From The Home Office

Where Are We Today?

Since last week, we've traveled through four states, toured a quarry, stuffed ourselves as an ice cream factory and visited the boyhood home of Laura Ingalls Wilder's husband. …

Staying in Summer!

The evenings are getting a bit chilly here in Bangor, Maine...and that's our cue to head south and west in an attempt to extend our summer by a couple of months! The RV is packed and we're leaving early tomorrow morning. Yeehaw!! …

Awe…. First Carnival!

We took Max to his first carnival / fair last night. He could NOT stop talking about the "rowrrrr coaster!" …

Getting Ready To Head Out Again!

We've finalized our itinerary for our next big RV trip. We're once again taking our family and business on the road. We'll be running our business from campgrounds that offer wireless Internet access and have plans to visit most of our relatives and many old friends along the way on this trip. We're leaving Maine on August 19th. It usually starts cooling off in Maine in late August so we'll be heading west and south in just the niche of time! …

Our Little Comedian

Frank, age 12, who has always been the class clown (before we started homeschooling him anyway) has a very quick, very bright sense of humor. He can really keep us rolling most days. …

Party! Party!!

We've having a big party this weekend and are really excited! Since Ali's birthday is three days after Christmas, she has a birthday party at the end of June each year, instead of December. We call this her half-birthday. This year, we were on the road in June, so her party is this weekend. It'll be a 70's theme and we've invited (gulp) 40 of our closest friends and neighbors. We even had to rent a big tent for additional shade in the yard. …

Mommy? Mommy?! MOMMY!!!

I've been having a hard time keeping on task lately so we had a family meeting to try to get back on track with our work schedule. I am the children's primary caregiver in the mornings and Richard takes over in the afternoons. One problem we've always had is that, even when Richard's on kid-duty, the children still come in and ask me for things - i.e. "Mom, can you take us to the pool?"; "Mom, have you seen my robot?"; "Mom, do you think my favorite jeans are in the washing machine?" "Mom! Frank flushed my eye shadow down the toilet!" and "Mom, Max is giving Percy a haircut!" …

Chilly Fireworks

Our Independence Day holiday was very relaxing. We took the day off, attended the parade and spent time with the children. Ali treated us all to homemade macaroni salad, homemade apple pie and homemade cake (God bless her) and she and Richard cooked hotdogs and hamburgers on the grill. …

Vacation Was Too Short

We had a wonderful (albeit short) vacation that, sadly, ended on Monday. We stayed at four campgrounds in Maine, Vermont and New Hampshire. I didn't find much time to post to wirelesstrips.com on this trip. I did most of the driving and was really trying to focus on relaxation, not work. Driving a 32' RV is quite challenging on the back roads, and that's where most of the driving took place. I don't like to drive on freeways, so Richard took over when we did find ourselves on a big highway. …

What The Bloody…

On Thursday, when Frank was about to leave with Zach for the dentist, I told him, "Tell the doctor to pull that last baby tooth. It's been hanging on for two years and you can't get braces until it comes out. It's time for those braces so let's just get it taken care of..." Frank's eyes got as big as pancakes and, before I could even finish my sentence, he said, "I'll pull it out myself!" and he ran from the bedroom. …

Seems Like Just Yesterday…

Max (age 3 1/2) sprained his knee on Saturday. We think it happened when he was playing Toy Story (jumping while yelling "To infinity and beyond!). He was limping a bit on Friday night but woke up on Saturday unable to walk. It will probably be the most expensive emergency room visit in the family's history. …

Hot, Hot, Cold

On Saturday it was in the 90's here. Ug! We've been in Maine long enough to become de-acclimated to hot weather. So, while cleaning out the garage that day, I was positively melting and had a heat headache for hours afterward. When Sunday rolled around and it hit the 90's again, Richard and Zach, resigned to their fate after listening to me whine for 24 hours, went into the attic and started the annual, laborious job of dragging down all the horribly heavy window unit air conditioners. It took another hour or so to get them installed (I was outside, dying once again while working in the yard). By the time it was all done, a big cloud came over the horizon. It was a fast-moving cold front and, on Monday morning, we actually had to turn the heater on! …

Oh, the MUD!

