Thursday, July 26, 2012

On Golden Pond ...

We've been in Shelton, Washington, at the Spencer Lake RV Resort since Monday afternoon.  To say it's been a wonderful time is an absolute understatement!  Cousin Steve and his wife Desolee have been absolutely the perfect hosts.  What a blessing to be welcomed and accepted so warmly.  Even though the cousins have not seen each other in 30 years, I'm told, we have felt accepted from the very first moments. We didn't know what to expect, except we really looked forward to meeting them (in my case) and getting reacquainted (in Steve's case).

This whole full-time RV thing came out of the enjoyment of being open to new things.  We want to continue on in that spirit.  We don't want to miss out on any of the new and exciting things God may have for us.  Staying in this RV Resort with Steve's cousin is so much a part of that plan, and we are truly enjoying it.

Tuesday evening, after a wonderful first afternoon of visiting, Steve & Desi hosted us at dinner over at the Spencer Lake Bar & Grill where I had a delicious Patty Melt - just the way they are supposed to be made, with Swiss cheese, grilled onions and on marbled rye bread.  It doesn't get much better!  We stayed afterward for a community game of Bingo, a free game night offered by the bar to bring in business and make life fun.  We're not sure when we last played Bingo, but it was really a fun evening.  It was a good chance to see the locals in action.  Everybody was extremely friendly.

The bar and grill is on the edge of Spencer Lake - a beautiful lake.  Many of the locals live in houses around the lake.  Cousin Steve's family has a "cabin" on the lake.  In our eyes it's a beautiful 6 bedroom home, beautifully landscaped to the edge of the dock.

Wednesday morning I woke up in pain from my lower back. It's been a problem through the sale of our home, and move to the motorhome.  I thought I'd have some time to rest up and give it time to settle down again, but it hasn't worked that way so much.  It is doing better, so I'm not completely laid up, for which I'm thankful.  However, this morning I was just so tired, and I couldn't sleep any longer because my back hurt so much.

Our new motorhome came with an upgrade to a sleep number kind of bed.  I was really hoping it would be a great mattress for my back.  It hasn't worked out that well.  I've been trying to get by for over two weeks now, and it just isn't helping me at all.  So, Cousin Steve decided to lead us into Olympia, where we went in search of a mattress pad that perhaps would help.  We eventually found a 3" thick memory foam topper at Bed, Bath & Beyond.  I used a 20% off coupon from my purse and they waived the Washington State Sales tax with my Oregon driver's license.  I slept nine hours last night and though my back was pretty stiff, I feel very hopeful.  Life is good.

While in Olympia, we also visited a car dealership.  Cousin Steve is looking for a new tow vehicle, and has definite ideas on what might work for us.  We want something a little cheaper and a little smaller than he's thinking, but it got us look for real and was really quite fun and informative.  Steve and I ended up taking a test drive in a GMC Terrain.  Nice car, good and zippy, and felt comfortable.  It was only our first time looking into possibilities, so we're not ready to take the plunge yet, but it was a very good thing being encouraged to look.  We've just been overwhelmed by all the things we don't know yet, and getting a tow vehicle and getting it ready to be towed is just another task on our list.  Seems like we ought to feel a bit more comfortable with the motorhome before added a "toad" behind us!

On the way back to the lake, we stopped and Desi bought a bag of fresh steamer clams.  What a treat!  They were a wonderful appetizer before our dinner.  Lake friends of Steve & Desi's invited us to join them for dinner that evening.  I swear I felt like I was living the "On Golden Pond" lifestyle.  We sat out on this wonderful deck, overlooking the lake.  We ate steamer clams, followed by a meal of tri-tip, mushroom rice, shrimp salad, corn and fresh rolls.  We were out on the deck as the sun was setting, and soaked in the fun and wonderful visit with Jackie, Tom, Bud and Steve & Desi, right up until the mosquitoes began to bite.  It was hard to believe I was thinking I'd want to get back to the RV early.  I think it was about 10pm before we left the cabin.  Steve & Desi stayed the night at the family cabin.  We've been so thankful to have GPS available to us in both the car (thanks, mom!) and the motorhome.  It's helped a lot since we've been up here on unfamiliar turf.

Today, Thursday, we're having a down-day.  I'm finally getting some laundry done again.  Also, I had thawed ground turkey than needed to be turned into meatloaf.  I also put on a crock-pot of pork country ribs.  We've invited Steve and Desi to join us for ribs tonight.  The meatloaf will keep for another simple meal, or some nice lunches.

The weather is beautiful, the breeze feels heavenly, and we are so enjoying this week with extended family.  It's so good to be where God wants us!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The way God leads us ...

It's Thursday, July 19th.  We enjoyed a lovely visit from Steve's brother, Charlie, who drove down from Hillsboro to come and see us and our new home before we leave the area.  It's so appreciated when company comes!  It gives us a "mental break" from trying to get settled into our home.  It really does help us almost "reset" our brains.

