Friday, March 28, 2014

Freshening Up Our Home

 

Lots of full-timers share how they have personalized their RVs, to all different degrees from painting walls and cabinets, changing light fixtures to what I consider minor changes as we have done.  Even before we hit the road, we hung paintings and photos. 

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My aunt painted this for me years ago.  It has hung in every bedroom of mine since then and hangs in our bedroom now.  I find it a source of peace.

The wood-carved Panther head (given to me by my Reiki mentor back in 2002 and which has hung over the interior entry door of each of my homes) resides in its proper place protecting our rolling abode.  

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Photo taken in previous environment, not in our rig.

A couple of years ago we replaced the sleeper sofa with a twin bed set, which serves as a second bed and comfy daybed perfect for snuggling up and reading. 

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Cozy snuggle nook.  Maggie likes it, too.  She has a perfect vantage point for watching deer out the window from the Mexican blanket on the pillow pile in the corner. 

We’ve put area rugs in the living room which not only add color but protect the carpet and provide a bit more insulation.  In fact, we just changed those out this year, going from maroon to a nice dark blue.  We typically take off our shoes but, due to the nature of our work, taking off work boots during the day is not always practical.  Added floor insulation is a plus during the cold winters we have here, trust me on that.

When we swapped rigs at the Keystone factory back in 2010, they put the recliners from our old rig into this one.  The newer ones just weren’t comfy and, after I mentioned that, the guys moved these over from our previous rig.  We’re still grateful for all the assistance we received from everyone at the factory during that time.

Just these minor changes have helped make our rig “our own,” although it felt like home from the get.  Guess I was just ready for this lifestyle, never feeling my surroundings were alien, cold or impersonal.  “Home” is not a structure, it’s a feeling or state of mind.  Our rig has been our home from the moment we began full-timing.

Perhaps it’s because I’m a gal (you know how we like to rearrange furniture, teehee!), perhaps it’s emerging from a long Winter or perhaps it is just time . . . I’ve been thinking, planning and making a few more changes.  Minor ones, but they do change the “look” and “feel” and give us a fresher look.

A couple of weeks ago I took down the silly curtain panels that framed the windows on the sides.  The top valance panels (boards) are still in place and that’s okay for right now.  I’ve read where some folks have painted them with fabric paint, and that may be in their future.  We’ll see.  If I can figure out how to get them off and then back back in place, I bet I’ll be painting this summer.  In the meantime, it’s given a “cleaner” and more updated look, and eliminates things that collect dust.

Removal of side curtains

I’m considering painting those valances a solid color.

We seriously considered swapping out our king mattress for a smaller Sleep Number Bed, even going to a Sleep Number store and checking them out. (Aaahhhh, that was nice!)   We don’t need a king, really, and downsizing would give more room in the bedroom.  Sure would make it easier to change linens on the bed, too.  A Sleep Number Bed is in our future, but we’re holding off for a bit in view of upcoming medical expenses. 

Having decided to keep our bed for a while, I got a new comforter for it.  Can you believe we were still using the bedspread that came with the rig?  I’m almost embarrassed to admit that!  I never have liked it; that paisley pattern was so dang dark and I didn’t care for the material.  Now we have a comforter which is as close to a duvet (what Dave was used to in Scotland) as we’ll get.  It sure brightens up the bedroom.

 

Bedroom

Before

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Okay, I’m not totally enamored with the pattern, but it came the closest in feel to what I was wanting.  Well, without spending hundreds of dollars, that is.  See the headboard?  That puppy’s going out hopefully this weekend.  I’m thinking those lamp shades will be changed out soon, too.  I’m still mulling over short valance curtains of some type; hence, curtain rods still in place.  The comforter really is comfy, lightweight but providing warmth and being good for summer, too.  It’s also reversible.  Again, closest match to what Dave had in weight and purpose in Scotland.  He’s a happy camper.

The next wee project is removing the headboard.  It, too, has that same paisley pattern and some puffy blue fabric . . . just one big dust collector, in my opinion.  Shouldn’t be hard to take off and it will give a more simplified look.  I bet that change will make the bedroom look a bit more spacious, too.

