Friday, November 13, 2015

Nothing (Much) To Report

I'm still here, just not around online as much (as I explained here).  Not that it hasn't been a little slice of heaven (because it hasn't), but I guess you should know what's new here.  So...let's see.

I finally was started on two thyroid medications, which did...nothing.  I took them for two months, and when the nurse called to see how I was feeling, I was like, "I don't feel any better.  In fact...I think I feel worse, because now I just sit around my house watching it rain and listening to the clock tick while I wait to grow old and die."  No, wait.  I did play endless games of Solitaire on my phone, too.

So...yeah.  Not an improvement.

They immediately took me off those (I feel a little better now, and a lot less like I should just move to a retirement home and take up bingo), and they called in a different prescription, which my pharmacy has taken 10 days to get right.  The first two times I drove the 15 minutes over there, just to get the prescription, they "didn't have it" (in the building?), even though when I CALLED them beforehand, they were like, "Yep, we're working on it; it will be ready in 30 minutes". Then they finally DID have it this week, but when I went in yesterday after 10 days, the line was so long, I'd have had time to grow old and die anyway, so I left.  Maybe today I'll try again.

(edited: I DID go over today, and the girl was like, "Uhh, yeah, I don't show anything for that name".  I had a small meltdown.  Right there at the counter.  THIS IS THE FOURTH TIME I HAVE STOOD HERE AND HAD SOMEONE TELL ME THAT YOU DON'T HAVE THIS MEDICATION THAT I DON'T KNOW THE NAME OF AFTER YOU SAID IT WAS READY FOR PICKUP AND WHY IN THE NAME OF EVER LOVING EFF *claps hand over mouth*    She said they had it yesterday, but they had put it BACK on the shelf because they said it'd been out for 9 days.  Waiting to be picked up..  I just...what.  the. heck.   

This makes no sense.

I smiled and said I would WAIT and tried to remind myself through gritted teeth that it was in no way this particular cashier's fault that I have done this FOUR times.  Not at all her fault.  Zip it.  shhhhhh

All I could think was Well, it's a good thing I'm not dying of some disease while waiting for this med.  *eye roll* Because hello, Wal-Mart, you could have just killed me and I'm pretty sure I'd have a case if I had the energy to be annoyed.

Actually, that's about the only energy I *do* have lately.  Every sentence lately seems to start with "WHY IN THE NAME OF EVER-LOVING EFF ..."   *insert whatever detail here*.

I did lose 5 pounds in a month, but I counted that as due to the fact that we went on the South Beach Diet, which means NO carbs of any kind, and NO sugar.  But yes...cheese.  So I've been living on mozarella and tomatoes and actually some pretty yummy dinners.  Shane lost 24 pounds.  I lost 5.  I'd say that sounds about right.

 Plus, I've been busy because you GUYS.

Nail polish.

Nail polish has taken over my life, and I blame Instagram.  Once a year, when I give up on stop working outside, my nails actually grow, and I go a little crazy.  So I gave myself permission to get on Instagram to look at nail art inspiration, and then I found out about indie nail polishes, so I also gave myself permission to BUY ALL THE POLISHES, which I pretty much did.  So now I paint my nails every day, which gives me something to look forward to while I wait for my prescription to be ready.

If you love nail polish and you haven't heard of "indie polish", buckle up and go check out my new obsession:  Delush polish,   A-England polish,  Live-Love-Polish,  Cupcake PolishZoya polish, Frenzy polish.  I die.  

Oh, and in other news--The other day, I looked out at the pond and I was SURE there was something floating in it, but I couldn't really tell, so I ignored it. Because, why not? My coffee was getting cold, so, whatever it was, it could wait.  Unfortunately, later that day, I went outside, and yes there WAS something floating in the pond.

It was..(ready?) a dead deer with an arrow sticking out of its back.  Floating.  In our pond.  *gags*  I called Fish and Game and was like, "Guys.  There's a dead deer floating in our pond. You should probably come get it."  And the helpful girl on the other end of the phone was like, "Oh, we don't do that sort of thing, but I'll let the officer-in-charge know."  Which was totally not helpful.  She did mention that it IS hunting season, so it's legal for there to be dead deer right now, even if they're floating in your pond, which I guess is good, because I didn't get put on a new list of possible criminals or anything.

(I did take a picture, but it's just too icky, so you'll have to just imagine it, because EW).

Sorry if this sounds more...down than usual.  I'm not really that down, just having a downish month, but coming back UP, so it's all good.

I have to go run some errands now, get my prescription, and come back and paint my nails because I have like 20 new colors that I haven't tried yet.  And there is a guy coming here this afternoon with parts that will fix a basically-still-new dishwasher that we quit using when it broke 8 years ago (just one month out of warranty, sorry), so I won't have to wash dishes by hand anymore every day, which means my life is probably as close to perfect, with some weeds, as it has been in a long time.  Like 8 years.


Friday, October 16, 2015

My "Disconnected" Life

Guys.  I have a confession to make.  Well, more like a statement to make.  Or maybe it's just like a memo that you didn't get yet, which totally hasn't mattered, because you're sitting there all living your life and not really knowing that I've been over here going through all kinds of epiphanies and stuff.  And since I may or may not have lots of words to say about all of it, I also compiled a bunch of fun photos to make this more like a photographic memo, which should make it more fun for me for you.  

So here goes-

I don't remember what the date was, but it was maybe two weeks ago now, when I turned on the internet news and saw that there had been a(nother) college campus shooting by a(nother) demented...I don't even know the word.  For the sake of clarity, we'll just call him a terrorist.  He doesn't deserve any attention.  Anyway, of course I read the story, because the whole entire world drops everything and reads these stories.  And something in me just snapped.

This happened in Oregon, where I have lived before.  I adore Oregon.  Roseburg is one of the towns we always drove through and said "Hey, we should totally MOVE here, because it's gorgeous and quiet".  So, for this to happen there, really just got me.  Plus, he targeted Christians.  Blatantly.  Executed.  Christians.  Which is what I am.  Which means, if we'd moved to Roseburg and sent our oldest to that college (could happen), our family could have been living through this nightmare right now, with all those other families who are living through it.  

I won't try to wax eloquent on that, but I read the first day's worth of news on that story, and I just...cracked.  I'm done.  I don't want to know what's going on out there any more.  I don't want to hear how evil people can be.  I don't want to see the endless debates about whether this was or was not a terrorist attack or how it revolves around gun control or not.  I don't want to see a constant stream of photos of loved ones grieving the sudden loss of a child/husband/fiance/friend.  I'm just...done.

