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Weeks 21 - 24 (May 21, 2005 - June 17, 2005)

Week 21

Saturday, May 21, 2005
More Toys

Man, my short term memory fades quickly when I am trying to remember what happens each day for journal purposes. On Friday after the meeting with the insurance guy, Linda and I went to our local Camping World to pick up some basic supplies. In addition to our basic supplies, we came home with a folding picnic table and bench set, a table-top propane grill, a steel folding stand for the grill, and some little plastic things that mount on the inside of cabinets to hold spices or canned goods. I keep saying that something has to go for every new thing bought. I'm not getting my way on that just yet.

Linda had her heart set on grilled barbecue pork chops for Friday night. So I began assembly of the grill. Just our luck. The very first part we needed and a very important part, the burner assembly, was missing from the box. I should have been suspicious when the first thing that fell out of the box was a piece of paper that said "If any parts are missing, do not return this item to the store. Call the 800 number." So she did not get her flame grilled chops, but had to settle for George Foreman grilled chops. They were good, but not quite the same. Hopefully, the burner assembly won't take 12 weeks to ship.

Saturday morning I played golf. Apparently I am the only human that has not watched all of the movie Christmas Vacation. The guys at the club are adamant about me buying the DVD because of the RV related scenes. They say it is not nearly as much fun teasing me if I don't know what they are talking about. Something about blue bathrobes and other quotable scenes. And they have started calling me "Cuzzin Howard."

After golf I didn't tell Linda I was going shopping myself. I did call and tell her that I was going to look for some new sandals, but I did not tell her my ulterior motive was to acquire my stock of fishing equipment for the journey.

After taking an hour and visiting a dozen stores in the mall, I returned to the first store and bought a pair of Merrell sandals. Our hiking boots are Merrells, and we have come to respect the quality and comfort of their products. Then I left the mall to go to our local fising experts at Bullfrog Creek.

I walked in and told the young man our plans. Our story just makes people want to help us, and he indeed was very helpful. I told him I wanted a fly rod set-up and a bait-casting or spin-casting set-up that would be flexible enough for almost any situation I might encounter across the nation.

The guys in this store could have sold me so much stuff, but they were very particular in what I needed. They picked out very specific lures out of the thousands they had in stock. They asked me questions, rigged up reels, and generally made it easy for me. The total bill was not cheap, but it could have been a lot worse if not for their careful approach. These are the type of people that I like to do business with. If you are ever in Louisville and you need fishing equipment or advice, visit the guys at Bullfrog Creek.

When I returned to the truck after loading up, I had missed a few calls from Linda. When I called her, she said "So, do you have a new fishing rod?" How does she do that?

Finally, we have decided to have a huge party just before we hit the road. My birthday is Friday, July 29 and that day will also be my last official day of work. Our plan is to be on the road the following week. So on Saturday, July 30 we are going to hold a combination birthday/retirement/bon voyage party at the farm. Just about everyone we have ever known will be invited to celebrate with us and get a chance to check out our new home before it rolls out of town.

This is probably an undertaking we don't need just before we leave, but I think everyone has kind of wondered what it would be like to attend their own funeral or wake. This might be a similar experience without having to go through that unpleasant dying thing. If you are in the area, you are invited too!

Sunday, May 22, 2005
A Quiet Farm Day

Instead of golf today, I hung around the farm. Linda and I helped my Mom clean out a flower bed, and I did some pruning. Since we announced our bon voyage party at the farm, cleaning up the yard has become a priority. The farm is about seven acres (down from twelve as they just sold five) and my Mom has planted what seems like a hundred flower beds. Unfortunately, she is not in the kind of health necessary to tend to all of them and they have gotten a bit overgrown. However, her pride will not let them just stay that way if a couple hundred people are coming over.

Around noon Linda headed into the office to do some training. While she was getting ready, we discovered that I had been pruning poison ivy out of one of the flowering bushes. YIKES! I am highly allergic, so my yard work for the day was done and I headed inside for a shower and scrub.

After the shower I got out the camera and started taking shots of the beautiful blooms all around. I then headed to the pond and took more shots of birds until my battery expired. I retrieved a new battery and rigged up my new fishing pole.

