Monday, November 4, 2013

Catching up on some history

  Okay, I need to go back a little bit and catch up on a few posts from 2010 and 2011. We concentrated on doing the Dave Ramsey Total Money Makeover and really it works and it was working for us. I had to make some tough decisions regarding some rental properties and I ended up allowing two of them to go back to the bank. While I worked with the bank to try to avoid foreclosure and do a short sale or a deed in lou of foreclosure, not all has worked out. The details haven't been finalized and so they are still in flux. So my credit is trashed because I quit making payments on them. But it was the right thing to do and it made the properties that I am keeping profitable.A poor credit score means little in the terms of eternity.
   I finished up college and graduated from Kaplan University with a degree in business management. While I wanted to get a job, I got sick in early 2012 and fought with an infection in a pressure sore on my right hip. I got a second pressure sore on my left hip and that too got infected. I spent a lot of time in and out of hospitals from August on. The infection had reached my femur and although we thought that it was all gone, it came back rather quickly. After a misdiagnosis as to where the infection was at in my body, God led us to an incredible surgeon named Stacy Stevenson at the University of Toledo hospital. She did several surgeries on my left hip in January and February of 2013. Then I was admitted for a surgery where they removed my left femur head and part of the socket then moved muscle around to fill the big hole where hip bone had been and to fill the hole where the pressure sore was at. I spent four weeks in a sand bed flat on my back waiting for the muscles and the surgical wounds to heal. Then I was moved to another bed for a final two weeks before being allowed to go home. I did grow a rather nice beard in the hospital.

    I still have a wound on my right hip but it is slowly closing and the infection has left my body. We found an amazing nutritionalist named Michelle Simons at Simons' Family Chiropractic in Findlay, Ohio. She has helped my body get back in balance and defeat the infection naturally. I also spent six weeks going to a hyperbaric chamber to help kill the chronic osteomyelitis (bone infection). The chamber was hard on my ears and I didn't really enjoy it.

 All the time I was in the hospital I thought about remodeling an apartment in one of my rental properties and finishing it up so that it would bring in extra money and not be sitting empty. So when I felt strong enough I call my man, Don Gregory, and we started working on the apartment again. It went from being torn all way down to the studs and having the floor ripped up,

To this......

 I finished up my project and after long discussions with Becky about debt versus living life and how getting out of debt was a priority, we should focus on living our lives too. So we decided that even though I'd taken on debt to renovate that apartment, we were tired of waiting for someday and so, she came home with a dog.
Iris inspects her new home and her new masters.
The cats reaction to the dog. Duchess decided the higher it was the safer it was. Eventually the cats learned to get along with the dog but it was an uneasy peace.
Then we decided to go for the dream of seeing the US and bought the camper. We are working on cleaning out the house so we can sell it and move into the trailer full time to travel. It is scary for all of us leaving our 2000 sq foot home and all our possessions. Well most. There are things that each of will miss individually and as a collective but I hope and pray that all those things that we miss will be over ridden with terrific memories, adventurous tales and marvelous time spent with the family traveling, exploring, and seeing what God has laid out before us. I hope that you travel along with us.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

First Outting

   We had our first adventure in the new camper and it was all very positive! We left on Thursday, October 24 for Martinsville, VA. It was about a seven and a half hour drive through Ohio, West Virginia and into Virginia. The camper pulled well and the Tahoe didn't have to many problems chugging the extra load up and down the hills. Close to Charleston, WV the low gas light flicked on and we found a gas station in the next two miles. Turns out the thing uses more fuel than I thought and I needed to keep a better eye on the gas gauge. Everything turned out okay and we continued on our way reliving past experiences of drives through the area to get to where our friends lived in Oak Hill, WV. We miss Tom and Cathy and Richie and Tara. Come home soon guys!
    After we arrived at the camp spot, we asked if they had any spots with electric as they did not when I made the reservation. The manager told us that he just had a cancellation and we were the first to ask about it and so we were able to have electric as well as water in our camper. It made the weekend much nicer!
   Turns out that the camp spot was a steep hill behind the realty office this guy owns. Spots had been leveled in the hillside and electric and water hook ups added for use by campers twice a year when the Nascar races come to town.
Patrick hides from the camera
    Several guys helped us get the camper level and get everything set up. We ended up going to Wal Mart for some thermals for Becky and Patrick and a longer water hose. We found a great little bar-b-que place called Dixie Pig. We had platters of shredded pork with vinegar already on it and slabs of cut brisket. The platters had meat, slaw, fries and hush puppies on them. Plus the lady who runs the place makes her own sweet tea. Heaven on earth boys and girls, heaven on earth!
   Friday, we got up to thick frost and a frozen water hose. It was 18 degrees outside! The sun came out and we had water about ten o'clock. We drove out to Lover's Leap on Highway 58.
Then we toured Fairystone State Park on Fairystone Lake in Stuart, VA. We agreed that we need to come back and camp there as it had a nice beach, beautiful views and nice camp sites. From there we meandered back towards the camper and on a whim turned towards Reynold's House.
Its in the middle of no where and I took a nap in the Tahoe while Becky and Patrick walked around looking at the historic buildings and grounds.
   Back to the camper for steaks, beers and marshmallows over the fire. Patrick made a friend named Cordell and they spent a good deal of time hanging out together.
   Saturday was the truck race and we saw plenty of action with Kevin Harvick beating and banging with Ty Dillon. Sunday was the Sprint Cup race and Jeff Gordon get his first win of the year and pulled himself into third place in the points race. He always races well at Martinsville Speedway Eight wins there in his career!

