Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Our RV Repairs Will Be Complete Tomorrow!

I just got the call from the body shop at our RV dealer in Junction City, Oregon.  Our repairs will be complete tomorrow and we can bring our RV home on Friday.  This is VERY good news.  I was starting to get nervous about whether we were going to be able to leave when we had planned.  

Tomorrow morning Rob has an appointment with his  rheumatologist.  After that appointment we'll head back home and grab what we need and hit the road for Junction City.  We'll spend the night in their parking lot/RV campground and drive home on Friday.  Then we can start moving the rest of our things into our new home.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

RV Travel with K-9 Medical Issues

We have a wonderful fur kid named Grant.  He is a 7-year old Australian Shepherd.  

Grant is a very loving and smart dog who just happens to be afraid of everything including his own shadow.  At our house, Grant has a huge, fenced back yard and a dog door.  While he walks really well on his leash, he's never had to be taken out to conduct his business.  He's not a fan I must say. (I'm not either)

It's been hard for Grant to adjust to our trips in the RV. He loves to ride in the truck and he seems really comfortable in the RV but anything in between is a terrifying experience for him. Rest areas are horrifyingly loud and busy.  By the end of each trip he seems to be settling in but I'm still worried about how this is going to be for him. Fortunately, we have an awesome veterinarian whom we love.

Grant regularly takes a medication called Reconcile.  Basically, Reconcile is the K-9 form of Prozac.  He has terrible separation anxiety and was very destructive when left alone. Unfortunately, there is currently a nationwide shortage of Reconcile.  Since we're leaving in just over a week we needed something to give him in its place.  Grant's veterinarian, Dr. Shoemaker at South Bay Veterinary Hospital gave us a prescription for human fluoxetine which is the generic for Prozac.  We took the prescription to Costco to have it filled and were pleasantly surprised to find that the cost was 95% less than the Reconcile.  We were paying about $800 a year for Reconcile and today we got a 2 month supply of the generic for $6.99 which is only $42 annually.  Saving us about $760 a year or 5 full tanks of diesel for the truck!  SCORE!

The other thing we picked up at the vet's office was his records.  Grant has had a lot of gastrointestinal problems over the years.  Once his illness was so severe that our vet kept him for over a week on fluids and medications.  He had hemorrhagic gastroenteritis which is inflamed and bleeding stomach and intestines.   We nearly lost him but he bounced back.  Eventually we found out that he has some pretty severe food allergies so I was particularly interested in his allergy testing.  The test results are below.

Allergic                          Not Allergic
eggs                              catfish
corn                               beef
soy                                chicken
duck                              rabbit
yeast                             milk
oats                               wheat
rice                                pork
turkey                            potato
lamb                              venison
peas                              barley

Grant's dog food was a lamb and rice food.  Clearly not a good choice given that he is allergic to both.  Since his allergy testing we have been feeding him chicken with a little pumpkin. However, his symptoms have not completely gone away so we decided to try an elimination diet.  We started him on just chicken and sweet potatoes.  About two weeks into the diet we discovered Grant is highly allergic to sweet potatoes.  They make him itch really badly.  We learned that allergens can stay in a dog's system for up to 8 weeks. The vet's office suggested giving him Benadryl for the itching.  That is when we discovered that Grant is allergic to something in the Benadryl also.  We also switched his diet to chicken and regular potatoes. At that point, I wanted to scream and I'm sure Grant did too.  We were given a prescription for an antihistamine with a steroid with a tapered dosage.  That medication helped tremendously but the itching never completely went away and since he finished the prescription it has steadily gotten worse again.  We started him on another round today.  

Wish us luck in our travels with our neurotic, allergic, terrified dog. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Organizing the RV - Mentally

It's 3:00 am and I can't go back to sleep.  I laid in bed for exactly 44 minutes trying to go back to sleep but couldn't.  During those 44 minutes I organized the RV - mentally.  

The RV is still in the shop being repaired so I can't do any real organizing.  When we started purging, our dining room was the first empty room so it's become our staging area.  Everything we are not currently using, but plan to keep, is sorted into bins by area of the RV for our actual move in. 

I'm planning on putting seldom used items like our emergency food supply (freeze dried) high up in the entertainment center.  These supplies are currently in the kitchen above the fridge but during my mental organizing session I decided to move it.  

