Thursday, September 30, 2010

Today's Topic: Ohio Turnpike Service Plazas

The state of Ohio has the nicest Service Plazas (some states call them Rest Areas) that I've ever seen in my limited travel experience. Here is a picture of Mr. Trucker entering one.
These service plazas have fuel islands outside; while inside they contain a plethora of services, including free showers, TV lounges:

Gift/convenience stores, information counters, a game room, and a food court with all kinds of extremely high priced items, including, of course..........

You thought I was gonna say McDonalds, didn't you? We spent the night in our truck at the service plaza in Vermilion, OH. There is also a service plaza that we passed up which is named for Commodore Perry, who started the group The Commodores. He is a cousin of Steve Perry, the lead singer from the band Journey. So see, you got your history lesson for the day, as well. Here's another educational fact: Apparently the Rock & Roll hall of fame is in Cleveland. Who knew?

Mr. Trucker says this is all related to the song "Cleveland Rocks", which is apparently the theme song for the Drew Carey show. Driving through Cleveland we saw sights such as:

Think this sign could be any bigger
or more obvious?
Don't know what this is but it had
visual appeal
Anyway, we started the day in Ohio, spent about two minutes in Pennsylvania (cut across the northwest corner) and now we're in New York. It has threatened rain all morning and finally started raining in earnest about 30 minutes ago, which is a shame, because upstate New York is very beautiful, full of old farmhouses and vineyards. 

We should be in our destination just outside of Syracuse by late afternoon. Our delivery appointment isn't until 6:00 a.m. tomorrow, so we'll just have to cool our heels at some truck stop for the evening. Sometimes these truck stops are within walking distance of places of interest and sometimes they're not. When I went out with Mr. Trucker in July, we stayed at a Pilot in Erie Pennsylvania, which LOOKED like it was within walking distance of something, so that night we went out for a a walk. We kept trudging on and on thinking: "I'm sure there's something over that next hill" and before we knew it we had walked 3.8 miles. The reason I know it was 3.8 is because we ended up taking a taxi back to the truck. It was about 97 degrees that day and I was exhausted, plus it was dark by the time we were ready to go back. Mr. Trucker probably could have made it back to the truck on his own, but he'd have had to drag me the whole way. 

Strange sounding town name for today:   Ashtabula, OH. 
And if anyone knows how to pronounce the town of Conneaut, OH, please enlighten the rest of us! 


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Adventure Begins

The Adventure Begins
Well, we finally hit the road together last night. We drove a couple hours to Plover, WI, where we picked up a preloaded trailer, spent the night there, and woke up this morning ready to head to Syracuse, New York. For some reason I was inordinately sleepy today, plus I had a migraine, so after only a couple of hours of driving, I couldn’t keep my eyes open and had to crawl in the back & sleep. Then we stopped for fuel, so I hopped out, made pee pee, washed my face & brushed my teeth, then TRIED to sit up front but was still too sleepy. So I slept through Chicago and woke up when we stopped at the Knute Rockne travel plaza in Indiana. We stopped there so that Mr. Trucker could take a two hour nap, so being the loving wife I am, I napped with him. Now we’re driving some more and I’m wide awake (thank goodness). We’ll drive a total of around 550 miles today. Mr. Trucker tells me that tomorrow will be a little more leisurely. Perhaps I’ll get some pictures then. 
One of the things that’s neat about trucking is this: People ask me all the time “where are you going next?” and the answer is always “we don’t know”. All we ever know is where we’re going with our current load. Right now we’re on our way to Syracuse, NY. Once we’ve delivered this load, that’s when we’ll get our next dispatch and it could be to anywhere...Mr. Trucker just gave the ol’ slug for a red Volkswagen. That’s one of our road games.
One of our other road games, and one that I’ll be sharing with you is: weird town names. We’re passing through Mishawaka, IN. That’s one that never fails to amuse me, although not as much as Shipshewana, IN, which is a tourist trap with a big indoor flea market and Amish places.

Odd Bod, the pictures are for you!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Home Sweet Truck

Mr. Trucker & I have spent the bulk of the last three days getting our new "home" set up the way we want it. Here are some of the highlights:

Running board
My honey made this little foot scraper for me so I won't track mud into our home. There's one on his side also.

                                                                Below is our bed.

