7-31-08 Thursday (No ticky, no washy)

I've gotta tell you, this unemployed deal is cool. The only thing that sucks thus far is I can't remember the damned day of the week. I'm constantly asking Jim to verify and 80% of the time, I get it wrong.

As you can tell by the blog entries, yesterday was pretty uneventful. I know everyone is dying to read about the next catastrophe. My mom, JoAnn, did come over for lunch while Jim was at the dentist and running errands (Jim is 37 years old and has never had a cavity!)

Today we took some left over stuff to storage, and to the Salvation Army. We hate Salvation Army but there wasn't a Goodwill around.

This afternoon into the evening we washed the exterior of the RV. We scrubbed the roof, sides and awnings. It looks much better. We even cleaned the wheel covers. Tonight I'm actually cooking.... grilling actually. Chicken terriyaki, mmmmmmmmmmmm (I hope).

Included is the walkthrough of the rear half of the RV.

7-29-08 Tuesday (The tub done overflow... nearly)

Happy Birthday to Jim!

Here's the picture of the Jeep Cherokee we bought:

I forgot to mention something from yesterday's events. First I must explain some RVing lingo. Gray water = waste water from sinks/showers. Black water = waste water from toilets. Both of these have holding tanks of their own but ultimately drain from the RV through a hose to the RV park connections. It's been recommended to keep the black water tank open so waste flows directly to the sewer and from time to time release the gray water to wash the hose out well. We forgot to check the gray water level indicator and when Jim went to shower yesterday, the tub was completely full. Oooops, we drained it.

This morning Jim laid an old sheet on the couch to put away and got side tracked. While he was outside smoking I had just awoken to Jag (cat) puking as he was perched on the dinette booth seat back aimed for the couch and luckily right on the sheet. Jim asked me to insert this for his brother's benefit: My name is Puka, I puked on the second floor, yes I've puked there before.................................................

Carl called me today and asked if I knew of a good linoleum installer...... very funny.

I'm looking forward to the blog becoming traveling info rather than pity pages.

The dog has behaved today. Each time we left the RV today we let him have the run of the full RV (like its that big) less the bedroom. No messes, no attempt to gain entry to the bedroom, all is good so far.

Jim's birthday at Iguana Mia:

7-28-08 Monday (New car, new dog?)

Jim dropped me off for a dentist appointment and went car shopping. When I was done, we went to the Volkswagen dealer to see an 2000 Jeep Cherokee 4X4. We roadtested, bargained for the price and then drove home. We had left the dog alone longer than we normally would have (6.5 hours). I wondered what I'd find. I arrived home first to find that Dasher had somehow clawed away the linoleum. I was more sad than angry. I took Dasher out for a walk and while I was gone, Jim found the surprise that awaited. Well we debated about letting Dasher have access to the entire RV, or at least the bedroom and bathroom, maybe replacing the bathroom linoleum with tile, or..... no we're not getting rid of my dog! I put the kitchen mat over the area for now and I think we're going to try letting him have the run of the entire RV less the bedroom. We cleaned up the mess, closed the door to the bedroom (what you see in the picture) and left the RV long enough to eat at Wendy's. When we came home, the rug wasn't even disturbed. Maybe he just wants to lay up on the couch or something? We'll try it again the same way tomorrow.

The most common questions we've been asked lately:

When are you leaving? Most likely middle of August, we're not on a time schedule so we couldn't swear to it.

Where are you going? Probably Disney World (they have an RV park too) then possibly the Grand Canyon second because the North rim closes in October or something. I think they place a giant Tupperware lid over the canyon and start with the North rim first? OK, maybe Rubbermaid.

7-27-08 Sunday (Take a walk through the RV)

I've attached a walk through video of the RV. It's of the main living area. I'll do another of the bathroom/util room/bedroom area once I have it ready. The main living area is 99% done. Today was some more organizing. Jim found some panels left behind from the previous owner. They are mesh type panels that fit over the front windows of the cockpit to probably filter out more light and heat. They look kinda nice up there. He had to go up on the roof to snap them in place. He also repaired the damaged carpet from the dog as well as some other small projects.

Tonight we had Jim's birthday dinner at his mom's. We left the dog alone for about 5 hours and no messes! He really worked at the barrier but apparently failed.