I'm thinking I'll have to rearrange the RV several times before I get things in the best location.  

What do you think about when you can't go back to sleep?

RVs Are Not Buildt Short People

RV things are tall.  The first night we stayed in our RV I discovered that in order to reach the bathroom vent, I had to climb up on a step-stool.  Cabinets and storage are very high also. 

Have I mentioned that we are undertall?  Rob is 5'5" and I'm 5'2". 

To correct the bathroom fan problem we are having our dealer install a new remote fan in the bathroom.  
The cabinets are another story.  I have to use a step-stool to reach at least half of the storage in the RV.  Organization is key because I'm not keen on climbing.  

In addition to the RV, our truck is very tall.  We have a Ford F-350 and if I stand in front of it the hood is at eye level.  When we are hitching the RV we have to reach the hitch in the center of the truck bed.  We use a step-stool to climb up and reach the break-away cable, etc.

Are you seeing a theme here? 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Full Timing with Medical Issues

Yesterday we met with Rob's primary care doctor. Rob has multiple serious health conditions and we had a lot of questions about medications, lab work, injections, oxygen concentrator rental and what medical records should we carry with us. It was a good appointment and he really took the time to answer all of our questions. He adjusted some of Rob's prescriptions so we have enough of a supply to last between longs stops where we can get our refills shipped to us. Best of all, I get to give Rob his twice monthly injections. I will be administering his injections. I feel much more prepared now.  

We also heard yesterday that the repairs on our 5th wheel are nearly complete and it will be ready for pick-up early next week.  Only 13 days to go!  

I WILL get some packing, sorting, cleaning, and discarding done today

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Boxes of Photos - Do Your Kids a Favor

Like most families, we have boxes of pictures.  Ours have been stacked up on a table for weeks.  I knew we had to go through them but kept putting it off.  What a job!  

Yesterday Rob started looking through them so I decided to join in and get another nasty job crossed off our list.  

We spent hours going through boxes and albums.  I can't believe how many photos we threw away.  So many were scenery and neither of us remembered where they were taken.  We also had a lot of duplicates.  We ended up sorting the good ones into piles.  Our three grown daughters will get the lion's share of them.  Some we choose to keep. We ended with about 1/10 of what we started with.  

Meghan, Christina and Kelly you can thank us now because we saved you a ton of sorting later.  

Sunday, August 19, 2012

17 Days and Counting

We are planning on pulling out as full-time RVers on September 6th.  That is only 17 short days away. 

This morning I was able to empty two rooms of everything except three pieces of furniture that have been claimed but need to be picked up.  

Over the next 17 days I have two dental appointments and Rob has two specialty medical appointments and a regularly scheduled injection to look forward to.  

The 5th wheel is still in the shop getting repaired from the incident with the 'gaiter.  We aren't sure when the work will be complete so we can drive down and pick it up.  I'm thinking early next week.  Fingers crossed!

My goal for today is to go through all of the boxes in the living room that we have been throwing "stuff" into for weeks.  
Miscellaneous Crap

I've been putting this off for a while now.  Wish me luck.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Stuff, Stuff and More Stuff

You never really know how much stuff you have until you actually have to put your hands on each and every item.  

Over the past few months, Rob and I have been sorting through everything in and around our home.  We have an average sized, three bedroom house with a two car garage and an attic, a large woodworking shop,  and a large storage building for the mower and outdoor tools. 

Sorting through your things makes you start thinking about what you really need as opposed to what you want or what society expects us to have.  As we move through our lives, there is a pressure to become successful.  I think society sees a person as successful by the things they own, the house they live in, the car they drive and the clothes they wear.  If you really think about it, things are a weight.  The more you have the more it take to maintain it all. 

When you're going through the purging process you have many opportunities to think about what you have and why you have it.  Of course, moving into a 380 sq. ft. 5th wheel is reason enough to discard your "stuff".  

Much of our stuff has been given to family members and dear friends.  Today, my daughter and her family drove away with a U-haul trailer full of "stuff". Some of it was theirs and had been stored in our attic but some was ours and gifted to them.  It was good to be able to give them quality things that it took us years to afford and accumulate.  I know it will be put to good use.  We have boxes of things to take to Rob's girls on the East Coast too.  

My parents have many of our most valued possessions like some of my favorite decor', dishes and serving pieces, and Rob's tools.  I know all of them will enjoy and appreciate whatever they have received. 

