Family and Reflections -- Sept 14th, 2016

After five weeks in Mobile AL, Jimmy and I returned to our home in Nevada City on Saturday the 10th, after a 2487-mile, four-day marathon drive ... in a rented 10 ft U-haul van.  The drive wasn't bad, except for the Dallas part, which is never good, but worse on this trip because of our bad timing. Otherwise, we just put the pedal to the metal and drove.  A few notable exceptions ... a delicious Mexican dinner and a "find" in Santa Rosa NM at quittin' time on Day 2, and I really enjoyed eyeing the mountainous scenery along Hwy 95 in western Nevada on Day 4.  I promise you, however, we are glad to be out of that van; we turned it in yesterday.  But, these are simply statistics.  The real story is family.

Seen at a rest stop.

We left Rob in fairly good shape.  In those five weeks, he's been able to take care of necessary business that he wouldn't have been able to do without help.  Plus, his radiation treatments have helped him immensely, alleviating pain and reducing the cancerous tumors in size.  His aggravating symptoms have lessened.  One morning he and Jimmy hauled his remaining kayak out of the boat shed and he went for a short paddle, which he enjoyed very much.  (He's since been out on other short trips)  For an active man and an avid kayaker, being on the water is very healing.

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Jimmy, Rob, me and Nannie ... sweaty and gormy, but ready for the shutter anyway.

After Jimmy and I had been in Mobile a few weeks, Nannie was able to leave her flooded/gutted home to be with us, though she went home one weekend.  The four of us together are incorrigible, or as Jimmy calls it, "encourageable."  As Rob perked up, so did the shenanigans. Since Rob wanted (and needed) to sell his house, a major spruce up was necessary.  We were steady decluttering, packing things away, making piles to go here, there, somewhere or anywhere!  We accumulated a heap o' junk for the trash bin.  At times, anyone of us might paw through the junk piles looking for a particular item that may have been pitched there.  We spent hours and days going through stacks of his stuff.

Donations of school-type supplies went to a local elementary school.  Magazines to the local library.  Books were either sold or donated.  Bicycles were donated.  And so on.  The outside was power washed, the inside was scrubbed and the carpet cleaned.  And then he hired a realtor.  

Here's Rob.

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Did I mention shenanigans?  Nannie and I clown around at the doctor's office,
waiting for Rob's doctor to appear.

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The four of us (me, Rob, Nannie, Jimmy) after dinner near the Dog River Bridge.

Rob loved kayaking Dog River and its tributaries.  Seeing how others trashed it and how the City of Mobile seemed to care little about it, made him an advocate ... he dedicated himself to seeing Dog River free and clear of trash and litter.  His photos and text documented the ongoing deplorable condition of his beloved river, and his continuing efforts culminated in litter traps being installed.  He won much praise for his commitment.  Rightly so!

Meantime, the den gets a serious reaming out.

The garage/shop gets a much-needed make-over.

The van gets loaded.

Nannie went home the day after we left.  Rob felt like he could manage by himself for the time being, and he probably was craving some alone time.  His realtor came that day to take house pictures and I'm happy to report the house showed well.  Our work was not in vain.

We talked frequently with our Boston brother, Rus.  He wanted to be with us, but because of his own physical issues, he couldn't.  He's still trying to see if he'll be allowed to fly from Boston to Mobile, and, who knows, maybe he can.  Both brothers have been sucker-punched this summer and are fighting for their lives.  We hope and pray to keep them both around for a long time.

Nannie, meantime, thanks to Mother Nature's body-slam to Louisiana by way of The Epic Flood, has her hands full in Baton Rouge (Watson, actually).  Their house is almost ready to be certified "dry" by the powers-that-be, and then the anti-mold crew moves in, and THEN, rebuilding can commence ... followed by choosing flooring, paint, new cabinets, the whole nine yards.  But, it's strange how things happen, how life works.  Rob has furniture he will no longer need when his house sells, while Nannie's furniture turned into a debris mountain in their front yard, so she'll need furniture ....

We worked together.  Jimmy was a real trooper, a worker-tour-de-force, and I'm proud as Punch of him.  He's deserving of mucho kudos. So ... he and I hit the road in that van.  We'll return, either by flying or in Tergel, before our next BIG trip in November.  Nannie can easily go back and forth, as it's only 200 miles +/- to Mobile for her.  I'll post a few on-the-road shots.

The header photo and the pic above were seen at a Texas rest stop.

Above and below:  Our dinners in Santa Rosa, Jimmy's is at back.  Delicious!

This was our find.  Santa Rosa is famous for this spring.  Ample parking, accessible, and it's free. Wow, what a deal.  The aquamarine water was sparkling clear.  Jimmy stuck his fingers in to test the temp and he verified that it was purty chilly.  Divers can use the Blue Hole, swimmers wouldn't dare!  It was nice getting outside to admire and stroll around.

Did you spot Jimmy?


This thing held a lot of stuff.

Sunset out of Las Vegas was spectacular.  Changing drivers every few hours, we drove and drove and drove on Day 3, long past when we'd normally quit, but that made Day 4 a shortie.  We hove into the driveway at 3pm.  Stiff and sore, with bloated ankles, we were glad to be home.

Joshua Trees appeared at about 3500-4000 ft elevation in Nevada.

I like birds.  I like seeing and watching birds.  But this place gave me the creeps with all those pigeons and other birds all over everything.  We spied animals inside the house, as well.  Be a really crappy yard, huh?  Too much bird poop might even obscure the satellite dish!

Another gem in Goldfield, NV.

Good road, no traffic, my kind of driving!

We've worked out butts off since we got home; so much to do to catch-up, plus parceling out Rob's stuff.  STUFF!  We are officially in the process of getting rid of stuff.  If we haven't used it, needed it, or looked at it since moving here in 2012, hey, doncha think it's time to let it go?  Maybe somebody else can use it.  Now we have piles all over our own house/garage.  But!  We are making progress.  The Prius is full of goodies going to Goodwill tomorrow.

We've already had a year's worth of travel, and the year isn't over.  When we awoke this morning, the temperature was a mere 50 degrees.  Our bodies were shocked at the blessed coolness!  Summer simply evaporated.  Like a magician with tricks or a purse thief, it was gone.  So be it, I don't like hot weather anyway, but how could it surrender so easily?  With this touch of autumn in the air, and for the first time in months, we pulled on our hiking shoes and walked to our favorite canal trail.  The canal held enough water to entice dogs to jump in, you could see wet paw prints on the dusty trail.  It was quiet and it was cool, and our shoes made little dust clouds with each footfall.  We put in roughly three miles because we wanted to.  It wasn't strenuous, it was relaxing.  Just out for a walk on a favored trail, something we needed to do for ourselves.  Now we're looking forward to a little down time.


  1. Anonymous2:11 PM

    Perfect portrayal of it all. Thanks! nannie

  2. Ahhh. Smiling for you. Life's moments of growth, perfection, love.

  3. A little shenanigans is good for the soul:)

  4. Catching up ... I second Chuck ... without shenanigans the hard curves life throws in our way would be entirely unbearable.

  5. What a year your family has had, so lovely you've been able to support each other and even have a bit of fun in the face of so much adversity.


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