7-26-08 Saturday ("Plexi can't hold me!")

Our dog, Dasher, is a pain in the ass. We had so much unwanted merchandise to return today. We started out leaving the house at a decent hour. We get down the road and Jim realizes that he forgot his wallet and phone. I say screw it, lets just keep going. We stop at his Grandmother's house to pickup all the return crap we've dumped over at her house, along with the receipt file and plan to match it all up. We can't find the receipt file so we return home with the merchandise and begin the quest to find the missing file box. We arrive home and find the dog figured out a way to get through the barriers we set up to keep him in the bathroom while we're away from home. We find the receipt file, I stay home, match the merchandise with the file while Jim goes to Lowe's for the needed supplies. He uses wood instead of the plexi (which the dog broke apart) and and hour or so later, we're back on the road again. We couldn't get much done due to time limits.

We made it to 2 stores, Wal-Mart is a return nightmare. The door bitch has to scan each item, press 2 buttons on the scanner and then stare at the printer blankly. 20 labels = 20 items she's had to do this to. We purchased more stuff, in hopes that I won't have to return it later and deal with all the crap involved. I'd like to say, "I didn't have to go through all this shit to buy it, so why the production to return it?" but I can't say that. It's so untrue. The sad fact is it usually is a production to purchase at Wal-Mart. Land of the never ending lines. We also made it to U-Haul with almost $100 worth of stuff. The lady there had the personality of a gnat. We stopped off and looked at Jeep Cherokee at Budget used car lot. Our salesman was really short and round. I'm not quite sure why I felt the need to share that information with you. We roadtest (the Jeep, not the salesman) and find it to be a little rough around the edges. We went to Flamingo and roadtested a Honda CR-V. I think we're gonna buy it. It seemed perfect but we want to research and confirm towing ability and vehicle weight.

Wow, longer blog entry than I had intended. It's almost 3am and I'm tired. Carl & Tim and Mike & Dave came over for pizza. I had a great time, I feel like we haven't socialized in a long time.

I'm doing laundry again. I think I've found the trick to drying this shit. Do laundry almost daily and make it small loads.

Speaking of finding the trick, it's strange being somewhere new and starting new routines. It's especially interesting and challenging here in this RV. Such little things that were easy are now challenging: lighting a pilot light, gas stove cooking, the fridge keeping cold, laundry, sitting on the toilet, shower space, walking the dog, entertaining, washing dishes, keeping cats off tables, space organization, keeping the floor/entry clean, making the bed, feeding the cats, scooping the litter box, etc

I probably make it all sound terrible but it isn't and things will become easier. Besides, I've already been calling it home...........

7-25-08 Friday (What's TGIF mean?)

While it's not important to me (as Laurie texted to me), TGIF. The closing was today and it was pretty easy. Sign here, sign there, blah blah blah.

The RV is almost worthy of new interior pictures. I almost finished finding a home for everything and putting it all away.

Dasher has been cooperative with being walked on a leash. I kinda feel bad that he can't run around anymore. He lays on the couch all day. The cats have figured things out. Clea stays with us most of the time. Jag seems to prefer hanging out in the basement where the food and litter box is.

This whole moving experience has sucked. If or when we move away from here (after RVing), Jim and I agree that we'll need mega help or a professional moving company.

Funny, I can't even remember what order of events the last few days events have occurred in. I could probably ask Jim and recap it here but I think I'd rather forget it all.

Tomorrow we have to make our "return rounds". We've bought so much stuff that didn't work the way we wanted it to or in some cases found something better elsewhere. We've got a lotta money to cash in on returns merchandise.

Oh, so with the way the RV is setup (which is what we really liked), we could close Dasher up in the bathroom when we leave. Yesterday we did that when we went out to eat and shop but he was able to pull up from the bottom of the door and gain entry to the bedroom. He pissed on the linoleum (the reason we installed it), and tore the blind in the bedroom. Today we closed him in the bathroom again but this time blocked the door a little better. Not good enough. He knocked his food over, and tore up some stuff in the bathroom trash. After that Jim went to Ace hardware and got some supplies to fix that problem. (so we hope)

7-22-08 Tuesday (New flooring)

Moving sucks! The stress level is high with Jim and I. The buyers want to do a walk-through tomorrow. Like we don't have enough to do.

