Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Blog Block

I am suffering from a case of blog block if that’s even a term. It’s been over a week since I’ve posted and I just can’t think of anything interesting to write about.

We had a very nice Thanksgiving with friends and a rather quiet, unremarkable weekend.  We spoke to daughter Nicole in Italy Thanksgiving evening. She’s doing well and adjusting to life there. It’s much different living in another country vs. just visiting. Thanksgiving is her favorite holiday so she was a bit homesick that day. She and her flat-mates were planning a festive American feast for 20 on Sunday. We also got to talk to daughter Carrie and all the grandkids. They were having fun and cooking up a storm :) I missed having all the leftovers around as we were guests elsewhere so, on Sunday I made a “fake” Thanksgiving dinner with baked chicken breasts, mashed potatoes, gravy, peas and Stove Top stuffing. It sure was good and took care of my leftover craving :)

We stayed far away from any stores on Black Friday. It just didn’t seem to be worth battling the crowds.  We did get the tree put up on Saturday though. It made things a little more festive. IMGP1686 I was surprised that it fit as well as it did. A small table top tree would probably be more practical, but we had this one already so thought we’d see if we could make it work.  It sits on the Rubbermaid tub that all the Christmas stuff was in so that tub is pulling double duty :)

We had an unseasonably warm and humid day today. I was able to go for a walk @ 9:00 this morning in short sleeves. It’s now after 10:00PM and it’s still about 70. We are under a severe weather watch this evening. There are severe storms coming from Georgia and South Carolina that are supposed to arrive sometime after midnight bringing strong winds and heavy rain. It has left damage in it’s path so I hope it runs out of steam before it gets here.

Thanks for stopping by. Enjoy your evening.

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Weekend of Learning

The sun was shining when we got up Saturday morning. Rick seemed to think it would be a shame to waste that, so after coffee and a bagel he was out the door with his project list. It’s a good thing we’ll be headed further south in January. He won’t know what to do if he can’t be outside doing something. First on his list was more roof work.IMGP1675 While up there doing his leak repair a couple weeks ago, he determined that the running lights (the 5 lights that go across the roof at the front of the coach) needed to be opened and resealed. Two of them had burned out bulbs and two of them had water inside. That’s not good. They had previously been sealed to death with silicone, so removing them was not quite as simple as one might think. Once the amber lenses were off, I got the job of removing as much silicone from them as possible. He headed to the auto parts store for bulbs. Easier said than done. The number on the bulbs we had apparently no longer exist. There wasn’t even a reference to it in their book. He called me to check online and see if there was a new compatible bulb available. It’s rare that I get no results from a Google search, but this was one of those times. The guy at the auto parts store told him to bring the bulb in and they’d try to match it that way. Long story, short, he came home, got the bulb and me and headed back. I just came along for the ride SmileHe ended up with bulbs a little lesser wattage but they fit and no danger of overheating. We stopped at Lowe’s for new grommets and washers as long as we were there and then, the main reason I rode along, lunch @ Diana’s Tex Mex SmileIt was pretty good but I’ve had better. I can’t complain though. I didn’t have to cook Smile Back home, he had the bulbs installed, lenses re-installed and everything sealed in short order. Of course, by that time, it was almost 4:00! It’ll be dark soon! Nothing like taking all day to change a light bulb Smile

Sunday dawned as beautiful as Saturday. We spent the entire day day doing little projects-everything from exercising the generator to trying to remove bug ‘stains’ from the front of the coach. The bugs themselves were long gone; only the stains remained. They still remain Sad smile

One thing we’ve noticed is the more we learn, the more we find we need to learn. Sometimes ignorance can be bliss. In this case, not so much. It can get you into real trouble.  Our decision to sit tight and learn what we can for a couple of months was right for us.

We ended the day with a nice grilled steak and some baked potatoes and corn. Even working weekends are good Smile

