Preparing to RV fulltime

November 2012 – Our RV comes home, more selling and RV Cooking

Something funny has been happening a lot lately. Mostly when Roy is working on something and needs a tool – he looks at me, smiles, and says “oops I sold that already.”  A minute ago he said he needed some screws and remembered – oops I sold those already! Can’t tell you how many times we’ve said that about a multitude of things.

When he started to work on his toad (the truck we will pull behind the RV) he needed his compressor – that was sold, and several other things. We’ve purchased a small compressor now to take on the road for the tires and so that Roy will have something for all the things he does around here until the house is sold.

We’re starting to rethink the timing of selling certain things. If someone wants something we may need we’ll sell it to them, they’ll pay us, we’ll put their name on it and give it to them when we don’t need it. If they really want it that works for both of us. People have been understanding about it. They know they are getting a good deal on the purchase and are willing to wait.

Lots of people have a garden gnome they take with them when they travel and take a picture of it in various places. We decided we need one for our travels and of course, we bought a Saints Garden Gnome. Gotta take a little bit of the Saints with us on our journeys. We found the perfect one on the internet and shortly thereafter he was delivered to our doorstep. He now lives in the garden outside our RV greeting us every day as we come home from work. He’s a little sign of things to come and we can’t wait for that day to get here! Update: While rereading my posts I want to share that we have no idea what happened to our Saints gnome. It went away sometime in 2013  saints garden gnome

In early November, I decided one Thursday evening to post a photo album on my personal Facebook page with pictures of our furniture and other household items I was ready to sell. I included a description of each item and the asking price. I posted my first online sale on the local Facebook sale, buy, wanted page hoping to get a taker for a few things.

By Saturday afternoon (the very next day) we had cleared out our living room which had a lot of furniture in it. It started Friday evening and then again so early on Saturday and way into the evening. I never had time to take a bath that day! We were selling and answering questions all day constantly. We asked the buyer of our 65” TV and one of the sofa’s if we could keep it for another week so we’d have a place to sit and watch TV. They said fine and came back the next week buying even more furniture and items that time too! A young couple from work bought our master bedroom set and asked us if we’d keep it until their house is built and of course we were glad to. Knowing it was sold was all that counted.

One evening the next week some guys came to look at my son’s truck that was by the road for sale. They went with Roy into his big garage for some reason and he told them his tools would be for sale. They were so excited they got other friends of theirs and came back the following evening. At this time we had not priced any of the tools and really weren’t prepared to sell. But here we had men with cash in hand, willing to buy, and you just don’t pass that up. We sat out in the garage for a couple of hours while they looked at things and haggled with Roy over prices, ending up making $500 and you couldn’t even tell anything was sold. The guys were a hoot, really appreciated good tools and we had a great time with them this evening. Never saw them before then and haven’t seen them since!

Realizing we probably sold tools for way under what we would normally get for them, we knew we needed to get Roy’s tools priced. We began looking up the price of the same tool new and based on that and the original price of the tool we determined what it should be sold for. We set up a couple of tables for smaller tools in cases and displayed other bigger items around the garage. I printed short descriptions and the asking price of the tool and taped that to the tool. In the next few weeks that helped a lot because people who came to see other items in the garage naturally walked over to the tables and those around that area. Little by little the tool stock was dwindling.

Selling lots of furniture and things – the experience of night after night having strangers check out our stuff was surreal. One thing we were surprised at is that Craigslist hasn’t been so hot for selling things. Very few things have been sold that way compared to what we’ve sold on Facebook’s local buy, sell, wanted page, and by word of mouth.

In our RV researches, we learned that RV cooking can be very different than cooking in a sticks house. The concerns about smells lingering after cooking a big pot of something made us think we needed to look into a good outdoor grilling setup. Roy is so used to eating well, even if in recent years he’s seen a lot of bag, box, and container cooking! He’s read so much that he’s become worried he’ll never eat again in the RV.

