You Know You’re Back Up North …

Snowfall 04232017

  • You know you’re back up North when you’re wearing thermals in late April.
  • You know you’re back up North when you hear the North wind howling outside in late April.
  • You know you’re back up North when your weather forecast for the next few days has the chance of snow – accumulation of such – in late April.
  • You know you’re back up North when you’re posting photos of snow on your blog!

No complaints about any of those things.  I’m sleeping very well.  My body is physically much happier here.  My soul is much happier here.  “Content” is the word that applies, I think. 

We’re on our “Saturday night” this evening, and we’re winding down a nice day.  Ran a few errands together this morning, including a trip to Home Depot.  I think it may well have been 2 years since we’ve done that together.  Nice. Then it was back home, where Dave put together his computer space and I spent time in the kitchen with the slow cooker going as part of our meal for tomorrow and the work week, and then made quesadillas for our dinner.  Again, nice.

I’ve been having fun finding more “treasures” that have been packed away for much too long while living in our RV.

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Tomorrow we may just watch it snow and begin hanging things on the walls.  I’m digging having my “weird” stuff out in the Light again.  Not sure yet where my hoop drums will hang, but I’m looking forward to having them on display and truly in my presence again.  Who knows?  One of these days I might even find a drum circle around here.  There’s plenty of time for that.

It was our first full work week for both of us.  We seem to be settling in rather seamlessly, which is a relief.  Not that I had any concerns, really, but one never knows when one relocates to a new area.   You know what?  Today was our first “Saturday” that felt like what I think a “normal” weekend day should feel.  Wee shopping errands together, home projects, cooking, actually eating together, chilling out watching a Netflix program.  Relaxing.  Yeah, it had been a tough couple of years …

What do you think of the new format here?  I found myself struggling a bit to read this the other evening in the old theme colors.  I prefer a darker background color for photographs, but I’m finding this easier on the eyes to read.  We’ll see …

A cross-country relocation is a massive undertaking, and I’m not just talking about the trip.  There are so many things to see about like address changes, new driver’s licenses, finding out where things are in your new hometown, etc.  We located the recycle station last week and I picked up driver’s manuals so we can study for our tests. 

Oh!  Friends in Texas are selling their 2006 Nuwa Hitchhiker 5th wheel.  If you’re in the market for a nice, well-maintained RV, take a stroll over to their listing on RVTrader and check it out.   They are preparing to move back onto their sailboat, “Raven,” and take up life on the seas once again after a few years of living on land.  Sound interesting?  Follow their adventures at Raven’s Cruise Log.  I do!  Gosh, I’ve known Hilde and David for … forever.  Hilde and I not long ago were trying to recall how and when we met back in Texas.  Seems like each of us  was just “always there” for one another.   Good friends, good times, good memories.  Those, too, are treasures that belong in the Light.

Hard to believe it’s already 10:30.  Geez, where does the time go when one is blogging with groovy tunes in one’s ears? 

Hope you have many treasures basking in the Light …

Thanks for stopping by!    Be safe out there, okay?

Good Excuse as Any

One of my major work systems is undergoing maintenance this evening, so I might as well blog.  Right?

To say that our days are full right now is a bit of an understatement.  We’re both back to work and have most of our weekly routine back, although interspersed with relocation-related activities.

Sherry, (In the Direction of Our Dreams), in response to your question about how the Edge would handle the snow, it is front-wheel drive (a must for up here) and has intuitive all-wheel drive.  Apparently it senses when the tires are slipping, and kicks into AWD automatically.  I’m told I won’t even notice, but I wonder about that.  Our truck had 4WD on the fly which I manually engaged when needed, and I could tell a difference in traction and the way it handled.  We’ll see later this year when the white stuff starts falling for real.  I still need to study the owner’s manual and spend some time in the “cockpit” learning all the in’s and out’s of our Beastlet.

