home again!

It is certainly time for me to let you know that I’ve made it to Tucson safe and sound.  I’ve been here three weeks now and have spent most of that time unpacking, organizing and resting.  I might have been done with it all if I had the shelving I needed but it hasn’t arrived yet.  Well, technically the shelves are here but the upright parts aren’t yet so the shelves are useless in this moment!

Our very trusty and comfortable Penske rental truck with my less than trusty car behind it!

Our very trusty and comfortable Penske rental truck with my less than trusty car behind it!

I feel quite at home here, not just in Tucson but specifically in our apartment.  Given that I rented it sight unseen that’s a good thing!  One side of the apartment faces desert which makes me quite happy.  Every evening as the sun descends the coyotes can be heard singing their good night song.  I’ve seen a family of quail right outside my bedroom window!  Just tonight I saw an owl sitting on a chimney (yeah, we all have wood burning fireplaces in our apartments, something I doubt I’ll ever use but who knows?)

A rainbow as we left Sarasota.  I took this to be a good omen!

A rainbow as we left Sarasota. I took this to be a good omen!

The trip cross country couldn’t have been any better.  The weather was near perfect, the drive uneventful and I had only one questionable day.  That’s one day out of fifteen, two if you count the day we arrived here but that was just stress and overwhelm.

Storm clouds gathering as we left Sarasota, FL.  Our weather was near perfect with very little rain.

Storm clouds gathering as we left Sarasota, FL. Our weather was near perfect with very little rain.

There were several high points during the trip.  My favorite thing was finally getting to meet a Facebook friend (Linda Van Kampen) in Florida.  She was exactly the wonderful person I expected her to be.

A rainbow as we left Sarasota.  I took this to be a good omen!

A rainbow as we left Sarasota. I took this to be a good omen!

We spent extra days in San Antonio and Carlsbad, NM where we got to do the Riverwalk and explore the caverns, respectfully.  The caverns were a really amazing experience.

The Riverwalk in San Antonio, TX

The Riverwalk in San Antonio, TX

 

The Riverwalk.

The Riverwalk.

We ate wonderfully during the trip and neither of us gained any weight at all!  We ate at a Chinese buffet, had stromboli/calzone, indulged in filet mignon, enjoyed a night of Mexican food with a mango margarita and I had my first In-N-Out burger!  We had fun driving in the truck, talking about just about everything we could and singing Willy Nelson’s On the Road Again each morning!  Davette, my trusty driver and friend, now considers herself to be Picasso’s second mother.  They became close friends during the trip.  Davette took a video of Picasso jumping from bed to bed and has shown it to quite a few people like a proud mother showing off her kid’s newest antics.  And speaking of Picasso, he was nothing but a perfect gentleman on the trip.  I even felt comfortable leaving him by himself in hotel rooms, something I’ve not done before.  It was clear that he was going to be okay with it and, yes, he was perfect.

No photograph could ever capture the majesty of Carlsbad Caverns.  It is something that truly has to be experienced.

No photograph could ever capture the majesty of Carlsbad Caverns. It is something that truly has to be experienced.

 

The dim lighting in the caverns made for some interesting standing for me!  Let's put it this way - darned good thing there were handrails throughout!

The dim lighting in the caverns made for some interesting standing for me! Let’s put it this way – darned good thing there were handrails throughout!

Another one of the high points came when we were in our room in Carlsbad.  We hadn’t even gotten settled yet.  I was coming out of the bathroom while Davette was fiddling around when a man suddenly walked into the room!  Woohoo!  The first man I’ve had in my bedroom in quite a while!  Sadly he was there by mistake, the front desk having assigned him the same room they just gave to us minutes before.  Thankfully we were all dressed although Picasso certainly gave him a good barking, all while wagging his tail.  Great watchdog, ready to lick a intruder to death.  Good thing he’s so cute!

Sugar cane fields in Louisiana.  We just had to stop at a distillery where they make rum from the sugar cane.  Of course we had to test out their wares!

Sugar cane fields in Louisiana. We just had to stop at a distillery where they make rum from the sugar cane. Of course we had to test out their wares!

So here I am in Tucson…or is it Florida?  My brain has known I have “gone back” but sometimes thinks I went back to Florida, not Tucson, so at any moment I might be thinking of going to Publix rather than Albertson’s.  My driving has been limited to a very small area but I do manage to get out a bit more than I had been.  My trusty steed, my car, has been back in the shop for the last two weeks.  The loaner car looks exactly like mine except for the fact that it has been emasculated by having been given an automatic transmission rather than a stick shift.  Supposedly my car’s clutch is just fine, thank you (I’ve heard this before), but a part of the roof (an air dam) needed to be replaced and has taken a whole lot longer than I would’ve expected.

The clouds were truly awesome during our trip.  This is but one example.

The clouds were truly awesome during our trip. This is but one example.

While I’m quite tired and my body is complaining about all I’ve been forcing it to do (packing, sitting in a truck for hours on end for two weeks, unpacking) overall everything is good here.  I’ve gotten to spend time with old friends I’ve not seen in a while, rekindled lost friendships and appear to be heading toward making some new friends.

Arizona!!!

Arizona!!!

Picasso loves it here.  As much as he hates the heat he seems to be doing quite well in the desert.  He has developed some new routines and has resurrected some old ones (howling in the morning as I grab the leash for his first walk as well as howling when I’m getting his food ready).  There is a “racetrack” in the apartment, extending from the kitchen to the dining room to the living room to the hall and back to the kitchen again.  Picasso especially loves to run the racetrack whenever I grab a paper towel to clean his face after he has eaten.  Perhaps he thinks I need the exercise but all it does for me is make me more dizzy than I already am!  He has also found playing “monster” to be a whole lot more fun here.  Of course I am the monster and he is running away from me.  Seems that running away from me is a real theme here!  On any given evening Picasso can be found in his kennel in the bedroom after having abandoned me in the living room.  He seems quite content.

Again!  The only reason my car was back on the tow truck was for a dead battery which was completely covered by warranty!  Whew!

Again! The only reason my car was back on the tow truck was for a dead battery which was completely covered by warranty! Whew!

Well that’s the quick version of how things have been.  I’m going to try to get this up on my website right away since the previous ones I’ve written never got posted.  I’ll throw in a few photos taken with my iPhone and call it good.  My camera has been taking a rest while I unpack.  I’ll try to get back to you again soon, after I’m done with the whole unpacking and organizing thing.  I will say that I’ve no doubt I’m exactly where I need to be right now.  It is good to be home again.

A Tucson sunset as seen from my apartment.

A Tucson sunset as seen from my apartment.

© 2016 deborah kauffeld

one year

On February 26, 2015 Picasso and I did something totally crazy – we moved into an RV to live in full-time.  It’s been a whole year since!  Happy anniversary to us both!

 

Moving out of our apartment.

Moving out of our apartment.

 

Empty!

Empty!

So much has happened in the one year since I’ve been living on wheels.  Notice I didn’t say “on the road” since that wouldn’t be exactly correct!  Anyway, I thought it might be interesting to review some of the things I’ve learned this last year.

