Today it is five weeks and two days as full time RVers for us.
Adjusting to living in the rig has been easy, as we were both expecting and looking forward to it. We are each other's best friend, and get along well in close quarters.
I thought I would jot down a few impressions so far....
1. Getting organized- We had to make SO many decisions on things to keep, give away, sell, donate or toss while packing up the house, it was overwhelming at times. I still have more things here in the rig that I am in the process of culling or selling off. This week three things went on Ebay, one thing went to the kids, and a few more went into the trash. Steve and I are pretty organized people, so having extra clutter around the rig is somewhat bugging us. Soon it will all be stashed or stored or GONE! I like the feeling of walking in the rig and having the counter pretty much cleared off, and the items all stowed in cabinets. I am still dubbing VHS tapes to DVD, and scanning in more documents that we want to reduce bulk. Soon, I hope, we can restore the order that we envision for what type of space we want to live in. Cleaning is easy. I start at one end and work to the other, sometimes 15-20 minutes and the housework is done for the day!
2. Living with hookups- since we have been in the state park most of the time while Steve works at his full time job, we have been very indulgent using the hookups of free electricity. It's kinda fun, but we also crave the quiet of the boondocking type campsites we frequent in the National Forest Campgrounds. Especially at night, the national forest campgrounds are dark, with just campfires here or there dotting the night. In this state park with electric, we see camping patio lights, tvs, music playing and air conditioners running. Don't get me wrong, we are using our air conditioner, have up our patio lights, while using the electric service included with our site too. At least in this park, we are spaced far enough apart with shrubbery and trees in between each site. We are not looking at the next guy's siding, power post, or sewer hookups like at some RV parks. Since our convection oven decided to work correctly after 6 years of erratic use, it's been fun to bake things that come out evenly browned or raised. Last night the garlic bread was browend perfectly, and today I am baking chocolate chip cookies as I type this.
3. Finances- since escaping the mortgage payment, property taxes, electric bill, huge heating propane bills, homeowners insurance and upkeep on the house, our budget is very healthy. Right now the only monthly bill is the cell/internet bill! Of course there are always groceries and household stuff, propane and campground fees. There are always car insurance, motorhome insurance, license plates etc. With Steve's short commute to work, the gasoline costs have diminished to almost nothing. He used to spend $70-80 in fuel each week just to go to work. If only diesel would come back down, we could smile even more. I think I will start putting our expenses into a spreadsheet program I have, and we can track things easier. Especially once Steve retires and we are on his limited pension and my earnings from the sales online at Etsy.
4. Motorhome- We are fortunate to own the motorhome outright and not be making payments on it. Some full-timers start out with a heavy debt load of making RV payments on something that will never appreciate like a house. Although the motorhome depreciation hit us hard over the last few years, it's only worth about half of what we paid for it 6 years ago. But those 6 years gave us lots of adventure, fun times, and memories. We have had the time to outfit the rig the way we want to use it. Solar panels, battery bank, re-doing the furniture, and the myriad of modifications we have done make it very comfortable now. If we were starting out from scratch now with a new-to-us rig, it would be a lot of decisions and purchases to make to get it up to where we are now. I am glad we did it the way we did, trading in our Coachmen and moving up to the Safari. At the time it seemed like a huge expense and I didn't want to buy it. But now I am glad. Steve was right. The next big ticket items on the horizon will be motorhome tires (these just turned 6 years old) and possibly a new battery bank of 6 coach batteries (we presently have 4) and we will move the 2 driving batteries into the engine compartment area to make room in the battery compartment for all 6 new ones. We choose to use 6 volt golf cart type batteries as they last longer between recharges, and have more space between the plates for better amp hour capacity.
5. Dogs- we love our dogs and they are a part of the family. But we are facing the geriatric stage of life with both of them. Ducky, the Collie, is now 12 which is ripe old age for a collie. She is active and healthy, but slows down fast, and staggers sometimes when we walk too far for her. She takes glucosamine for her joints. She sometimes struggles to get up the stairs into the motorhome. I put my leg or my hand on her butt to reassure her that she won't fall backwards. That helps. Soon we will make a ramp I think. Duke, the Sheltie, is only 9, but he has a fatty tumor that has gotten larger and more firm. I know I should take him in for it, but it's something that isn't bothering him, and he's happy and runs and plays just as well. It doesn't seem to cause him pain or troubles him, so I have been playing the "avoidance game" here. I have scoped out the nearest vet, about 3 miles away. As much as I don't want to think about it, there is also a pet cemetery about 5 miles from here. We find ourselves stepping over dogs who are always laying "in the way" in our rig, but the companionship and joy they bring us means we will always have a pet on board. Maybe not two again, but at least one. I need that.