Here’s snippets of life in a small northern Minnesota town so far:

  • Wednesday at a local grocery store is Seniors Day, with 5% off your bill.  Yes, I qualify, which I find both amusing and bemusing.  Tuesday is Double Stamp Day. Are you old enough to remember collecting Green Stamps in a book?  Well, they have their own version of that which you collect on paper cards.  Twenty stamps = $1 off groceries or gas, up to $10 at one purchase. 
  • The small mall is within walking distance.  No kidding. There are a lot of other amenities within walking distance.

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I purchased this small tapestry at an outdoor market in 2005, when I lived in Hibbing, MN. Not sure where it will “live” here, so in the meantime, I hang it temporarily at night to keep it from becoming wrinkled. It’s nice having special items out for enjoyment instead of packed away.

  • Our townhome has drapery hardware already in place.  A traverse rod, mind you.  Are you old enough to remember drapery hooks?  These worked with pinch-pleat drapes, which you will be hard pressed (no pun intended, but there ya go) to find anywhere except by ordering online.  After hanging the first set as an “experiment,” I now understand why women of the 1940s and 1950s did not work outside the home.  It could take all freakin’ afternoon just to hang one window’s worth of drapes with hooks.  The result is better than I anticipated after watching a YouTube instruction video on doing this.  It’s doable, but I may order a different brand – and certainly different color – for the other rooms. No matter what type of curtain top treatment, the vast majority of curtains in stores here are foam-backed insulated.  You might ask, “Why is that?”  Well, it gets cold here in Winter, baby!

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Looking out my office window, with curtains

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View from our front porch yesterday evening. There are 5 deer that seem to pass through about the same time on a daily basis.  I’ve also seen a fox out in the field.  Building in forefront is the Home Care and Hospice agency associated with the hospital, and the hospital is in the background. Told ya there were amenities within walking distance.

  • Speaking of walking, one sees frequent walkers here throughout the day.  Yes, people walking on purpose, for exercise and/or enjoyment.  I hope to join their ranks once things settle down a bit.
  • It is still pretty chilly here, and we’ve had some rainy days.  Today, however, it was in the low 60s and stunningly gorgeous outside.  Difficult to stay indoors and work, I tell ya.  Good thing I enjoy my work!

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Here’s my workspace. I. Am. In. Heaven.

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Top shelf good vibes

  • I met our mailman the other day.  Wow.  We have a mailman.  We’ve even gotten mail!  You know, the paper kind you can touch.
  • I’ve cooked a few times and, with my first “major” cooking effort wondered at the fact that I had prepared the same meal in our RV.  “How did I do all this in such a smaller space?  Wow!”  Not to mention having hand-washed all the resulting dishes, pots, pans and utensils.

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Having no plants in the RV, I have reinstated my tradition of an Aloe Vera in the kitchen.

The evening is progressing, so I’d best wrap this up and publish.  I am once again very grateful that we were able to make this move.

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Front view from porch at evening

Thanks for stopping by!  Ya’ll stay safe out there, okay?

Settling In

We departed the RV park in College Station, TX the afternoon of Tuesday, April 4, and arrived at our new digs in Bemidji, MN that Saturday afternoon.  Our departure was a bit later in the day, by the time we loaded the truck with our belongings from the rental travel trailer.  Besides that, we weren’t in a hurry.  We drove each day until we decided we’d best look for a hotel for the night.  We ended up staying in Ardmore, OK; Emporia, KS; Sloan, IA; and Fargo, ND. 

We were fortunate to have no issues on the road, although the wind was incredible every day. One day it was headwind, the next tailwind, and so on each day.  We were sure glad it wasn’t a crosswind!  We were able to find lodging every night with parking to accommodate our truck and U-Haul trailer within walking distance to restaurants.

The AmericInn in Fargo was our fave of the trip.  They boast of being “Rated the Best Hotel in North Dakota.” I have no arguments with that!  Flipping through the cable channels, we found the move Fargo.  Even though we’d seen it before, you know we just had to watch it being where we were!