We're having our yard re-landscaped right now and they're tearing up large chunks of grass for new flowerbeds. The digging and the rains (that are still coming every single day!) have created tons of MUD that has seemingly found its way into every room of our house, both on the wood floors and embedded in the carpet. Each time I get one spot off the carpet, another one appears. There are big people footprints, little people footprints, and even doggy and kitty footprints. I give up. The mud wins (sigh). …

Rain Breeds Wanderlust…

I think it's rained every single day for the past two weeks here (sigh). Our seedlings are bursting out of their little starter pots but we still can't plant them. The garden is flooded. Max is dying to play in the green grass...but it's not only wet, it's windy and cold, too. I'm begging Richard for a short reprieve...just a tiny RV trip before the official summer vacation begins. …

The Berenstain Bears

When our three oldest children were little, I used to read to them at bedtime. Their favorite series was The Berenstain Bears. I think we owned the entire set at that time. Somehow, over the years, all but two of the books... …

Gettin’ My Dreams

We bought Max a brand new bed of his very own (not a hand-me-down) last week. We went ahead and bought him a queen, thinking he'll be able to take it with him someday when he moves out. And, I wasn't too keen on having a bed that looks like a car or a spaceship (ug!) in our house. …

What’s That Sound?

We had a very exciting Friday night here! Just before bed, I heard water running through the pipes upstairs and thought one of the children was showering. (My brain didn't register that I'd never heard that water running upstairs before.) A few minutes later, Ali screamed, "Mom! There's something wrong with the basement!" …

Chicken Rodeo?

Growing up, my brother, Darin, had the worst allergies of anyone I knew. He was allergic to everything, from the annual Christmas tree (we had to stop buying real ones), to our pet pony (we had to sell him). Thankfully, I never had allergies as a kid. However, it's getting impossible to blame my annual spring sneezing and wheezing on colds these days...since there are no other symptoms. Richard, too, gets all stuffy around this time of year, though he didn't as a child. Unfortunately, it looks like Max has inherited our allergies, though quite early, at the age of three. …

Two Breakdowns in Two Days…

Late last week, we were starting to wonder if we'd ever get home. Between the heater leaking gobs of coolant all over the passenger side carpet, steam filling up the cab, being stranded on a highway median, getting towed, getting repaired, and then having the RV break down again the very next day, it was quite an adventure! You can read about last week's adventures in detail and see photos at: http://www.wirelesstrips.com Hugs to all! Angela ~Do You Remember... Doo Bee Doo...~ My next class, How to Remember, Write and Publish Your Life Story, starts on May 2nd! Classes are a LOT of fun and we have a ball sharing our childhood memories while using the course memory triggers to record our memories in chronological order. The class is easy and FUN, only costs $40, and runs for six weeks. To read more or to sign up today, see: http://writersweekly.com/wwu/courses/memories.html

Six States in Five Days

Except for a severe storm that rocked the RV for hours, Navarre Florida was perhaps the most relaxing stop we've had while RVing. …

Ali Saves A Toddler’s Life

On Monday, a toddler, tall for his age, was walking down the road toward the bay here (we're on Navarre Beach in Florida). A van drove right past him, steering around him, but didn't bother to stop. He kept walking and was obviously alone. Ali hollered to me and then went to the toddler, who was almost to the water by then. He walked right past several people on the beach and nobody noticed. He was almost to the water...and still, nobody noticed. …

The Big Blue Egg

We are in Texas and were able to participate, for the first time, in my family's annual Adult Easter Egg Hunt (AEEH). There is one huge blue egg that lands the lucky hunter a very nice prize. The smaller plastic eggs are filled with candy, gifts, lottery tickets and even cash. There are prizes for finding the most eggs and the least eggs as well. …

Burnt Biscuit Ranch

Well, we arrived at my family's ranch (named for my mother's cooking!) on Sunday evening and while the children have been hard at work caring for the horses, mucking the stalls, and hauling sticks and manure, Richard and I have been sipping lemonade on the porch and enjoying our "vacation." …

No Longer A Dizzy Blonde

My one trip to the physical therapist did the trick and the vertigo I reported last week hasn't returned. Yea! Richard is happy about that because he wasn't looking forward to doing all the driving on our Spring Seeking trip. Yes, we've once again taken the business and family on the road! …

I Look Like A Hypochondriac…

I've been having terrible episodes of vertigo. Some of them were so bad that I started avoiding driving. At first, I thought I had a brain tumor. I really, truly thought I did, until I remembered having the same thing a couple of years ago, but for a much shorter period of time. When I looked up my symptoms on WebMD.com last week, I found what I was certain the diagnosis would be. All my symptoms matched perfectly... …

Dissecting Owl Pellets

We are SO proud of our our son, Frank (age 12)! He received a $25 gift certificate to Amazon for Christmas and he's been hanging onto it until now. He brought it to me today and asked me to order him a bag of Owl Pellets. …

