Dream Becoming a Reality–Lifestyle Change Ahead!

In my last post 4 months ago, I talked about how we were dreaming of and planning a lifestyle change and moving back to Minnesota.  Well …

Packing for MN move 03162017

No furniture to move, but there are boxes, bikes, and misc. items.

The past few weeks have been a whirlwind of putting our RV up for sale, packing, and finalizing other arrangements. 

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Last photo with our Montana, which served us well for 7 years.

On Tuesday, we sold our RV – our home for the past 7 years.  I confess my eyes seemed to leak a wee bit a couple of times on the day of the sale.  We had so many adventures and shared awesome moments during our time as full-time RVers.  Memories were made that we will cherish always. 

While we enjoyed those years as full-timers, there is a feeling of relief and excitement as we begin a new chapter in our life together.  Relief in the form of selling our RV while it was still in good shape; of being out from under the responsibility, expense, and physical effort of maintenance and upkeep; and, honestly, the full-time lifestyle.  The excitement is in beginning a new journey and returning to the North and Minnesota. 

It’s just time.  Time to move on.  Time for a change.  Time to simplify our life.

Due to Dave’s work schedule, we will be here for just under 2 weeks.  After researching available accommodations here, it made the most sense – cost, safety, convenience, comfort – for our needs to rent a travel trailer from a local dealer we have patronized during our time here. 

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Our “hotel room” in the same site where we have been.

While it serves our purpose of interim housing quite nicely, it certainly makes us appreciate even more the quality RVs we owned over the years – popup, travel trailer, and then the 5th wheel we called home.  We have items with us for interim living (cooking, etc.) and for what we’ll need during our trip to Minnesota (both warm and cold weather clothes).  The rest of our possessions are in a climate-controlled storage unit at a nearby facility.

With the “hard” items ticked off our “to do” list, we have this time to rest up in our comfortable routine of work and living until we get the U-Haul trailer, load it up, and hit the road.  We’ll downsize our truck to a “normal” vehicle once we are settled up there, so The Beast gets one more road trip!

To say that the past few weeks have been busy would be a gross understatement.  It.  Has.  Been.  Freakin’.  Crazy.

I wrapped up the last details of the sale today by cancelling our full-timers insurance and the extended service policy on the 5th wheel.

We’ll be going to a 55+ “cottage” in Minnesota, opting to rent vs. purchase.  Neither of us want to own property again, at least not at the present.  If something breaks … call maintenance.  Snow shoveling?  Nope.  It’s done by property management.  Sweet.  Simplification.

We’re not there yet, but well on the path.  At times we wondered if this was indeed just a dream, if it was even attainable.  At the beginning of this process, the logistics seemed totally mind-melting.  At one point, I just gave it all up to Spirit and The Universe – if it is meant to be, then it will be.

We are so grateful that aspects of this lifestyle change have been aligning, and that it does truly seem to be a plan that is unfolding very nicely for us.

I’ll repeat that.  We are grateful.  Very much so.

Thanks for stopping by!  Be careful out there, okay?

 

 

 

 

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Winding Down 2016; Looking Towards 2017

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Holiday lights add cheer

Honestly, I’m looking forward to wrapping up 2016.  We’ve had the usual challenges of Life  this year and said good-bye to our sweet Maggie.  We continue to be grateful for each other, our home on wheels,  work, food, reasonable health for our ages, and so forth.  I’m ready, though, to put this year to bed and move on.

Speaking of moving on, we are in the planning and dreaming stages of transitioning to a new lifestyle.  We have had 6.5 years of living as full-time RVers, but – if all goes to plan – that time is coming to a close.  We are currently both working “normal” jobs (Dave in the community and me telecommuting as an admin assistant) with our home in an RV park.  We might as well be living in an apartment somewhere. 

While we experienced challenges from Mother Nature during our years in NJ as an on-site security team, Mother also provided us with rewards of the Spirit, magical and breathtaking moments, and memories for a lifetime.