Prior to Chuck's visit, Steve and I were once again trying to get some plans in place as to where we go from here.  We HAVE to leave this RV Park on Monday, the 23rd.  We've checked - we simply cannot stay after that date.  That's 4 more nights and then we have no place to go!  Sure, we have things in the works, but no firm plans as of yet.  I've been asking God to please show us where we are to go, and yet it just hasn't been made clear yet.

During Chuck's visit, I checked my email.  I do that on auto-pilot.  There was the usual spam, and ... an email from Wallowa Lake State Park's host coordinator!  She confirmed our positions there for September and October, and said if we acted quickly, she could get us in for August.  We were so excited to get a confirmation!  I'm really looking forward to spending some time in that beautiful area, with all the wildlife.  However, even if we took the August opening, we still have nowhere to go to in 4 days....

Chuck left around 5pm, and Steve said it was really sinking in that we need to leave here in just a few days.  He decided to call Devil's Lake State Park again, as they had a July and August opening for a host.  The ranger won't be back until tomorrow afternoon!  Now what?  Do we keep waiting?  I said I would call again and check in at Champoeg.  That ranger was already gone for the day.  I decided I'd call him first thing in the morning.  Still, that position would be a possibility for August, not for the end of July...

We began to heat up our leftover clam chowder from last night's dinner, and grabbed the rest of the salad from the refrigerator.  That's when I remembered we had considered going up to visit family in Tacoma a couple days ago.  We'd hunted for some reasonable RV Parks in the area and were disappointed.  We eventually thought perhaps we could stay in Centralia at an RV Park we'd been to before.  At least we'd be within an hour of a few visits with Steve's family.  We haven't been able to visit them for some time now, and it seemed like this might be the time.  Somehow, we'd dropped the ball on that idea.  Time to pick it back up!

I suggested Steve call that park and find out if they had any openings.  If they didn't, we'd know we need to keep looking.  We were surprised when they answered the phone!  So many RV Park offices close early, it seems.  I was praying that if God wanted us to go up to visit the rest of our family, there would be an opening. Yes!!  They had an opening for us on Monday through he rest of the month!  Relief!

For me that was confirmation that we already knew what we ought to do -- go visit famly.  We just got hung up on the details.  It felt so good to finally know where we would go on Monday!

Then came God's little extra special something!  Steve decided to call his sister and let her know of our plans to be up that direction.  He said, just perhaps, his cousin, Steve Bang, might be in the area.  They are full time RVers also, in a 45 foot deluxe motorhome.  Steve's been in contact with them for a while now, and knew they were back in the Pacific NW somewhere after Wintering down south.  I suggested he ask his sister about a possible visit with them before contacting his cousin, since our priority was to visit with his sister and father.  I didn't want our limited time used up without having adequate time with his Sister and Father.  Judy said she'd love to be able to see their cousin.

Steve called his cousin Steve.  (I know.  Why so many Steve's in a single family?  I guess it's just a great name.)  To Steve's surprise, his cousin answered the phone.  When cousin Steve learned we were planning to stay in Centralia, he said we ought to join them at the RV Park they are staying at in Shelton, Washington?  He said there was going to be an opening in a few days right next to them!  He said if we had any problem getting the space to call him, as the park really likes them.  My Steve said, "You mean I can say I know somebody?"  Steve said he'd be renaming his cousin to "his favorite cousin, Steve!" 

We'll be even closer to Tacoma, and our other Tacoma family will get to see their cousin also!  I'm really looking forward to this time.  I'm looking forward to focusing a bit more on something other than getting settled.  I'm looking forward to just living in our Moby Homa.

Today, Sunday, we went through the slide out storage tray in the basement again.  This time I showed no mercy.  I was tossing things for the Goodwill right and left.  It was definitely a day clothed in reality, which made picking what to keep and what to lose somewhat easy.  By the time we finished, we had found a place for every bit of the car load we'd brought back from my parents, accept for a few small bins inside.  Progress!  We're ready to move on to something a bit more "settled".

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Moby sees the "doctor" -- Now where?

We spent the day in the Hillsboro/Beaverton area last Tuesday.  We had an 8:30 a.m. appointment for "Moby" at the Camping World service department.  We hoped we'd get our motorhome back with at least the biggest, most important items completed, time permitting.  The biggest thing was to correct the leak under the bed room the master bath.  Fixing that would mean we could shower in our own shower, do laundry in our own "house" and brush our teeth in the main bathroom sink.  It really is the most simply things we take for granted that make life enjoyable.

Another big problem for us was the switch that raises the head of the bed.  It wasn't big for our own comfort, but it's a requirement for getting the motorhome ready to travel.  The bedroom slide cannot come in without the bed being pulled up!  This switch has worked only intermittently, and gave us great grief as we attempted to leave McMinnville for our appointment!

We got up early Tuesday, planning to leave McMinnville soon after 7 a.m.  It takes a good hour and more to get into Hillsboro from here.  I got up about 5:00, wanting to be awake by the time we leave.  I'm a bit slow at waking up...  I should add that this was our first time closing up the motorhome all by ourselves, and we were just a bit nervous.