Spring Fever

Ali's basketball team made it all the way to the finals on Saturday...but they didn't win. It was a real nail biter and Ali was very happy to win 2nd place in the league. Zach's team made it to the semi-finals. Needless to say...we spent the entire weekend at the YMCA! …

My Failed Romantic Gesture

Last week, I purchased bathtub finger paint, window paint, red spray paint and glow-in-the-dark plastic stars. On Monday morning, while Richard had his head buried in his email, I wrote drew an A, a heart, and an R (A Loves R) in the bathtubs, on the bathroom mirrors, and on the windows in the house. When Richard was later on the phone, I wrote the same thing on the ceiling of our bedroom, right over his pillow, with the glow-in-the-dark stars. My last mission was to paint A Loves R in the snow out front and back with the red spray paint. Problem is...it was so cold that each time I tried to use the spray can, it would freeze up. I tried shaking it vigorously, but that just caused drops of red to splatter in the snow... …

Max’s Imaginary Friends

Warning: Don't read today's column if runny noses gross you out. …

Mini-Vacation!

This week, I'm getting one of my Christmas presents - a trip to a small inn that has a fireplace in every room and great shopping nearby. Yea! There are lots of winter activities, too, so the children are very excited. We've already pulled out all the snowpants, waterproof gloves and extra socks. I'll be officially "on vacation" from Wednesday afternoon until Sunday. During that time, I'll only be online checking for emergencies. Hugs to all! Angela P.S. Want to read real query letters that landed these contracts? Woman's Day - $2,800; Redbook - $3,500; Ladies Home Journal - $3,000; DiscoveryHealth.com - $2,000; Lifetime Magazine - $3,000; Life Extension Magazine - $6,480; Natural Remedies - $11,300; and many more! See: http://www.writersweekly.com/books/1409.html

Humdinger of a Snowstorm

We had a humdinger of a snowstorm last Wednesday night! We were still trying to find the car in the drifts (okay, that's a slight exaggeration) when we heard about the "Blizzard of 2005" that was heading our way. However, that little weekend blizzard wasn't anywhere near the intensity of the Nor'Easter last week (for us, anyway). …

Cows And Sheep And Goats And…

We joined the local homeschooling 4H club last week and were pleasantly surprised to learn that not everybody in 4H is required to grow and auction off livestock! All humor aside, 4H is a great group and we made lots of new friends. The children loved it and can't wait to get started on some projects to enter in the state fair this summer. …

Grandma’s Gone

Richard's grandmother has returned to Texas after staying with us for a month. We were very sad to see her go. She loved visiting...but she's in her 80's and "always cold" and wasn't too keen about our temps dipping below zero on most nights. On the two occasions when we did take her out in the snow (once out to lunch and to get her hair done and once to greet troops who were passing through the Bangor airport), she was terrified she'd slip on the ice and she shivered during the entire trip. But, she really wanted her hair done (you know how we women are!) and, being a WWII veteran herself, she was very excited about greeting troops who were returning from the Middle East. …

Breathe In, Breathe Out…

The holiday mayhem has ended and we're breathing a big sigh of relaxation. While I do enjoy the holidays, taking down the decorations and preparing for a new year is very cleansing for my soul. We did absolutely nothing all weekend and it was heaven! I did cook a nice dinner on Sunday. I hated cooking years ago but now I find it very relaxing and, when I'm making something fun, it's a great outlet for my creative side. …

Abbreviated Holiday Issue

We're officially "on vacation" this week, even though we're at home in Bangor. It was almost 50 degrees here on Christmas Eve and all our snow melted. We had our first green Christmas since moving here! Richard's grandmother is visiting from Corpus Christi, Texas...where they had four inches of snow. She said she should have stayed at home to get her white Christmas. …

Play-Doh-ectomy

Well, it wouldn't be the holidays without a trip to the emergency room! On Sunday night, Frank said he was making a clay mold of his ear when... …

It’s Beginning to Look…

The snow started a bit late this month in Bangor and I was starting to worry that I'd never get my "children standing in a snowstorm" Christmas card photo for this year! But, the snow did finally arrive and I rushed the children outside for their annual "hurry, Mom, before another snowflake lands on my eyeball" picture. …

Two New Family Members!

