Tag Archive for travel man

A Mini-Vacation with a Few of Our Kids

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A few months ago Travel Man and I took a little vacation to Illinois with our two middle kiddos, one daughter-in-law to be, and our grandson.  This was quite a mix of travelers, and it was grandson Evan’s first time flying in a long time. We were on our way to visit my Grandpa and my Mom.  The smartest thing Travel Man planned for this trip was getting the kids their own hotel room.  They got to play cards and board games at night (yes they did travel with Settlers of Catan, and Phase 10), and we go to enjoy the peace and quiet.  Oh what an adventure we all had together.

My top ten list of fun and sometime humorous experiences went like this-

1. We took up two rows of seats on the airplane.  This required the inevitable discussion of who would have a window seat and who would have an aisle seat.


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2. Even though we were in the air flying we still heard this question, “Are we almost there yet?”  which came from the grandson. On our flight to Illinois we had one stop with no plane change.  So that question was unavoidable.

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3. We are all from Southern California and we traveled to the chilly (I mean freezing) Midwest region.  (We must have been nuts!)  Who ordered the 30 degree weather, and light snow flurries at the end of March?  It was a little blustery on a couple of days.

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4. Evan got to make his first snow angel in the snow near Lake Michigan.  He had so much fun.  He also found it necessary to step in or dig in each and every pile of snow he encountered.  Never mind the fact that the snow pile might be a little black with dirt or asphalt mixed in.11647350_10204559991694178_1914139083_n

Freezing our buns off at Lake Michigan!!

Freezing our buns off at Lake Michigan!!

5. My Mom took us on the “family tour” of all of the places she lived growing up, the house I grew up in, my grade school, and various other meaningful landmarks. The church in the background in the top picture here is the church where my grandparents met.  It is also the church where my parents were introduced to one another at a wedding reception.  A small world. After our excursion on this chilly afternoon Evan proclaimed, “Well that was certainly an interesting family education.” (Evanism 101)


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6. Eating a Chicago style deep dish pizza at Giordano’s. This was probably the yummiest dinner on our trip. There’s nothing like a Chicago deep dish pie!  Evan’s quite the pepperoni aficionado, and he told us the Chicago pizza was on his top five list!

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7. The Sky Deck at the Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower).  Evan and I did not take the jaunt out on the Sky Deck.  We were too chicken to look straight down at the street!  We did get to take in all of the great views of the city from the 103rd floor, and Evan got to see Soldier’s Field first hand.

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Feet only. Looking straight down from the Sky Deck.

8. Seeing the bean in Millennium Park.  This is a work of art that is nicknamed “The Bean.”  The actual name of this piece of art is Cloud Gate.  You can get some truly cool reflection pictures while standing under or near the giant “Bean”.



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9.  Hearing Evan exclaim, “Grandma I think my eyes are frozen”.  On our chilly day in downtown Chicago.  He was layered with a sweatshirt, beanie, scarf, and hood from his sweatshirts, and he just could not keep his little face warm.  These are some of my favorite pictures of Evan invading the “Windy City”.

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10.  Getting to see five generations of my family around my Grandpa’s dining room table. That is a view that was priceless.  We miss my Grandma dearly, and this was one of those moments when you count your blessings, and are thankful for all of the good things in your life.




Travelling with the kids was really a treat for us.  Joking, laughing, getting out of the hotel on time, etc, etc.  We were lucky to have our experienced “Travel Man” with us.  He always, always makes sure the travel can go as smoothly as possible, and we always have a great time wherever the destination may be.  We’re looking forward to more mini-vacations like this one soon.  One of these days granddaughter Madison will get to go along for the adventures.  For the time being we enjoy keeping the travel/road-trips as a special treat for Evan.

**Photo credits to Travel Man (aka Tom), my daughter Hilary, and daughter-in-law to be Erica.  Thanks everyone for your contributions.

Travel Man’s Been Away It’s Time for Things to go Astray

IMG_0211This week while Travel Man is working in New York City I had to take the car in for service.  Of course since Travel Man is gone it completely stalled on me while getting onto the freeway Sunday morning.  I know I’m a big girl and I can take the car in for service on my own.  It’s just that I don’t like to.  Thankfully so far the week appears to be going ok, other than the issues with my car. Fingers crossed for a quiet household week.  Hopefully I haven’t just jinxed myself!

