After Wendy left for Denver, I returned to Branson Ridge (formerly Compton Ridge) Campground west of Branson MO. This is the campground where Jeff & I spent the previous two summers, where we hung out as his health deteriorated last year, & where the staff was tremendously helpful teaching me how to manage continuing to live in the Casita by myself. I thought about returning to the exact campsite where Jeff & I were camped -- when he died last year. . .but. . .but. . .it just didn’t feel right. I’ve returned to that site tho while walking Kira, to sit at the picnic table in the covered deck shelter, thinking, reflecting, saying goodbye. It hasn’t been as sad as I expected. I managed to come to terms with various aspects of my time spent with Jeff in my life, & reached a degree of peacefulness instead of simply acceptance.
As my departure date to AZ neared, I happened upon a welder in Springfield who removed the cargo deck at the back of the Casita which housed stuff & two AGM 12v batteries to a simple steel box to house only the batteries. The previous cargo deck was replaced several years ago that housed four (too heavy) 6v batteries, but this 2-year old solution was going to fail sometime soon too. I moved what was left to the pickup or storage unit. I also replaced the icky dirty white spare tire cover. I like the look & ease of this arrangement much better & hope it is much more serviceable.
I’ve bought a few other things, including one of those newer, kink-free, light-weight fresh water hoses & an Anderson leveler, visited with a lot of campers, & eaten out a few times, but for the most part, spent 3 weeks just vegging, finally enjoying some cooler weather & sleeping with the windows open at night. And Kira & have have taken a lot of walks around the campground. This is one of the roads we walk DOWN all the time. Just happened to have the setting sun sneaking thru the trees.
I returned to Stockton Lake (where Wendy & I had camped) for a week to spend saying goodbye to several friends & to celebrate my dad’s 94th birthday with him. I replaced the battery in his 2-year old smart phone, as well as a new battery for my fon too. He’s still doing very well after my mom’s death, but his knee has given out a couple of times so he feels it’s only a matter of time until he goes to the nursing home where a wheel chair & a helping hand will be needed even more. I had a good, long visit (& often shared a meal) with four different friends that I may not get to see even next year when I return.
During my busy week of saying goodbye to friends & family, I spent Oct 13th, the date Jeff died last year, exclusively with his daughter. We met up south of Kansas City to spend three great hours over pizza – just girl talk – answering questions, calming sensations of guilt, & sharing our future plans. She’s the closest person I have to a daughter. She’s a daddy’s girl, just like me, so as badly as I’ve missed Jeff, I feel it’s been even harder for her since her dad has always been in her life, just a phone call away. I can only imagine how much loosing my own father is going to hurt.
I returned to Branson for the last two weeks of October to finish up medical appointments & get organized for my winter in AZ plus spring/summer in NM & CO. It cooled off finally enough to go thru, reorganize, & clean out my storage unit. I sold/gave away most all of Jeff’s power & hand tools. I didn’t know what most of them did & wasn’t going to need them. I ripped all the music CDs we still had that I cared about to my computer & donated them to the library. And of course, thru away stuff. Now at least I know what’s in the storage unit is what I’m not ready to give up yet & I can get to it all. I’ll downsize more next Fall.
A friend suggested getting a dash cam, like a GoPro, but they’re a pretty expensive toy. But I thought it would be neat to use an action camera attached to the back of the Casita to watch as I backed in to a campsite (still a tense undertaking). An Amazon search yielded lots of these inexpensive little cameras & I selected one with a spare battery & a free app to view what the camera sees on my smart phone. I still have to get it secured on my pickup dash & at the back of the trailer – but I’m content with my $53 Christmas present toy.
I spent the Saturday before leaving with my dad. He fried some crappy fish (pronounced croppy) for me & baked me some brownies (my favorite desert). My Casita friend, Debbie, who has camped with me & Wendy & lives around the corner from my dad finally came over to meet my dad & me. It was sad leaving cause unless something happens with him, I hope to not to have to go east of the Rockies until next October.
Unfortunately, the bone scan done by the VA revealed I’m getting close to full-blown osteoporosis. Crap!! Between my mother having it, chemo, menopause, & ex-smoker, it was only a matter of time – I guess. The VA has me on a once-a-week pill that we’ll see how well it works.
Also, I’ve noticed my 12-year old, 20# Maine coon cat, Boots, having problems moving around this summer. I was hoping it was just arthritis, but after doing some research, a vet visit confirmed he has diabetes. Double crap!! He seems to be getting around better from the diabetic cat food & twice daily insulin shots at least. I rescued him off a lonely country road 12 years ago as a scared, starving 7-wk old kitten & I’m not about to give him up without a fight.
I am letting my natural salt & pepper hair grow out & stay (probably until the next time I get bored & want a new look) so most of the sick, yucky red is gone finally. Got an “all clear” on my annual mammogram & was finally free to move about the country. I’m pulling out the morning of November 1st, headed west toward NM & AZ to meet up, travel & camp with my solo Casita girlfriends. YEE-HAW!