Tag Archives: Fulltime

Every Day Is a Crisis!

  • Lessons Learned.

    There is no right way to do this. Transition is hard and experience is our friend!
    Mistakes are easy to make, staying calm is an art.
    Relearning to live with someone you have lived with for 37 years can seem like starting over, again!
    We CAN and WILL do this, do it well, and enjoy our new lifestyle.

All the planning in the world can’t get you ready enough for the multitude of mishaps that are waiting to happen in the course of the full-time, large rig with a toad (RV speak for flat towing our Jeep liberty) lifestyle. The best advice is to NEVER be in a hurry, work as a team and check each others work, regardless of how trivial the task. We didn’t do that when we dragged the toad 3 miles not properly set in neutral, messed the transmission up; but so far flushing it seems to be working ($195 vs $$$$2500. for new one), near-major catastrophe. A step-by-step checklist is now in place as well as a two person oversee system. We didn’t do that when we retracted the slide and a, yet to be hung, picture frame was in the way, crunching and breaking it into many pieces; as well as the bedroom door topper in the closed position that prevented the whole side slide from retracting and stopped it dead in its tracks. A rubber mallet to release the stuck wood, short little arm to retrieve the mangled picture frame (all but one picture in tact and rescued), the slide groaned loudly and slid back in. Another major dollar issue averted. Parked in the (very clever) Chicago McCormick Trade Center Marshaling Yard, ready to venture out on our two day city visit (airbnb condo rental), I decide to extend the slide a bit to get something I forgot in my closet. 4″ later, the slide comes to a dead stop and won’t budge. Sounds like only one motor is trying to work. Really?! Expletive. We have people to meet and places to go. We leave anyway and lament about it, in order not to disappoint. It will be there tomorrow (cutting into our visit, but so be it). Desperate emails and pictures later (to our guru MD RV John Godwin) the next day (sure we caused this) and my handy man (Brian) finds the motor wire came unplugged. Easy! Not a crisis after all and totally unrelated. Lesson Learned. Never assume and always look for the easy solution first.

So much stress, isn’t this supposed to be the stress-less choice? Not by a long-shot. Being together 24/7, dealing with one hit after another, takes a toll on even the best of friends. But because we are best friends, we will weather these bumps in the road, the low hanging limbs, and regroup.

This life is meant to be savored. Rushing to ensure we get to use our gifted Wrigley Field tickets put us off our game. Looking back, it was worth it, we feel we were lucky to come out of it somewhat unscathed, but the mistakes (maybe) could have been avoided were we not preoccupied with our schedule.
So many Lessons Learned and Lessons yet to Learn. I vote for a break in the action!Wrigley FieldMarina City Towers Condo

Navy Pier Fireworks from Millennium Condo, Chicago

Navy Pier Fireworks from Millennium Condo, Chicago

Downsizing and Transitioning to Full- time

Last Bash

Last Bash

Ready or Not

Time to Shed and Transition

The more we planned, the less we were seeming to follow it. RV purchased, storage lot found, make it a bit homier and cheerier for full timing and investigate ways Brian will be able to work via the internet, phone and email. Basically the same set-up he has been enjoying for years at ‘home’ wherever that was (NY, Colorado, Houston, Colorado). I retired from full-time work, taking spontaneous positions when they came available, very sporadic and basically, retired. Turning 62 last May, I decided to really reduce the stress and avail us of the hard-earned social security in our account. All part of the grab it while we can attitude we believe we are striving for. That was very appealing to Brian and without a second thought, turning 64 end of July, and he was retired too! Health insurance remains an important component for us and we agreed to pay for Cobra out of pocket for both of us until he turns 65. We will live on social security, continue to invest wisely and cut costs to make ends meet.

Now that we are free to go, we set our transition date to early August. I will never know for sure, but if I had to shed all of our belongings not coming with us, by myself, it may have been overwhelming. As it was, the emotional tear of leaving our recently married, only child, daughter regardless of the promise of returning to our beloved Colorado frequently, had me in flummox. Keep calm and carry on, this dream is worth following and everything good comes with a price, my mantra for months.

Happy Birthday Leo's!

Happy Birthday Leo’s!

I started going to Estate/Tag sales in the area to get a feel for how they are run and what might work for us. Mostly mayhem, but it certainly proved there is a market for just about anything you have, for a price, cheap price that is. Something is better than nothing as I tend to give everything away once complimented anyway! It did make me decide that I wanted arms length selling, worth the (rather large but worth it) percentage (35% in our case) you have to share with the estate sale company for their extremely hard and laborious work. As with anything, interview several people, ask lots of questions and then just go with your gut (best case scenario is a personal referral from someone you trust who had their own experience). Some things to ask: percentage charged, are there additional fees (credit card, tax) and who pays them, can we put a bottom line price on individual items, where and when do you advertise. Our estate sale company of choice was A Bluebird Estate Service. Lori and her son Johnny Angel were great people to work with and felt like friends in no time. Lori gave me a range of the value of all our items for sale and came in spot on at the top of the range!

