Life with Charlie B.

Two weeks ago today we were in Knoxville picking up Charlie. I cannot even begin to tell you how wonderful it has been having Charlie around. He is quite the character. Curiosity is his main trait. He runs from window to window watching everything: birds, cars that come and go, the kids playing, other campers, squirrels. Nothing gets by him. He is such a smart boy, and very funny. He dances for treats, goes potty with a ball in his mouth, inches his way between us when we are going to bed, drops his toys behind the couch and then slithers under it to retrieve them, turns into the Tasmanian Devil when he plays in the water. He even loves Remington P. Cat, although he does tend to snuffle Remi a tad too much from time to time. We cannot help but smile every time we look at him, his wild and crazy nose hairs going every which way. He has officially inherited Bailey B.’s middle name, Boy, so he is now affectionately known as Charlie B.


The Best Laid Plans: Part Two

We had originally planned on celebrating the twins’ birthday in Nashville, but decided Knoxville would be just as nice.

They wanted to go swimming for their birthday this year, and since we might not be near any pools next week when their birthday arrives, we decided it best to celebrate a little early.

When we arrived in Knoxville, we took the kids to Toys R’ Us so the twins could spend their birthday money. Then we went and checked into a hotel, a special treat for all of us. (And the only way we could think of to use a pool in the middle of January.) We picked up a cake at a bakery, feasted on some waffles, and let the kids swim until they were completely water-logged. Then, after hot baths, they zoned out in front of some cartoons, something they have not done in almost five months.

We slept like kings in real beds.

And took long, long hot showers.

In the morning the kids swam a little more, then took another hot shower before we checked out of our room. Having already mapped a place to stay for the night, we parked Waldo and headed to the theater to use the gift cards we had received for Christmas. A free movie was a great way to spend the afternoon.

I think for now what we really need is to get out-of-town, something we had planned on doing anyway. We are desperately needing to have some down time, time away from cities and traffic and places to spend money. Time to relax and hike, read and run.

We had planned on heading out today, but with the freezing rain, we have decided to just stay put. Luckily, we are not on any schedule. So now we are trying to decide where to spend some time in the woods. With the Cherokee National Forest and Great Smoky Mountains National Park just down the road, there are quite a few options. We just have to narrow it down. And remember  to be flexible, because we will most likely need to be.

But for now, we are just going to relax, drink some hot chocolate, eat some warm noodles and pet the cat, who seems to be a little hurt that we didn’t take him into the hotel with us…

And I added Tennessee to our state map. 🙂

The Best Laid Plans: Part One

As I have mentioned before, things rarely go as we have planned. Our quick stop for an oil change in Bowling Green turned into almost an entire day ordeal. Waldo, as lovely as he is, decided that he did not want to start on Tuesday morning. If he wouldn’t start, we couldn’t get him in for his oil change. So, we sat. And we thought. And we fumed. Just a little bit. What were our options?

While Camping World does not do engine work, they did have a mechanic come out and he told us our starter was bad. Rob was more than able to replace the starter, but he couldn’t fit underneath Waldo, and we did not have the ability to lift him. We could have him towed, but after a musical circle of phone tag with insurance, we decided that would be way more trouble than it was worth, especially since nobody seemed to know what was covered and what wasn’t. Next option: mobile repair.

After a quick call to a recommended repair service, we decided that this would be our best option. So we waited. And waited. I am sure it was not nearly as long a wait as it felt, but since we were dead in the water and frustrated, it seemed like an eternity. But alas, he showed up, squeezed his way under Waldo, replaced the starter and was on his merry little way. And we, with a noticeably lighter wallet, were ecstatic to hear Waldo running. Camping World was even able to fit him in for an oil change and propane fill, even though it was much later than planned.

By late afternoon, Waldo was ready to go, and we decided that it was still early enough to head for Nashville. We planned out our target truck stop and hit the road.

Our planned stop was full.

So was option two.

Option three was closed for construction.

Option four was non-existent. Or at least it was successfully hiding from us.

By the time we found a place to park for the night, we were already 30 miles past Nashville. So much for spending a few days there. We were feeling a little defeated, so we decided to wait until morning to come up with a new game plan.

After some much-needed rest, we decided to head on down the road to Knoxville…