Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018 – Housekeeping, Dialyze and Dinner with Hosts

Slept LATE!!! Yay!! Best night sleep in the trailer since we left home! Can’t understand why I hadn’t figured this out sooner, I guess I’ve just had too much going on to stop and think it through. Anyway, I slept past 9:30, which felt wonderful, then got up and grained the horses (Rich had already given them their hay for the day) and spent the day cleaning the trailer, reorganizing a few things, putting up some more hooks for hanging stuff, storing the suitcases back in the “attic,” changing out Lola’s dog bed (this one is just too big, so it’s going in the back seat of the truck.) I’ll get her another one with sides that’s the right size, so as not to take up the entire laundry room in the trailer. Dialyzed Hubby, then had a lovely dinner up at the big house with our hosts, chatted until well after nine before heading back to the trailer. Hubby was a bit more tired tonight, his blood pressure was quite low for much of his session, so we were in bed right afterward. Hoping for another good night sleep tonight! Could use a few more like last night!

Friday, Nov. 30, 2018 – Dialyze and Pick Up Pickup

Despite being so tired, I didn’t have the best night sleep, so I woke up still in a bit of a fog today. Unpacked, did laundry, dialyzed Hubby and picked up the truck from the mechanic, who confirmed the only problem was the power steering unit hadn’t been quite put on properly, but it needed another new belt since the “new” one was already getting chewed up. He charged a LOT less than the last place, confirming beyond a shadow of a doubt what a ripoff they were! Our hosts have been tempting Hubby with a liver and onions dinner at a local restaurant, so we decided tonight was the night to go, as Hubby was feeling pretty good even after his dialysis, so we headed out to what turned out to be a cafeteria style hole-in-the-wall in Dade City, where Hubby had his liver and I had chicken. Too much food, but it was true Southern style, and Hubby liked it, so it was a good evening. Got back, relaxed for a bit before going to bed. I had figured out (finally) that part of my sleeping problem was that Hubby was hogging too much of my side of the bed because he was sleeping on this right side, so I asked if we could switch (which would put us back to the way we were in the old trailer anyway) and he agreed. Hoping that makes a difference tonight!

Thursday, Nov. 29, 2018 – Return Flight Day

Had a FABULOUS night sleep at the Hampton Inn last night, slept like a log, thank goodness! Had a leisurely free breakfast in the lobby before finally packing up and heading out. Our flight wasn’t until around noon, so we were in no real hurry, didn’t leave the hotel till nearly 9:30. The airport was less than two miles away, and even though there was a lot of construction, the road to the temporary car rental return was easy enough to find, and there was a shuttle waiting when we finished turning in our little Nissan Sentra. Nice car, good pickup, not that lagging acceleration so many smaller cars seem to have. A quick trip to the tiny terminal, some trouble at TSA, with a young man making Hubby get out of his wheelchair, take his belt off, and a bunch of other unnecessary procedures “because the computer told him to,” we finally reached the gate area where we relaxed and waited for our flight. A small plane again, but a pleasant and timely flight this time, with our connection in Charlotte right on schedule as well. Our hosts Cherryl and Rich were kind enough to pick us up at the airport since my truck was still in the shop, and offered to take us out to dinner, but we had eaten a nice lunch on the first plane (same menu as last time), so we headed straight home instead. Very tiring, so we said good night and were in bed pretty quick!

Wednesday, Nov. 28, 2018 – Work Day

Up bright and early (well, not bright, it was pre-dawn), had breakfast at the lodge with the group, and proceeded with a very good day of seminar and workshop with a new client and 17 or so of his sales people and administrators. We finished up about 4:20, and learned that everyone else was either flying out or otherwise leaving the lodge that afternoon, so rather than stay a night on our own (and me sleeping on a cold couch again), we decided to check into an airport hotel for a comfortable night, with plans to sleep late since we would be close to the airport. I found a great Hampton Inn less than two miles away, clean, convenient, a great Hampton, with a king bed and a bathtub. It wasn’t long before I was soaking in a hot tub, ordering Chinese food for delivery, settling down to a movie and a good, long nice sleep on a comfortable mattress!

Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2018 – Runaround in Sioux City, Iowa

After a breakfast at the lodge with the group (it was 7 degrees this morning), and watching a couple of hours of their meetings and presentations, Hubby and I headed north for a dialysis session in Sioux City. After getting him settled in, I ran a bunch of errands, got workbooks for the group made at Staples, got my hair cut at a little salon downtown called Bliss (thanks, Joan! Great job!), picked up a protein drink and gas at a local grocery store, and sat in the parking lot of the dialysis center putting together the workbooks, finishing just in time to get Hubby and head out of town. We decided to stop for something to eat and found a place off the highway called, appropriately “The Place”, part restaurant and bar, part laundromat, part campground, part old motel, a real blast from the past from the old pre-interstate days. Had a meal of cheap comfort food, which is all we needed, and headed back to the retreat, passing a convoy of vehicles on the back road, assuming that was our group heading out. That’s fine, we prefer not to socialize with our students until after our Workshops, which is why we had dinner before returning. We’ll see plenty of them tomorrow! Settled back in the cabin, and other than some quick assistance from Matt the caretaker to fix the TV and wifi, which had no power, and relaxed the rest of the evening. Busy day tomorrow!