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

10 Things I’ve Learned Since Moving Into Our Motorhome

  1. I have learned that anything mounted on the roof that has a motor will sound 10x louder, when running, than the comparable item in a stick and brick house. This results in the usage of many more AA batteries. The TV remote gets used constantly-volume up, volume down depending on whether the A/C or heat pumps are running Smile
  2. I have learned that a 10 gallon hot water heater really is large enough! I couldn’t imagine that one but it’s true. I even gave it the ultimate test this week. I ran a load of laundry, the dishwasher and took a shower all at the same time. I still had hot water when I got out of the shower! I was very impressed…and confused. Why is 10 gallons enough in an RV when 40 gallons in a house is sometimes not enough?
  3. I have learned it is a given that any item I need, that I have stored in the basement, will be in the furthest spot accessible and always under several other things I thought I’d need first…and didn’t.
  4. I have learned I don’t like the RV refrigerators. Although they look nice, they are not deep enough to fit much of anything in them. And we have one of the largest models! I also don’t like the fact that they freeze anything on the top shelf…which happened to be the eggs Sad smile We are planning to replace our unit with a residential model this winter. In the same footprint, we can get almost double the space.
  5. I have learned that I absolutely love my gas cooktop. I’ve always had electric in the past and this gas thing is a real treat for me!
  6. I have learned that I have not missed or needed any of the STUFF it took me 3 years get rid of. If I had known that before I bought any of it, just think of the money I would have saved Smile
  7. I have learned that no matter how much I learn (and there’s something every day) I will probably never learn everything about this coach or this lifestyle.
  8. I have learned that I still have too much kitchen stuff. More purging on the way!
  9. I have learned that I don’t need a big house to live comfortably or be happy.
  10. And last, but not least, I have learned that there are many people out there just like me. People that travel, people that live in their RV, people that write wonderful blogs about their travels and their lives. People I’m getting to know virtually and hopefully, someday in person. Thank you for reading, thank you for commenting, thank you for letting me know you are out there. 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Beautiful Day in North Carolina

When we woke up this morning, everything was covered with a layer of frost.  That didn’t last long :)  The sun was shining and it quickly warmed up. It was an absolutely stunning day! IMGP1673 We had breakfast and left the coach about 10:00. We headed for Durham to meet up with some of our Trikking friends. I dropped Rick off at the meetup site and then headed to the post office to pick up our mail.  I still love to get together with the group even though I am no longer able to trikke. I was lucky to find only one person in line at the post office so was out of there quickly. I made a quick stop at the grocery store and then headed back to our friends so I could get some visiting in :) After catching up with everyone and their news, we joined Mike and Kathy for lunch at Jason’s Deli. IMGP1669 I had never eaten there before but it was so good! I had the Chicago Club and saw several other things on the menu I’d like try. It’s a good thing they have several locations all over the country :) One of the extras is the free ice cream for dessert. They have a soft-serve machine and you can help yourself to either a dish or cone of chocolate or vanilla. It was certainly a nice way to end the meal.IMGP1670 Rick was having fun clowning around once his stomach was full :)

After leaving the restaurant, we stopped at Advance Auto Parts to have my car battery tested. I’ve been having occasional problems with my car not wanting to start. Every once in awhile, I’ll turn the key and it’ll just go “click”. Usually it will then take right off on the 2nd or 3rd try. It happened again this morning but it took several tries before it started. When it decides to start, it turns right over. It didn’t sound like the battery to me but we wanted to start with the easiest (and cheapest) solution and go from there. Well, the battery tested fine. The alternator and starter also tested fine. It’s a mystery. We’re thinking it may be an intermittent starter problem that just didn’t show up when they were testing it. I’m sure we’ll get it diagnosed eventually. I just hope I don’t end up stranded somewhere in the process.

Tomorrow looks like another nice day. We may have to do something else fun :)

Friday, November 12, 2010

Laundry and Dishwashing

As we adjust to living in our home on wheels, I thought I’d share some thoughts on a couple of the items we decided to include in our coach that many people do not. Maybe it’ll help someone else in the decision making process. If not, at least I have a record of what I thought of these items in case I question my decision down the road :)

When we were researching and shopping for our new home on wheels, one of my must haves was a washer and dryer. While some RVers forego a W/D in favor of extra storage space, I chose just the opposite. I am not a laundromat person. I had my fill of them when the kids were little and we were broke and couldn’t afford a washer/dryer. It may have been that particular laundromat that turned me off, I don’t know. What I do know is that it was no fun going with a newborn and a 2 year old and trying to keep the 2 year old off the dirty floor. At the time, I had no choice. I had no family close by to help and my husband (at the time) traveled in his job and was gone a lot. I still remember the day the delivery truck pulled up and delivered a brand new set of Maytags :) I was ecstatic! I also washed everything I could find in that house! That set got a good workout in first weeks. Eventually, the novelty wore off, but I always remained grateful to have my own laundry facilities wherever we lived. I saw no reason to give that up just because our new home would be on wheels.

My preference, going in, was a stackable set. Those that had them seemed to be very happy with them. Although somewhat smaller than a full-size, they seemed to be everyone’s preference. What we ended up with, however, was a vented combo Splendide unit.  IMGP1668 It washes and dries. I had read a lot of negative things about these machines but it came with the coach so thought I’d give it a try. I was very prepared to hate it and also prepared to remove it and replace it with the stacked units. I did read the instruction manual first and found that to be very helpful. It addressed some of the concerns I had read about and by following some of their suggestions, I did not experience most of those problems. It does appear that the vented units perform much better than the non-vented units. The drum is small and the wash loads  are small but I’m very pleased with it. It would not work for a family, but it works great for 2 people. I can understand why some don’t like it. If you’re the type of person that likes to do your laundry once a week, you would hate it. I like to do a load every day so I don’t have to do it once a week :) After all, the hampers in these units are not overly large and I hate having dirty clothes overflowing :) I usually do a load early in the morning, right after getting up. By the time I’m ready to start my day, it’s finished and I can forget about it.