I’m only used to electric cooking and Roy doesn’t want us to use propane any more than we actually have to so I purchased a two-burner electric cooktop, an electric skillet and one rectangular glass cooking pan. I kept two sizes of metal pots with lids, two cake pans and two muffin pans. I’ve found so far that everything I cook, can be cooked in one of those items.

I kept two gumbo sized cooking pots that are stored under the RV. We’re cooking in the electric skillet inside the sticks house but when we’re on the road plan to cook in it outside on the grill ledge. We’ve been researching an outside grill and think we’ve decided on one that another RV couple recommended on their blog. When we started moving into the RV we stocked up on Styrofoam plates. One friend who has an RV recommended keeping two regular bowls and two regular dishes for when we have soups and things that need to be cut like steaks. Those two sets lead to several more sets of our dishes making their way to the RV. At least while we’re living in the driveway I’ll keep my regular dishes. When on the road I’ll probably stick with just Styrofoam and we’ll keep just those precious two bowls and plates. In my sticks and bricks kitchen, I had two full sets of silverware and thought I’d use them in the RV. I’ve found that maybe 6 of each is really all that’s needed. I’ve read so much of what different people take with them and I think it’s really just trial and error for each couple that really determines what you personally need.

In Mid November we got the call that our RV was ready for us to bring home. We both took a day off work and set out early for Berryland loaded with our checklist. There she was beautiful and ready for a new home. Since she’s our home now, maybe that’s not the right way to put it!

Madisyn and her Christmas buddies.

They spent about four hours with us explaining how to use all the appliances, the RV controls, the driving controls, and lots of other things we just couldn’t absorb all at once. A couple of things that were suppose to have been fixed already had not been, so we went off to lunch, and when we returned it was ready for us to go.

When we signed the papers they gave us a nice big bowl with lots of Berryland Produce products in it and a cap for Roy. He’s noticed that most RV men wear a cap so now he’s an official RV man!

We were simply worn out when we left there but knowing this was the first time Roy was driving our RV alone with me in his truck behind him got the adrenaline pumping! He did really good going down the interstate, getting off the interstate, and going down our two-lane road to our house. there is a ditch between our property and the street. When he turned into our driveway whoop down went the back tire into the ditch and out again on the other side.

Later, Roy shared with me something he learned in his first driving experience. In a car, your tires are in front of where you are sitting, but in an RV they are either below you or a little behind you. This means you have to take turns differently, going well out ahead of where you want to turn than you would in a car. That had nothing to do with going in the ditch but I thought about it just now and added that little tidbit of learned experience.

As our RV pulled into her new home, our driveway, I got my first taste of helping Roy back her up using hand signals. She has a camera attached to her back that Roy can monitor on a screen at the driver’s seat. She also has audio so that he can hear me giving instructions but I can’t hear him. I learned that I need to keep talking while he’s backing up and maneuvering because that helps him the most. We didn’t do too bad and he lined up the RV steps to the sidewalk so we just walk out of the RV and in 20 feet we’re on our sticks and bricks back porch. We let out the slides and went inside, just sitting there for a while marveling at this thing we’d call our home soon. We slept in the house for two more nights then officially began living in the RV.

Every weekend day and weekday evening found us bringing load after load of things from our sticks and bricks house into our motorhome. We brought into the motorhome way more than we needed and have since pared down what we kept to about 75% of the original load. The first night we slept in the RV was wonderful, as has been every night since. I went to sleep without any difficulty and stayed asleep the entire night. Still do that several weeks into living in our new home. The smallness of the bedroom compared to the vastness of our sticks bedroom concerned me at first but as soon as we started living in it I love it. Hardly anything to clean, there is room enough to walk around three sides of the bed (and not an inch more!. I think it might be that we only go in there to sleep instead of the multitudes of things we’d do in our big sticks bedroom. I’ve read that if you’re having a hard time sleeping try only going into your bedroom to sleep, not to read, eat, watch TV, sew, make crafts, etc. The washer/dryer combo is in there hidden behind louver doors and I thought the movement of that would bother me, but it’s oddly soothing!

