The Aluminum Asylum

The Aluminum Asylum
Our home on wheels

Sunday, September 21, 2008

We left Key West, Thursday September 19, 2008 at 9:05 a.m. It was the end of what could have been an ideal workampers position. It is not that we wanted to go, nor were we asked to go…we left because poor Paulie wasn’t able to keep up with the job requirements. *Sigh*. Nothing to do but admit we had erred in thinking general maintenance would not include climbing trees, fixing automated sprinkler systems and learning the art of Japanese gardening. Perhaps we erred in not asking more specific questions although I had listed them carefully, and when asked about the physicality of the maintenance position, some things were not clearly defined. Paul feels terrible. His replacement shoulders were shot after just two days on the job. He was expected to cut palm fronds with an implement that was heavy and had to be held above his head. You all know Paul cannot lift his arms past his shoulders due to the severity of his shoulder impairments. He pulled dead plants for four hours in heat of over 95 degrees and 95% humidity. He was lost when the other workamper disassembled a professional grade refrigerator in one of the million dollar lots, cleaned and repaired it and put it back together again. He was flummoxed when the other workamper revamped the tubing in an automatic watering system in another million dollar lot. Nope. This was not a job for Paulie! For the first time, I was confident my part was a snap…checking emails, responding to inquiries, making reservations and keeping the accounts all on a kool pc program called Campground Master. We were provided free wifi, a cell phone and even the laptop. The 13 sites were privately owned and managed by our boss. We were here as on site assistants, so we were parked on a $500,000 site with lush tropical landscaping, a Tiki Hut and lanai with an outdoor kitchen, and our own private dock on the canal. It truly was paradise IMNSHO! I really was crushed when we had to decline the position. How can I fault Paul…never once did he ever voice impatience with me when I had problems (with cleaning the bathrooms in Branson mostly…not hard, but difficult for me with fibro…).

We drove back up north through the beautiful Keys, stopping at a sandal and t shirt factory in Islamorada. While I was looking for bargains (which was a joke…some discounts…$20 per shirt and $149 Berkies) Paul took both puppies for a walk. Pepe was fine. Mack walked into some kind of “plant eating puppy” plants and in seconds, he was covered with stickers, burrs and some exotic things that wrapped around his legs and clambered up his chest onto his face, neck and ears. Poor Baby! I walk into the rig and there is my baby just crying. I look at Paul and ask WTF? OK, he bellows, I made a mistake. I swear after dropping the poor baby on his head, letting him fall off the table and other misdeeds, I told him he must leave my baby alone! He is a hazard to Mack’s health!

For the next hour I tried to get out all this sticker things. Mack’s fur is soft and these suckers wouldn’t budge. Out came the scissors and whack, whack there goes my baby’s pretty little fur coat! He looks like an escapee from a puppy prison! I had to clip almost all the fur off those lil’ chicken legs. He looks pathetic…but, it will grow back!

We stopped Thursday afternoon in Naples, just down the road from the place we stayed in two years ago…at a place called Kountry Kamping…an older park with older seasonal rigs that were not gosh-awful but will be soon. Off season, it was $3l per night (!) in season….$65! Jeesh! Pricey here in Naples…but I LOVE Naples…it is so clean and well kept…well maintained landscaping and buildings…I am sure there is a slummy part, but I haven’t found it so far!
We slept in on Friday, and Paulie and I went out, grandpa wanting to stay in the park. We were walking through the Tin Can Mall, my phone rings and grandpa tells me that my puppy LOVES the pool! He took my little puppy to the pool and threw him in!!!! I told him through gritted teeth I think, that if anything happened to my puppy he’d better start hitch hiking back to the RGV!

While shopping I found the deal of the century….SILK Capri’s and SILK tops (all washable silks BTW) on sale, marked down from $70 to $15 each. I could only buy one pair of bright lime green Capri’s and one kinda celadon top. Wow…I wish I would wear a size 4…I could have gotten a new wardrobe for under a $100 bucks! And NICE stuff…I told Paulie I couldn’t find this kinda deal at Wally World…Capri’s and top for $30! He just stared at me…and the sales clerk then castigated him to my utter delight…she told him I was a bargain shopper and just hit the jackpot. Riiiigggghhhht. LOL!