Our souls were nurtured.   Our souls are currently starving.  Time for a change.

That, of course, is not the only reason.  We’re ready to get out from under the physical maintenance and related expenses associated with RV upkeep.   We want to sell the rig while it’s in good shape, before it gets much older.  The reality is that I need a home office, not just a wee desk in the corner by the kitchen, as my job has mushroomed over the past months and continues to do so. 

Workstation in RV August 2015

I find that violent storms make me uneasy in the RV, something which never bothered me before.  Of course, we had sturdy buildings in which to take shelter, something we don’t have here, and we primarily experienced snow storms, not the volatile thunderstorms and tornado warnings such as we get here in Texas.  We don’t feel “hitch itch” as in previous years, although we are looking forward to being on the road headed to our new location next year; we do miss seeing new places and the experiences that come along with traveling. Giving up the RV certainly doesn’t preclude a car trip by any means.   We’re tired of … people and traffic in large numbers.  We feel the need to be closer to Nature in a cleaner  environment, closer to wilderness.

So … the plan at this point is to sell the RV and move to a smallish town in northern MN, settling in a cottage within a 55+ community.   Maintenance-free living.  Simplifying our life and expenses again.  No snow shoveling!

Post wash street side 03162016

Will be  emotional selling our home next Spring.  She’s a good rig and provides us a cozy home filled with many memories. 

I hear you saying, “Minnesota?!  Northern Minnesota?!?!  But it’s cold up there!!! “ 

Yes, it’s cold up there.  That’s one of the reasons we want to go.  Having been back in Texas again this Summer, we realize we both need to be in a colder climate for comfort/health reasons.  We know about Winter in Minnesota, having lived there during  2005-2007.  Yes, it snows.    A  lot.  And it’s cold.  Really  cold.

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Walking around town and loving it – Hibbing, MN 2006

But you know what?   I have grilled outdoors with snow on the ground and more coming down.  Life doesn’t stop up there when it’s snow season.   We both still find magic in snowfall.  We miss walking hand-in-hand, hearing our boots crunching in the snow. The cold?  Well, you can always put on more clothes.  I’m a “sweater girl” at heart, and Dave is from Scotland.  There’s only so much you can take off when the mercury reaches 100+.  It’s a dry cold, too, and that makes a world of difference.  Trust me.

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Dave on one of our walks in Hibbing MN,  2006

Living in Minnesota is like … well, it’s like living in an entirely different country.  Seriously.  That’s what I thought when I first moved there in July 2005.  Obviously the weather is different.  Buildings are different, especially in the smaller towns.  It’s less ritzy and glitzy.  There is a unique and distinct Minnesota accent one hears.  We’re ready to be back in a small town.  Fewer people and less stuff  around,  enough to meet one’s needs (and ours are basic needs) – shopping, health care, etc. , and slightly larger and more prosperous than Hibbing, where we lived previously.   Where we hope to be is again in the northern part of the state – well north of The Cities – where there’s not much between us and Canada (again) except a lot of trees and a lot of bears.  I’m ready for clean air and clean water.  Fewer people doing stupid, rude, senseless, and violent acts.  I’m ready to return to an area where the predominant cultural influence is Native American.  My Spirit yearns for all this, as does Dave’s.  I’m ready to see Winter be so cold that it literally reboots Mother Nature for the next year.  I’m ready to be back someplace where we can pack a lunch and go out in nature for the day without having to drive and drive and drive and drive …

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Dave at the head of the Mississippi on our of our day trips – MN, 2006

No, it’s not Utopia.  There is no such place.  However, we believe that our quality of life will be greatly increased.

We are still active and vital, and not ready for your typical “senior community” and rocking chairs on the front porch.  Except for a lazy afternoon when the weather’s nice.  Ha!   We are, however, ready to live in a mature community where – hopefully – our neighbors share the same overall values as us.   Our age peer group, if you will.

It also seems fitting that we return to Minnesota, as that’s where we started our life together here in the States.

