Saturday, January 5, 2019

RV living has been a long process... light at the end of the tunnel.


The last post I wrote about our move to full time RV living home addressed the site prep. Over the past couple of months, we have had one set back after another because of the weather.  But, I think I can safely say there is light at the end of the tunnel.  

What we have accomplished so far may not seem like much. But, like I said before, we have had horrible weather to work around. On the "done" side of the to-do list, we have:

1. The loop and RV pad both completed.
2. The additional parking and car port are in place in front of Scott's little barn.
3. The RV has been moved on site.
4. Our power drop is installed and the RV is hooked up.
5. After some trial and error, the furnace, water heater, and AC all appear to be working.
6. The fresh water tank is filled and the pump is working.
7. We have a portable honey wagon for dumping the black/gray/galley tanks. 
8. Most of our belongings are unpacked and in the RV.
9. Some remodeling (or customizing as Scott says) has started.
10. We are actually living in the RV!

Here are a few pictures and captions to give you an idea of what we've managed to get finished.

Getting the 5th wheel moved in was a challenge. It was sitting on top of a hill, at
the end of a dirt driveway with a very narrow gate. In addition, it was in Lott; which
is about an hour away on a winding country road. Luckily, Scott (who drives
big fire trucks all the time) was able to help Ron get it moved.
We had a bit of trouble getting into our gate and around the corner of the garage.
It is pretty clear we will need to widen the gate at some point. The 5th wheel got
dinged on the corner of the garage and Scott felt horrible about it.
He patched it up with a fiberglass patch kit for RV exteriors. We just need to get a
decal or something to put over it and you'll never know it happened. 

Scott rewired the garage and  put the 50 amp power outlet on the back side of it. He also put
in a 30 amp box for Miss Lippy. She will be our guest room when family
comes to visit. She is parked up next to Scott's barn right now but can easily be moved closer to
the power outlet when family visits.

Scott suggest he put a motion sensor light on the corner of the
garage so we can see if we need to walk into his
house after dark. I don't think he wanted to be awakened
in the middle of the night by his parents calling, "Help! I've fallen
and can't get up!" But really, he is quite thoughtful
and has been a Godsend!

We put some railroad cross ties along the edge of the
RV pad so the gravel won't constantly be
spreading into the back yard. We hope to go to a local mobile
home dealer and get a set of stairs to use when we
are home. The RV steps aren't bad, but getting groceries, etc. in
will be easier with better stairs. 

We put solar lights in the cross ties and along the back of the garage.
We also put down a path of paving stones to keep
the yard from getting a path; and,
to avoid tracking in mud when it rains.

Next, I'll try to explain what I have done inside. I still have a lot I would like to do, but need to make some decisions about the furniture first. I like the concept of the L shaped couch that converts to a bed. However, the bed is actually an air mattress and would have to be inflated each night and then deflated before the slide can come in. Crazy concept in reality. We figure we will look for a comfy recliner for Ron and I'll use the one that is already in the RV. Then, all we'll really need is an air mattress to put on the floor if any of the family travels with us. We wouldn't even have to deflate it when we travel because it could be placed on top of our mattress. 

I'm still torn about the ugly window treatment in the living area.  I would love to just put up curtains. However, the existing treatment does protect the edges of the blinds. I bought some fabric to recover the part that has the Granny brocade and I think I'll be happy with that. I'm just dragging my feet about tearing them all down. 

This is a picture of the kitchen before I started pulling off wallpaper
border and took down the window cornices.

There was a horrid wallpaper border all the way around the living
and kitchen area.  It wasn't hard to remove. I just got a little
carried away in a couple of places and pulled off
the wallpaper behind it. I have to figure out how to
fix that. There was a little of the sticky residue in a few places but
Goo-gone works wonders. 
Dining area before we removed 2 chairs and
turned the table and light fixture in the other direction.
The previous owner had covered the seats on 2 of the 4 chairs.
She had also painted the table top. I
like the color but I'm not sure I'll leave it that way.
I also found some cute farm scene fabric to recover the seats. We took
2 of the chairs to Goodwill. I hope we don't regret it. 

I've started covering the cornices in the sink area with duck
cloth. It was about the most neutral pattern I could find
since there is just so much going on with the furniture!

This is the stove area after the new back splash was up. Super easy to
do! I just hope it doesn't look too much like a 50's diner.

Scott laughed when he saw how much glass ware I had sitting out.
I kindly explained that as long as we are sitting still, it is our home and
I want the things that make me happy sitting out. When we travel, I'll
pack the glassware up and store it in the sewing room.

