Hello and Welcome ,
We are Dave and Melissa, and live in upstate New York, have all our lives. We are both in our later 50’s ,(WOW)married 26 years,and have lived in the same house for 26 years. We have and are doing the same things every one does to maintain, and keep the place nice, we have a mortgage and pay our taxes.
SIDEBAR – My comments above really mean, that at an early age we are all taught that we must have a nice home, with a two car garage, and picket fence. With the wife waiting at the doorstep for the kids to come home. Our society has bred us for that, and if you try to break free, you are considered an outcast. END
As we do not have any kids, we decided early on to travel and vacation, And, We have traveled a lot over the years, a lot of camping, cabins, and hotels, but never in an RV. We have a dog, a 8-year-old smooth haired collie, who thinks he is the king(he keeps us young). Over the years we have had our ups and downs, if one of us was down and out, the other has always been there to pick up the burden, from health issues, death of loved ones, to work issues we have always been able to get through it.
But for the last several years this urning to move on has gnawed at us. We both are well aware of how short life is and can be. Yet, we both need to work to afford it all. Life goes by so fast, you get into this pattern of normalcy where you are content and set in your ways . All of a sudden 26 years go by and you wonder what happened, and what have you really done.
SIDEBAR- AGAIN- By this I mean are we afraid. Fear drives many people’s lives and stops you in your tracks. And YES, we have thought, what will other people think of us, if we just pack up and leave. Thankfully we have overcome this.END
At first we talked about getting a place down south for 6 months of the year and come back here for six months. Well for one we could never afford two places, second we most likely would have to keep working, which is fine, but how. There are other issues to!!. So, after I read an article on Rving it struck us this could be an alternative, and now it has become an obsession. After a long bout of thinking, over a year and a half, The decision has been made, that this is something we both want to do and are willing to make an entire lifestyle change. One which hopefully will free us from all of the Pier pressure “SOCIETY” has put on us, and put us on a path of more freedom to do and see all we can before “GOD” says its time to come home.
ONE FINAL THOUGHT
There is an old saying “HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS”, well for the last 8 years or so , our home has not been where our hearts are. The desire or passion to have a home has passed and left us stationary and sedentary. but now there is a spark, desire and excitement to get out and see what else awaits us, together in our lives. So now is the time, and as my old friend Andy Dufrain Said in the movie Shawshank redemption “GET BUSY LIVING – OR GET BUSY DYING”
there is a lot of truth to that.
That’s about it, we are now in the learning process of all this and have learned a lot and feel at ease with our decision. So for good or bad, stay tuned for our
“ROADS OF DISCOVERY”
A little more about the each of us
I was born and raised in the Town of Amherst, New York. Amherst is about 20 miles northeast of Buffalo New York. After high school I went into the construction trade where I was a building contractor for over 25 years, until 1998. In 1999 I was hired to be the building inspector/ code enforcement officer for the town we live in. So for the last 15 years that has been my job, which I enjoy very much. 1998-1999 was also the “AH-HA” moment in my life, not only was I lucky enough to get the job I currently have. It was also the year God, told me he is in control, by telling me to slow down, if I wanted to have a long and fulfilled life. So he gave me cancer, testicular to be exact. Being told you have cancer, changes your life instantly, you are no longer indestructible, it’s finite. Luckily I caught it early and was able to move on with my life as a cancer survivor. So now when people ask me how old I am, I say, well let’s see I was reborn in 1998 so that makes me. And yes I ack like a kid, we all need to.
Interests and Hobbies
My passion is history, American Civil War history to be exact. Ever since I went to Gettysburg Pa, in 1990 I was hooked. It’s not only the battles and people involved, but also the artifacts. I collect mainly Gettysburg items and uniform buttons, of not only the Union, but confederate and early American military buttons. I am fascinated by buttons. They represent a person , someone wore that with pride, they took care of it or lost it. I have no idea yet what I am going to do with my collection, but you can visit my website here to take a look.
I was born and raised in the Town of Wheatfield, New York, which is about 20 miles north of Buffalo, New York and very close to Niagara Falls. After high school I worked various jobs, but the job most fulfilling had been my 12 years with a company in Amherst New York, working as a configuration manager for a defense contractor. This company makes software for most if not all the fighter jets the US has. I left that job in 2010, and decided it was time to slow down a little. I now work part-time and am happier and at ease about life. My “AH-HA moment happened in 1987, when I was in my late 20’s. I was in the hospital with what everyone thought was a severe cold. It turned out to be a bad heart valve. I needed a mitral valve replacement. WOW, devastation. I was very lucky enough to have Dave in my life at that time although not married yet. I somehow managed to get through it all and now it is 25 years later. My heart is stronger than ever.
Interests And Hobbies
I am an avid painter in watercolor, it has been my passion for many years, it puts me at ease and my mind is able to drift away. My Dad also did watercolors and was VERY good at it. I guess some of it rubbed off on me, hopefully. You can visit my site here, and check out some of my works. When we finally do the Rving thing I hope to fully expand the Rv section and outdoor section, with watercolors from around the country we visit.
Lee is our 10-year-old pure bred smooth haired collie. He is named after General Lee of The Confederate Army. He also acts like a leader and orders us around a lot. He is our baby and he is spoiled, but we love it. He is a very happy dog and we brought him up that way. We are hoping very much that he will be able to enjoy many years with us on our RVing adventure. He loves being outside and running around.
UPDATE June 10 2015
When I first put up the “ABOUT US “ page, I never in a million years would of thought, that when we finally got going on our RV Adventure that it would be without our Beloved Lee. But sadly it will be. In fact I have thought lately that that’s why GOD has delayed us from getting the RV, for a while so that we could be there for Lee at his time of need.
