WH Chronicle No. 8.7.13

August 7, 2013

We are finally back in Texas!  
We waiting anxiously in the boonies outside of Lampasas for our house to become available.  We will check-in into our wheel-less home at high noon next Sunday. 
Renters out, and Whaleherds in!

Along the long journey home, we have been systematically lowering the property values of relatives with our “Trailer Parks and Banjos” installation on their lawns.   They have behaved kindly only because Tom ‘has a condition’.   

<Cue Kenny Roger’s song: “Just Dropped in to See What Condition My Condition Is In”>

Tom is doing very well.  Too well.   Just recently I found him and both kids on the second branch of a huge pecan tree.  He acts casual.
“Whaaaat?  They didn’t say anything about climbing trees,” Tom responded innocently to my dagger-ous stare. 
“Nor did they mention being a contestant on Wipe Out, or participating in the Running of the Bulls,“ I thought very loudly.
Next time, I’m going to request that they stick a lot more holes in Tom so he’ll pace his recovery more appropriately.

But now, I’m off the hook—absolved of responsibility.  If he injures himself doing a chore for me, I can blame it on that silly tree incident.

At the post surgery check up in Cleveland the doctor stated that Tom no longer needed constant supervision (for heart malfunctions; this is obviously not the case for rule infractions); so we had one last thing to do before leaving Ohio: Cedar Point Amusement Park—home of the highest, fastest, tallest, meanest roller coasters on the planet.   Luckily, Cleveland Clinic offers half price tickets to patient’s families to insure future business.  So, we left Tom peacefully napping in the trailer (our assumption) and spent a day at the park.  After 12 hours of neck whipping excitement, a few G-force blackouts, and more plastic nacho cheese than anyone should consume, we were ready to leave Ohio.  Only 1800 miles and 3 weeks before home.

Here’s a link to a short video featuring one of the roller coasters: Top Thrill Dragster (click here).

10 RV Parks Total
We began to look like a professional pit crew each time we pulled in to a new park.  We could back in the trailer, plug in cords and hoses, pick up all the fruit that had rolled around on the floor, and have it completely livable by the time we were ready to leave the next day.

“Sam, bring me that tool thing with the blue handle.” 
“I think they call that a ‘wrench’, Mom,” he says.
“Bring it anyway.” 

The RV Park occupants were ridiculously kind and helpful.  Of course, I had usually told them my life story within the first 90 seconds of meeting them.   There was always someone to help with any heavy lifting.   And a 12 Pack of Coors Light would insure a whole crew of assistants with grease already under their nails.     

We met all sorts of friendly people along our journey.  Many of them were wishing us well on the highways.  Honking, waving and saluting with their middle finger, as we drove our contraption slowly through the downtowns during rush hour.   State lines were also a welcomed event that meant restitution from any crime we may have unknowingly committed, like leaving dump station accouterment untidy (or dragging it behind us).

Informal Mexican cuisine survey across the US:  TexMex, OkMex, MizMex, OhMex IllMex, WisMex, IoMex, NebMex, InMex, KanMex, New MexMex,.
Well, we continued our survey, but at some point lost our resolve and resorted to Chipotle and Taco Johns.  Anthony Bourdain’s reign is safe for another year.

The kids gave themselves ‘game names’. Sam, a.k.a. “Skull Crusher” has become an avid reader of chapter books via the amazing benefits of hospital confinement.  Daryl, a.k.a. “Screecher” reads while painting her nails.  Both Screecher and Skull Crusher learned how to ride a skateboard in the hospital parking lot.  They have affectionately named Tom, “Third Nipple" for all games.   So far, I’ve avoided any meaningful terms of endearment.

In all honesty, there were times this trip felt like a twisted hybrid of National Lampoon and Grapes of Wrath.  I wish I could say I basked daily in elation and gratitude of a successful surgery, but those moments were usually usurped by the realization that I had to keep Tom and the kids safe, alive, comfortable, and delivered safely back home.  Lizzie became a very welcomed co-pilot.  Now that we are less than 100 miles from home, and Tom is healthy and insolent-- it is a wonderful feeling. 

Thanks for going with us—all of you!  Your bodies, minds, spirits, texts, emails, phone calls—all of it was immensely helpful.  Thank you.  We are very blessed.

Elated, grateful, and relieved at last,

“I ask not for a lighter burden, but for broader shoulders.”  Jewish Proverb

"There ain't no sin and there ain't no virtue. There is just stuff people do." Grapes of Wrath, John Steinbeck

“But the place which you have selected for your camp, though never so rough and grim, begins at once to have its attractions, and becomes a very centre of civilization to you: "Home is home, be it never so homely."”  ~Henry David Thoreau

“We travel because, no matter how comfortable we are at home, there's a part of us that wants - that needs - to see new vistas, take new tours, obtain new traveler's checks, buy new souvenirs, order new entrees, introduce new bacteria into our intestinal tracts, learn new words for "transfusion," and have all the other travel adventures that make us want to french-kiss our doormats when we finally get home.”  The Only Travel Guide You’ll Ever Need,  Dave Barry

At first, I thought this was Tom, but then I remembered that he never wore shorts under his gown. 

Why is this so amusing to us?

Daryl took this photo while Liz and I were changing a tire. 

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