It’s our home and we have no plans in sight for trading in/up/down.  Sure, newer models have cool floorplans, larger showers/tubs (I’d really like that), and updated d├ęcor features.  Thing is, I like our rig.  I like the open floorplan that we have. 

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I love my rear kitchen and all the space in it.  Our rig was straight from the factory and is solid, dependable and well-insulated.  The folks at the factory went over this rig with attention to every single detail; we had virtually no “new rig bugs” and no major issues in the 3+ years we’ve had it.  Sure, there’s a couple of minor exterior things that need attention and we’ll take care of those once the weather cooperates.  All in all, the lure of a new rig sounds tempting, but I’d rather maintain and hang on to one that is solid and one whose history we know.

So!  In light of that, I’m making a few wee changes here and there.  It’s fun and gives a renewed look and feel.

Do you have any redecorating projects coming up this year?

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Sixteen Days? Really?

 

Oh man, that has to be a record of not blogging for me. 

We’re still very much in Winter here.  Right now it’s 30F outside with a Real Feel of 12F.  We’ve had gusts in the 30 MPH range today.  That’s cold, folks, even with brilliant sunshine.  I am so ready to dig in the dirt, crank up my walking routine, prep flower beds, mow, etc.  You could look outside today and think, “Oh, what a lovely day.”  Then you open the door, it is almost blown off its hinges and you fight to stay upright on the steps.  Sheesh.  The good news is the snow is gone with the exception of along the sides of the parking lot where it was piled when being plowed.

My online virtual assistant job was keeping me very busy the past couple of weeks, too, finishing up a stage of the project.  They have to do some things on their end and then I’ll be busy again with it, I’m guessing later this week.

I’ve had some spare time again the past couple of days and finally got around to making a photo DVD for my uncle in Minnesota.  He’s not on the Internet these days but sure can still operate a DVD player.   It’s a year-in-review collection of highlights from our life on the road, and I think he gets a kick out of it.  Meant to get this done before now, but have been a tad busy shoveling snow . . .

My annual CT scan is next Tuesday, with an appointment to see my surgeon the week after that for results and annual check.  I’m doing well, but have experienced some of the “What if’s” now and then the past couple of weeks.  No worries, really, and what will be, will be.  A bit of the heebie-jeebies is only natural with annual checks; it comes with the territory.  I recognize it for what it is and go with the flow.

As the LiveStrong saying goes, cancer may leave your body but it never leaves your life.  Putting aside the focus on self, one may find oneself doing volunteer work for cancer organizations, becoming an advocate with an organization, becoming involved with groups in which one gives support to those undergoing treatment or simply having long-term friendships with other survivors. 

Of course, I suppose that’s not true for everyone.  Some folks go through their cancer experience and leave it all behind.  Or so they say.  Guess it depends on what their treatment involved and what their prognosis was.  There can actually be quite a bit of difference between even Stage I and Stage II, depending on the nature of the disease. 

You know, I’m glad I didn’t leave it all behind.  Through my volunteer work over the years, I met so many beautiful, strong, spiritual, funny, smart people, and I’m grateful for their presence in my life even to this day.  True, some have moved on from this Earth and, yes, it hurt to lose them.  I wouldn’t have missed knowing them for anything, not even the sorrow experienced at their passing.

We also have an appointment with an orthopedic surgeon for Dave along in that time to have his thumb issue evaluated.  Preliminary thoughts from our GP is that it is a “trigger thumb,” and this could require surgery.  We’ll know more in a couple of weeks.

We were waiting until April 1 for these appointments, as that is when our new insurance kicks in.  We’re looking forward to getting these medical issues taken care of and moving on into Spring and Summer.

Our geese are back and last week was the first groundhog sighting of 2014, so warmer weather is on its way!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Tackled a Wee Project This Morning

 

For a while I’ve been wanting to do something with our window dressings.  We have the fabric hard valances and side panel curtains that attach at the top to the valances with Velcro and then are on a bracket at the bottom.  See before photo:

 

With side curtains up

 

The shot above was taken at Christmas, hence the stockings hanging and the garland.  See those side panel curtains on the windows?  Now look . . .