The last time Travel Man was out-of-town for a whole week there were a few other things that had gone awry around the house.  Our garbage disposal died.  I tried to fix it, but was not successful.  So unfortunately I cannot add that one to my “Things I CAN fix” list. Travel Man was able to fix this one when he got home.   He did not want me to call the plumber on this fix.  Thank goodness we found out there was just a dime jammed in it from a certain granddaughter who shall remain nameless.  Next the pool pump motor went kaput!  This called for a complete replacement here.  Right before Travel Man went out-of-town the refrigerator door sprung a spring so it wouldn’t close tight.  We ordered the part and he fixed it when he got back home for the weekend.  The last thing that happened during this eventful week was one of the backyard sprinklers blew its’ top off.  So we had an “Old Faithful” geyser going in the back yard for a few days before I realized and investigated what had been happening.  Can you believe all four of these happened in the same week?Unreal how good ‘Ol Murph comes in the door when you least expect it.

I like it much better when Travel Man is home and does NOT have to spend time on household fixes (aka The Honey-Do List).  I would much rather he spend time with me.  I’m a little selfish like that. Being the wonderful husband that he is all of the repairs got completed before he left on his next trip.  I’m still waiting to get my car back.  Fingers crossed it’s nothing serious.  How does the “Honey-Do” list look at your house?  What’s the last thing you had to fix yourself around the house?

10 Things I Have Learned to do Around My House


There are times when my Travel Man cannot be home, and some little thing needs to be fixed around the house.  Of course, with Murphy’s Law waiting in the wings, nothing ever breaks when he’s home, just right after he leaves.  So when something of a minor proportion goes wrong around the house I try to fix it on my own. That means I may then be forced to learn a new skill out of necessity.  I have also been known to  place a phone call to a certain Travel Man that talks me through the fix over the phone.

You see we always have an ongoing honey-do list, but I try to keep it very short and sweet.  When my Travel Man is home I do not want him spending his days at home fixing things.  I want him to be able to spend his time with me.  I am selfish that way.

Since acquiring my title of Domestic Goddess, there are a few new things I have learned how to take care of around the house. This is my list of 10 new skills that I have acquired, learned and/or taught myself while my Travel Man has been on the road.  A good portion of the things on this list I would have previously left for the hubby to take care of or for the two of us to do together.

1. Cleaning the pool filter.  This is usually just a weekly thing, but I am able to keep it on track by myself.  We have an above ground pool, nicknamed “big bag of water” by my brother.

2. Maintaining the pool chemicals.  I can do this, but in the middle of a hot summer this one drives me nuts!  Oh how I loathe algae.

3. I learned how to use a roto-hammer to take up some flooring in our hallway.  I got the floor completely prepped so Travel  Man could come in and install the laminate flooring.  This one was exhausting!

4. Taking the car in for service.  I always felt like the service writer would take advantage of my lack of knowledge where the car is concerned.  I never liked doing this one, but now I just do.

5.  Cleaning the air filter on the air conditioner. Our filter is removable, and reusable. you just spray it off, let it air dry and replace. Voila!

6. Adjusting the sprinkler timers.  I have had to learn how to program two different controllers for our front and back yards.  Now I feel like I am an expert.

7. Replacing some drip nozzles on the lines out by our fruit trees.  This one was surprising quite easy.

8.  Repairing our thermostat.  You can read the details of that story here.  Travel Man was actually at home when this one happened. This was a must-fix critical situation!

9. Fixing our lawn mower. I learned how to clean out this little teensy-weensy carburetor jet.  You can read all of the details here.

10. I have learned how to light the charcoal grill.  It took me awhile to get past this one.  I would always just light the gas grill for a quick summer meal.  But now if I want a really great hamburger I definitely light the charcoal grill.  The flavor is so much better, and now I love to do this.

All of the things that I have learned to do on this list make it easier for Travel Man to be away from home.  He knows I’m not afraid (nowadays) to try to fix something I feel is within my “comfort zone”.  And you know it’s also a confidence builder for me.  I can still learn new skills, and be just a tad more self-sufficient when I need to be.  However, Travel Man and I do have an ongoing agreement that if there are any plumbing problems when he is on the road, I simply call our resident plumber!


Can you fix a Lawnmower? – I did.

IMG_0036A few weeks ago we were having some lawnmower difficulties.  Difficulties meaning the darn thing would not start.  Now  if you are an avid follower of my blogging stories you know that my hubby is a Road Warrior (aka Travel Man).  This means that his “honey-do’s” have to be very well defined and we have to try and keep the list as small as possible as his time as home is usually limited.  However, my oldest son, Bryan, still lives with us and he is a tremendous help around the house and with the gardening/yard work.  With the combined efforts of Bryan, myself, and Travel Man’s “honey-do’s” we get the fixes done around the house that need fixing.  Teamwork!

