Eastern Utah
EMAIL ME AT: mgypsy97 at aol dot com

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Not much to report

Nothing going on today except that I will get my hair cut. I am about 2 wks overdue for that and really look it. When I finally leave the Asheville area, I will have to have to say goodbye to my hairdresser, auto mechanic, post office employees, and all the people who make living here a little easier.

Monday, September 29, 2008

What a difference!

What a difference a cheap air mattress makes. It wasn't as easy on my back as my mattress was, but my unpadded hips sure felt better.

I don't know what to do today. Most of the unpacked items are things I might need if I'm here for a few more weeks, i.e., kitchen utensils, etc. I'm getting down to the last of the meat in the freezer and will have used all of it by the end of the week; I have canned salmon on hand - can I live on salmon patties all next week? What a predicament to be in! Please, please, please let this be over with soon.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I'll sleep on a cloud tonight!

Well after taking a few items to storage this afternoon I went back to Walmart and found a twin air mattress with velour top, for $14.98. I didn't bother with a pump, and when I got home I tried the vacuum cleaner (got to remember to reverse that hose!). It's a little softer than what I would like, but I'll wait and see if it holds the air until bedtime, and then I can shoot a bit more into it. Both dogs were curious until I turned on the vac, and then they ran off. I just love it when I can scare them. Hopefully this will be a sort of attitude adjuster for me.

For as many trips as I've made, as many boxes as I've hauled, and as many items that I've given to Goodwill and Kiwanis, I still have a lot of clutter in the house. I have a printer that isn't working very well (but the scanner works great), and I'm not going to save it. I don't think I should put it into the trash, and it's a 50 mile round trip to the landfill where I can dispose of electronics & hazardous items. I've been there twice when I was getting ready to sell the house, and I don't think I'll go back. I could just leave it for the hotshot who is buying my house....now there's a thought.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

My rant for today!

I ended up driving to the RV dealer yesterday, as the weather report for Marion, NC predicted only intermittent showers. Well, it rained the entire time I was there. What a difference a month or so made since I was there last. Where there used to be a field of used 5vers, there was only a row of about 5 new Cedar Creeks. Finally someone told me that they were way in back in a fenced area. I found them, but discovered the two that I came to look at were not there.

On my way out I stopped at the office to find out if they were possibly located in a spot I had missed. I was referred to a salesman who said "Come on back to my office". I started to follow him, then remembered the advice given by JD Gallant to NOT go into their office unless and until you were ready to buy, and NEVER on the first visit. So I stopped short and said "Wait a minute, I don't want to sit down. Just tell me if you still have these models." He said that they had been sold, so I turned to leave. He sure didn't make any effort at all to try to keep me there, nor to suggest any alternative models.

Wouldn't it be obvious that if I came with printouts of models I was interested in, I was a serious candidate to buy? Just once I'd like to walk on to a lot and have the sales staff seem interested and willing to take me seriously, and make an effort to find out what I wanted.

I heard from my realtor yesterday that so far nothing has advanced the closing on my house - she even referred to the original estimate for closing by the end of October. Too bad they upset my California trip by suggesting that closing could be set up to end of September. And too bad I was in such a hurry to get rid of my furniture. Let's see, last night was night #3 of sleeping on the floor. I honestly don't feel as bad physically as I thought I would; my mental outlook is deteriorating, however.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Rainy Day

I woke up this morning to the sound of rain hitting the bathroom skylight, so I figured my plans would have to change. Again, I had hoped to spend a good part of the day looking at RV's, and I still may be able to go, but I don't want to walk around in the rain. I just got back from a very brief dog walk - one of them was happy to come back with me and the other one is still up in the woods. She'll be a mess when she gets back.

The universe must have a really special deal for me on an RV if I just be patient and wait for it, because every time I think I will go seriously looking, something pops up to prevent it.

I don't even want to go over to the storage unit and unload boxes in the rain, so maybe I should start cleaning up here at home. I have surprisingly little left, but it's scattered throughout every room and consists of items I might need before closing the doors the last time. Like, sure, I'm probably going to shave my legs so I will just keep the shaving gel & razor available! And pigs will fly.....