I turned off the internet and walked away from my desk.  I spent a solid week avoiding my desk, except to work.  I had to use the internet connection to run customer credit card transactions and answer emails, but other than that, when I opened the Google main page with that search bar and all my saved page tabs at the top of the screen, I just stared at it for a minute, then clicked it *off* and walked away.

Actually, it gave me kind of a satisfyingly wicked sense of control to decline the invitation of that blinking mouse cursor, waiting for me to click my way back into the harsh reality that is the world today.  Kind of like that feeling you get when you really want a piece of cake but you're on a diet so you grab a carrot stick instead, and you feel all strong and grown up and girl power-ish.

So, I read more books.  I worked on a crochet Christmas gift.  I played with the dog.  I got re-obsessed with nail polish because why not?  I adore nail polish.  I continued with our South Beach diet, which is working and is a story for another post because yay, weight loss!

We went camping, even further from the world of internet and terrorists and in-your-face angst and online trolls (what is with the comments online? Are they even people?).  No cell service for 3 days was heaven.  I sat by the lake with the dog.  We sat around campfires with our large extended family of in-laws, cousins, nephews, nieces, and parents and just enjoyed each other and the mountains.  I read some more.  On the way up, I had to call a sister-in-law to ask her why all the flags were at half-mast, because I hadn't heard any news for over a week, and God forbid...what's happened now?  She wasn't sure, so I took that as a good sign that hopefully nothing earth-shattering had happened.  (I think it was for the funerals from the above event).

When we got home, I did get back online to keep my French lessons current, because that's just a goal I want to accomplish.  I  have enjoyed my Instagram account just for nail art and nail polish because, again, why not?  I haven't checked Twitter.  I haven't checked Facebook.  No, wait--I did log on accidentally and see my feed once, and the first thing I saw was a comment by a loved one that just made me want to scream "REALLY??!? You're saying that? ONLINE?"  I composed a message to elaborate my point, then deleted it and logged out. Walked away shaking my head.  I went back outside with my coffee and shook it off by listening to the waterfall and the birds, watched the yellow leaves rain down from our birch tree, and enjoyed that only-in-the-fall juxtaposition of sun on my face and cool nip in the breeze.

Ahh, much better.

OK, in all fairness to the internet and the goodness thereof, I do have a few blogs that I still read, because they show up in my email in box, and this morning I *did* have to Google "how to get the smell of dirty socks out of clean dried laundry" (which is probably self-explanatory, and also gives you a peek into my laundry life that is possibly TMI).

Other than that, I haven't been back online.  I just don't even care any more.  If any good news comes along, I'd be happy to hear about it.  Other than that, I'm just done.  Not hiding from reality, just...blocking it out of our house, which is our haven from the world, and I'm going to keep it that way.

Wow, that was a lot of words.  But then, if you're reading this, you're probably not surprised.

In case you skimmed this just to look at the pictures, here's a pictorial essay that says the same thing, but with less words.

So I turned off my internet...


Yo.     Stop.
My friends, when I tell them I haven't been online for 10 DAYS..."Whaaat?"
Them:  "Doesn't that feel like you're living in a CAVE? How can you TURN OFF THE INTERNET?"
Me:  I already explained this.  WITH PICTURES.

It feels kind of like this...

...And THIS.  But with more laundry and dishes.  And less  beach

Still.  No internet = Very little negative crap in my life.


Still need more?

Hold my calls.  I'll be outside painting my nails.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Still Here, Just Busy (A Fall Update)

It's suddenly Fall here, and that means DO ALL THE THINGS RIGHT NOW BECAUSE WINTER.

So, of course we did the back-to-school thing, which means volleyball season, which means practices and games, which means me driving to school and back at least 4 times a day until our youngest gets her full driver's license and can drive herself to school.

And...I used up our last beautiful 90-degree day to go kayaking with some friends, which was awesome and beautiful.  Except that I missed our daughter's first pre-season volleyball tournament, which I have never done.  So the whole time I'm out on the lake, the back of my mom-brain is telling me that I suck because my kid is playing at a tournament, and here I am, kayaking with friends like I have no responsibilities.  It really was a great day to be out, but the fun was tempered by my constantly checking the time and re-calculating how soon I'd have to leave to get back for her last two games.  Which I DID, because that's the kind of mom I am.  And they won, which was awesome. :)
How could I pass this up?  

Proof that I did NOT pass it up...

Driving out, so hard to leave.  Goodbyyyyyeeee summer.  aiieeeee

And...there is an orchard full of apples and plums to still pick, and they aren't going to pick themselves.  
I like it when *this* is the amount I can bring up to the house.  Not by the wheelbarrow load

And...the garden still looks like crap, more or less, because I just never got around to so many things, but this late in the year it's easy to just say Nevermind.  I'll fix that mess in the spring.  Because I'd rather be inside knitting or messing around online or reading.
If you stand back and squint, cover one eye, it almost looks ok.  Well.  No...not really

And...the tomatoes are all still green.  All. 40. plants. worth.  Just...why.  So now I'm having to cover them with clear plastic because the nights suddenly (and I mean overnight) dropped from 60 to 41 degrees.  I start my tomatoes every year inside, earlier and earlier, and I still never pick a ripe tomato before August 24th.  My gardening friends start picking in like July.  No idea what it is with me and tomatoes.  Maybe next year I'll start my plants on like Christmas Eve, because apparently February 15th is just way, way too late.

And the DEER.  Oh my ever loving..  Why, deer?  Why do you need to come down off the hill, cross the road, tiptoe through a 10-acre field, wade through an acre of deep lush grass and plush clover, ignore the scent of giant dog everywhere, jump our fence, navigate through the raised boxes, walk across the crackly black plastic that we have on the ground to smother the weeds, stand in knee deep oxalis, and force your head UNDER the black plastic that I have held down with bricks, to eat my little 4x4 patch of green beans?? Have mercy.

Even with the dog here to scare the deer off, they are not deterred.  They relentlessly have eaten all the apples they can reach in the orchard, by standing on each other's backs and/or possibly using my step-ladder. They stand defiantly in my garden every night at 11 p.m., staring at my flashlight AND the dog like, "If we don't move, you can't see us."
Apparently *not* doing her job.  But we love her anyway :)

My neighbors probably think I'm a madwoman, because it's not unusual for me to be running around waving a flashlight and yelling at deer at 12 a.m., barefoot, in my bathrobe.  What is she doing? freak

Also, this year I have spent more time on Twitter, because that is where I connect with all my rose and gardening friends (well, we're not friends in the sense that we know each other.  More like, in the sense that we share an obsession (and lots of photos).  Plus it's easier to just tweet out a photo and a one-line thing than to write a whole post, especially when I haven't had much to say, and I think my funny stories are on hiatus or something.  Or I'm just really lazy.  Or both.  Probably both.