Imagine our stress levels when we had 2 of the 3 slides pulled in, and found the bedroom slide didn't want to!  Eventually, Steve reach down over the top of the bed and was able to find the micro-switch.  He held something down - I don't have a clue what - and I pushed the button to pull in the final slide.  I've made it sound simple here, but it was not simple!  We were completely stressed!  When I finally got in the Buick with Parsley, I told myself to relax and not to have a heart attack.  I looked in the mirror and saw I was one big stress blotch.  We pulled away from our site at about 7:30, 30 minutes tardy ...

Steve drove the motorhome for the first time since we purchased it, and said it went very well.  I was a bit concerned for him, but he said he felt confident about driving it.  Naturally, he has much more experience driving RV's, even though he shares the responsibility with me.  However, being stressed out before he hit the road didn't sound like a good idea.  We didn't have any choice!

Camping World was able to get through more of our list than we expected, and we were able to pick up the motorhome again after 5pm.  Naturally, we wouldn't know whether the fixes were good until we were back living in it.

We got backed into our RV Park at about 6:30pm and quickly tried to get set up.  I don't know how, but my back was out again and Steve had to do most everything...  It's so discouraging to me to be laid up.  However, today I woke being spasm-free, and only a bit stiff.  Thanks, God!

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The next big issue for us is, "Where do we go from here?"  We've been checking out our options, with not a whole lot of success to date.  We'd really hoped for a miracle.  Champoeg State Park had a July/August campground host opening.  We would've loved to move in and fill that opening.  However, we didn't really want to leave McMinnville until closer to the 23rd, since we had service issues with Moby.  The host there says he might have something for us in August.  We haven't heard yet.

Wallowa Lake State Park needs campground hosts in September/October.  I spoke with them, and haven't yet received the information they promised.  I'm thinking none of the hosts coordinators understands (how could they?) that we feel a need to know where we are going.

This morning we had yet another discussion regarding what we do when we are scheduled to leave here July 23rd...  We decided we need to quit just hoping things will fall together and get a bit more aggressive.  Steve called Devil's Lake State Park in Lincoln City, where they need a maintenance host for July and August.  The position is still unfilled!  But, the host coordinator is off today ... More waiting.  They are looking for a "maintenance host".  That's something Steve volunteered for.  Maintenance hosts can do special projects, fix things, mow lawns, etc.  With my back needing some TLC, I could let Steve work, and I would have a chance to do more home-making kinds of tasks as we continue to work at getting settled in our new home.

I admit we have been people who play things safe for the most part.  Imagine what a big stretch it is for us to not know where we can park our rig to live!  This experience is teaching us (kicking and screaming at times) patience, and to trust God for the future in a real way.  We know he's led us thus far, so we have to believe he will continue to do so.  However, it's a big stretch for both of us to just wait for his leading.  We're used to planning and figuring things out for ourselves.

So, here we are, six days from being out of a place to park our new home.  However, I can enjoy the fact that we are making some progress!  Steve just showered and says there were no leaks!  Even though I just did laundry at my parents' place while we used their home as our base yesterday, I can now use my stackable washer and dryer again!  I plan to get some bread baked in my micro-convection oven today.  Sure hope it works ...  We're looking forward to seeing how the rest of July turns out!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

We're closing in on the end of week 1 ...

I can't believe it's Friday evening already.  This is the last day of our first week in our new Moby Homa!  It took me most of the week to get a blog post completed.  I've been trying hard to spend some time writing each day, but it's difficult to finish more than a thought or two before an interruption of one kind or another.  Also, it's almost impossible to write with a cat in my lap.  No place for the laptop!  Also, there are so many things to take care of, and much more interaction with Steve - not a bad thing!  Just doesn't leave a lot of time to be in my own head.

Thursday we had a welcomed visit from my brother and his wife.  They had kindly offered to put off their visit for a week while we tried to get settled, but next week we have an appointment for the motorhome at Camping World to get some of our problems solved.  It made more sense for them to come this week.  As it turned out, it was exactly what we needed!

We had a lovely visit, getting our minds off our unpacking and sorting.  Steve prepared for their visit by taking most the bins back out and storing them away in the basement.  That made us feel better too!  It felt like we were actually entertaining company - the family kind - and it felt great.

I fixed us a lunch of sandwiches and leftover pasta salad.  Let me stray off topic and say I've done two great new recipes this week.  The ideas came from lunch/dinners served to us at my parent's place last week.  One day for lunch my mother served us a really yummy pasta salad.  She used a Suddenly Salad boxed mix, Chipotle-Ranch variety, and doctored it with lots of added vegetables and black beans.  It was really good!  I determined I'd take a run at copying the recipe, without using a boxed mix.  It needs a little tweaking, but it was yummy!  That was the leftover pasta salad I served to Paul & Diana, my version of Chipotle-Ranch Pasta Salad.

The other copycat recipe attempt I made was inspired by some tilapia my Mom served us for dinner one night.  She purchased it, frozen & already seasoned, at Costco.  Our whole family enjoys fish, and she apologized she hadn't cooked more of it, as we ate every last bit.  Naturally, we didn't need more, but we'd have eaten it if it was there.  I had frozen orange roughy in my freezer here in the motorhome, and made a similar flavored fish.  This one was a real hit!  We'll be having it over and over - Lemon-Basil Orange Roughy.