We were going to have Ali wait until Christmas for another kitty, but we barely made it two days. She was still grieving for Blotch last Wednesday night, even after we visited the Humane Society and picked out not one kitty, but two!! Richard firmly repeated, "No, no, no" to the second one, but he eventually sighed during my begging, rolled his eyes in defeat, and said... AND We put up our outdoor Christmas decorations and one of them, conceived one night when I had insomnia, has literally been stopping traffic. One driver even honked at me when I was getting the mail and gave me the thumbs up! To see a photo of what's causing all the commotion, click below. …

Goodbye, Blotch…

Many of you have been tracking Blotch's progress since we learned he had an aggressive tumor (fibrosarcoma) in the sinuses above his left eye. Last Friday, I noticed something inside Blotch's left nostril and, by Sunday, it appeared to have made significant progress toward the opening. I realized it was probably the tumor. The doc told us that the tumor might break through and reach his brain, but we never thought it would grow the other way. I hoped the children wouldn't notice it, but Ali did and was distraught that she could actually see what was killing her best friend... …

Ah, Gluttony…

Trying to get an early start on the holiday preparations, we put up some of our Christmas decorations last Sunday. Max doesn't remember Christmas from last year (he turned three in September) so we've been having fun reminding him about the season. He seemed to understand the "Santa" concept and even said he's going to ask Santa for a new train. …

Blotch’s Diagnosis

We did finally get a diagnosis on Blotch's condition. The news was not good, but we are coping. The story is here: http://www.angelahoy.com/archives/002189.html I have set a near-impossible personal goal to have all my Christmas shopping and gift wrapping finished before December 9th, which is when Richard's grandmother is arriving for a one-month visit. She has diabetes, is almost blind and sometimes forgets things that happened yesterday, but she was a nurse in WWII, serving on a ship (and suffering from constant seasickness!), and the kids love hearing her war stories! In fact, she met her husband that way. But that's a romance story for another day... It's always fun to have guests for the holidays and I'm looking forward to tricking her into sharing some of her secret recipes with me. Heh... Hugs to all! Ang P.S. Want to read real query letters that landed these contracts? Woman's Day - $2,800; Redbook - $3,500; Ladies Home Journal - $3,000; DiscoveryHealth.com - $2,000; Lifetime Magazine - $3,000; Life Extension magazine - $6,480; Natural Remedies $11,300; and many more! See: http://www.writersweekly.com/books/1409.html

No Dianosis Yet

We still don't have a diagnosis on Blotch's condition, but expect it this week. He's not been doing very well and I've very sad for him, watching his discomfort day after day. I had to rush him to the vet on Saturday because he got dehydrated again. They've let me start doing his sub-Q injections at home now. Poor Blotch. Everytime I walk in the room, he thinks he's gonna get poked. I've spent a lot more time loving on him so he won't think I've turned into the big mommy torture machine. He did finally start purring again on Sunday. That was a relief. Ali's doing pretty good this week...much better than I am, in my opinion. I'm getting tired of crying myself to sleep with worry. I hardly ever cry and have always been that way. But I'm making up for it now. I've cried more in the past two weeks than I've cried in the past 20 years. I'm not exaggerating! Poor Richard can only hug and comfort me, which is about all we can do for Blotch until we know exactly what's wrong with him. Wanting to keep busy over the weekend (to keep my mind off my worries), we reorganized our bedroom and Max's bedroom. That was fun...for me anyway. Richard and the children didn't look too happy about following my instructions for where to put boxes going into storage and where to move the heavy furniture. I had to secretly make room in our bedroom for Richard's birthday present, which is being delivered on his birthday, but I couldn't tell him that. He just thinks I'm on some kind of maternal fall-cleaning craze. Heh... Hugs to all! Ang P.S. Want to read real query letters that landed these contracts? Woman's Day - $2,800; Redbook - $3,500; Ladies Home Journal - $3,000; DiscoveryHealth.com - $2,000; Lifetime Magazine - $3,000; Life Extension magazine - $6,480; Natural Remedies $11,300; and many more! See: http://www.writersweekly.com/books/1409.html

Which Life is Blotch on Now?