Another item we talked about quite a bit, but wasn’t a necessity, was a dishwasher. When I was a kid I absolutely HATED doing the dishes. Ask my mom :) As time went by, I found I didn’t mind doing them at all but, in recent years, I always had a dishwasher. So, in our search, it was a ‘nice to have’ item but not necessary and certainly not a deal breaker. Our coach came with a Fisher Paykel dish drawer and I absolutely love it!IMGP1666 It uses very little water, very little soap and does a fantastic job at cleaning dishes. The best part, though, is the fact that it’s virtually silent. It can be running while we watch TV right next to it and we don’t even know its on. Like the W/D combo, it’s small and doesn’t hold much but it’s plenty big for us. It uses less water than washing by hand and it’s a handy place to stash the wine bottles while traveling! :) I was always told to look for things that could perform double duty! :)

As I wrote this post this morning, my laundry took care of itself for the day and my dishes washed themselves. I think I’ll go get ready to do a Walmart run.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Veteran's Day 2010

Sometimes I know I take for granted the many freedoms we enjoy in this country. Things have changed a lot in the last 10 years, but we still enjoy a freedom many countries could only dream of. If you are a veteran or a family member of a veteran, THANK YOU.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Getting to your own money shouldn’t be this hard or should it?

Things have been relatively quiet around here the last couple days. The roof repair was done on Sunday and, so far, so good Smile It wasn’t set up enough by the time it got dark (which was way too early for us) so we couldn’t do a water test. There is no rain in the forecast for this week so it should be good and set up by Saturday morning. That’s the first daylight opportunity for Rick to climb back up there and do his thing.

We spent a good part of yesterday being frustrated with one of our banks. Like many people, we have accounts at more than one financial institution. Eighteen months ago, we purchased a CD at a well known bank that does business mostly in the Northeast. They gave us a very good interest rate compared to other banks and we were happy to take it. That CD matured on Sunday, the 7th. What they were offering to renew was substantially less than we could get at another bank. Not that there’s a big difference between 0% and 0.0% Smile Sunday night, I attempted to log into that account to get the final interest payment. Well, forgetting which bank I was signing on to, I entered the wrong password. Of course, it told me of my error immediately…in huge red letters! Oops! Let’s try that again. My second attempt brought the message “your password has expired. Please enter a new password and follow all these rules”. Thinking I would be smart and change it to the one I had tried originally (and worked at the other bank) I carefully entered all the digits and then even more carefully, re-entered those same digits to confirm that’s what I wanted the new password to be. I pushed “enter” and in more red lettering it basically told me that I had not followed the rules and that password was NOT allowed and to please try again and please do better this time! Geez! Ok, let’s read the rules more carefully. Got it. Must use letters and numbers. Must not use the same letter or number consecutively. Must use lower and upper case letters. Must stand on one leg and dance a jig while hitting “enter” Smile Ok, I think I came up with a winner this time. I entered all digits after writing it down, because I knew I’d forget it as soon as I entered it. Then I re-entered to confirm. “STOP! (in red) Your confirmation password does not match your original password! For your protection, you have been locked out of your account. Please call 1-800-yada-yada during business hours for assistance.”
Well, guess that wasn’t going to happen on a Sunday night. On Monday morning we called 1-800-yada-yada to have them reset the password and withdraw the CD and send us a check so we could purchase a new CD elsewhere. “you have to come into the branch office to get the money” we were told.  Well, as we are about 800 miles from the branch office, we were sure there was another way they could help us. After trying to talk us into a 1 month CD, then a 1 week CD, they finally agreed to transfer the money into the money market account we have at that bank and then we could write a check for it. Ok, that will probably work. But wait! They can’t do that until we fax them the explicit instructions. Talking to us on the phone and verifying every password, address, relative and what we had for dinner 2 weeks ago Wednesday was not enough Smile
It is now Tuesday morning. The password still has not been reset. If the money has been transferred, we don’t know because the password has not been reset! No way to access the account to find out. Do I want to write a large check off that account and give it to another financial institution to purchase another CD? I don’t think so. Next thing you know, the check would have bounced. I’ll bet they wouldn’t have any problems charging us exorbitant fees for that either SmileOnce this is all straightened out, I don’t see that money market account lasting long at that bank Smile How can there be so much identity theft when you can't even get to your own account, much less someone else's?
Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Oh No! We’ve Sprung a Leak!