My kind of Twitter post.  Just happy roses.  With conveniently cropped photos, so you can't see the weeds...!

And fall also means I can get away from being so hard on my hands with all the weeding and yard stuff, because my other selfish indulgence is nail I started an Instagram account just for that.  Even though I swore to my teen that I would *never* sink so low as to get on Instagram.  I caved.  Because omg, the nail art.  *sigh*  I always thought I might blog about nail stuff, but it just doesn't fit in here, and Lord knows I can't manage two blogs.  I barely manage ONE.
Turned this disgusting mess around.  But, not a good day for my hands...

Gardening and nail polish don't mix, but about once a year, I manage to grow them out and become obsessed with nail polish.

So, now I feel like I've become a social-media split personality.  Check Facebook for my friends and family.  Check Twitter for news and gardening stuff.  Jump on Instagram for nail polish inspiration (and to remind myself that I am a REALLY BAD PHOTOGRAPHER).  Work on the cookbook I started like 3 years ago, so it might be done before we all grow old and die.  Get on Google to catch up on blogs I read but haven't read in weeks and weeks.  Write blog for my own amusement and to escape above garden chores, laundry, and bills.  Yes, but which one AM I?  *crazy laughter in background*

Also, the colder the nights get, the more I realize I need to win the lottery and buy a house in the Bahamas.  I totally *get* the snow bird thing.  People aren't furry.  We obviously weren't made to live where the air can kill you.  The whole north should just be closed in the winter, like an out-of-season campground.

Image result for closed for the season
Come back when you can't see your breath

Anyway.  That's the random ramblings from around here today. Hope you're all having a great Fall.
Sam, sitting out a rainy afternoon

And if you have a house in the Bahamas, we should totally house swap.  Soon.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Yes, You Can Imagine It...

 Not a funny post, because too many people here in the northwest are dealing with horrendous fires right now. Where we live, we are surrounded on almost all four sides by some of the largest fires ever recorded, though our valley is safe.

One small and very dear town where Shane and I lived for four years is possibly evacuating today due to the Okanogan complex fire and others bearing down on the town from all sides. Some of our friends are on standby to evacuate, some already have.  Our oldest was born there, and now both homes we lived in there...are possibly gone.  We won't know until the areas are opened back up.

The town where we both grew up has a giant fire still burning, which has caused evacuations throughout many places we remember from our past.  The neighborhood where my best friend lived, where we took long walks down the dyke and taught ourselves to type in her parents' camper.  The area where Shane's grandparents lived when his dad was a kid, and probably all the landmarks from that era, are possibly gone--again, we won't know until they let people back into the areas.

So many sad stories.  Every one is its own private tragedy, and every one means a family starting over.

The firestorm photos are hard for me to look at.  They take my breath away and bring instant tears, because I know what it's like.  My family's home burned to the ground on October 21, 1986, when I was 16. The house we had built from the dirt up, that my parents designed and our friends helped build.  The house that was our sanctuary and our whole world for 7 years, a lifetime to a child.

My mom was out of town on an extended trip to Washington, D.C. that month, so I had put out the cats, said good-bye to my dad, and my brother and I had gone off to school.

By 9:30 that morning, I was called into the gym, where the whole highschool was taking their SAT tests, to take a phone call from the sheriff's office telling me that our house was on fire and was a total loss.  They couldn't find my dad, so I got the news first. I looked outside and saw the billowing smoke from 20 miles away, and I knew that cloud was our home.

I will save the *whole* story for another time, but I wanted to share something.

For those who see the posts of devastation in the news, social media, etc., and say "So sorry, I can't imagine your loss," it struck me that yes, you can imagine what a house fire is like.  Here's how:

Look down at what you're wearing right now.  Jewelry. Clothes. Underwear. Socks/shoes. Anything you are carrying.


Now, close your eyes and imagine that those items are all that you now possess on this earth.

Now open your eyes.

Makes you appreciate everything a little more, doesn't it?

And yes, many people in the fire areas have been fortunate (and I use the term loosely) enough to have some warning and time to plan and evacuate, time to pack what is, and what is not, necessary.  Time to move livestock, or just open the gates and hope for the best. Time to take a picture and a long look and say goodbye to the house and the landscape, and leave.  And yes, it is "just a house", but until you've been through it, you can't really fathom the loss.

A peek at my story...

Our house in the beginning-- 1978

After much adding on, almost finished, early 80s.

View from driveway, 1982
Same view from driveway, total loss.  Sometime in 1988.  My whole life was in there.

Please keep the northwest in your thoughts and prayers.  So many people are hurting right now.

Monday, August 17, 2015

Panhandling in the Panhandle

The other day, I was driving with our youngest, and there was this guy standing on one of the corners by our mall, holding one of those cardboard signs that said something along the lines of  I don't have any money.  Can I have some of yours?

I won't bore you with a monologue on how I *feel* about panhandling versus busting your ass working for a living 6+ days a week, because then you might disagree and be like wow, you're really judgey, and I'd have to be all, well, don't read my blog, then, and then there'd be all this angst and we'd both think the other was being a jerk.

ANYWAY, there was this guy, for whatever reason, and it caused the following funny conversation in our car, after we went by.

Me:  Dude, seriously?  I thought panhandling was illegal in Idaho.

Teenager:  Isn't that why it's called The Panhandle State?

Me:  *laughing*  No.  We live in the Panhandle OF Idaho.

Teenager:  Oh.  Why is it called the Panhandle, then? I thought it was because of panhandlers.

Me:  Because Idaho is kind of shaped like a pan, and this is like the pan handle.

Teenager:  Idaho is the least pannish thing I've ever seen.  It totally does not look like a pan.

Come to think of it...she's right

Monday, August 3, 2015

Great. MORE THINGS to Cut Out of My Diet

I'm getting ready to go see a hormonal specialist doctor in the near future, because here's the situation.

Aside from the fact that I've been unsuccessfully fighting the same 30 pounds for about 10 years, I've been repeatedly told I "should get my thyroid checked", and I have like 9 of the 10 symptoms of hypothyroidism.

I have ranted about this before, but it's not helping, so here I go again.  I'm getting really tired of this.  I'm not used to losing the fights I fight.  When I set my mind to something, I ALWAYS accomplish it, so why the heck is this not working?  And, how does my weight continues to go UP?


