R & R

R & R is how I am training myself to look at our current assignment, which is very laid back compared to where we were previously.  Think James Bond coming off a mission and settling into a desk job.  Not that we had the secret agent thing going, but it was an active position with responsibility often requiring thinking on our feet at times and with an accompanying lifestyle environment that kept one alert.  Things are very different here.

In NJ, we experienced a two hurricanes, numerous winter storms and Nor’Easters, Superstorm Sandy, torrential rains that caused me to be watchful of the river, hefty snowfalls and subzero temperatures.  We went through a lot in our over 3.5 years there, much of it physically demanding and, at times, taxing.

I miss the job, interacting with people, the activity.  It was stimulating, interesting and fun; however, things change. 

So!  I am working on a paradigm shift to look at our time here in SC as a recuperative and restorative interlude until the next episode of our personal “James Bond movie” kicks in.  No alarm clocks (or security alarm systems) wake us from slumber; we awake naturally.  Instead of 4.5-6 hours of sleep a night, I am now logging about 8, from the time I go to bed at 3 AM until awakening anywhere from 10-11 AM, and I’m sleeping straight through.  It is quiet here (really, really quiet) and our basic duties are not at all what one might categorize as demanding, physically or intellectually.

A period of R&R.  Fine.  I’m gonna have to start knitting again or something.

View from breezeway 10272014

View from where we have our outside chairs

Being Monday, we were out for groceries.  On the way home, Dave directed us down some of the roads he is cycling, including one that goes to the Darlington Raceway

Darlington Raceway Stock Car Musem 10272014

Had groceries with us, so didn’t go in.  Might check it out some other time.

The Bojangles Southern 500 is the major event for this venue, happening Labor Day Weekend in 2015. 

We continue to be amazed how quickly the days pass here.  Our weather has been beautiful but still a bit on the warm side, so I’m looking forward to a cool-down in the forecast later this week.

Well, I think it’s time to post this and then enjoy my daily cup of java.  My work shift is just getting started.

Thanks for stopping by!


Yes, We’re Back in The South

Yesterday being Monday, it was grocery shopping day.  Instead of going to Walmart, we ventured down Highway 52 just a bit towards Darlington to a Food Lion.  I was pleasantly surprised; it was clean, inviting and not crowded.  There was a nice variety of items, produce and meats looked good, etc.  There were some items I had not seen in quite some time . . .

Grocery item

Smoked Pork Hocks – yep, we’re back in The South

No, I didn’t put the above in my cart.  What I did find was some nice tilapia for our dinner last evening and . . . wait for it . . . hushpuppies!  Woot!  I hadn’t had hushpuppies in probably five years.  You bet I had some with my piece of fish.  Wonder where that term comes from?  Possibly the origin is from way back in the American wilderness when hunters, fishermen and others would fry up a ball of cornmeal and feed it to their dogs . . . hence, the term “hushpuppy.”  Well, this puppy hushed while I enjoyed those yummy morsels!

Speaking of puppies, have I mentioned how much Maggie likes her bed in the office?

Maggie in bed 10212014

Taken this evening.  She’s pretty much down for the count for the night, that is, until our work shift is ended; she and I will go next door to our RV and go to bed around 2 AM.

Just to set the record straight, Maggie is quite active during the days.  We walk quite a bit and she often goes on patrol with me.  There is a decent amount of floor space in the office suite for her to do the “crazy dog run around,” and we play a bit.  She does like her bed in the evenings when she and I are in the office together pulling our guard shift.

Today didn’t go as I envisioned, as I spent virtually the entire afternoon in phone calls to AT&T.  Was attempting to make a change in our plan to lower our monthly expense, which resulted in a snafu of my online account, which led to trying to speak to someone whose native language was not English, back to another phone call and finally a promise that someone would be calling me “today.”  Well . . . today is almost over and that person has not called.  I’m wondering if the bit of annual savings is really worth all the hassle I’m going through . . .