 

Removal of side curtains

 

I like this much better.  It gives a “cleaner” look, eliminates all that dust-catching fabric and looks a bit less factory-issue, perhaps even a bit more updated.  I think it makes the inside look more spacious and even lighter.  Just got a wild hare and took ‘em out this morning.  Took the bottom brackets off the walls, too.  I also chucked out that stand-up torch lamp in the first photo.

Heck, it only took me a bit over 3.5 years to do that wee mod.  Wonder what’s next?

I think I have a touch of Spring cleaning fever or chucking-things-out-fever.  Whatever.

We’re talking about getting a Sleep Number Bed, thinking this might help with Dave’s recurrent back issues.  Our mattress is the king that came with the rig; we’re looking at downsizing to a queen.  That is big enough, and will give us more walk-around space in the bedroom.  I tell ya, changing linens on a king bed is a challenge and adventure in an RV.  We might have to cut down to size the platform under the king, but that should not be a big deal.

The snow is steadily melting.  I see more patches of ground.  Yay!  We have another storm and colder weather midweek, but we’re hopeful it won’t be much and that this will be the last of the really nasty weather.

Once we are truly done with Winter, I can tackle more wee projects like today’s.  I’m looking forward to giving our home a good wash!

Thank you all for following along in this new space; I really do appreciate your presence!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Nice Weekend and We’re Going to be Invaded!

 

I took Truck out for a nice spin yesterday up, my destination being the Weis market down Highway 22 near Bethlehem, PA.  Yep, I traveled to another state!  It’s the market I like going to now and then to see different items and get things we can’t find locally.  It’s about 20 miles from here and makes for a nice run for Truck and me, too.  Since Truck doesn’t get highway miles often, it gives it a bit of a workout.  Finished at Weis, I stopped in at a Wegman’s market which I pass on the way to Weis.  Wow, Wegman’s is huge and includes a catering service, gargantuan deli, place where you can get hot sandwiches, etc., lots of natural foods and what seemed like a really large selection of Kosher items.  I just wandered around, wide-eyed.  On the return route home, I also popped into another market in Easton, PA, another one I pass on the way to Weis.  Just wanted to check it out.  The smallest of the three, it had an old-fashioned flavor to it but was still clean and the employees friendly.  Had a nice outing and we are stocked up on provisions again.  I’ll be cooking this week, starting today.

During the extreme cold temperatures (single digits and subzero), our fridge went haywire and stopped working, so I had turned it off for a few days while we were in deep-freeze.  It did this for about 24 hours last year and when we encountered really cold weather in Missouri back in 2010.  About a month ago, I purchased a dorm-sized fridge just for such occasions (and overflow) and put it in my office in the office trailer.  It being small, we weren’t able stock up as usual; the freezer section is really just a “token” freezer and not meant for long-term storage. 

Combine that with running off our fresh tank and therefore keeping water usage to an absolute minimum, I have not been cooking as usual.  I’m ready to get back to some “real” meals.

The mercury reached 52F here yesterday with glorious sunshine.  What a relief.  Today is not quite as warm and a bit cloudy, but it still feels delicious outside.  We do, however, have the possibility of a snowstorm Wednesday/Thursday, but are hopeful it will be minimal and that it will be the last.  We still have snow on the ground here, but it is slowly melting and we see patches of actual ground in places.  Yay!  The geese and deer are also pleased about this.  I can sort of see the top of the picnic table.  Yep, we’re making progress.

My annual CT scan is scheduled for early April with an appointment to see my surgeon about a week following the scan to get the results.  Although I don’t anticipate any issues, I still get the “heebie-jeebies” when this time rolls around.  It’s just a natural feeling that happens, so I’m just recognizing it for what it is and rolling along.  What will be, will be.  I will, however, be glad when it’s done and dusted and I can move on with the rest of the year.