AmericInn Fargo 04072017               Lobby of the AmericInn in Fargo. We enjoyed the lodge theme, which was found throughout the hotel.  Sitting by the fireplace for a while felt good!

After unloading and dropping off the U-Haul trailer Saturday afternoon, the process of unpacking and setting up our new home began.  All the boxes are gone now, and we’re awaiting delivery of some furniture tomorrow. 

Our home 04122017

We’re in a 55+ community, each building being a 4-plex of townhomes. Ours is a 2-bedroom unit.

The Monday after our arrival found us at the Ford dealership.  One of the truck batteries had gone bad and, while that was being addressed, we decided to look at cars while waiting.  We had plans to downsize in the near future, as we no longer needed our Beast – a Ford F-350 1-ton diesel – since we no longer had to tow an RV.  Well …

2014 Edge Sport new ride

Our “new to us” ride, a 2014 Ford Edge Sport with low miles

After about 5 hours at the dealership, we had negotiated an excellent trade-in value on our truck (everybody wanted the Beast) and a whopping deal on this Edge.  I had been doing research for a while on the Edge and a Honda CRV, with the Edge having … pardon the pun … an “edge” over the CRV.  The Beastie here has all sorts of electronic gizmos and systems, and I still need to get the owner’s manual out and spend time with it.  For now, I’ve got down the basics – syncs my phone, plays my Pandora, I know about the basic computer screens and systems, and can get us around.  It has heated seats and a sunroof.  I’ve never had a sunroof (and that feature wasn’t a factor in our decision), but it might be nice in the climate here.  Personally, a sunroof in Texas just doesn’t make sense.  Anyhoo, it’s fun to drive and handles well.  We certainly didn’t anticipate making a car deal on our 2nd full day here, but there it was, and we won’t have to do it in the future.  Cross off one item on the “to do” list!

Betty Paul and Babe 04102017

Requisite “touristy” photo with Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox

We both started back to work on Saturday, and are settling into a bit of a routine once again.  I don’t think either of us would trade the years we spent full-timing in our RV, but this is a welcome change. Everything here is nearby – a nice walk or short drive.

I step out on the porch in early mornings and smell pine trees. Eagle makes morning rounds, and gulls (yes, gulls because of Lake Bemidji), ravens, and Canada geese are seen and heard throughout the day. I saw a fox and a deer in the field nearby last night.

It’s such a relief to be in a small town and closer once again to Mother Nature.  My stress level has diminished greatly over the past week.

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Evening view from my home office

More later as we explore and settle into our new hometown!

Thanks for stopping by!  Be careful out there, okay?

Locked and Loaded, or Loaded and Locked

We rented a climate-controlled storage unit at the facility right across the highway when we began moving our possessions out of our 5th-wheel home last month.  Today was the day to pick up the U-Haul trailer and empty the storage unit!

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The trailer size is marked on it as 6×12, same as I had when I moved to Minnesota in 2005. 

MN move 2005

Loaded for June 2005 move to Minnesota, with help from friends Jim  (left) and David (right) in Brenham, TX.  I made that journey as the only human in the truck, as my traveling companions were 1 dog and 2 cats.  What an adventure!

I tell ya what, though, it sure feels and looks smaller. Perhaps it looks smaller because back then I drove a Tahoe and now it’s a Ford F-350 diesel beast.   If this is the same size I had before, I have no idea whatsoever how I (friends who loaded it, actually) got so much more stuff in it than we have in this one.  We have no furniture; previously, I had a queen bed set, loveseat, kitchen table and chairs, coffee table, papasan chair, a couple of bookcases, not to mention boxes, vacuum cleaner, bike … I tell ya!  This one seems more like 12’ from the end of the tongue to the back vs. 12’ of box.  Guess that’s okay, because I think we’ve got it packed nicely.

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Almost empty

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Empty!

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We have the site behind us to park overnight

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Dave  chillin’ afterwards, well deservedly!