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Not as bad as I thought

I can't say it was comfortable sleeping on the floor last night, but I survived it and the longer I'm up and about the more the stiffness wears off. At about 4 a.m. I needed to get up to use the bathroom and I tried to "roll off" the edge of the bed--but I just kept rolling until I realized I was on the floor and there was no bed! If I do this for many more nights I need some kind of padding. Since I have put the house on the market I haven't cooked much. I'm trying to use up what I have and not buy more, so I'm losing weight and any fat I had for padding is long gone. That is not really a good thing, although when you are trying to lose weight it might sound good.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

My nearly empty house

The auctioneer and his two very able helpers just took all my furniture away so I'm sitting on the floor and typing today's post. I'm not sure how long I'll be able to live like this - the house is empty except for a whole lot of odds & ends that I still need to pack - mostly kitchen things I'm going to take with me and items to give to goodwill, plus my clothes which are packed in suitcases. I thought I'd feel sad to see it go, but I'm just anxious to get this all over with. Until fuel becomes available here I'm stuck and can't go looking at RV's, nor will I take anything to the storage unit, a 20 mile round trip.

They also took the TV & VCR/DVD player. I was glad to get rid of it - it's not digital but since I have cable it didn't matter to me. I got weaned away from TV pretty much when I went to CA the end of August, and I think I've had it on no more than 1/2 hr total since I've been back. I'm happy to say I don't miss it at all, especially the cable networks blathering on and on. Even the weather channel was beginning to get on my nerves, which essentially left public TV, and which is probably what I've watched the most during the past few months. My computer will be the last thing I dismantle.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

No more Wal Mart for me!

I stopped at Walmart today to get some Corelle dishes (much lighter weight than regular dishes, and nicer than paper plates), and an air mattress. I just wanted a cheap mattress to do me while I have to sleep on the floor, which will be 2 wks at most. They didn't have any Corelle at all, and evidently they don't carry it any longer. I saw it about a month ago, so Walmart just recently discontinued it. I had already started packing the dishes I have, and the pkg of paper plates is in one of the many boxes in storage. The air mattress was cheap enough but it required a pump which would have doubled the price, and I decided I would just rough it for a few nights. It wouldn't have turned me completely off the store except that the past few times I went there to buy a specific item they were either out of it, or I couldn't find it, or they didn't carry it.

I would have looked elsewhere, but with gas almost nowhere to be found here I have to limit the driving. Some days things just don't go right!

Monday, September 22, 2008

More roadblocks

The auctioneer came by this morning and told me he couldn't handle the sale of my furniture. He gave me the name of another auctioneer who might be able to take it. I briefly considered just storing it, and talked to my son in California about it. He offered to come out and help me move it all, but in the end I agreed with the second auctioneer to be here on Wednesday morning to take all my furniture away. I'm not sure how I can last a week and a half sleeping on the floor, and I may have to get myself an air mattress. I have two deck/camp chairs and a small round table from the front deck that I will bring into the house, and with a kitchen, laundry, and bathroom I will do well enough. Now I need to do a number on my mind and tell myself it'll be like camping only more comfortable. Is there an end to this, and what can possibly happen next?

I have begun to wonder what it will be like driving a 1 ton truck and pulling a 5th wheel, from the standpoint of getting fuel. There have been very few gas stations selling fuel for the last week, and even the Exxon and BP pumps are closed. Someone told me today that Exmark, about a mile from my house, had gas to sell, so I drove down and got in a line that stretched out on the highway. While waiting to move up, the manager of the station came around telling folks that they were about to run out of gas, but I stayed in line and finally got myself $40 worth at $3.78/gal. I would have filled up except they were not accepting credit cards at the pump, and I didn't want to have to go back to sign for the purchase, so I just used the cash I had on hand. I'm surprised they weren't charging more for it, as I paid 4.20/gal at Exxon just a few days ago when more stations were still selling.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Learning Curve

I am learning new things every day, and yesterday was no exception. I had made plans to look at 5th wheels and had printouts of some I thought I'd like to see. The local post office is closed on Saturday but they had told me they would call early Sat. morning if my package came in, and that I could come pick it up. Sure enough, I got the RV Consumers info and loaded the CD with ratings for the various models. I was completely shocked when each and every model I though was pretty good, and that I could afford in a used model, received a rating for either snowbirding (30-90F temp range) or vacationing. None were rated as suitable for fulltiming, and the few that are so rated are way above my budget.