Back at the pond I caught a couple of really small bluegill as I practiced casting. I have never used on open face spinning reel, and though I consider myself pretty deft, I struggled getting the hang of casting and retrieving without getting backlash. I'm sure I'll get it down, but I got tired of that and finished out the day taking more photos and watching birds with Linda.

In the evening, we got Linda's Bird & Wildlife Journal page set up. We set up a template entry and I showed her how to update the journal. We both decided that it will have a much better effect with photos, so we are working on deciding how to include the best photos without killing visitor download speeds. Like everything else, we will figure that out, too. In the meantime, check out her journal by clicking on the Navigation bar.

Monday, May 23, 2005

First thing this morning we took the F450 back to the dealership. There were a couple of paint chips that they were going to fix. But they told us to go ahead and get the hitch installed and they would touch up everything. So today was the day for that.

In the afternoon I headed to the doctor to get treatment for the poison ivy. I have learned that my reactions are severe, the rash pops up days later, and my misery lasts for too long. I tried to get the doctor to give me an injection which usually clears me up quicker. But he was sure that was overtreatment and would only give me prescriptions for a topical lotion and oral medication. We will see how that goes as long as my eyes don't swell shut.

In the evening we dumped our gray and black tanks and flushed the black tank. In the course of that we discovered the pressure valve on the water heater was dripping. In reading the manual we determined the dripping was normal. The pressure relief valve was doing its job. We still can't figure out how to adjust the water heater temperature. The manual was mute. I finally concluded that the manufacturer tried to make the rig so "idiot proof" that they did not allow for such adjustments.

Well another great dinner by Linda and another day down as we move closer and closer to blast off.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005 and Wednesday, May 25, 2005
Another Business Trip

Tuesday and Wednesday I had to be in the Tampa area for another meeting and Linda did not have much going on at home. While waiting at the airport, I drafted an invitation for our big retirement and bon voyage bash. And our missing part from our new grill came in. Those nice folks threw in a small portable grilling tools set for our trouble.

The only other thing happening is that we are working on making sure all credit card accounts (we never carry any balances) are closed. I am also checking balances on frequent flyer accounts and frequent hotel stay accounts to see if I can convert those balances into anything useful for the road. It would be nice to just let those balances hang around, but I am sure we will lose them one way or another over time.

Other than that, my poison ivy from Sunday has spread as predicted, even with the cream and pills, and it's driving me crazy.

By the way, I have set up the photos I took Sunday of the Payne farm as a new gallery on smugmug. There are some pretty good flower and bird shots, so Click Here to check it out.

Thursday, May 26, 2005 and Friday, May 27, 2005
Computer Issues & The Truck

Wednesday night we decided to try to tackle a couple of computer issues we have had for a few months. When we set up our laptop originally a couple of years back, Linda was going to run a small travel agency out of the house. So we set our system up so that we could log on as separate users, which now is just a pain. Also, when we got infiltrated by spyware earlier in the year (when I let our protections lapse), we lost our sound somehow. The sound is not something that was really necessary, so we just lived without it.

I started making calls to Dell support. Thursday night I spent three hours on the phone trying to get these issues resolved. We tested the sound card and found that it was working fine, so it appeared there was a problem with the operating system. Dell was going to call me back at 7:00 pm sharp on Friday night.

Of course, by 7:30 I had no call, so I called and got a second tech. After two more hours, we finally determined the operating system would have to be reinstalled. I knew that wasn't good, but I was waiting for the bells and whistles warnings from the tech to tell us exactly how to get all our data backed up for easy reinstallation. That never happened, and dopey me just went along and started the reinstall. The tech was going to call me back around 11:00 pm. Of course that call never came either, but after going through all the system prompts we had sound again. However, I knew everything else was gone.

Fortunately, there is very little that I have to re-construct. I was trying to look at the positive side. By default we were able to consolidate into one user and we got rid of a lot of programs and other junk causing slow performance. But I just kept thinking how stupid I was, and that we have gone through all this just to have sound back. We will see how I feel on Saturday.

Real quick I will give you the Thursday Weight Watcher update. Linda lost another 1.4 pounds (9.8 total), and I went up three. I actually exercised on the business trip and ate reasonably, so I can only chalk it up to my poison ivy medication. I know you are thinking "likely story," but I'm stickiing to it.

