Friday, August 28, 2009

Indiana State Fair, House News, and Yet Another Garage Sale!

Roger here....  
It has been another busy week.  Since we have been back in Indiana, we seem to be working harder than ever, at least physically harder.   I am really looking forward to January when we will be spending a couple of months at Bentsen Palm Village in Mission, Texas.  Staying in one place for two months will be a different experience for us as full-timing rookies.  Should be fun.

In the midst of all the work, we did take a break last Thursday evening to attend the Indiana State Fair with our friends, Jay and Nancy.
  The State Fair was always a big deal for those of us who grew up in Central Indiana.  My dad used to show cattle when he was a kid, and slept in the stall with the livestock.  His dad (Grandpa) showed apples from his orchard every year.  The walls of the apple barn next to Grandpa's house used to be covered with all the ribbons that he won over the years. 
 I personally, growing up as a townie, was not into 4-H, showing livestock, or growing produce (except for one year in 4-H with an insect collection - blue ribbon at the county fair),  However, I loved the State Fair, My memories of the fair from my youth included the midway rides, great food that sometimes made you 
sick, looking at all the animals, watching the high school bands perform, and wandering around with my family and friends.  Actually, when Dianne and I were dating, we spent a day wandering around the State Fair.  

It was a nostalgic day.  Many things were the same.   Some were different.  The world's largest hog was still on display, as was the display of grotesquely-large pumpkins
 (see photo).  The rows and rows of apples that I remembered from my grandfather's day had shrunk to a couple of tables.  The walking and walking and walking
 to see everything was still a challenge.  We did not ride the plentiful tractor-pulled carts
 that have operated for at least 50 years, because the exercise was good for us :).  The greasy and yummy food was everywhere.  We did pretty well, health-wise, eating a ribeye sandwich and a loaded baked potato for dinner.  However, I must admit that we did sample some very good and very greasy onion rings, and the mandatory cinnamon-sugar-coated elephant ear.  We passed on this year's specialty, deep-fried, chocolate-coated bacon -- just too weird.   In passing, Jay said that a lot of the food was deep-fried.  I challenged him to find something that was not.  He did - lemonade shake-ups and pineapple whip  :).

The highlight for me was walking through the horse barn and petting those magnificent animals.  The gigantic draft horses were amazing.  There must have been some sort of horse show in the coliseum, because we passed several silver-ladened teams of horses pulling a variety of carts.  
Lots of fun.  Lots of memories.

Back to our hectic lives:  Our house has sold, barring any unforeseen circumstances.   The closing will be in late October when we are in Kansas, so we will have to use technology to sign the papers.  This is wonderful news for the two of us - something that will truly enable us to enjoy our new lifestyle as full-time RVers.  Yippeeeeeeeeeeee!   We have been working toward this for three years.  Things are finally moving in the right direction.

Just to keep things interesting, our daughter and granddaughter have moved to Ft. Myers, FL.  We may have already posted this.  Dianne and I own (no mortgage) the small house in Pendleton that they have lived in for the past several years. 
 In addition to selling the antique furniture from the house that we just sold, we are now getting rid of the "stuff" that Amanda and Kaia did not take with them to Florida, and in the process giving the house a GOOD spring cleaning (in August).

We had a yard sale last Saturday that included items from both houses.  We did get rid of a lot of the bigger (size-wise) items - one of the goals.
  BUT, on a day that only had a 10% chance of rain, it rained off and on all day.  (Note from Dianne:  I hurried up to get ready for a garage sale this day because the forecast all week was for BEAUTIFUL weather, sunny and high 70s.   We were outside by 5:45 a.m. hauling things out to display in the yard.  You guessed it -- as we were putting the last items out around 8:00 a.m., it started to drizzle.  It turned out to be a really lousy day, and the WORST garage sale I've ever had!!   We spent all day trudging things in and out, tracking mud on the floor, drying things off only to have the drizzle begin again.  It was miserable!!!!!)
 A few things, none valuable, were ruined as we hauled things into the house, then out of the house, then into the house, ad nauseam.   I must reveal that there was some snipping between Dianne and me throughout the day (an understatement -- D.), and the garage is still packed with items that we must dispose of.   We are planning to do it all over again with better advertising and a nicer day hopefully (weather-wise) on the weekend after Labor Day. 
 This will coincide with the annual Heritage Fair in Pendleton, so there will be a lot of out-of-town traffic, which usually helps.