The previous owner loves purple. She had a beautiful comforter on the bed;
but, I wanted to use Mom's quilt. She didn't want it back; and, no one
in the family wanted it so I donated it. 

Luckily, she had already removed the RV cornices in the bedroom
and put up curtain rods. All I had to do was sew up some new ones
with fabric that matches the quilt.
I couldn't part with my National Guard clock so it sits in
the bedroom. I just had to turn off the chimes. All of this will
have to be stored when we travel. For now, it makes me happy
to have a few special photographs sitting out.

I recovered the head board to match the valances and pillow cases.
But, I haven't attached it to the wall yet. I'm leaning
towards removing it all together. I may paint the
wall in the slide out a bright, happy color instead.


Things we still need to do:
1. Get water run to the back of the garage so we can hook up directly. (On the
positive side of this, we are getting some boon docking practice.)
2. Buy more support blocks to get the RV completely level.
3. Ensure the water leak around the bedroom slide is indeed because of not being completely level. If not, get it fixed.
(During recent rain storms, we found a damp spot on the floor on the downhill side of 
the bedroom slide. Until we figure out exactly where the water is getting in, we pull in the slide when it rains and haven't had any other damps spots.) 
4. Continue to remodel the interior so it feels more like home.
5. Set up some sort of tool storage in the basement of the RV.
6. Organize the office area inside the RV.
7. Replace the uncomfortable RV furniture.
8. Downsize to a smaller storage rental.
9. ... and numerous other things I can't think of right now.

While all of this has been going on, Ron and I are getting our annual preventive health care out of the way.  We figure we won't travel during the winter months because neither of us like snow. Besides, winter is filled with holidays that we want to spend with family. So between mammograms, dental and eye appointments, colonoscopies, check-ups, etc. we have been really busy. Sometimes it seems like time is dragging and we'll never hit the road. However, I feel we will be more successful if we take care of every little thing before hand.  
As we continue to settle in, remodel, and figure out this new lifestyle, I'll provide further updates. 
Thanks for letting me share this crazy journey with you!

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Maggie Turns Twelve!

Our oldest granddaughter, Maggie Lyn, turned 12 years old today.  For a tiny, little premature baby, she has grown into a tall and willowy, brainy beauty.  True to her loving nature, she opted to  celebrated her birthday with family at a Madeline Hatter themed sleep-over/swim party at a local La Quinta Inn and Suites.



Aunt Jamie made Maggie's Madeline Hatter cake. It had a chocolate layer and a strawberry layer. Mags loved the strawberry!


The number of candles created quite a flame once they were all lit! 


Uncle Scott sent his traditional bag of money; one dollar for every year.


Opening presents with the cousins watching closely...


family looking on...


enjoying Chipotle for lunch...


wearing silly hats...



jumping on beds, having balloon fights...


swimming...

silly cousins wearing goggles...

goofy sister, and a Beluga ring toss game.

The party day was followed by several important milestones. During Primary, the young women of her ward went into sharing time and kidnapped Maggie. She is now officially in the teenage girls' group instead of the children's primary. Her middle school choir had their Christmas performance at the performing arts center in Saginaw. And, Maggie was able to attend her first Young Women's meeting. Lucky for her it was a progressive Christmas Dinner. She had a wonderful birthday week.
We love you, Maggie, and are so thankful to have you in our family!

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Getting the Property Ready for the RV

      Now that the house in Temple is sold, Ron and I need to focus on getting our pad in for our new home on wheels. Scott has graciously taken in his “homeless” parents while we get the drive and pad for the RV built. Built really doesn’t seem like the right word because there is more tearing down taking place than building up.
      At this point in time, we have hired someone to do the work; however, the weather hasn’t been cooperating. The guy was out last week and started the parking area in front of Scott’s barn but had to stop after an hour. The ground was just too wet. Then on Saturday, the family all came over to help cut and burn trees to save us some time and money. We all ended up muddy messes! However, the granddaughters had a blast climbing trees, making mud pies, and building with random pieces of junk.
      We are hopeful the work can resume tomorrow. We’ve had 4 days without rain and the ground seems to be drying up on the surface. Unfortunately, it may be another story about 6 inches down.
I figured I better get some before pictures loaded onto the blog . . . Just in case!