After Weight Watchers, we picked up the Pick-up from its stint getting the paint touched up. It looks great. I think we need to go ahead and get a bed liner put in to deter car cancer (rust). The dealer said they can do a spray-on liner for about $275. Sounds good to me - I have no clue as usual. Well sleep tight and I will try not to lay awake thinking about techno geeks with heavy accents laughing at my expense.

Week 22

Saturday, May 28, 2005
A Pretty Good Day

The day did not start off very good. I started early on the phone with my third Dell techie. We did eventually get a lot of software reinstalled and made sure the basics were working. Then I got all my McAfee protection programs reinstalled and our email accounts re-established. It took all of a beautiful day to do it, but I just couldn't enjoy being outside knowing I had all that work hanging over me the rest of the long weekend.

I actually took the time to make sure our other laptop was set up for email and internet access as well. So at least we now have a backup plan and we can both be working or playing at the same time.

I finally got into the shower and lathered up with all my poison ivy cream. I think the worst is over, but I still am getting the little bubbles popping up in strange places. All my life my mother has said my worst moments have been when I have had poisin ivy. She says the pills make me mean or at least cranky. I have to admit that I have been a little cranky this week, but I'm not sure whether it is from medication or just having to deal with the itching and misery.

But Saturday was a beautiful day and Linda brought home two small bacon-wrapped beef filets. So I finished putting together our little mini-grill (now that we had received the missing burner assembly), and threw those puppies on the fire. Linda split a baked potato for us and added an ear of corn each. Those little filets cooked for twenty minutes and were perfect. Wow, was that a good finish to the day! And we are starting to get the hang of this budget shopping thing - $2.99 for one of the best steaks I've put in my mouth in a long time. I feel a good night's sleep coming on.

Sunday, May 29, 2005
A Visitor & Our First Dinner Party

Sunday morning we decided to clean the "house." Well, Linda decided to clean, and I decided to do what she told me. Of course, I am a guy and the place looked fine to me.

This was the first thorough cleaning and took only about an hour. The only glitch was when I was standing with the door open taking the central vac hoses to the basement. A small bird flew right by me and right into the kitchen. It hit the refrigerator, pooped all over the newly cleaned floor and then tried to fly out the rear window. Linda was screaming. I knew she was concerned about the bird's safety, but her words were more about making sure it did not mess up her newly cleaned home.

I finally trapped it with a towel and discovered our little visitor was a House Wren. Who knows why it flew inside - I guess he just wanted to spice up a boring cleaning story for you. I let him go, he flew off apparently healthy, and Linda re-cleaned the kitchen. Even with the brief delay, our thorough cleaning only took about an hour - good to know.

Then I got the idea to grill our Sunday evening. I wanted to get out our new grill, our new little picnic table and benches, and all our comfortable chairs for after dinner. I wanted to get the feel for how our campsite might look and how easy it would be to get everything out and put it all back. So I invited my folks for dinner. Here are the photos of our set-up on the farm ready for dinner.

Monday, May 30, 2005
Memorial Day & Yard Sale Preparations

I wanted to start this entry with a toast to all those in our lives that have passed on and to the brave men and women throughout time that have fought for our country and our freedom. In Memory of you all!

This morning we transported yard sale goods from Linda's mom's house to the farm. The Yard Sale is this coming Thursday - Saturday. And if we don't get rid of everything then, Linda's mom's subdivision is having a sale the following weekend. After these two weekends and one trip in June to her sister's in Jacksonville, all of our stuff should be either gone, stored in its proper location, or in the rig.

We put up a couple of shelters to cover yard sale tables in case it rains and I worked on my mom's donated computer. It looks like I am going to have to order a new modem, but I did manage to get her online long enough to set up an email account and show her how to navigate a little.

Then a buddy of mine called and wanted to play golf. Good timing. I hadn't played this weekend and it was good to get out.

By this time on Monday afternoon, I had not received any emails through the website since about noon on Saturday. I was not having any luck on this holiday weekend getting any answers, but it seemed awfully strange that I did not have one single email in two days. I still am not convinced that some of your emails are not floating out there in cyberspace, but I did start getting emails again about 4:30 pm on Monday afternoon. Please let me know if you sent anything Saturday through Monday. Also, I respond to every single email I receive, so also let me know if you have not received a response to anything you have sent, so I can troubleshoot everything once and for all.

Hope you had a great long weekend! Or just another three days for you lucky full-timers already on the road!

