Saturday, January 01, 2011

Journal of a Living Lady #387

Nancy White Kelly

As I write this column, Buddy and I are awaiting the dropping of the ball in Times Square in New York City. At midnight, the date will change to 1/1/11. It is the start of a new year full of people hoping the next twelve months will be better than the last.

As you read this column, Buddy and I will beginning a new adventure that started with the movie, “The Bucket List.” It is about two men, actors Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, who discover they have terminal cancer with little time left to live. That movie starting me thinking about things I’d like to do before I pass on and I began penning my own bucket list. It was appropriate in that in September I was warned that I may be entering my third battle with metastatic cancer. Though I have been stable the last couple of years, the CAT scan was suspicious of new growth. The pain in my joints was excruciating which led my doctors to believe the original breast cancer had spread to more bones and was beginning a drive to deprive me of quality living.

Thankfully the repeat test in December showed significant improvement and the pain was attributed to a new cancer drug which had an adverse effect of “severe joint pain.” At one point I was ready to find a chain saw to cut off my own shoulder. On a scale of 1-10, the pain was a 12. My routine morphine didn’t faze the unrelenting pain.

Now that we are past that scare, which I attribute to answered prayer, the Living Lady decided to follow through on one of the items on my bucket list. It certainly wasn’t at the top of the list, but something I had wanted for a long while…a small RV that would allow us to travel at our own pace. Justification of the cost was easy. With the coin shop, I needed to attend regional coin shows occasionally, so this purchase would be more than just a vacation vehicle.

Recently while returning from town, I passed just the type of recreational vehicle that desired. The 2002 RV was the right size and reasonably priced. We could easily re-sell it if needed. Bottom line: Buddy liked the RV too and we bought it that day.
My idea was to fill it up with gas and take off to our first destination, a coin show in Tampa. However, Buddy a retired airline mechanic, is trained to look for mechanical problems which he promptly did. He has spent many hours in the freezing weather checking every bolt. It seemed that each day brought a need for more money.
First, there was no spare tire. Buddy convinced me we couldn’t even think of taking a trip without a spare tire. The problem wasn’t so much the acquiring of a tire; it also had to have a rim. Little did I know that RV rims are of an unusual size and aren’t easy to find, especially a used one. That spare cost us $300. The oil filter and new oil was $65. RV insurance was another $200 plus and then there other costs like title change fees. Buddy’s needs list included a back-up camera, yet to be installed and a heavy-duty jack in case he had to actually use that spare time. Then there was a propane tank full of gas, a special water hose, and a host of other small items that added up to about $500. I held my tongue but my mind mentally complained, “We haven’t even pulled out of the drive-way yet.”

We should be on the road now after delivering Patch to Charlie for doggy-care, arranging for extra security for the coin shop, as well as recruiting a neighbor to feed our chickens and Sam, the cat.

Already I am remembering the TV movie starring Lucille Ball and Desi Arnez, titled the “Long, Long Trailer.” At Lucy’s insistence, the newly-weds bought a 40-foot drivable trailer home that cost $5300 in the 50’s. The idea was to save money for an eventual house. The added benefit was that the couple could travel around the USA allowing Nicky, played by Desi, to manage civil engineering projects.
Desi and Lucy end up having to buy a more powerful car to tow the trailer. The money spent starts to mount up. Their honeymoon trip to the Sierra Nevada Mountains quickly becomes a believable cascade of challenges and disasters.

For Buddy and me, this bucket list adventure is supposed to be fun. Thus far, it has been less than what I had hoped.

RVing may be a temporary fling for us and this may be a one and only trip. Stay tuned.

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