His story is one to be told, he was a great companion to both of us, and helped Melissa get through a really rough time in 2009- 2012, and he showed me that there is not much to worry about in life but to have fun, and if you can’t just walk away. The love and devotion of a dog is endless and that’s why his story needs to be told, many people just do not know how special he was.
Like I said above when I wrote the “ABOUT US “ page life was very good, Lee being 9 was still very active , walking 3-4 miles a day with Melissa, and having a grand old time. But in early July 2014, I noticed that he was limping on his right front leg. I just thought he may have moved wrong or something. A few weeks later it seemed to be worse, even Melissa was noticing and we both thought if it gets worse we will see the vet. About that time we decided to have his teeth cleaned, which meant a visit to the vet, him going under and then the cleaning. So we set that up and when I dropped him off, I just happened to say look at his right leg he seems to have a limp. So off I went to work, not long after they called and said an x-ray showed he has developed “Osteosarcoma” cancer in the leg. Needless to say I was dumbfounded and shocked.
Over the next couple of days we got another opion and both were the same, the leg had to go as it was being painful for the little guy and it showed. X-rays of the lungs also showed small lesions, it was not conclusive that they were tumors as they could have been old age systs. So we opted to do the leg amputation first, and then go for chemo on the rest. So that’s what we did. He went in at the end of July, the surgery went very well and he was actually up and about the first night at the vets. When we got him the next night, it was a shock to see him without a leg and how big his scar was. When I looked into his eyes, I knew we did the right thing, I just knew. Everyone there was so happy for him, coming through it like a trooper. And brave, he tried his best to walk out but I carried him to the truck.
The next week or so he was very slow, he laid down a lot and did try to get around some and got better every day. I of course had to carry him in and out a few times a day to go to the bathroom. There were a few accidents, which we did not scold him for. Then all of a sudden he seemed to get control and start to get around better and better. He even went to camp with me in late September and went in the pond. It was really nice to see, and he was at this time being very happy, you could just see it. His chemo went very well also; he had 3 rounds, spaced at 3 weeks apart. He handled it very well with no side effects, except being a little tired, the next day. What a trooper. At 3 months in, we had blood work done and all was fine. He was eating fine, getting around fine and even though he was in a lot over the winter, we were able about every 2 weeks to take him to daycare which he loved and everyone loved him. I was even bringing him into work every Tuesday morning for a few hours. He got to meet new friends and was the greater at the door every time the bell rang. It was such a neat thing to see, like nothing was wrong. I was and am so very proud of him. In early April we took him in for blood work again and his shots, everything came back fine, and even the vet commented on how well he was doing. Then a few days later everything just seemed to change, I noticed that he had a good size bump on his upper back by his ribs (I kind of knew right away what it was and had a feeling the end was near.) After visiting the vet she took a sample for testing but said it probably was cancer. When we got the results back it was cancer. She had been in contact with the chemo people and thought it may be good to do another round. So as we were deciding to do this a week later I noticed he was having trouble walking on his other front leg, it was swollen up pretty good. Again another bad feeling. So we took him in to the vet on May 1st. She said we can sedate him so he was comfortable, and take an x-ray of the leg and also of the chest. Well the call back was not good, the leg was OK, but the x-ray of the lungs showed a lot of the lesions that were there before were now very big, and she said I don’t think we have much time left. She actually thought maybe he should not come home. We did decide to bring him home with a lot of medication for him, to see if he had a few more good weeks left. That Saturday and Sunday were more or less downhill, he stopped eating and taking his pills all together. Sunday night we both were riddled with despair as we were seeing him suffer. Monday morning around 5 a.m. I heard him breathing hard and got up to be with him. When I sat by him he looked me right in the eyes as if to say “I am sorry Daddy”, it was all I could take and broke down crying. All the while petting him and being there for him. Around 7 Melissa came in with a big bran muffin, even though he had not been eating he ate it right up, and enjoyed it. We both were by his side until at 9 we took him to the vet and before we knew it, our little boy was in rainbow heaven. Below is the post I made on face book to all our friend and family, I think it says it all.
“To all my family and friends,”
“It is with profound sadness that I let you all know, Today May 4th 2015 at @ 9:45 am. At the age of 10 years 6 months, the last 8 months as a very happy tripod. Lee (The General) Gerber was laid to rest. He was in no pain and went to sleep very peacefully, he was ready, his work here was done. We were able to be outside in the garden at the Wheatfield Animal Hospital, where the sun was shining and the birds were singing. All the staff came out to give him hugs and kisses. Even the vet came in on her day off and helped him on his journey. It was the hardest thing I have ever done, and I don’t mind saying that I was crying my eyes out. To Melissa and I, he was OUR everything. He helped us in ways no one will ever know. I feel as if I am in a sea of misery, despair and heartbreak, with only my faith in the good lord above keeping me afloat. Hopefully soon as I have been telling everyone, his life is one to celebrate, he was a blessing to all that knew him. Thank you all who were a part of his wonderful life.”
Lee’s passing was very quick, no sooner had the vet given him a sedative, did his head lay in my hand and then she said he had passed. She then said “you guys should be very proud, you brought Lee up as a image of yourselves and it showed very much, he was a kind, gentle soul, who is one to remember, there are not many like that”. I think the both of us were in shock at the time and it took a few days to process what had happened. Lee was a very happy dog, all the time even after he became a tripod, he loved life and was very proud of himself, you could see it. He just wanted to make everyone happy.
We had him cremated and he came back to us about a week later. I have been in every stage of emotion there is over the last month or so. Sometimes I feel as if a piece of my heart was ripped out and My faith has been tested to its limits. It has also been very hard for Melissa, she hides it a little from me , but I know she is also feeling as I do. He is sorely missed and as time goes by I hope I can as promised to him, celebrate his life as he would want us to do.