The new mattress we ordered is very comfy. For those who wonder about these things, it's 38" x 80", roughly the size of a twin xtra long or a dorm size bed. And yes, we both sleep in it. There IS an upper bunk in case we need it, but it'll be used primarily for storage.
Foot of the bed

Microwave up top, strapped down of course. Drawers for pantry supplies beneath, bungie corded in so the drawers stay shut while the truck is in motion. Note the power strip to the left, attached with double sided sticky tape.

Below the drawers, the electric cooler, which functions much like a refrigerator, but is way cheaper than a truck refrigerator. It's large enough to hold some sliced sandwich meat, some fruit, soymilk, baby carrots, jelly, a couple bottles of water and cans of V8.

The closet

Dining table
A wooden TV tray table which folds up and stows in the closet. Will also double as a cribbage playing table.

Accessory hooks

The famous Tilley hat
My command center
This is where I will keep my IPod touch, my cellphone
and my camera
Our new home!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Rescued at last

My Man On A White Horse In A Blue Truck is coming for me at last! He will scoop me up beside him and we'll ride off into the sunset to live happily ever after!

Thus begins the real adventure! Prepare to be awestruck and flummoxed on a regular basis. 

In the meantime, I leave you with this little snapshot:

Mr. Trucker's Big Fat Lip

This is how my beloved looks without me!
Oh, BTW, I almost forgot! The mattress arrived. Yesterday!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Free Kittens, Anyone?

The GrandCats

Aren't they precious? These are the three cats that Sassy has with her in Minneapolis (minus Shiraz, the crabby resident cat). The big one on the right is Jasper, my original cat whom I adopted on New Year's Day, 2010. That little scamp in the middle is Donovan, the auxiliary back-up kitten whom Sassy brought home this summer to "keep Jasper company". The cat on the left is Gypsy, the stray cat Sassy found by the side of the road last month, and guess what? She is preggers!!!  Just what a starving college student needs, more cats to take care of. So, sign up now for your free kitten in 9 weeks.

Gloom, malaise, and lethargy on me...

Deep dark depression, excessive misery...Does anyone remember this catchy little tune from Hee Haw? I changed up the words just a little at the beginning there to denote my mood. Do you ever have one of those days where you just don't feel like doing ANYTHING? Well, today's my day. I don't know why, the sun is shining and everything, and yet I just feel like a blah lump.

We are having mattress issues...and no, it's not bedbugs, which I gather from the TV news is a national epidemic. You may remember me mentioning that I ordered us a new custom made mattress for Mr. Trucker's rig, cuz the one that came with it is about 1/4 inch thick (I might be exaggerating ever so slightly) and Mr Trucker said he didn't want to come fetch me till the new mattress arrived so he wouldn't have to listen to me whine and cry every day about sleeping on the crappy mattress...Well, I ordered our mattress online on the 9th. On the 14th I received an email stating that it shipped on the 13th and giving me a tracking number, which I checked daily until finally, having seen NO movement on the tracking number, I called Mattress Insider last Thursday, the 16th, and was told it should arrive by end of day on Friday. Well, guess what? It didn't! On Monday I called again and got some more runaround about how it should be there any second. By the end of Monday I started to get firm (translated: crabby) with these people and eventually was told that they had no idea where the mattress was but that they would make me another one on Tuesday morning and next day air it to me (at their own expense) so that I should have it by Thursday or Friday morning. This was only after I told them that if they couldn't guarantee its arrival by Friday, I wanted the order cancelled. Mr. Trucker is arriving to get me anytime between Thursday and Saturday and I am anticipating our hitting the road late Sunday (possibly Monday) and not being back till Thanksgiving. I just got done checking my emails and I now have a tracking number which shows something that resembles movement and an assurance that the mattress SHOULD arrive Friday. What happened to Thursday or Friday morning at the latest? I'm really hacked about this because if it doesn't arrive before we have to leave, we'll be sleeping on the piece of crap mattress till Thanksgiving and is it only me who sometimes wonders, when ordering things on the internet, if it's all just smoke and mirrors, and some of these places just take your money but don't really have a product to deliver....?

Well, hopefully in a couple days, the mattress will arrive, followed by Mr. Trucker, and before you can say "Bob's your Uncle", I'll be blogging from the road. I cannot wait. I've got the adventure bug bigtime!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Our dream

One of the biggest reasons for my going out on the road with Mr. Trucker is so that we can save up enough money to build a permanent structure on our land up north. Something that will look very similar to the photo above, only smaller. We want something tiny, we plan to continue the minimalist lifestyle even after coming off the road. But it will be large enough, at least upstairs in the loft area, for our kids to come stay, hopefully with THEIR kids (if they ever bless us with any).