Jim took stuff aka crap to storage today. I stayed at the RV and organized somethings while they finished the carpet and linoleum. It all looks awesome! After they left, I had to reclean EVERYTHING because of the carpet dust all over. I washed the sheets but they never dried very well. I think I had the dryer on the wrong setting. I'll have to try more laundry in a few days. I realize it's only 110V for this dryer as opposed to 220 typically. I also realized its like me blow drying my sheets. So I took the sheets to the house and dried them here.

Jim picked me up and we returned home to eat leftover ziti. We have almost everything ready to go. I had decided to just pack up the dry/canned foods along with the cookware we'll be using in the RV. Only kitchenware that was earmarked for the RV was initially left unpacked but we haven't cooked in several days and don't see that happening in the next few days either. It's 10:45 pm and we're taking a short break.

I'm sure there's more to the day I'm forgetting but I'm tired and there's still more to be done.

7-21-08 Monday (That hottub sure looks heavy)

It was divide and conquer day. I dropped Jim off at the RV so he could hang with the carpet guys while I hung out with the hot tub moving guys.

The carpet and linoleum looks fantastic but not done yet. They have to come back tomorrow to finish a few things. Jim installed the cat flap for the basement and organized tools as well as cleaning out the basement. We had switched the fridge to run off propane so that we'd have additional power on hand for a/c and power tools but the guys hit the off button on the fridge by accident and now it will have to be thrown out. There wasn't too much in there yet.

I was amazed at the hot tub guys. There were 3: bossman middle aged, another middle aged with a broken arm and a scrawny 13-15 year old. The hot tub was placed on PVC pipes to "roll" it. They removed the screening. I followed them to the storage place. The tub was a tight fit. Water had come out of the jets and was at the bottom of the hot tub. So, I go home, get the shop vac and return to the storage unit to remove the excess water (we planned to put stuff in it to conserve space). I plugged the shop vac in at the storage place and no power. I called the main office and asked if they could switch it on. She was so concerned over how much power I would use and why so I explained. She told me the power would work at 7pm when the lights come on. I return to the storage unit with a power inverter hooked up to a car and it doesn't have the balls to power the shop vac. I figured we'd have to return to the storage unit at 7pm to get da juice. Meanwhile, Jim was still dealing with carpet so I went to Wal-Mart (again) and picked up some more storage bins and other things. By the way, this is my 3rd friggin' dish drainer that still won't fit. I refuse to deal with a tiny RV dish drainer although I'll probably have to succumb. Damn those sink making people. It's a conspiracy. Not quite sure how yet, but it will come to me.
Back to the storage unit with some stuff. The power still doesn't work. Some lights are on but not our building. We attempt to find the photocell. It's now 8:10 pm and still this unit has no power. Jim climbs through the boxes and rips one open to get an extension cord and viola, we're done.

New problem we're trying to resolve, we have a small storage pod we were going to have delivered and get a few things out of, then empty the rest into the unit. There's no room for it. So we either we need another storage unit, which will make #5 or we leave it be.

10 PM, we've showered and just finished eating the delicious ziti Ann had given us the day before. Jim wants to run some stuff to his Grandmother's house to get it out of the way. He's feeling time crunched so as usual we'll be working until 11 pm or later....

Say goodbye to the ivy, the green carpet and the old linoleum.....

7-20-08 Sunday (Tour de Moms)

Packing and moving is taking forever. I attempted to help Jim in the garage yesterday but he's got so many tools and of course thinks he'll need 92% of them within the next 6 months. After asking, "Can I pack this?" one too many times, with a reply of, "No, I have to go through that stuff." I gave up and started laundry, straightening up and other stuff.

Jim's mom, Ann came with lunch. She spackled for us, and touch up painted. My Mom and Dad, called and then stopped by. They drove me to the RV (my dad hadn't seen it yet) and then Jim met up with us later.

I gave the usual tour, adding my personal touches, "Here's where poop comes out of the RV." or "It even has a washer/dryer."

Jim and I removed the recliner and sofa inside to ready tomorrow's installation of carpet and linoleum. Damn, I'm glad this has spell checker, I can't spell linoleum.

Later Mike and Dave came to the house with Outback in hand. It was delicious and was very much appreciated. Cooking has been put on hold lately, who has time? As a matter of fact, Ann had dropped off a ready made baked ziti for us with heating instructions and all. Yum!