Later in the car going home, we had an argument to beat all arguments…for those of you who know us…arguing with Paul is my favorite past time…he gets so flustered when I nail him with facts that he sputters stupid words in order to refute me. Silly man. Anyways, this was a corker. We finally stopped to grab a bite to eat at, what else, Taco Bell. Local delite abound in Naples and I hafta eat fake tacos? Arrrgggh! We finally get home and I have a headache and a tummy ache from the tacos so I lay down for a while. We just spent the evening watching TV…

We slept in again after deciding to stay at KK for another night. I wrote my new article for Bella, did some emailing and started to update the blog. Paul wanted to have lunch/early dinner at a local place called Cracklin' Jacks. Grandpa had fried oysters, Paul had fried catfish, and I had fresh fried grouper. Oh my. Very good. I ended my meal with a slice of homemade Key Lime pie...not too sweet, not too tart...icky plastic whip cream...what's up with food service places lately. The whipped cream is "stabilized" is like marshmallow fluff mixed with Cool Whip...its really disgusting! Give me the can of Ready Whip and I am happy. Ugh...I never order anything with whip cream nowadays...even Dairy Queen is using the plastic make believe stuff. And forget about buying a cake in the store bakery. UGH UGH UGH. The butter cream is crisco and marshmallow fluff. Looks beautiful as it stays firm and doesn't melt. However it cannot be DIGESTED either! What happened to bakeries? God I miss Chicago and it's neighborhood bakery shops. A dying figment of my childhood I guess. I am gonna look up how to make real butter cream and start making my own cake. Then I can put raspberry filling in it and pig out to my heart's content...yellow cake, raspberry filling and creamy buttery icing. Ah. The stuff of my dreams!

We are now on the road…I75 moving towards the Tampa area. We plan on staying at the SKP park in Bushnell. It is about an hour from Tampa but we may park for several days there. Grandpa is flying out of Tampa around 11 am tomorrow, Monday. I hate to say this, but I am glad it will be just the two of us again…there is too much tension with him around. Paulie waits on him hand and foot…he seems to want to make him an invalid and the old fart is far from that stage. He drinks beer and smokes cigars daily…he’s NOT an invalid! He is a bit demanding also. Well, I won’t burden you all with my complaining…I am just about done with taking care of old people…its been over 8 years since grandma got bad and it has been a LONG 8 years. Thank goodness I have three sisters to help with my mom. We had just ourselves to care for Paul’s folks. Oh well.

So, that’s it up to now. Paul is very down on himself for throwing in the towel. I told him to grow up and deal with it…and he better get his ass to the doctor…those replacement shoulders should NOT be a source of agony for him…that’s why I thought he had surgery…to relieve the pain!

hugs to all


Monday, September 15, 2008

Here are some photos of the site...I just snapped a few shots last night before we lost the sun...this is the front of the lot looking out towards the bay(Sugarloaf) . The grassy area is the "people park" and just down the street is the puppy park. Quite a lovely view.
The third shot is of the side of the rig looking towards the Tiki Hut. Paul and Gene having a beer. The last shot is Gene fishing...caught nothing but a lot of fish stories.
Tune back in later...more pics I promise.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Oh's Thursday already! We arrived at Blue Water Key RV Resort yesterday around 4. A incredibly long day I might add!

Here's a brief recap since I last posted on Saturday.

Sunday...Paul had made contact with Tommy, his friend from St. Louis who had been living in New Orleans. We would stop outside Slidell, north of NO and visit with Tom and Sue at their retirement/lake home near Picayne, Ms. They have had the lake house for a while, but are now living there after selling their house in Gretna, a suburb of NO. We found a nice campground SunValley RV Park, and got settled around 4. Both Paul and I showered and off we went, GPS in hand to find the lake house. We arrived and had a nice visit and Sue, a fabulous cook made a to-die-for(!) meatloaf dinner with buttered noodles, broccoli and brownies for dessert! It was heaven after two days of junk food on the road. Such great folks. We will stop by again on our way back who knows when, LOL!