In the meantime, this is where we live when we're not on the road (and where I've been living for the last month):

This is only the front door. I'm not going to show you a picture of the whole thing, because I think even you, tender readers, would be flummoxed and awestruck! I spend a lot of time down (up) at my in-laws, who have a beautiful place just up (down) the trail from my humble abode.

Did any of you watch Dancing With The Stars last night? I generally don't watch that show, but my Mother-in-law and I have been watching a lot of TV together in the evenings while my Father-in-law surfs the web for all kinds of interesting factoids (like what are Sugar Gliders, what about Jim Thorpe's history, and he always prints me out a map of where my beloved, Mr Trucker, is spending the night and where he's heading the next day). Anyway, I was just touched almost to tears at the way Kurt Warner walked right over to his wife sitting in the front row and kissed her the instant he was finished performing. Almost before the applause had started. I love knowing that he is a Believer and is standing for what is right and good. Y'all should vote for him if you get the chance.

After three weeks of COOL fall weather up here in the northwoods, we are finally getting a day where the temperature feels like it's above 65. The cold snap has already done its work, however, and the majority of the leaves have turned color and many have fallen. I hope there is still some fall color to see after Mr. Trucker fetches me this coming weekend and we go out together (finally)!

If you're hungry, you should stop by and visit me this week. I've been cooking up a storm in my new Dutch Oven and having a lot of fun. It's rare that I get a chance to cook without Mr. Trucker interfering, taking over and telling me I'm doing it all wrong. It's a miracle that I manage without him...I made Eggplant Parmesan the other day and it was wonderful, but there was so much we had to freeze over half of it. And Sunday I made a Cassoulet in my Dutch Oven that was to die for! Oh my, my mouth is watering even now! I didn't notice till after I had purchased all the ingredients that the recipe served 12, so we ended up freezing a lot of that too. When Mr. Trucker arrives on the weekend, he is going to eat so well!!! Unless you readers find your way up north before he gets here. It's first come, first served.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Ooh! I'll have the Speckled Bananas, please!

So, I'm afraid I've gotten kind of spoiled living in the big city. Up here in the north woods, the towns are small and you have to drive a minimum of 6 miles to find a grocery store of any kind, and then it's not much of one. I mean they have your basics: bread, milk, meat, liquor. But there just isn't the selection that I'm used to. I finally have the time to cook a little, and I have some awesome recipes to try, what with my new dutch oven and all...but try to find some of the items listed in the recipes, well, that's just not happening. I needed fresh basil; nada. Parmesan Reggiano cheese; I was lucky to find fresh Parmesan. I wasn't about to ask about the Fontina cheese. They DID have ricotta, though. I was bemoaning this fact to Mr. Trucker, who is something of a gourmand himself, and he commented that you are lucky to get a white or yellow onion, but you better just forget about shallots or leeks. He's right about that.

One thing that tickled me beyond measure though: They had bananas for .69/lb, which is pretty high. But for only .39/lb, the sign announced, you could get "Speckled Bananas". Is this some rare new variety? They look pretty much to me like bananas which have gone past their sell-by date, heck these bananas have gone past their eat-by date. You could make some really awesome banana bread or banana muffins with these speckled bananas.

Speckled Bananas
I didn't BUY these speckled bananas, I'll have you know. They were normal bananas when I bought them, they only became speckled after I didn't eat them fast enough.

I have to go now, I'm making an eggplant dish for supper. Mr. Trucker says he's glad he's missing it. When I was little, my Mom used to bread and fry eggplant and tell us it was fish to get us to eat it. I'm still traumatized over that. It's a wonder I learned to like eggplant after that, although to this day, I still won't eat tapioca pudding because my wonderful big brothers used to tell me it was fish eyes. Do any of you have lovely big brothers like mine?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

What You Have To Look Forward To

Typical truckstop
Storybook cottage
Typical truckstop restroom

I is so stinkin' smart! I figured out how to get the little memory card thingy out of the camera and into the computer and now the pictures are all in IPhoto, which is, without a doubt, the coolest thing since sliced bread! It knows the date each picture was taken and puts all pictures from a particular date into an "Event", which can then be titled. It also has this way cool face-recognition feature, which allows you to click on a face in a picture, type in the person's name, and then it searches for that same face in other photos and arranges them by "Face".  I even created a nifty little slideshow of pics from my brother's birthday last April, with music and borders, etc...Don't tell him, I want to surprise him by emailing it to him, I just have to figure out how!