So that’s the plan at this point.   The logistics are going to be … interesting, at the least.  But hey, this is the same gal who in 2005, put her Texas property on the market, sold everything except bare necessities, loaded the rest in a 6×12 U-Haul trailer (with the help of awesome friends) and headed solo (but with 2 cats and 1 dog) to Minnesota to an apartment she’d never seen (picked out by an aunt and uncle), to a state she’d never been in, engaged to a man 4000 miles away with whom she had spent a sum total of 2 weeks.  All that was accomplished in less than 30 days.

MN move 2005

Loaded  up  with the help of these 2 awesome friends (and others), ready to head to MN – June 2005

This is doable! 

If’s  … if our assignment in NJ had indeed lasted another 3 years, if by some fantasy that job opened up again, if we indeed had been given another assignment shortly after returning to Texas … we would be carrying on in the RV lifestyle quite contentedly.  But … things don’t always materialize as one has been told.    If we’d known there would not be more security work, we would not have returned to Texas. 

We’ve given this a year.   It’s time to make other plans. 

A bit of envisioning and manifesting going on with this blog post.  We’ve always said we would like to eventually return to Minnesota at some point down the road, and we’ve been talking about making this jump for months now, but this is the first time I’ve put it in writing. 

So, positive vibes, a goal to work towards and look forward to, and hopes I retain a wee bit of my sanity while we get our ducks – errr …. Canada Geese, more appropriately – in a row.  The prospect of this new chapter in our life together is exciting!

What’s on your horizon for 2017?

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

 

 

Kept the Balls in the Air Another Week

In my previous post, I visited with you about juggling Life and its activities.  I’m happy to report I kept those balls in the air another week, with my second Sunday evening yoga session.  As the routine I had chosen was only 30 minutes, I followed that up with a 30-minute guided meditation.  I’m thinking about extending the yoga portion out to 45 minutes or an hour; seems like 30 minutes left me wanting more.  I’m still modifying the routine, so it’s all a work in progress.

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Outdoor time continued this week, sometimes mornings, sometimes evenings.

Not only did Maggie and I have what I call our “outdoor therapy time” but she got a clip and some extended massage/silly talk time one evening.  This was the result . . .

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Silly leg in the air after all that lovin’.

Of course, yesterday was Mother’s Day and my thoughts went to Mom, who has been gone since 2007.  Here’s one of my fave photos of her . . .

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Christmastime photo taken by my Dad, probably in the 1950s.

Since we are off on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, Mondays are our Fridays.  Yay!  Lots of folks dread Monday, as it harkens the beginning of the work week.  We, however, look forward to Monday!  No great plans for this “weekend,” just the usual errands, cycling for Dave and hanging out for both of us.

After quite a bit of fine tuning, I believe I have found the right height and screen tilt for my laptop on my wee desk.  Did I mention I was hunting for a pair of prescription computer glasses I had from my medical transcription days?  Well, I think I have found them!  I have regular reading glasses for when I wear contacts, but they were totally ineffective for computer work.  After a grand “scavenger hunt,” I found a pair of glasses tucked away in a drawer.  I’m thinking they are prescription, as they are doing the trick so far.  What a relief.  The ergonomic chair purchased a while back, laptop position, mid-range computer glasses and increasing the magnification of my screen has lessened the eye strain, shoulder tension and general uncomfortable feeling I was having after putting in the hours of working on the laptop.  So far, so good for now.

It has been pretty darn blustery here today, although warm with no rain.  The heat has not been horrible . . . yet.  I have a routine I go through for “cool running” here in the rig after Dave goes to work.  I’ve been staying comfortable in shorts with both A/C units set at 76 and a floor fan going here in the living room.  I do turn them both units down before Dave gets home from work, so it’s really cool in here for him and in prep for sleeping.

