Holiday Surprises and Delights

This is the season for surprises and delights. Hopefully, the holiday is filled with delight and joy for all of us. We’re glad to be in North Carolina amongst our family during this season.

Monday we spent the day running errands in Charlotte. We had our semi-annual teeth cleaning and check-up, visited our financial advisor, picked up some needed items from a few local stores, and had a great lunch visit to Mr. K’s Soft Ice Cream and Drive-In. We didn’t get the ice cream — we always have a Mr. K burger with chili, slaw, and mustard, with some fries. Yum!

Tuesday we made a couple of holiday visits and spent a half-hour at our little storage unit. We dropped off a few things, like our backpacking gear and goose-down sleeping bags we won’t need in south Florida. We exchanged a few clothes (to freshen up our wardrobe), and picked up some things we’d been missing awhile like a few of our music CDs.

Our biggest surprise was to find things in our storage unit we didn’t remember storing. How did these things end up here? We spent a little longer than we expected as we peered into a couple of the boxes. Sometime in the next year or two we’re going to need an entire day to go through everything and thin it out.

Christmas visit with Chas

Christmas visit with Chas

Wednesday we had a short day trip to Asheville, NC, to visit Charles, Jim’s son. Asheville is 140 miles west of Kannapolis. Each mile westward we saw a little more snow and a little cooler temperatures so, by the time we arrived in Asheville, we found snow everywhere. Charles had a little time before going to work so we had a nice brunch and opened presents with him. It was great to see him again.

Snowy Western NC

Snowy Western NC

Western North Carolina received 12 – 18 inches of snow last Friday and we saw plenty of evidence of it during our drive. We thought you who may be in non-snowing climates might enjoy a couple of pictures. The pictures are probably a lot easier to manage than the roads, driveways, trees, gutters and other things subject to damage from snow and ice. Enjoy!

Christmas iHouse

Christmas iHouse

How can this keep happening? First we saw an iHouse in Everett, Washington. A few months later we were surprised and delighted to find an open model on display in Mesa, Arizona. We saw the iHouse on display in Austin, Texas, on our way across the states last week. And today we stumbled upon our fourth iHouse by Clayton Homes, on I-40 in Statesville, on our way home from Asheville to Kannapolis. This model unit hasn’t been announced or officially opened, but the nice folks at Clayton Homes in Statesville, NC, allowed us a long visit.

This visit we noticed one big difference — the North Carolina version of the iHouse has twelve inch, instead of no, roof overhangs on the long sides. Each time we visit one we figure out another thing about the house, and we find ourselves liking it even more. We could live in one of these. But we still know neither where we would want to put it, nor when.

The weather outside is frightful

The weather outside is frightful

The weather in Kannapolis is still cold. We are so ready to be in warm weather again. We miss playing tennis. We miss being warm (whoops, did we already say that?). But there’s a time and place for everything. There are things we need to do in this home territory, like our dental visit, a little truck service, banking, and the storage unit. And we’re glad we’re with family for Christmas.

We’ll see lots more family Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day, between Debbie’s family in Kannapolis and Jim’s family in Charlotte. We’re excited to see them all, it’s been many months since our last visit with many of them. The biggest surprises and delights are yet to come for us and for you. Be careful, be good, and be joyous. We’ll write again after Christmas, perhaps from sunny (and warm) south Florida.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you from both of us.

Jim and Debbie
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8 responses to “Holiday Surprises and Delights

  1. I’m thankful youall made it ‘home’ for Christmas. May God continue to bless you and keep you. Perhaps we will see you during the winter months in south Florida. It looks like we won’t get to come and stay, but will take a week or 10 days to thaw out visiting the folks we know there. (God has blessed us with the sale of our business and we will have to stay during the transition for the winter months. I’ll give up one more winter in Kentucky to have the rest free to be south for Jan, Feb, and March!!)
    Merry Christmas, Jim & Deb. I really enjoy following your travels.
    Barry & Susan

  2. Your experience of finding stuff in storage you didn’t remember putting there is very familiar to nearly everyone who goes on the road full-time. We struggled with that issue for two years. See http://tour.airstreamlife.com/wordpress/?p=328 for just one example.

    • Rich,
      Your example of returning to your storage unit(s) one year later is a great one, and we remember reading and learning from it. We therefore stored no unicycles or furniture we’d have to haul across the country.

