It’s a Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood

I think some people think of a year on the road as kind of an extended vacation.  We are 28 days into this trip and while we have done several fun things, a lot of the time I’m just living my new version of a normal life.

I’m doing more housework than before.  I make our bed every day, something I NEVER used to do, just because this place is small and if it’s not kept picked up it’s kind of depressing.  I wash dishes several times a day by hand.  I do laundry in the campground laundry facility at least once a week.  I write and take walks and check in with my kids.  I’m working on several new companies that I want to start. I have read several books, totally revamped my prayer life and play at least four card games on my computer every day.  (The current obsession is a solitaire game called “Eight Off.”)

We cook almost every meal in our RV so that’s way more time consuming than grabbing a burger or pizza like we used to do.  And on days we travel, there is actually quite a bit of tearing down and setting up as you can’t have things flying around the interior of your motorhome as you are buzzing down the road. But there is some comfort in the new routine and I love the downsizing aspect of it.

I’m not sure how we have gone almost a month without breaking anything major on Fred (fingers crossed) but, so far, he has held up quite well. We have been in 12 states and logged close to 3,500 miles.  We have a tentative plan that carries us through the end of January, and more importantly, gets us into eight more states!

If you live in Nashville, we are booked in a campground in Goodlettsville for the month of December.  I’m excited to be headed back that way and reconnect with friends and family although it will be weird not to go back to Harpeth Bend.  That was an awesome home and a big shout out to Donna for giving us the opportunity to live there.

Guess that’s it for now.  You can tell it was a slow news day.  But yesterday was my bday so I’m accepting cards, gifts and large amounts of cash now through the end of the year! 😊

Hugs,

me

 

I Gotta Be Me…Everybody Else Was Taken

I suppose if you know me or have read any of my blogs you might detect that I’m a Type A person. My dad started working for pay on a farm at age 10 (there were seven children in his family and his dad had died in a fire when he was six) and I guess in my mind I’ve always thought of it not so much as being a Type A as being a hard worker.  Laziness is the one trait (well, that and dishonesty) that I can’t abide in myself, my friends or my family.  You must be busy, productive, and get things crossed off the list!  (I know this sounds bad even as I write it but, you know, the whole tells the truth thing!)

Of course, after having six kids in six years (Was that on my “to do” list?) I didn’t have any trouble staying busy.  Once they started leaving the nest I added working outside the home to an already crazy schedule.   Then five years ago I started Yikes Organizing which added another element. Finally, in 2015 my mom was diagnosed with cancer which meant almost monthly 14- hour round trip visits to Indiana.

So….can I say that this is really a big deal for me to do this RV thing? The pace of life in an RV is about a tenth of what my “normal” pace has been and work is totally being redefined.  But like so many other full-time RVers before me have discovered, life as “usual” wasn’t cutting it for me anymore.

It’s a huge challenge and maybe that’s what drew me to it in the first place.  In the beginning, there was still busywork to do, buying and organizing everything we would need for life in 300 square feet.  But now that we have been on the road for a while, I’m realizing that sometimes it’s okay to just be.

On the second night in our first campground I left my phone outside in my camp chair overnight.  When looking for it the next morning I knew that a tectonic shift had taken place.  The “old” me wouldn’t have been able to get to sleep unless my cell phone was by my bedside and charging.  Now I find I go hours at a time without checking it because there are no business calls and if my kids really needed me and I wasn’t seeing the texts they would call.  It’s freeing and terrifying all at the same time!

Can I turn myself into a Type B person?  Is that the goal?  Should it be or is that a very Type A thing to say? 😊  Stay tuned as I try to figure it all out.

50 Shades of Brown!

Since the plan is for Fred be our home for the next year I’m insistent that he be “homey.” So not only did these RV newbies need to decide between class A, B and C campers, we had to find one that had a decent interior.  I can’t tell you how many hours I researched to find something acceptable.  In fact, if most RV interiors were a paint chip color I’m pretty sure it would be “poo brown!” It was downright discouraging with even new RVs looking like they were designed by 80-year-olds.  (When whining to one RV sales person, he said that’s because the heads of the major RV manufacturers are a bunch of old white guys.  Hmmm… it’s all starting to make sense now.)  But honest to goodness, some of these campers are stuck in a serious time warp!  Vintage is one thing but ugly is another. 😊

After looking for six weeks online through every available outlet, in June I finally found a suitable RV in Missouri.  Sadly, we were 8 hours away in Indiana at the time visiting my daughter and her family but THIS WAS IT so off we went.  It was a little scary putting down a deposit on an RV we had never seen in person but this one had a gray interior (paint chip: mountaintop at twilight) and I had a good feeling about “him.” Thus far Fred is exceeding expectations but I did have to put my own touches on him.

The first thing I did was to get rid of the awful (silver sludge) valances.  This was easier said than done because unfortunately some very expensive shades were bolted to them so when you lost one you lost both.  And the system of how they were attached to the wall was different on all three of the windows being de-valanced which made it more complicated.  In the end, we had no valances (yay!) but no curtains or useable shades either.  This is okay if you live in the country but a little less okay when if both my neighbor and I opened our windows and stuck our arms out we could hold hands!  The first few nights I was careful to be “decent” but by the end of the first week I decided nobody would have a heart attack if they saw me in my (adorable) owl robe and bear slippers!

For better or worse, I was not deterred by the valance debacle and hired someone to make bunk bed sheets for me.  Our granddaughters are 4 and 21 months and when we visit them I thought it would be fun if they “camped” with us. So we covered the boring bunk bed cushions (there is a such a thing as too much gray) with something more kid and camper friendly.

Overall, I’m having a lot of fun decorating our new home and Brent has been very gracious to let me do what I want.