Anyway, when I conceived this blog, this is what I envisioned: being able to share pics with you from our travels. My intellect just had to catch up with my imagination!

There's been another setback in our little adventure. Mr. Trucker seems to be in a cycle of going further and further away from where I am, and now it looks like I will be here ANOTHER week without him. The more time I spend with his Mom & Dad (remember, their place is just up the trail from our "cottage"), the more concerned he becomes that I might be taking over his place in their affections. Last Sunday he called me on my cellphone and asked me if I was at OUR place or at his Mom & Dad's. When I answered the latter, he said, and I quote: "Are you taking over my spot?" So now I rub it in every chance I get. Like yesterday, when I accompanied my in-laws on a trip to Green Bay. I texted Mr. Trucker: "Goin' to GB with your Mom & Dad. They're getting me a pony!". But instead of becoming jealous, he just responded with "As long as it's not a cat!"

Did I ever mention that Mr. Trucker doesn't like cats? A few years after we married, my step-dog, Dusty, had to be put down; and after a sufficient period of mourning (like a couple of days, tops),  I said to Mr.  Trucker "Now I can get a cat". He said "you're not serious are you?", to which I replied "of course I'm serious, why wouldn't I be?". And then came the kicker. He said, and I quote, "If I'd known you wanted a cat, I never would have married you!". Can you even believe that?

It took me several more years to actually get the cat. My oldest daughter, Sissy, is highly allergic to cats and it didn't seem right to kick her out of the house just so that I could have one, particularly as she was only around 7 or 8 at the time. I'm just kidding about that. I never once considered kicking her out, at least not just because of the allergies...     
She's nearly 25 now and has lived out on her own since she was 18. Everytime I brought up the cat thing after she moved out, she would make sure to rub it in about how she could never come visit me if I had a cat. After 5 or 6 years of her making excuses about how she was too busy to come over for a visit, I finally decided to get a cat after all, and then whenever Stacie DID come over, she always called him "Stupid Cat".

We got Jasper on New Year's Day of 2010. By "we" I mean my youngest daughter, Sassy (who was living at home at the time) and I.  Mr. Trucker was out on the road when we brought Jasper home from the Humane Society, but he came home quite unexpectedly later that same day, so we hid the cat in Sassy's bedroom while she went to work. Mr. Trucker sat right on the other side of the bedroom door and couldn't hear the cat mewing, nor did he appear to notice my agitation.  In fact, he didn't suspect anything until the cat launched itself at the door and Mr. Trucker jumped to his feet, hollering: "What the heck is going on here"?  He was less than thrilled with me for a short time, but eventually got used to Jasper, who would  come running when he whistled and prostrate himself on Mr. Trucker's side of our bed, waiting to be hand-fed a treat, which he knew Mr. Trucker kept on the nightstand just for him. 

When I announced that I was going out over the road with Mr. Trucker, my girlfriend Claudia asked if we were taking Jasper with us. I said "are you daft?" Not that I would mind having my sweet, soft, furry, purring kitty with us, but keeping a poopy litter box in the same closet-sized space that we sleep and eat in is not my idea of either good hygiene or enjoyment. Sassy took Jasper with her when she moved to Minneapolis last month, along with Donovan, the new kitten she added to the family in July. 

Donovan came to us right about the time the FIFA World Cup was on TV, so he was  named for, you guessed it, Landon Donovan.  Anyway, Sassy took Jasper & Donovan when she left for Minneapolis and moved into a house that already had a resident cat, an 18 year old  named Shiraz, whom Sassy is responsible for watching in return for reduced rent. Shortly after moving in, she brought home a stray cat she found by the side of the road one night, who is now named Gypsy. Mr. Trucker and I are concerned that Sassy is going to morph into one of those old ladies you read about in the news whose body is discovered in a house filled with cat feces and 127 cats!

Someday, when we come off the road for good and have built our little dream cottage, I plan to keep at least one cat again. Mr. Trucker doesn't know this yet, and possibly he won't be thrilled, but oh well...that's what keeps life interesting, isn't it?

