Saturday, June 29, 2013

Heat Wave

There's just no way to stay cool in the camper when it is so hot outside. At best, you can get your AC about 20 degrees cooler than the outside temperature. It is 85-90 degrees in the camper right now. Ugh.

Edited at 6:45 PM:  We reached a high temperature of 108 degrees today, which broke the all-time record of 104.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Back to Ft. Sam (and other updates)

Yikes! Once again, I've failed at keeping the blog properly updated. It has been too long since I told you what we're up to!

At the end of May, we left Ft. Sam Houston and headed out to Canyon Lake. On "moving day" we had more issues with the camper. For some strange reason, the landing gear wouldn't work. For an hour, poor Steve had to hand crank those jacks down to the ground - in temperatures close to 100 degrees! After about an hour, the jacks reset themselves, and they started working again. We have no idea what caused that, but suspect it might be a battery issue.

As soon as we got the camper leveled, we opened up the slides (using the remote control, as we still haven't solved the mystery of why the control panel doesn't work). When I stepped inside the camper, what did my eyes perceive? Why, a box of crushed CapriSuns that exploded all over the inside if the camper, of course! There was cherry juice EVERYWHERE! This was after the hour in the heat trying to get the landing gear down. I was hot. I was tired. The last thing I wanted to do was clean up an exploded box of cherry juice. Then I noticed that the fascia of the kitchen slide out was broken off where it caught the CapriSun box. At that point, I lost my senses and broke down in tears. It was NOT one of my finest moments, I admit. I think it alarmed poor Steve. The next day, he came home from work with a card and gift for me. Poor guy.

In addition to our move, we also were dealing with staph infections. Three of the kids required trips to the doctor for oozing nastiness on their bodies. And those three kids ended up on antibiotics. Eventually, the whole family ended up being treated prophylactically with a medicated body wash. I am happy to report that we are now nastiness-free.

The day after we checked in at Canyon Lake, we realized that we knew the people in the campsite next to us! Two seasons ago, my 15yo son played on the local homeschool football team with their son, and they also attend our church. We were so fortunate to have little boys next door that our two little guys could play with all the time! Their 6yo son Aiden and their recently-adopted 3yo son Brandon and 2yo son Cameron were excellent playmates for the two weeks that they were there. In addition, they invited us out on their motor boat one afternoon. My 13yo, 10yo, and 7yo had a blast being pulled on the intertube behind their boat... while I barely tolerated my own seasickness. Yes, now I remember why we don't own a boat!

Also during our time at Canyon Lake, we officially became "homeless"!  One weekend, we rented a huge U-Haul truck and moved all the rest of our staged furniture out of the house. Some of it was given away to friends, and the rest went into storage. We quickly learned that one 10x30 storage unit wasn't big enough for all our stuff, so we ended up renting a second 10x20 unit. Unfortunately we didn't budget for that, so we will have to see how we can afford that extra expense.

The following Friday we went to the title company and signed the papers for the sale of the house. It is official! We are now free from the burden of that mortgage, and it is a great feeling! Sometimes it is a little scary, but mostly it is just a relief.

That same day we celebrated our first birthday in the camper. Our second-youngest son turned ten years old! Joyous day!

In other news, we had a quiet week last week because half of our kids were gone! One of our 17yo sons spent a week at the Johnson Space Center in Houston at the culmination of an "Aerospace Systems and Design" course that he took online last semester. He had a great time meeting astronauts, seeing space modules, and doing hands-on projects. On Friday we drove to Houston to attend his graduation ceremony.

Our other 17yo son spent the week at Cedarville University in Ohio for a writer's camp. He had a great time learning new techniques to perfect his creative writing skills. He wants to be a writer some day, and possibly attend the school he was visiting, so this was a great opportunity for him.

Our 15yo son is a paid camp counselor at a Boy Scout camp nearby, and he is home only on weekends for about 18 hours. I don't know how he stands being out in this Texas summer heat all day, every day, but it seems to please him.

And I should probably mention that my 13yo son earned his Boy Scout Eagle rank! This means we now have four Eagle Scouts in our family! We are so proud of those boys!

And that brings us up to today, more or less. We are now back at Ft. Sam again and plan to be here for at least a month. Summer is underway, and there's not much on our calendar from now on. That means... time to hit the books! I groan when I think of how far behind we are in our schooling, but I'm hoping we can get caught up this summer. It is too hot to do much of anything else, and we should be distraction-free for the next couple of months now that the house is sold and our commitments have ended. So Shakespeare, algebra, and frog dissections, here we come!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

The Camping Pig

Years ago, when we bought our first camper (it was a Coleman pop-up camper) we went out on our very first camping trip ever. We had four boys then, probably around the ages of 5, 5, 3, & 1.

While exploring the campground while on that first campout, we found something in the dirt that looked like a rock. When one of the boys picked it up, I realized that it was an old-fashioned farm toy in the shape of a pig. Most of the paint had worn off - no telling how long it had been half-buried in the dirt - but we decided it was going to be our good luck camping charm. The Camping Pig was henceforth adopted into our family.

In all the years and in all the camping trips we've taken since that very first night (first in the pop-up, then in the travel trailer, now in the fifth wheel), we've never once camped a night without The Camping Pig.

And today he is perched prominently on the counter near the stovetop.