Personal Boundaries

It’s been a tough time for me lately. I’ve had to set some personal boundaries and step back from a friendship.  It was really really difficult for me to get to this point because I knew how much it would hurt the other person. I had to remind myself  (many times) that my mental health was a priority and I needed to take care of me first. And while I am sad it came to this, I am most grateful my life has returned to a much more peaceful state.  I pray for peace in her life too. And I hope she knows that I still love her, even though I need to distance myself.

Different people have different requirements for personal boundaries. For me, a big personal boundary comes in communicating. I’m not one for mindless chatter, long-winded conversations or texts. I don’t like talking on the telephone, mainly because I have a hard time hearing if there is any background noise on my end. I don’t enjoy gossip or drama. I don’t want to know all your deepest, darkest secrets. It doesn’t matter to me what you look like, how much money you make or spend, what you do/or don’t do to earn that money. If I like you, I like you! I usually say what I think, and sometimes that gets me in trouble. (I continue to work on that, with success sometimes!) I’m really good with quiet and solitude. Dave and I can sit here peacefully for hours and both of us are perfectly content.

Were it not for our children and grandchild (texts, video chats, some phone conversations) Dave and I would probably be fine with leaving our phones turned off most of the time. Too much talk/text makes me feel like I’m overwhelmed and suffocating. I think that’s what happens on Facebook too – overload!! Life just gets too “people-y” sometimes, and I need some alone time. I even like to get up early, before Dave or anyone else we happen to be around, and start my day enjoying quiet time.

How I feel when I wake up early in the morning and every one else is still sleeping.

But I also enjoy walking around the neighborhood/campground striking up conversations with people I meet along the way. I enjoy the friendly banter when we play Mexican Train with camping friends, when I walk with friends or my daughter. I like simple, honest conversations. Quiet nights around a campfire. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with just keeping life simple.

Options

We spend some time each day discussing what we’d like to do next summer, and weighing the pros and cons of staying here vs. finding a seasonal site in another campground vs. doing some traveling next year.  So far, the one thing that we keep coming back to is that if we leave here it’s most likely final – this site will be snatched up in no time. This has become quite a popular place. The discussions will continue throughout the season, I’m sure.

We took a ride to Connecticut and checked out 5 campgrounds. Nickerson’s Family Campground along the Natchaug River in Chaplin, CT was the nicest of them all.  They have grassy, full hookup sites of decent size. We were told we would be guaranteed a site in a specific row, but the email we received says something different…. so we’ll see.  I keep thinking how nice and relaxing it might be to lounge on my float in that river. But it might be very busy too, since tubing down the river is a popular past time in that area.  (There are 2 more campgrounds upstream, but they were not as nice.)

It’s also about 20 miles to the nearest grocery store and about an hour away from Laura, Matt & Emma. Emma has already hit that stage in life where she’d rather be with her friends than with Nana and Papa. She’s had several friends here each of the past 2 years, that doesn’t seem to be the case this year, so we definitely understand. But it’s still nice to be close enough for a spur of the moment visit, to be able to meet Laura for early morning runs, watch basketball practice etc.

On the way home, we looked for Frog Rock and were so surprised to see the improvements! It used to be just a rock that looked kind of like a frog, but now it’s been painted and there is an antique shop and a snack bar where you can get anything from ice cream to lobster rolls. They also have concerts there quite often. Dave had a nice chat with the owner, who says the place is a goldmine. Nice!

Frog Rock

We also passed by the highest point in Rhode Island.

It’s interesting how Dave will come to me and say something that I was just that moment thinking about myself – or vice versa. It happened again this morning. I was washing the breakfast dishes and pondering some options for next summer when Dave came in and said, “Why don’t we just keep this site next year, but do some traveling as well?” I WAS JUST THINKING THE SAME DARN THING!! I guess that’s what happens when one spends 40 years with someone, huh? LOL

Isn’t it nice to have options? 