I then started to read the book that came with the package which goes into detail what to look for and covers every single facet of the RV. I realized then that the models I was so hyped about appealed to me from the standpoint of the floorplan and how I could live with it, but virtually nothing about construction, systems, or the exterior. So while I couldn't have written a check yesterday, I might have made arrangements to hold a rig that would be totally wrong for what I actually need.

I still want to look at some of the units in my stack of printouts. By using the techniques listed in the book for a critical examination of all parts of the RV I may find that one of them is well made and well maintained, and that I would feel comfortable with as a fulltimer. I also feel very strongly that although I undoubtedly will make many mistakes in the future, there is a "Force" out there guiding me and if I pay heed, I won't make any HUGE mistakes. It's a good feeling. And may the Force be with all of you!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Did a tornado hit here?

For as neat and clean as I kept the house when I was showing it to sell, it looks like a whirlwind has hit dead on! I've been boxing and labeling items and taking them to a storage unit I rented this week. Did I start in one room and finish it before going on to the next? Why, no!!! I have been packing things from different rooms and so it's almost impossible to walk through a room in a straight line. I'm making great headway though, at least for me. I'm having to take my time with it as I can only pack so much in one day and carry all those heavy boxes to my jeep, then unload them onto a cart and take them inside, where I finally unload and stack them in the unit. I bought small, medium & large boxes, but I think today I will ask to exchange some of the large for small ones which are much easier for me to lift. As the stack of boxes marked "For RV" grow, I realize I won't be able to put everything in the RV that I'd like, but I'll make the choice when I have to.

I think I will take a break on Saturday and go back to Tom Johnson's Camping in Marion, NC. I found what looks like a nice used Forest River Cedar Creek model, and the pictures show it to have all the features I want. I've ordered the RV Consumer Group pkg nearly a week ago and I sure hope it comes today. I know there are things I should be looking at other than just how nice it looks, and many people have told me that I shouldn't buy without checking the Consumer reports. I also spoke with a rep from Camping World in Woodstock, Georgia yesterday and gave him an idea of what I'm looking for as well as the price range. He told me it's a buyers' market, and promised to try to find me an RV + truck if possible. I am reconciled to buying used until I get the hang of owning, driving, hitching & unhitching, and all the many chores involved in being a full-timer, and I can always upgrade later.

I'm hoping the auctioneer comes on Monday to look at my furniture, and he thinks they can take it Tues. or Wednesday. That will leave me in a pretty bad spot until closing, as I'll be sleeping on the floor. I have already put my two folding deck chairs in the Jeep to take to storage today, but maybe I'd better keep them until last! I've had no word yet on when the work in the crawl space required by FHA will be done, but since I am having nothing to do with it I guess they don't have to tell me in advance. I felt I had given the buyers enough of a break in paying their closing costs so I am not paying another cent for anything, especially since I set the asking price a bit lower for a quick sale. My agent told me she thinks the newer regs from FHA are a response to the problems from Hurricane Katrina, although I don't know how that could apply to a house in the southern Appalachian mountains, hundreds of miles from the coast. They are probably enforcing the same rules in the deserts of Nevada!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

More packing

DUH! The light went on, finally. I spent a big part of the afternoon carefully wrapping & padding all my photos in frames - large, medium and small ones. At last I wondered, "Why am I saving all these frames? I will probably never again have a 3 bedroom house again, and there are way too many to fit in a small apartment." So I unpacked them all and took most of the pictures out of frames. I now have a stack of pictures that I can probably keep in the RV. Now to figure out what to do with the frames, and hope the auctioneer will take them off my hands. This is slow going, for sure.

Packing & Storage

I just went and rented a storage space in a climate controlled facility, and bought 10 each of small, medium and large packing cartons. I've packed one box and realize what a job I have ahead of me! One of the problems is that the rear hatch on my Jeep has a broken lock so I can't open it, meaning I have to put the cartons in through the rear doors which are much narrower. I'll have to go through the same ordeal unloading. Also, I will have to pack boxes for an undetermined length of time as well as those for items I will transfer to the RV (when I finally get it). Hope I have room in the storage compartment.

I don't know if it's my age or what, but it sure isn't as easy as it used to be.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Moving is a pain!

I am trying to sort out and pack some of the contents of my house, but have made very little headway. I drove to a storage facility nearby that is climate controlled and wanted to see some of the units and buy some packing boxes. The office was unstaffed at the time, so I will need to go back. I bought a few plastic storage containers at WalMart, but filled those in a hurry and you can't even tell that I did anything. As of right now I don't see how I can possibly be out in approx. 11 days. I will have to move everything to storage and then if and when I find an RV, will move some of it into the RV. Waah, waah, waah!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Some "back issues"

I thought I would post a couple of items from my trip.

