Getting to Say a Long Good-Bye

In my last post I talked about losing my brother Adam. Thanks to a lot of very generous, kind people, we’ve raised a lot of money on GoFundMe to help pay for the funeral expenses.
His funeral was Thursday evening. I thought it was beautiful. We didn’t have a reverend or pastor or preacher. (We didn’t want anyone to look at Adam negatively and judge him, especially the fact that he was gay)  Instead my Aunt read a poem from my mom and then we invited anyone up who wanted to share a story or memory about Adam. I think a lot of his friends got up and said something. It’s all still mostly a blur.

 We had pictures of Adam playing the whole time on a slide show and then when everyone was finished speaking, we played some of his favorite songs. He would’ve loved it. Missy Elliott “Work It” was the first one to come on!

Adam playing dress up through the years

We had been planning to bury his ashes next to his dad in a cemetery close to my mom’s house. But the other night my mom and I walked over to see where we would put the marker. We were both thinking, but not saying, that we weren’t sure if this idea fit Adam.

We eventually said, almost simultaneously (we do that a lot even when we don’t see each other for months) that his ashes should be spread, not buried. Adam has always wanted to travel and never really got the chance. The last conversation we had, he told me that Charlie was the luckiest dog ever because she got to go everywhere and see everything.

So I’m going to bring him with me. It’ll be his first time on a plane and the first place I’m taking him is San Francisco. I think he would love this. I’ve started compiling a wish list of places I’d like to scatter some of his ashes. But, as with the rest of my life, I know all of this has to stay a tentative plan. We will just have to see where the wind blows us.

I just read an article that gave me some really useful tips. I’m glad I found it. Thanks to the author.

On another note, Allen and Charlie made it to Candlestick RV Park in San Francisco safely on Friday afternoon. Our super nice neighbor Carmen watched Charlie while her husband Doug helped Allen squeeze into our spot.  

Photos from Carmen to me during the action

Allen said we arent moving the camper until we leave for good. No NHRA at Sonoma this year. 😦


He took notes and pictures for me, well, for the blog. So when I get out there, I’ll post about their super slow trip from Dallas to San Francisco. (He couldn’t check into the campground until Friday so he was doing less than 500miles/day)  Allen also wrote some Google reviews of the campgrounds they stayed in on the way out. I’m so proud of him! My mom joked that he’s going to become known as the angry blogger. I love it. 

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Losing is Never Easy…

But I never thought it could be this hard.

I’ve known a lot of loss and death in my life but this is by far the worst. My brother passed away suddenly on Thursday. He was only 31.

Allen came home early from work Thursday, which I thought was weird because I had just talked to him at lunch time. My mom had called him and asked him to tell me. I bought a plane ticket and packed my bag (well, I think maybe Allen packed most of it for me) then we went to the airport so I could get on a flight and be back in Cincinnati with my mom by midnight. When I got to the airport, I did the self check in thing then checked my bag and went to security. The security guard told me my ticket was for the following morning, Friday, at 7am. I lost it. Again. So then I had to go through waiting for Delta to figure out what happened. I wound up having to book another flight for 7am with American Airlines that got me here at 10:30am instead of the middle of the afternoon like Delta wanted to do. I’m still waiting for my refund from Delta. But I’m here.

I guess it’s easier to talk about things like plane tickets than it is to talk about what matters.

My brother has struggled with addiction for a long time now. He’s been in and out of trouble for things related to drugs for the past 6yrs or so. (I.E. Stealing to get money for drugs, violating probation, failing drug tests…)  He just got out of prison on June 6th. Right after we had to leave Ohio and head down to Dallas. When I took Charlie swimming in Oklahoma City. I didn’t get to see him. We did FaceTime though. Not the same as a hug. My mom picked him up from prison and he was living with her. He found out that he was HIV positive this last time he went in, so he had just been to the doctor and was going to start medication in the next couple of weeks. His doctor told him and my mom that with medication he could live to be 60, 70, 80 years old.

I don’t know what happened or what kind of struggle he had in his head when he decided to use again. But I don’t understand it. He called me Thursday morning. He asked me what Charlie was doing. He couldn’t wait to meet her. I asked him what he’d been doing all morning. ~silence~ I asked him again. ~silence~ I thought it was weird but drugs never crossed my mind. I just thought he was being spacey like he sometimes got.  I just got kind of annoyed and told him if he wasn’t going to talk to me then I was hanging up. I hung up. My mom says I can’t think that I could’ve changed anything. But…

She came home from work, she cleans houses, at about 1pm and he was on the porch. He’d overdosed on heroin. He was already gone. I would give anything to have him back and anything to not let my mom have been through that. I guess the paramedics came and worked for an hour.