 

It is hard to appreciate the difference in size between the two RV's in this photo but there is no comparison!

It is hard to appreciate the difference in size between the two RV’s in this photo but there is no comparison!

 

There is a huge difference between a Class C RV (what I started out with) and a fifth wheel (my current abode).  Now that I’m in the fifth wheel I can hardly believe I was thinking I could live in the much smaller Class C and be happy.  Let’s put it this way – I could NEVER go back!  Of course that brings up another issue – I’m no longer mobile, at least not without someone’s help.  That’s kind of a mixed blessing I suppose.

 

My first view of the Blue Ridge Mountains as I sighed, "I'm home!"  Little did I know how right I was when I said that!

My first view of the Blue Ridge Mountains as I sighed, “I’m home!” Little did I know how right I was when I said that!

 

The first photo I took of our home in NC.

The first photo I took of our home in NC.

 

RV number 1 in NC!

RV number 1 in NC!

 

While I cannot pull a fifth wheel with my little, itty, bitty Fiat I realize that this is actually okay.  Turns out I never realized just how little stress I can handle these days and driving a behemoth is more than just a little stressful as is moving every few weeks.  Now for some of you that wouldn’t be an issue but I have learned that I’m much better not having that extra stress on me.  Am I disappointed?  Well, yes and no I suppose.  The plan certainly was to move every month or so and find a new place to explore.  I also expected to be able to travel easily across the country, seeing places I’ve never seen as well as visiting friends from places I’ve spent a whole lot of time in.  While I wish sometimes that was still the case, for the most part I’m really good with it not happening since it really did take a huge toll on me.  It wasn’t until I started to push myself that I started to more easily see my limits.  That’s a good thing since it allows me to take better care of me!

 

The first time towing my Fiat.

The first time towing my Fiat.

 

The second time towing my car.

The second time towing my car.

 

On the other hand, how the hell did I end up in North Carolina?  I have to admit to marveling at that!  I was just on my way up to visit my family for a month when my car broke down and left me with way too much time to fall in love with these Appalachian mountains and the people who inhabit those mountains.  I knew I wanted to consider living here over the summer but I honestly expected to be heading back to Florida for the winters.  Living here full-time was not something I was even considering, especially in an RV.  They aren’t exactly known for their insulation!

 

Sitting in the fog!  It didn't occur to me how often we'd end up with fog here but with the stream in back I guess I shouldn't have been surprised.

Sitting in the fog! It didn’t occur to me how often we’d end up with fog here but with the stream in back I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised.

 

Winter is officially 2/3’s over and I couldn’t be happier with my decision to have wintered here.  Has it gotten cold?  Yep, but it has also been really beautiful, too.  It’s also been far more expensive to winter here than I ever would’ve expected.  Between the things I needed to winterize the RV, me and Picasso I spent a small fortune.  Remember, I had NOTHING in the way of things of warmth and had to buy just about everything!  My first month’s bill for propane alone was nearly $500!  That included the tank rental, installation and propane as well as some other charges.  Not in my budget, that’s for sure!

But living here for the winter gave me something far more unexpected.  Mom had an exacerbation of her COPD just after this past Christmas and died not even a month after that.  Living here has given me a place to cocoon as I heal and mend and just get my energy back.  On nice days we go out and walk around the RV park.  On real wintery days we just hang out inside the RV, safe and warm.  I’ve felt extremely cared for in my humble abode.  I’ve been alone in the park for the most part although there is someone here now but I’ve not even met him yet so I can remain as unsocial as I would like at this point.  Jim the owner of the park either comes down to check on me every so often or emails me.  My journey hasn’t been easy and this has given me a place to unwind it all in safety.  I’m content and perhaps that’s one of my biggest surprises – being content while doing so little!

 

This is a photo from my friend Juan in Costa Rica.  I feel as content and peaceful as this photo!

This is a photo taken by my friend Juan in Costa Rica. I feel as content and peaceful as this photo!

 

I’ve also learned that I’m not a friend of stink bugs.  Those little buggers continue to make their way into my RV on a very routine basis but I’m happy to say that so far I’ve not had a run in with their stinky side!

In the short time I’ve already been here in NC I’ve come to realize just how very much I’ve come to miss having four distinct seasons.  Tucson, Costa Rica and Florida are not known for their seasons.  It’s been nearly 20 years since the last time I experienced them.  Winter, my least favorite season while living in NJ, has come to be a good friend down here, particularly since this was not a terribly cold winter I suppose.  When I lived in Tucson I remember going to see Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West in Scottsdale.  Of all the things I saw and learned there the one that has stuck with me the most was how he believed when you entered a home it should be more compressed (lower ceiling, smaller room).  Then, as you enter the living area of the home it should suddenly open up (higher ceiling and more expansive overall).  By doing so, one’s energy is compressed then allowed to sort of explode into the main living area, sort of like going through a tunnel into an exceptionally beautiful. open area.  It is all about the contrast.  This is what winter is like to me.  It is a compressing season which then opens up into spring and the new life one experiences in that season.  I remember how much I’ve loved spring and cannot wait to experience it again!  I’m pretty sure I’ve picked a truly beautiful place to experience that explosion into life!

 

I've shared this photo of my son Kris and mom before but I wanted to do so again here.  It was taken a week prior to her death.

I’ve shared this photo of my son Kris and mom before but I wanted to do so again here. It was taken a week prior to her death.

 

The timing of this is not lost on me either!  Mom passed right in the middle of winter.  I naturally have pulled inward as both the situation and season would dictate and I feel certain that when spring approaches I’ll be ready to expand into the beauty of the season and back into life.

I’ve been thrilled that you have been with me this year.  It hasn’t been a easy one in so many ways and I don’t know how I would’ve made it through without all the support I’ve gotten.  Thank you so much and now on to year two!

© 2016 deborah kauffeld

moving – the good stuff (part 2)

[This is part two of my moving process.  You can read the first part here.]

Well, the last post covered the drama.  Now, to the other side of things.  While going back and forth between the two RV’s I couldn’t help but notice the size difference.  But rather than thinking how large the new RV is in comparison to the old one, which I would think would be the more normal response, I found myself blown away by just how small a space I was moving from!  How did I ever live in that little space for 8 months and find it to be okay?  I still can’t believe the difference!  I feel like I’m coming out of a cramped hotel room and into an actual home!  There is no comparison.  Two very different experiences.  But the first RV really did serve its purpose and I’m very grateful for it!  It got me to the beautiful mountains in North Carolina!

The next thing I couldn’t help but notice was how much stuff I crammed into that little RV!!!  It just kept coming and I thought for a while that I’d never get done – ever!  Yikes!  The thing is that while I was able to pack all this stuff into that RV, I didn’t use a whole lot of it because I couldn’t get to it easily enough.  Now things are much more spread out and more accessible.  It will be interesting to see how this affects me and how I use things differently.

