Where We've Been (46 out of 50 States)...Where We Are!

Where We've Been (46 out of 50 States)...Where We Are!
We are extensively traveling around...working and having a blast...Life is Grand!

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Laughlin Memories

Could not leave the area without stopping in Laughlin…here I feel the closest to my mother and brother. Not only is this the place we scattered their ashes but also carries the memories of our last time spent together as a family while they were both alive. Seeing my mother hit jackpots and of course sneak a few beers and swear she was not. Feeling like a kid again, hanging out with my brother and skipping along the casino floors, laughing and having fun. Watching my daughter hit her first jackpot and seeing the sparkle in her eyes. Just remembering our children not being old enough to gamble but now are all beyond their years with children of their own.

Today is a day of reflection…last day of 2008. Laughlin brings about sadness, joy, pain, heartache, love and times that we never knew may have been our last shared moments with one another.

Our wish for this upcoming new year is for our family, friends, and all of our readers to have the best opportunities and are able to meet each and every challenge with a new focus of good times ahead.

We Have Posted Our Vegas Photos

Monday, December 29, 2008

What An Amazing City

We have visited Vegas so many times for many different reasons but none have ever compared to the current visit. We are being total tourists…taking photos, something we have never done…trying out new cuisine, not just buffets…not spending too much time just gambling…basically, living in the moment and allowing things to just flow.

We received a $150 play money from the Venetian, the way this works is they put money on our gaming card which can only be used on the slot machines, but when you win anything while playing, that money can be cashed out. We more than tripled this and then to make our lucky streak even better, when we went to some of the other Casinos while sight seeing we have been hitting more little jackpots, most of the time on the first pull. This vacation…including all eating, which we are eating some very good stuff, more on that later…is costing us nothing!

There will be plenty of photos, stories and reviews that we will be sharing once we get back to our rig, in the meantime, we will be sharing little bits and pieces of our wonderful time and wishing you all some great travels.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Finally, Our Venetian Vacation

First thing this morning we called the Venetian to see if they had availability and a place for us to park our RV…they had both, so we went for it.

The extra attention given to us by the Reservationists was so comforting and very welcomed, which does not even begin to describe our entire time there. We are without a doubt living way beyond our means at this hotel but we are enjoying every moment. I know…many folks live this way every day…we do not and it feels right! The smooth feeling of the marble under our feet, the plushness of the king-size bed…drapes that open and close with a remote control. Yes, it is just a hotel but wow, feeling this grand is the way we have always imagined our lives to be. We are so very grateful to whomever sent us this wonderful gift, we will think about this often during those lean days of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches but for now, here we are living and loving in this moment!

We may never leave the room...not...we will share all of our sight seeing of the Strip with photos and stories in the next few days.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Our Visit at Calico Ghost Town

This morning we awoke with a sense of relief…for one thing we are in a warmer and drier climate…for the most relief of all is the holidays are over. Even though we are no longer overwhelmed with grief that our daughter and grandson are no longer in our lives, this time of the year usually brings about a little bit of sadness. But now even that little bit of sadness has passed and we are onto bigger and better adventures with our heads held high and our hearts opened wide.

Today we did the touristy thing and went sightseeing at Calico Ghost Town…what a unique place. It has a little of everything for everyone, shops of all sorts, working and unusual museums, restaurants and eateries, train rides, and so much more. The admissions are usually a very minimal charge but for today they were free and we enjoyed them all.

Check out their website for more information and check out our photos of our day trip!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Crazy Christmas Driving Day

A crazy driving day…began in the rain…drove a few miles with sunshine…rainbows…more clouds…more rain…a little snow…lots of wind.  We are in the desert now and the wind is howling the worst we have ever seen and we are getting a few drops of rain but it’s warmer and drier.

When we checked into the KOA in Yermo, California, we met a couple we worked with in Williams, Arizona, it is so nice to talk with folks that we have met in our travels. 

