Sunday, May 23, 2010

Come on! Enough already!

It's May 23, and Don's still having to shovel snow. 

This was taken before the sidewalk was completely covered - we've got about 2 inches so far. Some of it is pea- to marble-sized popcorn snow - it looks a bit like hail, but is airy and light. It's still snowing lightly right now - hopefully it'll stop soon.  Unwelcome, but not unprecedented for this time of year in the southern California mountains.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Recliner Story (it was just meant to be)

About 3 weekends ago, Don and I went to Colton to look at 5th wheels.  The more time we spent walking through various models, the more we realized that a) the ones we liked were the ones we couldn't afford, and b) the ones we could afford were nowhere as nice as the trailer we currently own.

I told Don there were two things about the trailer (a 28' Keystone Sprinter) I didn't like. One was the lack of storage, and the other was the horridly uncomfortable sofa sleeper. He looked at me like I was crazy, and said, "Go make your lists.  You have lots of storage."  (He knows I'm a list-maker.)  I went home and plotted out each storage cabinet, compartment, and drawer, and then placed everything I knew I'd want with me into those various places.  When I was finished, I still had lots of empty space left for those things I've probably forgotten that I'll need one day.  First problem solved.

As for the second problem, the story is fun to tell.  One of the things we  have always liked best about coming home to our cabin is plopping our butts back in our old recliners.  It's this "Ahhhhhh" sensation that tells us we're "home." (It also emphasizes how much we hate that sofa sleeper!)  I decided that if I was going to live in this trailer,  Don and I each needed a recliner.  We measured the space the sofa sleeper was in:  62".  We looked at RV-specific furniture, and found only captain's chairs or gliders - neither of which we wanted.  Next, I did a search on the internet for recliners.  I think I spent 3 hours looking at every available recliner, and found NONE that were narrow enough to fit two of them side by side in the 62" space.  During that search, I came across what I first called a double recliner.  I learned in further searching that it's called a reclining loveseat. 

So, searching for reclining loveseats took me to Lazy Boy - who carry nearly 50 models.  Of those 50 models, TWO are less than 62", and they each START at $1159.00.   Ouch!  I kept looking - Living Spaces, Ashley Home Furniture, and more.  The only possible affordable one was at Living Spaces, and it measured exactly 62".  Nope. Wouldn't work - you need room to put your arm down on the side to move the lever.

I next went to Craigslist.  We're in the Inland Empire of southern California - a pretty big area.  I entered the search term "reclining loveseat," and up popped about 15 entries.  One of the entries was right in Yucaipa (the town where I work).  The photograph showed it to be gray with large white polka dots, but I thought if it fit, we'd deal with the color. I emailed the owner, and asked him if it was still available, and if so, could he measure it for me.  He emailed right back (must be on line all the time like I am) and said it was 56".  Perfect!  I asked him to call me, and about 15 minutes later the phone rang.   It was his wife, Linda L, who was an instructional aide in the classroom next to mine while I was teaching at Yucaipa Junior High.  She told me where she lived, and Don and I went over there the next day.  We needed to make sure it felt good, and was large enough for Don's long legs.  We both sat down, had the "Ahhhhhh" sensation, and pulled the (separate) footrests out. The footrest hits me on my ankles/heels, and the backs of Don's calves. He said that's fine. 

Now, get this:  it's not gray with white polka dots. It's beige, and what looked like dots in the original picture are really diamonds made out of smaller dots. When you lean back, the chair moves forward (instead of the back moving backwards) so it's possible to recline without destroying the mini-blinds or wall. There's plenty of space on each side to reach down and move the levers. The recliner is a Lazy Boy, one of those $1159 models, only 3 years old, and recently reupholstered.  Here's the best part - the price:

We took it home so Kenny could have a place to sit while he was here, and Thursday he and Don took it to the trailer, removed the old sofa sleeper, and put the recliner in the trailer.  Doesn't it look wonderful?  The way everything played out - from the idea, to the location, to my knowing the seller, to it fitting in our trailer, to the price - just shows me that it was meant to be.

Friday, May 21, 2010

What a Week!

Anchorage, Alaska
February 2003

I'd like to welcome two more followers!  It's so cool that there are people who actually like to read what I say - just as I enjoy reading all the blogs that I follow. But what I like even more is being part of a community of people who either share the same dream or are already living it.  First is Myrddin, a motorcoach owned by Jim and Linda. The blog is told in the first person by Myrddin - a unique perspective! The second new follower is On Da Road - a gal who writes a blog called Midlife on Wheels.

What a week this has been:

Monday: Negotiations with the District, then meeting with a school board member
Tuesday: had blood test, then conducted GATE testing at Yucaipa Elementary, then lunch with other chapter presidents (we call it the Madame Presidents' Club since we're all women), then worked in the office, then nail appointment, then worked in the office
Wednesday: Day-long Citrus Belt Uniserv planning meeting followed by rally for public education in front of Assemblymember Cook's office
Thursday: visited 3 dfferent sites to get coaches' votes, then held ratification meeting for our tentative agreement (it passed with a 91% approval rate)
Friday: Took Kenny to the airport at 6 am, worked in office til 1, came home and took a 3-hour nap, then cooked a home-cooked meal for the first time this week.  That nap has helped so much. I've been tired all week, and I think I'm starting to catch up on sleep.  Kenny, on the other hand, had a 20-hour trip ahead of him to get back to Okinawa.  He should be there in a few hours.