Fri., Aug. 29(late): I should have known better than to rely on Mapquest for directions. I could have at least cross checked with AAA or Google maps. I knew as soon as I exited I-40 that I was in for trouble, and at about 2:30 am at that! I pulled off on a road where I saw an Exxon sign, but the station was closed. A car was parked near the pumps, engine idling and parking lights on. I had no choice but to lock up my Jeep and go ask for directions. I could have cried with relief when the driver rolled down the window and I saw that he and his passenger were wearing US Army uniforms. They consulted their GPS for what seemed like a long time (I was really lost), and then told me to follow them and they would take me to the station. I couldn't believe how far away I was, but they finally signaled where I should turn and I made it with about 20 minutes to spare. God bless the US Army! (When I told my oldest son this story he yelled at me for getting out of my car; he jokingly said "those guys weren't in the Army - they were dressed like military but were up to something". I said "Honey, they have the same haircut as you and they called me "Ma'am."

Sat., Aug. 30: I was disappointed that I didn't feel like doing much of anything while in DC today, but I was totally exhausted from the night before, so I spent most of the time just people-watching at Union Station. I finally boarded the train for Chicago and began to unwind in my sleeper car.

Sun, Aug. 31: I kept waking up last night with the lurching of the train, but it was wonderful to have a bed to sleep in and a good breakfast in the dining car.

Mon, Sep. 1: Happy Labor Day! I got out my new laptop last night and discovered that this train has no wi-fi. I was all set to update the blog but it will have to wait. I stepped off the train for some fresh air in Denver and got right back on because of the heavy smell of stale cigarette smoke. The conductor announces the stops where people can take a quick smoke break, but warns if anyone is caught smoking on the train they will be dropped off at the next stop. I've heard that they stick to this rule.

There are LOTS of RV's on the roads that sometimes parallel the train tracks. It's amazing the distinctions I can make when I see them now, as opposed to a few months ago when I just knew them all as "RV".

Tues. Sep 2: Yesterday the Rockies were awesome and today we will see the grandeur of the Sierra Nevada. My real favorite, however, will always be the lovely Appalachians.

Wed. Sep. 4: Left Sac yesterday morning after a wonderful and fun week with family and friends, and of course, the wedding of my son, Steven. The train had to detour through Feather River Canyon rather than by the Donner Pass, Reno, etc. It was a beautiful area and I intend to go back someday in my RV. There were a number of delays that set us back several hours from schedule, and it is almost certain that we will all miss our Chicago connections. I wish I could get home without delay as the closing for my house sale has been set up to the end of September, and that will not give me much time to clear everything out of the house. Not a thing I can do about it.

I finally arrived back in Greensboro on Sat night - actually Sunday morning at 1:30 pm. I didn't get home until about 4:00 and really felt exhausted, especially when I started to panic at all the things I need to do. My heart started pounding and I felt like my blood was racing! I probably could have called the paramedics but really hated to do that, as I had just picked up the dogs earlier at the kennel and they were stressed enough. So I took an aspirin, another dose of my blood pressure medicine, brought the phone to lay on the bedside table just "in case" and tried to relax my way out of it. I eventually was able to get back up but was so tired - what I really needed was a good night's sleep. I feel pretty good today except I know the pressure is really going to mount in the coming days. I've spent a big part of the day emptying a bookcase in the spare bedroom, making stacks to save in storage, take with me, or dispose of. I'm now down to working on the photos & albums, but I have so many loose photos I may have to sort them at a later date. Tomorrow I will go and try to find a place that sells moving boxes so that I can start packing everything up. It will all come together, eventually.

Pictures added

I've added a few pictures I took while in California. I may change some of them when I get the actual wedding photos back, as I'd like to show my kids with their spouses. My oldest son and his wife Sandy have since added a new addition to their family - Justin, who was born Sep. 13. Mike now has 2 sons, Joshua & Justin; Jeannie & her husband Donald have two daughters, Ara & Autumn, Steve and Megan, the wedding couple, are working on it as we speak, and Joe and his wife Sarah have a daughter Alyssa. They had twins a few years ago, but their daughter, Reese, was stillborn, and son, Owen, lived for 7 months. It still hurts to think about his passing.

