above: Opie and Jaxon surveying our beautiful camp site in Reston VA.
After six weeks in Northern VA, it’s time to lift up the jacks, say bye to family and friends, and head toward warmer climes. When we originally scheduled six weeks back home (technically it is no longer home, but I think I’ll always consider NoVA to be home), we weren’t sure if that was too much time but figured we could use some of it to catch some flicks, take the new Silver Line Metro into DC, and be DC tourists… nope, not so much. By week two, we knew there was no way anything extraneous would fit into our plans.
We made good use of our calendar so we wouldn’t double-book meet-ups with family and friends. We also had to cram in time to work on installing our solar panels, and being introverts we had to block off a day or two every 10 days to just recharge and keep to ourselves.
The nice things about being home: 1) seeing family and friends, 2) eating at favorite restaurants, 3) not using the GPS to find our way around, and 4) fostering a fantastic dog for a few days for Labrador Retriever Rescue.
The bad things about being home: 1) tighter clothes from #1 and #2 above, 2) remembering how much fun fostering can be (tough to let them move on), and 3) NoVa is expensive and traffic still sucks.
We still actively volunteer with LRR.org, and since we were in the area we (mostly me) volunteered to take one of the foster dogs for a few days. With Max gone, I was curious to see how two active dogs would work out in the RV. We really really loved Jaxon the foster. He got along great with Opie (they played multiple times inside and outside), he loves people, did well in the RV, and is always happy. He would have been a terrific match with the three of us. As awesome as Jaxon is, he still has puppy-brain and needs some obedience and leash work (which is normal for any dog adjusting to a new home). He’s also 100 lbs of goofball, making it tough to handle him when he’s excited. If we were still in a sticks & bricks home, Jaxon would have become the fifth foster dog we’ve adopted. Alas, with the smaller space and no yard, it’s a lot harder to train and adjust an active dog to our transient lifestyle. So we had a great time with Jaxon, gave a sad farewell when he left for his next foster home, and considered ourselves lucky that Opie does so well with us in the RV.
It’s always great to see our family and friends. My mom stuffed us full of Korean foods, I got to cackle with my sister, spoil my niece and nephew, have a few playdates for Opie, and eat out a lot with friends. Mike played techie for my dad and upgraded all the various electronics in their house, visited work friends, reminisced, and was reminded why he left his job in the first place. Thanksgiving this year involved food (of course), family, noise, and activity. Our Thanksgiving last year was a restaurant buffet in Texas so this was a vast improvement. Although we miss our family and our friends, we have no urge to settle back down in the DC area. It’s still expensive and the outrageous traffic has not improved. We’ll just have to continue visiting on a regular basis!
We spent a fair bit of time at my sister’s house and I think Opie enjoyed being back in a spacious home, with a yard, and kids that loved to feed him their food. I know my sister relished having a “hoover” back in the house that would clean up spilled food. Walking Opie on a leash became my niece’s favorite new activity, even though it was often Opie walking my niece! I’m pretty sure my niece and nephew missed Opie more than us by the time we left.
Being back home reminded us how much we did miss our family. We love the traveling and we’ve encouraged everyone to come visit us but we may need to try to veer over to the east coast more often so we can see everyone again.