I'm so glad this week is over. Tomorrow Don and I are packing our food and clothes and misc. in the trailer, so that next week all we have to do is take the cold food. We heard on the news that it might be windy Thursday, so we're hoping it's mild wind when we cross the desert. Don's also worried about the cold temps at June Lake - but since we have a small propane heater in addition to the trailer's regular heater, we should be fine. This will be our "shakedown" trip before the summer trip, and the summer trip is going to be our first one where we are going to be "pretending" that the trailer is our home.  I think that 53 days will give us plenty of time to make lists and adjustments.

I haven't gotten rid of any stuff lately - I haven't even had time to think about it.  Perhaps tomorrow I'll be able to get back into the swing of things.  I might even be able to sew a little!

I saw this quote on the RV Dreams Forum AND on Huffington Post - so apt for those of us who are on our way to becoming fulltimers:

I look at every item I own as a burden and if I am going to keep an item the happiness it gives me must be worth the burden. The burdens include: cleaning, maintaining, moving, insuring, or just worrying about an item. These all seem like small things, but they add up.

So true, isn't it?  This will help me get the job done!

Another Day Closer...

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Enjoying the weekend

Green Valley Lake in the San Bernardino Mountains
(we live in these mountains)
August 1991

Welcome to Gin and Syl,  my newest followers!  It's so exciting to learn about fellow bloggers who not only share the interests we have, but care enough to read what I have to say about everything. Gin and Syl are also getting ready to retire - I think I'm a few months ahead of them - and since they live only 21 miles from my sister-in-law, whom we'll be visiting summer 2011, I hope we can meet in person!

Yesterday our teachers' association had its annual retirement and recognition event. We've been having it (the last few years) at Mill Creek Cattle Company in Mentone, in the huge back banquet hall. We had about 150 people - a good crowd considering we only had 4 retirees this year. Since I was the emcee, I didn't get time to eat any of the non-sweet finger foods. I ate too much cake. And pie.

Tonight Kenny and Theresa are in Los Angeles at the LA Galaxy game. Don and I are watching it on TV, and he's watching the game intently, looking for them in the crowd. We know they're in the end zone, about 3 rows up - but he seems to think he knows which end zone, and which section, and is constantly pointing and shouting every time the camera shows the end zone. Too funny.  It's a sellout crowd, and he thinks he's going to see his kids.  What would really be funny would be if the camera did a close up and they were in it.

Don and I went to Costco this morning-got there just as they opened, and were in and out in an hour. I had an extensive list, but an hour! I think that's a record. Of course, since it wasn't lunchtime yet, they didn't have any sample carts set up, so Don complained about that - but then shut up when I reminded him how crowded it gets around lunch time. My tequila supply is replenished, so I can now continue making those wonderful margaritas in my bullet blender.  Does anyone have one of those? The common brand is the Magic Rocket or something like that - mine's a different brand but has the same little glasses you blend everything in. It makes better margaritas than a regular blender, and since it's small, it'll go with me in the trailer.  So wonderful - frozen margaritas whenever I want them! Jose Quervo, you are a friend of mine....

My retirement date is now June 2, 2010 - the only "up" side to our taking 6 furlough days next year. I'll have to change my side widget - something I think I said I'd do last week - but forgot. If I don't look at the widget every day, it seems like the time passes more quickly.  We have two weeks before we go to June Lake for 5 days. Then 2 more weeks after that school will be out and we'll be on our way to Colorado for the summer!  
If any one is going to be in Lake City, Taylor Park, Ridgway, or Priest Gulch (near Dolores), let me know and we'll see about meeting!

Another Day Closer...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Eiger Glacier, Switzerland
 March 1989

I'd like to welcome two new followers to Wanderlust! First is Diana - and if it's the Diana I think it is, I've been reading her blog for a while now. Second is Happy Camper - Steve from Kansas, who recently acquired a truck/camper and has been using it a lot.  It's been quite fun reading Diana's and Steve's blogs.  I'm glad they're enjoying reading mine!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Big News!

We have a tentative agreement in negotiations with the District.  The down side is that we'll be taking 6 furlough days next year - meaning a 3.2% pay cut.  The up sides:  a) our health benefits plan is IMPROVING - something extremely rare in difficult economic times; b) approximately 20-25 jobs will be saved; c) class sizes in K-3 will only go up to 24 instead of 30; and d) I'm retiring 6 days earlier next year than I thought I would!  (5 of the furlough days will be taken at the end of the school year; the 6th is to be taken on my choice of a teacher prep day - guess which one I'm taking?  The LAST day!)  I'm going to have to go change that countdown widget on the sidebar.

I'm very proud of my bargaining team - I thought a couple of times we were really stalled, but they persisted and showed great strategic expertise. I can do this job one more year with people like this in the Association.