It took us about 1.5 hours to load the U-Haul.  Then it was time to chill out, rearrange a few things in the cab of the truck, I got a load of laundry done, dinner, and more chillin’ now.  Yay! 

We don’t anticipate an early start tomorrow, as we have to pack up and empty our “hotel room,” i.e., the rental travel trailer.  The mornings in hotels will be easier, as there will be less packing.   Too, I anticipate tomorrow being a slower day since we won’t pick up an interstate until after a while.  Although we know when we would like to arrive in our new hometown, we have no deadline, so we’ll just enjoy the trip!

For years, I haven’t considered a long trip starting in Texas to actually begin until I cross the state line!  Texas is big, ya’ll.  

Cheers to Matthew at U-Haul Moving & Storage at Texas Ave for fitting us out this afternoon and giving us a few extra courtesy days on the rental.  That location had great reviews, and I see why.

I continue to be grateful – very grateful – that things continue aligning nicely for us as we embark on a new chapter of our life together.   Well, I think that about wraps it up for tonight.  It’s almost 8:30, and it’s been a long day. 

Thanks for stopping by!  Ya’ll be safe out there, okay?

 

 

 

 

Dream Becoming a Reality–Lifestyle Change Ahead!

In my last post 4 months ago, I talked about how we were dreaming of and planning a lifestyle change and moving back to Minnesota.  Well …

Packing for MN move 03162017

No furniture to move, but there are boxes, bikes, and misc. items.

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of putting our RV up for sale, packing, and finalizing other arrangements. 

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Last photo with our Montana, which served us well for 7 years.

On Tuesday, we sold our RV – our home for the past 7 years.  I confess my eyes seemed to leak a wee bit a couple of times on the day of the sale.  We had so many adventures and shared awesome moments during our time as full-time RVers.  Memories were made that we will cherish always. 

While we enjoyed those years as full-timers, there is a feeling of relief and excitement as we begin a new chapter in our life together.  Relief in the form of selling our RV while it was still in good shape; of being out from under the responsibility, expense, and physical effort of maintenance and upkeep; and, honestly, the full-time lifestyle.  The excitement is in beginning a new journey and returning to the North and Minnesota. 

It’s just time.  Time to move on.  Time for a change.  Time to simplify our life.

Due to Dave’s work schedule, we will be here for just under 2 weeks.  After researching available accommodations here, it made the most sense – cost, safety, convenience, comfort – for our needs to rent a travel trailer from a local dealer we have patronized during our time here. 

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Our “hotel room” in the same site where we have been.

While it serves our purpose of interim housing quite nicely, it certainly makes us appreciate even more the quality RVs we owned over the years – popup, travel trailer, and then the 5th wheel we called home.  We have items with us for interim living (cooking, etc.) and for what we’ll need during our trip to Minnesota (both warm and cold weather clothes).  The rest of our possessions are in a climate-controlled storage unit at a nearby facility.

With the “hard” items ticked off our “to do” list, we have this time to rest up in our comfortable routine of work and living until we get the U-Haul trailer, load it up, and hit the road.  We’ll downsize our truck to a “normal” vehicle once we are settled up there, so The Beast gets one more road trip!

To say that the past few weeks have been busy would be a gross understatement.  It.  Has.  Been.  Freakin’.  Crazy.

I wrapped up the last details of the sale today by cancelling our full-timers insurance and the extended service policy on the 5th wheel.

We’ll be going to a 55+ “cottage” in Minnesota, opting to rent vs. purchase.  Neither of us want to own property again, at least not at the present.  If something breaks … call maintenance.  Snow shoveling?  Nope.  It’s done by property management.  Sweet.  Simplification.

We’re not there yet, but well on the path.  At times we wondered if this was indeed just a dream, if it was even attainable.  At the beginning of this process, the logistics seemed totally mind-melting.  At one point, I just gave it all up to Spirit and The Universe – if it is meant to be, then it will be.

We are so grateful that aspects of this lifestyle change have been aligning, and that it does truly seem to be a plan that is unfolding very nicely for us.

