Sunday, February 27, 2011


This is the portion of the floor that had rotted through-all the way across the top and down the side about an inch in.  We cut a huge square because the floor is all one unit and we needed a large section to secure everything down to.  

This is the bulk of the problem, the floor had buckled and pulled up off the frame, as shown by the sparks flying out of the gap.  The gap went all the way to the door, which pulled up off the camper frame as well, meaning the door would not stay shut. Or set down in the door frame.

 Matt worked as long as he could last night before we had to run in and help break the set for the play.
The Dremel came in handy for cutting off old screws that were in the way of the new floor.

 Back at it this morning, the new piece of floor had to go around the lift system, so Matt's smoothing the notch cut for that.

 It's not a perfect fit, but it works!  We screwed the old and new floors into sections of 2x4's underneath the floor on both sides of the metal frame.  It only added about 4 pounds to the weight.

 We put the cabinet back in and added another piece of wood to help hold it tight to the wall and floor.

We still need to fill the gaps and put down a new floor covering and buy leveling jacks to ensure the camper is level and not pulling on that weakened spot.  The door sits in the door frame now, the floor is on the camper frame and the whole thing has been caulked together and covered in waterproof silicone.  I can't imagine where new water could get in.

I cut the linoleum in every other corner of the camper (all inside cabinets) and drilled small holes into the wood in many spots and poured wood hardener in the holes.  It turns the wood into plastic, making it hard and waterproof.  It works even if the wood is already rotting, which is isn't, thank goodness, but the other front corner feels a little soft in a couple of spots and the side cabinet was leaking back on the Florida trip in 2009 and that wood is dry, but felt a little crumbly.  It won't now.  That wood hardener works wonders.  I REALLY hope this is it, the end of the wood drama in the camper.  One more decent afternoon of work will have the floor finished and sealed.  I am not going to stress much about covering it until I know it's not going to need more work.  I bought a couple throw rugs to use for now.  


Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New Plans

First, I read this poem the other day:


by Marilyn Donnelly

He who
took the steps
by two
now pauses
on each tread
and I
who love him so
am filled
with dread.

Which of course made me squall, as the last time I went fishing with Daddy, he had a hard time  making it up the steps to the van again.

He has since then started working out 90 minutes a day!  He can walk a treadmill and ride a bike 2 miles on each and he's doing some weight training.  : )  I am SO happy about that, and proud.

Thinking about my own impeding demise (the 14th, keep your calendars open) made me realize I DO have something I would really regret.  I have not told either of my parents how I really feel about being who I am. 

I know it sounds crazy, I see Daddy all of the time and barely have contact with my mother at all.  What difference would it make?

I don't know.  But it means something to me to make the effort.  To say the things NOW that I would easily say at a funeral.  That's too late for the person it really matters to and at best serves only to make the ones left behind feel soothed over the loss and also the guilt of not being the one in the box and being a little glad about that.  At least that's how I feel, even if it's not my proudest moment.
Daddy's will be easiest, my feelings for him and for his influence in my life are right on top, they well up when I look at my own kids, when I read a good book, when I have worries.  I can recall so much with my father somewhere in the background, his voice a cadence to my life, reading to me, always reading, even when I could read on my own.  Counseling, talking things through, being steady during the years I careened around bouncing off everything and changing my mind daily.

Mother's...I have tried to reconcile my thoughts and feelings on that before.  Maybe I will have better luck within this distance we have nurtured.  Me on my end ignoring the roots, her sending out hopeful tendrils.  Me, oblivious of the effort.  Or wanting to be.  You can't BE a mother and not have some insight into why they go crazy.  I just wish I had been worth the effort to keep her shit together.  I think that's the bottom line to everything negative I feel about myself.  How can anyone love me if my own mother failed so miserably?  I must really be worthless.

But, I wake up and get up and make the effort each day.  Sometimes I feel like pushing everyone I know into a hole so I don't have to spend any energy on relationships, it's not natural to me.  
I try, though.  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


I have dreamed twice now that I die March 14th.  I am not really sure what that means, but if it's a true omen, I was in bed this morning trying to work out my biggest regrets.

Of course, the kids-I want to see what happens, was unschooling a bad idea in the end?  How does it all work out?  Do they homeschool their own kids?  I also want them to go out west and see more of the country.  Matt can do that with my insurance money.  Someone may have to push this issue in my stead when the time is right.  Say by the...21st of March.

I want to see Jacki again, I would be really bummed to never ever see her again.  Even if she flies up for the funeral, I won't BE there.  (Save your money, J!  You and the girls meet Matt and the kids somewhere out west and throw a rock in a river for me). (And for goodness sake, take a picture of it!)

Mainly, there's just stuff I want to know.  How long will the van run, will the floor repair work on the camper, is Jessie going to be okay-her hips are in BAD shape and she's on meds for it.  I want to know if she gets better.  What happens to Kat in the end?  My bet is she leaves to hunt and never returns.  We notice after a week, maybe two. Do we ever move back to Tennessee?

I will be bummed to have not reached my weight loss goal, but at least I am on the right track and not gaining!  That would be worse, I think. 

There are things I want pictures of.  Places I want to see.  Ideas I have inside me, books I still want to read. 

I can't say there ever won't be, though.  I hope there never is, that I never put my camera down or decide to skip the library one day, that I never wake up one morning and realize nothing is rattling around in my head-no idea, no plans for travel, no random thoughts.

