Saturday, May 31, 2008

The Best of Both Worlds

Life on the road is a world of freedom with fresh, new sights and new starts every day. Life at a fixed home is a world of the familiar with connections to places and people that get deeper and richer with each passing day. I've always had wanderlust and a passion for freedom. I think as I get older (and my men start to pause?) I have more appreciation for the connections of a place.

I am so grateful that I can have both.

We've been parked in Fort Lauderdale for almost 2 months now, and we've spent time with family and friends. The best kind of friend is one who feels close, like you see them every day, even though it may have been 2 years since you saw them last. We have several of those friends here.

The business world can be another story, but because of my Women's Executive Club (WEC), I have deep-rooted connections there too. I've belonged to this club since 1983, and there are some active members who have belonged even longer. I joined it when my mom and I were starting a local business, a computer training center, here in Fort Lauderdale. The group helped me to network in the local business world, provided comaraderie and support from other business women, and introduced me to connections. I'm sure I owe much of my success with that business to my connections in WEC.

Then, when we sold that business in 1996, I kept my membership because of the friendships I had developed. They helped me realize that life is more than your business. I remember so clearly some heart-to-heart conversations with a few of these women about how much their husbands meant to them. I'm sure that provided part of the inspiration for Jim and I to get married in 1998.

Now, as Jim and I try to develop our business of Geeks on Tour: Computer Education, I am once again tapping into the resources of this group. So, when Vivien of Bluewater Books and Charts suggested I co-host a social with her, I jumped at the chance. Usually a social is either at a member's place of business, or at her home. This one was both! We drove our home to her place of business.

They were quite impressed that our home on wheels even has a mother-in-law suite! She does look at home there doesn't she? We're trying to convince her to join us this summer for a couple weeks going thru Michigan's upper peninsula and a little bit of Canada, but she doesn't know if she can fit it in between her trip to Australia and the next one to North Korea!

And, what perfect timing it was. The social was 2 nights ago, and we're hitting the road today. All the cleaning up is already done!

It's harder to leave this time, but I know as soon as I hear those wheels rolling, I'll be rejuvenated with possibilities of the open road. And, I can calm the anxieties with the knowledge that I can always come home.

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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Holiday Weekend

As fulltime RVers, we are accustomed to *not* planning anything on holiday weekends. It's best to hunker down and sit still. However, it promised to be a calm day on Saturday, so we took the opportunity to go diving! Since we're leaving next weekend, this would be our last chance in a while. It was a perfect day. It was even good enough to get Diane and Andy out!

As well as Mr. and Mrs. Commander Kayuba themselves, Dick and Geri.

We had a great dive. More photos on the web album ... just click on any photo here. that will take you to that photo on the web album, then you can click on the previous or next arrow to see more photos. Then we went to Jim's sister, Debbie's house in West Palm Beach for dinner. Her mother-in-law, Pauline is living with them now. She has alzheimer's. She doesn't remember us, Debbie tells us that Pauline doesn't remember where she is when she wakes up in the morning. But, she remembers how to play the piano! And, she's good too! Such is life.

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Friday, May 23, 2008


As I'm walking out of the Dentist office (yes, again!!) with a mouth that is both sore and numb at the same time, I get a call from Jim that he needs me to babysit.


'Come on', he says, 'you can do it. I need Devon to help me with the repairs on the Wi-Fi antenna mast.' In a daze, I repeat, 'Babysit?' I don't think I've performed that particular task since I was a teenager. And, I certainly have never given a thought to childproofing the motorhome! This was going to be a challenge. Don't I look challenged? These really are cute kids, and our loft is a perfect place. I put the movie 'Nemo' in and AJ kept lifting the screen trying to find where the movie was coming from. I was also pleasantly surprised that a motorhome is naturally child-resistant if not child-proof. Everything is attached, and they certainly can't wander off and get lost! They even helped by preparing a fine meal for Odie. All in all I guess I was successful. I took 2 kids, and I gave back 2 kids. Each in one piece with only minor mental trauma.

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

Breakfast with Bloggers

Marcia and Leon are RV wannabees. They want to work in Florida in the winter and travel to their favorite spots in Washington state in the summer. They say they've been inspired by reading our blog. That makes me feel so good! One of their favorite pasttimes is shopping for RVs. They like the class C idea (like ours) and have a link to the new, 2009 floorplans for the Winnebago View . Wow - they are packing a lot of functionality into 24 feet! Especially the floorplan #3.