We went to plan the funeral Saturday. My step dad passed away 5yrs ago and we went to the same place. The price has tripled since then. We had to leave because we couldn’t afford it. That’s not a good feeling, to have to shop around for a funeral. But we found a place that was really nice. We are going to have a visitation and service on Wednesday evening then have him cremated. My mom wants to bury his ashes with his dad’s.

In the meantime, I miss Allen and Charlie like crazy and I so wish I could have both of them here with me. They are leaving Texas tomorrow to head out to San Francisco. I’m worried about them traveling by themselves but Allen says they’ll be fine. I remind him of fifty things Charlie related everyday it feels like. He jokingly reminded me yesterday that I’m missing out on some blogging opportunities driving cross country. Touché. But I will fly back to San Francisco at some point yet to be determined. (I for sure have to wait until I get my plane ticket refund).

We started a Go Fund Me page to help with the expenses. (If you would like to help, I would be so grateful) We wrote his obituary.  We picked out an outfit we think he would’ve loved.  (This pair of white skinny jeans he was loving!) I’m ordering a really pretty rainbow colored casket spray. (Gay Pride)  We’ve been making a list of songs he loved that we are going to play at the funeral.  We went through boxes of old pictures yesterday.

 

This is a button I found from probably kindergarten. I think I am going to wear it at the funeral.

Losing is never easy.

But I never thought it could be this hard.

I love you Adam. And I will miss you forever.

Taste of Dallas

We went to the Taste on Saturday. I was surprised that it wasn’t bigger actually. (The Taste of Cincinnati was bigger)  But we had some good food. Allen and I met up with Cletis, a guy he works with. I love Cletis. We parked by he tower so therefore got in free. Sshhh…

 We had alligator on a stick, a brisket sandwich, shrimp and crab on a stick, ribs, and chicken. Yum!

        

On our way home we stopped by Randy’s Farmers Market. We picked up some tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, onions and plums. We found some local honey too. I’ve heard that if you eat local honey it’s supposed to help with allergies. I hope it works! We also got some bbq sauce and some chips and salsa. The salsa is no joke-SO spicy! And we like hot and spicy, but this is off the charts!

  

When we got back we went to the pool to hang out. Allen has been teaching me how to swim and I think I’m getting the hang of it. I mean, I can doggy paddle and survive but I’ve never been able to swim on top of the water. He was a lifeguard and taught swim lessons when he was younger and he’s been pretty patient with me.

        

Towards the end of the day I went and got Charlie and brought her up to the pool. She’s done a lot of swimming in the last week! The other night she was running around with a pup named Tater and she ran INTO the pond and swam back out!  She’s a brave little thing!

View from Above

Allen has an awesome job. Few people get this view from their “office” every day…

The Cotton Bowl

 

Downtown Dallas

 

Fair Park

 

A drop zone type of ride at Fair Park

 

I think these tents are for “Taste of Dallas” this weekend

 

a platform on the tower

Meanwhile, I’ve been reading and relaxing by the pool…

“The Street Lawyer” by John Grisham

 

the pool

 

Charlie thinks it’s too hot for anything.

RV Ranch of Keene, TX

I think we got lucky with this spot. We would normally stay at Trader’s Village in Grand Prairie. This time we wanted to try somewhere new because we have a different, bigger camper and Trader’s Village can be really tight depending on where they put you. I started calling around to different parks when we were in Oklahoma City on Friday. We started with parks between Cedar Hill (the shop) and downtown Dallas (the new job site). I called about 6 different campgrounds (with pools because it’s ridiculously hot and I just need a pool), and everywhere was full! That’s never happened to us here. So we had to keep going further out and finally found this place, the RV Ranch.  It’s an hour from the job site and 40min from the shop. So that sucks. Luckily Allen will probably be able to ride the bike most days.

Anyhow, we headed down I-35 and got here Sunday afternoon to 90+degree sunny weather! We got an easy pull through spot with a nice little half moon shaped patio and a little arbor type things so Charlie has some shade. Our spot is long enough to open the hatch and leave it as a back porch but I can’t really see that happening with how hot it is. I don’t think our AC’s will shut off during the day!

      We are right across from the showers and laundry in the adult (21+) section. And the pool is one row over behind the office. The office is also a tanning salon and a movie rental store and a pizza place…   Charlie and I went exploring this morning and I think we are in the fancy section. The other half of the park is mostly filled with mobile homes and long term residents. Overall, I think we are going to like it here. I can’t wait til my sunburn from OKC fades so I can use the pool!

  

Doggy Paddlin’

Charlie can swim! She was so cute! I think she loved it. Allen thinks she was just surviving. But her little tail was wagging all day long and she seemed like a happy puppy.

    

We had a great time with Karen and Bob and their friend Kathy yesterday. It was a much needed relaxing Saturday. Allen doesn’t get many of those!