I made Dave a steak bridie for his dinner meal, and there is enough meat left for another one tomorrow, so at least I don’t have to really cook.  The bridie project is an all-day thing, although most of it is the meat cooking in the slow cooker.  It is a process, even after the meat is done. 

Hopefully that means tomorrow I’ll have more time to do the things I planned for today.  Exciting stuff, ya know, like vacuuming, straightening up a bit, working my virtual assistant job, etc.  Ah well, no complaints.  The days pass swiftly.

Hope you’ve had a groovy day!

Thanks for stopping by!

Eight Years and 56k Miles . . .

Dave went out for an afternoon bike ride and when he called to tell me he was back, I could hear it in his voice.  Something wasn’t right.  When I went to let him in, I noticed the tear in his arm warmer.  And then the blood.  At least he wasn’t dripping blood . . .

Yes, he’d had a spill.  He went down on his left side, resulting in a hefty bump on his upper leg not quite at hip level and some abrasions here and there.  He wasn’t a bloody pulp, thank goodness, but he’ll be feeling this tomorrow.  I hope he’s able to sleep.

Today’s incident is testimony for wearing a good helmet while cycling.  His isn’t cracked, but it is scuffed.  If he had not had on a helmet . . . well . . . let’s not go there.  This helmet is done; they are not to be used again after a crash.  Thankfully, he has a spare.  Guess we know what Santa is bringing Dave this year, eh?

The bike is fine, too.  Being a carbon fiber frame, once it sustains a crack, that’s it.  Dave took the impact of the fall, with his bike falling on top of him.  The bike’s fine. 

Today’s mishap is his first here in the States, coming eight years and 56,000 miles since his arrival here in 2006.  Those are actually pretty impressive stats, showing that he is quite the accomplished cyclist.  His last crash resulting in injury was in 2002.  Again, given the miles and racing he has done in the past, this is impressive.

As nerve-wracking as it is to see one’s beloved banged up even this “little” bit, I cannot imagine what the wives of professional cyclists – the ones in the Tour de France, for instance – endure seeing their loved ones involved in serious and often life-threatening spills.

Thing is, I knew something had happened.  He was running a bit late and I had that passing thought-feeling that something was amiss.  One of those “feelings” that is like a scrolling marquee across one’s consciousness.  It was a knowingness.  

We have had lovely weather this weekend.  This evening is even rather chilly, but it won’t drop down to freezing.  Not yet, not here.  It’s South Carolina, after all, but I am wearing a jacket when outside.  I hear there were snow flurries sighted in the Poconos up in Jersey.  Yep, it’s that time of year again.

Tomorrow is grocery shopping day, and we’ll check out the grocery store that is closer than Walmart.  We are doing quite well with provisions, so probably won’t need to get that much.  Strangely, neither of us has been terrifically hungry here.  I have cooked a couple of meals, but we seem to be having bigger breakfasts . . . and those are typically after noon with our new schedule.  By dinnertime, we’re not ravenous and have been sliding by with sandwiches, soup or salads.  Our grill is assembled again, and we talked this evening of perhaps finding a couple of steaks for grilling.  Dave will take a day off the bike tomorrow, so it might be the right time for a cookout.

Had a lovely phone visit with a girlfriend in Texas this afternoon.  We had not visited since before our relocation, so we had a bit of catching up to do.  Thank goodness for my girlfriends with whom I share a history . . . my sisters keep me sane.

Okay, it’s already 11:30 and soon time for me to make a patrol round. See?  The time passes quickly here.  I anticipate this week to be more “routine,” as we have the major work done in settling in to our new routine and life.

That being said, guess I’d best put on my jacket, head out to the truck and prowl around the property a wee bit.  Hope you’ve had a groovy weekend!

Thanks for stopping by!

Better Frame of Mind

Relocation/lifestyle adjustment.  That’s how I can best describe what I’ve been going through.  Little by little, I’m in a better frame of mind about our new situation.

