Now, time to spend some of that oilfield money we made during the last 3 months – which is for emergency repairs/upgrades to the motor home (“MH”) and for travel! Again, this blog is long overdue, but I hope RVers enjoy reading about the purchases we made for our MH and others enjoy reading about our not-so-exciting life at this time. This is definitely the good, the bad and the ugly!
We left Choke Canyon State Park on Sunday, October 6th, and drove to Willis, TX to park overnight at Convenience RV Park, so we could drive our MH next door for some repairs and upgrades the following morning. We talked to the manager, John, and told him what repairs and upgrades we wanted. By the way, this was not the same John who was the service manager in August 2011 when we were very pleased with the service we received, who has since retired.
Next, we placed an order for our new Splendide combination washer/dryer, which was installed by Convenience RV – although not very successfully. They neglected to tell us they knew nothing about working on these units so, when the dryer would not heat, they had no clue what to do or who to contact. Fortunately, after reading our instruction booklet, we found a “fix”. We had basically the same washer/dryer, but Splendide has done an excellent job with their later model. The unit is digital and lint free, although the dryer still does not do a good job on anything other than towels, underwear and socks. I have found that, when I have more clothes, it works better to divide the load for drying – faster and more wrinkle-free. It also takes a long time to wash and dry a load but, as long as we are not paying for our water and electricity, it is so much better than going to a laundry. Since the loads are much smaller, I try to wash 1-2 loads every other day.
Another “upgrade” we “invested” in was an automatic dump valve for the black water and gray water, which we bought at Camping World and which was installed by Convenience RV. This was installed near the sink in our bathroom and, when we need to dump, we open the valves – first, the black and, then. the gray for about 1 minute each. I have learned the hard way that Dick has to open the outside valves, so we dump into the tank. Convenience RV did a sloppy job on the trim, which Dick plans to “fix” as soon as time permits. Also, they did not properly seal the gray water line, which we will have to have someone “fix”. Do you see a pattern here? It is so awesome NOT to have to go outside to dump our tanks, and I know that all RVers (whether full-time or part-time) can relate!
Before leaving the MH, we packed what we thought we needed for a 1-2 week stay with our son Mike, DIL April and grandsons Colby and Ben in Katy. Dick also brought what tools and supplies he might need to work on his cigar box guitars (“CBG”) – using Mike’s workshop – to “fill” orders he had gotten. When we arrived in Katy. little did any of us know that it would be over 5 weeks before we got our MH back – and, then, only because we took it from the repair facility (after paying what we owed, but before the majority of the repairs were done – primarily the support structure for a hydraulic jack, which we were repeatedly told was on order, in the mail and, then, found out it had not been ordered at all).
After leaving Willis, we drove to Best Buy in Conroe, meeting with a sales lady and ordering our Samsung 18.5 cubic foot residential refrigerator/freezer. We can now have frozen Blue Bell ice cream – not that we should, but it sure is yummy. Also, we can shop every 2 weeks or so and stock the freezer. Dick still has to add trim to finish this project, but we are loving it – and we only lost the bottom drawer. Note the blue strap hanging on the right, which is stored when we are parked for a longer time and “set up house”. Because this is a residential unit and not for a MH, we have a hook on either side and we strap the unit in for travel – to avoid the door opening as we move down the road. This is about the only thing Convenience RV did correctly, even though they did not complete the project by adding the trim. Once we ordered the refrigerator/freezer, though, we were held “hostage” by Convenience RV, since it took 3 weeks for delivery, and the delivery was to their repair facility! We have been asked what we do while traveling because it is electric. As those who follow us may remember, we have not had propane on board for over a year, so we either run our generator while traveling or, since we only travel 4-6 hours maximum per day (or at least that is always the plan), everything stays cold and frozen until we are plugged in again.
A few days after settling in at our son’s home in Katy, our grandson Ben had “show and tell” at his preschool.
Sadly, on October 14th, my godmother and aunt, Ruby Meaux Davis, passed away at the age of 93. She lived a great life and I know she and Mom (her only sister, Ruth Tolin) are in heaven having a party with our other family and friends and watching over all of us. Dick and I had to now “regroup” and pack for an unexpected trip to Lake Charles, LA for the service and funeral later in the week. We looked forward to seeing family and friends, but wished it could have been under other circumstances. Unfortunately, our kids and grandkids were unable to make the trip due to jobs and school, but had always visited Aunt Ruby on trips to Lake Charles. Here is Aunt Ruby and Mom many years ago!