Here's a sample of another sight you may have to look forward to as I blog from the road:  
This is an actual photo I took from the window of Mr. Trucker's Freightliner in May. Pretty fun, eh? I believe it was a carnival ride going by on another truck in the passing lane.

 Another great sight:

Mr. Trucker posing with his rig in a small town in Pennsylvania whose name I've already forgotten. Note how close he got his truck to the tree branch...he couldn't do that again if he tried. It wasn't actually touching, although you certainly can't tell that in the picture. Note also Mr. Trucker's Tilley hat, he's inordinately proud of that thing and it will no doubt feature a lot in our photos.

I leave you today with a happy thought about tolerance and co-existing:

This is Jasper asleep, blissfully unaware that we would ever do anything so cruel as bringing another cat into his domain. I already showed you a picture of the adorable little Donovan. Jasper was most displeased when Donovan first arrived and would hiss and attack him relentlessly. Sassy wanted to keep them separated but I told her we had to let them get used to each other. Before long, this was a regular sight: 
Watching those darn chipmunks!
And then came the day we knew all would be well:       

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I hate cars!

Cars suck! I hate car payments, particularly. That is why we do not have one (a payment, that is). And that is why our car is 14 years old, and a little dented, and a little rusted, and has a few white spots (from me scraping the side of the garage backing out of our old house) and a big yellow spot (from me scraping something inside the parking garage at our apartment in Green Bay). Oh, and did I mention the two big cracks in the windshield? But they're not directly in my line of vision, so I'm not gonna pay to fix them. And I'm (likely) not going to pay to fix the non-working air conditioner, although this summer I was SORELY tempted, man was it hot! But I reasoned that I would be mainly in the Peterbilt with Mr. Trucker, and IT has air conditioning.

In case you're starting to wonder if I'm going somewhere with this line of blogging, I AM! My car is now broken! Darn car! My mother-in-law and I went on a little outing last Friday and even though she offered several times to drive, I INSISTED on driving, after all, she does enough for me. When we came out of the little cafe/gift shop in Crandon, the darn thing wouldn't start! They key goes into the ignition, but then it just rolls slackly in a semicircle and doesn't catch. We ended up calling my father-in-law to come rescue us and having my car towed to a garage in Wabeno. Mr. Trucker had just been on the verge of coming to fetch me over the weekend, but he called his dispatcher to cancel this home time because it was Friday afternoon & he wanted to catch said dispatcher before he went home for the weekend. Mr. Trucker reasoned that I would have to be here this week to deal with repairs and garages and such like, but what we reasoned WITHOUT is that the garage is closed for 10 days because the owner is on vacation. So my car will sit in his lot till at least next Monday, because this is a tiny town and there's basically only one garage. And I will sit here waiting for another week to go out on the road with my beloved, even though there's really no need for me to be here.

It's just as well, I guess, because I did order that mattress for the truck and it hadn't arrived by last weekend (it should arrive THIS week). Mr. Trucker said he'd rather have me wait till the mattress arrives for him to fetch me, because (he says) I would just whine and cry about the crappy mattress that's in the truck now. And, he says, he doesn't want to have to listen to me "whine and cry" every day. Riiiiiiiiiight...So instead of coming to get me, he spent Saturday night and part of Sunday at a truck stop in Green Bay, so near and yet so far (for someone with no car) and got to visit with friends of ours and go to church with some dear friends, while I pine for him up here in the north woods and do battle with small, furry rodents.

Today I brought my camera down to my parents'-in-law to take pictures of some interesting mushrooms they have growing in their front yard, under the bird feeders. I got looking through the pictures stored in my camera and discovered about 127 shots of the Fox River in downtown Green Bay, taken from the patio door in our former apartment. Some of these shots were even taken THROUGH the screen! And there were a couple shots of the little kitten, Donovan, through the screen of the patio door. These shots could only have been taken by someone who got ahold of my camera, someone who is fond of taking repeated shots of the exact same subject, someone who once took an entire roll of film of our dog, Dusty, someone who shall remain nameless, but who is blonde, 21 years old, and goes by the nickname "Sassy" (to distinguish her from her sister, who goes by "Sissy"). I'll share some of these pictures with you just as soon as I figure out how to get them from the camera onto the computer. Don't hold your breath!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Me: one; mice: nothing!