When they read that we would be in Fort Lauderdale for a while, Marcia sent me an email and invited us to breakfast. What a nice treat! Thanks Marcia and Leon - I look forward to reading that you're on the road! Marcia has not one, but FOUR blogs! She uses WordPress and has found some pretty cool templates. Check it out.

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Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Day at the Beach

We went to our Kayuba picnic on Saturday. What a nice day. It was hot, but the water was delightful .. about 78 degrees. Video coming soon!

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Thursday, May 15, 2008

Weekly Tutorial Video - Backup your Photos

Every week since mid-January, I have been posting an article on's new blog. My assignment is to write about using computers on the road. A few weeks ago, I came up with the idea to create a very short video tutorial for each blog entry. I make them small enough to be viewable on Youtube or Google Video (links are to GeeksOnTour videos) so I can embed them in the blog entry. It occurs to me that I should share them here as well.

This week's topic is about backing up your pictures using Picasa. Here' the video - it's only a minute and a half. Watch it! The funny thing is that, because of teaching other people to do this, it makes me do it! In the video I say that I'm making a backup of all my pictures and taking the DVD to my Mom's for safekeeping. Well, I didn't think to do that until *after* I came up with the idea to teach others. :-) I'm not only teaching you ... I'm teaching myself.

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Sunday, May 11, 2008


Yep, summer has arrived. 90 degrees in the shade and the air conditioner runs all the time just to keep me from sweating too profusely.

We invited a few friends over for a pool party yesterday. How nice. Hugs and laughter makes everything OK dontcha think?

This was the first time we got to see AJ, (Jim's grandson) in the pool. He was fearless! And, Devon was such an attentive Daddy.

It may be hot, but that made the pool extra fun, and our reward for the hot days is a wonderful, warm night. I love warm Florida nights! We were even in the pool after 9pm. As for my sleepless nights ... I'm still having a little trouble sleeping, but it's not from fear - it's from my mind thinking so hard about all the things I gotta get done. The first step in making things happen in our life is to get in the right frame of mind ... nothing can happen without that ... but, that's not enough. Next comes action.
"Vision is not enough. It must be combined with venture. It is not enough to stare up the steps, we must step up the stairs." - Vaclav Havel
Now, if only the computer would cooperate ... grrrrrr

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Saturday, May 10, 2008

Sleepless Night and Root Canal

*warning* this is a long, rambling post. I was going to write this just in my personal, private, paper journal - but then, I thought about how much I appreciate the personal feelings that other bloggers have shared (Dooce,Malia,LifeReboot, George, Ken. etc.) Most all of my blog is about how wonderful this life is, and it's true, but that's not the whole story. If all you ever read from other people is goodness and light, you'd think there was something wrong with you when your life doesn't match up. It's important to know that everyone, no matter how happy and lucky, has some dark times. It's not only normal, it's actually good. One of my favorite quotes is from Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet:
"The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. "

So, here goes ... A couple of nights ago I started feeling sick to my stomach, I had diarrhea, headache, couldn't sleep, couldn't eat. Had I caught some kind of flu? Or eaten something bad? Nope, it was simply fear. Fear of running out of money. What is so weird is that nothing had happened, nothing had changed from the day before that sleepless night when I was happy and productive. But I got out of bed two days ago, went for our walk with Odie, then just came back home and went back to bed. Not to sleep, because I couldn't, but I wasn't capable of doing anything else either. I'd sit at the computer and review my mile-long list of things to do. Within a few minutes I just couldn't take it, and I'd crawl back to bed. I did have to get up to go to a dentist appointment for a root canal. Believe it or not, that was the most pleasant part of my day. When it was over, and I got the $2,200 bill for all the dental work that needed to be done, I went home and went back to bed. Still couldn't sleep. This has only happened to me a few times during my life. When I'm in the middle of it, there seems no way out. I think of people who suffer from depression and wonder how they manage. People like Dooce who had debilitating depression after the birth of her daughter ... how do you take care of someone else when you can't get out of bed? What brought this on? It's like I have been living this beautiful dream for the last few years, and I just woke up! The dream was as comforting and happy as I feel when I'm in the ocean scuba diving. Waking up to the fact that money could run out, was like opening my eyes to realize that I'm 100 feet below the surface ... with no scuba equipment! When I get paralyzed like that, it's clear that I have to DO something. I have to reach out to friends and talk about it. Poor Jim, one morning he has a happy, laughing wife to go for a walk with - and the next morning a morose, whimpering fool telling him our happy life is over. What changed? Absolutely nothing except my state of mind.