We spent a few hours doing over 7 loads of wash since not only did we have to wash our clothes but the sheets, blankets and rugs. Unfortunately, due to the heavy amount of moisture we endured while in Pleasanton, we had a bit of a mold existence that we needed to contend with.

We will be hanging out here one additional day so we can visit the Calico Ghost Town.

Merry Christmas

Our lives are anything but traditional any longer but for many others, this day still is a day for family gatherings. For us it will be a traveling day…hoping to reach some warmer, drier weather.

For those with family celebrations, we wish you love, peace and happiness.

For those alone, we wish you the feeling that there is always someone with you and that you are never truly ever alone.

And, for those who are missing a loved one for any reason, we wish you peace and to let you know that it is okay to smile, even if that person is no longer in your life, they are most certainly alive and well in your heart.

Have the Merriest Christmas ever!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Our Vacation Begins

We are done…finished…completed our assignment…YEA! There were good points, bad points and many in between but for an overall opinion…it was great!

It’s hard work with long hours…6 days x 12 per day…most other lots do not give you a day off…this place has “rovers”, a management team that goes to each of his other lots to relieve management for a day, unfortunately, the wrong people were in this position and left a few weeks back. This sort of lifestyle is not for everyone…they tried but just could not manage to hang in there. We have found in this lifestyle that the only way to survive is to be flexible…this is not “our” company and if the boss chooses to do things his way then so be it…we change our ways and do it his way, whether it makes sense or not. They could not do this…they wanted to change and fix the way he does business…he has been in business for many years and this was their first time, not only at a Christmas tree lot but on a Workamping job. So, they left which left us without a day off for a few weeks…not so bad since the entire assignment only lasted 30 days and we did get two days off in the middle of it all.

We hired a great group of guys that made our lives so much easier, we did have a few that we had to let go that had been coming back for several years but continued to choose goofing off over working, this does not sit well with us. We expect our employees to do their job and in return we give them respect and a fun environment. We knew the few that would be with us to the end almost from day one and we were right. These few guys gave their all and then some…we appreciate each of their efforts and would recommend them for any future work.

We had electricity, real electricity, not off a generator…we did have water…but the sewage is pumped out weekly…which is not so bad but we still have to ration showers and dishes since we do not have huge tanks, not truly what we consider full hookups but it was better than what most other lots offered.

The weather in Pleasanton is cold, damp and foggy for the most part…November days in the 50 to 60 range and nights down to the 30 to 40 range…very moist. In November we only had one rain day but once December came, the rain and frigid temperatures were more consistent. We are complete sissy’s when it comes to cold but it has been below normal as most folks are telling us and with this weather change, business tapered off.

This change made for many long days and even longer nights without selling many trees. We had been put on a slow lot since it was our first time doing this and in the future we would definitely ask for a busier lot, knowing we could handle it. It was fun learning something new and we would consider doing the Christmas Tree lots in the future.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Why Are People So Malicious?

Again…the emails and phone calls from my sister are coming and they are nasty. Now she is gloating about how she is now my daughter’s mother and my grandson’s only grandmother. How much better off they are without us in their lives and how she is and always has been the better person of the two of us.

My daughter had never been a big drinker but now since the family gatherings always consist of getting drunk, she is now at risk to become an alcoholic like many of the other family members. They have never been able to be just social drinkers, we are very much included in that comment but we have since quit drinking but the word is that they are still drinking as much if not more then they had ever done before. This is something that I have to live with everyday of my life…wondering if my grandson is being taken care properly as he was when we were there.

Unfortunately, from the word we are receiving it does not sound good at all and all we can do is continue praying that the drinking dysfunction does not continue to grow and fester in their lives and that they eventually come to grip with the pain that all that drinking causes in everybody’s lives. Instead, we pray for forgiveness and hope that they too will find it in their hearts to stop all this chaos and begin to forgive and let go of it all. We know how hard it is to change your life for the better, we still struggle with it daily but we also know that if we can do it, they most certainly can too!