This morning we took the truck and camper to the truck wash next door to Abe’s RV Park. The guys at the 5 Star Travel Plaza did an awesome job. It’s a new truck wash, just opened in March, so it wasn’t crazy busy like most of them are. It was $45 for the camper and truck. I don’t think that was bad at all.

       One thing Allen noticed was that since we had the DEF Sytem removed, we are going to have to watch the front of the camper and keep it clean because now the exhaust pipe blows a little black smoke.

Now we are on our way to Dallas for a couple of weeks…

OKC? OK!

We made it Thursday night and checked into Abe’s RV Park off I-35.  

 

 

Spot Y-17

 Friday We got the tires balanced and rotated and a nail removed from one of them then had the oil changed. Here’s the truck next to a nice corvette… 

   

I also won another small victory!  

  

  

 Allen didn’t want to get a map. I did. Look what we have! Isn’t he such a sweetie!  I decided to only mark the states where we’ve stayed the night with THIS camper, not the old one too. So we are starting fresh. 

After all our errands we hung out for a while until Karen and Bob were done working.  It was then Friday night drinking time! Finally! We met up at Old Chicago’s for pizza and drinks and made plans to swim at their house on Saturday. Finally I get to find out if little Charlie knows how to swim!  Update to come! I think we are going to try and hit this neighborhood garage sale I saw a sign for yesterday first…  

 

Stop in Sparta

We left Frontier Campground at around 10:30am on Wednesday and headed down the road to our friends Brandi’s and Tommy’s place in Sparta, KY. It’s only about an hour and a half drive. We got there and set up in their yard (they have about 7 acres total).

  We let Charlie run around with Paisley (some kind of herd dog), and Storm (the wolf, yes, a real full blooded wolf who acts like a puppy), and Milo (the cat and Charlie’s arch nemesis).

  Once she discovered the chickens and pigs, she terrorized them for a while.

Then we grilled some hot dogs and metts followed by a nice, refreshing nap. Brandi got home from work around 4 and we went to the neighborhood bar/liquor store for a game of pool. Once Tommy got home from work we went to the Sunset Grill on the Ohio River and had dinner with them and Brandi’s two little girls. We always have a good time with them, and so does little Charlie!

Brandi got these two framed Budweiser pictures for Allen also. We will probably have to wait until we get our Texas Ranch or Florida Beach Shack to actually hang them though… I’ll post pictures when we stop..

We were back on the road this morning a little before 7am.

We just stopped at the last Missouri rest stop on I-44, which is about 100 miles from the Oklahoma state line. But it was a cute little stop. They had a “Route 66” walkway.

          

Don’t let it fool you when you pull in, it looks tiny with limited parking, but there’s a huge lot in the back.


We should be at Abe’s RV Park in Oklahoma City by around 9 tonight. Yay!

Tower Drop

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Now it’s here.


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Now it’s gone.

Yesterday, Allen dropped the last 550 feet of the tower!  They destacked the top 450 feet to get it short enough for the fall zone. My mom came up and we drove over to the site to watch.  It’s a pretty neat thing to see. I’ve seen them drop two now.  The first was in Robertsdale, AL and the site was directly across from the RV Park we stayed in. It takes a lot of planning and setting up and then it takes less than a minute and it’s over. Here are some pictures we took from across the street in the safe zone. If you hadn’t known there was a tower standing there, you’d never know now.

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My mom got a short video and this is a screen shot from it


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Another screen shot right before it fell into the woods

Here are some more pictures we got yesterday… IMG_0557IMG_0559 Allen and I IMG_0555   So now that’s finished, and for this job we (and by we, I really mean Allen and the guys) don’t have to stay and clean up the mess.  This job is kind of an exception because the guy who owns the tower also owns a demolition company so he’s doing all that.  Allen is at work today waiting on trucks to show up so they can load out.  We are leaving here tomorrow and our tentative plans (what other kind of plans are there?) are to stop in Sparta, Kentucky at our friend’s house (she has about 5 acres we can park on), and stay a rent free day there.  Then take our time getting to Abe’s RV Park in Oklahoma City so I can see my buddy Karen, then we need to be in Dallas by Sunday evening. So we have some time, which is a rarity and a luxury.  We are thinking of staying at the North Texas Jellystone Park, but it’s about 35 minutes from the shop.  It looks nice and it would be a change from where we usually stay, at Trader’s Village RV Park, and I’m thinking I will like it better, but we still haven’t nailed that down yet. Who knows, our tentative plans could change later today…. But for now, I’m going to start getting the little things put away and ready to hook up and go.Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 10.50.33 AM Oh! I almost forgot, we had a little tiny sparrow trying to make a nest in our fifth wheel… We’ve seen them in our neighbor’s since we got here and then the other day Allen saw the little fella with some moss in his beak, climbing in there.  So we took the nest out and put it across the street in the grass.  At least all his findings are in one spot still… sparrow-sitting-on-wood