The Search Is On

Here I sit in the parking lot of the commissary at NSB New London while Dave does some grocery shopping.  Samson is resting in the backseat. It’s a beautiful day, high 70s, and a nice breeze to keep us cool as we wait.

We’ve spent the morning visiting RV parks, trying to find a new spot to land next summer season. There has been so much chatter on RV pages about all the RVs being sold due to the pandemic, but surprisingly the places we’ve visited so far are maybe at around 50% capacity today, if that.  Hmmm…. maybe they are all just weekend campers or won’t be vacationing until July/August?

It’s so nice to be 10 minutes away from Laura, Matt & Emma, so why are we looking? Well, we are concerned about the lack of adequate electrical service where we currently camp. It’s been in the mid 80s and humid already, so air conditioning has been needed. In order to turn our smaller a/c on though, we’ve had to shut off EVERYTHING else and switch the refrigerator over to run on propane. We supposedly have a 30 amp spot, so this should not be an issue.  Even without the air conditioner running, we sometimes have an issue. And it isn’t always an issue – it fluctuates.  And every single seasonal site is filled this year, so it won’t get any better.  Dave spoke with the camp director and was told they are well aware of the issue, but it’s too expensive to fix – they’d do away with the campground before spending that kind of money to fix it. He told Dave some people fried their air conditioner due to the power issues. Wow. Again, very glad we spent the money on a good surge protector.

And this year the waterfront is VERY crowded, so we’re mostly avoiding it. Social distancing can be difficult. And summer camp hasn’t even started yet. There will be close to 200 children a day added to the mix when camp starts on the 29th – and somehow they have to keep them in separate small groups and separate from the members at the beach.  Fun times.

Not sure where we’ll end up next year, maybe someplace in a different part of the USA. Time will tell. But we’ve decided, since this camper is our full time home, we want to get back to full hookups and 50amp electrical service again.  The search is on!

In the meantime, we plan to enjoy this summer with our family. Laura and I continue to meet for early morning time on the Coventry HS track. I am thrilled to be able to run the straightaways of the track and just walk the curved areas – me, who until maybe a year or two ago would say I’d only run if something was chasing me. Laura tells me my form has improved.  I hadn’t really thought about “my form” at all, but good to know! What I do know is that I’m really enjoying this.  Go figure.

Emma comes to visit with us, sometimes spending the night. We go to visit Laura and play cards or other games while Matt is golfing. Samson loves to be free in their backyard, chasing his ball. Sometimes we gather for supper.  In another month, Paul will be in the campsite diagonally across from us – until mid October. It’s been a really, really long time since our family has all been in the same zip code! (And it was this very zip code!) Going to be so nice to be together for a while again.

Smores!
Haircut time!

Emma asked me to share pictures of her basement tent with you all.  I was told one room is the bedroom; the other room is the Netflix watching room (Dave suggested bedroom and living room, which Emma thought was a great idea!)

Bedroom
Netflix watching area/livingroom
Emma’s Tent

Last week, Emma and members of her basketball team started meeting here at Camp Westwood for some fun practice time. Nice to be able to walk down the path and spend an hour watching them one evening a week!

Emma taking a shot

I’ll end with this: PLEASE be considerate of others and wear your masks!!  Every campground office we visited today was closed, but someone did come out to speak with us. Everywhere we went in Connecticut there were signs displayed saying masks were required. As Aunt Ruthie would say, “Good on you!” 

This Week In Review

Samson was exhausted after visiting his friends at ProGroomers for a much needed bath on Monday!

I spent a lot of time this week nursing shin splints I brought with me from Florida. I was hoping they would just go away during our travels to RI. Or maybe if I just ignored them? But nope! So, while I was enjoying the weekend walk/run time on the Coventry HS track with Laura, I had to give it a rest. I’m feeling much better after a week of rest, ice, and the discovery of compression socks, so I joined Laura at 5:20am today to ease back into a routine.  Came home and applied ice – no pain! Woohoo! I will take it easy for a while though.