“Cool running?”  Yes, that’s closing certain shades and curtains at different times of the day depending on the slant of Mr. Sun.  It’s not cooking during the peak heat time (4:30 to 7 PM) and not having the TV on.  The television puts out a fair amount of heat, actually.  Heck, I’m busy working or doing something else like house chores that I don’t need – or want – television.  What about with meals?  Nope.  I’ve been reading, as was my habit years ago.  (Right now it’s Bel-Air Dead by Stuart Woods.  I always enjoy the Stone Barrington novels.)

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Enjoying cooking while it’s not 2000F outside.  Tuna biscuit casserole, a longstanding “comfort food” dish, for my meals this week

That inevitable time in Texas is approaching when the A/C units will be getting a thorough workout, so I’m trying to give them a break as long as possible.  I’m thankful we have not had really hot days yet and that, with the exception of one or two occasions, nights have been pleasantly cool for sleeping.

It is coming, though.  I dread it beyond description, but will soldier through and remember that it will come to an end.

You know what?  This blog post has come to an end.  Let the weekend commence!

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

Pleasant Weekend

Dave took a pass on the bike yesterday, with the winds being a bit of an issue and just, well, not feeling like cycling.  That meant we had plenty of time for a Walmart run and then groceries afterwards.

Both Walmarts here are a bit more of a drive than they were in New Jersey, so I only go once every couple of months.  It’s not so much the drive, but the traffic, etc.  We went to Dave’s store, which is a few miles more down the road than the closest one.  Needed printer cartridges and a few more items that I can’t get locally.  We also got a few paver stones for the spot where we stand to access the basement on the driver’s side and for the front corner of the patio, so we don’t have to duck under the rig to stay on concrete.  I think we’ll add a couple more there.   Dave got a new pair of shorts that won’t fall off him (we’ve both lost weight since last year) and I got a pair of Earth Spirit sandals to replace my current ones when they wear out.  One used to be able to purchase Earth Spirit shoes at places other than Walmart and online, but Walmart seems to be the only vendor for them now.  They are the most comfortable footwear and essentially the only brand I have worn for years.  Whenever I manage to spot a pair in my size (5 or 6) in a style I know works for me, I get them and stow them away for when current shoes are retired.  Yes, we took advantage of the associate discount.  Woot!

Next it was on to Kroger’s.  We have not been impressed with the H.E.B. that is quite close, and agreed last week that we will shop at Kroger’s in the future.  It’s a bit more expensive on some items but about the same on others, and they do have decent specials.  This is the first H.E.B. I’ve been in that is . . . well . . . not exactly scuzzy, but just not on par with my past experience.  Kroger’s is a much more pleasant and relaxing shopping experience.

The storm now in the East passed through here around 3 AM this morning as predicted, rocking and shaking our rig like crazy.  We had rain and a bit of lightning, but neither were severe; it was the wind that was the violent part.  There were a couple of big limbs off trees in the park.  We are fortunate to be in the open with no trees nearby.  We checked at daylight and found no leaks and no damage to our home on wheels.

Dear friends Sue and Billie were in town today and stopped by for a visit.  Yay!  Absolutely dear friends and so fun and relaxing to hang out with as usual. 

Billie and Sue 04272016

Aren’t they just cute?  They were exercising their rig.

Sue and I met about . . . I guess it’s been 13 years (?) ago at a volunteer function related to the Brenham Relay for Life.  I met Billie at the event a short while later.  I dunno, we just kinda fell in together.  You know that little saying on the Internet, something like how you meet someone and think, “Gee, I really like this person.  I think we’re gonna be friends.”  We used to hang out more when I lived in Brenham and I’ve missed their company.  We kept in touch by phone and email while Dave and I were out of Texas, but nothing beats spending time in person.  I love them both very much and am so fortunate to have them in my life. 

I’m tickled I actually remembered to take photos!

Not much else is happening in the Barnes home this evening and I’m actually okay with that.  We’ll probably wrap up our marathon of Hinterland on Netflix and then search for another series. 

Thanks for stopping by!

DIY Project Done and Dusted

Quite some time ago, I removed the godawful headboard that came with our RV.  Paisley fabric . . . funky-looking and just a dust collector. 

