Made it to Columbus – Lots of Family Time

When we used to bring the kids to Columbus on our vacations it never felt like we had enough time to see all the people we wanted to see.  And we’ve passed through a couple of times in the last three years on our travels, but again the time was too short.  This time we wanted to make sure, as much as possible, that everyone got enough time with us and scheduled two weeks in the Columbus area.  Not surprisingly the time filled quickly and the schedule, as usual, felt pressed.  Unlike previous visits though Lee decided to divide up our time.  In the past we largely stayed together because it was our vacation too and we wanted to be with each other, but now that we are together all the time this didn’t feel as necessary.

When we arrived into town, late Thursday night,  we went to Lee’s parents house.  Dede and Denny as always were amazingly welcoming and are not only avid blog readers, but they truly love our “gypsy” lifestyle and we are the envy of all of our friends because Denny sends us RVing related care packages while we are on the road. We never know what surprises he will have for us when we see him, but we always know it will be something thoughtful and relevant to the life we live, which is no small thing.

We park on the street when we visit but stay in the house. As you can see DeDe has a green thumb arm and her flowers were beautiful. That’s one years worth of growth by the way

Happy we got to see some of the color in the trees. We try not to keep it on the street more than a few days since it is so tight (and out of respect for the neighbors) and this time we are sending our rig to the shop on Tuesday.

Denny had some beautiful steaks for us which Lee cooked.  I think he liked the big grill!!

And of course pie. They stocked the house with lots of treats, I had to remind them we are 50 now and trying to watch our sugar and cholesterol lol

Denny brought out the first present…collapsible bowls. He really knows me!

My absolute favorite was a new mat for the outside. Denny picked one with a dog on it because he knows I miss having a puppy. Loved loved it!!

Plus a bacon bowl maker for Lee…seriously he should be a professional gift picker outer for a living

Friday they went to work…yep, still working in a greenhouse at 72 and 73, mainly for something to do, and we tried to get settled. Because we were taking the rig to get repaired I needed to get everything out I would need for two weeks.  Wow, that was rough.  We are so used to having everything with us all the time, that slicing two weeks out really gave me pause. Lee had to clean out a chunk of the “basement” so that the technician could access the furnace.  Thankfully, our in-laws had room in their garage for our stuff, and we also took advantage of the time to do some purging.  DeDe and Denny are gracious enough to allow us to use a corner of their basement and although we don’t have a ton of stuff some things like extra T-Shirts and magnets we want to keep but don’t have space for.

I also  spent some time trying to get a handle on the pictures and blog posts from Indiana.  I have been using my phone just to save time in these posts, but unfortunately I downloaded the new Apple iOS and suddenly my pictures were in a format that wasn’t compatible with my laptop.  What a mess.  Eventually, Lee figured out the new phone settings to get JPEG’s in the Iphone 7 and he downloaded a safe app to convert the 350 pictures I had already taken that I couldn’t use.  I was seriously about ready to tear my hair out, but thankfully he stepped in and fixed it.  At least I wasn’t alone…turns out the internet is going crazy with folks trying to figure out the same issue, but for me the timing was pretty bad!

The day I packed all of my stuff up and using a super cute little Fiat 500 Denny loaned me I was off to my nephew’s birthday party.  He was turning three and it was dumb luck that I was in town for the birthday, but I was thrilled to be a part of it.  I have two 3 year old nephews and it bums me out that they don’t really know me, so any opportunity to be involved I am up for.  It was a low key party at a local ice cream shop and their party room had a great play area.  I stayed until 11:30am and then was off to spend some time with my dad.

Lex in the slide

My niece Elise on the left on the cool sundae teeter totter

Loved the birthday cake and the farm animals were edible. I had some of the pig!!

My mom on the left and my brother holding the cake

A nice surprise when I got to see my cousin Josh on the left. Crazy now that Josh and Eddie have grownup jobs!