Maybe “sprung” is not the proper word for it. Developed might be better but it sure came as a surprise. We’ve been in some downpours since we got our coach and nary a drop of moisture. This morning we woke up to the pitter patter of rain drops on the roof. Not a big surprise. What was a big surprise was the water running around the door frame of the coach! WTH???


Well, I’ve been married to Rick for 25 years and I know that this is not something he can put off. The sun was NOT going to set without him finding out where that water was coming from!  First he removed the trim around the door.


Then, with handy flashlight in tow, he checked to see where the water is coming in.


Once that is determined, he must climb up high with the hose to try to recreate the mystery! The raindrops on the photo are only because he was the only one of us that wanted to go outside in the rain Smile I took this picture through the window Smile


After much ado, with him outside and me inside watching the leak, we finally ‘thought’ we’d found the origin. Up on the roof he climbed to pinpoint the exact spot. Once he got there, there was nothing to see! Ok, more testing. I sent up a tall glass of water and he proceeded to pour while I watched inside. Finally, there it was…the horn! Huh? Well, a seam right by the horn Smile


Now that the point of origin has been identified, all we have to do is wait for the sun to come out and dry everything before making the repair. That will, hopefully, be tomorrow. Ahhh, the joys of home (on wheels) ownership! BUT, no grass to mow! Smile

Friday, November 5, 2010

Can You Help?

A very big thank you for the kind comments and messages I've received on the blog. Until very recently, only my family knew about this blog. Word certainly spreads in the RVing world! Our friends, Jim and Dee mentioned it in their blog post yesterday and several people clicked on the link. I don't post daily and never will, but when I do, I will do my best to make it something interesting :) The pressure is on!

Now, does anyone have the secret to getting red wine out of the carpet? I'm open to any and all ideas.

We were relaxing with a glass of wine last evening when I upended my glass and sent it flying across the floor. I'm still not sure how I did it, but it did involve getting out of my chair and things getting tangled. Rick says I just have too much stuff around me. I contend that they are all absolutely necessary items :) And just for clarification purposes, it was only my second glass, that I, unfortunately, had just poured. Naturally. If it had been empty, it would never have happened. Anyhow, we blotted it up, used a citrus based cleaner on it (that works wonderfully on other carpet spots) and then poured salt over it to absorb overnight. I read that somewhere but had never tried it. Never needed to try it :) So, this morning, there is still a light stain remaining. It's much better than it was but still quite noticeable. I might try Oxi-Clean on it next. The plan was to replace this carpeting sometime in the future...just not the immediate future!

Oh well. It could have been worse. It could have been the whole bottle! At least I got one glass :)

*Edit* Thank you all for your suggestions. In the end, I tried my mother's suggestion (you have to try your mother's suggestion first, right?) and it took it right out :)  For future reference, in case anyone needs this, take a little Dawn dishwashing detergent and add some peroxide. Check for color fastness in an inconspicuous spot first and then just dab, brush or wipe it on. It came right out with little or no effort! Can also be used on clothing stains if colorfast. Thanks Mom!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Quiet Monday

I turned the apartment keys into the office on Sunday afternoon and that changed my life on Monday morning. The busyness came screeching to a halt. Wow! I didn't have to run over there today. What was I going to do?
It wasn't difficult to stay busy for most of the day. I did a load of laundry, cleaned and vacuumed, rearranged the kitchen counter 3x, paid some bills, walked a bag of trash to the dumpster and made a post office run. Not exciting stuff, but not bad for a Monday :)

I also did some research on plane fares to Sioux Falls, SD. Our intent was to head there in the Spring once the weather warmed up but Rick doesn't feel comfortable waiting that long. The coach is licensed and insured in South Dakota and our mailing address has been established in South Dakota. The only thing left is our drivers licenses. His concern is if we should be involved in an accident and not have the proper licensing. Would the insurance company have an out and not pay? SD does not require a special license to drive a 40' motorhome. North Carolina requires a non-commercial class B which we do not have. Therefore, we're not properly licensed to drive this coach. While we're parked the next 2 months, it's a non-issue. Once we head south the beginning of January, it could become one. Sooo, it looks like we'll take an overnight jaunt up there to become legal sometime before we pull out. We'll still head north in the spring, but may forgo SD until another time when we can spend more time there and explore the western part of the state too. We have nothing in writing, nothing set in stone, we're just going to wing it :)

That's the part I'm looking forward to.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Our purdy new faucet :)

Rick's Project #2 this weekend was replacing our kitchen faucet. Here's the old faucet. It was a nice looking Moen but, unfortunately, leaked like a sieve! The more we tried to fix it, the worse it got.

Here is the new faucet installed. I think this may very well be my dream faucet :) It works so smoothly and it doesn't leak-not even a drop :) The spray head pulls out and retracts by itself.  I love it! Poor Rick almost broke his back installing it so I hope it lasts a long time. I doubt I can talk him into another installation any time in the near future :)