So you remember my mouse rant the other day? It opened up a world of dialog, both on my blog and my email life, but also in my real life. I did buy some poison chunks and some of those sticky glue traps, and I put them in various spots, including in my closet where I hear the worst gnawing at night, when I'm lying in bed and everything else is quiet, and I'm trying to read "Wives and Daughters" by Elizabeth Gaskell on my IPod touch, and thinking about turning off the light to go to sleep, but I'm afraid to because I can hear that gnawing, and I just know that the instant I turn off my light, the mouse army will be up on my bed, running all over me, and......

Okay, I got a little carried away there. Anyway, I was discussing this whole mouse issue with my husband's aunt and cousin, and it turns out that Aunt Jenny just caught a mouse in her house in Green Bay last week, and she said that when she went to the hardware store to buy the traps, the people were just mobbed around the rodent ridding aisle, so it must be the year for the little guys. But I was telling Aunt Jenny & Leslie that even more alarming to me than the fact that I have mice and have to buy mouse poison and traps, is the fact that the packaging for the poison and traps all shows pictures of scorpions, in addition to mice. That just wigs me out, big time! I would rather deal with a little furry rodent than a huge stinging scorpion any day!

So then my cousin from Michigan weighs in on the issue by telling me about these electronic, plug-in ultrasonic high frequency rodent ridders that get rid of the mice by "blinding them with science...", oops, I mean by deafening and annoying them with ultrasonic high-frequency noises. My cousin says they are the bomb!  I mention this to my Father-in-law, who says that yes, he has some in his garage, and hasn't had any mice in his garage. So I'm thinking this is going to be the best thing since sliced bread and yesterday I picked one up at the hardware store two towns away. I texted Mr. Trucker about it, mainly because I thought he'd get a kick out of the name of the device: "The Pest-a-cator".  He texted me back telling me "if you got one of those electronic devices, you can take it right back". He says they don't work, plus they interfere with the radio frequency of other devices, such as radios and WiFi. Then he adds "I think they were invented by P.T. Barnum's grandson". Can you see why I love spending time with this man?  He is so fun! It was too late to return the item because I was already 20 miles away by this point, so I decided to at least give it a try despite his disparaging words. Last night when I went up to our "cottage" to go to bed, I plugged it in, then I checked the sticky trap in our closet, and lo and behold! There was a mouse in the trap! And no, I don't think the Pest-a-cator lured it into the trap that quickly. Anyway, I felt kinda bad for the little guy. I don't know if he died from fright at being stuck, or if he pooped himself to death, it appeared to be the latter. And do you know?  there was no gnawing and no noises last night. Now I just have to get up the guts to touch the trap to remove it from the closet. Or maybe my Father-in-law will take pity on me.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

The object of my obsession

Look what I can do now.

OMG! I'm a blogger now!

I have five followers! And three people posted comments. OK, I know all of them, but I still feel like I'm moving up in the world, and someday, if I'm very lucky, I may get comments from people I don't know YET, but hope to know...

I was reading one of my OTHER favorite blogs this morning, The Pioneer Woman ( In her Home & Garden section, she was giving a blogtour (is that a word?) of a hotel she recently stayed at in Hollywood. It is a W Hotel and is tres chic. It reminded me of a cute story: A few weeks ago, I went out with my posse (ie: girlfriends, sistahs...) for a goodbye dinner just before I left Green Bay to move up north and into Truckingville. After a lovely dinner at Fratello's where we terrorized the poor young waiter to the point that I'm sure he went home and cried, we moved next door to the lobby of the Aloft Hotel, to hang out. The lobby is very cool, with lots of comfy seating and games to play, and a two-sided fireplace, one side inside and the other in a center courtyard...Anyway, the Aloft is apparently also a W Hotel. Well, most of us Wisconsin bumpkins didn't know what a W Hotel was, that it is apparently the NAME of a chain of hotels. And, one of my favorite people in the whole world, we'll call her Jenny to protect the innocent (in other words, I wouldn't want you thinking that anybody EXCEPT Jenny could possibly have come up with this) confessed that she thought it was all one word: Whotel, pronounced at the start like the word "whole". We laughed so hard and kept referring to the whotel for the rest of the evening.