Tomorrow is carpet and move the hot tub day.

Pictured is the RV basement (storage below), where Jim is installing a cat flap so that the kitties can eat and poop in the basement.

7-19-08 Saturday (Move it or lose it)

Move day! With a Budget rental on hand, hired help Elio and Jorge, the 4 of us made 3 trips to storage and loaded them up. Jim mentioned it was like playing Tetris, figuring out what box fit best where. We're whooped.

At about 8, we showered, returned the rental truck and then went to the RV to put more stuff away.

Not a very interesting day........

Pictured above: Kitchen on the left. Living room/dining room on the right. Hall at the end passes the bathroom with the bedroom at the end. This picture is showing the slide in.

7-18-08 Friday (1st night in the coach)

Waking up this morning was actually refreshing. Maybe it was the excitement or perhaps the paper-thin-hard-as-a-rock mattress. Actually, no back pain. Maybe the mattress is a good thing.

After coffee, cigarettes, diet coke and the usual bathroom routines we rushed out to meet Ed & Walter for a 1 PM lunch date.

With full tummies and drowsiness setting in, we packed up some more. With Ann & Morgan's help we picked up the moving truck at the end of the day and even partially loaded it.

Off to bed at 11 PM, while Jim continued to do more boxing and packing as he ran on his diet coke batteries.

7-17-08 Thursday (I've got connections... or not)

We finally made it to The Groves RV Resort last night at about 8PM, behind schedule, because we were waiting on a delivery all friggin' day. As we made our "shore line" connections we found our waste/sewer hose too short so Jim had to run up to Wal-Mart to buy one. With mosquitoes looking for a meal, we both became real stressed with the connections so needless to say there are no pictures of the event.

Once inside we fought with the a/c operation until we got the knack for it. We put stuff away, started dinner, and when all was said and done, we finished at about 2am, went to bed at 3am.

I haven't even mentioned the fight for hot water, the TV cable hookup, and getting the dog (Dasher) to pee/poop while on a leash... don't get me started.

The pictures are of the RV hooked up at the Groves. Nice place.

7-16-08 Wednesday (To kiss a toad)

Sigh...... we've been packing and packing and then some more packing. The carpet installer came today to see where he'll be installing the carpet and linoleum. He's gonna come Monday for the install.

Last night we hooked up the RV to our pole lamp but it couldn't handle the a/c so we'll just have to deal with using the generator while off site. And NO, we can't hook into 220, it would fry the RV wiring.

Jim is still researching car towing options.

RV definition of the day: Toad or Dinghy refers to a vehicle which is towed behind the motorhome/RV/Coach.

7-15-08 Tuesday (Mr. Clean would be so dissapointed)

Today Jim continued the house packing project while I made trips to and from the RV with supplies. It now looks very liveable! I'm so excited. We're looking at buying a used front wheel drive vehicle and towing it behind the RV on a dolly. We're going to shop around here and there but for now, we'll concentrate on other things. Uneventful day I suppose. I spent so much of the day cleaning and disinfecting the RV. They didn't do a good job at detailing it. After this entry we're off to Wally World again for more storage bins and such. I'm so tired of Wal-Mart but it's not so bad during the work week and late evenings.

The picture I've included is of the kitchen area.

7-14-08 Monday (low riding Beamer)

It was an exciting day. We met with the salesman at Charlotte RV to pick up the coach and undergo the orientation. The service man doing to orientation seemed unsure of some of coach features but assured us that he's been doing this a long time. Perhaps the different manufactuers have varied systems. Jim and I were fairly familiar with the systems since we recently watch RV Education 101 on a DVD a few nights ago.

We discovered that the detail department did a lousy job especially with the toilet, light fixtures and awnings. We had to kill some time for them to correct the problems. We went to lunch and then strolled around Wal-Mart. When we returned to Charlotte RV we were ready to go.

I unloaded the car which was full of RV supplies while Jim tended to last minute details with the salesmen. We allowed ourselves time to organize as we waited on Mike and Dave to meet us. Of course as soon as Jim put the awning down, the generator went into preserve fuel mode and was cutting off. We went to the gas station to fill up (that was an adventure on it's own) and returned to Charlotte RV where Mike and Dave were now awaiting us.