Back to my lawnmower story now.  The lawnmower decided not to start on this particular yard work day, and the boys ultimately determined that it just needed to get taken to the shop for repairs.  Travel Man was on his way the next morning and the yard could not wait for him to get back from his trip to get the grass looking beautiful.  I was the one taking the mower to the shop the next day, and I was not looking forward to doing this by myself.  I get that way sometimes.  I can do a lot of things on my own or by myself, but for some reason this task was just not appealing to me.

Then a light bulb went on for me.  I remember both of my sons telling me about doing “research” on YouTube to find out or figure out how to fix things.  So I thought, why not me!  I searched for our brand of lawnmower, and the problem we were having.  Lo and behold 5 or 6 short videos came up, and I was on my way.  I watched two or three videos, which were all fairly simple to understand.

I collected my supplies, went out to the shed and got the lawnmower out. Then I had to recall my video instructions, as I did not take any of my electronics out to the shed with me.  I worked on cleaning out this little tiny carburetor jet on the lawnmower, tried  to start it, and nothing.  I was a little disappointed, as I thought I would have immediate success.  So, I did the same thing again, cleaning out this tiny little pinhole in the carburetor jet, and voila!  The lawnmower started!!  I was giddee with excitement so I mowed a few rows of the back yard.  Then I sent a text message to my youngest son to share my good news.  Bryan was at work, and Travel Man was on a plane so I could not talk to them directly.

Yay- I fixed our lawnmower just by watching a YouTube video!  Now I can add this one to my list of things that I CAN fix. For the record I’m two for two with my fixes.  First the thermostat, and now the lawnmower.  It’s always good for me to know I can be resourceful if needed.  Believe me I would always rather add another “honey-do” to the list whenever possible.

A State of Waiting


We all spend tons and tons of time waiting over the course of our busy days; the doctors’ office, waiting for medical test results, in line at any store, the bank (oh wait I cannot remember the last time I stepped foot IN the bank!), the gas station, etc.  Waiting can be stressful, and sometimes make a person somewhat wary.  I have a little bit different twist on the word waiting today that I wanted to share with you.


If you’re significant other is a Road Warrior (aka Travel Man) like mine do you feel like you’re always waiting?  If you’re not familiar with the term Road Warrior this is my definition.  A Road Warrior is a significant other that has a job that requires them to travel away from home on a regular basis.  Your Road Warrior might be gone for a few days, or a few weeks.  They must travel to wherever the job takes them on a moments notice. In our case my Road Warrior’s mode of travel is almost always an airplane.  He likes to say he commutes in a tube.

So, when your significant other works away from the house almost every week it always seems like you’re waiting for one thing or another.

Waiting for the next time you will see them.

Waiting to hear how their day went.  Sometimes waiting a long, long time for this one.

Waiting to talk to them if you have something important to say but it’s not an emergency (if things start to pile up I always have to make a list for myself).  I have also been known to e-mail a list to my favorite Road Warrior if he is having a super busy week.

Waiting for the day they are coming home to arrive.

Waiting to go the airport to pick them up

Waiting at the airport for your favorite Road Warrior to get there.

Waiting to have a nice dinner together (spaghetti is the go-to, first night, home cooked meal at my house )  If we are going out to eat on the night that he gets home I have to choose the place.  This is because the Road Warrior has been eating in restaurants all week, and he’s tired, tired, tired of choosing where to go.

Waiting can sometimes seem like an eternity.  Waiting can test your patience, and put such a strain on your relationship, if you allow that to happen.  When your Road Warrior calls you to say he has had a bad day or is missing you, be a good listener. Always be encouraging, and tell him you cannot wait to see him.  Those are the things a Road Warrior needs to hear.

Waiting can be the pits, for both of us.  Probably the worst form of waiting is when the Road Warrior is on his way home, and then there is some sort of travel delay.  Ugh, those are times you need to have your patience in check.  You are waiting, he’s waiting. You’re both waiting.  Waiting, waiting, waiting.  But then comes the best part of waiting, when the wait is over.  That’s when I am relieved that my Road Warrior is home safe and sound.  That’s when we are able to relax together, and just reconnect.  There’s no more waiting until the next trip.
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