Having a couple of checks to deposit, I located the bank on MapQuest and headed out this afternoon to Public Square (the town square) in downtown Darlington.  It was a straight shot from here and just down the road a bit.  This being my first trip this way, I took note of businesses along the route, spotting a Food Lion (yay!  a true grocery store), a Walgreens, a few BBQ places (yes, we’re in the South again), etc.  Arriving at the Square in Darlington, I was reminded a bit of Brenham, the small town in Texas where I lived for several years and which I consider the home of my Texan heart.

bbarnes 2014

Public Square in downtown Darlington, SC

I was able to get a parking spot right in front of the bank on the Square and spotted a Merle Norman and the Carolina Drug Store.  I’m told the Drug Store has a soda fountain and grill.  Cool.  I’ll have to check that out sometime in the near future.  The drug store on the square in Brenham had a soda fountain/grill and served up some of the best burgers I have ever eaten.

After doing the banking, I strolled over to the Merle Norman studio; figured I might as well restock while it was convenient.  Turns out this is not only a decent-sized Merle Norman place, but also a wee boutique and hair salon/day spa.  Talked with the manager, who is also one of the stylists, and I’ll be contacting her when it’s time for a cut.

I have to admit that so far getting around in this area is much easier and less stressful than driving around in Jersey.  It takes a heck of a lot less time to actually get somewhere here, too.  That’s a bonus.

We’re both finding that the days pass quickly.  Here it is evening already and our official work day is just getting started.  It’s a crazy topsey-turvey life we’re living now. 

It’s been a blessedly cool day today, with lower humidity and dark clouds around, but no rain.  A lovely day, actually. 

On things RV-related, our macerator is working fine so far.  Of course, we’ve only needed to dump the kitchen tank up until now, as the bath gray and black tanks aren’t being used nearly as much as previously.  Running off our fresh tank seems to be working well for us, too.


Macerator attached to the sewer dump opening with blue discharge hose.  The wires coming down from the macerator on the left have an on/off switch.  On the end of those wires (out of sight) are two clips which attach to the rig battery for power when in operation.  For those of you wondering what it looked like, that is.

Yesterday I dug out my walking shoes again and took my first honest-to-goodness walk around the property, getting in my usual 2 miles.  I tell ya, I walked all over the place, except waaaay out back by the “ponds.”  It’s really good walking here and that’s also a handy way to patrol the parking lots in front outside the main gate/fence.

Dave, Maggie and I did the first round this evening in the golf cart with Dave driving and me holding on to Maggie as she strreetched her neck out, ears blowing in the breeze, taking in all the smells, sights and sounds.  Funny puppy.

Well, folks, that’s about it for today.  Hope you’ve had a groovy Thursday!  It is Thursday, right?

 Thanks for stopping by! 

Apparently Monday is Errands Day

Working night shift, our day doesn’t really get cranked up until around noon.  We’re up and about before that, but there’s breakfast for us and Maggie, walking her, making beds . . . all those morning routine items to do.  Seems like it takes me longer to really wake up and shake off the grogginess here; I’m sure that’s because of the climate (heat and humidity).

We did venture out to Lowe’s for a couple more flashlights.  Dave borrowed my Lux-Pro LP470 the other day and liked it, so I got one for him and a couple of spares just in case one goes MIA.  That happens sometimes, ya know. 

Lowe’s and Walmart are essentially in the same area, so our second stop was the Big W.  One advantage is finding a variety of everything one might need for a week – specifically non-grocery items – but I do want to find a regular grocery store to check out meats and perhaps find different items that may not be stocked at Walmart, including ones from local/regional vendors.

So that is on my list of errands to run in the near future, plus getting to the bank to make a deposit and swinging by the propane place down the road to check them out.  Although winters here won’t be anywhere near as brutal as NJ, we will still need to have our tanks refilled at some point.  We will also investigate the feasibility/cost of getting a large tank here so we don’t have mess with having our 30-pounders refilled all the time.  That decision is still up in the air, depending on what we find out from a couple of propane vendors.