People say they don't think they could get rid of their things. When you start this process, you have to talk yourself through it.  You have to be in the right mindset.  If this doesn't work out, there is more stuff out there to be had.  Nothing is irreplaceable except those we love. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Feelin' Like a Big Girl

I mentioned in an earlier post that we sold my car last week.  This week when I've been out to run errands, I have been driving the truck and I LOVE it.  I know she's huge and she's hard to park and you have to watch her hips so you don't curb her but I just feel like such a big girl driving her.  

The other thing that I find funny is that everyone wants to talk about the truck.  People yell, "nice truck" when you drive by or when you get out they start a conversation.  

Note the near perfect parking job on the first try!
Just had to get that out of my system!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Home Again!

This morning we packed up and left the beach to take the RV back to Eugene for repairs and some service. We'll be heading back down in a week or so to pick it up and bring it home.  Then we can get packed and take off on our grand adventure.

I asked the lady who works with damage from accidents and such at the dealer whether our incident would fall under collision or comprehensive.  In her experience, it would be comprehensive.  Our comp deductible is considerably less than our collision so we were happy about that.  When I spoke to our claims adjuster, he said it was collision.  He also said if it had been a deer it would have been comp. I'm so confused.  I've been working with insurance for years and just don't understand the difference in colliding with a deer or a giant hunk of tire.  

What's a girl to do?  This girl is going to sift through Washington statutes to see if I can find a definition for comprehensive in motor vehicle insurance laws.  

I think Grant is really happy to be home.  He's been flaked out in his bed for hours.  We told him to enjoy his doggie door and back yard while he has it.   

Back to sorting, discarding, donating, packing and preparing to the next phase!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Confusion in the RV Park

After driving to the beach from the RV dealer we arrived at the RV park where we had reservations.  When I checked in the woman behind the desk told me that we weren't expected until tomorrow.  I explained that I called and moved up our arrival date and I had email confirmation.  She remembered talking to me at that point but had given our space away.  After some discussion the decided to place us in a back in site that was very small but told us we would be moved to our reserved space the following day.  We got situated for the night.  The next morning I went to the office to find out how to accomplish the move because we needed to leave by 10 am for our family reunion.  They decided to leave us where we were and said we could stay there for the duration.  Late that same evening the manager came to the door and told us we'd have to move tomorrow after all and we should do that between 11 and noon.  This morning I went to the office to see if we could just continue in the space we already had but there was no staff working.  I called the number posted on the door but got no answer.  My family who are staying in town as well, told us there was a very nice RV park near their condo.  My daughter called and there was an opening so we just hooked up to move to the new park.

We are in Premier RV Park in Lincoln City, Oregon.  This park is so much nicer and the staff are great.  It's well maintained and very friendly.  The spaces are considerably larger too.  Moving was a great decision!

We did get to spend some time with our family.  They came by and helped us move and hung out for a while.  It was fun having everyone in our new little house.

This evening we got our new Coleman Road Trip portable grill and used it for the first time.  I worked great.  Awesome steaks and some fresh local dungeness crab.  It was the first real meal I cooked in the RV. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

The Apple Fritter Thief

Hello my name is Grant.  

My nephew calls me dog dog.  My mom and dad keep making me go in the truck and then we have to sleep in the little house on wheels.  Mom says I'm kind of a mess 'cause when I was little I jumped out of the truck window and fell on my head.  No, really!  I probably shouldn't have jumped out the window but I wanted to play so bad.  

Anyway, I have to take doggie Prozac for my nerves.  I also have food allergies and sometimes I get an upset tummy.  Mom says she can hear it rumbling clear across the room and then...well I have to go outside.  I'm allergic to a lot of stuff like turkey, lamb, duck, rice, corn, soy, oats, sweet potatoes, peas and a bunch more things.

Today mom and dad were getting the house ready to go and I was in the truck waiting.  When I jumped into the front seat, I smelled something delicious.  It was sweet, and yummy and I ate the whole thing.  Then mom got in and saw the empty bag.  I just sat there and looked innocent but there was something sticky in my fur and she saw it.  

We moved the truck to another parking lot and then mom and dad got out again.  I jumped into the front seat again and took a look to see if there was any more of that tasty thing and I found another one.  It was gone in a flash.  I even took it out of the bag before I ate it.  

