In my case, life's movements have been mostly good this year, with an occasional bitch slap on the cheek... I think that 2012 has been like chocolate... Bittersweet. For every great blessing, there's been a thorny catch.
Early in 2012, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer- never a good prognosis, as PC has a depressingly low survival rate. Thank God for Huntsman Cancer Institute and her wonderful doctors.
Fortunately, Katrina has be able to spend much of her time with Pat this year, going to various doctor's appointments and chemotherapy every Friday.
As horrible as cancer is, this was truly a blessing to Katrina's relationship with her mom, as well as a blessing for Pat's approach to her life. For the first time that I've ever known her, Pat seemed really at ease with the world and open to each and every experience available to her.
She no longer cared what others thought, she simply wanted to experience every good thing. She has become my inspiration for a life well lived.
After months of minor surgeries, chemotherapy and setbacks- doctors finally determined that it was now or never to try and attempt the controversial Whipple Procedure- only about 20% of patients even qualify as candidates for this surgery and of those that do qualify, only half can even complete the procedure after the investigational laproscopy. And of the small percentage of those completing the procedure, very few see positive results. The idea is to give the patient a couple of years of quality life before the cancer returns full-force.
Well, Pat will never win the lottery or catch a pop fly because all of her luck has been used up. Despite all of the odds, she is now completely cancer free- no markers in her blood, even. She is only the second person in Huntsman history that this has happened to. What an amazing gift this has been to the Brown family.
The bitter to this sweet, is that the same day that we found out Pat was going to be okay, another extended family member who has been battling stomach cancer for the last several years, found out that he has a new type of cancer that is sadly, terminal. After fighting such a good fight, to get that kind of news is devastating. Even worse, this super-healthy man- whose young family survived tragedy to be raised by a single dad- remarried later in life and now has a wife and two young daughters who join his children and grandchildren in dealing with this news. This wonderful man is still fighting and his amazing outlook is an inspiration to us all- We continue to hope and pray for another miracle on his behalf.
Well, on to more changes- after enjoying our new apartment for nearly a year, our house finally sold- the same day that we moved out of our apartment and into our tiny little trailer. Irony. After selling our giant class A motor home in June, we had all but decided on a small Rialta class C until we went camping with the in-laws early this summer. Their travel trailer was so nice and spacious and it was convenient to unhook their truck and head into town for the auto show without unhooking everything and packing up. Not to mention that we cannot find a Rialta in any model year under $18,000 and we really wanted to find something for a cash price and not finance anything else. After looking around most of the summer and constantly perusing the classifieds, we found a slammin' deal on an ancient travel trailer.
It's a 1974 (that's right) Red Dale seventeen foot travel trailer dressed in sweet goldenrod and glorious orange. It's a retro dream- if you love orange, yellow, polyester and vinyl. I know it's crazy- this tiny little ancient trailer, but the trailer is a ONE OWNER charmer in excellent condition. this guy takes such great care of his toys (and he has lots- all in their own giant new toy hanger) and he even threw in the equalizer hitch and a brand new 3500 watt generator with less than two engine hours on it. Those two items run about $1500 together. The price we paid for trailer, hitch and generator? $1500...
So, we basically bough an equalizer hitch and generator and got a travel trailer for free. Plus, he put in new propane regulator valves, new freshwater tank, hoses and water pump; New black water and grey water valves and gaskets and two new deep cycle marine batteries. Plus, everything works- toilet fridge, furnace, oven, stove, lights- everything. Plus, the roof is one solid piece of aluminum- you don't know just how important that is until you have to reseal a rubber roof every single fall- like we did on the Class A.
We've been living in the trailer full time for almost two weeks now and we have learned a lot.
#1- when your mother-in-law finds you a spot in the local RV resort in the middle of winter- don't bitch about it or grumble... because it's a LOT easier to eff up when you have access to electricity and hot showers than it is when you are parked on the side of the road. Loads of crap will go wrong and it's awesome to learn what NOT to do with training wheels on.
#2- People WILL think that you are crazy for cramming two fat girls, four cats and a deaf/blind geriatric rat-shit dog into a seventeen foot travel trailer for an undetermined amount of time. And those people would be correct in their assessment of your present mental condition.
#3- Poop will freeze in sub zero temperatures in your holding tanks, even if this is inconvenient or 'icky' for you... Luckily, your reputation of "faints at the sight of blood" and "dry heaves when others vomit" will carry some clout in certain poop-thawing circles. My advice to those of you with weak stomachs- marry into a family of predominantly boys- even if you marry the sister, she'll hock loogies and tell disgusting bodily function-related jokes with the best of her brothers, thus saving your delicate constitution the ignominy of dealing with such crude subject matter personally.
#4- Your mothers WILL convince themselves that you are cold, hungry, dirty and destitute- despite your assurances that you are, in fact, warm, fed, clean and dry. Your continued explanations that humans have been surviving for eons with far less than your tiny tin can will also fall on deaf and slightly hysterical ears. Gentle reminders that your living space contains all of the modern conveniences that you have always enjoyed, albeit in an abbreviated floor plan will often lead to chest pounding, clothes rending and hands raised in supplication to a repeating chorus of "where did I go wrong? shoo bop, shoo bop."
So this is the beginning of out next adventure. For the moment, we are in a lovely RV resort with a pool, hot tub, game room, general store, Laundry room, playground and basketball court- all conveniently located less than two blocks from my office- while we learn to live more simply and weed out in an effort to get on the road as soon as possible. We have already applied to be full time campground hosts on Mount Lemmon next summer- as long as I can work remotely by then ( still working on our internal technology, as well). It not only pays for your site and utilities, but an hourly wage, in addition. Plus, you're high on a mountain top during the hottest part of summer in a 'destination'. Not too bad, by my reckoning.
Once again, I will promise to update this blog more frequently but who knows if this is factual or just a Potemkin Village. If only I had some control over my own mind......