I’ll repeat that.  We are grateful.  Very much so.

Thanks for stopping by!  Be careful out there, okay?

 

 

 

 

Winding Down 2016; Looking Towards 2017

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Holiday lights add cheer

Honestly, I’m looking forward to wrapping up 2016.  We’ve had the usual challenges of Life  this year and said good-bye to our sweet Maggie.  We continue to be grateful for each other, our home on wheels,  work, food, reasonable health for our ages, and so forth.  I’m ready, though, to put this year to bed and move on.

Speaking of moving on, we are in the planning and dreaming stages of transitioning to a new lifestyle.  We have had 6.5 years of living as full-time RVers, but – if all goes to plan – that time is coming to a close.  We are currently both working “normal” jobs (Dave in the community and me telecommuting as an admin assistant) with our home in an RV park.  We might as well be living in an apartment somewhere. 

While we experienced challenges from Mother Nature during our years in NJ as an on-site security team, Mother also provided us with rewards of the Spirit, magical and breathtaking moments, and memories for a lifetime.

Our souls were nurtured.   Our souls are currently starving.  Time for a change.

That, of course, is not the only reason.  We’re ready to get out from under the physical maintenance and related expenses associated with RV upkeep.   We want to sell the rig while it’s in good shape, before it gets much older.  The reality is that I need a home office, not just a wee desk in the corner by the kitchen, as my job has mushroomed over the past months and continues to do so. 

Workstation in RV August 2015

I find that violent storms make me uneasy in the RV, something which never bothered me before.  Of course, we had sturdy buildings in which to take shelter, something we don’t have here, and we primarily experienced snow storms, not the volatile thunderstorms and tornado warnings such as we get here in Texas.  We don’t feel “hitch itch” as in previous years, although we are looking forward to being on the road headed to our new location next year; we do miss seeing new places and the experiences that come along with traveling. Giving up the RV certainly doesn’t preclude a car trip by any means.   We’re tired of … people and traffic in large numbers.  We feel the need to be closer to Nature in a cleaner  environment, closer to wilderness.

So … the plan at this point is to sell the RV and move to a smallish town in northern MN, settling in a cottage within a 55+ community.   Maintenance-free living.  Simplifying our life and expenses again.  No snow shoveling!

Post wash street side 03162016

Will be  emotional selling our home next Spring.  She’s a good rig and provides us a cozy home filled with many memories. 

I hear you saying, “Minnesota?!  Northern Minnesota?!?!  But it’s cold up there!!! “ 

Yes, it’s cold up there.  That’s one of the reasons we want to go.  Having been back in Texas again this Summer, we realize we both need to be in a colder climate for comfort/health reasons.  We know about Winter in Minnesota, having lived there during  2005-2007.  Yes, it snows.    A  lot.  And it’s cold.  Really  cold.

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Walking around town and loving it – Hibbing, MN 2006

But you know what?   I have grilled outdoors with snow on the ground and more coming down.  Life doesn’t stop up there when it’s snow season.   We both still find magic in snowfall.  We miss walking hand-in-hand, hearing our boots crunching in the snow. The cold?  Well, you can always put on more clothes.  I’m a “sweater girl” at heart, and Dave is from Scotland.  There’s only so much you can take off when the mercury reaches 100+.  It’s a dry cold, too, and that makes a world of difference.  Trust me.

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Dave on one of our walks in Hibbing MN,  2006

Living in Minnesota is like … well, it’s like living in an entirely different country.  Seriously.  That’s what I thought when I first moved there in July 2005.  Obviously the weather is different.  Buildings are different, especially in the smaller towns.  It’s less ritzy and glitzy.  There is a unique and distinct Minnesota accent one hears.  We’re ready to be back in a small town.  Fewer people and less stuff  around,  enough to meet one’s needs (and ours are basic needs) – shopping, health care, etc. , and slightly larger and more prosperous than Hibbing, where we lived previously.   Where we hope to be is again in the northern part of the state – well north of The Cities – where there’s not much between us and Canada (again) except a lot of trees and a lot of bears.  I’m ready for clean air and clean water.  Fewer people doing stupid, rude, senseless, and violent acts.  I’m ready to return to an area where the predominant cultural influence is Native American.  My Spirit yearns for all this, as does Dave’s.  I’m ready to see Winter be so cold that it literally reboots Mother Nature for the next year.  I’m ready to be back someplace where we can pack a lunch and go out in nature for the day without having to drive and drive and drive and drive …