I was able to share some of my over-stocked pantry with Paul & Diana.  I've learned that when you live in an motorhome, you don't need to have 2 Costco bottles of Worcestershire sauce.  I find it rather embarrassing on some level that I had such a well-stocked pantry at our former house.  This new life-style will afford us to live in a more just-in-time, simple manner.  We practiced this new lifestyle when we park hosted for 2+ months last Winter.  When I do my grocery shopping, I have to continually ask myself, "When will you serve this?"  A good buy is only good if you use it!  I will get better at this over time.  I now have the added motivation of limited storage space to inspire me.

I made a couple phone calls on Friday to State Parks with park hosting opportunities available.  I'd left a couple messages at Champoeg State Park, and hadn't heard back.  We have really been thinking it would be ideal to work a month or two at Champoeg, as it keeps us close enough to Camping World while we work out the bugs in our motorhome.  This call paid off with getting to talk with the ranger in charge of volunteer hosts - Mike Smith.  As might be expected of a ranger in charge of hosts, he was very personable.  I explained our situation, and he explained his.  He had two other hosts call in who might be able to come fill his July needs immediately.  If so, that would be his preference.  Another host currently working for him had some personal issues come up that might cause them to need to leave early, he'd heard.  He said he'd be speaking with them and if they did indeed need to leave, perhaps we could fill that position in August?  Either way, he'll be getting back to us.

Next I called Wallowa Lake State Park over in NE Oregon.  It's a gorgeous park, and we haven't been there for several years.  They have several openings posted for September and October.  I spoke with the ranger in charge of hosts, who's name I unfortunately didn't get.  She did an impromptu interview with me over the phone and said she'd be sending me information on their hosting program.

Each state park has unique needs from hosts.  Wallowa Lake has only 2 yurts, and no cabins.  They need campground hosts who assist campers and clean up the sites after campers leave.

We are anxious to figure out where we'll be living over the next few months.  We were only able to get a reservation here at the Old Stone Village RV Park until the 23rd of this month.  We may be scrambling for somewhere to stay until the end of July at least.  I reminded Steve he needs to be praying with me about where we go from here!  This is a new thing to get our heads around - we need to know where we can park our home to live each month!  I imagine, over time, we'll have our favorites.  It's a little precarious right now as July & August in Oregon are prime vacation months.  Openings are limited.  Stay tuned ...

Friday, July 13, 2012

Reality is setting in ...

I guess it's getting real now.  Not the full-time part, but the "we live in a motorhome" part.  Not in a bad way.  Just in a more real way.  I haven't had as much time to think, let alone write down my thoughts!

We have a lot of things yet to work through living in our new motorhome.  First, let me tell you that the huge amounts of storage aren't really that much, as it turns out.  It's all relative.  From my perspective, Steve keeps bringing in more bins of stuff that I don't have a place for.  That means clutter, not being able to find things, and frustration.  It's not his fault - he's just doing what he's supposed to do!  But many things get frustrating quick when you haven't had much sleep and are in a whole new set of circumstances with every move you make.

Our first morning, I tried to think of something a little special to make for breakfast for us.  I had eggs, I had a little ham to use up.  Ah!  Minced ham and scrambled eggs!  No bread.  How about baking a few biscuits in my new convection oven?  Sounds fun!  I get out the eggs and ham.  I find my cutting board, my non-stick fry pan.  I'm in business.  Wait.  I have no spatula.  All I have are stainless steel tableware.  I'm not going to ruin my pan.  And the biscuits?  I can't find baking powder.  Never mind.  I'm thankful we have cereal and milk.  We eat it gratefully.

Our first day didn't exactly live up to my dreams, but still I feel happy we've made this decision.  I spent a good part of the day trying to figure out where things were, and moving them to where it seemed they might belong.  Also, since we were expecting company later in the day, I wanted to try to de-clutter a bit.  We at least got the bins out of the main walk-thru.

At one point that day, Steve went outside to check in the large storage slide out to see if he could find any of the missing items I was longing for (and whining about).  He came back in and in an exasperated way told me he was so stupid.  He said all the bins they'd loaded from my parents garage were nothing more than "c--p"!  I had to laugh, and eventually he joined me. His statement was kind of true, but it was simply caused by the way that first moving day had been.  We honestly thought it was all going to fit!  We'd given away or sold all our furniture!  At least half our wardrobes had gone away.  We were brutal about it.  However, there were some items we kept just in case we decided they were worthy of storage.

Once we'd transferred what had been in the 5th wheel trailer to the motorhome at Camping World, Steve and Jim had started loading the items we'd stored for a week in my parents' garage.  When they began to load, whatever was closest went into the storage areas of the motorhome first.  When it became apparent that it wasn't going to fit, they had to quit.  What Steve had found in our storage bins this first morning were Christmas decorations, Winter clothing, photo albums needing to be scanned into the computer, picture frames we don't have anywhere to hang, etc.  Poor guy.  It really is pretty funny!  We couldn't find our underwear, but at least we could decorate for Christmas next December!

