Friday, April 25, 2014

April 25, 2014, Friday.  If you have read any of the early entries you have encountered my mentioning our process of  "de-stuff-ing".  It is the process of getting rid of all the "non-essential" things that we have accumulated over the years and how we have had to become emotionally un-attached to the stuff.  And believe me (if you have never had to subject yourself to this process), when I say that you do indeed get attached. Once you have inventoried and evaluated all your stuff, you can then make the list of what you are going to keep and know that you have to get rid of all the rest.  When you see how little you can take with you in an RV, you will realize how short your list of "essential" stuff will be.

Here are the different things we have "inventoried" and what we have done to "de-stuff":

1. There are those things you keep because they were gifts from people you love.  These are usually some of the easiest to get rid of by explaining your full-time situation to the person who gave you the item and telling them how there is no room in your new lifestyle for the item.  Most people usually understand (it may take more than one occasion of describing the size of your new world) and will accept the return of the item. 

2. There are things you have told yourself over the years that will fit you once again when you have lost the weight or they will come back in style.  Come on!  Get real!  It ain't gonna happen. Now send those to Good Will, National Kidney Foundation, Rescue Mission, Crisis Ministry or Lions Club or other local organizations that will make better use of it than you are right now.

3.  There are those things in your garage, work shed or junk drawer (and check your sock drawer, too) that you have been keeping for a "I could use this to fix something" creatively.  The leftover plumbing parts, paint, used tools, broken or used appliances.  Take those to Habitat for Humanity Re-Store. 

4.  Have a yard sale.

5. Check out Free-Cycle.  Years ago when we discovered Free-Cycle we had a lot of used lumber from a deck re-build and instead of renting a trailer to haul it all to the land-fill, we offered it up on Free-Cycle.  With-in a day or two someone came and picked it all up and today there are chickens being housed  with our old deck lumber.  Pots, pans, cookware, dishes and furniture that you could not unload at your yard sale can go onto Free-Cycle.

6.  Estate sales and liquidation companies can help you move a lot of stuff quickly with little effort on your part.

7.  It is surprising how much we have given away to just our neighbors.  We asked them if they wanted any of stuff and they have taken quite a bit. 

As of this writing only some of the rooms are empty.  The people who are buying the house are young and have been renting and have very little.  Certainly they can't fill this big house.  We have asked if they want some of the stuff we still have left.  We may leave behind some things for them.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

April 20, 2014, Sunday. HAPPY EASTER!  The Lord is risen!  He is risen, indeed!

The weather during holy week was very wet and cold but today is totally beautiful.  The azaleas and dogwoods are perfect and they beautify and glorify God for Easter.  In this part of the country fall is colorful but spring is glorious!  Everywhere you turn there is new life and rebirth.

We had Easter dinner this afternoon at a neighbor's house with other neighbors that was most enjoyable and tasty!  It was a time of sharing and fellowship and they wanted to show their appreciation before we move which may be sooner now as the sale of the house progresses.   

This week we will be doing some serious de-stuffing.  We have to find someone who wants the remainder of our furniture and I have tools in the garage that I must find a home for.  Some one at church recommended Graigslist but I am leery of that method; too much bad publicity.  Some of it may just get busted up thrown out.  For example ,we have a large 54" projection HD TV (one of the first HD models to come on the market 16 or 17 years ago) but it is so old I doubt anyone would want it. So we are going to have to think outside the box this week.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

April 16, 2014, Wednesday. There Has to Be a Better Way!  Yesterday, just by chance, I opened the website that schedules real estate showings and saw that we were scheduled for one at 3 PM. We received no phone call, which we are supposed to get whenever a showing is set up.  So we got everything fixed up, headed out the door at 2:30 and took some stuff over to Phaeth and did some shopping.  We got back at 4:30 and again, just by chance, looked at the scheduling website.  Now it said the same agent will show the house from 4:30 to 6:30.  Again no phone call!  So we had to put away the food and get out ASAP.  So we got kicked out of our house for 3 hours yesterday and don't even know if the house was shown since they took no literature, left all the lights on and the agent left no card. 

Selling a house is so extremely disruptive!  I have complained about this to our agent several times now.  In my humble opinion real estate agents really don't do a whole lot of work and waste one hellva lot of time - their own, their client's and the seller's.  They don't talk.  They don't listen.  They don't do any kind of analysis of what their buyer wants.  They could save a lot of time, gas and energy by sitting down with their clients and find out what they want and using the photos that are taken of houses and previewing them with their clients.  Then and only then they can select two or three houses to show.  Currently they "meet" their clients at a series of houses and the time wasting begins there.  Showing numerous houses and hope they "hit" on one they might like.

Our house has been show two dozen times now and I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THE FUTILITY OF THE PRACTICE!  GAAAHHH! We are not even given the courtesy of a business card not a comment of whether their client liked it or not.  Has everyone abandoned simple manners?