The kitchen has been the biggest challenge with downsizing. We had 20 cabinets in the sticks house and two in the RV! Perhaps as many drawers in both, however, some of the RV drawers are doing the work of a cabinet. The pots are in a small storage area over the refrigerator and all our canned goods are in a drawer under the refrigerator. We went from a huge pantry to one drawer under the refrigerator. I left a few things in the sticks house from the pantry to see if we really need them and so far I haven’t needed any of them. We really need very little and think we must have so much. What a humbling experience this has been.

Going to work each day is not something we intend to do once we retire and I believe the RV is much better suited for the retired lifestyle than the going to work full-time everyday lifestyle. We have to have too many clothes for going to work to fit properly in the closet even though our close is bigger than a lot we’ve seen. We are not home enough to enjoy it and go on any trips. Can’t wait for that time to come!

Our son came to visit one weekend with his daughter Madisyn and Roy kicked into high gear on redoing the electronics in the RV. Two old tube TVs were replaced with flat-panel TVs. We sold one of the old tube TVs to someone who dropped by the garage one evening to check out what we were selling and we gave the other to our son. At one point none of the electronics were in and there were wires hanging everywhere upfront. As box after box of the new electronics started coming in, those piled up inside the RV waiting for another weekend to come along for Roy to have time to work. We truly need to not be working at this time but we like to eat so working we will do.

Madisyn enjoyed her first visit in the RV and I think it was comforting to her that we still had her outside toys and bikes for her to play with. We kept her pink pillow and princess blanket, storing it under one of the sofas. This is a big transition for a little one who grew up visiting Grannie and Paw Paw in a sticks house and now she stays in a motor home – she calls it our big bus.

Madisyn enjoying her Barbie bike in the driveway where Dora lives!
Madisyn enjoying her Barbie bike in the driveway where Dora lives!

Roy’s changed out the subwoofer, the receiver, added a blue ray player and DVD/VCR combo. Everything has much newer technology than what the RV came with being a 2005 model. This all took two entire weekends of Roy non stop working and me helping hold up things while he connected them. Lots of money spent on all that but it’s worth it.

We were used to a 7.1 surround sound in our sticks living room and we now have 5.1 surround sound in our RV! Once the wires and equipment were in place, all the empty boxes moved out to the garage and all our belongings put away we were ready to show her to anyone that wanted to come to visit. Roy still has to figure out the satellite issue so we can remove the long white cable that is connecting us to the sticks house for TV service. We’ll be disconnecting the house phone soon preparing to use just our cell phones for phone service. I have to get better about keeping my cell charged and with me for this to work. I think I can, I think I can!

We shared Thanksgiving dinner with my sister Harriett, her kids and grandkids, our son Chip, and his daughter Madisyn. It is our holiday tradition to gather for this time of Thanksgiving and thank goodness we had already planned to gather at her house. As it turned out the only furniture we have left is the dining room table but there was no TV for football watching and no sofas to sit and visit on at our house! I hope we will be able to return to this area for the holiday season each year.

Madisyn at my sister Harrietts house climbing the tree. For such a girly girl she can be a tom boy too!
Madisyn at my sister Harriett’s house climbing the tree. For such a girly girl she can be a tomboy too!

My niece Dana, her husband Eric, and two of their children came over to our house after dinner to meet Dora! My sister Harriett and her husband George came over the next day after church to meet her also. After seeing Dora, how spacious she is with the slides out, and how much like a small house she is I believe Dana and Harriett’s initial concerns were laid to rest. It’s not a lifestyle they are used to so as time goes on I hope they can just be happy for us! I know they are getting there now! They will of course miss us as we will miss them while we are traveling.


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