As I write this I am almost completely done with the move.  I have only the desktop computer and my TV to be moved.  I need some help with the computer for sure since it is probably a two person operation to get it off the table with its monitor arm.  On my own I’d risk dropping it since I just don’t have enough hands!  The TV I could probably do on my own but my back really has had enough and if I can get a little help, why not!  Better still, pretty much everything is put away in the new RV.  Now that doesn’t mean the move-in process is actually done. Because I have to leave Tuesday (tonight is Sunday) I don’t really have the luxury of doing a great job of things.  Tomorrow I have to spend doing a bunch of errands, things that have to get done before I leave.  I’ve got all winter to reorganize things!

Now to my conclusion – I am so happy that I swapped RV’s!  I wanted a fifth wheel to begin with and now that I’m in this one I can really see why.  I feel like I’m in a real home now, something I never felt with the other one.  Don’t get me wrong – I loved that little RV but I quickly outgrew it!  The views from this RV are nothing short of stupendous!  Every window with a view!

The view out from my  current kitchen table which will soon be transformed into my desk.

The view out from my current kitchen table which will soon be transformed into my desk.  I didn’t get to take a shot of my favorite view yet so we will have to save that for another time!

I’ve only been here for three nights but already it feels quite a bit like home to me.  I’m pretty sure it will continue to grow on me since I’ve not done a whole lot other than unpack so far!  I cannot wait to begin to use the kitchen with its expansive counters!  When I get back I still have to get a fair amount of winterizing done.  The drafts through the windows are horrible so I’ll need to work on that.  I still need to get a skirt for the bottom of the RV to keep the wind from blowing underneath it.  But I love it here even if I’m a bit chilly and wondering if I will need a mortgage to pay for the propane to heat it!  Once I get to working on it, though, it should be fine.  Oh, and Picasso loves it!  He likes to romp and stomp throughout it and seems really happy here!

We even have a fireplace (electric, of course).  As you can see, Picasso is already loving it!

We even have a fireplace (electric, of course). As you can see, Picasso is already loving it!

I found it utterly weird to move but still be in the exact same location.  That’s a first for me!  I doubt there are too many who’ve done that!  I kept thinking I’d walk out the door and be somewhere else but, nope, I was still here but my experience of “here” was quite different now since the outside was now part of my inside experience because of the windows.

But perhaps the piece I cannot help but notice is the healing that being here has brought to me.  I’ve had such a hard time trusting people as well as my own intuition ever since I lost my business.  By nature I’m a rather trusting person so this has been tough on me.  Throughout this whole process I kept doubting either myself or that Brian could possibly be who he presented himself to be.  I thought I’d be snookered or that this RV was going to be a piece of garbage.  Having some of those odds and ends going wrong didn’t help but I stuck with it.

Tonight (Monday now) Brian came over and this RV is officially mine and the old one is gone.  The swap has been completed.  Brian was here with Scott, his employee.  The hot water heater turned out to need a new element, just as Brian predicted.  [Update on the hot water heater – although it appeared to work after the element was replaced, by morning the water was again only lukewarm.  Not willing to make the same mistake twice, I didn’t take a shower that morning!  Brian will be back again to fix it after Thanksgiving.) The door got fixed needing just a little adjustment.  The circuit breakers were checked and all was good.  The thermostat turned out to be working properly although the LED was a bit wonky so numbers appeared different than they should.  I now know how to work it while Brian looks for a fully working replacement.  Furthermore, Brian is here for the long haul and will be available to help with whatever work might be needed and at prices that will be much more realistic and reasonable.

I cannot tell you just how grateful I am for the help I’ve received since moving here.  Brian singlehandedly has helped my broken truster to start healing.  I followed my intuition, also broken, and have been well rewarded. I have to admit that my life has been just a little strange since I decided to go for this adventure and has been absolutely nothing like I would have expected it to have been.  My favorite activity so far in my new RV is to just sit in one of the lounge chairs with a cup of tea and just take in the wonderful pine tree outside my window as peace envelopes me in her loving arms.

My new kitchen!  Just look at all that counter space!  And speaking of counter space, it's all Corian!

My new kitchen! Just look at all that counter space! And speaking of counter space, it’s all Corian!

Tomorrow (Tuesday) I leave for Indianapolis to be with my family.  I am so grateful that we will be seeing each other again after such a relatively short period of time.

I cannot express fully how grateful I am to see this healing come over me.  It has been quite a long time and, to be honest, there were many times I had lost hope that my life would ever come together again.  I just had to keep holding on while moving forward, neither of which was easy at times.

I have to admit to wondering what will be next on my agenda.  I’ve been asked what I would be doing here all on my own for a whole winter.  The reality is I don’t have a clue!  I’m hoping to be writing but I don’t know yet.  Seems whenever I have an idea it turns out to be something different anyway which makes me wonder if I should make plans at all!

I’m also very grateful to each and every one of you who takes the time to read about my crazy, adventurous, healing life.  It’s a real pleasure to have you with me!  Life can be good again even after falling apart.  When I first decided to get the original RV it was because “my body” told me that the experience would bring healing.  I thought it would be about the travel but apparently that isn’t the case.   I just needed a new, healing location.  I feel like tremendous healing is and will continue to take place in my life while I’m here.  I’ve met some wonderful people and I’m grateful to each and everyone of them.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Our lovely turkey on the rotisserie while being smoked!  Yum!

Happy Thanksgiving! Our lovely turkey on the rotisserie while being smoked! Yum!  My son Kris did a great job on this bird while Elizabeth my daughter-in-law did all the rest!

May this Thanksgiving season find you with people you love enjoying each other’s company.  May there be a great many things for you to hold in your heart with gratitude and, if not, know that things can really change.  They have for me; they can for you.  Blessings and love to you all!

© 2015 deborah kauffeld

a different kind of journey…

Sunday is “mommy day”, the day I go to visit my mother.  As always mom was happy to see Picasso and me there.  Mom has a new roommate Barbara who has been there just two days and this was my first time meeting her.

As mom and I talked, Barbara was quite eager to join in.  Aware that mom wants this to be her special time with me, I was a bit concerned that mom might be feeling slighted.  During that time I got to know Barbara and what brought her to rehab.  Mom was already annoyed with Barbara (TV on until 1 AM and back on at 5:30 AM) and I hoped that by our getting to know Barbara mom would also realize that some of the things Barbara was doing might be forgivable.  (Interestingly, the TV has ceased to be an issue since our visit!)

Barbara is only four years older than I am although she looks like it could be at least ten.  A year ago she had an accident – she tripped and fell, hitting her forehead on the sidewalk.  She was hospitalized afterwards and has never been the same.  While I was visiting mom, they came in to ask Barbara some simple questions to help determine if she was oriented to time and place, a normal part of the intake process.  When asked for the current year Barbara said she didn’t know but knew it was past 2000.  Nor did she know the date or day.  However, when she holds a conversation these cognitive limitations are not immediately apparent so one might think they were talking to a cognitively healthy person, at least at first.

As a result of the accident, Barbara now has seizures.  Prior to each seizure there is no warning so she is unable to prepare herself for what is about to happen; if she is standing she will fall and possibly get injured.   That is exactly what happened a few days ago when Barbara was first admitted to the hospital and now to rehab.  Barbara spoke about hopefully getting a therapy dog one day who would be able to alert her to the oncoming seizure, enabling her to sit or lie down prior to her loss of consciousness.