Monday, April 14, 2014

April 14, 2014, Tuesday.  We discovered a result of being gone for a long period of time.  While we were traveling last week, the chest freezer in the garage tripped its GFI and we only discovered it this afternoon.  We guess over $100 in meat alone was destroyed.  There are other things on the circuit so we can't blame the chest freezer with out further investigation.

April 11, 2014 Friday. We broke camp at Bella Terra in Foley, Alabama after our "vacation" rally.  Boots and Joan were going to stay a couple more days before deciding what they would do next.  They basically have the "full time" mentality but still keep a stick and brick house.  They have to hang onto it mentally but they are in practice "full-timers".  I have a problem grasping this but everyone is different.  Perhaps someday I will figure it out.  I'll let you know. 

Despite the fact that we were returning home, Randy (our Rand McNally GPS device) decided to take us a different way from the route she brought us to Bella Terra.  We headed south to the beach and wonderful views of the Gulf of Mexico and then east to Florida before heading us back up north on US 29.  We came upon a traffic accident where hazmat officials had the entire intersection closed and we had to navigate through a McDonalds parking lot and drive-thru to get back on US 29.  That was interesting and the folks in Micky-D's were surprised to see a class A motorhome where cars should be. We were lucky not to get ourselves into a "situation".  We got back on I-65 and then I-85 north of Montgomery.  By the time we got to Auburn the flow of traffic had come to complete stop due to road repaving.  Joanie and I discussed what we would do if some stranger jumped out of their car and ran to our door asking to use our bathroom.  What would you do?

We were approaching Opelika and decided we were too tired to go on to Palmetto, Georgia our planned stop for the night but we were tired even though it was early in the afternoon and I was fighting the effects of a migraine.  We found an old, run down RV camp ground called Lakeside RV Campground that advertised "big rig friendly".  We did not camp near a lake and we saw no lake so I don't know where they got the name.  The manager was very friendly, and directed us to a pull through site.  The facility has had little maintenance for the last 20 or so years and has been the repository for old trucks and cars during that time.  There were more junked cars around the place than camp sites.  Perhaps Bella Terra had spoiled me.  But we felt safe enough and with the slide outs deployed, we felt at home.

April 12, 2014, Saturday.  We felt better after a good night's sleep and had a beautiful day for travel.  I had my first plus $200 fuel bill at Pilot/Flying J near LaGrange, Georgia.  We skirted Atlanta to the south on I-285 and got back on I-85 and arrived home late in the afternoon. 

We had a surprise when we pulled up to the house.  The landscaper had finally come to do the work we had requested before we left for Foley.  Now the house looks good and since we have dropped the price a bit should sell now. 

April 13, 2014, Sunday.  Palm Sunday.  The beginning of the holiest week of the year.  We were still somewhat slow from our recent adventure so we went to Mass at St. Philip Neri over in Fort Mill at 5:30 in the afternoon.

In the morning while watering the new grass seed put down by the landscaper, my next door neighbor came out and told me that the young couple who had given us a contract on the house a few weeks ago, a contract we declined, had been back out to the house while we were gone.  A good sign I hope.  Our neighbor told the young couple what a great house this was and what a great deal they would be getting.  Say a prayer. 

Thursday, April 10, 2014

April 10, 2014, Thursday. 

Yesterday we had lunch with the whole of the Tiffin Travelers (TTs) rally at Orange Beach, Alabama then headed out into Bayou St. John, Arnica Bay and By La Launch to find dolphins (porpoises) and we were not disappointed.  They put on a good show.  They love to ride the wake of the boat and body surf. 


When we got back to Bella Terra, we had a very enjoyable "happy hour" and then we all watched "Saving Mr. Banks" in the little theater.  It was a good movie, well done, historical and no bad words anywhere in it. 
This morning I noticed a little sun and wind burn on my face but I feel like I am on vacation.  I am thoroughly enjoying this trip; meeting new friends, sharing experiences of travel adventures and enjoying the fellowship of people who all like to do this.  I am truly relaxing and having fun and Joanie is, too.
Today we had breakfast with the TTs and held our chapter meeting.  Joanie was acting secretary and took the minutes. The rally was officially ended although several will stay a few more days.  We will hit the road tomorrow morning.  We did a little housekeeping; laundry mostly.  Because our house is only about 400 or 500 square feet in size, it doesn't take long.  I spent an hour finding a place to stay tomorrow night on our way back to our stick and brick house.  I was a lot more efficient in the process this time and I am not going to be as anxious about finding just the right place.  We have to be willing to accept what we encounter along the way.  After all that is what makes it an adventure.
Bella Terra is sponsoring a wine and cheese reception this evening and then we have Boots and Joan over for dinner.  I will cook out on a small gas grill we brought along.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

April 9, 2014 Wednesday. The Tiffin Travelers rally here in Foley, Alabama has been a lot of fun.  We went shopping with Boots and Joan yesterday and then met with all the other TT's at the American Legion hall in Gulf  Shores for dinner and dancing. The prime rib was excellent!  I had not done that much dancing in awhile so I was zonked.  I have also been eating too much.

