Well, tomorrow is our last full day at home - and then we take off on our sixth winter vacation in the RV. Sometimes it feels surreal to think we've been fortunate enough to do this wonderful thing six years in a row. We're so excited about this year, but it's going to be a little different. Why? Well...
- We're leaving before Thanksgiving instead of after. That means we won't have Thanksgiving with my mom, but she was great about it and didn't "guilt" me at all (...thanks, Mom!). We're excited about going to Brenda's for Thanksgiving instead - this will be the first time they've stayed home and had their "own" celebration (instead of driving up to G.R.) so we're thrilled to be able to share it with them. Also, we're excited to see the girls' apartments and get a chance to spend a few days in Columbus with all of them before we head south.
- We're taking our new puppy with us. For those of you who followed us last year, you know we lost Foster last January, which was heartbreaking and horrible. In June we got a new puppy - Brandi. She is a rescue dog out of Guatemala. Dr Bader is a local vet who makes trips down there periodically and, while he is there, he rescues few puppies - maybe two or three times a year??? Anyway, Brandi is an absolute sweet heart (...look at those eye!) - but she IS a puppy! We've kind of spoiled her - she went through obedience training but we haven't been very good (... AT ALL!) about working with her, so she still jumps up on people, doesn't come when she's called, etc. Plus, of course, every time we leave her we don't know EXACTLY what she's going to do in our absence - sometimes she's very good, sometimes she's very naughty and gets into things she's not supposed to. Plus she LOVES the cats and they do NOT love her. So she's constantly chasing them around and we're constantly yelling at her to "LEAVE THE CATS ALONE!". So it'll be extremely interesting (...is that the right word) to see how everything works out. And, of course, it'll be sad for us that we don't have Foster with us - but, actually, we DO have him with us. We had him created last year and Dave put him into the RV today - there's no way we're leaving him home alone. (And, YES, I do realize that he is gone and these are just ashes, but it makes US feel better to say we're taking him along with us - SO THERE!)
- We're also staying places for longer periods this year; in fact, our first stop is to spend the entire month of December on Cedar Key, off the coast north of Tampa, kind of straight west of Gainesville. This is actually where we had to put Foster to sleep last year so it'll be sort of sad to go back there. But we loved Cedar Key and found what appears to be a really nice campground right on the island, so we made reservations for the whole month - hope we end up liking it for that long!!! It's kind of a "science experiment" - by the end of the month we'll certainly know whether or not we want to do anything like that again!
- The biggest change: I'll be working on the road. I worked for Kerkstra all summer, just like last year, but in July was given the opportunity to take over the accounting manager's functions - I'm NOT the accounting manager (...I'm DONE with managing!) but I pretty much took over all her responsibilities. And I LOVE it. But what's REALLY cool is that Scott (who is "JUST" the IT guy!) set me up with the technology to be able to sign onto my work computer remotely and basically do everything that I could do if I were literally sitting at my desk. My plan is to work about 20 hours per week, and it's great because I'll have total flexibility in what hours I work during the day - which means I'll probably do the majority of my work late at night, since I tend to be a night owl. It kind of amazes me that I can actually be sitting 1200 miles away and still keep up on my work - and I'm incredibly grateful for the opportunity to do this. Even though I thought I'd be completely retired by now, it's great to have landed in a situation where I can still keep myself occupied, use my brain, and earn a few dollars at the same time. The biggest challenge, I THINK, will be to manage my time wisely so I can juggle "play time" and work time appropriately.
So - we finish packing tomorrow and we leave early Monday morning. And just in time - they are predicting fairly heavy snow over Thanksgiving. Next blog: Columbus Ohio!