When mom came back she saw I was in her seat again and made me move.  Then she noticed the wet and torn up bag.  I think she's on to me now.  She called them apple fritters and I had two.  They didn't get any at all.  Mom says she's waiting to see if I get sick 'cause of my allergies. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Today was Nuts!

What a day.  It was my last day at work and it was a half day at that.  I went to lunch with some of my coworkers and really enjoyed the company and the food.  We finished loading up the RV and left for Eugene at about 3:30.  We have a couple of warranty issues that need to be addressed. 

About 30 miles from the Washington / Oregon border we spotted a giant truck tire gater in the middle of our lane.  Rob was driving and we were going about 65 mph.  There were cars on both sides of us so he had no choice but to run over the gater. We pulled into the first rest area we came to and got out to survey the damage.  

There is no damage to the truck but there is plenty of damage on the 5th wheel.  The gater hit the front of the 5th wheel on the lower passenger side corner.  It's pretty bent up and I was worried that the landing gear wouldn't come down but it worked fine.  There are several small dents and a lot of black skid marks that run about half way down the side.  It could have been much worse.  I took some photos but they didn't turn out very good.  I'll get some better ones and post them soon.  Needless to say, we're both pretty disgusted that on our first trip out we already need some repairs but we're both safe and all is well.

We made it the rest of the way without incident and are set up at the little RV lot at the dealer.  We'll have them take a look and make sure everything is safe when they are working on the other things tomorrow.  Hopefully, after a few days at the beach we can bring it back, leave it here and have it repaired.  We'll just take the truck home and come back down when it's done. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Ode to Richard

Rob and I have been talking about full-time RVing for several years but it just never worked out.  Perhaps the timing wasn’t right.  Last winter we had a rare snow day here in the Puget Sound.  I was at work and in order to see the snow, I walked over to Richard’s cubicle.  Richard has windows!  The snow was beautiful and those big, fluffy swirling flakes that make you wish you were home in your jammies drinking cocoa.  Richard and I started talking and ended up on the subject of places we love.  I said, “What we’d really like to do is sell the house and travel full time.”  Richard said, “What’s stopping you?”  Every reason I gave him was met with, “So?”.  He was right, the only thing stopping us was us.  Later that morning I called Rob and told him about my conversation with Richard.  

When we first started planning we had decided on an exit date of 9/1/2013.  Plenty of time to sell the house, go through and dispose of all of our possessions, pay off some bills, etc.  Somehow, here we are only 5 short months later and tomorrow is my last day of work.  When I do things here or at home I think to myself, this is the last time I will (__________) fill in the blank.  This morning it was, this is the last time I will wear this skirt, EVER! Perhaps I will burn it.  

Thanks Richard!  Thanks for responding with, “So?”

What are you waiting for?

Monday, August 6, 2012


I'm tired.  Seriously tired.  When I get tired, I get a bit irrational. 

I am generally fairly calm, composed and very organized.  Living in the house while moving things into the RV is NOT organized.  There are boxes, storage tubs and piles everywhere. This makes me a bit crazy.  We're leaving on Thursday for our first trip in the RV.  I'm now in last minute panic mode.  My mind is in overdrive trying to figure out what we still need to get moved before we leave.  

Adding to my list of worries is Grant.  Grant is our 7 year old Aussie. He's a sweet boy who is just a bit neurotic.  Grant takes doggie Prozac daily because he has terrible separation anxiety.  We've tried everything to get him over it including doggie boot camp when he was younger.  At home Grant has a doggie door and a huge fenced back yard.  He goes out whenever he wants.  That will change but nobody has told him yet.  He'll have to be taken out and walked several times a day and it will be mostly be me doing that because often Rob will just not be up to it.  Grant also has terrible food allergies. The list is long and includes turkey, corn, peas, duck, sweet potatoes, oats and soy just to name a few.  Try finding a dog food he can eat.  We have had him tested and right now he is on an elimination diet.  60 days of chicken and potatoes...just chicken and potatoes.  For now let's just say he's a bit high maintenance. 

To add to my mood, I had to go to the dentist today.  I HATE to go to the dentist.  So much, in fact, that I avoid it at all costs.  Clearly that has bitten me in the butt!  My prize, you ask?  I get to go to the dentist 4 more times in the next three weeks.    

