The pups and I had a good ride to Chicago for the holidays. From NC to TN we took Rt. 129 commonly known as The Tail of the Dragon. At the last western scenic view, I saw a few motorcyclists stopped for a break. I pulled in and wished them a Merry Christmas. I gave them Rider’s Claw Loves The B.R.O.A.D.(TM) t-shirts, had some conversation, took a few photos, and then got on my way. Biker Bob was kind enough to give me some of his homemade orange cake for my drive and a 1 oz. bottle of Fireball for my evening stop.
Farther north we stopped to meet one of my beloved clients in Indiana; Lisa works in support of Dr. Cole, one of the Minnesota surgeons that saved my life. After meeting Lisa, we stopped at Kelly Law Office to meet the attorney that began my law-suit; Michael Massucci.
We arrived at my son’s earlier than expected and he was not home yet. After several laborious trips up and down two flights of stairs, I got all my belongs by his door. I sat down on my cooler to relax and catch my breath. It wasn’t much longer until I got to hug his beautiful neck. I always get so excited when I see that dude. He is by far my most most most favorite human in the world. I had a couple relaxing days with my son and working.
As with every holiday visit home, I invited lots of friends to Joe’s in Joliet for a Holiday Hug Fest. Our party weekend was also a celebration of my very dear and close friends 40th Wedding Anniversary. I’m sure I’ve written this and said it before, but Lynn and Nick have truly come to be some of my most cherished friends. We had dinner before Joe’s and then proceeded to hug, laugh, and enjoy the friendship of our brothers and sisters.
During my time with my son we enjoyed dinner out, trips to the hardware store (our toy store), and general jokes and conversation. One evening on the way back to Nathan’s, I wanted to take a nice picture by the beautiful Christmas tree in downtown Glen Ellyn. The only problem is that the tree is in the center of a traffic circle and it was too dangerous to try. So… as we passed by the firehouse, Kelsi and I thought we could ask the firemen if we could use their tree. There was nobody around at first and then we spotted a fireman approaching the station from the sidewalk. We told him of our odd request and he obliged. After he took our picture, I thanked him and told him how much I appreciate firefighters and EMTs.
After those first few days my leg was in a great deal of pain and I finally had to break down and take a pain pill. Knowing they make me sick, I knew it would be a rough night. Trying to be as quiet as possible and not disturb my son and his girl, I opted to puke off the balcony at 2AM. The next day was a rest-filled day since I didn’t sleep well. The weather was beginning to get colder and my trips outside were not feeling very fun.
Our friends Kat and Lauren host a holiday party each year and it gave me a chance to see some folks that weren’t able to make it to Joe’s. I even met a few new people. We had a bit of a battle with the power going out, but it certainly made things interesting. I have to stay that was ever so lucky in the grab bag drawing because my number was picked last and I got to steal any gift I wanted. I selected to steal a rechargeable camp light. You have to turn the handle like 120 times but it works well.
During the week I had plenty of work and plenty of running around to do. My business, The Write Hand, LLC is a Virtual Assistant network. We help small to medium businesses with realms of marketing, website, and other tasks needed. One of my clients, NWCR in Geneva referred three new clients to me during 2015. I asked NWCR if I could use their conference room to host a lunch, and they agreed. Together with Four Seasons Contracting, Summers Real Estate Professionals, and Geneva Cleaners; we had a pleasant lunch, shared personal stories, got to know each other, and had light discussion about our 2016 marketing strategies.
Later that same evening I met up with my Nailmaille family. They have sponsored me for over 3 years now and been friends even longer. But… in all these years and the time spent with Jessica and Munke, I had never until then gotten to meet Mike. Mike Wille is the artist and originator of Nailmaille art jewelry. This was a terrific treat for me. I would say it was an honor but Mike is such a down to earth, calm-mannered man that I believe treat is far more appropriate.
During the second half of my visit to Chicago, the pups and I stayed with Lynn and Nick.