Catching a glimpse of wildlife makes these early morning outings even more worthwhile. Last weekend, Laura and I saw 2 rabbits and a deer as we walked. Today, Laura spotted a bunny. I saw a fox and a deer while driving home. Makes me want to go back to waking up early every day. Samson and I used to see deer all the time during our early morning walks here at camp.

Emma has visited a few times and we’ve been working on our tent making skills.

She also taught us her favorite card game – “Garbage.” She and Dave beat me every time!!

We tried making ice cream in mason jars. Emma and Sabrina had a giggly good time shaking the cream, sugar, vanilla, and salt mixture for 5 minutes. The end result was kind of weird though, so we’ll ditch that recipe and try some others I’ve collected.

Dave took Emma and Sabrina down to the lake while I relaxed in my recliner with ice on my shin.

Dave spotted this insect the other day – any idea what it is? I had to go online and research it. Discovered it is called a Crane fly and completely harmless.

We also spotted this butterfly – another research project for me. It’s a Red Spotted Purple.

Nine lives and Lost lives:

We thought Audrey was on her way out once again, but she apparently just used up another of her 9 lives..She appears to be just fine now – just another “cold.” Sadly though, her Pug friend, Bubba, crossed the Rainbow Bridge last week. Bubba would always want to come in the camper and go look for Audrey.  We’ll all miss you Bubba!

We continue to keep our outings limited to laundromat and grocery stores. And visits to Laura’s house. We never really went out much anyway, so no real change for us. We continue to wear masks and are grateful that most others do too.

I did play Rummikub with my camp neighbor, Elaine, yesterday. She and Robert joined us for a campfire last night also. Just being mindful of distance and hand washing and keeping our hands away from our faces.

Out of Quarantine

Last Friday Dave and I entered the world again: I went to Lakeside Laundromat; Dave went to Walmart. Neither was a particularly fun experience, though I’d say I definitely got the better deal.

Dave tells me there were still lots of empty shelves in Walmart, and no napkins to be found. I thought hoarding of paper goods was a thing of the past, but guess not. The store was busy, however, people were respectfully socially distant and wearing masks. Much better than our last visit to Walmart in Jacksonville!

Emma came to visit us Saturday morning and added some beads to my hair.

Saturday afternoon we got to go visit Matt, Laura, and Emma!! Samson had fun running around the backyard and enjoyed the cool shade and soft grass. Dave and I enjoyed visiting with Matt, Laura, and Emma. We had fun playing Gin and Rummy 500 with Laura, and were treated to a delicious steak dinner out on the deck. And as we were leaving, we HUGGED!!! We decided the benefits of hugging outweighed the risks.

Emma spent Sunday night with us and we enjoyed a lot of time in the kitchen on Monday. We made blueberry pancakes for breakfast, then tried a couple of recipes from her cookbook: Sesame noodles and chocolate cupcakes. Both were delicious! And cutting the recipes down in size made for a lesson in fractions. Looking forward to more cooking adventures later this week.

This is probably where the changes to our lives end:  Shopping for necessities and adding Matt, Laura, and Emma to our circle of very close contacts (besides just us two.) We can still chat with our friends here at camp (still no visitors allowed, unfortunately) and enjoy campfires together while keeping the socially distant 6’ or more. But we just aren’t comfortable adding more quite yet.  Masks will be worn when near others, but we’ll mostly just keep to ourselves.

Unless the world gets turned upside down once again, our plans for fall/winter have been made. Making those travel plans and reservations gave me something to do while in quarantine. We’re trying something new this season and will be spending about 5 months in an RV park near Dave’s sister and brother-in-law in Port Charlotte, FL.  We’ll miss all our friends in Osprey Cove, but will be nice to be near family for a while. Just praying it isn’t too hot down there!

Current situation: Watching the guy from Sullivan Tire replace all the tires on the camper.

Once he’s done, I think Dave is going to hang up his “Gone Fishing” sign and head down to the lake. He’s got a new fishing pole to try out.

Be happy, y’all!