Steven Swenwold and his wife, Staci, came to visit us the evening of our first full day.  They brought us a lovely deli spread with meats/cheese and great crackers.  Also, Staci had made a beautiful, and delicious, fruit salad.  We shared the sparkling apple cider Steven had put in our refrigerator the day of the move, in the accompanying little plastic wine glasses.  We toasted to God and his goodness.

We were so happy that they'd offered to come down and visit, even though we were up to our ears in clutter and overwhelmed.  Steve was the one person who was truly knowledgeable about our new purchase!  We were so happy they were coming that first day!

While they were here, Steven wanted to help out as he could.  He took a look under the bed to find out why we had wet carpet on the side of the bed, behind the shower wall.  We'd taken late night showers at the end of moving day.  Hope that wasn't what leaked!  The panel behind the shower was dry.  So they looked under the bed.  Water!  Seems a connection from the master bathroom isn't holding.  A portion of the shower water, sink water and washing machine water may have ended up in our bedroom.  Though water inside an RV is never good, we were relieved and thankful that we are parked directly across the road from the laundry and shower facilities here at the park.  It could be worse.

Also, one of the three air conditioners appeared to be drawing way too much power, yet no longer starting.  No problem - just shut it down.  It's not that hot during the day.  We have two a.c. units left!  Most the rest of the list are little things - hardly worth bringing up.  But now we know we will have to take "Moby Homa" back in for service soon.  The idea that we could be ready to drive again anytime soon seems doubtful to me however.  I'd have to have everything put away!  I also feel like I need to have some rest before I'd be ready for that day.  We still are very short on sleep.

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Day 2 went a little better.  I slept a little more.  Not a lot, but a little more.  Time to consider breakfast.  Still no spatula or non metal utensils.  We decided we were especially thankful for our company the night before.  We had leftovers!  Meat, cheese & fruit salad is perfect for breakfast. 

There was just so much piled all around me inside the motor home!  I'm one of those people that can take clutter for a few days, if it's for a reason.  At some point, however, I can't take it.  It happened every time we'd go out in the 5th wheel.  After perhaps 3 days I'd have to just stop and put everything away and clear off the floor and counters (few that they were).  Well, I haven't changed.  It's no wonder I've always hated moving!  Clutter is a reality, and it doesn't go away in 3 days.

Here in the motorhome we have an extra problem:  There's no place to put the clutter except inside the motorhome!  If the basement and all the indoor storage are full, we have no garage to put the rest into.  We have the back end of our Buick Rendezvous, but that's it.

On Day 3, Wednesday, Steve thought he'd leave me back with Parsley, the cat, while he ran into Hillsboro to deal with some equipment issues at Camping World and Dish Network...technical stuff.  After that he'd go to my parents and sort through the garage and tell me what he saw.  I could tell him what I needed over the phone and what should just stay there for the time being.  Not only was I grateful that Steve would be taking care of all those details, but I was also grateful to have the chance to be quiet and think as I tried to re-sort and store things away in the motorhome.  I can't believe how fast that time went, even though the errands had taken Steve longer than he expected.  By the time he returned, the place looked worse than ever, but there were perhaps 4 overhead storage areas that were now neat and tidy!  Hope springs eternal.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Learning to Live Differently!

We're back in the RV Park, learning to live in our new Winnebago Journey 42E.  Just surviving yesterday feels like a real accomplishment!

We were up Saturday morning at 5:00.  Our long-haired alarm clock never fails.  Steve made us a lovely breakfast of oatmeal and toast, and even did the dishes.  We worked hard Friday night trying to get as much as we could from the trailer into the Buick, thinking we'd have less to unload from the 5th wheel to the motorhome.  The Buick was packed full!  Saturday morning was about getting ourselves ready, getting to Beaverton in time to drop off Parsley at her "grandparents" for the day, and getting to Camping world by 9:00.  Everything went smoothly!  We got in and back out of my parents' short street with culdesac.  Steve's the master at maneuvering the truck and 5th wheel without popping out the back window of the truck, were he to turn too sharply.  We made it to Camping World in Hillsboro with time to spare.

Since our truck and trailer were trade-ins, their people started checking things out quickly, while Steven, our salesman & new friend, introduced us to all the aspects of the motorhome, inside and out.  We'd heard much of it before, but there is so much to digest.  It's really quite overwhelming.  However, Steven has been very patient with us, and wonderful to work with.

Eventually we went in to meet with the finance guy, to sign papers and give him a check for the motorhome.  That only took perhaps 20 minutes, compared to a couple hours probably on the motorhome.  During all this, various folk were scrambling around trying to have everything ready for us.  A few things didn't happen.  Work orders didn't get written up, some communications didn't happened.  If this had been 2 days previous, I probably would have been really bugged and disappointed.  Funny thing was that none of that seemed so important all the sudden.  I decided it was the relief of getting through our house sale that let me relax - even with few hours of sleep over the past several days.