Ron and Scott decided we needed and additional parking area.
They are going to have the dirt guy put in a gravel pad
that's large enough for 3 cars to park here. They also want to
set the car port over in this area. It was at the end of the current drive.
This was the muddy mess the dirt guy made on his first attempt. But,
he did manage to get that brute of a boulder out that the
kids fought with on our Saturday workday.
Scott rigged up a hoist to pull the stakes out of the car port. He sure is
a lot like my Dad. I guess he learned his lesson well when Grandpa was
teaching him about tools and building. This thing worked great!
Some of the stakes were about 2 feet long. Luckily, they came out easily.
When the family was here, we use Egyptian engineering to
move the carport into the front yard. Using the aluminum tubing,
we rolled the carport down the drive and into the yard.
Even the grands helped by grabbing the tubes and moving them to the front. The guys
drove the riding mowers up onto the frame; just in case we get some
strong wind before we can anchor it in the new location.
There used to be a really nice deck here. Scott built it when we put
up the above ground pool. He intends to put another pool
up on the west end of the property but will build a new
deck.
I helped him tear down the deck and put the boards that are in good shape
down on the west end. He is going to repurpose them as a loafing shed
for the mowers, tools, chicken feed, and coop bedding.
I had to add a picture of my girls.
Such pretty birds! But, man is their run a muddy mess!
This is the area where we will park the RVs. It is already
nice and level because it is where the pool used to be. The loop of the
drive will be in the grassy area beyond the 2 trees.
This end of the driveway will most certainly come out. The
new drive will go back into the cedars. The dirt guy has
some sort of attachment to cut the cedar down.
He'll then move them to the west end where the burn area is.
This is our burn area on the west side of the property.
Eventually, Scott wants to put in a fire pit, grilling
area, tables with benches and swings.
The pool will be here as well. I think I'm going to
get the grands a trampoline for Christmas and put
it down here somewhere.
Scott tried his hand at making rusting benches out of
the trees they cut down. They are perfect for the grands to roast
hot dogs and make Smore's.

Hopefully, the next post on the blog will have some "during" pictures. I'm not looking forward to the mud and mess of construction. I'm also not looking forward to keeping the two crazy dogs cooped up while the guy is working. But, hopefully, he will be ready for gravel to be brought in by Wednesday. Fingers crossed!!











Sunday, September 9, 2018

A Literary Blast from the Past

While cleaning out papers, I ran across a short story that was written by my daughters and nieces. Evidently, the girls got together one day, typed up a story, and printed it on a dot matrix printer. (Man! Hasn't technology improved!?!?) The girls each signed the story once it was printed, some at the end of specific paragraphs, leading me to believe that they were the author of the paragraph that they signed. Some of the paragraphs don't have a specific author, so maybe the girls will remember who wrote what. What's even stranger is, I signed it! I guess I was in on the writing session... who knows! Although Alisha didn't sign the paper, I can't imagine her not being in on this so I'm giving her credit as well.


Because I'm not adept at using Ron's scanner, I took a pic of the original and have re-typed it below. I tried to stay true to their original grammar, punctuation, and spelling; but, today's computers make it hard to misspell words. Enjoy!

The Family Reunion
In the summer of 1993, the family of Bob and Shirley Porter gathered together for a family reunion. Their four children had families of their own, living all over the world because of job assignments. It was the first time in over five years that all of the children and grandchildren had been in one place together. (author unknown)
Little did they know that this summer would be known as the Summer of the Great Swamp Monster.  The monster had big long eyes sticking out of its head hanging on long anteneas and its face was all pinched in except for its mouth which stuck out real far so it could eat little kids next door. (Amanda Porter)
The Porter kids were known to be little brats so when the swamp monster heard about the family gathering next door, he figured it would be a great place to eat all the bratty little kids. (Sarah Porter)
After the kids had eaten dinner, the swamp monster thought it would be a great time to eat them because they would be fat a juicy. The kids would be going into the pool and their parents wouldn't be watching them. (Sarah Porter)
All of the kids were in the pool and one of them thought she heard something so she went to tell her favorite cousin.  "I think someone is looking over the fence at us." Her cousin loked but didn't see a thing. She said it was a wild imagination. (author unknown)
Suddenly the monster dived into the pool and caught the cousins by their swim suits and then began to rip out their hair because it would give the monster indigestion. (Jessica Porter)
Soon the parents came out and the swamp monster didn't have time to eat them all so he threw them into his own yard. (author unknown)
Then the children were all screaming, the parents were all crying, and the swamp monster was trying to escape with the children. Then the hero's arrived. (either Rebecca or Leslie Searls)
First to the rescue was Sheena the Bold with her golden hair flowing in the wind. Next cam Kiki the Quick with his swift, strong body. Following Kiki was O.W. the Wonder Cat; everyone wonders what he's good at. Finally, the four schnauzers arrived, singing and howling at the top of their voices with their voice coach, Sugar the Sweet trailing behind.  Jack the Nimble Two by Four, Tara the Troubling Bella, Molly the Motherly Mutt, and Missy the Messy. (Gwen Searls, although I don't remember this! And who the heck is Missy??)
The swamp monster was overcome by all of the overpowering love and devotion shown by the animal heroes so he dropped the cousins and ran for the hills never to be seen again. (either Rebecca or Leslie Searls)

I was going to add a picture of the girls, taken at the age this was written; unfortunately,  I've already given most of my photos to my kids. Maybe at some time in the future, I can get either Rebecca or Leslie to loan me some. In the mean time, I took the liberty of getting screen shot pics from their Facebook pages. Here are the authors of the short story, The Family Reunion. Beautiful inside and out.