Quarantine Musings

Well, here we are in Day 8 of our 14-day quarantine. The weather has been cool at night, but warms up nicely during the day. Sunshine and blue skies most days recently. We have been enjoying lots of outside time, even a campfire. It is so very nice to be back!

The campsites are quite large, so even when our neighbors are here, we are a good distance from each other. Fresh air and sunshine makes the quarantine not so hard to handle. And we are allowed to walk Samson, so that bit of exercise helps also. And I’ve been finding hearts and pennies again – lots of love and “In God We Trust” reminders.

We are fortunate to have family and good friends nearby, because we forgot to buy some necessities before arriving. Thanks to Laura for groceries, Doug & Elaine for doing booze runs, and Pat & Terry for masks and firewood. Much appreciated deliveries!  We’re not allowed to have visitors, but it was sure nice to see those folks for a short while.

Dave is happy not to have to wait for the barbershops to open in order to get a haircut and beard trim, though he did tell me Emma gets to do the next haircut.

The lakefront will be open this weekend to members only. The weekend weather isn’t looking too cooperative for time enjoying the beach though, but that’s probably a good thing. 

Here in Rhode Island we are supposed to wear masks when near others, are currently not supposed to have visitors in our campsites, there should be no gatherings of more than 5 socially distanced people, and everyone coming from out of state is supposed to quarantine for 14 days.  Quite likely there will be only a few others joining us in following those rules.

Praying people won’t go crazy this weekend and jeopardize the next phase of reopening RI. We’d like to be able to spend some time with Matt, Laura, and Emma sometime soon! And enjoy an evening campfire with friends. And I think I am having Mexican Train and Rummikub withdrawals! (I know, we can play both with 2 players. Mexican Train is just more fun with others, and Dave doesn’t like Rummikub – but Elaine does!)

Stay safe my friends and family! And please do your part to keep others safe and healthy too.

Go North!

Our travels back and forth between Rhode Island and Florida usually end up being pretty relaxing. We normally take about 2 weeks to make the journey, spending several days at each reserved campsite and some time visiting family  – all planned out 4 – 6 months in advance. And we usually only drive around 250 miles per travel day, so we’re usually off the road before the traffic gets too bad. This worked quite well for the first 2 years of our travels, but not so much this year.

While I did make reservations way in advance and had dates planned to visit family, COVID19 changed everything. No family visits, we stayed in Florida longer due to stay at home orders, campground closures, virus running rampant in areas we planned to visit.

We ended up deciding to just do 4 overnight stays at KOA campgrounds and get from Florida to Rhode Island in 5 days. We still mostly drove about 250 miles a day.

Monday afternoon and overnight we enjoyed the KOA in Santee, SC. Because it was sparsely populated (due to COVID19 travel restrictions) we had a lovely view of Lake Marion to enjoy as we spent the sunny, warm afternoon outside. We weren’t far from I-95 and could watch the traffic go across the bridge – definitely seemed like the usual amount of traffic.

Tuesday we traveled to the KOA in Enfield, NC. Another beautiful afternoon spent outside. Dave and I played some Phase 10, Samson got to enjoy some freedom chasing his ball in the dog park, and Audrey sat by the screen door checking out the new scenery.

Wednesday we arrived in Harrisonburg, VA. We have stayed at this KOA before and enjoyed it. This time we ended up in front of a couple with 4 big dogs. One of the dogs got loose and came to snarl at Samson as we got out of the truck. Not so nice! And those dogs barked at anything that moved.  Thankfully, they brought them inside in the evening and the barking stopped. The family next to them apparently decided that this whole COVID19 thing was not a big deal, because they had at least 15 people over for their young daughters birthday party.  Also, when we arrived and Dave went to open the camper, he complained about trash left on the site. Well, come to find out that “trash” was a cork from a wine bottle left behind by Miranda Lambert. She and her husband spent the previous 2 nights in that very campsite.  That was kind of cool. (Would have been way more cool if we had been next to them while they were camping! We were told they sat around a campfire each night, drinking lots of wine, and Miranda played her guitar and sang.)