My weight problems started after taking the diet craze pill called Metabolife (the original, really bad for you formula) way back in the mid-late 1990s, when I didn't actually HAVE a weight problem.  So, I'm not even sure why I tried it, because at that time, I had always maintained the same weight.  I bounced back easily after two pregnancies (where I gained 48 and 54 pounds respectively).  I liked my body then.  It was beautiful and curvy at a healthy 128-135 pounds.  It actually stopped traffic once in a terrific dress that I'll always keep as a reminder, though in those days, I always thought it could be better.  Just...why.

Back then, I could eat anything I wanted, within reason, and my weight would maintain.  Gain a few pounds, oops...cut back here and there over a few days and tah-dah--back where I need to be.  I never worked out.  I never dieted.  There's no history of obesity in our family, and don't give me that "'s just our AGE" crap.  This is not normal.

Fast forward to about 2004, when a year had gone by where we didn't have a scale.  I went in for a physical (that was last physical, but I digress), and found I'd gained 20 pounds.  I about FELL OFF the scale.

No.  That can't be possible, doc.  Move that slide-y thing back.  Back.  BaaaaaaccccckkkkKK.


Let me try it with my shoes off??

So, I bought a scale and decided to get a handle on whatever had happened to my body.

The End.


Ever since then, I have fought my weight.  I've cut various things out of my diet.  I have swum laps for hours and gone to the gym (ok, yes, sporadically, but as often as 6 days a week without weight loss...really???  That'll make you DEFINITELY QUIT GOING TO THE GYM ).  I bought an exercise bike and rode it to the moon and back, with no result.  Did Pilates.  Jumping jacks.  Run up the stairs and back down.  I have taken herbal supplements and multivitamins.  Tried to be like my Mom--read Back to Eden and stocked up on vegetarian cookbooks.  I have counted calories and done online help-me-lose-weight apps. I have been drinking hot water with lemon and honey in the morning forEVER.  I tried acai berry and apple cider vinegar.  I have cut processed foods, fast foods, GMO's, coffee, and all my beloved carbs.  I never eat any of the desserts I bake (if I bake at all anymore). I have gone on a more or less plant-based, whole-food diet, all organic.  Heck, I hardly ever even eat HOT food any more...Raw cucumbers or fruit again? YES because who doesn't love raw cucumbers every damn day?  We sort of tried to go a little bit vegan.  I work outside in the garden in the summer, EVERY DAY FOR 1-4 HOURS A DAY.  EVERY DAY.


Did I mention, every day?

I keep gaining weight.

What. The. Hell.

Oh sure, I'll lose a few pounds here and there, but as soon as I let up the relentless pressure of eating almost nothing and cutting out ALL THINGS THAT I LOVE, my weight floats up just as relentlessly.

Here's my life in a nutshell:  (yes...apparently I *can* have nuts, hahaHAHAAA  *weeps*)

Consume more than 1200-1500 calories in a day? = weight gain.

Any wheat products (even whole grain)? = weight gain (like 7 pounds in 3 days on vacation!! what the actual?)

Any processed carbs, even brown rice flour pasta or gluten-free vegan bagels? = weight gain.

Coffee with cream and sugar in the morning? = weight gain.

Other random things that aren't helping:

Alcohol.  Sugar.  Dairy (noooo, don't take my cheese and yogurt.  It's my last joy).

If I limit the above three things and cut OUT the former carbs/wheat/coffee weight will stay relatively the same, albeit 30 POUNDS HEAVIER THAN I SHOULD BE.  Oh sure, it will drift down a pound or two here and there, but if I let up for even a goes right back UP and we reset the clock and start ALL OVER.

So, to maintain, here's what I CAN have, based on my totally nonprofessional findings:


Yeah.  This is AWESOME.
I know, it LOOKS pretty.  But it's not that cool when it's ALL YOU CAN EAT.

So.  I'm getting started with some labwork as soon as possible, as well as the long-overdue physical, also partly because "you're not getting any younger" is one of the recurring themes when I can't sleep and my brain starts reminding me of cool stuff to not forget about at 2:45 a.m., or lists I should be making.

Part of me hopes it will turn out be something like my thyroid, and not that I have just epically failed at something that should NOT be impossible.  The other part of me will be really pissed if I've just wasted 10 years being 30 pounds overweight because of a hormone imbalance.

Sorry to go OFF, but I'm just so really totally sick of busting my butt (apparently *not enough*), eating nothing I enjoy, and getting on the scale to see the number has gone...UP.   again.


Somebody tell me I'm not a fat, epic failure today...I really need it.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Small Town Kid Awkward Moments

Here's a story I always forget to tell.  About Shane, actually...

We both grew up in small town north Idaho.  The kind of small town where, if you're a good drummer in the high school band, the band teacher may or may not actually approach your parents and ask them if they'd be willing to allow you to drum with a local band. IN A BAR.

 At age 17.

This is what actually happened to Shane.  There was a band playing in town, who needed a drummer, and he was the best in town (at 17).  Or possibly the only drummer in town.  His parents went and talked to the owner of the bar, because they all went to school together back in the 50s, and they all agreed that it would be OK, even though he was underage, as long as he stayed on the bandstand and wasn't, of course, served any alcohol or molested by cougars (although in the early 1980s, I don't think those had a name yet; they were just older scary drunk women...)

ANYhoo, off he went, after his mom threatened the bar owner that she would go down and raise heck if anything happened to him, because he was an innocent.

Like this

So...being the innocent that he was, one night he came down off the bandstand after a set (I think that's what it's called) to sit at a table with some people (and no, I don't know *why* he was at a table, instead of outside waiting for the music to start again).

The people were lining up piles of white powder on the table in front of them and rolling up dollar bills.

As far as my farm kid sweetheart could tell, there was just a mess of white powder all over this table.

He had no idea what they were doing, so...he pulled up a chair, looked in distaste at the table covered in lines of white powder, grimaced, and said "Geez, these tables need cleaned", and proceeded to wipe all of these people's cocaine off the table onto the floor.  He thought someone had spilled the salt or something.

He wondered afterwards, why that whole table got really quiet when he was done.


He said there was just a stunned silence, so he figured, "Wow.  This table's kinda boring," and he left them sitting there with their mouths hanging open and went back up to finish drumming.

Looking back now, he says he's probably lucky they didn't actually take him outside and beat the crap out of him...