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Dave at the head of the Mississippi on our of our day trips – MN, 2006

No, it’s not Utopia.  There is no such place.  However, we believe that our quality of life will be greatly increased.

We are still active and vital, and not ready for your typical “senior community” and rocking chairs on the front porch.  Except for a lazy afternoon when the weather’s nice.  Ha!   We are, however, ready to live in a mature community where – hopefully – our neighbors share the same overall values as us.   Our age peer group, if you will.

It also seems fitting that we return to Minnesota, as that’s where we started our life together here in the States.

So that’s the plan at this point.   The logistics are going to be … interesting, at the least.  But hey, this is the same gal who in 2005, put her Texas property on the market, sold everything except bare necessities, loaded the rest in a 6×12 U-Haul trailer (with the help of awesome friends) and headed solo (but with 2 cats and 1 dog) to Minnesota to an apartment she’d never seen (picked out by an aunt and uncle), to a state she’d never been in, engaged to a man 4000 miles away with whom she had spent a sum total of 2 weeks.  All that was accomplished in less than 30 days.

MN move 2005

Loaded  up  with the help of these 2 awesome friends (and others), ready to head to MN – June 2005

This is doable! 

If’s  … if our assignment in NJ had indeed lasted another 3 years, if by some fantasy that job opened up again, if we indeed had been given another assignment shortly after returning to Texas … we would be carrying on in the RV lifestyle quite contentedly.  But … things don’t always materialize as one has been told.    If we’d known there would not be more security work, we would not have returned to Texas. 

We’ve given this a year.   It’s time to make other plans. 

A bit of envisioning and manifesting going on with this blog post.  We’ve always said we would like to eventually return to Minnesota at some point down the road, and we’ve been talking about making this jump for months now, but this is the first time I’ve put it in writing. 

So, positive vibes, a goal to work towards and look forward to, and hopes I retain a wee bit of my sanity while we get our ducks – errr …. Canada Geese, more appropriately – in a row.  The prospect of this new chapter in our life together is exciting!

What’s on your horizon for 2017?

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

 

 

Our Maggie

 

Maggie Cedar Park TX March 2010

Our Maggie  crossed The Rainbow Bridge on October 25, 2016

Our Wee Widget, our Little Stumpy Legs, our Little Jellybean, our Maggie Mae slipped from this earthly life and crossed the Rainbow Bridge peacefully on the afternoon of October 25.  Her health had deteriorated in recent months to the point where her quality of life was such that we realized we were being selfish in keeping her with us.  Comfortable on her pillow, lights low with only my Bear candle glowing to light her path, Reiki music playing, and our loving and releasing her … she now awaits to greet us when our times come to cross over.

Maggie became a member of our wee clan on February 28, 2010, adopted from a shelter in Texas before we started full-timing. I suppose she came full circle, her journey with us ending where it began – in Texas.

It was love at first sight for her, Dave and myself.   I just know she was waiting for us, as we were for her.  Our previous dog, Baby, had passed less than a month previously.  Dave and I both know that Baby had a paw in bringing Maggie into our life together.  She was a transfer from another shelter, and her prior history was unknown.  She was shy at first,  and during those first few days sometimes would look at us as if wondering what Life held in store for her.