In the midst of all this, our older daughter, Robyn, who is currently performing on an NCL cruise ship in Hawaii through Second City (Chicago), called.  We have not seen her FOREVER.  We are storing her car in our garage until she finishes her current stint.  Anyway, she is pretty sure that she wants to try things out in Los Angeles.  She has been very successful acting and doing improv comedy in Chicago, so this seems like a logical step.  It is a good thing that we can easily bring our home across the country to visit both our daughters (Florida and California).  

Finally,  Dianne and I have made a pretty major decision:   We have decided to keep the small cottage-style house that our daughter and granddaughter lived in.  Our original plan was to buy a parking spot with a Florida/Arizona room in a warm area that we would leave in the hot months.  Now we plan to arrive in Indiana in August so that I can continue to do HR consulting for my former school corporation, stay through the early fall (beautiful in Indiana), then travel for the other ten months.  Financially, this makes sense for us, since we already own the small house, and know that right now we could not recoup our original investment.  
Property taxes are low on a small Indiana house.  
We would have a place to land when we can no longer "walk".  And besides, we love Pendleton, IN.  It is a beautiful hidden secret that the people of suburban Indianapolis will soon discover next to interstate 69. 

  (Dianne here:  What Roger forgot to mention is that his parents used to own this little house as a rental.  When we were newlyweds in 1972 we lived here for almost a year, rent-free.   Then Roger's brother lived here when he first graduated from Purdue until his marriage.   This little house has a lot of family history!   Roger's uncle purchased the house from Roger's parents, and lived here until just before his death.  We purchased it from his estate for our daughter and granddaughter to live in as long as they needed a home.   As we were painting the upstairs trim yesterday, I remarked to Roger that if someone had told me when I was 23 years old and painting this room that I'd be re-painting it when I was 58 years old, I wouldn't have believed them!   I guess we've come full-circle....)

The house, which looks great (quaint) on the outside, 
needs a little (not a lot) of work on the inside.  We will probably return for a couple weeks in May to put up some bead-board walls in the main room and put new flooring in the bathroom and laundry room.  It already has a new foundation and substructure flooring (due to an unfortunate termite experience about 3 years ago).  The main room and kitchen have nice-looking laminate flooring that Dianne installed a couple of years ago, after the termite fiasco.  We will put our bedroom furniture, a wicker couch, a Lazy Boy recliner on the first floor, and use the second floor for storage.  The views are of a forested vacant lot and a large soy-bean/corn field with a forest in the background.  Falls Park on the falls of Fall Creek, one of the best small-town parks (including hiking trails) in the midwest, is only two blocks away.   (Dianne again:  It is also right down the street from the Every-Saturday-In-Summer farmer's market, walking distance to the local library and the center of town, and just down the street from the community swimming pool.   Location, location, location.   We will call it our "glorified storage unit.")