 

Sans headboard 04102016

Not having time, energy, creativity or tools, I had not come up with a replacement, and the bare wall was starting to really annoy me.  Not to mention protecting both heads and wall when sleeping.

Thus began a search over the Internet for ideas on something to put in that space that would look better yet still be practical.

I found headboard tiles!  After reading bunches of reviews and tips on installation, I purchased a set.  They are 12” x 12” and can be arranged to suit one’s needs and whims.  I read that Command Strips worked well for adhering them to walls.  The adhesive that comes with them apparently does not work well and leaves a gluey residue.  All our framed photos are hung with Command Strips, so Dave picked up a few packs for me a few weeks ago.

The box of tiles has been sitting in the living room for almost a month.  With work and Life, I just haven’t had time or energy to tackle this project.

I played hooky from work this afternoon and got busy.  Armed with spirit level, measuring tape and pencil, I determined where the tiles would go. 

Discovered that those two lamps are not quite level with each other.  They aren’t off by much, but just enough to make ya go, “Hmmmm . . .”

Headboard 04102016

The tiles really are level and aligned.  It’s either the light from the window or, more than likely, me off kilter a bit.  I’m tired!

Yes, a standard layout.  I tried different configurations, but the lamps were in the way.  Ah well, it’s better than it was and finishes off the room.  I’d like to update the lampshades next (and the ones in the living room, which are exactly the same), but that’s a project for another time.  I’m not crazy about the duvet pattern, but the duvet itself works well for us.  Again, that will be another update sometime.

So, finally, that DIY project is done and dusted.  I’m thinking I might as well clip Maggie this evening.  She needs it (again) and I’ve already blown off most of the day.  Spending time with her is fun, she feels better with a clip and I’ll have these two major time-intensive projects done.  Then I can jump back into work tomorrow full-tilt.

Hope you’ve had a fun, productive and rewarding Sunday!

Thanks for stopping by!

Another Week and More Cooking

So it’s Wednesday again already!  I’m grateful we made it through a week with no malfunctions of any sort.  Haha! 

I tell ya, my work is steady lately and for that I am also grateful.  Whew!  Keeps me hopping during the week.  As a matter of fact, I contemplated putting in some time yesterday or today (days off) but then thought, “Nope.  Not gonna get in the habit of that.  I need my time off.”  Thursdays are my “Mondays,” and catch-up days, so I know I’ll be hustling tomorrow.

Yesterday was errands-and-chores day, and I did accomplish everything, including a late afternoon boogie to H.E.B. for groceries.  I like to get all the errands done in one day, so the next day I can just be here at home to cook, chill or whatever, “whatever” being a blog post, crashing in my recliner in front of the TV . . . taking a day at a slower pace.

When returning home from the post office in the early afternoon yesterday, I overshot the exit to the park.  Was just grooving along in the truck with tunes cranked up and, next thing I knew, I was passing the park.  Contributing to that overshoot is the fact that the exit for the park is closed due to construction, so one has to get off the highway via the exit right before this one. 

Oopsies.  It was just one of those days when I was digging the drive and could have driven from here to . . . Iowa.  Ha!

Keeping in mind the new routine I want to establish of giving the truck a workout now and then, I just said, “Why not?” and kept on going.  Turned my sights to Hearne, a small town about 20 miles north on Hwy 6.  Cranked up the music and settled in to enjoy the drive.  Engaged the cruise control for a while just to make sure it still works.  It does. 

There’s not a whole lot in Hearne of interest from a quick glance, excepting perhaps the Ace Hardware store downtown.  Small-town Ace Hardware . . . love ‘em.  I tried to think of something I might need as an excuse to go in and wander around, but came up short.  So I went around the block and pointed Truck toward the barn.

Me, Truck, highway and tunes.  Bliss.

When I did arrive home about an hour later, I realized I felt bit more relaxed.  Thanked Truck for some much-needed windshield time.  “Me” time.  Sweet.