On days like today I begin to wonder what on earth we are doing.  Are we crazy?  Probably, but we're going anyway.  Hopefully tomorrow when I wake up I'll have switched back to excited. 

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Moving in...

Today we really started moving into the RV.  We've been moving a little here and there but we are heading out on a trip on Thursday and we need to get organized and make sure we have everything we need with us. 

It was interesting to see how well things stayed put when we had our driving lesson yesterday.  Most things were pretty much where we left them but the entertainment center cabinets in the back where a mess.  Things had shifted around quite a bit.  I'll have to make sure things are really packed in before we head out.  Even if it's extra towels and blankets.

The kitchen is quite a challenge.  For whatever reason, they choose to make the shelves in my big cabinet about two feet apart.  I'm going to add a couple more shelves so the space can be used more efficiently.

Right now we are balancing what we need to leave in the house with what we can go ahead and move to the RV.  Small appliances will have to wait for a few more days.  

I've read so many times that when it comes time to move in, the RV owners discover that they have way too much stuff and have to get rid of even more.  I think we have been so aggressive in our purging that we may no have that problem.  I may have to eat my words.     

Saturday, August 4, 2012

We All Survived!

Today I learned to drive our new rig.  What an ordeal it is to get everything ready to go in the 5th wheel, unhook everything, hook up to the truck, and take off.  I'm sure it'll be come a quick and easy process but today it took a while.  

My Dad used to be a truck driver so I asked him to come over to give me a lesson.  Rob drove out of our neighborhood and into town.  We went to a big school parking lot and then it was my turn.  There were lots of little tree filled islands in the parking lot so I had obstacles to drive around. I did a little backing up and a little of this and a little of that. I actually think I did pretty well.  Then we decided to hit the freeway.  Driving through town was a bit scarey but I held it together and got us onto the freeway without loss of life and limb. 

Once on the freeway I discovered the lanes are a bit wider.  That was a welcome relief.  Dad was great...very patient and calm.  Rob played with his phone because I told him to keep quiet asked him to let Dad do the talking. 

We went a few a few exits south and then took the back way to the house. I knew going the back way I'd have to navigate a road construction area but I managed to get through without running over any barrels, cones or flaggers. Then came the big test, backing into the driveway.  That was a bit daunting. I only had one fairly average sized meltdown.  When we got to the house, Dad and Rob got out.  Dad to direct me and Rob probably for the sake of his own personal safety.  

Then I started to get a bit rattled. For some reason Rob let our dog out.  Every time I looked in a mirror my dog was somewhere different and near the wheels.  I told Dad, who said "he'll get out of the way".  Then we proceeded to go forward and back...forward and back a million times without making much progress.  Dad was talking to me, Rob was motioning and pointing from the back, Grant (the dog) was running around and that was when I lost it.  We all managed to get back on the same page and I pulled it together and we got the 5th wheel parked in the driveway and all set up.  

Needless to say, I'm feeling ok about driving around town and on the freeway but I'm not feeling so good about the parking part.  Pull-through spots see the way to go.  I'm sure I'll have plenty more to say on this subject as things progress.     

Friday, August 3, 2012

First Trip - 6 Days and Counting

My husband Rob and I have been working hard at emptying our house of all of our belonging for several months.  During that time we bought a new truck and 5th wheel, put our house on the market and as of today, we sold my car.  My last day of work is next Thursday, August 9th.  I'll be officially retired at 49!  

Our maiden voyage will be a fairly short trip.  That's a good thing because we have no idea what we are doing.  We are completely new to the RV life.  We both love to travel but due to Rob's health, we just can't travel in the traditional way any more.  Flights, walking, high sodium foods, and altitude cause all sorts of havoc in his system.  Often enough havoc to put him in the hospital.  What better way to control all of this than to bring our own home along with us?  We can control our food, use any medical equipment necessary, rest when he needs to and still travel where ever we like.  

That said, we're heading to Oregon for my family's annual reunion.  After the reunion we'll be heading for the beach with my parents, daughter and her family for a few days.   

When we purchased our 5th wheel, Rob drove it home from the dealer.  It's about a 5 hour drive.  That is the sum total of our RV experience.  Tomorrow my Dad, who was a truck driver for many years is taking me out to help me get started driving the truck and pulling the RV.  I'm a bit terrified. Wonder if Dad is terrified too?  We'll have to let you know if anyone is maimed or killed during my driving lesson.  Wish me luck!