Before heading to Lake Charles on October 15th, Dick wanted to visit April’s Dad, Jay, to show him a CBG, which was made with some of the mahogany that Jay had given Dick when the Tomball Farm was sold last May.
We then drove to The Woodlands to deliver a CBG to our friend Dawn, who me met last year at Brazos Bend State Park, and she has ordered 3 more CBGs for her kids once she gets settled back home. Can you tell she is loving it?!
Now, on to Willis to get “funeral” clothes from the MH and check on progress. Unfortunately, the door would not unlock and, without thinking that we could break the lock as well as a locksmith and for free (instead of $175), we called the locksmith. Some things, we learn the hard way! Since time was tight, we could not wait and had no clue we would be charged such an exorbitant amount. This meant that we now had to buy “funeral” clothes, which was an unexpected event and expense.
Finally, on to El Lago to spend the night with our daughter Michelle and grandson Logan and attend Logan’s band concert at Seabrook Intermediate. Logan plays the trumpet in the Symphonic Band. and they really sounded good after only a few weeks of practice together.
Wow, what a day, which was topped off with dinner at Michelle’s favorite local Chinese restaurant!
The following morning, we headed for Lake Charles, checked in to our hotel and went shopping for clothes for Aunt Ruby’s service and funeral. I even had time to get a much-needed haircut from Connie at The Matador before heading back to the hotel to change and get to the evening service. Even with the circumstances, it was great to see family and friends, many of whom we had not seen in a long time. We even got to meet our great nephew Ty, who was born in early September, pictured here with me and his Mom, our niece Natalie.
Following the funeral and reception the following day, we got our boudin fix and headed back for Katy, and I can only say I am so glad we do not have to travel I-10 west through Houston at rush hour on a daily basis.
Mike and his family went camping the following weekend in LA, and we opted to stay and house sit (after all the running around we had been doing) and, finally, on October 18th, after checking on the MH - again - we had date night at Babin’s Seafood House. We had planned to go to a movie, too, but we were too full after dinner. So much for partying! Again, no pictures!
Our time in Katy was uneventful, with Dick working on his CBGs and me not doing much of anything. So much for exercise! About once a week or two, we would drive about 50 miles to Willis to check on the MH and, then drive another 50 miles or so to El Lago to visit Michelle and Logan for a couple nights and give us all a break. We did well together but, when we were in Katy, Colby (our 7-year-old grandson) had to share a bedroom with his brother Ben (5). The boys were great and enjoyed having us around, but I know it got old after awhile. We would also visit family and schedule medical appointments during this time. Fortunately, with Medicare and our supplemental health insurance, most of our medical needs are covered. However, eye glasses are not, so another investment was buying new glasses for both of us - after eye appointments.
While visiting El Lago on October 23rd, we picked up my sister Betti in Pasadena and went to visit our niece Ashley, great niece Elena and to meet our new great niece Audrey. Being away and unable to meet all these new great nieces and nephews is hard for me, as well as not seeing our grandsons for months at a time. I know it is what we need to be doing, though, and our kids are very supportive!
Mike and April finally had a day date and the boys stayed with Grammy and Grampa. While Dick worked on CBGs, I walked to the park with Ben and Colby for some play time.
A few days later (October 29th), we again traveled to visit Michelle and Logan and attended medical appointments. That evening, Michelle, Logan and I went to the Chick-Fil-A in Kemah for a mini-concert by Christian artist Dara Maclean. I really enjoyed her music and we got freebies, too. While there, I bought 2 of her CDs for Logan to give his Mom as an early birthday gift, and she was thrilled. Check out her music at http://www.daramaclean.com/. Unfortunately, the pictures I took were apparently on my phone and later wiped when the Verizon tech tried to “fix” a problem (together with other pictures through the rest of the year).
The following morning, we were supposed to travel back to Katy for our grandson Ben’s 5th birthday, and I woke up with a severe stomach virus. Since we had already infected Michelle’s home, we stayed 1 more night for me to sleep and recover. Very disappointing but unavoidable! Before heading back to Katy on October 31st, we finally committed to an RV spot for November and December at Latitudes in San Leon – even though we were still without our MH.
That evening, we met Mike, April, Colby and Ben at Katy Mills Mall where the boys were trick-or-treating, and we browsed the stores. The evening ended with dinner at Fuddrucker’s and a great visit – but again, no pictures. I see a pattern and do not like it!
Even for a fairly uneventful month, it appears I had lots to write about for October and, rather than totally lose our readers, I will close for now and add more in a few days. Until next time ...