Upcoming Trip – Something to Look Forward To!

We’re racing toward Easter! 

Hello and thanks for stopping by.  Thanks for the many kind words as well as the prayers.

It’s been a busy couple of weeks… well, that’s an understatement!

I’ve been working like crazy on Dad’s house and have already tossed more than 2300 pounds of junk and such.  Today’s effort was significant. 

But first, I took the time to make some cute little bunnies.  All you need are some Twinkie knock-offs (Little Debbie “Cloud Cakes”).  Cut out a rectangle, put a marshmallow “Peeps” bunny inside, and cut some large marshmallows into “wheels” by slicing them laterally.  A little frosting holds it all together.  A mini pretzel makes a perfect “steering wheel.”  Due to errors, I ate two broken cakes and the old tomcat, “Mr. Jesse James”, ate most of a cloud cake as well.  That cat…   The old girl, Kitty Serena, was batting a marshmallow around the floor. 

A little fun was needed and the bunnies provided that.  It has been a tough week. 


The red eyes are from dust, not booze.

Dad landed back in the hospital again and was gravely ill but has recovered enough to return to assisted living.  I’m continuing to work on getting his house in shape for whatever we need to do in the future.  Along the way, I have discovered a few antiques and other items.

Antiques are nice but they are what they are – old, signed glassware and China pieces that are worth a few bucks to someone who has the room for them.  I’m slowly wrapping them carefully for a future disposition.  But there are other items worth more to me.

Along the way, I found some items that have no monetary value yet are priceless!  Dad saved numerous photographs over the years, including one of Lemuel Harris – my great grandfather – sitting there looking happy with a bushel basket of potatoes in front of him.  It’s a classic “Iowa farmer” type of picture.  When I get time I’ll post it.  Cousin Florine and Dad both stored a lot of pictures and they have brought back many memories.  It’s worth getting a little grubby to unearth such treasures.

So as I clean and sneeze and pack and wheeze, the house is looking better and better.  It is slow going.  Each day only sees about three hours of activity, often broken into a couple of shifts.  I’m highly allergic to dust and it’s not an easy job.  But doing all this work myself is saving a great deal of money that can be used for Dad’s health care.  It helps a person’s self esteem, too.  Instead of thinking I’m a lazy slug who can’t hold a job, I’m doing a tough one for no pay.  It makes me wonder if self-employment might be a better direction in the future when all this is done…  🙂

A break will be coming soon, at least.  Sis will be here in early April and I have a trip all planned.  Of course, it will involve traveling north to the Elkader / Decorah area.  Serena (the tortoise shell cat) is going with me.  Currently she sleeps in a tiny pop-up dog tent that resides on Dads living room floor.  What an incredible little girl!  She likes the van… which is also seeing some changes…

Here is a new carpet that I bought for the van at the local Walmart.  It was necessary  because the old carpet square was small and slipped on the linoleum.  A month ago that happened and I was launched out of the van and into a snowbank.  The only casualty was that I fell face first into the snow, crushing a 32 ounce cup of Diet Coke and soaking my shirt.  What a shame!  This new carpet is 23″ x 47″.  The right side fits under the Koolatron.  I cut a notch into the left side to fit around a shelf.  It’s not going to be sliding anywhere!  It feels nice on the feet, too!  Cost?  $10.

On this next trip I have some exciting new recipes to try.  Most will involve the use of the toaster oven.  I was going to buy a Texas type muffin pan and cut it up.  Instead, I purchased some stoneware ramekins to bake with.  Here are some of the ideas I’m considering making…

  • Crab and Onion Quiche (2 serving size)
  • Mini Pineapple Upside Down Cakes
  • Ham and Eggs in a Bird’s Nest (hash brown crust in a small ramekin)
  • Low Sugar Strawberry Cream Cheese Cobbler

Don’t these new recipes sound like fun?  Stay tuned.  If I get around to making any of them before the trip, I’ll put them on the recipes blog.

That’s about it for now.  Time to get back to cleaning.

Thanks for visiting.  I should be posting something around the 3rd or 4th of April.  Have a good one!

Bradford the “Van Trekker”

About VanTrekker

I am a former vandweller in Eastern Iowa who, for several years (off and on), lived in a 2007 Chevy cargo van. I still travel around Iowa with my tortoise shell cat, Jennifer Stefanie. Our favorite place to explore is the Country Heritage Community, the four far northeastern counties of Iowa (Clayton, Winneshiek, Allamakee, and Fayette). Ride along as we fish in pristine trout streams, enjoy fine home cooked camping meals, and meet new people. It's all possible on a shoestring budget. Happy travels always! --- Brad, the "Van Trekker"
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7 Responses to Upcoming Trip – Something to Look Forward To!

  1. tinycamper says:

    The bunny racers are adorable!

    Glad you are making progress on the house. Finding the photos is a nice reward! Have you tried wearing a dust mask? Don’t know if it would help, but it couldn’t hurt — if you could stand wearing it.

    I’m really looking forward to the recipes for two. Especially the quiche and pineapple upside down cakes.

    Whew! So glad your sliding rug accident wasn’t worse. And I’m looking forward to hearing about how Serena enjoys the trip. 🙂

    • Brad says:

      Thanks for the kind words. I’ve been wearing a nasal mask and that’s helped quite a bit with the lungs. I had to use the inhaler, too. CPAP at night helps keep things opened up a lot.

      Thanks for the feedback about the quiches and the pineapple upside down cakes. I’ll make sure those get made.

      Serena is quite the trooper. She’s over 15 now and as thin as can be but refuses to get old. She loves the outdoors and exploring as much as I. I’ll get some good pics. I was up north a week ago for a sale at the cousin’s estate and found a new-to-us, totally free state campground to camp at. It will be fun… 🙂

      Brad

    • Brad says:

      Actually, the protection I’m using is a nasal / mouth mask with the little rubber straps… The kind of mask that suffocates you equally between the nose and mouth. It helps a lot.

  2. Meg says:

    I know what you’re going through. I did the same thing last year at my parents’ house (where I’m staying); my brothers now own it and one still lives here but he hadn’t done anything with it 🙁 so I did. I was amazed at what I found, including enough old photos to fill a toaster oven box (I’m in the process of scanning the) and a lot of silver coins that I’m selling a bit at a time on eBay – money that has really come in handy since I’m not making much right now. So it was worth it – but I’m glad that part’s over. Now I just have to keep it clean since Bro doesn’t do any of that…

    • Brad says:

      Finding the precious photos is likely the one thing that really keep me working at this house cleaning. I was up most of the night with allergy related problems. But having those photos and seeing relatives again is making it all worthwhile.

      It’s biggersweet. Nobody wants to see a loved one dying. But at the same time, it really shows a person who and what is beautiful in life as well as what really matters. It’s an experience I wouldn’t trade for anything.

      Thanks for the note, Meg! 🙂

  3. JO says:

    I know you are doing a great job. Cleaning out someone elses house is a tough job. But yes the old photos are a blessing.
    Sure glad you didn’t get hurt bad flying out the door like you did I know the new rug must feel really good. Enjoy your trip next month it will make you feel much better and able to come back and continue the house.

  4. Pleinguy says:

    Glad to hear things are moving along with the house, and that you are looking forward to more camping in the van. You are making progress in many ways. From my end, I finally purchased the motorhome of my dreams. I had to go all the way across the country to get it though. I’ve been blogging about the trip back home. You’ve been an inspiration; keep it up.