  Monday we loaded up and headed for home. We got home late and parked the truck and went to bed. The Tahoe burned two quarts of oil over the trip so it was into the shop for our little darling and we shall see what is wrong with her now.
   Plans are being laid to get out of here in the first part of the year and head south for warmer weather and start our travels. The house is for sale and we are cleaning and selling and giving away but we have so much stuff its like a never ending project. Some of the logistics are still in flux but they will work their way out and so many things already have!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The new home.

It has arrived!

 We picked up the camper on Monday and brought it home. I've towed a lot of trailers but most of them have been small and its been years since I towed anything heavy so jumping on the freeway in Toledo and rolling home on I-75 was an interesting experience to say the least. It took a while to get used to the brake controller and get it dialed into my driving style which I learned I would need to change. Plus I poo pooed having larger mirrors and realized that yes, hoss, I need mirrors that extend out so I can see the back of the trailer. Sadly, I became "that guy" riding in the right hand lane not doing the speed limit and holding up traffic. But we made it home safe and sound and discovered that the water tank was leaking and I had to change out a plastic clip for a proper hose clamp and all was good again.
  The last few days have been full of getting ready to go this weekend to Martinsville, VA for the Nascar race there. This will be our first experience in the camper and we will be roughing it. Just water no electric. A first world kind of problem really. Oh my no internet, no television, no video games, how will we survive? I'm sure there will be plenty of entertainment from the drunken revelers and on the ten minute walk to and from the track!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Going for the Dream!

 Okay, so I haven't posted anything on this blog in almost two years and I am amazed that it is still up and running. Facebook seems like such an easy way to share photos and connect with friends which is why I started this blog. But things have changed since my last blog and while Dave Ramsey is very much a force and man that I respect, there have been bumps in the road both by my own making and not by my choosing. 
   In 2012, I spent a great deal of time being sick and in and out of hospitals dealing with two pressure sores that became infected. One on my left hip required surgery and the removal of the femur head and part of the femur to get rid of the infection that had set into the bone. Wow! Six weeks in the hospital was not a pleasant time for our family. But we made it through and we saw God work in our lives like we never have and learned to trust in Him and as He says, "seek yea first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you." I am still dealing with a sore on my right hip but it is slowly healing.

  This time of sickness made me realize a few things. One is that life is precious and I've been wasting it searching for something that isn't there and not spending time with my family and making memories that will last. So I broke out of the hospital (got discharged) and spent the summer of 2013 remodeling an apartment that we had tore to the studs several years ago. I also got back to scuba diving and did something I always wanted to do, jump out of an aeroplane.
   I also realized that our house and it's ten acre plot needs a lot of work that I wasn't able to do and haven't really caught up on since I was sick. I convinced my wife that we needed to look at downsizing and maybe moving to another house. Easier said then done when you need to renovate a bathroom or add a ramp to get into the house and facilitate ease of use. But then I went after a dream that I have had for most of my life; travel the fifty states. I wanted to do it on my motorcycle but now I have a family and we just need more room. So we went to look at camping trailers and settled on one to buy. A Cherokee Grey Wolf 25RR. Its a toy hauler so I can get up and down without installing a lift and we can tow it with the Tahoe and not buy another vehicle.

 So here we are. We started cleaning out the house and clearing away the junk and the clutter that we have accumulated over our lifetime and making room for a new adventure. Sweeping out the old has been therapeutic for both my wife and I. Patrick still isn't sure because he can't take all his Legos with him and he wants to have a home base, a place to call home.
   What is great about this is that we already home school and we want to get this underway before Patrick hits high school age and needs more attention with his classes and may even need to go to screul. Mainly because he needs to know stuff that we as parents may be incapable of teaching him and don't necessarily know all about.
   Add that to the fact we aren't getting any younger and my shoulders might wear out and I might not be able to be as physically active as I am now. So we are planning the routes, activities, destinations, friends to visit and fighting off the sheer panic and terror of what we are about to do. I pray every day that God gives us what we need to see this dream live and so far we have been in His favor.