I also figured out how to add a list of blogs I'm following. So far I've only added three, but have patience - the list is very long and I will eventually get them all posted. I will probably be back later with an additional post for today, but for now I need to go pick up my mail at the post office.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Back in North Carolina

I arrived in Greensboro early this morning and managed to drive all the way home to Asheville without any problems except for trying to find a gas station open in the early morning hours. I had just about 1/8 of a tank (or less) before starting "up the mountain" from the Piedmont of NC, which is about 10 miles of very steep and winding highway. I found a Love station open and at their price, only pumped $10 worth (3.99/gal). Here in the Asheville area it is cheaper, so I'll fill up today. I arrived home, got my luggage in, and got to bed around 4:30 am. The phone woke me up at 8:30 am but I got to it too late, so ended up making coffee and did some pre-moving chores - taking the rest of the pictures off the walls, shredding papers, etc.

My real estate agent is to call me today with more details of the inspections. Everything came through with flying colors, except that FHA requires a structural engineer's inspection. Of course, he had to list something, so he stated several things that were to be done. I had read the email about it while at the Amtrak station in Chicago, so I was forewarned. I called the agent and she said there was a "way around it". I told her I wasn't going to pay a cent more to have anything done (since I'm paying a relatively large amt for their closing costs, which are way overstated but it's a legal way to allow them to borrow the full amt., so I'm told). I have also decided I don't have the time or energy to make arrangements for anything that needs to be done (FHA wants a written estimate for the work). So if the buyers and/or their agent want to take complete care of it, the sale still stands; otherwise, I'll be delaying my new life for another month or so, if I can find another buyer. I'm adamant about not paying any more. I feel sorry for the buyers though, which is why I agreed to the original deal. My four kids all own their own homes and a couple of them sweated out the financing/qualifying end of it, so I empathize with them and am willing to help--up to a point.

I am really getting panic-stricken about whether I'll be able to find a 5th wheel & tow vehicle, what I will do with all my stuff (looks like storage at this point), and whether or not I can handle the RV by myself. I hope no one tells me I can't do it, but I will allow myself a few fears and doubts. I'm also balking at giving up my furniture, because I know I won't be able to travel that many more years and worry about what I will do when I have to give it up. I sure don't want to live in a furnished place.

It will all work out. I did go to a couple of places in Rancho Cordova, CA while waiting for Costco to open. The papers are full of articles on how RVs are going dirt cheap now, but do you think I could get the attention of a salesperson? One man did tell me I was in the service area and where the sale RVs were, but I could never find it and wandered the premises looking for how to get there including going inside where the staff was scurrying about and passed me as if I was invisible. The RV mfrs might add a lot of fluff to their products to please the ladies, but that doesn't translate to selling to a woman. Just my opinion - y'all can correct me if I'm wrong, but I've experienced this situation for years when trying to buy things such as a car stereo, etc. Let me stop to look at a washing machine and salespeople are all over me!

I had a wonderful time in California, but the train trip back was part terrific and part nightmare. We were over 6 hrs late arriving in Chicago and miss our connections, so amtrak had to bus all of us to hotels, which of course were at least 1/2 hr drive away even in the middle of the night. Then they forgot all about ordering the bus to pick us up the next morning. I am just grateful that the trip out was as stress free as it could be, the wedding was perfect, and I was able to keep a relatively calm attitude through all the problems of the return trip. Not all passengers felt that way though. I'm still happy I didn't have to deal with airports, flight delays, security crap, crowded and cramped seats, no food, and all the problems of air travel. I'd take the train any day over flying, but I really prefer the flexibility of driving which will be even better having my own home/motel with me everywhere I go.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

From the Golden State

I didn't have wi-fi on the train so I couldn't post every day, although I did keep a written account of my journey. I am now in California, and just back from the rehearsal dinner - tomorrow is the wedding, and I'm looking forward to it.

On my 1st day in California I got an email from my real estate agent informing me that the closing date on the sale of my house is set for the end of September, rather than the end of October. That means that when I get back home I will have about two weeks to dispose of everything in my house! Then after closing I will be in a real rush to buy an RV and tow vehicle. I'm here until Tuesday and will be back the following weekend. What a trip I've had an I hope to get the account of some of it online soon.

See ya...