Another Day Closer...

Collecting the Milestones - #1

Wheeee! This is the last Academic Planner I'll ever buy!  After this, I'm going back to the ones that go from January to December, like "normal" calendars.

Another Day Closer...

Sunday, May 9, 2010


Happy Mother's Day, Mom!
You're just as beautiful now as you were then.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thursday Thoughts 5-6-10

Oceanside, California 
May 1996

I took today off - lately my back and neck have been killing me. I would feel fine in the mornings, and then as each day went by, the neck would start cramping up and pain would start  moving across my upper back.  No doubt it's stress - I've had a nice day here at home - did some quilting, watched some television, took a nap, made a dessert pizza after dinner, and am now enjoying Flashforward and computer time. And of course, my neck and back don't hurt at all.  It'll be nice when school's out!

Kenny's flying in tomorrow night - I have an awards dinner in San Bernardino, so Don's going to Palm Springs to pick him up. He's been in a class up at Beale AFB in northern California, and is coming here on leave for 2 weeks before he goes back to Japan. I'm glad the timing worked out that he's here for Mother's Day.

Speaking of Mother's Day - Don asked me, like he always does, what I wanted.  We usually go out somewhere nice to eat.  I decided that this time I don't want to go down the mountain to find a place and fight the crowds.  Instead, we're going to breakfast at our little Mexican restaurant here in Forest Falls (it's the only restaurant up here, and they make nice Huevos Rancheros), and then I'm making a roast, potatoes, carrots, etc. for Kenny and Theresa. She can come up after she gets off work at the casino.

I just realized that when we leave this house I won't have my DSL any more - and since my email address is tied to my DSL provider, I'm going to have to change my email address.  I suppose it'll be a gmail address - it's free, and I like the other google services. 

I'm worried about our Anaheim Angels. Their pitching has really, really been in the tanks lately.  And what's with Brandon Wood? Poor guy - a starting third baseman in the majors, and is batting below .180.  We traded away Chone Figgins for this? So sad to watch the team struggle these days.

That's it for my Thursday thoughts!

Another Day Closer...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Aready a long week...

Me, in July 1976, heading up towards Rock Creek Pass above
the Flint Lakes in the
Weminuche Wilderness, Colorado
I feel like I did in the picture above - heading up, and up, and up.  Yesterday was negotiations with the District. While it didn't go poorly, it didn't really go well, either. I feel we did make some movement, though, and continue to hope for the best (which is really not a good thing, considering what the "best" could look like).

I then worked a few hours in the office, and went to a social event in the evening. We were finished by 7, and I headed home, exhausted. At 8  I went to bed to read, and I think I turned the light off around 8:45.  That's the earliest I've been to bed in a long time.  But I must have needed the sleep, because I didn't get up until Don woke me at 6:30.

I'm enjoying a no-appointment/meeting day in the office, getting things organized/filed/trashed/etc. - something I seem to do all the time.  It's endless.  I'm also answering member emails about issues related to health care, negotiations, layoffs, retirement, evaluations, parent complaints, administrators, paychecks, and more.  I have to keep reminding myself that when I'm not tired, I really do love my job.

Another Day Closer...

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Yard Sale Day 2

It's over. Hooray!  Between the 4 of us, we made $730; the stuff that I sold made me $160.  All the rest is now in the back of two pickup trucks, and will be dropped of at the Deseret Thrift Store tomorrow. I'll claim what I can on my taxes next year.

I'm sunburned and tired, but I really did enjoy those two days with my friends.

Now, it's on to Craigslist for a few big ticket items, and getting ready for our next trip. We'll be going to June Lake Memorial Day weekend. I am using my two "optional" days on the Friday and Tuesday before and after so we get 5 nights at June Lake.

Now I'm going to go feed the blue pig.

Another Day Closer...

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Yard Sale Day 1

The first day of our large yard sale was today.  We had 6 different families and individuals with things for sale, and since we had it at Suzy's house, we were pretty busy all morning. I sold about half of the clothes and shoes, and lots of assorted other things - but there's a lot of stuff left for tomorrow.

That's Don on the left, talking to my good friend Patrick.  Patrick's mother Suzy offered her driveway for the yard sale, since they also had lots of things to get rid of. Suzy will be retiring THIS year, and she and her husband Gary plan to travel in their motorhome about half of each year.

This is a shot looking back at about 2/3 of our stuff.  I had three long tables from the office, as well as a big area on the ground - and I hung clothes on the fence (in the picture below).  But some of the stuff on my tables belonged to my friends Tara and Crystal who had asked me to try to sell some things for them. Patrick and his wife Patty had about 2 tables plus a lot of space on the ground, and Suzy had some large furniture plus 3 tables.

This is Patrick and his daughter Frances, who was a great cashier for us for most of the day. I hope she comes back tomorrow.  She's trying to sell an electric guitar with amp and accessories - there were lots of nibbles but no takers.

I'm tired, but since I was with friends all day, I had a great time.  I'm going to go make a taco salad for Don and me and then relax and watch soccer (we're Galaxy and Chivas USA fans).

Another Day Closer...