Monday Nov. 26, 2018 – Travel Day to Omaha/Tekamah, NE for Work

Up bright and early in order to catch our flight to Nebraska this morning. We dropped off the truck at a local mechanic recommended by our host, who then drove us to the airport in Tampa. We had checked out under the hood yesterday and saw the new serpentine belt was already getting chewed, and knew it had to fixed before we dare take it on the road again, particularly towing the trailer. Grrr! Getting awful tired of putting money into this truck! Still cheaper than a new truck, but honestly, it’s been a big expense this year! Anyway, we got to the airport in plenty of time, but unfortunately we received a notice that our departure was delayed by 20 minutes. Our layover in Charlotte is only about an hour, so that’s cutting it pretty short for us, but we still thought we could make it. The flight from Tampa to Charlotte had so much turbulence they never even tried to have a beverage service, so all I got was a glass on cranapple juice on the runway before we took off. Not much extra service for first class… Anyway, we and 34 other people had very tight connections in Charlotte, and fortunately there was a wheelchair ready and waiting for us at the end of the jetway, so we were up the ramp and racing down the terminal seven gates to our connection, which had almost completely finished boarding when we arrived. Got settled in, had a much appreciated quick glass of wine before the plane took off (not taking any chances this time!), and settled in while we passed through the same turbulence for a while, though it eventually settled down. They served our choice of two cold lunches, but they were large and filling, and neither Hubby or I could finish them. We arrived at dusk, collected our rental car, and ventured out into the pitch black countryside for an hour, getting a little lost because the roads had few markings and were gravel, long stretches through the middle of farmers fields, until we at last we found it. The group we’re working with had all gone out to dinner, so we settled into a “cabin” separate from the lodge and were soon in bed. Alas, the bed was only suitable for one because it was so soft in the middle we both rolled into it, so I opted to come out and sleep on a big hard leather couch. Tough day, but ready for whatever comes in next! P.S. 82 degrees in Tampa when we left, 18 degrees at retreat by the time we arrived.

Sunday, Nov. 25, 2018 – Prep Day for Travel to Omaha

Between packing for our trip to Nebraska, feeding the horses and dialyzing Hubby, the day was a pretty full one. Three days in a row of dialysis is hard on him, and he was feeling pretty light-headed by the end of the session, almost as bad as yesterday. I had trouble sticking his arterial for some reason, but then I changed the needle and it settled down for the rest of the session. Sometimes it just gives me a hard time, and I don’t really know what the trouble is. I’m still learning!

Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018 – Watched A Lesson, Relaxed Today

Another good night sleep, though I’m still feeling a bit tired, not quite fully recovered from my near exhaustive state when we left home, but I’m working on it! By the time I fed the horses (with Rich being kind enough to taxi me around in a golf cart), Hubby was up, too. Cherryl was giving a lesson this morning, and we were both interested in watching her work, so we moseyed over and observed for the duration. Her student is a very sweet and beautiful 17 year old girl named Nina, who just got accepted at St. Leo’s college with a scholarship. We chatted with them both for a while, then Cherryl and Rich had to take a run to Tarpon Springs to pick up some parts for something. Hubby and I had a delightfully quiet afternoon just relaxing, dialyzing, me catching up on my Diary (which was LONG overdue) and doing a little work for our job next week. In other words, a lovely, typical day on the road!

Friday, Nov. 23, 2018 – Ride Day with Flash Up the Withlacoochie Trail

Another good night sleep, thank goodness it's so quiet out here, other than the occasional train, (which correctly blows the Queens Crossing signal, long-long-short-long at every road intersection). Hubby wanted to try a short ride on Flash in the arena today, mostly to see if his legs are getting any stronger, especially since we didn't dialyze yesterday, which usually helps. I got Flash saddled up, and Hubby managed to climb on using a mounting block with no trouble at all! He took Flash around the arena a number of times, but he kept going back to Apollo, who was standing in the corner. After a while, he started to give Hubby a bit of a hard time, so Hubby finally saw what I meant when I was telling him how bossy Flash can try to be at times. To be on the safe side, Hubby decided he'd had enough, and was able to dismount more easily than he had been lately. Using the cordura saddle obviously is helping, as the cantle is lower and he's able to get his foot over more easily, plus he felt a bit stronger today, whoo-hoo! I put Apollo back in his paddock and switched saddles on Flash to the usual cowboy Aussie, and Flash and I took a nice ride up the Withlacoochee trail, which has a trailhead less than a quarter of a mile from Cherryl's farm. I knew it would be long and straight and probably boring, but it turned out to be a good exercise for Flash, as all kinds of strange pedal-powered vehicles went by us, including one with a little yapper named Lucy in a tiny cage behind her human's head (it was on one of those low to the ground contraptions). We kept off the pavement as indicated, and a lot of the trail actually had some nice trees along it, so it wasn't quite as plain as I thought it might be. We went almost 6 miles up to the overpass over route 50/98, then turned around and came back, completing an 11.78 mile ride in under two hours! I'm convinced more than ever that this horse will make a great endurance horse, he just loves to go go go! We walked quite a bit, especially at first, to get him over all the scary new things, like bikes and benches and picnic tables, but eventually we geared up, doing long stretches at his faster gaits, and finally a good mile or two at a lovely canter. I mostly let him go at his own speed, just to let him enjoy himself, and we both certainly did! Got back around 2:30, just in time to get Hubby started on his dialysis, followed by a quiet evening in our mobile cabin. Another great day on the road!

Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018 – Thanksgiving with the Mitchells

Had the chance to finally sleep a little late, the night temps are perfect sleeping and the days so beautiful, precisely why we came south this time of year! After a light leisurely breakfast, I mixed up a blender full of Yorkshire Pudding mix (my contribution to the Thanksgiving lamb dinner) and headed over to the big house for the afternoon. A day of great conversation, stories, food and wine, a wonderful time was had by all, exactly how Thanksgiving should be! Not to mention watching the Dog Show on TV (missed the Parade because we slept so late, though frankly I used to like to watch the parade, not the show stops in from of Macy’s, and that’s all they seem to broadcast anymore, so we didn’t miss much), and generally had a grand time before heading back to our little “cabin” just after dark.