Thursday morning had a drizzly start, but by the time we arrived in East Stroudsburg, PA the sun was shining once again. Took longer than expected to get to the KOA because of traffic.  First there was construction, then President Trump was flying into the airport and visiting a factory that makes N95 masks. Thankfully, we were heading in the right direction! All westbound traffic was blocked by police and backed up for miles. Every entrance ramp was closed. There were cars and trucks parked all along the highway waiting for a glimpse of those black limos. This KOA campground was nice, but the sewer connections were spaced far from the electric, water, and cable. We had to move to a different site, and even that one was a challenge, one hose just barely reached and it was a very strange connection. Lots of guinea hens running around in the morning!

Friday was to be our shortest travel day, but ended up being our longest. Partly because we stopped so I could do a little grocery shopping (waited until NY so I could get Sabrett’s!!) to get us through our 14 day quarantine in RI, partly because we sat on the right shoulder of I-84 in NY for 2 hours waiting to have a flat tire changed. Tire pressure monitor paid for itself right there! We were alerted of a fast leak on one of the camper tires and Dave was able to pull over immediately, before the tire actually deflated.  We contacted the company we have emergency road service through and they called and had a NYS trooper dispatched to make sure we were in a safe location, and they contacted a local company to come out and change the tire. We’ve been discussing when we should replace those tires, guess now would be a good time! Very thankful there was no damage to the camper. Also thankful there was a wide enough shoulder along that stretch of interstate.

We finally arrived in Rhode Island (1321 miles!) sometime around 4:30 and headed over to Laura and Matt’s house to pick up a little refrigerator they’ve had sitting in the garage for a while. I was so very sad that I couldn’t hug Emma!! The fridge was a little bigger than we thought and with that flat tire in the truck we had no room for it. So Dave had to break quarantine and go get it this morning. (masks/6 feet distance!) Will be nice not having to buy bags of ice all the time, also nice to have a little more refrigerator space! Thanks, Matt & Laura!

Today we started getting the campsite cleaned up. Dave got to use his new toy – a leaf blower. Took about 2 hours to clear the leaves – I can’t even imagine how many blisters we both would have if we had to rake up all the leaves that were on this site!  But now it’s all clear and we’re partially set up for outdoor living. We’ll get the rest of it set up over the next couple of days – before the rains come again.

Now to get used to the very early sunrises! It was already kind of light when I woke up at 4:45am – craziness! I did manage to go back to sleep until Audrey insisted on food at 7am.

Was an interesting trip, but we’re all glad it is behind us and we look forward to a relaxing 5 months in Rhode Island.

Covid-19

There are many feeling out of sorts with all these Covid-19 restrictions – staying at home except for necessities, wearing cloth face coverings, not being able to eat in restaurants, go to movies, etc. And there are some with great anxiety because of all the uncertainty in life these days. (Although, truth be told, life was always full of uncertainty –  “the best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray” – we just always thought we had it all under control.)  We pray you find peace in this “new normal.”

While we are still hoping RI campgrounds will be allowed to open soon, we have also been looking for other options. We have reservations to get us up to RI, if campgrounds there are allowed to open, but Dave and I are also very fortunate to have multiple offers of a place to stay, whether we need to or just want to.  Not so for others here, and it pains me to hear their anxiety when they talk about not knowing where they will go from here.

So, here we we sit with our fellow camp friends in Osprey Cove RV Park wondering. As of now, all we are told is that the computers are locked down and they can’t make any updates at this time. The system has us all due to leave on or about May 11th, from what I’ve been hearing. There are some here who have homes to return to, but are not ready to head back to areas where the weather is still chilly and Covid-19 is still raging.  Others, like us, live in their RV full time. Many states have closed their campgrounds, while others are allowing them to remain open for people wanting to stay for at least 14 days. It looks like some states are easing up on restrictions, allowing overnight camping, but with no facilities open.  States will pull back immediately if there is an uptick in infections though, so it’s still a bit worrisome for some of us.