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Yard Sale Time

Our house has gradually gone from "tidy and organized" to "pretty cluttered but comfortable" somewhere in the last decade.  It's been starting to feel really cluttered for about the past 5 years, but I like to live by the rule of let's not get carried away...we can organize that tomorrow, so it's been getting worse.  Lately it's been feeling like it's actually closing in.  I can't see any wall space that isn't hosting some piece of random furniture, stack of books, or orphaned ottoman.  Don't bother trying to put anything away BECAUSE THERE'S NOWHERE TO PUT IT.  We have a lot of space, but unfortunately, also a lot of stuff.

We all know what that means:  It's Time.

So, two weeks ago I finally gave in to my family's repeated suggestions of "Why don't we just have a yard sale?", usually said in the same tone as "Hey, why don't we just go for ice cream?" I've been resisting this suggestion for about a year, because I remember the last yard sale being a nightmare of sorting through our entire house, dragging it all outside, and then spending two days talking myself hoarse (I actually lost my voice) selling it and chatting with neighbors, then loading up whatever was left and donating it to Goodwill.

I think the clutter is possibly worse this time.

Our youngest doesn't really remember the last (only) time we had a yard sale, which was about 8 years ago, so she's like how hard can it be? We put some of our extra things outside, and people come to our house and give us MONEY for our old stuff.  Sweet.


When you've had 28 years of life together and raised two kids, and have only had one real yard sale, you don't simply "put some stuff outside".

You guys.  We have been tearing our house apart, drawer by drawer and shelf by shelf, for the last two weeks.  Picture basically moving out of your house, but without actually opening the door.  Every single thing we own, every book, every DVD, every collectible, every garment, every dish and plate and craft item and box of crayons and set of matching bathroom soap dispenser/cup/trash can/rug/shower curtain...has been taken out of its previous resting place, considered, and either put in the "out" pile(s) or cleaned and put away.  Every.  single.  thing.

I found things I didn't even know we owned.  Curtains that have never been used.  Duplicate copies of books and movies.  Lamps we forgot about in the backs of closets.  Unframed Monet prints. Rabbit feeders. Seven packs of playing cards, three of them unopened.  (UNopened.  Just--why).  It turns out I still have three (THREE) Kitchenaid stand mixers, from my bakery days.  Something like 8 springform cake pans and 10,000  bottles of unopened food coloring and airbrush colors.  There's a giant bowl full of what looks like enough pencils to put the whole third world through grade school.  I pulled out all Those Clothes that haven't fit in a decade, tried to avoid saying wow, was my butt actually that small? out loud, and pretended to be unsentimental about putting them out.

It looks like there was an explosion in a Pier 1/Toys R Us/Michaels/Macys strip mall, and it landed in our dining room, office, and spare bedroom.

Actually...there's a lot of really cool stuff here. We're definitely not getting rid of any's more like we're just downsizing our life.

We started week before last, and I think we're finally more or less done conquering the downstairs at this point, after spending literally all day again yesterday until 8 p.m., doing an even more ruthless sweep of "If you haven't used it in the last year (or decade), get rid of it!"

I still have to go upstairs (cue Jaws music) and see how it looks, but our youngest has got a good start on it and has torn apart the whole floor already, so if I'm right, I *should* just have to go through the bookshelves and decide do I really need EVERY one of Tom Clancy's novels?  Will I ever use this knitting machine that I bought in 1988?  

Then we just have to carry all of the upstairs...downstairs, and then outside.

Of course, we still have to sort through the garage storage racks, all my old cake decorating tools, a storage shed, the attic, and the garden shed, set it up and label everything, and we're home free.

What does feel great is that, in every room, we have literally cut the volume of stuff in each space by at least a third.  The bookshelves, cabinets, shelves, and closets are now all perfectly cleaned, organized and very sparsely and tastefully populated.  There are actually a lot of empty shelves in some of the closets and cabinets, because what's left is the stuff we actually use.

I feel like Martha Stewart is definitely my spirit animal this week...

I'm not looking forward to the rest of this week, but I am REALLY looking forward to seeing some uncluttered spaces in our house again.

And...I've promised myself a comfy new living room chair (or two) with the money we raise, because the ones we're still using are unfit for use unless you throw a sheet over them.  Not even kidding.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Peace Out, Man

I thought about writing a whole post about people who should be nicer than this guy from my last post, but then...I looked outside at the sunshine and the daisies and echinacea blooming together outside my office window this morning.  There are at least five different kinds of bees going about their business, birds are singing, and the garden is sparkling where the water droplets have clung to the flower petals and the dill heads, and I thought  you know what? no.

Today, I'm just going back outside.  We are fortunate enough to live on our own 5-acre oasis of calm that is a world away from the craziness everywhere, and though I complain more or less constantly about the overwhelming number of things that need done outside on any given day...I am grateful for every inch of the little piece of heaven we are blessed to live on.  Less weeds would be great, but still.

There are currants to pick in the shade of the weeping birch this afternoon, and the raspberries and blueberries are ripening faster every day.  There are bushels of gorgeous roses blooming.  We have mint/lemon balm sun tea soaking up the heat on the back deck, and there is a hammock ready for a sunset break with a good book.  What else could I need?

It's going to be 100 degrees today, so it's also a perfect day for the beach, and there are tons of choices around here. Later I'm making potato salad and my mom's cucumber salad, and panna cotta to go with the berries after our BBQ dinner tomorrow to celebrate this great country's independence day.  We can watch all the big fireworks displays in the county from our hot tub under the full moon tomorrow night, with no crowds to fight, no traffic in sight, the cel phones off, and I will be with two of my favorite people in the world.

If you stop and take a breath sometimes, you realize how much you have to be grateful for.

Have a fun and safe 4th, you guys.

My little piece of heaven

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

More Customer Service Nightmares

As I may have mentioned before, we have a lot of awesome customers, except for the Chosen Few who feel that it is their job to occasionally call me and behave like a total (insert favorite adjective *here*).

Or, as Aussa at Aussa Lorens so succinctly put it..."throw some shade".

I had another of these lovelies call me the day before last, at 7:30 a.m.  I should have known.  Because my FIRST rule of phone etiquette is to never answer my business phone before 9 a.m.  Never.  NOT. EVER.

I have also learned that ANY call that comes through on my phone caller I.D. as "Restricted"...also do not answer those EVER.  Because anyone who PAYS to have their phone number hidden is hiding something.  Like the fact that they're an ass.

But I was caught off guard the other morning, namely because I thought it might be the Sheriff's office calling.  Not that that's a normal thing around here, but our daughter had her smartphone stolen the night before (insert lots of cursing about thieves *here*), and I had talked a couple of times with an officer by phone.  So I was thinking it was the nice sheriff guy calling at 7:30 a.m. the next morning to tell me Hey, we found your phone, because we're awesome, and here's a winning lottery ticket, too.