Those first couple of weeks were about trust.  Reassuring her that she was indeed home at last.  Reluctant to believe the food bowl and food were hers and hers alone, I hand fed bits of kibble to her.   A few at a time for several days, until finally she realized that this was her  food and no one would take it away from her.   We came full circle with that, too, at the end.   In those last weeks when she was too weak or tired to stand at the food bowl, I would hand feed her once again.   Such a bonding, sharing of love, such an intimate act …hand feeding one’s beloved companion.

Seems like she was with us about a week before she did her “business,” and we were about to the point of taking her to the vet until one day … yahoo!  I tell ya, Dave and I were so silly and elated, like parents whose child had just achieved the milestone of being successfully potty trained.  We still laugh about that even now.  Our funny Stumpy Legs …

Maggie Happy Face Sikeston MO 2010

The initial shyness didn’t last long, and soon “Maggie’s Happy Face”  was a  part of our daily lives.

We embarked on the full-time lifestyle in our RV a few months after Maggie came to us.  She loved traveling and seeing-smelling-exploring new environments and meeting new friends, human and doggie.  For her protection, she rode in a spacious crate in the back area of our truck’s cab.  The ultimate road tripper, she was so quiet we joked that she must be doing crosswords or knitting back there.   She checked out countless rest areas during our time together.  Enjoying the break, she was ever eager to get back in the truck and continue on down the road.

Everyone says their dog is a good dog, a smart dog.  Well, our Little Jellybean was that.  She knew various commands, a few tricks and bunches of words and phrases. “Want to go on patrol?”  “Want to go to the beach?”  Oh yeah, you betcha!  More than that, she was attuned to us and our routines, as we were to hers.

Maggie New Jersey 01102014

Maggie loved snow, and got plenty of that during our time in New Jersey

So many adventures this wee doggie had in our 6.5 years together!

  • She traveled the eastern third of the United States
  • Two hurricanes and Superstorm Sandy
  • One earthquake
  • Numerous blizzards and Nor’easters
  • Holidays at the Jersey Shore
  • Two National Military Parks
  • Countless campfires shared
  • Geese, rabbits, deer, bears, horses, cows
  • Went on patrol with us when we worked as an on-site security team and hung out in our office
  • Many more …

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Peek a boo!

The three of us were together virtually 24/7 ever since that day in February 2010.  She spent only two nights away from us during that time, both for medical reasons at a vet.  Our lifestyle afforded us the opportunity to be together.  Maggie was our constant companion, very much a member of our family.  Dave and I do not have children together, so I think Maggie was that child, albeit with four feet, a fur coat,  and a very pink tongue.

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Happy to see  Dave home from his bike ride

If Dave or I were away from home and would call the other, you could hear Maggie barking in the background.  She knew it was us calling!  So funny, our girl.

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On patrol  in South Carolina

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Maggie and me  at Gettysburg

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Fun at the beach house on the Jersey Shore.

Bedtime and mornings are the hardest for me.  Maggie would perform her “turndown service” every night without fail, even in her final days.  I would turn down the top comforter, neatly  (remember this word “neatly”) arrange my pillows and linens,  and place her folded blanket at the foot of the bed.  I’d go brush my teeth.  On my return …

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Maggie’s version of turndown service

She would move to the foot of the bed while I was getting settled under the covers but, once that was done, she would come back up to snuggle by my side or – in colder weather – between my legs.  It’s going to be a colder Winter this year … no Snuggle Bud warmth in bed.   No quiet “woof-woof” while she dreams doggie  dreams.  Waking up was snuggle-and-silly time, an excellent way to start each day.

Maggie and Betty South Carolina 102010

Raincoat, sweaters, parka, boots – Maggs was a well-dressed pup, ready for whatever Mother Nature had in store.  We had been told by a neighbor at an RV park they waited each day to see what sweater Maggie would be wearing.