The Dodge Ram needed a little love before hitting the road full-time again. The pups and I went to see my very dear dude friend Larry at Area One Motorsports in Franklin Park. The old Dodge got new plugs and good old fashion once-over. She seems to be in decent shape and with still good tires and brakes, I think we should be able to tour for the better part of the year before any costly maintenance.
One visit I was seriously excited to make was one to my “speed-dial pastor” as I affectionately refer to John of Chicago First Nazarene Church in Lemont. I’ve mentioned John before and given him props for always being on the end of the phone when I was in need spiritually, emotionally, or both. He has been around the block, he has been a motorcyclist most of his adult life, he has seen some of the worst in humanity, and his support of me has always been REAL and STRAIGHT UP. For me it was a wonderful chance to hug somebody that has really meant a great deal along my journey(s). I sat with John and his lovely wife Candy during services and learned afterwards that it was John’s birthday.
After church I met up with Susan for lunch. Susan lives in my old town of Lemont. We never really spent a great deal of time together but saw each other quite often in town. Susan has stuck with me on Facebook to stay in touch. It was delightful to actually sit and have some long conversation. During lunch she gave me some information about a gentleman that might need my business help for a website. Sure enough, I have since been in touch with him and hoping I can help him with his needs.
Christmastime just wouldn’t be Christmas without a change to see my grand daughter. I had set a date with Tina and as it turned out they were at Bass Pro to see Santa so I met them there. When I spotted them in the store I snuck up behind and pinched Tina on the rear and then just stood there waiting for Kylee to notice it was me. She was so adorable and if I wasn’t laughing and smiling so hard, I probably would’ve cried. She looked at me – as if a double take – and squealed louder, “My grandma… My grandma is here.” Not another thing in the world could have made me happier at that moment. We stood in line quite a while to see Santa and every so often we would leave Tina in line and go play with the race cars, the archery, and the took a turn on the carousel. It seemed like the “elves” were trying to make the kids stick together and take just one photo, but when it was their turn to see Santa I kind of snuck in there and got a photo with Kylee and Santa. Maybe I’ll be on the naughty list for next year, but I do love our photo.
As has been the way for the past 3 years, Christmas would be spent with Lynn, Nick, and their family. My son and Kelsi were to join us but were very late. I know it may sound silly but with my own family issues, I usually feel like my son is nearly all I have. They were late, missed grace, miss breaking of bread, and missed the food being hot off the grill so to speak. I got emotional for some reason, even though I knew they were on the way. I sat in my room for little while and cried, questioned whether I should move back to Chicago to be near him and my grand daughter; reminded myself that I can’t afford to live alone in Chicago and the winter weather would be brutal. Lynn found me and held me for a few minutes until I stopped being a big baby. The kids finally showed up and we three ate together and talked with everybody else. The food was nothing short of fantastic and we had a great time together. As much as I don’t really care about gifts, I have to say I was treated very well. Lynn gave me a beautiful necklace for SISTERS. Nathan gave me a necklace that says, “MOM – I love you to the moon and back.” He also gave me a tire for my trailer for emergencies and a folding picnic table to take on the road. He really put a lot of effort and thought into these gifts and I feel very blessed.
On Sunday following Christmas, it was my dear friend Meg’s birthday. I had previously worked with Kelsi to plan a fun night out. Kelsi works at iFly Naperville and helped us get a group deal for the celebration. I wasn’t sure how the whole deal would work with my prosthetic, especially the landing, but I was excited to fly. When we arrived we signed in on the monitors and had to answer health questions like, ‘are you pregnant’, ‘have you ever had a dislocated shoulder’, etc… Well none of us were pregnant but I had to answer yes to the dislocated shoulder (and the fine print suggested that I not fly and if I did, iFly would not be responsible for injury). Well shoot… after all the dislocations so far, one more sure wasn’t going to kill me (hurt like hell for days – maybe, but not kill me). There’s a short wait until an instructor takes you into a classroom for safety and flying instructions. Then you suit up and put your stuff in lockers. Once our group was called we all entered the bench area and the air lock doors closed.