No.  UNfortunately, it wasn't the cops.  It was a customer, whose name may or may not be RICHARD.  I didn't answer the phone as a business, BECAUSE IT'S AN HOUR AND A HALF TOO EARLY FOR THAT.  I just said "Hello", because it's 7:30 a.m. and I'm thinking it's the cops, so I may as well just answer as myself.

This guy doesn't even pause.  He jumps right in, ignoring the fact that IT IS 7:30 A.M., which is a time of day that my brain only has certain sectors functioning--namely the Take Out The Dog sector and the Is There Coffee Made Yet sector.   So my ears heard this:  "I ordered from you last year, and my delivered product was too short.  I ordered 16" and I had stuff that was 12-13" long in there."

Me:  *blank stare at my phone because no coffee yet*

Him:  And I have some other questions too.  I just sent an order online just now and I haven't had a response yet.  Did you get my order?  Did it not go through?  Because I have some concerns about last year's order.

Me:  *blank stare at my phone because no coffee yet*

Him:  Hello?

Me:  Yes.  Hi.  I'm not at my desk for another hour and a half, so I haven't had time to check my e-mail yet, but I will call you back after I get in, OK?

Of course my office is about 20 feet from the couch, but if I don't set some boundaries, I will have people calling me at 10 p.m. to talk about their orders, so I'm very strict about my office hours.

We hung up.

I called him back at 9 a.m., STILL thinking at this point that this is a normal customer.  As in, someone who just needs to place an order, and who is also probably an early riser.

hahahaHAHAAAHAA.  Oh, no, my dears.  That would be too easy.

I'd try to make this shorter but...I can't.  You're here, so you know that already.

He morphed into a total condescending, snide, pompous, JERK.  The third (or fourth, I lost count) time that I spoke with him, Shane was actually sitting here, so he is my witness.  I never lost my cool, and I was never rude to this guy, but he was one of those people who just kept pushing and pushing.

I double-checked his original order, and he had in fact ordered 14" wood, so the 12 and 13" pieces would make sense. I told him this.  He disagreed, even though I have the 14" noted in three places on his account from last year.

moving on

He then also "needed to ask" me about the type of wood he got (a year ago).  He's pretty sure it wasn't all the right variety.  I cheerfully said I couldn't possibly know what was on that truckload, because it was a year ago, but I'll make a note to MAKE SURE that we get the species right this year.  Because Shane, who can tell what kind of tree it is, by the sawdust it leaves, couldn't possibly know wood species as well as a realtor.

NEXT, he needed to to point out that our delivery fees also "aren't fair".  Because he checked, and we charge $40 to come to him (he's across a state line) and yet we "deliver for free to towns in our state that are, in fact, further away" than him.  I said, yes, that's right.  We charge $40.00 any time we cross the state line even if you live one inch over the state line.  We had to draw a line somewhere, dude.

He wouldn't let it go.  He was like " charge more, even though I'm closer.  I understand, then, from what you're saying, that you treat your Idaho customers better than you treat your Washington customers.  I see."

Me:  No.  We just charge a delivery fee to your state.  For anyone  in   that   state.

Him:  I'd like to know why you have that policy.

He actually argued this point AT SOME LENGTH, stating repeatedly that it's unfair, because he's closer than some of the places we go for free and he doesn't "understand our policy".

He just wouldn't let it go.

Me:  *wth?*  We've had our delivery fees in place for twelve years, so I couldn't probably tell you why they were put in place, but I could probably have Shane call you.

Him:  Yes.  I'd like someone to call me and explain to me why you unfairly charge a delivery fee, when I'm not actually that far away.

Me:  *gritting teeth*  I will make a note of that, but the fees will still apply. *brilliant idea* You may be able to find someone closer to your location there, who could deliver for free, if you check around.

Him:  Oh, I see.  So, just to be clear, so I understand you, you're saying I should find someone else to buy from?  Let me tell you something--

Me:  No, I'm trying to help you.  You could definitely save money if you look around and find someone who can deliver for free.  OR you can come pick it up in Idaho and save the $40 that way (YOU TIGHTWAD).

Him:  I see.  Let me tell you something.  When I call a business for a service, I expect to get that service.  I do not expect to be told by that business to go shop somewhere else.  Because that is what you're saying.  Just so we're clear and I heard you right, I'm calling you to order a service, and you're telling me to find another company to do business with?    


Him:  And when I call for a service, I also don't expect to be told that "Shawn" will call me back.

Me:  Shane.

Him:  So yes, I would like "Shawn" to call me back, because--

Me:  Shane.

Him:  I'm hearing sarcasm now.  I do not expect to hear sarcasm from a business.  I want him to call me back and explain your delivery fee policies to me.

Me:  His name is Shane. (you idiot, if you're going be insulting, at least get the name right). I will pass all of this info along to Shane, and he can help you from there.  Good bye.


WHO does this?  Seriously??? Does he think we're going to call and explain to him our decision-making process from twelve damn years ago and possibly field arguments as to why it's unfair?  I could scream.

Neither of us ever raised our voice, but he was calmly nasty and condescending and, I don't know...(word, word, what's the word?)...when someone keeps trying to cause a fight? Confrontational? Antagonistic.  That's what it felt like.  Like he was trying to upset me.

I hung up, screamed and waved my arms around at Shane for a bit, wiped my tears (because I always cry when I'm really mad, which kinds of sucks), and poured a really strong drink.  Two, actually...

I haven't heard back from him.  Possibly because I blocked his email, because I also know from experience with jerks like this, that they LOVE to have the last word.  After a nasty phone call, they ALways sit down and compose an even nastier email, saying how unhappy they are with our service, or our company, and how they can't believe how rude I was, and how much they hate me and that I am possibly also responsible for world hunger and the Fall of Man.

If he does call back, I'm ready to explain to him, so there's no mistake, that, we aren't suggesting you shop around--we're telling you:  We won't sell to you, ever.

unfortunately, I work BOTH desks...

Yesterday I spent almost all day outside in the garden with my animals, listening to the breeze and the chickens, weeding and picking berries for currant-raspberry jam.  Today I have been out there again all morning, shaping the roses and enjoying the sun.  And I'm going back out there now.

At least with plants and animals, you know where you stand.

hold my calls, I'm hanging with Bindi today

PS-  thanks for listening.  again

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Survived RV-ing. Got the T-Shirt.

Make 2000-mile round trip in an RV with family and giant dog.  Check that off my bucket list.

