Monday, July 27, 2015

Figuring Out What is Next for the Little RV - Life Changing Decisions

If you follow our blog regularly you know this spring Rob had a very serious medical emergency resulting in a very long (9 weeks) hospitalization and months of recovery which is still in progress. Now that we have finally made it home to Washington we find ourselves frequently discussing and thinking about what's next for us and how best to move forward. 
Charleston February 2013
Three years ago when we started this new lifestyle we sold our home and everything we owned except what is in the Little RV. We don't consider that a mistake but the reality is we don't have our own place to just stay forever. 

The first question we find ourselves asking is whether we can and/or want to continue to travel. During one of our conversations I asked Rob to think about a rather harsh sounding question. I didn't ask for an answer but just for him to think about the question. I asked if he knew he had five years left in his current condition what would he want to do and how would he want to spend his time.
Savannah, February 2013

We have seen several of Rob's doctors and are getting a handle on his medical needs and condition. We have no way of knowing to what extent Rob will recover. He has significant short term memory loss. At this point he cannot drive. Whether or not that changes is an unknown. His kidney doctor tells us it is unlikely he will be a candidate for kidney transplant. His kidney function is worse than it was before his hospitalization which means there was additional permanent damage done. He now has 20% of his kidney function. They are not filtering out the toxins in his system as well as they were. He has new dietary restrictions and is on new medications which are very expensive even after his insurance has paid their part so we need to be more cost conscious moving forward.
The Little RV in
Starbuck, Washington, June 2014

Another question we ponder is if we choose to continue our travels do we have the right RV and vehicle. It's not much of a stretch to give that one a definite NO! Rob has fallen several times. There are four stairs going into the RV and there are three stairs inside going up to the bedroom and bathroom. One night Rob and I both fell down those stairs together. He fell backward and I fell forward and landed on him. Fortunately neither of us was hurt badly but it was really scary. 
Gull Lake COE, Minnesota, August 2014

Basically, if we want to continue traveling we need to get a different RV. The problems with our current set-up are both sets of stairs, the difficulty of climbing in and out of the giant, dually truck, difficulty finding parking where there is enough room for him to get in and out of said truck, the numerous problems with the Little RV that need attention and a lot of cash to address, the fact that the truck is coming up on its 60,000 mile service and needs six new tires...and the list goes on. You get the general picture. 
Mural in Ashland, WI, August 2014

So, at our home we discuss RVs, tow vehicles, puppies and endlessly search the internet for options. 
Macinac Island Bridge,
Michigan, September 2014

Stay tuned, there are lots of exciting changes coming to the Little RV. We just don't know exactly what they will be yet.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Seriously! When did adopting a dog become as difficult as adopting a human child?

We have always had at least one dog, usually two and once we had three at the same time. Nearly 20 years ago we adopted two Australian Shepherds, Carrie and Rudy, through rescue programs. Many years later we adopted an Newfoundland named Marley through a rescue. Our most recent boy was Grant whom you may remember. We lost him back in August while we were in Minnesota. 
Grant on the left and Carrie on the Right

While Rob was still in the hospital back in April we decided we were going to get a furry addition to our family. We began our search soon after Rob was discharged and while we were still in Benson, AZ.  
Carrie on the left and Marley on the Right
with my bestie Judi way back in 2005

We did a lot of searching online and found a darling little dog at the pound and went to see her. We did end up taking her home but we had to return her the following day. She was completely covered with dozens of ticks, she bit me that evening and the next day we took her to the vet to help get the ticks off and evaluate her. She tried to bite the vet as well. We decided we couldn't risk a biter with 6 grandchildren and a seventh on the way. 
Me with Marley back in 2006

A few days later we found a dog named Romeo who seemed perfect for us but he had valley fever and would need a few more weeks of treatment before he could be neutered so we couldn't adopt him because we were leaving the area. 

Along the way home we searched and have discovered dog adoption has become a big business. It seems many shelters give preference to rescue organizations for specific breeds and mixes. If you aren't the rescue organization, you can't adopt the dog. It seem that most pets in need of homes are listed on You can read about available pets on their site then you have to fill out an application before you can even talk to someone about a dog. We have filled out several applications. We have gotten a couple of responses, one saying we are out of their service area and another saying they have many applicants for a specific dog so if we happen to make the cut they'll let us know. Sometimes we don't even get a response. 

If you are fortunate enough to have your application approved and actually hear back from the rescue, you are in for a long process of vetting. They schedule a home visit, check your references, get approval from the "board" at the rescue. Most state up front you must have a fenced yard. (We don't even have a yard.) If you pass all of their tests and phone calls and home visits, etc. they generally charge about $500 dollars for the adoption fee. How on earth did this happen?

We have considered purchasing a dog but Grant was purchased from a reputable breeder and was the most challenging dog we have ever had in terms of medical issues and separation anxiety. Additionally dogs from a breeder run between $1000 and $3000 dollars. 

Now if we wanted a Pit Bull or a Chihuahua we could pick 10 up at the pound tomorrow. Unfortunately Pit Bulls are not generally welcomed in RV parks and Chihuahuas are not for us. We are big, hairy, happy dog people. How sad that there are so many dogs out there who need good home and we have a great home and lots of love to offer and we can't seem to measure up to dog rescue organization standards. Something has gone terribly wrong and it makes me very sad. I'll stop now. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

The Little RV is Home at Last

The Little RV's repairs have been completed. She's sporting a firm and fabulous new chin.

And her side damage has been repaired. She's lookin' fine.

Saturday morning we hooked up and started for home which is Olympia, Washington. We got an early start and thought we'd make it to our new lot around noon. We weren't 10 miles from our exit when the traffic came to a sudden halt. 

Here we are trapped in traffic for three hours. We found out there had been a fatality accident around 6:30 am followed by a four car pile-up a couple of hours later and all northbound lanes of I-5 were closed until further notice. It was 2:30 when they opened the freeway and let us through. 

Finally we arrived, checked in and met our lot owner. He had arranged for someone very experienced to help us get backed into our lot. Thank goodness! It took some doing but eventually we got the Little RV settled in. 

We have a ROOF!

It was hot and we were exhausted. Fortunately, my parents were happy to see us home and fed us a great 4th of July dinner. It's good to be home.