This morning I ordered our new truck mattress from I hope it is everything it appears to be. It's made out of that memory foam stuff and is 8 inches thick. I also hope it comes BEFORE Mr. Trucker arrives to fetch me. I texted him to tell him that it is on order and he texted me back that he wished I could cross the Mackinac bridge with him, as he is picking up a load of beer in Syracuse, NY, and taking it to Marquette, Michigan. Aside from the fact that I'm certain they go through a LOT of beer in Marquette, particularly in the winter when it is 127 degrees below zero with 65 feet of snow...I am JEALOUS as all get-out that he gets to go across Big Mac without me. That is MY bridge, I'm the one who grew up in Michigan and he shouldn't get to cross it without me. Never mind the fact that I'm usually petrified to cross it, and once even seriously considered letting the bridge authority people drive me over. Two memorable crossings stand out in my mind: On my first honeymoon, when my first husband thought it would be an awesome idea to teach me how to drive a stick-shift car while simultaneously driving (for the first time as a driver) the country's longest (I think) suspension bridge, at 5 miles long. And have I mentioned yet that I am terrified of heights? Well, I am. The second most memorable crossing was when I was driving my two little daughters across to visit their Grandma in lower Moichigan and they kept saying things like "Mommy, look down, see the boats." "Wow, it's a really long way down there." "What keeps the bridge from falling?" while I was white knuckling the steering wheel and saying "Shut up! Don't talk to me right now!".

I am hoping the fact that my beloved will be in the Upper Peninsula means they are working him this direction so that he can scoop in and pick me up soon. It's only about 5 hours from here.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Technologically Impaired

I've had several friends and/or relatives tell me they've commented on my blog but I cannot locate their comments. So that begs the question: Which one of us is more technologically impaired? Is it them because they clearly can't navigate the comments link, or is it me because I clearly cannot locate their comments? One of my friends told me she signed up as a Follower, but the only Follower I could find on this blog is my baby brother and seriously, that is just pathetic. I DO have other friends.

Oh well, I'll figure it out as I go, including how to add pictures, so you can have more excitement than just reading what I have to say. I've been extremely busy this last several days, unpacking and settling into the "cottage" and trying to actually catch the mice at their crafty little games. I know they're playing with me, because I find evidence of it every day, but I can't catch them at it. I believe there are some residing in the oven. How do I know this? Because when I turned the oven on, it started to smell like dead mouse, although I didn't hear any squeaking, and because the little mouse turds are always most prevalent around the burners. The other day I left two aspirin tablets on the counter to take later, and when I came back from my in-laws place, one of the aspirin tablets was missing and the second one was slightly pulverized. My mind refused to conceive that the mice could have taken one of them until I found it, by the burner, half nibbled away, and surrounded by tiny turds. I hope it gave them a big headache!

Yesterday morning when I was packing for my big two-day trip to the big city of Green Bay, I found all the little seeds the mice had squirreled away (miced away?) in my underwear drawer. Aaaaack! When do they do this stuff? I swear they wait till I go out and then run around and when they hear me coming in the door, they all go "quick, here she comes, hide!".

Anyway, I got a lot done in Green Bay! I've been starting to keep lists on my IPod touch and then deleting each item as I purchase or accomplish it. It makes me feel so cool to cruise through the grocery store tapping on my IPod! My proudest accomplishment in Green Bay was scoring a dutch oven at Goodwill. I've been wanting a dutch oven for awhile now, but could not justify the cost. After all, I didn't have a dutch oven during my first 11 year marriage, nor did I have one during my 5 years as a single mother, and I definitely haven't had one this past 12 years I've been married to Mr. Trucker. So of course I told myself if I've lived without one this long, it couldn't possibly be a real need or even a justifiable want. But I kept checking Goodwill and rummage sales anyway. And yesterday, there it was! Cherry red enamel over cast iron, Cuisinart brand, 7 quarts, still with the original store tag on the bottom. It only had a few enamel chips, and it was marked $34.99, but the BEST part was that it was a blue ticket item and it was blue-ticket-50% off day!!! Yee haw! I got it for $17.50, and I still felt guilty for spending the money and left Mr. Trucker this apologetic voicemail asking him if he thought it was a good deal. He called me back and said he was so happy for me because, and I quote: "I know you've been peeing your pants wanting one for a long time now", so I was glad he wasn't upset. Although when he asked me what I wanted to make in it, I couldn't immediately come up with anything. But the absolute best part of this whole story is that I googled 7 qt cast iron enameled Cuisinart dutch ovens, and they are $107 and some change on Amazon!!!! I am the bargain Queen!