Tuesday, May 31, 2005 through Thursday, June 2, 2005
Yard Sale Prep

I believe I have my computer issues worked out - finally. Thanks to those who responded to my plea for prior emails and contacts.

Tuesday and Wednesday were taken up with work and getting ready for the yard sale on Thursday. Booooorrrrriiiing. The yard sale got off to a rainy but fairly successful start on Thursday.

Thursday Weight Watchers Update: Linda lost another pound for a total of 10.8. She is a lifetime member, so she has now reached the goal she needed to be able to go to meetings and weigh-ins without the weekly fee. I came back strong from the disappointment of gaining three pounds last week. This week I lost those three plus another three, so I am down 18.6 since we started the Core Plan program. We will be having our lab work and exams for our health insurance soon, so we are hoping that our efforts will pay off in the short term for that. As for the long term, we just know we are setting the stage for better health.

On another topic, one thing that Linda and I have been discussing is the volunteer work we want to do on the road. I believe I have mentioned this before, but our idea is to do at least one day of volunteer work in each community near the campgrounds we stay in (as long as we are there for at least a week).

Linda has big ideas on how we can expand our gesture through publicity. Her thought is to call the local chamber of commerce and inquire about volunteer opportunities. She believes that others will join us around the country, and the chambers will use the opportunity to enlist other volunteers for their projects. It is just one of the little things we want to do to make a difference and gain our own sense of satisfaction and fulfillment. We will see where it goes.

I told you these three days were pretty boring, so I'll sign off before you nod off.

Friday, June 3, 2005
Taking Time For Friends

Thursday evening after my journal post I looked up an old friend and gave him a call. It has been a few years since we have spoken, but we have gotten a Christmas card from him every year for as long as I can remember. He's a great guy and I have no good excuse for not staying in touch. But it was nice chatting and being able to really start to devote more effort to friends and family.

Friday afternoon I had lunch with another long-time friend. It was a really crazy day at the office with people getting crazy about their closings. One couple threatened to sue everyone involved over their $7,500 tropical fish collection. But even with the nuts we have to deal with, it was important to meet with my friend at lunch. We have known he and his wife for several years, but we haven't spoken since last fall. I won't get into the reasons; just suffice it to say that Linda and I have missed their friendship and I was glad to have the opportunity to re-build our relationship.

To finish off the day, I had to drive an hour to do a 6:00 pm closing. It was not exactly how I had planned to spend my Friday night.

Oh well - less than two months to go.

Week 23

Saturday, June 4, 2005
Wrapping Up The Yard Sale

I played golf early Saturday morning while Linda and my mother manned the yard sale. They said Friday was awful and they did not have high expectations for Saturday.

However, things picked up a little after I got home. While I installed a new modem in my parents' new computer, people kept coming. By the end of the day, my parents' phone and computer modem were working properly and they had internet access. Also, the yard sale netted about $1,100 total with about $400 going to us. But there was still a lot of stuff that needed to go. I guess we will load all that up and take it to Linda's mom's house since their neighborhood is having a community sale next weekend.

After using our new mini-grill to cook a couple of pork chops, we found that our satellite internet connection was not working. We had DirecTV, but not our ISP connection. I tried a few troubleshooting tips, but had no luck. Maybe it will work Sunday morning. I think I'll sleep on it.

Sunday, June 5, 2005
Another Dinner Party

When I got up, the satellite connection was still not up and running. I tried another tweak without success and headed to the golf course.

I won't ramble on about golf, but I shot my first ever under par nine holes. That was a big deal for me. However, I couldn't keep it going and my back nine was horrible. But never-the-less, it was great to confirm that I do have some potential.

Once I got home, we had to hustle. Linda had prepared all our remaining yard sale items to be transported to her mom's. We had guests coming for dinner in just three hours, so we had to execute our game plan perfectly. Plus it is HOT! Over 90 humid degrees today. Our little box of a home did not stay very cool, but we managed.

We completed our plan and had a wonderul dinner and a very pleasant visit with three friends from Linda's high school class. It is evenings like this, sitting outside just sharing the company of others, that we cannot wait for. Only 55 days to go!

P.S. I did get the satellite up and running this afternoon. I think it may have shut down due to the heat in the cabinet where the receiver is stored. After opening up the cabinet for a while, powering down, and re-starting, everything worked fine.