Lex has lots of cousins on his mom’s side including these triplets who were all cute as a button

Dad and I were going to watch the Ohio State football game together, but I was starving so we decided to go to lunch.  As a surprise he took me to Schmidt’s Sausage House which is a very old restaurant in German Village I hadn’t been to in years. We had to wait about 45 minutes to get in, but we enjoyed the chocolate shoppe while we were waiting and once we got in the food was terrific. If you love German food and are ever in the Columbus,this food is the real deal, but don’t try to take your camper there, because the streets are cobble-stoned, very narrow, and there is definitely no big rig parking!

The housing in this area have been lovingly restored and are really quite beautiful

Their candy is amazing, but since I am trying to watch what I eat a little I just tried one piece of three different kinds. Absolutely get a buckeye if you come visit which is a Columbus specialty because of the Ohio State Buckeyes and basically is peanut butter ball dipped in chocolate. YUMMY!

They sell their meat over the counter as well and are known for the knockwurst and bahama mamas

Dad loved his meal. I loved the pretzel nibblers which are the best I have ever had.

We watched the game, which was a blowout, but I did see a player get ejected for targeting.  This is a relatively new rule in College football to help with concussions, but the penalty for that particular offense seemed pretty extreme.  Dad and I talked about that system versus the pros and the yellow/red card system in soccer and then I went to bed pretty early.

The next morning we talked some more, it’s amazing to me how many subjects we can cover, and then I went to church with him.  Dad has been going to a new church and really likes it and I really like both the service and the pastor as well.  They have all their sermons online now and since it was the first part of a four part series I may check that out in future as it’s tough for me to find the time to go to service on the road.  We also had a fantastic lunch with my cousins Jimilea and Ron, Aunt Susie and Uncle Don, and my Dad’s ex-wife Barb.  I adore Barb, but had lost contact with her the last few years and was extremely excited to see her.  We are now Facebook friends and I gave her the blog information and they all had lots of questions about the RV lifestyle.  It was fun, although it’s tough being the youngest at the table lol, but overall I think I did a decent job of explaining why we had made such an unusual choice.  Really glad I got to see them all and I enjoyed talking about our travels with them. Plus at the end when Barb said she was really proud of what a centered and grounded woman I had become that was really nice to hear. Hey, I may be 51, but parental approval is still pretty nice, especially from people who knew you when you were a teenager!

From left, Susie, Don, Jimilea, Ron, Dad, and Barb

After brunch Dad and I went back to his house but made a few stops first.  I had made a promise to myself that I would see my Uncle Jimmy’s grave and Dad immediately said he would go with me.  But first we stopped and saw the project Uncle Jimmy worked on before he died, and I was blown away.  A few years ago, Uncle Jimmy and a group of 3 other local octogenarians decided they wanted to build a ADA baseball field. They went to the city before they started the project, who said if they raised $250,000 they would give them a piece of land and the utilities.  I think they thought that would be the end of it, but they didn’t know my Uncle Jimmy.  His group raised over $580,000 and not only did they build the field but also a picnic shelter, bathrooms, and a playground…all handicapped accessible. Absolutely amazing.

The ballfield has a special surface so if a kid falls from a wheelchair they won’t get hurt

The picnic shelter

And playground

Part of the way they got the money was through plaques and I was happy to see our family had purchased one for my grandma and grandpa

Basball is really big in our small town and although I had seen many cool water towers as we have traveled the country I think the Grove City one stands up to any of them

Afterwards we went to the cemetery and I got to see both Jimmie’s grave and this bench that grandma had made for herself. It was a really beautiful moment with my Dad and I am really glad he was there for me since it was very emotional

Great time at Dad’s and we made plans for later in the week, but it was off to dinner with our friends Bryan Noodle and Susan and then onto Mom’s.  Bryan Noodle is a great friend of Lee’s from a previous career and as an avid part-time camper we have a lot to talk about.  He and Susan have been super supportive about the lifestyle, so we definitely wanted to see them and their amazing girls Maggie and Sydney. Once again they knew their audience and bought Lee a beautiful pie. Seriously can anyone buy him a diet jello or something? (Please do not do that. I will not eat diet Jello, or any kind of Jello or any kind of diet anything. -Lee) and Bryan cooked some amazing filet mignon and a cheese potato casserole that was so delicious that there wasn’t even a scrap of it left when we were finished.  The food was excellent, the conversation better and before we knew it many hours had slipped by and I finally had to leave to head to my Mom’s.

