Saturday, August 27, 2011

'11/#39 Busy, Busy, FUN!

Just because we have taken time off from work doesn't mean we are doing nothing. In fact this past week has been just the opposite. After 3 days of non-stop laughing with the kookie sisters, broken up by the wife's day of ultimate stomach misery, we started all over.

Thursday we got up early. Dollywood was having their annual yard sale to support the share it forward program. It is an opportunity to clear out unwanted items & help those in the area that need it the most. Not only did we lighten the trailer we also found some bargains. Mary found boxes of baby clothes & with a new grandbaby on the way she went crazy. All the cute little clothes & at bargain prices... I had to let her have fun. Further on we found more clothes for adults & were able to find some khaki that will be our uniform next year in Cody Wyoming.

After the yard sale we took a ride into Gatlinburg & checked out the Smoky Mountain visitor center. The rangers told us about Roaring Fork Motor Tour Route. This driving tour of what was a farming community in the early 1800's & the preserved homes & farmsteads & trails give an insight into the hard lives these people had. The real reason for us coming here was to see the Grotto Falls. Anyone who knows Mary knows that after pigs & lighthouses she loves waterfalls. If my math is correct that places me at best 4th on her list. I guess I'll have to work harder. Anyway 1.4 miles up the side of the mountain we reached the Grotto Falls. It was quite spectacular as you can see on Mary's FB page. Then there was the walk down. Down is always easier & quicker. Add in all the walking around the other stops on the tour we probably walked at least 4-5 miles. It was an early night that night.

Friday we stayed in & did nothing. It was nice to just rest. I sat around & worked on my wood carving while Mary just relaxed. The wood carving is something that I can do to relax.Well it is back to work for a couple of days & then another week of who knows what kind of fun. This isone of those times when we purposely write our plans in jello. Spontaneity can be so much fun. So goodnight from our home in the Smokys because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

'11/#38 Scratch, Scratch, Scratch

Have not made it to Dollywood yet, darn (note the sarcasm), but it won't be long. We got a last minute call from one of our retired postal worker friends who she said was coming to Pigeon Forge with her sisters & could we get together? Of course! When anyone travels that far & wants to see us we will do our best to accommodate them. Well Daisy is just as crazy as we are & her sisters fit right in. They decided to do a sister road trip & now that I've gotten to know them... well think Thelma & Louise as a trio. Less violence & a whole lot more laughing. We spent the day with them doing the tourist thing & getting discount tickets to the shows they wanted to see. Tomorrow we will all go to Dollywood & laugh some more. These girls are a trip! Everyone is having a blast but the time they are here is going by too quickly.

We sent the girls on to the Dixie Stampede since we had an appointment to have someone check out some light issues we were having on the truck. As we have mentioned in the past we have the best friends. Like before we asked if anyone could make a recommendation to help us out & numerous people came through. Thank you to everyone & especially Jeanne who hooked us up with James. It turned out to be something minor & we were on the road in no time.

Since we now had some extra time & we were close to the interstate we drove over to the Bass Pro Shop. We are not really outdoors sports people but the store has some neat things to see. Mary also needed to stock up on some "varmint" batter mix that she likes from this store. We are not into cooking what we kill but it does work well on fried chicken. We also took some pictures that can only be taken at a place like the Bass Pro Shop. I'm sure some will find their way to Mary's FB page.

Like I said we were near the interstate for the first time in a couple of months. Watching all the cars, trucks, & especially the RVs got us thinking. We have been getting that itch that RVers know as "hitch itch". That feeling when you want to hook up the rig & just head on down the road again. It will be just 6 more weeks when we get to scratch that itch & start heading back south to Florida. We miss the kids & grand kids, & are in need of some grandchildren hugs. The plan is to be back on or about November 1 but like I always say...our house is on wheels & our plans are written in jello. So with those plans in mind I will say goodnight so I can rest up for Dollywood tomorrow in our home in Pigeon Forge because.....

Home is where we park it,

Frank & Mary

Sunday, August 21, 2011

'11/#37 Finding A Balance

In the last blog I talked about the weekend of relief from work. Friends, wood carving, & shopping. The rest of the week was just as good. Most days we didn't even set an alarm clock. We woke & either stayed in or got up to do what we wanted. One whole day was spent on the motorcycles. Mary enjoyed the day but is sure she has made the right decision to give up her bike. While we were out we stopped by the wood carver's & did a little shopping. I won't say how much we spent but it was more than I had planned. Mary told me to get what ever I wanted & I told her that she is done shopping for my birthday & Christmas presents. All I know is the wood chips better start flying! While we were there I introduced Mary to my wood carving instructor. The two of them hit it off at my expense. They had an informal graduation ceremony that you can see here. It was all in good fun!