My hard-working, helpful brother-in-law, Jim, joined us at the dealership.  He'd volunteered to help us move from one RV to the other.  I truly don't know what we'd have done without him!  Having turned in our truck, we wouldn't even have had a vehicle to drive to get over to my parents for lunch without Jim.  My mom fixed us a nice lunch, and my brother was able to join us from Vancouver.  He'd wanted to help us with the move, but had to get back home to get his wife to work, as they were down to only one working vehicle at the time.

It turned into a very warm day by the time we got back to the dealership and found the motorhome and 5th wheel perfectly aligned next to each other, so we could transfer things from one to the other.  That's when the really hard work began.  Steve was in the 5th wheel and I was in the motorhome.  Jim was hopping from the 5th wheel with whatever Steve handed him, and up the steps into the motorhome, saving my back from lifting, where I tried to find a quick place for everything.  It was crazy.

When we were done, it was time to leave.  Our salesman popped in saying he needed to get going.  I swear I almost grabbed his leg and held on, begging him not to leave us.  At that moment I felt panic well up - I was certain we didn't know how to drive this huge monster!  I didn't even know where to begin in closing it up to move!  Steven calmly walked me through the various things to watch for before pulling in the slides.  We got them pulled in, and then he left.

We now had to drive away in the motorhome.  Steve had decided that I would drive.  Isn't he a saint?  I wanted to, and was scared to death at the same time.  I'd done the test drive out at Rooster Rock that once, but I hadn't had to do it alone, without the assurance of someone who knew.  Suddenly we were on our own.  I was so thankful to have my "other brain" sitting next to me.  I wasn't sure I could get out of the parking lot.  It seemed a very tight fit to get between the other RVs on the lot.  Steve helped encourage me through, and the world did not end.

Soon we were on TV Highway, heading to my parents house on the pre-planned route, picked for it's less than tight corners.  How strange to be pulling up next to my parents' place in that huge thing!  I couldn't believe I'd driven it there!  I'm not sure how I didn't hit anything... it just kind of happened to fall into place.

Once again, my faithful brother-in-law, Jim, worked his tail off along with Steve, getting bin after bin of our stuff loaded into the motorhome.  Long before they were finished, it became clear it wasn't going to fit.  After all that down-sizing, we still have too much stuff!  That's okay.  This time the McMinnville Goodwill will benefit!

I'm kind of amazed at the things we have too much of yet.  Cleaning products!  Lysol, degreaser, Windex, toilet bowl cleaner, disinfecting wipes, hand soap, dish soap, etc.  Suddenly, it all seems like so much over kill!  How many different kinds of cleaners do I need?  Really.  I can't wait to unload much of this stuff.  In an RV we need to be more careful about what goes down the drain - as it goes into our holding tanks.  We don't use Drain-O or harsh chemicals.  I actually look forward to unloading much of those items that I apparently treasured at the "big house".

When we got up this morning - 5:00 again - after getting to sleep well after mid-night, we enjoyed a cup of coffee (at least we could find that!), and pretty much just felt tired and overwhelmed, while being so thankful to finally be in our new home. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

We turned in our keys ...

We're only days from moving into our new home on wheels!  I still can hardly believe it's true.  There are only a few more things that need to fall into place but, God willing, we move into our new home - named "Moby-Homa" - this coming Saturday.  We have an appointment to begin the process at 9:00 Saturday morning.  Wow!

Tuesday, we left McMinnville about 8:00 a.m. to make it to the house before Consignment NW arrived to pick up the last pieces of our family room furniture.  It was fun walking into the house, freshly cleaned top to bottom the day before.  Melody, the lady we hired to clean it, did a wonderful job.  The house looked all shiny and new -- just what I'd hoped for!

The delivery truck for the furniture showed up promptly at 10:00 and was gone quickly.  It was explained that the furniture would be for sale for 3 months.  After that the price would be reduced, and if it still didn't sell, we'd be able to donate it to a local charity.  There were other options, of course, but we can't take it back!

We walked around the house, finding only three more things we'd missed.  Our calendar on the wall.  We couldn't possibly live without that!  Our cat clock - a gift from my sister-in-law in Tacoma was still telling time in the family room.  We're hoping to find a place for it in the motorhome.  My rooster measuring spoons were displayed on the wall in the kitchen.  That was the last of it!  We left our keys and mail box keys on the kitchen table (purchased by the new homeowner).  I asked Steve if he felt just a little bit sad?  He said no.  I didn't feel sad either.  It just feels like this is the right next step for us.  We're excited to move ahead and see what the next adventure is!

We drove out of our driveway one last time, but turned and parked across the street in our neighbor's driveway.  We had to go and have one last visit with Don and Nancy Barnes.  That is, one last visit this week!  We certainly plan to keep in touch with them.  We've teased that they'll be wishing we'd stay away!  Perhaps we'll go sit with Don in his driveway to watch the airshow in August.  They are simply some of the nicest people we know.  When we moved into our Hillsboro home in July of 2006, it was too late to plant a garden in our raised beds.  Don showed up on our doorstep with tomatoes, zucchini, and onions.  He was alone after losing his wife to cancer.  Then Nancy, who had also lost her husband to cancer, joined him a couple years back.  Such lovely, lovely people!  We are so happy they have each other.