Meg and I each got two minutes twice; the other guests got one and a half minutes twice. Kelsi’s Dad and brother joined Nathan, Meg, Larry, and I. Kelsi and her Mom observed and giggled. When you get to the opening of the air tunnel you basically fall forward and the instructor helps ensure you float. Then the instructor flies around with you and helps you get your arms and legs in the proper position for flying. Each of us had a different feeling and experience. Meg was not happy when the instructor took her in circles. Larry somehow kept going towards the wall. As for me, the whole shoulder dislocation issue was quite valid. I could totally feel my shoulder wanting to pop so I pushed very hard again the pressure; which funny enough made me go higher – AWESOME! We all pretty much agreed it didn’t take long to sort of get the groove. The second flight was smoother and the instructor grabs you and takes you up high and swims around in the tunnel so to speak. My shoulder was a bit sore for the rest of the night but fine by morning; the leg was never once an issue. The instructor did say that without full bend in my knee, if I ever wanted to learn all the crazy flips and such, there would be some stuff I wouldn’t be able to do. (Unfortunately, at the time of this post I don’t have any photos of us actually flying.)
A couple days of rest and then it was New Year’s Eve. Tim and Tracy joined us and Christopher and his girl. We had enough snacks to feed a small army and game night was a huge hysterical hit. I got to play game show host and we did something sort of like a mix between charades and Hollywood Game Night. Yeah ok, so I didn’t time everybody evenly and I changed the rules as we went along – it was great fun all the same. By the time midnight hit and our game had ended, a few of us may have been feeling fine as frog’s hair. I don’t know who’s big idea it was, but somebody decided the whole group would take all the leftover answers and act them out just for me to guess. Oh dear heavens, my head and my face hurt like crazy from laughing so hard.
On New Year’s Day it was totally wicked to welcome Mary from Minnesota into our midst. Some folks might remembering hearing about Mary. She and her former lady riders club came to visit me in the MN hospital after hearing about my crash on their local news. The following year, Mary met me in Sturgis and afterwards we traveled and camped together in Colorado. Well, Mary got a new-to-her car and felt like a road trip. She drove 7 hours to come hang out with us for the weekend. Lynn and Nick let her stay with us and I proceeded to shuffle her all around on Saturday; most especially to meet my son and dear friend Meg for sushi. I only had her for one full day and we didn’t do anything grand, but all the time running around we got to talk and catch up. We are really hoping to do some camping and motorcycling together in 2016. Mary really truly fit in with us!!!
As of this post, I spent the last week at Great Outdoor RV Park in Franklin, NC. I have had to make some adjustments for weight, the dogs, and some redneck engineering upgrades. I had a great idea for a grey water disposal – a bucket with a hole towards the bottom and a hose that leads to the sewer. The operations guy at the campground thought my idea was neat. I went to run some errands and meet my local client one day and upon my return – viola – my redneck grey water disposal was in place. This sort of kicked off a new thing I am going to try on the road – it will be called HUMANS ROCK! I’ve had a lot of awesome chance encounters and this time around I’m going to try and highlight them better.
I can certainly say that this RV park is really quite nice. On a normal day I could not afford to stay here, but with the winter rates it really worked out great. The bath houses are closed but I have my own means for that; which the operations guy John helped with also. He had some extra PVC and a working drill (mine croaked). He put a hole in my floor and an 8″ PVC drain from my shower basin. Now I can drain the shower into the same grey water bucket as my sink.
It has not been a huge adventure on this camping trip because I had a bunch of work to do and it has been unbearably cold most days. We did get some great photos of a sunset and one good tour around the campground.
Sportster in particular has really had cabin fever. I took her walking and left B.B. home a few times. B.B. just can’t take the cold anymore especially her little feet.
On Monday, the pups and I leave for GA where I have three doctor appointments lined up. If all is well (particularly with my knee), we will head to my Mom’s in Charleston for a short visit and to pickup my Heritage. Then we will be off… here’s hoping we will be able to adventure for a while again. Fingers and toes crossed…