDATE: Just got off the phone with the salesperson.  According to him, there are no defects etc .... etc....  I'm wondering now if maybe it's a typo.  I may drive down there on Friday - it's only 50 minutes from home. 

Stay tuned!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Dog Haikus

I ran across this the other day and thought I would share since so many of your are dog lovers.  Aplogies to the unattributed author.

My human is home!
I am so ecstatic I have
Made a puddle

I Hate my choke chain-
Look, world, they strangle me!
Ack  Ack Ack Ack Ack Ack!

Sleeping here, my chin
On your foot -no greater bliss-well,
Maybe catching rats

Look in my eyes and
Deny it.
No human could
Love you as much I do

The cat is not all
Bad-she fills the litter box
With Tootsie Rolls

Dig under fence-why?
Because it's there.
Because it's
There. Because it's there.

I am your best friend,
Now, always, and especially
When you are eating.

My owners' mood is
Romantic-I lie near their
Feet. I fart a big one.

Friday, November 11, 2011


I intended to check out that 24ft. Winnebago at the Atlanta Camping World today but I got all wrapped up in my day off.  Here’s what I did instead: took Doris on a morning and afternoon outing, went to the gym and the bank, did the grocery shopping, sent some cards to family, watered the plants, did the laundry, and worked 2 crosswords.  All before 3:30!  And I baked a pie for the first time in a couple of years!  A fulfilling day for sure.   

I used to bake pies on the weekends.  Then I started my doctoral studies and had to eliminate all the (quite literally) extra-curricular activities.  

But today I returned to Pietown!  We had some leftover blueberry canned pie filling from a brie recipe that didn’t quite work out that was my inspiration.  I tried a new, much easier crust recipe that Ewell Gibbons was fond of.  Remember him from the '70s?  Mr. Wild Hickory Nuts?  It looks too simple to be true: 

2 c. flour
2 T. sugar
¼ c. milk
½ c. vegetable oil

The Laboratory

The Results

I’m skeptical about this “shortcut” pie crust (and the canned pie filling) but just wanted to have a fun throw-together for my first attempt after the long layoff.  And I figure a hefty scoop of Haagen-Dazs on top will make up for a lot of mistakes.   

 I’ll call this one Rusty Pie (cause I am).  Or maybe Murphy Pie (plenty went wrong, mostly pilot error).  I hope the crust does work because it is one heck of a lot easier than the butter-based one I’ve made in the past.  I won’t stick with the canned filling though – to me the fun part is picking out the fresh fruit and mixing and matching the various flavors.  

 Back to the RV shopping report.  I plan to go to Gainesville, FL the week of Thanksgiving to check out a seller who deals exclusively in Class Bs.  They’ve got over 30 units so I’m bound to find something.  I’m waiting for a confirmation email that they will, in fact, be open the first of the week.  That would be a week from Monday.

 I’ll let you know how whether the pie passes the ultimate test.  It’ll be desert tonight following John's pecan-crusted tilapia served with bacon grits and homemade yeast rolls.   

Update: the pie crust was pretty good.  John says he likes it as well as the time-intensive version.  I'm thinking cranberry next time.  Any pie recipes you want to share? 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

More Shopping

Liked it, didn’t love it.  But the main achievement today was driving a Class C.  It’s been awhile since I’ve done that.  It was easy!  We (me and the salesman) drove city streets, a state highway, and did some interstate miles.  I’m sure backing up will prove to be a bit of a challenge but I’ll think about that later.

Pluses: a clean and relatively new (2009) unit, good layout, with a roomy feel despite the absence of a slide.  Minuses: questionable build quality, missing TV, and a rather large crack in the windshield.  The crack ran about 10 inches along the driver’s side left hand corner.  It’s a consignment unit and it looks like the crack started as a chip from a road rock. 

After a bite of lunch, we talked money.  He suggested I have the windshield repaired at a Ford dealer.  I suggested they have the windshield repaired at a Ford dealer.  He said he would check around for a repair estimate.  When he showed me an itemized price sheet, they added $1,100 to the price for the windshield repair!  I politely told him that instead of adding, he should subtract.  We left it at that.  I mean – come on!!!  

And how much do flat screens cost these days?  I’m figuring that’s at least a $300 for a 15-incher which would be an additional purchase on top of the rig.  Not a deal-breaker but a little, well, annoying.     

Also had fun looking at this 2002 Safari Trek with 66K miles on it.  I’ve never seen one before.  It’s unique.  The queen-size bed is lowered electronically.  Pretty cool. 

They also had a 2007 Gulf Stream BT Cruiser.  I didn’t care for the interior at all and I see why people complain about the fit and finish.  And compare them to Winnebagos.  Didn’t drive it. 

If I were serious about the Four Winds Chateau, I’m sure we could work something out regarding the purchase price.  But I’ll go in search for a better-quality rig.  Sometimes I think since it’s my “starter home”, I don’t deserve better materials and build.  

But I’ve still got a couple of months to shop.  My next stop will most likely be a dealer in Atlanta that has a Winnebago Aspect on the lot.  It’s another 4-hour round trip so I’m not sure when I’ll get there.  Soon, I hope.