Going Away Party

A few weeks ago our friends threw us a great going away party. Above is the invitation that our good friend, Dana, created for it. You can check out more of her designs on her blog. The party was at the Matthews' house--a great location with a pool and lots of space for kids and families. Plus, they are great cooks--so the food was yummy!
It was a hot night, so most of us spent a lot of time in the pool! Rowan loves to swim. The night was perfect for both adults and kids.

Our friends presented us with some very funny and thoughtful gifts. A campground guide, some RV lights, a few new books for Rowan for the trip, some candy for me, a few gallons of vegetable oil, and some funny bumper sticker ideas ("Vegetables tremble at the sound of my name." "Decathletes do it 10 times in 2 days" and then on second thought "Decathletes do it 3 times a year.") This is our good friend Jason Wilkie in the picture, presenting us with the gifts. He said really nice things about us and made everyone laugh, too.

The above picture is of 2 sisters (Tasia and Saraya) who I have known since they were in the 1st and 3rd grade--they were in the after-school program that I ran when we first moved to Jonesboro. We have stayed close over the years--the girls spend a lot of nights at our house on weekends and during the summer. I will really miss these guys!

Rowan got to play her favorite game--Ring Around the Rosie--with all her friends. The party was a great way to see a lot of friends, say good-bye, and really appreciate all the connections we've made while in Jonesboro. In some ways, it felt like our wedding, because all these parts of our life came together--work, Bell athletics, church friends, neighbors--and even though we knew everyone, not everyone else knew each other. The crazy thing is, none of these people who are so dear to us now were actually AT our wedding 8 years ago! We have certainly been blessed with a group of people who feel like family to us here in Arkansas. We know we will always have a place to stay when we come back to visit! Thanks, guys, for a great night.


Friends' Photo Shoot

Once we decided to move, I had a lot of people ask about taking their pictures--people wanted to make sure to catch me before we left! So I decided to have a one day shoot for close friends...because I wasn't going to fit everyone in otherwise. I included above the "invitation" I made for it. All the photos on the card are pictures I've taken of friends from here in Jonesboro. I've been thinking a lot lately about what I will miss about Jonesboro. There are many things--the library, the nature center, rotary park. But mostly, I will miss the people we have come to love.

So I took a ton of pictures on Sunday. It was a great day to see friends for one of the last times and to capture some beautiful faces. Selfishly, this was also a way that I am guaranteed to have some current photos of good friends! I've included a sampling (I had to restrain myself) of the pictures below.


Vegetable Oil

Joe is leaving tomorrow morning (Monday) to go to Golden Fuel Systems in Springfield, MO, to have the vegetable oil system installed in the truck. In case you're wondering, we're going to run the truck (a 1997 Ford F-250 diesel) on straight veggie oil (SVO). We will collect waste vegetable oil from restaurants, filter it, store it in a separate tank in the bed of our truck, and use it as fuel. We'll get about the same gas mileage as diesel, but it will be free!
There is an Italian restaurant in town that we've become regulars at. We got to know the owners, and have been telling them about our plans. Italian restaurants don't use much oil, but when we ran into the owner at Lowes yesterday, she insisted that we come by this morning to take a 5 gallon jug of used oil. So this is our first official oil (aside from the 2 gallons of brand new vegtable oil that friends gave us at our going away party!)

This is what oil collection will usually look like. Behind every restaurant, next to their dumpster, you should find a container like the one above---marked "waste oil" or something like that. So we drive up, check to see if there is any oil and if it is worth taking. Sometimes the oil is poor quality and would be too much of a hassle to filter---fast food joints are known for having a lot of oil, but since they fry stuff in it over and over, it's not good to use (although things are changing as they move to higher quality oils). Asian restaurants seem to have the best oil. So if the oil is good, then we go into the restaurant and ask to speak with a manager, and if they okay us taking the oil, we pump it out and filter it into our tank.
You can see our tank in the right of this picture. It holds 80 gallons--so if we fill it all the way up, we should be able to travel around 1000-1500 miles (depending on if we're towing the RV or not) before having to find more veggie oil. So the fueling stops may take longer (we may have to stop at several restaurants before we find good oil, plus it takes 20-30 minutes to filter it all), but we can go a lot farther once full---and again, it's FREE! And it's better for the environment! We'll also still have a tank for diesel--we have to start the truck on diesel so that the vegetable oil gets heated up enough to run through the engine. People say that a tank of diesel will last a whole year when used for starting the engine.

So why aren't more people doing this? One reason is that it takes a certain personality type---one that my husband fits perfectly. He's a scavenger and loves finding things for free. Each fuel stop is an adventure, not just a convenient stop-off at any exit. So you have to be patient, and committed to the idea. We'll keep you updated on how the vegetable oil hunt goes once the system is installed next week. We're planning on leaving Jonesboro a day or so after Labor Day--we're going up to MI for awhile before heading west. So we'll have plenty of practice finding oil soon!


We sold the house (again!)

In late July, we made the decision to leave Jonesboro, AR, to move to California. We have lived in Jonesboro for almost 8 years. In just a few weeks' time, we managed to sell two cars, buy a Ford F-250 diesel truck to convert to run on vegetable oil, buy an RV, have a huge yard sale and sell most of our stuff, and with less than 2 weeks on the market, sell our house. The crazy part is, after a week or so of trying to get her loan finalized, the first buyer fell through. But the night before her loan fell through, a young couple made a back-up offer on the house, which we accepted as soon as we learned about the other one. So in just a few weeks' time, we had TWO offers on the house...despite the slow housing market! We're thankful to have sold our house so quickly, but we are going to miss it. We've added a few pictures here--the last picture is of the apartment in our garage (with orange couch and stools), the rest are the main house. We've put a lot of hours of work into this place!


Welcome to the Cebulski's blog--a way to keep updated on the crazy details of our next year of rv-ing, veggie-oiling, decathlon training adventure. Come back soon to find more details about our move!