After leaving the neighborhood, we ran over to Camping World to pick out our satellite service, and it's accessories.  Our technical advisor, Eric, made it simple and straight forward.  Done.  We checked in with the financial wizard, Dave, and got some final instructions.  Then, Steven, our salesman, came by and asked if we wanted a quick visit with our new "Moby-Homa".  They had him parked right up front.  We had forced ourselves to walk right by earlier, in order to stay focused on the tasks at hand.  It was a relief to be offered a visit!  All I can say is, it is SOOOOO nice!  The stainless steel refrigerator had all the packing materials removed and was ready for business.  My Steve had a question about starting the diesel engine and noted the 100 gallon fuel tank was FULL!!  Wow!  That means we don't have to worry about finding a gas station we feel comfortable getting in and out of on our first day.  That was huge!

After a few minutes of questions, soaking in our almost-home, we had to rush off to the title company.  There, we signed all the appropriate sale papers, basically closing the books on our life in a stick house.  We learned also that we wouldn't be needed at the house for the walk through, which was running a couple hours late.  The new owner was driving up from California today and was behind schedule.  So, instead, we ran off to deliver a check to the cleaning woman.

From there, we ran over to the Credit Union to try to arrange a quick turn-around of the cash we are going to receive via wire transfer on Friday, turning it into a cashier's check for the motorhome purchase.  Eventually, we got some assurance they'd be watching for it.  We learned that once the money shows up in our account, we could drive up to Wilsonville to the local credit union to get a check.  We called from the credit union parking lot to speak with our "financial guy" about some of the financial decisions ahead of us also.  Did you know we can write off interest on a motorhome loan the same as a stick home?  That means if we take a loan beyond what we need, we can write off the interest of the purchase of our tow vehicle, (called a "dingy" or "toad").  It's a good thing!  We should be free and clear in just a few years - a day we will look forward to!

That done, we decided to head back to McMinnville, via Sherwood, where we dined at Red Robins for dinner - enjoying our celebratory turkey burgers.  Perfect!

We got back to the 5th wheel and Parsley, the cat, at about 6:30.  Back to peace and quiet.  Steve asked me if I realized we no longer have a home?  I said we DO have a home - it's our 5th wheel trailer at this moment.  Either way, there is no longer any lawn to mow, let alone a lawn mower to maintain.  It was a great six years at that home, but it's time to move on to the next thing!

To be continued ....

Monday, July 2, 2012

Monday, July 2 - How perfect can it be?

I feel like I am a "Monaco sandwich"!  I'm sitting in our 5th wheel trailer at the Old Stone Village RV Park in McMinnville, Oregon.  It's almost 1:30 in the afternoon, and I'm alone with the cat in the almost peaceful park.  It was very quiet until two large Monaco Diesel-pushers arrived and backed into their sites on either side of us.  All that diesel power makes a bit of a racket!  It's hard to believe we will be parking something similar to those beasts in only a few more days!

It was another long day yesterday, and we didn't arrive at the park until between 6:00 - 6:30pm.  We got the trailer backed in - Steve did a great job, as always.  Parsley and I drove down in the Buick Rendezvous, with Steve following us in the truck with the 5th wheel.  We decided to take the "scenic route" here, via Hwy 219, through the Scholls community and over Chehalem Mountain, coming out at the west end of Newberg.  We've driven this road pulling the 5th wheel before.  There are some tight corners, but it's such a nice thing to be away from the traffic of the main highways, while being able to drive slowly through the curves without causing anyone any real stress.  Since Steve was following me over the route, he could assume anyone driving behind him would think it was I holding the reduced speed.  It was a little strange watching him follow me through those curves.  I've always been next to him in the past!

I was so happy to be here!  I slept better and longer than I have in quite a while.  The night got much cooler than it has been.  I woke up around 2 a.m. with a very cold foot that had been sticking out of the covers when I fell asleep with the cat sleeping in my lap.  I inadvertently woke Steve trying to pull the covers back up, and he kindly got us an extra blanket too.  Ah!  I fell right back to sleep and didn't wake again until I heard Steve getting into the shower just after 7:30.  Bless him for letting me sleep!

Steve left here about 8:00, after eating a quick breakfast, to go back and tie things up at the house.  He was to be there by 10:00 when some movers were to arrive to pick up the big TV cabinet from our family room for our realtor and her husband.  He said they were already there when he arrived about a half hour early!  They got the cabinet out of there without a hitch.  When we bought it, we said we'd be leaving it with the house when we sold, as it was too big and too heavy to ever move it again.  We are thankful many times over that our realtor spotted it and wanted it even before we signed with her.  It got a very good home.  Barbara told me later today on the phone that the movers had a much harder time getting it set up in their home.  She said it took 3-4 tries before they were able to lift the top piece on top of its base.  They said it was the heaviest entertainment center they'd ever moved!

The purpose of me staying back at the trailer today was to give my poor back a rest.  It's been pretty miserable for the past week, and yet God got me through it.  By late afternoon most days, I'd have reached the breaking point, sometimes to the point of tears.  A good cry always makes me feel better.  Once I'd slowly get going in the morning, my muscles would relax and eventually I'd be able to move fairly well, until afternoon again.  A couple naproxim sodium took the edge off during the day.