Monday....We all slept in!!! It was ten by the time we were up and about. We were packed up and on the road by 11 am, heading towards Alabama and the panhandle of Florida. I was getting a bit snarky like I always do when relegated to the back of the rig...the old man had planted his boney arse in the co-pilot's seat and refused to give it up. Cripes, I thought that his freakin' back hurt and the sofa and chair were "best" for him. Fibber. Paul insisted on driving and he and I had words several times. He just doesn't get it. If one is not sleeping on the sofa, there is little to do or see in the back I don't mind spending my share of the time in the back mind you...I just wish there was a reciprocal attitude yanno? I had mentioned to the old fart that I wanted to drive and he was quite serious when he said he didn't WANT me to drive...he would be uncomfortable. You know my answer to that...I won't post it here but it was not nice and had a few cursy type words in it. We decided to try to get to Ft Lauderdale as there were a couple of campgrounds there. Unfortunately we were on the FL turnpike and the campgrounds were off I95. It is now getting dark, I can't read the jumbled up mess of a map for the Miami area to find anything and the FL state map is just as bad. Grrrrr. The gps is useless finding a campgound by the way...We finally find the campground and get settled in around 8:30. Again, Paul pushes the envelope and along with it, my nerves.

Tuesday...We hit the ground running from Ft. Lauderdale and continue to head south. The winds that are leftover from Ike are starting to get stronger. We finally get out of the lovebug infestation we've been traveling in for the last thousand miles or so...since outside of Houston, actually. Gosh those things are disgusting. Ick. Ick and Ick again! Paulie's arms are killing him from cleaning the windshield.

The drive on US 1 is quite nice. The water is a aqua tone that is really neat. We are in touch with Rita, the Site Administrator and she tells us to stop in Marathon if we want groceries. We do and then top off the tank with some diesel...only $4.59 a gallon here in the Keys! The cheapest fuel we found was $3.89 at Flying J somewhere in the Gulf Shores area. We finally pull into the Resort and get set up. We are in Site 3, one of the rentals. We would normally be in Site one, which is the workampers site, but our other workers are there. Rita takes us around for a quick tour...she has two golf carts that are in great condition! What a pleasure...

I was very tired and I went to bed around 9 pm. Paul would be working with the gardener, Javier from Bolivia on Thursday. I will just recoup til Friday when I will begin training. I'll be getting trained on Campmaster so it should be fun.

Well, that's about all. I didn't take pictures of the park yet...I'll try to get my arse out there tomorrow. Oh, we did take a ride into Key West around 4 this afternoon. Same old laid back place, but pretty deserted still...lots of shops and places shut down for the evacuation from over the weekend. Glad we are not in Corpus Christi this week!



Saturday, September 06, 2008

Saturday update...

We are currently at the Paradise Cove Rv "resort". I am not sure why this place is called a resort. It is mostly seasonal or permanent residents it looks amenities to speak of other than a three tub wash-it-eria. I am such a snarky person when I am tired, LOL!

We are about 20 miles out of Houston. We left Weslaco at 12:45 p.m. this afternoon. We made one stop in Odem for a quick "lunch" at a Subway around 3. This way we won't have to do dinner...we can just do snacks.

We are tracking now appears that the storm has weakened somewhat, but according to most of the weather stuff we watched, Ike is still scheduled to hit the Keys. We will check the weather channel as we continue our trek around the Gulf.

The kids were so-so on our first leg. Pepe still thinks all the food and water is his and gets really ugly with both Mack and Snickers when they want a nibble or a sip. Since he bit me yesterday, I have been a tad po'd at him so my sympathies for him have diminished greatly. He bites me one more time, it is curtains for the little SOB. He will find himself living at the first rest stop we come to...and I'll tell grandpa he was last seen running from a giant armadillo.

I am not sure how far we will venture tomorrow. We will probably be up and about by 8 and on the road soon thereafter. I have a "hankering" for some eggs and bacon with biscuits and grits, but I need to convince the two gomers that we should do this...they tend to gobble those doughy bagels...too many carbs for my taste....the biscuits are carb heavy also, but hey, ya gotta eat, right?

Well, I have had a long day...I am trying so very very hard to be know this traveling situation is certainly NOT my idea of an fulfilling experience. However, Paul was quite firm that he would not go with out his dad. Grrrrr. I will say no more.

hugs to everyone...
more soon...