This, among other Covid-19 related things, has found me back on Facebook. I have been scouring the RV pages for information about campground openings in various states, reading what experiences people are having with overnight stops during their travels, the base CO had a FB Town Hall meeting that we hoped might provide us with some further information about the campground status. MWR says COVID-19 updates for programs can be found on their FB page, so we check that.

But I no longer lose myself in Facebook nonsense for hours a day. I have specifics I am looking for, check my notifications and messages, respond (maybe), and I’m outta there. But through this, I have come to realize that Facebook is a necessary evil. This is where I learn of both joyous and heartbreaking moments in the lives of our extended families and friends. This is where I learned so many of you are making masks and performing other acts of kindness. This is where I can attend FB Live meetings. This is often the only place I can find the information I am seeking. Websites might not be updated, but Facebook pages usually are. And this is where all those birthday and anniversary reminders are!! (Sorry if I’ve missed yours.)So, don’t be surprised if you see me sharing a few posts every now and again. But don’t expect too much. I’m entirely too busy outside enjoying the fresh air and sunshine, chatting with our neighbors (from a socially acceptable distance), walking with Samson to check on the whereabouts of the alligators, and sometimes our schedules line up and I get a walk in with Betty! And then there are those board games and card games Dave and I enjoy too.  Who has time for Facebook? 

Samson says…

It’s been a while since Nana has allowed me to share my thoughts, but she said life is a bit difficult for some of you humans these days and that maybe hearing from me would brighten your day a little bit. But you could also just go for a walk.  A walk always brightens my day (unless it is raining!)

There are a lot of squirrels here, and there is one that likes to tease me. I don’t know why it keeps teasing me, so I bark at it and I keep trying to catch it, but it runs up the tree too quickly. My rope needs to be just a little longer so I can have a better chance of catching that rascal. But fat chance of that ever happening! Nana just doesn’t get it. For some reason she just gets annoyed when I bark and chase the squirrel and if I do it too much, she makes me stay inside the camper. Sometimes Nana is just no fun!

My buddy, Mike, left!! How could he do that to me?! I walked Nana to their campsite but there was nothing there but the lingering scent of my friends. I’m not really missing Bubba, Bentley, and Zippy too much, because all those dogs want is for Nana to love on them – and I really don’t like to share! Cathy must miss being able to pet me, because I sure miss her.  She’s a nice lady who always makes sure I get a bowl of water and maybe a carrot or two when I visit.

Butch and Shirley took Miss Kitty home. And Tom and Laura took Max and Lola back home too.  I sure don’t miss seeing those darn cats walking around outside! Audrey stays inside, thank heavens. A dog needs a cat free zone and I thought that just meant being outside.  Sadly, I was wrong – until now! Now if only all the other dogs would leave too….. except for my friends, Buddy and Jake. They are fun to play with sometimes.

Nana and Papa have been talking a lot about Ken these past few days. He went somewhere and that made them sad. Ken must have been a special man if Nana and Papa feel so sad because he went somewhere. I don’t like it when they are sad, so I try to get in Nana’s lap and cuddle so she is happy again. Papa thinks I’m a silly dog when I do that, but it sure seems to help.

I hope you all have a cuddly lapdog like me to keep you happy too.

Love,

Samson

Take care

With most of us under orders to stay at home, I am reminded of the importance of “me time.” Please do all you can to ensure you still get at least a few minutes of “me time” daily! Lock the bathroom door and take a nice, warm bath – if you are lucky enough to have a tub! Or just lock the door and meditate/relax/read/take deep breaths for a short while. Take a walk around the perimeter of your house, or around the block, or longer. Throw a load of laundry in the washer and lean against it during the spin cycle, eyes closed – I have found that very relaxing! Give yourself a few minutes alone, doing whatever you find relaxing. But please, be sure to take care of yourself. Stress will only leave you more open to catching this virus because it wears your immune system down. Much love to each of you. Please be well!