      But we have stored things irreplaceable and dear to us, most of them small. So our goods fill a 5 X 7 storage unit (to the brim) and are costing us monthly for perpetuity (unless and until we come off the road and attack the problem).

      You held out on us with this one example — you later posted another one or two blogs about your return trips to “finish off” the storage unit. Share with us those threads?

  3. Merry Christmas!

    Beth gave me an iPod Touch, so I don’t have to carry CDs around anymore either! It takes up less space and weighs considerably less. Add it to your list of ideas we have borrowed.

    Meanwhile, I spent yesterday painting battery box parts…we finally bought our 6-volt batteries. My old 12-volts were reading 2 and 4 volts. I couldn’t find aluminum channel here in Augusta, so I’m painting steel.

    We are also replacing our water pump, which failed on our last trip. We are installing the Shureflo 4.0 Extreme. Our friends Ed Landers and Debbie from Texas love theirs.

    So much work. So little time!

    • Matt & Beth,
      We’ve tossed around the idea of a new water pump, but ours just won’t die. Sometimes it is so quiet we think it is trying to impress us. Other times it fairly shakes the entire trailer. When it stops pumping, we’ll be landing a new one. Let us know how yours sounds once you get it on the road?

      Congrats on your new batteries, they’ll be fun compared to the 12v dogs your are dropping. Our ten days dry-camping in a ski-resort parking lot in Ketchum, Idaho, with 18 to 35 night-time temperatures were a great test for our pair of 6v batteries. I’ve previously been hinky about letting the batteries go below 10.2v, wanting Deb to use a backpacking headlamp or something as she navigates inside the trailer in the evening. No more — our batteries held up fine each night, even with powering the furnace several times overnight, despite using lights while cooking dinner then playing Rummikub after supper and reading before bedtime. The solar panels seemed to do very well charging the batteries many days. Less sunny days motivated me to start our 1,000 watt generator in the early evening for a couple of hours to top off the batteries.

      Oh, and the PDI Intellipower converter charger manages the batteries so wonderfully when we’re on shore power we no longer consider whether we should try to manage the charging times or modes manually. Just like the Allison electric manual transmission on our Silverado — once we learned how well it shifted we mostly stopped trying to manage shifts manually (except highway cruising to smooth the upshifts by manually upshifting earlier).

      The iPod is such a fine solution for music management. Last night I struggled briefly getting the playlist we wanted to shuffle within itself. I resorted to playing from iTunes on our laptop while I re-read the iPod manual online to find how to change the shuffle commands. The laptop takes a lot of space, isn’t as easy to read the current song, and really didn’t sound as good on our stereo. Fortunately I found the “shuffle songs” command and put the iPod back in line.

      The old iPod works great, except the battery is good for only a couple of hours or so (we’ve heard we could do a battery-ectomy ourselves but probably will just replace the entire unit sometime instead. We bought my daughter a Nano for Christmas — it cost very little than we paid four years ago for a well-used 2nd gen 20g Classic with worn-out battery. And the Nano has almost the same capacity at 16 gigabytes (we only store music and podcasts, so far, and are using 11 gig for almost 3,000 songs). For now, we’re doing well with what we have and have the luxury of reading/shopping ahead.

      Aw, you just need to do your Airstream full-time. Put the kids to work bringing home the bacon so you two can live the life of dreams. Otherwise it is such a long wait. . .

      Jim

  4. Hey, nice post. Did you mention being cold? Gee,whiz. We’re really sorry about that.

    But! Sounds like you’ve had a good time visiting family–you both look great, and we’re sure that you had a blessed Christmas.

    Our’s for our immediate family was really nice. Other family members were a different story. On my side of the family on Christmas Eve we had a 4th surgery for my cousin in ICU in Oregon, and on Bob’s side there were two surgeries during the week and the death of one of Bob’s aunts on Christmas Day. We’re glad that we can turn to Jesus for comfort.

    Now, back to how you mentioned (twice, I think) being cold. If it’s any help to you, we’ve had a freeze for two nights straight. Might happen again this night. I can’t get many more layers under my wool jacket and still hold my arms down at my sides.

    We’ll be looking forward to your next post. Happy New Year! Bob and Faith

    • This is so difficult, predicting what you’ll feel later about stuff you think you cherish now. Thanks, Rich. We’re still hanging on to a storage room full of stuff we just couldn’t release two years ago when we closed on the house. We’ll enjoy reliving this through your experiences and, hopefully, find the lessons helpful.

      Jim

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