Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

We Meet Steve and Debbie; Sandy's Drinking Problem

At Rayford Crossing RV Resort, Spring, Texas (near Houston)...

We are always excited when we have the good fortune to meet in person some of the RV bloggers we follow. Such was the case this evening, when we arranged to meet Steve and Debbie of Down the Road.  They joined us at El Palenque, one of our favorite Mexican restaurants in Houston and, during a fine meal, we talked and laughed until the place closed. Meeting them for the first time was not like a first time at all, for we all knew a lot about each other from our blogs. We recognized them right away, and fell right into a conversation that would seem to an observer as that of old friends. As usual, they reinforced my belief that RVers are great people to be around and that RV bloggers are the cream of the crop.

Steve and Debbie

This is another couple who got the itch to go fulltime and had the gumption to go through all of the daunting changes necessary to make it happen. They are clearly happy with their new lifestyle, and they have the smiles to prove it. They are in the final legs of a daunting maiden journey around the perimeter of the U. S., covering about 20,000 miles in their first year on the road!

They have the added benefit of starting this exciting adventure when they are still quite young, by fulltimer standards. They will have many memories to record in their very readable blog.

We made tentative plans to try to meet up next January at Quartzsite, hoping the organizers of Blogger Fest (which we regrettably missed this year) will reprise that gathering. Hear that, Sandie?

As promised in the last post, I thought I would make good on my intention of including another "inquiring minds want to know" vignette, this time involving the lovely Sandy. We all have little obsessions, and these tend to make us more interesting, I think. (By the way, Sandy is aware of this little expose', so this blog could go dark at any time, along with my view through the lid of my casket.)

Those who know her are keenly aware of her beverage of choice, which is unsweetened iced tea. And I do mean ICED tea. She must have a glass first thing in the morning, and she is a fierce defender of the southern tradition of pouring it into a glass completely full of ice. At restaurants, in fact, the ratio of ice to tea must fully meet her standard, or the offending waitperson will be admonished for this faux pas and sent scurrying for another glass containing only ice, so that Sandy can remix the drinks and correct the atrocity herself. This usually causes her to give voice to her long-simmering scorn for restaurants outside the South, whose waiters typically pour a glass of tea with only two or three small pieces of ice floating on the top. She sees this as an indignation not too different from Sherman's march to the sea in the Civil War, and someone (usually me) must, by golly, make it right. I cannot tell you the number of times I have scrounged around in restaurant service areas looking for the ice machine when a waiter failed to correct the deficiency within a reasonable time. For Sandy, this reasonable time is defined as approximately 45 seconds.

Although Sandy is a purist when it comes to iced tea, I have mentioned to her before that her insistence on drinking only unsweetened iced tea is not exactly in keeping with the usual southern tradition of serving sweet tea in glasses full of ice. She insisted this devilish corruption of the beverage was not in wide use before Sherman's march. She opined that southerners were so traumatized by the devastation of this nefarious deed that they simply lost their minds.

I see no reason at all to dispute this claim (see the casket remark above).

Sunday, January 25, 2015

With the Grands in Houston and a New Series: What Inquiring Minds Want to Know

At Rayford Crossing RV Resort, Spring, Texas (Near Houston)...

We have returned to Houston for a month, helping Mindy get restarted in nursing school. Knowing her potential for success, we are more than happy to facilitate this as much as possible. We get the added benefit of being close to grandsons Mason and Pryce, who are much more than a little special to us. Watching them as they grow and change every day is most entertaining and, the older we get, the more important it seems to be for us to feel needed and to contribute what we can along the way.

Phannie provides the perfect means for us to be self-sufficient and not underfoot, as we would be if we were guests in Mindy's and Tyler's home. Living in the motorhome allows us to come by when we're needed and then scoot away, allowing them their own family time to the greatest extent possible.

We're doing some babysitting when needed, usually with Pryce, as Mason is now in kindergarten during the day. When Mindy is occupied with classes, Sandy busies herself by helping with the housework, and I help by doing a little cooking.

Didn't know I could cook? Well, I can--to a degree--and I find cooking's creativity enjoyable. But I don't bother to compete with Sandy in baking cakes, pies, cookies and the like. She is a baker extraordinaire.

Having revealed that little tidbit of personal information, it occurs to me that readers who don't know us very well may like to peek  further under the tent to see what other quirks may be inside. (Don't tell me people don't like to do this; have you seen the tabloids lining the checkout lanes at Wally World?)

I'm thinking the next few posts may form a short series of personal vignettes that explore some of our flaws, foibles and fetishes. You may be disappointed, however; we do not exactly walk on the wild side. Let's start with fetishes or, more properly, obsessions:

My life as a grammar policeman. I admit to a degree of neurosis here. I'm going to lay the blame on my high school and college English teachers, who were fanatical in insisting that their students should not corrupt the mother tongue any more than necessary. I clearly recall Mrs. Reid who, in sophomore English, would rap with a ruler the knuckles of those who did not properly recite her rules of grammar. (Had Mrs. Reid done this today, of course, she would be in jail, but her students would certainly use proper grammar when they came to visit her.) Thanks to these wonderful teachers, I learned to write correctly, and that single ability turned out to be more important than any other in ensuring the career successes I enjoyed in various management positions over the years. The downside, if it could be seen as such, is that I tend to over-analyze each post I write in order to avoid the embarrassment of clumsy syntax and errors in spelling, punctuation and grammar. It takes extra time to stylize each post in this way, so I am, in a sense, bedeviled by my own self-imposed expectations.

Is it painful for me to read the tortured prose of those who were not subjected to Mrs. Reid's ruler? Well, sometimes, but I'm trying to let it go. Our language is getting more coarse all the time, and fewer people care about turning an elegant phrase. That makes me the dinosaur, I guess, stuck in an era when, as a society, we had more time to pay attention to such things. Friendships cannot be based on whether one can recognize a dangling participle, of course, and rapping someone's knuckles is not likely to win me any friends either. So, I write, and I rewrite what I wrote. But I don't care; I'm determined to get it right.

Next, we'll talk about Sandy; she is not without a few lovable quirks herself.