Barbara is obviously afraid of what her life holds for her.  One day her life is perfectly normal and then a fall and her life is changed completely, never to be the same.  Worse yet, it can happen again whenever she has another seizure and she has absolutely no control over that.

When it was time for Picasso and me to leave, mom decided to come with us to the front door.  I actually thought this might have been her way to get some “alone time” with me before I left.  As we reached the front vestibule I sat down so we could talk for a few moments.  As soon as I did, Picasso, the people magnet, began to draw a crowd.   Picasso is doing much better in social situations but being surrounded by several wheelchairs and at least three other people all wanting to pet him put him on edge and Picasso quickly put tail between legs, clearly a bit frightened by all the sudden attention.  Eventually the crowds dispersed and Joan was the only person left with mom and me.  Although I think I’ve seen Joan prior to this, we have never had the opportunity to talk before.  She was obviously shy but also openly friendly, just like Picasso although she didn’t look to hide with her tail between her legs!  Joan sat in a wheelchair and wore the headgear normally associated with those who cannot afford to hit their head.

When we first started to talk it was all about Picasso.  At some point I made some casual mention about her wearing the headgear and how Picasso didn’t seem to be nervous about it.  He had seen someone in a helmet not too long ago and just barked and barked and barked.  Slowly and very respectfully I began to ask a few questions about why she had to wear it.  Had Joan shown the slightest hesitation I wouldn’t have continued.

Joan told me that she had worked for US Customs in El Paso.  She loved her job and found it quite exhilarating.  Every day was different – some days she was doing border work and hiking through the land, other days found her working with trains or airplanes.   She had to carry a gun and even had to use it on occasion.  I didn’t ask her to elaborate since it seemed rather apparent that whatever the situation, it obviously bothered her.  I thought best to let it be rather than pushing it.  It was physical work and she thrived on until she could no longer do it, unable to stand without pain and discomfort.  It was not clear to me when her cognitive functioning decreased, during or after her time working.  I didn’t ask for her to elaborate on that either.

I wasn’t completely clear about the incident that caused her to no longer be able to work but it obviously had to do with head trauma the first of which happened after a car accident caused by her ex-husband.  She has now lost more than 75% of her memory.  I asked her how old she was and she was unable to answer.  However, when I asked her what year she was born, she told me.  I told her that meant she was 58 or will be 58 this year and she said that if she had told me how old she thought she was, it would’ve been something like in her 40’s.

Joan also suffers from seizures.  The pain as she spoke of these things was palpable in her face and eyes as well as in my heart.  I cannot imagine not knowing how old I am.  It seems like it should be second nature and yet here that very normal knowledge has been taken from her.  How very frightening to be locked within your world like that!

After I left the facility and got into my car, the sadness of what I had just seen really hit me.  Two women, living their very normal lives, their journeys changed forever and dramatically for the rest of their time on earth.  Joan, in particular, struck me the hardest especially when she told me that she normally doesn’t share anything about herself and her condition.  I explained to her that I used to be a psychotherapist and people generally find it quite easy to share things with me they never share with anyone else.  I told her that in particular so she wouldn’t question herself later for having shared too much with me.  I felt honored that she choose to share all that with me and told her so.

There but for the grace of God go I!  How many times did I hear myself say that as I was driving away?  I was practically shaking as tears came to my eyes.

There but for the grace of God…  None of us knows when our time will come or if we will somehow become too impaired to continue our journey as we expected.  What is well known is that we all have an expiration date and most of us have no idea when that time will come.  May we all live our lives to the fullest knowing that every moment is a gift from God and may we complete our respective journeys!

There but for the grace of God…

©  2015 deborah kauffeld

surprise!!!!

Seven weeks into this full-time RV thing and I’ve had a few interesting surprises.  These are the fun surprises, not the ones that give headaches!

Picasso and I went out to California Pizza Kitchen yesterday and this is his way of begging for food!  Of course he is in his stroller and, as always, very well behaved!  I include this photo "just because"!

Picasso and I went out to California Pizza Kitchen yesterday and this is his way of begging for food! Of course he is in his stroller and, as always, very well behaved! I include this photo “just because”!

[A friend asked me to insert the link for the stroller so that’s what I’m doing!  First, a little about this stroller – it is lightweight and relatively small.  Only one dog will fit in it.  Its biggest advantage is that it folds up like an umbrella stroller.  With moving into the RV I needed something that I could actually fit in my small car full time and this fits the bill perfectly and is the only one that folds up in this way, something you can easily see with the photos on Amazon.  Don’t let the reviews scare you off – if you need a stroller that folds up smaller than any other, this is your stroller.  Covered Pet Stroller]

First surprise I’ve briefly mentioned before, at least on our Facebook page – it is different living in an RV that rock and rolls with every movement!  If you are going to boil water, DO NOT fill a pan to the tippy top since when you walk it will spill!  Along with that surprise is a subset – even little Picasso can move the RV!  My little dude is not even 11 pounds and yet his walking can be felt throughout the RV!  And when he jumps, forget it!  Now here’s another part of this whole rocking thing – as the black and gray tanks fill up, the rocking gets more exaggerated!  I never would’ve guessed this but it makes sense if you think about it.  While the RV would stop moving after a few times back and forth if the tanks were empty, the water in the tanks continues to move for a while like the waves of the ocean and it seems to keep moving forever.  The reality is that if you are quiet enough you can feel the subtle movement of the RV even when Picasso and I are still since it is always in motion.   For the most part none of this is an issue and basically just causes me to giggle here and there as I walk through the RV like a drunken sailor.  But when I’m in the shower and the tanks are nearly full things can get very interesting!  Eyes closed and the RV rocking and rolling and it can be a bit of a challenge.  But, honest confession – I think it is fun and I somehow feel more connected to the earth with the swaying, perhaps because it’s a bit like being in the ocean.

Now it is true that one can stabilize the RV to keep it from moving but I didn’t know if one had to do so to protect the RV.  From what I’ve read it isn’t necessary to stabilize the RV.  But while reading I found that some people actually get seasick from being in an RV.  Now that was a real surprise to me!  I actually like the movement but I can see how some could have issues with it, particularly if they have another adult in the RV with them.  For now I will keep it as it is!

 

My extremely limited counter space!

My extremely limited counter space!

Another surprise to me has been how much I’ve been enjoying cooking here.  Why is that a surprise?  Well, for one thing it is utterly cramped!  The work space is quite small and requires a new way of organizing how to go about things.  Maybe it’s because it’s a bit of a challenge.  Since I use an induction cooktop, once I put that on the counter there is no more counter space!  What that means is taking time to prep everything first, before I take out the cooktop, and stage it on the table.  That seems to be working perfectly.  Cooking now requires just a little more organization than usual.  Oh, and there are more bowls to wash, too, since I have to use them to hold everything I’ve staged!

My hand hammered wok sitting atop the induction cooktop!

My hand hammered wok sitting atop the induction cooktop!

