September 2015 – Baltimore, Maryland

The trip further south to William’s house outside of Baltimore in Hampstead, Maryland on Tuesday, was mostly along the Interstate and without incident.  We pulled in around 2:00 in the afternoon and William was there to welcome us.  We spent the afternoon looking at all the changes they had made since the spring including new wooden fence around the backyard, so now their dog Nicholas, could roam outside without a leash, and new patio doors providing direct access to the backyard from the dining room.  We once again set up the RV in their side yard even though we would be staying in their guest room for the next two weeks.


Since we had held off doing laundry until we got to Williams, the main event on Wednesday was getting all the laundry done along with Kal packing for her trip to Birmingham on Thursday.  Except for making an appointment for the truck with the local repair shop, all I did was laze around the house and get back into playing the latest Final Fantasy game on the PS3 which is an on-line game (which is why I don’t have it) similar to WOW that Kal and I had played for years.  I was looking forward to spending a lot of time over the next two weeks playing the game.

Early Thursday morning, William took Kal to the airport on his way to work for her trip to her parents in Birmingham.  If you have been following her facebook posts you will already know that her mother had another stroke and her father had also suffered a minor stroke.  Her mom was still in rehab at the hospital and her dad was spending all day with her.  Her brother Phil and Shannon have moved into their house as well and it fell to Phil to drive his father around every day.  They certainly deserved a break from the difficult situation and were planning on leaving town on Friday for the weekend leaving Kal alone with her parents.  Thankfully, our daughter, Nikki planned on coming as well and spending the weekend in Birmingham so it would be the two of them.  Kal and Nikki had thought that they would spend part of each day with her parents at the rehab center with at least a few hours each day to spend with just each other.  However, once they got there they discovered that the rehab center was releasing her mom on Saturday, since the insurance was no longer going to pay for their services.  Everyone agreed that she needed to stay longer at the rehab center, but they had no choice but to move her.  Her father tried to find another facility, but ultimately, the only choice was to bring her home which surprised all of us, as we did not expect her to come home so soon.  In any case, Kal and Nikki were faced with the task of moving her back home and ended up spending all day, every day, with her parents.  It was a stressful 5 days dealing with doctors, nurses, and her parents.  Both Nikki and Kal were ready to leave when the time was up and both are more appreciative of all that her Phil and his family have to deal with on a daily basis.

For my part, the next few days were filled with working on the RV, watching movies, playing Final Fantasy, and watching soccer and football with William.  On Thursday, I cleaned the roof of the RV in the morning, watched a movie, and played on the PS3.  Since it was Kristen’s day off, I also helped her with a couple of chores around the house and yard and we all went out to dinner at Red Robin’s later that evening.  On Friday I gave the inside of the RV a complete cleaning including all the windows, as well as, the usual cleaning of the bathroom, kitchen, and floors.  Around 2:00 in the afternoon, I left the house to meet William at a co-worker’s house to play a round of disc golf.  I can tell I had not played disc golf in over 6 months as it was the worst I have done for a long time.  I am going to have to learn again how to throw these discs without them tailing off into the rough, where I spent most of my time looking for the disc.  It was still a lot of fun and a great way to spend the afternoon with my son.  After the game we grabbed dinner at Taco Bell, which Kal refuses to eat at, and headed back.  While getting ready for bed, Kristen ran into a large ground spider in the basement, which it turns out she is deathly afraid of.  Before going to bed she had to clean under the bed only to find another large ground spider under the bed.  She refused to sleep downstairs in their bedroom so spent the next couple of nights sleeping on the couch in the living room.  I am embarrassed to note that I did not offer them the bed in the guest room as I could have easily slept in the RV.  For some reason, it did not even occur to me!!


Saturday is William’s day to watch British Premier League soccer in the morning and college football all afternoon.  We enjoyed watching both Texas A&M and Auburn win their second game of the season, although Auburn nearly lost theirs to Jacksonville State who they should have beat easily.  Between games, we did spend a little time clearing all the grass and weeds from around the house at the request of Kristen and did find an amazing number of spiders around the basement windows, so maybe her concern was not just hysterics.  We also found time to start up a role playing game that we had played in the spring that we will leave set up in the den so we can continue it over the next week.  Since Sunday was their day off, they spent the day doing chores around the house and yard including cleaning the basement and spraying for spiders, trimming the hedges outside, and other chores.  I cleaned the outside of the RV and then helped them with their chores.  I got William to give me a hand in once again fixing the trim on the rear boot of the RV.  It had continued to separate on the right side and had broken the trim on the left side, so it was under considerable tension.  I had previously put longer screws in the holes, but they did not hold.  I had thought the screws had pulled out and intended to put a bolt in it, although the owner at Camp-A-While had looked at it for me and suggested using a block of wood behind to give the screws more purchase.  Upon looking at the problem more closely, I realized the screw had plenty of purchase, the problem was it had been sheared off!!  Therefore, I decided to just put in more screws to see if it would hold it together.  We also took in the truck to drop it off at the repair shop, Hampstead Performance, so they could work on it first thing Monday morning.

