It was a very busy week here in Largo, Florida and it was very interesting from a “what will our life look like?” perspective. Lee started RV Tech school this week and I worked every day from the camper. It was nice getting a break from each other all day and we also worked to get into some sort of a routine. I should probably explain the break part. As I have said before we have been married 25 years, have known each other since we were 14 and 16, and truly are best friends. That being said I don’t think we have ever actually spent this much time together…certainly not in 400 square feet…and it’s a bit of an adjustment. I keep running into feelings of being unsettled in my environment (mainly because everything hasn’t found its permanent home yet) and working through that is easier when it’s just me in the space. So the break was good from that perspective and I actually had the chance to organize my side of the desk and get some housekeeping items done.
I also cooked every day this week and it’s been years since I cooked this much. Lee had a great hot lunch every day (he said the other students were pretty jealous) and I found a couple more winners for my recipe list. Really you can’t go wrong with cooking. It’s cheaper, with two people there are plenty of leftovers for lunches, and it is fun when something you try for the first time goes completely right. Don’t get me wrong I am not cooking every night forever, but I have tons of recipes I collected when we were waiting for the house to sell that I am dying to try. Plus while Lee’s in school it’s good if he is eating well. If you’re curious, when meal planning I like to mix simple with the more complicated and new versus old recipes. Here’s an example with next week’s menu plan although it may change without notice.
- Saturday – Chili
- Sunday – Sirloin Tips and Noodles, green beans, corn on the cob
- Monday – Kentucky Fried Chicken, Cole Slaw, and Zippy Fries
- Tuesday – Southern Fried Chicken Salad (using leftover chicken from Monday and making egg salad made for Lee’s lunch on Weds)
- Weds – Pork Chops w/ Potato Casserole, baked beans
- Thursday – Catfish, Stuffing, and frozen mixed vegetables
I also made a dentist appointment this week at Aspen Dental. I am pretty crazy about clean teeth. No matter how broke we were when I was a kid my mother always made sure I went to the dentist and as a consequence I have had zero adult cavities. Plus, they have linked teeth problems to other issues such as cardiac problems later in life, so to me it is VERY important to get regular cleanings. Bacteria can build up in your gums and it is a very short step to getting into your blood stream. So when we decided to go on the road I was concerned about going to a dentist. In the RV Dreams rally I asked the question, but no one really had a good answer and it has remained a concern of mine that is unresolved. I tried going to my sister’s dentist in Rock Hill, but they wanted a first patient appt first and I realized I would have to get a first patient appointment every 6 month as I would always be in a different place. Obviously that won’t work so my friend Cori asked if I had considered a national dental chain. The cool thing about routine health care is even if you don’t have a local doctor you can go to an urgent care almost anywhere but there isn’t anything like that for dental. Aspen Dental isn’t everywhere but they are a national chain and their computer systems are networked. Their reps have said I would not need to get a new patient exam every time with them, just the first time so I am going to give them a shot while here in Largo. I won’t really know how it works out until the second 6 months, but I am hoping they live up to the promise as this would be the perfect solution for those of us who travel a lot. My prescription is working just fine btw. My doctor promised to prescribe for 2 years before I needed to come back to her and Walgreen’s has a great online app that allows me to order the prescription wherever I am. So far no issues at all with that!!
So that’s what the week was like…work, school, errands…which is good. Because this isn’t vacation, it is real life and those things all still need to be done. A nice suprise early in the day is for the first time someone from RVillage reached out to me. RVillage is a relatively new website that allows you to “check in” at your campsite and see if any other RVillagers are there. David and Kris reached out when they saw we had an Open Range because they are interested in buying one and wanted to hear about our experience. We love our open range and were happy to invite them over and give a little tour. It also showed me that RVillage can work and it’s worth the time to keep checking into our sites. As another surprise on Friday I got a call from a work friend of mine that she was in Tampa for work. It was also Deb’s birthday and she invited me to meet two other work friends of ours and go out. Lee was great about the last minute change in plans…I believe he was pleased with having some alone time in the rig…and I jumped in my car and went to Tampa. We ended up meeting at this little pub called Mulligans Irish Pub and it was so great to see my friends in person. Deb, Julie, and I worked a ton together up in New England two summers ago but Julie lives in Tampa and Deb in Fort Worth so we rarely get to see each other in person. We had a great time talking and catching up although Deb has been reading my blog and knew much of what was happening. They seemed really interested in the life and I had a great time talking about why it meant so much to me and what a great time I was having. Also, the beer was great and they had a singer who was very good and was kind enough to sing Happy birthday for Deb. Julie’s husband was so funny. I loved talking to him and because he worked in a video store his family owned for 8 years he is a walking movie encyclopedia. Name any movie and he can tell you the year it was released, who starred in it, and the director. I tested him with Fast Times at Ridgemont High and he completely got it right. It was like a walking talking IMDB app!! It was a really great night and when these serendipitous events happen I am truly grateful for what we are doing because there is a lot more chance running into people than I ever thought would happen.