Amanda Porter Elmer

Sarah Porter Harward

Alisha Porter

Jessica Porter Lehman

Rebecca Searls Castello

Leslie Searls Gutierrez




Monday, August 27, 2018

A New Chapter: Selling the House

We did it. We put the house on the market and within the first 2 days we had 3 offers. Over the course of 3 weeks, we had more than 20 showings.  Ron and I had decided at the beginning of this adventure that we wouldn't settle for a price less than what we felt was fair market value.  Sticking to our decision paid off in the end. One of our earliest buyers, who originally withdrew their offer because we wouldn't accept it, came back and offered full price. Our closing date is set for September 25th. 
Spending the last 11 years in this house, our neighborhood, and with our church family has been the happiest of our lives. It may seem strange that we would choose to sell; but, we have had a life-long desire to travel and see the many wonders of this great country.  It is time to stop dreaming and act.
There were several events that led us to believe this was the best time to sell.  First, my parents both passed away within 2 years of each other. They followed us here to Texas many years ago. We have felt so fortunate to have had them be a major part of our lives, the lives of our children and of our grandchildren.  They were the anchor that kept us all in this area.  Next, several of our children made moves of their own. Ryan met a special young woman, Jamie, and began his own family near Austin. Then, Leslie's family left Temple for the Ft. Worth area. Between the geographic distances and the busy lives of young families, it became more and more difficult to have weekly family dinners and spend the quality time with them that we wanted.  We have come to realize that we need to have the flexibility of traveling to their houses and spending time with them as individual family units.
Deciding to sell the house and buy an RV for full time living seems crazy to some people. But more often than not, friends have expressed how envious they are. I think the day to day grind of working to provide a home for your family, keeping the home in good order, and trying to "find time" to travel and explore is fulfilling yet burdensome.  Our rationale is; if we are going to do this, we better do it while we are relatively young and healthy. There will always be a sticks and bricks place when we've reached the point where we can't travel any longer.
So, this post is to say goodbye to a home we have work hard on, shared many happy moments in, and have loved. 
Our little house started out an ugly brown. We've freshened up the exterior with much lighter colors.

When we moved in, there was horrid paneling and nasty wall paper in
every room. 

We stripped wallpaper and replaced sheet rock to bring it up to date.

There was ugly, dull, carpet or vinyl on all of the floors. One of
the first changes we made was ceramic tile. Much more pet and grand baby friendly.

Saying goodbye to this table will be hard. It was the first piece
of furniture I bought when I finally had a dining room big enough
for family dinners.

The cabinets in the laundry room were the first ones I painted.
I wanted to make sure they turned out okay before I painted
those in the kitchen.

The house has 2 full bathrooms and our sweet little WC.

One of the main reasons I wanted this house was this room.
It may not look like it, but, it is large enough that I could put my quilting machine in it.

The master is much smaller than our bedroom at our yellow house .
But, putting the bed in the corner opened up a lot of floor space.

The master bath isn't updated. However, I believe in the saying,  "Fix it up, wear it out. Make it do,
or, do without." So, we made do by painting the dark walls and keeping everything clean and bright.

The hallway bathroom is also out of day but well built.

This room alternated between guest room and office. 

The enclosed porch was used as a play room for the grandchildren.
Not my favorite room in the house. Hot, dusty, and oddly shaped.

The shed in the back was so convenient! Lots of space for tools and
assorted home owner's essentials.

The back deck has been one of my favorite features. I've spent many
hours sitting under the trees and enjoying the shade.

Back view of the house.

Assuming the sale proceeds as expected, we will pass the keys on to the new owners. They are an older couple and their single daughter. Evidently, the couple will retire within the next 2 years and move into the house. In the meantime, their daughter, who recently graduated from nursing school and got a job at Scott and White, will live in the house.  I'm sure they will love the place and I'm as excited for them as I am for us.  

Goodbye 4201 Eagle Road. You have truly been home sweet home.