Sunday, March 20, 2011

Day Two - Nesting

Last night, Phil took a picture of me sitting in our little motorhome, blogging away. Yesterday was moving day, and I was one tired girlie.

I remember playing in my cousin's "playhouse" when I was a youngster. I loved visiting her so that we could play "house". That's how I have always felt in my little RV.  I enjoy washing the dishes, tidying things up, cooking - and just hanging out. When we first got our RV, we parked it at our house. Many times, I would go outside and just sit in it, and sometimes sleep in it!  

I think the RV seems more manageable than a house. It is so much smaller, and there are fewer places to look when something has been misplaced. And, that happens a lot!

Today was spent nesting. I love nesting! I organized the cabinets, the closets and the drawers. It was a beautiful day and I did spend some time sitting in the sun with my Cute Cat Paleo. Phil finished up at the condo, and locked it up for the last time.

Closing is tomorrow, and we will be without a "stick and brick" house. And it feels good.....

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Official Fulltimers!

Day One, which was also moving day. And we are tired puppies. Tonight will be our first night at the campground, where we will stay until we get everything settled. We are in our little Winnebago View, which will be our home until the NEW FIVER and NEW TRUCK arrive. We are camped at Best Holiday Trav-L-Park in Chattanooga, which is where we own a condo, for one more day.

Sold my car yesterday, a cute little Audi convertible that I have had for almost 8 years. The buyers are very good friends, Geoff and Amanda. They are very excited to get the car, and that makes me really happy.

Tomorrow will be spent nesting in the Winnebago - something I love doing. Mr. Paleo is snug as a bug in the front seat in his carrier. I am giving him water with electrolytes to help with the potassium loss from the kidney failure. I also picked up sweet potato and winter squash baby food to mix with his food. He seems to feel ok - he just looks so skinny with his new haircut.

So, let's just say that it has been a wild ride. Hopefully, soon, the pace will slow and we can settle in to a more relaxed lifestyle.

Thanks to my blog buds for seeing me through the craziness.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

Flowers and a Haircut

These flowers were delivered recently, from a dear friend who knew that life for us has been like a roller-coaster lately. The flowers have been a reminder, amid the "estate of confusion" that lots of beauty and good times are ahead.

And, speaking of delivering flowers, this morning, I delivered flowers to an employee in my neighborhood post office. I was sort of, well, let's say "not very nice" on the phone with her a couple days ago, and I knew that I owed her an apology. As I posted before, I have been darn stressed-out over details, and thought I had considered everything regarding my mail. But when she said that the post office could not hold my mail for me to pick up, until we are ready to hit the road, I sort of went "postal". Later, I felt really bad about being so short. I am sure that I just passed my stress on to her like a sick virus. I knew that I could always get Mr. Phil to go and get that post office box, and I would not have to face her. I didn't know her, and she didn't know me, but I had to make amends. When I walked into the post office with flowers, and asked if she had dealt with a really irate customer recently about mail forwarding, she laughed and said "you didn't have to do that". I told her that "yes, I did". I apologized, and told her everything that has been going on, and she was unbeliveably helpful. She even gave me butterfly stickers to put on my po box so that I wouldn't have to remember the number and could quickly spot it in the sea of boxes!  It feels so much better to bring joy in someone's day instead of stress.

Now for the haircut. Not me - my cat. Paleo is almost 16 years old, and is a mix of Manx and Himalayan. His hair gets matted, and he does not tolerate brushing. So, in preparation for our new adventures, I thought he would be much happier with a new cut. 

Ok, don't laugh at him! He is thinking that he looks very dapper with his new lions cut. He is known as a "stumpy" in the Manx world, as he has a nub of a tail. His brother, Bucky, who went to "Rainbow Bridge" last year, was a "rumpy", as he had notta for a tail. When Bucky got his haircut, I always had them leave him a little puff of fur at his tail, because I felt he experienced "tail envy" seeing Paleo with a tail and all. He always hissed at Paleo after they got haircuts.
I think Paleo felt he had posed enough, and decided to move on to more important things.
I did get the news at the Vet today that his blood work indicates that he is in moderate stage of kidney failure. He is a really good cat and I hate to see him deterioate.  But at least he will spend his last few months/years doing something he loves - traveling in the RV. He loves sitting out in his crate at campgrounds, birdwatching and sunning.