Maggie was a joyous dog.  She lived totally in the moment … she was Mindfully Present in the here and now.  She awoke each morning in a good mood, was never cross with us, actually enjoyed being clipped (something I did versus taking her to a groomer), and tolerated baths, reveling in “crazy dog towel time” afterwards.  She was not a “yapper,” but would sound the alarm when appropriate, and I could say “Tell me,” and she would respond in kind.  Big bark or little bark, depending on what I asked she do.   She “sang” to us and made what we called “alien noises” – not barking, but her way of talking to us, yep, those “alien noises.”  Although provided with all types of typical doggie toys (including old socks, you know dogs love tug-of-war with socks) and encouraged to play with them, she never took an interest.  First dog I’ve known or lived with who just flat didn’t care for toys.  That being said, she would play with us

Maggie silly at bedtime 06172015

Silly doggie

She had a few health issues throughout her life, but obviously declined in the past months.  Liver issues or cancer were suspects.  Various tests were inconclusive and cursory treatments provided no improvement.   She had lost a dramatic amount of weight,  one-third of her original 15 pounds. Talks with our vet confirmed the ultimate outcome, so we opted for quality over quantity.   As a two-time cancer survivor,  I could not  submit our girl to the horrors of chemo,  given her age and other health issues.  Dave agreed,  and our vet said she would opt for the same path with her dog. 

As she declined, much of my day was devoted to Maggie’s care – feeding her, lifting her up on furniture and into the rig, keeping her comfortable, and seeing to her other needs.  Since she has been gone, I have realized I was subconsciously sleeping with “one ear open” in case she was in distress during the night.  Yes, she was a lot of care towards the end,  as one gives to a chronically or terminally ill loved one.   I am now left with a void in my routine and have realized that I have been tired – not just physically but emotionally and spiritually.  

Now I go to the bathroom unescorted … you know that’s what dogs do, they hang out with you, just like you do with them … The silence of the lack of Maggie’s presence is deafening at times.

The vet here determined that Maggie was older than we originally thought and, looking back at photos over the years, I can see that she had indeed aged.  Among her other issues, she had cataracts forming in both eyes.

It was tearing us both up seeing our little girl’s decline in health and her infirmity.   Having been down this path so many times before in my 58 years, I was seeing Maggie give me “the look,” and I knew she was asking to be released.  I knew it was time to let her go.   We owed her so much more than being miserable … we owed her joy and love, as she had given so unconditionally to us.   We wanted our little girl to leave this world peacefully.  We did not want her condition to progress to … well, something terrible. 

I would rather say good-bye a month early than a day late.

We owed her peace.

Maggie 08202016

October 2016

Maggie was cremated, as we obviously do not have a yard for a burial spot.  When I was in hospital in 2012, Dave bought the wee doggie in the bed because Maggie couldn’t be with me.  Neither of us realized at first, but the doggie “breathes” courtesy of an internal battery.  “Gee, that is so thoughtful.”   “Wait .. is that dog breathing?”   That kinda freaked us and the nurses out when we first noticed!  It has been in a cabinet, but I got it out and attached Maggie’s tags to its collar.  Her urn is placed next to this slumbering doggie, in the spot where her crate used to be.  She used to sit on top of the crate, looking out the window and soaking up sunshine.  It was one of her “spots.”

Maggie's spot 11022016

Closure and comfort

Maggie's urn 11022016

This Tuesday will be three weeks and I am still blindsided by tears at times as I was this morning, but we talk about our adventures with our Maggie Mae, and smiles come more than tears these days.  It will get better, and perhaps sharing her here will help, too.  I realized today that I have always written about Life events in my blogging.  Once a prolific blogger/writer, that has taken a back seat in the past several months.  I am hopeful this will be a catharsis of sorts for me … more closure.

I also hope you enjoy reading about our silly, joyous little Maggie and our time together.

One of the lessons Maggie shared was to live Life with joy and to be present in the moment.    I know she would not want me to be sad because of her, but to live Life as she did.

After all, this moment is all one really has.  There are no guarantees of anything else.

I’m working on that, Jellybean.

Will there be another dog in our lives?  I don’t know.  It’s too early.  Time will tell.

Maggie birthday morning 02242016

Maggie  Barnes, February 28, 2010 – October 25, 2016