We wish the entire family a very Merry Christmas and the Happiest New Year ever!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Disaster Struck

Not really, but at the time it felt as if it were a major problem. Our first attempt of taking down the HUGE TENT proved to be more than we ever anticipated. We thought we understood the concept and that it would be challenging but something we could do…the owner felt the same so he made the decision that he really didn’t need to be here for the event and he was more needed elsewhere…that was the first mistake of many that was made. Now with hindsight we understand where all the other mistakes took it’s turn for the worse.

We took charge and began lifting the 30x60 tent by putting the four jacks on each corner of the tent…big misunderstanding on our part. The jacks are suppose to be put on one side of the tent at a time while lifting the tent pulling the steel poles out, then lowering the one side of the tent and doing the same thing on the other side. Thinking we had it right our way we began taking out the poles but a few of them would not come out…hindsight tells us that this was a lucky thing…if those poles would have come out the sway factor would have been out of control fast. Instead, we continued to struggle…nobody really knowing what to do and we were all hanging on as this mammoth tent began to sway…then one of the crank jacks lost it’s spring and begun to spin out of control, hitting one of our guys in the forehead…blood all over the place. At this time he let go and the sway was at an all time high and the guys were all screaming about not being able to hold on and I was only concerned with our injured guy. Simultaneously, while dialing 911, I yelled, “Just let go of the “f”ing thing, just let it go”.

Things seemed to be in slow motion...as I spoke to the operator I watched in horror as one of the guys counted down when to let go and for everyone to get out of the way. The tent began to sway in every direction, not knowing which way it was going down but then it made it’s decision and it began it’s decent, right in the direction of the Port-a-Potty…oh, no! Jerry and one of the other guys seemed as if they too were in slow motion as their hands landed on the side of it and held it in place so it did not fall. At this time the parking lot began filling up with police, fire and medical vehicles and the fire department became very concerned about safety measures being implemented and asked to speak with whomever was in charge…unfortunately, that was me and Jerry.

The end of this story is all good…the worker was not hurt badly and the tent survived without too much damage, besides a few bent poles. We are truly the luckiest folks alive and are heading straight to Vegas when we are done here…we actually decided to do just that since we need to get away from this rain and need some desert weather now…we will be skipping our sight seeing of San Francisco for now due to the prediction of the next 10 days of more rain.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Getting Ready For A Big Weekend

With less than two weeks left on this assignment, this is suppose to be the busiest weekend and they are calling for freezing temperatures and wet for the entire weekend, with the same forecast well into the week so we are preparing to get busy and get wet.

Even though our bodies are aching from doing 12 hour days and Jerry doing some pretty strenuous “humping” of trees, we are still loving it here. The area and people are marvelous, we have a great crew of hard working guys, and of course it is just a short time left before we are able to “vacation” for a few weeks while heading to Daytona International Speedway in Florida.

For the first time in a very long time, we are content with our lives and all the decisions leading up to this very moment. Living in the moment and not wanting or needing to change a thing is positively the only way to live!

Monday, December 08, 2008

Celebrities in Pleasanton

We are celebrities…at least in the small town of Pleasanton, California. Our very first tree purchasers came before we were actually setup for business…but that didn’t stop us from getting our feet wet. We spent time answering her many questions about our lifestyle and the next day when she came back to pick up her tree, she shared with us that her father was an editor for the local newspaper and he wanted to interview us. We, of course accepted most graciously and that is how it all began.

Jeb Bing came by the tree lot and interviewed us, we, being the open books we are were excited about it and shared our thoughts with him. Did we expect this sort of response? Absolutely, not. The article came out on Friday and over the weekend we have been approached by so many local people. Many welcoming us to their town…many wanting to know how they too can live this life…and many just stopping by to tell us how much they admire us for living our dream. The article is also available online, just follow this link to read it