Returning to NH: A Word From Ross

Common Man family photo, Concord, NH I Ross and Jamie Adventure

A post from Ross this week:

When you leave your hometown for whatever it is you’re looking for, you accept there are things you will miss. Jamie and I left the familiar behind for something new, something unknown. We left behind green summers and cold white winters. We left favorite haunts like Amphora and Maia Papaya. We left behind students and friends and family. There are so many things to miss about home but our focus was on the adventures before us. And what adventures we’ve had! This year alone we’ve spent an excessive amount of time at Disney World, adopted an amazing fuzzy travel companion, visited New Mexico and extensively explored Fort Collins. We met new friends, ate delicious food, and played our music all along the way. We never stopped missing all the things we love about New Hampshire but there is so much to see in this country. It’s almost overwhelming (in a good way) to think about how much we’ve done in such a short time.

As we approached New England in late September the landscape grew more and more familiar. Reliance on GPS lessened as I found myself on roads I’d driven time and again. There’s comfort in the familiar – even the places that drove me nuts when I lived here. Coming home is a reset – like going to sleep allows the brain to process all the information of the day, spending time with friends and family, sharing our stories and taking part of all our favorite parts of home cleanses our minds in anticipation of what is to come.

The next leg of our adventure is just around the corner, but right now I’m focused on visiting the coast, eating a bunch of seafood and hanging out with friends as long as I can while I’m here. You know, all that stuff that I’m going to miss.

Common Man family photo, Concord, NH I Ross and Jamie Adventure
Ross, Jamie, Mom and Grampy enjoy NH’s favorite chain, Common Man, in Concord, NH.
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Travel and Tucson and Changing Holiday Plans

It’s been quite a while since I’ve updated you on our travels. I hope you’re enjoying the holiday season if you celebrate. Ross and I celebrate Christmas, and this year was definitely unique as holidays go!

Ross and I knew we wanted to visit Tucson. It’s warm, it has excellent bike trails and public transportation and it’s beautiful. So we planned to spend a week or so and were happy to book a couple of gigs in town. We planned to head to the Phoenix area after Tucson, both to visit and so that I could catch a flight for the holidays. 

Yes, I planned to head back to NH – for a few gigs! My theater company, Not Your Mom’s Musical Theater, is still based in NH, and around the time Ross and I hit the road I was asked if we’d consider returning to the Mount Washington Hotel, a grand historic hotel in Bretton Woods, for a few performances before the holidays. I was hesitant initially – I’d need to cover my airfare (or find an accompanist) and rehearsing prior to the gig with my actors would be a challenge. But they were persistent, and we were eventually able to negotiate a pay rate and terms that worked for everyone. I was able to find a great rate flying Southwest out of Phoenix, so we decided Ross would stay at an RV park in that area in my absence. 

Unfortunately, RV parks in Phoenix seem to fill up for the season many months in advance. We called a variety of parks on our list and couldn’t find anything in our ideal price range and nothing in a good location. We settled on a park a mile away from public transit on the outskirts of Mesa that we would have to leave by January 1st. At least we were able to negotiate to keep our rental car through Christmas so Ross could sightsee – I was less concerned as I knew the area from a past visit. 

But then I realized; if we have a rental car, we could actually stay in Tucson! Much cheaper camping and it would give us more time in an area we didn’t want to leave. 

So on Sunday, December 18th, Ross gave me a ride in our rental car to Phoenix from Tucson, where we’d gotten a few weeks at at the Pima County Fairgrounds, a beautiful and easygoing park. While Ross spent a week recording a new album, working, playing at open mics and enjoying some free time and space, I rehearsed, prepared food and then spent four days at the hotel playing and singing with two of my extremely talented performers and friends. We performed a two hour holiday set daily and a few shorter sets too. We specialize in customizing musical theater set lists for events and in high-quality performances in unusual, interactive settings.



I had a flight booked to leave at about 5 pm on Christmas Day, which meant I could spend time with my family and have a midday meal (which I helped cook) before leaving. Yesterday’s flight was canceled (I had to fly into Chicago and the weather was bad) but it meant spending more time with family, including a Skype session with my husband, which was a really nice bonus. 

So today is a new travel day. If all goes well, I will be home this evening. 

For the record, we really are enjoying Tucson. We will share more about what we’ve been up to later this week. 


Thanks for reading and Happy Holidays! 

A Place to Live – But No RV?

I’ve drafted so many blog posts in my head recently. Blogs about dealing with the extra levels of stress of planning combined with chronic illness & the related battles to figure that out. Blogs about how hard things are. Blogs about simplicity. Blogs about pulling through adversity. Blogs about the fact that Ross was rear-ended and now on top of RV repairs, we have to car shop, but I am really uncomfortable buying a car when we don’t know the status of our RV.

But I finally have some good news to share, so that’s more fun, right?

Jean’s Playhouse agreed to allow an ad trade for a discounted or free campsite for us this summer. Part of the compensation when we work there is housing, but the idea of living in dorm style housing, presumably single-sex and with other people, didn’t seem that appealing to us given that we’re married and much older than many or most of our co-workers will be. So finding a campground seemed like the perfect thing – we get a place for our RV and can try things out and learn with less pressure, and Jean’s gets to save money by not having to house us.

So I sent out a bunch of emails, beginning with the campgrounds in Lincoln and North Woodstock (the next town over), about housing us for a few months. Two out of my three top choices replied – one was positive, but didn’t have any space left (maybe next time); another just couldn’t accommodate a longer-term visitor (KOA). So I emailed our other choices, who were 20-30 minutes away but mostly great options. One of our top choices in terms of livability, Tarry Ho Campground in Twin Mountain, called me within a day or two of sending the email. I was so excited! The more we talked, the more we realized we’d met at a networking events a couple of years back, she knows my father, she had fantastic memories of our conversation, etc…

So after meeting her in person with Ross and touring the campground, I’m thrilled to say that we have a home for the summer! God willing our RV will be drivable and livable so that we aren’t tenting it. Keep us in your thoughts and prayers. As soon as our RV is ready (or as soon as we want to move in), we’ve got a campsite with our name on it. And get this – we’re working for our site! No cash at all. Their seasonal sites rent for $1,950, so between Ross and I, we’ll be putting in 195 hours before the season is over on November 2. (We hope to leave by the beginning of October, but it’s awesome to know we can stay longer if we want to.) We’ll be doing a mix of marketing/social media work (me) and music/working the new food truck (Ross) and possibly whatever else needs to be done. We know it’s a lot of hours to fit in, but we’ll be coming up with a plan to make it feasible, and we can absolutely stay for a couple of weeks at the end to knock out the rest. (After all, if we each put in a couple of 40 hour weeks, the work would be almost complete!) Although there’s a 30 minute commute to Jean’s, it’s only 11 minutes to Ross’ studio, which is great for him and great for us if we need to escape camping for a bit.

IMG_2741We hope some of you will come up and visit us. They have gorgeous river front campsites with water and electric as well as other sites for tents and RVS, plus bath houses, a pool, an ice cream stand, a food truck as of late June and supposedly great wi-fi. They’re also being super-nice about accommodating both of our vehicles. So besides metered electric, which I think we’ll be paying for, we will be living rent free this summer, which will really help justify our 30 minute commute on a tiny salary. 🙂 My goal is to keep saving money even on our tiny income. Whether that’s possible or not will largely depend on what our health insurance costs are. Really hoping they’ll go down significantly when our income changes at the end of the month!

My last day of work at my current job is May 27. I’ll be so glad to be able to move on. Thanks so much for reading, and please send us happy & inspected quickly RV vibes, as well as a good cheap car for Ross!