I talked to my Mom. Told her she had been right. Something a mother should like to hear. She was right to tell me that these years are the years of a person's life when they need to be making money, building a career and retirement (I'm 55 and Jim is 54). She was worried for my future when Jim and I took off on the road spending the savings we had rather than making more for later. I'm sure she got a little satisfaction from hearing those words, 'you were right' but mostly she's still worried about me, she wants me to succeed. She gave me a hug. She paid my dental bill ... bless her! Another friend, Chris, happened to call to ask about going out to lunch. She started by asking the standard, 'how are you?' Wrong question! I launched into my anxiety-stricken tale, all the while feeling so guilty. How dare I think that I have problems? I have a fairy-tale life. I don't have kids to feed, or even a mortgage to pay. But, looking at our financial situation now, compared to 5 years ago, is a very sad tale indeed. We did it by choice - which, in my depressed state makes it even worse. Chris gave me some practical pointers; eat something ... give yourself permission to not think about our future right now, just pick one thing I need to do and sit down and do it. OK, Thanks. That worked. I got some work done ... some billable work! I was able to eat a little dinner, and I was able to sleep last night. For me, these anxiety attacks are wake-up calls to make some decisions. Luckily, the call comes in time to make some reasoned decisions. We won't run out of money for several months yet, and we have lots of opportunity for income at rallies this summer. 'Computer Education for RVers' is not a huge money-maker, but any venture takes time to develop. We only came up with the 'Geeks on Tour' business a year and a half ago. The first couple years on the road we were pursuing work in the WiFi field. And, yes, we have made money while we've been on the road - just not nearly enough.

I am about to convert our website with the video tutorials to a fee-based membership site. Right now all the video tutorials are free. It has always been my plan to make it a membership site, but I needed to develop enough content to make it worthwhile. That will make us money, but it will take time to grow.

Meanwhile, we have several good rallies this summer, and we've found that people buy our tutorials on DVD. We get lots of great feedback on how much they learn with the tutorials. That keeps me going. We're getting a disk duplicator so we can make a bunch of them. Jim also does lots of computer 'tuneups' when we're at rallies, and he's been doing computer service calls to customers while we're here in our old hometown. I have several website orders already on my plate. And, maybe we'll get a Datastorm order or two.

Our plans have us returning to Florida in October/November and, if we need to stop and get work, well, that's not so bad! Even knowing our situation now, I don't think I would have done anything different. In fact, I remember when we made the decision to sell the house and hit the road in 2003, a big part of the motivation was dwindling assets *then*, and the desire to do something wonderful while there was still enough extra money.

Better to watch your money dwindle while paddling the Columbia river, or hiking in Yosemite, or giving seminars to crowds of people at RV rallies, than to be sitting in your depreciating house! Yeah - I have no regrets - and we can do whatever we have to come fall. Meanwhile we have a wonderful summer planned with 6 rallies that's all about Geeks on Tour - we have to give it a go - even though it may be the end for a while.

What do you think? Use the shoutbox in the right sidebar, or click on 'Comments' below for longer messages.

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Thursday, May 08, 2008

My Ocean

We are about 15 minutes from the ocean, but we haven't gone to the beach yet and we've been here a month! It's been too windy to take the kayaks out and go diving, so I finally suggested to Mom that we go for a walk on the beach. How nice!

I'd say that surf is about 3-4 feet. To go kayak diving I like my ocean to be about 1-2 ... inches! Well, would you lookee here! Now, *this* is MY ocean! That was yesterday. We went Kayak diving!! Oh Boy. See this prior blog post for a video of what kayak diving is about.

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Saturday, May 03, 2008

Donna turns 60

Donna was one of my good friends and dive buddies in the 80s. Along with several other women from South Florida Dive Club, we took weekend 'Ladies Only' trips to the keys. We had more fun than should be legal! Mostly at the Tiki Bar on Islamorada - I hear it's not there anymore :-( Ahhh, those were the days!

Then life intervened. I haven't seen most of these people in 10-15 years. Lori (she always was the organizer) set up a surprise birthday party for Donna and it was great!

Happy Birthday Donna. You make it true that 60 is the new 40! Or is it 30?

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