Monday, I was once again on my own, so I watched a movie in the morning and treated the slide gaskets, sprayed graphite on the slide bars, and checked the lug nuts and tire pressures.  In the afternoon, I again played on the PS3 until William and Kristen got home from work.  Kristen took me to the repair shop that afternoon to pick up the truck.  In addition to changing the oil and fuel filters, they were able to access the code for the “check engine light” issue.  It was a general code that could have meant a number of minor issues.  Among these were the fuel filters and air filter, which they replaced, and the exhaust filter.  Since the exhaust filter should not need to be replaced until 100,000 miles and would be an expensive procedure, they manually had the truck cycle through its cleaning procedure which involved heating the exhaust filter to 1000 degrees to burn off any particles.  While the truck had been doing this about every week while we were driving it, which turns out to be more often then it should, this manual procedure does a better job of cleaning the filter.  Hopefully, all of this will fix the problem, even though it still cost over $700.


On Tuesday I watched movies and played on the PS3 until we picked up Kal at the airport.  Wednesday, Kal and I had to get our bloodwork done so we could extend our medications so we printed off the forms we need filled to save on the insurance and headed back to the Urgent Care facility we had gone to in the spring.  Come to find out, since they are an Urgent Care facility, they had to categorize the visit as a “physical” which the insurance company would only pay for once a year!!  Therefore, we would either have to pay for the bloodwork ourselves or find somewhere else.  They directed us to another facility just down the road, where it turned out they did not deal with bloodwork at all!!  I am not sure what they did at this facility.  In any case, they directed us to a Patient First facility in Owens Mills, about 20 miles away and off we went.  Now realize, since we were getting our triglycerides checked we had not eaten anything since supper the night before.  By this point it was after 11:00 and we were both getting VERY hungry.  It turned out this is where we should have come in the first place last spring, as they made the entire operation very simple and easy, even to filling out the forms we needed to send in.  An hour later we were finally free to get breakfast, although by this point it was lunch.  After lunch we headed to Walgreens to get the prescriptions filled, only to find out they were for only 2 months.  Since that facility was not our primary doctor, they were limited to providing only 2 months, even though the Urgent Care gave us 3 months.  I am not sure how often the insurance company is going to pay for bloodwork, so they may turn into an expensive situation.  Once again the problem of dealing with health issues while living in an RV!!  It really upset me when we got the call on Thursday that our lab results were in and came with a requirement to have it retested in 6 months, when they only could provide 2 months of medicines.  We intend to check with the facility that Kal went to last summer in Tennessee that gave her a prescription for 6 months to see if we can get it extended on the basis of this latest bloodwork.  While waiting for the prescriptions to be filled we went to the store and filled the truck with gas.  We also discovered that they insurance company had changed it’s rules and would cover flu shots at Walgreens, instead of having to go to our primary doctor, which we don’t have, so we got those as well.  What we though would take most of the morning to get our bloodwork done had turned into an all day affair with it being nearly 4:00 before we got back to William’s.

On Thursday, I gave the truck a thorough cleaning inside and out, even though it will be dirty again within a couple of days of leaving William’s.  Friday was time to do laundry again, including the sheets on the bed and was another lazy day around the house.  Saturday was another day to watch soccer in the morning with William and college football in the afternoon, although William and I were able to make a run to the dump to get rid of an old refrigerator in between the soccer and football.  Texas A&M again did well in their game, but Auburn continued to show major problems losing badly to LSU.  I hate to admit it, but the best game I saw was Alabama against Ole Miss and not only because Alabama ended up losing the game.  I was very impressed with Alabama attitude of never giving up, even though they continued to make mistakes and turn the ball over.  They kept coming back to challenge Ole Miss and in my opinion was the better team, although Ole Miss kept getting all the breaks.  With a controversial on-side kick, Alabama was able to get within 6 points with just minutes to go and Ole Miss was unable to kill the clock.  Alabama actually had a chance to win the game, after being behind by 20 points twice in the second half, with 30 seconds left.  However, they had nothing left to give, throwing 4 incomplete passes to end the game.  The only bad thing was the game was not over until 1:30 in the morning and I was the only one to make it past 11:30 – Sunday was going to be rough.

The main project for our last day at William’s was cleaning out their storage shed which took a good part of the day.  After we completed this task, Kal and I took William and Kristen out to a nice Mexican restaurant for dinner.


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