Dave has not slept well the past few nights and has gone to bed early this evening.  I hope he is visited with some solid sleep.  I don’t have that problem; my head hits the pillow around 3 AM and I’m pretty much out like a light until around 10 AM or so.  I’m sleeping more hours here for the most part.

We have much less responsibility here, but I sure seem to stay busier.  Guess it is still part of the settling in process.

Good news is there are provisions for the week, and I hope to get some cooking done tomorrow.

I confess . . . I am missing our spot in NJ, especially the weather.  True, winters are hard up there, but we had figured out how to deal with them, and – even through we’re in mid October – it is still more than bloody warm here for my liking.  I really feel better in cooler/cold weather.  I’m not fond of bugs of all kinds, and we have ‘em here.  Guess it gets so cold up North that bugs really aren’t an issue.  No, no bugs in the rig, but just around in general.  Ants.  Roaches.  Moths.  Crickets, for Pete’s sake.  Ugh.  Grateful they aren’t in the rig and that it will be cooler weather before long (hopefully).  We had humidity up there, but it was a different kind.  Seems a bit ickier here, actually.  Go figure.  Perhaps because it’s a warmer climate.  It’s a longer distance for groceries, etc., but not prohibitive; one just has to plan, and we seem to be doing okay with that so far.  There are a couple of local shops that have bread, milk and other staples.  One of them is General Dollar.  It’s a big store and does have those kinds of items.  At least our truck gets a bit of a run on the Interstate when going out. 

I miss mowing the grounds like we did in NJ.  My plants are suffering . . . brought them into the office here, but they were not doing well (there are no windows and the environment is rather humid; got 4 containers of Damp Rid for the office today) and so put them back outside.  ~~ sigh ~~ I know for sure at least one of them (actually my fave) will not thrive and it’s only a matter of time before . . . well, that’s unfortunate, because it has been such a beautiful plant.

Oh well, change is inevitable and we are grateful to have continuing employment with the security and contracting companies; don’t get me wrong on that.  It’s early days here yet, and I will adapt.  I just haven’t found my rhythm here yet.  The  skies are awesome, both night and day.  I enjoy my patrol rounds out at the back of the property around the ponds.  The cost of living is less here from what we have seen so far; again, food prices are much less than in NJ.  That’s a good thing, because we took a financial hit with this position, losing the extra paid activities (grounds maintenance, etc.) that we had in NJ.

I really can’t see us taking a holiday anytime in the foreseeable future.  Sure glad we made the most of our trips to Cape May. 

Crazy as it sounds . . . but . . . I think I’m feeling a bit homesick for New Jersey!  Hahaha!  Never would have thought that would happen.  Not so much missing the entire state of NJ, but our old situation and the job.  That tied with being office manager of the AA baseball club as all-time favorite jobs. 

Again . . .  oh well. 

Sorry . . . I’m not really complaining and not throwing a pity party, but if I didn’t tell it like it is . . . well, that wouldn’t be truthful to myself. 

It’ll be fine here.  Gotta give it time.  I keep reminding myself that the winters here will be much easier on us and our RV.

I am also grateful for my virtual assistant job, so I think I’ll mosey on off and get to work on it.  The night is young!

Thanks for stopping by!

Slowing Down Just a Bit

Today (well, Saturday, actually)  wasn’t quite as busy.  My major task was getting all our laundry (clothes) caught up.  Mission accomplished!  Whoot!

I actually had about an hour watching The West Wing this afternoon in between laundry loads while Dave was off on the bike.  That being said, sure seems like the days pass quickly. We’re on duty round-the-clock on weekends, so there are patrol rounds to be made periodically.  Getting up around 11 AM makes the daylight hours short; this will be even more so when we transition to regular time at the end of this month and when Winter arrives. 

Thanks, Wil, for the comments about the platform steps.  I ordered the steel one this evening.  That’s another item I can tick off my to-do list.

Turtle 10112014

“Intruder” spotted on afternoon patrol

Guess I’ll start bringing a sandwich or some sort of snack “to work” with me.  Tonight is the second time I’ve had this craving for a bacon cheeseburger at around 11 PM.  Haha!