6. Grocery shopping- I have had to make some adjustments when I shop. Little things---for example: finding cream of celery soup on sale at 6 cans for $5 means that is 83 cents a can, about half of what Campbells brand is. We use it a lot in casseroles or as a base for cream of potato soup. Well, buying 6 cans was not an issue when we had our house. But sticking 6 more cans into my already overloaded can good area is not so easy. Just 5 weeks ago I had to combine all the food from the house WITH what we already kept in the motorhome. I am trying to use up the duplicates of a lot of things. Did you know I had FOUR bottles of shampoo? 1 in the master bath in the house, 1 in the guest bath in the house, 1 in the motorhome already and 1 on the shelf... why? Because it was "On Sale" hahahaha so I guess I have to re-learn my shopping habits and stop taking advantage of sales if we are limited on space.
7. Clothing- I am still culling down as my closet is quite packed. I keep taking out things that I am not wearing as often and putting in a bag to drop at Goodwill this week. I even bought some new bras the other day, and threw out MORE bras that I had in the drawer than what I brought in. Many RVers use the adage of "bring one in- toss one out" So I am trying to do that even one better by tossing TWO out? Steve needed more room on his side for his work shirts and pants, so we moved some more of our sweatshirts and jackets into another area to make room.
8. Laundry- we have done a few laundromat runs, and got 3-4 loads done at a time. But I don't care for laundromats at all. We do have the washer/dryer unit on board and I like using that. Planning ahead on water levels is necessary though, as it takes 11 gallons for a load. This state park does not have water hookups at the site. Now, for example, like today, I know I will be refilling the water tank as I move the rig to a new site this afternoon for 7 more days. So I did up all the laundry yesterday and this morning with the water we still have in the tank. It takes a bit longer to dry a load as it's only 110volt instead of 220volt dryer, but it works for all the lightweight things. I hang the heavy stuff on hangers, but today it's raining so the dryer is running a lot more to get it all dry. It's a damp day, so that is warming us up inside and keeping me cozy as I write this. (along with those freshly baked cookies!) I brought a plate down to the campground office for the staff when I registered for our new site for the next 7 days.
9. Grandtots- If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know our five grandtots are very important to us. This fall I hope to alternate and take one grandtot for a sleepover one night a week, making sure the three oldest get a good foundation with camping out with Granmuddah and Granfaddah Pfun. The two smallest ones are only 5 and 6 months old, so I don't think they will remember much of our sleepovers or walks in the woods. But the three older ones are both 2 and one 4, so they can enjoy the adventures. We are also set up with Skype to do some video chats with them when we are gone on vacation this winter. I am collecting story books to have multiple copies we can read to each other while on Skype or even on the phone... to turn the same page at the same time, and talk about the pictures and read the stories.
10. Vacation- yes, Steve is still working a full time job here at the park. He has saved up vacation time from this year, and will carry it over to next year. His boss and he are figuring out the weeks accumulated and working on a schedule that will allow us to leave for probably most of January, February and into March. We are thinking of heading south to Texas this time and explore that part of the USA. Last year the winter was sooo mild we could have made it living in the rig all winter, but we can't count on that. For Nov-Dec we are thinking of finding some weekly rental vacation cottage to get us through until we can leave for southern warmth.
What do I miss? Ummmm my big whirlpool bathtub. I think that is about it. We do have a tub/shower in the motorhome but it's not like the whirlpool. Steve said from time to time we could rent a hotel room with a whirlpool tub if I really wanted it. LOL What a guy!
Well, our site number 99 is reserved by someone else for today,
and I see the folks have moved off site 103 now which is our site for the next 7 days.
It's time to dump the tanks, take on fresh water and move over there.
It's kinda nice to have your home on wheels!