But really, though I still have a great deal of life left (I hope-I am certainly not ready to expire!!), I can't say I have this list of wrongs I hope to right or things I am sorry I have done.  It's all things I still want to do on that list.  That's not a bad feeling.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Cane Creek Canyon NP Take 2

Ben asked all last week when we could go again.  So, we decided to do another hike for today, planning to go to Karen's Falls, which was the furthermost point on the original map at 3.5 miles one way.  They have since added acreage and a second map and there's another point in a different direction that is just about the same distance.  Another day!

Last night, we packed our day packs and I loaded up the new backpacking stove and big pot.  Eep!  The stove is 4 years old, the pot we got yesterday (a whole set!), I had not gotten to use either yet!  Everyone got a ramen instant lunch or a cup of soup that was an 'add boiling water' type and a spork! : )  We tossed in a couple protein bars each and got to bed at a decent time.

This morning I got up and fixed some fruit to take and we had breakfast and hit the road.  The canyon is just at 2 hours from here, we arrived and loaded up and got on the trail by 10:20.  By 10:25, Ben had slid on a rock and slammed his hip and around 10:26, I slipped and busted my ass a good one.  I chipped a tooth.  Good thing I am going back in the first of next month, maybe she can sand it down and take the edge off. 

We fiddled around getting down the trail.  Jake did not go with us last week, so he had to run around looking at everything we had already seen.  We stopped at the waterfalls again, and at the overlook to chat with Dr. Lacefield, the landowner.  Then at the first bridge and at Linden Meadows and then again at the creek in about 6 different places.  It took us 4 hours to get 3.5 miles.  I had another fall and grabbed a thorn tree to stop my slide which bent down far enough to literally nail Ben in the head.  He was asking if I was okay while I was digging through his hair pulling thorns out of his scalp!  My rear-end will be purple tomorrow.  His head seems to be okay.

We got to Karen's Falls and I got the stove out and heated water.  It went SO well, we had picked up a liter of water at Linden Meadows where the Lacefield's keep a stock of fresh water.  I had that boiling in about 4 minutes.  That was enough for the kids and I had their little cuppa soups steeping in no time.   I added a box of corn chowder to the water that was left and got that boiling and poured it in Matt's cup and mine and let those steep.  Ben and Chan split the rest of the chowder. 

I set the stove off to cool and we ate and chatted and drank our water and rested up a little.

I wanted to leave the falls by 3, it was more like 3:30, so we had to make tracks!  We needed to be back to Linden Meadows by 5 because the sunset was at 5:30. 

We walked a steady pace, getting to the Meadows by 4:59.  The kids refilled their bottles and we all had a quick rest before hitting the hill out. 

Down in the canyon, it's fairly flat walking, short hills and a little climbing here and there, but the trail goes by the creek and it's a pleasant hike.  The climb out is steep and there are several routes, none are just ducky.  We opted to take the road out and not the steep trail, I was tired, Zephyr was dragging and the kids were...well, still bouncing around like those balls in a child's popper walker thingy.  The road is wider and not as steep and I rationed would be easier to follow if the sun set while we were out.  Plus, if I fell over from exhaustion, it would be easier to come get me with a mule or maybe the 4x4 woodland scooter they have.

We got to the van at 5:35!  Matt signed us out and returned the maps, we chatted with Dr. Lacefield a little more and hit the road by 6.  We had filled up last night and stopped at the same place to top off tonight and it was $21, so that's how much gas we used-about 7 gallons, pretty cheap for such a great day together!  And that means the van got over 25 miles a gallon!  Go, Nettlevan!

Highlights of the day-Jake standing on a bridge paddling furiously with a hiking stick yelling, "Go swiftly, my cement raft!"  Ben's attempts to locate the origin of nearly every fallen branch we passed.  Zeppie coming totally unglued and barking furiously at Jake, who was hiding behind a rock trying to jump out to scare Matt.  Ben waxing poetic:  "the moon tonight is like a wart in the atmosphere".  Chan was there, she was just really quiet today.

To possibly clear up confusion about where exactly I am talking about using various place names from the preserve, I swiped these first two shots right off their FB page.

Today we started at the parking, went to the waterfalls, point, tree fern cave, down to Linden Meadows, following Cane Creek Trail to Old Beaver Pond around the Fossil Trail through Devil's Hollow past a couple of other falls to Karen's Falls, and then back.

 Click on the map above, it gets bigger.

These two were thick as thieves today.
They filmed 5-6 new segments for 'Child vs Wild'

Matt took this one!

Jake and Chan, having jumped across the creek, now wanted back on our side of things.  They spent a few minutes searching for a route and contemplating drop vs slope vs creek depth/proximity.  Khan can't teach them EVERY formula!

This small dog followed us around all day.
I actually took this shot because it's at the Old Beaver Pond area, near the camping area.

This lichen had fallen off it's stump! 
I picked it up to take a picture and Ben yelled, "RUN!  Mom found a Lycan!  Werewolf, werewolf!"

 I have a thing for cluster trees.  Maybe from all the years of letterboxing.  These and holes were favorite hiding spots for fellow players.

Another trail for another time.

Ben insisted there was a face on the tree.  I think it looks a bit like a preying mantis/deer.