Crisp top of Lee’s favorites

Wow these steaks were good and cooked perfectly. (It was a close call. As you can see above, they were very nearly burnt. Whew. – Lee)

Lee, Susan, Sydney, and Maggie. I loved this island in their house which Bryan built himself

Very sweet and special girls…Sydney and Maggie

I made it to Mom’s with some difficulty because it was pouring down rain.  Plus, everywhere we go in Columbus seems to have construction and I barely recognize the streets anymore.  Mom and I talked for awhile and then we both went to bed and I slept in the third different bed in three nights.  I am carrying all my stuff with me, but the pace was kind of rough so I was glad I would be spending two nights with Mom.  Mom and I went to lunch at my favorite Asian place in town, Eastern Bay (really not what I remembered) and then I saw Eddie and his family and went to dinner with some college friends.  Sandy had reached out when she went to a wedding in Seattle, but with our work schedule I was unable to meet her.  Absolutely knew we wanted to get together in C-Bus though and we had a nice time catching up.  It did strike me though how different our conversational topics were from 30 years ago, but we are also all still basically the same people and it was really nice to catch up.

Mom at the Chinese Buffet

Me, Michelle, and Sandy

The next morning Mom and I got up and helped my niece Elise get off to school (my brother lives next door to my Mom) and then we went to work on her attic.  She recently lost her husband and actually has her house up for sale, and she is giving my oldest daughter her Christmas village.  We pulled down a lot of stuff, which was a little emotional, but Mom said it was good for her and we managed to pack the 5 boxes into the Fiat.

My beautiful niece Elise. Such a sweet kid.


Mom and I are going down to see my sister and Kyrston next week, but her car will be full of stuff for my sister Wendy.  Lee, who is meeting me in Charleston, agreed to take Kyrston’s stuff so we had to make the transfer.  By the way, if your head is spinning from the schedule, you are not the only one.  We actually had to write some of it down since it was getting so complicated, but it’s definitely all worth it because there are so many people we wanted to see.

While we were going through stuff, I picked out this cute little pot that Bud (mom’s husband) had purchased. I have been looking for something to try and grow herbs in and I think this will work perfectly. Plus this way I can have something from Bud.

OK, I am going to stop here and pick up when we went on a day long adventure with DeDe and Denny.  Still keeping up with the blogging but it feels like I am barely keeping ahead of things.  Part of me can’t wait to get to our Amazon gig just so I can rest a little lol.

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Or you can check out our recipe book filled with 80 real recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. The cookbook specializes in recipes that have a limited number of ingredients, without sacrificing flavor and is organized into categories that matter to full time RVers such as Instant Pot recipes, Travel Days recipes, and Pot Lucks recipes.    You can preview the kindle version on  Amazon or the Apple version on Itunes.    It is also available in paperback.

6 thoughts on “Made it to Columbus – Lots of Family Time

  1. What a terrific time you’re having. Sometimes it seems those short visits linger longer in memories because everything is spontaneous. Such a lovely family. You’re probably going to be glad to get to Amazon for the sheer exercise after all the big great meals you’re getting to enjoy.

  2. Glad you are having a good visit with your family. We ALWAYS have to update our calendars with all the family events. Just got back from the DFW visit, 17 different events / gatherings in 9 days, Dale is happily cleaning the roof on the RV today. He said that was a good rest after that week of family!!!

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