Some of you have asked for more pictures:  Here's where we are parked in Bella Terra.  That's Boots and Joan's Allegro Bus behind us to the left.  Tiffins far out number SOBs here.  Must be a couple dozen. Only 15 are TTs.  But this is Alabama and Tiffins are made in Red Bay, AL so I guess that is to be expected.

Here is wider shot:
Bella Terra is well manicured, pristine and upscale. But even in the best of places, things don't always work as they should; our cable doesn't work.  However we have not had time to sit and watch TV at all while we have been here.

Today we head out into the Gulf of Mexico for a small boat cruse.  The air is a bit cool, so bundle up!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

April 7, 2014, Monday  During the night Sunday the heavens opened up and it poured.  3 Creeks Camp Ground became 5 Creeks.  I resorted to donning my rain suit to walk the dogs in the morning and Joanie had towels ready to wipe them down when we came back.  The creeks roared with running water and I began to get anxious to get out of there and on the road.  I knew that was not a good idea; to mix it up with trucks and Monday morning workers in rush hour traffic so we sat still to wait for the rain to stop.  And waited. Finally by about 10:30 the rain ceased and I quickly pulled up stakes (that means performing the black water and gray water holding tanks dump, disconnect the water and electricity, pull in the slides and awnings and pull up the stabilizing jacks).

Because of our late start we didn't arrive in Foley until about 4 PM (mid-west time zone). . However, we still made it to the happy hour and boiled shrimp and crayfish dinner at the clubhouse and began to meet new Tiffin owners.  We also found Joan and Boots whom we had not seen since the FMCA at Perry, GA last month.  Had a nice catch-up with them.  Very enjoyable!

Bella Terra RV Resort is located outside Foley, Alabama.  This part of the country on the Gulf Coast is FLAT!  The land is divided up by the best right angle surveying practices humans can execute so the roads run straight for miles.  It is impressive how man has imposed his logic upon the surface of God's creation.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

April 6, 2014, Sunday. We are on travel day one on our trip to Foley, Alabama and the Tiffin Travelers chapter of FMCA rally at Bella Terra RV Resort.  Tonight we are in LaGrange, Georgia at 3 Creeks Camp Ground. 

LaGrange is a pretty little Georgia town with lots of well kept stately old homes.  It boasts LaGrange College on a campus as well kept as the surrounding homes.  This is why we are becoming full timers; to see this side of America. 

3 Creeks Camp Ground is well outside LaGrange and quiet, a bit rundown with gravel roads that have turned to dust (mud in the rain) and hook ups that need refurbishing.  It has a great roller rink that is kept up very well and is the main attraction year round.  It also has a very nice pool that is a nice gathering spot during the summer.  The attached water slide is in need of repair but once attracted the local area youth.  3 Creeks today calls itself a "complex" rather than a camp ground since the camp ground is no longer a very good draw by itself.  The skating rink and pool, I'm sure, are a lot more lucrative.  Don't let the photograph fool you; there are only 4 paved sights but they are 50 amp full hook ups.  The remainder are only partials in more primitive conditions.
Tomorrow the weather report says we will break camp in the rain. Tonight we won't worry about that and delight to the rain dancing on our roof.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

April 5, 2014, Saturday  Nothing more to report on the offer on the stick and brick house.  Our real estate agent thinks their agent is playing games.  We had some work finished on the outside touching up some siding and trim.  Looks good.  If this offer doesn't pan out we will get some landscaping done to make the yard more attractive. 

We are loading up Phaeth for a trip to Foley, Alabama.  We will take two days to get there.  We have to make the house "showable" just before we leave.  Because the weather is changing, we are debating leaving the HVAC off.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

No April Fools !

April 1, 2014 Tuesday  After all the anxiety you might believe that this was an April Fools trick.  Our real estate agent called this evening and said that we have an offer!  "No April Fools!"  She emailed us a contract.  It is less than we are offering in price and they want until June for a closing.  So we are countering by splitting the difference in price and asking for a more normal closing date in May.  The buyers are currently leasing and cannot get out of it so they want to minimize their financial outlay.

This may fall through but we have already reduced price from when they first viewed the house so I believe that we are being fair.

We will find out tomorrow.

We have some painters here today to power wash the house and some cosmetic fix ups which I hope will be done by Saturday.  We have also scheduled a landscaper to spruce up the yard. 

Tonight, extra prayers.