One day we rode into Gatlinburg for another free Dollywood perk. Ripley's has a first rate aquarium that we wanted to see. It was impressive. Wonderful displays, strange fish, & interactive displays. There were several tanks that could be accessed from below that put you in the middle of all the fish. Of course I had Mary crawl around for those photo ops(check Mary's FB). I also talked here into touching the stingrays. We had taken the kids to Sea World years ago & ....well can you say cluck cluck cluck. This time she "braved up" & I think I actually got the photo. Like the fish tanks there was an access tunnel into the penguin habitat that Mary crawled into. Did I mention that most of the takers on these access were under the age of 13 & shorter than 5 feet. Mary is just a big kid & I love that about her. It helps keep me young.

Well it was back to work for a couple of days & then 5 more days off. I think we have found a balance between work & play. Two days on & 5 days off sounds about right I think. We are starting the 5 day segment & plan on going to Dollywood to check out some of the blue grass bands during Barbeque & Blue Grass weeks. It will be nice to be guests instead of hosts with our discount privileges. I will report back on this later from our home in Pigeon Forge because....

Home is where we park it,

Frank & Mary

Sunday, August 14, 2011

'11#36 Time For Us

Well we survived Dollywood Nights & are now looking forward to some time off. On Friday friends came to visit from GA. This was a good friend of Mary's from work 30 years ago. We spent the day catching up, swapping lies, & just having a good time. We went out for lunch at a restaurant that we had been wanting to try & added a great meal to the day. Linda & John left with promises that we would get together again.

Saturday was my first day at wood carving school. The weather was beautiful so I took the motorcycle to Townsend & left the truck for Mary. Now if you'll remember we have a new grandson on the way so this was Mary's opportunity to do some baby shopping. She has shown remarkable self control but it was time to shop while I tried not to lose any fingers. At the end of the day I could still count to ten & Mary had scored some incredible bargains.

Sunday the weather took a turn for the worse. The motorcycle was not an option so I took the truck for the second day of wood carving. Mary planned on spending the day cleaning the trailer. Again no digits were lost & I did learn some beginning wood carving techniques. I have a new hobby & I've got the Santa figurine to show for my efforts. Mary spent the day going through the trailer collecting stuff to get rid of. Every time some thing new comes in something has to go. Mary buys new & gets rid of my old stuff. I guess that works. Contrary to all my kidding Mary did not get rid of my stuff to make room for her stuff. The rule "one in one out" applies to both of us & we try to stick to it.

We are trying to find a place of honor for my Santa carving & I guess I'll have to get rid of something. Maybe if I give it to Mary she'll have to get rid of something. Hmmmm. Well we will figure it out in our home here in Tennessee because....

Home is where we park it,

Frank & Mary

Sunday, August 7, 2011

'11/#35 Finding Balance & An Old Man In My Mirror

Things are starting to change & my eyes are also opening up to ugly truths. Our hours are starting to get cut back & we aren't dreading going to work so much. I thought it was just the hours but realized something else. I finally figured out who that old man in my mirror is. It's ME! I don't know when it happened, but not only am I not 25 years old any more I am just OLD. I can't just jump into a new job & run with it like I used to. Remember when we could always rely on youth & enthusiasm to get us through that new job period until we actually had learned the ropes & could work smarter & not harder? Well I still have the enthusiasm but the youth part has passed me by. I will have to look at everything differently from recreational activities to new jobs. Pacing ones self is necessary & no longer a euphemism for slacking off. We will not stop working these seasonal jobs because we do not want to become retired rocking chair vegetables. They say that a body at rest stays at rest & a body in motion remains in motion. Well we are going to keep on moving because there is too much to see & do. Beside a moving target is much harder to hit. HA HA!

Anyway we are taking time out for ourselves again & plan on going back to enjoying our stay here in the Smoky Mountains. Mary has a list of shows we are going to see (at discounted DW employee rates), we are going to just ride up into the mountains because we can, & may start a hobby or two. I am taking a wood carving class this week so I will be either cranking out cigar store indians or toothpicks, depending on how well I take to it. Hopefully I will fall somewhere in between. There are a couple of other things we are trying & if they work out we will share later on. Most likely when we get back to Florida. Dollywood nights is this week & we will be working but after that starts Bluegrass & Barbecue. We will be taking some time off to see some of the entertainment & listen to the music. This the home of bluegrass so we expect to hear some of the best.

Let's back up a bit. Last week very dear friends from Indiana came to see us & we treated them to the Dollywood experience. We saw shows, Dolly's museum, & of course the Dixie Stampede. This is the third time to the "Stampede" & we are getting to know all the parts of the show pretty well. We still enjoy the food & especially enjoy seeing our friends & family enjoy themselves also. We will be going again over the next few months but like I said it is the sharing of good times with those we care about that makes it fun. It's also fun to be the "big shot" with the all access passes. So we will be hangin' in the Wood & Stampedin' until we leave.

Well this our one day off before Dollywood Nights & it is dinner time so we are treating ourselves to dinner out. So good night to all from our home in the Smokies because.....

Home is where we park it,
Frank & Mary