Max Burton 6400 Digital Choice Induction Cooktop 1800 Watts LCD

Other cooking surprises for me include loving that I have my wok here.  I didn’t bring a large frying pan, figuring instead to use the wok.  Just tonight I used it again.  I made Pasta with Tomatoes, Spinach and Goat Cheese.  First I prepped the ingredients and put them on the table (AKA my desk!).  Then I pulled out the induction cooktop and placed a pan of water on it to boil for the pasta.  After cooking the pasta I drained it and left the pasta in the colander in the sink while I “wokked” the other ingredients.  Finally I added the pasta into the wok.  Everything worked perfectly and dinner was incredibly good!  The thing for me with the whole organization thing is that as I’m cooking I’m also washing and putting away dishes.  There isn’t the luxury of piling up the dishes for later but when I’m done with eating there really isn’t all that much cleanup left either!  I should also mention that the induction cooktop is the first time I’ve been able to get my wok really hot!  This is a big deal in wok cookery.  Too often after adding food into the wok it cools down and rather than stir frying the food it is more or less steamed from the water the food releases.  It is quick and easy to get it hot and it quickly reheats after the addition of food.  If you need it to cool down, as soon as the temperature is changed on the cooktop it pretty much instantly changes.  It is extremely responsive.  If you’ve never cooked with an induction cooktop it is pure joy as far as I’m concerned.  Again, I’m a happy camper!

Some have questioned the wisdom of using an induction cooktop that pulls 1800 watts of power since there are always power issues on an RV.  The reality is that it rarely actually pulls that much.  Since I’ve already discovered how to blow a circuit breaker (be sure to know where your circuit breakers are on your RV; mine are under the refrigerator, near the floor), I’ve figured when I use the induction cooktop I will start by turning off the A/C.  While the cooktop is at its highest level I’ve decided I’d keep the A/C off just so as not to blow any circuits!  Once I turn the temp down on the cooktop I can turn the A/C back on again. Potential problem solved!

My Instant Pot!  Highly recommended whether you live in a house on wheels or not!

My Instant Pot! Highly recommended whether you live in a house on wheels or not!

Next surprise – I LOVE my Instant Pot!

Instant Pot IP-DUO60 7-in-1 Programmable Pressure Cooker, 6Qt/1000W, Stainless Steel Cooking Pot and Exterior, Latest 3rd Generation Technology

What is an Instant Pot?  It is one of those wonderful multi-use appliances that really is great for an RV since space is always at a premium!  Since it only pulls 1000 watts there is no issue with running it while the A/C is on.  I would guess that it only uses those 1000 watts when it is first heating up, not to maintain heat.  I’ve used it five times at this point although I plan on using it a whole lot more!  My main use for it so far has been as a pressure cooker although I’ve used the saute function to brown foods before pressure cooking them.  It can also be used as a slow cooker, rice cooker, yogurt maker, steamer, porridge maker and food warmer.  It comes with a heavy weight stainless steel insert that speaks of quality.  I’ve used many pressure cookers in the past, including a first generation electric one, and this is nothing like any of them.  First of all it is near silent!  No more heavy duty whooshing sounds from the weight on the lid.  I’ve never been particularly scared of using a pressure cooker but I do respect the fact that used incorrectly things can go very bad.  The new units are designed to have several back ups to keep anything bad from happening.  Another great thing about using this appliance in an RV is that it produces very little heat.  Steam stays locked within the cooker thus keeping moisture from accumulating in the RV.  There are only a few moments in the beginning of the cooking process when a little steam escapes and then nothing more!

Another surprise for me was just how much I hated the Zero Water filter I bought.  The lid never stayed on properly and I wasn’t sure if I even liked the taste of the water.  The whole thing just felt like a pain in the neck to use.  When I tried to use a small amount of water, I would get an avalanche. When filling ice cube trays I’m pretty sure I got more water on the counter than in the tray.  I don’t tolerate things I don’t like very well so I returned it.  I then bought myself a “baby” Berkey water filter (Travel size, holding 1.5 gallons).  Yes, I had one and packed it for storage but it was a bigger size and wouldn’t have fit in the RV.  This one fits perfectly!  While it takes up more room than the Zero Water filter (and costs more!), it is what I’m used to, is the highest rated filter, requires no electricity and makes me happy!  Among the impurities it filters out are arsenic and fluoride (requires secondary filters).  It is recommended for survival situations when clean water isn’t available.  Yes, it’s that good!  When it comes time to drive I will have to put it in the sink so as not to have any issues with water spillage but otherwise it won’t be an issue.  I refuse to buy bottled water for conservation reasons (those nasty plastic bottles) and now that California is in such a nasty drought I don’t want to further contribute by drinking the water that companies are taking from drought stricken areas.  So with the purchase of my Berkey I’m a happy camper and have total water consistency wherever I go!

Travel Berkey with 2 Black Filters and 2 Fluoride Filters and Water Purifier Bottle

My  Travel Berkey Water Filter with the additional fluoride filters.  Just because I know someone will be curious, that interesting thing to the left of my Berkey is a wok scrubber, used to clean food off the interior of the wok after cooking.

My Travel Berkey Water Filter with the additional fluoride filters. Just because I know someone will be curious, that interesting thing to the left of my Berkey is a wok scrubber, used to clean food off the interior of the wok after cooking.

And finally my most recent surprise.  Unfortunately no matter what I do the sofa bed is not working for me.  I’ve all sorts of things going on related to being uncomfortable on the sofa bed – my neck hurts as do my shoulders, head, arms, ribs, left knee and pelvis.  I’m even super clenching my jaw from the overall discomfort and that is causing TMJ pain.  I’ve invested a fair amount of money in my attempt to make it comfy but, alas, all hacks have failed!  (The cushion thingy that I bought for underneath the mattress actually is a huge help since without it I probably wouldn’t be walking because of the back pain I started having.  It just isn’t enough, probably since the sofa bed is fairly old!)  I’ve been debating what to do about it.  Another sleeper sofa could present the exact same issue and then I’d have invested another pile of money into this situation.  I debated this and that and finally decided that perhaps the better solution would be to get a twin mattress and use it as a day bed!  There would be just enough room for it in terms of wall space!  Unfortunately I don’t see this solution as coming in under $500 and could be considerably more.  So the other morning I was still in bed and thinking about how I didn’t have the money to do this.  I asked for financial help while I was praying.  That afternoon I got a phone call.  One of the things I’ve had on consignment for over 6 months just happened to sell that afternoon giving me enough money to get whatever setup I decide would work with some money left over!  Isn’t that great?  So now on to go test drive some mattresses!  Yay!

Interestingly, I have found that so far I don’t mind doing the laundry here one bit!   Believe me, this is one huge surprise for me!  I even got to meet a woman there I have since nicknamed Purple Lady since every thing about her is purple!  I’m pretty sure everything in her laundry basket was purple including the laundry basket itself!  Well it turns out that as of yesterday she and her husband moved directly behind us into their own park model.  I happened to be dumping the black tank and she saw my hose.  She immediately asked me if my hose was purple and I answered that it was.  She told me that she had to get one and asked where I bought it.  Amazon, of course!  I have to admit to being very curious if she decorated in purple also!  I’m kind of guessing that she does!

