Photo taken near Monument Valley, Utah

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Something Keeps Bringing Us Back to Houston Plus a Few Thoughts About Life

At Rayford Crossing RV Resort, Spring, Texas...

This has been the longest period of time--more than two months--that we have been away from our domicile near Fort Worth, and we were more than delighted to have missed all of the frozen winter weather mess that would have entrapped us there. As spring is approaching, we have made our way northbound from the Rio Grande Valley, where we stopped again in the Corpus Christi area, this time at the Colonia Del Rey RV Park. We only intended an overnight stay there, but we wound up staying almost a week to wait out some really rainy spells that kept us largely immobile. There is just nothing like being retired and untethered to the responsibilities of a job and other things that require us to be somewhere at a specific time. Since I don't like driving Phannie in the rain, I generally choose not to do so unless there is a thoroughly compelling reason. So, we wait out the weather and travel when it suits us.

We occupied our time visiting some favorite restaurants, doing some sightseeing and, of course, some shopping--inspired entirely by Mimi, as Sandy is called by her grandsons. Since I am not what you would call an avid shopper (I would rather have a rusty ice pick hammered into my temple), I pretty much served as her chauffeur. Thereby unfettered by any oversight (she says going shopping with a husband is like going hunting with a game warden), Mimi fulfilled with great energy her self-appointed role as the major purchasing agent for her grandsons. In this role, she has no equal, and she certainly doesn't tolerate well any petty little annoyances like the mention of a budget limitation. After a few missteps early on in our marriage, I have now have had enough 'guidance' to accept gracefully this inconvenient truth: It is my job to put money in our accounts, and it is her job to distribute any excess as she sees fit! 

With better weather, we continued our trek northward through the Houston traffic mess and out the North Freeway to Spring, Texas and Rayford Crossing RV Resort, which is very close to Mindy and Tyler and their boys. We're guessing the grandsons may be the reason we keep gravitating back to this place. What do you think?

We have lunch with Mason at his school.

Ever the ham, Pryce tries on a cowboy hat.

When we're here, we try to help out by cooking things the boys will like (surprise, surprise!). The Pioneer Woman's recipe for chicken spaghetti is a favorite:

Brownies are always a hit:

Sandy, who almost never bakes anything from a boxed mix (she is fearful that her mother and grandmother would look down and not approve), uses a modified brownie mix--Pillsbury Milk Chocolate--to make them, and I have to agree: Brownies made from scratch cannot possibly be this good. The modification? She uses whole milk instead of water and adds a teaspoon of vanilla.

Our time here in Houston is growing short, and we will soon be returning home to take care of taxes and medical appointments and refilling some prescriptions.  Once that is done, we will be on the road again. Oddly, our stick-and-brick house has become little more than an expensive place to store the stuff we never use, including a wardrobe that is far too excessive. I'm sure we will reach a point when we will shame ourselves into dealing with this, but that time has not yet come.

As I fret to fulltimer RV friends about these excesses and as I continue to tweak the worrisomely cantankerous security system at the house, they wonder why we don't just pull the plug, sell it and get rid of the security worries and upkeep expense and headaches. On the other hand, other friends who don't "get" our nomadic lifestyle scratch their heads at our wandering around, unable to imagine how anyone could contemplate such a thing. Some of these folks would even be perfectly content working, robot-like, at a job until they collapse at their desks. Or, if retired, they may be content to busy themselves with the officious rituals of housekeeping or perhaps shopping for the perfect faux flower arrangement to "freshen" their largely unused powder room. That's fine, I suppose, but for me, such things would be utterly unimaginable at this stage in our lives.

I would hope that everyone could eventually gain at least a partial realization of the almost incomprehensible miracle of God's gift of life. It is infinitely more likely that you shouldn't have existed at all, except for an impossibly offchance and fleeting union of two cells that would grow, under difficult circumstances, to become you and all that your life has meant to yourself and others. Whether you consider such a thing God-inspired, as I do, or mere blind chance, it is still a miracle, and life should be treated as precious until the last breath leaves the body, in my view. If you accept such a premise, then the look of the faux flowers in your powder room achieves a little less significance, in my way of thinking.

Now that we have both retired, we have become quite introspective about what will be important in our remaining years. There is nothing quite like the contemplation of your own mortality to bring into focus the need to identify those things that we know we will regret not doing while we're able. The conclusion I have reached is that any day when I choose to be confined without purpose within the four walls of a house is a precious and irretrievable day I will regret wasting. Any day that I spend enjoying friends and family or being out on the road observing the magnificence of God's creation or going to church or merely relaxing with a good book, is a day that I will never regret. And the urgency of going, seeing and doing is driven by the realization that we are not guaranteed tomorrow or even the rest of today, for that matter. The time is now; the day is here. Carpe diem!
Thank you, Lord, for the wonderful life You've given me; please forgive me if I do not appreciate it enough each day.


  1. You can always move someplace smaller and easier to manage, like a condo or small place in a retirement community. Of course we have not regretted going fulltime 11 years ago.

  2. We are in our 5th year full-timing and feel exactly as you do. Many of our friends don't understand it either but I have absolutely no regrets. The time spent with family, the sights we have seen and the amazing people we have met have made each day a gift. We also know we cannot do this forever but like you we agree....seize the day!

  3. We are approaching the end of our 6th full timing and have many of the same sentiments.

  4. Because of Kathy's health issues we needed to keep an apartment base back in Ontario but again with the time we spend there makes it overpriced. If we'd kept our home (Money Pit) we'd be looking at only taking a single short trip each year. We're seizing the moments while we can and loving every minute of it.
    Be Safe and Enjoy!

    It's about time.

  5. Thanks for sharing. Perhaps a smaller spot in an RV Village would be appropriate for those times you need to get back to a starting point. You and Sandy have worked hard for the things you have - no need to fret over what others think. And for those who don't understand the nomadic lifestyle - they never will. Keep on living the dream as long as you can. We are enjoying life with less than we every had and would never go back unless God tells us we will. Great post Mike.

  6. Well said Mike. It took me a while to get on board with the full time lifestyle; but after five years, I couldn't be happier. Getting rid of the stuff was an amazing freeing experience. You two will figure out what works best for you!

  7. We're only newbies compared to you (9 months under our belt now) and we've loved every minute and mile of it!!!!!

  8. For most of our full timing years, I always tried to avoid traveling in bad weather. We fully understand the pull of grandkids:)) We also are driven by the idea that what time is available to us should not be wasted.

  9. Many thanks to all who commented; I appreciate and learn from your interaction. Happy travels to all!

  10. Mike, Only the two of you know what works best for you. We are in our fourth year full-timing, still working, but taking as many trips as we can. So far, six weeks seems to get us to see relatives, explore new places (well speed-see them, anyway), and enjoy a break from work.

    Enjoy those grandkids. You are fortunate to have some. I don't believe we will ever have any. One son doesn't want kids and the other one hasn't ever had a long-term girlfriend, much less a wife. We'll have to spoil nieces and nephews as we see them.


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