Monday, June 6, 2005
Nothing Special Today - Just Another Great Grilled Out Meal

Work is really a chore these days. I am trying to do pieces of about eight different jobs, and there are not enough hours in the day to make everyone happy. Only 54 more days!

Last night we grilled a lemon pepper marinated pork loin for our guests. Tonight we grilled seasoned chicken breasts and added a touch of barbecue sauce. Add that to fresh peas and new potatoes from my parents' garden (shhh! Don't tell anybody), and we had a yummy dinner on our little picnic table.

For dessert, Linda came up with a low fat idea. She put sliced strawberries and bananas in small bowls, added fat free Cool Whip, and placed a few of the new Oreo Crisps in the whipped cream. Then we remembered we had some fresh sliced pineapple in the fridge and she added that too. Wow! It really satisfied the sweet tooth and the Oreo Crisps added just enough chocolate to finish it off. All for one gram of fat per serving - tough to beat that on a hot evening!

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Today is our very happy 19th wedding anniversary. This one really snuck up on me, and I did not plan or prepare very well at all. Although I like to come up with very special plans, I am embarrassed to say that I had nothing for the day. So after doing a little work very early this morning, I decided to spend the rest of the day with Linda (who at least purchased a card for the occasion).

So between answering phone calls and emails from and about work, we managed to meet with an event planner for our bon voyage party. The great ideas were flowing and all I could think about was the fact that we will not have a steady income in a couple of months and "How much is this gonna cost?" But it is going to be a once in a lifetime party and it may be several years before we see some friends and family the next time. Sadly, we may never see many of these people again. So I folded on budget issues.

We spent the rest of the afternoon getting addresses and putting our invitation list together. Not very romantic, but we were together and got many tasks completed.

We had a late lunch at a small Mexican restaurant nearby and the amount of food pretty much killed our plans for a celebratory dinner. So my gift for the day, other than my time (which although appreciated is not really much of a gift), is my expression of love for all the world to see.

So bear with me everyone as I get a little mushy here.

Happy Anniversary Babe. This is our last one before our new great adventure begins. We have done some incredible things together in our 19 years of marriage, and other than renewing our vows on a sailboat at sunset off the coast of Hawaii for our 16th, I cannot think of anything more romantic than we we are about to do. In a couple of months we get to have that time together for more than a week or two and I can't wait. There is no one else that ever could have gotten me to do this and no one else that I could ever imagine embarking on such a journey with. I have said it many times. You are my best friend, my love, and my life. Here's to our next nineteen years following our dreams and enjoying our world and each other. Happy Anniversary to you my beautiful, thoughtful wife - I Love You! H

Wednesday, June 8, 2005
No RV Planning Today

There is truly nothing to report today and I can't even create a good story. Linda and I worked on work until 11:00 pm. No fun at all. Only 52 more days!

Thursday, June 9, 2005
More Work

Tough day at the office today. I can't wait until I can start dealing with rational people on a daily basis. Only 51 more days.

Weight Watchers update: Linda stayed the same with an overall 10 pound loss. I lost a little more and now am over 20 pounds since our first meeting April 9. I am very happy with this new Core Plan!

Every time we get on some plan and lose weight, we say "Now this is an eating program we can live with long-term." Then we never do. But this time ( I here you chuckling), I truly believe we can make this plan stick, especially once we are on the road. We are both stress eaters, so if we can do this while we are still involved in our corporate lives, I do think we will be fine down the road. We will have to see. Catch you later.

Friday, June 10, 2005
Preparing For Yard Sale Number Two

Saturday morning we are having our final yard sale at Linda's mom's patio home. Her subdivision is having a community wide sale for one day only. Hopefully, we can get rid of some more stuff.

It made for another late night trying to get set up. There was lots of stuff, too few tables, and a real threat for rain. Plus, Linda's mother's only brother passed away, and she had to drive to Arkansas early Saturday morning. We called it a night and decided to start extra early on Saturday.

Week 24

Saturday, June 11, 2005
Happy Birthday Mom! Now Get To Work

Yes, June 11 is my Mom's birthday. She and Linda and I were all up at 5:30 am to make sure we were ready for the yard sale early birds that show up an hour before the start. So we got the Happy Birthday message and card done early and headed for the yard sale location. You see, my mother is a yard sale and flea market pro, so when she asked if we needed help, she was quickly included.