Water Right PCH-075-EP-4PKRS Polyurethane Lead Safe Coil Garden Hose, 75-Foot x 3/8-Inch, Eggplant

My purple (eggplant) hose, courtesy of Amazon.com!

My purple (eggplant) hose, courtesy of Amazon.com!

Well I think that’s about it for the surprises so far!  Ah, one other surprise – it is just past the middle of April and this place is clearing out rapidly!  I cannot get over how much more empty the place is after each weekend!  Pretty soon I’ll be all by myself!  And I’m not complaining about that!  But I probably will complain about the heat!  Consider yourself warmed (um, that was supposed to be “warned” but I suppose that works, too!)!

© 2015 deborah kauffeld

If you are going to purchase one of my recommendations, please consider doing so through the links on my blog so I can get a little credit for the sales.  I would really appreciate it and it wouldn’t cost you a thing!  Thank you!

oh what a day it was (or how I moved across the RV park)!

It was an interesting dream this morning.  I was in the shower, getting ready to turn on the water.  Suddenly “my man” (whoever he is!) opens the curtain to join me.  I wasn’t expecting him and jumped sky high.  I jumped so intensely I actually woke myself up!  But that’s not the worst part – not only did I not find out who this lovely man was but I never got to take that shower!  After living in the RV for a month the idea of a real shower is just too sweet!  So that’s how I started my day today.  Since I couldn’t fall back to sleep I decided to cruise me some YouTube and see how to back my RV into a parking place.  Doesn’t everyone do that at 5 AM???

This is the old site after we moved out of it.  You can really see how empty it is - no shade, too much dirt!

This is the old site after we moved out of it. You can really see how empty it is – no shade, too much dirt (or sand)!

Eventually I figured I’d better get up and start my day.  Yep, it’s moving day and after only a month I’m already feeling pretty entrenched in the RV life.  However, getting everything together to move feels a bit overwhelming.  First I dumped my tanks while walking Picasso in between doing this and that.  I had to sweep off the outdoor rug and tried to fold it and put it back where it was stored before getting here.  Um, yeah, right.  Guess again!  Well, I did get it back in but not without a whole lot of pushing and shoving!  I folded up the expen and my chair which ended up in my car’s back seat and the outside stuff was done, more or less.

I went back around to the hoses and got everything put away with one small incident – the sewer hose. I replaced the old sewer hose with this new, super good one.  Unfortunately it wasn’t going to fit where the old one did.  After a lot of pushing and pulling I finally  managed to get it into its space, more or less.  I was already sweating and it was only 10 AM!  Oh, and RV sewer hoses don’t exactly smell like roses but I’m sure you already knew that!

Inside the RV were things that I had to rearrange and put into some kind of order for moving.  There was quite a bit of work that I needed to get done but I managed to get everything finished by noon, the time I was expecting the cable company to disconnect and reconnect the cable.  Noon came and went then 1 PM and 2 PM.  I finally got a phone call from someone telling me they were running late and would be there between 2:30 and 3.  By 3:30 I called the cable company and was told I had cancelled my appointment and rescheduled for the following day.  Supposedly the person who called had the last name of Manning so clearly not me.  Then I was told that I needed to get to the other location since that’s how they worked this stuff.  I couldn’t because the last tech attached things to the RV that I couldn’t detach.

After around 45 minutes of phone call craziness I was finally told that they would still come if I wanted.  At this point I’d been sitting in an extremely hot RV all afternoon and really didn’t want to have to stay there any longer so I agreed that they should come even if it was going to be quite late.  I wished I had left the air conditioning on but who knew they would be so late?

Finally at around 5 PM the techs arrived – two men rather than just one tech.  Turns out they are brothers from Chicago.  During the warmer months they did construction work in Chicago and come here for the winters to install cable systems.  We hit it off right away.  In fact, after a very frustrating, not to mention hot, afternoon for all of us we were having fun!

Our RV in our new home with precious shade!!

Our RV in our new home with precious shade!!

They disconnected what had to be undone and I moved the RV to the new site.  When I got there I remembered what I watched on the video that morning.  I lined up the RV perfectly.  I pulled forward, put it in reverse and couldn’t help but notice the faces of the people across the street, something akin to horror and fear!  All that just because their car was mere feet from the front end of my RV!  Yeah, well, not exactly a success.  Not entirely my fault since I’d been previously told this was a really tough space to get into.  Thankfully one of the techs came to my rescue and asked if I’d want him to back up the RV for me!  I jumped out of the RV so quickly so he could get in and nearly forgot to put it in gear!  Okay, not really but that’s what it felt like!  Before you could say….well, he got it backed up really quickly and easily.  Done!  One grateful woman here!  And just because I want you all to know, it really was all under control; I saw the neighbor’s car which was why I stopped but you should’ve seen their faces!

Picasso in his puppy prison!

Picasso in his puppy prison!

I couldn’t have picked two better people to help me.  I wished I could’ve kept my cable guys around a whole lot longer.  They were good for my soul!  Unfortunately they had other customers waiting for them so I had to bid them adieu.  Very quickly I put things back in order surprised at how quickly putting it together went, especially compared to the first time!

And the verdict is….I love the new site!  What a difference!  It is more like living in a real neighborhood.  I visited my new neighbors across the street, the ones who owned the car I nearly hit.  I apologized for scaring them, assured them I really did see their car and we went on to talk about other things.

Our outdoor dining space!

Our outdoor dining space!

At the other site I never really sat outside for any length of time.  It was dusty and way too sunny for my taste!  Here it is more grassy and there’s a lovely tree over the area where I set up Picasso’s puppy prison and my chair.  Not only is it a lovely tree but it is also dripping with Spanish moss for a real nice effect.  Absolutely everything feels better about this site and I can easily imagine being here for a few months.  While I’m writing this tonight (Wednesday), I won’t get to posting it until tomorrow and I’ll be able to add some photographs to it them.  Oh, and as an aside, you should’ve seen Picasso’s face when the slide on the RV came in!  His little doggy mind could not get what was happening – the walls are coming in!  So funny!  Now I’m curious if he’ll pull me back to our old place or to our new place tomorrow after our walk.  [When we got to the old site, Picasso stopped and just stood there, he sniffed and then walked off again!]

Isn't the Spanish moss over the RV beautiful?

Isn’t the Spanish moss over the RV beautiful?

©  2015 deborah kauffeld

we did it!!!

Second night on the RV already and I’ve not posted anything yet?  Yeah, guilty as charged but it has been a bit hectic as you can imagine!

I am happy to report that all things went almost as planned.  There were a few glitches, like being allergic to the RV and nearly coming down with bronchitis (mustiness within the RV), but we managed to get past all that!

I will say that it is quite a bit to get used to all at one time, particularly since I’ve been so tired from getting out of the apartment and into the RV.  The reality is that the final kick was a tremendous amount of work, achievable only because I was able to get help from two really good people who came to my aid!  Without Lisa and Stuart’s assistance I just wouldn’t have made it.  I am so very grateful that they chose to be there for a long, difficult day.  While we did have our fun moments, let’s face it – over ten hours of work is WORK!!!  Thankfully we were blessed with an overcast day with moderate temperatures.  I cannot even imagine how it would’ve been if we had to do all that work while baking in the sun.