The weekend after my surgeon appointment, we will be invaded!  The property owners have rented out the property to Military Simulation Airsoft Training and Operations.  Yeah, I didn’t know what that was, either.  Think paintball wars only with biodegradable pellets instead of paint and on an apparently much higher level of technical sophistication.  Essentially it’s staged combat, with the scenario here being radioactive, chemical and biological warfare/terrorism.  Apparently folks pay money (quite a bit, I would think) to participate in these events.  Ours will be a two-day weekend affair with possibly 400 warriors (Patriots and Freedom Fighters) converging on the property.  Apparently they also film the events, using this in developing video games, etc. 

No live ammo, no knives, no physical combat.   Apparently their rules of conduct are very strict and they mean business.  Just lots of guys (and gals??) dressed in military garb, film crews, support crews . . . wow, I say.

I’m torn between “Oh. My. God.” and “Wow!  Cool!”  My initial thoughts are “where is everybody gonna park,” “they darn well better not leave litter everywhere,” and “where is everyone going to sleep?  Hotels?  Are they going to pitch tent barracks on the property??” “Will there be military trucks and choppers?”  “Does Bruce Willis attend these sort of events?”  Teeheee!!  (I’ve heard celebrities have been known to participate.)

No, I definitely won’t be having all 400+ people sign in.  Well, if Bruce Willis showed up, I’d have to present the sign-in sheet to him.  Ha!

Okay, I’m being silly.

The company has rented out several of their properties to MSATO, with the first one being this weekend.  We’ll know more what to expect after this first one is over and as we get closer to our date.

Should be interesting, at the least.  Better make sure we’re stocked up on stuff and don’t have to go anywhere that weekend.  And that my camera batteries are recharged.

No, we certainly can’t say our life here is boring.

I heard Woodpecker throughout the day yesterday and a Mourning Dove sat on one of the wires and “coo-coo’ed” in the afternoon, so Spring is coming! 

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Saturday, March 1, 2014

We’re Alive

 

Seems like I have totally gotten out of the blogging habit.  It’s tough enough when one isn’t traveling.  Along with that, there really is nothing going on around here, not with the site and not with us.  (Guess that isn’t totally true.  There has been some preliminary work on the proposed gas pipeline replacement that is supposed to happen this year.  The pipeline runs on the property a bit and when/if this project takes off, I suspect things will be hopping around here for a while.)   We’re really just biding time until Winter departs.  There are so many things that have to be done during this weather that one doesn’t have to do during the other seasons of the year.  So, we are really just surviving.  Top that off with the fact that I just haven’t really felt like writing in recent months.  I seem to have lost the urge, the inspiration, the “whatever.”  Here’s a glimpse of what’s been happening.

Feb 20 Moving Snow from Rig

We spent one morning taking turns moving snow away from one side of our rig.  Later in the day, the site electrician came by with his ATV which has a mini plow on it.  He moved all this snow away

Scott plowing Montana (2)

It really helped to get all the snow away from at least one side of our rig.