We were a little concerned as we were only one of two houses on the street having a yard sale. And this street is completely separate from the rest of the subdivision and has no outlet. But, except for one early lull, we had a crowd all day. When it was all said and done, we had made about $450 and had far fewer things than when we started.

So we closed up shop around 2:00 pm and left the rest of it to take care of on Sunday. And we had to get to Camping World for my mom's birthday present and then home for another dinner for a couple of guests. At Camping World, we were picking up another Olympian mini-grill and grill stand. Since Mom had taken a liking to our little set-up, it was an easy call.

Just an aside regarding this Camping World. When we purchased our RV, we got a one year membership to Camping World's President's Club. The President's Club has "members only" benefits and discounts just like any other club. However, I had to mail in an activation card. I did that many weeks ago, and both times I have been to Camping World since, they have not been able to confirm my membership. Now both times, the Camping World in Clarksville, Indian right across the Ohio River from Louisville, allowed me the discount anyway and the young ladies were extremely helpful. But this last time they did tell me that the "complimentary" memberships given by many dealers often do not get into the system for who knows what reason. So if you join the President's Club via a complimentary membership, you might have to make a couple of extra phone calls and there is no way to get activated online.

After spending 10 minutes figuring out I was not in the system, I got checked out. Then I opened the grill box to make sure all the parts were there. If you remember, last time the burner assembly (a pretty important part) was missing when we opened the box at home. So everything was there and we headed home.

Once at home, we had to get everything ready for dinner and the rain was not cooperating. After assembling the grill in record time and presenting it to Mom (much to her surprise), we got our showers, dumped out tanks (getting to be pretty efficient at that now), and set up for dinner under our main awning.

Our guests for the evening were Jeff and Stephanie. Though Jeff and I have not seen a lot of each other over the past few years, I have considered him my best friend (other than Linda of course) since college at Western Kentucky University in the '80s. And his wife, Stephanie, has been my Executive Assistant for 6 years now. We have been able to keep our business relationship professional and our friendship has grown over those years.

Stephanie brought a great salad, and dinner turned out pretty nice even with the rain. Jeff had not yet seen the Cambridge and I believe he still thinks we're crazy. And being a tennis shoe wearing guy since I've known him (freshman high school basketball), he was a little incovenienced when he had to remove his shoes to enter. After dinner, I suggested two options for dessert - the low fat, wonderful fruit dessert Linda made earlier in the week, or a piece of Mom's chocolate birthday cake. After thinking about it for a millisecond, we headed into my parents' house to get some cake and visit with the folks for a while. They hadn't seen Jeff & Steph for some time, so we had some laughs (and a couple of pieces of cake), before we called it an evening. It was a long, but very good day.

Sunday, June 12, 2005
Parsing Out Of Our Non-Traveling Stuff Is Almost Complete

Hoping to play golf since I need to practive for a tournament next week, I got up early to get in the round before we went to finalize what was left of the yard sale. But the rain and the forecast washed out those plans. So I was starting to feel some creative juices, and decided that today would be spent working on the website except for cleaning up the yard sale stuff.

But, alas, Linda had a different plan. My mother has a particular flower bed that is actually a flower "bed" - literally a bed frame with flowers planted in it. It had gotten overgrown, and Linda wanted to plant petunias in it. So Mom cleaned it out one day while we were at work, and picked up some petunias from a nursery buddy. So Linda asks me this morning if I want to help her plant petunias. After my direct answer of "NO", several minutes later WE were planting petunias.

Then, after finishing off the chocolate cake for lunch, we had to get the remaining yard sale merchandise packed up. We just threw some stuff away, but mostly we separated it into two piles - one to take to Linda's sister in Florida and one to take to Linda's Little Sister's family. I think I have mentioned that Linda is a Big Sister in the local Big Brother/Big Sister program. We sometimes try to help out the family by gathering some things for them, but it tends to embarrass the "Little" sister.

So we delivered several boxes of household goods, and blankets, etc. this afternoon. When the first box went into the little house, the mother shouted "Merry Christmas!" We know they appreciate it very much, even if it is left over yard sale stuff. Yet it is still uncomfortable knowing it embarrasses the little girl. We just have to trust that she uses that embarrassment in a positive way and strives to improve her situation as she grows. I know Linda has been a tremendous influence on her, but her future is still up to her and the choices she makes.