A very empty apartment!

A very empty apartment!

We moved everything into the RV on Thursday.  I spent the night at the apartment, though, so I could be there when the cleaning people arrived at 8:30 the next morning.  Friday saw Picasso and me doing a lot of running around to get everything done in time for the walk thru.  Finally, just before 4 PM we got to the RV.  On Friday the 27th of February, Picasso and I spent our first night in our new home!

There’s so much to get used to.  It is very much like moving in general but then you have to add to that the fact that the systems in an RV are all new to me.  Thankfully I have some basic knowledge and some good instincts.

First problem?  Well, I’ll spare you the details but, oh, hmm…how do I tell you without some of the details?  Okay, so there are three tanks on most RV’s – a fresh water tank, a grey water tank (dirty water from sinks and showers) and the infamous black water tank (yucky water from the toilet).  So sometime two days ago I started to notice a smell in the RV.  Prior to that there have been other smells like a spice that was driving me nuts.  I guess in the close environment smells just seem to grow exponentially.  But this was a different smell, one entirely not nice.  I went to sleep that night, my first night, but kept smelling the stench the whole night.  My eyes started to tear and my throat was also reacting.  The following day, yesterday, we had errands to run so off we went.  I decided to get an air purifier which I set up when we got back.  While it helped, it was clear that there was something else going on.  It didn’t take too long before I figured out it was that infamous black tank.  I kept wondering what I could do to fix it.  I had already bought and used one of the black tank treatments but it wasn’t working, something I found odd since it was supposedly the best one on the market.  I went to bed last night wondering what the heck I had gotten myself in to!  I started texting a friend of mine who sort of has some knowledge of these things.  “Sort of” because his knowledge is marine based, not RV, but otherwise very similar.  Finally it occurred to me what went wrong.  In an effort to conserve water, I I didn’t use enough water when I first used the treatment nor whenever I flushed.  I decided to do the treatment again, this time using more water.  In the time that it took me to walk from the bathroom back to bed I was pretty sure the smell had already abated.  Today, fresh as a daisy!  Crisis avoided!  Oh, and I guess I can’t say my shit don’t stink!!!  Sorry.

The first morning here Picasso and I went over to the Little Manatee River, a short walk from where our RV is parked.  It was beautiful, peaceful and full of life.  We did the same thing this morning so this may become our morning ritual.  I’m curious if there will be some good sunsets over there but will have to wait until tonight since up until now it has been either overcast or raining.

 

Picasso taking his place on the back of the couch, looking out the window.

Picasso taking his place on the back of the couch, looking out the window.

Picasso seems to be doing pretty well overall.  I am sure it is just as big of a change for him as it is for me!  He is doing his guard dog routine, barking or growling at pretty much anything that goes past our window.  He has his favorite spots to hang out all mapped out and he is getting fed his regular diet.  Seems his mom forgot to defrost some food for him so it was like three meals of kibble instead of his normal raw diet!  He didn’t eat much of the kibble but he seems to have survived.  Today I took a shower in the shower hall and left him alone in the RV for the first time.  He did fine!  I think he gets that this is home, albeit a very different home!  My sense is he is going to like the traveling lifestyle once we really get into it!

I’ve lots of organizing to do and will probably look to get a few more things off the RV and into storage, in other words – still downsizing!  I cannot believe I fit everything on to the RV but it really is a little too cramped for my liking.  On top of that, though we did try to organize it all as we went, the reality is that I have some heavy duty organizing left to do!  But this is home!

The beginning of an organized kitchen.  Feeling a bit like home!

The beginning of an organized kitchen. Feeling a bit like home!

I want to express my gratitude to all who have followed our journey up to this point.  We did it!  And you all were an integral part of my getting there.  So many people helped in so many different ways.  Some offered real physical help, others offered tips and ideas, many offered their prayers and good thoughts.  I needed all of it and please know that it is because of friends like you that I managed to do this.  Just getting to this point has been quite healing for me already.  I’ve learned to trust that it will all work out, even when I don’t see a way!

Thank you!  Now on to the next adventure!

The Little Manatee River

The Little Manatee River

© 2015 deborah kauffeld

moving on!

So this is my third attempt to write a blog post.  Actually I finished the first two but just didn’t think they were post worthy.  Hopefully this will see the light of day!

I’ve been busy, real busy.  So much has happened since the last time I posted.  However, most of the stuff is fairly boring so there really hasn’t been much to write of interest.  Only so many ways to say “I packed today and I’m tired!’, right?

The furniture has been consigned for weeks now.  Evidently all the big stuff has sold already.  I’m so glad I got it out of here as early as I did, too.  Besides being able to put the money to good use, it has been really nice to have the room here.  Even with the boxes I’ve packed it doesn’t look cramped at all.

I would say I’ve easily gotten rid of at least half and probably more of my “stuff”.  “Stuff”, in this case, doesn’t include furniture.  It has become very clear to me that donating stuff isn’t all that difficult.  However, selling it becomes almost brutal.  I’ve used Craigslist exclusively.  Many have warned me to be careful but to be honest up until now I’ve met some really great people.  The man who was here today offered to help me sell my lighting equipment.  He also offered to help me move anything that might be too heavy for me.  Pretty cool, huh?  But the problem is the huge time hog selling things becomes.  Things have to be photographed, copy written and all of it put into Craigslist.  Then come the contacts and finally people showing up here.  The vast majority seem to think we need to share all sorts of stories.  Now I don’t mind talking but it ends up taking a whole lot of time.

Craigslist item.  I didn't get much money for these but getting them out of the way made me really happy!  More room!

Craigslist item. I didn’t get much money for these but getting them out of the way made me really happy! More room!

Somewhere along the line I came to the conclusion that I would keep more things than I had planned at one point or another.  I had planned on getting rid of nearly everything, then to keep nearly everything, than after finding out how much that would cost (storage and moving costs) I decided to get rid of it all (again) and finally I decided to just go through it and keep what made sense or would make me cry if I had to get rid of it.  Yes, I have many more boxes as a result but it seems to be working.  Besides, if I was going to be selling more stuff I would’ve needed a whole lot more time!  I really wanted to have just a handful or two of boxes so I could move them myself wherever I would land when I come off the road.  Well, I ended up with a few more than that!  As of today, I’m up to box number 56.  Not all that many more left at this point so it’ll be under 70, a huge decrease from what I had when I moved here!  Maybe after I settle down in the RV I’ll compare so I’ll know how well I’ve done.  I still have the inventory from when I moved here.

And there's my packing stool in the middle of packed boxes.  Since I cannot carry boxes because of my back, I slide a packed box onto the stool and roll it over to its location.  That stool is a real back saver!

And there’s my packing stool in the middle of packed boxes. Since I cannot carry boxes because of my back, I slide a packed box onto the stool and roll it over to its location. That stool is a real back saver!