With some car shuffling we went to Tropic Trailer to pickup our trailer. As they assisted us in the hitch hookup and such we discovered that the BMW would not make it up the ramps without tearing off a bumper. They tried this and that and we decided to rethink this whole process overnight and return on Tuesday with a new game plan.

We drove the RV and parked it in front of the house, ordered dinner and discussed today's conflicts. Dave mentions what Tropic Trailer says the trailer weighs and we then discover that this whole setup is overweight for towing behind the coach. DAMN! Jim and I fucked that up. Back to the drawing board. We're probably gonna by a used light weight vehicle and tow dolly instead. We'll see what Tuesday will bring.

7-13-08 Sunday (Dear Diary)

Mike suggested I start a blog and make entries as we tour the country. We aren't quite to the point of touring however I thought I'd get it started and see how I like it.

7-12-08 (The Story)

Here’s our story.

Jim worked for Citifinancial (a division of CitiGroup), as a branch manager, overseeing personal and mortgage loans. Garret worked for Colonial Suzuki, a franchise owned by Galloway Automotive, as a Parts & Service Manager.

A few years ago, when Florida real estate boomed, Jim and I thought it would be great to sell our home and move to another state. Why not buy our next home with a large down payment, leaving little to no mortgage? We never took it much further; our careers were at their peak and our 2,000 SF home was under 2 years old.

In 2008, we noticed real estate started its inevitable crash. Our local economy in Fort Myers, Florida, had truly shown through as evident by my dealerships worst months with no ease in sight. Bonuses for Jim were nonexistent. Bonuses for me were at their all time low. Foreclosures were on the rise, especially in the neighboring city of Cape Coral.

Months later, Jim said, “Remember how we talked about moving to another state and having virtually no mortgage? Well, it’s right here in our back yard. It’s called Cape Coral.” We thought about it and we started research. A Realtor showed us several homes. We might be looking at a $50,000 mortgage, instead of the existing mortgage. It sounded great, so we listed the house for sale.

In May of 2008, two couples looked at the house. The first couple looked again. Offers in the insult range came in. We countered. On Monday, June 2nd, Jim had gotten notice his branch was to close on the 27th. There was no transfer available in our area but a severance package was offered and was quite appealing. Jim and I had decided to reject the final offer on Wednesday afternoon and just keep the house if the offer couldn’t be any better. I called the Realtor and firmly told him we were done with these potential buyers and we weren’t going to go that low. The Realtor told me how we were making a big mistake and we should accept the offer. I stood strong.

An hour after we told our Realtor, absolutely not, a manager in my Suzuki store showed me a letter from American Suzuki confirming Galloway’s voluntary dealer resignation effective the first week of July. This meant that Galloway Automotive had given up its franchise. This news just a few days after Jim's news of being laid off!

Later that evening, Jim and I were distraught over the timing. We talked it over and called the Realtor, keeping our financial secrets, and told him we’d thought about what he had said and we’d counter offer again. A deal was accepted later in the week.

Jim and I decided to move to Texas. The job market appeared stable and CitiGroup had a corporate office with many openings. If he was “hired”, he’d be able to transfer and keep his benefits and tenure intact. I began my job search. Jim applied for several positions. In the meantime, we sought moving bids. With several moving company bids, it was time to figure out how to get to Texas. With 2 cats and a dog, how do we do that? How do we get our beloved 2005 BMW 325I there? Several moving plans later, Jim looked into renting an RV. Renting was expensive so he looked into buying one and just reselling it once we’ve completed the move.

In the meantime, upper management had not announced Suzuki’s demise. It was absolutely killing me to know what was going to happen, and not being able to share the information with my family of employees. I had received another copy of the dealer termination letter in the parts department. I took this as my opportunity to visit an owner with the letter in hand and show that the cat was out of the bag. I met with my supervisor, Bill Braatz, at our Ford store. He said he’d have a place for all of us but for me, probably not a supervisor position. I was OK with that being we’d move to Texas.

Within a two week period, the other employees were in the know. They would all be transferring to the Ford store.

Jim had come up with a new plan. Take the equity from the sale of the house, buy an RV outright, and see the country for 6 months. We took some of the equity and put it aside for future resettling.

The rest will be within our blog. Welcome!