You guys.  We got home at 1:28 a.m last Thursday, after driving straight thru for about 9 hours one day and 14 hours the second day.  Shane drove the whole entire trip, both ways, because he is the actual model that they used for Superman, except that now I think he needs a vacation from our vacation.  His superpower is that he can drive for two days straight and still smile.

At my prior post, I was packing the RV with our wholeentirelife, plus possibly some stuff we never use because what if we have a medical emergency and someone needs a wound stitched ON THE ROAD; plus enough stuff to have a yard sale to raise gas money for the trip home because we always have some financial crisis whenever we leave town and find ourselves scrounging under the driver's seat for cash for that last tank of gas; plus EVERY CRUMB of food in the house; plus EVERY SINGLE PIECE of clothing in the house, because what if it gets too hot/cold/windy/wet/dry or we need to go swimming in a river suddenly; PLUS my husband, our teenager, my mom and all of her luggage, AND a 70-pound English mastiff puppy for good measure, because who wouldn't want to take a 70-pound dog in an RV with no tip-outs, with walkways the width of your kneecaps? Bindi has added "knows how to back up while standing in a moving RV" to her short but growing list of handy tricks, so we feel like she's definitely special.
Who could leave this face at HOME?

We crammed all of this into a new(to us) RV that we'd never test-driven further than the nearest gas station, made sure the basic things worked like lights, water, and the generator, slammed the door, and drove it ALL THE WAY TO ALAMEDA, CALIFORNIA, because we keep pretty strictly to our code of living by the seat of our pants.  From our house, Alameda turned out to be exactly 1,006,000,000,000 miles away, but we thought we could take turns driving and it'd all be a hoot, right?  I pictured us playing Scrabble along the way and telling family stories as we cruised through Washington, Oregon, and California.
Image result for rv traveling

Oregon turned out to have A LOT more uphill climbs than I remembered.  After living there for 5 years and driving back and forth to Idaho a lot, I remembered, like, ONE.  There were actually about a thousand, give or take.  It turns out that I-5 through Oregon is JUST HILLS.  It's literally just...a freeway--straight through the middle of a mountain range.  I remember it being much more fun to drive when we were younger, in our (then) new BMW 328xi, but the whole experience in a 28' RV shaped like a giant SAIL was somewhat less exhilarating.

And we didn't play Scrabble OR take turns driving.

Because WIND.  Add to the nonstop hills, the fact that the wind blew, hard.  The. Whole. Way. Picture riding inside a breadbox inside a windtunnel inside a hurricane, pretty much all the way right up to my aunt's doorstep in Alameda.

I may or may not have seen this out the window at one point

Because of the WIND, we didn't switch drivers except that one time when Shane laid down in the back bed at a rest stop, in need of a nap, and I figured I could definitely drive this thing down a straight freeway in the Columbia River Gorge for awhile, because how hard can it be, right?  I think he lasted all of five minutes on the bed before he tiptoed up to the front, stepped over the dog, and said lovingly in my ear Pull over.  You're going to kill all of us.

In my defense, I was totally staying between the lines, even though I think I maxed out at a speed of like 47 mph.  No wonder the drivers of RVs always look like they're 100 years old, all hunched over and crabby.  The wind pushed us around so much that the only place that felt safe was the front seats.  The further back you got, the more it felt like you were in a shuttle launch, with all the crash-warning alarms blinking.  Every time any of us went in the back of the RV, we thought this is it.  This is how it ends.  We're just going to be blown out of control and roll over a hundred times and we'll all die.  I don't want to die in an RV bathroom in my pajamas.

We also ended up driving through northern California in the midst of a 3-year drought and a heat wave at about 5 p.m., so there were lots of OH MY GOSH HOT comments every time we stopped, which was about every hour, because the RV needed gas in every town to compensate for our 8 mpg fuel consumption, and the dog needed to get out at pretty much every single rest stop for the entire length of I-5.

Just kidding.  It was actually more like every *few* rest stops.

And as an aside, can I just say for the record that Oregon has some of the nicest rest stops I've ever seen in my life?  Like, you could live there.
Image result for plantation
OK, not THIS nice.  But still.

Then things started going awry.  About halfway down I-5, we realized the generator wasn't going to work for longer than a few minutes at a time before it died, even though on all our test runs at home, it had worked fine.  It was also so loud that we knew that if we started it up within an acre of any humans, we'd cause a evacuation, so we'd been hoping to run it while we were driving, to keep things charged and possibly use the air conditioner, because Sacramento.  Apparently there was an issue with the relay breaker flux capacitor fuel pump thingie. generator = no A/C + no charging of the things.

Having no way to charge our phones along the way, I realized that mine was at about 22% battery as we approached Sacramento, and we still needed it to navigate into San Francisco.  I can not even imagine how we all ever did this stuff with just...maps.  Oh. My. Gosh.  I turned my phone off and hoped that the battery wouldn't die in the dark, in the middle of San Francisco traffic.  Because the one thing I did NOT pack was a map.

Right about the same time, I realized that the wet spot on the carpet by the sink wasn't from the dog splashing her drinking water.  Our hot water tank was leaking under the cabinets, (yes, the same hot water tank we had spent an entire 98-degree evening struggling to fit back into a hole that was, I promise, not as big as the tank itself). The spot was spreading.  I looked under the sink cabinet area and assessed the situation.  All the cleaning supplies I brought...soaked.  All the dishtowels and washclothes we brought...soaked.  RV kitchen carpet...soaked.  Wait--Who puts carpet in a kitchen??  

stay focused

I stuffed a large towel under the sink to soak up the leaking, and we stopped at a rest stop north of Red Bluff and laid our motley batch of wet towels to dry out in the sun on a picnic table.  The staff at the rest stop gathered around to ask us, nicely, if we were doing our laundry?  Because if so, it's probably not really appropriate to lay out your laundry to dry on the picnic tables, ma'am.  We reassured them that they were just wet towels, and since the surface of the tables was 1,000 degrees, the towels dried in about 30 seconds, and we were on our way.

I also had an opportunity to actually YELL at my very first complete stranger, because Bindi is very shy around new people and dogs (as in: she panics if they approach too fast).  This woman pulled up in her Mercedes to a rest stop and let both her dogs out, unleashed, where they proceeded to pee everywhere except the area marked PET AREA.  She then watched unconcerned as one of her dogs ran straight for us, where we were sitting with Bindi at a picnic table, on a leash, like normal people do.  Bindi saw the strange dog and went into full panic-reverse mode, straight backwards up Shane's leg.  I completely forgot my diplomacy skills and shouted at this lady, "Leash.  Dog on leash please.  Leash your dog.  LEASH WOMAN!!!"