Picasso has been a bit thrown with all the changes.  There was a day when we had five different people coming here for Craigslist stuff.  Picasso got to the point where he was on people overload.  I felt so badly for him.  But today he appears to be more himself which makes me happy.  I think he’ll feel a whole lot better once we settle down again.

Picasso sleeping on the only seat in the living room, a chaise lounge from the lanai while resting his head on a stool that I use for packing.

Picasso sleeping on the only seat in the living room, a chaise lounge from the lanai, while resting his head on a stool that, when not being used for packing, can be a headrest for a little dog!.

I have about a month before I will be out of here.  Here’s the plan for now – while I don’t need to vacate the premises until the end of February, I will be moving into the RV the beginning of that week, probably February 23rd or 24th.  That will give me enough time to get this place cleaned up before I hand in my keys.  It’s going to be a huge change!

Got nothing more profound, which is probably good since I don’t have time for profound!  Oh, I almost forgot!  Tomorrow I’ll be going over to the east coast of Florida to finally pick up my RV and move it back here.  On Monday they will fit my car with the plate necessary for it to be towed.  I get to drive the RV around all day Monday (or until I’ve had enough!) while they work on my car.  Tuesday I’ll get lessons on how to hitch and unhitch the car and then it is off to the RV park on the west coast, about 30 minutes from my apartment, where I will store it until I move into it.  This is the same park that we will be in for our first month.  Wish me luck!  I’ve never driven an RV to begin with and here I’ll be driving the RV while towing my little car behind.  Am I nervous?  HELL YEAH!  Real nervous!  How do I cope with it?  Easy!  I’m trying not to pay any attention to it which is why I almost forgot to tell you about it!  Two nights away from packing, downsizing and selling stuff!  Ahhh!

@ 2015 deborah kauffeld

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and here she is!

The three hour drive to get the RV seemed like nothing to me which was nice.  I ended up closing on the RV before the walk thru which was fine by me but even then I still had to wait a bit for them to get the RV ready.  Then the magical moment came and we were escorted over to the walk thru area, Picasso in his stroller (a brilliant move on my part)!

When we got there, I started to take out my video camera since the plan was to video the walk thru so when I actually picked up the RV in three months I’d have something to jog my memory.  Nope!  Not allowed!  Seems corporate has a rule against recording walk thru’s in any way shape or form but I’m free to take as many notes as I’d like.  Obviously a legal issue.  I was told, however, that when the time came for me to pick up the RV that they’d be happy to do another quick walk thru.  Acceptable compromise I suppose.  We started on the outside, then inside which took considerably longer.

Approaching our RV for the walk thru.

Introducing my 2004 Jayco Greyhawk 26SS!

Not too long!  Shouldn't be too difficult to get used to!  Hopefully!

Not too long! Shouldn’t be too difficult to get used to! Hopefully!

Paul was the one doing the walk thru with Bill clearly in a learning position.  In another week or two Bill will be doing his own walk thru’s.  At this point, Bill’s entire purpose in life was to make Picasso run like a mad dog in the RV!  Talk about a major RLH (run like hell, something that Havanese are very good at!)!!!  Since I didn’t have the video up and ready, you’ll have to take my word for it – up the far side of the booth onto the bench seat, across the table (Bill, I’d like to train him NOT to go on the table!!!), onto the other bench seat, up and over the back of the seat to the couch, to the back of the couch, back to the seat of the couch, to the floor with a mad dash to the starting point to do the whole thing all over again!  He was in rare form, ready and willing to entertain his very eager and appreciative public.  Oh, yeah – Picasso was having a blast and so were my walk thru companions!  Ah-hem, guys – can we continue the walk thru???  Actually, Picasso really did make the whole thing a lot of fun for all of us.  I overheard the two of them later commenting on what a great personality Picasso has.  They even took photos of him while he sat on the table!  So I’m guessing you can already figure that the RV has obviously passed muster with Picasso!

Picasso in the chair that has been removed for the desk.

Picasso in the chair that has been removed for the desk.

After they removed the chair, leaving me with space for a small desk area.

After they removed the chair, leaving me with space for a small desk area.  The carpet is a bit chewed up but not really an issue.

As for me, I took in what they told me, even asking some questions like what do I do if there’s this or that disaster?  I think I’ve come to a conclusion – call CoachNet, the equivalent of AAA for RV’s!  Okay, got that!  I had just one reaction to the whole thing that I remember – man, this is small!  How am I ever going to get downsized!

Looking toward the back.

Looking toward the back.

Looking to the front.

Looking to the front.  No doubt you can envision Picasso’s path!

Kitchen

Kitchen

Kitchen looking to the back.

Kitchen looking to the back.

I also came to a couple of conclusions.  First, I’m going to sleep on the pull out couch after purchasing a new mattress for it.  Right now the mattress is something I wouldn’t even want Picasso to sleep on!  The side benefit of this is that I can use the over cab bed area for additional storage which makes me happy!  Second, the area where I’m going to put a desk is too small for any of the standard RV ones I found.  Only by an inch or two but still, too small!  I’ve already designed something I can get constructed for me for that corner.  I will have to find someone to fabricate it for me and install it but that shouldn’t be difficult.  All I want is a Formica type counter.  That’s it!  It will be high enough to have a couple of plastic drawer cabinets underneath.  Easy peasy!  I’ve got measurements so I can get estimates while I’m waiting.

a fair amount of storage in the bathroom, more than I have in my apartment!

A fair amount of storage in the bathroom, more than I have in my apartment!

The mirror opens to reveal the medicine cabinet which extends behind the wood panels on either side.

The mirror opens to reveal the medicine cabinet which extends behind the wood panels on either side.

There was some concern about how I was going to get a shower curtain rod to fit this particular configuration.  Turns out that what everyone though was a track for glass panels on the ceiling is actually for hanging a shower curtain.  I just have to get the proper hardware to hang a curtain which I've already found!

There was some concern about how I was going to get a shower curtain rod to fit this particular configuration. Turns out that what everyone thought was a track for glass panels on the ceiling is actually for hanging a shower curtain. I just have to get the proper hardware to hang a curtain which I’ve already found!

By that night rather than excitement, all I felt was a sense of overwhelm that was huge!  Well, that plus what I suspect could best be described as a real case of buyer’s remorse!  I finally convinced myself that it was more a case of mere tiredness (more than a ten hour day after only four hours sleep!) and I really should just get my butt in bed!  Just so you know, I’m all good with it now.  It really was tiredness.

Picasso resting after entertaining his friends.

Picasso resting after entertaining his friends.

The rest of this week has been spent running around looking at facilities for my mom who has to be moved out of the rehab she is in by Tuesday, four days from now.  But I feel good about it all, even if not exactly excited.  Life feels a bit more under control since I’ve already closed on the RV and I know where mom is going to be next week.  I do feel excited from time to time, mostly when I talk about what I’m doing.  In the meantime, it is more left foot; right foot as I get myself through this process.

Now, back to the task at hand – downsizing!

I'll be on the right, driving, with Picasso, my trusty sidekick, on the left!

I’ll be on the right, driving, with Picasso, my trusty sidekick, on the left!