Month: May 2016

Home is where you are

To Camp Again Making Your Home away from Home


Back to the subject of camping again. . . . Home?

I have a lot of great memories of camping on the west coast. However, when we moved to the East Coast when our kids were small, the camping pretty much came to a screeching halt.
Somehow we were never able to pull it off with the weather being as hot as it was. And somehow we also didn’t go when it was cold.
I take that back. We did go a few times when our youngest was just a baby. Those were good experiences. Twice we went with another couple and that worked out fine. But we haven’t been camping in probably eight years.

Last night I went to visit some friends who were camping. They were at a campground about half an hour from my house. I just went for the night to sit around the campfire. A friend of mine went with me. These friends at the campsite were tent camping. It reminded me so much of the camping trips that I used to go on.

The friend that went with me and I were talking about camping trips. She said that she used to go camping with her family when her kids were young all the time also. And then I learned that her camping was not tent camping. It was motor home type camping, with toilet and shower and beds.
She also said they had a pop-up camp for a while, which was a little bit less deluxe, but still a step up from the tent.

So I’ve realized that people have different definitions of camping. I don’t actually think that camping in a motorhome is real camping, but that’s just me. I guess I’m a diehard tent camper.
Although I have to say that now I think about it, it would be pretty fun to go in a motorhome or even a fifth wheeler. I think I would enjoy that very much, and I would probably end up going camping more than I do now. The thought of collecting a tent and a camp stove and all of the bizillion things that you have to take in order to make a successful camping trip feels pretty overwhelming.

Still, though, I think it is something I would like to do again. And I realize that even though my kids are almost all out of the house, I can still go camping. Just because the kids are gone doesn’t mean I can’t anymore.

My friend and I are actually thinking about camping. We might even go out to the coast In a couple of weeks and do that. She now has a tent so we would actually do the tent camping thing.
I’m at a place in my life where I am starting to explore doing new things as well as going back to things that I used to do but have slipped away. So I think that camping falls into that category, and even though there are some mental hurdles to overcome, I am ready to give it a go.

house tile removal

Floor Busters


I built my house fifteen years ago, and believe it or not, it still has the original carpets. We intentionally selected Berber when we had the carpets installed because we knew it would hold up well to traffic.

I’d sure make the same choice again. It’s amazing how well it has held up.
But I’m thinking it’s time for the carpet to be replaced, and this time I think I’ll go with a hardwood or Pergo-style laminate downstairs and in some portions of the upstairs.

I have some friends who just had all the carpet in their house taken up and replaced with 24” tile. They also had their old tile in the kitchen and bathrooms removed and replaced with the new tile.

I saw the house last night, and the new tile throughout looked really great. So different from the carpet they used to have. (Actually, the house doesn’t look as warm or inviting with all the tile; maybe they’ll put some rugs in to soften the floors a little.)

I asked them what the process was like when they had the work done. Two guys did the entire project, including moving all the furniture around, pulling up and taking out the carpet, removing the old tile in the kitchen and bathrooms, laying the new tile, and laying the wood-look laminate in the bedrooms.

They were really happy with the service. The one thing they talked about was how much dust was produced by the project, especially when the old tile was removed but even in the laying of the new.
Made me think of the tile companies that specialize in dust-free tile-removal.

This couple said that during their project, one of the guys had a vacuum that he used to remove and manage the dust, but that even so, there was dust everywhere. The wife said it took her forever to get rid of all the dust after the project was done.

I didn’t say anything to her, but I thought of Floor Busters, the dust-free tile-removal company that I know of. They have a ton of very happy clients who swear that their places are as clean when the guys leave as when they arrive.

This company uses industrial-grade vacuums to suck the dust up before it even has a chance to lift into the air and float onto stuff. They’ve got it down to a science.
One guy works on removing the tile with tools and special equipment. Another guy is like micro-attentive about keeping the work space dust-free with his mother-of-all-vacuums, and another guy hauls out the old tile to keep the area clean and uncluttered.

They’re the best dust-free tile-removal company in the Orlando area and central Florida. They’re licensed and insured. That’s the company that my friends should have used!
The tile in my house is fine still. It covers most of the floor downstairs and the two bathrooms upstairs. It does have some chips in it, but overall it’s in great shape. If I had to remove it, though, I would definitely call Floor Busters.

business camping

Biking & Kinetic Sculptures

Business and Travel

So I’ve been thinking a lot lately about camping lately.

I used to camp a lot. Tent camping, I’m talking about.
I lived on the west coast of United States, and I would go with my family tent camping all over the state. Before I had kids I would go camping with my husband.