I watched the Patriots game on Saturday (wow what a nail biter) and then Lee and I watched some Doctor Who in the evening. Lee and I have this deal going where we trade a Buffy the Vampire Slayer for a Doctor Who. I want him to watch Buffy and he’s trying to get me into Who. Since I was watching so much football I declared it a Buffy free weekend and we watched a two-part Doctor Who instead. You think you will be out running around all the time and never watch TV, but it does get dark pretty early and more importantly all that running around is tiring and sometimes you just want to sit and watch some TV. I was starting to feel like a bit of a couch potato though and thankfully we had made lunch plans with our good Dreamer friends Gene and Eileen who are staying about 1 hour south in Bradenton. Gene and Eileen were having a terrific time on the road (take a look at their blog Newhallin) and took a break to rent a condo and have Gene’s mother come and stay with them for a few months. I decided on lunch because I like to eat out as much as the next person, but lunch is 30%-50% cheaper than a dinner so you get the experience without the sticker shock.
We met at a cool place right on the beach called Gulf Drive Cafe. Amazing location it really is right on the beach and the menu was great with breakfast, lunch, and dinner items. Eileen did the sweetest thing and gave us a present she had bought for all of our friends. We were the last ones she had seen and I really appreciated the gift as it does more than one thing!! We had a wonderful time catching up since we hadn’t seen each other since Pennsylvania and the conversation was easy and comfortable. The only down side was the service in the restaurant. Gene warned us the service wasn’t that great in this particular place but the view was amazing so people put up with it. He was right the service was absolutely terrible and as a former server and restaurant manager it is very difficult for me to not say something in those situations. But when your with friends you don’t want to make a fuss, but it was distracting to me and I found myself not enjoying the experience as much as I should have. Lee says I just need to get over this and I know he’s right, but when the waitress brought Lee a cup of coffee with no sugar or cream and had an attitude when he asked for some that was the last straw for me. So I did something I rarely do and left a 10% tip along with a note on the check. It said, “I routinely tip 25% but in this case I could not do that. A beautiful view does not make up for a job poorly done.” Those who have worked in the restaurant industry will probably cheer the act and those who have not will deplore it, but as I stated I rarely tip less than 20% and if I was her I would have wanted to know why. For the record it wasn’t that they were busy or disorganized it was that she never picked up the pace to compensate. Made me nuts. After the lunch though we walked right out onto the beach and it was beautiful then we went back to Eileen and Gene’s condo and got caught up with each other. It was a wonderful visit and I loved every minute of it…bad service aside.
We got home in time to watch the Denver/Colts game (not nearly as good as I expected) and the the Golden Globes. It was a very full week, but I am looking forward to checking some things off our Tampa list next Saturday.
This was delicious. Even Lee who is not a huge tomato fan liked them
- Italian Salad Dressing (I use Good Seasons)
- 4 very thick tomato slices
- Minced onion (instant, chopped red or yellow)
- Parsley flakes
- Slice tomatoes and arrange in square pan
- Cover with salad dressing
- Sprinkle with onion and parsley
- Cover and refrigerate 3 hours basting occasionally (don’t go much beyond the 3 hours or tomatoes will be over ripe)
Tracy’s Sirloin Tips and Noodles
- 2 # of any grilling steak (london broil to ribeye it all works)
- 1/4 -1/2 cup butter
- 1 12oz package wide egg noodles
- garlic salt
- 1 large can mushrooms
- Broil, grill, or pan fry steak to rare temperature
- Cut into bite size pieces and set aside
- Boil egg noodles using package description the drain and set aside
- Place mushrooms and 1/4 cup butter in pan, sprinkler with garlic salt, and cook on medium low heat until mushrooms are browned
- Place steak with browned mushrooms, add additional butter and garlic salt as desired. Cook until steak is desired doneness
- Combine noodles, steak, mushrooms and butter sauce in a pot and heat for a few minutes on medium low until all ingredients are hot
Easy Peasy Green Beans
- 2 cans french cut green beans
- Garlic Salt
- Drain Green Beans from Can
- Place in skillet with 1/4 cup butter
- Sprinkler with garlic salt to taste
- Cook on medium heat stirring occasionally 15-20 minutes
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We’re having fun with RVillage too! How fun to be able to hang out with old work buddies, RV buddies and try new recipies. Those tomatoes look delicious!
They were really really good Deb and super easy. Every once in awhile I strike gold
Thanks for adding such great detail to your blog post for those of us living vicariously through you adventure.
Thanks Mark that’s really sweet and I appreciate the feedback as sometimes I worry I go on and on too much 🙂
RV Tech School sounds very interesting. I love reading about your adventures.
Living my life through you Guys!