Friday, November 28, 2008

It's Official!

Hunter and I are Floridians-at least on paper! We have spent the last few days, except Thanksgiving Day, in and out of a variety of offices filling out a myriad of official documents. At one point we even had to pack up our "home" and drive it to the licensing office so two ladies could go out in the rain and actually copy the vin numbers and mileage from it in order to give us a Florida plate. We are also in the process of acquiring a mail service so our address will be different than our resident address, which is now Hunter's mother's address. It can all be rather confusing but we are happy to have all the details behind us. Although we aren't officially snowbirds, we are enjoying the 70 degree sunshine for the moment, until we head to Alabama for our next MMAP mission project, beginning December 1st.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

"Living on the lot"

The brochure pictures a motorhome nestled among a cluster of tall pines adjacent to a sun drenched lake. Morning breaks with dew covered grass while a roaring campfire warms the hands of a man in his “golden years” watching the sunrise. My thoughts go to his wife who is pictured standing in the open door of the RV. I imagine she is preparing to inform him that flapjacks smothered in maple syrup are on the table. As he enters his retirement home she would refill his coffee mug while the couple sits down to enjoy their breakfast gazing out their kitchen window at the mountains reflected in the blue water. They would sip their fresh orange juice caught up in quiet conversation. With the windows slightly ajar they might even hear a pair of loons calling to their young and an occasional woodpecker tapping out the day’s rhythms. Yes, THIS is what I want!
Retiring, buying our motorhome, and entering the world of full-time RVers was the first step toward realizing the dream of flipping those flapjacks beside that lake. After seven months am I any closer to this ideal scene? NO. In theory, I haven’t left the dealership parking lot! Let me explain.
Since June of this year we have been in and out of RV maintenance bays three times. On the surface that doesn’t seem to be excessive except consider the fact that when we entered the maintenance buildings our vehicle didn't leave for an average of two-three weeks and in one case over a month! What’s the problem you ask? After all, didn’t you purchase a NEW RV? The answer is yes! The problem is a combination of many things; one being the lack of parts on hand and the snail pace of receiving them when ordered. There are also various types of communication breakdowns. In addition when we arrive to pick the vehicle up, we end up actually living in our RV on the lot because all of the repairs are not complete to our satisfaction. The Country Coach, which we bought, has the following byline printed on all of its advertisements: The World’s Finest Motorcoaches. Pity those who purchase “the world’s average motorcoaches”! This company should have a brochure picturing the following scene.
The sun peeks over the roof of the RV dealership streaming into the window of a motor home which is parked under an awning on hard, cold cement. The couple inside wakes to the sounds of 18 wheelers roaring down interstate 40 and the 60s music being broadcast from speakers located on the lot entertaining “shoppers”. Eating their cold cereal at the breakfast table they can see from their kitchen window into the office of a sales manager as he makes his morning calls. People meander around the lot going into and out of various RVs for sale. The couple, whose residence is next to the showroom, hope no one is interested in their rig. If they open the door they'll find the occupants in their pjs. Once dressed their day consists of setting up a laptop at a table in the showroom catching up on e-mails while drinking machine coffee and waiting for news concerning the status of the maintenance on their motor home.
My advice to anyone buying a Country Coach? Memorize the address of your dealership so you can send it to friends and plan to spend your first year living on the lot!

Maybe we should upgrade. What do you think?

Monday, November 10, 2008

"things to do, places to go, people to see."

"things to do..."
Recently, I had the opportunity to participate in a wonderful project held at my Mom and sister's church. I helped to assemble food packages amounting to over a million meals! The program is called Kids Against Hunger. It is a volunteer-driven effort to package and distribute humanitarian relief where crisis has struck and there is immediate need. Kids Against Hunger is a short-term hunger solution.

I worked two different 2 hour shifts. It is amazing how fast an organized assembly line operation can function. During the first shift 10 tables of 10 people each were able to complete enough packages to feed over 30,000 people! When I worked at a table with some younger volunteers (ages 7 and up) the final count wasn't as big but the laughter was abundant! Kids were getting a taste of the joy of volunteering.

Checkout the website to view a sample packet of food and the photos below for a view of the operation. If ever you hear of a satellite church or other organization taking on this project please join in the effort. You'll be blessed!!

"places to go"
The U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama is a great place for a day's visit. It features more than 1,500 artifacts representing our nation's achievements in space exploration. The Saturn V Exhibit was awesome. You felt dwarfed by the sheer size of the rocket which carried men into space. In another level of the museum you could try your hand at "landing" the shuttle. Thankfully that is not my job since I crashed it every time! Hunter attempted the rock climbing wall and Becky "pretended" she was putting on the jet propulsion pack. Education mixed with fun-can't beat it!

"people to see"

A tour group at the Jack Daniel's Factory. Can you find us? We didn't even have a sample!

Saving the best until last-an adorable smile on a walking one year old!