We had quite a rocky ride over the past week worrying about Blotch and crying endless tears, thinking he was on his last paw. Ali and I visited him at the kitty hospital on Thursday and I thought I detected something in him that told me he was getting better. The vet said he couldn't see any improvement, but I thought I knew better (time will tell, I guess). On Friday, they wanted to keep him for the weekend, but I really wanted him to be at home, just in case he was dying. I didn't want him to spend his last few days in a cold metal cage surrounded by barking dogs and hissing cats. The vet agreed and sent us home armed with several syringes of his meds, appointments for daily shots of fluids (which we had to take him in for on the weekend) and an appointment at another vet on Tuesday for a probe of his sinuses, since the antibiotics seemed to be working much slower than they should (or not at all - it's hard to tell). Our primary concern was that Blotch wasn't eating or drinking on his own. However, he stunned us all by getting up in the middle of the night on Saturday and diving into his cat food! I'm writing this on Monday night and, while he is eating, he's still not drinking any fluids on his own. His surgery is tomorrow and we're hoping they can tell us why his sinuses are completely clogged. It could be a tumor or a fungus. A tumor didn't show up on his x-ray, so we're hoping a fungus is the diagnosis. If it's a fungus, they'll switch his meds and see if they can find something to get rid of it. Blotch was feeling down tonight and we started worrying about him again. Maybe he just overdid it this weekend. Or, maybe he overheard us whispering about his sinus probe tomorrow. Ouch. BLOTCH UPDATE 11/3/04: Blotch has surgery yesterday afternoon and they found a growth in his upper sinuses. It is either a fungus or a tumor. A fungus might be treatable depending on how bad it is. A tumor would be treatable, but the treatment would only cause extensive and prolonged suffering for Blotch and would likely not cure him. We won't know for 5-7 days what it is. He's home now and very comfy, sleeping off the anesthesia in Ali's room with her right next to him doing her school work. She's a good nurse. :) Hugs to all! Ang Hugs to all! Angie P.S. Want to read real query letters that landed these contracts? Woman's Day - $2,800; Redbook - $3,500; Ladies Home Journal - $3,000; DiscoveryHealth.com - $2,000; Lifetime Magazine - $3,000; Life Extension magazine - $6,480; Natural Remedies $11,300; and many more! See: http://www.writersweekly.com/books/1409.html

One Sick Kitty

As I'm writing this, we're just crossing the North Carolina / Virginia border, heading north. The fall foliage here is breathtaking! Wish I could stop and take some photos, but we're on our way back to Maine because Ali's cat, Blotch, is ill. It should take us about 22-24 hours of driving time, which means we'll have to stop and take a break at a hotel tonight. Ali's doing pretty good and feels bad that our trip was cut short. But, I know she and Blotch will want to be together during this time. UPDATE: Blotch is on antibiotics so he'll probably be okay, but he sure is one sick kitty. Ali's very happy to be with him. We're going to get a pill gun from the vet in the morning because Blotch will not take pills. He's too smart to eat them if you mix them with tuna, and he'll take your finger off if you try to force one down his throat. I tried to give Blotch a pill this evening, forgetting about all the scars he's given me over the years. He bit me, hacked up the pill (ewwwww!) and is now hiding from us. Blotch - 1 Angela - 0 We'll see how it goes tomorrow with the pill gun. NEW UPDATE 10/27/04: They had to admit Blotch to the kitty hospital this morning (Wednesday) for an IV. He won't eat, drink or take his medicine at all. He has his blanky and his stuffed giraffe and we can visit him at anytime. We're hoping he'll be home by the weekend. :( Hugs to all! Angela P.S. Want to read real query letters that landed these contracts? Woman's Day - $2,800; Redbook - $3,500; Ladies Home Journal - $3,000; DiscoveryHealth.com - $2,000; Lifetime Magazine - $3,000; Life Extension magazine - $6,480; Natural Remedies $11,300; and many more! See: http://www.writersweekly.com/books/1409.html

Beach BBQ

We spent the weekend with my sister, Autumn, and her husband, Dave. They introduced us to Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, with its white sand beaches, stiff winds (glad we didn't blow into the ocean!) and an incredible restaurant. You can read all about it HERE. We're staying at a really nice campground in Myrtle Beach right now and, while they don't have wireless Internet access, they do let you dial into your dial-up service directly from your RV. So, it's not too bad. But, between the four of us needing Internet access, if you turn your back for a second, somebody just might yank the phone line out of your laptop and stick it in their own. I took the day off on Sunday and, after our drive to Myrtle Beach, I cooked a big, fancy dinner...which is not an easy task when you're working with about 12 square inches of counter space. Ali made an incredible pumpkin cake for dessert and we wolfed it down with cinnamon ice cream. Our burgers on the grill tonight, with maybe some cookies and milk for dessert, will be pretty anti-climatic. Where are we sleeping tonight? You can track our current adventures at: http://www.wirelesstrips.com Hugs to all! Angela P.S. The WritersWeekly.com Fall 24-Hour Short Story Contest is THIS SATURDAY! Can you receive an assigned topic and then write and submit an award-winning story within 24 hours? See: http://www.writersweekly.com/misc/contest.html