  • Resistance is futile; we have been assimilated.  The latest notice from Dave’s health insurance said that his policy was being cancelled due to the Affordable Care Act.  Long and short of it is that monthly premiums for our health insurance in the private sector have, or will be the end of this year, nearly tripled.  We simply cannot afford to keep our current insurance, which were 80/20 plans with premiums and deductibles we could handle.  We had no choice but to sign up for health insurance via the Exchange.  After a few futile attempts to create an account (system was repeatedly down due to technical issues), I was able to create an account and enroll us; the process took 45 minutes.  (I had done research prior to getting on the Exchange and knew exactly which policy I wanted; I’m certain that made the process go more smoothly.)  Because of our Texas residency, I was able to get a policy that is multi-state and should cover us where we travel.  I am not happy at the least with being forced out of our current coverage, but that’s an entirely different conversation. 
  • Got the taxes done and dusted.  Parted ways with the CPA I had been with for 20+ years.  Whether he simply did not want to bother with our small account and/or the fact that he did not seem to grasp/understand our status as full-time RVers . . . I dunno, but his attitude had changed last year and still this year.  Sort of like he had a personality transplant.  Totally bizarre, and I never could get a reason . . . sort of sad, as we had a good rapport and relationship for, again, 20+ years.  Oh well.  Thank you, TurboTax!  Did the taxes myself and saved a bit of money by not paying CPA fees.  Our situation is less complex than back in the days when I had a home business, so it wasn’t too much of an ordeal.
  • I have to confess I was kickin’ butt and takin’ names at the first part of this week, having done and filed both our federal and state taxes and enrolled us in health insurance within a 24-hour period.  I am Woman; hear me roar.
  • Dave’s pinched neck nerve is still giving him extreme pain.  He was doing somewhat better but has had a relapse.  (Pushing and positioning a dumpster might have had something to do with that relapse . . . just sayin’.)   I’m hoping this will resolve with time, and the sooner the better.  That’s his right side.  He also has developed a “trigger” thumb which is swollen and painful; we believe this may have been exacerbated by his fall on the ice.  Since that’s on his left side, he’s sort of a total mess right now.  If he can hang in until the new insurance kicks in April 1, we’ll have to get both of these addressed if they are still bothersome.  Thing is, he’s really not getting a chance to heal what with the extreme cold and some heavy physical things that have to be done, i.e. changing propane tanks daily or every other day, etc..  I am doing virtually all the shoveling, which has not caused any issues and is actually good exercise since I’m not getting my walks in due to weather.
  • Thank goodness for my virtual assistant gig.  It brings in a few extra dollars and gives me something to do these days when we’re essentially shut-ins due to the weather.
  • Last Friday evening, we were outside and suddenly there were “fireworks” on one of the many electrical lines around.  Arcing and sparking and quite the show.  Then one of the parking lot lights started flickering off and on.  We smelled a bit of smoke – an electrical burning smell – and I saw green/blue flashes behind the mill.  Called 911 and a Holland PD officer came by.  Well, heck, it was still happening when he called to say he was on his way, but by the time he arrived everything was quiet again.  It was quite the show, actually.  The next day, we lost power; our electrician came by and determined it was a light company issue; called them and they came out that evening; the lineman replaced a blown fuse.  The next evening (last Sunday), the water well pump stopped working.  When our electrician checked that out, he found that the pump had “burned up.”  How much you want to bet these things were all related to our Friday night fireworks?  Never a dull moment around here.
  • Speaking of weather, last weekend was actually quite nice with sunshine and highs in the 40s; however, it has been bitterly cold (we’re running about 21 degrees below normal this year) this past week and we’re awaiting yet another round of snow which is to arrive tomorrow afternoon/evening and hang around until Monday evening/Tuesday morning.
  • We have maintained water in our rig, even with the latest round of minus-zero and single digit lows.  We turn off the shore water and run off the water pump.  When we are finished with water at bedtime, I turn off the pump and drain the taps.  So far we’ve had water when I turn the pump on the next day.  We’ve been lucky the past few days to be able to refill our fresh tank.
  • Cool news is we’ll have a snow blower next year!  Yay!  Had a lengthy and really nice conversation with our local boss Friday afternoon.  He is a truly good guy, as is the whole team we work with here.  That is one of the reasons we are reluctant about jumping ship . . . it’s a good bunch of people.  That counts for a whole lot, these days.

Yep, I guess I really do need to get out more if I’m excited by the prospect of a snow blower . . . Ha!

Okay, laundry’s done and needs to be folded.  Sorry this was long; guess I need to update more frequently.  Didn’t even tell you about half the key falling out of the ignition (the other half still in the ignition) of the company truck while I was driving it here on the property.  Thankfully, I could still get it started/stopped and a local mechanic was able to get out the half in the ignition with a special set of picks.  When I saw the key ring fall to the floor with half the key on it . . . well, if I hadn’t been so frustrated I would have laughed.  Okay, so I did laugh later.  That was a new one . . .

Even when it’s quiet here, it’s not boring . . .

Thanks for stopping by!