Happy Trails,

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Three more days and details, details, and more details......

Three more nights and we are officially fulltimers. I am having to quickly decide our state of domicile, who will handle our mail-forwarding, how we will access our money while on the road, get quotes on auto insurance, and consider health insurance when we retire. It has been crazy!

State of domicile: I certainly see why it is hard to say one shoe fits all....everyone has to consider their own situation. As I posted previously, Tennessee makes it very hard for us to remain a "resident" if we only have a non-residential address such as a mail-forwarding service. However, Texas, Florida and South Dakota are happy for you to call their state "home". We decided that South Dakota will be our new "home". And, our first trip when we leave Tennessee, will be to head out to South Dakota and become legal. We already live in a state that has no income taxes, but Tennessee taxes interest and dividends, and South Dakota does not. And sales tax on our NEW TRUCK and NEW RV will only be 3%. And, the automobile insurance rates are among the lowest in the country. Wow, I have always been a Southerner - now I will be a South Dakotan!

Mail forwarding: I thought I would be able to have the post office hold my mail and that I could just pick it up periodically, while we are still in Tennessee. Oh, no....that would be too easy. Since someone else will inherit our address with their purchase of the condo, their mail would be held, too. So, we can't do that. I think I will open a post office box here, and have my mail forwarded to that box until we leave town. Then, I can do a change of address to the South Dakota mail forwarding service. More details....

Getting money out of and into our bank:  Once we give up a residential address, we will not be able to open a bank account due to the Patriot Act. We have bank accounts, but they are not "nationwide" banks that I will find on the road to go and make a deposit or withdrawal. So, tomorrow, I will open a bank account with Charles Schwab, which will reimburse ATM fees charged by other banks. And, I can transfer money online, between banks. More details....

Auto Insurance: As soon as the NEW TRUCK and NEW RV is delivered, we have to be ready to insure them, with our new South Dakota address. That will be a few weeks, but I thought it best to do the legwork while making the state of domicile decision. More details....

Health Insurance: This won't be needed until after we retire, but I wanted to know my options as a resident of South Dakota. Knowing that we will be traveling, we wanted to make sure that our health insurance is also recognized nationwide. We know we will go for a High-deductible HSA insurance policy, but wanted to make sure that we are not "out of network" if we are not in the state of South Dakota. I learned that the Blue Cross Blue Shield products do not offer good coverage for travelers, because it is made up of several companies....BCBS of Tennessee, BCBS of Alabama, Wellmark, etc. I spoke with United Healthcare, and I can go to any Provider that has a contract with United Healthcare no matter where they are. So, I could keep my current physician here in Tennessee, or establish a new physician in South Dakota, or Arizona, wherever. They would be considered in network if they are contracted with United Healthcare.

Ok, I have had to cram my head with details in a very short period of time. Sure wish that RV Dreams Rally had been last month instead of next month! To the OLD FULLTIMERS out there - please, do I have it totally screwed up, or am I on the right track? Have I forgotten anything?

Oh, we have started planning our first trip in our NEW RV and our NEW TRUCK. We plan to stick to the max of 300 mile / 5 hour limit per day, so our first stop looks like it will be Land of the Lakes in Kentucky. We may spend a couple of weeks there, on our way to our new "home" in South Dakota. The next big decision will be where to spend the Winter.....

Happy Trails,

Friday, March 11, 2011

Eight Days!

Unbelievably hectic. Friends have been dropping by to pick up the items that they bought from our sale. One week ago today, I sent to friends that live locally, an email with a link to pictures of the things we were plannig to sell. I put sticky notes with a price on items that we didn't plan to store nor take with us on our new adventures. Folks started coming by and scooped up almost everything! It was awesome. We even sold our truck and car!

