Adventurous Mishaps Traveling from Arizona to New Mexico to Colorado

We left at 7:30 am Saturday to start the long drive from Arizona to Albuquerque New Mexico. We had gotten everything packed the night before and felt great about getting started. During the two weeks we’d been in Mesa house sitting, we’d never had any problems with the garage door opening and closing. But sure enough, when we went to leave that morning we couldn’t get it to close electronically. After several attempts Joel manually closed it and we made sure it locked. (Since then the home owners say it works just fine!)

Our first goal was to find a Starbucks and get our morning tea. Though we know there are half a dozen Starbucks in the area we were in, we just couldn’t seem to find one. We finally gave up because we wanted to hit the road.

Home With Our Second Family

While we’ve been back ‘home’ in Roseville, we’ve been staying with our second family, the Stephens. We want to thank the Stephens family for their generous hospitality. Let me tell you a bit about them and why we call them our second family.

In 2006 just after Fiona turned 2 mommy ended up in the emergency room. Once the doctors used the special scope down my throat to release the HUGE gallstone that had lodged in the bile duct, I developed neucrotic pancreatitis. Basically my pancreas was killing itself. There’s nothing to be done except not to take in anything orally, not even water, and take lots and LOTS of pain medication.

I won’t go into the whole story here. Suffice it to say that I almost died, lived, had numerous complications including anemia, blood clots and two secondary infections and spent from mid-April to the end of July 2006 in the hospital.

Being only 2, Fiona needed someone to care for her. Our older daughter Rachelle was living with us but finishing high school. Though she became second mommy to Fiona, and they are very, VERY close still, Fiona needed more care than Rachelle was able to give daily. And daddy was spending his time either working or being with mommy at the hospital. Then in stepped the Stephens family.

Beth and Kyle are the parents. At the time their 3 children were 12, 14 and 16 (Molly, Kemmer and Ferrin). The oldest had her license and did lots of babysitting so she was often able to drive to pick up Fiona and babysit her. There were times when Fiona spent days, and most nights, with the Stephens. Once mommy was able to have visitors at the hospital, Beth and Ferrin would often bring Fiona to visit mommy.

Their middle child is their only son. Fiona spent so much time with these kids that we know she has Kemmer’s smile. When he graduated high school a couple of years ago, he gave us his graduation photo. Fiona has it in a frame that she carries everywhere with her. Wherever we are, you can ask, and you’ll get to see a picture of Kemmer.

While we’re here visiting now, Molly is a senior in high school and working part-time. She’s spent a lot of time with Fiona the past couple of weeks. Her dad, Kyle, often lets Fiona pick the cartoon they are all going to watch on TV.

And what can I say about Beth? Thank you Beth for all you’ve done for our family. Beth is the sweetest, kindest person ever. It brings tears to my eyes every time I think about how much she did in caring for my little girl when I was so sick. At the time Fiona even called her mommy once in a while. That never bothered me because Beth was a second to our precious little girl.

We aren’t the only ones who think of the Stephens as a second family. We’ve met many who feel the same way because this family has helped so many people. Whenever someone needs a place to stay, the Stephens family opens them with welcome arms. In fact while we’re here, there is another mutual friend who is staying with them as well.

In addition to all of that, when the Stephens found out that we were going to lead a nomadic lifestyle but needed a place to store a few things, they generously offered space to store stuff  at no charge. Anything we don’t have with us in the van as we travel is stored with them.

It sure feels good to be loved by such special people!

Challenges: Internet Access, Rain, Illness

This trip to San Diego has been more challenging that I expected. First there was the major issue of coming to take mom in for knee surgery and helping her with follow up visits for physical therapy. Once we leave this Thursday, mom will depend on other family and friends to help her get to her appointments.

Then there’s the challenge of having internet access. We’re staying with a friend of my mom’s who does not have any internet access. That means we have to go out each day to find it. That usually means a Starbuck’s or Panera Bread. Today it meant coming to the local public library. Which is fairly quiet and the staff here is very friendly.

Going out for internet access is even more challenging this week due to the days of tremendous rain here in San Diego! It just keeps coming and coming. It’s no fun going out in the wet and dreary weather.

Yesterday on top of it all I had a bout of something with my stomach. It’s much better today though.

So all in all it’s been a challenging week. Yes, we are getting things done – work, helping mom, showing Fiona some places we’ve been when we lived here for so many years. I’m looking forward though to being settled in one place again for a bit that has reliable internet access.