Dave got busy this morning and washed our awning.  He did a great job and it looks soooo much better!  We were able to leave it deployed for a while, but then the wind intensified and we had to retract it.  He clocked 30 miles on the bike after taking care of that maintenance task.

Wednesday cooking ensued while he was away – sausage kolaches, a beef-and-wild rice casserole and then cinnamon rolls (not from scratch, sorry).  Dog fed and walked, dishes done and dried, and now steak fries are in the oven which will accompany the burgers I’ll make in a bit.

Whew!  There are 40+ work emails awaiting my attention, along with routine end-of-week tasks and current special projects. 

That DIY project I alluded to recently?  It’s still in the box here in the living room.  I’ve eyeballed what needs to be done but need 2-3 hours of dedicated, uninterrupted (quiet) time to tackle it.  Hopefully soon.

Yeah, right.  Ha!

There are other things I’d like to talk about, but it’s just about time to put the burgers on. 

Perhaps next time, whenever that might be!

Thanks for stopping by!  Ya’ll be safe out there, okay?

We Sure Got a Lot Done

We’re on the down side of our weekend, nicely tired from having a productive two days off.  Dave started yesterday (Tuesday) with a morning bike ride and, when he returned, we tackled washing the rig.  He began with the roof.  Man, you should have seen the dirty water pouring down the sides!  Once finished we teamed up to do the rest of our home.  I tell ya, we were tired afterwards.  We then splurged on carry-out pizza and spent the evening watching the election returns on TV.

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The grass had gotten pretty out of control with recent rains, warm weather and then sunshine.  The yard service wasn’t scheduled to come until Thursday, but the owner/manager brought in his own mower and mowed quite a bit of the section here up front.  What a relief!  We really appreciated that.  That “we” includes Maggie, too.  It was getting to be quite a jungle for her.

Post wash 03162016

Today started much like yesterday with Dave off for a 40-mile ride.  I decided to do what laundry there was in the hamper, as there’s rain in the forecast starting tonight.  After that, I boogied outta here and landed at Target. 

We are in a humid climate, and it will be both hot and humid before long.  I had seen reviews both from RVers and “regular” purchasers of the Eva-Dry countertop units, and this is what I was after.  Target was supposed to have them in stock.

Dehumidifier 03162016

And so they did!  There were two, actually, so I brought this puppy home.  It sits about 8.5” tall, just the right size for countertop placement.  With its size, I can put it in the bathroom, bedroom or here in the kitchen/living area.  It is indeed whisper-quiet.  It think I’m going to like it! 

Next stop was H.E.B. for our week’s worth of provisions.  Tuesdays and Wednesdays are the two days I have access to our truck; if I’m going to run any errands, those are the days.

After putting everything away, we were back outside to clean the exterior windows.  They ended up being a bit streaked from yesterday’s bathing of the rig.  Thanks so much to my hubby for working so hard on our home on his two days off!  We’re now all clean, inside and out.  Yay!

The yard service showed up today, probably because of the rain forecast which is supposed to kick in tonight.  They mowed the rest of the park and did the edging and trimming around our site.  Of course, that meant more grass clippings to be swept off our patio and parking spot.  They do come around and blow everything, but I always do a more thorough sweeping.

One long-term forecast model has us in store for a pretty darn hot summer, so anything we can do (I.e., dehumidifier) to make it cooler and more comfortable inside is imperative.  We’ll also get to Lowe’s before long for insulation panels like we used for skirting in New Jersey.  The street side of our rig gets direct sun pretty much all day, so we’ll put up panels in the windows on that side.  The panels, the dehumidifier, the LED lights and the dark curtains I put up while in NJ should all help keep it more tolerable in here.

I hope.

For now, however, we enjoyed two days of nice weather and, although there may be a bit of rain, we are to be treated to more seasonable temperatures back in the 70s for a wee while.

I’m good with that.

There are quite a few work emails awaiting my attention tomorrow, so I’ll be hitting the ground running again.  This lull has been a productive time, but I’m looking my usual full days of assisting my clients.

Thanks for stopping by!