Link to our sale (in the past)  http://estatesales.org/monument-co-estate-sales/monument-estate-being-liquidated-431445

Bluebirdand link to their information and phone contact:


To be ready for the sale, all that we were taking (and, thankfully, able to gift to our newlyweds) had to be out of the house by the time they came (4 days prior to sale date) to tag and price everything. You must tag anything that is NOT for sale clearly. Better to just remove it altogether so there is no confusion. We had been sorting through the house for months, paring down, some rooms and things took several ‘passes’ in order to ‘let it go!’

We were able to park our monster motorhome in front of our house for several weeks (we lived on a cul-de-sac and our neighbors and otherwise rule crazy HOA kindly looked the other way) prior to leaving for the Camping resort a mile away, set to be our transition home base while we tied up loose ends and hugged our loved ones. The convenience of being able to cart things up and down our driveway was an unplanned windfall. Probably had us taking more than we will ever need, but better to shed than to repurchase!

Arrived and settled in our transition space up the road, we begin to experience our new chosen lifestyle. Brian hops out of the RV, goes over to thank our new neighbor for moving his car that was parked in our way, and two minutes into the conversation he calls me over to introduce a man I had worked with for years before his retirement in ’05. It IS a small world, after all.


Leaving with Jeep and I Following

Leaving, with Jeep and I Following

Last View from House

Last View from House

DIY RV Projects for full-time Living

Window Valance Pre DIY Project

Window Valance Pre DIY Project

Brian Stapling New Fabric onto Window Valances

Brian Stapling New Fabric onto Window Valances

Post DIY Window Project

Post DIY Window Project

And now the never ending Projects begin

We have never been really big on ‘decorating’ for decorating sake. It has always made more sense to be practical, clean, comfortable, and for me, uncluttered. That’s not to say we don’t appreciate nice and pleasant surroundings. So. what are the implications of full time RV living on our indoor surroundings? As I look at my first post I see I indicated a neutral decor as a criteria.
Who chooses the fabrics in these RV’s, they certainly don’t seem to have the full-timer in mind. Most of them look like a tropical or safari vacation. Not what I want to look at day after day. Where am I’m going with this is straight to our first DIY RV project, as the interior window treatments and dining chairs have a safari AND tropical palm tree effect, blended to a dark, dank atmosphere. Choose a fabric wisely, get a staple gun and medium staples, magnetic screw driver (preferably power driven) and off you go. The change, while not dramatic, gave me some sense that I have control over how our home is going to look day-to-day. The real challenge is coming; organizing and fitting it all in without being cluttered!

About Time – Purchasing our Class A Diesel

  • imageWe have our vision of what will make us comfortable on the road, at least we think we do. Not knowing if we were going to find it, we started an early (internet) search (not counting the last 37 years of imagining, RV Shows, being invited ‘aboard’ and magazines, etc). Our most distinct (for searching purposes) features were Class A, Diesel, >/= 400 hp,  $100-$150K, Bath and Half. We did find that after 2007 (we don’t want anything older than that) all manufacturers made at least one model with an extra half bath.  Many react as this last feature being overkill, but for us that is a personal comfort neither of us is willing to forgo if we don’t have to. Enough said, it’s a medical, age, creature comfort thing.  There are many more ‘want to’ haves, not necessarily deal breakers on their own merit, although we think we can have it all, so that is what we are going for!

We would like: 

  • NO Smoking, NO Pets (nothing against the little or big guys, just would be nice to have no hidden smells, my olfactory sense has been dictating much of my life, all my life, a blog in itself)
  • TV in main cabin facing living area (NOT overhead from the dashboard- we are standing pretty firm on this one, on principal, that just being an altogether ridiculous design idea, for us)
  • free-standing dining chairs rather than a dinette style
  • an oven rather than just a convection/microwave combo
  • washer dryer
  • neutral interior (do NOT want to do an interior decorating project at the get-go)
  • The lower the mileage, the better
  • Have no strong opinion about door placement (any experienced input on this is welcome)
  • Plenty of storage for necessary items and those ‘things’ we just can’t part with
  • Hitch (which towable car will be our best choice, future post)

How to create a balance between realistic day-to-day full-time living in a reduced interior space, while not trying to replicate all we have; reduce our footprint, so to speak.  We have inquired about above layout and are prepared to travel to Scottsdale, AZ.  If not, there is North Carolina, Florida, California and on and on, a plethora of inventory, it helps to narrow it down before you start shopping in earnest.

I have a fairly busy (RV lifestyle change) list this week, finally!                                      Spring or not, the Carlin Odyssey snowball is forming.

  • Once we successfully purchase our RV, we will have to store it for a while (we are currently renting and assisting the owner to sell the beautiful house we are leaving-will post here once listed);       http://www.yellowpages.com/monument-co/rv-storage
  • Time to contact an attorney in Montana and set up our LLC (will post more about this, purpose, decisions we make)