Last week we had a 50-amp outlet installed so that we can run both air conditioners in the motor home.  (We intend to sleep in the motor home when we stay here.)  We may cut down a small tree and have a pad, that allows our dish to face the southern sky,  installed so that we can resume our satellite coverage during the few weeks we are here.   
 (In this neighborhood, there is not a problem, expense or hassle with covenants or homeowners' associations.   We already pay someone to keep it mowed, so it seems to be the perfect solution for us to be able to travel as much as we want and still live mostly on Roger's pension.  -- D)

My life as a school administrator was always challenging, rewarding, stressful, and busy.  Right now my life seems to be the same (without the income).  The good news is that we are very close to having the challenges, the rewards, and the busyness, and leaving the stress behind.  As I said before, I can't wait until January.  By the way, the dogs don't seem to be nearly as busy as Dianne and me!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Kayaking with Friends on Sugar Creek

Hi everyone....  Roger here....  It has been a while since our last blog.
Sorry for the delay.  We have been busy in Pendleton selling furniture from our house and now our daughter's house - that we own.  She will not be needing it with her recent move to Ft. Myers, Florida, so we are clearing everything out and doing a spring cleaning at the same time.

  We are currently parked in her driveway and had a 50 amp outlet installed so that we can run our air conditioners.  I must say that with all the work we are doing, it is far more convenient to be parked in the town where the work is, rather than several miles away in a state park.  

We really enjoyed our last days at Turkey Run State Park.  The stay, which had been planned last January, involved having friends (Chuck/Cindy, Audrey/Pat, Ed/Karen) in the adjacent sites for the weekend.  The festivities began Friday afternoon with a goodly supply of Chuck's "breakfast juice" (a/k/a Bloody Marys).

We ate extremely well every meal - barbecued chicken (Cindy brought at least 15 birds!), barbecued ribs, homemade pasta salad, pork burgers from Prophetstown State Park, and outstanding breakfasts that included french toast casserole & sausage, sausage and gravy (the best I've ever had) with potatoes, and yogurt cups with fresh fruit & nuts (Audrey gets an A+ for presentation).

The occasion reunited Chuck and Cindy's dog, Sophie, with Auntie Dianne.  Dianne, of course, loves Sophie and even washed and saved the dog toy that she played with in Florida.   

Sophie (the brindle dog in the photo) is a designer dog, half dachsund and half boston terrier.   (Dianne here:  if you want to see some cute puppy photos of Sophie, check our prior blog(s) under the category "dachston puppy" in the left-hand listing).

 The last time we saw Sophie was at Ft. Myers in March when she was a puppy (Sophie - not Dianne who is my age).  We were amazed at how big she has gotten.  She weighs almost as much as our dogs, in the 30-pound range, and is strong as an ox - especially on the leash.  She gets along extremely well with our whippets and truly is a sweetie pie.

We have met Chuck and Cindy at Turkey Run during the same time frame for the last four years.  The highlight of each trip (other than the food and breakfast juice) has always been an 11.5 mile kayak trip down Sugar Creek.  This year's trip was outstanding. 

 It was a beautiful, sunny day.  We made a couple of stops as we paddled along - one for a picnic lunch, and one for a surprise cache of

 margaritas that Pat had hidden in his cooler (under the beer).  

 There usually is a mishap of some sort during the trip (Dianne's near spill a few years ago was a memorable one).  This year there were a couple:  Karen's kayak had a hole in the bottom and was taking on water - a lot of water.  After draining the water (half hour process), we did a band aide job of covering the hole, literally, with a band aide that I had in my waterproof box.  It seemed to work, at least well enough to finish the trip.  Chuck DID dump his kayak.  Unfortunately, a good pair of his prescription sunglasses are now floating somewhere along Sugar Creek.  

We said goodbye to Ed and Karen quickly after the kayak trip ended on Saturday so that they could rush home to attend Symphony on the Prairie at Conner Prairie in Fishers, IN.  We enjoyed everyone else's company for the rest of the weekend.

We have some good news (knock on wood).  We accepted an offer on our house!  We know that nothing is final until the closing, but we are ecstatic about possibly putting a major hurdle behind us.  

We will not be doing anything too exciting until Labor Day weekend and another kayak trip with the Gemmers, so the blogs may be infrequent and probably not too interesting for a while. Keep with us, though, because we will have a lot of good things to report as we continue to enjoy our new lives.