P.S.  Although Fred is dreamy on the inside (and getting more handsome every day) on the outside he is dead average.  Actually, that’s too kind.  He looks like a giant caramel macchiato gone horribly wrong. I guess you can’t have it all.  Black RV’s are my favorite but I never found one in our size and price range so if your RV has a black exterior and gray interior keep your doors locked…I’m just sayin’!

Because I’m Happy…

Since yesterday’s post was a bit long (sorry about that) I’m overcompensating with today’s blog.

A campground we were at a few weeks ago had lots of cute signs so I thought I would share one every once in awhile.  Enjoy!

Shake it Off

After bragging in my last post that life had gone pretty much as planned for six whole days (I should have known better) things promptly fell apart!  We arrived without incident in Lake George, New York and the plan was to be there for a week.  We were both looking forward to staying put for a bit and getting some things done.  I will let Brent give you the details if he wants but the next day he was on a plane to Orlando and I was stuck in a deserted campground with no way out and literally backed up to a swamp!  Over the next few days things went from back to worse.  It rained every day, the toilet backed up, Ohio State got pounded (insert sobbing noises here) and I broke my left heel.  Well, I suppose you can’t really break a heel (can you?) but fifteen months ago I got plantar fasciitis in my right heel and now, out of nowhere, the left one started hurting.  Needless to say, I had a huge pity party (which nobody came to because, as I’ve already said, the campground was deserted.)  It was probably better for all of you that I was 1,000 miles away!

Anyway, Brent was gone for a week and on the last day before he returned I came upon an elderly couple on my walk on the far side of the campground. I’m sure they thought I was a total lunatic as I practically came running at them arms outstretched just to have someone to talk to!  But 30 minutes later I did manage to let them get on with their lives (after making them promise to send me a Christmas card along with pictures of their dog!)

Anyway, that’s all behind us now and last night we boondocked at an orchard in New Hampshire and today landed near Portland, Maine.  We are going to try again to stay put for a week and I’m hoping for better things this time.

I have to tell a funny story real quick.  Yesterday as we were leaving the orchard we did our mental checklist, as always, to make sure everything was shut, put away, etc.  I always forget to pull up our one remaining blind and then we get a mile down the road and it starts banging against the window.  But this time we just heard a thud as we drove off.  I looked back but didn’t see anything.  Ten minutes later Brent is trying to brake and he’s like, “What in the world is under my foot?”

He reaches down and pulls a can of tomato paste out from underneath his leg.  Yes, one of the drawers of our pantry had opened, the can had apparently leaped off the shelf and unbeknownst to us, had rolled the entire length of the camper and got under Brent’s foot before either of us noticed it.  We laughed about it but it was a little scary that, of all places, it had lodged there.

(TP’s mugshot. He looks a little guilty, doesn’t he?)

This was especially funny to me because, as an organizer, my car was always full of things that I was taking to Goodwill for my clients. I’ve teased more than one person that if I died in a car accident, it wouldn’t be from the impact of hitting another car but would be from a skillet flying loose from the back seat and hitting me in the head.  Maybe I shouldn’t be in a moving vehicle at all, which begs the question of a cross country road trip. We all know the mantra “It’s all good” right?  Well, I’ve come up with a new one… “It’s all good, until it isn’t!” 🙂

Seriously, Brent and I had a big discussion today about how we can be whiny and miserable about the parts of this that are difficult or we can just realize that daily life here can and will be a challenge, just like it was back home.  Since I tend to be a bit of a pessimist, (not only is the glass half empty but it might be dirty and have a small crack as well!) the upshot of our conversation was that I’m going to try to get through an entire day without complaining. Yes, it does sound impossible, (but kind of Biblical) doesn’t it?  I will let you know how it goes.

A New York State of Mind

Don’t faint!  We’ve actually had six days in a row of life going pretty much according to plan.  We saw Ohio State win in Bloomington, spent two days with Brent’s mom near Columbus and now are in New York.  We are staying for a few days at a beautiful campground on Lake Chautauqua.

 

The tentative plan  is to travel the east coast for a month and then either fly or drive to Florida where we will both spend a week, Brent for business and me for fun.  I’ve haven’t done a girls’ trip for more than ten years so am excited to be doing a tennis clinic with three friends at Amelia Island.

The next step (I think) is to attach the Jeep to Fred in some way. We’ve already decided that even though it will be a pain to haul our Jeep, it’s even more painful to not have a vehicle so at some point we will add that to the mix.  Then, in mid-October we hope to head south toward Houston.  I have a sister, Anne, in Austin so I’m looking forward to both helping in Texas and seeing her and her family.

There are so many things that are still new.  Today Brent put together our giant Berkey water filter.  It was expensive but in the long run seemed cheaper and easier than continuing to buy cases of bottled water.

Last night a huge storm blew through with winds at 70 mph.  Certainly not hurricane strength but enough to make me nervous.  I’m realizing how much I took for granted when I lived in a house that doesn’t have wheels!

Tomorrow we hope to “boondock” at a winery in the middle of New York as we continue to head east.  I’m surprised that we have gone more than 800 miles so far in the first week.  We are headed to Maine and then down the coast but are still fleshing out what that will look like.  The internet is so helpful in the planning phase but also can be overwhelming with so many choices available.  Of course, there is an “app” for everything, but my favorite so far is the one that tells you how far away the next rest area is!

When investigating which motorhome to buy (more on that in a few days) a big advantage of the class C  is that supposedly you can be in the back moving around and doing things but in reality it’s hard to walk, let alone pee or make a meal when rumbling down the road at 70 mph!

That said, I do think that, all in all, we are starting to settle into our new lives.

P.S.  A quick shout out to the awesome Ohio State fans who sat behind us at the OSU game.  Meeting new people has been the best part of this adventure so far!