For those of you who are wondering: "How can she call herself Mrs. Trucker when she's not trucking?" or "When the heck is she actually going out over the road?", I'll let you know that it'll be soon. Mr. Trucker told his dispatcher to get him home sometime between the 10th and the 17th (nice big window there, eh?) for just long enough to fetch me. The dispatcher calls it "running through the house" or something like that, which I found rather humorous. I am ready to go at about a half a day's notice, so soon I'll be posting from the road.

I have to go now. I told my in-laws I'm making them dinner tonight. And no, it will not be something made in a dutch oven!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

No power, no problem!

I wanted to post yesterday, or even the day before that, but we've had a power outage up here in the northwoods and I finally had to bring my laptop down to my in-laws to get power. It's cold and dark in our cottage although sleeping is no problem. But I had so much that I wanted to get done this weekend, and I can't work in the dark.

Earlier this week, Mr. Trucker and I completed orientation with his new company. It was very informative and I was glad I accompanied him, because I learned a lot that I'm sure will be helpful for me to know as I co-pilot him around the country. We were both very impressed with this new company as compared to his old company. I was the only wife or "rider" there, although the orientater, Kathryn, told us it's not unheard of for wives to come to orientation. However she said sometimes drivers bring their girlfriends with them, then sit in the front row of the classroom and suck face and feel each other up during class. Can you even imagine?

The "class" consisted of one man from Oregon, us, and 5 drivers from Florida. The company is headquartered in Wisconsin, so we were right at home. Two of the Florida drivers, Art & A.J., were brothers and they were kinda funny. Kathryn kept having to tell them to sit down and also to speak English. They seemed to communicate in their own dialect that only big black brothers from Florida understand. They accused US of having an accent! We did teach them a couple phrases of northeastern Wisconsinese, such as "Da botayuhs (The both of you)", and "Do-uhnt ya know". The words "don't" and "boat" each have two syllables, of course.

Each morning and afternoon we were shuttled about 20 minutes from the hotel in Eau Claire, to the trucking company in Mondovi. Eau Claire is a pretty community situated at the confluence of the Eau Claire and Chippewa rivers, so we would pass over a few bridges each day. One day we looked down and saw a large number of college students tubing down the river and the following exchange took place:

Art/A.J.: Look at that, what are they doing floating down the river?

Us: Oh that, they're tubing. It's a blast. You just sit in an inner tube and let the current carry you.

Art/A.J.: But why are they doing that?

Us: It's very refreshing on a hot summer day. Real big with the college kids.

Art/A.J.: (Demonstrating high degree of flabbergastedness).

Us: Don't you do that back home?

Art/A.J.: Hell to the no! In Florida? You'd get ate by Alligators!

Us: Oh yeah, there IS that. The worst thing you have to worry about here is that one of your cans of beer might break loose from your six pack & float away.

On Thursday afternoon, we met Mr. Trucker's new dispatcher/fleet manager, a 15 year old kid named Chad. OK, I might be exaggerating just slightly about his youth. Then we got the truck, and that's when I went off on a crying jag! The entire reason we switched companies was to get a better truck and this one didn't look like much. It certainly wasn't clean. At least not by MY standards. This is going to be our home for the next year! The mattress was new, but it's about 1/4 of an inch thick (maybe an exaggeration) and not wide enough to fill the bunk space. I calmed down a bit after we wiped everything down with disinfecting cleaner and we did spend that first night together in the truck. The following morning (yesterday), I couldn't wait to get in our CAR and leave. I drove back to Wabeno for two weeks to finish unpacking and Mr. Trucker will come to fetch me when they get him a load this way.

Today he called me to tell me that he LOVES the way this new truck handles. He said "Remember how you always used to accuse me of jerking the truck on purpose when you were trying to write, or sleep? Well, that WAS the truck. This one handles so much better." He is on his way to Maryland now with a load of something from Wisconsin. I don't know what it is, but I'm guessing it's dairy-ish. I got an email from my cousin in Michigan asking us what our "20" was, and signing himself "Good Buddy", stating that he had a CB in the 70's. I also remember the C.B. McCall days and the song "Convoy", as well as the Smokey and the Bandit films, and I'm here to tell you that the CB is a very different animal these days. You have to be able to fling the "F" word around pretty frequently if you're gonna use the CB nowadays.