I remember one two week camping trip we did on the lost coast area of Northern California. We camped in Humboldt State Park. The park was in an area of redwood forest—spectacular towering trees that meant that even in the summer, the campsites were cooled by the perpetual shade.
We had mountain bikes and we did a lot of mountain biking during that camping trip. One day we took the bikes on a trail ride. It was a spectacular ride that took us on a track high up into the mountains where we enjoyed spectacular views. I worked up a giant appetite, and when we got back to the campsite, I wolfed down an entire bag of Fritos corn chips.
In the middle of the night, I could tell that eating all those corn chips was a big mistake. My stomach was rolling. I told my husband that I thought I was going to lose them.

He unzipped the 14 tent flaps between me and the outside in like ten seconds, and not a minute too soon. As soon as the flaps were back, I lunged for the opening and puked every last Frito right outside the tent. So that is my final memory of that bike ride.
There was a little town called Ferndale right on the coast. We would drive over there and just walk around the town. It was a town full of Victorian building and a large artisan community.
There was a little theater and one night of our camping trip we went to a production in that little theater. After we went to the play we drove back to our campsite and crawled into our tent and went to sleep.

While we were in Ferndale, one of the local artists told us about an annual race that the people of the area have. It started in a neighboring town and ended in Ferndale. It was a race of vehicles that people had to design and build and power only with humans, and the vehicles had to go across sand, mud, hills, a river, concrete, and over the bay.

It was called the World Championship Great Arcata to Ferndale Cross Country Kinetic Sculpture Race. Now I guess it’s called the Kinetic Grand Championship, or the Triathlon of the Art World.
Anyway we got to see a warehouse-type building where a whole bunch of these kinetic sculpture vehicles were stored. Some of them were twenty feet long and eight feet high. They really were amazing to see, even just in that building. It would have been fascinating to see them actually racing!


Atlanta, I don’t love you

Business and Travel

Road Trip Gone Wrong

Drove up to Tennessee last weekend.

When I put the route into my GPS, it said the trip would take ten hours. Hit some button or something, and then it said the trip would take 11 hours. So I wasn’t sure how long it would take but I knew I needed to plan the whole day for it.

Decided to leave at 7 and figured I’d get there maybe by 6 or 7 that night, which would be 5 or 6 Tennessee time, since it’s in Central time.
I left at 7 but decided to go by WaWa and get a breakfast sandwich and coffee for the way out of town. Baaaaaaad idea!

What was I thinking?

The WaWa is in Kissimmee (Where Disney is), so to get there I had to go through morning work traffic on 192 heading into Kissimmee, and that put me at 8 am before I even got on the turnpike to begin my trip!

I totally did not think that one through. But I decided not to stress about it. My daughter was waiting for me in Tennessee, but it wasn’t like I had a hard deadline to make.

I knew I wanted to make it to Atlanta and go through not at lunch time or during rush hour. I thought I had that pretty much nailed.

Hit the Georgia border and the rains began. And the construction. And the alternate routes.

Getting through Georgia and the Atlanta area took HOURS.

Here are a couple of tips you might find helpful.

I kept getting rerouted, which actually had its benefits because the rerouting took me on back roads that were really beautiful. Of course all the rest of the traffic was rerouting, too, so there were a lot of us taking the back roads, but I guess at the end of the day, we saved time doing that.

The Atlanta area was stop and go, and there was heavy construction and it was just pouring. At one point the car in front of me braked suddenly, and I thought for sure I was going to rear-end it. My foot had the brake pedal crammed to the floor and I was still coming up to the car waaaaay too fast.

I was in the left lane, so I veered off, but as I passed the car, I heard a big bang, and I knew for sure that I had hit it. I was like, DANG!!!  You’ve got to be kidding me!

I pulled over and stopped, but the other car never pulled over. Instead, two other cars pulled over. The front guy jumped out, checked his bumper, gave the second guy a thumbs up, and they both pulled back onto the road and disappeared.

No one else pulled over. I was mystified. I got back on the road and then saw my passenger side mirror. It had folded in and the mirror part was shattered. That must’ve been the bang: the mirror must’ve hit the other car and then folded in with such force that the mirror part whooped out and hit the window and shattered.

Later I saw that the wheel cover had also come off and there were some light scratches on that side of the vehicle. Bummer about the mirror, but I was super grateful to have gotten off that easy!

Finally made it to Cookeville around 8 p.m. Long day, but I made it.

road trip to tennessee