Although we saw cloud lightning in the distance tonight, no rain or storms have made their way to us so far.  We have a chance of rain pretty much all through the week.  No complaints here, because some of that weather may bring cooler temperatures.  I’m ready.  It was in the mid to upper 80s here today.  Ugh.

Maggie on patrol 10112014

 Maggie watching the above turtle make its way across the parking lot

I feel more alert tonight, but so far here I have felt pretty jet-lagged.  I’ve been fairly busy with virtually no chill-out time, and I am still adjusting to life working night shift.  The climate is different, too, with much of the time a breeze and a feel to the air of “beach air.”  Now we all know what beach time can do . . . make one feel very relaxed and even wanting to nap.  Yep, that’s been me. 

Tomorrow I hope to cook a bit and have some movie time with Dave and Maggie . . . a nice sort of lazy Sunday afternoon in between patrol drives.

Hope you have a relaxed Sunday!

Thanks for stopping by!

It’s Friday Already?

I can’t say that this week since Monday (and my last post) has been exciting, but it has been busy.  We’ve been settling in more and more . . . so many little things to be done.  I did our first two loads of laundry, and that was sure a relief.  I hope to get caught up entirely this weekend.

Our macerator is working fine, even after being packed away and unused since October 2010, when we used it the first and only time for two months at this same site.  That, too, was a relief.  Not the optimal way to dump the tanks on one’s RV, but there are worse/more inconvenient methods and it works.

Our shower and toilet rooms here in the office area are set up, and that’s working out fine.  It’s a bit of a nuisance showering in one building and then going back to our RV, but I can certainly live with that wee inconvenience.  Having these facilities available is a tremendous help; because of that, we don’t have to dump our tanks nearly as often.

My hotspot is working out fine, too, and I’m glad I bumped up the monthly data.  I’m able to work my virtual assistant job at night when I’m on duty by myself.  Well, not really by myself, because Maggie is crashed on her bed right behind me.

My little office is just about set up; I brought over my printer today and it found the wireless connection just fine.  Yay!  We got our first packet of forwarded mail from Escapees and the chaos that was my desktop has been cleared away considerably after I took care of the mail and some personal paperwork. 

I’ve mentioned the Walmart is a bit farther away here than in NJ, but the redeeming thing is that there is a Dollar General store just down the road.  A bit more down the road is a station with diesel at the lowest price I’ve seen in the immediate area, and a wee market if we need basics like bread and milk in between major runs for groceries.

Researched online and hopefully found a hair salon for me and a veterinarian for Maggie.  I don’t mind getting a haircut at chain places for a one-off like when we’re traveling, but if I’m going to be in one spot for a spell, it’s nice to have the same person cut my hair all the time. Maggie is on special dog food only available via veterinarians, so I can check them out when it’s time to restock her.  I made sure she had plenty before we left NJ.

It’s still strange to be having breakfast around noon, and it feels a bit decadent to be sleeping until 10:30 or 11 AM, but I keep reminding myself that I’m up until about 3 AM.  Dave gets up about 2 AM, but by the time I have my shower, walk Maggs, get my clothes ready for the next day . . . well, later in the day . . .  and actually hit the sheets it’s right around 3 AM.

The tire covers we had were really too small for the tires on our current RV; we bought them originally for our popup and then used them on our bumper pull, both of which had smaller tires.  We figured we would order new covers when we arrived here, but turns out the tires are actually in the shade throughout the day.  So . . .

Instead of covers, I’ll be ordering a platform step to supplement the entry steps on our rig.  It’s quite a big step-up to the first one.  In NJ, we had a nice shipping pallet that Dave had covered with a piece of plywood.  This made an excellent porch and served us well, but we did not bring it with us.  I’ve been looking at different platform steps and have narrowed down the choices to two, both of which have favorable reviews.   I’ll think about it a bit more and then order one.

Okay, enough rambling for tonight.  Hope you’re having a good one!

Thanks for stopping by!