Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Minor Trailer Troubles – So Far

Setting off on a road trip with an RV is implicitly agreeing to have some troubles along the way. One just hopes that the troubles are minor and are not trip killers. On our shake down trip a few months ago the RV brakes failed, but I have had no trouble with them since getting them fixed. I have also been battling a leak in a joint going into the gas tank, which I filled with some gas-tank putty to no avail. Now I keep dosing the joint with some gas resistant sealant with some success.

Then tonight as we were setting up camp the jack on the front of the RV tightened up. I cranked a little harder and heard the some gears pop. After finding that a single spoke on one of the metal gears had broken off, I decided to remove the jack. Flipping it upside down, I poured motor oil into it to try to keep the rest of the system moving freely to take stress off of the damaged gear. I will find out tomorrow if I can crank up the RV to get it back on the van. I did not have the heart to try it tonight.

After cleaning up from the job, I thought that I ought to write a post about RV troubles. When I entered the RV to sit down to start in on the post, Crazy Mom had another repair waiting for me. A support bar had come off when she and Ed were trying to set it. It was an easy fix, but I have to admit that it makes be nervous about what all will break tomorrow.

UPDATE: I got the RV back on the van, but the jack failed in the process. I had to get a new jack . . . and stop by a car shop to grind a larger hole in the frame so it would fit.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Friends are Friends Forever

I heard the “Friends are Friends Forever” song so often when I was in high school that a wave of nausea would sweep over me every time it was played. It has been decades since I have thought of the song, but it came to mind a few days ago when my family got to visit some old friends on our trip. Even though 11 years had passed since we had seen them last, we were able to slip right back into meaningful friendship. I suppose this is what Anne of Green Gables calls “kindred spirits.” In some ways our paths have departed over the years with us having seven children and they having one. But in many more significant ways our paths are the same – each striving to live for the Lord.
Mr. V giving some instructions before we launch into Lake Michigan.

Crazy Mom off to gather together her ducklings.

Going downtown for ice cream.

The gang at breakfast.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A dream deferred; a dream realized

Cruising down the highway, I looked to my left and saw the perfect country home passing by. The wrap-around porch, the lane lined with trees, and the well-manicured garden caused me to wince. I glanced over at Crazy Mom and we exchanged a knowing glance – this was a dream deferred.

That was a year ago, only a few weeks after we had made the formal commitment to move to Kenya to teach at a school for the children of missionaries. While we were thrilled to be going, we were also experiencing feelings of loss as we were laying aside things once dreamed of.

Then, last November we received a call that our departure date for Africa had been pushed back a year to the summer of 2012. While we were initially disappointed, it did allow for us to lay plans for another dream that we had always talked about but never done – a big camping trip out west.

We are now living that dream. A few days ago our family played along the shore of Lake Superior as we camped in the Upper Peninsula. The days to come should be exciting as they carry us farther and farther west.

The race is on.

Buddy skipping rocks.

Enjoying the sunset

Friday, July 15, 2011

Basement Living

by Miss Bookworm

Living in a basement - even a nicely furnished basement - with a family of nine was a squeeze. A tight squeeze. When we decided to rent a basement to live in for a few weeks while attending a conference (about Third Culture Kids) in New York, we knew that it might be tight. But I think we all would agree that the biggest problem was the bathroom. The single bathroom. The one and only bathroom. Every morning when it came time to brush teeth, the result was usually about four people stuffed inside the bathroom brushing their teeth with several more outside of the bathroom door clamoring for the ones inside to hurry up and finish because we had to leave in five minutes.

Aside from the “one bathroom” problem, another struggle was the beds. There were only four, and while we had brought air mattresses in anticipation of this problem, two of them ended up having holes. In Dad’s spare time, he either worked on fixing the air mattresses (to no avail) or he did work on his laptop (to slightly better results). Each night everyone would go to sleep on nicely pressurized beds (freshly pumped up), and each morning at least two would be flattened to the extent that their occupants were essentially lying on the ground.

Now, you can decide which is more uncomfortable - the situation with the beds or the fact that we ate all of our meals at two different tables. One table was pretty normal, but it only seated four. The other was a coffee table and the seating required two people to sit on the couch and three to sit on some tripod lawn chairs that we had (thankfully!) brought along.

Oh well, the point of our stay in NY was not to be living in extreme comfort. On the contrary, we were all too busy widening our perspectives to spend much time in the basement anyway. It was a fun two weeks, and we all learned a bunch.