Our new truck and RV are on order, and we will live in our little Winnebago until the new fifth wheel comes in. We have been enjoying our friends coming by and picking-up their new purchases (free movers!). When we come back to visit, we can see our stuff at our friends houses! We had our local auction company pick up things that didn't sell, our dining table and chairs (lovingly covered with organic fair-trade coffee bean burlap bags), an antique sideboard, a few Persian rugs, and a couple of side tables. This weekend, it's more packing, and next weekend, we are outta' here!

It has been a little sad, looking around at the "stuff" that we have accumulated, knowing that it is now in the past. But, we remind ourselves of the good times ahead, collecting memories of adventures instead of stuff! 

Happy Trails,

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sold more stuff!

We have a buyer for our old truck, and he is letting us drive it until the new one comes in! Ordered our new truck in Knoxville, TN yesterday. I really do think I'll need a cowboy hat, boots and chiffon skirts to drive that baby! We also finalized our decisions for the new fifth-wheel. Planned to order, but the owners of RV's For Less had to make an unplanned trip to the emergency room, so we will order tomorrow by phone. Lots of friends came over today and bought LOTS of "stuff". It has been hectic, wild and crazy. We close in two weeks! Yep, got a little weepy again....sure will miss my friends. Exhausted.....

Friday, March 4, 2011

Good Day Selling "Stuff"

This morning, I went through my Outlook address book and sent an email to everyone that I thought would be interested in the "stuff" that we are selling. Mr. Phil took pictures and set up a little website for the auction house, so we decided to let our friends preview. We got a great response. People started calling and coming by to "shop our sale". We sold office desks and chairs, secretary desk, tv's, lamps, bookcase, antique table, all sorts of stuff. We even sold our car! We plan to sell what is left at auction and store the things we really want to keep.

It feels a little weird, I'll have to say. But, tomorrow we are going to order our new fifth wheel and truck! And, that is going to be our little nest on wheels. Our official full-timing date will be in about two weeks. Once we move our bed out of the condo, we will be living in our little Winnebago until our new fiver comes in.

Happy Trails,

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Leaving Old Friends and Making New Friends

I got a little weepy last night, as I was packing up getting ready to move out of the house and into the RV. We are seriously downsizing. For the most part, I know pretty much what to get rid of, and what to keep. But, occasionally I run across stuff that stops me in my tracks - unexpectedly. Last night, I got weepy over a teapot! On the one hand, I don't use it, so of course I cannot justify keeping it. But on the other hand, I like it. But, I don't use it. When I make tea, I make it by the cup and nuke the water. But I like it. Then I realized that it wasn't parting with the teapot that was the problem. I got weepy because I have lots of good memories, sharing tea with my "girlie" friends.We have laughed, cried, bitched, moaned, and groaned over hot tea from that teapot. (Lots of bottles of wine, too.) I wondered if I would meet nice ladies on the road to sit down with and share hot tea. I called one of my friends, Terri, to tell her that I will miss her, and to share my weepy story. She reminded me that we will carry our memories with us, in our hearts. 

Mr. Phil got a little (lot) choked up a few days ago, when he remembered his plans with an old friend to go rock digging together "someday". Phil realized that his "someday" was getting closer, but his dream would not be shared with his dear friend Andy, who died not long ago. I am sure that Mr. Phil will carry Andy in his heart everytime he gets the opportunity to dig rocks.

When we moved to Chattanooga, almost ten years ago, we thought we would be here forever. But, we never know where "forever" will find us, nor when it will end. We have made some wonderful friends here, and we will carry with us on the road great memories of good times with them. I don't know if we will ever move back, but we will be back.

Reality has not hit that we won't see family as often. I do have the cutest granddaughter in the world, and I will miss visits with her. But, hopefully, when we come back this way, we can make up for lost time. And, we plan to kidnap her occasionally so that we can have her all to ourselves for a few days or weeks. She has just turned two, we can't wait for her to get old enough to take to Disneyworld.

So, I just hope that if I meet some of my RV'ing bloggers on the road that we can sit down over a hot cup of tea, or glass of wine, and spend a little time sharing our lives. Maybe stare into a campfire and reflect on the past or dream of the future. Or, just talk about what's happening today. I look forward to making new friends on the road.

Thanks for listening,