She huffed off to her Mercedes and drove away.  No apology.  Not even, "Oh, I'm sorry, but I'm just way too special to follow leash laws.  Those scratches look like they hurt."

I've never yelled at a stranger before, but it felt kind of freeing...

We continued on.  The wind never let up for the entire trip, but I speak for both of us when I say that the last 45 minutes into the Bay area at 9:30 p.m. that night ranked in our top 2 scariest road trips.  We paused about an hour outside the city to text my cousin and suggest that maybe we should spend the night at a campground and come into the city in the daylight the next morning. "Oh, no, you're so close! It's only another hour! Just come the rest of the way!" We were like, "Right.  Because, how hard can it be?"  So we headed back onto the freeway, checked my phone (19% battery), and hoped for the best.

Imagine trying to handle a giant box of an RV in strong gusting head-winds, driving 70 mph on a 19-lane 5-lane freeway full of crazy city traffic, while trying to navigate to an unknown destination in the dark.  Shane's a great driver and the calmest man I know, but I've literally never seen him so stressed.  It took all his concentration to keep us upright and also not run over the various insane drivers who kept cutting in front of the RV at 70 mph with like 3 feet of space to spare, without signaling.  

We were both getting tenser by the minute.  Our daughter gave up watching through the window and decided now would be a good time to face the back and PRAY.

Our conversation the last few miles consisted of fun stuff like this:

Him:  We're in the middle lane.  What lane do I need to be in?  What lane WHAT LANE WHAT LANE?!?  WHATLANE???

Me:  Hold on.  My phone's still powering on.

Him:  Hurry UP please.  The freeway forks in 1/4 mile.

Me:  Almost done...I can't make it start up any faster.



Google Navigation Voice:  In 1/4 mile keep left to take the exit towards I-580 south Alameda/San Francisco/Mexico/Brazil and I-880 south San Francisco Airport/I-80 west Fairfield/San Rafael/Napa/blahblah.

Him:  What?? I just need to know which exit.

Me:  I think we keep left.  Ok--Yes.  This is good.  So...Stay left.  LEFT.  Change lanes NOW.

We find ourselves off the freeway under a tangle of what seems like all the freeways and overpasses ever built, driving in the dark, in the industrial part of Oakland.

Google Navigation Voice:  Keep left at the fork.  Keep right at the fork.  Slight right onto Jackson. Use the left lanes to continue onto Central Ave.

Us:  ...did it just say keep left AND keep right? WHICH fork??   AH MIGASH.

Him:  We're going to die.  Can you see any street signs? Where are we?

Me:  No, it's too dark.  Wait.  It says Jackson on the sign there, behind that tree branch.  I think.  No, wait--that's Santa Clara.  Nevermind.

Him:  Just TELL ME WHERE TO TURN, because there are four lanes here, and I can't get across all of them in one block.  Why can't we see any SIGNS?

Me:  I've never been here, so I know as much as you do right now.  Yes, wait-- OK, we're on Central. OK, turn left up here.  You need to be in the left lane.  I think.  Yes.  Move over a lane now.  LEFT.  LEFT LANE RIGHT NOW TURN HERE.

Google Navigation Voice:  Your destination is on the right.

We made it.  Then we saw the alley my aunt was directing us to drive into with this 28-foot motorhome.  C'mon back!  You guys.  It was the smallest alley I have ever seen.  Like the kind of alley that was probably installed when the milk man delivered milk with a one-horse cart, and it is used by apartment dwellers who drive those little electric hybrid city cars, very slowly.  It was lined with brick apartment entries on one side and a solid wall of hedge on the other, and it was exactly 8 inches wider than the whole motorhome.

On our first try, we went in at the wrong angle, caught the trees with the RV stair that had somehow slid out, and bent it all to heck.  When I tried to open the door to check out how badly we'd mangled the step, I could open the door about an inch and a half before I hit the trees.  The step was ruined, so it couldn't be pushed in.  Start over.

He backed up, out into the 4-lane street full of Friday-night traffic, straightened the RV more, and tried again.  This time we were lined up right, but the alley was so narrow that he literally was pushing through all the bushes the whole way back for about 100' to where the parking area was. One really stubborn bush actually broke off our exterior running light and left a set of 4 scratches the whole length of the RV.  As Shane passed one brick apartment entryway, he reached out the driver's window and gently pushed their potted plants out of the way so he could inch past it.


The whole way down the alley, I was following him with a flashlight, wondering are we going to have to back out of this alley? Because if we are, we'll just have to sell the RV in pieces, right here in the alley and fly home.  I wonder if I can put Bindi on an airplane? We can NOT afford plane tickets.  It turned out to be a U-shaped drive-through, so we didn't have to sell the RV.

By the time he turned off the motor, I think my skin was the only thing actually holding me together.

Once parked, we knew we couldn't use the generator in the small space we were in without somehow building a new muffler for it, but we figured no problem, we'll just plug our 60' power cord into my aunt's storage unit outlet.   But no, because the outlet turned out to be 70' away.  Which didn't matter, because the outlet was the wrong amperage anyway.

Holding firm to our "wing-it" creed, we used the onboard batteries all week, got a jump-start when it was time to leave, drove out the other entrance to the apartments (which turned out to be much wider, thank goodness), and did the whole trip in reverse, in daylight.

About an hour outside of San Francisco, we realized we're out of water, toilet, no shower, no washing dishes.  Also still no generator, so also still no A/C or charging of the things.  And why do I smell the septic tank??

Break time.

We found an overnight RV camp ground about half way home and were able to plug into actual electricity, refill our water, dump the septic, charge the things, and continued on home.  I won't even bother marveling at the small-ness of the camp spots at this lovely, shaded RV park by a river.  I stepped out of our door and nearly hit my face on the slide-out of the camper next to us.  Yes, they were that close.  On all sides.  Because:  Hey, suburban life is a drag.  I know! Let's go CAMPING, so we can live EVEN CLOSER to our neighbors. 

this is roomier, by comparison...not even kidding

Aside from the stressful trip getting there and back, it turned out to be a seriously awesome visit with a group of my family that have never before, and may never again, all be in the same city at the same time, so everything was worth it.

And we got to see some beautiful scenery.
Heading down the Gorge

Columbia River

Mt Shasta 

Cool hills outside Fairfield, CA

Unloading.  Because why not?

Shasta again on the way home

Mt Hood from Portland freeway, after going 21 miles in stop/start rush hour traffic. why

But hey--I had time to knit this sock...

If anyone's interested, we also have an RV for sale.