Yesterday, Sunday, I managed to clean both refrigerators at the house for their new owner.  There's something about a dirty refrigerator that I just couldn't leave for the woman who graciously agreed to give the house a good cleaning for me.  We used her to clean our Beaverton house when we sold it back in 2006.  I just think it's important to leave a well-cleaned home for the next owner.  I always think I'll do it myself, but it hasn't happened yet.  In 2006, when we moved into our Hillsboro home, we didn't sell the Beaverton house until moving day.  It was too much to move into the new house and clean the old one at the same time!  This time my back kept me from trying to do it all myself.  I was very determined, however, to clean those refrigerators!  It was tough, but when I finished I felt so good knowing no one else would face that mess.  You know how things leak and liquid squeezes into every tiny little crack?  Nasty!

While I was supposed to be resting this morning after Steve left, I realized it was a good thing I was here.  My cell phone just kept ringing.  I had a nice chat with my brother.  I could (and sometimes do) talk with him for hours.  With our Verizon-to-Verizon deal, it's a free call for both of us!  I needed to call our realtor about a couple things, call our saleman and Camping World to check on some things, call a contractor about some missing paperwork, etc.  There are so many details that all needed to come together...

I am happy to report that many things fell into place!  We're going to sign papers on our house sale tomorrow afternoon before the walk-through.  We just need to leave the keys on the table by 5pm on Friday.  Camping World assures us our motorhome will be ready whenever we are, and that we can go in and sign papers ahead, to shorten the day when we'll be learning about, moving into, and driving away with the motorhome.  My Steve (versus salesman Steven) needs to go in and decide and learn about satellite service for the motorhome this week - something he will really enjoy doing.  The contractor with the missing paperwork is back from vacation now and is emailing me all the documentation I need.  Consignment NW called and is picking up the last of our furniture tomorrow morning!  That's the biggest thing.  We didn't know if we'd be waiting for that furniture to be moved as late as next Friday, hours before we let go of the house.

I don't say it often enough:  God is so good to us!  Seriously!  Time after time we have seen things fall together.  Things where we had little or no control effortlessly just seem to fall into place.  We don't know why we are so blessed.  We are not "super Christians".  Just people who are trying to follow Jesus' example.  I guess it's all undeserved, which is exactly the point.  Our heavenly Father loves to give his children good gifts.  We've received, and are receiving, many.

Saturday, June 30 - Almost Ready to Move

We’re taking a a big of a break from moving.  Steve’s catching a nap and I’m catching some solitude and a break for my back muscles.  It’s been hard work, but we’re getting to the end of the “stuff” from our house.

I got an especially early start this morning – about 3:45 was when I woke to a Robin happily singing away outside our 5th wheel trailer.  It’s amazing how early it gets light in the mornings now!  I had waked one other time during the earlier hours of the night, when I discovered the bag of ice I had on my back had leaked!  At least it was nice and cool – a nice thing since it was rather a mild, humid night.  We went to bed early – and we both went right to sleep.  Funny how hard work seems to improve our ability to fall asleep!

I’m enjoying being out in the trailer.  We don’t have things very settled, but it’s good to actually get away from the area where the work is – the house.  It really does feel like we’re camping.  I’ve got a whole new window into our neighborhood.  I even saw the paper delivery lady.  I don’t know when that last happened!

Being early, I opened the garage door with the opener which is now inside the trailer with us.  Then I slipped unseen in my bathrobe to go get one last shower in our nice spacious “stick house” shower stall.  Ah!  I have to say, I will probably miss that shower perhaps most of all.  I guess my full-size oven and gas range would be my next projected missed items.  But I’ll remind myself of the simplicity we’re moving to.  Our “big” shower in the motorhome is much smaller – and less to clean!  I’ll get used to it, and will make the most of my smaller propane stove and combination micro-convection oven.  I do enjoy the challenge of mastering and making the most of what I’ve got.  Just no more 20 lb turkeys at Thanksgiving!  I’m anxious to have time to try baking bread in that oven.  I know there will be a trick to it, but I’m hoping I can get a reasonable result, given time.

When Steve wakes up from his nap, I think we’ll be able to finish packing the last of the items from the house.  I’m amazed how little we’ve actually been able to fit into our current 5th wheel.  It feels that as much as we down-sized, so little can be stored with us in the trailer.  Again I am thankful my parents have loaned us one side of their 2-car garage.  It’s almost full.  My sister & brother-in-law took our upright freezer from the garage and are thankfully storing part of my freezer items in the bottom bin.  I had no idea I still had so much left in my freezer, after working hard to use up as much as I possibly could over the past several weeks.  Another portion of my frozen goods are in the bottom of my Mom’s freezer!  Guess I’m going to have to be disciplined in using up what we have.  We’re hoping to get some more freezer space for the “basement” of the motorhome -- Yet another project for the near future – finding a freezer(s).

I’m so excited to move into our new home!  It will probably take me a long time to truly get settled, but I can’t wait to begin.