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Here are some photos of Gulfwaters RV park. We stayed here over the holiday. It is right on the Gulf coast shore...over the sand dunes is the water. Nice place...a bit pricey, but very very nice!

The view from our rented door was identical to ours...

Nice little ponds dot the fishing but there are loads of catfish and carp in them....

Looking back towards the dunes...this is a new section of the park...unsold lots so there is little to no landscaping.

A beautiful sunset...



We have accepted the position in the Keys and we leave for Florida on Saturday morning. Grandpa will be going with us. So will Pepe. So will Snickers. Three animals, and three adults in a motorhome is somehow not such a pleasant thought. But, we will have to manage somehow. Once we get to the Keys, our new boss told us we can put Grandpa in her ToyHauler travel trailer. But, he can't take Pepe with him. And he can't smoke cigars. Maybe I will take the toyhauler!!!!
We will keep in touch with the boss regularly as the severity of hurricane Ike won't be known until Saturday or Sunday...the path is still up in the air. So we have to plan accordingly. We will have a lease copy and a utility bill for one of the lots in Bluewater Key so the authorities will let us continue down, if there is any problems due to the hurricane. We will meet in the Tampa area at a campground if the Keys are evacuated.
We really hadn't unloaded a lot from the rig, which is a good thing for us now! All we need to do is get the clothes we need, a few staples that we had brought in earlier like cereal and coffee/tea. We are going to keep the amount of clothes to a minium...when we packed for Branson I think we went overboard.

Here is a new picture of Mac...

Here is him getting a bath while we were in Corpus Christi and...looks like a skinny little poodle to me!

His ears are the only thing that is like the Yorkie...he has longer legs and the longer nose of the poodle. He really is a cutie, but oh my gosh he is such a stinker! He runs around the house like his butt is on fire! He just tortures that fat little Pepe...who I think has doggie Alzheimer's...he will stand and look at nothing for literally hours. He can't get up or down the stairs due to his enormous weight and skinny legs that can't hold up the beef...*sigh*.
We will keep you posted on the road if we can get a good signal from the aircard.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Pictures coming soon...promise.

Now, breaking news and headlines.

We may be on our way to Key West by Saturday. For those who may not have been privy to what's happening in our neck of the woods, here's a quick synopsis...

On Wednesday while on our way to Port Aransas, we received a call from a woman in Key West...Sugar Loaf Bay, about 10 miles from Key West, actually. She had read our resume on Workamper and offered us a position for workamping. Yes. Workamping in KEY WEST! A workampers dream job! We would be one of three couples...we would be in training until Dec 15th. Next year the months we would work would be determined. The current workamper couple prefers to work the summer...the new couple just hired is doing Dec thru April 15th for this year. So we would be looking at either Sept thru Dec OR Dec thru April next year. I guess it all depends on if this couple works out (they are from Canada) and if we like it. We may alternate or whatever.

The park is called Bluewater Key RV resort and the lots are individually owned. This gal owns 13 lots and 4 rental houses. She rents the RV and houses out...the winter of Dec thru March brings in about 5 grand per lot. And we would get one of the lots , waterfront on the canal, with tiki hut and private dock for workamping 20 hours each a week. Woh. Boy. A million dollar lot for four months in Key West. No brainer from my perspective. Grandpa can come down and visit anytime. He can fish on the pier all day if he likes! I would be doing reservations, phone, computer work and handle the money. Paul would prepare sites before arrival and cleanup pick up some palm fronds if necessary. Get the folks parked and be a "presence" for the owner. The summer time is when most of the upkeep work is done...piers worked on and stained, sites/tiki huts/furniture power washed and stuff like that. There is a gardener who does property upkeep weekly, but the weeds are prolific and would need to be sprayed daily. It's like I am making this up! Really! Sounds perfect to me. We are waiting until tomorrow a.m. after talking to the two longer term workampers to make our decision. Sounds like a go to me, if they tell us the job is ideal. The only thing that would make me wonder is if this gal was a PIA...and she sounds very professional and up front to me.

So...I will post more about our conversation with the workers tomorrow and upload the new pictures. It was great here in Port Aransas...will write more about that too.