Then we dropped some stuff off with the family that now has our cockatiel Buddy. Linda swears that they are slipping a sedative into Buddy's food. He is calm and becoming the sweet bird he used to be. We are so glad we have found him a good home. And even though Linda was able to love on him like she has not been able to in a long while, she has no more second thoughts about giving him up. With the Spring showers and the hot, humid days we have had, she would constantly be worried about Buddy's health having to keep all the windows closed while we are at the office. She is at peace with her decision, and that's good for all of us.

Now we just have to load up the truck and maybe a U-Haul and make a trip two weeks from now to Jacksonville, FL to Linda's sister's house. Once that is done, we will finally be extraneous-stuff-free. Oh God, please let that be everything!

One more thing for today. There is one more way that you can keep track of our whereabouts. With our Datastorm satellite for internet and TV access, I am a member of the Datastorm Users Group. On their website, there is a map that shows where all the Datastorm Users (that wish to participate) are at any particular time (updated every ten days). You do not have to be a member of the Datastorm Users Group to be able to check out our location on the website. So, you can just click on the link below and look for ID # 2190 Howard Payne. You can send us an email from there or get to this website or you can click on our user ID or name to see our location. If you happen to see we are in your area, drop us an email. We would love to meet you. I will add this link to our Contacts page, so you don't have to come back to the Journal for it. Of course this will be more interesting once we start moving. Take care.

Monday, June 13, 2005 through Friday, June 17, 2005
Mostly Work, But Some Party Planning and RV Organizing

Linda and I have taken over about 100 files in the office so that other staff can manage their workload. It's been a long time since I have actually had my nose in files, but we can do it for another month and a half. Maybe.

The problem in the real estate closing business is that the customers have become so demanding, but they refuse to pay for great service and never take responsibility when delays in closing transactions are due to their own internal understaffing or basic ineptness.

I will probably have to fire a couple of customers before we leave because they simpy are not profitable for the amount of work they require. Though I like what we do, I am so glad to be getting out of this business right now. Most customers are just becoming unreasonable. Only 33 days to go!

Now on to RV stuff. We got invitations out for our Bon Voyage party for July 30 and have already received a number of RSVPs. We sent out a couple of hundred invites so far. The planning is coming together, and we are really looking forward to it.

Also, our event planner has put us in contact with a media specialist who thinks we have a great story. I have sent her a summary of our backgrounds and what we are doing. She says she has contacts all over the country and that she would like to help us get the story out. What a hoot that would be!

Linda has also been working with a space planner to make the use of our storage areas and cabinets as efficient as possible. The space planner, Sunnie, has brought in a cabinet specialist who has lots of great ideas. Before we hit the road, we will be extremely organized which will make Linda extremely happy.

I have reserved a U-Haul trailer for our trip to Florida next weekend to deliver our remaining non-traveling possessions to Linda's sister. But I am not thrilled with U-Haul's customer service. I have called five times during business hours to move our pick-up date up one day. Three times I have been put on hold for fifteen minutes before I finally hung up. Once no one answered, and the other time I was told I would have to call back later because the guy was no where near a computer. If this location was not so convenient, I would cancel with them in a heartbeat.

Weight Watchers Update: I lost another 1.8 pounds for a total of 22 now. Linda, as a lifetime member, only has to weigh in once a month and skipped this week.

Man!! We cannot wait to get on the road!! It will sure make for more interesting reading in the Journal. Well that's it for now. But when Linda reads the entries, she usually points out something I have forgotten - especially when I do these several day summaries - so maybe the week had more to it than I remember. Wink.

Got to Weeks 1 - 4 (January 1, 2005 - January 28, 2005)
Go to Weeks 5 - 8 (January 29, 2005 - February 25, 2005)
Go to Weeks 9 - 12 (February 26, 2005 - March 25, 2005)
Go to Weeks 13 - 16 (March 26, 2005 - April 22, 2005)
Go to Weeks 17 - 20 (April 23, 2005 - May 20, 2005)
Go to Weeks 25 - 28 (June 18, 2005 - July 15, 2005)
Go To Weeks 29 - 30.5 (July 16, 2005 - August 2, 2005)